Thursday, December 15, 2011

a child's 10 commandments

I just found this on Pinterest and had to share it:

A Child’s Ten Commandments to Parents. Reading this just makes me want to do everything to be a better Mom.

1. My hands are small; please don’t expect perfection whenever I make a bed, draw a picture, or throw a ball. My legs are short; please slow down so that I can keep up with you.

2. My eyes have not seen the world as yours have; please let me explore safely: don’t restrict me unnecessarily.

3. Housework will always be there. I’m only little such a short time—please take time to explain things to me about this wonderful world, and do so willingly.

4. My feelings are tender; please be sensitive to my needs; don’t nag me all day long. (You wouldn’t want to be nagged for your inquisitiveness.) Treat me as you would like to be treated.

5. I am a special gift from God; please treasure me as God intended you to do, holding me accountable for my actions, giving me guidelines to live by, and disciplining me in a loving manner.

6. I need your encouragement, but not your praise, to grow. Please go easy on the criticism; remember you can criticize the things I do without criticizing me.

7. Please give me the freedom to make decisions concerning myself. Permit me to fail, so that I can learn from my mistakes. Then someday I’ll be prepared to make the kind of decisions life requires of me.

8. Please don’t do things over for me. Somehow that makes me feel that my efforts didn’t quite measure up to your expectations. I know it’s hard, but please don’t try to compare me with my brother or my sister.

9. Please don’t be afraid to leave for a weekend together. Kids need vacations from parents, just as parents need vacations from kids. Besides, it’s a great way to show us kids that your marriage is very special.

10. Please take me to Sunday school and church regularly, setting a good example for me to follow. I enjoy learning more about God.

Christmas in the Stoker house

I am finally feeling better, thank goodness. Now I can get back to life, clean my house, and get ready for Christmas which is only 10 days away...what? I know, Dec is flying by. So other than being housebound we haven't really been up to much. It has been rainy here and cold which is just a constant reminder of why we lived in Arizona (lol). I don't mind the rain but the kids go a little crazy being stuck in the house all day. I guess we are going to need to branch out and find some fun places to go inside in ABQ. We have been enjoying the lights and the Christmas spirit right now. The kids love looking for the Elf on the Shelf every morning. I am not always creative with the placement of the elf but he does bring a gift once in while which is kind of a take off from a tradition in Brandon's childhood.

Jackson is very excited about Christmas, asking me every day if it is Christmas yet. And Elizabeth is so excited to go to Grandma Stoker's house. She names everyone she is going to see each day including the dogs. It really is amazing how much the kids remember and take in. Everyone says they are like little sponges but it isn't until you have children of your own that the saying really comes to life.

I decided to make a few gifts this year which is really fun and gives a little personal touch on Christmas. One item that I made recently is Elizabeth's Christmas dress. I have been thinking about this dress for a long time, like 4 months. Finally I knew what I wanted and I made it. It turned out exactly how I pictured it. I just wish it fit a little better on the top, but better bigger than too small.
Jackson will be wearing a sweater, tie combo that I bought from Children's Place with matching colors (black, white, red, and grey). He looks very dashing in it. He is really getting to be such a big boy. Taller, older, smarter. I just can't believe how fast time flies. I have a picture of him sitting on Santa's lap when he was a baby and it seems like a lifetime ago. I am so happy to have him and Elizabeth in my life, I thank God everyday for bringing them to me. But mostly it brings a spirit to Christmas that is so sweet, it brings joy to every day.

Last week we had a Christmas party for Joy School and the kids re-enacted the birth of the Savior. Jackson was a wise men. He wasn't into the Christmas song singing but when it came time to praise the Lord he wanted to be right there. I told him that his part was to bring a gift to Jesus...his response, "But he is up in the clouds."Kids are so pure of heart. All of the kids were great in the play and it was fun to share the story of the birth of the Lord with them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tis the Season

Tis the season to be...SICK. I swear we have been sick for almost two weeks. It goes around the whole family and then just when I think we are over it the next one comes. I thought flu shots are suppose to protect us to an extent? Anyways, right now I am in sanitation mode cleaning the whole house of the germs that have invaded our lives. Hopefully it will pass soon and we can enjoy some holiday activities before Christmas passes. (BTW only 12 days till Christmas). Good thing I got my shopping done early.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Let it Snow

Yep it snowed here. The perfect amount in my opinion. Sat and Sun it snowed a light fluffy frost. I looked out the window Saturday morning to find my backyard covered in a beautiful untouched blanket of white. There was a little drizzle of fluffy white flakes drifting down melting just as they hit the ground. Seriously so gorgeous I stopped everything, sat on the couch and just admired the sceenery for a few moments of peace. Then came the kids, lol. They were so excited to see the snow. First time ever that they can remember. We got bundled up and went outside. Jackson made a snowman instantly, not at my request (it must be innate). Then we proceeded to make a snowman. Lizzy lasted about 10 min before she took off her gloves and cried that she was cold, proceeding directly to a nice warm bath. Jack and I continued with our snowman. When he was formed Jack had some very specific ideas for the type of snowman he was going to be. Can you guess?....

A pirate of course. We got out the hat and eye patch. Jackson made sure he had all the needed appendages (he really is a perfectionist) and we snapped a few shots before going inside.
Then we had our ward Christmas party on Sat. night where Santa came to visit. Jack talked about meeting Santa all day long, but when the time actually came to sit on his lap and shake his hand Jackson chickened out of course. He wouldn't even get in the picture with Elizabeth and me. He really is such a whimp sometimes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Last 2 Weeks

Wow it has been 2 weeks since my last what have we been doing?

-online classes
-taking the CFP test
-preparing Thanksgiving dinner (best turkey ever made)
-setting up our Christmas decorations
-Christmas shopping
-making Christmas gifts
-sewing (I know but I have been doing a lot of sewing)
-preparing/planning for the RS Christmas party
-counting or at least working on counting
-taking Jackson to school
-going to the gym
-play dates
-park dates
-date night
-guest posting

Basically I am tired. I have something to do every day, aside from the usual clean the house, play with the kids, feed the family, etc. I think that after the new year our lives will calm down a bit but until then I have my calendar out and about 7 lists attached to my refrigerator.
Here are some other things we have done over the past two weeks:

Liz pulled our Christmas tree over right after we set it up and it broke so we had to buy a new one. Good thing it was Black Friday and we got a great deal. I really like the new tree, it is bigger and fuller. Plus I can put all my antique ornaments that my Aunt Sue has passed down to me on the bigger tree. The kids had a great time putting the ornaments on the tree and listening to me tell them about each one. I have a few from my own childhood which brings back so many memories of family and love. I buy the kids a new ornament each year as well so it was fun telling them about their ornaments as well. We also bought an electric train to go around the bottom of the tree this year. That facilitated about an hour of fun, laying on their bellies and pushing the button to make the train circle around.

Making pies for Thanksgiving. The kids helped me roll the dough for the crust. Jackson was actually really good and it and a big help.
This is Elizabeth's favorite activity these days. Painting. Not just painting, painting herself. I have learned that when Liz is painting she must do it naked because she really enjoys making herself "beautiful" by adding lots of colors to her tummy, arms, face, and even her hair. After her painting is done we immediately follow it with a bubble bath, her second favorite activity.
We are busy but happy and looking forward to the holidays with food, family, and friends.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall Themed Service

Jackson learned about service this week in joy school. They made a service sticker chart and learned about serving the community and our family. So when he got home the first thing he did was want to do a service project. It was a beautiful sunny day and fairly warm (50 degrees) so we went in the back yard and racked some leaves. It was so much fun. We racked and racked until we made a huge pile. Then of course we jumped and rolled in it! I just love fall and the beautiful color changing leaves.

I think this is the first time the kids have ever played in the leaves. It brought back all my childhood memories. Working in the yard with my dad. The roads lined with orange and yellow trees, leaves sprinkled on the ground. The fall wind brisk, a bit chilly, and smells amazing. I am just loving the weather in Albuquerque.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Creative Endeavors

Starting my own clothing line....

I wish. I'm not quite there yet but I have been doing a lot of sewing lately and come up with some very original ideas, most of which are my own designs. Want to see what I have made in the last month alone (not counting Halloween Costumes)?

I am currently working on a swing jacket for Liz, a Christmas skirt for her, Christmas shirts for both the kids, and a black dress for Liz. Good thing I have a girl or my creative outlet might be stiffened. My little muse always happy to pose for the camera.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cancer Watch.The Next Round

It is far past time for an update. Sorry for anyone wanting to know what is happening. Since my last post my mom has finished her first round of chemo, had a 3 week break, and is now into the last chemo stretch (1x/week for 12weeks). I think it is just wearing her down going in every week. On the plus side the chemo is less severe and she doesn't have to have the bone shots so that is a big relief on the bod. After her last round she was feeling really crappy (only word to describe it that I feel comfortable using.) She was nauseas, tired, and just worn down. So the doctor decided to give her a blood transfusion. After that she bounced back and found relief. Sometimes the body can only take so many chemicals before it breaks down.

Another side effect is a neurological disease that sometimes appears in chemo patients on their palms and bottom of their feet. It can be really bad, raw, red, and blisters. My mom's case was mild but itchy, raw, and red. Thankfully the doctor gave her some lotion that seemed to sooth it a bit but soon after her skin peeled off. She described it as similar to a snake shedding it's skin. I know that might be TMI but I am really trying to be clear and accurate in what has been happening for our family records.

It is ironic that most of the problems my mom has faced so far are side effects. Things to consider when fighting the battle of cancer. It is not just the fight but there are many obstacles along the way. Last month was breast cancer awareness month...I hope all of you had someone in your prayers that is battling this disease right now. It only takes one person to effect hundreds.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Halloween

A little late but better than never....our Halloween update. This year we were lucky enough to go to AZ for Halloween. Brandon had to go to Phoenix for a CFP course so we tagged along. It was really fun to visit our family and friends again. But it wasn't all fun and games I had to work too. But at least my work is fun, taking pictures of families I love. I actually booked 10 families over the week so that was a great surprise. That is one of the reasons this post is so late...I have been editing.

Anyways, we had a really fun Halloween party with our AZ mom's group. I really miss those moms.

We carved pumpkins on Sunday, well mainly just Diane, Brianna, and myself but the kids liked looking at the pumpkins and giving us advice on what to carve. And of course we watched Disney Halloween Special, a tradition that both Brandon and myself shared growing up as children. We carved a pig pumpkin for Liz and a pirate for Jackson (what else would we carve right?)

Then we went to the neighborhood Halloween party on Halloween. BEST PARTY IN TOWN. Food, games, bouncy houses, and candy. Can't beat that. The kids had a lot of fun this year playing the fishing game (Liz won stretchy bracelets), tossing the football and bean bags, and of course the bouncy house. They mainly stuck to the little kid bouncy house but Lizzy was brave and went down the slide a few times with all the big kids jumping around, running up and down the slides, and just being too rowdy. She really is so brave. But what I think Jackson liked the most was the fact that Grandpa dressed up like Jack Sparrow as well.

Then we tried trick or treating for the first time ever. I didn't take Jack last year because I have this rule that you have to be able to say trick or treat to actually get candy. Anyways, it wasn't a total success. The first house Jackson said trick or treat but then he tried to give the man his own candy. Then next house it was the same. I figured by the third house he would understand. But he was so excited to ring the door bell that he tripped, fell on his face on the cement and ended up crying with a huge abrasion on his face. After that he was done.

Lizzy however wanted to try a few more houses. She was so cute. Saying trick or treat and Happy Halloween then thanking the people for the candy. When someone wasn't home she would say, "oops this house is broken, try the next one." But the cutest part was that she didn't understand why the people weren't inviting her into their homes. She would wait by the door even after they closed it. So sweet.

Even though the kids didn't quite understand everything about Halloween it was still so much fun watching them enjoy a holiday that I love and I can't wait for next year. Something about children brings magic to every holiday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall in Albuquerque

I LOVE the weather in Albuquerque. I never thought I would say this but I am really liking living here now. The seasons are so beautiful and it is so nice to get back to my roots with all the outdoor activities. Lately it has been about 65 degrees and sunny. A small chill of wind but the sun and blue skies are so lovely it just makes you want to spend all day outside. Which we do often. This weekend we decided to take a little adventure and travel up to the woods. The drive was amazing. The autumn, yellow, red, green, the woodsy smell, and the sun shining down on us. We hiked up in the Sandia Crest listening to the animals, climbing on trees, and enjoying the adventure. The kids had a blast and even hiked about 2 miles which is amazing. I felt so at peace, and it reminded me of my dad. I have been thinking about him a lot lately and this was the perfect day to reflect on my life and memories with him.