General Update

Have I mentioned that we want to move? I’ve been wanting to move since Stormy was born but now Chewy is on board too. The house is just getting too small.

So we’ve been saving for a down payment and working on fixing this house up and we are hoping to move sometime between spring and fall 2018. In the meantime our house continues to wage war against our savings account. I’m not sure who is winning to be honest.

We have a huge list of projects and as time goes by we start wondering what we can just leave, if you’ve seen my neighborhood you know we aren’t going to get back much money on unnecessary upgrades.

A few weeks ago, when I was potty training Stormy actually, we had a lot of rain. At one point I thought I stepped in pee by the fireplace, then later i realized it wasn’t pee but that our fireplace was leaking. It was a bad week for me and I just sat down on the couch and cried because I wanted my toddler to stop peeing on the floor and I wanted to be done with this money pit. Then I bucked up and got to work. I found a company on Google that had great reviews and called them for an estimate. They said they’d have to inspect it first and that would be $199. Seemed steep but when rain water is coming into your house, threatening to mess up your floor, you do it. So they came out, took a picture of the top of my chimney (I guess that was the inspection) and said the repairs would cost $1350….so of course we got another estimate. The next company came to do the estimate (for free but even if they did an inspection it would have only cost $50). The guy sealed the hole for now (for free – thoughtful), and he was knowledgeable and honest with me, he didn’t think as much work as the first company said needed to be done actually needed to be done and he explained to me why. Then – their estimate came in at $600…I’ll let you guess which company we went with. He even explained to me why they came in cheaper. Most chimney companies work on commission, they do not.

Anyway, now that I’ve written my review. So there’s that.

Stormy starts “preschool” on the 15th. It’s a Mothers Morning Out program, it’s not full blown preschool. One day a week, no parties, pageants or field trips. I’m hoping it will be good for him to interact with other kids besides his cousins. Several times throughout the year I’ll be helping out in the classroom. Should be fun to see him in that setting.

We had a bunch of rain last week and Stormy discovered puddles. And I had fun taking slow-mo videos of it.

Gertie is now 3.5 months! Can you believe it? The craziest thing is, I wasn’t even dating anyone 5 years ago and now I’m approaching my fourth anniversary and have two crazy but adorable kids.

My church calling is going well. I’ve been serving in young women’s for about three and a half years. It’s coming to an end soon though and I find it all bittersweet. It will be nice to have my Thursday nights back but I find that going to youth night always makes me feel better and refreshed. It’s hard hanging out with two kids all day. I absolutely love the girls I work with and even though I’ll still see them at church, I know it will be different and I’ll miss them. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for whatever calling is coming next, but it’s hard to imagine any other calling being as fulfilling as this one has been.

I bought a laminator…that’s right, I felt that was update worthy. I’ve been making little family home evening pouches (I’ll do a post on those later) and laminating everything I can think of. I love it.

I think that’s it for the update – I’ll try to be better about blogging more often so that the posts aren’t so long.

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Potty Training: Day 1

Lildonbro here, reporting live from Potty Training Central. We're two hours into potty training and have gotten the little one to sit on the potty 3-4 times. He's currently walking around without any pants on and has peed on the floor once, which left him looking both surprised and pleased with himself. The offender has received one ball from the Potty Prizes box and has been informed several times that to get more prizes he'll have to use the potty and actually leave behind pee or poop. He is put on the potty every 15 minutes thanks to a timer.

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I almost gave up as soon as I started. I've read and my sisters reminded me that the first day is the hardest. Day one is meeting that expectation so far. He fought me on sitting on the potty, he kept asking for a diaper. If it weren't for motivating texts from my sister he would be in a diaper right now.
My advice from my two hours of experience – have someone who's experienced this so they can help keep you motivated when you want to quit; explain (again) with visuals of the treats (or chart) that to earn those treats, they have to use the potty; if you've got a fighter, give him his first treat for being willing to sit on the potty (and then be prepared to hold your ground that he has to leave some kind of bio material to receive anymore).

We are doing the diaperless, training pantless, big boy underwearless approach. i.e. Little Man is naked from the waist down.

Stayed tuned for more updates about the Boy being put on kitty Prozac…just kidding…

Got milk?

I’m tall.  It’s taken me many, many years to get comfortable with being tall.  Short women seem to have it easy; they can find pants that are long enough, they can find cute shoes in their size, most men seem tall to them, etc. etc.

But there are times when being tall has it’s advantages and I’m not going to lie, most of them happen in the grocery store.  From the time I was a teen, I’ve learned to recognize that relieved look a shorter person would have when I started down an aisle.  As soon as I was close enough they’d ask me to get an item from the top shelf for them.  Or one close to the top but near the back of the shelf.

It’s been a while though, since I’ve used my height and arms for the good of myself or another in the grocery store.  So it was nice today, when I went shopping and came upon the milk.  All the milks I could see had an expiration date that wouldn’t get them through to the next time I needed to go to the store.  I almost decided to go without milk but then I noticed a rack of milk further back in the refrigerator.  If I stepped in just slightly, I would be able to reach a milk on the top shelf of that second rack.  So I did it! I got a milk with an expiration date that will get me through almost two weeks! I put the milk in my cart, feeling pretty good about my amazonian arms when I noticed an older gentlemen looking at me, it was clear he had just witnessed what I had done.  He asked if the date was better on those and I confirmed they were.  Then he asked if I would get him one too.  No problem!  I got him one and then we talked briefly about why this matters (neither of us use a lot of milk so it’s nice to have it last as long as possible).  I could tell he was awed by my ability and maybe by my refusal to accept the expiration date offered me.

This is my life now – changing diapers, medicating a cat, chasing a toddler, and fighting against the grocery man and his expiration dates…it’s a pretty good life.

 

‘Tis the Season

….of high school graduations. This year has stood out to me a bit more than any other year since my own high school graduation. Apparently there are a lot of 17/18 year olds who mean a lot to me. Oh and I’m a sappy mom now (when did that happen?) 
So I’ve been thinking about these graduates, excited for them and desperately sad for their parents. These kids are getting ready to head out to college or the work force. Some have already left (I’m looking at my nephew), some leave in a few weeks and others will at least live up the summer at home. I remember when I first moved out to Utah, two weeks after high school graduation. I couldn’t wait to leave, I’ve always been independent and was excited at the idea of “adulthood”. What I didn’t realize as I loaded up my 1993 Hyundai Excel, was that we never return, not the same at least. It’s like that saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” I first heard that when I was young and relatively unchanged so it hadn’t hit with the same impact as it does today – looking back.

Life changes you, for better or worse and when you come home it just doesn’t feel the same anymore. A college student is in a strange transitional period, kind of floating, not fully belonging anywhere. Growing up, we were always in a hurry.  Can’t wait until I’m a teenager, until I can drive, until I graduate high school, until college is finally over and I can be done with school forever. I’ve spent most of my life waiting for the next big milestone or accomplishment and not always enjoying the moment. I wish I had been more involved in high school and college, I wish I had taken advantage of more opportunities, rather than waiting for these times in my life to end. 

I thought about writing a post with advice to my recent graduates but first off, none of them read this blog. Secondly, advice is almost always wasted because until we understand why it was given we don’t appreciate it and by then we’ve already found our own way. (Kind of like when people warn you about credit cards at 18 and you realize all of it was right…as you still pay off your debt at 25 – and for the next decade). Not that any of this stops me from giving advice. It’s like I see that the generation before me was right and maybe, just maybe the next generation will listen. 

Bu instead, I’m going to be selfish. It’s only a short 16 years until my first baby will be graduating high school and I don’t want to find myself back here, wishing I had more fully enjoyed those 16 years. 

Dear Future Me,
Enjoy the sleep deprivation, that’s not sarcastic by the way.  I already miss the early morning hours with Stormy, just the two of us, both crying and nodding off to sleep. Keep that in mind as you jump out of bed at 2 am to a screaming Gertie. They won’t always want or allow you to cuddle them in the wee hours (and especially not the daylight hours).  And holding the baby may bring you close to complete muscle failure, but they’ll never be this small again or want to be near you quite this much. 

Don’t give up. You can tell them, ask them, show them, a million times to do something and sometimes it feels like a waste of time-but one day they’re going to do it and that makes it all worth it. Like the first time Stormy folded his arms for a prayer or when he finally started saying the words I’d been repeating for a year. 

Enjoy the mess! You’ll forget how tired you were each night as you picked up Matchbox cars and crayons or find Cheerios…in every place imaginable. One day your house will be immaculate…but it will also be empty. 

Don’t stop having fun! Right now you’re Stormy’s best friend.  You have dance parties together, wrestling matches, you let him help you in the kitchen.  Things are going to change as the kids get older, but don’t forget to still have fun with them. 

And lastly, it’s okay to be sad when they turn 18 and head out into the real world, because they’ve been your world. Aaaaaand it’s also okay to hope they cry too when they leave. 

Stop It

A few recent events have got me thinking about how we treat each other, most especially the strangers we come near to, but don’t interact with and the internet we use to show our ugly side.

Last week my sister was in her car, at a stop light, when she looked over to find the passenger of the other car taking a picture of her with their phone. The passenger quickly retreated back in the seat when they made eye contact with my sister. This upset her. Why had that person taken a picture of a stranger? What would they do with it? You have to wonder that nowadays, will that picture now be a meme, meant as funny and possibly could be but at the expense of someone else? Or could it have been innocent enough – the individual taking the picture liked my sister’s haircut and wanted to do the same with their hair? Who knows – we never will.

The other incident was a post on Facebook. A friend had recorded, what I presumed was a stranger, dancing at a church event he was attending. If you know me, you know I appreciate those who can dance as though no one is watching, even though they are in the middle of a crowded room. I commented on the post to show my appreciation. The comments that followed however did not seem to be as positive, but not mean. Then a particularly mean spirited comment was posted, one that went on to attack the boy dancing, despite him being a stranger to the person who posted. The comment after that was from a friend of the boy dancing, who then tagged him in the video.  I noticed not long afterwards that the mean spirited comment had been deleted and more of the boy’s friends were positively commenting on the video. I checked back before posting this entry and there are so many positive comments and my friend explained that he had shown the video to the guy before posting it, and that they got along really well.  But the thing I am focused on is that one ugly, deleted comment.  

Because my point here folks, is that who we are and how we treat each other is, “never checked at the door” as Elder Holland would say.  I’m not here to preach how perfect I am and how imperfect the rest of the world is – I am just as guilty. I’ve been to thepeopleofwalmart.com; laughed at awkwardfamilyphotos; I make judgments on people who don’t follow the rules of common decency and walk on the correct side of the aisle at the store; I’ve poked fun at the pictures or videos of strangers doing strange things. But that’s beside the point, I shouldn’t do those things, none of us should. And with the internet it seems all too easy to put someone down.

Before the boy was tagged in the video it was easy for someone to post mean things, even though it was not anonymous like most websites where people troll. But the moment the boy received an identity, those commenting with identities (and profiles to display much more about them than just their names) retreated. Why is it that when we or the person we are commenting on lacks an identity we find it so much easier to be cruel?

We should strive to be kind always, otherwise how can we consider ourselves kind? I’m not saying we don’t slip, we lose patience from time to time, someone hurts us and our instinct is to fight back, with things like that we strive to be better after each failure (or at least we should), we apologize as best we can to the person we were ugly to. But what about what we post on social media? What we say about that stranger on YouTube who posted a video or had a video posted about them?  It’s almost worse online because we type our means thoughts. We type them and then we have one more chance to take them back, to erase them from ever being written but many times we hit SEND without a second thought. We hide behind a computer or phone screen and make snap judgments on a person we know nothing about.

I work with the youth at church, so this isn’t something new I’m thinking about – it’s just that recently I’ve seen (maybe realized) adults act the same as teenagers with cyber bullying.  One quote shared with the youth more than once in the past few years is from President Dieter F. Uchdorft from a conference talk a few years ago:

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

Might I suggest that we can change “sin” on that bumper sticker to anything: dance, dress, speak, look, think, etc.

I know I want to be better about how I treat people, those I know and love (and those I know and don’t love so much) but especially strangers.  I think we can learn a lot about ourselves by the way we treat those we do not know and do not have to look in the face while or after we have said things about them.  Be kind when you’re out and about (and if you see my sister, don’t take a picture.  She really didn’t like that), be kind when you’re on Facebook, snapchat, and other social media, be kind at home, work, school, even Wal-Mart.  And strive to be the kind of person people can trust when their back is turned to you.

And because I love Elder Holland so much and feel that one quote in a blog post isn’t enough – here’s one more.

HOLLAND

Googleimages – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/66498531971387763/

Toddler Crafts

In keeping with my goals – here is my Pinterest project of the week (it won’t always be Pinterest…but considering how many pins I have it will mostly be Pinterest…have I said Pinterest enough in this post?)

The Old Woman That Swallowed the Fly

I got the idea from Serving Pink Lemonade who had a link to Sunflower Storytime which is where I got the printout.

I used self lamenting sheets I got at Target but also found on Amazon. And Velcro circles I got at Walmart. I already had the Velcro from when I made Stormy’s quiet book. One change I made was I put the words on the back so I could have them if I didn’t remember.


Also, this is my first time with set laminating sheets and I didn’t realize I needed to cut the print out how I wanted it before laminating it. But it’s okay because I’ve decided to put it in a binder with hopefully other Pinterest pins to come.

I also started Stormy’s PECS notebook. My nephew had one these when he was younger to help him with learning to speak so I figured we’d cut down on frustration at the house and give Stormy another form of communicating in addition to his limited verbal and sign. He already saw the picture of popcorn and asked (verbally) for popcorn at snack time.  It’s so cute the way he says “popcorn” and “please”


I already have a ton more to add to the food page, but this is the start.

In with the new…belated

Usually I post my new goals on New Years Day.  Not this year.  I think mostly because I struggled coming up with goals.  Every year I give myself ten goals, mostly due to the (undiagnosed) touch of obsessive compulsive disorder I have.  I have these goals and then I forget about them and I usually luck out if I complete any of them.  So this year, it seems that I will be breaking many of my  resolution traditions, and will not be giving myself ten goals.  I’ve also decided that for this year I am going to go along with the church’s theme for the youth – ASK, instead of making up my own.  It seems I’ve turned into quite the lazy person since becoming a mom.  So here are my goals for 2017.

  1. Finish Personal Progress.  I’m pretty close and just need to do a few more experiences, so why not, right?  Plus, I could be released from my calling any time this year, and I’d like to finish it before I’m released, but even if I get released I’d still like to finish it.
  2. Writing – at the conference this past year I attended a session on good writing habits.  One lady said she has a goal of writing 100 words a day, if she writes more that’s great but she has committed to 100 a day.  I think I can do that.
  3. Journal/Blog Writing –  I’ve been TERRIBLE at both and want to be better.  I used to write in my journal EVERY day! Of course that was before college, but I feel certain I can at least get in once a week.
  4. Have Family Home Evening – I’ve kind of been doing this, but when I got pregnant it all just stopped.  Mostly because I feel like no one is getting anything out of it.  But I do know if I continue, the habit will be there for when people do start getting things (and by people I mean Stormy).  To help, I even ordered a book with 52 ideas for young families.
  5. Do something new each week.  Do you know how many pins I’ve pinned on Pinterest?  If pins were food I could solved world hunger.  So I want to take at least one a week and try something new!
  6. Get the house ready to sell! That’s right!  We think we might be ready to move in Spring 2018, but there’s a lot to do before we can sell.  Mostly this goal will be me bossing Chewy around because I am fully aware I won’t be that helpful with physical things for a while.

That’s it.  It truly pains me to have 6 goals and not 10.  I even considered just stopping at 5 so that I had half of ten.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  But hopefully I’ll stay on top of these goals and start getting things done, instead of pulling them up in December and thinking, “yeah, I guess I kind of did that one.”