Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

December is always a whirlwind month for us.....the first half of the month is stressful with finals and then it's a scramble to get things ready for Christmas. This year was an even bigger adventure because we all came down with colds two weeks before finals and then the next week, we got the stomach flu. Lovely timing, right?

The good news is that we got it out of our system in time to enjoy our anniversary and Christmas!
showing off our cranky faces (and eating shirts)

very happy child

a girl who loves her pearls (or at least her mama's pearls)

Stocking time!

This Christmas I enjoyed the little things...and rejoiced in the reason for the season. A wonderful time to ponder and grow in the spirit.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Hair Story

The Hair Story

A little old lady went to the mirror one morning and noticed that she had only three hairs on her head. As she looked into the mirror, she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." That's exactly what she did. And, she had a great day.

The next morning, at the mirror once again, the little old lady noticed that she only had two hairs on her head. Looking herself right in the eye, she said, "Today, I think I'll part my hair down the middle." That's exactly what she did. And, she had a great day.

The next day, as the little old lady looked into the mirror, there was only one hair on her head. She looked at that one lonely hair and said, "Today I think I'll wear my hair in a pony tail." That's exactly what she did. And she had a great day.

The following morning the little old lady looked into the mirror and there wasn't a single hair on her head. Her eyes lit up, and she said, "Yeah! I don't have to fix my hair today!"

I love this story. And wish I could be more like the lady in the story. There are so many things that can weigh us down, and yet if we turn those things upside and look at them another way, we might have something to be grateful for.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Catch Up

I have so much to catch up on so here goes:
Fall Fun: Fall just takes my breath away. I can hardly say what I feel when I see all the beautiful colors and feel the crisp air. And to me, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can compare to the first leaf-crunching experience of Autumn. LOVE LOVE LOVE the crisp mornings and warm, golden afternoons....

Halloween Festivities: Katie really got into Halloween this year. We're lucky her costume actually survived long enough for her to wear it on Halloween. She would wear that thing every single day, and be bumme dout if I took it off long enough to wash it. Favorite quote from Halloween:
Justin, after first trick or treating door:"Katie, did you get some pretzels?"
Katie(sounding very pleased): "No, we got sugary things."

Thanksgiving Celebration: I received a shock when I learned (from Justin, no less) that not everyone enjoys parades, and there are people who don't watch the Macy's THanksgiving Day Parade. I love the parade. For the last few years, I haven't been able to watch it because I don't have TV, but I did watch clips of past parades on the internet to get my fix....It was a great way to start out the day.

Holy Smokes, we had so much to be grateful for this year. Like our NM experience, passing classes, overcoming significant personal trials, good health, and wonderful day to day experiences.
We did lots of thankful activities throughout the month to celebrate our blessings, but on Thanksgiving, we did a special activity that was the icing on the cake.
Earlier in the week, Katie and I made, a turkey pinata(seriously, the turkey pinata was so fun to make)...sorry, no pictures of that (BUT there's a video ;)). And after we broke the turkey pinata, the kids found the candy had words taped onto each piece. Random words like "beds" or "underwear" or "electricity." Then we talked about why we were grateful for beds, underwear, electricity, etc... Such a great time bonding with Abbi, Spencer, and Emily.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Suddenly 3

I sure love this little girlie. There are so many things I could say about her. I remember the first week she was born, I was staring at all her perfect little features and wondering what her personality would be as she grew older. I can honestly say that she is so very, very different from what I imagined...but I wouldn't have her any other way. I pictured a quiet, almost timid little blonde girl. Well, she turned out blonde, but definitely not quiet and most definitely not timid. This girl is full of life!
Puzzles...tricycle...coloring...reading books...playing steam roller...baking in the kitchen...telling stories...pretending...dress up...all things princess...blocks...asking why, how, when, where...alphabet...numbers...tying dough...doing her own hair...picking out
The Birthday Bash!
We chose to enjoy the rare sunshine on Katie's birthday, and have her party at the park. It was very cold, but I'm glad we did it. I only wish I had been able to take hot chocolate with us. We had a few friends there with us which I think was really important to Katie. She is very social and loves to have friends around for everything. At the end of the day, I asked Katie if she had a good birthday and what her favorite part was. She said with out missing a beat and with surety, "Eating cake." I don't know if any other human being loves cake more than Katie does. She lives for cake. It was such a fun day and I loved watching my Katie-baby "get into" all the festivities.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I love my Daughter

Katie: Mommy! I have to go to the bathroom
Me: Do you need help?
Katie: No, I am going to poo
Me: Alright.
Katie: You better get out of here because it is going to get stinky in here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Wedding

Congratulations to Joseph and Paulette LeMieux!

We're happy for you and wish you the very best.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Disney Land!

1st Trip to Disney Land (at least for Katie and me). Justin has been several times, and we left Gracie with Aunt Suzanne. So fun. It was almost too much for Katie to handle. She just wanted to be everywhere at once.

Katie's Disney Experience:
Favorite Ride: Autotopia with Uncle Garrett
Favorite Thing to Do: Meet the characters. Loved the princesses of course...
Most Magical Moment: Mickey Mouse dancing with her and kissing her hand.
Favorite Princess Moment: Meeting Ariel
Favorite outfit: Emily, Justin's sister, made Katie a Cinderella dress to wear to Disney land...she will hardly take it off long enough to's filthy now and I need to wash it, but she won't leave it off long enough for me to wash it.
Favorite Quotes from Katie: "I want to be IN that show." (at the end of the parade)
"I want to find Ariel and take her back to the castle with me."

My Disneyland Experience:
Favorite Ride: It's a Small World
Favorite Thing to Do: Watch Katie meeting the characters
Most Magical Moment: Watching my exhausted child dancing to the parade music, not wanting the fun to end.
Favorite Time with Justin: Riding Autotopia together.

I wish we had been a little more prepared for Disney and planned a little better, but it was a great experience. And I am glad we went. The very best part was watching my little one have dreams come true.

Bott Beach Bash 2011

Justin's family had a reunion last week. We had a blast on the beach. Katie told someone yesterday "My mom calls me her little beach bum." And she was. From 6:00 am until dark she was out in the sand. The first words out of her mouth every morning: "Can I go outside and play in the sand?"

It was so great to get to know Justin's family a little better, and meet some relatives I hadn't met before. What a wonderful family!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Out of the Best Books"

I love to read.

I love to learn.

I love the library.

I haven't done much reading in the last year due to my high maintenance children and my inability to read in moderation. Once I start a book, it's hard to keep me out of it...So I have been refraining from this favorite indulgence. However, in the last couple months I have had questions about all sorts of things. The library hardly ever fails me so that's where I turned. In the last two months I have read all about:

  1. Interior Design
  2. Kids Crafts
  3. The glycemic index
  4. abdominal exercises
  5. housekeeping
  6. parenting
I have several books on hold to teach me several other things. I have been learning so much lately and it has felt great. It's like being back in school without the assignments and tests. How invigorating it has been for me to learn something new every day. And who knew I would find some answers to prayers in a book about home make overs!
Love, love, love the library. What a wealth of information. Now that most of my questions are answered, I'm going to find a novel to enjoy. Any suggestions?

So now it's your turn. What have you been wanting to learn about? What are you learning about now? What are you reading? What do you want to read?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gracie's Birthday

Bubbles, Balloons, and Birthday Cake!

Gracie's birthday cake was my first attempt at fondant frosting. I was pleased with how it turned out. Katie enjoyed helping me cut out the circles and flower. I foresee many fondant cakes in our future. Grace was excited about her cake until she tasted it....she's not a huge fan of bread-like textures, but Katie more than made up for Gracie's disinterest. We had a great day with Gracie despite all of our belongings packed and a little stress about moving.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

See Gracie Grow

Born Aug 12, 2010
Blessed October 10, 2010

4-9 months

9-12 months

I'm trying my best to not be emotional about this, but seriously, is she one already? It seems like yesterday I was begging and begging Heavenly Father to just let her be born already, and now she is turning one. My heart is just aching to hold onto this little ray of sunshine and not let her grow up. Reaching milestones is a bittersweet experience, but this time, I think I am tasting the bitter a little more....Slow down, Time. I need more time with my little girl.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Catch Up

1. Katie pretending to be a dog eating dog food
2. Toni and Katie at La Plata Canyon enjoying smores
3. Katie at Aztec Ruins
4. Father's Day
5. Mesa Verde National Park

Most of these pictures are from my family reunion. SO FUN. Afew are from spending Independence Day in Mancos, CO with Justin's family, probably the best place to spend the holiday. It's a very small town, and everyone sits in the park together and they light the fireworks right there in front of everyone. Lots of music and fun. A couple pictures are from a day at the park. We go to the park nearly every day, and we would die without it. Gracie just learned to go down the slide, and Katie finally got brave enough to enjoy swinging. Now I can hardly get her off it. The last few weeks have been so much fun they have just flown by. We got to enjoy a visit from Justin's mom for a few weeks, and we miss her already.
Yesterday was our latest adventure, going swimming and fishing at Navajo Lake State Park. We had to park at the top of a rocky hill, and then climb down carrying the girls, and all our stuff. And at the bottom of the hill, Justin's flip flop broke. So when the time came to climb back up, Justin climbed back up with one flip flop and one bare foot, carrying Katie and a back pack. But it was a fun day. It was good to cool off in the lake and swim around. When we were starting to head back up, a deer came walking down the other side of the hill. It was cool to see one right there just a few yards from us.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day

I could go on and on about what a great husband and father Justin is, but I don't think Justin would like that, and so I'll just say I think he is WoNderFuL!

Here are a few rarely known facts about this great guy I am married to:

He can whistle better than anyone I know
He is the best water balloon filler-upper I know
He can fit my fist in his mouth
He likes to cook and is very good at it
He watches Andy Griffith with me
He watches "A Man for All Seasons" quarterly
Favorite books: Lord of the Rings
His comfort food is Italian especially pasta with meat sauce
He is banned from Disney World
Dislikes picking out the girls' clothes
Does a very good Mr. Limpet impression
Doesn't like to dance
Can eat Chinese food for breakfast

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oh What A Joy

Justin and I were called as Primary teachers and taught today for the first time. Let me tell you it was so fun. We've never served together in a calling before, and it is great. We teach the 11 yr old girls in our ward. What a great bunch of girls. They had such great insight, and there are going to be some lucky boys out there when those girls grow up.
I haven't sat in a sharing time in a very long time, and I loved it today. How touching those "little" voices are when they are when they are belting out songs. Today they were singing "Praise to the Man," and I was soaking up every minute of it. In that one song they made me laugh and cry. What enthusiasm and energy. My experience today taught me a new meaning of "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Primary callings are the best kept secret in the church.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rising to the Challenge

In January, our stake presidency asked us to read the Book of Mormon and the 4 Gospels by our stake conference which is this weekend. I finished in the nick of time, yesterday morning.

I am so glad that our stake presidency gave us this challenge. It really helped me become more diligent in my scripture study, and I learned so much this time around. I loved reading the Book of Mormon and the Gospels in such a short time because different patterns and lessons stood out to me. The repetition in the Gospels gave me new understandings I hadn't had before, I am deeply grateful for what I have learned.

Anyway, this challenge got me to thinking about how challenges help us grow, and when leaders ask us to do things, it's not for them. It's for us. It's all about our growth, and they ask us to grow because they love us. So thank you, Leaders, for giving me the opportunity to grow.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Attitude of Gratitude

"My mean cat, Lucifer"

I love Farmington, NM. Sure I have only lived here for two and half weeks, but I am loving it here. It's the right size, in a good location, and has all the things we like to do here. I am so grateful that we didn't get the internships we applied for in the Salt Lake area. Blessing in disguise.

We've had a lot of those lately, blessings in disguise, I mean. Like giving up dairy. I thought it would KILL me to give up cheese, but it hasn't (probably because I know it's Temporary with a capitol T), and I have gained so many blessings from it. I have lost weight. I have widened my food horizons and tried new things. I have gained a whole bunch of new recipes, and learned a lot of new cooking skills because of it. And I have practiced a lot of self control--it's good to do that every once in awhile.

Another blessing in disguise, we did not want to have to pay double rent for the summer, but we are. The great thing is that I have a place for myself and others to stay during the Family Reunion (which I am soooo excited for) and then we don't have to go through the hassle of moving all our furniture and stuff, finding a new place when we come back and getting packed and unpacked again and again. Also, the company Justin is interning for decided to give us a housing stipend which pays for one of our rents.

And we LOVE this little house we are renting. I wish I could just buy it right now. The neighborhood is a little rundown, but a lot safer than our neighborhood in SLC. But this house is perfect for a starter home. Katie absolutely loves that she has a yard she can go play in by herself. We have big windows that overlook the yard, so I can see her at all times--that's the only reason I let her out by herself. And I love that it has big windows and lots of glorious sunshine. I am just happier in this little house. I love cooking my kitchen which is saying a lot. I don't usually like cooking. But this week we have had several new recipes just because I feel like cooking something new. There is plenty counter space which makes a huge difference for me.

The other blessings in disguise have been personal trials Justin and I have faced in the last year. Talk about currant bush experiences...over and over again. However, they have been opportunities for growth and I am so grateful for what I have learned from it all.

So lately I have been overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for everything in this beautiful thing called LIFE.

Monday, May 23, 2011

An Old Woman

Birthday Fun!
We went to lunch at an old-school A&W where they bring the tray out to your car and you hang it on your window. Katie thoroughly enjoyed did the rest of us.

It's the first birthday I've had where I got to spend the entire day with my husband. So fun!

Thanks everyone for the birthday presents. I really scored this year. New running shoes and the very best Tupperware ever from Justin. I love them.

Mother's Day

Best Mother's Day Ever! Here's why:
  1. I got to spend it with my own mother
  2. My First Mother's Day present from Katie (a pasta and yarn necklace made in nursery, more precious than pearls)
  3. Oreos
  4. Brownies
  5. Flowers
  6. Sisters

For Aunt Toni

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Little Nonsense Now and Then

Justin had a pretty good case of the hiccups yesterday. Katie walked by and remarked, "Daddy, you sound like a dolphin."

You know you reach a new level of parenthood when you and your husband exercise to the beat of Yo Gabba Gabba...after the kids are in bed.

Justin was reading Katie Book of Mormon stories last night before bed, and Katie points to the Liahona, and says "It's the Honi Lia!" Sometimes she gets syllables mixed up and reverses words...never ending source of amusement for Justin and me.

Katie: MOmmy, what is that?
Me: Garlic
Katie: Can I smell it?
Me: Sure
Katie: Oh, that tastes smelly.
Me: You mean that smells tasty?
Katie: Yeah

Katie was playing in the backyard the other day. Justin or I burnt something on the stove in the process of making dinner. When I called Katie to come in, she stopped at the garage door. "I can't come in there. It is too smelly"

We've been having lots of rain lately and our little flat-topped pueblo house just couldn't take it so we've had a leaky roof. A man from the roofing company came over today, and when he asked Katie's name she told him "Honey."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A New Adventure

Today marks the start of our new adventure in New Mexico. So far so good. Our landlords are wonderful. They are kind and even had food in the fridge for us when we got here. Justin's mom grew up here and has several cousins that still live here, one of which came over shortly after we arrived and brought us dinner. So so so kind. I am continually amazed at the kindness of others.

Our little home for the summer is very cute and is perfect. We will be spoiled by having a fenced yard for Katie to play in and having separate rooms for the girls. Tomorrow we will find where everything is and maybe do a little exploring.

It will be different living in the desert, but I'm excited for the fun things to do here. Here are a few things we saw on the way down: