Saturday, March 23, 2013

Austin turned 2!  He loves dinosaurs so I thought a dinosaur party would be fun.  We had it at the local science museum where they had dinosaur themed activities.  Each child got to pick which dinosaur they wanted to be and learn about for the day.  I made them each a card telling them all about their dinosaur, a mini replica of their dinosaur, and a cool matching necklace.  And everyone got an official safari hat to complete their gear- though, only Jackson was interested in wearing the hat.

Austin trying on his gear.  He wouldn't keep the hat on, but you can kind of see his dinosaur birthday shirt.  Pretty appropriate for the day.

Food table:  Chick Fil A nuggets, fruit/veggie/cheese tray, and dinosaur toanails (or Bugles) 

The cupcake tower.  I added the dinosaurs and chocolate rocks.  Unfortunately, Austin tipped over the tray of cupcakes (in their container, thank goodness) so they were a little messy.

Great grandpa got there early so he and Austin waited patiently while we set up.  I'm so glad he got there early because Austin was antsy and he took grandpa on some walks to see the fishies.

After food and cupcakes and presents it was time to dig for fossils!

The science museum also provided a live bearded dragon lizard for the children to learn about and pet.  It was really cool, but I didn't get pictures.

I finally remembered to give everyone their party favors- of all the parties I've thrown for my boys I always forget to give out the thank you treats.  Every. Single. Time.  But this year I remembered!  Success!  Each child got a cool dinosaur with dinosaur goodies and dinosaur eggs.  Yum!

After the party everyone got to have fun in the museum.  Jackson and Maggie trotted off to play while holding hands.  I think Jackson always chooses girls for friends just so he can hold their hand.  ;)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My boys on missions?

It's no secret that I'm a convert to the LDS church.  I'd been a member for so long when I got married it seemed like old hat, but then I had children.  We are blessed with the 2 most beautiful, most intelligent, most funny boys in the world so naturally you'd think this LDS mommy would ecstatically prepare her boys to serve missions one day as all good, decent LDS moms do.  Yeah.  Well, that wasn't the case for me.  Even though my oldest is only 4 and my baby is not quite 2 *but almost* I think about their futures, plan for their futures, and encourage them to look ahead, so I've thought about this for quite a while.  And when I say I've "thought" about this for quite awhile, that's really "Raylene-speak" for I've WORRIED about this for quite awhile.  I can't imagine letting my two precious baby boys into a world where they'll be ridiculed or mocked even if it is to bring the gospel to people who need to hear it.  In my mind and heart I thought why not let all the other LDS children do this job, let all the "good" LDS moms send their babies into foreign countries alone to preach the gospel while I keep my babies here close to my heart where they're safe and where I'm comfortable.

Let me take a moment to explain what has gone through my mind as an LDS mom the last few years.  Remember, even though the church seems old hat and even though I had a loving family who taught me right and wrong, and who raised me to be a decent human being, I still know nothing about raising LDS children.  I don't know primary songs, I don't even know what goes on in primary.  I don't know how to prepare a child to give a talk; and what the flip is "sharing time"?!  I don't know the Articles of Faith off the top of my head.  I don't know which scriptures are the best to teach first.  When people say we all know John 3:16 or 2 Nephi 2:25 I want to scream, "NO!!!  No, we don't all know (insert widely known scripture here)!!".  I feel just as lost now as I did as a new convert 15+ years ago, except now it's not just my salvation that I'm shaping but my beautiful boys' salvation as well.  I don't know how or what makes a good FHE.  I don't know what they should know at what age.  I don't know what to focus on first- Christ, the plan of salvation, the BOM, the bible etc. etc..  I'm just kinda winging it and praying A LOT that I'm not messing everything up.

Anyway, with that explained, I'll continue-  I could not fathom my children being without me for 2 years and only hearing their voices a couple times a year.  Could.  Not.  Fathom.  When we started teaching Jackson how to tithe and save his money I did not even make a mission fund jar (like all good LDS moms should) because it wasn't an option for me at that point.  Then, on an online forum for LDS moms I saw pictures of a mom welcoming home her son from his mission and I couldn't hold back my tears.  She has 15 children and it was her oldest child that had just come home and this mom was so happy, joyful, proud, and grateful- and I could clearly see this just from her pictures.  I don't personally know this woman, she's just another LDS mom in this LDS forum who was sharing her story and her pictures, but the spirit opened my heart and my mind to the possibility of sending my children on a mission.  From there I started praying and praying and praying.  I've learned that when the time comes, if they are worthy, if they desire to go, and if the Lord has need for them then I will gladly, proudly, but still reluctantly (because they're still my precious baby boys) let them go.  I'm adding a mission jar to their tithing and savings jars and I will begin teaching and preparing them for missions the best I can.  I still can't fathom being without my babies for 2 years, but I feel pretty sure that that's how all LDS mom's feel even when they're saying good-bye to their precious babies at the MTC.

How grateful I am to that woman who shared her story and pictures on the LDS forum because she changed this family's lives.  Literally.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Poor St Patrick's Day is at the bottom of my list of stuff to celebrate, but since we didn't get to celebrate Dr. Suess' birthday this year I didn't want to let this little day go unnoticed.  I found this St Patrick's Day scavenger hunt on Pinterest and this is how we celebrated the day.  It was a lot of fun.  My boys LOVE a good scavenger hunt!

First, I printed off the clues and hid them in the correct places while the boys napped.  I hid the clues in their shoes, with the milk, and by the door.

The final clue led them to their bed where the treasure was- on their bed.  They found some chocolate coins and a dollar in change on their first St. Patrick's Day treasure hunt.

Chore chart: New and Improved!

Well, Big Poppa is almost 2 (this Friday is the big day) so it's time to add him to the chore chart!  The original chore chart can be found here.  This chore chart is very similar to the old one, but we no longer worry about game time stuff.  Jackson isn't addicted to games like he was so there's no reason to earn game time.  Plus, it would probably be a little too complicated for Big Poppa anyhow.

Anyway, without further ado, here's the new and improved chore chart!  I used the Cricut and my laminating machine this time to make the magnets.  

Every day the boys will be expected to do 4 chores:  make their bed, get dressed, brush their teeth, and pick up their toys before bed.  They will earn a nickel for each chore, BUT if they choose to not do a chore and mommy or daddy does said chore then they have to pay us 2 nickels for "maid service".  -Just like the old chore chart. We'll also be teaching Austin to save and tithe every $1 he earns, and we're adding another jar labeled "Mission fund" to which another 10% will go toward.  Here are their 4 daily chore magnets-

The boys can earn more nickels by doing extra chores like laundry, dusting, helping daddy with the trash etc., but my favorite extra chore is the "Act of Service" magnet.  To earn this magnet we have to catch them being extra nice or serving someone OR they can ask us for ideas of different ways to serve someone which will also earn them a nickel (and hopefully it will teach them how to be a little more thoughtful and how to serve a little more as well).  I love this little magnet.

We won't start the new chore chart until next week when Big Poppa is officially 2, and I'll help him a lot in the beginning until he gets the hang of it, but I hope he enjoys it as much as his brother has.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A room fit for a couple of superheroes!

Our little project is finally finsihed- our superheroes have a new space.  But the very best part, Austin is sleeping in his big boy bed and we haven't had any problems! Success!

We had a lot of little projects that we had to put together before we could put the room together.  The first was to mend the curtains (which still work in their new room- woohoo, love to save money!).  We were going to sew them, but Mighty Mend it did a much faster and easier job of it!  We were quite proud of ourselves.

We also put together their new toy storage cubbies, but their matching cubbie storage bins weren't in yet.  I sewed a couple yellow accent pillows all by myself!  I haven't sewed since I was 12 years old.  Usually my mom does the actual sewing for me.  You'll see pics of the pillows later.  Thinking back I should have done a before and after...  This is their room before.

Their matching storage bins came in!  Blue, red, and yellow for Superman/Jackson and black, gray, and yellow for Batman/Austin.  Notice the plethora of Batman caves and toys- thank you Grandma Marlow for buying the boys every Batman toy you could possibly find for Christmas.  ;)

Another project was getting wood cut for bunky boards for their beds.  Jackson had a built in bunky board in his mattress and that mattress was terrible, so both boys got new mattresses.  Here's Jackson helping the Lowe's guy, Eric, cut their boards.  Eric had the best customer service!  Such a nice guy.

This is their room after we got the beds put together and their toys put away in their new places.  Looks good, but it needed some superhero bling.  Notice the little yellow accent pillow on each bed- I made those! It's not very easy to find a yellow accent pillow in the middle of winter, so I made my own.

And here is the finished product.  We repainted their name letters to match and put together some new artwork for their walls.  Jim sketched the Superman and Batman paintings and we both hand painted them.  The Cricut helped us with the rest of the room.

Done!  A new room for the two cutest little superheroes I know.