Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Day

I feel like a really bad mom because as I sat down to start blogging about Christmas, I realized that there is not a single picture of JJ opening or playing with his presents on Christmas morning! :( We did get it all on video, though. Sorry, JJ! He did get lots of cool toys: a transformer, a bionicle, racetracks for his hot wheels, a couple board games like Hungry Hungry Hippos and Elefun. We had a great morning.

Santa Came!

Here is JJ's bowling set that he got from Santa. As soon as the kids came downstairs, they immediately started fighting over it. And we were worried that JJ would feel bad that he didn't get a big playhouse like McKenna!


The Rose Petal Cottage has been a big hit!



video

Santa even remembered Sparky



We always go to my Mom's for lunch on Christmas Day. All of the cousins come too- it's a lot of fun!






Moms on Christmas. We were worn out!




The Brown Family Christmas Party

On the 26th we had our annual Brown Family Christmas Party!




We gave my Dad a book of all of our family pictures from 1970 to 1979.






We sang Happy Birthday to JJ. He was really shy about it, but you could tell he really loved it too.
video

McKenna got an Elmo from Grandma and Grandpa Brown. He sings the ABC's which is perfect for her. She has been learning the alphabet and can recognize and pronounce most of the letters now.



She calls the Elmo toy "Melmo." And she loves her Melmo. He has joined her entourage of 'gigi's- her blankie, bunnie, and chocolate milk are all gigi's too.
video

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

JJ Turns 4

Happy Birthday to my big boy yesterday. He had a great time and kept saying, "This is the best birthday, EVER!"

I like my sister's idea of not doing friend birthday parties until they are 5, so we didn't do one with his little friends this year. Honestly, that's one part of parenthood that I am dreading: friend birthday parties. Not my idea of a good time.

Another thing that I'm not so excited about? Making cakes that are not in the shapes of squares or rectangles. Here is my first attempt at making something different. Frosting it was such an ordeal that I was about ready to throw the whole thing out the window. Luckily, James stepped in and finished it before I got to that point.





James lifted the balloon ban and I think that was a good thing. McKenna didn't care at all that JJ was opening presents. I swear, to her, balloons are like crack.



JJ was really happy with all of his presents. Each year his Nana and Grandpa in South Dakota give him some of the Mr. Men books for his birthday and Christmas. I think that by next year he will have the whole set. (McKenna gets the Little Miss ones from them too.) Missing from the picture are the Bionicle and Viewfinder from my Mom.


We let him stay up late to play with his toys. He had so much fun. And I will admit it: I've always wanted a viewfinder.


In the meantime, we're all looking forward to James coming home from work so that I don't have to be a Bionicle while JJ is a Transformer. That's what dads are for. (And brothers. Maybe JJ will get one of those this year.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What's Important

Several months ago I overheard a conversation between two women in my ward. They were discussing how many children they were planning on. “I want 3,” said one. “I want three too, but my husband wants four,” said the other. Of course when I heard this conversation, I wondered to myself about how many children I would have. Actually, I think about this ALL the time. I always have- even as a little girl I would obsess about this. You would have thought that once I started having children that this constant fixation on having more children would have dissipated. It hasn’t.


When I heard those women talking, my head heard the words, three children and thought, “Hey that would be really nice. You would only have to go through one more pregnancy, one more labor and delivery, one more year of breastfeeding, and three more years of diapers. You would have more money, would be able to start going on vacations, get out of debt sooner, and have more disposable income. You could go back to school sooner; you could have a career, and begin to develop a sense of identity as a regular adult in society instead of one as a person who wipes noses and butts all day. In a few years you could go to bed at a decent hour, and wake up 8 hours later feeling refreshed and ready for the day. It would be easier to go out for dinner every now and then, go on a date, go to the grocery store, or really, to go Anywhere! Your body would have less stretch marks, probably be in better shape by avoiding those extra hard to lose pounds that pregnancy seems to inflict upon us, and your boobs maybe won’t sag to the point that you’ll have to tuck them into your pants.” Well, ok, my boobs are already a lost cause, but I digress.

INSTANTLY, and I mean, even as my logical self is thinking this, my heart yells NOOOOOO! I’m supposed to have more. I know it. I don’t see myself as the most spiritual person, but this is one thing that I am absolutely sure of. My kids are missing some siblings. The fact that they aren’t here yet, gives me the most unsettled feeling; to the point that my whole frame of reference revolves around when I will be having another baby. I can just see my children still stuck up there in the pre-existence, singing to each other in tacky costumes, “Don’t forget your promise!”

I don’t ever want to have more kids than I really feel like taking care of even if I was prompted to do it. I don’t want the older kids to feel responsible for the younger ones all the time. I don’t want the younger ones to feel like they were cheated out of having parents who had enough time and energy for them. I don’t want to lose my identity as a person. I want to have as many kids as I am happy taking care of. And I really hope that the number of children I am happy to raise is the same number of children that I feel are supposed to come to our family. Right now the number in my head is 4 kids. (???) But you never know what will happen in life, and that number could definitely change.

I think it is really sad when there is a family who didn’t have as many children as they wanted, and always feel bad about it. And I think it’s just as sad when families have so many children because they felt it was the ‘right’ thing to do, but the parents are completely overwhelmed in basically every way. There are certain people who have the right temperament to have really big families. I know I’m not one of them! You really have to let go of a lot of control in your life when you have that many kids, and I’m too much of a control freak.

Anyway, I’ve been rambling, but the point of all this is that James and I are absolutely thrilled to announce our third baby expected June 25th, 2010. I am really glad that we are telling people, because I can’t suck in my stomach anymore!

One thing’s for sure:

It’s gonna be a hell of a time, James!

(If you get that reference, then you and me can be friends.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch

Last week we went with some friends to the pumpkin patch. The kids had lots of fun!

(My man is totally hot.....just sayin')










They have a maze for the kids made out of hay bales.


I could barely keep up with McKenna!
video

Picking out pumpkins.




There is something about big, open spaces that induces running in my children. You can barely see them in the distance here.


JJ is counting down the days until Halloween. We can't wait!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Bit about JJ and McKenna

Well, I thought I'd give a little update on the kids.

Lately, JJ has developed an imaginary friend named Jacob. JJ DOES have an actual, real-life friend named Jacob, and at first that's who we thought he was talking about. But they don't see each other often, and we soon realized that there is a pretend Jacob too.

It's Jacob this and Jacob that. Each day Jacob does something new and we get to hear about it. Today Jacob turned into a square robot. Yesterday Jacob turned into an alien. JJ says that Jacob is a big boy- that is the only description we have of him. Everything JJ talks about is in relation to Jacob. "When I grow up to be a big boy like Jacob..." or "Jacob likes this show" or "Jacob thinks this will be a good toy for JJ's birthday." At preschool JJ made a little 'All About You' book, and when the teacher asked him who is best friend was, JJ naturally said Jacob. When we ask where Jacob lives, JJ seems so annoyed, "In his HOUSE!" (Duh! Where else would he live?)

We love our JJ- he is so cute. He is really good at helping take care of McKenna. Today his primary teacher gave him a bag of candy, and he shared half of it with her. I didn't even ask him to. He holds her hand, and helps her all the time.

He is tall enough that he can start to help us unload the dishwasher. Every morning he knows it is his job to put away all the utensils. He loves to help. He is also in charge of feeding the dog, and letting him in and out throughout the day.

McKenna is a live-wire. She was such a mellow and easy-going baby but as soon as she turned one, someone flipped a switch. She is constantly running, screaming, LOUD as can be, and full of SO MUCH emotion and energy. We are working on helping her with her temper. She knows that she can't hit, and is pretty good about not hitting others, but she does hit herself. When she gets mad this is what happens:
1. She SHRIEKS!
2. She clenches her fists, holds her breath, and her little face turns red
3. She hits herself with both hands on the face and/or runs to the couch and SLAMS her face into it and/or flings herself onto the floor and rolls around.
4. She has hurt feelings because now she is both mad and has an owie so she covers her face and wails.
5. Then she comes to me for a big hug. (Even if I am the one who originally made her mad.)

This probably happens 10 times a day. I used to laugh, but now it's getting old. I'm trying to teach her to take deep breaths when she gets mad.

She also has an unhealthy obsession with balloons. If I get balloons for the kids it is not ok with McKenna if JJ has one. She must have ALL of them. If hers pops, it is like the end of the world. I honestly can't even describe it. And the hardest part about it is that balloons are EVERYWHERE! The grocery store, the craft store, the haircut place, other kid's houses, etc. McKenna yells, "Boos Boos Boos!" And at each public place I tell her, "No balloon today" and she has another tantrum. I used to buy them for her because they make her so happy, but it has gotten so bad that James has placed a ban on all balloons from our house. It is sad, but I must admit that it has been a lot more peaceful since the ban.

She is talking more and more. Her favorite thing to say is, *GASP* "OH NOOOOO!" (Yes, she does an audible gasp.) It is very dramatic and very cute. I love her to death. She has such a funny sense of humor. Whenever I tell her to say Mommy she says, "Cookie" because she knows it makes me laugh. She will say everyone else's name but only Cookie for Mommy. She loves to play peek-a-boo, and loves it when I sing to her. She loves the show, Super Why, or "Why Why" and knows that letters each have a name and meaning. (Although she doesn't know what those are) Every time she sees letters she points, and wants you to tell her what the letters are.

I think that as she is able to talk more and more, some of her frustrations will go away. I think that she will be a good little helper as she gets bigger, and has more ways to channel her energy. The busier I keep her, the easier things go.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Day of Preschool

JJ started Preschool this week. At first he wasn't so sure about the idea, but once he realized that he would get to go and play with all of his little friends he was really excited. I thought about just doing one year of preschool, but JJ has been so bored and honestly, I think he gets a little sick of being with me all day. So this has been a great diversion. Here is on the first day of school:



He is starting to look more and more grown-up to me. He has a very light sprinkle of freckles starting to appear on his little nose and cheeks, and I think he'll have a lot more by next year. He was SO EXCITED about going to his first day of school.



I thought McKenna would be glad to have a couple hours with me to herself and without having to share toys, but the whole time she kind of moped around the house and yelled "Day Day! Day Day!" She missed her big brother. This was a surprise to me, because it seems like all they do is fight sometimes.



When I first started looking into preschools I was really disappointed to find that the going rate in our area is around $100 per month. I think that is out of control. So when I heard that some other moms in the neighborhood were putting together a joy school type class, I jumped at the chance. School is 2 days a week for 2 hours each day, and each week it is taught by one of the moms. We sat down and mapped out all of the themes, field trips, and lessons we want covered each week. Each person has to teach 6 weeks. I am a little nervous about teaching, but we have such a great group of kids, I think that once I get into a groove it will be really fun.



The moms showed up just as the kids were finishing their tasting time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Recent Events

McKenna is growing up fast. She loves to run and can play just as roughly as JJ, but she is definitely all girl. Today at the museum she discovered the play kitchen, and she stayed in there for the better part of an hour. (Good thing it's right next to the construction area- I can watch both kids at once.) She is starting to speak in three word sentences like "Bye bye Daddy." and "Thank you JJ." Here she is feeding her baby a bottle.


We decided that she should get her first haircut. This is what she looks like in the morning.


She didn't mind the haircut at all. I think it has helped that she's seen JJ do it so many times.


Notice in the video how she says, "CHEESE!" when she notices me with the camera!
video

And here is the After:

Now she has bangs and I can't decide if I really like them or not.

Later that day I caught them feeding each other potato chips. Notice that McKenna's hair is once again in her eyes. Oh well, eventually I hope it will go to the sides and not all forward.



Naked Babies in the Tub

I love these kids and know that I am a lucky Mom!



PS- I have MAD bongo skills!
video

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ramblings of a Stressed-Out Mother

Yesterday I decided that James and I needed to write down all of our upcoming commitments on our calendar. I have three things this whole month that I am doing.

1. Visiting teaching on Tuesday
2. Go to a missionary homecoming on the 16th
3. Host the ward book group at my house on the 26th.

James is a stake auditor (I wish he was a steak auditor, mmmmm…..) And has to do 3 audits this month. When will they be? Tuesday, the 16th, and the 26th. It seems that if we were not Mormons, we would have a LOT of free time.

So, here is my dilemma:

My kids go to bed at 7:00 or 7:30. My VT companion’s husband does not get home from work until 7:30. Even if I can find someone to watch my kids on Tuesday they will probably be naughty/ornery/tired/etc. and the poor soul who volunteers to watch them will say to themselves, “NEVER AGAIN!” And I won’t blame them at all.

Also, and I really hope I don’t offend anyone here, but husbands are home in the evenings. And if I don’t really know the husband then I am not really comfortable with that. (This is probably because when I was little I remember being yelled at by three different dads of my friends and being really and truly terrified! Guess I was naughty too!) I know that beggars can’t be choosers. But I am a chooser when it comes to who takes care of my kids, and that is why I don’t go anywhere or do anything. It is my own fault. I know I am too overprotective, but I’m not sure how to change it or if I really want to.

McKenna takes a nap from 1:00 to 3:00 every afternoon. You do not mess with this nap time. EVER. Bad things will happen. The homecoming on the 16th is right during this time. I had no intention of bringing the kids to this because first, it is nap time and second, even if it weren’t I would not be able to enjoy the meeting or visit with anyone afterward.

When you have kids it is almost impossible enjoy church (until it’s time for nursery/primary and they become someone else’s problem. I know that sounds harsh, but we’ve paid our dues: we were in the nursery for 2 years right after we had JJ.) My time in church is entirely spent on keeping little voices quiet and little hands occupied. It’s hard. I missed portions of both of my grandmother’s funerals to wrestle with screaming children in the hallway. I still feel horrible about both of those, because not only was my ability to pay tribute to my grandparents compromised, so was everyone else’s.

Whenever I’m at church and someone else’s kid starts screaming or crying I am secretly glad, because now some of the attention is diverted away from my kids. The point? I really struggle with taking my kids to any place where they are expected to sit nicely and quietly.

As for the 26th: That is the night of the HOA meeting. And the book group at my house. And the audit. So what will probably happen is that while we are trying to discuss the profoundness of The Scarlet Pimpernel and To Kill a Mockingbird, we will probably be interrupted by a little boy who will treat us to a display of various achievements/sound effects/ bodily functions that three-year-old boys possess. There is only one good thing about this: This will most likely be the first and last time that I am asked to host the book group.

I stared at the ceiling until 1:00am last night contemplating all of this. I love my kids so much, but sometimes I really don’t know where to put them, or what to do with them. I guess every mom feels this way sometimes, right?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fun with Yearbook Yourself

We had a little too much fun today messing around at yearbookyourself.com today. AAhhh, lazy Sundays. Here are the Results:

James



Marianne



JJ



McKenna



And the most hilarious of all, Sparky. These pictures are just wrong.