Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pacific Science Center

Earlier this month we took the kids to the science center in Seattle. Here are some pictures from our day:

The kids dancing at the "Music Experience".....as you can imagine, Joseph was the biggest ham of them all busting out his best moves...

Taking the ferry to downtown Seattle, can you tell by their faces how cold it was? Hurry up and take the picture!

A family picture under the shadow of the Space Needle.

The boys sitting at the base of one of the Space Needle legs...

Climbing the rock wall...

Playing in the Saltwater Tide pools....

Having some fun with the mirrors.......

Playing on the cement balls.....

Just before the 3D IMAX film "Under the Sea" it was so AWESOME!!!

Potty Training & "Princess Panties"........ my thoughts on raising a girl

Last week I unknowingly bought my last package of diapers at Wal-Mart. While I was there I thought I'd pick up a pair of little girl panties for Lauren with the intent that I would start trying to potty train her. She is 28 months old. The boys all potty trained at 2 1/2 but I've heard that little girls potty train earlier so I thought I'd give it a shot. Well- long story short a week later and she is potty trained. I think I've used one diaper out of that pack I bought. When I brought home those Disney Princess panties she was SO excited! All I had to do was be consistent with having her wear them no matter where we went and it took a few times of pooping and peeing in them for her to realize that they didn't work like diapers and she caught on.

So with the recent addition of "princess panties" to her wardrobe I've been once again reminded of how much she loves princesses. She will point to the characters and say "peety Pean cess" (pretty princess) and hop around excitedly in her panties. It's pretty adorable but at the same time a little alarming at how obsessed she is with them. Right now she only has 2 princess related toys and a matching plate, cup and bowl set with the Disney Princess theme. This is not because she wouldn't LOVE to have more, it is entirely my fault that she doesn't. Years ago there was a little girl in our ward that had an obsession with princesses to the point that she wanted people to call her "princess _____." Her mother was talking to me one day about how exhausting and frustrating her obsession had become. At the time I thought that it was kind of cute (having no children of my own) but these days if I had run into a similar situation I would probably cringe listening to the prissy details.

After having 3 boys I know that my parenting methods for Lauren are much different than they would have been if she'd been my first child. I was very girly and even a little prissy myself back in those days. I think Heavenly Father knew I needed sons to round off my prissy edges and make me a little more down to earth before having a daughter. I'm pretty sure that if Lauren had been my first child I would have indulged her every girly whim, catered to her 2 year old tantrums over wanting the "other bow" for her hair because it matches her shirt better. I probably would have painted her fingernails whenever she asked and let her wear my lip gloss too. She most likely would have been dressed from head to toe in the cutest, trendiest girly outfits with matching socks, bows and accessories. But what might this produce? I can't be sure but my fear is that it might produce a daughter similar to many of the teenage girls I see everywhere these days.

If you don't know what I mean go to the mall and you'll see what I'm talking about. Unfortunately these days they're everywhere. Vain, self-absorbed, high maintenance teenagers wearing designer labels (that even their parents can't afford), with their hair highlighted, nails done, texting on their expensive cell phones while shopping at Victoria's Secret (I've seem them there). I always wonder-what do they need sexy lingerie for anyway, they're only 15? If you're still not sure what I mean, (since we do live in Port Orchard) visit some myspace pages of teenage girls these days. It's really scary. I visited my brother in-laws myspace page and saw picture after picture of his 16 year daughter in provocative poses. Many of the comments from her friends were laced with profanity and the repeated use of the word "sexy." Whenever I see girls like this I wonder to myself.....how did they get that way? How did it all start? It really, really scares me!

In contrast, there is a particular family in our ward with teenage daughters that are so lovely. They are wholesome, sweet, stylish and feminine. They wear very little (if any) makeup and they're such a refreshing breath of fresh air, especially when compared to their peers. I look at these girls and think, "THAT's the kind of girl I want my daughter to be like."

I also have a friend with 5 girls that told me a while back that she makes a point to NOT tell her daughters that they are pretty. Her reasoning is that she doesn't want them to associate their physical beauty with their self worth and second that she doesn't want to raise vain women. I initially thought that this was a tad extreme but respected her good intent. Now that Lauren is talking and understanding things I have actually tried to pull in the reins on myself telling her that she's pretty but it is SO hard. It just seems so natural to tell her she looks pretty when she is all dressed up for church and really does look so pretty! Another point that Aaron brought up when we were talking about this was that you want your daughter to hear you compliment her beauty so that she doesn't fall for the first guy that tells her she's pretty. Which I think is a good point. One thing I would like to add about my friend is that her daughters are the sweetest, most down to earth girls I've met. Definitely the kind of girl I would want my sons to marry one day.

I have one daughter and only one chance to raise her to be a virtuous, humble, and faithful daughter of God. I know that having a few princess toys and telling her she's pretty (in moderation) is not a bad thing. And when she's older of course we'll have fun shopping together, painting our toenails, and watching the occasional chick flick . I'm striving to find a balance between helping her form a positive, healthy self image where she enjoys her feminine side WITHOUT indulging her vanity and over the top girly notions. This has been difficult for me in some ways but I hope that in the end I won't have my only daughter be like the teenage girl described above.

Lauren, I love you so much and am SO thankful that you are my daughter. You melt my heart with your sweet words ("you pitty mama", or "mama, you a pean cess"). I never want to forget the cute things you say and do. I have great hopes that my relationship with you will be the kind I wish I would have had with my own mother. If you end up reading this one day and can't understand why I won't let you wear eye shadow when you're 12 or get your hair highlighted like all your friends please believe that I'm doing it because I love you and want you to grow into a lovely, sensible and selfless young lady whose true beauty lies in her faithful and generous heart.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My little Piano man

One of the things that I love about volunteering in the school is that I get the chance to see my kids in the classroom setting. It's surprising to see (even at these younger grades- Kindergarten and 1st grade) to see such a difference between my boys and the majority of their peers. I always walk away at the end of the day feeling good about myself as a mother. In addition to this much needed boost of "Mommy self esteem" an added bonus that I've recently enjoyed is seeing some of the class work they're doing that doesn't come home in their Friday folder. Each day they have a writing assignment that stays in their composition notebook in their desk. When I'm in Jacob's class I usually try to sneak away during their story time and read his recent entries in his notebook. He always entertains me with what he writes and it's fun for me to get a little peek into his thoughts as this notebook is kind of like a journal for him. When I went into class this last Thursday this was one of the entries that I found.

In case you are not skilled at reading 1st grade writing "osom" is the phonetic spelling for "awesome." And yes he really is good at playing the piano. I told Aaron recently that this is the best money we ever spent and that it's so rewarding to see him growing and improving each week. I don't even have to remind him to practice anymore because he really does love it. Makes things so much easier for me. I just wish that he was a little more humble about it. (:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sam Sammy the slug

(busy at work building Sam Sammy's house)

ow that the weather has been warming up a bit I've been sending the kids outside to play for a couple hours each morning (weather permitting). A couple days ago the boys were outside playing for a lengthy period of time without episode. I thought it unusual but was enjoying the opportunity to get some things done inside. I kept checking on them every so often and could see that they were busily doing something down at the sand pit. After a while Joseph came running up to the house asking me if I had any seeds. I did have some left over from our garden last year so I went down to the basement and gave him 2 pea seeds. I asked him what they were up to out there and he told me that they found a little baby slug and they were making a house for him. They wanted the seeds so that "he would have some food to eat". They made a cute little house for him with a sand fence, a fake tree bordered with little rocks and sticks. For the next couple of days they (Joseph and Ben) would remind each other that they had to go out and water their seeds. But after the 2nd day Sam Sammy the slug escaped. They named him Sam for his first name and Sammy for his middle name. A little confusing but so adorable.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Joseph is Reading!!!

Joseph reading "Return of the Jedi" tonight at the bar.

Joseph started Kindergarten this fall and has impressed me with his eagerness to learn. He frequently asks to do homework and I have to come up with things for him to do because he only gets one worksheet of homework a week in his Friday folder. Jacob (who is in 1st grade) has much more homework and Joseph gets frustrated and upset that he doesn't have more like his brother. One thing he does have though is his little sight words on a ring that get sent home from school. He has about 20 of them now and so sometimes for "homework" I'll have him go through them with me.

Recently, I thought I'd add to his "homework" by having him sit and read an early reading (level 1) book to me every night. He loved it and rarely forgot to remind me that it was time to do his "homework" and read me a book. After about the third day of doing this I was already seeing improvement. I could not believe how quickly he was picking it up! I was so impressed by his ability to sound out the letters and blend them so easily into words.

Tonight he was sitting at the bar while I was making dinner. He got a Star Wars book at the Library on Friday and was up there sitting with his brothers reading the book! I was blown away that he was reading this book! Jacob was helping him with some of the harder words but he was reading steadily without difficulty with little to no help! I got the camcorder out and was going to attach it to this post but Aaron thinks it's probably just something that only we would get excited about. Soooooo, you'll just have to take my word for it that it was really awesome.

The main reason why this is such a big deal for me is because I am starting to see that reading and words are something that he is going to excel in. It has been very frustrating for me as a mother to have my oldest son be so talented in everything (I'm sorry if that sounds boastful) but to have his younger brother live in that shadow and to feel like nothing he does is as good as Jacob - it's been really hard. I've tried to boost him up and encourage him but he always sees himself as coming second to Jacob. Now that he is reading so well (and getting so much praise and attention for it-even from his older brother) I can see his little self esteem starting to grow. This makes me so happy and I feel so grateful to have discovered something that he does so well (even better than his brother did when he was in Kindergarten). Which for Joseph, is a badge of honor that he will wear with pride.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Okay, I've been tagged a bunch of times on Facebook to do this thing. So I finally gave in and thought I'd post my responses here too. Hopefully one day my children will find this list somewhat amusing.

25 Random Things About Me

1-My kids actually do have a mother who wore combat boots. (I served in the Air Force as an Intelligence analyst for 5 years prior to becoming my kids mom).

2-I used to be quite a prankster in middle school and even slipped Ex-Lax into my teachers coffee when I was in 7th grade.

3-When I first met my husband I told him to “give up” because he wasn’t good enough for me and I’d never date him. (Boy was I wrong).

4-I bought and rode a moped (1960 Honda 90cc) in high school because my parents wouldn’t buy me a car and wouldn’t pay for a bus pass to get to school.

5-I met my husband in Hawaii when my moped broke down. He was the cute guy on the motorcycle who stopped to help me fix it.

6-I get more excited than my kids do to go to the library and check out more picture books.

7-I want to write and illustrate my own children’s books.

8-I worked at Jack in the Box for almost 2 years when I was in High School and actually enjoyed it.

9-I once stuffed 3 huckleberries up my nose to impress a boy (I was 4) and my Dad had to use tweezers to get them out.

10-I ripped my lip off when I was 9 years old when I thought I could ride my bike with my eyes closed. I drove right into a barbed wire fence along our country road.

11-I married a guy who sold his motorcycle and took out a loan to buy me a ring at Tiffany’s.

12-When I was in 6th grade I was the only girl that the boys would let play football with them at recess, and I can still throw a pretty impressive spiral.

13-I didn’t get my first kiss until I was 17 years old.

14-I had a Level 3 Top Secret Clearance. Once I was involved in an incident at work that resulted in our flight chief having to use the "red phone" to contact the President of the U.S.)

15-I run marathons and did my first one without stopping once.

16- I can count on one hand the number of fast food hamburgers I’ve eaten in my life. Today, I will only eat my husband’s BBQ hamburgers, they are delicious.

17-When I was 16 my family took a trip to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. I promised myself then that I would come back there to be married one day. 5 years later we flew from Hawaii (where I was living at the time) to Utah to keep that promise.

18-I had my 4 children in 5 years.

19-When I was a little girl I thought that I wanted to have 6 kids (3 boys and 3 girls- like the Brady Bunch). My,.... how I’ve changed.

20-I’ve never drunk a cup of coffee in my life or tasted Pepsi or Coke. I've never drunk alcohol, smoked a cigarette, or used any kind of drug.

21-I was a cover model 2 times for a Hawaiian tourist magazine.

22-I gave birth to all of my children naturally. My third was a homebirth. My longest labor was 32 hours, my shortest was 1 hour and 45 minutes and all of my babies were over 9 pounds, one of them was almost 10!

23-I love vegetables and married a “meat and potatoes” man.

24-When I was 5 I had a habit of chewing and swallowing dental floss. That habit ended when one day I found a piece of string hanging out of my rear and my Dad had to try (unsuccessfully) to pull it out. It eventually "passed" on it's own.

25- When I was in labor with my first son, I bit my husband and threw up all over him. All of this after telling him prior to having natural childbirth that I felt sorry for husbands whose wives yelled at them when they were in labor.