Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Some D.I. Finds

Last night after our movie, Mike wanted to go to D.I. to see if they had any new dress shirts.

I had been wanting to go to D.I. for a while, because I see fun craft things ALL of the time on various blogs that use thrift store finds.

We usually go to the D.I. by our house (where Mike works) 2-3 times a week. To drop off forgotten keys, bring a cake, have lunch with Mike, donate, etc.

Ironically, I rarely go there to shop.

I used to, but then my kids realized who their Dad was, because the employees/Mike's co-workers spoiled them while we visited. That turned them into little punks who thought that they owned the place.

Rather than be a decent mom and discipline my children, I just stopped taking them with me to shop there.

And since the kids and I are a package deal, that meant I hadn't been there in a while to shop.

SO. With this in mind, we went to the D.I. on the other side of town.

Not only did Mike find a brand-new dress shirt for cheap, I got a bunch of other great stuff!

I have been wearing the same shirt every Sunday to church, because my body is in a funky stage that can only be fixed with the cessation of nursing. I've looked around, but it's hard (for me) to buy a shirt that I know I will only wear for a little while. Last night I found 3 nice-enough-for-church shirts (one of which was brand spankin' new) that fit AND a skirt that I've tried on at Target and liked, but didn't want to fork out $20 for... for $3!


I also found 2 long-sleeved shirts for Grace, 1 for Adam (with a Nike logo, which he has been really wanting... to be like Kobe), for the winter.

We got a toy for Josh. We didn't save many of Adam and Grace's toys and he needed some toys other than rattles. This toy was new-in-box, and it normally sells for $28. We paid $1.50.

Don't mind the girl in underwear in the background. Because it means that she is wearing underwear. Which makes me feel like I've won.

And... I found this brand-new bulletin board that I get to sand down and play with. I've been wanted a sturdy bulletin board for our family, but didn't like the ones at Target/Wal-Mart. This was from Deseret Book and it will definitely work... especially for $2.

I also found some various items that I'm going to try to craft with... candlestick holders to try to make a cupcake plate, some containers, etc.

We got some great deals last night.

Plus we get a 20% discount.

Sometimes people ask me if I feel guilty taking a discount at a non-profit thrift store.

Well, I don't.

I am always amazed at the generosity of the people who donate items. So many things donated are really nice and expensive (and even brand-new), and rather than Craigslist/Ebay them, people donate them. All of the money that D.I. makes goes right back into the job training program. When you donate at D.I./shop at D.I. you are helping make someone's life better... you are helping someone learn how to help themselves.

Plus you're gettin' some great deals!

Thus ends my D.I. plug.

To all two of you who read this thing.

Which I think makes up for the times that I bash D.I..

Especially when Mike has to work really, really late.

Or I have a baby.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Movie Night!

Tonight we went to the dollar theater to see "How To Train Your Dragon."

I didn't expect to like it, but I wanted to have some fun family time. I ended up really, really liking it.

It was funny and touching.

And had just enough scary parts for the kids.

Josh nursed/slept through the entire movie, so I didn't even have to feel guilty about his brain cells dying off!

We had such a fun time!!!

PS-Yes, Mike is sporting a mustache. I would blog about it. But then I would have to acknowledge that it exists.


Monday, June 28, 2010


Tonight for FHE we were doing a mid-year review game of the Book of Mormon. Grace was up, and I asked her:

"Who is Jacob?" (You know, Nephi's brother).

And without a pause she replied:

"The werewolf."

We all laughed so hard. She is so funny!


On the downside, that pretty much means that my 3-year-old knows more about Twilight than the Book of Mormon.

Our household priorities may need some tweaking.


(By the way, going to do another "blog catch-up" tomorrow, so I can get all of June done before July hits us. So, scroll down to the beginning of June... in 2 days).

Sunday, June 27, 2010


... time riding in the front of a shopping cart.

... ice cream bought from the ice cream truck.

... bike ride in the streets of the 'hood.

... time they played together nicely.

Just kidding on the last one.

I think it happened one other time.

A long, long time ago...


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stake Patriotic Breakfast

Our stake held it's annual patriotic breakfast this morning! It was early enough that we could sneak in before Mike had to go to work.

We sang songs, watched the flag ceremony, and listened/watched to a slideshow with beautiful music. We also got to honor those who are currently serving or who have served. One young man spoke, who is currently serving but was on leave, about how much it means for him to serve his country. It was wonderful!

Breakfast was pretty good, too. In fact, Grace said it was "the most delicious breakfast ever!"

It consisted of 2 pancakes, 3 grapes, and 1 piece of sausage.

PLUS... chocolate milk AND orange juice.

Which is the part that Grace considered to be "most delicious."

We had a fun time! I love that our stake has it's celebration a week early, so that we can begin reflecting on/talking about our country and our freedoms before we celebrate Independence Day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Swim Lessons Part II

We had a GREAT second week of swim lessons!

They learned, practiced, and were tested.

Adam passed Level 2 swim! Yay, Adam! He now knows how to swim (all of the different floats, backstroke, freestyle). Level 3 and up are basically different types of swimming strokes, entering the pool, and diving. He really wants to go on, but I'm happy that he knows the basics of swimming.

Grace did really great, too. She didn't pass Preschool swimming, which is fine because you have to be 5 to go on up to the next level anyways. She has a hard time floating and refuses to put her whole head in the water. We'll work on that this summer.

On the last day after testing, they have a free day and get to play on all of the slides and water playgrounds!

They had so much fun!

Grace is too short for the big slide, but her teacher was so sweet and took her down several times with her.

Fun stuff!

They are definitely missing their swim lessons and friends. But, we've been practicing in our apartment pool, so that makes up for it a little.

We are so proud of both of our little swimmers!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Water Fight!

At the beginning of the summer, we sat down as a family and wrote a list of everything that we wanted to do.

Then we printed out calendars for June, July, and August and plugged in what we could.

Not everything can be planned, though.

One thing Adam wanted to do was have a water fight.

We were out playing with water balloons one afternoon/night, when Mike got home from work. He grabbed a few squirt bottles from inside our house, and upped the game into a full-on water fight!

Josh and I tried to stay dry, but Mike and the kids decided to include us.

It was such a blast! We were all laughing so hard!

I know I've mentioned it a time or two, but I am LOVING this summer!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dinosaur Park

My kids have always loved dinosaurs. Because all kids do.

And then this show came out last fall on PBS:

And then they no longer just loved dinosaurs. Dinosaurs became the hot thing around this house.

Dinosaur Train has been our very favorite show for months around here.

It's even taken the beloved place of Curious George in the whole "you can only watch one show this morning, what do you want to watch?" slot.

And because of this show/dinosaur obsession:

They both want to be paleontologists now.

They like to play "dinosaur" together... Grace is usually a pteranadon, Adam's a velociraptor.

They like to request "carion" as a snack.

They walk around spouting off random dinosaur names, like "Confuciusornis."

They can be regularly find them digging for fossils in our front area.

Unfortunately, the apartment manager doesn't understand that this is a part of their paleontology-education.


Last week I happened upon a dinosaur-themed park here! And I knew I just HAD to take the kids. We've lived in Las Vegas for 3 years and this is the first I've heard about it!

I'm very disappointed in all of my LV peeps for withholding this place. But I'll forgive you. ;)

We went today and were NOT disappointed! It's our new favorite park!

And that's saying a lot, because Las Vegas is full of fun parks.

They dug for dinosaur fossils, ran through a triceratops head, climbed dinosaur eggs, ran through a t-rex's rib cage, played in the alligator/snake splash area, and did slides/swings thing... in "hut" playground equipment.

It was awesome.

To solidify it's title as the best park EVER, they had a huge pond/waterfall with ducks, geese, and TURTLES!

We loved the turtles!

We spent a few hours there and loved it! And even though it's not exactly down the street (it's about 16 miles away), the kids are already begging to go back. Fun stuff!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kid Pics

On our living room wall, hanging above the couch, I have a photo collage. It contains: our wedding picture, Adam's kindergarten picture, a picture of Grace I took when she was 1, and a blank frame (for Josh's photo).

I wanted to change the pictures (and finally give Josh one). So today we went to the temple to take some pictures (and walk the beautiful grounds).

I'm no photographer, and all I've got is my point-and-shoot camera, but I think that they turned out okay. Well, except for Josh's. He was most uncooperative. ;) I've got some stinkin' cute kids, though, so there's not too much I can do to mess up their photos. :) And I'm happy that I will at least have some updated pictures on my wall.

I can't believe how OLD Adam looks or how tan Adam and Grace both are. Seriously... these are my kids? Me, the queen of "pale and pasty"? I guess I need to be more vigilant about the sunscreen.

Well, at least Josh appears to have inherited my paleness.


Friday, June 18, 2010

How We Roll These Days

Swimsuits (with some shorts for Grace and a shirt for Adam as a cover-up) are how we roll these days.

After swim lessons, when we are going to the splash parks, taking a trip to our own pool at our apartment complex, running in the sprinklers outside, or on a last-minute trip to Target... they are ALWAYS in their swim gear!

I am LOVING this summer!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Swim Lessons Part I

I wasn't going to do swim lessons this year, because last year Grace whined the entire time Adam was in his lessons.

Unless she was getting herself undressed and making a break for the pool.

She didn't whine then.

I found out that one of the community centers was doing "preschool swim lessons" at the same time that they had Level II lessons for Adam. So I signed them up. They had their first week of lessons this week. They both are doing great!

Adam is perfecting the freestyle and learned the backstroke.

Grace is having so much fun blowing bubbles, learning to float, and bobbing.

Josh hated it. He whined and cried.

But, at least he didn't get himself naked every time I turned my head and run for the pool.

Maybe next summer? :)

I'm so happy because I used to hate taking them swimming on my own (and Mike isn't around too much during the day to help out), because Grace was always so clingy/scared. On Friday, I took all three of them swimming on my own, and she did so much better!

We are only going to do one session of swim lessons (two weeks), then practice what they learned all summer in our pool at our apartment. It worked last year with Adam, and he was able to move up to Level II with just one official session (and lots of practice). I'm hoping it works out this year as well.

First Foods (For Real)

Now that he's six months old, Josh got to start on solids. He LOVES it! He has loved everything that he has eaten so far (even rice cereal). His favorites, though, seem to be acorn squash, applesauce, pears, and butternut squash. He always makes a lot of happy noises when he eats those items.

I've been making my own baby food and it's been so fun! Plus, I think the homemade stuff tastes so much better than the stuff at the store.

Doesn't it look like he agrees?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Heart Vegas

The last time we went to Phoenix, I realized something:

I like Las Vegas!

I really, really like Las Vegas!

So do millions of people in the world. However, our reasons probably aren't the same. ;)

Seriously, I spent the first year crying about how much I hated this place. It's been an eye-opener for me; I hated it before I gave it a chance. There can be beauty and joy found everywhere... sometimes you just have to be open to look for it.

The things I love aren't "just" for Las Vegas, but it's definitely the things that I love the most about our town:

1) There is always something fun (and cheap!) to do. Always.

2) The parks are great! We have a goal to go to every park in Las Vegas before we leave. It's fun exploring new ones. The parks are great, we love the splash pads, and all of the fun features that the parks offer. From swans to frisbee golf to turtles to those crazy climbing rope structures... the parks here have it all and we love it!

3) The community centers rock. The classes are inexpensive and fun. The instructors are great. And the open gym is a way fun way to spend time as a family. Las Vegas has community centers everywhere (there are 5 within 7 miles of our home). We also love all of the free programs they do!

4) It's beautiful. Not in the same way that Flagstaff was, but there is beauty in the red rocks, the stark mountains against the bright blue sky, and the sunsets. Sometimes when we drive up by the temple at night, and get a whole view of the city and the stars, it's just breathtaking. Beauty where you least expect it.

5) The breeze (okay, wind). It's hot here, but there is ALWAYS a breeze, and it takes the edge off of the heat. I don't even mind it (too much) when it's crazy windy!

6) The people. My sister-in-law told me when we moved here that people were really friendly, because most people migrate here from other cities, and everyone's looking for a friend. It's true. I am surrounded by good friends, from Adam's school, our ward, Mike's work, and our neighbors. People who look out for me, help me, and care about my family. When I am in a grocery store I always have at least one good conversation with a total stranger every time. Sweet, little old men who tell me how cute my kids are or other moms, who invite me to play groups with them. And I am constantly offered service from random strangers. A door held open, someone carrying Josh or pushing Grace on the swings.

7) Our ward. I think what I love about it so much is that there are no cliques. I am comfortable holding a conversation or sitting by anyone. I could call on any one for help if I needed it, and they would be there. I was overwhelmed when I had Josh by all of the offers. Our ward has truly become our family. When we moved in, we felt such an outpouring of love. And that love that we have felt (and the love that we have) has only grown through our callings and in the ward changes. I am going to have a serious time leaving someday.

8) The temple. I love the Las Vegas temple! It's so beautiful. We love walking the grounds as a family, and inside it's even better.

9) Ghetto life is exciting. I have experienced SWAT teams barreling through our lane on the road twice. Witnessed a bomb robot scoping out a mysterious package in a Walgreens by Mike's work. Helicopters looking for the bad guys in our hood at least once a week. And our recent experience with the shooting. It's a little scary, but it's never dull around here.

10) Adam's school. The school Adam is assigned to is awful. Over-run with gangs, hasn't met requirements in the past 3 years, violent. I was going to homeschool him, when I felt prompted to check out a charter school. We fell in love. It's project-based, and through making projects/presentations, he has grown SO much! His school's charter limits class sizes to 22 students (which is so much better than the 35-40 other schools have here). And the personalized math/reading classes have helped him to be able to learn so much! Plus, it's a good, safe environment, and he's had a wonderful learning experience there. I adore his school!!!

11) It's a 24-hour-a-day kinda town. I love that I can get anything I need to at any time of day.

12) The celebrity factor. I'm not one to get all excited about celebrities... I don't watch Extra, read People magazine, or care who's dating who. However, Las Vegas is a celebrity hot spot, and the kids and I have fun imagining just who is behind those dark tinted limos we see zipping around town.

13) The food. Yeah, we don't eat out anymore. But, the fact that we could get ANY type of food here... from Emeril's to Ethiopian cuisine, makes it so fun. Oh, and the Serendipity that they opened last year on the strip? Home of the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate? Yeah, I'm going to steal Mike away someday and break our eating out rule and get us one of those to share.

14) Local's discounts on the shows and attractions. Yeah, I haven't actually used this yet. BUT, it's been on my to-do list since the 8th grade to see The Phantom of the Opera, and I'm going to have to take advantage of our discount one of these days and check it off my to-do list at The Venetian.

I used to count down our days until Mike had worked at D.I. for two years, and we could leave. Now, I have such mixed feelings about it. When we are in Phoenix, I am so happy because we love our family and it would be so great to live by them! And then when we are here, and I think about our ward and Adam's school and our friends, and I realize that I love living here, too!

I'm not sure what our future holds (other than right now I know we need to be in Las Vegas still). But, whether we move in the future (or if we stay), I've learned that I can love wherever I live. That there are wonderful people in every city. Friends to be made, experiences to be had, fun to be shared.

It's just all about the attitude.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Cute Face

Josh makes this fun face, where he sucks in his bottom lip. It's SO adorable!

The first time he did it, Adam, Grace, and I were all playing with him, and we all about died. It was so cute! We made such a big deal out of it when he did it, that he will now do it on command.

We call it "the cute face".

Something which will probably give him issues someday. Becuase he's super-cute without making his cute face! Hopefully he doesn't think he's just cute while making it. ;)

He does know, though, that when he makes it we all squeal in delight and he can pretty much have whatever he wants.

We love it, and when my parents were visiting, my mom caught it on camera. SO cute!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ugly Ties = Doughnuts!

I always get so excited for Krispy Kreme's Father's Day tradition:

Give an ugly tie of Dad's, get a free dozen doughnuts.

Mike has so, so, so many ugly ties. And he won't get rid of any of them.

Unless there's a dozen doughnuts involved.

I am not a fan of his tie-fashions, so one less ugly tie for me to look at one Sundays (and some free doughnuts to boot), makes it a happy day for me. ;)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Library Concert

In lieu of doing "real" prizes for the summer reading program this year, our libraries are doing a lot of free concerts and fun programs for the kids instead.

Which is fun, because we love getting out and going to fun stuff.

But if you could have seen the look on Grace's face when she proudly handed her sheet in with 2 hours of reading, and she was handed back a sticker, you'd know how she felt about the whole "no real prizes" thing.


Anyways, one of the fun programs fell on a date that my parents were visiting, so we got to go with them to see Eric Herman.

We had so much fun! He was really funny!

Afterward, we did the whole getting-books-and-putting-together-puzzles thang.

And can I say how jealous I am of people who live with relatives in town who can help out once in a while? It was utter bliss not to have to chase after Adam and Grace and lug around Josh on my own. Seriously.

It makes me wonder how great doctor's appointments would be solo...