Imagine what you could do if you knew you could not fail.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Kooks

Here are the kooks Jeremy works with. It's sad, but true.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall Activities - Park and Pumpkins

Last Friday the kids were out of school and it was a perfectly warm, fall day. I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to take them to the park before we can't go anymore. They all had so much fun! Cathy and her kids met us there to play.

This is the best part about watching kids go down these slides - the HAIR! It's so cute! :) They don't know why we are watching them and smiling so big!

Athena and Ashley spent a lot of time on their acorn collection. At the end of the park trip, Athena was so disappointed that we couldn't take some home. She did, actually, enjoy that luxury a couple of years ago. Once we got them home, the worms that live inside the acorns ate through the acorns and ended up all over my kitchen counter. I didn't know this would happen and only learned of the truth after the gruesome discovery. NEVER AGAIN ATHENA! Sorry.

Uh . . . but the collection was still fun. :)

Could we get any more people on this slide, please? They are all SO CUTE!

Our next fall activity was to carve pumpkins. We did this last night for Family Home Evening. Athena, Samantha, and Nathan LOVED getting their hands all goopy in the pumpkins.

I ended up cutting Samantha and Nathan's pumpkins, and Jeremy cut Athena's.

Here is the finished product, out on the porch! I mean the pumpkins, not the kids. Samantha chose to have hers be a mad face, Nathan wanted Jack Skellington - the "pumpkin king", and Athena wanted a traditional jack-o-lantern face. Athena actually did the artwork for hers and Jeremy did the cutting. Good job Athena!

Here is one last clip just to show how much fun we had. There is no sound because we took this video with our digital camera, but please, feel free to enjoy the movement.

Oh, I have to explain why Athena started out looking so goofy in this video. She thought Jeremy was going to snap a photo and was holding her pose. LOL!

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Potty Talk

I have to laugh about this - we were out shopping for basement stuff this weekend and lo and behold, we carted along a training potty! I've never done this before, but it really worked! We did give it a good try having Nathan use the store bathrooms, but to no avail. So each time Jeremy ended up taking Nathan out to the van to use his own private stall.

We did have an exciting success, though. At church there is a little kid-sized porcelain, flushable toilet in the nursery. It's really quite cute. Anyway, at church I took Nathan in there and he was so excited about the potty his size that was like Mom and Dad's that he just couldn't go. He loved the room it was in and spent all of his time admiring the walls, the light, the light switch, the funny little potty, the sink his size, and so on. He loved it so much that he forgot he needed to go. So, about an hour later, he said he needed to go again, so Jeremy took him back to that lovely little room and Nathan went and hopped right on that potty and went potty. HOORAY!

Then later that day we were at a birthday party and he actually went two times in another big potty while we were out. Jeremy told him that it was just like the other potty in the church and he went and hopped right up and went! We'll see if that solves our public toilet problem for the future. :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Potty Time!!


The time has come. It is finally time to potty train Nathan. This is seriously my least favorite part about raising little kids. My very least! He has actually been ready to potty train for quite some time, but I had to hold him off until after our Mexico trip. He is actually doing pretty good for a first-timer.

Yesterday I had him watch the Elmo potty time clip on and he sat and watched it for about 45 minutes. It's cute, every time Elmo has to go to the bathroom, Nathan has to push a key on the keyboard to send him to the potty. Nate sits and watches and waits until his important time to push the key. After watching that, Nathan has done pretty good about remembering to stop what he is doing and go.

The only downside to potty training Nathan, really, is that we are gone a lot. He absolutely refuses to go potty anywhere but on his little portable potty. I'm thinking of just making that a permanent fixture to the van. Yesterday we were in Macey's doing some grocery shopping when he had to go. I had Jeremy take him and they came back 5 minutes later. Jeremy said Nate refused to use that potty. I didn't want him to have an accident so I decided to give it a whirl. I took him into the bathroom at Macey's and spent about 10 minutes in the stall with him talking to him, calming him down during his hysterics, sitting him on the potty, talking to him some more, etc etc. I FINALLY got him to sit on the potty for a second. No sooner was he on the potty than it did its automatic flush! Nathan came UNGLUED!!! He couldn't get off that thing fast enough. I figured we were done at that point and nothing more was going to come of being in the bathroom, so we left.

Surprisingly, he was able to hold it all the way until we got home - about another half hour. That experience makes me dread leaving the house to do anything this weekend. If you see us walking from store to store toting a potty, you will now know why.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First Snow and the Flu

We saw our first real snow at our house when we woke up on Sunday morning. It's crazy! It shouldn't do this in mid-October. It did look really pretty, though.

This is my favorite - I thought it looked really pretty on the roses. Jeremy took these pictures. He gets so excited about snow.

This is our little drummer boy. He was so excited that he was playing the "BUMS"! That's what he called it.

This week our family has been slammed by the flu. I was down all day yesterday and today Samantha had to stay home from school. It's such a bummer! I hope everyone doesn't get it and it stops with us 2.

I really appreciated Jeremy yesterday. He came home from work and cleaned the whole house because I had been sick and the house was quite neglected. What an awesome husband to help out. :) I love him!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Some Great Wig Fun

Yesterday we went and bought the finishing touches to what will be the girl's costumes. Athena wants to be Belle and Samantha wants to be Sleeping Beauty, but they both have the wrong color of hair to be their princess. So we solved that problem. Thanks Kmart. :)

Look at those princess beauties! I think these wigs are so funny!!

Here is a shot from behind of the divas . . .

Oops! I mean, DIVO! LOL!

I love my kids!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Made Bread!

Yesterday I made my first loaves of wheat bread. I was surprised to have them turn out to be quite delicious. I was expecting to harvest bricks from the oven since it was my first time. It was so easy to make and the first loaf of hot bread was gobbled up within 10 minutes by my ravenous family. I didn't even have time to take a picture. I'll have to make it again and take some pictures. I even used home-ground wheat.

Darn, I've become domesticated. Once you make your own wheat bread, that's it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nathan makes me laugh!

This is what Nathan does at least 200 times per day - no exaggeration! He is so funny! He has his landings down to a science. I don't get what is so fun about it, but he will do this over and over and over.

This is another functionality of Nathan's that was recently discovered, the faces! It's so cute!! He will do happy face, mad face, happy face, pirate face, excited face, etc etc. They all look the same, either mean or happy. He is so fun. :) I have to share!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Our Night at Cornbellys

Being the typical Jeremy and Renee' that we are - of all places to forget it, we forgot our camera!!! I'm so bummed, those were the fall pictures I wanted to post.

Last night we took the kids to Cornbellys at Thanksgiving Point. There are so many fall activities to do there, we weren't bored for a minute. We went through the corn maze, watched the pig races, slid down tons of slides, went on a cow train ride, etc etc etc. The kids really like the corn maze and didn't complain about the walking at all.

Jeremy loved the go carts. I waited by the sidelines with the kids while he went around and around and around. They are pedal cars that you ride around a dirt track. Athena and Samantha loved the jumping pillow and the spider web the best. Nathan tried the jumping pillow, but he wouldn't stay on it because there were other kids and he refused to jump when other kids were on it. When he was by himself he loved it. I think the double-bouncing is what got him.

Sorry there are no pictures! Wish I could share more - maybe next time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Few Last Random Photos For Fun

These are the last things I will post from Mexico. I had a few random photos that I really liked that I hadn't put up yet. Actually, there are tons more, but I'll limit it to this.

My favorite thing about where we went was all the natural beauty. The vegetation, the beach, the water. WOW! It's all huge too!

This hermit crab washed out of the ocean one day so we watched it for awhile and then Jeremy and Jared decided to play with it. I thought they almost killed it. It kept retreating back into its shell when it felt threatened too. I wish I had a shell.

Here we are with a monkey. There was a guy going around the resort with this monkey and it would run up your arm and on your head. It was really cute! They were taking pictures and selling them in the gift shop for $8. I didn't know Jeremy was there, but he hurried and snapped a picture. Thanks Jeremy for saving me $8. Alexandra liked the monkey a lot.

Here we are in the Steakhouse. WOW that food was so good! I think I gained 5 of my pounds here.

Jeremy saw this iguana in the tree when we were walking through the covered walkway at the resort. I think it was our biggest iguana to spot. He ran around the tree to get a better picture and it ran down really fast into the inside of the tree.

Jeremy's beach scene. A classic.

This was a great day of relaxation. I need a hammock. It put Alexandra to sleep. The only bummer was that I drank too many coladas and had to go to the bathroom so much that I had to wake her up so I could run to the bathroom. Guess I should have thought of that before.

Here is where we ate lunch every day. Interesting that there are no windows, just open spaces to these buildings.

Jared, Amanda, and I are relaxing on the beach while Jeremy takes photos. I like my job better - relaxing. Wish I were still there. :)

This is my dessert one of the nights. Looks appetizing, doesn't it? These are little fruits called lychees. They actually aren't too bad.

This was my favorite dessert of all we had. Ice cream in a cream puff. YUM!!! I wanted 3 or 4 of these, but I was so full I could barely walk through the door to leave, so I stopped at 1.

Jeremy took this picture from the airplane as we were leaving the Cancun airport. It made us sad to leave such a beautiful place. I hope we can visit there again someday!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Our Day at Chichen-Itza

On Thursday of our trip we took a 2 1/2 hour ride through the jungle to get to Chichen-Itza. This is a huge ruins site that includes the pyramid. I was really looking forward to going here, even though I knew we were in for a long hot day.

There is so much to see here - this place is amazing! This is the big pyramid that is always shown in photographs. It is HUGE! I didn't know this, but inside of this pyramid is a smaller pyramid that they just built right over. The grounds here are very spacious. Our tour guide showed us something pretty cool - if you go stand in the middle of the field on the side of the pyramid and clap your hands, then listen, the echo that comes back sounds exactly like a bird chirping. It's the way they made the inside of the building that it does that. Also, you can hear everything there because of the echo. He was telling us that they think it's possible that they would have someone stand at the top of the pyramid to speak to the crowd because you can hear everything so well. If someone is talking from up there, you can hear it everywhere below.

Here you can see just how big it really is! We are standing on the back side of the pyramid. This is how it looked when they found the ruins. The steps on the front 2 sides have been reconstructed.

This door at the bottom leads to the inside of the pyramid. They don't let you go in there anymore. What a bummer! I would have loved to see the inside and also to get out of the heat!

These stones that are all stacked up are thought to be some sort of music makers. They are all slightly different lengths and give off different tones when you strike them.

Of course these ruins also have all kinds of symbolism and things that coincide with the equinoxes and important dates and times. In this building there is a statue of a jaguar at the bottom. At the top of the building on each of the 4 sides there are 8 jaguars carved into the walls. So, there are 32 jaguars around the top of the building, and one down in the bottom to make 33 jaguars. I thought it was really neat on the inside of this building we could still see paint from where they had decorated it and painted the carvings.

The next pictures are some of the carvings on the jaguar building. Everything here was carved so much. They sure do put a lot of work into their buildings! Much more than we do today. Unbelievable.

I call this staircase the "Samuel the Lamanite stairs" because when I first saw them, it reminded me of that picture from the church where he is standing on the wall preaching and the crowd is shooting arrows at him and climbing up that staircase. On the sides of the staircase is petrified wood. Those are actually logs lining it.

This is a very long path we walked down to go see the water source that the people used so long ago. In Mexico there are a ton of cenotes - they are sinkholes made from the underground water and rivers that run through. It's a place where the water is accessible. The Mayans used these as their water sources. I was quite disappointed that this whole walk was lined with people trying to sell souveniers. I would have much preferred a nice, quiet walk through the trees. Oh well.

Here is what we walked all that way to see. I can't believe this was their water source! I hope it was cleaner back then cause it sure grossed me out! From different expeditions that have been done, in this cenote they have found 43 skulls, and thousands of pieces of jewelry.

I like this building and I really wonder what it looked like in its prime. It is huge and it goes way back behind what you see here. It has all of those columns that you see below plus a lot more, in fact, there are exactly 2000 perfectly straight columns in front of and around the whole building. They are also in perfectly straight rows so that when you stand next to one and look side to side you can't see any others in the row.

This is a great big field, like a sports arena and the building at the end is where they think the king would sit to watch the proceedings.

OK. That is a lot of Chichen-Itza pictures, so if you want to see more, refer to my photo album at home or my big stack of photos that didn't fit in the album. :)

On the way to and from Chichen-Itza we passed several small villages and lots of little huts that people live in. I can't believe people really live like that! One little huff and the house would be in shambles. We tried to take a few pictures as we were driving. Here is one:

We also went through a Mayan village and our driver told us that the Mayan people who still live out in the jungle are completely self sufficient. He said they don't go to the store for anything. Wow! People still can do that? I didn't know.

And last but not least . . .

We just had to take a picture of this! A real-life Nacho Libre bike! There were tons of them down there and they were all yellow! Apparently this is a very functional Mexican vehicle. :)

We really did have a great day driving out to see Chichen-Itza and all the other things we saw there. The only downside to this trip was that I suffered a little from heat exhaustion and was really "out of it" when we reached the hotel. I made a quick recovery once I got into our air-conditioned room and took a shower. It was worth the trip, though, and I would recommend to anyone who is in the area to stop off at this amazing location!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Beautiful Tulum

Of all the places we had the opportunity to go, Tulum was, by far, my favorite! I loved the feeling of Tulum, the scenery, the charm of the city, everything! We were quite fortunate to have a guide who was LDS. He shared with us a lot of details that were of more interest to us than another guide would have been able to. This picture is Jeremy and I with our guide, Lemuel. He had quite a sense of humor about his name, and come to find out, all the children in his family were given names from the Book of Mormon. Lemuel's dad used to be a guide to all the historical sites as well. Several of Lemuel's sisters and brothers have followed in their father's footsteps and are tour guides too. If you are ever down there, you can request an LDS tour guide, or just start naming off Book of Mormon names and hopefully they will be able to find you one. :)

This is the little train we took from the shops at Tulum, through the jungle, and out to the ruins. It was pulled by a tractor. Interesting.

After the train dropped us off, we walked down through the jungle towards the main entrance.
This part I just loved. The city of Tulum was built on a cliff above the ocean. The other 3 sides that face the jungle are surrounded by this rock wall. It was at least 10 feet thick, walking through to the inside. I can't help but wonder if this is one of the walls that was ordered by Moroni to protect the cities. The wall also had guard towers in various places.

Here is the group we were with. A bunch of people Jeremy works with. From left to right there is Angela, Jeremy, Jeremy, Alexandra, Me (Renee'), Amanda, Baby Dylan, Jared, Carol, Shania (little girl above), Alberto, Michelle (little girl below), Jeff, Tawna, and McKayla (smallest girl). Hope I got the spellings all right!! I enjoyed being part of this group and sharing this experience with so many good people.

Here we start into the actual ruins. AMAZING! Behind us is the temple. This was built at the tallest location. From up on that hill you can see miles and miles of jungle all around the city. We were told that inside the walls of the city lived 1200 - 1500 people. It was mostly a political and religious center with lots of trade as well. Outside of the main walls lived an estimated 20,000 people. On the temple you can see 3 doors. Above those doors were carvings. Above the first one on the left was the Holy God. Above the middle was the great God who came down. Above the last one was nothing. Our tour guide told us it has always been empty. So whoever created it must have believed as we believe (the Lord, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost).

Our guide, Lemuel, also told us that Tulum is the only ancient city they have found that shows no signs anywhere of human sacrifice.
The building in the center of the picture was interesting to me. On one corner of the building was carved a happy face and on the opposite corner was carved a mean, or sad face. Carved into the middle of one of the sides is a baby, upside down, holding its umbilical cord.

This is the carvings a little closer on that building I mentioned. The little one in the middle is the baby. Sorry it's so hard to see in this photo, but it's there.

This is the temple. Tulum was built with much symbolism and there are several spots in the city that are used to record the equinoxes, April 6th, and other stuff like that.

We saw tons of iguanas in Tulum. They were EVERYWHERE - on the buildings, hiding in holes, on the grass.

The view from Tulum is amazing. I said the city was built on the cliff next to the ocean - well here it is. The Caribbean sea. The weather here was sooooo hot and humid. We went down and got in the water just to cool off and it felt wonderful. The water here is very warm, but still refreshing.

This is the end of the Tulum pictures I will post. I have more at home if you ever want to look at them! I really loved this place and am so grateful I could come and visit.
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