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

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jumpin Jacks Fun :)

Here is what we have been doing with lots of our time on these cold winter days. I bought a month-long "Mom and Me" pass to Jumpin Jacks in Springville. I've been taking Nathan and Samantha a couple times a week to let them get their energy out. We have had a lot of fun there. The first time we went there, Nathan was really scared to get up and jump on the toys. After I worked with him for about 15 minutes he got used to how it feels to bounce on these things and he was off and running. He hasn't quit ever since.

Jumpin Jacks is a warehouse that has been transformed into a big bouncing playhouse. Inside are several different blow-up slides and things to jump on. The kids LOVE it. Adults can jump and slide too. Lately almost every time we put on our shoes Nathan begs to go to Jumpin Jacks.

Here is Samantha taking a nice, relaxing break.

This slide is HUGE! Samantha likes it, but it's not my favorite. When you go down there is a big drop where you aren't really on the slide. I don't like that feeling - I have to be connected.

What cute kids! This picture was taken on the big blow-up toy for babies. It's for kids who are 5 years or younger. Alexandra crawls around in here and explores the bright scenery.

Here is Alexandra on a big, puffy flower. It's like a cartoon world!

This is the slide I like. The kids and I make a train and all go down together.

Nathan's favorite toy is the huge dragon that takes up the length of the warehouse. He insists on going down head-first. I am surprise he hasn't gotten hurt yet on this - especially because of how he loves to fling himself down the slides.

This is in the dragon's mouth. I love the kid's hair on these things. :)

This is Samantha's turn taking the picture. So you finally see who is doing all the talking - ME! Our pass is going to expire - I think we will use it one more time this week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Today Athena and Nathan are sick. Last night there was a little throw-up fest going on at our house. Nathan was taking a little nap on our bed when he woke up crying. Jeremy went in there and called me right away. There was throw-up all over everywhere, and of course on MY pillow - not Jeremy's. We had to throw all our bedding into the wash. As that was going on, Athena was hugging the toilet and bawling her eyes out. I've tried explaining to her that she doesn't need to be so scared of throwing up because it will make her feel better, but every time she just freaks out.

I'm hoping that today we will enter the "rest" stage and the kids will want to just sleep all day and stop throwing up!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Spirit World and Ghosts

Today I had a fun conversation with Athena. Last night we had her cousin, Amber, over. I guess when they were in Athena's room, Amber told Athena that she saw on the news that ghosts are real and that someone saw one. I saw that same broadcast. It was on the 10:00 news. There have been reports of people seeing and hearing things at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers museum in Salt Lake City. They were saying that they caught an image of "something" on tape. The workers were also discussing with the news crew different things they have seen or heard while in the museum. This is what Amber was sharing with Athena.

When Athena brought this up to me, she was a little freaked out about the ghosts. So this was a good entrance into our conversation.

Athena asked me if I thought ghosts were real and I told her yes, I do. She got a creeped out look on her face. I then said, "Do you know why I think they are real?" Then her ears REALLY perked up and I knew she was listening. I asked her, "When someone dies, what happens to their spirit?" She said it goes to heaven. I then asked her, "Where is heaven?" She said it was in the sky. I said - so you think that everyone who died is just floating around, up in the sky somewhere, just doing nothing? She said, "I guess".

I told her, I don't think that all those spirits are floating around. I told her I know where they are. Then she said, "So you know where Grandma and Grandpa Cunningham are?!!" I said, I don't know exactly where they are RIGHT NOW, but I have an idea about where they are and what they are doing. Then we talked all about the fact that I can see her body and she can see mine. When she dies, we will bury her body and her spirit will go to the spirit world. She asked, "Where is the spirit world?" So I told her, we live on earth, and that is our world. The spirit world is right here too.

The fun part about this whole conversation was seeing all her discoveries for the first time. I love these kinds of kid conversations.

I had to explain again that her eyes can see my body. I asked her if her eyes could see my spirit and she said that her eyes could not see my spirit. Then I told her, "There are spirits all around us, and we just cannot see them with our physical eyes." Yet again, she looked all around her like - what the heck????

I told Athena that the spirits in the spirit world are very busy, just like we are on earth, only they don't have a body. I said, "When you die, you will just keep on thinking, and learning, and you will know that you are still Athena. You just won't have a body." I also told her that the spirits right now are busy learning, helping others, doing missionary work, watching out for us, and some spirits don't really know what they are doing there yet. Some spirits are of people who never heard the gospel in this world, so the good spirits are sharing the gospel and being missionaries. I also told her that's why it's so important to learn a lot while you have your body, because the spirits who are trying to learn things without their bodies have a harder time - so learn as much as you can while you are still in your body.

Sometimes when Athena is scared in her bed I have her say a prayer and ask that her guardian angels will be with her and help to comfort her. I brought that up and I asked her what she thought "guardian angels" were. She didn't really know, so I told her that her guardian angel is a very good spirit of someone who has died, and is now appointed to watch over her, help her, comfort her, and be there when she is in need. She thought that was a little scary. I told her to not be scared because we are here to help each other.

We also discussed other little details on the topic. So now I guess she knows what "ghosts" are all about. I hope that next time it comes up within a group of friends she will have a little more understanding on the topic.

Random Thoughts

I realize that I haven't posted anything to my blog for quite a while. This week has been quite busy - I've been doing a lot of indexing. For some reason I just decided to pour a bunch of time into it. I am happy with indexing - I've finally completed over 5000 names. :)

This morning Nathan decided to get into my cupboard by the stove. Inside he found FOOD COLORING! What a treat for him. He painted the countertop green, spilled green on the floor, and all the way down the front of the cupboard. Thanks for that. Now his hands and mine are stained green and yellow. I feel like a leprechaun. You can see my little monster to the left.

We have also been spending a couple days a week at Jumpin Jacks. I took some cute pictures there that I'll post later. This is Nathan's new favorite place and I like it because he can get out some of his endless boy energy. He loves to jump and run and run and jump and keep jumping and slide and fall and get up again and jump and run. We are going there again this afternoon, so I'll post some fun stuff.

Also, I didn't ever hear back from anyone about my maternity clothes. Should I just throw them out?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


This morning when Jeremy was getting ready to go to work, I heard Nathan in the bathroom with him. As Jeremy was finishing his hair, I heard Nathan say, "Oooooh, you look handsome!" He is so cute!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Maternity Clothes - UP FOR GRABS!!!

OK, so I'm tired of hanging on to them. I have this box of maternity clothes sitting in my bedroom that need some use out of them. I know that none of you girls are pregnant right now, but some of you would like to be. If you want anything new to add to your "round-wardrobe", let me know. I have thought about posting my clothes to Freecycle, but if someone in my family, or a friend needs them then I'd rather give them to someone I know.

I have some more modern clothes in addition to the more old-fashioned maternity clothes. There are shirts, shorts, skirts (a really cute denim one that I liked), jeans, sweaters, blouses, and a few dresses.

Truthfully, it makes me a little sad to get rid of all of these things because although I hate being pregnant, I have many fond memories associated with these items of clothing for whatever reason. It also makes me a little sad to not have another baby because my babies are SO CUTE!!!! However, I know in my heart that I'm done, and no amount of hanging onto maternity clothes is going to make me want to go through it again.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Brain is . . .

Your Brain is 60% Female, 40% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female

You are both sensitive and savvy

Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed

But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars

Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 27 minutes Oven: 350

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces
1 beaten egg
1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1. For crumb mixture, in a large mixing bowl combine rolled oats, brown sugar, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter till mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in peanuts.

2. For topping, combine 1 3/4 cups of the crumb mixture and the chocolate pieces; set aside.

3. For crust, stir the egg into remaining crumb mixture. Press into bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven 15 minutes.

4. For filling, stir together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter till well combined. Pour filling evenly over partially baked crust. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes more or till lightly browned around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 48 bars.

Note: When I made them for the family party, I did not include the peanuts, I added a tiny bit extra peanut butter, and I used milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet. I prefer semi-sweet, but thought that the milk chocolate would appeal to more people.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dickens' Family Christmas Party

This year we had our family Christmas party a little late to accommodate Cynthia being here. I'm so glad we could all be together! This is the first year in a long time that we have all been together because Lisa and Kimball have moved back to Utah and Cynthia and her family are here to visit.

I have to start out with these first 2 pictures because I thought they were so cute. I made cupcakes for all the kids. When I was frosting them this morning, Athena, Samantha, and Nathan were going crazy wanting to help. I let them put in the candy canes. When we were all done, I left the room to go get ready to go to the party. When I came back, all 3 kids were hovering over the cupcakes trying to decide which one they would eat first. I thought it was so cute to see them so excited!

Thanks to Michelle for the delicious menu, we had chili, breadsticks, and vegetables for lunch. Then, as usual, with so many little kids in the family, chaos reigned throughout the room as we prepared for the next activity. I thought it fitting to include some of these snapshots because it is a perfect indication of our get-togethers.

Nathan wrestling with Jacob.

All the "older" boys being cool by the wall.

Claire doing something to Lehela.

After seeing all the usual chaos, I thought - in a few years we won't see this, only a room full of teenagers rolling their eyes. Maybe we should be grateful for times like these because "this too shall pass".

Finally we were able to get all the games prepared and ready-to-go. Michelle came up with a fun idea to play FEAR FACTOR! Here is a sampling of the games:

Michelle had a few people come up for an activity and she told them they were going to have to eat baby bugars. Here is Athena as Michelle is describing the task.

For this game, the players had to stick their foot in ice water and retrieve sliced hot dog pieces with their toes. Paige didn't want to do it, so Jeremy finished his and then retrieved all of Paige's hot dogs too. THANKS JEREMY!

I was one of the lucky contestants who got to do a "wall sit". Hey! This was my idea for someone ELSE to perform. Thanks a LOT Michelle. My legs were shaking so bad that I had to sit down and I lost. For the record, they hurt for the next hour or so.

The guys had to show off their dexterity by separating egg whites from yolks without breaking the yolks. Way to go Brett for your brilliant egg handling and pulling out a win.

Katelyn, Mama, and Doug really enjoyed the baby puke. MMMM! I can't believe how fast everyone downed this delicacy.

For this game, everyone had to find a piece of bubble gum at the bottom of the Cool Whip, then chew it and blow a bubble. Samantha just dug right in and got it out with her tongue. She was quite proud of herself at the end.

For the last game, Athena, Connor, and Nathan were blindfolded. Their task, they were told, was to feel through their bowl of brains (slimy spaghetti noodles) and pull out the eyeballs (mini marshmallows). As Michelle was describing the game I thought I heard crying. I went over to Athena and lifted her hat. She was SOBBING underneath the hat. She told me that she didn't want to touch brains. After explaining to her that it wasn't real and that she was going through spaghetti noodles to find marshmallows she agreed to the task.

Nathan's blindfold didn't last very long. Neither did his marshmallows. As soon as he realized there was buried treasure he stopped digging and started eating.

Thanks to Michelle for a very fun party. Everyone in my family enjoyed themselves and I'm sure our kids will remember when they got to play Fear Factor. :)

I also have to say I'm so grateful for our white elephant gifts. Jeremy got the wooden reindeer and I brought home the Nemo. Don't be surprised if you get a surprise visit from the stupid reindeer without a cause.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Yummy CANDY!!

I will be the first to admit that through the Christmas season we have had WAY too many treats sitting around. Samantha got her own little stash from her school teacher and from her stocking. Instead of putting it away or moving it out of the way, like she was asked, she left it all on the floor in the living room.

Jeremy and I looked around, only to ask, "Where is Alexandra?" It had been quiet for awhile and we both knew she wasn't in her bed. Jeremy walked in to the living room to see this:

Oh boy did she ever enjoy Samantha's little treat! We found chocolate EVERYWHERE! Alexandra was all smiles. When we moved her, she was also laying on a little pile of melted chocolate and she had tin foil in her mouth. I quickly scooped her up and told Jeremy, I'll clean her, you get the floor. :)

So, needless to say, we all came out of it OK, even the carpet. I did, however, find an extra piece of tin foil in Alexandra's diaper 2 days later. OUCH!!

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