Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Prayer Hat

Over the years we have tried several strategies to create better reverence during our family scripture study and prayer.  Some of the more successful ideas have been scripture journals, scriptures for everyone to follow along and put a sticker on each page that is completed, and an empty jar with pebbles and a possible potential of earning 3 pebbles a night depending on how reverent we were during each part of the night (dinner prayer, scripture study, and nightly prayer).  It is something we are continually working to perfect in this house.

Currently the journals are losing their appeal and it is time to come up with another option.  About a week ago, Dave was out of the house for the evening and I was tired from a busy day, we knelt down for prayer.  The kids were wiggly, loud, and distracted. I noticed a mixing bowl sitting on the couch next to me (Rex had brought it to the living room when he was busy unloading the kitchen cupboards earlier that day).  I told the girls we were going to play a game that night.  They all had to kneel up for prayer and close their eyes, as soon as everyone was quiet and ready I would put that bowl on someone's head and that person would immediately begin praying, after the prayer I would take the bowl off and we would all open our eyes and guess who said the prayer.  The game worked like magic.  All the girls immediately were ready for prayer and excited for the new game. 

The next night Dave was home for our nightly routine.  The girls were quick to fill him in on our new game.  We couldn't find the bowl so we had to use a metal pot.  Again things worked like a charm.  Dave loved the new addition to our routine.  As I placed the pot on Paisley's head and she immediately began to pray, I noticed Dave out of the corner of my eye with a huge smile on his face and him trying hard to hold in his laughter.

We are about a week into this new tradition and my kids are looking forward to it and loving it!

Easter 2015

Saturday morning my girls woke up early -- almost an hour earlier than normal.  They knew the Easter bunny had been there and left some gifts for them.  Before Dave and I even made it out of bed most of the girls had already found their baskets.  Their excitement woke up the two babies and before we knew it the babies had already found their baskets too.  I walked out of my bedroom just as Rex was scarfing down his Reese's chocolate egg.  -- and just like that the basket hunt was over and I had missed the whole thing.  :(  I woke up to some very excited girls eager to show me everything in their basket and tell me exactly where they found each basket, including the play by play of who found theirs first and which baskets they were able to find before they found their own.  I also woke up to my husband in the kitchen making a delicious Easter breakfast complete with eggs, a smoothie, and the best turkey sausages I have ever tasted.  Yum!  I sure love being married to this man!!!
 In the picture above the girls are reading Rex his new book that was in his basket.  He loves this book and will turn right to the dog page and growl.  In the picture below Zoey and Paisley are holding up what was left of their Easter baskets when I woke up.
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Saturday night we hid 100 eggs throughout the house for the kids to have an egg hunt.  Inside the eggs was a written message.  The girls had to work together to unscramble and decode the message.  After the message was decoded, it sent each of the girls to different parts of the house to gather their prize... The prize was really cool new kitchen accessory that our family now loves!  It is called Yonanas.  It is this neat thing that turns frozen bananas (or any other frozen fruit/ yogurt) into instant ice cream -- using only fruit!  We love it!  We also gave the girls a carton of diving turtle eggs for the pool.  This toy has been the favorite pool toy by all the kids ever since.
 Yes, we used plastic garbage bags as their basket during the egg hunt because we are classy like that.

My favorite part about Easter this year was the fact that it also fell on General Conference weekend.  So, not only did my kids get to stay home and wear their pajamas all day long for two days straight but, we also were able to have our home filled with the peaceful feeling of the Holy Ghost throughout the Easter weekend and gain valuable wisdom and council from our Prophet President Thomas S. Monson and the apostles.

I loved all the sessions of this conference.  There were so many great talks.  I love that so many of the speakers talked about the importance of families and the sacred role each family member plays in that family.  Elder Russel M. Nelson gave a great talk about the importance of the Sabbath day.  Since listening to this talk I have changed a few of my habits on the Sabbath but, most importantly my heart has changed towards the Sabbath.  I have tried to make a conscious effort to look forward to this day with delight and treat it as a sacred day.  I have also tried to use more of the churches intranet resources for my children to be able to deepen their testimonies throughout this day and the week that follows, as we had were encouraged to do by Elder Nelson.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Coloring Eggs!

My kids love coloring Easter eggs and look forward to the event all season long!  This year was no different.  I was pretty happy to know Dave would be home this time to help us.  Sometimes he misses this activity which leaves me to manage a handful of excited kids with a table full of colored dye and a carton full of fragile eggs.  Things can get pretty intense.
 I love this picture above!  Just as the camera flashed Paisley's egg cracked (first one of the night)... It was loud and unexpected.  Their faces say it all!
 I wish I could say it was the only cracked egg of the night but, with this many tiny hands wanting to all be in on the action... it was only one of many from the evening.
 Rex loved coloring his eggs.  He really wanted to do things alone!
 Zoey and Paisley
 Alexa and Kinley

 About a month before Easter the girls received their American Girl magazine.  It it there were Easter egg coloring ideas.  For the next month they planned and reviewed the article, finding out every detail of coloring eggs.  In the picture above Kinley is reading the magazine, making sure she is following each instruction exactly. 
 Alexa holding up one of her American Girl Magazine egg ideas (a blue and pink egg).
 Zoey with her American Girl Magazine egg idea (a gradual pink egg with several degrees of shading).  Rex working on coloring another blue egg.
 Rex with one of his blue eggs!  He carried it around the rest the night... even after it cracked!

 The kids with some of their masterpieces!
 They each picked their favorite eggs to show off.  I love how proud they look with each of their eggs.

 Rex with one of his cracked blue eggs.  We found out that night that this little guy likes the taste of hard boiled eggs (just the white part).
Paisley with her favorite egg!  She was so pleased with this beautiful green egg.

It was a fun night.  I enjoy doing art/ crafting activities with my kids.  They really love it too.  Each one of my kids have such an artistic side to them.  It is fun doing activities to cultivate that talent in them.  I am keeping my fingers crossed our new school district (We will be moving this summer) has an art program.  My older two really miss not having any art classes offered at the schools here.

Afternoons with Rex and Paisley

I love hanging out with my two littles every day, all day long.  They bring so much joy to my afternoons!
 Rex has two favorite spots in the house right now, one is the kitchen table bench and the other is the back of the couch (in the picture above).  He will climb up to this spot on the couch multiple times a day to look out the window -- in hopes that I will let him outside to play.  I had to take a picture of him on this particular day because his filthy, dirty feet.  Wow, that kid was adorably dirty that day!
 ... Here is why his feet get so dirty.  As soon as the front door is open he makes a break for the fresh air.  He loves being outside!  Rocks are his new favorite toy.  Lucky for him, we live in the desert and therefore rocks are everywhere!
 We are still waiting for him to start talking.  Despite not saying a word, he is able to communicate with everyone through coos, cries (fake cries to tell me something is wrong), and grunts.  He has opinions and is quick to voice his wants.  He is a boy that loves to eat berries of all shapes and sizes along with a nice glass of dark chocolate almond milk (clearly he is his mama's baby!).
 He wouldn't be able to make it throughout the day without his blankets.  He carries them around when he is tired, upset, or bored.  He loves his blankets so much his sisters and I have decided to give them a name.  We are having a hard time agreeing on the right name -- half of us are voting for "Bob the blanket" while the other half have started calling his blankets his "snuggies"... and one of us (Kinley) has decided she likes the name "squishy" best.
 His favorite toys are the girls toothbrushes and their bag of hair ties.  We are losing toothbrushes left and right at this house.  After my third replacement in a two week time span I decided to move my toothbrush's home to my top drawer dresser along with my make up, scissors, pens, and special notes the girls have written for me.  The only drawers in the house this little guy considers off limits are the ones he can't reach yet... and for the record, he just learned he can now reach our drawer of sharp knives -- He knows getting into this drawer is a very fast way to get his Mama's attention!
 I love the way he blows on hot food, misses me while I am gone doing young women's stuff for church, waves "bye" to anyone who visits our house, makes a growling sound when he sees any animal (even butterflies and bunnies), sometimes wakes up at night and cries until the second he is snuggled up next to me with his blanket, thinks all of my food is also his food and pushes me out of the way to take over my plate, leaps onto my lap when he hears one of his sisters crying because he knows if my lap isn't filled with him his sister will soon be sitting there, hums along to primary songs while I sing him to sleep during nap time, and reverently folds his arms for prayers.  This little one has a tight hold of my heart and he knows it for sure!
Finger paints with my two sweeties!

Paisley is such a sweet girl!  She is constantly saying to me -- "I can't wait to be a mom!".  When I ask her why she will say things like "So I can do the dishes." or "So I can drive a car." -- I love that she is looking forward to being a mommy!  I would have to agree with her, it is a pretty fun job.  In the picture above and below Paisley picked out that look for the day.  She loves her clothes and everything fashion related, loves to dance, and adores makeup.  She is looking forward to her birthday because she knows when she is four she will be starting dance.  She can not wait.  
Paisley loves to talk!  I love what a little chatter box she is,  The better her vocabulary is becoming the more she likes to talk!  Her favorite lunch is a banana with some chobani yogurt.  Paisley is not one to hide her emotions.  When she is upset everyone knows it and when she is happy her face has a huge smile on it and her legs are leaping across the room.  She considers herself a fast runner and is constantly asking me to run so she can then run and show me how fast she can run.  She is continually telling me how happy she is to "be a girl."  She loves wearing dresses and skirts.  

The other day she was crying while I was getting ready to go to a stake dance to chaperon. When I asked her why she was crying she said "I am not going to the ball!".  It was sad and I felt a little like the wicket step mother in Cinderella as I drove off and left her in tears at the front door.  It turned out that Dave had to run over to the church for a bit.  Paisley and Rex came with him.  Paisley was so happy to be "at the ball."  She had a smile on her face the whole time and was excited to be out on the dance floor showing off her moves (with her little brother dancing right next to her).  The other half of the time she spend in a wooden phone booth (dance prop) eating some vanilla ice cream.  She was one happy kid!  

A few days ago the elders stopped by.  I was chatting with the two of them at the front door while my two babies played outside.  The next thing I knew, I was getting soaked (along with our livingroom) with the hose.  Rex was pointing it right at me with the trigger pulled while Paisley turned on the facet!  Paisley had a good laugh and Rex started crying when they both realized what they had done -- I adore these two little cuties and have really loved seeing the friendship between the two of them grow during this school year.  They keep me on my toes and make me smile everyday.  I love being their mama!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Movara -- Fitness Ridge -- (Part 2)

Day 4 -- (Hike: Saddle, in Snow Canyon)  This hike took us up to the tip of the mountain that looked like a horse saddle.  It was another fun one with a good mix of rock... lot of sand, some red rock, slick rock, and even a bit of volcano rock hidden among the sand.  The green trees against the red rock was so beautiful to see.

 It was fun to get to know the people at the resort.  I was surprised to meet a lot of people there who were staying for months at a time.  One girl was there for a semester between her two college semesters, another girl was back for her second time (the first time she stayed for six months), Adam Levine's brother was staying in the room next to us (it was interesting talking to him), an event planner working for Mitt Romney was at the resort, the guy in the picture above wearing the orange Texas clothing in the front had been there a few weeks with plans to be there another 2 months.  He had recently earned a pilot license and was required to lose a bunch of weight before he could start flying.  It was fascinating talking to so many different people coming from such different places in life.  It made me very grateful for the life I had and the many blessings I have been given throughout my life.

 Dave and I on day 4 hike.

 The picture above was a really cool spot to hike.  It was through a wash that channeled four different types of sand into it (regular, red, white, and black).
Everyday we came back with our shoes filled with sand.
Friday our schedule was a little different.  We were given the option to participate in a race or go on another hike.  Dave and I chose the race.  Dave ran the 5k and I did the 10k.
 The picture above and below are of us getting ready for the big race!
 I loved this part of our week.  There is something renewing about running outside and hearing nothing but your feet hitting the pavement!  Running is where I am able to work out my daily problems, relieve the stress in my life, and best able to listen to the whispering of the Holy Ghost.  It is where I am given direction in my life and able to receive answers to my daily struggles.  It is my getaway!  It has been almost a year since I hurt my leg (stress fracture) and really had to slow my workouts down.  The small town we are living in is on an Indian reservation.  This means typical town laws don't apply here... a big one -- stray dogs are the norm.  On my runs in town I am guaranteed to see at least 2 stray dogs, once a dog broke off its leash and started chasing me, I tried counting the amount of dogs that barked from their yard one day but, lost count only 3 or 4 minutes into my run (if I were to guess I would say the number was up around 20 -30).  Needless to say it is not a relaxing experience (Don't worry mom, I only run on my treadmill now :)).  During this 10k run I was reminded at just how much I NEED this in my life.  I can't wait to move to our new house (which is in a new town).  This town has 3 perfect running trials and a strict town law that requires all dogs to remain on a leash!  Yay!  I can't wait.  It was a blessing throughout the week to exercise 5 -6 hours a day without feeling the effects on my stress fracture... after a year of healing it is finally better!  Hallelujah!
 Dave took first place in the 5k!  I got second place in the 10k (in the picture above I am standing next to the first place gal -- Ann).  It was a really fun race.  One of my favorite things about this resort was the encouraging and uplifting environment.  Everyone was so encouraging with one another.  It was a great feel from the instructors and fellow visitors.  Everyone of them was so positive with our individual health improvements.  From what I heard this is the main thing separating the Utah resort from the various other resorts around the nation.  It was a great place to be and a comfortable environment to try new things that I might otherwise hesitate with!
 After lunch we decided to ditch out on the first two exercise classes and go for a bike ride together.  It was fun.  Possibly one of my favorite parts of the entire week.  I have taken numerous spinning classes in the past 10 years but, haven't been on a bike since junior high... In case you didn't know, spinning bikes at the gym are way different than riding an actual bike on the road!  Thankfully Dave was patient with me.  I enjoyed spending the time with my husband and learning that I am not nearly as talented on the bike as I thought I was.

The exercise classes each day that were offered were really enjoyable.  We went to a kickboxing class, HIIT, boot camp, barre (Dave chose the water class instead for that one, these water classes were not your typical granny class, they made for a good, solid workout).  My favorite class was the triathlon class (Dave decided to go to kickball instead).  The triathlon class was fun and exhausting all at  the same time.  I loved it!
Day 6 hike was called awesomecasm (ending on Red Mountain trial).  This hike may possibly be the scariest hike I have ever been on in my life.  Instead of our typical hiking guide, we were given her son and another outdoor enthusiast for the morning.  They were clearly both hard core hikers.  I originally walked past the van leaving for this hike when I heard one of the hiking guides describe the experience (more than once) as "extreme" and "has a big drop off".  Early into the hike I possibly thought I might die but, tried to ignore the thought.  We hiked straight up a slick rock, steep mountain side.  The picture below is of Dave on his way up the mountain.  I wish I got the view from the bottom.  It was intense!
 At the top of the hike is where things really got "extreme".  Out of no where this 600 - 800 foot drop off shows up right next to you... um slightly creepy!
The views on this particular hike were breathtaking.  
 I am glad we decided to go on this hike.  It was a beautiful experience but, not my favorite of the week.
 At the end of the week Dave and I were both anxious to get back to our little ones and enjoy the real world again.  It was a great experience.  I am so happy with the decision we made to take this trip together and so thankful for my parents willingness to watch our 5 little ones while we went on this trip.  I learned a lot about myself and was able to establish new health goals for myself and my family.  It was great being with Dave.  I am so blessed to be married to this man!
What did the kids to all week you might ask? 
 It sounds like they too had a blast during spring break!  They went to a park every day, rented a bunch of movies, did some Geo caching with Michelle and Tyson, and had at least one dessert every night!
 ... The last night they ended up with 3 deserts and were pretty excited about it.
They also spend one of the days at the zoo!
 and Rex!
A few other highlights were getting a box of doughnuts and being able to sample all of them and buying some new treasures at Ross.
It was such a fun spring break!  A great get away from the regular routine of life.