Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Week in the Life {3/18-3/24}

What a busy week home from Utah!

Monday we drove home from Utah and it was not as smooth as our drive there. In part, I think I can blame the fact that we were on the wrong side of vacation. Paige was a big grump (she probably missed her Grandma) and cried whenever she was awake. I listened to two CDs that my mom let me borrow. One was an encouraging message to mothers by John Bytheway (I had to laugh because my mom's been giving me John Bytheway talks since I was 11 and it felt very full circle) and the other was Raising your Children unto the Lord by Gene R. Cook which was fabulous. They both were.

We got home and had to grocery shop, clean a little, and of course hug daddy to death. It was good to be home.

Tuesday Hannah was excited to go to preschool, then we went to the park to enjoy the beautiful weather. I also had book club (we read These is My Words) at my house.

Wednesday was another day at the park, even though the weather was a tad gloomy. I took off a night at boot camp because I wanted at least ONE night home with Adam. I've been way too busy.

Thursday was preschool again and I met for lunch with my old professor Elyshia to discuss a couple of projects we are working on and to catch up. That night we had a great Relief Society birthday dinner. I also went to a maxi skirt party and bought a couple of skirts.

Friday Les Mis came out on Blu Ray so I had some friends over to watch. We went to the library together and got some new books. Hannah and Paige have now read over 100 books toward the 1,000 books before kindergarten program.  We are a little behind (by about 50 books) if we are going to read 100 before Hannah starts. I think we'll get caught up during Spring Break next week.

Saturday Adam took the girls to a park for a little while but it was very cold and they came home a lot sooner than they had planned. Adam and I went bowling while the Perry's watched the girls. Then we watched Landon while the Perry's went out to dinner so it was a fun swap. Landon is a doll and Paige kept kissing him. He tackled her several times all in good fun and she laughed and laughed. We all watched Wreck it Ralph together (Hannah was concerned every time he did something that wasn't safe...which was a lot).

Today I am teaching the Relief Society lesson on Dallin H Oaks talk "Protect the Children." It's an intense talk with lots of intense themes such as abuse, abortion, and divorce. I pray the spirit will be with me and that I can do justice to the words Elder Oaks gave last October. He offended a lot of people in that talk, and I'm afraid that I will too, especially where as he is an apostle and I'm not. I hope I can deliver it in the same spirit of love that Elder Oaks did. We watched the video "17 Miracles" today and it was fantastic. Of course it made me cry. It was about the Willie handcart company.

Adam got some great news but I can't yet talk about it. It's pretty exciting though. (Probably only for us, so don't get too curious, it's just really cool for him).

Anyway, it was a great week, very busy, and I'm glad it is now spring break and we can enjoy each other as a family.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Personal Progress

A long time ago when I was still young (hee hee) I participated in the Young Women program Personal Progress. I completed all the activities and "graduated" from the program. I even participated in it before they changed it (I think they've changed it a few times now) from the big giant book with lots of projects that had to do with sewing and cooking and creating things for our "future homes." Now it is a smaller book, with a lot more focus on the spiritual aspect, along with some projects.

I decided to once again, complete the Personal Progress program. I've been seeking the spirit in my life more and more now as a mom trying to raise kids in this difficult world. I'm grateful for this program and I'm hoping that I can increase my knowledge, testimony, and the spirit in our home. I've heard it said many times in the last six months that the home is now a missionary training center. I want to train my girls to be good missionaries. I want our home to be a place where we can foster testimonies and the spirit can be felt. I want to be better at doing those things. My greatest desire is that each of my children will stay faithful to the gospel of Christ and we believe the principles of the fullness of his gospel is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If they are not faithful, I want them at least to know that their parents have a testimony in the gospel, and that there are no questions about that.

So here I am, doing personal progress. I'll periodically record things in this blog, since it is my journal.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Week in the Life {3/11-3/17}

We spent this week in Utah visiting Grandma and Grandpa and boy, was it an awesome week!

First of all, I need to say there are few grandchildren that are as drenched in love as my children. My mom is the best grandma and mom of all time. Each day she loved and cared for my children, giving me a little rest from the day in and day out hectic pace of having two young children. Not only that, but she has a full plate herself with all of the demands in the singles ward, plus being a mom and a wife with a part time job. She is constantly on the go. My children adore her, trust her, love her. Paige even started calling her Mommy after less than 24 hours after our arrival.

Not only is my mom fantastic, my dad is as well. With all of HIS demands as a full time employee, Bishop, and father, he spent every free minute playing with my daughters. He even took off a day of work to spend at the zoo, and ditched out a few hours early to babysit them while we had a girls night out. The girls adore him and think that he is the best and funniest grandpa ever. Today during the sacrament, Paige wanted to get his attention and shouted "Gampa, Gampa!"

Megan and Sean also adore the girls, and Sean and Linds came down for the weekend just to see us. Megan told Hannah that she would miss her and Hannah said "That's okay, maybe your mom and dad can take them to the park." I'm so grateful for Lindsey and I'm happy to have a sister in law who married into the family who loves my children and takes such good care of them.

On Monday I set out on my own for Utah. I was a little nervous, but thanks to lots of prayers and perfect children (No joke, they didn't cry, complain, fuss, or whine once during the entire 7.5 hour drive and we only stopped once for food). We had a little family night, played a ton with Grandma, Grandpa, and Meggie, then went to bed.

Tuesday was Tree house Museum day! It was awesome! The girls loved it, and Hannah especially loved the Doctor section and the Princess Castle. Hannah says she wants to be a nurse now. Hannah even got to participate in a play as a black bird. It was the sweetest thing!

Wednesday we went to the park and played soccer with a little guy named Lucas. The weather was beautiful  and the girls were happy to play outside. My mom took me shopping and I got some skinny jeans and a couple of shirts. My dad watched the girls and Megan, my mom and I went to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Hale Center Theater. My uncle David was in it, and it was really fun to see him preform again.

Thursday was a little slower paced with was great for me. My mom had to shop at Walmart (she took Hannah with her) and Costco (we all went together) then we kind of hung around. Grandma and the girls dyed Easter Eggs and then we went to the park to roll them. It was so funny, because we got to the park and the girls just wanted to play, and then a boy named Jude asked if he could have one of our eggs and Hannah, Jude, another little girl, and Paige went to roll the eggs. Pretty soon, the whole park was coming to roll the eggs with us. It was so funny! We were pretty popular. Thursday night Mom and I went to a relief society activity with Kristen Olsen as a guest speaker. It was amazing and it made me inspired to develop and recognize my talents and gifts.

Friday I finally met Megan's boyfriend Caleb. I really really like him, what a great guy. We had pizza at the park with him and the Crouch family. They are some of my favorite people.

Saturday Megan and Caleb took Hannah and Paige to Kangaroo Zoo (Kangaroo Pump it Up). My car was having troubles and we had to jump start it. As it turns out, the battery is pretty old and so I had to get a new battery from Walmart. We headed to Salt Lake with Sean and Lindsey who came down to see us for the weekend and shopped at City Creek. We also went to Hires Big H. A family favorite. Hannah has been really funny about "potty language" because she knows that Grandma doesn't like it. When grandma wasn't around I was joking around and playing with her and one of my dolls was calling her doll Mr. Poopy pants. Hannah was laughing hysterically, then my mom walked into the room and Hannah got all red and ashamed. I leaned in to whisper it in her ear and she quickly shut me up by putting her hands over my mouth and imploring me to stop. I got a text from my mom later saying that Hannah ratted me out. It was pretty funny to tease her.

Sunday we all went to church together, then to Linger Longer. Mom put together and AMAZING spread for the young single adults (honey glazed ham, corned beef and cabbage, salad, Irish cheese, potatoes...etc). It was really great! We hung out a little with Sean and Lindsey before they had to leave, and now I am typing and the girls are getting ready for bed.

My sad news of the week was that I got a call on Monday saying that I was going to be an aunt. My dear sister in law Allie got a call from her doctors office informing her that she was pregnant, expecting November 15th. On Friday, she called again, saying that she got ANOTHER call from the doctor office saying that they were sorry but they'd read the results of her blood test wrong and she was NOT pregnant. Allie was devastated, but very kind to the nurse who made the mistake. She is a great example to me and I'm grateful for her. I know she will be a wonderful mom when she does have a baby.

Well, I'm sad to go but I'm excited to see my husband tomorrow. That man is sure a wonderful guy to let us go off. I got a text from Stacey saying that my husband was super sweet. She informed me he wrote a blog while I was away and it made me cry. I'm glad he loves his family, we sure love him too and we miss him.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

When My Family Leaves

Many men look forward to having time to themselves, without their spouse or children demanding their attention.  There are many days where I come home exhausted; exhausted from trying to teach a class of 27 students, listening to parents' sob stories, dealing with policy changes, planning for the week, dealing with a group of wild Cub Scouts, etc.  I am sapped of all energy and all I want to do is sit, relax, and not have to think about anything. I want to give up all my responsibilities for a couple hours and allow my brain and spirit time to recuperate from another long day.  But as a loving parent and husband, I know I must give a little bit more.

So it is always odd to me that I don't relish the time I have to myself when Melissa heads to Utah with the girls.  Sure, it is fun for the first night, I can play video games and watch movies as loud as I want, I don't have to clean up anything, nobody is demanding my time, and I can eat all the mac & cheese with hot dogs I want...but then the 2nd and 3rd nights reveal an important truth.  I need my family.

I need my family.  I have discovered during these short breaks that my family is everything to me.  Without them I feel insignificant.  No longer are there two little faces that light up as I walk through the back door.  No longer is there a spouse that loves and adores me, that wraps her arms around my neck and kisses me upon my return (although most of the time she is just relieved that she can pass the torch to me).  No longer is there any purpose to my evening, nothing to look forward to...and saddest of all...THERE IS NOTHING TO EAT!

One of gospel teachings that frequently comes to mind when I am home alone is the idea that we should "multiply and replenish the Earth so that we can have joy and rejoicing in your posterity."  It is during these moments of loneliness that the Spirit confirms to me the truthfulness of an eternal family.  Melissa, Hannah, and Paige are my purpose.  Ensuring that they are safe, that their needs are met, that they understand the importance of the gospel and following the commandments...these are what I feed off of.  And when they are absent from my home I feel lost because they are no longer around for me to share my unconditional love with them.

Don't get me wrong, I love time to myself.  But I know that my family is the greatest thing I have in my life.  They motivate me to get up and work hard every day because I want them to have the necessities of life.  They make me want to be a better husband and father.  They constantly help me reflect and ponder upon what is most important each day.  I am excited for this week long trip to end because I will no longer feel lost.  I anxiously await the return of purpose into my life.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Week in the Life {3/4-3/10}

Rather than talk about our day to day, I thought I'd write down some goals I've been working on.

Remember last month when I wouldn't stop talking about The Happiness Project? Well, I'm still talking about it, contemplating it, etc. One of the things Rubin said that really resonated with me was that if you do a small amount of something each day, big things happen. I guess it's a worldly way of saying by small and simple things great things come to pass. In short one of my goals is to DO A LITTLE BIT EACH DAY, stop worrying about biting off the big chunks and take small steps.

Another one of my goals that I've been working on since the beginning of the year was to FOCUS ON MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HEAVENLY FATHER. My prayers are becoming more personal, my scripture reading is not great but I do it daily, even if I'm not quite sure what to focus on, but mostly I've been listening to talks and devotionals on the Mormon Channel app. It's very uplifting.

Next up, SPEND 15 UNINTERRUPTED MOMENTS WITH EACH CHILD. Usually this happens at bed. This is where I let them take over and chose exactly how they want to spend their time with me, unscheduled, no expectations on my part. I know it may seem trivial but it's hard to get one on one time with them, especially with our busy schedules and how we are usually all together. Paige usually spends her fifteen minutes cuddling against my chest with her blankie wrapped around both of us while I sing (after each song ends she asks "again") while Hannah usually spends her 15 minuets as she spends every other waking moment of the day. Talking.

Finally, I want to spend more time EXPRESSING JOY AND APPRECIATION. This is not necessarily expressing GRATITUDE which I also hope to accomplish, but I find so often I admire someones ability to express themselves, or wear a cute outfit, or maybe they say something that I really take to heart. Rather than internalize it I want to go to those people who inspire and astound me and let them know that I notice. I've been noticing a lot of negativity around me and I think it's just the way of the world. Especially on Facebook. I see posts that begin with "Not to sound ungrateful but..." Then they go on to sound ungrateful. I will try to be a better example to my daughters in this respect.

Just a note, I had a thought today in church that I've been pondering all day long. We had a lesson on our divine nature and our divine potential. I thought about how one of Satan's biggest lies he tells is the one where he tries to convince us otherwise, that we are unworthy of our divine inheritance. I think this occurs especially in mothers because I see it a lot in my friends and especially in myself. I realized today that if MY DAUGHTERS had the same thoughts about themselves that I often have, I would be heartbroken and devastated. Partly because I love them desperately, but also, because I know they have such a potential for greatness (and not necessarily worldly greatness although I'm sure Hannah and Paige have the capabilities for any ambition they set their hearts on). I love my daughters and I know Heavenly Father loves me and I know I need to be kinder to myself.

That's it. Just trying a little harder to be a little better as President Hinckley always encouraged us to do. Side note: I am driving to Utah with the girls tomorrow for a week long trip. It will be good to be back in Zion ;)  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February Pictures (Overload!)

 I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and was inspired to get organized! 

 Date Night at Home

 Shark Reef
 Hannah sleeping with Grandma and Grandpa from the Doll House

 Preschool Art

 If you'll recall, I started a grease fire. Hannah drew a picture of it. 

 Uncle Jeff with the girls

 Birthday Party at Pump It Up

 Valentines Day Gift

 Valentines Day Party

 Rain forest Cafe

 Some more from the Color Run
 Familiar Scene

 Self Portrait 


 New ritual 

 Sword Fight!

 Daily Rituals 
 Hannah's Faves
 Stickers from Sean and Lindsey 

Paigey's Faves