Sunday, June 28, 2009

Talent Share

Heavenly Father knew I NEEDED an Andrew in my life. He needed to be my first child, to teach me and to help me grow. As I have mentioned many times before in this blog, I don't enjoy doing things I am not good at. I have never had the self-confidence to fail in front of others. There are probably lots of things that I would enjoy in life, but I don't know because I wouldn't try them. But I am determined not to create this anxiety in my own children. I try so hard to let them be who they are, to not expect perfection, but I have to admit, it really is hard for me. I never had that problem with other people's children. I could accept them as they were, love them, adore them, teach them, feel no need to change them. But with my own it is completely different. Something I have to consciously work on daily. As soon as I think I am conquering this part of me, the Lord gives me opportunities to grow even more.

So a few weeks ago the primary talent share was announced at church. Andrew does really well memorizing and speaking and singing in front of others. I knew this was something he would really like doing and could do well. I thought about his many talents, and made a few suggestions.
Me-How about telling a few jokes, you are really funny. That is one of your talents.
A-No, that's too boring. (his answer for anything he doesn't want to do these days).
Me-Well, maybe you could play your guitar. You are doing a good job learning.
Me-Maybe you could act out a story with some of your friends. You could do the 3 Pigs or the Billy Goats Gruff.
A-No, I want to sing.
Me-What do you want to sing? You know lots of great songs. You are a great singer.
A-I don't know. Let me think about it.
(A couple of days pass and I don't mention it again. Then one day we are driving down the road listening to a CD he got from his cousin Masen a year ago).
A-Oh Mommy, now I know what I want to do for the talent show. I want to sing "Life is a Highway!"
Me-Really? It is kind of fast, and we don't know all the words. Maybe you could sing "I won't grow up" from Peter Pan. You already know it really well. We even have a costume.
A-No, "Life is a Highway."

Enter the growing opportunity. Now myself, I would never choose to do something that was out of my comfort zone on purpose. I knew this song was too hard for Andrew. It is really long, it is really fast, and hard to understand. I knew there were many things he could do easily and do really well. I wanted him to be successful (meaning do the best job he was capable of). I knew there were things he could do much better, but I knew I needed to let this be his thing. So for three weeks we practiced this song. We looked up the lyrics on line so we could figure out what they were saying, but they were still hard to sing as fast as the song goes, even for Chad and me. We even cut the song in half. Andrew would only practice the song in the car with me and didn't want to learn any dance moves to go with it. So, I let it go. I was determined to let it be his thing. I didn't want him to not want to do something because it wasn't polished and perfect. I wanted him to have a good time.

Then the night before the talent show, he announced, "I think I will sing 'I Hope They Call Me on A Mission' instead." "Oh" I replied, trying not to act excited, though I was desperately wanting to encourage this train of thought. "Maybe you could dress up like a missionary and carry your backpack. That would be cool." "Great Idea!" he exclaimed. I was really excited, I knew this was something he could do well and be successful at. I knew everyone would be able to understand him and would think he was adorable. But I have been his Mommy for 4 and 1/2 years, I didn't get my hopes up.

It was a good thing I didn't hold my breath. He awoke the next morning determined to do "Life is a Highway." I told him I thought that was fabulous and we headed off to church. And that is exactly what he did. And it didn't go perfectly. And it was wonderful! The microphone wasn't on at the beginning, and no one could hear him sing, but he didn't let that bother him. He just kept right on going. (Even at 4 I would have been in tears and wanting to start over again or given up). I am so glad I didn't push my ideas or plans on Andrew. As you can see in the video, he is SO HAPPY. He had so much more fun then he would have, had he taken one of my suggestions. He enjoyed his performance and I enjoyed his performance. He was proud of himself.

The scriptures say, "Men are that they might have Joy." If Heavenly Father wants for His children to have JOY, then I can't aspire for any greater thing as their earthly mother then for my children to have JOY. And I challenge anyone to watch Andrew dance and see his face in this video and not feel his JOY.

Swim Lessons

Andrew is taking swim lessons this summer at Long Creek Pool, and loving it! He loves wearing goggles, (aren't they hilarious, who is that kid?), playing motor boat, and jumping into the pool. (He isn't too crazy about the whole floating thing or getting his face wet thing, yet).

Ryan loves his swim time with Mommy while Andrew takes lessons. I brought this float for a friend's baby, but Ryan decided it was fun to wear with his goggles.

This pic is for Nana. She bought this cute pirate hat for Ryan and he wouldn't wear it while she was here. After his nap, he wore it all afternoon.

Molly's 9 Week's Old

Molly is a loud sleeper. We have had a hard time capturing it, but here is a short clip we caught tonight. It still doesn't do it justice, she really is very loud.

Molly had her 2 month check up this week. She was 11 pounds 11 ounces and 22 inches long. She is now in the 75th percentile for weight and 50th for height (last time she was 95th for both). Her head is still 95th percentile, though.

Molly continues to sleep through the night, 12 hours at a time a few nights. I have never had one do that before. I am a little worried about my milk supply, but the doctor said to let her sleep and it would be fine. I haven't had any trouble yet.

Molly is smiling and cooing lots. She loves her mobiles and loves her brothers still. She went to the pool for the first time this week, but wasn't too impressed with the water I dipped her toes in.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

We had a really fun Father's Day with presents, homemade banners, cards, and yummy food. While we were shopping for Chad's present, Andrew and I had the following conversation.

Andrew-Mommy, I am really excited about Daddy's Day.
Me-Yeah, it should be really nice. I love the cool sign you made for him. Maybe you can help me cook breakfast on Sunday.
Andrew-Umm, actually I am really excited because we don't have to go to church on Father's Day.
Me-Really? Why not?
Andrew-We didn't go on Mother's Day! So Daddy shouldn't have to go on Father's Day.

(I was still not taking Molly to church yet on Mother's Day and so we drove to Pinehurst for the day. We got there too late for their church and left too early for the guys to make it to ours).

Andrew spent the next three days trying to convince me that we didn't really need to go to church. (He loves his primary teachers, I do not know why he prefers staying at home).

But, much to Andrew's dismay, Chad and I (AND the kids) attended a great sacrament meeting today where both speakers spoke about lessons they have learned from their fathers. On the way home from church, we talked about lessons we had each learned from our fathers. It was hard to choose just one or two like the speakers had done. It was a neat conversation as we contemplated the MANY times our fathers had set examples for us. We wondered what our kids would say they learned from us 20 years from now when they gave talks in their own congregations. We both have been blessed with fantastic fathers.

Chad said that he had learned kindness and respect for others from his dad. He said he had never seen his dad be unkind to anyone (even rude cashiers at Wal-mart). His dad is warm and friendly and is able to put people at ease. People just instantly know he is a good person.

I have been blessed to have two fathers in my life. My Dad, Gary, is a very hard worker. He goes the extra mile at his job and has a strong work ethic and commitment to quality. He takes responsibility for himself and those he supervises. I admire that in him and enjoy talking with him about his work. He is also a great grandpa and loves to play with his grandsons. I really appreciate the time and sacrifice he has made to be a part of my children's lives. It means more to me than I could ever put in words. I love you, Dad!

My Dad, Bryan, has taught me to have very clear priorities in life. He is committed first of all to our Heavenly Father, then our family, then our church, then his country. In that order. I know without a doubt that he loves God more then me, my sisters, or even my mom. And because of this, I know that he loves us more than he could if he did not love God more than us. He is a noble and courageous man. A man of great integrity. I love him and am grateful for his love for me.

Fun with Our Cousins

On Monday we went to Pinehurst to celebrate Masen's 5th birthday at a swimming dinosaur party! It was very fun! Aunt Emily made a yummy chocolate cake shaped like a volcano. Andrew is a bit obsessed with volcanos these days and asked, "Where's the lava?" Then he answered his own question, "Oh I know, when you light the candles. That's the lava."

A local theater is offering summer movies for kids. Because I am so choosy about media with my kids, they have never actually been to a theater to see a movie since they were newborns and went on dates with mommy and daddy. So it was a very big deal for them to be able to go with their cousins Alex and Evin to see "Curious George" at the movie theater this week. They loved it and have asked to go back every day since.

Andrew and Alex sat together and watched the whole movie. Andrew got out of his seat once to bring me his empty popcorn box. His eyes never left the screen.

Ryan sat through the whole movie next to me. He kept saying,
"Monkey is big, Mommy. Dat monkey is funny."

Evin opted to sit on the floor next to Molly's car seat. Evin loves Molly and wants to be wherever she is. What a sweet big cousin.

Molly's 2 Months Old

Our darling daughter has been part of our family for two months now! The word of the week is SMILE! Why you might ask? Molly SMILES all the time if she is awake! She is a very happy girl.

She even seems to SMILE in her sleep. Speaking of sleep, that is the other reason SMILES abound at our home. Molly is sleeping in her own room now. Molly slept through the night TWICE this week. She didn't even awaken to eat. She slept from 10pm until 7am! You can bet Mommy was SMILING! (after she woke up and saw it was light outside and ran to the nursery to make sure Molly was okay). We aren't holding our breath that this will continue, but we are grateful for it while it lasts.

Molly continues to grow which also makes us SMILE. She weighs in at 11 pounds and 4 ounces on her 2 month birthday. I keep thinking that she is soooo much bigger than her brothers since she is in the 95th percentile for weight and height and they are in the 5th. Until I went and looked at the boys' baby books tonight. At 8 weeks Andrew was 10 pounds and 12 ounces, and Ryan was 11 pounds. Only a few ounces difference. Molly is starting to fit into some of her 3-6 month clothes this week, but so did Ryan at this age. I guess it is later when their growth slows down. Molly is scooting herself across the entire crib, and is never in the same place we left her.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Molly's 7th Week

Miss Molly, you were born into a family who likes to go! This week you got to go to Mommy's old school and met several of her former students and teachers and coworkers. Everyone thought you were beautiful. You traveled to Colfax and met your Great-Great Aunt Hazeline and Mommy's cousin Lesley and your double cousin, John.

You went to the hospital that same night and met adorable Baby Beckham Westbrooks.

On Saturday you traveled to the Raleigh temple and sat with your Nana while Mommy and Daddy went to see Alice Thurber sealed to her Mommy and Daddy. Alice wanted to hold you and would cry when we took you away from her. It was very sweet.

After the sealing we headed to Ft. Bragg to celebrate Aunt Rachel's 17th birthday a week early. (Our camera batteries died, so we didn't get any pics of you there).

Molly, you are such a joy to have in our home. You are sleeping really well some nights, and not so well on other nights. You have the biggest grins. You are still a very loud breather and sleeper. Today at church a little boy heard you breathing while you were sleeping. He looked up at his teacher and said, "She is totally faking." Molly, you now weigh 11.4 pounds. You smile all the time. Your brothers are still completely smitten with you. They love to sing to you. Right now their favorite lullaby is Tender Shepherd from Peter Pan. You seem to like it, too. You will stop crying when they sing it to you.

Slip Slidin' Away

Our family bought a Slip and Slide this week and have had a great time with it! The boys aren't actually sure about the whole "run as fast as you can and slide down the slip and slide" thing. The first night Chad pulled them down on the little float that came with it. Andrew has decided that his favorite way to go down is to do four forward rolls down the slide until he lands in the little pool at the bottom.

Ryan likes to walk down the slide and then jump in the bottom on his bottom. He likes to sip the water along the way.

Our cousin Alex caught on quick and is the only kid who uses it like the commercials and the box show you.

My favorite method however is Evin's. She likes to run down the slide completely NAKED. I didn't publish those pics, I don't really want to go to jail for child pornography. But trust me, she was very cute prancing up and down the slide on her tiptoes. Instead I will share one of her drinking the water fully clothed.

Second Cousins

My cousin just recently moved close by. I am excited to spend more time with her and her sweet children. Her kids fall right in between mine. Between us we have children ages 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and newborn. This week we took our 6 little ones to the science museum together. The kids were well behaved and we had a fun time. I can't wait to do a lot more with these second cousins!

Okay, isn't he the cutest thing?!?!

Molly Meets Molly

I love being a stay at home mom. There is never a day that goes by that goes by that I do not think about how lucky I am to be able to be home with my three angels all day every day. It is what I have wanted for as long as I can remember. So as much as I adored being a teacher, (and I did truly love it), I never really miss the classroom or wish that I was still a classroom teacher. That is until I step into the front doors of Southwest Elementary. Then a wave of homesickness washes over me. My eyes start to water and my heart aches. It confuses me how going there can make me so sad, when I am really very happy to be where I am. I don't return often, because of the bittersweet feelings I have for days after I leave. I miss teaching. I miss the wonderful women whom I worked with. But not more than I love being at home.

But this week I went back for the graduation of my last little kindergarten class that I finished the whole year with. This was my favorite class I EVER taught. I have lots of individual students from my 8 years in the classroom who I adore and I am still in contact with, but as a class, this group was so special. The class itself had such a fun personality. Their parents as a group were phenomenal. The grade mom was Martha Stewart and Mary Poppins and Marie Montessorri rolled up in one. I had promised the kids at their kindergarten graduation that I would come see them graduate from 5th grade, but I didn't really think they would remember. I mean, they were only 6, right? They did remember, though. Two of them told their moms that I would be there because I had promised. So I was really glad I did go. Only 6 of my original 21 were there. I loved seeing them all grown up.

As a teacher, it can be difficult to choose names for your children. Sometimes a student you have can change your feelings about a name. I have a couple of names I will never be able to use thanks to one or two kids. But I taught several wonderful little girls in this class. In fact we included most of their names on our short list when we were trying to name our baby girl. One was named Molly. Molly was a spunky little kindergartener with a very vivid imagination and a great sense of style. She put together the cutest outfits in the dress-up center. I adored Molly. I am grateful that she was such a sweet girl and didn't "ruin" the name Molly for me.

She graduated this week and I got to introduce my Molly to my former student. Her mom cried when I told her we had named our own little girl Molly. I couldn't resist taking a picture of the two Mollys together. (Notice that the fifth grader and I are the same height.?!?! I had many fourth graders taller than me over the years).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Peter Pan Fans

I was very active in our community theaters growing up. When I was a child, my mom and I performed in several musicals together. My first community theater play was The King and I. I played the princess that lifted up Missus Anna's skirt to see the hoop skirt. As a teenager I also participated in all of our high school drama department performances and continued performing in the community. I even had the lead a few times. I loved the neat people I met, the rehearsals, the costumes, and memorizing lines. I loved watching other performances and would volunteer to hand out programs, so I could get into all the local plays for free. I checked out play scripts from the library to read for fun. I watched musicals on the weekends with friends. The soundtracks played in my first car's tape player were Oklahoma, Phantom, and Les Mis. But what I REALLY I loved was being on stage in front of hundreds of people. I loved the rush of live performances.

Chad isn't as into theater as I am, but he will take me to see performances about once a year. (Usually if they are free). Each year the town of Lewisville puts on a free family theatrical production in their town square. We have gone several times as a couple, but had never taken the children before, mainly because the plays don't start until after 8pm. I found out a few months ago that they were performing Peter Pan this summer, and I couldn't wait to go with the boys! I decided that the 8pm showtime was fine for one night. I borrowed the musical stage version on video from my mom and the boys fell in love with it! They now know all the songs and were very eager to see the play. Their favorite song is "I Won't Grow Up!"

We arrived with a picnic dinner an hour and half early to make sure we got good seats. But, that didn't work. People had brought chairs there early in the morning and left them there to stake their territory. The row in front of us had chairs there since 3pm. (For an 8pm show). So our seats weren't very good, but we still had a fun time. The boys stood on the stroller the entire time and watched. They were mesmerized. Ryan kept saying "I see pirates, I see pirates. They not get me." He has worn his pirate costume all day today at home. Andrew sang along with all the songs and danced to a few of them. Andrew told me that we must be in Disney World because those were real pirates and real pirates live at Disney. This morning Andrew begged to go back again.

I am not sure if I created theater fans or pirate fans or both. I do know that they loved going as much as I hoped they would. I am hoping at least one of my kids loves theater as much as I do. I want a companion to go with me to plays and to sing show tunes at the top of my lungs with in the car.

FYI: Peter Pan plays again next week Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. I highly recommend it and also recommend going at 9am to put up lawn chairs.

Gold Medal Day

Andrew has been taking gymnastics classes since February. The classes are lots of fun. They mainly consist of organized exploration on the equipment. The semester ended yesterday with a special "Gold Medal Day" Celebration. Andrew's class showed off their skills to all their fans. Nana, Papa, Em, and Rach came to cheer him on. Andrew walked on the balance beams, flipped on the bars, and did forward rolls on the mats. The event was set up into two circles. When they finished one loop, they were to go to the next loop. However, no adult was standing here to tell them to go to the next area. Andrew got stuck in the bar loop four times, before he finally went to do rolls on the mats. (After I came down from the balcony and encouraged him to try the other side). He did the rolls once and then they called time.

At the end Andrew received a gold medal which he wore proudly. Ryan gave him a big hug and a high five afterwards.

Molly's 6th Week

(Isn't this the goofiest little face?)

Molly has started smiling and "talking" to us. She mirrors our mouth movements and is truly expressing social smiles. They are hard to catch on camera though, because most of her smiles are when she is just finished nursing. Besides Mommy, she saves her biggest smiles for Ryan. Ryan will walk over, grab her hands and say, "Molly love me. She love me a lot. She smiling mommy." (which is true, she is smiling at him). Molly is sleeping much better, generally. This week she got to meet her cousins Ian and Mackenzie.