Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Update

So I of course have gotten behind on blogging AGAIN! I would really like to catch up before we have Christmas and Reddin turns one! Here I go with another super LONG post.

First of all, I'm going back to September, to when Mattie got her wish for a little girl! Nope not from Mommy and Daddy, obviously, but from Tia America and Uncle Chris. Liliana Elizabeth Tarpein made her debut on Earth! Mattie has lots of girl cousins on the Menzie side, but this is her first on the Tarpein side, and boy was she excited. She can't wait for Lili to get a little bigger, so that they can wear matching clothes! Congrats to my big brother Christopher and his lovely wife America! We are so happy that Liliana has joined the family, and that we get to see you guys often.
We also took our annual trip to Massachusetts, which originally I wanted to give its own post to, but I'm not sure that will ever would have happened! It was a fun filled long weekend, which started off with Mattie getting her sweet prayer answered. To make a very long story short, there was NO way at all that we should have made it on the last flight out Friday night. There were 2 seats left, one in coach and one in first. There are 3 of us that need seats. The jump seat was open in the cockpit, but Matt wasn't dressed for it and didn't have his passport. We told Mattie that we weren't going to be able to go, and she got very sad and then went over to a chair, sat down and began saying a prayer. A couple of things happened very quickly after that. The Captain came walking up and after being asked if Matt could ride in the jump seat regardless of his appearance, he said yes. Then they quickly moved one person up to first and put Mattie, Reddin and I in coach, and off we went to Boston! I was very grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who answered the prayers of my innocent 4 year old, and allowed her to go and visit her cousins she was dying to play with!

We of course went apple picking at Tougas Farms, which was lots of fun! Reddin was digging on the apples, and I was loving the cooler weather. We got to go on a hay ride as well, which the kiddos loved. While we were in MA, we spent an afternoon at the park. We had a picnic and Matt and Wayne did some fishing. Little Wesley caught his first fish, a large mouthed bass! Mattie absolutely loved her time fishing with Matthew. Wayne caught a fish too, and he and Matt cooked them up that night. And, Matt being the ever joking uncle he is, decided he couldn't resist doing something disgusting to get a laugh out of Thomas and a squeal from the rest of us. The heart of one of the fish was still beating after over an hour of being out of the fish, so what does my wonderfully gross husband do? Oh yes, he EATS it! I know absolutely disgusting! We always love our time with the Beantown Menzies, and can't wait until we see them again!
Mr. Redd Man L-O-V-E-S his airplane blanket Aunt Becky made! It has the cutest airplane material on one side and then that super soft minky on the other side. Reddin snuggles it every night to go to sleep. Thank you so much Aunt Becky for the wonderful blanket and matching shirt!
Mattie finished up Swim Lessons for the year in October. She was in the most advanced class for her age group and has really started to get great at it. She tells us that she wants to be on the swim team and she was very sad when lessons finished for the year. I told Matt that I think this might be her sport. She's not the most coordinated kid, so swimming could be right up her alley! I guess only time will tell, but for now she is counting down the days to March/April!
October also brought Halloween! Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays since I was little. This year it feels like it lasted the whole month of October! It started with with an activity for the youth, in which we did a Reverse Trick or Treat. We all dressed up and took goodies to people in our ward. I am still serving in Young Womens, so I got to participate! I chose to dress up as Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. It was Matt's idea to add the floaties! Mattie, Reddin and Gibbs had a great time playing with my mustache!
We also went to our favorite pumpkin patch to take our annual pictures and get a pumpkin. The Paxton family joined us this year, which of course was fun. Isn't it funny that my sister Stephanie and I had our little boys 10 days apart and they look NOTHING alike?! Oh well, Lochlan and Reddin are still great buddies, even if you can't tell that they are related!
Mattie had Spirit Week at her preschool the week of Halloween. On Tuesday it was Pirate Day, and we think that she was the cutest pirate there ever was! On Wednesday it was Pajama Day. Thursday was Mix-Match Day, and Friday was Halloween Costume Day. We sent Mattie to school in her belly dancer costume from last year, because we didn't want her getting her Cinderella costume for this year all messed up. Have I mentioned how much I am loving that she is in school?! She ADORES school and it has been so great for her!
We had our ward Trunk or Treat on Friday the 30th this year, which worked out so great, because we had never taken Mo real trick or treating before and we really wanted to this year. Mattie was Cinderella for Halloween, and Reddin was the Red Baron. I had actually bought Redd's costume when Mo was a baby and held onto it, hoping we would have a boy that would fit into it for one Halloween. Its a good thing Redd is so big, because he was 10 months old and was wearing a 12-18 month costume! Matt and I decided to dress up together this year. It was Matt that came up with our costume ideas. He was Kanye West and I was Taylor Swift. We had a GREAT time acting out that whole big fiasco! There was also a pumpkin carving contest this year, and Matt's entry won the Grand Prize. We won a four pack of movie tickets, which we will be using to take Momo to see The Princess and the Frog. Thanks for all of the hard work you put into that pumpkin, Matthew! On actual Halloween night we went trick or treating in my sister's neighborhood. Reddin was not a happy camper that night and slept through most of it, while Lochlan on the other hand could not get enough of the lollipops! And of course Mo and Redd had to try on my wig!
In October we also had our ward's Primary program. It was Mattie's first and she was asked by the music director to sing with another little girl. They sang the third verse of I Feel My Savior's Love. Mattie has had a deep voice since birth and I am beginning to wonder if she will make a great alto when she gets older, because she's four and already is having trouble hitting those high notes! (I've heard Matt's sister Shayla sing alto, and she has a beautiful voice, so maybe that's where Mo gets it from!) Here is Mattie and Allie.
For Thanksgiving we did what we do pretty much every year, and went to the Berger's house. We had a fun time eating and mingling with friends and family. Adam Berger, who is just a year older than me, lives and works in DC. He usually brings home a "mystery" meat each year for his family to try, and this year we got to try it too! Are you ready for this... it was KANGAROO! And yes, it was yummy! All four of us tried it and enjoyed it.
And that bring us to December. Last week we took Mattie and Reddin to the mall to get their pictures taken with Santa Claus. We have done this every year with Mattie and it was so fun to have Reddin be part of it this year. Reddin didn't cry, but I think it helped that he had Mattie with him! He did however give Santa a couple of funny looks. (Do you like his "stink-eye" picture?!)
Last, but not least, Mo had her last day of school until next year on Friday. She had a great time all week doing all sorts of fun things. On Friday the children were asked to wear Christmas colors to school, so that they could go around the school caroling. She also took in her presents that she helped make for her teachers. My sister helped us make some Ho Ho Ho blocks and Mattie painted an ornament for each teacher. We gave them their presents in a bag that we decorated with fabric glitter paint. Both Mrs. Stinnett and Mrs. Ross loved their presents.
Well, I guess that is all for now. Stay tuned, because there is a BIG shindig going down this weekend! Reddin will be celebrating his first birthday along side his buddies Lochlan Paxton and Drew Smith! Can't wait!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Sarah - 'Til We Meet Again

I didn't sleep very well last night. Well actually I haven't slept well for about a week now. Last week, one of Mattie's playmates passed away. Her name was Sarah, and she was full of life. She had a beautiful smile, and I always thought her eyes were sparkling behind her oh-so-cute glasses. She and Mattie were the same age and have played along side each other at play group since they were probably younger than two. Sarah and Mattie were in different wards, so they were never as close as some of the other children were to Sarah. But, a little over a month ago, I received a call from Sarah's mother one Sunday night. Sarah had been asking to have a play date with Mattie. Mattie hasn't had very many play dates since she started school and is there four days of the week, so I was more than happy to have Sarah over to our house to play with Mattie.

Sarah came over and she and Momo had a fabulous time together. They got along very well. One of the first things Mattie does when a friend is over is ask for a snack for them. Sarah made a point of telling me that she was not allowed to have sugar! I thought it was so funny, and I think it really told a lot about her sweet spirit. Seriously, what small child gives up the chance for sugar when they are away from their parents' watchful eye?! She and Mattie went right to work getting dressed up in princess clothes and setting up a store in the den. They pretended to shop until that got boring and decided that they needed to be the cashiers, and have somebody else come and shop at their store, (which they called "Target-Walmart"!) I got enlisted to be the shopper, and they took turns ringing up my purchases! I know that Mattie really had a great time doing that, because she still talks about it.

I also found out Matt told them that our dog Gibbs likes to eat little princesses, especially if they are dressed in purple! Mattie told me this story last night, when I was talking to her about what was going to happen at the viewing and funeral. She said, "Sarah was in purple and I was in pink, but Daddy was just kidding with us, because Gibbs doesn't really eat people!" I really loved having Sarah in our home, and I had told Matt that she and Mattie played so well together, that I wanted to have her back over to play again. How saddened I am that we will not have that opportunity. On the other hand, I am extremely grateful for that recent one-on-one play date we did get.

I think that my earliest memory of Sarah was from when she and Mattie were probably barely two and we were at a joint ward function. There was a chalkboard in the gym and both little girls really wanted to color on that chalkboard. The problem was there was only one small piece of chalk. Oh how they were fighting over that chalk! Sarah's mother Lydia came up to me and said that we should have the girls take turns sharing the chalk. I really admired Lydia as I watched her give each girl a fair amount of time coloring.

Last Thursday, Matt and I took Mattie to her favorite place to go for ice cream. We sat together as a family outside on the picnic benches and told Mattie that we needed to have a very big kid discussion with her. She sat very still and listened intently as we told her that sometimes little children get sick and Heavenly Father calls them back home. We told her that Sarah had passed away. (That morning on the way to school, I had started preparing Mattie by playing a song called "Streets of Heaven". This song came out around the time Mattie was born. It tells of a mother's prayer to God, asking Him to hold the hand of her young daughter as she crosses the streets of heaven. I wanted Mattie to hear the words and understand that sometimes children get very sick. On the way to get ice cream she asked to listen to that song again, and then she asked me if there really are streets in heaven.) Mattie seemed to process the things we told her about death and life after death very well. We asked her what she could do for Sarah's parents to show them how sorry we were for their loss, and she told us that she would draw a picture of her and Sarah playing store. As we got up to leave and go home, Mattie started crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me she was crying for Sarah. Her cries turned to hysterics on the way home. As I held her hand, I began to sob as well. I sobbed for the Gordon's loss of their precious daughter. I sobbed for the tender heart of my own young daughter. I sobbed for what seemed like such an unfair blessing of mine, to get to continue to be with my little ones. Mattie cried for awhile longer when we got home, but finally went to bed.

In the days since last Thursday, she has continued to remember the passing of her friend, and has asked when she will get to go to the funeral to say good bye. And, that brings me to today. The funeral of little Sarah Gordon will be this afternoon. Mattie is at school right now, but I will be picking her up in just a few short hours. Last night she told me that she would like to go to the viewing and see Sarah, and she also told me that she would probably cry today. I know that this afternoon will be a very emotional one for many people, and as I laid in bed early this morning unable to sleep, my heart was full of gratitude. Gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven, who set up the perfect plan of salvation. A Father who sent His only Begotten Son to suffer and die for each of us, so that we may all have the opportunity to return home to Him again. I know, that precious little Sarah completed her mission in this life, and that she is a prefect little spirit that has been called back home to our Heavenly Father, and He has a special work for her to do. I also know with all of my heart that the Gordons will be reunited with their perfect little girl in the next life. Our prayers are with the Gordon family this day.