Friday, January 29, 2010

You should be Dancing, Yeah!

This year, and for the next few years I assume, our stake will host the Special Needs Mutual for our area of Northern Utah County. Ken has been given the assignment as a High Councilor to work with them. Mostly he just facilitates the needs of the leadership, helping them get things approved and money reimbursed, you know all that kind of fun stuff. Ken attends the activities almost ever Thursday and he really enjoys it. Anyone considered to have a special need of any type is invited to attend from age 12 and up (there are plenty of people over 18 who participate) and all of the programs offered in any local mutual/youth group are offered at special needs mutual as well. There are plenty of adult leaders/counselors, but what amazes me is that there is close to a 1 to 1 ratio of youth counselors as well, in fact last night Ken told me he thinks that there are currently 115 people who attend who have special needs and there are about 110 youth counselors. These kids received this opportunity as a 1 year calling and most of them ask to retain that calling for several years because they enjoy it so much.

Well, now that you have the background of Special needs Mutual, here's the big story. Last night we went to the Prom!
Little J got to stay up past his bed time because he found him self a date, isn't she beautiful, I am not quite sure what her name is but she is the reigning Miss Lehi.
This is video of J rocking out with the band. He loves to dance and I have been trying to get a good video of it for a while. He doesn't really show his dance moves till the end of the video, but you have to admit, this kid has rhythm! We hope you enjoy the show.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You've got to Pray!

I still consider myself a new parent. I pretty much know the things I want to teach J about but I don't know when to start teaching him things. He just seems to learn things and I notice and start to add to them. For example one day I asked him, "What does a Cow say?" and he said "Mooooooo" I then asked what other animals say and he always answers Moo, so we have been working on animal sounds. Each day at breakfast I try to make sure we have our prayer. For months I prayed while J ate. Then one day I noticed that when I said it was prayer time he stopped eating and folded his little hands together. Who taught him this? Ken and I both fold our arms, but hands work too, did they have a nursery lesson about this? It didn't really matter where he learned it, we encouraged it. If it was prayer time and J wasn't folding his hands we folded our hands to remind him. It has been lots of fun at dinner as J has learned a little more about prayer. Sometimes he even prays, he does this by babbling and saying something that sounds kind of like Amen at the end. I think it is particularly hilarious when someone is already voicing the prayer and J starts his prayer in the middle and finishes quickly, and laughs at us while we are still praying, like we were just silly and taking too long.
I have said J's night time prayers on a hit and miss basis, mostly when he is sick or has been having a hard time sleeping. At those times I will pray with him before bed mostly to try to reassure him and myself that everything will be fine and that Jesus and Heavenly Father are watching out for him. We had a day like that this Tuesday, J decided to eat and drink everything he could get his hands on, from Toothpaste, to Triple Antibiotic Ointment, to the heavily Menthol scented "Inhalant" oil that goes with his steam humidifier. He didn't eat enough Toothpaste to poison him. His doctors have told me to use the antibiotic Ointment on his face in place of his Eczema steroid because it is safe if he gets it in his eyes or if he eats it. And the Menthol "Inhalant" says right on it "if swallowed accidentally, may act as a mild cathartic". But I still wondered why J was trying to give me a heart attack and so before bed time I said that we should have family prayers.

We were all sitting on the couch together watching TV, Ken paused the show and we all got ready to pray. After we were done we decided that it wasn't quite bedtime and we let J stay up with us a little longer. About 5 minutes later I noticed that J's little hands were folded and ready for another little prayer, so we prayed again and 5 minutes after that he wanted to say another prayer. This kid likes to pray, he had the biggest smile on his face each time, it was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. We all slept pretty good that night, how could we not sleep well, we had prayed at least 5 or 6 times that we would all get a good nights sleep.

Last night it was getting close to J's bed time and asked if we should say nighttime prayers again, J quickly folded his hands. We enjoyed 3 prayers last night too.

I just love the fact that he wants to pray, that he catches our attention and folds his little hands. I may not know the exact times I need to teach him things, but I am pretty sure as long as I am trying to set a good example, and talking with him and sharing things with him, he will let me know when he is ready to have me teach him more.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Lilac Solution

It is snowing outside. It is hard to remember when my world didn't look like this. White. Blah. Cold.
I don't even bother going outside most days. Going outside takes energy and energy is one thing that I am lacking in lately. This little guy is a good energy zapper and apparently so is his sibling- who, by the way, I have taken calling "Butterball".
So Butterball is doing it's best to drain my dwindling energy supply, while J is doing his best to discover EVERYTHING. These are the questions I believe he asks him self 1000 times a day. "What is that? What does it taste like? What happens if I rub it all over my face...the wall... the floor? What will happen if I put it on my head or down my shirt or in my pants? (I have been finding some pretty odd things in the front of his diapers, it like he thinks the front of his diaper is a giant pocket, but back to the questions) Where can I hide this so that I can find it and maybe eat it later when mom isn't looking? What will happen if I jump up and down on top of this? How far can I throw this?" Really the discovery questions are endless.

This discovery process is messy and discovery is a nonstop process that happens EVERYWHERE, which means that EVERYWHERE can get pretty messy, which means Mom needs energy to clean it up. But wait, it gets worse. As I mentioned before, it is snowing, it is cold it is the very middle of Winter and for some odd reason Winter is the hardest time for me to get the gumption up to attempt to clean.

So really, my world is like the perfect storm of Messiness. I'm Pregnant with a rambunctious toddler in the middle of Winter. I could give in to it all and put a sign on the door that says "Sorry, Out of Order, please try to visit again when the flowers are blooming" but I won't! Why Not? Because last year I discovered a way to trick myself into feeling spring-like enough to get the house work done on a regular basis, and yesterday as I was about to create my "Out of Order" sign, I remembered my trick!

If I fill my home with the smell of spring, and I don't look outside, my energy level will perk up just enough to get my chores done! The scent that seems to work the best is "Lilacs and Violets". I love Spring! It might be because it comes the day after my birthday or maybe it is because of all the flowers and the newness, the new leaves on the trees, the new baby animals, it is just a wonderful time of year! I Love It. I also love the fact that God seems to have hardwired my sense of smell into those feelings of Joy that Spring brings me. Yeah for Spring!

Oh, and just so you know, my home is not perfect, never has been, but I am proud to say that the dishes seem to be getting done every day, the counters are being wiped down regularly, the toys are put away at least once per day and the floors are being swept or vacuumed once or twice a week, which I think is pretty darn good for winter! It would be perfect if those friendly little forest creatures would come help me out once and a while....I guess I am just not singing the right song.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dit-Da- a Boy and his Blankey

This is a picture of a happy boy. He is happy for many reasons. But mostly because he has his sidekick, his blanket, which I just found out last night is named Dit-Da. I think. It is kind of hard to understand, but it definitely is a two syllable name that starts with a D and ends with an A.
Last night we got home right around bed time and I asked J if he wanted some more milk before bed or if he just wanted to go Night-Night. He went to his bedroom door and said "Nigh-Nigh" and so I opened the door and he ran over to his crib and started looking in, then he started to say "Dit-Da....Dit-Da....Dit-Da" I noticed his blanket wasn't in his crib, but his secondary blanket was there and so I put him in bed and handed him the orange blanket with the blue trim. This apparently was not what he wanted because he started to cry.

I ran out of the room and down the stairs, grabbed his San Fransisco Giants blanket from the couch and then booked it back up stairs to J's room. He was standing in the corner of his crib reaching out with both arms, still saying "Dit-Da". He grabbed the blanket from me, said "Tanku", laid down and quietly fell asleep. He has slept without his blanket before, but I guess now that he has named it he can't bear to be apart from it. Ken and I both have our blankets, though we don't sleep with them anymore- I think they are in the cedar chest, for their protection.

I tried to get Blankets name on camera, this is the best I could do. I don't know why but I think this is a pretty special thing, it is the first time he has named something all on his own, I love it!
And yes, at the end he attacked the camera, apparently he really doesn't like the Momarazzi digging into his personal business and relationships.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I thought I knew what I was doing....

Here I am, the mother of a 22 month old boy. He is the human equivalent of a Tornado. I don't know where he gets his energy. He eats and drinks but lately his milk consumption has gone down and he really only eats a few Tablespoons of food at a time. I guess when you are a little less than 3 feet tall you don't need a lot of calories. His daily caloric burn though must be off the charts. He follows me everywhere, up the stairs, down the stairs, through the house, wherever I go he goes. If I sit down he will play, but often playing involves jumping or climbing which I assume burns calories. I guess I should get to my point, my reason for this post, You would think this kid would be tired. You would think.

I worked hard to learn how to help him get sufficient sleep and since he was 3 or 4 months old he has been a wonderful sleeper, at night and for naps. He has had just 1 long nap per day for 8-10 months now, it started at 11, then I moved it to noon and eventually it was anywhere between noon and 1. But the past few days have not been good napping days, and that got me wondering, is he giving up napping or should I just move it back to 2 pm. Yesterday he refused to nap at all and today he jumped up and down in his crib for way over an hour before he finally fell asleep. He didn't cry, in fact he was having tons of fun from the giggles I was hearing. I, on the other hand, needed a nap and spent a good amount of time telling God all about how J needed to sleep so that I could. God got the message through to J. I need to remember to say thanks.

So I have never had an almost 2 year old before. I went on line to see what other people have said about their 2 year old and what time they go down for their naps and most of them said between noon and 1, so is J just different? Should I try 2 pm or keep pushing 1 pm on him. Part of the problem is I get tired, I need a break starting sometime between noon and 1, it really is a vicious cycle.

Any advice or experience shared would be appreciated.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Toga, Toga

One day last week J didn't want to get dressed. At least that is what I decided he was trying to tell me when he was wiggling and standing and doing everything possible to keep me from putting clothes on him. So I gave in. He had a diaper on after all and there isn't a rule about children having to wear clothing is there. I did feel kind of bad when I caught him in at the front window trying to get the attention of children heading to the school bus and so I made him a Toga out of his blanket. I was quite pleased with the way it turned out. It is large enough that it wrapped around his little body 1.5 times and then one corner swept up over his shoulder and was securely tucked into the back. As you can see, the little King J was pleased with his Toga, and with his string cheese.
20 or 30 minutes past and he tripped on his toga a few times, the tragedy of falling coupled with the fact that I didn't want him to "help" by "unloading" the dirty dishwasher made the little King sad (still a really cute picture though, don't you think?).
This is what my life has been like the past few weeks. I am tired and quite often nauseated and yet hungry at the same time. I don't really have the ability to spend lots of time dealing with toddler attitude and so most of the time I don't even try. I spend a lot of time on the couch and poor little J has to deal with me. He deals quite well. As the oldest, and only air breathing child, he plays well on his own and when he finds something particularly fun to do- mostly that means he has discovered something that is fun to hit things with- he will bring it to me and show me how fun it is to hit me in the head with this toy, or that stack of Lego's or Mega Blocks. Then he laughs, its great fun.

But something else has been happening lately too. J really seems to know when I need him, when I need a little bit of toddler love. He will bring over some books and hand them to me, then he will climb up onto the couch and snuggle in next to me and we take turns reading. Now, J is only 22 months old, so no he doesn't actually read, but he pretends to. It is so cute, he opens a book and babbles a little then turns the page and continues his babbling story. I wish I knew what he was really saying. Some of the books are favorites and we have read them 100's of times and I think it is safe to assume that he might remember the basics of the stories, but others are brand new to him. I love these story times, I hope they continue. There have also been a few times over the past few weeks when he will stop playing and come over and climb up next to me and just sit with me, if you take into account that this child has been called a "Tornado" by more than one person, sitting still and cuddling with Mommy is close to miraculous. I really believe in God and the Holy Spirit, and I think that they talk to my boy and tell him, "Hey, Your Mama needs you" and he listens.

Another thing that J finds fun to do lately is play with and take pictures with my camera. He can do things with the camera that Ken and I have yet to duplicate, like viewing pictures while the camera is "technically" turned off. But anyway, here are two of J's most recent masterpieces.

I call this one "View from the Top". I don't know if he was sticking his belly out on purpose or if the camera is just really close to his shirt and distorting the image, but I am glad to have proof that I am not the only member of the family who can not see their knees when the look down. Shirt, Belly, Feet, that is what this picture documents. "Aren't those little toes cute?
I call this next one "Self Portrait" because it reminds me of the good old days. As a Missionary, at times I would leave my camera- the film kind- in my backpack or bag thinking it was perfectly safe, only to find a week or two later that I had plenty of pictures of other Missionaries- the younger, 19 or 20 year old male variety. Luckily for me those same Missionaries also left their cameras unattended and they have a few pictures of my smiling face.
I have a good 18 + years to teach J how to take the perfect self portrait, but his first one is pretty good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

200th Post- I Feel Lucky!

A few weeks ago I noticed that I was nearing 200 posts on this blog. It all started in the late spring of 2008, my very first post was all about Baby J rolling over for the first time. And today's post will also be about another First, the first time I saw our new babies heart beat.

That is right. Our New Baby. Here is a Picture.
The Ultrasound Tech swore to me that it is a picture of a baby and I believed him because I could see and hear that little heart beating. He didn't however swear that it was a human baby and it does just kind of look like a blob, so we may have to wait to verify species.

This is the second ultrasound I have had. After I had a positive pregnancy test I called up my Doctors office and asked them if I could get a blood test just to make sure that everything was alright. They told me that they could do better than that, they could schedule me for my first OB appointment. "You must not have understood" I said, "I just barely had the positive test, I am not that far along" I was reassured that they knew what they were doing and that the Doctor would love to have me come in and see her. So the next week I found myself in the doctors office, 5 weeks pregnant, or so I thought. After the exam my Doctor told me that she would like me to have an early ultrasound. I was measuring at 8-10 weeks instead of 5 weeks along and early ultrasounds are apparently great for verifying fetal age. So a week later I went in, happily hoping to see a heart beat, and maybe even little arm and leg buds. I was startled when the Ultrasound Tech told me that my baby was measuring less than 5 weeks, but that it was a very good example of what a 5 week old embryo should look like. After consulting with my doctor I was scheduled for another ultrasound 2 weeks later. Well that 2 weeks has come and gone, and today I got to see what I wanted and needed to see, that teeny tiny little heart beat.

Best Christmas/New Years Present ever! I realize that we are only 7 weeks pregnant, and that technically I should be keeping all this to myself. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to Celebrate! I Feel Lucky! I am grateful, I am happy, I am tired and I feel a little nauseated all the time. But this is what I wanted, and it is apparently what our new baby wanted too.

We are due on August 25th 2010! So what do you think, was that a good 200th Post?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Sister Apart

I need help. I have a conundrum, or at least it feels like a conundrum to me.

I work with the Children at Church. To be specific I am the Primary Chorister, which means that I lead the children in singing and I teach them new songs to prepare them for their "Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation", aka, the Primary Program, each year. And it really does take all year to learn all the songs. I love it. I absolutely would cry and possibly go into a deep depression if I were to be told that I couldn't do it anymore. There are lots of reasons, but mostly I love the music and I love the children, yes it can be frustrating at times but the majority of the time it is AMAZING. If you ever want to feel how much God and Jesus Christ love us, sit for a while in a room full of children who are singing about their love of God, their love of our Savior and their knowledge that God and Christ truly love them. It is amazing. So I love it. I really really do.

But recently I have felt a little alone. I don't feel like I really know the people at church anymore. I have been away from the Women for so long that I don't know what is going on. I don't feel like I am missing out spiritually, after all I get to hear 2-4 talks and 2 Gospel Centered lessons each Sunday, I feel the Spirit of the Lord and I know that the things being taught to the children that I spend my Sundays with are true. What I miss is hearing the good news that the Adult Sisters in the congregation want to share with each other, and I miss hearing about their personal experiences, their struggles and their triumphs. I feel like a Sister Apart, I feel kind of like I am on a mission or an extended trip away from home and no one is writing to me about what is going on in their lives. It is sad.

I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, I got an Assistant Chorister! The plan was that she and I would switch off and every other month we would each have the chance to attend Relief Society (Women's Meetings) at Church. I looked forward to hearing and sharing Good News. I looked forward to Sitting next to Christy, because I miss sitting next to her. I looked forward to getting to know the 50 or 100 new Sisters that have joined our congregation over the past 16 months.

Today was the first day that my Assistant- aka, partner in crime- came to Primary. After the Meetings were over one of our sweet smiling leaders came over to talk to us. She told us that she wanted to let us know what the expectation for our partnership would be. One of us would handle Singing Time each month and the other would take care of all the other songs, Opening, Welcoming New Children, Birthday Songs, etc, and each month we would switch. This was a very interesting idea but not the one I had in mind so I told them my idea, that Yes, we could switch off months but with one of us handling all of the Chorister duties while the other was allowed to attend the Adult Sunday School and Relief Society Classes. The Smile on my face must have been huge! The answer was a quick no. Primary workers need to stay in Primary. My smile faded.

I will do what I am asked and I think I will like it, it makes sense and will help me from feeling like I am constantly standing up to lead a song and wondering what impromptu song I will be asked to lead next. It is a very well thought out plan, but it hurts that my plan was shot down so easily. For a few moments I felt like I had been placed in a cage. I really did. I felt kind of like a criminal, my crime was thinking outside the box, or thinking that I wanted to be outside the Primary Room.

So what do I do now. How do I get to know the Ladies at Church better? Do I ask for all the Good News that is shared to be written down and emailed to me? Maybe there could be a rule that all new People at church have to come into the Primary and introduce themselves? Or a Church Directory that has a little Bio and a Picture of each member? I am at a loss.

I do know that I will happily lead the children in song for as long as I am allowed too, and I know that God will bless me for that service. Who knows what else will happen. I just hope that I figure out the answer to my conundrum soon, that or I just get over this feeling of being out of the loop.

P.S. I looked up the definition of conundrum.... and I hope the answer is not a pun, though being married to Ken, if he answers it, it just might be one.