Sunday, September 28, 2008

The "Quiet" Book

My mom made this "Quiet Book" for Adam and Grace 2 years ago. We just love it.

It has lots of pictures of the Savior:

scripture verses, the Articles of Faith, Primary songs:

even a picture of our family:

and a picture of each prophet with some facts about his life:

They love looking at it during the Sacrament.

I normally 'rotate' our church bag, so they don't get bored with anything. It's been in a 'church box' I have for several months. A few days ago, I took it out to add it back to our church bag.

Grace was looking at it when she happened upon what she thought was a scary image. And began screaming:

"Ghost! Ghost! I scared!"

And tore out the page.

She's absolutely terrified of the book now. She runs and screams at the sight of it. It's no longer a very 'quiet' book, as you can guess.

Sorry, President Taylor. I know you were a good man. And an amazing prophet.

But photogenic you were not.

(I realize it's a painting, and photogenic probably isn't the exact word I'm looking for).

From Busy to Busier

A few months ago, I thought that life had gotten kind of... boring. Maybe boring is the wrong word. It was just the same thing, every day; we had settled into a predictable routine. Well, as predictable as you can get with a crazy 2-year-old. And that whole hospital thing wasn't exactly boring. But, you know.

Anyway, then school started (for Adam and I) and I suddenly found myself busy with driving, his homework, my homework, spending time with Grace, extra laundry, extra errands, volunteering in his classroom, and getting everything done around the house. I was busy; but it was a good busy. You know? Enough to keep me going all day, but nothing that got me too stressed.

Then, I got called into the Bishop's office.

I'm the new 2nd counselor in the Relief Society in our ward. Which after I picked my jaw off of the ground, I realized I was excited about. If I could just give all of the sisters back a fraction of the love that they have given me, I'd be happy. I'm excited for the opportunity to get to know everyone, and serve, and I know how much I will grow.

But, seriously, I've only been in for a bit, and it's craziness. Meetings, and planning, and Super Saturday is coming up, which I'm completely in charge of now, and agh! I had no idea how much went into running Relief Society. That on top of everything else... wow. I. Am. Stressed.

So, I know how much our out-of-town family loves my blog. Okay, maybe not so much the blog, but I know you like the pictures of Adam and Grace. :) I'm going to do my best to keep posting a few times a week like I normally do, but forgive me for being M.I.A. once in a while.

Maybe Mike will write on it for me... now THAT could be interesting.


You guys know I would never give him the password, right? Otherwise he'd be giving out strange Dutch oven recipes that involved peanut butter and barbecue sauce.

We can not have that happening.

And he really would do it.

He's so lucky I didn't find out about his strange cooking skills before we got married. Seriously.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Costumes... check!

Adam loves Halloween. He gets crazy. And it's totally my fault. Halloween is my favorite, and I have always gotten all crazy, and have in turn, passed it on to him. In the past, we've had fun making his costumes together, and as a result, his imagination has been allowed to run wild. As it should be. He's been a Dalmatian, a cat, and a dragon. All homemade. Last year he was determined to be blood, then a white blood cell, before finally settling on a 'superhero bat.'

This year he had envisioned some creature from Star Wars that has 4 arms. I was game to try and make it. We had plans. But then, all of a sudden, my already busy life became extraordinarily busy (more about that later). And as much as I wanted to make it, I knew I really wouldn't be able to find the time to make such an elaborate costume.

I didn't want to disappoint him, though, so I didn't tell him. I just started asking him about other possibilities.

Anyway, we headed down to D.I. today, and I casually mentioned to Adam that he might find a costume he liked.

He did:

Darth Vader.

He is one screaming, happy boy. I'm screaming happy, too, because a) I didn't let him down, and b) the entire costume cost $2.50. And after I cleaned and cleaned it (I may be cheap, but I'm still a germaphobe) he has worn it non-stop, and has determined he will wear it until he's 20. We now have Halloween costumes done.

D.O.N.E. Done.


This makes for Halloween happiness.

I'd post a pic, but he has forbidden me until Halloween. :)

(Oh, and lest you think I forgot about Miss Grace, she was taken care of last year: we got her costume clearanced at Target... she's going to be a pink cat. But, it didn't stop me from getting 2 totally adorable dress-up outfits today at D.I. for her, either).

Isn't she a doll?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Heart-Melting Experiences

I know I already posted today, but I was just going through Adam's backpack and found this:

My heart just melted.

It's moments like this that have made every single difficult time with him ALL worth it.

Love him so much!

Mint + Chocolate

So, so, SO happy that it's fall! I've been doing a happy dance since yesterday. I have loved looking back at my blog from last year. When it was 95 degrees during the beginning of fall last year I was crying. I was missing Flagstaff autumn BIG time. Now, after a super-hot summer, 95 degrees is making me very happy. What a difference a year makes!

Autumn makes me feel like baking. Which makes me think of Christmas. Which makes me think of mint. And what goes better with mint than chocolate?

Don't try following my train of thought. I'm weird.

Anyway, I love, love, LOVE chocolate and mint together. I know some people gag at the combination, but I try to not associate with those kind of people.

I made these cookies last weekend for a dinner with my sister-in-law and my cute niece and nephew (and her sister's family), and they all seemed to really like them. So, I thought I'd share the recipe. Adam loves making these cookies because he gets to swirl the melted chocolate with a spoon. Very fun.

Andes Mint Cookies

3/4 c. butter (or margarine)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. water

Melt in a saucepan over medium heat until melted and then add:

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, stirring until completely melted.

Cool for 10 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl and beat in 2 eggs.

2 1/2 c. four
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together and chill for about 45 minutes. Roll into balls (like 1 - 1 1/2 inches big), flatten slightly, and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

When cookies come out of the oven, place an Andes mint on top of each cookie and allow to melt for a few minutes. Swirl the melted chocolate like icing. Allow to cool. I like to pop these in the fridge until they are cold... it's just good like that.

(Recipe and picture from Becky Higgins)

Friday, September 19, 2008


I think I've titled a few blog posts 'Randoms.' I guess my life (and kids) are random.

Oh, well.

Adam just finished up another week at school. I had my doubts about it at first, but now I'm SO glad he's there. There are only 11 kids in his class and his teacher is great. This week they learned about their senses, the letters 'S' and 'M', and patterns.

So, this project at school was supposed to depict the 5 senses. He made 'gumballs' for taste, a 'stinky sock' for smell, and 'hot peppers' for sight. He told me that he was supposed to do "eyes and ears, but that was WAY boring."

I hope his teacher either has a sense of humor or appreciates his creativity or at least doesn't look at him too strangely when he shows her his projects. What a kid. Oh, and I totally love his sock. Cute.

He's making friends, but he's not so good with the names. This is what our conversation's after school sound like:

Me: Who'd you sit by at snack time?
Adam: The boy with the bleeding arm.
Me (feeling a little sick inside): What do you mean 'bleeding?'


Me: Who did you play with at recess?
Adam: The boy who eats Lunchables and the new kid (who has been 'the new kid' for 2 weeks now).

It's creative, no doubt, but at some point it might be helpful to learn their names. Especially when he asks me things like, "The boy with the Star Wars backpack wants me to come to his house this week. Can I?"

Yeah, gonna need to know names, Adam.

Grace is at such a fun age. I just love 2-year-olds. Messes and tantrums aside, I think it's one of my favorite stages. They are just so fun and silly and cute!

She is at this stage right now where she is just OBSESSED with herself. It started back around 2 weeks ago, with multiple requests a day to visit the mirror in the bathroom. It got to be a bit much, so I finally broke down and got a mirror from D.I. Almost any time of day you can find her in front of it, saying:

"I cute. Cute. So pretty."

I am not kidding.

At least she's occupied, though, so I can't complain. At some point I should probably start telling her things like, "It's what's inside that counts" and "You've got great inner beauty, too, Grace."

And all that kind of nonsense.

Or she might just turn out to be as conceited as I was.

Of course, I might be just a little biased here, but look at her! If I was that stinkin' cute, I'd sit in front of a mirror all day long, too.

Wouldn't you? :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meal Complaints

I know I've said this before, but Adam is a picky eater, and tends to complain about every single meal. Even if it's one of his favorites, he still complains. And if it's not one of his favorites, we fight the entire meal.

Last week, I'd had enough. It's not easy making dinner and entertaining 2 children at the same time, you know? And when he complained yet again, I'd had it.

So, I told him this week HE was in charge. After dinner, I got a piece of paper, and wrote the days of the week on it. I told him to plan a meal for each day, and we'd talk about it. His initial list looked like this:

Monday-barbecue chicken and cookies
Wednesday-creamy pasta
Friday-rice and cake
Sunday-crab puffs

Apparently, he really likes pizza. :)

So, next I sat down with him, and we talked about the food pyramid. Then I talked about our budget. And I got the ads out for him, and told him that he had to include at least 3 food groups in every dinner, AND stay under a certain amount for each meal.

Which is a lot harder than it seems.

He thought so, too.

So, we worked out a list of meals that we are both fairly happy with. We went shopping together and he's helping me cook this week.

HOPEFULLY he understands a little bit of the work that goes into meal planning, and I'll hear less complaining.

He is, however, having a lot of fun with the planning and shopping and cooking.

Which isn't the point of punishments at all.

Oh, well.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Cute Baby Burp Cloths

I am always in need of baby gifts... it seems someone is always having a baby. Well, statistically someone IS always having a baby. But, you know what I mean. People I know.

Anyway, I recently found this easy tutorial for jazzing up cloth baby diapers to use as cute burp cloths. I always thought that baby diapers made the best burp cloths, but never thought about making them cute! It's so easy and fun. I'm making a stack this week, and bundling them up in groups of four, so I have something on hand for gifts.

Because whether it's your first or your seventh, I think you always need burp cloths.

Check out Marie's instructions at Make and Takes. Too cute.

(Images from Marie and Make and Takes)

Friday, September 12, 2008

8 Years Ago Today...

... Mike and I began dating.

Fun, huh?

And just because I'm feeling, oh, sentimental today. I thought I'd write a bit about how we met.

Note: Back when I was 18 (that's when we met), I was a little conceited. And snobby. And a tad immature. Remember that.

In August 2000, after sending one of my best friends off on his mission and sending all of my high school friends off to college (I was planning on attending MCC), I realized I was kind of alone. Friends-wise. So, I went to the singles branch one Sunday, not knowing anyone, but hoping my friend, Liz, would be there.

I got there, and stood in the doorway looking for her. She wasn't there. I was just about to go and make a friend, when a girl walked up to me, introduced herself, and invited me to sit with her friends.

I ended up sitting next to Mike. I remember looking at him, and thinking, "Ew!" because he had facial hair... which is just obviously SO gross! At least in my 'high school' thinking it was. Of course, at the time, one of my life goals was to marry a doctor. Really. And become the next Diane Sawyer.

But, anyways, I started hanging out with him and his friends, and got to know everyone a bit better. A few days before I began school, I went to a dance. He asked me to dance and began flirting with me, and I remember thinking,

"Sad. The gross facial hair boy likes me."

But then he told me he was majoring in business, and I felt a bit better. Because CEOs are pretty close to doctors, right? So, at least he was a bit more worthy to like me. However, I had no intentions of ever liking him. Or getting serious for at least 8 years. So, it didn't bother me too much.

This is getting embarrassing at how shallow I was.

On Labor Day, I went to a party, and he was there. Flirting with me again. EXCEPT when he went to introduce me to someone, he couldn't even remember my name. Which was just the biggest shock, ever! This guy was supposed to be in love with me, and I was SO above him on the social scale (remember, the facial hair? And he wore really ugly shoes). It made me mad. So, I began flirting back, and told him to email me, thinking I'd string him along for while. Because he forgot my name. Which was beyond embarrassing. Plus, I still thought he was dating this other girl, and I thought it could get interesting.

I was very childish at the time. Remember?

So, we began emailing. And we helped a friend move. And went with a bunch of friends to a football game. And sat together during church. And held hands during a fireside that night (you now know for sure that I'm a skank, Kristi :) ). And he told me about his mission and his testimony. And we talked on the phone the next day, Monday, where he told me he loved me. And I began wondering, "What have I done?" (I'm glad I had somewhat of a conscience.).

And then on September 12, 2000 he drove out to Mesa to take me to the zoo.

Somewhere between walking through the rose garden and driving to get dinner, where he blushed as he asked, "Will you be my girlfriend?" in a totally sweet, 2nd grade-kind-of-way, something strange happened.

I didn't care that he wasn't going to be a doctor. Or that he had fashion issues. Or that he still was sporting a goattee.

I fell in love.

And it's been that way ever since.

Monday, September 8, 2008

House Rules

Things can kind of get crazy around our house. At times, things run so smoothly and are so peaceful, and there are others (lots others), where I feel like a broken record:

"No hitting, please."
"No throwing, please."
"No coloring on the walls!"
"Absolutely no talking back!"


I was getting frustrated. Adam was getting frustrated because there were just so many rules (in his opinion). I also didn't want to have to tell him every single thing to do. I read a book a while ago, and it basically said that you want to get your kids to think for themselves; that if we tell them every thing to do, and expect them to obey each and every thing, they become robotic in a sense, and when someone tells them to steal or do drugs, it will be in their nature to obey. I want him (and Grace) to learn to think for themselves.

So, I've been looking around, and I came across a blog (ugh... not sure where or whose it was, sorry), that explained that in their family, they only had 2 house rules, and how well it works for them. It was exactly what I've been looking for. Tonight we talked about our new system for FHE, and I know that it's going to help.

Our House Rules:
1) Be safe.
2) Be polite.

That's it.

Every rule I can think of, falls under those categories. And if it doesn't, then maybe I shouldn't be saying 'no.' You know? I want my kids to think for themselves. To keep the rules because it makes them happy. Not because of punishment or yelling or being told a million times. And, I want to say 'yes' more to things that are okay.

I'm very, very happy about our new rules. I think it's going to make things a lot easier around here. From now on, when something happens, we will talk about whether that was safe or polite and what should have been done. The same goes for Mike and I; we should all be safe and polite.

Hopefully, things will be a lot more peaceful around here. :)

No Pressure, But FYI...

Updated: Fixed the link. Sorry!

I'm NOT doing this to pressure anyone or beg. Honest.

BUT, Adam's school is doing a fundraiser selling the 2009 "Entertainment" books. They are books that have hundreds of coupons for restaurants, entertainment, etc. More information here. Enter school account number: 761541 and enter your zip code for the preview.

Half the proceeds go to his school. And you can have them for your city. It doesn't have to be for ours. Unless you want it to be. Which would be weird. But cool. :)

Anyway, no pressure, and I really don't care if you buy one or not. Really truly. But, I thought some people might be interested.

You know, those of you who have a life, and actually go on dates with your husband or wife, or have friends to hang out with.... :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Last Week: List Form

10 Things We Did:
1) Took Grace for her 2-year well check. She's 27 pounds, 35 inches. Yay!
2) Took Grace to get her blood drawn for a lead test. Boo.
3) Vacuumed, washed, and scrubbed down the Focus for the first time in... gulp... 2 years!
4) Drove Adam to school (and back) 4 days this week. I feel like I'm living in the car...
5) Cleaned out the refrigerator
6) Went grocery shopping to fill it back up.
7) Read 3 chapters, took 2 quizzes, and wrote 1 paper (for school)
8) Read The Chocolate Touch with Adam.
9) Washed/dried/folded/put away 12 loads of laundry. Mike and Adam wearing 2 outfits a day has gotta stop!
10) Spent 3 hours on the phone with the insurance company, total. This hospitalization with Grace is a mess!

9 Things We STILL Need to Do:
1) Get driver's licenses. Please pass me 3 hours to stand in line at the DMV!
2) Change the belt in the car... er... maybe that's not a 'we' job. :)
3) Call the doctor and schedule an appointment for me.
4) Go to the library and return some overdue books.
5) Bring our comforter to the laundromat (it's too large for our washing machine).
6) Go to the bank.
7) Write 1 more paper... before 11:30 today. Whoops!
8) Trim Grace's bangs. If you can call them 'bangs.' Whatever they are, they are in her eyes!
9) Decorate for fall! My favorite season is coming... yay!

8 Things Adam Did at School:
1) Stayed on 'green' every day this week... and got to pick 4 fun little toys!
2) Listened to a story about a girl who wants a dinosaur... and drew a picture of what he'd want a dinosaur to do. *See 'Silly Things Adam Said' below.*
3) Dug through a pit of rice for buried treasures.
4) Played basketball with his friend 'George' or 'Noah'... Adam's not sure on the name. :)
5) Practiced writing his first and last name. Over and over.
6) Played math bingo.
7) Put on a puppet show.
8) Colored, drew, and painted.

7 Dinners I Made:
1) Enchiladas
2) Curry Chicken
3) Shepherd's Pie
4) Mexican Haystacks
5) Bean Tostadas
6) Hamburger Helper
7) Homemade Pizza

6 Messes Grace Made:
1) Poured a bottle of red paint on the carpet, while I was working on Enrichment crafts.
2) Tore a library book... I think it's beyond taping...
3) Scribbled on the wall with crayon
4) Dumped out a box of Q-tips
5) T.P.ed her bedroom
6) Stripped off her clothes, got into the bathtub, and covered herself in shampoo... thankfully, the 'tear free' kind

5 Phone Calls I've Made:
1) Insurance company (4 times!)
2) Adam's school
3) Grace's doctor
4) RS President about Enrichment stuff
5) Target Pharmacy

4 Things We Bought:
1) 2 long-sleeve shirts for Grace (for winter)
2) A canning jar (to make rock crystals in this week... fun!)
3) Carpet cleaner (our floor has just a slight pink tinge to it now)
4) Markers, crayons, and glue! All of the school stuff is clearanced! Now to hide it from Grace.

3 Silly Things Adam Said:
1) Adam initially told his teacher he would want the dinosaur to steal toys for him. She suggested that the dinosaur BUY toys for him, because stealing isn't nice. Glad all those honesty lessons did him good! His teacher is probably wondering about us as parents...
2) "Every. Single. Person. In. My. Class. Has. Seen. Star. Wars. Clone. Wars. But. ME!" (Yes, he said it very slowly like that. He acted like he was the social misfit of the class, and how could I subject him to that! Awww... peer pressure begins...)
3) "Well, I heard that dinosaurs still live. They are just hiding them from us." (Uh, when did HE become a conspiracy kinda guy? And everything these days is, "I heard...". Hilarious!)

2 Books I've Read:
1) Theories of Personality (for school)
2) Severe and Hazardous Weather (again, for school)

1 Happy Quote for the Week:
"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be perfectly wonderful!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

This Guy Works Hard

Mike had to 'suspend' several people earlier this week, and as a result, has been short on people getting things done at work. The outside area at D.I. was a horrible mess, and after putting in a 9-hour day today, he came home for dinner, and then was going to go back to work, to try and get it cleaned up.

I suggested that we come and help, and the kids were ecstatic at the opportunity. We spent 2 hours throwing away trash and hauling furniture and organizing and throwing things in the compactor. It was hot out (100 degrees plus), and when we were finished, we were all sweaty and dusty and exhausted. But, we all had fun working together.

We came home, and I realized how sore I was. My feet and arms ache. I smelled disgusting. And I only helped for 2 hours. It makes me appreciate how hard Mike works for us, every day. He came home and fell asleep, and is going to head back to work early to finish up, and won't return until late tomorrow.

I'm so thankful for him, and how hard he works every day so I can stay home with Adam and Grace. Amazing.

*Sorry about the lack of blogging. It's just been one of those weeks. I'll catch up tomorrow!*

Monday, September 1, 2008

Our Labor Day

- Mike labored changing the oil in both cars, and the battery cables in the Focus.

I love a man workin' on a car... hmmm... maybe THAT'S why we spend so much time working on our cars. :)

- I labored in the kitchen baking some cookies for Mike's co-workers and FHE.

They are incredible. Especially straight-out-of-the-oven-warm. See the recipe below.

- Adam and Grace labored, er, "tested" Mike's camping cot while watching some Curious George.

And, Grace (obviously) labored perfecting her mascara skills. Again.

- Then after all that labor, we cooled off in the pool. Life can be rough. :)

Not the most restful, or productive, day. But, we had fun anyways.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Peanut Butter Fancies
makes 10-12 cookies (they're large)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups quartered miniature peanut butter cups (about 30 cups)
1/2 cup melted milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips for drizzling

1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. Cream the peanut butter and butter in a mixer. Add the sugars and beat until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until just combined. Stir in the peanut butter cups. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until firm enough to handle.
3. Roll into large balls (about 1/3 cup each) and flatten on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, until just turning golden. Do not overbake! Cool slightly and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
4. Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate.

Recipe courtesy Stephanie at Stephanie's Kitchen