Thursday, May 28, 2009


I noticed today how much my life has changed while I was out running some errands. I had Calvin strapped in behind me playing with a toy in his car seat when we approached the railroad tracks and noticed the red lights blinking and the arms lowering, forbidding us to pass. As we heard the not far off sound of the horn blowing, the boy dropped what he was doing, pointed at the coming train, and kept yelling "ain!" over and over again in excitement. As he sat in the back watching it pass and saying his version of "choo choo!", I remembered how much I used to hate train crossings. I would be so annoyed that they would take 5 minutes out of my busy day when I had to stop and let them pass. Now I love it. I see it through the eyes of a little boy who loves trains and it's the highlight of my day.

The boy has adored his train table since he got it, but lately he loves the little trains independent of the table and always has one clutched in each fist wherever he goes. Even at bed time he does not appreciate me trying to take them away. He drives them over every possible surface (one of his favorite surfaces being the head of anyone low enough for him to reach).

A month or so ago we put a big cozy reading chair in our little kitchen sitting area and it is one of Calvin's favorite spots. He can literally stay in the chair for hours, running his trains up and down the sides and back of the chair. Here are some pictures I snapped of him the other day after his bath.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day

For Memorial Day we decided to try out our party pad and fire up the grill that we haven't touched since we moved in. We invited my family over, and had a great time. I always post too many pictures, I know. But here they are anyway...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

In Loving Memory

Today I attended the funeral of my cousin. He and I weren't terribly close, but growing up I was very close to his sister and dad, so it was an emotional day. Usually I really enjoy funerals. I know that sounds morbid, but I love that hundreds of people gather together to celebrate the life and accomplishments of someone they loved. This one was rough. Nathaniel was 34 years old and was killed unexpectedly in a car accident, leaving behind a young wife

and three children under the age of 7.

The strength of his wife was amazing, and even though it was terribly sad and painful, there was a feeling of hope that permeated everything. I have questions about a lot of things, but one thing I believe very strongly is that life doesn't end with death. I feel absolutely positive that our loved ones remain close and that we'll have the chance to see them again someday. I love that knowledge - life would be so bleak without it. Rest in peace, my friend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Irrigation Turn

Today was my dad's watering turn, so we went over to their house and let the boy play in the flooded field with his cousins. Here are my favorite pictures from the day:
Andy and I are generally opposed to Crocs (Andy always forgets what they're called and calls them Gators) because they're just ugly and ghetto. But this morning we went to Wal-Mart (I know, it just keeps getting more ghetto) and bought the boy a pair so that he would have something that he could wear to walk around in water without ruining his sneakers. Calvin loves them! They seem to be really comfortable and light-weight, so his parents may just need to revise their stance on said shoes.

At first he was a bit nervous, so he wouldn't let go of Carrie's hand.

Girls playing in the water.

Maria loved splashing and started a water fight with anyone who got near her.

(Isn't it cute that the kids are all wearing stripes?)

Enjoying a frigid walk through the pasture.

Maria jumping and splashing.

Grandpa shoveling water to lightly splash Calvin. The boy wasn't too sure if he liked it...

Flinging cow poo. One of the highlights of the whole process is the floating manure.

Calvin was squatting down playing, and I called out his name for him to turn so I could get a picture of his face. He lost his balance and fell down. This is him glaring at me accusingly while pointing out his soaked clothing.

My cute dad in his hat and waders. He looks like a grandpa to me this way. Mine was always wearing work boots and a cowboy hat, so it just seems to me like the right kind of uniform for a grandpa.

Andy was waaaay too cool to participate.

So were Jesse and Mariah.

Although Mariah did lower herself long enough to step in and take a picture with all the sisters and the kids. Left to right: Maria, Alicia, Aysha, Carrie, Aby, Mariah, Miriam, Me, and Calvin.

Cute boy peeking out of a big box.

Calvin in Grandpa's waders. He thought this was pretty funny... until he lost his balance and fell over.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


In our church, when a child is 18 months old they get to start attending "Nursery", a class for little kids where they sing, play with toys, eat treats, and generally avoid the boredom and quiet of the meetings they have been attending with their parents to this point. Today was Calvin's first day and I was somewhat worried about dropping him off, but right when we walked through the door, he found trucks and ran off to play. I watched him through the little window, waiting for him to notice I had left. He looked for me about 3 minutes after I was gone, but when he didn't see me he just went back to playing with his trucks.

About half an hour later when they were changing classes, I looked in on him again. They were outside on a nature walk, he was holding his teacher's hand, looking around contentedly with a Ziploc full of colored marshmallows clutched in his little fist.

When I went to pick him up, he gave me a huge smile and then pointed at the teacher he was sitting next to. She was blowing bubbles and he didn't want to leave with me until they were finished. There were three teachers. They all said he was so cute and sweet and well-behaved. He seemed like he had a really great time and I was happy that he seemed to get along so well with the teachers and all of the other kids.

18 Months Old Today (2 Weeks Late)

(you found another moth to play with)

Dear Calvin,

I have been negligent lately in blogging about you. The only excuse I have is that you are so entertaining, I spend so much time being with you that I rarely have time to write about you. You are growing up so quickly lately. It's hard to keep up with it all. Here are some of my favorite things about you this month.
  • Whenever you sneeze, you look at me to do a fake sneeze. You inhale over and over with me, and then laugh when I let out a huge sneeze.
  • You love "smelling" flowers. I'm sure it's because you've seen us do it, but you stick it right under your nose and then breath quickly in and out over and over again. You never really inhale the scent, just breath all over the poor flower.
  • For Mother's Day we went to church with Grandma B and during the quietest part of the meeting (sacrament), I pulled out a book for you to look at. It was a book of animals, and it was dead silent when you started saying, BAA! MOO! ROARRR! MEOW! and ADOO! (cock-a-doodle-doo) in your loudest voice. Everyone around us was cracking up.
  • Words you now use on a regular basis in addition to your old words:
og - dog
crak-kur -tractor
Aine - plane
phunt - elephant
wha is - what's this?
and we've been working with your on your shapes. Your favorite one is Obull (oval), but you also say curkell (circle), care (square), and both triangle and rectangle are simply "gull". You'll pick up shapes all over the house and run to tell us what each one is.
  • We have several animal books that we'll look through, and any time we say an animal name or sound, you can point to which one it is - with the exception of "owl." Any time we say it, you'll just look at us and watch our mouth move, and then shape your little mouth in an "ow" sound like you're feeling what the word would sound like on your tongue. You've done this for months and still haven't tried it out loud yet.
  • You have known for months how to climb to the top of the playground set, but then you'd wait for us to come help you slide down. You will now sit down on your own, situate your legs, and then push yourself down the slide, landing on your feet at the bottom.
  • When we watch your favorite shows, you will "sing" along with the music, full of enthusiasm.
  • Sometimes randomly, you'll pull me close and either give me a big wet kiss, or else press your forehead or cheek to my mouth for me to give you a kiss. It melts my heart every time.
  • In the mornings you get up much earlier than your dad or I think you should, so we pull you into bed with us, give you a cup of milk, and turn on Baby Einstein. You will sit quietly for about 5 minutes before you start singing loudly, kicking us in the ribs, or bouncing on your bottom on top of one of our heads. It is never a peaceful time, but it is one of your cutest times of the day.
  • Your dad has been teaching you to jump. You'll stand in one place, squat low, and then seem to muster all of your strength before quickly straightening your knees. You rarely leave the ground at all, but you're always so proud of yourself.
  • You love to preen in the big mirror in our room. You love looking at yourself from head to toe and smiling. Recently you've started running into the bedroom any time we get you undressed for the bath, and you'll suck in your stomach, turn yourself around, and otherwise admire your little naked body. Your favorite thing to look at and poke at is your belly-button.
  • I think you're the only kid in the whole world that laughs at nap time and bed time because you are so excited to be going to sleep. You are very strict about your schedule, and if we slack at all, you will grab your blankets and go stand by your bed. You love your sleep.
You are so much fun Calvin and we just can't imagine life without you. We are so grateful that 18 months ago you came to live in our home.

We love you!

Mom and Dad

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rory and Daisy

Every year my dad likes to buy a couple of calves, fatten them up, and in the fall has someone come and do the dirty deed and package them up so that his freezers are full of meat. Today spring's new additions to the family arrived. He wanted to name them Steak and T-bone, but my mom freaked out because my nieces always fall in love with the cows and have no concept of where their dinner comes from, so he named them Blacky and Blackier instead. The little girls went over to see them today and did NOT approve of the unimaginative names of Blacky and Blackier, so they changed the names to Aurora and Daisy; princess names perfectly fitting the little black cows. My dad of course lets them have their way, but Andy especially liked the names Steak and T-bone and declared that 1) my dad was pretty funny and the names should stick, and 2) our children would have no false illusions about farm animals. I'm sure he'll be singing a different tune once our little boy meets and falls in love with Rory and Daisy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Old Friends

Today a good friend of mine from way back came to visit. We actually grew up a few blocks away from each other and went to the same high school, but we didn't know each other until we were assigned as mission companions in Berlin. I saw her at my wedding, but we really haven't talked for about 5 years so it was really fun to have her come over and catch up. She also has an adorable little boy the same age as Calvin, and they seemed to really hit it off. They chased each other around the house, played with toys, and then at the end they crashed on the bed to watch tv in exhaustion. It was a fun day for both me and Calvin!


The Biggest Loser is my favorite show by far, and I don't know what I'm going to watch every week now that it's over. I never let Andy watch it with me because I bawl every single week. It's so inspiring watching 400lb people work their butts off to lose weight, usually while I'm sitting on the couch eating a cupcake, cookies, or chocolate covered raisins.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Check SpellingCalvin loves this mirror in our bedroom (yes, it needs to be washed), and can spend literally hours looking at and talking to himself. He loves that its just his height and he loves that he can push it and watch it rock back and forth on its stand. Unfortunately, his play sessions often end in disaster with the mirror falling on him. Last week he pulled it over onto himself and it pinned his little body to the floor (it's heavy iron) and he ended up with bruises and welts on his back. I wish there were a way to let him have his fun without the inevitable unhappy ending. He's so adorable as he jabbers and makes faces at himself and pats his own cheeks in the glass.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I have been blessed to always have great women in my life as role models.

I am especially grateful for my mom who is a strong and courageous woman for whom nothing is impossible. She is smart, sassy, funny, a great listener, a great adviser, the best of friends, and she can throw up drywall or complete any home improvement project better than most men. I am so lucky to be her daughter and am always thankful for the example she has been in my life.

I have also been blessed to have a great mother-in-law. I think a lot of women dread their mothers-in-law, but mine is sweet, kind, and selfless. She would do anything for her sons and her grandkids, and never has an unkind word to say. I'm grateful for the influence
for good she is in our lives, and for the wonderful man she raised to be my husband.

Also, today I couldn't be more grateful to be a mom. It is the most amazing role I've ever played in life. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel a sense of awe that I was trusted with such an amazing little guy who follows my every move, watches my every action, and hangs on my every word. It is often a daunting task and I wonder if I'm good enough, but he loves me unconditionally and seems to be intelligent and wonderful despite my inadequacies. I am so thankful today to be a wife and a mother and a woman. I can't think of anything greater.

Andy gave me a cabinet mount radio for the kitchen, which I've been wanting. I hate that it's always so quiet when I do dishes or laundry, and now I can get my groove on while doing housework. Calvin gave me a gallon of chocolate covered raisins that I'll probably finish in less than a week. We had a wonderful dinner with the rest of the mothers in my family and then Andy left me again for some exotic destination of engineering. It was a great day (except for the Andy leaving part).