Tuesday, March 26, 2013


It was a day that I felt confident I was taking my posse, you, and I to the right place. We were aiming to go to the Museum of Modern Art or the MoMA in Manhattan. We made it to Manhattan fine, but then I took us . . . to the Guggenheim by mistake. Oops!  Whitney is a really good sport.  She just smiled and marched on with me to the Guggenheim as if we were planning that all along.

You all kept calling it the Googleheim.  Which made Whitney and I chuckle a lot!

You know you've got a good friend when they brush off your lack of looking up directions and make the trip fun for everyone.

Whitney has a dear 3-year-old and a cute as a bug in a rug 4-month-old and you children adore them.  When the museum art got to them you'd look at those darling faces, particularly 4-month-old Trevor's face, and I swear there was a new energy to you. You could look at three or four more rounds around the curves of the Guggenheim.

The lobby has a fountain right now.  The lady that was sitting next to us while we sat for a few minutes offered you and Blake all her pennies, about 8, and you were in Heaven.  You sat and threw them in. Then about ten minutes after that wore off and a bunch of other people were tossing in pennies and you stared at them in hopeful wonder, I pulled out my eight pennies and the fun began again, only this time I let you start up the ramp to toss in your coins. S, you told me today (a day later) that two of the wishes that you made from throwing in coins had already come true. :)

Hanging from the ceiling they had what look liked industrial cellophane holding brightly colored liquid. It was beautiful.  

I am going to try to bring my nicer camera to get clearer photos, but sometimes the thought of lugging that thing around with my large tummy (which you tell me feels like a pillow and you really like it), just isn't that inviting.  Plus, today it was snaining (snow/rain) and I didn't want to let it get wet. S, thank you for piling the lunch into your lunch bag.   You were so sweet to help out, it meant a lot to me.  T, thank you for skipping some of the drinking fountains that must have had particularly delicious water--so we could keep up with the group.  You wanted to stop at everyone, climb on my foot and drink about a gallon of water.  R, thank you for holding hands with the little children when asked. 

Will you remember all these trips?  Will you remember that we had a great time? I love you!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day for the Arab women--I just found out from a friend on facebook and I also have been wished "Happy Mother's Day" several times, just this morning.  I love our neighborhood!

Some of my Bensonhurst Church-ward Sisters
I think we need to celebrate Mother's Day more. I am going to text Daddy and let  him know . . . maybe we'll celebrate.  

My PTA Sisters--From Nathalie Diab's facebook.

To all you dear mothers, grandmothers and mothers-to-be, (even you S and Baby Girl)  Happy Mother's Day!  

This was Steve and Mindy's Wedding Breakfast a few years ago. I need one like this with all my O. sisters-in-law. 
To read more on this go: Here.

By the way, I should mention that the next week and a half, you kidlets will be out for Spring Break and we're going to be doing a lot of fun things, I hope!

Speaking in Church

Did you know that you get your fearlessness of performing from us? Okay, you get it from yourselves. But I like to think that you got it from Dad and I.  

These photos are from February 2012.  Daddy loves you so much!
 Daddy is a very good public speaker--for the sake of example, let's use a Church Sacrament Meeting Talk.  He knows how to relate to people, he really thinks about what he is going to say and makes his talks a little humorous and very personal. He uses the scriptures and talks from Prophets and General Authorities as guides and occasional quotes.

I'm a bit different. I am thoughtful, but in a different way (it usually takes me 1-2 hours to write my talk--most of it research). I often feel like there is no way I can compare to the Prophets and Apostles in their talks, so I love to make about 1/3 of my talk direct quotes.  I put in songs and scriptures until about 1/2 to 2/3 of my talk is pre-written, then I add a personal story and bear my testimony. I know that when I prepare a talk I learn much more than the people I am teaching, but I love the immersion in doctrine that happens and I love the feelings that come when I am speaking those words and bearing testimony.  My heart brims with gratitude when I share experiences that have built my faith and understanding or what the Prophets and General Authorities have said because I know and feel they are true, again and again.

So, if you ever feel like you need/want to know about something and you'd like to give it to someone in an understandable way, prepare a talk on it (at least in your mind), and you'll find answers and sometimes guidance or inspiration meant just for you, personally.  

This is our old ward building in Midwood. I love the beauty of the outside of the building.
Also, if you're ever performing a musical number in Church, read and personalize the words of the song you are playing. Remember, you can bear your testimony--tell people of what you know to be true--through song, often even more powerfully than you can by words alone.  I love you!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy First Day of Spring!

Yesterday was the first day of Spring.  The reason I am writing this on the second day of Spring is because I wanted to see how the entire first day of Spring played out.  I was not disappointed.  Yesterday was my ultra-fit day probably of the whole year because I walked about six miles, just in and around Bay Ridge and the school--considering I'm seven months pregnant, I feel like this is a personal achievement.  As a reward I purchased donuts from our favorite donut shop, on the walk.  T, you walked four of those six miles with me and for at least 1.5 of them we played the car game, when we talk about the different brands of cars.  Your favorite that you see is Toyota and Honda (by far the most popular cars in Bay Ridge), but by the end of the day you were also able to identify Jeeps. 

This Volkswagen reminded me of the Disney cartoon my brothers and I used to watch called "Susie the Little Blue Coup."

I forgot to tell you, with all the pain I've been having with you, dear baby girl, I decided to try to go off my gluten free experience and amazingly enough my headaches have not returned-stomach pain still in the p.m.-and I'm enjoying everything tasty and delicious once again. Yay!  I've been off of it since last Friday and we've had pizza at least twice. 

On our way home from school, S you saw this daffodil and R, you insisted we take a picture since it was the first one we've seen all year.  We all adore flowers!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Colleges/Universities

Business Insider.com came out with an article that stated where the hottest and the smartest people attend school and guess what?! I graduated from to two of those schools and Daddy from one of them, so you know your mom and dad made it onto the hot and smart list! The #1 is where I met your Daddy!

#1 BYU--Photo by Ken Lund--via BusinessInsider.com
What you don't know, and which has nothing to do with the article, is that both sets of Grandparents slightly encourage their children to attend either #16 or #1.  You now know you are slightly more encouraged to do so as well.  I want you to work very hard, earn scholarships and get jobs and learn all you can while seeking opportunities for service (it sounds challenging and it is, but it will be great fun and so worth it)!  Dating opportunities will really pick up when you go there--that is also very fun!

#16 BYU-Idaho--Photo by Ken Lund--via BusinessInsider.com
Good chat. Love you.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Computer Agreement

I think my lens has fingerprints on it.  S, your face makes me laugh in this photo.

We've come to an agreement, we have together decided that if you finish your homework and practice by 4 p.m. then you can play computer until 5 p.m.  You can earn more computer time by picking up other rooms. 

This is in my effort to make yourselves more self-sufficient.  I've been reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  In it, Mr. Covey (yes, I am aware he passed last year) suggested delegating.  I am going to delegate and not gopher style. You're deeply into my "Quadrant Two" of Priorities.  We're working together to strengthen our relationship and abilities to work together to make our family work better together.

T, thanks for helping me fix one of the tiles on the floor today.  It was really fun to talk with you as we goo-goned the old stickiness and prepped it for better stick-ability.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Art that reminds me of you

You know what?! I realized today what my favorite type of art museum would be. It would be an art museum entirely dedicated to art of children.  I was looking on Pinterest today and it floored me that almost all that I wanted to look at was adorable art of children, because it reminded me of you and all the experiences I've had with you. It made me happy and in our new home I hope that I can get some original pieces to represent all our happy times together (or even better photographs--of you actually having a glorious time). 

Source--Maud Humphrey
T--this reminded me you and R and S because you love little children, especially babies.  You love to see their faces and if they are awake.

Source--Susan B. Pearce
This reminded me of you because you all like to snuggle in by us, and if you possibly can, have breakfast in bed (a rarity).

Source--Lubrichon, L.
This reminded me of you--all of you, because you love to share music with any children, any time. I would love to have this near the piano.

Source--Lizzie Lawson
S, this also reminded me of you because you desperately want a pet rabbit.

Source--Lizzie Lawson
One of the times I cherish most is hearing you pray.

Source--Bessie Pense Guttman
I want this painting by our piano too. All of you love to sing. Added later: Grammers just emailed me, this is what she said:   The picture of the little girl singing is by Bessie Pease Gutmann, it was a picture in my mother's home by her piano when she was growing up. it's one of my favorite too! Anything by Beside P Gutmann, Jessica Wilcox,  Mary Cassat are treasures! M. Engelbrite is a recent artist w enchanting art work too! Love you!

Source--Jessie Wilcox Smith
I want this painting--S you love flowers.  You've gotten flowers a couple of times and each time it sends you over the moon.  I think I may like this in your room or Baby Girl's room, S.

Thank you Mommers for your email!

If you'd like to see more art that I love, see my pinterest board. I really want to know more about these extraordinary people that were able to catch such sweet moments on canvas.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday After School Sledding

Remember that storm I posted about last Friday?  There was enough snow by the time you were out of school to go sledding. You were soooo happy!

You wanted a snowman to show Grandpa that you had built a snowman in Brooklyn before you move. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

To S--on Feeling Sick

S, almost every day for the last two months you have told us, specifically when there is something you do not want to do, "I feel sick!" "My tummy hurts!" "My head hurts!"  You usually tell us when it is time do something like practice, go to school/church, pick up a room, help out, etc.  You've even asked me if you could be pregnant--because your pains are like mine.  It seems like when R was your age he went through something similar.  I truly want you to feel good, but because you only tell me that you feel ill when it is time to do something you don't like I have a difficult time believing you. You usually feel great when the task in question is completed.

 You try really hard not to go to the nurse when you feel sick in school. You have been to the doctor a lot the last little while and you've had several tests ruling out many diagnoses. We've talked about things that could be going on in school to rule out your anxieties. 
When I was your age (and older--as my brothers will readily attest) I used the phrases, "I feel sick!" or "I feel dizzy!" a lot. I truly convinced myself that I felt that way--but as soon as the chore at hand was completed I felt fine.  

Our rule is that if unless you have a fever or are throwing up, you are going to school. 

My new goal is to keep silent when my body is not feeling well--in hopes that my non-vocalizing what is hurting on me will encourage you to remember you feel well. Also, I am going to make a better effort to spend time just with you--15 minutes a day--so you feel validated and important. I love you so much. You truly mean the world to me. I want you to feel great!  We can do this!

You in 2007 in Manhattan.
Ideas from other experienced mothers would be greatly appreciated on this subject! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Vehicular Break-In

Sometime between Friday and Sunday someone broke into our car. Maybe broke into is a harsh way of saying it, for as far as we know, they didn't actually break anything.  They opened what we are fairly sure was an unlocked door and got in.   

They tore through the car, opening all the cubbies searching for cash, leaving our tapes strewn across the floor, they took all our money--a whopping $3!!!  Just for the record all the exclamation marks were sarcastic.  
We also thought they had stolen our police card and our registration (but thankfully we found that).  They left our mini-DVD player and all our DVDs and the car seats (though they looked shocked--thrown across the seat). 

S, your response to the whole thing made me smile. You said, "Why didn't they clean it up?!"
T, yours also made me smile, "I think they needed food to survive."
When I told you, R, you looked stressed and he me tell you everything about it.  Then you asked if you could play your Nintendo DS.

They left our huge box of "granoli" bars (that's what you call them, T), so we're pretty sure this was not the case.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Baby Girl Updates

Source and the Pinterest Board with many Jesse Wilcox Smith  pieces of art.
Dear Baby Girl:
You've recently discovered that there may be room under my ribs for your dancing/karate enjoyment.  Ignore it.  It just seems like more space.  Also you stretch a lot.  When I sit down on a chair with my legs crossed you settle right onto my lap (practically) and even more into my ribs. You probably weigh between 1.7-2.2 pounds and are about the size of an eggplant.

Source--this is so beautiful. I can't wait to hold your sleepy self and smell your hair !

Baby girl, I'll admit, this pregnancy has not felt easy at all.  I have had constant pain all up along the outer edges of my tummy every day for the last two months--some times it hurts so bad it makes me want to cry.  If I felt like it was hurting you I would rush right into the doctor, but I feel certain that you are safe. It has gotten worse and worse and I know that it is not preterm labor.  Last night I did some of the home remedies for acid reflux and it seemed to help. Daddy was very dear and went and got me some medication that we're praying will work.  So apple cider vinegar water may be my drink of choice for the next little while and Tums, my candy. I have faith it will all work out and I will not feel like there is blow torch scorching my insides and my muscles.

Source--This is me when my tummy hurts like a fire engine. Now I can see why babies cry so much when they have acid reflux.
 There are days that I feel so motivated to get to the gym and then I start walking and I will have two or three Braxton Hicks contractions in the half-hour it takes me to get to the gym so I end up turning around and walking home to rest.

Source--I adore this image.  Let's take one like this after you're born, okay?!
Every day we pray for you that you'll grow perfectly and that you'll have a strong and healthy body and mind.  We love you so much already!  
Source--Amazing art by Eloise Wilkins!
We can't wait to hold you, hear your cooing and to snuggle you.  S tells everyone about you!  R and T are so happy for you!  They each take turns hugging you or kissing my belly. We love you!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Oh how I love you, little ones!

This photo looks so effortless, but it took us about 20 tries to get it right. I was trying to get my phone to take a better quality one the regular way and T, you got the phone out of my hands and changed it so it was facing us so we could see ourselves and know what the photo looked like (wise move, good work).  Right before I was going to take the photo I would say 1, 2, and sometimes 3 and you T would do a loud mmm-wa and slip away laughing.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

And Now You Want to go Sledding?! We'll See.

 Knowing that we'll be moving in a few months made this walk to school, in the snow, very nostalgic.  We tried to soak up every moment of pure snowy white-ness making the city look beautiful and somehow cleaner--even if it was trash day. I loved the umbrella brigade, the footprints in the snow, the stop sign that had a face lift (with all the snow), the snow covered leaves, everything.  But most of all I loved that you threw all the snowballs you could muster from the parked cars. R, I saw you eating some of it. T, you kept your mouth open to catch every available flake. S, you borrowed my mittens and made sure to catch the snow on all the non-ground flat surfaces along the way.

 I love you! :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yippee!! Hooray!

Daddy went across the country for a job interview.  It was the job he really wanted.  We prayed for months for a job and then one opened up around 12-14 hours from Grandma and Grandpa's homes. The job is in Oregon.  They flew Daddy out for the interview and I told you all to say a little prayer for him while he was in the interview, about 1 p.m. today. He felt a little nervous, but went in confidently, as usual.

This is the photo I took of him moments before he stepped out of the car. He is so handsome!
About 8:30 p.m. he called and told me that he got the job, if all the stipulations are met.  I hollered out, "Daddy got the job!"

You made me so happy when you danced around singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Okay, just the Hallelujah part.  There were also a lot of shouts of "Yay!" "Are we moving tomorrow?" and "When are we going?!" 

Daddy laughed when heard all this on the phone and said something like, "Is there a plane waiting outside to take us?"

I'm so proud of Daddy! He has worked incredibly hard to get to this point and I feel so grateful to our Heavenly Father for blessing us and answering our fervent prayers.

Today after you, T got out of school you saw Daddy. He'd come home to get somethings and head back into work. You ran half a block yelling, "Daddy! Daddy!" at the top of your lungs and you jumped into his arms and wouldn't let go for three or four minutes.  Then he had to go and you felt so sad you cried.  So we went to a little play date at a friend's house and you were so happy again. Having Daddy back is the best!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Menu Planning

Remember how a few days ago I posted about our inspiring friend, Cami? She plans her menu for the entire year.  Well, I haven't done that, but she did give the excel spreadsheet so I could plan them myself. She also gave me her spreadsheet for using coupons, but one step at a time and I am happy to let you know that I have planned our menu for the month of March and I have to say I feel proud of myself.  You probably know me well enough to know that all of these dinners will likely not come to fruition, but at least I have a plan and can move them about for different days--like today, instead of tacos we had pizza (I ate the toppings). 

It feels exciting knowing that I planned some of this. I took out the meal plans that I probably would not fix and put in the ones that I know I can fix.  I also put in some that I want to try (as you can see I'm shy of fixing fish and meat in general, but I think I'll get better). S, you have the hardest time trying to figure out what you want for lunch and snack.  I really like to feed you healthy, whole grain-ish food, but you've got my sweet tooth and you are constantly asking for goodies.  I did not add goodies or snacks to all the days--but that doesn't mean you don't or won't get them, but it does mean I'd like you to figure something out to fill your tummies on your own.  The kitchen is always full of food, it just sometimes takes a little creativity to come up with something you'll eat. Or a baked potato, you love those.

R took this photo
My cousin, Bryce, recently wrote about managing time. It made quite the impression on me and now I'm using my appointment book much more.  It is amazing how much more I feel like I have accomplished on some days.  But, I really make it a point that when I don't accomplish much in my book that I will feel happy that I accomplished what I did, even if it is just taking you to school and picking you up. . . sometimes that feels like a small miracle to me and I feel the need to celebrate all the victories.

Blogging, check.
Next thing . . . renew books online.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Childhood Stories for Bedtime Stories

Last night after our bed time routine, I sat by you in bed for a little while. You had all gathered in on my bed to hear stories about my childhood. I loved that we could talk together, you asked me all sorts of questions and there was such a peaceful stillness to the room.  The moment just felt permeated with love--the love Daddy and I share for you; the love of a Heavenly Father that loves you dearly; also the dreams of the past and the hopes of the future ebbing and flowing throughout our deep discussion.  You mean so much to me!  I feel beyond blessed, daily, even when there are hollering voices on occasion. :)

One of my goals for this week is to really enjoy being your mother.  I specifically want to spend time giving you extra hugs in the morning and at night right before you go to sleep. It has been very rewarding and I feel closer to you.

You mean the world to me!

I told you about my first trip to New York City, when I was in second grade and I how I thought it was disgusting because everyone and their dog seemed to be smoking and the ground seemed literally covered by cigarette butts and how I saw my first Broadway play Into the Woods. I couldn't believe the actors didn't come out and greet everyone like the high school plays I'd seen, because I wanted to see them up close.

I also told you about my daily watched, favorite movie growing up, a recording of a Disney "Live at Radio City Music Hall" play called Snow White Live! which my 3-7 year old self changed to "Snow White Alive."  To me this was a million times better than anything animated--plus Snow White had a dad that loved her (so much more relatable to me) and there was audience participation, every time Snow White was about to take the apple, somehow the show would slow down just a notch so the audience could attempt to boo the wicked queen off the stage and somehow avoid the inevitable bite of the apple.  Snow White had a beautiful voice that I loved and would do my best to imitate--not squeaky--just lovely.

Then I told you about my Grandparents, specifically my Grandma C.  I told you how it was when I found out she had died when I was in fourth grade.  How after I found her bed empty I cried to my mom that I didn't get to say good bye and her loving, soothing words; and then I went downstairs to my grandpa sitting on the couch and wept some more to him and he gave me one of his great big hugs.

We talked about how after death, sometimes those who have gone before us can become our guardian angels. I let you know that if I passed away before you that you better be sure to know that I am going to be a guardian angel to you a lot! This is where you, T, asked me not to pass away and I told you that I plan  to be here a very, very long time--imagine ancient elderly.  I believe that when we pass away our souls or spirit bodies, which are made of finer matter than our bodies, pass through a veil. There is an entire world, filled with the spirits of mankind, not an idle one, but one where everyone is doing something important and needed. Yet, they know that our physical world here, is vitally important and those that love us are routing for us and when they can, helping us.  We believe in a resurrection, which means, that when Jesus Christ comes again, we will be raised from the dead, with immortal bodies.  I guess this is one of the reasons I like cemeteries, I always imagine that day will be filled with happiness and there will be gigantic family reunions where epic does not begin to cover the enormity and amazement that will prevail. 

We talked about how some dreams are special and that they can be ways to help us to know what God wants us to do or know or perhaps to comfort us.  It's important to write those very rare, but wonderful dreams down so you don't forget.  There is a reason they feel special.

Thank you for being my children! Again, I love you!

Monday, March 4, 2013

T and our Baby Girl

We've been talking about names for you baby girl on the way.  While Sally, Alice or Julia currently top the charts T has been coming up with some different ones for you.  Here is some of the assortment: Pillow, Rosie234, Bed, and the one he was most set on was Computer. I'll bet you can guess where he was when he came up with each of these names.

This morning T received information that he could play the computer for a few minutes.

T, you ran to tell me and I pulled you up on the bed and started tickling you and I said, "What if we renamed you Computer?"  Then I began to tickle your tummy like I was typing keys on the keyboard. "Look, I'm playing the computer!"

T, you suddenly stopped laughing, and you moved my hands away from you and said very seriously, "Mom, I don't want to be named computer. I like T!  I don't like writing computer."

Friday, March 1, 2013

How I Met Your Father Part 2

Just in case you don't remember part 1.

Homework for classes was the priority of the day.  I was completely focused on school and I had decided that this semester, I was not going to worry about boys men at all. By not worrying I meant that I was totally planning on keeping focused on my school work; going out on dates during the semester--but actually thinking and planning about them was not going to happen.


September 2001. There I was printing off an assignment for a class in the library computer lab. I looked up and an extremely handsome man smiled at me.  Not wanting to be rude, I smiled back.   Then, he walked up to me and asked, "Is your name M?"

I was slightly shocked because I was fairly certain I would remember such a tall, good looking fellow, with sparkly eyes and an amazing smile.  And answered in an attempt to sound confident but feeling tremendously shy, "Yes?"  (I added the question mark because I am 99.9% sure that it had an upward tilt to it).

Then with all the confidence in the world and his pearly whites beaming through his dashing smile said, "Oh, I'm W VDG, Tiffany VDG's brother. She told me to look you up when I came here.  Can I get your phone number?"

Best! Day! Ever!

I could feel my cheeks flush and my whole face heating up--I probably looked like a smiling radish. But, if this guy claimed he was who he said he was--meaning my friend's brother--he was well worth giving my number to, even though we'd just met.  

We stayed and talked for a few minutes. He had me laughing in moments and we were shushed by several focused students working studiously on their school work and even invited to use our quieter voices or exit the lab by the computer lab personnel. 

No amount of shushing could have blackened my mood that day.  

This guy had the most sparkling happy countenance I had ever seen.  He had googly eyes--that is what I wrote--but I don't mean crafting googly eyes--the ones that you stick on your paper bag puppet. He had eyes that just gleamed and almost looked as if heavenly glitter streamed in and around them.  Just thinking about how handsome and good looking he was/is kind of gives me happy shivers.

I gave him my number; my hand probably shook as I tried to remember my brand new number. I probably had to rewrite it several times to get it to come out legibly (knowing me).

He promised to call. I was smitten!  Could it get any better?

I wrote about him in my journal, which was a relatively new thing--because prior to that I had decided to skip writing about fellows that interested me. Apparently this whole interaction took all of five minutes and it felt so right!