Saturday, October 1, 2016

Off To School - August 2016





It's hard for me to believe that they are all as old as they really are!  I wish I'd taken a pic of Mary too, but we'll have to do that next year.  She will be my buddy now for quite a few years and I am grateful for that.  They have now been in school for 2 months and so far so good!  George likes Dixie Middle and is doing well in his classes - he even gets to take guitar at school!  Paris is really enjoying Tonaquint and how different it is from elementary school - he is doing well in his classes and is enjoying learning how to play the trumpet.  Erma is rockin' it in Chinese and is pleasantly surprised that she likes Mr. Gale, her english speaking teacher.  She's also part of the choir and enjoys that.  John is loving learning Chinese so I am so happy about that.  I was slightly nervous that the combo of all day school and a new language would be too difficult, but he is doing great academically!  I hope he is doing well socially and behaviorally too:).  Love my kiddos!!!!!  P.S.  Maybe one day I will learn how to rotate my pics so they're not sideways.....


For years now - honestly I can't even remember how many - every tuesday I go over and have lunch with my grandmother - my kids great grandmother, Mary Ashcroft Crosby.  What a unique privilege and honor it is and has been for at least the past 8 years.  I can't even remember how it all started - I know that when George was a baby and I was expecting Paris I was also trying to finish my degree from BYU remotely through Dixie.  It was a slow process, but at least once a week my Grandma and Grandpa Crosby would watch George for me so that I could go to class.  I think it was during that time that they invited or suggested that we just have lunch together since I was picking George up at lunch time anyway.  George is 13 now, he was probably 2 when this began so it has probably been going on for almost 11 years!!!

I will always remember the times when I would pick up George and my Grandma who, at the time, was in her 80's would get on the floor and play with George!  I remember George sitting on my Grandpa's lap in his chair by their front window watching the birds in the bird bath or the cars and people as they would go by.  I remember my Grandma taking George on walks around the temple, which is close to her house,  and taking him around to all the outside speakers that played music because he loved the music! I remember when they were doing some major "construction" on the road in front of their house and George was fascinated by all the big trucks and machinery!  Grandma would wrap him up in her sweaters, etc and take him out in his stroller to watch the construction.  She fed George bottles, changed his diapers and played, played, played with him with balls and blocks from the block box.  Eventually Paris was born and Grandma and Grandpa watched him too, but it wasn't too long after his birth that I was done with my degree. We still went over weekly and on occasion I would ask them to watch Paris if I needed to do something with just George.  One time Chris and I decided that we would take George to see the new "Curious George" movie in the theater so Grandma and Grandpa watched Paris for us, but it was fun to find out later that that day was Grandma Crosby's Dad's (Paris Ira Ashcroft's) Birthday and it made it "special" for Grandma to be watching her great grandson Paris that day...

So why am I writing about all of this?  Well, the 2 pictures above are kind of an end of an era for my 4 oldest children...  Those pictures were taken the last tuesday before school started in August 2016.  John officially started 1st grade this year so he would no longer be joining me at Grandma's house.  The other kids can only come during the summer.  We've still got Mary at home so we will continue to go over weekly as long as Grandma wants us to.  Our menu rotates from pizza to corn dogs to chicken nuggets, I bring a fruit and a veggie and Grandma always has an ice cream treat at the end.  We eat and talk if we can with the kids, we clean up, sometimes we listen to big band music and dance, sometimes the kids play in the back rooms or try on grandma's shoes and slippers - Erma loves trying on her jewelry!  Sometimes we play the "Frustration" game, but we always build towers etc with the blocks and we ALWAYS play games - Sorry - Uno and Skipbo.  John learned to love to play games and I think it really helped him with his numbers!  There have also been special times each year at Christmas where we go over to make Grandma's Christmas Candy!!!  Grandma was always in charge but she allowed the kids to grease pans and stir and taste test, etc.  We always made Fudge, Divinity and Peanut Brittle - YUM!!!  I am so blessed to be able to live so close and have theses opportunities!  I have learned so much from my Grandma about loving children , loving the gospel, dealing with trials and trying to remain positive, being a good neighbor and just a lot of wisdom about life in general.  I've loved learning about some stories from her childhood, but I will have to share those at another time.  I love "Great Grandma Mary" more than me feeble words can express!!!

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 2016 - Memories and Thoughts

I haven't done blogging in so long that I'm not sure I remember how, but a month or so ago my Mom challenged me to start again so that I can remember these busy growing up years and create a family history of sorts.  She said my kids would love to be able to go back and read about themselves and see pics of them and things/activities they're doing.  She is right, but I have a  lot of excuses, none of which I will share at this time...  My Mom was inspired by the awesome blogs of my sister Rach and my sister-in-law Becca...  so I guess I could say that one of my excuses is that I know I'm not as good of a writer as either of these women and I don't know what I'm doing as far as putting pics in and arranging it cool, etc, etc, etc so why even try right?....  Well, try I must and try I will at least until I give up again for a while....

These first two pics are of our newest addition, Mary Elizabeth Lamb, born on June 8, 2015.  These pics were taken by our friend and photographer, Nikki Nelson, a year ago so in September 2015.  I love how these pics show how BEAUTIFUL and BLUE Mary's eyes are.  They still are just as blue and beautiful, but Mary has changed and grown up so much since then.  She has a lot of straight blonde wispy hair, a mouth full of teeth and is walking/running all over the place now.  She is developing quite the personality now and we have given her the "Indian" name of "SCREAMING EAGLE" which should be self explanatory.  She has been a relatively easy baby, but maybe that's because I have a house full of kids that help me take care of her.  She is starting to say a few words, like Mamma and Dada.  She also says "Caca" (Cracker), "Dogdog" (Doggy), Maaa or Ma Ma (which either means Erma or Grandma), "no", etc.  She says "up" thanks to Grandma Lamb.  She also know how to Quack like a duck and make a sound that is supposed to be a kitty cat.  She has started to stomp her foot when she doesn't get what she wants.  She is also extremely afraid of strangers like the doctor... She has started taking only one nap in the afternoon and goes to bed around 9pm.

John will be 7 years old soon!  Unbelievable!!! For better or worse I call him my "Wild Child" and we have affectionately given him the "Indian" name of "CRAZY HORSE".  He is full of life.  Since this picture he has lost a lot of teeth and his adult teeth look very big in that little mouth of his.  John recently started first grade in the Chinese Immersion program at Bloomington Elementary and he is doing GREAT!!!  I was nervous that he would have a difficult time adjusting to all day school and to a new language but he is eating it up!  I was also worried that he might continue to be a "Fence Pusher" as his Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bigham, called him - always wanting to push the limits and rules, but so far, so good...  I'm sure he still gets into trouble every now and then, but he is doing good.  I am thankful for teachers that can take my Johnny and love him enough to teach him and correct him and help him become better than he is.  I sometimes wonder what John would be like if Charlie were alive....  As it is, his two older brothers are so much older than him that they don't like to play imaginary games anymore and they have a hard time wanting to go out and play ball with him so he has grown up a lot faster than I had hoped...  He has a natural ability for sports, but opts for video games and tv shows if I let him because that is what his older siblings like to do in their down time...  I finally signed him up for Pee Wee basketball so we are looking forward to that.  Some things I want to remember about John are his "Big Tough Hugs" that he always used to give me especially each night before bed.  He loved to wear a t shirt he picked out at wal mart that said "Mommy's Little Champ" and was sad when he was finally too big to wear it.  He also used to have this ritual of saying the same thing to me each night before bed that went something like "I love you Mom, you're the best mom in the whole world" and I would say he was the best Johnny boy in the world and it would go on for quite a while like that....

Erma Louise Lamb is 9 1/2 and is now in 4th grade Chinese Immersion Program at Bloomington Elementary - WOW - time is flying by!!!  Her most exciting news is that she tried out for 2 plays at the St. George Musical Theatre (SGMT), "Annie", and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and she was cast as Frieda in the Charlie Brown play!!!  I can't believe that she had enough courage to try out and I'm so proud of her!  She is over the moon excited and I hope and pray that she has a good experience.  Erma is happy and helpful.  She is a hard worker and does well in school.  Along with the play she recently signed up for competitive swim through SUSA stingrays following the example of her brother Paris and the nudging of her parents.  She is a strong swimmer and I hope she enjoys it!  Before swim she was involved in gymnastics once a week and did well although perhaps not naturally gifted, but swim is everyday and made more sense physically and economically...  She also takes piano lessons once a week...

Every now and then we put her hair in two simple braids and even with her red hair something about her reminds me of her Grandma Louise Crosby and a pic I've seen of her when she was little with bangs and braids.  Erma and Paris also have the privilege of taking art lessons from "Grandma Weezie" almost every week and I love to see Erma developing her talents in so many areas.

Erma is the one who will ask me on her own if she can help me with whatever I am doing and I am grateful for that. P.S. Erma's "Indian" name is "BALD EAGLE" because she was bald till she was about 2 years old.

Paris Parley Lamb is already 11 years old and is named "WISE OWL".  He just started his 6th grade year at Tonaquint Intermediate School and is really enjoying the change from elementary.  School and learning come easily to him - he's not a genius by any means but he gets good grades and understands things easily.  This past summer we found out that one of his adult teeth that was growing in was coming in at an angle and destroying the root of another one of his adult teeth that was already grown in!  He had to have oral surgery and braces which we weren't expecting, but all went well and his smile is completely different now with braces - although still just as handsome.  We aren't sure if the tooth that had its roots destroyed will fall out or not so we will wait and see. If it does fall out we will eventually need to get him an implant.

Paris, Erma and John have all done summer swim team for a few years now and this past year before school was out, something got into Paris and he kept pushing Chris and I to let him do competitive swim team through SUSA stingrays (perhaps the fact that his "crush" Emma B. was on the team influenced him a little too).  It is expensive, but we felt like if he really wants to pursue this we should try and make it happen - so he tried out and was put on the team.  He just had his first swim meet on 9/24/16 and did very well.  I can't wait to see how he grows and improves throughout the years!  In order to do swim team he had to quit football, but he was fine with that.  I think I had a harder time with him quitting football than he did simply because I love the coaches he's had and the friends and connections we've made there.

Paris is also very interested in Programming and wants to continue the programming class through 4H.  He also takes piano, He loves magic card tricks and reading the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit books.  His scout leaders have commented to me multiple times now that Paris is impressive and a "top notch" boy and scout.

George Wendell Lamb is almost as tall as me now!  He still has about an inch to go though. He is in 8th grade at Dixie Middle School!!!  He is 13 1/2 years old and is handsome and hardworking.  His most recent passion is his lawn mowing service he started this past summer.  He created flyers and passed them out and little by little he has  created a little clientele of customers.  He was given an old but good condition lawn mower by a neighbor and earned enough money on his own to buy his own gas powered weed wacker "Stihl".  He has learned how to take the blades off the lawn mower to have them sharpened and how to care for the lawn mowers and weed wacker.  He now wants a gas powered leaf blower.  He's also learned how to mix up the solution and spray weeds, etc.

George's "Indian" name is "RED BEAR" due to his red hair and his teddy bear like nature.  He is quiet but respected and will get the job done.  Last year I had some of his teachers and at least two moms tell me how grateful they were for George because he sat next to their sons in classes at school and was a calming influence for them so that they didn't misbehave at school and understood the subjects.  I was grateful to hear that since the side I see of George is the teasing older brother at home.

George continues to love football and is on the A team in the SUNYFL league.  He worked hard all summer with coach Washington and is doing well on his team as one of the offensive linemen.  It was hard for him and for me when we found out that Coach Washington would no longer be coaching George since he was hired to coach at Snow Canyon High School...  Coach Richie is great though and wants the boys to work hard and be honorable young men so I am grateful for that.  He currently serves as the Deacon's Quorum President in the ward so that is a good experience for him and his scout leaders also have commented to me that he is a top notch young man as well.

Chris is a year into his Nurse Practitioner program and will be done by this time in 2017 - we can't wait!!!  Its been a long year already and it will only get harder from here on out.  He is also serving as first counselor in the Bishopric.  I get the kids to all their activities, schedule patients from home for the medical clinic Chris works for, take care of a little boy during the day, keep up with Mary and try to keep a home.  Life is beyond busy......

Sunday, April 20, 2014

i am a spartan? aroo?!!!

Back in January some friends of mine convinced me to participate in a race called the "Spartan". Originally I said no because it cost a lot of money and I didn't really want to. My friend, Heidi (my trainer for the marathon), however, convinced me to run it and even paid for me to do it! Thank you Heidi:). When they described the race they said it was an 8 mile obstacle course race. All I heard was that it was 8 miles and I thought..."how hard can it be?..." I should have done some research, but I didn't. Life is busy with 4 kids and all of our activities so I just exercised and trained with Heidi and didn't think much about the race. A few weeks before the race I went with Heidi to a training course for the Spartan race located in Toquerville and finally realized what I had gotten myself into. About half of the obstacles were things I could not or would not even try doing like jumping over 6ft and 8ft walls, climbing an incredibly long rope, throwing a javelin into a bale of hay, hopping on really thin "logs" that were pounded into the ground without falling (this was one of the obstacles that I thought I might be able to do - so I tried it and fell - it was a miracle that I didn't hit the other log in front of me as I fell - somehow I landed on my head with only a slight scratch - another woman did it shortly after me and fell and broke her sternum!). I was able to carry sandbags up and down long hills, jog long distances and pull extremely heavy weights with chains or with a pulley up a tree. After that day though I was overwhelmed with the thought of doing this race.
Paris' Birthday breakfast! Happy blueberry pancakes:)
Fast forward to April 5 - Race Day! Chris and I brought the kids to Vegas to run the race and celebrate Paris' 9th birthday! Chris was amazing and stayed with the kids in the hot Las Vegas desert out by Apex/Nellis while I ran the race. He compared it to three hours of Sacrament Meeting with the kids by himself:). He did say that the kids were actually pretty good so I was very grateful. Paris was so sweet to share his special day with my crazy race! The other members of our "team" didn't bring their families so they were kind and gave Chris and I their spectator passes so that Chris and the kids got in free - otherwise it would have cost each one of them $30 to get into the race!

Chris must've taken this of me after I finished all muddy, but I got my medal and I got my banana!
The members of the team were mostly people who worked together. Heidi brought her daughter Chamea and there were a few other "tag-a-longs" like me. During the race the team doesn't have to run together. The rankings are determined by the top 4 finishers of the team. Heidi wanted me to run with her and Chamea, but I was completely overwhelmed with the obstacles and the race in general so I told them to go ahead...I couldn't stand the idea of me holding them back.

My friends Heidi on the right and her daughter Chamea in the middle..."One of these things is not like the others":)  I don't think I'll ever "look" the part of a runner, but these women sure do!
To try and make the long story kind of short I did finish the race in 2hours and 52 minutes. The woman who actually won the race for the women ran it in 1hour and 20minutes. I am proud of myself for finishing the race. I am proud of myself that I tried all of the obstacles except for the rope climb. If you fail an obstacle or don't try one then your are supposed to do 30 penalty "burpees". I am not proud that I didn't do all the burpees that I should have done, but have since tried to make up the burpees that I should have done. If anyone wants to know more about the race you can look it up on you tube or ask me about it.

I love love love my family!!!  George was even inspired by the race and says he wants to do it when he is 13:).
 To finish off this post I have to recognize two men who helped me on the race course. One man helped me as I struggled to pull the heavy cement block up to the top of the pulley.  I had done it on the training course with no problem, but was really struggling with it and was about ready to give up when a man came up and helped me pull it up!  I hadn't asked him to do it, he just did it like it was what he was supposed to do without thinking about himself or his race time.  At the end of the race I was spent, but the last few obstacles were really challenging for me.  I was supposed to use a rope to climb up a slanted wood wall made wet and slippery by all the contestants and then get up and over the top and climb down...  Getting up the wall was no problem, but I couldn't get figure out how to get over the wall so I slid down and tried to figure out if I could just go around it, but it was all roped off.  A man saw me and knew I needed help...he demonstrated how to get up the wall and waited for me at the top, then he gently helped me get over the wall and made sure I climbed down ok before he crossed the finish line.  After I crossed I looked for him so I could thank him, but there were so many people there and he was gone, but his simple act of kindness will never be forgotten by me...  I was so tired and overwhelmed by the whole race and also by his kindness that I was crying when Chris found me...  I want to be like those two men...

Me and the kids - I wish I knew how to rotate these pics...
It's funny, after the race I told Chris that I would never do something like this again, but after thinking about and learning from these experiences I know I would if Chris or my kids or other family members were with me.  I don't quite know how to make this connection, but as I thought about it I realized that my pride made me refuse the help of my friends on the team because I didn't want to hold them back, but if I had run with them I would have had a lot more fun.  Then as I thought about these men I was just so grateful for their selflessness and their willingness to help a complete stranger... and I realized that (however silly this may sound) this life is like that obstacle course.  Heavenly Father put us here - hopefully we are surrounded by family and friends who love and support us through our journey, and hopefully we will be the kind of people who can look beyond themselves and help a complete stranger when we recognize that they are struggling...

To finish off the day we went back to our hotel to celebrate Paris' bday by getting slurpees, swimming and eating his Birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory!  I forgot to bring my camera to the restaurant, but it was delicious!!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

finishing the race

Although I already posted about this on facebook, I had to put it in our family blog... Chris ran the St. George Half Marathon on January 18, 2014 and finished in 2 hours and 1 minute! I am so proud of him! If I had run it with him he would have "smoked me"! Our normal pace is about a 10 minute mile so he was really booking it. Chris' Mom came with us to cheer him on and Dad Crosby came to our rescue by taking George to his bball game. Russ also came to congratulate Chris and it was fun to see him. Incidentally, Chris finished fast enough so that we could run over and catch the last minute of George's game - which they won! Dad said that George did good too:) and it was fun to see him playing when we walked in.

Chris was a "runner" before I ever considered giving it a try, but lately he's shown more interest in it-so for Christmas, with the help of some Christmas money, we surprised him with his own Ipod touch and his mom surprised him with a gift cert. to buy some good running shoes. I was surprised to find out though that he and his boss, Mustufa Saifee, signed up for the half marathon only a week and a half before the actual race! They both did great and I am so glad they/he had a good experience. He's even made it a goal to run the St. George Marathon which I hear is also a goal for a certain brother and niece of mine!

You know, running is an interesting thing... I remember being an overweight child at the park with my siblings and having them "encourage" me to run with them. When I finally did, I remember hating every second of it! I couldn't keep up with them, my lungs felt like they were going to explode and it just didn't make me feel good physically or emotionally. The funny thing is that I still don't like running:) but I do it because NOW it does help me feel better physically and emotionally...

A month or so ago I read an article in the Church News about a marathon runner in the summer Olympics in Mexico during the 60's, I believe. I can't remember his name or many of the details of the article and I'm too lazy right now to look for the article, but the jist of the story is that this runner was expected to do well. However, early on in the marathon he fell and was injured. As you may have guessed, he didn't stop, but continued to run and, of course, came in last place. The reporter who reported on the marathon focused more on this runner than the winner. The reporter asked this injured runner why he had continued and finished and the runner simply said that his country didn't send him to start the race, but to finish the race.

I've thought about this article a lot lately... I've thought about running a lot lately too and I've thought about all those "cheesy" comparisons you can make about running a race and life and no matter how cheesy it sounds I know that Heavenly Father didn't send us here to start the race of life, he sent us to finish our race. We will all fall down and injure ourselves, it's inevitable. Trials come to all of us in all forms and to be honest, I hate that about the race of life! I hate facing sorrow and loss! I hate the temptations that come! I hate how unfair life is to all of us really... I hate how these things slow me down and I hate seeing these things slow those around me down. That's a lot of hate... In the end though, I don't care if I'm the last one in - all I care about is that I finished.

I was reminded of all of this again yesterday as I watched my husband come in 10 minutes earlier than I expected and cross the finish line with Paris, Erma and John all running behind him:).

Counting My Blessings

I have nothing profound to write, but felt like it was time to update the blog. I also feel the need to try and be more positive and I have four living and beautiful children to be very positive about. We took the kids to BLVD Home Furnishings during the holidays so they could see Santa and its amazing, even to me, that they are all getting so grown up. I don't know how much longer George and Paris will sit on Santa's lap, but if it were up to me I would have them do it forever:)... We had a nice Christmas and were so blessed by the generosity of our friends and family. Great Grandma Crosby made it possible for us to get a new trampoline! Grandma and Grandpa Crosby treated us to the Oakridge Boys Concert as well as giving each of the kids (and mom and dad) spending money of their own! Grandma Lamb gave each of the kids some games/toys that they were all hoping for. Santa brought George a shotgun and black hoodie. Those gifts combined with a knife from Erma and Uncle Alex made this year kind of a scary one for George:). Paris got a telescope from Santa which has been fun for him and his dad to look at the stars and planets together. Erma received an American Girl doll named Saige which has become her special friend and John got the WII game "Skylanders Swapforce" so he was in Christmas Heaven. We hope you all had a beautiful Christmas too! I have more blessings to post about so be on the look out for more to come.

Monday, December 9, 2013

hello and goodbye

Today was supposed to be a happy day with a happy announcement. Today I was going to go into the Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctors to have a check up. They were supposed to do another ultrasound and tell me that everything was ok with our 15 week gestational baby. This little baby was actually the reason why I decided to finally figure out how to blog. I was going to come home, type up this blog and tell you all that not only did I learn how to blog, but that we were going to have a baby! I had gone for 4 weeks without bleeding and Chris and I were finally feeling confident enough to let our family know that we were going to have another little baby on June 1st. Instead today I am recovering from losing that baby. I woke up around 5am on Saturday morning and knew that I was bleeding... I told Chris and we went to the hospital to determine if the baby was still alive. The doppler couldn't detect a heartbeat and the ultrasound showed a beautiful little baby, but no heartbeat or movement. Chris and I were going through the nightmare all over again. I was admitted to the hospital and went through the process of delivering this little baby. "Baby Lamb" was born close to midnight on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Baby Lamb was still so small that we are unsure of the sex although we think he was a boy. I didn't get to hold our baby because he was so small and delicate, but we did get to look at him and love the dreams we had for him and for our family... I have a lot of questions...questions that probably will never be answered. I found out shortly after the marathon that I was pregnant - I was actually pregnant while I ran the marathon and wonder if that had anything to do with the loss of this baby?... The doctors tell me that I didn't do anything to cause this loss, but in situations like this you can't help but wonder. Chris has questions too, but the doctors said it was an acute placental abruption and that there is no rhyme or reason as to why this has happened twice now. Natalie, I'm sorry that I lied to you, but we weren't ready to tell anyone yet. Chris doesn't want to tell his siblings, but I do. If I didn't it would seem like it wasn't real. We would appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone else though, even your children, unless you feel it is necessary. Because the baby was so delicate and small there will be no burial. Although our sorrow is just as great there was a different feeling with the delivery of this little baby than the delivery of Charlie... We love you all very much and hope and pray for your safety and happiness.