Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Completed DIY Project

The guest room is finally finished! We installed the baseboards, changed out the outlet covers and light switch, and put all of the furniture back yesterday. It is so nice to have a usable room again! And just in time to have Trenton and Kristyn spend the night tonight! Whew!

I know the green is a little bright. I chose the color because we are planning to move Peyton and Maryam into this room in a few months when everything comes together with their twin beds. I am planning to make them bedspreads out of some fun, bright fabric that will coordinate with the wall color. Here begins the next part of the project, since I have not yet found or purchased the fabric or started the blankets. I am also working on decorations to hang on the walls and curtains to put on the window. I have some Anne Geddes pictures to go on Maryam's side, and I want to find something to do with sports or cars/trains/airplanes for Peyton's side.

Nevertheless, here are a couple pictures. . . .

The Case of the Falling File Cabinet

We have been working hard to finish the guest room so that it can be turned into Maryam and Peyton's room once we have twin beds for them. On Friday, Tobin worked on putting in the new baseboards while I went through the filing cabinets and moved them downstairs. We have one two-drawer and one four-drawer cabinet. I easily and quickly cleaned out the two-drawer cabinet and moved it downstairs in a multi-step process: empty out the papers, files, etc; take them downstairs; take out the drawers and take them downstairs; move the cabinet downstairs. Then I started on the larger cabinet. This one took a lot more time since it has more in it, and many things in it date back to when we were first married or before. I had to decide what was still important to keep, what should be shredded, and what could be thrown in the garbage. During this process, Peyton and Maryam were alternating between "helping" us and watching TV/playing with their new toys.

I finally finished cleaning out the larger cabinet, and completed the multi-step moving process with the exception of moving the cabinet. Tobin offered to help me take it down the stairs, which I determined would be the best way to keep from hurting myself, the cabinet, or the house. I dragged the cabinet to the top of the stairs and left it there while Tobin finished up. I walked back to the guest room to check on Tobin, and a few seconds later I heard a terrible crashing sound on the stairs. Peyton and Maryam had been following me around through the moving process, and I had explained to them that we needed to wait for a few minutes before taking the cabinet down the stairs. They had stayed with the cabinet at the top of the stairs.

I'm not sure if Peyton was tired of waiting or if he decided to conduct a scientific experiment. This seems very much like something my brother Ray might have done as a child. "Let's see what happens when a large object at the top of the stairs is pushed. Will it fall? Will it roll? Which way will it go? What will happen when it reaches the bottom of the stairs?" All of these questions were answered in a couple of seconds. I ran from the guest room shouting, "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" as if my voice could keep the filing cabinet from completing it's descent. My shouting and the tumbling, crashing cabinet scared my poor boy to death. He sat at the top of the stairs crying his little heart out. I think he quickly realized that it was a bad choice to conduct this particular experiment. Tobin and I could not bring ourselves to punish him because he felt so badly about what he had done. Peyton remained down-trodden and woeful until I apologized to him about twenty minutes later. Ah, the irony!

Our hardwood floor and the file cabinet took the worst physical beating. The floor has a couple of lovely, deep gouges in it (see the picture below). We had to pound out the top of the cabinet in order to make the top drawer fit again. It works ok now, and has a lovely dent on the top right corner to remember it's trip by.

Christmas Day

We had such a nice time together as a family on Christmas Day. Of course, the kids couldn't wait to get downstairs to open their presents. The funny thing was, they opened one thing and wanted to play with it. They didn't pay any attention to the other presents that were still sitting under the tree. I guess we could have given them each just one present. Next year we might let them open a present a day for a few days so they can have time to play with each one separately.

We spent the day together as a family, playing with our new toys. Tobin's brother Trent and his wife Kristyn and her cousin Kim came over for dinner that evening. It was so nice to have time to visit, play games, and enjoy being together. That is what Christmas is really about--enjoying family and remembering the Savior.

Here are some pictures from Christmas morning.
Peyton and Maryam coming down the stairs to see their presents. Maryam wanted to get dressed; Peyton insisted on staying in his pajamas.

Santa brought cameras for Peyton and Maryam. Hopefully this way I get to use my camera all by myself now.

Peyton with his first Thomas the Train set. He loves it!!!

Maryam with her doggie in a purse. I thinks her dog's current name is Belle. It was just Doggie for a while.

Maryam wearing her new dress-up princess dress and . . .

. . . jewelry!

Peyton surveying the aftermath.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Two-Year-Olds . . . Frustrating, Yet Funny

My kids go back and forth between being easy to put to bed and very difficult. Some nights we lay them down, and they are asleep in minutes. Other nights we spend hours chasing or carrying them back to their room. Last night proved to be a difficult night. Maryam would wander down the stairs, with Peyton creeping just behind her. Over and over, I put them back in bed. Finally, they didn't reappear, and I thought we had won the battle. At 11:30ish I went upstairs to get ready for bed. As I came to the top of the stairs I could see that the kids' bedroom light was on and I could hear them talking. I walked into their room and found them both sitting in Peyton's bed with their blankies. I asked, "What are you doing?" Their reply . . . "We're just talking!" I had to laugh out loud. What on earth do two-year-olds have to discuss that is keeping them up so late at night???

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Sunday 12/21/08

Today I dressed the kids in their Christmas outfits to wear to church. When I was little, we always got a new outfit for Christmas and Easter. It was something I looked forward to each year. I want to continue that tradition with my children too. So far, it's working out well. Peyton and Maryam both looked smashing in their outfits that I helped them pick. Ok, really I coerced Maryam into buying the dress she has. In fact, I had to buy her another dress too, since she wanted something pink. My excuse for the 2nd dress is that she can wear it to my brother's wedding in January. It might have to be her Easter dress too. Peyton had no choice since I was shopping alone when I bought his.

As it turns out, Maryam loves her Christmas dress. As soon as she had it on she said, "I'm a princess!" Then she asked me where her crown was. Her play crown is purple, and there was no way I was going to show up to church with her in a red dress wearing a purple plastic crown. Luckily, I have no idea where her crown is. But to my amazement, she wasn't referring to her toy crown after all. She was asking for the headband we bought to match her dress. I took pictures before church, just in case. But we made it home without getting our clothes dirty! Yahoo! At church, any time someone would tell Maryam she looked pretty she would reply, "I'm a princess!"

Peyton was his usual handsome, debonaire self. He is so calm and sweet. Daddy combed his hair to look like a handsome boy--mousse and all! He really enjoyed the music at church today. (There was a lot more music than usual.) And Tobin reports that Peyton was singing with the congregation while I was in the hallway with his wiggly, noisy sister. Peyton likes his Christmas outfit so much he didn't even want to change into play clothes when we got home from church.

We are all super excited for Christmas Day. I can't wait to see the kids open their presents. There were a lot of new presents under the tree this morning, so they thought Santa must have been here last night. Oops! Sorry kids, Mommy and Daddy just finally got around to wrapping your presents.
Looking at the Christmas tree.

Maryam and Peyton dancing together. They are too cute!

Silly Faces

Monday, December 8, 2008

Family Pictures 2008

Our friend, Wolfgang Croskey, is THE Jack of All Trades. Seriously, anything we need help with, he can do. He really is a good friend to have around. He took our family pictures this year, since we procrastinated so much. He did such a great job! Here are a few samples. Stay tuned for our Christmas card. Hopefully I will get them done and mailed before Christmas.

Peyton, what a character
Peyton and Tobin

Lydia and Maryam

Tobin and Peyton

Maryam, what a beauty

Tobin, Peyton, Maryam, Lydia

Maryam, Lydia, Tobin, Peyton--and the marina that is our back yard.

Family Fun

Thank you, Wolfgang! You make us look good!

DIY Update

Well, the guest room painting is finished. The baseboards are in the garage waiting for us to have some spare time to paint, cut, and install. Hopefully that will happen soon. I don't have a picture of the walls before I primed them. That was pre-digital-camera days for us. Just look at the primer pictures and think brighter. You'll get the idea. Here is the progress so far.
Primed and ready for new paint.

Tobin painting the walls green.
He refuses to give an opinion on the wall color, since the previous fiasco is sort of his fault. :)

Mostly painted. The top of the walls has been painted now, I just didn't take another picture yet.
It's still a mess, but hopefully by the end of Christmas vacation I can post a picture of the room finished and put back together. Looking forward to the end of this project . . . .

Monday, December 1, 2008

World's Cutest Kids! (at least I think so . . . )

Maryam and Peyton do and say the cutest things, and I usually forget to write them down. So I want to record a couple of their cute sayings today. This was our first day back to work after the week long, heavenly Thanksgiving break. I had to drop them off at the sitter's house at 7 this morning and leave them all day while I was at work.

After work, I came to pick up the kids. My friend Liz is our daycare provider. She is fabulous! She also happens to be deaf, so my kids are learning to be binlingual. We got our shoes and coats on and were ready to walk out the door. Maryam looked at Liz and said and signed, "Thanks we coming you house. This is wonderful!" And she said it with such a fervent, sincere tone from the depths of her heart. So cute! I had to give Wolf and Liz the translation, and we all cracked up. What a sweetie! Maryam has observed that Liz and I converse by signing, moving our mouths, and not talking. She has now started to try to carry on her own conversations with Liz. She will move her hands as if signing, though much of her motions are made up by her, and move her mouth as if she is mouthing words. It is so funny! I love that she wants to be so grown up to talk with Liz on her own.

Peyton, you may not know, has a serious drinking problem. :) He would rather drink a few cups of milk than eat something when he is hungry. He downed an entire sippy full of water before dinner, so I was afraid he was not going to eat much at all. But he did decently with his taquitos--his request for dinner tonight. When he was about 3/4 of the way through his food, he looked at me and said, "Whew! I thirsty!" I had planned to withhold any more drink options until he was finished eating, but how could I say no to that? Adorable!

Peyton does not like to stand around waiting while I chat on our way out the door. Lately, if he is ready to go, he will grab my hand or clothes and drag me out the door. He is really strong. A couple of times he has forced me to leave church, pulling me by the skirt. I always end up giggling uncontrollably, which is the main reason I can't stop him. Today at Liz's house he picked up my purse and started chanting, "Let's go! Let's go!" Then he headed for the door without me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Super Dad Saves the Day

Well, I didn't get the guest room painting finished myself, so Tobin had to step in and help me out. He is such a good guy! I promise I will post pictures soon. I just don't have time to download now. Anyway, we have a very green room, and I like it. We are talking about replacing the baseboards now. It's only money, right?

Monday, November 17, 2008

D.I.Y. Super Woman

I really enjoy doing projects around the house, but I have lacked motivation to do much for a while--maybe even a couple of years. Recently I got a "burr under my saddle," as my father-in-law referred to it. I have decided to paint our guest room so that I can move my kids into that room. The guest room has been our storage area since we moved into our house six years ago, so now I am trying to move a lot of stuff into the garage and keep it all neat and tidy. I put some serious time into the garage on Saturday, and I'm pleased with the results. No, you can't park even one car in it anymore, but it's better than paying a monthly fee for a storage unit!

Today I moved all of the remaining furniture, books, etc. to the middle of the guest room. My sister-in-law and her cousin helped me remove the shelves I built and mounted on the wall a few years ago--those definitely are not going back up. What a pain!!! (Though I've decided I'm going to attempt to make them into a book shelf or two.) I have now taped off all the trim and laid out plastic in the room. I'm finally ready to prime and paint. If you are familiar with our guest room, you know that it is currently white with red and blue stripes--a DIY project gone horribly wrong. And yet I have left it so for four years because I worked so hard on those terrible stripes, I couldn't bear to paint over them. Now I'm sick and tired of them; thank goodness I don't have to sleep in that room. It's horrifying! :) I've selected a nice, neutral, relaxing shade of green. I want to decorate with boy stuff on one side and girl stuff on the other, so I figured green would work for both. I've been eyeing some fabric at a local store that is going out of business, and now I'm thinking up several other projects I just might dive into. Can you say snowball effect? But it's all justified, right? I want to move Peyton and Maryam into twin beds soon, which means they will need new bedspreads and some pillowcases.

I'm excited to accomplish a new project (or five . . . or ten . . .). Once I finish something and look at my work, it makes me feel like I can do anything! I really can be super woman!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Primary Program

Today was the primary program in our ward. I have been working on the program all year, with tons of help from my counselors and secretary and, of course, the children. We have practiced for a couple of weeks, and the big day was finally here. I was actually a little nervous this morning as Sacrament Meeting started. The kids did such a good job! As I sat there watching them give their parts--most of which are their own words--and sing the songs, I was overcome by the spirit. I didn't realize before how much I love these beautiful young children. They are so strong and valiant. And their testimonies are so wonderful! Through their beautiful program they lifted my spirit and strengthened my testimony. I'm so glad I have the opportunity to work with them. These are truly spirit children of our Heavenly Father. His light shines through their eyes. I am so blessed to have them touch my life.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Birth Day, baby Mikayla!

Our friends Becky and Taryn welcomed their first baby to the world this morning. Peyton, Maryam, and I went to the hospital this evening to meet sweet little Mikayla. The pictures are too precious not to share. Peyton and Maryam are going to get some good training to be a big brother and sister someday. I better be careful or I might get baby hungry!

Halloween Bugs

Peyton was a bumble bee and Maryam was a ladybug for Halloween. It was so fun to take them trick or treating this year since they actually understood what we were doing. We only got to the houses on our street before they were tired out. They had a great time. Poor Peyton is really scared of people wearing masks, so we had a couple rough moments. Poor guy. He certainly seems to take after his father--a lover, not a fighter.

Our friends Sadie and Liz accompanied us for trick or treating. Liz made their costumes. Aren't they adorable?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Proposition 8

We have been working all weekend to help pass Proposition 8 in California. I spent all day Saturday and all afternoon Sunday making phone calls to registered voters to encourage them to vote yes. Then today Tobin and I stood in the pouring rain for two hours during the evening rush hour holding signs promoting Prop 8. I'm so excited to be involved in this cause. I've never really been involved in a political campaign before. It's so thrilling to think that I might help to lead people to vote for something I believe in so strongly. The news is showing this as a very tight race. I really hope we win! If not, we're going to have to think very seriously about whether or not we can send our kids to public schools in California.

The passion on both sides of this issue is amazing. There are many people who believe strongly that Prop 8 should be passed--amending the state constitution to say that marriage is only between a man and a woman. And there are many who want desperately to defeat Prop 8. I can see the argument for both sides, but God has made it clear which is correct. And so my religious convictions have determined my answer. It's interesting that church and state are supposed to be separate in our country, and yet it's very difficult to accomplish that. We have had people say to us that they didn't realize this was a religious issue at all. Seems they don't understand much about religion. I also had a woman tell me today that I am not a Christian since I support Prop 8. Seems to me she doesn't understand Christ's teachings.

Now I just have to wait 24 hours more to find out if our hard work has paid off. Even if we lose this time, the experience has been incredible! And we will continue to work to protect that which is sacred.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Big 30!

September 19th was my 30th birthday. I can't believe the years have gone by so quickly! I wanted to do something really fun and special, but I didn't want to have to plan it myself. I should have known that would not work out. I tried dropping hints and flat out mentioning my birthday to my husband, but it didn't seem that he was getting the idea. We had talked about having a party or going away for a weekend with just the two of us. I couldn't make up my mind, but we didn't have any free weekends to do either one. So I resigned myself to neither.

I had to work on my birthday, so I figured it was just going to be another day. A few minutes into my first period class, the door to my classroom opened and a TA walked in and presented me with a small gift. It was labeled "Gift #1" and signed with the initials of some of my teacher friends. Every few minutes throughout the day this continued, until I had received "Gift #29" at the end of the school day. After school my friends had a small party for me and gave me the last gift. They are so thoughtful! It really made my day special. I have awesome friends!

In the midst of all this, I received a text message from Tobin that said I needed to go home after school and pack a bag because he was taking me to Palm Springs for the weekend! He had taken care of all of the arrangements, including getting a friend to watch our kids and calling to cancel all of my commitments.

We left early Saturday morning and come home Monday afternoon. This is the first time we have been away from our kids for more than just an overnight sleepover with Grandma. It was so nice to have some alone time! I never realized before how much that can do for us. We had massages, golfed, talked, and had a wonderful time. By the time we came home I was feeling recharged and ready to face everyday life again. I have the best husband in the whole world!

The Joys of Children

Since many of you have not received any updates about us recently, I thought I'd add one of the funny yet frustrating things my children have done.

I'm not sure what I was doing at the time, but I left Maryam and Peyton coloring in the family room. When I came back, this is what I found. Luckily, Windex took the crayon off the TV screen. But the sides of the TV still have orange crayon on them. What can you do? Needless to say, I am much more strict with the crayons now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My First Posting

Well, it's time I finally joined the technology age. Thanks to all my friends who have encouraged me to start a blog. I've been thinking about it for a while. I'm not sure I have time to update it very frequently, but then I don't have any idea how long it takes to update anyway. So here goes . . .

If you have any tips for me, I'd love to hear them. I'm setting this up all on my own. No help. Wish me luck!