Friday, April 26, 2013

scenes from the C house.

Things are going on in the C House.
I feel like there is so much to remember. 
The thought of forgetting anything ever is heartbreaking, but I suppose that is life. That's why they say to "enjoy it while it lasts" and "enjoy the journey."
Its hard on the loudest and crankiest days, but I often find myself peeking into a room or walking around a corner and finding the sweet scenes that make this life of mine so good (and so crazy).

  • Quinn is edible. Chris rocks her to sleep every night while we watch West Wing (fun routine, huh? Chris is the baby whisperer) and then we both stare at her because she is just breathtaking. She is a little walking pro who loves to climb up up up. I brought our slide up from the basement and she crawls up but is afraid to go down without help. If Q is crying, she is usually stuck on top of the slide. She thinks she's funny, and she's pretty right on with that. She is a blankie girl, often dragging one around, especially her big pink one that she sleeps with. She also has a special affection for a big green monkey. She'll wrap her arms around it with a big smile and body-slam hug it into the ground.
  • John has a small psychotic obsession with the great outdoors. Like the second you crack the door he charges, and if you close it, he throws himself on the ground and screams. And when you drag him inside, even in pouring rain, he does the same thing. He doesn't mind that he can't walk, he just likes to crawl around and get super dirty and bang sticks and try really hard to escape into the road. He is driving me a little nuts, waking up multiple times still and acting a bit like he's 3 months old. He's been needy and whiny. And then Chris sticks his finger in his mouth and discovers 3 big ol' molars poking through. I swear the kid has been teething for 8 straight months.
  • The twins are terror tornado toddlers, for reals, these days. They can dismantle a room in about 17 seconds. Its hard to keep up with one, but two is just for crazy people. So I often just watch, because they are funny, and any mess can be cleaned up. They make the biggest mess while eating, throwing a ton of food all over the floor and dumping sippy cups. John recently started exfoliating his face and shampooing his hair with his meal, while Quinn sucks on her food and then spits the remnants out all over herself. Makes for mess mealtimes and multiple outfit changes, if they are lucky enough to be wearing clothes in the first place.

  • There are kids in the neighborhood that Carly likes to play with. Well, she's getting used to the "playing" idea. She'll play all day with kids from the ward, but it is like the neighborhood kids are wild unknowns, and she spends a lot of time just looking at them. For some reason, I feel a little anxiety about the kids. Its not the kids, its just the idea of letting her go, having her be exposed to people I don't know. I watch her, and we have rules, and it is an opportunity to teach kindness and good choices from early on. But its just bizarre this phase is upon us. I'm not old enough for this.
  • We tested Carly for Celiac disease. It came back negative, so naturally we went out and got her a doughnut. She still complains of tummy aches, so I might just declare her gluten sensitive and limit her intake. We'll see.
  • Carly, I dare say, is 100%, dry-through-the-night, independent, no-longer-afraid-to-poop, potty trained girl. The 16-month method was not exactly what we had in mind when we started. It was process to say the least, but she has just taken the final leaps and bounds in the last few weeks, I'm incredibly proud of her. She was ready, so she did it. She's always been that way, I'm not sure why I'm surprised.  

  • The kids are all very sweet with each other, and it is interesting to see their individual relationships develop. Carly and Quinn play a little more sophisticated. They play with toys, give each other kisses, and interact and communicate in their own way. Carly and John are more physical, tackling, tickling, sliding, giggling, snuggling. Carly and John also have very similar temperaments. Chris and I joke that they are going to tear each others' heads off as teenagers because they are too much alike, and Quinn will be the peacekeeper because she is just her own little unique thing. Quinn and John are getting super cute, making each other laugh, playing peekaboo around the couch, and holding hands at meals. They will both climb up on the slide and look at each and start giggling. Their personalities are all so different, but they find ways to mesh with each other so well. Sometimes. The rest of the time its mostly just screaming.
  • I recently started running again, after taking an extended hiatus after my dehydration hospital adventure. I felt so weak and so nervous and had very little confidence in my body for a while. I lost a lot of weight and pretty much felt like doing nothing but eating and sleeping. But I'm working on getting back in it, and my half-marathon goal is clinging to life. I'm also in the midst of sugar rehab, because eating an entire pan of scotcheroos in two days and a package of cookies in one day is typically frowned upon. I went through some painful withdrawals for a few days, but it is going well. Ummm, well-ish.
  • Chris has his oral comps on Monday. Its the final step before going ABD ("all but dissertation") and we are praying hard for success. He has worked incredibly hard, and I can't even believe we're at this point. I remember arriving in Michigan and feeling like we had forever, and now our months are numbered. This is our home; we have been so blessed. The thought of leaving has begun to enter my mind, and it makes my heart hurt. So I'm not going to think about it anymore. Karma, prayers, and crossed-fingers for Chris on Monday.
Life is beautiful.
Scenes are sweet.
These kids are as good as it gets.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

just for me.

Our church held its semi-annual General Conference two weeks ago.

General Conference is a whole different animal once kids come along, and when you have a 3-year-old and two one-year-olds? Its a party. Or something like it. But we make it a priority in our home. We had it on, and watched as much as we could. Carly actually did great until hours 7 and 8. I caught snip-its here and there, and am forever grateful for the written transcripts that popped up on my iPad a little while later.

In the chaos of life, it is such a blessing that every 6 months we get the chance to hear from people who I know to be servants of God. Its a spiritual oasis.

And every Conference, I feel like something, or a few things, were said just for me, because I needed to hear it. This time around I was sitting next to my husband (a miracle!) and after a really great talk on marriage, I heard the words: "Marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriage is a gift from us to Him." That was just for me.

Because when there is a PhD to be earned, three tiny humans to be fed and cleaned and entertained and taught, a home to run, church callings to fulfill, and maybe even a little rest to be had, its hard to make marriage a priority. Chris is my rock. He is the one constant in a world of change. Its very easy to take that for granted. I needed to hear how important it is to make our marriage a quality one, to put it at the top of the priority list and not a few spaces down. Because I love my husband more than I'll ever be able to speak or write in words. I love him quite a bit.

Another favorite was this one on the way we speak to children. I particularly loved the end. She was talking about speaking positively and uplifting our children, telling them just how great we think they are, and she said, "Isn’t that what our Heavenly Father was saying to His Son and to all of us when He said, “This is my beloved Son” and then added, “in whom I am well pleased”?" Such a beautiful thought. It passes through my mind now, whenever I get a tone with Carly that is too harsh.

Most nights I get into bed and read a bit of Conference on my iPad and feel the spirit uplifting me, and I feel a little stronger the next day. What a blessing it is.


Friday, April 19, 2013

mimi [and grandpa] in michigan.

Chris enjoyed his written comps at the beginning of April. The poor guy had a take-home that took a week, followed by three written comps stretched over another week. He had long days and late nights and I don't know how we survived, but he did. He's a super hero.

Knowing he was going to be MIA, my mom and dad planned a visit to come help me hold down the fort. My mom stayed for 10 days, sleeping on an air mattress in the living room, getting up early with my kids, spoiling John rotten with snuggles, changing diapers, and stocking the kids in summer clothes. She got a workout pumping up Carly's inflatable solar system, and learned all about planets from our in-house three-year-old expert. We also had a few rounds of Cottage Inn pizza, way too many Dairy Dan's turtle flurries, and enjoyed the entire first season of Call the Midwife. One night she even had the chance to witness the worst freak-out breakdown Carly has ever had, which ended with her falling asleep on the couch at 10:30 while watching Angelina Ballerina . . . just in time for Quinn to wake up screaming in a crib full of puke. I sure was grateful she was there with me. She's my favorite mom ever.

My dad joined the party for the final few days and played a lot and ate . .  . more turtle flurries. Sadly, pretty much the entirety of the visit was filled with rain. We went to an indoor play place in town which was hopping upon our first arrival, but I think it ended up being pretty fun. Chris completed his last comp on the final day of their stay, and we all went to Red Robin to celebrate.

One evening we went to Target. Carly had been getting something at every shopping trip, so I wasn't planning on letting her get anything. She was acting completely spoiled and on the verge of a breakdown any at any moment. I spent the entire trip talking her down from hysteria, and my nerves were shot by the time we got everyone packed in the car. My mom didn't say anything, nothing needed to be said, but she slipped a dark chocolate caramel onto my leg. That's what moms are for.

Chris took them to the airport on a Saturday morning. Carly and I watched them go out the window, and I cried. "You're not supposed to cry, you're a grown up," Carly said. "Grown ups cry, too," I told her. "I always miss my mommy and daddy when they leave."

"I miss them, too," Carly said, her own tears brimming in her eyes.

We sure are blessed to have such fabulous family that we still shed tears when we part.

We love them a lot.

Monday, April 1, 2013


We had a simple pleasant Easter season.

We had a little egg hunt with friends, we dyed eggs, the Easter bunny paid his visit, we dressed up in our Easter Sunday best, we had a paper plate dinner of traditional Easter fare, and we ate entirely too much chocolate.

On Monday I started discussing the real meaning of Easter with Carly. That night for Family Home Evening we watched a video depicting the Resurrection, and we continued to discuss it throughout the week. Easter night before bed, I showed Carly the end of the video "The Lamb of God." To my amazement, she narrated the entire thing. "That is Mary Magdalene . . . then Peter and John ran to the tomb . . . but Jesus wasn't there anymore. They couldn't find him."

"Where was He?" I asked.

"He got resurrected. He was alive again."

That night Carly went to bed with her Easter basket sitting right next to her bed, precisely where she found it waiting for her that morning. She loved the hunt, the eggs, and prizes from the bunny. But when she went to sleep, she knew her Savior rose from the dead. She new He lived again.

And that's what Easter is all about.