30DT: Day 22

Day 22:

Today, I'm grateful for a healthy body.

Sure, it's got its foibles, and now that I'm thirty there are things that aren't quite the same as they used to be. But I'm still powerful in so many ways. Here are a few things I'm thankful for:

Hands that hold on while crossing the street. That chop vegetables and shape dough. That smooth hair and wipe away tears. That pick up that binky for the eighth time this morning.

Legs that walk and run and climb stairs. That boogie during Zumba. That hoof it through the rain while walking kids to school. That bend and stretch and climb in and out of the car over and over.

Arms that carry babies. That heft grocery bags and purses and diaper bags. That hug my honey.

Eyes that give me freedom to move in the world. Sure they need contacts or glasses, but they're still eyes that let me drive to visit family. That relish in golden fall leaves. That spot the first flakes of snow that pelt our sidewalk. That watch Annie dance and spin in circles.

Ears that hear so much, all at once. The cry of my baby, the holler of kids home from school, the whir of the washing machine, the slosh of the dishwasher, the patter of rain on the rooftop. The music of Christmas and every other season.

There are certainly more parts to be grateful for. How about you? What did you do with your body today?

30DT: 20 and 21

Days 20 and 21:

Today, I'm grateful for friends!

Especially friends who don't judge or criticize when I fall short of my blogging goal. :) I'm blessed with friends both near and far who build me up, encourage me, remind me how to be kind and generous, inspire me to live the gospel more fully, and teach me how to be a mother. I wish I had pics of all you girls, but you know who you are!

30DT: Day 19

Day 19:

Today, I'm grateful for NPR.

Wow, I sound like a geek

But I can't hide it. Ever since we moved to Oregon, I guess public radio love comes in the water like fluoride, cuz I can't get enough. My kids will probably curse it later on in life (just like I did Crystal Gale, Patsy Cline, and Willy Nelson when my parents listened to them) because it's on very, very frequently in the car.

Nathan especially enjoys "Talk of the Nation," and Nicole's a devoted "Car Talk" fan. As for me, I can't live without my weekly podcast of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." LOVE IT.

30DT: Day 18

Day 18:

Today, I'm thankful for good cookies.

Last night, I made oatmeal scotchies. Over the weekend, we made brownies. And I wonder why I can't get the last 5 pounds off after having 3 kids.....

I learned my love of cookies from my mama. Each week when I was growing up, we spent Sunday afternoons in the kitchen making cookies for family night. We did this week in and week out, whether or not family night actually occurred. :) But the result is that now, Sunday means baking for me and my kids. Some of our favorite cookies include:

  • Cashew cookies with browned butter frosting
  • Chocolate cookies with chocolate frosting
  • Mom's sugar cookies
  • Oatmeal scotchies (Mom actually doesn't like these, but I do)
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Chocolate chip cookies

The chocolate chip cookies are a bit tragic, though. I ADORE my mom's chocolate chip cookie recipe, but ever since I moved to Oregon my chocolate chip cookies are flat as pancakes. My friend Mary Lou makes the same cookies from the same recipe and they turn out flawless. My oven? Forget it. Boo.

Now I'm depressed.

I think I'll go eat a cookie.

30DT: Day Seventeen

Day Seventeen:

Today, I'm thankful for great teachers.

Besides your parents, who besides a teacher gets to leave such an enormous imprint on your mind and life when you're a kid? So far, my kids have had some great teachers, and I had a LOT of them -- lucky me. Here are a couple who stand out:

  • Stephanie Hinckley: My piano teacher for ten years. Tough but fair, solid music theory educator, owner of gorgeous baby grand piano.... She made me work hard and see that I was capable of more than I thought.
  • Mrs. Nelson: How sad that I don't remember her first name, because Mrs. Nelson introduced us to Robert Frost and Paul Gauguin. She organized puppet theater productions (I still remember the smell of the papier mache). Reading, writing, 'rithmetic, and a good dose of the arts.
  • Ed Duncan and Barbara Kuehl: They're a team in this list cuz they were always a team in my head. Physics and math tag team extraordinaire, they stretched my brain in ways I didn't know existed. Me not remembering how to integrate or draw a vector diagram is definitely not their fault. :)

Who are your favorite teachers? Your kids' favorite teachers?

30DT: Day Sixteen

Day Sixteen:

Today, I'm grateful for digital cameras.

I remember going on trips with rolls and rolls of film, carefully deciding whether a picture was worth taking so I could save film, mailing off the rolls and waiting for AGES to get the prints back.

Seems like the stone age now, huh?

I love digital cameras because:

  • They give instant feedback! Eyes closed? Take another shot. Kid not looking? Kid picking nose? Kid pretending to be asleep? Take yet another shot. At the offending kid.
  • They entertain my children! Who doesn't love to have Mom point the camera at you and snap your picture so you can see yourself immediately afterward? Pics, videos, you name it and we can do it, right now, for free, no questions asked.

Time to go take some pics, I think. :)

30DT: Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen:

Today, I'm grateful for GOOD JEANS.

And I'm on the hunt for a new pair. Not too spendy, preferably a trouser cut but maybe a straight leg -- I was NOT built for the skinny jean, unfortunately.

Anybody know the jean for me?

30DT: Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen:

Today I'm grateful for Primary songs.

Nathan, Annie, and I stayed home from church today, since Nathan is the latest one to catch the fever we've been passing around. Normally, I don't like staying home from church -- I miss the sacrament and the socializing -- but today was very peaceful. We tidied up the kitchen after breakfast and then colored at the table while listening to our trusty Primary CDs, and it was so relaxing.

The best part was that my little boy, who picks up songs like pennies off the floor, humming pieces of songs for the duration of the day. Who doesn't love a little boy singing lines from "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission?"

What are your favorite Primary songs? A few of mine aren't even in the songbook yet, but were introduced over the past few years in sacrament meeting presentation book. Here's my list, but add yours as you like!

  • Faith (is knowing the sun will rise...)
  • Love Is Spoken Here
  • If the Savior Stood Beside Me
  • Scripture Power
  • Latter-Day Prophets
  • I Am A Child of God
  • I Can Be a Missionary Now

There are many, many more, but those are the ones that come to mind tonight. Remind me of more!

Latest Craft Project

About a week ago I went to my friend Tiffany's, and with her help I made a Chrstmas Planner. I had a lot of fun and I think the planner turned out pretty cute. Now I can keep my Christmas brain organized in one place. When Eliza saw what I had made she really wanted to make one too but we decided a journal would be more useful for her. After we finished hers all the other kids saw it and asked if I would make them one also. So, 4 notebooks later I made everyone (except Penny, I didn't think she'd appreciate my handiwork) their own journal. I think they turned out nice and the kids were very excited. I should have saved them for Christmas but I didn't think about that until they already had them. Here's mine and Eliza's.
Dallin and Andrew's, they all got to pick out the paper they wanted. Dallin likes dark green and Andrew is a huge fan of orange.

Matthew and Molly's. Matthew has already filled out several pages with pictures he's drawn. I think he's used his the most out of everyone.
These journals have kind of got me into the crafty mood. I think tomorrow I'll sew some blankets or something. :)

30DT: Day Thirteen

Day 13:

I'm thankful for microwave ovens.

It's that kind of busy day, and I can't tell you how great it is to nuke my leftover gnocchi from date night last night and enjoy it a second time at lunch.

Pioneers, BE JEALOUS.

Matthew's 5th Birthday!

Our little Matthew turned 5 on November 10. I can't believe it's already been 5 years since I was holding him in my arms for the first time. Prior to his birth I unknowingly took a trip to Salt Lake City in labor. I had never "gone into labor" by myself before and I didn't know that what I was feeling were actual contractions. I thought I was having bad gas (hey, that happens when you're pregnant, let's be real!) until, the "gas" became regular. The trip back from SLC was the longest 4 hours of my life. We got home, went to the Dr.'s office, went to the hospital and delivered a beautiful baby within just a few hours. He was the only baby I delivered completely natural, I kept waiting for the pain to become more intense and the contractions to take my breath away. I was used to labor with Pitocin and without it the pain never got unbearable. Thank goodness. Now, five years later we feel so blessed to have Matthew in our home. He has such a special spirit. He tells me more than once everyday that he loves me. Matthew enjoys drawing and coloring and is a great brother to his siblings. Matthew LOVES Legos, he plays with them all day and can build some really neat things with them. His favorite Legos are the guys and that's what he wanted his cake to be. So, I dusted off my mad skills and got to work. In the end I wasn't completely happy with the cake but I did learn a lot. Matthew loved it and that's all that really matters.Ready to open presents.

Any guesses as to what was in those presents?Legos, Legos, and more Legos!
He was not disappointed!Happy Birthday to Matthew, Happy Birthday to you!!
Blowing out the candles.
Here's another view of the cake. Matthew picked Applebee's again for his birthday dinner. Surprisingly enough the kids were all good and we didn't have any mishaps, I guess they're all growing up.
We sure do love you Matthew and we're so proud of all the things you do and the love you show to your brothers and sister. Happy Birthday honey and have a fantastic year being 5!!

30DT: Day Twelve

Day Twelve:

I'm grateful for long, hot showers.


No pic for this one, natch. :)


As I was getting ready this morning I heard Molly say, "No, Penny! Penny, NO!!!" I went to investigate and this is what I found.The kids had painted yesterday and the paints were still wet. She was having a good old time.I had her look at herself in the mirror and I think she was a little shocked with what she saw. "How did my face get so messy?"Even with a messy face she still melts my heart.Not 20 minutes later she found another paint tray and painted her face purple that time. Not quite as cute second time around! ;)

I guess it was bound to snow sometime...

We had our first snowfall this week and everyone in my family was excited except me. I like snow when its on a calendar page or on a Christmas movie but I dislike snow when I have to shovel it, drive in it, worry about Joe driving in it and the list goes on and on. Lucky for my family it was wet snow, which we don't usually get here, and they got to have snowball fights and make snowmen. I sat on the porch with the camera wrapped in a blanket. Penny thought it was great fun and it even tastes good!Andrew and Matthew in pursuit with their snowballs.You can't have snow without some snow angels.Eliza made a snow baby and carried it around for quite awhile. It's safely by the mama snowman now.It's a good thing Joe was home because he did all the heavy lifting.I guess Molly likes how the snow tastes too. Don't worry it was white snow!!Matthew made his own snowman, here he is rolling it up.And here's the final product. Good job!!Here's the mama snowman.

She got her hair all done up perdy like.
Here she is with her gardening hat on.
The kids (with daddy's help) made a snowfort that turned into a caterpillar.
Here's the caterpiller.
I saved the best picture for last. Joe is looking fine!! I can't stop laughing!!

30DT: Day Ten

Day Ten:

I'm grateful for my minivan!

People badmouth the minivan, but I LOVE mine. I won't wax as eloquent as this person, here, waxed about hers, but to her tribute, I say:

Amen, sista.

Long live the minivan!

30DT: Day Eight

Day Eight:

I'm thankful for good books to read with my kids.

We've developed the habit of working our way through classic kids books, one chapter at a time, curled up in bed after scriptures and prayers at night. Some recent reads include these:

  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Runaway Ralph, and Ralph S. Mouse, by Beverly Cleary
  • Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing and Superfudge, by Judy Blume
  • The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks
  • Roald Dahl's books, including Fantastic Mr. Fox

What books did you read as a kid? What've you read with your kids? We're always looking for our next book!

30DT: Day Nine

Day Nine:

Today, I'm grateful for my SIL Rachel! (Lucky people with birthdays in November.)

Reasons why I'm grateful for Rachel:

R - Real. She is the real deal. Always genuine, gorgeous to the skin, kind to the core. Determined to do her best and be her best.

A - Animated. She's as much fun as Looney Tunes, without the risk of an anvil falling on your head. :)

C - Confident. She's not afraid to ask for what she wants -- and usually gets it!

H - Heartwarming. That may sound cheesy, but she's got a knack for making people feel special, at ease, and wanted. I call that heartwarming.

E - Energetic! She's the one with ideas for games and shenanigans. She's up late giggling with the girls. She's got questions and conversation starters and creative ways to use paper plates to entertain her niece and nephew.

L - Loving and lovely. I couldn't choose between these two. Rachel adores my brother James, and I love her for that. She is loving and kind to her whole family, near and far.

Rachel -- love you!

30DT: Day Eleven

Day Eleven:

Today, I'm thankful for silliness!

We're quiet at our house, but with a good dose of quirky humor. Our sense of humor is a little off-center, usually has to do with word-play, and keeps me sane in spite of my daily grind.

So I cracked up a little the other day when I walked into Annie's room and found this scene in the doll house:

Uh, honey, we need to talk.

About what?

You know what.

No, I don't know what!

You know.....

Fireman's Ball 2010

Last night was one of the funnest nights I have had in a long time. Joe took me to the Fireman's Ball in Idaho Falls and it was a blast. Dinner was fun with good company and lots of laughter. The dancing was real good fun! Joe's not a dancer but he humors me and is on the dance floor shakin' it! Love you honey! Here we are after the dance in our fancy duds.Joe looking sharp in his Class A dress uniform.Little disclaimer on my dress: This is not the one I made. I had issues with the dress I made and last minute decided to buy one. Long story but I loved this dress and felt like Cinderella with my handsome prince.Yesterday afternoon a bunch of the firefighter wives went to Paul Mitchell and got our hair done. I decided on an up-do since I don't usually wear my hair up. I was pleased with how the girl did it and the scalp treatment she did prior to fixing it was amazing. Here's her creation.This year was far better than last year and I'm excited for next year!!

30DT: Day Seven

Day Seven:

I'm thankful for dental floss.

And Mom, I know you are, too.