Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Thanks Grandpa and all others who have fought to preserve our freedom.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In between the illnesses...

So, I realised I hadn't posted much this past month. We've been sick (mostly Walt) with 2 double ear infections, a viral infection (Dean), 2 eye infections, and I had a cold. Walt's ears are still infected, even after being on antibiotics for 24 days, so we're going to an ENT (our bishop who did Dean's tongue surgery) on Tuesday to see what structurally might be wrong. Adenoids maybe? Hopefully something "easily" fixable.

We purchased a playset from Costco this month and Matt finished putting it up a week or two ago. We've really loved having a "park" at our house! Dean's gotten really good at swinging in a big kid swing. He LOVES to go high and throw his head back and close his eyes. I try and spot him when he does this, because he is just a beginner, but that boy has always loved big movement and a thrill.

Walter has started climbing. And climbing more than Dean ever did at this age! We might just be in trouble with this one. I think we'll actually have to secure bookcases and dressers to the wall.

We also went to Lake Ray Roberts (a state park) with a huge group of friends last week. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera so I don't have any pics of that. We had a lot of fun, and I impulsively bought a Texas State Park Pass (non-refundable impulse purchases are not usually my thing, so I don't know why I did it), so hopefully we'll go a lot more this summer and get pics!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Letting go and finding unity

A month or two ago, I found myself playing the classic role of the critical, nagging wife. Well, let me correct that statement. I didn't find myself there. It was pointed out to me, and it was a correct evaluation.

It hit me pretty hard because I've always tried really hard not to be that wife. Yet there I was.

When Matt and I were dating, it was pretty apparent that we had differences of opinion on child discipline and child rearing. I figured we'd both kind of mellow out over the course of our marriage and come to a general consensus on how it should be handled.

While I think we have both changed and matured in our understanding of parenthood, new issues and challenges have arisen. Child rearing is so much easier in theory, and I have kind of floundered in actual practice. I'll read a book and try that theory. Read another book and see if that's better. I bounce back and forth on how to actually achieve what it is I'm wanting. I know I am not as consistent as I should be, mainly because I'm not positive that what I'm doing is "the right" way to handle things.

Matt, on the other hand, is very consistent. I have to give him credit for that. He definitely borders on authoritarian/drill sergeant parenting, but he is very good about holding boundaries and sticking to his discipline and parenting method.

In all my MFHD classes we were taught that authoritative/consulting parenting is the best, so when I felt Matt was coming down too hard or expecting too much of a 2 year old, I began pointing it out. Continually. In front of the kids.

Now, that is not good.

When I realized what I was doing, I decided I needed to change something. But how, and what? I started reading through talks and articles on and came across 2 articles that really spoke to me. I highly recommend you read both.

The first is Overcoming Differences of Opinion by Elder Robert E. Wells. Here are a few selections from it.
Repeated criticisms of this negative and acid nature can wear away the bonds of love until the marital fabric is weakened and ruined—with sad results for both parties.

Too often, criticism attacks tender, unprotected feelings. When we criticize, we are implying blame, censure, condemnation, reprobation, and denunciation—and we’re setting ourselves up as judges, as if we were qualified to point out someone else’s faults and weaknesses.


One of you might begin by asking, “What can I do to be a better husband (or wife)?” Then the other responds kindly with ideas and suggestions.

As you share your feelings and give your partner suggestions, be humble and nonthreatening. Don’t assume that you’re always the offended one and that your spouse is the guilty one. Remember, too, that in many situations, it’s not a matter of who is right and who is wrong—it’s simply a matter of understanding each other.

I’d suggest that you avoid a written list of faults. This is a time when relying on memory is more considerate than reading a host of complaints. Another rule you might establish is for each of you to limit the number of suggestions you bring at one time—no more than two or three at most. That way, the experience isn’t as likely to be so overwhelming.

As you’re the one receiving the suggestions, don’t become defensive.

The second was The Call of the Mild by Martha Wilder.

Although my husband was an excellent father, I often felt irritated and angry. I wanted him to fit the image of what I thought he should be. I had certain ideals and goals I wanted implanted in him.

[advice from her dad] 'Be gentle in your persuasion while recognizing his strengths and achievements. Be an example without criticizing. In your rush to achieve your goals, you may be sending a silent message that he’s not measuring up. He’s a good man, Martha, and he needs to know that you think so, too...One of the most insidious cracks in any marriage is when partners wonder if they made the right choice. The marriage begins to fall apart because they quit working at it'
There was a follow up to The Call of the Mild in that Ensign entitled, "How can I improve my relationship with my spouse?" by Martha's father. Here are the 7 suggestions:

  1. Avoid negative thoughts. Avoid comparing your spouse with someone else. Instead, think of what you like or appreciate about him or her. Make a list and add to it frequently.
  2. Avoid snipping. Don’t make derogatory remarks about your spouse in front of others, and don’t allow others to criticize your spouse within your hearing. Instead, say something positive about your mate in front of others, especially when your partner is present. It will reaffirm commitment and bolster self-esteem.
  3. Do something positive for your spouse each day: a cup of hot chocolate, a surprise note, helping with a chore that your partner usually handles alone. Be creative—and don’t keep score.
  4. Don’t set limits on the work you’re willing to invest in your marriage. Love is not a 50/50 proposition. You should avoid measuring the “amount” you’re contributing to your marriage.
  5. Avoid making demands or ultimatums. Nothing brings out stubbornness and resentment faster than an ultimatum.
  6. Practice meekness. Many people equate meekness with weakness. But meekness in reality is a strength. It results in a person becoming compatible with others and being teachable.
  7. Study the references to the words charity and love in the dictionary of the LDS edition of the King James Bible. Let the scriptures expand your understanding of eternal love.
Also, it's also good to remember James' advice in James 1:19 "let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." Now, that's something I need to post on my wall!

After reading these articles, instead of writing Matt a note or having a conversation detailing where our child rearing philosophies veered (and why I felt he was wrong and I was right), I felt really strongly that I needed to just let him know that I knew I was wrong for criticizing him in front of the kids, and that I would try harder to stop rescuing Dean and start communicating my concerns more appropriately with Matt. I also felt like he needed to know that I really did love and appreciate him as a husband and father. I'm not sure if my note meant more to me or him. After doing that, I noticed how stressed out he was at work. I felt more love toward him. Instead of making home a place of criticism and stress, I tried harder to make it a safe place filled with love and appreciation. Do I do this every day? Unfortunately I have relapses like everybody else. But I'm learning little by little. Do we see eye to eye on child discipline? No, but I'm more willing to step back and stop talking and intervening so much.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


After what seems like a very long month (and a half?) of work on this, I'm finally finished. I originally chose a blue for the binding since the backing is a light blue, but after seeing my purchase, Matt suggested a dark green would look nice. He was very right, and I'm so glad I went back and got this new binding.

I hand sewed it. It took longer than I wanted (story of this quilt!), but it looks nicer than any other blanket I've bound, hand or machine. So, that's good.

Glad I finished it just in time for the summer heat wave! ;)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Walter at 9 months

My poor, poor little Walter. We went to his 9 mo. check up on Thursday. He still had fluid in his ears. She said the infection was gone, but I'm not sure it hasn't come back since then. His eye infection certainly came back today, and with all sorts of vengeance. This is his worst eye infection yet. Both eyes glued shut with gunk and matted all day long with the green snot looking discharge. He just looked so very ragged all day today.

His stats at 9 months:
Weight: 22 lbs. 9 oz. (73%)
Height: 29 3/4 in. (85%)
Head Circumference: 18 in. (56%)

His sleep training is going very, very slowly. I've slept on the couch nearly every night for the past month since he's in my room and I can't stand listening to him cry. He'd cry and cry and cry for well over an hour (sometimes 2 hours) when he woke up around 2 or 3. We've finally got him to the point where he's going down around 7 and sleeping until about 5 or 5:30, but then he thinks he's up for the day. Not good for me, especially since we've not been going to bed until about midnight recently. Once he can make it from 7 to 6:30 I'm moving him into Dean's room. I seriously need my room back.

He is very fascinated by the toilet right now and I have to remember to shut the lid and shut the door when I leave, or he's in there playing with the best of them. He pulls to stand on things, but he isn't walking while holding things yet.

This picture is for Grandpa Bras(s). He was very interested in the sharks playoff hockey game when Matt had it on.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Walt's first shiner

Walt is totally exploring now that he has full mobility. He can crawl everywhere. His favorite places are Dean's room with the sit and spin and the fire place. He's also started pulling himself to stand. He tried pulling himself up onto a chair while I was cooking and pulled it over. His poor little eye.

And that spells Rainbow

Yesterday Dean got the fridge letter magnets and started arraging them in a row. He'd identify each one and then set it next to another letter. After he had a few, he spelled it out and said, "And that spells rainbow!" It totally reminded me of Rudy on the Cosby show with "What does ZRBT spell?"

At least he recognizes that letters put together spell words. =0)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Motherhood: The hardest job I'll ever love


A few weeks ago my mom contracted MRSA (a life threatening staph infection) and has been the sickest I've ever known her to be. Last week while on her sickbed, she had a very real, very clear dream of leaving her body and meeting her ancestors in the afterlife. Luckily for me she woke up! While I know she is mortal, I can't imagine losing her now. She is a fighter and is getting better.

Even in her sickness, she continues to dedicate her life and her energy to helping others improve their quality of life through nutrition and optimism. Not only has she helped those she knows, but she's helped friends of mine she has never met!

Dear Mother,

I have always felt loved and accepted by you.

No matter how busy you are (and you're ALWAYS busy, even on vacation), I know you have time for me.

You are always busy and you can't fathom boredom. That is just plain awesome.

Thank you for reading to us and teaching us to love learning and to work hard.

You value family time and togetherness. I can't remember missing FHE ever.

You value creativity and fostered our talents.
In a time when your contemporaries put shag carpet in their kitchens, you opted not to so your kids could drive their little racing cars, play with play dough, and watercolor.
You also allowed me to set up a stinky darkroom in your coat closet and paint hand prints all over my bedroom walls. You often spent more money on music lessons than on food.

Thank you for valuing our opinions.

I learned to work hard with you by my side.

You taught me the basics I use today: cooking, cleaning, sewing, creating, mothering, piano, and much more. I may have honed some of these in later years, but you taught me enough to feel confident that I could learn!

You are the most selfless person I know. I remember feeding hungry vagrants sandwiches in our front yard. They came to us because they knew you would help them, and you did.

You see people as children of God. Every person has an interesting story and you are able to see and appreciate that.

You are the most supportive mother I know. You attended every sport, music, theater, dance, speech & debate, etc. performance for all 7 children if at all possible. That is some amazing scheduling! But we all felt so important.

You have an amazing testimony of Jesus Christ, the scriptures, and the gospel. Thank you for being so stalwart in your testimony and for living what you preached.

We knew then and we know now that we are your most important work.

Thank you mom. I love you.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Sickies: the long version for journaling

Well, last Friday morning Walter was pretty cranky. He didn't nap well in the morning (only like 20 min.), so I decided to throw him in a dry bathtub with toys while I took a shower so we could go run errands instead. He cried the whole time I was in the shower, and when I got out and picked him up to comfort him, I noticed his tears out of his left eye were bloody!!! That's what I said, HE WAS CRYING BLOOD! It was pooling in the corner of his eye and then streaking down his face. I immediately called Matt and told him what was happening and that I was going to call the Dr.

I called the doctor (crying while I was trying to explain what was happening), and they said to get there as quickly as possible and they'd fit me in with a doctor in the office (not my norm.) when I got there. Since I'd just gotten out of the shower, I still had to get myself dressed as well as put shorts on both Dean and Walt. When Walt stopped crying, the blood stopped, thankfully. I hadn't even finished signing my co-pay when the nurse called our name. She determined that he had an ear and eye infection. She said she'd only seen the blood thing less than 5 times. She said there was just a lot of pressure built up from his infections and add the pressure from crying and that caused the bleeding.

She gave us some eye drops and a prescription for antibiotics. They seem to have helped, though I can tell his ear was totally bothering him still yesterday. Today seems to be a bit better.

So that was Friday.

Then came Saturday. Matt slept in, and after I put Walt down for his first nap, I was determined to go for a jog ALL BY MYSELF, sans stroller. Dean begged and pleaded to come, but I left him crying, with Matt and Walt sleeping in the other room, and Clifford on a DVD. I actually went out the back door because I was afraid he'd try and follow me out the front since he can get the locks open. My jog was fantastic. I pushed myself really hard, harder than I have in a very long time. I felt great.

When I got back I still almost expected to see him in our front yard, overcoming our fence gate, but he wasn't there. But I couldn't find him when I came in either. The TV was off, Matt was still asleep, Dean wasn't in the computer room nor his bed room. I started calling his name and went to see if he was in with Matt. Nope.

Then I saw him. Asleep. In the stroller.

He slept another 20 min. or so after I got home and when he woke up he told me "Dean sad. I TRIED to find you." It was sad.

To find him asleep in the stroller at 10AM was odd. And then he was really grouchy the rest of the day. Matt and I were supposed to go on our (7 year) anniversary date that night, so I didn't really even try to put him down for his nap at his normal time since he had that one. So I told him to rest on the couch with Robin Hood on. I snuggled with him through one showing. He was still really tired and grouchy. He sent himself to his room "to rest" a couple of times, but he hates being in there by himself.

Around 2 he fell asleep on the couch. And slept and slept. At 4 I started working in the kitchen, with loud music, hoping to wake him. He still slept. Finally, I woke him up by calling his name. He still just laid there. So unlike him. He then ended up moving to the floor and laid there. I went in to check on him. He sat up and almost immediately: PUKE. Into my hands, luckily, and not all over the carpet. He ended up throwing up 2 more times and I let him just lay there on the ground with a bowl next to him with Robin Hood on. He had a fever of102.

He fell asleep fairly easily that night and Matt and I got Thai take out and got a redbox movie instead of Indian food out and ice skating.

He was up again by 7 the next morning, and he seemed quite a bit better. We didn't got to church (though Dean insisted on having FHE, pictured below). He didn't eat much, but he drank quite a bit, and he didn't have a fever. I thought he was getting better, but by nightfall he seemed worse. He started losing his voice and gained a cough. Since he rested most of the day, he didn't fall asleep until nearly 10!! (He was in his room by 7 and only came out once because he pooped. That also is unlike him.) He just turned on his light and "read" books the whole time. We were starting to think he had swine flu, but we weren't sure.

Monday he ate a bit, still was hoarse, but he was chipper. I thought, maybe it was just some viral infection. He seemed to improve, he took a nap, and yet come evening he seemed worse for the ware.

Today he didn't eat much. For breakfast he ate 1/2 an isagenix bar, for lunch he ate a few corn chips and a snap pea, and for dinner he drank a V8! He did have 2 sippies of milk and about 1/2 a gatorade. We ran a lot of errands since he seemed to be getting better and we were all going stir crazy. He didn't take a nap and the afternoon just went to pot. He was melt down after melt down, poor boy. He was asleep by 7 (though I hear him coughing in his room as I type).

I hope tonight he does well and tomorrow he starts getting better! I'm going to really try and force fluids down him, and I'll let him eat anything that sounds remotely appealing to him (minus sugar treats). I really hope it's not swine flu, and I hope that Walt (nor Matt nor I) catch what he has.