Grattitude A T T I T U D E

Yesterday was a day of contemplation. It was a day of pondering and prayer. There are many people I know right now in need of extra help. I spent the day with a prayer in my heart for:
*my brother - he had a medical school interview and I really wanted it to go well for him
*my husband - he's trying to get a moon-lighting job. The extra income would help our family SO much because regardless of what the recruiters tell you, the Air Force pays by rank. Not by how many years you went to school, what your job is, or how hard you work. And although he went through ROTC and 4 years of dental school as a 1st lutinent, none of those years added to his rank so we are still at the very bottom of the "officer totem pole"
*my dearest friend here in Mountain Home who may be having a miscarriage.
*a sweet newborn baby, born with a severe heart defect and whose family I love, that had open heart surgery TWICE yesterday
*and another wonderful family from our 1400 court days at the UofU. Their 5 year old son is fighting for his life right now with stage IV Neuroblastoma Cancer.

Most of these people live far away so I made phone calls and emails and texts to let them know I was thinking of them. I focused my energy on my own little family and the gratitude I have in my heart. And I picked up the kids from school and took a Cheesecake to my friend, because what else can you do? Pray and bring food.

When Landon saw me bring in the Cheescake to someone else he threw a fit. A real, fist flying, tears falling, fit. I couldn't believe it. My OLDEST, ALMOST 8 YEAR OLD child was crying because I was giving someone else a cheescake and none of it was for him. I felt like I had failed as a mom. I haven't taught him that service is one of the true joys in life? I haven't taught him that giving is better than recieving because it not only makes you happy but someone else? I haven't taught him empathy? Something HAS to be done about this.

My thoughts turned to the Brite Series my mom had my brother and I listen to as kids. I still remember a few of the books on tape: Courage, Cleanliness, Honesty, Gratitude Attitude. I wished for those tapes. I planned a Family Home Evening lesson on not just being grateful, but showing our gratitude through our attitude and actions. We read the story of the 10 lepers from the New Testament and talked about how showing our gratitude brings us even more blessings and makes our lives more full.

We talked about ways we can show our gratitude for having brothers: giving in instead of fighting, letting the other one chose where he wants to sit at dinner time, helping the other one clean his room, asking before taking a toy....
We talked about ways to show gratitude for our parents: obeying, not crying when you can't do exactly what you want when you want to, talking nicely to them...
And we talked about ways to show gratitude for the blessings God has given us: following the commandments, saying thank you in our prayers, serving others...
Then we made this:This turkey has things we're grateful for written on his feathers. But his tummy (a jar) is empty. As I catch the kids doing thoughtful things, like being a good sport during a game, instead of quiting because you're losing, or doing a little act of service, we will write them down and put them in the turkey's tummy. The plan is to fill up the jar before Christmas and use it as a segway from Thanksgiving to Christmas: Celebrating Christ's birth and life and the blessings that have come from that by showing him our Grattitude Attitude.

My hope is that our family will be a little more unified as we focus on serving eachother. And that the kids will think of others a little more often. And, next time I bring someone a cheescake maybe I'll get a response more like, "That looks good. I hope they'll like it as much as I would."


{D A R T H} Yes. As in Vader

It's his new theme song.

I heard it when I went looking for him and found that he had dragged the step stool from the downstairs bathroom into Landon's room. His mission: to disassemble each of the *19* "extra-special" Lego creations Landon has displayed on top of his dresser.

I heard it again when I found him dumping the cereal boxes all over the pantry floor, one by one.

And again. He came into my bathroom with some Star Wars "guys" he had pilfered out of Landon's closet. He was humming the tune while he slowly took them apart, leaving a helmet here and a leg there.

In fact he's singing it now; he's supposed to be sleeping, but I can hear the song, and I can hear some toy he managed to sneak into his crib. Or did he somehow get it out of the basket of toys near his crib? Either way. It's almost 10:00pm, he's not sleeping, he's playing with a toy, and he's singing Darth Vader's anthem.

This is how he's happiest. The first thing he does when he wakes up is put on his "football dose". Then when no one's looking he sneaks into Austin's room for a pair of socks (they're easier to pull on over pajamas, I guess). He doesn't eat breakfast with the other two kids because he's noramlly still asleep. So lots of days he gets a Nutrigrain bar in the car on the way to drop off Austin at preschool; the reason for his messy face. If I'm lucky I can coax him out of his football gear, socks, and jammies long enough to change his diaper and put real clothes on him - as long as he can put the socks and costume back on over his clothes. Then the "Darth" really comes out in him and the chaos starts.

Here's a video of him singing his song. It doesn't quite do it justice because, well, he's performing. He's really much better at singing this song when he thinks no one's looking and he's doing something naughty, like squeezing the toothpaste all over the bathroom floor.


home S T R E T C H

third trimester...countdown begins...braxton hicks...excited...anxious...can't get enough done - nesting has taken over like never before...stretch marks for the first time (thought I was lucky enough not to experience that one)...ice cream and herbal tea...another 3 pounds went on the scale this month...hoping the holidays will make time move faster...waiting...waiting...can't sleep...loving the acrobatics this baby can do...can't find clothes to fit...another ultrasound with the answer we've been waiting for...


Time To...

I really love this time of year. A season for reflecting on our blessings and the things we're most thankful for... the perfect way to get ready to celebrate the birth of Christ during Christmas.

I've been working on my "picture of the day" album and decided to post a few of our families recent happenings. Most of my POTD's lately have been of us just hanging out in our family room. We haven't been doing a whole lot "fun and exciting" things. That's what I love about taking a picture every day. It's just us doing what we do. And that is first on my list of "T H A N K F U L' S" Here's the rest {in no particular order...}
  • spending this Thanksgiving in Utah - the first Thanksgiving in 5 years be with our families.
  • amoxocilin and fioricet - two drugs that I am very very grateful for right now - thanks to the amoxocilin my sinus infection is on the mend and I can function again. As for the fioricet - it's a migraine killer. Pregnancy has taught me that migraines are NOT just a headache. Thank goodness for medicine that is safe for babies in utero too.
  • F a m i l y N i g h t - I feel like I am ALWAYS trying to beat the clock: Running errands before school pick up or getting something done before I have to feed the kids (again!). Especially after 3:00 it's a non-stop whirlwind of after-school snacks, homework, dinner, dishes, baths, teeth brushing, and on and on... To fit family night in I try to simplify dinner, even if that means paper plates, on Mondays and focus on a nice, relaxed evening - instead of a rushed one. Our FHE lessons are simple (a scripture story from the gospel art kit and a prayer) and our activities are simple (usually a game). That's why I love Family Night. It's a no-stress night to hang out and forget about the clock for a little while and focus on just being together.
  • herbal tea - the perfect way to end the night

  • books - the world just isn't right if I don't have a good book to read at night
  • Landon's "talented and gifted" program and our own at-home incentive programs. I don't know if he really is "GIFTED". He's very very smart. And he's definitely in need of more challenging work than his second grade class is getting. He's been having a bit of a struggle lately because when he finishes his work before the other kids he gets stuck with another worksheet. His mind wonders a lot during class because he "gets" the concepts quicker than a lot of the kids, and then he starts singing to himself or tapping on his desk. So, he's been getting in trouble and,the perfectionist that he is, can't stand to be in trouble. And he shows it by crying, and I get a phone call and it's just been a crazy cycle. FINALLY, a spot opened up in a science based TandG program that isn't just more worksheets and homework. The kids actually get to apply the math and science knowledge they're learning. Once a week Landon gets his "reward" for doing extra homework by getting to go. Along with that, we've implemented some incentive programs at home for good behavior at school that really seem to be working. He hasn't had his name on the board in two and half weeks ( a huge accomplishment, since it was almost daily a month ago). The crying has gotten better, thanks to some parenting techniques I've picked up. And, although he has a bad "cry day" here and there it's really been improving. I'm VERY thankful for this one. {here's the "rubber band car" he made in his special science class}

  • getting organized. I finally have my house ALMOST how I want it - as far as organization goes. (decorating, on the other hand...)I have plans for what's not done yet. I feel so much better about it.

  • socks, blocks, gloves, old Halloween costumes, and toy cars - I am thankful for the time these things give me. Besides the occasional help with putting something on and a quick, "yep, you did build a big tower!" I can get dishes done, clothes folded, or other 20-30 minute chores done, relatively interruption free. AND, when Austin's at preschool (as in not bothering him!), Zac can pretty much keep himself entertained with just these things the whole two hours so I can usually get a lot done those mornings.
  • Mother's intuition. I just had a feeling I needed to get Austin's allergies checked again. I'm glad I did. Of course his peanut allergy is VERY severe but it's escalated to ALL nuts and some legumes, including peas and lentils. Worse, though, is that his M I L K allergy is BACK. Over the past couple months he's been complaining of stomach-aches and his skin is pretty much ALWAYS broken out, also he started drooling again (caused by swelling in the throat). Now we know why. He also has allergies to enviromental things like cats and mold but the worst one is dust. I'm on orders to dust our house twice a week and vacuum at least every other day. So far we don't have to take him off eggs again, so baking will still be easier than before but I am having a hard time finding dairy replacements at the grocery stores here in Mtn. Home...

  • which brings me to the next one - Boise. Although, I really hate the 45 minute drive to get there (and the other 45 minutes it takes to get home) I'm glad it's there. The places I like to shop best are there plus there are health food stores there that will make it easier for me to feed Austin. This is our POTD on the day he got his allergy test - 30 "pokes" in all.

  • Ben and Jerry Ice Cream - it's not just the pregnancy eating. It saved us the other night! I made the most HORRIBLE dinner ever. I don't know what happened but none of us could eat it. I pulled out some canned peaches for nutrition's sake and then we made banana splits with my favorite new flavor of Ben and Jerry's - Cheesecake Brownie. Landon said at least three times, "this is the BEST dinner ever!!" Seriously? Of course ice cream for dinner is the best! (I know I look tired!! I'm tankful for sleep too - hopefully, I'll sleep a little better after this baby is OUT - well, at least eventually)
  • candy to bribe the girls in my Young Women's (church) class - it's really the best way to get them to participate.

  • And speaking of church - Landon wrote his own part for the primary program last Sunday. SO cute. He asked Cameron where the Word of Wisdom is located in the scriptures, picked out a verse, and talked about it. All on his own. It was a little out of sync with the program but it worked. And he was proud of himself and so were Cameron and I.

  • Isaac kisses. He loves giving kisses. When he sees me in the morning I get somthered with 'em. He also kisses his favorite things - even the toothpaste (he LOVES toothpaste).
  • Potty talk - never thought I'd say it but right now I am thankful for potty talk. Usually, I try to put a stop to it. Maybe that's why this worked so well. I've been working with Austin on his reading and the "sounding it out" thing just wasn't sinking in. Finally, I decided to write down potty words: fart, poo, toot, bum, pee. I told him if he could read the word it would make him really happy and I promised him a good laugh. Well, he took me up on it and instead of just guessing what the words were he actually sounded them out. Each time he read a word he laughed hysterically and said, "good one, Mom!" Now, he's more interested in learning to read and he's actually trying. I'm guessing a month or so and he'll be reading his first book on his own.


H A L L O W E E N 2009

A week of fun...FUN...fun
class parties, church party, trunk or treat, halloween lunch with friends, halloween officer social with WAY too much food {especially strawberry flavored marshmallows...remember when Isaac ate that W H O L E bag of marshmallows...}, parent teacher conferences, trick or treating, costumes everyday - and hot gluing ninja stars back on a mask that didn't even get worn, and sewing back together a football helmet that got worn W A Y too much, candy, candy, candy

Just before Trick Or Treating Isaac hit his temple onthe tailgate of Cameron's truck. A quick trip to Walmart for butterfly bandages and he was as good as new. You wouldn't believe how many people thought it was part of his costume. It really did add to the "tough football player" look.
got these pictures before the "tailgate incident"!

couldn't resist this picture - looks like he's visualizing the win before the game...

Land-o was SO happy to wear his CLONE TROOPER costume. He did his own hair about three times to make sure no hair would show when his helmet was on.

Austin had a bit of a rough day - he COULD NOT wait for the trick-or-treating to begin and had a hard time channeling his energy... I got ONE picture before he was off and running again. The lighting is off but at least he looks cute! Aust chose his costume based on the cool "light up feature". He's been telling everyone that will listen that his costume lights up. He also LOVES his ninja "battle damage".