Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just Some Pictures For Fun

A Day in the Rain

Restless Natives

One Month Old

Friday, September 28, 2007

We Love Our Little Ruby

My brother and his wife are going through an awful trial right now. Their daughter, Ruby, contracted ecoli which has mutated into a blood infection called H.U.S, a very deadly toxin. She is in the hospital under strict observation for kidney failure. This little girl is facing possible blood transfusions and dialysis. She is only 11 months old. John and Amanda are exhausted and we are all praying very hard for their family. Please include them in your prayers.

John and Amanda, we love you guys a ton! We are praying for you constantly and wish we could be there to help hold you. We know that Heavenly Father loves you and is watching over your family.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Breakfast in Bed

Anyone who has children remembers the first few months with a newborn. The nights can be very, very loooooong! And mornings will leave you feeling as though someone snuck in with glue and applied it to your eyelids and added lead weights to your brain. When you have more than one child, mornings can be even trickier!

In our house the fun usually begins somewhere between 6:30 and 7 am. "Maaaaaaaaaaaama, Maaaaaaaaaama" is heard repeated endlessly from the other room, the baby, woken by the noise, starts to cry, and Douglas turns on the morning news. And I'm usually thinking - I just fell asleep a few moments ago! Pure fun!

Our very dear daughter has noticed how "out of it" mom and dad seem in the morning. So Addison has decided lately to help us out! For the past few mornings she has served us breakfast in bed! In she comes with a tray carrying two GIANT bowls of cereal. She even cut up some cantaloupe! We love how helpful she is becoming. The only caution - I don't want Elias to think he can eat cereal in bed every day!

We love you Addison - Thank you for watching out for your ol' mom and dad.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saturday Madness

Friday night and into Saturday we enjoyed the first storm of the season - it rained all night and much of the day Saturday. By Saturday afternoon, it was absolutely beautiful here. The air was so clear and clean. I wish we got that more often!

Saturday morning, the women in my ward threw me a diapers and wipes shower. It was lovely and thankfully, I'll never have to buy another box of wipes again as long as I live. Poor little Mason though has broken out with baby acne. It can be hard on a young man to have to go out in public like that. Fortunately, he slept through the entire event.

Saturday afternoon we got a quick (almost surprise visit) from Nicole and Lucia. The Hernandez' are in town for a quincinera (sp?) for one of Julio's niece. We visited for a while and still Mason slept. (This is becoming quite a theme with him.) Douglas and I made some vague promises about going to Sacramento to visit soon. Depending on Douglas' work, Thanksgiving may be an option. I hope? I would really like to get out of Dodge!

And finally, for dinner, our table was graced with our dear friend, Stuart Mitchell. He is town, job hunting. We wish him all the best and hope it works out so that his family can come back to Pasadena!

It was fun to have such a full social calendar for the day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Response to the Potter's

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I suppose I had better watch this version of Sense and Sensibility and reread the novel. I am flattered by the idea of being played by Emma Thompson though!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Daddy Daughter Campout

Last Friday our stake had its annual Daddy Daughter Campout at Arcadia Wilderness Park. This is one of Addison's favorite events! I believe it mostly involves her running around like a maniac until she is corraled into the tent and forced to sleep! The fun events of the evening included skits performed by each ward, silly jokes and a delicious breakfast. Addison and Douglas spent Saturday morning building a fairy hut before coming home tired out and very dirty.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thoughts on Invisibility

After having a new baby, one receives a lot of attention. Friends, family and neighbors rally around you to congratulate and welcome a new life into the world. The outpouring of love is wonderful and helps the new mom to feel that all the pain and effort is worth it.

After all the hoopla dies down, life gets back to normal. That is, changing diapers, packing lunches, doing laundry, shuttling children around town to various activities, grocery shopping, church callings, date nights, family night, and on and on. On top of the regular activities, you now add midnight feedings, spit up, and crying that seems to have no purpose and sometimes, no end. Sometimes the monotony can be downright discouraging!

With that said, a friend recently sent me a copy of the following letter. I found it very inspiring.

. . . .

I'm invisible... .... It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Pick me up right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going ... she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,
looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read -- no, devour -- the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths,after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals-- we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit a cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God
sees." I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on,no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become." At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home.

And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Armor of God

Tonight we attempted family home evening. For those unfamiliar, this one night a week event is where the family gets together to share music, lessons, games and treats in an effort to strengthen family and testimony.

Elias choose the song - Eensy, Weensy Spider. And Addison read from Ephesians 6 about putting on the whole armor of God. The kids then made "armor" from aluminum foil. We topped off the evening with pears from Harry and David and cookies from the neighbor. It was 25 minutes of complete chaos. The only one to escape was Mason who slept peacefully through the entire event.

I have high hopes and lofty goals to make FHE a regular part of our week, rather than the hit and miss event it has been in the past. I want our home to be a refuge to our children. i know that as they grow, attend school, become teenagers, the challenges that they face will be difficult and will try their testimonies. Hopefully, they can call home a safe haven and a place of peace - the place where their testimonies were created and strengthened. The prophet has promised that FHE is the tool that can make this possible and I'd like to test out that promise.

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Welcome home!

Today Michele and Mason came home from the hospital. Here are a few more photos. By the way, it appears now that the previous birth weight was incorrect. Today when weighing him the nurses got 8 lbs and 8 oz. They weighed him several times and got the same weight each time. Its basically unheard of for a baby to gain 9 oz. in a day and a half, so the doctor is changing the official birth weight to 8 lbs. 8 oz.

Also check out that mass of dark hair! We don't know where it comes from but Elias had the same thing when he was born. In fact Elias' baby photos look a great deal like Mason's. In a few years we probably won't be able to remember which is which.

Elias is very interested in his little brother. As soon as we got home Elias wanted to hold him. Then when we told Elias that it was time for Mason to eat, Elias kept repeating "baby eat! Baby eat! Baby sit!" and trying to get Michele to take the baby into the kitchen, where it appears that Elias wanted Mason to sit in his chair. Elias also wanted to show Mason his books. He came running into the living room with Curious George. Holding the book up to Mason he declaired "Geog! Geog!"