Sunday, November 27, 2011


Life is good, don't get me wrong.  But the past few weeks I've been run ragged.  This is always a busy time of year with the normal holiday activities.  Plus all four of us have birthdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Add in traveling for Christmas, a baptism, out of town guests, visits with both birthmoms, and a bunch of friend and relative birthdays during that same time frame -- and I'm tired.

Here's what I've accomplished already in the last week:
  • Getting the yard cleaned up for winter.
  • Buddy's birthday.
  • Cleaning the house from top to bottom.
  • Hosting 21 people for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Cleaning house after Thanksgiving.
  • Zoo lights.
  • Pulling an all-nighter for Black Friday.  My first time!  So fun!
  • Cutting down and decorating our Christmas tree.
  • Date night with G to Breaking Dawn Part One.  LAME/GROSS.  (the movie, not the date)
Here's what I still need to accomplish in the next week/few weeks:
  • Fold about 10 loads of laundry sitting on my bedroom floor.
  • Clean the house from top to bottom to prepare for visitors this week.
  • Buddy's Baptism.
  • Make sure Buddy is relaxed about his baptism.
  • Pay the bills.
  • Plan and execute some sort of Baptism party.
  • Host grandparents.
  • Host Buddy's birthmom and her family.
  • Sambo's birthday.
  • Schedule a time to see Sambo's birthmom to celebrate his birthday.
  • Make a bunch of cakes/cupcakes for all the parties happening. 
  • Get hair cut.
  • Two days at Great Wolf Lodge.
  • Mail Christmas cards.
  • Buy presents.  (Most have been bought, thank heavens.)
  • Wrap Christmas presents.
  • Deliver packets our friends put together for the homeless.
  • Teach the kids about giving and service.  Find opportunities to give and serve.
  • Find Buddy a suit.
  • Get everybody to the doctor/eye doctor since we've met our deductible for the year.
  • Plan and execute a friend birthday party for Sambo.
  • Host a Christmas party with our friends.
  • Hire movers to move a piano to our house.
  • Get that piano repaired and tuned.
  • Find a piano teacher for Buddy.
  • Talk to our accountant.
  • Iron.  OR take G's clothes to the dry cleaners.  He officially has NO un-ironed white shirts.
  • Get life insurance before I turn 35 in a few weeks.
  • Do everything that needs to be done for my calling.
  • Schedule adoption trainings for 2012.
  • Plan something fun for G's birthday.
  • Get ready to go out of town for Christmas.
  • Update our adoption profile.
  • I'm sure I have to teach preschool somewhere soon too.
  • Get to the gym three times a week since all I do is celebrate people's birthdays.
  • Make sure all my friends who are sad are OK.
  • Take care of the kids.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Accountable (updated)

Well, he's gone and done it.  Buddy has officially aged to the wonderful age of 8.  It's so hard to believe he's gone from this:

To this:

Every parent says their kids grow too fast but... wow.  I didn't know how hard it would be to see my kids grow up. Not that the future isn't exciting and bright for him, but he's officially at the age of accountability and responsibility.  I had no idea the absolute terror I would feel about the "world" sucking all that is good out of him.  Unfortunately, he will experience sorrow, loneliness, worry, frustration, fear.  Nobody wants that for their child.  But when it's my child. My heart breaks knowing that life is hard for everyone, and my firstborn son will experience hard times too.  I love that my job is to teach, support, and help him.  Plus he's quick to forgive, capable, strong, and smart.  So between his own abilities and the strength of his many loved ones, he'll be OK.  But wow, that's a lot of pressure for a mom!  He deserves the very best life has to offer, but as I've been trying to teach him, life isn't "fair."  I want him to somehow know how to be happy despite hard times.  It's crazy to think he is now responsible for his own happiness. 

I had a feeling mothering would be hard -- because everyone tells you that.  But they also said sleepless nights and potty-training were what made it so hard.  Well, I'm going to publicly say that if that's what you consider "hard," you have easy kids.  Buddy worries me, confuses me, exhausts me, and makes me so incredibly happy all in the same day.  Nobody tells you that sort of stuff -- the rollercoaster your heart goes on when dealing with regular life.

I'll tell you one thing, my heart practically bursts on a daily basis because of his wonderful personality.  He loves deeply, is so patient, loves life, loves everybody, loves God, is curious, and is smart.  I'm so happy to be Buddy's mother.  I didn't know that parenting would be so much fun -- nobody tells you that either. 

I brought him Taco Bell at school for lunch today and enjoyed him whispering in my ear which girls he has a crush on and which girls have a crush on him.  He was the last kid still eating so I encouraged him to hurry and eat so he could go to recess.  He said, "That's OK.  I'm enjoying this more than I'd enjoy recess."  It's moments like that that I work for day-in and day-out with my kids.  And when they happen -- and with him they happen pretty often -- it's pure bliss.

Buddy is such a gift to our family.  But I had a distinct feeling this morning that he is a gift to a lot of families.  Two families call him son.  Those two families are celebrating his life today.  Real life started for those two families when he was born.  It's a lot of pressure for kids to be told they are "lucky" they were adopted, so I am going to try to never give him that responsibility to feel lucky.  But I do want him to know that he is very blessed and lucky to have so many people that love him. 

Not to mention, his wide circle of friends that love him.  When I was at the school today I enjoyed being proudly introduced to all his friends.  Plus all his friends from church, the neighborhood, and former classes that came and said hi to me too.  Nobody told me how awesome that part of parenting is either.  Becoming friends with your kids' friends -- so rewarding.  Then there was a friend of mine at the school who has taken an interest in him over the past year.  Nobody told me that would happen.  That my friends would care about my kids?  I've never felt so humble and thankful, as I was when I learned that one of my friends has prayed for my son.  She saw us having lunch and came to wish him a happy birthday.  She sat down next to him, told him she cared about him, that she had his baptism on her calendar and that she was giving him a challenge to bear his testimony at church after his baptism.  If he'd do it, she'd do it.  They both struggle with anxiety, so her love means a lot to him. 

I don't know what I did (wrong or right) to get this job of raising Buddy.  What a blessing.  I love him with all my heart!

*  Our Bishop just called to wish Buddy a happy birthday.  How cool is that?!

Also, I most definitely do NOT have my sister's or friends' talents for making cool birthday cakes.  I shouldn't even try.  Well, to be completely honest, I don't even try.  Buddy's birthday cake was an afterthought today.  I knew and planned the type of cake, but I didn't have a plan for how to execute it.  It turned out horrific at best.  Honestly, it was so ridiculous looking, I couldn't stop laughing and should have been totally ashamed of myself.  I apologized to Buddy for making it so ugly and he said, "If I was allowed to say 'shut up' I would right now.  The cake is fine."

I rest my case about his awesomeness.

Monday, November 14, 2011



Buddy is amazing in every way.  One of his very best talents is testing my abilities as a parent.  I have been trying to consistently do timeouts rather than supplementing with lectures, yelling, or worse.  But many of his behaviors that test me the most don't really fall into the "you've just earned a timeout" category.

I have found that if he gets a chance to explain himself, a lot of times he de-escalates.  Unfortunately, when I'm irritated I rarely have the patience to sit and listen to his feelings.  So along came a brilliant idea.  I could have him write essays to explain his behavior and what he could do better.

In the last 6 days, he's written 17 pages worth of essays.  He earns a page per infraction that I feel doesn't really warrant a timeout.  I make a list of topics I'd like him to cover in each essay.  He has to sit on his bed away from the rest of us and write.  If he gets off his bed, he gets another page.  These essays have become a highlight of my day.  I might share a few here on the blog because they are so amusing.  The interesting thing is how much I adore him after reading his essays.

Here's today's essay.  The topics were:  Why I shouldn't get out of my bed.  What happens when I don't get enough sleep?  Why mom doesn't like it.  And What I should do if I'm not tired.  He got out of bed three times last night before falling asleep, so he earned 3 pages.  I kept his punctuation, but fixed his spelling errors, which are getting fewer and further between which each essay!

Without further adieu:

"I have one essay to write and it will not be fun.  So I got out of bed and I don't remember what I was doing while I was out of my bed.  And when you don't get enough sleep you get really really really really cranky in the morning, middle of the day, and afternoon, and noonday.  And your parents don't like it right?  So you should go to sleep... right mom or dad?  And mom or dad doesn't like it because it sometimes wakes him or her up and she or him doesn't like that and she or him doesn't want to be cranky right mom or dad?  And also our parents don't allow it so they don't let you do it.

And if I am not tired I should lay down and rest, or try to go to sleep right mom or dad.  But I should never get up never... right?  And if I...Ever... Ever... Ever do that again I will be very very very very very very sorry and try not to do it again never... or never again in my life!  And make sure to discipline me so I will learn even though you don't like it when you have to discipline me.  I want to learn very very very badly.  So I want you to discipline me good.  And I don't want to get off of my bed but I can't sleep.  And getting off my bed is a very bad choice right?

Oh I forgot a couple of stuff.  So on getting out of my bed.  So it's because God doesn't like it either... right mom or dad?  And about the if I don't get enough sleep.  So your parents get cranky too because then you get mad and you get even more cranky right mom?  So about the why mom doesn't like it thing.  So she doesn't also like it because it is the rule to stay in bed.  Oh did i write that down already?  Oh well if I did because almost done and I am very happy about that...  And I mean it like a ton of times.  And if I get out of my bed again I will be very sorry."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Heaven Couldn't Be Better Than That

A couple weeks ago G and I took a little break from real life and spent a couple days in the Columbia River Gorge.  It was fantastic in every way.  We dropped the kids off early at my brother's house.  Once we were free, our first stop was a 4-hour scenic train ride around the Hood River valley.  The fall colors were at their peak and it was so much fun to sit in silence and look out the window at all the farms and trees.  We both fell asleep a few times, which at first we felt bad about, but actually that enhanced the experience.  Relaxing in every way!


Halfway through the train ride we stopped in a gorgeous rural farming town.  The town is known for it's apple and pear orchards and sits at the foot of Mt. Hood.  We bought lunch at the little grocery store and sat in the park and ate.  The sun was out, the air was warm, and the scenery could not have been more beautiful with the fall colors, and Mt. Hood in the background.

 G in front of his beloved Mt. Hood.

 Eating our picnic lunch.  We both agreed this picnic was a highlight of the weekend.  Reminded us of the pre-children era.

Me in a pear orchard. 

After our train ride, we drove to a big farm and walked around.  It was weird not having the kids because they would have loved it, but I'm not going to lie... it was really nice. We wandered around, picked out some cool gourds for my dining room table, ate a donut, and enjoyed the sunshine.

Next we returned to the city of Hood River and walked up and down the streets looking in all the shops.  G found Buddy his very first pair of skis (used) for his birthday!  We had dinner at a delicious pizza place and watched an a capella group perform.  We felt like we were back at BYU.

Our last stop of the night was our resting place, Skamania Lodge.  If you live around here, you must go.  Wow!  It was so relaxing.  They had a giant fire going in the main area of the hotel and a bonfire outside.  We sat in the outdoor hot tub.  We wandered around the hotel and noticed there wasn't a child in sight.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! 

The next morning we slept in, laid around, watched TV, and finally went to brunch at noon.  The main reason we even went to the Skamania Lodge is for the brunch.  And that's the main reason you should go too.  It was amazingly wonderful.  Delicious!  After brunch, we sat in the family room and looked out the windows at the rain and decided to take a little nap right there in the rocking chairs.  Since we were so exhausted from doing nothing all day, you know. 

We drove around a bit, then did some shopping and eventually returned home in the evening.  It was the perfect getaway because we were missing the kids by that point.  They were mildly happy to see us and after an hour of being back in their presence, we were exhausted again and ready for another weekend away.  Luckily it was bed time!

The kids survived without us, of course, in my brother and sis-in law's capable hands.  I think Jordan and Tahsha were a little worse for the wear, though.  When they told us about their weekend, they kept giving us the "They were great!" line, while giving us that "courtesy" laugh people do when they are feeling really awkward.  My parents joined my brother and everybody to take the kids to our ward's trunk-or-treat.  My dad said the kids had fun but after comparing my kids' energy level/behavior with the rest of the ward (and my ward has NO shortage of kids), he said, "Your kids had fun.  And your kids are not calm."

And this, everyone, is why me and G had so much fun on our weekend away.

That, and the fact that G is a wonderful friend and companion.  And as fun as it was to see some new things and eat great food and be without the kids, the very best part was just being with him.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pray for Snow (by G)

I have blogged before about the many realizations that I have had that I'm truly a father. Yesterday I had another one of those moments. The awesome thing about the stage in life that we are at with the kids is that my kids are old enough to start participating and enjoying that things in life that I do. I'm happy to report that the boys in the family now have season passes to Mt. Hood Meadows. It was a proud day.