Monday, January 23, 2012

nursery age!

Owen graduated from nursery, and Weston started nursery.  This is very exciting!  This active, non-lap sitting kid can now play during the 2nd and 3rd hours of church.  We don't have to try to entertain him, keep him quiet, clean up drool off the seats, or wander the hallways with him.  Separation anxiety or tears when we left him in nursery?  Not a chance.  He never looked back.  The hard part is getting him to LEAVE nursery.  Nursery is a great place to be! 


I've been seeing lots of posts about new sunbeams - we've got one too.  At the beginning of the year, Owen started going to primary.  He's no longer in nursery, but is now with the 3 year old class.  He's done great being in with the big kids.  (Now, if only I could convince him to wear big kid underwear...)  

The activity day girls helped make these picture ABC quiet books for the new sunbeams.  The idea came from one of the young women at church in Oklahoma who made a book for each of the nursery kids (Jared got one).  Here are a few of the pages.  

weekend fun

Here are a couple of more pictures from the weekend when my parents were here.  On Friday night, they watched the boys while Alex and I went to the new Sherlock Holmes movie.  We can't remember the last time we went to see a movie in the theater.  It was nice, except for being asked by someone in front of us to be more quiet with our popcorn bag.  We didn't realize we were being so loud...  

On Monday morning, we went on a short hike to see butterflies.  Love butterflies.  The boys loved picking up the ones off the ground with sticks.   

 (thanks for the picture Mom!)

 We went out to eat on Saturday night to Chili's and to a local hamburger place on Monday for lunch (didn't take any pictures at lunch, but here's a funny one from Chili's).  Weston loves chips & salsa!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's great to be 8!

My parents were here last weekend.  It was great to have them here for Nathan's birthday party, but what they really came for was Nathan's baptism.  We had his party in the morning and baptism in the afternoon.  It was a busy weekend, but we loved it.  

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe that the age of accountability is 8 years old.  When 8, children can choose to be baptized and then confirmed, which means to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.  After Nathan was baptized and confirmed, he officially became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  And while he may not fully understand this yet, he made promises to take upon him the name of Christ, to always remember Him, and keep the commandments.  Here is a talk on baptism (being "born again") if you're interested.  

The program was short and sweet.  We sang a couple of primary songs about baptism and the Holy Ghost.  I love the words to these songs, so I'll share those.  

When I am Baptized
"I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain and ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again... I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away, and I can be forgiven and improve myself each day. I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.  I want to be the best I can and live with God again."

The Holy Ghost
"When Christ was on the earth, He promised He would send the Holy Ghost to comfort us, our true, eternal friend.  The Holy Spirit whispers with a still small voice.  He testifies of God and Christ and makes our hearts rejoice.  And when we are confirmed by sacred priesthood power, the Holy Ghost is given to us to guide us every hour.  Oh, may I always listen to that still small voice.  And with his light I'll do what's right each time I make a choice."

My dad gave a wonderful talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost (Nathan requested him to give the talk).  Alex performed the baptism and confirmation.  If you're wondering about that, Alex does have the priesthood authority to do that.  We believe that you must be baptized by one holding the proper authority, just as Jesus sought out John the Baptist because he had the authority to baptize.  I'm grateful that Alex is worthy to have the priesthood.  (Not only can he baptize, but he can also give blessings of comfort or healing when we're sick or in special need.  The kids receive blessings before the beginning of the school year.  I have gotten a priesthood blessing before each of my C-sections.  The boys will prepare to receive the Aaronic priesthood when they're 12, which will prepare them to receive the Melchizedek priesthood which Alex and many others hold.  These priesthood blessings must be given by someone with proper authority, but can be given to anyone who asks.  You don't have to be a member of the church to receive a priesthood blessing.  So just in case any of you out there are in need of special comfort or blessings, ask a worthy priesthood holder in our church.  We believe that these blessings are from God and it's comforting to know and feel of His love, and we can also gain direction or peace in the Lord's will for us personally.)  

Anyway, I went off on a tangent, but it was neat to see Alex perform those ordinances.  My dad also participated in the confirmation.  My mom gave the closing prayer.  We're glad they could be here.  Nathan sang a solo as part of the program.  He did a great job singing "I Will Follow God's Plan" - here are the words to that song:   

"My life is a gift; my life has a plan.  My life has a purpose; in heaven it began.  My choice was to come to this lovely home on earth and seek for God's light to direct me from birth.  I will follow God's plan for me, holding fast to his word and his love.  I will work, and I will pray; I will always walk in his way.  Then I will be happy on earth and in my home above."  

We can't take pictures during the ordinances or the program, so I may have to get Nathan to sing the song again here at home.  

We gave Nathan his own set of scriptures with his name on it.  He has already started reading from them.  Nathan is such a good kid, and it was great to see him make this important step in his life and set a good example for his younger brothers.  We love you Nathan! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The big 8!

Nathan turned 8 a couple weeks ago.  Eight is a big birthday, because that's when you're old enough to be baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (more on the baptism later).  The morning of his birthday was a little disappointing, besides the bacon, eggs, and pancakes for breakfast.  Alex and Weston were still out of town on Nathan's birthday, so we didn't do all the presents right away.  He was pretty disappointed to see "only 3 presents" on the table in the morning.  I told him more were coming later.  It was even more disappointing when 2 of them were clothes.  He opened up the football later with Alex watching via Skype.  He was excited to use a gift card to pick out a lego set.  We had McDonald's for dinner, but his favorite part of the day was getting to watch the National Championship football game.  The only problem was he was rooting for LSU.  Not a great game for them.  (Nathan has always really liked LSU.  Originally I think he really liked their mascot, the tiger, but then jumped on the band wagon when he realized they were a really good team.  Nathan loves to watch college sports.  He begs to get on-line and watch games or check scores.) 

Alex brought home a big lego set that Nathan loves.  (We have legos everywhere now!)

Here's a picture of Nathan's party invite from the computer screen (can't figure out how to make a jpg out of the word document and the color cartridge is printing blue for the green).

We had Nathan's friend party on Saturday morning the 14th.  He requested a football party, so we invited about 10 kids to play flag football at the park.  Alex and my dad organized the game (thankfully).  I made a football cake, which eventually came out (I ended up using a whole thing of chocolate frosting on the ball.  The sides kept crumbling off, so I kept adding more frosting "mortar" until it stuck.  It was a late night/early morning project.)   We had "half time snacks" - orange slices, gatorade, chips, and cake.  I made chocolate Rice Krispie footballs with white chocolate decorating for gift favors (these may be out there somewhere on-line, but as far as I know these were my own creation).  I don't know if everyone loved playing football, but Nathan had a great time!  We may have to get these boys together more often to play sports.  

Here's one short little clip - It's hard to see who's who, but Nathan is there at the end, pulling the flag.  He was pretty good at snatching the flags.

Friday, January 20, 2012

While Weston was gone...

...Owen had one-on-one time with mama!  We went on some extra outings to the park and zoo.  It sure is much easier with one happy kid.  Owen is a pretty good kid when he doesn't have those pesky brothers bothering him or stealing attention.  

We always have to see the elephants, but this outing he really enjoyed the gorillas.  I think we watched them for 30 minutes, especially since one of them came and sat right next to the glass.  

Weston in OK

Looking at the last post, it appears that Weston is still in Oklahoma... he is back home.  He and Alex had a nice visit.  They were there for almost a week.  He got to open some more presents when he got there.  He loved "helping" with some yardwork, otherwise known as clinging to a big shovel while Alex and uncle Jim worked.  Weston had a cheese eating contest with Papa John and looked at goats and rocks with Grandma.  I'm not sure what else they did, but they had a fun time!  

Most of the time, Weston spent pointing at things.  He followed the dogs around, trying to say dog, but with only "uhnnnnnn" coming out.  He did go from a single grunt "uh" to a longer sound - progress.   He sure loved the dogs!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

off to OK...

Two of my favorite people flew to Oklahoma to visit grandma and grandpa.  Alex's parents hadn't met Weston yet, and we wanted to take advantage of Weston still flying for free.  We'll see how he does without his brothers and mama.  I think he was pretty clingy to Alex.  I don't really know how he's doing, but I'm having attachment issues... miss my little guy.  It's been a little strange not having him toddling around or sitting in my lap while I'm on the computer or drooling all over me or pointing at what he wants.  I hope they're having fun!  (I miss Alex too, but I'm used to him being gone and he's not with me 24/7.)  :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Joshua Tree

We're making the most of the recreational opportunities in CA - we took a couple of days and visited Joshua Tree National Park.  Desert is not my favorite landscape, but it does have its own beauty.  It was interesting to see the difference between the Colorado and Mojave Deserts.  I definitely liked the joshua trees in the Mojave Desert, but the cholla cactus garden in the Colorado desert was also interesting.  I didn't get our own pictures of the cholla - unfortunately our camera got sand in the lens and broke halfway through the 1st day.  (Luckily I had already taken several pictures before that to document our trip...)  The boys loved climbing on the rocks and there was plenty of dirt!

Here are a couple of cool pictures that I found on-line of the cholla cactus garden:

2012 calendar (silly)

Here are some photos, in case you need some for your custom-made calendar...


Alex's brother Jim is the lucky recipient of this fun calendar!  It's in the mail.

Happy New Year!

another temple

The Redlands, CA temple - I think this may be our 20th temple as a couple.  The session I happened to be there for was a special Tongan session, which means I got to participate with a group of Tongan members of the church.  It was interesting to hear it in Tongan (although I did have headphones to translate into English).  

Grandpa Bob's gift

My grandparents sent money to the boys for Christmas.  Instead of buying more toys, we decided to buy an annual museum membership.  We made our first visit and enjoyed it!  They had a special Christmas pinata the day we went.  The boys liked the archaeological dig (of course they all love dirt!) and we enjoyed all the animal exhibits.  We are glad we can go back again - this is the gift that keeps giving all year.

Christmas morning

We had Alex's family watching the present opening via Skype.  (In one of the videos, you'll notice Owen taking his gift over to the computer to thank Aunt Jane.)

I also got to join in on my family's Christmas celebrating on Skype.  My siblings and I put together a special gift for my parents, with written letters and a Willlow Tree nativity.  We each wrote a note corresponding to one of the characters from the nativity.  My person was Mary, so I related my experiences to her and to being a mother.  We also shared our (written) testimonies of Jesus Christ, which went with the shepherds, who after seeing the Savior went and made known abroad what they had seen.  I would have loved to actually be there with my family,  but I was grateful to be able to watch and listen.  Technology is amazing.  I'm sure I missed a yummy dessert though...

Right before bed, the boys remembered about the race cars they got and had fun playing with them.  The loop was a little hard to do with the crank shift power, so they had to keep manually moving the car back on the track.  We got a kick out of Owen cheering "Go Dad-da go!"

My favorite toy of the day, and I don't even know who gave it to us, was this Perplexus ball:
 It has a little metal ball that you have to work through a maze and into a little pocket at the end.  I had to work on it until I was successful.  Addicting toy.

Thank you for all the gifts - we are so spoiled!  

Christmas Day

Christmas Eve traditions

On Christmas Eve, we have a couple of traditions.  One is from my family, a candlelight reading of the Christmas story along with singing hymns.  Even though the boys don't sing much yet, I still love this tradition.  Nathan was able to do some of the reading this year.  I loved seeing Weston gaze into the candlelight.  Another tradition is having a small party for Jesus, where we each make a "wish" - a New Year's resolution - followed by blowing out a candle.  The boys love this, and you can see that Weston enjoyed his cupcake.  Actually, he sneezed right into his cupcake and got frosting all over the side of his face.  After cupcakes, we let the boys open a present - pajamas (and some other clothes).  I always intend to make the party a little bit more fancy, but once again it was just a really simple party.  Maybe better planning next year.