Sunday, March 29, 2009

Incredible Kids

So, my kids are just the most incredible little things ever!

First Raelin. No, first some background. I'm taking the most wonderful class in the world right now. It's called Moral Foundations and it's the missing puzzle piece to my skills-based education. This is the class that answers the one question the other classes could never answer: "HOW?" The other classes have taught all these skills--the what--but they could never tell me how to implement them. This class does just that. I'm learning about "the box." If you're in the box, you see yourself as the victim, you blame, justify, rationalize, excuse, take offense, and fail to answer moral calls (things you feel it would be right to do). If you are out of the box, you are an agent (able to make choices), you feel sorrow and compassion for others, you see your own role in a situation or problem, and you act responsively. When you are out of the box you see others as people with fundamental needs, wants, ambitions, etc., but when you are in the box you see them as objects, impediments, or means to an end. So the goal is to be out of the box as much as possible. How? By being willing. You have to be willing to let go of pride (in my case) or whatever it is that's keeping you in the box. You can't think yourself out, talk yourself out, or decide to get out. You just have to be truly willing to get out of the box. And then you find yourself out, not really knowing what you did to get there (because you didn't do anything; you changed your way of being).

Okay. Raelin. I've talked about this box concept with a couple of people lately--I think it's fascinating and it has truly changed me. Apparently, Raelin understands more of this than I would have thought--I wouldn't have thought she understood any of it, really. Today we were driving and Gina, Brice and I were talking about something about "the box" when she said, "Mommy, are we almost there, and are you in a box?" We all laughed (oops) and then Gina said that it was a figure of speech. Raelin said, "So, if you're out of the box, then you say when you're wrong?" Whoa. She got that? For me, being out of the box is being able to admit that I was wrong and take the blame that is mine and own it, then fix it. So we talked about it for a minute and I told her that she was right and that when we are out of the box, we can be wrong and it's good because then we can learn from it. She said, "So when we're out of the box it's okay to be wrong?" I said, "Yes, and it's even good because then we get to learn, even though it's hard to be wrong sometimes" She said, "Reading is hard for me, but it's okay for me to be wrong?" I said, "YES! Because then you get to learn!" We talked a little more about the idea and then she said, "Am I in a box?"

Now Ryker. Gina has been staying with us for the last few days and it has been great having her. The kids love to be with her and just think she's the best. She's also been a huge help during an otherwise impossible week. One night, Ryker asked if he could "cuddle up" with her to go to bed. She said yes so he got in bed and put Gina's flashlight on the floor on his side of the bed. Gina got in with him and said, "Ryker, can you hand me my flashlight?" He said, "Wow, you found it already!? I was hiding it from you, but you found it so fast! How did you know where it was?" Gina: "You left it on."

Oh, man, he cracks me up!

Finally, Alaina. She has been giving smiles to everyone even though she's sick and feels yucky. She's just great! I love having her around and I can't wait to be done with school just so I can hold her all day and not have to put her down or hope that she'll sleep for a while so I can write a paper or something.

One more. Brice. He is just the best husband ever. I love watching him be a daddy. He is so much fun for the kids and comes up with great games. He's willing to be silly and goofy for them and they love it. And I love watching him love Alaina. We are both so enamoured with her and I love to watch that sweet side of him come out when he cuddles her and when she smiles for him. And for me, he is everything. He helps me keep tabs on "my box," by reminding me when he hears me blame or be the victim, but mostly by inviting me out of the box by being out of the box himself. He is so good at seeing people as people and giving them the benefit of the doubt. It rubs off on me. He also makes me feel loved and adored. I trust him with my deepest, darkest secrets and I can bare my soul to him. I've never been so comfortable with someone in my life. I've never been loved so unconditionally or so completely. He puts up with my weaknesses (especially my pridefulness) and helps me to overcome them. He listens to me jabber endlessly about "the box" and other such nonsense. He helps me to be good and to try harder at everything I do. He encourages me. I love him with all my heart and soul and I am thankful every day for the gospel plan of eternal marriage because there would be no heaven for me without him.

Life is good!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pobrecita Nina

How do you get the ~ over the n?

Poor little Alaina! The rest of the family has been suffering from a cold that's been going around. Coughing, runny nose, itchy face, etc. Usually, when everyone else gets sick, I get a canker sore or three, but I don't get sick. I'd hoped that would be the case this time, but no such luck. Alaina and I both got sick on Thursday. I started getting stuffy and she came down with a fever. I'd just been informed by a nurse earlier that day that if the baby got a fever that wasn't from shots, the Dr. would want to know about it. So Wednesday morning I made a Dr.'s appointment for Alaina. I missed my classes and didn't turn in my 12 page paper to take her to the Dr., but I feel justified. The doctor ordered a barrage of tests: first a catheter in the office to get a urine sample (I tried to get her to pee with our whistle cue, but she didn't go. That would have been SO cool, but oh well.), then over to the lab for bloodwork (thank goodness for a super technician that got her tiny baby arm vein on the first try!), than finally to the hospital's pediatrics floor for a respiratory test. This was the worst one as far as Alaina was concerned. They stuck a tube up her nose and into her sinuses to suction out some lung mucus. Yum!

The test results are in and even though she has 2 viruses, the Dr. isn't worried. He said that viruses just run their course and she'll be okay. Other things like bacterial infections make babies much sicker. She has parainfluenza and RSV. Poor little thing. She's all stuffy and coughing and her little cry is so pitiful and froggy. She keeps choking on the mucus in her throat too. And I'm the sickest I've been in a really long time with all the same symptoms minus the choking part.

Incidentally, I was able to get my 10 page paper that was due that evening done and turned in on time. I turned in my 12 page paper this morning (two days late) but my teacher is very understanding--she has three kids too. I swear the Lord adds hours to my days. There's really no other explanation for how I get things done.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The usual

Nothing much to report lately, but I do have lots of pictures. One funny story is that the other day my sister Gina was over and she asked Ryker to lick some yogurt that had spilled off a chair she wanted to sit in. He said, "Umm, no, you can do it. You're a big girl."

He's been doing a lot better lately, though not today. Today he's way outta control. But in general, his behavior has been a bit better. Thank goodness!

Raelin is getting so independent and is rapidly learning to read. She does better when I'm not the one working with her on it though. But I've had a change of heart about trying to work with her on anything and maybe that will have an effect soon. We'll see.

Alaina is a little doll. She's getting so big (but she's still so small!). I love to hold her and find different ways to carry her in my various carriers. Most of you know that I have my quirky philosophies and passions about...well, everything really. One of them is babywearing. I love the idea of having your baby close to you all the time and I like that it fosters their development and growth. It also helps foster a secure attachment with the caregiver. A lot of people do it because they don't think that babies are supposed to be left alone for much of the time. I like the thought that they were made to be with us and to interact with their family and the things going on around them. So I try to do things that promote that idea and babywearing is one of them. I also hope that being right there with me while I am working will help her to be more willing to work and help when she gets older. So if you see me out in the yard with a baby strapped to my back, now you know why.
These are a bunch of pictures of kid feet. I'm trying to figure out how people get those great photos of newborns and siblings. I love taking picturers and I want to learn everything I can about how to take great pictures. That's the best feature digital cameras have to offer for me--my camera is my teacher. Being able to see how my pictures turn out right away helps me to take better pictures. But there are still SO many things I can't figure out! Anyone that wants to give me tips, please do!
And the rest are cute Alaina pictures. She started smiling about two weeks ago and it just makes my day to get one of her toothless, dimpled grins!

She sleeps like this a lot--with her hands wide open and her long fingers splayed. So funny!

Curled up and fast asleep.

The cat loves this baby. She curls up by her all the time. In this picture, I put Alaina down for a nap and Motors came and joined her later.
And this is Alaina at two months old. She's so big!

Lastly, I'm in the market for a new puppy, so if any of you Utahns know of a litter of English Pointers in existence or planned for this summer, let me know. Here's a picture of what they look like.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fun Weekend

Isn't she adorable! I just can't get enough of her. I love holding her as much as I can and soaking up all the cuddles before she turns two and wants to do everything "by self." She's SO cuddly! She just started social smiles last week, but she's very reserved about showing off her beautiful dimples. This is a sweet dreams smile, but adorable all the same.

This weekend we had lots of fun stuff going on. First we got up early and went to the Draper Temple open house. It was beautiful and the kids thought it was really neat. Ryker had a hard time waiting in line and walking so slowly with us through the temple, but he didn't get too wild. Raelin was perfect, as usual, and loved looking at the paintings. It's a beautiful temple and it's cool to have so many close by. It's also really neat to be able to take the kids inside to show them the things that go on there (at least the parts that we can share with them). The baptismal fonts in temples are so cool! They are always below ground level, representative of being buried and born again and the font is supported by 12 full-size oxen statues, representative of the 12 tribes of Israel. I think the highlight for the kids, though, was the bus ride from the church parking lot nearby to the temple grounds. They love buses.

Next we went to a birthday party for our twice-removed niece (Brice's brother's wife's sister's daughter) and they know how to throw a party--they work in the party industry. So that was lots of fun! The kids got their faces painted and played on the moon bounces and all that fun stuff. Then we went to a play of Cindrella with my mom. Some kids in her class were in it and invited her to come. Then off to my parents' house to play in the yard and enjoy the warm weather and to celebrate Brice's birthday. My parents gave him a gift card to the movies (he loves going to the movies) so we decided to go that night. My mom took the kids to another showing of the Cinderella play with a different cast while Brice and I went on a date! Oooo, fun!

On Sunday we had stake conference for church, but we didn't know what time. As lame of an excuse as I know that is, it was enough to motivate us to stay home and rest. Church is stressful with little kids! They are noisy and rowdy. In the afternoon, we went for a picnic out at Utah Lake. The kids and Brice ran all around through the reeds as we walked around on the trails. They played hide and go seek and dinosaur and just ran, ran, ran.

Brice the Dinosaur

We also found some AWESOME wildlife to take pictures of! Brice and I love to take pictures of cool animals. Check these out!
There were were four bald eagles in three different trees. The first tree we saw them in was about 1/8 of a mile off the road. The other two trees were a little closer, but not much. Getting these pictures without a tripod was a bit tricky!
Brice tried to walk out into the field to get a closer picture, but he was spotted:
and the eagle flew off.

This one's a juvenile. There was a lady with binoculars that knew a lot about birds and she told us that it takes about three years for their heads to turn white. She also said that during migration, the birds LOVE to come through the area and just hang out for a while. We'll be going back a LOT this spring!

There's a tree right in the middle of this picture (above) that you can just barely see (if you click on the picture, it will open it up bigger). That's one of the trees the birds were in that we were taking pictures of; it's the closer tree even. I wanted to show how far away we were, so this picture isn't zoomed in at all. The zoom on our camera amazes me!
This is that same tree, just zoomed in a little.

And this is the ugliest cute thing I've ever seen. It's a baby donkey, in case it's too ugly to tell.