Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cutting paper is SO. FUNNY.

So, I still haven't uploaded any new pics or videos. But here's a video from a few weeks back that I just rediscovered among the files, and it still makes me smile. We were cutting fliers at the church library, not even considering Lo might be entertained by such an activity. I love when he expresses delight at the simplest things.

I felt a little nervous having the baby so near that giant cutter, btw, so rest assured we were always holding tightly to that Lo to keep his fingers safely away from the blade. He kept trying to lunge for the object of his fascination.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just to make sure I don't forget

I had thought to just wait until a few weeks when I do his nine month report, but he keeps changing so much all the time that I figured it was better to get these fun new developments recorded now while I remember. The latest tricks of Dat Lo:

  • Yesterday he got serious about sharing his snacks with me. Shoving slimy baby crackers in my mouth, holding his apple up for me to try, etc. mmmMMM.

  • He holds toys and such in his mouth like a puppy...crawls around, climbs on stuff, uses both hands galore, all while gripping a piece of toy in his teeth. Did I mention yet that his top teeth came in.

  • Often ignores his pile of toys in favor of practicing gross motor skills on the living room furniture. We had to move the kitchen table in front of the stairs because we are too cheap to buy a real baby gate at this point.

  • Crawls UP stairs. Falls down them. A few days ago (with me right next to him!) he fell down a couple stairs. I'd looked away for a second to check a text message. Sad. But he was more scared than hurt and quit crying long before I did. No, I didn't actually cry. But I was trembling and shaking so bad, and my heart pounded and it kept replaying in my head all the rest of the day. Horrible.

  • Holding just one of my fingers, he can walk a few steps before getting off balance. Prefers this "practice walking" to crawling. I cater to him and hold my hand down there for him to grab.

  • Yesterday he showed animal awareness pretty firmly--this one is exciting for me, since I've been working toward this for awhile now. We were walking outside and when he saw the geese grazing, instead of just ignoring them like he usually does, he told me "aDa!" as he caught sight of them. Then he craned his neck around to keep staring at the flock as we passed.
  • His head bobbing/dancing to music and rhymes has extended to involve dancing to any sound with a beat--including the sewing machine, dishwasher, electric fan, etc.
  • While he still loves his farm animal books ("MooMOO says the cow" generally gets an excited reaction), his latest favorite seems to be a Sesame Street Elmo puppet book. Which is exhausting for me to read, since the Elmo puppet makes my fingers cramp up trying to scratch Elmo's nose, do a dance, rub his tummy, etc. I think I'll be glad when Lo starts to like other books instead.

Guess that's long enough. A few of these should have had cute pictures and videos to go with them but I'm feeling too lazy to upload at this point.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

odds n ends of the Palmyra trip

Here are a few last pics from the trip. Check out the other posts below to see other good times we had this past weekend in New York. A big thank you to Uncle Lynn and Aunt Carolyn for letting us use their house as our base to sleep and eat, etc. It really helped us (especially because we travelled with a little baby) to get to break up the trip into more enjoyable shorter driving periods (their home is exactly a half-way point between our Ohio residence and the Palmyra sites). Four-Church Corner. There is a different denomination on each corner of this Palmyra intersection, really illustrating the competing faiths Joseph Smith spoke of around the time that he sought direction to know which of all the churches he should join and subsequently received his First Vision.
We just did a quick stop at the Grandin Print Shop, and plan to do a more thorough visit next time we go to Palmyra. We also have to keep on our "to-do-list" for next time: Fayette Chapel, the Peter Whitmer Farm, and...? Maybe more time spent at the Smith farm as well.
Such a treasure to live close enough to see all these historic sites. We love it!

The Sacred Grove

We forgot our real camera for this trip, btw, so the photo quality is not the best (taken with Jerry's phone). But the beauty of The Sacred Grove is still evident:The Sacred Grove is one of the most sacred places on earth, and a pilgrimage site for all faithful LDS people. While we walked through it, we sang softly "O How Lovely Was the Morning," and taught Lo what happened here. Then Jerry and I took turns holding Lo so each of us adults could get some reflection time alone. There is a special spirit here. One of the senior missionaries in the grove offered to take a family photo for us. Once again, blurry photo, but such a good memory for us. We look forward to going back again someday when we have older children who can appreciate the significance of this site. We rushed through some of the earlier parts of it (Smith Homes/Farm) because Little Tam was having some tiredy meltdowns. We are thankful he had mostly quieted by the time we got to the grove.

Hill Cumorah--Site and Pageant

I guess we came expecting something just a step above a local roadshow type play, but the Hill Cumorah Pageant left us absolutely dazzled and amazed. We talked afterward about how we cannot figure out how some of the special effects even came to pass. And yes, I shall speak unto ye in scriptural language from this time hence. Because that is how blessed this pageant was unto us.
The moon rose as we waited on the field for the pageant to thus begin (it must have full darkness to start).

The setting sun came and with its colors, the actors in their garb filled the field:

Their joy was contagious as they wandered among the audience. Lo ceased his crying to say hello to a few of the colorful cast. (he wailed for about an hour straight right before the pageant began, as his bedtime was long past and the rest of the journey had proven taxing for him).

A wise man from the East. The set in the background is of exceedingly fine workmanship which left us astonished beyond all measure. And maybe left this woman astonished also:

We did cause that our position be relocated to the top of the hill for a time, in order that we might view the secret parts of this creation. We saw behind the scenes, the trebuchet that lifted the cross and figure of Christ, the stone which held the gold plates on Cumorah (and an actor putting the stone in place), as well as Moroni's monument.

This monument also had positioned around the base the names and statements of witnesses who saw and felt the gold plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. There are 3 witnesses who were shown the plates by an angel, and 8 who saw the plates from Joseph's hand.

Here are the words of Moroni as he stood on Hill Cumorah thousands of years past:
And when ye shall receive these things [these plates, these scriptures], I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.
There are some in the world who fight against this truth. They and their children lined the road which borders our church's Hill Cumorah land, and all throughout the pageant, used bullhorns to blast slander and lies about Joseph Smith, the Angel Moroni, and current members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I normally do not like to waste any time even acknowledging these types of sad and pathetic fighters against Christ. But I want to mention them at this time because of a good memory I had that night as we left the pageant. Jerry and I felt so warmed and thrilled as we walked back to our parked car leaving the pageant. It had been a richly spiritual experience for us, as well as a joy to the physical senses. As we neared our car, the sounds of the protesters on the roadside became audible yet again (during our time in the pageant the church music had drowned out the protesters). At first, we felt a growing dullness in our hearts, as we were forced to listen to the protesters because it took about 30 minutes of sitting in traffic to drive beyond their range of noise.
But then it dawned on us that we did not have to listen to the din. We turned up the volume in our car of the latest EFY CD, and began sharing with each other our favorite parts of the pageant. "Mine was when the actor playing Christ descended to the crowd of people--how do you think they lowered him like that?? Wires?? I bet he will look just like that when he comes to earth in real life--so glowing, bright, and powerful." Jerry agreed, and shared that he was struck by how realistic it had seemed when the prophet Abinadi was burned to death. There will always be wicked people who fight against the prophets. As the sounds of the protesters faded from our consciousness, we felt again the warmth of the Holy Spirit fill our hearts.
The adversary is powerless when we make good choices. As Jerry and I chose to fill our car with uplifting conversation and spiritual music, then the bad feelings we had concerning the protesters simply left. I am grateful to have had this reminder. The entire evening was a testimony building experience.

Palmyra Temple

Members in our church are encouraged to make temple worship a regular part of our lives. The term "regular" allows for some individual interpretation, so even though we Tams used to have monthly temple attendance as our goal when we lived closer to many temples (in Utah), the current goal for us is quarterly. We don't have a temple near us now, and Lo needs a babysitter whenever we go, so it feels like such a treat to make this experience happen in our schedule. This past weekend we did some sealings at the Palmyra Temple. Our sweet friends Clegg and Kim watched Lo during our time inside. Here is Lo on the temple grounds. Such lovely flowers. It was a pretty muggy day, so we tried to keep Lo hydrated by using his sippy cup. He likes to pretend he can drink out of it...
But he always ends up needing a bit of assistance to get the cup tipped into his mouth.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Jerry took a nap wearing Lo on his back with the mei tai.  It reminds me of a monkey or opposum or koala bear or something like that. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Got Spiritual Births? Especially Medicated Ones?

There is occuring right now a compilation of stories from LDS women who have given birth, as well as their thoughts on motherhood, pregnancy, etc. It is worth contributing if you've got a birth story ready to go, and they are especially in need of medicated birth stories right now. I know some of my readers have had GREAT experiences with medicated births. They point out that for some reason natural birthers are just more eager to share their stories, though they are certainly not the only ones having spiritual experiences related to birthing children. Anyway, here's the link: check it out.

Too bad I don't have a waterproof camera

The following are a bunch of disappointing pictures from when I took Lo swimming last week. Since I went by myself, it was tricky to simultaneously A) keep my camera out of the water and B) keep Lo's face out of the water. And C) Make Lo look at the camera and smile also proved difficult as well. Oh well. It was fun and I promise he did have lots of laughters and splashing...but none of that got caught on film. Next time. This waterfall is beautiful and if you lay under it, it gives great massages.
Squinty in the sun. That Lo never gets burned--I do try to be diligent with the sunscreen--but he has a funny farmer's tan between his fat rolls (the insides of the rolls is white, but the top part of the rolls gets browned).

I cannot for the life of me figure out how to train him to wear a hat. We do have one with velcro straps under the chin, but I misplaced it. His swimsuit is a reusable cloth swim diaper. Way better than the one-time use disposables. And it shows off his thunder thighs so much better than traditional swim trunks would have done.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Babies at the BBQ

A cute photo from our holiday BBQ last weekend with a group of friends. All these babies are in our congregation right now, and range in age from 7 to 22 months. They are all totally unique--amazing how many differences even at this young age. They all look zoned out for the photo...normally these kids are pretty smiley when they get together, but it was getting near bedtime and they were all exhausted. And hot. Have I mentioned Ohio is a jungle. But we still get out and enjoy the outdoors.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Words of Comfort

We had a nice holiday weekend, though our 4th held rather a modest level of celebration and zero fireworks. I'll post a pic from a cute BBQ we had with some friends yesterday, if somebody emails me a copy (hint...hint...=)).

Anyway. I had a day last week where I thought, "Life is pretty great. No problems--just happy mellow existing." As I opened my scriptures randomly to read a few verses aloud to Lo, my heart felt no great need of comfort--and yet I felt pleased to discover that comfort is exactly the feeling that washed over me as I read Helaman 22:13/Isaiah 60:21, the first verse that caught my eye. It promises: All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children. I know in my mind and heart that these words are Truth; Prophecy; Counsel; Command. What a gift from God to have these words. The interesting thing to me is that I did not think I needed comfort at the time that I started reading scripture. I did so in a sense of absent-minded duty. In fact, I felt pretty hunky dory before reading the verse. But how much better I felt afterward, not even realizing how much my happiness could increase until suddenly it did.

There might be people out there in the world who feel pretty great. They might be genuinely happy, just strolling through life without any great need of comfort. But I wish to reiterate that God always gives good gifts to them that ask, and there is always more good, more comfort, more peace to be had. So give it a try. Read some scripture TODAY.

Friday, July 2, 2010

a rare sight

I am loving some things about where we live. Apparently Ohio is renowned for birdwatching opportunities, and I've seen some interesting birds just by walking out my apartment's front door, including cardinals and other types I've only seen in books before now. Today on our walk, aside from viewing the usual 10-20 Canadian geese, sparrows, and red winged blackbirds, Lo and I saw a wild turkey and its chicks! We stood just a few feet away from this hugest bird. The turkey momma (? it still had a big fan tail, so I'm not sure if it was a girl turkey or a boy?) swayed its head and the chicks scuttled and pecked near the big turkey's feet. How awesome.

I did not have my camera, but this googled photo is what it looked like, only there were taller weeds all around nearly camouflaging the birds from my view.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Random Sampler

A couple funny new things about Lo that I don't have pics or videos for, but figured I'd post anyway to make sure it gets recorded. Just this morning he started head bobbing to a song or rhythmic speech. Pretty cute. I was saying the "Charlie Chaplin went to France, to teach the ladies how to dance" rhyme when Lo first started to bob his head. Then I tried out a bunch more songs and rhymes and he kept doing it in time to the beat.

Second cute thing: yesterday at Walmart I made the customary swing by the goldfish, and normally Lo doesn't show much reaction to them of any kind--positive or negative--but this time he showed definite horror. It was hilarious; he shuddered with his whole body, frantically started waving his arms, wailed and tried to get away. Darlene, remember when Brooklyn did something similar?? I wonder if it is some kind of milestone. Lo certainly didn't fear fish a week ago, but suddenly something clicked in his awareness I guess.

Another development (this one scary for ME) is the discovery of our STAIRS!! His highlight of the day yesterday was playing on the stairs (with me holding onto him of course). He practiced going up and down...and made a beeline for the stairs a few times when I took my eyes off him for a second while we were in the living room.

Lastly, walking along furniture. He is pretty unsteady and doesn't do more than a few steps at a time, but can move along half the couch to reach something he sees. Also he is able to get down from sitting on the couch pretty effectively going feet first. But I still keep my hands nearby to "spot" him when he tries that trick.