Monday, October 27, 2008

Quilt Giveaway to Help Baby Mia

A good friend and his wife had their 3rd baby about 3 months ago. Baby Mia. Mia was born with a severe heart defect and is on a waiting list for a heart transplant. My heart just aches for this sweet baby and her family. I can't imagine the faith it must take to be cheerful and positive in this situation, but they are. I just sat and cried for about two hours as I read their sweet blog. They're so cheerful, and such great love and faith for little Mia.

On top of the heartache it must be so stressful to be apart, one parent always with Mia and the other working and tending the other kids. On top of this their insurance will not cover all the expensive surgeries and needed health care. I was hoping to help and invite anyone else to help by making something for a blog giveaway and asking for donations from those who would like to be entered in.

My friend Liz made a quilt for a fun giveaway on her blog a few weeks ago and she got 2100 entries. Could you imagine if everyone who entered donated a dollar? It could be such a blessing for little Mia. I don't know that we will be able to get those kind of numbers but, any thing would be helpful.

On top of that there will be a fun quilt to be given away! I'm hoping to be done with the quilt in the next few days. So, just keep checking back!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Metallica meets the Children's Song Book!

Disclaimer: Long Post ahead. Labor Stories, Tantrums, Meltdowns. (Stories from the Trenches.)

And, so went the ending to our night. After our really fun Halloween Party-Part 3, with great effort I put my well sugared, overtired (great combo) kids to bed. Then I went to nurse Fin in her room, directly above the kids room where Ky was having an all out screaming match with her brother. I couldn't quite make out what was being said, so I decided they were singing my praises.

When this strategy could no longer keep away the angry throat welling up inside, I decided to sing, rather than storm down the stairs, promptly provide each kid with a good spank and perhaps a muzzle.

In the end I settled on "[Singing my] favorite hymn . . . with vigor and vim." I'm not sure what 'vim' is, but I took it to mean Metallica meets the Children's Song Book. I choose my favorite "A child's prayer". There was something about belting out a children's hymn, rocking a little baby, and 2 screaming toddlers in the background that brought humor to my heart. Fin must have found the combo soothing because she fell fast asleep.

Hooray for the Children's Primary Songs that bailed me out once again. And since this blog is the only journal I keep, I just want to add my testimony that the hymns are inspired and I love them. I find that good music in general softens my heart and helps me feel the Spirit. I'm thankful for the atmosphere it brings to our home.

The kids and Jess and I sing together just about every night. None of us sing well. Me being the worst, and I'm not trying to give myself airs. When I was little my mom told me the truth, "Honey, your tone deaf." Alrighty then. If you can't trust your mom, who can you trust.

Music helps me in my role as a mother. More times than I would like to count I have found myself singing, "Do as I'm dong" because it helps me make good choices when I'm frustrated with the kids. I figure I am their primary example of what a parent is like. How we parent will most likely influence how our children will parent later in life, whether we want it to or not.

I also sing when I'm scared. For instance, Labor. Yes, I sing straight through labor. All three times. With Ky, Jess held my hand and sang right along with me. "I love to see the temple..."and "Families can be Together Forever". Cheesy, out right weird, I know. I can't imagine how odd it must have seemed to the nurses flinting about. They probably thought, "Singing during labor is weird but, What's a temple?" Couldn't we have at least picked more normal songs.

When I was getting my epidural with Fin. I was so focused on not moving that I didn't notice I was singing until Dr. Lepert started singing along. Of course he didn't know "A child's prayer" so he chimed in with "I feel pretty, oh so pretty..." We sang it together and the next thing I knew it was all over.

I love to sing. And, before I had kids I prayed so often to have a pretty voice, by the time I had a baby so I could sing to him or her, that I really thought the Lord would bless me with one. As I look back now it makes me giggle. Maybe he didn't bless me with my wish so I could learn that the "Tone Deaf" of the world could also find joy and blessings through singing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Uh-oh, Bum!" and other Fluffs

When Ky was about two she loved to make a public announcement when a person would... fluff. She'd excitedly run up and vigorously pat their bum while chanting "Uh-Oh Bum, Uh-Oh Bum!" Of course we thought it was hilarious if it wasn't our bum being spotlighted in the middle of Sacrament Meeting or in line at the grocery store.

Last night Ky says "Mom listen, I taught Fin to talk!" And, sure enough there was our little baby girl chanting, "Uh-oh, Bu-um!" Her first word! It was a proud parenting moment!

Speaking of which, I think it's safe to say everyone has blamed a smelly or two on a nearby good smelling infant, who cannot make their claim for justice. If not, then neither have I.

But, since we all have, I was just thinking of my most blatant fib in Walmart when Ky was a baby. While leaning over a perfect stranger, to look at makeup, a horrid smell slipped out. When the lady looked up at me in disgust, I said something really adult like, "Oh, Kyanne! We'd better go change those pants!"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nothing so cute as a little Ballerinas!

Ky's recital was so darling. All the ballerina's showed up at 10:00am for make-up and costumes. Then the parents and grandparents came at 10:30a for the Princess Recital.

Miss Meg was the most wonderful ballet teacher. She taught the girls their different positions and moves in such a fun way. There was lots of imagination along with good dance instruction. The girls loved showing off their individual moves such as: quite toes, loud toes, spins and chasse's (sp?) and best of all how to dance with a Prince.

Do you know the Muffin Man... the one on drury lane?

This is how it usually starts. Cute, and innocent (see Exhibit A).


This is how it always looks somewhere in the middle and sometimes at the end (see Exhibit B).


But this day we were lucky enough to end like this (see Exhibit C).


Today Jenny (who takes Ky to preK) told me that when she brings treats for the kids on the way home, Ky usually asks for an extra for her "Brother Bridgey". Isn't that sweet! My heart leaped for joy, maybe we're not doing it all wrong after all!

"I wonder if I could make this..."

While I was shopping at Home Sense with Rachel last night she kept teasing me about thinking "Could I make this?" I never realized this about myself. But, as we kept shopping I realized, when I find something I like my first thought is "Can I make this?" or "How could I embellish on this one?" I just love to create. It just seems more special if it's made by hand. I can spend hours on Etsy appreciating all sort of handmade goodies.

Speaking of which, due to my love of the homemade I've been a Blog Slacker. Here's some new projects. Including my new puffy dress. I was so excited when I designed it, and even as I sewed it together, and then I tried it on. Disappointing. It just doesn't look nearly as puffy or cute as I imagined in my head. So, I'm in the process of making alterations. Then I made a couple of button bows for the girls and finished Fin's black dress. In the background you can see the new fireplace and wallpaper. I love it! It's so cheery and bright. Now I just want to find a way to incorporate more fun colors like, hotpink, red, and soft lime.

Potty trained at 8 months? Opinions?

Crazy I know. But, a friend of mine said she started putting her little girl on the potty when she awoke, before nap, after, etc. each day for about 2 min whether she went or not and the baby hasn't had a dirty diaper in 2 weeks. It's amazing. I can't decide if I dare try it with Fin. What do you guys think?
In response to one of our new family leafs (FHE) a dear friend of mine left this quote in the comments. Reading it only made me want to try harder to make sure we never miss.

"If the Saints obey this counsel [to hold regular family home evenings], we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them." (First Presidency letter, 27 April 1915 - Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose, emphasis added)

I'm grateful for the wonderful friends that I've been blessed with. Many of them are mothers like me, in different stages of their lives. I feel so thankful today for these friendships. They teach, strengthen and inspire me. Last night I went shopping with a good friend, and even though we just shopped and chit chatted, I left feeling happy and inspired to be better in my responsibilties at home.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turning over some new Leaves

This Fall the Larsen Family has turned over some new leaves.

1. Mom got organized! It's been a perilous journey but, Hooray for little ol' frazzeled me! It started with the Pantry. Yes, our pantry no longer has 7 gallons of paint (literally), saws at random, caulking guns and adhesives for all occasions. I'm feel so empowered! Look out Linen closet! (if I'm not back in a few hours send in the dogs!)
2. Ky started "real school" as she calls it. Don't even try saying preschool or prepare to be corrected with a light scolding to boot! This is serious business. She goes to real school now, which apparently means many things, such as she's "almost an adult", needs a backpack even if she can't bring it to school, and no longer takes naps.

It's crazy how expensive it is too. Preschool? or Feed a small country? I guess we'll go with preschool? Everyday we are woken to the same 3 questions.
  • Can I watch Treehouse?
  • Will you make me breakfast?
  • Do I have school today?
It's sweet how she loves preschool (I figure I'm safe since the 'almost adult' can't read yet). Her teachers name is Mrs. Hamilton, (she's taught pre-k for 25 years) and she has 10 classmates. Her favorites being Jayden, Area, Tiley, and Montana. I could do without the ATTITUDE she brings home on school days, but other than that were pretty happy for her. Bridgey misses her lots during those two hours, but we usually can keep ourselves pretty amused with Ikea hotdogs or something until it's time to go get Ky.
3. Bridgey has started talking and whispering. I am so happy. We went through a horrid stage of screeching and shrill screaming (It was torture). I was worried I wouldn't make it through, but alas we did, hearing and all.

He is now a full on conversationalist, and we can even understand a few words here and there. Ky's really good at understanding him, so sometimes we get her to translate for Bridge and Finn. Her Fin translations:
  • "Fin says she wants to share her cookies with me, isn't that nice?"
  • "Fin is saying she's awake" (she's asleep in her room)
  • "Fin is saying she likes my dress and when she's bigger she wants to borrow it."

4. Hooray for Jess! His company has really taken off. I am so proud of him. He's so visionary, even when it's not so apparent to everyone else. It's been so fun having him work from home, and having a consistent schedule for family time.

5. Jess has been dubbed: "Pooh Master" -(a moment of silence please). I've always loved him, but now it's got to be twice as much. I hate when baby poo's make that 'People Poo' transition. It really grosses me out. And, worse is when your Heavy Weight starts begrudging your invasion of 'his personal spaces', and sends a few "kicks to the face" your way.

6. Fin officially became a walker at 9 months. She took her first little wobbly steps about a month ago. She's our "smart baby", our very own Livi. She's delighted with herself.

7. Family Home Evening every week. This leaf is one we all love, even Jess and Meg who do a fair amount of whining. A friend of mine shared with me their fhe routines which included testimonies each week. I love this idea so much we've decided to adopt it. The kids stood at the fireplace to say their testimonies on Sunday and it was so sweet. Ky's went on for a good solid 5 mins. She's such a grateful little girl.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thankful for...

  • Thankful for my 3 sweet babies! I love them so much words couldn't suffice.
  • Thankful I'm married to my favorite friend in all the world!
  • Thankful I get to wake up and snuggle with him and the kiddies each morning.
  • Thankful I get to not only live with my cute husband, 3 kids, but my favorite Meggie too. Thankful that she never plans to move away. When she gets married we'll just build her and her husband their very own room with a door and everything.
  • Thankful for our little smart baby that already knows how to walk and toddle around after her siblings at 9 months old! I was surprised how much I loved Bridgey moments after he was born, and when I had Fin I was again surprised at how much I loved her the moment she arrived on Earth. It just makes me want to have 10 more!
  • Thankful that Bridgey has learned how to whisper. If he can't get my attention he starts whispering, it's so cute what else can I do but, oblige him.
  • Thankful that Ky's 4 and so much fun to hang out with. We have real conversations, play house, make treats, clean, quilt, or do crafts together. It like a little friend all day long.
  • Thankful for grandma's and grandpa's. I love how delighted the kids are at the sheer mention of their grandparents. Ky prays for them pretty consistently and speaks of them daily. Her Nana and Grandma Larsen are by far some of her bestfriends. Right up there with Lexi and Mamie. That's saying alot.
  • Thankful for my Mom. Thankful for her kind heart and example of great love, and the happiness that comes from losing your life in service. When I was growing up I wasn't sure I wanted to marry, but I was absolutely sure I wanted to be a mother because my mom made it look so wonderful. She probably told us daily how much she loved being our mom.
  • Thankful for my testimony of Heavenly Father's love. I know that I am His daughter and he cares about even the small things that matter to me. When I was a little girl I attended the nearby Baptist church with a neighbor each week. There in Sunday school they taught me about the Savior and how to pray. I'm so grateful for those early testimony building experiences and for that kind family who thought to invite an 8 year old out to church.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A miniature reflection...

Who needs a mirror when you have 3 little kids around to reflect the real you, for better and for worse.

Today I overheard Drill Srgt. Ky, laying down the law, complete with -the Mommy Stink Eye (which looks so much like her Nana's, it's scary).
Ky: "Uh-oh Bridgey. UH-OH (envision: evil eye, hands on hips). I'm the Mommy and you need to obey. Do you understand? Bridgey..."
While not yet fluent in English I think he got the idea, because he replied, in standard Bridgey Protocol: "NO!" and a simultaneous smack to the head. Sighing to myself, I again vow to be the picture of patience with a smile and a plate of cookies for good measure, that a "good" mother should be.

Sometimes as I am curtly correcting a kid I have this flash of insight: These are Heavenly Fathers babies too. How would I feel if someone spoke that way to my kid and dragged them by their hair (okay that's a bit excessive but I have thrown Ky over my shoulder while she was kicking and whaling loud enough to wake the dead, winning the sympathy of every person in the Lethbridge mall.)

Thinking of my kids as belonging to someone else helps me be more patient. And, see them as little people exploring their world, boundaries, and mother's self restraint.

Another of my less desirable traits Ky has taken up is
: She's practically as good at it as I am... practically. Some of Ky's more common reason to grrr...
  • not getting the 'square bowl' for breakfast.
  • pants
  • shirts without puff sleeves
  • denying her 50 requests to 'cut and dye her hair black like Snow White's"
  • letting Bridgey be the "Guest" and by that I mean letting him pick which color cup he wants at lunch.
  • reminding her who's the Mommy
  • washing her blanket
  • lunch items without cheese
  • non heel-shoes
  • non bow-shoes
  • pony tails as opposed to "Ballet Buns"
  • chastisement for wearing dresses off the shoulder.
The truth is, in retrospect (definitely not in the moment) I love these quirky things about my little feisty princess, who's become a fabulous Copy Cat (speaking of which she learning how to spell C-A-T today at school).

She seems to notice and then copy everything I do, right down to the day I wore a shirt with a bit of a
plungy neck line. I was just wearing it under a sweat shirt but the next thing I knew, there was Ky tugging at her modest shirt in attempts to be like mom. Or how about the time she wore a shoe lace around her bosom for days because she wanted a bra like Mommy's.

In the last few months I've come to realize just how important my example is. How close they watch and quickly they absorb.

Lizzy Anne Quilt Giveaway!

Just had to posted Lizzy Anne's (cutest name ever!) quilt in great hopes of winning it. The quilt nerd in me has been waiting for this giveaway for months... yes months! I'd shout, "pick me! pick me!" if I thought it would help, but alas I'll just share it with the web-o-sphere instead. So here it is. Lets give a warm welcome to: 'Spring Up'. A Lizzy Anne original! It's such a cozy quilt for the Fall and I love the retro fabrics.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Heart Pres. Monson

Excerpt from Ky's lunch prayer:

"And, thank you that we could have a witch that crashed into the door, and that we could decorate for Halloween. And, thank you for the storm and the rain clouds, please bless them. And, Please Bless this meeting. In the name......."

Life is so fun-filled here at home. Each day is filled with little character building moments (see previous post), as well as magic moments like this sweet prayer. I can't believe how lucky I am to be here at home each day.

As I listened to President Monson's talk in conference about not being so focused on the past or the future but, making the most of "Today", I decided to rededicate myself to this. Everyday is a party, and we get to choose which one.

Today we had a cocoa/marshmellow party, and yesterday was a Halloween decorating party. And, were thinking about having another making decorations party on Thursday. My quality of life is so much better when I focus on having fun, along with all the other things I get to do each day.

Threats of a 4 year old: "If you do, you won't be my Best Friend!"

"Kyanne, can you shut the baby gate?"
"Please obey. Close the baby gate."
"No. I don't have too. If you make me you won't be my best friend! And, I will spank you Mom!"

. . . .And, so goes life around the Larsen home. I've been reading books, praying, and discussing discipline styles with Jess, and anyone else who will listen (including but not limited to Ky's preK teacher, grandparents, and random strangers in the Superstore line.

A friend of mine (Thanks Heather) sent me this article by the Arbinger Institue, and it has been more helpful in handling this "New Phase" as it often gets trivialized, than all the books I've read this year combined. I think I read it in college, but you can guess it didn't mean as much then.

It has made such an impact on me, and the happy spirit in our home today, I had to share.

To read Click Here. (It's called the Parenting Pyramid. Scroll down and there will be a link to the PDF).