Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year For The Birds

Just in case anyone wants to commiserate with me... We initially thought Shan's 12 month deployment was way too long, then it was extended to 15 months. Now, it's 15 months plus one more day, since we are lucky enough to land it on Leap Year. Maybe you're thinking "it's just one more day," but I tell ya, February 29th is for the birds.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Some of our Favorite Books

Ok, this post is for all mothers (ME!). I love to read. I always have. As a young child, I remember hours and hours upon our brown and orange plaid couch reading with my mother. That was the beginning of my love of children's books. I started collecting them long before I even had children! Like many of you, I'm highly motivated to get my children to fall in love with reading. It's been so fun to watch Ryan learn to read this year as a whole new world has been opened up to him. It's also SO nice for him to be able to read to his sisters!

Anyway, it seems many of the new children's books are too simple. Anyone concur? Usually, they have good pictures, but the story leaves something to be desired. When I was growing up, I remember many books with a great story line. We read our books over and over and I have actually found that my children love the OLD books- the same books I grew up with. Of course, there are also some newer books we love. I'm posting a list of some of our favorites in hopes that you will all add yours. Once I get the list compiled, I will post it for everyone to use!

(This whole series is fabulous.)

(The counterpart series.)

Easter isn't the same without this fabulous read.

If you're lucky enough to find this one, it will be a prized possession. I went crazy on ebay a few years back and scooped some up for our family.

The Visit
by Joan Esley and Eloise Burns Wilkin (and pretty much every book illustrated by Eloise Wilkin- The New Puppy, We Help Mommy, My Goodnight Book etc.)

Adorable Preston Chandler

Who is cuter than this little guy?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cookies for Mommy

A few weeks ago, I came across a copy of Woman's Day with the front cover highlighting gorgeous sugar cookies. I had such great images in my head of cutting out all the shapes with the kids, mixing up different colors of fluffy frosting, and giving big pretty plates of cookies away to neighbors. I just knew my kids would love it and that making sugar cookies would be the perfect thing to do on Valentines Day.

OK. Hello. What planet do I think I live on? Because Planet Motherhood brought me back to reality yesterday as I tried to make this crazy vision happen. Since when did sugar cookies become a 12 step program? First mixing the dough, chilling the dough, rolling it out with it sticking to everything. Having to beg the kids to stop playing so we can spend some "quality kitchen time" together. Ha. And then there's the frosting! Not only do you need at least three different colors, but you need one type of thick frosting for the outline and decoration and then you need a fluid frosting for a technique called "flooding," which is basically filling the cookies in. By the time the frosting was ready, the kids had completely lost interest and were begging to be done.

The process took at least 4 hours, 6 different bowls, 5 cookie sheets, a trillion measuring instrument, spatulas, spreading knives and the like, and just about every ounce of patience I had left after a week of "helping" the kids make Valentines for school classes, dance classes, and neighbors; sending off packages to daddy and long distance relatives; and trying to make breakfast and lunch special by producing heart shaped waffles and muffins. Can we say DISHES??? I'm not kidding.

I should have thrown them all in the garbage at that point, but oh no, I had to finish the project, aching feet and all, by myself, when the kids were in bed. The sad thing is that while the cookies are oh-so-pretty to look at, they don't even taste that good! Because they're just too... well, sugary! I figure something good could possibly come out of my calamity, because in my frustration, I had a good idea: I could print a "Sugar Cookies for Dummies" book and it would be number two on the NY Times Bestseller List. Book number one would be "Why Moms Need To Lower Their Expectations and Focus on What's Important."

Valentines Day Pajamas

Growing up, my mom always gave us underwear for Valentines Day. It was so fun to get new undies, slips, tights, etc. Well this year, my kids were pretty well decked out in the underwear department, but I had noticed some new pajamas were in order.

If you haven't seen the flying monkey yet, you must check this out! It's simply hilarious. Shan's mom, Peggy, sent it to the kids for Valentines Day. It's basically a slingshot monkey that you flip through the air and it squawks the whole way. My kids giggled and giggled and giggled. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Ryan's Chinese Mask

Ryan came home with this mask and we think it's pretty cool.

Emma's in the Spotlight

Emma had a spotlight at school and we were able to create a display all about the things she loves. She included pink, ranch dressing, accessories, (headbands, boots, jewelry, purses, you name it...) helping others, swimming, making crafts, and her family. This little wonder has kept me on my toes from DAY ONE! (Do I sound like Hillary???) She is a live-wire. She is quick, vibrant, and full of energy. She loves life and I love her.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Gordon Bitner Hinckley

Gordon Bitner Hinckley
June 23, 1910-Jan 27, 2008

Our beloved Prophet passed away last week at the age of 97. As he led our church for more than 12 years, he inspired us all to be a little kinder and "stand a little taller." He had a knack for communication and a passion for building temples. He created the Church's Perpetual Education Fund. His wit and humor were charming and his smile was contagious.

I had the privilege of meeting the Prophet and his wife, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, while working in the KBYU newsroom in the top of the Wilkinson Center at BYU in the winter of 2000. He came for a tour of the facilities and I was lucky enough to be in the newsroom at the time. In fact, just a few months ago, as I browsed my BYU Magazine, I saw a picture someone must have taken during his visit, showing the Prophet, his wife, and ME in the background!!! I was so happy someone documented on film one of the most special experiences in my life. The goodness of President Hinckley, the passion he had for life, and especially his genuine love of all people has truly inspired me personally.

This beautiful photograph of President Hinckley was taken by Boyd Ivey at a BYU football game. President Hinckley was there to honor coach Lavell Edwards by re-naming Cougar Stadium "Lavell Edwards Stadium." You can order a copy from Boyd at his website.

Glen Beck offered his touching tribute here.

And today, I received an email slide show of the Prophet's funeral.

Monday, February 4, 2008

We Love Family

Our visit from the Grimmius gang was just perfect. We had a great time with Jakob, Jade, Ezra, and Peg. Love you!

Ezra and Emma hit it off and were best buddies.

A Snow Like Never Before

Okay, I know I've been spoiled by mild North Carolina winters, but honestly people. Do we have to have the most snow EVER while Shan's away?
A few weeks ago, I thought this was surely as much snow as possible... I mean, it's above Madeline's head, for Pete's sake.Then, I kept shoveling, and shoveling and...

Peg and Jade were lucky to make it out before the REAL storm hit, because this morning we probably have another 12 inches on top of what you see here, and it's STILL snowing!