Thursday, December 27, 2007

6 things I learned on Christmas Eve 2007

  • 6 people sharing 2 double beds makes for a very poor night's sleep
  • parking overnight in the parking lot of the hotel you're staying at is not always included in the room rate
  • one person walking alone can travel from points A through B to C in the same time it takes two people with 3 kids to travel from point A straight to point C
  • visiting a huge childrens' museum on free admission day that also happens to be a holiday is like going to Disneyland in the summer- crazyness
  • traffic cops in Chicago have no soul (or Christmas spirit) and will not hesitate to give a ticket if you don't have your licence plate on the front of your car because there is no mount for one and you haven't bought one yet
  • Christmas Eve is best spent at home, hanging out with family- where no outside influences can work together to ruin the day

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Just to gross you all out, here's two pics of my ankle yesterday morning and evening, respectively. As I previously posted, it feels a lot better and really doesn't look all that bad. So I guess I'm on the mend.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas music and holiday business

I absolutely love Christmas music! I get so excited to pull out my CDs and start singing along on Thanksgiving day. I also look forward to singing Christmas hymns in church for the month of December. If you asked me what my favorite Christmas songs are, I would probably say O Holy Night and Ave Maria. But my real favorite Christmas songs are All I Want for Christmas is You and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas- these two make me laugh and want to sing along at the top of my lungs.

I don't want to use the word hate here- but there are a few Christmas songs that I do not like, not one bit. If these songs come on while I'm listening to the Christmas station on the radio or even on a CD that I love, I will skip them immediately. The offending songs are Little Drummer Boy and Do You Hear What I Hear. These songs drive me crazy! I'm pretty sure I hate them. Even when Josh Groban sang Little Drummer Boy on Oprah, I had to fast forward through it. I tried to like it, for Josh, but it couldn't be done.

My favorite Christmas CDs this year are Bing Crosby (this and every year) and James Taylor (just purchased). Close runner up is Squirrel Nut Zippers' Christmas album (you just can't beat Carolina Christmas- we're chillin' in our underwear). And then there's always Harry (Connick, Jr.) my Christmas music staple. Ahh- I guess I can't narrow it down to just one.

Some questions posed to readers- What is your favorite Christmas album? What is your favorite Christmas song? What is your real favorite Christmas song? Any Christmas songs you hate?

I was thinking today about how fast the Christmas season seems to go by every year. I always feel like I'm unable to do everything I want to during this season and therefore can't enjoy it to the fullest extent that I want to. I feel like I got a good start this year but now here a week before Christmas, I've sort of hit a slump. Maybe it's because I've been a bit incapacitated these past three days but I think it's mostly just that fact that I only really have one more week before Christmas is over. It just goes by too fast.

That's what I've been thinking about about today. Luckily, my ankle is feeling a lot better and I can even walk pretty well when it's wrapped up. So I'm going to try and get back to business tomorrow, the business of getting down with the Christmas season.

p.s. We Arizonans figured out how to make a real snowman...well Jon did, I took pictures.

Monday, December 17, 2007

a quick update

  • One of the afore mentioned hats was recieved today, so check out the pics here or here.
  • I injured myself yesterday. Missed the last step walking down off of the stand after saying the closing prayer. (Last time I volunteer to do that!) Rolled my ankle something fierce. I was holding Jonas at the time, but didn't drop him. I now have one ankle and one cankle.
  • We got about 8 inches of snow last Saturday. Funny that my injury was not snow related, although Jon took a dive in the parking lot after church yesterday. Those dang slippery church shoes.
  • Also of note, Jon had to dig us out with a snow shovel so we could actually get to church yesterday. First time for us Arizonans. He wasn't a fan- his feet and hands got cold- probably because he was wearing flip-flops and no gloves.
  • Posted some pics of the snow and the kids here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

holiday projects- part 1 and potty training update

This is a sample of the ornaments I made for the ornament exchange party I went to 2 weeks ago.

These are a few of the ornaments I received at that party. My favorites are the wooden bead snowman and the wire angel.
These are hair bows I made for Maryn in the past few days. We made the brown clips at enrichment and I got so excited that I made the candy cane ones at home!

I have also made hats for my two little nieces, but I'm not going to post the pictures of those finished products until the gifts are actually received.

One last note- Maryn has left the world of daytime diaper wear forever.  We couldn't be happier or more proud of her!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

playing in the snow and treat count

We got the kids all bundled up and Jon took them outside to play in the snow today. Check out the pics here.

number of treats I've made this week:
lemon meringue pie: 1
pecan pie: 2
cheese ball: 1
chocolate chip cookies: 9 dozen

Planning on fudge tomorrow. Anyone? Anyone?

attention blog world

Jon is writing a final paper for one of his classes about blogging. He's conducting a semi-survery about how and why people blog. So, if you read my blog, but don't read his, please go to his site and participate! Thanks!

Friday, December 7, 2007

this morning

"It's like Christmas outside! Do you think Santa changed Christmas to be today?" -Seth

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

tree decorating and today's surprise

Not really the best pics since you can't really see any of their faces or the ornaments they were putting on the tree. Plus my camera is unable to capture the pretty glow of the tree lights. But it's an important part of the Christmas season, right?

This is what we woke up to this morning. And it was snowing when we came home from playgroup this afternoon. Pretty exciting for the kids, and me too.

Monday, December 3, 2007

good news Monday

  • The freezing rain has not returned (for now).
  • A good friend did me a huge favor and actually made my Christmas card this year!
  • Maryn is a potty-trainee super-star!  She actually got out of bed this evening and yelled downstairs to me that she needed to go.
Thanks for all your comments about my previous post.  To be honest, I wasn't sure if anyone besides my family would actually read the whole thing. To answer some of your inquiries:

The ornament party was really fun and I can't figure out why I never organized one or went to one before now.  It was so fun to be crafty and create something and then to see what other people's craft styles are like.  Yes, some of the ornaments I got were lame, but most were way cute and something I would have never thought to make myself.  So I urge all you fellow crafters- throw an ornament party!  You may wonder how I managed to secure a seemingly exclusive invitation seeing as I'm so new to the area.  Here's how it went- I was walking down the hall at church when a woman (the wife of one of our home teachers, I really barely know her) walked past me, said hi, then turned back around and said something along the lines of "are you crafty?".  I said something like "kind of, I can be".  She said "I have one more invitation to an ornament party, would you like to come?"  I accepted and that was that.  It seems like I was in the right place at the right time.  I plan to make some more ornaments, so I will post some pictures of those ones to give you an idea of what I made last week (just need to find the time).  

All in all, not bad for a Monday.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I got punk'd and freezing rain

Potty training is still going, but not that well. Maryn isn't at the point where she can actually tell me that she needs to go. She either tells me while she's going or immediately afterwards. So I'm not sure that she is developmentally ready. Plus, we have not gone "cold turkey", I still put a diaper on her when we left the house yesterday and while I was gone this morning and the kids were home with dad. I'm not sure where to go from here. So don't worry Michelle, it doesn't look like she's quite ready, Zane may still beat her. I recently acquired this book from a local used book sale for only $.50, so maybe I should crack it open.

The following is the story of one 30 minute increment of my day yesterday. I was at the kitchen counter attempting to mix together dough for a pie crust, I was using my hands, so they were covered in flour and butter. Seth was in our adjacent living room making a Christmas card for his friend, Elijah. I was spelling words for him letter by letter (as patiently as possible). He kept getting lost especially on the long words like "Christmas" and "Elijah". Maryn pushed one of our chairs up to the counter so she could watch me and "help" by sticking her fingers in my dough and handing me everything I didn't need. Where was Jonas you ask? Who knows? Hopefully not climbing up the stairs, his new favorite pastime. Maryn said "Mommy I wanna poop in the potty" (this is what she always says whether it's #2 or not) just as she "goes". Her undies and socks are soaked and it's dripping down onto the kitchen floor, Seth is still trying to spell "Christmas", Jonas has reappeared and is heading straight for the new puddle, and my hands are still caked with flour/butter paste. Seriously, It was a moment out of a sitcom, although I don't think any team of writers could have recreated this chaos. I was expecting Ashton Kutcher to appear at any moment. I know you are all on the edge of your computer chairs wondering "what did she do?". Well I'll tell you- I did the following things in a matter of seconds: wrapped up the pie dough in plastic and put it in the fridge, washed the goop off of my hands, stripped Maryn down and wiped up the huge puddle. I then ran upstairs with Maryn and threw her in the bath and asked Seth to watch Jonas and make sure he didn't climb up the stairs after me. Just as I was finishing up with Maryn, my sister called. Seth brought the phone up to me but I made him tell her I would call her back. He stayed on the phone with her for a few minutes and it took me that long to realize that the three of us were upstairs together. Where was Jonas, you ask? Who knows? I left Maryn partially dressed and raced to the staircase to find Jonas almost at the top. So I brought him upstairs with me and finished with Maryn. We now had about 20 minutes before we were leaving to meet Jon for dinner. I'll spare you the rest of the specifics, just know that we all made it to dinner- dry, dressed, unharmed and on time.

And now onto the freezing rain. Last week at playgroup, the other moms were talking about how horrible it is, you can't open you car doors, you can't get your keys into your locks. This morning I left my house at 8 am to go and buy some pecans for a pie I was making to take to a party at 11 am. It was cold and cloudy outside, but there wasn't even any ice on my windshield. Later when I left the house at 11 (I was running late already), I noticed it was raining as I opened my front door. After I took two steps, I almost slipped (in my new boots). I realized that my entire concrete walkway (of seven stairs) was coated in ice. I made it to my van a saw that it too was covered in ice. I got out the ice scraper and started trying to clear off my windshield, remember it's still raining and I'm wearing slippery boots. I finally was able to scrape off a little window, get inside and back out only to feel an unfamiliar sliding motion. I got really scared and almost stayed home, but decided to go ahead. The house I was going to was just down the street and around the corner, how bad could it be? I made it to the party house without causing an accident but almost slipped as I tried to walk on the sidewalk. Inside all the ladies were talking about how bad the roads were and someone mentioned that stake conference had been cancelled for the evening. I have never been so afraid to drive home in my life. After actually slipping and falling on my rear while leaving the house, I made it home without incident.

If any of you readers out there in blog land have made it this far, congratulations. I have one more little story to share. The party I went to was an ornament exchange, the first I've ever participated in. It was really fun and a good way to get craft ideas. I was working on my ornaments (I made cinnamon ornaments and then decorated them with ribbon and beads and stuff) last night while watching Oprah and Howie. Jon came upstairs from the basement and said "Wow, those actually look really good!"

What's that supposed to mean, Jon?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ending on a good note

I feel like I've sort of been in a daze lately. I feel like a stranger in the strange land. It has turned cold here. Really cold. I'm not used to this and it doesn't feel like home to me. I really love the holiday season and was so excited when I realized that it was somewhat extended this year because of when Thanksgiving fell on the calendar. But I have yet to finish decorating my house for Christmas. I'm going to an ornament exchange on Saturday and have waited until the very last minute to make my 12 ornaments. I'm still not finished. I should be doing that right now.

Something kind of odd/surprising happened today. Because this is my blog, I choose to give the long version of the story. Last week I bought Maryn a Cheer Bear from Wal-Mart for a stocking stuffer for Christmas. Jon said that he saw some Care Bears at Target that he thought were cuter and cheaper. So today I went to Target, took some other stuff back and left the Care bear wrapped up in a bag in my basket. The Care Bears at Target were the exact same cuteness and price so the bear I had stayed wrapped up in my cart. When I got home, I put the large Target bag (with the bear, other stuff I bought at Target and some craft stuff I'd gotten from Michaels) on the kitchen table. Maryn was interested in the big bag, so I handed her a little bag of jingle bells I'd gotten from Michaels and left the room. I got involved in doing a million other things and later noticed Maryn sitting on the couch holding Cheer Bear. This was one of those moments in parenting where I was standing at a crossroads. I could have gotten upset with her and taken Cheer Bear away or make it a positive experience a be excited with her for her new toy. I chose option #2 and took her downstairs to show Daddy. He said that that was the same bear that he and Maryn had looked at at the store and decided that she could have it when she learned to use the potty. We decided to continue with that plan and put Cheer Bear up on the fridge. I got out the potty and Maryn sat down on it for about 20 seconds and then asked for Cheer Bear. I explained that she actually had to pee in the potty in order to get Cheer Bear back. She was very sad but I stuck to the plan. She tried one other attempt with no results but kept coming back into the kitchen to wave up to Cheer Bear. Later when she and Seth were getting ready to watch Care bears on TV, Maryn was doing her usual rounding up of all her Care Bears (she likes to have them all around her so she can wave the bears at the screen when each particular bear comes into view). She asked to sit on the potty so she could get Cheer Bear down. After 20 seconds, she said "I did it Mommy!" And she had actually done it. I'm pretty sure she was just as surprised as I was. We celebrated and Cheer Bear was brought down. And that was it. When I tried to get her to sit on the potty again, she wouldn't do it. So I'm not sure what to do now. She obviously does well with motivation, but there are only 2 more Care Bears that she doesn't have. Should I go for it and try to actually potty train her? Or just let her do it if she wants to? I'm leaning towards option #2, mostly because it's easier.

So now, the good note. I went to our ward's book club tonight. It was rescheduled to tonight from two weeks ago which worked out well for me because it gave me a chance to finish the book. (The book we read is #2 on my links list, Stolen Lives). This book club has been going since May 1993, so when the whole "interest group" thing came out for RS, it was just sort of included. But this is what is so great about it- it functions without the (I need to choose my words carefully here) confines of an official church-sponsored book club. So book choices (from what I saw from the list they gave me of previous choices) aren't limited to what might appear to be "safe". I had such a great experience. It's nice to feel like I'm a part of something enlightening.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving recap

Jon and I have been joking that we have reached a milestone in our lives. Have you achieved "grown up" status when you spend Thanksgiving in your own home and cook your own dinner? Joking about it helped me not be so down.
Yes- we celebrated Thanksgiving here, by ourselves, just our little family. The food we made was actually really good (if I do say so myself). We brined and roasted a small turkey breast, roasted garlic and used it in our mashed potatoes, and steamed fresh green beans which we ate plain-not in casserole form (per Jon). I made rolls (from my Mom's awesome, yummy, no-fail recipe), cranberry jello salad (also a favorite from my childhood- I was the only one who ate it this year), cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries (really easy to do, I just followed the recipe on the bag of cranberries), and 2 pies. After learning from Julie (as close to an expert as possible) last December, I decided that I wanted to be really good at making pies. Well I promptly forgot about this desire as the year progressively got crazier (I had a baby, moved, worked full-time, then moved again). So for Thanksgiving, I pulled out my paper from said demo and tried my best to recreate what I had made a year ago under heavy tutelage. I decided to make two pies because I knew Jon wanted a pecan one and I knew he would want to eat the whole thing himself and although I like pecan pie, if there is a choice, I prefer fruit pie. While making the filling for my pie, I was also making the afore mentioned cranberry sauce on the stove. I decided to throw in a few cranberries with my apples. The result was a tart, absolutely yummy, pink apple-cranberry mixture. I was pleasantly surprised by how the two pies turned out. They didn't reach my personal standards of pie perfection, but I thought they turned out pretty well considering it has been a year since my last attempt. I'm thinking about making a pie every week until Christmas so I can get more practice in.
I love going shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Was any one else totally surprised to see some stores opening at 4 am? I think that's craziness. As usual, I perused the ads to see what items I just had to get. Unfortunately, there was really nothing that I absolutely had to have. Except for a 100 pack of DVD-Rs for only $6.99 at Best Buy. But I decided that it wasn't worth getting up early (in the freezing cold) to door-bust only one item for $6.99. So I stayed home. I did go out at about 9 am to Target. We only have one Target close to us which was apparent by the ridiculously long lines snaking through the store. After much deliberation, I did end up standing in line for a few items. I somehow got in a fast moving line, so it wasn't so bad. Then I went over to Best Buy and sure enough, the DVD-Rs were long gone. But I did get a movie for Jon for only $2.49. It felt kind of funny when I got up to the register and the guy said "That'll be $2.68" with a smirk on his face. I ended up going back out shopping later that evening with Jonas in tow. He looked so cute all bundled up. And yes, I realize that he is too big for this car seat, time to switch.

On our last day of nice weather, the day before Thanksgiving, I attempted to take picture of the kids for our family Christmas card. I only got 7 shots and as fate would have it, none of them turned out decent. I'm trying to decide what to do because it has been raining and cold since then so there is virtually no sign of vegetation left to use as a backdrop. Below is Maryn after the photo shoot. I wish I could have done that too.

My sister is coming to visit for Christmas and I am so excited! Among other things, we are planning on going to see this exhibit on Christmas Eve. And thanks for the early Christmas present!

Friday, November 23, 2007


More pics and details to come. Don't be fooled by Jonas, he spit out every bite he took.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 12, 2007

last week in pictures

Jonas is finally recovering from a nasty cold with subsequent ear infection. Despite these setbacks, he continues to push the limits of his mobility. I have caught him crawling up the stairs (he made it to the fourth step) and standing on his own.

This is what we do (almost) every night. It's crowded but easier to get them all done at once.

We made sushi. Not the raw kind, just California rolls (sans avocado). Jon did the rice, I did the rolling. Delicious.

We snapped this picture of Jonas because we remembered doing the same with Seth.

Two more cute pics of Jonas, complete with ASU pride.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

daylight saving time

I don't like it.

The first time in my life I have ever had to participate in this ritual was last Sunday morning. We're on day three now and my kids still haven't adjusted. They wake up at 6:15 am now instead of 7:15, want to eat lunch at 10 am, instead of 11, and are tired and cranky monsters at 7 pm instead of 8. How do the rest of you cope with this?

Kids' schedules + daylight saving time = NO GOOD!

Jon keeps asking me why I think it's such a big deal "You act as though you've never changed time zones before!" Yes I have, while on vacation, which usually means there is a grandma around to play with my kids when they get up with the sun. Last evening I was on my way home from the grocery store, with all the kids in tow and I called my sister to complain that it was pitch black outside at 5:30 pm.

In my normal fasion, I wanted to find out everything I could about daylight saving time: Does the whole world do it? Why? When was it first implemented in the US? Like I mentioned in my post about leaves changing color, I feel like I'm the only one in the dark about this. As if those of you who have participated in this time changing thing your whole lives know exactly why you are doing it. As usual, after researching it a bit on the internet, I realize that it's complicated, political, controversial, etc. But this time I don't have the desire or energy to explain what I learned about it, I'm too tired from dealing with my kids' non-adjusted schedules. So I will just say that I don't like it and can't wait until I don't have to deal with it anymore- which means I'll have to live in either Arizona or Hawaii. I'm okay with those options.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween fun

Hoorah for Halloween! For pictures of all the festivities, click here.

When I asked Maryn what she wanted to be for Halloween, she simply said "pink". So that's what she was- pink. I guess you could also say she's a fairy princess. (Thanks to Aunt Wendy for the cute tutu!)

Seth was very specific about his costume. He wanted to be Luke Skywalker from Star Wars 6 (Return of the Jedi). So he may look Sith to the uncultured, but to those who know- he's Jedi Master Luke.

In true third-child fashion, Jonas wore the baby dragon costume handed down from Seth. I was excited to take pictures of Jonas in this costume and compare them to the pictures of Seth in the same costume 4 years ago. I was a little bit disappointed to see that they don't really look that much alike. They really are brothers, I promise!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


This is the same tree, one week later. Beautiful. Who knew death could be so lovely?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

tagged- some not-so-normal things about me

I was tagged recently by two different friends. I have been tagged before, but this is the first one I have actually participated in, not because I didn't want to but because I didn't have time (at the time) to come up with anything and then I just forgot about it. So I thought I would do this now, while I was thinking about it.
One of the tags asked for 6 interesting things about me, one asked for 7. So I am going to do 7 to cover all of my bases.

1. Up until about 3 months ago, I had lived in Arizona my whole life. (Now this doesn't count the first 23 months of my life when I lived in Utah- my birthplace. But I don't remember it, so I don't choose to count it.) I had never even visited any of the US east of the Rocky Mountains. And now, here I am.

2. I love Disneyland. I have been there well over 25 times and it never gets old. We used to go on vacation there as a family almost every year while I was growing up. (This may not seem like a lot to some of you, especially those in this camp, but to others- 25 times in one vacation spot is a lot.)

3. I can't swim. (Funny since I just told you that I've lived in AZ almost my whole life.) I'm not saying that I would drown in a swimming pool, I can paddle and tread water enough to ensure safety in that environment, but I can't do any strokes or tread water very long. I actually had to be rescued by the beach lifeguards on one occasion because, unbeknownst to me, I was caught in some sort of rip tide and my body was about to be smashed into some huge rocks. Which leads me to my next fact..

4. I don't like the beach or the ocean. I have never liked going into ocean water, something about sharing your space with other living creatures makes me feel way too vulnerable. I did like going to the beach as a kid and playing in the sand. But as an adult, it's just annoying. When you leave the beach, everything is covered in sand- your kids, their toys, your car, your house...and guess who gets to clean up all of this sand? That's right-me. So I don't like it. I do appreciate the beauty of the beach and the ocean though.

(Thank you, friend, for reminding me of the next two very important skills.)

5. I am constantly picking up things with my toes. I can grab even small things like a paper clip or cheerios (which are always on the floor at my house).

6. I can fit my entire fist in my mouth. (Actually, I don't think this is an important skill.)

7. Mmm...what else? For the few of you who don't know- Jon and I dated in high school before he left on his mission. Our first date was in March 1996. So we sort of count that anniversary along with our wedding one (June 2000).

So there you have it, everything you never wanted to know about me. Now about tagging other people, I don't know....I hate to commit anyone to do it if they don't want to. Actually, I would like to see what my sister says because I'm pretty sure I know everything about her. So Carlie, you're tagged...and any other reader who wants to take on the challenge.

Friday, October 26, 2007

a science lesson: Why do leaves change color?

I have been thinking about this question a lot in the past few weeks. As I have previously mentioned, I have never lived in a place that has a real autumn season, with leaves changing color and falling. I'm sure there are some trees where I used to live that do this, but not enough to ever make an impact on my memory. So I have been fascinated by the hundreds of trees that are changing around me here in my new home.

I guess I thought that a tree's leaves all changed color at the same time, but I have noticed that this is not the case. It seems that the leaves that recieve the most sunlight change color first, but why? And why are there so many different colors? Most trees have leaves that are some shade of green, so why do they change to a miriad of different colors- red, orange, yellow...?
I decided to research these questions and was suprised to find that there are not any easy answers. In fact, I was a bit confused at times. This is the simple explanation I came up-

  • All leaves contain chlorophyll (green color) and carotenoids (yellow and orange color). Cholorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis (conversion of carbon dioxide and water to oxygen and sugar).
  • When the days become shorter and there is less light available for photosynthesis, trees start to conserve energy by decreasing the rate of cholorophyll production in the leaves (keeping it from doing photosynthesis, basically killing it). This makes them turn from green to yellow, orange.
  • The red color in leaves is sugar that was made inside of the leaf by photosynthesis but then trapped there because the cold weather closed the leaf's veins and made it unable to send the sugar into the tree. That's why the leaves on the outer part of a tree's canopy turn color first, because they get more sunlight but then get colder and "die" faster that the leaves that are protected inside the canopy.
Probably more than I ever wanted to know about botany, but at least I got my questions answered. I felt like I was the only one living in this area who didn't know why leaves change colors, as if those people who have lived through the autumn season their entire lives just knew. But after reading through all of the explanations and stuff I found on the internet, I realized that most people probably don't.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

R.I.P., autumn beauty, and JONAS! (with updated pic)

The jack-o-lanterns that we carved last week didn't make it. (Although, they look way more "mooky" now!) Thank you pyscho Illinois weather: pouring rain one day and 80 degrees the next.

This tree is right outside our front door. I have been watching it everyday as the leaves slowly change color. Isn't it beautiful? Experiencing an actual autumn season for the first time in my life has't think of a good word- cool, educational, breathtaking?

One last note, last night Jonas did it. He climbed up the stairs. We were all sitting on the couch watching a movie and suddenly Jon said, "Oh my goodness, Jonas!" We all looked over to see him standing up on the first step holding onto the banister, smiling- obviously very pleased with himself. He continues to exceed my expectations of his mobility. I am almost afraid of what he'll do next. I find myself wondering, is it a coincidence that he is my first "climbing" child and we just moved into the first home we've ever lived in that has stairs? (Two staircases to be exact!) He is keeping me on my toes.
(I added the pic to illustrate the paragraph above. Imagine this position- which he does all of the time- only up one step. Yikes!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

I _____ public speaking

I had to give a talk in church yesterday. I was less than thrilled to say the least. I don't love speaking in church (not many people do, I'm sure). But contrary to what people may think, I don't hate it either. When our bishop called to extend the invitation to me, my first gut-reaction was to say no way! But I was taught that you don't say no, period. So I accepted and chose my topic from a list of 6 possible choices. But as you might have guessed, I didn't give much thought to it the entire week until Saturday afternoon when I sat down and wrote out about two pages of material. When I saw our bishop later that evening, he asked me if I was ready to speak the next day. Again, my gut-reaction was to say no way! But I smiled and said I sure was!
For those of you haters who try as hard as you can to get out of speaking in church, I have a few secrets to share with you. I am in no way an expert on public speaking. All of these were either taught to me at home or learned from my very limited experience.
  • You don't have to be an expert on a subject to give a good talk about it. Use the link on called "prepare a talk". Type in your topic and voila! You will have a huge assortment of information to chose from. I like to stick to quotes from the apostles and scriptures.
  • Don't give those listening to you in the congregation a reason to tune you out. Don't start off by saying how nervous or scared you are or how much you wish you weren't standing in front of them. Act like you are a expert on the subject because for the next 5-10 minutes you will be if you've stuck to the afore mentioned material (quotes from the apostles and scriptures).
  • I like to type up every word I am planning to say. That way I can keep myself from saying anything dumb and making myself look stupid. I can't think on my feet very well, so I write down every word and try to memorize the sentences (as best as I can). Even if you just stand up there and read from your papers verbatim, if the talk is well written then you've delivered your intended message. No one expects you to be witty or funny or the perfect orator.
  • Most importantly, pray for help. That is a given, obviously. And remember no one is going to come up to you afterwards and say your talk was terrible.
This post is mostly for my benefit. So the next time I'm asked to give a talk, I can remember that I don't hate it, because I always remember that I don't love it.

P.S. The topic I chose was "how to make the most of each day". So I just basically paraphrased Elder Oaks' talk about "good, better and best".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

a mooky little girl like you

Last night we carved pumpkins for Halloween. (To see the rest of the pictures, click here.) The night went something like this...

  • Mom cut the tops off of the two pumpkins.
  • Seth and Maryn each scooped out maybe two handfuls of pumpkin innards then turned the rest of the yucky scooping work over to (you guessed it) Mom.
  • Dad carved the scary tree and Mom carved the ghost into the pumpkins.
  • Everyone went outside to admire all of the hard work.
(And this activity was supposed to be for the kids?)

The cutest/strangest part of the evening was Maryn. She kept saying that the pumpkins were "berry berry mooky". It took us a while to figure out that she meant "spooky". That was the cute part, the strange part was this- Maryn has started stuttering. She has always stuttered a little bit but in the past few days, the frequency has increased more than 100%. She stutters on almost every word she says. I'm a bit concerned and totally shocked because it came on so suddenly. My parents tell me that I stuttered a lot as a child (and frankly, I still do). And Seth stutters too at times, usually when he's trying hard to get my attention. But this is way worse that anything I have heard from either of my kids. I realize that she does this because her little brain is moving faster than her speech can keep up with. But it still worries me. Above all, doesn't every mother want their kids to be normal and not have anything "wrong" with them?

welcome to the world

A new little person joined our family yesterday. We are so excited! My three kids now have three cousins, nice and even.

Monday, October 8, 2007

conference, choices, apple pie

(I wanted to make the title a true alliteration, but I couldn't think of another "c" word that was more important than apple pie.)

I love conference weekend. When is there another weekend in which you could justify spending 8 hours watching TV? But more importantly, when could you claim that watching 8 hours of TV could give you even close to the same amount of spiritual upliftment (is that a word?- spell check says no)? Conference weekend is important to me because it always causes me to take a step back and evaluate every aspect of my life and recognize thing that I need to change. This doesn't always leave me feeling that great, but those unpleasant feelings are balanced by good feelings that stem from the hope that I can make necessary changes.

Some of the blogs I have read today cite Sister Beck's talk on Mothers as their favorite. I also enjoyed this talk because I feel like it helped to give some much-needed accolades and dignity to the work that we stay-at-home moms do all day, everyday. Only those who do it or have done it really understand what a hugely difficult job it is. There is no vacation, no calling in sick, no "leaving your work at the office".

That said, it was not my favorite talk. My absolute favorite talk was the very last one in the very last session on Sunday; Elder Oaks' talk about good, better and best. I was truly inspired by his words and they have stayed with me since I heard them yesterday. I definitely identify with his explanation that most of us face choices everday; not necessarily between right and wrong but between good, better and best. I want to be better about judging the daily choices I make regarding what I do with my time using this scale. Yeah sure, taking a nap in the afternoon is good- if I'm tired, my body needs rest. It would probably be better to sit a watch a movie with Seth (because my other kids are sleeping). But it would probably be best to take advantage of this one-on-one time and spend it with Seth doing some sort of fun activity. This example actually happened today, except that I did "D"- none of the above. I spent the time making some phone calls to get some bills figured out, which is not a bad thing- it's gotta get done sometime- but it probably wasn't the best thing I could have chosen to do during that particular time period. So I didn't quite make it up to the (raised) bar on this one today. Hoping, praying that tomorrow will be better.

One last note about apple pie. Before conference began on Saturday morning, we went to a farmer's market/swap meet. We have been once before and the fresh produce we bought there (straight from local farmers) was so good- I can't even begin to describe it to you! Also the last time we went, we walked by a long table stacked with pies begin sold by 2 teenage girls in dresses and sneakers- Amish. (I guess we live only 30 minutes away from the largest Amish community in the state. Who knew?) By then, we had run out of cash so I told Jon that next time we came, we were going to that table first. If you didn't know this about me- I love pie. I am not necessarily picky about the type, I love all types of really good pie. But a really good pie, with excellent crust and not too sticky sweet filling, is really hard to come by. I had faith in these Amish girls that they could bake a really good pie. So back to last Saturday morning, we went to the farmer's market and I made a beeline for the Amish table. Blueberry, peach, blackberry, pecan and of course apple pie. My mind was reeling with the choices! I finally settled on apple, a standard. It was a little more pricey than I expected ($10) but I absolutely had to have it. Later that day when we cut into it...ahh, heaven on Earth. It was so good, better than any pie I have ever had. Ever. After the first bite, I told Jon that next week we're going back for the peach.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

movin' and groovin'

I have been saying for a while that "Jonas is on the move", but he keeps surprising me with his newest maneuvering abilities! He is still mostly "army crawling", occasionally lifiting his tummy off of the ground to go on his hands and knees. He can also push himself into a sitting position from lying flat on the floor. He has even pulled himself into a standing postion using the (open) dishwasher door as leverage! Do most babies with older siblings progress this quickly through stages of mobility? Probably. I am worried that unlike my other two kids, he's going to be a climber. Yikes.

If you'd like to see more pictures of Jonas on the move, click on the Stone Family Pictures link on my sidebar.

the best thing about yesterday

I found this at a thrift store yesterday. I was thrilled because I have been thinking about getting one for Maryn for Christmas. It didn't have a price tag on it, so the nice worker lady said I could have it for $2.99! Finding that great deal made my day. It's funny how little, insignificant things can do that.

Monday, October 1, 2007

nothing to report

After reading a blog post from one of my friends, I was comforted to know that I'm not the only one who has not just bad days, but bad weeks. Last week was one of those for me. I think I was a little too ambitious and tried to do too many things. I had appointments on Mon, Wed and Fri. I took all three kids to all three appointments (I had to) and each appointment lasted for 2 hours. Needless to say, by the end of the week my kids were driving me crazy. Seriously, I asked myself more than once "Am I going crazy?" Thankfully this week, my sanity seems to have returned, although not in full force.
We are enjoying beautiful fall weather right now. You'd think this would help to improve my mood, and it does- a little bit. I'm excited for the leaves to start changing colors. With all the trees everywhere, it should be really beautiful.
Also, I am still pluggin away on the previously mentioned craft project endeavor. I have finished some parts and will post pictures soon. As for now, here's to hoping for a better week.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I want to be a missionary now

Everyday that Seth comes home from preschool, I ask him what he did that day. He can't usually tell me much of anything during the car ride home, but later in the day and sometimes days later, he'll mention something about preschool. He has been talking about "Danny", a boy that he says is "bad", but he doesn't ever give me any specifics about what Danny does that makes him bad. So I don't really press the issue. I just tell him to be nice to Danny but to not do the bad things that he (Danny) does. So yesterday, Seth says to me, "I decided I needed to share the gospel with Danny." The thoughts running through my head were, "Oh, no! What did he say? And at preschool of all places?" Here is how our conversation went-
Seth: I was teaching Danny about Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Me: Really? What did you teach him?
Seth: Well, I was teaching him how Jesus died for us.
Me: Wow! What else did you teach him?
Seth: Well, he thinks heaven is far away in the sky. But I told him that when you pray heaven can be close around you. But he still thinks that heaven is far away in the sky. Next time I go to school I have to teach him some more.
Me: What are you going to teach him?
Seth: I'll find out.

Oh, that we all could be so bold. I have never done anything like this.

Friday, September 21, 2007

my boys

My two baby boys, Jonas on the left and Seth below. Two pictures taken at almost the exact same age in the exact same outfit. Resemblance? You be the judge. Seth's ears stick out farther, then and now. Jonas is more drooly. Seth has more hair, etc. Brothers.
Jonas is seriously on the move. He is really close to actual crawling, with his tummy up off of the floor. Which I am so happy about because right now he's like a little dust mop dragging his chest all over the floors of my house. Gross.

Seth has been in preschool for 3 weeks now. He seems to like it a lot. Although, most days he comes home and says "I got into a little bit of trouble today." It worried me the first few times, but when he explains his version of what happened, it seems to me that his teacher just has to keep reminding him to pay attention and follow directions which is what I do all day long. So I'm glad that he's getting practice to work on those important skills.

This is his (and Maryn's, by default) favorite show at the moment. For all you moms of four-year-olds out there, you need to check it out. It's way cute. It focuses on learning about letters, problem-solving, and how to read using fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Seth has known his letters for a while, but he is really interested in learning how to put them together to make words.

I love my boys!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I can't seem to keep on top of this...

I can't believe it has almost been a week again and I still haven't found the time to blog about anything. I have been having a good time keeping up with all of my friends' blogs, but can't seem to find the time to write anything on mine.
So here is something I have been thinking about recently - church marquees. We don't quite live in the "Bible Belt", I think we're a little bit too far north. But there are more different kinds of churches in my new hometown than I have seen while living in the West: Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, just to name a few. There is literally a church on almost every corner. Most of them have marquees displaying some sort of phrase meant to either uplift or chastise, usually in rhyming form. I always chuckle when I drive by and see a new one. For the life of me, I can't remember any of the funniest examples right now. Lucky for me, my brother is currently serving a mission in Oklahoma, just a few states over. He wrote a few examples of this in a letter to our family this week. I'm going to share them here because they are representative of what I see in my city.
"Stop drop and roll won't work in hell"
"Be ye fishers of men: you catch em, He'll clean em"
"What are your eternal reservations: smoking or nonsmoking?"
"Forbidden fruits create strange jams"
We drive by one particular church on our way to church every Sunday. This past week the marquee read "Does my creed show in my deed?" After I smirked at the rhyming, I really thought about what it was saying. Basically it poses the question, do you have integrity - are your actions consistent with your beliefs? Profound, even for a church marquee.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007, I mean catch-up

Thank you to all who have continued to check my blog even though I haven't posted anything in a week. Time has flown and a lot of things have happened. I will attempt to give you the short version of the highlights (in random order):
~ Jonas has mastered the "army crawl" using his elbows and feet (not his face anymore!). He's still not very fast, which is good because I still don't have any safety gates for my stairs.

~We had our first house guests, my good friend Mindy and her baby Mayzie.

(I managed to not get a picture of Mindy, but here's Mayzie and Jonas.)

~ I purchased a new toy and have started an at-home exercise regimen with surprisingly great success so far! (And, no-I didn't pay that much for it!)

~ Seth started preschool. He goes for 2 hours, 45 minutes three days per week. He loves it, Maryn hates it. She cries whenever we drop him off and asks me when she gets to go to her preschool. I would do something special with her at home, but he is gone during her nap time, so she's sleeping.

~ I have been consignment and garage sale shopping like crazy. I have found some awesome deals that I'm pretty proud of and have splurged on some things that may prove not to be worth it. But that's the fun of it. My favorite purchase is these sneakers I bought for Maryn.

She absolutely loves them! She calls them her Care Bear shoes because of the hearts, I guess. I wish I had some to match.

~ I have started a new craft project. It's something I've never done and I'm really excited about it. I hope I can pull it off. Thanks to Mindy for the inspiration and advice. I will post pictures of my progress.

~ One last funny note, tonight we went to a grand opening of a restaurant here in town. There was a clown there painting faces and making balloon animals, etc. She was standing outside right by the front door as we entered. Seth was petrified and didn't want to walk anywhere near her. I have heard that kids can be afraid of clowns sometimes, but I was still really surprised at his reaction. I don't have any idea where this fear came from, I can't remember the last time he saw a clown in person. Anyway, after watching her out the window while we ate, Seth decided that he did want a balloon animal and his face painted. Hopefully his fear was cured. Here's what we came home with:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

hit the road, Jonas

This evening while reading stories to the kids I looked over at Jonas and-in shock-realized that he was scooting along the floor! He was dead set on getting his hands on Maryn's sippy cup (since he's getting better at knowing how to use one). Seriously, it seems like he just barely learned how to sit up! Maybe this type of mobility is normal for six-month-olds, but I was still shocked. And now I'm so nervous about the fact that I don't have any baby gates for my two staircases!
We wanted some quick documentation, but our digital camera is really lame and doesn't take videos with sound. (We're still in the silent film era as you can see.) So, Jon added music to make it more fun to watch.

Monday, September 3, 2007

sometimes he surprises me

In the franticness that is the few minutes after church when the hallways are full and everyone is trying to locate all their family members, a friend of mine said to me "Seth said the funniest thing in Primary today, remind me to tell you about it". That was two weeks ago. I have been a little nervous (and curious) about it because you never know what your kids are going to say about what goes on in your home when they're in public. Today I cornered my friend at our ward party and asked her about it. Needless to say, I was surprised by what she told me he said...mind you, he has never said anything like this to me at home.

The teacher was talking about service and asking the children if they help their parents at home. Seth said:

"I always help my mom around the house."

"Really Seth? That's great, your mom is lucky to have a child like you who is such a good helper."

"No, I'm lucky to have her for my mom."