Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Swim Lessons

The girls have been doing swim lessons every day for 2 weeks. I'm too tired to describe exactly how exhausting it is to take my 3 little ones there every day for 90 minutes, especially since I've been sick the whole time, so maybe it's best to sum up:

1. Rebekah screaming, kicking, and throwing a tantrum for all 30 minutes of her swim lesson EVERY day!
2. 105 degrees fahrenheit!!! Even in the shade it's blazing hot!
3. 3:30pm to 5pm - which has to be the worst time of day as far as my kids' behavior goes - and mine :-)
4. Waking a sleeping baby every afternoon to make him go sit in the heat with me
5. Maija swimming on her own for the first time after only 1 week of classes
6. Rebekah swimming on her own between the screams and yells, "No! No! Mommy! Mommy!"
7. In other words, despite my being sick and 1-5 above, it was well worth it! My girls can actually swim on their own!

Their teacher, Ami, has amazing patience and really knows how to get these little ones to swim. I was so sad to miss the last day, but I was grateful to one of the other mommies (thanks, Sharlet!) for taking my girls while I was sick.

All in all, mission accomplished! Now on to our next challenge of the summer...trying not to go stir crazy in July!

P.S. Forest will be 4 months old next week, if you can believe it! We get to finalize the adoption in 2 months, and I'm counting down. At the end of September, we'll be able to be sealed to him in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple. It can't come too soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thanks for the Tip

This morning was another chaotic beginning to a busy day. I was on carpool duty (or so I thought - see "End of Story" below) to preschool summer camp which means that all 3 of my children and myself needed to be fed, cleaned up, dressed, strapped in and ready to go in time to pick up our carpool friend, Abby, and get both she and Maija to their preschools (2 different ones that are close to each other) on time. I know, all you mothers out there are thinking, "Yeah, been there, done that."

I was rushing around getting breakfast ready, snacks for preschool ready, and everything else in order when Forest woke up screaming 15 minutes before I wanted him to. I'm going as fast as I can getting breakfast done so I can focus on making a bottle and getting Forest fed and ready when Rebekah yells to me, "Mama! Mama!" I thought something had happened because she sounded so urgent. "Mama! Forest crying! He hungry! You have to feed him!" She comes running into the kitchen and again makes sure that I know that Forest is hungry, "Mama! You feed him!"

All I could think was, "I'm going as fast as I can!" so I sarcastically say to her, "I know, honey. Thanks for the tip!" My sweet little 2 year old who is without guile looked up at me and said, "Thanks for the tip? OK, Mama. You welcome." I was so grateful that the sarcasm of my comment had completely escaped her, and I was reminded that sometimes those frustrating things they do or say really have the best intentions. She was genuinely worried about Forest and trying to inform me of what he needed. Oh to be a child again! I wouldn't mind being oblivious to sarcasm now and then.

"End of Story"
After all of this and loading everyone in the car, I pulled out of my garage and almost ran into my friend and neighbor, Jen, who had come to pick Maija up for preschool. I had forgotten that we agreed Jen would take the girls this morning. Oh well... at least we were all ready to start the day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Our Garden

OK, it should really be called "Kent's Garden" because he got the garden going and has been taking care of it. It's sort of become an evening tradition when he gets home for the girls and him to go out and "check" the garden. Maija planted some flowers that she is so proud of now that they are growing, and they love helping Daddy look for new vegetables that are appearing.

Although Arizona is burning hot in the summer, if you plant things in the right spot, you can actually grow certain things nearly year round. We have cucumbers, corn and peppers growing. Last year we had tons of squash, but for some reason they aren't doing as well this year. Of course, we've also moved houses and had to start the garden from scratch. Anyway, it's a great way to save $$$ on vegies, and it's fun to see how things grow from little seeds to food.

Kent asked me to post a few pics of the garden. I'm also posting some adorable pictures of Forest and the girls.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Close Call

A few weeks ago I read an article about a mother of two toddlers who was in the same room with them when her large, sturdy dresser tipped over and crushed her 3 year-old's skull. Awful, terrible, but luckily the child survived though he was left blind. She had turned around for a minute and her son apparently started climbing the dresser. She said she never would've guessed that such a sturdy dresser would ever fall over, much less on her child. This story seriously freaked me out, and I thought about the pieces of furniture around our house that we already know aren't sturdy in the first place. Then there are the dressers etc. that we think ARE sturdy.

I started bugging Kent about securing a hutch and television in the kids' playroom, and a couple of Saturdays went by. Finally, this past weekend we bought what we needed, and Kent secured the hutch and the TV inside of it both to the wall. Well all I can say is thank heavens (!!!) I followed my gut because just this morning my two-year-old Rebekah came running out of the playroom crying that something was falling. I went in there to find the television literally hanging out of the hutch. The chain we used to secure it to the wall had worked, and visions of the TV crushing her little feet, legs, or worse were just that ... visions... and not reality. I thank the Lord for the promptings that moved me to secure that TV.

Moral of the story: Secure your furniture! LIsten to your gut!

A few facts about childhood injuries from household furniture - http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/FOIA08/os/tipover.pdf

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Seriously, technology is amazing. I'm posting from my cell phone. We're all going a little stir crazy - stuck inside cause of the heat so I'm doing things like figuring out how to post on my blog via text messages. Very cool!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Twenty years ago today the Tiananmen Square Massacre happened in Beijing, China. As I watched a report about it on the news today, I became choked up with emotions about that day. I was just barely 18 years old and just about to graduate from high school, and I was also living in Hong Kong when the massacre happened. For weeks before tensions had been mounting, and although Hong Kong was a British colony at the time, there were demonstrations and protests going on all over the city in support of the pro-democracy protests occurring in China itself. I had attended one of the demonstrations where thousands of people peacefully chanted and listened to speeches about freedom and democracy.

Hong Kong had a lot riding on what happened in China at the time because within a few years the city-state was to revert back to Chinese rule, and many were nervous about how their own personal freedoms would be affected. Those of us expatriates, especially from the West, watched with anticipation to see what would happen. Student protesters had filled Tiananmen Square in Beijing and had even erected a Statue of Liberty. We all kept saying, "The Chinese government won't hurt them. They can't do it with the world watching." But they did do it on June 4, 1989. It was a Sunday, and we woke up to headlines in the Sunday newspaper that some of the student protesters had been killed at the hands of the Chinese government. My heart was heavy, but at this point we still thought it was just a few people who had been killed. We went to church where everyone was crying and emotional. Instead of the regular 3 hour block of meetings, we only met for an hour, and everyone went home.

My good friend, Jennie, was visiting me from the States, and we had heard that there was a massive demonstration against the killings going on close to my house. We went downtown and were overwhelmed to see a virtual sea of Hong Kong Chinese marching through the streets of Hong Kong. Jennie and I sat on a fence on the side of the street, and unwittingly became symbols ourselves of the freedom they were marching for. The demonstrators were chanting in Chinese "Freedom! Freedom!" but when they saw 2 American girls on the side of the street, they began to chant in English "Freedom! Freedom!" Thousands of people marched past us and grabbed our hands, "Thank you! Thank you!" they said. I have never been so overcome with gratitude for the freedoms I had taken for granted my whole life. Living in various countries growing up I had always assumed that I was entitled to protection and freedom simply because I was American. That day in Hong Kong I realized that freedom is NEVER free! That people died for us to have freedom in the United States and now people had died in China trying to bring freedom to their own people.

After we returned home that night we found out that more than 1 million people marched that day in Hong Kong, and also that possibly thousands had been killed in China simply for demonstrating for freedom. I learned in a very personal way that freedom is a blessing and a privilege. "We the people" are the ones who should be running our country, and as soon as the government becomes a power unto itself disregarding the will of the people, it is time for all who love freedom and democracy to wake from the slumber of complacence and realize what a blessing it is to be free. We are not entitled to be free simply because we are Americans; we are simply enjoying the results of what others fought and gave their lives for. We are not entitled to live free of terror simply because we are Americans; we have a responsibility to do all in our power to be able to live free from terror. I will always have a greater appreciation for the amazing gift of freedom that I enjoy and that so may in the world are still longing for.