Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Vacation

We had such a wonderful Christmas vacation. My parents, grandparents, and most of my siblings came up to visit. We did a lot of fun things and had a great time. We loved having everyone here! We went to the Murray family farms and got some incredible fruit. We also got to go to the petting zoo. The weather was great and it was great spending so much time outside.

Jenna and Violatte at the petting zoo.




Trissa and Annalee at the petting zoo.




The girls opening their stockings.


Luke's favorite part of his stocking was the orange.




Annalee loved this little car.


Violatte on an airplane teeter-totter we got her.


Luke opening a present.

Pictures, Picture, and more Pictures

It has been such a long time since I've posted anything, so here is a collection of pictures showing what we've done the last few months.

Annalee playing in the leaves


Violatte playing in the leaves


The snowman we built. Isn't he great!?!


Violatte and Santa Clause. We got to see him at the train rides that are run each year. She told him that what she wanted for Christmas was presents.


Annalee told Santa that she wanted presents too.




I love holding my little guy.


Annalee loved the face painting she had done at a fair.


Violatte loved her face painting too.


Getting some cuddle time with Annalee.


This mama goat loved me.


Annalee and Violatte petting a baby goat at the petting zoo.


Luke loved seeing all the animals at the petting zoo.


The kids and I at the petting zoo.


Luke and I on the hay ride at the pumpkin patch.


Annalee and I on a hay ride at the pumpkin patch.


Luke hasn't used a pacifier in a long time. He does like to play with it now and then, though. This is his favorite way of playing with it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving article

The most interesting part of Thanksgiving is definitely the combination of personalities when extended family gets together. I enjoy observing people, and watching a large mixture of people is always entertaining.
Maybe most families aren't as crazy as mine, but I'm sure most are just as interesting in one way or another. There always seems to be a Grandma who loves to give kisses or an uncle who tells fabulous stories, and somewhere in the mix there is always a prankster to keep everyone on their toes. Then, of course, there are always lots of cousins to play together.
Sometimes there are bad things about getting people together – such as rivalries between brothers, or in-law disagreements. That's bound to happen when many different people spend time together, but, fortunately, roasted turkey and pumpkin pie generally produce happy people.
Like most families, a tradition of ours was to have each person name something they are grateful for before we could eat. The children always had the cutest reasons such as, “I'm thankful for the tooth fairy” or “I'm thankful I don't have to sit next to my brother.” Adults generally had the boring comments such as, “I'm thankful for my job that provides a good income for my family and wonderful benefits so I can be a good husband and father and also for good coworkers who . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah.” The teenagers are generally the most creative, “I'm grateful we are almost done with this gratitude thing so we can eat.”
Then, the feast began. The conversations were always amusing, the food was always delicious, and the spills were always certain.
When the food is all cleaned up there is the after-dinner celebration. The younger guys all watch football games, the kids all get sent out to the backyard to wear off some energy, the women gossip in the kitchen, and the old men fall asleep on the floors and couches and rock the house with the snoring. If you're really luck and have a crazy family like mine, the aunts and uncles will either arm wrestle or start the game of “Do you remember when” while Grandpa and Grandma insert the occasional, “I didn't know that happened!!!”
With so many things to be thankful for, I'd have to say that I am most thankful for the people in my life. Each person influences me and teaches me and makes me smile. Much of who we are is built upon the foundation of our experiences with the people around us. I hope that you enjoy each moment you have with the people in your life.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Black Widow



Yes, this is a picture of a black widow spider on a girl. It's actually a tattoo, but I wanted you to understand how I felt with this entry.

I had a horribly scary experience the other night. I had brought a box of sweaters in from the garage. I was trying them on since I hadn't worn them last year because I was pregnant. I wanted to make sure they fit. When I put about the sixth sweater on I looked in the mirror and saw a giant black widow on my neck. It completely terrified me and I screamed and tried to brush it off. It took me a couple of swipes to throw it onto the floor. It started running toward me so I grabbed a shoe to smash it.

I was shaking for about ten minutes. It really scared me. I am blessed, though, since it didn't bite me. Now, I am much more careful about bringing in clothes that had been in storage.

Picture from http://www.toupeiratoupeiro.es/blog/arte/tatuajes-2/

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Headache Updates

So, as many of you know, I have had chronic headaches (and oftentimes, migraines) since the time I was in about seventh grade. I've been to all sorts of doctors and specialists to try to figure out what is wrong. Well, I am happy to announce that I haven't had to take any pain killer for about a week now. After experimenting with a lot of the things that past few months I found what seems to be causing the headaches.

Each time that I get one or wake up with one I take a nap and it really seems to help. I've also noticed that it seems to have a lot to do with my eyes. If I spend a lot of time writing on the computer I seem to get them more quickly. A nap always seems to help (even if it is short.) So, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with my eyes and sleep deprivation.

Whatever it is, though, I seem to have things under control and it is a great relief! Thank you to all of you who have been concerned about me over this. I'm sure your prayers have helped!

Random Happenings

Conversation at dinner tonight:
Annalee: Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!
Jim: Shh!
Annalee: Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!
Jim: Shh!!!
Annalee: Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!
Jim: Annalee, when I say "shh" it means be quiet.
Annalee (in a whisper): Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!

When we were Trick-or-Treating Annalee really wanted to fly (since she was a butterfly). So, Jim picked her up and would carry her really fast so she could fly. She thought it was the greatest thing!

Today Jim was shutting the circuit breakers on and off to try to fix a problem in our electrical wiring. Any time Luke saw lights go off and then on he would giggle. He would watch the lights so intently -- waiting for them to flicker again.

We've had a really hard time teaching Violatte that sharing doesn't mean she can take what someone else has. We have had to tell her, "You can only share what you have." I don't think she quite gets the concept yet. She'll 'borrow' something and say, "Annalee just needed to share with me."

Annalee's favorite shirt this week has been one that her Grandpa and Grandma Howard gave to her. She'll point to the shirt and say, "I need to talk to this Grandpa and Grandma and tell them to come visit me."

Luke now makes kissing sounds by sucking in his lips like a fish face. It's so cute. When he kisses us, though, he just slobbers, still. Lovely!

Every time the girls pray they pray that Trissa (their aunt), Christie (H.), and their babysitter (Leah L.) will come to their house.

Luke waves and claps his hands. My favorite is when he is going to bed. He'll start waving to everyone.

Violatte is reading really well. She is even doing some math lately. I've been so impressed with how quickly she catches on to things.

Luke doesn't roll over so much. Now he army crawls. He sure is getting into a lot more things!

Kids are so much fun!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Pics

We had such a great Halloween. It was fun to see our kids all dressed up. Jim and I even got in the festive spirit and dressed up as well. We had a great time.


Annalee was a cute little butterfly. The wings were huge on her but it was definitely more butterfly-like.



Violatte looked so cute in her poodle skirt. It ended up being pretty big on her so I had to safety-pin it, but she still looked great!



Luke's costume was definitely a challenge for me. I couldn't find a pattern anywhere for the robe or for the Yoda face. I did it all by creativity (and Jim's help.) It turned out really cute.



This is us at the Trunk-or-Treat



Jim was Elmer Fudd and . . .



. . . here is the classic Elmer Fudd searing for his "Wascally Wabbit."



A friend gave me a pirate costume and the girls really wanted me to dress up. *sigh* So I gave in. I can't remember the last Halloween I dressed up because I always feel ridiculous, but it was actually pretty fun.



Another cute picture of Luke



Well, we decided since we were in costume to have some fun with picture-taking.

Me, getting impaled by a sword . . . in the armpit . . .



Yoda is using The Force to take the rubber-band gun from Elmer Fudd



Yoda holding the pirate at bay with a sword (we were fresh out of lightsabers for Yoda).








We hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!

WARNING: Do Not Leave Alcohol Near Your Pumpkins

My husband's aunt sent this to us in an e-mail. It was too funny I had to post it. Have a happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Newspaper articles - Halloween

As most of you know, I have been writing columns for the Daily Independent (the newspaper here in Ridgecrest) once a week. I will start posting my articles here on my blog to add to our family journaling. Here is the article I wrote for this week on Halloween:

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. I don't like scary things. I've only been on a roller coaster a couple of times, and I don't plan on going again. So, a holiday that is filled with goblins and creepy things isn't my choice of a good time. Now that I have kids, though, it is much more fun. I enjoy putting together their costumes and helping them plan what they want to wear.
I grew up in Idaho where there was practically a guarantee of snow on the night of Halloween. We always had to wear a snowsuit underneath our costumes, and there is no fairy or cheerleader costume that looks good over bulky jackets and insulated pants. Only the Hulk costume looks good with layers underneath, and that's certainly not an option for a girl. I remember one Halloween specifically where my mom worked really hard to make a beautiful white fairy costume. It was great. It had layers of white fabric that wrapped around. However, when I put it on over my layers of warm clothes, I just ended up looking like the Michelin Man.
My husband had the same experience in Colorado. He was Superman one year, and his mom made him wear a coat. He kept trying to explain to his parents that Superman would never wear a coat – Superman is after all . . . well . . . Superman. His parents finally made him a deal that he would wear his coat but he could take it off at each door when he rang the doorbell. Living in this desert town certainly has it's advantages on Halloween night when scarves are not a necessity.
I lived in a rural town growing up and with our large family it took so much time to pile out of our van and to the front door, knock, each get a piece of candy, pile back into the van and buckle up for the drive to the next house. We never got much candy (which I'm sure my parents didn't mind), but for us kids, it was depressing. My friends would brag about having a pillowcase full of candy from going to one of the towns and walking door-to-door, and I would have a measly 6 pieces of candy. I wanted a great way for my kids to go trick-or-treating, but only at houses where we knew people, and to be done before bedtime.
Now we go trunk-or-treating in our church parking lot. I think it's a fabulous idea. If you've never been to one before and you have young children, I highly recommend them. Everybody backs their cars up and opens up the trunks (or the back of the mini-van, in most cases). Some people decorate them and the kids walk from car to car gathering treats. There are also oftentimes games and activities. I feel much safer doing that, and usually we are home by seven.
So, the next dilemma is the Halloween candy. Each parent has a different game plan for managing the sweets. Some parents let their kids eat all the candy that night to get the sugar rush and crash over with quickly. However, it tends to leave a hangover-like effect, except that the parents are the ones that end up with the headache. Some parents let their kids have one or two pieces a day to spread it out over a couple of weeks. One set of lucky parents I know has convinced their kids to trade in all the Halloween candy for a big family trip or activity.
My absolute favorite idea is to donate all the candy to a program called Operation Gratitude. It sends the candy to the troops in Afghanistan. The servicemen and women give it to the children where they are serving. I think it is such a great way to avoid the sugar rushes and crashes for our children, plus it is a great way to teach them service and to honor the troops serving our country.
Maybe I can learn to like Halloween after all.
(For more information on Operation Gratitude go to www.opgratitude.com.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cute Kids



Annalee does some really cute things. One of my favorites is when we read scriptures at night, she likes to take a turn. She always turns to the page in the Book of Mormon that has this picture on it and "reads" something like this:
"I love Jesus. I want him to come back. He can come visit our house. I miss him. That's him right there in the picture. I want him to come."

Annalee loves to say, "This food is delicious!" at dinnertime. She also uses the word "beautiful" to describe things. They seem like such big words for such a little girl.

I had to switch all the kids' clothes for bigger sizes. Annalee is now in 3T, Violatte is in 5T, and Luke is in 9 month clothes. They all grow so fast!

We've done some fun things as a family lately. I'll be posting more pictures soon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Baby Laughs

Ok, this post is horribly embarrassing, but I still think it's hilarious, so I decided to post it. I hope you enjoy. (Don't be frightened. It's not a Halloween video.)

video

Friday, September 18, 2009

Considering Children

I used to think that the number of children a person has is a good indicator of how good of a parent he or she is. Both my Mother and my Mother-in-Law had large families and they are two amazing Mothers. I don't know where that belief came from for me. Maybe it was because of the large family I grew up in or maybe it was because I knew my lack of patience and felt unworthy as a Mother -- especially to have a large family.

I'm not sure if I feel that same way. I've seen some amazing mothers who have small families. I guess for some reason my rating of Motherhood only applies to me. I've struggled so much with this because a part of me wants to have a big family to be a good mother, another part of me wants to have a big family because I think they are so wonderful and I would love to have five or six, but the last part of me has that feeling that just maybe I already have all I can handle. I want to make sure that I am the kind of mom that gives each child enough individual attention. I want to make sure that I'm not too overwhelmed and that I can be enough for them.

I don't know if any of this makes sense and it kind of rambles but it's been on my mind a lot lately. I know that we don't have to make a decision right now about whether or not to have more children but I've just felt so unsettled lately -- like a big change is coming or like we have some big decisions ahead of us. I'm not sure what is ahead but the decision we'll face later about our family is something that I'll most likely be considering until then.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bring on the Fall!



Fall is my absolute most favorite season of the year. I have to admit, though, that I am having a hard time adapting to the Ridgecrest version of fall. In Idaho, where I grew up, Fall was the season where everybody's apple tree had too many apples and invited us over to pick them. Fall was the time where you had to start wearing a jacket again. Fall was the time when big Potato trucks would appear on the roads and school got out for two weeks while the farmers harvested.

Here in Ridgecrest it is completely different. Fall is when you plant your garden again. It's when you can go outside again in the middle of the day because it is no longer too hot. And if you want to can or freeze produce you have to actually go buy the produce! BUY IT! Buying produce to store seems like an oxymoron to me since the only produce I remember canning or freezing was grown in our garden or given to us.

The worst thing about the Ridgecrest fall, though, is the lack of color. I miss living in Logan, Utah where you could take a drive into the mountains and see trees changing color all around you. It had a calming, gentle affect that made all seem well with the world.

But, as our green beans are sprouting and our roses are blooming I did come to accept that fall can be nice here too. It's just different and different isn't always bad.

Picture courtesy of:
http://www.redbubble.com/people/enjoylife/art/276578-11-autumn-colors-in-the-forest

Friday, September 11, 2009

Did you know . . .

. . . that I am a comedian in my day job.

It's absolutely true! Among my other [motherly] talents I am a comedian. I figured this out while I was reading my sister's blog about the books she reads to her daughter and the sound effects that go along with it -- and it dawned on me -- I, too spend many hours of the day doing ridiculous (and obnoxious) things to produce giggles from my children.

Now, I must warn you that my material is only suitable for a limited age range (3 months - 3 years) and that because I get paid in kisses and giggles I usually work overtime. Not to mention any normal person would have a CAT scan done on me if they saw me. . . oh, if only they saw me.

Today, for example, Luke was in his bouncy horse. I found out he got the biggest kick if I jumped up and down with him. So, I got a fabulous thigh-toning workout making him giggle. We had so much fun. Plus, fake sneezes, silly faces, and pretend hiccups are always popular. You just can't go wrong with kids. They make for a great audience!

Yes, indeedy, I have the best job in the world!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Parade of 1000 flags

We were able to march in the Parade of 1000 flags that happened here in Ridgecrest this past weekend. I love how patriotic this town is and this was a great event to be able to participate with our whole family. The kids really loved being part of it and Violatte walked most of the way by herself. It was a really neat experience.




Waiting for the parade to begin



Jim before the parade starts. I love the backdrop of flags!



Walking in the parade



This is a picture of us walking through the field after the flags had been placed. It was a really amazing sight to see.

More Funny Sayings



I love this picture of my girls. It is my favorite! It shows so perfectly how different each girl is -- both in personality and looks.

The kids are always doing funny things so I wanted to write them down.

When the girls are scared they try to tell us but instead of saying, "I'm scared" they both say, "I'm scary." It makes us laugh each time.

Luke has started to talk. He says "Da-da" and knows it means Jim. It's so cute!

When the girls want to go outside without shoes on they ask if they can walk outside on their feet.

I am always telling Violatte not to boss Annalee around. My most common phrase is, "Violatte, let me be the mommy." A couple of days ago Violatte was bossing around Annalee and when I scolded her and she said (with a little bit of attitude, I might add) "I know -- You're the mommy, Mommy."