"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Portable Canning

My first experience canning food was back in November. We took all the Young Women to the Las Vegas Home Storage Center (such a mouthful!) to fill some orders for the families in our ward... it was such an awesome experience! It totally inspired me to do some of my own canning. But since I'm allergic to half the stuff there, I signed up for the portable canner so we could begin storing stuff we would actually eat. Finally our turn came a couple of weeks ago. Let me tell you, it was much smoother than I imagined it would be! It was seriously such a simple process. We canned 18 number 10 cans in about an hour!In the end, we had 5 cans Joe's O's (Trader Joe's version of Cheerios), 4 cans of rice pasta, 2 cans of sugar, one can each of: green lentils, corn meal, brown rice, popcorn, barley, and garbanzo beans. The only problem with the last 6 items is that I still have no idea how long they're supposed to last!
Anyway, if any of you are thinking of using a portable canner soon, my one piece of advice is this: don't try to do it by yourself. The contraption that seals the cans takes a little manpower, and is much easier with two people. That's it! Just thought you'd like to know...

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Son the Scriptorian

About a week ago, Weston discovered the word "why." Ever since then, he asks "why" at least 100 times a day. He'll say, "Hair. Why?" or "nonies, why?" (nonies is his word for "noodles") or "brush teeth - why?" You get the idea. There is no end to things he wants to understand, and although it is not always convenient to answer a zillion questions, I am loving it! After three and a half years of wanting to understand what goes on in the mind of my sweet son, these past 5 months have been amazing... especially now that I have the chance to explain so many important things and know that he is understanding and even repeating the things I teach him!

Today he picked up a Book of Mormon that had been laying on the kitchen table. He said, "Scriptures, why?" I told him that we read the scriptures to learn about God, and how to be happy. So he opens up the book, and directing his attention to Sophie who was in her high chair fussing, says, "Jesus Christs loves Sophie!" He said it over and over again. The rest of the afternoon he walked around with my scriptures pretending to read them. When I'd ask if he wanted me to read them to him, he would respond that he could read them "by self."

As I lay down with him before bed, he asked if I would tell him a story about when he was a baby. My mind drifted back almost four years as I recounted how he was born in a tub of water at Grandma Ruth's house. Sometimes I feel like I can barely remember him as a little baby. And yet, I will never forget certain things - like the absolutely consuming, powerful love and adoration I felt for that precious little life.
Exactly 3 years and 11 months ago today, I become a mommy. Here is a picture of Weston moments after birth (I am aware that I look terrible, so if you can just focus on him, I would appreciate it!)
About an hour after birth...And earlier this month at Disney on Ice:
How I love this little guy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our Little Princess

A couple of weeks ago when we came home from church it occurred to me that we have very few pictures of Sophie all dressed up, so I decided to snap a few shots of her while in her Sunday best! She kept running away from me and trying to hide, but eventually I got the money shot I was hoping for! I can hardly believe this little princess is 17 months old.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My very own American Idol

Both my kids love to sing and dance. Sophie mostly just sings the words "rock and roll" over and over again while going around and around in circles... something she learned from her brother. Weston, on the other hand, sings about just about anything. He also recently learned the term "bootie shake" which is just what he was doing when I ran to get the camera to record. However, when I came back, he had moved on to his newest musical masterpiece...

V-8, Anyone?

This evening I was drinking some V-8 and decided to see if Sophie liked it. I'll let you be the judge!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weston's First Bike Ride!!

There are few milestones in early childhood as important as learning to ride a bike! Granted, Weston is not yet four, so this bike has training wheels... but this has been a much anticipated occasion! Although he got the super awesome Spider Man bike for Christmas, it was in a box waiting to be assembled for almost TWO weeks. Poor guy. I wasn't going to attempt it though, and anyway it just didn't seem right to do without Jason.
But finally the big day came... BIKE day! It was pretty thrilling.
How does one explain the emotions that a little boy goes through on a day like this? He was extremely excited, but he waited patiently and boy was it worth it!Shortly after learning how to ride, Weston began telling me that he thought he should keep the bike. He must have repeated the phrase "keep bike" 20 times! It was cute. At one point he fell and began to cry. We had him hop right back up and keep riding, and of course turned it into a little life lesson moment. (How do you resist an opportunity like that, cliche though it may be?)Sophie got jealous and wanted to try and ride on her little tricycle that is still way too big for her... we gave it a whirl but after a few minutes I gave up on that idea and just pulled her around in the wagon with Weston following along...Weston was so sad and disappointed when it was time to be done that Jason busted out some special novelty firework items to help distract him.The firework trick worked like a charm, as usual. (thankfully!)
Sophie being her cute, sassy little self

Sunday, January 2, 2011

As I lay, drifting off to sleep...

It has been a dream of mine for quite some time to take a deep, long nap. Jason has attempted on various occasions to watch the kids for me so I can catch a nap on days where I am particularly exhausted, but unfortunately I can't tune the kids out so I just lay there listening to them scream and play. Sophie always screams when the door to our room is closed and she can't get to me... hence the scream part.
So today, I had my perfect chance! And boy, am I tired right now. Both Weston and Sophie were cuddled up to me in bed. There we lay, at the precipice of the frequently imagined but rarely experienced family nap. Glorious! What a thrill to be back on the 9:00 church schedule where there is at least a glimmer of hope that such family naps will potentially occur from time to time.
In the background I have a CD playing that we received when we were married. It is MOTAB singing soft primary songs with lovely instrumental variations. It is the most heavenly music for resting or drifting off. Suddenly the song "Our Savior's Love" came on and I had a memory flash into my mind of my brother and I at some point during my teenage years. He was saying something about how he loved that song. I agreed. That's it! The memory was vague and fleeting but it took me out of my half slumber into a state of alertness, where random memories began flooding my mind. It occurred to me in that instant how much I miss my brother! It also occurred to me how that memory literally felt like a life time ago. A life time! I tell the girls in Young Women's all the time how I remember being their age like it was yesterday, and I do! But those 14 years that have passed since I was eighteen have held many, many experiences. I have been home from my mission over 8 years. EIGHT YEARS!!!! Seriously? I still feel like I'm still 24!
After a few minutes of thinking about that, my mind wandered back to the music and I remembered when I was 20 or 21 and going to George Wythe College... a group of us would get together every Sunday, eat a lovely meal and then sing hymns for awhile. I remembered how I used to listen to this CD the first year we were married while I worked on finances, because it helped me feel peaceful and know that everything would work out. I remembered a time when I hadn't listened to it for a while... Jason must have been out of town and my mom too, because Weston and I went over to her house to watch BYU TV that day. He was sick and I wanted to be able to get some kind of "church" in for the day. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was singing one of the songs on the CD... I don't know what it's called, but there is a lyric that says "turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four, turn around and you're a young man going out of my door." It's something about how quickly babies grow up. I think I sat down on the couch and cried.
Then I started thinking about how little Weston used to be. At this moment he's a very tall boy, cuddled up with Sophie's sock monkey and wrapped in his Spider Man blanket. Today he is officially in primary - a SunBeam! Wowsers, I can hardly believe it. Like every mom, there's a part of me that wants him to stay little. Today he told me that he's a baby. I told him that he was actually a big boy, but that no matter how big he gets, he will always be my baby. Somebody once said that deciding to have a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body - I don't know who that person was, but they were right!

So many of the songs on that darn CD bring back memories... some remind me of people, some of particular situations. But as I sat there rocking Sophie to sleep, I realized that the right kind of music really promotes introspection. (Well, at least when the kids are asleep!) I spend almost ALL of my time thinking about everything I am doing, everything I need to do, everything I expected myself to have done already, everything I will do, and when I need to do it by. It's all about DOing.
Doing things is important. But sometimes I want to just enjoy life for a while - read a book with my kids or take them to the park without constantly thinking about everything I have to accomplish as soon as I'm done. I miss thinking about things just for the sake of thinking about them, for the sake of pondering how to become the person I want to be, for the sake of remembering all the goodness God has always shown me in my life, and for the sake of putting my priorities back in their proper places. It was great for a few minutes to FORGET all the lists I have floating around the house of places I need to go, bills I need to pay, things I need to buy, blog posts from last year that I still need to catch up on, cards I need to write, people I need to call, activities I need to plan, rooms I need to organize, etc, etc, etc.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I have another list to write... you know, to condense all the other ones! (PROOF that I am my father's daughter, I might add.)