Sunday, November 28, 2010

Epic Failure, Quiet Success.

There are some moments of Motherhood that are precious, yet sad. Like when you find your sweet toddler having way too much fun in your Rice Bucket. He was so pleased with himself. Can you blame me that I took pictures. Then, Sadly I threw away the rest of the rice, there wasn't a ton left, and I had a new bag, but it would have been nice if he hadn't rubbed his bum all over our rice.
There are some moments that you just wish you could forget, or even go back in time and prevent. I had to admit that I, Me, Samo Ja, I am one of the reasons we don't have nice things. This griddle, it was nice, that is until I didn't put it away, and instead piled things on top of it. My little J is my cohort in crimes against nice things. I may forget about them and pile things on top of them, but J, he is the one who figures out how to ruin them. In this case he found the plug for the griddle and not only did he attach it correctly but he then plugged it into the wall and turned it on. I didn't notice it until I saw him sitting at my craft area (which this year is in the kitchen- thus the griddle was oddly enough also on the craft table). J was playing with some paper flowers. I took them away from him and put them on a nice little pile of stuff I had created. As I told him, once again, that these things were fun to play with but that they were Mommies and so he shouldn't play with them alone......I realized that the air above my pile of stuff was warm, I also realized that the plastic container my paper flowers were in was looking a little melted. I screamed. I started pulling things off the pile. I turned off the griddle and pulled the plug out of the wall. J smiled and laughed, this was all so fun! I got to the bottom of the pile and found this- a melted plastic Ikea cutting board.
I threw away a few craft supplies that day and I learned a good lesson about why I should put things away. If it doesn't belong there, put it away Kate. Really. On a somewhat brighter note, the griddle may not be ruined, after the cutting board cooled off it was easily removed.....Ken is still not sure if the griddle was damaged, I guess we ought to try to use it.

Now, neither of those moments in Motherhood were Epic Failures, but this next one sure felt like it at the time. Ken is on the tail end of a 5 day weekend. I thought since he was home, and neither of us NEEDED sleep, we should make the big move and put the baby and J into the same bedroom at night. We both figured there would be more crying and fussing than usual, we were prepared. So we thought. We talked to the boys, explained how it was going to work. I removed all objects from the room that J could use to climb into the crib. We talked to J about how Baby B didn't need any blankets or stuffed animals in his crib and no matter how much J thought his brother wanted such things, he should not give them to baby B. Little J understood this so well that he, all by himself, removed all the stuffed animals from their room- I guess he just wanted to avoid the temptation. Smart Kid. Bedtime came for J and it took him a little while to calm down and go to sleep. Luckily he was finally asleep when we put baby B in bed an hour later. About 90 minutes after that we heard Baby B crying. It was a nice surprise to me that J had not woken up, or even really stirred at all when Baby B cried. That was a good surprise, the bad surprises came later. The next time there was crying it was from both of them. It was an all out Scream Fest. Off and on, more on really than off, for hours they screamed. I went downstairs to sleep in the guest room and Ken took charge. Poor Saintly Ken, I can not believe he didn't come get me after 45 minutes! Three hours later I came back upstairs and Ken and I decided that it wasn't going to work, the boys (and me really) were not ready for this.

We came up with a new plan. Baby B needed to be really really really good at self soothing. We have read the books, we know that Baby B doesn't eat during the night anymore {we know this because we are his parents ;) } but that he does wake up and we help soothe him back to sleep. So we decided that Baby B would stay in the guest-room for a few more weeks, and we would follow a new plan. 1st Extinction! (it is a pretty nasty word, but I like it a little better than "Cry it Out"). Extinction worked great for J, and it seems to be working great for Baby B as well. 2nd Nap Time will be held in his crib in the boys room, not in the port-a-crib in the guest-room, hopefully this step will help baby B get used to the crib and the room so it won't be so scary when he wakes up there at night. And 3rd, when the time comes that baby B actually moves into the boys room at night, Ken and J will get to take a trip somewhere for a couple of days- To Logan, or really anywhere they want to go where we can find them lodging. This will allow Baby B to acclimate without ruining J's life.

The funniest part about this Epic Failure- when we finally did call it quits and removed Baby B from the boys room, he was all smiles and giggles and coos. He had a gleam in his eye- It was almost as if he had enjoyed tormenting his brother. Odd, because I figured J would be the tormentor.
"What Me? Torment J? You must be kidding!"
The next day both boys slept really well! Failure can turn into Success quite quickly it seems.

Here is the last of my Quiet Successes- J, he is a really sweet and spiritual boy. We were at tithing settlement last week and J kept saying something to me that I didn't quite understand. "Pawfet, Pawfet!" I turned and looked at what he was looking at, it was a picture of President Thomas S. Monson. Oh, Prophet! I was so proud of him. In October I had shown him pictures of Prophets and pointed out President Monson to him, but I hadn't really talked to him since about prophets. My boy remembered! My heart really skipped a beat.

Then today I was talking to him about the pieces of our new Nativity set. We talked about the Angel and the Wise-men, and Mary and Joseph, and then we talked about the Baby Jesus. "Oh, Milk!" he said and he ran to the kitchen, I of course followed him and helped him get his milk out of the fridge. What I didn't expect was for him to then fed baby Jesus. (He fed baby Jesus for a long time, thus allowing me to snap some pictures.) What a sweet boy I have. I am sure that the actual non-plastic Jesus was proud of him too.
J was making "SHHHH" sounds as he fed the baby.
So there it is, those were the Failures and Successes of this last week. All in all, it was a pretty good week. I love Motherhood, I love my boys. And I love Ken for putting up with all of us!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Grey Monday?

Let me just start with this gratuitous Baby B Smile!
Okay. I don't know if any of you looked at the adds in your Sunday paper yesterday. I did. And Surprise, Surprise, the stores wanted me to come visit. I am a big fan of Black Friday, I love it, I don't always get everything I want- either because I get there a little too late (who would have ever thought arriving at a store at 4am would be too late, but sometimes it is) or I just can't afford what I want (thus, I don't get it). I will be perusing the adds on Thanksgiving to see if there is anything that is worth the early morning trip to the store, and I am 99% sure that I will, once again be headed out to participate in the spectacle that is "Black Friday". Over the past 5 years Ken and I have fallen into a pattern that works quite well for us. One of us will go out to the stores REALLY EARLY and the other one will sleep in, then we will head back out to the stores as a family after most of the crowds are gone and see what is still available. We have come away with some great bargains in the past. Little J doesn't seem to notice that his Birthday presents are purchased 4 months in advance. It is a win win situation for all involved. This year though some of the Pre-Black Friday sales were good enough to get me out the door early this morning.....

Early being 8 AM.

Target did it. They were offering this Fisher Price Little People Nativity for $13.99. I have wanted this nativity set for a couple of years now and last year I was thwarted at every turn. Not this year. Ken saw online that our local target store had some in stock on Sunday. I hoped, hoped, hoped that they would still have some on Monday. After all, Sunday is the Sabbath Day and I live in Utah County, no one in Utah County shops on the Sabbath, right? Doors opened at 8. I woke up at 7:40 AAAAAAAHHHHHHH how in the world did I sleep in that late. I got J up, gave him some cereal (without milk, we ran out....silly me) and while he was picking the marshmallows out of his cereal I put yesterdays clothes on over his pajamas- no one at the stores would ever suspect that I am just a horrible mother. Little J loved that he was still wearing his pajamas. Then I got a bottle of warm water ready and made sure that I had sufficient formula.....and I put my sleeping baby B into his Car Seat- I know Horrible Mother- I went shopping before I fed my baby. He really didn't mind, in fact both boys kept our secrets quite well. Before leaving for the store I handed J a zip-lock bag full of Marshmallow cereal.....that helped a lot too. We got to Target at about 8:10, rushed back to the toys and found where they had hidden the Nativity sets- all 3 of them! I took one, the employee who helped me locate them took one and the last one was gone within 5 minutes after that! YEAH!!!!!!! I love my nativity set, I am so going to play with it on Thursday night! Then maybe I will let the boys play with it.
Next- the games. They were having a sale on Hasbro Games, $7 a piece and if you bought 3 you get $5 off. We have my sister Laurie's family for Christmas this year, she has 4 adorable children and I mentioned board games as a gift and she thought that would be wonderful. I love it when I can get TONS of gifts and still come in under budget! Five board games $30!
We then continued on our quest, 2 more stores where we could use great coupons. Little J even got a Balloon at one store- and he was able to sneak some extra English Muffins into our cart at WinCo- I was going to put them back- since only one would be free but then I decided I could pay the extra 68 cents. WinCo was offering Free Orange Juice, Malt-o-Meal cereal, Eggs, English Muffins and Bacon- I of course took them up on their offer. I noticed that I didn't get my Cereal for free and that they had given me both English Muffins for free so I went to Customer Service to ask for an adjustment, I would pay for the English Muffins if they would give me my $2.48 cents back for the supposedly free cereal. I got my $2.48 and for my inconvenience, they let me keep my Muffins for free. See how happy that made J!
Don't worry about Baby B, he was fed and changed while we waited for the second store to open. I am pretty sure, that if he could talk, he would tell you that he enjoyed his adventure this morning.
So there you have it. My morning. It was fun. I am happy. Now.....I get to clean the house. YEAH!

Monday, November 15, 2010

We are not alone

We are Children of God. We lived with him. We were spirits. We were eternal beings. But we were different from him. He had progressed farther than us, he had a body. He gave us the chance to gain a body, to live, to choose, to become more like him, to obey him. We would make mistakes, that was always known, and so a Savior we be provided for us, Our Brother, Jesus Christ. And when our time on earth ended, we would return to our true home, to our Father and our Savior.

Last night, my sweet Grandpa went home.
(thanks to Abby for this picture)

I can only imagine how sweet the reunion was, when he saw my Grandma, or when he once again saw his Son and his Grandson, all the loved ones who made it home before he did. I am sad, because I am left behind, I don't know when I will see them again, but I do know that I will, someday, be with them. I am happy, to know, so deeply, that he is not gone forever. We lived before this life, and we still live- as ourselves, us really us, not some new form, some reincarnation with no remembrance of our former life- after this mortal life is passed.

There was a sweet peace in my home this morning. Both children slept well, through the night and amazingly, I slept well too. The peace whispered to my soul that we were not alone, that all through the night Angels had watched over us. I smiled. When little J woke up I asked him if Angels had visited him last night. He said yes. I asked him if Grandma and Grandpa had come to visit him. He said yes. I asked him if they told him to give his Mommy, their grandchild, a hug. He said yes, and then he hugged me. I know that a 2 year old can be swayed by the power of suggestion, they are not the best witnesses. I may never know what miracles truly happened in my home last night, at least during this life. But I hope, I pray, that someday when I make it home and the veil is lifted from my mind, I will be able to remember this night and maybe I will see that my loved ones had been here with me and my family. Maybe my Angels will be able to share their memories with me.

Until then, I will live. I will do all I can to be ready to return home someday. To be worthy and prepared for my own sweet reunion.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A New Adventure

I don't remember a time when I didn't love to sing. I always felt like I sang quite well. I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old I would sit out on a rock in the front of my family's yard in Washington and sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to myself. In my imagination, that rock was HUGE and my signing was FABULOUS! Later in life, when I was 11 years old, I was accused of having a radio at my desk at school........"I don't have a radio" "Well, where was that music coming from?" "Well..... I was singing?" I guess I wasn't singing soft enough. It was around this same time that I realized that I could sing pretty high, and that I enjoyed singing high and loud, this realization came during Signing Time at Church. Flash forward 22 or more years and now I am the chorister, leading the children at church during singing time and I hope, hope, HOPE that there are kids out there each Sunday who are discovering that they love music, and love to sing, just like I did.

With that background, I will now tell you all about my new adventure. As of today I am a voice teacher. A few weeks ago a friend in my neighborhood asked me if I might be willing to teach voice lessons to her daughter. I at first said that I really couldn't do that. Yes, I had taken plenty of voice lessons and I have studied music, but I didn't feel qualified to teach lessons. A day or so passed and I kept thinking about it, Could I ? I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn't go back to sleep, my brain had turned on. It was what my brain was telling me that surprised me. It was saying, not only can you teach voice lessons, but this is how you could do it and this is what you could teach. I got out of bed and wrote an entire page of instructions for myself and I happily went back to sleep. I contacted my friend and told her that I had changed my mind, I outlined the types of things I would be able to teach her daughter and asked her if what I had to offer was what she was looking for, and to my surprise she said it was perfect.

My main fear about teaching was that I don't play the piano well- and all of my voice teachers played the piano during our lessons and once I got to college I had to hire an accompanist to play during my voice lessons. That has always been my hang up, If you don't play the piano you can't teach. But the impression that woke me up very clearly told me that I could use mp3 accompaniments, it would be lacking in some areas but it would work well for my needs. I also was impressed that I could very easily teach the basics of Music Theory and Singing and as my friends daughter is 10 years old, what she needs is the basics. My goal is to introduce her to theory, sight-singing/reading music and proper vocal/breathing techniques and my hope is that through the process of learning these things she will gain more self confidence and feel and know that she is special.

I feel like I have been lead in the right direction as I looked for theory books I could use and tried to come up with lesson plans. Our first lesson today went quite well. In fact my friend has told me that her daughter was "On Cloud 9" when she returned home, I loved to hear that because I too was on cloud 9! I think I could really do this, I am not sure how much of a demand there will be but if all goes well I might be willing to take on a few more students. I know that true voice coaching is something best suited for kids who are older, I think I started at 16 which for me was a great age, but I also think that what I am teaching, theory and the basics of sight singing and music reading are things that people need to know prior to starting vocal training, and I think that I can provide some pretty good training in those areas.

I am happy. I am hopeful. I feel so very blessed.

Happy Treat!

Oops, Almost forgot Halloween! We were Zookeepers (that's what it says on our hats) and we were the proud keepers of a Tiger and a Penguin!
J created the best Halloween candy phrase ever, as he went car to car on Friday the 29th and then Door to Door on Saturday the 30th, shouting "Happy Treat!". I hope to keep Happy Treat alive, it is so much nicer than "Trick or Treat"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boundless Energy!

Could this little boy (and all other 2 year old in the world) be the solution for our energy needs?

video