Monday, December 29, 2008

Bye-bye Christmas

We had our Family Home Evening tonight and Isaac said a forlorn goodbye to all our Christmas tree ornaments and decorations. It was such a sad goodbye and it was hard to convey to him that in a year it would all be back ... after all, when do you see snowmen in Arizona? Afterwards we had a small lesson where Kent and I showed him different pictures of Jesus and explained that while the season for celebrating his birth was over, Christ would be with us all year long. Isaac was more attentive than I have ever seen him before. While Kent and I are not sure exactly how much he understands, it was a sweet thing for us to tell him of how much more the Savior is in our lives than a once a year event. May the feeling of the season stay with us all year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Kent!

It's my darling husband's birthday! In celebration we went shopping for a much needed shirt and went for dinner at Cheesecake Factory. Isaac picked out a Thomas the Engine birthday card and was on his best, most cuddly behavior for Papa.

So Happy Birthday Papa! We are both grateful for your love, and unfailing devotion as a husband first and then as a father. Isaac and I are blessed to have you in our life and wish the best for you in the coming year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas everyone! Our family has had an eventful year and we want to thank everyone who's played a part in our adventures!

Kent has performed the great balancing act of this year. He completed his residency in Albuquerque in June, then moved on to Houston at MD Anderson. Due to the unexpected death of his father and the numerous stresses of a residency, he decided to leave early and found the 'dream job' in Phoenix, AZ at Maricopa Hospital. He enjoys the full income that comes of being a pharmacist and finds his biggest task is to regain his life! For those who don't know, residencies are designed to cram in 2 or 3 years of work experience into one thus leaving very little time to breath! The new freedom (and breathing time) has him spending it with Isaac and Flo as well as developing new hobbies. He purchased a Canon Rebel (digital slr camera) and is learning the fine art of photography. This small and sometimes intrusive contraption goes everywhere and is now fondly thought of as a 'second wife' by Flo.

Flo has grown into her role as a mother this last year. She is learning to find the balance between homemaking and playing with a child and in so doing, has discovered new levels of multi-tasking and organizing. The art of moving has been perfected to a science by her, and she is relieved to know that June of 2009 will bring the last move for a few years. (We move back into our house in Glendale) Besides cleaning, cooking, laundry, playing with Isaac, church callings, keeping the general household sane, she has a few hobbies. Her latest projects and hobbies include reading, writing, trying new recipes, a FHE laminated activity book as well as the two blogs she manages. We are also happy to announce that we found out 2 weeks ago that she is pregnant. Prior to Isaac she had a few miscarriages, but we are hopeful that this one takes since she's experiencing so much nausea!

Isaac is 18 months old now. It is hard to believe that time has gone by so quickly. He is as active as ever and loves reading, playing with stickers, pretending to cook, collecting rocks, listening to music, dancing, pushing buttons of all kinds, and making new friends - especially when they are girls! Heaven help his parents when he gets older! His vocabulary has increased dramatically in the last 2 months with favorite words being Isaac, purple, blackberry, blue, nut, tall, and "ho,ho, ho". He had his first real adventures with refined sugar so there will be no turning back no matter what his Mama does. His cautious but inquisitive nature and sweet disposition bring joy to his parents life.

We've survived 3 moves, 3 different states, one hurricane, a family member passing, and the day to day battles of living. We are so grateful to all the friends and family that have helped us in our adventure this year. Most of all we are grateful to the Savior and his mercy and goodness. All the changes we went through this year turned into blessings in His hand. We love this season when we celebrate his birth and life, may Christ's Spirit rest with you all for the coming year.

A Cookie Monster in our Midst

Isaac adores the Baker kids! Take that and combine it with a cookie decorating morning, he was in seventh heaven!

Baker kids hard at work!

"Okay, time to do sprinkles like the big kids!"

"hmmmmm, I'll take this without a cookie!"

"I could get use to this Christmas thing!"

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Sweet Life!

I don't think life could get much better than it is right now. For all those who still suffer from the medical student life perspective ... yes, there is an end! It's AMAZING how much time we have now together as a family and that we even have the energy to do things and enjoy one anothers company. Gone are the 12+ work hour days, the blurred memories of doing 'something' together in 'somewhere' or the exhaustive nights of sleep that had you waking and wondering if 6 hours had passed in a blink of an eye. In addition, we have a nice salary! (thus I no longer fret at doing laundry only at the off peak hours of 11pm)

In celebration, Kent and I bought the much needed family camera for our Christmas this year. Here are some of the results. For those who are curious, Kent finally decided on the Cannon Rebel.

I know the lighting is poor, but we're trying to figure out what this camera is capable of. Kent purchase also comes with photography classes.

Having fun at the park. Isaac was enjoying the sound quality that a rock hitting a metal pole makes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mountainous Climbs

I've decided life is a lot about plateaus and rocky climbs, everything from living itself, to relationships - especially relationships. Isaac and I are definitely at a rocky climb. Prior to this we had a wonderful schedule where we'd go out in the mornings to do a major errand and then have some fun for Isaac. He was so helpful, even willing to do all that needed to be done so that we could go to story time, to the park, to the museum or zoo, etc. Nowadays, it's as if everything is Chinese torture ... (ha, ha, I kill myself!)

I've tried to see it in the light that it is ... it's not that this move has finally warped his once sweet personality in to a screaming, back-arching terror. It's not that I'm not a good mom or Kent's not a good dad, or what I fed him, or didn't feed him, or ... whatever. "Mommy guilt" has a way of fishing up. I'm trying in all my interaction to see that this is simply a time of change; he's growing and wants more freedoms. He wants to do some things that he's ready for and some things he's definitely not ready for, and so we need to reset our boundaries and clarify once again.

That all being said in a logical and analytical tone, the actual doing is nothing like it. My patience has been stretched to the limit these last few days, and I finally snapped. I have tried extremely hard not to yell at Isaac. Screaming does nothing but diminish myself in front of him, and I have succeeded thus far in that goal. I've cried, I've plead, I've cajoled, but not screamed ... that is until just last Friday. I'd planned a special outing to the Children's Museum that just opened up here not too long ago. I packed a lunch, got directions, and planned to pack in just as much fun as we could before nap.

Isaac really enjoyed the first 2 activities but felt he need to move on .... by himself. So there I am, shoeless, chasing a boy up stairs and down halls as he careened from one exhibit to another in some wild manner. Once I finally got a hold of him we talked about our rule of holding hands, and we started all over again. After one exhibit, it was back to the chase. I thought perhaps it was a little too much excitement - time to calm down. I needed a potty break, and he needed a diaper change. Of course diaper changing was never the fiasco it was this time, I felt like I was a sumo wrestler clearly being beaten by the underdog. My potty break wasn't any better as I tried to stop free running toilet paper, flushing when Mommy's not ready and let's-dump-everything-out-of-the-purse games. By this time I was breathless, frustrated, and fed up. I marched down to the front desk to finish my application for membership before we left. Between a well-meaning but overly chatty clerk, Isaac's squirming and smacking me on the face, and an ill-timed phone call from Kent on an extra loud ring, I lost my composure and yelled.

It would be nice to say that the yelling tirade ended with that one moment, but unfortunately the wrestling match in the car seat with Isaac triggered another bout. Isaac was a little in shock with how long this went on the drive home, and afterwards I felt a little ashamed. It's not as if he's ever been this combative before so my response was very new.

Once we got back home he was much more subdued as evidenced by his utter silence in our 'we need to practice sitting in the car seat properly for 5 minutes' lesson. After a quiet lunch and some much needed snuggling, we had a long chat. I apologized for my inappropriate way of communicating with him and asked for his forgiveness. With his solemn look, he sat up and nodded yes and gave me one of the sweetest hugs and kisses. We then talked about what was good and bad about the day, no no's and yes yes's and after a nap, went to to park and had a wonderful time. The day was salvaged in the end.

I learned a lot from this experience, and I guess that's why I'm blogging it. I learned that it's okay not to be perfect, and 'Mommy guilt' would have me think otherwise. I learned that forgiveness is a process (as evidenced by the fact it took several days for me to face the facts of what happen in order to write about it), and that this will not be the last time it happens. I've also learned that children are more capable of comprehending things than we think (Isaac has changed a great deal these few days since especially with verbal reminders of what happened before) and more resilient than I give them credit. (I didn't scar my child forever) It's a humbling thing to be a mother... but I'm grateful for the experience!

These are the two pictures I managed to capture before the meltdown! ;0)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kiss, Kiss!!

So the Fry's grocery store had a Christmas thing tonight, with samples, cookie decorating even pictures with Santa. We ate dinner early and headed out. While waiting for our picture with Santa, we looked at a few toys. Isaac had an immediate response to the Elmo who told him he loved him!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Little Hands Cooking

It's been a struggle lately with Isaac. I've been told by an experienced friend that it isn't the terrible 2s, but rather the terrible halves! (1.5, 2.5...etc) Her experience has been that it is then that they seem to try and 'stretch' their limits and skills. So the once pliable sweetheart becomes a resistant, rebellious brat. Isaac is keenly aware when the limits are pushed a little too far and he tries his cute, adorable tactics to soften us. It worked until just yesterday when we (meaning the otherwise 'in-control' parents) finally figured it out. Thus when a tantrum ensued with regards to sitting in the car seat, his privilege of going to the park was abandoned. (Many other tears followed!)

But I still wanted to spend some 'special' time together. I try to have at least something fun to do with him everyday, even if it's short or small. So I looked at what I had to make for dinner tonight to see if he could help out. It was a new experience and I think he had fun.

"I've pounded those cracker crumbs good and dead!"

"I'm not so sure about this green stuff."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Hazards of Buttons

Isaac's a boy through and through, he loves to take things apart, put things together, make car noises (especially 'beep,beep') and push buttons. He calls them "Boot-ta, boot-ta" and usually makes a jabbing motion in the air. Somehow we've managed to keep the remote controls and computer stuff away, but with everything else, we've just let it go. Some battles are just not worth it. Consequently Isaac always makes fun discoveries of what happens when you push a 'Boot-ta' that you've never touched before. The car horn for instance scared the hebbies out of him as did the T.V. His latest discovery occur ed at the Johnson's home where we had a wonderful lunch with them. There were there two rather large buttons on the refrigerator that he's never seen before. Unfortunately, the one he chose gave him a long cold squirt of water directly on his face. Kent and I about died laughing at his stunned expression. Apparently this boot-ta kicks back!

Here's his pictures with Santa at the ward party.

Oh, it looks like she's the one with the candy!

Okay Papa, got the goods, lets go!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Keeping Family Close

One of the huge blessings of being back in AZ is the opportunity to visit Mom. She now lives in a care home out in Mesa and we took the opportunity of visiting her. She's doing poorly since Dad passed, he took good care of her which is saying a lot. The job is exhausting, thankless and painful in ways unmentionable. We feel we may lose her soon. In many ways, Kent will lose her twice, once to Alzheimers and the other, in this life. We want to spend time with her in whatever way we can.

We also feel the loss of Dad in this season. He re-did Kent's old bedroom after we married just so we could stay with him on the off weekend we had errands in Mesa. He loved the time we spent with him and although it was simple, it is what memories are made of.

We have a yearly tradition of buying an ornament per person each season. Our tree is rather sparse for it, (we use to decorate only one side and shove the other side up against the wall ;0) but it's become rather meaningful as we select something that reminds us of the year. We had to get one this year to remember Dad and keep him with us this holiday season and the ones that follow.

Seeing with New Eyes

I'm thrilled with our new apartment, it's the largest and most well designed one we've ever had and it shows!!! For once Isaac has a proper bedroom - not the storageroom/junkroom/sleeping quarters hitherto had by a poor toddler poor. I'm sure it makes no huge difference to him, boxes are fun anyhow, new surprises that mom doesn't want me into.... but it's nice for me. I'm 'training' him to play in his own room, find way to contain the toys strewed all over the apartment and give him a special place just for him. In another 6 months we'll be back into our little house where I can really look into making his room fun and permanent.

He's growing up so fast. Last Sunday he went to Nursery and for a split second (only a split second) I missed chasing him down the halls. Church will be church again for me though and he will have activities that will no longer test his patience and mine! We also have him sleeping in a 'big boy' bed. He loves it. He picked out the Thomas the Engine bed sheets and has been ever so good about laying down to sleep when it's time rather than playing with toys.

Isaac 'gets' Christmas this year. I love seeing his eyes grow big at the sight of a tree. He likes the ornaments, but it's the lights that capture him the most. Tonight we head off to the Mesa Temple to see their annual Christmas display which I'm sure will leave him speechless. He even chose to sit on Santa's lap himself at the Ward Christmas party last night. The 'tong tong' (Candy Cane) was the huge incentive. He had his eyes glued to it so the funny man in red and white didn't bother him one tiny bit. We plan on writing lettters to Santa soon as well as making Christmas paper crafts for our house. I've also worked hard to help him understand that it's the season we celebrate the birth of a very special baby. It's worked so well that he points now to ornaments with the Christ child and repeatedly says, 'Baby!' until it's a chant! I love the magic of the season and to see it anew through my son's eyes makes it so much more special. If he can feel so much joy in tiny lights on a tree, how much joy is to be found in the Light of the World. Merry Christmas everyone!

Had to get a shot of this amazing quilt in the vistor's center.

Friday, December 5, 2008

We're ALIVE!!!

AS of 41 minutes ago, we are finally back online. SERIOUS withdrawal symptoms!!! Did you know no one has a phone book anymore? Why bother when there's internet ... I forget how dependant I am on it!

Anyhoo, we're back in Az and it feels like we took a 1.5 year trip away, but this is home. As difficult as it was initially for me to to adjust to the idea, I know it the best hings for all of us. The Lord certainly had a hand in it in so many ways. We were able to pack and get everything done in a week (which is crazy by my standard), say goodbye to most of our Houston friends, enjoy Thanksgiving with Az friends, get lots of rest before our truck arrived with all our stuff, and unpack (I mean, TOTALLY unpack, not a single box left) in 5 days, buy a truck (we need another vehicle for Kent to drive to work) at an affordable price and get up our Christmas decorations!!!

Before I forget, some quick HUGE thank you's and goodbyes. To Dane, Emily, Eden and Zia, we are immensely grateful for your friendship and help the last few days in Houston. Who would have thought we'd meet in ABQ, both move to Houston and continue our friendship there. Babysitting Isaac so we could go to the temple, sharing in our 'chinese' adventures, introducing 'the best' storytime and giving an great last dinner (I need the recipe!!!! I bought lots of Butternut Squash!!) Eden, you are Isaac's very first friend from the day you sat next to him in sacrament and shared your popcorn. That's why I'm sure he'll miss you so much since he won't have anyone to hold his hand or hug for a while. You are a great first friend. Emily, you have no idea how much of an inspiration you are to me as I watch you teach your girls. You have a way of disciplining them in loving, firm way and helping them to know and respect thier own boundaries as well as others. Without trying, you are an example of motherhood to me and the means of some inspiration from the Lord. We thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts.

To Lynette and Craig, we LOVED having you guys for our neighbors! You helped us move items on numerous ocassions (between post-Ike and moving itself!) provided games for young and old (Kent had forgotten how fun video games can be, Isaac loved Music Makers), your dinners were great and you were the first ones to say hello and make us feel welcome in the ward. Please keep in touch.

To Emily, Jared, Noah and Braeden. Thanks for the prayers (they helped alot!), planned activities at the complex (I know they were lots of work) and for the friendship. I just enjoyed having the chance to talk to an adult on our playdate. I'm sorry we were unable to see you before we left... I wanted one last glimpse of tiny Braeden! Best wishes and luck to you guys, your a great family. Keep in touch.