Family Photos

As a surprise & gift to my parents, my siblings arranged getting family pictures done. Who knows when ALL of us will be together at one setting again. My wonderful cousin, Robyn, took the pictures on such short notice (Christmas Eve!), and they look fantastic! However, you can always find one goofy face in each picture--since I don't think anyone in my family knows how to smile at the same time. Hahaha. And, in case you haven't seen Richard in a while--check out that hair!



Cousins = The Best Kind of Fun

I love the blonde hair thing going on here.

Once there was a snowman

I'm quite sad I never took a picture of the 9-foot-snowman my brothers and husband built after the massive snow fall. The second ball was so heavy they had to build a ramp to roll it up. However, this snowman literally melted and fell over the next day (a little top heavy?)

Thanks to my nephew Adam and his prepared Mom, we were able to borrow his snow pants so Michael could go outside and play in the snow for sometime as well. I loved how bright blue Michael's eyes were as they reflected against his white surroundings.

The Mr. and Mrs.

The Mr. and Mrs cake. So stunning.

Emily, who I so lovingly nicknamed Embo, was married just days before Christmas, and it was this event that really tipped our decision on whether or not to go to Utah for Christmas. I must say I was very shocked to see Embo with so much make up on. Honestly, this is Emily--the one who doesn't like make-up! But, she looked beautiful. And, I really mean, BEAUTIFUL!

This girl holds such a special place in my heart. We've grown up together, played make-believe together, and even started clubs together. The most memorable clubs for me were:
1. Save the Animals club that started after we saw a neighborhood cat kill a garden snake! We had a proper burial for the snake, and then we colored awareness fliers and handed them out to all the homes in the neighborhood. Oh my. Way too funny.

2. The Slashers Club. This club was to be based on service projects. Each of the club members had specific duties such as treasurer, secretary (in charge of monthly newsletter), president, and vp. I think this club lasted less than a month. We never officially made our t-shirts, because my Mom informed us that Slashers sounded somewhat.....gory, and we could never come up with a new name, I guess.

3. The most memorable club is "The cool club". As Emily recalls, my sister Suzy and I (and I'm sure others) started a club called "The cool club" and told Emily she couldn't join because she was "too young." After her birthday rolled around, she asked if she could join and we told her, "maybe next year." This question became a running joke for years following. On her 17th birthday, however, Suzy and I came up with a grand gift idea for Emily. We snuck into their house, and decorated Emily's room with ribbons and balloons, and a banner that said, "Welcome to the Cool Club!" (She was cool way before that, by the way).

It was her family that introduced me to my husband (of 4 years tomorrow). So, Embo is due some credit for that. Embo and I would joke for years that it was going to be awesome when she married my younger brother, James. Then not only would we be cousins, we would be sister-in-laws as well, which wasn't too far out there for us, since we'd try to convince people we were sisters all the time. But those plans came crumbling down quickly (in just seven months) when Emily met Morgan. That's okay, I like Morgan alright-although, I can't decide if I should allow him entrance into The Cool Club just yet. Maybe when he's older. :)

Congratulations Mrs. Beautiful Emily!


If you're happy and you know it

This has not been a fun week. It's been very stressful, hard, depressing, difficult, trying, and flat out miserable. In short, we haven't really been cultivating a nice environment at home (which is ironic because I just taught a fabulous lesson to the Beehives about cultivating a nice environment wherever you are). It's frustrating.

I feel like there will always be ebbs and flows in my spiritual journey through life, however sometimes I get so sucked away that it seems impossible to return to a state where I was just a few weeks/days/months prior; happy, more selfless, and motivated.
There was another time in my life where I was obviously feeling incredibly down (although I can't recall how long ago this was), but I grabbed my scriptures and began reflecting on the semesters I lived at BYU-Idaho. For the most part, I was incredibly happy at BYU-I. I was surrounded by an incredible spirit-filled campus, with wonderful roommates, and good influences where ever I went. But, what was it that truly made me happy?

This is what I wrote down in the back of my scriptures:

What was I doing then that made me so happy?
-The basics. I prayed morning and night, in private and aloud, and with sincere thought.
-I read my scriptures daily, and read much. It was the year the prophet challenged us all to complete the Book of Mormon by the end of the year.
-I tried to do things for others, and control rude thoughts.
-I attended my meetings and fulfilled my calling.
-I wrote in my journal. I stopped doing unrighteous things, pushed any evil influences away. I kept my guard up.
-I heeded my patriarchal blessing.
-I worked my hardest, well at least worked and concentrated a lot on my school work.
-I maintained a balanced schedule.
-I apologized.
-I tried to show gratitude.

I'm really glad that I wrote this down, because it tells me that I know what I need to do if I want to be happy. But even though I know this and the blessings it will bring, why is it so difficult to form and keep good habits?

And humility? Let's not even go there.


A Holiday Poem

Stressed household.

Great friends.

Needed vacation.

The end.


New Battery!

This is a movie clip to celebrate our digital camera working again! I just had to replace the battery--but it took me long enough to get around to it. Now it's ready, just in time for Christmas!!


Thanksgiving & Black Friday

Hooray for holidays, holiday pay, and family time! I actually worked for a few hours on Thanksgiving morning. We were planning on going to Grandma Hart's house for Thanksgiving, but then she got sick, and wasn't up to cooking all day. Hope you feel better Grandma. So, that morning, we just went to the church where some members of the ward had organized a potluck for those who didn't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving dinner. We had some fun chatting with friends for a couple of hours.

However, that night, Richard said, "I'm going to the store!" What? Then he explained, "It just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving to me. I need some leftovers!" So, we went to Safeway and picked up a box of Stove Top, and a whole roasted chicken! Haha! So funny. We warmed it all up, and sat at the table together as a family expressing our gratitude for different things in our lives. It was the perfect meal.

And then I went back to work again to work all through the night.

I have never really been interested in all the Black Friday sales. However, I am highly looking forward to Cyber Monday. The only Black Friday deals I hit up were at Rite Aid! Classic, right? I brought home some Froot Loops for Michael, and myself and we made him a Froot Loop necklace, which he loves. And, together we ate the entire box in less than 24 hours.

And, all our Christmas decorations are up! Hooray for the holidays!!!


These are just two....

November 22 brought some snowfall. In Utah, this amount of snow is no big deal, right? But, in Seattle, they have seriously no resources to clean up anything but the main roads. Here's some home videos that I enjoyed of people who seemed to be enjoying themselves inside their homes, drinking hot cocoa, while watching out the window.
And that's why I'm glad I'm close enough to walk to work.


Sick House

We are living in a sick house. I am so glad it's Sunday. I can just rest.

Michael was the first to go. On Tuesday morning, he crawled into our bed and threw up. Nothing like a good adrenaline rush to get Richard up on time for school! We got the sheets in the wash, Richard took a shower, and we all began to get ready for the day. Michael came into the kitchen and started crying for oatmeal. My initial thought was, "You just threw up, I'm not giving you oatmeal." But, then he kept crying, and crying and I felt bad for this kid who was hungry and traumatized at what had just happened. So, I gave him really watery oatmeal. After he ate it, he just laid down on the floor and there he stayed until we walked out the door to drive Richard to school. I put a towel over Michael in the carseat, and off we went.

Michael did just fine, except for the part where he threw up on the way home, missing the towel, and making me completely regret giving him oatmeal. Dumb Mom moment. We pulled over, I cleaned him up briefly, opened the windows, and rushed home as fast as I could.

When we got home, I knew I had to strip all his clothes off of him before I could take him upstairs. That's when I spotted a plastic bag in the passenger side of the seat. I recognized this as a tender mercy, especially when I recalled the circumstances for why it had been left there. I realized then that Heavenly Father knew that days later Michael would throw up and that I would need it. Seeing this, almost forced my mind to take a more positive approach to the entire situation, instead of getting too discouraged.

Taking off the seat cover from our carseat is very complicated. I couldn't just figure it out, and eventually googled it. I love the Internet. I found someone who had written an entire blog post on how to take off the seat cover from our carseat. It was quite the hilarious read, honestly.

Michael throwing up all over his carseat was a good thing, I decided, because:
1. It taught Richard and I cooperation as we worked on stripping it down and cleaning it.
2. I don't think we've washed it once since buying it.
3. Now it's really clean, and I can feel good about putting in our car.
4. I know not to feed a sick child oatmeal when he's sick again.

Later that day Michael asked for chicken nuggets. I'll leave you to your own thoughts on the matter.

Lucky for the rest of us, we just have colds. I'm glad the week is over, quite successfully too. In fact, it involved making these:


Deal of the Week

Albertsons had fantastic freebies this week! I did one trip last weekend, and then after they printed doublers, I made another trip. How much do you think this transaction cost me?
I paid...drumroll...
...just a little bit of money!
Haha, I actually misplaced my receipt, but the transaction was just over $5.00! That's $5 for 15 boxes of hot cocoa, 4 bottles of pop, 4 boxes of brownies, cake mixes and frosting for baby shower weekend cupcake baking, and more!
I got the pop and hot chocolate and brownies without paying a penny.

Looks entirely healthy, doesn't it!? Tis the season for baking, and baking sales!

I must note that I never had got any doublers from the paper. I was hoping they would have some at their customer service desk, but they were out. When I got to checkout, after I handed over my coupons, the checker asked me if I also had the doublers. I said, "No, I didn't see any." Right then, the customer behind me pulled her doublers out and gave them to the checker for me to use, even though she had coupons in her hand as well. It was very nice, and hopefully I will find the opportunity to return the favor to someone else.


What is it?

There is a game my family plays called, "What is it?" The rules simply go as follows. Somebody picks up an object, typically an oddly shaped object, and asks "what is it?" As the object is passed around, the persons playing will give a clever, imaginative reply to the question without repeating what the object really is, or what another person has already stated.

Well, Michael is learning this game, in his own way. He has the innate ability of picking something up, and when I ask him "What Is It?"...well, can you guess what he replies?

I took the liberty of taking some pictures of the various objects he's picked up the last two days.

A Banana=A Gun
Some Tongs=A Gun
An Apple Peeler/Corer=A Gun
A Puzzle Piece=A Gun
He even tucks the puzzle piece into his pants, and walks around with it that way.


What is in my sink?

What is it?

Have you ever found a sippy cup filled with milk that was hidden for days?
I just did.
And it was truly disgusting.
Glugged out as I dumped.
Looked like tofu.
Now I really have no interest in eating tofu.
And--even after letting the water run on it, it wouldn't break apart and go down the drain.
Gag. Gag. Gag. Gag. Gag. Gag.


Halloween 2010

Who goes there?

We were going to go as Yoda, Leia, and Skywalker. But Richard failed to put a costume together and I didn't finish getting everything together either. But, here was an attempt at pulling my hair around my ears.
Looks fine from the front, but the sides just looks silly.
So, I went as an angel instead.
Using the force.
On Saturday, Michael and I went around to businesses who were hosting early trick or treating. Then that night, we enjoyed a ward trunk-or-treat, with games and cupcakes. :) Michael was very good at saying "trick or treat" by the end of the day. And collected much candy to share. :)


Farm Animal Sounds

Posted for Michael's viewing pleasure, and for my brother to get more views on his silly YouTube video. He can certainly find ways to make a little money in some of the most odd ways. But, all the little things add up.

By the way, I just redeemed my 11th gift card from Amazon via Swagbucks.com. I could've had 13-14 by now, but I took a chance, and entered into a bunch of sweepstakes. Swagbucks gives you points for doing what you do already on the Internet. I find I gain the most points by using their search engine, (although I keep Google handy). Sign up here to start bringing in some gift cards yourself!


Dreams do come true...

When I lived in Russia, many of us girls conjured up lists of our life goals. *Others may call these bucket lists. Mine consisted of 33 things, some of which include: "Have a large funeral" (Which I talked about here, actually), "Go a week without chocolate" (Make that an entire month! Booyah!) & also, "stop biting my nails" which by now, don't think will ever happen.

The irony of that however, is there are many goals on my list that I never thought would be entirely possible in my lifetime anyway--for example, #2 Visit Space. For sometime, I was very interested in space & astronomy. I still find it fascinating, but don't research it to the same extent as I once did. I knew being an astronaut really wouldn't be in my league though, because of my poor eyesight, and lack of smarts & training. I read about people who had been training to be astronauts for over 10 years, but had yet to go in a spaceship. Ca-razy!

In Russia, I must've talked about going to space all the time, because Anna even tore a picture of an astronaut from a coloring book, colored it for me, and autographed it with, "Good luck in all your future endeavors!" I still have the picture in my journal right behind my "life goals" list.

Why is this topic on my mind? Well, today, on the radio, I heard the most fantastic news. Starting at just $200,000, regular people like you and me can travel to space!!! Nevermind, it's for a total of four minutes; it's space nonetheless. This news gave me hope that by the time I can afford it (maybe we'll delay buying a house for some time), travel like this will be much more popular, refined, and inexpensive. Oh, and did you note the date this shuttle was successfully launched? 10.10.2010. It has to be a sign.

Until then, I'm accepting donations.


Running with Scissors

I went on a shopping spree today. I'm leaving all the tags attached the clothes because I'm almost certain most all of it will be returned tomorrow. I can't stand the guilt that comes when I buy outside of my budget.

I like to buy my pants online at Alloy.com. It's a teen site, however, I feel comfortable buying pants from them because I have for years, and they come in 37 inch inseams! As I perused over their clearance section just barely, I could not help but laugh. And I'm sure you will too. Do you wonder why these pants are clearance?

Looks like they need to fire the guy who was running with scissors at the Alloy factory. I laugh at this style now, but just had a story come to mind. Because it was the cool thing to have little tears at the bottom of your pants in high school, I took some scissors to my pants, and created a small slit on either side that just rested against my shoes. After school, I was hanging out with some friends in the hallway, and my pant leg hooked to something, and just tore the entire way up the seam past my knee, completely destroying those pants, and creating quite the embarrassing moment in front of my friends. Seriously, what was I thinking?

And now, I'm going through a new dilemma. To skinny jean, or not? I remember throwing away skinny jeans and thinking "good riddance" because I thought flare pants were the most gorgeous thing.

In case you get bit by the shopping bug, whether clothes, or Christmas gifts remember there are ways to earn additional cash back on the purchases you make online. My personal favorite is shopathome.com. Instead of going directly to a store's website, I get there through shopathome.com and they give me back a percentage of my sale. It's easy, and it's free, and includes large retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy, as well as hundreds of other small stores. It's great!

You'll earn an automatic $5 after your first purchase within 60 days of signing up, and I'll get an additional $5 in my account if you sign up through the link on my blog! :)



October 5 is the perfect day to make cupcakes.
1. It's my brother, Willie's birthday. Happy birthday!
2. I found out my neighbors' grandson's 1st birthday is also October 5. Our neighbor has never met his grandson because they live too far away. But he happily shared photographs with us. We wanted him to be able to celebrate Dean's 1st birthday from a distance.
3. I received an email (from a radio station) that gave me some fun facts to read. It stated, "The most common birth date is October 5." <--Reason to celebrate!

I got the cupcake holder idea from Tysha's blog. The process of wrapping the box was more complicated than I had hoped, but in the end I fell in love with it, and definitely plan on delivering cupcakes in this style from now on. Isn't it cute?

Michael was so excited for the present--he thought it was his birthday!
I also bought a new mini-cupcake pan. I was very pleased with it, and hope to make some cute minis for an upcoming baby shower I'm hosting.


A story with some pictures

Sometimes I think that I'm addicted to blogging, but then I look at how neglected my blog is and feel better about myself. It's all in my mind, really. When I go through various events of my day, something may catch my attention and I'll immediately start conjuring up a post in my brain. Most of the time these posts never make it here.

The worst though, is when I'm in the middle of doing something "fun" or out-of-the-0rdinary, or even just the ordinary with Michael, and I think to myself, "I need to grab the camera! I want to remember this moment forever!" Do you ever have these moments?

I don't think my Mom had these moments like I do. She lived in the days of film! *Gasp* (I love you Mom!) Therefore, she couldn't (well she could), rather she would choose not to take 15 pictures of the same moment, because that's simply too much film. One or two pictures would suffice. When I look through my old scrapbooks, I realize most of my pictures are from big events; first day of school, birthdays, Christmas, vacations, and the occasional random picture. I love my scrapbooks, and the memories they awake.

I didn't need to have a picture of me playing make-believe to remember I played it. I didn't need a picture of me having snowball fights, or playing nightgames in the middle of the street to remember how much fun I had. I know my Mom now takes many more pictures with her updated digital cameras, or her phone camera *gasp*! -but hardly any get printed. Do your computer folders bulge with photos?

I know mine do. Well, used to. Before our computer crashed. *sigh* It's okay, I've started a new set of pictures. And with each one comes the potential of a blog post, so I can "remember this moment forever." So with no further waiting, I present:

Michael having fun in a toy that he hasn't seen for months!

Now, Michael, you can always remember you lived this moment.


Been up all night-maybe that's my problem

I wish that I was good at something. Not just good, but excelled in some area. I just feel like I dabble here and there, but never dive right in. The End.


Sneak Preview

Also, read about Michael's pals here

How many guys does it take to put a shelf together?

The missionaries stopped by at random, on an evening we were rearranging our livingroom. So we put them to work.
Elder Wallin, Elder Crandall, and Richard. I thought it was funny when all three of them were sharing the duty of screwing on one leg on the TV stand.
Michael just enjoyed playing in the large box afterwards!


Pillow fights

A few weeks ago, I was watching a movie and in it two of the actors get into a pillow fight. Michael was all over this idea. He jumped off the couch, grabbed a pillow from the bedroom, then came at me. He's always liked jumping on the bed but hitting with pillows just adds more fun to the fun!

At this point, he just wanted me to stop taking pictures and start playing again. :)