Learning to Ride a Bike

Through our *almost* EIGHT years of parenting we’ve learned some things. Things like:

– It’s important to make gentle transitions when you change baby formula or your baby will projectile vomit onto the man across the aisle on an airplane.

– When buying a portable DVD player for children under the age of 20 you should always, ALWAYS buy them from Walmart with the 1-year warranty. This is because if when it breaks, you call the company they send you a gift card to buy a new DVD player (which of course only costs as much as a new warranty.)

-When something breaks, always get a quote. In other words don’t wait 3 years to fix a bathroom shower because you think it’ll be thousands of dollars only to find out it will be less than $100.

These are just a few things. The most recent learning experience is: when your children are learning to ride a bike, the size of the bike matters. Now, this may sound like common sense… but, well, we learned the hard way.

Two years ago someone gave John a bike. We were so excited because we had been planning on buying one anyway. John riding bikeThe bike was bigger then what we were planning on buying, but that’s ok. It also didn’t come with training wheels, so we started teaching John to ride a bike. One full summer of trying, a school year of forgetting, and another summer of relearning John finally learned to ride his bike. I remember his joyous, triumphant proclamation, “I’m doing it! I’m doing it! I’m really doing it!” Now riding a bike is old news for John. He’s a pro.

Lydia just turned six. For her birthday we bought her a bike. A princess bike complete with a bell and pink, sparkling streamers from the handlebars. This one had training wheels. Man! She loved her bike! She rode it everywhere (and nowhere!) Then one day she asked if we could take off her training wheels. All I could think of was our experience with John and how it took almost 2 summers. She would no longer be able to independently ride her bike. I was bummed. I put it off and told her she’d have to ask daddy. Then last Wednesday, daddy agreed to take off the training wheels. We loaded up our bikes, headed to the park and he was going to give her her first lesson in riding a bike.

Lydia ride bikeI stayed to take a picture of the beginning of the lesson. Aaron started off running and shortly after I took the picture I hear Lydia yelling, “Two hands, daddy! Use TWO hands!” (Daddy was only using one.) I smiled and took off for a lap around the park with John and his friend. This lap is approximately 0.6 miles. On a bike, even with two boys, 0.6 miles does not take that long. When we returned we found Lydia and Aaron. He yells, “Watch this!” So he started running with Lydia. I then hear Lydia scream, “No hands, daddy! PLEASE NO hands!” (Daddy was using one hand) I couldn’t believe it! In less than 10 minutes my daughter was riding a two wheel bike all by herself. And she was CONFIDENT!

This is when we realized… John’s bike was just too big for him when we had originally tried to teach him to ride. Poor kiddo. We’ve learned our lesson and hopefully anyone who reads this can learn from our mistakes!


The Little Chap who Follows Me!

I found this poem in a magazine “Above Rubies” a while back, saved it, and just came across it again. I love it.

The Little Chap who Follows Me!

A careful man I want to be’

A little fellow follows me.

I do not dare to go astray

For fear he’ll go the self-same way.

I cannont once escape his eyes,

Whate’er he sees me do, he tries.

Like me he says he’s going to be;

The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I’m so very fine,

Believes in every word of mine.

The base in me he must not see;

The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go

Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,

I’m building for the years to be’

The little chap who follows me.

Author Unknown

I hope the unknown author won’t mind my following liberties.

The Little Sweetie who Follows Me!

A careful woman I want to be;

A little sweetie  follows me.

I do not dare to go astray

For fear she’ll go the self-same way.

I cannot once escape her eyes,

Whate’er she sees me do, she tries.

Like me she says she’s going to be;

The little sweetie who follows me.

She thinks that I’m so very fine,

Believes in every word of mine.

The base in me she must not see;

The little sweetie who follows me.

I must remember as I go

Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,

I’m building for the years to be;

The little sweetie who follows me.

Airport Adventures

If you’ve never met my son, John Caleb, then you’re missing out on one of the most excited, vibrant, passionate little boys. He has a zest and excitement for life above and beyond other children. Now, don’t get me wrong, this can lead to trouble on his part, but for the most part, it just puts a big smile on my face.

Well, last Thursday, we picked up my mom (Omi) from the airport. As we waited for her, there was a young woman waiting for someone holding balloons. John was excited to see the balloons (“LaLoons”)  and wanted to play with him. So, I told him, “Next week when we come get Papa at the airport, we’ll bring some balloons for him.”

My father (Papa) flew into town today. As promised Omi and I took him to the party store and he picked out three balloons: yellow, blue and orange. (And all the Gators fans say, “Amen!”) We get to the airport and have to drop Omi off at the bathroom. Let me explain a bit about the Salt Lake airport. The parking garage and the terminals are connected by a sky walk, sometimes this creates multiple elevator rides, but we were lucky today. In the skywalk they have one of those conveyor belt people mover things, that I normally don’t use as I push my double stroller.

Anyhow, we got out of the car and I tied the balloons to John’s wrist. We get to the sky walk and step on the people mover. John’s so excited. Then the balloons come off his wrist. Luckily it was a low ceiling, but we’re moving away from the balloons. Not wanting to leave John behind and have him move further and further away from him, I grab his hand, “running” in the wrong direction reaching for the balloons. Now, this only went on for less than 30 seconds, regardless, I must have given someone quite the laugh. So, we step off the belt and go down the escalator. I find the monitors and realize, that we’re pretty late (due to a major accident) and that we should check the baggage claim. As we walk down I see Papa. So, as soon as we get close enough (still pretty far out) I bend down and I point out Papa to John Caleb and tell him to run to him. So there goes my almost-three-year-old son, screaming at the top of his lungs, balloons flying behind him, running as fast as he can to PAPA! It was the cutest thing in the world.

John proceeds to help my dad get his luggage and then insists on pulling his heavy (for a 3 year old) suitcase through the airport, while I’m wondering if I’ll get called in on child labor laws because of how hard his working to pull the suit case. So, we go up the elevator, across the people mover, down the elevator to the rental car place. (John of course loving all of the buttons he gets to push.) As we wait for my dad to finalize the car rental stuff, John simply enoys himself, finding anything and everything to entertain himself with. Right as we’re ready to leave John sees the bathroom and decides he needs “poopoo potty” which doesn’t really mean poopoo but rather simply potty. Anyhow, so I take him in there and he goes peepee on the potty like a big boy. He’s so proud of himself that he claps and screams “YAY”. Which my parents (and everyone else) can hear outside the bathroom.

So we get out of the stall and wash our hands. Now, we come to the paper towels, which are the kind that automatically release a new paper towel after you’ve pulled the other one. So, John pulls it, it gives another paper towel, he pulls that one, it gives another paper towel, “No, John, we don’t…” he pulls it, it gives another, he pulls… “No, sweetheart, we don’t…” he’s able to rip a little piece, it gives another, “John, no, we don’t need another paper towel”, but his yanking rewards us with another one, as I try to physically remove him from this possibly endless repetitive situation.

Now, we’re ready to go. We say goodbye to Omi and Papa and push the buttons on the elevator to get us to our level parking garage. As we enter the garage, John is simply heartbroken that Omi and Papa aren’t with us and doesn’t want to take another step. I finally conivince him to get to the car that we’ll see Omi and Papa in a little bit.

And for some reason, as I finish this story up, I feel as though it could be a Curious George book!

February 2009 in Review

1st — I woke up at 5:15am this morning to John slamming the office door. He had a Barney show going on the tv. As I put him back to bed there was a Barney song running through my head. If that was the song that was playing when I got up, it was at least 20-25 minutes into the DVD.

3rd — John was watching the Spanish channel when I woke up.

4th — John tries and actually succeeds in lifting a 12 pack of Dr. Pepper.

5th — John put his pants on by himself for the first time, I just turned around and he had pants on!

6th — Lydia figured out how to rip up a kleenex and drink her bottle at the same time.

7th — Had to perform stealth diaper retrieval.

8th — Wondered if Lydia was fake sleeping… is that possible for an 8 ½ month old?

9th — Lydia finally cut that 5th tooth… a break before the 6th please?

— John wants his hand washed… they are mysteriously neon pink and I still don’t know the cause.

10th — Took the kids to Fazoli’s, John poured pepper onto his penne alfredo, and loved it!

11th — Lydia crawled!

12th — I passed my PRAXIS PLT

13th — I lost Lydia…. she was in the kitchen.

 — John created hurricane-like effects in his room in about 2 minutes flat.

 — Had a wonderful Valentine’s date with Aaron.

14th — John uses the wall instead of the white board for his coloring escapades.

15th — Lost Bobby.

 — John pulled the mattress off the bed and then got stuck under it.

 — Found Bobby.

20th — Nice weather. Took kids to the park. John took off running across a field and Lydia took off after him with her military crawling. Shew as pretty fast, but ended up covered in dead, brocken leaves. 

21st — John tries to get into the exer-saucer… with Lydia already IN it. 

22nd — Spent 2 1/2 hours in the ER with John. He did not want to stand on the scale, get his oxygen levels or temperature taken, and then pitched a fit when we were finally shown our room. Another hour later, when the doctor finally arrived, John seemed fine. 

23rd — Put Lydia’s jacket on up-side-down, was in a hurry, so I left it that way. 

 — Home alone. Kids in bed. Hear a paper crackling type of noise coming from John’s room, but it sounds like its outside the door. (Freaked me out.) So, I look over and John’s pushing a piece of paper underneath the door. I go over and try to pull it from my end. Then I slip my fingers underneath and grab John’s fingers. He giggles, “Mommy.” So we talk a bit, through the door, before I bid him goodnight again. 

24th — John put his BYU shoes on by himself, on the wrong feet.  

 — Aaron’s gone. Furnace starts acting up.

25th — John pulled out about 1/2 the wipes of a relatively full package. 

 — Lydia’s just really cute. 

26th — Lydia unscrewed her bottle and was soaked from head to toe, as well as her bed. This was at nap time. 

 — No heat. 

27th — Lydia pulled herself up! 

28th — I killed Aaron’s fish this week… oops.

 — John made a swimming pool in the kitchen with only a cup and running water.

2008 Christmas Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We have had a wonderful year and hope you have too.

Let me fast forward through our lives. Aaron is still working from home with Internet Biblical Seminary. He has also worked on mrm.org (Mormonism Research Ministry), our church website lifelinecommunity.com and is currently working on CARM.org. He loves doing Temple Square evangelism and generally interacting with lots of Mormons.

Stacie is enjoying motherhood and thinks she has adjusted to having two children! She’s involved with MOPS and in September became a facilitator for a small group within the ladies Bible study and has thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the women in her group.

John Caleb is a rambunctious 2-year-old who is still getting into everything. He’s talking a lot and each day we recognize new words. He loves anything musical, Barney (surprising, I know, especially since that’s the show Aaron and I currently prefer for him!), monkeys, cars and trucks.

Now to the best part! Last year we mentioned that we were hoping to adopt in 2008 and the Lord saw it fit to answer our prayers and in an amazing way. Last year we weren’t sure which agency to use, and were even contemplating adopting from foster care. One Sunday in January, I was thinking about our adoption decisions during the sermon. I wrote in my notes, “Lord, please let me follow your will in this adoption,” so that I could continue to pay attention. Well, after the service our pastor approached us and said, “There’s a young woman in the congregation who is pregnant and would like to give her baby up for adoption. My wife said you wanted to adopt, would you like to meet her?” You can guess how we answered. During the pot luck that followed (it happened to be our church’s 3rd anniversary) we met the young woman, Katrina, her mom, and her grandma. After spending a month in earnest prayer, asking God to bless us with this baby, Katrina did choose us as her adoptive family.

On May 16th 2008, our daughter Lydia Kaitlyn was born at 8 lbs 2 oz. She has been such a delight in our family and we can’t imagine our lives without her. We have continued to have a very open relationship with Katrina and several members of her family and have grown to love them. On November 24th our adoption was finalized. We went to celebrate at Chili’s (where else?) and had a big party that evening with lots of friends. We have fallen more in love with our daughter each and every day and are amazed at the blessing she is to our lives. John absolutely loves his little sister. He gives her lots of hugs and kisses – and likes to take her toys! 😉

We are truly enjoying our home, church family, and everything else Utah has to offer. We love and miss you all. The only hard part about Utah is being so far away from those we love.

Grace and Peace in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Aaron, Stacia, John Caleb, and Lydia Shafovaloff


So, there is a state representative who wants to pass a bill that would require abortion clinics to tell women that the baby they are aborting would feel pain during the procedure (proven fact). He had a press conference today to talk about this. Anyhow, the Planned Parenthood Association sent out a request asking people to come and protest. So, a grassroots pro life movement came to support the representative(s). Anyhow, I’m holding my adopted daughter in my arms (who’s, mother btw was strongly encouraged towards abortion, how happy are we that we get to raise her instead!) And my son is standing on the steps with his little 2 year old friend. Well, I couldn’t here the representative well, but the pro-life crowd clapped. After it died down my son jumps to his feet, claps his hands and yells “YEA! WOOHOO!” From then on anytime people clapped, he jumped up, clapped, and yelled “YEA!” It was so cute. And shouldn’t it be such a wonderful sound coming from the mouth of a child at a place where women are protesting the rights of unborn children.

The Traveling Day From Hell

So as some of you know, American Airlines grounded 500 flights yesterday (Tuesday). Mine was one of them. I happily boarded my plane in Salt Lake City and flew to Dallas/Ft. Worth. The woman at SLC was so nice and moved my seat so that my 20 month old could have a seat to himself. Oh, the flight was great, he did great. Woohoo! We get to Dallas, and just before we deplane an announcement is made that all the super 80 planes are grounded due to something… I thought, surely that’s not me, I’ve never heard of a super 80 I must always fly on 7__7 when I go to Floida (where my parents live). So, I get off the plane and check my flight… CANCELLED. Oh man…

I look behind me, there exists a line of at least 100 people with one person helping. I walk down a few gates, same situation. So, I go back to the original gate and get in line. My son sat nicely in his stroller. They make an announcement that we should try to call and rebook over the phone. I do so, and they say the next flight to Ft. Myers is 6pm tomorrow… Uh… Anything to Miami or Tampa? Miami at 7:30am… I‘ll take it. What about hotel accomodations? You’ll have to wait in line at the airport for those. Dang. So, I keep standing in line and the people around me are nice enough to push my stroller along the non-moving line so that I can chase my son around the airport… who would pitch a fit every time I said no to the escalators, revolving doors, etc. Needless to say I was at a point where I didn’t really care what anyone thought of my son’s behavior nor my parenting. I let him pitch the fit, and he’d get over it.

Three hours later I’m at the front of the line. They give me a voucher for the Gaylord Texan… I think, great a hole in the wall. They give me vouchers for a taxi and I’m on my way. I arrive at the amazingly beautiful hotel/convention center and there’s an hour long line. I decided to go get something to eat at the restaurant in hopes of the line getting shorter, but after hearing there’s a 35 min wait, I decide against it. So, I go back and stand in an hour long line.

While in line my roommate from college from calls me. Great timing, since I’m not going anywhere. It’s close to 9 pm, my son hasn’t napped and I’m about 10 people to the front of the line. John finally starts screaming. The lady in front of me continues to turn around and give me and my son dirty looks. I make sure to tell my friend on the phone, loudly, yeah, John’s upset after sitting in his stroller for 3 hours. He’s got food, a drink, and he wouldn’t want me to hold him, and he’s too heavy for me to do so for long. He’s just tired and wants to move around. So, I hang up with her and all the people in front of me are either giving me dirty looks or looks of sympathy, and yet no one thinks about letting me move to the front of the line so that I can get my screaming son to bed.

So, I finally get to the front of the line. I get my room assignment and some toothpaste and a toothbrush and I’m off. (And the line is no shorter… thank goodness for not eating dinner.) On the way to my room, I pass a gift shop for kids. I get a t-shirt for my son and myself so that we have something to wear tomorrow. I also buy a 20 oz Dr. Pepper which turned out to be $3.25!!!! Sigh. I go up to my room unlock the door, walk in, and…. there’s open luggage, shoes, hairbrush, glasses, etc. all over the place. I call the front desk. They tell me the people asked to change rooms and they’ll do their best to locate them…. ha! I respond I don’t think so, I’ve been standing in 4 hours worth of lines with my 20 month old son, its 9:30 at night, all I want to do is eat dinner and go to sleep, and I have to wait until who knows how long for these people to come back and get their stuff. No. So you want another room? Duh. Yes. So 1/2 later the bellhop finally shows up with my other room key and promptly delivers the crib to my new room. I get settled, order room service, eat my $20 cheeseburger, and then go to sleep.

I wake this morning early, throw on my new shirt and throw my hair up using a pen. I am 2nd in line for the shuttle but didn’t realize the man had to take your name, so the crowd of people mob the driver, and I decide that I’m thankful for my taxi voucher and grab a cab. I arrive at the airport and get dropped off for my gate D17…. well, I double check, its C22? is that what it is C22? So, I take the tram to C22 only to realize its C2 and its 2 minutes until boarding and I haven’t eaten breakfast. Walk quick quick quick. Whew… at the gate on time. John’s screaming, more looks of pity and annoyance, I’m about to scream.

I get on the flight, and squeeze into my seat. I sit. My son falls asleep during take off. Whew. Thank you Lord. I look up and realize the flight attendent has passed me without asking if I wanted something. I try to wave him down, (he’s a row behind me) and he doesn’t see. So the nice lady right next to him tries to flag his attention with no success, so she taps him on the shoulder. He jumps out of his skin and says Oh no, you don’t touch us, you simply need to wave to get our attention. She points me out. He comes back to me, points to the button and says, you need to use this next time. Yeah, I can’t reach it. I would just like… No, I can’t help you right now you need to wait. He serves someone a tomato juice. They scoot the cart back a row to let someone in their seat. I look at the guy. I would just like…. no you need to wait I’m letting this man into his seat. Right… like you’re doing a lot of hard work by holding the cart. Finally he asks what I would like. A Dr. Pepper, but I don’t need the can. You don’t want the can. No, I don’t have a place to put it, motioning to my sleeping child. So, he comes back and hands me just the can saying its easier to put in the pocket of the seat then a cup, is that ok. Sure. Whatever. I grab the can… its luke warm, I open it and take about 4 sips. Gross. My son wakes up, it spills… thanks mister the cup would have been gone by now. A few minutes later they come by with the trash cart. Here’s this, I don’t want it. Do you have milk for my son. Yes, but you need to wait, because its in the back. Right… since the woman just walked back there to accomodate someone else. I wish my son was pitching a fight right then like he was when they were 10 rows in front of us. Fast forward. My son, hits my ear, the back of my earring flies off, and I’m reduced to teary eyes… Are you kidding me?

We land. Oh thank you. My son is soaked because I couldn’t change his diaper. He’s now pushing the stroller through the airport in a t-shirt, diaper, and shoes with his blankie on his head. Lots of laughs. I walk about a mile to almost the baggage claim and look for my brand new phone. I can’t find it. I RUN back and ask a lady to go look on the plane. I decide to look again. Found it. Nice… Feeling sheepish, I walk the mile back again, finally my parents. Amen. Two hours later, home. Ahhh..

Look up my baggage status. The flight it’s coming on CANCELLED…………. I need a Dr. Pepper.