Life seems to pass by quickly at times, so I feel the need to document some of it.
Marissa has done some eventful things lately. She learned to do the monkey bars (and does them constantly now), she learned to ride a bike without training wheels (which took her less than 10 minutes to master--amazing!), and she stopped sucking her thumb... all in the same week. I am so proud of her for all of her accomplishments, but I'm especially happy about no more thumb sucking. I thought it was going to take a lot more than it did. She hurt her thumb somehow and had to have a band aid on it. The first night she could not sleep for hours because she was so used to having her thumb to suck. But after a few days, she just stopped, all on her own. No nagging or reminding, it was just time and she did it on her own. Love it. This is one of those times when having a bunch of kids is good because I just don't have as much time to focus on each person all the time, including the negative things like thumb sucking.
Erin stopped doing gymnastics in January and started doing Up With Kids, which is an acting/singing group. They will put on a play in April and she loves it. Probably mostly because she's with her best friend. She also did Battle of the Books this year and read all 20 books (it's a national list). They were put on different teams and competed against all the other fourth grade teams. Their team won. Then they got to compete against a team of teachers in front of the whole school and they won that too! She got a trophy and a book, and she was so proud. So was I! She loves reading. I wish I was more like her.
Alex has enjoyed doing different sports. He loved this season of Jr. Jazz Basketball and made some baskets during the games. It's fun to watch how much better second graders are compared to the first graders last year. They're getting pretty good. After that he wanted to try indoor soccer, which we are still doing. He definitely goes after the ball and gets lots of exercise each game. The last game I went to was great. They were tied 3-3 when the coach yelled, "There's only 20 seconds left, we just need one more point!" And so at the last second, someone passed the ball to Alex and he kicked it in the goal. It was pretty sweet, even if they don't actually keep score at these games.
Connor sure is a funny kid, without trying to be. He usually says something interesting in his prayers, which he still insists on saying at dinner every day. Sometimes he blesses us to not die, or that we won't do jobs, or that Jesus will come alive again. He usually does not bless the food, however. I guess blessing us to not die probably covers whatever we might eat. He has a great vocabulary and will just use different words that I didn't know he knew, like, "I'm basically done with my dinner." I wish I could remember all the funny things he says. The other day he said, "Mommy, let's play house. Let's pretend that you're the mom and I'm the kid and Hallie is the baby. And pretend your name is Laura but I just call you mom." That's when I told him I was going to do laundry, in the game of course. The other night I kissed him twice and he said, "Don't kiss me two times, only once or fwee times, because I'm fwee. It's like I'm FWEEE!" (as he waved his arms like he was free). He's also been so polite and good with asking nicely for things. Sometimes he asks for something and then says, "Wait, I forgot to say please!"
Hallie is just so cute. Everything she does is cute or funny. Everyone just loves her. It's so nice to have a baby her age because she still wants to be near me and doesn't get mad at me about much. Okay, maybe if I don't let her climb into the car by herself she gets mad, but that's about it. About a month ago, she started saying, "Uh huh" for yes and "Uh uh" for no. It was so quiet and subtle, but so sweet. She has since dropped the "Uh huh" and now just says "Uh uh" or "No" for everything, whether she means yes or no. You'll ask her if she wants breakfast and she'll say, "No" while running to the kitchen so excited to eat. She also understands a lot and will say "Kay" after we ask her to do something. It's pretty cute. Since our kids, like every other kid in this country, are obsessed with the movie "Frozen", Hallie now actually sings (belts out), "Let it go, let it go!" Funny. She will also be starting her first official week of nursery in one week. That is a pretty big and exciting day for all involved, mostly me and Jared. We've been taking her there and staying with her for a couple of months so I know she will love it.
My baby turning 18 months is also weird for me because I've always been pregnant (or just about) by the time my kids went into nursery. Not this time. It's the first time I have felt like it would not be okay to have another baby at this point. Who knows what will happen in the future (since I always imagined I'd have 6 kids), but for now, it is nice to have my own non-pregnant/non-nursing body back and to get a full night's sleep. And you know, everything else that goes along with little babies.
So, I turned 38 in February. Yikes. It's better than the alternative, but still, it's pretty old. You know that also means it's my 20 year high school reunion? Yeah, I have absolutely no desire to go. I vowed to never go to another one after my 5 year reunion. Wasn't it awkward enough in high school? Why would I want to go through that again? Plus, I already get together with the friends I would want to see anyway (and Facebook stalked everyone else I would want to know about).
On my birthday, Jared made me compete in my first racquetball tournament. It was kind of fun, but I lost every game. I did another one this weekend and lost every game again. It was not that fun. Failure is rough. Cheryl did this one with me and did way better than me. She had more fun than I did and will want to do more tournaments. I think if I actually practiced every now and then, I would get better and not lose every game, but we'll see if I can get over the "being a failure" feelings enough to sign up again. I have been really struggling lately with feelings of failure. I had a series of failures beginning in January that all added up to basically a big setback for me. It was rough. I won't go into the details, but it makes me want to close myself off into my little cave to avoid rejection and failure. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I do. It's something I need to work through, I suppose.
Jared got me my first smart phone for my birthday. It's nothing too fancy, but for me, this is a big step. It's nice to be able to take pictures and send them to people. And I'm starting to get used to the other perks of a smart phone. Welcome to like 5 years ago? The week after my birthday we went to St. George for my other present, the St. George Parade of Homes! There's probably nothing more in life that I like more than a good Parade of Homes. I dragged my whole family to three days worth. They were troopers, for the most part, even though they think it's really boring. We tried to break it up so that we'd see some in the morning, go back to the condo and swim or watch movies, then go to a few more that night. Cheryl and Lincoln came down and stayed one night, so that was fun. There were some really amazing and memorable homes. I loved it!
Jared just got a promotion at work, which is always exciting. People really like Jared and the contributions he is making at his job. This doesn't surprise me at all. I've always known what a genius he is and how he can (and will) fix anything, and who wouldn't like him? This promotion came at about the same time as his yearly raise so it is significant, for us anyway. I feel so blessed, and at the same time feel a greater responsibility to use our money in the right way for the right things. There was an excellent talk at stake conference today that basically talked about being in danger of becoming rich, and what that could do to us. Jared and I have been thinking about this a lot in the past year, about King Benjamin's counsel to give to the poor and what this really means. It is so easy to be stingy, or selfish, or think about all the other worldly things that our extra money could buy. Or to adjust your lifestyle so that there isn't any extra money anymore. I feel like it's human nature to want money and things, and I definitely feel this tendency. But I know that all that we have, everything, is from God and that we do need to use it wisely. It's definitely a balance to figure out needs vs. wants and I am constantly trying to master it.
One last (kind of) funny story. Last week, our heater stopped working. We were lucky it wasn't the middle of winter, but it was 64 degrees in our house, just a bit chilly. Jared went and fiddled with the furnace a bit before work, but we decided we should call the furnace guy. Since it is still under warranty, we would only have to pay the $75/hr. service charge. The guy took it apart and found pieces of a branch wedged in a tube that came from the intake tube from outside. He put it back together and it still didn't work. We started on the second hour when he took apart some more of the furnace and cleaned out some sawdust from another tube. When he put it back together, it still didn't work. He couldn't find anything else wrong, so he traced it outside where he saw a yellow, plastic bat sticking out of the intake tube! Apparently, my kids were using that as the perfect spot to store their weapons. In their defense, it was at the perfect height for them. And also, apparently, your furnace won't work if the air intake is blocked by a plastic bat. So, we paid $150 for the guy to take the bat out of the air intake. Sheesh! Lesson learned.