Friday, January 29, 2010

The courage to change for the better

I'm working on overcoming some of my most blaring and prominent imperfections, and it is hard. Apparantly I'm not alone because in this month's First Presidency Message in the Ensign, they ask,

“In the search for our best selves, several questions will guide our thinking: Am I what I want to be? Am I closer to the Savior today than I was yesterday? Will I be closer yet tomorrow? Do I have the courage to change for the better? …

One thing I'm really working on overcoming right now is anger. I generally would not classify myself as an angry person. However, it is something I've really struggled with in the last couple of months. I can easily blame it on things like "hormones" or "postpartum depression" or "lack of sleep", but while those things may be true, my children are looking to me as an example of what is right and acceptable. I'm not angry all the time, but I have found myself to be "easily provoked" (mainly by disobedience and what I assume is "normal" 2 year old behavior), and I often respond inappropriately when my anger flares.

After reading President Monson's talk School Thy Feelings, Oh my Brother (from Priesthood session in October), I decided I needed to take ownership of my problem and somehow try and rectify it asap. After all, children learn more by what we do than what we say, and I've noticed that Dean's picking up on some of my bad temper habits. So, in order to help him learn to choose right and have self-control, I have to learn to control myself. Even if I'm tired, hormonal, stressed out, etc.

Yesterday during my scripture study I chose to look up anger on the LDS website.

"Anger is the mother of a whole brood of evil actions. " Gordon B. Hinckley, 2007 October conference.

"Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything." Thomas S. Monson, 2009 October conference quoting Lawrence Wilder

"To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan. No one can make us angry. It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry. I testify that such is possible." Thomas S. Monson, 2009 October Conference
"Our example of love, helpfulness, tolerance, and cooperation can set a pattern children will follow in handling their angry feelings." “Dealing with Anger and Contention,” Ensign, Sep 1988, 62

After reading about anger, I didn't feel particularly lifted up. Nor did I feel better equipped to deal with my anger. I mainly just felt guiltier about my behavior.

So I asked myself what the antithesis of anger was.

Some possibilities were: Charity, inner peace, and temperance

Since I don't have time to delve into all of these at once, I'll start with charity first and hopefully do later svithes on inner peace and temperance.

On Charity
: The Pure Love of Christ

I love what the Apostle Paul has to say on the subject. We can have a whole slew of gifts, but unless we have charity, they won't do us a darn bit of good.

" And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." (Moroni 7:45) I actually printed this one out and posted it on my wall to remind me.

In one of my favorite GA talks of all time (The Challenge to Become), Elder Oaks says, "The reason charity never fails and the reason charity is greater than even the most significant acts of goodness he cited is that charity, “the pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47), is not an act but a condition or state of being. Charity is attained through a succession of acts that result in a conversion. Charity is something one becomes." (emph. and italics added)

Elder Wirthlin said, "The most cherished and sacred moments of our lives are those filled with the spirit of love. The greater the measure of our love, the greater is our joy. In the end, the development of such love is the true measure of success in life. Do you love the Lord? Spend time with Him. Meditate on His words. Take His yoke upon you. Seek to understand and obey, because “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” When we love the Lord, obedience ceases to be a burden. Obedience becomes a delight. When we love the Lord, we seek less for things that benefit us and turn our hearts toward things that will bless and uplift others. As our love for the Lord deepens, our minds and hearts become purified. We experience a “mighty change in … our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”

I am ready for a change for the better.

brotherly love

These boys are getting to be friends. Walter generally likes Dean and laughs at his antics. Dean likes Walt more than he used to, though he still often gets frustrated when I have to give Walt attention for feedings and what not.

One day Dean started saying "One, two, three, four hop!" and would jump. Walt thought it was hilarious. Ever since then Dean's really enjoyed trying to jump with Walter or make him laugh. Here's a video of them jumping together.

So I heard

In the morning Dean headed out the door with my pillow:
"Where are you taking my pillow?"
"Bringing it to chichen."

During "nap time" (which is evolving into "play alone in your room time") I hear him call out, "Hey mommy. Dean need to go check on sumfin." (He periodically has to check on things. He'll run out into a room, look around, and then come back and say everything was ok.) Me, "What do you need to check on?" Him, "My ABC's table."

Right before my shower as an observation: "Mommy no have a penis."

(Under his breath tried to sing) "EIO". He started to freak out, stopped, and said, "I so frustrated." "What are you frustrated about buddy?" "Singing EIO (Old MacDonald)." So I sang it with him and he was happy.

*I've been trying to work really hard with him on verbalizing his frustrations since he gets frustrated so easily. He often ends up hitting, throwing (train tracks usually), or just kind of tantruming when this happens. This week he's started saying "I frustrated" instead and I'll ask why he's frustrated and we see if we can fix whatever is going wrong. I'm very happy about this development.*

On Sunday he was sick so Matt stayed home with him. Matt stayed in bed and read scriptures while Dean played next to him. When Matt got up to go to the bathroom, Dean hustled onto his pillow and said, "Dean's spot now." When Matt came back he sat on my side of the bed. Dean got up and said, "Need to check on sumfin." and headed toward the door. Before he got out the door he said stopped, turned around, and said, "No take mine spot daddy!" He left the room and came back. Matt asked what he had to check and he said, "The piano!"

"Mommy just kidding!" (About bed time. Daddy often comes home from work and says it's time for Dean to go to bed since Dean missed his nap. Dean starts freaking out so I tell him daddy's just kidding. So now he thinks I'm kidding when I tell him it's bed time at night. nope!)

Lately when I've been getting dinner ready, Dean takes out the pots and pans and plays in the cupboards. "Dean going to work. Bye mommy. Bye Walter. Take my blankie and mine hammer." Haha. Tonight it was the same routine, but instead of going to work, he was going to school. =) So cute.

Some of his favorite books to check out from the Library are the David books. He has a cousin named David who happens to have a mii on our wii from our reunion. Often when we play wii sports, he asks to play "oh david". We recently brought home "David goes to School" and he had it mostly memorized after 2 readings. He loves it. This is a video of him doing his David "reading", though I have to admit it's longer and not quite as "good" as his impromptu readings. Still cute to me though.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Walter's food

Last week I decided to start Walt on some solids. I was going to wait until 6 mo. because it is supposed to reduce the chance for food allergies, but I have to be honest, sustaining a 22 lb. 6 mo. old by myself was getting a little difficult.

We started him on freshly ground oatmeal. From there he's tried: avocado (not so fond), banana (didn't like), sweet potato (liked it a lot), apple sauce, green beans, zucchini, yogurt, and he's sucked on pretzels because he was very distraught I was eating without sharing. Up until today he hasn't seems too incredibly interested in eating what and when we're eating. Today he was very insistent that he eat lasagna with us, so he got the ricotta.

My life as a jungle gym

It's a bit tiring, but boy can it be fun!

Friday, January 22, 2010

I resolve

There are 52 weeks in a year. I figured, rather than make a few gigantic goals I hope to achieve (but later forget about), I'd do a goal per week. In no particular order. On Sundays I can look at the list and choose one for the week. I'm starting late, so I'm only putting 49. We'll see how this goes! Oh, and some of these I hope to do waaaayyyy more than once in the year, but I'm putting them on here anyway!

1. Do something nice for someone else
2. Go jogging 4 days during the week
3. Attend the Temple
4. Play a structured game with Dean
5. Go to a museum
6. Go to a professional production (Wicked or Phantom!)
7. Catch up on my blog book and print out 2008
8. Catch up on blog book and print out 2009
9. Have 100% visiting teaching for the month
10. Update 72 hour kit
11. Track our budget
12. Run in a scheduled race (Snowflake's 24th of July 10K? February half marathon?)
13. Build up our 3 month food storage
14. Eat all veggie and fruit servings every day in the week. No skimping!
15. Read my scriptures every day
16. Read the Sunday School and RS lesson before Sunday
17. Up to date on photo books (through blurb)
18. Enjoy a nice hot bubble bath (or a really long, hot shower by myself without kids in the room)
19. Do a Montessori activity with Dean
20. Go on a fun date other than the movies
21. Host a Girls Night Out
22. Get a massage or a pedicure
23. Put everything away immediately when finished within a 24 hour period
24. Meal plan for the week
25. Say only positive things (in a positive voice) for a day
26. Go on a Road Trip
27. Play racquetball with Matt
28. Plant a garden
29. Try to get to know more about my ancestors
30. Eat only what we have stored in the house for a week
31. Hang all pictures that need to be hung!
32. Make something with wood (a shelf for the bathroom maybe?)
33. Clean out closet and get rid of clothes I never wear
34. Read the whole ensign in a week
35. Get good family pictures taken
36. Read a fun book
37. Read a biography or autobiography of someone awesome
38. Volunteer in the community
39. Watch a movie with Dean
40. Have friends over for a dinner party
41. Get an ancestral family name temple ready
42. Do baptism for said person
43. Do endowment session for said person
44. Do sealing for said person
45. Schedule one on one time with each of my wonderful kids
46. Make fabric Christmas tree ornaments
47. Try a new food that I've never had before
48. Make a fabric alphabet set
49. Make an item of clothing

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am

I am enough.
I am strong.
I am a good mother.
Whatever life puts before me will make me stronger, wiser, and more patient.
I am happy.
I am what I eat and drink, so I eat and drink good things.
I am what I watch and play and listen, so I watch and play and listen to good and positive things.
I am healthy.
I smile and laugh whenever I can because life is good.
I forgive other people. Deep down everyone is a good person, just like me.
I forgive myself for my shortcomings and work to become better each day.
I am a compassionate and loving, caring person.
I have inner peace.
I am resourceful, creative, and intelligent.
I am lovable.
I am happy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wrapping up our Christmas Vacation: La Familia

The best part about being in Moss Beach was just getting to be around family. We don't get to just "hang out" with family all that often since we're so far from everyone. Matt's sister and her family live about an hour from his parents and they graciously drove down quite a few times so we could eat, play, and visit together.

Their oldest stayed over a couple nights and it was so good for Dean. The Big O. played and interacted really well with Dean. It's the best I've ever seen Dean interact with another child.

The last day we were there L. and I took advantage of the BEAUTIFUL weather and we took the boys for a little walk while grandma finished up dinner prep.

The last time we saw them Dean and S. looked like this:

Now they look like this:

Clearly we don't get together as often as I would like. It's so sad. I bet they could be good little friends if circumstances were different. I wish so badly we could be closer.

Wrapping up our Christmas Vacation: The beard

Matt's not really a "facial hair" kind of guy, but he decided he needed to grow a beard at least once in his life. So he stopped shaving a couple days before we left for CA (mid December). It itched him and he wasn't a fan, but he persisted and lasted until Jan. 2nd. Then he shaved his beard and kept some fat chops for a week. Then he shaved those when he went back to work this Monday. I generally don't like facial hair much, but I didn't mind his beard as much as I thought I would.

Wrapping up our Christmas Vacation: Two dates in two nights!

Date #1: Dinner at Miramar Beach Restaurant
After we got home from the zoo we fed the boys dinner, got them settled, and we did something we haven't done in 6 months, we went on a childless date!!

My MIL had a birthday coupon at a great ocean side restaurant that they weren't going to use, so we went instead. Since it was a Tuesday night, it was not crowded at all.

Most of you know I was a vegetarian for, oh 10 years or so. Even though I've been eating meat for nearly 10 years now, I have not really eaten steak or much sea food (Matt generally doesn't like sea food either). Well, I was so proud of myself. We decided to branch out. I ordered the fillet mingnon (something Matt would eat, but I normally don't), and Matt ordered sea bass (something neither of us has ever had). We basically just split our dishes. I ate and liked both dishes. I really was proud of myself. My mom always told me you have to keep trying foods because you never know if your taste buds have changed! We also got a birthday dessert for free. It was mango, raspberry, and passion fruit sorbet packed into a ball and covered with white chocolate. It was so light and refreshing and delicious! The passion fruit was the best flavor. It was nice and relaxed.

After that we went back home to find that grandma had put Dean to bed since she could tell he was exhausted from our trip to the zoo. (Walt was in bed before we left).

Matt's sister and her fam were there that night so we played some catch phrase. It was fun.

Date #2: Sharks' Hockey Game San Jose vs. Washington Capitals
The night after our dinner date, Matt and I got to go to the hockey game together. Matt's fam. are huge Sharks fans. In fact, Matt's watching a game as I type this. Mark, my FIL, graciously let me take his ticket so I could go to one of the 6 games they had tickets for.

I was a little hesitant to go because it meant leaving Walt an hour before I'd put him down for bed, and he doesn't take a bottle or anything. I fed him right before we left, and figured he'd be just fine, even if he cried a little.

I was totally exhausted and slept most of the drive to the game, but the game itself was so much fun! The second period was packed with good plays that had us on edge (figuritively speaking since you have to sit back in your chairs so as not to block others' view of the ice). We actually witnessed two penalty shots made by the Sharks. The last time that happened in the NHL was 1982! Sharks won.

The boys did fine. Grandpa walked Walt and sang to him a little bit. He cried a bit and slept the majority of the time.

Man, it would be nice to live close to family so we could do things like that more often!!!!!

It really was nice to have a date (or two) with my husband. Thanks G'ma and G'pa Bras(s) for making it possible!

Wrapping up our Christmas Vacation: The San Fran Zoo

Before we get too far past Christmas, there are a few things I wanted to write down so I don't forget. Oh, and there will be tons of pics on this one.

The week after Christmas was packed and fabulous. On Tuesday the 29th Matt, Dean, Walt and I went to the San Fransisco Zoo. About 10 min. away from the zoo, Matt asked if I smelled poo. Sure enough, when we got Walter out of his seat, he'd had a MAJOR blowout. The worst he's had. And to top it off, I'd forgotten to pack wipes!!! What mother does that??? My MIL had about 3 wet ones in her car that we used to clean him up. Luckily I did have another outfit and his bunting. And we were able to buy some wipes inside the zoo, though we ended up not needing them really.

We were there almost the whole time it was open. It was a nice day, though it was a little on the chilly side. As always, though Dean refused wear a jacket. His arms were turning colors, but he insisted he wasn't cold.

Riding the train.

BY FAR the tractors were his favorite attraction.

When we were driving home, Matt asked what his favorite animal was. Giraffe. I'd have to agree that the african animals were the coolest. We had loads of fun.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Old Friend, Good Times

The last week we were in CA it was packed full of fun. One of the days my old college roommate "Marzy Dotes" drove an hour with her 3 kiddos to come visit me! It was a blast. We visited a little at my in-laws, had lunch, and then headed to the marine reserve with all 5 kids (and Matt to help) in tow. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful friend and that we still keep in contact. Thanks Mar!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Walt at 5 months

I am more and more in love with my big guy. He has such a calm spirit and is generally easy to please. He loved being in CA with family because he was held way more than I can hold him on my own. He and Dean have been complete opposites in almost every way, yet I dearly love them both. One way they're different is that Dean LOVED the camera. From about 4 months on, Dean lit up like a Christmas bulb when I turned on the camera. Walt, on the other hand is much harder to catch smiling on camera. I think the flash surprises him.

Walt had a couple of firsts while we were in CA the past few weeks.

He got his first (and second) teeth at the same time. I'm pretty sure more are on the way by his ear pulling and slight fussiness.

He rolled over. Now when I place him on his back, he immediately rolls to the left and onto his belly. It makes changing his diaper a bit more challenging.

He can sit up by himself for short periods of time. He stayed upright for a couple of minutes tonight while I was getting Dean ready for bed.

He met a new friend. He loves grabbing onto anything close to him. I just thought this was such a cute photo op.He really took to Grandpa Bras(s) while we were there. He could get a smile out of Walt nearly every time he tried.
He had his first and second (and third because of a layover) plane rides. He was so fabulous. Honestly, the boy didn't cry at all. He slept a lot and was good when he was awake.

Don't know how much he weighs, but I imagine it's 21+ lbs now. The size 4 diapers are getting a bit snug in the waist!! I'll have to check it out tomorrow.

*update: he weighs 22 lbs!*