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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

I found the results of the poll and the comments about Jeremy's beard very interesting! My findings were that most women prefer clean shaven (especially when it comes to being close). I was surprised to hear from the few women who do like it and Jeremy thinks they live with very lucky men. Jeremy had so much fun watching the polls that I could hardly scrape him away from my blog! He ended up showing it to the guys at work to boost his poll results. Funny! I looked at my blog in the morning and there were 16 votes, then I looked in the afternoon and there were 29! I knew he had passed it around. That's OK. Still fun!

After all this, Jeremy is more proud than ever about his accomplishment in being able to grow a beard. He is letting it thicken and grow in. However, it WILL be gone by Valentine's Day. It's making him itch!
Posting these new pictures was HIS idea because he wants to show the world how much nicer it looks after a few days of growth and proper grooming. LOL.

Live it up, Jeremy!

Baby Beauty

One of Athena and Samantha's favorite games lately is to play "Baby Beauty". They take Alexandra into her room and tear it apart looking for long-lost outfits to dress her up in. She just goes along with it and lets them get her all fancied up. It's cute to watch! (despite the big mess). This is the product of yesterday's baby beauty game. Athena had her set up for a little photo shoot. I can see she needs a little practice with the camera and presentation still, but I had to share!

2 Kids are Heaven!

Jeremy's new schedule at work gives him every other Friday off. I'm not real happy about the schedule because it means he has to stay longer all the other days and waste time. That said, yesterday was his day off. We were out and about for the day while Athena and Samantha were at school.

It's funny how we thought it was such a challenge when we had just 2 kids, but now that we have 4 it seems so easy to take care of 2 little energetic toddlers! We had a lot of fun with them. As we were driving around Nathan kept asking and asking to go to the Bean Museum. I had no idea he liked that place so much! We relented and stopped in for a little bit. This made him the happiest little boy ever. :) Here he is with Alexandra just lounging on a bench.
We have been to this museum so many times it was quite a speedy trip. It made Nathan's day so it was worth it. I was trying to get a picture of him in front of some of his favorite animals, but he wouldn't hold still long enough for me to get a decent shot.

He is turning into quite the clown. As he is getting older I can see his personality blooming into a silly, fun-loving little boy. In this picture I was trying to get him to have a smiling picture. Nope.

Our day out with the 2 little kids was nice. It gave Jeremy and I a chance to focus on only them instead of them just being lost in the shuffle of kids.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

To Kiss or Not to Kiss?

Yes, THAT is my question. OK, so I'm supposed to support my husband, but SERIOUSLY!!! Would you kiss a porcupine?
Jeremy has decided he wants to grow a full beard just because. He thinks it's pretty cool, but it just isn't my thing. I prefer him clean shaven. We have been having the debate. He believes women enjoy hair on a man. I am here to tell him flat out that even if "women" enjoy it, THIS woman doesn't.

Just for fun, I left this on his pillow the other night. (Yes, I know it isn't meant to be used on the face, I just meant to send a little signal.)
So, just for the sake of argument . . . I am asking you to please take part in my poll. You can be honest, I don't know who you are. If all goes well (for me) it might be gone by Valentine's Day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Family Challenge

For Christmas this year Jeremy and I gave Athena and Samantha each a lamp to sit on their bedside table. They love to read at night and had previously been reading in the shadows created by their little nightlights plugged into the wall. It turns out that these lamps have been the best gifts ever! Each night Athena and Samantha individually stay up at night reading, sometimes as long as an hour! I'm proud of them for reading so well and challenging themselves with harder books.

I have been thinking about it for awhile and decided that maybe they should start using that reading time to their advantage to gain some spiritual knowledge. For Family Home Evening this past week I talked about the Book of Mormon and how it lays out the path for us to return to live with Heavenly Father again. I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and issued a challenge to all those who can read in our family (Jeremy, myself, Athena, and Samantha) to read the Book of Mormon all the way through.

I got these bookmarks at Deseret Book for only 50 cents apiece. With them we can track our reading and see the progress of each other. The girls were really excited about this program and being able mark off their little squares with each chapter they read.

I keep the bookmarks on the fridge so at any time we can see how far along everyone is. When we all reach certain milestones with our reading then we will go on a family reward. So far our challenge is going well. I'm excited to see everyone participating and checking up on each other. We have even had some good conversations about our reading.

I look forward to our continued progression through the book and enjoying the blessings in our home that reading this book will bring.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good Morning?

This morning our phone had a freak ring at 3:00am. It woke me up and I was a little annoyed. Then I had a hard time going back to sleep, and as I was laying there I noticed the room was brighter than usual. The hall light was on and was illuminating the outline of our closed door. I decided one of the girls must have gotten up to use the bathroom and forgot to turn off the light. I didn't want to get up to turn it off, so I tried to just go back to sleep.

As I continued to lay there, I started to hear a sound fading into the room like people talking. Was the TV on too? RRRR! Now I HAD to get up - and what was the TV doing on? I threw back my covers in a huff and got out of bed, walked down the hall, and saw that all the lights were on in the family room and kitchen. I also saw that Lo and Behold Athena was sitting there, watching TV, fully dressed for school, with a towel on her head! I asked her what she was doing because it was the middle of the night! She said her alarm had gone off, so she got up, got her shower, got dressed, and was watching TV until we woke up. She also said she wondered why Dad hadn't gone to work yet! I brushed out her wet hair, sent her back to bed, and went back to bed myself.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Draper Utah Temple Open House

Yesterday Jeremy and I had the wonderful privilege of taking our kids through the new Draper Utah temple! Jeremy's parents and his sister, Katie, also came with us for the special trip.It is such a blessing for us to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and the knowledge of His gospel principles.

You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

I enjoyed walking through each of the different rooms of the temple and explaining to the kids what the room was used for and why each area of the temple is special. Athena and Samantha were fascinated by the beauty of the building and also by our discussions.

The tour is a silent tour which means there is no tour guide. We were also asked to whisper while in the temple and surprisingly the kids complied throughout the entire trip! At one point while we were walking through I noticed a couple that was keeping pace with us (our pace was very slow and they didn't have kids with them). They were right behind us, so Jeremy's mom asked them if they needed to get by us so they could join their group. The man said he didn't need to get by, they were just listening to what we were saying. This was quite surprising to me! I sometimes forget that everyone around me doesn't have the same beliefs or understanding that I have been blessed to have. I hope he was enlightened by his time with us!

Walking through the House of the Lord with my kids was a great experience. I hope my kids will live in such a way that they can return to the temple for themselves when they are older and enjoy the blessings the temple can bring to them personally.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Special Sisters and Sledding

My sisters and I had our annual candy trade, but we did it a little different this year. Usually we get together in December and make candy and dip chocolates together. This year we went to breakfast and brought our finished products to give away to each other.

Even though the food wasn't so great where we went, we still had a blast together and probably annoyed everyone else in the restaurant in the process! I enjoyed sitting, talking, and laughing with my sisters! Here is Michelle and Teresa. We had a good laugh over Michelle ordering her breakfast. She basically ordered a blueberry pancake with just enough batter to hold the blueberries together. The waitress was giving her the most puzzled looks as Michelle tried to explain that she really wanted a LOT of blueberries in her pancakes, not just a few specks of berries.
Shauna and Cathy

Cynthia with her BIG mug of hot cocoa and Callie.

Denise and Mama

One thing we love to do is make stupid faces and take pictures. It's a great pasttime and something that really only flies with family. The greatest joy comes in seeing who can make the ugliest face and then share it with our sisters!

Good try, Lisa, Shauna, and Cathy.

Another worthwhile effort by Mama, Denise, and I.

This proves to be too much for Cathy.

Thanks for trying Michelle and Teresa.

But the winning title goes to . . . drum roll please . . . .
Cynthia!!! She only gets the winning title because she refused to make a stupid face for the camera and thought all of her pictures needed to be beautiful. I snapped this picture of her from the side (before she had a chance to get prettied up) when she was trying to get ready to be beautiful for Lisa's camera. HA HA HA!

Lisa, what are you doing?

We finished our breakfast, messed around for awhile taking pictures and talking and laughing, and then out came the candy! I completely blame my sisters for my holiday weight gain because they brought such tasty stuff! This is my own personal pile.

This is a picture of all my sisters and all the fattening treats we brought and shared.

I love all my sisters and mom and am happy to say that I have a great relationship with each one of them. I consider all of them my best friends and any time I spend with them is good time.

After the girls breakfast I went home and Jeremy and I took the kids sledding. The day was perfect! We had fresh snow and it was very sunny and warm - well, warm by winter standards.

Athena and Samantha are getting ready to race! The part you don't see is that right after I took this picture, Samantha fell off her sled and Athena started sliding down the hill without her and all the way she was screaming, "Samantha, come on!"
Nathan and Alexandra both LOVED sledding this time. They both went down the hill several times and they didn't want to go when it was time. That's a success in my book! We went home after and I gave the kids hot chocolate. That's always the treat for a sledding trip well done!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Drops the Oatmeal

A couple of weekends ago we went as a family to help Lisa move to her new house. She is renting and the house she was moving to happened to be right across the street. How convenient! It is such a big task to move. I think I'd rather help with the task than be the one actually moving. Jaime brought along his truck and most of the brothers-in-law also came to help.
The brothers-in-law used their muscles to lift all the big things. :) Thank goodness they all came because there were a LOT of big things. I lifted my fair share of things too, but smaller - like buckets, drawers, boxes of food, dishes, clothes, etc etc.

Way to go, Matt!

In the new house, all the guys formed a chain to get things off the truck quicker and into the house.

As you can imagine, with so many guys working together and providing service, they started to create their own fun. It soon turned into a game to see how quickly they could get the stuff into the new house.

Pretty soon objects were flying faster than they could be caught. I had to duck a few times to avoid the frenzy!

Next thing I knew, a container of oatmeal came flying and there was no one there to catch it! It fell in slow motion as everyone seemed to turn their heads just in time to see it flop to the floor. The container split open spilling the contents everywhere. That was the end of the game. It was fun while it lasted and we did pretty good considering that was the only casualty.

I was quite impressed with my kids because even they found ways to help. Athena and Samantha helped Hazel move a lot of big boxes out of her old room and into her new room. They also enjoyed playing outside and in the snow while we continued to work.

I couldn't help but stop a minute and take a picture of this super cute little baby girl.

We ended up being at Lisa's house for 4-5 hours helping them move. By the end of it all my arms felt like noodles! Totally wobbly. I wasn't the only exhausted one. We went for lunch at Taco Bell and Nathan fell asleep with his Cheese Roll in his hand.

Alexandra went out soon after.

It all turned out to be a good experience. We were able to get all of Lisa's big items and most of the smaller items moved to the new house. It's fun when we all work together.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year!

Better late than never! I'm finally posting my New Year's Eve pictures. This year I hosted the big family New Year's Eve bash and oh what a party it was! We had 42 people crammed into our house until 1 am. Most of those people were little kids, needless to say it was a pretty busy party. I forgot to take pictures of all the fun until the night was almost over, so here is the proof that it actually happened.

Here are the leftovers of our smorgasbord. We had SO MUCH food! It cracks me up to look at this picture no because I didn't realize the severity of the situation at the time I snapped this photo. Notice the tasty cheesecake covered in caramel and chocolate that is almost gone. See the platter by that that is empty? It had 2 cheese balls and tons of crackers. Next to that on the right is a separated platter that is 1/2 empty - it was full of candy. In the front is an almost-empty punch bowl that had a delicious frozen berry drink mixed with Sprite. In the very back on the left is an open, empty box of chocolates. On the stove that you can't see is an empty pan that has the remnants of little smokies, and by that is an empty cookie sheet that was FULL of Pigs-in-a-blanket. Gone, all gone. Now look at the picture again. See that beautiful veggie tray stocked full of a variety of tasty, brightly colored VEGETABLES with a garlic humus dip? LOL! For the record, a lot of vegetables were consumed that night and Michelle (who brought the beautiful veggie tray) restocked the tray several times throughout the evening. It even ended up almost gone by the very end of the night because people came back in for last munchies and chose vegetables. However, it did make for a hilarious picture!

This is Christopher, my nephew. The way he looks in this picture is a fair representation of how all the guests looked when I was taking pictures. This was right before midnight and most of the kids were wandering around aimlessly with glazed over facial expressions.

Robert and Denise made it until midnight, too. They kept their minds sharp by figuring out the secrets of the Rubik Cube.

When midnight came we all whooped and hollered and screamed on my front porch to let all the neighbors know that it was now 2009. By 1:00am everyone had finally rolled out of my house and had a safe drive home. It was a very busy night, but I think everyone seemed to have a good time. :)

New Year's Day for us was quite typical. We didn't even get out of bed until 10:30am and even then none of us felt like moving much. Cynthia, Callie, and Hannah were staying with us, and everyone here just sat around, played some games, and gabbed for most of the day. Around mid-afternoon the kids started to get antsy so we sent them out to play in the snow. Hannah is from California and she was just itching to get out into the snow, so Cynthia and I bundled up the kids and out they went!

Athena constructed this cute little snowman and I provided the decorations for her. She got the sticks and the "hair" (pine needles) from our Christmas tree that is sitting in the back yard. All the kids were proud of the little snowman. :)

Here is a little closer look.

Of course after the snow, all the kids came in and enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa! Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Temple Square . . . Here We Come!

Every year during the Christmas break we make a trip to Temple Square to see the lights and go through a museum or two. This year a lot of my family wanted to join us, so we all went up and had a good time together! We drove up earlier in the day so we could go through the Church History Museum while it was still light outside. In this picture is Seth, Amanda, Athena, and Samantha. The kids enjoyed going through this museum. Jeremy and I tried to give them little tidbits of information here and there between their cousin time so they would actually appreciate what they were looking at. I don't know if it worked or not, but at least we can say we tried! Nathan and Alexandra sure enjoyed these bunkbed replicas of what were in the ships when the pioneers crossed the ocean. I don't know how the pioneers made the rough journey across the ocean in such cramped quarters! I'm not sure I could have done the same.

In this museum there is a section in the back corner that is dedicated to the nursery in the church. It's a fun kid's section with all kinds of things for the kids to play with and touch. I like this section because it gives me a little "kid break" and I don't have to keep them from touching everything. Of course Alexandra ran straight for the dolls and adopted this one right away.

Athena, Samantha, and Amanda found this little coloring station where you could make pictures and hold them up to the light like stained glass.

Athena also enjoyed the dress-ups. I think she is dressed as a shepherd here. :)

As soon as it was getting dark, we had the kids clean up so we could head outside. I prefer to walk through the lights earlier in the evening before it gets to be bitter cold outside. This walkway is one of my favorites on Temple Square. It's a little sidewalk on the outskirts that is covered with lit trees. It's amazing to walk through and there are so many lights that if you look straight up it messes with my eyes - they start twitching!

I had to get a family photo on this walkway as well. I noticed that Alexandra isn't in a great picture-taking position. She didn't really understand why we were walking around in the cold until I tilted her chair back. As soon as she noticed that all those lights were above her she laid as still as a statue and just soaked it all in.

Gorgeous! The Salt Lake City temple! I love visiting this temple at this time of year because this is where Jeremy and I were married in December 1997. It brings back a lot of good memories.

This picture was supposed to be of the statues in the middle of this reflecting pool, but it ended up being of me. Thanks, Jeremy, for getting that great shot that I asked you to take!

Another beautiful view of the temple. It's AMAZING!
The last thing we did at our visit to Temple Square was to visit the Christus. I was hoping the kids would be able to listen to the little presentation the missionaries do each year for all the visitors, but for some reason the missionaries didn't do the whole presentation this year. There were a lot of people by the Christus and lots of noise. It was kind of a bummer for me, but I'm grateful we were able to get this shot really quick while we were up there.

This year's visit to Temple Square was really nice. The kids are getting older and are able to enjoy the places we bring them more. I loved watching them ooooh and aaaah at the church sites and all the beautiful lights. I hope they were able to feel the good spirit that is all around the temple and the other sites. I'm glad my sisters and their families could join us too!
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