Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm vanilla, what are you?

I must admit, I do love ice cream. Always have. When I was a child, my birthday cake request was always a Carvel ice cream cake (who can resist those wonderful chocolate crumbles separating the vanilla and chocolate ice cream? Not I.).

My current favorite? Bluebell Ice Cream's Key Lime Pie. MMMmmmm.

So I took the ice cream quiz to find out what flavor I am. Results?

I recommend that you take the quiz.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jacob and Hannah

In case you don't know, I have had the wonderful privilege of watching an adorable little girl Hannah for the past year. She is such a sweet girl, and I am glad that Jacob has the opportunity for a sibling-like experience. Sometimes it can be challenging (mainly Jacob being punky), but overall it has been so much fun!

Last week at the park Jacob loved pushing Hannah in the swing. It was so sweet, listening to her giggle and him laugh. The next day, when we went grocery shopping, Jacob and Hannah kept hugging and kissing each other. People kept stopping me to comment on how sweet they were together. It was a kind of magical moment, and it made me so happy that they have each other.

Jacob the Cowboy

Well, in case you couldn't guess, Jacob is a cowboy for Halloween. The best part about this, is that when we first started talking about costumes, he was so excited to be a cowboy. But when he saw the costume design, he started crying. He told us that he wanted to be a cow-boy (a boy cow). Through his tears he kept saying, "but I really want to moo!" Eventually, he was reconciled to the cowboy costume, especially once Daddy shared the secret of lassoing with him.

Also, many thanks to my mom who made Jacob his costume in one afternoon. How amazing is she?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pretend Monsters

With Halloween just around the corner, we've had lots of interesting discussions with Jacob. Mostly they center around ghosts, witches, big spiders and monsters. Jacob is very concerned about all of these things, but most especially monsters.

Yesterday we had a discussion about monsters, and the fact that they are pretend. At the end of the conversation, I felt fairly reassured that Jacob was reassured. The world was back in order, and fear of pretend monsters wasn't included in this new world.

Last night, or more appropriately, this morning at around 2 am, I woke up to see Jacob standing at the foot of our bed. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that there were monsters in his room. When I revisited (though not necessarily coherently) our conversation from that afternoon about pretend monsters, he clarified:

"No Mommy. There are pretend monsters in my room and they are scaring me."

What was I to do? Jacob climbed into bed with me and Nick, and I was once again reminded that a king sized bed would be nice.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Love, morals and science fiction

Madeleine L'Engle died on Friday at the age of 88. I just found this out as the NPR clip came up on my google home page. What a way to find out that one of your heroes has died.

I love Madeleine L'Engle. I was first introduced to her books with A Wrinkle in Time, her Newberry award winning young adult novel. It tells the story of Meg Murray, an awkward teen who, together with her younger brother Charles Wallace, saves their father with the help of science and love.

Madeleine L'Engle was my friend. No, I have never met her. But her books have carried me through some of the most important times of my life. I remember reading them (and rereading them) when:

  • I was an overwhelmed student at BYU, looking for comfort and familiarity. I would often escape to the Juvenile fiction area of the HBLL. Many students probably assumed I was an El Ed major doing research but no, I was just seeking comfort from my favorite books.
  • I was married. After Jacob was born, Nick and I started reading books aloud to each other. We read the whole Wrinkle in Time series aloud to each other in bed at night, and then we would talk about it. I look back on that time and I smile, thinking that I had the opportunity to hare these books with my best friend.

I look forward to the time when I can read these books aloud to Jacob, and our other future children. I want to share with them the beauty and faith that Madeleine has, and I want them to know that they can find comfort in these books too.

One of my favorite lessons from Madeleine comes from her book A Ring of Endless Light. The protagonist's parents advise the family to pray for a friend when something distressing happens. The teenager in the story rebels, citing many instances where prayer didn't help anything. Her wise mother reminds her that prayer wasn't meant to be magic. Suzie then asks her why we bother with it. Her mother replies "Because it is an act of love."

When I related to Nick that Madeleine L'Engle died, I said, "Oh, how sad. Madeleine L'Engle died." And then after a moment I realized, "No, actually, it is not sad at all. Madeleine is probably happy. She had such great faith and love that her death isn't sad. She is probably really happy right now."

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sometimes, it is hard.

I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing women.

Not your ordinary, nice-to-be-around, glad-she-is-my-neighbor type of women, but truly extraordinary women who teach me things all of the time. And at this point in my life, many of these lessons are learned by reading through their blogs. Oh, how grateful I am for the blog.

I love reading about my former roommates from Eden. They are doing such fun things with their lives, whether it be studying interesting topics, going to far-away romantic places, contributing to the world by serving humanity, and raising their families. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with their accomplishments.

I also love their honesty. Sam wrote a wonderful entry in her blog about the trials of motherhood, and sometimes how you just need to eat peaches and milk. It is nice to know that I am not the only one who finds motherhood challenging sometimes.

We got back from camp two weeks ago. It has been an adjustment for me. Prior to going, I had been at home, not "working," for almost three years (pretty much the sum of Jacob's life). We decided to go to camp because: a) it is fun to be surrounded by children in that environment, b) it was extremely financially advantageous for us to go and c) I despise Texas heat. I was excited to go to camp, and worried about the toll it would take on my family. I was also worried that I wouldn't be considered a "good mother" for possibly wanting to work this summer. It requires long hours away from Jacob, with him being taken care of by nannies and Nick for most of the summer, and me popping in for the fun moments.

I had a great time at camp. Every week, I was faced with my weaknesses as a mother, wife and head counselor. I also faced my strengths, and I had the wonderful opportunity to help some really great 10 & 11 year girls have a terrific summer.

And, I cried. A lot. Probably 3-4 times a week. Now, I am a crier, so this is not indicative of anything tragic, just more my way of releasing stress after a hard day, or a hard moment.

Now I am back to being a full-time stay-at-home mom. And I am enjoying it more than I did last April. Now, that could be because Jacob is older, or it could be because I have grown. I don't know. I am just so very lucky to have had the opportunity, to work at a place I love and share it with my family.

And yet, even now, there is a part of me that is embarrassed that I wanted to work, that I really enjoyed working. I think just as I would never want a mother to feel inadequate for choosing to stay at home, I also don't want a mother to feel bad for choosing to work outside of the home. And sometimes I feel like I should feel bad for working outside the home, even though that is not how I really feel.

Sarah Olson forwarded me a link to an essay that really helped:

I, like Sarah when she was relating to me the contents of this essay, really like the therapist's questions. I think that God is merciful, and that I am thankful for that mercy and grace that helps me find ways to be a better mom, even if those ways include me working a few months while my husband is the "stay-at-home/camp" dad. Nick and I are lucky that we have our lives set up so that for nine months out of the year he can work and go to school while I stay at home with Jacob. And for the other three months, I get to work while Nick has the privilege of staying at camp with Jacob. This doesn't make me less of a mother. If anything, it shows God's tender mercies in helping me continue on in my quest for motherhood.

If you google me, you come up with a link to my camp's newsletter. And I am ok with that.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Catch Up

Well, it has been almost three months since we've written in this blog, and I totally apologize. Our life has been crazy, and will continue to be until we return to Texas after our summer job. Nick and I decided to go back and work for a camp again this summer - and it has been absolutely, wonderfully crazy.

We left Texas towards the end of May and drove two FULL days to Long Island to visit my parents and my childhood home. It was great fun, seeing my family, my friends and beautiful Long Island. We spent a week and a half with them, doing all things Long Island-ish - bagels, beaches and the occasional jaunt to Sayville parks. We swam in the sound, the Hampton Bay and the Atlantic ocean, and took the train and subway to NYC to visit the Museum of Natural History - Jacob was in heaven. One of my favorite moments? Jacob befriending a little boy on the NY subway, and listening to them sing a song they made up between 42nd and 54th streets.

We then drove up to beautiful New Hampshire, where we have been ever since. Camp here is amazing. My day is really packed - my first meeting is at 7:30 am and some nights I am on until 1 am, but it is really enjoyable working with kids again. This summer we are at an all-girls camp which is a new experience that I am loving. First session I was responsible for around 75 campers and 30 staff, and this session I am responsible for 50 campers and 16 staff. The campers finish on August 15th, and we will begin our journey back to TX around the 18th or so.

Jacob has been loving camp too. He has three wonderful nannies, and three other playmates that really make it fun. This summer he has learned to put his face in the water and "swim," he has been horseback riding and he has spent countless days playing on the soccer fields, the tennis courts and the lake. And, of course, at an all-girls camp, he is a major hit. The campers lavish him with attention and he eats it all up.

Nick enjoys his job at camp too. He works with transportation, so he is off-camp most days. It is nice because his job is somewhat flexible and he can take time off to be with Jacob frequently.

I will write in this blog more frequently once life returns to normal again. If you are interested in looking at some pictures our nannies took of Jacob, check out this link:

Hope all is well with everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Catch up

Things have been so crazy lately! I apologize for not writing sooner. Hopefully I'll be able to remember everything that has happened...

Nick finished up his classes for the semester and is now almost finished with his GA stuff. Nick's professor coauthored a new textbook, and Nick was responsible for creating the companion website. It has been a great learning experience, and wonderful for his CV, as he will be listed as an author. Woohoo!

I've managed to fit a business visit to NY in two weeks ago. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see my parents, but I did get super pumped up for camp! Nick, Jacob and I are really looking forward to a summer at camp again - we've missed it the past two summers! We will be out of the TX heat, and I will have the opportunity to be a head counselor at a new (to me) camp. We've been busy planning and trying to get everything ready for it, but as time draws closer we can't seem to hide our excitement! Jacob asks repeatedly "can we go to camp now?"

Jacob has celebrated his third birthday this month - all month! We had a terrific "friend" party May 3, and the fun has continued with a small family party (Nick, Jacob and me), more visits with friends who couldn't attend, and a party at PapouGiagia's house including Grandmother and Grandfather and Progiagia! What fun - and he will have another party when we get to NY in a week with my parents. I don't know how we can top this year - Jacob is certainly loving his birthday and completely understands the meaning of the word "party."

Jacob is in a wonderful phase right now where he says "sure" all of the time - as in "I sure do love you," and "this sure is my favorite game." It is quite adorable, though we are still trying to figure out where he got it.

I had a lovely Mother's Day too. What could be better than spending time with the two most handsome men on the planet? Jacob and Nick let me sleep late, and they both prepared a delicious dinner. I am one lucky lady.

Some more fun Jacob moments:

Nick was a little late in picking me up at the airport, mainly because he took a wrong turn while he was circling. After he picked me up, as we were driving, Nick pointed to the road that he accidentally turned down. Jacob, commenting on it from the backseat said "yeah, Daddy is not too smart." Indicted by a three year old!

Jacob and I decided to bring lunch to Daddy during a particularly busy day on campus. After we finished spending time with Nick, we boarded the elevator in the education building to head back to our car. The elevator was full of smart, professional woman (they just exuded confidence and collegiate-ness) and Jacob charmed them. After striking up a conversation, Jacob felt compelled to share a random thought:
"When I was a baby, I drank milk from my mommy's boobie." I wanted to die, but just smiled amid all of the laughter.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Small towns

We have had the pleasure of living in some really great places. Right now is no exception. Our community is a nice, smallish university town with great events for children and young families.

Last weekend, to celebrate the Day of the Young Child, and to bring awareness to child abuse prevention, our town had a Youthfest. Jacob was in heaven.

He got to ride on the train (one of his favorite activities), paint pictures, bounce in the bounce house, see his favorite librarian Miss Ashley, listen to performers and run around. What a great day!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Jacob's Comments Part II

Easter weekend we went to San Saba to visit Nick's parents. Jacob was in his usual adorable form, so here are some of my favorite comments from the weekend:


Papou (what Jacob calls Nick's father): "Wow Jacob, it looks like you've grown another foot!"

Jacob: No response, just looks down quizzically at his two feet, searching for the new one.


Gia-gia: After placing five eggs in a bowl for scrambled eggs: Jacob, how many eggs are there?

Jacob: one...two...three...four...five!

Gia-gia: Good job. Adding one more egg. Now how many are there?

Jacob: looking at Gia-gia like she is crazy - One more!

I love my boy.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Jacob's Comments

I love what comes out of Jacob's mouth. His mind constantly amazes me - and makes me laugh.

Today, I asked Jacob to help me wash some dishes. He pushed a kitchen chair over to the sink and said "Ok, Mommy. I'll use this chair." He looked me up and down. "You just use your legs."


Jacob and I are lucky to belong to the San Marcos Playgroup, an amazing group of parents, grandparents and kids that get together throughout the week.

This week we went to Central Cheer, a gymnastics type place that opens their facility up every Wednesday for playgroups. We haven't been there since last fall, so it was pretty brand new for Jacob.

He loved it so much! He ran around, played under the parachute with his friends, and even jumped into the foam pit - what fun!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

More photos...

Playing with the flowers...

Whenever we ask Jacob to smile, this is what we get:

Jacob was sad when it was time to go home for dinner. He wanted to stay out with all of the pretty flowers.

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Bluebonnets and blue jeans

It finally stopped raining long enough today to get some pictures of the beautiful Texas bluebonnets in bloom. Jacob really enjoyed the pretty flowers, and of course we think he looks incredibly dashing!

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Two sides of a coin

Yesterday was one of those moments as a mother when I question the purpose of going to church with a two year old.

We arrived 10 minutes before Sacrament meeting was to begin. Normally we take up a side pew in order to have enough room to amuse/contain Jacob appropriately, but Jacob saw his friend Elizabeth (7 years old and quite adorable- they bonded at the previous night's baptism) sitting down and really wanted to sit next to her in the center front pew. Contrary to my instincts, and most likely against the wishes of my husband (as evidenced by the look he was giving me), I agreed.

Mistake number one.

Now, Jacob also loves sitting in the aisle seat. Usually, this is fine by us. Today, not so much, given Elizabeth's location when we sat down. Here was our pew:

pew--aisle-Jacob-Elizabeth-E's Mom-Me-Nick

Notice that Nick nor I are in arm's reach of Jacob.

Mistake number two.

Jacob did really well in the beginning. He was playing quietly with Elizabeth, looking at books and generally being cute. I did have to lean over a few times and remind him to be reverent, but for the most part things were ok.

And then it was time for the Sacrament.

Jacob, wise to the fact that Mom was not in "reminder/enforcer distance," decided to exercise his new found freedom and stand up on the pew and loudly talk to the family behind us. After ignoring repeated reminders from me, he then noticed his best friend Race sitting at the other end of our pew.

Jacob was so excited, he proceeded to yell - loudly - for Race. Jacob started to get quite hysterically when he realized that it was necessary to wait until after sacrament to greet Race. He started crying, screaming and hitting.

Then it happened. The moment you dread: walking out of the chapel with a screaming child on your hands. Now, Jacob is fairly articulate for his age. So not only was he crying, but he was screaming "don't take me outside. Don't take me outside."


After 10 minutes or so in a darkened room, separated from his books and snacks, Jacob was ready to return to the chapel. I straightened my tear-soaked shirt and led him back to our pew. The same set-up.

Inevitably, Jacob had to be taken out of the chapel again. We have done this dance in the past, but it has been quite a few months since we have done the "sacrament two-step." I was pretty upset, and trying everything to keep the Spirit with me.

These are the Sundays when I get home and, instead of reviewing what I've learned in my classes, I ponder the purpose of church with a two year old.

But as many Sundays as I have spent doing this, I also have many other days when the purpose is reaffirmed. Yesterday was also one of those days.

As Jacob was looking at a Greg Olsen book of illustrations of Christ with Elizabeth, E's mom was asking him questions.

E's mom: "Jacob, who is that?"

J: "Jesus Christ. He's my friend. Jesus helps me feel better."

All it takes is a moment like that, and I will happily do the dance every Sunday.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Peer Pressure

We're doing it. We are starting a blog. Yet again.

Now, I know some members of our family are probably rolling their eyes. They are most likely remembering the failed attempt of '04 (or was it '05?) - one, maybe two posts and a picture.

But this time I am committed. I want to do better. I want to record our life, in tidbits and snapshots. My great husband Nick, who had kept a journal faithfully until he married me, deserves more. A wife who can record. A telling of our family life.

I admit, I feel horrible that I might be the reason my husband has not kept his journal up so frequently. Talk about being a force for - well, not evil, but definitely not good. So, in my attempts to absolve myself of that guilt, I am now keeping a record of our family.

So here we are - the first post. One down, many more to go.