Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Love To See The Temple!

"For the temple is the house of God; a place of love and beauty."

"And I, Moroni, will not deny Christ." (Moroni 1:3)

"Earth, with her ten thousand flowers. Air, with all its beams and showers. Heaven’s infinite expanse. Sea’s resplendent countenance—All around and all above bear this record: God is love."

"How Firm a Foundation"

"Whenever I hear the song of a bird or look at the blue, blue sky. Whenever I feel the rain on my face or the wind as it rushes by. Whenever I touch a velvet rose or walk by a lilac tree. I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world, Heavenly Father created for me."

"The earth in its pristine beauty is an expression of the nature of its Creator."
--President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law." (12 th Article of Faith)

"Have you received his image in your countenance?"

This temple is beautiful and magnificent, but it isn’t a place to be looked upon, it’s a place to be used."
--President David Bly

"While I am in my early years, I’ll prepare most carefully so I can marry in God’s temple for eternity. Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father’s plan. I always want to be with my own family. And the Lord has shown me how I can. The Lord has shown me how I can."

Our Trip to the Washington D.C. Temple

For the past several weeks, we've been talking about visiting the Washington D.C. Temple as a family. Apparently a lot of people in this area take Sunday Drives.

This is the mighty Potomac River--not exactly as scenic as a imagined.

After an hour in the car, we reached our destination. And it was well worth the drive!

There is nothing quite as marvelous as the temple grounds on a beautiful Fall day. My typically boisterous brood was a little more subdued on the temple grounds. Even though Gavin and Laynie are small, they recognize that the temple is an incredibly special place.

We even found our own burning bush. Just kidding.

Both kids wanted to "touch the temple." Gavin asked repeatedly if he could go inside. We explained that he needed a temple recommend and that to earn one he had to be obedient. He said he would "try harder".

Virigina is for lovers...or at least Fall lovers! The air was as crisp as the few unraked leaves my children found to walk on. The temple is exquisite, but its already lustrous walls are beautifully framed by some of God's finest creations.

I only wish that more of the people we love could have shared this day with us!

For every glimpse of heaven, we also have to endure several hours of reality. What looks like a cute picture of Laynie snuggling me, is really her licking my face.

And then exerting her independence as she ran away.

It is always difficult to be separated from the ones we love, but our temple visit reminded me that the time we spend apart is only temporary. It is comforting knowledge that our loving Heavenly Father has prepared a way for families, my family, to be together forever.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Moron's Guide to Deck Staining

1. Never underestimate the amount of time and the quantity of stain needed to cover a large deck. Multiply what you think it's going to take in both categories by four (not kidding).
2. One moderately-priced brush will last longer than two cheap ones.
3. If you don't want stain on it, tape it.
4. Don't try to paint a spiderweb. The spider living in the web will attack you.
5. Scrape off bird poop before you paint it.
6. You can get a sunburn even if it's only 54 degrees outside.
7. Stain will stain anything, including clothes, skin and hair.
8. If you stand still in a muddy flower bed for too long, you start to sink.
9. Your neighbors can hear you swearing.
10. Don't try to stain when your kids are around. Stain sticks to them too.
The deck is done. The giant lattice that wraps all the way around the deck will have to wait for another season. Hopefully, my "garden" will cover it all anyway. Right?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Decked Out!

I got a little more done today, and it felt great! Two sections of gazebo, three sections of railing and the nearby flooring is all that's left (did I mention our deck is HUGE?). I have to finish tomorrow morning. It's supposed to rain Thursday afternoon. YIKES!!

P.S. This post is really for my husband. He doesn't get home till after dark (and is some cases not at all). Who would have thought that my blog would help my husband keep up-to-date on what's happening at our house?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh Heck! This Durned Deck!

That's ALL I could get done during nap time. And that was two full hours of work. Plus it was FREEZING outside.
P.S. In case you were wondering or couldn't tell, it's those three squares plus all the railing you can see. Not enough progress for the amount of time it took!

Potty Project

Laynie has decided she's ready to use "Daddy's potty." She played with this trainer chair for about 45 minutes yesterday. Even though I'm not quite ready for this adventure, I decided that I'd better take advantage of her interest!

And the good news is that she hasn't had an accident so far and has already gone No. 1 twice this morning! Pretty amazing. I'm not going to let myself get too excited about it. She'll probably get bored of playing with the potty soon and then we'll have soggy clothes and puddles on the floor.

Did I mention that it's 66 degrees in my house and she won't wear clothes? Great.

Feels Like Fall!

Our drive to church yesterday was exquisite! Unfortunately, you don't get the best quality when you take pictures from a moving car.
So we went on a long walk yesterday to snap a few shots of the trees near our home.

These planted trees are not nearly as beautiful as those in the forest.

Our own little sacred grove.

It truly is a spiritual experience to discover some of God's beautiful creations on this earth.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


After venting here yesterday, I forgot to post the best pictures I took! How can you not laugh at those feet! We all know Gav's feet are a little on the large size. If they keep growing at the same rate, they'll probably be that size by time he's 15! I just keep telling myself, "It's okay. He'll grow into them!"

Then there's my little one. Even though she's grown a ton, she still only wears size 4 shoes! That's pretty small (I think). Although it's hard to compare since Gav was wearing size 4s before he could walk.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Field Trip to the Farm

Can I take a mulligan for this whole day?

The signs that we should skip the field trip began early and were persistent: 1) woke up looking like I had pink eye, 2) weather channel said the winds would be unusually strong gusting up to 30 mph, 3) couldn't find peanut butter to use for sandwiches and the most obvious, 4) Gavin saying over and over, "I don't want to go to the farm today."

If I could live today like Bill Murray did in the movie Groundhog's Day, I would not get out of bed. Maybe the kids and I would have stayed in our pajamas all day and watched Disney movies over and over. Sounds more rewarding and less exhausting than what really happened.

Here's the breakdown of my near breakdown:

We got to Cox Farm for our fun day with Gavin's preschool at 11:20. The lady with the entrance tags gave us a big speech about how she's NEVER LOST A CHILD in all the years she's run Chantilly Academy. That streak ended today.

I learned from my previous visit to the farm that you ditch the stroller and make do with a backpack full of food and other necessities and haul around your slow walker, which is fine unless you drop your child. That also happened today.

We stopped by to hear Farmer Jack (who is actually a very accomplished musician with a fantastic voice) regale us with cow stories. Then Gavin milked Daisy. Who is a very sweet cow, by the way, until she poops and it sprays all over. Luckily Gav only got one speckle on his pant leg.

Those are pre-poop pictures.
Then we started the slide extravaganza. If you aren't familiar with the Virginia landscape, it's very hilly--which is why they can build awesome slides here. But, this is not Disney Land. There are no moving walkways to get you to the top of the hill. You have to haul yourself, your children and your stuff up the hill before sliding down. Because I was the only Mother with an "assisted-slider" (aka Laynie on my lap) I became the unofficial watcher of my two other children. Their mothers waited at the bottom of the hill with cameras ready while I hiked up the mini-mountain with all four happy campers, got the three preschoolers safely down the slide, then careened down with Laynie. Gavin was always the first down the slide, I was always the last down. It's easy to see how we could get separated when the the two moms were busy talking to each other and taking pictures of their children.

I came down the slide and said to one of the mother's, "Did you see if Gavin went back up the hill?" She hadn't noticed. So that's when the frantic search for my three-year-old began. Luckily, I'd guessed he'd gotten bored with the Volcano-themed slide and went on to the Miner-Tunnel Slide the next hill over. So I literally sprinted up the hill to see if I could get a look at him (Laynie tucked football style under my arm). And there he is with a farm worker and a cell phone. He calmly informed her that he couldn't see his mommy and she was simply going to dial the cell phone number I'd stuck to his shirt.

It shouldn't have been a big deal, but it was. We were separated for less than five minutes, but that's enough to give any parent an anxiety attack.

I was done sliding.

We moved on to the goat enclosure. Even though the farm was packed, the goats hadn't gotten very many visitors and were hungry. Laynie was not afraid of the goats. Until a big one knocked her down and it and several other smaller goats trampled her while trying to get to the goat food I was holding. I knocked the goats out of the way, one actually head-butted my hip, and made our way out of the goat pen.

She was sad.

But recovered when we saw the baby pigs and picked out pumpkins.

So, we're done. I have two pumpkins, two children, one backpack, and one bag of kettle corn. I'm carrying Laynie along and everything else when Gavin decides to grab my arm and lift up his legs. His extra weight plus the wind was just enough to pop Laynie right out of my arms. I kind of snagged her before she totally went face first into the ground, but she pretty much face-planted. Luckily, where we were standing was covered in hay. She was fine, I was fine, but I felt horrible. I dropped my child (and two pumpkins).
All I can say, is NOT AGAIN! At least without another adult or until enough time passes that I forget what today was really like. And as all you mothers can attest, our self-esteems protect themselves with a barrier of forgetfulness.

So big!

I'm sorry, but these are the cutest legs in the whole world! I said to Laynie, "Show me how big you are!" And this is the pose we got. Too cute.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Wear my Sunglasses at Night

Laynie really does wear her sunglasses at night, and all day, and during meals, and during bath get the picture. She has grown super attached to her Barbie-pink sunglasses and even cries when I make her take them off. This picture is just after bath time (note the ragamuffin hair). She's in her pajamas, waiting for stories, and still won't take the glasses off.

Gavin liked the idea of being attached to something...not sure if he felt left out ? Maybe just liked the attention Laynie's glasses garnered? For a whole day he refused to take off this snow hat. He even took his afternoon nap wearing it.
I love this picture of him! He hates smiling for the camera, so I chased him around in circles and got him laughing, then snapped this shot. If you look closely you can see his legs are a little blurry because he's trying to pivot away. Little Monkey.
On a more serious note, Laynie had her 18-month checkup today (please no comments about it being a month and a half late). She has finally grown. Actually, the only part of her that has grown are her legs. She's 90 percent legs!
When the nurse stretched her out to get her height measurement today she said, "I pulled on her leg and it just kept going!" And all the length has positively added to her height--32.5 inches tall! She has jumped from the 25th percentile to the 70th! Maybe there's a little Wallace in her after all.
Laynie is a GREAT eater, but it doesn't show. My baby only weighs 22 pounds (fully dressed, with shoes and a soggy diaper). That's 20th percentile. The doctor says not to worry (like I would! Have any of you seen Gavin? Talk about skinny!). She says Laynie might be one of the lucky few who are, "long and lean." Yeah right. Her genetics will catch up with her someday.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Swabbing the Deck

We love our new house. But there is a ton of work to be done! We started our first home improvement project with the area that needed the most work--the deck. Jamie and I are sort of novices when it comes to deck care.

I actually remember thinking to myself, "Sealing the deck will be a breeze! I could totally get it done by myself during the kids nap." Sure. Little did I know that when your deck is growing fungus there are a few additional steps.

Home Depot's motto should be, "You can do it, and we'll laugh hysterically while watching your struggle." Certainly the sales guy gave us a few helpful hints, but failed to mention that to remove fungus from your deck you have to (1) apply a horribly caustic chemical in several coats then (2) scrub each board by hand with bristle brush.

Jamie worked in the yard this morning while I prepped the deck. The combination of the chemical smell, heat and hard work gave him a horrible migraine. He was in no way shirking his duties. I promise. But, that still meant I had to do the majority of the work by myself.



The good news is that all my hard work paid off! The fungus is mostly gone (it can never be completely's the nature of the beast). It also helped brighten the wood, so that it doesn't look so gray.
The bad news is that I didn't do any sealing today. It will just have to wait for another day.