Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two Really Big Dogs and Two Really Little Boys

Playing with Aunt Bobbi's great danes can be lots of fun...


But once things start to get a little out of hand...

Photobucket's a good idea to take refuge on the trampoline (see Twin B in background)...


Using the trampoline as a refuge doesn't work, however, if the great danes use it as a place to nap every day. Twin B was completely shocked and terrified that these dogs would join him on the trampoline...


Playing with Aunt Bobbi's dogs wasn't fun anymore.

Thanks for listening.

Today on life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day: {a tree and a bike by the ocean}

Monday, July 26, 2010

What We Did in Manhattan


(...with Grandma, on the Staten Island Ferry)

Just kidding. That's not all we did, but we did spend a large portion of time doing this. I'll tell you more later.

Thanks for listening.

Today on...

-365 Days of TV-Free Toddler Time: City Bus-Riding Time!
-life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day: {a smiling homeless man}
-Fotografia Colonia: Noah - 17 days old

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Homemaker Monday

This post is in progress, but here's MckLinky! Thanks for your visit, your participation, and your patience!

Friday, July 23, 2010

"It Was All My Fault!"

A conversation...

4-Year-Old Boy: Mom! Hurry, I need a coin because a twin is locked in the bedroom and I have to unlock it!

Me: Okay, go ask Grandma for one. Is he crying?

4-Year-Old Boy: Yeah, so I have to hurry!

[4-Year-Old Boy obtains coin from Grandma, and is heard continuing conversation to himself as he runs down hallway...]

4-Year-Old Boy [in worried tone]: Oh, I hope this works! It was all my fault!

[Coin is heard jimmying door knob, door is heard creeking open.]

4-Year-Old Boy: YES!

[Twin stops crying.]

Man, I love that boy!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Revelatory Dream

Do you ever have one of those dreams that you just can't stop thinking about? A dream that really affects you, and you wonder if it didn't come from a source outside your own mind?

I experienced just such a dream last night and I wanted to record it here so I would remember it.

As you may remember from THIS post, I have been trying a new tactic to improve my familiar relationships. And you may remember that I had some complaining to do about it. My new technique is to give family members their way as much as possible, and try to be completely unselfish.

I wrote the complaining post on July 10th, twelve days ago, but since then I've had the chance to reevaluate the effect this plan is having on my relationships and I have been surprised to learn that the quality of my relationships has drastically improved. Before I explain, let me tell you about my dream...

I dreamed I was in a polygamous relationship with a man who already had a wife. (Perhaps many Mormon women dream of this, as polygamy played a role in the development of our church for a short time over a hundred years ago.) We were only married in name, however, and had not consummated our marriage.

This man, my husband, was not an attractive man. He had crooked teeth, a scraggly beard, and really nothing in his countenance to be desired. In my dream, all eight of my children who lived at home and I were each sitting in our own recliners watching a movie. My husband walked into the room, as he was using it as a thoroughfare to another room, and I smiled politely at him, but said nothing to him, and neither did any of the kids. Instead of passing through, however, he stopped, and said, "Why is it that none of you can talk to me or even say hi? All you do is just sit and watch that TV."

My initial reaction would have been to defend myself and my children, to explain that I thought a smile was enough and that the kids weren't comfortable with him yet. However, I went against my instinct, got up and turned the TV off, smiled again, and said, "I'm sorry. What would you like to talk about?"

He sat down and began talking. And I talked to him. (Honestly, I don't know where the kids were at this time.) As we sat, I found myself enjoying our conversation very much, and as I studied his face, its appearance remained the same as before, but I found that I was becoming attracted to him and even falling in love with him.

As we talked, I got closer to him and stroked his arm and felt such immense love for him welling up inside of me. I found myself looking forward to spending much more time with him and an excitement about our relationship began developing in my heart.

Then the dream ended.

After I awoke with such a happy feeling, I was able to lie in bed and think about this idea of thinking of others first and not going with my first instinct of defending my actions and insisting on my own way. I thought back on my trip, and realized that although it was very stressful for me, with a little baby in tow, the memories I have of the good times with my sister, with whom I usually have at least one argument per trip, are something I will never forget. And my relationship with John, with whom I could have been offended on a few occasions, and he with me as well, was strengthened and the memories that were created with him were huge deposits to my drained psyche.

I learned that yes, not getting your way, not defending yourself, and even having to realize that people just don't understand sometimes, but that they still love you, are not easy things to do, but the payoff is huge. Had I insisted on having my way, I know that there would have been conflict and confrontation with Robyn and John, and I would have looked back on the trip as a total waste.

Now let me clarify that John gives and gives and gives as well, probably a lot more than I do, but there is conflict in our marriage at times, and it's usually because one of us is selfish. Sometimes it's him. Sometimes it's me. On this trip, with both of us working to put the other person first, we were able to create long-lasting memories and will carry through difficult times in the future.

This dream, whether it came from God or from my own imaginations, was an affirmation that I am going in the right direction, and that the more unselfish and I can be, and the harder I try to not let myself be offended, the more rewarding my relationships will become and the more love I will develop for my fellow man. And for that I am grateful.

Thanks for listening. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Trouble...


...and so am I, because in the past month, I have neglected to post Homemaker Monday twice, without so much as an explanation of any kind, or even a simple MckLinky link. For shame. My excuse is that I didn't have the access to internet or the time I thought I would have during my vacation. However, I'm back at my mom's now, where things are more reliable and relaxed, so hopefully I won't disappoint again.

I'm sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your patience!

Today on 365 Days of TV-Free Toddler Time: Resting in a Restaurant Time!

Today on life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day: {a couple on a foggy morning}

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Continent Apart...

I'm on the East Coast, these boys are on the West Coast...


Too far. Can't wait to see you guys. Love you!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Where the 18-Year-Old Boy will be serving The Lord for the next two years.....

If you're Mormon, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're not, let me explain...

When a Mormon young man reaches the age of 19, he is "called to serve" a two-year mission for our church. The First Presidency of the church, comprised of the prophet and president of the world-wide church and his counselors, prayerfully select the location to which he will be sent to preach the gospel. Mormon missionaries preach the word in pairs, and I'm sure many of you have seen them on bikes in whites shirts and ties with black names tags. These young men are sent all over the world, to places like Buenos Aires, South Africa, Finland, Paris, Santiago, Mexico City, and The Czech Republic. Some are also sent state side, to places like Denver, Manhattan, McAllen, Santa Fe, or El Paso.

These missions are paid for by the young men themselves and by their families. When these young men return home after two years, they are no longer boys, but men. The change in them is completely phenomenal. They've discovered who they are, they love The Lord, they've learned how to work and serve others, and they've learned how to get along with a wide range of people as they are assigned different companionships throughout their missions. And most importantly, they've been tools in The Lord's hand in bringing souls unto Christ.

Earlier this week, the 18-year-old boy received his "mission call" in the form of a formal letter from the First Presidency of the church. It was determined that he will serve in the Eugene, Oregon mission for the duration of his two years. He will preach the gospel in English (there are also Spanish-speaking missions all over the United States) and he is due to report to the Missionary Training Center in mid-September.

Just wanted you to know about this wonderful thing that has happened in our lives. I know he will be blessed for making this decision to go. It's not an easy sacrifice, but one well worth it.


Thanks for listening. :)

Today on life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day:
{4 boys and their dad}

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cause and Effect: The 10-year -old boy standing on his head while surfing...





Today on life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day: {pink flowers on a white picket fence}

An Uber-Easy Homemade Photographic Reflector

Want to know how to reflect more natural lighting when taking pictures of your kids? Today I'm guest-posting over at Make It From Scratch and there, you'll find out how to really bring out the beauty of your little ones using a ridiculously simple home-made reflector...


Come see HERE. Thanks for listening!

Today on 365 Days of TV-Free Toddler Time: Sand-throwing Time! 

Today on life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day: {a pregnant woman}

Monday, July 12, 2010

Homemaker Monday: The 18-Year-Old Boy's New Mother

Welcome to the 97th weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week I have chosen no "YOURS" because I'm on vacation and haven't had time to go through each of last week's entries. So sorry, but I promise I'll do better next time! Also, sorry I didn't even get MckLinky up last week. I had intended to do so, but the hotel's internet connection was down, so no such luck. Thanks for understanding! :)

MINE: So I decided that from now on, I'm going to raise the kids until they're 18, then I'm going to give them to my sister, this lovely lady...


(Isn't her hair.... um... amazing?)

As most of you know, the 18-year-old boy moved out of the house on May 24th. He moved to Santa Cruz, CA, and is now living the good life with Robyn. He surfs, he works construction with a cool, fun guy, he surfs, he goes out to eat, he surfs, and sometimes, just sometimes, he goes teaching with the local Mormon missionaries.

What I love about the fact that my sister is now his mother is that during our family visit to Santa Cruz, it was like I got to be the grandma, you know, I didn't have to discipline or correct, and I got to go home at the end of each day. When the 18-year-old boy wants to go somewhere, he asks my sister if he can, and lets her know with whom he'll be and when he'll return. When someone needs to lecture him about not helping with the dishes, she does it, and lecture him she does.

Does he need a talking-to about not putting gas in the truck after using it? She does it...


Does he need help opening a local bank account and getting a cell phone plan? She does it...


And you know what else she does? She takes him surfing. Every day. And while we've been here, while John and I struggle with the 4 four and under, she takes ALL the big kids surfing, which has been a HUGE blessing. For any of you who have large families and know how difficult it can be to find activities the older kids AND the younger kids will enjoy, this has been a life saver.

I just thought they were so adorable in their wet suits. Look....


And I was truly amazed that she taught them to actually catch a wave, stand up on the board, and ride it in...

The 18-year-old boy...


The 15-year-old girl...


The 13-year-old boy...


The 10-year-old boy, tandem with Robyn...


The 8-year-old girl, tandem with Robyn...


So yeah, this has worked out perfectly, to give my boy to her until he leaves for his mission. It has been amazing to see the new life he has made for himself. We've gone to 3 church gatherings at my sister's ward since we've been here and my favorite thing to do is to observe the way he interacts with all the new people he's met and become close to, children, young parents, and elderly people alike. And my favorite part? That his best friends are the missionaries. As a mom, I could NOT have it better. :)

Thanks, Robyn, for the being the 18-year-old boy's new mom. In three years? The 15-year-old girl. Brace yourself. (Love you!)


Thanks for listening.


OURS: Okay, I can't wait to hear what's going on in your homemaking world. LInk up!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A true-to-life, not rose-colored-glasses type post...

So I have mixed feelings about this trip. I had two goals to accomplish at the onset of this family vacation. First, I was going to enjoy it. Second, I was going to acquiesce to everyone else's wishes and put my own desires last. After all, we are taught to put others needs before our own, right? Isn't that what Jesus did all the time? And aren't we supposed to be happy when we act like Jesus did?

Well, I guess I'm not enough like Jesus to feel all warm inside about giving and giving and giving. I know John is probably going to read this and be disappointed in me for feeling this way, and expressing it to the entire free world, but it's me, and that's why you come here, for the real deal, so I am... going to express it.

Not to go into too much detail, it's just that I don't know why I thought it would be fun and relaxing to vacation with 8 kids, including 4 four and under, with a 4-month-old baby. When everyone else is off having fun, like surfing, or riding amusement park rides or skipping down the street, or sitting on a balcony eating a quiet dinner with friends, I am hauling, bouncing, nursing, patting or trying to quiet a 20-pound infant. And it's not like John or my mom my sister don't offer to help, but there is only so much the non-milk-machine entities can do.

I feel like I recently complained about being a mom here on my blog, and that this post may lead you to believe that I truly loathe this job, but please don't think that. It's just that the baby years are hard for me, and sometimes I feel alone, and like no one understands, except maybe my mom. (Love you and miss you, Mom.), and I'm venting to you. Is that okay? I know it's a phase, and that things will be easier soon, but I'm in the trenches right now

I guess the main thing I wanted to share was this photo I took of a lone man feeding his baby a bottle in the Monterey Bay Aquarium yesterday. It seemed like the perfect depiction of how I feel. He thought I was taking a picture out the window behind him, but I really wasn't. I tricked him....


Thanks for listening, guys. There have been good moments, too, like the happiest time yesterday when I ate fried Oreo's with my mom, my sister and my teenagers, and I'll share those experiences soon. Thanks, again for listening.

Today on life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day: {santa cruz, ca: girl on a merry-go-round}

Thursday, July 8, 2010

You can't imagine the bribery that went into this shot...

At San Fransisco Bay....

Seems easy, right? NOT. Tons of tiny pieces of torn-up Trident went into the making of this keepsake. Look...


Ah, finally!


And now for a little post-photo processing...


(Actually, not sure if I like the color or the sepia best. What do you think?)

And the above photos were only about 30% of the entire photo shoot. Creating beautiful memories on a family vacation is hard, hard work. I need a Pacific Company Cookie now.

Thanks for listening.

Today on life in mexico {and other places}a picture a day: {street musician}

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Chilly Summer Beach in California

I had no idea....


(I know John looks mad, but he's not. He's just intense as he explains about otters. And the 3-year-old boy is bracing himself against the cold. Just letting you know.)