We had three Supermans this Halloween. One Superbaby, and two Clark Kent. Owen has got the Superman fly pose down like a pro.
Joseph babysat Owen and passed out candy while I took Natalie and Sophi trick or treating down the street. Here's what our front door step looked like:
I went with Natalie and Sophi to about 6 houses and then left them with Mel as I ran home and got Owen and Joseph and Joe's friends and took them to a party they had going on. I piked up Natalie and Sophi on my way cause they were pretty slow and couldn't keep up with the rest of the group.
But these little toddlers... Halloween lives for these little souls. We put two different costumes on Sophi, but she didn't want to wear them, so she wasn't dressed up at all. Silly girl.
Natalie was wearing some Elsa pajamas.
Natalie wouldn't put on a jacket, so that is why I grabbed her to come with me to take Joseph. She and Sophi were perfectly content though to have their little bag with 10 pieces of candy. Love it. Simple, low key, that's how I like Halloween to be.
I didn't get any pictures of the other kids. Hopefully our neighbors did, I'll post them later if they send me any.
Today we went over to the elementary school for the parade and Halloween program. I was glad that the jr. high kids didn't have school today, cause I was able to leave Owen in their capable hands. Well, Mel's capable hands. (Joseph and Ethan were still in bed when we left).
So, here's the pictures from this year's school parade and this year's 2nd grade program (Abi's turn) ~ It's the parade is marching by quickly - thus the fuzzy focus. We got there just in time to catch the parade coming out the doors at the end of the gym, which lucky for me is where we stood. There's Lily's teacher and class, and there's Lily!
Lily saying "Hi Owen!!!"
Here comes the second graders - there's Abi!
And finally, the big kids in school: the fifth graders. We moved into the gym as we waited for Wesley's grade, and soon I saw his teacher winding her class through the seated parents. It was fun watching Wesley walk through - he was probably the only kid that made people do a double take, and then I'd see them laugh. He was singing "Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolly-lolly-lolly- Lollipop!" over and over again.
He is such a fun kid, love that self confidence! Then the parade was over, so we moved over to the west side of the gym for the second grader program. Abi and the witches had a good spot to sit, up high on the right side of the stage.
Their big number was "Witches Brew"
So two cute things that happened on our way over - 1) I told Sophi to get in the car cause we were going to go to the school, and she sweetly looked up at Corey and I and sincerely asked "I am six now?" No sweetie, not to attend school, we're just going over for a minute. You're still 4... gotta wait two years for kindergarten! Hang in there! And then 2) as we got of the car, Natalie and Sophi ran toward the school and I kept up with them with a brisk walk. As we moved across the parking lot, they came across a crack in the asphalt, and as Natalie saw it, and realized she was running right toward it, she totally veered herself to the right, like a car swerving to miss hitting a child that suddenly jumped in front of them. It made me laugh. I helped her make it safely over the crack. As we continued to the school and came across more cracks, Natalie would give a brief pause in her toddle and I held her hand and helped her jump high up and over to clear the deep chasm below. Made me laugh.
Wednesdays aren't my favorite. Things have felt particularly crazy this whole week with Halloween + Red Ribbon week and the kids having something extra going on everyday on top of the usual craziness that goes on. So today was crazy hair day.
Corey stayed home testing out a trebuchet that he wanted to make for the young men of our ward at the activity at the church tonight.
Owen, he'd doing pretty good.
The Jr. high kids had a music concert tonight, so they were sad they couldn't go to the church chili cook off.
Corey took Ethan to band in American Fork and then back up to go to the concert. I was on my own with the ward activity. It was a cold fall evening, I didn't get jackets for the kids. But glad they all had socks and shoes. Didn't do their hair. We thought it started at 6, but it didn't begin until 6:30
Sophi is Ariel, Abi a witch, Lily is little red riding hood. Natalie is a generic princess, and Wesley is a blueberry sucker. He made that costume by himself. He really wanted to be a sucker.
Got a little cold as the sun set. Natalie got a few pieces of candy at the first cars and then she was done and just stood there shivering as she ate her swedish fish.
Pretty soon the trunk or treat was over and we headed inside for some warm chili. The kids didn't want it. Maybe next year we'll give them a bag of candy after dinner is done.
Natalie didn't get cold enough outside, so she decided to freeze her fingers in some ice water.
Wes and Tess
Lily looks a bit like a vampire with her two front teeth missing.
They didn't eat the chili, but did have some of the fritos and corn chips. Abi over at the pumpkin decorating table.
And we headed home to a messy house after it was over. I confiscated all the candy and will hold it ransom for chores done. Doesn't seem fair, but I don't like them eating candy when they haven't put away their clean laundry from two days ago which is now scattered over the floor or when their shoes and backpacks and homework are strewn throughout the house. Man, I'm already done with all this chaos. Such a whirlwind of activities and it's only been one term of school. I don't know if I'm gonna make it till June. And then I begin again to think about leaving the country. Not rational thinking, I know. It isn't the easiest answer to our situation, but for some reason is the one that I go to first. Sigh. I'm glad this weeks' Wednesday is over.
On Friday at the elementary school, they had a reward assembly for the Reflection Contest participants. Wesley won a medal in 3D for his dragons on a Lion King Rock looking piece of cardboard. He was pretty excited to win.
Good job Wes!
You keep up those amazing artist skills. He's such a cute kid. Greeting Owen. He didn't know we were there. And I couldn't see where he was until they announced his name.
So here's a tip from my reflections experience - there are not a lot of 3D entries, so if you can find a way to make your 2D a 3D, you probably increase your chances of winning like 80%. ;) Not that that is why you won, Wes... you probably would have won in 2D, Wes, cause those dragons were pretty cool buddy!
He's smiling and laughing and grabbing stuff with his adorable little hands, I love his busy baby fingers!
I weighed him this morning - he's a big boy now - 15 pounds. He's just chunked right up since he started with the formula. I still feel a little sad that my body was too warn out to keep up with the milk demand. Thanks for your patience Owen, glad we were able to work things out. We had a rough start, but we're getting into the groove of things now.
The past 3 months with Owen sure went faster than the last 3 months of pregnancy. Not that I'm surprised by that fact, although the time warping phenomenon that pregnancy and babies bring about does fascinate me - I wish I could figure out how to harness those fleeting moments of life and how to fast forward through the slow and painful ones!
Corey spoke in sacrament meeting at church today. He was asked to speak about his favorite hymn. Hard to choose just one, so he spoke about why "Nearer My God To Thee" is his current favorite hymn. He gave a few insights into his business, thus I've posted below for your enjoyment and posterity's sake. After his talk was done he and Melodie played it as a flute duet. It was a very nice meeting.
He was sitting up on the stand and his BFF Sophi was missing him very much. So after the talk and duet were over, I relented and let Sophi go up on the stand to sit on his lap. Natalie, not one to be left out, wanted to go up too. She did okay walking up there until she lost eye contact with him as she got closer to the stairs. Then she just stood there with her fingers in her mouth looking lost. Luckily a sister sitting on the front row helped her out. And thus Corey resumed his usual and favorite sacrament meeting pastime of being a throne for his two little queens. :)
Nearer My God to Thee - Oct 25, 2015
Good morning Brothers and Sister’s, I’ve been asked to speak about my favorite hymn, which currently is “Nearer My God to Thee”. Here’s how I got there.
Years ago I came across a comparison that had a strong influence on my career choices. In 1989 a man who worked in finance named Michael Milken pled guilty to securities fraud and was sentenced to ten years in prison, fined $600 million, and permanently barred from the securities industry. His critics said he was epitome of Wall Street greed during the 1980s, and he was nicknamed the "Junk Bond King". A “junk bond” is kind of like the pay-day-loan business of Wall-Street, and Milken was a pioneer.
Contrastingly, Mother Teresa ministered to the poorest of the poor one-at-a-time in selfless acts of pure Christian love. Despite Mother Teresa being motivated by charity, and Milken by greed, the comparison I read pointed out that Milken actually did far greater good to mankind and reduced suffering and want much more than did Mother Teresa. For example, technological innovations such as early cell phones were financed by Milken, as were companies such as Chrysler, Mattel, Barns & Nobel, and many, many more. One financial publication put it this way: ‘Milken created wealth, jobs, incomes, and new products for millions of people, while Mother Teresa redistributed wealth donated by others.’
Because I had a sincere desire to make the world a better place, and believing business has a greater positive financial impact than charity, I decided to follow my head and go into business rather follow my heart and work for a non-profit. I’ve seen how economic opportunities have blessed the lives of others financially, and I get some satisfaction knowing that the people that work at my business are better off than they would have been otherwise. Yet, even believing that profitable businesses can have such a positive impact on reducing poverty and suffering, I’ve struggled to understand why it felt wrong to view building wealth as noble or even righteous.
For years I’ve labored on a business that promised immense material prosperity, and did so with good intentions of using that wealth to be a force for good in the world. But it has been very, very hard, has taken way longer than I had anticipated, and we’re still not rich yet. It has felt multiple times as though the Lord hasn’t wanted me to miss any learning experiences along the way. I didn’t start the business for the personal growth, and yet nearly every day is a struggle against adversity, discouragement, and other challenges – all while some peers seem to coast into financial prosperity without learning nearly as much as I get to! Yet, I’m grateful for the learning and realize much of it couldn’t have come by any other way.
After getting into business, I started to notice something while meeting with some very wealthy individuals. Often, I found myself coveting the things these people had, while simultaneously not wanting to be like them. I wanted their wealth, not their character. I wondered whether it was even possible to have what they have without being how they are. Through the years I’ve learned to see a big difference between having and being. There are multiple ways to have: you can find things, inherit things, or work to have things. The best-case in business, is to have great wealth without expending much effort for it – that is called a good return on investment. However, there is only one way to truly become – and that path includes adversity.
During a recent Family Home Evening I asked my kids questions like these: Would you rather have a big trophy or be really good at something? Would you rather be really smart, or have good grades? Would you rather have lots of money, or live a rich and rewarding life? During our discussion, my kids all picked the “right” answers – they chose being over having. However, I’ve noticed that in practice, when their choice of being requires effort, they’d much rather simply have. They sometimes groan about doing homework, practicing their music, cleaning their rooms, or being patient with a sibling.
When it comes to people close to me, I want them to be – not just to have. I am far more interested in my children’s personal growth, for example, than what they get for Christmas and birthdays. Likewise, I want the people I hire at work to be capable, qualified, honest, and hard-working – not just lucky enough to have a great job they may be unqualified for. But when it comes to myself, I find I’d usually prefer just take the shortcut to having things rather than passing through the more difficult way of becoming. But there is no other way to personal growth – the only path is to endure adversity.
In the last days of Elder Henry B. Eyring father’s struggle with cancer, he was suffering in immense pain and cried out “I have always tried to be good. How could this happen?”. The answer he received in prayer was that God wanted him to learn to be brave. Elder Maxwell spend the last eight years of his life suffering from leukemia. He plead with the Lord to know why he was to suffer and was given the answer “I have given you leukemia that you might teach my people with authenticity.” So cancer can teach bravery and leukemia can teach authenticity. I’ve found that struggling financially has taught me charity. When my heart has been broken and I’ve felt my shortcomings in starting a business and supporting a large family, I find that I have charity for others who struggle for long periods of time or feel like a failure.
So what does all of this have to do with Mother Teresa and a guy named Michael Milken? Who did more good for the world? I think its undisputable that Michael Milken created more wealth; he helped many more people to have. But having isn’t becoming – and is not the purpose of our mortal life. Only having is a shallow victory – and no amount of having can satisfy. Because of her years of service, Mother Teresa became Christ-like. Her one-on-one service also directly impacted the character of those she ministered to. They were being built up, and they felt it.
As Elder Neil A Maxell has said:
God is infinitely more interested in our having a place in His kingdom than with our spot on a mortal organizational chart. We may brood over our personal span of control, but He is concerned with our capacity for self-control. Father wants us to come home, bringing our real résumés, ourselves!"
Our real résumés consist of our character and even the stories that shaped that character development. Everyone loves to hear a great story, and a great story must always include enduring or overcoming trials. Consider these two stories:
First story: Rich kid inherits a lot of money and buys whatever he wants. Not really inspiring, right?
Second story: Sedrick Tshiambine grew up in the city of Luputa, Democratic Republic of Congo where he joined the church. A few years ago he was one of 45 young men in the Luputa district who was working to save money for a passport to go on a mission. In DR Congo a passport costs $250, which is about two-thirds the cost of building a house. The Church missionary fund would cover the rest of the cost. His family had no money to help him, but he was lucky in that they did have a bicycle. Sedrick became an entrepreneur and decided to gather and sell bananas. He would push his bicycle each day, laden with 200 pounds of bananas, for hours to get from small villages where he purchased the bananas and then travel to the market. Each week he traveled about 112 miles.
He would sell the bananas for the best price he could, then ride back for another load. He would make about $3 a trip. From that would buy his food, repair his bicycle and save for his mission. For his efforts Sedrick saved about $1.25 a week, or $65.00 a year. It took him four years to save enough to purchase his passport.
Which one is the better story? Which person do you admire more? Which personal résumé is stronger?
Consider the icons in the church that we admire and seek to emulate – we know their stories and they suffered immensely! Joseph Smith, the Apostle Paul, Spencer W. Kimball. Our Lord Jesus Christ who we admire most, correspondingly suffered the most. Many of the early pioneers weren’t exactly “saints” until they sanctified themselves with consecrated lives. If they were more concerned with having, they should have kept moving west. California was easily a more prosperous land to settle than Utah. Brigham Young explained why the pioneers settled in Salt Lake this way:
We wish strangers to understand that we did not come here out of choice, but because we were obliged to go somewhere, and this was the best place we could find. It was impossible for any person to live here unless he labored hard and battled and fought against the elements, but it was a first-rate place to raise Latter-day Saints...It is but seven years since we left Nauvoo, and we are now ready to build another temple. I look back upon our labors with pleasure. Here are hundreds and thousands of people that have not had the privileges that some of us have had. Do you ask, what privileges? Why, of running the gauntlet, of passing through the narrows. They have not had the privilege of being robbed and plundered of their property, of being in the midst of mobs and death, as many of us have.
No wonder Brigham Young felt that “Every time you kick ‘Mormonism’ you kick it upstairs” – he seems always on the lookout for personal growth both for him and The Kingdom.
Brothers and Sisters, my message today is that we should not resist, resent, or run away from adversity. It is the only way that we can grow into the saints our Heavenly Father wishes us to be.
Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God ... and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire”
So that is why my favorite hymn is currently “Nearer My God to Thee”. The first line reads
1. Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!
E'en though it be a cross That raiseth me.
It is my hope that we can recognize that the personal crosses and adversities we have are the instruments of our exaltation in the Lord’s hands.
Wes and his friend Tess made some treats for their Primary teacher this weekend. They got instructions on how to make this little healthy goody at school.
They are called "Silly apple bites". Simple and pretty fun ~ creativity that the kids can handle almost completely on their own, sweet. I just stuck around to help put frosting on for the eyes. Yeah, they probably could have done it without my supervision, but that would have meant leaving unattended frosting out around hungry children, which would not have been a wise move on my part cause I didn't want it to be eaten all gone today.
Owen is going to be Superbaby for Halloween, but here is another character idea that I just had to try out while we were playing with Owen, (and cause I happened to have a washable blue marker in my hand... the little girls have been coloring a lot). What do you think - Owen, the last Airbender?
Joseph and Ethan were into Avatar back in 2006/07 when we were living in Virginia. It was a thing out there in his elementary school. Don't know if it was ever popular here in Utah. Ethan was also sharing an early childhood memory with us, about how when he was in elementary school, he'd carry a blue marker in his pocket all day and think about how much he just wanted to play Avatar, just waiting for school to end, oh the agony! Once he was safe on the bus, he'd signal to his brother and he and Hyrum would begin to draw arrows on their hands. I thought that was a really cute story.
So here is Owen, our little airbender. He makes a good Aang, he's such a baldy. Looks even more the part with his shirt off - getting ready for a bath so he can just be Owen again.
He's gotten so big and sometimes his head seems so round and large, I'd love to have him be Megamind, but I'd feel bad trying to get his whole face blue. But just an arrow down his forehead, I can let that slide.
Some pictures from earlier this month - we were watching some pbs program before bed as we waited for the big kids to finish their music, and Sophia asked very sweetly if she could hold Owen. We padded up around her to make it easier for her to keep his head up and not have him slip and slide off of her lap or the chair.
She loves to come hold his hand when I'm feeding him, she was holding his hand here too.
She's pretty engrossed in the television though.
Getting tired - wondering when the boys will be done practicing.
Hang in there Soph, we'll let you go to bed. Thanks for holding Owen for me.
Natalie was reading a book last week. When she was done with a page, she ripped it out. I heard the ripping and came in to see, made me laugh.
Time to bid adieu to Sleeping Beauty. This is why I buy books at the thrift store. Tub soup is another reason. Silly toddlers. (The soup here is by Lily in 2012) So, today we broke out some of the family baby toys for Owen. He liked the gym toy - he's ready to start grabbing stuff and practicing using his little hands. Natalie loved the piano. She was cracking me up. I was glad I got a video of it without ruining the moment, she'd count for herself and then plunk away at the toy piano.
I thought it was pretty cute. Her forehead gash is healing nicely. They said make sure it didn't get wet and that the bandaid stayed on until Monday. Today I took off the bandaid but she still has the tape and glue on. What else? I'm almost feeling back to normal, like I have even kept the house pretty clean for the past three days. Hopefully we're getting into the swing of school and life with a new baby.
(and by the way, I do get Natalie dressed almost every morning, but she prefers to be undressed. She's also started to take off her diaper by herself which I don't appreciate, but luckily it hasn't been happening too much so far this week. Luckily she also has not sat on the carpet after taking off a #2 diaper, so no messes from her new talent yet either, phew)
Over the weekend, we all started discovering little love notes and love post-its from a sweet little sister and daughter. This one to Owen was my favorite, cause of the drawing of Owen and his little bald head and cause of how Lily spelled his name. Love it
So I found that in his crib tucked in a blanket. Here's a note to Corey and Me:
I found those first, later yesterday saw these in Joseph and Ethan's room:
Joseph and Ethan's new room, I'd like to say, looks awesome. Cleanest and tidiest room in the house!
Mostly thanks to me, but it's cleanliness is spilling over to the rest of the house, cause I'll go in there and quickly make their beds, and then I'm making beds and folding laundry everywhere. Here is Wesley and Hyrum's new set up:
Wesley saw me making Hyrum's bed yesterday morning after the Jr. high crowd was gone, and then he made his own bed, so I left him a note next to his toy guinea pig:
Later I was putting away laundry in Joseph and Ethan's room and saw Ethan's sock drawer. Most of their clothes weren't tidy, as they just moved things out of the way during our bedroom switching this weekend, so I wasn't expecting a tidy drawer and was very surprised to see socks and underwear neatly folded. That deserves a little treat too!
And then I was in a good mood for thinking of how they'd feel happy at finding the note and treat and knowing that I noticed their efforts, and that made me feel like a good mom, which made me happy, and I just kept on happily cleaning and organizing. Of course it helped that Owen was taking an awesome and long nap. But was a great day. Might also be because I accidentally fell asleep around 9:30 on Sunday night, thus I probably got enough sleep, woo-hoo! Maybe I'll try to do that again too.