Sunday, January 29, 2012

Going Through the Motions

The babies are at such a fun age!  And such a difficult age too.  We are at the point where going to church feels almost pointless.  I guess we are there to teach the babies that this is what we do on Sunday and for the older kids to learn something.  I'm certainly not getting much out of it right now.  Tobin and I spend most of Sacrament Meeting in the foyer with restless or screaming babies.  Today I was interpreting for my deaf friend and both babies started screaming at the same time.  Another friend had to take over interpreting so that I could help Tobin take the babies out.  I spend all of Sunday School in the halls and/or foyer, and if I'm lucky I get to stay in Relief Society because the babies are so tired they will finally fall asleep.  Just nine more weeks until they can start going to Nursery!  Wow!  (I seriously can't believe they are almost 18 months old already.)  What a relief it will be to take them to Nursery and get to sit through a lesson without a squirmy, screaming, or cranky baby on my lap.  (But I think I might miss them, too.)

Today was a rough mommy day, all the way around.  Church was hard.  Tobin taught Elder's Quorum today, so I had both babies with me.  I don't mind taking them so he can do his calling.  But it does take a lot out of me.  Luckily, I have a fabulous visiting teacher and a fabulous sister-in-law who help me out a lot!  After church I had some trouble with Maryam.  She acts so much like a teenager sometimes.  I probably get frustrated too easily, too.  I'm really trying to work on being patient and speaking calmly with my children.  That all went out the window today.  I ended up feeling like I just wanted to run away from home.  Alone.  This mommy business can be SO HARD! 

Don't get me wrong.  I really love my kids, and I would not trade them for anything.  It's just hard to feel like I have run out of tricks and tools in my mommy bag and things still aren't going right.  I think I'm just down on myself right now.  Sunday is usually my lift for the week.  My chance for renewal.  When I don't get to listen or try to feel the Spirit, it's hard to feel renewed.  I need to do a better job of finding that lift and renewal on my own all week long.  It's just hard to find any time for myself.  I already can look around my house and list so many things that need my time and attention, on top of the everyday demands of four kids and a husband.

On the positive side, this coming weekend is our 13th wedding anniversary.  We have planned a night away, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are going to watch all four kids.  (They are saints!)  I'm really looking forward to some time to relax and rejuvenate.  I know we both need it!

Because I'd love to hear your ideas and get some fresh perspective, feel free to comment and answer these quandries . . .
When you are feeling down or frustrated, what is your best way to break out of the blues?
What are your strategies when you have run out of mommy tools and you want to just throw in the towel?
What do you do for yourself during the week?  How do you fit in "me" time?

Walking and Almost Walking

Braden started walking independently last weekend at Uncle Roy and Aunt Linda's house.  I forgot to mention it in my post from last week.  It was so exciting to watch him take those first few steps on his own.  He really seems to like it and has not looked back.  This week, every time I turn around I see him standing in the middle of a room or walking across a room.  He still walks on his knees sometimes when he gets tired or frustrated, but he is always willing to get back on his feet when I offer to hold his hand.  He is such a cutie!

Natalie's physical therapist recommended a high top shoe from Stride Rite a couple weeks ago.  I got her the shoes, and she is quickly becoming much more confident in her standing.  She loves to have someone hold both of her hands so that she can try to walk like her twin brother.  She is still pretty shaky and makes jerky movements as she walks.  But I can certainly see that she is making progress.  She will stretch up onto her tiptoes all by herself in order to reach for things.  That's an improvement for her.  Getting up on tiptoes has been one of her PT exercises for the past couple of months.  For a while I had to hold her by the hips and help her move up onto her toes.  I'm happy to see her able to do it by herself now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What to do . . .? Your advice is requested.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year.  Especially because we receive so many wonderful Christmas cards and letters updating us on the lives of friends and family.  The saddest time of the year is when I have to take down the Christmas cards.  I have been known to leave them up until after Valentine's Day.  We have a few friends who send their yearly card/letter for Valentine's Day, so I've justified leaving up the Christmas cards because their friends are still on the way.  This year I had to take the cards down already.  They are usually posted on the wall just below the railing to our stairs.  My sweet little babies have learned to climb the stairs and wouldn't leave the cards alone.  Thus, they had to be removed, lest they be destroyed.  But now what do I do with them?  I feel so sad thinking of throwing them in the trash.  Think of all the beautiful pictures and thoughts in that stack of cards!  Think of all the fond memories of family and friends!  Think of how I cherished each card as I took it out of the mailbox, opened it, devoured the news, ooh-ed and aah-ed at the beautiful photos!

This is where I need your advice.  Clearly you can see I have a problem.  Right?!?!  After the season, what do you do with the Christmas cards you received?  Is there something to be done other than throwing them in the trash?  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this.  Please!  Even if your answer confirms my fears that there is nothing to be done but throw them out.

(By the way, I know exactly what my husband will say . . . . Throw them out!  He doesn't seem to have sentimental attachments to such objects, like I do.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wonderful Weekend

I didn't take any pictures to document it, but we had a wonderful weekend!

Friday night I had an impromptu girls night.  It was so much fun!  We had to park far away from the restaurant and hurry through a downpour, but that seemed to make it more fun.  It was such a treat for me to be out of the house to do something fun all by myself!  Thanks, girls!

On Saturday evening we drove to my uncle and aunt's house in Modesto to spend the night.  It was so fun to be there and just relax.  They are great at being a grandma and grandpa.  Our kids had fun watching movies and playing with their toys.  It was so nice to catch up and get a dose of Wasden.  We had a long night, since little Natalie didn't sleep much.  That meant that Mommy and Daddy didn't sleep much either.  Usually we would check her diaper, make sure she was ok, and just let her cry it out.  But we didn't want to keep everyone in the house awake all night, so we were up with Natalie trying to keep her quiet.

Sunday morning we got to hear my cousin Tyler report on his mission in their ward's Sacrament Meeting.  We also got to hear him speak in a Spanish branch a little later.  Uncle Roy spoke after Tyler in their ward.  I think Tobin and I both enjoyed going to church without having any responsibilities.  It was so nice to feel the spirit and enjoy family.  After church, we had lunch with Aunt Linda and Tyler.  Uncle Roy got a break in meetings and we got to see him again for a few more minutes.

After lunch we headed home and had our monthly extended Family Home Evening with my parents and siblings via computer.  I miss my family so much!  This weekend was really nice to have some time with them, in person and through the blessing of technology.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas Projects

My sister-in-law inspired me to do mostly hand made gifts for Christmas this year.  I found tons of great ideas on Pinterest!  Here are pictures of the things I made as gifts this year.  I think I'll do things a little differently next year, so that the kids can be more involved in the gift giving (and making).  I had so much fun making all of these, though!

a skirt for my niece
an apron for my brother-in-law

a wall hanging for my sister-in-law

a wall hanging for my sister

abc book for my niece

menu board for my sister-in-law

army wife bag and clutch for my sister-in-law

matching pajama pants for the whole family
(clearly I'm lacking some pictures here) 

dresses for the girls and ties for the boys
 Whew!  That was a lot of work!  I still have quiet books to finish up for the babies.  I intended for them to be Christmas presents, but they are taking way too long to finish!  I'll post pictures of them once they are done.  Maybe I'll finish them in time for Christmas this year.  :)  I'm also working on a quilt for my bed.  I really need to finish that soon.  Any ideas on how to machine quilt a large quilt on a regular sewing machine are welcome. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year, New Look

I've been thinking about cutting my hair a lot shoter for several months.  I finally got the nerve to do it and made an appointment.  This morning I was so nervous about it I thought I might throw up.  I almost cancelled the appointment.  But I told myself to suck it up; it's just hair, it will grow back.

So I went through with it.  I LOVE the results!

My kids were at a friend's house while I was getting my hair done.  When I picked them up, Braden started crying as soon as he heard my voice.  I picked him up, and he continued wailing.  He would not be calmed until my sister-in-law held him.  I tried to take Natalie from my SIL, but she didn't want me either.  Peyton says I look sort of like a boy.  Maryam says my hair looks nice.  She might think about cutting hers the same way too.  Tobin loves my new look too.  (He has to, though, right!?!?)  I'm amused at the varied reactions of my family.  I think the babies have finally gotten used to my new hair tonight.  We will see what happens in the morning after a full night's sleep to forget again.

I was really getting tired of my longer hair, and it seemed to always be in a ponytail.  I'm really excited about this new 'do! 

Unattended Camera

Here's what happens when I leave my camera unattended while I go to the bathroom . . .

There were more, but I figured you get the idea from these.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Christmas Letter

We usually mail our Christmas letter with our Christmas cards, but I'm late getting it all done this year.  Our cards will go in the mail tomorrow (hopefully), so we decided to post our Christmas letter on the blog instead of all the additional printing and folding to send it in the mail.  Enjoy!

If you are not on our card list and would like to be, please send me an email.  :)

Natalie, Lydia, Peyton, Maryam, Tobin, Braden
Dear Family and Friends,
Happy New Year! Better late than never, right? What a wonderful year we had! We are richly blessed, especially in our relationships with all of you. We hope 2011 was a great year for you too.

Natalie turned 1 in October. She is a sweet, talkative girl and likes to read and sing. She has quite the vocabulary already, including: Hooray!, no, no way, mama, dada, Marmar (Maryam), and Brady. She spent so much time working on all that vocabulary that she forgot to work on her physical skills too. Natalie was referred to physical therapy around 4 months old because she would not turn and lift her head to one side. After just one appointment, she made amazing progress and graduated from PT at the second appointment. But, she found herself back at PT around 10 months old because she could not get herself to a sitting position and was not even attempting to crawl. (Her main method of transportation was rolling, and it was really funny to watch her roll to a selected place with great speed and accuracy.) Once again, she is making amazing progress. Within a week after the first appointment, she was able to sit herself. She is now crawling and pulling herself to a standing position too!

Braden also turned 1 in October. He is all boy, following in his brother and fathers’ footsteps. He likes to play with balls, cars/trucks, and building blocks. He also enjoys looking at books and being read to. Braden’s vocabulary is very small—“yay!” and a whiny “uuhhh” are just about it—but his physical skills are developing well. He has been crawling for a few months now. He started pulling himself up to stand several weeks ago, and has been cruising the furniture for a few weeks now. He is even starting to stand alone without support. He loves exploring everything he can get to with his new found freedom. He also really seems to enjoy helping to unload the dishwasher . . . even when the dishes are still dirty.

Maryam is 5 ½ and one of three girls in her kindergarten class of 12. Her skills for helping others remember the rules are greatly appreciated by her teacher. Maryam likes her Montessori based school, and loves choosing her jobs at school each day. Maryam is a budding artist. She loves to draw, color, paint, etc. Her coloring skills are so good that sometimes daddy has to ask if she or mommy colored a picture. Maryam is quickly learning to sound out words. She will be reading in no time! She also loves to write her own notes/letters/stories. It’s great fun to decipher her phonetic spelling. Maryam took a ballet class this spring. She had fun learning some fundamental ballet skills and did very well in her recital in July. She was a great cheerleader for Peyton’s baseball team, and may decide to play baseball with them in 2012.

Peyton is 5 ½ and loving his rough and tumble kindergarten class of mostly boys. He is a wonderful student, and his teacher knows she can count on him to set a good example for everyone else. He has displayed amazing patience and self control when the temptation to play around is very great. Peyton played on a Peanut League baseball team this spring and really loved it. His skills improved a lot during the season, and his team placed second in the league. Peyton is also learning to sound out words and loves when Mommy reads books to him. He also really enjoys playing the X-box with Daddy.

Lydia loves her stay-at-home Mommy job! Having four kids age 5 and younger is a challenge and keeps her on the move every day. Lydia learned this year that baseball is not just a game, it’s a lifestyle. She is finding time to squeeze in some sewing and crafting. She is lucky enough to have an opportunity to sing with a women’s quartet this Christmas season, and is remembering her love of vocal performance. Lydia serves at church as the Ward Music Chairperson. It’s a low-key calling that doesn’t require a lot of time in her already busy schedule.

Tobin continues to work for the same CPA firm in San Ramon, though their name has now changed to TYS, LLP. He is very busy there as one of two audit managers. Tobin still loves to golf at every opportunity. He continues to play basketball a few evenings each week, and was even invited to join a community league team. Tobin was an assistant coach for Peyton’s baseball team and probably loved it even more than Peyton. Tobin was recently called as the Elders Quorum President in our ward, and is quickly getting up to speed with his new responsibilities. He is enjoying this new opportunity to serve.

At this season, especially, we are thankful for all the blessings we have received this year. We cherish your friendship, love, and support; and we wish for you a happy, peaceful new year. We hope you will feel the love of our Savior in your lives, as we have felt His love in ours.

The Moons

Natalie, Maryam, Peyton, Braden