Monday, December 15, 2014

7 Tips for How To Potty Train a Boy

Matthew is just getting through the potty training process.  Even though he just turned three, I am not surprised at how early he wanted to be a big kid, he always wants to be just like his brothers.  He walked at nine months, never liked baby food, refused to sit in his high chair when he was barely a year old, wanted milk in his cereal long before he was actually capable of eating it without making a huge mess.  His most common phrase is, "me do it meself."

I have potty trained four boys now, not to mention helped potty train several kids when I worked at a Montessori school, so I feel like I have learned a lot about the process.  I am sure when it comes time to potty train Andrew, he will show me I still have a few things to learn. :)

But hey, I will share with you what I know to work really well:

1. Go Cold Turkey.  With my first boy, I tried to take the "little bit at a time" approach.  It took almost a year before I actually felt safe leaving him in underwear all day.  And he was four and a half by the end.  It was really frustrating, for both of us.  So with my second son, we picked a week that I had no where to go, and he wasn't allowed to wear a diaper, or a pull up, only underwear.  There were a lot of accidents and the first two days were miserable, but after that, he did awesome and we rarely had an accident after that.  I will take two miserable days over a year process anytime.  He wasn't confused what he needed to do and what was expected of him.

2. Be Consistent.  As with basically everything in parenting, if you aren't consistent, it won't work.  Don't have some days where he is in pull ups and other days where he is in underwear, or only when you go out.  When my boy wakes up, I change them out of their diaper and into underwear, have them go to the bathroom and then stay in their underwear all day.  I try really hard to even keep them in underwear even when we are going places, even though that is terrifying.  Just don't go anywhere that doesn't have a bathroom close and make sure you have a change of clothes with you.

3. Praise them with words rather than treats (the occasional treat is okay-Pavlov dog's theory isn't a good thing).  With Matthew we set the timer for every half an hour.  Then any time any timer went off, he thought he was supposed to pee.  Believe me, that didn't work out so well.  ;) And I have had lots of friends that gave their kid a treat every time they peed.  But then the kid got hooked and wanted candy EVERY time they peed for the rest of their lives.  I don't know how they got them off this process, but I was not willing to risk it being as all my children are sugar-aholics like me.  But if it works for you, go for it.  But my kids always loved being praised or given a huge hug.  They love to feel like they are special.

4. Try to pick a time when both of you are ready.  If the kid isn't ready, they will resist you in every way possible.  And believe me, there is no way you can actually force a child to pee, believe me, I have tried.  If they want to bad enough, they will hold it until they die.  I'm pretty sure.  And sometimes I have made my kids wait to potty train even when they seem ready (they tell me they are poopy, they try to pull down their pants, fascinated by the bathroom, etc.), because I am not ready.  Like right after I have a kid and I just can't handle getting up every five seconds to rush them to the bathroom.  No way.  Can't handle that stress.  There is no perfect time, but try to find one where things are pretty good for both of you.

5. Sit down first, then stand.  For my boys, aim has never been something to come super quickly when they still have those cute chubby hands and their attention spans are short.  So I get them to figure out potty training first, before the aim thing.  Have them spread their legs and aim down.  Then once they have the timing down and they aren't having accidents all day long, then you can teach them to pee standing up.  This is where Dad's expertise comes in handy.  And boys LOVE to pee with their Daddy's.  :)  Cheerios or a square of toilet paper make great target practice.

6. Night training is different than day training (you can do both, but I needed the break to not have to worry about cleaning sheets and more laundry).  A kid learning to hold it until they can find a toilet is one thing, it is a completely different ballgame getting them to hold it all night long, or to wake their subconscious and find the bathroom without peeing in any random corner.

7. Don't stress.  Maybe this should be number one, but for real, no parenting task to accomplish is worth screaming at your kid for.  I have learned that the hard way.  If you are starting to get super mad at your kid, take a deep breath and postpone it to a later time if you have to.  You don't want your kid to relate you being mad with the bathroom.  :) 

As with all parenting, what works with one kid usually doesn't work with the next.  So this is just what worked, most of the time, with my boys.  Some days were good, some weren't, but we all learn and grow...eventually.  Hopefully some of this works for you.  Good luck getting your kid out of diapers!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Night time Cooper Quotables

I don't know if some days are actually funnier than others, or if I just actually listened to my kids for a change today.  But today was full of funny sayings.  So get ready for this.

During scripture reading (we are in the Book of Mormon, in Alma) we are reading about being Jesus's sheep because we don't want to be Satan's sheep, so we need to listen to Jesus.

Tyson: "So Caleb (who is flipping through his scriptures humming to himself), who is the Good Shepherd?"
Caleb: "Jesus."
Tyson and I make eye contact with eye brows raised.  Either good guess or he was actually listening.
Tyson: "Good, and Joshua, who are the sheep?"
Josh: "Us."
Eye contact again.  Wow, two for two.
Tyson: "Matthew, so whose sheep do we want to be?"
Matthew: "Um, not Jesus, I think maybe that other guy."
Tyson has to hide his face behind his scriptures to keep his laughter from being seen.
Caleb: "Matthew, no! You can't follow Satan.  He is bad and mean."
Josh: "And yeah, then you will go to Hell!"
Matthew: "Yeah, me go there.  Me like that place."
It took a good five minutes for us to correct the situation once Tyson and I finally calmed our laughter. Hopefully we convinced Matthew that we would rather he choose to follow Jesus.  But who knows.

Then, we finally get the kids tucked in and Tyson and I go in the next room to clean up a bit and I suddenly catch a bit of a conversation between Josh and Caleb, so Tyson and I start listening in.

Caleb: "Tomorrow, at preschool, I am going to convince Allie to go into the army so we can be together.  We can get married and be in the army together.  But then once we have kids, I would like her to stay home."
Josh: "Yeah, it is good for girls to stay home with kids.  They do lots of stuff."
Caleb: "Yup."
Josh: "Yeah, like moms always talk on the phone and stuff.  Then when their kids are noisy they yell, 'Guys! Knock it off, I am trying to talk on the phone!' But that is what happens when you have boys because boys are crazy.  They aren't even bored, they run around and get really hyper.  Girls get bored all the time though.  Boys are more fun.  But they are crazy."

Then they all proceeded to make animal noises and all intellectual conversation disappeared.  But man it was funny while it lasted.  However, I do wonder when, if ever, my boys will see any of the actual work that I do.  Oh well, at least it makes for funny stories.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Connect Those Heart Strings

Lately, I have realized that I am entering a new phase of motherhood.  And it is drastically different than the one I have been in for the past almost seven years.  It is the "school" phase as my brain likes to call it.  Josh is in school for the second year now, Caleb goes to preschool three days a week and I am left with only two little boys for part of the day, one of which is sleeping during that time.  Let me tell you, the quiet it so relaxing but almost unnerving.

Plus, the little guy (Matthew's twin basically) I babysit is home with his Mama now for the next few months because she just had a baby (hooray for cute boys!).  So it is extra quiet.  And today (which is why I am writing), it is almost silent, minus the noise of the typing of my laptop and me eating the most deliciously flaky apple pie like toaster strudel because I have no one to hide it from, because Tyson took Matthew to work with him for a little bit.

So the reason I am writing: watching Tyson walking around the corner with our little Matthew guy by his side.  There is really nothing in this world like watching the man you love most, love the little people you love most.  I don't know how to explain it, but it is like it connects the pieces in my heart, like this is how the world should be.  To know that the people you love most, love each other, it is just perfect.  And Tyson is one heck of a dad.  He loves his little boys and plays with them and talks to them, but when he does extra special things to show them he loves them, it is like the best happiness in the world.

I never want to forget that happy round little face, looking up at his Daddy, feeling so special because his Daddy was going to take him to work with him, all by himself.  His little flip flopped feet, stomping through the mass quantity of acorns in front of our house, marching next to the superhero of his life.  Then of course they both turned and waved to me and maybe I am a little sappy, but it is those moments that make up for all the bad ones.

That is probably why it is so wonderful for little kids to see their parents in love with each other.  Because they love their parents so much, and it somehow completes the heart to see those people love each other.  It really is how the world should be.

So, go and show the people in your life you love them.  It will be beyond worth it.  Just like a warm toaster strudel on a cold morning.  :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Detective Mom

Being a mom is so what I thought it would be, and so not what I thought it would be.  I knew I would change a million diapers, I knew I would be their coach, complaint department, best friend, worst enemy.  I knew I would get graham cracker kisses and I was so looking forward to that.

However, I did not expect the having to learn to pee either with an audience or with four children sitting outside the door.  I did not expect to constantly be covered in snot, drool, spit up or another unknown substance.  Literally, most days, my shirt and pant legs are smeared with something.  It is quite often difficult to see the point in getting dressed, much less ever vacuuming.  I know the second I do, someone is going to come in with leaves and crumble them up, or be eating a cookie and proceed to leave more on the floor than could possibly begin as one cookie in the first place.

Another thing I did not expect is the type of thinking I would be doing.  Often, very often, I find myself thinking "what is THAT?"  You know when you see that brown blob on the floor and pray that it is chocolate, a leaf, or even a bug, not poop?  Well, the other day, I walk into my room and there is this white powder all over the floor, across the bottom ridge of my hope chest and as I look closer, in the key hole of the hope chest.  I start thinking "what the...? Anthrax wouldn't be in my house...or drugs...maybe sugar?"  Then I see a very small remnant of a cracker.  So using my detective reasoning skills I deduct that little Andrew was eating a cracker, in my bedroom, saw the lock and thought, "hm, wonder if this cracker will open it."  So then he proceeded to twist the cracker, shaving off little crumbs into the lock and all over in the surrounding area.  At least, that is what I imagine to have happened.  I really will never know.  But that is one of the fun parts of being a mom I didn't know would happen so often: deductive reasoning and creating stories and images of who dunnit. 

I also didn't know that I would love these little creatures so completely.  So much so that I can't say no whole heartedly enough when I tell them to stay in their beds that they keep harassing me and then end up falling asleep bundled next to me.  They are just beyond cute.  I never expected to love like this.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

I don't have an update on how I have been with eating and planning better meals...because well, I have really gone backwards this last week.  You know how I told you I was pregnant with baby number 5?  Well, last Sunday I started cramping really bad and then began to bleed.  I miscarried once in between Caleb and Matthew, and that was sad, but very straight forward.  I bled for several days and then I was done and I knew that pregnancy was over.  But this one, I just bled for a few hours and then stopped.  I had no idea what was going on.  I was dizzy and EXHAUSTED and really nauseous.

We were out when the bleeding started, so Tyson drove home as fast as he could and I ran inside. A million emotions took me over.  It is amazing how fast I became attached to the idea of another baby.  How quickly I love the little people inside me.  My rational side said everything would be fine, we could get pregnant again, give me more time to adjust to having five kids.  I could get in better shape and be more prepared to be pregnant again.  But my heart just didn't want to give up and didn't want to loose a baby. 

Tyson quietly came into the room I was in and just held me as I sobbed like a little baby for a few minutes.  Part of me was like "girl, give it up, it is your sixth pregnancy!! Why do you even care?" but my more weepy motherly side took over and wanted her say.  A scripture came to my mind that I have heard more than I have read, "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)

That is why I announce my pregnancies so early, because I know even if I do miscarry, that it is a life and Tyson and I want to celebrate it, no matter how long it lasts.  And I knew the Lord would take care of everything.  That doesn't mean I was a great person for the next few days, and I wasn't totally happy with all the different emotions and side effects I felt, but I tried my best to trust in the Lord.

So Tuesday we went in for an ultrasound and turns out, the baby is fine!  It is a cute little blob, maybe 5 millimeters big, still with a little tail.  But, it has a heartbeat.  Isn't that incredible?  It has only been developing for a few weeks (I am roughly 7 weeks along) and it's heart is already formed and beating?!  What a miracle.  I do however have a subchorionic hemorrhage.  That means that a part of the placenta has pulled away from the uterus.  This has never happened in any of my pregnancies before (that we know of), so I was a little worried, but SO relieved that the baby is alive and that I don't have to abort the baby to keep me alive (I was most worried about that, an ectopic pregnancy), so a little hemorrhage seems like nothing in comparison.  The midwife told us that almost always, the body just heals the hemorrhage and it is no big deal at all.  I am however at a greater risk of miscarrying now, because the placenta may be pulling away because it knows the baby isn't developing right or something else is wrong.  It is incredible what our bodies do without us even knowing it.  That in and of itself tells me there is a God. 

Since then, I still feel tired, nauseous and pregnant, but I am so thankful.  Thankful because for however long, I get to stay pregnant, that I got to see the little heart beating.  Thankful Tyson got to be there with me.  Thankful for all the adorable prayers my little boys say:

Caleb: "Please bless this baby that it will stick."
Josh: "Bless Mama and the baby in her to get better."
Matthew: "Peas bess the baby in Mama's tummy. Bess Mama to get better."

And even though I feel fine now and I am strong and trying to get caught up on all the household things that I fell behind on (okay, that I just haven't done in months).  Not to mention I haven't gone shopping in forever and hate the thought of cooking, so everyone has been living off of pb&j sandwiches and popcorn or going out to eat which is super fun, but our budget is not so happy with us.

We have been surrounded by kind people.  Our families have been angels and offered so much love.  Our friends have brought us meals and presents to remind me to be happy.  Seriously, it is crazy all the love people keep giving us.  I feel guilty accepting it because I am really okay.  I am capable of cooking.  I am happy and I know I am going to be okay and so will our family.  I know this is a very small thing to experience and hardly a trial at all.  But I don't want to turn people away who are so kind to help us because, 1: I know it helps me and whatever energy I can save and use to be nice to my family, it is totally worth it, 2: I know how good it makes me to help other people and how hard it is to want to help but not know what to do or be told that we aren't needed. 

So I hope somehow I can give back to these wonderful people that have been so kind, or that they will be blessed a million fold for their generosity.  I am even more assured that the Lord loves us, He knows us, He knows what we need, He knows how to help us.  He wants us to be truly happy in the long term, even if that means giving up the things and people that make us happy in the here and now.  A great talk that addresses this can be found here. 

So even though I am not the best at being happy all the time (my children will attest to the Mama Monster that makes her appearance), I am continually grateful to the Lord for everything He gives us and tries us and teaches us and loves us.  He always loves us.  It is a wonderful reminder how I do not want to lose this baby, a million times more He doesn't want to lose any of His children.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just call me Personal Hygiene

Tyson has a lot of nick names for me, "sweetie," "hunny bunches," "pretty woman," "pumpkinbabers," "woman," and a few not so appropriate to be shared.  But the kids are really used to Tyson calling me all kinds of things.  And sometimes they think he is talking about me, when he isn't.  Such was the case the other day...

Tyson is an angel and takes Joshua to the bus stop every morning.  Sometimes they go alone, and other times both Caleb and Matthew love to join the little journey down the hill and back.  The other day, Caleb decided to trail along.  On the way back Tyson was thinking about he needed to get inside and take a shower really quick and get to work, so he said out loud, "I need to get inside and take care of my personal hygiene."

Caleb responded: "I know what that means."
Tyson: "Oh really, what is personal hygiene?"
Caleb (with a super proud smirk on his face): "You are talking about Mama."

So folks, I am also called personal hygiene.  Not sure what to think about that one.  But, I guess if it means I get more time with Tyson, I will take it.  :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wonder vs. Wheat Bread (week 3)

We found out this on Friday:

Crazy.  We were planning on having another one and I stopped taking birth control several months ago, so we knew it was going to happen soon.  But even when you are planning for something, you still are never really ready for it.  Especially when you conveniently forget about all the pain and stress it will cause you until it is too late to go back.  But I am totally thankful.  I know each one of our babies are incredible and so worth every second of worry and exhaustion (although sometimes I have to go outside and count to 100 to remember that).  And the Lord always bless us with what we need to care for them, so I know we will be fine.  We just have to work harder and pull together as a family.

I haven't felt super sick or anything until today and I just can't shake the nauseous feeling.  There are so many women that puke so much that they are hospitalized for weeks and have so many struggles.  But for me, I puke once and I don't know how to handle it.  Of course when I threw up today Andrew was right there next to me trying to stick his head in the puke line of fire and started laughing like crazy like it was so funny.  So I am trying to hold him back with one arm and my hair back with the other one.  Good times.  :)  But I just remind myself that I have it SO easy compared to other people, and I need to just keep busy so I don't think about it.  Problem is, being a stay at home mom, I am super busy, but my brain isn't super worked, so when I am cleaning or cooking or folding laundry or wiping bums, my mind can wander and mope about how horrible I am feeling.  Anyone have any good suggestions to get my thoughts off my own feelings?  That would be GREAT.

So despite the sick feelings, I have still been making good steps on actually making dinner for my family for one, and I am still trying to do it in a healthy way and not spending a ton.  Not sure how well I am doing on the not spending a ton, but pretty sure I am not doing great since the aura in the house was full of a tad bit of tension Monday night after we plugged our receipt total into Tyson's amazing excel spreadsheet and we updated the budget.  Yup, pretty sure I am failing on that one.  But after wanting to cry and scream and give up, it motivates me to keep trying harder and get it right.  I want to be a blessing to my family, not just spend everything and more than what we earn. 

So you know how I started planning different themes for the evening meals?  Well, everyone is really liking it.  I have diverged a few times, mostly because we have so many leftovers (awesome problem to have right?).  My favorite dinner was Italian soup and homemade bread.  Both of which were really easy, and I have only made bread a few times and I don't have a bread maker.

The recipes are here for the soup at and here for the bread at  Super happy about both, plus they are both awesome and cheap with tons of leftovers.  Crockpot stuffed peppers worked really great too and were REALLY cheap, so here is the recipe I used for that at

Hooray Pinterest!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wonder vs. Wheat Bread (week 2)

 Yesterday I spent probably way too much time researching about how to save money and make better meals for my family at the same time.  Then I went shopping for two hours at three different stores.  I did feel good about the fact that I didn't buy any meat (except for lunch meat) and only one bag of cereal, and that I went to different stores because I had researched where different items were cheaper.  Go me!

The only thing I did spend a lot on was milk products, those SO add up.  But hopefully my next shopping trip will be better.

The big thing that really helped this week was coming up with a theme for each day.  I saw several different bloggers suggest this.  For so many years now, I thought, having every Friday be pizza night would drive me crazy, because what if I don't want pizza then?  But as I read, several people kept mentioning that it really helped them as they planned their weekly menu because then they weren't stressed trying to figure out what to plan each night, they already had a guideline.  Plus, since they weren't so stressed, they were able to make more diverse meals within that "theme," which was way more fun for them.  So I am really hoping that will work for me.

It is also really nice because instead of feeling like I have no plan and try to think of things for hours, I have a base to go from, but I don't feel like super controlled like someone is writing the menu for me.  Because my husband doesn't like pork, and none of us like seafood in any food (minus tuna), so a fish night, so would not work for us.

So this is how it is going to shake down for our family:

Monday: Pizza Night
Tuesday: Soup and/or sandwich
Wednesday: Vegetarian
Thursday: Crock pot
Friday: Ethnic/International
Saturday: leftovers or eat out (this is always our busy day with different plans)
Sunday: Cassarole or roast in winter, Grill in the summer

I am really excited to take this for a spin.  After freaking out about what to feed my family after the fiasco of overspending last month and still feeling like we were starving, I spent like 5 hours researching and trying to find meals that my kids would actually eat.  Once I decided to try the theme nights, it took me half an hour and that includes writing out the grocery list.  That alone is worth it.

So for this week we have some awesome meals to look forward to that I actually am excited to cook (that NEVER happens for me).  We splurged and had hoagies tonight, that one is expensive with the lunch meat and all the cheese and bread.  But that is my hubby's favorite meal and it was our end of summer hurrah.  Next week I will let you know any winners and keep you updated on the spending better process.  Until then...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wonder vs Wheat Bread (week 1)

My favorite food is junk food, especially in the form of chocolate.  I used to sell Dove Chocolate and loved it because I sold what I really believed in, really good chocolate.  So trying to live a healthier lifestyle has not been the easiest for me.  But when is it really easy for anyone?

What is really hard is totally changing everything I know, the foods I buy, the way I cook, what meals to cook, the lunches I pack, the things I snack on, the way I de-stress, all kinds of things have changed, or are in the process of. 

My husband has been beyond supportive and really the only way I have not given up entirely and eaten that entire jug of chocolate caramel pecan clusters from Costco that I have SO been wanting to buy.  It probably helps that he has lost 10 lbs from just eating better.  But the past several weeks we have really slipped back into our old routine because salads were getting boring and our grocery bill has been really high and I don't know what else to do.  I buy milk and cereal, and also tons of fruits and veggies and meats and it just explodes the budget. 

A few nights ago, Tyson plugged all the receipts in the computer (we keep track of everything we spend and make a budget to try and keep from spending more than we make.  Tyson is the main person that does this, but I fully support it and do my best to spend only the lot of money allotted for the different areas).  After he had tirelessly had done all that, he told me the bad news.  We had spent hundreds of dollars over what we were supposed to on food.  Not good.

I was SO mad at myself and mad at food.  Why does it have to cost so much?  I don't feel like I am buying any fancy stuff or wasting food (minus the three peaches that went bad before we ate them).  Where does the money go?!  How can we afford to feed four growing boys when they are just little boys?  What are we going to do when they are teenagers and bringing over all their friends?  What am I going to do?!

Instead of giving up and chucking my cookbooks out the back door along with my sanity, I am clinging to a hope that I can, somehow, learn to shop frugally and cook healthy food.  So, my goal is to blog about it weekly to keep tabs on my progress and to share what I am learning.  You are welcome to learn with me and share what you know.

So far:

-The things that make me spend too much: meat, milk, BUTTER (never even noticed how expensive it is), cheese, baby food, bread/buns/tortillas, and any fruit or veggie bought out of season.

-It is cheaper to buy more for a meal to ensure leftovers, than the money it would cost for a separate lunch.

-There are apps that you can download that let you make a grocery list and have your local stores and the coupons for those stores.  I have seriously always hated the thought of couponing, but I am going to learn more about it, to see if it would be worth my time.

-I also have been researching A TON about school lunches. 
1. Bento lunches or lunchboxes.  Apparently it began as a single serving homemade lunch in Japan, especially for their loved ones.  They often take great care with them and will carve intricate things out of the food to make it appealing and beautiful.  It has evolved into every super cool mom blog having amazing lunches for their kids.  I am not one of those moms, but I am trying to make something more exciting than pb&j everyday, which I'm pretty sure Josh OD'd on last year.  He hates them now.  I did purchase some bento Tupperware (just the basic kind, no frills) yesterday, I will let you know how it turns out.
2. There is a ton of blogs out there to help teach you about lunches and how to make them easy and exciting and healthy for you and your kids.  So, as I find good ones, I will let you know.  Don't expect me to be carving ninja turtles out of pickles, but who knows?  :)  This is how I tell me kids I love them in their lunches:

They know if mom takes a bite, it means she loves them.  Tyson and I started that just to eat some of their yummy food, but now they don't feel loved if we don't take a bite. 

Matthew will sometimes bring me his food and say "You no love me?"
me: "Matthew, what are you talking about?  Of course I love you."
Matthew: "You no take bite my handwhich."
me: "Oh!  I'm so sorry!" (take bite) "There you go."
Matthew: "Tank you so much!!  Me wove you too!"

It is adorable and kind of crazy.  All right, until next week!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

They Live for YOU

My little ones are the highlight of my life.  They are also the bane of my existence.  I can't go anywhere without them.  I need to feed and entertain them constantly.  I worry about them nonstop.  They don't like that I discipline them, heck, I don't like disciplining them.  I would much rather they just behave.  Or I wouldn't mind letting them slide often, if it didn't mean that I so would regret that later.  So being a mom is a stressful job.  And often, pretty thankless.  Or at least, it feels that way.  There isn't a paycheck or constant praise or any moving up in the corporate ladder.  Nope, it is just more sleepless nights, more lunches to pack, more meals to make, more dishes to wash, stuff like that.

However, no one gets rewarded like we do.  The cute kisses that melt our hearts.  The little smiles with the dimpled cheeks coated in peanut butter.  Getting to see all the firsts.  Being at the crossroads and hearing about their day: who sat by who, what they ate for snack, you know, the important things.  And they are telling YOU, which means YOU are important.  And that knowledge alone is the reason we get up every morning before dawn to a crying baby.

After a tiring morning, with my hair pulled back to mask the grease because yet again I haven't had a chance to bathe without risking a child revolt, I sink into the couch for just a one minute to reprieve
 my swelling feet.  I glance up to see my silent little Caleb, hard at work on another coloring masterpiece.  The first thing I notice, besides his cute little tongue sticking out, is the words on the paper, "I love you Mama," with the a's backwards of course because that makes it more adorable.  I didn't feel any of the exhaustion anymore, just the throbbing in my heart, knowing I am loved.

For all of you parents out there, what you do is worth it.  Let the little moments sink in and know that YOU are important to those little people.  Live your life and love them.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The King Has a Request

On Monday nights we have a lesson with the boys to teach them about scripture stories and gospel principles.  It doesn't always go well, and sometimes the kids get a liiiitle crazy, but almost always it is adorable.

This past Monday, we decided to act out the scripture story of Ammon and King Lamoni.  (this is in the Book of Alma in the Book of Mormon).  So here are the parts:

Ammon: Joshua
King Lamoni: Matthew
King's guard: Caleb
King's servant: Caleb
Wicked Lamanite: Caleb
Sheep: Andrew
Narrator: Mama
Director: Daddy

It is so precious seeing the scriptures come to life with our little ones.  They understand what we read as a family more and then we talk afterwards about the lessons taught about obedience, sacrifice, service, etc.  Plus, as we act them out, I try to have them quote as much as we can from the actual scriptures as we can handle, so they get a more accurate view of the story.  But sometimes, I just abbreviate and have them repeat kind of the gist of the conversation.  And so this was what happened on Monday.

Ammon (AKA Josh) is brought before the king (AKA Matthew).
King: (repeating kind of what I am saying) "What you doin here?"
Ammon: "I came to serve you and live among your people."
King: "Wow.  Marry one my daughters?"
Ammon: "No thanks.  I want to serve you.  What can I do for you?  Anything you want?"

At this point I am about to tell Matthew to say, "go watch my sheep," but Matthew answers super fast:

King: "Breakfast."

We all completely broke character (not like we didn't ever 5 seconds anyways) and just laughed and laughed.  Guess being a king makes Matthew hungry.  Who knows, maybe that request crossed King Lamoni's mind too.  :)

Minus the sheep escaping the scene when they weren't supposed to and crying at the narrator when he was supposed to be fleeing, the rest of the acting was relatively uneventful.  I love having my boys.  They make life, and the past for that matter, so much more entertaining.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cooper Quotables

One of my friends has a little boy named Canon who says awesome things.  Often, when he says something funny, they will post it on Facebook with the title "Canon Quotables."  That got me thinking, I should have a little title when I post funny things my boys say.  So I am totally stealing their idea and going with "Cooper Quotables," cuz it just sounds cooler than anything else I could think of.

Today mass amounts of cars (mostly minivans) were pulling in and out of the modular homes across the street.  This happens every Monday and Saturday when kids are getting dropped off for EFY and when they are getting picked up.  Otherwise, all summer long it is pretty dead here. 

Josh (moaning): "Ugh!  These EFY kids are so annoying!  There are so many of them!"
Caleb: "Josh, it is good there are so many EFY kids.  It means they get to come and learn about Jesus."
Josh: "Well, it confuses Matthew, because he thinks they are coming to our house and then no one comes.  It is frustrating that no one comes here."
Matthew: "Uh huh.  Me think 'hmmm who dese cars?  Dey come me house?'  Den, de no come.  Uh huh, la."  (In case you are wondering "la" is just a word in Matthew's vocabulary that means "yes."  We are pretty sure that is what it means anyways).
Josh looks at Caleb pointing at Matthew with a look that says "see?  Totally proved my point."

Can you tell Tyson and I have similar conversations?  It is amazing how much little guys pick up on.  Can you guess which opinion I have and which one Tyson has?  :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stay Here Ever Ever

Oh bedtime.  It is the eternal fight.  I so look forward to the peace that comes when all the boys are slumbering, the few hours my house can rest and sigh from not being jumped on and thrown pillows at.  But I so love being with the boys too, especially when they are cute and happy and having a blast being friends. 

I especially love the cuddles that come at bedtime.  I know most of the time they are using me.  They know that me snuggling with them postpones sleep, just like asking for a drink of water or having to go to the bathroom does.  But sometimes that is okay.  Most of the time I respond in my worn out, frayed, I just need some time alone way: "no!  I am not going to reward you staying up forever by snuggling with you!  Just go to sleep!"

But last night, with little Matthew I caved.  I always seem to cave with him.  That child.  After snuggling for a few minutes and he showing no decrease in babbling or wiggling, I got up to leave.  He flung his cute little arms around my neck and said,

"No Mama, no go.  Stay here ever ever."
me: "You want me to stay here forever and ever?"
M: "Uh huh la."  (we still aren't sure where la came from, but to Matthew, it means yes)

And who could refuse such a cute plea?  I couldn't, for the first five times.  Then it lost it's intense wilting affect, and I left and he still took forever to fall asleep.  But still, I like to be told to stay "ever ever."  I hope they don't grow out of that ever ever.  They may be punks some times, but man I love them.

Do you ever feel like telling moments that?  Stay here forever ever?  All my kids are looking so big, acting so big.  Not all the time, sometimes they act like they are babies again, even the ones that aren't babies.  But other times, Josh will be so mature.  He will take care of problems so I don't have to.  Like today, he helped Matthew off the counter (because of course he had to climb up there and get the raisins "meself").  Or Caleb, who read the title of a book today because I just started at the first page.  Of course, reading is no big deal to that kid.  And then he gets the cutest little grin that shows his tiny teeth and his blue eyes just sparkle with pride.  And Matthew, heavens, he has to do EVERYTHING himself.  "Me buckle meself," "me pee meself," "me write it meself," "me sweep it meself."  The kid is so intense, and he may not know his colors or shapes, but he can do all kinds of things by himself because he takes pride in being independent.  And little Andrew, he is almost one years old.  How did a year go by so quickly?  He is almost standing by himself and he says "hi da" in the cutest little voice.  And today he started giving me kisses.  Which really are more like bites, but hey, he is trying to show affection and I will take that over screaming at me for not being held. 

And now we are trying to have another kid.  Another one?  How can our house, our car, our sanity hold another one?  I don't know, but I know my heart can.  It just keeps growing as these little ones grow.  I think I love them the day they are born, but then the next day I feel like the love has only doubled, and the day after that even more.  I am sure the days are coming soon where one of them will dislike me for some reason, or not think I am the coolest mom ever.  I just hope and pray that I won't have done anything to deserve their disrespect.  It is hard not to wish these moments to stay forever ever.  But how do we grow if we stay?  However, I don't think it is wrong to linger a little on these moments and savor them.  Because boy are they rich.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Stress of Family Photos

Family pictures are so much fun.  I love that for years afterwards you can look at these gorgeous pictures and it captures your little ones in a moment in their lives that they change from so quickly.  I don't understand what it is, but every time I think about family photos, I get all sentimental.

However, don't get me wrong.  TAKING family photos is an entirely different feeling.  For days before I stress about what we are going to wear, what I am going to wear, if it will rain, if it will be too hot, how my hair should be, if I will look chubby, if I will have a giant zit or several, if the kids will be happy, if any of them will have cuts or bruises that will show in the pictures (if you have boys, you will understand what I mean).

For example, Caleb and Matthew were running around the house chasing each other a few days before our photo shoot, and of course, they fall and Caleb's head goes plunging into the corner of wall, hence leaving a giant bruise on his forehead.  Don't worry, I did worry about his well being first, then I thought about the pictures...I am pretty sure.
You can see the lovely bruise here

Thank heavens for photo shop.  ;)

magically photo shopped here.  Jess is amazing.
And then the boys don't want to be cute and adorable the hour before we are leaving to go get our pictures.  They don't want to wear the clothes I picked out for them, because of course they are itchy or ugly or short sleeved and "I don't want to show my freckles," or they spill food on it.  Then of course Andrew has a cold and has snot pouring from his nose and is drooling like a mad man and so his clothes are soaked by the time we get there. 

drool shown here.  I am so glad too because his nickname is "Drooly" so this is such a perfect pic.  I am just glad there isn't the snot.  :)
The place we went to get photographed is this amazing park, I guess you could call it a park.  There is a turtle pond, fields to run through, gorgeous trees and flowers and wild life/bugs galore.  A little boy's heaven.  (Boxerwood for local folks).  So the scenery was incredible and our photographer, Jess, is a friend so that was nice I didn't have to be nervous about her.
You can see the lovely background here, if you aren't too distracted by our cuteness.

Then during the pictures the boys didn't want to be super cute and smiley.  Well, they took turns.  Caleb, who usually wants nothing to do with pictures and looking cute when you want him to, was SUPER sweet and smiled and charming.  Matthew who is usually the camera hog and ham wanted NOTHING to do with the whole thing.  Maybe because he had to share his spotlight.  haha.  He was horrible.  Then of course Tys and I were annoyed with them and so we had a hard time for real smiling and not being super mad at the kids.  Because we can't really blame the kids, who would want to get pictures taken when you want to be playing around at such a cool place?

Matthew's whiny face can kind of be seen here
And this is his "I would rather not be here" look.  But Jess made the look turn great because now we can see how freaking awesome his eyes are.  The kid has crazy blue eyes, like looking at stars or a silver sun.
So by the end of the photo shoot, Tys and I were grateful for it to be over, but so worried that the pictures would turn out horrible because we would all look mad and frustrated with each other.  You know it is a good photographer that can turn cranky or crazy moments and make them look good.  I mean seriously, how do you get four little boys and their parents to all look at the camera at the SAME time and look happy about it?  I don't know...I just don't know.

Josh was a perfect angel pretty much the whole time.  His big brown eyes just melt me.

Not sure if this is my favorite

...or this one because there are so few pictures of Tys and I were we are both not making silly faces and we both look pretty good.  So I am really happy with these.

So, if you get a chance and want your family pictures taken, you should get them.  I know lots of great photographers.  Jess, who took ours, you can check out her website here.  Or if you are on the west coast, my sister and her husband are incredible, their website is here.  Now that I think of it, I have tons of photography friends.  They are all amazing.  Hooray for awesome pictures!  And hooray for current ones I can hang on my walls so I can smile at them during those days when things just aren't so smiley.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You Are Doing a Great Work

My little brother is serving a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil.  ( or I was writing him an email just now and the more I wrote, the more comfort I found.  I don't know if that happens to anyone else, but often when I am frustrated or in need of an answer, when I write, the answer usually comes to me.  I am not sure if it is the Lord's way of giving me inspiration or if it is just how my brain processes things, but either way, I am thankful.

In this email today, I was writing him to help him, but I found it really helping me since I have been really struggling with the day in and day out mom stuff.  You know, when you vacuum and two seconds later someone spills chips all over the floor, or when you wash all the sheets and that night someone wets the bed, so you wash the sheets and then they wet the bed again.  Seriously, my life has been like that constantly for the last six years, but for some reason, the past few weeks it has really been getting to me.  It didn't help that they were not the greatest of kids on Mother's Day.  The day that you really hope they will be adorable and cute and sing praises to your name all day.  Yeah, well, not my kids.  They weren't horrible, but just not the greatest.  And my attitude really didn't help them be any happier.

So as I was writing, I really started feeling better and better, and then when I hit "send," I thought, man, I need to read that again.  And I thought of my little sister and my sisters-in-law who I am sure feel the same way I do sometimes.  So for those of you that get sick of the mundane momhood stuff sometimes, this is for you:

"I read a scripture the other day that reminded me of you, so I thought I would share it with you: Doctrine and Covenants 68:6 (the Lord is talking to the elders called to serve missions) "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come."
Pretty cool promise and instruction.  I love you lots Ammon, and I am so proud of the work you are doing.  There are many moments that I have a hard time remembering that the work I am doing is really important, especially when I feel like I am going insane with the constant chattering and fighting and snotty faces.  But my work is incredibly important.  I am raising God's children.  I am teaching them, helping them develop testimonies and faith.  And one day they will go out and teach hundreds of others about the Savior.  So I know my work is important, but sometimes it is hard to remember in the moment.

So what I am saying is, there may be moments, especially in your new area where you are tracking and searching and exhausted and people keep telling you "no thanks," when you feel like giving up or wondering why you are doing this.  So don't forget, your work is important.  It may stink sometimes, but it is worth it, and all those people will call you blessed and be thankful for the service you are giving.

We love you Buddy.  Keep smiling and sharing the truth that gives so much joy and light to the soul, just like the fiery red sunrise on a dark, cold world."

Monday, May 12, 2014

Eat to Live, Part 2

Eating healthy has been a different experience for us.  I have been uber cranky about it all.  The first few days I was psycho chipper and constantly talking about how happy I felt and great everything tasted.  But then I started bugging myself about being SOO spunky about it all, so I tried to calm down, but once I wasn't doing little cheers around the dining room table, I realized how much my body was craving sugar and cheese and comfort food.  It is not easy changing your comfort food.

It wouldn't be so bad, but we are making this change a permanent thing, or at least trying to.  So it isn't like, "for the next six weeks I can't have sugar and then I can splurge."  Nope. I want to be healthy for the rest of my life, not just for a few weeks and then get worse than I was before.  I am not saying I will never eat sugar again, cuz heaven knows that won't happen.  But I want it to be a special thing, not my main course every meal.  :)

Tyson is taking this all much better than I am.  So he is seeing amazing results.  He has already lost several pounds and he is looking much slimmer already.  His self control has always been incredible.  It is really only because of him that we were still virgins when we got married.  But, you really don't need to know that do you?

So back to food.  Our typical daily diet was like this BEFORE our eating habits changed:

Breakfast: bowl of sugary cereal and milk
Snack: crackers or toast or even candy
Lunch: 2 chili burritos with flour tortillas, occasionally part of an apple
Snack: same-ish as above
Dinner: tater tot casserole
Late night snack: ice cream or popcorn or some hidden candy we didn't want to share with the kids

Our typical diet this past week:

Breakfast: bowl of cut up cantaloupe sprinkled with flax seed
Snack: a few carrots and raisins
Lunch: salad with craisins and sliced almonds or a bowl of peas in Tyson's case
Dinner: black beans, red peppers in a whole wheat tortilla, salad or cut up veggies
Snack: apple or strawberries

This is more like what Tyson eats, I am doing better, but more often than not, I have granola and greek yogurt for breakfast because it is easier for me to feel like I am still starting off with cereal.  But I am doing better and adding more fruits and veggies through out the day.  If anyone has any great, easy recipes, PLEASE feel free to share.

It is a work in progress, but when I woke up this morning and was still cranky, I told myself, "self, this has got to stop.  You made this decision, so life with it and stop whining about it.  Enjoy it."  I am trying to and much happier since then.  Find joy in the journey, right?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Like Being a Mom

Sometimes we get so caught up in all the things that need to be cleaned, and cooked, and cleaned again, and fed, and changed, and homework to be done and more things to be cleaned...that we forget to enjoy those little mess makers.

Little Andrew has been having such a hard time being happy.  Like following me around as fast as he can crawl, just crying and crying.  I pick him up and clean or cook one handed for as long as I can until I need to set him down and there he is crying again.  So I researched it, because that is what I have learned to do from my liberal arts degree.  (Research is amazingly very important)  And I found this whole section in one of my books about the "needy" child. 

Ah yes, I thought, this is my child.  It listed all these symptoms "cries often, wants to be held, clingy, hates to be left alone, picky eater," and on and on.  Yup.  Check.  Double check.  Check, check.  That is this one. 

So then this book has the audacity me I need to hold my child more and I am thinking, are you KIDDING me?!  How can I possibly hold my child more?  I have four other kids to take care of, and a house, and a husband, and myself. 

I continue reading.

Apparently they have done studies that the parents that held their child for at least three hours a day had children that cried less.  I think, "no duh, why would they cry?  They are being held."

It continues to explain they pick up their child BEFORE they start crying, never when they were crying (unless of course they were hurt).  That way the child felt loved, comforted, but didn't think that crying would get them picked up.

Huh.  Now that is an interesting concept.  Now for application.  Trial and error, right?

Today I tried it.  I got down on the floor and played with him for awhile, I picked him up and carried him, but never when he was crying, I got him to stop and THEN I would pick him up.

Wow.  What a difference it was. 

Until of course Matthew peed on the floor and I had to clean it up and then he peed again and I had to clean up that one and Andrew was trying to suck on the dirty rags I was cleaning it with and I pulled him away....but you know, other than that.  :)

It was so fun playing on the floor with my little ones.  Caleb, Logan, Andrew and I just rolled a ball back and forth for about an hour and they were laughing hysterically and it was so fun.  Who cared if dinner was made or the floor was vacuumed for like the millionth time.  It was fun to just be a mom for awhile.  I like being a mom.

The Eating Journey Begins

Life is a continual process of trying to better ourselves.  This weekend we took another pretty big step at trying to do just that.  And it is a REALLY hard change for me.

Anyone who knows me knows that my "love language" is food.  I love food.  I love sugar, I love chocolates, I love donuts, I love burgers and fries, I love ice cream and cupcakes, I love cheese and cereal.  Basically every junk food known to man, I LOOOOVE it.

But I really hate the feeling that my love of food has taken over my life and I am not feeling well, looking well or having healthy kids because of how we eat.  But I hadn't really been thinking much about it, just occasionally I think, "I need to actually eat a fruit today," or "I should exercise."  You know things like that.

Lucky for me, I am curvy, but still about the same size as I was when I got pregnant with Josh.  Four kids later, that isn't too shabby.  So I don't have a ton of motivation because I don't feel "huge" too often, because I've always looked this way and it isn't a horrible way to look, so I've been okay with it.  However, having muscle would be nice and not jiggling in certain areas would be nice too.  But along with my hair and lack of make up, I don't pay much attention to it.  I have a wonderful husband that sees me and loves me and that is that.  But his drive lately to live a healthier and better life has really got me thinking and inspired me.  He even ran a 5k last week even though just months ago he hated running more than anything.

Tys is the extremely attractive one on the right.  Dallin is his brother-in-law and personal trainer and Cassie is his awesome marathon running sister.  She has been trying to get us to eat healthier for a long time.  :)
I saw someone post on Facebook a few weeks ago about wanting to get in shape and if anyone had any weight loss programs that worked well.  One person commented something about a book called "Eat to Live."  Don't know why, but the comment stuck with me.

So, what did I do?  Went to Amazon and searched it.  I started reading the "Look Inside" section and I was hooked.  Could this be for real?  The author, Dr. Fuhrman, talked a ton about eating healthy vegetables and fruits and not eating animal products and how he has been able to reverse Type II diabetes and helped to prevent heart attacks and cancer and on and on.  Sounded crazy, but at the same time made SOOO much sense.  I totally checked it out from my local library, but I recommend buying it if you can, there are so many things I wanted to highlight and keep.  I did however buy another book he wrote called "Disease Proof Your Child."  I have just started reading it and I LOVE it.  Either of these affiliate links will take you right to them if you want to read snippets from them or read other reviews.

So as I was reading "Eat to Live," all the things I have been taught for years about how milk makes your bones strong, and meat is the best protein, were totally shattered.  I almost had this feeling like I didn't know what to believe anymore.  I couldn't put the book down and seriously, that NEVER happens to me.  I love to read fiction and happy love stories.  But never non-fiction, especially stuff telling me not to eat the food I love most in the world.
I kept telling Tyson all the info I was learning as I read it and was so excited about it, he couldn't help but learn and care.  Believe me, he tried to ignore me, I would not shut up.  I kept telling him about all the people that have lost a lot of weight on this new healthy eating habits and he said "might as well give it a try."
Well, if he was all for it, I had to stand my ground.  We were going to do this.
Dr. Fuhrman suggests giving it a six week commitment and the results will speak for themselves.  I looked through his recipes, but seriously, very little actually looked good that didn't take a long time to prepare.  And anyone that has a nine month old, a two year old, a four year old, and a six year old, or even one of those, knows that making dinner has got to be quick, simple, needs to look good, taste good, smell good, etc.  I hit a road block before we even began.
Being the wonderful husband that he is, as soon as Tyson heard my worries, he said, well forget to recipes, lets just buy tons of healthy stuff and we will just mix it together and make it work.  Sounded good to me.
My wonderful mom and my crazy little sister, Carmel, went with me to the store and I bought more veggies than I think I ever have in my life, I got lots of beans and fruit and nuts.  My mom helped me know how to cook certain veggies that I refused to even look at as a kid so I had no idea what to do with them, and Carmel provided the entertainment as she hopped on the front of my cart and waved to all the shoppers as I steered her carriage around.  Got to love the teenage love for life and all things crazy.
I was so excited to live this new life, to have more energy, to lose weight (maybe I could actually look hot in a swimsuit), to not get sick all the time, to feel good about the things I was giving my kids.  I unloaded those groceries with pride.  And this is all I will tell you for now, this post is getting much too long.  Keep checking for updates to see how this six week challenge is going!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bathroom Humor

So the boys are going through their bedtime routine, which by the way lasts forever because they talk and talk and sing instead of brushing. It is such a bother, but so funny. I happen to walk by the bathroom and Caleb says, "mom, I made up a new song!"
Me: "oh really? Let's hear it."
Caleb: (sung to the woke up at a quarter to one gotta brush my teeth tune) "I really got to pee in the toilet.  Oh no actually on the counter."

Then they burst into a fit of giggles especially when I tell them that is disgusting. I tell Tyson expecting him to be grossed out too.  But he just laughs too and says that is hilarious.

This is my life. I have accepted it and I do find it funny. I am grateful he was just singing and didn't actually act it out. Like for real.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Picture Perfect

Yesterday evening we went to this gorgeous place about a 15 minute drive from our home to get our family pictures taken.  We usually get our family pictures when we get a new kid and that kid is old enough to sit up.  It is a pretty fun tradition.  I don't know what we will do when we stop having kids.  What will get me to get them taken?

The whole picture taking process is fun but frustrating to me.  I am so not good at planning things and them turning out right.  Usually things that happen spontaneously happen great, things that I work forever on and freak out about, usually only turn out okay, probably because I stress about it so much and my expectations are so high. 

For the day or two before I kept wondering, "what should I have us all wear?" and the huge one "what should I do with my hair?"  I have a mad ton of hair that I can never get to look just right.  Grr.  In my Pinterest world, I have mass amounts of things I can try.  But the few I have, my hair is just too darn heavy to get anything to stay.  Thus, my hair didn't work great and just kept getting stuck in the wee babes fingers.

I should have just sent us all in the clothes we normally wear, the ones that are stain covered and ripped holes in the knees.  But oh well, I think we looked good, with blue tones because that is the most prevalent color in the home.  They are all boys.

It was hilarious too, because while we were taking the pictures the children that I thought would be horrible and not look at the camera and throw a fit (Caleb and Andrew) were the REALLY good, cute, happy smiley ones.  Josh was pretty good and his normal silly self.  But Matthew, the ham of all hams, that is everywhere a camera is seriously his whole life.  Nope.  He was horrible.  He kept wandering off, saying no, crying.  Basically no fun at all.  So, if we get any pictures that have all of us in it and smiling, it will be a miracle.

It reminded me of family pictures growing up.  We would go to the studio and the photographer would set us all up just so, "tilt your head a little this way," "step just a little bit forward," "little brother look at other brother,"  "let's change this lighting."  And on and on and then finally one picture would get taken and you would hope beyond hope someone wasn't blinking.  And there were NINE of us!  How on Earth did my parents not lose their minds?

I am so thankful for technology.  Our photographer, Jess, just had us pile together, and then she could take like hundreds of shots in seconds.  And then look at them right there.  How incredible.  I am so thankful for the people that use their talents and learn and search for better ways to make our lives easier.

You should check out Jess's website  I will post some of our pictures here when she edits out the runny noses and makes us look stunning and happy.  :)  She really was awesome and so cute with the kids.  They had zombie races and monster stomps and all kinds of other awesome things to get them to look at the camera.  It takes talent to not loose your cool trying to get my four kids, and not to mention Tyson and I, to cooperate.  She deserves a medal.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bums and Butts

It is crazy to think that I have gone through the potty training process with 3 little boys already (my 2 oldest and Logan).  If I didn't have any more kids, I would be halfway done.  However, I am sure we will have at least one more.

When Josh was potty training, we got these super cute sesame street underwear for him.  One pair had a giant Elmo on the backside and so Josh called it his "Elmo Butt."  It slowly digressed in Josh's language as all underwear being "butts."  I'm not sure why it stuck, but I seriously have to remind myself often that is not what everyone calls them.  It is funny too, because I don't even like the word "butt," I am cringing writing it.  I always tell the boys to say "bum" instead, but in underwear terms, it just stuck and never really bothered me.  Don't know why.

Matthew decided last week he didn't want to wear diapers, he wanted to wear "bums."  I guess he doesn't like the word "butt" either.  Lol.  I really didn't want to potty train him, it is an exhausting process and I have a hard enough time dealing with all the boys and the chores that go along with being a mom in the first place.  Not to mention, I (and of course Logan's parents) just potty trained Logan this past Fall.  And it really hadn't been long enough for me to forget all the work involved.

But Matthew was insistent and when he makes up his mind, it is done, and he is not an easy one to be convinced otherwise.  I caved, as I almost always do with that child.  We began the potty training process full force on Monday officially.  But of course, since I jumped on board, he decided he was no longer interested.  But no way was I going to back down.  I had committed and we were going to do this.  I have learned, if you say something is going to happen and then you let it slide, the next time you really want it to happen, it will be a million times harder (that was my potty training process with Josh).  I knew no matter how hard the fighting would be, it would only last a few days, and then it would be done for the most part and I would never have to fight the potty training process (with that child) again.

I stuck to my guns and for the past three days I have been cleaning up accident after accident.  I would set him on the potty and he would just sit there with nothing happening.  "Me all done." 
"Um, no you are not, keep trying."
"Nope, me all done."  And he would hop off.

Within five minutes there was a puddle somewhere.  Luckily the weather has been nice, so most of those little puddles were outside and I am fine with that.

Let that be a caution to anyone visiting.  The puddles in the yard or sidewalk...probably not from the rain.  :)  Kidding, kind of.

This morning, at last, there has been a ray of hope.  I put Matthew on the toilet, totally set for frustration, and just left the bathroom.  Matthew came walking out all smiles within 30 seconds.  He is a very conniving child, so the all smiles can mean ANYTHING.  I quickly turned him around and walked him and his naked little behind back to the bathroom. 

me: "Buddy, you need to be on the potty."
Matthew: "Me did."
me: "Uh-huh, sure you did.  Get back on there."
Matthew: "No, me did.  Me pee out."  He points to a little dribble on the toilet seat and on the floor.
me: (after proper inspecting.  If you are a mom, you understand that you become like a detective.  You know how to check if they actually peed or if they really brushed their teeth and other such things.  It is an important skill in motherhood.)  "Oh my gosh!  You did!!!  Way to go!  You peed on the potty!"

Yup.  Never in your wildest dreams did you ever think you would be cheering about urine on the bathroom floor, until you are a mother of a little guy.  And yes, I understand that in a week I will be getting frustrated with him for "peeing out" of the toilet because I will expect him to have better aim by then.  But for now, I am SUPER happy.  I feel like I should put a sign on the door like they do at factories or trucking yards: "Days without accident: .25"  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Off Balance

We have this washing machine that has been driving me crazy.  I mean, it gets the clothes clean, so I really shouldn't ever complain...but I am.  I will put in a load of laundry and it will go for awhile just fine, but then it gets to the spin cycle and next thing I know "thump, thump, thump" comes from the basement.  If I am not home or not listening for it, it will march right across the floor, pulling out the tube from the wall where the water is being sucked out through and said water no longer goes through the pipe, it goes all over the floor. 

That stinks to clean up, especially since we have a couple living in our basement and then not only do I have to invade them to switch every load, I have to come down almost every spin cycle to move the clothes around inside until it is at the perfect balance.  And if I don't make it down in time, I have a huge mess to clean up. 

Seriously, no fun.

So what used to be just laundry day where I have a few extra chores and some trips up and down the stairs, has kind of become my least favorite day.

However, I am a naturally optimistic person, thank heavens, so I usually talk to the washer, give it a piece of my mind, laugh at myself, take a deep breath and hope it teaches me to be more grateful.  And it has taught me to be eternally grateful for each load that doesn't get off balance, and for the awesome tenants we have that are so nice about and laugh about it too, for the cute way little Matthew says "clofs go bump bump bump" as he totters like the washer does.  It is very entertaining, believe me.

But the real thing I have gained from this silly washer of mine is a comparison to my life.  Laugh at me if you want okay, but this is how my brain thinks.  There are so many things we have to do to keep our life in balance.  And when our life gets off balance, thump thump, things start going crazy and out of control and then way out of place until it is just a big mess that we have to clean up.  It is much easier to fix it before it goes crazy out of control. 

For instance, I have never been much of an athletic individual.  Give me a book and a box of chocolates and I am a happy woman.  Working out just holds no appeal for me.  But since Valentine's and with Easter (I am a sucker for all things sugar), all the baby weight I had lost has been sneaking back at a rather steady pace.  And my cravings for sugar have been only getting more intense.  The last week especially I have been feeling myself getting out of control.  And there were several moments where I was embarrassed and felt awkward and gross.  I totally don't want to be that way.  I don't want to be way over weight and I can't go on walks with my kids and fit in my clothes, that kind of thing.  So I need to get in control now.

I feel like I do when I quickly open the washer lid and sift the clothes around to get it back in balance.  I have been trying to be better about not eating as much today and I went on a run.  It was a small run, don't get shocked, and I felt like I would nigh unto die by the end, but man it felt so good at the same time.  Like my body was just longing for those muscles to move and for my lungs to fully expand and my heart to race. 

I will probably for the rest of my life be stopping and starting over and over again, trying to do things more perfectly than the day before.  Drinking more water, reading scriptures more, putting down the vacuum to hug a child instead of just rolling my eyes at them, getting dressed instead of staying in my pjs all day, doing something productive in the evenings, you know that kind of stuff.  There is no way I can do better on everything tomorrow, but we work on things slowly but consistently, doing our best and things will get better and better.  Not to mention, as we keep the Savior as our center, it won't ever be too difficult to fix the other things to get back in balance.

These are my contemplations for the day.  :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Walk on Water

Yesterday I got a few hours off from Mom-ness and went to a water workout with my mom.  Let me just tell you that was intense, hilarious and fun.  But that isn't what I am writing about. 

My husband is awesome and got the kids all ready for bed and took care of little Andrew as he cried and tried to climb out the front door as I drove off (he is a little attached).  So this story comes from Tyson's point of view:

Apparently all the boys (minus Andrew, who finally fell asleep) were outside playing, some game about light codes and people die if you get the code wrong, that kind of thing.  We still aren't sure how this played into the game, but Tyson overheard Caleb chanting this:

"Don't mess with me, I can walk on water.  Don't mess with me, I can walk on waaaater."

He was doing this walking a crazy saunter walk and I really LOVED Tyson's impression of it.  Seriously, it was awesome.  It makes me wonder, was Caleb pretending to be Jesus, or was he just walking on water?  Whenever we ask him about it, he just giggles and walks away.  And what does that mean: Don't mess with me?  I mean, I guess it is true, if you have the power to walk on water, you really shouldn't be messed with.  But still, where does he come up with these things?

I suppose this will just go down in unsolved mysteries. 

But since then little Matthew walks around the house "walk a wader" and then giggles because he knows he is so cute.  Gotta love these boys.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Resolve to Be Better at Living My Resolutions...Again

So you know how you make all those resolutions at the beginning of the year and then right about now you find that piece of paper that you wrote everything down on and you want to incinerate it because, let's face it, you haven't done hardly any of those things?  Either that, or you are like me and think (because I am ever the procrastinator), 8 months until I really need to accomplish these things? That is PLENTY of time!  Haha.  Well, Tyson had a goal to run a 5k this month and I wanted to run it with him, but well, just like every other year, I haven't gone running once.  So I would be lucky if I could run a block, much less over three miles.

But at the same time, it is good to constantly remember all the good things I am doing and goals I am actually accomplishing.  Caleb is learning to read (mostly that is due to his diligence rather than mine, but let's not talk about that), Matthew and Andrew are pretty much sleeping through the night, not sure if that is because I am so tired I don't wake up from them, but either way, they learn to stay asleep.  :) 

Goals are really awesome things.  Even if they make me feel a little bummed about myself, it is still a really great tool to shake me awake and say "hey, Cami, DO something with your life besides just look busy!" 

On that note, I saw something on Facebook that mentioned that yesterday was don't do any housework day.  So I totally got on that ban wagon.  It was quite refreshing.  Especially since I ended up going outside with the boys and we played hide-and-seek with "treasure."  (it was a bag of fake gems)  It was SO much fun!  I don't know why I don't go outside and play with them more often.  I loved listening to Caleb go "Wormer-wormer-hodder-hodder-colder-colder" for like five minutes while Josh and Matthew would turn around in circles searching (Caleb is a master hider).  And Matthew was SO excited to be included and allowed to hide the treasure occasionally.  And Josh of course talked the whole time telling me everything he learned at school.

"Did you know the moon isn't a magnet?"
"Did you know a compass works in buildings, under water, in the basement, everywhere?"
"Did you know Pluto is the furthest thing from the sun?  But it isn't a planet anymore."
"Did you know that my friend Bryce moved SO far away that I will never see him again.  That makes me sad."
"Did you know I switched tables at school?"

Sometimes I wonder if his teacher taught him these things or if he is learning some things from other kids and taking it as truth, and since I know...let's just say, I don't know everything, I have no idea if it is factual.  I start to believe everything he says and then I think, "what if I start telling people things like a compass works under water and it totally doesn't?" 

Sometimes it is hard having a kid that is learning so much.  I guess it is a good thing we have the internet, so I can check and see if he is right, because we KNOW everything on the internet is true.  :)

So this morning I woke up and resolved to do more and be better.  But then I saw the sink and remembered yesterday was don't do any housework day.  And so as Tyson told me it would be, today is regret you didn't do any housework day.  :)  But not totally regret, because that half an hour of treasure hunting was totally worth it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Recharge

I love General Conference weekend.  I used to kind of dread it as a child, it was nice to not have to get dressed up and just watch "church" on TV, but it was kind of boring too.  I obviously didn't grasp how amazing it is to listen to the Lord's true prophet and apostles.  I am so thankful for my parents though, that no matter the fuss we kids threw, they watched or listened to Conference and they did their best to get all seven of us to at least listen to a few sessions without falling asleep.  (listen or watch any of the sessions of Conference here)

By some miracle and I am not quite sure why, but my kids LOVE Conference.  It is the same thing with vegetables, they love them.  I don't know how we got so lucky, but I am thankful.  We spent Saturday morning painting a fence in town (okay, I was in the car most of the time with Andrew, it was really cold, but Tyson was awesome and was serving), and we got home just before noon to quickly set up the projector, fix lunch and sit down as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was singing.  Josh had his journal on his lap (his most recent grocery shopping trip request), ready to take notes.  Matthew and Caleb were so ready to listen too. 

It makes me so happy to have the word of the Lord in our home.  I know I am not the best at living it, and so quickly I forget to be kind and loving, but I know all about starting over again and trying to be better than I was the day (or moment) before. 

The Lord is so good to us, He truly does love us.  He loves my little boys and I am so thankful He trusted me to take care of them, love them and teach them to be like Him and to share His gospel.  I know with His help, I will be able to.  I just need to keep doing all I can.

That is why my kids are watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so I can write this and take a few deep breaths before I have to take the ipad back and we go on our own adventure to get Josh from the bus stop.  Every captain needs a few moments recharge before leading the troops, right?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Oh Spring

Oh Spring
When after months of cold
the Earth shudders with feeling
bursting like a toddler
too long kept still.
The flowers shudder the soil aside and
slowly slip out of the ground,
blooms peeping out making
one wonder if they can remember
the vibrancy of the color they held
an entire year before.
The birds chirp chirp chirp the voice
that I know but the name I don't.
The night stays away and
the children linger outdoors
to give in to the parent's call
as they can't imagine being caged
as they were for days and days of winter.
Oh the warm sun and the budding trees,
the way it makes my heart sing
and burst and twirl and dance.
There is energy in Spring.
-Camden Cooper

They Bought a Girl

We live in a really humid place and it rains quite a bit during certain parts of the year.  So when you have something like a barbeque grill, you need a super thick cover for it or have a covered deck to keep it in or something to keep it from rusting.  I know this because we didn't do that, and now are grill is well, totally unusable.  The grill racks (I have some friends that might die reading this since I don't know the proper terms haha) are totally collapsed in from rust.  It just isn't safe.

So Tyson went to the store with Caleb yesterday during lunch to get a new one.  While he was gone, Logan, Matthew and me were hanging out, playing games and working on our lessons.  Logan kept asking where Tyson and Caleb were and I kept telling him they went to the store and they would be back soon.

Logan: "Cami, where is Tyson and Caleb?"
Me: "They went to the store, they will be back soon."
Logan: "What are they doing?  Are they getting food?"
Me: "No, they are getting a new grill."
Logan: "Ohhh okay."

A few minutes later, I over hear this:
Logan: "Matthew, your dad and Caleb are at the store buying a new girl.  They will be back soon."
Me: "What did you just say Logan?"
Logan: "I was just telling Matthew that Tyson and Caleb went to go buy a girl."
Me: "No Logan, GRILL not girl."
Logan: "Yeah, I know.  A girl."

So we worked on it for a few minutes to make sure he could pronounce grill accurately.  Cuz, I could totally see him talking with his mom or dad and telling them that Tyson goes off and teaches his son how to buy girls.  I didn't think most people would understand.

But since when Tyson was assembling this new (and beautiful) grill, he kept referring to it as a "she" and "her," (he is a little proud of his new purchase, it's kind of adorable), I guess Logan's description wasn't too far off.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What will they say next?

Latest funny moments of our household:

1.  I am vacuuming yesterday and for some reason my kids think that when the vacuum is on, they need to compete with the noise.  Seriously, they run around and yell and scream like crazy monkeys at the zoo being teased with bananas or something.  But hey, I can vaguely remember in my childhood doing the same thing (it has been a long time).  So yesterday I am trying to focus on the loud hum of the vacuum and not the cacouphony of noise coming from my monsters.  There is some part of my brain that is registering Joshua standing on the coffee table and singing some kind of opera.  Don't know how he knows how to sing like that, but it must be born in him because he loves to sing at the top of his lungs, or not to sing at all, like at church.  So anyways, I turn off the vacuum for a moment and Josh is singing "La la la oh oh Fall E-quinox!!"
I start laughing and say "Fall equinox?"
Josh: "Mom, don't laugh at me.  It is a real thing."
Me: "I know it is a real thing, but how do you know about it?"
Josh: "Mom, no, it really is a real thing.  I learned about it at school, it happens twice a year.  Don't laugh at me.  And also do you know what is a fun word?  Cockleshells."
Then he proceeds to sing the nursery rhyme about Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary...
Need I remind you this child is 6.  I still don't really know what an equinox is.  Don't worry, I looked it up though so I can at least kind of understand what my child is learning in Kindergarten.  The word means "equal night" which means the day and night are the same length of time, it happens in March and September.  Fascinating huh?

2. It is around 11:30 last night and Tyson and I are just falling asleep.  Andrew had woken up, been fed, and back in bed, so I knew I had at least 2 hours of nice sleep.  As the hazy world of dreamland fell upon me I started hearing noises, unusual nighttime noises.  Maybe it is a weird protective mom thing, or maybe it is just me, but I have all the regular noises programmed into my head of what should be going on during certain times of the day.  The people in the basement might be making noise, I know the sound of the cupboards and doors below us closing, I know the loud hum of the heater, I know the whistle of the train, sometimes the occasional police siren. 

But the noise I heard was not one of those noises.  It sounded like someone was in the house walking around.  Usually when Josh wakes up at night, he turns on all the lights and makes lots of noise, so I knew it wasn't him.  So I slink out of bed, ready to take on the intruder with my bare hands.  I slowly walk down the hallway (the whole 3 steps) and hear the slam of Caleb turning off the water in the bathroom (he has a hard time turning the faucet off, so he hits it with all his force, it is a distinctive noise).  So I instantly relax and try to see him in the dark, but I can't, so I turn on the light.  Caleb shielding his eyes, is drying his hands.
Me: "Caleb, how on earth do you pee in the dark?"
Caleb: (totally half asleep and without hesitation) "I have eagle eyes."
Then he stumbles back to bed.
I keep laughing as I go back to bed and try to tell Tyson the funny news, but go figure, he is fast asleep.  Lucky for me it was our son, and not an intruder.  So I giggle myself to sleep about our eagle eyed child.