Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March Madness

March has been a busy month for us so I haven't been the best about posting things as they happen. I started feeling guilty until I began thinking about how much I've had going on this month. So, to remember the madness I thought I'd record a little snapshot of what's been keeping me so busy :

-Both of the older boys started baseball practice this month so now on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are their practice nights with piano lessons still on Wednesdays.

- I was asked to teach an Enrichment class earlier this month on making easy little girl dresses for Easter (a post about this will be coming soon as I want EVERYONE who DOESN'T sew to know that they can STILL make cute dresses for their daughters).

-I got to play interior decorator for a friend of mine who wanted me to design their daughters bedroom. It was my first assignment in decorating and designing a room for someone else.

-The kids were on Spring Break for a week this month which meant lots of carting kids and their friends around and traveling to visit family.

-A while back I decided to do a 10 year sideshow project as a secret gift for Aaron and I's 10th wedding anniversary (which is in the beginning of April). And of course I procrastinated until a month before our anniversary......It took FOREVER but turned out great.

- I sanded, stripped, puttied, sanded, puttied sanded, caulked, painted and polyurethaned our wood staircase-FINALLY!!! (I'll attach before & after pictures once Aaron finishes sheet rocking and doing the molding and trim around them).

-On top of everything else I'm now in full training mode for the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon coming up in June.

Ahhhhhhh!, okay,so now I'm making myself tired and feeling like I need to take April off!!! Well at least going over all that stuff has alleviated my guilt about being such a slacker on my blog. But since this IS a family journal, I can't just skip this month so here's some pictures of our month and some funny moments and memories to go along with it.

St. Patrick's Day Fun

Okay, so it isn't very appetizing to look at, but its become a tradition to turn one of our favorite dishes (Chicken Curry) into a green entree for our St. Patrick's Day dinner. Between dinner and dessert I usually go through a whole bottle of food coloring. But the kids have fun eating the green foods and it gives me a chance to observe how quickly each child's metabolism works as I hear the cries anywhere from 12 -48 hours later calling from the bathroom, "Mom,...... I have green poop!" (I know that's so disgusting, but I just had to add if for memory's sake).

Museum of Flight

This month for our family activity we took the kids to the Boeing Museum of Flight. If you haven't been you have to go! We had so much fun and learned so many interesting things. There are full size planes and jets hanging from the celiling and jets with cockpits that the kids got to sit in. There is also a 3-D flight simulator shuttle ride (like Star Tours in Disneyland), an out of commission space shuttle you can walk through, and many other activities and interactive displays.

We got to go inside the Concorde supersonic jet and even saw the moon buggy on display which was special for me because my Grandpa Kepler who retired from Boeing was actually on the team that designed and produced the original moon buggy. Pretty fun stuff and very educational. Jacob got to go on a commercial airplane and see a real cockpit up close which was special for him since he still wants to be an airplane pilot when he grows up. (I think he was a little intimidated by all of the dials and buttons though). Overall, it was a really fun day.

Lauren discovers Make-up

More than once this month I have gone into the bathroom to find Lauren has gotten into my makeup. Initially I was so annoyed that she kept getting into it even after repeatedly telling her to stay out. But I secretly have to admit that it's kind of cute how she watches me put on my makeup and then later (when I'm not around) will try to put on make up too. I about died when I came in the bathroom the other day and found her with mascara smeared all over her eyes. She had no idea how ridiculous she looked until I put her up on the counter to look in the mirror. She hasn't gotten into the mascara since.

March Madness Brackets Champion

As if Jacob needed any more reason to be cocky. His bracket picks for the College basketball finals landed him first in the Laws/Powers family brackets championships. There was quite a bit of smack talk going on between the top competitors but in the end they were all smoked by the youngest challenger of all-a 7 year old boy. Here is a copy of the e-mail that Aaron sent out to his family on Jacob's behalf after he clinched the win......

Actual remarks from Jacob Laws...aka “Jacob_the_Winner”:

“Well, dear family. My sincerest condolences to you all for your dreams that got crushed under the weight of my mighty basketball bracket selection prowess. I may have started out slow, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. The truth is, I didn’t really start out slow, I actually had so much confidence in my picks that I threw a couple of games in the early rounds that I knew wouldn’t matter. Why would I do such a thing? Well, for the good of the family, I wanted everyone to be involved and feel like they had a chance. Take Critter for example: He looked strong in the beginning and had it not been for his early commanding lead that gave him such a morale boost, he may have gotten discouraged and not played next year. After all, he’s been through a lot. So yes, I threw a couple games so you all could enjoy a few days of being on top. Unfortunately, for Tammy, I couldn’t throw enough games to pick you up off of the bottom of the pile, some things you just can’t help. As for my tactics, you could say I “took one for the team”, or you could also call me a hustler, either way, I won and you didn’t.”

OK, you got me, that wasn’t really Jacob, that was me... Here’s Jacobs real comments:

“School is out, hope you learned something, better luck next year...”

OK, that was me again...for real this time:

“Woohoo! I won!”- Jacob Laws- 2009 March Madness Champion

Anyway, it was fun, thanks for playing. I’m looking forward to next year.


Ben & the "Indian Song"

All of the boys really love playing the piano but this month Ben has blossomed in his abilities to play things by ear. Jacob is the only one of the boys taking lessons but Ben will listen to the songs that Jacob is practicing and later on play them by ear. This month he has been perfecting the "Indian Song" and I have heard this song played by all three boys dozens and dozens of times this month. It's pretty much been the soundtrack in our home for the month of March. All of the boys have been obsessed with playing this song. It's pretty funny though, because once Ben learned the notes he was actually better at playing it than Jacob was. Above is a clip of him playing part of the song.

Spring Break

I LOVED being on Spring break and not having to get kids to the bus, pick them up, or worry about homework. We had a lot of fun having friends over to play, visiting family (Uncle Keith & Aunt Marla) and swimming at the pool in Gig Harbor. One of the highlights for me was having the original "Durand Place" over to our house for the day. We used to live on Durand Place in a development on a cul-de-sac. Leaving that home was hard for me not just because we'd been there for so long and had so many great memories but because it was such a great neighborhood for our kids to grow up in. We were there for almost 5 years and so we watched a lot of the kids on the street grow from being toddlers to bike riders. We had many great memories with all the neighborhood kids playing baseball in the cul-de-sac, getting ice cream from the ice-cream truck, sledding down steep driveways, running through the sprinklers and jumping on the trampoline. I feel bad that we don't see each other much now that we've moved (even though we're still in the same town). So I invited them all over to our house for the day and it was so much fun! I was happy that even the older boys still wanted to come....although I think they probably just came because they knew they'd be getting homemade chocolate chip cookies (I always make them when they come over). I just love these kids and feel such an attachment to them. It was a great day. In the afternoon we went down to the beach by our house and enjoyed the sunshine. I was sad when I had to take them back home. ):

SO THAT'S IT........

Friday, March 13, 2009

A "Forcefield" around my flowers.......The Power of Faith

When we moved here in the fall of 2007 I'd planted over 200 bulbs (tulips and daffodils) with eager anticipation of their beautiful blooms in the spring. For those of you that remember, Spring of 2008 got an unusual hailstorm in April just after my tulips had started to open. After the hail and freezing temperatures they never fully opened and actually ended up dying without us ever getting to enjoy their blooms. When I saw the freezing cold forecast for this week I felt so frustrated I wanted to cry. I don't know what is going on with the weather this year but Monday we had heavy hail and snowfall off and on ALL day. My daffodils had only recently bloomed and I thought for sure that for the 2nd year in a row my flowers were going to die before their time. That night freezing temperatures in the teens were forecasted and I had pretty much lost all hope. But my children hadn't. That night when I was tucking the boys in bed Benjamin and Joseph told me that in their personal prayers they had prayed that my daffodils wouldn't die. I thought this was very sweet of them but beyond that didn't think much of it.

The next morning I was racing out the door to take Jacob down to the bus and when I ran past my flowers I noticed that they had amazingly survived the hail, snow and freezing temperatures. I was in shock and pointed it out to Jacob as we walked past them. "I know Mom," he said, "it's because I prayed that there would be a force field around your flowers."

The simple faith of my children really touched me and I started to wonder if it was their sweet prayers that had saved my struggling flowers. Now, I don't know a whole lot about daffodils- maybe they are hearty enough to withstand these kinds of temperatures. I'm just remembering what happened to my tulips last year and feeling very grateful for their survival.

I don't usually pray for trivial things like flowers but I do believe in the power of faith and have felt its influence in my life many times. I have felt the power of faith the greatest when I have been in danger and needed my Heavenly Father to deliver me. In desperation, I have called out to Him in faith and have felt a very real force and power intervene on my behalf. I know that the power of faith is real and that when our faith is unshaken miracles can occur. I have seen it in my own life and as a further testimony we have the witness of ancient prophets from the scriptures testifying of the miracles they received through the power of their faith.
Here are some of my favorite passages.....

Hebrews Chapter 11: (The Bible)
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
• • •
28 Through faith he (Moses) kept the passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

Ether Chapter 12: (The Book of Mormon)
13 Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth.
14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon nd his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
16 Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
17 And it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death; and they obtained not the promise until after their faith.
18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.
19 And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad.
20 And behold, we have seen in this record that one of these was the brother of Jared; for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine (Pam) made a comment one day about faith being an actual power like electricity or another form of energy. Since that conversation I have reflected many times on the principle of faith and have consequently grown in my understanding of this truth. The more experiences with faith that I have the more that I learn and the more I feel the need to increase and strengthen my own faith. Sometimes I wish for the faith of a child and remember from my own childhood having that perfect faith for seemingly trivial or every day things. I wish I could return to those days when I had such simple faith for such little things.

Whether life saving or daffodil saving I know that the power of faith is real and I am continually grateful for the blessings it brings to me in my day to day life.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No more hearing...."I Hate Egg day!"

(A happy boy, a happy mama, and a clean plate!)

Over the past year I have dreaded egg day. Not because I don't love eggs myself (I actually fix myself eggs for breakfast every morning no matter what I'm cooking for the kids). No,...... the reason for my dread has to do with a certain 7 year old who has slowly developed an intense hatred for them. I've been making eggs for breakfast twice a week since he was 2 years old and he USED to love egg day so I don't know what has changed but it has and it's only gotten worse in the past month.

First of all Jacob is a big eater so if he doesn't have a big breakfast he's hurting. Because of this I've always tried to cook healthy foods for him and the other kids. Over the years our breakfast menu has grown into a good balance of healthy, whole grain, high protein, nutritious foods that we stagger throughout the week. Usually Tuesday and Thursday are egg days but in the past few months I have cut back to serving eggs only once a week and only on a day when I can "emotionally and mentally" handle the eruption of attitude and grumpiness that explodes the second he comes downstairs and sees me getting out the frying pan. This is our usual conversation on "egg day".

Jacob coming downstairs....

ME:(In as cheerful a tone as I can muster)...."Good morning Jacob...... how did you sleep?" (hoping I can distract him from what he sees me cooking).

JACOB- (In a devastated tone), "What!!! Eggs!!!! Ohhhh Mannnnn!!! I HATE eggs!!! Why do I have to eat eggs......they're so disgusting......this is the worst day of my life, etc. etc. etc.

You get the point right?

So, to ease his burden I've done my best to make "egg day" a better day for him. I've offered to make his lunch for him that day (hoping that would give him something to look forward to). I make homemade juice (we have a juicer) on egg day so that he can be excited about that. I've even cut back to giving him a smaller portion and let him try different things like ketchup on them, etc. etc.
It doesn't matter what I try to do to make it better he is like a storm cloud of grumpiness and his attitude has gone from bad to worse each and every egg day.

Several weeks ago we hit an all time low when he dug in his heels and announced that he was NOT going to eat them. Now in our family we've never catered to picky eaters and not eating the food set before you because you "don't like it" has never been an option. You eat what you're given no matter how much you whine and moan-we don't give in. My philosophy has always been that they need to learn to like nutritious foods and they're not going to acquire a taste for it by being given alternatives. It's been hard at times but years of sticking to this policy has really started to pay off. Sometimes I shake my head in disbelief when my kids get excited to have broccoli with dinner, eat up their spinach salad with pleasure and devour their cantelope like it's candy.
So......, imagine my surprise when Jacob announces one morning that he is not going to eat his eggs. He dug his heels in and I braced myself for a battle over wills.

After poking at his eggs for over 20 minutes and the bus coming in 10.....I told him he was going to have to eat them for his lunch if he didn't eat them now. Soooooooo, long story short he ended up having to pack his lunch with his un-eaten eggs from breakfast with nothing else in his lunchbox but quarters for milk. After I sent him off to school I e-mailed his teacher (explaining the situation) and let her know that Jacob was not allowed to get hot lunch or accept any other food from kids at the table until he ate his eggs. I thought for sure that I would only have to do this once and he would be so starving come 4:00pm that he'd never choose this path again. Well, I guess he gets his stubbornness from me because the next week he dug in his heels again and once again he went to school with only his eggs from breakfast and once again he came home starving that afternoon.

Week after week I struggled with this and no matter what I would do he was not making progress in his acceptance of "egg day."

Until a blessed day.....

Last week when Aaron was working from home and he had some left-over bacon from a YM activity that he wanted for breakfast. I didn't want him just eating greasy bacon for breakfast so I grabbed some potatoes to make some hash browns to go with his bacon. Since it was not technically egg day I let Jacob eat what Aaron was eating and made up some eggs for the rest of us. While eating his hash browns Jacob (or God in his mercy for me) gave him a brilliant idea........

"Mom" he said, "Can you make hash browns on egg day so that I can mix them in with my scrambled eggs? I don't think I would mind them that much if I ate them that way."

And there it was.......the answer and relief to the dreaded egg day that we BOTH so desperately needed. So, today was our second successful "egg day." Hallelujah is all I have to say. And so funny that I can sneak 2 eggs (even more than he was eating before) into his hash browns and he eats them with pleasure. While I'm peeling potatoes and making hash browns he's next to me at the stove making the eggs. We're both smiling, both happy and we're both victors in the battle over "egg day."

Proof that there is once again harmony in our home on egg day.....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blast from the Past....September 2004

In an effort to preserve past memories I'm going to try and dedicate a post once a month to days of yesteryear. Here is the first of these posts....

September 2004
Aaron had hair, I was sleep-deprived and our little boys were so small!!!

In this picture Ben was 1 month old, Joseph was 16 months and Jacob had just celebrated his 3rd birthday. Here are a couple more pictures of the kids from September 2005.

Jacob used to love making "parking lots" out of his cars or lining them up in long organized rows.

Joseph was the world's messiest eater, I was constantly cleaning up the floor under his chair after each meal.

Benjamin was a chunky monkey spending most of his time nursing and sleeping.

Jacob posing with his first bike given to him on his 3rd birthday.

Now that's a VERY tired JoJo. I was shocked that he fell asleep with a half-eaten lollipop in his clenched fist.

Sharing a ride on the rocking horse Papa Laws made for them.

One of the first group pictures I ever took of my three sons sitting in Daddy's leather chair.

Ben's Song

Ben loves playing the piano. Frequently throughout the day I'll hear him copying the songs that he hears Jacob practicing during the week. He is still fine tuning "Deck the Hallways" (Deck the Halls) but has also recently added a new song to his repertoire that I didn't recognize. When I asked him about it one day he told me, "I made it.". Here is Ben playing his song.