Monday, January 30, 2012

We have some pretty big news...

No, I'm not pregnant. I WISH! We want one more little person to join us, but it's not our time yet. Trust me, I would love to be out of the diapers stage as quickly as possible!

Some know this and some don't, but I have never known my biological father. I've never seen a picture, never heard his voice, and I wasn't sure I knew his name. But all of that's changed. Last week I met (well spoke with on the phone and emailed) my real father AND half brother. My dad lives in southern California, where I'm from (some of you might not have even known I'm from California), and my older brother lives in Alaska with his family.

I won't go into great detail, but my mother and father decided before I was born that it was best that my mother raise me alone. Anyway, 32 years later I found them. I've been looking since I was a teenager off and on, but my cousin actually found them this time.

So far so good. He's kind and warm and welcomes me (and my family- which is a big deal to me) into his life. My older brother has done the same. My father has an amazing fiance who I really enjoy talking to and I'm so glad he has her in his life. It's still very early and very new. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all of the events that happened last week, but it's a great place to be. I have no words to describe how good it feels to see a picture of the other half of my DNA and see resemblances and similar traits. AND to have that same person welcome me and want me in his life. Extraordinary.

Anyway, this last week has been a real pleasure and I look forward to bonding and getting to know everyone more fully.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's time to play catch-up

I haven't updated the blog in awhile because life has been VERY busy. Lots of new things happening, but that's for another day, another blog.

A week or so ago we had a special breakfast, we had dessert for breakfast, strawberry shortcake. Austin LOVED it, but he's not a picky eater. Jackson, however, was not impressed with this special treat. It was like pulling teeth just to get him to try it, then he responded with, "it's delicious!", but wouldn't take another bite. I even made fresh whipped cream which he usually loves, but he wasn't interested. Anyway here are the boys with their special breakfasts.

I recently posted about the new chore chart that I made for Jackson and it is going SO well!! I thought he would flip out with the 15 minutes of game time, but he doesn't. He really likes moving the magnets around on the chart and cashing in chores for nickels every night. He even knows how to use the timer for his 15 minutes of game time. He's doing so well, in fact, that yesterday I walked into his room and saw that his bed was made, but not quite how we usually make it. I asked Jim if he helped Jackson make his bed and he said no, so I asked Jackson if he made his bed all by himself and he said, "yeah, I made the bed myself!". I couldn't believe it! No one asked him to make his bed and he didn't come tell us he did it, he just knew he needed to make his bed. We've been helping him every day, but apparently he can do it himself. Here's a picture of Jackson on his bed that he made all by himself!

Jackson is NOT cuddly at all. He's never been one for too many hugs and kisses which breaks my heart. Even when he was little, I can count on one hand the number of times he has fallen asleep in my arms and that all happened in his first 8 weeks of life. He's never fallen asleep anywhere but his bed and occasionally the car. I've always dreamed about rocking a baby to sleep and watching their sweet little face and it was very difficult when Jackson was a baby because I never really got this moment. Anyway, we don't have any cute sleeping pictures of him in weird places or funny positions because that's just not his thing. Austin, however, is the exact opposite of Jackson, he loves snuggles and kisses and hugs. This morning my visiting teachers were over and he just hugged and hugged one of them and he's only met her one other time. He is a little charmer. Anyway, this morning Austin fell asleep eating a breakfast burrito and Jim snapped this picture. Love it!

It's so funny to me how very different my boys are and that they've been so different from birth. It just amazes me! This mama loves her two very different little bugs!

So I LOVE LoVe love Valentines Day!! LOVE it!! It's probably my second favorite day after Christmas. I know everyone thinks it's a Hallmark holiday or a made up holiday, but WHO CARES!?!? Why would you not want to celebrate a day that celebrates love? You don't have to buy cards or candy or gifts, just send a little note, give an extra hug, pat your significant other on the butt an extra time; just take an extra moment to show or tell your loved ones that you still love them. Anyway, I decided to decorate a little this year because the boys really like it when we decorate, especially Jackson.

A few of the decorations Jackson has made during the last couple FHE's. He made the butterflies this week and he made the heart chandelier last week (with a little help from mama, of course). The Nuffer's are ready for Valentines Day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chore chart? Check.

I've been thinking about making Jackson a chore chart recently because we have taken away his electronic games. He was becoming a bit of an addict. I figured a chore chart would be a great way to earn time playing all the games he so dearly loves. I saw this chore chart on Pinterest the other day, and I really liked it. It was simple and even my toddler could understand it. I also liked how they rewarded their child for doing his chores, but I also wanted to incorperate game time rewards. And this is what I came up with:

I found this metal dry erase board at Walmart for $6.49. I forgot to get a picture of it before I put the chore chart together. Then I just played around with some regular tape until I got a format for the chart that I liked.

I used colored electrical tape that we had around the house from Austin's Halloween costume to section the chart how I wanted. I also used foam letters I found at Dollar Tree to spell out "Chore Chart" and the letters for each section were letters that I had previously as well, but all of these supplies can be found at Walmart, Dollar Tree, and Hobby Lobby. The magnets are made from clear dot stickers (found in the spare parts section of Scrapbooking). I got 24 dot stickers for $2.99 or you can just use the glass pebbles and modge podge the pictures onto the flat surface of the pebble. I used clip art pictures of the chores and sized them very small so I could make magnets of all the chores Jackson can do. I found 18 button magnets with adhesive already on them at Walmart for less than a dollar, and adhered the magnets to the back of each chore. Here's a close up of Jackson's daily chores:

For every chore that Jackson completes he will get a nickel. He has 5 daily chores so he can make a minimum of 25 cents a day. There are several 'bonus' chores that he can do if we are doing those chores that day, like helping with laundry or dusting etc. If for some reason he chooses not to do one of his daily chores then he must pay his dad or me a 'maid service' fee of 10 cents to do the chore for him. The daily chores will get done one way or another. Once he has earned $1 he will put 10% away for tithing and %10 into savings (his piggy bank), then he can choose to spend the remaining 80 cents on candy or save it up for something bigger. I made him some containers to store his nickels in while he earns them. I just used baby food jars and paper.

Jackson also earns 15 minutes of game time with every chore he does along with a nickel. However, if he makes bad choices during the day then we can take away 15 minutes of game time just as fast as he earned it. Jackson is super excited about earning nickels and game time. I started this post while he was napping and he woke up saying, "earn a nickel, please", so I gotta wrap this up so I can help him earn some nickels!

We put the chore chart on the refrigerator where he can get to it easily.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

George Albert Smith challenge

Last Sunday we started the new lesson book in Relief Society over President George Albert Smith. I was really impressed by the 11 "ideals" that make up his personal creed. You can read each of the 11 ideals from his personal creed here. I wish I could say that I am already living ALL 11 ideals, but that's not the case. So I'm challenging myself to take one ideal a month which will take me through November and honor that ideal by living it somehow (it will vary each month with each ideal). I will try very hard to do something representing all 11 ideals in the month of December. I will update the blog each month with whatever good deed or service project I have come up with for each month's creed. Writing about my monthly challenges is not to be boastful or prideful, but rather to ensure that I follow through with my challenge. You are welcome to take the same challenge. I would LOVE to hear about how you live each creed!

January's creed: "I will be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor."

For January's challenge I am going to clean out our cupboards and take all the food we don't need to the local food pantry. I am also giving all of my boys' clothes that they have grown out of to a student I teach who is in need of some basic essentials for her new little one that will be arriving soon. And if I think of anything else I can do I will update the blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A big week for Jackson

This week was a special week for Jackson because it marked the beginning of a couple of firsts for him.

First, Jesus wants Jackson for a SUNBEAM! I can't believe I have a child in primary. Time flies! We have been preparing him for awhile for his new start in Primary and he was super excited. Sacrament was filled with, "is it time for 'cry-mary' yet" (that's what he calls Primary), "bread and water, then singing and prayers, then 'cry-mary'?", and "is sacrament over yet?". He is definitely impatient like his momma! Finally, the time arrived for Primary and he found his seat in the first row with all the other Sunbeams in the 'Sunbeams A' group. He didn't even look back when I left the room. I felt tears coming quickly, but thank goodness I saw someone I had to talk to about visiting teaching which stopped the tears from coming. Phew!

Then it was my turn to be super excited because it was time to pick him up and I wanted to hear all about his first day! His nursery teacher always told me how polite he is and how wonderfully he behaved, so I just knew he was going to have a glowing report! As I approach the door I hear my child yelling at the top of his lungs, and as I opened the door to his class I see him in a corner yelling as loud as he can. He immediately quit when he saw me and acted as if he wasn't doing anything wrong. So I got to greet my new Sunbeam with, "Jackson! Why are you screaming?!". As if that wasn't embarrassing enough, one of his teachers quickly informs me that he was pushing the other Sunbeams to bully them into playing with him. Awesome. I quickly apologized and made Jackson apologize to those he assaulted, and took one quick picture of him in his classroom (after all, it is still his first day in Primary) and scurried out the door apologizing the whole way. His sweet teachers told me that it wasn't just him, that the whole class had a rough day because there weren't any toys and snacks like there were in Nursery. This made me feel slightly better, but not really. Now I have to come up with a plan for FHE that teaches how we do NOT hit our Primary friends BEFORE next Sunday. I pray next week goes much better.

Mommy and her new Sunbeam. Austin was sick so he and daddy had to stay home.

Jackson after class- I couldn't get him to stand still and I was rushing to get out of the classroom out of sheer embarrassment.

Big milestone #2- Jackson got the rails taken off of his bed. He is officially sleeping like a man! I won't mention that he got the rails taken off because he kept kicking them in tantrums he was about to break them off. We'll just celebrate his "man bed" milestone. Notice the big stuffties on each side of the bed. That's mommy thinking ahead. I always fell out of bed, so maybe his stuffty friends will ease the fall when he eventually falls out. Although he has not fallen out yet, so he just might be more coordinated than me. I'm excited because it's SO much easier to make his bed now. Guess who is going to learn how to make his own bed very soon...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Beautiful New Year's Resolution

Let me start by saying that I HATE New Year's resolutions because they are always broken by March. least the resolutions I make. But I found this phenomenal resolution on a dear friend's blog that I want to make this year. Thank you, Melissa!

"This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again."

-Howard W. Hunter

Happy New Year!

This mommy is way too old to stay up till midnight anymore, but I still want the boys to celebrate, so midnight came at 8:40pm at our house. Austin didn't even make it to Nuffer house midnight, but Jackson did! He got to countdown to 2012 and cheer! I have a feeling 2012 will be the best yet. We started our celebration with a New Year's bath. Ignore the ugly tile, we rent.

And then we got all dressed up!

It was Austin's first New Year.

Happy New Year from the Nuffers!