Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Better Me

These last 6 months have been enlightening for me. As the year started anew, so did my resolve to be a better follower of Christ. I feel that, most days, it gets easier and I am becoming better. I've been listening to General Conference talks and to the Scriptures daily. Listening to them has changed my world! My level of success in this has dramatically increased since starting this. It's the most successful I've been...EVER. And it shows. I feel like I've so much more internalized the counsel given and have felt an understanding beyond my norm. Scriptures and thoughts have been brought into remembrance, which has always been my struggle...remembering what I read. Applications to my current, everyday life are being made. Modern day miracle in the life of one Amy Jo! I know that my brain isn't getting any sharper or that I'm all of a sudden smarter. Promptings from the Spirit have been felt and recognized. I know that when we put the Savior first and make the connection between knowing and doing, we are blessed and our testimonies and faith strengthened.

I've been serving with the primary children for many years now. Looking back I can remember little moments that happened as I hear a song we learned, or an experience shared. Oh the power of music! It's amazing to me how quickly memories are triggered by song. Anyway, the theme in primary this year is

Choose the Right: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15)
Raising little ones brings along the opportunity to teach about the gift of agency and the consequences that come from the decisions we make. I hear myself saying things like, "Is that a good choice or a bad choice?" or "Try really hard to make good choices" or "What happens if you make a bad choice?" It's comical to think of how many times these words make it out of my mouth in a single day. Then Sundays are filled with songs that remind us of the blessings that come from making wise decisions. It is clear to me that this gentle reminder that has come from merely serving where I've been asked is for me, if not for anyone else! It has caused me to think about my choices. And not the big, life altering choices, but the seemingly small day to day and hour to hour choices. We have a lot of choices to be made in a single day! Never before have I been drawn to think about my hourly choices, until now. This has made a huge difference in my life. By breaking things down, I feel like I've better used my gift of agency. I've chosen to make that phone call that has been weighing on my mind, to be the first to initiate a conversation with my neighbor, to take 5 minutes over breakfast to read scripture stories to my kids, to be more gentle in my responses to my family, to open the manual for Sundays' lessons, to get down on the floor for play time, to be more disciplined in my spending, to turn off the TV and get to bed earlier, to write that thank you note, to take bread to the sisters I visit teach, to put on a smile when my husband walks through the door, and to get on my knees to pray. Does this mean that I'm perfect? Absolutely not. Far from it. Mistakes are still made...daily. But it does mean that I'm trying harder and moving forward, while focusing on small victories that may not have been present before. I find that I am telling myself, "Now Amy...try really hard to make good choices." So what if I treat myself the same as a 4 year old! It seems to be helping. I love the words that come from our new primary song, "As a Child of God." These are the words that have helped me to do better in choosing the right, in making that connection between knowing and doing, and in turn becoming a better follower of Christ.
"I came to earth with power to choose. Good choices bless me and my family too. As a child of God I receive special light. The Holy Ghost helps me to know what is right."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quiet Time Thoughts

While I sit childless in my quiet home (thank you preschool) I can't help but think about my boys. I don't know if it is because everyone told me FOUR was a good age and to enjoy it (mental game...our minds are powerful you know) or if it really is a magical age, but things are good. I really am enjoying everyday moments. They are playing so well together and can stay in their make believe world all day long. Having twins is pretty great! The other morning as the garbage truck was making its rounds, I teasingly asked Cade if he wanted to get in the garbage bin and go live in the garbage truck. He gave it some thought and just kept looking at me like...are you serious mom? As the truck came down our street I picked Cade up and said hurry...he's coming...let's get you ready for the truck! Right then, Carson got all teary eyed and blocked the front door. He told me I couldn't take Cade. When I asked him why, he said with a little quiver, "'cause then we wouldn't be twins anymore." Oh man. It was the cutest thing ever! Of course I reassured him that I wasn't going to take Cade to live in the garbage truck...the boys are used to my teasing but I guess this hit a little too close to home for Mr. Carson. :)

Riding in the car with these two is funny. They both start up their engines, rev their motors, hold on to fake steering wheels, and drive right along with me. And not for a couple of minutes. The WHOLE matter how long. They each make sure I know what kind of car or truck they are driving. That's important you know. Needless to say, they make their dad proud. In fact, the other night at dinner I asked the boys what they were going to get for their dad for his upcoming birthday. Cade immediately smiled and said, "A new engine for his go-kart!" Talk about a thoughtful boy! They love Saturdays with Dad and spend most working with him in the garage.

When we drive into the church parking lot each Sunday, Carson immediately takes note of whose cars are in the parking lot. I don't know how he knows what everyone in the ward drives, but he does. And then during Sacrament Meeting he waves to all his adult friends and takes note of who is missing. He is such a people person and can't stand to just sit still a whole hour until he can make his rounds. The other week I was getting after him to sit quietly the last 10 minutes or so of the meeting. He just looked at me with this distressed face and said, "Mom, you're driving me crazy!" I have no idea where he learned this phrase. :) Carson needs lots of love and affection. Have you read "The 5 Love Languages"? Carson's love language is hands down physical touch. He wants to be as close to you as physically possible and often is. He is full of love and shows it. Everyday he tells me...."Mom, you're kinda pretty" and "I just love you so so much!" He is the first to notice my hair, clothes, and accessories and is always very complimentary. So observant. He knows the way into a woman's heart!!! Carson is still singing constantly. We are still hearing, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Jingle Bells," "ABCs," and "Follow the Prophet" very regularly. He sings at the TOP of his lungs and makes up his own words.

Cade is very much into doing cool tricks and Kung Fu. He's got a competitive and aggressive side. He loves a good battle. I must say, he does have some pretty sweet moves. Whenever we have a Kung Fu show down and I fall over in defeat he proudly says, "Mom I died you!" Such a boy. He loves making skid marks with his bike tires, playing games, rolling in the snow, acting like Superman, jumping in puddles, and digging in the mud. And like I mentioned before, when it comes to his dad, he is his biggest fan. Caders isn't a huge fan of rules and completing tasks set by his parents, like most kids. But he always makes me a deal. He reassures me that whatever the task at hand, he will do it when he's 5. "Mom, I'll clean my room when I'm 5. Kids when they're 4 they don't put their own shoes on, just when they're 5. Mom I'll wait to write my name when I'm 5. How 'bout I eat vegetables when I'm 5." Wow. Year 5 is going to be a big one for him! He'll have lots to do...I'm keeping track! Cade loves having dance parties with me. He likes me to turn up the music and rock out. With every song that comes on he says "oh...this is my favorite song." His most consistent requests are "Rumor Has It" by Adele, "Don't Stop" by Foster the People, and "Hey Mama" by Mat Kearney. We have some good dancing going on in our house. The boys love to giggle and tell me I'm crazy. I do tend to get a little out of control. What's that saying..."Dance like nobody's watching." I take it to heart...and Carson and Cade are there to witness it. Lucky boys.

Life is good.

Friday, March 2, 2012

This & That & Lots of It!

Miss Amber is off on a new Texas! We had one last hurrah before the moving truck leaves town. As always, it was wonderful to eat good food and catch up with friends. Losing friends to different cities stinks. But Austin is lucky. Amber has loads of creativity, loves to shop, remembers everyone's birthdays and gives the sweetest gifts, is an amazingly dedicated wife and mother, can cut hair like nobody's business, loves chocolate, and sincerely listens to and validates others. So many wonderful characteristics all wrapped up into one person. Yes Austin, you are lucky! Lots of love and well wishes on this new adventure!
No, I don't make my children wear helmets as they swing, though it's not a bad idea. Cypress Park has great biking/walking paths throughout, making it even more awesome. The boys ride and play to their hearts delight.

Have you ever seen a smaller snowman?!? We didn't get that much snow but the boys were dead set on building a snowman. He's cute isn't he?!

Lets hope that sleeping with his hand on a gun doesn't become a habit!
Ready to brave the snow, complete with his new trucker hat...courtesy of our neighbor. He puts it on first thing every morning.

And it starts. Poor beloved Jeep has lost his first wheel. Moment of silence please.

Happy Hour Happiness
Date night with the Christensen's. Bowling and games and dessert crepes. Shane and I kinda got killed in the game department. Jake and Steph are quite the competitive pair!

I feel lame to post pictures of my hair. I know it's not that cool. But I've been focusing on small victories lately...and braiding your own hair is a small victory indeed!!!
CTR sticks for primary singing time. Program number 4 here I come!

Feeling the Love

Valentine's this year was fun, mostly because Cade and Carson got into it. They got to give Valentine cards to friends for the first time and receive them in return, decorate heart-shaped cookies, & eat lots of chocolate and cherry hearts. Life as a 4 year old is good.

Little Love Bugs!
They even got some cash in the mail from Grandpa and Grandma Tucker. Cade has never been more excited! We went to the store to spend their doe. Cade picked a boat for the bath and a small dump truck. Carson picked a pimped out Cadillac Escalade with doors that open.:) They were so proud of themselves as they handed their money to the "store guy."
Neighborhood kids all together for a par-tay!
Love from Mom and Dad
Carson opened up his box of chocolates and devoured them as quickly as possible...stuffing them all into his mouth at the same time. Cade, on the other hand, ate them amazingly slow...savoring each one. Who knew watching them eat their chocolate could be so telling of their personalities!!!
They each got a water-color book (which is so out-of-character for me). I'm happy to report that we have faithfully had some "art time" most days since. Carson counts down the seconds until he's done his mandatory page. But he does it and that is progress.
Milkshakes after dinner!

As much as I love my little boys and enjoyed celebrating the day with them, this man is my number one Valentine. If we were in elementary school, I would have picked out an extra special Valentine to give him, and said it was from his secret admirer. His gift to me was sweeter than candy. He wrote a poem, complete with his witty comments and sense of humor. His writing is one of the first things I loved about him...this gift reminded me of that. I was told to read it out loud and he would stop me as I went along. The poem was 3-fold. I was stopped three times as thoughtful, personalized gifts were given. He makes me swoon!! What a wonderful person I get to experience this life with. There is no one better suited for me, that I know for sure, and having him by my side is my greatest of blessings.
We all felt the love this February.