Friday, December 16, 2016

Today-Dec 16, 2016

McKay- At your request today I wrote to your teacher, Mrs. Ingram and invited her to join us at the closing night of your "A Charlie Brown Christmas" production at St George Musical Theater. She accepted with enthusiasm and MADE YOUR DAY when she told you she'd be attending. You are so proud of the production and your role as "Schroeder"...but I think I'm even prouder! Nana went to your show tonight and brought you a treat, a Snoopy doghouse ornament, and a singing Charlie Brown. Plus you stopped at Swig to celebrate. She sure loves you!

Benson-This morning you practiced the piano SO WELL. You have a gift for piano playing. Your cheerful demeanor lets you laugh off mistakes and keep trying without getting frustrated. You played Ode to Joy beautifully and your Turkey in the Straw and Bug scales are getting smoother and smoother. Tonight we read about Jousting and tournaments in your Time Traveler book and you were fascinated by all the details.

Lily-Today you have another cold and stayed home from preschool. You love Miss Suzie but love staying home more, so you were happy to be sick. You have been sick most of December and we feel badly at how often you are ill. Still, it doesn't get your spirits down. You still managed to kick me in the shins, call your brother "stupid head" and shout at Baby Kate when she wanted to look at your princess story book.

Kate-You don't talk much yet but today tried a few new words. You now eagerly shake your head and say, "Yesh (yes)" whenever we finally figure out what it is you want. The Yesh and the smile on your face are well worth the screams you give until we get it right.
We went to TJ Maxx today with Nana and you very helpfully pushed the cart through the store (you hold on to the bottom rack and push as hard as you can). You also unwrapped a couple of toys and dumped their contents onto the floor. To complete your day at home you broke a giant jar of pickles all over the kitchen floor, then ran through the juice and then again through the cleaner mommy used to clean the floor. You also dumped daddy's cologne all over yourself, so you smelled like a man all day.

Lessons from the Stomach Flu

Two days ago I had "the throw-ups" as we call them around here. I had it bad. I haven't been so sick in a long time. It was miserable, nasty, and debilitating. I couldn't take care of the kids at all. My mom was also sick the same day, but thankfully Sue came downstairs and rescued me, helping with the kids and otherwise saving my life.

At the end of the day when I was starting to feel better, McKay said to me, "Mom, I liked today, even though you were sick. You were so nice!"

Well, basically I let them get away with murder because I was too sick to care. "Sure, eat some candy, just get some for everyone." "Yes, have a fruit snack, just give one to the baby too." "Yes, you can watch another show." Etc. It was a mommy fail kind of day.

And yet, it wasn't. I was so debilitated all I could do was lay helplessly on the couch. Yet my kids still wanted to be right there with me. They layed next to me while they watched TV and I cuddled them. At night our bedtime routine took longer because I was too tired to scold or threaten, but I think we all enjoyed it more too. I read more slowly and listened more carefully. I laid next to them in bed and soaked in their love and warmth.

McKay's comment has made me think. Do I rush through too many of the routines that should be treasured? Sure there has to be structure too, and I think we're pretty good at that, but sometimes just slowing down and being together is most important. It is a lesson I've taken to heart and one I'm sure I'll need to be reminded of again (though hopefully not with the stomach flu). Still, I feel grateful for the reminders and the moments when my children teach me.

Light the World

During the month of December this year the LDS church is challenging everyone, everywhere, to Light the World for the 25 days leading up to Christmas. Each day has a theme related to following the Savior and some suggestions for how to light the world each day.

Our family has taken the challenge and it has made our Christmas one of the most meaningful ever! I have felt true joy each day as I personally focus on a specific aspect of the Savior's ministry and what I can do to serve or help someone else in a specific way.

It has spurred us to actions that we often only contemplate but don't actually do. We've donated money to the Utah Food Bank, delivered a meal to a family in need, sung our favorite Primary Songs to each other, and shared our favorite scriptures on facebook, among others.

Tonight as I was quickly reviewing facebook I realized what a wonderful feeling it was to read post after post about the wonderful ways people are lighting the world everywhere. Tonight my feed was filled with wonderful, uplifting thoughts and acts of service. Media is usually so full of criticism and complain. It was amazing to read about service, beautiful Christmas music, and how others everywhere are making a difference for good.

As I read tonight I remembered a blessing Dad gave me as I entered my first year at BYU. He described a picture he'd had come to his mind during the blessing. As he pictured me attending BYU, living with roommates, and meeting new people on campus he described it as lights touching one another, connecting and brightening their surroundings. Light the World is exactly this in action. What a beautiful Christmas gift!

Monday, June 27, 2016


We had a wonderful weekend as we celebrated the baptism of McKay. He was baptized Saturday and everything about the day was nearly perfect. More on that in the next post.

However, this morning was less than perfect. Things started out great but once we started getting ready for church things went downhill fast. McKay couldn't find his suit pants which he decided he HAD to wear to church today. He knew that he was going to be called up to the front of the congregation by Bishop Lawrence (his uncle) to be welcomed as the newest member of the church. And he was nervous. He wanted to look just right and determined that without his suit he just couldn't do it.

Well, me, BJ and McKay all combed the house searching for the lost pants. Of course this was during the critical time when everyone should be getting hair done, shoes on, etc, none of which could happen because were were all searching for suit pants.

Finally BJ took the other kids to church while I tried to convince McKay that slacks and a shirt and tie would be just great. No luck.

Finally, I talked him into getting dressed and we made it out the door just a couple of minutes late. We raced to church and walked in just as the ward business was being conducted. I sat down on a row close to the back and thought McKay was right behind me. However, when I turned to look for him I saw he had walked right past me to the very back of the church where he pulled out a chair and sat as far back as he could.

Shortly after we sat down, Bishop Lawrence spotted us and said, "For our next item of business, we'd like to invite McKay Cox to the stand."

I held my breath, wondering what in the world McKay would do. At first he just sat still, I think hoping if he didn't move, no one would notice him. People slowly started looking around, wondering where he was. He seemed to notice this and stood slowly. I started to breath again, relieved that he was actually going to do it.

McKay walked slowly toward the front of the chapel, toward our waiting Bishop then, unexpectedly, turned and walked straight out the doors of the meeting. I don't think I'll ever forget the confused look on the Bishop's face as he tried to figure out what to say. I know in all my 34 years attending church, I've never seen anyone do that. Leave it to McKay!

Personally I wanted to disappear through a crack in the floor. After an awkward pause and many confused glances which I responded to with a smile and a shrug, Bishop Lawrence covered with, "While we're waiting for McKay, we'll invite another sister to the stand."

McKay never came back. I don't know when I've been more upset with him. I honestly didn't know if I ought to take the sacrament since I could hardly concentrate on anything besides trying to subdue the desire to smack him. However, after some deep breaths and pondering, I went searching for him and found him hiding outside behind the church pillars.

We calmly talked about his behavior and then he was informed that for his punishment he would have to return to the church after the meetings were over to make up the time he had missed. So, later in the day McKay and I went back to church. He sat quietly, reading his scriptures and writing the Bishop an apology note until his 38 minutes were paid back.

I'm sure someday we'll laugh about this which is why I'm writing it down but even still at the end of the day my blood pressure starts to rise every time I think about it. There is no controlling this one, that's for sure!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Halloween 2015

This year for Halloween the boys were super excited to be Star Wars characters! With the upcoming release of the new Star Wars movie they thought it would be great to have the whole family dress to the theme. We all got on board and thought that would be great--except for Lily. She wanted to be Elsa from "Frozen" and nothing could deter her. She knows her own mind, that's for sure!

We got to work searching for the boys costumes, as well as our own. Rachel was to be Princess Leia and BJ Han Solo while McKay was Darth Vader and Benson a Storm Trooper. The boys decided that they wanted to be bad guys and we could be the good guys.

McKay as Lord Vader at the school parade

Benson the Storm Trooper at the school parade

Lily as Elsa, complete with the tiarra and shoes

Baby Kate got to be a little elephant. She was adored by everyone (and cozy too)!

The kids decided they wanted to go Trick-or-Treating in Nana and Papa's neighborhood, so Nana put on a perfectly spooky dinner of soup in bread bowls with accompanying festive finger foods.

Wickety Witch, our favorite Staheli Farm friend, happens to live in my parents's neighborhood! On Halloween she sits outside her house with her tasty witches brew and witches fingers so of course we had to pay her a visit.

The kids were excited to visit her, that is, up until we pulled up in front of her house and they actually saw her. She looked so convincing that the boys wouldn't get out of the car! Lily ran right out to meet her and play in her front yard (below). After a while I finally coaxed the boys into coming out of the car...but they wouldn't get too close to  her!

Before heading off for Trick-or-Treating, we stopped in at Grandma Cox's house for some pizza and cousin time. Lily and Lance are best cousin-friends and it shows!

I think they could actually pass as twins and they love to play together. They get so excited every time they see each other. I love it!

The boys were very excited about their Star Wars costumes and planned them for months. However, after wearing them to school and the ward Halloween party, the novelty apparently wore off. By October 31st they decided they weren't going to wear their themed costumes but instead opted to create Zombie costumes and paint their own faces. I washed my hands of the whole thing and tried to keep my eye-rolling to a minimum so as not to ruin the evening.

Zombie 1 & Zombie 2

As mentioned, BJ and I had planned to be Leia and Han Solo. However, when it came time to get dressed, I tried on the Leia wig I'd purchased and realized it was TINY! I couldn't get it over all of my hair. I was very disappointed. Then BJ suggested we should trade characters which, as you can see, we did! It worked surprising well! BJ rocked the tiny buns and dress and walked away from our friends Halloween party with the "Best Costume Award"!

Developing Kindness

A couple entries ago I mentioned how Benson is kind to his siblings. I'm seeing kindness manifesting itself in different ways among our little ones. It's encouraging to see! Certainly we have a long way to go, but to realize that sometimes they get it right is so comforting.

Today I had a rough morning. Nothing really out of the norm occurred but I was just feeling tired ( the baby had been up 3 or 4 times in the night) and overwhelmed. A few days ago a little friend of the boys walked into our house to play and totally innocently said to McKay, " Why is your house always so messy?" It cut me to the core because it's true. Sweet McKay nonchalantly replied, "Because my baby sister is always unloading things." This is true. But sadly it's also because Mom is always way behind on everything. And I can never seem to get ahead. Even though I work at it all day and often all night, it really never seems to improve. I feel overwhelmed at the task of caring for my 4 little ones and often feel I don't even do a good job at that, let alone all the housework!

Anyway, those thoughts were nagging at me this morning and by 9:00am I was already feeling frazzled. Then Benson accidentally stepped on the living room curtains and tore them off the wall. And I lost it. I didn't yell but I did cry which I usually don't do.

When it happened I just said in kind of an exasperated way, "Oh no, Benson"! He really lost it then and ran to his room crying. I went to my room crying and sat on the bed. Little Lily followed me into my room and sat down next to me. In the most grown-up way I've ever heard out of her she patted my knee sympathetically and said in a soft, nurturing tone, "It's ok Mom, you can fix it. Here, have a cheerios (she put one into my mouth). It will make you feel better. You don't need to cry. Here, take my hand, we'll go fix it Mom. It's ok Mom."

It was just the absolute sweetest thing. It completely melted my heart and actually made me cry more to have her be so gentle and sweet and realize that maybe underneath that busy, demanding 3-year-old is a kind sweetheart of a girl.

Anyway, Benson came back down and I comforted his little tender heart with a hug and a kiss and the admission that I knew it was just an accident. Little Benson just wants to be loved and it breaks his heart when he thinks he's not loved. Such a little tender heart.

And, the other day I was struggling with the kids, trying to get everyone ready and out the door on time. Everyone was fussing. Lily wanted help eating her breakfast, I was trying to feed the baby and make McKay's lunch and tie his shoes and pour Benson's milk and it was just crazy! Lily kept shouting about her cereal and I finally just looked at them all and said, "Mommy just can't do everything right now!"

They could all see I was frustrated. Then, out of nowhere, McKay hopped down out of his chair and walked over to Lily. He started talking in a cute little voice, offering to feed her and even making a game out of it so that she would take bites for him. He fed her all of her breakfast and made her laugh, to boot! I was able to get the lunch made, the shoes tied and all without the chorus of complaints from the moments before.

Just before McKay left for school I grabbed him and hugged him tight. I told him softly that his actions were some of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I was so proud of him for seeing a need and taking the initiative to serve our whole family by filling it. It was really wonderful and changed the entire ton of our home at that time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lily's Dance Class 2015

Little Miss Lily LOVES to dance! When she hears music, or even when she looks in the mirror, her first inclination is to dance, it's always been her first response. On the last day of Fall semester her class had a mini concert and some grown-up helper time. Daddy and Mommy were there to watch, but so were Nana and Papa. Lily chose Nana to do some dancing with her. It was precious!

This Fall she has been in Miss Susan's class at Southwest Dance. This is the dance studio that Mommy grew up dancing in, so it's a special place for our family!

On the wall behind Lily is a beautiful quote by Miss Candy, my original teacher. Of Southwest Dance she said, “Our dancers know … that they are loved … that they are important … that they have their own statement, their own music, their own dance waiting to be created. Southwest Dance Theatre is a lab for young, inventive minds. We are the keepers of innocence, the makers of dreams.”

Lily has loved dancing and couldn't be cuter! I can't wait to watch her in the final dance concert. I have a feeling it will be quite memorable!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Benson's Recent Quotes

This little guy has been keeping us laughing recently. He seems to learn new words by association which lends itself to some pretty funny vocabulary choices.

For example, Benson really likes quesadillas and recently BJ introduced him to the idea of an open-faced quesadilla. The cheese gets a little crispy and tasty. Benson really likes it. So, the other day for lunch he said to me,

 "Mom, can I have an open-head?"
"What?!?" I replied.
"You, know, like a quesadilla with crispy cheese." He said.

It took me until I'd made the whole quesadilla, puzzling the entire time about what he meant by "open-head" until I realized he was trying to say "open-face". We now refer to open-faced quesadillas by using Benson's term. Don't be alarmed if we ever offer you an open-head.... its not half bad!

Tonight at the end of dinner I said to BJ, "Oh no! I just ate that entire salad!" Since finishing your dinner is usually heralded as a major victory among the kids, they were confused by my distress. McKay said,
"Mom, why are you worried about finishing your dinner?"
"Because I'm trying to lose weight, honey."
McKay asked why but before I could explain Benson jumped right in and said,
"I know how you lose weight! Eat lots of burritos!"
"What? Why do you think that, Bens?" I asked.
"Because I saw it on grandma's TV! If you eat lots of burritos and other tacos and meals then you'll lose weight!"
Apparently he saw a commercial about weight loss meals. That's the kind of diet I'd like to be on!!

He is also the cheerful peace-maker in our home. More and more often I see him giving over to his siblings to help them be happy and keep the peace.
Last week Nana brought a little treat bag over for the kids to share. In it, among other things were 3 Gatorade drinks, each a different color. Apparently Benson wanted the yellow drink and McKay the blue. However, by morning McKay decided he wanted the yellow drink.
Throughout the morning I heard McKay trying to bargain and trade with Benson but Benson really wanted the yellow. Since I feel like Benson usually gets the shorter end of the stick in these types of situations I told McKay that after school we could go to the store and get another drink for each of them and McKay could get the yellow then.
McKay still wasn't satisfied but I told him he wasn't allowed to bother Benson about it anymore. Just then Benson said,
"Here McKay, you can have the yellow. I want you to feel happy."
I was so touched, I almost started to cry. It was such a sweet thing to do. Benson is like that. Always wanting those he loves to feel happy. He is like BJ in so many ways. So grateful for this sweet boy!