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

Friday, November 30, 2007


See my little elves!

Here is Jeremy and I:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I feel like a freakin' faucet

I thought my cold was on the downside and was feeling much better yesterday. NOT TRUE! I woke up this morning with a raging headache, my eyes are killing, and I think I've gone through an entire roll of toilet paper just this morning blowing my nose! I don't understand how one little nose (my nose ISN'T that big) can create soooo much havoc. Wish me luck on getting rid of this thing (I mean getting rid of the cold, not the nose).

On a better note, last night Jeremy brought in our Christmas tree from the back yard and we decorated it. I put the lights on it for 1 hr 15 min and then we let the kids put the decorations up. By the time we finished it was almost 10pm. They had a blast decorating, though. This morning when I woke up, the kids were up too. Instead of getting ready for school, they were in by the tree decorating it some more. They were putting strings of beads all over the tree to SURPRISE me. Yes, I was surprised - and now I get to remove them all.

This isn't my favorite tree ever, but it'll do.

Also, last night we got our first snow! Athena and Samantha were soooo excited! It isn't much, but it's some. Unfortunately there won't be any left on the grass when they come home from school. It's melting. They had elaborate plans about what they were going to do with the snow when they got home. Their plans included throwing it up in the air, eating it, putting it on the slide and sliding down on it, making a snowman, throwing it at each other. Funny!

This is all we ended up with by the end of the storm. I'm sure they will be able carry out their plans later in the year. Sorry girls.

Thanksgiving Deer

I forgot we had these pictures on the camera. When we were driving up to Woodland Hills for Thanksgiving dinner we saw this deer and buck by the side of the road. It was really cool to see them both together. The buck was following the deer around. It wasn't huge, but big enough that it was neat.

Here is a little closer shot of the buck.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Birthday Party

This Friday I am throwing Athena a birthday party. She has invited 12 of her friends, plus her and Samantha. So there will be 14 little girls there if everyone shows up. I asked everyone to come dressed as a princess (just for fun) and we will play games. If any of you have any EASY and fun game ideas, I'd love to hear them. I might need extra stuff to take up the time. :)

Here is what I'm going to do:

Book Relay Race: Princesses use books on their heads to teach them to walk with their backs straight. So we will have a relay race walking with books on our heads.

Kissing Practice: All princesses have a prince to kiss in all the stories. Since we don't have a real prince here, and girls don't want to kiss girls, we will just practice without touching. Everyone will have a toothpick in their mouth and they will transfer the lifesaver from one toothpick to another all the way down the line of their team to see who can get the lifesaver to the end of the line first.

Open Gift with Monster Hands: Each girl will roll 2 dice. If she rolls doubles she will put on gloves and attempt to open a well-wrapped gift. You can keep trying to unwrap until someone else rolls doubles. The girl who gets it open first gets to keep it. We will do this with several different gifts.

Fruit Basket Upset: Yes, the usual game. I haven't modified this yet for princesses. Maybe it can be that they call Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle instead of apples, oranges, and bananas.

Please let me know if you have any other ideas. I'll post on the outcome of the party when all is said and done. :)

Sharing Time

I had to do sharing time last Sunday. I teach Athena's class, the 7-8 year olds, and it was our turn to present the sharing time lesson. I don't know if it turned out well or not. I got so many blank stares and I wonder if the kids are always like that or if they were just bored to tears with MY lesson. The truth is, though, I don't really care - I'm just glad it's over!

For sharing time I prepared a "Thankful Basket". The kids had to come up to the front and pull an object out of my bag, then read what it said on the back and tell how they can show gratitude for that particular blessing from the Lord. Then we would sing a related song or read a related scripture and place the item in the thankful basket.

The good news is, I'm off the hook for sharing time for at least another 6 months. Pshwew!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Borders - FINALLY!!

Last night Jeremy and I stayed up late and added the kid's borders to their rooms. I'm so glad it's finally done and now the kid's rooms are complete, like we meant them to be. Despite some of the crooked pictures, the borders really are straight and look really cute in their rooms. I'm happy with them. :)

This is Athena's border. It seems to me like a border she can grow up with, not too little-girlish.

This is Samantha's border. Yes, it is quite little-girlish, but TOTALLY Samantha.

Here is Nathan's border. From the very beginning, when he found out he was getting a room downstairs he wanted a dinosaur room. I love how it turned out!

I found all of these borders online for much less than they were at Wallpaper Warehouse, where we originally started looking. It's fun to have the kid's rooms all decorated now and they are all quite happy with them.

Thankful Towers

We played a fun game for Family Home Evening on Monday night. I made it up and the kids really liked it. :)

I used Jenga blocks and gave each kid a book for a hard spot in front of them. For the game, we went around the room and placed one block on our book so the block was standing up tall. As we placed the block on our book, we had to say one thing we were thankful for. The rule was: You cannot repeat what someone else had said. We went around until everyone had one block. Then we went again and stacked the 2nd block on top of the first, again, saying something new that we were thankful for. We had fun building our Thankful Towers. When your tower fell down, you were out. We kept going to see who could get the tallest tower before it fell.

We played this game a couple of times because the kids had so much fun with it. I really enjoyed hearing all the things they are thankful for. It's cute to hear how many things kids can come up with. It was a good game to keep them entertained and focused on the subject of being thankful.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Proud of Nathan

I'm so happy with Nathan. He has slept for 2 nights in his new bedroom downstairs - in the toddler bed! The first night I spent an hour with him trying to get him to stay in his bed. I ended up sitting next to his bed playing my light-up tetris game in his dark room while he fell asleep. The next night (yesterday) he was anxious to sleep in his bed. He went right in and went to bed. Let's hope it continues to be that easy.

Athena and Samantha are also doing well in their own beds. Samantha said she really likes it because Athena doesn't talk to her all night and keep her awake. It's turning out to be a nice arrangement.

Oh, and a followup to last week - on Saturday we went to Home Depot and got an indoor pesticide spray and I sprayed around every baseboard in the whole basement, even in closets. Let's hope that helps the spider problem. I'd rather see a dead spider than one coming at me in a frenzy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged and I am officially "IT". So, now that I am "IT", I have to share 6 facts about myself. Alright, FINE! Here goes . . .

#1 I am a hoarder. I like to hold on to things. It's unfortunate for Jeremy - especially because I like to hold on to money too. I don't like to spend it and it makes me anxious when I spend too much. I do go through "get rid of" sprees and it feels really nice, but for the most part, I keep lots of things.

#2 I am brutally honest in my dealings with all men. I don't like to be left with a feeling that I have cheated someone. If I am overcharged, I'll let someone know. If I'm undercharged, I'll also let someone know. I don't cheat at games, not even a little bit. I don't like to cut corners, it makes me feel cheap.

#3 I am a compulsive exerciser. This is how I relieve stress and I love it. :) Right now I go to the community aerobics class offered at the high school in the evenings. I go 3 times a week and join the other moms who are there. We do step aerobics, kick boxing, or spinning. I also love to walk.

#4 I usually have either a rhythm or song going through my head. When I am walking somewhere, I count in eights because that's my favorite number and works with most rhythms. I'm pretty weird that way, but it makes me me. I also have been known to break out in song and dance randomly. This is why. I can't help it.

#5 I have become boring at nights and just love to watch TV. In fact, I savor my TV time when the kids are in their beds because it's the only time I get to just sit and be entertained without having to answer to someone's needs. It's nice for me to just plunk down and get a good laugh. I really like King of Queens, Survivor, Lost, Biggest Loser (Jeremy started that one and now I watch it too), Dr Phil, and Oprah.

#6 I play settlers at least 2 times a week in the afternoon with my Dad. I love games and I especially like this game because I have to use strategy to win and it's different every time we play. I haven't gotten tired of the game yet. I also enjoy the interaction with my dad and the extra adult conversation in the house. It keeps me from getting too crazy just dealing with kids all the time.

Now I am supposed to tag 6 more people to do this same thing - share 6 facts about themselves. I'm anxious to read the replies. :) I will tag . . . . . .

Jeremy (you can post it on my site, Jeremy)

Thursday, November 15, 2007


The inspector came on Tuesday to inspect the basement and make sure it was all done right. It passed with flying colors, so I started moving stuff in right away on Tuesday and have been working on it ever since. It's a big job to move half the family downstairs! It's a nice feeling to have the building be done and the contractors gone.

I've been trying to sort and clean out Athena and Samantha's upstairs room and it is unbelievable to me how much stuff they had in that one little room!! I still have some work to do in there, but it's almost done. This will become Alexandra's room. Right now they have the remnants of their bunk bed and their chest of drawers that are emptied out.
This is our reading corner downstairs. The kids already enjoy using it. I still have a lot more books to add - this is a start.
Athena is all moved in. She immediately discovered and made use of the window well for a shelf.
Here is Samantha's room, all moved in. We still have to put up the borders in both of them. Oh, and Nathan just HAD to give me a big cheeser. Why couldn't he have done that on Saturday when we actually got his picture taken?!!
Nathan's room. He tried sleeping in his bed last night, but got scared and ended up in his crib upstairs. I'm sure it will take some work for him.

Athena and Samantha were so anxious to sleep in their new rooms and have done so for 2 nights now. They LOVE IT. I thought they would be more scared, but they are really excited to be down there.


I do have to share what happened this morning. I was in my bed, not wanting to get up, when I heard nonstop blood-curdling screams coming from the basement. I jumped up as fast as I could and Samantha met me at the top of the stairs. She said, "Athena's in the bathroom and there is a spider and the door is locked!" I hurried and gathered the necessary tools, still in a daze and not completely awake. Then down I went, armed with one of Jeremy's shoes (can't use my shoe for a spider) and a knife.

I raced down there, all the while listening to Athena's torturous screams. In an effort to protect myself, I yelled to Athena through the door to tell me the location of the spider. She said it was behind the door, so I unlocked the door with the knife and pushed open the door, much like a SWAT team member would have done it. There sat Athena, on the toilet, with her legs straight out in front of her, screaming. I instructed her to hurry and get off the toilet and join me in the hall, where there was safety. She hurried and ran out, but then I told her she needed to flush and wash, so she went back and did that and scurried out of the bathroom. Then it was just me and the spider. I hadn't even seen it yet and was fearing the worst.

I WILL NOT kill spiders if I have any other options, but if it is going to get my children and I am the only protector - only then will I make an attempt. They freak me out like nothing else. I slowly opened the door all the way and there it was sitting on the floor. It was BIG! A big black spiny spider, about an inch and a half wide with a meaty body (cold chills right now as I'm explaining).

Without even thinking, I slapped the shoe down on it and it half-shriveled. So I smacked it again - got a huge wad of toilet paper - scooped it up as quickly as I could - threw it in the toilet - flushed - and walked into the hallway to breathe.

What an experience. I hate that experience. I told Jeremy today that we are going to get a pesticide on Saturday and are spraying the basement ASAP. I can't handle much more of that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kiddie Kandids - My Idea of a Fun Afternoon

Yesterday we took the kids to Kiddie Kandids to get pictures taken for Nathan and Alexandra. I was so disappointed because they just wouldn't smile as cute as I know they do. I think the pictures turned out OK anyway.

Picture days are always just so stressful because it takes SO LONG! You have to wait to take the pictures, then take your turn at trying to get them to smile and act cute, then wait around again, then view and pick all your pictures, then buy the pictures. The kids are running laps around the store while you try to be cordial to the attendant who is trying to sell you the pictures. I'm glad it's done, until next time.

We should have taken Alexandra's picture as a newborn, but the way we work - we didn't. So she is 6 months old this week and I didn't know she had stranger anxiety yet. I would have her giggling, then as soon as I would switch places with the photographer, she would burst into tears. Then the photographer would leave so I could calm her down for a minute, then we would start all over again - me making her laugh, moving for the photographer, tears. So, the finished product is really, the best that we could get.

Then, with Nathan - he was so excited to get his picture taken and was showing us how big he was going to smile while we were in the car. Once we got him in the studio and ready to snap the picture, he just did these weird smiles. So, again, the finished product is really, the best that we could get.

Here is Alexandra in her blessing dress. She is a perfect little angel! :)

Nathan was happy that he got to have a picture with the trucks and train. As you can see, that isn't his true smile! Oh well - memories.

Here is his close-up. He is soooo cute! I love my little 3-year-old.

Alexandra again. This is Jeremy's favorite little outfit for her, so he really wanted a picture of her in this. Now that she can move around and roll, we had a pretty hard time keeping her in one place for the pictures. She did like this little chair, though.

Uh, I guess you could say this is her serious pose? Same as the first one.

Last one. I was the one trying to get her to smile, because she didn't like the workers, so she is looking at me. Let's pretend she sees something wonderful, off in the distance. :)

Regardless of the difficult experience - I AM glad that we went and had their pictures done. I treasure my family.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Basement is DONE!!!!

OK, for the most part it is done, but I'm quite excited! :) The carpet guy just finished laying the carpet this morning, so I HAD to come and take some pictures and share. All we have left to do is put up the cabinet doors, add some door handles, put borders in the kid's rooms, and finish the bathroom.

Here is the view you get when you first come down the stairs. This is our kitchenette area. The plumber is coming tomorrow to finish this and the bathroom.

If you turn around, in that same room, you see my favorite part - the bookshelves. :) I have enough to fit all my books, plus some. You can see what I moved down yesterday because I was too excited to wait. There are a lot more books waiting to meet their new home.

To the left of the kitchenette room is the family/theater room. This is Jeremy's pride and joy!

He already has his stereo sound system all hooked up and ready to go . . .

But where is the TV? That will be a later addition.

Now I went through the kitchenette again and to the right and down the hall towards the bedrooms.

This is the hall linen closet. There wasn't enough room in the small bathroom, so it is here in the hall. I think this is a good spot for it anyway.

This is Nathan's room. We have a cute dinosaur border to put up in here that matches the paint.

This is Nathan's closet. All the kid's closets are built the same, with the shelves like that.

Here is Athena's room. She has a bright border with hearts and flowers that matches the paint.

Now, coming out of Athena's room, we will turn right and go into Samantha's room.

TA DA! Once again - Samantha will have a border up that matches. Hers is pink with horses, castles, and princesses. A very "Samantha" choice.

A view into Samantha's closet . . .

This is the bathroom. It is at the end of the hallway and in between all the kid's rooms. It will be finished tomorrow.

Then back down the hallway to go towards the kitchenette again.

I am very happy with the way the basement has turned out. It doesn't feel scary at all and hopefully that will help with getting the kids to move into their new rooms. We let all 3 of them pick out their paint colors and their borders and they all seem very happy with their choices. I just can't believe we finally have more house! I look forward to showing it off to those of you who wish to come and see it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ups and Downs

It's funny how kids can be. One minute they are driving you up a wall, and the next you are so proud you can hardly contain yourself.

Last night while I was making dinner, Nathan was sitting behind me on the floor. I turned around to see what he was doing, and he was sitting there coloring all over the floor with blue crayon! I put him in his room and let him cry a minute. Then I went and got him out and forced him to clean it up. I gave him a kleenex and had him scrub and scrub and scrub. Every time he would look up at me or say he was done, I would tell him that he is the one who wrote on the floor, so he is the one who was going to clean it up. Then I would follow it up with "KEEP SCRUBBING!" It kind of made me laugh because he would then look up and say "I AM!!" Here he is, trying to clean the floor.

Then, this morning when I got up I could hear Athena and Samantha playing around. They are supposed to get up and get dressed for school. I took my shower and when I came out, they hadn't been playing around at all. They were in the kitchen. They had set out the bowls, spoons, cereal, and milk. They had their CD player in the kitchen with music playing. They were also dressed and ready for school. I thought it was so cute that they thought to do all that! I had to tell them over and over again how happy I was with them.

That shows me that kids really are good inside, and possibly they don't do all the frustrating things on purpose just to bug you, but maybe they are just kids who are learning and trying their best. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Yes, we ARE raising a superhero, and yes, he IS faster than a speeding bullet.

Yesterday for the first time I gave Nathan a cape. He was really "living it up". I didn't know it would turn out to be so great.

Here is MR. GQ Cape boy himself.

And off to save the world!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Cutting Down our Christmas Tree

Last Saturday we went to cut down our Christmas tree. This really is not my favorite thing to do, but still we do it every year. I guess the kids had fun. I just hope our tree isn't dead by Christmas because it's so early. This is a tradition that Jeremy's family does every year - get tree permits and go out in the cold to find that perfect tree.

I guess the good thing about going when we did was that it wasn't super cold yet and there wasn't snow all over the ground. As you can see, Nathan sure did enjoy the dirt. He was rolling around in it and playing in it for quite awhile.

Samantha enjoyed herself too. The only part she didn't like was hiking through all the brush looking for a tree.

Athena found a rock up there that she really thought was neat. She has been studying rocks in school and has been quite interested in looking at all the rocks and trying to decide if they are sedimentary, igneous, or conglomerates.

After hiking around and finding our tree, I spent most of my time holding Alexandra and trying to keep her happy in the cold.

Once everyone found their tree we enjoyed a bowl of hot soup, some hot chocolate, and cookies. The soup was sooo good. I had Cream of Broccoli. Nathan learned that he really liked hot chocolate. He drank a couple of cups full and some of mine. :)

Jeremy looks satisfied from his bowls of soup. He worked hard by cutting down and hauling trees. Thanks, Jeremy!

Athena and Amber love to spend time together. They didn't want to leave.

This is it! THE one. We will cut a few feet off the top and some off the bottom. So we really are harvesting the middle 7 1/2 feet of the tree.

Finally all the trees are loaded up and ready to go. All in all it took us about 4 hours to get everyone a tree and to eat lunch, load up, and go. I suppose it all turned out ok and the kids had a good time. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How to Host a Murder

We played our How to Host a Murder game with friends from our ward on Friday. Jeremy and I hosted the game and served dinner, crackers & cheese, and dessert. It was a lot of fun, and yet again, I turned out to be the murderer! We have played with this group 3 times now and twice I've done it. What the heck? It's like I have this karma that follows me around.

I didn't take pictures of our costumes because the day was so rushed and I just wasn't thinking much about it. I did, however, remember to snap a picture of the dessert I made. :)

YUMMMMM! Turtle cheesecake with an Oreo crust. This tasted so good and it was my first time ever making cheesecake. I think I'll have to do it again. I used this springform set that I got for our wedding and couldn't return because we couldn't find what store it belonged to. It sure did come in handy now, 10 years down the road! Who knew?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Samantha Said a Funny

We were sitting at the table today eating lunch when Samantha asked me what drinks again were bad for us to drink? I told her coffee, tea, and alcohol. Then she added with a very serious look, "and violets". I said "Violets? You don't drink violets. Violets are a flower or a color, not a drink." She insisted that we do NOT drink violets because they are bad.

She recently had a Steve James assembly at school for red ribbon week where they talk about drugs and stuff like that. She said that in her assembly Steve James told a story of when he was little some kids came up to him and asked him for money and he said he didn't have any money. They said they were going to take all his money to get some stuff at the store and he told them again that he didn't have any money to take. He said that those kids then went and stole some stuff from the store. I then made the connection.

"VIOLENCE?" I asked. She said, "What's that?" So I explained to her what violence is and that it's bad. So she confirmed, "Oh yeah, violence."

It made me laugh. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Princesses and the Pirate

Overall I think we had a pretty successful Halloween, just SUPER busy! Throughout the day I ended up running back and forth to the elementary school 5 TIMES! No one should be expected to do that and still be sane afterwards.

This year Athena was Belle, Samantha was Sleeping Beauty, Nathan was Captain Jack Sparrow, and Alexandra was Cinderella. This picture of Samantha was taken early in the morning before school.

And here is Athena, before school. A funny little side note about Athena - while we were trick-or-treating one of the houses, a guy standing outside saw her and said, "My gosh, she is GORGEOUS! You ought to put her in magazines! I can't believe that hair!" I said, "It's a wig, but it sure is nice and full, isn't it?" He said, "Wow! I saw all that red hair on her and couldn't believe it. So, it is a wig?" I thought that was funny. She does look cute with that color of hair. Who would've thought?

The girls look so cute!

After school I took the kids to Jeremy's work. Everyone at his work dresses up and buys candy and the kids get to trick-or-treat from desk to desk. It was a lot of fun for them. :) Here is Nathan, as a pirate, after collecting his loot.

The 3 princesses. Yes, even princesses get upset sometimes. Especially if they didn't get their nap!

Jeremy as . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A VAMPIRE!!!

After Jeremy's work, we got Burger King for dinner and headed out to go trick-or-treating. I don't think we have ever had such a good time collecting our candy. The weather was PERFECTLY WARM and no one complained at all about walking around.

I thought it was cute as we were trick-or-treating. The girls would always go up to the door to wait for the answer and Nathan would hang back. Whenever the people would come to the door they would see the princesses and remark - "Oh, what pretty princesses!" Then Nathan, the pirate would come pushing through for his share of the candy and proudly say "TRICK OR TREAT!" It just seemed so fitting that they were all dainty about it and he was so excitedly brash, and also dressed as a pirate. OK, maybe you just had to be there.

To end the night we went to Aunt Nancy's traditional Halloween party to eat a little chili and donuts. Then home to Payson to make our last stop at Grandma and Grandpa Dickens' house to show off our costumes.

I just wore pajamas and went as the family baby. Kind of funny, even when I'm the family baby I still have to take care of everyone. Where is the justice???

A special thanks goes out to all who donated to our candy buckets by small or great means. We appreciate all the costume compliments and the use of public toilets along the way.

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