Monday, November 29, 2010


We're all stuck inside today thanks to the constant rain, but I don't mind a bit. Just wanted to share my favorite picture from the month of November. I sure love this boy of mine.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday! My cousin Elise and her family drove down from Chicago to spend it with us. It was so nice to have some family around. Holidays are always hard to be away from everyone. We're all used to these massive gatherings of people for Thanksgiving, so it was a little different with just the 4 adults and 4 little kids. But we were sure glad they were here to help fill that void :). They stayed Wednesday night-Saturday morning. We had fun talking, playing games, black friday shopping (just me and Lise), cooking and eating of course, and taking the kids to the movie theatre to see the new movie Tangled. Here's a few pictures from the day of the feast. One thing that was really cool is we sat down to eat and a few minutes into the meal it started snowing!! Our first snowfall of the year--big, fluffy flakes. It was pretty neat even if it didn't last very long!

Violet and Tyler
Brynlee and Luke

The meal! I think it all turned out exceptionally well for it being our first Thanksgiving meal to prepare. Everything was delicious and we stuffed ourselves full!! We had a 12 lb. turkey, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, gravy, stuffing, rolls, pretzel salad, and a cranberry/sprite drink. I even saved my last strawberry jam of the year for this meal. It was worth it :)

The whole gang. Can I get any bigger?? I think not.

Dan and Kenny each working on a turkey leg.

Dessert!! Pecan pie, (Kenny just bought one because I didn't want to make one, but he must have his pecan pie at thanksgiving :). ) banana cream pie, pumpkin cheesecake with a pecan-gingersnap crust, and a chocolate-peanut butter pie. YUM!!
Thanks for coming Dan and Lise, we sure had a blast with you guys! It's been a fabulous year and we have so much to be grateful for!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tender Mercy

It's been a rough few days. The only thing worse than trying to take care of sick kids and a sick husband, is being sick and 9 months pregnant yourself. Then the kids got up at 6:20 this morning and I wasn't thrilled about that. Everyone, including myself, has been cranky and a little on edge.

But today we had a tender mercy--the weather was perfect. We even wore t-shirts!! I thought these days were over, but we managed to have a nice walk, and one more picnic lunch in our backyard today, per Tyler's insistence. It was just what the kids (and I) needed. I sat there on the blanket (hacking up a lung...) watching them run around in the leaves with the wind blowing hard. The sun was so warm and it felt so good. I couldn't help but feel so grateful! Grateful to be pregnant, grateful to have such beautiful and wonderful children already. Grateful that we don't get sick very often and we have such good healthy bodies and minds. I'm grateful I can be home with them every day, and that Kenny provides so well for our growing family. So many things to be grateful is great.

(Notice the picture in the bottom right of Tyler. He has a vacuum hose extension sticking out of his pants. It was his sword, and he is a warrior. It was even funnier to watch Bryn copy him and try to stick one down her diaper!)

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

A few things

Here's a cute picture of Tyler and his buddy, Jacob Reed. I made them matching (kind of) capes and it's pretty cute to watch them play.

Being super heroes!

Kenny got back late Wednesday night. The kids didn't see him until Thursday night of course, but boy were they happy to have him home. Even if he did come home sick and get me sick too, we're grateful to have him in any condition :).

Yesterday I took a day to myself and it was wonderful. I got a babysitter and left at 9 in the morning. I went to the temple, did a little Christmas shopping, and even treated myself to a delicious lunch at St. Louis Bread Co. (or Pandera). It was awesome. It would have been even better if I had Kenny there with me, but alone is good sometimes too :).
Yesterday I helped Tyler write a letter to Santa. I was so proud of him. I just told him how to spell things (or I'd sound it out and he'd guess the letter) but he did great. I think it's the cutest thing.

In case you can't read it it says "Dear Santa please bring me lots of presents Love Tyler" hahaha at least he's not picky and greedy right?
Well we're all feeling a little under the weather at our house. So on our agenda for the weekend is TAKE IT EASY! We're hoping to be recovered 100% before our guests arrive for Thanksgiving celebrations!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things I love about today

-The way Tyler wakes up and comes straight into my room to climb into bed with me (if I'm still there) because he wants to snuggle.

- How Brynlee can't get enough of me. Okay so sometimes it is hard, but I try to give her as much of my attention as I can now because I know in 3 weeks (or less!!) she will hear a lot of "I can't right now" and "just a minute". I think she senses something's coming because she's extra needy and snuggly. I'll take all the lovin from her I can get! :)

-Mindy Gledhill's CD "Anchor", and Christmas music.

-A great friend (and visiting teacher). Heather watched my kids for my dr. appt. today and I came home from her house with my car full of goods. Clothes for my children (she has a boy and a girl too), a present, and a warm loaf of french bread.

-How an old toddler mattress entertains my kids for a long time. See the green blur?? That's Tyler in mid-air.

-That it's Tuesday, which means Kenny gets home tomorrow!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stuff from the week

Monday: Dr. appt. went well. I got tested for the group B strep thing and haven't heard back so I assume no news is good news. We had a short and fun family night that evening.

Tuesday: Went shopping in Fairview Heights with the rest of the RS presidency and that was fun. I went to the hospital after that for the pre-admissions appt. and got all the paper work taken care of so I don't have to worry about it while I'm in labor. I'm getting so excited to have this baby and meet our little girl.

Wednesday: Tyler got to go with Kenny to Young Mens. They cooked a dutch oven dinner and played around. Ty felt like such a big boy and loved going to that with his dad. Brynlee came to a combined young womens/relief society activity where we made aprons out of tea towels. Very simple and cute.

Thursday: We decided to change things up a bit and squeeze in a date during the week! We went out to eat at La Casa Mexicana with our friends Jared and Terra Reed. We made Tyler miss his Little Gym class, but it was the only day we could make it work. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed getting out for a couple hours together. Our friend Damon was kind enough to watch our kids (he actually kept volunteering to do it so we finally took him up on it! he's so nice). After dinner we went grocery shopping for the campout since Kenny was in charge of all the food and he wanted my help :). I used to make fun of my parents for going grocery shopping and calling it a date...looks like we've arrived there too now haha.

Friday: Kenny came home early from work long enough to grab his stuff and leave again. He had lots of fun with the young men at his first campout with them at Pere Marquette State Park. I already mentioned earlier that I went to a little candle party and that was fun.

Saturday: I went to the craft fair and took the kids even though I didn't want to. Miracle of all miracles is when Kenny called and he got back earlier than I expected so he came and met us at the high school. He took the kids early and let me shop around for a while :). I got home and Kenny slept for like 15 minutes, then left for the leadership training meeting, which I should have gone to with him but didn't. That night we went to a little birthday get together for a guy in our ward.

Sunday: Church was great today. Right after we got home I made Kenny a lunch, quickly ironed a pair of his pants and kissed him goodbye. He is now in Houston until Wednesday night for some training for work. He' s staying with my parents, and he almost brought Brynlee with him. She's only free to fly for a few more months, but I just didn't feel good about sending her off, so she's here. But he made it there safely, and I'm glad.

Other things: Brynlee pooped in the toilet for the first time! It was exciting. She doesn't go in the potty all the time, and a lot of days doesn't even do it once during the day. I just follow her lead. She'll just randomly say sometimes that she wants to go on the potty so I help get her pants and diaper off and she goes and that's that. I really don't push it becuase I'm sure once this baby comes in 3 weeks she'll go back a little anyway. So I'm just kind of letting her do what she wants and get used to it slowly.
Both kids have coughs and it's getting old. They're not getting sicker or better, just cough. I am grateful they aren't really sick though, I'll take this over a lot of other things.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Here's the thing--I think motherhood is challenging.

I'd like to think it can be challenging for all moms; that we all have some similar feelings, and problems to overcome. Tonight I was at a Gold Canyon (candles) party, and one of the other ladies there from my ward started talking about how she feels like other people are out doing productive things all day while she's just at home with her 2 little boys. It really hit home to me because today was one of those harder days for me too. (I wasn't even going to go to the party because Kenny's gone on a camp out for young mens, and I didn't want to take the kids. But I really wanted to get out of the house and talk to other women, so we went anyway.)

She commented how she does "stuff" all day, but feels like there's not really anything to show for it at the end of the day. I realized that's how I feel a lot of the time too. For example, I clean and clean and clean and there's always more cleaning to do. There's so much redundancy to the day of a mom with young kids, and you might not even be able to tell how much you have done. So anyways, the point of this post is not to go on and on about how hard or unrewarding it can be.
The point is that I think it's good for me to identify what works for me. Sometimes I'll get stuck in a rut and wonder why I'm not as happy or feel as fulfilled as I do at other times with my kids. So it's helpful to really think about and identify what I'm doing or not doing that contributes to that. I hope that some of these suggestions are helpful to some of you. The majority of you that read my blog are young moms just like me. I would really love it if you'd share some tips with me, and let me know what makes a good day, good, for you and your kid(s).

First and foremost my day has to start off right. I love to get up before my kids and read my scriptures and pray when the house is quiet and I'm all by myself. I stopped doing this when I got sick at the beginning of this pregnancy, then got back into it, and now I'm tired a lot again and have fallen back out of the habit. But I can honestly say there's a big positive difference when I can have that one-on-one time with the Lord before anything else. I have to pray for more love and patience a lot.

I have learned something about myself, that I am extremely goal-oriented. Kenny laughs at me because I always carry around my little notebook with my many lists. Even if it's not a big deal, just regular stuff to do during the day like laundry or clean the bathroom, I write it down. Because I feel like that's my own little reward system when I can cross it off after it's done...even if it doesn't stay done. But the goal thing goes for other areas as well. I think there's not really any point to this life if we're not trying to improve and progress. For me, the only way to do better and get from one point to the next is to set goals, otherwise I just kind of ho-hum along in life. I'm grateful for my parents for instilling this in me because it's sort of how I function now. Not just my daily list of things to do goals, but in all areas of my life, for all different time periods too.

Another thing that helps me feel like I am doing more for my children than just monitoring them and keeping them alive, is to have things I want to accomplish with them every day too. There are different areas that I feel are important, and I try to have a little bit of time spent in each one. I used to have a chart that we'd put stickers on for each little section but again, I need to get back into the swing of things (this post is for me more than anyone). We would do a sports time, music time, reading time, crafts time, imagination and learning time. That way it's not just like oh what can I do now to distract them. There is more purpose behind it, and I feel like their activities throughout the day have some variance and are beneficial to them (that's always the hope right?).

Shake things up a bit!! I hate when life gets so boring and you don't feel like there's anything to really distinguish one day from the next. Find some new recipes and make a fancy dinner once in a while just for the fun of it. Rearrange all your furniture for a day and see what the kids do! Find out what's in your area and go to all the free stuff. Join library reading times and play groups and get out and have fun! Plan a party just for the heck of it and have friends over with their kids. I know this is weird, but I like to watch movies in French, or put the French subtitles on if I'm watching a show with the kids so that it's more entertaining/engaging for me :).

Lastly, take time for yourself. I love to workout and that was something I made sure to take time for, although in the last month of pregnancy here I'm not able to just go run for miles and de-stress. But I do make sure that I have projects to do in sewing, and a list of books I want to read so I do that at night too. I also am trying to get better at piano playing and although I stopped taking lessons this summer, I still try to practice often. These things are for me, to help me stay me, and feel like I'm not just forgetting who I am and what I love. It's important to stay grounded and take time for yourself. You can't draw water from an empty well.

Anyways I was thinking about the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:1 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." This is a unique season of my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I don't want to just get through it, I want to really love it and relish in it. Tonight was a good reminder for me of how I can do that, and that it may take a little more effort, or self-discipline, but it's so much more worth it.

An Invite

This is an invitation to all my sisters, and to anyone else who wants to come to my house. Leave your snow behind for a while!! Our weather has been in the 70's this week, and we have beautiful leaves to play in, right in our backyard :). Come join our fun!!

Notice the macaroni and cheese-stained mouth and shirt. We had just finished our picnic lunch.

Yes, we are enjoying every minute of it. Hope to see you all soon :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I realize that this video means a lot more to me than it will to any of you, but I threw together some cute clips of my children over the past few months, mostly from the summer. It's like 10 minutes long so if you are bored, click here to watch it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby Shower

This is me and my friend Audra. She's in my ward, and I went to her baby shower on Saturday. We are both having girls, and due within about a week of each other. It's fun to have somebody going through it all at the same time--makes for a lot in common. Isn't she the cutest?

This is a game that we played where we guessed on how long of a string to cut, based on how big her belly is. I just measured my own and so of course I won, they were the same size!! It may or may not have been cheating :). Anyway it was a fun shower and I'm so excited for her, it's her first. I made these apple streusel bars, and these pumpkin/choc. chip muffins for the shower. They were yummy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good Friday

Today was a good day. We didn't have anything going on, and we enjoyed it. Tyler even watched a movie before he changed out of his pajamas or did preschool or anything! Speaking of preschool, I ordered some of the Kumon books that my sister recommended and we've been really happy with them already. We've only had them for 3 or 4 days, but I love them. Tyler has a problem listening to me when I tell him to write his letters and numbers from top to bottom and left to right. He does everything backwards. But these books help him get out of that habit without him even realizing it.
It all of the sudden got super cold this week. Like it didn't even get up to 50 degrees the past couple days. So it's cutting down on our outside play time, but it's still a fun change.
I bought a roasting pan a couple weeks ago and used it for the first time tonight. We had a delicious roasted chicken and it was the first time I've cooked a whole chicken where it didn't have any bloodiness still inside somewhere. It was really good, even Tyler ate it. And he doesn't eat chicken voluntarily, except for in the form of a chicken nugget :). I think I'm really going to like this pan. We also had pumpkin roll and hot chocolate for dessert. Yum!!
I finished memorizing The Living Christ this week for one of the value projects in personal progress. It is long, but it's fun to be able to quote something like that.
Last Sunday we took the crib out of the kids' room and officially switched Brynlee over to a big-girl bed. The week before we had both of them up, and she was kind of going back and forth. But now it's permanent and she has done so great!! I was actually really scared of trying it because I was just sure she would get out and be all over the place. But she doesn't get out of her bed. Ever. She sleeps in later in the morning too. It's like the miracle bed!! She loves it, and I'm so happy.
On Thursday, Tyler had his friend Jacob over here and they had a fun play date. I decided we should have a friend over every single day. It's so much easier when they have a buddy to play with!!
Well this is a very random post, and not very exciting, so that's all.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things I don't understand.

I don't understand people that are chronically late. Like always late to everything, even if it's at the exact same time every time. (Church ever Sunday, for example.) Why don't they just wake up a few minutes earlier, or plan a little better the day before, or something? Maybe some people really just don't care about being late to everything, but I think it's kind of rude. I understand every once in a while, things go wrong, especially with little kids. I'm talking about never on time. It just doesn't make sense to me. (sorry if you're one of those people)

I don't understand women that always have a stocked kitchen full of all the right food. I think it's an amazing talent. I have to really plan in advance in order to have the right ingredients to make dinner. I usually have to have my dinners planned ahead of time so that we actually do have something to eat. I really wish I was one of those people that just always had the right things on hand all the time. It's like no big deal if a huge group comes over to their house, they just always have enough food, and the right food! Maybe I'm just not creative at coming up with stuff to eat with the food we have. I've got to figure that one out.

Lastly, I don't understand how I'm going to make it through this last month. I seriously try to avoid walking by the end of the night because every step hurts. It's pathetic. I'm even measuring a little small (though you'd never be able to tell), but it is ridiculous how I look and feel like an injured cow at day's end. Heaven help me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Whenever Brynlee toots she says "excuse you" (actually it's more like scuz-you). Same goes for whenever she sneezes, she'll say "bless you". It never gets old to me.

This morning Tyler was trying to go outside but the door was locked. He asked me why I locked the door and I said, "we lock the doors when we go to bed at night to keep us safe from the bad guys." He replied with, "don't worry mom, there's no bad guys in our country." Perhaps we've created a false sense of security??

I've somehow managed to run over and kill 2 squirrels in the last month or so and Tyler won't let it go. It's like he thinks I did it on purpose or something. So tonight when we were driving and hit a bump in the road, he said "what was that?" And I said, just a bump in the road. He said, "No it wasn't, you hit another squirrel!!"

Check This Out

My brother-in-law and some of his buddies have started this cool website. For those of you interested in reading/discussing some of the hot topics of our day, check it out. Even if you're not personally, check it out and spread the word. It's really cool. It's called the Me Party. Click here to go straight to it.