Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.
See this sweet girl? Don't let the Tinkerbell jammies and backpack and sweet smile fool you. Wait, maybe this picture is a little more appropriate: I had no idea that a 3 year old would have the capacity to lie! At least not in a very blatant manner. For months now, she would do something and without hesitation, even if we KNEW it was Meghan, she would say "Elwie did that!" and try to blame her sister, Ellie.
As if that wasn't bad enough, I was visiting a friend the other day who has a 13 month old girl. Meghan pulled out a large basket of the little plastic balls, like would go in a ball pit, to play with. I told her very clearly, "Meghan, do not dump those balls everywhere! You may choose one or two balls to play with and that is it." Sure enough, right in front of me, a few minutes later, she deliberately dumped the entire basket of balls which then scatter all over the living room. I said, "Meghan! Why did you do that?!" Without hesitation, she pointed to the 13-month-old right next to her and said "The baby did that!!!"
Oh, we are in trouble! I really don't think my boys knew how to lie at this age! What is she going to be like when she is 16?! Better start praying now....
There are many wonderful things about childhood that children just don't see as valuable until they grow up and that phase has long since passed.
One such example is nap time. How many of us fought naps as children, but would give anything now for a daily nap?
How many of us fought dinner time, but now would give anything to have someone else lovingly cook meals for us again?
Then there are also "time-outs." Children don't like them- it signifies they are in trouble and must discontinue their activity for an allotted time. As adults, time-outs don't sound so bad! Sometimes when we are frustrated and things aren't going well, a "time out" is what we need to cool off and recharge.
Well, I had that opportunity this weekend at "Time Out for Women," a Womens' conference meant to inspire and uplift women, put on by a book publisher (Deseret Books) that publishes books for our religion. They tour across the country each year and this one was in Indianapolis, Indiana this past weekend.
Emily, Me, Mom, Amy
It was just what I needed. Life has been good, but particular stresses have had me worn down and tired and I really just needed a break. The theme of this TOFW was "Infinite Hope." It references to 13th Article of Faith (a list of statements of what our religion believes" that states:
"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say we fallow the admonition of Paul- We believe all things, we hope all things, and have endured many things and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
The conference was Friday night and Saturday during the day and was full of messages and music of hope and faith in Christ. It was also just a fun girls time with my sister-Emily, my mom, and my friend Amy-talking, eating and just enjoying time together. Enjoy some pictures!
This is my mom with one of the presenters, Mariama Kallon. She was born in a war torn section of Africa and as a young woman, saw her entire family murdered right in front of her. She was in line to die but only lived because the UN soldiers arrived just in time to scare off the rebels. She fled for her life with nothing. Often in our church, we assemble "hygiene kits" full of toothbrushes, washcloths and other misc. items as a service project for areas in need- be it people at war or natural disasters. She received one of these kits. Later, when she came to America, she had only one change of clothing and her kit. It was neat to hear her story because I have helped assemble these kits before and always wondered where they actually ended up. It was a very inspiring and eye opening message.
As a service project for this event, we all donated items and packaged them into kits to donate to the local womens shelter right there in Indianapolis. (they are doing this in each city on the tour for a womens shelter in that respective city!) We were able to put together 300 kits!
Amy and I at lunch time on Saturday
As Mariama was speaking, we had our lunch down at our feet for us to eat when she finished. Sandwiches, chips, candy and soda. While she was speaking, she mentioned that she would go to church in Africa and the children would have nothing to eat all day so she would walk a long distance to get dirty water from the river and carry it back just so the children could at least have a drink of water- the only thing they would be able to put in their bellies all day. And, here are we with all of our food right there whenever we want it. Just a harsh perspective on reality.
On Friday night, the musician was Michael McLean. He sung a song titled "One in the 90 and 9" that I had heard only once before and did not realize he was the one who wrote it until Friday, making it the second time I had ever heard it. Both times was a time I really needed it. Here is an older video of him singing it I found on YouTube. It is nearly 5 minutes long because he spends the first 1 1/2 minutes explaining how the song came to be. (if you want to skip the first 1 1/2 minutes, it is in regards to the parable of Jesus leaving the 99 sheep to find the one lost lamb. This song is about the 99 followers). It is a very cool song and worth listening to if you have a few minutes!
In the hotel room, Friday night, we really enjoyed our girls night time. Amy brought a mud mask she had just brought and we enjoyed giving ourselves mini facials. It was fun and we really noticed a difference in our faces when we washed it off! I had never done a mud mask, so it was a fun new experience!
Warning! Scary Pictures Ahead!! Warning! (look at your own risk...)
Right across from the convention center, as we came and went was this beautiful (understatement there) Catholic church. You could tell it was old and that the city grew up around it. It was actually the first Catholic church in the area-established in 1837. On Saturday, as the conference ended, we walked out and noticed the doors open. I have honestly never been in a Catholic church and certainly not one of this scale and we couldn't resist a quick peak inside. It....was....breathtaking and just HUGE! I found this link (click here) that has a couple pictures if you care to take a glimpse. Very worth it!
I am very grateful I was able to have this much needed break and spend time with 3 of my favorite women! I seriously recommend this to anyone needed a "Time Out!"
Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, my beloved dishwasher finally gave up the fight. It had been losing the battle for sometime, but was hanging in there until then. I was so very very sad. Well, I am here to report that we have replaced that dishwasher with not one, but TWO dishwashers!!! Aren't I lucky? Well, almost. We have had a few problems with them:
- they make a mess of water all over the floor and counters - food is frequently still found on the dishes - they don't always get rinsed and dried properly - some dishes get missed occasionally - and the worst part, they frequently fight with each other or complain about having to do their job.
But, we just couldn't beat the price (FREE!)
Wanna see a picture? Of course, I am still hopeful that the tides will turn financially that I can get a new one soon, but for now, this will have to do. Maybe by the time I get the new one, they will be well trained and be able to do an excellent job loading the new one also!
7 years ago today, a sweet baby boy was born! My beautiful boy, Jacob Ryan, was born 4:52 am, April 6th 2003. He was due April 4th, but had no interest of coming then. On April 5th I was a little crampy and generally uncomfortable, but no real contractions. Late at night, I was reading in bed. About 11 pm, I leaned over to turn off the light and felt a pinch and then a small gush of fluid. My water had broken. Within 20 minutes, I was having contractions every 2-4 minutes. We tried to call my dad, who agreed to come watch Kenny when the time came, but he wasn't answering his phone. Turns out, he had gone to sleep and forgot to make sure the phone was plugged in. I called my sister, who lives down the road from him and she woke him up and got him on the way here. We left here about midnight to head to the hospital. It was a Saturday night- the night of the "spring ahead," so I was in labor during the time change. He was born at 4:52 Sunday morning, which would have been 3:52. He was born healthy and strong at 9 lbs 5 oz.
We had a great time celebrating his birthday! We celebrated with "the family" on Saturday the 3rd. We were fortunate to have nice (though very windy....) weather and so we had it at a local park, where we were very fortunate to find an open shelter house with the back facing the wind. Jacob discovered a new way to blow out candles.....And, of course- got some very cool presents including a Battleship game, lego sets, star wars toys, and money! This was a cool moment captured between Jacob and his Grandpa Chuck. Jacob is so lucky to have 2 Grandpas actively involved in his life.
Today, on his birthday, we had a great day! There is a local "bounce house" that Jacob has been begging to go to. We were supposed to go a couple months ago with the twins club, but it was canceled due to weather and he was very disappointed and has been begging to go ever since. So, we went today. They all had a blast! After wards, we went to lunch at McDonald's! There was an incident where there was a boy age 5 or 6 in the parking lot alone that walked up to a woman and asked her to help him find his mom. The woman brought him in and they called the police who came. They did not know where this poor boy was from or who his mom was. I hope that sweet little boy found his way home or at least in the care of someone who will care for him.
After that, we went home where I made his favorite dinner of spaghetti. And, of course, more cupcakes and presents!!! I think the funny thing about these pictures is Kenny holding up the next one each time trying to guess what it is! I feel so lucky to have such a cool kid! He makes me smile everyday and adds so much to our family! We love you Jacob and hope you had a great birthday!!!!!!!
Easter was wonderful this year! Full of family, fun and traditions along with warm spring weather. Enjoy the story with pictures!
Here are the kids wearing their Easter outfits- actually taken a week before Easter. I know I am biased, but they are just absolutely beautiful!!!
Yesterday, I took them to our local recreation center for an Easter "egg" hunt. It was interesting to say the least. I think it could have been run much better. I said "egg" because I am not sure why they called it an Easter egg hunt because there were no eggs! It was literally just candy thrown across the ground! They had a few balls thrown across the ground that were supposed to be eggs. Some (but not all) of the balls had a mark on them. If you got one with a mark, you got a prize. Either way, they wanted the balls back. Ellie got a non-prize ball and so I was just going to sneak out and let her keep it (YOU try taking a ball from a 3-year-old....), but when we got to the car, I noticed her ball was gone! Weird... Did she lose it or was it taken?
A few other reasons the hunt was odd. It was divided into age groups, which is fine, but the boys were clear on the other side of the field and everyone started at once so I couldn't watch them because I had to stay with the girls. The siren to start was a fire truck horn that did not do a quick blast, but a long loud siren. Several of the little kids were crying because it scared them. But, the other weird part is, that parents (even for the little kids) were NOT allowed on the grass to help. So, you had kids scared from the siren who didn't want to go out there and parents that weren't allowed to take them out there and help them. I don't think we will go back to that one next year.
But, the kids had fun so I guess that is what matters. The funny part was Meghan- she was all business and focused and didn't even look up till every bit of candy was picked up. She got more than anyone else!! Her basket was FULL (and we have waaaaaay too much candy here now....) As you can see, Meghan was totally focused and Ellie liked to take breaks to look around and take in the scenery.
Here is everyone with their "haul": Check out Meghan's load- she could hardly carry it, but wouldn't let me carry it to help her out.
And of course, we did our yearly tradition of coloring Easter eggs on Easter Eve. They had a blast making a mess!
Easter morning, the kids woke up and eagerly went searching for their baskets! The Easter Bunny had some good hiding places this year! She hid Ellie's on the little shelf under our dining room table and Meghan's on the floor under our living room table! Kenny found his in the cabinet under the bathroom sink and Jacob found his in the bathtub! Silly Easter bunny.....
It just so happened that our worldwide conference for our church fell on Easter so we got to listen to special Easter messages from our church leaders via satellite. The messages were very uplifting and the music amazing and powerful. A great reminder of what this day is about. That our Savior lives!!! And because He was resurrected and lives, so will we be. Today I am feeling grateful and blessed.
So, Spring has Sprung and I am LOVING every second of it. I have been waiting for this since October and here it is!!! It is so nice to walk outside with short sleeves and no jacket- to feel the sun on my face and the light breeze and the buds on the trees. My lilies are several inches out of the ground and I have felt a long awaited lift in my spirits.
The odd thing that I wasn't expecting is that, though my spirits are lifted, I have yet to "snap out of" my funk I have been in and I just am not sure why. I feel bad even saying this because nothing is really "wrong" and I have friends facing real trials. This is just one of those "funks for no reason" that will hopefully leave soon.
Here is one example of how this funk is aggravating me. On one hand, I have been looking forward to spring cleaning for once. My house has been neglected for a long time and I long to get it straightened up and scoured out. The desire is there and strong, yet I feel I am not accomplishing much. I feel like I am busy- yet nothing gets accomplished really. I made a list of spring cleaning chores I want to get done- preferably by the end of April- and it takes up an entire sheet of notebook paper. When I do get a little time, I either feel like it is not enough time to really accomplish something, or I find myself incredibly tired and without the energy.
Aaron tells me my problem is I am not "home" enough- that I go out and about to do other things too much during the day. He may be at least partially right- me and the girls do get out and do a lot- but then, we always have and I feel like I have stayed on top of things better than I have lately. Besides, how boring would it be really to stay home ALL DAY EVERY DAY?! But, even so, I am still home a fair amount of hours and should be able to get things done, but I feel it is all I can do to keep up on daily chores that HAVE to get done: laundry, shopping, bill paying, cleaning floors, picking up toys, etc- and when those are done, there just isn't much left- energy or time-for the other chores I feel need done as well.
So, why am I having such a hard time getting it done? Where is my time and energy I once had? The motivation is there, but the drive is not. I really like the "Bare Naked Ladies" song "Pinch Me" and have had it go through my head several times. Here is a selection of the lyrics:
It's the perfect time of year Somewhere far away from here I feel fine enough, I guess Considering everything's a mess There's a restaurant down the street Where hungry people like to eat I could walk but I'll just drive It's colder than it looks outside
It's like a dream you try to remember But it's gone Then you try to scream But it only comes out as a yawn When you try to see the world Beyond your front door
It is kind of how I feel- I have ideas and thoughts and things I want to do, but it doesn't quite happen. I feel like I am "screaming" inside with what I want to do, yet a "yawn" is all that comes out. So, why am I having a hard time? Are my expectations too high? Then why is it people with several kids like me manage a perfectly clean house it seems? Or are my priorities out of whack and I need to refocus them? Is it my recent weight gain that has zapped my energy? I need to exercise but am having some pretty bad foot pain (a whole other story....) but I need to at least eat better. Is it just that I am a bit overwhelmed by my list and need to just take it a step at a time? Or am I just naturally a bit busy and things will level out with time? I am busy but I feel with a little more energy, I could move a little faster and get more done.
Obviously, even my blogging is suffering. I love blogging, but haven't been on here in two weeks! I have some family activities I could post about, but just feel so "blah" about posting them- while they were fun for us, I fear boredom for all who read them. I will still post those, because I want to print this blog for my family to read the memories. So, kind of the same thing. I love blogging and want to do it and my insides "scream" to do it, yet it is a "yawn" that comes out.
Anyway, thanks for listening to my little rant here. I suppose I should end this and try to accomplish something....
I love being a mom to my two boys and twin girls. No matter how crazy it gets, I wouldn't change a thing! I believe that chocolate and peanut butter are two of the worlds most perfect foods! (especially when combined!) I truly believe we could end the war in Iraq simply by having the world leaders sit around the table together with some Reese's cups. You just can't help but feel peace with this kind of perfection there!