On Being a Mother

IMG_0387

“The joy in motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times. But amid the challenges, there are Shining moments of joy and satisfaction.” Elder M. Russell Ballard

IMG_0386 IMG_9419

IMG_0399

“There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply.” Elder M. Russell Ballard

IMG_9258 IMG_9260 IMG_9285 IMG_9287 IMG_9292babykisses kidkisses

These pictures were not staged at all! So fun to see the love is still there.

IMG_9302 IMG_9311 IMG_9314 IMG_9335

IMG_9348 IMG_9355 IMG_9372

“Motherhood is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.” Elder Neil L. Anderson

IMG_9221 IMG_9224 IMG_9230

10 people like this post.

Preschool Graduation

It was a bittersweet moment to watch our two kiddies walk out of the door with paper caps and plastic table cloth gowns on for their preschool graduation. They were beaming and were very excited to be showing off for Mommy and Daddy. It was nice to have Daddy take the morning off for such an occasion.

Preschool mornings started off a little rough leaving each other at the top of the stairs as Holly and JD held hands with a high school student to walk through a big school to a little classroom, filled with more students. I will admit, there were a few times I cried leaving JD, he had the hardest time. I knew they were safe and they were having a good time. They came home with crafts, paintings and lots of other things that I didn’t know what to do with. The friendships they developed with the other kids blossomed and now are even better friends than before.

IMG_9397 IMG_9403 IMG_9406 As the kids walked out and sat down the little band played Pomp and Circumstance. I’ll admit I got a little choked up. My babies are growing up fast!

IMG_9418 IMG_9422 Holly's turn IMG_9429 IMG_9433 IMG_9435 IMG_9437

As the student called each preschooler’s name they would go up the stairs and slide down the slide to get their little certificate. JD was so excited he ran up the stairs and flew down the slide, totally missing the girl with the certificates. His cap even flew off in the process and he didn’t want to waste anytime time picking it up! Holly, on the other hand, took her sweet time and daintily walked up the stairs and chose the opposite slide to go down.

IMG_9476 IMG_9483

The kids were in preschool with some of their best little friends. Aren’t they the cutest?!

IMG_9489 IMG_9491 IMG_9410

After the students received their certificates, the kids were each given an award. JD received the award for ‘most improved’ and Holly received an award for ‘Ms.Giggles.’ Very fitting for both of them!

IMG_9427 IMG_9428

During the school year the students filled out papers with the kids about their favorite color, animal, where they would go on Vacation and other things and compiled them into a Me Book for each preschooler. It was fun to read their answers to the questions. A nice keepsake from the year.

IMG_9430

IMG_9431

Now they won’t stop talking about Mrs. Perona’s preschool and wished they were going now!

 

4 people like this post.

Easter Festivities

The week leading up to Easter we really wanted to focus on the real meaning of Easter. We read some scriptures verses of the Easter story. Though our intention was there we didn’t quite make it the whole week, we will shoot for next year again! It was comforting to know that when we asked why we celebrated, Easter they could tell us!

Last year the kids had Easter pictures done with little chicks so I thought it would be fun to do something similar. My friend has a bunny and was happy to let us borrow the little guy for a little photo shoot. Holly loved him and JD wanted nothing to do with him.

IMG_9015 pure joy They had enough picture taking! Best friends! IMG_8988 My favorite! JD wasn't so sure, Holly was trying to convince him! Watching the bunny jump around. IMG_8950

The kids and I were invited to make peep houses with our little friends Friday. I think they had more fun eating the little decorations because it was more work for us moms! We had a fun time together.

What a cute girl. JD was so excited about his house.

Saturday morning the ward had the annual Easter egg breakfast and egg hunt. Breakfast was followed by the primary singing, “I Wonder When He Comes Again.” Holly and JD stood in the front row and sang their little hearts out. I love when they sing primary songs, I usually have a little mommy moment when they do.

After Grandma got home from work we went and dyed Easter eggs and played a little hopscotch in the driveway. Watching almost 4 year olds learn how to play is really fun! Grandma’s neighbor was having a party and there was a jumpy house for the kids. My kids were really envious and with Grandma’s help got in! It made their day!

I loved how Holly jumps! hopscotch fun so focused and even more focused sweet smile teamwork little hands I don't know what was funny but love this picture Holly's funny pose who needs a spoon when you have fingers our finished eggs

Easter morning the kids woke up to jelly beans in the silverware drawer and hidden baskets. Holly’s was in the wine food storage and JD’s was in the oven. They were so excited to find them and then to tell everyone where the Easter bunny hid them.

Love my eternal family

Church was wonderful as usual. Wonderful sacrament talks and I taught relief society. I’m grateful for my Savior, His sacrifice and resurrection that makes it possible for families to be together forever. I love being reminded of the gift He gave me, everyone.

3 people like this post.

I Really Love Sundays

I have to admit that most Sunday mornings are rough for our little family. Getting ready for 9am church was not an easy task. JD cried almost every Sunday morning that he didn’t want to go and getting dressed was a struggle. Now that church is at 11o’clock our Sunday mornings are wonderful. JD and Holly happily get dressed early and we have time to actually eat breakfast while listening to some nice hymns.

Maybe it’s just my better attitude but recently Sundays have been amazing. So rejuvenating for the week, giving me the spiritual boost that I so need by the end of the week. Jim gave a talk on recognizing our blessings today in sacrament meeting and I couldn’t help but think of these two sweet blessings in my life.

They’ve been going to preschool four days a week for two hours a day and I find myself loving my free time but at the same time counting down the minutes until I get to go pick them up. They are learning so much these days. My most favorite thing right now is when they sing a long to the Primary cd. The songs they will learn this year in Primary. We got the cd the second week in January and they already know every.single.word to every song on that cd. Today when the primary chorister asked if the kids had the cd, Holly proudly exclaimed, “we listen to that in our car!” I secretly love listening to their sweet voices sing those primary songs, though sometimes JD remind me that it’s not Sunday so we can listen to fun songs too.

I love Sundays because Jim and I get to go to Sunday School together. I love hearing him comment and expound on scriptures. I especially loved the Sunday when the teacher asked if he’d give the First Vision in Spanish. I’ve heard him speak Spanish but never the First Vision. I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty sweet hearing him speak. No matter the language, the spirit testifies of it’s truthfulness. I’m grateful for the blessing my husband is in my life.

In Sunday School today we were given scriptures and needed to come up with a question and how the scripture we had answered that question. The scripture said to be patient, faithful and diligent. And the part that stuck out the most was “I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.” I can feel His love everyday. I want to be better at recognizing the blessings my Heavenly Father has given me, especially the little things. I’m blessed to be a mother. It’s definitely my calling. Though sometimes my days are filled with a little more whining and fighting than I would like, I wouldn’t change it for anything. The extra kisses and I Love Yous make up for it. I know I’m loved by my Holly and JD and I sure hope they know I love them. I’m gonna go kiss them goodnight, again.

4 people like this post.

Just When I Think They Aren’t Listening

As a mom, I feel like I repeat myself over and over and over again. I guess that’s how all parents feel sometimes. Pick up your toys. Put your shoes away. Eat your vegetables. Stop hitting your sister/brother.

When I thought the kids weren’t listening, they proved me wrong and put a smile on my face. Last weekend we went to watch Jim play softball. Holly had to use the bathroom so I took the kids to the public restroom. Not my favorite place to take them and with two little ones we have visited many a park bathroom. I hate them. But when you gotta go, you gotta go. As we walked into the stall, JD shouts, “Do. Not. Touch. Anything! Don’t touch a thing.” Such a good listener!!

I recently started teaching piano lessons 4 afternoons a week. Some days I have only one and other days I have four. On occasion the kids are around when I’m teaching, they otherwise go with Grandma or Johnny. The few times they have stayed home they manage to create huge messes, usually during the last 10 minutes of a half hour lesson. But during their little moments of wreaking havoc, somehow Holly is hearing what I’m teaching. In the very beginning, Holly wanted me to give her a lesson so I would mess around and just do a few things. I’ve caught them a couple of times sitting at the piano, one being the teacher and one as the student. And they even pretend they have names of my actual students. I recorded this little video today of Holly giving JD a piano lesson. (turn your volume up high so you can hear for things like anchor note, bass clef and cuteness.)

holly teaching jd piano from Liz Hopkins on Vimeo.

Glad you watched that, huh?

Yesterday we went to the park and the little airport here with some friends. In between trips we came home to get our bikes and something to eat. As I was pulling out of the driveway,

JD says, “Mom I told you to stop.”                                                                               Mom: “No you didn’t but I will.”                                                                                        JD: “We need to say a prayer.” so he says a prayer                                                      Mom: “Thank you JD!”                                                                                                    JD: “Mom in my prayer I blessed Parker and Emily and Rebecca and that Daddy would be home soon in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.” (I guess he thought I wasn’t listening.)      Mom: “I know JD. You did a great job.”                                                                         Holly: “JD you didn’t need to bless that Daddy will be home soon because he’s already home.”                                                                                                                              JD: “I know. I was doing it for fun!”

It was such a sweet conversation that made me smile.

6 people like this post.

Summer Is Over

We had so much fun this summer! Everyday we had something fun to do and someone to share it with. And when our friends were away we had fun creating memories just me and the kids. Daddy even took some time off work to do some fun things with us too.

And in no particular order, mostly because I don’t remember when things happened, this was our summer…

Grandma took the kids and I to the Dean Lesher center in downtown Walnut Creek for a Chevron Family fun day. The theme was princesses and pirates, which was perfect for Holly and JD. We made sock puppets, got free stuff, and saw a puppet show. The highlight for Holly was trying on the Tinkerbell costume, where she decided this is what she wants to be for Halloween, and JD couldn’t leave without a real eye patch. They still talk about it and how they want to go back. Til next summer.

We visited the park a lot this summer. They became expert climbers, swingers and sliders. One day we walked to the park from our house and all they wanted to do was lay on the bench and eat grapes. Funny kids.

Holly and JD love going on adventures with Grandma and this time was no exception. This time we went up to the Berkeley hills to do lots of fun things at Tilden park. We rode the little steam train, which is always a favorite, and then headed further in the park to feed the animals on the farm. We brought celery to feed the goats who were practically reaching for a bite through the fence. It was a beautiful day to be outside, enjoying nature and being with Grandma and Uncle Johnny. Our next stop was the carousel where we enjoyed some cotton candy and Fenton’s ice cream. We played at the park for a little bit before we left. All the fun tuckered the kids out and they took nice long naps! Thanks for the fun Grandma!

 

1. We spent a lot of time swimming at the March’s pool, taking walks, and having play dates. The summer would not have been the same without our best buddies Parker and Emily.

2. The new splash pad in Concord was perfect for hot days and plus it was FREE! Holly and her friend Kennedy enjoyed hanging out under the water drop bucket. They have matching swimsuits too! We went almost once a week to cool off and run around!

3. Our first trip to Contra Loma was so much fun with our friends and Uncle Johnny. We celebrated Grandma Hopkins birthday with some yummy cheesecake. Holly and JD were right there to help blow out the candles. And the perfect end to a summer day, popcorn!

4. Our last trip to Contra Loma with our best buds. Rebecca and I are always too busy playing and refereeing the kids that we never get a picture together. This time we did. Life wouldn’t be the same without her. Glad we are friends!

5. When Holly and JD aren’t fighting they really do love each other. And here is some proof! Holly sporting her new haircut and her princess dress. The first thing Holly and JD do when we get to church is run up to Grandma’s lap. Grandma took JD on a Costco run one day and he came home with this 31″ Batman. He was on guard while the kids bathed. And mostly we wanted to scare daddy when he got home from work. I think it worked.

6. One night this summer Daddy came with us to swim and the kids had so much fun. They learned all of Daddy’s swimming skills and thought he was the coolest when he dove and back flipped into the pool. Holly showed off her jumping and JD had fun hanging out. Holly thought it was especially fun when Daddy threw her in the air.

In July, Jim’s aunts and uncles had a high school reunion in Half Moon Bay and we were lucky enough to spend some time with them and catch up. It was so fun to be together and listen to them reminisce and share stories. Holly and JD have only seen some a few times when they were real little and had never met Aunt Laurie and Uncle Jim. It took a little while to warm up, Holly fell asleep so she wouldn’t have to talk to them the first night and then wouldn’t open her eye for a while, silly girl. We spent a couple days in Half Moon Bay and didn’t leave without walking along the beach.

That next week in July after family went home, Jim took a week long work trip to New York and Boston. I really wanted to go with him, and I probably should have. But because I didn’t the kids and I took a little trip of our own to visit our best friends in Monterey. We don’t get to see Sadie enough and so we made a two day trip out of it. The kids were so excited to see Boone and Stella and didn’t want to leave when it was time. The kids had talked about going to the aquarium for weeks so we did that first thing. It is so amazing every time we go. Heavenly Father really made some amazing creatures! Catching up with Sadie was just what I needed. The kids really loved having a sleep over too. The second day Sadie took us to Dennis the Menace park where Holly had a little accident so had to spend most of the time in a diaper and JD’s swim trunks. The slides were the most fun! Before we headed home we went to the beach and played in the sand. This was definitely a highlight of our summer!

When the summer nights were beautiful we rode bikes. Mostly in the church parking lot right next to us, but when it is busy, which is not very often, we go to our church. They have really gotten so good at riding that I busted out the bike I have to ride with them.

We enjoyed $1 Jamba smoothies with our friends one morning. Each of us got our own and there was not a drop left!

One of my favorite things to do is make cupcakes so when Jim asked if I’d make some for a work BBQ I was more than excited to do it. They were trumped by some homemade pies but were still a hit!

Jim took the day off one Friday and took us to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The last time we went was when the kids were two months old! We of course had to ride the carousel a couple times. JD even tried throwing the rings into the clown’s mouth. Holly had more fun riding on the rides that went up and down than JD did. I made the mistake of telling him, as he was sitting in a helicopter ride, that it went up and down. I’ve never seen that boy move so fast. He wasn’t having it. We calmed him down and then got him back in the helicopter only for Daddy to say the same thing as me and he booked it. Holly rode with a little girl and had a ball. JD enjoyed watching her and laughed and smiled the whole time. The highlight of the day for me was the log ride. Oh it was so fun. The kids didn’t seem to think so and when JD talks about Santa Cruz all he says is he doesn’t want to go on the log ride. Before we left we played on the beach and then got our giant waffle cone sundaes to go. Yum! It was the perfect family day.

Our friends Travis and Jen had their third baby, a little boy – Robert Jay, and I was the lucky one to take pictures of him. I was able to be their right after he was born to capture those first moments too. Seriously, it’s the most beautiful thing to see those first moments! Little RJ was so calm and the best little model. This past Sunday we went to his blessing and we showed up 10 minutes early for church. When we walked into the chapel, Travis asked if I could play the organ. I thought he was joking but he wasn’t so I played. I just might not show up early for church anymore!

Growing up we would go to my grandparents cabin in Wisconsin. It was on a lake where we’d paddle boat and swim. When I heard about the Lafayette Reservoir and how you can rent paddle boats I thought it would be fun to do. It was a beautiful Saturday and spur of the moment we decided to go. It was so fun and brought back some fun childhood memories. Holly and JD had fun and even had their turn and pedaling. The guys decided to use the row boat instead. Not sure they enjoyed either boat.

My van gets really dirty and usually we go through the car wash. One afternoon it was hot so I decided it would be fun to wash the van with the kids. They loved spraying the van with the hose and using their soapy rags to wash. When we were done I took the hose and made a rainbow so they could run under the water. They’d run around the yard and I tried to reach them with the water. I turn around at one point to turn off the water and when I turned back around I see JD making a rainbow of his own. “Holly, run under my rainbow” he said. I was laughing so hard. That boy has quite the arch and distance! Seriously I can’t stop laughing when I look at this picture.

One last summer adventure for me was running in the Color Me Rad fun in San Jose. I ran it with my friends Teri and Norma. A bunch of my other friends ran a similar race in San Francisco earlier this summer and I so wished I would’ve. When I saw this run I didn’t want to pass it up. Thankfully I had some friends to run it with. There really is no point except to get all color-fied and have a blast of a time. Plus you get a cool t-shirt out of it.

We had such a great summer but I am so excited for routine and structure again. The kids are taking a dance class with their little friends, our little preschool starts again this week and I am teaching piano lessons almost every afternoon. It’s gonna be a good year!

Way to go you made it to the end of my post! Leave a comment and I might just make you a cupcake.

 

2 people like this post.