Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My favorite holiday, but where are the pictures???

I love Thanksgiving. It is hands down my favorite holiday. The sole purpose of it is to be grateful. To celebrate our bounty. To come together with loved ones. There are no gifts. No expectations of gifts. No disappointment over gifts. You get my drift. This year was a little melancholy without my Dad. Even though I have spent many Thanksgivings away from home, I have always talked on the phone with my dad, and I can remember many wonderful years with him, doing what we both loved to do.....eat. We missed him this year. We were very thankful to have my mom with us, though, and the kids loved loving her and having her here to play Legos, Sorry, and read them stories. We managed to keep it light and got through it with lots and lots of pie and plenty of tears. I am terribly bugged that I didn't take more photos. I am hoping my mom can fill in my gaps! We had a yummy meal and a pretty table. You'll have to take my word for it.

Molly with her turkey leg. Classy.
The 2nd annual "Thankful Tree" We all wrote what we are thankful for on paper leaves and hung them on the branches. It was heavy laden when we were done and there wasn't a leaf left to be written on. Even in times of great sadness, there are many rich blessings to count.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I count all of you as my richest blessings and pray that your life will be full of bounty and that you will recognize the richness in all that we have.


Max and Molly had a feast at their preschool. They were the Indians and the Kindergarteners were Pilgrams. They sat "indian style" across from each other and ate a yummy mini-Thanksgiving. It was so darling. They made their vests, headdresses, and necklaces. They were so excited and so worried it would be snowed out (school was cancelled the day before). It was extra special that Grandma got to come watch!

With their darling friend Sam.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

where would I be without....

Really, where would I be without my mom? I think she is so great. I am very grateful for her love for my children. They all adore her and ask when we can go to Grandma's house next. I really lucked out in the mom department. She is kind, loving, affectionate, and always there to listen, give great advice and help me with whatever I need.

I am grateful for all that my mom taught me. She taught me to be kind. She taught me to always try to be a good friend. She taught me to look at the bright side of things. She is still teaching me all of these things!

I am grateful for my mom's strength and testimony of Jesus Christ. She really walks her walk. She has had the toughest 6 months I can imagine and she still manages to stay "up." It amazes me, and I know it's because she draws her strength from God. She is a shining example to me!

I am especially grateful at this time that my mom is coming to my house for Thanksgiving! We are all counting down the days to when she arrives and we get to have her all to ourselves and have her spoil us all!

We are all thankful for the BEST mom and grandma anyone could ever ask for! Hurry up and get here, Mom!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

oh so grateful for...

I am super grateful for Jonny. Seriously. 16 years of marriage and I would say we are better friends now than we have ever been. We have been through some pretty rough stuff, and although we show signs of wear and tear, we are truly happy, which I am trying not to take for granted. He loves me despite my moods, impatience, and lack of coping skills. I love him despite his.....hmmm, what are his flaws? I love this picture because this is how I see us, hand in hand, for many more years.

We keep looking at each other and asking ourselves, "really, four kids, whose idea was this anyway?" Be careful what you ask for, I guess!
I am grateful to have married a guy who doesn't expect perfection, but loves the bumpy journey. With me. I shake my head in wonder...

Monday, November 15, 2010


Another heart melter. Ian is so easy to be grateful for. I am grateful that he made it to this earth, in spite of the doctors meager 5% odds. The things I love about Ian are too many to list, but here are a few:

He is just stinkin' cute. He has a cute smile. Cute, squishy cheeks. Darling dimples. Kind eyes. He has a cute run. His feet move very quickly, but he looks like he is going nowhere fast. He has darling, crazy curls. I love his long hair, and hate to depart with a snip of it!

Ian is super good natured. Such a blessing in a fourth child for a mom who is spread pretty thin. He is patient. He is easy going. He loves running errands and being in the car. He cries very little. He is happy doing anything. Really. Especially if he gets a little treat at the end. It has been such a blessing to have time with him alone while M and M are at preschool. We have so much fun together. He loves the one on one attention, and I love giving it to him.

He is kind to others. Mostly. He gives hugs quickly when he isn't. And, it's impossible to be mad at him. Ever.

He loves trains and airplanes. And we all love watching him play with them! He self entertains better than any of my previous kids at his age.

He is super cute with his siblings. They all love him. Olivia is his best buddy and caretaker. Molly is his helper. Max is his playmate as of late. He's everyone's buddy.

He loves his Mommy! This guy has been super attached to me from day one. Maybe it was the 13 months of breast feeding, but we have a great connection. I feel like I know him so well and can read what he wants, and maybe that's why he is so easy breezy. He is just a joy and makes me smile and laugh every day, which I consider a huge blessing when the weight of the world starts to descend!

Here are more cute pics from super talented Kristen!''

This is the award winner! Of course, he adores Daddy.

Dang it. I can't believe I made him! Good thing we are done, because they just don't get any better than him!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I know this could possibly look like just an excuse to show off all of our fun new pictures Kristen recently took of us, but they just capture my children so well, so I am not stopping!

Obviously, obviously, obviously I am grateful for Max. It is no secret how I feel about this boy. How I have always felt about him. He is super special to me. I have a very strong connection to him. He is my first son. The first boy who looked up at me, as a four pound infant, and just melted me. He has always had that ability. And, though I joke sometimes, no, I do not love him any more than my others, but he definitely has a little part of my heart that I never knew existed.

So, there are a million reasons to be grateful for Max. He is a good boy. He is sweet. He notices when people are sad and he helps them. When he is angry and I ask him not to yell, or hit, or take things away aggressively, he always comes back with, "well, what should I do?" Which I find so intelligent. He loves his little brother and they have recently started actually playing with one another, which is too darling for words. He looks up to his sisters. He likes them to protect him. He is the little brother, even to Molly. He loves to learn new things and is full of questions. He asks what a lot of words and phrases mean, like, "what does it mean when you say everyone except Olivia has to go to bed?" This is unique, because often when children hear something they don't know it just doesn't register, but he asks good questions, and figures things out, and then remembers them. He is smart. In a different way than his sisters. He loves to build things. He builds amazing things, with and without models, from Trio blocks and Legos that are symmetrical and useful, and artistic all at the same time. I am always amazed at what he creates and the focus he gives to creating it. He has gotten really into drawing lately, too, and draws very cool things with whole stories behind them. He tells me about the "scary bone guys" (skeletons) and what they are shooting at the boats (obviously from Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney). He drew this dog that was so happy and detailed and more impressively actually looked like a dog. I love seeing him sit for long stretches at the table creating things. He has an amazing mind.

I love that he doesn't say his "ls" yet. His sister is "Mowee", and he loves to build with "Wegos." He told me the other day how much he "wuvs" his friend, Eva. I know that will go away too soon, so for now I am grateful for it, because it means he is still a very little boy who I wish would never grow up.

Max is very unique, and that makes him special. I hope people see that in him, because sometimes he is shy. My dad got a big kick out of Max, and used to say, "that Max, he marches to the beat of his own drum, that's for sure." And he was right. He does. And I am grateful for that.

He loves, loves, loves his daddy.
And, really, is there anything cuter than my boys?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Second day of gratitude

And then there is Molly.
I am so grateful for my Molly for so many reasons! She is a funny girl. Really funny. She has a sense of humor. A real one, at a young age. I love it! She has wit. Sarcasm. Silliness. Physical comedy. All of it. She is totally entertaining. She loves to tease (sometimes that doesn't go over super well, but she means no harm). She likes to make us laugh. She has a great laugh herself, and often gets the giggles with Max or Olivia over their made up words that just dissolve them to the floor. She keeps us smiling and laughing and there is no greater gift!

She is also a great dancer and is so fun to watch. I am so grateful that she loves to dance and loves to watch others dance. The highlight of her year last year was going to the Nutcracker and she is already counting down the days until she goes this year. She loves her dance class and her dance teacher and all of her dance friends so much. She entertains us all of the time with her "shows" where she dances to whatever is on the ipod with serious intent, as if each step were choreographed just for us!

Molly is a smarty. I am grateful that she loves to read, and to learn. It brings me great relief! She loves books and loves to write notes and spell words and learn about anything new. Her joy of learning is inspirational and I am grateful that she has reminded me of that part of myself that has been on a shelf.

I am so grateful for Molly's ability to lead. She is the one in charge of her and Max, and he is OK with that. He always looks to Molly for guidance and approval, and she is quick to take his hand and protect him. I love that she is the "big sister" to him, even though she is only three minutes his elder!

I am grateful for Molly's loving and forgiving heart. She teaches me so much each day and she is a perfect second child and second daughter.

*photos, of course, by Kristen*

Monday, November 8, 2010


Today I have felt grumpy and blue. Could be the rain. Could be Monday. Could be the wicked stomach virus that attacked me this weekend. Excuses, excuses! So, I decided that I need to start some "gratitude posts" (original, right?) to get my month on the right track and refocus my thoughts. Since my children pop into my mind right away when I think of what I am grateful for, I will start with them. From the top!

I am super grateful for Olivia. She is the greatest OLDEST child. She is super responsible. She is always willing to help. She takes great pride in her "jobs" and does them with such attention to detail. She loves her baby brother, Ian, and is always watching out for him, playing with him, offering to get him dressed, and sometimes sneaking him out of his bed at night when he is sad to snuggle him (and sometimes he is still there in the morning when I wake them up!). She loves to be a part of any project and is always willing to try new things. She is a great listener and tries to get things right each time she attempts them. She loves school and learning new things. She loves to do projects, write stories, and draw. She also loves to write notes to people. I get to be on the receiving end of lots of her notes, which I really enjoy. She recently wrote a letter to the tooth fairy inquiring about her life and hobbies. So cute. She is such a believing, innocent girl, which I am so grateful for. She has a simple ability to trust, and it is a great strength.

As daughters and mothers go, we have our struggles, but Olivia teaches me every day a little about patience. I appreciate that about her. She is always quick to apologize to me and quick to accept my apologies!

Olivia is super affectionate, too. Which is so sweet. I hope that she never gets "too old" to hug and kiss her mom and dad and siblings.

Olivia has lots of enthusiasm for the sports she plays, which is what makes her so fun to watch. She doesn't compare herself to the rest of the crowd, yet, which is such a great thing, because it helps her to enjoy every game. I am grateful for being able to sit on the sidelines and cheer for her and hope she always enjoys sports and being active.

Olivia is such a blessing in our family, and we are grateful every day that we are lucky enough to have her!
*photo by Kristen*

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ian's birthday!

My baby celebrated his 2nd birthday yesterday with a Mickey Mouse celebration. He wanted a Mickey cake, so here it is. He absolutely LOVED it!
He LOVED opening presents this year and got some cute stuff from some sweet friends!
Once he got over being really shy about being sung to, he finally blew out his candles like a pro!
With his sweet cousin, Abby!
On his new car!
Rip it!
A Mickey pancake for brunch!
Cute card from big sis!
Cheesy, cheesy, cheesy to say (appropriate that I should be cheesy about a Mickey bday) but really, why does he have to grow up? I just love this guy, and need him to stay tiny forever. He is my little buddy all day and loves to snuggle his mom. Somehow I don't think this will always be the case. Ian is such a sweet boy and has made our family complete. We love every day with him and just know he will grow into a darling little boy this year before our very eyes (whether we like it or not!). Happy Birthday, Ian boy!!!


So, Halloween was busy this year! We had Olivia's school fall carnival, a costume birthday party, the ward carnival/trunk or treat, and a friend costume party for Olivia. There were lots of dress-up opportunities and non-stop fun and candy! Here is Olivia in her bat costume that Jon and I painstakingly made (it took us at least 3 hours in which we disassembled an umbrella and created a very life-like bat, if I do say so myself).
Our ward did a Fall Carnival/Trunk or Treat Saturday night. We had fun dressing up and doing games. Max and Molly both won on the Cake Walk! Love this cupcake!

Games! They are shooting bears. Max loves anything with shooting.
My little Mickey.
Here is my crew before trick or treating.
Here is Ian, 5 houses into the night! (crashed on Abby's shoulder)
I'm glad this nun took time off to pass out yummy treats to my Batman and my Witch.
Super fun Halloween season. It was just the right amount of spooky and fun, and the candy, well, it's endless. Any tips on how to get rid of it without any tantrums?

A few more pumpkin patch pictures. Max had the best time hunting for the perfect pumpkin. The rule is that you have to be able to carry it if you pick it out. That saves Mom and Dad's arms and wallet!
This is the "Jack o Lantern train." It was the hit of the season! It takes you around the farm and then drops you off at the huge hay pyramid/maze. You can stay out there as long as you want, then you catch the train back. Such fun. And, of course, they had farm animals out there to pet! My kids could not get enough of the animals this year!
Pumpkin carving. Mom prefers the potato head pieces, but Olivia insists. And, Jon and her love to roast the seeds for a salty snack!
Ian helped clean his guts out. Yuck! He loved it, of course!
And, just for bragging sake, here is the applesauce I canned. I learned a lot this year, doing this alone. For example, I learned that I never want to do it alone again! However, this is the yummiest applesauce that I have ever tasted, so it was worth it. Even if it will be gone by Thanksgiving!
We hope your autumn has been as lovely as ours!

Fall fun

Fall wouldn't be fall without lots of trips to farms and pumpkin patches. We love it! We look forward to it! And, we had some great sunny days that we took advantage of by visiting some new spots! Here is Molly in front of a straw pyramid that had a maze inside! It was a super fun Monday night outing (the face paint was her own doing...)

After carefully choosing their pumpkins, Max and Molly decorated them with their potato head pieces. This is something they LOVE doing every year! This year they hardly needed any help!
The tractor we rode at the apple farm! Such a blast! We went in a giant apple inflatable bounce house, ate huge carmel apples, got our faces painted, and pet lots of farm animals!
On the tractor. This farm was seriously beautiful. It made me want to be an apple farmer when I grow up!
Which one weighs more?
Hip, hip, hooray for fall!