Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I know I've been missing in the blogging world for awhile, but I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Isn't this just the best time of the year?! Brad and I watched "the Nativity Story" movie last night, and it was wonderful. With that and the Christmas Devotional a few weeks ago, I've been able to focus even more on Christ this Christmas, while doing all of the fun "giving" stuff, too. We've overheard Mallory talking over and over again about "baby Jesus" and all that she knows about Him and His story. It especially sweet to know that your children understand the true meaning of Christmas, even when they're super excited about Santa coming to town. :) I'll update when things get calmer around here. Probably after the new year.....so, Happy New Year, too!
These were taken after the snowstorm we got early Saturday morning. We got close to 2 feet of snow in about 6 hours. It's been snowing lightly since then, and school was cancelled the two days it was scheduled this week. We had a blast going out in it on Saturday to dig out at least one car and to play around. The middle picture was taken on the way to my parents' on Sunday. Those of you with fancy cameras could have taken gorgeous pictures of the snow-covered trees. It was BEAUTIFUL! The girls were eating lots of snow that first day. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Singing 3-yr old. and a Blast from the Past

The other day, Mallory started singing to me, so I grabbed my camera. She has just recently started insisting that she get to sing "all by herself." Take a look....I almost cried when I watched them back. I love her soooo much! :)



video



"Popcorn Popping"




video



"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" turns into the ABC's





Check out this blast from the past...........Lite Brite!! Do y'all remember those? Oh, I spent hours upon hours playing with my Lite Brite....creating masterpieces, if I do say so myself. :) I must say, though, that ours back in the day were nicer because you could make much bigger picture creations. But, the new $10 version has a handy-dandy rolling compartment for the colored pegs. Bethany bought hers the other day with her own money, and came straight home (after the H1N1 vaccination clinic) to work on this first picture. She was quite proud of it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bethany's PT Conference

Brad and I went to the elementary school for Parent Teacher Conferences last night. We always try to meet with the PE and Music teachers as well as the classroom teacher. I know that the resource teachers get pretty bored during conferences, and I want to know how Bethany's doing in all of her classes. It's always great to hear that she is doing very well. The PE teacher said she's really come out of her shell this year and is really performing at a level above her age group physically and coordination-wise, and then the music teacher told me she is talented. She is recommending her to a piano/music teacher at the local college which she doesn't usually do for children as young as her. A mother's heart swells with pride....aaaahhh. :) Now, I need to find a piano....oh, boy. When we went into her classroom, the teacher closed the door and said, "what can I say about Bethany? I wish I had 20 of her!" I know - it sounds like I'm bragging, but, really, I'm just pleased to hear she's doing so well. A LOT of 1st grade parents have been complaining at our school about the strict teachers, the higher expectations for behavior, and the struggles their kids are having, so I'm relieved to know that our child is doing alright. Whew. The teacher pulled out a "squiggle" that Bethany had done for us to see. (a squiggle is a paper that starts with one small shape or drawing already on it and the kids add to the drawing while creating a character and writing 3 sentences about it.) This is the one she showed us:



This "squiggle" started with a bow tie. In case you can't read the words, it says, "My character is my mom. My mom likes to cook. My mom even likes to play with me." At first, I thought -- oh, how sweet! She made me her character. And, then I read the part about liking to cook, and I had to try not to laugh. (Brad was trying not to laugh, too...it's a good thing he knows better ;) You all know that this is not one of my strong suits, but I have been cooking more often lately. I can definitely say that although I don't always "like" to cook, it's great to know that she thinks I do. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

HALLOWEEN 2009

TRUNK-OR-TREAT


The Youth had games for the kids which Bethany really enjoyed. Mallory played a few games, and then she took a break........

to eat her winnings. I don't know how many candies she'd eaten before I noticed her hiding next to a chair in the foyer.


Brad walked the kids around because he would have to work on Halloween night. The girls got way more candy this night than on Halloween.


Afterwards, Brad went on a visit with the missionaries and the girls and I went home to sort the loot. Bethany is a "Butterfly Fairy" and Mallory is, of course, a "monkey".


My cutie-patooties!
Halloween night, colder and rainy.

I love this picture of them waiting for the people to answer the door and give them treats.

Bethany has become very comfortable with "Trick - or - Treat" and "Thank you", but Mallory was very shy this year. Except at one house where the man said, "you're the cutest monkey out here tonight!" and she cracked up laughing all the way back down his sidewalk. (??)

More Mallory...

I feel guilty that I don't have more pictures of Bethany, but Mal and I spend a lot of time together and so I have to take pictures of just her sometimes. She actually posed a
bit for me, which is rare for my girls. There are a few Halloween costume pics from a
few days before Halloween when she just HAD to be a "montey" at home
while she watched WordWorld on PBS.
I COULDN'T RESIST A SHOT OF THOSE CURLS!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Whew, that's over...

I prepared for, taught and am finished with my big nervous-feeling-causing class for the Stake Relief Society event on Saturday. I felt so relieved for that evening...then Sunday came and the realization that now I must take on the array of primary needs that have been put on hold for the last week or so. But, anyway, the class went well. I sat through training meetings for a couple of hours, and was too nervous to eat much during the luncheon, but when I got started with the first of three groups, things just fell into place. You know how it is - you prepare, and prepare, and condense, and then when the lesson arrives you get through about 1/10th of the material you have. I felt like that was how it was supposed to be, though. With each particular group of ladies that came into the room, the discussion went different ways based on what the Spirit led us to focus on. I love how that always happens. I felt like the 2nd and 3rd groups were a little too quiet sometimes, but we still had great moments. I am working on my "Priority" list now, and finding where I may need to make some adjustments now that I have new responsibilities in my life. The quote that I made into a magnet is this:

"A wise man once distinguished between 'the noble art of getting things done' and a 'nobler art of leaving things undone.' True 'wisdom in life,' he taught, consists of the 'elimination of non-essentials'." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Even though I was in the minority for a while, the women who find themselves with not enough to do, most of us have more in our hearts and minds that we want to do than we can possibly get done. It's tough to say, "No, I can't do that right now.", but sometimes it's necessary. I'm sure you've seen the object lesson where you try to fit something like large rocks into a jar with lots of little marbles or pebbles.....the big things won't fit if the little ones go in first. My big rocks, or top priorities, have to be the spiritual and family ones. God, spouse, children, church service...that's how Elder Oaks broke it down. And I put 'self' right there with God because if my relationship with God comes first, then I'm doing alright as an individual. I'll be strong enough to be who I need to be for my marriage, children, and church family.

I know some of you out there understand this......why is it that for the two days prior to this presentation I spent most of my time making handouts?? Bethany asked if kids were going to be there because of the candy cards, but I told her, "no, grown-up ladies like candy, too." :) I'll post a pic of the handouts. The little cards are the quote magnets, and in case you can't read the candy card, it says......
"Isn't it About Time? (the class title) Make a 'commit-mint' to yourself, and to your Savior, to make the best use of the time you've been given! (Andes mint) 'NOW' is the time to set your priorities straight, so that 'LATER' you can enjoy eternal life! (Now and Later)"


The stationary quote says,

"We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Friday, October 16, 2009

My sweet girl....

So, today.....well, yesterday because it's now almost 1 am, and I'm not sleeping......I finally got the haircut I've been saying I need for months and months. 9 inches, people! Ok, some people probably think - haircut, big deal. Well, I've always had long hair....I might cut it here or there, but still it's always longish. I guess because I go through such a shock adjusting to a haircut, I expect the people I know to notice right away and comment. But, not one single person noticed today, and I saw all of Brad's family, some friends, and even my husband got home tonight and DID NOT notice or say a word!!! Now, back to the "not one single person".....EXCEPT Mallory. She say my ponytail sitting in the car when I picked her up from preschool, and said, "what happened, Mommy?!" with concern. I told her I got a haircut. She was super excited about it. She must have said three times throughout the day, "Mommy, your hairtut is awesome!" Oh, how I love that cutie! And, Bethany would have noticed right away, I'm sure except that I had a raincoat on and she heard me tell my mom on the phone before she actually saw my hair. I have faith in her observation skills. I'm a little disappointed in everybody else, though. I'll get over it. Well, Brad may have to suffer a bit first. ;)

Friday, October 9, 2009

On a more serious note....

I just visited a friend's blog where she had posted a couple of other blogs that were inspiring to her. How often do we think, I really should take more time to do something for someone else? We serve our families everyday, but what about reaching out to someone else just because we can? I know most all of you do-- you all are nice people. :) But here is a simple way to help this sweet girl named Taylie who is suffering with cancer. By visiting this link and posting it to your blog or Facebook, then contacting this lady and posting a link to her blog (and letting her know by commenting on hers) money will be donated to this family to help as they face the challenge of their little girl's illness. Everyday I am thankful to have my children, and especially that they are healthy. I know we're blessed, and when I know of others who are not so lucky my heart goes out to them. A few minutes taken from your day to post this will be worth it....to Taylie and to those who love her.

This makes me laugh....



We weren't feeling all that well during General Conference last weekend, so we stayed comfortable at home while we watched. Bethany decided to clip her play earrings on Brad, and when I saw that he actually let her do it I grabbed my camera. We had a nice little laugh and then I rewound the DVR to catch part of the talk that we missed. He's gonna get me for posting this! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Too simplified??

In the last few years, I have drastically simplified my life. I only do what I want to do, or what my calling asks of me for church, or what I need to do for my family. There are very few extras going on in my life. I pretty much like it that way. I have felt like my priorities are in order for the most part. However, I do miss playdates, playgroup, visiting friends, having a friend visit me. I think my life has become too simplified. But, the Lord has seen fit to change that recently. With a new calling, and projects that have all come at the same time, I'm a bit overwhelmed now. I'm out of practice at handling more than a couple big things at once. Here is my to-do list for the next week and a half:

  • Do a Primary project board that overviews what primary is all about for the missionaries' Open House on Sunday.
  • Write the Primary program by Sunday, or more likely adapt one I found online to fit our smaller primary.
  • Write, create, plan a class on priorities for our Stake Relief Society meeting/activity on Oct. 17, where I will also be going to primary leadership training.
  • Get myself organized and ready for our first presidency meeting.
  • Meet with the staff at the elementary school to discuss the volunteer coordinating I will be doing with them.

Some of that stuff is kind of intimidating. My problem is that I want everything to turn out just perfect.....and I don't know how I can get it that way, so I think about it for another day or so and then I'm behind schedule. But, I'll get it done.....somehow. :) I know we all have some weeks or months that feel especially busy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall has arrived....it's Forest Festival week.

Bethany's allergies are going wild, hence the red, puffy eyes....mums are aplenty.....and the weather is bouncing around like a basketball. Warm and windy days, cold and windy nights, and then cold days, then more warm days.....that's okay. We are enjoying it. I took this first picture last night because it was our first night out to the Forest Festival carnival area. We walked downtown and rode carnival rides for a couple of hours, raced the piggies which is a carnival game, and had carnival food....yum. Their caramel apples are on the counter right now, and it's taking tremendous will power for me to not eat them while they are unattended. :) Hopefully, I'll get some better pictures this week and I'll share. We went to the Buckwheat Festival on Saturday, in the rain, but it was still fun. Mallory's new favorite thing is "harades" -- yep, parades with an h. She is excited for the parades this weekend, and she wants to see the "ween" - queen. We are going to have a week jam-packed with carnival, food, parades, crafts, park activities, and more. Wish you all could be here to enjoy it with us!



Mallory is wearing her new backpack in preparation for church Sunday. She LOVES this thing..thank you, Aunt Shannon. "Little Miss Sunshine"....do you all remember those characters from when some of us were young? There is a whole page of them on my Facebook Photos of Me page. The names aren't right, but there were little books with these characters named for their personalities and moods. Notice in a post below that Jaxson got a backpack that has "Mr. Strong" on it....very appropriate.
Because I took Mal's picture, Bethany posed for one, too. Doesn't she look like a little lady? Where has the time gone?


I loved this one....Game Day cheerleader.

Soccer

Fall soccer started in mid-September for Bethany. She really enjoys soccer. This is her first season in the U8 league, so she's playing on a bigger field with more soccer rules and even a goalie. It's so different from U6. But, they do still tend to just all follow the ball instead of passing. It's a lot of fun to watch, and the kids are getting a great workout. Since Bethany enjoys running, this is a great sport for her.

I know this one is blurry, but I like the action. See what I mean, though.....three kids from the same team going after the ball.

I like that the kids are still friendly about the competition at this level. Friends on opposite teams are still friendly.

She's so cute in this one....I just wanna squeeze her!

Jaxson's 2nd BDay












My nephew, Jaxson, turned 2 in September. These are some photos from his birthday celebration in the park.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Fall!

I think I used this background last year, but I had to use it again because IT'S FALL today!! I love fall.....you all know that. I'll try to take some better pictures this year of the leaves as they change. Some trees have already started, the nights are getting darker earlier, and it's cool in the evening and morning. I love it! Jackets, sweatshirts, soccer games, and football, too. Festivals are coming up....this weekend and next week. It's time to buy some mums. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My last 36 hours.....

In the last 36 hours......

  • Mallory and I walked to and from Montessori yesterday, which meant about 40 minutes for me and I loved it! I felt so good I did yoga in-between walks, too. Yay me!
  • I went to WalMart -- twice! Ugh. It feels like I need to get better about combining my trips, but I'm forgetful these days, and it's so close to my house.
  • I put away most of Mallory's birthday gifts and sorted out some baby/not-played-with-so-much toys to make room.
  • Had Bethany's best friend, Brynna, come over after school yesterday and before school today because her mom was working....no problem, she's a sweet girl.
  • Went to Bethany's soccer field AGAIN, this time to do team pictures.
  • Went to the church to meet with the Bishop to turn in names for counselors to serve with me in Primary, and assorted other names were discussed for the many needs of our primary.....whew. Pray for me people - this is a first for me - always the counselor, never the president, which has always worked out nicely for me. :)
  • Put the kids to bed without Brad 2 nights in a row (two more nights this week to come, too)....argh, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? It's nothing compared to my Army wife friends. (Young Men/ Scouts and work)
  • Went to the school THREE times today -- meetings with the principal and pick-up.
  • Had Girls' Movie/Livingroom Picnic Night......"Bolt", not finished yet - kinda cute.
  • Was stalked by an angry primary parent because of family feuding between her and her sister and their daughters, which played out in primary on Sunday......(seriously, she came to my house looking for me, but thankfully I was gone-- Are you praying for me yet? :)
  • Played Memory with Mallory, and she kicked my hiney!
  • Let my heart sing when Mallory opened her Barbie Happy Meal toy and said, "Mommy, I wuv it! Iss so pwitty! I WUV it! Tank you!"
  • Had a proud Mommy moment when Bethany's soccer coach said, "She is so good! She is the best listener on the team. How do you do it?!" She came to me a sweetie, so I just got lucky. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mallory is 3!

Mallory woke up at 6:30 yesterday in anticipation of her birthday. She got to go to "school" where she blew out the birthday candle and they sang Happy Birthday to her in sign language. Then she chose to go to the Steer Steakhouse with me for lunch where she overtook my BLT sandwich, and as a super-special treat got a teeny-tiny Diet Coke of her own. The people we ate lunch with, including Brad's parents, sang Happy Birthday to her and she smiled very shyly and jumped into my arms and said, "Thank you, Mommy. That was reawy nice." When she got to our house, I had decorated a little bit with Disney princess stuff and she said, "Mommy! I wuv it! I wuv my party!" She then attempted to nap, or at least pretend to nap while I baked more cake -- but most of that time she yelled for me. For the rest of the day she kept talking about and preparing for her party which wasn't scheduled until after dinner. When it was time to get Burger King for dinner, she refused to leave the house..where her party was, see. "No, I stay here." "We'll have to leave without you Mal -- Grandma and Grandpa are waiting for us." "Okay, bye Dad! Bye Mom!" I had a moment then that is not parenting perfection, but I didn't know how to get her out of the house without being really hard on her on her birthday, so I said "Oh, no, Mallory! The police are going to come and get Daddy and Mommy because little girls can't be home all by themselves!!! You have to come RIGHT NOW!" She was like, "oh! ok." And out the door we went. Don't worry....I then proceeded to tell her how police officers protect people and if they think parents aren't protecting their kids, the parents can get in big trouble...etc.etc.etc. so that she wouldn't think police are bad or scary.

Then, BK.....remember my post about Brad's experience a couple of months ago at a BK? It was worse this time! This play area was tiny and Mallory was afraid to come down. My sister went up first, but Mallory still wouldn't come out. Brad had to crawl up again and rescue her. I WILL remember to never let her go into these again...at least not for another 6 months or so.

So, we were almost late for our own party. Presents were opened, cake and ice cream were eaten, and little Mallory was celebrated!!! Good day!
I wasn't planning this cake, but Mallory kept telling people she was going to have a pink cake. What? I make cupcakes - Betty Crocker - nothing fancy, no decorating except for maybe some lettering and sprinkles. I had already made chocolate cupcakes, but I pulled out a flower mold and did another batch of cupcakes - went to Walmart again looking for pink icing and voila! She was happy and I tried something new. Tasty, too. Maybe someday I'll learn cake decorating like so many of my friends. It looks like fun.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Our weekend...

We spent a couple of nights at Snowshoe Resort with my brother and his family this weekend. I wasn't sure what activities would be available since it's a ski resort, but I was pleasantly surprised. They have a shopping village right in the middle of some of the condo areas, and they run the ski lift down to the lake where there are lots of activities like paddle boats, canoes, a swimming area with beach and chairs with umbrellas, playgrounds, hammocks hanging in the trees, climbing walls, bungee jump things, volleyball, shuffleboard, etc. It was really nice. And, of course, swimming pools with slides which we had to visit even though it was around 70 degrees up on the mountain. In fact the difference in temperature from our condo on top of the mountain to the lake at the bottom of the lift was about 7 degrees.
We're now catching up on sleep because Mallory continued to keep us awake with her yelling, fussing fits at the condo, too. She did sleep all the way through the night last night...woohoo!!
(I didn't think I'd ever say that again after she turned 18 months old. ugh.)


the Pirate Ship was a big hit







Elizabeth, Jaxson, Daniel, and Matt



This is a picture of the girls wearing their "My Aunt Rides and So Will I" National Motorcycle Museum t-shirts that my sister, Shannon, bought for them. I will email some more to you, Shan. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My tired Mallory....

Some background.....the night before last, Mallory cried, yelled, and screamed for her Daddy from about 1 am until 4:30 am, THEN she would not fall asleep during her naptime yesterday, THEN she would not fall asleep for her naptime today....( and yes, I'm scared that she is a. growing out of naps or b. growing out of her crib comfort and we're not ready for a big girl bed or c. both) ....So, imagine what kind of mood she was in for the rest of today.


(In the car this evening)

Bethany - "Mallory, did you miss me today when I was at school?"
Mallory - huffy "NO! I di naw misshu."
Bethany - "What?"
Mallory - extra loud "I DI NAW MISSHU!"
Bethany - "But, Mallory, my school was farther away from home than yours."
(whatever that has to do with this ??)
Mallory - very snooty "I know!"
Bethany - "Well, I love you and I missed you, Mallory. That wasn't very nice."
Mallory - with humility "I sorry, Betany."
But, the whole evening went this way....AND she cried and fussed for an hour after I put her to bed tonight.....seriously?!? How is she staying awake?! I had to rock her like a baby to get her to sleep....which was kind of sweet, but we don't want to make a habit of it. Hopefully, our Labor Day weekend away at a nearby resort won't be like this.

Oh, yeah -- Mallory started Montessori preschool today. She will be going 2 mornings a week, sometimes 3, and is super excited. She did not have any trouble leaving me, and I convinced myself to stay busy and do chores while she was gone to keep my mind and body occupied. It worked and my floors are shiny. :)