Sunday, July 27, 2008

Swimming Lessons

Ethan has been asking about swimming lessons since Christmas. For a while we were able to put him off saying it was too cold and the pool was closed. The first day I said it was feeling warm outside (back in March with snow still on the ground, mind you) he bellowed "It's time for swimming lessons!" This kid loves to swim. We finally got around to signing him up for a two week session earlier in July. Every day for a half hour he splashed and kicked and ended up getting the basic strokes down pretty well. This was his first year in the deep pool where they actually do swimming. Previous years were all about splashing and games involving sharks and alligators and jelly beans. In his words "I like the windmill arms swimming and the frog swimming, but I don't like backward swimming because I can't keep my tummy up". Like in every other aspect of his life, Ethan had to constantly be moving. There were four kids in his group, and when the teacher was helping one kid swim, the other three were on the wall waiting their turn. The other kids just hung on to the wall and sort of bobbed while they waited. Ethan was above water only barely enough to stay alive, constantly kicking and paddling and moving. It almost physically pains Ethan to stay still. Kindergarten should be interesting.

Matt got to do the water babies with Jo. Talk about cute. Jo had a favorite toy that she absolutely had to have to get in the water. It was a little yellow duck with Dora riding on it's back. I don't think Jo knows who Dora is, but man she loved that toy. There was an anxious moment every day, walking up to the pile of toys and wondering if the Dora Duck would be there. It always was, and her favorite thing to do in the deep pool was throw the toy and swim, with daddy's help, until she could snatch it up and throw it again. When they moved to the shallow pool half way through each class, Joanna did a lot of crawling like an alligator. The class also involved a lot of song games like "wheels on the bus" and "hokey pokey". It was fun to watch Matt, the only dad in the group, sing and splash and dunk Joanna.

I think he had a pretty good time too.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Home Sweet Little Messy Home

600 square feet for a family of five doesn't leave much room to breathe, but when it's picked up I really love our little apartment. The close quarters mean I know what everyone is doing, and it pretty much serves our needs: a place to cook, a place to bathe, a place to sleep, a place to watch Firefly.
But when it's messy, I really start cursing the place. The floor will sometimes literally disappear under clothes, toys, papers and books. It becomes possible to walk from one room to the other without stepping on carpet. On it's worst days it feels like our place shrinks by a couple hundred square feet and I start to lose it.
I think Ethan was sensing my frustration the other day. It was definitely not a "picked up" day. I had finally managed to get one corner looking nice, only to turn around and see that the rest of the house had somehow sunk even further into the pits of despair. At that point Ethan got a big smile.
"I really like our house mom".
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah! You and Dad have this big room! And I have this big room!" (He's standing in the middle of the apartment which means he can very easily point into every room without moving). "And Joanna has, um, the same big room as me. And we have this, um, bathroom that's kind of big and...uh...this a kitchen (he stopped using the word big and just noted that we do have a 'kitchen').
He stopped for a moment and he and I just looked at each other. Then he made a last ditch effort to make me love our house again:
"And we can fit a couch AND a tv in our family room!"
At that, of course, I had to smile and give him a big hug. It may be small, and it may usually be messy, but it's home sweet home where my favorite people are, and that makes it a little piece of heaven.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mommy Popped the Baby

A few days ago, Joanna brought me a little water balloon and asked me to blow it up for her. She was so cute that I didn't want to say no, but I wasn't ready to let her go play outside yet. So I filled it up with just a little bit of water so it would be hard to break and she could play inside with it while I got the rest of the family ready for the day. She loved that it was so small and called it a baby. A little bit later she brought me another balloon to fill up and said "mommy" over and over. I just thought she was trying to get my attention and was saying my name. I did another balloon for her, this one ending up being a little bit bigger. She brought me another balloon saying "daddy". At this point I realized what she was doing. I was proved right when she brought me two more balloons, asking for "ethan" and "me". She was making a water balloon version of our family. She put them all in a basket and carried them to different rooms to play with them. She had the Mommy hold the baby, she had the daddy throw the Joanna in the air, and she had the Joanna and Ethan fight.
Inevitably, Ethan also asked for a balloon. I gave him one, telling him he better be darn careful and not pop it in the house. I also gave Joanna the same warning. Of course the one to pop a balloon in the house would end up being me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blessing Ginny

We had Ginny's blessing last Sunday. It seems like it was meant to be a really great day. The kids all woke up early enough to be ready on time without being rushed. Everyone was happy and looking good as we headed out the door. We actually made it to church a little early! I got more and more worried as the meeting progressed though because my parents hadn't showed up. The rest of my family wasn't able to come so it was especially important to me to have my parents there. Our ward usually has the blessings right before the Sacrament, so as they were wrapping up the ward business I just felt sick, thinking they wouldn't make it. Then, an inspired Brother Beorchia went right on into the Sacrament hymn and skipped the blessing. I don't know if he hadn't been told we were blessing Ginny, or if he just forgot, but either way, my silent prayers were answered because it gave my parents time to get there.

Matt gave a beautiful blessing. What stuck with me was he blessed her to be able to look at the natural world and have it testify to her of God and his love for her. He also blessed her to know that she was born at a time of great opportunity. A time when the church has been restored and there is a living prophet on the Earth. That she will have the chance to be educated and that she should seek out all the knowledge she can. He blessed her to be married in the temple and have children and that she will make the world a better place. Virginia is named after Matt's maternal grandma. He blessed her to know that her namesake was an amazing woman and that she would live up to the example she set. Also that she would have a desire to know her ancestors and to be a strong link in the chain between them and her offspring. Matt's blessing inspired some very wonderful testimonies and the whole meeting was so nice.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


We heard from a lot of people that we were brave for going camping with a new born. Newborns are easy. We were brave for camping with Joanna.

Every year around the Fourth of July, Matt's family has a camping trip. It includes all his Aunts and Uncles and their kids and grandkids on his mom's side. We look forward to it every year. Joanna, seen here sporting a marshmallow gun, was actually a pretty cute girl most of the trip. She doesn't like to sleep with a blanket on her though, which caused problems when it turned cold at night. Most of the camp heard her screaming in the middle of the night that she was "co, daddy, co". But putting a blanket over her brought screams so loud I'm sure those mountains are still ringing with them. We finally convinced her to double up on PJs, and thanks heavens the second night was warmer. Ginny had a couple bad throw ups, so I took some laundry down to my mom's half way through and got a shower for my trouble.

Lately the camping trip has been held at a campground by South Fork, so we take the Avon road to get there. The kids love the bumpy voices they get on the dirt road, and Matt and I enjoy seeing so much beautiful land undeveloped. The campsite has a bunch of paved paths connecting the adjoining campsites so as soon as we're out of the car, Ethan grabs his scooter and disappears for hours with his cousins.

Most of the time is spent sitting around with different people, catching up, eating and telling stories. There's campfires and s'mores, and after most people have gone to bed there's a group of die hards that stays up playing games. And of course there's always a river float. After a few rides down the length of the campsite, Uncle Jeff always calls for a longer float that "should only take a couple hours at the most". It's never that short. The participants are lucky to make it back in time for dinner. It's always a refreshing way to spend the hottest part of the day, as long as you don't mind a bruised back side. You learn quick to sit high up in your tube.

Until Jo is old enough to do the river float, she's content to play in the boat filled with water.

The babes seemed to cope with the heat of the day by sleeping through it. I had a little portable fan I set up to blow on them and they lazed for hours by it. That's Matt's sister Marci's baby Rocky on the left and our adorably chubby Ginny on the Right.

There's nothing quite like camping with your kids. Seeing their skin slowly disappear beneath a layer of dirt. Watching their faces glowing in the firelight as they ignite marshmallow after marshmallow. Give me camping over a theme park any day.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's been close to two weeks since I last made an entry and hoo boy, it's been a busy two weeks. Quite a bit has happened that's worth writing about so I think I'll try and break it up into a few different entries. Since it takes a gazillion years to upload photos, I'll start out with a couple of photoless stories.
Ethan's been obsessed with Indiana Jones for the past month or so. He's never seen the movies but his buddies down the road got all excited about the new one coming out, and one of them had the Lego Indiana Jones video game, and so they played Indiana Jones all over the neighborhood and it's been Ethan's main topic of conversation. We finally decided he'd probably be ok watching one of the old ones with a few spots fast forwarded so we netflixed the first one, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Within the first twenty minutes a big mystery was solved for us. Another obssesion Ethan has had for the past month or so is his stuffed snake he calls Rebby. Rebby goes everywhere with him, wrapped around his shoulders when he rides his bike. If you can remember the movie, Indiana Jones is running from the local tribesmen and yells for his pilot to start the plane. He hops in and they take off just in time, however Jones notices that his seat in the plane is already occupied by a large snake. He screams at the pilot about this, and the pilot says "oh that's just my pet snake Reggie". Matt and I looked at eachother with oooooohh expressions. Somewhere along the line one of his friends quoted that part of the movie and either the friend got it wrong saying Rebby instead of Reggie, or Ethan heard it wrong. Ethan being Ethan, my guess is the latter.
One more thing brought about by Indiana Jones was a quote that went into my book of cute things the kids say.
"The bad guy in Indiana Jones (Beloc, Jones's competitor) looks like Bill".
"Who's Bill?"
"He's the human that gives out tootsie pops".
Apparently, knowing that the neighbor that hands out candy is not an alien, monster, or anything else non-human is important knowledge for a five year old.