Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's exhausting being awesome

(This was written last Saturday night, but I didn't add the pics until today.)



Ok, I'm not sure where that title actually came from. I'm just exhausted from this week. I know some of you have way more stressful lives with work, sports, music, etc. I'm just glad that parenting is a gradual transition because what I did this week exhausted me.

I taught preschool, which was fun (minus a few stressful moments of Dean bullying other kids since he didn't want them playing with his things).  I had Q and R again even though I had them last semester. We have 5 kids now, so that threw off the rotation.

For Q we:
  • Played a question game where kids hunted for 1 red, 1 blue, and 1 yellow question mark I'd taped up around the living room. They came back to the quilt and I "journaled" their answers to the questions. All of the blue question marks were blank and I had them ask me a question. This was far more successful that I imagined it would be. They were very intrigued by the question marks all over the place. I also played "question/not a question" where I'd either ask a question or say a statement. If it was a question they'd hold up a question mark and say "question!" if it wasn't, they'd hold up their arms in an X and say "not a question!" The older two kids really liked this. The three younger kids were a little confused by it.
  • Made paper quilts where you glue patterned squares of paper onto a big sheet of paper. Dean was so proud of his. He carried it around all day until he could show Matt when he got home. He wanted to sleep with it, but I convinced him that hanging it on his wall would be good enough.
  • Sewed with plastic needles and yarn in a loosely crocheted quilt. This was stroke of genius on my part I think.
  • Ate Quakes rice snacks
  • Q listening game. Once again, the older two (4 year olds) really got it, but the 3's not so much
  • hide the quarters in the flour (it was supposed to be cut the quarter, but no one was cooperating and they were all enjoying playing in the flour. It was a huge mess, but it took a good chunk of time and the kids loved it).
For R we:
Blast off!
  • Made toilet paper rockets by painting toilet paper tubes with glue, covered them with foil and stickers, made the tip out of a crushed cone of foil, and fire out of red tissue paper
  • Balloon rockets, definitely the most popular activity of the day. I had 6 strings tied to our garden and taped to our house. Each had a straw piece on it. I taped a big balloon onto it and closed it with a mini clothes pin. We counted down and the opened the clothespins and the balloons rocketed down the string. They had me blow up their balloons 4 or 5 times.
  • Water bottle rocket that Matt helped me make. I got one good launch off, but the kids wanted to help and touch and crowd too much after that. I got one more rocket off after the kids left, and the bottle ended up in our neighbor's yard. Oops.
  • We collected "moon rocks" on our rocket trip to the moon (our sand box with decorative rocks I got from the dollar store)
  • glued planets to a black piece of paper so we had a solar system to explore. 
Additionally this week I fed three missionaries. It's amazing how different Elders are than Sisters. We've had sisters so long in our ward and they just switched to Elders. SOOOO different it was funny. I fed them Israeli Couscous with grilled vegetables, chicken satays, hummus and pita chips, and a tomato/cuc. salad. They had no clue what anything was, but they did a decent job of trying/eating everything. I always try and do something "different" because I'm  so afraid they'll be fed the same thing over and over.  Even in reference to the salad, one Elder said, "Well, I recognize cucumbers and tomatoes, but I don't know what that green stuff is on top." When I said it was dill he said, "Hu, that's not something I've ever cooked with!" =)

Tonight I accompanied 2 girls at their high school band solo festival. It was hard to prepare with my kids begging me to stop playing, shutting the piano cover, crying, trying to play over the top of me etc.  In the end it turned out ok (not fantastic, but I did only have 1 week to learn the music). The worst part was having to play on an electric piano at the festival since the stupid music holder doesn't easily allow for more than 3 sheets. I actually had one sheet fall on one of the girl's song. Oops. I was shocked at how much more difficult it was to accompany instruments than vocalists. I was happy I had an electric piano at home so I could practice with them since my piano is 1 1/2 notes lower than concert! Also, lyrics are way easier to follow and accommodate for mistakes than another set of notes! One was a bass clarinet. One was a flute. I don't think I'll be doing it again next year if anyone asks! I am just so glad it's over and I think I'm ok with this not being my phase of life right now. Maybe when kids are older.

Also, I have decided to run a half marathon in May. It's practically the only Saturday race in TX, and I figure if I'm going to do it, now's the time since I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding.  Last week our long run was 6 mi. and we kept a decent pace of 9 min. miles. Today we had a 5K run at race pace. I felt good about our 8.3 min. miles. It was so hot today I went through all my fuel belt water even though it was a "short" run. I don't know how I ever ran without water.  It's amazing to think that I consider 3 miles a short run now! It so used to be my max.

This pic has no relevance to the post, but I just loaded it on my computer. It was St. Patrick's day and the boys are wearing the rainbow hats we made at our party.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love life and see good days: Aspire to inspire gratitude

It was a hard day today. Walt woke up in a terrible mood and I felt like I had to sludge through 4 hours of screaming toddler before even going to church where I most likely would have a 1 hour wrestingling match with two boys during sacrament meeting followed by a 2-hour-outnumbered-mass-chaos-of-18-month-old-nursery class where I'd be wiping snotty noses, pulling kids off chairs before they tumble to their demise, breaking up fights over toy planes and trains, trying to keep kids from eating play dough and stuffing crayons up their aforementioned snotty noses etc. etc.

Sacrament meeting did prove to be quite the fiasco. Walt kept trying to escape and screamed every time I stopped him from leaving our row. Matt took him out about half an hour in. About 10 min. later Dean was just being so naughty. Running out into the aisles. Making lots of noise. He was just bouncing off the ceiling. I ended up taking him out and setting him down in the hall next to a pillar for a time out. Matt ended up taking him into the clean room while I then took Walter and began to cry as the beautiful violin musical number started playing A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. Three sisters in the lobby with their own toddlers came over to give me hugs, ask if I was ok, and sympathize with my circumstance.

A couple weeks ago we had a Stake  Relief Society conference where we had inspiring classes on how to be better people. My favorite of the three classes was one on perspective.

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go." Martha Washington

"...love life, and see good days..." says Peter (1 Peter 3:10) He goes on to say that in order to do that, we must stop speaking evil and guile. Criticism doesn't help us feel happier. Pre-judging, gossip and slander keep us from seeing the good. 

Are we actually looking for the good? Do we see the good that happens in our lives? Do we thank the Lord for the good things that come our way? Or do we just blame, nit-pick, and look for ways we have been wronged?

I pretty much was expecting the worst today and I got it.  I was looking for it, and I found it.  Luckily other people through kind acts and beautiful music helped lift me out of my funk.  I can wallow in my self-pity as long as I want, but if I want to be happy, I have to look for the good in the circumstances that I'm in and let go of being the victim.

I was reading in the Gospel Principles manual tonight on Charity, and President Monson said, “Let us ask ourselves the questions: ‘Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?’ [Hymns, no. 223]. What a formula for happiness! What a prescription for contentment, for inner peace—to have inspired gratitude in another human being."

I really think that as we start to see the good in our lives, we are better able to be the good for others. We are more apt to serve, help, forgive, and love.

I own a book called "Change your questions, Change your life" by Wendy Watson Nelson, Elder Nelson's wife. As long as we are stuck in the "Why me" stage, we'll not grow or become better. But we need to move on to questions such as "What can I learn from this?" Heaven knows the older I get, the more I know I don't know everything!  There are plenty of lessons I need to learn from days like today, so I guess there's something to be grateful for!

The teacher of that RS class also reissued a challenge that Elder Eyring gave in a conference to write down the good things that happen to us so we can see the hand of the Lord in our lives. This past month I've been keeping a pen-and-paper journal (imagine that!) faithfully every night before I go to bed. I don't try to make it flow or worry about grammar. I just try and think of the top 5 (or more) things that happened during the day that I was grateful for or that made me laugh.  My blog has suffered because I'm getting my words out elsewhere, but I think I'm feeling better for it. It helps me look for the Lord's tender mercies and focus on the blessing my children are in my life rather than focus on the difficult moments where I may-or-may-not-have-wanted-to-strangle-my-darling-children-for-screaming-for-3-hours-straight-or-for-smearing-animal-cracker-goop-all-over-my-couches.You should try it.

Phew. The end. Kudos to you if you actually read my ramblings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Accessorizing

my lady bug watch
I have never been one for jewelry, really. Ok, I take that back. In high school I did wear big gaudy "play" type necklaces and earrings (I had a big yellow heart necklace with a little guy inside that I called my "boyfriend". I honestly took one of my senior pictures with it on, I'm too lazy to scan it right now, though). And rubber duck earrings. And a plastic lady bug watch. Oh was  I awesome.

Anyway, I have only ever worn 2 rings in my life (My CTR ring given to me when I was in the 7th grade. I still wear it. And my wedding ring.). I wore the same pair of earrings (Celtic knots Matt gave me before he left on his mission) for 9 years until one of the backs fell off last year and I had to replace them with some dragons we got at the Scottish Festival.

Last year when I had my wardrobe revamp, I did purchase some dollar jewelry store necklaces, but those get broken lickity split since the clasps are so crappy. I decided I do like wearing certain necklaces, I just am still too cheap to buy much of anything for fear it will break.

I purchased a beautiful turquoise bead necklace from India with a clasp that was very Walter proof off of Overstock. Unfortunately I'm not one to remember to read details when I buy online, and the necklace was 28 in. long. I have a short neckline and body as is, and the necklace itself weighed 2 lbs. because it was so beaded, plus it was nearly twice as long as I expected!. It was beautiful, but it engulfed me. I was so sad. I couldn't return it because shipping would have basically ruined it for me, so I gave it to one of my friends. She in turn brought over a lot of her old necklaces that she didn't really wear much anymore. Dean was in heaven! He had to try every one of them on.  It's been nice to have a selection and I have, in fact, been wearing necklaces a lot more lately (largely influenced by Walter's begging. "pretty neckas" while he pats my neck.)

Unfortunately, these too have broken easily in the hands of Walter (who loooooves necklaces). When I was telling a friend about it, she suggested I get some Mardi Gras beads for him. I actually had some in a box from years ago, and I was able to find them easily. He's enjoyed having his very own beads. On one afternoon, Walt wanted to wear underwear like Dean, a necklace like mom, and he raided the winter box and found himself a hat and one glove. Since it was getting too hot for his winter hats, I finally got him some summer hats.  He does love to accessorize.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Dean's first talk

Dean gave his first talk in Primary today. The Primary President told me they were speculating whether or not the new sunbeams (3-4 year olds) were ready to start giving talks, and she said, "we knew that Dean would probably be just fine."  That boy has an opinion and loves to share it with people. He loves speaking in front of an audience. He loves participating. He loves being the center of attention. He's born his testimony twice in front of our whole church congregation already, and begs to speak at the microphone.  When we were practicing this morning at home, I was whispering the words to him, and he would whisper what I said. I told him if he whispered during his talk at church, no one would be able to hear him, and they might not ask him to give another talk. It worked! He said his whole talk in a very loud voice. =)

It was so cute.I was very proud of him.

When I was writing it, I tried to ask him questions about the topic, and some of his answers were incorporated into the talk.

Here is what he said: We are spirit children of Heavenly Father. He wants us to live with him again one day. Heavenly Father helps us through a living Prophet. President Monson is the Prophet of God today. We can listen to the Prophet during conference, but we need to be quiet and listen so we can hear Heavenly Father’s important message. If we follow the Prophet and make good choices, we can live with Heavenly Father and Jesus again.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Granola girl

I think I've somehow turned into a granola girl over the years, and I have to say that I like the lifestyle I lead (most of the time). Cloth diapering, making my own bread (and granola, and snacks, and most meals from scratch), heavily limiting my kids' sugar intake, cutting out margarine (how in the world did I think it tasted better than butter??), not shaving frequently enough (once when I was teaching Dean to draw stick figures, he insisted I put poky hair on the woman's legs! hahahaha), not wearing make up 99% of the time, etc. It's true I'm no longer a vegetarian, but I think I am at heart. It just makes my marriage run a whole lot smoother incorporating some meat. But c'mon, I still feed my family of 4 on 1 chicken breast or 1/3 lb. beef in most meals...

My latest addition to this "natural" things is my recent running shoe purchase. I just decided to keep them today, so I can't tell you how totally awesome they are just yet. I'm just now testing them out.  I got some vibram 5 finger Bikila LS shoes. You don't wear socks with them. They double as a water sock. You can wash them in your washing machine.

To explain the theory behind it, I"ll include a blurb from their own site, " Imagine footwear that can actually help make the foot healthier, that can strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, improve range of motion and increase sensory reception important to balance and agility. Imagine footwear that might just make running safer and healthier, by encouraging a forefoot strike and a more natural running form that creates less impact on the knees, hips and lower back. That is what Vibram FiveFingerscan offer.


We are not saying that Vibram FiveFingers® is the only footwear you will ever need. There are times when we need the protection and security of a boot or shoe. Like all things in life, there is a balance, and Vibram FiveFingers® offers an alternative to traditional footwear. Wearing FiveFingers for fitness training, running or just for fun will make your feet stronger and healthier – naturally. ."

I've been having some knee problems recently, so I was interested when I heard a friend of mine talk about these shoes and how they helped her knee and hip problems that resulted while wearing regular running shoes.

I will let you know how I feel about them after trying them out for awhile. I ran 1.5 miles on the treadmill with them yesterday and 3.5 miles on the road today. I can tell they work my calf muscles more than a regular shoe! I want to go further tomorrow, so we'll see if that's practical. Like any new shoe, it may require a little getting used to.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Hat!

After we chopped Walt's hair, he took a sudden interest in hats. It was during the cold snap here, so I think his head was just plain cold without his hair. For days he insisted on wearing a hat. It's gotten warmer, and he doesn't insist on a hat every day now, but he still wears one if he finds it.

He is SUCH a hilarious kid these days. His vocabulary is huge, and he's parroting whole phrases now.

The other day when we were out getting quotes on car repair, he kept thinking we'd see daddy walk into the shops. I kept telling him that daddy was working. The rest of the day he said over and over in a sad voice, "Dada working."

When we were at a friend's house grinding wheat, he found a real kitty toy thing (you know, the cat that moves it's head and looks like a real cat and meows) and was DEVASTATED at having to leave it. I told him to say goodbye to the kitty and he sadly waved to the cat, "bye bye kitty."  As we drove home he'd periodically break into tears and say over and over, "Kitty. Kitty. Bye bye kitty."

He is very good at cheering. If something good is going on, he'll start yelling "All right!!" and punching his arms in the air in celebration.

He loves, loves, loves necklaces. If I am not wearing a necklace, he pats my chest and says, "Neckas, neckas. Mama pretty neckas." until I get one. He wore 3 strands of Marti Gras beads around today since he insisted on having a "pretty neckas" too.

The other morning when I was changing Dean's night diaper, Walt looked down and exclaimed, "BIG POOP!" And he was right.

He occasionally asks to go pee on the potty, so I'll put him up there, he'll pull his shirt up (like Dean so he doesn't pee on it), and looks down. He'll stay there a few seconds till he declares he's "Ah dun."

He loves "anmals" (animals), stuffed and real. Most animals are just called "anmals", and the majority of them say "moo" right now (though he knows a lot of the other sounds), but he does a pretty fierce whinny when he sees a horse.

He is fascinated with robots and guitars, and he insists on having one or the other on his shirt for the day if they are available. I tried putting a car shirt on him this morning, but he only wanted a robot. He also loves singing Robot Parade by TMBG. In fact, this morning as I was taking Dean to the bathroom at 6:30, I heard Walt in his crib belting that song out in the dark.

I love when he says, "Oh Gosh!" He's very good at the "sh" and actually says is for most ending "s" sounds. Like, "Yesh!"

Here's a recent video. He's in a hard stage to capture since his attention span is short and he's usually distracted once I get the camera out. I got the camera out because he'd been cheering, but by the time I got the camera, he'd stopped. It took some coaxing by Dean and me to do it again. The last 15 seconds are the best. I love how he says "STOOOP!" when he's all done.

Untitled from Celia Brasfield on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"Dean's favorite color is red!!"

I hear this phrase pretty much every time I get the boys milk. I let the boys wander as they drink their 3 cups of milk (one before breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner), so I still have them both using sippy cups. I have two hot pink sippy cups (odd, I know, since I have boys, but they were all out of other colors), and Dean has claimed them as his own. He only ever wants milk in the "red" cups. I haven't corrected him on the color since I think Matt would rather his favorite color be red instead of hot pink. =) Tonight as I was pouring milk after dinner, Walt came over to the counter and pointed to the pink cup saying, "Dean! Deans muk!"  Even he recognizes the pattern now.

Dean is pretty good with the potty training now. After 2 weeks of underwear we let him have a play gun for a potty prize. He's been wanting a "big gun" for a long time, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy a gun at Christmas. We bought 3 or 4 guns before we settled on this one. The nerf guns are just too old for him still. We ended up getting him a lights and sounds assault riffle. It was a little disconcerting to see these little guys wandering around the house "shooting" things with this big gun, but honestly, they make guns out of everything (including some Christmas pictures of Mary) anyway.

It's been a little over a month now, and he mostly goes on his own with quite a bit of prompting by me when I see him holding himself.  I only had to do the timer thing for a few days. We still use a diaper at night, even though he goes once or twice in the night (comes and gets me). He still needs lots of help with wiping and reminding to flush and wash, but he is getting much better at getting his pants and underwear back on and buttoned by himself.

He wanted me to take a video so you could see the lights since the flash cancelled them out.
video

Updating

I have been feeling very, very uninspired recently. I haven't wanted to blog, haven't wanted to craft, haven't wanted to do much more than survival really. Well, I guess I have been meal planning again, which is a plus since I was in a food rut about half of last year.

Luckily I have a good friend who knows what she's talking about when it comes to color, and with her (and Matt's) direction I have continued plodding along with my house updates. 

My most recent room has been the kitchen. It went from light yellow that blended into the off white cabinets to Sherwin William's Independent Gold, which looks a lot more like green at night.  I've gone back and forth on how much I like the color, but in the end, I like it. It looks good against the cabinets.  All I have left is behind the fridge and touch up, and I'll do that when we move the fridge to tile sometime in the next few weeks.

The first wall I painted to see if the color would work.


The contrast between the old and the new yellows.
before

after. I packed up nearly everything on top of the cabinets.


now to de-clutter the counter...