Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A little family visit

This month sure is a busy one! Taking a moment this morning to catch up on the blog. Recently, we had a wonderful visit from Shaun’s sister Dana, her son JJ, and their tiny dog Mitzi. I love having family and friends spend the night. I just absolutely love having a home and sharing it with others. I always bust out the cotton sheets and down comforters, and making the bathroom clean and guest ready.

As soon as they got here, Dana promptly made a yummy fruit salad large enough to feed an army, consisting of canned fruit, yogurt and cool whip. We happily ate it all weekend long. JJ got his fill of Ethan jumping and playing with him. They loved little Brooke, and she was passed around everywhere. It was just a nice weekend to have a house filled with family and dogs.

Handsome JJ






Enjoying “Despicable Me” I love that movie. It cracks me up so much!


Professional baby sitter, as long as he has his DS:)


Mitzi decided to take a nap with Kevin. Hilarious.


Our little angel Brooke at 2 months. Love her!


Then, it was time for the family to go home. Sad times for us. We loved having them.

Ethan and I made some snowglobes during quiet time last week. It was so easy and such fun. We used cheap baby food jars, little trees and snow men from Michaels, glitter and a hot glue gun. It’s a tradition I want to do each year. Snow globes are so magical. Something about seeing little things inside a jar with glitter swirling around makes me so happy.



We also took the family to see the live Nativity show that happens every year in town. We bundled them up, brought hot chocolate, braved the crowds to find a seat, and had a nice time. The church does such an awesome job at this show. Live donkey, horses, sheep, tons of volunteers dressed up in nativity clothes, and angels. Oh, how I love the angel part. On top of the building, the angels come out and sing. The lights shine on them, and there’s mist all around the angel Gabriel. The boys looked up and were entranced. I kept wiping tears from my eyes. Spirit is so strong on that part. We just held the boys close under our blanket, watched the show, and felt the true spirit of Christmas. Beautiful.

Yesterday, we made sugar cookies to deliver to friends. It was a good idea in the morning. The kids had about a 3 minute attention span with making the cookies, and left to do other things. That night, I was grumpy from Ethan not listening all day long. I packed the kids up and our goodies to deliver. Shaun stayed home with Brooke.

Each home we visited had such a wonderful spirit of love that lifted and strengthened me. As the door opened, the boys promptly took their shoes and jackets off, and ran off to play with the kids and their toys. It took a bit to get them ready to leave, but I’m grateful it turned out that way. Being around the other moms helped me not be grumpy, and strengthened me to try again the next day. Isn’t it wonderful when you just feel like the cruddiest parent and don’t know what your doing, you visit some stellar moms who have such a loving heart, and you’re lifted to be better? That’s what happened last night, so I’m glad that we delivered our goodies:)

Merry Christmas! I can’t wait Sunday!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My favorite getaway

We’ve been home bound for a bit, getting through colds. Thankfully, Brooke is fine, while the boys and I are getting through our sniffles. I’ve been the nurse all day for the boys, making smoothies with orange juice so they’ll get some vitamin C, putting oils on all day, and hanging out on the couch with a comforter over us watching Curious George 2 for the hundredth time. They love Curious George!

This is one of  my favorite things to do; go to Smiths all by myself, ha ha! Sometimes, when Shaun gets home at night, I’ll run to the store for a few things. I love to take a moment and stroll to my favorite parts of the store. I took a few pictures in the store just for fun to blog about. I know, this is a silly kind of post, but I like it:)


I love going to the special cheese section near the deli. Look at this! There’s a whole world of wonderful cheeses waiting to be discovered. Ever since falling in love with Food Network early in my marriage, I learned that there are a lot more cheeses than just cheddar. I’ve only tasted Fontina and Gouda, oh Gouda, so good. I still need to taste Brie, Havarti, and White Cheddar. I just love looking at all the cheese. Sometimes, there will be little samples left out to taste. That’s a great night when that happens!


This is the health food section, and I consider it a little museum of my life. Growing up, my Mom was way into health food, the pills, condiments, hygiene supplies, and more. Most of the stuff she used is here in this section. I love to walk slowly, uninterrupted by kids, look at everything, and just take time to smell. It’s crazy how just a smell can bring the sound of her laugh to my mind, the memory of me being a young kid playing video games, and more. Isn’t it amazing how a smell or a song can bring back so many memories so clear in your mind?


I’m such a nerd, taking a picture of me and this bottle, but I grew up with this stuff. Mom and I put it on everything, mostly pasta and veggies. It sort of tastes like soy sauce, but has it’s own taste for sure. I just see this bottle, pick it up, remember Mom, and feel thankful to have her memory in my heart.

It’s been almost 4 years since she passed away, and some days are still hard. I can’t even begin to describe how hard it is to not have your mom on earth to talk to on the phone, and get hugs of encouragement and love from, but somehow, comfort and peace is found in the small things of prayer, seeking the spirit, and just trying to do the best you can where you’re at.

Shaun and I talk about our moms and think about how their both doing in heaven. It’s neat to think that now we’re parents, trying to learn how to raise these little sweethearts, have incredible patience with them, go to bed each night and wonder if we’re doing this job ok. I’m so thankful that I can be a mom, and give hugs and tickles to these guys, wrap Brooke up in blankets and talk to her, and just take care of their needs. It’s such a turn of the tables to be a parent, but it sure is humbling.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mommy thoughts

Yesterday, the boys and I took Brooke to her checkup. We found out that she is a big baby for a one month old. She’s 90 above the percentile for height, and 50 above for weight. It’s official, she’s taking after Shaun’s six foot two genes. I’m so excited! She’s going to be a tall, gorgeous woman. So Shaun, Ethan and Brooke will be giants, and Kevin and I will be hobbits, us shorties. It was neat to find that out. She’s doing great, and growing well.

Today, I’ve been feeling especially grateful to be a mom. I don’t know why, nothing major has happened this week to make me feel this way, but I’m just glad to be a mom.

I love playing games and doing books with Ethan during quiet time. I love dropping to the floor anywhere in the home to hold Kevin when he’s having one of his emotional breakdowns. (Happens quite often, my sensitive son:)

I’m really trying to listen to the boys better, and respond back with questions. I think it helps them see that I’m trying not to always be the boss, but to understand them better. It’s a new way of talking and thinking, because it makes you slow down your talking and speak on a really, really, basic level. Now, I wish I was like this every day, but some days have been rough and there’s no patience in me left, but I’m trying.

Brooke is an angel, and such a gift from above. Every time I see her smile at me, it’s a small window to our heavenly home that we came from. I love her.

I’ve started reading another great Mommy blog, that I found through a friend. I love it. I try to limit my ‘mommy blogs’ to a small amount, to not get overwhelmed. I do my best to keep up with the lovely friend and family blogs on the right side that you see. This one is Clover Lane, and it’s just wonderful, but you must read this short article that she wrote HERE. It was so uplifting to read today. When you get time, read that post. It will help you remember why it’s so great to be a parent:)

It feels like the days are flying by, and I sometimes wonder if I’m doing enough to raise these kids right. I’m in the bathroom, and I’ll take a 30 second break (about how long it takes for the boys to come in and find me, with the dogs following and all cramming in. It’s over then:) to read something uplifting from my bookshelf in there. A church thought, a mother passage, or something, and I try to keep going and enjoy the moments. Yes, we’re still in survival mode with learning how to balance three kids, and eventually, things will get a tad smoother. I just love being home with them, making the food, tucking them in, and having pillow fights. That’s my rambling for today.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend

The house is so quiet. The boys and Brooke are asleep. It’s break time. I love tucking the boys in, and reading to them. I love that they have a bunk bed to share, warm blankets and down comforters. Love being the mom, and taking care of them.

Thanksgiving came and went so fast, and tomorrow is back to work for Shaun and long days with the kiddos and me, but it was a great weekend. The turkey turned out amazing. The brining was easy, and definitely made a huge difference. Very moist. I felt so cool cooking an amazing turkey, and having it turn out stellar. Growing up, I knew that the grown ups made the turkey for the family dinner. Well, now I’m the grown up, even though I don’t always feel so grown up. I sometimes wonder “How did these kids get here? Wasn’t I going to school at Ricks yesterday, and going to single adult parties on the beach in Santa Barbara?” Time sure flies by:)

Here’s the boys stirring the brine around with all the ice and the turkey. We then put the bucket in the garage for 24 hours. I still can’t believe how easy it was. I’ll post the recipe with a bunch more soon.



It was great to stay in pajamas, and just lounge. Somehow, I made all the dinner items mostly by myself with some help from the boys. This happened for a few days, making one item at a time. Green bean casserole, cranberry jello salad, mashed potatoes, and the heavenly pumpkin cheesecake, scream! My favorite.

It really didn’t feel like Thanksgiving, just another day, but we had a great meal with our little family and said what we were grateful for at the table. The boys rode their bikes to their hearts content. Cheese cake for breakfast. Trying not to think about the fitness/diet plans until January. Eat more crap, and love every bite of it. That was the weekend:)

I have so much to be thankful for, more than I can write. I’m so thankful for this home, and for warm beds for everyone. For running water and power. For photo sessions, and the fun that comes with that. For a running car, and for hugs from the boys. For little Brooke, and the happy squeaks she has been making. For my darling husband, who I love to laugh with and share this adventure with. So thankful for it all.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with their families! Here comes Christmas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Family visit

Can I say I’m so excited for Friday! This Friday is our Thanksgiving dinner day. Shaun’s off work, and we’re planning on  just chilling and eating, and being home. Well, except for me escaping with no kids to shop for clothes in the morning, which is my momma treat for me. The past weekends have been busy with Shaun staying with the kids, while I run off to the mountains to do photograph mini sessions, coming home to help with dinner, fussy kids during chaos hour, and putting them to bed. So, this Friday is exciting.

Way cute outfit on darling Brooke, who still is my easiest baby ever. She’s so content, and only cries when she’s tired or having tummy gas pains. She slept from 9-4:30 last night, which is why I’m able to be up this early and blog.



Brooke has been a trooper with my active men. She’s had her head stepped on, slapped, poked at, and she’s taken it very well. The boys love her, and come running to me saying “Brooke’s crying” which helps since I don’t always here her with the dogs playing and boys running all over the place.


Every now and then, I’m blessed to have a little visit with my extended fam, Kevin, Jacquie, and Brian, when they travel through town. This was it for our Thanksgiving family visit. They always bring goodies for my boys, and its so kind. Jacquie made me the most beautiful purple baby blanket ever. It’s luxury, and beats any store bought blanket. It smelled heavenly of downy fabric softener, and was SO soft. Needless to say, I promptly put Downy on my shopping list for this week, because I want all the blankets in the house to be that amazing. I wrapped Brooke in it, and smelled and touched the blanket to my face all day long. Love it.


I still think we’re in survival mode, because the days are flying by, and I feel that I’m not being as productive with the boys as I’d like. I’m constantly helping Brooke, trying my best to spend time with the boys as she naps, scratch my head and wonder what exactly I did that day. I get up as early as my body will let me, work on finishing photo sessions for clients, (which I am so thankful to have had some work this season!) read scriptures and talks on my phone in bed, (love doing that!) and try to teach the boys to get me when the alarm goes off. Some days, the get up a wee bit early.

We’re also trying to get Shaun applied to school to start next year. Trying to start school for us has been the equivalent of taking the ring to Mordor. Something always seems to happen, and push us back, but it’s going to happen, dang it! It’s too awesome of a dream to not happen! So, we’re just keep chugging.

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving this week! I’m going to brine a turkey for the first time, because I’m insane, and because I’m all about flavor in my food. I got my 5 gallon bucket, and I’m ready to go. We’ll see how it goes. Truly, I’m just stoked for my pumpkin cheesecake. Discovered that last year, and life has never been the same. It’s wonderful!

Enough ramblingSmile

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brooke’s blessing day

This last weekend was a busy and fun one! Shaun took off work Saturday so I could do more photo mini sessions. We love any day that Daddy is home, it’s wonderful. Shaun’s buddy Kyle and his family came in to town for Brooke’s baby blessing at church, along with sweet Aunt Sandy. She brought down this lovely baby blessing dress, with a little bonnet. She looked like an angel pioneer. Don’t you find that great weekends go by in a blink?

Here’s a few pictures from this week. Ah, Brooke is so cute!! Her headband was made by my crafty cousin Mel. You can see more of her wonderful creations at her etsy shop HERE:)



Crazy Ethan:D100_0595

Getting Brooke dressed in her blessing dress. It’s so fun to play dress up with her.100_0597

Aunt Sandy and us. Isn’t Brooke adorable??100_0599100_0601

Here’s our humble little group that came out for Brooke. One family member along with an adopted family of friends. How grateful I am for all of them. It was such a nice Sunday.100_0604

Shaun and his goofy friend Kyle. The boys absolutely love “Uncle Kyle”100_0606100_0607

My sweet mommy and photog friend, Jessica. We get together with our kids at the park, and it’s great fun.100_0612100_0613100_0619

And then, it was time for everyone to drive back to their homes. Thanks for coming, guys!

Brooke is starting to come alive. She’s staying awake a little more in the daytime, and she’s started to smile at me. I’ll talk sweet to her, and she gives me the cutest smile, and it melts my heart. When that happens, I remember better how lucky I am to be a mom and have kids, these little gifts from above.

Yesterday for our Family Home Evening activity, we took the boys to get bike helmets. They were incredibly excited. We jumped into Bed Bath and Beyond to get some flannel sheets for them. I loved seeing the cotton flannel and down comforters in there, and remembering Mom. She was big on her cotton sheets and comforters, and I guess I’m carrying on the tradition with my family. Can’t live without them!

I just love having a home and warm beds for the kids, and being able to take care of all their little needs and enjoyments. We may be pretty pooped at bedtime from their energy, but at least we can have another day with them.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Olympic event: shopping with kids!

Yesterday, I braved shopping at Smiths and Costco with all three kiddos. I made it! Brooke slept the whole time in her carseat. I stuffed Kevin with a bagel from the bakery, and he sat contently in the shopping cart while I piled food around him. I had him help me put the food in, and he enjoyed that. I kept a constant watch on Ethan, herding him close, as he gets distracted a ton. All the while, trying to look over the carseat to see what’s in front me and not ram into other carts. It’s really a financial blessing to take all the kids to Costco, because I could not browse through the heavenly book section and be tempted to buy something. I came home, unloaded the car while Brooke kept sleeping and the boys played in the driveway with their bikes. Olympic event!

Lately, all the boys want to hear is Adele’s “Rolling in the deep” song. I played it once in the car, and they loved it. I’ve tried playing other songs on her CD, but Ethan informs me “That’s not Adele!” Funny. We all crowd around my phone and watch the music video on youtube, and then the Jon Schmidt/Steven Sharp Nelson version. We put the phone on the piano, play the Jon Schmidt video, and I play along with it. The boys love it. Thanks, Mel, for sharing Adele with us! Smile

Brooke is doing wonderful. She’s such a sweet and content baby. Only cries when she’s hungry or has gas. I nurse her, and sometimes have the boys on top of me, Kevin shoving his face into hers to say hi, and Ethan sitting on my right shoulder. The couch is more than 6 feet long, but yet we all seem to smash together in the corner of it while I nurse. My life now, ha ha!

Today, I’m going to try to not stress over stupid stuff the boys do. It uses too much vital energy that is needed for positive outlook. There’s already so much to discipline and teach these kids. Why am I adding to it with things that don’t matter?  It’s ridiculous, and yet I find that its an easy trap to fall into. So today, the goal is to chill the heck out!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fun with our bikes

Oh, the strider bikes, how fun they are! We got these bikes off ebay. When it’s tough to load up kids and shop at stores, I love online shopping where its dropped at my doorstep, and has free shipping. Love.

The boys went nuts when I opened the door in the morning, and found the big box. (Not sure why UPS always comes at night around here)

Here’s our week in pictures, random snippets of our crazy and fun life with three kiddos.

First, here’s our darling girl!


Very excited boys.


So far, its been easy to load up all the kids and take them to the park. Brooke’s asleep all the time.  Boys loved bringing their bikes, and rode them all around.


Kevin being darling. Ethan was off chasing the pigeons, of courseSmile



Isn’t this the coolest park??


We visited Daddy at work. Love it when he works an event where he just sits around, and we can come see him. This was a horse event, so it was fun for the boys.


Brooke’s first day at church!


This is what I do with Ethan when Kevin and Brooke nap during quiet time. We do some school/play fun. He loves this alphabet train puzzle! They are so fun. He’s also learning to write letters on our big dry erase board. Fun stuff.



Just relaxing with daddy home. Love those days.


Popcorn always makes us happy.


I’m hanging in there. Some days are easy, and some days like yesterday afternoon are exhausting! It seemed like I was pulled in every direction to help someone or do something, and I just couldn’t seem to do it all. You’ve had those days, I’m sure. Nevertheless, the kids went to bed peacefully. I fed Brooke at 8:30, expecting her to wake at midnight, and she slept till 3:30. Thank you!!!!!

Dog gone time change is tough with young kids. Sunday night, it seemed to take forever to get to bedtime. Shaun and I were ready to pass out, while the kids were bouncing all over the house.

Yet, life is wonderful, the weather is cooler, and I want to make pumpkin pie!! This weekend is Brooke’s baby blessing at church. That will be wonderful. Gotta go take care of her now.