Wednesday, April 29, 2009

JoJo's 6th Birthday

Joseph's birthday was on a Wednesday this year. He requested cinnamon rolls with orange, apple & carrot juice (from the juicer). After coming downstairs to a room with STAR WARS decorations, Jacob sprayed him with green foamy spray as we all yelled "Happy Birthday!" After the foam was picked off him and gathered together, Jacob used it to shape a Yoda for him on the floor (you can kind of see it in the picture of the boys looking at his card.) Later that day we brought birthday cookies in for his Kindergarten class and that night he asked for chicken stuffing casserole for his birthday dinner (I had no idea he liked it that much). After dinner we had his party and he opened his presents and had birthday cake. Anyone who knows the boys right now will tell you that everything they play and do has to do with Star Wars. So, not surprisingly he wanted a Star Wars cake and Star Wars stuff for his birthday. In addition to his Star Wars gifts we got him his own scripture set. He had been asking if he could have his own Bible and Book of Mormon for the past month or so. I kind of thought we'd give the kids their first set of scriptures when they are baptized (at age 8) but he was so sincere and persistent in his request that I just couldn't make him wait. A couple days after his birthday Joseph woke up really early one morning and came downstairs to sit next to me on the couch. I was reading my scriptures and when he saw this he immediately ran back up to his room and grabbed his scriptures to start reading them too. He is such a sweet little boy that has such strong desires to do good and be good. His spiritual nature is one of the many things that I love about him.



Planning his party was really easy for me because I had just done a Star Wars party for Jacob last September. We even used the same "shoot the Death star" game because it was such a hit the first time. Probably the cutest thing that I failed to get a picture of was the stack of light sabers that were all piled up on the time-out chair. I think every kid that came brought his/her light saber and we had quite a nice assortment of all the many colors and styles available. It was too funny. After the game we headed outside to the pinata tree where Darth Vader's head got knocked off after only the 2nd kid!!!! Can you say RIP OFF!!! I was totally planning on taking it back to Toys R Us and telling them I wanted a refund, but we all know I have all the time in the world to go back to the store and do that! We always do a pinata for the kids birthdays so by my count this has been our 12th pinata and it has ALWAYS made its way through the line of kids at least once, sometimes 2 or 3 times. Needless to say we had some very disappointed kids. Anyway, sorry about that rant.....After the pinata JoJo opened his gifts and then we all had cake and ice-cream.

Joseph at 6 years old......

INTERESTS: Everything is about STAR WARS right now. He likes going camping and fishing with Dad and enjoys playing sports. He also likes to draw pictures and color in his Star Wars coloring books.

TALENTS & HOBBIES: Joseph is a very talented reader and also is able to express himself well in writing. He is very creative and has a talent for drawing and coloring. Joseph loves to play soccer & T-ball and enjoys doing nice things for others without being asked. Joseph also has a talent for being a gentlemen and doing sweet things for the females in his life. He makes bracelets, picks flowers, draws cards and freely gives compliments to his mama and little sister.

PERSONALITY: Joseph has a very sweet and loving personality. He is a very sincere and compassionate little boy. It comes naturally for him to think of others and empathize. He always expresses a desire to do the right things but becomes extremely devastated when he is given push-ups for getting in trouble. He can be very sneaky especially when he wants something that he knows is not allowed (getting into the chocolate chips in the pantry). And much to my frustration he can also be quite the convincing fibber. I would be worried if I hadn't been the same way when I was his age. He is very active and can sometimes get really hyper and out of control when he gets excited . He is also very goofy and enjoys being in the spotlight when he is at the height of his silliness. Sometimes he'll spontaneously entertain us all while he struts his stuff and shows us his smooth dance moves. Here's a little example......

Joseph also has a fiery temper on him and can "explode" when he gets pushed to his limit. Once again, he got this from his mother who also was know to throw things when she got mad. Luckily (for everyone's sake) I outgrew that personality trait.

FRIENDS: Joseph gets along well with everyone and has always had a lot of friends but presently his best friend is Hank. Hank is a little boy in our ward at church who is also in his Kindergarten class. Joseph also has a friend named Willow who we learned about a few months into the school year. Willow is in third grade and I have no idea how this friendship started but I'm pretty sure she's his first crush. It has been pretty entertaining to see him smile and get all bashful when he talks about her. They share a recess and (when I volunteer) sometimes I will see them on the playground together playing on the monkey bars. She is a very sweet and very pretty little girl that seems genuinely interested in Joseph as well. Aaron and I were laughing about it one night thinking of Joseph liking the "older women." This friendship however has provided many opportunities to start talking to the boys about appropriate ages for boyfriend/girlfriend relationships and the dating standards for the church. Who would have ever though I'd be talking about these things to a 5 year old? Jacob (at 7 1/2) has yet to show any interest in girls yet-as it should be right?! (: Anyway, in recent years I have frequently told Aaron that the girl Joseph marries will be a very lucky woman. I say this because he treats Lauren and I so sweetly and tenderly. He has a real soft spot for females and I love his gentlemanly ways.

- BOOKS: Any books about Star Wars, he is always checking them out from the library.

-FOOD: Ravioli, chicken stuffing casserole, steak, brownies and any other sweets.

-T.V. Shows: The only show he watches regularly are the Star Wars Clone Wars episodes that we DVR (tevo) for the boys. He is however not opposed to watching Arthur (Lauren's favorite show) and will occasionally catch an episode of Cyber Chase.

-TOYS: His Star wars space ships (Annakin's starship, X-wing, & Millennium Falcon, His light saber (blue) and Legos.

-CLOTHES: Joseph doesn't care much about what he wears (typical for a boy this age) but he does love wearing his faded, over washed, hand-me-down Mariners' Ichiro shirt. Sometimes he even tries to talk me into letting him wear it to school. He also loves the shirt shown in the picture above. It's a hand me down from Jacob but he loves it. I think it's an old 2 tone blue U.S. Polo t-shirt with a little lime green circle in the middle with a small American flag in the center. He loves it.

He doesn't do all of these every day but here are the things that Joseph does on a regular basis for his chores: Unloads the dishwasher, changes the kitty litter, folds his laundry, vacuums the living room rug, take out (or bring in) the goats each day, make his bed, picks up the playroom (with his brothers) cleans Lauren's room, organizes the shoe closet. Joseph is pretty hard working but does his chores best when he thinks he's doing it on his own. He likes to give service and has occasionally been known to do things without being asked just to make you happy.

SWEET THINGS TO REMEMBER: Joseph still sleeps with his blanket that he's had since he was 6 months old. Also his little lamb (named "Fluffy") that was given to him by his Sunbeam teacher (Sister White) still sleeps with him. He doesn't regularly suck his thumb at night any more but occasionally when we check on him we'll see his thumb in his mouth which always makes me remember my sweet little, thumb sucking baby JoJo.

Time is passing so quickly I can hardly keep up with what happened last week let alone what happened 10 years ago. I thought I'd take this opportunity to record some memories about Joseph that are close to my heart while I still remember them:

When I was pregnant with Joseph I felt really good about the name we had chosen for him. Even before he was born I felt that he had a very special spirit. I remember one day (towards the end of my pregnancy) lying on the couch alone and talking to him as I was feeling my belly. He shifted inside of me and I saw his arm or leg move across my side. I held onto it and stroked it feeling his sweet little arm/leg. I felt so close to him in that moment and a sweet peaceful feeling came over me as I thought about this little one's arrival into our family.
"JoJo" was a nickname given to him by me when he was just 5 months old. I'm not someone who likes nicknames so it's ironic that he got it from me. I remember the first time I called him JoJo....he was only 5 months old and I was carrying him up the stairs to bed. I was looking down at this plump little bald baby boy and it just came out..."Your such a cute little JoJo." Aaron heard me from the boys room upstairs and called to me, "What did you just call him?" I was a little embarrassed at such a goofy name but it just felt so fitting for this sweet, chubby little boy that I kept saying it and before long it stuck.

Joseph was born 1 month before we moved from Hawaii to Washington. He was born in the morning and he came like a blazing rocket. Aaron left for work that morning at 7am. I told him before he left that I had a slight pain in my back. Half way through his 30 minute commute I called him on his cell to tell him the pain in my back had now turned into contractions. Jacob's labor had lasted 32hours so I figured I had some time before we needed to head to the hospital but I wanted him to know that I'd probably be calling him later in the day. 10 minutes after I hung up the phone with him I called him back and told him "come home NOW!!!" When he got back to the house I met him at the door with my bags packed. He wanted to give me a blessing before I left and it was about all I could do to sit through that. I kept thinking very nonspiritual thoughts, like..."Why is he taking so long, let's go, let's go!" On the way to the hospital I was in so much pain I was starting to shake and was having really crazy pain-induced thoughts. For example when we got to a stop light I had to fight back the urge to jump out and run around the car screaming. When we got to the exit for the military hospital I about died when I saw a huge line of cars backed up because they were doing i.d. checks at the gate. Aaron, sensing the urgency in my groans turned on his hazard lights, honked his horn and drove up along the curb passing all the other cars. When we got to the hospital we rushed inside stopping a couple of times along the way for some intense contractions. By the time we got to the nurses desk I saw my midwife in the hall and was thinking, "Oh No-she saw me. I'm soooo NOT going without drugs again, I can't keep up with this pain for even 30 minutes I am dying here!" Luckily for me I didn't have to because when the nurse saw my discomfort she decided to "check me just to see how far along I was." Her eyes got big as she said with surprise, "You're at a ten and his head is right there!!!" Then the craziness began as they frantically wheeled me on a gurney down to the delivery rooms yelling all the way down the hall, "we need a room, we need a room!" When we found an empty one, I started pushing and felt his little head sliding down like a rocket. He wanted OUT and was going to find a way with or without my help!!! After 2 pushes he was born at 8:52 am all 9lbs 10 oz. of him. He bruised me black and blue but he still holds the record in our family for the fastest labor and delivery.

Joseph was an amazingly easy baby for the first couple of months. He slept for 5 hour stretches at night during the first week. He hardly ever cried and was so easy compared to Jacob who was SO fussy, and wanted to be nursed every 1-2 hours ALL night long. As Joseph got older he became more challenging. At 5 months old he already had a temper on him and you could see him getting all worked up in these fits of anger when he was upset about something.

Entering his toddler years was ROUGH. I remember one day when he was just under 3 Aaron called me from work to see how my day was going. I had just gone through a lengthy ordeal with Joseph trying to get him to mind me for something. Each time he would disobey I would give him a little swat and then repeat the request again, (giving him the opportunity to do what I had asked him to do-again). I think I went through this at least half a dozen times before he finally decided to do what he was told. I was nearly in tears on the phone telling Aaron, "Why does he have to be so stubborn." Aaron told me to stick with it and in time he would grow up to be a really great "strong willed" man one day. I remember my response was, "Well I hope so, but even if he does I'm totally letting him know that that it was NOT easy raising him!"
Luckily he has grown out of those trying times and he is now a very enjoyable little boy. He does however still have that stubborn streak about him but I actually think that's is a good quality for him to have. I was the same way when I was his age and I think having that strong will and determination has been an asset in my life on many levels.

Here are some of random pictures of JoJo through the years, each one has it's own story.....

2 Months old
One day I heard him sneeze and when I turned to look at him this is what I saw, luckily the camera was close by.

5 Months Old
All dressed up in Daddy's racquetball gear. We e-mailed this picture to Aaron at work one day when he was trying to find a new racquetball partner.

Look at that shapely toosh. I have so many pictures of his back side but this is one of my favorites.

Caught in the Act
Joseph up on the bathroom counter eating the the Reese's Pieces that we were using to potty train Jacob. This was only the beginning of many more years of "sneaking sweets" that would soon follow.

Busted Again....

Classic JoJo sucking his thumb curled up on the floor with his famous blankie.

2nd Birthday
Yes, this is a DORA cake and NO we didn't choose this for him. Joseph was speaking in complete sentences by 19 months old. (His first sentence was..."Thank you for that yummy breakfast mama.") So when we were at the party store letting him pick out what kind of birthday cake and decorations he wanted much to Aaron's disappointment he could NOT be talked out it. "No, Daddy...I want the Dora one (cake pan)!"

Riding the "horsie" bush out in our yard playing Mommy's recorder.

3rd Birthday
He was Soooooo excited about his batman cake.

5 years old
Sleeping with his blankie and fluffy his little lamb.

First day of Kindergarten

Fishing with his best friend Hank, down by the pond.
(April 2009)


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Just some fun weed-pulling memories that I don't want to forget.

I've been meaning to get outside and pull the early shoots of horsetails around here to try and keep the lush crop of weeds down around the property this year before they get huge and out of control but there always seems to be projects and messes that keep me from getting out there. Every day I see more and more horsetails (the most prevalent of the many weeds) popping up among my flowers in the side garden and I know my window of opportunity is closing. Anyway, the other afternoon I had told the kids that after they finished their chores I had a "money-making opportunity for them." Their little ears perked up (because I don't usually pay them for jobs) but I was so desperate for help that I was willing to pay them for their work. I told them I would pay them 1 penny for every horesetail they picked. They ran outside like racehorses grabbed boxes and plastic bins to fill with the picked weeds.

Each of them had their own box or bin and when they were done I gave them paper and pencil and had them count their weeds and add up their numbers on the back porch. Joseph recently learned about tally marks in Kindergarten so it was good timing for him to have this counting project. He put a tally mark on his sheet for every 10 horsetails and ended up earning $2.75 that night.

Jacob put a tally mark for every 20 and earned over $7 the first day. Ben didn't really need tally marks since he only picked 27 weeds earning him a quarter and 2 pennies and Lauren just wandered around the whole time picking dandelions.

The final numbers after the first day.

Jacob and Joseph went back the next day to pick some more and in the end earned a combined total of $20!!! That's right, together they pulled over 2000 horsetails out of my side yard. And you know the funny thing is that there is STILL a TON of weeds out there!!! At this rate I think I would have to spend hundreds of dollars to get all these stinking weeds pulled. Any little bit helps though and all those weeds that they pulled out of the garden are that many less that I'll have to pull later on when they're bigger and more bothersome.

Day 2 of the weed pulling adventure-Joseph throwing away money.

Jacob hauling a bin of weeds down to the back porch to be counted and recorded.

Something else I wanted to add was that part of the reason I think Joseph was so excited to pull weeds was that he could earn some of his own money to pay tithing on. Since Jacob will be getting baptized this year we started paying him a monthly allowance last September when he turned 7 so that he could start getting in the habit of paying tithing on the money he receives. Joseph has wanted to pay his tithing too but he doesn't get an allowance yet. He is such a sweet little boy though that wants to live the gospel so bad. Recently, I found a tithing slip and envelope that JoJo had filled out on his own with a dime inside. He must have put it in there to pay tithing from the $1 he got for his tooth from the tooth ferry. Needless to say he is now very excited at the thought of being able to pay tithing on his weed-pulling earnings. Such a sweet, spiritual little boy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

10th Anniversary

I remember the year that Heather James celebrated her 10th anniversary and she was so excited about their plans. She kept saying with enthusiasm that it was going to be their "10 year Jubilee!!!" I wasn't quite sure what "Jubilee" meant but I knew that it included something special and that reaching the 10 year mark certainly was a milestone in your marriage.

So for our 10 Year Jubilee we were planning on going back to Hawaii for a week long trip with just the two of us. (Hawaii is where we met, dated and spent the first few years of our marriage). But, we ALSO decided recently that this was the year that we needed to take the kids to Disneyland (we're worried that Jacob is going to be too old to experience the "magic" of it if we wait too much longer). Soooooooooo, since we can't afford the vacation time or the airfare for 2 trips in one year we opted to postpone our Hawaii trip for another anniversary.

Even with the initial disappointment of not lying on the beach in Hawaii and reminiscing about our younger years we still had a wonderful weekend getaway spent in an oceanfront cabin on the Hood Canal. It was my year to be in charge of planning the trip (we take turns every year) so I chose this resort because it had a private cinema room with a 14 foot movie screen. Over the past several weeks I had secretly slaved over making a DVD slide show which included painstakingly collecting and scanning hundreds of old pictures (those were back from the days before digital cameras) to compile the story of how we met, fell in love and were married. The sideshow spanned the last 12 years chronicling all of our memories from when we first met, started dating were married, and the expansion of our love through the birth of each of our sweet children. I entitled it "The Story of Us" and had for the background music some of our special songs from our dating days and our wedding. I had an arrangement with the owner of the resort and he was so sweet to help me with the surprise. Aaron thought we were going to the cinema room to watch The Notebook (our favorite movie-which we did watch later on that night) but instead he had it set up to play the slide show that I had made. Needless to say it was a good surprise and was well worth the time and effort invested. Watching it made us both get teared up looking back on this amazing journey we've been on and to see how far we've come in our life together.

I know that everyone out there has a wonderful story about how they met, fell in love and started their lives together. And after working on this project I am even more convinced that it's so important that we all as couples never forget those early days in our relationship. Taking that trip down memory lane together from time to time by getting out those old pictures, reading journal entries about the way you felt when things were fresh and new can really bless your marriage. I know it sounds kind of silly but as I was making this sideshow and looking back on all the old love letters, memorabilia and pictures I found myself falling in love with my husband all over again. This slide show was supposed to be a gift for Aaron but ended up being a gift to us both as it strengthened our love and commitment to each other . I hope that we all remember to remember why we fell in love with our spouse and that we can always keep a part of that person who our husband fell in love with alive and present in our marriage. Aaron likes to calls me "his girl" and I've always liked that title. It's nice to know that even after 10 years of marriage and 4 kids that I' not only his wife but still his girl.

Here are some pictures and memories from our weekend getaway.......

At the Timber House Restaurant where we had our anniversary dinner. The view at sunrise from our cabin window and pictures from the Lena Lake trail hike.

More pictures of the beautiful scenery on Lena Lake. Half of the Lake was frozen over and the other half was a beautiful turquoise blue. I love living in Washington and being surrounded by such beauty so close to home.

The heroes of our our weekend (Papa and Gramma Laws) who willingly braved watching our four children so we could enjoy a romantic weekend away. Thank you so much!!!

April is such a busy month for us so we had to take our anniversary trip on the first weekend of April even though our anniversary is on the 14th. I wanted to thank some of my wonderful friends who took in my kids on a school night so that I was able to surprise Aaron in Seattle after work and spend our actual anniversary downtown in a fancy hotel. Good memories- and man, I can't believe it's already been 10 years!

Easter Weekend

Here are some pictures and memories from our Easter weekend.....

Friday Night

Friday night the kids colored eggs. They enjoyed creating their own masterpieces and Lauren especially had fun making a couple eggs of her own. The boys were so cute (especially JoJo) as they showed her how to do it and carefully stood by her as she dipped the eggs into the dye. In our family we have the kids make their eggs on Friday night so that they can do their Easter egg hunt on Saturday morning. In this way we've been able to get all the candy and Easter Bunny stuff out of the way so that on Sunday we can focus on the real meaning of Easter.

Saturday Morning

Saturday the kids hunted for eggs outside on a drizzly morning. Jacob and Joseph were off like race horses while Ben followed closely behind Lauren and sweetly pointed out the hidden eggs for his little sister to gather in her basket (what a sweet boy). JoJo's cries of paranoia were heard a couple times when a jackpot was found and he couldn't scoop them up quick enough before his brothers also discovered them and began moving in on his territory. Jacob had to climb the plum tree to get to a couple cleverly hidden eggs and nearly lost his balance and slipped off one of the branches-look at that determination in his eyes.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday Aaron got a break from his usual meetings (before church) and was able to enjoy cinnamon rolls for breakfast with the rest of us and help me get the kids dressed and ready for church-lucky him. The kids all got their batch of new church clothes for the year including new ties which they proudly picked out themselves. I made Laurens Easter dress and promise to get a post out soon telling you all how easy it is so you don't think I'm a seamstress because I'm totally NOT! After church we spent the afternoon and evening together and had a special Easter dinner. We had a little lesson about Easter using the Resurrection eggs and watched the DVD "To this End was I born"-about the life and Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Easter is a special holiday to me and I'm grateful for the chance to pay tribute to my Savior for the sacrifice He has made for each of us. I don't often express my religious views and faith on this blog because they are deeply personal to me. Nevertheless, my love and faith in my Savior, Jesus Christ is something that touches every aspect of my daily life. I am so grateful for the love and patience that He has for me. I know that I would never have come through the trials of my life without His help and guidance. He has always been there for me and has sustained me through difficult times and trials which may have otherwise destroyed my life. I have learned to trust in His love and have faith in His plan for me. I am so grateful to Him for the peace that has come to my life as I have learned to accept His will and live His gospel. I will forever be indebted to Him for His forgiveness of my sins and his patience with me as I struggle to overcome my weaknesses. He has helped me overcome many challenges in my life that I could never have overcome on my own. His love sustains me and is a sure anchor in my life. I know that He lives, I know that He loves each of us and it is my hope that we will all daily heed his loving call to Come unto Him. (Matthew 11:28-30)

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I am so DISGUSTED right now I can't even think straight! I just tried to call Aaron at work to vent but he's in a meeting......... So, here's my rant:

About 30 minutes ago I hear Ben (my 4 1/2 year old) calling from upstairs....."Mom, I knocked over my pee pot." His pee pot is a "chamber pot" that I bought after a discussion with some of my friends at an Enrichment activity a few months ago. Our R.S. president was sitting at our table listening to we younger moms discuss our children's bed wetting woes. After listening to my particular situation she (being British) recommended that I get my son a chamber pot. I thought, what can it hurt -I've tried everything else....

So, the next day we went to an antique store and looked for a chamber pot. After not being able to find a working one that was his size we settled on this little metal teapot with a lid that we have since called his "pee pot". The plan was for him to keep his "pee pot" by his bed at night and when he woke up in the middle of the night he wouldn't have to get up and go all the way downstairs to use the bathroom (we live in a very old house that only has one bathroom on the main floor.) Initially this sounded so uncivilized to me but believe me you get worn down pretty quickly after years of dealing with this and I was up for trying anything.

For a while this seemed to work pretty well, there were fewer "soaking wet" mornings and pretty regularly he was peeing in his pot 1-2 times per night.

In Ben's defense I have to be fair and add that he has some unusual issues with his bladder. I have never known a kid that urinates as frequently as he does. We actually thought he had childhood diabetes a year and a half ago and went through 6 months of tests and doctor appointments to try to discover if his "frequent urination" was in any way related. He pees a lot. I remember once during a 40 minute soccer game he had to use the bathroom 3 times. Even when we cut him off from liquids after dinner time and have him go potty before bed he still manages to soak himself before morning. We have tried so many things including waking him up before we go to bed to have him go pee again around 10:00 but then he pees again after that. He pees ALL the time and it doesn't even bother him to lay in his bed of pea soaked pajamas and sheets. I used to think that it was so disgusting and when we'd go upstairs to check on the kids before bed sometimes we'd find him already soaked. I stopped getting him up and changing him then and there because I just got so tired of it and because he didn't even care if he was sleeping in his own pee. Now he just wakes up in the morning and changes his clothes (putting his pea clothes in the hamper) and stripping his bed so we can wash his sheets and bedding. It's like he's not even bothered by it. And so I have just let it go and dealt with the daily reality of him wetting his bed.

This morning was the last straw though when he knocked over his pee pot and there was literally a lake of rancid smelling pee pooling on the hardwood floor. I had him go downstairs and empty the remaining pee from his pot in the toilet while I started cleaning up the mess. I got about 15 seconds into it and got so mad and disgusted that I told him to come back upstairs and clean this up himself. After using multiple hand towels from the rag basket he put them all in a big bowel and brought them down to me. When I went back upstairs to disinfect the floors with bleach I noticed on my way up that the pea had seeped down from the upstairs floor through the ceiling and was dripping in a pool on the kitchen floor!!! I am SO disgusted right now at this whole situation!!! And I'm done with that stupid pee pot, farewell to that idea along with all the other attempts to keep this kid pee free.

I think every parent probably has at least one child that struggles with this bed wetting issue . Of our 4 children Ben is the only one that has ever wet his bed at night. I thought he would just grow out of it but he's going to be 5 and he's not making ANY progress! I thought I could just wait it out and be patient with him but after today I think my patience has run out. I'm about to make this kid camp out and sleep on the bathroom floor next to the toilet. I am so tired of washing peed on pajamas, sheets and bedding. It is so disgusting!!!

PLEASE, if you have any experience with this or any wisdom to impart I could really use some advice!