Friday, May 31, 2013

Miles' 1st Birthday

I can't even believe it's been a year since I had my baby boy!  Technically it's been 13 months now that I'm posting about it...which also means it's been a full year for my brother on his mission to Guatemala.  Time flies so fast--you've got to soak up every moment!  Here are the moments we try to soak up with our sweet Baby Miles!

  • Miles can say:  Mom, Dad, up, hi, Jesus, baba, and this.

  • His favorite word to use is "this", he is always pointing at things and asks, "zthis?" (and I do mean ALWAYS)

  • He waves good-bye, and occasionally blows kisses...except his mouth stays wide open & his tongue is usually sticking out still when he moves his hand back and forth to his face to "blow kisses".

  • Let's not forget that he is the happiest baby I've ever known, and he is constantly smiling at everyone. Uncle Brian always calls him "SMILES", which almost always merits a sheepish grin from the Big Boy.

Miles 1st Birthday Celebration:
He got embarrassed when we sang Happy Birthday to him.  He totally understood all the hullaballo was for him.  When we started singing, he bashfully ducked his head down between his shoulders and acted embarrassed.  It was so darling.  We also found his cake (aka GIANT cupcake) at the local grocery store--it was the perfect size, and gee whiz, that colorful frosting makes the best Birthday Beard I've ever seen!  :)


All his baby toys were ELECTRONIC baby toys--he is OBSESSED with electronics (cell phones, remotes, calculators, anything that has buttons and lights up).  All of his birthday gifts had buttons, made noise, and light up.  He is still happy with them, and I'm grateful my cell phone no longer has insane amounts of slobber on it day in and day out.

Proof that we brush teeth after cake.  Isn't he cute?

This was the day after his birthday--I couldn't resist.  He's so darling!
Happy Birthday, my sweet little BUGABOO!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Graduation Speech

Tonight the most memorable graduation speech (given by a student) had a very loud and clear message:


Is that inspiring or what?

I don't often state my feelings in a blunt way, but let me tell you how I truly feel:

Welcome to high school and the world we live in. Atheism and Liberalism can ring loud and clear, but don't you dare hint at God, or you'll be crucified.  We live in a society where teachers may freely teach, discuss, give input & express acceptance of politically correct social, liberal, and atheist concepts, but they must walk on eggshells if their moral views differ in the slightest or hint at a personal belief in God.

Back to the speech.  Apparently her dad told her the answers to life's 3 greatest questions when she entered Kindergarten, at the time she didn't understand them, but she understands them, now.  He told her that there is no purpose to life, the secret to life is f(x), and that the meaning in life is when you are surrounded by those you love.  She explained that none of us have a purpose for being here, that applying f(x) to life means that you get out of it what you put into it, and that it's important to have love.  I can only agree with her 2nd and 3rd points.  I overheard people standing near us as they recapped other memorable moments in the speech:  "I learned that she hates Shakespeare, and that dreams don't come true."  Unfortunately, it looks like her shocking comments left a louder impression than her inspirational moments.

A few weeks ago I heard another high school student give a speech on character at a National Honors Society Induction.  His opening statement was, "It's hard to define character, because it means something different to everyone."

What does he mean it means something different to everyone?  Maybe that's how he feels, because when he looks around, that's how our society is functioning.  But why?  Believer or non-believer, we should have the same standard for character as a society.  Character should not be difficult to define!  It's explained in simple terms on  Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring.  But instead of helping our kids understand character, they are growing up in a society where definitions of character are changed daily based on the most popular trend.  Lucky us, we're winding up with a lack of culture and respect.

As the night wore on, we congratulated the graduates (insert photos here), and as we left, our conversation turned to some of the most recent happenings in the national news - the Oklahoma tornado, the brutality overseas, local criminal trials, etc.  I made the comment that as tragic as it is, I think losing a loved one to a tornado would be better than losing a loved one in an attack, and my son piped up, "This world is just getting so bad!  We need more missionaries, more churches, more people believing in Christ!"

My brother, Heber was amazed and said, "What 6 year old says things like that?"

I told Tyson he should have given the graduation speech.  It made a lot more sense.  What this world needs is more people reaching out to others, more churches teaching principles of kindness, morality, love.  Without a doubt, we need more believers who turn to God, not away from him. 

But honestly, even if you don't believe in God, believe that life has purpose and meaning--even if it's just a purpose, mission, or passion that you choose.  For goodness sake, please have a purpose, and teach your Kindergartner that life is worth living for!  Make your family your purpose--be the best brother, sister, husband, wife, aunt, uncle, mom or dad that you can be, but don't turn your energy and love for life stagnant by removing the reasons that would motivate you and your kids to keep aspiring higher.  Having a purpose is what helps us strive to be better.

Here's the truth, folks:
 (taken from

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”).

My Life Is a Gift; My Life Has a Plan

My life is a gift; my life has a plan.
My life has a purpose; in heav’n it began.
My choice was to come to this lovely home on earth
And seek for God’s light to direct me from birth.
(“I Will Follow God’s Plan,” Children’s Songbook, 164–65)
These words teach that you lived with Heavenly Father before you came to earth. You are His child. Heavenly Father asked His Son, Jesus Christ, to create the earth. The earth was prepared so you could come and receive a body. You were also given agency, and you chose to come to earth and learn to follow Heavenly Father’s plan.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Music Recitals

I love being a piano teacher.  It's the perfect mix of keeping my hobby alive without over-dosing on music like I did in college.  The only thing I think I'm over-dosing on now, is the internal STRUGGLE involved in helping my own child find his path while also trying to teach him concepts of dilligence and persistence in the pursuit of developing talents.
It's one thing to get to be the teacher & get to shed tears of joy somedays when your students show up playing the most beautiful music from their hearts and applying all the skills and concepts you've been trying to teach them week after week. It's another thing entirely to be the parent who helps them remember to practice (and practice correctly) day in and day out.  Oh, my word, is it different.

These are my darling piano students.  I'm proud of all of them.  They all take a challenge, push themselves, and practice consistently.  Their parents are involved and are encouraging, and the results are evident in their progress.  Tyson joined us this March in his debut performance on the piano of, "Tick Tock Goes the Old Clock" and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm".  He was so cute, and I was so happy for him on his very beginning black key songs.

Tyson has also been participating in the Let's Play Music program for the last 2 years.  He was cracking me up at their recital a couple weeks ago.  He's such a ham on stage...even if he's not a ham in practice at home.  :)  The 1st year was our favorite of the program, the 2nd year...well, let's just say we survived it, even though I considered pulling him out in January.  This particular music method is a bit fast paced for what I'm used to for kids his age, and I'm actually quite thrilled with the concepts he absorbed from his in-class participation, even though he was losing interest at exponential rates in his final months.  It's been interesting to be on the parent side of this.  It's hard to do homework for something you don't love 100%.  My friend, Lauren, said one time, that it's okay for Tyson to just be Tyson, and not Tyson-Debra Jo's-Son.  I definitely agree with her--our kids don't have to be extensions of ourselves, they need to have their own identity and talents.  In the end, I don't care if Tyson plays the piano, or the trombone, the drums, or the kazoo, so long as he's happy with it.

I don't regret enrolling Tyson in a music class to build an early foundation of musical concepts, intonation, & theory.  But at the same time, I'm not going to force him to continue at the ripe old age of 5, if he finds no interest in practicing.  I just want him to enjoy learning, and I want him to be the best Tyson he can be (even if that means he just wants to catch bugs all day for now). 
As I've watched my students and my children I am beginning to understand in an entirely new light that there is a very DELICATE balance in helping your child find their interests and work with dilligence & consistency to develop that talent.  Here's to hoping we figure it out for our other kids, too. :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Geode-licious Baby!

April was a good month for us.  We got caught up on things we'd been meaning to do since December (remember the pajama post).
Mitch's family trades family names for Christmas and this year, Brad & Lara, gave us some of the most thoughtful & awesome gifts.  Lara made amazing capes for the kids, and Brad gave us GEODES.  Seriously--what an awesome experience to cut open a rock and find crystals inside.  The boys thought we were RICH, not to mention that this scientific, discovery-oriented, sort of experience is right up their ally!
Mitchell is the KING of planning our weekly FAMILY NIGHT.  He's not afraid to do things that are out of the norm, even if it takes some work.  So, he told me to come up with a spiritual thought and he'd cut open the geodes.

They sparkle better in real life.
At any rate, here's your spiritual thought to go with the geode:
1 Sam 16:7
"...for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
We talked about how people might be rough on the outside, but if we care about them, remember that they're children of God, and are friendly and nice anyway, we will be able to find the things that make them sparkle.  We also talked about the way we act and the things that we can do to help ourselves be sparkly on the inside & out--we talked about how being kind, not fighting, going to church and reading our scriptures, serving others, and developing talents are all things that will help us be nice on the inside.

And here are my little super-heroes!

Thanks, Uncle Brad & Aunt Lara, for giving gifts that keep on giving!!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Prayer Poem

Emmett's Breakfast Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, please bless the food.
And please bless Miles to not eat bunny poop.
And please bless Tyson to not punch me in the head anymore.
And please bless me to not be mad at Tyson anymore.
And please bless us to have fun at the Homestead.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The priorities of a child are a beautiful thing. 

(Disclaimer: The punching thing happened a LONG time ago, but truly Emmett is still working on forgetting about it.)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Breakfast Conversation

Emmett's always been my little climber--since before he was really walking, I would find him on my kitchen table.  My homeowner one time said something about, "if your kids are climbers"..... At the time I only had Tyson and had no idea what she was talking about.  Now that I have Emmett,  I KNOW.  Haha!  She has 3 boys, too, so she REALLY knows about this crazy life.  I love her for understanding me.

At any rate, Emmett was climbing on stools yesterday to try to reach the food on the highest shelf in the pantry.  Suddenly he had second thoughts & then the conversation thereafter just made me laugh.

Emmett:  I'm getting down because I'm a little scared.
Tyson:  I told you you were little.
Me:  Tyson, be nice.
Emmett:  Well, I'm turning into a grown up like Mom!
Tyson:  Well, I'm turning into a grown up like Dad!
Emmett:  Well, I'm turning into a grown up like Dad, too.
Tyson:  You already picked Mom.
Emmett:  Well I'm not going to turn INTO a mom.
Me: That's true--you're going to turn into a dad.
Tyson:  Well, pretty soon I'm going to be 30.
Me:  You'd better not!
Tyson:  Well, Dad is 30.
Me: Yeah, but that's 25 years away for you still.
Emmett:  Pretty soon I'm going to be 26.
Tyson:  Well Mom's 28.

They're so silly!  They were using kind tones of voices, but it was hilarious that they were trying to one up each other with everything they said.  This probably never ends with brothers...I still hear my husband and his brothers do this sort of banter.  Looks like the fun has just begun. :)