Edward is one of the sweetest, cutest little 1 year olds ever. Sure he can be fussy and needy and messy at times, but his little face just lights up my world. He gives me unlimited hugs and slobbery kisses. He tries to help me wash floors, do dishes, do the laundry, etc. He loves to be outside and ride on our scooter as I push him, go to the park and climb and slide and swing and run. He loves to dig and tries to garden like his dad. Usually that just results in veggies getting pulled up prematurely though. He is starting to understand and mimic more language. I know it won't always be cute, but for now it is very cute to hear him say, "Big poop." when he's messy. I don't know how many things he really understands, but I've been successful at getting him to repeat "I love you" and other fun phrases. He wants to be just like the big boys. He makes it easy to want another kid someday.
|Edward "helping" me with laundry|
Walter has been obsessed with "little legos" and they soooo wish that they had more. He (they, really) only plays with legos during their non-screen time. All of the legos they have came from relatives at Christmas. They used them and carried them around the house so much. He and Dean are best friends. They have fights and disagreements, but overall he just loves having Dean around and wants to be just like him. He will be so sad when Dean goes to kindergarten next year, though he'll be in preschool 4 days for 3 hours himself. That will help with the transition I think.
|Playing "pool time" with his lego guys|
Dean is an amazing creator. They have an invention center at school where he uses recyclables to invent stuff. He LOVES it. Always comes home with little treasures and contraptions that he has invented with a whole story of what they can do. He is very good at putting together inventive ships with his legos, and he often makes 3-D paper ships as well that he creates in his mind. It is amazing to me. Our home teacher is an art teacher and said that kids don't usually start conceptualizing 3-D art until they're much older--jr. high/high school age. He said his paper ships really were amazing for a 5 year old. He is reading at a level 2 or 3 right now. We're still working on reading with inflection and pausing in the right places (periods, commas, etc.), but he's doing really well. His ability to reason mathematically is amazing. He understands the concept of fractions, adding fractions, and even understands that 3/3 is really 1 whole or that 3/6 could also be called 1/2. Most of that we do verbally, so I don't know if he'd be able to do it on paper yet, but conceptually, he gets how numbers fit together. I am curious to see how school goes for him and what they'll do to accommodate and facility his abilities. We've been working on his lisp too. He finally has figured out how to make an "s" sound and can do it if he really thinks about it and tries hard to form him mouth correctly. A lot of times he forgets, but I think he'll be able to work through it. He has such a sensitive spirit. The other day I said something about hoping that the kids would be more willing to try new foods when they're older since it was very important to me. Matt jokingly said, "And if you don't, we'll just kick you out." Dean nearly started to cry at the conversation that followed about how most kids won't live with their parents when they grow up. That thought is just too much for him to swallow yet. I've been working on teaching him piano. He's understanding quite a bit and has better technique and hand position than many of my older students. His main thing is that it's hard for him to listen to me as a teacher and do exactly as I ask him. But we're working through that and he's been practicing pretty well. This makes me very happy since for years he would tell me to stop singing or stop playing the piano. My baby is growing up.
|A small sampling of invention center creations|
Last week I taught in relief society. I was released as the primary pianist and now teach in our women's class once a month. It is my favorite church calling I think. It was the second time I've taught and I really love President Lorenzo Snow (the Latter-day Prophet who's words we are studying this year in that class) philosophy on improvement and change. "Do not expect to become perfect at once. If you do, you will be disappointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today." LOVE it. "The idea is not to do good because of the praise of men, but to do good because in doing good we develop godliness within us, and this being the case we shall become allied to godliness which will in time become part and portion of our being..."
|The boys playing their nightly game with Matt.|
I have a friend whose daughter is in bone marrow failure. They've found a partial match for her and she will be leaving her other 4 very little kids for a few months while she goes with her daughter for a bone marrow transplant out of state. It is amazing to hear her speak of the process, their lives, and their faith. The little girl has not even reached her teenage years and has to face life and death and operations and transfusions. She and her mom and their whole family are such a touching living testimony of the importance of families and taking time for one another. She is truly an inspirational mother. They haven't been to church in about 2 years since her daughter's been in bone marrow failure and can get sick and die very easily, but her faith is so strong. Today she got to "attend" Relief Society via skype (or some other program like it)! I love technology! It was so touching to me that I kept tearing up randomly during class. They have reminded me to cherish life and health and that people are more important than things or money or circumstances. If you're interested, her blog explains their situation and their lives. Here is their blog. http://ourlittletasteofheaven.blogspot.com/
If you keep your eyes open for good things, you will see them. Even if it seems cloudy and gloomy. Yes, sometimes it rains, but then you have puddles to jump in. Just jump in. Preferably in your underwear.
Those are a few of the things on my mind. I am grateful, so very grateful to be a mother. I am grateful I have a husband I love who loves me and that we can get along and make things work even when we're so very different and we have our own idiosyncrasies. I am grateful for a sweet peace that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into my life and that I know that families are eternal units and that I am sealed and bound with my family of origin as well as my own little family of choice and creation. Every day I try to "love life and see good days" 1 Peter 3:10. I don't always succeed, but when I do fall, I get up, repent, and try to do better than before. And that's all God expects of me. And for that I am grateful.