Sunday, June 28, 2009

Libby's 4th Birthday

Libby's birthday is today (Sunday). We celebrated yesterday since it was a better party day for us.

We've been talking for months and months about how she can have gum when she turns 4, which turned into how she's going to have a "gum party" for her birthday.

Libby helped make her rainbow cake (only a couple of egg shells got in) and she decorated it with gum balls. We went to Chuck E. Cheese as a family, came home for cake and presents, and hung out with some family friends into the evening.

Alex gave her gum "tape" with a dollar inside the container, and he bought her a microphone and a huge gemstone ring that opens up from Chuck E. Cheese. I made her a pink silky pillowcase to match her pink silky blankie, and her friends' gifts were coming to Chuck E. Cheese with us, as well as make-up, a purse, and hair clips. Grandma Judy and Grandpa Chad & Grandma Jackie sent money in the mail, so now she says she's rich.

This birthday has really been a big deal for her; it marks her becoming "bigger-bigger." At Chuck E. Cheese, Steve was on a ride with her that simulates a roller coaster. They accidentally chose the "haunted" setting, and Steve was worried that it would scare her, not knowing what it entailed.

He told her, "If it gets scary, I'll cover your eyes, okay?" To which she responded, "No, I'm four now. I'm bigger-bigger."

I was worried she might be disappointed with the pillowcase gift, but she LOVES all her gifts. She carries her pillow around now; she loves it that much. She wore her new skirt I made for her, her birthday purse, and her birthday make-up to church today (that Alex helped her to apply).



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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sewing Creation

This is my latest creation. I made this from two pictures I saw of similar-type skirts. It's Libby size. I made a lot of mistakes during the process -- I miscalculated measurements, I took out many, many stitches, I did a lot of figuring and refiguring. It was worth it.Why I can't stop sewing, I do not know. I can't sleep because I'm thinking about my projects, eating is an inconvenience and bother, my back aches and it's okay.

I'm indulging myself with this hobby because I know that it will soon end...oh, and because Steve is extremely supportive of this creative process that I'm enjoying. Please just be patient with me while I blog about it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Swimming

Swimming these days has been fun for the whole family. Yes, I bought a big ol' swimming suit that fits my prego body and I swim too (but there won't be any pictures of that).

The kids love it! Alex can dive and jumps crazy off the diving board. Libby refuses to get out of the pool, she loves it so much.

Avery loves it too and will stay just as long as the rest of us want to. If she hears the word swim, she won't stop saying "swimsuit" in her little baby way. Then I'll put her in the car and she'll cry until I assure her that yes, we are going to the pool but we have to drive there first.

At a birthday swim party recently, Libby walked straight over to the edge where her friends were already in the pool and just jumped right in. It was the craziest thing. Fortunately, she was wearing her floaty swimsuit so she came to the surface right away, but boy was she shocked that she went under like that! (And please don't worry about my kids, I'm extremely vigilant around water).





Sunday, June 21, 2009

Scout Camp


Scout Camp is cool, that's all there is to it. Four full days of fun and Alex did not want it to end. He made me promise that he can go next year.

He's feeling very outdoorsy now, and informed us that he wants to live where houses are a mile apart so that he can ride a horse everywhere he wants to go.

Homemade Dress #2

Awww, they're matchy poo-poo now.

This pattern taught me ruffles and elastic. I'm movin' on up.

Did you know that pattern sizes are a lot bigger than sizes you buy in the store? So I've also learned how to take in the sides and modify it in other ways so that it fits them better.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Homemade Dress


Her name is Liberty. We call her Libby or Boojy. Don't those names just fit the personality that you can see here?!

I'm feeling really good about making this dress. I followed a pattern, I did sleeves even. Just knowing that I can do this now gives me satisfaction and makes me happy.

Art Class for Alex Day 2

He's inspiring me to want to take art class too.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Small Sample of This Week's Harvest


Onions, broccoli, green beans (we're getting about 60 green beans per day now), green onions, green peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and our first cucumber of the season.

I can't begin to describe how magical and spiritual I think this whole process is. What a profound privilege to take part in the wonder of creation. It might sound weird if you've never gardened, but it's seriously incredible. I'm addicted.

(By the way, notice that corn is conspicuously absent from the picture. We have a sinister, furry fiend that apparently loves corn as much as we do. I have a trap set tonight, so with any luck I'll be posting what should be a highly entertaining video tomorrow.)

Sisters

As Avery grows up, she plays with Libby more and more. It's super duper cute to watch them play. The other night Avery was "pretending" to be the baby and Mommy Libby was changing her diaper. It reminds me of when Rhyetta and I used to play house when we were little.

So Avery wants to be like her big sister, of course. And since Libby sucks her thumb, Avery thought she would try it out.

It's also super fun to watch Libby teach Avery the way of the world because she's gentle and kind with her approach. Libby told me to get the potty out of the garage for Avery, and if you look at Libby's face you can see that she's teaching Avery what to do on her potty. Hee-hee.

Special Moments

At the exact moment that Steve called me from the garden to tell me that picking the apples from the apple tree was an outright spiritual experience for him (we're prone to be dramatic like that), I was capturing this moment during dinner clean-up.

Daddy Love

First we have Alex, who has never in his whole entire life wanted to cuddle. When he was a little baby I used to whisper, "Please just be my baby and let me hold you." I was so confused as to why other babies were just sitting contentedly on their mothers' laps. Can you see how uncomfortable he is? In this picture we were teasing him and coaching him on how to cuddle, telling him that he's got to relax and just breathe.

Then we had Libby, and ahhhhh, what a cuddly and content little baby she was.

But Avery takes the cake on her desire for closeness, for freely giving hugs, and kisses on request.

Pioneer Farms

Every Friday morning our family goes to Pioneer Farms to do the morning feeding of the animals there. The farm is run solely through the efforts of volunteers. There are horses, donkeys, sheep, chicks, cats, pigs, cows, and chickens.

We initially started doing this because of Avery's love of animals, but it's only spurred our desire for getting some land ourselves and having our own small farm...very small farm...with a great big garden.

Make sure you check out the pigs we've been feeding because one of them will end up in our new deep freeze in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Perfection is in the Journey

I'm settled at the free throw line, tossing up shot after shot. Enjoying the moment. Pondering the wonders of the universe, as I'm prone to do.

Suddenly, I'm struck by an astounding thought: Suppose after shooting one hundred free throws, I make sixty-five. Then, I keep shooting indefinitely and never miss another shot. Thus, every time I make a shot, my shooting percentage increases.

So if I keep shooting forever, never missing a shot, my percentage will increase forever. Yet it will never reach one hundred percent (or so I think). How is it possible for it to increase for eternity and never reach one hundred percent?

This thought seized me and wouldn't let go. I had to find the answer. Luckily, I have a brilliant mathematician friend. I contacted him, and here was his response:
"The pure theoretical answer to your question is that if you did shoot infinitely long, then you would eventually reach one hundred percent. In mathematical terms, the limit of (x-40)/x as x goes to infinity is 1 (or one hundred percent). Intuitively, infinity minus forty is still infinity (since it never ends)."
Whoa.

Is it just me that's reeling?

What a mind-boggling, piercing, hope-infused concept. Mathematically, if we continue to progress eternally, we are perfect.

Perfection is attained through eternal progress, not in never making a mistake. It is in the repeated showers of repentance, not completely avoiding the mud puddles of sin. It is a state of perpetual motion, a continuum, a progressive journey -- not a static position or condition.

Even Christ's perfection was achieved "line by line." As Ezra Taft Benson taught:
"The Lord asked the question of the Nephites: 'What manner of men ought ye to be?' Then he answered by saying, 'Verily I say unto you, even as I am.' (3 Ne. 27:27.) What manner of man was Jesus during those thirty years when He was personally preparing Himself for His three-year public ministry? Turning to the Book of Luke in the New Testament, we read these words: 'And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.' (Luke 2:52.) From modern-day revelation we learn that Jesus 'received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace [not from sin to grace, but from grace to grace], until he received a fulness' (D&C 93:13)."
Though Christ was never stained by sin, neither did He arrive on earth as he would eventually become. He became perfect through eternal progression.

Burrow even deeper and we expose the truth that Christ's "infinite atonement" made this concept of progressive perfection possible. Furthermore, Christ is the "Alpha and Omega," the beginning and the end -- the Infinite One.

Perfection is built into infinity, and infinity is Christ. Those who come unto Him are therefore perfect every moment they repent. It's not that perfection is a future hope or ideal, as in, "I can't wait until I am perfect." Through the atonement, we can be perfect here and now, on this tiny speck of an eternal timeline.

If we can't be perfect in any given moment, we can never be perfect, since infinity is not bound by this mortal existence. We reside within eternity. All imperfection is erased by 1) our choice to improve eternally, and 2) the nature of eternity itself, which is the nature of Christ.

Keep moving forward and you're perfect -- you're not moving toward perfection; you are perfect. What matters, then, is not your current position, but the direction you're heading. Everyone who consistently gets closer to God is perfect.

So how does it feel to be perfect? And how does it feel to be surrounded by perfect beings? I don't know about you, but I'm glowing.

(And if your mind isn't boggled enough, consider this: If you start one mile away from your home and cover half the remaining distance every ten minutes, how long will it take you to get home? Answer: Eternity.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gymnastics

Alex's season of gymnastics has come to a close. It's on to art class and judo.

He's a gymnastics natural, that's for sure. I hope he'll want to continue with classes in the fall.

First Day of Art Class

> Alex's first picture from his first day in art class with John Howell. http://www.cordovanartstudio.com.

Pinewood Derby



Just click on the picture to see it closer.

Alex's car was called "Plain Speed" because of the basic approach they took to painting and designing the car.

Thanks, Steve, for spending so much time on these projects. You're a great dad!

Girl Time

Girls are really fun. Sunday mornings we do hair, make-up, and pick jewelry.

Libby is constantly choosing from my jewelry box the ones she wants for her wedding when she's 4.



Easter '09

So...Easter. You remember Easter, right? Wayyy back in April? Ye-ahh. It was fun.

Alex woke up first, knew exactly what to do, and set off to find all the jelly beans lying around the house. And find them all, he did! Till there were no jelly beans left for the little girls.

But, Alex is a good brother. So he and I quickly put back in place many of them so that the girls could have a good time finding them too.

I must say, if you're surprised that I let Libby not wear any pants, that it was actually lucky that Libby is wearing a shirt for all these pictures. I am often surprised to find that she has ditched her shirt in the night and usually she comes to breakfast wearing only her pajama bottoms.

We went to John and Jamee Howells' home for egg decorating and hunting and crafts. We had an egg toss (with uncooked eggs) that was super fun for the adults. Alex was the only kid crazy enough to get the egg hidden high up in a tree...of course, 'cause he's my monkey.

I don't know why some of these pictures are cut off. I hate Photobucket but don't know what else to use.



Saturday, June 6, 2009

The iPod Quest Comes to Fruition

Did I ever tell you how amazing Alex is?

So here's the conclusion to the story: After four weeks of washing cars, mowing lawns, and doing odd jobs, Alex earned $107.10 total. Since he was saving 30% (10% to tithing, 10% to savings, and 10% to mission fund), he had $74.97 in his iPod fund.

His goal was to buy an Nano, which would have cost $95. But after all that hard work, he decided that the Nano wasn't as cool as he initially thought. He also realized that he could buy both an iPod (a cheaper version) and a Nintendo DS game. The deal was sealed.

He bought an iPod Shuffle and a Star Wars game for his hand-held Nintendo. We bought them on Amazon and he about went crazy waiting four days for them. I've never seen him so excited as he was when the packages arrived.

So there you have it. Alex is pretty much the man. I can't rave enough about how proud I am of him.

Here he is with his sweet purchases, sitting on his money maker:



Thanks again to everyone who participated.

The strange thing is that I haven't been able to get him to mow our lawn for the last two weeks...

Yet Another Garden Update

I've hit an interesting phase with the garden. On the one hand, it's getting really cool because we're starting to harvest quite a lot of schtuff. On the other hand, the honeymoon phase has worn off -- it's getting to be really hard work.

So far we've harvested yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, peppers, onions, carrots, peas, spinach, lettuce, and corn. As you might guess, the squash and zucchini are going bonkers. Our tomato plants are getting huge -- higher than my waist -- and we have a bunch of tomatoes forming, two or three inches in diameter.

Our corn is killing me. I just realized today that we have worms eating the heck out of it. I pulled off most of it -- about 30 ears -- because it was totally wasted. I brought home four good ears that we'll eat tomorrow, though they also had worms in the tops. I sprayed the plants with insecticide so hopefully our next batch will do better.

Check out the recent pictures. I've included some old ones as well because it's cool to see the progression.










Here's a picture of our nasty, hide-chapping corn. Blasted worms.



In addition to our six tomato plants in the garden, we also hung three tomato plants in buckets on our fence at the house. You cut a hole in the bottom of a five gallon bucket, thread the plant through so it hangs out the bottom, fill the bucket with dirt, and hang it up three or four feet off the ground. We're told that this will produce higher yields than plants in the ground, but we'll see.