Sunday, October 28, 2007

Brothers Reading - I thought this was SO cute of Clark to invite John into his bed to "read" some books. I get so tickled by brotherly love - it's what makes my job worth it! These two boys just have so much fun together: reading books, putting lego guys on surfboards, Rescue Heroes, or using my kitchen tools as weapons! Boys will be boys!
One morning this week, I snapped this shot of my sweet Faith lying next to Daddy. This was so uncharacteristic of Andrew to still be sleeping, but he had been up really late the night before talking to family on the phone!

On Thursday night, Andrew and I were invited to attend a Reception for the current White House Fellows. These are probably the most impressive people I have ever met! They are doctors, fighter pilots, lawyers, career military, etc. They have taken a year away from their careers to work hands-on with the US Government. The day before this event, they had just sat down for a personal conversation with President Bush that lasted 2 hours! Their comments were that they wish the public could see him like they did - very down-to-earth, genuine and sincere. They were all extremely impressed by him, and by their assignments for the year!

What a privilege to even be in the presence of these incredible people! I just love DC and the opportunities we have here!

I want Mimi to know that we are praying for her and are happy that she is feeling a little better everyday! We are SO excited for Halloween, because we get to have our Mimi and Papa out here with us! Aren't we lucky? Keep improving, Mom! You can do it, you can do it, you can do it, YAY!
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This is the Wallin kiddos with our kids. We had a very nice afternoon visiting with them and catching up on their lives. Jordan (the dad) is a resident in Winston-Salem, NC, and it was nice to have them back-it was like they had never left. Don't you think we'll feel that way when we are reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us?
This is my beautiful friend, Cianne, with John and me. I have been wearing my glasses a LOT lately because (drumroll please)...I am going to have LASIK eye surgery this Thursday! I am excited to be able to get out of bed without grabbing my glasses first!
Abbi and Faith have a special talent - going CROSS-EYED! They are both such beautiful girls, but are truly the most spirited and SILLY girls we've ever met!
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We have had a GREAT week! On Monday, we made Halloween cupcakes for our FHE treat! Of course, the lesson went well because the kids were excited to EAT! We have no had 3 FHEs about the Steps to going to the bathroom! Has anyone else had this problem? All 8 steps are clearly posted in the bathroom. Somehow we tend to forget to flush and wash our hands! We told the kids we'll need to repeat this FHE until they can do it correctly. So, guess what the topic is for FHE tomorrow night???

What do you get when you have ONE Mom, an 8-year old, 7-year old, 6-year old, 5-year old, 3-year old and a 2-year old; 2 1/2 hours in the car, 3 stinky diapers and POURING rain? You get a GREAT DAY! The kids didn't have school on Friday, and I was watching the two Sampson boys, so I packed lunch and all 6 of them in the car, and we drove to the Baltimore Children's Museum called Port Discovery! We had such a great time! The kids learned about Egypt, hieroglyphics, played soccer, built with blocks, played in moon sand, played a game of chess, climbed up this 3-story jungle gym, and my house stayed clean through it all! It truly was a great day!
That evening we watched this darling little boy, Brendan Toone, while his parents went to the temple. Faith was such a sweet little mommy to him - he was a joy to have around!
This is one of Faith's dress-up outfits! The combination just made me laugh. I used to wear this when I was a baton-twirler. How old was I Mom? Maybe 5? I remember LOVING to march and twirl my baton - life was sure simple then!
Our cute friends, the Wallins came to visit today (Sunday) from North Carolina. They moved from DC in June and Faith had asked almost every day "When is Abbi going to come back and visit?" Abbi, Faith and Isabelle had a great time together doing GIRL stuff for a few hours while we prepared the ham & potatoes dinner upstairs.

We had a fantastic Stake Conference today! Elder Hafen was our visiting authority and he (and his wife) brought such a sweet spirit to the meetings. I was touched and motivated to be a better mother, do what matters most, and not worry about the rest.

One thing that really struck me was that I, as a mother, MUST be unwaivering in my faith, testimony and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I need to be doing EVERYTHING the Lord has asked me to do - not only for my own salvation, but as an example to my children of how they should pattern their lives. I am motivated to be better!
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

We just visited this AMAZING park for the first time this week. It's called Clemyjontri Park, and it was made for ALL children, including disabled, wheelchaired, older "special needs" children, EVERYONE! It's like 8 parks all in one, including a carousel, train, maze, ship, and CLEAN bathrooms (ok, I liked that part). We'll have to take Mimi & Papa there when they come visit next week!
This is my cute Clarky. If you look close, you can see his chapped cheeks. The weather has been SO dry lately, that he is just getting a little eczema on his adorable cheeks - sure doesn't make him any less cute!
Here are my two little buddies! They get along so well, and are interested in all the same things! We have so much fun together each day - I'm so glad I didn't put Clark in preschool this year. It saved us a LOT of money, and we just have a blast!
This is Faith in action! I wish I could say she was running for the ball, but they actually had just called "Drink Break", so she was running over to her waterbottle. Still the cutest soccer player I've ever seen! (wink)
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Johnny and Dad - John has a habit of sneaking out of his bed after the other kids are settled down. We try to do the "Super Nanny" method, which is just walk him back in again and again, without getting upset, but being firm and serious. Well, I hope it will make a difference someday soon. John is just so adorable, that Andrew and I just really enjoy our time with him, even though he's technically breaking the rules!
On Friday night, Andrew and I took Grant and Faith with us to see our first Major League Soccer Game! The DC United! Although the team lost, we had a great time, and Faith loved the EXTRA special treat...Cotton Candy!
I didn't realize that my kids had never tasted Cotton Candy. Grant doesn't really even like treats, so he tasted it and said "No thanks". FAith's first reaction was "It tastes like a napkin!" Later, she said "It tastes like a cloud!" I could feel my teeth rotting as I ate it!
After-game activity - The kids both fell asleep on the way home - it had been a BIG day! After 2 soccer games, a Primary Program Practice, pizza party and the soccer game, they were pooped!

Our Primary Program was so cute today! I am the Primary Chorister and absolutely ADORE my calling and the children! Clark said the very first speaking part and wasn't nervous at all as he said it word for word! He quoted "If ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true". The funny thing was as soon as Clark stepped down, John was right up there on the stand and said "I wanna do it!!!" and he was determined!

The day before after the practice, I let him say Clark's part into the microphone, so he obviously thought it was HIS turn! It gave everyone a big laugh, especially when he refused to return and sit with Daddy. He sat on the Bishopric's laps for awhile, and almost fell off the podium as he leaned over forward, but eventually was bribed back down. The Program went on without interruption!

I was so pleased with my sweet little Faith. For about the last year, she has been SO shy in Primary - not even smiling at her teachers or Primary Presidency. When asked to give talks, she'd practice it at home, and then FREEZE when it was time to present. She literally had not opened her mouth to speak in Primary, so as you can imagine, I was nervous about how she'd handle the Primary Program. MY FAITH SAID HER PART! And then came over to me to get a big hug! It brought tears to my eyes to know that she had moved past this "nervous phase" and back to her sweet, bubbly self. Way to go, Faith!

Grant sang his little heart out! By far, the "strongest" (loudest) singer in the Primary, but what can I say about VIGOR and EXCITEMENT for the gospel? He did GREAT! This is the same Grant who wouldn't even sing a WORD of Primary songs because he said "I already know them, Mom" and refused to even go UP on the stage for the Primary Program that year. I am so happy with my boy. He is such a great kid!
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

News about our week

I have a beautiful calendar that helps us all stay organized. It has really worked well, until we missed Faith's soccer game yesterday. Now, I would love to blame it on the calendar, but it was Mommy who wrote down the wrong time! I felt terrible, but Faith just wanted a treat. So, we gave her a mini-Twix, and she was over it. Those little moments help me remember that everyone makes mistakes, and I am grateful for a forgiving daughter who will let me make those mistakes and learn from them.

I had an interesting insight today. Last Sunday was General Conference and I just LOVED it. Every talk inspired me, motivated me, and made me empowered to take on my job as a mother with a new calmness, organization and never-waivering love for my family. I was on a spiritual high and ready to implement all these new ideas I had been given during those 8 hours of conference.

But, as the week progressed, I caught myself being grumpy, not getting to my scripture study, losing patience with the kids and even Andrew! I didn't know what was wrong with me. So, today in Fast & Testimony Meeting, my eyes were opened to what had happened. The Adversary was WORKING ON ME! Satan didn't want me to strengthen my family and implement all these great ideas from Conference. He WANTED me to lose my patience, do as little as I could get away with and be selfish. And because I didn't initially recognize what was going on, I was allowing it to happen! Agh!

So, I am grateful for the Holy Ghost, who helped me recognize this. I am a new woman and will now implement all that I have planned to - and, as we say in our family, we will not let Satan win! We are talking about eternity here - he is NOT going to get the Croshaw family!

Faith and I went on a DATE on Friday night. We needed some girl time together, and I am so grateful for the inspiration to do this. We rode on our bikes down the hill to Pentagon Row and ate dinner at Noodles & Co. Faith insisted that we go to the same place as we had gone with Mimi months earlier.

We laughed, and I was able to look her in the eyes for a whole dinnertime, talking about whatever came to her mind: kids that make her laugh at school, funny things that Mr. T. does, lots of different "What if we could..." scenarios that she likes to pose, etc. She was a different girl!

Then we went to the mall next door to find her some pants. We made a fun stop at the "Girl Store" (aka Claires) and looked at all the Hello Kitty and Princess earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and others. Faith was in heaven - I remember just adoring these same kinds of stores as a young girl. I loved that I could follow her all over the place, without any distractions. Whatever she wanted to look at, we looked at...and probably said "Cute" a hundred times. That was fine with me!

We finished our date at Maggie Moo's ice cream where Faith chose her favorite flavor and gave me a taste. Our most bonding moment of the evening was when we faced the challenge of getting our bike back UP the giant hill that we had enjoyed on the trip down. My little Faith pedaled her little heart out, and I was literally pushed from behind by my darling daughter. She kept saying "Don't give up! We can do it!" We also sang the song from a show called Wonder Pets..."What's gonna work? Team work. What's gonna work? Team work." She felt confident because she had helped Mommy make it up the hill, and I loved complimenting her determination all the way. I love having a daughter - she is one of my very greatest blessings!
On Saturday, we went to the Fire House! The kids were in heaven, trying on all the gear, sitting in the trucks and even turning on the lights (by accident, of course)
Here's the whole gang sitting in the Medic truck. It was very touching to visit this particular fire station, because some of these men were called to work on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. They had a big poster in their Call Room of all the firefighters who were killed on 9/11/01. It was a very humbling experience to witness those who sacrificed their own lives for someone else. I know Heavenly Father is pleased with that act.

John standing in front of a GIANT (probably 20 feet high) American flag. Doesn't he look patriotic? I love this boy so much! We are enjoying the Terrific Twos with him so much - he makes us all laugh on a daily basis with the way he interprets what we are saying. The other night, he came and jumped in bed with us and, speaking to Andrew, started a long chain of "I sleep in the middle, I sleep in the middle, I sleep in the middle, I sleep in the middle" (I think that's what he was saying). I rolled over to Andrew and said "Just say OK!" So, Andrew said OK, and John stopped. His determination is inspiring!
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On Fridays, the kids don't have any homework, so we did Pudding Painting instead! The kids were a little confused at first, because they didn't know if it was REALLY ok to make a mess with the pudding. I am regularly saying "Please don't spill, or get it on your clothes", but today was different! I showed them what to do by mushing my own hands in the pudding, and boy it felt great! There is something theraputic about painting with your fingers and mushing the pudding around.
I should have taken off Faith's beautiful white shirt before we started, but (thanks to Jell-o) it washed right out! The weather has changed from VERY hot (95 degrees) to fall weather (more like 75) all this week! Each morning, we don't know which clothes to put on - but we are welcoming the nice weather and happy to be able to enjoy the weather by playing outside as much as possible!

The kids LOVE our new trampoline, and are starting to make up games to play together, rather than just with Mom and Dad. Grant, Faith and Clark can all do flips, and Johnny is proud of himself when he does a "bummer". He can't quite get back up to his feet before the bounce is over, but he'll get there. He sure gets tossed around a lot, but is a good sport about it. We just say "Good flip, John", and he pops right back up and is just fine!
This is how Grant would look with a goatee! No thanks! Grant has had a habit since he was really young of LICKING all around his lips while he's eating! So, he has a food goatee a lot! He's still darling, but we're working on his funny habit.
Here are the kids on our picnic table outside - do you really think I"d let them Pudding Paint in the kitchen? I'd be finding globs for weeks! This was a perfect spot for our project/after school snack.
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Monday, October 8, 2007

On Tuesday night, we celebrated Palesa's 1st birthday. This sweet family is from South Africa and invited us over for the party. Junior (pronounced June-ya) is the mother and is absolutely adorable! It's fun to learn about their traditions. To the song "Happy Birthday" they sing (in their own language) essentially "Grow up, Grow up, Grow up!"
This is Faith with Palesa. She held her on her lap for at least 20 minutes, and we even had her laughing and saying "Dadada".
We had to post this picture. Grant took this, and (although I cropped it a bit), he did a great job! We don't often get a picture with both Mommy AND daddy in the picture - so here you have it. We were looking a little grubby in our pre-conference attire, but nonetheless, we're all happy and together.
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Last Tuesday, we met some friends (Audrey, Owen & Will) at the National Zoo. We got there just in time to see them bathe the elephants! It was so fascinating to see how obedient those elephants were, just to earn a potato or apple slice. Have you ever seen the bottoms of an elephant's feet? Neither had I...but now I have!
When we joined the National Zoo, we were given a small stuffed Panda named "Tai-shan" and it has been one of Clark's very favorites from the start. So, when we saw Tai-shan right by the glass, we had to grab a quick picture. He's like a member of the family!
This is Clark & John's surprised face as they sit with the salamander. Don't worry, the REAL salamander is in the glass enclosure behind them.
Johnny was doing a silly laugh that was anything but real, but I captured a great picture from it!
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We went to Hains Point on Sunday morning before General Conference. It's just right out on the tip of the Potomac River (?). This statue is "buried" in the ground, and the kids thought it was SO cool!

The kids were imagining what would happen if this giant came out of the ground, and starting squishing everyone!
Clark ran over to the giant and then happily ran back to exclaim "Dad, it's not REAL!"
Here's my cute family at the water's edge (sorry that I don't know what body of water this is! It's just across the bridge from our house)
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Monday, October 1, 2007

National Book Festival

On Saturday, we went from Faith's soccer game to the National Book Festival downtown. It was very fun! The kids got to walk through the REAL "Magic School Bus", meet Maya & Miguel, Caillou, Clifford, and Curious George.
Grant read in the Cozy Corner, and we were given a few free books and some cool bags from Target.
It was fun to think that we were part of the annual tradition encouraging ALL to read. Needless to say, we spent the whole time in the Children's Tent, but I'm sure there were amazing authors and storytellers in the other tents as well.

Here's a funny order to get to the Book Festival, we parked at Andrew's work building. Faith noticed the giant picture of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Mike Leavitt on the wall as we exited. Later in the day, we went to a work BBQ and when Secretary Leavitt arrived, Faith said "Dad! Dad! Look behind you!" It was the Secretary and she remembered his picture from earlier in the day. He was such a celebrity to her! The Secretary got a giggle out of that!

Here's a little plug for Jackie Leavitt's website: It's an internet safety site and she is just so passionate about it. Check it out!

Faith was a STAR this past weekend in soccer. She wasn't hesitant at all, and even assisted with a goal! Everytime she did something great, she'd run to the sidelines and give Andrew or I a high five. It was truly a GREAT time and very entertaining!!
Here's our little soccer player-in-training. He's already shown an interest in soccer, so he'll be ready when he is finally old enough to actually play!
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Grant wearing "The Armor of God"! Our home teacher & son came by last Sunday night and brought this to teach the kids about the "Shield of Faith" and the Helmet of Salvation (I think?). The boys were particularly impressed to think that this was a REAL helmet!
They all had to try it on for a picture! The home teachers gave them each a coin that has a a description of the armor of God, says "Pray Always" and Return with Honor.
Our home teacher is in the Military and I guess that it's a huge honor to receive a "coin" from a member of the military. Although the kids didn't really understand the significance, we decided to hide them away and send them in the kids' pockets as they leave for their first date!
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