Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

Seeing as the girls got matching Easter dresses, I thought it was high time for a little photo shoot.

And those are the 2 "good" ones. The rest? Well, I learned a few things about taking photos with my girls:
  1. Don't ask Julia to say, "cheese." You'll get one of these:
  2. Generally, no one is looking at the camera.
  3. Ella wants to move! To see things! To explore! Julia wants to be done already so she can see the pictures.
  4. Bunny ears are cute, but there is no way they'll stay on Ella's head.
But all things considered? We still had a good time. Happy Easter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

30 by 30, #9: Go to the temple at least once.

In case you aren't familiar with the 30 by 30 Project, here is the original post, with the big fat list.

I felt somewhat ridiculous including such a low-effort goal on this list, but the fact of the matter is my temple attendance has been sadly lacking since we moved to Michigan Ella was born I was sick and pregnant with Ella. It's really embarrassing to admit that, but there it is. I was sick and pregnant and couldn't even feed my child, let alone spend time in the temple. And then I was pregnant and tired and constantly finding babysitters for doctors appointments, so going to the temple fell to last place on the list. And then we had a newborn who wouldn't take a bottle, so I couldn't leave her for more than 2 hours. And then we moved to Michigan where the nearest temple is 2 hours away, and Ella still wouldn't take a bottle (still won't, actually), and I was at a loss for logistics. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

The sad thing is, I'm sure that actually going to the temple regularly during all these giant, life changing events would have made things easier, not harder. You are blessed for going to the temple, that much I know. I was just having a hard time getting there.

But last month we finally worked out the logistics and went. There actually was a Sacrament Meeting that focused on temple attendance a while ago, and what one of the speakers said was a revelation: You don't have to attend the temple with your spouse. OH! It all makes sense now! So the new plan is to take a trip to Detroit every month and take turns going to the temple, so we'd be going every other month individually. That way we don't have to stress about leaving the girls with a babysitter for 6 hours at least, or finding someone to trade with, etc. Not that people wouldn't be willing, I'm sure they would be. It's just one more thing, ya know?

April was month #1, and I got to go do a session. It was absolutely wonderful. It was exactly what I needed. The peace felt there is otherworldly. Literally. All my stress melted away, and I was reminded of what is most important in life. And it's not selling our house (still for sale!), or stewing about Ella's weight gain (she's doing much better now!), or all the hundred other little things that crop up in the course of a day. Those things need to be attended to, but they aren't the most important thing. The most important thing is the gospel, the plan of salvation, and if we hold true to that, everything else will fall into place. I am so grateful that we made the effort to get to the temple. I only wish we'd done it sooner.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For the Grandmas 4/12/11

Post edit: I tried to use Picasa to upload my pictures to my blog. Apparently it didn't work. You should be able to see them now.

No videos this week, just pictures.

I sent Julia to put on her pajamas one night, and came into her room to find this:

Yes, that's a swimsuit. Over her clothes. Most definitely not her pajamas. And she does, in fact, have awesome hair. She usually does. It's a gift.

Clark and Julia made pancakes for dinner on Sunday. I thought it was a sweet moment. And pretty impressive that I actually reached for the camera, no?

It's Birthday Week for Julia, and we've got lots of fun things planned. I was inspired by my friend Celeste (who was inspired by Secrets of a Super Mommy) to have a birthday countdown. Except that I am so not crafty, in any way, and even with 9 months to think about it, I never got around to actually making a board. But I decided that the thought was the important part! Julia picked all the dinners this week (pancakes, beans and rice, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, mac and cheese, meatballs, waffles, and taco soup). Last night we had an All About Julia FHE, where we talked about the day she was born, and told our favorite Julia stories. Later this week, she gets to go on a date with Mom, decorate the house, pose for a photoshoot, and go to the zoo.

For today's activity, we went to the candy store and she got to pick out whatever she wanted. As approached the storefront, I realized that it was Easter, and this trip could really backfire on me. They had enormous chocolate bunnies for sale, and who wouldn't want an enormous chocolate bunny?! Well, Julia didn't. She looked around for a while, and then chose a package of two chocolate coated peep bunnies. $1.25. I kind of felt bad, so I let her pick something else, too. She got a $1 package of gummy worms. Not bad at all! And she was in heaven.
Oh, Ella. You melt my heart. And then you run away and eat any paper you can get your hands on.
Julia begged me to take a picture of their "capes." So I did.
Doesn't Ella look like a girl who knows how to have a good time? Also, a girl on the move. 9 months old today. Holy smokes!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Quote 4/11/11

"I've got a dirty thumb."

Robin Hood is one of the most quotable Disney movies of all time. At least I think so. New quote up!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Generally Good Conference

Ah, General Conference. A time of great spiritual enlightenment and uplift. . ment? Something like that. I really look forward to this time twice a year when we get to hear the words of the apostles and prophets. I feel like it's a chance to take a good look at where we are spiritually and reassess what we are doing with our lives. It's kind of like New Year's, only it happens twice a year. And I especially love that it happens in spring, when everything around us is being re-born.

However, since I became a mom, GC feels like just another day of taking care of the kids, with the added bonus that I really want to hear what these people are saying, but it's nearly impossible.

I'll admit, the Saturday morning session, I was pretty grumpy. I think I started the day grumpy, and then things fed off each other, and somehow by the time President Uchtdorf was welcoming us to conference, I was wound pretty tight. Then let's add in Julia's talking and singing and dancing and asking me for something to eat every 20 minutes (growth spurt?), and Ella's constant need for exploration and to put non-toys in her mouth, which is a particularly strong need in our bedroom, the one room in the house that we can stream conference. And then we'll throw in some kids who won't take a nap, and the ever present reminder that Ella needs to gain weight and yet won't eat (no matter how many times I tell myself that she is perfectly healthy and to quit worrying about it, I stew over it), and there you have a recipe for disaster. I was wondering what the point of all this is, no one is getting anything out of this and it's just causing more stress. I came back into the room during Sister Stevens' talk (yes, this was all within the first half hour of conference, I have no patience), and she was talking about the blessings of children, and I actually said, "Oh, you mean how your life is over after you have kids?" What a great attitude! That Shannon, such a ray of sunshine.

But I kept listening to her talk, and the Spirit once again whispered to me that this won't last forever. That these small children will grow up, and then be gone. I'll have years and years to listen to General Conference, but I'll only have my babies for a short time.

So I lowered my expectations. I knew I wouldn't get to hear every single word. I knew that Julia would never sit still for even one talk. I recognized that everyone has basic needs that must be met, regardless of who is talking over the pulpit. Poopy diapers wait for no one! And the rest of conference was so much happier. I felt refreshed, even though I probably only got about half of what was said.

And then, and then, to make my joy complete, Clark asked Julia what show she wanted to watch on Sunday morning. She is only allowed to watch church shows, "Primary shows" as she calls them, on Sundays, and she had already watched Mr Krueger's Christmas and The Restoration. She said she wanted to watch the Apostle show. It would appear that she liked it. She knows. I am certain that she can feel the spirit when those men speak. That made me 100% sure that going through the motions is important, even if it feels like no one is getting anything out of it. These little children are more attuned to spiritual matters than we think, and we are building the foundation for a life of devotion to Jesus Christ. Can I give you one more example? We read about Korihor in our scriptures on Sunday night, and Monday morning, Julia sat next to me on the couch and said, "It's going to be all right, Mom. There is a God." Why yes, Julia, it is going to be all right. There is a God. And I'm glad you know it.

So, while I can't tell you what every talk was about, I can tell you that I got a lot out of conference. What a marvelous thing! What a blessing to have the gospel in my life!

Weekly Quote 4/5/11

"Trim your feeble lamp, my brother,
Some poor sailor tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.

Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save."

Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy. I've been obsessively listening to The Lower Lights lately. Good stuff. New quote up!

For the Grandmas: 4/5/11

Tuesday nights Clark goes and plays basketball, so I have a computer and time all to myself. Guess it's blogging night!

Ella has been learning all kinds of new things this week. She stood unassisted for about 5 seconds the other day, which was very exciting. She also does this cute thing where she has a "conversation" with you. You say, "Ba, ba, ba," to her, and she responds with her own, "Bah, bah bah." It is so cute. Well here, watch the video.

She also likes to play, which makes her giggle, which makes me very happy. I think the cure for all woes is found in the laughter of a baby. Seriously.

Today we went to the Saginaw zoo for the first time! Suzanne got us a membership for Christmas, but they are closed in the winter. We've been itching to go for months, and today the planets aligned and we went. (We had to go to the bank, which is in Saginaw, so I thought we'd hit up the zoo as well. And may I say, I am an AWESOME navigator? This was my first solo trip to Saginaw, and I didn't get lost once. Even with all the nasty construction on I-75. I remained unruffled at the sight of orange cones. I'm pretty proud of this, if you couldn't tell. Anyway.) Would you like to hear about the zoo instead of my navigation prowess? Let's hear what Julia has to say (WARNING: extremely long video in which not much is actually said):

Oh wait, she apparently doesn't remember anything we did at the zoo. I don't know if she was just spouting out all the things she associates with zoos or if she really has that bad of a memory. I would like to emphasize that this is a small zoo. Very, very small. Their website boasts that they are home to over 150 animals, including such exotic creatures as the Domestic Dog, and American Cockroach. Um, I don't need to go to a zoo to see a dog. Or a cockroach. BUT, they do have other, more exciting animals, and Julia firmly declared that she loved the zoo and couldn't wait to go back. I think I would venture to say that this zoo is the perfect size for small children. We can see everything without being overwhelmed. And our membership allows us to ride the train and the carousel for free! Woo hoo! We are going to head back out there in a couple of weeks for Julia's birthday. Um, Julia is going to be 3. What the. . .