Saturday, November 29, 2008

Today, Aidyn got baptized.

Hi. It's me, Aidyn. Today I got baptized. I got baptized at my church. Now I'm a full member of the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My family came to see the event. My mom, sisters, dad, Grandpa Ross, and Rich came to see me. Also, the Knights were there, Dallon and his mom, a girl from my Primary class named Maja Lorimer and my Primary teacher. There were some other people, too. And my Bishop. The water was warm and then it changed to cold, and it kept changing. It wasn't that deep. My dad baptized me and confirmed me. He only dunked me for about 2 seconds. When I came out of the water I felt like a new person. Now that I'm baptized and confirmed I have the Holy Ghost with me. The Holy Ghost helps me do the right things. That's all for now.

He is a man of few words, but perfect none the less. Aidyn has always been so easy going and good-natured. He's always been mom's special boy and we are really close. What a blessing it is to see my son make the choice to be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Today while we were on the way to Costco to get his Baptism Cake (a family tradition) he talked to his Aunt Nuber on the phone. She asked him why he wanted to be baptized and Aidyn replied, "Because Jesus wants me to." I am grateful that he has such a desire to be like his older brother, Jesus Christ and to obey his Father in Heaven. I can't believe he is getting so big. Addy said the opening prayer, Grandpa Ross gave a wonderful message on baptism, Bishop Liddell talked about the attributes of the Holy Ghost, and Uncle Rich gave an extremely sweet closing prayer. Today was a day I will always cherish.

Dear Aidyn,

Today I felt the spirit as I watched you make one of the most important choices you will make in this life. I felt the spirit warm my heart and testify to me that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is on this earth, and that our Heavenly Father loves us. As your mother, I feel blessed beyond measure to be given the opportunity and challenge to raise you in these Latter Days. I promise you I will always do my best to teach you correct principles, and to give you the time, attention, and love you deserve. You are and always will be my most special boy. Thank you for being you.

Your Loving Mother,

We had a fun November. Madeline and Katie came down from Overland Park, KS to visit us the weekend before Thanksgiving. We did some shopping at the mall (which, shockingly, both Madeline and Addy love) and then went to the beloved Dallas World Aquarium on Saturday. These two cute and crazy girls stayed up til the wee hours of the morning chatting, gaming, and being best buds. We love those Connors! They are the best kind of people and ALWAYS welcome to come stay with us ANYTIME!!!

This past Tuesday, Aidyn had his first pack meeting with his new pack of cubs! He recieved his Bobcat award. We were so proud! He is very enthusiastic about Cub Scouts and is already making plans for which badges he wants to earn. It's like Pokemon, only real!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Oh yeah, it's fall. Time for pumpkin pie, football, leaf turning, long sleeves, family togetherness, and......swimming? If you live in Dallas, y'all, you betcher Long Horns and Levis! With the pool nearly finished, and the weather still between 75 and 80, the kids think it's time to don the suits and jump in for a splash. Our pool is in the final stages meaning it just needs to be filled up, cleaned up, and tested. When we got home from the Dr.'s today (flu shots, yippy!), Addy and Aidyn ran out to watch the mesmerizing water-filling. Oh the joy that water coming out of a hose brings to children. Come to think of it, I need to get one of those corded spayers for my kids would want to shower every night!!! The cleanliness!!!! Anyway, they both immediately started wading in the water and before I knew it, Aidyn was pulling on his swim trunks and slapping on his goggles. Let me point out that the water is only about 1 foot deep right now. But that didn't stop him! Sometimes I watch my sweet children and wish I could get back some of that innocence that makes the simplest activity so exciting and fresh. Pause for nostalgic memory. I couldn't help but snap a few shots. Did you know it takes 24 hours to fill a pool up??? How crazy is that! I had no idea. BTW, Avery fell asleep in the car on the way home and was napping on the couch during the fun.

Speaking of the older A's, both of them brought home straight A report cards yesterday! I am so blessed to have kids who enjoy school and have a desire to do their best educationally. I thank my Heavenly Father for that every day. Addy's teacher told me at teacher conference last month that Addy actually reads at a high school level AND that in all his years of teaching 5th grade (9 to be exact) he has never had a student with her language and reading abilities. BOOOYAAAHHHH! Go Addy! Aidyn is also readying amazingly well. In second grade they chart student progress with each report card (we get 6 a year). The chart come home with the report card and shows progression starting from a 1st grade reading level up to a 5th grade reading level. Progress is charted by words read allowed per minute paired with accuracy. His teacher explained to me that upon his first reading, Aidyn had already scored off the chart so she would probably not send the chart home again. Redunant. I'm so proud of both of them. They are great kids and really, really try their best 99% of the time. Household opportunities to serve falling into the 1% best trying margin, and we are working to erase that percentage all together! Check out our pool progress! When are YOU coming over to swim?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Confessions of a Harried Housewife, Chapter 2

I am not perfect nor have I ever claimed to be (much). But sometimes, my behavior is so spectacularly un-stellar that I even disappoint myself. Now that the Inner-Circle has been enlightened on Monkeys and Ass-Goblins, I am confident that not much I say or do in the realm of non-mainstream disciplinary action for my children will surprise you. Today's incident will rate in the top 10 hall of fame Worst Moments of Child Rearing for me, myself, and I. Really, this Harried Housewife Moment ranks up there.

All weekend I was sick with a virus. John brought it home last week and was sick for a day. I get it and I'm nauseous for 4. Nice. Bitter. Saturday, I had committed to a shopping outing with Addy. With high hopes of mother/daughter bonding time, the two of us planned to head downtown and explore the posh Northpark mall sporting the likes of Oilily, Neiman Marcus, Salvatore Feragamo, Anthropologie, Armani Exchange, BCBG, Dooney and Bourke, Hannah Anderson, J.Jill, Urban Outfitters, William Sonoma, White House Black Market, and about a billion other tres fab stores that just oozed boutique-ee scrumptiousity (i made that up). Amy joneses for shopping trips of this caliber. Amy joneses for her daughters to jones for shopping trips of this caliber (okay, someday I hope to get to the point in my spiritual growth where I no longer jones for such trivial and materialistic placation-just not there yet). BTW my shopping weakness is the reason I have a lingerie collection rivalling any Victoria's Secret model's. Love is the only language John speaks after a 5 hour trip to a mall like this one and the receipts to make it reality. Ok, you are catching my drift. For me, this is a day made in heaven. And Addy was actually ecstatic! She wanted to go! She picked an outfit to wear the night before, she talked incessantly about it for several days, she was on fiya. I wake up Saturday morning and I'm fully afflicted; so miserable that I actually don't want to go shopping(shocking! I know!). Bitter. However, being the selfless mother that I am, I slap on my mall jeans, new Charlotte Reusse blouse, and spike heel boots, pop some Ibuprofin, program the tele-nav and we are off. Inevitably we have a fabulous time and spend way too much money (and I am frankly a little worried about that since John couldn't pay me ENOUGH money to don the lingerie later that evening in said stricken state). When we get home my head is ready to explode and not from uber shopping vibes. I feed the kids dinner, wash my face, and hit the sack. Oh yeah, first I studied my Primary lesson cuz I had to teach a CTR5 class the following morning in Primary. Ugh.

CTR5 class. This is my new calling. I love it! I love being in Primary-it is my favorite place to serve in the church. Watching the seeds of young testimony sprout is second to none. Because I have been traveling the last few weeks, I have missed my own ward meetings for 2 consecutive Sundays so even though I am sick-QUEASY sick-I will go to church and teach my class Sunday morning like a good Mormon girl. Isn't guilt grand? Of course, the whole morning I am a complete stink-pot, I am grumbly, I am bitter, I am exhausted. All I want to do is crawl back into bed with my puffy allergy face, my nausea, and my fatigue, pull the covers over my head and sleep the blessed sleep of the undead. I don't know how it works at your house, but at my house, I am the Sunday Morning Motivator. I get everyone up. I get the church clothes on the church goers. I get the breakfast on the table. I get the Stevens' train out the door. Yay me. If Amy doesn't set the alarm, we all stay home. Chalk that up to my sum-of-reasons-to-be-bitter for the weekend. Church is "fine"....accept I thought our Primary Program was the weekend B4. I told my kids not to worry about memorizing their parts cuz we would be in Kansas; I told the Primary Pres we wouldn't be there so not to plan on my kids or myself participating. Durning the presentation we sat in the foyer and listened to the beautiful music and I watched my poor sweet children singing the songs they had worked hard to learn all themselves. Yay me. Sigh. After church, I went home and crashed for 3 hours. So tired. So annoyed. So bitter.

John wakes me up by climbing into bed and announcing it's "his turn". Turn? I didn't realize taking turns was part of the bargain when one of the two parties was SICK. I get out of bed (bitter bitter bitter) and head out to the kitchen to start dinner. Oh, and I still feel like crapola. After dinner, I have work to do. Yes, I typed work. It's the Sabbath and I am working and I will not pretend like that's unusual. Didn't I preface this post with "not perfect" verbiage? Don't JUDGE ME! My hobby is my job and I have an order to mail out that needs to be packaged. I also have some necklaces I have to redo because I strung them wrong in the first place. BITTER. At least I have Dexter to keep me company. Michael C. Hall, you rock my bloody world. Ha! John has sequestered himself in his man-room watching football, so I do the bedtime routine and get the kids down. BITTER. I think he might have helped a's sort of a blur at this point and I would totally loose your sympathy if you start to think he was being in any way helpful, so let's just stick with me as the martyr here. The ailing martyr. I pack school lunches (bitter) and go to bed.

Monday morning, today, I wake up at 6:30, the usual time to get the kids up and ready for school. Bitter. John is gone by that time-he had an event in Houston with his team that was not rescheduable even for a sick wife. Later, I found out it was a golfing event. Bitter! Allergy face, nausea, fever and all, I get the kids ready, feed em', cloth em', make sure their faces are clean, their teeth are brushed, they have all the necessary paper work, and drive them to school. They are totally learning that I am ridiculously annoyable when ill. Does that stop them? Not really. The bitterness has hit an all time high. Since, being a woman I haven't completely processed my feelings of bitterness yet in an effort to evaluate them, I'm freaking DONE. I just want to go back to bed and wallow in my misery for an hour or two. Sick and me, we just don't get along. I don't have time to be sick. When I get back home, I get Avery breakfast (at this juncture I'd like to point out i got her EXACTLY what she asked for-make a note) I tell her to watch her shows for a little bit because mommy's sick and wants to lay down for a while longer; I drag myself to the guest bedroom. Oh! The guest bedroom, you ask? I can't sleep in my own bed because my sweet four year-old joined us in the middle of the night, then proceeded to PEE all over me and the sheets and the comforter at about 4 in the morning. Bitter!! I was doing laundry a lot earlier than I had planned. BITTER!!! The stink of pee and the feeling of nausea are not complimentary. The joys of motherhood, right? Ok, so I go to lay down and within 5 minutes, Avery is screaming she wants "BROWN CEREAL" (which translates to Cinnamon Life). "BROWN CEREAL BROWN CEREAL I WANT BROWN CEREAL MOM GET ME BROWN CEREAL DID YOU HEAR ME I WANT BROWN CEREAL WWHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET ME BROWN CEREAL ARE YOU COMING YET MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM I WANT BROWN CEREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!" Sigh. This stretches on for 10 minutes or so.

Me from the guest bedroom: "Avery, I am sick, I am tired, I've been peed on....I just want to rest for a little bit. Did you finish your breakfast, because if not, no brown cereal."

Avery from the family room: "I don't want this breakfast. I want brown cereal. COME AND GET ME BROWN CEREAL. BROWN CEREAL BROWN CEREAL BROWN CEREAL BROWN CEREAL BROWN CEREAL BROWN CEREAL." She's yelling this, hence the capitalization. I am thinking deliriously to myself, "Is she mocking me? Is that a sing-song cadence I am detecting in her mockage?? Is she part of the conspiracy striving to drive me absolutely mad?????!!!!"!!!

I am soooooooooooooooo DONE (and bitter). My heart is racing, my hands and legs are shaking, no amount of counting to 10 and taking deep breaths is going to stop me from making a major parenting faux pas at this juncture. Avery is still ululating (LOUDLY!) for brown cereal. I throw back the covers, leap out of bed, toss my sleeping mask across the room, and storm STORM out to the family room. I punch the tv off, and boy, looking back I am sure smoke was coming out of my ears. I grab my child by the arms hoist her into the air and scream,


I drag her up to her room (crying of course), toss her onto her bed, slam the door, and storm back downstairs where I first throw the sheets in the dryer and the comforter in the wash, then retrieve my sleep mask, and finally fall down on the bed. Huh. Immediately, I am sobbing. Wow. It is not very often that I am this completely ashamed of myself. How often do you dissolve into tears because you have acted like a complete schmuck to your 4 year-old? After about 2 minutes, I run up the stairs to Avery's room, nestle her into my arms and tell her how sorry I am.
"Mommy made a really bad choice to treat you that way. Mommy is feeling really sick, frustrated, and BITTER and I treated you badly because of it. That was wrong. That was a big gigantic mistake. I'm so sorry. Can you forgive me, Avery? I love you so much and I am so, so sorry."

Instantly, she forgives. Hugs, kisses, tickles, smiles, all of the good things that make parenting genuinely rewarding. I am always learning the most simple and yet completely profound lessons from my children. Forgive=Happiness

So if you are a woman, you have read this and are thinking, "Gosh, why are men so clueless? I mean when we are sick, they should pick up the slack. They should take care of the kids. They should do the laundry. They should cook the meals. They should get the kids up and ready for church and school. They should offer to teach the Primary lesson. They should wait on you, hand an foot, because that's what they would expect you to do! Where is the intuitiveness!!!???? Where's the homemade chicken soup!??!?!?!?!??


If you are a man, you have read this and are thinking, "Why didn't she just tell him what she wanted him to do?"

DOUBLE Indeed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fun Times in KC

Whew! It's been a busy past few weeks. The holidays are officially upon us, my friends. I spent the weekend before Halloween with my wonderful friends in Kansas City. Karina and I traveled to "Time Out For Woman" in Omaha and found the conference, frankly, a little dry. The conversation, food, shopping, and girl talk could not be beat, but having heard such good things about this traveling production, I can only describe our experience as, "The Not So Joyful, Kenneth Cope Show". Leading a Joyful Life is the actual theme for 2008 TOFW, but it was all pretty mundane info that I was not super inspired by. I wanted new and fresh! There were a few really great messages, stress on the few. I would like to mention highlights of the notes I recorded, but since Karina and I evidentally took EXACTLY the same handful of notes, you can totally go to her blog and read up. No need to be repetitive. Definitely check out Cherie Call, an up and coming LDS musician who's work is original and refreshing. DEFINITELY check out "The Parenting Breakthrough" a wonderfully insightful book by Merrilee Boyack (one of the speakers who could not be there, most unfortunately). Karina recommended her book to me and I have literally consumed it. She has an amazing program for training your children to be high functioning, confident adults that will change your life, and the lives of your children for the very best. Seriously, if you are a parent, do not miss this read. I will be posting pictures of the system our family has created from this book in the next couple of days. Prepare to be inspired!

Karina was a great hostess and it was so much fun to stay at her home with her great family for the weekend. I got to see many of my favorite friends and I really, really enjoyed myself. Weekends with the girls are much needed and so few and far between.

Halloween weekend was also spent in KC! This time, the whole family ventured up to the Sunflower state for good times with friends, parties, candy, and spooky fun. Addy stayed with her BFF Madeline, Aidyn with his BFF Aaron, and Avery stayed with John and I in our hotel, but spent every day with her BFF Mia. I got to hang with Olivia most of the weekend and it was fabulous. We mostly let the kids pull us in whatever direction they wanted to go. The Connors went all out and threw Addy and Madi a Halloween party with all of their mutual friends. What a blast! The Hortons held Aaron's bday party on Saturday night (his actual bday is in mid-November) so Aidyn could be there-how amazingly swell is that! Avery got to go to Friday playgroup, and Sue Hafen had a cute little Halloween luncheon for the kids-crafts and all. On Halloween Eve we went trick-or-treating with several of our friends, as families, and it was great. GREAT! Going home was bitter sweet for all of us and we hope to return soon. Love you, KC friends!!! MISS YOU!!!!