Saturday, May 31, 2014

Catching up in May: Wyatt is finished with Preschool

Last day of preschool celebration for the middle boy! Kindergarten in August.

On Friday, May 23, Wyatt successfully completely his last day of preschool.  From September to May he grew three inches and gained five and a half pounds.  His handwriting is great.  He's artistic, and clever and friendly and a nice boy.

On his report card, his teacher wrote:
Wyatt has made a lot of friends and he is always happy.  Keep up the great reading!  I will miss you.

He is a good boy and I'm happy that he had such a great year at school.  His dad and I are so proud of him and cannot wait for him to start kindergarten.

Our preschool, thank heavens, has no pomp and circumstance for the end of preschool.  There is no graduation cap and gown, no program, no speeches.  Just the end of the day - a day of fun and games.  And afterwards, we went to In-n-out for lunch.  I was so happy that he didn't choose McDonald's, that I may have done a little dance.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Catching up in May: Off-track adventures

Whenever Elliott goes off-track from school his pattern is the same.

Week 1: Sleep in until 9 am, struggle to figure out what to do, how to be home, how to behave, how to get along with Wyatt.  Get in trouble a lot.  Do some stuff with mom and brothers.

Week 2:  Sleep in until 9 am, struggle to figure out what to do, how to be home, how to behave, how to get along with Wyatt.  Play with friends. Get in trouble a little bit.  Start to get sick.

Week 3: Sleep in until 9 am, find a groove, play with Wyatt, hang out with mom, go to the doctor and get diagnosed with something (this time bronchitis and an ear infection), stop getting into trouble.

When Elliott went back to school last Monday, he jumped out of the car, yelled a quick goodbye as he slammed the door shut and flew on a cloud, running to meet his friends.  You see, my oldest child is a social and extroverted being stuck smack dab in the middle of a family full of people who are perfectly content being home all day long doing their own things, minus the occasional trip to Target or to get a Slurpee.  Or go to a museum.  This mama and eldest son face monumental power struggles, but the mama is starting to figure out how to back-off and let the seven year old do his own thing.  Even though for the life of him, he cannot figure out what his own thing is.

We did have a good break though.  We ate and slurpeed and played in sprinklers.  We blew lots of bubbles, went to museums, and got to meet our dad in the middle of the day for lunch.  The boys played video games and played with friends and played baseball and soccer and jumped on their trampoline until their feet were black.  We made cookies and went to the new Aquarium (lame and expensive) and the new Children's museum (which was totally awesome by the way) at Thanksgiving point and my children, who rush through everything, ran out of time and didn't even see everything.

I try really hard to be a good mom.  To give my boys lots of wide and varied experiences.  To get them out of the house and to see that there is so much out there for them to touch and smell and see and do.  To introduce them to lots of people and places and open their eyes to the world around them.  I hope it's rubbing off.

If nothing else,


at least....

I manage to make them really tired.

Apparently we cannot go anYwhere at 5:00 pm. #sleepy #whydonttheygotobedlikethis

5:30 on a friday night.  They are ready to party. #brothersleanthesameway

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Catching up in May: Arizona Cousin Visit

Clear back at the beginning of May, we got to have a quick Utah visit with our Arizona cousins.  They came to Utah so their mom could go to the BYU Women's Conference and even though the timing wasn't great for us (school and baseball sort of ruled our life), we tried our hardest to spend some time with our cousins.

It's been our tradition for a while now, when Elliott goes off track, either on the day he's off or the following Monday to go bowling.  Our tradition started with Uncle Willie, when Quinn could hardly crawl and were going strong, nearly a year late when he can walk...and run away to the arcade.  So, we were able to take Isaac and his dad (Ross' brother) with us and introduce him to bowling.  Isaac had never been before (or so he told us) and I was quite surprised how quickly he picked it up and seemed to have fun.

On the last night they were here, we had a BBQ at our house so the boys could hang out and play together.  It was also the day before Ross' birthday and the week before Wyatt's so a few gifts were given.  All 6 boys had a great time running around and playing in the yard.    At the end of the night, as we tried to get our standard group kid picture, there was one kid (Quinn of course) who wouldn't quite cooperate, but we at least tried.

These boys are growing up faster than we can blink.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Catching Up in May: Wyatt's Birthday!

In our Family, Ross and I decided that we'd do friend's parties for the boys on major birthday's - five, eight and twelve.  Well, Wyatt hit one of those milestones so a Lego party it was.  We tossed around ideas for weeks about some of the things that he wanted to do for the party without any real solid plan of activities until a day or two before.  All he really knew he wanted to do was to frost sugar cookies at the party.  Okay, that's a pretty easy request.  And honestly, I was more concerned about the party favors (homemade coloring book, crayons, poppers, hi-chews, and a Lego mini figure) than the actual festivities anyway.

Besides, with Ross and Elliott and Quinn as my helpers, and a small group of wild five year olds, what could possibly go wrong.  Nothing of course.  The party was a huge success and a lot of fun. I was really happy that we were able to do such a fun thing for Wyatt, like we were able to do for Elliott when he turned five.





And then, after a quick clean up, and a few errands, we turned around and had a small family party for Wyatt in the evening.  He requested Mt. Mike's pizza as his party food and I made him the ugliest, yet tastiest Lego brick cake with chocolate Lego guys.  Great Grandpa wasn't able to join us, but we were able to tell him all about the parties when we visited with him a few days later.

I always feel very lucky that my boys are so loved by so many people.  Family is a pretty incredible thing.




We offered to buy Wyatt a new bike for his birthday.  He declined the offer.  Instead, he wanted a Lego X-wing, complete with Luke and R2D2 and requiring about three hours of his dad's time.  The instruction manual was a short novel and dad diligently put the thing together, with Wyatt by his side for a little bit of the construction.  He was a pretty happy kid though and a few weeks later, with minimal repair, has managed to keep the thing still put together.

We wanted to buy him a new bike for his birthday.   He just wanted an x-wing instead.   Saved us hundreds of dollars and @rrosshowden had a three hour activity this afternoon.   #promisesnottotakeitapartforonemonth


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day

On Sunday, we visited a few graves, mostly just to say hi to my two best ladies, my grandmas.  Whom I miss dearly by the way and while visiting both graves, I shed a few tears.  I was super emotional.  Not sure why.  Probably because I miss them both a lot, lately.

On Monday, we decided to stay home.  Well, we stay home every year with little exception so this year was without exception as well.

And it was really nice.

You see, we aren't home much.  Not as a family of five that is.  There is always one or more of us going somewhere, usually with a bag of gear - baseball gear, work gear, church gear, hi chews, you know what I'm talking about.  So, we decided to have a day at home.

We slept in.

I went to the gym.

Ross did all the yard work (and the yard looks smashing, by the way!)

The boys played legos, rode bikes, blew bubbles, jumped on the trampoline, made rubber band bracelets and didn't play on their kindles or watch the televizzle all day long.

I'd call it a success.

In the evening, we went to visit my grandpa.  The boys were monsters.  I guess they'd had enough of being good.  But by being naughty, they got sent to bed early, so Ross and I ended the night on a quiet note, with our sonic drinks of choice.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Night Terrors

I love this handsome and bRilliant boy with all my heart.   No one could ask for a better big brother either. Off track is almOst over and it has been so hard.   Too much butting of heads between this boy and his mama. Too much brotherly fist fighting.  A

It's after 11 pm on a Friday night.  My husband is at the grocery store, we're hosting a dinner party for twelve tomorrow night.  Two of my babies are soundly asleep in their beds, and have been for hours.  My biggest baby is restlessly lying in bed next to me.  He seems to finally be really asleep, but that doesn't make me feel any more relaxed.  Quite the date night, right?

Elliott has been off track for the last three weeks.  Off track from school is always tough, for a lot of reasons, one of the biggest being that he usually gets sick.  He's had a cough, but I've just chalked it up to allergies and gone about the business of life.  Yesterday morning, after a brutal fight between brothers (Quinn wasn't involved) Elliott came screaming to me that he couldn't breath.  He couldn't.  I got him to sit down and calm down and do a couple puffs with an inhaler, and then I did a lot of yelling at the both of them.  And maybe a little head whacking.  Elliott told me that he thought I needed to take him to the doctor.

I did.

He has a moderate case of bronchitis.  And an ear infection.  And a sore throat.


If the kid would have let on a little (just a teeny tiny smidge) that he really wasn't feeling well, I would have taken him sooner, but he is in this awkward seven year old "can't talk to my parents must keep all things a secret phase" and Ross and I really had no idea he was so sick.

It does however, explain a lot of the rough patches we've had over the last couple weeks.

Regardless, last night after watching the Lego Movie,  he went to bed quickly and without fuss.  And about an hour after he was asleep, as my husband and I were starting to have the first real conversation we'd had all week, Elliott came downstairs.  His eyes were open, he seemed alert and coherent, and we tried to talk to him.  He sort of paced around and then went right back upstairs, not communicating with us at all.  Ross followed immediately, he must have known what was coming, and I was a bit behind them.

When I got to the top of the stairs Elliott was screaming.  I got into the boys room as Ross was trying to talk to him and he was thrashing and screaming and making a horrible gagging sound.  And waking up Wyatt.  After my insisting, Ross brought Elliott into our room, kicking  and screaming and mumbling incoherent nonsense.

He was having a night terror.  This has happened several times before (the last one being about a year ago), usually triggered by something that has scared him or really made him nervous.  I'm guessing that his idiot mom finally figuring out he was sick, compiled with the very dramatic and stressful taking of a very icky antibiotic did him in.

Anyway, we got him on our bed where he was writhing around and screaming and moaning and fighting his dad with all the strength he had.  Ross has told me about these episodes before, but I'd never seen one.  I've always slept through them.  Elliott at one point jumped off our bed and we corralled him in the bathroom.  His eyes were as wide as I'd every seen them and he was so terrifying, that I was waiting for his head to spin completely around.  It was breaking my heart (even though his dad thought it was a bit funny).

We were trying to wake him up, ask him his name, get him to understand where he was.  He was screaming and gagging and starting to form saliva foam around the edges of his mouth.  Finally, I started to drench his face in cold water.  After some research tonight (a milder episode happened a little while ago) I learned that we shouldn't have tried to wake him up, but I was totally freaking out.

He finally became alert, he woke up and started yelling at me, "Stop throwing water at me!"  After a while, ee got him to calm down.

We brought him downstairs.  He laid on the couch completely listless and sullen.  He of course had no memory of the last 15 or so minutes and just laid on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, watching Diners, Drive-in's and Dives with his dad.  Eventually we got him back to bed.  And about 40 minutes later, it started again, but with much less delusion and much easier calming down.  At 4:30 in the morning, he came into our room completely frantic and panicked and paranoid.  We made him a bed on the floor where he slept until it was actually time to get up.

Phew!  What a night.

It was scary and completely unnerving.

In the morning of course, he had no idea what had happened and as his parents, we're left wondering what was the trigger.  His antibiotic?  His reaction to taking the icky antibiotic?  Sleep deprivation and exhaustion?  Not feeling well?  Stress or fear?

Whatever the cause, it left for some weary parents.  Its a pretty traumatic thing to watch your child fight his way through, knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do but wait for it to end.

Monday, May 12, 2014

William Wyatt : 5 YEARS OLD!

Holy cow kiddo.  Today, you are five.  There are so many wonderful and amazing things that are ahead of you in your 5th year, that it sort of takes my breath away.  Even though you are my middle boy, sometimes I still think of you as my baby boy.  I think it's because you have allergies and asthma and get sick a lot.  I'm always worrying about you.  Even when you are a grown-up, I will always worry about you.

But.  YOU do not need me worrying about you because your life is moving fast.

Kindergarten is so close you can taste it.  We'll find out your teacher in a few weeks and we are hoping it's Mrs. Easton, the teacher that Elliott had in kindergarten. You are so ready for real school that when school actually starts in August, you might fly there.  I will, of course, worry that you'll smell something strange and throw up in your classroom, but hopefully that worry will never come to fruition.

Quinn and I will be sad to see you go to school.  You are our buddy and we might be a little lost without you.  There are days, when you are home, that you and I hardly talk to each other.  We just go about our business - me "moming" and you "Lego-ing".  Unless you need food or the TV turned on, you are completely independent.

You love to sing and dance.  You love the band the "arctic monkeys".  You love to go to the zoo, eat french fries and pizza, and could spend all day lying on the couch watching TV.  You are a great athlete, and for the most part, pretty considerate of others.  You are very conscientious of the outfits you pick, the shoe and sock combination you sport, and the height of your mow hawk.

This year in preschool has been interesting for you.  There is a kid named Braxton who has driven you crazy all year long.  He messes with your stuff, he touches and messes up your hair, and pretty much every day when you get in the car, you have stories of tormenting.  A couple weeks ago though, your teacher told me that you'd had enough with this kid and during play time at school, after he took a toy from you and wouldn't give it back, you hit him in the leg.  You got a lecture from your teacher, as did Braxton, but that was it.  I'm pretty sure your teacher was on your side, and though I don't condone hitting in the least (Braxton did hit you first), I was proud of you for sticking up for yourself.  And, we got french fries at In-n-Out on the way home.

You are an excellent truth teller and tattle tell.  Your desire to follow the rules, and be recognized for following the rules is pretty great and it always keeps you on the straight and narrow.  May it keep you on the straight and narrow path for your whole life, too.  Even if you started the fight that leads to blood and tears, and you come to tell me what Elliott did to you, you tell me what you did to him, too.

You don't scream and cry nearly as much as you used to and you've almost finished your t-ball season and haven't shed a tear.  Yeah!  You didn't even cry when you got your kindergarten shots, which was pretty impressive.

I'll tell anyone I know how lucky I am to be the mom to three great boys.  And though I love my boys equally for all their great qualities and traits, you are my boy.  You always have been and always will be.  Sometimes I get sad that I don't have a daughter, who, when we're all older, will go to target or on a late night diet coke run with me.  But, I think that I will always be able to bribe you with a Slurpee or french fries to go just about anywhere with me and for that, I will always be grateful.

Love you buddy.  Happy Birthday.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Skyping with our missionary

Bright and early this morning, Mothers Day, we got up and dressed and flew out the door.  I may have been motivating the troops a little too aggressively, but we had a very important place to be.  That brother of mine, the #lithuanianexpress, was going to be skyping with us from the other side of the world, at my moms house, and I wasn't going to miss one second of it.

I didn't have to worry.  His call was almost an hour late.

When he finally did call, it was pretty funny.  My mom and sister and I, and all the kids were sitting in the office waiting impatiently, staring at the computer monitor when Ross walked into the room.  He had Willie LIVE on HIS phone!  I still don't really know why Willie got a hold of Ross, but I guess it makes sense, when you need a guarantee that someone has their technology ready to go, it's my husband.  Ross handed his phone to my mom with a smirk and she screamed!

"Oh, is that my son!"

"Oh my!"

Then she was speechless.

Ross took the phone back, talked to Willie and we got everything figured out to get him on the computer so we could all see him.  He had forgotten his Skype user name and password and was using his companions.  Shock.

Talk I g to my brother ( unofficial son) is the best mothers day present.

But, when that kids face appeared on the screen, he lit up like a firecracker.  And we lit up like firecrackers.  It was the best "present" his three moms could have asked for on Mother's Day, his real mom in particular.  We were able to talk with him for about an hour with no time delay.  It was so fun to be sitting in a room with all of us, and him, just like he was really there.  Laughing at us (and with us), smiling and talking to the kids, and watching them all be hauled out of the office screaming in turn, just like at Sunday dinner.

When it was time to say goodbye, we did so joyfully.  There were no tears, just exuberance.  There was so much energy.  I know, we all know that what my brother is doing is so right and so good.  He is a fine young man and is serving the people of Lithuania with all his heart mind and spirit.  I love that kid to pieces and always will.

Talking to yhe #lithuaniaexpress
Elder petersen elder marshall.  They both like george Michael and manatees. #lithuaniaexpress

Monday, May 05, 2014

The boy in Lithuania

Rough weekend.  Rough monday.  But I got to talk to this kid on the phone today for 20 minutes from the Chicago airport, heading to LITHUANIA and it made me so happy I can hardly stand it.  He was so happy and upbeat,  flOating on a cloud he was.  My mom

Today marks one week. One week my brother has been a real missionary in a real country and not in spiritual concentration camp in Provo, Utah. He is in Lithuania and is thriving. He's going to be such a great missionary and this coming weekend, is going to help baptize two children of a less active member who have been receiving lessons from the missionaries. Not to shabby for his first couple weeks on the job.

There is a 9 hour time difference so when we are going to bed, he's starting to wake up. He'll always be half a day ahead of us, but that's probably how he likes it. Last week, I got to talk to that brother of mine on the phone from the Chicago airport. We talked for about 20 minutes and it made what had been turning into a rotten day, one of the best days ever. He was happy and floating on a cloud. We laughed a lot, I cried a little, and when I put him on speaker phone to talk to Quinn, that baby looked every where for his best buddy and couldn't find him, so he just waved to the phone.

Willie has been gone for nearly 70 days. Time sure is flying by. Okay, maybe not for my mom, but for me it is. I just know he is in the right place, doing the right thing. I realize we've still got a long way to go, but in the blink of an eye, we'll be at the airport, silly signs in hand, fighting back happy tears, waiting to welcome his skinny butt back home.

I've always sort of struggled with the idea of missionary work - it's not something I've done, and isn't really something I want to do. The thought of being out on the street every day trying to find people to talk to about your faith and beliefs scares me. It's intimidating, and honestly, a little strange. Maybe because my only experience with proselyting "missionaries" of another religion are the occasional J-Dub's knocking on my door and me running to hide. It takes a very special and dedicated person to be a missionary, at any age. It is not something to be handled lightly. IT IS HARD WORK!

 My brother may have the time of his life in Lithuania, but he is also working his butt off, that's for sure.

Note:: If you want to read his blog, and your invitation expired before you accepted it or you didn't get an invitation, let me know and I can hook you up with some spiritual enlightenment via one really awesome 19 year old.


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