Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 5k


Christena and me before the race


Chad and Dave before the race


Christena and me after the race


Chad after the race
(I couldn't eat).


Each year our ward hosts a Memorial Day 5k Run and pancake breakfast. We have had plans to be out of town or recovering from a c-section the previous 3 years. But his year we were in town. Chad and I both decided to run it. He has been training with his friend, Dave at work for several months. Christena and I have been walking/jogging for a little while, but started training a little more intensely the past couple of weeks. We were averaging between 5 to 6 miles a day jogging/walking.

I didn't enter the race to win. In fact I was pretty confident that I would be the last one to cross the finish line. But I was determined to run the entire 3.2 miles, even if my running is slower than most people's walking. This is a really big deal for my nonathletic, super competitive self. For the first 32 years of my life, if I couldn't be the best or at least hold my own in an activity, I avoided it at all costs. (Sewing, any and all sports, playing a musical instrument, singing in public, chess, etc...). I never really bought the whole, at least you tried philosophy. Well, I have decided that I can't set that kind of example for my children. I think I missed out on a lot of fun as a kid because I was so worried about someone thinking I was really bad at something. So now that I am a mom, I am going to do things that I am really bad at. I am going to learn to sew and I am going to run in 5ks, even if I am as slow as molasses.

So I know you are wondering how I did. I ran the whole thing with my friend Christena, we didn't walk a single step. I made it in 33 minutes and 44 seconds. (Told you I am slow). The fastest time was under 19 minutes. I wasn't the slowest, though the surprising thing is, I really don't care. Finishing really was enough for me. Challenging myself has been euphoric and I am on what I suppose is a runner's high.

Chad also finished the race, though a little bit behind me. (He doesn't want me to list his time). He had injured himself training and has been limping all weekend. He has flat feet and new shoes, but he still finished. It was the longest distance he says he has ever run. Now it is my turn to embarrass him a little. Not only did my handsome hubby finish, he also stopped and helped a little 4 year old who had fallen off his bike and was crying with a skinned knee and elbow. (He plays it off and says, "Well I wasn't winning anyways" but I know he would have stopped even if he was in first place). A man that stops to help a child...well, there is nothing hotter to me than that! His kindness is why I married him. Chad, you are awesome!

Also wanted to say a special thanks to Aenea who watched my boys at the church so we could run! And to Christena who was my motivation. I couldn't have run it without you by my side the whole way!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy X th Birthday Grandmother Stone!

We went to my Grandmother's birthday celebration this weekend. My aunt had made a beautiful layered cake and had written my grandmother's age on the cake. My grandmother took one look at the cake, stuck her thumb right in the cake, and smeared the writing, so you couldn't see her age. So, to respect her wishes, I won't share her age on my blog either.

There was a ton of food at the party, guitar and piano playing of some great old country gospel music, and a playground outside. Andrew and Ryan played outside with their Daddy and had a blast while Mommy talked to the grown-ups and enjoyed the music. Everyone was right where they wanted to be and we all enjoyed ourselves.








I'm gonna catch you, you better run!


I caught you!


Life couldn't get better. I am playing catch and swinging at the same time.

Dan Nicholas Park

We went to Dan Nicholas Park for our Mommy and Me end of year field trip. That is the coolest park I have ever been to with Andrew. They have a train, a carousel, petting zoo, aquarium, natural science museum with an aquarium, and mini golf. They have fishing, pedal boats, biking, and gem mining. Lots of places to picnic. There's a campground, and a huge playground that is sectioned off into large areas for different aged children. A large portion of it is accessible for children of all abilities. Everything is close together so you don't have to walk too far, but there are walking trails if you wish to walk far. We had a really fun day! Andrew wants to go back and bring Daddy really soon! (I will post some more of our pics of all our friends on the Mommy and Me blog).





In a shocking turn of events, Andrew's favorite activity of the day was...the train ride.
We went on it twice.



Both the boys enjoyed the carousel.


Ryan's favorite was the petting zoo. He kept saying hi to all the animals and touched each one he could reach. The donkey nibbled on his fingers and Ryan was thrilled!


Fun in the water garden.


I took the two boys by myself on the pedal boats. It was an adventure. Andrew steered the boat and I pedaled. Ryan sat on my lap and endured to the end. Even the ducks were not enough consolation for his discomfort in that yucky old life jacket. But he didn't cry. (Nor did he smile).

Garden Fresh


Here are the first fruits (vegetables) of our labors. Chad and I harvested some of our mixed lettuce greens. They were delicious!

Daddy's Boy


After family prayer on Wednesday, Ryan watched Chad pick up his work bag and realized Daddy was leaving. He had a complete meltdown. Chad picked him up and snuggled with him. Then he handed him back to me. Ryan wanted nothing to do with me. He wanted his Daddy! He pitched a fit. I gave him back to Chad and he immediately stopped crying. We played this game several times until Chad realized he was going to be late for work. Ryan cried for a very long time after Chad left and just stood at the door whimpering "DaDaDaDa." You would think his Daddy would feel sorry for Ryan. But no, look closer at his face. That smirk is pure pleasure. He is so glad that Ryan is sad that he is leaving. I think it made him feel loved!

Happy Trails Slow Snails...


This week ended our Mommy and Me adventure. I have really enjoyed the year. Our little M&Ms were so good and really bonded. I will miss being together every Monday. For more of our adventures, check out our Mommy and Me blog link.

Another Andrewism

Daddy - Andrew, your shoe is a little tricky to get on. Come here. I have something that will help.

Andrew - What is it?

Daddy - It's called a shoe horn. See?

Andrew- (Pauses for moment while he looks at it)... Is it loud?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

RRRRRRRyan



Ryan has a new talent.

5 Would Be Too Many


We had two really fun birthday parties to attend today. On the way to the first, Andrew told me that two birthday parties are a lot of fun, but that 5 would be too many and would give him a tummy ache. From the looks of his face after his third piece of cake in one day, I would have to agree that 5 would be 3 too many.





The first party was a bicycle rodeo. Andrew had a blast riding his trike all over the church parking lot and making this cool bike plate. However, the highlight for him was the bicycle horn that his friend gave him as a party favor. He has enjoyed it indoors as much as we can stand and it has now joined the ranks of outside only toys.





The second party was a barnyard themed party. Andrew had told me he was not wearing a farmer's hat, he was going to wear his fireman uniform. When he saw Ryan wearing his hat, he changed his mind and brought his own farmer hat, but didn't ever actually wear it. We had a great time at this party too. We finger painted pigs with chocolate pudding, played pin the tail on the horse, duck, duck goose, and a pig corralling game.

The object of this game was for the children to use their stick horses to corral the pigs (pink balloons). Well, at the beginning most of the children did this fairly well. However, one of the balloons accidentally popped, and you can only guess what happened from there. Andrew thought the object of the game was for his horse to eat the pigs (pop the balloons) and to gobble down everyone of those little piggies that he could catch. We weren't able to get him in action, but the aftermath is also pretty funny. He is our little comedian.

Taste of Summer





Ryan has declared himself a big boy, capable of eating anything and everything that the rest of the family eats, despite the fact that he has 1 and 1/2 teeth total. He also insists that his meal look like the rest of ours. No little pieces or pureed food for this determined fellow.

$1.91


That's the price I paid for all 7 of these items combined playing the grocery store game this week at Harris Teeter during triple coupons days. I actually filled my entire cart for less than $34. It included lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

Check out www.thegrocerygame.com and enter my e-mail if you decide to join. You get a free membership at the beginning. We are slowly building our food storage with all of these great deals. We have a several month supply of toilet paper and paper towels, too!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Time Flies...

...when you change it yourself.





Andrew: Is it almost 9? That's when my show comes on. (His show is Super Why, his new favorite)
Mommy: No, you still have two more hours until the clock says 9 at the front.
Andrew: I have an idea. (He always has ideas). Maybe I will change it to make the 9 be in front, okay?

Before I could answer, he pushed the chair over to the microwave and attempted to push the buttons to change time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Uncle Danny


Bryan's brother, Danny, was in town from Florida for the week on business and we were able to go out to dinner with him on Thursday night. It was so nice to be able to spend time with him. (He is the same age as Chad, so although he is technically my uncle, he feels more like the boys' uncle. We don't have them calling him Great Uncle Danny). :) Andrew keeps asking when we can go to the restaurant with Uncle Danny again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ladies' Temple Night


I had the blessing of attending the temple with three other sisters from the ward on Wednesday night. We left our homes at 5:30pm, drove to Raleigh for a 7:45 session and came home after midnight. Although I would prefer attending the temple with my sweetheart, this was a great alternative. He was able to stay home with our boys. We are going to trade next time and he will go! I want to do a sisters' trip every other month, so if you want to join me in July, let me know! I am giving a talk in June about making temple attendance possible no matter which season of life you are currently in. If you have any neat ideas, please share! I need all of the creativity you have to share!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Apology

For many years, Mother's Day was a very difficult day for me. Each year became progressively more difficult. It was all I could do to get out of bed on Mother's Day and go to church. I didn't want to take the pity flower they handed out to all of the women in the ward who were mothers now and those who "will receive that blessing sometime in the future. Perhaps in the next life." I didn't want to see the sweet children up on the stand singing and waving to their mommies, knowing no one was waving to me. I didn't want to hear any talks about how hard it is to be a mom. I desperately wanted to be a mom and ached inside anytime anyone complained about their children. I thought they were being ungrateful for the blessings in their life. I thought I would give anything for children who misbehaved (although secretly I knew mine would not). The hardest year was the last year before I became pregnant with Andrew. We had been through another surgery that February and I still hadn't recovered. I had pretty much lost hope that we would ever become pregnant. I said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help me make it through the day. I got ready for church and drove their sobbing with my heart broken (I was Primary president and didn't feel like I could miss church that day). I felt calm as I entered the building. I made it through the talks and the singing. After the closing prayer they passed out the flowers beautifully decorated with tissue paper and ribbon. They were little marigold plants. One of the young men handed mine to me and I opened up the tissue paper. My flower was dead! Black. It crumbled to pieces all over the pew. All of the emotions I had held back came pouring out and I fled to the safety of the primary room. It was a difficult day.

The reason I share this is not to evoke emotion or pity from anyone. I can laugh at the dead flower today. In fact I think it is a pretty funny story. And my own little guy went up to the stand today and waved to me and smiled. The reason I share the background is that I feel I owe all of my family and friends an apology. I wasn't fair in my judgment of you. I couldn't see past my own hurt. For the first time since having children, I have finally been humbled enough this week (it has been a really hard week) to admit that parenting is really hard for me personally. Not that I didn't feel like it was before. Being a mom is exhausting and difficult and trying. However, I felt like if I admitted this to myself or others, that I would somehow be showing ingratitude for the blessings that Andrew and Ryan are in my life. I thought if I said out loud that I was tired or that I felt inadequate or that I didn't know what the heck I was doing, I would be telling Heavenly Father that I had forgotten the years of heartache and didn't appreciate my two miracles. I thought you would laugh at me behind my back and say, finally Danielle has messed up. I have been trying to breeze through this Mommy gig on my own talents and merits and haven't been relying enough on the Lord or others very much. Not even my sweet and perfect husband.

I have learned this week through prayer and pondering, that saying being a parent is hard, doesn't mean that you are ungrateful for your children. In fact, to deny the difficulty of motherhood is to belittle the impact and significance of the sacrifices we make for our children. I love being a Mommy. I love the joy and the delight that I experience each day with Andrew and Ryan. The joy definitely outweighs the difficulty. But it is still hard. I have a testimony of the importance of the atonement to me personally as a mother. I am grateful that I can repent when I am inadequate and that I can try again. I am grateful that the Lord entrusted these two sweet spirits to our home, even though I am not a perfect mom. They have taught me so much, most recently humility. I am not perfect, and neither are my children. Together we will learn and grow and try and become the best family we can become with the help of our Heavenly Father.

You may laugh at me, and that is okay. But it has really been hard for me to come to the realization that motherhood is not easy. Motherhood is not all picnics and strawberry picking. It isn't all bedtime stories and hugs. Sometimes it is being hit in the face or having your couch peed on because your three year old is mad at you. Sometimes it is embarrassing tantrums in primary and tearing 10 of the keys off of Daddy's computer. Sometimes it is sleepless nights because of teething or the croup. I am not sure why it took me three and a half years to realize it. Now I am just bracing myself for the next 30 years. I will continue to focus on all of the fun moments I have with my boys together and recognize the miracles that they are. But I won't think less of you or myself if we have a hard day, week, year, or decade.

Super Balloons


Okay, so this is a really lame blog entry, but I am truly amazed. These balloons are from Ryan's birthday party on April 19th. Today is the 11th of May. These balloons are still flying high! Not sure what gives them their superballoonian strength, but it is pretty cool.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Picking in Pinnacle

We found a great new spot to go Strawberry Picking in Pinnacle. Just take the Pinnacle exit off of 52, turn left, and follow the signs. You can see Pilot Mountain as you pick. It was beautiful. Andrew and I headed up just the two of us Saturday morning for a Mommy-Son Date. He picked 2 1/2 gallons all by himself. We had some fun conversations on the way there, while we were there, and on the way home. I thought I would share the cute comments and the fun pics.


On the way there:
Mommy-Andrew, what color of strawberries do we put in our bucket?
Andrew-I want to pick the brown ones.
Mommy-Let's not. Those will be smushy and taste yucky.
Andrew-How about the yellow ones?
Mommy-Those are hard and not ready to eat yet. We only want to pick the ones that are red with no green, yellow or brown.
Andrew-(Quiet for a moment) Well Mommy...see my teeth. They are really hard and they can chomp hard yellow ones.


While we were there:
Andrew: Whoa! Look there's dirt underneath these strawberry bushes.
Mommy: Yes, strawberry plants grow in dirt. Just like our seeds at home.
A few minutes later...
Mommy: Watch out, it is really muddy here.
Andrew: Pigs like mud. (Lady in the next aisle laughs quietly)
Mommy: Yes they do. I want you to be careful not to fall.
Andrew: Pigs like to poop in the mud. You watch out for the poop, Mommy! (Eavesdropping lady laughs loudly as I assume she imagines the farmer allowing pigs loose to poop in his strawberry patch).







On the way home:
Mommy: Wave good-bye to the mountain Andrew. We are heading home to Daddy and Ryan.
Andrew: Bye-Bye Mountain.
(We drive for a few minutes, singing to a kids' CD he likes)
Andrew: (mid-song) Hey Mommy! Where are the rest of the mountains?
Mommy: What do you mean? There's just one mountain. Pilot mountain.
Andrew: No. I saw 5 of the mountains. Where are the rest?

Andrew thought that as we drove towards the mountain that each time we went around a curve and it appeared again that it was a new mountain. He couldn't figure out why we were not passing the other 4 on the way home. I love seeing the world through his fresh eyes and insights.




Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Snakes and Snails and Caterpillar Tales






What is it about little boys and creepy crawlies? We were working in our garden this week when we found a caterpillar. Andrew wanted to catch him in his bug catcher, but first he let him crawl around on Mt. Andrew. The caterpillar was a very fast little guy (or girl...how do you tell?) and climbed off Andrew's lap onto the ground. Ryan crawled up and spotted him. He chased him down saying and signing "dog, dog" the whole time. (Ryan thinks all animals are dogs). He finally caught up with him, which was surprising because, like I mentioned, this little caterpillar was speedy. He reached down to pick up the "dog" as I reached down to pick up Ryan, squashing his dreams (which I thought was a better idea then letting him squash the caterpillar). He cried and cried. He finally calmed down when Andrew placed the caterpillar in the bug catcher and Ryan could hold the bug catcher. Andrew had created a nice little habitat in there, complete with bark and leaves and grass. The caterpillar climbed to the top of the bug catcher clinging to the mesh. Now it was Andrew's turn to be offended. "Mommy, he is not eating the nice leaves I got for him. Make him get down and eat!"

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Laughing in His Sleep


My sweet Andrew....he makes me laugh more often than he makes me want to...well I am not sure what I want to do the other times, but it certainly is not to laugh.

When I married Chad his mom told me I would laugh every day. That is true. Chad is a fun and funny guy. I will also be able to tell the same thing to Andrew's wife. He is quite the little comedian, even when he is not trying to be. He brings a great deal of laughter to our home. After a particularly exhausting day with my sweet three year old, I laid out his clothes for church, read scriptures and stories, and tucked him in bed at 7:30pm. When I came in to check on him before I went to bed at 10:30, this is what I found.

Andrew had taken off his pajama bottoms and pull-up, and put on a pair of shorts from the dirty clothes. He had taken the vest off of the pile of Sunday clothes I had laid out and put it on over his Little Einstens jammies. He completed the ensemble with a doggy blanket around his neck like a cape. The rest of the Sunday clothes were distributed in various locations throughout his bedroom. So much for trying to prepare ahead of time. Chad and I quickly redressed him and gathered the clothes back into a neat pile on his chair. But not before snapping a picture for evidence. Andrew has us laughing even when he is asleep.

Reynolda Gardens



We took a family hike Friday night at Reynolda Gardens and enjoyed a picnic together. Andrew enjoyed climbing rocks and stumps in the forest. He also liked playing the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" on the bridges over the creek with his Daddy. Ryan loved playing on the picnic blanket with a water bottle and an empty Wendy's nuggets container.