Saturday, January 30, 2010

January Family Fun Day

Erin got a free bowling coupon for the whole family from school, so even though our kids are little, we decided to go. They had a lot of fun picking up the heavy 6 pounders and pushing them down the kiddie ramp. They also had the bumpers up so it was pretty sweet for everyone. (Spoiled kids. I never got the bumpers or the ramp as a kid.)

Alex seemed a little wary at first, but after a couple of balls he definitely got the hang of it. Get the ball, push it down the ramp, and then skip/wander/run off the other direction before even seeing how many pins the ball hit. Inconsequential. I love kids. And there were only a couple of smashed fingers from the ball return. Not bad.

Marissa kept trying to pick up the balls, which was funny. I think she got one and realized how big and heavy it was. That's when she found that running away from mommy was just as much fun. We even let her roll a ball down the ramp.

Erin did really great with it too. With that ramp, does anyone see a reason for her needing bowling shoes? Really, what's the point other than spreading foot germs? Just an observation. She got the idea of wanting to knock down the pins, but she definitely didn't catch on to the whole scoring thing (other than wanting to beat Alex). We were so excited when she got a strike, but she was mad because she only got to bowl one ball that frame. Not fair! No amount of "really, that's the best thing to get" and "that's what everyone wants" would change her mind about her bad luck.

I've heard some people bowl better when they are pregnant. Evidently that is true because I got the family high score, 146! But it was really no thanks to me. After two frames I realized it was too painful, not to mention the lousy shoes I got. That was very frustrating. It's not like I was trying to ride a bucking bronco, I was bowling. Basically taking 4 long steps and gently rolling 8 lbs down the lane. Nope, I couldn't do it. (I've been going to a new chiropractor and finally found out why I've had months of pain. Evidently my pelvis is misaligned on one side, and therefore, no bowling.) I took one more crack at it with the ramp but didn't see much improvement in my score; plus, it was kind of embarrassing. So I gave the rest of the game to Jared. He got to try cool tricks and experiment with his curve ball, and he ended up beating himself. Thanks again!

All in all, a very fun time. One game was the perfect length of time for the kids too. Hopefully more of those coupons will come our way. By the way, we survived the cold snap. It was rough, but we made it and are back into the 70's and 80's. Perfect winter temps!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I started out the year really good. I wrote a sizable list of resolutions. I actually couldn't wait to put some of these things into practice since I didn't have to worry about school taking over my life anymore. I know it's almost February, but luckily "don't procrastinate" wasn't one of my goals. So here they are (most of them anyway):

- Go to bed by 11:00 (start getting ready at 10:00)
This one seems really easy for most people, but going to bed has always been a struggle for me. Even as a child I resisted it so much that my parents would put all the kids to bed except for me and I'd fall asleep on the stairs almost every night. In college I always had to be the last one up for some strange reason, like I might miss something if I went to bed. As an infant my parents would put me in a little seat in their room while they fell asleep with the light on, just so I could be awake at night. What gives? I was born this way. And it doesn't matter how tired I am, I still really struggle with it. Sometimes I'm too tired to get ready for bed. I don't think most people understand this. They just look at me and say, "Hello?... just go to bed already!" But that's like me telling someone who struggles with FHE, "Duh... just have Family Home Evening, how hard is that?" To me, going to bed at a good hour is my hardest goal! That's why it's first. Still working on this one.
- Get up at 7:00 to read, pray, ponder and write.
Again, seems like a pretty easy one. Trust me, I know 7:00 isn't that early, but it's still the crack of dawn in my eyes--and I'm pregnant. You know, tired?
- Create and follow a meal plan
I made a 10 week meal plan last semester with all the menus to boot. It worked great, but there are definite revisions that need to be made to it and it'll take some effort to implement it.
- Don't dread bedtime/make it special
I've been trying to just enjoy the process of putting the kids to bed. It may have something to do with my own aversion to bedtime. It might also be easier if kids obediently changed into their own pajamas, teeth got willingly and thoroughly brushed, reading the scriptures wasn't intermingled with jumping on the bed, and tucking them in meant they wouldn't get out again. Call me crazy.
Read two books a month
Not hard for the general population, but a struggle for me. Am I revealing too much about myself? Oh, and I can't count children's books.
Do dishes, laundry, beds and clean in the morning and pick up before daddy gets home
I'm still figuring out the whole "homemaker" thing
- Create/follow a chore chart for the kids
- Do something to serve/help neighbors and friends weekly
Hmmm... I've watched people's kids. Not much else in the service department, but I plan on it.
- Have a family fun day monthly
January, check.
- Go to the temple 9 times this year
Excuses, excuses. But, I do foresee this being hard with babysitting, having a new baby and the temple being so far away. Here's hoping.
- Complete a new project every week (i.e. organize a closet, paint garage, etc.)
No projects started yet
Keep a record of our lives through the blog and digital scrapbooking
Finally, one that I've made progress on!
Eat more fruits and vegetables
I did great for a couple of weeks, even eating salad almost every night. That's over. Back to the farmer's market.
- Take piano lessons and find time to practice daily
Sad. This one not only doesn't fit into the budget right now, but I realized that my kids will not let me play without doing one or more of the following: pulling my hands off the keys, sitting on my lap, standing on the keys, pushing me off the bench, turning the pages of music, pounding on the keyboard, or just screaming. My dream has been temporarily dashed and hopefully postponed to a better time of life (is there one?)

This year I have decided to have much lower expectations for myself. While I do think most of these are worthy goals and are by no means unattainable, I also just want a low key year. After so many years of late nights, projects and lots of babysitting worries, I want to be able to spend as much time at home as I can. I won't be running any marathons or making extreme travel plans. I won't be signing up for crazy classes or landscaping my yard. Low expectations.

A friend's blog inspired me to have a word for the year. I tossed a few around, like "lazy" for one, but finally came up with my 2010 word: ENJOY. My goal is to enjoy my children while they are little, to enjoy teaching them, hugging them, watching them, laughing at the cute things they say. I want to enjoy being what I am, a stay at home mom with responsibilities and lots of free time. I will enjoy my husband more, my friends more and the beauty that is all around me. I will enjoy my favorite shows (got to be realistic here). I will enjoy taking pictures of my family and making scrapbook pages. And as always, I will enjoy my personal therapy sessions, also known as blogging; and I will enjoy reading other great blogs along the way.

Happy New Year almost February, 2010!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Hobby

One of my goals for this year was to start digital scrapbooking. I've always enjoyed scrapbooking, but I've seen some really awesome digital pages, so I wanted to give it a try. My other reasons were having more time now that I'm out of school and being able to put some of my knowledge of digital media that I learned in school to use, not to mention the fact that I already purchased the CS4 Adobe Suite student version (and I don't want to forget how to use it :)

I just started a few days ago and I am loving it! It is way easier and faster than regular scrapbooking, and there are so many cool papers, letters and embellishments that you can easily download. Everything I've used so far has been free. It is sweet! It's inexpensive and the possibilities for creativity are endless. No more buying stuff at the scrapbook store or choosing pictures to develop, and the best part is I can close my laptop whenever someone starts to climb on me (which is a lot).

This was my first layout which I did in Photoshop, though I'm not sure why I used that program. It turned out okay, but part way through I realized that Photoshop is best for editing photos and certain effects you can't do in other programs and not for doing layouts. The layers can be annoying and text is horrible, in comparison.

All the other layouts were done in InDesign and were much faster to put together. If anyone has a chance to use it, or even get a trial version, I strongly recommend this program. It is made for layouts. Text boxes are extremely easy to edit and each thing you place in the layout is it's own object that you can arrange to be in front of or behind other objects (so you don't have to worry about layers). Sizes of all objects are really easy to adjust in InDesign too. Most of the effects that you use also work in this program. If you need to, you can create a photoshop file (.psd) and then place it in your InDesign layout. Then if you edit the photoshop file it will automatically be updated in InDesign, because all the Adobe programs are linked like that. It's pretty cool.

Thanks to my friends that inspired me to start by posting some of their awesome digital pages! My only reservation about it is how it might affect my blog--because I kind of like the blog too. If I already blogged about something, it makes me not want to scrapbook about it and vice versa. Hmmm. But I really enjoy it and I figure everything I do is a form of family history so whether it's on the blog or in a scrapbook, it's something, right?

Monday, January 18, 2010


You would think the title of this post would be about how elated we are that Marissa has reached that magical nursery age, but you'd be wrong...

I said I was going to write about my emotional breakdowns. One occurred last Sunday. I was already having a not so good morning, but church was all right until I got asked to speak with one of the counselors in the bishopric. Now, I have never cried when I got a calling before. I cried when I got released from a calling, but never a minute after they told me what a new calling was, and we are not talking tears of joy or "feel the spirit" tears. That new calling, of course, was nursery leader.

Honestly, before I had kids I would not have known what to do with kids this age. My only real experience with kids was babysitting 6 rowdy hooligans on a regular basis in middle school that I had absolutely no control over. They all survived, but it was not for any talent I had with children. At least now I am used to little kids and my vocabulary already consists of phrases like "we don't hit", "we don't color on the table", "puzzle pieces aren't for eating", "go throw that chewed up cheese that you threw on the floor in the garbage", and "someone smells poopy". You would think there would be no problem with this calling.

So why did I cry? Honestly, I don't know. I feel bad for the counselor giving the calling, especially since he is a good friend of ours, but I couldn't hold it back. I quickly said, "I guess so. Can I go to class today?" and headed straight to the handicapped stall to dramatically slide down the wall, sit on the cold tile and cry out the rest of Sunday School (it's always worth it to slide down the wall). So lame, I know. I didn't have a problem with the calling per se, in fact I thought nursery would have been a great place to be 6 or 8 months ago when I was in the hall doing nothing with my pre-nursery aged child. But to call me now? When I spent a good part of a year counting down until I could happily hand my child to someone else in charge of nursery, go to class and find out I am still using the manual two prophets ago (because that was the last time I went)? When I am going to have a baby in 5 months and feel like this is my only window to breathe before "it" starts all over again? When I already spend all my time with children this age? It was slightly hard to understand.

I wasted the last opportunity to go to class and had a good breakdown instead. But I have since come to terms with the calling. I still don't think I'm cut out for this age, but I'm okay with it. It's like coming to terms with the fact that going to church with a 12 month old means standing in the hall for two (or three) hours. I had a hard time with this the first time around, but it's been so many years now that yes, I have come to this realization. I had expected to be able to go to class, but it was not to be. Surely when my child bearing days are over or when I'm in retirement I will not have these same feelings. I just know that church for now will mean chasing after Marissa for the first hour (because if I try to stay with the other kids while Jared takes her, Alex screams for daddy--so it's always me in the hall) and back with the little kids for the rest of the time.

I'm still trying to make some sense of it all. Maybe I need to spend even more time with Marissa for some reason. Maybe I need to learn to love that age even more. Maybe it's just a test of my faith. But whatever the reason, I am the new nursery leader and you better believe I will be chowing down on the snacks faithfully every Sunday. Hey, pregnancy has some perks, like "needing" to eat every couple of hours and having emotional breakdowns and being able to say, "yeah well, I'm pregnant."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wilma or Willis?

All right, I'm actually saving those names for if I ever have boy/girl twins. But the exciting news is that I have a due date, which is June 5th, and that we found out what we are having... a BOY!! This works out great for many obvious reasons like the fact that we only have two kid bedrooms, that it's much more Brady Bunch-ish, that Alex will have someone to wrestle with (that may agree to wrestle back), and that I'm sort of into even numbers. No pressure on this baby, but all the other kids were born on even years, months and days. 06/08/10 sounds good, right?

Evidently I am 20 weeks today, the half-way mark. Yay! It also means that this will be the fourth June birthday in the family (Jared, Marissa, Erin and baby), which is fine except that we are already out of space on the birthday calendar. We may just have to reduce the font to 6 or something. At least I'm used to saying "I'm due in June." I'm hoping there will be some sort of advantage with so many June birthdays. Anyone know of any? Free ice cream on your birthday month? Anything.

It was nice to see that everything looked great on the ultrasound and just so you know, he was not at all shy about being a boy. Overall I am very lucky when it comes to pregnancy. My only real symptoms this time are mosquito bite like itching mainly on my legs and arms (a rare and harmless, yet pesky side effect), the same lower back pain I had with Marissa (that I'm hoping will go away some time after the baby comes), being extremely tired (I don't remember being this tired with Alex or Marissa-Erin, yes), and not being able to go a week without having an emotional breakdown (more on this one later). At least I never get really sick. Jared turned to me after the ultrasound and said "Laura, if we decide to have any more kids, let's wait a long time before we do." And I couldn't agree more. Sometimes it's really hard having this many kids that are so little and being pregnant. But like I said, more on this later. I just know that it is right for our family, even if it's not always easy.

And here are the images of our 11 oz. creation. Cute kid, right?Leg, foot and five little toes. Aww.Like I said, not shy about the boy thing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You know it's cold in Florida when...

You have to turn on your heat for the first time since last year and you get that "first heat of the year smell"

You get a call from the elementary school advising you of the severe temperatures and to dress your child warmly

Your son can't understand why he should wear pants if he's not going to church (and he doesn't)

Walmart and Target have completely sold out of coats in one week

You don't let your kids play outside because it's too cold, when usually it's because it's too hot

You have to wear socks

Your husband gets an email from human resources explaining that the building does not have heat and other arrangements should be made

Your daughter only has three long sleeved shirts and she's already worn them all to school this week

Your friends from Utah make fun of you for wearing flannel pants, a sweater and wrap yourself in a blanket when they opened the window at night because they were too hot

You can't find enough blankets

You don't want to take a shower because being wet sounds way too cold

Your child won't go in the garage because it's too cold

You are afraid your baby will freeze to death at night because she won't keep blankets on

You go to the doctor and he tells you this is the first time he realized the building didn't have heat

You get an email from the university advising you to be careful how you heat your rooms

You don't go to the store (or anywhere) because it's just too cold

You make hot chocolate and your kids can't figure out what you are drinking because they've never seen it before

You are surprised that you found 3 hot chocolate packets in the house

You make soup for dinner to warm you up

You want to sit on the couch all day wrapped in a blanket

You have to scrounge around for your 10 year old nylons to wear to church

You get yelled at by another parent for picking your kid up while wearing flip flops

You have to dig around the garage for the container that says "winter clothes"

You find your husband wearing a jacket in bed


If you haven't noticed, we 1) are having a 2 week cold front and 2) are big wimps! I really don't know how anyone in cold parts of the country does anything besides hibernate and I'm not sure if I'm ready to go and do it again any time soon. We are one of the lucky families that has heat. Some of our friends are living in coats, hats and shared body heat. It's even gotten down to the mid 30's at night! So until this frigid weather blows over, you will find me in the same made fun of wool sweater sitting on the couch un-showered drinking warm liquids wrapped in the warmest blanket I can find wearing socks and all. So how's your weather?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Pregnancy Reveal

I'll start by saying that I am pregnant! A lot of people already know this, but I still want to announce it officially. I had suspected being pregnant for a little while when I was in school (partly because I always suspect it after the last time) but I was not willing to take a pregnancy test until I graduated. I guess I had enough to deal with. So one Sunday morning I took the test and confirmed the suspicion. It explains me being more tired lately anyway.

Since it was a few weeks before Christmas I thought it would be cool to go get an ultrasound and wrap that and the pregnancy test up for Jared for Christmas. But logic got the better of me (unexplained doctor's appointments, unexplained fatness, etc.) so I decided to tell him that night. I still wrapped it up and put it on his pillow. Then I asked him if he wanted an early Christmas present to which he responded, "No, that's okay. I'll just wait till Christmas." Me: "Well, I already wrapped something... it's on your pillow." Him: "No, I think I'll just wait." Me: "Um, I just really want you to open this one now." (I know, what's with this guy? Who wouldn't want a present anytime?) We had actually bought him two things already for Christmas that he was either reading or wearing, so I guess that's why he didn't want anything else. I finally got him to open it, reluctantly.

We were excited to go down to the Maternity Center where I had Alex and Marissa, but when I was almost done filling out all the papers they realized that my last two were VBAC's (vaginal birth after cesarean) and they told us that they can't do those anymore. I guess the state won't let any maternity center in Florida do them anymore. That was a definite bummer to hear, but I was also just sitting there wanting them to listen to the heartbeat or something to make sure it was real. So we got them to do a little ultrasound where I saw a heartbeat, arms, legs, etc. and it looked like it was about 15 weeks at the time. We should get another one in the next couple of weeks to pin down a due date and find out what it is.

They recommended another doctor who does a lot of VBAC's and breech babies, some crazy Russian guy, and I hope he works out this time, even though I have to start from scratch again and even though he told me my white stomach needed some sun. News for you, the only two people who ever see it were in the room. The best part about him is that he is right by Jared's work, so about 3 miles away as opposed to 45 minutes away.

We decided to "announce" the pregnancy through signing our Christmas card "Love, Jared, Laura, Erin, Alex, Marissa and ? Daniels". Evidently our subtlety passed by some people. My parents said that they already knew who it was from so why would they need to read that part? It was also fun to deliver treats to neighbors and people in our ward and have them open the card in front of us. It was interesting to see who got it right away and who never quite did. Our next step was to add the baby counter on the blog, which may or may not be correct.

And now, it's for all to see. I just wish I could tell people when I am due. I will keep you posted!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas Day

Well, here you have it. I am finally putting up the Christmas pictures. I'm still debating putting up the Halloween ones, although Erin's first day of school and our summer vacation seem a little extreme to be posting now. I think I might want to do better this year. My favorite gift for Christmas was a blog book that Jared ordered for me. It was from 2008 with a nice cover and nice pages. It was so cool to see the kids and remember the things I felt back then, like finding out I was not only pregnant, but 20 weeks pregnant. Good times. This is why I feel like adding the things I meant to blog about, but we'll see how much energy I have.

Here are the new Christmas pajamas. We are still playing with our new camera, thus the yellowness.Marissa is so funny. She is constantly "completing the circuit" as we like to say, meaning she sucks her left thumb and puts her right hand on her belly button. The pajamas were a little tricky for her because there was a big elastic band that we had to fold down over her belly button, but I think she eventually found it.
Christmas day was a success for most people. All Erin asked for was Jewelry box and some makeup which was pretty easy. My favorite present for Erin was incidentally not the makeup that I keep finding smeared on the mirror, but was the new trundle bed. It's for Erin and Alex right now and works pretty well for guests too. I love that you can just push it in and have all the floor space to play. And, unlike a bunk bed, they can still jump on it.
Alex asked for a Super Duper Computer (from Super Why?) and some dinosaurs. Seriously, these kids are so easy. I've got to enjoy this before real laptops, iphones, and expensive gaming systems show up on the lists. The Super Duper Computer has been a big hit. Here's Alex in his Super Why? costume. That's definitely his favorite show and truth be told, I'm pretty sure that's how he learned his letters. My favorite gift for Alex was a huge pack of underwear that I almost opened many times before Christmas when he kept running out.
Marissa didn't actually ask for anything so I sort of did a bad job on her. I just figured she wouldn't care too much about what she got, which was mostly true because all she wanted was what Erin and Alex got. They both got scooters, and she didn't; they both got umbrellas, and flashlights, and Super Why? costumes and she didn't. I just figured she was too young for that stuff, which she is, but I feel kind of bad anyway. Poor kid. Hey, she's lucky Santa distributed a pack of gum for everyone... he knew that would definitely be a problem. Here's the bundle of cuteness.
I did sort of a bad job on Jared too. I had good intentions but that's about it. No surprises either. Better luck next year. His favorite gift was probably his new racquetball shoes. Let me rephrase that, those were his only gift. Here we are playing Twister. You can see Erin's lovely makeup, which I think got half way used up in one day.
And just to prove how grateful we are to have stayed in Florida for Christmas this year, this is what we got to do.
Hope you all had a great Christmas too!