Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Resolutions

I am going to post lots of fun Christmas pictures and stuff in my slideshow in the next few days, but I wanted to focus on the new year.

It's hard for me to fathom that 2008 is all but gone and 2009 starts tomorrow! We have so much hope and anticipation for this new year - we hope to finally move to a small town! That's been a goal of Jason and I since we met and not that we haven't been "joying in the journey" but it will be nice to finally feel settled in a place where we can have some land and build the home that we want. Jason has been working on getting his MBA, so that has kept us in the valley, but he should graduate in May, so we are so excited!

I have been thinking about my new years goals for a while now. What I've decided to do is create a blog specifically for new year resolutions. I've invited a few people already to contribute and I'm hoping that it will keep me more accountable this year. If you want to be a part of it, e-mail me -! I will add you to the blog and we can all help each other better ourselves in 2009. Just post your resolutions and try to update it every week with a progress report.

This year I've really tried to narrow my resolutions down. In years past, I've had 3 pages, typed, of resolutions that I want to accomplish. Obviously it's too overwhelming and I end up giving up. This year I've narrowed it down to priority A, B, & C. There's 25 total, and I know most of you still think that's rediculous, but hey - it's a lot better than like 100! I've also tried to use my Patricarchal Blessing, prophetetic counsel and prayer to help me make sure I'm focusing where I really need to focus.

I've decided to share a few with the world, for added accountability, so here's a few:

-To be able to see myself and others as Jesus sees us.

-To serve others more often and more cheerfully

-To pray and read my scriptures every day

-Prayerfully attend the temple no less than 10 times

- Stay out of debt and Pay tithing and generous fast offering every month

- Write in my journal once a week (doesn't include blogging)

- 1 anniversary vacation, 3 family vacations (includes camping), 1 "lovers get-away"

- Write at least one "love note" from God every night

- Get our food storage and 72 hour kids up to par.

- Appreciate my loved ones more.

- No more than 1 hour computer time each day (except on newsletter/slideshow days).

- Keep Word of Wisdom: Bed by 10pm, eat fruits and veggies and each meal and for snacks, exercise 4x a week

- Stop being so sarcastic

- Meal plan for each week.

- Plant a garden.

- Put up a picture of the temple, the prophet and Jesus in our rooms

- Keep up with the FLY lady - keep our home ready for visitors and keep the routine

- Make Birthday Books for the girls

- Transfer all camcorder tapes to DVD

- Date night w/ sweetie 3x a month
- Read 3 LDS books, 4 novels, and 3 "self-help" books

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 Hamilton Holiday Newsletter

Those of you who I have e-mail addresses for should have already recieved the link, but I'll post it on here, too. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Preschool Christmas Program

Last night was McKinley's preschool program. It was in our basement and it was fun to have the daddies there and McKinley's Grandma Potts was even there and made her yummy hot chocolate. For some reason, McKinley chose to sit down through most of it. I have not idea why, but overall I thought they did pretty good for 3-year-olds. Jason forgot the camera was on for a bit, so forgive the shaky part.

Watching the video made me kind of nostagic. I remembered the Chrismtas program we put on in our home growing up. My mom did joy school and a lot of the neighbor kids were in it. We did this Christmas program and it just cracks me up. I'm the angel who is too cool to do the actions for the songs and I like to clap for myself. Of course, this was 1985 and I'm a big 6 years old by this point, so I was merely helping out, but it is fun to watch - hopefully some of my old friends enjoy it :) Turn up your volume if you can't hear it well.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa & Sunday Dress

We had a fun weekend. Saturday morning, we went to the ward breakfast with Santa. Cindy's family came along too. It was a great breakfast and then we were off to Santa. McKinley dropped off her gift to charity and then walked right ahead of everyone to go see Santa. We had to bring her back in line to wait her turn. Jason was taking a final that morning, but came right at the end. He's done with this class, semester, and year of school! Hooray! Good Job Babe. Here's some pics from yesterday morning:

Ireland didn't cry or smile or anything - she just stared at him.

McKinley was happy to sit on his lap and finally get to tell him that she wanted a scooter bike for Christmas

Both of the girls with Mr. Claus

Santa - oh why oh why did you give them BLUE candy canes? Apparently I have been a bad girl this year. This picture was just the beginning. By the time they were done, there was blue everywhere! Thank heaven for Oxyclean!

This is a picture of the dress McKinley wore to church today. It was a dress that her cousin had given her. She LOVED it and twirled all over.

Here's a video of her in all her twirling, jingle-belling, ho-ho-hoing glory :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You think YOU'VE had a rough day

I just had to post this picture. Wow. I had a few big messes to clean up today, but I will take them now, thank you very much.
CLARIFICATION - this is not my picture. I got it off MSN. It just gave me some perspective to the messes I have been dealing with. To see more messy kids, click here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Reviews, Fun with Grandma, and 8 things Tag

I should have probably broken these up into 3 different posts, but hey - killing a few birds with one stone never hurt anyone (well, actually, now that I think of it - I guess it would hurt the birds).

1. Reviews:
-Austenland. I just finished this book last week. I thought the way she wrote was fantastic - so much like the way I think. I liked the plot and story. It was cute, funny, and romantic.

-Twilight, the movie. I don't think I've posted much about Twilight. I wouldn't consider myself a fanatic, but I did devour the books quickly and for the most part enjoyed them. Here's my review of the movie: NOTE TO SELF - DO NOT read the book before you see the movie. Sorry. I'm not saying it was a failure - it wasn't - and I certainly would have enjoyed it more had I not read the book. My biggest beefs: 1. Nature of vampires. I don't know if they would have to animate it or what, but they are supposed to be so completely alluring - so "suck you in" type creatures. The way they walk is supposed to be like dancing across the floor effortlessly. Their voices are supposed to be so sweet, beautiful, alluring. The movie? Not so much. The movement and especially the speech felt choppy - mostly during the 1st half. 2. Characters. What can I say? It took me most of the movie to truly warm up to Edward and I really didn't like Rosalie. I mean, I know we're not really supposed to like her, but I didn't picture her looking like that or acting like that at all. 3. Bella's thoughts. We heard them a few times, but I almost felt maybe like Edward - trying to just figure out what she was thinking instead of hearing her thoughts and feelings every step of the way (like the book).

The problem for me with both Austenland and Twilight is that at the end, I am left wondering to myself - so... what now? I'm sure it's just me, but it makes me feel like there must be something seriously lacking in my relationship. It makes me wonder where Jane & Henry, Darcy & Elizabeth, or even Edward & Bella are 9 years down the road? Does she still feel lightening in her veins every time he touches her? Is he content to just sit and watch her every move? Does her heart still pound in her chest every time he comes her way? I know it's just a book, but sometimes I feel bad for my poor husband to think that he would have to live up to the likes of Edward, Darcy, or Henry.

2. Fun with grandma. We had the fam over for our monthly dinner. My mom brought her Mrs Claus dress. Can't believe she still has it - she wore it my my class in the 1st grade and dressed and acted as Mrs Claus. She's such a fun grandma. The grandkids LOVE when she gets her guitar out:

3. Tagged.
Mindy tagged 8 fun things about me, so here goes:

8 TV shows I like (this one is hard - I really don't watch TV - ask Jason)
Little House on the Prairie
Anne of Green Gables
Biggest Loser
I used to watch so you think you can dance
Ok - that's all I could come up with

8 things I did yesterday
Went to church
Tried to entertain/corral all 4 of the kids (we had 2 of my sisters kids) in sacrament meeting
Took a tiny nap
Got the house ready for family
Had family over - ate homemade HUGE breadbowls & Bear Creek soup
Watched the First Presidency Devotional
Stayed up WAY too late visiting & watching a movie with the Simons.

8 things I'm looking forward to...
Christmas concerts and activities coming up
The Checketts and the Bensons coming into town
Watching my kids faces on Christmas morning
Doing my New Year Resolutions (I'm going to KEEP them next year!)
Jason to be done with school next year
Moving to a small town
Adding to our family (no, we're not pregnant)
Every day (and hour) of watching my sweet kids grow up

8 of my favorite restaurants (I mostly judge on atmosphere, meats, and desserts)
Al Fornos
The Lighthouse in Kauai
The restaurant in the Inn on the Creek
La Caille (we've only been there once, but it was great)
Cheesecake Factory
Mark Anthony's Italian Restaurant
Olive Garden

8 things I wish for...
More sleep (that's mostly my own fault)
Everyone to have a comfortable home, enough food to eat, and lots of love.
The ability to see others and myself as Jesus sees
My kids to not grow up so fast (or me to slow down)
An "Alice" (you know - from The Brady Bunch)
More alone time with my cute hubby
My friends and family to always be close

Thursday, December 4, 2008

FM100 Concert Series

I love the FM100 Concert Series that comes to the South Towne Mall. They have amazing artists, it's free, and you get to see them up close and personal! Not to mention there is the food court with the DQ with the peppermint chip shake that you can only get this time of year :)MMMMM
You can see the FM100 schedule here - let me know if you want to go to one with me! They start at noon and each artist is a 1/2 hour long. McKinley has preschool till noon, but I may have to sneak her out a little early a couple days :)
Yesterday, we went to see Jim Brickman. It was great! He sings "The Gift" which is our wedding song, so it was really romantic & special. Jason works right down the road from the South Towne Mall, so it's great to see him during the day and join in some holiday cheer. Here's some photos & a video from yesterday. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

November Newsletter & Slideshow

November was another fun, busy month. Our family newsletter link is to the right and the slideshow for the month is below. Enjoy!

Also, here are some tidbits from McKinley & Ireland.

-There was a spider in the kitchen sink and McKinley was there watching it. Mom flushed it down the drain. McKinley thought the spider liked that & then she poured her cereal down the drain and said “Look mom! The spider likes to eat my cereal!”
-If you ask McKinley what she’s asking Santa for this year, she will consistently reply “A scooter bike!” One day, we asked her if she wanted the scooter bike from Santa or from mommy & daddy. She thought for a minute and then replied “From Jesus!”
-McKinley’s latest “trick” is to hide under her fitted sheet. She thinks it’s hilarious to hide in there and will giggle and giggle. The frustrating thing is that her favorite time to hide there is when she is supposed to be doing something else – like getting dressed for the day or dressed for bed. She also likes to hide under Ireland’s crib.
-We’re sitting down for lunch and McKinley exclaims “I’m going to grow big and tall like this cup!”
-McKinley wants to know the name of EVERYone – including the little boy next to us in the grocery store, the kid’s picture in the magazine or cereal box, or the little girl in the commercial. If mom says she doesn’t know, McKinley gets upset. So… we make them up.
-McKinley still talks constantly about airports, airplanes, long trips and going to see her friend Zach who lives far, far away.
-McKinley was laying down in the bath. Mom says “McKinley, please sit up so we can wash your hair.” McKinley replies “Ok – but first I’m going to exercise!” and she proceeds to do about 5 sit-ups.
-(background – McKinley is in our bathroom a lot while we’re getting ready and she frequently asks to put on make up, use deodorant, etc and we tell her she can when she’s older) So, Jason was shaving in the bathroom sink and McKinley looks up and asks “Do I get to do that when I’m older too?”
-Most times when McKinley gets up from a nap or for the day, she will immediately ask “where are we going?” – she always wants to be going somewhere or doing something.
-She was laying down on the floor coloring while mommy was on the computer. She looks up and says “Mommy – ya know what I’m thinkin’?” Mom smiled and said no. McKinley said “Mmmm – I’m thinkin’… to color”
-McKinley woke up from a rare nap and mom asked if she had a good sleep. She said “I wasn’t sleeping – I was just resting!” (Hmmm – sounds like her daddy)
-Before mom & dad leave McKinley’s room for the night, every night, we have to tell all the bad guys, monsters, and Swiper to get out so McKinley can sleep.
-McKinley was sitting on the couch. It must have had some static electricity because she said “Mom – this couch is shockin’ me!” and then she walked over to the other couch and said “This one doesn’t have shocks on it!”
-When McKinley doesn’t want to share a treat or a drink, she just says “mom – I can’t share! I have germs!”
-McKinley is big on making up words and names. If I ask what something is, she’ll say “it’s a shnanamacook” (or something just as crazy)
-It was the morning of Thanksgiving. Mom – “Happy Thanksgiving!” McKinley - “Can we go trick-or-treating now?”
-Mommy has been more consistent about Mommy & McKinley time –and McKinley is better, too. If we get to the night time and we have not had mommy and McKinley time, she will “remind” me until we do.
-McKinley made a mess and said “It’s my fault. Sometimes I make faults.”
-McKinley has learned some bad habits recently, including eating boogers and chewing on her toenails.

-Ireland loves to hide under her crib and she will laugh and laugh – especially when McKinley finds her and they both get in there.
-Ireland now says “Love You.” It’s so sweet.
-Ireland also says her name and will point to herself and say “Ireland”
-Ireland is infatuated with my nail polish. Whenever the door to our room is open, she will come in and get into the nail polish. Mommy finds it all over the house. Good thing she can’t open it yet!
-Ireland still loves shoes – especially high heels. Nail polish and high heels – what are we going to do with her?
-When she comes in from the cold, she says “BRRRR! Cold!” and will shake her little hands like she’s freezing.
-Ireland fell backwards on our barstool and now she’s nervous about it.
-Ireland has started to hit. She will say “OW!” and then hits – usually McKinley. The problem is that the first few times Ireland hits her, McKinley will laugh and laugh, so she thinks it’s a game. We have put her in time out once already because she wouldn’t stop hitting.
-Ireland loves to say “hi” and especially “BUH-BYE!” and “NI-NITE!”
-If you say “What do you say Ireland?” She will say “please” or “thank you!” – so cute.
-She can really repeat almost any word and some phrases.
-Ireland loves books and will sometimes wake up and just sit for more than a half-hour reading books in her crib and talking.
-Ireland loves to cock her head to the side and give big smiles.
-She also loves to run around during sacrament meeting and give scowls to people.
-Ireland still loves to get into the bathroom and get into things.
-Our cereal is in the bottom shelf of the pantry. Ireland will frequently help herself!
+She is getting really good at feeding herself with a spoon – especially breakfast – and she will drink the milk out of the bowl without hardly spilling it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gerald the Grateful Turkey

I have officially decided to make this a Thanksgiving tradition. We did it last year and it was fun to do it again this year. I just trace McKinley's foot for the body of the turkey and then we trace our hands for the "feathers." We write on each finger the things we're grateful for. Gerald didn't turn out quite as cute as last year, but it was still fun to create and do. Here's the things we're grateful for this year:

-Signing Time
-Bath time

-Scooter Bike (this is what she's asking Santa for this year and obviously she's so sure she's getting it that she's already grateful for it)
-People that love me
-Cow (I have no idea...)
-Jesus (wants me for a sunbeam)

-My Family
-My Country
-Good Lovin'

Heidi (I'm going to expound a little more on mine)
-My Health. This is something I take for granted every single day. I've already been under the weather twice this season and I'm really learning to appreciate my health. And my illnesses are so insignificant compared to so so many others suffering truly horrible things. I am so thankful for my health and my body. I can see, I can hear, I can taste, I can smell, I can feel, I can run, I can breathe, I can sleep. I am so extremely blessed with my health.
-My Hubby. I take him for granted so much as well. I take for granted that he goes to work every day and strives to bring home a paycheck. I take for granted his sweet comments of gratitude about meals I make, errands I have run, or a clean home. I take for granted his smiles, his laughs, his fun and sweet and supportive interactions with our beloved children. I take for granted his cuddles, his smell, his touch, his love. I am SO thankful for my wonderful husband.
-My Daughters. It still amazes me EVERY day how powerful and deep the love I have for my children runs. Every single emotion that can be felt seems to be magnified a thousand times after you have a child - fear, joy, frustration, worry, love. And I am so thankful for them all. I'm so thankful for my amazing McKinley and my beloved Ireland. They are TRULY more precious than anything in this wide, green earth.
-A Comfortable Home. After reading the Acadian Song series, I have begun to really realize how blessed I am to live in a comfortable home. Not TOO many years ago, people truly lived different lives because they had to deal so directly with the weather. In the summer, they had to endure heat and humidity with fans, shade, and cool water. In the winter, they had to have someone constantly feeding the fire - night and day. They lived their lives at home around the fireplace just trying to keep warm. And here I am in my home - summer or winter - comfortable and able to walk all over my house and not give it a single thought. I am SO thankful for a comfortable, clean, wonderful home.
-The Atonement. I saved this one for last not because it was the least important, but because I wanted to end with it - It is truly the MOST important thing. As hard as it is for me to fathom, if all the things above this went away, I could still be happy because of my Savior. I have to constantly remind myself of this because He is the only one that can bring lasting happiness. He is the ONLY one who can truly understand my thoughts, feelings, frustrations, weaknesses and sins. Other people can try, but I often get frustrated because they really don't know. If I want true succor, true understanding, I need to get down on my knees. My Redeemer, Jesus Christ, has ALWAYS been there. Sometimes I have been to hard-hearted to feel His love, but I KNOW He is there. In my life I have wandered many times from His path, but always, ALWAYS I have felt Him calling me back to Him. Helping me remember and feel His love for me. He has never, never, never forgotten or forsaken me. I am so eternally grateful for Jesus Christ and the ultimate gift of sacrifice that He has given to me.

In that light, I wanted to post a video I saw that touched my heart. I believe a Seminary teacher put it together. I hope everyone has a wonderful, and thank-ful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting to Know You - Christmas Style

Not wanting to overlook Thanksgiving at all - I'll do a gratitude post for sure, but my friend Heidi e-mailed this & I thought it would be a fun blog post.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly wrapping (especially for the kids), but some bags as well.
2. Real tree or Artificial? My entire growing up years we had an artificial tree - my dad thought it was the most logical way to go. So, after I married, I was determined to throw logic out the window and we have gotten fresh trees every year since - for 9 years. I've been tempted to buy a fake one, but I really do love my fresh trees - especially when we go cut them down.
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down? Usually just after New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes. Not a lot, though, which is good. That stuff is like 90% fat.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably my Cabbage Patch Doll. I was SO excited that it had a birth certificate & everything. Although... the year I got skis was truly awesome as well.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Aunt Al Thea - and Jason.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes- a few. I've decided to try & buy one every year. This year I got a kid-friendly cloth set that I'm excited to let the kids play with.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? For about 5 years now, I have put together a webpage of our years' happenings and photo highlights. Then, I'll send personalized e-mails to everyone with the link.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Probably MY favorite is How The Grinch Stole Christmas - the old cartoon Dr. Seuss movie. We'd watch that a million times growing up. We can't go through a season without seeing Christmas movie and Christmas Vacation, though. And I do love Home Alone (the first one)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually November. My goal is to have it done & wrapped by Dec 1, but I think that only happened one year.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I'm sure I have, but I can't remember anything specifically.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Aunt Deb's toffee. That stuff is addicting & sinful!
16. Lights on the tree? White
17. Favorite Christmas song? How can I pick just one? I love rock around the Christmas tree, jingle bells (McKinley will sing that one with me), and Silent Night (I love it when Jason sings the Spanish version)
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home for Christmas Day - Richfield - Christmas weekend.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Of course!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.
21. Open the presents Christmas eve or Christmas day? We open one on Christmas Eve night & the rest on Christmas Day.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Foremost the emphasis on worldly things instead of the birth of our Savior. In addition commercials, store lines, stress with finding the right gift for the right person at the right price.
23. Favorite ornament theme and color? We have a rustic tree - I love the canoes and bears.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Turkey or ham. We really don't have an "official" Christmas dinner usually - just snacking on stuff throughout the day.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I'm asking Santa for a carpet cleaner - and my honey for cookbooks, a bookshelf, and some clothes.

26. Favorite Christmas Tradition? I like to help others - like sub-for-santa or 12 days of Christmas. We also have a candle tower that we light every Sunday and read the Christmas story, stringing popcorn, roasting almonds, cuddling with my sweetie after the kids go to bed and just staring at the Christmas tree with Christmas music in the background & drinking cocoa :)

I'm not officially tagging anyone, but if you haven't done it, DO IT! I'd love to see your answers!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We Seek After These Things...

I just finished the 5th book in the Song of Acadia series of books by Janette Oke. I read them about 4 years ago & I really never re-read a book, but I remember how I loved them the first time around & it didn't disappoint. I cried, I laughed, I felt the spirit intensely. These books are Christian novels set in Revolutionary War times. If you are in need of a great read, I highly recommend them.
Another book I have recommended to a few people lately is Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie. This is an incredible TRUE story about a man's journey after he died. It is a short book and will definitely put your life in perspective.
I have been thinking a lot about how many GOOD things there are in this world. About 8 years ago, I remember walking into a Deseret Book, looking around, and it truly hit me that I could spend my ENTIRE life reading GOOD THINGS. Why do I take so much of my time reading/watching/listening to things that are meaningless - or even harmful to my spirituality - when there are SO MANY things that will uplift, inspire, and bring me closer to my Savior? And not just LDS media - the 2 authors above are not LDS, but they have so much insight and have a way of making me tangibly feel my Savior's love.
So - here's my commitment - to seek better, more uplifting things that will make me happier and a better person! If you have suggestions, pass them along!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Waaaay cool Weekend

Jason & I have needed some 1-on-1 time for a while, so we asked my sweet sis Trisha to watch the girls for us Saturday afteroon to Sunday afternoon. It worked out even better than we thought because Jason ended up getting Saturday off school, so we headed over to Trisha's about 11am, dropped the girls off, and headed for Park City. It was a beyond perfect day. I found myself wishing I could have gone on a very long run, but nonetheless I got a great workout shopping at the outlets - we were there for more than 4 hours - and it was crowded! We had a great time, though, and got plenty of Christmas shopping done. As a sidenote - I got some clothes and was bewildered at the size distortion. I fit comfortably in a size 4 at Eddie Bauer and could barely fit into a size 9 at the Levis store! How's a girl supposed to tell what size she really is? Another sidenote - It amazes me every time, but even though I really need and enjoy the time off, my heart constantly is aching for my sweet girls - especially when I saw other people with their kids. It was also a bit surreal to be up there after living just down the road from the outlets for 3 years. I felt like a tourist instead of a local. Sigh...
After shopping, we headed into town to watch the new 007 movie - Quantum of Solace. I'm not a movie buff, but I would say I didn't like it as much as Casino Royal - too fast, no real romance, and so much violence. Next time, babe, I get to pick the movie!
After the movie, we went over to the Ericksons to hang out with Vic & Molly and Dan & Darcie. They were so sweet to let us just pop in. We had a great time catching up, eating goodies, and playing games. We first played Loaded Questions - great getting to know you game - girls were way ahead, but somehow lost in the end. Then it was Apples to Apples - more fun and laughter. But we really let it all down when they brought out the Rock Band gear - it was my first time playing...and you could tell. I started with the guitar. Wow. That was scary. The drums were a bit better, but not much! I thought the singing was fun, but I wasn't terribly good at that either. It was a lot of fun, though, and the best part was being with friends and just having a great time. Thanks guys!
Today (Sunday) we went to church (a bit late after our midnight jam session) and enjoyed a nice nap afterwards. We picked our girls at around 3pm - they had so much fun with their Aunt Trisha. She is so good with them and even took them to church by herself - during naptime - without Darren (he was sick) - you're awesome Trish! Thank you - We love you!

After leaving the theatre, we were driving down the road and I looked over and this sight took my breath away! It was amazing! This picture is truly lame compared to the actual sight. It was larger than life!

Anyone need a cute, pregnant, amazing drummer girl for their band? Molly was pretty good!

Our Park City band

More rocking out!

Mrs Multitask - covering for her husband's (cough, cough) lack of self-proclaimed vocal skills :)

McKinley couldn't stop talking about the fun they had on the way home. She loves her Aunt Trish!

This picture really has nothing to do with anything - other than I couldn't help but laugh at her face. She really loved my Taco Soup tonight!

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Just" another typical day

When I was a teenager and I would come home from school, my mom would ask how my day was. I would look at her, roll my eyes and say simply "typical."

Here's a rundown of my "typical" day today:

Woke up late, ran for 40 minutes on the treadmill (I HATE treadmills!), read a conference talk by Elder Uchdorf in Priesthood (great!), ate breakfast, listened to scriptures, helped the girls get ready, said good-byes to daddy, swept and mopped the floor, vacuumed, did 2 loads of laundry (did I mention that I really miss summer - where did all these tiny socks come from - and WHERE IS THE MATCH?), tried to entertain Ireland while I was getting stuff done, went to the library where I spent most of my time trying to keep Ireland out of the pamphlets and preventing McKinley from dumping armloads of books in my bag, back home for lunch, Ireland down for a nap, 10 minutes of mommy and McKinley time reading books, McKinley down for naptime/quiet time (it was neither), checking e-mail, blogs, facebook, helping mom w/ her webpage stuff, hearing McKinley yell "MOOOOM- come get McKinley!" from her room about 50 times, making calls, carpet cleaning the house - looks good but still many spots to get out, make dinner, eat dinner - McKinley & Ireland don't hardly touch a bite, a VERY short, but sweet FHE by Jason, cookies, bathtime, PJs, bedtime, more webpage stuff, running the dishwasher, reading my book, talking with Jason about his work, our girls education, and the 2nd coming.

Intermixed in this "typical" day were approximately:
-20 hugs and kisses
-3 time outs for McKinley
-5 diaper changes for Ireland
-20 "I love you's"
-10 "I'm sorry's"
-10 "By the time I count to three"s
-6 smiles because the girls were playing together
-10 cringes because there was crying or fighting
-3 dance numbers with the girls
-50+ sighs of frustration over one thing or another
-numerous prayers for myself, my family, and continued pleas for those enduring difficult trials
-incredible amount of toys, crayons, play doh and other things that were picked up

So - what makes this "typical" day so special? BECAUSE IT HAPPENED! Because I got to spend one more precious day on this earth to live, to laugh, to cry, to grow, to learn.

My mom had a Latter-Day Women's magazine from 1987 (let's see - I was 8 years old) by her computer the other day & I looked through it. I LOVED the last article. I'm going to get it painted on my wall, tattooed on my arm, etched in my mirrors... or at the very least hang it on my fridge. It's just that I don't want to forget it. Here is the last paragraph:
"Just a normal day. A normal day! It is a jewel! In time of war, in peril of death, people have dug their hands into the earth and remembered this. In time of sickness and pain, people have buried their faces in pillows and wept for this. In time of loneliness and separation, people have stretched themselves taut and waited for this. In time of hunger, homelessness, want, people have raised bony hands to the skies and stayed alive for this.
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day, I may dig my nails in the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want more than all the world - your return. " - Jean Irion

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas Ideas

So - I have been looking for some ways to earn some extra Christmas money & I thought I might offer some of my services to others. If you or someone you know would be interested in the following, please e-mail me -!

I offer the following services:
VHS and camcorder tapes to DVD transferring: $22-includes menu and chapters
How about getting that stack of VHS or camcorder tapes finally transferred over to DVD? You’ll have an organized set of DVDs with chapters to easily find what you’re looking for!

Photo Slideshow: Starting at $30
Here are some GREAT ideas for slideshows:
-Baby arrivals
-Eagle Scouts
These include music, amazing transitions, and captions!

Basic web design and publishing services: $20/hr

Finally get your idea/business/family updates out on the web! I build simple, attractive, functional websites (no login or password requirements please).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


It started Sunday night. I was feeling a bit tired and had this scratchiness in my throat. By Monday night, I could tell I was really coming down with something. Tuesday morning I looked in the mirror and was pretty sure it was strep throat. I've had my fair share in my life & my hubby prodded me to get into the doctor right away - so it was a busy morning of dropping McKinley off at Preschool, voting (I used my sleeve to vote so others wouldn't get sick), going to the doctor's - testing positive for strep throat, and then to Smith's for the Z-pack. I thought I'd feel a lot better today. No such luck. Just ate breakfast - wishing that there was some way that I could get the food in my stomach without having to swallow it. To boot, I've got this killer headache and swollen glands.

Anyway, it's a chance to slow down and take care of myself. Jason has also done a great job of that - he took the day off yesterday and is helping me today, too. I am so blessed. It's also one more reason to be thankful for the days I'm healthy.

Hopefully by Friday, I'll be in top shape again - the Z-pack usually does its job pretty good.

Monday, November 3, 2008

October Newsletter & Slideshow

Holy Shnikes - where did October go? Are we already talking about Thanksgiving & Christmas? Slideshow below (minus Tennessee - that slideshow is posted 2 below this one), Newsletter on the right.

As usual, here's some highlights from the adventures of McKinley & Ireland:

McKINLEY: Here’s some of McKinley’s latest antics:
- McKinley got a farm puzzle for her birthday and we have been so impressed. Within a week she was putting together the 25 piece puzzle together all by herself! So smart!
- Mom was in her study and McKinley was playing on her computer. She figured out an online puzzle and was excited. Mom said “you’re so smart McKinley!” McKinley responded “Yeah – I am smart!”
- McKinley loves to talk on the phone lately, but at the end of every conversation, she says “My mom/dad wants to talk to you!” – we have no idea why.
- The other day McKinley was singing Oh My Gosh to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle little star.
- Mom flashed the I LOVE YOU sign to McKinley. She hasn’t quite mastered all the signs and happily flashed a peace sign back at her.
- McKinley has been into signs lately and will ask what the sign for something is – or she’ll make up a sign with her hands and ask which sign it is. -
When McKinley comes in from playing outside or downstairs – or when she get’s done with something, she’ll say “SHOO!” (like whew!)
- Mom asked McKinley what she wanted to eat for lunch. McKinley replied “A parrot!” mom was a bit confused, but after a minute realized she meant “pear”
- We were putting McKinley to bed one night and she looks up and asks “Dad – did Jesus make my room?”
- If something falls or she makes a mistake, she say “Whoopsy Daisy!”
- McKinley wanted to help Ireland with the prayer the other day, so she told her what to say – it was funny because she said it in this soft, high-pitched voice.
- McKinley prays in almost every prayer “Thank you for (Mommy, Daddy, Ireland, McKinley) to share”
- When we left for Tennessee, McKinley was worried about Dezi the fish missing us. She also still talks about how Dezi is missing her mommy and daddy.
- McKinley was eating ice cream. We asked if she was cold. She said “Yeah… It’s freezin’ me up!” - We got the Knuffle Bunny book from the library. It’s almost the only book she wanted to read for 3 weeks. She called it the daddy book.
- One morning after waking up and going potty, McKinley announced “Daddy – my pee matches the sun!”
- McKinley was watching Dora on the plane – she had headphones on. I’m sure half the people on the plane heard her yelling “BACKPACK!” and “MAP” and “ARREBA!”
- McKinley is having problems keeping her seatbelt over her shoulder. She likes to put in under her armpit. We’re constantly reminding her that it’s not safe.
- McKinley had a lot of fun in Tennessee. Her and Zach became best pals and they especially loved to play with Zach’s toads.
- McKinley had a GREAT time enjoying Halloween this year. She was a pro at knocking on doors, saying trick-or-treat, and saying thank you! She kept saying thank you until the person said you’re welcome. Everyone loved her cute cheerleading costume and light-up shoes.
- McKinley already knows what she’s asking Santa for – a scooter bike and a car she can drive. I guess we’ll see!

IRELAND: Ireland is a constant source of joy and amazement to us. She is so beautiful & smart! Here’s some of her latest activities:
- She likes to play the game where I turn my head away and she grabs my face & pulls it back to her. She laughs and laughs!
- Ireland has really gotten into little games. She LOVES ring around the rosies. She doesn’t even need anyone to play with. She’ll just turn around in circles and fall down. It’s so cute.
- Another thing Ireland has learned is the word MINE. And she uses it quite frequently. She obviously assumes everything is hers and has not come close to mastering the concept of sharing yet. Especially with Sam, Joshua and Sienna this past month.
- Ireland can point to and say EYES, NOSE, MOUTH, TEETH, and HEAD
- Mommy sneezed the other day and Ireland said bless you! - Ireland is really down to 1 nap a day now. It’s been hard, but nice to coordinate so that McKinley & Ireland take naps at the same time.
- Ireland loves to say and look at the moon. She likes to see it before she goes to bed. - She loves Old McDonald and will say EYA-EYA-O!
- Ireland loves to color. On everything. Walls, cabinets, the pantry shelves. We finally got some color wonder markers and that has been a life-saver.
- Ireland is really progressing in her speech. She can mimic almost any word and is really starting to use 2 words together now.
- Ireland likes to chase after McKinley – they chase after each other and laugh and laugh.
- When McKinley has a friend over, Ireland likes to tag along. She gets upset if they don’t want to play with her.
- Ireland had fun on Halloween, too. She was a bit ornery until we left, but she LOVED to walk around (though mommy had to keep her from the road) and she was great at saying “Thank you!” It was so cute.
- Ireland continues to LOVE shoes – especially high heels. She saw someone at church wearing heels & promptly started taking off her shoes so she could put them on. She has a love/hate relationship with her own shoes. She wants them on, but takes them off after about 2 minutes.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I don't know how long most of you have been following my blog, but one of my first posts back in May was a plea to pray for some friends of ours who's little girl, Lucy, had chocked on an apple. She returned to Heavenly Father on May 22.
Reading their blog for the past 5 and a half months has been awe-inspiring. Truly, they are one of the most humble, faithful, amazing people I know - and I LOVE that they have shared this journey of heartache, knowledge, joy, and peace with us. They have NO idea how many people they have touched and inspired.
You should really read the entire blog, but I just had to include a few of my favorite posts. She is such an articulate, animated, amazing writer. Here they are:




Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tennessee Trippin'

So - over 2 years ago some awesome friends of ours (The Bensons) moved away to Tennessee. Mindy Benson was my roommate at Snow College for 2 years. There's something about living with someone and knowing all their quirks that helps you get real close. By some twist of fate, our husbands also get along fantastically. If you could see us hang out, you might think we're more family than friends.
Anyway, we've been trying to get out to see them since they moved - waiting for the right availability of time and money to get out there. Well, Jason had a few weeks off school and also had gotten a couple deals in, so we thought, hey, lets try. It was such short notice, I didn't think we'd get tickets. I did find some cheap ones, but by the time Jason got home to decide on it with me, they were gone. We had pretty much given up hope, after checking Priceline almost every day and making numerous bids. So, last Tuesday, I put in the typical bid & walked away. When I came back it said that our price had been accepted - and it was for the next day! So, you can imagine that it was a pretty crazy couple days getting everything ready to stay in Tennessee for a full week.
Since they were the bid-get-what-you-get tickets, the times were not fun. We flew out of SLC @ 2:30 on the 22nd and after a 3-hour-layover in Chicago (they actually had a really awesome Children's Museum there), we arrived in Charlotte, NC just after midnight. Brent met us there & off we went to Johnson City, TN. We got to their home about 3:30am and after getting the kids adjusted and the bags in, we got a few hours of sleep.
The ensuing 7 days were full of fun and memories. Some highlights include:

  • Playing games (UNO, Phase 10, Scategories Cranium, charades, etc) EVERY night till 1 or 2 in the morning
  • Eating like 2 gallons of their halloween candy.
  • The Hands-On Museum with the kids
  • Date night when we went out to eat at FATZ (yes, that is why there's an overweight problem down south) and tried fried green tomatoes for the first time and Brent decided to "splurge" and get some lemonade (of the pink persuasion :) - we also went and played a hilarious game of miniature bowling (we decided to try some variations to regular bowling - backwards, eyes closed, spin around 3 times, left-handed etc - Jason & Mindy almost inflicted collatoral damage on the eyes-closed version) - girls won! (hey guys- you still owe us!)
  • Going to Pidgeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Spent about 3 hours at Ripley's Aquarium there - it was fun, huge, and amazing! Then we walked the streets in the freezing cold and got some shirts at a shop. There are some amazing things to see there!
  • Going to their ward - watching Zach in his primary program, sitting by a woman who was an investigator. Lots of sweet people in their ward. McKinley went w/ Zach to his primary party.
  • Driving up to a lookout point by Asheville & seeing the gorgeous fall colors.
  • Jason, Brent & McKinley went to the Bristol Motor Speedway to check it out.
  • Going to the Lollypop shop and reading the history of that store.
  • Carving pumpkins.
  • McKinley & Zach finally had a sleepover after about 4 tries.
  • Staying up and talking about the economy.
  • Fun to watch and play with their 5-year-old Zach, 10-month-old Sienna, and their dog, Trixie
  • McKinley & Zach playing with his toads
  • Games in the car to keep entertained on the long drives (especially Gatlinburg) - I SPY, WHO AM I?, ONE WORD MEMORY, and NAME THAT TUNE
  • Watching Brent's "I'll go" line in the award-winning Brokeback... I mean Handcart movie :)
  • Driving to Hickory & barely making it to the car rental place. Eating at O'Charly's.
  • McKinley & Zach's kisses good-bye.
  • Staying at "roach motel" that night - all sleeping in the same bed - waking up @ 5am the next morning for our flight.

Thanks for hosting us Bensons. Love you guys - We miss ya!

P.S. Brent - did you notice that your "check engine" light is on?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Here's a slideshow with some favorite pictures of things we've been up to.
Also, there's a video with an adorable movie of McKinley & Ireland.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Yesterday, my neighbor and good friend lost her twin babies at 20 weeks. Her baby girl was born first and as I understood, lived about an hour and a half. Then her precious baby boy came and he lived a little over an hour. My thoughts and prayers are SO much with their little family right now. I'm sure they could use your prayers as well. It's breaking my heart to hear this news.
It's times like this when I plead "Dear God - send her my angels." Surely, I do not need my guardian angels at a time like this, when she so desperately needs comfort, help, understanding. I wish SO much I could take away the pain and the loss and the why's. I feel so inadequate and helpless.

This event also adds to my wondering about people we know have lost a child or almost lost a child:

- 1 family member and 3 friends lost their babies - all about or after 20 weeks.
- Our friends lost their little almost-2-year old little girl.
- 1 family member and 1 friend who had true scares with choking & had to go to the E.R. recently.

And so I can't help but ask myself why. Do we just happen to know more people that have lost children or is it that more children are actually dying? Is it that these sweet, beautiful spirits are too pure and righteous for this increasingly wicked world - and so they come to get bodies - for however brief a time? I can't help but wonder if I will have a trial that will utilize these amazing parent's wisdom and peace through trials.

Those reading this that have gone through such a trial, please help me know how I can help her and her family. It's so hard for me to imagine - to comprehend such a trial. And again, please pray for her.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where I Stand

I've never really been into politics. In fact, I'm VERY ashamed to say that 2004 was the first time I ever voted. Yes... I know. But this year I really do feel like this election is more than important - it's critical. I'm sure I'm not alone.
I have thought about this post and how I can say the things I need to say without offending anyone. Unfortunately, I don't think that is going to happen. Not that it's intentional, but I'm sure not everyone reading this will agree with me. And that's perfectly OK. That's why our country is so amazing. We have the right to our own opinions.
I don't want to offend anyone, while at the same time I don't want there to be any question where I stand. Or what I think is important. Or what my values are. Even if my children are too young to really understand, I want to write this for posterity.

I was somewhat surprised with my poll on this blog. Maybe I should have worded it differently. It probably should have read "What issue would make you vote for one presidential candidate over another?" As it is, there are NO votes for abortion. For me, this is the clincher. No - I have never had an abortion. I don't even know anyone that has. But I am against it. Our church is against it. Obama is not against it. There is a great, informative article about abortion in the Ensign this month. I encourage you to read it.

I did not list gay marriage as an issue. I should have. Again, I know only a few people who are gay. I love them as individuals, as family members, as children of God. I do not agree with their choice to act on temptation and give in to sin. I especially do not agree with changing the "traditional" definition of marriage. I put "traditional" in quotes because to me it goes beyond "traditional" - I would say more like sacred, eternal, true. I think this oft-quoted verse from Alexander Pope truly reflects our society's views on homosexual behavior: “Vice is a monster of so frightful face, as to be hated needs but to be seen; but seen too often, familiar with her face, we first endure, then tolerate, then embrace.”
Again, there is only one candidate that most encompasses my own and my church's beliefs. From John McCain's website: "The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation."

There are SO many important issues going on right now. Most people in my poll voted for the financial crisis. While I absolutely feel that it is a very important issue to deal with, I hope we don't overlook the CRITICAL ones.

The first video below is from I LOVED it. I am thankful that we are not the only church standing up for important, crucial issues that NEED a voice. The 2nd video is from our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). I believe it says all that needs to be said about gay marriage.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Striking Image

My sister Trisha has always loved doing hair - whether it is an inborn trait she has always possessed or it's the logical result of being the last of 4 girls (no one ever had time to fix her hair, so she had to learn to be creative), we do not know. What we do know, however, is that she is great at doing hair. She finished cosmetology school this past January and has since opened up a home salon in South Salt Lake - Striking Image Salon. She is looking for new clients and will offer 20% off for first visits!
Her website is -
Call her @ 801-759-2154!
Note to my Herriman neighbors: Trisha comes to my home to do my family's hair. If you have hair needs, let me know & we can coordinate!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Memory Retreat

I'm chuckling a little right now - because when I first started this blog 5 months ago, I really didn't think I'd post more than once a week at best. And now it's been not even a week and I feel like it's been ages since I posted.

Every year (note to female family - let's start making it twice - Tiff that includes YOU!) around conference time, my sisters, mom, grandma and I get together to work on memory stuff. It's the time that I usually print out a year's worth of pictures (this year was about 800 pictures) and put it in an album. I also work on transferring VHS tapes, making slideshows, backing up newsletters & photos, even some genealogy, etc. There's a lot to do, but it's a lot of fun, too. I hosted it at my house and I think we all had a great time - eating pizza, talking, watching movies, doing nails & hair (thanks Trish!), eating french toast the next morning - oh and the memory stuff, too. We actually stayed up till 3:30am on Friday. Yeesh - I don't think I'll be that again any time soon! I'm still feeling it. But - it was a lot of fun. Every time we have one of these, it makes me realize just how much TIME it takes to stay on top of memory stuff. I need to do more maintenance so I'm not so far behind.

We missed Tiff and Grandma. Thanks everyone for a fun weekend. Just looking over pictures makes me realize anew how truly, unconditionally, undeniably blessed I am.

A "work in progress shot." Just a note to anyone printing at Walmart. I ordered the "True Digital" prints which are supposed to make the photo just a bit smaller, but it won't cut off the top or bottom like regular ones do. Well, they don't tell you that to make it smaller they put a 1/2 inch white line on the left side. I spent probably 2 hours cutting them off. Ug. Won't do that again.

Cute toes that Trisha painted. You probably can't see too well, but mine have pumpkins on them, hers look like candy corn and my sister Cindy (not pictured) got butterflies. Thanks Trish!

Our projects that we were working on. Aren't we a cute bunch! I LOVE my family!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Slow Down - You're moving too fast

Don't know why (ok, ok - I do), but lately I feel like I've been getting messages everywhere that say SLOW DOWN! Here's the evidence:

1. I LOVED conference. No - there were no major "the church is moving to Missouri" or "We're reinstating the law of consecration" - but every talk was wonderful and powerful. I really loved the talk by President Monson about enjoying the journey. Sometimes it takes ALL my will to concentrate 100% on the moment. It seems my mind is 2, 3, 4 steps ahead of that moment - OK - I need to clean off Ireland & get her out of the high chair, then I need to help McKinley get down and help her put her plate in the dishwasher. After that I need to clean off the countertops... - and on and on it goes. His talk helped me again realize that I need to STOP and cherish, enjoy, treasure every moment.

2. I have many fond memories growing up of my mom playing the guitar - especially around the campfire. One of my favorite songs was "Feeling Groovy." It wasn't till MUCH later in life that I realized that it was Simon & Garfunkel who sang that song. It will play in my head at random times, reminding me again to enjoy life instead of getting caught up in the little things:

Slow down, you move too fast.

You got to make the morning last.

Just kicking down the cobble stones.

Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.

Ba da, Ba da, Ba da, Ba da...Feelin' Groovy.

Hello lamp-post,What cha knowin'?

I've come to watch your flowers growin'.

Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?

Doot-in' doo-doo,Feelin' groovy.

I've got no deeds to do,

No promises to keep.

I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.

Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.

Life, I love you, All is groovy.

3. There's that country song - If I could write a letter to me and send it back in time to myself when I was seventeen... I have thought about what I would tell myself back in high school. But then, I realized that there's not much good in that. What I REALLY need to do is look 10 or 20 years in the future and think about what I might learn in that time and what I would want to tell myself looking back to this moment in time. I'm PRETTY SURE that I would tell myself to slow down. To enjoy the breath-taking smiles that my 1-year-old flashes to me. To treasure the times my 3-year-old wants to cuddle with me and let me hug and kiss her. To cherish the silly quesions, the "help me!"s, and even the never-ending laundry and dirty floors. Because, like President Monson said - one day they will be gone. And I WILL miss them.

4. I was re-reading a birthday letter I had written to one of the girls. I tell her in the letter - as I tell her regularly - to not grow up so fast. And yet, as I read that, it hit me that she should really be telling me "Mom - look. I am going to grow up too fast. There's no changing it. No getting around it. It's YOU that needs to slow down and enjoy this time in my life.I can't slow down, but you can."

5. That other country song "You're gonna miss this" - pretty much sums it up.

And, so now that I've gotten the message, I have to find a way to incorporate it. To find more time to be with my kids and my spouse and less time doing all the other stuff that I could do. Living in the moment is so easy to say. Why is it SO HARD for me to do? No amount of blogging, journaling, picture taking, slideshows, etc can replace the actual HUG I can get from them TODAY.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hubby Tag

1. Where did you meet? We met at Snow College. He knocked on our door one Sept night because his step-dad told him to look up one of my roommates. Nice, huh? I don't think he remembered me, but we couldn't stop talking about HOT he was after he left - and an RM to boot!

2. How long did you date before you were married? Let's see - it's a bit complicated. We probably started "dating" (In Ephraim, you don't really "date" - you hang out) Dec of 98. We got engaged April of 99. We called it off about Oct of 99. Got back together Jan of 99, Married May of 2000. So - a year and a half - give or take a couple months.

3. How long have you been married? 8 & a half years!
4. What does he do that annoys you? Probably the most annoying thing is when his "in a minute" turns into many minutes and sometimes hours. I also really don't like going to sleep without him - whether it's because he's studying, playing a video game, or watching Lord of the Rings (extended version) for the umpteenth time.

5. What is your favorite feature of his? I have always loved his beautiful dark brown hair (I even think the gray sneaking in is sexy, too) and his gorgeous green eyes.

6. What is your favorite quality of his? So many, but probably his lack of defensiveness - which is totally opposite of me. He usually readily agrees when he's messed up. I appreciate that he is frugal. I also LOVE his laugh - his good, heartfelt, giddy laugh will lift my mood anytime.

7. Does he have a nickname for you? Babe usually - or sweetie. Or hun.

8. What is his favorite color? Maybe green? Yeah, I don't think he has a set favorite.

9. What is his favorite food? CHOCOLATE. His children inherited that gene as well. He loves Italian. He loves seafood (which I NEVER make so he has to eat it when we go out).

10. What is his favorite sport? Football -he played in high school - although he's not a die-hard fan of any one team.

11. When and where was your first kiss? Everyone will think less of me, but it was our first "date" (I say date again, but it was more like just hanging out at his apartment & watching a movie)

12. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? We are big cuddlers - always have been. I will lay by him and he will play with my hair as we watch a movie. I LOVE that. We do like to the theatre & see movies. We love camping and the mountains, although we haven't been much since the girls.

13. Do you have any children? Our girls McKinley (3) and Ireland (1). They make us laugh and cry and smile and grit our teeth and thoroughly enjoy life.

14. Does he have a hidden talent? Hmm - he is a GREAT pancake-maker!

15. How old is he? 31. Wow - yes, he's getting old! :)

16. Who said I love you first? Jason. We're on the phone only a couple weeks after we started hanging out. I was at my parents for Christmas. He was at his parents. At the end of the conversation, he blurts out "Ya know - I love your guts!" Hmm - how does a girl respond to that?

17. What's his favorite type of music? He grew up listening to Metallica. He loves them. But - maybe in his old age or through my discouragement with our young 'uns, he has listened to country more & more.

18. What do you most admire about him? SO MUCH! I admire and love that he will help a friend in need at any time. I love that he really cares more about his family than climbing any corporate ladder. He's not one of those dad's that retreats to the TV or back room when he gets home. He enjoys the kids and helps a lot. I admire his determination. In school, I was all about the shortcuts - gimme the Cliff Notes. He stays up reading ALL the chapters for school.

19. Do you think he will read this? Yeah - not because he always checks it, but I'll make sure he sees it!

Yup - I don't tag anyone specifically, but if you haven't done it - do it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September Newsletter & Slideshow

(DON'T FORGET TO PAUSE THE BLOG MUSIC - ON THE LEFT) Again, I'm sorry for the poor quality and small picture. It's the best I can do while still being able to burn my own DVDs on my home computer.

To the left is the newsletter and below are some highlights for the girls. Sorry there's so many, but that's how it is when you're a mom, right?

-Daddy & McKinley were looking at a book one evening & McKinley was just turning the pages. Daddy said “will you read out loud McKinley?” So, boy did she read LOUD!
-We were reading McKinley nursery rhymes one night. We said “there was an old lady who lived in a…” McKinley said “BOOT!” (she’s right – it did look more like a boot in the picture).
-McKinley is ever more sly in her bedtime aversions. Here are a few of her latest ploys: 1. One night she was crying & mom went in & asked her what was wrong. All her stuffed animals and dolls were in her bed. She said “I can’t go to sleep! There’s no room for me!” 2. She will go through all the blankets on her bed & ask who made each one (GG, Grandma Potts, Grandma Devenish, Aunt Cindy). 3. When we give her kisses and hugs, she’ll ask “do you want a big hug or a little hug?” then, “do you want a big kiss or a little kiss?”
-On her birthday, McKinley kept saying “I’m the birthday girl ____ (whoever was by her)! And “Happy Birthday to Me!”
-McKinley has loved her little doctor kit. She’ll follow Ireland around and try to listen to her heart and check her ears. Most of the time, Ireland isn’t really in the mood and she’ll yell “Ireland – you don’t feel good!”
-Mom said it was time for naps & McKinley said she wasn’t ready. Mom said “when will you be ready?” McKinley: “One day mom…”
-One rather annoying thing she’s been doing is saying “Huh? I can’t hear you!” Even after repeating multiple times, she will still say it.
-Dad’s been watching more football & McKinley says “Daddy – they’re hitting each other & hitting is NOT NICE!”
-When we sing I am a Child of God, McKinley sings “…with parents kind OF dear…” instead of kind AND dear.
-Mom was telling McKinley she needed to come to the table to eat breakfast & she came back with “Mom, that’s not a good idea.”
-McKinley has loved her new fish Dezi. In fact, she never calls her just Dezi. It’s always Dezi The Fish. She has had fun feeding her, “tickling” her and talking to her. One day she was getting a drink out of the fridge. Mom asked what she was doing. McKinley said “Getting Dezi some water!” The other funny thing was when she was watching her swim around and she said “Don’t worry Dezi – there’s no sharks in there!”
-For some reason, McKinley now thinks she hates tomatoes and whenever mom puts them in anything, she says “tomatoes – yuck!” and makes all kinds of disgusted sounds.
-Another frustrating thing she is doing is saying “____(whoever she is mad at), you’re rude!”
-Mommy heard McKinley come in from playing outside and looked over. McKinley sighed loudly and said seriously, “I’ve had a long day.”
-McKinley has been wanting more help with going potty and saying her prayers lately for some reason. One morning, she said “Will you please help me with the prayer? I’m not a mommy yet.”
-McKinley CONSTANTLY is saying “I don’t feel good.” Especially when we sit down to eat.
-McKinley came in from playing outside and was all dirty. She said “Mom, I’m not little dirty, I’m BIG dirty!”
-McKinley put on panties with cats on them one day. Mom was trying unsuccessfully to get her pants on. McKinley finally explained “The kitties don’t like pants on ‘em.”
-She has been big into writing letters to people. One day she wrote one to Alyssa Hook and cried and cried until we could take it to her in her house. She kept saying “Alyssa will be so excited! She really wants this letter!” She also wrote one to Jack Matthews and Grandma Potts.
-McKinley keeps asking who makes things – “Mom- who made this?” – even with things like car seats, computer monitors, and books.
-She is had her Barbie car shoes on one day and said “I talk to them all the time!” pointing to the barbies on her shoes.
-McKinley is VERY much into computer games now-days. The Matthews gave us their launchpad for the internet, which she loves. She will ask mom constantly if she can get on her computer. She also constantly asks to get on “PBS Kids dot KORG
-She asked one day out of the blue “Mommy, where does Jesus live?” and then “Mom – where does Christmas live?”
-Mom is in the kitchen and she hears the following conversation with Grandma Potts: Mc: “Grandma, do you like Swiper?” Grandma “Umm…I’m not sure what swiper is..?” Mc: “Grandma, Swiper is a bully!”

-Ireland has said a lot of words this month, including: Jesus, Nana (banana), Sydney, Tundra, Thank You, Grandma, Please (she can also sign all of these – except Tundra & Sydney) She is probably up to almost 30 signs and words.
-You can tell Ireland is REALLY tired when she stands by her crib and shakes the slats, trying to get in.
-Whenever Ireland is hungry and passes yummy food, she says “MMMMM
-Ireland likes to find any kind of paper (TP, paper towel, wipie) and wipe the floor and walls. It’s cute – except when they’re dirty.
-Ireland has a fascination with toilet water and T.P.
-There is a picture hanging in her room of the 2 great-grandmas she was named after (they have both passed away)– Grandma Hamilton and Grandma Potts. It’s right by her changing table and when we sit her up, she will point to the picture and say & sign “Grandma!” We without a doubt know she recognizes them and knows that they watch over her.
-Ireland is a BIG fan of shredded wheat. We are not big fans of changing shredded wheat diapers, but she likes it better than sugary cereal so what can we do.
-Irealand has been so cute during prayers. She will fold her little arms and then start talking like she’s saying a prayer in her cute little voice.
-The other day, mom was in the kitchen on her computer and Ireland comes into the kitchen dragging a big bag of cereal, saying & signing over and over “pease, pease.” It was right before dinner, but mom couldn’t resist. It was so cute.
-Ireland LOVES getting tickled from dad’s beard. She LAUGHS and LAUGHS.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tightening our Belts

So - to speak generally, things have gotten tight for us financially. Jason's last deal was in April. I'm not saying this to get sympathy. I'm not saying it to complain. I'm just stating facts and realizing that the market is not likely to get better any time soon. Jason's job is commission only and it's been slow to say the least. Am I worried? A bit. I am so thankful that we have savings and are out of debt. I always told Jason that I didn't care if we ate Mac n' cheese every night off a cardboard box (no - we're nowhere near that point). I would rather have him put his family above his work - even if it meant less pay. And I meant it. Now we embark on the adventure of creative cheap ways to eat, entertain ourselves, and exercise. I am a big fan of Little House on the Prairie. Call me a nerd, but yes. I've probably seen all the episodes - even the ones when they're older. I'm sorry, but you just don't find quality drama like that nowdays. The thing that I LOVE about it is that even though their family always seemed to have financial hardships, they were SO happy. Obviously, it is not real life, but truly I think there's a freedom in living simply and just being content and thankful for the things, the freedoms & more importantly the people we have in our lives.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say maybe we're not the only ones who are having to re-look at their financial situation and find some creative solutions. Jason had the radio on for an hour last night - talking about the nation's financial woes. The radio host basically stated that either way, we're going to have a depression on our hands. I had to eventually tell him to shut the thing off. There's a line between being informed and getting too much information - too much negativity. I think the media needs to be a bit more prudent in what it broadcasts to the public. When they say that people are starting to make a run on banks, what do you think is going to happen? Yeah - it's going to escalate the problem and cause a frenzy.
Personally, I think God is giving America another chance to be "compelled to be humble." I believe 9/11 was a previous instance - and we really seemed to be united, humble, and patriotic - for about 2 weeks.
Do I believe this financial crisis is a sign of the times? Absolutely.
Do I think it's going to get worse? Yes.
Do I believe we can pull out of it? Yes - with a LOT of change.
Do I think that we WILL use this as a wake-up call & change our ways (not just financially)? Probably not.

We're greatly anticipating general conference. Whether there's big news like enforcing the law of consecration again (OK - probably not, but you never know) or just reiterating what we've heard and maybe we're more humble to hear it, I am anxious to hear our prophet's words. Monday's FHE was on prophets. We sang ALL the verses of Follow the Prophet (there's 9 - Jason's idea). Here's the last one:

Now we have a world where people are confused.
If you don’t believe it, go and watch the news.
We can get direction all along our way,
If we heed the prophets-follow what they say

Speaking of conference, the following link will take you to a cute children's activity packet for conference:
P.S. Anyone know any really good food storage recipes?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Journey from Darkness to Light

I don't know how many of you know my mom - Patricia (Tew) Potts. She is beyond beautiful and amazing. I'd like to tell you a little bit about her. She grew up in Granger in a large family, married my dad, raised 4 girls and 1 boy (raising him alone is saint-worthy :), has done a lot of speaking, teaches guitar, and is a wonderful writer. She published "First-Aid for Feelings" last year and it's done well - you can buy it here. It's a GREAT little spiral-bound book that you can fit in your purse. It is sectioned by your negative emotion (guilt, frustration, pride) and has thoughts and quotes to help you turn that negative emotion into a positive one.

Today, however, I am so excited to announce my mom's second book that JUST CAME OUT - My Journey from Darkness to Light. In the midst of her busy, productive life, my mom went through three major life-halting depressions in her life. This book takes the reader through her depressions - what she was thinking, feeling, experiencing. I helped her edit it a couple times and it was very interesting to see my mom's experiences when she was my age and what she went through. I was too young to remember the first depression, but I remember the second one and definitely the third. She talks about what she learned in each depression - what helped her and what didn't - and the things she does to maintain her emotional and spiritual health.

I have never gone through a depression before, but I thoroughly enjoyed My Journey from Darkness to Light and got lots of tips that I can use every day. In fact, I mentioned in a previous post that I had been really down around Labor Day and I used some of her tips for getting me into a more productive, positive mindset. By reading it, I learned to:

1. Stop comparing. The compare game never helps, it only hurts. This life is not a contest. Ok - REALLY? It may seem obvious, but we as women compare like crazy. At least I do. I need to focus on my own life journey and STOP comparing. If I start loving myself for who I am - not how much I weigh, how clean my house is at any given moment, how clean and cute my kids are, how fashionable I am, or the amount my cars are worth, an amazing thing happens. I am happier! And as a bonus, things like a clean house, a better relationship with God, taking care of my body and so forth seem to happen a lot easier.
2. Improve my relationships with my family. I need to take more time out for myself and for my spouse. It is true - you cannot draw water from an empty well.
3. Prioritize. Focus on what REALLY matters.
4. Deal with the negative self-talk. I can write down the things that are bothering me and analyze how many thought distortions I am having. For example, I am very good at over-generalizing - Jason's small comment about dishes or laundry = I am a bad wife/mother.
5. Relate to and help those dealing with depression. And so much more!

So - here's my plug - buy my mom's book! Do you know someone right now who is down or depressed? Do you want a book that will help you turn your down days into positive ones?
Have I done enough bragging/advertising/promoting?
You can buy it HERE - it's through Amazon & it's only $10! What a great gift for someone who's feeling down, for yourself, or as a birthday or Christmas gift!

To see her professional website, visit:

Mom - I'm SO proud of you! - that you sacrificed the time, effort, blood, sweat, tears, and love to make this book happen. I love you!