We have a weekly family Google+ hangout, which unites our family from Southern California to Indiana to Montana to Massachusetts. Usually, we play with the mustache feature far more than is dignified, but this week we got a special treat - antlers!
Zoe just walked in, sleepy pink ruffled and pajama clad from bed, church shoes in one hand and her pink rice hot-pack in the other. "I got my stuff" she said. But what it really sounds like it "Ah doh mah duff!"
12:01 PM - Me: Zoe fell down the stairs and landed on her face. She's ok but she's going to have quite the bruise.
A few moments later, a concerned Michael, who is out hunting for a few hours, calls to see what happened. We were going to go outside and kick the ball around since the weather was so nice, and while I ran downstairs to get the ball, Zoe decided it would be clever to climb down the stairs in her big coat and floppy rainboots while carrying a large basket, which is never a good idea. Since she is missing the instinct that tells every other normal person to throw their arms up to protect her face, she landed right on her nose, as usual. I tell him she will probably get a little black eye and has a bloody nose but seems generally unhurt.
12:25 PM - Me: Ummmm ok now Jed definitely does have a black eye. This has been a busy morning for us.
Michael arrives home not long after. I hem and haw a bit but the real story is that we were running around the house playing tag and things got a little wild and Jed ran right into my knuckle. OK, we were both running, but there was NO flinging of fists going on, he really did run right into my hand! And then there was a popping sound and he fell down. And now he has a blood blister and a black eye. Whoops. Mom of the year award.
Here is the photo evidence. See, it isn't that bad. I will admit it looks worse in person. Jed was doing all right until he saw himself in the mirror and then he collapsed into a wailing heap, screaming "I LOOK TERRIBLE!!! I CAN NEVER LET SOPHIA SEE ME LIKE THIS!" That's right, his first concern was what his little girlfriend would think.
See how happy and well adjusted they look? These are photos of happy, content, abuse-free children.
Even with, er, two black eyes, they're cute as buttons.
Black spotted buttons.
I recently finished up my long tenure serving in the Newburgh Ward Primary - almost four and a half years, to be precise. Six months as a nursery worker. Just shy of four years in the Presidency, two of those as president. Three babies! I started when Jed was just 6 months old. Back then, I knew virtually no children and had very little experience with them. Now, I count hundreds of children among my very best friends and favorite people. I love teaching them, I love knowing them. I have been very, very blessed to serve them. I will miss them.
I will miss belonging with my presidency and teachers, too. On Sunday, after helping out with Primary just a little bit the first hour, I found myself standing in the hall outside the Relief Society room, awkwardly, like a teenager who had just moved here from out of town. My hands felt strangely empty; I felt purposeless, unsure. Do I really just walk in and sit there? Do I just make chit chat with all these other people milling around waiting? When they asked if anyone one was a visitor, I nearly laughed out loud -- does it count if you've only attended three times in the last four and a half years? People made announcements and gave me gifts and handouts and taught me lessons and it was all very strange. Funny to feel so out of place in such a familiar place.
But don't worry, I won't be sitting around for long. I've been called to serve as the Beehive Adviser, the Sunday teacher for eleven reputedly very chatty twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls. Fortunately, since I've worked with them since they were eight or nine (!), I'm quite familiar with all of them so it should be a ball.
I still remember feeling so proud when my mom dressed me and Eric up in matching clothes when we were little ones. So recently I decided that now that I have three kids, it was time to match. I made up my own patterns for vests and a skirt, Michael took the kids for most of a Saturday and I sewed and sewed and sewed and ended up with three little matching fall outfits. Now I feel like a "real" mom!
Just after Thanksgiving, the awesome Daetwilers invited us to come over to their farm for horseback riding and a campfire dinner. I was super nervous that my children, who harbor a deep and abiding terror of dogs and all animals not stuffed, would make the divine-sounding evening a misery. But, fortunately, after many, many hours of watching videos on youtube of small children riding horses, and a few horse riding instruction videos, my home-made animal therapy worked and they did AWESOME! They both hopped right on with big grins on their faces.
I am allergic to horses so I didn't get to ride, but Zoe was REALLY excited to ride with her Grandma Jan. Later on in the trip they had quite the adventure when the saddle on their horse started sliding around the side of the horse and they both fell on the ground. Grandma valiantly saved the day but putting herself under Zoe's little body. I know Grandma was pretty sore for a few days, and we appreciated that she sacrificed herself so Zoe could have a soft landing.
The greatest victory of the day for me was "the dog thing." After a number of traumatic dog experiences as a toddler, Jed has been really REALLY terrified of all dogs. Big, small, loud, quiet, whatever, he screams if one gets close and attempts to climb my leg in terror. I hate this because there are a LOT of dogs here in Kentucky-Hoosierville and poor Jed is so upset when they are around that it is hard to visit friends or go out. And I just don't like the idea of my child being held back by fear. We have a dog across the street and for a long time Jed wouldn't even go outside and play. The last few months, though, I have been taking the kids to visit "Star," a therapy dog who is at the library every Tuesday. I was hesitant to do it because we have to skip quiet time (which as you all know is religiously observed at our home) but I thought it was worth a try. AND IT IS TOTALLY WORKING!!! At the Daetwilers, Jed walked right by the big hunting dogs without flinching. "I like well trained dogs," he told me, "just not the wild dogs." I am so happy and grateful to see that with a little work his deeply-ingrained phobia is melting away and soon I hope he will be able to be go play with dogs just like all the other little boys.