Monday, March 31, 2008

33! 33! 33! 33! 33!

33. 33. 33. 33. 33... Do you think if I say the number to myself out loud many times then I might believe it as well? I have never been a huge fan of running, unless I'm running as a means of chasing something like a soccer ball or someone like my children! I've always enjoyed other means of exercising, such as step aerobics, kickboxing, body pump, and just plain weightlifting, but over the last few childbearing years of my life, I've found that an hour a day of those things is just not enough. Therefore, I've had to not only watch calories very closely, continue participating in the previously mentioned classes, but add onto them as well in order to return to my desired physical state. Anyway, to make a long story short after helping my mother 'endure to the end,' giving birth to our 3rd child, saying a temporary goodbye to my husband as he served in the bishopbric, buying and completely renovating our new home, moving, and settling down, I finally found the time necessary to take care of myself the way my needy body requires in adding additional workouts. In order to do this, I dreadingly had to add running to the list above, but surprisingly I did, however, find myself somewhat enjoying these terribly mentally long 3 mile runs. I enjoyed being outside, alone, and listening to my music instead of Barney, Backyardigans, or Dora.
A week or so ago as I was reading my cousin Melanie's blog, I read how she had ran 6-7 miles and I wondered if I could do that. As I mentioned, I've never ran, without chasing anything, more than 4 miles in my life. So, Monday morning I put in a good chic flic, Music & Lyrics, and went for it. The first mile was the hardest, as always, because it takes me that long to feel like I'm not going to die and get into the groove of the run. As I enjoyed the flic, I would check my progress. Dave, who works at home, was able to enjoy my pleasure as I yelled at each mile and half mile marker after 4 miles until, yup, 7 miles! I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. I won't say it was easy because it wasn't , but it was very much a trial of endurance and mental toughness! I was so excited that I had accomplished 7 miles that I decided to do it again Tuesday. My knee was slightly swollen on Wednesday so I only ran 3 miles, but ran 7 miles again on Thursday, 3 on Friday, and 6 on Saturday. I was in shock when I added the miles up. Through this I also realized I'm a person too and I can still have goals for myself besides making dinner and changing diapers. I won't say that I've committed to this lifestyle of running forever and ever, but I was so proud of myself for having done so this last week. Way to go me!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Easter Weekend

What a delightfully fun weekend! I just love Easter & Spring! We started the weekend off with coloring eggs with our dear sweet babysitter/friend Vanessa. We met Vanessa when we lived in Layton years ago and she has been our favorite family babysitter since then. Unfortunately she had to grow up and go to college at Utah State, but she graced us with her presence this weekend to color some eggs. The kids still love her, as do we! Here she is helping Brigden color his eggs.
Then we were able to spend Saturday afternoon with some of the Bell family. This is an event that my mother started years ago and was very important to her. She loved getting out into the fresh air and celebrating Easter with young ones and throwing candy, sometimes at the young ones. The event started off chilly due to some wind, but after everyone congregated, we found the wind to disappear (Thanks Mom!) and we enjoyed a wonderful comfortable sunny afternoon together including candy throwing, water playing, and lots of hanging! The picture below is all my younger cousins, my kids, and my nieces. And further below is my little gang.
Then, of course, the finale! Easter Sunday! I just love it. I was telling Dave on Easter Eve, I want to make Easter as wonderful as Christmas because it is just as important. My mom always made a Passover Dinner on the Thursday before Easter to help get us into the Easter mood, we read Easter books the week before, hold Easter FHE lessons the weeks before, and I love to give our kids Easter Church clothes to help them feel like Easter Sunday is extra special, but I have yet to figure everything else out. After watching Brigden eat chocolate and candy nonstop after his various easter hunts, I've decided candy may be one thing I don't have to supply since they get enough at the easter hunts, but I'd still like to do more to make it just as special as Christmas. Any ideas?Well, there they are; my sweet children, well at least they were for the posing of this picture. Once the camera was turned off, Harris got mad at me for not letting him have his new toy in the picture, Halen started crying because her tights were too small, and Brigden wanted more candy. Well, at least they were picture perfect for 10 seconds. Who can complain, right?

Friday, March 21, 2008


Unbelievable! Finally as the sun graced us with the joy of it's rays this last week, we enjoyed our first 'day outside at the park.' What a breath of fresh air. I'm sure you can all agree, I am so so sick of snow and winter! I am reminded every year why I love spring so much. It's because I almost hate winter just as much! Someone please tell me why I live in Utah? All these blasted cold winters! This was the wrong winter to not own, nor have the money for, a snowblower!

Sevana's daughter Arianna, Halen, and Niki
Anyway, I had a feeling I should maybe put sunscreen on the kids as we got ready to go to the park, but almost laughed at the thought in my head and dismissed it immediately! Well, you guessed it, Murphy's Law! Halen, Brigden, and I got sunburned! What? You say! Yes, I was wearing sunglasses and looking towards the sun the entire time we were there, which brings a "duh" thought to mind, but regardless, I thought I'd be fine! Nope! My face got sunburned enough to hurt the rest of the day. I couldn't believe it.
Brigden, Sevana's son Wyatt, and Harris
Truthfully, I am so excited at the thought of many more of these days that the sunburn won't stop my anticipation! Anyhow, I love this weather as did the kids! What fun to play in the sand again! We loved it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cookie Cutters & Food Coloring!

Does anyone else out there ever feel like a loser parent because you lack day to day creativity and fun for your children? Well, I do! I struggle making each day creative and fun because let's be honest, in between the laundry, dusting, food preparation and cleanup, homework, and basic family and home maintenance, I feel good if the kids brushed their teeth twice in a day! Well, given my daily unsuccessful aspirations to make life fun and interesting, I was extremely excited to have finally acted upon a very simple idea, which I'm sure isn't new to any of you, but had just dawned on me this particularly blah day!
My kids hate sandwiches. I only make them once a week, but each time I do, they complain. I feel like they should learn to enjoy a variety of foods and a pb&j sandwich is just a necessity of life, plain and simple. So to make things entertaining, I pulled out the spring cookie cutters from the large bucket of 100 cookie cutters purchased at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for only $10. It contains a cookie cutter for every season or holiday or sport you can imagine. Then I cut out their sandwich with the cutter of their choice. They were delighted and overjoyed! I also bargained with them that they could only have their shape if they also ate the crust that was cut off by the cutter. They agreed and ate all of their shape and crust. I couldn't believe it. It was so much fun and so little work! It was also personally fulfilling for me because I had fulfilled that "Fun Mom" quota for the day.
Since St. Patricks Day Halen has been begging for Green Eggs & Ham for breakfast and today we finally fulfilled her request. I couldn't believe how overjoyed they were to eat Green Eggs, and also how simple it was for me to make them. I think that cookie cutters and food coloring are now my best friends! They all cleared their entire plates.
In the spirit of fun activities and ideas, I found this article in Parents Magazine that I felt was a keeper. Everyone always needs good ideas. I am also excited to use the list Andrea, Macy, and Eliza offered at our Womens Conference. One day at a time, right? Fun Mom, here I come!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Our Version of Disneyland

This last weekend, Halen and I were able to attend Disney's Princesses on Ice. This is our version of Disneyland because Dave and I have decided to wait a few years till our kids are old enough to even remember a trip to Disneyland, therefore not going into debt for nothing, and a trip to see the Princesses on Ice at the old Delta Center is good enough for now.

She, and some of the girls we went with, dressed in their Princess dresses, as well as 90% of all other little girls attending so it was more like a Princess Conference for Little Girls. It was so much fun to watch the girls get so excited over the Princesses! The show consisted of Ariel, Snow White, Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and the Little Mermaid. Halen was dressed as Belle.

I must say, however, that almost all the little girls were accompanied by other princesses; their mothers. My friends and I were joking the entire evening about which princess we were. Strange since we're the adults. I guess girls never lose their desire to be a princess. My two friends were Ariel and Belle and I was nominated as Snow White. I laughed hysterically because if I ever think of a sweet, innocent, pure, and wholesome princess it is Snow White, therefore, I'm not so sure if it fits. Strangely and truthfully, I felt more comfortable when Malificent from Sleeping Beauty came onto the stage! The dragon in the sleeping beauty section lit up the ice with fire, it was awesome! Anyhow, if we're all still little girls at heart, which princess are you?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Self Service

As I was about to jump in the shower, Harris, miraculously, asked me if he could have a yogurt he had found in the fridge. I say miraculously because as some of you may know already, Harris thinks he rules the universe and rarely stops to consider otherwise, especially when he is hungry. I, grateful that he asked first, said, "Of course, but make sure you eat it at the counter." After finishing my shower, I entered the kitchen to find a yogurt mess all over the counter and the leftovers of what I would call "Self Service." In the process of opening his yogurt, Harris had decided to lovingly help his little brother, Brigden, get his own yogurt and I guess finding a spoon was just too simple since in a 3 year old's head, "What would be the next best thing to use to eat out of a small yogurt container?" Well, a large soup ladel, of course! Ahhh! Self Service!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Harris & his DRAQ

This last week Dave and I have been working tirelessly on preparing his company, American Log Homes, for an outdoor show this weekend. We've been designing and printing cd labels, business cards, brochures, designing and burning cd's, etc. As a result, I feel the kids have felt a little neglected, especially Harris, who normally thrives on personal attention from his mother.

I've learned with Harris that he is a better child when he is constantly receiving hugs and touch from his mother than when he is not. Well, as mentioned, we weren't meeting Harris' DRAQ: daily required attention quota, and it showed yesterday morning as he awoke to walk into an empty kitchen. Normally I am in the kitchen getting their breakfasts ready and this particular day I wasn't because I was downstairs printing out business cards for Dave. As I was printing, I heard little steps walk from his bedroom, through the kitchen, and then down the stairs. I wasn't facing the stairs to see him suddenly stop on the second stair from the bottom, but he announced his presence by his emotional, awnery, and declaring proclamation, "Mom, me don't want you downstairs!"

It was definitely one of those parenting moments when you know you should validate their feelings and the frustration they are feeling, but you can't stop the laughter from coming out. Harris has never been shy about his declarations, but he is however still learning that he doesn't rule the universe, his mother does! We love him regardless and because since we can see different parts of our own personalities in his.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Brigden, Our Baby, Turns 2!

This last Thursday, March 6th, we celebrated Brigden's birthday. Wow, I can't believe our youngest child and is already 2! Hmmmm? I know what most of you are wondering and the answer is, "No, not yet." Unfortunately, this last week was a really crazy week, crazy enough for me to even forget his birthday was coming. Therefore I was very grateful that he was only turning 2 and young enough to just be grateful for whatever he received, small or big.

The last few months he's turned out to be quite a "Cars" (Disney Movie) fan and therefore I knew it was a no-brainer to buy him a few of those Cars character cars and he'd be good to go. Then throw in a homemade "Cars" cake, watch the "Cars" movie and Slam Dunk!

It was so much fun to watch Brigden get so excited for little cars, his cake, and blowing out candles. I just love the simple things in life like this. What a joy!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Fabulous Flashlight FHE

It's a typical crazy evening in our home. At 7:40 pm the kids are putting on their pajamas to get ready for bed, I'm cleaning up dinner after a long day of cleaning house and catching up from the weekend, and Dave is still hard at work in his office downstairs. Suddenly, it hits me, as if I didn't know so all day long, "It's Monday." The wheels start turning as I realize "It's already bedtime. What about Family Home Evening?" Then thought process begins to spiral downhill as I debate whether to quickly stress myself and scramble together some FHE lesson or to just throw it out the window and worry about it tomorrow or next week.
Unfortunately, it would have been so easy to 'give up and resolve to do better next week,' but I quickly recognized in my heart that regardless of my time and energy constraints, this was not one of those times. I knew this because just a few days earlier I had been spiritually uplifted by my Aunt Lianne and my Step-Mother Tammy as they shared with other family members and myself of the importance of inviting the Spirit into our homes. It gave me such a renewed dedication in striving to make my home a house of peace, a house of love, a house of order, etc. that I knew I had to act quick since I only had a few minutes to spare before the children's 'lack-of-sleep' meltdown began.
After finishing cleaning up dinner at 7:50 pm, I headed downstairs with the children to join their father and announced we were going to begin Family Home Evening. Honestly, at this point, I still had no idea what the lesson, songs, nor activities were to be, but only that we were having it. We began with a song and a prayer and then came the lesson, aka the hard part.
I had noticed just a few moments earlier as we were gathering together, Harris, our 4 year old energetic son, was running around playing with a flashlight. Since I knew I needed some kind of activity for the children, my mind started to buzz and then the idea came; "Flashlight Hide and Go Seek." This, of course, was the original game, but it would now include turning off the lights and using the flashlight to find those hiding. We managed to play enough rounds to give everyone a turn and encountered many complaints when it was time to stop for it was such a success!
After the game, it was time for the lesson. Hmmmm? What could we talk about that related to a flashlight? Well, next thing I knew we were reviewing the story of The Brother of Jared when he needed to light his barges. We discussed how his great faith allowed him to not only figure out how to light his barges by having The Lord touch his stones, but it also allowed him, TBOJ, to see Christ in person, as few have been so faithful. As strange as it may sound, we even kept the lights off and told the story by flashlight light. Halen, our 5 year old daughter, and Harris loved practicing The Brother of Jared's real name, while Brigden played with the flashlight.
We ended with another song and prayer and off the kids went to bed at 8:05. It was a modern day miracle; a successful uplifting and fun Family Home Evening in only 15 minutes from start to finish! What a blessing to have had such a great opportunity to spend quality time together as a family. Time will never be an excuse again, since I know that if I choose to make FHE a priority, the logistics such as the lesson and the activity will fall into place, thanks to the Spirit.