Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Letter


I did not do a Christmas card this year. I am sorry. I hope our friends out there don't think we're ignoring them when they open their mailboxes day after day and do not find a card from us. This blog post will have to do.
These pictures are the ones we just got done. They are hanging on our wall. I love them and I love my friend Celise who came over and took pictures in our home in the attempt to get our boys to actually cooperate in front of a camera.
We've had a year of ups and downs and recently it seems like the blessings are pouring out on us. We have learned to appreciate the things we have and to stop worrying about the things we don't have. Our family is what is most important and we have been trying to just focus on that. Through the hard times this year, sicknesses, losing our house, struggling with money and other issues we have been through the Lord has blessed our family in so many ways. We always have enough for what we need and when times start to get difficult something comes along to lighten our load or help us to remember what matters most. We have 3 amazing boys! At times they are wonderful and loving and a joy to be with. At other times they are difficult and frustrating and demanding. But we love them no matter what. The Christmas season is always full of magic and wonder, peace and love. We're trying to teach our children to be like Jesus as we get closer to the day where we celebrate His birth. If we can have His peace and spirit in our home then we will have everything we need. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The house that built me


There is a song I hear on the radio that I just love. It's called "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert and of course I cry when I hear it. I pretty much grew up in the same house my whole life and so I can relate to that song. And I want for my kids what I had. A house where your roots got dug down deep. When Dave and I got our first house we knew we would not live there forever. We knew it would be the starter home, the one we started a family in and then moved along when we started to grow too big for it. And we loved that house. It was a good house. And we had fun looking for it. Our second house (pictured above) was supposed to be "the house." The one we raised our kids in, the one they came home from college to visit and home from their missions to. And we had fun looking for that house. I remember when we first walked inside we both got that "this is it" feeling and we knew that was the one for us. But things happened and that house is gone. And now we're looking again. Except this time it's not so fun. It's stressful and frustrating. There is a lot of waiting and unknowns and more waiting. And all of the houses we've looked at I haven't had that "this is it" feeling and that is really bugging me. I want the right house, on the right street, in the right neighborhood, in the right ward to raise my boys. But then I was thinking today and I thought it's really not about the house. Not really. I mean we want a house we like, one that fits our family, something we'll enjoy. But really, it's about who is in that house. The family we are, the friends who enter. That is what is going to build us, build our boys. Not the house, but the people who enter in it. Now all I need to do is just remember that and all will be well.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thankful


We went out to lunch on Saturday with Dave's parents who were here in town visiting. When the waitress came to the table I noticed she was limping. I had just been to the foot doctor and got my foot all wrapped up so I wondered what was wrong with her. The next time she came to the table I asked why she was limping. She told us she tore a ligament in her knee. I mentioned it was too bad she had to work with a hurt knee and her response was, "The doctor didn't want me to come to work but I begged him to let me work. I am the only one who takes care of my kids so I have to get paid." At that moment I was so thankful for my husband. So thankful for the work he does for our family so I can stay home with our children and so thankful for his knowledge and skills that have always allowed us to pay our bills. We don't always have money for the things we want, but we always have money for the things we need. I have been reminded so often these past few weeks of how blessed I really am and it's something that I've needed. I love how the Lord knows what we need and when we need it. I love how He shows His love to us in even the smallest of ways and how those moments stick with us through the tough times to pull us through.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recent Happenings

The other day I looked back to my blog one year ago to see how things were back then. So much has changed! A year ago we were just finishing up with the changes to our house and we had decided to take the loan modification we were offered and stay there. The boys all shared a room, Logan had just transferred from a crib to a toddler bed, Trevor was struggling in school with reading and writing, Colin was in preschool and still throwing fits and tantrums. And now, one year later much has changed. Here are a few things that have been happening around here:
  • Trevor's brought his reading and writing grades up to 77%! We're so proud of his hard work and so happy he has a great teacher.
  • Colin gets a "green" at school almost everyday. I think there have only been 2 or 3 times he's come home with a yellow. And his dancing skills are very impressive thanks to the dancing they do in class.
  • Logan loves nursery, loves when his cousin Gage comes over, he loves being the "baby" of the family, but we're trying to convince him that he's a big boy.
  • We are looking at houses and discovering that buying a house that is a short sale is actually a very long and frustrating process. We'll see what happens.
  • We're looking forward to a visit from Dave's parents the day after Thanksgiving!
  • I recently did a girl's weekend in St. George with my college roommates and we decided to make it an annual event (and next year we're all getting massages).
  • Dave registered for an accounting class and has decided to go back to school to get his accounting degree. I told him he has to get straight A's.

Dave and I very often will comment on how very blessed we are and that despite the difficulties we've had in the recent past we know that we are very lucky to have all that we do. We are looking forward to seeing what comes in the near future and we are happy that we have the family we do. As the boys get older I love them more and more. I enjoy listening to them and watching them. I enjoy the things we get to do with them. When we were getting ready to move from our house back in March Dave always said to me that no matter where we were, if we were together that was all we needed. And, like always, he was right.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halloween

My kids love Halloween. They loved driving around the neighborhood looking for houses that were decorated and they constantly made plans for costumes and trick-or-treating and trading candy. We usually decorate the house with a graveyard, but this year (because everything was packed away) we kept the decorations simple and decided to just take out a couple of things. The week of Halloween was full of parties at school, church and grandma's house. Unfortunately, that week was also full of the stomach flu. But all three boys had it the same day so it wasn't too bad. Trevor and Colin enjoyed their school parties and going to the church trunk-or-treat (I stayed home with Logan who was still a little sick from the flu) and then trick-or-treating to all of the scary house (some a little too scary for Logan). It was a fun holiday but Dave and I both decided that next year, no matter where we're living we are going to go full out for Halloween. After all, it's all about making good memories for our kids.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Star Student


Colin is Star Student of the Week this week at school. He was so excited when he came home and told me it was his turn to be Star Student. Yesterday we made this poster that he presented to his class today. Here are some of the things on his poster:
Favorite things: Legos, Halloween, Spaghetti and meatballs
Things he does not like: throwing up, macaroni and cheese, scary movies
What he wants to be when he grows up: Donut Man or a Toy Maker
If he could have three wishes he would wish for: the Dr. Bones Color Lab toy, Popsicles, and every Lego.
I got to go into his class today while he presented his poster. It was fun seeing him tell the class about himself and Logan loved sitting on the carpet with the rest of the class. I'm so glad for good teachers this year who are making school so enjoyable for my kids. And it's nice when your child gets to feel special. I think those are things they always remember.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

School picture day

School picture day was last week (I think) but we had just sent some cute pictures to Grandmas and Grandpas so I decided not to buy any this time. And, the last 2 years when I have gotten Trevor's pictures his smile comes out all wrong, his hair is messed up and it's just not that cute. So before school on picture day I told the boys to sit right down and I took pictures of them. Now even though I think Trevor is a super cute kid, his two front teeth are just sad right now. I am sure one day he will grow into his teeth (or else he'll need braces to get everything nice and straight), but for now he is going to have to go through that awkward stage of all of the teeth falling out and coming in funny. So here are their pictures for the year. Of course we couldn't leave out Logan - and darn it, I didn't even fix his hair that morning!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Disneyland!

For my dad's 60th birthday he decided to take all of his family to Disneyland! Here are some of the highlights of the trip: Logan seeing everything for the first time (and being scared of almost all of the rides except for the rides in Bug's Life); Colin saying, "That was awesome!" after going on Pirates, the first ride we all did together; seeing how they changed the Haunted Mansion ride to Nightmare Before Christmas for Halloween; seeing my kids hanging out with their cousins; being able to hang out with my siblings, their spouses and my nieces and nephews; seeing my grandma go on all of the rides with us and the happy look on her face as she took everything in; watching the fireworks from our hotel window and hearing the boys' reactions; seeing a bride get into her Cinderella carriage and Colin saying, "See Mom this place is magic!", beating Dave BIG TIME on Buzz Lightyear; watching my bro-in-law run around the park all weekend getting fast passes (we were so organized); my boys not fighting and getting along so well; my boys asking to go to the Lego store over and over again (they kept calling it LegoLand); Dave massaging my feet each night; being with my whole family for a weekend.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Disney Dance

We went to Disneyland this weekend and before I post the pictures and tell all about our trip I have to post just one thing first. While we were there Colin and Logan were dancing fools. When they would hear music around the park those two would start bopping their heads and moving around. A few times they just got out there and started dancing and I was smart enough to get it on video. It was so entertaining and funny to watch but the part I loved best was that they just wanted to have fun and they did not care where they were or who saw they just wanted to dance.
video

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our new baby

Yesterday our neighbors came by with a little baby they wanted us to adopt. It was a baby turtle and they wanted to make sure he got a good home. The boys were way excited to have a pet and after much discussion we decided to name him Mylo. We found a good place in the backyard for him to live and he seems happy there. I told the boys he will be hibernating soon and that turtles don't come out very often, just to get food and water and explore a little. But they are still really excited for Mylo to live with us. And Mylo will be the only pet these boys will ever have.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Mom there was a skull in that cave!"

Over Labor Day weekend I insisted we do something outdoorsy and fun. I wanted to be in nature and get out of the heat so we went to Mt. Charleston to go hiking. I packed a lunch and snacks and drinks and we piled the kids in the car and headed off. "Where are we going?" Dave asked me as we were half way up the mountain. "I don't know. Let's just drive until we see a hiking path," was my reply. Dave hates when there is not a plan, but he didn't say anything and he kept driving. Then I saw it. The Robber's Roost sign. My dad had told me about it before. An easy hike for the kids with a cave at the end. We parked the car and got out, walked across the street and started our hike. The weather was amazing, the air was cool and it was beautiful up there. We told the boys to look around and notice all of the things around them. I noticed how easy it was to go on a family hike now that Logan can walk, now that he wants to walk and no longer wants to be held or carried. It was fun and enjoyable and at the end there was a cave. Colin wanted to go into the cave very badly; Trevor, not so much; Logan, not at all. Colin went into the little cave and looked around and claimed he saw a skull in there. Trevor looked in but came right back out. As we looked around and then found a spot to eat our lunch I was happy. We had fun with the boys and I had fun watching them. I love the way they interact with one another, the way Dave imagines and plays with them. I love that they are buddies and that they like playing with one another (most of the time) and that they help one another out. That day was not super planned out, it was not some big, elaborate end-of-the-summer trip. It was small and simple and sometimes that is just what we need.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Light

On the second day of school Trevor had a meltdown in class. His teacher called me to talk about it and I started to worry that it was going to be a terrible year with him getting into trouble and not liking school. When he came home that day I sent him to his room for a time out for the way he talked to his teacher and told him I'd come and talk to him later. I was upset with the way he acted at school but I knew I had to approach this situation in a way that would make things better and not worse. After saying a quick prayer, I spent some time thinking about what I needed to talk to Trevor about. And then it came to me. I needed to remind Trevor of who he was. When I went into his room to talk to him he was a lot more calm and I knew he was ready to listen. After talking about what is and is not appropriate at school I told Trevor what I thought he needed to hear. I told him that when he was a baby and his dad gave him his baby blessing he said something so special that I have never forgotten it. He said that Trevor would be a light to the people around him and that people would be happy just by being around him. I told Trevor what it meant to be a light and told him that he needed to smile and be happy so that the rest of his class would be happy too. The next day Trevor came out of school smiling. He said, "Mom, I smiled today and I let my light shine!" He told me not all of the kids smiled back at him, but I told him that he just needed to keep doing what he knew was right and being a good boy. And he has. Sometimes I think we all just need a little reminder of who we are and what it is that makes us "shine".

Friday, September 17, 2010

Provence fabric

When Dave and I went to France we visited the area known as the French Riviera or Provence France. It's the area close to Italy, right along the Mediterranean. One of the things I remember about that trip and that area was the amazing fabric I saw. Everywhere we went, on the streets, at the market, there would be these racks of fabric for sale. They were beautiful and bright, colors of blue, yellow, red and green. I loved seeing them and I kick myself for not buying something when we were there. But Williams-Sanoma has table cloths that remind me exactly of the fabrics I saw on the streets of Nice. I often look at them online and dream of the day I can throw one of them over the table in my kitchen or dining room. Now that we are renting a house I keep thinking about how I want to decorate when we get a house of our own. I have always loved yellow and blue, but lately my eyes have wandered to red as well. How well these primary colors go together. How fun to have a bright and cheery kitchen. I am not at all good at home decorating nor am I crafty at all, but in my head I can see a cute kitchen with these colors. Maybe someday. It's fun to look and imagine, it's fun to plan and discover all of the things you like and want. And it will be fun, once we have a house, to get on with the decorating.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

If you don't have it, make it!

Dave is gone all day today (and all night) for Youth Conference, so I invited myself over to my mom's for dinner. I told her I would bring dessert and I wanted to try something easy and new. I recently came across a new recipe blog that I love. Easy and simple recipes, but creative and fun. It's call See Jane in the Kitchen. I have a link to it on my favorite blogs. The other day I ran across a recipe called Fudge Cake Bars. It looked so good, but when I read the recipe I realized I had everything to make the bars except for sweetened condensed milk. Then, by some miracle, I came across a post on Everyday Food Storage that showed how to make your own sweetened condensed milk. Someone was trying to tell me to make these bars. So today I set out to make the milk and then the bars. So easy and simple and I did not even have to go to the store! Hooray for food storage and for smart girls who share their recipes.

Sweetened Condensed Milk:
1 Cup powdered Milk
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Cup boiling water (put in microwave for 45 seconds to bring to boil)
Mix everything in a blend and blend until mixed well. (I had to scrape the sides of the blender a few times to get it all combined)

Fudge Cake Bars:
1 yellow cake Mix (I am sure you could use any flavor, so experiment!)
2 eggs
1/2 Cup Oil
1 recipe (or 1 can) sweetened condensed milk
1 Cup Chocolate Chips (I thought of using 1/2 peanut butter chips, but I thought about it too late. I am sure any kind of chips would work)
Combine Cake mix, eggs and oil. Press 2/3 mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. In a microwave safe bowl microwave milk and chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Stir until melted or microwave another 30 seconds and stir again (I only had to do it once) Pour over crust. Sprinkle rest of crust over chocolate. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until golden brown. (The original recipe says these freeze well.)
I could not resist and I had a small piece right from the oven. Super yummy! Next time chocolate cake mix and peanut butter chips!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer's End and First Day of School

The last week of summer I tried to do a few fun things with the kids before they had to go back to school. My friend Jessica and I met up at the Springs Preserve one day to take the kids since they were free in August. They all had a really good time, despite the heat. They loved seeing the different desert animals, looking for bugs and playing with everything. It was fun to get a few hours out of the house and have my kids entertained. We also ate lunch at Dave's work a few times this summer. The boys LOVE going to work to eat with Dad. They get to sit at the big conference table and Dave always draws them pictures on the computer they can take home to color.

The first day of school came quickly and I was happy as can be. Trevor started 2nd grade and his teacher is Ms. Nix. Colin started kindergarten and has Mr. Bryson for a teacher. Colin had an amazing first day of school! He was afraid he would be bad at school but when he came out with a stamp on his hand he said to me, "It was so easy to be good, I don't think I have to be bad anymore." He had a lot to tell us about school and all of the things they did and talked about. I think he will really enjoy it. Trevor had a good day as well, but told me they did a lot of work and it was not always fun. He said he had fun at lunch and at recess and PE. He has a few friends in his class so that is always nice. We talked about how he needs to work hard and that even if school is not fun he still needs to go and always do his best. He is hoping the work is not too hard this year and that he gets good grades. I think Trevor has the hardest time with change so I think as he gets into the routine at school and knows what to expect his days will go better.

Friday, August 20, 2010

France

I have always had a love for things French. I think it started with ballet. Learning the names of steps in French and what they mean in English. When I was in high school I took French for two years and then when I got to college I had to take a foreign language as a part of my Bachelor of Arts Degree. I actually got a minor in French because it was just three extra classes I had to take which included a French literature class, that I am happy to say I passed with an A. When I did my student teaching I taught a French 1 class and I loved it. I was not fluent by any means, but I knew enough to teach those kids. We had fun, we played games, and they learned. And those kids told me they had liked the way I taught. The teacher who supervised me in that class was named Barbara Edwards. On my last day of student teaching in her class she gave me a gift. She gave me a lovely make up case that she said was for me to use when I took my trip to France. I loved Barbara. She was so happy, kind and sweet. She always smiled. She was encouraging and supportive. She died in one of the planes that were hijacked on 9/11. I was happy I had the chance to know her and to work with her. When Trevor was a year old and I was pregnant with Colin, Dave and I went to France. My friend Pam was living in Nice at the time and I knew if we did not go then we never would. We didn't go to Paris or Lyon or any of the other places I had dreamed of going when I studied French in school, but we were there and that was good enough for me. We spent a week eating baguettes and strawberry tarts. We walked around the city of Nice and watched the people and loved the look of the old buildings. We visited museums and enjoyed the architecture, both old and new. We walked along the Mediterranean and stuck our feet in. We shopped in open air markets and tasted French treats, paninis and pizzas. We took bus tours of the city and stopped at places that interested us. I loved hearing everyone speak, I loved trying to understand what they were saying and trying to speak back. I would love to go again, but if I never do I am glad for the trip I did get.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lovely

Last week in my Bountiful Basket I got corn. Of course I wanted to grill it for dinner this week, but when I shucked it I was amazed at how pretty it looked. It was white and yellow and just so lovely. I could not stop looking at it. Yellow is my favorite color and that corn just caught my eye. So I took pictures of it. I had to it was so pretty. And after I grilled it, it was so yummy!! And to go with my corn I made an equally delicious oven roasted BBQ chicken. I even grilled a nectarine and tossed it into my fruit salad. Mmmm. We had a good dinner that night. And no one argued when I ate the last piece of corn. I had to have it. The grill does amazing things to food. I can't wait to see what we get in our baskets this time. And if you want to know what the heck Bountiful Baskets are go to their website and check it out. It's such a good deal. And you always run into friends when you're picking up your stuff. Fun times. http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/
Colin even liked dinner that night! But when he saw his corn he said, "Why does it have this black stuff on it?"





Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dinner help


We've been getting Bountiful Baskets lately and I have a bunch of stuff in my fridge that I am not sure what to do with. I have a ton of tomatoes, green peppers and onions but I know I'll never use them fast enough before they go bad. So I decided to do some dinner bags. I chopped my green peppers and onions and put them into freezer bags so I can use them when I make chili or chicken tortilla soup. I sliced green pepper and onion for another bag to use for fajitas (I'm making those on Sunday). And my mom told me that I could chop up tomatoes and freeze them. The tomatoes can be added to spaghetti sauce or canned diced tomatoes to add a "fresh" taste. I put everything in smaller freezer bags and they are all portioned out to be just enough for one recipe or one dinner. There was a cooking show that used to be on called "Make Ahead Meals". In that show the host showed how to make a menu for the week and then at the beginning of the week choose one day to prepare everything for the week and have it ready to go. Vegetables and meat would get chopped up and placed in storage bags or containers so that when you were ready to cook dinner everything was prepped. It's a great idea, but not something I do. Sometimes if I have time in the morning or afternoon I will make up my casserole or dinner and put it in the fridge so that at dinner time I just have to put it in the oven. That is a great time saver and especially good for those busy nights where you are helping kids with homework or have places to go. That might be something I'll try and start doing more of. I think with 2 kids in school now I will need to be more prepared and little things like this will help make dinner time much easier.

Beach video

I figured it out. Here it is. Short but sweet and the kids love seeing themselves in "movies."
video

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunbeam

This is how our Family Home Evenings usually begin:

video

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cooking

When I was visiting my friend this past weekend we were sitting up talking one night about stuff. We got on the subject of grocery shopping and what we make for dinner. I said to her, "I love cooking dinner. It's my time. It's when I get to do something I really enjoy, when I get time alone. It's relaxing for me, it makes me happy."
I think my love for cooking must have started back in my mother's kitchen. I remember sitting watching her cook and wanting to help. I always say to Trevor, "I learned how to cook by watching my mom cook," and it's true. A lot of what I make for dinner for my kids are things my mom made for us. And often times I don't need recipes because it's already there, already known by watching and doing it a hundred times before. When my little sister and I were the last ones home my mom told us we needed to start making dinner. We did and even though my sister was already a better cook than I was, I learned a lot from those dinners we made together.
In college I learned how to take simple ingredients and make a meal. My roommate Jamie and I would combine our food and I would make something of it. It wasn't always fabulous and gourmet, but it was good for what we had. But I really started to love cooking when I lived alone. I live alone for a year before I got married and that was the year I started making a menu. Each week I would sit down and decide what I wanted for dinner that week and I would make a menu, then my grocery list. And when I lived alone I made dinner for myself almost every night. I tried new recipes, I grilled outside, I tried new food that I had never tried before and I started watching cooking shows. I would get excited thinking about what I would cook for dinner that night and when I sat down to eat, very often alone, I always felt proud of what I was able to do.
I'm not the best cook and I don't make very fancy meals, but it's something I really do enjoy. There are very often days that are filled with things like laundry, cleaning toilets and vacuuming, listening to fights, changing diapers and all of those mom things that are not always fun and exciting. But when I can stop all of that for a moment and step into my kitchen and cook dinner I start to feel like I'm really doing something. And even when no one seems to like what I made, at least I got my time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Beach trip

Dave and I met Jeremy and Susie Sewell when we were newlyweds. I had just been called to be the Young Women president in our ward and Dave and I were sitting in church looking around at the members, trying to decide who I should choose as councilors and a secretary when we saw a new, young couple sitting a few rows ahead of us. I knew instantly she needed to be my secretary. I didn't know who she was, but I knew I needed her. That was how we met Jeremy and Susie. They lived in the same condo complex as we did and they were assigned as our home teachers. We really enjoyed our friendship with the Sewells, and 9 years later we are still good friends. Jeremy and Susie recently moved to California for a new job opportunity so a few weeks ago, on Facebook, Susie and I made plans for us to come and visit. We left on Friday and had a fun weekend at the Sewells' home. Our kids played and stayed up very late, the adults talked and visited. Saturday we went to the beach, then out for ice cream, then went back to their house to make pizza for dinner. It was a short trip, but a nice break; something our family needed. I love when the Lord sends you friends at different times in your life and how some of those friendships just get better as the time goes by. Here is a video and some pictures from our day at the beach. Of course I forgot to have somoene take a picture of our family together. Oops.
Okay, so no video. I don't know why but it won't load. But Trevor and Colin LOVED the ocean. Logan, not so much. He just stayed on the blanket and played in the sand.




Friday, July 23, 2010

Your brother is your best friend

I've been noticing lately that Colin has found a new friend in Logan. I first saw this a couple of weeks ago when Dave took Trevor to a scout activity with him. The house was peaceful and quiet as Colin sat downstairs and drew and Logan played with cars upstairs. And then the two came together and started playing with one another. They played nicely, there was no fighting and they were both laughing and smiling and having fun. Then, a few days ago I saw it again. Colin and Logan off together playing while Trevor was busy doing something else. Yesterday, before dinner, Logan wanted to go out and swim. He wanted friends to swim with him so he ran upstairs to get his brothers to come out. All three of them played for a while but in the end Trevor ended up coming back in the house leaving Colin and Logan to play. They get along so nicely. I think they have a great new relationship building. Not just brothers, but now they're becoming friends. I just hope Logan isn't too sad when Colin goes off to kindergarten in a few months. At least they will have some time together each afternoon until it's time to pick Trevor up. It's so nice seeing your kids getting along and being friends. Dave and I say all of the time to them, "He's your brother, and he should be your best friend." My greatest desire is that the three of them grow up close, that they grow up as friends.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Attempt at family pictures

A couple of weeks ago we went to a park with a friend and her daughter and attempted to take some family pictures. As soon as we got out of the car the boys wanted nothing to do with taking pictures. Although we did not have their cooperation, I was able to find some pictures I really did like because they sure did capture our boys' personalities.