Sunday, May 29, 2016

Boy Howdy Turns 4

This Sweetheart just turned 4. He has been looking forward to it for some months and been counting the days. His disappointment at having to go to church on his birthday was major. Why couldn't we bring his presents to church? Did we really have to go to ALL THREE hours? Why did we have to wait until daddy came home from his extra meeting? Thankfully it was his turn to say the prayer in primary (his prayer was to thank Heavenly Father for his birthday, for presents and for church) and we had a birthday cake to decorate to pacify him. That and he got to open one of his presents before church that he got to take with him.

The cake: My sister-in-law lets her children decorate their own cake with the candy of their choice. Sounded like an awesome option to me! So after going to the store to pick out his candy earlier in the week, Boy Howdy got to decorate his birthday cake and was so very proud of the end result. I was kind of surprised he didn't add more candy to it. But that just meant more candy to eat later.

Presents: When Matthew finally came home we opened the rest of his presents, this tornado simulator being one of the favorites. Why, I will never know. I wanted to get him all number of other presents, but for the last several months he has been asking for and talking about this tornado simulator (really just a battery-operated whirlpool) that he hoped to get for his birthday. He and Cheeks were mesmerized by it for the longest time. Baffling to me, but mesmerizing to them. 

Not pictured is a robot his Grandmother Marler gave him that definitely won the prize for most loved present of the day.

 Another present was a junior science kit. All children might be budding scientists, but it is especially true of this little boy. It has been fun to try the different experiments in the kit and let Boy Howdy test things out, "hey, let's see what happens when we add baking powder to this."

We love this little boy. He is inquisitive, wants to be obedient, is getting very competitive, loves all things shorts and short-sleeves, and loves making "armies" out of just about anything he can find. Lego space-ships (no matter what the lego creation is, it's a spaceship), k'nex robots, cars, or even just lumps of playdough. They are all part of his army. He loves cuddling and kissing his mama. Loves playing with his sister and friends and is an overall good little boy.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Father-Son Campout

The boy howdy has embarked in the fine manly tradition of Father-and-Son campouts. All in all, he did an excellent job representing the son portion of the relationship. He was ecstatic and immediately fell in love with the best parts of camping--the woods, the fire, and smores. He was a tad reluctant to get out of his sleeping bag the next rather cold morning but I think we can excuse that. Nature finally called loud enough to force a hasty exit and a quick trip to the nearest facility. 

I think the best part for him was finding a small stream not far from the cabin that had a small bridge over it. He immediately found anything he could pick up and set them sailing downriver. He and his cousin A had a great time racing leaves and sticks and were only momentarily stymied when they discovered rocks don't make good racers. Boy Howdy took to canoeing as well, though more as the captain and his father as the propulsion. He sort of held on to a paddle and used it to direct where we were to go next.

All in all, a success.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Mother's Day cards from my children have begun and I kind of love it. Cheeks' Nursery Leaders went above and beyond with their incredibly adorable Mother's Day card. I may keep it forever. (I tried to get Cheeks to pose with her card, no dice. This is as close as it gets).

Boy Howdy made a card at preschool which is also super cute. The front he made sure to tell me is covered in little spiders he drew (he's really into drawing spiders right now). The inside is simple and doesn't look like it has his stamp of personalization at all until you eye it closely and notice that he has written his name, ever so sweetly and lightly. Preschool gets all the credit for him spelling his name. I may keep this one forever too.

The other day I was feeling kind of sorry for myself and told the kids I was feeling sad because I had no friends. Boy Howdy responded with, "But Mama, you've got us sillers! We're your friends!" Then he had me kneel down so he could give me a kiss on the cheek. Ahhh these children. They test the outer limits of my patience most days but they are my favorites and I owe a great deal of joy to their sweet faces. I remember life without children and while there are days I wish I could just sew all day and not worry about messes or dirty faces, life with them is definitely better.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Seeing the Spectrum - Why I Go to Church

A few months ago, a quilt group was formed at church and I started attending. The first month or two I went, more out of a feeling of obligation than desire. The woman are all 10, 20 or 30+ years older than me. These women have different styles, and, honestly, I didn't think there was much I would gain from the club. But each time I went begrudgingly I left inspired and glad I went. Last night I came home loving these ladies who've become my sewing cheering section. I made a quilt that started out as a hot mess, but these kind women helped me to view it as a work of art instead. With their encouragement and love this quilt sees the light of day with joy instead of sitting piecemeal in a bin somewhere to be viewed with disappointment and disdain.

But beyond their kindness for me, I have started looking at their creations with less arogance and more appreciation for the differences that make their quilts just as unique and beautiful. They still aren't my style and I'm not going to race home to replicate their results, but that's not the purpose of the club: to support, learn something new, and get inspired.

As I arrived home I saw this group as a microcosm of my ward family and life in general. I go to church for the ordinance of the sacrament but I stay to deepen my understanding of Christ and His Gospel. We all approach our worship differently, and while I may want to apply others' practices in my own life, I don't go to church to become a duplicate of anyone else. I go to church to feel supported, to learn something new and to get inspired. I'm not going to be able to do that if everyone approaches the Gospel in the same way.

To put another way, I start life viewing God and his Gospel very basically, seeing one color (let's say green). My testimony is shaped by this green lens. Life happens, I grow, mature, and experience pain and joy and suddenly I begin seeing other colors. Now I see green, maybe red and blue. My faith and understanding is increased and in turn my approach to God is deepened as I start to see other colors. But it is through going to church, hearing other's experiences and learning from the way they approach the Gospel that I start being enriched by the colors they see. Now I don't just see green, blue, and red. I also see magenta, coral, steamed asparagus, burnt sienna, and sky blue. Without their experiences I would still be better off than my original green lens but now God's miraculous tapestry becomes even more glorious as I see more than just my own colors interwoven throughout. So while some may think that organized religion is a fraud and that they can better find God through a solitary hike in the forest, I know that it is only through meeting together with fellow saints and sinners that God is most clearly and beautifully made manifest to me.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sweet Childhood

A few weeks ago we bought an inflatable pool from Target. Whenever the weather edges above 80 degrees we fill it up and put the kids in their swimsuits. Mostly they stand just outside and splash the water using various implements. I figure it's their water, they can play as they like. Today, they played a little with the water (again, from outside the pool) but mostly they just wanted to dump mud in it. Oh . . .kay. They bored pretty quickly and I changed them back into their regular clothes. Later that day they decided they wanted to revisit the water. At first it was all about getting their feet wet so they could see their wet footprints on the cement. But Boy Howdy, my usually ultra fastidious little boy, quickly moved from getting his feet wet to splashing to swimming and pouring cupfuls of yucky muddy water on his head. It didn't take much convincing to get his sister to join him and soon they were both playing alligators in their "pond". I love watching my children play happily together even if it means baths and extra laundry for me later.