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Monday, March 28, 2011

Benjamin's contagious laugh!

Here are a couple of videos of Benjamin's contagious laugh. This was a couple of Sundays ago after having lunch with my parents. To keep Benjamin entertained, my Dad started playing with this tape measure and it totally got Ben laughing!

Below is the same video, but with the audio a little messed up. Something went wrong when we tried to compress the video file and what resulted was a really deep gut-like laugh from Benjamin. Marc thought it sounded like a character from the Goonies and I wondered if that's what his laugh will sound like in fifty years or so!

Either way, we just love his laugh! He brightens our world more than I could properly express! What a joyful fifteen months he has given us!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Life with Boys

I grew up with five brothers. I felt like I was somewhat prepared for life with boys. I just didn't realize how early some of their boyish instincts would kick in. Benjamin has been testing his climbing limits for a few months now, but he's clearly getting more and more confident (and risky).

And, then there's Hugh. He's always been a bit more cautious than Ben. But, he must be taking careful notes of everything Ben does. I had my back turned for just a few minutes and when I turned to check on my boys, I noticed that look on Hugh's face... like he was looking for trouble. Do you see it, too?

Oh, that mischievous grin!

I didn't happen to capture it on camera because I was panicking a little and had put the camera down... but, at one point Hugh was standing up and hanging onto the bookshelf, like Ben was doing. At ten months, mind you.

Heaven help me!

Oh, and by the way, the reason for the empty bookshelves and the cardboard boxes - we're moving! Just across town and into a larger home for our growing family. Wait, that isn't an announcement of any kind... just meaning that our family has doubled in size since we moved into our current place! (I really should be more careful how I say things around here.) We really like the place we're in right now, but we're also really excited about our new home. Lots of great things to look forward to.

Which, reminds me... anybody have any helpful advice or tips about how to make our move more smooth for our boys? I've been a little worried about how a change like this will affect Ben and Hugh. Oh, and our plan is to move them into the same bedroom with this move, now that they're both on the same sleep schedule. And, I'm not quite sure what to expect with a transition like that.

Any advice?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The powerful role of babies

After writing my last post, I came across this news story in Japan about a baby being born just days after their terrible earthquake. While reading it, I remembered the following quote that I've always really liked:

About sixty years ago, F. M. Bareham wrote the following:

"A century ago (in 1809) men were following with bated breath the march of Napoleon and waiting with feverish impatience for news of the wars. And all the while in their homes babies were being born. Who could think about babies? Everybody was thinking about battles.

"In one year between Trafalgar and Waterloo there stole into the world a host of heroes: Gladstone was born in Liverpool; Tennyson at the Somersby Rectory; and Oliver Wendall Holmes in Massachusetts. Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky, and music was enriched by the advent of Felix Mendelssohn in Hamburg.

"But nobody thought of babies, everybody was thinking of battles. Yet which of the battles of 1809 mattered more than the babies of 1809? We fancy God can manage His world only with great battalions, when all the time He is doing it with beautiful babies."

To quote Spencer W. Kimball on this topic:

"When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants discovering, God sends a baby into the world to do it. While most of the thousands of precious infants born every hour will never be known outside their neighborhoods, there are great souls being born who will rise above their mother gives us a Shakespeare, another a Michelangelo, and other an Abraham Lincoln. When theologians are reeling and stumbling, when lips are pretending and hearts are wandering, and people are running to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord and cannot find it - when clouds of error need dissipating and spiritual darkness needs penetrating and heavens need opening, a little infant is born."

Monday, March 21, 2011

My little corner of the World

My heart has felt heavy lately. Mostly, I think, because of all the pain and suffering around the world. From the injustice in Libya to the devastation in Japan to our friends down the street from us who are in the middle of fighting their own tiring battle. At night, we pray for them all as well as a whole list of others we know who are suffering in some way. It's just that lately as the list has gotten longer so has the burden of worry and sadness.

I feel so helpless. I can't go to Sendai and help the sweet Japanese people rebuild their city, though I wish I could. I can't go to Libya and dethrone Ghaddafi (in my mind I always want to say God-Awful). I can't find awesome jobs for those who've been unemployed for longer than imaginable. Sitting in my little corner of the world, I can't fix the troubles, I can't solve the problems, that so many are facing both near and far.

That helpless feeling can become so overwhelming.


The other day I had a moment when the helpless feeling turned to something more similar to hopeful. I was reminded that "man's extremity is God's opportunity," as expressed by Elder Holland in this talk.

As I sit in the comfort of my own home, feeling overwhelmed by all of the suffering going on in different corners of the world right now (feeling both guilty and grateful for my blessings), I remember that there is an omnipotent God who is also full of love and compassion. He loves and is keenly aware of all of His children in every far corner of the earth. I know that He has the power to make things right. And, somehow, He can even take the most awful of circumstances and turn them around.

(Not that that means I'm content to sit idly by, doing nothing... just that I can find comfort in doing what I can from where I'm at without feeling hopeless at my minuscule efforts.)


Fortunately the duties of motherhood have provided me with some distraction from getting too engrossed in the 10 o'clock news. As I turn my focus from news stories to my little boys - Benjamin and Hugh - I feel some worry about the world they'll grow up in and how to properly prepare them for that, but mostly I feel empowered by their innocence and purity.

I don't have control over the affairs of the world, but I do have some control over our little corner in this great big world. Their (Ben's and Hugh's) world, is one in which I do have some control. I can choose the environment they grow up in, I can create a haven of peace, I can influence them for good. I can be patient, I can keep my calm, I can teach kindness with my actions. Here we can have peace. Here we can find comfort and safety from life's storms.

While wars are raging and natural disasters are wreaking havoc, the reality is that here in my little corner of the world I still have dirty diapers to change and mouths to feed and owies to kiss and two little boys who need me.

And, thank goodness for that.

(And, we'll keep flooding heaven with our prayers... hoping they might help just a little.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ten months

My baby is ten months old today. Where has the time gone? I was watching him today, the way he's cruising around the furniture at practically a running pace, squealing with excitement, and I just can't believe how fast he's growing.

Hugh is our little lion, growling more than babbling. Last month at his 9-month check up I had to fill out a questionnaire about his development and when I got to the questions about babbling, I really didn't know how to answer honestly. I love it, though, and feel a little sad that at some point it'll probably stop. I must get a decent video of his best growling.

This was a big week for Hugh. He figured out how to clap on his own. He started saying "oh" in a voice that reminds me of either Rocky Balboa or some mafioso. He's still doing his "humming" sound when he eats - especially when it's yogurt.

AND, his first tooth has finally poked through! I've been checking his ever smooth newborn-like gums for the last few weeks, for any signs of teeth coming in. Nothing. Then, the other day he was smiling is his scrunchy nose, open-mouth grin and I thought I saw something stuck to his upper gums. With a quick swipe of my finger, I realize it was a tooth! This whole time I had been looking on the bottom, not even considering that the top teeth might come in first. I was a little surprised by it since Ben got his bottom two in first.

Hugh doesn't miss a thing - who's coming, who's going, who's eating, who's talking, when it's time to eat, when it's time to sleep, when it's time to get up, when you've left the room... you get the idea.

And, here is one more video of him crawling over Ben's Buzz Lightyear car. I'm not really sure why, but even when there's a clear path for him to walk around it he'll still choose to crawl over it. I love how some of the controls on the car go off while he's stuck and trying to get over.

Hugh just adores Benjamin - when they see each other first thing in the morning of just after their naps, Hugh squeals and tries to squirm out of my arms. Oh, and when he gets really excited, he flexes his bum muscles... it cracks me up. Even just thinking about it now is making me laugh.

It's been a fun ten months. I'm still trying to wrap my head around his birth and all that came with his arrival, but mostly I just feel so grateful for such a happy outcome and such a happy boy. I'm so glad he's part of our family and we've been blessed with his sweetness and spunk.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

When I see you smile

(Note: I wrote most of this post yesterday about my day yesterday, but didn't quite have it finished before going to bed last night. Not that any of you care about a detail like that, except that today's weather was so much different than yesterday's, which would have drastically changed this entire post. Just so you know... and just in case any locals wonder how I got the sun to shine on me alone while the rain poured down on everyone else. Ha!)

I'm not really sure why, but this week has felt a little more overwhelming than usual. Just a lot on my mind, I guess. When this morning started off with a bit of a bang, I knew I needed to do something to find calm.

After the morning naps, I loaded my boys in the stroller and off we went. First stop: their favorite fountain. It's been a while since we've paid it a visit and I knew they'd be happy to see the water shooting up into the air, like it does. And, happy they were! I'll do anything to see smiles like that from them.

We paused for a few minutes, but then continued on our way. We ended up heading toward the cemetery. The promise that the twins' resting place would provide peace and perspective has continued to be the case and on a day like today I felt like it was exactly what I needed. Even just on our way there, I found my overwhelming thoughts to be pointless and insignificant.

It was the perfect day for a purging. The air was crisp, but the sun was warm. Blossoms were everywhere and the birds' songs accompanied us the entire way. At one point I looked down at my boys and saw that they were holding hands - not the usual ouch-you're-hurting-me hold. This time it was clearly more affectionate and gentle. It was so cute that I tried to get a picture with my phone, but as luck would have it I wasn't fast enough.

It was in that moment that I could almost feel the unimportant things on my mind flying away with the wind. There wasn't anything more important than the happiness of these two boys and as long as I was doing my best to provide that for them, everything else could take its proper place of priority.

Benjamin fell asleep before we reached the cemetery and as soon as we started back home, Hugh started looking up and back at me, as if to ask "are we there yet?" and did it about every two minutes, just like you would expect. When we finally returned home it was clear that satisfying hunger was the top priority. Marc helped by feeding the boys their appetizer of applesauce while I threw together the main course - french bread pizza.

And, right in the middle of making my boys their pizza lunch, a song came on the (internet) radio that was the perfect song for today.

Seriously, so true. When I see my little boys smile, I really do feel like I can do anything. Well, not anything... but anything that is important and necessary for their growth and well-being.

Here are just a few of their smiles from this week:

When I see you smile
I see a ray of light, oh oh,
I see it shining right through the rain
When I see you smile
Oh yeah, baby when I see you smile at me

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dancing King

Our little Hugh is quickly becoming our little dancing king. Marc took two video clips of him and combined them and added some music. It should be fun to see how these moves evolve over the years!

In the original videos, there is no music playing. These are moves that come from somewhere deep within him!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gadgets and Gizmos Aplenty

We have finally solved the little glitch that was keeping me from accessing the photos on our camera. You have now been forewarned of photo overload in the next few days.

And, so, without further ado...

Marc loves his gadgets. Turns out that Ben and Hugh love his gadgets, too. Not too terribly surprising. When I asked Marc tonight what he was showing the boys in the photos below, he couldn't remember for sure but thought it might have been Bejeweled.

* I love how Hugh is resting his head on the couch in this one... like he's too tired to keep standing, but too engrossed to do anything else.

The other morning, Ben loved getting a taste of Daddy's music. They were listening to R.O.C.K. in the USA. When Marc tried to put the ear buds up to Hugh's ears, he kept jerking his head to the side, trying to figure out what he was trying to do. I'm sure he'll come around in time.

I love watching the interactions between Marc and our boys. I love thinking of all that he'll pass down to them, from computer games and music to a steady faith and a kind heart. And, hopefully his sense of humor and love of Nutella. They are so lucky to have him, as am I.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just another {good} day

The sun came out today and brought with it some warmth. It has been so rainy and cold. To celebrate the good weather, after Hugh's morning nap, we ventured outside for a nice, long walk. Of course, the process of getting out the door is no small task.

Hugh woke up at 10:22am. First I had to change into my running clothes, which had just finished their cycle in the drier. As I retrieved them, I decided I better take out the dry clothes and throw in the wet clothes that were waiting their turn in the washer, which I did with Hugh in one arm. Then, I changed Hugh's diaper and put his jacket on.

By now it was already 10:35am.

Put Ben's jacket on him and changed his diaper. I realized he had taken his socks off. I found one in his crib and could not, for the life of me, find the other one. I spent a good five minutes searching underneath and behind all the obvious places. I finally resorted to putting a completely different sock on him that I found in the process. That kid loves to take off his socks! Got his socks and shoes on him and watched the cutest smile stretch across his face as he seemed to recognize the connection between shoes and going outside.

Now: 10:50am.

Grabbed a few toys, crackers, water cups, and a banana. Got them buckled into the stroller and off we went. Only, before we got to the end of the driveway I realized the back left tire was totally flat. My little restless Benjamin decided to throw his toys off to the side, presumably in protest of this additional delay, while I wrestled to get the tire pump secured tightly enough to get the tire filled as quickly as possible.

Finally, we were off... at 11:06am.

Forty-four minutes. That's longer than it took us to walk the almost three miles (round-trip) to Grandma and Grandpa's. The boys had a fun little play break for 20 minutes before we came back home to have lunch. By the time we arrived back home, Benjamin had fallen asleep and ended up staying asleep for two hours. I put his lunch aside for later and the rest of us had a little picnic in Marc's office, with the sunshine pouring in through the windows behind us.

Just after lunch it was time for Hugh to go down for a nap, but he wasn't having it at all. He doesn't seem old enough to be ready to go from two naps to one just yet, but maybe he is. When I was just about to throw in the towel anyway, Benjamin woke up from his nap and was starving. I love how excited they both get to see each other after naps - Hugh does his little nasal-y squeal and Ben smiles like he's just won the lottery... or something like that.

And, in the afternoons when my parents come over to play they get the same reaction from both boys. Today we took the boys outside for a little extra sunshine, sharing some strawberries along the way. We explored a run-down tennis court closeby. Benjamin had his first encounter with a puddle. He stomped and got his shoes wet. Then, he bent down and was running his hands through the water.

Pretty soon he was squatting and really getting into it. In just a matter of minutes his pants were wet up to the knees. He was giggling and so were we. Even some guy out working on his car had stopped what he was doing, a huge smile on his face. It was right about then that Benjamin plopped himself down on his bum right in the middle of that puddle, which ended our puddle adventure and we headed back home. Hugh seemed entertained, but was content to stay in my arms through all of the excitement.

* This is just moments before plopping himself down

I wish I could have gotten a photo of Hugh's delight with his first strawberry taste or the excitement of splashing in the tub tonight. (Goal for tomorrow.) Instead, here are a few recent photos of Hugh sporting a new hat.

* I'll have to find Marc's baby photos - it seems like this one of Hugh looks just like him as a baby.

I love watching my boys experience new things - the taste of a strawberry, a puddle of water, splashing in the bathtub (Hugh just barely discovered splashing for the first time last night), pulling dishes out of the dishwasher (a daily favorite). There is a thrill and a joy that is totally contagious. I don't mind the mess. It's totally worth it when I get to feel their newfound joys along with them.

Today was just another day, which are arguably more wonderful than any days I've ever known.