Thursday, July 24, 2014

D Minus 3

On Sunday the kids and I were just settled into our pew at church when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was one of my little primary friends that had recently moved, back for a visit -- one of KJ's buddies. I gave her a hug and asked her how she was and then she thrust a fancy silver envelope at me. "Can you give this to KJ?" she asked. "Sure!" I answered, but she walked away before I could even point out to KJ, who was vigorously reading, that she was there. When I got his attention, he was very excited, and turned around and waved to her before opening the letter. After reading, he said "Awe, that's so nice!" Livi asked him what it said, and he cheerfully and casually replied "Oh, just that she's in love with me." This had my curiosity very peaked! I asked him if I could read it, and he happily handed it to me:
And that is when I knew: my son is Don Juan. Johnny Lingo. A lover, not a fighter. A slayer of female hearts everywhere. And it kind of just melted my heart (as if that kid needed any more help in that department!). I tucked this little treasure away for his book. Too sweet. And his response was so legendary. So casual and happy to be liked and appreciated.
 
Tuesday when I went in for my weekly check-up I was at a 3. Baby Boy measured nine days ahead on his ultrasound, so we decided if I haven't miraculously gone on my own, they will induce me on Monday. Yep. Lots of action around these parts, enough to constantly be wondering if this is labor or... not, so I am so relieved to know starting Monday morning at 6 in the a.m. that we can get this show on the road. I can not wait to meet this little guy! Seems so surreal that there is actually a tiny son in there that will change my life forever, just like his brother and sisters have done. If you don't think there is MASS excitement in this household. It's honestly just about more then we can take! I really have a lot of anticipation and a lot of feelings about this opportunity. Since you can't go over it or under, only through it -- I am ready to do that and not just sit and stew about it anymore. I don't think anyone approaches labor and delivery without some nerves, so it makes sense you have to get so big and uncomfortable in order to be willing to do something about it! I know it will be a great experience -- one of the most memorable of my life. Mostly, I am excited to hold him in my arms and tell him how much I love him -- and welcome him into our happy family. Nothing in my life has brought me as much joy as being a Mother.
Except doing it all with this guy:
So we'll see you when we get to introduce our new little buddy. Anxiously looking forward to it! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Waiting Game

We're to the waiting portion of the program... waiting... waiting...waiting...
A few days ago Katelyn brought me this absolutely beautiful picture she drew of our family. Can you guess who is who? KJ, Kate the Great, Daddy, MOMMY, Olivia, and Baby Benson.
This picture has made me laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Nice to know what I look like in her eyes! It has quickly become a national treasure in our family. It is on the fridge and will grace her "book" for the rest of her natural life. Thanks, Kate!
Speaking of Kate, she was the birthday girl this week! Can't believe she is four years old. She is so, so, so proud to be a big girl! We have really noticed that she HAS been growing up lately. Her language is expanding again, and she's even starting to be responsible for "her room" -- which was her room a year ago but is now the toy room and soon Benson's room. Doesn't matter to her! She works on it faithfully during chore time. This is pretty revolutionary! Love, love, love this spectacular girl. So blessed she is mine.
She chose donuts for breakfast and of course chose one as big as her head! We played at the park, she loved her presents, got to choose where to eat (Red Robin, her favorite thanks to the root beer float), and then ate the cupcakes that Daddy brought home that  had a four on them! She loved every single second of being the birthday girl and was very gracious. 
She has loved getting a couple of packages from grandparents just for her, and in the coup de etat, Grandma and Grandpa A found the PERFECT Minnie dress. Minnie is her grand passion, the love of her young life. This is her reaction when she saw it, trying it on, and wanting to be super fancy at Brother and Sister's swim lessons today. Priceless!
Speaking of swim lessons, they have been an absolute raging success. My friend Krista taught them, and I can not BELIEVE how far they have both come in two weeks. I am so proud of their hard, hard work! Here they are in the deep end today, totally rocking it:
They have loved every single second and are so sad to see it go! I am super thankful they will be more proficient in the water that they love so, so much. Today KJ had a big laugh in the water and Katelyn sat up straight next to me. "Is that Brother? I think KJ just laughed. I heard his sound!" I thought that was very endearing, that she is attuned to him and his "sound."
 
Recently Olivia has had some real doozies for quotes. My personal favorite is the conversation that took place while Liv and Kate graciously scratched my back, which is a chore they usually reserve for Daddy.
 
Olivia - Mom, your skin is a LOT smoother then Daddy's.
 
Mom - That's good!
 
Olivia - Seriously, Mom. Daddy has lots of hair on his BACK.
 
Mom - Well...that happens a lot with Daddy's.
 
Olivia - Mom... I think that Daddy might be trying to grow a beard on his back!
 
Mom - (trying not to absolutely die) You think so? I think men just grow a lot more hair then women.
 
Olivia - Hm. I guess I do have pretty hairy legs... 
 
Honestly. How do you not just gobble this girl up, she is so cute and so surprising?
 
A few days later she came to visit us just after the Double B woke up from a nap. She looked at his hair carefully and then announced "Dad, you look just like King Elvis!"
Yesterday we were singing the Gaston song from Beauty and the Beast. We got to the line that says how he is especially good at expectorating. Liv asks "What is expectorating?" And I explained that's just like spitting. She thought for a minute and then said "All men are good at spitting. But ESPECIALLY Daddy. He is so good at spitting out the window of the car!" She said it with great admiration.
I'm sure the Double B will be thrilled that I shared all these stories since he is the star of them, but honestly. This is for future generations!
 
In closing, and in the name of full disclosure, I will share the story I documented on Facebook on Sunday night. It is a true story. No details have been left out to protect the innocent (or guilty, in my case):
 
"Today I am the proud and disturbed owner of a glorious new Most Embarrassing Moment. This is kind of exciting, because I'm just not a person that is embarrassed that easily...usually if it should be embarrassing it's just very funny to me. Today was no exception to that strange response -- it was HILARIOUS! At the most inappropriate time; which of course made the hysteria much less manageable and ...also put me at risk of passing out due to lack of oxygen. Seriously, there was danger! Before I explain, you should know that my wonderful ward has the MOST REVERENT Sacrament meeting in the known world. Especially today, man -- silent. Peaceful. Very reverent. All was normal until I was handed the water tray and went to pass it to KJ. I can't exactly explain what happened next, but let us just say that in that moment communication went on the fritz. He went to put his cup back in, but my poor addled mind took that as I could now release the tray, so... I let it go. I mean, I LET IT GO. I think I might have been trying to fast-pitch it from the deafening roar it made slamming into the row in front of me! Yes. I dropped the water tray. I PRETTY MUCH THREW THE WATER TRAY. It was the loudest sound in the quietest room in the world. KJ and I were both drenched, and I'm sure we both stared with open mouth for a few horrified moments before I picked up the now empty tray to hand back to the innocent (and tainted by association) young man serving us. I'm fairly certain that 86.2% of the congregation was looking to make sure there were no dead bodies. Flaming red, I gave the poor bishopric members a little salute of "yep, I'm the criminal that invited that travesty" to acknowledge my guilt. Is it necessary to note that Ben was hiding his head in his hands in absolute horror, hoping to somehow magically disappear? Probably not necessary. So then... I started to giggle. The dangerous giggle. The very unfortunate kind that is the result of absolute mortification and you have absolutely no control over. I put my hand over my mouth and slouched down, but it did no good. I was a victim of my own warped sense of humor. I just shook...and shook...and (GASP FOR AIR) shook. Every pour in my body was flinging out sweat as fast as it could be produced (which at nine months pregnant, is pretty fast). Tears of laughter and horror just poured out of eyes. And I...could not...breath. I don't think my husband could have liked me less at that moment. Poor man, who hates the spotlight more then any person I've met yet, had the misfortune of marrying...me. The Sacrament tray flinger. A low moment for him, I'm sure. So anyway, I'm like having a seizure in the second to last row of the chapel. And Katelyn, who likes any excuse for a good laugh and has seen her Mom do many strange things, so didn't know that throwing a tray of water might not be ideal, wanted in on the fun. And kept asking in full voice "why are you laughing, Mommy? Ha ha! What's so funny, Mommy? Ha ha ha!" I would have answered her, but I couldn't. I couldn't BREATH! Ah. The sweet feeling of total humiliation. Then the nice counselor in the bishopric got up to introduce the speakers and said something along the lines of "Todays message will be on pride, and trying to be humble. Specifically, how pride comes before the fall." And then... I started laughing again. Because I am pretty sure the Lord used me as an object lesson! Let's face it, I am a sinner. Terrible, terrible. Later on, while pondering the event, and my ownership of a new Most Embarrassing Moment, I decided that after 31 years, it's actually kind of amazing I've never dropped a tray before. But then I realized... In 31 years, I've never seen ANYONE drop a tray before. So, you know. I'm a pioneer."
 
Honestly. That is one of the most memorable experiences ever. When I told senior primary about it and we were all just cracking up, I explained that is was sort of the worst moment of my life... but also sort of the BEST moment of my life... I've never felt more alive!
The Double B seriously was mad at me. I don't blame him... I kept trying to explain it was an accident, but it took him a good forty minutes of the meeting to be able to acknowledge me again, ha ha. Poor guy! It really was just too horrible for him.
 
We're trucking on, hoping this sweet baby boy joins us soon! A friend told me that our family will now be a "double-stuffed oreo" -- two girls squished between two boys. We loved that. I am so thankful for this special time in our family history and for the opportunity I've been given to be a Mother.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Big And Fun

So, we have a lot to catch up on. Forgive me, summer is rife with children and also there is a faint sound of white noise in my head. No worries... simply brain cells slipping out my ears.
On June 22, the Double B and I turned 12 years old. That's right. Twelve! 12 years since I made the smartest move of my life and married that old geezer. We are some of the lucky few that truly, truly love and like each other after all this time. Lucky, lucky, fortunate us! I know that is actually rare and am so thankful for it. We are still as different as night and day, but we make it work. He surprised me and took off four days over the weekend so we could celebrate as a family in a little "Staycation," and then we went out to dinner just the two of us on our big night. Lots of fun. The kids loved it and so did I and so did he, as he finally had the chance to catch up on some much needed rest. We went and saw 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' (or "Lord of the Dragons," as Kate calls it. I think it was a little intense for her, as she watched the whole thing on Daddy's lap and at the tragic part reached over and pinched my nose, whispering "beep," and then put on my hand on her face so I could pinch her nose. Cute and definitely a unique coping mechanism!), found several places to play, and even bought a year pass to the zoo, 'cause we're just that cool. It was Daddy's first visit, so that was fun. By the time we'd walked that whole thing I thought maybe the baby was going to fall right out, but he's stayed in there, so that's good.
 So this happened:
Yes, indeedy! Those are pictures from the news of the tornado that swept through Liberty, which is right, right by us. In fact, so right by us that all our shopping, etc., is IN Liberty. We knew the atmosphere was unsettled and stayed alert, just like we were told to do (we're very tornado obedient), and when the lightning and thunder started, I was trying to get the kids to stay in bed while straightening the kitchen. It was WILD. Rain like I have never seen and deafening thunder, with lightning every second almost. Literally, almost. There were 500 strikes in 15 minutes, which is one not quite every two seconds. Then the tornado app and weather radio went off. By the time I'd gotten the kids and BB (who'd been asleep, poor guy) into the basement, the weather radio announced there was a tornado on the ground in Liberty. You usually can't hear much in the basement, but there were a few rounds of thunder that had the Double B and I looking at each other. The girls took it fine, they were bored because we had to stay down there for a long time, they were mostly curious. Poor KJ did not fair so well. He was so afraid, my heart really went out to him. He cried and shook and came awfully close to a full on panic attack. By the time it passed, he was pretty sick and slept with a bowl next to him. We sang songs and talked and listened to the radio. I told the kids "Just think! If we ever get to move back to Utah, we'll have lots of stories to tell!" KJ quickly answered "I want to move RIGHT NOW!!!" Ha ha. Poor fella. I sent texts to our parents to ask them to pray for us when we went down to the basement, and I am sure that helped. I felt very calm and am so thankful for parents that can add their faith to ours! My Mom didn't get the text until after, but said it was interesting because I'd come into her thoughts and she'd been thinking about me and praying for me, anyway. The Holy Ghost rocks! The kids weren't very comfortable sleeping upstairs away from Mommy and Daddy, so we made beds on the couches and they did fine. It was quite the adventure. We're like the real deal now. Let me tell ya. 
 
Katelyn has recently re-discovered her "Dolly Katee Jill" that Grandma A made her for Christmas a couple of years ago. Out of the clear blue sky, Dolly Katee Jill is the most important member of our household "Mom, my baby looks JUST LIKE ME!!! She is named Katee. I give her big squeezes and she is my favorite! I making a bed for me and my dolly, Kate. The. Great." Dolly Katee Jill is also a bit of a trouble maker, as she has "accidents" all the time and even makes messes in the toy room!
One of my wonderful friends, Sam, so graciously threw a baby shower for me a few days ago. She wouldn't take no for an answer! That is so very kind of her. Those types of events are pretty embarrassing for me and I have a real phobia nobody will come, but they did! This is proof that I have fifteen friends! Pretty awesome. And it was very appreciated, really, because we didn't bring much with us with the move and the difference between KJ and this little guy. Plus, diapers! So nice. Honestly. So, so kind. Sam and I took this picture together, and when I looked at it when I got home, I just about DIED. My body is a warrior, let me tell you, and I realize I've done this four times and I totally balloon up the last little section and no, my face will not look like that forever. But still. It was a shocker! So thankful for kind, wonderful people in the world.
In other news, we had an incident that in my frail female and hormonal state almost signaled the apocalypse to me. My girls and I all needed trims, so I thought we'd take a little girls date and go get them done. The girls look beautiful. The insane person who cut my hair took "Just take off as little as you can" as SEVEN INCHES. I still honestly can't really talk about it. I honestly started shaking as I paid, the lady thought I was in labor. Worst. Thing. Ever. For those of you that are sensible, you're like "So what's the big deal?" For those of you attached to your hair, you're like "That woman must be possessed by the devil!" And you would be right. So horrible. I cried and cried and cried when I got home. Dear sweet Olivia immediately tried to calm me "You look so cute, Mom! I really think it's cute! And you always say that a good cut makes your hair grow faster!" When we walked in KJ goes "Oh no, Mom! Your hair looks so different!" Poor BB could only stare when he woke up. Then finally said "Why didn't she give you the option of taking off a few more inches and you could donate it?" So horrible.
The next morning the first thing Olivia said to me was "Your hair looks so pretty, Mom!" Honestly. That is charity.
Really, it's fine and I'll get over it and in a year and a half it will be the same length and I'll be fine. But I admit, for a few days, it struck me as the worst thing that could ever happen, ever. I'm fragile, what can I say. Liv loved to braid my hair, so I included a pic of some of her latest Barbie inventions and the last fabulous style I was given before hairpocolypse 2014.
Tiny Baby B has had the hiccups three times since last night! I have honestly, in four pregnancies, never felt my babies have the hiccups and have always felt so curious when other Mom's have talked about it. When I finally realized what it was last night, I was so surprised! I'm glad I got the chance, as this could very well be our swan song. It is interesting! And just like they've all said, a little annoying, ha ha. Can't wait to meet this guy. Enjoying this last little section of growing him. As hard as it is to grow a human, I'm thankful for the chance and will remember it for the rest of my life! I know it will be worth every second. What a privilege. 
Yesterday we celebrated the 4th of July by going to our favorite "fancy" restaurant, the Cheesecake Factory on the Plaza. It was so fun and the kids had a great time.
When we got home we played outside for awhile with a few neighbor kids while Liv let me look at her "most special magazine," a Mary Kay catalog from Aunt Trina. Daddy had to go to sleep since he was going in to work at one in the morning, so the kids and I went for a slushie and then sat outside for a couple of hours while all the maniacs in Kansas City lit their fireworks. These people really are crazy, and EVERYONE does it FOR HOURS. But hey, free fireworks exploding all over the sky, lightning bugs, and Chinese lanterns. People are even trying to light them tonight in the middle of a thunder storm. Midwest. Hard core, man. It was a great 4th, Liv felt like it was the "best one ever!"
These pics are Katelyn telling me a very epic story about Grandma and Grandpa belonging to UTAH, not Kansas City, but they have to come visit us, and then enjoying fireworks. And of course, Kate singing her heart out to "Let It Go," because that is definitely required at patriotic functions!
I have been nesting like mad this week. Not sure I've ever had it to that intensity before, but the house has been scoured and I'm almost even done with the basement of death! I even scrubbed out the cars. This has taken hours and hours and the kids have been very helpful as their mother has gone cleaning insane. My house thanks me, believe me. They just do whatever is necessary to keep Momma happy, those sweet little people. They are the best.
 
To finish up the longest post ever, just a funny few quotes from the kids. 
A few days ago KJ and I were driving home from scouts and I was teasing him, trying to get him to just go back to third grade instead of moving up to fifth. He said, very sincerely, "Mom, you know I'd do anything for you. But I have to follow the school system!"
 
The other night Kate and Liv were playing a game called "Papa," where they made pretend pancakes for everyone. I don't know what it is about Grandpa and pancakes, but the two are forever correlated in their minds!
 
We went swimming with some friends and KJ wanted to stay longer to play with his friend Anderson, which I was thrilled about. The girls were STARVING and thought they couldn't LIVE without some Chinese food. So feeling super awesome that day, I stopped for some take out for them, thinking it would feed all three kids. The two of them ate THE WHOLE THING. It was a lot of food! Kate came to me and said "I don't feel good. Too much swimming and Chinese." and then put herself to down for a nap! Hilarious!
 
Last week we had a little scuffle between Kate and Wandrew. Katelyn is totally a nudist and loves to change her underwear about fifty times a day, which I guess we should be glad about because she must have the cleanest bum in fifty states. But in the middle of their scuffle I hear her scream and march up to me with this direct quote: "Mom, Wandrew locked me out and won't let me in to get my underwear! He's Batman and is controlling my feelings!!!" Biggest laugh of the day.
 
Kate was "reading" one of the cards from the baby shower. She cleared her throat and informed me that it said "Miss Marie, baby Benson come out of her tummy and we take him to Disneyland. Me, and Livi, and KJ, and Daddy, too." She has made many comments about taking Baby Benson to Disneyland after he comes out of Mommy's tummy. This is very important to her that he be indoctrinated early, apparently!
 
A few days ago the kids were all playing together and Andrew and Kate went running out of the room laughing. KJ looked at Liv and said "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?!" She excitedly answered "I think so!!!... What are you thinking?" He paused as they walked out hand in hand and then shook his head and said "I don't know." Ha. ha.
 
Liv informed me that "Sometimes if I drink root beer or sprite it actually makes STEAM come out of my nose!"
 
Thank you for reading the longest post ever! Life marches on and we're thankful for every moment. Enter to learn, go forth to serve, right? Love you all.
 
 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Adventures

So. Hi! Ten million years later, I'm back. It's been an eventful ten days or so, in which I have given myself a little "Come To Jesus," you could say, with attitude adjustment in check. Summer has kicked in and we're having a great time!
Right now Katelyn and Wandrew are sitting next to me keeping me company, both just cracking each other up with their brand new expression "Back off!" It arrived yesterday. I'm not a hundred percent sure how I feel about my little people picking this one up, but it is a little funny how they say it. It is usually accompanied by "Micky Mouse Clubhouse -- back off!" Or "Hy-yah! Back off!" Or "That's not your purse -- back off! Come on!" And then laughing, or jumping on each other and crying. It's great. I'm glad for our additional four-year-old honorary member. He entertains us. Plus he brings us new phrases, like "Cray-cray." He really integrates it into a sentence beautifully, too, like "My Mom is cray-cray, Miss Marie."
How can you not like that?
It's impossible.
So after I convinced myself that being a real-life recluse was not only inappropriate for the mother of young children, but also quite great-great Grandma Lomax of me and greatly contributing to feelings of loneliness, we've been venturing out to little ward gatherings and joining friends at the park, etc. And -- SHOCKER -- it's helped greatly! Let me tell you, people, I am slow on the up-draw. But I do eventually get it, and we're all the better for it. Plus, my Mother -- who is much smarter then me -- came up with some suggestions for me that we have implemented. The kids love them. For instance:
Having the kids help Dad more in the yard. This usually involves FIRE... magical fire... where we now know we have a serious third generation pyro-maniac on our hands in KJ. 
He just can't help holding sticks in the fire. He loves it so, so much. And since that is how the Double B spent his childhood, playing with a fire with his Dad, it's sort of the whole circle-of-life thing. Of course, we are very careful and teach him fire safety!!! But we are encouraging his spirit of adventure, too. KJ is a nervous fellow -- think the Lion from Wizard of Oz, in a way -- and we're trying to help him find his Courage. He's doing great! Plus, it's good for him and his Dad to have something to share. I love that boy so much. Olivia is second in command with the fire, and Katelyn keeps me company. Usually playing house with leaves, as demonstrated in this photo of "Mommy leaf" and "Baby leaf." That's imagination at it's finest, folks.
We've also been taking more adventures -- we decided to try the most popular barbecue joint in Kansas City -- called Oklahoma Joe's. It's in a gas station! And you have to wait standing in line for like an hour and a half. It was interesting. We're not super barbecue people, but it was pretty good. Mostly, it was the experience! We're trying to discover our fair city and it's hidden treasures a little more. I like this picture and I'm thinking of turning it in for science, and here's why: look at Olivia's adorable little yawn -- so cute. Now look three people to your left -- yawning lady! And she's just feeling it as much as Livi Lucy. So here is proof... yawns are actually contagious! And not just if you can see the other person, because obviously they couldn't see each other. They were just breathing the same air. Very scientific.
 We took Daddy out on a Father's Day date the night before the big day, because he had to work on Father's Day. I sent the girls off to change into clean clothes and this is what they came up with. I just thought it was so -- special -- that I left good enough alone. It really made me smile. Katelyn was especially proud of her "Family shirt" and the snow boots she got on all by herself. They are beautiful souls, inside and out. And I'm glad they were feeling it that night at Red Robin's. (Side note: clutter. Yes, clutter. I embrace it in this picture. You're welcome.)
At Grandma's suggestion, we've been holding frequent "cooking classes." KJ and Liv are really, really loving that, plus, it will really benefit our family! KJ is ten and Liv is seven (and already loves to be our assistant chef), but either way, he is more then old enough to start learning and she desperately wants to learn, anyway! They are really improving so quickly. Their only major request is that the recipe involves eggs, because they just love, love, love to crack eggs... they're getting better all the time. Yesterday we made chocolate-chip muffins which are pretty tasty. Every recipe has been a success! Daddy even taught them one class. Here is a picture after our first cooking lesson: pancakes. They loved eating the fruit of their labors! It also helps me to be patient when I set aside time for it and am TEACHING them, rather then trying to get dinner on the table and not being in the right mind-set. We're having lots of fun. Love those two. We're making progress on learning to love to work! Not easy, but very worthwhile.  
We also have a set reading time every day. I have been hoping to have Olivia catch the reading fever -- she is right on grade level, but hasn't had a passion yet -- and she's the one that reminds me about reading time every day! She is really improving quickly and I think enjoying it. She usually picks chapter books, and that is a fun challenge. So that is super awesome! So cute to hear her reading out loud and putting expression into it. Plus, it helps remove the temptation of technology for all of us. And that is a good, good thing.  
Look at those long feet!
Hope you're all having a good summer, too. Six weeks and counting! Signing off! 
 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Jon And Trina

The only problem with having the extremely wonderful joy of having family come visit (if there could be a problem), is that then the excitement comes to an end and they have to go home and you have to pick up the pieces of your shattered life. That's right, people. Shattered. I'm just going to go ahead and dramatize to the point of real signs of psychosis, because at 32 weeks pregnant, I AM A WRECK OF A HUMAN BEING. Seriously. I can't do this anymore. I can't. Not for one more second. Except that I have to. "They" are making me. And I do mean the proverbial "they." You know. Them. So rather then dwell on the sad, sorry state of delusion that is mine right now, let's go back and visit last week in pictures.
It was just so dreamy.
My big brother Jon and his wife that I just love so much Trina came to visit!!! Life-long dream come true! Well, if I would have known all my life that at 31 I'd be living in Kansas City, it would totally have always been a dream of mine. Let's say year and a half long dream come true! They drove out with their four little chickens and we partied it up mid-west style (though my brother-in-law Steve contends that Missouri is in the South. I do not accept, because I don't want it to be. The end.). We had such a great time. We saw many of the church history sights and much of the local awesomeness. We hung out and laughed and stayed up way too late only to wake up way too early. And Trina took me to lunch once where I ate enough Mexican food to feed a small army. It was rather magical.
Here we are at Liberty Jail:
And Far West: 
And Adam-Ondi-Ahman (man, do I love this picture of Olivia): 
Anytime we went anywhere in public people stared at us like we were a circus act. Let's face it, we were! All those small children together just drew lots of attention. That's right, folks. We are just that awesome! The cousins loved, loved, loved every second of being together.
We graciously let them experience tornado weather so that Jon could take that home and put it in his arsenal of horror stories, and Trina even got to see the fire flies! I think they might have come out just for her.
We played lots of games, ate lots of treats, and visited to our hearts content. I wish I didn't have to send them back. I wish that reality could suspend and I could keep my loved ones close, or that at least I would become better able to handle reality sometimes.
I am a gigantic sissy.
Sometimes home seems so very far away, so to have them here was something really special and I'll always remember it. They win the sibling award!
Best time ever. Thanks, guys. We love you so much and we'll always remember you came to us out in Kansas City!!! Absolutely, positively meant the world. Happy times!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Recital

 So this happened:
We did it! We survived! Nay, we conquered!
It was definitely a new, big experience for me.
I was just a ball of nerves that night -- deep breathing on the way to the church. Big case of stage fright, essentially! And when it was over, I had no way of measuring how it had really gone... I still felt nervous, vulnerable, and totally exhausted. The Double B had difficulty understanding why after telling me it was great I still had to come back and ask and ask and ask. He was a little frustrated that I just didn't believe him! Finally I reminded him that he is my ONLY validation out here. He is the only person in this place that I can go to asking for reassurance over the annoying little details, and such. He's my only safe person that saw it. My parents and brothers -- who are trained up in how to reassure Marie -- weren't there. The Double B is not a words of affirmation person -- I could tell him once it was great, he would believe it, end of discussion forever. I practically need validation for air. Sad, perhaps, but nonetheless true! 
Thankfully, three days later, I feel great about it. It wasn't perfect, but I really believe after watching it back that it stands up under scrutiny and was certainly as lovely as any dance recital I've been to. And I think I accomplished my goal in making it low stress and lots of fun for the kids I taught. I am so proud of those kids. It was such a fun thing and they were so excited to show their stuff! In reality, even though certain aspects of teaching these classes this year has been hard and sometimes not my first choice -- it really is, in many ways -- a dream come true. I lived a dream I carried within me. So that is super awesome! I'm very, very, very thankful for the experience and acknowledge with my whole heart to Heavenly Father that it was His doing and I am the grateful, grateful recipient. He is amazing, how He can help us and provide amazing, unexpected opportunities in our lives.
It was cute. Really. I'm so relieved!
KJ and Olivia were absolutely fantastic!!! I am so proud of them! On the way into church today Olivia said something along the lines of "I wish it was the night before the performance again! I wish we could do that again so much -- it was so fun!" That meant a lot to hear that, that she had a great experience. I had many kind friends tell me that they had fun watching my kids shine. Sweet, kind compliments for them. Olivia is really a natural, and KJ loves it so much.
What has really, really impressed me about my kids through this is that they understand that Mommy has obligations to the other kids, and they are so patient through it. After the performance, they had to wait quite a while -- probably half an hour, realistically -- before I had the opportunity to give Olivia her red roses (she's a very disciplined hint-dropper... they needed to be roses and they needed to be RED) and KJ his Lego set, hold them each close and tell them individually how wonderful they were and how honestly proud I was of all their hard work. They waited so patiently and were just thrilled when it was their moment. I thought that said so much about them and their level of support and understanding. 
Kate, being three, couldn't wait for the opportunity to stake her claim on Mommy -- as soon as the show was over, she pushed her way through the masses to pull on my leg "I so hungry! So hungry! Mommy, I soooo tired!" Etc., etc. I tried to acknowledge her each time, knowing that is what she needed, but she was pretty persistent. Kind of cracked me up. She has no desire at all the perform or take class -- but what is so funny, is in the middle of doing something else she'll say "Mom, look, a pliĆ©!" or "Mom, I can do a pirouette!" And sure enough, she does it with excellent form. So funny. I love that each one of them is their own extremely special person.
So that is that. Pretty awesome! And now we have a nice long summer to have a baby and relax before starting again in the fall. Yay for both of those things!
 
In other news, I finally, finally, finally finished the Old Testament! I think I may need to get a temporary tattoo that says "I DID IT, B.C. STYLE." It was no easy cheese for Marie, quite honestly. It's taken a long time -- the earliest reference I could find was March 2011, when I wrote that I had finished the books of the laws and was to Deuteronomy. So at least three years! I was slow going! But I did it and I'm glad. Yep. I did it and I'm glad.
So, you know. Big happenings around these parts.
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Super Marie

Olivia had a tick on her cheek this morning. ON HER CHEEK. I hate those diabolical things. I love living by the woods -- ooooh, pretty, and all that. BUT A TICK ON HER CHEEK??!?! In her own home that we pay a fortune to preventatively spray the crap out of? I feel violated for her. She was very grossed out and so to help distract her I gave this one the name of Miss Ticky, Mr. Ticky-Wicky's girlfriend. That helped. My stomach was churning -- just so gross. Thankfully it was a big one and those are easier to get out, so I was able to get it out myself, using deep breathing and pretending it wasn't the most disgusting thing on earth at all.

Dear Midwest,
How about you take your ticks and put 'em where the sun don't shine?
Your Enemy Today,
Marie.

This is a cute story that will distract you, though. You're welcome in advance. While getting ready for the day (after Tickgate '14), Olivia came in and showed me her finger. She said "Mom, I have an owie on my finger, and I put a band aid on it but it still hurts! I think the only thing that will help it feel better is if you give it a kiss!"
Awe. A magical Mommy moment. Warmed my little pea-pickin' heart.

Do any of you other Mom's have a Mom Super-Power? As a kid, I was truly amazed at the things my Mom could just... KNOW... and it did mystify me quite a lot. I would ask her how and she'd always say she had eyes in the back of her head. Just amazing. Now, as a Mom myself, especially the last couple of years, I am amazed at things I can just KNOW. It's quite fun. Random things, right down to if someone needs to find something, if I have seen it ever, I will have a flash or a feeling and know where it is, etc. The Double B is absolutely floored by this mad skill! Although he is getting a little reliant on it, and feels despair if I tell him I am getting absolutely no impression, because then he doesn't have an instant answer to what he needs. He asks me all the time how I do it, and I don't know. I just tell him it is super awesome to have. A Woman Thing? I take my Mom's answer of eyes in the back of the head and call it maybe an Inner Eye? Hm. Either way, I actually think it's some kind of Gift of the Spirit, of which there are many as we know, not all listed in the scriptures, of course. Since the scriptures I study were all written by men, how could they include a mystery gift they have no access to? "And to some it is given a super cool intuition that will solve many common household problems."

Last night was the big rehearsal for the recital tonight. I don't think I have ever sweat so much in my life. Literally, buckets and buckets of sweat. Of course, it was ninety million degrees of humidity yesterday, and I'm a big pregnant lady jumping and turning, etc., but oh boy. It was a little embarrassing, but what do you do. One of my little students said "Wow, Miss Marie, I don't think I've ever seen you sweat before!" Ha ha! I felt validated. I left tired but so hopeful for tonight. I am nervous, and obviously it won't be perfect, but they are as ready as they will ever be and I think/hope the parents will enjoy it. Definitely lots to do today. I will report back!
The End.