Monday, January 23, 2012

Snow Fun

First snow blankets the ground, I love how peaceful the world becomes.
Falling snowflakes absorb the sound, flocking the trees and grassy ground.
A picture perfect view awaits my eyes, when from my pillow I first arise.
No school today, no need to even check....The kids are so excited to get our their sleds.
After breakfast they can hardly wait, to get on their snow gear and head out to play.
Packing down the hill to speed up their ride, "don't walk across the path!" (big brother chides).
Little Lauren at the top of the hill, finds her place and weathers the chill.
Watching her brothers as they pass by, perfectly content to give up her ride.
Bundled up in big brother clothes, she looks like a marshmallow with a little pink nose.
Building jumps and 'catching air' they take turns riding, and try to be fair.
Lauren won't go without a big brother, so they jump on top, and try not to smother.
Walking up the hill she gets a free ride, thank goodness for her mountain climbing Dad.
Snowball "Target practice" while they ride the rope swing...getting pelted until the cry of Mercy.
Hot Cocoa bar, a wandering goat, building a snowman, super wet coats.
They come inside cold and tired, and warm their hands by the fire.
Endless Uno games, playing Clue, reading stories, movie reviews.
A break in routine, a needed retreat...staying home & making memories.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Santa brought board games for each of our boys this year for Christmas. He said it was to help them learn to "get along." Isn't he so smart? For some reason when our boys play games they don't fight as much. I love it when they play Monopoly in Jacobs room because for over an hour (no joke) I forget that I have boys and my house is unusually quiet. Ben got an extra game in his stocking and it's been a surprising hit for our family. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's probably been played close to 100 times already. I love that everyone, even Lauren, can play.... although playing with her always takes much longer because she refuses to fan our her cards and has to "hunt" through her stack to find a matching color or number. She also takes personal offense when someone plays a "skip a turn" card on her. It's all we can do to keep her from crying and saying "You're mean!" whenever she gets a Draw 4.

Ben wants to play it all the time and will ask me several times a day, "Can you play uno with me?" The games are so quick you don't feel bad stopping what you're doing for a 5 minute break. Who knew that the smallest gift (and probably the cheapest) would end up providing so many hours of fun for our family. Good job Santa!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Crash Derby

I'm proud of the fact that my boys don't play video games. It's a tough stand to take especially when you have 3 sons that are right in the thick of the video game age. But it's a decision both my husband and I feel very strongly about. Our boys have always been very supportive of our position, and for that I'm very grateful.

My picture this week is of Jacob and the two cars he built for the "Crash Derby" he had with his brothers and 2 other friends that came over on Wednesday to play. Our house was full of boys and among the other boyish activities they engaged in this was by far my favorite.

I heard them upstairs in the playroom working on something. When I came up to see what they were doing each boy was building a car out of Kinex to participate in what they called a "crash derby." Once they were done building, 2 boys would take their best car and sit at either end of the hall and crash them into each other. Whichever car held up the best after multiple rams won that round and went on to challenge at the next competitor. The boy that lost went back into the playroom to "redesign" his car and try it again.

They played at this for over an hour. I wish I'd gotten a picture of all the boys on that day but by the end of the Derby most of their cars were all crashed up and I couldn't find my camera. Here's a picture of Jacob that I took later on posing with his two winning car designs.

I love the things my boys come up with to play. They constantly impress me with their ingenuity, physicality and resourcefulness. It makes me so happy to see them making up some fun little game involving ordinary household objects or digging tunnels down at the sandpit for hours on end. I love seeing them play football or soccer in the front yard, or basketball in the living room complete with hand drawn brackets for double elimination rounds. I love it when they build forts outside in the drizzling rain, "hunt" coyotes in the woods with their slingshots, or have "target practice" with their bb gun and a hand drawn target nailed to a tree. They come back inside wet and covered in mud but smiling from ear to ear. It puts a smile on my face every time as I think to myself, 'this is boyhood at it's best'.

Sometimes I wonder if we had gone down that path of letting them do video games if they'd still play in the same way they do now. I may never know and I'm certainly not saying that playing video games is bad. I'm just saying that so far I'm not regretting our decision at all. If anything I'm more convinced that we made the right choice. These years of boyhood are loud and crazy but wonderful in their own way.

If you have sons I would highly recommend you read the book "Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epedimic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men" by Leanord Sax. It's a must read for anyone raising sons.

See you next week.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year

You know you haven't blogged in a while when it takes you more than 3 tries to remember your account login and password. I was actually starting to panic by my fourth attempt.

I've been feeling guilty for a while now over the neglect of my blog. Guilty because I know that one day I may regret the loss of memories that I might have otherwise preserved. I want my children to be able to look back on their childhood with fond memories and feel secure in the knowledge that they were loved. I feel terrible missing a birthday post or not blogging about an important family memory, mostly because I don't want them to think that I don't care.

In 2010 I was asked to be the YW President in my ward. I felt the Lord preparing me for this assignment and I know that serving in this capacity is where He wants me to be. It's been difficult for me to make time in my life for the other things I once did-like blogging. I try really hard to prioritize the use of my time giving greatest priority to my service to the Lord. I know that I am doing the things that He wants me to do but sometimes its hard to see areas of my life that were important to me be put on the back burner simply because I lack the time to do it all. My faith is my anchor and will always be the guiding force in my life. I love my Heavenly Father so much and my heart is so full with gratitude for my Savior and all that He has done for me and continues to do for me. There is no way that I could ever feel good about neglecting my duty to Him just so I can do the things that I want to do. I do however frequently feel frustrated over my inability to do everything I want to do-like blogging.

This year I am striving for more balance in my life. I'm trying to simplify my life in areas that are not important so that I can leave time for those things that are. I have not given up on my blog. I am hoping that instead of beating myself up over it's neglect that this new year will give me another chance to preserve memories in a simpler way. A friend of mine posts a picture a week with a short narration, sometimes just a caption. This is one of my new years resolutions.

1. To blog a Picture a Week

My other resolution is.....

2. No sweets or treats in 2012.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I don't eat chocolate. Not because I don't love it but because it's my crack. I am not joking when I say that I have no self control when it comes to my chocolate consumption. So that's why I don't eat it- at all. It may seem a little extreme to some (my husband included) but I don't plan on eating chocolate for the rest of my life. That's how serious I am about my addiction. I wish that I had the discipline and self control to eat it in moderation but I don't. It stinks.

In recent years I've noticed that my lack of self control isn't just about chocolate. It's also about sweets. I'm not a soda drinker or a chip eater but I do love to bake desserts and even more than baking them I love eating them. If I felt that I could eat these things in moderation or with some self discipline then I wouldn't have this as my resolution but the older I get the more I realize the connection between my body and spirit. I can't binge on an over-sized piece of cake and feel good spiritually. If I had more moderation in my portion control then maybe I could, but I'm not there yet. This resolution is meant to help me gain more discipline over my appetites and passions. I feel energized when I eat healthy and I feel the influence of the spirit stronger in my life and that is more important to me then the momentary pleasure that eating sweets brings.

So those are my resolutions. I put them on here so I won't forget them and to keep me committed to my goals.

Here's to making 2012 a great year of change for me.

Happy New Year.

See you in a week.