Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wanna go on a date?

A few weeks ago Chad and I told the kids that we wanted to start taking them on dates...just one child at a time and us. (I've watched enough Jon and Kate plus Eight and 400 million Kids and Counting to know that kids in larger families often feel a bit invisible. So in hopes of giving each child their own identity and special time with mom and dad, we adopted the one-on-one date idea I stole from Jon and Kate plus Eight actually.)
The kids were thrilled when we introduced the idea and told them they could pick whatever they wanted to do...within reason.
Beckham's date was first and all he wanted to do was go to the store. We tried urging him to choose something else, but then realized that our efforts sorta went against the purpose of the date...which was giving the child all creative control.
So, to the store it was. Now, I know that the only reason Beckham wanted to go to the store is so he could mull around the toy section for an hour and a half. I suggested that instead of going to plain old Wally's or Target that we go to the mother of all toy stores...the mother of all toy stores that Utah has to offer anyway, Toys-R-Us.
I'll spare you all the boring details by saying that there was a lot of wandering that took place. We told the boy he could pick out one toy. He finally settled on a Fisher Price pirate island play set.
One down, three to go.
Next it was Avery's turn. She's been begging to get he ears pierced for I don't know how long and she jumped on the chance to plan her own date to the Piercing Pagoda. She was totally calm and collected until she saw the girl pull out the piercing gun. Even then she maintained her composure but became visibley nervous. When it came time for the actual piercing she sat as still as could be an took it like a true woman of pionner stock. I was so proud of her. And...she looked so stinkin' cute her pink diamond studs.
Then Chad, on a whim, suggested we get Rowan's ears pierced...since we were already there. I hadn't really given it much thought, but then Chad reminded me how often strangers assume she's a boy...even when she's wearing pink, and I was totally game. I picked out a cute pair of diamond studs and we were set. All we needed to do now was the actually piercing. I tried to stifle all the anxiety and guilt I was feeling as I pinned Rowan's head against my chest and LET the girl shoot the unnecessary earrings through her pure, virgin ears.
She freaked out, naturally. It was a cry I have never heard before...not even when she's gotten her shots. This cry was different. It was as if she knew I'd been overcome with the world and put her through this torture all for the sake of "looking cute". There was a moment of regret, then Rowan stopped crying and I got a good look at her perfectly pierced ears...and I didn't care, because the kid looked fah-reaking adorable.
When we got home and Quinn saw Avery and Rowan's ears, she was set to get hers done too. I know the kid to well and suggested pedicures instead. She was happy with the idea, and frankly so was I.
When it finally came time for Quinn's date she changed her mind last minute (wonder who she gets that from?) and decided she wanted to go the the Hello Kitty store at the mall instead.
We walked through the door and Quinn had half the store picked out. We finally narrowed her purchases down to two ridiculously over priced items...a set of smelly markers and a wallet.
The date concluded with a ride on the carousel and a quick stop by The Red Balloon.
Finally, Carter's date.
He chose to go to the movies. He's read all of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books and wanted to see it played out on the big screen. Sadly I did not get to go on this date as I was unable to find a sitter, and also because the younger kiddies had been sick and I felt like I needed to stay with them. In my defense, I had surprised Carter at school by picking him up and taking him to lunch a few days earlier. According to Chad, Carter loved the show and they had a great time on their dude date.
Now as I consider the dates we took each kid on, they seem like no big deal to me. But, I'm pretty sure that they meant something more to each of the least to Carter and Avery. Sadly, those two are the ones most often overlooked simply because they are older and more independant. I was happy to give them the opportunity to be the center of attention, because they are super, great kids and they deserved it.
And while I am happy to have completed our first date rotation and think that we will shoot for a second cycle (that is once we've SAVED up enough money to do it again) we may have to rethink a few things. I think a less expensive date might be on the agenda next time as it has become quite evident that these kiddies know how to spend money. But that said, they were worth every penny. Time with my babies, while they are still young, is priceless.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guess who I saw last night...

Grace and hum, that's right. Grace and Charity made an appearance last night.
FHE plans changed last minute when Quinn brought home a note from school saying it was Silver Mesa up-Chuck-E-Cheese night. She was super excited about it, so I decided to postpone my wonderful and inspired FHE lesson for another time.
BUT, on the way to Mr. Cheese's I asked for the kiddies to simmer down for moment so I could say something.
I told them that I hadn't been very happy with the way they'd been speaking and treating members of the fam and even their friends. I explained that people are naturally drawn to individuals who are happy/positive/complimentary (may have a little over their heads but...) and that I would like to see them trying to be a little more "gracious". I mentioned that if I saw any noticeable improvement by next week there would be an award. And...I left it at that.
We headed into "the Cheese" and the kids took off. I sat myself down at a table and took in the surroundings...sreaming children, flashing lights and obnoxious bells and whistles...all the ingredients necessary for a substantial headache. And aside from the stimulation overload things were...nice. They became even nicer when number one came and sat by me at the table and said he needed to tell me something. Here's how the conversation went:
Carter: Mom I need to tell you something that I did.
Me: Oh Crap!!! What happened now (only I'm not saying this out loud, just yelling it in my head. Carter must have sensed my angst as he quickly followed up with this statement).
Carter: Don't worry mom, it's good.
Me: *sigh*So, what's going on?
Carter: I just gave all my tickets and tokens to a little boy in a wheelchair.
Me: (initially I wanted to ask him if he knew how much CEC tokens were, but then I remembered...grace, so instead I said:) Wow Cart, that was really nice of you.
Carter: Ya, I saw him sitting by the air hockey table and I asked him to play with me. Then I gave him the rest of my tokens and my tickets.
Me: Carter I super proud of you. High fives.
I really was proud of the kid. He's always had a particular soft spot for kids with disabilities and I was happy that he treated that little boy just like he was a "regular" ole kid. I could tell that Carter was pretty proud of himself too.
The night continued on without a hitch. When it came time for Avery to turn in her tickets for prizes she made sure to get something for her siblings as well as herself...another gracious act, I thought.
I left Chuck's place feeling like the kids were on the right track. Either they are really determined to be better people, or they really want their reward. Either way, I happy at the positive change. I hope that our new friends...grace and charity...come back to visit soon.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Anyone seen Grace or Charity?

Lately I have become very hypersensitive to my kiddies and their behavior. I wouldn't ever call them ill-behaved (okay maybe sometimes) or bad children...because they are simply that, children. They are still learning tact and manners and etiquette. And while I wish that I could instruct them once on how to be proper and they would remember, I have to realize that these are things that take time and practice to learn.
Fast forward to yesterday. I had to stay home from church with two of my "pukers" while the rest of the fam went to church. The house was eerily quiet, but I decided to take advantage of the peace and silence and just sit down and think...about random things like: how good a double/double from In-n-Out sounded, and how awesome this family tree/picture frame ditty from Rod Works would look on the wall down the hallway, and why, for the love, I haven't been able to trim off the unsightly fat pockets on my hips after weeks of working my buttocks off at the gym (or apparently not working off). Ya know good sabbath day thoughts, but...then I was struck with an idea. At the time I wasn't even thinking about the kiddies or this issue with their behavior, but for some reason the idea popped right into my head.
I don't know if you mommy's have these kinds of problems at home, perhaps it's just us. But I've become quite fed up with them and the stroke of divinity yesterday helped give me perspective.
My children are, to put it bluntly, LOUD. Just generally loud. They WALK loud, they TALK loud, they even SLEEP loud sometimes (just the occasional sleep talking/laughing). And I finally explained to them that there has to be moments of quietude, not just because momma will have a nervous breakdown, but also because it's hard to feel the holy ghost when the walls are shaking from all the noise. I've tried to make them mindful of this by simply saying "useless noise" when things get too loud. And, surprisingly, the decibal levels have tapered down a bit. It could still use some improving, but we are working on it.
The next big issue (and probably the bigger of the two) I have been addressing, but not making much progress on is "graciousness" in thought and deed. And it's got me a little concerned. I have caught my kiddies saying some very... "not nice" things to each other and it kind of hurts my heart to see that kind of interaction take place. Sometimes it's not even what they are saying, but how they are saying it...their tone of voice as it were. I mean, where did my kids pick up such sarcasm...uh hum?
As I was saying, the way my kids say things leaves a lot to be desired. And I have been wracking my brain on ways to help encourage more grace, both in speech and action. I've tried quiet, loving, little reminders like saying "be gracious" when I would see something rude or verbally clumsy take place, but I was just not getting the results, or the response I wanted. Which brings me to my heavenly little moment yesterday.
While I was sitting...pondering yesterday, I had the idea that for FHE tonight we would have a lesson on charity. We would talk about Jesus and how he was the perfect example of unconditional love...and grace. (I mean when you think about it, Jesus had a lot he could have complained about or gotten angry over...and not dumb things like who gets to use the yellow plate at dinner (you'd be surprised, but this little issue has resulted in many a shouting match...and even the occasional UFC fight) or who gets to watch the T.V. next).
We would discuss how many people said and did mean things to Him, yet He remained "gracious". Though He was surrounded by negative people, people who hated Him, He still found the positive in them.
And then, after discussing Christ and His perfect example we would all take turns telling each other what we like about each each other compliments. (I know it sounds ridiculous, but I don't think my kids have ever learned how to pay someone a compliment. I never thought it was something you needed to be taught, but apparently it is). The point of this activity being that everyone has something good and positive to just have to find it. Be positive, uplifting, gracious. And though it may be hard you do it any way becuase it's what is's what Jesus would do.
In my mind I picture the perfect conclusion to our FHE...with the kiddies little halo's restored; shining brightly and perfectly above their little heads. I know that isn't can't actually SEE people's halo's.
And, as a final test, I will challenge them to try and see the good in everyone they meet. I will encourage them to practice what we've learned by saying and doing only things that are kind...gracious.
AND...if I see any noticeable improvement by the time we have FHE again we will all go out to FUGI...and practice using our newfound grace (that part wasn't inspired...well, it was inspired by me, or my tummy rather).
I hope it works, cause it's all I got. I'm hopeful. I think they will be motivated...if not to be a better person, than to go out to dinner at least. I'll make sure to post the results.
And, if any of you wise souls have any advice or suggestions that might help my cause, I'd love to hear em.
By the way, have I told you how lovely you look today!!!

A video I found on that will also be part of FHE. It tugged at my heartstrings...I will not lie. Be prepared to shed a tear...or two.
Example of the Believers

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Time Flies.

It just dawned on me that my little Rowan is already eight months old and has been alive for almost as long as I was preggers with her. I also just realized that I haven't bothered commenting on any of her milestones these past months. It's amazing to me that a few months ago this little person only knew how to suck, cry and poop. And to look at her now, eight months later, and see her interacting, and moving and "talking" is really amazing.
So, in honor of my little darling I thought I'd share a list of some of her more notable milestones and newly acquired no particular order.

1- Grunting with inflection. This kid can really make a statement with her grunts...there's her "I'm done" grunt, and her "hey, look at me grunt" and her "I'm pooping" grunt. So amazing how she can communicate without using any words.

2- Snot bubble blowing. Note: this is a seasonal skill, and while it may be quite the attention grabber, I'll be glad when it's over.

3- Snot wiping. While many of you might not consider this a noteable ability, I beg you to many eight month olds do you know that can wipe their own nose? The only problem is that my shirt usually serves as the tissue...and what's more, I don't usually notice the unsightly boogie streaks til I'm out in public with no means of tidying up.

4- Human vaccum. This kid has a way with finding all the stray crumbs and awol food bits that fall onto the, uh hum, sanitary floors I allow her crawl upon. But like I always say, better her than the mice...ha, ha, ha...uh hum. And to be honest, the help in clean up is always much appreciated.

5- Melinoma detection. I don't know if this kid has a future in dermatology or what, but she has an uncanny knack for finding all the molies on my body. Then again, they might just look like little chunks of stray food stuck to my skin (refer to number 4).

6- Lip sucking. Occasionally I will become so consumed with adoration that I have to kiss my little nugget on her dainty little lips. And, almost every time I do the kid latches on to my mouth like a leech...albeit the cutest freakin' leech. It's so should really see it. Anyway, it's just amazing how well her sucking reflex has developed over the past few months.

All right, enough bragging already. I could think of plenty more but I hate to make you all jealous.
I will conclude by saying what a joy the past eight months have been. I will admit that I found myself wondering what I'd gotten myself into before the dear made her grand debut, but having her around has been wonderful. She is such a happy and content baby, which is great because, frankly, she wouldn't get the attention if she needed it. I mean, she would get the attention...I do pay attention to her...I mean it's not like I make her feed herself with leftovers off the floor...wait, I mean...
Anyway, it's been a pleasure having Rowan join our family. I can't believe it's already been eight months. Which can only mean one thing, that time really does fly when you're having a good time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's In A Name

A few days ago Quinn's teacher sent home a paper explaining how they would be learning about "famiy heritage" in class. Their assignment was to make a poster explaining a little bit about their ancestry.
Now I will admit that I was quite tickled by this task. In my old age (I'm thirty-three) family history has become more interesting and the quest for information on my predecesors sounded quite adventurous (I don't know why, but I always think of Braveheart). I was excited to scavenge the net and explore the old family records to see what important nuggets of info I might come across. Never in my right mind did I think my greatest life question would be answered...a question I'm reminded of more often than I'd like...on a daily basis almost. That question being, "why are my boys so freakin' violent and turn everything they grab into some kind of weapon (just last night Carter hucked a cork hot pad through air like it was a Chinese star...whatever).
And here's what I uncovered: origins of the Anglo-Saxon name ASHMAN come from its first bearer, an ancient Saxon name which meant WARRIOR OF THE SPEAR. Ash, saxon word meaning spear, and man, meaning man, put together equals, "spearman".
All this time I thought Ashman was referencing the pasty, ashen complexion of my ancient peeps but no...I am decended of something greater...something nobler...something fiercer.
Now suddenly the clouds have parted and the world has become clear to me. No more feeling embarrased about my boys' disturbing affection for all things weapons. No more frustration over them using random, household items as killing devices. No more guilt over believing that I had done something wrong in the upbringing of these, "assertive" boys,'s who they are, it's in their blood, for they are Ash "men"...(at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it).