Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Birthday to Rachie Roo!

We've kind of inadvertently started a random tradition in our family...birthdays are not 1 day long, they last the entire month. Sometimes you just can't fit everything you want to do into one day, and that's just fine :) Rachel turned 3 yesterday, but we've already had 3 celebrations and are planning a fourth.

On Sunday we had dinner and cake with my family. The cake is another story...

Richard and I decided to go to the temple on Saturday, and we planned to hit up Cold Stone and Allen's on our way back to get an ice cream cake and groceries for that night (grill party with the Drews) and for Sunday's dinner. We left the house just after two, making it in time for the 2:40 session. Or that's what we thought, anyway. I went my usual route from the locker to the name station, only to find that there was a huge long line stretching in the opposite direction. So that slowed me up just enough to where I almost didn't make it in time for that session. But it didn't even matter...apparently a ward had taken that entire session's capacity, so we waited for the session at 3. This would normally be fine, but I was nervous about Reuben wanting to be nursed around 5 and I wasn't sure we'd make it back by then. I calmed down and told myself that I was doing what I should be, and God would take care of Reuben :) Which was good, because there were more hurdles, as it turned out. While I was in the name line, I talked to a couple of sister missionaries, and found out that they were headed to Japan on Monday. They said their entire district came to the temple one last time before they headed out. Pretty cool. So when we got into the room for the session, I saw about 10-20 Japanese boys and my heart just melted. They all had their headsets on, listening to the session in Japanese, and we actually had to pause the session twice because some of them forgot some key parts and had to have them done over again. So that slowed us up a little bit too. Another event played into our lateness, that being that for some reason the sisters had left gaps when filling in the seats, and the sweet old officiator lady started filling them in with ME. So I was in seat number 2. The men's side didn't have this problem, so Richard was in the 4th or 5th row back, behind all the cute little Japanese boys. So when it came time to move into the Celestial Room, I was the second one in. I sat near the men's entrance and waited for Richard. Usually the men come in in a pretty steady stream, about one every minute or so. These guys came in one every five minutes. As it turns out, the Japanese elders didn't speak any English, and believe it or not there were not any temple workers who spoke Japanese. So getting them through took a lot longer than normal. But then Richard finally made it, and it was wonderful. I love being in the Celestial Room with my husband more than just about anything in the world. We had to cut our time short, however, as it was already 5:20 and we had our errands to run. I called Aja once we got out of the temple and found everything to be hunky dory at home, so I just quit worrying and we went about our errands. I was a little worried that Cold Stone wouldn't have the cake we were looking for, and we'd have to stop at Baskin Robbins and possibly Wal-mart to find what we wanted, but Cold Stone had the perfect cake, and it wasn't as terribly expensive as we were expecting. So off we went to home, and the rest of the evening was fantastic.

So back to Sunday. We made burgers and fries for Rachel's birthday dinner, figuring she loves fries and we had all these burgers waiting to be grilled. We also made a fruit salad, and I sliced and plated a lovely dish of tomatoes. That's what ended up in front of Rachel, and that's about all she ate for dinner lol. I love that she loves tomatoes :) After dinner we brought out the cake with candles and everything, and she knew exactly what to do. Then my parents brought in the gift they had bought for her, a tricycle with a purple helmet, and we went outside to play with that for a while until we all froze. So that was birthday celebration number 1.

On her birthday I tried to explain things to her and get her excited, but there wasn't much we could do that day because the car was in the shop and I wouldn't be able to get it because I worked that afternoon. Mornings tend to be our out-and-about time. But I tried to get her excited about being three, and we were planning to give her our gift that evening. Trying to make the day special for her turned out to be really difficult because she was soooooo naughty! I wanted to spoil her all day long, but she was so rotten that she ended up being punished most of the day. Whatever. You can't choose the day your kids behave, right? Anyway we had a yummy dinner that night as well, and then I suggested we have ice cream for dessert. Then we gave Rachel her gift from us, an easel with a white board on one side and a chalk board (which we found out doesn't work) on the other. She LOVES it. Unfortunately she drew all over her arms today with the marker and lost her privileges for a while, but she'll have another chance to enjoy it later.

So today was her real birthday celebration. The car was finished while I was working on Monday, so I planned to go for a run in the morning with the kids to pick it up and then we'd just go straight to the mall from there. It's exactly two miles from our house to the car shop, so I weaved a little to make it three. I was nervous that I wouldn't make it the whole way, because my legs had become weak sauce over the winter, but I did it! And as a bonus, Reuben slept the whole way. The poor guy has been sick, and he took about 5 naps today. I think he'll finally feel better in the morning. So we got to the car and loaded up to go to the mall. The first thing we did when we got there was head over to the train stop, but the train was out, so we played on the playground for a few minutes until it arrived. Then Rachel got to ride on the "chugga choo choo train" and she loved it. She's been obsessed with trains for a couple weeks, and since I couldn't find her a purple one like she wanted, I figured going for a ride in one would be the next best thing. Reuben liked it too :)

After the train ride we went upstairs for some lunch, and Rachel requested we get pizza. Their kids meals are huge, but she ate almost the entire slice and enjoyed her juice. She kept saying "This is a really yummy lunch!" which made me happy :) I wanted to take the kids back to the play area, but we were nearing nap time and hadn't finished our festivities of the day yet, so we we took off. I then took her to a hair salon and she had her first ever hair cut. She looks so cute! Her hair has been kind of difficult to manage lately, not only because of the scissors incident 6 months ago but because it's never EVER been cut, so she still has her stringy baby hairs and everything is different lengths. Well, not anymore. She also has a small amount of bangs, but those will grow out soon enough. She really enjoyed it. And after that I got her an ice cream cone at DQ and wow, I don't think she was expecting anything that fantastic.

I know she's only 3, but I hope this day was fun for her. I hope she remembers it for a while, and I hope she felt special. We'll be heading up to Logan this weekend to have celebration number 4 with Richard's family, and that will be extra fun for her because she'll get to see her cousins.

I sure love my girl :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Playing Like a Child

I've never been a huge fan of snow games. I hate snowball fights, I've never been downhill skiing, and I'm usually the last person to suggest we go sledding. In addition to that, I think we as adults, and parents especially, can sometimes tend to rush on to the next activity, the next item on the to-do list, and don't always stop to enjoy the moment. Kids are good at that - enjoying everything as it's happening. Your kid will never be the first one to say "You know, I'm done. Let's go back inside." I'm always the one telling Rachel "Ok, one more time then we're going in." It's not really that we're in a rush to go anywhere or do anything, I've just had my fun. I've become a person who only has to try things one time. If we go sledding, I'm happy to go down one time and then hold the baby so everyone else can have fun. If we go snow-mobiling, I'm happy to make one lap around the field and then sit on the sidelines while everyone else takes their turn. I don't need another turn, and I don't really want one.

Rachel has been begging me for weeks to go sledding. I've been glad for the excuse of no snow to not go. I kept telling her "We'll go as soon as there's snow." So the first day we had two inches she started begging again. I started getting sad to tell her that there wasn't enough to go sledding, and I began hoping that it would snow for a few days and stick so she could go play in it. I even started trying to figure out a schedule where I'd be able to take her out while Reuben slept, or while someone else was home to hold him so we could go out and play.

On Thursday, it snowed. A lot! I was so excited. I haven't been so excited about snow for years, especially not to play in it, but I was excited that Rachel would be able to. On Friday, Richard mentioned that he wanted to come home early so he could take Rachel sledding over at the neighbor's house. That made me so happy, and I was excited for the fun time they would have. Well, that didn't end up happening, but it was already a plan in my mind. It didn't work out for Friday, since I had errands to run in the morning and work in the afternoon, but I made it a plan for Saturday.

The second I got off work in the morning, I started bundling kids up to go play outside. I made sure we were all snug and warm, myself the most. I'm always the first to get cold, and I wanted to make sure Rachel could have as much fun as possible. I moby-ed Reuben to my front and got all our gloves on, and out we went. I showed Rachel where we would make a path up the hill, and where we would sled down. I figured I could go down with her one time, then she could go by herself after that. So I and my infant lumbered onto the sled, and Rachel sat in front of us. We went down the first time and I thought, gee that was fun. But I'm done now. That's all I needed.

I carried the sled to the top of the hill and Rachel got on and went down by herself about a million times. It was fun to walk down the hill and get the sled to the top while she climbed up herself, but I started to get that itch to be done. I wasn't cold, I wasn't tired, and Rachel was having a blast, but I didn't need to do it again. But Rachel did. Every time she got to the bottom of the hill she would turn around and I would say "Look how far you went!" and she'd repeat it, then say "Let's do it again!" How can you argue with that? So I kept climbing down the hill to bring the sled back to the top.

As I walked, I watched my tiny daughter and saw how much fun she was having. I realized how cooped up she'd been all winter, and how much she has always loved being outside. I remembered that she had spent a fair amount of time in front of the TV that morning, and knew she'd want to watch something after her nap. And I knew that no one would be hungry for at least another hour. So I decided to let my little girl have her fun, and determined to stay out much longer.

After a few more times of watching Rachel zoom down the hill, making the trail a little longer each time, I realized something I didn't expect: I wanted to go down again. I saw how much fun Rachel was having, and I wanted to have that much fun too. Even though I had 18 lbs of Reuben strapped to my front, big bulky gloves, and no snow boots, I wanted to play in the snow. So I stooped down to sit on the sled and Rachel climbed on in front of me. We zoomed down the hill, even farther than she had gone, then all tumbled off to climb up the hill again. It was so fun! We went down together again and again and again, and each trip up the hill I could see and feel Rachel's excitement, and it mingled with my own.

Sometimes adults need to play like a child, to remember that life was meant to be enjoyed, not endured. Our lives are busy, and there's always so much more to get done. But it's not all going to happen today, is it? So why not take some time out to zoom down a hill for an hour.