Monday, January 31, 2011


I haven't sat down and used watercolors myself in a long time (since high school.) Today when the girls were painting I decided to do one too. I'm not super happy with it but I guess I need to paint a LOT more.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baby Delicious

This little wild woman is always up to something.

Hi, Bye bye, uh-oh, dog, mama, dada, "gaga" for grandma, puppy, baby (she calls herself baby and I love it), "baba" for bottle, NO!!!, STOP! (with hand held up), up, dog and she makes other sounds that aren't really words like haha for funny, lala for singing etc. It is SO FUN. She is such a little peanut it seems ridiculous for her to be running, climbing and talking like she is. She is giving the cutest little kisses and hugs that just melt my heart.

Red Fish is starting to learn how to use pronouns and add in words like "is, the, am, a" etc. She is getting much better at her "s and "f" sounds and has started using a lot of words with consonant, vowel, consonant, vowel combinations and her mean length of utterance (number of words used in a sentence) is growing. Exciting stuff!

We took her to an occupational therapist this week to help with some of the sensory issues she has been having but I think we are going to try some of the activities at home and have my sil M.E. do massage work (one of the recommended treatments) on her for awhile rather than jump into another weekly appointment. Hopefully getting some of these sensory issues that affect her oral motor control will help her keep progressing as well as she has been. Now if I can just get a doctor to say I need regular massages...

Between New Fish's newfound vocabulary and Red Fish huge progress in speech lately, our house is even noisier than usual. I'm pretty sure that anybody who calls must think I live in a combination daycare/dog kennel/insane asylum!

Collage Mania

Lately Red Fish has been obsessed with collages. We've made Valentines in collage style, dozens of dinosaur collages and everyday after we finish her speech exercises, she colors and then cuts up the worksheets and glues them onto another paper. I'm anti- coloring books even though Red Fish loves them so I'm pretty happy to see her shredding them and turning them into something of her own. We have literally dozens of collage projects around the house made in the last few weeks.
A "dinosaur" collage- we've been visiting the dinosaur museum a lot.
Speech pages collage
Dinosaur collage

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Snow

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To The Moms

Lately I have been hearing from a lot of friends around me about difficult experiences trying to conceive or just devastating stories of loss from early miscarriages to still born babies. I'm amazed at how many people I know have experienced something really difficult in this area of their lives. Well, actually scratch that. Creating a family through birth and adoption is way more than just an "area of your life." Sometimes people treat you like you just need to buck up and deal with it. Like the physical, emotional and spiritual pain is just something you can swallow and move on with life. But sometimes you experience things that run so deep they change the very core of your being. Those scars remap your heart. Yes, that applies to many other painful experiences- this is just the one that is on my mind.

Sometimes when I think about some of the painful losses I see around me, I can only imagine what that must feel like. But, between our miscarriages and failed adoption, I do feel like I have some idea of what you are going through. I don’t know if we will ever know why sometimes it takes such intense sacrifices in order to bring children into our families. I can tell you that from my own experiences I know that those sacrifices are recognized by the Lord. They do not go unnoticed. The Lord has a way of compensating us for devastating losses like the one you have experienced. Although it doesn’t remove the grief and disappointment you must be going through, He does have a way of lessening the pain. You don’t forget but the pain doesn’t always stay so sharp. I’ve experienced a lot of tears and misery during our journey into parenthood but I’ve also seen incredible miracles enfold our family. It’s really difficult sometimes to feel so out of control in your own life and in your ability to bring children to your family. When I got pregnant this last time my OB told me that there is something special about being a mother who understands the fragility of life and motherhood. You understand in a way that few women probably do what a miracle motherhood is. You don’t take it for granted or think it's a given that children will come into your family. You really know what a beautiful, rare, and special gift it is when kids come into your family and how special the different ways they arrive are. I think that knowing this makes you more in tune to the miracles that will surely enter your family. I think that pain that deep leaves a mark on you and exposes your heart to special experiences. The blessings are still coming, not today or tomorrow, maybe not for awhile. But Keep the Faith. Our Father in Heaven is ever mindful of you and loves you beyond measure. May His many tender mercies be with you in the coming hours, days and weeks ahead.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family

Edited by David C. Dollahite
A collection of essays centered on the LDS Church's Proclomation On The Family and the foundational aspects of relationships between the sexes, marriage, and family life. There are a lot of interesting ideas on how to break through misdirected expectations and extra baggage in our relationships. A lot of my favorite parenting ideals are in this book and it gave me new ideas on how to raise my ideals but stay grounded in reality. I loved the essays on developing traditions in order to strengthen family relationships. I liked what the books says about the roles of mothers and fathers and the balance that must be found. The research is interesting for the most part and it gave me a lot of room for self reflection.There were a few places I glossed over because it is a text book and I'm not interested in reading about the history of leisure activities. Overall, definitely worth giving a read if you believe in the importance of family.


I spent Thursday night and Friday down South at my Aunt Kate's funeral. I drove 450 miles by myself and it felt very strange to be so far away from my husband and kids. It has been a really long time since I went anyplace by myself. I think I've turned into a bit of a wuss. It was good though- a lot of time to think. It also felt nice to pay tribute to Kate. I just wish I had taken the time to have a good cry about it all before I left. I didn't realize quite how emotional I was until I tried to talk about her in front of everyone.

The rest of the weekend was pretty mellow. Just a lot of time with my girls and dinner out with Two Fish and the fam. Our dinner out was a bit of a battle but still fun. The girls are being especially cute lately. New Fish is pretty much glued to Red Fish's side.
Saturday morning cartoons with the babies.

Story time after church on Sunday.

Making dinner and sugar cookies together. All three of us have to wear aprons. Cooking is always slightly scary with me at the helm but when I have tiny helpers you never know what you are going to get. Fortunately today was a good day for food.
Grandma time

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Water For Elephants

by Sara Gruen
A gritty tale of a traveling circus during the 1930s. The stock market has collapsed, prohibition is in full effect and the desperation of the times colors the experiences of a young vet fallen on hard luck. The book is filled with interesting writing and great descriptions of the squalor, filth and moral ambiguity of what amounts to a traveling band of vagrant desperate for food and shelter. The circus lore is interesting and the story is captivating. The self imposed class war within in the circus and the bonds formed between the people and animals is an interesting commentary on society. Unfortunately the story is frequently interrupted with the crass little scenes that seem to be so trendy in popular books. Although ome of these debaucheries may have occured in the circumstances described in the book, having the nasty little details spelled out is annoying and unnecessary.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Valentine Explosion

We started the day off with liquid watercolor paintings. I set them up in the shower so the mess couldn't infect my house too much. They went to town on all of the papers and then painted the shower walls as well. Then after speech therapy, Red Fish and I stopped by Hobby Lobby to buy some valentines things on sale. The rest of the afternoon was an explosion of valentines projects. In fact, right now the girls are downstairs coloring more valentines pictures and I am hiding because I am done.
I bought this cardboard lettering and told Red Fish she could decorate it however she wanted. I gave her the collage box and she went to town. I love what she did with it. It is so over the top, gawdy and sparkly that it makes me smile. Red Fish painted it red with silver sparkles and then covered it in sequins, foam shapes, feathers, glitter glue and ripped up pieces of foil doilies. The sign is utterly fabulous in a las vegas show girl kind of way. It's hanging on our front door.

The Valentine making began. I have a feeling there are going to be about 100 valentines made in the next month. I especially like the giant furry pipe cleaners.
These foam mailboxes are from pre-made kits. Not very creative I know but the girls did them mostly by themselves (I helped New Fish with her bug's face) and my kids just really really love foam stickers.
Red Fish was especially excited about her truck. She is a girly girl with a passion for cars, dinosaurs and dirt. I love it. I have a feeling that Valentines may be her new favorite holiday now that she has figured out she can use a lot of sequins and sparkles to make things.

Monday, January 17, 2011

To Be A Kid Again

To live in a world where you can ride a rocking horse to a tea party with a fairy princess and a large brown bear in an art gallery of your own making.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Introducing: Petey and Teddy Bear

Halfway through a game of shutes and ladders, Red Fish decided she needed a nap. She tucked herself and Pop Pops under her two blankies. These blankies are her special buddies named Petey and Teddy Bear.Also random- my girls love to listen to their Uncle Doo play the trombone. After dinner tonight, Red Fish was practicing on a little plastic trombone and New Fish was conducting. So cute.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Expert Only

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dear Aunt Kate

June, 2010
Dear Aunt Kate
Thank you. Thank you for being you. You were one of the kindest people I have ever known. You always radiated love and kindness. I have always wished I could be more like you- more creative, more loving and more kind.

Thank you for always loving me. There really isn't a way to tell anyone else how special you made me feel as a kid or how loved you made me feel. Thank you for writing me countless letters as I was growing up. Thank you for making me beautiful things. For showing me how creativity and service can go together. Thank you for showing me what friendship looks like at every age.

Coming to visit you by myself as a child is one of my favorite memories. You made me feel so special and grown up. We made all kinds of crafty things and little porcelain dolls. We rode the roller coaster at the state fair and made giant sugar cookies. That weekend was my idea of heaven as a kid.

You never made me feel like you didn't have time for me, even when it was inconvenient. I have pictures of me hanging on your arm at funerals and family events when I'm sure you had plenty of grandkids and family members who wanted your attention. You always made me feel like the most important person in the world and I feel lucky to have known someone with a heart as beautiful as yours. There just aren't many people in the world like you. I'm sure you made a lot of people feel loved and important.

I was walking around my house looking at all of the beautiful things you made me over the years. Porcelain dolls for childhood birthdays, a Christmas music box, a statue of Christ for my wedding, a llyadro knockoff for my high school graduation, little notes of encouragement over the years. Each one has a special place in heart and reminds me of how much I love you and how loved you made me feel.

I'm happy you are at peace and that you are with your husband again. I'm sure you are with the other angels like you have always belonged.

Thank You Forever. Until we meet again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Potty Train

Lately I've felt a little bogged down and haven't got much blogging done- so here is a rambling download of my brain.
New Fish snuck into Red Fish's room during her nap to say hello. It used to be the other way around!
The girls have been major Daddy's girls lately. Even more so than usual. I'm starting to get a little jealous.

Babysitting Buddy and co. tonight. It's matching pajama night.
We went to the aquarium with G & S on Monday.
No matter how many times we go (almost every week) the girls always love it. There has been a serious fish fascination happening around here. There has been a lot of fish stickers and paintings and requests for fish books. These girls got their love of aquatic life from their mama!
Painting by Red Fish
Yesterday was a proud moment for me. Red Fish started painting and said: "Hmmm I want purple so I need some red and some blue." YES! She is starting to understand color mixing.

At the end of September, I took Red Fish to buy some underwear. We looked at the girl's underpants covered with princesses etc. and Red Fish started yelling: "Ewwwww noooooo yucky." Then she walked herself over to the boys aisle and got herself some incredibles, buzz lightyear and dinosaurs. We tried potty training on and off for a couple months but she wasn't very interested. At the end of November we got serious about it and things went pretty smoothly. I"m sure they would have gone better if we were a little more consistent but I felt like she needed to wear a diaper to school and church etc. until she had things down and has been doing great for the past couple weeks. Horray! A major milestone for both of us.

Red Fish's newest thing saying is "Please go away, please go away." said with her hands over her eyes. I hear it every time I say no or suggest something she doesn't like. Apparently she thinks she can make me disappear. She talks almost nonstop at me now. It's fun to hear all of the little thoughts she has running around in her head.

New Fish has five new teeth in the last week bring her up to a grand total of nine. She has the four front top teeth, two on the bottom and three of her molars are poking through. It has been a ROUGH couple of weeks for her. Teething seems to take forever for her and the darn things pop up and down over and over. She says the words Hi, dog, dad, mama and no really clearly and she has the inflection of a lot of other words. We went swimming today and all signs point to New Fish being a water maniac like her sister. She would squat on the edge of the pool and bounce and think she was jumping in. It was hilarious.

New Fish has also started giving the sweetest little kisses in the world. It's one of those big paychecks as a mom.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


My little Bubs is a terrible sleeper. She was over a year old and had not started sleeping through the night. Before you suggest I go Baby Wise or just let her cry out- it's not gonna happen. I'm convinced she would never stop crying not to mention I'm pretty sure I would have a seizure listening to her in the other room. I can't stand it. I'm not a cry it out kind of mom and I'm anti- baby wise. I thank my lucky stars I haven't had a colicky baby. I'm not sure how some of you brave moms out there have survived that. Screaming babies are a special kind of torture.

I was pretty much left with getting up with her sometimes multiple times a night. It was no bueno. So I started researching online and looking at weighted blankets. I know that some of my friends with children on the autism spectrum, with sensory processing disorder, ADHD, and many other special needs have used them. Although New Fish doesn't have any special needs I'm aware of, the weighted blanket has been a miracle for both of us. It has calmed her down and kept her asleep for around 9-12 hours a night. MIRACLE.

The effect was immediate. She slept through the night the first time we used the blanket and the few times we haven't been able to use the blanket (because it was puked on when she was sick etc.) she has not slept through the night. I know it may not work that well for everyone but I'm a believer now.

I usually go put it on her after she is asleep so that it doesn't get kicked off or scrunched in a corner. It weighs three pounds and the weight is evenly distributed. You order the weight according to how big your child is. I ordered ours from It was still expensive for a blanket but not nearly as expensive as some of the other sites.

I'm thinking of using a weighted lap pad to help her ride in the car so maybe she will stop screaming the whole time.

There are few moments in Motherhood when you find a magical product that will solve
a major problem. And if you happen to know of any magical products do please share with me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Material Girls

I never get tired of them dressing themselves. And also my Christmas tree is still up and I don't foresee it coming it down anytime soon. Can I call it a Valentine tree?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What I've Been Reading

1776 By David McCullough
This book made me count my blessings that I live in an age of freedom. as it brought history to life for me. 1776 made the participants of the Revolutionary war real to me in a way I had never considered them to be. I don't think I ever quite appreciated the perril and hopelessness that faced revolutionaries. McCullough manages to weave a story that is interesting and gripping. I wish all historical books could be this compelling. I especially loved the descriptions of George Washington. A must read if you are interested in American History.

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
Hank Morgan is sent 12 centuries back through time and transplanted into King Arthur's Court.
He tries to push 19th century technology, politics and ideas onto Medievil England. Morgan's attempts at subverting the aristocracy and the Catholic church are hysterical at times as he muddles through his attempts to change the prevailing culture. The satire is cringe worthy as the text takes jabs at racisim, slavery, economic policy and education. Though this book was relevant at the time of it's writing, it may be more relevant now. I do have to say that though I enjoyed most of the book there were several dreadfully slow parts that almost made me give up but it is worth making it to the finish.

The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nightime by Mark Haddon
I had read this years ago but had kind of forgotten the story line so I wanted to read it again. The story is written from the perspective of an autistic teenager and it follows an eccentric trip through his world. I love seeing the inner workings of Christopher's mind. He is logical and very literal minded and he doesn't have the filters that society demands. It is funny and disturbing and heat-breaking all at the same time. I loved it.
* Be warned- there is some unfortunate language.

The Shakeress by Kimberly Heuston (One of my high school teachers)
A young girl searches for spiritual peace and a sense of belonging during the 19th century. She joins a shaker community with her family and eventually comes in contact with the Mormon church. A nice read with some lovely descriptions, definitely worth reading if you have a few hours. The historical references were interesting and the characters have several shining moments that really draw you to them. I wish Naomi's journey into mormonism had been expanded upon a little more. There are places in the book that skip over important parts of the story and left me slightly disconcerted. Bernie's blessing was truly touching and really sucked me into Naomi's conversion story but I was disappointed that the other details of what brought Naomi to her ultimate decision were glossed over.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam!

Yesterday, Red Fish started Sunbeams. (It's a class for three year old children in our church. They get to attend a singing time and other activities with all of the other kids rather than stay in the nursery.) She was so excited about being a sunbeam. We sang the song all morning and talked about what it means to be a big kid at church. This included wearing underwear to church and asking to use the potty. Very big steps for us. She wore an especially pretty dress her grandpa bought in London that has now been christened the "sunbeam dress." On the way to class she told everyone in the hallway that "I sunbeam now!" It was so cute. Her best buddy saved her a seat in sharing time and she told us she got to eat a cookie in class. She is growing up so fast!

This little munchkin spent most of church screaming in the hall. She is making sure I am ready to send her off to nursery in March. One o'clock church is for the birds. Any interruption in our napping schedule is a mistake. Also she is wearing a very cute dress my Dad bought Red Fish in London. Their stockings are from Cannes. You may not care but I like to write it down someplace because I think it's fun.
Red Fish is very into asking to ski right now.
I'm getting excited to take her out on the slopes next season.

Totally gratuitous picture because it is "so New Fish." This girl LOVES her accessories.