Monday, May 31, 2010

Bunny Fountains

Gwen's initial reaction to the water at the bunny fountains was something like this:
and then she got scared and had to just sit and observe everyone else for about 30 minutes. Here she is relaxin in her stroller, chompin a cracker.

Once she warmed up to it, though, she was THRILLED to be playing in the water... for about 2 hours! She didn't even want to go home! This video shows her shouting "wa-wah" (water) and signing water...but what it doesn't show is that she did that for about 10 minutes straight and then periodically for the next 2 hours. She LOVED it!

video

Most of the following pictures were captured by Heather, the woman with amazing photography skills who also did our family pics last fall. She really got some great portraits of Gwen, don't you think?


and last but not least, some photos of our friends. We had a great time playing together! (okay, so Gwen pretty much flew solo and ditched all her friends. But it was still great to see you all there!)
One of my favorite moments: On the drive home Logan's carseat was right next to Gwen's. When he got to eat some fruit snacks, I feared a whiney-meltdown with grasping arms and floppy fish body from Gwen. But she surprised me by saying with a pleading voice and signing:

"Share?"

and he willingly did! It was so cute!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Andersons visit

My beautiful and oh-so-sweet younger sister and her family came for a visit! short, but wonderful to get to know their lil guy, Caleb. I think these cousins got along really well... in fact, perhaps a little TOO well if their nightly gab-fest instead of sleep-fest was any indication! :) You can see we have incriminating evidence of Gwen stealing all Caleb's snacks. I don't think he quite knows what to do about that...

We had 2 passes to COSI (thank you Michelle!) and had a great time! My object was to capture some great pictures of Caleb. Mine weren't that great, though, so most of these are borrowed from Amber. If you look in the top left corner, you'll notice a picture of me. Rare. But I felt the turquise and pumpkin color contrast was too perfect not to share. You're welcome. :)
Though I was purposefully taking pics of Caleb, I couldn't help snapping some of Gwen. She discovered a few new things this time: the water was a big hit (no surprise there), she loved climbing up the stairs into these lil construction houses (a drill? okay... I'm just a lil surprised), and driving the ambulance was so fun she came back to it about 9 times (that and the helicopter). She was pretty proud of herself!
We also headed to the zoo... on a rainy, uncrowded day. Worked out nicely, actually, because Gwen was more interested in playing in the water than looking at the tigers. She loved the petting zoo, fluttering from goat to goat so that she could pat each and every one. And I just have to add: Caleb ate a TON while we were there! that kid downed every snack we brought (and we brought a good amount) AND a hotdog and was still hungry!

I loved playing games at night with Amber and Justin (we don't have any pics of this. Go figure). They introduced us to some fantastic new games like Blokus and Bohnanza (a game about bean crops!) and old favorites like Settlers of Cataan. Great fun! We're so glad you guys were able to come out and visit! We love you!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

a lil humor for you

Gwen is learning a lot of new words. This often leads to some confusion. When I tell her the rain is "wet" she repeats it back but signs "white". When I tell her the crayon is "blue" she repeats it back but signs "balloon". Can't say that I blame her. They do sound awfully alike.

In sacrament last week, I whispered in Gwen's ear that this is a special time we think about Jesus. She stopped squirming and seemed really happy about that, so I was pretty pleased. I thought maybe she actually understood what I was trying to teach her. I thought she was thinking about Jesus. Then she sat forward in my lap, squished her hands back and forth (that was the correct sign) with the accompanying excited declaration of:

"CHEESE!"

Eric and I tried really hard not to laugh about that during the sacrament. so funny. Well, I guess we'll have to clarify that one. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shocking Change in Life--Deployed

This is my gorgeous older sister, Tamara, soon to be a famous author. (her first novel, Perilous, will come out in print in August.) Teacher, business owner, currently moving out of one home and into another. Incredible mother of 2, soon to be 3 in a few months.
And that good looking guy with her is my wonderful Brother-in-Law, Mark. He's the guy that can pretty much do ANYTHING he tries his hand at. no, I mean it. ANYTHING. (history teacher, management, home remodeling, plumbing, repairs, foster care, writing, mentoring, wrestling, personal training, construction, deputy, and the list goes on...but most importantly he is an amazing husband and father) and he excells at EVERYTHING. Most likely because he puts all his trust in the Lord and never takes any of the credit for himself. He is a man of great moral courage and faith for whom I have the greatest respect.
Mark is being activated and deployed to Afghanistan for 13 months. They had less than a week after the phone call before departure this weekend. We will miss him. His sacrifice will mean he misses his baby's birth and first 10 months in addition to the special moments with his other 2 boys. We will be praying for him--and for his family--every day. This is just a small tribute for Mark's service and sacrifice for our country and for us. It cannot cover all our feelings.
Our hearts go with you, Mark. We love you.

Our Trip to Idaho April-May 2010

First of all, the trip was a lot easier than I'd feared. DVDs and stickerbooks are HUGE blessings, let me tell ya!
Second of all, Eric had a birthday while on our trip. Wouldn't you know I didn't take a good picture of him? I love him so much, with all his nerdy math and science interests, his brilliance, and his compassion for those around him. I also had a great time dressing up like a camo-eskimo to go fishing on the windiest day! What a great adventure! Thanks for taking me along, dear!
I wanted to provide evidence that my dear hubby is still young at heart... so you have to wait to the end of the post to see it! Until then, Gwen will have to suffice. (oh, btw, most of the good photos are borrowed from my MIL, a superb photographer. I can't take credit)
So many fun and entertaining people to spend time with:
Grandpa
Aunt Elise
Grandma (helping bake bread is so fun!)
and even time playing peek-a-boo with Great-Grandmas and Grandpa
Gwen grew especially fond of her cousins; enjoying her time copying everything that older "cowboy" cousin did and following him around squealing... or begging to cuddle with baby "F" whom she asked for by name in sign language
Exploration of music was fun at the piano or dancing on the floor keyboard (I love both the fish lips on Eric and the puzzled expression on Papa Allan's face)
Gwen adored close encounters with animals: cats, horses, dogs, birds, and even chickens/ducks at the local supply storeplaying with just about everything she found lying around was a blast!
Identifying features on faces was a favorite game and just because sibling revelry is so funny:





Wonderful trip, guys! Can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

18 months- the sweat and the sweet


What more appropriate post for Mother's Day than a tribute to my lil gal who made me a mother? Today she is 18 months. a big deal. and I think she knows it, too.

This week I've been sweatin it out with multiple tantrums in public. Luckily noone has given me dirty looks. I think people get it. They've been there. I'm sure this won't be the last time a battle is waged at the highchair, the backdoor, the bathtub, the crib, the playground, the doctor's office, or the grocery store... for an hour. That was definitely a sweaty day. This week I've also been relishing some sweetness-- mostly because I'm so proud of the RAPID growth of Gwen's vocabulary, her good playing with friends, the way she squeals at the top of her lungs when she sees a friend across the room, and the way she will call for me if I go into the kitchen or the bathroom and she can't see me all the time. (okay, so that isn't ALWAYS a sweet thing, but let's think positively here). When I think about her impishness from birth, it is sweet.

Honestly, I'm the most grateful for the love that I've felt for her this entire week. It has definitely been a gift from the Lord, just an overwhelming feeling that becomes more patience and calm than I have previously felt when she is asserting her independence in a loud, stressful way. This week, I really felt like I was the Mother I've wanted to be all along. Calm, reassuring, loving, immovable. It has been sweet.

Because I liked it so much and want it preserved forever, thought I would share a special Mother's Day poem that my Mommy and Daddy composed for me about Gwen:

Isn't your little girl just so much fun?
She likes to 'sign' and walk; no, RUN!
Play the piano, watch the fish,
Eat in her high-chair with her very own dish.

How cute she is with those big blue eyes,
that just light up when she gets surprised.
She can really rock in that Bear Rocking chair,
And where did she get such curly blonde hair?

Oh, don't forget the finishing touch...
her necklace of beads... that adds so much.
She's a wonderful child, little Gwen E. 'Pooh',
But most important of all, she belongs to YOU!

And you know what, that last line is so true. She is special because she is mine, mine and Eric's, ours for all eternity. That is what being a Mother is all about: treasuring the sweat and the sweet as part of our family's eternal journey! Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

this is a post

well,

this is not a post about feeling inadequate
this is not a post about disillusionment
this is not a post about discouragement
this is not a post about looking at myself with fresh eyes and wondering how exactly I got to this place
this is not a post about wanting to be a better person than I see in the mirror...

this is a post about
empowerment

the 'can-do-motivated-to-change-get-out-of-any-ole-rut' kind of feeling
that I have when I see myself through the eyes of my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. The Atonement is amazing, don't you think?
The power of a New Year's resolution any day of our lives that we choose to turn ourselves over to the Lord and allow Him to make something more of us than we can make from our own efforts. I am truly humbled that just at the moment when it seems my energy to do and become as a human being/member of an eternal family/daughter of God is zapped and I want to settle for mediocrity, the Hand of God slips in, parts the veils guarding eternity, reminds me of what I truly desire, and then generously gives me the energy to pursue.
Disappointed in the person in the mirror, the look in your eyes?

Don't have to be.