Monday, December 29, 2008

Learning to Count

Yesterday Luke was sitting up to the dinner table, and began counting.

It went like this:

One (holding 1 finger up), two (holding 2 fingers up), three (holding 3 fingers up), four (holding 4 fingers up), six (holding 5 fingers up)....then, eight, nine ten, fourteen, twelve, eleven....etc.

(OK, I can't remember the exact order of the counting process, but I do remember it was just a bit off!)

After he finished, I held up five fingers (this was the one I did remember him skipping) and said, "How many fingers am I holding up Luke?"

He looked at me for a moment, studied my fingers, then replied, "A lot!"

P.S. Yes we had Christmas and loved it. I have much to catch up on and will be posting lots of pictures soon!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Life's Lessons Learned

This week, Luke learned an important lesson while at the grocery store with me. We were in the produce section, and I looked up to see him, jalapeno in hand and a smirk on his face.

Two things happened simultaneously.

One was the words, No, Luke! Don't!, coming from my mouth.
The other was Luke taking a great big bite out of the jalapeno.

He looked at me with a big smile and a look of triumph, thinking he had just had a little morsel of green pepper. However, moments later, that smile turned to horror as his mouth started to burn.

He started screaming, tears running down his cheeks. He was so distressed, he couldn't figure out what to do with the remaining pieces of pepper in his mouth. He couldn't swallow them, and couldn't manage to spit them out.

I quickly rummaged through my purse, searching for anything that might lessen the burn. I came up with a piece of gum. I have no idea if gum does ANYTHING to stop the burning sensation which follows eating a jalapeno (which by the way is sheer torture if you ask me....people actually eat those things on purpose?!)

Luke took the piece of gum, hastily chewing, chunks of jalapeno mixing in with the gum. Moments later, he had swallowed the gum...chunks and all. Throughout this time he continued crying and screaming and panicing! I'm pretty sure he thought the burn might never go away. But, I am happy to report, the burning did subside, and hopefully Luke won't be helping himself to any more produce at the grocery store.

I guess sometimes you have to learn things the hard way!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Joy and Sorrow

Today has been a day filled with emotions....nervousness, joy, frustration, pride, sadness, worry.

I felt nervous for Scott as he went to basketball tryouts.

Brek said, "You were nervous for Scott?!"

I guess it must be a mom thing. If he makes it, I will be excited for him. If he doesn't make it, I will be sad with him. But whatever the outcome, life will go on and we will find happiness.

I felt joy as I watched my little Ben toddle around the house, giving me random kisses. Ben is growing so quickly and delights me. He is full of life and personality. He loves to laugh, and when I say he gives me kisses, it is the open-mouth variety. He simply opens his mouth and leans in!

I felt proud as I watched my boys perform their piano pieces tonight at a recital. It's the good kind of pride...the kind where you see someone work so hard, and you're proud of what they have accomplished.

I felt frustrated with whining, and kids not listening. Please tell me I am not the only one who experiences this on a daily basis!

And most of all, I have felt sadness and heart ache for my friend Lana and her family who received bad news today on Emma's condition.

I have worried about little Emma, and the toll this trial is taking on her mom and dad. Jeff and Lana learned today that Emma is going to need a bone marrow transplant. She has developed some sort of chromosomal defect due to the leukemia (this is quite rare), and therefore, will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant.

Lana will post an update on Emma's condition with more details here.

My dear heart is aching for you. How I wish I could do SOMETHING! I feel helpless.

Please pray for them!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Messy, messy!

When I gave Ben the bowl and spoon, I was thinking it would perhaps save me some time if he fed himself.

I'm pretty sure the time I saved was spent cleaning him up.

Good thing he's so cute!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I love a good tree!

The day after Thanksgiving has become the day when all Pillings dress warm and head for the hills in hopes of finding the perfect Christmas tree. It has become tradition. The kids run around--exploring, playing games, riding four wheelers, etc. There is a huge fire built to warm cold hands and feet. This is typically where I can be found, as I am usually holding a baby or unstable toddler.

This year was unusually cold, thanks to the wind. However, this year also produced some beautiful Christmas trees!

On the way home, the kids unthawed while watching a movie. Nothing like modern conveniences to keep your kids quiet. They become zombies...notice the vacant expressions.

The next day was spent decorating. Would you be surprised if I told you it took a good 3 hours to string the lights on our tree?! Our tree is a good 14 feet tall, you know! Our house is now sparkly and Christmasy! I love it!


Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, but here is a quick recap.

The morning began with a 4 mile run, which I enjoyed because it wasn't 5 am. But on the other hand, I did miss my running buddies.

Then home to shower and begin preparing food....rolls, salad, pies.

The kids helped some, then headed out to play. Luke and Maddy stuck around for a while to help me make the rolls. They liked trying to form the rolls, and they especially liked trying to sneak tastes of the dough (yuck!) The boys headed out to play football with a few friends.

When they caught wind that it was pie making time, they all appeared. Chocolate pie with snickers, chocolate pie with butterfinger, and chocolate pie with reeses. These were their requests. Other people had been assigned to make the more traditional desserts, but who can have Thanksgiving without chocolate pie?! My kids like to help because they get to sneak many tastes of chocolate pudding, whip cream, and candy bars.

Then off to Grandma and Grandpa Burtenshaw's house for dinner. This is where I would insert a picture of the delicious feast....beef medallions, smoked turkey, mashed potatoes (nobody makes them like my dad), rolls, stuffing, etc. Delish!! I would also insert a picture of my family and all the fun we had....IF.....I had taken any pictures! Alas, my camara sat unused throughout the remainder of the day. So, you will just have to take my word for it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vacation Recap is officially crazy! I'm thinking it would be nice if the month of December had 6 weeks in it as opposed to the traditional 4. Anyway, here are a few pictures of our trip (which is pretty much old news by now.) Better late than never, right?!

Brek and I went to the island of St. Kitts. It was beautiful. It wasn't the hottest time of the year, but it was still warm. The wind was always blowing, but it was nothing like Idaho wind, or South Dakota wind! It was actually enjoyable....a warm ocean breeze.

We enjoyed snorkeling both on the island of St. Kitts and the island of Nevus. It wasn't the greatest snorkeling, due to ocean waves. The calmer the water, the clearer the view. But we still had fun exploring around. Brek and Brian were disappointed in their hopes of catching a large fish to cook over an open fire on the beach. They were armed with spear guns, and ready to go, but the large fish must have been in hiding. They must have caught wind that we were in town! They did, however, take the life of several smaller fish and some crabs.

This is a picture of the awesome car we drove around. And I do mean AWESOME! Check it out! You gotta love a miniature pink car. Driving around in this car was about the equivalent of driving around in a golf cart. We had some good laughs over our hot transportation! But I will say this got GREAT gas mileage!

The island of Nevus is a small island right by St. Kitts. We took a ferry to the island and spent a day there. It is basically a dormant volcano with houses built around it.

I had to snap a photo of Brian as he reminded me a bit of the Titanic.

Brek and I had such a great time together. It was so good to enjoy him with no distractions. No cell phones, no work, no responsibilities! It was great!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jingle Bells, Lukey Style

Today Brek was playing his guitar and singing Christmas songs with the kids and I, while I made cinnamon rolls. He was singing Jingle Bells. When he started singing the second verse, most of the kids dropped out.

This is how it went....

(Brek singing)
A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride,
and soon Miss Fanny Bright
was seated by my side.
The horse was lean and lank
misfortune seemed his lot.
We got into a drifted bank
and then we got up... (pause)

Luke chimed in: EARLY!!

If you know anything about our mornings, you will know that we had a good laugh over that one!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Place Like Home

I am HOME!! It is true what they say....There is no place like home. After spending a wonderful week in the sunny Caribbean, I am glad to be home.

Brek and I had a wonderful time relaxing and enjoying the WARMTH! We did some snorkeling, lots of reading, watched a few movies, and had a great experience attending church at a small branch on the island of St. Kitts. We also enjoyed exploring around Puerto Rico for a couple days as we passed through on our way to and from the island.

But we were both ready to come home. We missed our kids, we missed our home, and we were ready for real life again.

It was so fun to see the kids this morning. Ben wasn't quite sure what to think about me for a few moments, but it didn't take long for him to start planting kisses right on my lips! And from that moment on, he wanted to be my permanent attachment, screaming in protest whenever I put him down.

I had so much to do, but instead, I just held my baby boy. I turned on Christmas music, and danced around the kitchen with Luke and Ben. We teased and laughed and had fun together. It is GOOD to be home.

I was able to see Lana and Jeff last night and wished I could stay longer. I was also able to see little Emma briefly (she was sleeping). How are they doing? we walked down the hall towards them, Lana called out, "Welcome to Hell!"

Actually, they are doing as good as can be expected. Jeff and Lana are probably both exhausted as Emma requires much attention day and night, but it doesn't show. A side effect of being in survival mode. If all goes as planned, Emma and Lana will be coming home on Tuesday (Jeff rode home with us.) They will make the trek to Primary Children's Hospital once a week for chemo treatments.

If you want more info on Emma and how she is doing, go to the Extraordinary Housewives blog where Lana has been updating.

I will post pictures and tell more about our trip soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My friend in need

My heart is breaking for my dear friend Lana who has just learned that her 8 year old daughter has leukemia. Emma is such an amazing girl. She loves life. She always has a huge smile and many stories to tell me. She is always writing or drawing something, and she always has some sort of little treasure or two or three with her. I love this little girl. I love her mama. I wish I could take the hurt away. I wish I could take the pain away. I can't stand to see these people who I love so very much suffer. If anyone out there is reading this, will you please include them in your prayers.

How grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father who knows and loves us. He knows the Gibbons family and he will not leave them alone in this their hour of need.

Monday, November 17, 2008

If I can't find a reindeer, I'll make one instead

When the leaves began to change colors and fall from the trees, my children began dreaming of jumping into piles of leaves. Sadly, our home is not the greatest place for such recreation. Our trees are still young and therefore do not have many leaves to shed. But the longing for piles of leaves did not subside.

Thus plan B was put into action.

As I pulled into our driveway after church, I saw Syd, Maddy, and Luke each carrying large garbage bags full of who knows what. I questioned, and they excitedly told me they were leaves. As they were walking home from church they decided to "borrow" the leaves that our neighbors had so kindly raked up and put into bags....just for us, apparently! The leaves were transported to our back yard, a huge pile was created, and the fun began.

And now we get to rake leaves. All for the sake of a few hours of fun. Was it worth it?! Definitely.

To be like a little child

Yesterday I enjoyed some sweet moments among the craziness. During church I was able to go into primary and watch my kids as they practiced for the Primary Program. The program is next Sunday and I will be gone (this is killing me!), so the primary leaders kindly offered to let me be an audience yesterday.

Sydney and Maddy played their violins, Josh sang a solo part, and they all said their parts. Maddy made me smile when she stood to give her part. She was so proud to have her part memorized and said it with a smile! The girls played very well on their violins, and Josh sang beautifully. I didn't know he could sing like that. It was so sweet.

My heart was touched as I watched Josh put his arm around Maddy when she finished saying her part to tell her good job. I saw similar displays of kindness among other children. Older brothers proud of little sisters, quietly complimenting them.

My heart was touched as I heard the children sing. The sound of children singing primary songs is one of my favorite sounds. Their goodness shone through. Their simple, yet strong testimonies were evident. The Savior loved the little children. He counseled us to become as a little child. They are so full of goodness, always quick to forgive or show love to another.

(Maybe I should print this out and stick it in my car, on my bathroom mirror, on my refrigerator, etc. Because there are definitely times when I "forget" that they are full of goodness!)

But truly they are. Their behavior is far from perfect, but their hearts are so good.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A hard day of play makes Luke a tired boy

Brek wants to know what is up with me and taking pictures of our kids when they're sleeping. But, when Luke fell asleep up to the dinner table, I just couldn't help myself. He is darling, wouldn't you agree?!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Laundry Issues

THIS is why my boys do their own laundry.

What is that lying on my laundry room floor? Oh, you know...just a swim suit! Yes, it is November. And yes, we have not been swimming since school started.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Where did the swim suit come from? I have no idea. But I am pretty sure that it is already clean. Clean clothes thrown in with the dirty clothes does not make mom so happy. Thus, my boys do their own laundry. If they feel compelled to rewash their clean clothes, then so be it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When we're helping, we're happy

What did we do for an activity after Family Home Evening this week?

Well....Brek was complaining of a back that was in much need of a good hard massage, so the kids decided to help him out!

Wasn't that nice of them?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Soooo Sleepy

My little Ben has had a hard time with the time change. that I think about it, the time change may have nothing to do with it. Luke may be the source of the problem. Luke, who wakes up at the crack of dawn, flips the light on in their bedroom, waking Ben from his deep slumber.

What's the problem? Well, the poor little guy can't seem to make it through the morning without falling asleep somewhere! I will suddenly notice a drop in the noise level, then go in search of Ben. I will usually find him on the floor, out cold.

He will crawl around until he finds a blanket lying on the floor. If he can't find that, he will settle for a shirt or some other soft article of clothing lying on the floor. And on the rare occasion that there is actually nothing lying on the floor, he does not give up, but will search a bit harder.

This is how I found Ben a few days ago.

I found him lying on the floor, half inside his closet. He had found blankets on a shelf in the closet, pulled one out, and fell fast asleep.

I'll say this much about my younger kids. They certainly learn how to fend for themselves. When busy mom isn't around, they just make do on their own!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nature's Beauties

We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise a few days ago. It filled the entire sky. Gorgeous!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

To Bose or not to Bose

Like his dad, Ben loves music. His dad has shared music with him from the time he was a tiny baby. Ben loves it when his dad sings to him. He has always loved it. Have you ever heard the phrase 'Music tames the savage beast'? Well, often times that is a reality in my home.

When Brek is in charge of keeping Ben out of trouble, out comes the guitar. When Ben cries because it is time to go to bed, out comes the guitar. Brek is teaching Ben at an early age that Bose headphones are the only way to go. Much better quality of sound.

A couple of nights ago, I put Luke and Ben to bed. While I was still in the room, tidying a few things up, Brek walked in with his guitar. He sat down and began playing. Simon and Garfunkel resonated throughout the room. Ben squealed with glee, jumped up, and began dancing and singing along. A picture just doesn't do justice. The girls gathered around and we all laughed and danced with Ben.

Families are great, you know. In them are found many small moments of delight. How lucky I am!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Halloween has come and gone once again. The weather was very cooperative, and the kids had a great time trick-or-treating. I'm pretty sure some of my kids made the neighborhood loop more than once. I went trick-or-treating with Maddy and Luke while Brek manned the candy post. He sat on the front step, handing out candy to the many, MANY trick-or-treaters that hit our neighborhood.

Trick-or-treating with Luke is quite the experience. There is no need for speed in that kid. He slowly plodded along, checking out his pumpkin and all the goods inside. Occasionally he would feel the need for a little sugar-boost and reach in for a treat. He completely ignored my complaints about his lack of speed, and continued on in his own little world.

That is, until the rain hit. At that point in time, I quit urging him to move quicker. He no longer had a choice in the matter. I took his hand and we ran for cover. Luckily the rain didn't last long.

The kids all looked cute in their costumes....especially little Ben. He was one cute little monster. And as long as he had a sucker, he was happy as can be. I'm pretty sure my kids went without dinner and just loaded up on candy. I suppose I won't be winning any mother of the year awards. Oh well. A girl can only do so much, you know!

It would appear the color of the day was blue. Go Cougs!

Scott and Josh (and Josh's buddy Davis) decided to be BYU fans. Lack of dinner can be traced back to my involvement in painting shirts, spray-painting hair and bodies, painting faces, etc. Those boys were quite needy!

At last, the photo shoot is over, and we are off. Let the good times roll!