Friday, December 16, 2011

happy (belated) halloween

This Halloween we had some very special guests at our house: Grandma and Grandpa Clark.  We were, in fact, WAY more excited about their arrival than about dressing up in costumes and collecting candy.  

But we DID have fun dressing up.  And collecting candy.

Mercedes in the annual Chloe Clark Autumn Parade.


Seriously, the kids couldn't stop
starting at Lincoln the dog.
Most of them tried to pet him.  
He got sick of it pretty quickly, 
and retreated to the porch 
where he could be alone.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Lincoln on a horse.

I just found out that Brent has the weekend off!


It feels like a miracle.  He's been like a ghost for what feels like a good long while now.  He gets home LATE at night (after I'm asleep, usually) and then feels like he should study.  He gets up at 4:30 am and is gone by 5:30.  Last thursday was his first day off in 10 days.  He spent the day doing yard work and studying.  Maybe I'll be able to talk him into laying off the books on Sunday and spending some quality face-time with the fam.  At the very least I'll have some back-up during Primary.  We have an energetic group of boys that we team teach, and it's always easier with two of us.

It's friday night and at our house, that means Movie-Night.  Something the grandparents introduced.  Tonight the feature is "Zookeeper."  Mercedes made a bed for the three of them on the floor, and they're waiting patiently for their fish to finish baking so that they can get dinner over with and have their movie-night treat.   They picked Pumpkin Ice Cream at Trader Joe's.  I'm sort-of watching... if checking email and cooking dinner and updating our blog and glancing at the screen every once in a while counts.

On our way to TJs this afternoon we passed a skate park and Cooper declared that for his "five year-old birthday" he wants a little green skateboard of his very own (Brent's long-board from Dental School is green, but a little big for the little guy).  It's always nice when they have a specific idea in mind.  All three of the kids have birthdays approaching and it seems to me like every day Mercedes comes up with a new thing that she wants for hers.  Today it's a stainless steel water bottle.  Yesterday it was her own ipad.  Luckily, Lincoln is still easy.  He doesn't really know what a birthday is yet.  He'll be happy with cake and ice-cream. 

My birthday present to myself this year will be a potty-trained two year old!  Our little Linc is very determined, independent, and strong-willed.  He does what he likes, when he likes.  I'm counting on that to get him trained sooner rather than later.  He definitely isn't afraid of falling in, like Coop was.  Without me starting the process (I'm waiting until AFTER tomorrow's Super Saturday RS activity) he's already done his business in the right spot a few times.  I am so done with diapers.  And the SMELL which accompanies them.

Keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tonight I found something on Lincoln's bed:

It was a piece of notebook paper....

Badcard!! was written on the top.  Under the Exclamation points was a frown. Then:

Name: Lincoln
Midil name: Maxwell
Last name: Bethers
What they were doing: banging on the door when he was sopost to be sleeping.
What will his punishment be: Take Mr. Pokodots (her name for his favorite blanket) away for the day.

It's fun that Mercedes loves to write.  She's creative and likes to write stories.  I especially like her creative spelling.  She's loving school this year.  According to Mercedes, her teacher Ms. Salgado teaches more science than any of the other 3rd grade teachers.  And Mercedes LOVES science.

Cooper spends his days ordering Lincoln around.  He's really becoming a very sweet boy, which is a huge relief to me.  He's outgrown his terrible two's just in time for his brother to take his spot.  He likes to pretend that Lincoln is his horse, and pulls him around the house by his collar.  Once in a while he gets frustrated when Lincoln won't follow his directions.  Cooper likes to say, "Mommy - I'm going to say something very bad... I love you."  and, "Mommy - I'm going to do something bad," and proceeds to give me a kiss.  He's generous with hugs and kisses and "I love yous." 

Lincoln is so attached to having his thumb in his mouth that he has developed an "open bite."  If he keeps it up, he'll need a very painful surgery.  So we've gotten really serious about helping him to break the habit.  We tried the nasty nail polish - and he just sucks it off.  We tried gloves with duck tape, and he uses his teeth to rip the tape off.  Then we switched to gloves with zip ties, and he sucks his thumb.  So we've finally  moved on to mittens (without his thumb in it's spot) with zip ties.  Last night he woke up crying every few minutes, and then at 2am I found him downstairs getting a yogurt out of the fridge.  But it seems like today things are finally sinking in!!!  He hates the mittens so much (I mean - he can't even feed himself with them on) that he took a nap without sucking his thumb!  And then tonight he went to sleep without sucking again.  YAYAYAYAY!!!!  I am celebrating. 

Brent started his first "night shift" on Friday.  He's doing his general medicine rotation, so basically he's responsible for patients staying in/being admitted to the hospital.  I was NOT looking forward to trying to keep the kids quiet all day so he could sleep, but so far he's been able to sleep just fine - even with A LOT of noise.  He leaves for work around 4 pm and gets home just as I'm getting up at 7am. 

I spend most of my time just trying to keep the peace and working to prevent our house from being a TOTAL cesspool.  I'm looking forward to the kids getting to the point of being able to HELP clean up after themselves.  Mercedes is now responsible for unloading the dishwasher, and just that has been huge help!  I loved conference this weekend.  The kids... not so much.  I'm especially excited about the Provo Tabernacle being restored and becoming the second temple in Provo! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Fall is my favorite season.  In fact, before I met Brent I wanted to someday have a daughter named "Autumn."  Of course, he shot that one down in less than 2 seconds, just like the rest of my baby name suggestions.  Yup - he's pretty much named all of our kids.  I've chosen the middle names because he doesn't care about those, maybe because he's always just had a letter.  H.  That's Brent's middle name.  But I've gotten completely sidetracked.  I love the fall.

The temperatures are lowering, and the air SMELLS different.  It FEELS different.  That's how I know summer is gone.  I'm looking forward to the green changing to gold and orange and red.  I'm getting ready to find my pumpkin candle and pull out the hot chocolate mugs.  I'm excited to decorate for Halloween, and I'm ESPECIALLY excited that my parents will be visiting soon!!!!!  We're counting down the days, mom and dad.

Let this serve as a notice to y'all:  We finally put a Queen Bed in Mercedes room, so we are READY and WAITING for any visitors to ring our doorbell!

It's been a hard few weeks for us here.  I've been sick for almost a month straight now.  Flu, ear infection that took forever to clear up, and now tonsillitis that is ALSO taking forever to clear up.  Sinus infections too, which are probably causing some of the aforementioned infections.  But today, even though my throat still hurts and my head ACHES and I feel weak and tired - I am not discouraged.  I am looking forward!  Brent gave me a Priesthood Blessing last night, before which I WAS feeling quite discouraged.  I am so thankful for the gospel, and for my patient boys who have hardly left the house this week.

Life is a blessing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


August has been a full month for us.  

Unfortunately, I didn't take our camera to Utah.  


But still we had fun....

Being with grandparents.
Bowling with cousins.
Seeing Aunt Suzanne.
Going to the park with Grandma.
Feeding the neighbors' horses.
Seeing old friends.
Camping in American Fork Canyon - thanks Grandpa!
Riding "Taylor's" horse - the boys fell off and got right back on again!
Having movie night.
Playing with Mendo and Willie - we'll miss you!
Playing games with Aunt Lorraine and girls.
Shopping for school clothes.
Going to movies.
Going shooting with Kev, Annmarie and Chris.
Shopping for Atlee - we're so excited to meet you!!!
Eating too many donuts.
Watching the Iron Giant with Chris.
Going to the Provo Beach Resort with Gram and cousins.
Spending mucho bucks to keep our beloved Yukon running.
Riding the 4-wheeler.
Watching the "pioneer day" fireworks.

Thanks to Uncle Chris for getting us to Utah, and to Grandma for getting us back home.  I would not have made the 15 hour drive by myself.  At least not in one day.

Now we're working on getting back to "real" life.  

I'm grateful that I spent yesterday cleaning, since Lincoln woke early this morning throwing up what little was left in his stomach.  So far, he hasn't been able to even hold down water.  We're rubbing peppermint oil on his feet and back to help with the fever.  I've never been able to get him to ingest any kind of medicine.  

So far this morning we've watched Callou, Strawberry Shortcake and are currently on Meet the Robinsons.  It's a "cuddle-couch" day for sure.  Every once in a while Lincoln will nod off, but isn't able to stay asleep.  He usually wakes up barfing.  Nice, right?  Don't worry - we've got a bowl on standby.

Mercedes and Cooper are doing well on their own, for which I am grateful!  They're playing school at the moment.  I'm all set with a pile of books picked up from the library yesterday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ride the ducks

Brent's parents gave him the best birthday present ever this year - a visit!

Here are a few shots of our fun weekend:

Brent took his parents to the base...
Space Needle

I'm not sure?

Riding the Duck - a WWII amphibious landing craft, which took us on a tour of Seattle and Lake Union.

Seeing a plane land on Lake Union was a highlight for Coop and Linc.

After our fun tour (a HAVE TO if you ever visit Seattle) we spent some time looking at ships and searching for the Pike's Place Market before enjoying a super-delicious Italian dinner.  We were all so worn out the next day that we just stayed home and relaxed.

i am going to be an aunt!!!

Well, I guess I am already an aunt.  And it's so much fun to BE an aunt.

But this time, I will be an aunt to someone with whom I will share a special bond.  Something that just the two of us have in common (at least pertaining to my immediate family).  We will both share the "maiden" name of CLARK.

Congrats to Annemarie and Kevin who are having a....


Mercedes is ecstatic to have another girl cousin (she's only got one right now).  The Bethers clan is awesome at making boys.  But we're excited to add some more estrogen to the mix.  

This will also be the first cousin born on the Clark side.  I'm sure that my parents are doing cartwheels.  They live for the grandkids.  Grandkids are their favorite hobby.  And now they'll have one living just down the road.  

I just wish I could move in on their street.  And be the best baby-sitter ever.  I probably won't get too many chances to baby-sit, though, since 13 hours is a bit far to drive...  darn it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

my whole life is ruined?

What a great day.  Seriously.  It was great.

Mercedes was invited by our neighbor to attend a church camp every morning this week.  She was THRILLED to have some "big girl" time away from her "pesky" little brothers.

Cooper, who thinks that Mercedes is the best thing since sliced bread, is not Mercedes favorite person of late.  I feel so bad for him!  I think that the age gap between them is getting bigger.  She enjoys her brothers more when she's not around them all day.  Such is life, right?

The boys and I had a very relaxing morning: Cooper had the house to himself while Lincoln napped.  I got about 5 loads of laundry done.

All three were extremely well behaved during my doctor's visit.  I was so happy (and shocked and relieved) that I told them we'd get icees on the way home.  I'd forgotten that it's July 11th.  7/11.  Meaning that 7-11 is giving out free slurpees today.  It was a madhouse!  But the slurpees were free!

When we got home Mercedes, her friend Grace and the two boys played in the rain on the trampoline.  They had a blast.  After they came in soaked, the girls went to Grace's house for dinner.  The boys and I read scriptures (and the kids actually listened!) while they ate dinosaur chicken nuggets and Rainier cherries.  We talked about the Temple being Jesus's house.  Cooper said, "I want to go see Jesus in his house!"  I told him that he needs to be a very good boy so that he can go to the temple when he's old enough.

No fighting.  No complaining.  A very peaceful and fun dinner.  What a gift.

Then the 8-year-old got home.

 I asked her to take a shower, because it was already her bed-time.  She whined, "do I have to right now?"

I said, "yes, you do.  It's bedtime."

She said, "But I'm thirsty!"

I said, "Well, there's a cup in the bathroom.  Get a drink!"

She complained about not liking the upstairs water, and then I heard her crying over and over:


I just need to know: When does school start again?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"just kidding... i just want to be a veterinarian."

Tonight over our (very fancy) dinner of TJ's Fish Nuggets and Bell Pepper slices, Brent asked the children (8, 4 and 2) what they wanted to accomplish this summer.

This led to a conversation about their future goals.

Mercedes wants to go to BYU (UT).  During her time in high school and college, she'll work as a cashier and earn money to buy a mini-cooper or a mercedes.  Then she'd like to be a veterinarian or do hair and be a mom.

Cooper wants to go to USC.  He'll drive a big blue truck.  First, he wanted to be a train engineer after college (because he'll be too young in high school).  Then, he decided that he wants to be a veterinarian and a dad.

Once Brent illustrated the joys of being a Father - namely cleaning up barf and poop - Cooper said:

"Just kidding.  I don't want to be a dad.  I just want to be a veterinarian.

Smart boy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

today i don't feel like doing anything

It was VERY hard to get up this morning.  We've been sick for the past week, and this morning the head-cold hit hard.

At one point I got up to get Cooper some cereal.  And then I went back to bed.

Then I got up to change Lincoln's diaper.  And went back to bed.

The kids (who I rationalize are also under the weather and need to just rest) have taken turns picking shows/movies to watch.  I've let them watch as much as they want today.

I let the kids eat whatever they wanted.  Granola Bars?  Sure.  Goldfish?  Sure.  Cookies?  Sure.

I finally got out of bed for good some time after 9 am.

The downstairs floor is covered with granola bar and goldfish and pretzels.  And water.  And I don't care.

My wonderful husband doesn't care either; isn't that nice?  He's downstairs heating up some soup and pizza for the kids so that they get some nourishment today.  He understands how bad I feel because he's the one who gave me this cold.  And he loves me.

A cold in summer?  Really?

Except it doesn't quite feel like summer today, what with all of the rain and the temperature below 70 degrees.  But I sure do prefer this weather to the 90 degrees my dad says he's been experiencing in Utah.  We don't have air conditioning.

Hopefully I'll feel more like myself tomorrow.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

it's coming along...

One of the pros to buying an existing home (rather than a newly-built one) is that the home is already landscaped.  Well, we are silly people.  I've waited and dreamed of having my own home with my own yard, and once I got them I wanted to make them all my own.  When we moved in, the yard felt overgrown and as we began to take some things out... we ended up taking out everything except the lawn!  (almost)  

I waited and waited all winter to finally be able to plant something.  Spring came late to these parts.

And I made my first "online nursery" order.  I didn't realize when I ordered the weeping lavender that it would come as a bare stick.  No dirt.  No leaves.  Just a stick and some roots.  

But if you look very closely, you'll see that it's finally getting some leaves!  It's more than just a stick!!!

And the hydrangea I ordered looked dead for the longest time.  But it's blooming!  And it's beautiful.  This pic was taken a couple of weeks ago.  Now its bright pink.

One of these days we'll finally put down some mulch...

he's a two-wheeler

Brent was afraid (I think) that if he didn't teach Coop to ride without training wheels before his residency started, that the poor boy might be in second grade and still using training wheels.

So on a sunny Monday evening, Brent took the training wheels off...

He does pretty well without them.  We survive a fall every once in a while.

We look forward with great anticipation to someday being rid of both our stroller and bike trailer.

crazy hair day

I could have had a blast with Mercedes' hair on her school's annual "crazy hair or hat day," but Brent got ahold of her first.

Our little Pippi.

I was worried that she'd poke someone's eye out with the piece of metal hanger sticking in her hair.  But there were no casualties, thank goodness.

what'd you say?

This morning I asked Lincoln, "How are you doing?"

His reply: "I Winkon."


Yesterday in the car as we were on our way to dinner, Cooper asked why we couldn't stay (in Portland with friends) longer.  I told him that tomorrow is Sunday and we need be home to get ready for church.

Coop:  "Why do we have to go to church?"

Mommy:  "So we can see our friends and be like Jesus."

Coop:  "I just want to be like myself.  Like I am right now."


Today during Sharing Time the kids were given a paper to fill out, all about their dads.  To the prompt of "my Dad doesn't like to:" one sweet boy's response was "bee fat."  Mercedes' response to that same prompt was "eat junk food."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

happy june!

We're so happy it's June!

Brent's program doesn't officially start until July, so we've enjoyed having him at home with us this past week.  He's been painting and yard-working and teasing and playing and cleaning and relaxing and studying hard.

On Monday we tried to see Mt. Ranier... we drove all the way to the National Park, but the overcast skies obstructed our view.  Really, I wouldn't have guessed that we were anywhere near a gigantic mountain covered with snow and ice.  We did have fun eating lunch on a real (stationary) train.  The food was actually very good.

Lincoln has a new favorite word.  It starts with "S" and ends with "hut-up".  His other favorites remain, "leave me alone" and "go away!"  He still likes to pretend he's a monkey, foraging for snacks by climbing to the top shelf of the pantry.  When he gets really mad, he bares his teeth.  And bites.  Ouch. Living with a two year old is never boring.

Cooper has decided that he can now swim and no longer needs a life jacket in the deep-end of the swimming pool.  He swims with all his might, but doesn't really get anywhere.  He's making progress with the alphabet; his favorite letter is "Q."   Cooper recently lost his first tooth and has another one that's loose.

Also, Cooper is relieved to finally be sleeping in a "donkey brown" room (that's what Brent calls the shade I chose, which is really just a sand color).  Once it was painted Cooper told me, "I slept really well last night mommy.  I just couldn't sleep in the room when it was bright pink, but now I can sleep really well."  It was literally "bright bubble-gum pink" before.  One of these days I'll post a picture.  Brent is currently using the leftover gallon to paint the master bath.  I am excited that the mint green walls (painted to match the green tile floor, I suppose) will soon be a memory!

Mercedes is learning multiplication and loving it.  She has a new friend who lives a few houses away and is in 3rd grade and is very nice, whose name is "gracie."  I love that she lives close enough that I can watch Mercedes run over to her house to ask if she can play, without even leaving the front porch. I also love that she's a very nice girl.  Gymnastics is still Mercedes favorite activity.  In any room of the house she can be found doing handstands, walking on her hands, walkovers, etc... at any given moment.

I'm looking forward to summer and trying not to panic about it at the same time.  It will be great to have Mercedes home, and we'll love the freedom of going and seeing and doing in the sunshine.  I'm just a wee bit scared about losing Brent.  Apparently, for the first while it'll be a 7 day a week gig.  Eventually, once he gets fast at doing "notes" (?) for the doctors or cases he working with, he'll be home 1/2 days on the weekends.  He's already got trips scheduled for July and August.  At least I'll know he's safe this time!

Friday, May 20, 2011

thank goodness poison control's open 24/7

It's not yet 9 am and I've already made my first call to Poison Control.

Usually  he's eating toothpaste or squirting room spray into his eyes at Marshall's while my back's turned.  He's a very sneaky kid who can find a way to get into anything, no matter how high.  His middle name should be stealth.

This time Lincoln got into the Azalea Food that I bought to try to bring my new little shrub back to life.  It hasn't survived the planting process, I'm afraid.  Maybe it doesn't like our soil.  Our gardenia looks to be kicking the bucket, too.  But on the upside our Mandevilla and Jasmine are doing well, it seems.

Brent is off taking some ACLS (?or something like that?) test that he's been studying for all spring.  Something about emergency heart stuff in case a patient comes into the hospital having a heart attack.  He's very happy to no longer be a dentist.  Technically, he'll always be a dentist, but he won't be performing dental work anymore.  Not so long ago it was his dream to be a dentist, but his dream has changed.  Now his dream is to be a surgeon.  I just hope that once he's a surgeon his dream won't be something else.

I'm on the lookout for a new dream, too.  Once upon a time my dreams were to: marry a wonderful man, have babies and get to stay at home with them, have my very own house.  Those have come true.  Now what?  I'm just living them.  But it's always good to have something bigger to reach for.  Not that living the dream isn't super-fantastical.

In other news, Coop is now a "two-wheeler"!  I'll post pictures soon.  Brent thought that he should take the training wheels off before the residency begins.  He didn't think that I would ever do it, and he's not expecting to have time for such things come July.  Coop's fallen once, on a family bike ride where his scraped up his ankle, but otherwise he's a pro.
He's very proud of himself, as he should be.  He got the hang of it right away.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

rainy sick day

I don't think that the rain has taken a break since it began last night.  I went to bed at 5pm and the rain comforted me through the night.  The flu has hit - again.  Hopefully I'll be it's only victim this time.
I went to church just long enough to teach a primary lesson on faith and obedience (I did my best to stay away from people, and I was armed with sanitizer).  Now I am in my bed, trying to distract myself from the pain.

Here's a snapshot of my week:

This is what I found on Thursday afternoon, when I came downstairs after doing some cleaning and vacuuming.  These brothers love each other, isn't it wonderful?  Neither of them will nap in a bed, but sometimes in the afternoons one or both will fall asleep either in the car or while watching Nick Jr.  They're up and moving at full-speed by 5:30 or 6 am, so if they have a few quiet moments in the afternoon, this is what inevitably happens:

In other news, Brent was so sick of traffic jams in our laundry room / hallway to the garage, that he came up with a solution yesterday.

The fourteen inch high table affords plenty of room to store the baskets under.  It's just too bad that the washing machine isn't front loading.  Mercedes was very proud of herself for helping.  She had the job of drilling holes.

On friday we cleaned and reorganized the garage, which included getting rid of some stored clutter.  It took Brent two hours to take almost everything out of the garage and place it in the driveway.  Thank goodness it was a sunny day!  The four more hours we spent cleaning and organizing was time well-spent.  Now each time I see the garage I feel light and happy, rather than depressed and discouraged - it was such a mess.

Now if only the whole house could be so clean and organized... or at least stay clean for five whole minutes...

Friday, May 6, 2011

spring is here

 spring is here
spring is here
it's my favorite 
time of year!

Anyone heard "Little Bill" sing that one?  
It's playing on my internal stereo system right now. 

 I like it better than the "Lemonade Mouth" song that I couldn't get out of my head yesterday (something about determinate?).  

Mercedes told me to sing "Popcorn," so that would be in my head instead.  I promptly told her that I wasn't in the mood to have "the popcorn song" playing just then.  Aside from "bubble guppies," popcorn is the kids' fave song to sing together.

On Wednesday the boys and I took a fun trip to Home Depot, which only included one trip to the public potty (Lincoln wanted to participate - perhaps it's his turn to be trained?), and where we purchased some fun plants for the front yard.

Last fall we ripped out all but two plants from our front yard.  It felt quite overgrown to us.  Here's a pic of what it looked like before we moved in:


We kept the beautiful Japanese Maple, which Brent thinned and shaped, and one of the front bushes.  Out came the huge pine-something-or-other that was almost as tall as the house.  We ripped out the huge flower bed shown on the left as well as some gi-nor-mous shrubs.  It was pretty, but overgrown.  In fact, we didn't realize just how big the yard was until we ripped everything out.

Once we started on the yard we didn't know what to do - it was so very overgrown that I just wanted to start over.

So we did.

We soded the flower bed to the left, and now the kids have a fun little hill to roll down (which they love).

Eventually I'll put a current picture up, but we still have some work to do.

So far we've planted a Mandevilla, which will climb the (stage) right porch column.  Brent's not too excited about that - he despises vines.  We also added: some tall grasses (one red and one green), a gardenia, a pink azalea that is bursting with blossoms, two hydrangeas, a weeping lavender redbud tree (an online purchase, so it's bare and just looks like a stick in the ground right now), some beautiful vinca (ground-cover) and just two annuals - a yellow begonia and something else I don't remember the name of.

I didn't expect to enjoy yard work, but it's very fulfilling.

I love to make things pretty.  It's nice to have some color in front of the house.  We have a long way to go, which includes planting some annuals on Saturday, and finding a dwarf cherry or apple tree.  I'm excited to finish the planting phase and add some kind of border to the beds and then mulch them.

I dreamed about having our very own home for so very long and it's as great as I'd hoped.  So much fun to put my own footprint on it.



mandevilla - I think I'd like to get a white one, as well

periwinkle vinca minor

the hydrangeas will probably turn blue

weeping redbud - I'm sure it will take years to get this big.
Maybe by the time we move...?

Thanks, Dad for answering all of my questions each time I call.  I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm having fun!  Here's to hoping everything lives...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

happy kids

As a family, we've been talking about gratitude this week.  For family night on Monday, Brent taught a lesson about gratitude - what it is and why we need it - and then made a gratitude chart.  After dinner we talk about what we're grateful for that day, and make a "tally" of each for the day.

Mercedes is really getting into it.  Last night after our "charting," Mercedes said "I feel really happy."  This morning she said to me, "Mommy, thank you for making pancakes.  I've been thinking about gratitude a lot so I wanted you to know that I'm grateful."  And a few minutes later, "I love you mommy."

Since before our family began, I've worried about my kids.  Of course I've worried that they might develop some disease, or get hurt in an accident, etc, but most of my worry concerns their spirits rather than their bodies.  I've worried that they might forget who they are, how much they are loved, that they are children of the Divine King.  I've pondered ways to help them to remember - always.

This morning I had an epiphany, for which I am grateful.


Instilling habits.  It's important.

We try to read the scriptures and pray together each day.  We go to church each week.  We try to have Family Night every Monday evening.  We spend time together as a family.  I encourage the children to be friends to each other, to look out for each other and cheer for one another.  We hug and cuddle and kiss.  We express love often.  We try to have family prayer each morning before Mercedes leaves for school, but some days are just crazy and we forget.

This morning was one of those forgetful times.  I was making breakfast and then making lunch and then doing Mercedes hair... and suddenly it was time for Mercedes to be out the door.  So I walked her to the door and we took a minute to pray together before she left for the day.  I said, "Would you like to say it or would you like me to say it?"

She wanted to say it and as she began I thought: this is not JUST about asking for her safety and protection before she leaves this house.  We are creating a life-long (hopefully) HABIT of prayer.  She will eventually be so used to doing this each morning that it will be automatic.  She will naturally reach out to her Father in Heaven in prayer.  AHA!  I can help to instill habits within my children that will strengthen them, that will stay with them!  What a wonderful tool, and blessing.

I am grateful that our kids like to kiss each other.

I am grateful that our children (in most cases) come to us as helpless babies, that we have time to learn how to parent them.  Because I sure need the time.  I am... how do you say... a SLOW learner.  But I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and strive and try, and I am grateful for a Father in Heaven who does not leave me to do it alone.

Monday, May 2, 2011

he's lost it

He lost his first on Sunday right as we were leaving for church.

He wiggled and wiggled it all morning and then asked daddy to just take it out, "because it's bothering me."

I can't get over how different he looks to me.  

I don't want my little Cooper to grow up yet!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

from the mouths of babes

Cooper to Brent during church on Sunday: "Can I get some help here?"

Lincoln (yelling) during church: "Wet's gooooo!  I want to weeeaave!!!"

Lincoln to Brent this evening:  "Daddy - you poop."  After which he stuck his nose in Brent's bum.

Mercedes: "Why is everyone being so mean to me today?  I was trying so hard to be good and have a good day and everyone is just being mean for no reason!"

Cooper in response to my question of "why did you poo in your pants?" was: "because I waited too long to go to the bathroom?"

Cooper: "BOBO FACE!!!  ha ha ha ha ha!!"  
Me: "Where did you learn that word?"  
Cooper:  "I made it up!"

Lincoln with his face 1/2 inch from mine: "Mom-meee!!!  Dad-deeee's home!!!! Yay!!!"

Mercedes:  "Mommy, you're the nicest person ever."

Cooper: "You're the meanest mommy ever."

Lincoln after Cooper was put in timeout in the "high-spot" (a place he doesn't try to escape from):  "Poopah ah ah ah ah timeout ah ah ah high-pot?"

Mercedes: "That isn't FAIR! I NEVER get to watch my movie at movie-night.  Cooper ALWAYS gets to pick it."  (He picks 5% of the time).

Cooper: "Mommy, I love you."

Lincoln:  "NOOOOOO!!!!!  Go AWAY!  Leave me ALONE!" - after waking up from a nap.

Cooper: "Don't TALK to me!"

Have I ever mentioned that we're a very loud bunch?
Most of our speaking would be considered yelling by normal people.

I blame it on the percentage of hearing I lost from repeated ear infections as a child.
My mom used to always say, "Lisa - we're all in the same room."
Now I say that to my kids.

But its likely that we're just plain loud.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

leave it to cooper

Last May in their Easter fancies. 

With an eight year old, a four year old, and a 2 year old, family scripture study and prayer time is an exciting time in our house.  It's never dull.  It's never the same, and it's never reverent.

Tonight after a chapter of 2nd Nephi (of which I could only hear the verses that I read aloud), we finally settled the kids down and prepared them for family prayer by singing a song about temples.

After that, I made a big announcement:

"Kids, tomorrow during Sacrament Meeting there will be:
NO snacks,
NO toys,
NO coloring,
NOTHING to eat.

"Buy why?"  was of course their response.

"Because we are going to follow the great example of your cousins and learn to be reverent in church."

"OK Mommy!"  They replied.

Our kids are like Pavlov's dogs when they get to church.
They sit down and Lincoln immediately begins yelling,

But recently our wonderful Bishop asked us to refrain from eating in the church (other than in specified eating areas like the kitchen and cultural hall).

At the time I thought:

"yeah right!!!
Are you kidding me?
We're barely making it through an hour of
Sacrament meeting as it is with these two boys.
How do you expect us to keep them
(even relatively) quiet and occupied???!!!"

Last week I was very humbled when we attended a Sacrament meeting in Utah with Brent's family.  His brother and wife have FIVE children who sat reverently through the meeting without one toy or snack.  They might disagree when I say that their kids are by nature more tame and well-mannered than ours.  

The truth is that while they might be a bit more tame by nature, their good manners are a result of GREAT parenting.  So we're determined to follow their great example.  

I'm expecting the transition to take a few months, at least.
Our kids have been trained to EXPECT food at church.  

So when the kids seemed to take the news so casually I pressed:
"do you understand that there will not be ANY food during church?
You will eat before we go to church and will not eat again until we get home."

To which Cooper (just like his daddy) replied,
"Yes (in a yeah-huh know it all voice) we'll have a snack!"

I said, "No Coop, we won't."

He said, "we always have two prayers and then a snack."

"Two prayers?"

"Yes.  We have two prayers and then we have bread!"

Parenting can be tough at times, but I've never done anything that's brought me more joy.

I hope that our kids will always make us laugh.

cooper's dream come true

Cooper's Grandpa B. drives a Loader.  
The coolest job ever!!!
During our visit, he took the boys to work.
Cooper will remember the day FOREVER.

Lincoln wasn't as excited.
He ended up taking a nap while Coop drove.