Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Okay, so one more post today...

For those of you who know the story behind our van, this story will be another impressive obstacle story to add to the bumper of that car. So we all know Claifornia is pretty expensive in a lot of areas. State tax being one of them. I looked into getting our cars registered and found out that getting JUST the van done would be just over $2,200 (not including the $120 penalty fee for not registering it within 20 days). That's a chunk of change! So I've been a little worried about it. Jack was online one night that he was on call doing some research and found a law that says if you transfer a car between family members it is considered a "gift" and they will not charge sales tax on the vehicle. Fortunately, the car was only titled with Jack's name. So, we called to make sure this would work and they said it surely would. So we went down to get my new CA driver's license and registered our van for $122 That's it. I have had a smile on my face ever since. I'm $2000 richer as far as i'm concerned~ Whoo-hoo! They didn't even charge us the penalty, which I was also grateful for. Tomorrow we get the accord done so we'll see how that one goes! Just one of those "tender mercies." My friend, Monica calls it a tithing blessing, which I also thought was good. Makes me think we should take that saved money and put it directly towards being prepared. I've been thinking how the church is done counseling on that after 75 years and thinking it's time. Mom's getting me a Whisper Mill for Christmas so I'm pretty excited about that!

We got our Disneyland passes!

Yeah! Whoo-hoo! Last week was mine and Emma's birthdays. Jack had call on them both, but since he is on anesthesia rotation they give him the option of going home the morning after taking call. So he surprised me the day after my birthday in the morning with roses and said let's go to Disneyland!

We had so much fun together! I was actually so surprised at how well both kids did and they just wanted to keep going. Our favorite rides were most definitely the Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo ride because Emma just laughed her head off the whole time.

She was brave, though, and went on a couple adult rides. Jack too her on Matterhorn and she didn't like going to the top in the dark with the evil eyes staring at her. She also went on Splash Mountain with me.

I was so grateful Disney was smart enough to think of the swapping pass for parents. Emma and Jackson both loved the Tigger and Pooh ride while Jack got to love Splash Mountain. During that time, I was also able to talk Emma into going on that ride with me!

Snow White was the only princess out that Emma would hug and talk to. She has never seen Pocahontas and wouldn't talk to her and she was also shy with Jasmine. Those were the princesses out at the time. I was wishing we could run into Mandy's sister, but I couldn't remember if that was the one that got married and then thought she was probably in Utah at school anyhow. (But Mandy, next time you guys come down we would so love to go to Disneyland and see you guys again!)

We stayed there eight hours and I thought the kids would zonk on the way home, but they were so excited, they talked the whole way home. This will be so fun!

taste-testing lemons!

We got these huge lemons from my freind, Monica. Once I saw the face Jackson made, I had to get us on tape with the deal that I would do it if they would. It makes me smile!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Emma!

(This is more of a journal entry. Might be kinda boring for the average reader)

Today was Emma's 4th birthday. WoW! I have a four year old. She was so funny opening her presents. No matter what it was as soon as she opened it she would say "Ohhh, CUTE!!!" I wish I could just record how she said it cause it was the same everytime...like it was clothing, which she didn't get. There were even two boxes that you couldn't tell what they were except this tiny picture in the corner, but she still said it was so cute. So this is my tribute to my beautiful daughter, EmmaLee.

Emma started out her fourth year as quite a shy little thing. She began preschool in KY at a lutheran school and was the baby of her class. She couldn't speak as well as the rest (she has always had a bit of a speech impediment) and her teacher often commented that she was really easy going, but didn't really play with the other kids because they couldn't understand her. As a parent, I was so heart broken. We all want our kids to be happy and never get their feelings hurt and other kids be mean to them and don't want them to feel left out. Jack and I spent a lot of time praying and crying and worrying, but at a parent-teacher conference Mrs. Simmons told us something that put things in a new perspective and wefelt a lot better. She said that other kids want or need something and they ask for it. Because Emma had a hard time communicating in words, she has had to use her brain more to find a way to communicate which in the long run would really benefit her. What a good way to look at it! So the last half of the year we watched Emma grow up. Her confidence boosted, she became a lot more social, and her speech improved LEAPS and bounds. She does so great now talking and has really come out of her shell and introduces herself to any other child she has the chance to to see if they can be friends (even if it is just at the mall while the moms are looking at clothes).

Emma is auch an example to her mom. She has always had a bit of a temper, as we all do, and has only known to express it by letting out this awful sounding scream to let out the frustration. She never hits and usually goes to her room to scream like this, but it can be heard from outside, it is so bad. So this is where the example part comes in. I can honestly say that I can visibly see her everyday trying so hard to control her temper. She will start to get frustrated and start to take deep breaths and keeps repeating "mommy, I'm calm" or "mommy, I'm happy." That's hard for a grown up to do and she's only four. What a strong spirit. I know reading this probably doesn't give this incredible feeling of love, but I'm just so appreciative of her that I'm in tears as I type this. She's is constantly working on being better, and I only know this because whenever i talk to her about behaving a certain way and giving suggestions on how to do so...the very next day she is practicing those suggestions. I constantly find her in her room with a bible or book of mormon (the church kid version) and she will simply ask me to come sit down by her and read to her about Jesus. And she knows the first five Articles of Faith by heart. I have an awesome daughter.

We had a party for her at school and her teacher made her a crown that she got to wear all day as her special day. Her class colored cards for her and I brought in cupcakes and stayed for the celebration. I'm so glad I made the decision to keep her in the younger class. She is so comfortable in there and I could tell the kids in her class were so sweet. She has some cute little girlfriends in there, too, so it's fun for me to watch Emma interact and be so excited to see her friends. We have really missed her friends (Sarah, Brooklyn, Bryson) (more too, but these were the main) (don't want anyone to think we didn't like 'em!).

All in all, I know the Lord blessed me with a strong, sweet, little woman to be a leader for the rest of our children to follow.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Emma's first day of school

So this is my little Emma on her first day of school. I could have made her first day a little less traumatic, but where would the character building opportunity be if I did that? Let me explain. I initially signed Emma up for three days a week. Then after thinking about it thought I wanted a little more freedom for the three of us (my kids and I) this first year and Emma and I could still do school at home, too, if we were really ambitious. So I brought her back to two days. So we had an open house last week to meet her teacher and the kids in the class and all that. Afterward, I went home thinking that Emma was so much more mature than the rest of the kids in her class and she was the only one not crying and sharing toys and all that and I thought i didn't want her to repeat what she did last year or she would be bored. So the first day of school I took her into class andshe was so excited. She walked in and started talking to her teacher and the kids andplayiing and was this social little thing (which is a big deal because Emma has always been very quiet). I should have been happy about it, but instead was still stuck on her being so much more mature and i wanted her to grow by watching other kids, too, and all these thoughts going through my mind. So I go straight to the principle and ask if we can put her in the older class. No problem. Off I go and grab Emma and introduce her to her new teacher. She was fine, but not excited like before. I left and cried all the way home wondering if I had made the wrong decision. Called the principal when i got home and just asked her to keep an eye on her and give an opinion in the end. So when i picked her up the principal was so nice, even though I'm sure she thought I was nuts. She said either one would be fine...in one, Emma would be the oldest...in the other...the youngest. I played that game last year. I want Emma to learn to be a leader. By situation I thought the oldest would be the best way to go. So yesterday I swapped her back. She was happy to go back and her teacher is wonderful so I am excited for her now. She's happy and I finally feel right about my decision. And she is so happy to be back! We love Miss Cheryl.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

This is for JON FAIRBANKS!

(Sorry this is such a small picture!)

Today was such a great day I had to share really quickly. You know when you get away from your kids/husband for even an hour and some "me" time you just feel like a new woman? That was me today. I was asked to sing in a ward in Pasadena. I left my ward early and went up there thinking I would sing and slip out the back door and go home as soon as I was done. Well, first of all I got there (and this part is for Jon and Mandy) and Kip from Napolean Dynamite was in this ward so I got to talk to him. It so made me think of the Fairbanks and the Napolean crave we went through wanting to watch it constantly and learn the dance and all that. He looks absolutely NOTHING like the dork on the movie. I should have assumed that, I guess. Other than that, the speakers were Richard and Claudia Buschman. They are both authors of church books...one of them being the biography of Joseph Smith. Their talks were so awesome! It was incredible to sit through an entire Sacrament meeting and listen and feel the Spirit. I haven't done that for way too long. So I walked away feeling so refreshed and ready to come home and be a mom again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This was this morning!

Notice the third eye on this kid. That was from yesterday. I really don't abuse my kid. He abuses himself.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Counting My Blessings

Today is one of those just happy days. No reason in particular. The kids and I didn't even leave the house. LA has been almost unbearably hot the last few days so we have spent a lot of time in our pool and we watched Little Rascals together and painted and made a cool train track. It was just one of those really focus on the kids days and those are always so good for me cause i just have awesome kids.

Emma is so growing up. She has a couple preschool computer discs that she absolutely loves playing dot to dot and it gives her age appropriate problems to solve like "which picture doesn't belong with the rest" and painting and stuff and I just love to watch her learn. She gets so excited now about reading and has this specific book we're working out of to learn words and she's so excited that I'm so excited. I decided today to put her in preschool again only twice a week. I'm just not ready to give her up yet and then next we'll move it up to three days a week. I think she'll do three years of preschool before hitting kindergarten. I don't think that's very normal, but I want her to be the oldest in her class instead of the youngest. Emma is probably the most sincere person I've ever met. Not to say that she doesn't throw fits because she can compete with the best out there, but when she is acting herself on a normal day she just wants to help everyone else and make sure that they are happy too. For example, she was over at her friend, Dillan's, house the other day and came home to tell me he had no dress up clothes. I told her he probably liked playing with the toys he had, but she contended that he was so sad and said she would give him hers. So she came out with some of her favorite dressup clothes (princess, of course) and said she would give him hers. I told her if she gave them to him she would not get them back to play with herself and suggested that she choose something that wasn't so often used and she kept saying "it's all right." If only I were that willing to give of my "things." Then tonight we were plaing scripture bingo and by dead chance she beat Jack by one and felt bad so she gave him her winning piece and said he could have it. She just rocks.

Jackson, on the other hand, is boy through and through. I love that kid. He is a handful, though. He is constantly climbing anything around...we wish we still had our climbing wall...and is so either brave or stupid that he does crazy things and only gets hurt part of the time. Thismorning he took a face dive on the cement when we were in the pool and has a good sized egg in between is eyes and two minutes later had blood gushing out of his big toe cause he somehow sliced it open and I had to put pressure on to stop the bleeding. Fortunately, as of Saturday, September 1st, we have incredible insurance so he can do whatever he wants now. Whew! And tonight when Jack got home, we got back in the pool and let him run around naked while we swam and of course after just bragging to a friend that we've never really had any big poopie incidences, he came over covered in what he had just dropped and rolled in and it was disgusting. Serves us right, I suppose.

I love my family! We had such a fun three day weekend. Jack didn't have call and we all went to see HAIRSPRAY (my third time) and I just love it! We went to the beach for several hours yesterday and that was the best time we have had yet. Emma is slow to warm up to people and it has not been different with the beach. But she did yesterday! It was awesome! I wish I would have taken my camera cause we LOVED it! Anyway, her birthday is coming up soon so I'll have to right a little diddy on her, as if this wasn't enough!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

It was a good weekend!

Today has been a good day. Actually it has been a fantastic weekend. Jack had call Thursday so he didn't get home until late Friday and was late for our dinner with the missionaries. I was grateful to have the missionaries over for dinner. Not only are they fantastic missionaries, but one of them we had a lot in common with so that was fun (and he told Jack he was a good lookin' guy so I thought that was pretty funny). When they left we got to hang out after the kids went to bed and it's just nice to sit and actually have a conversation with him. That doesn't happen anymore. Then yesterday we took the whole family to see "Hairspray." It was my third time seeing it. I love it! I had to go out and get the soundtrack and everything. I haven't purchased new music since I was in college. Emma had gone with me the second time we saw it and since then we were both singing "good morning Baltimore" but neither of us knew the words. Now i'm already sick of it because she can't stop singing/listening to it. Jackson actually goes around singing the "oh, oh, oh," part in the beginning so apparently we've gotten him hooked, too. We wanted Jack to see it. It was really full of energy and I loved the singing and dancing. I honestly want to get up and dance while I'm watching it.

Jack got put in as Executive Secretary in our ward today. It seems that is his life calling. Our last two wards he has had that. Actually, i think he was ward clerk in the last. I don't remember. I just know he always has those Sunday meetings. The Bishop scared me, too. I've been the substitute chorister and did NOT want it to be permanent. I was snatched up to the Stake Primary Board as the music specialist and thought I was safe, but Bishop hinted to me last week he was going to extend a new calling and through a long story I won't share he said I was going to be permanent. So I spent a lot of time this week thinking about it cause he asked me to find out if I could handle this second calling. Well, to be honest, Jack is only in church MAYBE twice a month this year, and I'm going to be gone visiting other wards for at least two months out of the year, and I'm thinking, what in the world are my poor kids going to feel with me always leaving them alone on the pew? I was worried and went to the Bishop today and he more or less told me he was kidding about that calling and was thinking to put me somewhere else. Does anyone else get excited to get a new calling? Kind of weird that I do cause I'm terrible at magnifying them, I just get excited to know where I'm going to be put next.

It is killer hot in LA right now and our home only has AC units. Well, it is so hot I think it is bogging them down so they are blowing out warm air, which is nice because I like to pay for warm air, and I started to cook dinner (spare ribs, fresh pineapple, and red potatoes and carrots...sounded good to me) and put some stuff in the oven and and hour later pulled out the potatoes to check on them and I could touch the warm bowl and it didn't burn me. So our oven went out today, too. It was pretty awesome! I figure this is a good excuse to not have to cook meals. We're going tothe beach tomorrow morning. We've only gone a couple times since we've been here. I love being there early in the morning. It's so peaceful.

Jack gets Labor Day off since he works for the county and has call on Friday this week. That's the best day to have call cause he gets home Saturday morning so I only miss him one night. But then he has call on my birthday and then again on Emma's birthday. Crappy luck, heh! But I'm just grateful for this three day weekend.

My little brother got sent home from his mission on Friday. His mission was delayed a year because he screwed up his back. Well, he was in Houston, TX and playing basketball with the other elders and one of them came down on top of him and he couldn't move. Turns out he has a herniated disc in his midback and two bulging discs inhis lower. Ouch! I feel sorry for him, but I'm way excited to see him.

Emma starts school a week from tomorrow. I'm not that thrilled, to be honest. I am really going to miss her, but it will be good to have one one one time with Jackson. I know he's going to love it, although he will probably want to go to preschool, too!