Saturday, August 30, 2008

How I spent my last week of vacation...

What a crazy week. Thad has been busy with his two classes that started on the 18th (he's taking Economics and Biology and enjoying both) but even more busy with installing our air conditioner! He's been up in the attic for probably the last three weeks getting the wiring/pipes/floor prepped, then moving all of the heavy equipment up there, and this week he got it running and is finishing up the ducting. Did you know that is where DUCT tape comes from? They actually use it on ducting/ducts and they do it ON purpose, not just to Jimmy rig it?! But under further investigation I found that in some places it is not up to code to use regular duct tape, but they have longer lasting aluminum and metal tapes that work better and last longer!

Sammy always wants to climb up the ladder and see Daddy in the aa-kick (attic) so Thad let him go up and help him tonight a bit before bed.
Sammy and Daddy in the attic... :) Cute!
Thad peeking out from one of the new holes in the living room for the AC.

The boys and I have been trying to stay busy and fun and sane (and I've been busy trying not to do anything I'll regret ;) to my two year old). Sammy has been in a mood or a funk or something this week. He doesn't want to sleep at night, he throws things, mouths off, and is just not being him. I don't know what to do. I need to do some research online and continue to pray hard because I need some major help or intervention! Supernanny where are you?! (This picture is when Sammy snuck outside and got on Ed's parked scooter!)

Here are some pictures that show you what we've been up trying to fit lots of fun times in before I officially head in to work on Tuesday bright and early for meetings and then to set up my room. I don't have students until Thursday, Sept. 4th.

Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon we spent sometime at the "happiest place on earth". I really do enjoy being with my family there. Monday we hit Disneyland, the Dumbo ride, the carousel, the monorail, and the train. Wednesday we went to California Adventure and did the Bug's Life Land with the toddler rides. It was a lot of fun!

Here is Sammy having fun on Flik's Flyers -- pretending to be a bug!Nathan enjoying being on Daddy's shoulders!

Friday night we went to see John Williams conduct the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a nice show (besides the stressful part in the middle when my sitter called and said that Sammy wouldn't go to bed, and kept coming out of his room. I finally called my mom and she went over about 9:45 and used her ANGRY voice and it worked! Thank goodness for moms!) My favorite part was when they played the theme from Star Wars about 200 people pulled out their lightsabers -- it looked really neat! I think that my favorite song was the Superman theme though. :)

We also went to Oceanside for a day but my camera died before I got any good pictures of my kids. Today I just tried to relax a bit, but I had to do some laundry, dishes, and light cleaning. Sigh. I am super worried about next week if Sammy keeps this up. I can't get my work stuff done if I have to fight with him for an hour and a half every night to get him to bed. I have work that I have to do once they go to sleep...and food to fix...and dishes to do...and laundry to fold/put away...and toys to clean up...and man, that makes me tired thinking about doing all that!

Monday, August 25, 2008

He's a walkin'!

Nathan has been hanging out, literally, for a while now (about 2 months). He'd just stand there not holding onto anything for a long time (30-40 seconds) but wouldn't take more than two steps...then on Friday he decided to just go for it and now he's able to walk across the room! Woo hoo? It's fun but now he wants to walk EVERYWHERE and sometimes that is just not convenient. Oh well...at least he's cute! I can't believe that he'll be one in October!!
video

Saturday, August 23, 2008

An inspirational article on an uninspirational and very needed day!

Just a few weeks back I had one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong with the kids and more than a few times that week I thought maybe two kids was all that I could handle..well, I am not exactly over that (although I have had lots of GOOD days in there too) I wanted to share what helped me out of my rut today.

I was alone at home with the kids (like a lot of you guys) and Sammy kept picking on Nathan by putting buckets on his head, pushing him over, etc. They've both been sick with colds and nasty coughs for over a week but Sam is feeling worse today and SUPER whiny so that didn't help either. He threw a tantrum because he wanted to keep playing in the water and "wash" dishes and I told him that he could take a bath...making a long story short, he dumped water outside of the tub a few times, on Nathan's head and eyes a few times, and then bonked Nathan on the head with a big, hard plastic boat putting water in his eyes and spilling the rest of the water outside of the tub and I was so frustrated that I swatted his bottom. I never do that--I didn't do it hard at all but he looked at me in disbelief and then I tried to calm the screaming 10 month old and then the crying almost three year old and then tried to keep my cool. I felt awful--I don't like the whole hitting thing! Anyway, I calmed down, Sammy said sorry, I said sorry but I still kept thinking how awful I was that I couldn't even handle TWO kids! (I have always wanted more but I really don't know if I can do it!)

Oh yeah, the inspirational, cheery part is coming... so I got the kids down for naps and was still on the verge of tears when I thought, c'mon Allison, you have been awful about reading the scriptures. So I got out my scriptures, read my patriarchal blessing which provided me with a lot of comfort and then read two chapters. Then I remembered an email from Cassie after my last breakdown. She read an article in the August 2008 Ensign titled, Grasshoppers, purple bathtubs and other surprises, and thought of me. I read that and wow, that really made my day seem easy compared to hers, but more importantly it made me see that my two year old probably isn't trying to ruin my day by doing everything that I ask him not to, and that my clinging 10 month old isn't trying to drive me crazy by not letting me do anything but walk with him around the house.

Here is the article or you can read it by clicking on the Ensign link (it will open the PDF on the church site)
Grasshoppers, Purple Bathtubs and Other Surprises by Wanda Allen
When our first child was born, I felt confident in I had studied child development in college, and I was firmly convinced that if I applied scientific principles of child rearing, everything would go smoothly.

As we welcomed four babies into our family during the following six years, I began making discoveries that weren’t in the textbooks. There were some things no one had told me—some important things!

My knowledge of child development had prompted me to welcome the assistance of little helping hands when baking cookies, for instance, but it hadn’t told me how to keep four pairs of hands and feet out of the batter, give everyone a stirring turn, remember to add all the right ingredients, save enough dough to make the cookies, and keep calm all at the same time. That problem was mine to solve.

When, in a day’s time, I was confronted with a crayon decorated purple bathtub, a pound of margarine smeared on the carpet, a quart bottle full of pears broken on the kitchen floor, and a tearful little boy whose pet grasshopper had escaped, I felt overwhelmed and frustrated.

In the middle of turmoil the answers began to come— not all at once, but little by little, just as the problems had come. When our four-year-old borrowed the wrench and dismantled his tricycle, I was upset and indignant. Questioning him, I received his answer, given in all sincerity: “Well, they shouldn’t make tricycles so children can take them apart!” When I could see humor in the situation, the problem shrank before my eyes.

The morning I found a newly opened box of cereal completely emptied on top of the kitchen counter, I resisted the impulse to scold two-year-old Melody long enough to hear her explanation: “I was just trying to get Heidi some breakfast, and it kept coming out!” A scolding for that episode would have deprived me of seeing a spark of love and kindness being developed in a toddler.

When Curtis broke into his new savings bank, at first I saw only the intent to damage and destroy. After a calm, understanding interview with our son, my husband, Dell, learned that Curtis was simply trying to disprove a statement he had heard—that this bank was one nobody could open. Having proved his point, Curtis hasn’t disturbed the repaired lock since.

I’ve learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from preschool children: to greet each day with enthusiasm and eagerness; to pursue adventure despite obstacles; to delight in new discoveries; to enjoy spontaneous fun; to regard the eating of toothpaste and the emptying of sand-filled shoes on the carpet as minor problems, not major catastrophes.

I had thought my college classes prepared me to control my environment so things would always go smoothly. But I’ve learned that when five children are hungry or tired or both, things don’t go smoothly. When I accept this as an inevitable—even adventurous—part of daily living, I can be more flexible and less demanding. When I can scoop my mud-covered two-year old into my arms and deposit her into the bathtub for an unscheduled bath—and remain unruffled—I know I’m making progress.
Thanks again, Cassie for helping me out with your kind words, and the article that you found! Keep me in your prayers. I start back to school in a week and I think that my outside the home job is waaay easier than my inside the home job!?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Disneyland, finally!

--June 17th, the last day to use our annual passes--
I had been wanting to go to this show to see Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Tigger and Pooh for a long time and we kept missing it but we decided that we were going to try again--it was the last day before our annual passes blacked out for the summer. We arrived at California Adventure and sprinted with the strollers to the Playhouse Disney show and jumped in line. We had made it, or so we thought! They cut off the line about 10 people in front of us and said that it was full. I started crying (silly I know) but I had wanted to go to the show sooo badly since it had started... we ended up having a good time that day, but August 18th seemed so far away!

--August 18th, the first day we were able to use our passes again--
We meet up with our friend Susie and her son Gio at California Adventure. We got there before her and went on Soarin' over California. Sammy got to go twice-he was a bit nervous the first time but he enjoyed it I think?! Then we rushed over and got to see the Playhouse Disney show. It was fun, not as much fun as the prior show that they had there when I was just an Auntie ;) this one was all puppets and one person, the other was all people dressed up as the characters, but it was still fun nonetheless. Sammy loved it--especially seeing Mickey and his friends and his favorite, The Little Einsteins and ROCKET! :) Then we went on Monsters Inc and called it a day. I love having the passes because we stay 2 or 3 hours and take off before we're all grouchy and too tired! :) I think that we'll meet Susie and Gio after school this year! It should be fun! :) p.s. I have cute pics I'll post later.. my camera is MIA! Ugh!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More summer fun... at the beach!

The kids and I went down to Oceanside for a night (since it was free) and played at the beach with the Fongs and Grandma and Grandpa. They both loved it...Sammy wouldn't even change into his swim clothes--he just wanted to start playing! They mostly built sand castles but played in the shallow water too. Nathan was an animal, or maybe a fish out of water? He kept crawling as fast as he could to get into the water. At one point he got splashed right in the face by an oncoming wave and he just kept plowing through it.

Here is a little bit of video taken by Grandma if you want to see some of the action!
Now for some regular old (but fun) pictures. ;)

Here's Sammy building a little moat with Jared (well, Jared's leg!) Jared wanted the waves to come up and fill it up..it did it once before it washed it away! Nathan was filthy! Luckily it was just sand and it washed off. He crawled in it, dug in it, splashed in it, and smashed any part of the sand castle/moat that he could! He kept trying to eat it too! Yuck!
The big kids and Auntie Allie/Mommy going into the "deep" water! I had to hold on tight!!
There are more pictures at the beach and some of us at the park with the Fongs at Smugmug!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Four years down & an eternity to look forward to!

Four years.

Four years is the time that we spent in high school. Those years flew by...

Four years is the amount of time that I spent in college, and now I've been done with college for 8 years now! YIKES!

Four years is the length of time that Thad and I have been married today. :)

Time is such a weird thing. Four years seems like such a short time in some aspects but I have a hard time remembering life before kids and especially before marriage. It seems like such a long time in some ways... Here are some pictures of our journey here... enjoy!

The beginning... this was taken at the Rose Parade back in 1996 before it changed to 1997... not the best picture of us (it was sometime late or in the middle of the night) but I think it shows how young we used to be :) We actually started dating in March or April of 1996. We went to the JGHS prom together too...it's hard to think that this picture was taken almost half of our lifetimes ago...
How about one of us while I was in college when he came to watch me play VB?! This is 1996 or 1997 too...
We took about 5 years off until we met back up again after his mission in December 2003. We started hanging out as friends again and we knew that this was meant to be. This is us at a Valentine's Dance in 2004. This is when we decided that we were very serious about each other. Within a month we were engaged and then we got married that August!
Our engagement photo :) ahhh! How cute and young we were! It was such a beautiful day!
Here are a few wedding pictures. I love our wedding pictures--I felt like such a princess that day, and Thad looks so handsome ;) It was a wonderful day for us. It was Friday, August 13th, 2004. Definitely a lucky day for us! We had our reception the next day at the church-I am so glad because it gave us time to spend with our families and a no-rush day; way less stress for me! (see more pics at SmugMug)
I like this one because it reminds me of how happy we were...we couldn't stop smiling!
Here we are in 2005 pre-kids (kind of) I was just barely pregnant with Sammy. We were chaperoning the MUN kids in NY! Fun times...
Here's a picture of our little family. We have lots of pictures of the kids but not of all of us together. It is pre-operation-it was taken in April 2008 when Nate was 6 months old--he's much bigger now.
Now here we are today... a little older... a little wiser (I hope) and a little more tired ;) Again, not the greatest picture of us, but probably how we look most of the time. Me with my hair up, Thad a little unshaven (unless it's Sunday or he has a church meeting), and comfy clothes!
I love you Thaddeus! Happy Anniversary! Thanks for putting up with your crazy, over-stressed and weird wife!! I look forward to many more happy years.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thad's Bday and Marcroft Family Reunion

Happy Birthday Thaddeus!! :) Thad turned 30 yesterday (finally, I hated being 30 while he was only 29 ;) it was a long two months) and we went out to eat with his family at Northwoods Inn (we got soup and salad--the only thing we can afford there--it's a bit pricey). I made him " too much chocolate cake and it was super delicious - thanks Allrecipes.com! Then his sister Adrian, he, and I went to the Hollywood Bowl to see Les Miserables-(click to see a video clip) in concert with the LA Philharmonic. It was so much fun!!! It's a huge amphitheater and the music was great. The actors were so talented and had beautiful voices! It didn't start till 8:30 so we didn't get home till midnight. It was definitely interesting to drive through Hollywood after the show at 11--it was still super busy with people walking up and down the street--weird!

Today we went to Yorba Linda Park for the Marcroft Family Reunion. It's Thad's Grandpa's family and all of their descendants. There were probably about 45 people there--it was at a nice park. It was nice to have some time with Thad's family even though I'm a bit of a scaredy cat and don't mingle well in big groups--I just played with his sister Sarah's family. It was nice to get out and we were all worn out when we got home!

Here is a picture of the Marcroft and Badalamenti boys...
He's getting huge--he's a smiley blue eyed boy! And he's nice and solid like my boys!
Here's a picture of Nathan that was too cute to resist!
More pictures of the reunion (of course) at Smugmug!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More summer fun...

Here are a few pictures from what we've been up to this week...and if you're wondering I've been a little less stressed this week and not wanting to scream. Maybe we can have more kids. ;)

Here is Sammy playing in a tee-pee that we set up in Grandma's backyard! We had fun!
Sammy and I signed up for a Mommy and Me swim class at Cerritos College. We've been the last two days and it's a lot of fun. It's two weeks long...

We made brownies on Sunday and of course he wanted to lick this part...he got it everywhere! :)
Nathan is here too, mostly following Sammy around, cruising along the furniture, and blinking when I take pictures. Here is a picture of his newest teeth (he's getting three on the top...you might be able to see one of them if you click on the picture). Look at that smile! :D
Here is one more of Nathanael. It's amazing how young boys are boys and girls are girls! He loves to stand up and vroom vroom the cars along the couch or floor or chair.

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