Sunday, July 27, 2014

Redefining Love

For some reason this has been on my mind for awhile. Probably because I still have so much more to learn. But I have decided that I really don't know what love is--the love that Casey and I share. 

I thought I knew.

Love was staying up late, a first kiss, holding hands, becoming engaged.
Love was wearing my wedding dress, kneeling in the temple, being sealed for time and eternity.
Love was having someone to come home to after class, a study buddy.
Love was going on dates, sitting together, holding hands, kissing my best friend.
Love was celebrating accomplishments, finding a new job, moving together.
Love was two little blue lines on the pregnancy test, bringing our baby home from the hospital.
Love was buying our first home.

But I was wrong. Love is those things. But it is not only those things. It is so much deeper.

Love is learning to fight together for a purpose instead of against each other.
Love is taking a timeout when frustrations arise then coming back together again.
Love is pleading with Heavenly Father for our needs to be taken care of.
Love is counting pennies ump-teen times hoping they stretch just a little further.
Love is clinging to each other when everything else tries to rip us apart.
Love is facing this unpredictable life together.
Love is deeper today than it was yesterday and deeper tomorrow than today.
Love is change.
Love is constant.
Love is eternal.

Love is something I still can't define. Love is something I hope to understand in 5 more years... maybe 50 or 60.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Making Memories Today

There are times when I start thinking about the future and I just get overwhelmed.

How can I love a school-aged son and let my sidekick go to class without me?
How can I love a teenage son and let my little buddy go out with friends without me?
How can I love a missionary son and let my playmate go into the world without me?
How can I love a married son and let my sweet Baby Bunny go to his own home without me?

Thinking of the future... of growing up... of letting go... just brings me to tears.

So I have to take a step back. And focus instead on today.

Today I'm going to give Devin extra kisses even when I'm frustrated.
Today I'm going to spend more time playing Legos even when I have other things to do.
BTW: This is a "Tow Truck" Devin built all by himself.
I was impressed with his imagination!!
Today I'm going to run around the house chasing each other even when I'm hot.
Today I'm going to celebrate the little things even when they are easier to overlook.

Today I'm going to listen to Devin's heartfelt prayers (which list everything he is grateful for) even when I'm tired. (No promises not to laugh during his prayers though. Casey and I both secretly look at each other and giggle.)
Today I'm going to make time for him even when there are errands to run.

Today I'm going to choose to be grateful even when the messes pile up.
Today I'm going to remember to love my sweet 2 years, 1 month and 1 day old even when something seems more important. Because really, nothing is more important than the memories we make today!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Family Scripture Study for Toddlers

Family scripture study is something that Casey and I work hard on. Sometimes it doesn't happen. Sometimes it is just a few verses. Sometimes not everyone is pleasant. But we try hard to make it an important part of our bedtime routine.

The dilemma was Devin doesn't really have the attention span to sit and listen to us just read. But he can sit and listen when there are pictures. Last winter, I started searching to find something that was on an 18 month old level. I didn't want the "Scripture Stories" manual because that was too big for his hands to "read" independently.  I have an obsession with 4x6 photo books and so does Devin. I was considering cropping pictures from the Scripture Stories manual to then print them on pictures. I didn't want to pay money to download something.

Eventually I found the perfect Book of Mormon for a toddler at The Idea Door. She complied all of the Book of Mormon Characters by James H. Fullmer into 4x6 photo cards. (Seriously click on both of those links!! You won't be disappointed!) I found an old photo book that has a hard blue cover. It reminded me of the "missionary" Book of Mormon. My book has 24 places for photos. So I selectively chose the most important 23 characters from The Idea Door for his scriptures. (I was considering printing them all and then rotating the pictures depending upon who we were actually reading about. This might be a good idea for an older child, but I know it would just confuse Devin right now. The real reason I didn't do this though is because it made a ton more work for me. I just wanted to be done.)

For the 24th picture, I picked my favorite picture of Jesus Christ among the Nephites from I downloaded a large picture then cropped it to 4x6. The BoM Characters don't have any picture of Jesus and it just seemed like the Book of Mormon needed at least one.

Devin absolutely LOVES his scriptures and insists that he has to have his while we read ours. Some nights we have tried to hurry and skip getting his out but that never works. I love that he can find almost any of the main 24 characters and he gets so excited sitting in Sacrament Meeting when he hears a reference and he recognizes the name. He knows who the speaker is talking about and pays attention for a few seconds.

And I just have to say.... I love what he calls Alma and Alma the Younger. Alma is "Elmo's Daddy" and Alma the Younger is "Elmo." It cracks me up every time. But he loves the scriptures and the hope is this love will continue for life.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The TWO Year Old Birthday Survey

(I filled out Devin's birthday survey this year for him....)

1. What is your favorite color? green or orange
2. What is your favorite toy? phones, vacuum, cars & trucks, anything electronic
3. What is your favorite stuffed animal? Elmo, Baby
4. What is your favorite thing to sleep with? Blankie
5. What is your favorite fruit? apple, banana, watermelon, pear
6. What is your favorite cereal? Fruit Loops, Elmo's Cereal, anything Mommy eats
7. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? pancakes or waffles and scrambled eggs
8. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? fries, string cheese, fruit snacks, chicken nuggets
9. What is your favorite dessert? cookies
10. What is your favorite drink? milk, water
11. What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner? Macaroni & Cheese
12. What is your favorite animal? whatever he sees and says hi to at the current moment
13. What is your favorite book? Disney Cars books, his scriptures
14. What is your favorite song? Book of Mormon Stories, Popcorn Popping, Daddy's Homecoming
15. What is your favorite game? Playing "Roar" (chase) with Daddy
16. What is your favorite TV show? Elmo's World or Mater's Tall Tales
17. What is your favorite movie? Cars or Planes
18. What is your favorite thing to do outside? drive his lawnmower
19. Who is your best friend? Mommy
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? (I don't even think Devin understands this concept yet and I have no idea....)

Playing with his shirt at lunch! He was so proud of himself!

Watching for the mailman with Elmo.

Helping Daddy plant an apple tree in the backyard.

Teaching Big Bird to fold his arms and pray

He always sleeps curled up in a ball on that side of the bed.

Homemade playdough with Peeps

Watching General Conference

"Vacuuming" the furniture. The sound he makes while doing this is hilarious!

Devin had a major growth spurt

Daddy was digging weeds one evening.
Devin decided to copy him and had to keep standing on his shovel too.

My curious little boy.
He is fascinated trying to figure out how the Merry Go Round works.

Reading his scriptures!

His favorite past time is doing anything I'm doing.
Such a cute little "helper."

Devin LOVES corn on the cob. He doesn't like many vegetables
but this was a success!

Giving Daddy a back massage

Filling up his trailer 

Special Delivery

Devin LOVES playing with Mack, McQueen, Doc & Bessie.
They are "Mommy's Truck & Cars" and he always begs to play with them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's a...

One of the presents Devin opened at his party.

I am 21 weeks pregnant!
(Because of changing jobs/ insurance, we had to wait to find out the gender.)

It's a...
The onsie says:
"My Mom is a QUEEN
and that makes me a PRINCESS"

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Fortune Cookie Tender Mercy

Last Saturday I decided to make Chinese food. After dinner, I noticed the fortune cookie on top of our microwave. Allow me just to say that this cookie has been sitting there for months.

As I read my fortune, the timing was perfect. Not that I really put much belief into random fortune cookies. But this one was like a little tender mercy.

Allow me to explain my dearest wish.

Sometime near the beginning of this year, Casey's job cut out all overtime. I thought we were budgeting under so all of his overtime money could be saved. I thought wrong. All of the sudden, we had a giant budget cut. We were already living so simply, there wasn't anything else to cut out really. But his company promised that they would do performance reviews soon and promised a huge raise.

We kept waiting and praying for that raise. For some reason, we had our own definition of huge--enough to cover the overtime loss for starters. (And he wasn't working that many hours overtime!) Eventually the raise came and his company had their own definition of huge--50 cents. There was no way that this was going to continue to work. But Casey was right in the middle of the semester and didn't have time to think about dealing with a change.

When he initially accepted the job, we were thrilled because it was A JOB! I had already quit my job but Casey didn't have anything to replace it. And we were desperate. At the time of acceptance, we knew it was a very low paying job but it was his only offer. And any job was better than none. He was hired with the promise he could work as much overtime as he wanted and they would get performance cash bonuses every paycheck. (Both of these policies changed once his company was bought out.)

The semester ended with a 4.0 GPA (Congrats, Honey Bunny!!!). And we knew change had to happen. The change was not going to be a huge pay raise at his current job. So we started searching for new jobs. I would look for anything that I thought was even remotely related to his AS degree and a possible internship swap for his BS degree. I kept emailing him possibilities then he would sort through them as well as search himself and apply for everything that he was actually qualified for.

Sometime near the start of last week, Casey heard back from one of the applications he submitted and wanted to schedule an interview. That interview was one week ago yesterday. I wasn't holding my breath. Likely there would be several more interviews at various different companies--at least that has been our track record. He said the interview went so well and he they were impressed. We prayed.

The next morning (last Thursday), we know they emailed his references. That afternoon, he was trying to figure out where to email a follow-up thank you letter. During his searching and trying to remember all the names of people who interviewed him, he received an email from one of the supervisors requesting a second interview. Casey was excited and scheduled his second interview for Monday morning.

I ate the fortune cookie in between his first and second interviews.

All Monday morning, I am dying to hear how it went. He finally comes home with an answer to that fortune cookie. They offered him two jobs on the spot! I couldn't believe it! TWO jobs--they wanted Casey to choose which one he would like better. I know the fortune cookie is a little thing but it meant a lot to me. A reminder of Heavenly Father's love for us.

Yesterday Casey signed his acceptance letter and submitted his two weeks notice! Wahoo! We feel so blessed. So very, very blessed and grateful. And deeply loved by Heavenly Father. I know He really does hear an answer every prayer--sometimes it takes months of waiting with lessons to be learned in the process. But I know He is mindful of us.

We continue to pray that the next two weeks will transition smoothly. That somehow switching insurance and the timing of pay checks will work out miraculously. And I know that somehow it will--even if its not what we expect right now!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Perfect Mother's Day Moment

Every mom dreams of the "ideal" Mother's Day. You know... flowers and breakfast in bed. Clean kitchen. Hair curled. Angel children at church. Etc.

Well Sunday, I had my perfect Mother's Day moment. But believe me it was far from the "ideal" make believe dream. 

I was the first one up because the Baby now sits on my bladder and I constantly feel like I have to go to the bathroom. Casey slept in then made breakfast--waffles that stuck to the waffle iron and burnt pancakes (but he was nice enough to give me the two that didn't turn black!). Dishes everywhere while trying to get all three of us in and out of the shower in record time. (Note to self: take baths on Saturday!!) 

But we were on time to church!! And my ward had a lovely mingle for all the sisters.That part can fall into the "ideal" category. 

That wasn't what made the perfect moment though. Casey picks Devin up from nursery and they come find me. Devin is wailing. "Bwankie." I try bribing him with a hug and left over apple slice from the mingle. He's inconsolable. We go get our coats. Casey tries to help Devin. Devin loudly whines "Mommy!" and refused to let Casey help. We get in the car. Devin crying and insists I have to awkwardly stretch my arm from the front seat the whole ride home so we can hold hands. 

We come inside and get blanket. I can't understand him through his almost constant tears. He then piles blanket, Elmo, a board book, the leftover three apple slices, and himself on my lap. Cuddle with a story while eating apples. And nap time. I sing to him and give him a kiss then shut his door. "Mommy!" I hear through his whimpers. Finally it is quiet and he's asleep. 

This really was my favorite moment during the day. Mother's Day is not about flowers or chocolate or a new necklace. It's about love. Love from a child to mommy. And from mom to baby. And even though Devin wasn't expressing himself very well, I know that's what he meant. "I love you Mommy! I love you enough to trust you. I trust you can help me feel better and know someone cares about me." Devin turned to me for nurturing. He turned to me for assurance. He turned to me for comfort. And that is what being a mother is all about--unconditional love! Something I watched my own Mommy give so freely but I only barely began to understand as I became a mommy myself. 

P. S. Casey totally did all the dishes during nap time. He really is amazing!!