Monday, June 30, 2008


We hit a critical parenting moment with James yesterday. The kids wanted to go for a bike ride so we strapped on their helmets and James' knee pads and started off. Well, at least we tried to set off, James was still too scared to ride his bicycle because last time he had fallen off and scraped his knee. He wanted John to ride his bicycle instead so he could sit in the trailer. I tried coaxing and pleading and was considering threatening when John, who was helping Samuel, came over to add his two cents. James was adament about not wanting to ride and I was concerned that if we let him give into this fear again, we might not get him on a bicycle again for a year or two, if ever. He was really that scared! Between the two of us we were finally able to convince James to give it a try for a block with John walking behind him and holding onto the handlebars so James could clutch onto his daddy's arms. After one block, we got him to try another one, then John and I switched off (John's back was killing him from the hunched position) and I convinced James to try holding the handlebars with my hands on top of his, just to see what it felt like. He rode at a snail's pace and eventually made it to the park, our destination of choice. James was surprised that he was no longer scared. He was enjoying the ride AND he had let me move so that I only had one hand on his handlebars to help guide and stable him. We let the kids play at the park and then James willingly got on his bike for the ride home. For the last 20 feet of the ride I even let go of him and he rode all on his own with a huge grin on his face.
Fear is such a strong motivator for why we do or don't do things in our life and I was really concerned that James would learn that it was okay to succumb to that fear. My mind had flashed forward to James in school, being too afraid to try for sports or music or anything he wanted because he was afraid of failure. I know it seems silly to some that I was so concerned with something as trivial as riding a bike, but part of my job as a mom is to teach him that even when he falls, he needs to get back up and try again, no matter how daunting the task or how scared he may be.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Star-Spangled Banner

Since today is the Sunday preceeding Independance Day, we sang patriotic songs in sacrament meeting. The closing hymn was "The Star-Spangled Banner", our national anthem. I watched in amusement and gratitude as our entire congregation rose to sing - including our contingent of West Africans half of which aren't citiczens of this country yet. We finished the first verse and as we moved on to the second I was wondering how many people in the congregation, old and new members alike, actually knew there was more than one verse to the national anthem. Then as the third verse began, the words really hit me. I made eye contact with a friend and could tell that she was struck as I was by the spirit of the lyrics.

Oh, Thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vic'try and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The founding fathers really knew what they were doing. They were divinely inspired when they fled to this land for religious freedom and when they continually thanked God for upholding that freedom. Now, "In God we Trust" is almost a joke. We have driven him so far out of our lives and out of our schools and our hearts that we have made a mockery of the very principles upon which our nation was built. We began with a sure foundation, built upon faith in Christ and now we are digging furiously in the sand, clawing through the rubble to dispose of any trace of God in our lives. The result: our children are raised without faith, our work has succeeded and we have become a godless society! Heck, the pledge of allegience has even been taken out of schools! Has this improved our lives? Has this made our country even stronger? I answer with a resounding NO! Perhaps you do not believe in God, but the principles that are taught through faith in the name of God: obedience, respect, reverence, love, service, kindness, are seriously lacking in society these days and sad to say we only have ourselves to blame. We are a nation now lacking in so many things, if we looked back to a point when things went seriously wrong, it would be when this crusade against God existing in our daily lives began. I think to be united, to fight for any war or cause and to be on the side of truth, we need His spirit with us. That is clearly not what we have with us now.
I am constantly reminded of the warning in the Book of Mormon; as long as the people were faithful and kept the commandments and took care of their fellowmen, they would prosper in the land. As soon as they began to set their hearts upon wealth and to be lifted up in pride and to cast out their poor, they would be chastised by the Lord. I truly believe our founding fathers knew this and built their belief into the wording of all of their documents and songs as a reminder for us. It is a shame we have become to proud to listen.

Friday, June 27, 2008

good days, bad days

I really like my life and for the most part every day is a good day despite the challenges that may arise. Every once in a while though, I have a bad day. Yesterday was a bad day. I yelled at the kids too much, got frustrated with packing the house, didn't get anything accomplished that I had set out to do, spent money I shouldn't have and then freaked out at John when he asked a simple question about it. I ended up in my room curled up in the fetal position sobbing over who knows what, wishing that the day were over. It was the kind of day that John wanted to drop-kick me after only 5 minutes of being home from work. Heck, I wanted to drop-kick myself, wish I could have too. Sometimes the hormones or the depression or the lack of sleep or maybe just the wrong cosmic energy sets me off and I could use a good kick in the butt to snap me out of it.

Lucky for me I have a husband who is starting to figure out how I tick. After taking the kids out for a little walk to give me some space, he brought them back and must have prompted them because they gave me a big hug and begged me to go on a bike ride with them. Maybe it was the fresh air or maybe just getting some endorphines going, but my bad day was instantly good again. We ended up having a fun and relaxed evening together.

I think the east coast is starting to rub off on me. My emotions have become like the weather: wait 5 minutes, it will change.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

family fun

Last night we decided to take the kids for a bicycle ride to a nearby Dairy Queen. The reasoning was that John and I would use up some calories on the way there so we could get away with eating our favorite treats - BLIZZARDS!!!
Anyway, about half a block from our house, James refused to ride his bicycle because he fell over about 3 weeks ago and hasn't gotten over it. Our simple family outing turned into a screaming match-- Samuel was screaming to go and James screaming not to. John came up with the perfect solution, he hitched up the trailer to his bicycle so James could ride in that and still get to wear his new bicycle helmet since we coudn't get him to take it off anyway. I walked next to Samuel as he rode his bicycle. The way to DQ is on a major road and the sidewalks in our neighborhood in serious need of repair. It was touch and go there for awhile.
Eventually we made it, had a very yummy (and much deserved) treat and got ready to head home. Samuel decided that he was too tired to ride home and that he wanted to ride in the trailer with James. More screaming ensued. At this point it was about 7:30 pm and James had missed his nap so you can imagine how pleasant he was. We finally got Samuel settled in the trailer with a still screaming James and I was elected to walk Sam's bicycle home. John rode slowly so I didn't feel completely abandoned and by the end of the first block, James was out.
The picture is from when we arrived home from the ordeal. How can they be such devils when they are awake and still so cute when they are asleep?!?

Monday, June 23, 2008

tooth fairy

Samuel lost his first tooth tonight! IWe get to play the tooth fairy for the first time! Sometimes, parenting is so fun!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Myrtle Beach

We just got back from our week in Myrtle Beach. It was so great to get to spend time with John for a week and there is nothing better than lying on the beach listening to the waves crash and watching the kids go crazy playing in the sand. We divided our time between lying on the beach, playing at the water park with the kids, shopping at the nearby outlets and enjoying the rides on the boardwalk. Oh, yeah, and there were several yummy meals in between.
Here are a few pictures of highlights on the trip.

This last picture is the solution John (the I-will-only-make-one-stop-on-this-10-hour-drive Nazi!) came up with for the boys instead of stopping to use a suitable restroom. When I was a kid my dad at least pulled over on the side of the road. My, how things have changed!

Monday, June 16, 2008


My sister Keri is the world's most organized person. Since my Mom, ummm, isn't, Keri is helping her get all of her old pictures on DVD so that we can all have copies of them. I just got the first 4 cds (roughly 1500 pics) this week. So fun! So here is just a quick stroll through memory lane.

Gotta love me, I'm the baby!

Cast courtesy of my brother Jared.

Jared and I were always buddies, still are!

Halloween costumes, old school style! Tyler was Yoda in case you were wondering.

Stay tuned. As I make it through more pictures there will be many more memories to share.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Erin needs...

This is too funny! What you do is go to and type in "(your name) needs" and see what pops up. Here is my list!

Erin needs...
a drink (so true, too bad I don't drink- oblivion would be good right now!)
a liver transplant (I sure hope not! See above)
another miracle (amen!)
to wear shirts (ummmm...)
some love and support (doesn't everyone?)
a tv show (that would be pretty dull for you guys)
a boyfriend (I don't think John would agree with that! Or maybe he would...)
help (obviously)
to eat a sandwich (come to think of it, I am hungry)

Since I had so much fun with that (sorry if you didn't), I did it for John too!

John needs...
help (him too, huh?)
to embrace family values (actually he's pretty good at that)
a good nickname
to get his patootie back here (he he he he he!)
an iPhone (is that really a need?)
13 bottles of water (umm, okay????)
our prayers
rest (don't we all!!!)
an iron (yes, but can he use it)
lunch money (if you know John this is really funny!)
a haircut (too true! I guess it is time to make an appointment)

Go on, you know you want to try this yourself!

I don't like whining, it makes me GRUMPY!

My kids have hit a whining spell lately and it is driving me CRAZY! So this is a plea to all you parents out there and those of you with younger brothers and do you make it stop? Most of the time I can calmly remind them that they need to ask for things without whining. I can be adult about it even. But for the past few days I haven't been sleeping well and all I want to do is pull out the duct tape and make them stop! I wouldn't, but the thought does have it's appeal. I know the situation is reaching critical condition because Samuel is starting to whine at other people and not just me! Ack! MAKE IT STOP!!!
So if any of you have any ideas, suggestions, comments, phone numbers for hit and run duct tape guys, please, please, PLEASE share!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We're having a heat wave here in Philly. It has been about 98 degrees with 90% humidity since Saturday. Walking outside I feel like I should be swimming considering I am so stinkin' sweaty I am as wet as if I have been in a pool. I can't decide if I should even bother showering anymore considering I am soaking wet again 5 minutes after drying off. Yuck! The only hope I cling to on days like these is... the new house has central air! Glory Hallelujah!!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Samuel!

Today Samuel turned 5. I can't believe how big he is! A kindergartener come September!! Here are some cute pics of him over the years.

Samuel's first official photo.

All hail the birthday king! Samuel at age 1.

Sam just after his 2nd birthday. Swimming in Utah at Grandma Liz and Grandpa Dwane's house.

Samuel with Aubrey on his 3rd birthday.

Exhausted (yeah, right) after a day of partying, Samuel at age 4.

Here is Samuel yesterday at his party sitting next to his future wife (his words, not mine... although I thoroughly approve!).

Samuel is my sweetheart. The quote of the day came from him as he was trying to talk me into a second piece of his 4-layer R2D2 cake as well as an ice cream sandwich, "To be your sweetheart I need to eat lots of sweets." Gotta love his logic! Samuel has an incredible imagination and a loves his family and friends unconditionally. And just for fun, here are a few pics of Sam just being Sam...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Domestic Goddess

Today I claim the title of Domestic Goddess! I should shout it from the rooftops because honestly, this is a rare occurance for me. We had a little birthday party for the boys today (a Star Wars party, of course) and since I couldn't find a nearby bakery that made Star Wars cakes, I decided to make one myself. Here is the result!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my life in a movie

We took the kids to a nearby playground yesterday when John got home from work. The kids went right to the slides and started piling the dirt/mulch that covers the playground area onto the slides. As soon as enough of the slide was covered (enough being about 2/3 of the slide about 3" thick), the boys would run up to the top and then slide down through the mess. I was being my relaxed self yesterday so I though this was quite entertaining.
After they had been doing this for about 20 minutes another little boy, about Sam's age came over to see what they were doing. Here is the conversation that ensued:

Boy: "You're not supposed to do that. Those sticks are on the ground so that it is soft and you don't get hurt. You are going to get in trouble."

At this point he noticed John and I sitting on a nearby bench.

Boy: "They're not supposed to do that."

I smiled in response and the boy began cleaning off the slides.
At this point Samuel joined the conversation, probably objecting to this boy interrupting their fun. I couldn't hear what was said until the boy turned again to John and I and said,

Boy: "My dad's bigger than that dad."

I busted up laughing. So did John. So did another dad standing nearby. I thought that was only something kids said in the movies!