Friday, December 26, 2014

My Big Boy

Noah got a chance to share his favorites in the interview, and before too much more time slips away I have to share some of my loves about this fantastic four year old. 

Let's start with self control.  Almost a year ago when Noah saw the dentist for the first time she talked to Noah about biting his nails.  Six months later they talked about it again, and he promised Dr. Ryan he'd try hard to stop.  Just a month after that second visit he did it.  It seems like such a little thing, biting your nails, but for my three year old to take on a challenge, exercise self control, change a daily habit and stick to it is quite amazing to me.  He's super excited to visit Dr. Ryan next month and report his good choice, which will be rewarded with a visit to her promised treasure box.  Oh, and on another self control note, this kid has never wet the bed.  Not even once.
Noah loves individual time with Mom or Dad, especially if it involves reading or snuggling.  I truly think that's one reason he's an early riser.  It's a sure way to get some one on one time with one of us. But 5:45 a.m. is a little ridiculous.  I'm not sure he needs THAT much time. :-)   Noah loves to 'get cozy' in a blanket with me.  I'm learning that he really needs that individual time each day, and I certainly have no complaints about making sure it happens. 

Our Disneyland trip in September opened a new world of things to love for Noah.  He talks about that trip almost daily, is saving his money to go back again, and spends a lot of time looking at the maps of the parks that we brought home.  He still remembers how many times he went on certain rides and what he talked to the various characters about when they met.  Disneyland and the movie Planes: Fire and Rescue play a big part in Noah's creative play and just daily conversation.  He's also a big fan of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and still loves Thomas the Train.  

Noah has more books memorized than I can count.  He's starting to notice the beginning sounds of words.  Berenstain Bears and reading Geronimo Stilton chapter books with Dad are just two favorites.  He really doesn't discriminate though and loves turning the pages of almost any book he can get his hands on. 

Growing up and being four are suiting Noah just fine.  He's particularly excited to use his new (backless) booster seat that we keep in Nate's car.  Anytime Nate is running an errand Noah is eager to go.  That is especially true if it's to Lowe's.  They especially like to stop, look and touch all of the hammers. 
I hear the words, "I love you Mom," more times than I can count in a day.  Noah is such a love bug. The other day Noah asked a handful of questions as we were driving, paused, and then stated, "Mom, you know EVERYTHING!"  That's a kid who knows how to say the right thing to his mama.  Noah regularly says things are his 'favorite,' instead of just saying that he happens to like it.  The other day as we were driving and he pointed out a beautiful sunset he said, "Mom, it looks just like artwork!" 

Being a big brother is teaching Noah how to use his words to communicate what he wants and what he's feeling.  Just grabbing a toy and running away with it doesn't make anybody around here happy.  He gets a lot of practice with that spicy little brother, and Noah really handles it so well.  Oh sure, it's not perfect and there are quarrels to be had, but I love that these brothers are really LEARNING how to play together and how to love and look out for each other.  It's a gift that only a sibling can give, and it's awesome.  There's a reason that one of the first things Luke says every morning is "Where's Noah?"  That big brother is so good at helping Luke with the things he can't quite do as well yet. 

Oh, I love him and love being his mom.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully put into words how blessed I feel that he's a part of our eternal family.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Noah's Birthday Interview

(Thanks Heather Wigginton for doing such a great job on your boys' birthday interviews.  I stole your questions, and it was perfect!)

What is your favorite...
Color: Um, blue
Food: Orange chicken
Game: Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Book: Um, um, I think it's Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site 
Toy: Transformers
Treat: Snowman (That's the treat we made for Joy School)
Song: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (Really?)
Thing to learn about: Making good choices
Animal: A lizard.  No, actually a chameleon.
TV show: Halloween George
Thing to wear: My Transformers shirt Grandma gave me
Holiday: Halloween

What do you want to be when you grow up? Mario.  What kind of a job do you want to have? I want to be a missionary.

Who is your best friend?
Liam. It starts with an "L."
What is something you want to learn to do this year? Mario Kart

What is something that you are really good at? Candyland
If you had a million dollars, what would you buy? A Mario Kart game
If you were an animal, what would you be? A snake Why? Actually I want to be a chameleon because then I can change colors.
If you could have a magic power, what would it be? It would be to transform.
How many kids do you want to have when you grow up and get married? I wanna have um, six kids.
What kind of house would you like to live in? I know, I want to live in a brick house.  (I was about to give him options like tree house, igloo, etc., but was then pleasantly interrupted.)
Who is the prettiest girl in the whole world? YOU! (Pointing at me.)
Where do you want to go on your mission? Disneyland
What's your favorite scripture story? Samuel the Lamanite

Doing this was fun, because some of Noah's answers were so random.  The unexpected obsession with Mario Kart comes from having video games on the big kids side at the gym.  I didn't realize how excited he was about that.  I have some thoughts about Noah being four and what I like about him that I'll save for another post.

Noah's Birthday

Noah has been so patient for his birthday to finally arrive.  It was hard for him to understand how he was the big brother, but Luke's birthday came first.  Oh my, we've been counting down.  His birthday excitement was certainly contagious, because by the time it was time to celebrate we were all about to burst with happiness.

The fun started four days before his actual birthday, when we had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory with Kristina, Jason, Kate and Nana.  They were off to cruise the Caribbean the next day, and wanted to have some birthday fun with the big boy.  Noah was completely willing to accommodate that request.
The night before Noah's birthday we gathered the rest of the family, and some friends, at our house to continue celebrating.
Noah literally has a fleet of construction trucks, so it seemed to be a perfect theme for year four.  He loved it, and he was reasonably impressed by his cake too. 

I can still hear him saying, "Mom, this looks aaaaamazing!"  Thanks buddy.

It was a simple night of family, good food, perfect presents and birthday joy.
I realized that this kind of innocent, little kid excitement that I love is going to slip away far sooner than I'm ready for.  It sounded ridiculously dramatic later in the evening when I said to Nate, "You know, we only have 14 more birthdays with him."  Nate raised an eyebrow, thought, and then said, "That doesn't seem like nearly enough."  It's so true.
 Oh, I'd give anything to keep him little!

The next morning, on Noah's actual birthday he started off with pancakes and one last present.

Noah is a huge Planes: Fire and Rescue fan.  When cousin Brennan got Cabbie for his birthday in August, Noah worked really hard to keep his jealousy in check.  Since then he's talked about it almost every day.  It was the first thing mentioned in his letter to Santa this year.  Cabbie is a big deal.  I bought it in September, and, oh, it was hard keeping it hidden under our bed all that time!  We were all excited for Noah to have Cabbie.

At Noah's request we went to the gym after breakfast.  Four year-olds get to go to the 'big kids side,' and Noah has been anxious to get over there.  I was more than happy to accommodate that request.

After lunch and while Luke was napping Noah helped me create these little beauties:

He was taking them to Joy School the next day for his birthday treat.

I gave him the option in the afternoon of riding Light Rail for a while or getting hair cuts, and he surprised me by choosing the latter.  Thank goodness, though, because my boys were in desperate need.

The evening included a great dinner with just the four of us, family home evening, and lots of time spent playing with new toys.  It was a perfect, perfect day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seeing Santa

On Saturday we had our pancake breakfast with Santa at church.  Weeks ago Noah started saying, "When I see Santa at church I'm going to tell him I want..."  It caught me off guard a little bit the first time. Seeing Santa at church? He has such a good memory from doing this the year before. 
 Luke thinks he's four too and couldn't be happier being buddies with Noah's friends.
 Noah and Gwen.  They are joy school buddies and so sweet to each other.  I was proud of Noah for going up to sing with the Primary kids.  For some reason doing that is totally out of his comfort zone.  His mouth didn't move the whole time through those Christmas songs, but standing up there is a good start.

 Noah told Santa he wanted the Planes: Fire and Rescue 'CVD' (instead of DVD), and Luke wants "wots and wots of pesants."  I have a lot of confidence that Santa and his helpers will come through for them on Christmas. 

I was thinking how lucky I am that I've never had that experience where my kids freak out and scream when it comes to seeing Santa.  I guess there are some unexpected positives about having my dad living with a bunch of centenarians for almost two years.  Those boys of mine have absolutely no fear and are completely comfortable when it comes to being around old people, even ones whose actions are a bit off and unexplainable.  Ask me about the time a hundred year-old sweetheart at Eskaton walked out of her room with no pants on.  Noah, especially, has learned a lot about everyone being special, even when we don't understand their choices.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Luke is Two

I'd give just about anything to freeze time and keep this little boy from growing up.

He is a talker.  A few weeks ago I had to take him to the doctor who remarked, "Wow. By two we're expecting kids to be putting two word phrases together.  This guy speaks in paragraphs."

It's true.

Luke says some pretty big boy things for such a little guy.  Some of our favorites right now are:
"Uhhhh.......yep!" (or no)
"Yep, dat's wite!"
"I using my muscles."
"I do it myself!"
"Mama, I show you sumfin!" (something)
"I pwetending." (pretending)
"We did it!"
"Tanks!" (Thanks!)
"Where ARE you Mama?"
"How 'bout dat Mommy?"
"I sih wee." (I'm silly)
"Noah, it's my turn."
Starting sentences with "Ac shu wee..." (Actually)
Inserting 'buh cuz' (because) into sentences even though he doesn't quite know how to use the word yet.

Oh, I could keep going.  Luke's conversations are one of my favorite things right now.  He jumps from topic to topic in an instant and has so much to say.

Right now Luke loves:
* being outside.  That is, by far, his number one favorite place to be.  He rides a scooter like a champ and can spend hours digging in the dirt and bark with his shovel. "Go outside?" was one of his first phrases months ago. 
* "Georgie" (Curious George), Biscuit, and Clifford books.
* Playdough
* brushing his teeth (lots of "I do it myself" right there)
* trucks - he can name all kinds like backhoe, excavator, front loader, cement truck, crane truck and bulldozer
* pretend play, especially when it comes to food.  At least a few times a week while I'm making dinner he comes in the kitchen requesting a pot and wooden spoon.  He takes it into the family room, adds some Legos into the pot and proudly says, "I making Waygo (Lego) soup," while stirring.  The kitchen is also his favorite place to play in Nursery on Sundays.
* Lawnmowers.  Before Luke could even talk he was making a lawnmower sound every time he saw one.  Now that he has his own he walks around pushing it saying, "My job, my job.  I use lawnmower.  My job." 
* wrestling.  He is, by far, the instigator when it comes to rolling around with Noah.  He loves trying to tackle Nate, especially by giving him a huge, running hug.
* sports.  Depending on the ball he's picked up he'll walk around carrying it saying, "My team. My football (or soccer or baseball) team. My team."
* cleaning.  You should hear Luke sing the clean up song.  Adorable.  He loves to sweep, dust, and especially vacuum.  He also balances that love out with being very skilled at making messes.
* saying prayers.  He thinks every time we pray it's his turn.  And he likes to kneel "by uh self!" (by myself!).  After family prayer in the evening he now, unprompted, gets up and gives Noah a hug saying, "Goodnight Noah. I wuv you." 
* orange tic tacs.  Luke is a good eater.  He loves pineapple, mandarins, carrots, broccoli, orange chicken, pizza, oatmeal, ABC crackers from Trader Joe's, apples, cucumbers, pesto, and of course, just about anything sweet.

Luke has got a spicy, independent personality.  Our family is happier and sillier because he's a part of it.  He just gets cuter and smarter every day!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Luke's Birthday

If I only had this picture to remember Luke's birthday I'd be happy.  I just love it and love him.
Celebrating this little boy being two was loads of fun for all of us.  We celebrated with family a few days before, since Grandpa and Grandma were heading out of town. 
Luke kept walking around saying, "My birthday, my party. My birthday, my party."  He simply loved that we were celebrating him.  He also didn't mind the traditional 'kiss sandwich' either.
Our celebration was simple, but not lacking in good times or fun.  I decided a long time ago on a ball theme.  
Luke is happiest when he's kicking, throwing or dribbling a ball.  And for a guy who is just barely two, he's got a pretty decent throwing arm, drop kicks a ball, and can drop a racquetball and hit it with a racket.  He loves to 'shoop' balls into his basketball hoop.  It seems that balls and sports are definitely a part of his future, because at this point they are very, very much a part of our present.  So a ball theme, warranted a ball cake.

That cake was 100% worth the hand cramping and hands that looked a little like the Hulk for a while.  It's such a relief when a cake turns out exactly how I planned.  Success!

Luke took this whole candle blowing/birthday singing thing very seriously.  He actually loves the birthday song and had been singing it to himself all day. 
His big smiles returned it no time, and he was pure happiness once we cut into that cake. 

 Our families.  Oh, they are such good gift givers. 
Luke has a bit of a lawnmower obsession, so that's what we got him. 

Months ago he turned his shopping cart into a lawn mower.  More recently he decided that one of his ride on cars was a riding lawnmower, and his popper toy was an edger.  Lawn work is serious business around here. 
It was a great night of celebration.  Having so much family close by is a gift in itself.  I love that we get to share so many of these sweet moments with them.
 Four days later, on the 25th, Luke woke up to pancakes with sprinkles and a family who made a huge deal that it was his actual birthday.  I thought there might be some jealousy, but Noah was truly happy that Luke was turning two.  
After breakfast the boys and I headed downtown to the railroad museum. 
We filled our morning with trains, headed home for a nap, and then finished off the afternoon with a trip to the library.  Slowing down time is the only thing that could have made the day better.  It all went too fast for my liking, and far too soon I was kissing my birthday boy goodnight.

Eight Years

It sure seems, in a good way, that we've been married longer than eight years.  To celebrate we spent a night in San Francisco.  It was my first night away from the boys EVER, and we all did great.  The boys were bouncing with excitement.  They headed off to McDonald's for lunch as soon as we dropped them off.  The fun was just starting for ALL of us.  

We had a hotel reservation in Union Square, but no definite plans for the evening or next morning.  Just a few hours before leaving we suddenly had tickets to the Standford/Utah game and were meeting up with the Armstrongs.  Perfect!  
The game was mostly boring, with an exciting double overtime ending.  But I loved being with friends we hardly ever see.  Actually, what I really loved was the three hour, uninterrupted drive to Palo Alto.  I forget how much we are lovingly interrupted by those two boys when driving.  To eliminate those darling distractions for a while really made form some quality, thoughtful, much needed conversation.  It was bliss!

After the game we drove to San Francisco for a very late dinner at Hillstone, a sentimental favorite from our dating and newlywed years. That place never disappoints.

The next morning we slept in, laid around, smiled that we weren't being awaken by a joyful "Good Morning Mom!" at 6:30 (or earlier), and just relaxed.  We finally got moving as morning began to melt away and decided to just explore.  Our walk took us through Union Station, across China Town, and into North Beach.  We found a little Italian cafe for our extremely late breakfast and then just kept walking until reaching the Coit Tower. 

And then we just turned around and went back.  But it was great to walk, see the city, and be together.  Year eight has been a bit rocky and emotional at times, largely due to circumstances beyond our control.  We have stayed the course, stayed committed and grown closer.  Love truly does grow over time, and it feels so good.  I can't wait to see what it feels like in another eight years.

Oh, and those boys of ours...they didn't miss us a bit.  Grandma and Grandpa made it a night to remember. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Apple Hill, Round 1

On Monday the boys and I headed up to Apple Hill with Grandma Shauna and Grandma Pebley.
We didn't have much of an agenda for the morning, but when the discussion turned to apple cider donuts I  knew we'd have to first stop at Rainbow Orchards.  If you're going to get a donut it should be a piping hot, fresh out of the fryer, covered in sugar one for sure.

Noah remembered the big cider press they have from last year, so we peeked into the window to watch it work.  Luke spent most of his time with the pumpkins and apples.  And thank goodness, because he let me catch this cute picture which I think is one of my all time favorites.
Now if only he could convince his big brother that LOOKING at the camera is sometimes o.k.

How guilty does Luke look in this picture?  
 There was so much to see and touch which suited his immense curiosity just fine.

We made just two other stops: one at High Hill and the other at Abel's Apple Acres.  
Just being there with my boys and two of my favorite ladies was enough.  I didn't care too much about how much we saw or where we went.  As long as we were in great company and could find some sweet apple treats along the way, it was a perfect day.

It's tradition to take pictures at Abel's tree.  Measuring height when standing on the slope of a hill doesn't seem terribly accurate to me, but it's making for a reasonably cute annual picture.

And we have a picture of Noah in this school bus every year that he's gone.

After a slice of my most favorite buttermilk apple pie it was time to head for home.  In about a week we'll be making the drive again with my family.  I can't wait for another round of apple goodness and more memories made!