Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time Again...

Ok, so I have decided once again to go private with this blog.  There's a lot of pluses and positive aspects to having it public, but the same is true with having it private...and I feel like it is best to close it off to the public.  So, if any of you would like to be part of the private audience, let me know!

Good times...

A couple months ago, Madelyn and Drew memorized their articles of faith--in only 2 weeks.  We gave them a little incentive beforehand and told them if they did it, we would take them on a special "date."  We had wanted to take them to a play and we looked and looked for a good play to take them to, but the ones going on around here just weren't a good fit.  
Then a week or so ago, I told Jed I really would love to take them to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat--but it wasn't showing any where we knew of.  Then last weekend my mother-in-law let me in on the info of a performance of that very musical taking place in a neighboring stake.  Knowing it was a stake production, my expectations were not very high, but I was excited to go nonetheless.  We got a babysitter for the rest of the kids, and Drew and Madelyn accompanied us on a date.  We took them to Carl's Jr. for a big Carl (man those kids can eat a lot!) and we had to stuff them down as fast as possible because we wanted to get in and get a good seat.  
We were so pleasantly surprised by the cast, the lighting, the use of stage/gym space, etc!!  It was spectacular and we had such a great time together!!  The kids adored the music and humor, as did we.  When it was intermission, they were so worried it was over!  It was such a good night. 
Then of course, to make an awesome night even better, we shared milkshakes from Artic Circle and headed home.  I didn't get any pictures, darn it, but that is a night that will live on because of the awesome time we had--and the catchy music that is still in our heads!!
 Then the next day we headed to my sisters house in Utah.  We visited and shared lunch with them and then headed for Salt Lake to go the Supercross.  Jed was excited to go, it had been several years since he had gone to one.  It was fun to drive together. 
 Claire was happy to get out of that carseat and stretch in the drivers seat.

 We found this guy with a roasted pig.....by the time we were looking for food for ourselves, the pig was nearly gone.  I just couldn't stomach eating from that pig...especially when we saw them scrape the fat out as they went....  what can I say?  I'm a wuss...
We were amused as we people watched together.  So many people from different walks of life...
 The special effects were awesome.  You could feel huge waves of heat when these flame blowers went off.  And they sent a huge smoke ring into the air which totally stumped us.  It was cool.
 Parachuters came down and landed in a precise area at the front of the track...amazing.

It was fun to watch the races....

They are amazingly good.
We didn't get to watch a whole lot of the racing, our timing wasn't perfect with our arrival and we thought we would be able to watch some preliminary races....but we missed them.  So we waited until the main event and only stayed for a couple of races.  We (I) was so worried about being away from Claire for a long time and so we felt pressed by the clock quite a bit. Then it was more racing against the clock to get home in good time.  Jed needed some good sleep for his Sunday meetings/conducting the next day. 
But we had a great time and are glad we saw what we did.  It was great being with Jed and having fun together: racing back to the car that was parked a mile away, having good talks on the drive, walking around in the pits, etc.  It was also fun to visit with my sister, and we're so grateful their family took in our little ones for a day even in the midst of crazy busy-ness at their house!

Then to top off Hannah's weekend, Jed took her on a "date" on Sunday night to make some visits.  She was over the moon about spending one on one time with her dad.  She came into the room where I was with all of the kids and said, "Guys, I have to tell you something so you don't freak out.  I'm going on a date with Dad so I'm going to be leaving.  Mom can you babysit these guys?"  Too cute!  She told Jed what car to drive and where she would sit.  She took this date with her dad extremely seriously.  She even planned out who they would visit although their plans had to be adjusted.  She had a great time and boy did that girl feel like a million bucks!!  what a sweetie...

Teaching Moments...

A few weeks ago, we received some hand-me-down dresses from a kind friend.  One of the dresses was Madelyn's size, but the style was knee length.  She was so excited to wear it and asked if she could, I looked at it and said, "yes, but I think we will need some lady lessons first."  It took a week or so to get around to it, but one Saturday, Lily, Hannah, and Madelyn all gathered in the living room with me for some "Little Lady Lessons."
Some teaching moments come on their own, others you have to create.....this was one of the latter.  Sometimes a little effort goes a long way. 
To start us off, we had a mini lesson out of the "dress and appearance" section of the For the Strength of Youth.  
Sometimes lecturing doesn't sink in, but this was just different enough and fun that I could see in Madelyn's eyes she was "getting" it.  It's the greatest feeling, when you feel like you are making a connection with your child about something you feel is deeply important.
We talked about how to sit like a lady, what Heavenly Father's standards are for modesty, how to be modest in a shorter length skirt, and what a difference having good posture makes.
I remember my own mother teaching me to be a lady, and I'm not a perfect one by any means, but those are lessons that have stuck with me.
Hannah and Lily became disinterested, which was fine, but Madelyn stuck with me soaking it up until the very end--and she loved it.
Not only did she love it in the moment, but she is doing what we discussed and learned about.  She definitely is turning into "a little lady."  Love that girl...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Birthday Time...

We had a birthday around here last week.  Drew turned 9 years old, which is crazy....that's half way to a mission.  And that thought is a little too much for my little mind to handle! 
Drew really didn't know what he wanted for his birthday, and even told me he would be happy if he didn't get anything.  Jed was in charge of gift buying this time....which was different.
 His gifts were laid out for the morning...
 I love that I can say "You're the greatest son we've ever had" to Drew.  :)

 A new fly fishing pole.

 That little Lily is just eyeing the birthday treats...
 The girls and I went to Drew's school to take him to lunch and brought him some birthday treats for him to share with his classmates.  It was a real honor for Hannah to handle them.  
P.S. check out the outfit that Lily chose for Hannah to wear to lunch!  Lots of good patterned prints put together!
Out to lunch with mom, and the little girlies.  I love our birthday lunches...

A little mischief just because I didn't have a lot to clean up that day..... hahaha....
What am I going to do with another mess maker around here?!
The cake...the one that was dreamed up 6 months ago by Drew....
kisses on the door....
Lily got into the leftovers of the cupcakes from school...
We had to wait to eat the cake until Saturday because Jed had a campout that he was able to take 
Drew to.  And Drew thought that was pretty much the awesomest thing and had a ball playing steal the flag and telling everyone jokes around the campfire, or so I hear.
It was a pretty lonely night without the birthday boy and his dad.
So we surprised him Saturday with the cake and birthday signs designed by Madelyn.
We had a little trouble keeping a certain "mouse" out of the cake, so Drew wrote a sign to place under the cake....not that this certain "mouse" can read.  :)  It is quite fuzzy, but it says:  "Please don't touch!!! if you do you will get a wippin!!  I'm serious!!"
He's pretty protective of that birthday cake!
We celebrated with our family and grandparents and uncle Troy that night.

We're so lucky to have this boy in our family.
Nine reasons I love Drew so very much:
1-He has a heart of gold.  He does his best to choose the right.
2-He works for what he wants.  
3-He's quite grateful and content. 
4-He is a great big brother.  His little sisters love him so so much!  He sure watches out for them too.
5-He just really "gets" spiritual things.
6-He thinks I'm funny.  It is so fun to have older kids because now we have a bunch of inside jokes that we laugh about. 
7-He does things without being asked.
8-He is sensitive to others' feelings.
9-He is a good builder and has a scientific mind.
Happy Birthday Drew!
We love you!!
Hope that birthday wish comes true!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Recommendation....

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a Stake Relief Society birthday celebration.  It was a wonderful meeting that left me changed.  We had two amazing speakers:  Kitty de Ruyter Bons and Barbara Thompson--formerly in the Relief Society general presidency.  
Sister de Ruyter Bons spoke about a book that she wrote that captured her experiences as a young girl whisked away from her pleasant life in Indonesia to a concentration camp run by the Japanese during WWII.  It was an emotional story and I was in tears several times, but completely in awe of this lady's mother intuition and her faith.  Not to mention the fact that Sister de Ruyter Bons has made a wonderful life despite the horrendous experiences of her youth.  It was such an incredible story, so I have checked out her book so I could remember details of the story a little better and sink what I learned from that meeting a little deeper into my heart. 
The book is heart wrenching and not sunshine and butterflies, yet extremely faith promoting.  I have felt from hearing the story (now two times) that our faith can truly carry us through anything.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A favorite weekend...

 We had such a great conference weekend last week!  I seriously love that weekend so much.  Our kids do too, but I'm not sure our motivations are exactly the same....   They look forward to hearing the prophet and other leaders of the Church, but they sure do love the egg rolls that accompany it all too.  In fact I heard endless choruses of "Did you get all the egg roll stuff?  Do we make the egg rolls on Saturday or Sunday?  When do we start making the egg rolls?" etc.
We have this operation down to a science I tell you.  I think we even made them in record time: 1hr 20 min.
Madelyn's prepping the carrots above, Drew is the food processor manager....which I am getting more comfortable with as he gets more and more practice.  ;)
 Since we only make these things twice a year, to coincide with general conference, we take it to a crazy level.  Like, we quadruple the recipe......
 Here's our line-up of egg roll constructors.
 We wrap, roll, stuff, to the bitter end of 100 egg rolls.
 I love how Hannah wears her headbands ....
 Claire is doing her part, which is just being a happy camper eating cheerios.
 Excited to sink our teeth into that deep fried goodness!  
Then we usually take the rest of the day pretty low key because we are all stuffed sick....but happy.  :)

Drew is starting to get into fly tying, here are his first attempts that he made while listening:
 Saturday morning we made a delicious brunch to eat while listening to conference too.  When our kids were younger, we drove up into the mountains while we listened to conference so we could get them to sleep while we listened.  Nowadays I guess we just stuff our mouths to get it quiet enough to hear!!
I must say I LOVE conference weekends.  They are a highlight of my year.  I love listening to the counsel we receive from inspired leaders.  My prayers with some concerns that have been heavily on my mind were answered during that wonderful conference.  I know Heavenly Father hears my prayers and now I just need to internalize the counsel and impressions I received to hopefully help me become who I am supposed to be.  
Some of my favorites were:
"We are daughters of our Heavenly Father" by Elaine S. Dalton
"Lord, I Believe" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"Being Accepted of the Lord" by Elder Eric W. Kopischke
You can get them all and more wonderful talks HERE.

Random Fun...

 Lily helped me make a whole lot of jam the other day, she was quite the help.  It was rather fun because Claire was down for a nap, and Hannah was at preschool.  She was quite the little stirrer/pourer/strawberry blender.  It was good to spend some time together and to have some one on one time with my little big helper!
 It always seems like jam should last longer than it actually does...that might last a month and a half?
 We had some diaper boxes lying around the house and of course the kids came up with a crazy fun way to make good use of them.
 baby/toddler car races!!
 Drew and Madelyn decorated and personalized them for their occupants. Claire's was the "cutie" car, and Lily's was the "most beautiful car ever."  It was quite the activity that entertained all of the kids at once!

 We enjoyed a wonderful and beautiful spring break last week.  We celebrated 2 grandparents birthdays, played at the park, went to the library, had our Easter celebrations, had a picnic and ate hamburgers and ice cream, and went to where their dad was working and played at the school playground.
(It's so nice to have big kids who help push the younger ones!)

 We couldn't have asked for better weather during spring break.
 Claire loves exploring the out of doors...
 and I snagged whatever it is that she was stuffing her mouth with....you gotta watch that girl....

 I think Hannah's artwork is adorable....and so does Madelyn.
I think it is so sweet that Madelyn decorates her school binder with Hannah's artwork!  Those are pictures she drew of Madelyn, you can be sure of that because of the curly hair and earrings.  :) 
 Now that I'm in scouts I've sort of reclaimed Tuesday nights with my kids.  We vote on the activities to do together.  We bake cookies, have airplane flying contests, games, or read chapter books together.  I love being back with my kids on that night to enjoy a laid back night of fun.
 Here is our airplane flying night:

 We also hid plastic easter eggs...

 Ok, so this might be the most random.....but it sure was fun.  Hannah, Lily and I stumbled upon playing finger puppets with play-dough.  It was so much unexpected fun that we played it for over an hour!
 We drew faces on our fingers, which they thought was a hoot.  We crafted hats for them too...
 Hannah made her little girl have pig tails.
 It just kept getting more and more involved...
 Then Drew and Madelyn came home from school and we had a full blown boutique going on for the girls.  We designed clothes and hair....and Drew made his own soccer man complete with a whole soccer field, entirely aside from the whole girly thing.  But we played that for over an hour and a half!! 
Simple and unexpected fun.
 Drew dressed his little sisters up in his soccer gear:
 My favorite picture:
LL cool H