Thursday, May 28, 2015

Plus Quilt Equals Love


At the beginning of the month, my dear friend Charne got married.
I knew this was coming.
In fact, when she called me last June to tell me that she was dating this particular young man, I determined that it was time to start her wedding quilt. This quilt was originally for Grey, but when I made my measurements, something was off. So instead of a twin-sized quilt, I ended up with an (almost) queen! I decided to quilt it with the lines from the Hymn "For the Beauty of the Earth."
I figured, if she didn't get married, it's not really a poem about weddings- although thanks to Little Women I always think of it as one.
I was able to quilt this on a long-arm machine myself, and I love the quilting on it so much. I'm sorry I don't have a better picture of it. It's essentially quilted with my hand-writing!
Even though this quilt has been done for OVER A YEAR, I never did a "quilt photoshoot," since I didn't want to post it to the blog and have Charne see it. And once I was ready to actually go to the wedding, I got caught up and forgot until we were there! I managed to get these mediocre pictures, and they'll suffice, since this isn't for a quilting magazine - just to preserve memories! (That's what I have to tell myself when I don't get the pictures I want.)
I love this beautiful girl, and I am excited for her to start her family- although it's hard to give her up. She is valuable part of our family. We love you, Aunt Charne!



This is the version of the poem that I quilted it with:

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
   For the beauty of the skies,
For the Love which from our birth
   Over and around us lies:
Lord, our God, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
   Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
   Sun and moon and stars of light:
Lord, our God, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
   Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above;
   For all gentle thoughts and mild:
Lord, our God, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.


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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 21

Somewhere along the lines, in the last two years, I forgot how to blog.
I used to blog about everything. I had a pimple on my face? I wanted cookies and didn't have any? My breasts were a weird size from nursing?
All worthy of blog posts. All of those are blog posts that I actually wrote.
And then, I don't know if it was Pinterest leading me to always-beautiful, thought, inspired blogs. If it was reading through my own blogs to weed them for good info for Baby Books. If it was just lack of time on my end that made writing every single day about this and that and nothing dwindle away.
But I feel like I only write now if I've got a thing. 
Something big to talk about. Pictures to share.
A well-executed photoshoot of a quilt I made to post.
The blog started to feel like work, and like the things I wanted to share weren't enough of a thing to actually go through the effort of sharing.
Well. I'm going to try to change. Write more. Share more. A little at a time.
So here are some pictures.
And tomorrow I might be back.

My three boys.


This picture was organic. These guys were just sitting, talking and nudging each other and I crouched down and said, "Quick, everyone look at me being silly and smile!"
And they did. And then went back to each other.


Grey loves to play games on my iPhone. Someday we'll look back on this picture and think "What a hilarious looking device!" which is kind of hilarious in itself.

Micah:


Micah wears that shirt everyday (it's his "beach shirt") and recently got a bike. Now the boys literally spend hours every day biking.

August:

 This little bear actually gets sick if we let him swing for two long. His favorite thing is just to sit in the swing and watch the kids and dogs at the park.





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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mother's Day



It has come and gone. I wrote nothing meaningful or beautiful about my own mother, nor did I have any revelations about my own journey as a mother. This year, I got nothin'.
Except, I do have these three tiny people and -goodness! I love them!
Foolishly, every single year I try to coax my husband and children into taking a Mother's Day picture.
And every single year, it basically falls on it's face.
This year, Travis captured this gem:


He keeps saying that it is his favorite picture. The best picture he's ever taken. The pinnacle of his photography career. Etc.
Sometimes Motherhood feels (and looks) like this:
Oh my gosh, these kids.
I look at photos of me with baby twins and literally think, "How did I do that? How did I survive?" and I get retroactively stressed and panicked.
But I rarely felt that way at the time.
I suspect I'll look back on this photo one day and feel that way. Am I crazy to think I can do this somehow? Probably yes. Probably not.

But let me tell you how good motherhood is at this exact, particular moment:
My kids are playing in their room.
All of them. Together.
No one is crying and everyone is alive because I can hear all of them talking.
They are not fighting.
They have been in there for ONE HOUR.
One entire hour. Together. Including the baby!
I knitted! I ate lunch! I wrote on my blog!
I absolutely under no circumstances am going in to check on them, because that would break the magic spell.
I am sure that their room is getting destroyed. (WORTH IT.)

I am actually quite tempted to sneak out on to the roof and peek through their outside window to see what's happening in there.

What a blessing to have a ringside seat an important role and hand in helping these children become men. In teaching them to love and cherish each other. In watching their friendship blossom, their curiosity and interest in the world.
And dang. My baby is crying.
Well. It lasted a long time.
Maybe tomorrow it will be an hour and fifteen minutes.

Ah. Grey just told me that they've all been secretly taking turns on the iPad.
So, okay.
That's what Motherhood is really like.
Ooooh. Now they're claiming that they were actually taking turns reading books.
I'm feeling quite suspicious.
Yeah. Whatever. These people.
I like them, but they're stinkers.
Motherhood, yo.
This post kind of sums it up perfectly for me.





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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Portraits of my Boys

So. My resolution to take portraits of my children is still holding pretty strong. My ability to post them on the internet is weak.
But here are... ahem, Five weeks worth of photos of my boys.
Arranged by child.

Grey:


Sitting at the cold beach of Lake Tahoe, watching the clouds move in and trying to decide if he should be worried or not.


Making wishes.


Grey is actually the one in green here, and I love this picture of him. This is how he sits when he is concentrating. He's not looking at his brother, he's looking at his train set. Studying how to build it the way he wants to.

Micah:


Again, staring into the distance at Tahoe while Grandma reads to him.


Lately, Micah takes his pillows and blankets outside every day and makes himself a bed to lie in and watch the world. I love this little weirdo.


Jumping on the trampoline. Again, this picture isn't really of Micah's face but I love it nonetheless.

And August:

This boy is such a happy, crazy, little delight.

 Because we obviously needed one of August staring into the Lake, too.

 Taking a sink bath. (And yes, this is the week that I didn't manage to get pictures of my other kids and yes, I like pictures of them looking away. These boys have the sweetest little profiles.

 August LOVED the beach. Loved it, people. While Micah and I were content to mostly stay home or chill out high up in the dry, warm sand. And Grey was happy playing in the wet sand to build, but keeping clear of that salty, frigid tide: August took after his Daddy. He ran into the waves, knowing they would knock him down. He waved and squealed to the seagulls, dug in the wet sand, collected (and sucked on) rocks and sea shells and basically would have been more than happy to stay in San Diego forever.


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Monday, May 18, 2015

The Famn Damily

The last two months have been pretty much some of the worst when it comes to my desire to blog. Obviously. I haven't posted any pictures in ages.
We've been to Goblin Valley camping (in Southern Utah), to my parents by Lake Tahoe in Nevada, to Seattle for a wedding and to the beach house in California and I haven't shared even a bit!
So I'm going to! I promise! I am!
My camera is currently at Travis' office, and it has a small number of photos on it (compared to how long we were gone) and as soon as I get that and upload it and edit ...well, you get the picture. It might be a while.
But I figured, in the mean time- I'd share some cute pictures we got of our family a few weeks ago in MARCH. Sheesh! Time flies!
So it's been awhile since these were taken, but I love them all the same!

Grey, Travis, Micah, Becky, August. (Note to self, in case I can't tell who is who when I'm an old lady.)

We took these pictures when we had a church meeting on Temple Square a few weeks before Easter. I figured, if we are all dressed nice for church and in a beautiful location- we might as well get some pictures, right? Right. I agree, self.

Lately, I came to a realization. I always like to say, my children are like the little girl who had a little curl- right in the middle of her forehead. (And when she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad she was horrid!)

But it comes in waves.  They are good for a long time. Weeks, in fact. They are kind, they are polite, they say please and I forgive you, and You're the prettiest mom in the whole world!
And then- like a horrible wave of reality crashing over me, they become tiny monsters. They try to beat each other to death with their light sabers, they yell I wish you would die so I could just live with my dad and do whatever I want! and they resist all love, parenting, discipline, and meals.
AND I WANT TO BEAT THEM! (But I don't, because they're children, I love them, etc. Obviously.)

But seriously. Every time it happens I'm completely blindsided. It's like I've forgotten they're ever like this. I mean, are they on their period? How can I survive? Can I give them up for adoption? WHAT IS GOING ON? And I totally panic and call my husband and mom crying, and I look up day care, and announce that my plans for home schooling were a little premature and get these demons out of my house. 
And then, without my even noticing it right away- they are good again. They ask Do you need any help? and Tell me how clouds form and If I die, I'm happy I get to be with you again.
And I melt into a big puddle of "Holy cow, I love you more than anything, you're perfect, and I want twelve kids."

But then I remembered. Their brains aren't fully developed. This is not science, religion, or anything other than a theory- but I think that every once and a while- they forget how the world works. On a regular basis, I look at myself and go, "What's going on? Why am I so crabby/unhappy/stressed out?" and I realize that I haven't been reading my scriptures, finding time to create, indulging in poetry, that I've become addicted to a new game on my phone, or haven't been expressing gratitude to my family. I know how to be happy. And yet, I forget. I forget to choose the good. And so I redirect myself. And things get good again.

I think, in their own small way, my children are doing the same. Every a few weeks, they forget- kindness will get them more than demanding, love gets them more attention than yelling, their brother actually is their best friend. They forget, and then they realign. They test and check, "If I tell my mom she's the meanest mom in the world- does she feel guilty and give me what I want? OR if I tell her I love her, does she love and take care of me and give me what I want?"
Haha, okay- maybe they're just practicing different techniques of manipulation...
But I have to remind myself- if my children aren't the people that I want them to be, sending them away isn't going to make them better. Yelling back at them isn't going to teach them not to yell.
Kindness will out.

And right now, things are pretty good, and they are perfect and sweet and I want one million babies- all homeschooled.


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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Conversations with Children

I've changed the title of my post from Conversations with Four-Year-Olds to Conversations with Children, as August is learning words, and even occasionally "participates" in conversations.

This weekend when he and I were out of town and the boys called me on the phone, I asked him "August, do you want to talk to Micah?"
He gasped a little, "Didah!" and hurried to look out the window for his brother, which was basically the cutest thing to ever happen.

Another extremely sweet thing, was when Grey was looking at a pretty bouquet of carnations. He absentmindedly leaned forward to kiss one of the flowers, and then- his cheeks turning pink- looked at me and said (embarrassed), "I kissed that flower. That's silly, isn't it?"
"That isn't silly at all!" I said. "It helps flowers when you kiss them and tell them to grow strong."
He immediately set about kissing each little flower and whispering to them, "Grown tall and beautiful. I love you."
Then, he said, "Look, Mom! There's only one little white flower in all the red flowers. Its name is Sweet Little Blossom Cake. Isn't that right?"
Because he is Anne Shirley.

Grey: I'm thirsty.
Grandma: Of course you are.
Micah: I'm not thirsty. How is that even possible? Huh. Maybe I am thirsty? Hm. I think I am. I might be thirsty. Yes, I think I'm thirsty after all!

Me: Oooooooo.
Micah: What, Mom? What? Is it Halloween already?
Me: No.
Micah: Then why are you saying that Halloween song?

Grey: I'm going to squeeze you so tight like a pancake hug!

Me: Were you hurt or scared?
Micah: I was hurt and scared all mixed up together!

Grandpa: You're so full of crap.
Grey: I'm full of bones.
Grandpa: I think your bones are full of malarkey.
Grey: That's what bones are usually filled with.

Grey: Look at my muscles! I’m so strong, I could beat up the strongest man in the world!
Micah: I’m so strong, I could beat up a giant named Rudolf the Giant!

Me: Are you sure you want to sleep in here alone? Grey is upstairs with Grandpa.
Micah: Yes, then Grey can stop bugging me when I'm trying to sleep.

Micah: Who lives in the mountains?
Grey: Um, Train Mountains. And goblins.

Grey: Excuse me, Jacky.
Jack: Yes?
Grey: Your bones are holding up your meat.

Grey: Ugh! I still smell your farts.
Micah: I haven't farted in here.
Grey: Oh. Excuse me.

Grey: I spy, with my little eye, something blue!
Micah: A sign! Water!
Grey: I'll give you a hint. This blue thing holds clouds in it.

Grey: What are these?
Me: They're sunflower seeds.
Grey: Seeds!? People don't eat seeds. We are not birds.
Me: Sure, we do. Seeds are good for you.
Grey: And they won't grow and turn us into flower people?

Travis: I hear you've been acting badly today. Is that true?
Grey: Probably.

Grey: I see my dad.
Me: Those are sister missionaries.
Grey: and that woman's name is Travis Dad.

Micah: The water is coming up! The toilet is blogging!

Travis: Have you guys been good today?
Grey: Mediocre!

Grey: A garbage man is not made of garbage. He is just made of people.
Me: Really?
Grey: Yes. Garbage mans are normal people, they just have the job of picking up trash. That's why we call them garbage men when they're normal people men, and that is not a lie! It's really real!


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

A One Year Old

August is one year old.
He is a delight. A joy! A pleasure! and the cutest child ever spawned!
Needless to say, there's some favoritism going on in our household. Maybe he shouldn't be so perfect, so we wouldn't have to love him so much.


August, in keeping with his brother's traditions, is very active and physically capable for a on year old. He can now walk, climb up and down stairs, dance a cute little boogey, and climb on and off short furniture. He runs in short, excited little steps, and "tiptoes" in slow, exaggerated steps (towards a sleeping puppy, for example). He can even jump up and down! He usually bounces, springing his little butt up and down, but leaving his feet on the floor- but a few times, he's gotten so excited that he actually jumped with both feet off the ground! (He usually lands on his butt when this happens.)
He squeals and claps in excitement when he's happy or proud of himself. He waves bye-bye and signs all-done.



He gives the tightest, most sincere hugs. He really nestles in, wrapping his arms all the way around my neck, playing with the hair at the nape of my neck and tucking his face into my shoulder and holding on for minutes at a time.
August rarely gives kisses now, (but when he does, they're very sweet and intentional). Instead, he requests kisses. He will press his forehead into your mouth, humming for you to kiss him, or will lean into you for kisses if you hum.
Saying goodnight at bedtime is a long process, because he wants everyone to kiss him for several minutes. When he was in bed with me in the middle of the night recently (teething is the worst), he would pat and stroke my cheek in the dark until he found my mouth. Then he would press his face into mine, humming. (So I was forced to give him kisses!) If I didn't make kissing sounds as he did that, he would slam his head into mine until I did.
Even when he's annoying and hurting me in the middle of the night, he's the nicest baby ever.  What am I supposed to do? Not kiss my baby?

August loves other kids, especially little girls. He will follow his aunt Katie around, and laugh and scream in delight if he sees her across the room or through a window.  He follows around little girls at the park, waving and grunting at them until they notice how cute he is.





He loves to take baths, sing songs, and go on walks. But now that he can move, he doesn't like to be held much- he wants to be free to explore! August has loved being here at my parents with two dogs. He's not afraid of either at all, but follows them around, tries to sneakily feed them food off his tray, and likewise- likes to steal their food and play in their water bowls.

He doesn't like reading stories very much, except touch-and-feel books and the Very Hungry Caterpillar, which he will actually sit through. He's very into his index finger, and points and shakes it at everything.

August is a complete darling, and we love him. It's hard to believe that he's been in our lives for a year! That seems like both too long and too short a time to be possible.

Happy Birthday my little man.



Friday, April 17, 2015

Conversations with Four-Year Olds



Micah: Look! I'm using the force! Aaaaaargh! Wow!
Me: Okay. Cool. You should use the force to actually do something, though.
Micah: I did. I picked up our car. Weren't you watching?

Me: Life is a highway!
Grey: NO! Life is not a highway. Don't say that!
Me: What is Life then?
Grey: Life is in people and cereal.

Micah: Where's my dad?
Grey: He's eating dinner.
Micah: No. He's eating poop.
Grey: NO! Don't say that. That is a lie.
Micah: That's not a lie, it's a funny joke!

Travis: We'll drive to Reno.
Micah: Is Reno in this world or outer space? Like, is it on the moon?

Grey: We need to follow directions.
Me: Directions to where?
Grey: You know, like on car seats or Legos.

Micah: Why are you wrecking that?
Me: I don't think he's wrecking it. I think he's working on it.
Grey: I am wrecking it.
Me: Oh! Well, what do I know?
Grey: You know nothing.
Micah: NOTHING, I say!

Me: I don't know where we are going.
Micah: Maybe to Claire Johnsons.
Me: Who is Claire Johnson?
Grey: He is a robot made of jellybeans.

Me: Please help me clean up.
Micah: I'm Superman and you are Superman's mom. Does Superman listen to his mom?
Me: ALWAYS.
Grey: I'm Batman and I always listen to my dead mom, who can talk somehow. Probably because she's a ghost.

Micah: I got an owie washing my hands.
Grey: That's crazy! Water can't hurt you, it's just made of soap and leaves and water.

**Listening to rap**
Micah: Is this Mr. Rhymes?
Travis: It's BUSTA Rhymes.
Micah: Hmm. I don't know.

Me: You need to go to sleep right now.
Grey: Then I'll go to sleep and dream about how you never let me DO ANYTHING.

Grey: I'm so angry, I'm going to walk away from home. I'll go on a long walk by myself and then, I'll just find my own way back.

Travis: Hey, August! No biting!
Grey: Oh, Dad. It's okay.  August is still learning.

Micah: Hey! This sucker has gum in it! Did you put it there for a surprise for me?

Grandpa: I have an extra vertebrae. Like an alien!
Micah: Aliens have heads on their butts. Your head is not on your butt, so you're not really an alien.

Micah: Mom, you're the favorite weirdo I love.

Me: Why do you think it's important to have a map or a compass in the wilderness?
Grey: It isn't important. You just need an iPhone.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 15

It's been a long week, packing, camping, and now visiting my parents for the next week and a half. And like all super old people (they are grandparents, after all), they have an unbearably slow computer that is a huge pain to edit pictures and write blog posts on. So I'm sorry to say, there probably won't be a lot of blogs- even though I have cool pictures and things to share.
But I can start with this:
A few days late, but better late than never, as they say...

Grey:

 Watching his uncle Jack fight his brother with a Light Saber is obviously delightful

Micah:

 Micah helped me gather lilacs in our grey, rainy yard before we came.

August:

Just the world's most pleasant baby, on a hot hike in southern Utah.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 14

Spring is in the air! It's been so warm and beautiful that I even decided to move my tomato plants outside. They were getting pretty pathetic in their little yogurt cup planters. And the next day... IT SNOWED! You betrayed me, Utah! 
I actually haven't gone out to check on my plants yet this morning. I did cover the tomato trellis-things in plastic garbage bags to protect them from the boisterous wind, so maybe they're doing okay out there? I don't have high hopes, though. And I'm starting to feel like they won't survive at all- since we are leaving for about a month at the end of this week. Camping trip in Southern Utah, followed by a visit to my mom in Nevada, then to a wedding in Oregon, and then on down to a little getaway/work trip in California and driving all the way! My poor baby! (but it's a pretty good way to break in the new car).
I'm having little panic attacks about it, since I hate packing for one trip (hate it more for two in a row, but for many trips?) and I hate leaving our house messy before a trip, but I don't know if I'll have time to give the house the deep clean I need- or use up all the produce packing our fridge. Hmm. I maybe should have thought ahead a bit more before buying the 100 lb bag of organic carrots at the store. 
Easter was, of course, quite perfect. Except that I sent the assistant Easter bunny out to buy a little box of Sweet Tarts and he came home with a grocery bag bursting with jelly beans, Robins Eggs,  and every other kind of non-Sweet Tart candy imaginable. 
Yikes, bunny! Don't you realize that this nonsense is headed into the children? It will turn them into monsters! And, they are actually as satisfied with a few pieces of candy as with a million- unless of course, they know there are a million pieces hidden around the house!
So besides the candy, Easter was good. We watched General Conference and felt uplifted and encouraged, and resolved to do better and be better. And all of these pictures are actually from yesterday. Only as I uploaded this week's pictures this morning did I realize how little I've actually photographed this week! I vow to do better! I didn't even get a good picture of dying eggs and we dyed eggs multiple times.  
But 
Happy April! Happy Easter! Happy Springtime!

Grey:

What am I going to do when their big teeth come in and they don't have these gappy little smiles? 
(Answer: cry.)

Micah:

 A little spider in a spider web (wearing his new favorite shoes: Batman Converse. I tried so hard to escape superhero clothes and shoes, but sometimes I just can't say no! Especially when he finds them for seven dollars in a second-hand store and I know they'll bring him endless joy.)

 August:

Speaking of saying no... August ate cake. And let's just say, it was not his first piece of cake, nor was his second helping his second piece of cake.
I can't help it! I want to give him everything! Okay. Homemade cake seems alright. It had fruit in it!
At least I didn't give him any jelly beans! (Ahem. Somebody gave him jelly beans against my wishes. I won't name names - because it was EVERYONE.)



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