Thursday, October 30, 2008

Leaves, Leaves Everywhere!

I LOVE FALL!!! Have I said that enough times already? The weather has been absolutely perfect. This afternoon the boys decided they wanted to rake a pile of leaves. They spent a good hour raking leaves, jumping in the pile, burying each other, having leaf fun fun! Here are a few pictures of their fun.

Notice she is standing solo...good job Essie!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Family Home Evening

Jackson never ceases to amaze me. I mentioned to him at dinner tonight that it was his turn for the lesson for FHE. Ten minutes later as we sat down in the living room he began an amazing lesson. I am not sure the boys learned anything from it, but I sure did.

He started by showing us all a stack of nice, clean white paper. He said that each paper cost 10 pushups. We all (except for Thomas who was feeling a bit picked on and emotional) got down and did our ten pushups. Thomas cried, whined, begged, and finally grabbed for a piece of paper. Jackson calmly explained again that he had to do 10 pushups to get one. Thomas grumpily, tearfully, and loudly did 10 jerks that barely resembled pushups. Jackson said he could have the bent paper (caused by the grabbing) for pushups like that, or he could do more for a fresh straight paper. Let's just say it took a while, but Thomas finally got a clean paper.

Jackson then said that he would show us how to make an airplane out of our paper. He could show us each of the steps, but he couldn't do it for us. We could ask each other for help, but not him. We all followed his directions the best we could. Nicholas quickly asked me for help. Thomas cried and cried getting more and more frustrated with his imperfect airplane. By the time we were done Thomas was just about hysterical. Jackson called the boys around him and asked them to show him their airplanes. They did, and Jackson asked if they could see where they had made mistakes. Thomas just about couldn't take it anymore. He was SO upset that his airplane wasn't perfect. Then came a surprise...

Nicholas gave Jackson his imperfect airplane, jumped down on the floor, and began doing more pushups. When he was done, he asked for a fresh paper.

Jackson told Thomas that he had two choices...he could do 10 more pushups for a new paper, or he could give Jackson his imperfect airplane, do 5 pushups, and Jackson would give him the perfect airplane that he made.

You can probably see where he was going with this. This was as far as we got, though, because Thomas was screaming so loud that Jackson couldn't explain what the purpose of the lesson was. I think we will try it again, though, when we are all feeling happy. To me, it made so much sense. We are commanded to do things that are really hard for us to do...but if we do our best, and then do whatever our Savior asks us to do, he will give us a clean sheet of paper every time we partake of the sacrament and will replace our imperfect airplane with his perfect one.

I'm not sure I am expressing everything well, but I do know that I felt the Holy Ghost in my heart teaching me about the reality of the atonement. I also felt the importance of teaching my children this truth and other truths that will protect them from the increasing temptations of the world. I am thankful that my parents did that for me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Candy Land

I started a 6 week online photography class this week. My first assignment was to recreate a childhood memory using some specific techniques. I had a lot of different ideas...the first two I tried and failed at.

First, I was going to take pictures of the kids while we went to the grocery store. I had great images in my mind of the kids happily riding in the cart, enthusiasticly picking out cereal, helpfully unloading the cart at the checkout stand, etc. We got to the store, I loaded my camera bag along with the three kids and a long grocery list into the store...and then reality set in...WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS I THINKING!!! Taking one child to the grocery store is hard enough! Why did I think I could take three kids, get all the groceries I needed, AND take great, technically correct pictures??? I abandoned my idea as soon as I came to my senses and didn't pull out the camera the entire time.

My second idea was to take pictures of the kids happily playing Candy Land. The pictures turned out okay, but I still wasn't happy with them. I ended up submitting some of the pictures I took of Thomas climbing the tree a few weeks ago. Here are a few from our Candy Land photo shoot.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Family Journal

For the past four years I have diligently printed out and organized our family pictures into leather bound albums (the kind you just slip the pictures into). I am nearly up to date on journaling in them also. I am almost finished filling up my last album, and I have decided to change our family journaling from that to blogging and printing one blog book a year. I think it will be more efficient time wise. I also think it'll be better because I will be doing it as things happen instead of trying to remember details when I print the pictures off months after they were taken.

That said, I want to record a few things we did this week even though they might be a bit boring for you to read.

  • Estella is getting very brave with walking. She took her first steps a month ago, and is now regularly standing up by herself in the middle of the floor and taking a few steps before falling on her bottom. If you lend her one of your fingers she is very steady and will walk fast with you. The most steps I have seen her take on her own is 5 in a row. At church today we sat next to a mom of five grown boys. After sacrament meeting she laughingly said, "WOW! She is a pistol!" I think she said it well.
  • Nicholas is growing so fast. He is only about 5 inches shorter and 4 pounds lighter than Thomas right now. Nicholas came to us with the talents of being thankful, polite, and considerate. He is as much of these things as a three year old can be. It warms my heart when he turns to me and says "Thank you, Mama." with complete sincerity. He is very fun to be around. He loves playing soccer, jumping on the trampoline, riding his trike, and reading stories. I have recently begun to notice that Nicholas tends to hide how he is feeling. I have realized that he often feels sad or insecure and I have to pay careful attention or I will miss understanding how he feels.
  • Thomas has suddenly turned from a little boy to a big boy. He has gained a lot of control over himself in the past few months. He is very inquisitive and is always full of good questions. He loves to learn about the world around him. He is taking gymnastics once a week with his buddy Mason, goes to preschool with Mrs Potter two mornings a week, and also takes violin lessons from his Grandma Chelle. He loves all of these activites, and seems happiest when he is learning. He has a very competitive nature and often says he wants to be the best or thinks he is the best at different things. He is learning to recognize when he feels the Holy Ghost.
  • Jackson, the boys, and I cleaned out the garden yesterday while Essie was taking a nap. We harvested hundreds of tomatoes this year! Even though we did that, I was still sad to see how many froze. I just hate to see them wasted. Next year I will be more careful about protecting them and picking everything before it turns too cold.
  • Jackson bought a pass to a new Gold's Gym that is very close to his office. The main reason he did was to swim in their pool, but he has really enjoyed lifing weights and using their cardio machines also. I am still walking, and have recently been jogging for exercise. It is hard to find time for excercise with three kids. Jackson has been going to the gym at 5:30, so he can be back by 7 or 7:30 to give me 30 minutes to exercise before he goes to work.

Now for a few pictures....Yesterday we went for a walk on the Monument with Julia (Jackson's sister) and her two boys Ethan and Aiden. Here are a few pictures from the beautiful morning.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More in the tree

I didn't want to leave Nicholas out of the tree climbing pictures. He wanted to climb up so bad. He tried and tried, with no sucess. I helped him up onto the lowest branch, and he was satisfied with that. Also, I am so happy with our cats. Last fall and winter, we had problems with mice in our house. In the past three days, I have seen the cats with mice they have caught three seperate times. Good job kitties!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thomas?...THO-MAS?...Where are you?

"I'm up in the tree, Mom! Look how high I climbed!!"
"Can you see me, Mom?"
" do I get down from here?"
"I think I'm stuck."

"I know, I know...If I can get up, I can get down."
"Phew...I did it!!!"

He didn't really get stuck or scared...I made that up. The first few times he climbed a tree he did and those are things he would say. I just kept saying "If you can get up, you can get down." With some coaxing, he would slowly climb down on his own. Now (in this tree at least) he has no fear. This is the highest I have ever seen him climb. Nicholas wanted to climb up there with him so bad. He drove the trike over and tried to use it as a step stool, but he couldn't get it close enough to the tree for it to be of any use. I love crisp fall afternoons!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October Weekend

Estella wiggles a lot a church, but probably even more in the bath. If you can imagine playing in the balls as a kid, that is what the bath is like for Essie. She wants to stand up more often than not lately. She often stands on her own without holding on to anything and has taken a few steps three or four times. As I watch her try to walk, she seems too small to be doing it. I remember watching Thomas learn to walk and thinking he was so is interesting how your perspective changes as you have more children.
Jackson took this picture of Estella and me in Sherwood Park. It was windy and warm all day, my sister-in-law said it reminded her of Winnie the Pooh and the blustery days. Then it got cold at our picnic and we had to play some soccer to get the blood flowing. Earlier Saturday morning, we went to Grandma Berry's (Jackson's dad's mom) assisted living apartment to visit. She amazes me. About 6 months ago (or less) she fell and broke her hip. As you can see she healed up and is getting around. She will be turning 90 this December if I remember right. Before we left she gave Nicholas a ride on her walker down the hall. He thought that was great!

It was a pleasant relaxing weekend!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Conference Weekend

We had such a wonderful conference weekend! It started off a bit rough, but once we actually left, it was wonderful. We started by going to Manti. We made it just in time for me to run (literally) to the last session of the night, while Jackson got the kids settled in the hotel. As I was leaving I snapped this shot of the beautiful temple. I wish I would have taken a bit more time, because this could have been a good picture if I hadn't cut the top of the temple off and held the camera crooked! Oh well.
Then we went to Fillmore to the Homecoming football game. I love small town football. My sister Jamie is a senior in HS and is the head cheerleader. It was fun to watch her at the game and also at the pre-game assembly. She is the one in the front right. My dad is an assistant coach, so it is fun to watch him also.
Grandma and Grandpa let the boys each pick out a pumpkin to take home...they thought that was great.
It rained all day Saturday, so there was a big puddle out in front of my parent's house. Nicholas was drawn to it and couldn't resist running and splashing in it. This is why even though I thought I was prepared by bringing extra shoes and pants, Nicholas is without in this picture.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was meeting my brother Jake's girlfriend Marissa. They have been dating for quite a long time, so I was really wanting to meet her. She is great!
It is always so nice to be with my family. I love them and wish we were closer, so I could see them more often. I love you guys!!!