Monday, March 31, 2014

Happiness day 2

In the last 24 hours I have had a TON of happy moments...

See that? That is the sun and while the picture seems a little hazy this is a rare sight around here. (we are hopeful it will become less rare) Yesterday the sun came out and it was warm enough to go OUTSIDE with just a jacket. AMAZING!
We took a walk to a park that is just a couple of blocks from us. IT IS HUGE! Complete with a pond that you can fish for bass and cats in (we are pretty excited about this) We played in sand, went down slides, swung on swings, ran and ran and ran, threw rocks in the pond and we even did a little service for the day and picked up some of the garbage that had accumulated around the pond this winter.
On our walk there we were listening to the birds and we could hear two birds singing to each other. It was the coolest song I think I have ever heard from a bird so we started looking in the trees to see if we could find the singers. Guess what it was? Cardinals! Real life ones! It was pretty stinking cool.

On our way home AnDee started noticing all the nests in the trees. Im not usually one to disrupt things but we found this little tiny nest on a branch just above our heads and I couldn't resist letting my kids see one up close. Andrew lifted AnDee up to peak inside first and when we were sure there weren't any eggs in it she gently lifted it up and out. Pep was totally fascinated and started to put all sorts of "eggs" in it (i.e. rocks, pine cones and other somewhat round objects)
I think the happiest part of the day though was this...

Best dad ever. He was just joking and playing and making it the funnest thing ever for the kids. They couldn't be more happy than they are when daddy is acting silly and playing with them. Im super lucky to have a husband who loves life and loves to have fun and enjoy his family. I wish my attitude was more like his. He just makes the choice to be happy and he is! Its amazing. I want that.

We had one other happy moment yesterday.... On our way back  to our house Andrew decided to stop and get our mail since it had been a few days and our mailbox was filling up and guess what finally came?
His diploma! Yay! So now it is officially official. He has a bachelors in business and he managed to keep his gpa ABOVE a 3.7 and make the deans list every semester. (I know he doesn't look really happy in the picture but thats only because he has a disorder where he cannot smile or make a normal face in any picture... ever. At least not if he has any control over it. Sometimes I can sneak a picture when he doesn't realize it) He is incredible. Seriously... Im glad it was him and not me cause I would have failed miserably.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


So one of my dearest friends posted challenge on instagram. The challenge is this: Post something that makes you happy every day for 100 days. I accepted this challenge. But I am taking it one step further. Under her instagram challenge someone had posted a comment telling her to watch a TEDtalk called 'The Happiness Advantage' and since I love TEDtalks I jumped right on it.
First let me go back to about 2 weeks ago: Andrew and I don't argue or fight. We agree on almost everything. I know that is hard to believe but Im being totally serious right now. We spent the early years of our marriage arguing and fighting about just about everything you can think of. Which sucked. But Im glad we got it out of our systems back then because now days we are on the exact same page reading the exact same words at the exact same time.... about 99.9% of the time. About two weeks ago however we were having a disagreement. We had a bit of a blow up and then later when we were both more calm we had a mature adult discussion about it (which mostly consisted of me crying and being frustrated) The conclusion I came to was that the blow up we had didn't actually have anything to do with what I was really upset about. Andrews comment to me was that I never seem to be happy with things. Im always looking for the next thing. I know I do this and it frustrates me to no end because although I am conscious of it... I don't know how to change it
This TEDtalk was like an answer to my prayers. He spoke about how as a society we base our happiness on success "as soon as I .... I will be happy" whatever that may be it could be "As soon as I eat a banana I will be happy" or "As soon as I get a raise I will be happy" But in reality we don't stop there because once we reach that goal of happiness we never take the time to be happy. We just change the goal. So once we get that raise, we need a new office. So as soon as we get that bigger office we will be happy. Make sense?
I DO THIS!! This is an exact description of what I do. Now don't get me wrong. Im not unhappy. I love my life. I love my kids and my husband and our adventures. They make me happy but Im always looking for that next level. I never sit an enjoy things. And because of this, I feel like Im missing out on life.
Lucky for me this TEDtalk gave me 5 steps to changing the way I think. To breaking that ridiculous habit in order to change my idea of happiness and enjoy the here and now. And so I am accepting this challenge as well because I want to enjoy these years to the fullest and even more importantly I want my kids to learn that its ok to be happy with what you have. To truly find joy in every day life. Not only is it ok but I believe it is what our Heavenly Father wants for us.
Step 2 of the 5 steps is to write for 2 minutes everyday (for 21 days) describing one positive experience that you have had over the last 24 hours.
So for the next 21 days, you guys (if you so choose) get to relive my happy moments here on this blog.
And so without further ado, here is my happy moment from the last 24 hours.
AnDee has been working her little tail off for the last couple months. She babysits and cleans and does just about anything she can do to earn a little bit of money (I pay her in quarters. Usually about 50 cents a day on average) She is a good worker too. As I have previously mentioned in other posts she babysits everyday so I can work out and she seriously keeps my house in livable condition. Such a hard worker. Her goal was to by a Princess Anna dress (and cape of course). The deal was that if she saved half of the money plus a little extra to pay tithing, Andrew would pay the other half. Well last night the big moment finally came. We went to the mall to the disney store (giant bag of quarters in hand of course) in search of our Princess Anna dress. We entered the store with such high hopes and excitement and then... There was not a Frozen item in the store. Every ding dang thing was sold out. (ok thats a lie... there were about 3 giant t-shirts with Anna and Elsa on them) So then AnDee started to rationalize. She just wanted a dress NOW. It didn't matter what dress, just a dress! But then my cheapo mentality kicked in and I just did not wanting her spending her money on one of those dippy little dresses that are flimsy and rip apart if you look at them wrong. On our way in to the mall we had passed by a dress shop that had some pretty fantastic dresses in it for prom and whatnot but I happened to see that they did have a few little girls "princess" dresses too. I convinced AnDee to just go look at them and see if we could find something a little more sturdy that she would like. Boy did I make the right decision on that one. SHE. WAS. IN. HEAVEN. The best part is that they had a clearance section that had the most adorable little girls princess dresses for half price. The price just so happened to be the exact same price as the flimsy little disney store dresses only these dresses are SO not flimsy. I think you would have to set it on fire to destroy it. She looked and looked and looked and finally settled on a gorgeous blue one (YES!! something NOT pink!) So we went in to the dressing room to try it on (She has never got to try anything on in a dressing room before. She felt so grown up and important) Before I helped her slide in to the dress she looked at me with that dreamy/ecstatic  look that little girls look and said "Im just SO excited!" and then she jumped up and down a few times. Once we got it on she had to model it for her dad and we all decided that it was the perfect dress. So (and this was the best part) we took it to the counter. She reached up and handed it to the lady and then pulled out her bag of quarters and dumped them on the counter top (which was well above her eyesight) I quickly apologized the cashier and explained how she had worked to earn the money for a dress. All the girls at the counter were so impressed with her and explained that by the time she got old enough for prom she would be a pro at saving up her money so she would have the most beautiful prom dress ever (Please bless she doesn't actually care about prom that much)
It was SO fun and I was so proud of her and she has been just beaming ever since. Im pretty sure she would wear this dress to bed if I would let her.
It is pretty adorable though. She looks like a little Scarlet O'hara. I told her she has the perfect southern bell name "Miss AnDee Lew" So it fits perfectly!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Boy and The Girl

The kids have been growing and changing like crazy lately. I can hardly keep up with them. AnDee is full on reading now and loves to pick out all the words she knows everywhere we go. This is especially impressive to me because I struggled badly with reading. Like REALLY struggled. I think I was probably in second grade before I was at the level she is now at 4.
 She is trying to earn enough money to buy an Anna dress (because we are obsessed with Frozen in this house. My kids have never been obsessed with a movie before but Frozen has become our first) She babysits for me every morning while I work out and she cleans and cleans and cleans. She is almost there! Only 2 more dollars and she will become the proud new owner of a Princess Anna dress. I can't wait until she walks up to the counter at the Disney store and dumps out a giant bag of quarters for the cashier to count! I really don't know what I would do without her. Im being very sincere when I say that. She keeps me motivated and makes up for me in the areas I lack. She is the best little mom to her brothers and as scary as it might sound I trust her completely to take care of them. She is only 4 but I swear to you she acts like a 10 year old.
She of course is rocking it in gymnastics. She was only in a class with kids her own age for a couple of weeks. They have now bumped her up two classes and she is in what they call the "pre-team" class. Basically she isn't old enough to  compete with the team but as soon as she is they want her to. She even got the attention of the owner of the gym. He found me after class last week and explained to me that she has a natural ability that most kids don't. I guess her form is almost perfect already... which essentially means nothing to me because I know nothing about gymnastics but I guess its a good thing?

 Her hair is getting SO long and just incredibly awesome. When it is wet it goes well past her waist. She slept in her braids a few nights ago and when we took them out it looked like this.

When I told her she looked just like Merida she tried to put on a happy face but I could tell that she really wanted me to say she looked like Elsa or Anna but seriously, who can deny that she is a Merida look alike?

When I showed her that picture her reply was "My head is NOT round like that!" Grasping at straws? and what 4 year old has such opinions about head shapes?
Both AnDee and Pep love to sing. Its is super entertaining and I love to secretly listen to what they say. (they always stop if they think Im actually listening so I have to pretend to be preoccupied by other things) A couple of weeks ago Pep started singing Jingle Bells cause you know... it still looks like Christmas time around these parts... except he wasn't singing "jingle" bells he was singing "tinker bells" I guess the song got stuck in Andrews head because a few minutes later he was singing it too except he WAS singing it "Jingle" bells. Pep quickly interrupted him and explained that he was singing it wrong. "it goes like this dad: Tinker bells. Tinker bells. Tinker all the way" So of course I had to chime in with "Yeah Dad! Its Tinker bells!"  Peps reply: "yeah... Im just dads teacher"
AnDee has learned how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano (she also knows all the notes and scales) and she often sings along with it while she is playing. "Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb. Mary had a little lamb who's life was very slow."... Really though, there is a pretty good chance that the lambs life was very slow. Which is probably why he wanted to follow Mary to school one day. He was bored and was looking for some action!
Joseph also loves to sing his ABC"S and like every other kid the L, M, N, O, P part is a little difficult. He found a way to make it pretty simple though. Instead of trying to spit out all those letters so quickly he just says W. Yup thats it. ABCDEFGHIJK...W. Easy peasy.
AnDee is always helpful with Pep. I  find him in her clothing on a regular basis. Apparently he is often cold or wet or dirty so she has to change his clothes for him. Andrew is beginning to think that he is experiencing some gender confusion. I guess finding him doing dishes in his sisters clothes would put that idea in a fathers head.

Notice how he is wearing the same shirt that AnDee was wearing in her pictures?  And yes... I do the dishes with my feet too. Thats where he got the idea.
He is a TALKER holy smoke this boy can talk and I can't even tell you how many parents I have had stop me and ask me how old he is and when I explain that he is two (almost three) they are all baffled at how well he talks and with the words he uses. He loves to talk to adults mostly. He doesn't have a lot of interest in talking to other kids, especially kids his own age. When we went to register AnDee for kindergarten he kind of stole the show. I was filling out paper work and AnDee was being shy and kind of hiding from all the adults. Not Pep. There was a sign on the wall behind where the teachers were sitting and he walked right up to them and told them all the letters on the wall. 2 minutes later he had a group of about 6 adults standing in a  semi-circle behind him, quizzing him on everything they could think of. One of the teachers pulled me aside afterward and told me that he was "gifted" and that I really need to make sure he is being challenged. He is a pretty sharp little fellow, I do agree.
He is also enjoying gymnastics but doesn't take it nearly as seriously as his sister does. He is mostly just there to play and flirt with his teacher. He rarely has any interest in doing what he is actually supposed to be doing but he is almost constantly seeking out the attention of his coach.

These two little people are the best. Im so lucky I have them to entertain me and make me laugh.


Ill be honest. Our lives have been pretty boring as of late. I haven't had a whole lot to blog about. The weather is S-L-O-W-L-Y warming up. It will come up to about 45-50 degrees but the next day it drops right back down to the 30's and snows a little.  30 is progress though! Its a heck of a lot better than -20 so I really shouldn't complain. We have even got outside couple of times to splash in puddles and ride scooters and bikes. Being outside is magical, even if our yard is the size of a peanut, it doesn't seem to matter. The sunshine makes us all extremely happy.

The puddles were the best idea ever until AnDee got going a little too fast on her high quality scooter and belly flopped in the middle of the puddle. Then all the sudden she was "freezing" and wanted to "go inside" .... I told her to toughen up and get back out there.... not really, we went inside cause it really was freezing, even without being all wet.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Here Comes the Sun

Right before Isaac was born I was huge and miserable and hating winter. I tend to get a little bit depressed when the days are dark and cold for long periods of time. My sweet little AnDee Lew knew that mom was missing the sun and the outdoors. "Don't worry Mama." She said "When the baby comes he will bring the sunshine with him." Sure enough the minute this little man entered this world the window of my hospital room lit up. The sunshine arrived at exactly the same time as him and it melted all the snow away that day. He has been a light and a joy ever since.
Heres to a year of sunshine!

How Did This Happen?!

How did this....

Turn in to this?
We celebrated Ike's first birthday on the 22nd and if Im being honest it kinda broke my heart. I am in no way prepared for this baby to be growing up. The last year or so has been insanely busy and the first year of this little mans life has flown by even more quickly than the others. (which was way too quick)
The little champ is not only an expert walker now but is on the verge of full on running. He won't stay out of the toilets (or off of them as you can see above) Putting the lids down is not enough. He just opens them and goes diving. We have to make sure the doors are shut and latched cause he is persistent. He likes to open all the drawers and cupboards and pull everything out. I know this is typical toddler stuff but my other two weren't nearly as mischievous as this one. He loves music and loves to dance especially to big band or jazz music. He talks constantly and his only volume level is 'extremely loud' He still gives the best hugs and has figured out that when he can hear the garage door open it means that Dad is home so he runs to the door and waits to give him loves the second he walks in. He has 7 teeth now. 4 on top and 3 on bottom. He has a big bum and fits in size 5 diapers. He hates the car seat but tries so so hard to be patient about it. He loves to unroll the toilet paper and drag it through the house. He knows that if he screams at his sibling they will most likely get in to some kind of trouble so now he screams every time Pep gets near him. He is a picky eater but its weird picky. He won't eat a banana but if you give him artichokes he is about as happy as he can be. He is the coolest and sweetest baby ever. We All just adore him.
For his birthday we just did a very low key little celebration at our house with just our little family. I made ice cream cone cup cakes. (and can I just say that was a genius idea on my part?! Seriously, they were easy for him to hold and way less messy. Plus they are super cool. I remember thinking they were the best invention ever when I was a kid.) We sang happy birthday, ate an intense amount of sugar and then opened presents. When we gave him his cupcake he just sat and stared back and forth between us and the cupcake for a minute. He knew something wasn't right. He never gets that much undivided attention and he never gets sugary treats. I think he was suspicious that we were going to give him away or something but then her realized that sugar is amazing and he forgot about it.

He enjoyed opening his presents (Which of course his siblings HAD to help with) but surprisingly he like playing with the presents even more than opening them.
It was such a fun day. We are so lucky to have this little guy in our lives!