Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sunshine On My Shoulder... makes me so happy!

It seems fitting that the boy who is taking over our home will also be taking over the blog today! 

Each day there is a new discovery as I find Forrest standing up some place new. Sometimes it makes me panic depending on where I find him and other times I can't help but laugh at his frustration as he lacks the courage to sit himself back down. Life as a nine month old can be stressful!

We've dusted off the baby gate as our gigantic staircase is his latest (and most dangerous) obsession.
And while he is never left unattended, I can breathe a sigh of relief when he's in his high chair as I know he is being kept safe from himself for a minute!
Don't mind the pink bib.
Focus on the cool camo shirt he has on instead.
Yes, that reads: "shirt" and not jammies. Shocker!

As much as I rely on Eliza and Henry to help keep an eye on him when my back is turned, he still has a magical way of finding (and enjoying) mischief. 
As a baby, Lottie was blunt when she wanted our attention. Forrest is more subtle but equally effective in changing the direction of our focus. Whether it's dinner or homework, he knows how to become priority number one all over again.
"You-who, Mama?!" 
 "You-who, Henry!" 

Speaking of Henry, he's the Star Student of the Week!! It's a big deal. Trust me.
Each day Henry participates in an activity to help his classmates and teacher get to know him better. He has been enjoying himself!

Today, we were treated to a solid taste of SpRiNg!!
Bikes, neighbor friends, a visit to the Waterfall park and watching a LIVE tractor in action made for an exciting afternoon.
Oh look, another 50 (give or take) photos of Forrest...He was thrilled with the change of scenery.
Henry asks, "Hey Mom, has Forrest ever been outside before?" Why yes, dear child. He has. However, by the way he curiously interacted with the grass and his happiness with finding himself in the sun, it felt like another {great} first.

Oh yes. I freed him from his stroller and in a few short minutes he was pulling himself up.
Hang on. I need a minute to just stare at this photo. I love my baby!

With as much fun as they had today, the big kids still remembered their chicken chores {Dad}.
We're averaging six eggs a day. I can't speak for the kids, but I still think it's a thrill.

And while I'm catching up, I want to share a few extras. Last Saturday we went bowling for a ward activity. It's was a great outing. The three girls bowled, the three boys opted out. There was pizza, games and friends. And, you'll be pleased to know, we didn't go home with a pair of bowling shoes this time.

These two are total opposites
in looks and personality.
And I'm super in love with both.
Here's a tower that Eliza insisted I photograph. Have you met our (messy) playroom, dear reader?

Valentines weekend, our family was heart attacked. It was pretty magical for the kids.
Last week, Henry woke up in the middle of night and thought it was morning. He settled himself in a front of a show until Lottie informed us that they were awake. Thankfully he fell back asleep, backwards, but at least he caught a few more ZZZZzzzzzs.
As for me, when I need a little extra sleep I put a pillow over the side of my face, like so... 
Let me know if you'd like any other stellar parenting tips.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Remembering Robert Steven Mays

For the children, Valentine's day was tied to tradition. They ate pink pancakes, attended class parties, delved into a new batch of Valentine sweets and enjoyed a special weekend sleeping at Nanna and Bubba's house.

As for Andrew and me, our Valentine weekend was unique and different. Yes, there were flowers. They weren't mine, however. Instead, they'd been sent to comfort a young widow and her daughters. Having worked as a florist, I could appreciate the beautiful detail knowing hours were spent carefully creating an arrangement in an attempt to honor someone incredibly special. The same could be said for his actual funeral. In preparation, hours were likewise spent recording their memories, framing priceless photos and arranging a million other, behind the scene, details.

My Aunt Lyn, my Dad's older sister, beautifully detailed Rob's growing up years. I could see how Rob's family hung onto each beloved tidbit that she offered. And then in turn, each of Rob's daughters took the stand to offer their personal tribute to their Father. We laughed and cried, depending on the story. Remarkable to me was the way they used that opportunity to bear powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and of our Father in Heaven's plan of salvation. That, I think, would have made Rob so happy as he was missionary minded throughout his life. The music was likewise beautiful.

My beloved Grandma Marie has been gone 30 years now. Having passed while my Mom was expecting me, I didn't have the chance to know her here. While we ache for the loss of my Uncle, it was comforting to know that he will rest next to his Mother, whom he loved so deeply.

Amidst the sadness, were moments of tender reunion with family I don't often see. I was able to attend Rob's viewing sans children. Thank you Nanna Teresa and Bubba for watching the kids as it provided me the opportunity to visit and grieve with my family uninterrupted. The day of the funeral I met my Grandma's older sister. The emotion I felt when I saw her surprised me. Just looking at "Aunt Betty" made me well up with tears as I considered the connection she shares with my Grandmother. I hope my Dad and I take that trip to see her soon!

Valentine's day itself was spent in the temple. Walking into the House of the Lord was like coming home; the feelings were sweet, sustaining and familiar. As a nursing Mother, it's been months since I've attended a session. The reason behind this gathering was to be there as my Dad stood proxy for my Grandfather whose temple work was finally completed. This was something my Uncle Rob pushed for following my Grandfather's passing in 2012. With the urging of Rob's daughters and a few miracles along the way, my Grandpa's work was done followed by the crowning event of having my Dad's parent's sealed to each other and then to their children.

These events are sacred to me and I fear that my over use of words will detract from it in some way. But it did transpire and it was special. The sealer was wonderful. He took the time to learn our family's story and shared faith inspired counsel. It was a memorable event. Days later, I'd personally feel of my Grandmother's gratitude that the work for her family was finally done.

Andrew and I spent so much of the weekend, President's Day included, together. We haven't enjoyed that much time together, without the kids, in a very long time. There wasn't anything traditional about it but will definitely be one for the books. I love you, Andrew. Thank you for taking the day off of work to be there with me. 

Why Mormons Build temples, click here: 
Here's a link to Rob's obituary and a few misc. photos.

A teenage Rob, Rob's glasses and my Grandma Marie
 He loved nature. 
 My Grandparents: Daniel Straup Mays and Darlene Marie Ford Mays with Rob
They are now a forever family. :)

 Eternal companions: Rob and Laurie Mays
My Dad introduced them. 
Laurie was my Dad's seminary student and he lined them up.
 My Mom, Aunt Laurie, Rob and an unknown (to me) body of water
This is how I'll remember him. 
Friendly disposition, easy smile, joking with my brother Mark.

And finally, here are a few photos from the burial. 
My Grandpa's second wife, Katie Mays
and my Dad serving a pallbearer to his younger brother.

 My sweet Aunt Laurie

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentines Day 2014

I feel the need to separate the silly from the serious today. Mingled with recent Valentine's day photos will be a new batch of Fleglet Funnies. An upcoming post will detail the sweet, sorrowful and spiritual aspects relating to my Uncle Rob's funeral and the temple work that was completed for my Grandfather. Simply put, we had a special weekend. For now, that will wait while I catch up on our kids and their holiday celebrations.

Eliza was thrilled when her teacher announced that the kids would be allowed to make their own Valentine's day baskets this year. It was an elementary school first as Eliza has always made them in class. Thanks to an idea from a cute Instagram friend, we both got excited about making a 'hot air balloon.' Eliza is happiest when she's at that counter with a bundle of crafting supplies at her disposal. Insecure with my own abilities, I doubled up on all the supplies in case I messed something up. Andrew, I decided, could re-do or restore the balloon if I messed something up.

Eliza brainstorms. Okay not really. She is pretending to brainstorm.
"Let's do this, Mom!"
Well, okay. It's a little crooked. But it isn't awful, right? That didn't stop Andrew for giving it a go himself with my surplus of supplies.

He even wore his, "I work as an engineer" shirt to make a point.
Okay, sure. His is better. But it's only a 'little bit' better ... not like, 'way, dang, I'm SUPERIOR' better (in my humble opinion). Even so, Eliza chose to take his his.
And I understood. 
Some days, my cutie pie seven year old looks like she's 12. Bah. 

As for their Valentine cards, they agreed on the same one which I thought was awesome. Also, Henry is awesome. He hand wrote all of his classmates names without complaint. 

And he's crazy about his friends.

And Eliza's just crazy. ;)
Valentines Day Eve, I got my act together and cleaned the family room and the mantel and other nooks and crannies that were beginning to overwhelm me. In honor of my efforts, I took a photo of my 'festive' mantel. Yes, I didn't to much to decorate but it helps to look back and remember what i did do in future years.
 At a recent trip to the craft store, the kids fell in deep like with these "Beanie Boos." I thought they'd be the perfect little something to give to my sweet little Valentines.
I sure love Christmas and Santa but I have to say that it was nice to actually receive credit for my thoughtful gift!
Here's a random, out of place, cute photo of my littlest Valentines. Forrest was giggling when I took the photo. It was raining and Lottie made sure to keep him covered. That's love.
Valentine's day breakfast was pink pancakes with all the fixins! We took a minute and said why we love each other. Henry said something funny that I have since forgot. It's a shame.
After our morning love fest, it was off to school for Eliza and Henry. Lottie, Forrest and I soon joined Henry's class for his Valentines day party. I was concerned about taking the other kids but it worked out well and I was able to lead my little groups in an exciting game of Valentines Monster Word Mash.
Mrs. Chase literally had buckets of things for the younger ones to do while I worked with the kids in his class. I cherish any drop of time I have in my kid's classrooms.
I don't know who was happier to be there: Lottie or myself.

After his party, we jetted to Salt Lake so I could meet up with my family who was planning to go to the Jordan River temple. Eliza went to a babysitter's after school and later that night, Andrew picked her up and joined us in Salt Lake where we had a sleepover (the kids were so thrilled!) at Nanna and Bubba's house. The kids were spoiled with pizza, fun and their Grandparent's attention. I have to thank Teresa and Doug in giving up so much of their time to babysit so I could participate at the temple and bond with my grieving family at my Uncle Rob's viewing and funeral. More on that later.
As for those promised Fleglet funnies;

This past Sunday, during Primary, Lottie was chosen to come to the front and participate in a guessing game. Behind her head, out of her sight, they held up a pillow. Lottie was then asked to choose someone in the audience to describe the object that was displayed behind her head. Naturally, she chose Eliza.

Eliza begins:

"It's white, soft and something you can put your head on." An animated Lottie blurts out:

"A fluffy, fat, white UNICORN???"


This happens on a semi-regular basis. Each night I sing to my children one song before they go to bed. It makes me smile whenever Henry chooses his song as it sounds like he's ordering food at McDonalds.

"Today, I'll have ... I'm a Child of God." Anyway, as I'm singing and scratching his back, Henry will sometimes interrupt me:

"Pause!" He'll instruct. Listening to him, I stop singing. He then retreats to the corner of his bed so he can pass gas. What a guy! Crawling back over to where I am, he lays back down and says:

"Un-Pause!" I sure love him. 


Not a lot of background is needed here. In fact, I'm just going to copy and paste my current status on facebook. 

That awkward moment when your husband is expressing his love for you via text message and he realizes that each message was mistakingly sent to his boss! Yes, that just happened! 

We're still waiting for the follow up comment from said boss. Stay tuned. It should be funny.