We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are." ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley~

Loehrmann Family Favorite Recipes

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Family Day 2012

In celebration of our temple sealing, we try to do something special as a family each year, to talk about and remember what is most important in our lives: each other. Family. Our temple day. The possibility granted us to be together forever.

On this day we had wanted to drive all the way into San Diego to walk around the temple, but with some of us a little under the weather still, and it being evening time after Jared got off work, we decided instead to do what Lukas wanted to do: Go to a park. A common request around here.  :)

That morning we'd played Yahtzee where Lukas schooled me with two yahtzees. In the same game. Some kids have all the luck. It left me reminiscent of my own childhood... the playing Yahtzee, and also not having so many 5s of a kind. haha. Later Lukas and I went to the Disneyland of libraries in Carlsbad for singing time. Sadly that little outing ended with tears, tantrum and no book, but after a nap, my sweet child was back and ready to play.

We picked up Jared from work a little early, and instead of sitting in a car for a long ride there and back, we just played. Lots of swinging, airplane rides, climbing and playing tag. We finally scaled the huge hill to see what was up there past the fence. Then took a walk along the top before sliding our way back down.
Just time together without distraction seems to do more for my kid than any "thing" or "place" the world has to offer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I can do it! "Ich kann das!"

We're getting used to southern California seasons: sunny and rainy. Since the parks are too wet and we're still on the mend from colds, we kept the adventuring close this week. We DEFinitely need to get outside everyday, lest too much pent up energy cause an explosion of "LOST" proportions. The handlebars had to be raised and the tires pumped, but the small bike is still working okay for our 42 pound, 43", 3yr old sweetpea.

So we grabbed the $6 SPCA bike and went outside to tackle some hills, climb some hills between shrubs, and otherwise play on someone's perfectly manicured apartment complex grounds adjacent to a hoity toity golf course. Now you see where we live.

Lately Lukas has been really into video making, asking me to film him yet again, then begging to see a video of himself. Here he drove pell-mell down a few little hills. Some pictures are reminiscent of the "Chutes and Ladders Era" to which we give tribute in the video as well. In the most requested video that you will see here, first Lukas welcomes us to the racing museum, then takes off, showing us his downhill cruise, then during the return interview wants to tell us thanks for coming when he suddenly disappears from the camera as he topples over, ending the video by repeating the family mantra: I can do it. In German, of course.

I promise you this brought more laughing tears than crying. From him and from us:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Advent Family Home Evening

As tradition dictates, the FHE following Thanksgiving is dedicated to the creation of our annual Advent Calendar. We fill 24 little sacks with a piece of candy for Lukas and a little note with something to do that week. Things like, calling someone to sing them a Christmas carol, or baking cookies together, or driving around looking at Christmas lights. We have made one every year for nine years, and it's usually a source of surprise and fun during a season that's supposed to be full of joy.  The other cool thing is: It's free to make (except for the candies) and the activities are usually also free. And frankly, we don't have money to buy all the things commercials, store windows, and advertisements would have us buy. So we grab a family or two and celebrate the making of the calendar. If we had a house, I can think of at least a few more families I'd LOVE to have invited over, but there's just not much room at the inn over here. Lukas was most excited to eat gingerbread men and apricots like crazy while we hurriedly wrote down some activities to shove into sacks. Alas, tis done for another year! Let's start some Christmas cheer!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Minute to Win It

I've seen the show "Minute to Win It" probably once in my life. But apparently there's a ton of different games/challenges that a person can try to complete in one minute to win gobs of money. So at a friend's house, they had set up a few challenges! Stack five empty aluminum soda cans on each other ... on a plastic plate floating in a bowl of water. Awesome. We all did it. Even Lukas. Then came the Oreo Challenge. Put an oreo on your forhead, then you have one minute to get it into your mouth without hands. SOOO funny. I want everyone who enters my house to now play this game for pure entertainment value. ("Hey, so good to see you! Do you want an Oreo?") Then was the golfball stacking challenge. Hardest of all by far. I couldn't even balance one, but someone else did!! We hope you got a side ache from laughing at the videos.

Preparing for Christmas by changing everying. It's tradition.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

 What makes a Thanksgiving Day complete? Well... a big hill of dirt. Lots of open space. Some Turkey-bowl Flag Football. Lukas' first tackle. Young women catching long bombs (amazing!). Bike riding afterwards. Maybe even some Thanksgiving sweet bites after. Dinner at the Woolley's big wooden dining room table with the long bench. Idaho happiness. Jumbilos on little fingers. Delicious turkey that I didn't need to make! Little ones watching Wallace & Grommit. Feeding a guinea pig lettuce. Brother Woolley reading to little kids, including mine. Playing Monopoly. Amazing desserts. Being full. Feeling grateful for the blessings in my life. I am grateful to feel tired, because my body functions to play and serve all day. I am grateful to do laundry because it means I have clothes. I'm grateful to wake up warm, because I have a cozy apartment and soft bedding.  I'm grateful to hear Jared's alarm go off in the mornings, because it means he has a job. I'm grateful to pick up all the plastic toys out of the tub once the water's seeped out, because it means I have a little kid who plays in it. Life is good. We're richly blessed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sea World with Sharlynn

We waited at the gate to meet up with Lukas' birth mom Sharlynn. She was visiting her sister in San Diego for Thanksgiving. Lukas was antsy and bugged because he was anxious to meet up, and wondered why she wasn't there yet (i.e. he had to wait). She arrived pretty soon with a gift box of magnet scenes, rainbow gold fish and fruit snacks for Lukas, about which he was, of course, thrilled. We went into the park and did all the normal things we do: follow Lukas around to things he wants to see/ride.  It is weird though, since we see each other so seldom, and have such limited contact. One would think we'd talk about what Lukas has been up to for the past year and a half. Instead we had many moments of small talk, and by the time it was over we really question the real benefit of birth moms visiting the families and their birth children. We've concluded that at this point, it feels like it's to see if he recognizes her, and gives her positive attention back.  She'd scoop him up sometimes to hug him, or hold his hand and kind of run with him, which seems like no big deal. But at one point he reported later that she even kissed him- on the mouth- and later said he didn't like that. How did I miss that? I'm baffled as to how a person can enter into a person's life and expect intimate relationship status merely by birthing the child.  As we left, he high-fived her and got in the car. As I heard him being told that if he ever wants presents he should call Aunt Shar, I knew we were done.  We still send letters every year, and email her back when she writes. But I now know more than ever, that if a relationship between them is to be forged it will be on his own accord, in his own time, and in his own way. Aaaand, we've learned more about how to help adoptive parents advocate for themselves, since LDS Family Services, while doing a phenomenal job of advocating for birth mothers and adoption itself, there is no real advocating going on for people on our side. So we live and learn. We're so grateful for our little family, and the chance to hold, hug, kiss, care for, and love a sweet little person in our home. We're so grateful for her foresight to give Lukas a much better opportunity for a life of love, faith, and stability.

On a lighter note, the funniest thing from this day was us riding the splash  boat thing, because none of us wanted to get wet, especially Lukas. Then Jared thought it would be awesome to ride this thing. So we are in line, against my gut feeling. Lukas sees the waves coming over the sides and the boat spins, and he puts the hat over his eyes!! And if we weren't wet from waves and whatnot, there was a huge waterfall at the end under which the boat has to flow. Great. Luckily for Lukas, Jared shielded him as much as possible with his own body and was pretty soaked by the end. I thought it kind of served him right, but still felt bad that he had wet jeans, and still a whole day ahead of us. So we stood in the awesome human dryers that some capitalist so cleverly placed outside of this ride, and we dried off pretty well! (And luckily we brought extra clothes for Lukas and changed him at the car!) Super funny, the rides we've put this kid through this week. Sheesh. He was super happy though, and looooooved the dolphin show this time, of which he was terrified last time (because the parrot-costumed dancer would get us as she flew high over the crowd). It's neat to see him maturing in little ways, becoming braver and even more adventurous with time!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lego Land Family Day

 Since Lukas' birthmom was coming to visit in the middle of the week, we wanted to make sure we had some just-family time together while Jared had the week off for Thanksgiving. A week you say? Yes!! The perks of being a high school teacher are starting to become quite apparent! Just three weeks later, he gets three weeks off!! Woohoooo!! We absolutely LOVE it when Jared's off work, and were really looking forward to following Lukas all over Lego-land. We looked for dino fossils in the sand before riding a little roller coaster together. We found the awesome water works and the musical instruments, the cars that the little ones can drive all by themselves, and of course the helicopters which Lukas just loves to ride in. It's so fun to watch my little one drive a car. Hilarious really. It's always harder than it looks and he appreciates much more the effort it takes for mom and dad to drive a big car... and maybe he'll stop asking us to drive on the double yellow lines so he can hear the whomping from the tires hitting the bumps, or stop asking us to take both hands off the wheel for fun.

One big thing that happened were that we took Lukas on a BIG roller coaster, which had a huge hill that we zoomed down, and his cheeks were flapping in the wind (I sat by him cheering him on like everything was just hunky dory so he wouldn't cry) and he was about to cry when we finally evened out and did lots of zig zags, which he really enjoyed. Upon asking, "How was it?" he answered "Heftig!" (Hefty), and "do you want to go again?"  he answered quickly with just one word, "Nein."  But later, to tell the STORY about going on the roller coaster, now THAT made it all worth it! He told anyone who'd listen about zooming down that hill in the little car so fast!

We also saw lots of Star Wars figures, which he only knows from Jon Schmidt you tube videos, and got a picture with Vader, and "Luke, I am your father!" I've never had so much fun at an amusement park as I've had with my own family-- following around an excited child, eager to see the next thing. And yes, I always make us stop and get our picture taken by those poor souls at the entrance with cameras around their necks. Alas, 17 years ago (granny talk here, eh?) that was my job, with a goal to shoot 15 rolls on one Saturday. Do I buy em? Meh. Happy Eternal Family Week!! Our sealing date is coming up!!