Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Sunday

The last two Sundays have been big in our home. There were celebrations and lots of changes. 

Just as I felt like I was getting better at corralling our Primary class, we were released. Last Sunday was our final time teaching them. I can't say it went entirely smoothly, but it went well. We had a good mix of silly, productive, and creative. We played the telephone game to show them how important it is to record things, and in turn, to read from primary sources rather than to listen to second-hand stories or rumors. We talked about prophets, scriptures, and how important they are... We got our wiggles out & then the kids made Mother's Day cards. One girl had been in a funk most of the class, but then I sat beside her & I helped her write out a  message to her mom, I cut out a heart for her to glue down, and we discussed what colors she liked best & she cheered up. 

Our Wild Child was still all over the place, but he didn't get to me as much. And he also asked for help in coloring and writing something out. Then, one of the other boys said he didn't know what to say to his mom that she'd like, so our trouble child piped up and said, "Tell her her hair shines like a rainbow!" I'd love it if someone told me that!

Little Dad did great. He avoided Wild Child trying to suck him into Crazytown. He shared a few things during the lesson, and when it was time to color, he colored & wrote his mom a note like it was his job. He neatly placed it in his scriptures and I could tell he was excited to share it with his mom. I call him Little Dad because when we filled out some get-to-know-you papers at the start of the year, his answer for what he wanted to be when he grew up was without any hesitation, "A dad." Melt my heart. 

After Sunday School, we all filed into sharing time. Two of our kids did exceptionally well & were called on to help out during the lesson and song time there. The children received a handout to write out and/or draw something they wanted to improve in their lives. Well, our girl who'd been in a funk surprised me. She wrote out that she wanted to believe more strongly and to work on her faith and to never give up. Me, too. She doesn't usually connect or share relevant things, so this especially blew me away coming from her. 

Two of the boys had me help them draw scriptures, as they decided they wanted to start reading them. I'd like to think that was from our lesson earlier, but either way I was glad they were asking for my help rather than shoving one another, giggling, or picking their noses. 

Teaching six and seven year olds was by far more work than I thought possible, but through the weekly experiences of working with them, I got to know each of them & am going to miss talking to them about their favorite part of their last week. I'll miss their insights, funny sayings, and their personalities. I'll also miss Curly-haired Blonde-man shouting out to a teacher who got emotional while sharing something tender, "Hey, you're crying! Why are you crying?!"

So I went from that to immediately being called into Activity Days. I'll be working with 8-11 year old girls, and as the title implies, we'll be doing activities. The crazy thing is that those activities are on Tuesdays twice a month. That means that my Sundays are now freed up to attend classes just for me. That hasn't happened since a few weeks after Jon & I married. For two and a half years, I've missed out on the all-women's meeting of Relief Society. I'm looking forward to connecting with the ladies of my congregation. Today was my first time in Relief Society, and I really feel like that's what I need in my life right now. 

And Jon--we were both released as Primary teachers. He moved on to Nursery. He's in Junior nursery & gets to take Henry in. I'm sorry that I'll miss out on those interactions, but I think it'll be a great bonding time for Henry and Jon, and it'll be a nice break in Henry's routine to be around all of those kids at once. 

Jon jokes that getting released from Primary was the best Mother's Day gift I could get, but I disagree. I was a mom last Mother's Day, but I think the sleep deprivation of the early infant months made everything a blur. This year I really appreciated it. it has been amazing watching Henry grow and seeing all the things he's accomplished and is still learning. That, and sharing thise moments with Jon have been my greatest gifts. 

Jon wrote me a sweet card & gave me a mini-orchid. We had a relaxed day at home after church. Jon took Henry for a walk so I could nap! And then we went out to Sand Hollow & basically just followed Henry around as he explored. Very low-key, but oh so perfect. 

The only blemish on an otherwise perfect Sunday last week was that I was asked to speak. And I did. I did it! I am not a fan of public speaking. I categorize myself as pretty awkward in general, but then ask me to talk in front of a crowd... Yikes! 

Add to that the fact that Henry has been teething (molars!!!) and you've got a sleep-deprived mama trying to talk about important things while nervous as all get out. Jon & I spoke in Stake Conference when we were first married. That time I just made a list of bullet points & talked from there. Not so this time. I didn't trust myself to come up with words on the spot. Not gospel words, or big words, or concise descriptors. Mommy brain. I can't seem to string two sentences together in conversation anymore, and here I was being asked to speak for 12 minutes. Haha. 

So, even though I was mostly talking about my life, and my journey, and experiences, I typed it all out. 

And I think the sleep deprivation worked to my benefit today. I was too exhausted to get crazy nervous. My knees did not shake, I didn't stumble over my words, and when I asked Jon, he says my voice was slow and steady. Usually when I get nervous I go into Micro Machines Man mode --( -I'm mobile so I can't hyperlink. Please forgive me. 

I talked about my journey, of how I learned how to trust myself and developed by spiritual side. I spoke about some of the changes the gospel brought into my life. I shared how my parents' divorce made it difficult for me to picture myself getting married and being happy, but how The Lord provided opportunities for me to learn and grow and become open to the possibility. I mentioned how during my time as a missionary I came to realize that there are many ways of doing things right, and that gave me courage. And I ended with sharing how grateful I am for my sweet eternal family. Life is so much more full and fulfilling with them in it. 

I thought that Brother Peck, who spoke after me was just fantastic & what was really needed. So I was really surprised by how many people came up to me in the hall and told me that my talk touched them, or that I did really well, and that they liked it, etc. When I told Brother Peck he did well and thanked him, his response was,"Oh, I mostly just spit out facts and figures. Your talk was heartfelt." But his talk is what I needed to hear. Funny how things work out like that. 

So now, NOW I can relax. Now that my talk is over, now that I know my Sundays will have a less hectic pace, now I feel like I can relax & be a sponge for a while. And by that I don't meant a soggy blob that just sits there. I mean I'll get to listen, to really listen, and hopefully absorb. I won't be wrangling youngsters, my own or otherwise. And that'll be weird and different, but I suspect I'll love it. 

Monday, May 13, 2013


I can't believe our puppies are old enough for new homes, but they are. Crazy. They were born at 1, 2, and 3 AM on February 26, 2013. They are half Chihuahua and half Maltese, making them Malchi puppies. They have been raised around us, lots of visitors, an ornery cat, and our very active and not overly gentle little boy. They are super patient with Henry, and while the cat doesn't put up with them much, they are very curious about her. They are used to various textures (walking on tile, carpet, concrete, rocks, and grass) and love to explore. There's nothing that they can't handle.

They have been loved on and as such love people. They are curious, playful, and are going potty outside and/or on their potty pads, and are learning how to use the doggy door (but they are still rather little so they are still struggling to open it on their own...) Each of them come when we call, but they come running full-speed whenever we make kissy noises at them. It is adorable.

Fully grown, these dogs will still only reach anywhere between 5-9lbs on average. So they are a very small breed.

Who needs a new fur-ever friend in their life? In a perfect world, we'd love to see the boys go to a home together. (Well, in a totally perfect world, we'd keep them, but just after that, we'd love them to live really close by so we could still let all the doggies visit, and if not that, we want them in a great home, together or not.) They play together so sweetly and are just so cute when they snuggle in for a nap. They are great friends. However, if that isn't possible, we want more than anything for them to go to good homes where they will get love and attention and will be treated gently and with patience.

Now for the fun part-- photos!

Siblings snuggling when they were teensy tiny.

First up-- Clyde.

Clyde, the first born.

He has his mom's (Luna) longer facial features and long, lean legs. His coloring was much darker at birth, so I wonder if he'll continue to get lighter... His undercoat is a very pale gray with an fawn (reddish orange) tint to it, and the longer, wispier hairs are light at the roots and a very dark gray-brown at the ends. His tail has the cutest curl to it and at the tip it it white with a band of black. So cute! His coat is very soft, and he's the fluffiest of the bunch.

He is also quite the snuggler. He has a very sweet temperament, and loves to follow us around when he isn't busy playing. He is happy to nap just about anywhere, but he prefers to sleep near his family (animal or human). He loves carrying his toys around and shows interest in playing fetch already. He's also big into tummy rubs.

Here is Fred.
Fred, the middle child.

He has quite the fancy face, don't you think? He has more of a salt and pepper coloring to his coat, with a cream-colored mask around his eyes and mouth. He's also got a creamy colored belly and a curly tail.

He's super playful and has boundless energy. Like his brother, he loves snuggling up to sleep. He loves chasing after toys that roll--and us when we're playing around with him. He loves to pounce and goof off. He is also the most fearless. He was the first how to learn to climb up our couch, and he does daredevil jumps off of things all the time.

Last, but not least is Ursa. She's spoken for, but I thought I'd include a photo of her just for fun. She's a face-licker, and loves sneaking up on me when I'm laying down reading a book with Henry to get a few kisses in. She's the odd-ball of the bunch-- a very pale apricot color and the only girl. She's spunky and quite the speed demon when she wants to be. She also loves taking leaps off the couch to chase after her brothers.

Ursa, the youngest.

Notes about puppies, the good and the bad...
First thing, they are still growing, changing, and learning. This is the best time to bond with them, socialize them, and teach them what you like and don't like as far as behavior in your home. These lessons take time. At this stage, they are still full of energy. They are teething and exploring their world. This won't last forever, so be patient and loving with them and the rewards will be endless. For the time being, anything and everything within their reach might become a chew toy if they aren't supervised or given proper toys/treats. These particular puppies are super tiny and need a tender touch. They also need to be indoor dogs, with either a doggy door or lots of opportunities to go outside. Their little bodies can easily succumb to desert extremes, so they need to be able to come inside any time they need it. If you want to take one or two of them home with you, know that they have yet to be totally potty trained. Accidents will probably happen, especially when they are first brought to their new home and don't yet know the territory. It is normal for them to go through a small regression as I'm sure it will be a trial for them to be adopted and brought into a new environment. They need only gentle guidance. Distraction works fantastically for them. Just whistle or call them over and they'll forget all about chewing on whatever they were chewing on... The most extreme I've ever been with them is a stern look and a very serious "No" and learn that whatever they are doing is not okay. 

Like all dogs, these guys are social pack animals. If they only have a human family to rely on, they will need a good amount of attention in the day--the ability to follow you around, pettings now and again, snuggles when you are sitting down, and I'm sure they'd be more than happy to share a bed with you if you allow it. They get a lot of their energy worked out just by running around the house and yard as long as there are things to entertain them (toys, sticks, children or other dog/s to play with), but I'm sure they'd also make fabulous walking buddies. Their mom loves walks and hikes, though they are still young enough that we haven't really leash-trained them yet.

Personally, I think that they are a great mix of playful and lap-dog. Out of the boys, Clyde is the more cuddly and Fred is more playful (generally speaking). We've really come to love these puppies and really do hope to find an amazing home for them. We'd love to hear updates on how they are fitting into their new home. We'd be happy to dog sit them if you live close by and go out of town. We'd like to help if the transition is rough on them. And, if it really seems like it isn't working out, we want want them back to try to find them another quality home (Like Best Friends Animal Sanctuary does).

Please let us know either by leaving a comment here, or by e-mailing or calling us if you are interested. If you live in the area, we could bring whichever one/s you are interested by so that you can see if he/they would make a good fit, but we are also willing to work something out with our friends up north or elsewhere if you'd like to adopt. Thanks!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Florida (the post with a bunch of animals)

So... catching up isn't really working out for me. I'll skip a few things and instead share some photos of the good times we had visiting Jon's parents in Florida.

One of our first outings was to go to the Brevard County Zoo. This was Henry's first zoo experience and I so excited for him-- it was ridiculous.

We got to the zoo just after Henry had fallen asleep in the car, so he was out of it at first, but was so happy once we got through the gate and made it to the petting zoo. He loved that he got to pet a goat and check out the llamas, armadillo, and sheep.

This goat made Henry giggle.
He loved this giant fish tank full of big fish.
We then walked over to the giraffe area-- where you can feed them carrots from a platform. Henry was very intrigued by the giraffe, but she didn't make him laugh.

The birds were a mixed bag. The cockatiels were delightful. They are super social, were totally okay sharing their treats with their neighbors, and would just nuzzle up against people. They were really happy to eat, but also put up with just hanging out on your hand for a while.
Can't you just feel his joy in this moment?

I don't know what this little guy was, but he was pretty neat, too.

But the lorikeets? They were stink-pots. This is me feeding one before I learned of their true nature. Now I regret I ever gave them anything.
Devil bird.
 Here is a list of behaviors to prove my beliefs about lorikeets: they don't share, they squawk crazy loud, and they nip. And one of the buggers nipped Henry, really hard. Poor little guy was so freaked out that he burst out crying and Jon couldn't leave because he had like three lorikeets perched on him, so I swooped in and carried Henry back to the safety of the cockatiels. Thankfully Henry was still okay with them-- so at least I know he won't end up with ornithophobia. Maybe just a fear of lorikeets specifically. And I'd get that.

Here, kitty, kitty.

Prettiest vulture I ever did see.

 And, our total touristy photo:
Jon and Henry as sea turtles.
So, Henry's first zoo experience was a hit. Besides the above pictured, he loved seeing the small primates and the parrots along the trails. He just loves, loves animals. He just lights up and smiles and giggles. It is the sweetest thing. That zoo is pretty awesome, too. It isn't the biggest I've been to, but they have zip-lines (that go over treetops and the alligator lake), a canoe tour, and an up-close-and-personal with the rhinos.

Merritt Island. We went here a couple of times-- for a short walk around some place that we stumbled upon, and then to see the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We were surprised by what we loved and by what we didn't.

A walk around the visitor center.
My love and I walking on our own for a bit.

Jon and his folks
Jon and I did a five mile hike on our own while Jon's folks hung out with Henry. We weren't super impressed with it. If we were big-time bird watchers, maybe. There were a lot of those people out on that trail. The trail sounded awesome on paper, and we thought Jon would get a lot of good photos out of it, but for us it was just a big windy loop with a bunch of the same kind of marshland and a few interesting birds. We saw many more birds from the car and elsewhere. Although, Jon tells me that I nearly stepped on a giant snake when Jon's folks called to tell us that Henry was awake and needed me. Momma's got priorities, right? I then walk/jogged 1/2 mile in flip-flops and earned myself a prize blister. Not my brightest, shiniest moment.


Prints on marshland mud

Yeah, yeah... more marshland...

Alligator in the wild. Pretty cool.
 We then went on to talk a shorter hike through some hammocks. We saw more live oak and palm trees growing side by side. Oh, and heaps and heaps of epiphytes. And, interestingly, I learned that it was in that area of Florida that the original wild oranges were grown, and the descendents of those first trees lived in that area, too.

Spanish Moss!

This place was magical.
Jon and I decided we were in love with the hammocks out there and decided to seek more out. It was so neat walking around totally enveloped by this mix of trees and plants. Oh, and the light filtering through... it was heavenly.

A surprisingly awesome place: Jungle Adventures Nature Park. Jon's mom found it in some of her literature, but then we drove over to where it is located (Christmas, Florida), and the outside didn't look very promising. There was a very kitschy giant alligator and very few cars in the parking lot. But we figured we had made the drive, and it was something to do outdoors, so we went. And we absolutely loved it.

Bears to greet you.
First, we took the boat tour where we learned that the state tree of Florida (the Cabbage Palmetto) is, in fact, not a tree. We also learned that alligators eat one another or parts of one another. Another tidbit-- parts of the original Tarzan movie were filmed there, and the actor playing Tarzan was too scared to swim across an alligator-infested waterway there. So the owner of the place did it. Bravery? Stupidity? Mental illness? I'm not sure, but the guy didn't get eaten, so I guess that worked out for him.

Oh yes, our tour guide said that if you can see a line of teeth on the outside of their mouths, those are crocodiles. And they house a handful of those as well. She also told us that there is a certain lichen that only grows in clean-air environments that is bright pink. I had been wondering what that was. I was happy to learn that it was a good thing.

Lots and lots of alligators there. Sometimes they do an alligator feeding, but they were being fat and lazy and just sunning themselves for the most part. Except when one sloshed and crawled right over another one and they both got all snappy for a moment. That was a bit too much excitement for me. (We were standing five feet away from them.)
No zoom here, folks. Photo taken through a chain-link fence.

They also have a petting-zoo, of sorts. After some time of walking around on our own, we got to hear a presentation on various animals that the place takes in. They have branched out from alligators and have taken in emu, foxes, deer, hybrid wolves, and a few others. Near the end of the presentation, they brought over some of the animals so that we could touch/hold them.

Everybody loves a baby alligator.

Tarantula--so soft and snuggly.

This is the only one that gave me pause. But I did it!
The scorpion isn't deadly, but its sting hurts about as much as a bee sting, which is no tickle. Luckily, this guy was an adult, and they stay that as they get older, their stingers don't pierce as easily. Whew. Too bad he still looked terrifying. (Can you see the fear in my eyes?)

Sweet little ball python.

At the end of our tour, we got to visit their "Indian Village" where Little Bear took over as our tour guide and told us a little about the native people of Florida and about the Seminole Indians specifically. I was totally fascinated. We learned that they lived in chickee huts. (Open structures with grass roofs and lofts.) Little Bear explained that the women and children slept upstairs in the loft area (for comfort and safety) while the men slept in hammocks lashed to the poles below so that they could rush to action if needed. One of my favorite moments was when Jon's mom innocently asked, "So if the men sleep downstairs in the hammocks and the women sleep upstairs, where do the little Seminole come from?" 

Another favorite moment was when Little Bear asked where everyone was from and when I said "Texas" his response was, "Well, then they must lie, not everything's bigger there." To which I replied, "I'm concentrated." He looked at me funny and then laughed and said, "Ok, I get it. For a second there I though you said you were constipated and that didn't make any sense." Yep, Little Bear was an awesome tour guide.

Little Bear and his "pet" cougar.
Oh, and as we were leaving, we saw them taking the wolves out for a walk. We were informed that they alternately walk the wolves and the cougars and panthers every night. How awesome would that job be?

This peacock walked us to our car.

 That's all for tonight, folks.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The latest little things

I have big things to catch up on. I have a trip to Texas, Christmas, traveling, and so many other things to write about.
But today I just wanted to mention a few cute things.
Henry has become much more snuggly. This has coincided with his ability to stand up while pulling up on things. Somehow, becoming more independent has made him also want to spend more time hugging and cuddling.
And I am totally okay with that.
He has also become a big kisser these days. He lays big sloppy ones down. And I mean BIG open-mouth guppy kisses-complete with slobber. So, kind of gross, but oh so endearing.
He also loves it when we assist him in walking around the house.
And the latest is he will find himself standing at the coffee table or somewhere wanting to hold something that takes his full attention and both hands, and he'll end up standing. Just standing there, not walking or anything, but still. Pretty great, right?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ikea dresser


After some (really frustrating) painting and sparkly new hardware: 

Maybe if I remember one of these days, I'll take a photo of the finished product with something other than my phone on a cloudy day... Please forgive the noise in the "After" photo. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not a toy

Jon and I took Henry to Zion for the afternoon over the weekend. We stopped for a bite to eat on the way there. We ordered, sat down, and started eating, trying to keep Henry entertained. He had been super fussy in the car and was not happy with the scenario at the restaurant. Henry doesn't like that there are things that we eat that we cannot share with him. So Jon put Henry on his knee and was bouncing him gently and talking to him. He was having nothing to do with at high chairs at that point. And then Henry started looking around and people-watching and some of the people were watching him right back and smiled at him. That made Henry giggle, which made this lady turn around. She looked at Henry, then Jon and I, then back at Henry and he gave her a great big smile. Then the lady's eyes got all big and she exclaimed, "Oh, he's real!" And upon seeing our confusion, went on to clarify, "I thought he was a doll!"
Because Jon obviously looks like the type to play with life-size baby dolls.
I assured her that Henry is very much real, and went back to eating. But a few minutes later, it must have still been on the woman's mind because she shared, "I think I must have thought he was a doll because of his eyes. So blue."
She kept looking at me, waiting for a response, so I said that he does have great big blue eyes, smiled at her, and went back to my lunch.
Not two minutes later, another couple walks in and this woman starts waving and smiling at Henry and then calls her husband over to look at him. She then starts talking to Henry as if his parents are not there. You know, mostly the usual, "Oh, aren't you so cute?! ... I could just eat you up.... Well, aren't you all smiles?" I honestly don't know how to respond to that. I mean, she was talking to Henry and not me. Was she expecting him to answer? And then as I got up to go to the restroom, she started talking to Henry again and asked him, "Do you think your mom would mind it very much if I took you home with me?"
Since I was walking right past their table, I did answer that one. "I'm pretty sure his mom would NOT like that at all." I said it with a smile, so that was ok, right? What would you do? She was kind of talking about kidnapping, after all.
I blame our odd dining experience on the location. That's what we get for eating in Hurricane.
And for my parent friends out there, do you just get used to being treated like you are invisible or do you insert yourself into the conversation? But even then, what do you say besides thank you? Do you gush stuff like, "Oh, I know, he's just toooooo cute, isn't he? Can you believe those sweet chunky thighs?" Or do you share something more truthful like, "Lady, you don't know the half of it. Do you know how much work it is keeping this baby happy, out of trouble, and entertained?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

High chair

So I posed this question to my facebook friends today, but I am also asking any of my friends here who are also moms-- If you have a high chair that you love/loved can you give me some recommendations? And let me know what you love about it. Does it fold up compact? Is it easy to clean? Is it sturdy?

We're already at that phase. I can hardly believe it. While I was trying to put it off as long as possible, I think we really need one yesterday. This kid is a MESSY eater. It is fun to watch him, but the clean up is not so much fun. Especially because he wants to do it all by himself... So, any and all input would be happily received. Thanks!

Update: Okay, so we went with a fold-up Ikea chair with industrial washable fabric. It folds up really compact, and when it is opened up, it comes up right to the table so that Henry can eat right off of the table and there is one less surface to clean. We're pretty happy with it.