• I’m a Proud Mama*

    We go to church on Sundays.

    I almost feel like that’s almost a “taboo” thing these days and am sometimes shy to tell people we do for fear of being judged for it. Even as I wrote that sentence out I felt silly for writing it, but there it is. I know it’s maybe not the most common thing anymore, but our family goes to church every week. I promise we’re still normal and like to do regular things… we just also like to go to church.

    Church comes with prayer, and in our home we (try to) give thanks and bless the food before each meal, and the kids say prayers before bed. What they say is often cute and funny–half the time they are in such a rush to eat that they forget to bless the food at all and ramble off other things. H prayed that his dad wouldn’t get hit by a zamboni in every prayer he said for a year after M made a joke about zambonis once while they were at an arena.

    H is by far our shyest child, but he loves to say prayers. It’s like the one thing that he has always felt very confident in. They are usually very simple, but also heartfelt. He is the first to volunteer at every opportunity at home, and apparently at other places too.

    Last weekend I took the kids for a special weekend with my mom and dad. Every so often we go up for a “two night sleepover”, and we’ll go to church with my mom and dad where they live. Everyone is altogether for the first hour of our church, then it divides into classes. The children go to an amazing primary program for kids up to age 12. They have classes, song time, activities and sometimes snacks. They know and love the program here where we live, but I thought they might be nervous going in another city (even though program itself is standard through the church). H has traditionally hidden behind my legs whenever there are new people around, but since starting school I’ve seen his confidence grow in leaps and bounds. Both he and S waltzed right into their age-level classes and didn’t look back.

    When I went to get them after church last week, they both told me how much fun they’d had. H told me he’d talked and helped, but as he was bouncing around and I was trying to get coats on them I didn’t hear much more.

    My mom and dad called me tonight with a very cute story that I wanted to share. They went back to their ward (what we call local individual units of our church) today and spoke with someone who had been in primary last week. This person had recounted a wee story about S & H that was too cute to keep to myself:

    My normally shy H volunteered to say a prayer in front of a group of kids he didn’t know last week. He gave a short, sweet prayer (as per usual) and after he finished a few older kids at the back started snickering. I can tell you right now that had H heard it, it would have crushed him. He is very sensitive and even offering to speak in a new place is a big deal for him.

    S heard the kids laughing and whirled around. She said (with flair),

    “Don’t you laugh at my brother!”

    The kids apparently stopped in their tracks, and I can completely envision her completing the encounter with a hair whip as she turned back around.

    …can you even handle it?? My heart grew about three sizes when my parents told me. I am so proud of both of them: H for doing a hard thing, and S for sticking up for her little brother, even at just six years old. They fight all the time and get on each other’s nerves, but underneath it all they are best friends and I love that they look out for each other.

    This mom gig is hard sometimes, but I really do have the best kids in the world.



  • Those Mittens Aren’t Supposed to be Brown*

    Why are kids so gross?

    They are super cute which sort of offsets it, but I mean… really. Why are they so gross?

    My dad was watching the kids downstairs at my parents house this morning while I was upstairs making beds and packing up. When I went up he was washing dishes and the kids were all playing separately. Quietly. Nicely.

    I had only been upstairs for a few minutes when I heard him call up:

    Dad: “Uhhh, H? You might want to come downstairs…”

    Me, not hearing any bedlam or crying: “Why? What’s up?”

    Dad: “P is, uh… his mittens are brown. He’s reaching behind and his mittens are coming back brown.” (Then he cackles and continues washing dishes.)

    I raced downstairs to find P standing in the entrance way with his blue mittens on. Except they weren’t all blue anymore. They were brown.

    And in case there is any doubt about what was happening, there was no chocolate involved. Oh, how I wish it had been chocolate. There are certain times as a parent when I need to go into “the dark place” to get through different episodes with my children. When they puke, for example, or when… they turn blue mittens brown.

    It resulted in a hose down and full body outfit change, and my wee man went into the van without his mittens. I wanted to burn the mittens, but as they are the first pair he has ever let me put on him, I had to bag and carry to wash 80 times at home.

    Really though, I guess I’m grateful that the mittens were on. It could have been worse.

    And thankfully, the brown mittens are blue again and will hopefully stay that way.

  • Bad Choices*

    We’ve always tried to teach the kids that every action has a consequence, whether it’s good or bad. We have the freedom to make a choice, but we have to accept the consequences that follow that choice.

    This usually leads into a discussion about “good” choices and “bad” choices. For example: hitting your brother to get the toy you wanted might not be the best choice and will probably result in no toy and a time out. However, asking him nicely if you could have a turn, or offering him a different toy to play with instead might be a better choice with more favorable results.

    My kids had a ball playing with my dad yesterday. He went into ultimate Gumpo mode and took them all out in the backyard for an hour and a half. They built mountains, threw snowballs, made snow angels and my dad took turns running them around the backyard in the sleigh. When they came in he and my mom whipped together the kid meal of champions: chicken fingers and chip truck french fries. My dad had a fresh apple pie (which I stared at longingly but did not eat) and my mom made a cake. I bathed them one at a time, and when I came downstairs I found S curled up on the couch reading Christmas stories with my mom. She made it through three or four of them before I saw her eyes begin to droop.

    She proceeded to flail around on the floor moaning about how tired she was. It was after 7pm, so as we were in the window for bedtime I did a secret fist pump and began the bedtime proceedings. We said prayers, went upstairs to brush teeth and get tucked in.

    When we stay at my Mom and Dads, H & S camp out in their room. It’s part of the great adventure and they love it. I sometimes leave a lamp on low so my Mom and Dad can see when they come into bed, so S will bring her little sleep mask so she isn’t bothered by the light. Last night I got her tucked in, then moved to H’s bed to get him settled. By the time I turned back around it looked like she was out cold so I slipped out to put P to bed.

    I came downstairs and curled up on the couch to watch a show with my parents. About an hour later I could hear someone moving upstairs, so I went up to see who it was. I found S angrily shifting around in her bed, heaving great sighs. I knelt down beside her to see what was going on, and this was our conversation:

    Me: “S, what’s wrong, honey? I thought you were so tired!”

    S: “I am so tired. But I keep trying to close my eyes and they just keep popping back open!”

    Me: “Well, why don’t you try closing them again? Maybe they will stay closed this time.”

    S: “I triiiiied that already. They won’t stay closed. They just keep making bad choices!”

    She was beyond overtired at this point, so I sympathized about the bad choices her eyes kept making and tucked her back in. Then I naturally went downstairs and had  good chuckle with my mom and dad. At least she’s taking our talks to heart.

    I’m also happy to report that her eyes eventually stopped making bad choices and closed for good. She told me she gave them a good talking to and they finally listened.

  • The Turn Tooth Picture Day Photo Results*

    Do you remember our prize-winning parenting moment a few weeks back where we bribed our daughter not to wiggle her wiggly “turn tooth” until after her school picture day?

    Maybe bribe isn’t the right word. We “incentivized”. (That makes me feel better. ha)

    S really did /  does have the most beautiful baby teeth. Not that her smile is any less beautiful with her two bottom teeth missing, but now she looks like she’s aged 5 years and is officially a “big kid”. M wanted one more school photo of her with her teeth before beginning the years of missing teeth school photos which document that our kid is growing up way faster than we want her to.

    She managed to hold off her tooth wiggling and kept in her tooth for picture day. She did so well that we took her on a special trip to the Disney Store and let her pick out which barbie she wanted, and we let her open it a day early.

    The next day she picked out a beautiful pink dress with white, floral leggings and she even let me put a bow in her hair. We practiced some smiles in the mirror and off she went, ready to smile her million dollar smile. It’s a good thing too, as her tooth fell out that very night and our little pumpkin became a jack o’ lantern just in time for Hallowe’en.

    I love getting the school photos back. Part of me still gets excited about the idea of cutting up a sheet, writing messages to a friend and passing them out like collectables. I still have a stack of my friends’ school photos that I received over the years, complete with inside jokes and nicknames I can’t always remember. We’ve been waiting (im)patently for her photos to come back, and this week I actually squealed out loud when I saw the big white envelope in her zippy. I pulled it out, anxious to see her pictures… and started laughing out loud.

    I casually left the envelope on the kitchen counter and waited for M to come home from work. After he walked in the door I mentioned (in passing) that S’s photos were back. He raced to the kitchen to see them, then I heard him yell out and start laughing.

    S looks beautiful in her dress with her hair done, and is smiling a little… WITH HER MOUTH CLOSED. I swear it looks like she’s smirking.


    I can see it in her eyes. This is totally a “This is for not letting me wiggle my turn tooth but I still wanted a Barbie and I got it, sucka” intentional no tooth smile.

    Well played, child. Well played.

    (We still think she’s pretty cute, no-tooth smile and all.)

  • She’s a Jack o’ Lantern!!

    Well folks, today was picture day for H and Miss S.

    She has done SO well not wiggling her turn tooth, even though I know she’s wanted to so badly. Yesterday was a PA Day for the kids, and M surprised us all by taking the day off so we could have a family day. S held up her end of the turn tooth bargain, so yesterday we packed all the kids in the vanimal and went on a little family adventure.

    With three small kids, I don’t spend a lot of time in malls. We go there once a year to get photos with Santa, but other than the occasional lunch in the food court, we don’t go often. So, S & H had never been in a Disney store before. M thought it would be fun to let her choose her new doll from there, and she was beyond excited. Both of their mouths gaped open when we walked in and their eyes were as big as saucers.

    P was just yelly in the stroller, but that’s par for the course.

    After running around the store and looking at every. single. doll there, she finally settled on Princess Elena of Avalor, who she is also being for Hallowe’en this year. We let her open her up a day early as she’s done so well keeping her tooth in, and we figured it wasn’t going anywhere overnight.

    Both she and H looked so cute heading off for their pictures, and they were so excited to tell me all about their photos in the “big gym” when I picked them up after school. She proceeded to tell me that her turn tooth was really wiggly, so I’m sure she spent the entire afternoon wiggling it once her picture was done.

    When M comes home from work, he comes to see each one of us individually for hugs and hellos. I’m usually last as the kids mob him the second he walks in. S was upstairs playing Barbies when he got home today, so after saying hello to the boys and I he sauntered upstairs to give S a hug. The next thing I knew, they were yelling and laughing and screaming upstairs, and S came running halfway down to shout, “DAD’S GOING TO PULL MY TOOTH OUT!”

    She was positively beaming, and while I tried to gently suggest that it might be better to wait until after dinner to try and wiggle the tooth out, I made my way upstairs to see my not-so-little girl with her first missing tooth already held proudly in her hand.

    We made it to picture day… but only by a few hours!!

    Naturally I demanded a photo shoot with my new Jack o’ Lantern daughter:



















    She’s pretty flipping cute. I can’t believe I have a kid old enough to be losing teeth.

    Time to put my wings on… it’s tooth fairy time!!


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