28 October 2009

Jack-O-Lantern Fun

I just wanted to share a few pictures of our Halloween jack-o-lanterns! We started carving them with Audrey on Sunday night. She thought it was pretty fun to play with the goopy, slimy insides and we thought it was fun to play hide the knives from the toddler. We had a lot of fun this year carving our pumpkins. I had bought two large ones and two small ones - thinking we'd each carve one large and one small. I asked Adam what kind of faces he wanted to make - and he said he would make one silly/happy and the other one would be "normal". So I decided that one of mine would have to be scary. It is Halloween after all!

So this is what we came up with:

My large, scary pumpkin:

See, it's got fangs. I wouldn't be surprised if you had nightmares tonight.

Adam's large, silly/happy pumpkin:

And yes, that's supposed to be a pumpkin pipe/cigar in it's mouth... turns out his was scary too since his will have lung cancer. Oh well.

Adam's small, "normal" pumpkin:

Not sure what makes this one "normal" - maybe "classic" or "old school" would be a better description since it's got the triangle eyes and square front teeth.

And my small, happy pumpkin:

And this is what the whole gang looks like on our front porch:

Right after I snapped these pictures, Audrey came to see what I was doing.

She loves the pumpkins. She likes to go out on the porch and look at them. And take their "hats" off. She also likes to smell them. Not sure what that's about, but it's pretty cute.

It's also pretty cute how she likes to avoid looking into the camera at all costs. It's a little game she likes to play.

Definitely one of her favorite pastimes.

Audrey is looking forward to Halloween. The excitement definitely bumped up a few hundred notches after we found her costume a couple of days ago. She loves it. And I think you will too...

coming soon....

They Share a Gene Pool

I know that one of the first rules of parenting is: You shouldn't compare your children. Each one is unique and beautifully individual. And you should celebrate their own unique strengths. I have a strong belief that our spirit, our soul, our essence - whatever you want to call it - is infinite. I believe that it existed long before our bodies were created and will continue to exist long after the death of the body. I belief it is this that gives each of us our personality, our disposition, our attitude, etc. Of course nurturing, our environment, and how we were raised will have some influence - but I think a large portion of what makes us who we are comes from the entity that our bodies house. How else can you explain the sometimes radical differences in siblings who are raised by the same parents?

I'm not sure what kind of people my own children will become - it's still so early in their lives to discern specifics. But already there are a few noticeable differences! And I celebrate and marvel at each of them!

The most obvious difference between Audrey and Lucas is their physical characteristics. While I think they definitely look related - they share similar facial features and coloring - they are quite different in stature.

Exhibit A: Audrey at a little over one week:

Audrey was 6 pounds 8 ounces and 18 1/2 inches long when she was born. From the very first day she was very feminine, delicate, and dainty. She has always been on the low end of the spectrum for her weight compared to her peers - like 3rd percentile. But she's always been healthy so I have learned not to worry about it. She's just a petite little girly girl.

And I guess I just assumed that that was how all of our children would be. Luke has officially proven me wrong.

Exhibit B: Lucas at a little over one week:

Luke was born 7 pounds 11 ounces. Not too big. About average. He was born with boyish features and has overtaken about 85% of his peers in weight and height. I'm wondering how long it will be before he overtakes Audrey - even though she has had a year and a half head start, I'm not sure it'll be too long! (Audrey currently weighs 22 pounds. Luke weighs 15 pounds 4 ounces. You see what I mean?!)

I think it's so funny how each of my kids are falling in line with gender stereotypes - she's the petite, feminine girl and he's the stout, masculine boy. But I think it looks good on both of them.

Exhibit C: Audrey in the "Bumbo" at around 3 months old:

Exhibit D: Luke in the "Bumbo" at around 3 months old:

Aren't they adorable?! They have the same eyes, I think.

And maybe the same smile... it's hard to tell.

Whether they continue to share similarities or not, they sure are a lot of fun to have around.

23 October 2009

On October 24, 1975...

a cute, big brown-eyed boy was born. This is what he looked like:

Great cheeks, right?

That cute little boy grew up to be a handsome young man. I met him when he was 25. He was dating a friend of mine. We went on a couple of group dates. I thought he was pretty cool and I was happy for my friend that she'd found a nice guy. Well, I lost touch with that friend and a few months later I ran into that handsome young man that she'd been dating. I was interested in someone else, but I remembered how nice I thought this young man was, so I gave him my number. I had recently moved to Utah and decided that it wouldn't hurt to make friends. And we were fast friends. I wasn't interested in him romantically, but we would hang out and talk on the phone and we just really enjoyed spending time together. We had so many things in common and we got along so well that it really didn't take long to discover that I wasn't nearly as interested in that other guy as I was in him. I found that I was trying to talk myself out of liking him. But I really couldn't help but like him. We just clicked. After about a month of consistently hanging out together - just as friends - he was hanging out at the duplex where I lived and said "So, do you wanna go on a D-A-T-E?" and I said sure. All of the other times we'd been together we'd been with other people. So our first actual one-on-one date was on October 20, 2001. We went to Tepanyaki in Provo, then we watched a movie at my place, and then we went to get a dessert crepe from The European Connection (the creperie cafe where I worked at the time). It was a fabulous night! Our second date was even better - I tried to make it extra special because it was his birthday. And it was! Many fabulous days and weeks passed spent primarily in each others' company. I loved the relationship that we were creating together. I loved the way we interacted and connected with each other. We were falling in love and we were so full of excitement and optimism.

And it was only about six months later that this handsome, big brown-eyed man asked me, on bended knee, to marry him. And it was with tear-filled eyes and not a doubt in my heart that I said yes. And three months after that on June 26, 2002 we were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.

Tomorrow is that wonderful man's birthday. And the eighth anniversary of our second date. The last eight years have been the best of my life and it is mostly because of him that they have been so amazing. I love everything about him. I love his kindness, sensitivity, generosity, intelligence, and humility. I love that he honors his Priesthood. I love the kind of loving, playful, attentive father he is to our sweet wee ones.

And I still love our relationship. I love the way we interact and how we rely on each other. I love that we can laugh and joke with one another, that we can talk about serious and important things respectfully, and that we can sit quietly and enjoy each other without the need of talking sometimes. I feel so blessed to have him for my husband, my best friend, and the father of my children. And it is my goal to make him feel my gratitude for all that he is to me every day, but especially tomorrow - the anniversary of his birth.

Happy Birthday, Adam! I love you!

21 October 2009

The End of an Era

Six and a half years ago I started working at New Haven - a Residential Treatment Center for adolescent girls. I didn't know it then but my life was about to change. I worked as a staff on the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday evening shift for almost a year before becoming the Supervisor of that same shift for the next two and a half years. Then I worked as the Lead Supervisor of the Roosevelt house for a little over a year before having Audrey and going on maternity leave. I had anticipated that I would be returning to work after my three months - but not having a consistent someone to watch Audrey and finding out that motherhood really is a full time job made it apparent that going back to work wasn't going to be as easy as I had thought. But the idea of not working at New Haven anymore was much too hard to accept, so I worked as an on call staff for awhile - but that, too, proved to be less than desirable. It was hard to work it out with Adam's schedule and I really just missed my little girl! But I still really didn't want to leave! So I was really excited when I heard that there was a position that I could fill that would allow me to continue to work for New Haven but one that I could do from home. And that position has been a really great thing in my life. It was great to be able to be a stay at home mom for Audrey, but to also stay connected to the place and people I love so much and that had come to be such an important part of my life.

Unless you have worked in a similar place (and LOVED it, by the way) you probably can't relate. I truly felt like I was making a difference in the lives of the people I served - and that made a difference in MY life. I felt like I was a part of something much greater than myself - and I felt like I was pretty good at it (most days). I learned a lot about myself in the last six and a half years. And as big and important an education as New Haven was for me, being a mom the past two years has been even more life-changing! And the last three months - with the addition of Luke - has made it clear that I am in a different position in my life and there's not that much time right now for the New Haven part of my life - so it was with much thought and deliberation that I have chosen to give up New Haven. For now. Maybe some day in the future I'll be able to return. We'll see what happens... but for now a very significant era has come to an end.

I love all of the incredible girls that I got to work with. Working with teenage girls is challenging but also the most rewarding. The courage it takes to face your challenges and make necessary changes to forge a more healthy future is pretty incredible to witness and to be a part of. I feel very blessed that I got to be a part of it for so long! I met some of the most amazing, talented, beautiful, courageous, strong, intelligent and inspiring people of my life at New Haven.

And I'm not just talking about the girls and their families. Some of my most cherished friendships are with the staff that I was so privileged to work with at New Haven.

Some of my favorite memories were made with these people and I am so thankful for each of them! Their love and wisdom and support have made such a difference in my life!

And if it weren't for two other indescribably amazing people, I wouldn't be able to let go of New Haven now.

But it turns out that these two cuties need me right now... and let's be honest: I need them too! And I'm so grateful to have the sacred opportunity to raise them and be their mom. I am indeed very blessed!

16 October 2009

My Handsome Boy

This is Lucas. Or Luke. Remember him?

It's been awhile since I've posted any pictures of him. He's grown quite a bit in the last month. In this picture he's in his "Sunday Best" for his blessing last Sunday. He's so handsome!

And pleasant too. He smiles easier than any other infant I've ever seen. He has such a sweet disposition and I feel very lucky to be his mom.

The blessing was really nice. I love the reverence with which Adam approaches blessings and other ordinances. He is a great man and a wonderful example - I'm so glad that Audrey and Luke will always have him to look to. He's a great dad. It was also really nice to see some family that live close enough to make it - we see them occasionally but not really frequently, so it was great to spend some time with a few siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews, and cousins. And we were able to talk one of them into taking a quick family picture to remember the day:

It was such a wonderful day!

One of my favorite things about the day was watching Audrey play with her cousins. She doesn't have many playmates besides mom and dad, so whenever we have visitors she gets really excited and just has a ton of fun playing. At one point I was feeding Luke and I could hear her playing with two of her cousins, McKayla and Talea, in the other room. The sweetest sound in the world has to be the laughter of little children. I couldn't help but smile and laugh quietly to myself at all of their unabashed joy. Here they are smiling for the camera:

And here's sweet Talea giving Audrey a kiss on the cheek... and Audrey letting her...

They are so precious together!