Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jacob the Builder

The past few months Jacob has been busy building. The first thing he made was a little miniature pirate ship out of little wood slivers. It had a mast and different levels to the deck with railing on the sides. The whole thing was only about 5 inches long. He then made a catamaran style sailboat with saran wrap for the sail. Then when Aaron framed in the door for the pantry he took the extra shimmy's (little pieces flat wood about 18 inches long) and cut them with his pocket knife (I didn't know he was doing this) and glued them together to make a speedboat. Then he added string and little paper inner tubes to the back. He also made a jet from carefully folding and taping scrap computer paper. Another project he did (with the help of his brothers) was building an elevated race track with 3 lanes for his matchbox cars to race down. The whole thing was about 6 feet long. He used a couple of big cardboard boxes and almost a whole roll of masking tape.

It thrills me to see him working on little projects like this. It makes me wonder if he'll be an engineer or an architect one day. When he got his block of wood for his first pinewood derby car back in January he was excited beyond belief. The race was a month and a half away but he started on his car the next day. Aaron told him to draw the outline on the side of the block of wood. He drew, erased and drew until he got it just right. Then Aaron cut it out with a jigsaw. As you can imagine the cuts were pretty rough but over the next few days Jacob sanded those edges down to perfection. He and Aaron went to the store where he chose the colors he wanted. He had a great idea for a style but the stripes were too tricky do do on his own so Aaron placed the tape and helped him fix the over sprayed parts that got too much paint. In the end he was very happy with his car.

On the day of the race he was very excited and nervous. I told him that since this was his first year making/racing a pinewood derby car that he might not win. "I know mom," he said. "Rookies hardly ever win."

Once the race started I think his brothers were as excited as he was. About half way through the race Joseph came up to me (Jacob was doing really well at this point) and he said in a very sincere voice, "Mom, I'm so nervous, I just want Jacob to win."
To make a long story short I'll sum up the race results with what Jacob told me later that night when we got home. "Well Mom, I guess rookies really can win!"

How a little boy who designed his car entirely himself, with absolutely no influence or intervention from his Dad (I love Aaron for this) built a pinewood derby car that won the whole competition is beyond me. He really is an amazing little builder.

I just have to add here that his race composure cracked me up. Often times I'd be taking a picture of his face while his car was racing down the track so I never knew if his car won or lost because I was zoomed in on him. I thought that he lost the first couple races because I interpreted his "poker face" as him handling a defeat. Later I learned that he had won those races and was working very hard to suppress his excitement because, as he said, "I didn't want to be annoying." He's such a funny boy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

May Mornings

The early light awakens me
rising beyond the trees.
I lift from my pillow to see the view
before settling back to sleep.
The hillside is cloaked in a deep em
erald green
lurking in the shadows of the towering trees.
A new day dawning, the house is still
soon he'll be leaving for work.
The sound of songbirds plays in my ears,
a warbling springtime symphony.
The chirping makes it hard to drift back to sleep,
but soon enough I do.

When later I awake, the sky is alight, blazing pink and gold
and the memory of his goodbye kiss
lingers sweetly upon my forehead.

The bed is empty now, or so I think,
until I see an angel sleeping next to me.
Her bare shoulders peek out from her sleeves,
with hands placed perfectly under her cheek.
I shuffle nearer until I feel her little breaths
and watch the rise and fall of her chest.
I can't resist kissing her lips
and brushing the hair from her face.
I gaze at her sweetness with pure delight
sharing a corner of her pillow.
So peacefully she sleeps on his side of the bed,
the thought lifts the corners of my mouth.
I imagine her shuffling in the dark of night
making the trek to the far side of the bed
just to be in her Daddy's arms.
I look up at the clock it's 6:15,
time to get up.
I grab for my clothes and dress in silence
enjoying the beauty of the morning.
Then carefully I creep across the room headed for the door.
I cringe as I carefully pull it closed,
it scrapes across the old wood floor.

I wait a moment, holding my breath....
then exhale when all is still.

I tiptoe to the stairs,
avoiding the spots that creak

but by the fourth step I hear the cry
from behind my bedroom door:

I quickly turn and head back upstairs...
a new day has begun.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Mountain Man

*The caption for this picture is at the end of this post ....

During the work week he may seem like a city boy toting his Mac in his laptop bag, texting on his iphone and working in a fancy Seattle high-rise but on the evenings and weekends he's an entirely different man......

My downtown man becomes my outdoor guy dressed in his farmer clothes digging fence posts, building chicken coops, splitting wood and clearing the land. He thrives on being outside whether working or playing he'd rather be outdoors. His most recent project is making an obstacle course for the boys. He cleared a place back in the woods down by the creek, chopped down a tree (okay, chain-sawed) then hauled it across the gully, dug holes and sunk stumps of varying sizes into the ground staggering them for the boys to try and hop from stump to stump without falling off. If I remember correctly part of his "plan" includes a climbing wall, a zip line and....okay, I forgot the rest. But what I love most is not just that he does these sorts of outdoor guy things, it's that he does everything (whether working or playing) with our boys by his side. It makes me so happy to look out the window and see my three sons working alongside their Dad stacking wood, digging holes & hauling rocks. When they're done working and come inside they take off their muddy boots smelling of dirt and sweat and I can't help but smile with pride.

After they work, they always play. According to Aaron a Saturday would not be complete without doing "something fun." So outside they go again..... off to their next adventure. Sometimes it's fishing down at the pond, hiking or biking on the trails of Banner Forest. The last couple weeks when it was raining they went rock climbing at the Y.

His latest hobby and new found love is mountain climbing. As young men's president he plans and supervises the 16-17 year old boys on their scouting high adventures. This year he received stake approval to take the young men on a 3-day climbing expedition up Mt. Rainier. In preparation for this climb they'll have training climbs as they summit 4 other mountain peaks in the northwest. When I asked him why he was buying all the gear instead of just renting it he said, "I want to have all the gear for when our boys are older so that I can teach them how to climb mountains too".

REI and Sierra Trading post are my worst enemies right now. When the UPS truck comes up the driveway I'm rolling my eyes wondering what on earth he has bought now...doesn't he already have all of his gear? Apparently not, because even after many, many deliveries there still seems to be things he "needs." Ugh!!!
(I can already feel myself getting cranky as I type this). Sooooooooo, before this loving post takes a turn south, I'm going to take a deep breath and focus on the positive.......

I'm happy to be married to my outdoor guy who enjoys snow caving in the winter and mountain climbing in the spring and summer. A man who uses his brains at work and his muscles at home. That lets me dress him up when we go on a date but isn't afraid to get his hands in the dirt when he works. A man who works hard at whatever he does; whether a computer geek during the week or my outdoor guy on the weekends.

Here's to my mountain man husband that I love and adore, I hope our boys grow up to be just like you.

*Shopping for mountaineering glasses at REI on his lunch break, he sent me this (and 2 other pictures) he'd taken on his phone to get my opinion on which he should buy.....Trying to hide my irritation I replied, "whichever's cheapest!"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Memories

I love Lauren's Fashion Sense.
It cracks me up when she comes downstairs wearing an outfit she's put together. This is one of her better combinations.

Ben loves riding the mower with Daddy.
Actually they all do. They patiently wait their turn to ride on Dad's lap. Aaron's always so sweet to let them hop aboard.

Anyone need a cell phone?
I love finding things like this around the house. It reminds me so much of myself when I was a little girl. My boys actually play with the same set of blocks that I played with as a kid. On one of those blocks you can see a bunch of numbers that I wrote on it years ago when I decided to turn one of them into my phone (this was back in the day before cell phones). I think Joseph was the one that made this wonderful styrafoam phone. Hey, that has a nice ring to it. Wow, I'm on a roll....

Rocket ship for Teddy
Another discovery I found one day up in the playroom. When I asked the boys what they had built they said it was a rocket ship for teddy.

Suma, Suma
For years this has been a fun game that Aaron plays with the kids. Usually it starts out with two opponents facing each other on opposite corners of the rug. "Suma, Suma" they say, then charge at each other trying to wrestle the other one to the floor. Usually it's just one kid against Daddy but as you can see from the picture it usually ends up turning into a huge wrestling match with all of them. Aaron told me once that it's his way of getting extra cuddles and snuggles from the kids.

Campfires and Silly Stories
Aaron is so great about being spontaneous. He loves taking the kids out to the fire pit in the woods next to our house and roasting hot dogs or smores. He'll do this on any given day of the week, just for fun. Part of their tradition includes telling silly stories around the campfire. We each take a turn and everyone gets to pick the name and type of animal that the story is about and then you just go for it and tell the best story you can. It's funny to hear what the kids come up with and Aaron too!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Family Tradition

Last night was a special night for our family as we read the last few verses of this book of scripture. When we moved back to Washington Jacob and Joseph were 21 months and 2 months old. We knew that family scriputre study was something we wanted to do but were unsure about the appropriate age to begin this tradition. We decided that now was as good a time as ever and so we began.....
The boys were so little we just made it a part of their bedtime routine. We only read a handful of versus each night, then sang them a primary song (usually Teach me to Walk in the Light, or I am a Child of God) followed by a family prayer.

It has been over 6 years since we started this tradition. In that time we have only read through the Book of Mormon twice (last night being our second time). Sometimes the kids are crazy (what am I saying-most of the time they are), and sometimes you're wondering if this is really doing any good. But then there are those occasional moments when you're discussing what's been read and teaching them a principle of the gospel and a sweet spirit fills the room as you find yourself bearing sincere and heartfelt testimony to your surprisingly attentive children. These are the moments we wait for.

You never know when something you read or something you say will sink in or speak to their little hearts. And whether or not it's a spiritual feast (and it rarely is) we have seen many benefits to doing this each night. Now that the boys are older they participate too following along in their own scriptures as Aaron reads aloud. Then each of them take their turns reading a verse or two. I am amazed at how there almost always seems to be something that we can learn from just the short amount of verses read each night. When we apply these scripture stories and gospel principles to our everyday lives we've found many opportunities to have great conversations with our kids talking about a variety of topics ranging from compassion and courage to charity, contention and even chastity.

Probably like most parents we struggle every day, trying our hardest to raise our children in the best possible way. Daily we make mistakes and hope that our kids will overlook our imperfections and forgive us for the things we do and maybe don't do so well. With that said I pray that when all my children have grown and the apron strings have been cut, that they'll sail off into the horizon of their lives equipped with what they need to have a safe journey.

As their mother it is my sincere hope that this legacy of faith we have established will sail with them upon the seas of their lives. That they'll sail with confidence as they navigate their way on this mortal voyage, equipped with the assurance that they are not alone. That their Father in Heaven loves them deeply and that Jesus Christ is their Savior, Redeemer and truest friend. He will captain their lives if they turn the wheel over to Him. By following His gospel and teachings they'll sail on calmer, safer seas finding joy in the journey as they learn and grow through the storms and calms of their lives. Sincere prayer and study of the scriptures are the compass and map that will help them find their way back to God. Daily I carry in my heart the hope that these traditions we set in place for our growing children will one day be the light they turn to when they've left the safe harbor of their childhood home.

For those of you who are not of our faith I pray that you will feel a yearning in your heart to seek the Lord in your life and feel of the peace that following His path brings. He has changed my life in so many ways and continues to be my kind, wise and trusted friend. If you want to learn more about these beliefs I invite you to visit this website that can teach you more.