Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Britton Moment

The other day Britton and I were talking about how lucky he is to have so many people who love him. We were listing grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, etc. Then he said, "And you love me too" And then I said, "I was in love with you before you were even born." His eyes got big and sparkled and he got the biggest smile on his face. I hope he never forgets that moment. I know I won't.

Dessert Update

I finally cracked on Christmas and ended up eating dessert. Biz brought everyone containers of cookies and although we have received tons and tons of other cookie plates, for some reason hers were hard to resist. So, I ended up eating some (okay, quite a few) and they were delicious. I feel like I should feel bad about it since I have done so well all month, but I really don't. And right after eating her cookies, I went right back to not eating dessert. I still feel like it has been a really successful month and I'm surprised at how I don't crave dessert anymore. I haven't decided for sure what I'm going to give up next month, but I'm going to continue with the dessert thing. I think December is the most challenging month for desserts and since I did it then and survived, I'm sure I can live without it in upcoming months.

Christmas Gift Exchange

Instead of the usual drawing names among siblings at Christmas time, this year we decided to just bring stuff that we already have but don't use anymore and have a gift exchange. So over the past month or so, I've been decluttering and trying to gather together some items that we no longer want but that other people may want.
The gift exchange turned out to be a HUGE success. I think we're going to try to do it every year. We went away with a few clothing items, lots of books, a bunch of things for my kids, and a digital camera. A digital camera was one of the main things I wanted this year and my sister, Sheryl, had gotten one for free from a store for purchasing a certain amount. They already had a nicer one so they brought it for the exchange. My other digital camera is on it's last legs, so it was a very pleasant surprise. Other people got stuff they wanted (and needed) as well. It was so much fun, plus we all got rid of stuff too.

Prayers

I love being answers to other people's prayers.

Las Vegas Bowl

Last Wednesday night, we found out that one of Jason's friends still had some extra tickets to the BYU Bowl game in Las Vegas. So, we decided to go. We packed up our stuff, dropped the kid's off at the in-laws, and started to head south. At about 12:30 am we arrived at Jason's brother John's house in St. George. We stayed there for the night. In the morning we went to see the new house that they are building, then took off for Vegas.
The first thing we did when we arrived in Vegas was go on the New York, New York hotel roller coaster. It's one of my favorites and I haven't been on it in years. Then, we just wandered around on the strip. One of the highlights was watching a street artist make some paintings. He used only spray paint and some flat edged tools that looked like putty knives. It was amazing to watch him. He made beautiful sunsets and city pictures. I've never seen anything like it.
For lunch we met one of Jason's mission companions and his wife. It was my first time meeting them. We went to the Cheesecake Factory and I was so good about not eating dessert even though cheesecake is my favorite.
After that, it was time to head over for the game. It took us forever to get there because of traffic. We found a little back way into the stadium and parked on a dirt hill, so we got there just in time for the game to start.
It was such a good game and so much fun to be at. BYU dominated the whole game and about 75% of the crowd was cheering for BYU. Oregon didn't even score until the 4th quarter. The final score was 38 to 8. Our team looked so good and it was fun to be able to be at their final game of the year.
After the game, we drove straight home. Somewhere around Beaver we were both too tired to drive so we pulled over to sleep. After about an hour or so, I was too cold to sleep, so I just started driving. We made it to Jason's parent's house at about 4:30 am and just crashed. Our kids were super excited to see us when they woke up in the morning. (especially Britton who had refused to eat the entire time we were gone!--he said he couldn't eat unless I was there to watch him, I think he has some separation anxiety issues)
It was such a fun trip and I'm so glad that we decided spur of the moment to go. I wish I had pictures to share, but we left so quickly that we forgot our camera.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Half Time Show

Saturday was our 6th anniversary. Jason and I spent the afternoon and night without kids (thanks to Jason's mom). We started off by going to the BYU/Utah State basketball game. I know, really romantic, but we love going to the games. BYU won by quite a bit so it was a fun game to watch. But, the best part of the game was the half time show--Jane's Golden Girls--my all time favorite. (See previous entry from February 11, 2006 to find out more about them). They added in a couple of new moves from last year that just had me rolling with laughter. Unfortunately Jason left to get food right when their performance started so I didn't have anyone to share my joy with. All the ladies (there's over 100 of them now) lined up and started their routine by doing "the robot". It was hilarious. Some of them were quite good at it too. Their outfits and dance were about like last year, including the finale of a solo by Jane herself who is now 90. Her solo always ends in the splits and then Cosmo comes out and carries her away. It's so entertaining and pretty much amazing. The old man in front of me turned around and said, "she's got 9 years on me and I can't do all that". And then I said, "she's got 60 years on me and I can't do it either". I guess I need to start practicing the splits so I can be like Jane one day.

Better Late than Never

Our first Christmas in our house (4 years ago), we bought outdoor Christmas lights to hang up. But, every year, we don't seem to get around to putting them up. Well, this year we finally did and I love it. We didn't get it done until last Friday, but it's still better late than never. Now I love pulling up to our house at night. It looks like a little gingerbread house.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Haley's Outfit for the Day



Livingroom Remodel

I got my Christmas present a little early this year. I have been wanting to paint our livingroom since summertime, but just haven't gotten around to it. Actually, I have been wanting to paint since we moved in, but I actually bought the paint and chose the colors, etc. this summer. So, for Christmas, I told Jason that that's all I wanted. I was planning on doing the painting myself, but Jason kind of took over and ended up doing it all. I'm really glad that he did because it looks so good. I tend to be a messy painter and get impatient and just try to do it quick. He's more of a perfectionist, plus he actually knows what he's doing since he does it for work. Anyway, I couldn't be happier with the results. It looks amazing. Now it's my favorite room in the house.

Here's a Before and After Picture:




Monday, December 04, 2006

Dessert Temptations

The "not eating dessert" thing is going great, but it's not without its temptations. Saturday night we had our ward Christmas party. I sat by Julie and when dessert time came I just didn't go get any. She got a couple different desserts and then sat down by me to eat them. She kept saying how good they were and that I should try a bite, etc. After saying no a few different times, she finally said, "Are you on a diet?" So, I told her that I'm giving up desserts for a month. I didn't realize how unusual it is for people to refuse dessert because it seems like people just keep offering until I actually tell them what I'm doing. I just figured I could get away with not eating it without actually making a big deal out of it. Julie wasn't very happy about it since we always eat treats and stuff together. So, she said she's going to try to make me break it. That's fine by me. I like a little challenge anyway. So, then yesterday we were at her house for dinner and games. As we were playing games, she decided to make brownies just to be obnoxious because I love brownies. But, she didn't make just ordinary brownies, she made double fudge cheesecake brownies. And then she kept saying how offended she'd be if I didn't try one, etc. I still didn't budge though. Even Jason joined in at taunting me. Every bite he took he commented on how they were the best brownies he's ever eaten, etc. It was pretty funny actually. I'm sure glad that I have such supportive friends and family :)

Weekly(?) Random Question

Tell about a prize that you won.

The only prize that I have ever won was on an airplane going to Hawaii in 3rd grade. I was sitting in the winning seat so I won an Oakridge Boys tape. I had never heard of the Oakridge Boys, but I was still pretty thrilled. It was the only tape I owned, so when we got home, I listened to it all the time and I quickly learned all the songs. My sisters and I made up dances to it and we would perform in our living room.

"Giddy up a boom bop a boom bop a mau mau"

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Give It Up Update

It's only been one day and I've already encountered my first challenge with giving up dessert. But, I was successful. We went to a Dinner Party last night at a neighbor's house. While serving dessert, the host asked me probably 5 different times if I was sure that I didn't want any dessert. I thought I could just politely decline and it would be fine, but he kept coming back trying to convince me to have some which drew the attention of the whole group. It wasn't a big deal at all, but I couldn't believe how curious everyone was as to why I wasn't eating dessert. There were about 15 people there and none of them were close friends, just acquaintances, so it was a bit more uncomfortable than I had hoped.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Too Loud

We have a basement apartment, so we've always had renters that live downstairs. Because of this, we can't live quite as loudly as we normally would. This is quite a trick since I have a two year old and a four year old. Keeping them quiet is a big challenge, so I'm constantly telling them that they are being too noisy.
Well, the other day at the grocery store, Haley was jumping up and down in the cart. When I looked at her, she said, "I'm sorry, Mommy, that's too loud for downstairs". It made me laugh and realize that I probably say "that's too loud for downstairs" way too much and she really doesn't even understand what I mean by it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Book Review and Challenge

I just finished reading, "Give It Up!--My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less" by Mary Carlomagno. The author decided to give up a different thing each month for a year and she writes about her experiences. She gave up alcohol, shopping, elevators, cell phones, dining out, television, taxis, coffee, cursing, chocolate, and multitasking. It was fun to read about what she learned about herself and the challenges that came with each different thing. With almost everything, she drastically changed the priority that the particular thing would have in her life after each month. I really enjoyed the book, but mostly I just like the idea of the whole thing. So, I decided to challenge myself to do the same and give up one of my vices each month for a year. I'm excited to start, so I'm starting tomorrow with December instead of waiting until January. For December, I'm going to give up desserts. At first, I wanted to give up brownies since that seems to be my biggest weakness, but when I thought about it, I realized that if I just gave up brownies, I'd probably just replace it with something else like cookies, icecream, etc. So, I'm going to give up all desserts. Being the holiday season, this should be even more of a challenge than normal, but probably the best time to do it anyway. I'll post from time to time about how it's going. I have most of the things picked out for the year, but if anyone has any suggestions, let me know. Also, if anyone would like to join me, you're more than welcome to try it out with me as well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Look for My Blog

I'm trying out a new look for my blog to see how I like it. So far, I do, but I may still end up going back to the old look. We'll see. I haven't figured out how to put links in on the side yet, though.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pranksters

Last Wednesday night, Britton and I played a prank on Jason. I had some rubber gloves out from a project that we did for preschool (we made turkeys by stuffing the gloves with popcorn and painting the feathers and rest of the turkey, they were really cute!) Anyway, later on, Britton wanted to fill a rubber glove up with water, so I told him about the prank at Oakcrest where we would freeze water in a rubber glove and put it in someone's bed. His eyes lit up and he said he wanted to do it to Jason that night. So, we filled it up and put it in the freezer. I completely forgot about it, but Britton got it out of the freezer when it was bedtime. Jason was already in bed, so I had to get him out while Britton snuck the frozen hand in. I lured Jason into the other room, but then just whispered to him about what was going on. It was a good thing too, because Britton didn't even put the hand under the blankets or anything, he just set it right on the bed in plain sight. Jason played along really well and just laid on top of it and let out a good scream. Britton started laughing so hard. It was priceless!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Interesting Article

I read this article on MSN the other day and thought it was interesting.

Anxious Parents
It's a worrisome trend, according to this dad.
By Kristopher Kaiyala

When I was a kid, if it wasn't a school day or a soccer weekend I was off in the woods with my dog or with my neighborhood friends. My family lived on a forested hill on the outskirts of town—exactly the kind of place an adventurous kid would want to grow up. There were creeks to dam, dirt mounds to jump bikes off of, tree forts to build, new and winding trails to explore. In winter, with a foot of new snow to track out, it was even better. I would leave in the morning, after doing chores, and as long as I made it home at the agreed-upon time, or checked in by phone if I ended up at a friend's house, all was good. I was free for the day. Can you imagine letting your kids roam free today? That is, free all day, unsupervised and without a cell phone or BlackBerry or homing device strapped to their waists? There's something about our world in 2006—the seemingly ever-present threat of shooters, kidnappers, predators, drug dealers, scammers, or natural hazards like ponds and wells—that makes the child-rearing freedoms of yesteryear seem dangerous and anachronistic. And yet somehow, we survived. My mom and dad were great parents. They were involved in all aspects of my childhood, but when it came to just being a kid, they backed off. They gave me a lot of space to grow and learn and explore and figure things out on my own or with friends, as long as I showed them I could make good decisions and be responsible for my actions. Of course back in the '70s most people still smoked and seat belts were an abstract concept. Public safety campaigns and liability lawsuits had yet to grip America, and PlayStation/Xbox/Nintendo and the Internet weren't even blips on the short-attention-span horizon. "Disorder" probably meant you got the wrong hamburger at Dairy Queen. One could easily dismiss those days as a "different time." And certainly technology and medical science and communication and safety standards have changed dramatically, but kids are still kids. Their basic needs haven't changed. I'm just a dad, not a sociologist, but it seems to me that for healthy development, kids need equal doses of responsibility and freedom. Get rid of one and you're asking for trouble. Get rid of both and it's going to be a bumpy ride. And yet that's exactly what I see a lot of parents doing today. They eagerly do all they can to smooth out life's troublesome potholes for their kids, while at the same time micromanaging their every move. As writer Hara Estrof Marano put it, parents try to "engineer a risk-free world for children." In 2004, Marano wrote an article for Psychology Today called "A Nation of Wimps." Her book by the same title is due out in 2007 (nationofwimps.com). I'm not one to pay much attention to so-called experts, but I think Marano is onto something.
"Cell phones function as an eternal umbilical cord," she said during a recent phone interview, "and it's all so misguided. Kids aren't allowed the freedom that allows them to build their own identities. They can't make their own mistakes, and so they miss out on critical life skills. When something difficult arises, there's mom or dad on the cell phone trying to fix everything." Parental anxiety is natural, said Marano, but too often horribly misplaced. "Anxious parents turn their kids into projects." And you can dispense with the notion that it's the guilt-ridden working parent who's most at fault. "Often the at-home parent is the one freaking out. A lot of moms and dads, especially in affluent homes, leave the work force to focus on their kids. They apply their professional training to parenting and try to turn their kids into résumés on two legs."
Or worse, into patients. "I think it's appalling how many parents are willing to have their kids labeled 'diseased' because they think it will help them academically," Marano continued. "It all centers around giving their kids more time to take tests, especially the big test—the SAT." She says a lot of parental anxiety involves getting children into college. "When kids do not function well in that narrow academic groove, parents try to give them an edge or have the rules bent for them." She also says kids are often labeled defective so early that they don't fight it; they internalize that something's wrong with them. They see themselves as weak.
Marano has plenty of research and experience to back up her findings. Me? Just my daily observations. You see them at the playground, at the mall, across the backyard fence, at PTA meetings—moms and dads who hover or praise or scold to the point of annoyance or irrelevance. Those parents who are so consumed by their kids' security and self-esteem and academic standing that you wonder if those poor children will ever have a chance to speak out or grow up or just be themselves. Of course it's our duty to protect our kids and help them succeed. But at what cost? The last thing we should do is project our sometimes irrational anxieties onto them, like the mother who recently told me she wasn't sure if her child was allergic to peanuts but she had the medication for it just in case. You know, all kids are different, but they're tough. They're built to survive, and sometimes we forget that. We need to step back and remember the world for the beautiful place it is. And let kids be kids.

Monday, November 13, 2006

No Safe Place

The only place that I can put anything that Haley can't get into is on top of our fridge. Well, this morning, she climbed on a chair, then onto the counter, then onto the microwave and could reach all the stuff I have been stashing there that she shouldn't get into. When I walked in, she had the matches and said, "I wanna do fireworks". I guess I'm going to have to find some other place to put things.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Primary Program

Today was our Primary Program. I am so glad that it's over with. I'm the one that writes the program and is in charge of the whole thing so it's been somewhat of a stress the last couple of weeks. I knew it would turn out great because it's always everyone's favorite Sacrament Meeting, but I still wanted it to be "the best ever" or something. I was a bit worried because none of our practices went even remotely well. We have 10 Sunbeams and only 2 of them are girls. But, one of those girls is developmentally way behind and a real problem. There's another boy who has some major behavioral problems and then the other 7 boys are just 4 year old boys so it's always difficult to get them to sit still and obey. Of course, one of those boys is Britton which makes it even harder for me to be in charge when I'm trying to chase him around and get him to sit still. Combine that with two singing leaders who haven't quite gotten the hang of things and a handful of teachers who think it's optional if they even show up, and I was more than a bit worried about the whole thing. But, the kids came through big time and it turned out great. Britton even did his part and it was adorable. The kids sang so well and very loud. It gave me chills several different times and almost brought me to tears near the end. So, I guess there was nothing to be worried about after all.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Potty Training

Haley is almost officially potty trained. It's hard for me to actually say that because I haven't actually done anything. About two weeks ago I bought her a little stool and a seat to go on the toilet then I just started dressing her in underwear and she has seriously done the rest. I don't think that's typical by any means, but she is so independent that that's what worked for her. She had to do it all on her own. And I'm still amazed every time that she just goes in there on her own and goes. I forget that she's not wearing diapers since I don't really have to do anything. That's so opposite from Britton who still likes me to help him half of the time. There have still been a couple accidents to clean up, but it hasn't been bad at all. I guess having an ultra-independent child has some advantages.

Weekly Random Question

What are some of your favorite smells?

*lavender
*rain
*baking brownies

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Movie Review--The Santa Clause 3

Yesterday afternoon, we took our kids to a matinee to see The Santa Clause 3. Other than Haley being squirmy the entire time, it was really fun. The movie was very cute and perfect for kids. The plot was a quite predictable, but it was still entertaining and fun to watch. I never saw The Santa Clause 2, so there were a few things that I didn't really know about, but it's not like you can't catch on and enjoy the show. But, it does make me want to go back and see the second one. It's definitely not a movie I would have gone to if I didn't have kids, but it was a fun family activity.
I probably wouldn't recommend it for kids under 4, however, since I spent most of the movie wrestling with Haley. It wasn't the type of movie to really hold her attention, but she did really like parts of it. But, then again, there aren't any movies that hold Haley's attention for that long, especially in a theater when it's so much fun to play on the chairs and climb up the stairs and run up and down the ramp.

Bug Fun!




This week for preschool, it was "I" week. So we did a bunch of stuff about insects (one of my favorite topics). We had so much fun making bugs that I thought I needed to take a few pictures.

Karate!




We signed up Britton for an introductory special at a local Karate school. He has talked about karate for a long time now, so we decided to see how he would do. So, he got to do 2 one-on-one lessons. Wednesday was his last one. He did really well and really loved it. He was a bit shy at first, but then warmed up to his instructor by the end. Wednesday he got his white belt and got to break a board. He was so excited after he broke it. It was really fun to watch him.
We ended up enrolling him for one of the classes. He's really excited. And so am I. I think it will teach him a lot of good things like focus, discipline, respect, etc. This particular place seems really good for young kids too because they have a lot of skills tests where they can get a stripe for their belt. And they do a lot to just build their confidence all around. Their 3 rules are: 1) obey your parents, 2) keep your room clean, and 3) no fighting or hitting. What parent wouldn't love those rules?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Leaves

Yesterday we raked and bagged up all the leaves in the front yard. Then mowed the lawn. It took about 2 hours, but it looks great now. We ended up with 9 full garbage sacks of leaves. And when we were all done, I looked up at the tree and you can't even tell that any leaves have fallen. There are so many still up there. I love having big trees, but the clean up in the fall is sure a lot of work. And we didn't even start in the back yard where the really big tree is.
This year I have been observing my neighbors and their methods of leaf clean up. The people across the street told us to put all the leaves on your garden area and it kills all the weeds and is good for the soil. So I think that's what we're going to do with the leaves in the backyard. I watched them and they pile theirs on a big tarp and drag it onto the garden area. That will be a lot easier than bagging it all up.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Family Football Finger Food Feast

Today for the BYU football game, we made a bunch of food and had a picnic in our family room while watching the game. We had mini pizzas, chimichangas, popcorn chicken, tater tots, garlic bread, chips and 7 layer dip, and lots of cookies and candy. It was way too much food (and all junk) but so much fun.

Halloween

Dressing up, getting free candy, what's not to love?

Last night we participated in our first "Trunk or Treat". It was so much fun. There were a lot of cars that were decorated so well. I had to help with the Primary kids at the beginning so we didn't have any time to decorate our vehicle, so we just played scary music while Jason handed out the candy. But, I was really impressed with some others. There was one SUV that made the whole back into a little graveyard and they had dry ice and everything. It was pretty spooky. My favorites, though, were the ones that made their trunks into mouths. There was one with big spiky teeth, so it looked like a big mouth. There was another that wasn't quite as scary, but it was cool because they made a big tongue inside it too. It was pretty cool.

My neighbor, George, made all sorts of cute jack-o-lantern type things out of pumpkins and zucchinis, and other crazy-shaped squashes. He connected some together to make crazy hats on the pumpkin, etc. It was really cute. He's a big gardener, so it was perfect for him. This morning I was outside talking with another neighbor and he was driving around showing everyone that wasn't there last night his trunk. It was pretty cute how much fun he had.

My kids had a lot of fun dressing up, but they haven't quite gotten into the whole "getting a lot of candy" thing. Britton is really afraid of talking Halloween decorations, so after a few cars, he didn't even want to go around anymore. He didn't care if he didn't get any more candy. Haley went around with me to all the cars, but if anyone looked at her or talked to her, she'd hide behind me and not take any candy. It was pretty funny.

Britton dressed up as a white ninja and Haley was a dinosaur (Britton's costume from last year). They both were really cute. I dressed up as a witch and it was so much fun. I bought a really long gray haired wig. That was the best part of the costume. It really changed the way I looked. I like my hat too. It's a witches hat, but it's purple velvet with a black buckle on the front so it's a bit different than your typical one. Then I just wore a black dress (the one from my nun outfit) and a black cape. It was fun. Not too many adults dressed up, so that made it even more fun.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Weekly Random Question

I have this list of questions that I think is meant to be a party game or some kind of get-to-know you type thing. Anyway, I decide to just draw one randomly every so often and write about it so that I at least post something every week.

So, for this week, the question is...
What is one of the most unusual meals you ever ate?

The first thing that popped into my mind was Frog's Legs. While on my mission in France, the Elder's in Albi decided to make us Frog's Legs one week after District meeting. In France they sell frog's legs frozen in big bags like they sell chicken here. But, none of us had ever tried them before, so we thought it would be fun. I think what made it even more unusual was that they had no idea how to prepare them or what to serve with them. I think they made some sort of a breading and deep fried them which I'm pretty sure is not what the French do with them. And then we had mashed potatoes with them. My favorite part about them was that they actually look exactly like frog's legs (go figure). We kept hopping them around our plates and stuff as we ate. You have to eat like 6 or 8 of them since there's very little meat on each one. It was a fun meal, but definitely quite unusual.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Impetigo

This past week Britton has had impetigo. It's an infection that is on his face. At it's worst, he had big sores all over his forehead, nose, and chin that were all oozy and shiny. He's been on antibiotics all week and we've applied a cream and he looks a million times better. It's amazing to me all the random infections and sicknesses kids seems to attract. It grosses me out when I really think about the way they are contracted. Impetigo isn't that gross since it's just a strep or staph infection that somehow gets under the skin. Since Britton picks his scabs, it's not too hard to picture how it got there. But, when Haley had Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease, I didn't really want to know how she got it. Some neighbor kids had it at the same time, so I kept telling myself that they got it first and gave it to her. I think that's actually true, but who really knows. I guess considering how many things kids lick or put in their mouth, it's amazing they're not sick all the time. Anyway, I still think it's pretty gross.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fifty States Revisited

On our trip to Jason's mission, we went to Fayetteville and Rogers, Arkansas. If you look back to my other map, you'll notice a hole right in the middle of all the red--Arkansas. It looks much nicer now that I can fill it in. Now, I just have gaps around the edges for the most part.

Only a few more trips to go to get all of them in!

I could visit Melissa and Claire in Minnesota and try to go to N. Dakota, Wisconsin, and Michigan all at the same time.
Then, Emily Anderson lives in North or South Carolina (I can't remember which).
Then, trips to New England and Alaska and that would just about do it.
I don't ever really picture me visiting Rhode Island or West Virginia, so maybe one of my friends will move there or I'll just have to drive through sometime. Or, who knows, maybe they're really great vacation spots that I just don't know about yet. I'll have to research a bit if they end up being the last two left.

Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma!

For Jason's birthday, we surprised him and took him on a trip back to his mission. He's been really thinking a lot about it lately and even talked of wanting to move there, so it was a great time to go back and visit.
We had a great time there and I got to meet a lot of people that he knew when he was there. Everyone was so nice. It was fun to hear all the stories about him on his mission from other people's perspectives. And to see him through the eyes of people who only know him as a missionary.
Our kids loved the whole trip. They were amazing on the 18+ hour car ride. I couldn't believe it. DVD players in cars are the best!
I'll be posting pictures when they get developped and then write more about our trip.
I think it was the best birthday for Jason in a long time. (Thanks, Amber, for the great idea!)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Haley

A while ago my mom mentioned, "I love how Haley gallops wherever she goes." And that made me start noticing. Haley never just walks. She runs, skips, dances, or gallops from place to place. She's always excited and energetic. It's fun to see how happy she is about life.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fantasy Football Freak

Jason and I are playing on two different fantasy football leagues. And, I have to admit, I'm kind of a freak about it. I've never been a fan of NFL football, probably because there's not a team here, and it's always kind of bothered me that Jason thinks he has to watch so many of the games. But, now that I'm playing in the fantasy leagues, I'm just as bad, if not worse. I don't really know anything about the players, other than the names of the ones on my team. So, I just watch the games to cheer for my players and against the other players. I don't really care what teams win as long as my players do well.
I think it's made this season so much more fun for Jason and I because we're both into the games. A couple weeks ago, I was hurrying Jason up so that we could get home to watch Monday Night Football. He just smiled and said, "I never would have thought I'd see the day that you were begging me to watch football."
I'm proud to say that I am in first place in one of our leagues (the one with all of Jason's brothers and friends). My mom and I are the only two girls in that league and she has been in first place up until last week when I took over. I hope one of us wins it and the other takes second. It's nice to have girls at the top. And, I'm also proud to report that in both leagues, when I played Jason's team, I beat him pretty easily. That's nice too. (I have to brag about it now, since it's still really early and who knows where I'll end up by the end.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Rub a Dub Dub

About a month ago, while my mom was watching my kids, she gave them both a bath in the sink. Her sinks are very deep, so it works just fine. And they had so much fun.
Well, the other day, I heard the water on, so I went into the kitchen to see what was going on. Haley had taken all her clothes off, climbed on a chair and into the sink and was filling it with water. I can't leave her alone for a second.

"E" Week

This week for preschool, it was "E" Week. So, we learned a lot about elephants. It's amazing to me how much little kids already know about animals. I think because they're just naturally curious and interested in them. They knew all the general facts about them, so we got to learn more of the details. Like how much a baby elephant weighs compared to how much they weigh.

We got to have two adventures (field trips) having to do with elephants. On Thursday we went to the zoo and on Friday we went to the circus.

The zoo was really fun for my kids. Julie took her older kid's out of school to come with us and we met Desiree and her mom and kids there as well. They have fixed the zoo up quite a bit adding lots of nice displays. There is a whole new tiger section that is really nice. Unfortunately, none of the tigers were out, so we didn't even get to see them. One of my kids' favorite things was a big wooden statue of an elephant. The kids could sit on the trunk. The elephant would play "pop, goes the weasel" and on the "pop!" part, it would blow air out of its trunk. The kids loved it and wanted to stay there forever. We missed one of my favorite parts, the reptile house, because Britton refused to go in because of the smell. It did smell really bad. Britton kept trying to go in then would turn around and run out. Then he'd say, "I have a sensitive nose". It was pretty funny. We spent most of the day there and had a really good time.

The circus elephants were much more entertaining than the zoo elephants. In fact, the elephant part of the show was one of my favorites. They are such smart elephants. They did a catwalk type thing where they announced an elephant and it would walk out and do turns and strut its stuff. Then they did a whole act of them sitting and laying down and running and skipping, etc. The little elephant was my very favorite. All the other elephants would kick their front legs out when they skipped, but the little one kicked his back legs out instead. It looked so cute. Like he was clicking his heels or something.

The rest of the acts at the circus were really good too. They had a trapeze man that walked upside down. It was so cool. There were little loops hanging down and he would swing and just get his foot caught in the loop, then swing the other foot to the next loop and so on. It was really neat.

Then they had all the other usual acts--clowns, horse riders, motorcyclers, acrobats, jugglers, etc. The last time I went to the circus, it was a 3 ring circus, so it's always hard to watch everything at once. But, this time they just had one act going on at a time. I liked it a lot better. They had so many cool things. I have always loved the circus and have been many times (including one time in a limo!), but this was by far my favorite I think. It seems like all the acts were really high quality and fun to watch. Plus it was fun to see my kids get so excited. Haley was so fascinated by it all. She kept her eyes glued on the stage the entire time.

Monday, September 25, 2006

My Afternoon

Half a mile is a lot longer when you are carrying two kids, two bikes, and all their gear. I think that's all I'll say.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm a nerd

I've been tutoring a girl in my neighborhood for a while now. I started a few years ago, when she was in high school and have done it off and on since. Now she's a sophomore in college and I've been tutoring her twice a week in math and biology for the last few months.
Anyway, today she arranged for me to do a Biology Review session for her study group. They have a test on Monday so they wanted me to help them get ready for it by clarifying things and making sure they understand everything correctly.
Well, I had such a blast. It was so much fun getting to spend 2 hours talking about the parts of the cell, transcription and translation, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, etc. I love helping them think of ways to remember things by drawing pictures or making up weird analogies. I feel like such a nerd, but I seriously had so much fun. (And I think they did too)
I ended up making so much more money than usual, since they all paid me, but seriously I would've done it for free. Sometimes I forget how much I love just sitting around talking about science.

50 Nifty United States!




For a while now, I've had a goal to visit all of the 50 states. Thanks, to my grandparents and several long cross country roadtrips, I've almost accomplished that. I found this website that makes a map for you of the states you've visited. I thought it was pretty cool. And it gave me a good visual of the regions that I still need to visit. It looks like it shouldn't be too hard--4 or 5 more trips and I should have it covered.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Moon is Smiling

The past two days when I went out in the morning to go jogging and walking, the moon was just amazing. It was just the smallest little sliver right along the bottom. So, it looked like the moon was smiling at me. It was great. I hope it's like that again tomorrow!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Singing in the Shower

Britton has decided that he only likes to take showers now. He decided this when he realized that his friend Kyler who lives in our basement takes showers everyday. Kyler's almost 6, so Britton thinks everything he does is so cool.
Last night he was taking a shower and Jason and I were in the back room watching TV. We heard what I thought was Britton yelling for us, so we ran to see what he needed. When we got closer, though, we realized that he was just singing really loud. He was singing "Unbreak my Heart" from that Indentity Theft commercial. It was hilarious.

Rise and Shout, the Cougars Are Out!

Saturday was the first BYU home game and I couldn't have been happier with the game. It was a nice day and we got there right before the game started. It was fun to see all the people that we sit by again. We have the same seats (my grandparent's old seats) every year and so do all the people that sit around us. Everyone was so happy and excited.
The game went really well and we ended up winning 49 to 24. Here are some of my favorite things about the game:
--my favorite play was when John Beck passed to Curtis Brown and then Brown had the most amazing run, he broke through three different tackles and ran about 60 yards for a touchdown, he just never gave up, even when a couple of guys were holding onto him, he just kept running until he broke through, it was quite impressive
--there was a down pour--the kind that rarely happen in Utah where there are really big rain drops and you get completely drenched in seconds, the game got put on lightning delay which I don't think has ever happened here
--something that was unexpected, but nice, was that I got very nostalgic about my grandpa, this is the first football game since he passed away, I found myself thinking a lot about him and even getting choked up during the fight song remembering how he always belted it out at games, seeing all the older people stick it out through the rain also reminded me of him because I don't think there was much that could keep him from watching a game

Friday, September 08, 2006

I love the rain

This morning I got to go jogging in the rain. It was delightful.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Soccer--Part Two

I think Britton is getting worse at soccer instead of better. It's frustrating. It doesn't help that the games are in the evenings and he falls asleep on the way there. So, he's exhausted and grumpy and whiney by the time the game starts.
Yesterday he ran around chasing Jason, trying to get him to carry him for the game. He would grab onto his leg everytime he got close enough.
At one point, he was doing something with his hands all twisted up behind his back, I'm not really sure what it was. Maybe it was to ensure that he didn't touch the ball with his hands. But, more likely, it had nothing at all to do with the actual soccer game.
Towards the end, it looked like he was getting more into it because he was running and kicking, but when I looked closer, I realized he was just trying to kick all the other boys in the shins (he's really fascinated by shin guards).
The funny part of it all is that he practices in our yard almost every night with Jason. He's actually got skills and is quite good. He talks about his games and how much he loves it, etc. But, you'd never guess that when you actually watch him play (or not play, as the case may be).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Birds

Last night I asked Britton what his favorite kind of bird was. He immediately replied, "the Speckled Warbler". I was shocked, and then a little proud. A few months ago, we had had a preschool about birds and, although I couldn't remember it specifically, I knew we had talked about all sorts of birds. I was sitting there just thinking about what a great job I was doing teaching my little genius when he said, "I learned about it on 'Max and Ruby' ". Great, again I'm one-upped by the television.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Preschool Field Trip

Last Thursday we took our first official preschool field trip. I just started doing preschool with Britton again and his best friend in our neighborhood, Michael, comes to it too. On Tuesdays, we do preschool then on Thursdays we go on field trips. Each week is a different letter of the alphabet, so we went to the airport for our first field trip. Jason showed the boys all the planes and let them sit inside one of them and wear the head set. He explained what all the gadgets are for and showed them all the different parts on the outside. We watched planes take off and land and a helicopter took off right next to us. Michael has never been on a plane, so he was just in awe. Britton hasn't been flying in a really long time so he loved it too. I wished that we had arranged for Jason to take them flying. It would've been great. We decided to go over to another area of the airport and look at some of the bigger jets. Jason asked one of the receptionists if there were any pilots around who would want to show us their planes. When he came back, he was excited! He said, "We're in for a real treat--we're going to go on a G3!" The rest of us didn't even realize what that was. It's a charter jet that can fly anywhere in the world. It's all decked out with leather couches and chairs. It's the size of a regular commercial jet, but without all the seats. It probably had seats for about 20 and they were all super plush. Each one had a TV as well. The pilot showed us all the cockpit and answered all Jason's questions about everything. They talked for a long time after the boys were done looking around. I'd say for our first field trip, it was more than a success. Everyone had such a good time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Soccer Mom

I am now officially a soccer mom! Britton had his first soccer game last Saturday. Jason is his coach and one of his best friends is on the team. So far it's been so much fun, but a bit different than I expected. I think every mom has visions of her kid being the star of the game. Britton has always been very athletic and coordinated and shown a lot of interest in sports, so of course, I figured he'd out-shine everyone on field and be a pro from day one. It didn't quite turn out like that. I should have guessed when, at the first practice, he started crying and refused to go back after Jason told him he couldn't touch the ball with his hands, but I still had high hopes for his first game. Don't get me wrong, he was really good and there were even moments of brilliance, but they were intermixed with moments of crying, laying down on the field, making faces at his teammates, picking grass, holding hands with his friends, trying to climb the goal net, and plain refusing to play anymore. It's good to know, though, that it's an age thing and all the other boys do those sorts of things, too. We're learning that the only things the coach has to do is keep his team going in the right direction and carry the crying ones off the field.
Last night, at their second game, I overheard a dad on the other team yelling, "Put down the grass, son, and go after the ball". It just made me chuckle.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Exploring

Monday morning Britton decided to make a map. As soon as he was done, he wanted to follow it, of course. So we jumped in the car and he led the way. He told me which way to go at every turn until we finally arrived at Rock Canyon Park and he said very excitedly, "this is what I drew on the map!" (That was pretty lucky since there wasn't anywhere else to go without running into the mountain) So, we set out on foot and continued exploring. I had to carry Britton's goggles the whole time, just in case we discovered a lake (even thought I knew there were no lakes there). The river was all dried up so we played in the rocks in the river bed and collected acorns under some trees and looked for squirrels. Britton and Haley had such a wonderful time. They are great explorers.

Orem Owlz

Lately we've been able to go to quite a few of the Orem Owlz games. Jason's brother James has season tickets for his family and they usually always have a couple extra. My kids love the games. The mascot is Hootz--a big owl with a baseball for a head. They used to be scared of him, but now he's their favorite thing about the games. They always have to run up and give him five or shake his hand. Haley cheers and claps whenever anyone else is and dances with all the music. She loves singing, "take me out to the ball game", too. Although, I enjoy watching football and basketball so much more, the baseball games are such a fun thing for our whole family. Maybe it's because I don't really care too much about whether they win or lose, so I don't mind so much if I don't see every second of the game. So, I'm perfectly happy to chase my kids around or go get treats or just sit and talk.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Last Saturday night, we had a movie night. We rented a movie for us to watch (Glory Road--very good) and some for the kids. Haley picked out Piglet's Big Movie and Britton picked out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II which is still probably too old for him to really like, but he thought it was cool. It was a blast from the past to when I saw the first TMNT movie in the theater. I think I was in 8th or 9th grade and I went to see it with Angie Pistorius. We thought we were so cool. I don't really think it was that cool of a thing at the time, but we didn't care. We always called each other Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Leonardo. We thought we were so funny. Watching parts of the movie with Britton, it was hard for me to imagine what the fascination was way back then.

Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears

I love chocolate coverd cinnamon bears! I think I would probably love chocolate covered pretty much anything, but they are particularly good.

Shrek Super Party

My favorite XBox game is Shrek Super Party. It is so great because you do these different "epic battles" so there is a lot of variety. But it's easy enough for a four year old to play and a two year old to believe that she's playing. And it's 4 player so our whole family can play together. It's set up kind of like a board game where each person is a different player and has a turn and depending on where they land, determines what you do. There are lots of epic battles, but there are also "daring duels" where you challenge another player, "magic mirror", "magic portals", and places where you lose points or gain points. Britton's favorite spot is marked by a pair of stinky shoes and when you land there you're sent to the "evil bog". He thinks it's hilarious.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Jason's New Calling

Jason just got called to be the new Ward Clerk. He is nervous and excited. It will be a lot more time consuming than his calling right now. But, he will learn a lot of skills like note taking and all the computer stuff that will help him with a lot of things. Our bishopric is really great so he'll be working with some great people. But, I'll have to get used to not seeing him much on Sundays. That'll take some getting used to since we're used to just hanging out all day on Sundays.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bedroom Makeover

While Amber was here, we decided to paint my bedroom. Then, as we were painting, we decided to take out a dresser and the TV to make the room look better. So, I had to get rid of a ton of clothes (mostly Jason's) in order to make it all fit. But, when we got all finished and got everything put back together, it looked 100 times better. Much more spacious and clean.
I can't say that Jason was as thrilled about the whole transfomation as I was, but he does think it looks a lot better. Maybe I should've asked him before I just moved out his TV, but I think he'll appreciate it in the long run.
Next project is my living room. I can't wait to start. Too bad Amber can't come out for that one too.

Hooray!!!

Last Thursday Jason passed his written instrument exam! We are all so excited. (especially him) The written part is always the harder part for him. He should take his check ride in the plane in the next couple of weeks and then he'll have his instrument rating! I'm so excited!

He also finished all the rest of his classes and I think he did quite well (especially since he put it off until the very end). Grades aren't posted yet, but we have a pretty good idea of what he'll get.

Now, he has a little break and classes start up again on the Aug 23.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Procrastination=Major Stress

Jason has one more week to finish up his classes for this term. And, as usual, he's saved the bulk of the work for the very end. So, this past week he has been studying and taking tests, doing assignments, writing papers, etc. non-stop. There are lots of benefits to online classes, but this is not one of them. I think it stresses me out more than him. I try to plan to be gone with the kids the majority of each day so that he won't be distracted. And then when I'm home, I try to read his Psychology text so that I can teach him the stuff and research everything for his papers. It doesn't seem fair because I really enjoy this kind of stuff and he really hates it. I even find myself reviewing his aviation things (which I know nothing about) in my head as I go jogging each morning. I don't even know what the terminology means, but I remember all the stuff from quizzing him on it, so my brain automatically reviews it when I 'm not thinking about anything. Also, it stresses me out because I really have no control over it. So, if he takes a break or does other things, I just get really mad that he's not spending every waking second on it. It's hard for me to just sit back and watch him and let him do it his way. And he doesn't seem to fully appreciate all my helpful suggestions and reminders of the importance of all of this. I try to explain that I'm trying to help motivate not put added pressure on him, but he's not really buying that.
I'm not looking forward to this next week since it all has to be done by Friday. Luckily, he only has a few small assignments and 2 tests left. Unfortunately, one of the two tests is the written exam for his instrument rating, so he HAS to pass it in order to move forward in his career. So, the bulk of the week will be me staying away with the kids so he can just study like crazy.

The Beach

Haley just changed out of her dress into her swimming suit and she said, "I want to go to the beach ball". I guess being in Coeur d'Alene and swimming everyday has spoiled her. All she wants to do is swim all day.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hiccups

The other day Haley came in and said, "Mommy, I do the hiccups!". She seemed so proud of herself. Then she hiccuped and smiled, "I did it again!" Each time she'd say, "I did it again!" It was so cute.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Nicknames

I've always thought it was interesting how nicknames come about and evolve. I've discovered that you can't really pick a nickname, they just kind of happen. My friend Amber always wanted a nickname and was always making them up for everyone else, but they never stuck for her. But, she definitely has a talent for coming up with names for other people. I think she gets it from her dad, who rarely calls people the same thing twice.
She has come up with some rather interesting ones over the years, but my very favorite (because it is so random and not even close to the original name) is that she calls her sister William. Her real name is Claire. It all started because Amber would always say, "What you talkin about, Willis?" to her all the time. So, that got shortened to Willis, then Will, then William, and sometimes, Wilhelm.
There's always a logical sequence if you get an explanation, but you can't always see the connection right off between the nickname and the real name.
I always thought it was pecular when nicknames were longer than the original name too. Because I thought the reason for a nickname was to shorten the name. But, it's amazing the things that stick. In high school, my friends all called me Malaria (thanks to Amber). That's a whole 2 syllables extra added to my name. But, it stuck, so my nickname was a disease.
When we named Britton, I kind of thought that we would call him Britt a lot. But, we never do. Maybe because it sounds like a girl or maybe because it just doesn't fit him. I don't know. We've never called him anything but Britton.
But, with Haley, we hardly ever call her by her name. From the beginning, I called her Haley Bug which over time has evolved to "Bug", "Bugs", "HayBug", etc. And we call her "Hay" or "HayHay" all the time too.
It's just funny how somethings just seem to fit and so they stick.

New Renters

Last Saturday we got new renters in our basement. So, it was a crazy weekend. The old people moved out Friday evening, so we cleaned the carpets that night and the new people moved in Saturday night.
The new people have 3 kids--a 5 year old boy, a 2 year old girl, and a baby boy (I think he's around 1). They are the perfect ages for my kids. They're already the best of friends too and want to play together non-stop. I invited their kids into play while they were unloading everything on Saturday. Since then, my kids have wanted to play with them every second.
They also have a dog. We told them they couldn't have pets at first but then we changed our minds. But, if there are any problems at all, they have arrangements for someone to take it. I kind of like it though. It doesn't go inside at all and is very well-behaved. It doesn't bark at night and is really good with kids. So, it's perfect for us. We have all the benefits of having a pet without actually having to take care of it. Britton has been wanting a cat or a dog for a long time, so this is ideal.

Mini Van

For about a month or so, we have been the proud owners of a minivan. I'm so excited. I've been wanting a van for a long time, but we hadn't planned on being able to get one for a while. My mom bought a new van so she gave us her old one. She's the nicest. It's so nice to be able to let other people ride with us. Or have room for everything. It gets way better gas mileage than the Rover plus it will help extend the life of our other two cars.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

At Brent's House



More of the Cedar Forest





Cedar Forest

The cedar forest is another one of my favorite places. It's home to some very, very, very old trees. It's so fun to see such big trees everywhere. Once again I discovered that Haley really is in her element in nature. She took her time to examine every little detail and pick up every rock, stick, or leaf that she could keep in her hands. It was fun to watch her be so interested, but it made for some very slow paced hiking. About half way into the hike, she decided it would be a good idea to take her shoes off and just go barefoot for the rest of the time. Although there is a path, it's not particularly smooth or clear. There were pine needles and rocks and sticks all over the path, but she didn't seem to mind one bit. By the end of the hike, holding sticks and rocks, covered in dirt, with her hair all messed up, and shoeless, she really looked like she had been raised in the forest. But, she was so content.



Beauty Bay

On our way home from Kellogg, we decided to take a pretty drive to see the other side of the lake. We explored quite a bit and got quite a few flyers for houses for sale (only $1.5 million!). It's a dream of mine to own a house right on the lake with our own private beach and dock. Unfortunately, I think it will always remain a dream as I don't predict housing prices to go down anytime soon (or ever).
We stopped at a lookout point at Beauty Bay. It was so gorgeous! The pictures don't do it justice at all. I guess the name sort of gives it a way, but it really is beautiful. We tried stopping at Beauty Creek as well but were unable to find any creek. I think it must be dried up for now. Britton really wanted to practice skipping rocks so we stopped again on a dock so the kids could throw some rocks into the lake.

Silver Mountain

Wednesday it was a bit too chilly to go to the beach, so we decided to drive to Kellogg to ride on the gondola. It's been probably 15 years since I've been on it. It's the world's longest gondola. My kids loved it. They loved looking down and seeing the cars and houses get smaller and smaller. And then when we got up higher, all we could see were tons of trees. It was beautiful. The gondola ride was very long. I must admit, I was starting to get a bit claustrophobic by the end. But, when we got to the top, it was just gorgeous. They had a little playground with the inflatable jumping thing up there for the kids which was a nice surprise. So, we played for a while and explored a little while before heading back down on the gondola. It was a good way to spend a colder afternoon.


Tubb's Hill

Tubb's Hill is one of my very favorite places. You hike for about 15 minutes along the lake and end up on a much more secluded and rugged little beach. It's one of my favorite spots to go swimming. Britton hiked the whole way, but I ended up carrying Haley for the majority of the hike, not because she didn't want to walk, but because she insisted on collecting one of each of all the different plants. I was trying to be patient with her as she'd squat down every few steps to pick a leaf or two, but when she started tasting each one, that's where I had to draw the line. So, she spent the rest of the hike on my shoulders. When we arrived at the beach to swim, there were two dogs (with their owners, of course). My kids were so excited. The dogs would fetch sticks thrown out into the lake. So, my kids started throwing out sticks for Mark to fetch for them. Mark was a good sport and played along and kept them quite entertained.



Coeur d'Alene Lake

The majority of our vacation was spent at the beach. Aunt Pat bought the kids a whole bunch of sand toys so they had lots of fun digging and building castles. They also loved swimming and splashing and got braver and braver each day. It was nice just to be able to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather (mostly in the 80's) and scenery.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Coeur d'Alene

We had such a fun time in Coeur d'Alene. We stayed with my Aunt Pat and my Uncle Vic. They hired Jason to do some work for them around their house, so it was a working trip for him and a regular vacation for me. We spent most of our days at the beach and most of our nights hanging out and playing cards. I got to sleep in everyday and just relax and enjoy being around relatives. It was great.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Traveling These Days

Traveling these days is just not the same as it used to be. As we were getting ready to embark on our 12 hour roadtrip with our two young kids, we spent most of the time downloading our playlists for ipods, gathering up DVDs, and finding all the car chargers for the various electronic equipment we'd be taking along. When I thought we were ready to start loading up the luggage and be on our way, Jason was just beginning to wire our car with all the needed gadgets. When he came out with a power strip with 5 different plugs, I knew we were in for trouble. It took him a good hour to get everything arranged and plugged in. We had the DVD player that is already in the car, our portable DVD player with two screens--one connected to the XBox and one connected to our DVR (we had to bring that so my brother Mark could catch up on the last season of Lost), then in the front we had two different mp3 players each with headphones and charger and the little thing that makes it so you can hear the music through the car radio, and lastly, the GPS. There were so many wires and gadgets all over the place it's a miracle we had room for the kids and our stuff. It's another miracle that I figured out how to use it all. There was one point that we were all doing something different. The kids watching a movie, Mark watching Lost, Jason listening to a book on his ipod, and me listening to my music. Although, I really appreciated being able to turn on a movie for my kids, or let Britton play Xbox when he got grumpy, or have my very own favorite music to listen to at 2 in the morning while I'm driving and everyone else was sleeping, there was still a part of me that misses those roadtrips when we were forced to talk in the car to entertain ourselves. I missed the good conversations, singing songs, and playing "Mary car games". I think when my kids get a bit older and more capable of handling 12 hours in the car, I'm going to ban all electronic devices and just rely on our personalities to keep us happy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Don't Cry over Spilled Milk

I never really understood the saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk" until I was a mom. Before, it seemed so dumb that anyone would cry over spilled milk in the first place so I didn't see why there needed to be a saying to remind them not to. My neighbor said one day, "It's not spilled milk that makes you cry, it's spilled milk for the 10th time in one day that makes you cry". I can totally relate to that. I don't even like milk but both my kids LOVE it and drink it like it's going out of style. Luckily, they use sippy cups for the most part so there aren't a lot of spills. But then you have to deal with cleaning the sippy cups which is another whole story. Anyway, Haley has learned that if you shake the sippy cup upside down, milk will come out anyway. And she loves to do it. So, on numerous occasions I've entered a room to find it splattered with milk. This makes it even harder to clean up because it's not all in one nice little pile. It's quite a chore making sure you get it all. But, it's definitely worth it to do a good job because rotting milk is one of the worst smells on earth. The worst is when my kids spill milk without me knowing about it and then don't tell me. There was one incident (and I'm embarrassed to admit it) when Haley spilled some underneath her rocking chair and Jason and I didn't know about it. Within a few days we were searching our house for the smell. When we had located it, I of course was the one designated to clean it up due to Jason's "sensitive" nose and the fact that I also didn't want to clean up his vomit afterwards. When I was finally finished scrubbing the floor, I was about ready to ban milk from our house for good. Too bad it builds strong bones and teeth and all that other good stuff. Otherwise, I'd rid my house of it forever.

4th of July Festivites

This year we tried to take advantage of all the fun Freedom Festival activities for the fourth. Saturday night we did the traditional barbecue at Kiwanis Park with the Kemps then watched the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire. But, this year I actually planned ahead and made us some good food to take along. I made barbecued pulled pork in the crockpot. It cooked all day long and it was just perfect for sandwiches by evening. Then I made brownies with whipped cream on top and then blueberries and strawberries on top decorated to look like the flag--very festive. I was pretty impressed with myself. Britton and Haley loved the fireworks. I think this is the first year that Haley has actually paid attention to them. She was so cute. Everytime one went off she's say "there's a firework" then two seconds later "there's another firework" and she kept saying it each time throughout the night. It was hilarious. She just sat there staring, saying that, all throughout the whole firework show.
Monday morning we got up really early and went to the balloon festival. We got there just in time to see the majority of them fill up and then all of them take off. The kids loved it. I don't think they've ever seen hot air balloons before and especially not that close up. Jason kept talking to everyone trying to somehow get us a free ride, but with no luck. (Big surprise)
Tuesday we decided to brave the crowds and go to the parade. This year they had an aviation parade simultaneously. So, every few minutes a plane would fly along the parade route. That's really the only reason we went. They had a few impressive planes, but for the most part they were just the same kinds that Jason flies all the time. But, it was still fun and added some variety to the marching bands and politicians in fancy cars.
We ended our 4th of July festivities with cherry picking at my parents house. We had a whole assembly line going. There were some pickers, some washers/sorters, some pitters, and some baggers/driers. It was pretty amazing that we got the whole tree picked and most of them dried or bagged for freezing. We'll have to do the other pie cherry trees in a few weeks. Britton's favorite job was pitting the cherries. By the end of the day he was covered in splats of cherry juice. Luckily he took off his shirt before starting.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fountain Fun

There is a fairly new park down the street a ways from my house that has a pretty fountain and a wading pool. We love it because there are always kids playing in the fountain so it's like free swimming for my kids. Today around noon, we went there for the first time this summer. When we first arrived we were the only ones at the fountain, but there was a blanket on the ground with a bag and some other stuff. Britton immediately jumped into the fountain and started running around, kicking his feet, and splashing like crazy. Haley and her friend, Sabrina, were a little more hesitant to get in, but they quickly warmed up to the whole idea. A little while later a lady (the owner of the aforementioned blanket) and her son came back. She sat on the blanket for a while watching and then decided to wade a bit with her son. Britton was still running around in circles, kicking and splashing. Each time he ran by her, I would try to get him to slow down, but he wasn't obeying too much. He'd slow down quite a bit but still manage to splash her just a little each time. At one point she grabbed him and said, "I don't want to get wet." That seemed to help a bit but he still managed to annoy her a few more times. I pulled him out and talked to him on several different occasions but that was mostly just to appease her. She would turn and glare at me whenever he got near her. I wasn't about to get mad at him or make him stop having fun on her account. He wasn't being mean or doing anything wrong, he was just playing. I just don't understand why she even got in the fountain in the first place. Isn't it pretty obvious that if you go into (or even near) a fountain full of 2, 3, and 4 year olds that you are most likely going to get wet? Some people. I was just really glad when lots of other kids arrived and they were all being 10x as wild as Britton.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Haley's Cereal-Eating Habits

Haley eats cereal in the strangest way. It's the exact opposite way that I eat cereal. She has the cereal in with the milk and then she spoon feeds herself the milk. Then she asks for more milk to go with her cereal. Then she eats the milk again and so on. After about 3 bowls-full of milk, she usually finishes the majority of the cereal, but sometimes she just leaves the cereal there in the bowl. So, basically I guess she just likes flavored milk. This is so strange to me because when I eat cereal, I eat the cereal part and discard the milk, not the other way around. It's too bad we can't just share, we'd make the perfect cereal eating team, but somehow the thought of eating her soggy cereal grosses me out.

National Backyard Campout Day

Saturday was National Backyard Campout Day! We have been talking and getting ready for this all week. Britton would ask everyday if it was the day we were going to sleep outside. When it finally came, he couldn't wait. He helped Jason put up the tent, then he and Haley filled it with all their pillows and blankets and went out there to play long before it was time. When we started the "campout", I showed Britton some stars/planets. (You are supposed to be able to see Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn right now, but I'm not so good at locating things other than the moon in the sky, so we just kind of faked it) At one point, Britton pointed at something and said it was a spaceship. So, we made up a story together about the spaceship coming down and Buzz Lightyear getting out and so on. He loved the story and was having so much fun. Later, when we were all settled in and Haley and I were about asleep, Britton started begging us to go inside. I was shocked since he had been so excited about the whole thing. He loves sleeping in the tent whenever we're camping. He wouldn't stop asking us to go in and finally he said he was scared of the spaceship. No matter what we said to explain that it wasn't really a spaceship and that we were safe, he wouldn't believe us. So, we packed up all our stuff and went inside. So much for our Backyard Campout. At least we tried. It was fun for the few hours it lasted.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Spider's Webs

One of Britton's favorite things to do is to build spider's webs in his room out of yarn. We were eating dinner over at a friend's house about 6 months ago and their kids taught Britton how to do it. The other night, we had some friends over for FHE and Britton got the help of the older kids to make a great spider's web in his room. Normally when Britton makes them, half the fun is cutting it down. But, this time he wanted to leave it up in his room. So for two days now, I've had to climb over and dunk under the web in order to put things away in his room. The plus side though is that it's harder for him to get out of bed at night and climb in bed with us. Too bad we didn't think of that years ago.

Pinky Dinky Doo

There's a fairly new kid's show called Pinky Dinky Doo. Although I've only seen it one or two times, I really like it. The writer used to always tell his kids stories at night about Pinky Dinky Doo and that's where the show came from. I think that makes me like it even more because it reminds me of the "Mr. Bear, Mr. Penguin" stories that Britton and I used to make up every night. Not that my stories are good enough to make into a TV show or anything, but we have fun with them.

A Pictureless World

My camera has been broken the past couple of weeks and I don't know how to fix it. So, this blog will just be writing for the next little while. Not quite as exciting or interesting.

Personal Trainer

What I really need to help me get in shape is a personal trainer. Someone who will just make me work out harder and longer (or at all). So, since I can't afford to hire one, I made Jason my new personal trainer. After I get home from my morning walk, I wake him up and he puts me to work. I rotate focusing and legs and arms every other day. I have been really sore since we started, but that's good. It's really been fun because normally I don't get to hang out with him much in the morning.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Adventure Days

Last week we had our first ever "Adventure Day". I decided that there is so much cool stuff around here to do outside that I need to plan an adventure once a week for my kids. So, I do a fun preschool lesson on whatever it is that we'll be doing and then we go on the adventure. Last week we went to Timpanogos Cave. Britton was so excited. We checked out books at the library on caves. And for preschool we learned all about caves. He learned how to spell cave and practiced writing C's. He learned all the cave vocabulary (stalactite, stalagmite, etc). We colored pictures of caves and drew in the stalactites and stalagmites. We learned about bears and hibernating and all about bats. We built a bear cave and put all our teddy bears inside and then pretended to hibernate for the winter. We went outside and hung upside down from the tramp like bats. Anyway, we had a great time and it just built up his excitement for go to a real cave.
We went to the cave on Friday. Jason carried Haley in a backpack carrier the whole way up. I ended up carrying Britton on my shoulders about half the time on the way up. The hike was a bit long for him, so he lost a bit of the enthusiasm by the time we actually go to the cave. But, once inside, he was fascinated again. He had a great time being able to see the things that we had been learning about. He and Haley both had a really hard time keeping themselves from touching things though. They would see a really cool rock formation and their first instinct is to feel it all over.
On the way down, Jason and I switched--I carried Haley and he ended up having Britton on his shoulders a lot of the way. We had a nice picnic lunch by the river across the street from the cave. For our first Adventure Day, I'd say it was quite a success.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Les Gourmands

I'm part of a French club that was started by my friend Desiree. The idea is to help us all use French more often so that we can retain it a little bit better. The plan is to meet about 4 times a year and either go to a French restaurant, watch a French movie, or have a French book club. Then most of the club will be writing emails in French to each other whenever we feel like it so that people in other states and countries can participate too and we can all work on our reading and writing skills. Saturday night, we all met a French bakery to have our first meeting. It was fun. I got to see people that I don't see very often and meet some new people as well.
When I was telling my neighbor about what I was going to be doing over the weekend and how I'd be going to this, she said, "you're sure in a lot of clubs". I hadn't really thought about it, but I guess I am. They aren't really clubs maybe, but my friends are always coming up with fun things to do together--play groups, dinner parties, book clubs, french clubs, investment clubs, etc. I'm lucky to have such cool friends that keep me learning new things and help me stay social.

Hey Go Team, Go, Go, Team!

Last Thursday I had the chance to go to a banquet honoring my former high school basketball coach. It was put together by a team mate of mine--Tish. We all had to think about and write about our favorite memories and she compiled them along with pictures into a nice book for him. He has coached for about 15 years now and just recently switched over to being the boy's head coach. So, this was to pay tribute to him for all he did for the girl's basketball program. He took a program that was basically non-existent where anyone who showed up to tryouts would make the team to one that was state champions and very well respected. I was on the team closer to the early years, unfortunately. But, I am still very grateful for those years and all that I learned. It was fun to go back and see everyone and hear about their families and kids. The amazing thing is that everyone is pretty much the same. Of course, I didn't know everyone because there were 15 years worth of people invited, but I was surprised by how many people I actually did know. Our coach always encouraged us to come back and support the teams after we left. So, I made it to a few games here and there right after I graduated. And then to the State Tournament games and the game when they won State Champs. And then when I did my student teaching back at my alma mater, I was able to teach almost the whole varsity team that year. So, of course, I went to most of their games. Our coach was always happy to see us no matter how long it had been and always invited us into the locker room with the team afterwards and would say things like, "this is what you helped build". I think that's pretty cool of him to include us all in the success of the team. A legacy isn't really made by two or three years and he was more than willing to share the glory with everyone involved.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Too Cute

This morning after getting Britton dressed, I said, "Britton, you're the cutest thing ever". He just looked at me a bit puzzled and said, "I'm a thing?" It was too funny. No wonder I think he's the cutest thing ever.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Roses!

We have two rose bushes at our house and both of them have so many blossoms this year. The flowers are so big and beautiful. Last night I went out and cut a whole bunch to have inside. I figure I should take advantage of having so many fresh flowers. So, I put a vase full in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, and one in the family room. Now I love going in just to look at them. They brighten up the rooms so much. I think tomorrow we're going to spend the morning doing yard work and planting our garden and some more flowers. A little bit late, but better late than never, right?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bon Appetit!

Last Saturday (May 20), we had a French Dinner Party. Everyone brought something french they had made or purchased. We mostly had appetizers and desserts, but there ended up being lots of good food to try. We had quiche, crepes, breads, cheeses, pate, lots of different kinds of pastries, and bacon-wrapped prunes. Everything was really yummy, but most of all it made me miss France. I really do need to go back soon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Like Mother, Like Daughter

This morning, Haley woke up about 6:45 and went straight for the kitchen. I followed her in and she said, "I wanna make brownies". I just started laughing. Hmmm, I wonder who she gets that from?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Preschool

Last week, I started doing a preschool with my kids. It's been a lot of fun. I do it for an hour twice a week and then if there's a field trip that goes along with the weekly theme, we do that too. Each time we sing a song, look at the calendar, have a weather watch, play a game, read a book, do a science-y thing, and do an art project. It's really fun. I think half the fun for me is planning it all. Britton really loves it. For Haley, an hour is really a stretch for her attention span, but I think she still enjoys it and is learning more than she lets on. I think she'll get more used to it as we do it regularly too.

My 30th Birthday

On April 15, I turned 30 years old. To celebrate, I had a girls-only cabin sleepover party. It was so much fun. I got to just hang out with some of my best friends. We talked, ate junk food, and played games. I can't think of a better way to celebrate. I got to sleep in and I didn't have any kids climbing into bed with me in the middle of the night. What a great gift to myself.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Chuck E. Cheese



One of our favorite things to do is to go to Chuck E. Cheese. I think my kids are far too spoiled because growing up, I think I went once or twice and that was for friend's birthday parties. My kids and I used to go every Tuesday, but now we're trying to cut back so we only go every other week or once a month or so.
The one down here does lots of things to attract stay-at-home moms with little kids. They're brilliant because it's almost always crowded. They have all the little kiddie rides turned on from 11-3 so you don't need tokens to ride them. Plus on Tuesdays, if your kids are members of the kids club, they get free drinks and free tokens. So, it turns out to be a great deal. We love free stuff.
Some days, when it's particularly crowded, the manager will come out and just randomly throw tokens and all the kids scramble to pick them up. Our he'll throw out strings of tickets and kids will come away with hundreds. (Those are my favorite days) Unfortunately, my kids aren't quite old enough to really appreciate it and go after all the free stuff. They get one or two tokens off the ground, and they're completely happy, even though there's hundreds scattered around them. I guess I have to teach them better.
Each time we go, we end up getting a little prize like a sticker or a pack of smarties or some other thing that you could get 10 for a dollar at the dollar store. So, I got the bright idea of making my kids save up for something big since we go there often enough. We have our eye on the Imaginext Pirate Ship for the bargain price of 4000 tickets. I think it's going to take us quite a while especially since Haley never grabs her tickets after she plays a game and Britton loves the low yielding ticket games like Ski Ball. But, it still gives us something to work for and now we don't waste our hard-earned tickets on stuff that gets lost or broken in the car on the way home.

Pictures of Haley