Saturday, May 31, 2008

School is out

The kids had a great school year this year, and it was mostly due to their wonderful teachers.
Here's Ethan with Miss Peterson. She was such a fun teacher, all the kids loved her. Ethan wishes he could have her again next year!

And here's Julia with Mrs Wendt. She won't be at our school next year because she's moving, but she was a great teacher, and was so patient with the Kindergarteners!

I hope the kids are lucky enough to get such great teachers next year, it makes a huge difference!

Kristen's graduation

Yesterday morning I did something that I've never done before, I left the kids to fend for themselves on their last day of school! (Don't worry, Derek worked from home and was able to take them to school, pick them up, and take care of them when they got home.) Instead I got up early and picked up Melodie, and Charlotte and Andrew and headed to the BYU Marriot Center for Kristen's high school graduation. Kristen is my youngest sibling and it's hard to believe that she is already done with high school.

Our cousin Spencer also graduated from Mountain View with Kristen. It was fun sitting right by his family and all cheering together for our graduates!

Congratulations Kristen!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Frozen Hot Chocolate

I tried a new recipe tonight that was yummy. It certainly won't help me get ready for swimsuit season, but it was good! I got it from this blog, which was linked from this blog which I first found from this post from Emily. How's that for confusing?! The 2nd blog mentioned above just happens to be someone that we knew when we were first married, crazy!

Frozen Hot Chocolate
3/4 cup cream (the kind that says "whipping cream")
1/4 cup milk
6 tbsp. cocoa powder (you can use more or less to adjust the chocolate flavor)
7 tbsp. sugar (can use less to increase the chocolate flavor)
1 tbsp. malted milk powder (I use the Carnation brand, it's found by the hot chocolate in the grocery store)
3 cups ice
1. Blend the cream, milk, cocoa, sugar, and malted milk powder in a blender until nice and creamy (1-2 minutes).
2. Add ice a little at a time and blend until the mixture is thick and smooth (I crushed the ice in the blender before step 1, and added it back again at step 2 to get nice crushed ice)
If desired serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Behind my back

The other day Julia wanted to wear Ethan’s soccer cleats to school. They do almost fit her, but they are not hers yet. I told her that no, she couldn’t wear them to school. She didn’t argue with me, she just put them in her backpack and changed into them at recess!
She’s in Kindergarten, it makes me nervous about what she’s going to do when she’s a teenager!

Canyon excursions

On Saturday, when the weather was much nicer than today, we went to Timpanogos Cave. The kids did great! The trail is 3 miles roundtrip with lots of the trail being really steep, not including the walk through the cave, and they did the whole thing without any help from us.

This was at the very beginning of the trail.

One of the small tunnels along the trail.

Check out how much snow is still up there!

This is looking up at the point of the trail where the snow was. I'm glad the trail didn't go this way!

We tried to use the timer on the camera but had a hard time seeing exactly where it was aimed. :)

Here you can see the valley in between the mountains.

Another small tunnel along the trail.

In the cave.

This was the spot they call a "caramel sundae" if I'm remembering correctly.

It was hard to see what you were taking pictures of since it was super dark. :)

The Heart of Timpanogos

Before heading down.

This was on the way down, it took us about 1/4 of the time to get down than it did to go up.

The kids having fun on the rocks along the trail.

We also took advantage of a nice day last weekend and headed up Provo Canyon. We don't really enjoy the winters in Utah, but we do love going to the canyon in the summer!

This is a fun "log swing" the kids found.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The perfect gift

I wandered through the toy aisle at Walmart yesterday pondering what to get for a birthday party for twin girls in Julia's class. First I thought I might get some Disney princess dolls with changeable accessories, much like Polly Pockets. I remembered that the girls have a toddler aged sibling, and another one on the way-- their mother may not appreciate the extra choking hazards that would inevitably end up all over the house. A gumball machine provoked thoughts of having to use peanut butter in an attempt to get gum out of the top of Julia's hair, probably not a good idea. I almost ended up with some magnetic playsets that had magnetic dolls, much like paper dolls, and dresses you could dress them up in. Then I pictured Julia's birthday party and how some gifts she just tossed aside to go to the next present, while others she had to open immediately. I wasn't sure that the magnetic sets would be something that the girls would instantly have to open, and I didn't really like the idea of our gift getting tossed aside, silly I know. So I finally settled on some Barbie Fairytopia dolls with changeable dresses, that were most likely still a choking hazard but at least were much larger than the pea-sized Polly Pocket accessories. I wonder what the perfect gift for a 6 year old girl is...
And after all of that the party ended up being canceled because their mom had her baby!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Is summer on its way?

Last weekend was the first time that it has been truly warm this year. It gave us the slightest glimmer of hope that summer may actually come this year. We had our swamp cooler turned on! And the kids thought it was hot enough to go swimming!
Julia decided to turn our slide into a water slide, she was very proud of herself. This, of course, ended up attracting every kid who lives on our street.
I'm not sure how they knew, I guess water slides can silently communicate with children.
Here's video of the kids in our backyard. Doesn't it look like it's snowing? That's something we get to deal with every spring when our neighbor's tree decides that summer is coming and it can let its cotton float into our backyard and blanket every immobile object in sight.

And all of you fellow Utah dwellers must be wondering why I'm posting this today-- a day which could make us believe that it will never be warm again, it is to give us hope! Summer will be here one day soon, I'm pretty sure.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The end of the school year is here again

As we get closer to the end of the school year the kids seem to have more activities going on at school. No one's getting excited for summer are they?!

Last week was our school carnival. Normally we have it in back of the school on a large expanse of grass, but this year (and I don't just mean for this one event) the weather has been less than cooperative. So the majority of our school carnival this year was held in the gym. Julia insisted on getting her face painted at the carnival, despite my arguments against it (we're going to be in line all night, and you'll just have to wash it off when we get home because it will be time for bed...).

Aunt Mel came to the carnival too, since she works at their school.

Another end-of-the-year thing is the dance festival. It was so fun watching the kids do their dances, and it was actually very warm outside at 9am!!!

I got some pictures of the kids before the dancing started. Here's Ethan with his class.

And Julia with her class before the program started.

Here's some video of both of them:

Julia is right next to the little girl in pink pants (on the left side of her-- your left). Sorry about the unsteady camera, and the grass shot in the middle, I had to move over a little so I could see her better.

I think you can see where Ethan is in this one, he has a yellow hat on, black shorts, and socks pulled up really high. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New booster seat law

Yesterday Julia had a friend over after school. When we took her home I told her that she had to sit in a booster seat on the way to her house, she told me that she didn't have to. I explained to her that there was a new law that says kids under 8 have to ride in a booster seat. She exclaimed, in a voice that was less than quiet, "Well my mom didn't say it so it's not true!!" Yes, sorry Shayley but it is true, kids (in Utah) are now required to ride in a booster seat until they turn 8. More info can be found here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

In church today the woman who spoke talked about how Mother's Day used to always be a bad day for her. She said that she used to have so many expectations about what she wanted everyone to do for her, give her, help her with, etc, that she always ended up disappointed.

I'll admit that in previous years (when Ethan was a baby and toddler) I was disappointed because I didn't get breakfast in bed, or any breakfast at all actually. All I truly wanted was to be able to sleep in (the year that we had 1:00 church), and it didn't happen. Of course it didn't help that I didn't actually tell Derek what I wanted. The past few years I've tried not to have too many expectations about what I want to have happen for special occasions, and I'm always happily surprised. This year I didn't get breakfast in bed, but my sweetie made breakfast for all of us today, and helped get the kids ready so we could get to church on time. And he even surprised me with a dozen roses-- something that doesn't happen frequently. The kids made Mother's Day gifts for me at school and at church. What a lucky wife and mother I am!

To all of the wonderful mothers that are in my life-- Grandmothers, my Mom, Derek's Mom, sisters and sisters-in-law, aunts, cousins, and friends, this is for you:

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up puke laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here".
Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted. This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.
For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.
This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.
This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.
And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football , hockey or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.
This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.
This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand) mothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.
This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.
For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."
This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.
This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.
This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college.
This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.
This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.
For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.
For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting.
For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.
This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.
What makes a good Mother anyway?
Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?
Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?
The jolt that t takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?
The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home?
Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?
The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation...
And mature mothers learning to let go.
For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.
Single mothers and married mothers.
Mothers with money, mothers without.
This is for you all. For all of us.
Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can. Tell them every day that we love them. And pray.
"Home is what catches you when you fall. l - and we all fall."


I know from personal experience that babies don't always come when you'd like them to come, to all of you who haven't yet become a mother due to whatever circumstances, Happy Mother's Day to you too!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Home Depot

Why would you, on a Saturday morning, drive to a place filled with noisy kids hammering away at a block of wood? To make these of course.

Derek usually takes the kids to Home Depot’s kid workshop on the first Saturday of every month, but this time he was busy tilling the garden (which incidentally ended up taking ALL day since we decided we didn’t like the tiers in our garden, and we still haven’t quite finished). I’ll admit I was a bit nervous about my ability to put together one of the extravagant creations they have come home with in the past, after all I don’t often use power tools or anything close, but Derek assured me it was easy, so we jumped in the van and headed over. Once we found the large mass of people in the back of the store and got our kits we were lucky enough to find an empty table, which we had all to ourselves until the very end of our project. We had a little bit of trouble getting one of the nails on Julia’s pencil box to go in straight, we ended up just leaving it crooked because it didn’t want to be fixed. That was the only hard part though, luckily they were very easy to put together and the kids had a great time.

Two pictures of the finished product since I can't get one picture with both of them really smiling:

Friday, May 9, 2008


The official Twilight trailer:

Happy Birthday Char!!

Happy Birthday Charlotte!!!!!!!!
We celebrated Char's birthday this past Sunday so she didn't have to have her birthday dinner on Mother's day. It was kind of a last minute thing so we didn't get her a real birthday present, and I forgot my camera so I didn't get any pictures either... But even though the celebration wasn't elaborate we hope you have a great birthday today, and know that we love you! I'm so lucky to have 5 great sisters who I love to hang out with, and I'm glad that you're in Utah so we can see you lots!
Oh, and sorry I fed you mustard when you were a baby!! :) You really did used to like it.

Friday, May 2, 2008

And just like that, it's over

And just like that----- it’s over! Soccer has consumed our lives for the past 6 weeks. Ethan and Julia have both been in this year, and Derek is the coach for Ethan’s team. The kids each had 2 games and one practice a week-- two practices on Tuesday, one game Wednesday, one game Thursday, and two games on Saturday, it was crazy! And the weather knew it was soccer season too, every game was freezing, and it didn’t help that the wind down at the Lakeside Sports Complex is always out of control. With 16 games you'd think we would have had nice weather for at least one! But we made it through. :)

Julia with her team:

Julia wearing her medal:

A video from Julia's last game. She made lots of goals this season but I wasn't able to get video of any of them. Can you hear the wind? It was freezing!

Here's Ethan and his team (Can you spot him?):

Ethan wearing his medal:

And a goal Ethan made at his last game:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Revolution Money Exchange

I keep hearing about the new Paypal competitor RME or Revolution Money Exchange. Right now they're running a promotion and if you sign up before May 15th they'll give you $25! I wasn't sure if I should sign up or not, but I've had many friends sign up and they all love it. I just signed up tonight and sure enough I have $25 in my account already! The great thing about RME is that they don't have all of the fees that Paypal does. If you want to sign up you can click on the link over to the right on my blog, or just click here:
Revolution Money Exchange

And a little more info:
MoneyExchange is the new way to send and receive money online between MoneyExchange accountholders. It's a great way to exchange money with friends, colleagues, or online sellers. Share restaurant, travel, or household expenses. It's easy, secure and, best of all, it's FREE to register and FREE to send and receive money between MoneyExchange accountholders.It's a quick and easy sign up, and the $25 credit is applied to your account INSTANTLY. They ask for the same information you would need when you open a bank account, including a SSN. If you've done any online banking, you're probably pretty comfortable with the security of online banking systems.Account issued by First Bank & Trust, Brookings, SD, Member FDIC and part of the Fishback Financial Corporation

Gazebo? Not for long!

What would you do if you loved being outside in the summer but it was too hot unless you had some shade? And every time you tried to have a backyard picnic the bees came to join you until the kids ran back into the house? Yes, we love being outside in our backyard in the summer but we didn’t get to as much as we would have liked because of the aforementioned problems. So we went to Home Depot the other day and found this:

"That's perfect!" we thought. The netting went around the entire structure and zipped closed to keep out the bugs but still let in light. It would provide lots of shade in the summer, and would be a place all of us would love to hang out together! On Saturday we spent almost 3 hours putting it together, in the freezing wind, and we were so excited about enjoying it this summer!

...Until the wind storm yesterday... It wasn't hurricane force wind, it was just a slightly windy day, and apparently we hadn't anchored the gazebo very well yet. When I got home from picking up the kids from school we found it on its side in the backyard. Derek got home just in time for us to rush off to Julia's last soccer game, and when we got back the gazebo had blown even further, and most of the rods holding it together were bent or broken.

DO NOT buy this particular gazebo!! It was only after the whole thing had broken that I found mostly negative reviews for it on the Home Depot website. What a waste of money and time, and a major disappoinment for all of us as well!

UPDATE!!! Home Depot let us return the gazebo, so we at least got our money back, YAY!

And on a Home Depot note, if you rent tools from them make sure you get the damage waiver (it's 10% more or something like that). We rented a tiller from them on Saturday and while Derek was using it the front wheel broke off!! We were so worried about it, Derek returned the tiller to them and asked what their policy was for something that had gotten damaged. The repair to the tiller would have been hundreds of dollars, but we had gotten the damage waiver luckily, so it cost us only $4! Another YAY! What a blessing!