Thursday, January 11, 2018

Liv Turns 11

How did this little girl become this big girl? How did my wild, sassy, ALWAYS covered in something baby become a young lady of such kindness, magic, and charm? These are the questions a Mom has to ask herself.
Olivia is an absolute joy. She is a profound pleasure to both her Dad and I. She is so much amazing in such a small package. We love her with all our hearts.
She is pure imagination, so clever and quick on her feet. She cracks us up every day.
The happiness that only owning your very own set of Harry Potter can bring (and for those curious, that's The Office season 2 paused in the background):
Most of her gifts were, per request, books. She's building up a great little library for herself. She's been waiting for the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid for a long time, so she dug right in on that one.
She chose sugar donuts for breakfast, Blaze Pizza for lunch and KFC for dinner... the two of us went alone through the drive thru for that, singing along to Hamilton with our opera voices (we're super good at it and it's kind of our specialty).
Birthday party tomorrow (Mom shudders) and excitement looms large for that blessed event!
Daddy saws logs and we spent the last part of the evening tucked in watching the shows of her choice.
How we love this precious, amazing girl. She is the light of our lives.
After she opened her presents this afternoon the Double B and I told parts of all of their birth stories. They loved it! It was fun to remember each of those precious moments in our lives. I am a deeply flawed human being; but I have been, and am, so lucky and so blessed to be the mother of these four humans. It is the great honor and joy of my life.
Happy birthday, Olivia! I hope you will remember on your 16th, 24th, 38th, 66th, and clear up to your 95th birthday and every one in between, that you are the most loved little girl in all the land.
Thank you for being born.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Greetings From Las Vegas

We wrote to our nephew Steven tonight for Family Home Evening. I'll include that letter here, since it's pretty much a blog post, anyway.

Hey, Elder B!
Time for our bi-annual FHE letter to our favorite missionary. 
Hope you are well. We love reading your emails and following along with all of your fabulous adventures. You are in our family prayers and we are your faithful cheerleaders.

From Uncle B:
I asked him what he'd like to say to you and he said "I don't know." I think that must be because he just has such a wealth of wisdom to share that he can barely put it into words. Also, he is cross-stitching, and I think it must be hard to multi-task. He was the originator and orchestrater of this here family letter, though, so that has to count for something. Work is busy, his day off is tomorrow, so basically life is good for Uncle B.

KJ:
KJ practiced his limited portugese on you: oi and tutabein (not sure of that spelling, because I am not from Brazil.). He is hoping things are going good for you on the mish. New semester for KJ. He is starting to read The Book of Mormon. He has made it to the book of Mosiah, which is pretty exciting! Plus, in my humble opinion, where the best parts start -- I'm an Alma the Elder through Helaman type of girl. KJ was also recently ordained a teacher and is taking his new duties seriously.

Liv: 
"I have a science project coming up and today was our first day back from winter break. I have a book project on a fairy tale of my choice (which I'm pretty excited about because I love fairy tales) due soon. It's raining a lot. Dad said that was something Grandpa would say if he were writing you a letter! My birthday is on Thursday!"

Kate:
"Hi."
She's so long winded. We hardly know what to do with ourselves.

Benson:
Benson is sitting next to me in his pull-up, holding a green piece of plastic up to his face (and my face sometimes, which makes typing difficult) saying "DRAGON! DRAGON!" He is a busy human. He also became a Sunbeam on Sunday, which I tried to take like a champion. Sad when your crazy people try to grow up on you. He is maybe starting to understand what a toilet is for. We are very hopeful about this. Mostly, though, I think he goes just to get a new hot wheel. But I don't care. I will buy stock in the hot wheels company if that is what it takes.

Your favorite Auntie:
Life treks on. Glad for a new year and I'm trying to eat more vegetables. 
That's basically it. Family, church, rinse, repeat. 
Hopeful for health and safety for all involved.

We love you and hope you are having an amazing adventure down there below the equator.
Praying for you often!
Uncle B speaks! "I hope you are enjoying life in the mission office. It's a little bit different then being a regular missionary, but it's still an important work so that the mission runs smoothly." Spoken like a former office elder. (Feel flattered that he came out of his zone to offer you that personal message. I know I would!)
Lots of love from your biggest fans,
The Vegas B-ettey McFreddy Pants.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Benson The Sunbeam

KJ bore his testimony today. He had to walk clear from the back since he was an usher, so I was pretty darn impressed. It's so hard for him to get up there, but he feels the Spirit and goes for it. Makes me feel so proud of him and so thankful he is gaining his own testimony. Go, KJ.
I made chicken and rice for dinner, but when I got home couldn't find the yellow rice I usually use, so just went for it with white rice. My family very tolerantly ate without complaint even though it didn't have it's usual vigor and vim. At least I made them food! I'm still going to call that a mom win. High five, Marie!
Our Christmas trees are still up. I don't know when they're gonna come down, to be honest. That sounds like a lot of effort.
Benson continues to use the potty when he feels like it. Here he is checking out the hot wheels he gets as a prize. I actually think the idea of his next car is his main motivation. And that works for me. Maybe one day he'll trick himself into just being potty trained!
This angel boy is officially a Sunbeam at church! Nursery is a thing of the past for the Family B. End of an era. Sniff. Sniff.
He wasn't so sure about it, because he has really loved nursery, but Daddy stayed in with him and said he did great. Benson loves to laugh and will usually start laughing any time someone else laughs, and I guess he just cracked up at the primary chorister and had the whole room laughing with him. 
He also got to sit by his favorite little friend Bowman, so that was a thrill.
He was a happy guy when we picked him up after church. Sticker on forehead to prove it.
Everybody likes their new teachers, hurray.
School, and regular life, starts tomorrow. Bum.
Thankful for so many blessings.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Marie Hearts Diet Coke

We have FINALLY found a game my children and I can play together and nobody ends up in tears! It's a miracle!
We are not amazing game players. We are casually working on it, though.
The Double B accidentally set his alarm clock to the wrong time and headed into work two hours early last night. So after starting his commute, he turned around for home and slept on the couch for a hot minute. Basically, he got about four hours of interrupted sleep. Yikes! He took it like a champion. We had a little date today going to different tool stores, while he looked and hemmed and hawed over different paint sprayers and I stared at his cute face and the way his hair is really going silver on top. Then he bought me a Diet Coke, so it was a big success.
Tonight Benson was playing like he was a waiter and was taking Olivia's order, writing it down on his little notepad with his crayon. It was so stinking cute. She ordered a Diet Coke but then looked at me seriously and we had the following conversation:

Liv - Diet Coke has caffeine in it.

Me - I know.

Liv - Caffeine is bad.

Me - It can be, it's not very good for you if you have too much of it.

(Olivia looks at me like she fears for my eternal soul.)

Me - Drinking caffeine is not against our religion.

Liv - It's NOT?!? Oh, phew!!

And... scene.
What the heck, people?! Who is teaching my child this??? I have fought against this culture-confusing-itself-as-doctrine for twenty years, and here it is in my own house! Dadgumit. The great news is, I have a whole case of Diet Coke in my garage, and when fast day comes to a close, I will go and get a can and enjoy it mightily. With some lemon.

I am such a rebel.
*Actually, I'm not, because drinking Diet Coke is not against my religion.*

Sometimes I'm amazed at the things I'll really take a stand on. But this is one of them, because I LOVE my religion, and get seriously annoyed when someone tries to push culture as doctrine. It's yucky and happens more then it should.
Moving on.

This afternoon I went for my walk (trying to take a little better care of my vessel that I love and appreciate so much) and was listening to conference talks, 'cause that's my jam. Elder Holland started in on "Behold Thy Mother" from October 2015 when he compared a mother's love to the Savior's. By the time he got to this quote, I was a blubbering mess:
"What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’s work. Knowing that should be enough to tell us the impact of such love will range between unbearable and transcendent, over and over again, until with the safety and salvation of the very last child on earth, we can [then] say with Jesus, ‘[Father!] I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.’"
Boo hoo tears as I walked briskly down the street. Ha! They were happy tears, though, because I get to be a Mother. And I want nothing more then to have the opportunity to finish the work God has given me to do with these four amazing humans.
We all voted to watch Pooh Bear tonight, but it wasn't long before Benson and I were the only ones in the room, having a great cuddle on the couch. He thinks Pooh is very, very funny. I do, too.
KJ spent the day at a merit badge clinic.
Kate and Liv took turns nicely sharing devices and drawing and chillin' out at home.
Benson went potty some more!

And winter break is almost over. And that's just too bad! It's been pretty dreamy.
Church tomorrow at one. Nobodies favorite. New year, new church time. But! Big benefit of one o'clock church: easier fast. My sis Trina pointed that out to me, and the girl is right.
Nighty night!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Chef Liv

The other morning I woke up to kitchen sounds. When I got up Olivia ran in and said "Mom, I'm making you breakfast in bed! Lay back down!"
She made me crepes and came in with about four loads of stuff. This was my "toppings" plate. White sugar, brown sugar, apple slice, chopped toblerone chocolate, and I'm honestly not sure what that white liquid is. I've spent some time trying to figure it out. Pretty sweet young lady.
I asked for a planner for Christmas, and I think the Double B chose a cute one. I have dreams of being a super planner person -- not neurotic, just organized. Baby steps, people. Baby steps!
 Enduring that sister love as best he can! (Biting his blanket is his new great passion.)
Benson went potty SIX times today! And told me himself he wanted to go every time! I'm hopeful, but also not TOO hopeful. This isn't my first rodeo.
 Tonight Kendra, my wonderful Mia Maid advisor, and I took a couple of girls down to support our Mia Maid President Julianne in her first art show at an art gallery downtown! Julianne is visually impaired but doesn't let that stop her. She's so talented and an absolute gem. It was awesome, and I bought my first art print! 
I am slowly getting the hang of my new calling and finding the rhythm of this new group of girls. Glad to be here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Break Time

President Monson passed away last night. I didn't know until this morning, because on Christmas Day I decided to give up Facebook and the news for awhile, basically because humanity stresses me out. It's been nice, actually! So the Double B sent a text during the night while he was at work, and I read it during one of my million wake up and  give myself a pep talks that I have almost every night. I felt so sad, because he is so wonderful, and all my life I have known he was there to lead us. But I am happy for him, too. Happy that he is with his wife, with his loved ones, his service is complete. I saw a quote tonight that said that death is just a candle going out with the rising of the dawn. I thought that was a lovely thought. I love President Monson and appreciate his leadership and his gentle ways.
We are totally enjoying our last week of winter break. The kids don't go back until Monday, so basically we're living a life of leisure! I love to accomplish what needs to be done, but I am happier not having all my spaces filled up. I really don't need to be constantly busy... I like having low stress. I feel like that's when I am my best self. That's been this break. Loving it and loving this time with my little chickens.
Today is my sister-in-law Silvia's birthday. So love that girl! So thankful she is a part of my life. 
The Double B read to Olivia for about three hours today! She is reading 'Eragon', and he adores that book so he's just so pleased he can barely stand it. They laid on my bed and he loved reading and she loved listening while coloring and pinning pins on Pinterest, her newest passion. Cuteness. 
Kate the Great is turning into such a love bug. She is such pleasure to me, and is reaching out with so much kindness to everyone around her. She was chatting it up at dinner tonight! She just makes my heart smile.
The Double B and I have set two couple goals for this year -- one easy and fun and one that will be a real stretch and require some divine assistance. I have set one goal with four parts for myself for the year, and I'm excited and feeling hopeful that I'll be a friend to myself and accomplish them! Totally doable, too. I'd tell you what they are, but I read a study once that said not to share it, just do it, so that's my plan here.
 Happy week, my darling friends. Tomorrow: the park!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017

We started our new tradition last night of going out for a nice dinner all together instead of exchanging sibling gifts. Our gift to each other is quality time, and we had such a blast! I love traditions. I love starting new loves. And I especially love my family.
It's 10:48 on New Year's Eve and we're finishing the year watching 'The Princess Bride' at Grandma's house after a rocking good party and a fun week. Easy and relaxed and together.

This has been a good year. Many blessings and many challenges, but all in all, we end the year together and loving each other... yes, it was a good one.
Wishing you all great happiness in 2018.