Friday, August 29, 2008

Stirring the Pot of Memories

I think it's fascinating that everything we experience in life is stored in our memories. Everything we touch, everything we smell, everything we laugh about and cry about and love. Everything we see and everything we do. Everything we scoff about and rave about and joke about and feel. Every experience tucked away into the folds of our minds to recall or to forget. I think it's fascinating because, every once in a while, something happens in my life that pulls a forgotten memory to the present. And, depending on the memory, it is there once again for me to think about, smile about, laugh about, cry about, or try to forget once more.

Last night, after tucking my kids into bed, I heard them laughing and playing for about an hour before all was silent. When I went in to check on them before going to bed myself, I saw this beautiful picture that poured in some very welcome nighttime memories from about 22 years ago when I was McKenzie's age, and my sister, Michelle, was just a little older than Carson. We shared a room then, too, and every night we'd play 'quietly' so our parents wouldn't know we were awake. My favorite game was lovingly termed 'sandwich' - where we'd throw all pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals on each other to make ourselves into ... well ... sandwiches. When we'd had enough sandwiches, we'd sneak out of the room and sit in the loft to watch my parents - oh, we were sneaky! We never could figure out how they knew we were sitting there without even turning their heads. They would just very calmly and sternly say, "Lindseeeee, Micheeeeeelle, get back in bed." One night, there was a spider crawling up the wall at the head of my bed. I freaked out, but Michelle said (in her adorable lisp), "Don't wuhwey Winsey, I'w be bwave!" and smashed that spider into the wall using her bare hand! Oh, but we were quiet. It's pretty easy to be quiet while you're ripping off all your bedding and throwing it on each other, opening the door and sneaking into the loft area, and hitting the walls. Funny though, my parents always seemed to find out somehow...

I know we must have been quieter than my kids are now - surely the floorboards didn't rattle quite so loudly when we jumped off of our beds. Surely the walls were thicker when we were giggling. Surely the door we opened was perfectly squeakless. Surely we breathed a little quieter while we were spying on our parents. And we surely didn't whisper when we were only feet away from our parents ears!

I'm so glad I let them play last night instead of breaking up the party. They fell asleep at a reasonable time anyway, and hopefully they'll look back on this time in their lives with as much fondness as I do on my own early life. Thanks Mom and Dad, for letting us kids be kids.


Friday, August 22, 2008

My Best Buddy

I'm in love. I'm so in love! I'm in love with so many things right now in my life...and this little kid just about breaks my heart with that love every time I look at him! The love I have for him is so all-consuming that I just can't help but smother him in hugs and kisses numerous times a day. Just thinking about him now has brought a big, goofy grin to my face! There have been so many times, especially lately, where the adoration has been so strong and intense that my body can't hold it all in, and I find my throat tense and my eyes brimming with a little liquid love.

Two years ago, this sweet little baby entered into my life and brought with him so much light and happiness. Sounds cliche, yes, but it's so, so true!

His birthday started out with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" performed by two groggy parents and a very confused sister.
"Mom?" Kenzie asked after we had finished our song, "Is Carson two?"
"Yes he is!" I replied. Noting her confusion (and being confused by it myself, as we had talked of little else for days before), I asked, "Why?"
"Well...(long pause as her eyes scanned over him)...he still looks one."
After she got over her disappointment, the rest of the morning was filled with lots of laughter, many gifts opened throughout the day (thanks to grandparents!), and hours of playing. He took a great afternoon nap, and then we all hopped into the car to play on the big toys at the mall. After the mall, we came back home, opened the rest of his presents, and broke out the cake.

None of us really like cake (including Kenzie and Carson), so I bought a box of ice cream sandwiches, cut and stacked them, covered them with whipped cream colored with food coloring, and topped it with candy. Seriously, the EASIEST 'cake' I've ever made! You should try it!

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the big day. Happy Birthday, my love!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Starting to Cross the LONG Finish Line

I'm getting to the point now where I'm starting to actually finish decorating some of the rooms in our new house. We've started on most of them...but we now have TWO rooms (out of 12) that are completely done. And, since I know you are all hanging off the edge of your seats waiting for pictures, I will comply. :) You saw the pictures of the bathroom already... And now, presenting:

Dining Room Before
note the stunning coordination of the wallpaper and curtains...yes, they're the exact same print...

Dining Room After
- note the stunning look of the stained dining table and corner table. Thank you, thank you.

Now, try to relax and don't let your intense desire to see the rest of our house take over your daily responsibilities. We'll get to those pictures soon enough. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A New Phase of Life

I love it when my own kids surprise me...when they do or say something that makes me turn my head towards them and blink a couple of times. Something that takes me off-guard, and maybe even makes me laugh or smile. McKenzie has entered into a completely new phase of life that has surprised me in it's entirety. The phase of Daring.

From birth McKenzie has been alert, observant, sharp, a little shy, and careful, careful, careful. I knew that I could find McKenzie far away from anything that even whispered of danger. She was scared to jump off a curb, sit on the edge of a pool, ride her bike (even with training wheels), climb on anything that was taller than she...and she never even attempted to climb out of her crib. She was fun to watch at a park because that's all I had to do: watch. I never had to intervene...she never got too close to a dangerous edge, never climbed too high to get herself down, never wanted to wander away from my sight.

And now - now the tides have changed. Every time I turn around, she's leaping off of something. And the higher, the better. Chairs, stools, tables, stairs, beds, cribs, changing tables, apple trees... She'll mark her landing and try over and over and over again to beat the last jump. It's interesting, though, that she doesn't seem to be doing it for the thrill of it - she seems to be doing it for the pure purpose of proving that she can. The picture above captures, I feel, the entirety of this new phase. Notice her facial smile, just a look of pure concentration and confidence.

Who is this girl? Who will she grow up to be? What will her strengths be? And, what about her weaknesses? What role do I play - how much is set in her little soul?

There are so many things I have taught her - and so many things I have yet to teach. But, what gets me the most, is how much she has taught herself. I hope I can guide her through her life to be a strong thinker, and a deep feeler. I hope she will grow to love the gospel of Jesus Christ as much as I do. I hope she will always feel free and encouraged to question what she hears from us and others, and I hope I can teach her how to feel the guidance of our Heavenly Father as she seeks for her own answers and, ultimately, teaches herself how to live up to the great potential that she has.

I love it when my own kids surprise me...when they do or say something that makes me turn my head towards them and blink a couple of times. Something that takes me off-guard, and maybe even makes me laugh or smile.

Because, usually, it means they've learned something new...on their own.