Sunday, September 30, 2012

Soccer Saturdays

We're about half way through Eliza and Henry's first ever soccer season, so I figure now is as good of time as any to do a little soccer season recap.
 
 Says Lottie, "You know, Mom... I'd like a jersey too."

 The season began and to be honest, they were both more excited about their uniforms than playing in a game. Am I right, Eliza?
 Work it, girl.
Henry, also known as player #4, was cooperative his first thirty seconds of being on the soccer field. When the game actually started, he short circuited a bit ...or completely. Apparently the stick figure drawings that I so carefully drew to explain how the game would be played didn't do the trick. 
 I am pleased to report that, in the subsequent weeks that followed, Henry's confidence has grown. I think that his experience on the field increased his understanding of the game allowing him to relax and have fun.
 
And even more importantly, he understands the motivational promise of a soccer treat post game.
 Go get 'em, Henry!
 With the help of a weekly soccer practice, Eliza picked up on the rules of the game quickly. My favorite thing about Eliza's experience so far is how cute she looks in a uniform the dynamic of her team. She has great friends to play with and an even better coach.
 Way to hustle, Eliza.
 *Insert another cliche sideline soccer cheer here:
 What a great kick! Go defense, go!  Like I said, we're not done with the season. I have time to come up with loads more cliche cheers. Does anyone know how many years I have until my sideline enthusiasm embarrasses my kids?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Don't worry. There was hot chocolate.

Last Friday, we went camping near the South Fork river with our ward.
 With two playgrounds, a slow moving river, fields to play on and a healthy supply of friends, the camp proved itself to be family friendly. 
 
 
 
 
With the turn out better than expected, there was plenty of socializing to go around the dinner tables. One super fun Mom brought glow in the dark Moon Sand. I had never heard of it. Having taken her word for it that it was washable and non toxic,

"It's CRAYOLA, Ali."  Like, hello. How could I have doubted, right? ;)

... the kids had my blessing {read: who cares what Mom says, this stuff is awesome!} as they delved into the exciting mess of mystery product. They were glowing from head to toe in a matter of minutes. It was a definite highlight of their night.

For me, it was the time spent around the camp fire singing and laughing  that I liked most. Golly gee, I am old fashioned and lame, but those classic scenes of camp fire bliss make me feel warm inside and out.

As 9:00 p.m. rolled around, most of our {wise} friends left for home. For the small handful of us that stayed, bed time had arrived. Feeling tired myself, I volunteered to lay with Lottie as it was her first night out of a crib and/or pack and play ever. I repeat, 'ever.' I was optimistic that her night would go well as I watched her silently wave her green glow stick in the dark. Eliza and Henry were out in a matter of seconds. Lottie on the other hand, was to distracted by her fun toy. I positioned myself close so I could stare easily at her face.With quiet satisfaction, I watched as her lash laden eyelids aggressively fought her body's desire to sleep.

Sleeping children are beautiful. That, my friends, is an after thought. Truth be told, I was so distracted by the rapidly falling temperature that I forgot to bask in their peaceful glow. Instead, I checked and re-checked my kids to reassure myself that they were warm enough as well as ignored my bladder's plea to make another run to the bathroom.

Having no sleeping bag myself, I soon determined that my self made cocoon of blankets was failing me. I was frozen. I had every intention on filing a full complaint with the chief camper in charge, a.k.a my spouse, when he returned from socializing around the fire. However, before I could say, 'frozen burrito,' I was asleep. At midnight, he returned to the tent with an extra blanket. YES!!! Soon after he settled in, Lottie woke up.

She was distressed. We settled her as best we could but in a matter of minutes she was crying again. Apparently, she did not agree with Mom's idea to bundle her in similitude of Ralphie's younger brother Randy, from A Christmas Story. You remember the two brothers preparing to go outside? Randy was so bundled that he couldn't put his arms down? All he could do was cry and whine in frustration. That was Lottie.

She was warm... maybe too warm, confined and ticked off.

It didn't take long for us to decide that we didn't want to subject the rest of the campers to her tearful wails. Andrew offered to spare me the late drive back home. I accepted (Thank you!). And while I believed to have been given the better end of the deal, the cold was a beast. It was a long night.

Right, Henry?
Not everyone woke up grumpy. But then again, Eliza has always been my morning bird. The kids were out and about in a matter of minutes. As I tried my best to locate a pair of socks, Henry rushed back to the opening of tent.

"Mom! They are making French toast and hot coffee over there!" 

He was referencing the amazing group of men who assembled that morning to fix breakfast for the fair few who had stayed the night. Their service, humor and kindness was wonderful. I felt spoiled as I helped myself to a cup of hot chocolate. Henry just about had it right! :)

Don't worry. I'm asking myself the same question. WHY SO MUCH COMMENTARY?! It really isn't necessary. I still like writing.

By the way, a few posts back, I used the word, 'anecdote' when I had intended to write the word, 'antidote.' When I read over posts later and catch obvious and minor errors alike, I feel stupid. Just so you know, Mom. I'm sometimes aware.

After breakfast we returned to the fire where the kids ate smores. Naturally.

 
 It wasn't long until we were reunited with the rest of our family.
 
And that concludes the first half of our camping tale. Ha ha ha. I'll keep the rest quick, yes? Deal. Henry, Lottie and I headed back home for a soccer game while Andrew and Eliza packed up and went on a hike to watch the salmon run.

The hike wasn't as kid friendly as Eliza would have hoped, but I am proud of her after hearing Andrew's report of her (mostly) positive attitude. She told me it was worth it.

 That's right kids. You can't teach redneck. I sure love that girl.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Brigham City Temple open house

While Andrew was in Canada on business, I decided to head out on another adventure with the kids. This adventure would require excusing Eliza from school twenty minutes early. I don't know why pulling my first grader out of school early conjures up rebel-like emotion, but it does. Don't worry, my crazy Mom feelings dissipated quickly as I had high hopes that our afternoon was going to be well spent.

 
 Last Wednesday, September 12, we toured the Brigham City temple. The day was special, for more reasons than one. And while we wish Daddy could have been with us, (he would have loved seeing how cute Lottie looked in temple footies) I am glad I bit the single parent bullet to make it happen. 

The night before, my friend Melanie stopped by for a quick minute and mentioned that she had plans to take her three girls to the temple the following day. Hearing of the coincidence, we quickly plotted out a scenario that would involve us going together. Going with our special friends definitely enhanced the experience.

There was definitely a healthy amount of people there, but the crowd level wasn't bad in comparison to the reports we'd heard prior. After watching a movie on the temple, we donned white temple footies and entered the temple. Eliza, who was taking this all to heart, was teary-eyed before she stepped out of our car.

It was great to be able to watch their faces as they took in the exquisite detail. Henry liked the wildlife that was featured on the murals in one of the 'instruction rooms.' They were both surprised by the baptismal font and its surrounding oxen. Eliza asked, at one point, why the entire interior wasn't white.

When we entered the Celestial room, I felt the significance of the moment. Of all the lovely things that make that sacred room shine, nothing looked more radiant than the children who stood next to me. And do you know, as incredibly cheesy as that sounds, I think that's the way God intended it. As beautiful as the surroundings are, it's who you are with that counts. I know the building has not been dedicated but the powerful feeling of love I felt there compares evenly to past temple visits.

Since I boarded the train of all things sentiment and cheese a few paragraphs ago, I'm going to give myself permission to share another thought. With our sweet friend Emylie touring the temple in her medical wheelchair, the kids and I would wait for Melanie and Em as they waited for their turn to ride up the elevator. The wait time varied with each stop. After a particularly long stretch the elevator door slid open to reveal Emylie's smiling face. One of her big sisters announced,

"Oh look, there's Emylie!" The reunion, after a five minute long separation, was a happy one. We were ready to continue together. I couldn't help but note the symbolism behind idea that we have loved ones in heaven waiting for us. I imagine that there level of excitement and anticipation at our arrival can't be matched. They are waiting to see our faces again. And then, in time, we will be the ones on the other side; standing with the welcoming committee. Forgive my lack of articulation, but I just think that in the next life the reunions with those we love will be beautiful. 

Lottie, oh what a good girl Lottie was. I almost... Oh wait. Hang on. Yes. There it is:

Welcome back feelings of guilt! I almost left Lottie with a babysitter. I am really glad I didn't. Sure, having her there was extra work, but she brings extra joy too. Lucky for Mom, she was well behaved. Hearing her say, "Wow" and hearing her ask, "What's that?" repeatedly, made me smile.

 "See Me-Ma? I can be so reverent!"

It's true. She calls me 'Me-Ma'. It's sounds kind of Southern to me. 
 It wasn't all cute accents and folded arms though. She was worn out by the end.
When I asked Henry what his favorite part was, he said it was the fountain out front. As exquisite as the interior of temple was, it's hard to compete with a neat water feature. I totally get it. With Lottie's small child needs and Eliza's desire to create a real moment, Henry is generally content to walk a few steps back. He's a low key guy, most of the time; which is why when I get a few minutes to hold his hand and am able to whisper something special in his ear, I feel pretty lucky. 

Thanks Parker family for a great outing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Fair-y Fun Night

Dear Andrew,

Stepping out of the car last night, I felt myself hesitate. Was leaving the stroller and umbrella at home the right decision? The rain had begun to fall as we drove to the elementary school for the much anticipated family fun fair. Swallowing my self doubt, I unbuckled Lottie from her car seat and watched as she happily joined Eliza and Henry on the sidewalk. 
 Their enthusiasm was the antidote my cautious mood needed. Who cares if we get wet. We were going to roll with it. How is that for a solid dose of sunshine?
 "Rain clouds? Meh."

Future self take note: bring the stroller. Whether or not it's occupied with a child, it's a great way to stash the goodies that are thus accumulated.

Returning to my letter format, you won't be surprised to know, dear Andrew, that our first stop was to the crazy hair station. There was music. The kids jammed.
 Finally it was their turn. Lottie and I waited in the wings.
 Henry's {awesome} reveal came first.
 
 Eliza's hair-do was more elaborate.
 
Face painting came next. 
Henry was super hesitant. He shot down each suggestion and seemed content to sit back and observe. However, as soon as I said the words, "Spiderman web" he lit up! Eliza wanted a mustache. I talked her out of it... which looking back, was a mistake. If she wants a mustache, LET THE GIRL GET A MUSTACHE. Her rainbow was still fun though.

Finally, it was time to hit the cafeteria. Yay dinner yay. You'll be happy to know that in the sea of chaos and confusion, we landed a spot next to some of our favorite people. It was nice to take a time out and chat with Kim and a friend she introduced me too. With the bounce houses nearby, the older two kids excused themselves after they were through eating their cookies and ignoring their hot dogs. Ha ha ha... They actually did pretty good. 

The cafeteria proved a dangerous place. Who knew, right? In line for the bounce house, Eliza was kicked in the face. I did not witness it happen and the story doesn't quite make sense based on Eliza's claims. She was in line and a boy kicked her. No, she says, it didn't happen in the bounce house. So yes, Eliza was karate chopped in line and ended up with this little shiner. 
The good thing is, she is tough. She didn't come crying to me. I doubt she would have mentioned it if I hadn't noticed her abrasion. Kim and/or Melanie can attest that it looked nastier in real life. I would hate for someone to call me out for over-exaggerating. Me? Never! ;) 

SO THEN, while I was chatting with these nice ladies, Lottie took this EPIC SPILL and landed, MOUTH WIDE OPEN on the CoRnEr of the table. GASP GASP GASP. There were INSANE tears and BLOOD. ANDREW, seriously, her poor lip had been cut open! And it made her cry. REAL HARD. 

....until I gave her a binkie and a blankie and she like instantly got over it.

So, like I said, the cafeteria was kind of scary. But the food was good. Because I know you were wondering. 
We returned outside for games and cotton candy. 
Did you know that Eliza has mad hula hooping skills? Again, ask Kim. It was hilarious and awesome... probably my favorite thing that night.
The night ended with a visit to the Petting Zoo. Consider yourself  'green lit.' You are hereby allowed to buy the kids that bunny you're always talking about. Lottie's reaction to the bunnies filled me with a ridiculous amount of warm fuzzies. 
 Passing by the country map, Lottie proudly claimed her Carolina heritage. We love you, South Carolina!

 And there you have it love. The whole story. We missed you. Do me a favor take a ridiculous amount of pictures when you have downtime... not of machinery and all that good engineering stuff, but of the scenery, etc.

Love,
Alison Ann

P.S. Look at how much they've grown.

I will call her, 'MINI ME'

Never did I think an Austin Power's quote would make it onto my blog. However, if you knew me as a child, you will understand.

Unlike Henry, Eliza's eyes do not cross. She failed an eye exam at her well child check up. If you had asked me a week ago, I would have told you that she sees well up close, but struggles with distance. However, after reading her prescription yesterday, it seems like she is in fact far sighted like Henry and me. 

With age, my vision achieved 20/20 status. Who would have thought that possible? Anyway... I am confused as to what is going on with her vision, but based on her beautiful reaction when she put them on yesterday, she now can see better. Watching both kids put their glasses on for the first time tugged at my heart strings. Who would have thought that the reception area of a Standard Optical could be such a special place?! Ha. 

At her age, Eliza doesn't associate any negative feelings or perceptions to having glasses. She thinks they're cool, enjoys staring at her "new" self in the mirror and is eager to show her friends. She complains of discomfort where her glasses rest behind her ears. With Henry it lasted a few days. Hopefully, those complaints will disappear just as quickly.  

The doctor did say that after her next check up, he will most likely say that she will wear her glasses on an 'as needed' basis. 

Any takers on how long until Lottie joins the club?!?