Sunday, February 24, 2013

primary talk, adapted

In early February, Leah came home from church with a little slip of paper informing us she was to give a talk in primary near the end of the month. 

My first thought was, ugh.

Sadly, it's true. My brain went to that ugly place where I get all huffy and wonder how in the world they expect Leah to give a talk when she doesn'!

And then my mind went to a better place. That place where we could work on a talk together and I could run some different ideas past her. That place where we recorded an intro for Leah to activate with her switch, I read the part we had worked on together and then she activated the closing. 

And what I couldn't even imagine during that initial ugh was how well Leah would do. How she'd whack that switch with such purpose and wait so patiently with a grin on her face while I bumbled through our talk and then whack it again at the end. 

And that, my friends, is how someone who doesn't "talk" gives a talk. 

Always adapting. She's amazing. Will I ever learn?

If I keep the commandments,
I can live with Heavenly Father again.

At my house, we have lots of rules. Im sure you have rules too! Our moms and dads make rules for us to follow so we will come home every day safe and happy. The rules in my house show me that my mom and dad love me and want me to be safe. 

Just like our moms and dads, our Heavenly Father has made rules for us to follow too. They are called commandments. If we follow the commandments, we will be happy and can return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus again. 
I like the hymn that says, Keep the commandments, keep the commandments, in this there is safety, in this there is peace. He will send blessings…” I know if we keep Heavenly Fathers commandments, we will be safe and we will be blessed. 

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, February 22, 2013

horses, horses, horses, horses...

So about a month ago, we started to play the all-too-common guessing game with Leah. This time the subject was the theme of her birthday party. Princesses? No. Pampering? No. Movie party? No. Sea animals? No. Rainbow? No. We had a few other options and I was honestly afraid we'd never guess it. That was, until I mentioned horses, to which we got a resounding stare. Yes!!!

Horses it was. 

We had the party today since it was Leah's actual birthday and winter break so all of her cute little friends were home from school anyway. There were 10 girls on the list and I thought probably half would be able to make it because of the week-long break - but 9 showed up! Yay!

I went over a little early to set a few things up and was pretty proud of how it turned out. Especially the hobby horses. The night before as I was stuffing and stitching them up, Ryan said, "You make the strangest things." Um, thanks!? Little did he know they would be the hit of the party. 

About 15 minutes before the party was to start, Ryan brought Leah over. She waited patiently on the couch with a grin on her face as we waited for the party guests to arrive. And when they did, one by one, they came over to Leah and surrounded her with nothing but love. It was pretty amazing to watch. 

To begin, the girls each decorated a card with some western stickers. The cards would be used as Leah's thank you notes to each of them. I always struggle to find ways to have Leah write thank you cards and figured this was a fun, more personalized way! We used the leftover stickers for family thank yous. 

As we finished up with cards, Ryan arrived with pizza! The girls politely gobbled it up. Again, it was amazing to see them rally around Leah to make sure she had enough pizza. And was she getting enough water? Did she want any apple juice or carrots? I loved watching them interact. 

After pizza, we played a few games: stomp the fly {relatively unsuccessful as far as popping the balloons goes - bryn had a definite advantage with her rainboots - but fun nonetheless}, pin the tail on the pony {i'm not convinced those bandanas weren't see-though}, and my favorite, the relay. Each girl had to put on her pink hat, tie the bandana to her neck, "lasso" the hobby horse with a hula hoop, then ride the horse to the trough to eat oats, jump over the ropes, then back around the table for the sprint home. It. Was. Hilarious. We struggled to get the girls interested when someone else was racing. We encouraged them to cheer, which they would do for about two seconds and then they'd stop. Until Leah raced. At which point, with no prompting, the room erupted into cheers of "GO LEAH! YOU CAN DO IT! GOOOOOOO LEAH!!!" Again, it was incredible to watch. And it was very obvious that Leah was enjoying herself. 

After games, we opened presents. It's a known fact that kids are extremely interested in the gift they are giving at birthday parties. Often to the point of wanting to open the gift themselves. Well, this was any child's birthday party dream come true. Because Leah can't open gifts herself, the rule was the giver could help her open their gift. It was a hit. And boy was she spoiled. I was dumbfounded by the generosity of each girl. 

After gifts came cupcakes and ice cream. Cupcakes were horses in the pasture {thank you oriental trading} and ice cream choices were strawberry and chocolate chip cookie dough {both Leah's choices}. 

After cupcakes, I had planned to have the girls play horseshoes, but they were already having a great time running around with their hats and the hula hoops and hobby horses, so we just let them have at it. Parents came to pick up their girls altogether too soon and the party came to an end. 

Miss Leah truly had the time of her life and I hope all the girls had fun. On the way home, Leah got to ride in the passenger seat with mom with all her balloons and goodies in the back seat. She's one lucky and loved six year old. 

Yee haw!

And can I just give a shout out to Leah's dad? He was a rock star. He took Leah by the reigns {no pun intended} and helped out every step of the way. Aaaaand, we switched the location of the party last minute. I was pretty sure everyone knew, but just in case, we put a sign on our door. The guy didn't use just any tape, he used washi tape. Sigh. He knows the way to my heart. Three cheers for dads!



This cute cowgirl is six. 

Sometimes it's hard to believe. 

There is so much love and life and laughter squished into this slender little body. She is the best and hardest thing that has ever happened to me. She has caused more tears of joy and sorrow than I ever thought imaginable. And I love, love, love every bit of her six year old self. 

We spent the day celebrating her. Birthday party, presents, and a date with dad {complete with flowers!}. I think she loves her new headphones and she's all set with a new wardrobe. A huge thanks to everyone who sent their love via gifts, cards, phone calls, FaceTime/Skype/Tango and facebook. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day Date

We spent the evening after Valentine's Day on a group date with friends. We all got gussied up, grabbed some babysitters and walked down the sidewalk to the community center. We hung lights and decorated all the tables for a delicious dinner.

After we all ate way too much, we played a rousing edition of the Newlywed game, which Ryan and I, of course, lost. We didn't come in last place, but we also didn't even make it past the first round. I honestly haven't laughed that hard in a long time listening to the {mostly wrong} answers and the responses and rebuttals between spouses. From answers referring to Tom Hanks to relaxing on a long run, incorrect favorite foods to the Ensign I had tears spilling out of my eyes. 

It was a perfect way to spend an evening both with the  man

and the friends that I love!
Candace, Michelle, Ashley, Laura, Maren, Andrea, Catherine

Thursday, February 14, 2013

love day

This little family has a lot to squeeze in on February 14th, not the least of which is dad's birthday. And so, Valentine's Day often takes a back seat. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT complaining about that. But as the girls have grown, it has been more and more fun to celebrate holidays in special little ways. This year, those little ways included:

heart shaped {and strawberry flavored} treats:

neighborhood valentines:

a school party {where miss ribbons passed out kung fu panda valentines, of course} that leah was gracious enough to invite us to:

hand-sewn enveloped for the girls to receive small gifts and notes in throughout the week:

and a heart-attacked door from the cutest little neighbor you ever did see:
{in case you can't read her ridiculously adorable personalized messages, they are: "we love maren," "katers can crawl," "leah is cute," and "ryan is good."}

 i love my little loves. and i love celebrating love with them. 

thirty two

Thirty two is a good look for Ryan, if the Layton ladies say so themselves. We had a good time celebrating dad after a long day of school for him. Leah and Kate came to the party store with me to pick up balloons, then they both cashed out and left all the decorating to me. 

So, I created a celebration fit for a king. And then I made him wear the crown all night.

We ate salmon, cous cous and artichokes. Yum. We gifted our gifts {he loved the black out BYU helmet I got for him. It's for that one day when he has an office}. 

Leah and Kate worked hard on their scratch off card. 32 things they love about their dear old dad, all uncovered by a magic penny. I will be doing this again at some point. It was fun!

After gifts we all enjoyed some ice cream and pink cake. 

It was a busy day, but well worth it to spend time celebrating the king of the house. We sure do love him. Even if he is getting old. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

ktg: 9 months

Nine months. Longer outside than she was in! It's hard to believe, but our Kater Potater is just growing, growing, growing like a weed. 
She's worn quite a few hats this month. A winter carnival hat, a cowgirl hat, a sick and snot-nosed hat, a smiley hat and more. We kept postponing her 9 month photo shoot because she was sick and there was no sunshine...she sort of got better and the sun never shone, so we settled for sub-par lighting and a pretty sad girl. You win some, you lose some.
Kate is perfecting her cruising {and getting fast!} and has even pulled away from the furniture a time or two to stand for a few seconds on her own. She still loves holding my fingers and walking through the house. She just started to use her walker to get across the living room. I expect it will get good use in her upcoming 10th month.

Kate's best friend is moi. And I'm eating it up. Her second best friend is that chubby baby in the mirror. She could give herself kisses all day long! Speaking of kisses, they're the best. Open mouth, slobber filled with an "aaaaah" sound kisses. Sigh. 

She is exploring all sorts of sounds with her low and raspy voice. Ga, Da, Ma, Ba, Gra, Bla, Fa, Sss, Va and Wa are some favorites. She's beginning to say "da da" and "ma ma" a little more regularly when Ryan and I are around, but I'm not convinced they have specific meaning just yet. 
When not fighting a cold this month, her grins could melt anyone's heart. She has started to squint her eyes and spread her smile out a mile wide and it makes me laugh every time.  

She sleeps from 7-7:30 each night until 6:30-7:00 every morning. I prefer a later sleeper, but I'll deal. She still takes two naps a day, for 1-3 hours each time. Except on Sundays. Oh, Sundays.

Kate is officially done nursing. Sigh and hallelujah in the same breath. Sigh because again, I had hoped to go for a year. But hallelujah because she was having none of it and is just fine with her bottle. Those working hands still amaze me. In other eating news, Kate loves to eat. Anything and everything. All. The. Time. She has started to eat everything we eat at the table except shell fish. She loves grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes, oatmeal, pasta, rice, curry, vegetables, fruits, yogurt, you name it. On the menu this month is milk. Hopefully it will decrease our grocery bill a bit. Formula is pricey!

She is learning to love books a little more and will stay still for about 10 seconds when I read them to her now {this is a great improvement from her previous three seconds}. She loves playing in the tupperware drawer, unloading the dishwasher whenever the door is open {her favs are the knives, of course}, sucking on Leah's toes when Leah is on the couch {so gross}, and pulling my earrings while they are connected to my ears. 

She pulls her bows out and her shoes off whenever she gets a chance. I keep putting them back on. I love watching her discover new things, squish new foods, grin when she gets in trouble, bounce her right leg up and down when she's drinking her bottle, sing to herself as she cruises along the furniture, play peek a boo, chase and be chased by dad, squeal with delight when she sees someone she recognizes, try and hit me when she's mad {seriously hilarious}, pick up all the food that Leah drops on the floor at meal times, and dance! The girl can shake it.

I can't believe she's three quarters already. Part of me wants time to stop, and the other part of me can't wait to see what her future holds. I think we'll stick with the latter.
9 month stats:
Weight: 18 lbs. 5 oz.
Height: 28"
Head Circumference: 45 cm
Diaper size: 2
Clothing size: 6-12 months {getting snug}
Longest stretch of sleep: 13 hours??
NEW Nicknames: Not sure. She has about 378 already. 
p.s. Before she was born, Ryan and I joked that we wanted her to be average. Nothing special. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just average. {We had had enough excitement already.} I had to laugh when the doctor announced at her appointment, "She's 50th percentile in weight. And in height! And in head circumference! And she's right on track with development!" Average feels pretty awesome.