Saturday, April 28, 2012

80 Days of Summer

My kiddos don't get out of school until June 7th.

Unfortunately, I was kind of gone after spring break.

Spring break is such a tease...

... no schedules, no homework, lots of fun...

And then... wham!

After 7 days of bliss, you get thrown back into it all.

Anyways, my kids have been talking non-stop about the fun we had last summer with our 79 Days of Summer.

(I think Spring Break teased them, too).

So, we're doing it again!

For 80 DAYS this time... one activity for each day of summer.

Wahoo for getting my kiddos an extra day this summer!

click to enlarge

I'm going to print it out at Sam's Club as a 16x20 poster, and keep track of our fun all summer long.  SO excited for summer in our NEW place!

Are YOU guys getting excited too?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ward Picnic

Our ward had a fun picnic tonight.  Mike had to work, so I took the kids by myself.  We had sooo much fun!

I got to talk to friends and the kids got to run around and play with their friends.

And we all ate yummy food.

Have I said lately how ridiculously much I love my ward?

Because I totally do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Overwhelmed with Gratitude

A sweet woman in our ward is moving to Utah, and is leaving her way-too-cute house behind to be rented out.  She had asked us a while ago to come and look at it, but we kind of put her off; the rent was $300 more a month than we were paying now (plus the extra utilities and deposit), and there was no way we could afford it.  She asked us again recently, so we decided to just go and look for fun, knowing we would have to say 'no'.

The house was so ridiculously darling, and I fell in love with it.  It's 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1400 square feet, with a backyard.  A huge change from our 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 750 square feet!  She told us if we did all of the yard work, and because she trusted us, that she would lower the rent to $800.  Thinking that we still couldn't afford that, we told her we would think about it.

We came home and plugged the numbers into our Excel budget... and they all worked.  Yeah, we would have to be extremely frugal, but they worked.

We prayed and it felt so right.


We have thought about moving a lot these past few years.

We have lived in our apartment for over 4 years (the longest we have lived at any place during our marriage), and it's been really hard. 

Our neighbors are crazy. 

We wake up daily to beer cans thrown on our porch.  The neighbor next door has a dog that barks constantly (and a dad that screams even more).  The neighborhood kids are so awful, that after the 3rd time Adam got hurt in a fight, I stopped letting them go outside. 

And the drama.

Good gravy, am I ever so completely exhausted by the sadness of people's poor choices. 

Especially when it involves children.

It just makes me heartsick what I see here sometimes.

(Not to mention the time that a man was shot and killed a short distance from our house, the SWAT team visits, the time our neighbor's apartment was deliberately set on fire in revenge, the break-ins, and the police that are always here).

I have some stories, let me tell ya.

Anyways, we have looked and prayed a lot about moving, but it never, ever felt right.

Until now.


We knew Mike would have to get a second job in order to have the deposit. 

He has looked for a second job several times over the past few years, to help with our medical debt and bills, but with his varying schedule, nothing ever worked out.

Except for plasma selling, of course.

(It's what all the cool kids at D.I. do).


So, knowing that our move totally depended on a second job, he began looking.

He looked Craigslist, and there was an advertisement for a Night Auditor at Red Roof Inn for Sunday and Mondays only.

We could NOT believe how perfect that was; besides a lack of sleep (he would work midnight to 8am those days), it would work perfectly with his schedule.

Not to mention the fact that 12 years ago, he was a Night Auditor.  At Red Roof Inn.

He went in for an interview, and the manager hired him on-the-spot.


Initially, we weren't moving in until July, so we thought we would have plenty of time to come up with the "standard" 2 months ($1600) deposit.

Then, we got a call from our friend, asking if we could move in June 1st.

Which gave us just a little over a month to get it together.

Worried, I asked her how much she wanted for the deposit.

She told us $500.

Which would be just right for what he would bring home in a month from Red Roof Inn.


Then I called our landlord, worried that since we were backing out of our lease 2 months early, they were going to charge us a huge penalty.

They told us that since we had been excellent renters (and because of all of the problems that Adam has had with the neighborhood kids), not to worry about it.

There would be no penalty.


So, we are packing.  Cleaning.  Getting busy around here.

Going to live a dream that I honestly thought would never happen:

Living in a house.

{Not to be negative, but I honestly thought we would never live in a house.  Mike's working his dream job, so I would never want him to leave.  He also works for the church, and you know how stingy Mormons are (jk).... so we aren't exactly going to be millionaires ever.  And I'm okay with that.}

I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for these HUGE blessings.

Completely overwhelmed.

So overwhelmed, that I keep randomly bursting into tears at the thought of how much we have been blessed.


The other day Adam had a really, really good day at school, and I told him to remember it in his heart, so that the next time he has as stinky day at school (because he he has those sometimes, too), he can remember that there are completely great days, too.

I've been thinking that I need to apply what I told him in my own life:

That I need to hold this experience dear to me, so that the next time we have some hard times and trials, that I can remember that prayers are answered, that the clouds will part, that the sun will come out eventually...

... and completely, awesome, wonderful things happen in life, too.


I have been feeling a lot like Charlie lately, when he found out he won Mr. Wonka's chocolate factory:

"Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted."

"What happened?"

"He lived happily ever after.”

Friday, April 20, 2012

Inside-Out Day

All week the kids' school focused on helping others.  They raised money for March of Dimes, gathered food for a local food bank, and learned about being kind to everyone.  Today, they got a free dress "Inside Out" day, because "it's what's on the inside that counts."

It was a good week.

And Grace would never let Josh miss out on the fun, so she dressed him inside-out today, too.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


We were afraid we weren't going to be able to go to the park today, for our Sunday play, in-between Mike's scout meetings and Josh's nap.

Luckily, we squeezed it in.


Getting energy out at the park is the only thing that makes Sundays-evening-with-5-people-crammed-into-750-square-feet-of-apartment bearable.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mall Night

We had planned on going to the park tonight, but it was cool and rainy.

So, we made it a mall night instead.

We looked at the animals:

Played on the newspaper-themed play area:

And the kids got a lollipop from See's Candy.

Apparently, Adam wasn't a big fan of the new "chocolate caramel" flavor.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Adam and his friends are very much into secret codes and spies right now.

They are always making up new secret codes and solving mysteries.

I found this one tucked into his shorts pocket the other day, and it just made me grin.

(He and his friends are also very, very much into the word "epic", too... I'm pretty sure every other sentence Adam uses has the word "epic" in it.  I keep meaning to ask his teacher how she feels about that word.)


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Eggs

We colored our eggs last night, as our traditional day-after-Easter FHE activity.

The kids each got a dozen eggs, because these kids LOVE hard-boiled eggs as snacks, and I knew that they would all be eaten!

We all had a really fun time!

Adam, my little artist, took a long time, getting his eggs just right...

... while Josh happily plopped all of his in green and called it good.

Such a fun tradition AND my fridge is full of after-school healthy snacks. 

Happy day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thanks for Hitting Our Car!

On the way home from school today, another driver in our neighborhood bumped the back of our car.  It wasn't a big deal, and didn't leave a mark or anything, but the other driver felt bad.

So, he gave the kids each $1 for ice cream treats from the "ice cream man."

They were pretty happy about it all, and wanted to go on another drive around the neighborhood, in hopes that someone else would hit us.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

We did a "countdown to Easter" of sorts again this year.  Each night, beginning last Sunday, we used pictures and read scriptures about the Savior's last week.  We kept the pictures up on the shelf above the fireplace, and it was a great reminder throughout the week, of what we were really celebrating.

This morning, we woke up and put our resurrection rolls in the oven.  While they baked, we read about the Savior's resurrection, and then we all shared our testimonies about the Savior.  It was really special.

Then we raced to get ready.

I was able to sew Grace a dress, ties for Adam and Josh, and a headband for me.  It all came together so easily.  As cheesy as it sounds, I really feel like it was because I prioritized my talk.  Grace's dress only took 3 hours, which is a record for a slow sewer like me.  ;)

The only thing I didn't finish was a tie for Mike.  Men's ties are a little more complicated than I realized.  He had a tie that matched perfectly, though, so it worked out.

We got ready so quickly, that I failed to get individual pictures of Adam, who was inside getting his hair "approved."


My talk went well, church was wonderful, we came home for naps and Easter dinner (we had ham sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls, potato salad, and strawberries), and then went to the temple for our Easter walk.

I LOVE doing the Easter walk each year, and finding things in nature that represent the sacrifice the Savior made for each of us.

Josh picked a flower, and I couldn't even get upset because he said it was for me.  It was too sweet!

Afterward, we came home and had carrot cake while we watched The Testaments.

It was such a special day.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity we had this week to teach our children about our Savior and share our testimonies that He lives!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Easter Bunny Came!

For the past 2 years, I have wanted to do the more "secular" parts of Easter (i.e. the Easter Bunny) on Saturday, keeping it separate from Sunday, and the reverent feeling I wanted to be in our home for that special day.

It finally worked out, and it was great!

Grace was SO excited that the Easter bunny would be coming a day early, that she could not sleep.  It was too cute!

The kids woke up to their Easter baskets.  They each got swimsuits, a kite, and candy.

Then they went on an Easter egg hunt throughout our home.  They had so much fun!

Afterward, we had pancakes for breakfast, played, cleaned, sewed, and went shopping.

Well, I sewed, anyways.


I love Easter baskets and egg hunts, but I think that we will continue doing those fun things on Saturday, so we can focus on the Savior on Easter Sunday.

Friday, April 6, 2012

On Friday of Spring Break...

Last night I got a call from the member of the bishopric, asking me to speak in church on Sunday.

He said that he felt inspired that I should speak.

Darn it!  I hate when they throw that "inspired" stuff at ya... how could I turn that down.


I really, really wanted to sew Grace an Easter dress (and ties for the boys and a headband for me), but I knew that preparing a 20-minute talk would take a lot of time.

Especially, since I hadn't started on the Easter clothes yet.

But, I fasted and prayed all day today.  I felt like if I did my talk first, it would all work out.

The talk came together perfectly.

It was about "What Does the Atonement Mean to You."

I remembered stories and experiences that I could share, scriptures and conference talks that all applied.

I wrote it all day, finishing at about 5:00.  Then, I began sewing.

The kids while I did all of this?

Mike took them back to the super-cool park at Town Square that we visited at Christmas-time.

Which (to their happy surprise) had the water feature turned on.

They had a fun picnic, played, and got wet for hours.

When they came home, we had our traditional Friday night movie night.

It was a really fun day for them (and for me, a day of spiritual growth).

I ended up being incredibly grateful at the chance I was given to speak, and the chance I was given to reflect on what the Atonement meant personally to me.

P.S.  Don't tell anyone in my bishopric that.

P.P.S. It's really not that great, but if you want a copy of my talk, just ask in the comments, and I will email it to you.  (This probably only applies to my mom and dad).  ;)