Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Birthday Celebration...

Lucky Ella got to go out for a birthday treat with Grandma and Grandpa Miller. I love that she got to spend alone time with each set of grandparents. She just ate up the attention she received. This time she got to go to McDonald's (she's taking a break from fast food, now) and go on a little shopping spree. She came back with some cute clothes and a most treasured possession: a Webkinz, now christened Seraphina.
Grandma came through our door with this lovely flower arrangement for our very special little girl. How sweet is that?
Mira Catherine wants 'in' on a little birthday celebration.
Alright, here is THE cake. This is as close a shot as you're allowed. I will not enumerate the pains I went to in getting the cake to this point. Let's just say it was a learning experience. But, in her eyes, it was everything it could've been, which was all I needed!
Birthday breakfast! She loved waking up to balloons and streamers in her doorway and around the house.

Doug and Rachel and the kids called to sing Ella 'Happy Birthday'. Now that she realizes they're so far away and she doesn't get to see them, I think it made an impression on her that they called. She got to spend some time talking to Grant and Theron, which was fun to listen to. Thanks, you guys, for that! What a nice surprise.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Feeling Special

Ella was excited all day, looking forward to going out all by herself with Grandma and Grandpa Barnett and Aunt Amber. When they arrived, they told her they'd take her out to eat anywhere she wanted. It took no more than 1 second to decide, "Wendy's!!!". (I think it's the frosties.)
After they'd had their fun, they came back and Ella got to open her gifts. She was totally stoked. Tonight she went to bed with her unicorn and a princess book they gave her. I just think this picture is so sweet. Don't you remember how exciting birthdays were when you were a kid? It definitely had some magical feeling attached to it. It's neat to watch as a parent.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Catch 'Em Being Good

Our parenting class lesson today was entitled 'Communicating with Love'. There were so many gems and I picked a few to share.

I've heard that you're not supposed to label your child. And I always assumed that meant you don't call them hurtful names or degrade them. However, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once gave an example of "Molly is pretty and Sarah is smart." The parent is giving different compliments to two different children, but what Molly takes from it is, "I am not smart," and what Sarah gets is "I am not pretty." I'd never thought about that! So even positive labels might be inappropriate. Or you might praise you child for always making good choices, when, unbeknownst to you, he's really struggling with a moral issue and won't talk to you about it for fear of letting you down. A parent would do well labeling a behavior and not the person. And be judicious when and where you label a person even positively--it may be best done in private. Food for thought.

Harmful communication practices:
*Lecturing, moralizing, preaching, interrogating
*Discounting, placating, providing empty reassurances
*Judging, condemning, threatening
*Blaming, criticizing, ridiculing
*Talking about one's own feelings when a child needs to share his feelings

Notice the good things your child is doing. 'Catch them being good!' is a well-known phrase that is too true. Ignore offensive behavior when it is harmless. Notice the good things they're doing- don't just ignore them when they're good and get on them when they're misbehaving. Pointing out good behaviors and ignoring bad one will eliminate bad behaviors and increase the desired behaviors.

One item that stood out to me from last week's lesson is this:

When your child begins school, make an effort to observe them in class and see if they are accepted socially and comparing favorably to other classmates academically. You may think your child is doing well, but in actuality, he may be struggling academically or socially. The only way to really know is through observation. You want to start them on a good path in school in order to set them up for confidence and future success.

I hope this is a little interesting. The class is just wonderful. Taught by a couple I greatly admire. When I have my wits about me I'll ask myself the question, "What would (the mother teaching the class) do in this situation?" It is hard for me to imagine Christ parenting. I know there are examples of him teaching, being kind, etc. all over the scriptures, but for here and now, I find this standard a good one to hold myself to. I slip up, but I apologize to the kids when I do and try to improve. It will be a never-ending quest for excellence, this job of parenting!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Birthday Prep

Ella is so gung-ho about her birthday cake. Every time I get online, she wants to look at all the Barbie cakes we can find. As soon as she saw this one, she knew it was her destiny:

So I'm going to attempt it. I went out and purchased a basic cake-decorating kit with frosting bags, tips, etc. Ella and I went through her dolls and chose the one to go on top. We shampooed and conditioned her hair, combed through it (try doing that to nasty Barbie hair!), and set it. Here's a minor snag: note the swan on top of the cake (The title of the cake is 'Swan Lake'). We have no such swan. However, Micah and Ella came up with a most brilliant solution. We have some random goose we got out of a kids' meal of some sort. Micah suggested we bury the long legs into the cake, thus making it appear more swan-like, clever child. And easier than tracking down a toy swan, thank you very much.

I shall post my attempt at this cake after Ella's birthday, which happens to be Wednesday.

We were in Costco the other day...speaking of Costco, who can get out of that store without spending 4 times more than you'd planned?? Anyway, we're in Costco, you know, making rounds on all the food samples and such, when Ella spots these huge kites on display. All she sees is there's an enormous princess kite in a box and is determined she's got to have it. So, I'm thinking, "I don't really have any plans for a birthday present for her, so why not?" The mistake was then placing it in the basket and proceeding to checkout. She's whining the whole time, "I want one of those, Mom! Please, please, please can I have one?" She doesn't even know what the thing is, other than it's princess-something. And I kind of sort of maybe fibbed to her and told her Grandma had asked me to pick one up for her classroom. Dumb, I know. Later that evening, I'm thinking, why did I buy her a kite when it's the middle of winter in Utah. No kite-flying weather going to be visiting us for some time. How retarded can I be?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Terrible Two's Not So Bad

I would definitely say Mira has reached the stage declared as the 'terrible two's'. Mira Catherine is constantly trying to assert her independence. She's had the word 'no' down for many, many months. But now I can't tell you how many times a day she uses it! She wants to climb up to her car seat herself, put on her own tights, go potty, get her own drink, etc. I just have to keep asking myself, "Am I in that much of a hurry?". I usually have the time to allow her to do whatever it is she wants to do (within reason). The times I am in a hurry, she is quick to express her displeasure.

But this chubby cherub is just so cute and funny I can't help but be softened to her temper tantrums. She loves wearing dresses (refuses pants every day!), singing (especially to princess music or High School Musical), and twirling to show off her dress. She is a fun companion. I really enjoy the times we have a few minutes to run an errand all by ourselves. She's cuddly and full of things to talk about. Just adorable.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Tonight my parents came over to celebrate Mom's 60th. I think it's hard for her to believe that number belongs to her, now. I have a hard time believing it, as well. In my mind, she will be perpetually 30-something. You know, the age when she was actively raising young children. I can see how time passes so quickly, and it won't be long before I'm there, really. She is a beautiful woman. Inside and out.

I'm sure a lot of women do this, but I find myself comparing my mothering skills to hers. I remember thinking, as a kid, that I wouldn't raise my voice or be demanding. Well, here I am now, realizing the amazing patience she had! I sure didn't appreciate it then. She put up with a lot of back-talking, attitude, rebellion, and resistance. But she made it through valiantly! I only hope I can do the same.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Triathlon Schmiathlon

Chad's asked me numerous time when I'm going to start training for the triathlon. Okay, I guess I'd better get on it...soon. But I can't train for the swimming in the suit I've got. It's a tankini with a skirt that's falling apart. I was thinking more along the lines of a Tyr or Speedo. How long has it been since I've worn one of those? Mmmm...at least 10 years. The thing you don't really forget about them is that it takes some doing to get into one. They are tight. Well, they're supposed to be to keep you hydrodynamic. So getting into one (for some of us, anyway) is hilarious. If only there was a hidden camera capturing the movements and facial expressions as you're getting into it. Yeah, and don't accidentally snap the suit before you've got it all the way on, I discovered. Youch.

The thing I must've forgotten is that, since they're so tight, they squish you in nicely in the front so you appear more hourglass-figured. Buuu-uuut, (no pun intended), turn your back to the mirror, and whhhaaaaat?! Okay, I knew there was definite room for improvement, but it was bad. Creating unseemly bulges and whatnot. I'll leave it at that.

So I'm really second-guessing myself on the triathlon, now. I know, how retarded that it all comes down to the swimsuit. But I've got to have something decent to wear. My friend did a triathlon a while back and said she wore a tankini-type top and spandex bottoms (not a bad option, I'm thinking), but by the time she finished her swim and got to her bike, the top was all stretched out. She's crouched over the handlebars and the photographers are snap-snapping away with their cameras so you can purchase a picture in remembrance of your race. Well, she saw her picture and refused to buy it because it was, in her words, "obscene".

What to do???

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today

Micah, Ella, and Mira Catherine are upstairs watching 'The Sound of Music'. The boys have tomorrow and Monday off of school. If it weren't winter, I'd be tempted to invite myself (and kids) up to Pullman to stay with Blake a Maren for a few days. Sometimes you just need a getaway! And by that, I don't mean away from Chad, just the routine...a break from it all.

I've got a little flare-up of my plantar fasciitis. Again. This time I'm going to listen to my body and behave! I've taken a few days off from exercising. I hate it. I just found out our church's stake women's basketball starts in February. And this year I can participate since Chad has Saturdays off. Hooray! However, my basketball skills are questionable at best! So the plan was, Saturday morning, for Chad to work me on some drills at the gym. Layups (I've always been retarded at those), rebounds, shooting...well, basically everything. I enjoy the game, but more than that the camaraderie with other women playing the game. They are fun and very kind when you do something totally stupid (not uncommon).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bows and Hot Glue Burns

How long have I been blogging and I still cannot seem to understand what pictures and videos will be uploaded in what order. So this is all screwed up according to my original designs...No matter.
I guess you could say I've got some creative juices flowing--well, for my standards, anyway! My friend, Emily, a self-described hobby-junkie, brought over all her bow-making goodies to teach me the skill. Well, she had all these adorable bows she'd already made. I basically copied a few of them. I was feeling rather impressed with my ability to imitate her. Below are the bows I made. (Don't bother enlarging them, they're still terribly blurry.)

Tonight I took a trip to Michael's and picked up some supplies for myself. I tried my hand at a few bows. For some reason, I feel lost without Emily around to guide me and tell me she's not a perfectionist and it's no big deal if it comes out goofy. Not to mention I seemed less coordinated with the hot glue gun! So the ones above are those I did on my own.

I can see how you could get better at this! And it could be addicting. Hopefully they'll improve as I practice more. We'll see. If nothing else, even the semi-dorky ones still look cute in the girls' hair. Ella likes wearing them. If Mira Catherine realizes she's wearing one, there's a good chance it's gonna get ripped out of her hair. I'm expecting to lose a number of bows this way...







Here is Ella's attempt at singing a High School Musical song. You can tell she's trying to keep the beat and figure how to get the right words out of her mouth. It's just not quick enough. Just a snippet of a video, but I thought it was funny.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Parenting Class

Sunday, Chad casually mentioned a parenting class that our church was going to offer. He thought it would be a neat thing to attend, but understood it probably wasn't going to happen because who's gonna watch the kids while we're gone? Well I got so excited about the class, we are figuring that if Mom Barnett, Amber, and my mom rotate Sundays (it's an 11 week course!), it would be manageable. I think it's going to work. I'm thrilled. It's just what the doctor ordered. I can be a miserable excuse for a mother at different moments throughout the day.

I was not going to be the mother who was always raising her voice. Surprise! But, you know, how the heck else are you going to get their attention sometimes?! Someone once said that in the home voices shouldn't be raised unless it's to call out that there's fire. Well, I'd really love to be a fly on the wall of that home. I don't know what it is! We are an active bunch.

Take tonight, for example. The boys thought it would be clever to stagger all the shoes and snow boots down the stairs and bounce a baseball down the steps (not a quiet game, mind you!) to see if they could make it into one of the shoes. When they did, it was all screams of glee and shouting out of points earned. I thought I was going to burst an eardrum.

Have you ever seen "Jon and Kate Plus Eight"? I crack up over Jon and Kate and the irritations they deal with daily. And I am NOT judging them. I don't have 8 kids under 8, or multiples. But it's reality. Jon and Kate get edgy with each other and sometimes rather snippety, but during the interview, you can tell they love each other. There is nothing to stress a couple like having kids. Can I get an "A-MEN!"?

Tactics you've used to combat impatience, irritability, raising of voices, etc. ...Please? You see, this is why I need the class! I'll try to share a few pearls I may glean from this class. Oh, and it's taught be a couple of our neighbors who have 9 of their own. The mother is amazing. Patient, kind, always looking for ways to help others. I'm really looking forward to this.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Visit


I had a visit from my friend, Emily, and her daughter, Bailey the other day. Emily (then Davis--now Hincks) and I served together in Bangor, Northern Ireland my last...was it 4 months, Emily? She was a fantastic companion. Always up for a challenge, a smile ready, and just fun to be with. Her husband, Mike, also served in the IDM. (He graduated from Weber High the same year as Chad. But they didn't know each other well. It was a big high school.) They'd been living in California for several years. Mike just got a job in Salt Lake at the Church Office Building as Network Engineer. They're building a house in Riverton. Guess what's right next door to Riverton? South Jordan! Hooray, I've got a friend already! They'll be in South Ogden (like a mile away) for the next few months. Emily mentioned she's interested in training for a sprint triathlon. I'm stoked! Another bonus of being near Emily is her daughter is the Ella's age. Playmates!