Monday, December 29, 2008


Christmas was a joy again this year. We spent the Christmas holiday w/my family in Mt. Pleasant (Utah). I managed to calm down after the whirlwind of thread, fabric and felt. I finished the kid's PJ bottom's right in time. It is tradition in our family to open one gift on Christmas Eve. I want to try and arrange it so the kids open either PJ's or a movie to be used that night.

We had a fabulous dinner on Christmas Eve. We watched many of our family classic Christmas movies including The Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

On Christmas morning after the torrent of wrapping paper and painting nails we had a yummy brunch.

Then that evening my brother and his family joined us. We were all together this year (including my sister Rose's "special" friend, Gledis).

We then "acted out" the Nativity story. Samuel and Olivia were Joseph and Mary.

Jocelyn was a shepherd, complete w/froggie boots.

Anna was the angel. Eva was baby Jesus. And Levi and friend were wise men.

Samuel and Jocelyn now understand that Mary had baby Jesus in her belly. And as I have read them a watered down version at night Samuel has learned, from discussion, that mommies push the baby out of their belly. Samuel said, "Oh, like pooping!" and after trying to hold in my laughter (and awe at his observation) I told him that, "Yes, it is almost exactly like pooping."

Some other highlights of the break included bowling (The day after Christmas two years ago we all went bowling at the only alley in the county, the Sno Cap. A very rundown place but fun nonetheless. About 6 hours later my water broke and Jocelyn was born the next day. So it's kind of a tradition to go now the day after Christmas),

running outside in the blizzard,

building a snowman,

playing games, talking a lot, and gaining probably 5 lbs.

Jocelyn is finally starting to warm up to my parents. For some reason, she is a little moody around my family and one can never know if she will allow someone to grace them w/her presence . But she and my dad hit it off this visit. He takes her to find the kitty and she even snuggled up w/him to watch a few movies. It makes my dad thrilled.

And then we took a family picture which we haven't done in a couple years. We decided not to brave the chilly wind and took it out in my dad's new portion of his studio. We were joking around about leaving it bare w/the ladders, etc. So then we decided to go all out w/the industrial feel, or "custodial feel", as Levi put it. We're sort of nerdy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day

We finally made it outside to play in the snow! The kids loved it! I loved the the great deals I found on snow boots and pants from the thrift store! Wahoo! They made snow angels and volcano's and had the freedom of swimming, stomping and throwing as much snow as they wanted to! They had a blast and the only toes that were frozen were mine.


Well, I can finally relax....just a little. Our Ward Christmas Party was a success. I finished the decorations on time and our idea of having a canopy of lights worked beautifully. It was prettier than I thought it could be. Plus the centerpieces were simple yet elegant (I can admit that, right?). We didn't run out of food and the gingerbread house making was a hit! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and stayed for nearly 2 hours by their own choice! That's a good sign, right?

In the past few weeks in neglect of many of my other motherly/wifery duties I made these:

This apron for Jocelyn's birthday present.

And pillowcase dresses. Plus some burp cloths and a "Super J" cape for Joc. Would you buy this stuff on if you were not a sewer? I am seriously thinking of selling things like these because I had so much making them. It's just a vintage pillowcase found at DI for a buck and some ribbon. Pretty simple (and cheap)! And when it gets too small it can be worn as a shirt or over leggings.

Then I got to work on these little suckers.

I had this free fabric. Some upholstery velvet and silk plus leftover silk from my wedding dress. And Rachelle, who helped me make the bean bags, suggested I use the velvet to make stockings. I didn't even think of it! And I didn't want to add anything else to my list of homemade items. But I thought, "we need Christmas stockings eventually." The only one who had one was Samuel and his was a gift and says, "Sammy's 1st Christmas." So I embarked on finding the perfect Christmas stocking ideas. I couldn't find exactly what I was envisioning in my mind but I found this photo online that came close.

Plus I used my mother-in-law's grandkid version as inspiration and a pattern.

And this is my version. I must admit, they have lots of flaws (like being too small among others) and they're not my favorite creation. Plus they took nearly 3 full days of sewing and creating. And if they didn't take so dang long to make I'd be tempted to not keep them. But now we have 4 completed stockings for Christmas!

My mom is worried about my well-being. I am too, to be honest. But when I get this creative drive it's hard to stop!!! I just want to sew and create. Next year I honestly think about settling down and putting the sewing machine in the closet, for just a bit :) I need to find the balance b/w what I want to do, developing buried and new found talents...and family and time.

Phew. I am glad it all has passed, for the most part. I still haven't completed the PJ bottoms (oops, I forgot to look at the size on the pattern) so I don't know if I'll get to those before Christmas. C'est la vie. Tonight we, as a family, sat down on the couch and watched a Muppet Christmas movie on TV complete w/neighbor gifted popcorn and sprite (thanks J!). Fun times!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I forgot to mention that when I stripped Jocelyn of her jammies I put her back in her bed sans clothes. And then while I was bawling I could hear Samuel bawling. I asked him why he was crying again (he had already cried when I turned all the lights off to deter them from coming out of their room so it was pitch black, except for their nightlight) and he was worried about Jocelyn being virtually naked and going to bed cold. And then they came into my room and saw me crying and making a mess of myself and Sammy gave me a hug (another side note: I was explaining forgiveness to him as he did not want to deliver one of the goody bags to a neighbor whose son had been kind of rough with him. He actually remember a time that we visited them a year ago!!!! when the other boy tried to hug him and consequently pushed him down a few I was trying to explain to him that he needed to forgive this kid and that when he hugs me, even after I get angry with him, that is an example of tonight was extra huggy when I got short-tempered) and I, w/tears and a bit of whimpering, asked them to go to bed. And they did exactly that. (too bad crying doesn't work every time bcse I would use it every time). Answer to a prayer! Oh--and all the goodies I've received lately are great soul food. Thanks for thinking of me!

It gets worse each year

sorry...long post.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Each year at Christmas time I get busier and busier. I load myself up with more projects, more goodies to give out and generally more stress. This year was no exception. By Thanksgiving I was "done" shopping for Christmas gifts. We've only got my brother to shop for but I've passed that onto Tyler as it's his "name" this year (we draw names or assign them each year on both sides).

This year in my brilliant strategy to be creative and save money I suggested we have a "homemade" gift exchange w/my side of the family. Although I am saving money (ultimately, because I will re-use supplies such as thread and extra fabric, etc) the time I put into these gifts ends up being the same as I do rounding them all up at stores. But I am a perfectionist in many ways. I want to buy gifts that have meaning, thoughtfulness and a personal touch. I spend a lot of time thinking of what I should get each person, how and if they will like it. Will they use it? Will it be attractive? Will it also reflect my tastes and still be theirs? etc, etc. Plus I am frugal so I want to find the BEST deal possible and still make it a worthy gift.
So in all my haste to get this year rounded up I find myself stressed still the same.

I still have to make 2 pair pj bottoms for the kids, 4 "quilted" stockings, Jocelyn's apron, and some burp cloths for baby gifts. Not to mention the wrapping and stocking stuffing, etc. And Christmas is less than 2 weeks away people! I am NOT counting down the days excitedly. Which is sad bcse I LOVE this time of year! I love watching my kids open their presents with glee. I love receiving the compliments from those I gave presents to. I love the joy and remembrance and togetherness. But I am a little out of focus right now. Will the kids even notice that the fabric that's been sitting pre-washed in the laundry basket was turned into jammies or not? Will Jocelyn's birthday be ruined because she didn't get the homemade apron that she doesn't even know about???? No!!!! So why am I stressed?

This is what the last 2 days have looked like:
8am--do dishes, start laundry, make muddy buddies for neighbor gifts
9:30-10:30--exercise at Church w/Jill and Lori.
10:30-11:30--try to download photo's to Costco's desperately slow online photo center. Find out the cropping tool is a joke and beg my dad to help me out.
11:30--Shower and get ready.
12-run to Costco. Get stuff for Ward Christmas Party (I am on the Activities Committee).
1--Visit teach.
1:30-eat lunch.
2--put kids down for naps.
3--instead of make decorations for Christmas party, blog, email, download photos to facebook. Then try, for another 1 1/2 hours, to crop, edit and download pictures to stupid costco!!!!!
4:30--very frustrated, and kids waking up, I put the kids in front of the babysitter (TV) and start dinner.
5:30-7--dinner, cleaning up, etc
7---go to a friend, Susan's, house to make hair bows for Christmas gifts (and making up for not being able to make them at Super Saturday way back in October).
8:45--run over to mall to return some stuff.
9--run over to $1 store to find decoration stuff for party (yay, for extended shopping hours).
10--come home. Start making Christmas decorative wreaths and watch "House" on internet w/Tyler.
12:30--finally lye down in bed but don't get to sleep until about 1 am.

Morning: Clean and fold 6 loads of laundry; scrub both bathrooms; vacuum.
12: 45--eat lunch; make more muddy buddies; bag muddy buddies;
1pm--run over to Walgreens for more party decoration stuff
1:30-2:45--visit teach.
2:45--run over to $1 store and exchange broken tea lights (seriously, you get what you pay for.....but I was desperate....all of the Costco's in the valley were out of them and weren't getting them in until after the party!!!!)
3--run to grocery store
3:30--home, chat w/Melanie downstairs for a bit
4:30--finally check email.
5--start dinner and go and deliver goodies to neighbors (Samuel insists on giving them out individually w/no help. And taking turns w/Jocelyn giving the people a bag....even though she is generally too shy to give it to them anyway). While I was talking w/one of the neighbors about some of her trials, etc, at her doorstep, the kids were getting impatient and Samuel whacked Jocelyn in the back of the head w/one of the muddy buddy bags. And it exploded on her and all over the ground. She looked like an Aborginaee again (too bad I didn't have my camera). Samuel was so sad that we didn't have another goody bag and hardly sad that he whacked Jocelyn. I was stunned....I just stood there looking at for like 30 seconds...Luckily, we had an extra one on hand and the friend swept it off her doorstep. LOL.
6--Finally come home and finish preparing dinner. I'm starving.
7--bathtime....I let them have a bubble bath and they had a ball and didn't pour/splash water onto the floor this time!!!!
7:45--got the kids dressed and lotioned up, read them stories.
8--lights I hoped.....
9:30--after an hour and half of fighting them and threatening and swatting them and locking myself in my room, I find Jocelyn doing this, sopping wet, (for the third time in 2 days). Why she does this I do not know. But it was only funny the first time. (Oh, I attempted to cut her ya).

I pulled her out of the sink, stripped her of her wet jammies and plunk (maybe not that nicely) in her bed and slam the door. Go into my bedroom and lose it. I finally caved. All the stress just came tumbling down. I literally collapsed to my knees and asked for help from the Lord. I couldn't take it anymore. I still had 4 loads of laundry to fold, some dishes to clean AND I still have to finish these party wreaths. So instead of doing them I am blogging :). Plus tomorrow it continues w/appointments, volunteering in the Family History Center (I do every Friday now for 3 hours) and setting up for the party.

I've had a whirlwind of a week and tomorrow is no better. Unfortunately the kids have watched a lot of TV and I've been very sharp w/them. But my point in all of this therapeutic ranting is to prove to myself that I do it to myself! I load myself up and try to do it all until I crumble. I think I am strong enough and I keep pushing myself and stretching myself as long and far as possible until I collapse. And it happened tonight. But now I am breathing and trying to get over it and prioritize my time. But in all my crying I realized that my kids just want me for Christmas. Yes, Samuel is expecting some pretty awesome toys (that's what he thinks...) but really they just want me to play w/them and be w/them which is hard for me sometimes....I just want to do, do, do.....I really shouldn't try running faster than I can't.

Anyway, I hope you all have a better perspective at this time of year. Even though I feel like a chicken w/it's head cut off and my body literally gets jittery when I am this busy and stressed I like this time of year. I truly love it and I look forward to Christmas morning. But I also love being generous and helpful. Helping my in-active sisters that I visit teach. And feeling of the Savior's love.

But now I'm off to laundry folding (it can't wait on top of our bed or it will just commute to the laundry basket again) and wreath making! Thanks for listening!

Monday, December 8, 2008

St George

We went to St. George for the first time this weekend. It's as far "south" Tyler and I have ever been. We tasted some yummy custard, the over-rated In&Out Burgers, and experienced St George Blvd...our hotel was on what felt like a min "strip" of Las Vegas. lol.
We drove down for Troy and Jana's blessing of Carson. We had the entire Stoehr family together (Tyler, Troy, and their four sisters-from L to R; Hannah, Heidi, us, parents, Troy and Jana, Stephanie and Emily)! It was great fun! And Carson is so much cuter in person! What a sweet baby he is! We'll miss them all. We hope to see them again next year sometime....Here are some group shots we took in record time in the cold desert weather. Samuel and Jocelyn don't know how to pose very well yet. Samuel told us that he had two sisters; Carson and Jocelyn. And then he asked if we could take him home with us. We had to remind him that he was Troy and Jana's baby and not ours. It was really sweet. We can't wait for him to grow a little bigger so they can play together. (though I am sure Troy and Jana can) It's our first nephew on either side.

Early Christmas present!

While I was shopping on Black Friday I saw that sewing machines were on sale at Joann's (because it's a Viking and I get free sewing classes!). I've wanted my own sewing machine for over a year now. I've been borrowing my dad's all year but when he needed it back I asked to borrow my friend Stephanie's. Well, after all the sewing I've done recently I've been really pressed to get my own. And after convincing Tyler that it's an important and long-lasting purchase, I bought my first sewing machine!!! It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles and added extras which may come in handy later on but it was within our "budget." Thanks mom's and dad's for the help! I really think it will last as longs as both my mom's least 25 years. Now I have to keep my mind off of opening my own Etsy shop next year....

Fish 'n Chips

We had left over oil from doughnut making and I wanted to get rid of it. So I decided to attempt to make my father-in-laws famous deep fried fish, onion rings and potato wedges. He normally makes them beer battered (no, he doesn't drink alcohol....he just dips the fish a beer batter) but I was too much of a wuss to buy beer (Tyler normally does the alcohol purchasing for cooking purposes) so I bought the fish n'chips batter box and made these. The meal turned out pretty good. Even Tyler approved. Not as good as Tyler's dad but satisfactory enough to think it was.

Oh, and the silver "rub away" bar really works! It gets rid of garlic, onion and other nasty smells from your hands. It's just a stainless steel (?) bar shaped like soap and you just rub your hands with it until the smell is gone.

Wasn't worth crying over

I am trying to control my mood swings. And this was a step in the right direction. Instead of crying over this I took a picture.

"Miss Independent" wears her froggie boots everywhere (except to Church). She loves these $4 little Target beauties. She also loves to wash her hands at least once an hour. It's a great habit to get into except when she forgets to leave the water running oh so quietly that I can't hear it until 1/2 hour later. or when she floods the entire counter and onto the floor. She's also very much into princesses and dancing. Taking and putting the bulbs back on the Christmas tree. And playing dress up. She is turning into a girl!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

I forgot to post the pumpkin patch photos.

We took the kids to one in Sandy but it was more like 2 rows of pumpkins. Lame. But Tyler did take them to the Charlie Brown movie there a few weeks later (during one of my ladies night out). Yipee!

The Stoehr's did their festive Halloween dinner and also took them to a way better patch while we were back east. It looks like they had a blast! Sammy thought the dry ice in the pot was "magic."

Making whoopie!

Okay, so I must apologize for the lack of proper photography skills (help Melissa!). But these are very scrumptious little treats. They are called whoopie pies and hail from New England. They are not giant homemade oreo cookies nor made from cake batter. I found this recipe on (wow, she get's two hails in two blog posts! She must be my up and coming idol or something). Anyway, I used her cookie recipe and the pumpkin filling from her website. However, the link for the filling did not work so I called up my sister-in-law Marci for hers. I filled them w/plain cream cheese stuff (Marci's), pumpkin (martha stewart) and peppermint (mine). Next time I'd like to try peanut butter (martha stewart) or mint.

I made them for our Christmas Enrichment activity last night. I must admit that the cookie was the perfect texture of dense and fluffiness and flavor. However, my creams were a bit too runny and I made the cookie too big and thick. So I popped them in the freezer to firm them a bit. Enjoy!

Here is the recipe:

Festive Whoopie Pies
taken from

Makes about 20

* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
* 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
* Pinch of cinnamon
* Pinch of nutmeg


1. Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
3. Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
4. Prepare filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
5. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.
Plain and Peppermint fillings:
I doubled the cookie recipe and made these fillings for the 2nd batch.

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
lots of powdered sugar
a bit of milk
vanilla, for plain only
1/4 tsp peppermint extract, for peppermint flavored only
add 1 crushed candy cane and red dye for peppermint filling only
**prepare same as pumpkin filling.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent calander

My mother-in-law told me about an advent calendar that uses small children's/infant socks. And then I saw it on too. You can tuck a piece of candy or prize in each one. I just gathered up all of their old and too small socks. Their great grandma gave them Christmas socks last year and now they're too small. I fastened them to a ribbon w/mini clothes pins. They love it! I only wish I had a mantle to hang them on. But now Samuel knows exactly how many days are left until Christmas and maybe he'll ask me a little less often.


We went out to Colorado for Thankgiving this year. Tyler's parent's live out there. Any my sister Jennie too! For those of you who didn't know, I grew up in Arvada, CO. 8 years ago my parents moved to Utah but I still feel like Arvada is home. Tyler and I met and dated in high school. We grew up in the same stake too. And I love my in-laws (is that an oxymoron?) and so heading over to see them makes me happy :)

Tyler and I volunteered to make most of the Thanksgiving dinner. Don't ask me why. I suppose it may be because we are food snobs and volunteered to make the yummiest things. Two of my favorite recipes that I made were a pomegranate jello salad(courtesy of my aunt Julie D. ) and cornbread stuffing. It includes sausage, corn, walnuts and yummy seasonings. I highly recommend it! I loved it all! Have I told you that I gain weight just by looking at food? So ya, even thinking about it made me gain weight this past week! Back to the "gym" or living room or Church cultural hall to work out!

My father-in-law carving Tyler's beautiful turkey.

So, I participated in Black Friday. Yes, I was a frenzied shopper that ripped through crowds, yelled at fellow customers, tore gifts from people's arms and trampled people to death. Well, no, actually, I did not participate in any of that. I only went shopping. Can you believe that though???? Seriously, there is something wrong w/this picture. Yes, stores should have great deals but spread it out! Hand out vouchers or have the sales last longer or something! Supply and demand out of hand! Sheesh!

But I did get killer deals on flannel ($1.50/yd!!!!) and at bath and body works.

We also saw Twilight!!!! I must admit that I was happy with it! I went in w/low expectations and was thoroughly delighted. I found myself laughing at inside jokes from the book and gushing over Edward. I was a little disappointed w/Bella's acting...but honestly, she was sort of idiotic in the book too! I can't wait for the 2nd to come out!

It was a nice break and I wanted it to last longer. I successfully fell asleep during each movie that we watched each night. I was a little bummed that I couldn't stay awake. I must have needed the rest. And I was grateful to have such awesome younger sis-in-laws who kept my kids at constant attention. Thank you!

The drive home was....well...boring and was through Wyoming. What else do I need to say?

I am thankful. We were discussing this while out there. Why is Thanksgiving before Christmas? Shouldn't it be after? Because we are grateful for the day and then we immediately start thinking about all the things that we want for Christmas and turn greedy (well, perhaps a bit of an exaggeration). If we had Christmas first we could be more grateful at Thanksgiving. Or maybe we should just be grateful all the time.

Here come the carols, decorations and annoying toy train under the tree that always comes off the track and has to be replaced about 10 times a day! Yay!


Each year we have a tradition of making doughnuts around Halloween. Sometimes we invite friends too! We had to wait for a few weeks until after Halloween due to sickness. But I made it happen! Plus, the kids had to fill their fuzzy jar to get doughnuts (I helped them just a little bit by filling it w/a few extra so I didn't have to un-invite my friends). The kids loved it and it was great motivation to start filling it again!

This year I made pumpkin cake doughnuts and regular yeast ones. The latter were not good at all bcse I overcooked them. It's hard to play hostess and visit at the same time!

We love this tradition and the kids really enjoyed it this year too!


So, I'm a little behind but I thought I should do it anyhow.....I was going to make a video but let's be realistic! It's Christmas shopping/making time now!

Halloween was great this year. I didn't have to make any costumes, firstly! Wahoo! Samuel wore the same Old Navy brand dragon costume from last year w/no complaints but merely excitement. And Jocelyn wore the lion costume I made for Samuel 2 years ago (never use Walmart's soooo cheap....I washed the costume once and the seams came undone...and I did a darn good job sewing it in the first place). They went trick-or-treating for the first time and trunk-or-treating. We got a thrill out of watching the kids door knocking and asking for the free candy. Then dumping their full bags out on the floor to count. Samuel was quite conservative w/how much he ate. Jocelyn had no limits. I seriously think she consumed half of her candy that night! She was a little hyper, needless to say. The candy is now all gone and I don't have to stare at it anymore!

Here are a few pics from pumpkin patches to dressing up! Oh---Jocelyn was a chinese person at a family Halloween party.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Family matters

I wanted to first of all, say Congratulations to my brother and sister-in-law! After patiently waiting their first born entered the world! Troy and Jana named him Carson Thomas. I like the name. And he is a cutie! We can't wait to meet him. Tyler and I are especially excited mainly because it will be Samuel's first male cousin, albeit 4 years younger. We hope they will be good friends.

Also, my cousin Cassie had her baby last week too! Congratulations, Cassie and Jacob!

And all in one month I will have 3 cousins getting married.

You see, my family is HUGE! My mom is the oldest of 10 kids, 8 of whom still live in Utah. My dad is 1 of 5 kids, 4 of whom live in Utah. I am one of 49 (soon to be 50) grand kids on my mom's side. I have 1st cousins who are younger than my children. Crazy! My dad's side is big too. There are 27/28 cousins. I know all of their names and their spouses names. But I couldn't name all of their kids.

We commune often. And when we do, on either side, it's very loud. It's a bit overwhelming, especially on my mom's side, for the incoming spouses. They feel a bit of pressure to remember everyone's names. Don't ask Tyler bcse he has barely learned all the aunts and uncles names, and for the most part, who goes with whom.

So what is the point of all this rambling? Well, I guess I am just grateful. As I attended cousin #1 of the season getting married last weekend I remembered how much I love my family. My cousin Mica and I were discussing why we are so close. We decided it was because of the efforts made by our parents and grandparents. They made sure we did things together (even as I grew up in Colorado until I went to college), that we knew each other, and even liked each other, if possible. We get together for mission farewells/homecomings, baby blessings, weddings, showers, reunions, holidays, parties, ceremonies, and just because. We call each other up and read each other's blogs. We send out Christmas cards and email each other. We know each other and our "elders" made sure we know our ancestors. We know their stories. We know where we came from. I don't write these things to boast but to show my gratitude.

Both sides of my family have great pioneer and non-pioneer heritage. The first thing my grandpa would ask you upon introductions is, "What's your last name? I know your face. You must be a so-and-so" and would somehow make the connection as to how they were related to him. It was sort of funny at times but now I realize what a blessing that was. "We are who we are because they were who they were." One of my favorite quotes. My family is great because their ancestors were great and they kept that tradition. And my biggest hope is that my kids will have the same relationship with their cousins. That they will know their aunts and uncles and love them. That we will continue to be together often. That they will know they will be offered support and love on both sides and will always be taken care of, in addition to the help from their parents.

This is what I am grateful for this Thanksgiving. Families. I love doing genealogy and learning of those who got us here. It's an important work. I am grateful to bring souls closer together in the eternities.

Friday, November 21, 2008

4th picture post

I was tagged to post the 4th picture in the 4th folder...My sister will kill me for posting this, but oh, well. I had to choose the 4th picture in the 4th folder in the 4th folders (too many folders).

This is my sister, Rosemary. When were living in Paris my two sisters came and visited us and we picked them in London. This is down the street from St. Paul's Cathedral.

I tag....Melanie, Wendy, Jennie and Rachel.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some of my favorite things

This last week has gone much better than the previous week. I don't know if it's because my PMS is gone or just because I've worked on some of my goals. I have read my scriptures more and I think it has helped. But I know this has helped too. I read it each night w/Samuel and Jocelyn. And I am learning things! Jocelyn will sit on my lap long enough. Her favorite stories are those w/Jesus and animals. (I've taught her the word Prophet now, so she can differentiate...she thinks anyone w/a robe and a beard is Jesus). Samuel's favorite story is "The Brass Plates." He knows the whole story. We even re-enacted it the next day. We took turns playing Laban and Nephi. I love it when he calls the Lamanites "nites". He thinks they're knights. lol.

And then while Tyler watched them ALL day Saturday, he and the kids watched this together. And Jocelyn sat through the whole thing (again this morning as they watched it again!). It's a classic!

And yesterday, right before Church (silly idea), we took family pictures. My cousin, Liz, is wanting to continue developing her photography skills, especially with families. So we headed over to the Saltair (area) salt flats. Here is a sample of some more to come!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Centerpiece ideas

Here are some simple yet elegant centerpiece ideas for your Thanksgiving table. I love to decorate for occasions where there is food. And I found these on a grocery store website, of all places.

For the pumpkin vase you simply empty out the pumpkin guts of a smallish pumpkin and fill it w/water and cut the flowers down to desire height.

For the mini-pumpkin tea lights, simply cut a hole in the center, pull out the innards and place the tea light in the middle!

Free photobook

Yesterday's Oprah was about de-cluttering your house. It was suggested that you scan your kids artwork and make a photobook out of it (and then throw the art away...yay!)

Here is the link
: You need to go to Oprah's website and register by FRIDAY (November 14) and finish and order it by Sunday night. You need only pay shipping and for any additional pages. It's for a FREE 8x11 photobook, 20 pages, custom-cover book by Snapfish.

Happy photo-booking!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Feeling better

Thank you all for all your support and comments. I really appreciate your love and advice. I am doing better. I am staying on track w/my goals. I still awake each morning feeling physically sick but mentally I am much calmer.

You may find this video very boring. But I made it for Tyler. And I thought our families may appreciate it the most.

Happy Anniversary, Tyler! I love you!

here is the link to youtube
for MUCH better quality, if you care.

soundtrack: "Don't let me fall" by Lenka.

Only in New England

Only in New England:

--can you drive through 5 states in one week and sleep in the same bed, the same night.
--are the fall colors, or "foliage" so beautiful.
--the drivers are more fearless than Utah drivers.
--do you feel like you're in Europe.
--can you eat authentic Boston baked beans, fresh Maine lobster, the best New York style cheesecake, the best porterhouse steak, the best bagels, authentic New England clam chowda', and the yummiest Boston cream pie.
--hear a myriad of American accents including but not limited to: boston, jersey, brooklyn, new york, and all the other nationalities of people that live over there.

We loved it!
Here is a video (a bit longer) of our New England travels. It does not do justice to how beautiful it truly is over there in Autumn. The soundtrack is Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Fall.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Growing pains

Warning: long post.

As Anne put it best, "I am in the depths of despair." Only, I feel Anne's despair was just a tip of the iceberg. She was only a teen and had not yet had children.

For over a week now I've had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day....every day. I've learned it's a combination of things and perhaps a build up of others. Here is a list of just a few.

--I cannot potty train Samuel to poop in the potty.
--I was called back for a play...but not cast....again.
--I have repenting to do for yelling and spanking my kids a lot lately.
--I am not pregnant after trying for a few months. (I know it's not very long, but each month it gets harder to accept the fact)
--I have guilt for wanting another child when I can barely raise the two that I have.
--We are poor.
--I have had a cold for 3 weeks now and counting. My kids have too. But then last week their colds developed into pink eye and then an ear infection and then diarrhea. Luckily, they did not complain and were very well behaved.
--as a result of being sick--we've been homebound and developed cabin fever from outside and friends.
--My kids have been fighting going to sleep for weeks now.
--I get let down by others who don't do what is right, especially when they know they should. That includes myself and my children.
--I haven't felt like making dinner in weeks.
--I am afraid I am getting depressed again.

Now, that I have that all off my chest I feel a little better. But now I know I need to remedy these problems.

I have felt overwhelmed since before my trip. But it's pressures I've put upon myself and so feel I can fix them myself.

In my short experience w/depression this is what happened. I was living in Paris at the time. It was September. The honeymoon phased had worn off of living in a foreign romantic city and I was alone. I had a bad experience w/a French lady in the ward. My American friend moved back to the States and I was alone. Tyler was struggling w/his internship that he hated and reverted to playing his computer game a lot. I was a tall, curly haired, not a sized 4 American living in Paris with no family nearby. I was depressed. I had never felt it before but this was real. It was a constant battle for 2 months. But after 2 months of this wallowing and wandering I realized it needed to change. That I needed to change. So the first of November it did. I made a choice. I started running. I started losing weight. I developed goals and reached for them. I received a new calling in Church. I started working, only once a week, as an English tutor to a little French girl. By Thanksgiving I was healed. Spiritually, mentally and physically. I got over my depression. And then it became Christmas. It was a happy time and when I look back on living in Paris, that is my most cherished. I learned a lot during that time. I learned about myself. What I could handle. At the time, I couldn't understand but looking back I see how I grew. I see how I stretched. (blogging definitely helped me remember this too). Growing pains. or like character stretch marks. Though they are ugly they give you character and depth, right?

Here is what I have done so far to get over this current funk.

First, cried a lot.
Second, been a "bad" mommy (according to Samuel), a raunchy sister, friend and wife.
Thirdly, cried some more.
Fourth, fasted and prayed.
Fifth, tried to feel enlightened enough to read about hope and how to overcome trials.
Sixth, blogged, or blog spewed. How about: blog eruption.
Seventh, TBA, pinpoint the problem and resolve to kill it.
Eighth, fix it and move on.

I am working on 5, 7 and 8 right now. I want to get over this. I need to get over this. It's very dark. I don't like being in this rut. I want to be my normal self again, whoever that is.

I fasted for myself last week. That I could be more patient w/Samuel in attempting to potty train again. I think it worked, a little bit. And our RS president is a saint. She watched my sick kids last week on her day off so that I could commit to volunteering in the local Family History Center. But she also shared her testimony in RS last week . She reminded us that there must be opposition in all things. That has stuck with me. I realized that, as much as it sucks, we have to have trials. Elder Uchtdorf said it's okay to fail. I learned that back in my acting days (and my lack of acting days today) too. Tyler always used to tell me, when I thought life was hard in college, that "this too shall pass." He would tell that to me over and over again. He is so wise. He also taught me that in order to have happiness we must have goals. We must value something and work toward it.

So these are my goals:
1. Repent.
2. Pray some more and seek help from the Lord. Seek answers.
3. Start exercising again.
4. Let my kids help out. Give them goals too. Like a job chart complete w/stickers and rewards. (thanks mom for the suggestion)
5. Continue to serve others.
6. Read my scriptures.
7. Not yell at my kids and spank so much.
8. Try to get pregnant again (maybe that's TMI)
9. Make a priority list of the things that I want to accomplish and get them done, in the right manner and time.
10 Forget myself and get to work.
11. Be happy.

Can you tell that I am "list" person?

I didn't want to vent to get attention or make you feel sad. I did it for myself, firstly. Therapy. Then I did it publicly to let you know what I have been feeling. That it's not been easy. But perhaps you're experiencing something similar and perhaps you can learn from this. As hard as it can be, the Gospel makes my life easier. It gives me hope. It gives me perspective. It brings me joy. Though I feel a lot of guilt for not always doing the right things I know that change is good and that I need to grow up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If you are democratic or voted Obama, don't read this. No, I won't say anything bad.

Yes, CNN, we know he is black and that he is the first black president ever. Thank you for the reminder. Though I do think he is much better looking than McCain.

I feel a little let down. Sort of like when David Cook won instead of David A in American Idol. I shouldn't have been so surprised but I am.

We'll see what happens in the next 4, and hopefully not 8, years. I hope socialism doesn't come full circle. Yes, it has it's perks. It was interesting to watch it in France when we lived there. It was like everyone was taking advantage of the system that was already trying to "help" them out.

Anyway, yes, change is always good, Obama. But I only pray our country will change for the better.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not McCain or Obama

Tyler and I voted early on Halloween. It only took about 20 minutes. Let me tell you honestly, I did not vote for either McCain or Obama. I don't think either are suitable to be our nation's president. Anyway, the last time I voted 4 years ago in Spanish Fork they didn't have the cool electronic style voting system so I was glad at the ease of using the "up to date" kind. I felt special and like I was on assignment for a secret mission or something. But I also felt very patriotic with all the people in Halloween costumes. I even dressed my kids up hoping they'd be giving out candy. It was all in vain, except for a few smiles. No, but really, I was almost touched to see everyone lined up, early, to vote. It is a more serious election this year, it seems, and I was glad to be a part of it.