Sunday, October 10, 2010

Soak It Up

Well, miracle of miracles, we found the camera (or rather someone else found it and put it in thier desk for safe keeping until they could find the owner).  Then, of course it took a few weeks to find the camera battery charger and by then we were in the process of taking two trips to two different states, having my mom visit from far far away, and trying to organize a move to a different house.  For a while I began to forget about blogging.  In fact, I began to forget about taking pictures all together or writing in a journal or anything of the sort.  We have been living and doing but I haven't been keeping a record of the day to day.  And then I got a little reminder the other day that jolted me back into being best friends with my camera and my journal.  I read a blog,  a beautiful family blog owned by someone I have never met but I now feel that I know. 

If you want to read thier journey then first you must get out a box of tissues, and then you must prepare for all the feelings of joy and sorrow and cherishing your family to rush through your mind and heart.  Click here to read more about them. This little family had a toddler the same age as my youngest.  A beautiful bright little girl whose name was Preslee.  And, due to a tragic accident Preslee fell in the canal and drowned.  She fought for her life and her family prayed and stayed at her side and eventually Preslee left this world.  She was their only child.  She was the center of their world.  Losing her changed everything about day to day life.  Her mother has posted many inspirational words on her blog as she works her way through this trial but the one that struck me this week was her advice.  She related that someone recently had asked her if she had to do it again knowing what the outcome would be (losing her daughter) would she have done anything differently?

I stopped for a minute and asked myself that question "If I were to lose these beautiful incredible kids of mine tomorrow what would I wish I had done differently while I had them?".....and her answer was the same as mine.....soak up all the little stuff.  Take lots of pictures of everyday, write in your journal about your life with them, get out the video camera to capture the cute way that they talk, love every little everyday minute of it.  So, this weekend I tried to do just that.  My kids had popsicle and dirt on their faces.  They had stickers stuck all over their clothes.  They weren't wearing shoes.  I took their pictures.  I want to remember how those messy little faces looked at the end of the day and how their hair looked when the woke up in the morning.  I want to be able to replay those moments when we found something amazing in the backyard (like a dragonfly) or when they cracked up laughing or when they dug holes in the backyard. 

 I want more than beautifully posed portraits.  I want everyday life captured in word and image.  So, here it is, my weekend fully soaked up:

When I walked out into my backyard on Friday night I found my son digging a hole.  He looked like this:

And a few minutes later he had picked a flower and was standing at my side with his dirty little ragamuffin face and too long sleeves saying "here mama I got a flower for you!"  His little eyes sparkled.  How could someone be so messy and so pure at the same time :)

Half an hour later my oldest discovered an insect wing laying on the ground.  It was possible to her that it was a fairy wing...even likely that it was. ( we later confirmed that it was not :) The kids gathered around and oohed and ahhed.  They caried the wing cradled in a leaf to keep it safe.  They found a dragonfly lying lifeless on the ground and decided to adopt it and keep it in their little backyard museum of sorts.  They were completely and totally in awe at the beauty of this world and I admired them for their appreciation of God's creations.  And I loved them for their wide eyed wonder.

Saturday morning we woke up to discover that our pathetic garden had actually grown a cucumber.  We planted this sorry garden six months ago and have never removed the unproductive cucumber plant.  I shouted up the stairs to tell the kids and they came running in a frenzy to see this miracle cucumber.  They were so happy that their hard work had actually produced something....and they posed with our lone cucumber with pride.

Saturday we worked all day to clean the house.  They whined and they flopped on the floor.  They asked me one hundred and fifty three times how much longer they would have to work and one hundred fifty three times I told them we would work until we were done.  And when were done they were happy with their clean rooms.  We went to the park and played a highly modified version of baseball using shoes and baby wipes for bases.  When it was dark we stopped for icecream and then they were off to bed.

This morning my girls woke me up.  They were in their jammies with a tray of oatmeal and milk in their hands.  They had snuck downstairs, prepared mom and dad breakfast in bed, and surprised us.  My toddler sat next to me on the bed and ate my whole bowl of oatmeal and drank all my milk...smiling all the while.  Then she told me she loved me so it was OK that she ate my breakfast.

And now here I sit.  Glad that I took some pictures.  Glad that I soaked it up.  Glad to write it down and promising to not dissapear for so long in the future.  Life gets busy but I'll try not to forget to soak it up.  Don't let it pass by.  Because taking walks and playing ball together and working in the yard and enjoying the moment is what it's all about.

I'll be back :) 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vintage Moments

Well folks, it has become apparent that it may be a few weeks until I have a new camera.  So, we're digging into the archives for some vintage moments.  If you know me well you may have already seen some of the vintage stuff. But, for the rest of you we're taking a walk down memory lane to look at some of my favorite moments and ideas over the past few years.  Enjoy and please forgive they terrible photography....I have to use what's on the hard drive ;)

Food Foolery

A few years ago I got the sudden and uncontrollable urge to celebrate April Fool's Day.  It took a little preparation but it ended up being oh so worth it to see the look on my kids' faces when the realized they had been "fooled".  They were BEGGING me to play more tricks on them.  Of course, you can't play a trick on some one when they know it's coming.  So, the foolery stopped there.  But, looking at these pictures has me itching to play some tricks again.  And, I'm thinking that it doesn't need to be April Fools day at all....nope, I think I could blindside them on a random Tuesday and it would be even better. :) 
Here's how our last day of tricks went down:
When the kids came to the breakfast table they found bowls already full of Cheerios. We had rigged the bowls by putting drops of food coloring in them before we poured in the cereal. So, when they poured the milk into their bowls it was green! Then we did the same thing with their glasses of milk. We held the bottom of the cups so that they couldn't see the food coloring and they watched in amazement as the white milk turned green when it was poured into the cup....."Whoa!" is all they could say :) Then they commented on how good the colored milk tastes (I guess presentation is REALLY important to a kids' taste buds)  That's yellow MILK he has.

Next, I tricked both my husband and my daughter by putting a raisin in the end of their tubes of toothpaste.  It truly looked like a bug had crawled in and gotten stuck.  Try it, it's sure to get an "EEEEWWW!"
Lunch was full of tricky food too. Cheetos (I opened the bag, filled it with baby carrots, and then resealed it)  My kids did not find this nearly as amusing as I did and insisted on knowing what had happened to the REAL Cheetos.
We also had grilled cheese sandwiches (AKA: slices of pound cake toasted in the toaster and then spread with orange frosting)
I thought this looked so authentic and apparently it was so convincing to the kids that they hardly noticed the taste because after school I asked my daughter if she like the grilled cheese and she said "Yeah, it was so good" and I asked her if it tasted like cake and she she said (thoughtfully) "......Yeah, it DID taste like cake!" Apparently she had been so distracted by the Cheetos that it had never really sunk in about the cake :)

The finale of the evening was our FOOD FOOLERY DINNER. Can you tell which foods are a trick?...They all are!!!
Nutter Butter cookies coated in peanut butter and then rolled in crushed cornflakes.

Orange JELLO set up in clear cups.  My son was totally baffled by this and kept tipping his cup higher and higher to get some to come out. Finally he announced "My drink is STUCK in my CUP!"

Green apple Laffy Taffy rolled into tiny little balls.  Yes, it took some time but my kids were totally surprised and asked for Laffy Taffy peas for a year afterwards.

Meatloaf cupcakes with colored mashed potato frosting.We found this much more funny than my kids did.  I would reccomend having some real cupcakes on hand to soften the blow and to use as an incentive to finish the dinner cupcakes ;)

And, my kids even pulled a few little tricks on me.  See this piece of bread?....they covered it in drops of food coloring and them told me our bread had some weird mold on it....

It's just too much fun being a parent sometimes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Camera....Oh How I Miss You

If there's one thing in my little blogging world that I depend on it's my camera.  Because, let's be honest, you don't want a whole bunch of posts with no pictures now do you?  I am often guilty of just skimming through blogs and enjoying the pictures without paying much attention to the text at all.  My camera was not the best thing in the world but at least it provided a visual....until this week.  My wonderful, dear, sweet and incredibly forgetful husband seems to have misplaced work....only it's not where he thinks he left it anymore.  And, at this point it seems unlikely that it will show up.

Not to worry, I handle these things in stride now.  We have lost many items over the years and I have many countless trips to deliver keys when he can't find them or even bring gas when he forgot to fill up and ran out on the freeway.  He is highly educated and wonderful....just very forgetful :)

So, here I sit.  No pictures whatsoever and a question on my mind....will he be buying me a new camera?  And, what kind of camera will it be.  Dare I dream of a ...gulp....NICE camera?!  Time will tell. Until then I happily accept any camera suggestions and respectfully take a few days off to find some way to put pictures back on this blog.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Gift of Family

My third child was born in December.  It had been a somewhat challenging pregnancy for me and as a result we entered the Christmas season with no purchased gifts, no holiday preparations done, nothing ready at all.  I was worried.  But I had a strong feeling in my heart that this little bundle was all the gift that was needed, and  that things that could be made or bought were not the things that held the most value. I wanted to remember that thought. I wanted to hold on to the knowledge that wordly gifts pale in comparison to the miracle of life and family. So, my mom and I made a little gift box and tag and had my baby's picture taken in it in the living room as a permanent reminder that our family, and more specifically, our children are a gift from our Heavenly Father.

As I read through the Family Proclamation this month  I thought about this picture and about what I have that really matters. I thought about the glorious gift of family and I read this line....

"We affirm the sanctity of human life and it's importance in God's eternal plan....."Children are an heritage of the Lord (Psalms 127:3)

and "Family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of his children"

My family is one of the best gifts that I have ever been given, they are a part of the Creator's plan for me, they are His blessing to me. So, today I will recommit to recognizing my children, my parents, and my spouse and all of our other family members as a gift too great to be purchased and too precious to not appreciate.

How have your children or your family been a gift in your life?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Baptism Day

My niece was baptised this weekend. It wasn't long ago that my oldest was baptised and I remember how important that day was for us and how much we wanted her to feel the specialness of that event in her life.  I searched all over online to find little ways to make it just right. And, we came up with a few things that made the day extra special. For my nieces baptism we did some of the same things. So, since this is the second time this year I've had the chance to be a part of an important baptism day I wanted to share with you some of my favorite baptism day ideas.

For starters, I wanted a pretty dessert that was white.  I looked at all kinds of complicated recipes for candy, etc. and then decided that we would go for simple.  We filled three glass canisters with popcorn, mini powdered donuts, and white individually wrapped Lifesavers mints.
We also made a few trays of mini cupcakes (we used white cake mix and white cream cheese frosting)  The cupcakes were topped with white sparkle sugar or coconut flakes.  I thought it looked so pretty and the kids loved the buffet style dessert.  I think this would also be great for a blessing day.
Next, for my daughter's baptism  her grandma presented her with a several items that would remind her of the significance of her baptism day and the gift of the Holy Ghost. She has treasured those little items and takes them out to look at them often.  So, she wanted to present her cousin with some of the same special items.  Here is what she gave her on the morning of her baptism:

We made a little no sew white fleece blanket and tied it around the edges.  I found some pretty ribbon and attached a note that said:
"The Holy Ghost can wrap you in warmth in give you comfort."

The blanket/comforter wouldn't fit into the little white bucket that we got but the rest of these items were inside the baptism container:


A whistle can signal that someone is in danger or needs help. Like this whistle, the Holy Ghost can warn you of dangerous paths or situations. Heeding the warnings of the Spirit can keep you safe and happy.


The heart is a reminder of how much Jesus loves you.

Let the Spirit light your path.

When you need direction in life the Holy Ghost can help you find your way.

At the last minute I thought of putting a little bottle of Nestle Pure Life bottled water with a little saying about being baptised and being washed clean in the water and then trying to live a Pure Life.  I included the bottle of water but didn't quite get the tag made.

I tried to get  a picture of the kids opening it together but my camera is not so stellar and the pictures didn't turn out.  But, they gathered around and read the tags and explained what they meant.  I hope that my niece will treasure it like my own little girl does.  Her day was just as special and perfect.  The baptism itself was what made the day so significant, of course, but the little extras made it even more memorable.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Morning Muffins

We've made a new commitment around here to having morning scripture study.  It's been a great experience in many ways and it's unifying our family.  But, our kids (ok, and their parents...) still aren't quite used to getting up at the earlier time in order to read as a family.  Most mornings my four year is rolled up in a blanket snoozing through the verses and my eight year old looks a little glazed over for the first ten minutes.  So, in an effort to help everyone wake up and feel a little more chipper yesterday morning I decided to make morning muffins and have them ready for scripture study.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law and my husband remembers having them growing up.  My own kids request them for their birthday breakfasts and they are always ALL gone within minutes of coming out of the oven.  But, what's not to love... they are full of fresh granny smith apples and topped with cinnamon sugar which, when baked, becomes a slighty crunchy and cinnamony sweet muffin top.  My baby ate three muffin tops and no muffin bottoms for breakfast because the tops are just plain the best.

They are made from scratch which sound like a project but it's really not much harder than using a premade mix.  So, here they are: MORNING MUFFINS.  They smelled so very good this morning.

Here's what you'll need:
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 to 2 Granny Smith apples

Cinnamon Sugar mixture: 2 T sugar for every 1 tsp cinnamon

Mix egg, milk, and oil.  Stir in all other ingredients at once.

Then shred about one and a half apples with your grater and stir them into the mixture.  Then go ahead and add a spoon full or so of that cinnamon sugar mixture to sweeten it up...however much you like ;)

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and then, the best part, sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.

Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Enjoy the smiles from the messy haired pajama laden children stumbling down the stairs and into the kitchen when they smell that irresistable smell. 

No one looked groggy during scriptures this morning.  There were lots of crumbs and a little talking with their mouths full...but they were all bright eyed and awake...PROGRESS!