Monday, February 23, 2009

time-out essays

Three little girls can get a little silly. Especially after they have been cooped up in the house all winter. Add to that 30 sugar filled valentine cards (from the highly anticipated school Valentine mailboxes), and you can imagine the incredible running, chasing, giggling, and screaming, which-all leads-to-someone-crying, going on at the W house.

To help ease some of the craziness, Courtney has recently taken to having the girls write essays while they are in time-out. These are typically assigned as 100 word essays on topics such as "WHY I AM IN TIMEOUT" or "WHY I NEED TO CALM DOWN". The actual completion of the 100 word criteria for an essay to be considered adequate seems to depend on how much time Dad needs in time-out (if you know what I mean).

You can laugh if you want, (because we are too) but it's really a useful little tool for helping us to maintain a little bit of sanity.

In fact, I've come to the conclusion that the essays come in handy for several reasons:
1. to extend the life of a time-out.
2. to help the timeout patron think things through.
3. perhaps it gives the sugar time to digest and therefore brings the said girl down from the bouncing-off-the-wall sugar rush.
4. if nothing else, it provides us with a little peace and quiet. (Don't you remember the excruciating pain of trying to hammer out 100 words in one sitting?)
5. most importantly, the essays guarantee some good laughs.

Here's a sampling. Enjoy.

Dear Mom and Dad, I am in time-out becose, I was to
wild. I am going to be com and I wont come back in timeout. And not run. it is
inprnt to obay becose, if we don't obay we will get in trubble. To make our
house better. I can lisstin. and not fight. I love mom very much! and I love dad
very much! and I love Ryenne very much! I love Emmy very much! I love Claire
very much!

Becase we were being wiled and not listening to you so you
put us in timeout. so that we will listen to you, and how I'm supposed to act.
and that I shouled listen to you. and I shouled always listen to you and make
good choices. And that I shouled always follow the rules. And I shouled try not
to go to timeout. So I shouled listen to you the first time. And I shouled try
better to listen and I think we all shouled, because that way we all fill
happyier and we can all golden rule. And I love all of you. Dad, Mom, Me, Kate,
Emmy, and even Claire. I really love our family. We have a WONDERFUL family.

It is inpprnt to be nice becase, if you'r not nice you will
get in trubbel. that is bad. and we will get in a fight and go to time-out it is
bad. I hate it! and if I am nice I don't haft to come in time-out.

I was in timeout becase Kate had to put her book away so I
laid down Kate came back and said in a mean way, "I was here first" so I said
"you say that if I leave then the other person can have it" and she didn't say
anything. so she laid down and elboed me in the chest.

(the previous essay must not have gotten Dad's okay, because the whole thing was crossed out.) The following essay was then written:

Because that way we all feel better and we have a better
family and we can follow the golden rule and we also feel a lot better.

I love my sisters and I don't wont to have them think that I
don't love them. I love Ryenne and Emmy so much. It is true!

I'm thinking that Kate must really like writing essays. Last week, I sent her to time-out. Courtney was out of town, so I know he didn't assign her an essay, but as I was tidying up that evening I found this note:

Dear Dad I am in time-out. I hope you come back sune. I mish
you (dad) croutney. From Kate Jeannett. by Dad.

So, there you have it. Someday we may write a book titled, "Essays, Bribery, and other Parenting Techniques Devised Out Of Sheer Desperation".

politically correct

Kate has the funniest, cutest way of saying things. She has an incredible vocabulary, and is always making us smile with her choice of words.

The night before Presidents Day, I was telling the girls how excited I was to have them home from school the next day for the holiday. Kate then mentioned that most of the kids in her class were also very excited and had cheered when they found out about the little holiday.

But not Kate.

I then asked her why, teasing "Don't you want to stay home with your super fun mom?"

To which Kate paused, and then replied, "Mom, I really do like you. It's just that I adore learning."

And that's okay, because no matter what- I adore Kate!

happy heart day!

Valentines Day makes for such a fun day! The night before Valentine's Day, the three older girls had a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa C's house, so early that next morning, Mr. Cupid (Daddy) was sent to do a little doorstep "ring and run" where he left a secret message for the girls and Grandma & Bop and another at Aunt Andrea's house.
The message read:
Happy Heart Day!
You are hereby invited to a valentine
day brunch. You will be sampling a
delightful array of tantalizing red and white concoctions.
(Bacon may or may not be included).
We anticipate your arrival at approximately 10:30 am
at the Courtney Wood House.
We eagerly await you.
With love,
your secret admirers
Promptly at 10:30 am, our guests arrived. The short ones even delighted us with a little "valentine caroling"! (Ever heard a valentine rendition of The Spirit of God?)
They were tickled pink with the brunch and festivities. In fact, Courtney whispered to me at one point, "You'd think it was Christmas morning!"

There's nothing quite as nice as sharing happy times with the ones who make my heart smile!

six months already?

I can't believe it, but it's true. Claire has passed the six month mark already! We went to visit Dr. Brown for her well check. Six (ouch!) shots later, she was given the thumbs up sign. Her poor little legs were plastered in band aids, and we were all very sympathetic.

What did we find out? She's definitely a growing gal! She is 26" tall (56%), and weighs 17 lb, 8 oz. (77%). It's been fun to look back and see what the other girls were at this age. Claire and Ryenne are pretty consistently the same, Emmy a little less, and Kate a little more. What a healthy gaggle of girls!

old man no more

It's true, Claire has been looking a bit like an old man. Her baby hair has fallen out most everywhere except for a nice little ring around the back of her head, making her look a bit like my Papa. (No offense, Papa. It looks very nice if you are a male senior citizen.) To make matters worse, what remained is very dark and getting very long, so it hangs over her ears. (This picture really does not do justice!)
So, Claire and I paid Aunt Kelsey a little visit at her salon. Some handy-dandy clippers and five minutes later and Claire looks like a new woman! (Unfortunately, the official first haircut pictures are on Kelsey's camera. What kind of mom forgets a camera on the first trip to the salon?)

Monday, February 16, 2009

chapter five

we're growing up together

10 + 4 + 2= 16. That's a long time. 10 (almost 11) years of marriage + 4 years of dating + 2 years writing letters = 16 years of spending time together. Lucky us.

A few weeks ago, we came home from a date and spent the rest of evening laughing about some funny memories from high school. I love that we can do that. We can reminisce about the same funny people. You know what I'm talking about when I laugh about old college memories. I remember the people that you wrote about in your mission letters. We've known each other a long time. I love that we're growing up together.

You were my first boyfriend.
My first kiss.My first date.
You took me to my junior prom.
And as much as I love you, I'm sure glad you weren't my only date! I love that you sat back and waited while I dated other people. I love that I had so much fun in high school and was able to have so many friends. My brothers were always so impressed with you for that.

We shared graduations, college, your mission, and much more through hundreds of letters written while you were in Montana. Once you got home, letters turned to phone calls as we got to know each other again while I was at BYU-Hawaii. Oh boy, I sure loved those phone calls! When I got home, we took off running. And within three months, we made the best decision of our lives. We decided to spend the rest of forever together.
We were just getting started! Newlywed life was so much fun! I remember being amazed that a person could feel so happy. I thought I was happy before we got married, but you made it complete.

After a few years, we made another important decision.
Together, we met have met four of the cutest girls! And life has (thank goodness) never been the same!First, Ryenne Ashleigh. You couldn't get enough of her!
Then Kate Jeannett arrived. Wasn't she so much fun to cuddle?
Emmy Summer has brightened up our family! She makes us laugh every day.

And what would we do without Claire Kelly? She brings such a sweet, peaceful spirit to both of us.
We still can't believe we've had four kids!
If that's not enough, together we've gone through 4 remodels and countless other projects.

We've climbed to the top of quite a few mountains together, and have experienced some pretty amazing sights. Together.

And the best part of it all? There's so much more to come. As much as I've enjoyed the past seventeen years, I'm excited to see what is yet to come. There will be more mountains to climb, challenges to overcome, decisions to make, mistakes to muddle through, projects to do, and girl-growing to watch.

We may have started a bit young. I always get a little worried that one of our girls might find their knight in shining armour at age fifteen, like I did. After all, it added it's one set of challenges. But on the other hand, I've always been convinced that you came into my life at exactly the right time. For so many reasons, I think I needed you beside me while I did all that tough growing up business.
I once overheard your mom telling someone that she thinks the two of us knew each other in heaven, and once we found each other here, it was just like meeting an old friend. It sure seems true, doesn't it? You have always filled a part of me that seemed to be missing.
And you know, I don't know about you, but I'm still not done growing up. I've got a way to go! One of my greatest wishes is that Heavenly Father will not only allow us to grow up together, but hopefully he'll let us grow old together too. I guess we'll just have to see. But one thing I'm convinced of. Our story together will never end.
While I'm concluding this book for now, it's not finished. There are so many more volumes to come. That's the best part of all.
There never will be The End.

Friday, February 13, 2009

chapter four

i love my smile (the ones you save for me, that is)

Now, I'm not saying I love my smile on my face. I'm talking about the smile on your face that only I receive. You see, I've learned that you have a smile that you use only on me. (And it's a real cute one too.)

I've never forgotten the first time I learned about this little smiling secret. We were (ahem) about 16ish and 17ish years old, and on a little car ride with your folks. I'm thinking it was to Richfield or somewhere that took a while. Anyway, we stopped at a convenience store and you went inside to pay while I waited outside with some of your family. When you came sauntering out of the store, you looked at me and flashed this wonderful smile. And Alyssa said, "Is that a cute grin or what?" I didn't say it aloud, of course, but I thought to myself, "yes siree, it is cute. And, lucky me- it's mine". That moment is like a little photograph in my mind. I can see you walking out of the store like it was yesterday I hope I can always make you smile like that.

It's true, you know. You may not even know you've gifted me my own smile but I've had a lot of years watching, and I've come to a definite conclusion. You have a nice smile for your parents. You have a delightful way of looking at your girls when they say something funny. You have a really cute little smirk that gives you away when you're telling a fib. You even have an embarrassed grin that you flash to the old ladies in church who tell you how handsome your "locks" are.

But the best smile? You save it for me. It tells me how happy I make you. And it's cute. And I love it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

chapter three

you keep my feet on the ground

I know, I know. In the previous chapter, I wrote about you giving my wings to fly. And now I'm saying you keep me on the ground. It may sound contradictory, but let me explain.

I'm thinking that even angels must need some kind of gravitational pull. Otherwise, they'd just fly off into the atmosphere, wouldn't they? So, while you've gifted me wings, you're also my gravitational force. Talented guy, you are.

While I dream big, I expect big too. You know how it works for me. I want things to be just right. Right now. And when they're not (because they never are), I get a little bit anxious.

And each time, you let me fuss for a while, but you never get too anxious yourself. You just ride it out with me and pretty soon I've landed again.

I remember one particular incident not too long ago. I was in a dither about something or another. I think it had to do with a parenting issue I was concerned about. I let it all out. After laying it all out on the table, I couldn't believe it when you remained so calm. How could you when we were facing a disaster of such magnitude? (Or so it seemed.)

I may or may not have said something like, "I can't believe you are not going to help me do anything about it! I want to figure out what we're going to do! I want to make a plan to fix this problem! Tonight!" (There may or may not have been tears involved.)

And I may or may not have been completely exhasperated when you calmly declined. You said something to the tune of "I don't think we need to fix it tonight. I guess I just think it's going to work out. Sometimes if you just give things a little bit of time, they just work out."

And you know what? A few days later, I thought to myself. What a wise guy. He's right. It just worked out. And who knows. If I'd started to carry out some big plan of attack, it may not have worked itself out so easily.

That's what I'm trying to say. When I get all huffy and fly off the handle trying to save the world, you keep me tethered to reality.

Thanks, babe.

chapter two

i love the wings you've given me

I love that whenever I come up with a hair brained idea, you think I can do it. Or at least you let me think I can. Never do you laugh. Or ridicule. Oh, you may smile on the inside, but I don't see it. You would never want me to think that you were keeping me from doing something I wanted to do. That's just not your style.

Like the time when I decided I could run a marathon.

Or two. Even when I hadn't trained and decided to jump into it at the last minute. And you didn't even tell me "I could have told you so" when I got shin splints so bad.

When I told you I'd always dreamed of hiking the Narrows, you said "Lets do it." And I loved it.

When I talk of writing a book or wanting to open a bakery someday you tell me I should do it. And make me feel like you I'd be a raging success. When I've discussed my worries about the school system with you, you've told me, "You should start a school." Crazy? Yes, it's all a bit crazy. And I may never do any of it. But you make me think I could if I wanted.

I told you I wanted to hike Angel's Landing. A little bit crazy for a girls who's afraid of heights. When it got hairy, you wouldn't let me quit. As you have so often, you gave me wings to fly. And when we got to the top? Wow! I really did feel like we'd landed on top of the world!

You know that I adore Sister Hinckley. What a great example she is to me! Every time I need a boost, I read and reread her words. This is one of my favorites:

Church magazines: Sister Hinckley, you have said that your husband
“always let me do my own thing. He never insisted that I do anything his way, or
any way, for that matter. From the very beginning he gave me space and let me
How has he done that?

Sister Hinckley: He never tells me what to do. He just lets me go. He has
made me feel like a real person. He has encouraged me to do whatever makes me
happy. He doesn’t try to rule or dominate me.

Church magazines: President, you have said: “Some husbands regard it
as their prerogative to compel their wives to fit their standards of what they
think to be the ideal. It never works.”

How have you avoided doing this with Sister

President Hinckley: I’ve tried to recognize my wife’s individuality,
her personality, her desires, her background, her ambitions. Let her fly. Yes,
let her fly! Let her develop her own talents. Let her do things her way. Get out
of her way, and marvel at what she does.

When I first read this, I loved it! It reminded me so much of you. You've always let me do my own thing. You encourage me. You get out of my way and let me fly.

And I love you for it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

chapter one

i love your hands

The other day we were returning from our "hot date" (as the girls would say), and I happened to look at your hands as you were opening the door. In that quick moment, I thought to myself, I really love those hands. We both laugh at the size of your hands. Remember the time the man stopped us on our way out of the temple to take a look at our hands together. He had been sitting close to us and couldn't believe how big yours were compared to mine! He was amazed that your great big hands don't crush mine. Just the opposite. They protect me. They make me feel safe.

Your hands remind me how hard you work. They bring back warm feelings of gratitude for the many late night and even all night labors of love you have given as you've completed one of the many projects I have dreamed up. When I think of your hands, I think of how capable you are. Each time I have a need, those hands think of a way to make it happen. They make me feel loved.

I love the way your hands have become just as comfortable dressing a barbie doll for one of your little girls as they are changing a tire. I love the way use them to give priesthood blessings. I love to watch them holding the tiny hands of your little girls or bringing peals of laughter as you tickle them. They love it. So do I.

I don't know if I've ever told you that. That I love your hands.

how do I love thee? let me count the ways.

(With Valentine's Day approaching, I've been thinking about all the people I love. There are lots of them. And of course, I've been thinking about my biggest love. The one who makes my heart so happy. After all, I think he's filled up my heart with so much love, it's given me room to love all of the others a little better. Maybe that's how love works.

So, babe, this one's for you. Happy Valentine's Day.)

. . .I've been trying to think of something extra spectacular to do for you for Valentines Day. I don't know that I have spectacular in me right now. But I want you to know how much I love you. How much I appreciate you. All of those things that I maybe don't say enough.All of this made me think of how you keep encouraging me to write a book. A blog book. You had this great idea, see, that I could write a little bit each day, and people would keep coming back to see what happens the next day. Well, I think it is a great idea. And so I'm writing a book. It's called, "Five Reasons Why I love Courtney". Really intriguing, I know. In time, maybe I'll think of a better title. But for now, there it is. And in all actuality, I don't know how many people will flock to read it. But that doesn't really matter. As long as you read it. After all, you're the hero .  I'm the heroine. And this is our story.

snow much fun

During Christmas break, we got together with some of the cousins for a fun snow day. Uncle AJ and Courtney pulled the kids around behind the snowmobiles for a few good laughs. Everyone had a great time!Kadin, Uncle AJ, and Emmy Sadie braves the uncles.

Creighton, Courtney, and Kate

Sadie and Ryenne

Ryenne and Cole go for a wild ride!

all I want for Christmas. . .

Finally! Kate has lost a tooth! Two, in fact, and just in time for Christmas. Most of her friends started losing their teeth in kindergarten, and so Kate as been so anxious to have the tooth fairy finally visit her. When she started to feel her teeth get wobbly back in October, we told her she would for sure be able to sing the "all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" song. But as Christmas crept closer and closer, she still had her two wibbly, wobbly teeth! Finally, just days before Christmas arrived, she was ecstatic when her first fell out. Her second followed soon after. And I don't think there has ever been a more excited toothless girl!

Kate was completely satisfied with the efforts of the tooth fairy, which resulted in a gold dollar under her pillow. She made her presence known by the large amounts of fairy dust left on Kate's pillow, in her hair, and on her cheeks. Kate thought that was the best part of all.

She was so proud of her toothless state, that she asked the dentist at her recent appointment if she could get a discount on account of her missing teeth. Less teeth to clean, right? I had to laugh - the best part was watching the dentist try to stammer out a response. Unfortunately, we still had to pay the full amount. (Although he did try to make us aware of his generosity by explaining that when older patients come in with false teeth, they do get a discount.)

I guess the tooth fairy can only get you so far.

yummy in my tummy

Claire decided to go for the real stuff. Well, as real as it gets for a five month old. You know, peas, squash, sweet potatoes. And the verdict? She loves it. She eats like a champ! Pretty soon, we'll bring on the chocolate.

the ghost of christmas past. .

Okay, I know it's the middle of February, but this is how I do things lately. Besides, this is our family history, so if I don't get these posted, the girls will wonder what ever happened to Christmas '08. Here's the story:
christmas eve
. . .sticking with tradition, we gathered at Grandma C's house for our annual Christmas Eve dinner and of course, the acting out of the nativity. This year, Grandma added a new dimension to the nativity. She asked each family to take part by representing one of the people told of in the nativity story. The girls and I were asked to represent Mary, and Courtney was asked to share the feelings that Joseph may have had. For our part, the girls chose to sing the song "Mary's Lullaby".
Claire was right in the spirit of things!As usual, we traded white elephant gifts. And, as usual, some of them were quite stunning. Brayden was quite pleased with his new look. (So was Grandma C. We couldn't get her new Hannah Montana fiber optic hair extensions away from her. Sorry, no pictures available.)Claire, in her swaddling clothes. She did a great job in her casting as the Baby Jesus.Halle (aka Mary) and Matthew (aka Joseph) ride alongside Bop (aka donkey).The girls and I singing our song. (You can see Shawn was completely captivated by our talent.) What would Christmas Eve be without new p.j.'s?

Part of the crew. We missed the Stosich and Croney boys this year!
Christmas morning
. . .We had a great Christmas morning. Santa left lots of surprises and goodies for everyone. Guess we were all nice this year!
Ryenne received an authentic "Santa Certificate", which read:
Salutations Ryenne,
My records indicate that you didn't specify the style and size
of ballet skirt and ballet shoes in your Christmas wish.
I'm sure you understand that those measurements are
needful for my elves to produce the products to your satisfaction.
You are hereby summoned to produce this document at the following location:
Diva Dancewear, Brigham City, Utah
Where you will be properly fitted to a new ballet skirt and ballet shoes of your liking.
Merry Christmas, my dear child.
Santa Claus

Pretty sassy aprons, I would say!

Kate's new gymnastic get-up.

Our local New England Patriot fan club president and his new shirt.
(Which he actually didn't like that much! Oh well- win some, lose some.)

Courtney gave me some money for new apparel (much appreciated!) and an overnight stay to the Anniversary Inn. (Extremely appreciated!) We went a few days after Christmas and had a fantastic time! When we got to the room, he'd arranged for them to scatter rose petals on the floor. What a cutie-batootie.

The biggest Christmas surprise of the day was a little box to the girls from Mom and Dad, in which was a key to the playhouse. We all bundled up and trudged through the snow to see what was in store. . .guess what? The playhouse interior definitely has a new look!

Even though it's not quite finished, they were pretty excited! Dad had been working through the night the weeks before Christmas, trying to finish it. Even Uncle Shawn and Grandpa Lloyd spent some long hours in the effort. Bop was waiting in the wings to do the painting. We were hoping so much to get it completely finished before the big day, but finally realized it was not to be. It always takes longer than you think, doesn't it! Nevertheless, the girls were still so excited and love that the playhouse has "walls" (sheetrock)! Once Courtney finishes up the trim, Bop will get it painted. Yeah! We can't wait to see the finished product. It's going to be pretty darn cute!

Christmas afternoon. . .
We spent the afternoon at Grandma Tam and Grandpa Lloyd's, where the girls were so excited to see their cousins and open their "Build-A-Bear" stuffed animals from Grandma. Pretty fun!
Later on, we braved the gigantic snowstorm to head for Grandma & Grandpa J's house. What a snowstorm! We had a few moments without electricity, and wondered if we would spending the night in Fielding by candlelight! It was a great night, and we definitely got a "White Christmas!"
What a lovely day.