...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Living Prophets

One of my favorite things in the world is general conference.  I love love LOVE listening to counsel from living prophets and apostles.  What a blessing to know that a prophet of God is on the Earth today and to be able to learn from him what my Heavenly Father wants me to know and do.

I know that the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints is lead by a prophet of God and that Jesus Christ stands at its head. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is another testament of Jesus Christ.  Every lesson, every verse in that book points toward our Savior and helps lead us closer to Him.

I know that Jesus Christ is my big brother and that He loves me and will help me as I work my way through the beauties and struggles of this life.

Most of all, I know that I have a Heavenly Father who wants me to come home to Him someday.  He really is my Father and I am important to Him (and so are you).  One of the best ways for me to prepare to meet Him again one day (with a gigantic hug possibly followed by a high five) is by trusting His earthly servants, modern day prophets who lead and guide us by teaching His words. 

If you want to hear the messages these men of God share, follow this link.


To listen live to general conference (Saturday and Sunday 10am - 12pm and 2pm - 4pm) click this link.


Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Friday, March 30, 2012

Let's call it confidence

Ellie (in a taunting tone): "Logan, look what I can do.  You can't do thiiiis."

 Logan (insulted): "Yes I can, see."

Ellie (unimpressed and gloating): "Nope, you didn't.  You can't do it."

Little girl.  Big attitude. 
(But we love her anyway.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Morning at my house...

Mornings at my house go a little somethin' like this...

Very independent kids get their own cereal. 

(I gets to clean up their spills later, but I like that they are learning to do things on their own so I try not to whine about it too much.)

Then I patrol the downstairs where I often have to chase the children out from under their books so that they will actually get their chores done before they go to school.  (I guess there could be worse things than having your children be addicted to reading...still, it gets frustrating EVERY...SINGLE...DAY!).

(Notice Bryce trying to hurry and hide his book before I can
see that it is a book that has kept him from is chores).

The three oldest sprites have to spend time practicing the piano.  (I have to pay attention because sometimes they try to cheat...what, not my children).

These two faces I pretty much never see in the morning.  These are Josh's two stupid, fat dogs (you may notice that I don't love these dogs to pieces), but Josh takes care of them morning and evening (after I refused to help anymore because they try to attack each other when they get fed...honestly, I'm not even exagerating, they really do seriously go after each other).  Still, they are part of the family morning.

Josh is off for spring break this week (if only his spring break matched up with the kid's spring break next week...that would be heavenly, sigh) so he is part of our morning routine as well.  Here he is prepping to go to the high school for his morning workout with his little friends.  So cute.

And lets not forget me.  This is my lovely mug without having touched my hair or anything.  I station myself at the downstairs computer pretty much every morning, not because I just can't start my day without blogging or facebook, but rather because if I don't monitor the goings on downstairs no chores will get done and much fighting will ensue.  I guess it works.

Welcome to my morning.  What are yours like?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mom, take a picture

One of the things that happens when you have a blog and you regularly post bits and pieces of your everyday life is that your children want to get in on the action.

My kids LOOOOVE being featured on our family blog and almost every day I can count on someone calling "Mom, come take a picture," from somewhere in the house.

It may be a craft they are doing or a drawing they have created or even a beautifully made bed (I don't usually photograph those).

It makes my little ones feel special (even if the picture never makes it out of the camera) so I take pictures of just about everything. 

Here are some of our most recent "Mom, take a picture" moments.

Logan with his Little People train creation.

Bryce's bionicle (with Bunny Ears by Aubrey)

Aubrey's "Dream House" (who knew she wanted to live within Domino walls).

Logan with Domino shapes (and a weird face).

Ellie throwin her creative side into the mix with Jenga blocks.

Parker's Michael Jordan impression (notice the cute little
tidbit of tongue sticking out).
Gavin's blanket fort.

Logan, dribbling (with the ball, not his mouth).
Parker playing his favorite song (I am pretty
sure he does realize the sound does not transfer into the

Aubrey's play dough food...aka, my order at her restaurant.

Bryce's Lego attack jet (pictured with Ellie's used diaper and Josh's stinky feet).

Logan's shape block creature.

As long as they keep asking me to take pictures I will keep rushing to wherever they are and pointing and shooting.  Every little snippet of their lives is important to me and I want them to feel that, even if it means a camera that is stuffed to the brim most of the time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A moving screen (and I don't mean in the NCAA playoffs)

Something is missing from this picture.

Can you tell what it is?

Ta Da!

It is our screen door!

 These are the lonely, empty hinges where our screen door isn't anymore.

It gets pretty windy around here sometimes and this past weekend the wind grabbed the screen door as one of our kidlets was headed outside to play.  Two of the four hinges were already broken thanks to previous encounters (and several screen chains had already been installed and broken over the years) and Saturday a rather blustery day turned up and opted to yank our door from its intended home...which is our home. 

Our four and six year old tumbled into the house screaming like banshees and thinking we were going to eat them alive (or that's what you would have thought it you had heard their caterwauling).  We eventually calmed them down and told them that loss of a screen door is not a life threatening situation.  They were relieved.

But now we have to reevaluate our screen situation.  Josh didn't exactly love installing the first one so this should be interesting.  I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I hope you had a very lucky weekend...one full of St. Patrick's Day fun and adventure.

Our St. Patty's celebration was pretty muted this year which is probably the result of a head leprechaun who didn't feel very well (what the heck, on a holiday?...sheesh).

Anyway, so even though no pot of gold or treasure hunt or leprechaun tricks meandered into our life that day, we did enjoy a green dinner and that's better than nothing.

Since Josh was working that night (and he whines like a two year old if you dye his food a different color...sorry honey, I love you, but you know it's true) we went all the way and turned our dinner into a verdant feast.

We had German pancakes, which we tinted with food coloring so they looked more festive. 

We top our pancakes with powdered sugar (which I tried to turn green as well but it didn't really work out, still tasted good though) and then poured warmed orange juice over the top.  The orange juice was also green (FYI to tint orange juice I normally use blue dye since the juice is sort of yellow and yellow and blue make a nicer green -- in my opinion -- than green dye does).

And voila!

Tasty and leaf colored dinner for all.

The leprechauns did play one little prank on us.  They magically turned our milk green as it poured into our cups (a couple drops of food coloring in empty cups transforms white milk pouring from the jug into green milk quicker than three shakes of a lambs tail). 

I really am one lucky mother!

Anyone who gets to spend her days with cuties like this is lucky if you ask me.

Monday, March 19, 2012


From this...

 To this.....

This large patch of dirt is actually our vegetable garden (or it will be).  We
planted some spring loving veggies this week that should sprout
soon.  Hooray!

.....in only fourteen days.

That's springtime in Utah for you (I know, I know, it isn't officially spring yet, but someone forgot to pass that info on to Mother Nature).

Happy Soon-To-Be-Spring Everyone!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

One Happy Pappy

Moments like this always make me grateful that this big, tough guy is the father to my children.  And he is amazing enough to be not just their father, but their daddy as well.  (It makes my insides all gushy to watch him daddy his babies, even the ones that don't want to be babies anymore.)

Thanks for my very own happily ever after honey buns, I sure do love you (p.s. that growth on your back is absolutely adorable...I think you should keep it!).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Paint Baths

It's been a while, but this week we had a "paint bath."  By "we" I mean my three youngest kids (no whole family bathing around this house thank you very much).

We haven't done this in months and the kids were pretty excited when I told them I had actually remembered to pick up shaving cream while shopping (unfortunately I accidentally forgot to get a non-scented kind so my kids smelled all menthol-y and fresh for a little bit after their bath).

Here's the low down.

1. Buy the biggest, cheapest can of shaving cream that you can find.

2. Fill several small plastic containers with loads of said shaving cream.

3. Squeeze a couple of drops of food coloring into each container of shaving cream.

4. Carefully stir until the color is evenly spread.

5. Hand the "paints" over to your children in the bathtub and watch fun happen.

The nice part is that the shaving cream rinses off easily (we just detach the shower head and spray around the bathtub enclosure which does the trick beautifully).  Also, the "paints" are quick and easy to throw together and they don't stain your children which is nice.

Hip hip hooray for paint baths!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waxing Poetic

Logan sometimes composes poetry.  It's pretty awesome to hear a four year old make up his own rhymes.

The other night while he was having a bath this is the beauty that I heard as I stood in the hall.

"Roses are blue
Ketchup is red
You better watch out
Or I'll smack you in the head."

Lovely (FYI, it is NOT acceptable for mother to laugh out loud at her son's creative musings so she has to scuttle into the kitchen and do that).  He really has talent, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Love me some good tunes

One of my current favorites is "Somebody That I Used to Know" (and I actually LOVE Gotye, but I didn't really love the idea of having my kidlets watch their version of the official video which involves climbing up the side of an obviuosly naked man -- click here to hear them sing it without the abstract half nudity-- so instead here are Pentatonix who I also love and who have a much closer to a G rated video). 

Mmmmm, yummy (to my ears)!
Josh, on the other hand, does not love Gotye (he prefers to listen to Incas blowing in pipe flutes...YUCK!).    Josh says that this band that I love reminds him too much of this odd Heineken commercial that neither of us care for.

Well, to each his own I guess (but I get to poison my children with fabulous tendrils of music while he is working all day so I think I will win in the long run...it will be seven against one).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Life with Crohn's

The other day my sweet husband treated me to a Dairy Queen Blizzard (peanut butter cup, of course).  I took several bites and thought something just wasn't right.  It didn't quite taste the way it was supposed to.

However, thanks to Crohn's Disease I can't really trust my taste buds so I wasn't sure if the sweet treat actually tasted bad or if it was just me. 

I had Josh taste it.

Sure enough, the ice-cream was off (talk about disappointment, no ice-cream for me).  It was nice to know that my sense of taste was not acting up that day.

This is just one of the daily mini trials that Crohn's has shared with me.  Sigh.

Speaking of sharing, Josh divvied up his ice cream and gave me a good portion of it so that we could enjoy our treat together.  What a great guy.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Learning to love the classics

Last week Bryce's sixth grade class had the chance to visit the symphony on a field trip.  Bryce had been looking forward to this trip for quite some time.  The kids were able to go to the symphony last  year as well and Bryce had LOVED it so he was excited to repeat the fun.

When he got home that day he looked forlorn.  I asked him how the trip had gone and he scoffed and shook his head.  He said the orchestra hadn't played much actual music, it was more a presentation of "here's what an oboe sounds like" or "this is how you make notes sound sad/scary/happy" etc.  He was appalled that he didn't get the chance to enjoy some classical music.

So I delved into my music supply and came out with this music collection.

This set of cd's has a smattering of almost every kind of classical music you can think of.  From singing monks and madrigals to Bach and Handel and Mozart and Schubert and Chopin and even some Schoenberg (his stuff is a bit more...um...interesting).  It has opera (in Italian and German) it has piano sonatas it has orchestral suites, it has a bit of everything.

Bryce has been listening to these cd's ever since and has been loving them.  He comes to me all excited to tell me about a Beethoven piece he loves or to ask, "Mom, what is a nocturne?"  I love it!

Maybe I'm not sorry about his dumbed down symphony visit after all.

(FYI, I am also a big lover of classical music and I love to close my eyes and tilt my head back as I sink into the chair at the symphony.  My personal favorite is impressionistic music -- actually that's my favorite genre of art as well.  I like my music from Claude Debussy (listen to one of my favorites here)and my paintings from Claude Monet (see some here).  Well not only them, but they are my favs.)
(I never thought about it before but maybe I just have a thing for guys named Claude?  Sorry Josh.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

That's my girl

The other day I got a call from the school counselor about my oldest daughter.

I don't know that calls from the school counselor are normally considered a good thing, but this one made me cry.

The school is starting a "friendship group" for another fourth grader who is struggling with fitting in and making friends.  I don't know her whole story, but I do know how hard it can be to be a fourth grader who doesn't fit in (been there, done that...I was totally a dork in elementary school and I took my fair share of teasing and ridicule).

Well, my wonderful fourth grade daughter was recommended to be this girl's mentor/friend.  They will meet for 30 minutes twice a week to go over school work and Aubrey will be there to help her understand things and just be her friend.  Knowing my daughter, this girl will magically become one of Aubrey's good friends and will be maneuvered into her group of buddies.  Also knowing my daughter this girl will be protected from teasing and tormenting because Aubrey will not stand for that (she is one tough, but very friendly, cookie).

This is not Aubrey's first round of friendship mentoring.  In first grade she was asked to help a sweet girl with some developmental problems.  Let's call her Susan.  As soon as Aubrey and Susan were paired Aubrey took her under her wing.  My sweet daughter helped her with homework but also invited her to our house to play and included her in her birthday party even though other friends tried to tease Aubrey about that.  Aubrey would just say, "She's my friend, she gets to come."  There was no question.  There was no debate.  That's just the way it was.

I have seen my girl protect those that needed a friend time and time again.  When other friends try to make Aubrey feel bad she just tells them to cut it out and be nice.  If they try to ostracize her she doesn't get mad, she just plays with someone else (people like this can ALWAYS find someone to play with).  She lets it all roll off and doesn't take it to heart.  Then when the people who tormented her want to be friends again a few days later, she accepts that friendship fully holding no grudges.  I need to learn that from her. 

This little soul is one amazing kid, and I firmly believe that she came to me this way because I don't think I have done one thing to teach her this incredible way of living.  I have only supported and encouraged the courageous choices she has made.

She has her flaws, we all do.  But in moments like the one that included this phone call from the school counselor I find my heart bursting with pride at the young lady my little girl is choosing to grow into. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Gavin in a Basket

Sometimes kids are weird.

G did this on his own and I guess he was comfortable, he stayed there for a while.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Treat Jar

This is our "treat jar."

Happy treat jar, currently full of red M&M's for Valentines Day (even though they were on
sale after Christmas...I just separated the red and green.  Red for Valentine's, green will be
for St. Patrick's Day.

It may not look like much, but this has become a very important feature in our home.  A bunch of months ago I decided was tired of constantly hounding our children about the things they do that they shouldn't and I decided to look for a different approach. 

I found this awesome jar that my mom had given me.  (She filled it with gummy worms and given it to me when I was in the middle of my Crohn's disease nightmare because she said I was allowed to eat all the worms I wanted while I was adjusting to the disease that now goes with me everywhere.  You know the song, "No one likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms?"  In our family eating worms means pouting a bit about feeling picked on, not necessarily that you don't have any friends.)

I filled the jar with simple treats (M&M's, Sweedish Fish, Skittles, etc) and when one of my sweethearts does something wonderful -- and unepected -- they get a treat from the treat jar.  Things like sharing without being asked, setting the table when it isn't your turn, letting someone else go first, or reading a story to a younger sibling qualify for a treat.  These acts have to be unrequested or they don't count. 

The rules of the treat jar also state that if you come to me telling me about some amazing thing you have done then you nix your own treat.  However, if one of your siblings notices your kindness and reports it to me then you can still earn a treat.  This rule has helped my little ones notice the nice things that other people do for them (because if they report someone else chances are that that person will be more inclined to report them later on). 

The treat jar has actually been a really good thing in our house.  I think we'll keep this one going for a while.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I didn't know it was Toothsday

Parker has had the same loose tooth for like four years (or at least that's what it feels like).  This is his first loose tooth so he doesn't really have the down low on the wiggling and working to get the thing out (he thinks if it feels uncomfortable you should stop...and ignoring it will eventually work, I once decided to ignore a loose tooth and it, no kidding, fell out one morning as I ate Frosted Flakes).

Well, after all this tentative barely moving of the tooth and not having it come out (shocker) he decided to try a different approach.

He brought his Nerf bow and arrow upstairs one night and suggested we tie the tooth to the arrow then shoot the arrow and watch the tooth fly across the room.  Sounded like fun so Josh and I were IN.

We tied his tooth to the arrow with dental floss and...it slipped off the freaking tooth four times in a row that first night.  We gave up for the evening opting to try again the next day.

Well, after two tries with sewing thread doubled over on itself a couple of times and finally having Parker tilt his head waaaaay back to try to prevent easy slip off of said thread, SUCCESS!

Congrats to my sweetheart for ripping his first lost tooth from his gums with a weapon.  That's my boy!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bookin' It

Last weekend I reorganized our bookshelves.  We have several shelves of kids books (I mean picture books) but it seemed to me that we were reading the same Berenstain Bears and Arthur books over and over and over and honestly I was getting sick of them.  Since the shelf that housed those books was in a prominent place I decided to switch things up in hopes of inciting an interest in new books.   

(My two littlest book lovers)
The older kids started back on track on Monday so this week I have been reaping the rewards of my efforts.

Logan and Ellie have been pulling out books that I feel like I haven't read in years.  We've all been reintroduced to wonderful literature, amazing illustrations and fabulous characters.  It's like meeting old friends that I haven't seen in a long time.  I love it.

So I thought I would introduce you to some of our favorites and hopefully you might find a new friend for your family as well.

These are some of the usual suspects.  I imagine just about everybody who has kids has some books from these authors, but they are still great.  The Berenstain Bears(we have more than 35 of these  -- barely a drop in the bucket for the 300 plus tales that exist -- and we love them all...well most of us do, Josh doesn't appreciate how stupid Papa bear is most of the time -- I can see his point but I still love the learning for kids in these stories), Clifford, Mercer Mayer and the Black Lagoon books are all favorites of our children.

I love reading Sandra Boynton books to little ones (and even older kids seem to sneak closer to hear them).  My favorites are "Barnyard Dance," "Pajama Time" and "Snuggle Puppy" (and if you haven't heard the Philadelphia Chicken's cd with the Snuggle Puppy song then you are missing out...click the link and scroll down to that song to get a taste).  We have two of her musical books and we love those as well.

Of course Arthur and The Magic School bus and Dr. Seuss are each a MUST in any children's literary collection but one of my very favorites that I fear not so many people appreciate are Kevin Henkes books.   These adorable books chronicling real kid situations (like starting kindergarten, giving up blanky as you get older, being honest and handling teasing) are AWESOME!!!  I love love LOVE him...and so do my kids (but maybe my influence has something to do with that).

However, a whole bunch of my favorites do not come in a series, they are just fabulous books all on their own.  I especially love a book that teaches a lesson in some way and these stories all make the list.
Porcupining:  The tale of a serenading porcupine who won't give up during his search for the perfect, prickly bride.  Really cute (especially if you make up a tune for his song). 

Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm:  All about following your dreams no matter how crazy other people think they are (and who wouldn't love a book about growing balloons from seeds...fabulous).

Roger, the Jolly Pirate: First of all, kids love pirates,  and Roger is a sweet and adorable and that pays off in the end.

A Chair for my Mother: This little girl and her mother learn persistence and strive to have a happy attitude even in very difficult situations.

The Little Old Lady Who was Not Afraid of Anything:  To me, if you aren't doing actions while you read this then you are doing it wrong (no offense).  Also, how can you not love a book with a title like that?

Some Dogs Do:  One of my all time favorites...it's about being who you are and trusting yourself in the face of peer pressure and teasing.  Love it!

A Bad Case of Stripes:  Another story about being true to yourself (and eating your Lima beans), this one is fun and a great lesson.

P.J. FunnyBunny: I have recently learned there is a whole series of PJ books (we originally only had "It's not Easy Being a Bunny" and we learned to adore that book first).  Having a son nicknamed PJ we have really taken a shine to this troublesome, but sweet, little rabbit.

Too Big:  I'm not sure there is a sweeter book on the planet.  This story is about a gigantic stuffed dinosaur who helps his boy through some struggles even after being closeted for his size.

Alexander:  If you don't love him them I may question your taste...I have never disliked an Alexander book and even though the pictures have no color, my kids love him too...I think they can relate to him.

How I Became a Pirate/Pirates Don't Change Diapers:  Just plain fun, these semi-inept pirates need the help of young Jeremy Jacobs to get through some silly spots.

The Paper Bag Princess:  A story about a princess in a paper bag who goes up against a powerful dragon and thinks her way through things.  It is great (and if you like this one then try "The Princess Knight," or "Princess Pigsty" which are along the same lines...why is it always princesses?).

The Magic Hat:  Mem Fox, I love the cadence of your books, but this one if my favorite. 

Enemy Pie:  If your kids are having trouble with an "enemy" (or just having trouble getting along with neighborhood kids) I am telling you to get this book....it is WONDERFUL!

So those are some of my picks, but as I was taking pictures of books, my little ones were amassing a collection of their own, so I decided to share some of their picks with you too.

Actually I love a bunch of these too (SuperDog for the small underdog in your life, Something Queer is Going On for your deep thinker, Actual Size for your zoologist, Chameleon Colors for the child who needs courage to be himself).

Then as I was putting everything away I found these two sitting out and thought, "How could I have missed these, I LOVE them."  Zen shorts has some of the best "parables" and I have even used them when teaching lessons to teenagers and adults, they are GREAT...and Miss Nelson is Missing, I feel like her sometimes and would love to try her little trick.

I guess what it really boils down to is that I love the my kidlets love books.  I love that even at two years old, reading stories is one of Ellies favorite things to do.  I love that Bryce sneaks his light on at 10:30 pm just so he can finish a chapter (ok, maybe love is a strong word there).  I love that trips to the library are THRILLING for every single one of my tykes and that they can hardly wait to show me the treasures they discover on the shelves.

The world of books is a beautiful thing, and I'm glad we get to have a piece of that in our little home.

(P.S. If you are looking to build your at home library, I strongly suggest you start at your local second hand store.  I have bought hundreds of books there and often I find books that are brand new.  There is also the bonus that -- at least at our local store -- I can get books 3 for $1 so if I haven't heard of them and then I end up hating them I am only out 33 1/3 cents.)

Do you have some favorite kid friendly books I should add to my list?  I'd love to hear about them.
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