Monthly Archives: September 2011

Raine’s 3rd birthday party

Today was Raine’s birthday party with some of her friends. We held it at the newly revamped playground in our neighborhood — the equipment is all new and they just finished the pavilions over the picnic tables, it is really nice. The kids played and ate cupcakes, it was a lot of fun!

“Mmmm, cupcakes!”
In this photo: Raine, Cade Walker, Elyse Staheli, Zade Brown, Alicia Brown, Ashley Walker, Boston Walker, Kaiden Bond, Alysha Bond, William Staheli.

In this photo: Raine, Zade, Cade, Elyse.

Admiring the present that Boston and Cade decorated. (Kaiden is in the background.)

Making sidewalk art with Carter, Cade, and Kaiden.

Carter still has his obsession with balloons.

I caught Carter just long enough to get a photo . . . he’s always on the go these days.

Swinging with Elyse.

Discussing life with Zade.

Three! Three! Look at me!!!

Raine had been waiting for this day for over two months, and it finally arrived with as much fan-fare as we could muster. Daddy took the day off work so we could celebrate. We started the morning with some of the chocolate muffins that Raine took to school to share with her class. We lit the candles, sang happy birthday (twice), and Raine blew them out.

Next, we got ready to head to the zoo. But before we left, Raine got to open one of her presents so she could take it with her.

Yep, her very own bag of Nibs. Daddy received a bag for his birthday and you could see the longing in her face . . . she wanted a bag of her own. So she was thrilled to finally be the proud owner of a large bag of Nibs. She ate them whenever she wanted to eat them and was fantastic at sharing with everyone (a little too fantastic at sharing with Carter in fact).

At the zoo we fed the birds, a favorite activity that Raine has passed on to Carter.

Raine showing me how to stand like a flamingo.

Raine riding the carousel.

Carter collecting acorns.

Raine in front of the giraffes.

I love this photo, it so accurately depicts what happens when you try to take too many photos of your kids. Just look at Raine’s face, priceless.

After the zoo, we opened a couple more presents.

This fur-real pet barks and walks around, and is as close to a real dog as we will ever own. Raine LOVED it and named it Sydney, a name she came up with all on her own.

Raine also received a purse, which she immediately loaded with all of her “necessities.” Raine loves to put stuff in stuff — puzzle pieces in tupperware, blocks in serving bowls, my makeup in her block sorter, etc. Her hoarding is quite extreme at times, so I have no doubt that this purse will remain well filled.

Next we were off to Panera Bread, Raine’s favorite restaurant.

The reason this is Raine’s favorite restaurant is that they have giant M&M cookies (or “nem-n-nem cookies” as she calls them).

Raine ate that whole cookie by herself — a first, and definitely a last. Why a last? Carter, can you show us why cookies should only be eaten in moderation?

Yes, that’s right! (I love the “belly stage” and Carter just entered it. He lifts up his shirt and points to his belly button all the time. I could just eat him up!!)

After dinner, a little sibling hug and kiss (yep, that’s how Carter kisses, it is a very wet, messy affair) . . .

. . . turned into a full-on tickle war.

After a bath, Raine opened the rest of her presents.

She jammed on her new guitar . . .

. . . then read the new books that Grandma gave her and went to bed. It was a fun, fun day!

The scriptures according to Raine

Each night before bed, we read “Book of Mormon Stories” to Raine. Tonight we were reading “Lehi’s Dream” (as we are every night because Raine always wants to read the same chapter, over and over; it used to be Nephi building the ship, now it is Lehi’s dream, in a week or two it will be something else). As I read, the following conversation took place.

Momma, reading: “Lehi saw many people in his dream. . .”
Raine, interrupting: “No, it’s Nephi’s dream.”
Momma: “Well, this one is Lehi’s, but yeah technically they both saw it.”
Raine, not impressed in the least with technicalities: “No this one is Nephi’s.”
Momma, sensing that I am not going to win this argument but willing to give it one more try: “No it’s Lehi’s dream, see” (pointing to the photo)

“That is Lehi and he is eating the fruit.”

“And there is Nephi here, Lehi wants him to eat the fruit.”
Raine: “No, it’s Nephi’s.”
Momma, having recognized defeat and now trying to change the subject: “See everyone eating the fruit, are you going to eat the fruit?” (Please say yes, please say yes!)
As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I regretted them. All I could think about was Elder Bednar’s talk on how our conversations with our children can indicate spiritual problems, i.e. if she says ‘no’ then the writing is on the wall . . . she will fall away from the straight and narrow before she even enters kindergarten and all will be lost, I will have failed as a parent. It was one of those irrational thoughts that flash through a parent’s mind and even though you don’t actually believe the thought, it is disturbing nonetheless.

Raine: “No, I don’t want to eat the fruit.”
I knew it, good-bye iron rod.
Momma, trying to change her three-year-old mind: “But it’s really yummy; see, all the people are eating it.”
Raine: “I don’t want to eat fruit.”
Momma, pointing out how Nephi was eating it and he was the good guy. Then to reaffirm my point I asked: “Who’s the good guy?”
Raine: “Lemuel.”
Momma: “What!?!” (didn’t see that coming.) “No, Laman and Lemuel are the bad guys, Nephi is the good guy. Remember?”
Raine, finally revealing what was really going on on that three-year-old brain: “Did Laman and Lemuel just need to go potty first? And then they will eat the fruit?”
Momma, having completely given up on this gospel discussion: “I don’t know, do you think they just need to go potty first?”
Raine: “Yes. They will just go over to that building ’cause that’s where the potties are and then they will come back and eat the fruit.”

Momma: “Oh?”
Raine: “Yeah, but that is a big step.” (pointing to the river) “They will have to watch out for that big step.”
Momma, satisfied that we could at least agree on one point: “Yep, they will definitely have to watch out there.”

So there you have it, an alternate interpretation of what Lehi’s dream REALLY meant with regard to Laman and Lemuel.

We have random conversations like this all the time but I am never in a position to record them, so I’m glad that I got this one down. Although, a written rendition doesn’t do it justice because you can’t hear her sweet little voice with its three-year-old New-England accent.

First day(s) of school . . . and a note about Momma

School has FINALLY started again! Raine’s first day was Thursday, September 1. She was so excited! Her teachers are Ms. Lenise and Ms. Lori. Almost all of the kids in her class were in her class last year, including her good friend Karsyn, so it has been fun for her to jump right in.

Raine loves structured activities, so school is a great place for her. This year she is attending two days a week, like she did last year. It is frequent enough that she is comfortable with the routine and people but not so frequent that I feel like I never see her.

Carter is only attending on Tuesday so his first day was the 6th. His teachers are Ms. Rae Jean and Ms. Heather (she was Raine’s teacher for the past two years so we were very excited to find out that Carter will be with her this year).

Carter is a bit of a momma’s boy. He clung on for dear life when I dropped him off and shed a few token tears as she carried him away. But he was done before I even finished signing him in so I knew he would be fine — and he was.

Now a note about Momma: A few months ago I decided to increase my “attorney activities” by taking on more cases and joining some legal associations. I was invited to join the Mahon Inn of Court, which has monthly dinner meetings and other social events. It draws the best and brightest attorneys and judges in the area and provides mentoring and social opportunities. I feel a little out of my league with all the big-firm attorneys but I think I have been holding my own so far. It is a fabulous opportunity for me to meet and learn from the best and I really enjoy it.

These past three weeks have been a perfect storm of events that have kept me beyond busy. These were the biggest time consumers: (1) the placement in one of my cases blew-up so I had several unexpected hearings and had to visit various new placements; (2) a lady from the Ward had her child removed by CPS so I represented her until she was able to obtain a court-appointed attorney; and (3) I was just sustained as the 2nd Counselor in the Primary, my first real Primary calling EVER! I have no idea what I am doing because the only Primary calling that I have ever held was as the assistant secretary for six months in Pittsburgh. I was in charge of the bulletin board — I didn’t even interact with the kids — so leading Sharing Time and actually teaching the kids is a new experience for me. And I will be honest, I’m really not a kid person. I love my own kids and have tons of fun with them, but other people’s kids . . . well, they’re a bit foreign. Needless to say, this will be a huge learning experience for me.

Despite all the craziness, we still managed to take a couple trips to the zoo — on the days that we weren’t breaking the all-time heat record. (Seriously Mother Nature, 107* in mid-September is a bit extreme, don’t you think? Did you miss the memo that it is now autumn, the season of playing outside? Give my poor yard a break!)