Thursday, May 31, 2012

Object lesson


 Monday evening, Memorial Day to be precise, Eliza directs the following question at me.

"What are we going to be learning about tonight for family home evening?" She continues to sound more and more parental. It's unnerving at times. Before I allow the feelings of shame to take hold, I remember that it's Andrew's week to take charge.

"I'm not sure, Eliza. Why don't you ask Daddy." Currently, we're seated on a blanket on the lawn. Turning her attention to Andrew, she watches as he hauls another self made, cedar garden box toward it's new home.

"Daddy, what are we going to learn about for home evening?" She hollers. Settling the wood into place, he offers a smile. His reply is simple.

"Self reliance." Hitting the dirt off of his gloves, he turns back toward the garage to retrieve another grow box. He followed up with remarks which reinforced our belief that Heavenly Father wants us to be self reliant, etc... but more than anything, he let his actions of the day do the teaching.
 
 Not wanting to make him blush, I will refrain from expressing how sexy attractive he is when he is hard at work, in the thick of his man zone. 
 To be clear, his vision isn't complete. He intends to dig in each grow box and level them off. For those green thumb junkies out there, here's a look at his master plan.


Weeding will most definitely be on our summer to do list. On a side note: It's okay if you don't know what chard is. I didn't either. After sampling a piece our first year of marriage, it's been categorized as 'Pioneer food' at our house; consumption optional.  

Who is going to teach me to can? Anyone?

 FUN FACT:

For two dollars, you to can purchase a red bucket from Firehouse subs. It's a pickle turned garden bucket that Andrew bought back in South Carolina. Andrew thinks this a pointless piece of information, but for me it's a strong memory as I clearly remember the pickle stench that settled deeply into my car following its purchase.

The best part of being married to a man with stellar work ethic is that he includes his kids. They trail behind him, helping where they can and observing his man skill. He's pretty great.

Change in season

 (*said in an announcer's voice)


Ladies and Gentleman!!!
(*Yes, that's singular.
 I have to honor my single male reader. 
Hi Andrew!)
Please join me in welcoming back 
the Queen of Cliche, Ali Flegal!
 ....

Our weekly carpool routine, 
the sweet hugs born of that daily reunion, 
Henry's Monday morning play dates,
Eliza's yellow homework folder,
 and my one on one time with Lottie...
have all been suspended. 

It is summer! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  

The adjustment of having a child in Kindergarten was made months ago; yet it still feels fresh. I am continually surprised by the way certain comforts and familiarities of life quickly shift and change into something brand new. Not wanting to tarnish something sweet with feelings of sadness, I am doing my best to embrace new chapters. Rather than feeling sad when I look at the change that has occurred from the start of their school year, I will applaud and congratulate them on their academic growth! 

 Eliza's first and last day of Kindergarten!
 It makes me happy to see that his smile has stayed the same!
 Henry's last day of school!

Wanting to maintain that spirit of gratitude, I will discount the feelings of 'failure on the home front' when Henry says the following during family prayer...

"... And please bless Eliza and me to go back to school again really soon..." They both had great years!
  
I was, however, disappointed that Henry's preschool didn't have an end of year program/graduation/excuse to take an astronomical amount of pictures. I am always up for a performance. It doesn't get better than  hearing my small fleglets sing B-I-N-G-O and dance around on stage with puppets (etc.). Even so, I am super pleased with how much Henry has learned. At the age of three, I am not as concerned about academic milestones as much as I am with the social and emotional. Seeing the way he admires his big sister, Henry took pride and ownership of his preschool experience. If he wasn't through telling me about his day by the time we picked up Eliza, he would get upset, cut Eliza off abruptly and scold her for interrupting his thoughts; no matter how often his brain came up empty handed for additional detail.

Henry interacts with children well and I have to give a serious slice of credit to his preschool experience for that. He is learning to navigate the challenge of working things out with his peers away from the protective gaze of his Mom. His success at school translates, I believe, into a better environment of play at home with his sisters. As selfish as I am with my babies, I was at peace with the four hours we spent apart each week.

If you see me parked on the side of the road breathing deeply into a brown paper bag next September... well, that's how you'll know how I feel about Eliza spending ALL DAY in the first grade. Boo. :(

Henry is a bright, friendly and fun boy!! We are so so so lucky to have him. 
 
As for the forth coming picture fest of Miss Eliza, she did have an end of year graduation. The photos I took inside her school aren't the best quality, but the video turned out okay. Thank you Nanna Teresa, Aunt Katie and Andrew for coming to support her!
 She 'graduated' Wednesday, May 23. Friday the 25th was her last day. I'm pretty sure her posterity will be curious about that.
 As for her teacher, Miss Ashby, I can not sing her praises enough. She is tough, yet fair. Eliza and her classmates behaved incredibly well (when I was there to observe, anyway). They knew what she expected and acted accordingly. Eliza thrived in the environment she created. With children entering Kindergarten at different levels, I was pleased by the way Miss Ashby tailored Eliza's learning experience to her skill level. I wanted her to be challenged and I wanted Eliza to feel the pleasure that comes from accomplishment. 

In comparing what I remember learning in Kindergarten, to the things Eliza accomplished, I am blown away. Thanks to Miss Ashby, I feel confident that Eliza will do well next year when she begins the Chinese language program. It was something we prayed and pondered over when the time to apply came. More to come on why I believe these dual language programs are excellent... but for now, I tip my hat to Eliza and Henry for a job well done! WE LOVE YOU!

Now that the public display of sentimental verbiage has been issued, Lottie thus declares,


"Let's get this summer party started!!"

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Trails

I am sad to report that our time with the Blasers has been spent. It's terrible to admit this, but I haven't told the children that they have left Utah yet. Fortunately for Michelle, she was spared an awkward and emotional "Goodbye" as we didn't anticipate that last Monday would be the final outing. Life happened and both of our weeks filled up with conflicting obligations and plans.

Feeling that I should focus on the positive, looking back I am cheered by the new bundle of memories we were able to collect while they were here. We enjoyed the Dinosaur park, two birthday parties, Lagoon, the Church history museum, City Creek, pedicures and a few play dates at my house. The cherry on top was the visit to a nearby farm that belongs to a friend of Michelle's family.

It's true. Michelle has connections all over the place and lucky for us, we were able to tag along. Why she didn't offer to smuggle me onto their cruise next week still has me baffled. ;) 
 
 Here, Henry checks out two of the eight horses that were there.
There was much exploring to be done while they waited for Apache to be saddled. 
 
 Lottie and Clay both were huge fans of the chickens.
 They couldn't stop babbling about it. The older children were given two eggs to take home. Not all of the eggs survived the drive home. Let's just say we had a few (raw) scrambled egg shirts when it was all said and done.
Lottie preferred her experience with the cat to the few seconds she spent on the horse. 

First up to ride the horse was Eliza.
Apache belongs to "Uncle Brett," Michelle's brother, and his wife. We are very thankful for all the work they did in providing us with this experience.

Cute Henry was in heaven.
 
 
I made a comment to Andrew about how content each child was. In place of a swing set there was a long line of fencing for them to climb. Rather than a yard full of toys, there were animals that captured their full attention. 

"It's the way God intended it to be!" Andrew blurted back in response. Sweet Andrew. As much as he enjoyed Disneyland, he has explained that amusement parks are not his 'brand of happy.' You don't have to look far to guess what is.   
Wide open spaces, land, live stock, bales of hay, tractors, 
well I suppose any type of heavy machinery would do...
gardens and orchards, DIRT...

Old McDonald has a farm 
and Andrew wants a piece of it. 
 and so does he.

Most of Henry's night was spent next to Piper. They bonded. Before buckling into his car seat, he announced that he had to say Goodbye to his horse, 'just one more time!'

Eliza fell in love with this kitten.
 I would have been fine taking her home.
 
The surprises continued up until we left. We discovered the rabbits, mice and hamsters just before we loaded back into the car. It was a great night. 
 
Until next time Blasers,

 we will be missing you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today

With Mother's day having recently passed, I'd like to pause from the ongoing recap of our Blaser related adventures, to share a few [in-cohesive] thoughts on the daily blessings that accompany my chosen profession.

Sometimes I joke that I've lived two lives. My second life began the day Eliza was born. Everything changed. I was twenty two (barely) and clueless. At the hospital, I remember looking around the nurse station and wondering which of the lovely, qualified nurses would be accompaning Andrew, Eliza and me home. In my mind, there was no way they could possibly trust us to take a most beloved and precious baby home by ourselves! *Gasp! I was wrong. They did! And with that, the best ride of our life began.
Nana Marie makes cupcakes for 
Eliza's birthday celebration.
Mothers day 2012

It wasn't long until we had found a rhythm. With Eliza the absolute center of my world, my new life began to take shape. Quiet and careful observation would teach me that while we, as Mothers, share many commonalities, the rhythm of each family is different.

Comparing the role of Mother to that of a composer, I would say that we're each enveloped in creating our individual masterpiece. Our songs vary in length. The timing is not identical. However, each song has its moments of intensity where the music is loud, fast and at times, all consuming. A shift, sometimes gradual, sometimes abrupt, occurs as the new sound rushes in feelings of peace, contentment and tranquility. Just when you think that you have the melody nailed down, you feel compelled to add another element. The theme changes once more yet as you replay what you've written, you marvel at its beauty. Understanding that you have miles to go before its completion, you feel overwhelmed. Still, you are proud of what you've done and can clearly see that something Divine has been assisting you compose each and every measure. Once again, you rededicate yourself to your song.

Listening to the work of other composers, in various stages of completion, inspires you. You chide yourself when you find yourself comparing as you remember that each song is meant to be different. For those who are just beginning to write their song, you feel a sense of renewal as the spark of their enthusiasm strengthens you. And then there are those precious songs that you find so familiar. You hear the song in which you were raised. The core of that melody is ingrained in your own daily tasks and you find yourself wanting to incorporate and praise the work of those composers into your own piece.  

Eliza and Nanna Marie visit my Grandparent's grave
Mothers day 2012

 I am not a musician so I apologize for botching this analogy; but hopefully I've made a clear point.
 
So here I sit at a stage in life that Andrew and I find so special. Wanting to capture with words a day in my life, here are a few expectations I hold for today. I acknowledge the foolishness in making an assumption that a day will unfold in a particular way. As Mothers we are to expect the unexpected (read: over prepare) as there will always be surprises, both positive and negative. Even so, I'd like to offer a few solid predictions:

Today, I will find a moment (*fingers crossed*) of solitude. This sweet time will be interrupted by a series of simultaneous demands. It surprises me how often their sudden wants are in sync.All at once, I will need to find a shoe, reach a cup down from the cupboard for a drink and look at recently completed picture. 

Along those same lines, today I will make a phone call. My previously quiet, calm children will suddenly be in my face, in need of my immediate attention. As soon as the phone call concludes, peace is mysteriously restored.

Today I will do laundry. As I divide the monster size pile into three smaller piles, I will say,

"Bleh."  Unexpectedly Eliza will come and mate socks with me. The weekly frustration of finding matches suddenly becomes a game. When I pick up the tiniest pair of socks and realize they no longer fit my baby, I feel a pang of sadness. Looking again, I realize that those three piles of tedium are a reminder of life's most precious gifts. My attitude changes.

Today my children will argue. After spending too much time together, I can see that they need space. A decree is thus set stating that the children are to play in separate areas until further notification is received.

Today my children will choose to be kind to one another. Henry will admire Eliza's creation in the sand box. Eliza will compliment Henry on his letters and they will both go out of their way to make Lottie giggle.

Today I will feel smart. Even though my days of formal education have passed, I will feel the muscles in my brain exercise as I plot out a meal plan using coupons and coordinate our daily schedules. These tasks seem mundane and unimportant, but the success of a well thought out and executed day is still sweet.

Today I will forget something. Or maybe a couple of things.

Today we will pray. Today I will rely on that prayer when Eliza asks another question that I know I need to respond to with care.

Today I will drive my daughter to school. And even though it is her last week of school, I will still feel sad as I watch her leave my car and walk away into the building.  

Today I will scream the words, "BE QUIET!" - sometimes Mom's are hypocritical too.

Today someone will get hurt. They will cry and I will get to be their band-aid. 

Today I will cook for my family. I will feel dismayed over their impatience. My reply that it's finally ready wont be as sweet as it ought. As they eat, I will busy myself with the routine task of loading the dishwasher. Letting me know they are finished, I will find that their plate is clean. Seeing them well nourished, I am swallowed in a feeling of deep satisfaction. 

Today Henry will make me laugh. 

Today I will be a referee. Literally, I will want a whistle. What's most intimidating is that I always don't know how to call each play. However, when the children are playing by the rules, I will be involved in a game that is filled with quality entertainment that was somehow tailored made for my spouse and me.

Today the children will rendezvous with their friends outside. They will play for hours in their sandbox, blow bubbles and ask for snacks. Today I will sweep (and sweep and sweep) the sand off of the floor while I fix on the the memory of the above mentioned happiness.

Today someone in the world will belittle the work of Motherhood. And while I remain an overly sensitive female, it won't bother me one bit.  

Today I will most likely change each diaper. It's okay because my counter part is busy working hard at his job. I need to do my part at home as cheerfully as he does his.

Today I will hug Andrew tightly. The sound of the garage door opening and closing signifies how fortunate I am to stay at home with our children. The fanfare that surrounds his arrival home each night is well deserved.

Today my children will grow irritated. They may disagree with a rule or be upset when I insist its time to get out of the tub. However, when bedtime rolls around, my face, with all of its imperfections, will be the last one they want to see. In the morning, it will be the first one they want to see...this brings tremendous happiness.

Today my children will shower me with love, whether I deserve it or not. Henry will look at me and say as he has a few times before,

"You're the exact Mom that I wanted." or "I always wanted a Mom just like you." And I will about die as a result of his words. Or he will randomly draw a picture of me when I was pregnant with Lottie. 
 
Not only will he write my name right, but he'll also get my cup size right too! ;)  (Oh, how that picture makes me laugh).

Today Eliza, who shares my love language, will write me letters. I will write her some too.
"DearMom, 
Thank you for cleaning,
shelf cleaning,
washing, dressing and
everything else.
Your loving, Eliza"
 "Dear Mom,
Your the best girl I've ever seen
also lottie too.
Thank you for everything else too.
Write back please,
Love, Eliza"
 
 "Dear Mom,
I've loved you forever
yes that's true!
I love how the nicest mom ever
yes that's true.
It is you.
Love, Eliza"
 
Eliza and Mom running through sprinklers

Today I will write, off and on, for an undisclosed amount of time on our blog. I will be interrupted many times, which is expected  I write with the hope that someday my children will forgive the rough parts of my composition, or my song. I hope they understand that even though I struggle with a measure or a verse from time to time, I cherish the work.
  
Our poor attempt to take a Mothers Day photo
 was thwarted by an absent baby and a dead camera battery.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A day downtown

 The fun continued last week with a trip to the Church History museum. After the children had their fill of the children's exhibits, we walked through Temple Square on our way to City Creek. Talon thought it was neat that we happened to bump into a two sister missionaries from Canada.
 Please allow us a little credit as we refrained from posing them in front of the temple in the traditional groom and bride fashion.
We found the one plot that was absent of flowers for this photo. Don't worry, by the time we walked back through to our cars, it was once more, fully planted. Temple square must be magical. 

 
 Lunch and playing among the dinosaurs followed.
 
 And to wrap up a fun afternoon, the children played in the fountains. This was before I was informed that children can't run around in swim suits alone. It is mandatory that they were clothing. (FYI)

When they were adequately numb with cold, we said our farewell for the day. 

Until next time!