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 - sunkist64@hotmail.com!

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: