Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Pictures

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Christmas. The kids all looked so cute in their matching "candy cane" pj's. Lauren looked like Cindy Lou from the "Grinch who Stole Christmas" with her little pig tales. As we were getting the kids dressed in their jammies I realized that this will probably be the last year they'll all be able to match....Jacob is getting so big, they don't usually make matching pajamas in such a broad range of sizes. Anyway, the kids did a nativity while Aaron read the Christmas story from Luke. Joseph was Joseph, Lauren was Mary and Ben was a shepherd and Jacob was a wiseman. It was pretty cute but "Mary" kept undressing herself and dropping the baby Jesus. Well, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a happy New Years

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why I Love My Guy

Friday Night Aaron's parents took the kids for a sleepover and we headed to Seattle for Disney's Christmas party at Safeco Field.

It was a nice evening not just for the delicious food and adult conversation (I didn't eat all day so I REALLY enjoyed it) but spending time together with just the two of us is always a treat. That night we got home and didn't have to put any little ones to bed. We got to wake up in the morning and only get ourselves ready. And all that next day we were able to go where we wanted, do what we wanted and enjoy a drive in the car without having to listen to "Alvin & the Chipmunks Christmas" or "Kids Songs."

After spending that night and the next day with Aaron I just want to say that I love the man I married. Not that I didn't already know this but every time we have a getaway I end up feeling the same way.

It's funny how it takes having children to make you appreciate your time together, but that is exactly what it has done for me. Sometimes I think that having children is the "refiners fire" for a relationship. And if you get through it together your relationship becomes stronger and more beautiful in every way. Having little ones can be so stressful and sometimes it's a challenge to be patient with each other and treat your spouse with the love and respect they deserve but as you struggle together (amidst all the stress and chaos of life) you are forced to stretch and grow and through that process you become a better companion.

I want to dedicate this entry to my husband. It is because of him that my life is so rich and blessed. Heavenly Father knew that I needed a man like you in my life. You were the answer to my many prayers and many girlish dreams. You are my knight in shining armor and I love you more than you'll ever know. So here are some reasons in random order of why I love my guy:

1) I love you for your pure heart. There is no deceit or guile in you and you are so inherently decent and good. The longer I know you the more convinced I become that you have the heart of a saint.

I love you for being so honest,loyal and faithful. I feel so safe when I am with you. I have always been able to confide in you my deepest dreams and fears and weaknesses and I've always known that my words are safe in your ears. I never have to worry about you being disloyal to me in any shape or form. You are such a moral man.

3) I love you for your valiance (is that even a word?).
Your spiritual leadership in the home and your faith and testimony are an anchor that I can hold to. Your service in the church has been such an example to me of a valiant servant. I have always been so impressed with the way that you serve and how you serve simply because it is what the Lord asks of you. Whether it's home teaching, service projects, 6am bishopric meeting or priesthood session of conference. You never miss a meeting and what's more I've never heard you complain. I love that about you.

4) I love you for being a wonderful father.
How could I have known 10 years ago that you were going to be so great with our kids. I count this as one of the greatest blessings in my life. Having a wonderful, loving, kind and involved father for my children is so special. Not only are you great with them but I love having someone who loves my children as much as I do. Someone who gets as excited about those cute and funny things they do as I do. You were born to be a father and how lucky I am that you are the father of my children.

5) I love your stubborn nature. Yes, I do. Believe it or not I love that you are a fighter because I'm a fighter too and I know that I wouldn't have as much respect for you if you backed down all the time and cowered to my demands.

6) I love your persistence and ambition.
When you want something you go for it and you work hard until you get it. If it weren't for your persistence I know that we wouldn't be married today and if it weren't for your hard work and ambition we would not be enjoying such a comfortable life. I love that you are so eager to learn and grow in your field. I am always impressed not just by your knowledge but your desire to be better and learn more and grow. You like to be an expert in whatever you do....which leads me to......

7) (I'll tell you in person)

8) I love your playful side Sometimes I look at you and remember that you are that cute sweet little boy that everyone loved. It's not hard for me to see that you were such a good little boy and that Mister Rogers was your idol. Because I still see little glimpses of that boy when you play with the kids and get goofy and do your little dance for me (you know what I'm talking about).

I love that you are such a handy man Whether it's fixing something that's broken, working on our cars, building the world's coolest tree house for the boys or bringing to life my designs for a home renovation project. I love that you are so dang handy! Is there anything that you can't do? I'm sure with this old fixer upper we'll find your limits but seriously it makes me so proud to know that you are so good with building and fixing things. Oh and piggybacking on this I'd like to add that I love that you are so good at finding things when we're driving some where. Where do you get that sense of direction? Like last Saturday when we were trying to find the Zoo and we both didnt' know where the heck we were. How do you always find the right way to go? Back in pioneer days you would have been the one that got everyone safe and sound through the mountains to their destination.

10) I love that you care about being romantic Even though being romantic can be hard in this busy, chaotic life you always come through with that thoughtful card, those unexpected flowers or when it's your turn to plan our anniversary getaway, you put in that extra effort to make it so special. It's not so much that you do these things but that you still care about impressing me by putting forth that extra time and effort to make things special for your girl (who will always be a "hopeless romantic" at heart).

Okay that's enough for now. I think I've been blogging for over an hour now. It's time for me to fold some laundry. I love you and hope you know how happy I am to be your wife.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Christmas Tree Land" (so named by my children)

Last Saturday we went to Bacon's Christmas tree farm in Belfair to get our tree. It was the first year that we didn't get a big tree and it was kind of sad. I love our new home but I do miss having vaulted ceilings, it was always so fun to cut down a really tall tree. Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures from our day. It's a tradition in our family (since we moved to Port Orchard 4 years ago) to go to this place. It is awesome! They have acres and acres of rolling hills all covered with Christmas trees. The only word I can use to describe it is "magical." The picture I am posting does not do it justice but it really is so amazing. The weather was great and the boys all had so much fun. One of the pictures is of Jacob counting the rings on our chosen tree (he wanted to see how old it was). After we chopped down the tree we loaded it in the trailer. This year I let the boys ride in the back with me as we bumped along the dirt roads to the checkout stand. It was so much fun, I felt like a kid again!

Christmas Cards are done!

Last year was the first year that I didn't get a letter out, so I'm really happy that I not only did it this year but it was out before December 25th! I know that some people hate getting people's family letters each year so I hope if you got our card that you won't be rolling your eyes. (: I must confess that my biggest motivation for doing a letter each year is for selfish reasons. Every year I punch 3 holes in the letter and stick them in our family history binder. I know in the years ahead my kids will have fun looking back at the picture page and reading about what they were doing in 2007. (Just an idea for anyone who loves record keeping) Anyway, I hope you are all doing well. If you're reading this you probably already got our letter but I thought I'd post it here anyway. Here it is:

Dear Family & Friends,

We hope you are all doing well and that you will have a wonderful Holiday season with your friends, family and loved ones. Last year we didn’t get Christmas cards out because life was too hectic. We enjoyed getting your cards though and thank you for the letters and pictures of your family that you sent. We love seeing pictures and hearing news about your growing families.

The past two years have been packed with surprises and new experiences that have brought a lot of change. A few of these include the birth of our daughter Lauren on September 27th of last year, Aaron, starting a new job with The Walt Disney Company in Seattle, and moving into an old fixer-upper house this past August. Life has been busy and a bit crazy but amidst the stress and chaos we continually remember how blessed we are to have a busy, bustling household filled with the chatter and noise of little voices.

Jacob (who just turned 6) started Kindergarten this fall. He enjoys his teacher and class and would probably say his favorite subject is recess. Jacob has really taken an interest in drawing over the past couple of years. Every day he will draw one or more pictures with his crayons and markers. His favorite things to draw are race cars and pictures of Dad’s Bronco. He is very obsessed with speed and how fast things can go. He is also really taking an interest in sports. For his birthday he asked for a “Seattle Mariners” party with his friends and for his present all he wanted was to go to a Mariners game with Dad. Jacob is a very helpful boy that takes the role of older brother very seriously. He is a great helper and example to his younger brothers and sister.

Joseph (4 ½ years old) is “all boy” but has a soft spot in his heart for his Mommy and little sister. I often tell Aaron that one day he is going to be a great husband. He constantly brings hand picked flowers to Mommy (and now Lauren too) and tells us both when we look “beautiful & pretty.” He mentions regularly in his prayers that he is so thankful for his little sister, “because she is so sweet and pretty.” For Lauren’s fist birthday I let the boys each pick out a present and he wanted to get her “pretty berets for her hair so that she can be so beautiful.” Joseph is also very enamored with cars and “shooting” them as we drive by. “Pow, Pow, I shot that Mustang or Corvette…or Jeep…” is something we frequently hear in the back seat of our car. Joseph started soccer this fall and really loved it. He was a very aggressive little player and frequently scored many goals for his team. Joseph also has a very creative imagination and will often say the most unusual things.

Benjamin is 3 years old and is a very independent little boy. We thought Joseph had a stubborn streak until Ben came of age. He will not be outdone by his brothers and is our little “tough kid,” constantly getting bumps and bruises but rarely crying about it for more than a few seconds before he’s off and playing again. He loves playing matchbox cars with his brothers and reading stories with Mommy. His favorite book by far is “Green Eggs & Ham” which we’ve read more times than I care to count. Ben will often say and pronounce things in very cute ways that make us all laugh. An example of this happened just recently when the boys were helping me plant flower bulbs down by the big pond. That evening at dinner when asked what his favorite part of the day was he said, “Planting light bulbs with Mom down at Horseshoe pond.”

Lauren is now 14 months old and is really starting to get the hang of walking. She has a very sweet disposition and a calm spirit. She likes (even at this young age) pretty & shiny things (like flowers and jewelry) but is still very much at home making car noises as she pushes her brother’s trucks across the floor. She has started saying a few words and has finally grown hair long enough for us to put pig tails in. Having a little girl has been a special thing in this household of boys. We are all enjoying her and her sweet personality very much.

Aaron and I are doing well and keeping busy. Earlier this year I talked Aaron into training with me for the Yakima River Canyon Marathon at the end of March. At first he thought I was crazy but then he caught the bug and did it with me. After we finished he swore he’d never do it again but has since talked of doing it with me again this spring. (I think we both want to break the 4 hour mark- darn that competitive nature!) This July we also participated in a 12 man relay with friends running 200 miles in just over 24 hours. It was quite a sleepless adventure, but one that offered many funny moments and great memories. Aaron is enjoying his job and keeps busy now with projects around the house and on the property. Aaron still plays basketball with friends at church every Thursday night. He also likes playing with the boys and continues to be a great Dad. The older the boys get the more they like spending time with Dad ; helping him build things, clear the property and go for rides in his Bronco. My time is pretty much taken up with raising these little ones but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel amidst all the work tending to their many needs. I really love reading to the kids and have started reading some of the classics to the boys before bed, “James & the Giant Peach,” “The Boxcar Children” and “The Magic Tree house” It is so much fun rediscovering these books with my kids! I don’t have much time for hobbies (other than running), but I do enjoy my regular nights out with girlfriends and trips to the mall with Lauren.

Well, I’m running out of room so I guess that means it’s time to end. We love you all and hope you have a merry Christmas and a bright and blessed New Year! Love, The Laws Family

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Beautiful Ben

When I came up to bed Sunday night I found Ben asleep, laying in our bed. He's had a fever for the past couple of days and hasn't been feeling very well. He had taken his pajama shirt off because he was too hot. I grabbed the camera and snapped this picture of him laying there. Then Aaron climbed into bed to snuggle with this "perfectly plump" little boy and I just couldn't resist taking some pictures. Hopefully Aaron won't mind being seen in his garments, no one really reads this anyway, it's more just like a journal for me.

People say "thank heaven for little girls", (and I'm sure that's true) but tonight I'm thanking heaven for my Beautiful Ben. I love his chubby little lips that are always eager to kiss. I love his big, beautiful brown eyes and his little tough boy body. He is simply scrumptious.

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Can we really live with God?" -Joseph

After scriptures tonight we sung "When I am baptized." The last line of the song in the first verse says, "I want to live the best I can, and live with God again." After we finished singing and having family prayer, Joseph said (so softly and sweetly that I almost didn't hear him), "Mommy, can we really live with God?" My heart nearly melted. We explained to him that we can live with Him again and that we hope that one day we'll all live with Him again. I explained to him a little about the different kingdoms (with Jacob in the background chiming in that we want to go to the "the sun one.") I told him that we all have to do our part to live good lives so that we can be worthy to return to God's presence. Jacob said that he thought Jospeh would go to the "moon one" because he gets in trouble so much.
It was so touching for me to respond to this sweet little boy's honest, heartfelt question. I love Jospeh so much, of all my children he is the one who is most sensitive to spiritual things. It's moments like these that really warm my heart and make me so grateful to be a mother.

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Uncle Keith (The Firefighter)

We took the boys to see Uncle Keith at the Kent Fire Station last Friday. They knew he was a firefighter but getting the full tour of the station and getting to ride in his firetruck and shoot a real fire hose was pretty special for them. He spent over an hour giving them a full tour of everything and made it so interesting that he never lost their attention once!

Throughout the whole tour I kept thinking to myself how much I love this guy. He is such an honest, kind and decent man. I was telling Aaron the next day that my Grandma passing away a few years ago was a blessing for me because it was at her funeral that I became reacquainted with him and his family. Knowing him has enriched my life in so many ways. When the door to my relationship with my parents closed Heavenly Father sent to me this wonderful man with his sweet, loving wife to love my children and do all the fun things with them that families should do. The boys always love going over to his house and when we're there he tells them silly stories, teases them with magic tricks and gives them big bowls of ice-cream when I'm not looking. He is truly wonderful!

Seriously though I really can't express the feeling of gratitude that I have for this man. I respect him and love him so much and will ever be grateful to him for filling a place in my heart that needed family.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My Little Girl

Usually when strangers see me out with all the kids their first comment is "Wow, you have your hands full." Then they like to add, "Finally got your girl, huh?" I usually just respond with a smile and keep on pushing my cart full of kids down the aisle. Most people (who don't know me) seem to think that we were "trying" for a girl each time we got pregnant. But actually that couldn't be further from the truth. Each time we found out we were having another boy we were both very happy and excited. Looking back even now, having those 3 boys in less than 3 years has proved to be a blessing in many ways and I know that as they grow it will only get better. It's already so fun to see them stick together and look out for eachother. They really are a little 'band of brothers'. I'm so grateful for my little sons and I hope they'll always know that each of them were welcomed into our home with gladness. And even though they do make me crazy VERY frequently, I would never want them to think that they were just a failed attempt at trying to have a girl, (as so many commenting strangers seem to think).

It wasn't actually until I became unexpectedly pregnant with my 4th that I started to think that this time I wanted to have a little girl. I was worried that if I had another boy it would start to feel like the same old thing, and I'd feel terrible welcoming a child into our family with anything less than eager enthusiasm. It was at this time in my life that the craziness,stress & NOISE of having boys was really wearing me out emotionally and mentally. It's amazing to me to look back and see how much in a short time the happiness and bliss of new motherhood seemed to melt away into a painful reality of trying to hold my head above the water and survive my sons. I felt my joy turning into fatigue and crankiness. I wasn't enjoying the little things like I once was. It was at this time that I got the news I was pregant and I prayed in my heart that it would be a girl. When we found out we were having a daughter I was very grateful to a kind Father in Heaven who knew where I was at emotionally and knew that the blessing of a little girl would heal me in so many ways.

This post is dedicated to my little Lauren who has renewed my mother heart. Having you Lauren has made me love being a mother all over again. My heart does little somersaults when I see your sweet smiling face standing in your crib each morning. I love your tight little hugs and slobbery kisses. I love seeing you walk across the floor with your unsteady steps. I love seeing you fold your little arms when you hear us announce it's time for family prayer. I love your little finger that points at me and smiles. I love it when I'm rocking you in my arms and you pull your binky out and put it in my mouth to share. I love your fuzzy crazy hair that I can't seem to keep down. I love your little body when it gets excited and straightens out in a "spazz mode." You are so precious. I love you so much. Thank you for being you and for helping me to feel like a loving mother again.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Old House......has mice!

As many of you know, we just bought an old home (1919) this summer. It's a fixer upper and needs lots of work but it has good bones and a lot of potential and charm. We'd been looking for a couple of years to find just the right place where the boys could run around and play. We knew we found it when we saw this place with over 6 acres of wooded, rolling hills with creeks and ponds. Every day we've been here I've been falling in love with this peaceful place more and more. However my latest discovery has left me feeling like a bit of a sissy.

Saturday night I was up reading to the boys when I heard Aaron call up to me from downsteairs saying that he needed me "right away". I was thinking to myself, "what is so important that it can't wait?" Well when I got down I soon found out. He was crouched down in the back of the walk-in coat closet holding a baseball bat while calmly informing me that he saw 2 mice. He needed me to baracade the entry so that they didn't run out while he "got" them.

So for the next 10 minutes I watched while my husband cornered and killed the 2 mice with a baseball bat. DISCUSTING I KNOW! The missed swings of course got the attention of the boys and pretty soon they came downstairs to be spectators in the main event. I do not like the idea of little mice being in my house but I also do not like killing things. Jacob (my oldest) could see that I was disturbed by this brutal process.

Well, that wasn't the last we saw of the mice. We found a baby mouse a couple days later and another one the day after that. Yesterday when I was in the office (Aaron was at work) Jacob sounded the alarm and informed me that there was a baby mouse on the stairs. I think he could see that I was nervous and scared to get it by myself because he bravely stepped in my way and said, "Don't worry Mom, I'll get it, you just go bring me the bat." I was shocked! My brave little 6 year old was going to handle this for me, and I was going to let him!

This morning, while I was down in the basement running on the treamill, I noticed another little mouse scurry across the floor in plain sight, GREAT!!! Aaron had already left for work and the kids were still asleep upstairs. I decided to ignore it and continue with my run. Then I noticed that the mouse was defying gravity by climbing up the wall! (Did you know mice can do that?) This worried me a bit more because he went onto a ceiling beam and then I lost sight of him. My mind started racing as I imagined looking up and finding it above me just before he dropped down onto my head or something crazy like that.

So that's it, we have a mouse problem! We put down some sticky traps but that still doesn't make me feel any better. Any ideas on how to get rid of them......for good? I guess until we figure this out I'm going to have to get tougher and not be so squeamish around these little rodents. I guess I can't be a sissy anymore if I want to live in the country. Atleast they are not rats, or rattlesnakes that would freak me out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Little Wonders"

The first time I really listened to the lyrics of this song ("Little Wonders" by Rob Thomas), I was driving in the suburban looking in my rear view mirror at my four young children (all 5 years and younger). I had heard the song on the radio before but never really paid attention to the words. It had been a particularly difficult day with the kids and I was just trying to get through running some errands (many of you know how fun this can be when you have four little ones in tow) and I just wanted to get home. Feeling rather frazzled I tuned out the noise from the kids and listened to the calming music in the introduction of this song. As the lyrics started and I listened to the words I thought this song was being written for me. My heart began to soften and a lump formed in my throat. It didn't take long for the tears to well up in my eyes as I thought of my own little wonders and how much I love my children.

I named my Blog site "These Small Hours" because I think that's the real message of this song. Our lives truly are made in small hours and little moments. I go running to this song on my ipod and people on the street probably think I'm a crazy lady when they see me coming toward them running with tears streaming down my face as I listen to this song. It describes my life right now so well, and when I listen to the words it gives me strength and purpose. I cry because it is so hard(getting through the crazineess of raising these small children), but so wonderful at the same time. My heart literally swells within my chest when I think of my precious children and how lucky I am to be their mother. It swells when I think of my wonderful husband who loves me so much and takes such good care of our family. I am blessed beyond measure, my life is rich and full and I pray that in "these small hours" I may live my life without regrets and treasure my own "Little Wonders"

"Little Wonders"

Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don't you know
The hardest part is over

Let it in,
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

Let it slide,
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you
And i don't mind
If it's me you need to turn to
We'll get by,
It's the heart that really matters in the end

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But i can not forget
The way i feel right now
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
These twists & turns of fate

Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours, still remain,
Still remain
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders still remain