Monday, March 21, 2016


(Austin Post)

So last year a bunch of dudes from church decided we were going to do a bowling league. To make a long story short, it was the best decision of our lives. Here is evidence:
Each team had five bowlers, so we had two teams. My team had the cool shirts. The other team...didn't have cool shirts. That's why we dominated them.
Anyways, this year we decided to do it again, and it was super awesome again, but unfortunately we had scheduling conflicts so one team had to bowl at 5:30 while the other team bowled at 7:00.


Austin Baker (AKA Diesel, Dieselicious)
 Diesel was our intimidation man. When the other teams tried to taunt us, Diesel would just flex his biceps, and everyone quieted down right away. Diesel has his own bowling ball, which looks like a perfectly spherical turd, which also adds to the intimidation factor.

Ross Welch (AKA Rosselcopter, Rosstafarian)
Ross was our speed man. No one can throw the ball harder than Rosselcopter. I mean, look at the elevation his ball gets on the backswing! Also, the perfect coiffure of his hair effectively distracted other bowlers as they were lining up for their own bowls.

Dan Birdsall (AKA Dan; Dan was a late addition to our team, so he didn't get a nickname)
Dan actually dislocated his shoulder early in the season, so he ended up bowling with his left hand. It was tough, but he was a good sport. He actually got quite a few spares, but I don't think he ever got a strike. One week, though, Dan was out of town in Las Vegas, so I bowled for him, and I actually ended up bowling a 237, which was pretty awesome. I gave most of the credit to Dan, obviously. I'd never have been able to do that under my own name.

Casey Cutler (AKA Cutter, Cutterrific, Cutter-in-the-Gutter)
"If this was a real lane, I never would have fallen!"
We had a lot of fun giving Cutter crap throughout the season because of something he said during one of our games. He was going for a spare and only hit two out of the remaining four pins. He sat down disgustedly and muttered to himself, "Any real lane would have given that to me." Haha so for the rest of the season we would say things like, "Any real ball would have jumped out of the gutter" or "If only I had real shoes I wouldn't have slipped like that" or, my personal favorite, when KFC brought our meal a half-hour late: "Any real restaurant would have had the food here an hour ago."

Austin Poulsen (AKA Lard, Mantecoso)

I actually had a really great season. I've never really practiced bowling, but I consistently scored 180 or higher. Over the course of the season I tallied 5 turkeys, which felt super awesome. Our team was called The Gobblers because every time someone had two strikes in a row we would call out "Turkey Watch!" and everyone would start gobbling during their next bowl. Nothing feels better than Turkey.

Anyways, we had a really fun season, and we came in 3rd out of 12 teams. We beat the other team from church, though, which was really the only thing that mattered in the end.

Thanks, bowling wives! You were great sports!

Friday, March 18, 2016

RS as of 3/18

A little Relief Society update...

didn't Erin do such an awesome job with
these invitations?
she's the best secretary in the world! 

Last week we pulled off the first official activity under our new presidency and I think it went really well. It was a learning experience for all of us, trying to coordinate and plan and prepare effectively without a true activities committee (yet) while still getting into the groove of our callings. We did a dinner and then had different sisters present little stories from the history of the RS in Lincoln (gathered from a book and other resources that Sister Noble, my second counselor, had accumulated over the years). Then a few sisters shared visiting teaching experiences where they've been blessed by being a visiting teacher or being visit taught, and we ended with a song about the mission of the Relief Society. The whole evening went pretty smoothly and it was so nice to see all the sisters mingling and having a good time.

kitchen goddesses...I was too busy to take more
pictures than this which is sad
It was humbling to be the person who sees all of the behind-the-scenes efforts - so much work and coordination go into these kinds of activities and I wish there was a way to recognize everyone for their contributions. Everyone kept congratulating me on a successful activity and I felt bad because the credit is totally not mine. This sounds kind of dumb but I really felt like a proud parent (or really, proud child, since everyone is older than me) watching everything come together and seeing everyone help out.

a fun and delicious visiting teaching brunch
I have been really enjoying getting to know more of the women in our ward - the sisterhood is sweet in Trendwood and it has been a blessing to participate in this capacity. DO YOUR VISITING TEACHING, EVERYONE! Seriously. If I were asked to speak in General Conference it would absolutely be about VT/HT, no question. It is truly the Lord's Program and we would see MIRACLES if we were all 100%, or close to it. (Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not a perfect visiting teacher myself, but my testimony is growing exponentially about the critical nature of this work.)

An example of how visiting teaching doesn't always have to be a home visit: my friend's daughter played in an orchestra concert so I took Natalie to go see her with me. Natsby didn't last the whole time but it was fun to introduce her to the music world and support my friend at the same time.


Sing with me everyone! "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping....into the fuuuutuuuuure..."

That's how I feel every time I sit down to blog. I don't like that I wait so long in between posts that I always feel like I'm doing an overview instead of more specifics. There's only so much time in the day, and with all of my various responsibilities taking priority, blogging has moved to the back burner. I'll try to keep it simmering though (if we are going to continue with the "back burner" metaphor.)

Here's our typical type of day, recently:

Wake up. Lounge. Play.

Have breakfast.
 Go on some sort of outing.
 Zoo with Makae! (I tried to go alone last week and it was a nightmare - Stockton screamed and cried the whole time, ugh.) When we went this time, Austin just let Stockton run wherever he wanted and followed him while the rest of us followed Natalie.
(Or Target with Mimi!)

(Sometimes I hold these straps like horse reins haha)

(playing at Mimi's)
Then, it's lunch time.

 Natalie loves feeding Jack. It's pretty amusing and stressful to watch.

Next up: quiet time! Jack sleeps anywhere from an hour-two hours, Stockton is more like 2-3 hours. During that time Natalie and I hang out. 

her birthday card that she drew for Uncle Aaron. She instructed
me to draw the red lines for candles, but she did everything else
and was very proud of her rainbow cake

sometimes we play inside, sometimes we play outside (and share jello with whipped cream)

sometimes she wants Elsa hair and gets mad
that it doesn't reach her shoulder, acting like
it's my fault that her hair isn't longer 

 Isn't she the best? My little princess.

Then the boys wake up and we play some more.

post-nap milk recovery

sometimes it's nice enough to play with water outside

 We raked leaves one afternoon and cleaned out and vacuumed the car. It was magical and productive.

I like when Natalie lets me experiment

Watching the three of them play together is probably my favorite thing. they love dismantling the couch and climbing all over it and themselves. Stockton likes to kick, Natalie likes to pull, and Jack just goes back and forth over everyone.

movie time - I was trying to capture the smiles Stockton and
Jack were giving each other but Smalls got distracted when I came over

Sometimes we go to the park or play with friends or go on walks.

It worked for like a minute to keep Jack sequestered
in the dry pool. Stockton was confused and Jack
kept trying to escape.

 Finger painting fun! I love the fancy shoes with the old t shirt.

 Apparently my children can levitate.
 Snacks are involved, and sometimes we do an extra special outing like Lost in Fun.

Smalls is getting good at feeding himself.

Way more fun when we go with friends!
Then Daddy comes home and we tackle our evening. I recently gained two piano students and it's been fun to get back into that world. (Both students are quite good, one is 11 and one is 17. I much prefer intermediate/advanced students than beginners.) We juggle dinner plans, church responsibilities, friend get-togethers, and other evening activities.

Movie night with the Welches and Natalie who didn't want to
go to bed. We watched Bridge of Spies - really good!
Sometimes the daily grind grinds on me more than I would like to admit, but looking back I seem to mostly just remember the good times. Happy days : )

Thursday, March 17, 2016

"What a Cool Guy"

We say that almost daily about Stockty: "What a cool guy."

Austin let him wear this to church...
He is! He just does what he wants with no fear or shame and owns his own world. He is saying a few more words (bubbles, pop, PopPop, Mimi, Mommy, chips, snacks, megamind, letters, alasdflasjdvoaiwjefMILK - which means chocolate milk haha, just a bunch of jumbled syllables with a prominent MILK at the end) which is so encouraging and wonderful, but we still struggle to communicate with him in clear, back-and-forth ways. I am grateful for every understandable communication that he engages in - I hope I never take that for granted. He loves to laugh, he loves to lay down on the floor and be eye-to-eye with whatever toy is interesting to him that day, he loves vacuums, he loves cheetos. He loves playing peekaboo with Grandpa at dinner as they sit at either end of the table on Sunday nights. He loves sharing PopPop's food while sitting on his lap when he visits us for lunch. He loves running back and forth on the driveway, sometimes stepping one toe (imagine Mrs. Weasley saying that) into the street and then gingerly setting it back haha. He's silly and loud, but also sometimes quiet, and excitable and takes good naps and sleeps 12 hours at night and loves his blankie.

repeatedly spraying himself hahaha, this was so funny to watch, he was giggling so hard

He will be evaluated for developmental disorders in the coming months, in addition to ongoing speech therapy, and we are hopeful that we will continue to find more ways to foster his development and help him communicate. I don't think about it too much, but when I do take a step back and monitor my emotions I find that I am sad that I do not yet have abilities to fully communicate with my beautiful little boy. He has seemed a little more frustrated lately and I am starting to feel more anxiety about how I can help him and what the future looks like. It is hard to know what expectations I should have for him when things are unpredictable and unclear.

Ultimately though, I pray in gratitude every night thanking Heavenly Father that Stockton is in our family. I love the moments when he comes over to find me, seeking out my physical presence, and just wants to be with me. Earlier this week he brought me a book and sat in my lap and let me read to him, which is rare. He loves to sing and it is so sweet to hear his little voice mumbling through the words of "I Am a Child of God" and the ABCs and so many other songs. He gets a certain look in his eyes sometimes when he is especially in earnest about something, and I love watching him and trying to imagine what he is trying to tell me. I love our little buddy so very much and am grateful for his impact on our family.

Sunshine Baby

This is Jack. 

Jack likes to explore.

                            Sometimes he's hard core.                                Sometimes he's loud.

                             Sometime's he's content.                              Sometimes he's in your face.

 Most always, he's happy. And that makes me happy. 

As you can tell, he makes this face...a LOT. 

 Here's the progression..."oh hey!"                     "hey mom, hi!"        "HEYYY I'M SO HAPPY YOU'RE
                                                                                                                  LOOKING AT ME!!!"

We love this little sunshine baby to pieces. He loves to crawl on his hands and feet with his bum in the air, he loves to give big wet kisses over and over again, he loves throwing balls and going to fetch them, he loves when his siblings notice him. He loves getting in the DVD cabinet, eating any food he finds, burying his face in his blankie, and climbing on things. He looooves his mama, sometimes to a fault (sorry, babysitters!), but that's okay because I love him too : ) Stay small forever, Smalls!