Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ian's inner voice

Like most small children, Ian has no "inner voice" whatever he thinks comes out his mouth. For him this results in an endless stream of chatter that I find to be even slightly musical. I love to listen to him. It provides valuable information about what he's thinking about, what's important to him, and what he is actively trying to learn about.

Now days I hear more and more of my own voice and the voice of the adults in his world in his chatter. "Yea!", "Good job", "Hi Baby!", "No, no, no", "Oh my goodness", "Trash", "No way", "Thank you", "Excuse me", "Wifey", "Heavenly Father, Amen", "At home, at school, at play", "going to church. See momma may", "Mommy's ok?", "Going to Nini's house. See the kids" "Happy, Happy".

A well known Psychologist (erikson, I think, but I'm not sure) said that when a child is small, they don't have an inner voice. They use their outer voice to think through and understand the world, as they grow older, their outer voice shifts inward. It recently occured to me, if his outer voice echos me. So will his inner voice. That's right. The words I say. The words Dave says. The words the other adults in his world say to him will ultimately become his inner voice. The voice he will use to guide him through his life. Thus far I hear a happy kid who knows he's loved and know's how to love others and really likes trains and cars, likes church, and is really interested in Heavenly Father.

I still remember my mother's voice, "You are my pride and joy." She also believed I was smart and kind and really pretty. She reminded me to be modest, obey the word of wisdom of wisdom, and warned me against people that might try to put their hands where they don't belong. She taught me to find joy in service. Her words protected me against alot of pain in life.

It makes me realize how important it is to make sure the things I say are loving, kind, productive, and instructive. I've always believed that children become what you believe they are. Now I understand why.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My financial learning

So recently (over the past 6 months), I have some to realize my own financial cluelessness. (Don't worry, obviously not in the same ball park as my father.) It's amazing. I went to school for 6 years and had only a single 45 min lecture on personal/ family finance. Back in June, we got a copy of our credit report. I was absolutely shocked. We were paying mass quantities of our income in debt, not including student loans or our home. Our payments were equal to our mortgage payment. It didn't really even know how it happened. (I have since slowly come to understand. Ironically- Most of it came out of simple ignorance and not knowing how to plan.) Fortunately, we had a copy of "Transforming Debt into Wealth" by John Cummuta. I had listened to it before, and we had made modifications accordingly, but I guess this time, we were ready. Basically, he presents a plan similar to "One for the money" that the church publishes. Only this program provides a lot more education in the process. Well, 6 months later, we have recovered much of those resources, and by April, we will have recovered the remainder. And in the process of our learning, we have discovered something amazing.... the path to financial security and freedom. I think there's some hope for us.

Even better, if we stay on target and don't loose our way, Ian will have something I don't have... Parents to are comfortable in their retirement- and can take care of his college- so he can focus on doing great things with his life.

Maybe, in the distant future, we will even be stable enough to make a real difference for my father. In the meantime, I'm satisfied with learning to manage finances myself. It's already made a huge difference.

Financial learning- my father

My dad said something once that hit me. He said, "I made good money at times, I just never saved for a rainy day." It's true. He really was doing well at times, but it did him no good. He refused to learn about finances. He NEVER managed his own finances. He always delegated them to someone else and refused to learn. He has paid the price.

But the problem is, so have his children. He dropped us off at my aunts door when I was 13 and just never made it back. It was a sess pool. Both my brother and I were seriously taken advantage of. My brother far more than me. Now that my father is older, he wants those years back- both the one's when he was an absent workaholic and when he abdicated those responsibilities. Well, their gone.

Wow. I sure am venting here. There really is a point to all of this. Financial responsibility is important. Without it, a person can loose everything.

What sucks most of all, is that I know that I will be supporting that guy in his retirement years. What a huge, scarey burden it is to know that I will need to not only save for my own childrens' college and my retirement, but also for my father's in 15 years. That's right. The same jerk that hasn't supported me since I was 13. If he had his way, I would also be supporting him through his early retirement years (now.)

Honestly, it's selfish. You mismanage your finances your whole life and I get to feel bad about myself for not being able to fix your problems in the present, and get to carry your financial burden and rob from my children's security in the future. Thanks Dad.

All right, just a couple of months ago, I would have given him ample merit for his contributions to my life- giving me the gospel. But honestly, recently he has burned me deeply. Sorry for the venting session.

Financial learning- my father

Over the past 6 months or so, I have spent a lot of time learning about finances. I've come to understand that I, like most people have been completely clueless on the subject. It's amazing that a person can go through 6 years of school and only have a single lecture about personal/family financial management.

I look at my father. the man has worked hard all of his life. 12 hour days. He truly is and has always been a workaholic. Yet, he still lives in abject poverty. Truly abject poverty. It's terrible. I feel bad about myself every time I go to visit him. He lives in an old broken down trailor in a row of trailors out in the middle of no where. I lived there when I was 15. There was plywood to keep us from falling through the floor, and ripped plastic to fight the cold wind from getting through the broken window. It was colder inside in the winter than outside. We had to boil water to take a bath. My step sister later became bald because of the water we were drinking.

Well, now he's moved next door, to a slightly nicer trailor, only for his situation to become far worse. He got really hurt at work several years ago. Since then, he's only been able to get spotty work - from a guy that usually doesn't pay him. He's survived only off of the church. Most of my step-mom's 5 kids, their kids, and their kids are all living there and mooching off of my mostly unemployed father. None with jobs and several doing drugs. It's a mess. It's a virtual sess pool, where everyone meets the minimum of their potential.

I have, of course, given him money from time to time to help out , but it hasn't made a lick of difference. I could hand the man 50k tomorrow (if I had it) and it still wouldn't improve their circumstances. They might pay off the trailor, but the money saved would just get sucked away by the sess pool.

Having grown up partially in that environment, I know how much they despise "rich" people (aka- even folks who are in lower middle class ranks are "rich" to them.). I know that I now qualify as "rich". I feel miserable about myself every time I think about my father.... I'm comfortable. Maybe if I shared, we would both be ok. But the truth is, it doesn't work that way. (see the previous paragraph).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ian's Second Birthday

Here's the video from Ian's birthday party.

Monday, September 10, 2007

locating the volume control

Wow. Our little boy has developed quite a set of lungs. It doesn't matter if he's happy or sad, his voice volume is WAY up. He hasn't quite located his volume control knob, much less learned how to use it. He's got two volumes- loud and screaming. Our ears are about to fall into shreds. We are working diligently on it, but in the mean time- WOW! Eich. I'm sure over time and with diligent effort, this too will be managed, but the process required to get there is quite head ache inducing.

Unfortunately, if he is my child, he will still be having volume control issues at 30. We might be in for the long haul on this one. Who knows. But we love our boy. He's truly a great kid.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Houston Downtown Aquarium

Houston Downtown Aquarium

One of my favorite things about having a little boy is that he forces me to get out and enjoy life. Fortunately Houston has quite lot to enjoy. We have a great downtown aquarium. They have a fully functioning coral reaf, another exhibit with fish that are twice the size of Ian, white tigers, and a whole maze full of underwater delights. They have this great train ride to see the sharks. Ian didn't care about the sharks so much (he was pretty disappointed when the train stopped so that the passengers could see them), but he sure loved that train!

Dave and I laughed. It was just a dumb train. The adult me would have laughed at the cheesy little thing. But for Ian, that 5 minute train ride was the most exciting thing in the world. Life really is more fun with a munchkin to enjoy it with.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bayou Wildlife Park

We've got a great wildlife park here. The animals are just free to roam about. They've got quite a selection.

Ian Christmas 2006

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Some New Videos

Well, with the advent of iLife '08, I've finally gotten around to encoding some of our home videos. The first two are actually from the same time, shortly before Christmas last year. Ian loved to just sit in the middle of the train track and watch it go around. When he was finished, he decided he needed a bit of a wrestle.

The last video is of him walking shortly after learning how. It was like a new art for the little guy, it's all he wanted to do.

In the next couple of days I'll post the video from Christmas morning. Cheers!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Boat Ride

Ian loves any and all conveyances. We regularly make trips to NASA to look at the rockets. His favorite toys are his cars, trucks, & trains. A few weeks ago we went to Galveston and rented a boat for a couple of hours. Ian absolutely loved it. We all had a lot of fun. Clickie for biggie.

Ian Talking

Ian talks a lot. He clearly talks a lot more than most kids his age. In the nursery, he's the youngest child, but he's also by far the most vocal.

It's a bit frustrating because he's one of the best behaved kids I know, but you couldn't tell from Sacrament Meeting. We have to remind ourselves that most kids his age aren't talking much, and the older ones that do talk seem to have learned a bit more control. Even so, it's a bit embarrassing when the sacrament starts and your little boy is yelling, "Bread, bread! Found bread!"

Friday, June 29, 2007


Well. I feel like I'm becoming a part of technological history. I am officially the 11th person in the iPhone line. I hate to say it, but it's kinda fun. Dave's been here since 8am. It's now 11:30. I figured he needed a break so I came to relieve him. He's been excited about this since the day they announced the thing (literally- he kept me up for forever to watch the video.) He's so excited. It's like Christmas. Only better for him.

For the record, the ONLY reason that Dave is getting one is because he programs for PDAs for his job. He writes this scheduling software, it sends techs out in the field their schedule and allows them to complete their transactions (like the UPS guys, only it does a LOT more), then it syncs with QuickBooks. Anyway, It's his job to be an innovator. Already 6 months ago, people were asking if he could program for the iPhone. They will be asking for it within no time, so Dave's gotta get it and get going.

But, I dunno. I'm certainly not a techno-geek (just a speech geek), but it is fun to be part of history.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Prancing about the nation

Wow. So my Dave has become quite the traveler in recent months. Since the beginning of Feb he has been to Utah, New York City, Dallas (x2), Utah, Dallas, Las Vegas, and now Denver. He'll be back again this evening. It's good. We miss him. He's doing well. The trips are hard on him. He loves his family and really just wants to be home. But we are grateful because the traveling is a sign that things are going well with his work. He works hard and does incredible work, I'm always grateful when others realize it too.

Out and about

Our little one has reached toddlerhood in full bloom. He has an agenda of his own and that agenda involves Outside (or "side", as he calls it- his word for both outside and inside) and "car". It's really a lot of fun! Now days he doesn't nap until 1:30, so we have a pretty decent chunk of time to take him out and about. He loves to go to the zoo, the park, Space Center Houston, and The Downtown Aquarium, the library, yoga, the children's museum and anywhere else that involves "side" or "car" (but not too long in the car). We can't wait for the towne's pool to open in another week or so.

We have the greatest backyard ever! Ok, so it's really nothing fancy, just an old deck with a muddy patch along the fence. But our house is somewhat older (1985 ish). We have the most wonderful trees in our back yard. They lightly sprinkle shade across the yard, creating this breezy back yard haven. Their shade is perfect, so as to protect the grass from the fierce Texas sun, but not kill the grass due to lack of light. As a result the grass is full and green with only minimal effort. I have even ventured, ever-so-slightly into gardening, planting 6-7 potted plants worth of petunias and other inexpensive flowers (I figure, if I kill them, then at least I'm only down $20 total.) The weather has been perfect (for the most part) for a month or two now. I'm loving it. Ian loves to be out there and so do I!

I am an outside girl. I LIVE to be outside in nature. Dave, however, is much more of a home-body/ movie buff. However, Dave clearly realizes Ian's need to get out in nature, prompting Dave to take us all out for the fun. I've been dying to go out and pick fruit. (Any kind of fruit would do) for a while now, but have been waiting for the fruit harvest and our schedule to collide. The two finally decided to cooperate last weekend. We took Ian out strawbery and peach picking. We had the best time! Ian knew JUST what to do. The strawberry plants were just the right height for him to see under the plants and find all of the yummy strawberries. The lowest branches of the peach trees were the perfect height as well, just a little reach for him. He had a great time and so did we. My Dad and step-mom Linda met us out there. It was great to spend time with them. They seemed to really enjoy the picking and watching Ian run about.

My little bird

Every morning I wake up to the sweetest little bird in my baby monitor. First the I hear an almost imperceptible attempt at a whine. As if to say, "awe-no. It's morning, but I'm still tired." Then silence as the little one resumes his almost sleeping position (butt up in the air). Then another stir and whine, this time a little stronger a few minutes later, "But I don't wanta wake up". Then the tiny creature crosses over into a still reluctant, but more awake state, talking to himself, still laying there, enjoying his last moments of rest. Followed by a joyful oration celebrating each of his favorite words. "Papa, Mama, Cars, train, kix." or whatever words he's practicing that day.

I find myself laying in my own comfortable nest, echoing the exact same message. First, "Awe. no. It's morning, but I'm still tired. Maybe he'll sleep for a few more minutes. " Then, "Ahh. My little boy's waking up. But I don't want to wake up." Then, "Ahhh. He's singing again. I'd better get up." Then, "What a cute little boy." What's hard to explain is the almost chemical/ emotional reaction I feel in response to the little one's chirp. Many times, I'm still exhausted when I hear his call (and lots of times, Dave answers it for me), but what a joyful noise to wake up to each morning! How delightful to have such a wonderful little boy wandering about all over our home and our lives.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Picking Strawberries

We went to the Strawberry Patch in Wharton, TX to pick strawberries & peaches. Georgie and Gammaw Linda met us there. Ian jumped right in without any instructions. The only trouble was convincing him to put the strawberries in his basket instead of his mouth :). He even took a few bites out of the peaches. Afterwards, he played in the sandboxes while his mom took care of business. We all had a great time.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Easter 2007

Easter morning was fun. The Easter Bunny laid out Ian’s eggs in a path leading to his presents. With a just a little help, Ian gathered all the eggs and open his presents. He played with those eggs for weeks afterwards.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I have a co-worker/friend, (ok, she's really my boss) who moved back into her parent's home at 32 due to some unfortunate circumstances which happened to her. Life just crashed down around her and she needed/ welcomed the support, love, and guidance of home. Well, now 4 years later, she is trying to leave again and is finding herself incredibly disillusioned and frustrated with them. For their part, they just can't seem to let her go and call/e-mail her about the most minuscule of things. (for example: the absolute crime of leaving dirty dishes in the dishwasher during the day.)

So, I was talking to her about this the other day and asked her, "Is this the first time in your life, you've ever been disillusioned with your parents?" She said something interesting, she said, "No, when I was 18, 19, 20, I went through this. I told them to stay out of my life, I was 4 hours away and was going to do what I wanted. But, back then, I was such a pain in the ___ that they were happy to send me away."

I was thinking about this and my own experiences and have decided that during the phase between 18-20 and sometimes for much longer, I think almost everyone- if not everyone- despises their parents. It seems to be a universal stage of development that everyone goes through. In some weird way, I guess it's even an important experience in order to break out of the nest and build your own world. It's as if at that age- for the first time, you can see all of your parents screw ups, but you're still too young to know that you are a screw-up too. You haven't realized yet that this whole world somehow runs in spite of the fact that most people aren't that competent. (Heck, apparently, I don't even know how to spell competent. Thank goodness for spell checker.) So, at 19 a person can critically analyze every mistake their parents ever made, but they are still comparing their parents to this imaginary fairy tale super-human parent. They haven't yet crashed and burned enough times to realize that NO ONE is competent. (Misspelled it again.)

My point... I wonder if it helps our children later on, if we are honest about our imperfections early. Eventually they are going to figure out that we aren't super-human! Is it better to let them down easy? Right now, to Ian, I look like this all-knowing, all-powerful super woman. I can do anything, I know just what to do, and when to do it. He has no idea that I don't know what I'm doing.

The other day, Ian was touching a shelf of DVDs that is "forbidden" because we don't want them scattered throughout the house. Dave told him "No". Ian walked away obediently, but was clearly upset. His feelings were hurt and Dave just couldn't figure out why. Now, this wasn't a protest cry, this was a "But Dad, I just don't understand" cry. Upon further investigation, Dave learned that Ian was pointing to a Baby Einstein DVD which he is absolutely aloud to watch whenever he wants. Ian wasn't trying to play in forbidden territory, he was trying to make a simple request. Dave lovingly apologized, asked him to sign, "Please", and put it on. My point, We don't always know what is going on in Ian's head, so sometimes we accidentally hurt his feelings. His feelings are important and occasionally he deserves an apology when we can't read his mind. Not necessarily because we did something wrong, but because we love our child and it hurts his feelings when people don't understand. Maybe a little understanding and a few sorries in these years might help to decrease the beating he will dish out to us when he is 18-20. We'll see. :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Screetching Soprano

Our little one grows so much, so fast. In the last month, he went from not walking, still cruising around, to moving independently - far and fast. Now that his legs are stable, he likes to check out the world upside down in a highly adorable, leg supported head stand. His language is exploding as well, He's now learned signs for "Please, more, banana, bike, drink, and some attempt at outside" and says, "mama, dada, cup, car, green, jiggle-jiggle (the sound he makes for his dad's belly), tickle-tickle, pssss (potty), and please, " He's really starting to understand a lot. As a speech-therapist, I find myself mentally cataloging each new behavior, It's just so exciting to watch him seemingly without effort, progress through each step. One day, you are just dilligently teaching (or not even teaching something), the next, seemingly out-of-the-blue, he's got it! It's really just a lot of fun.

I remember a few years ago, someone referring to their child as "fun" and thinking, "uh, ya right, I'm no dummy. Kids are just a lot of work. Good work, but work." Now I realize that I was dead on, but wrong as well. Ian is just a joy! He just amazes me every day. I follow patterns. I expect to see what is next on the pattern. But, with Ian, he's been doing A & B so I expect a C, when suddenly an E or F jumps out of no where, leaving the C &D for a later surprise when I have all but given up on them. I just really enjoy him.

With these new happenings, comes also the less delightful developments as well. Ian has learned quite a few signs and words. He has learned that words/ signs have power. But he doesn't have a word or sign for Everything yet. And he does want just that--Everything-- to see and do and touch and feel and/ or eat Everything. There's the whole world to explore and he's gotta see it. It's gotta be frustrating for him sometimes, to have the whole world in front of you, have no way to access most of it, and have words for 10 items. He's also been practicing his high-pitch soprano voice, which converts itself occasionally, but conveniently into a clearly audible frustration signal as well. I thought I was gonna go insane for a couple of days there, but fortunately, it seems to be decreasing within the last few days. (I think as a result of teaching substitute vocabulary.) I go into auditory sensory overload pretty easily, so I was about to loose it for a couple of days there. Of course, this was the same day that Ian learned that he could splatter food over a 4 food radius if he blew raspberries at just the right time, AND that it was fun to dump out cups. My ears and my clothes were oversaturated. (Fortunately, I have developed strategies to minimize all of these, but Wow were they frustrating.)

Then, yesterday as I was watching him do his little thing, It occurred to me. I think it's really easy for parents to say to themselves, "When my kid starts/ stops ...... (fill in the blank), then I will really enjoy him/ her." Well, that's just silly. Don't you know, that with the next phase of development comes a whole new set of desirable AND less desirable characteristics. We've got to teach him so he grows out of them successfully and thrives in each new phase. But if we always wait for our children/ spouses/ life to be absolutely perfect, and of course absolutely convenient, to enjoy him/ them- Then we could waste our whole lives never realizing that what we have is nothing less than amazingly wonderful.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I've be pretty quiet lately on the blog (really since about May). I have had several e-mails requesting that I end my tight-lipped stale mate and start writing again. Well, the truth is- If you know much about me, you know that when any one aspect of my life is uncertain, I, like a turtle, hide deep inside my shell. Only, unlike a turtle I keep walking forward-with shaking feet- waiting for something bad to happen, but believing that if I just keep walking, somehow, all of the uncertainty will clear. All right, so it's not my finer characteristic, but it's my version of bravery.

Life involves risks. Greatness requires it, even thrives on it. Not random, stupid risks. But thoughtful, well calculated risks with good backup plans .

When I decided to go to Penn State, I took a HUGE risk. (Huge Risk is defined as up to 40k dollars and no social life at the same time.) But I knew it was the right thing- and I have NEVER regreted it. I ended up paying 20k, but it was WELL worth it. I now have an incredibly unique and marketable set of skills. If I could do it all again, I would, only this time, I wouldn't be so scared.

Well, in Dave's "spare time" (a.k.a., the time "left over"/ squeezed out/ created in the tiny crevaces between working full time, going to school full time, being a brand new dad and an excellent husband, and being elders quorum president), he has been working on a project for quite a while now. It's really the kind of top-knotch work that few people can produce. Dave is an artist at heart, he LOVES to create. And he's really good at it. He's had someone marketing and using his computer program for quite a while now.

At the same time, Dave's primary employer (now previous employer) was really limiting the scope of items Dave could create in that environment. He had created for them an incredible product, which they used for years. All he was really doing was tweaking it. It was getting stale.

In October, we made a decision that it was time for him to focus on his project, complete it, and sell it. (With financial support.) Well, you know that feeling you get in your stomach when you know you are doing the right thing, but you still are almost paralyzed with fear. Yep. That's been me. I have this sub-theme to my life, a lesson, I keep having to learn over and over. To TRUST the Lord. Trust that things well work out.

Well, We're about 3/4 the way through this tunnel here. I am starting to see the light at the end. It's really exciting. Of course, I'm still waiting for a huge log to fall on my tunnel and squish me. But, I can feel the knot in my stomach loosening ever so slightly.

My point. In life, we have to take risks- intelligent, well thought out, well planned risks. I never regret it. Those difficult, but right decisions have lead me down paths that have added value, uniqueness, meaning, and color to my life. I have so much more to offer now. I guess my only regret is that I spend half of the time hiding in my shell waiting for the next tree to crash on me rather than simply enjoying the amazing adventure.