Thursday, May 26, 2011

My HANDsome Man

Back in September I posted this picture of what my wrist looks like at the end of almost every day. It seems like I'm finding rubber-bands all over or that I'll just put an extra one on my wrist in case someone needs one.



Well, like Mother like Son....this boy woke up one morning with the tiniest of rubber bands on his wrist. I had remembered hearing him kinda whimper in the night, but he fell right back to sleep. Matt was the one that got him up in the morning and took these pictures. The picture on the left looks like the rubber band is still there, but it's not. He was swollen for a good couple of days and still putting rubber-bands on his wrists. I didn't realize he had started my bad (didn't know it was so bad) habit.


He recovered just fine. Those piano playing fingers will still work just fine! Actually I remember my Dad always saying something like, "you'd better not ruin your shooting hand by jamming your fingers playing the piano." Anyway, I guess right at first it tingled a little bit, but really he is just fine now and still the king of our world!


And always getting into something!


I know it won't take him long to figure out what we did to his favorite little room in the house!


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Thomas is everyone's little buddy! We gotta HAND it to him...he's quite the little man!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pink Ninjas!

I don't know how to type the karate/ninja sound effect that the girls make after screaming PINK NINJAS and then striking this pose:






We thought we'd try a little bit of a more competitive soccer league this spring with Kaylee. It turned out all right. We struggled a little bit in the league we were in, but I was proud of Kaylee for sticking with it. We were so excited about the coach she was going to have, but unfortunately he can't coach anymore, so the team has fizzled out and we are back to trying new things. These girls were sure fun though! They worked so hard! Go Pink Ninjas!




So, now what do we do with this girl?! She wants to try everything! Right now she is in girls' softball....well...that is if we could ever get a game in with this rain. She wants to start dance....she misses gymnastics....she wants to play the violin, but piano lessons are free. We also just love to stay home and be together. Sometimes that makes me feel like a lazy parent, but I know that's not true. Everything seems so competitive at such a young age. We feel like we have to decide now what they are going to be good at and put ALL of our time and ALL of our money into that one thing. But my kids love EVERYTHING! Hmmmm....decisions decisions. I really really just love that we aren't very busy right now and that my little family can gather around the table at night and be to bed at a great hour! However, I LOVE watching my kids enjoy the activities that they are in and have been in. Where is that balance? Any advice from my faithful "listeners"? :)


She is quite the cute soccer player though huh?! She really did have such a great time! Way to go #12! LOVE YOU!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Women's Conference


I LOVE Women's Conference! Thousands of women gathered together in the Marriott Center and all around campus in Provo to serve, laugh and learn together. I LOVE my Book Club girls that I get to share this experience with! Heather and I sang in the choir together and one of the songs that we sang was "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good". I remember this hymn as I think back on Laramie and my college days a little bit, but wow, the words were so powerful as I sat and sang them with one of my best friends and thought of all my best friends near and far. I have always been blessed with "Christ-like friends whose gentle ways, strengthen my faith, enrich my days!"

The first day it was just 4 of us! We loved doing the take and make projects that go to those in need, and I even did some recruiting for a young women cross-stitch project that I'm working on.


There was 6 of us on day 2 and then we got to meet up with 2 more for dinner!
We even brought them fun treats so they wouldn't feel left out! ;)


Something new we did this year, that I really loved and didn't know if I would, was to go into the service learning rooms and do some service projects while we listened to the speakers. I spent most of my time cross-stitching, but I did crochet a receiving blanket while the other girls made these cute headbands for cancer patients and other cute flowers and projects. Look at us working so hard!


Keeping my hands going really helped me to listen better and I didn't think it would. I was still able to take some great notes. I've been posting some on Facebook, so hopefully I won't duplicate too much.

Sometimes I can have a really hard time coming home from big events like women's conference or girls' camp or even conference weekends. I get all these goals in my head that I want to accomplish the first day and then by day 2 I crash really hard. I didn't do that this year, thanks to the first and last talk of the conference. In the first talk Sister Virginia Hinckley Pearce quoted
Alma 37:6: "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

She also talked about a sticky note she kept on her computer that said, "Keep it small, keep it simple, give it time."

Then, Elder Bednar was the last speaker (he is definitely one of my favorite apostles!) He talked about not being a spiritual spurter! The whole talk was fantastic but at the end he talks about being frequent and focused like a drip irrigation system. Not a spurter who "who is given to short bursts of spectacular effort followed by frequent and lengthy periods of rest". "If you and I are focused and frequent in receiving consistent drops of spiritual nourishment, then gospel roots can sink deep into our soul, can become firmly established and grounded, and can produce extraordinary and delicious fruit,”

So, now, I will share some of my favorite quotes and hopefully we can all remember to just take things one day, one step, one moment at a time! :)

It is essential to slow down a little.

PRAYER WORKS!!

Ideals are stars to steer by; They are not a stick to beat ourselves with.

We compare our biggest weaknesses with others' biggest strengths. We become bitter instead of better. "The only person I need to be better than is the person I was yesterday."

We are a work in progress.

I didn't give you this calling to move the rock, but to push. So push along.

We are rather ordinary people trying to do an extraordinary work.

We live with an inseparable connection to the priesthood. Is my home blessed every hour by the strength of priesthood power?

Battle, don't suffer!

We need to be grateful for the giver, not just the gift.

We need to devote more of our prayers to words of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Our possessions can keep us from travelling light in this life.

Do we walk hand in hand together with our spouses and family and the Lord in all our decisions?

Take care of our physical and spiritual well-being...Early to bed, early to rise....exercise....Physical nourishment...Prayer--asking in faith (that was Sister Bednar's talk...it was simple but right to the point...I LOVED it!)


One of my favorite quotes was from the concert Thursday night. Heather and I stay for the concert every year! We LOVE it! And this year was one of the best! (well, until her car broke down on the way home...but luckily 1--at the last minute we took a different route that kept us out of traffic, 2--our neighbor was working late, had just gotten into the car and was able to pick us up within minutes, AND 3--Heather's mechanic was blocks away! Like Heather would say....tender mercies!) :)

Sorry, where was I?! Yes, the concert. Hilary Weeks spoke for a minute and I remember when she said the following quote Heather and I just looked at each other in awe! It was right on! And really made us miss our littles....almost enough to skip Friday's conference...ALMOST! ;)


Click on it to see it. Hopefully you can see it just fine. It just reminded me that yes...I do LOVE being a mother! I love to talk and laugh with my children! I need to listen and love more! It was a powerful thought, "...I will spend eternity knowing my daughter as an adult. But tonight, right here, right now, and for the next few precious years, I have the rare privilege of knowing her as a child. What a gift to experience the children in our lives as children!"

Anyway, women's conference was amazing! I've really enjoyed going through my notes and adding some of my thoughts in my own personal journal. Life is still crazy and sometimes hard, but I'm thankful for the renewed strength I have to read my scriptures, say my prayers and love my family. I need to remember to take everything just one "drip" at a time!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring Break in Moab!



Are you ready for picture overload?! This post will be pictures, pictures and more pictures!

We could NOT decide what to do for spring break this year. Our original plan was to stick around and do things around here so Matt wouldn't have to take time off and we could just relax at home. However, it has been some time now that our great friends the Schlappi's have tried to organize a trip and just get away!! We decided we talked about it too much and now was the time. Todd booked the house. They invited the Gardner's and the Peterson's to join. The girls arranged the meals, and after a night with maps on the table, we had a plan!! And what a plan it was!! We had such an incredible time with some absolutely amazing friends! There were 3 couples plus 10 girls and 2 boys and we had a blast! We did a TON of hiking, with hardly a complaint....not exaggerating...these kids are hikers....they are awesome! We also swam, played in sand dunes, ate amazing food in the comfort of the perfect, most relaxing home and just had a great time!

So here we are at the beginning of our first hike in Arches National Park.
It was WINDY!! But that didn't stop us!



You comin' Dee Dee?! ;)



Our first hike was up to delicate arch.
We took a few water and snack breaks on the way.




Then, we made it...it was a little bit scary of a hike towards the end, but luckily we didn't lose anyone. :)



In the video below you can kinda tell how windy it was, but you can also see what an amazing view it was! I'm sure I'll use the word amazing through this entire post! It was so beautiful! I LOVE this video. We had such a great time taking pictures, enjoying being with friends, and enjoying being outdoors!
AMAZING!!


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How 'bout a family picture (with the close up, so you can tell it really was us under Delicate Arch)



LUNCH TIME

It was still windy! Paper plates were flying around, but the kids were pretty good and the older ones did some climbing on a little wall close by. Sure wish we had gotten some more pictures and maybe even a video of this! I'm pretty sure DeeDee has a good video to show of the climbing and repelling adventures!! ;)





After lunch we hiked to landscape arch and some of the older kids went on up ahead to a couple more arches.




Then the older kids also went to Sand Dune arch. I stole some of these pictures from my running partner for the weekend. :) I stayed behind with a couple of sleeping babes, but Carrie got some great pictures for me of this day and also the 2nd day from when I left my phone at the house. We also had Matt's camera phone. Anyway, the pictures below crack me up! Look at how much the wind was blowing on those cute girls!! :)



Day 2 was the best!! It was the perfect weather and we went on probably the coolest hike I've ever been on....definitely the coolest we've ever done as a family. I was pretty nervous though. Maybe because at times I had a kid on my back...I don't know, but there were times that I just said a little prayer in my heart that no one would get hurt. Here is a little video of where we were trying to go. You can kinda see the ladder we were about to climb up and then Corona Arch that we were hiking too.


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In order to get to that arch across the way, we had to climb along one horizontal rope ladder, then up a more vertical rope ladder and up one other rung ladder before finally walking around a little bowl to get to there:









Once we got there we had some lunch and explored a little bit. The big boys took some of the big girls up a couple of the rocks, realizing it was quite a hike and maybe a little dangerous. They warned a guy and a girl from Idaho that they might not want to go much further on the rock they were on. Well, the cute, humble couple, very kindly said, "We're actually gonna go repel off that arch." "Ha ha...yeah right!" But no really! They did! We sat and waited and watched and sure enough they hiked to the middle of that arch and repelled off! It was AWESOME!! The kids loved it! (and oh...are we thankful that no one died in the making of the video below....especially with all the little kids around!) :)






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At the end of Day 2 we took the kids to the big sand hill on the side of the highway, let them play for a little bit and then took them swimming. We were completely wiped out by the time we got home!




At the house the fun continued though! With all the girls needing hair done, Kaylee really learned to french braid on this trip! :) Forts were built, games were played. The kids played catch and kickball outside and even the little ones had a great time!





Other than a little bit of feuding coughs (or maybe I should call it a chorus of coughs) in our room it seems like everyone slept great!



Instead of just heading home on Saturday, we knew we had to do more!! We drove up to the slick rock area to do a little more hiking and wall climbing.








We also did a small walk around a park with dinosaur fossils and tracks. We had a quick lunch and then we were gone.



We didn't want it to end though!
We stopped and had McDonald's ice cream before really getting back into the city.



It was one of the best family vacations we have done!
We met some new friends...well, actually, the girls all knew each other, but we all had fun getting to know the Peterson family!
We finally got to vacation with our great friends the Schlappi's!!

Their sweet little boy Spencer kept trying to figure out whose shoes had the following prints on them. It was kinda a fun game and there were times that it did actually help to know which way Kierra (the heart) and Taylor (the stars) had gone. I had forgotten that I took these pictures, but I really loved them as I saw them again and just remembered what a great time we really did have. I think of the cute poem I love called Footprints, where the Savior carried the man during his time of trial and hardship. Somehow these footprints represent the way the Schlappi family too has helped us and carried us through our tough times but also paved the way with their example of how to serve, love and be happy! They have been such great friends to us since we have moved here! I always LOVE our talks usually on a Sunday evening or at a ball game! :) They are such great examples to us. They may have moved an ENTIRE mile away, but they are friends that we will keep forever!



Thanks friends for a perfect spring break getaway!!
LOVE YA!!