The girls both have birthdays coming up, so I thought I would write their wish lists for them for anyone out there who was wanting to send a little something. First of all, let me say that due to our EXTREMELY bountiful Christmas from Grandma's, Grandpa's, Aunts and Uncles, neither of the girls are in need of ANY toys in ANY form. We have no room left for any others, and I highly approve of every toy they have (shocking!) so it would be hard to get rid of anything to make more room. Seriously- those little girls are loved! No toys!
Also, we will be having two SEPARATE parties for them, so please don't send gifts for 'The Girls' to share. They are two separate people, and just because their parent's were silly enough to not space out their birthdays more than a few weeks apart doesn't mean they don't deserve 2 sepearate celebrations. That like when Ross and I get birthday gifts for the two of us, or when people whose birthdays are close to Christmas get gifts that are meant for both a birthday and a Christmas gift. Not cool! Sorry, soap-box moment over! :)
Sara is in need of some board books. Most of our board books went through Emma, and she was not terribly kind to them. Sara has ripped a number of regular books on accident but she loves reading books and turning pages (which is how she ripped the other books).
We are also looking for a twin mattress for her to start sleeping on. She is way too big for her little Pack N' Play (no, we still have not bought a real crib- don't judge!) but we don't think she is ready for a real bed just yet. Our plan is to find a twin mattress that we can use as a trundle type thing and slide it under Emma's bed when it is not needed. This will be a good way to ease them into sharing a room as well- something Ross feels very strongly about.
Emma would like some more pretty princess (Sunday) dresses. She only has two that fit her right now, and she only likes one of them. She wears a 3T now, but 4T would be better so it will last a week or two :).
Other than those specific needs, books, clothes, bedding, treats, and money (we are starting a mutual fund for them- and all cash given to them will be invested in that) would all be fabulous presents. Please note that this is not me begging for presents for the girls- I have just had a lot of requests for something of this nature, and thought this was a good way to get the word out without having to say it over and over.
I know it is well past the middle of January now, but I have finally put together my resolutions this year. I was struggling with how to word what I really wanted to get from this new year, and I wanted to hold off writing them down until I had actually found something concrete to work for. I take my goal setting seriously, and was not satisfied with having abstract and vague resolutions like "more love" and "more spirituality" and "more unity" as my goals. I mean, those are good and lofty goals and are basically the central theme of what I want most in 2009- but they are really more hoped for results rather than directions.
That was a fairly long way of saying that I have now figured out my specifics for bringing about more love, more spirituality, and more unity this year, but they are going to need a little bit of background.
In September, my AMAZING Stake President (seriously one of the most amazing men I have EVER met) held a very special fireside that I think every Stake President should do. He held a question and answer session with all the women in the stake- no men invited aside from him and his presidency. He also personally challenged the men in each ward to watch the kids for the night so that we wouldn't all be wrestling babies. He gave us a few months to write down our questions and send them in, and then he prayerfully prepared his answers for each one. It was one of the most spiritual and instructional meetings I have ever been to. His answers were kind and thoughtful, and yet harshly truthful. He was blunt and honest and so very endearing. I have toyed with the idea of writing down my experience from that night many times, but always chose not to so as to avoid getting more complaints about me getting too personal on my blog.
(As a side note- stop complaining about MY blog. It hurts my feelings and makes me cry which is all very silly considering it is MY blog and you are PRIVILEGED to have the chance to have a rare insight into MY life! PS- that was not aimed at you, M. Your request was valid and I happily granted it!)
Anyway there were a few questions asked that night that had to do with keeping romance spirituality alive in a marriage where the husband spends a majority of his time at work and at church. For the answer to this question President Draper asked his lovely wife (with no warning) to come and give her ideas on the subject. Her incredibly inspired advice will be the form of my resolutions this year. Her instruction was to ALWAYS make time for 4 very special nights.
The first night was Family Night. She said that if we held Family Night without fail- whether it be on Monday or any other night that works best, the spirit will be in our homes, and unity will abound. "Without Fail sisters! Without Fail!"
The second night was Temple Night. Sister Draper said that if we are not attending the temple at least once a month, we are not getting all the blessings we need to keep ourselves sane. She suggested upping that number to as many times as possible, but said that monthly attendance was a good start. She also mentioned that this Temple Night does not have to be with our husbands if that is not possible. "You do not attend the temple to make googly eyes at each other from across the room. You attend the temple to get guidance from the Lord and protection from the world. You do not attend the temple to race to the pie in the caffeteria! You attend the temple to perfect the Saints and make sacred covenenants. It is always nice to do these things with your honey at your side, but there is also great power in lone contemplative temple attendance." That is almost word for word- and I couldn't agree more!
The third night was Date Night. She said that this must ALWAYS be a weekly event even if the date consists of putting the kids in front of a movie and snuggling in bed away from them. "You will be surprised at how meaningful simple activities will become when you place the label of 'Date Night' on it. You don't need fancy dinners or costly activities! You just need a time that is set apart for each other. Don't neglect your relationship- cherish it!" She also challenged us to make sure at least one of these Date Nights in a month is taken away from the home without the children. "If all you can pay for is the babysitter, then you can enjoy a drive without the kids! Take the time to be alone without them. You will thank me- but you should really thank God instead." She is so funny, and so wise.
The fourth night- and the night that I am most excited to commit to- is OverNight. Sister Draper told us to do what we must to find a night without our children at least once every other month. "Make friends in the ward and do an exchange. Call on the favors of a mother, a sister, or a co-worker! Do what you must to be alone with your love for 12 hours of uninterupted togetherness. These reprieves are much more important than you can even imagine. You need it- so just do it! I think most marriage counselors would be out of work if parents would take one night every other month to be with just each other away from the children."
And that's that! Those are my resolutions. Ross and I will be keeping the Four Nights consistently this year, starting with tomorrow's Family Night. I really feel that this will help us to be more unified, spiritual and loving. Having said that- let me know if any of you are willing to help facilitate one of those OverNights! Cookies of your choosing will be involved. . .:)
Have I ever mentioned that I love steak, things that are free, things that are unlimited in quantity, and meals that are served by attractive Latin men? Well I do! I love all of those things. I especially love when all of those things come together along with good conversation and butcher-paper table cloths. Good times! We love that the Braza Grill has great food, but isn't so fancy that we are looked down on for our jeans and teeshirts and meat pincer wars.
Forks are highly over-rated. She has tried to eat with my pasta scissor looking things (what is that utensil called? I am totally drawing a blank!) a number of times since then.
Platter of never-ending steakness. I love steak! So very much!
I was there too. . .
Emma was great at keeping Sara entertained while Ross and I devoured our 8 helpings of beef.
I have heard a certain statement about blogging from 6 different women in the past 2 weeks. 6!! The first few times I laughed it off and tried to not be offended, but when it kept happening over and over, I decided that I needed to take a stand and defend myself and my fellow bloggers. Yes, I realize that people who are opposed to blogging will most likely never see this. That is how I am accomplishing the task of not only voicing my opinion and releasing the pent up frustration, but also avoiding offense to those anti-blogging individuals. I dare them to comment on this I dare them to! (Because it would be funny and hypocritical, not because I am a glutton for punishment.) Ok- enough stalling. . .
The statement was almost always word for word, "I don't blog because I am a good mom and I want to spend time with my children."
Yeah- ouch to me and all the other women who spend our precious child-free moments documenting their cute little lives! I am sorry, but where does one get the idea that a mother is somehow neglecting her children by updating her other relatives on the goings on of her and family's life? How does utilizing one's spare time in creating a lovely archive of pictures and anecdotes qualify as some kind of motherly disservice? How is it that when someone takes some spare time to bridge the distance between family members and keep family members outside of the home connected to their lives, they are deemed as worthy of this kind of criticism. Enough!
There are PLENTY of other FAR less contsructive ways for a parent to spend their time! If you want to start a picket line for child neglect, then lets take a look at drinking, abuse, extreme amounts of time in front of the television, inappropriate language, and plenty of other things- but blogging? Really? "I don't have a blog because I am a good mother and want to spend time with my children." Are you serious?
Now, I am not at all saying that every mother has to have a blog in order to be a good mother. That would be just as silly and rediculous of a generalization as I am now defending myself against. What I am saying is that every mother needs a way to blow off some steam and collect herself at some point in the day. EVERY mother needs this! I firmly stand by that generalization. I KNOW that when mothers are over-inundated with their children and the cares of raising them, those bundles of joy start being viewed as burdens rather than blessings. That is not a good emotional place for ANY parent to be EVER. It is hard on the guardian and it is unfair to the child.
What I am saying with this post is that if you, as a mother, choose to spend your moments of relaxation in activities other than blogging- then that is just fine! I will not judge you for exercizing, reading, walking, memorizing the Reader's Digest, milking cows, gardening, painting, playing the wii, practicing the piano, or whatever else you choose to do! I am just asking that you allot me the same courtesy by please not calling me an inattentive mother for creating an online forum about my family and me. I am fairly certain that is the OPPOSITE of what Christ would do!
I blog when my children are asleep or are busy contentedly playing with each other. I am a good mother, and I am a blogger. There is no reason for anyone to think that those two titles have to be mutually exclusive.
Now, if you don't mind, I would like to step down from my soapbox and pull my casserole out of the oven whilst wearing a skirt and high-heels! (I told you I was a good mom!)
We went bowling yesterday. It was free, and it was fun. I love things that are both free and fun! We were actually going to use a coupon, but then they forgot about us and made us wait over an hour for a lane. When Ross went to ask how much longer we had they realized that the girl who had initally met us had gone home at the shift change, and never officially put us on the queue. They felt so bad about the mix-up that they gave us 2 games and some shoe rentals for $free.99. My favorite! Ross totally rocked the first game! He must have actually learned something in that bowling class in college. (Is it sad that I am not joking about that?)
Emma entertained herself by separating every piece of an entire package of post-it notes that she found in my purse. I love her annoyed looks in these pictures. Too cute.
"I can't smile, Mommy, I am too busy!"
Check out my graceful style! Too bad it doesn't give me extra points. . .
We let Emma help during our second game.
She got so excited when she actually knocked some over.
This is our victory dance. We got a spare.
Sara was a perfect baby and let us hand her back and forth without any complaints at all. It was a really fun day! I am glad Ross was willing to take me out on a whim- he is so patient with my silly spontaneous ideas. This was a good one, I thought! :)
Sara was squirming around while I was trying to finish my dinner tonight, so I gave her a little sliver of my toast. Sara has never had raspberry jame before. She liked it! When she had licked the piece clean, she noticed that there was a little dab of jam on her tray- so she went to all efforts to get it off. The most effective method was to lean forward and lick it up like a little puppy. It was cute- so I took pictures and I blogged them. I may need a life one of these days. . .