Monday, December 26, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

So he DOES need parents afterall.

See this little guy to your left?

He's a pretty independent soul.  Always insisting he can get his own breakfast, dress himself, get himself into his carseat, and more.

His catch phrase is always "My do it myself!!"

Will and I are always joking about it, and saying "That kid doesn't need parents.  What are we here for?"

I have often wondered, what if I just left him alone for a few hours.  Would he even notice I was gone?  Or would he just keep playing with his toys, going potty when he needs to, and helping himself to animal crackers as a means of food survival?

That question was answered one day last week.

This is the sad story about a little boy who discovered that he does, indeed, need his parents, and the mother who deserves Mother-of-the-Year for how it happened.  That last part was a joke, please know.

Last weekend, we all "camped out" at our new house from Friday until Tuesday.  Will worked a lot on the exterior doing some pressure-washing, while I worked inside painting walls (see photo below).


The boys did really well during this, considering we don't really live there yet and there's not much to entertain them.  They did sleep in the same room for the first time EVER, and while it did take them over an hour each night (after giggling and yakking) before they finally fell asleep, they had lots of fun.  Preston brought a bunch of cars to play with, and he also helped me paint (I let him paint on some of the yucky walls).  

On one of the days, I had a hard time entertaining the boys and also getting them to take their naps.  I put Preston down on his air mattress and told him that I was going to go do an errand, that I was taking Taylor with me, that Papa was still here but he was outside, and that I would be back back really soon. I made sure that he knew that Dad was still here if he needed him.

I then went outside and found Will and said "I'm going to go to town to get some food. Preston is supposed to be taking a nap. He's laying down on his bed, but you might just want to keep your eyes open in case he comes wandering outside looking for you."  He acknowledged me and then Taylor and I left.

About 50 minutes later, we came back from the store.  Taylor had fallen asleep in his carseat (first nap of the day), and I took the groceries inside.  I thought I heard Preston, but it was so faint, I thought it was just noise coming from the music player.  I went out and got Taylor and brought him in, and again heard something. This time, I stopped and listened really carefully. I realized it was Preston crying.

Taylor was still asleep in his carseat, so I just left him downstairs. I went upstairs and noticed that Preston's bedroom door was wide open. I went inside and couldn't find him anywhere. I looked in every room and then finally realized the crying was coming from our master bedroom closet.  My first thought was "Oh my gosh he hurt himself!" As I got closer, I could tell that this was his frantic "I'm scared" sort of crying.  I got really worried and hurried to get to him faster.

All the lights were out, except for the light in the closet. I opened the door and found him laying down on the floor in the fetal position with a blotchy red face, tears streaming down his cheeks, and really upset.  I asked him "Preston what's wrong???" and he just looked at me.  I realized that he was really scared, and so I said "Come here and give mommy a hug.  Come on, come here and sit on my lap."  He still wouldn't get up. So I went and picked him up and he grabbed onto me really tight. We sat there for a moment, and then  I said "Were you scared??"

Duh.  It took me a entire 3 minutes to finally realize WHY he was scared.  He must have never went to sleep, gotten up out of his bed trying to find me.  Walked around the entire house and realized nobody was there.  He probably completely forgot that Papa was outside, but instead just heard the really loud scary noise of the pressure washer.  The only place he could think to go where he would be safe was his parents bedroom, and he locked himself in the closet where he would be okay and just cried all scared.

I can tell you that at that moment, my heart sank when I realized the emotions he went through, honestly thinking that his parents had left him alone in a vacant house.  I. Felt. TERRIBLE.

We sat there for a good 15 minutes while I just held him.  I kept rubbing his back and telling him that everything was okay, and that Mommy or Daddy would NEVER leave him alone.  I told him "Did you remember that Papa was here the whole time? He was just outside so you couldn't see him.  I would never leave you here all by yourself."  I must have apologized to him at least 20 times telling him how sorry I was that he was scared and thought that I left him.

So yes, I deserve Mother of the Year for that one, let me tell ya. The whole thing haunted me for a good 2 days afterwards with the image of him huddled in the fetal position in a closet crying burned into my memory.  Ugh.

One thing I did learn from the whole though, is that Preston DOES need his parents.  So in some small, VERY VERY small way, it felt good to know that he does really need me.  But I would never put him through that again just to find that out.  I can tell you that.

P.S.  A couple of funny posts about Preston from my Facebook this week:

Dec 23rd:
This morning, while driving in the car and Preston insisting that I needed to "Go faster! Go faster, Mama! Like Lightning McQueen!!", I told him "I can't go any faster or a policeman will give mommy a ticket." He paused, and then said, "Not if you go faster, you go so fast the policeman won't see you, mama!". Smart boy he is. I got a good laugh out of that one.

Dec 23rd:
Last night, I gathered the boys around the Christmas tree and tried to tell them (the best I could to a 1 and 3 yr old) the story of the Nativity. When I asked Preston if he knew what happened next (at certain key points in the story), he told me that the "mama rode on a horse", that they stayed "in a castle", and that the wisemen gave baby Jesus a "car" for his birthday. Of course!



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Does anyone...

...blog anymore?  (or comment?). Just wondering.  Just seems like a rather vacant world in bloggerland these past several months.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Wrap-Up

The Wrap Up. Otherwise known as what the heck we've been up to for the past who-knows-how-long.

Da Boys

The boys have been busy. And cute, of course.



Taylor's hair has decided it's going to take on another one of my traits and grow some curls.  Will keeps insisting he is starting to resemble Bozo the Clown and that I need to give him a serious haircut.  But I just can't get myself to snip those locks off quite yet.



Taylor has also recently started walking, and recently been weaned.  One accomplishment for him, the other for Mommy. :)

The boys have had fun with the Christmas decorations.  Although I keep finding bulbs all over the house with the tops taken off.

I can't believe that Preston is going to be going into Sunbeams next month!  I think he is ready though.  He is definitely the biggest kid in nursery.


My friend Erika and her boys visited overnight, and we decided to go to the island store together to buy new toothbrushes for the boys (something we both have oddly been needing to do but haven't, so we decided to do it that day).  We both were pregnant at the same time and have two boys each almost the same age.  Preston and Camden are both 3.  And Taylor is 15 months, while Brody is 12 months.  At least for another week and then they both go up a month in age.


I was brave and hosted playgroup at my house last week, where I had 9 children making gingerbread houses in my kitchen. It wasn't even as messy as I thought it would be and we all survived.


The House/Will

Since we are now home owners and can officially tackle things on the "new" house, Will has begun some of the prep work before the contractors come in.  Here is just one example of what he's done to clean the place up. He discovered a long lost patio in the backyard that we didn't even know was there...



Will has been sleeping/staying at the new house for the past 2 weeks.  He works from early morning until evening, and then goes straight over to the house and puts his grubby clothes on and starts working. He has replaced all of the heaters and thermostats in the house with new ones.  He has pressure washed the roof, and back patio.  He has started pressure washing the siding. He has cleaned out the gutters. I am planning to go down to the house this Saturday and start painting walls.

In the mean time we have really missed having him around. It's weird to not see him 6 days out of the week. But this is kind of the sacrifice we just have to make right now.  It would take him far too long to drive all the way back to the island each night.  And this way he is able to progress the work on the house much faster - since we basically need to have everything done so that we can move in at the end of January.  So if anyone is bored and wants to help Will with some home improvement projects, I'm sure he would gladly feed you pizza and take you up on an offer to help.

I have to say though, having him gone has sure me us appreciate each other more.  We got to go and see him at the house last Saturday night, and I had excited butterflies in my stomach - the kind I used to get when we were dating and I drove all the way down to Portland to see him.

Will also ran his first race since July.  It was a 25K near Deception Pass on Whidbey Island.  We weren't able to go and cheer him on because I had a rehearsal, but here are a few photos from his race.  I'm glad he was able to do it - as running is a huge stress reliever for him and he's been long overdue for a good run.





Me

I have been busy with our stake's Nativity Festival that just ended yesterday.  I have been serving on the planning committee for this since March of this year.  My responsibilities included building the website (http://www.arlingtonnativityfestival.org), as well as being in charge of all the stake sign-ups.  It might not seem like a lot, but I have spent countless hours on it.

I have also been involved in the music for the festival, as the stake choir accompanist and also a solo performer at the event and the concert. Here are just a few photos from the festival...









And then here is a video from the closing concert - with me playing the violin on "A Celtic Silent Night"


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As well as being involved in the Nativity Festival, I've also been busy working on the "business" aspect to my music, which is a lot of the tedious stuff that is necessary but hate doing because it's all so time consuming.  Things like the fact that I'm having my website completely redesigned, and my web designer has been pushing to get it done soon.  I have been spending evenings re-writing my bios, all the text for my site, going through all my photos and trying to simplify galleries, etc.  There is a LOT of work that goes into a website believe it or not :)  

Here is a screenshot of my website as it looks right now - I designed it myself in 2006.  I've tried making updates to it as much as I have been able, but I realize it is very out of date with current website styling and tech stuff.  Especially with how many people view web content on their phone nowdays instead of a computer. 



So I hired a web designer and we've decided to go for what is referred to as a "100% site", meaning, that it takes the full width of your computer screen (verses the one above that is just centered in the middle).  This is a screenshot of design he is working on.  The media player on the lower left will not be purple like it currently is, but eventually will match the color scheme of the site.  All of the menu tabs have drop-down menus which is a lot cleaner (instead of my current site where all of the navigation menus are in plain site which makes it much more cluttered).


In order to do the 100% site, I obviously needed some new updated photos that would work for it.  As you can see the photo above that we are using needed to be one where it was landscape cropped and had enough space in the image for web content as well. So my dad and I had two photoshoots at our house, where we put up a special grey backdrop (a paper backdrop made specifically for modelling shoots), and we just shot the photos at my own piano. We used a high powered fan to give my hair a wind-blown effect.  In addition to the shot above, these others are a few of the best shots we got from the shoots...






In addition to working on all the business stuff, I've also been working on music as well.  I recently got four more mastered tracks back from my audio engineer in Los Angelos.  I'm telling you, everytime I know he's mastering my music I feel so excited like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for the email from him telling me that they're ready for a listen-through.  The mixing and mastering is the final step in a finished track, and it's exciting for me to hear my music in that state.  With these recent four tracks back, that makes 7 officially finished tracks for my new album.  There are 17 going on the album, and some of those other 10 are in semi-finished states.  But I still have a lot of work cut out for me to get this album done by Spring.  Thank goodness I have the help of my parents once a week or so to watch the boys so that I can have several hours to orchestrate.  I don't know what I'm going to do without them when we move ;(

That is the update on us.  We are all doing well, and keeping busy.  We are so grateful for the blessings that have come our way this year.  Lots of hard work and sacrifice, but it's all with the knowledge that we're being watched over by Heavenly Father and that it'll be worth it in the end.  We're looking forward to spending Christmas together and enjoying the rest of the year.  We hope you are all enjoying your Christmas season as well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Things Will Be Okay


Our lesson in Relief Society yesterday was centered on the talk that Elder Uchdorf gave in General Conference to the women about the "Forget Me Not" flowers.  One of the main points of his talk was to help us women be more patient with ourselves and to love ourselves.

I know that I definitely struggle with measuring up to my own high standards at times, but I have to say that I think I've finally reached a point in my life where I'm a lot more patient and content with myself.  Maybe it has something to do with being in the 30-something's, but I'm really enjoying it.  

For one thing, I'm not as hard on myself about my body anymore.  Yes I am still trying to obtain that pre-pregnancy number on the scale, but I don't hate myself in the interum like I would have in my 20's.  

Several years ago, I would compare my life with other peoples lives.  I've come to realize that a) We always tend to compare our weaknesses with other peoples' strengths, and they do the same thing as well.  So really you have a bunch of people feeling bad about themselves for silly reasons.  And b) A lot of times it's comparing apples to oranges. I mean is it really fair to compare your mothering skills and knowledge to someone who has been a mom 10 years longer than you?  No, not really.

The biggest thing I have learned is that we are all in different stages of life, and you have to cut yourself some slack.  Be gentle to yourself and love yourself.  If you are a mom with young kids, don't let your friend's immaculate house make you feel bad about your own cleaning skills.  Again, it's apples and oranges.  Maybe her kids are older and past the stage of destroying everything in sight.  Her struggles are different than yours.  The fact remains, is everyone has struggles but they are different and all very tailored for whatever situation of life they are in.

My point to all of this, pertaining to myself, is it's nice to finally be able to look in the mirror and not hate my body for what it is, but love it for how far its come and enjoy the process of obtaining goals to continue to be healthier.  It's nice to know that even though we just bought a 1600 square foot home that is a total fixer upper and not as nice as a brand new home that is twice the size, that it is perfect for us and the situation that WE are in right now.  And that for us, it is a huge accomplishment that we worked hard towards.  It's nice to look at my boys who aren't always the cleanest, who sometimes wear pajamas all day long - but to know they are loved and are being taught good things.

Love yourselves. Be patient with yourselves.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Mortgage Club

We are now part of the mortgage club.  You know, the one where you get to make payments on a piece of land and property that you now OWN.

Yay us!

I won't say it was easy getting into the club, however.  Six weeks of going through a bank trying to get an FHA loan, to finally have it turned down due to some previous flooding issues in the neighborhood was to say, in the very least. ultra frustrating.  We had to ask to extend our closing date twice.  Maybe three times, I don't remember.  We lost many hours of sleep because we were up reading through contracts and signing them to meet deadlines before the next morning.  We had at least 3 different contractors do bids and inspections.

But...at the last minute, a miracle happened.  We found a private lender.  You know, one of those people who lends 100% cash for investments.  We were able to close in ONE WEEK baby.  And the process was so much more pleasant.  We pay the loan back within a month and our interest isn't really all that bad, so we are refinancing this week.  Once the refinance goes through, we will also get our money to do all the remodels and fixes on the house.

We are blessed.  Here is why:

1.  This home is closer to Will's job, which means instead of him commuting 4 to 5 hours every day, he will only be commuting a grand total of 1.5 hours a day (45 min each way, and that is bad traffic time).

2.  We got an amazing steal on this home, and by the time we get it all fixed up and looking beautiful, the value will have practically doubled.

3.  We will have the home paid off in 7 years, with a lot of equity for the next home we buy.

The only downside right now is Will has been living at the new house so that he can start working on it.  I haven't seen him in 5 days now.  I hate sleeping by myself. Any noise in the house freaks me out.  My sheets are awfully cold without my human heater in bed with me.  And being a single parent is no fun.  I haven't been kissed in a week.  The boys have forgotten they have a father (sorry Will, they are young with short memory spans).

But it's temporary and we'll all soon be together again.  We have 2 contractors who will start work on the interior as soon as the refinance goes through.  We'll post pics as things get done.

Toodles!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Family Photos

While we were in Pendleton, Oregon for Thanksgiving, we went over to the park and took a family photo. It isn't often that we get this many of us together.  However, we're still missing my two younger brothers (one is in Florida, the other is in Portland).


From left to right is:

Taylor Thomas, Will Thomas, Jenni Thomas, James Southworth, Carolyn Southworth, Preston Thomas, Thelma Lindsay (my grandmother), Alexander Southworth, Elena Southworth, Ron Southworth, Emmy Southworth, and Mike Southworth (my older brother).  I should also mention we are missing my Grandpa - who passed away 2 years ago.

And then here's us!  Rodulph and all!


We've taken photos by this tree since I was a little girl - only now it's lost some of its branches.



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving - A Taylor Post










(Watch the following video)

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(Rollerskating Video here)...

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