On Being a Mother

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“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

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“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

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

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“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

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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!

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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

 

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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.

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Time To Catch Up

I realized the reason I don’t like blogging right now is because I’m so far behind that it leaves me overwhelmed. So without any more excuses here’s a big catch up.

Like the rest of the world we celebrated Christmas too! This year was by far the best year yet with the kids. With all the excitement surrounding Christmas we tried to talk about and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe next year they will understand a little more. Holly had another dance recital, this time it was a Nutcracker in a day with her little dance friends. JD wasn’t feeling good otherwise he would’ve joined her. He was very happy to watch from the audience. I smiled the whole time as did Holly. She giggled and did the choreography so well. They were treated with a dance by the sugar plum fairy whom Holly could not stop talking about for days after. Cutest thing ever.

We enjoyed our ward Christmas party but no pictures with Santa because Holly and JD refused to sit on his lap. But they did perform on stage, in front of the whole ward, with some of their dancing friends. We were all smiles again. Jim and I even bribed them with a big prize of their choice, which turns out wasn’t really necessary. We followed through with our end of the deal though with a trip to the Disney store!

The kids and I bonded in the kitchen. We made a couple batches of almond roca to pass out to our friends. And I made a Garfield cake for a friend in the ward. It turned out way better than I even planned leaving my friend in happy tears.





Grandma took the kids and I to see a ballet at the Dean Lesher Center. The kids did pretty good but started getting antsy near the end. Maybe next year we will be seeing the Nutcracker.

We had joy school at a place called pump it up. It was a fun change of scenery and the kids had a blast running, sliding and bouncing for a few hours. I even had fun going down the slides with them!



And just to add to the craziness I decided to have my very first piano recital before the Christmas break. I debated but the kids wanted to play their Christmas songs and I’m so glad we did. The kids did great and continue to get better and better. I’ve really enjoyed teaching and Holly and JD have enjoyed spending time with grandma during my lessons. Love my little students.

One of the kids most favorite things to do while we were out driving was to see the Christmas lights. Mr. Christmas was of course on our list and we visited a few other houses as well. We drove up to a pretty impressive house and Holly insisted she take a picture. She and JD kept saying, “this is amazing.” They could sit in front of a lit up house for hours. JD still wishes we left our Christmas lights up especially when he sees other houses with them on and wonders why we don’t.

And because the holiday season isn’t crazy enough JD’s little body decided it was a good time to get croup. The scariest thing ever! He woke up coughing a couple times in the night so Jim and I kept him in our bed. About an hour later JD woke up coughing again but this time gasping for air and coughing like a barking seal. We gave him an albuterol treatment and he wouldn’t take the mask off when it was over. We couldn’t get a hold of Jim’s family and I wasn’t comfortable driving to the ER by myself so I insisted we call 911. Jim gave him a blessing and the ambulance arrived. JD freaked out a little as we put him on the gurney so I leaned close so he could hold my hair, he grabbed it and put it on his cheek. Glad I know what comforts him! Sweet boy. After a few epinephrine treatments, steroids and four hours later we were on our way home. I hope to never experience that again.



This year we had a few friends over to Grandma and Poppy’s house to decorate gingerbread houses. I think this tradition will keep getting more fun with Holly and JD!

We had our annual Hopkins family Christmas Eve fondue night followed by the Christmas story and songs. This year we skyped with Doug, Cate and Wesley in Texas while they had their own fondue night. We opened Our Christmas pjs and Poppy read while we sang.





Whew, that was long. Next up Christmas Day!

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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.

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Proud To Be An American

We love celebrating the 4th of July! The kids especially love singing God Bless America and all things red, white and blue. Grandma bought adorable patriotic clothes and they proudly wore them to our ward pancake breakfast that morning. JD even wore his camo boots to show his support for the troops. After our breakfast the kids had a bike parade. Holly and JD proudly rode their new bikes.

We decided to go see Brave later in the day while the guys went to see Spiderman. We heard it was kind of scary but we ‘braved’ it anyway and the kids did pretty good. They weren’t afraid, I think because JD brought his sword and protected us from the bears. Such a brave boy. It was a fun afternoon.

   

After our quick little family BBQ, Grandma, Uncle Matt, the kids and I walked down to The Singing Flag at the park. A local church puts this on every year and last year was our first year going. As we were stuck in traffic last year, Jim and I looked at each other and said, “well we can check that off our list of things to do.” As in we don’t need to do that again. Well he kept his word but I thought it would be fun to go again. This time we were only a half hour early, thanks to Grandma for reserving our spot, and the kids loved it. We brought some snacks, Grandma bought snow cones and we danced and sang the night away.

 

Because it is a church run event, they start with an opening prayer. And while everyone was praying I snapped this picture of Holly making sure Grandma was folding her arms. Seconds before Grandma was holding Holly’s snow cone so it wouldn’t fall and Holly looked over at her and said, “Grandma, we are saying a prayer, fold your arms.” Holly kept looking at Grandma to make sure her eyes were closed. Mine obviously weren’t.

 

JD especially loved it when they acted out a scene from Star Wars. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker battling it out on stage was by far his favorite. My favorite was when the choir sang the songs to go with each branch of the military and asked people in the audience to stand. Yes I did get choked up, I just can’t help it. I love the 4th of July.

 

I love our country and for the freedoms that we enjoy because of the men and women who have and do protect us. And I’m grateful for a grandfather who served in the Army and for his patriotic spirit that he has instilled in me. God Bless America!

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Kick, Kick, Kick

One of the things I was excited about doing this summer for the kids was swimming lessons. Morgan, a cute girl in our ward, is a swimmer and does lessons in her very own pool. She did a half hour of one on one time with each kid every day for a week.

When we would go to the pool just for fun, Holly wanted to try to swim without her float so it was no surprise she enjoyed her lessons. She quickly showed Morgan how she could blow bubbles and kick really big in the water. Putting her face in the water wasn’t a difficult task for Holly either. By the end of the week, she was jumping off the high edge into the water and doing back floats. Maybe next year she will be able to swim on her own. For now, Holly really enjoys wearing her arm floaties and jumping in the water, even off of the diving board! Holly loved Morgan so much she asks where she is every time we go to church.

The weekend before swimming lessons we were talking about it with the kids to get them really excited. We had been swimming in the pool and I introduced the kids to Morgan so they wouldn’t be nervous. Grandma even bought them some new goggles which were especially helpful when Morgan asked them to go underwater.

Anytime we would swim for fun, JD would swim for a bit then get out and put his dry clothes one. When he felt like getting back in he would put his swimsuit back on. So when it was his turn to do swimming lessons I wasn’t too surprised that he wasn’t the most eager to get in. For the first two days he went after Holly. By the third day I got smart and he went first, which seemed to help a lot. He still got nervous at each lesson about going under but he did, not because he wanted to, go under with Morgan’s help. The last day Morgan took him underwater twice to dive for a toy. He thinks it’s pretty cool now when he watches the video of himself doing it but boy did he hate it. He was great at kicking at using big arms to swim. No jumping in like Holly but if you ask him he will tell you he liked it. Though he might tell you he doesn’t want to go under. Laying on his back was a bit of a challenge to and with Holly’s cheering he did it. We can’t wait to practice our swimming this summer.

 

 

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