Thursday, June 30, 2011

What do we do in the Summertime?

We love to get a little wet.
We went to the Splash Park and it took Hannah awhile to warm up.

Such a fun place for the kids!

Hannah finally let go of my leg and started splashing around.

The big kids had a great time and kept so busy I could hardly get a picture of them. This one was totally staged--even though Madelyn isn't looking. I made them stay put for a minute so I could document that they were indeed with us.

We also head to the Greenbelt and feed ducks and take in beautiful views.

I love that Lily points to everything as she explores.

Tossing the bread.

We also have pizza party picnics at the park.

Lily is starting to love playing on toys at the park.

We do a little fishing.....except we don't catch any fish--atleast not this day.

But with chips and swedish fish around, the kids still have a good time.

We also go to the zoo.

Madelyn spoiled me a little and took over stroller duty. Lovely!

We watched a zookeeper fruitlessly try to coax stubborn penguins to go for a swim.

Lily and Hannah are at the perfect age for the zoo. It is so fun to experience the zoo with them!! I love their zest and excitement for every little thing. So much fun.

There is Lily with that cute little pointer finger again!

We also love packing picnics and going to all sorts of parks. I love picnics. I love enjoying a meal outside and keeping my kitchen free of crumbs and spills for one of the meals of the day! Win win.

And of course we love playing and making new friends

We are so glad that it is sunny and warm! We are really having a great summer.

We also took care of our neighbors goats for a weekend. Pretty fun. I wish I would have gotten pictures, especially when we took them out on leashes to go for a walk.

It really has been fun to go on several adventures with these kiddos. I really am loving the summer break! It definitely has its difficult times, but I love being able to go out and do so many fun things with my favorite little ones!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Memorial Day

Yes, I know it has been awhile since Memorial Day...but wanted to make sure and write some things down. We had fun visiting graves on Memorial Day.

We visited Ellie's grave.When we arrived, we saw that someone had already decorated her grave. Thank you, to whomever that was. That means a lot to us/me!

Jed and I have always enjoyed finding the graves of his ancestors. We would enjoy finding mine too, only most of mine are in Utah. We had tried a couple of times to find these headstones, and this time we were able to find them! Finding headstones of your ancestors gives you such a connection with them. It is so neat to me that we live in the same area as some of these people lived.

I don't know how we ever could have missed this one! It is one of the fanciest and oldest ones at the cemetery.
Jed's grandma, Ruth, joined us for the fun. It was fun to find headstones of some of her ancestors too! Then we all went out and got our favorite burger at Dixie's Diner....Mmmmm. The best hamburger in town.
Jed and I also discovered that we're related. In more ways than one. When we were first married, we took a Family History Class and discovered similar names in our pedigrees. The dates we had for the names were different, so we just thought it was a funny coincidence. Well now that the new Family Search is out, we were able to discover that our previous records for those people had some mistakes. They are in fact, the same people!! We share the same great great great grandparents!! Crazy! I'm sure they were probably just waiting for us to discover this on the other side.
So we're kissin' cousins!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Today I've been pondering to myself about life/motherhood...and I have come to the conclusion that if I could figure out one thing, 99.99% of all of my problems/issues/stress would be solved. The one thing? Balance. Balance encompasses so much, there is so much in life to balance.

*balance mom time vs. everyone else time

*balance time between siblings, or spending the most time where the most attention is needed.

*balance scripture study, exercise, chore time, lesson time, YW prep time, you name it "time"

*finding balance in my expectations of my children--what is too high? what is too low?

*finding the balance between stepping in on a situation, or letting it play itself out

*balance in extra-curricular activities

*balancing out my mood!!

You get the picture. Even though my last balance suggestion (my mood) seems silly, I think that affects most of my stress of all the others!! It is crazy how much influence I have in this little house of mine. Mostly, a little scary. It seems if I don't handle one situation as well as I would hope, boy, does that ever have a domino affect in the rest of everyone's moods!! That old saying is so true: "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!!"

I loved a talk that was given at our Stake Conference this weekend, by Elder Cornish-newly called general authority. He spoke about gratitude. When gratitude is present, anger and resentment, frustration, and I would even add stress, cannot be. I think gratitude can rid us, atleast partly, of our stress because it can refocus us on things that are eternally important and significant. I often stress about things that in the long-run, don't have a lot of significance.

In our last General Conference ensign there is a story I absolutely love about the young merchant who sold all his possessions to go be part of the California gold rush. He worked day after day, but couldn't seem to find much gold. He was ready to quit when an old prospector approached him and complimented him on his rock pile! The young merchant, discouraged, said there was no gold and was ready to go home. The prospector told him there was gold and he just needed to know where to find it. He hit two rocks together, and inside there were shining flecks of gold. The young merchant noticed a bulging leather pouch on the prospectors waist and told him he was looking for gold nuggets like the ones in his pouch. The prospector opened the pouch and the young merchant realized it was full of tiny flecks of gold.

I, of course, read this story and it reminded me of being a mother. When I notice those tiny shining flecks of gold, the world is so amazing!! I love being a mom!! It is the greatest treasure in all the world. But I admit there are days, when I see there are more rocks than gold. Those are hard days!! I really want to "balance" my life by focusing on those gold flecks. I know I talk a lot about "moments," because they really are what bring me the most joy. When I focus on the "gold" somehow my worries about balance tend to work themselves out. Mostly because when I think of joyful moments, I'm being grateful. When I'm grateful, the Spirit can talk to my spirit. When I have the Spirit's influence, it can help me with solutions to even the tiniest problems I may have.

And I'm grateful for that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My baby is ONE..and still my baby

I can hardly believe it, but Lily has celebrated her first birthday!! It's funny to remember that when Drew turned one, I thought he was so big. I remember running in to one of Jed's acquaintences at Wal-Mart and he asked, "how old is your baby?" I was almost offended and in complete shock! Baby?! He was 13 months!! Now things are different. Lily is one. But she is still my baby. I remember my parents calling me their "baby" when I was a I understand.

My children are not afraid to dig into food, make messes, or eat insane amounts of sugar.

Lily had a blast and seemed to know it was her special day.

If you look hard, you can see that grandpa has a crown on his head. I'm not sure he would appreciate this...but Lily thought it was absolutely silly!

We love this little Lil like crazy. Madelyn put it well the other day, "I love Lily in our family." I do too! And I think everyone else would heartily agree.

Things she loves:

  • cleaning the toilet--you can be sure that if she is in the bathroom, she is going for the toilet brush in the cabinet and you will find her at the toilet bowl with the brush--scrubbing.

  • she loves her little pink blankie.

  • she loves hiding in daddy's hanging shirts in our closet.

  • she likes to dance.

  • she loves her siblings

  • she loves to play and wrestle with her daddy.

  • she loves to say prayers--almost without fail she will fold her arms and say her "prayer" before the person who was called on. Possibly my most favorite thing she does.

Things she does not love:

  • bananas--what child doesn't love bananas?! I've always relied on bananas for an easy, quick, baby-friendly snack...

  • she does not like having to go inside from playing outdoors.

  • mommy leaving the room.

Things she has learned to do:

  • walk.

  • say "hi," "mama," "dada," "uh-oh"

  • wave--mostly with her palm facing towards herself. I love it.

  • has the most expressive face.

  • jump on the trampoline.

  • "feed" herself. Messily of course!

  • drink from a sippy.

  • be such a sweetie!!!

    On our kids' first birthday, we usually set up a few items on the floor. Things that might "represent" what they will be when they grow up: baby, scriptures, money, calculator, violin, and I can't remember what else we put out. But Lily came out and instantly pointed to the violin. I of course thought it was cute!!!!!

Happy 1st Lil!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Adventures

It has finally gotten warm enough to go out and play in water!! We've been getting irrigation water to water our "lawn" and the kids had a blast. Hannah's diaper was pushed to its absorbency limit--the camera doesn't even capture it's actual size!

We pretty much had a lake in our yard. I think we're really going to like this!!

Taking a break from the water.

We floated paper boats, played a little water soccer, made mud cakes, made mud waterfalls, and the kids played catch in the water with our neighbors. It entertained them and me for hours.

Drew swimming! It is the perfect depth for kids!

It was awesome. I can't wait until we get our floaties out!

Our neighbors taught a "soccer camp" to raise funds for their scout camp. It was an awesome idea, and so convenient since they live across the street. The final day of the soccer camp they had a game. Drew really likes soccer and is playing on a team in a couple of weeks, so this was a great warmer-upper.

Hannah watching the big game.

Some action shots.

Hannah caught a worm. She is not a very squeamish girl.

Drew and Madelyn made this "Ant City" with rocks and they put Watermelon inside. I was surprised to find the watermelon gone in the morning and ants populating the city in excess.

They thought it was great!

Our summer is off to a great start. We're getting a lot more situated in our summer schedules and that helps things run a little smoother. I love having them home and Madelyn and Drew are pretty much glued at the hip. We've really eaten up any opportunity we've had to go out and enjoy good weather! We're excited for more.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Stars Aligned

So this week I was able to meet up with some of my roommates from my college years. These ladies are amazing. I think it was a year and a half since I last saw the two ladies to the right of me, and 2 years since I saw the lady to my left (at her wedding!). It is just wonderful that when we are together it's like time has stood still and we're still the greatest friends. It is amazing that our situations are so different: one is continuing her own education, two are starting families while their husbands finish schooling, one lives in Dallas Texas, one married a man from Sri Lanka and has the most beautiful little baby boy-the bluish eyes and dark skin are just so striking, and two of these ladies are actually sisters-in-law now. I love that our situations and stories are so different, but they are what they are supposed to be! Heavenly Father has led us down different paths and I'm just so glad that our paths cross every now and again! I love these ladies! We had some great adventures together! They have always been such wonderful friends and they really are top-notch.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grocery Store Angels

Today was a shopping day. Not my normal shopping day, because I put off going for a couple of days...we've been out of milk since Sunday! By the time we finished with our regular to-do's we arrived at the grocery store about noon. I will never make that mistake again.... The inside of the grocery store looked as if it was an hour before Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone in town forgot to buy the turkey! Now that it is summer, I've got all my little ones with me and at that point, were very tired and hungry. Not good. It was wild--to put it briefly!
We saw a man in the store who was missing a hand and had a hook in its place. So my children noticed, and their imaginations went wild with them. I told them not to speak too loudly about it, and that I was sure he was a very nice man...and not Captain Hook. Well at the craziest point of the shopping trip (Hannah screaming loudly in the cart stepping all over the food and eating marshmallows through the plastic, Lily pushing out of her seat belt and her screams demanding that I take her out and carry her, the other children dragging themselves on the cart and pushing the cart in undesirable places), "Captain Hook" (for lack of a better name) stopped and said, "Are they having fun yet?!" I just said "Oh yeah, it is a little too busy in here for us today, but we're gonna make it, huh guys!" He just smiled at me and said "cute kids." Not but a couple of minutes later, "Captain Hook" returns and asked if there was anything he could do to help me, and distracted my children with a little conversation. Even though there wasn't really anything he could do at that was so nice of him to ask and distract my children's mind off our eternal shopping trip. I have had other grocery store angels, ones who have bagged my groceries when I was in tears from crazy outbursts of a two-year old little boy, ones who have caught my runaway produce in the parking lots, cashiers who have distracted overly tired and cranky little ones while I sign or type in card information, ones who have come to my aid and returned my shopping cart, ones who have donated shopping carts, and those lovely grocery store baggers at certain stores who take my groceries out to the car and load them for me. I am ever so grateful.
Days like today remind me of one of my favorite motherhood stories--I don't have the exact story but this is the basic idea. A mother is grocery shopping with her little daughter. The daughter was struggling and throwing fits throughout the shopping trip. The mother would quietly say encouraging words like "we're almost finished Suzie." "Just one more aisle and then we're through." "We're headed to the checkout, Suzie, and then we will be able to go home." A lady then comes up to the mother and compliments her ability to stay calm through the chaos of the entire trip. The mother then responds, "there is something you should know. I am Suzie."
I love it. And today I felt just like that. I was sure we were leaving before we ever got that much needed milk. Someday when my little ones are grown, I hope I can remember these difficult times and be someone's grocery store angel!!!