Tuesday, November 29, 2011

changing seasons

left- my boot/ right- her hand

It was so warm today!  Our house seems so quiet after our wonderful weekend of house guests, a wedding and Thanksgiving.  I missed having so many people to talk to.  I had a few deliveries to make around the neighborhood so I asked Sophie if she wanted to join me for a walk.  She grabbed a scooter and we headed out the door.  It was nice to say hello to neighbors, even though brief, and breathe in the fresh air.  There were colorful leaves everywhere we turned.  I appreciated so much the last bits of fall hanging around.  I know the seasons will be changing quickly.  As Sophie sped up in front of me on her scooter I thought of this season I have with her.  We spend time each day on reading...practicing, I always have company to run errands and to shop.  When I had three little girls with me 24/7 I couldn't wait for the day to do all of those things on my own.  Now that I have two in school fulltime I realize how fast each season passes me by.  I will really miss it- just like I miss these colorful leaves in the winter.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

feels like home

if you knew how lonely my life has been
and how long I've been so alone
and if you knew how i wanted someone to come along
and change my life the way you've done
if feels like home to me
it feels like i'm all the way back where i come from
it feels like home to me
...all the way back where i belong

Feels Like Home

They have embraced her into their family.
She is a perfect fit.
We are so happy for her...
and grateful to have a new brother in law and niece.
Our girls are thrilled to have a new cousin!


Thursday, November 24, 2011


I know this sounds like an exaggeration...but we haven't had Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house on Thanksgiving day for at least 15 years.  We broke that bad tradition and headed to Mom and Dad's on Thursday!  The weather was reasonably warm.  The kids were excited...other than the dread my girl's were feeling at the thought of eating turkey.  (wimps...heeeheee)  I love my mom's cornbread dressing!  I love my dad's overall enthusiasm for the Thanksgiving feast.  My girls arranged a huge vegetable platter to look like a turkey.  They were pretty pleased and I was grateful for the help.  After our meal we headed to the movie theater to see Hugo.  Have you seen it!?!?!?!  Wasn't it BEAUTIFUL!!!!!  Isn't the story sweet!?!?  We LOVED it!!!!!

We are grateful for our warm homes, plentiful food, a land of liberty, falling leaves, and most of all~ each other.  xo

Monday, November 21, 2011

a thankful weekend

it was the perfect amount of time with friends and time with family
the perfect balance of time out and time at home~

bake cookies with a house full of little girls
dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday
watch falling snow
a piano recital-
(beautiful performances Ellie, Abi, Sam & Bailey!!!!)
hung wreaths and garland on front windows and door
(i LOVE the fresh cedar garland and fresh wreaths at Costco!!!!!)
practice our Christmas songs 
lots of play-dates
i started this book
a football game
(phew...that was a close one!)
put the kids to bed and watched The Nun's Story by Audrey Hepburn
choir practice
pictures for Christmas cards-my fav. out-takes above
(i LOVE Christmas cards...making and sending them...but mostly receiving them throughout the season...
it's one of my favorite parts of the holidays.)
a movie with all of us piled on our bed- Pollyanna (perfect for Thanksgiving week)!)
(i cried...kind of a lot)
making dinner together
hot chocolate with whipped cream

I am thankful for weekends...especially this one.

For your listening pleasure:
Ellie playing March Militaire

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the art of happiness

A few months ago I was sitting with a friend at book club.  We both attend with our daughters.  Part of the activities of the evening were to practice sketching.  We had read The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  The book is filled with gorgeous pencil illustrations.  Our hosts handed each of us sketch pads and pencils and invited us to take a page from the book and sketch.  I thought it would be fun...but I really liked it.  Joyce was sitting next to me and we were having so much fun!  She suggested we take an art class.  I would love to do that....but I already take guitar lessons...I can't have more lessons than my children.  :)

A few weeks ago Joyce called.  She found a class.  She was excited.  I was too.  I knew she would be fun to learn with.  I could find out if I could paint or draw.  It would be a new creative outlet outside of photography.  But I was undecided.  Do I have time for another hobby or interest?  Would I be any good? Should I be spending the money?  Is it selfish???  I remained undecided.

Yesterday as I was reading the The Happiness Project a particular idea caught my attention.  As part of a year long happiness project she focused one of her months on "being serious about play."  She struggled even knowing what was genuinely fun for her.  As I read her goals I struggled to know what I myself thought was fun---outside of what "should be fun" or what my friends do for fun.  Her friend posed this question to her, "What did you like to do when you were a child? What you enjoyed as a ten-year-old is probably something you'd enjoy now."  

What was fun for you when you were ten?  Do you remember?  Are you still doing it?

The three things that stood out in my mind (outside of imaginative play like school, house, etc...) exploring the neighborhood (wherever it was at the time), art and writing.  I wrote a lot in blank books, mostly fiction.  I loved to draw.  I am not sure why I stopped doing any of those things.  Maybe I thought they were less legitimate than other things I could spend my time doing.  My mind immediately traveled back to the evening Ellie and I spent sketching in our friend's back yard, moms and daughters.  I really enjoyed it.  I thought of the class Joyce mentioned.  I called today.

images:  left found here/ right my image taken 01.01.11

Monday, November 14, 2011

B conscious of your treasures.

Last Friday morning Danny and I woke to footsteps coming toward our room.  It was Sophie.  As she climbed into our bed she told us that it was too dark in her room and she wanted company.  It was 5:00 a.m. so we cuddled up with her between us and tried to get a bit more sleep.  Very quickly I could hear her breathing slow and I knew she was in dreamland.  I closed my eyes and was just at the brink of sleep when I heard her call out, "Yes Mom."  She spoke/yelled as if she was down the hall from me in such a cheerful tone it brought a smile to my face.  Danny glanced over to me and mouthed the words "so cute" and we tried again to fall asleep.  I lay there with my thoughts.  The sound of her cheerful voice yelling "yes mom" left me thinking.  My three girls, they really do listen.  The trust that they give me to lead and to guide them is great.  They are following me.  They follow those things that I intentionally teach them.  But I am afraid, what is even more influential is my example.  They watch my actions and soak in all they see (the good yes...but also the bad).  I lay there wanting to be the mother that they deserve.  Some of the first words I read that morning were these:

"Have a grateful heart~ be conscious of your treasures"

Yes.  Being conscious of the treasures that are found in family, 
that certainly is a step in the right direction.

Thank you Sharon and Jason for helping take these pictures and sharing your swing xoxo.

Friday, November 11, 2011

fair little ladies

My fair little ladies.
We loved our night on the town.
We love the movie...
and I was really excited to see the play.
Sophie even planned her outfit.

Ellie and Sophie chose to see My Fair Lady.
Kate wants to see Annie---so she had a date night with dad.

Thanks Nana, Dede and Chase for going with us!
We LOVED it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

did you do a "once-over"

Last night we gathered on the couch for family home evening.  I read the girls one of my favorite scriptures.  Danny and I like it so much...it was the first scripture we had framed in our home just after we were married.

"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;"  D&C 88:119

We talked a little bit about what that teaches us about God (organize, prepare, prayer, faith, learning, order, etc...)  Then we pulled up a picture on Danny's laptop after googling the word "hoarding."  I asked the girls how it would feel being in the room they were looking at.  Respectfully...I asked them to share what they might be able to do or say to change that situation.  They were full of great advice.

Next I complimented Ellie.  She moved to her own room at the end of the summer.  She has done a WONDERFUL job of keeping it orderly and organized.  I have been really surprised and happy at the effort she has put forth in caring for her things.  I commended her.  She was beaming.  I asked her to share her organizational secrets with us.  She was happy to do it.

Although Ellie has kept her room clean...none of them, including Ellie, have been very good at keeping common areas; like bathrooms, family rooms, the kitchen and the playroom tidy.  They leave their backpacks and shoes on the floor when they get home from school.  Their music is left out after practice.  Clothes are often left on the bathroom floor.  And the playroom---oh my word!

SO we set up a plan!  A once-over!  Before you leave a room...give it a once-over.  (I know this is basic...right?  Why have I not been teaching this all along?)   In the morning before you leave your room...glance over your shoulder...
is my bed made?
is anything on the floor?
out of place?

Before you climb in bed...a once-over...
Before you get out a new toy...or leave the playroom...or leave the dinner table...or leave the bathroom....a once-over....

I am not the worst cleaner...and I am surely not the best.  (Do you see that playroom mess?)
My biggest problem- I spend more energy worrying about keeping the house clean...than actually cleaning it!  We have been straightening each room before we leave it the last two days....and it has been WONDERFUL!  I think the girls like the new phrase and feel like it is a more manageable task than "go clean your room."  Last night after scriptures and reading...we did a quick "once-over" in the family room and it took two minutes MAX!  Woohoo!  It will require some friendly reminding and diligence on my part to secure this as a good habit...I think we are up for the challenge!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

happy birthday Sophie

Dear Sophie,

You turned FIVE YEARS OLD today!  I can hardly believe it!!!!  On Monday you commented as we ate lunch together at the counter, like we do most days--  "isn't this nice just you and me Mom..."  With a big smile I agreed.  It is so nice.  I can hardly believe that you aren't a toddler anymore...that you will start school next year.  You are older than Ellie was when I had you.  You have taught me to smile all day, have fun (even if we are doing chores), and to love life (even if it is snowing...you remind me "at least we can make a snowman").  You work hard...and you say the sweetest prayers.

Just in case you forget....for your birthday you got to sleep in!  You had a quick bite for breakfast (Halloween candy) and then took a long bath.  We got ready.  You picked your outfit.  We did a little shopping.  Went to lunch, your choice, Chipotle.  Your ordered a bean burrito yourself (I did lift you up to the counter) with black beans, white rice, cheese and sour cream.  We picked up cupcakes from the Sweet Tooth Fairy (raspberry lemonade for you and Chase, peanut butter chocolate for Kate, grasshopper for Ellie, sweet potato for dad, and salted caramel with chocolate for me.)  Then we met Chase and brought him home to play.  We took everybody for frozen yogurt in your honor and rented movies at the video store.  You came home and played and played.  After your dinner of bean burritos/celery sticks/carrots (your choice again) we sang Happy Birthday and ate the cupcakes!  You loved the gifts you opened~ a horse for your American Girl doll from Dad and I, Sleeping Beauty with her bed and fairies from Kate and Ellie & Pet Shop treasures from Chase.

Not only did you thank all of us for your new treasures...you remembered them in your prayers too <3 

We love you forever...happy birthday!