Friday, May 29, 2015

{May 2015}

May brings swimming, Astrocamp, teacher appreciation week, and fun in general. 

The kids and I had a lot of fun while Adam was at Astrocamp. We went to SkinnyFats, In-n-Out Burger, and a birthday party for a little baby named Zella, who has faced a lot of struggles in her little life, though we are grateful she's here and healthy-ish. Adam had a lot of fun, too, and the kids had a blast with him. 

Hannah's reading skills and math skills are amazing. I know I say that every month, but every month she astounds me with her growing ability. She had a lot of cool things happen in her kindergarten class. First, they each got to raise a butterfly from a caterpillar, and there was even an extra one for Paige to take home. They also got to watch baby chicks hatch from eggs, and we got to take them home for the weekend and take care of them. Another fun school activity was the Father Daughter dance at Forbuss. Hannah and Adam had a great time. 

Hannah branched out of her comfort zone and went on several slides at Wet n' Wild. She did NOT like the rainbow slides, but she DID love Zip Zap Zoom, and has been on it several times since. She also enjoys all the slides in the kiddie area. She loves going off with her friends at the water park, and it is strange to watch as she leaves our side and becomes more and more social (though she's always been very social). She almost seems like she's a teenager. Sadly, we found out this month that her best friend Emma Maloy is moving to New York. She was pretty devastated, but having been through it once before, she was better prepared, and she plans to keep up through letters and Skype. 

Paige loved the caterpillar Hannah brought home from school as a gift, and she carried it around everywhere. She had a lot of fun watching it get bigger and bigger, and watched in amazement as it formed the chrysalis. She named the caterpillar Russia, and when Russia emerged from the chrysalis, we all hated to say goodbye. Paige especially had a difficult time, and cried and cried. Fortunately, Russia stuck around for several hours in our back yard so we could say a proper goodbye. 

Paige had her final preschool field trip to Shark Reef. It was pretty amazing! Though we've been to Shark Reef dozens of times, it was cool to go on a guided tour, and then to learn more in an interactive classroom. We've loved Paige's preschool experience, and we've been so grateful to have such a fantastic co-op group. 

Sam is now 11 months old! Sam is my most curious baby. He opens every drawer and every door at least sixteen thousand times per day. He pulls everything out, eats it, and basically leaves a path of destruction everywhere he goes. He loves to make lots and lots of noise, whether he is banging two objects together or yelling/screaming/singing at the top of his lungs. He loves it when we say no just so he can defy us. He thinks it's hilarious. He loves his sisters , but gets especially excited to see Paigey. He has some sort of facial tick and we aren't quite sure if it's voluntary or not but its cute and funny. He's taken a few steps but so far is my laziest walker (Hannah walked at 9 months, Paige walked at ten). He likes lots of attention when he stands up on his own and adopts a super proud expression on his face when we get excited for him. He says "mama" and that's about it. He can go up the stairs like a pro and down the stairs too when Mommy and Daddy are distracted. Speaking of Daddy, he LOVES Adam, and gets so excited to play when he gets home. One game he loves is going back and forth between Adam and me and giving is smiles and hugs before going back to the other parent. I can't believe he's almost a year old! He loves to splash and make noises, and his favorite game is peek-a-boo. 

We all loved going to The Dolphin and Lion Habitat at The Secret Garden: Mirage. We got to go for teacher appreciation week. We also spent a lot of time at the water park. 

Adam and I got an itch to move, and we've looked at several different homes. Fortunately, we have all the time in the world, and our little house is more than sufficient for our needs. In our search, our appreciation for our home grew, and though our search continues, we've decided we can be happy staying in our home for quite a bit longer, and we aren't in a rush to move. 

Facebook:

"How marvelous a thing it is to contemplate that each of you is a daughter of God, a girl with a divine birthright and a divine destiny.... "I wish you-each of you, wherever you are-to know that you are loved. You are loved by your Father in Heaven, of whose divine nature you have partaken. And He desires that His Holy Spirit will be near you wherever you go if you will invite it and cultivate it. "There is something of divinity within each of you. You have such tremendous potential with that quality as a part of your inherited nature. Every one of you was endowed by your Father in Heaven with a tremendous capacity to do good in the world. Train your minds and your hands that you may be equipped to serve well in the society of which you are a part. Cultivate the art of being kind, of being thoughtful, of being helpful. Refine within you the quality of mercy which comes as a part of the divine attributes you have inherited. "Some of you may feel that you are not as attractive and beautiful and glamorous as you would like to be. Rise above any such feelings, cultivate the light you have within you, and it will shine through as a radiant expression that will be seen by others. "You need never feel inferior. You need never feel that you were born without talents or without opportunities to give them expression. Cultivate whatever talents you have, and they will grow and refine and become an expression of your true self appreciated by others. "In summary, try a little harder to measure up to the divine within each of you" Gordon B. Hinckley
In the past few weeks I've been working on a healthier me: mind, body, and spirit. Trying to read good books, eat better, move more, pray more, and focus more on the things that are important. 

Paige: Mom! You look like you are going to die!
Me: Sweetie, I'm not going to die.
Paige: (mustering all her dramatics) BUT JUST LOOK AT YOU!!!
Thanks. I just have a cold, but thanks.

Currently reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It's about the study of habits and she introduces the idea of foundational habits, habits that, when formed, make it easier to form all other habits. These habits include: 1) Sleep 2) Move 3) Eating and drinking healthfully and 4) Unclutter.
In the unclutter section she mentions that for most people outer order leads to inner calm and order. This is true for me. Then she talks about how some people require outer chaos for creativity and stimulation. I can't really comprehend that. I'm wondering if any of you feel that way. That clutter and chaos spawn creativity and energy (where the opposite is true for me).

During nap time I was watching a pg-13 "chick flick" and knitting on the couch. There was an onscreen intimate encounter where more was implied than shown but all of a sudden I hear my three year old's voice from the stairs, completely scandalized, "Mom, they are nakey! We don't watch that!"
I guess our family home evening lesson on inappropriate media consumption stuck with her.

I missed his ELEVEN MONTH mark on May 2nd. Sam is my most curious baby. He opens every drawer and every door at least sixteen thousand times per day. He pulls everything out, eats it, and basically leaves a path of destruction everywhere he goes. He loves to make lots and lots of noise, whether he is banging two objects together or yelling/screaming/singing at the top of his lungs. He loves it when we say no just so he can defy us. He thinks it's hilarious. He loves his sisters , but gets especially excited to see Paigey. He has some sort of facial tick and we aren't quite sure if it's voluntary or not but its cute and funny. He's taken a few steps but so far is my laziest walker (Hannah walked at 9 months, Paige walked at ten). He likes lots of attention when he stands up on his own and adopts a super proud expression on his face when we get excited for him. He says "mama" and that's about it. He can go up the stairs like a pro and down the stairs too when Mommy and Daddy are distracted. Speaking of Daddy, he LOVES Adam, and gets so excited to play when he gets home. One game he loves is going back and forth between Adam and me and giving is smiles and hugs before going back to the other parent. I can't believe he's almost a year old!

Sometimes Past Melissa annoys Present Melissa. Currently I organize my photos by year and month in a folder on the computer. During Hannah's first year of life I had them by year (2009 or 2010) by month of Hannah's life (eye roll--and super confusing) by WEEK OF LIFE and then BY MILESTONE. GAHHHH What an idiot. So if I want to find a photo from December 2009 I have to go 2009-> Hannah --> 3 months -->12 weeks old. It might not be so bad if I had A FEW photos but each folder consists of at least 40 photos up to 200 photos. New moms, man. Idiot.

July 27th, 2009 I met Hannah for the first time. I'll never forget the overwhelming feeling of empowerment coupled with serenity as I brought her into the world. I always tell her, "when you were born you made me a mommy."
I love being Hannah's mother. I love the spark of light that always twinkles in her eyes, I love her imagination, her intellect, her strong sense of self. She was born with confidence and good humor, and a talent for talking me into or out of anything--nobody can reason or justify like Hannah. She was born with a thick, gorgeous head of hair, and bright blue eyes. She has a tenacity that has taken me years to tame, though fortunately her fire burns as bright as ever.
When Hannah started preschool I began being referred to as "Hannah's mom" or "Hannah's mommy. Even some of Paigey's friends know me only as "Hannah's mom." I hope I can be someone she's always proud to claim.
Of all the things I've been or I'll be, I'm most proud to be a mother. Motherhood is not a job (though it is work) it is a calling, and a sacred title that will follow me to the next life. It is my nature, and I'm happy to celebrate that divine nature inherent in women, whether we've given birth or not.
Happy Mother's Day 2015

Left: Hannah 2013 Right: Paige 2015.
My favorite Mother's Day gifts ever. These pots will follow me everywhere I go, and I'll be planting flowers in the when I'm a grandma.
I've loved being able to do preschool co-op groups for my girls. Both times have been great experiences, both times have been different. I'm especially lucky that they've both involved Miss Brandee, who is my dear friend and someone I look up to immensely. She initiated these gifts both years.
Brandee is the mother of five wonderful children (with triplets, too). She is creative, and fun, and spunky and kind. She is selfless, always lends an ear or a hand, and is someone I really respect and value.
Brandee, over the years when I look at my beloved flower pots I'll always think of my babies and I'll think about you. Happy Mother's Day, my friend!
Paige was named while I was in labor with Hannah. "I really love the name Paige," Adam said, while I was contracting. "Let's name our next daughter Paige." "Let's focus on this one," I retorted, annoyed at his timing, but the second we found out our second was a daughter we called her baby Paige. While I was pregnant with Paige I felt extreme euphoria. I had my worries and doubts, but something told me Paige was a deeply joyful soul. Because of this, we painted her room yellow, to match the rays of sunshine she was bringing to our family.
Unlike Hannah's birth, the epidural didn't really take and I was in extreme pain. Instead of the strength and serenity I felt upon giving birth to Hannah, I felt emotional and physically destroyed by the time Paige arrived so I cried as I watched her come into the world and they placed her in my arms. She was given the middle name Lily, in honor of my grandmother, Lilian Beatrice Marsden. It wasn't long after her birth that we started calling her Paigey Pie. Hannah was immediately smitten, and my joy was complete. To have two daughters...to have given each of my girls a sister, an eternal friend...I could think of nothing better.
Paige definitely follows the stereotypical patterns of a second/middle child. She is passionate and dramatic. She needs to be heard and understood, and often sneaky. But Paige is mine, and my mother heart needs her more than anything...even though she'll be the one giving me gray hairs, she'll be the one to make me laugh the loudest.

10 years ago I joined this lab group. We were instructed to take a photo of our group for the blackboard. This is five minutes after the moment Adam and I met. I love this photo so much. I remember very specific things about this day, even though it was the most ordinary of days. I remember Adam telling me he was a cancer survivor, his middle name was Loraine, that his mom was a nurse, that he was adopted by his father, and that he had six siblings. I remember telling him how much I love the beach boys, and how I was writing to two missionaries. I remember Adam and Ben trying to still my tape recorder so they can leave a message for one of the missionaries. After class, which was three hours long, we decided to go to Wendy's. I ordered a number six (spicy chicken meal) and Adam ordered off the dollar menu. The three of us talked about the lady who had recently planted a finger in her chili bowl and tried to sue Wendy's. I didn't know that within the week Adam would accidentally ask me out for a first date. Within the month he would ask me to be his girlfriend, seven months later he would ask me to be his wife. I didn't know about moving to Las Vegas, or Hannah, Paige, and Sam, or any number of big and little things that would create our life together.
Ten years together and stronger than ever. I love you, Mr. Turney. I'm so glad I met you that day.

Another thought from Gretchen Rubin's book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Life. When it comes to creating and breaking habits Rubin says most people fall into two categories: the Abstainers and Moderators.
"At one extreme, there are Abstainers. Abstainers tend to have an “all or nothing” approach to life. In order to reduce their alcohol consumption, they stop drinking. To refrain from eating cookies, they can’t have cookies in the house. Abstainers have trouble stopping something once they’ve started — but they’re not tempted by the things they’ve decided are off limits.
At the other extreme are Moderators. Moderators do better without absolutes and strict rules. Instead of swearing off cookies completely, they have one cookie on two or three nights per week. (Me? I’d eat the whole package!) They don’t need to go dry for a month to drink less — they simply drink less. Moderators enjoy an occasional indulgence and find that it actually strengthens their resolve instead of weakening it."
I've learned that I'm absolutely an Abstainer. I'll eat the whole bag of chips, the whole carton of ice cream, etc. it's easier for me to say no to everything rather than indulge.
You’re a moderator if you…
– find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure–and strengthens your resolve
– get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something
You’re an abstainer if you…
– have trouble stopping something once you’ve started
– aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits
So…do you identify as an abstainer or a moderator? Do these categories ring true for you?

Hannah just asked me if the Full House sisters were dead because "it was made a long time ago." No...they are my age...

Hannah tried to sign in to Netflix but didn't know our password so she tried to start a free trial. ���� "But Mom, it's free!"

Ultra ULTRA excited for the 30th birthday gift from me and my parents (they helped) to me. I'm only opening one right now (just to check it out). But it's a full set of the Bloomsbury (UK publisher) first edition Harry Potter books. I've been wanting these for a long time!

Trying to take a page from McKay Meadowlane's book by making a list of my to be read books and then going down the list instead of reading whatever I feel like in the moment. This will hopefully allow me to read books that have been on my list forever (but I never prioritize) and to be more organized. Unfortunately when I noticed the next book on my list was The Hobbit I became a little wary. I'm not a huge fantasy reader (I know... Harry Potter is a fantasy series...) but dang it, I can't go through life without reading The Hobbit.

I bought this book last fall at Time Out for Women. It is such a wonderful scripture reference for our family. Compared to other illustrated children's scripture stories, this one has more stories, more explanation, and beautiful illustrations. We've almost read through the whole thing, then I'm going to buy the Bible version and go from there. I love that my children are so engaged in the stories. A while ago I was reading to them about how Enos prayed all day and night and Paige said, "Woah, that's a long time!" Later that night when she was asked to pray she said, "do I have to do it all night?"

Hannah: Emma, if you stand on this thing you can make a wish!
Emma: No thanks, those lead to the sewer and I don't want to fall in.
Hannah: You won't fall in! It's like a wishing well.
Emma: Well, we wish on stars. We don't walk much, so we don't make up silly things on the road, and I'll just leave it at that.
Hannah: But it's fun! 
Emma: But sewers.
Last week when I found out Emma was moving to New York I bawled, and so did Hannah. I'm going to miss this special friendship. I've known Emma since she was a baby, and we couldn't have been any luckier for a first best friend if we tried. Hannah's had to say goodbye to her two closest friends in a span of about either months. It isn't fair for a little kid to go through that. But we are grateful for her friendship and we wish her the best of luck in New York!

Starting June 1st, the kids and I are doing a month long screen free/social media free detox. We'll be spending more time engaged with each other instead of zoned out in front of a screen. So when I disappear, know that I haven't unfriended anyone, I'm just gone for a bit.
When I was reading Better than Before: Mastering the Habit of our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin I learned a few things about myself. One thing is that I'm an Abstainer (as I've mentioned before on here.) That means that I'm an all or nothing type girl, so I'll be deactivating my account, rather than just staying off...cause lets be honest, I'd probably sneak a peek here and there.

As I was preparing my lesson for today I was overcome by this story by Presidential Monson:
"During the message I delivered at general conference in October 1975, I felt prompted to direct my remarks to a little girl with long, blonde hair, who was seated in the balcony of this building. I called the attention of the audience to her and felt a freedom of expression which testified to me that this small girl needed the message I had in mind concerning the faith of another young lady.
At the conclusion of the session, I returned to my office and found waiting for me a young child by the name of Misti White, together with her grandparents and an aunt. As I greeted them, I recognized Misti as the one in the balcony to whom I had directed my remarks. I learned that as her eighth birthday approached, she was in a quandary concerning whether or not to be baptized. She felt she would like to be baptized, and her grandparents, with whom she lived, wanted her to be baptized, but her less-active mother suggested she wait until she was 18 years of age to make the decision. Misti had told her grandparents, “If we go to conference in Salt Lake City, maybe Heavenly Father will let me know what I should do.”
Misti and her grandparents and her aunt had traveled from California to Salt Lake City for conference and were able to obtain seats in the Tabernacle for the Saturday afternoon session. This was where they were seated when my attention was drawn to Misti and my decision made to speak to her.
As we continued our visit after the session, Misti’s grandmother said to me, “I think Misti has something she would like to tell you.” This sweet young girl said, “Brother Monson, while you were speaking in conference, you answered my question. I want to be baptized!”
The family returned to California, and Misti was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through all the years since, Misti has remained true and faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Fourteen years ago, it was my privilege to perform her temple marriage to a fine young man, and together they are rearing five beautiful children, with another one on the way."
I love President Monson, and I don't know if I've ever seen a better example of emulating our Savior by leaving the ninety-nine and going to rescue the one.
Also, as I've prepared this lesson my testimony in a loving Father in Heaven has increased. I've watched as He has guided and comforted one person amid billions.

I'm finally starting to see real results about six weeks after I started moving more and eating less (and more healthfully)! I've lost a (a, one, uno,) pound, but I'm able to run more (I ran four miles today, running most of the way) and I feel better. Also, Adam says he's been noticing a difference and says my legs have more muscle definition, so it must be doing something!

annah did the opening prayer, Mommy did the song, Daddy did the closing prayer and now I want to give my testimony." Then she got very stoic (a rarity for Paige) and said, "Heavenly Father, I love you. I'm glad you are mine. Name of Jesus Christ, amen." It was so sweet. Our lessons are always very simple and VERY short but I love my sweet kids and I love watching their testimonies develop and grow as they learn more about the gospel.

Pretty much nothing stresses me out more on a daily basis than my children's sleeping habits.

A few things that happened tonight that I don't want to forget:
Hannah was standing in front of our bookcases where we have hundreds of books and said, "Mom, I need help finding a book!" I said, "What do you feel like reading?" and she replied, "EVERYTHING!"
Paige wrote a bunch of letters in a notebook and said she'd written a story. She 'read' "Once upon a time there was a princess who lived in a beautiful kingdom. She wanted to get a haircut so she found a witch and said, can I get a haircut? The witch was mean and TURNED HER INTO A GHOST! But the princesses mom was a SUPERHERO and saved the day and turned the princess back into a regular. The End."
Hannah decided on a book: The Stinky Cheese Man, and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. We are borrowing it from the library and she started reading the title but got stuck on the word Stupid. Adam and I were trying to help her sound it out. It took a second as she struggled..."Sto...stoo, Sta..." so we broke it down for her. Adam covered the first part and she sounded out "pid" then he covered the last part and she sounded out "stu" so then we told her to put it all together..."stupid." Then we acted scandalized and said, "Hannah! We don't say that in our home!" Poor Hannah burst into tears, feeling horrible that she'd said a bad word. She's very sensitive about things that are inappropriate, and asked us to take the book away. We assured her that she wasn't in trouble for reading it but she was still upset that we checked out such a scandalous book!

Megan Christensen and I are only about a week and a half from finishing the first draft of our novel. I'm so excited, and I'm glad we've been able to stay on track for our goal for the most part. In some ways it's been more difficult to write with a partner, mainly just with scheduling (especially since poor Meg has been working two jobs and is inundated with so many other projects) but it has been a lot more fun and entertaining than the first novel I wrote. Mainly because when you write with your sister there are a lot of fun inside jokes. Plus, Megan is so talented, it keeps my own writing fresh and more creative. Here's to the next two weeks, and then six months of revising and editing!
Not to mention, for the rest of our lives when people ask, "What do you and your sister do when you get together," we can say, "Oh, we write novels."

15 hrs · Edited · 
So... I'm half sitting up in bed while I'm reading on my kindle app and I hear a little girl getting out of bed so I shut off the light on my phone and stop moving, hoping she'll go downstairs and bother Adam Turney instead. It was dark everywhere upstairs except for a light from the stairs and Paige looks in my room and all she can see is my dark silhouette. She stares for a minute the asks, "who are you?" I didn't move, but I was propped up at an awkward angle so I must have looked strange, so she asked, "Are you, Meliss? Is that you, Meliss?"
I reluctantly said, "Yes," and she retreated back in her room to get her mounds of toys and blankets, and now she's in bed with me, laying across my body and wanting to chat.
Go.to.sleep!

1 hr · 
I'm trying to "reset" my kids as Paige is transitioning away from naps and Sam is transitioning to one. I'm trying to push Sam's nap back as far as I can...hopefully to noon, and I'm not going to give Paige a nap. If Paige has even an hour nap during the day her day goes from anywhere from 4-5am to 10-11pm. Sam has been sleeping from 7pm-5:30/6am but will take an hour and a half nap between 8-9 and then nothing for the rest of the day. He's miserable. Both of them are so desperate for naps but I can't go on like this. I'm going insane. Can you tell this is my biggest stress right now? Three statuses about my children's sleep in one week. Sheesh.