Friday, December 14, 2012

"Find your humanity!"

You can hear her voice in your head? Can't you? Hahaha. My guess is that if you're like me you'll see it about twice and then hurry and scroll down so you can't see it anymore. So you don't get annoyed to death. ;)

Here's something I was thinking about. Rowan was on a "Tangled" kick for a while, so I heard this movie, and this line, over and over...and over, and over, and over.

And it struck me. When she says "humanity" what she's really implying is "divinity."

A 'humane' thing to do means the compassionate thing; the kind and loving thing to do. Of course the derivative is 'human'.

Human definition:

of, relating to, or characteristic of humans
: consisting of humans
a : having human form or attributes
b : susceptible to or representative of the sympathies and frailties of human nature 

'Human Nature' vs 'Divine Nature' to me is a very distinct thing. As a member of the LDS Church we are taught about the 'natural man' that is the part of us that wants to give in to temptation, the part that desires to do the lazy or wrong thing. 'Natural man' is also known in the scriptures at the 'carnal man', he wants his carnal desires...things opposite to Godly and divine desires. The 'carnal nature of the flesh' is saying that we are giving in to the wants of our flesh (human nature) instead of our Godly desire, like doing good and avoiding evil and temptation.

'Divine nature' is the part of us (the soul in us) that is divine; that is a part of our Father in Heaven, the part of us that wishes to do the kind, compassionate, and loving thing. Because after all, God is LOVE. We, as His children, are also divine in spirit. Part of Him dwells in us, in our souls and hearts. Do you not feel that special thing in your heart that reaches out to give a kind word to a broken heart, or to comfort those that mourn, that feeling that we are all connected together. Everyone in this whole world, and that ever was, or will ever be. We are Divine, sons and daughters of God, and therefore divine brothers and sisters in spirit. We are Divine. Isn't that just an incredible thought?
So today especially, after the horrible events (, the killings of those poor people and children let us remember our divinity and do something good in this world for someone else. I will be praying and sending good thoughts and love to those families of which their lives will never be the same. May they find peace and comfort. I know there will be 'helpers' there for them, shining examples of love, kindness, and their own divinity.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” - Mr. Rogers

Monday, October 22, 2012

Veruticco Farm

Alyssa and I finally met up with our girls and had a fun play date at Veruticco Farm in Gilbert this morning! 
A fun barrel-train ride, a big bubble bouncy thing, farm animals, games and crafts, etc. Needless to say Addie, Rowan, and Mercedes had a blast! 

On the barrel-train ride around the farm.

Alyssa and Addie on the train :) 

 Mercedes and I riding together.

 An accidental picture, but I thought it looked kinda cool.

 Playing on the bubble-bouncy thing.


All three girls playing on the stacked tires...and in the dirt :) 

Birthday twins! Both born the same day. 

"I'm king of the mountain!" 

At the bounce house. Mercedes didn't want to go in, but Addie and Rowan loved it! 

Craft time, decorating pumpkins.  

Second time on the train was probably their favorite part.  


 Pumpkin head! <3 p="p">

Thanks Alyssa and Addie for coming with us. Sorry I didn't get more pictures of you two. I mostly took these to send to Ben, but I wish I had taken more now. :) We had a blast! Now, here's wishing for an early bedtime ;)


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Perfect timing~

     Have you tried the Mormon Channel app yet? It's really wonderful :)
You can listen to scriptures, talks, or they have new episodes on various topics they put together everyday. Usually when I'm cleaning or driving or doing dishes I like to listen to something. I know my awesome sister-in-law loves to fall asleep listening to a good talk.

     Well, this evening while I was doing the dishes I found this gem, and it was just....well, perfect timing. All the things he mentioned were valid to the immediate time (political time). Of course to our day as well and a lot was just tailored to me and what I was looking for. 
So, I had first used the search tool and looked up "Instrument" on the Mormon Channel app and three Conference talk came up. This was the second one. And here are just some of the absolute jewels I found in his talk that spoke to me. But I urge everyone to read the whole thing! It's great!

"I have a friend who is a member of a political panel that is seen each week on national television. Explaining her role, she said, “We are encouraged to speak before thinking!” We appear to be living in an era in which many are speaking without thinking, encouraging emotional reactions rather than thoughtful responses. Whether it be on the national or international stage, in personal relations or in politics, at home or in the public forum, voices grow ever more strident, and giving and taking offense appear to be chosen rather than inadvertent."

     (This reminds me of some reality TV shows, all based around making drama)

"The first casualties of human wrath are truth and understanding. James counseled that we be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”...Whether they be false friends or unrighteous teachers, artists or entertainers, commentators or letter writers to local newspapers, seekers of power or wealth, beware of those who stir us up to such anger that calm reflection and charitable feelings are suppressed."

"Have we who have taken upon us the name of Christ slipped unknowingly into patterns of slander, evil speaking, and bitter stereotyping? Have personal or partisan or business or religious differences been translated into a kind of demonizing of those of different views? Do we pause to understand the seemingly different positions of others and seek, where possible, common ground?"

     I feel that every one of God's children have their own troubles and burdens. Why tear another's spirit down by stereotyping and being impartial to others who have differences from us or our opinions? It just tears us down as well to talk and act that way. Even thought I have different opinions or political positions than many friends I feel that is no reason to not be friends! I love them all! 

"We need, as the Lord counseled, to uphold honest, wise, and good men and women wherever they are found and to recognize that there are “among all sects, parties, and denominations” those who are “kept from the truth [of the gospel] because they know not where to find it.” Would we hide that light because we have entered into the culture of slander, of stereotyping, of giving and seeking offense?"

     "seeking offense" Wow. Isn't that true of so many?!

"In this regard, the Lord has counseled in latter days that we “cease to find fault one with another” and “above all things, clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.”

     Give, serve, and love everyone! 

"President George Albert Smith observed, “There is nothing in the world more deleterious or harmful to the human family than hatred, prejudice, suspicion, and the attitude that some people have toward their fellows, of unkindness.” 16 In matters of politics, he warned, “Whenever your politics cause you to speak unkindly of your brethren, know this, that you are upon dangerous ground.”

     The ones that stood out to me here were "suspicion" and "unkindess". They seem like such small things to so many people, but I have seen how it can in fact destroy lives and families. 
And the last line I want to reiterate: "Whenever your politics cause you to speak unkindly of your brethren, know this, that you are upon dangerous ground."

"President Gordon B. Hinckley, has counseled: “Now, there is much that we can and must do in these perilous times. We can give our opinions on the merit of the situation as we see it, but never let us become a party to words or works of evil concerning our brothers and sisters in various nations on one side or the other. Political differences never justify hatred or ill will. I hope that the Lord’s people may be at peace one with another during times of trouble, regardless of what loyalties they may have to different governments or parties.”

     We can give our opinions, but we shouldn't let evil into it. We shouldn't speak try to belittle, or use hatred of others with different opinions or positions, or even of different countries/nationalities/cultures. In my humble opinion we should be able to talk equally of different opinions without getting angry or frustrated. Hopefully everyone can try to bring an "open mind" to a discussion with peace in their hearts and not a single purpose of slandering or attempting to convert everyone to their own ideas or opinions. Because guess what, everyone thinks that they are the right one. 

I leave you with these two quotes that I think go nicely side by side:

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

"He that is convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still."
-Attributed to Benjamin Franklin and two others.

I hope that in this political season we can talk. All of us talk without being demeaning or trying to be hurtful or harsh. That we will be able to entertain thoughts and determine for ourselves if they are true or not without an instant shut down. I also hope we can use this for all of our different opinions, not just during election time ;)
And my greatest desire is to personally become so full of charity that I truly love every person I encounter! To find good things about each person I meet and to try and make them shine with their own self-worth. :)



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I know...

I need to update my header. I need to update the whole blog really, but I guess I'll get around to it when I get a little more steam.


Monday, September 17, 2012

~Music that speaks to my soul~

You know those few songs that, at the right time of life they really speak to your soul and leave you moved? Then listening to it over and over and over again, it's like drinking angelic water when you didn't even know you were thirsty for it?
Sometimes I know exactly why it speaks to me, like EFY songs I love really speak to my soul on a very gospel-spiritual level. And some I have no idea why I love them so, so much, but I do and I can't get enough.

Here's a song I found through Spotify and I AM IN LOVE WITH IT!
I can't get enough. I kinda wish I could have somewhere to perform it because there is such a connection made to a song when you perform it in front of people. A mix of the adrenaline and the feelings of the music, and sharing them with an audience....ahhhh. It's so great, but nerve-wracking too....but great  :)

"Once Upon Another Time"
Once upon another time
Somebody's hands who felt like mine
Turned the key and took a drive
Was free
Highway curve, the sun sank low
Buckley on the radio
Cigarette was burning slow
So breathe

Just yellow lines and tire marks
And sun-kissed skin and handle bars
And where I stood was where I was to be

No enemies to call my own
No porch light on to pull me home
And where I was is beautiful
Because I was free

Once upon another time
Before I knew which life was mine
Before I left the child behind me
I saw myself in summer nights
And stars lit up like candle light
I make my wish but mostly I believed...

In yellow lines and tire marks
Sun-kissed skin and handle bars
And where I stood was where I was to be

Once upon another time
Decided nothing good in dying
So I would just keep on driving
Because I was free

I italicized the parts that really spoke to me, although I really could have italicized the WHOLE SONG since it's like she wrote the whole song about me. Thank you Sara :)


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Midnight Rambles

This is gonna be a long one. I can tell. ;)

I used to think (up until fairly recently) that since most of our problems, as individuals, are rooted, or can be traced back to things that happened to us as children, that if I could only be the best mother possible (aka: nearly perfect), then my children would grow up with hardly any problems to overcome in their lives. They would be so nicely put together and confident that things would go easier for them, and they could see the world, and themselves more clearly.

Let's go over this logic:
Perfect Mother = Children with no problems.
Errrrrrn. Wrong. See the failed logic here.
First of all, there's no such thing as a perfect Mother. Oh, I can give you a whole list of them that come really, really, really, really, really close...but even they...I don't wanna say it....ugh...yes, even they have their shortcomings.

Also, people are people with individual daily choices and freedom. They decide who they are! They decide if they will DECIDE to overcome any issues in their life, or give in to them. And of course not all problems come from childhood.

The real revelation that came to me was this. Maybe I'm not a perfect mother because my children are supposed to have some problems. WHAT? SAY WHAT?? People aren't supposed to have problems...or are they?

Let me tell you a quick, and very true story. You may have heard of the Biosphere 2. A huge dome was built in Arizona and they put all sorts of plants, animals, insects inside. I don't know everything about it, but there was a lot of research to benefit from it, and I think one reason it was created was to see if people could survive in a biosphere like this one on another planet. Say the Moon or Mars.
(Please forgive my poor grammar. This late at night I'm not paying much attention to it.)
So, people lived in this sphere with all the plants, trees, creatures and their little farm for two years.
They noticed something really interesting when everyone emerged and they took a look inside. A certain species of tree would flop right over. Just completely fall for no reason. WHY?
Because there was no WIND in the Biosphere! It had no opposition for it to brace itself against, and make itself stronger! Here's an interesting tid-bit, the type of wood on the tree that helps it brace itself and get stronger is known as Stress Wood/Reaction Wood. Hmmm. Mull that over for a while. Reaction. I love that.

One of my favorite movies is The Iron Giant (currently Rowan's favorite as well). My favorite line from the movie is this: "YOU ARE WHO YOU CHOOSE TO BE."

I can't tell you how much it irks me when I hear people say in regards to their negative attitude, or their gossiping mouth, or disregard for others, "Well, that's just the way I am. Get used to it."
Indicating that they have no choice over who they are. They know what they do is wrong or hurtful, but they don't care enough to change, and even expect others to accept them and even love them for "who they are." Irks. Totally irks me. (Can you tell I like the word 'irk'. probably 'cause it doesn't feel like a real word, but hey my spell checker thinks it is!)

Anyway, back to being a Mother. To put it mildly my first born (a red-head) is stubborn, and loves power struggles. Up until about a year and two months ago she and I were doing great together! Still had struggles, of course, but I felt pretty good about our relationship and the structure of our day, and in general just being a Mom. But at that point I was about 3 months away from having our second child and I just couldn't play as much, or be as enthusiastic about her or what she was up to. Frankly, I was a big old crank. I was super crabby because I hadn't gotten a good night's sleep in 6 months, and I was huge, no, really HUGE! My pregnancy clothes barely fit. And for the month of May she and I stayed at my parents house (a state away) while my husband went to work in Texas for just over a month. So I was basically a single, very pregnant, very big, and very-addicted-to-pastries mother of a stubborn toddler. In another house, 12 hours away from my house. I was not a very happy person, or pleasant to be around. She got a little crazy and spoiled over the summer, but once we got back home (with a new baby) things seemed fine....until November. Sometime in November she went from being so confident and happy (she would just wave to me and say 'bye' when we dropped her off for nursery) to being clingy, having more outbursts, and I'm sorry to say she has had meltdowns where I had no idea what I was going to do. Seasoned Mothers know what I'm talking about. Where you are borderline crazy and you think "this must be hell", but at the same time you love them so much you are still considering their emotional welfare and wishing you could just hug them and cry over them. All the while telling yourself "If I throw something right now, it will teach her to throw things." But your soul is split in half! So much anger/frustration and so much love competing. If any men are reading this, just be thankful for that 'awful day at work'! (not to mention the new baby crying in the background because her screaming woke her up) double whammy!
But I am making this all sound so terrible. Forgive me. Obviously it is not like this ALL the time.
Yesterday was a day like that. But after nap-time (when she finally went down) I decided that she and I don't get enough one-on-one time. So, after she got up we went to get ice cream. And we had fun!
I LOVE her smiles, I LOVE the say she says "No, thank you." in her cute, high voice. I LOVE that she is so polite, and that she delights in sharing (usually). I LOVE that whenever I say 'Ow.' she comes running over and says "You okay? Here, 'tiss" (aka: kiss) and she'll kiss it "all better." I LOVE that she loves to be outdoors, I LOVE that she is a great big sister. I LOVE how excited she gets in the morning to wake up and have cereal. I LOVE that she sings so well, and that she is so smart. I LOVE HER!

So, let me try and tie this all in together. I know things that happen to us in our lives can condition us, especially when we are children. We the most influential at that age. And each and everyone of us has imperfect parents who parent imperfectly, so we are bound to have things to overcome as we grow older. But what if those 'things', 'problems', 'bumps in the road', 'having a hard time dealing with different stuff in life', were actually blessings? For our benefit. Because like the wind to the trees, the stress wood, no, the REACTION WOOD, problems help build us stronger. We can decide if our REACTION is to give in to the wind and bend, or to react by making ourselves stronger. Fighting that wind and making the best of it! If it is true that 'problems are blessings', then doesn't that make me, an imperfect mother, a blessing-giver?

Here's some new logic:
Imperfect mother = stronger little-child-trees that won't bend in the wind

BUT what about building that 'Reaction Wood'? How will my children know how to do that?
By me not throwing things, by teaching through love and the best example I can muster, and especially, most importantly by teaching them to follow the one who is THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.
Our Savior Jesus Christ. By his words and example I can teach them the proper REACTIONS to have, even when I struggle.

Last equation, I promise. I love non-math equations!

Imperfect, but trying mother, using Christ's example and teachings = strong children who know how to build reaction wood to be strong, through her struggling example and Christ's perfect one
Paired with a husband/Daddy with the same attitude and we're unstoppable! Right? :D

I'm sure this seems obvious and rather silly to some of you reading. Guess what, in a way it is to me too! This principle is something I have known almost my whole life, but when you're in the thick of it (war with a toddler) you just can't think clearly, and I love getting a new perspective on a foundational principal I already know. It opens up so many more channels off of that subject for me to learn more.

Here's from my midnight philosophies to yours.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A favorite character

Milly rocks.
Milly rocks my socks.

If you've never seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers you should see it. It's a favorite at our house, and especially one of Rowan's favorites.
My favorite thing about the movie is Milly. She is da-bomb.
She marries a guy she falls in love with, but barely knows and when he takes her up the mountain to his place it turns out that he is one of seven grown brothers that live at home, and their parents have passed on. So she has to cook/clean/care for seven 'scroungy' back-woodsmen with no manners and basically tricked into doing it.

Here is why Milly rocks:
She gets up to this house the day of her wedding and her new husband basically runs through the list of chores she's gonna be doing to take care of him and his six brothers. Mending, cooking, cleaning, chopping firewood, etc. After running the list he points her to the kitchen, tells her where to find water (and drag it in by the bucket), and tells her to ring when dinner is ready.
What would I have done? Probably gotten the water from 'down the path' and thrown it in his face. Hahahaha. But, I like what she did even better.
She took one look around in, possibly, a moment of self pity, then rolled up her sleeves and got to work. Wow. But just wait. One dinner is ready the men come in and slop all over it like animals and don't even say thank you. Well, rightfully so, she turns the table over on them, hehe.
Milly then goes up to her room to think. Then there's a scene where she and Adam (her husband) reconcile.
The next morning, did she ask him to drive her back to the town where she had a life she understood and was comfortable with, and not to mention, was respected? Nope. She got up super early and made tons of delicious food and took all the boys clothes and cleaned them. Then she shows the best example of taking charge I've ever seen, she tells the boys they can come and eat this delicious spread of food after they've cleaned up.
Not only did she take charge of her unfortunate situation, but she the first time she failed, or I should say had an outcome she didn't want, she TRIED AGAIN! Then the boys learned manners and became respectful and even would come to her for advice.
So, Milly rocks because when she was faced with a nasty situation she rolled up her sleeves and went to work to make it work! (Tim Gunn reference, absolutely) ;)
Milly never whined or complained about her issues, or went telling all her friends so they'd feel sorry for her. She acted like the strong woman she is and took matters into her own hands, and tried and tried again.
Milly rocks my socks. (phrase my friends and I invented while in high school) :)

Monday, April 23, 2012


After a couple rare rains here in Arizona some cute little snails emerged by our back porch. Rowan was so excited to discover these little snails. She had never seen any before. 
Then the other day she was playing with some colored water on the porch while we were learning about mixing colors. Well, the water poured over and flooded the dirt at the edge of the porch, and all the snails came out of their little home that was, lo and behold, under our porch.

The last couple days we have been watching and examining these darling creatures. And oddly enough I can sit and be quite entertained watching them slide around. It's really relaxing!
Rowan calls them Shenllos, or sometimes Shnells. As I tucked her into bed last night she was talking about the Shenllos outside and the Mama Shenllo, and Daddy Shenllo, and the baby Shnells. 

At first she was okay to touch them and pet them, but didn't want to hold one. Then today she brought one to me, and showed me how she had helped all the 'friends' be together. She was totally excited to see them 'hugging' too ;) (More like, crawling all over each other, and possibly procreating, haha.)

Here she is holding a baby snail.

I was telling Ben how cool homeschooling would be. Where we could take this simple discovery of snails and turn them into a great teaching lesson depending on her age. We could learn how to differentiate between the males and females; what their homes really look like underground; how they slide around, and all that jazz! We haven't decided for sure if we'll home-school yet, but it's likely. I was homeschooled as a kid and I loved it. 

Ben says it's like having a pet, except they're much easier to maintain. ;)
We love our little Shenllos.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

.Unexpected blessings.

Since Rowan has been sleeping in our bed...I almost said "my bed" since Ben has been sleeping elsewhere because an adorable munchikin has taken his spot...I have noticed some unexpected good things that have come from this little difficulty.

Yes, Rowan is still in our bed. Bad, bad, bad. I KNOW! But I now have a plan that I finally feel right about. I'm just looking to get a new bed for her first and then execute it. :) Honestly, for a while I just didn't feel like it was the right time to move her back to her room, and I'm sure it was so we could have the benefit of some of these blessings. 

Here are some of the blessings I've noticed:

1. If Rowan falls asleep somewhere, mainly the car, she won't wake up (or at least not stay awake) if we try to move her. Very, very convenient!
2. It has been so nice to cuddle with Rowan at night to put her to sleep. Her and I have been on some rough ground since the holidays and I think it was a well-designed blessing to have her sleeping in my bed while we were going through that. That way we had some time together that wasn't stressful. I really think we've gotten closer to each other, and developed more peace from this experience.
3. Rowan can sleep through most of Mercedes' crying and chatting at night now. At first I was worried at every little sound Mercedes made, afraid it would wake Rowan, but she's sleeps through it. That was something I was worried would bother Rowan if they shared a room, but now I can put that worry to rest.

There's more, but my head is kind of foggy today and I can't remember the rest right now. But I love how there is always something good that can come from something bad or difficult.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Parent troubles

This is two posts in one, so it's pretty long. Just fair warning. If you make it through all of it, thank you :) 
Anger Issues:

Before Christmas Ben and I had a talk about Rowan and decided we were being a little too strict with her. At one point it was necessary because she was acting out a lot, but we figured we could give her a little extra room and not cart her off to time out so quickly. She had earned it, we were going a lot more days without time outs, so things were going really smooth.

The next week we drove to Utah for Christmas and we were there for almost two weeks. We drove during the day and got there in the evening. Of course Rowan and Mercedes were both cranky for a couple days because of the long drive. For the next while Rowan started to get a huge attitude. Christmas Eve, or the night before I'm not sure, she had the biggest fit/meltdown she has ever had. It started when we were changing her diaper at night and getting her ready for PJ's. She had been getting more and more testy and independent about diaper time (a sign it's time for potty training I know), so at this point she had to open up the diaper and she had to pull the little tabs and put it on her bum before I could cinch it up. But she was taking forever! She probably felt more pressured since Ben and I were both there getting her ready for bed, and we were all getting very frustrated. We kept urging her to put her diaper on and she was just messing with our heads putting it off. Pushing buttons. We were afraid she would pee on the bed! So I told her she had to put it on or I would, and of course she wouldn't so I took it from her to put on and the hysterics started. She absolutely flipped out. I tried my hardest to put it on her and she (while screaming and thrashing) took the diaper and shredded it apart. As well as the next two. I asked her if she would put it on herself and she would not. She would not do anything but thrash and scream and kick, like someone possessed by a devil. Seriously.

This went on for probably 30 minutes. I'm not sure. We bribed, we threatened, we yelled. Nothing changed. Continued hysterics went on. Finally Ben and I got a diaper on her and her pj pants (working as fast as possible) and I put her in time out. She threw her fit good and loud there for her 2 minutes, then after I wiped her nose she calmed down and she and I (mostly I) talked about it and she said sorry and we did hugs.
All over. *Sigh*

Christmas Eve I got sick. Flu or strep or something. My throat hurt SO bad to talk or swallow, and I got a fever. I was on the couch all night. Everyone else seemed fine.
Christmas went well (Sunday). Then Monday Rowan got sick. She had a fever for 3 days. Then she seemed to be okay so we drove to California to spend New Year's with Ben's side of the family.
(Btw, in case you're wondering, Ben's brother is a doctor and we were in contact with him. So Rowan did have some medical monitoring.)

California was lots of fun! We had a great time! But while we were there Rowan had two more meltdowns. And sadly everyone in the house had to listen to them too :(
I don't know how long they dragged on for. I would guess 45 minutes to an hour, but I really don't know. One time also started because of the diaper thing. And the other was for no reason at all. She just freaked out, and there was no calming her or pleasing her. I was so embarrassed and mortified at her absolutely horrific behavior!!!

Once we got home things seemed a little better for the first week home. She still had a big attitude, but it wasn't quite as bad when it was just us. She listened a little better. Then all of last week was the W-O-R-S-T. It was a fight every hour of every day. She was constantly yelling at me for everything! There was almost never any peace between us. I felt constant anger and annoyance at everything because of the tenor of our relationship and being unable to please her, as well as her being unwilling to listen to me. I prayed and prayed over it. I told God I didn't want to feel this way and that I knew I could stop, but that I needed His strength to help me. The Sunday before this last one Rowan's attitude was so different. It was a miracle!!! She was happy and willing to talk to me normally, kindly even. And I responded with the same kindness and respect. That day was wonderful! She behaved in church and even after church. I don't think we even had a time out that day! :)

Things between us have been much better! I am so grateful to God for helping me find the patience I needed, and for helping Rowan have a much nicer attitude. I still, and very truly, need Him every hour. It's taking A LOT of patience to keep this up every day. I seriously wanna throw a fit as big as hers just in retribution sometimes! But we're doing much better.

(This is not Rowan, btw.)
The Night Terrors:

The latest issue though, is nighttime. While we were in Utah Rowan slept in the bottom of the bunk bed in the same room with Ben, Mercedes and I. A big girl bed. She loved it! It was hard to get her to nap in there at first, but she finally did. She even asked for a nap herself, twice! Holy cow, I know!
Then in California she had a little bed made up on the floor (again in the same room as Mercedes, Ben and I) and she loved it. She even napped in there with Mercedes.

Once we got home she went back to her crib without any problem, but we thought that since she did so well with the "big girl beds" over the holidays we should take down one side of her crib and make it a bed! She was SO EXCITED! She loved her "big girl bed." And she slept in it just fine for several nights. Then about a week ago she all the sudden freaked out about going to bed. She kept putting it off asking for water (and demanding to get it herself, not letting us bring it to her). And asking for another prayer, and another prayer. After indulging quite a bit with the water and prayers, I told her it was time for bed. After like the 9th "tuck-tuck" into bed. She stayed and I made sure ALL the lights in the house were off so she wouldn't feel the need to get up and go looking for us, or that she was missing out. She finally went to sleep.

The next night was the same thing, except after the long haul and finally closing the door and turning off all the lights she would NOT go back to bed. She would sit at her door and scream for me to come. I left all the lights off and tucked her in again and sat by her, but she wouldn't stay in bed. She wanted me to hold her (which I'm not accustomed to doing very much because it hurts my back). It had been hours by this point so I told her she could sit in time out or go to bed. She sat in time out while Ben and I got on our computers, leaving one of the lights on. After time out was done she still did not want to sleep and I knew it was useless. I let her stay up and watch a movie with me on my computer. I felt bad because she was crying so much and seemed so devastated. She fell asleep on my shoulder and I laid her down in bed. She woke up crying in the morning, like she did not want to be there.

The next night was the same thing again. *sigh* At this point I was very, very tired. This night was even longer. She fought and fought. I knew I had to buckle down and be stubborn about her going to sleep because she was going to be stubborn, but I wasn't sure what procedure to use. I sat in her room with her and she wouldn't lay down. I read her a story (which finally got her in bed) and told her after the story she needed to sleep. She calmed down for the story which we read twice and then she wanted, what? Water. Of course. Gah! She used to go to bed at 8:30 pm, it was 1 pm when Ben finally took her for a drive in the car to put her to sleep and put her in her bed. A few hours later she woke up crying and seemed scared so we put her in our bed. Some of you are probably thinking "Oh no. You didn't. You'll never go back now." But those of you thinking that probably already know the exhaustion associated with kids that won't go to bed for days and days, and the fight that goes with it. At that point we gave in. The next few nights she slept in our bed. Last night included. :(

I don't want to start a pattern. This will stop. I'm looking for the right technique. During these fights I really wished I could remember Supernanny's sleep technique 'cause I knew I could stick with it, I just didn't know what it was, and her show isn't available on anymore. Today I found some clips on youtube and I think I know what to do now. I'm also thinking about moving Mercedes in with Rowan since she pretty much sleeps through the night now. She wakes up earlier than Rowan for a bottle around 6:30am, then goes back to sleep 'till about 8:30 or 9am. Which is when they both usually get up. But I think she'll have to be sleep trained before I put Mercedes in there because she'll probably still throw a fit and then Mercedes won't get any sleep either.

Do you think that will help?? I sure hope so. Oh, and I forgot to mention that she has always slept in the dark and never had a problem with it, but we got her a night-light one night in case it might help, and it did not help at all. She didn't even care, so I don't think that's the problem. Ben thought we should put the rail back up on the bed to make it a crib again, but I'm sure it won't help. It's hard to move backward, once you've gone forward, and I'm sure she would just climb out. So, for now I'm trying to figure out to keep the night-light or not, when we start the sleep technique tonight, and if I should or should not put Mercedes in there.

And on TOP of all that. We're getting ready to potty train. *sigh* Man, parenting is hard. Of course, no one has ever said otherwise, and it's all very worth it. Really it is. We all grow tremendously because of it,'s still hard.

Any potty training tips for me??? I've got potty books from the library we've been reading and we're gonna go get a little potty for her 'cause it's hard for her to climb up on the big one, even with her stool. I also got pull ups, and panties (I hate that word). I think I'll use the panties as an incentive. Maybe a sticker chart for every time she goes in the potty, and the panties for having gone like a week without accidents or something like that. I don't know. Honestly, I'm terrified. And they say it's helpful to be really light-hearted about it and have fun and laugh so they don't feel like it's a big deal, so I know I gotta put this stress away or she'll be stressed too. Gosh! Tough. Tough. Tough.
So, if I seem out of the loop, or unresponsive, or not all there, this is why. I'm not avoiding anyone, I swear :) Wish me luck!


Girl's Favorites!

Just wanna record some of the girl's favorite things to remember and share.

Rowan at her 2nd birthday party, September 2011
Rowan's favorite movies:
*Gnomeo and Juliet
*Winnie the Pooh (Grand Adventure)
*Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
*Discover Spot

Favorite sayings:
*When someone leaves she says "Okay, buh bye, see ya!" then proceeds to slam the door and lock it, haha.
*"Mer-see-see" for Mercedes, it used to be "Sissy/Seesee"
*When talking to Mama or Daddy she'll say the wrong name and correct herself, "Mama! No. Daddy!" or vice versa. :)
*"Waaa halp me?" which is her way of repeating us saying "Wanna help me?", which means she wants to help.

Rowan can now say almost all her colors and sign them.
She can count to fourteen, and loves to count the butterflies on her walls.
She loves singing the ABC's, but doesn't quite know all the letters yet, and can understand a few letters in sign.
Rowan loves to sing:
*ABC's     *Wheels on the Bus     *Oh, an Austrian went Yodeling    *Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
*Wise man and the foolish man   

Mercedes and Grandpa Alvarez, Christmas 2011
Mercedes loves:
*Birdie. A red toy bird that makes crinkle noises and is shaped like a bracelet.
*Dolly. A soft toy doll our sweet friend Laura Post gave to her.
*Her crocheted blankies she sleeps with. One from Hermana Mary (which was originally for Rowan) and one that Laura also gave to her. They are so nice!
*Mercedes loves to be held. She also loves tummy time and sitting up so she can see everything and everyone.
*She still has big, plump, kissable cheeks, and she is growing like a weed! She is 5 months old and is already wearing size 6, 9 and 12 month clothing! Some of her pj's Rowan just grew out of! Oh, and she and Rowan both wear size 3 diapers. Crazy!
*She eats 7-8 oz per meal by bottle, but has started baby foods and oatmeal cereal and she loves both.
*Mercedes still has dark hair, but quite a bit fell out already and it's very thin now.
*During Relief Society (a women's meeting during church) I play piano at the beginning and the end, and while I play the sisters usually help me by holding Mercedes and they just LOVE her!
 *OH! And she rolls over now too! And she seems to really wanna crawl, always kicking her legs and trying to get somewhere. :)

That's all I can think of for now. They're growing so fast, I'll try and keep up these little updates more often since they learn and change so much!