Saturday, October 30, 2010

HALLOWEEN!!

"Meow!!" This Halloween we decided to all go as scary black cats! OK, not all of us- Juan refused to dress up, and the outfits really weren't that scary, but we were totally excited about our costumes, and it was a lot of fun. Each year we head to our friend's Kara and Eli's place for the annual Halloween party. It's a great time to catch up with long-time friends. This year I was pregnant 'mother cat' with my two little 'kittens'. I was really happy with the results, especially considering I made the costumes myself! I was planning on using staples and glue (don't judge me) but decided last minute to give that white machine a go... That's right, I actually sat down at a sewing machine and pushed my foot to that pedal thingy and the cotton stitched! I could hardly believe how easy it was. Thank you to Alisha for letting me mess up your dining room with black fluffy material and elastic!
So once we put on all black clothes we added our ears and tails. The girls were so excited to put on the face paint, I was shocked Eadie stood so still! The girls had been practicing their "meows" for the past week and once they were dressed up there was no stopping them! (or me for that matter!)


We had a great night and I couldn't believe the girls kept their ears on almost the whole time! They were so cute running around like my little black kittens. If only the daddy cat had agreed to participate... maybe next year Juan? ... Yeah right! ;-)  I'll have to think of something masculine and macho before that happens!! Until then, me and the girls can look adorably fabulous and he can be the photographer... HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Swimming with Cousins

While Juan slaved away at work the girls and I had a great time at swimming at Southbank with Carmen, Irma and their kids. Tori and Eadie just love spending time with their cousins Ellie, Noah and Isabella. Not only this, but they also got to swim, which they love almost as much! Before I had even layed out the towel Tori and Ellie were off in the water splashing like fish and having a great time!  I was shocked, as the last time we went swimming she wasn't nearly so eager.

 
Eadie on the other hand was a little more hesitant... A couple of months back she developed a small fear of water - I think it may have developed one day when the bath-plug made a loud sucking noise as the water went down... it did sound pretty scary, poor thing... so we have reintroduced her to baths by reminding her how much she loves showers, then slowly letting the water get higher over the days. We are back up to normal baths now, so I was surprised by how afraid she was to actually go into the pool. After a while she let go of me and played in some small puddles before splashing in the shallowest of water. But we still had a great day filled with sunshine and smiles!  (Even though you can't see it on Eadie's face here... haha :-)
  

 








Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baby number three is a.......

GIRL!!! We found out we are expecting a beautiful baby girl! How exciting! I had a scan today and the three little lines revealed it all. Another female mini-Juan on the way, no doubt! ;-) 

Daddy and I are very excited, and so are the girls - especially Vettoria, who had it guessed from the moment I told her the news. "It's going to be a girl!" she said, and she hadn't altered her mind for one second since. 

Of course, Juan said a girl as well, so he is beaming with pride for two reasons:
1) He was right AGAIN, and 2) we are going to add another little beauty to our family. We are both really excited and with only 20 weeks to go we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little sweetheart.

Lots of names still up in the air, I think we will have a list of about four or five to pick from when she is born.
.....When she is born.... ahhhh..... that sounds nice.....  :-) 

Double Bubble Trouble!

So I have come up with an awesome way to entertain the girls while I do the dishes. Normally it is a challenge for them and me as I stand there with Tori at my side pleading to help but I don't have the time to watch her take 20 minutes to wash one cup and she doesn't want to touch the water which is way too hot for her, and then there's Eadie is grabbing my legs and maneuvering her way from the front of my legs to the back -through the middle of course.

Even though I am sure seasoned mothers have long ago discovered this game, I'm pretty excited about it because not only was I able to get all the dishes done without them killing eachother or me killing them, but they sat there for an HOUR and a HALF playing with these things and there was almost no mess to clean up. I even sat down and had a snack in the process -- Genius! And it's as simple as ... dish bubbles!! I set up their little table and chairs in the kitchen near the sink and they sat very contentedly playing with the foamy bubbles. I got out plastic cups to make 'ice-creams' and spoons just to add that 'something extra'. I couldn't believe how into it they were, and all I had to do was shake the water every now and again and keep those bubbles coming.
But the best part? The plastics all went onto the clean dishes side to dry, and a quick wipe down and it was spotless! (Even sparkly clean!) So, I will definitely be playing that game again!

Look at those smiles... now that's real fun! :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

B.O.M Challenge - Find # 2 - I Suppose the Mansion Can Wait

While I wait for the smoke from my oven to waft out of my house I thought I'd put baking fish on hold and write an entry about my Book of Mormon reading find today. It has kept me thinking throughout the entire afternoon, which is probably the reason my house smells like burnt rosemary and bacon right now.
I was reading chapters 8-15 of 1 Nephi and although I could write all day about my my own revelations regarding the infamous Tree of Life, another verse stood out to me and it made me stop and think... really think.

When I was young I didn't imagine to a great extent what my future life would be like - not in specifics, anyway. I really only had two images in my mind: 1) Marrying The One in the Temple, and 2) Raising a family in the Gospel. Everything else that took place occurred from ideas or opportunities that presented themselves on the journey. But somewhere along the way in hindsight, and to my surprise, all of my hopes and dreams were fulfilled; even those I never knew I wanted! Not only was I actually blessed to find and marry The One and have the opportunity to raise a family in the Gospel, Heavenly Father decided to throw in some of my little fantasies;  I visited and studied in far-away lands, I fulfilled a mission to a destination I had literally only dreamed about, and I even managed to scrape together a degree. I feel much like Ammon as he speaks of the blessings they saw with their missionary work preaching to the Lamanites. Some thought he was boasting, but he told them it wasn't boasting, he was glorifying in the mercies and the blessings of God and the magnificence of what had been accomplished all because of Him and His plan.

I feel the same way about my life. In all seriousness I hadn't 'planned' most of it. I simply had a goal as a Young Woman to please Heavenly Father, and trust that he would bless me accordingly. That is why this scripture stood out to me today: 1 Nephi 12:18. It speaks of the "vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men".  When I read the words "vain imaginations" I thought about what that could actually mean. I immediately cast my mind to the most recent imaginations created in my mind....it was of my future kitchen. No joke. I know exactly what my 'dream kitchen' looks like. I know the color and fabric of the bench tops, the size and layout, the shelf designs... heck, I even know the color of the door handles! I've already pre-imagined the style of house I would like the kitchen to be in, and I even know the suburb in which my family will dwell.... I think about the future and what I would like to have quite often, particularly as my kids get bigger and my house feels smaller....
Upon reflection of my childhood and Young Adult-hood, the imaginations I created weren't nearly so specific. They were more general: "I wonder who I will marry?", "what will I look like when I'm 30?", or "how many kids do I imagine I'll have?"
But nowdays my dreams have become more like GOALS, as in something that I am aspiring to accomplish. I don't think this is a bad thing, but this scripture and another I was led to in Jeremiah 7:24 reminded me of the differences between desires and dreams and "vain imaginations". Jeremiah calls it "walking in the counsels and imaginations of their evil hearts" and they "went backwards and not forward".  This got me thinking. Is my dream kitchen still just a day-dream I think about as I hand-wash my cheap, old dishes? Or has it defined who I want to be and the path I need to take to accomplish it? It got me thinking.

I have a friend who is now engaged to a wonderful man. She has been through so much, with two divorces and raising her three children alone. After returning to church activity about six years ago she made the choice to stop looking for what she didn't have and start focusing her energy on knowing her Heavenly Father and living to please only Him. She decided to dedicate her life and the life of her family to following Christ, serving others as best as she could, and choosing the right. In other words, she let go of the 'vain imaginations' of her heart. She understood that as long as she was doing what Heavenly Father wanted her to do, life would turn out the way that was best for her and her family, whatever that may be. If this meant she would one day meet a man and get married, then that was a nice twist in her journey, but it was not her ultimate goal anymore.
Then, about a year ago she met a man, but still she didn't let vain imaginations overcloud her goal to follow Heavenly Father's Will. To her delight, His Will led the two of them to eachother and they are now in the process of planning their wedding and their life together.

My own and my friend's experiences remind me of the importance of not allowing those 'vain imaginations', as fine and innocent as they may be, to become the actual goals we seek to achieve in life, occupying our thoughts, feelings and the intents of our heart. When we follow the goals outlined in the Gospel, that is when our greatest dreams and desires really come true... and it certainly takes the pressure out of thinking of ways to achieve those hefty goals!
And on that note I am going to try frying fish instead of baking it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's the Opposite of Green?

On Easter weekend of this year, my house was flourishing with greenery and I thought myself quite the Green Thumb. You may remember these pictures of me planting my very first vegetable garden, something I have always wanted to do and I was so proud of my initiative and ability to produce my own food :


I watched eagerly as the days and weeks passed, and I was so excited to pick my very first cherry tomato! I admit, surprisingly it didn't taste very good, but I was so excited I didn't let that ruin my special day. I continued to watch and fertilise and water my little patch and with glee; I saw my corn grow taller and taller and my herbs spread, and grow leafy. How delightful!

At the same time I purchased a gorgeous palm, one I had been wanting for a long time. I love greenery inside my home and I was very excited about this purchase and I placed it in the preselected corner picked months in advance. It looked great, and once again I dedicated myself to fertilising, trimming, and taking out for sun now and again. Although I didn't take a photo I noticed it in the background of a family pic we took in for April conference, around the time I got it. Here is a pic of my glorious palm in the background:

So full, so leafy, so tall, so green. I loved my palm.
So why am I so upset? Well, for a couple of reasons... the first being that my know-it-all husband was once again right.... I am a plant killer. And second because this fact is so disappointing because I really, really tried!

It has been six months, and this is now what is in my backyard...

They didnt' even sprout corn! I watched them grow, I saw the little kernel things sprout up and I waited and waited for the fluffy parts to turn to corn... but nothing! Nothing! I used little sticks to hold the tall stems up so it wouldn't fall over, I watered the tomatoes, I trimmed the herbs, I repotted the Rosemary. But to no avail. They all refused to flourish. Oh, and don't get me started on the Baby Ccarrots; they are STILL stubborn fetuses! 

Needless to say, my quite expensive vegetable garden has now turned into a dirt-pit for the girls to play in. When I knew it was literally a dead cause I thought we may as well get some use out of the money I spend putting it all together. The mess they make really does not make up for the price I paid at all, by the way...

But what about the beautiful, palm? Well, despite my best efforts to keep it looking full and green, over the months it somehow got smaller and more frail... At times it would look great and then at others I guess it just wasn't in the mood to look fabulous... Needless to say, just yesterday I looked over and noticed its leaves were a little dried. This was weird, because there was definitely enough water in the pot. Too much? I emptied some... Maybe it needed some sun. I took it out the front and sat it out overnight to get some fresh air. The morning sun would be the perfect medicine! When I woke this morning I was excited to see the sun shining brightly and I even thought about my plant and the good things in store for it today. I would bring this plant back to good health - I'd show Juan that I WASN'T a plant killer!

Suddenly at 9am the weather turned bad. "My palm!" I cried, and ran to the front door. I was too late:


The rain was too strong, and her stem was just too weak... What more could I have done for my beautiful palm?

I sit here now with a hollow heart. Probably not as hollow as my palm's stem, but still hollow non-the-less. But worse than all this, I now have the dilemma of deciding what to do with it... I was so determined to prove Juan wrong, to prove to him that I am not a fish and plant killer (despite only having 2 fish left out of 7 in six months, but that's another post...). What do I do? Do I hide the plant and he might not notice it missing? Do I just put the empty pot back and hope he doesn't notice? Oh, wait! I have an idea... Maybe I will just put the plant back in the corner and tonight I'll dramatically exclaim, "Oh no, My palm! What happened? It must have been the little careless baby! What a shame..." Hmm... that one might work. That way he might let me get another one because he'll feel sorry for me... Hmm, somehow I don't know if it will work... I have a feeling I'll be given 'The Look' tonight... Ugh, 'The Look' says it all.... Plant Killer.... Fish Killer... Plant Killer... :-(
I'll keep you posted...

Eadie's Toothbrush Addiction

I couldn't let another month pass without mentioning Eadie's funny toothbrush quirk. At any time of the day she can be found walking around the house with a toothbrush in her mouth and the toothpaste in her hand. Juan has hid his from sight so that no one can reach it, as toothbrushes have often done missing since Eadith discovered this cool new gadget.
She was given eight kid's toothbrushes for her 1st birthday in July and I have had to confiscate them and hide them in the storage cupboard to stop her from grabbing a new one and losing it every single day. The annoying thing about this is that when she can't find one of hers, who's does she go and get? Mine. I have had to put it up on the windowsill just so I can find it when I need it! There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to brush your teeth and having to go looking in the kid's bedroom where you find it
on the floor surrounded by toys and shoes! But alas, I managed to snap these pics this morning so you can see how adorable she is, despite her annoying obsession... Enjoy!

Too Smart for Slow Mummy!

Vettoria is proving to be very quick-witted with a great sense of humor. I would say she gets it from me with my funny, witty charm, but anyone who knows Juan would argue that...

I am beginning to realise that not a lot gets past her anymore. She has surpassed the age where I can make up something on the spot that will satisfy her long enough to catch her attention. For example, when we pass McDonalds, once upon a time she would say "Mummy can we get an icecream from McDonalds?" and when I said "no, not today" she would become upset and start complaining. Sick of repeating myself and saying "I said not today Tori, please stop asking", I would perhaps end it with saying something like, "We don't have time, we are going home to watch Bananas in Pyjamas, remember?" to which she would automatically say "Yeah! I love Bananas!", the icecream forgotten. Juan calls it 'bribery', I simply call it 'reminding her of the fun things she already has in her life', as I'm sure any good mother would agree...

But nowdays things are a little different... My little distractions and ideas don't seem to work as easily as they used to. I have two examples to share from just this week....
1) We were driving along the gateway motorway and we were crossing the bridge over the Brisbane River. She was so excited to be on the bridge, and when we got off she was disappointed. She wanted to go on another bridge and when I told her there were no more until we drove home she got upset. She was complaining for such a long time that I actually thought I could trick her into thinking we were on another bridge. A couple of kilometres down the road I saw some water beside the road, kind of like a swampy grassland I guess. Our car drove up a slight hill on the road and so I took the opportunity to say "Hey look! We're on another bridge!" I thought it was quite a cool 'bridge' experience, despite the fact that it wasn't real.. However Tori's excitement was short lived when she excitedly asked, "where's the river?" to which I replied, "Over there, see?" pointing to the shallow patches of water. After looking out the window Tori turned back to look at me and with a look on her face that said, 'you've got to be kidding...' she said, "Mum, that's not a river, that's A POND", and shook her head, doing her best three-ear old eye-roll in my direction.
I didn't know whether to say "oops, my bad, silly mummy", or stand up for my pathetic, not-humorous gag and actually fight it out to convince her I wasn't as dumb as I seemed.. I decided to just say "Touche" and let it go, for both of our sakes.....

2) This experience happened within a day of the first, and it really hit home to me that I just can't pull off the same things I used to with her, or the things that I can with Eadie at the moment. This will sound weird, but Tori loves 'stacking' the shelves at the grocery store. While I push the trolley, she walks along nearby and begins moving tins and cans and putting them in color-coordinated order or according to their sizes. She does it as fast as she can and when I have passed her she hurriedly moves on to the next set of tins and begins straightening them as fast as she can to keep up with me. As weird as I think it is, I let her do it because 1) it keeps her occupied and 2) it stops her from asking for items I have no intention of buying.
One day an old lady asked her, "What are you doing?" She replied, "I'm just doing my work exercises". "That's good exercise", said the old lady and Tori said "Yeah, and I'm doing my work!". I decided to take advantage of the situation and I said as excited as I could, "If you want to do work exercises I can give you some exercises at home!" to which Tori shouted, "Yeah!" and jumped up and down happily. When we arrived home I was quick to put my plan to work. "I think it's time to do some exercises!" I said. "How about we run around as fast as we can and pick all the books up and put them in the book case! It will be great fun and you can do good exercises!" She was excited, and I pretended to time her as she ran around picking up the books. "Well done!" I said when she walked into the kitchen a couple of minutes later slowly and looking bored. I gave her a five minute rest and then suggested we do some more exercises. She was very excited, so I said, "OK, this time how about we run around as fast as we can and pick up all the shoes and put them in the shoe drawer!" Tori suddenly stopped looking excited and let out a deflated breath. "Mum", said tiredly, "These aren't exercises, it's just CLEANING!"
I once again had no debate to argue and I simply gave her the "Touche" for the second time in as many days and admitted my defeat.

What has happened to my ignorant, naive little girl who I could manipulate with just the simplest of ideas? At age 3 she has grown up, and now I just seem like a silly mummy who doesn't have a clue....
But at least I can still work my magic on Eadie who hasn't yet discovered my cunning and trickery! ah ha ha ha haaaaaaa!! :-P

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book of Mormon Challenge Find # 1


1 Nephi 2:9-10 - I had never really thought about these two verses before, but they stood out to me for the first time today. Maybe it’s because I’m a parent now and I feel the desperation in Lehi’s voice as I read him pleading with this sons to obey. What stood out to me today was the inspired way he plead with them. To Laman, he felt to compare the growth of his testimony to a river, ‘continually running into the fountain of all righteousness’, but to Lamuel he plead for him to be ‘firm and steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandment of the Lord’, comparing him to the nearby valley. I guess Lehi could have given one example to both, but he didn’t. He used two very distinct examples, even opposite in comparison. It makes me wonder about the bother’s differences in personality; perhaps Laman was a little wishy-washy in his beliefs and was easily strayed, following whatever course was easiest, as a small stream trickles away from the steady river instead of flowing into the sea. I wonder if Lamuel was so stubborn and determined to rebel, stubbornly resisting to choose the right, hence the comparison to being firm, steadfast and immovable for once in a good cause. If only he would have placed his stubbornness in living righteously, how different the story would have been!I guess as a mum it teaches me of the importance of remembering that each child is unique and need individual encouragement and teaching in the way that will best help them progress rather than following a ‘one size fits all” method. So, from one parent to another, thank you for the tip, Lehi.

It's time to trust...

General Conference inspired me to get back into my personal scripture study of the Book of Mormon. I just loved President Eyring's talk titled "Trust in God, Then Go and Do". It reminded me that if I want Heavenly Father to trust me with further blessings and responsibilities I need to first trust him when he says I can receive them if I do what he says. So, no more justifications as to why I don't have time to read, it's time to act and not allow myself to be acted upon. I know that if I read my scriptures daily and apply them in my life that I will have the spirit more with me. The spirit makes me feel better, act better, and inspires me more, and this in turn blesses me and my family.

So, today I made a goal for myself. I find as I get older I need goals to encourage me to pursue things I otherwise would let slip by (ie: run a 10km race). So I made a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon by December 24th, Christmas Eve. I don't know if I have ever read it that fast before, even as a missionary. It is 10 weeks and 3 days away. According to my very quick calculations the Book has about 296 chapters in it. That's almost 30 chapters a week, which is four chapters a day-- Yikes! Is that possible with two toddlers?? We shall see.

But, to make it just a little more inspiring and rewarding for me, I have also given myself the task of choosing a verse that stands out to me every time I read, then record my findings and inspirations about that verse/s. Since I consider this to be our family journal and one day I will have it printed into a memory book for our family, I thought it might be nice to have not only a fun-filled book of memories, but also a bit of a spiritual journey side as recorded by me, the mother of the home for my girls to look back on one day. I don't know if they will read any of my inspirations, but hey, for me now I know that this experience will be what I need right now in my life. So, let the reading begin!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family Mud - I mean, Back-Yard Fun

So, our backyard is gross. I am the first to admit it. OK, I more than admit it. I'm the first to scream it out at the top of my voice! When the girls want to play outside I cringe at the thought of literally the dirty mess they will inevitably make. Sure, we have toy cars, paints, a basketball hoop, balls, etc, etc, but you know what they want to play with? Yep, my old dead vegetable patch (yes, they died... I don't want to talk about it....).
And what is an old vegetable patch beside a big pile of DIRT? So, that is how my girls entertain themselves outside in our 'awesome' backyard.They play with the dirt. "It can't be THAT bad", I hear you say... well, I will show you some of our most recent pics:

Yes, that is soil under Tori's feet, and yes, that is dirt on Eadie's lips..... But this is my favorite.... Tori watched a Play School episode where they did large paintings on a long fence with paper over the top. I guess she was excited to give it a try herself and express her artistic side and well, so this is what she called me outside proudly display:

She was soooo proud of her work, what could I say? So, I took some pics and told her gently that we should only do that on paper, and preferably with paint. I was however very impressed at her creativity and, on a positive note, the rain has washed it off the shed anyway! So I guess it was a cleaner than many of her paper painting activities we've had in the past! But, you can imagine what the two of them came back into the kitchen looking like... hence why the next pic I have to show you is this:



Pregnancy Update - Week 17

So we are now up to week 17, how exciting! Time seems to be going by differently than the other pregnancies. It's as if this little one is just quietly growing, getting bigger, doing its own thing. With Vettoria at week 17, I was still vomiting at least five times a day so there was the constant reminder that the baby was growing and developing. With Eadie I felt her moving at about 15 weeks so it was easy to constantly remember I was pregnant. But with this one I look down and see the bump and feel "that's right, I'm pregnant, that's why I'm so tired all the time!" I know it sounds weird, but with the girls keeping me busy throughout the day and being so washed out in the evenings, plus the fact that we have all been sick this past week which has been a big distraction, it's easy to actually forget to remember that I'm pregnant! Crazy I know.

I could have sworn at about 9 weeks I was feeling this baby move quite regularly. I know, it sounds unbelievable, but it's true. Then by about 12 weeks I wasn't feeling it as much. I now feeling little jabs every now and again at night which is fun, but apart from that this pregnancy has been quite uneventful. Medical appointments and ultrasound visits keep us all in suspense of whether we have a boy or a girl which, I might add we will be finding out once and for all in 2 weeks exactly- how exciting!! And yes, we will be finding out. Juan has convinced me I do just HAVE to know. haha.
As for my size, I feel as though I have shrunk a little from the first trimester. But, there is a constant bump and the only comfortable shirts to wear now are maternity, and of course maternity sweatpants are the most comfortable things in the world anyway!

Predictions:
Tori: She thinks there is "a baby girl in mummy's tummy".
Eadie: According to El Salvador Myth/Tradition the hair part on the back of Eadith's head says the next child in our family will be a girl (this has been surprisingly reliably for generations...)
Juan: He is convinced we have a girl as well
Rani: I was thinking it's a boy for the first three months because this pregnancy has been so different from the the other two. But I remember thinking I had a boy with them as well... So, according to my last failed predictions, I am going to go with a baby girl as well just because I always seem to be wrong.

We have a couple of names we are tossing up, but that can be kept for another post. :-) ...Suspense!!
Anyway, feeling fine (apart from the flu) and growing bigger week by week. Will keep you posted!