Monday, December 22, 2008

Orlando's Story

I asked Orlando about a picture he drew.   Here is what I was told:

I was in a race.  We were racing in a maze. I was going super fast on my fire-car skateboard!  Dad and I we was racing fast around and around and around.  Then a shark was chasing us so we had to go faster and FASTER!
 Smiling SharkSo then BLAST-OFF!!!  
We went to outer space. We went to a planet. (He said the word planet with a lot of feeling something more like "plahnnnehtttt" so super wow, awesome, and cool were all inferred.) 

Me: On your skateboard?

Lando: Ya.  and  then we had to come back and we was going faster and faster and then (deep exhale)  We Won!!

Not too bad for a kid who didn't speak hardly at all until after his 3rd birthday.  I'm so thankful for his progress! I love the story because it has all the elements: a beginning, a middle and an end. I also love it because of the picture he drew--big big spirals and then some fuzzy stuff that I guess is the "blast-off" smoke.  There are a couple of faces in the spiral maze--him and his daddy.  

Too cute.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Music 'n Me!

For the last ten weeks we have enjoyed going to a music class.  The class is taught by our friend Valarie Robinson who we  met at church.  She also is a music therapist and  named her first daughter Lara-so she is obviously cool!  What I really enjoy though is her voice.  It doesn't ever get old or annoying.  She plays the guitar and sings a variety of songs we also do fun rhythm chants and play instruments. In addition to that we have "free dance" time. I took the camera last week and thought I'd grab a few pictures.  Above is Ammon-he is just so cute, looks kinda like a fairy or imp to me.

Here's the other two, anything they can bang or make noise with is a win, win situation for raising three boys!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stephen B. Blaylock
Published Thursday, December 18, 2008
Funeral for Stephen B. Blaylock, 33, of Decatur will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints with Bishop Joey Harrison officiating. Burial will be at Bethel Cemetery following the service. Visitation was to be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home.
Blaylock died Monday, Dec. 15, 2008, in Decatur. 

Born May 1, 1975, in Bowie to Elsie Travis and Brenda Jean (Bradford) Blaylock, he married Laura Lee Bigley April 23, 1994, in White Settlement. He was a registered respiratory therapist for Wise Regional Health System for eight years and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints in Decatur.

He is survived by his wife; sons, Brevon, Christian, Lane and Cason Blaylock; daughter, Miranda Lee Blaylock; his father of Justin; his mother, Brenda Garvin of Alvord; brothers, Chad and Brad Blaylock of Justin; grandmother, Betty Bradford of Decatur; great-grandmother, Arlie Weadur; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Pallbearers are T.M. Bigley, Babe Bigley, Gary Bigley, Cecil Bentley, Tim Warren and Billy Garvin.

Monday's News

(Stephen Blaylock pictured above.)
Monday my sister, Sara, called.  As soon as I said, "Hi.  What's up?"  She was in tears.  She then told me that her brother in law had been killed that morning on his way to work.  He was driving in his lane, someone crossed over and hit him head-on.  He left his wife, Laura, and their five children.  I have met this family a few times, but obviously don't have the relationship my sister does with them.  Still, news of this kind is hard to swallow.  The irony was that their oldest son turned 16 on Monday as well.  You can imagine (or at least try) the extra painfulness that brings.  They youngest child is five.  I have cried several times on their behalf and I think human nature leads most people through a series of thoughts.
1. why
2. how, again?
3. No.
4. why
5. how again exactly?
6. no
7. I'm so glad it wasn't my spouse,parent,child,etc
8. survival guilt for having above thought(s)
9. help, help, help!!  Is there anything, anything I can do?

So, as I went through this I really wanted to do something.  I offered some money and a card, but I wanted to be there, to make food, clean their house, something.  So I prayed.  I then got the sweetest feeling that things were being taken care of.  And good thing since I'm in Ohio and they are in Texas, so not very plausable for me to be there.  

I talked again to Sara that night.  Here is what she shared:
They could hardly get the refrigerator closed it was busting with food.  Relief Society sisters had been scrubbing the house clean.  2 Buckets of chicken, 5 Pizzas were still out.  Large container of tea (who cares we don't drink it?  it's the thought that makes me teary eyed).  Toilet paper, toothpaste, more food, etc etc etc.  As she shared this with me I remembered the peace I had felt earlier and it made me so thankful. Thankful for good people everywhere.  People that love and serve that are members of my faith (the R.S. sisters) and those not (iced-tea).  I love them all.  I'll continue to pray for this extended family member, and if you are inclined, please join me.  The funeral is tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Counting Smiley's

Ever since moving to Ohio my boys haven't gone to bed well.  They've gotten up for any and every thing.  They destroy all of their folded laundry which I really can't stand -and do other mean and unnecessary things to torment their poor mama.  All while smiling, giggling, and genuinely enjoying themselves.

Finally, I decided gee, people use charts.  Why don't I use one?  This actually resulted when in a moment of desperation I promised them if they would just please, please stay in bed and not get up, turn on the light, etc I would get them a surprise for the morning.  Well, they responded great and didn't get up!  So I had to think of something.  I knew I shouldn't give them a super big prize or anything since this behavior should continue.  Right? Right.  
Anyway, here is the chart:
(The chart was the surprise the first morning with another prize(toy) after 10 smiley's were earned). 
The pictures represent: get dressed, brush teeth, bathroom, read scripture, pray, and STAY in bed.  They are on Velcro so I can take them off and change the order or just let them hold them or put them on themselves if they need a reminder of what they are supposed to be doing.
The new toy???  ANYTHING from the Dollar Tree.  Yes, we took the chart.  This was to be a BIG deal, they needed to know why and how they earned this great opportunity.  So even though cold and windy, we took a picture!
Don't think that's cool enough?  Think again.  These boys were in heaven.  They counted down the days and worked super hard.  It took about two weeks to earn the ten smiley's.  We are now working on numbers 11-20 and then they will get another trip to the dollar store.  When we get to 30 the chart will be full and I'm considering a big splurge like Chuckie Cheese!  What did they choose?  Ammon: race cars package of six.  Orlando: a four wheeler car and Ivan was a bit more creative: He chose a wand.  Like a twirling wand.  Except he called it a dragon sword and was off to fight dragons with it.  It blinks on both ends.  Exciting indeed, and the smiley's on my face are now also adding up!

Have you bloggled yet?

I think this looks like a good idea.  I wanted to eventually turn some of my blogs into a book anyway.  Plus, the idea of them being lost is depressing.
The best thing is that this is free for your first blog.
Plus, today there are some pretty cool prizes.
Check it out.
Oh ya, and it took about 5 minutes--my kinda project!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Stories Behind my Nativities

I wanted to share some Nativities with you.  I love nativities.  I would have one from each and every country and state if I could.  I love the endless varieties that they come in.  But most of all, they represent one of the most profound stories ever told.  And one that I believe.  Our Savior was born on this earth!!!  

Sorry, the pictures don't do justice.  This one was made by my great great grandma.  (only part is shown here)Laudie Lorraine Bachelor.  She did ceramics and was pretty good at it as you can see.  This is the first year I've had this one to display.  My mom gave it to me when we moved to Ohio.  She was pretty attatched to it, but wanted me to take it as an heirloom.  I love it!!  Always have.  I can remember postioning all of the statues just right, walking by and changing them again.  I just can't say how much this classic white Nativity means to me.
This Nativity was given to me when I was a Spanish teacher.  I taught Elementary Spanish (which is good 'cause that is as good as yo hablo.)  Anyway, it was a gift from my secret-santa that year.  It is from Mexico.  Isn't it cool?  I especially love the red lips on the cow.  

This one probably never will make it to heirloom stage.  Each year I seem to throw more and more pieces out as they break.  Josh and I made it with friends our first year in Little Rock.  I like it because we made it and well, that is enough reason.  

This nativity was cut out by my mom-in-law, Kathryn.  She had it for years and never painted it, so she finally just gave it to me.  I loved it!  Seth (my brother) was living with us at the time, so we painted it together.  He did Joseph's robe in that bold plaid.  I didn't have the nerve, but he could see it.  It looks fabulous. 

Finally, this last one is from Brazil.  Oh, I love Brazil!  Just can't get over that place.  Anyway, this was a gift given to me on my mission.  It is so simple in this little gord, but I adore it.  

I'm glad I wrote this out.  In my opinion the "write" perspective on Christmas decorations should be: 1. something you have from family 2. Something from friends/experiences or 3. If that isn't an option make it so.  I was thinking of buying a cheap Nativity and just letting the boys paint the shepherds wise-men, animals, etc.  Then I could put their names on the bottom and they could be responsible each year for deciding where that shepherd, sheep, etc stands.  

As much as I appreciate and enjoy the Martha Stewart or Better Homes and Gardens Ideas and beauty-it just isn't Christmas if it doesn't have a story behind it.  After all, the story behind Christmas is the very BEST story of all!! 

Sweet Sweet Puffy Lips, the Zoo, and Peppermints

There is one sure way to know if I am upset.  Even when I try to hide it--I puff my lips out.  I remember my sister, dad, mom, anyone saying, "go look in the mirror, you are upset, your lips are giving it away!"  I guess it is true, though I still try to deny it.  Still, looking at this picture of Ammon--made me laugh!  He was upset over getting his hair trimmed.  

Of course, I haven't cut it much, just trimmed it.  Afterall, my lips might puff if I were to see it all gone.

This is my husband.  He is either 
a. an animal lover 
b.  a surfer 
c. a doctor
Which seems most believable? 

I had to include this one of Katie and Ivan.  We were glad to have some company over Thanksgiving and we enjoyed seeing the Christmas lights at the Columbus Zoo.  They are absolutley fantastic.  But, our pictures of those don't look so great.  This one was endearing. 

These last two pictures are more from preparing for Candy-Land Christmas.  See the sash Josh is modelling.  We made 11 of those for the "king candies".  Then with scraps I made the peppermints.  These were original ideas.  Unlike most of my ideas which are stolen from friends and the internet world, these just came from my little mind.  So while they are not the coolest thing you've ever seen, I'm quite happy to see an idea bare fruit.  I mean bare peppermints. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Candy-Land Christmas

Candy-Land Christmas has been in the works for months.  I'm the activities chair in our wonderful Worthington, OH Ward and I have to say I had a BLAST working on this.  I really mean that.  Certain things were stressful, but it all came together so well.  As soon as the idea was formed, it just started falling in place!  
Gingerbread Tree: Gym
Peppermint Forest: RS Room (decorated red and white and where the food was-special thanks to the Gales!  We had pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs, there was also a pot-luck selection of sides and desserts)
Snow-Flake Lake: Primary Room  
Chocolate Swamp: YW Room
Lolli-pop Woods: North Foyer

Enjoy the pictures!!

Here is Lando on Santa's Lap.  He asked for yet another train.  Ivan was scared of Santa, now he thinks he won't get anything!! I've assured him that I'll talk to Santa!  
This is Snow-Flake Lake.  There were snowflakes all over the walls.  Kids could make snowflakes, do a sticker activity, or play a board game--like Chutes and Ladders or of course, CANDY-LAND!!  Primary leaders decorated this area--great job!
Signs around the building really helped direct traffic and let people know where to go!

Santa did come for a visit in the end.  Our Bishop also gave a short spiritual thought after we sang "Away in a Manger"--and before Santa.  Ammon was nervous, but participated! 
Singing songs and waiting for Santa in the "Gingerbread Tree"
Two of our high-priests as "King Candies".  Josh and I made these sashes with a pocket.  They passed out candy throughout the night.  We had about 10 high-priests participate. It was fun to watch them interact with the kids, and for the kids and adults to realize who had the candy!  I made the peppermints with scraps from the sashes.  The peppermints are also seen in this photo if you look on the wall, and on the floor.
Lolli-pop Woods: This was the north foyer of our building.  Sarah Jackson did an amazing job decorating and several people played the piano or stopped to sing songs in this area.  When you walked in the building, "Christmas was in the air".  Perfect!
So one family in our ward owns this super huge "jumpy-climby" thing.  We borrowed two more from a preschool.  All of these were in the gym along with tracks and trains and cars for kids.  It was the "Gingerbread Tree" area.  It was just a play area and visiting area.  The kids had a blast and I'm so glad no one was hurt besides a bump or two.  We did have signs posted with some clear rules.  They were for the most part obeyed, and I think the lines on the floor helped.  Note: If you need to make a line, or tape anything to the gym floor:  Electrical Tape!! It will not hurt the floor, or the walls!!! We used this on all our signs and the floor, etc.
I wish I had a photo from the chocolate swamp at the beggining of the night.  These were after some of the "prettiness" was gone.  Let me assure you, there were plenty of yummies.  Our youth, especially the Young Women headed this area up.  I think it might have been the favorite with many.  We kept this area for 12 and up to stay and play games, visit.  Young children could come accompanied with an adult, but then were to leave.  This worked well, b/c the youth and others w/out young kids could get away from some noise and enjoy each other's company.  I am happy with how well this event was attended by our youth!

Isn't this awesome!  Reed, Tom, and the Gibby's made this awesome gingerbread tree!  It was also in the gym in front of the piano.  This blocked the piano off, and let everyone know they were in the gingerbread tree area!
The Candy Castle is thanks to Josh, Russell, and Blake.  THEN, the Valentinos painted it and glued candy around windows, etc.  It looked amazing!! It is made of wood, so I'm storing it in my shed for future uses.  The chair actually came from the Elders.  They are teaching someone who just happened to own this chair!
We had signs throughout the building letting you know where to go.  This is gloppy.  He directed the way to the chocolate swamp.  I have to say I am very happy with gloppy, since I do not draw or paint.  Of course, it is a chocolate blob, still I think it looks great!  Orlando also helped me paint.  This is his "King Candy"  I really like it too.  
My family had sooo much fun planning this.  
I'm so happy and thankful it turned out well!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just a Shirt?

Certain dates mean things to certain people.  Certain material things mean much to people due to their sentimental value.  Such it is with me.
Today is December 4th.  That is the day my daddy died.(1997) And this is a picture of a shirt.  The last gift he gave me.  
I remember almost everything of that day.  It was an unexpected death and very difficult for all of us.  My sister and I lived together as roomates in Fayetteville.  I remember the details of the 30 minute drive to Siloam Springs.  I remember I was speeding and I had the speech prepared for the cop if he pulled us over.  I remember I didn't drive fast enough.
We didn't say bye.  Saying bye is important.  That part is still hard.

But, I do have lots of good memories.  Not many pictures though.  My family didn't take many pictures.  In their defense, this was before pictures became so easy to take with digital and all.  Anyway, I have one of me and dad when I was turning 4 (I think).  The other is of me and dad walking, I am wearing this shirt.  He had just given it to me.  It is a nice cotton and  a Pantagonia- a very pricey brand.  I don't know why or how he afforded to buy it.  That was dad though, buying something to spoil us and giving it to us for no reason at all.  Well, I can't say that this is my favorite-super-stylish-slimming-my-color-shirt.  
But it is my favorite. 
It is super.  
It was in dad style.  
It is not slimming!
and the color--well I think of it as my personal "coat of many colors".  Just as in the Bible, given from a loving parent to a beloved child.  

I don't part with it.  I've moved 7 times.  I've changed sizes probably more than that.  This shirt has missed all the good will donation bags, and garage sale piles, it always makes the cut.  
When do I wear it?  Well, this may sound silly to some, but I wear it when I want to remember my dad.  I touch it, and I know he touched it and hugged me while I had it on.  And, I wear it on Christmas morning.  Cute matching pajamas would be fun; but my preference is a large colorful shirt.  I just like remembering sometimes.

I love you daddy!  
Writing this nice and warm in a certain shirt,

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Turkey Dinner

Ammon's "age appropriate" Turkey.
Here is Orlando working tediously.

One night in November I didn't want to cook.  It was about a week before Thanksgiving.   I decided to have an early Turkey dinner with all the fixins.  Raisins, pretzels, marshmallows, Doritos (for beaks) choc. chips, etc.  The boys really took this seriously.  I laid my beak flat, but Orlando stuck his right in, giving it more dimension.  Lando also asked for additional "feathers" and covered each one with precision and exactness.  Ivan too worked hard, and Ammon---well, his is more age appropriate. 
Oh, and one day maybe I'll learn how to get fotos correct in my blog posts.  Until then. . .enjoy!