Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy 5 Months

Allison is five months old today! I can't believe how fast the time has gone by. She is such a cute little chubby baby and a good one, too. She sleeps all night and is happy all the time - it's great. We couldn't ask for a better baby. We love you, Allison! And just for fun, below is a photo of Emily when she was five months and two days (three and a half years ago!). We love you too, Emily!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

For the First Time

The last two weeks have been a little crazy with the weather here. In early May it was beautiful perfect weather, then all of a sudden it jumped up to 102 degrees for a few days, and now this weekend it's back to cold and rainy. What?? But thanks to the extra hot weather, we got to take the girls swimming - Allison's first time. We just went in the evening so it was still very warm but not hot burning sun, and Emily got to practice her swim skills she learned at her swim lessons last year and Allison got to get in the water (no photos of her actually in the water because Kevin was already soaked when we got in, so nobody took a picture). Emily's old swim pants fortunately fit Allison okay, so that was her suit. What a chub, huh? Allison was really calm in the water and I think she liked it...all great until Kevin suggested I take her in the baby pool and as I was stepping in some ladies sitting on the grass started yelling at me. At first I couldn't understand what they were saying until "poop in the water!" What? So sure enough, I look down and there is the hugest log sitting on the bottom next to the filter. NASTY! Needless to say I jumped right out and was thankful that I only got in a few steps up to my shins. YUCK YUCK YUCK! Good thing Allison was way up high and never touched the water. Well I was completely grossed out and still am just thinking about it. We got washed off and made darn sure Emily didn't go near that water!
After spending about an hour relearning her swimming, Emily got to have some real fun getting pitched out of the water by her dad. That girl has no fear in the water.

We also did some experimental cooking that weekend. When it gets so hot we don't like to use the oven so we try to cook on the grill a lot or just use the stovetop. I had read about grilling on cedar planks in the Costco magazine and when I saw them for sale at Costco I thought we should give it a try. You soak the plank in water for a couple hours then cook your food on it on the grill. We tried some salmon and it was pretty tasty. Every summer I think we should get all fancy cooking on the grill and we have yet to do much more than hamburgers, hotdogs and steak. Maybe this year we'll go gourmet...

Allison is learning to grab things with her hands and feet. It is so fun to watch her exploring everything with her eyes and trying to grab things. She is almost proficient and grabbing things and putting them in her mouth, but not quite.

Can we say CHUBBERS? Or as my mom lovingly calls them, pudgies. I love chunky babies!
Oh, and we're working on sitting up. So far she does pretty well supported and can sit up a few seconds on my lap, but that's about it. I love this picture, though. So cute!
And finally, a word about Emily. Slug Bug! Okay, that's two words. Emily learned the slug bug game from one of her grandmas and is now completely obsessed. And she has the rest of us obsessed too. We can't get in the car without scanning the entire road for a slug bug. Emily keeps track each day and gives us an accounting at the end of the day: "Daddy got three slug bugs - red, blue and black; and I got four slug bugs - silver, red, yellow and blue...." I am amazed that she can remember every single one. The funny thing is, if we spot one first and call it out she'll say "I was just about to get that one!" even if she still hasn't even seen it yet. Ha. There may be a little competitive spirit in her after all. Slug bug orange!

And we mustn't forget...farmers markets! Below is a photo of Emily eating a strawberry from the first famers market we went to this season. Here in Fresno they have some sort of market just about every day. Our favorite is the one in old town Clovis (it's like a historic downtown full of antique shops and what not). Every Friday night they shut down two blocks of the main street and have all the vendors, live music, food and children's activities. We went two weekends ago for the first time this year (the super duper hot weekend) and we could smell the strawberries all the way from across the street. I can't even say how good the produce is - everything is picked fresh from the farm usually that morning and they have all the fruits and vegetables you can think of. That night we got blueberries, raspberries, apricots, honey, strawberries and cherries and I think we ate all of it within about two days. It is soooo good. Probably the best thing about living here in the valley. I don't think I have ever seen the variety of fresh food anywhere else. And it's always perfectly ripe and delicious, and best of all, affordable!

So it's starting to feel like summer. Despite the harsh wind and rain we've had this past week, all the summertime fun has arrived. Swimming, grilling, farmers markets...love it!

Mother's Day Pics

On Mother's Day when we went to Kevin's Dad's house Emily wanted to play outside for a bit and she decided to put rocks on the stepping stones out front. She diligently looked for all the "pretty" rocks (the more rounded ones) and carefully placed one rock on each section of every stepping stone. Beautiful darling!
Since Allison was born Emily misses being the baby of the family. Every chance she gets she plays baby and especially loves getting in the crib, bassinet or baby bathtub. Here she is with Aunt Lynn oohing and aahhing over her. Later we put Allison in there with her - she loves that too!

Emily's school had a "tea party" in honor of mothers the week before the big day. Me and Allison got to go have morning muffins with Emily and her class and then we stayed for a little show. The kids were really cute reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the first five presidents of the USA. They also sang a song but I don't think any of the kids really knew it, or at least they didn't sing. Not as cute as the primary kids singing in church, anyway!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there...a day late but hey, we're all trying here! So my talk in church went fine. We had one youth speaker (with a rather long talk for a youth speaker) and three adult speakers so it was a pretty long meeting. But good. My talk was fine, I told kind of a sad story and everybody was crying. But it was a good example to my point. Then Emily got to give her very first talk in Primary. It was about families. She did a good job, too.

In the morning Kevin got up and made orange pancakes for breakfast. YUM. Then I got to open my present (have I ever mentioned how excited Emily gets about presents?) that Emily picked out. It was a box full of candy and Izze sodas. YUM again. If you have never had an Izze, they are made with pure fruit juice and sparkling water. Very tasty but not full of sugar. You can find them at Target, but still not as available in grocery stores. There are flavors like clementine (as opposed to regular old orange) and pomegranite. That was fun. Later we went to Kevin's dad's house for dinner and had some delicious New York steaks. YUM YUM YUM. It was a yummy day.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thankful Thursday 3

I was asked to speak in church next week (Mother's Day) so I have been thinking a lot about motherhood lately and many of my dear friends who have been going through some big trials with their families. A husband killed in a car accident. A young son diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening and rare disease. A baby daughter lost just days after birth. An unwanted divorce. A lost chance of having any children, despite wanting them very badly. I have thought about each one of them and how strong they are to keep on going and the faith that they show through the difficult times. I have been really inspired. I don't know why some have seemingly harder trials than others, but thinking about it all I have been more thankful for my own blessings, that I have not been called to have those kinds of trials (not yet, anyway), and especially thankful to know these wonderful women who are examples of courage, strength and faith in their roles as mothers and wives. Ladies, if you read this, I hope you know who you are. I love you!

I am thankful and humbled just to be a mother. I think motherhood is probably the toughest job out there, not to mention the longest lasting, and to be entrusted with raising children is a big thing. I am thankful for my own mother, who taught me more than I could ever try to expound upon, and who is a big example to me of unselfishness and willing service. I am thankful for my grandmothers, who taught my parents to live good lives, so they could teach me. I am thankful to have two beautiful daughters, both healthy and strong. I am thankful for all of my mom friends who share their insights and wisdom with me. I am thankful that even though I feel inadequate as a mother, my three-year-old still thinks I am the best. I am thankful for my knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that when my kids ask questions about the eternities, I know what to tell them. I am thankful for friends, relatives, teachers, singing leaders, daycare providers and sometimes even strangers who have taught my daughter and made lasting good impressions on her. I am thankful to know so many amazing women in my life and to be able to learn from their examples and share joys and heartaches with them.

Some of you may remember Julie Beck's talk from the LDS General Conference last October entitled "Mothers Who Know." I am supposed to use some of that in my talk on Mother's Day, so I have been reading it and trying to decide what parts to focus on. I haven't decided which parts yet, but I have thought about all the mothers and good women I know. I think many of you are women who know - you know who you are and you know who God is, and that's what keeps you going. I am thankful for all of you good women out there. May God bless you and strengthen you, as I pray he does me. Thank you all for enriching my life!