Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dear McKenzie,

I hear it all the time... one of the most important things for me to do as your mother is to be a good example for you. Sometimes that's the only motivating force behind me stumbling to the living room in the quiet darkness of morning to bow my head into my scriptures for a few moments before everyone wakes. Sometimes thinking of you is the only thing that can bring me to my knees at the end of a long, hard day when all I really want is to climb into the warm sheets. In the hours between, I try to hold my tongue before I lash out in anger, hoping you'll learn to do the same; I try to be patient and speak with kindness, hoping you'll treat your brothers the same; I try to be happy as I go about my housework, so you may feel happy while helping; I try to tell you about the good and bad things that have happened in my day, and hope that you will tell me about yours. We both know I fail sometimes, maybe even more often than not, but striving to be a good example for you is always at the back of my mind.


Your new second grade teacher sent home a little blue lunch bag with the instructions to fill it with 5 things that told something about you.

"A rock, definitely," you said - you are very into collecting rocks.
"How about a piece of candy?" I suggested.
"And maybe a picture of Carson and Miles," you added.
"How about a picture of Jesus?"
"Oh, yeah!" you exclaimed. Wow!? You were actually more (much more) excited about the picture of Jesus than you were about the piece of candy. You thumbed through your magazines to find the perfect one, cut it out, folded it up and tucked it into the blue bag. Curious, I picked the picture back out of the bag, unfolded it and said, "So, what are you going to say when you hold this up to your class?"
"Hmmmm," you thought. "I know! I'll say: This is a picture of Jesus. He is important to me because I know he loves me. Or, maybe I should say us because then everyone will know that he loves them, too."

Perfect, Kenz - not only because the words were beautiful, but because it came from your own heart.

Your class is filled with Christians, but you are the only Mormon, so I was nervous for you as I put you on the bus the next morning. I think my nervousness stemmed from my own insecurities about sharing religion with others... you weren't worried at all. After school, I asked how it went and you said that people had all reacted with "Oh!'s and Hey!'s" when you pulled out the picture of Christ. You said that, of all of your things, that picture was the favorite of the class.

I'm proud of you, Kenz. It wasn't a big deal for you, but to me it would have been challenging. Thank you for your example - you have reminded me that Christ is the 'favorite' among most of the religions in this area, and that people are teaching their children of Him. You have given me an example of standing for what you believe in, and sharing those beliefs - excitedly - with others.

I'm so lucky to have you...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Getting Baby Hungry

Not me. No, no, no... not me.

My daughter.

We went down to Atlanta to visit the Aldriches and to see their new baby, Ellie. McKenzie fell hard in love with that sweet little baby, and as we backed out of their driveway for the last time, tears rolled down McKenzie's cheeks because 'I just don't want to leave Baby Eleanor.' There were hundreds of beautiful moments as I watched my daughter hold, rock, sing and bounce to the strings in her own heart...

And I never got a real picture of it.

I pulled my camera out only once during our visit to take some pictures of Ellie after her baby blessing - - - McKenzie was reluctant to let me take the baby, so I solicited her help in calming Ellie while I rearranged furniture, and I took a few shots of her only to test the light. What was I thinking?! The result is a couple of not-so-great pictures of a beautiful memory.

McKenzie told Katie that she hopes she'll get a baby sister soon. How about we compromise, Kenz... no new baby, but you can come look at these pictures any time you want. :)

I agree, Kenz. She's pretty cute, and I didn't want to leave her either. But remind me sometime to tell you about the round the clock feedings that come along with newborns...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It must be the hair...

Don't let these pictures fool you... he's a Hitter.

He's pretty sure it's your fault if he becomes angry at something, and will not hesitate to take a swipe at your face... usually his swipe is accompanied by furrowed eyebrows (and this boy can furrow) and a blunt and angry 'no'. If you choose to ignore the swipe, he will change torture tactics into an attempt to force his long, unkempt nails into the skin of your arm. Unfortunately for him, the pain induced is minimal...despite the fact that his whole body shakes because he's using all of his strength.

And he's stubborn, too. He spent 45 minutes in the time-out chair this morning simply because he refused to say 'sorry' to McKenzie for hitting her. It wasn't until we opened the door to walk to the bus that he started mumbling his apology in fear of being left alone in the house as we all walked to the end of the driveway.

Oh, but he's sweet, too. This face above is one of my favorites of Miles'. He puts on a tough act, but he can't hide that smile behind those lips for long. :)

He's playful, fun, and determined to conquer the world. He'll tackle any new task put in his way as long as it doesn't involve some sort of fruit or vegetable.

You are one loved little boy, Miles!

He seemed to enjoy his ice cream cake for his birthday:

Apparently the fork in his right hand was not performing well enough.

I think we may be in for it... I could see Miles' two's being terrible. :)

Happy 2nd Birthday, Miles!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Bit of Young Love


McKenzie: I have a boyfriend, Mom.
Me: You do?
McKenzie: Yep.
Me: Who is it?
McKenzie: Jack. We're in love.
Me: Oh really? What does that mean?
McKenzie: It means I chase him around the playground every day at recess.


Jack to his mother around Valentine's Day

Jack: Mom, do you know what a cupid is?
Jack's mom: Yes, I do. Why?
Jack: Well, a cupid is a little guy that flies around with arrows, and if he hits you with one then you fall in love.
Jack's mom: Yep.
Jack (in all seriousness): And, mom, a cupid hit me, because I am in love with McKenzie.


I snapped the picture above of McKenzie and Jack on her last day of 1st grade. They were sheepish around each other and quickly separated after I snapped it - which made me smile. Minutes later, I took another picture of McKenzie with her teacher and afterwords noticed that McKenzie had a funny look on her face. She seemed to be holding back tears, and I compassionately knew that last-day-of-school-sorrows had hit her. I put my arm around her, rubbed her arm, and asked how she was feeling.
"Good," she replied.
"It's funny how one day can be both happy and sad, isn't it?" I said.
"Yeah," she agreed.
"Are you feeling happy or sad right now?" I asked.
She bowed her head a little and, to my surprise, a big embarrassed grin crept across her face. "Happy." A little giggle escaped, and a flash of color tinted her cheeks. She leaned her head against my side and continued, "It's just that ever since you took my picture with Jack, I can't stop smiling."



They're flocking, folks. Something about Carson's bright blue eyes, silky hair and mild temperament is causing the girls to swarm like gnats. Cute gnats, though. :) On Carson's last day of preschool, he was sitting alone at this table for no longer than 4 seconds before these three beauties scrambled around for a bit of attention. Unlike McKenzie, Carson is not committed to just one girl.....

He has been quite smitten with Elise for a while. She is a joy to have around and makes Carson feel like king of the world by laughing heartily at his 4-year-old jokes and saying, "You're so funny, Carson!". She seriously does this, even after she's heard the same joke 873 times. After a few kisses from her, however, he was quite uncomfortable and we had to establish a rule: you may not kiss Carson unless you ask him first and he says yes. I feel this is a clever plan because it gives Carson control, but I know him well enough to know that he will always say no (may that stay true for a long time...), and it has worked flawlessly. :) In the halls of church, Elise and her little sister have been known to call out to Carson as he walks by them, "Hey Cutie-pie!" "Cutie-pie, Carson!" And poor Carson looks like he wants to melt into a puddle of embarrassment on the floor... It's pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen.

And then there's Emily. Awesome Emily. Emily has it in her mind that if she wants it, it's as good as hers... and that goes for her choice of man as well. After a heartbreaking denial from another boy, she set her sights on Carson. She proposed to him one morning, and apparently Carson accepted. This sent Emily into a flurry of action, drawing pictures of the two of them together, coloring their names together with hearts all around (though they can only each write their own name, so she wrote her name at the top of a page and had Carson write his name at the bottom of the page. I was instructed by Emily to draw 'a heart in the middle with an arrow going through it.') That night, as Emily's father entered the house from work, Emily greeted him with a loud, "Daddy! It has been the best day ever! Do you want to know why?!"
"Yes, Emily."
"Because I asked Carson to marry me... AND HE SAID YES!"

This love triangle has caused a bit of drama, but the two girls have worked it out together. I wasn't watching, but eye-witnesses have relayed information that there was a little scuffle between the two girls, a few 'No, he said he'd marry me!'s, and in the end Emily decided she would marry him first, and then when she died, Elise could have him. Elise had no choice but to accept.

Madison, however, does not know about these other two girls (sadly I don't have a picture of her yet). She was playing over at our house one morning, and around lunchtime looked up as Carson entered into the kitchen. "Oh, Carson!" she exclaimed, "You are so handsome!" Carson hung his head and muttered a shy "Thank you." She went on to say they should be boyfriend and girlfriend and someday they should get married. I watched as Carson uncomfortably nodded consents.

Perhaps Carson and I should have a little talk... :)



I think I'm going to keep Miles locked up for a while!

He is in love with his 'buh-neeeeeee' and carries him around pretty much everywhere. Bunny comes into stores and travels to friends' houses; tags along on hikes and rides along in the bike trailer; sits with us in church, cuddles during naps and bedtime and watches at a safe distance during mealtimes. When Bunny can't come on one of our adventures, he sits in Miles' carseat and welcomes him back to the car when we return.

Miles, you just keep holding on to that Bunny - - - and don't be too quick to follow in the path of your siblings!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011