Friday, December 11, 2009

Eric's Birthday







We had a fun time celebrating Eric's Birthday this year. We went to eat at Axel's and made a chocolate cake, with a chocolate ice cream center, and chocolate frosting. The C3! The girls went shopping for him and chose some special gifts for him without any help. Katryn chose a running shirt and a race car. Lindsay: a cool new ruler and permanent pens. Mack: a BMW motorcycle, she made a Perler bead circle, and beach stickers. Nate: a blue race car. The kids all worked really hard to make Dad a humongous birthday card and Mack decorated the table with tape for the party ;-)

Happy Birthday Sweetheart! We love you!

Thanksgiving







This year for Thanksgiving we were so blessed to have Eric's sister's family come to visit from Washington. Melanee, Mark, Aaron and Ryan braved the cold to spend a week in Minnesota. The girls had a great time playing with their 'big kid cousins' and their uncle and aunt. :-) Nathan was thrilled to have the testosterone equal that of the estrogen. (5 guys + 5 girls=10) One night, Eric and the rest of the guys, went to a movie. As they were preparing to leave, Nate was visibly upset and I believe, knew he was the only guy staying home. He yelled quite a bit as they were leaving. I think the Mall of America was the highlight of the week (of course this doesn't count Thanksgiving) The Malmoe's went twice, a day of shopping and a day with us to do the fun stuff. My kids thought their cousin's were crazy to go on the 'super scary' rides. They put us to shame. :-) We also played Wii and they were a great audience for the kids' antics. Nathan misses all the attention he got from Mark and Melanee. Snuggling with Melanee and wrestling with Mark. Nathan also picked this week to take his first steps! Show off! Thank you for such a fun week. We love you and miss you!



Thanksgiving was wonderful! I confess I have never made my own turkey. That didn't change this year. Mark did a fantastic job on the turkey, stuffing and yams. Thank you! I only wish I'd remembered to get a picture before the carving commenced...thus the one sided pic. We had more food than we knew what to do with. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green been casserole, cranberry relish, rolls, yams, strawberry kiwi jello, pie and I am sure I am forgetting something else. Nate went crazy for the yams and the girls for the jello. Mmmm, it makes me hungry thinking about it. Needless to say, the house smelled wonderful. We were so thankful they came to spend the holiday with us.

Blessings

I am so thankful for this season, which encourages us to count our blessings and share them aloud. I am thankful for God, His Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer. The fact that they know me and my needs. I am thankful for my loving husband who is my champion and true companion. I am thankful for motherhood. It is the most rewarding and difficult experience of my life. I love my children so much, they teach me something everyday. There is true wisdom in the Bible when we were encouraged to be as little children. The way they view the world amazes me. I am so thankful for parents, mine and his. I am thankful for my family, those near and far and the love and support they give me. I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ, for prayer, for scriptures and for the Holy Spirit in my life to guide me. My heart is full of gratitude that I was blessed to live in this great country, for my freedoms, for volunteer soldiers who protect me and the weak in the world, for their families who sacrifice so much for them to do this for us. I am thankful for music, the way it can touch the soul and bring goosebumps of truth. I am thankful for the seasons, even winter, :-), the unique beauty that each brings. I am thankful for the trials in my life, they push me to grow and also help me to recognize the beauty in my life. I am thankful for chocolate, squishy new socks, electric blankets, hugs, washer/dryer, magic erasers, heated seats in my van, books, photos, journals, computers, fresh cut Christmas trees, hummingbirds, horses, light, food, education, self reliance, help, and love. I think I should make a 'counting my blessing' paragraph every month. The miracle of counting is once you start, there is no end. One thought triggers another, and that triggers ten more...my heart is full. I am blessed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cinderella Kissed a Fella...

Last night I went to a business dinner with Eric and visited with some of his colleagues. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed meeting some new people, including a couple of people visiting from England and Japan. The food was delicious and the company quite fun. The dinner ended a bit early in the evening and we have such a wonderful babysitter, so we went for dessert and additional 'alone' time. I love my husband. I love that we enjoy spending time together. I love that we can talk about most things and understand and appreciate each other's humor. I love being married. I love dating my husband. I love getting ready for a date. (I take the time to lose the mom ponytail, put on my makeup, shape and polish my nails, shave my legs, a hint of perfume and suddenly I remember a bit of the pre-kids me. The truth is, there is no one but myself keeping me at home in 'cinders', why don't I take the time to go out to a 'ball' more often. It feels good. Something else to add to my 'things I can do better' list.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grandma


Happy Birthday Grandma! My Grandma is wonderful and such an amazing example to me. She raised five boys and a daughter. (Yes, FIVE boys) My Grandma works at the Temple every week. She is an exceptionally strong woman who has always been very generous and loving to her family and those around her. As a child, I loved spending the night at her house and getting a warm glass of milk with some molasses stirred in before bed. One of my favorite memories was the time I was able to stay with her to be her helper for about a week after she had surgery. I loved all that one on one time. Grandma is also quite an artist, although she hasn't painted for years, I love her paintings of flowers. :-) Happy Birthday Grandma! Wish I were there to celebrate with you. I love you, see you at Christmas.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick or Treat!

The kids cleaning out Big Bertha, she weighed in at a whopping 31 lbs!








We had a wonderful Halloween! Katryn and Lindsay went as Princess Leia and Darth Vader respectively. Mackenzie was a fierce tiger and Nathan a very sweet scarecrow. We spent the morning carving our pumpkins and then the face painting. Eric took them out to trick-or-treat while Nathan and I manned our haunted house for trick-or-treaters. (Sadly, we only had about 15 total kids come to our place. We live in a very small neighborhood and most skip it in favor of the candy paradise across the main street from us. For example, they had no less then 100 carved jack o'lanterns lining the street) Our kids went to the homes in our neighborhood then went to the other one as well :-) It was wonderful! One of our neighbors sat out on a bench near the front door, looking very much like a scary statue. As the kids rang the doorbell, he asked them to get him some candy as well. Mackenzie was more than wary at any other sizable 'decorations', the rest of the night! After it was all over, much candy eaten, and counted, faces washed, bobby pins removed, we went our treaters off to bed with smiles on their faces.


I lamented that the variety of candy had greatly diminished. Not one piece of Brach's Royal Cremes (I love the Butter Rum and Raspberry), nor a piece of Pal gum, you know the one, chew it 25 times then the flavor is gone, mmmm and not single butterscotch. I was part of the problem. I succumbed to the Costco Chocolate bag, M&Ms galore, Snickers, Crunch bars, and the usual. I love Halloween candy. It is not always the best, but it is fun to have the variety once a year. Candy Corn :-) Next year, I am going to give a variety of candy, avoid the chocolate usuals and smile.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Warm Fuzzies

Monday night we had Family Home Evening (a night where we are together as a family, we have a lesson on a variety of subjects, do an activity and have a treat). Katryn was our teacher. Her lesson was on service. It was wonderful! She shared a couple of scriptures with us that explained the Lord's teachings on service. Then she also reminded us that the Prophet of our church, President Thomas S. Monson, had been interviewed prior to his birthday this year and was asked what he would like for his birthday. He asked that everyone preform a service for someone else. One congregation's children's group filled a jar with 'Warm Fuzzies'. Each fuzzy was representative of an act of service a child had preformed and then they mailed him the jar. Katryn loved this story and for our activity, we made our own Warm Fuzzies. We can either put our fuzzy somewhere to remind us to do nice things for others or we can leave a fuzzy for someone we did a service for. The girls had a great time yesterday with their Warm Fuzzies. They picked up the playroom without being asked, made a cute necklace, and they made my bed for me. :-) I had a darling note and Warm Fuzzies sitting on my bed. I was so touched and I certainly felt warm and fuzzy inside. My girls are so kindhearted and sweet. So far, our Warm Fuzzy experiment has been a success. Thank you darlings! I love you. You are such great examples to me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things

We went shopping at Walmart on Monday. As we were loading up the car and getting ready to go home, Lindsay asked me if I saved money. I said yes I did. Lindsay: Great!!! Now you can Live Better! (Walmart ad saying: Save money. Live better.)

Yesterday, Mackenzie asked if she could say the blessing on the food at lunch. As she finished her sweet prayer, instead of finishing with 'Amen', she gleefully said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, The End!" We'd been reading that afternoon and she loves the "The End" finale.

Whenever I say, I am out of time or need more time, Lindsay pipes up, "Buy some Claritin, it's like getting an extra two hours."
(As opposed to Alavert which takes longer to take effect.)

Mackenzie: I'm Drinky!
Mom: Stinky?
Mack: Drinky!!! I want some water!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

MEA

On the 15th and 16th, we had MEA days (Minnesota Education Association), where the students have two days off school while their teachers have the opportunity to attend a conference to continue their learning as teachers. On the 16th we had friends over to make Snickerdoodles. The Hobbs came, Bonnie, Andrew, Jacob and Danny and our neighbors, Kaleah and Isabella came. They made some very yummy cookies! If you think that looks like a lot of dough, you are right. I meant to double, somehow I doubled in each bowl, so yes, it was quadrupled, UG! ;-) The kids had a great time and really made some beautiful masterpieces. After we baked a few batches and sampled them :-), we went to McDonald's to play in the playland. They had a lot of fun despite the crummy cold weather. There was no way we could have baked all the cookies at once so we sent some dough home with the Hobbs and took some plates of cookies to Kaleah and Isabella.




Sunday, October 11, 2009

Birthday Boy!

Nathan is One! My baby is one! He is such a sweetheart, full of love, hugs, and mischief. Nathan is quite unique in our household. One, he is the only boy in the house with three sisters and two, he loves to watch football. We watch an occasional game, but they are few and far between. We noticed that as we were channel surfing, he would be mesmerized by football. He would literally stop playing and watch the game. So we decided this cutie, needed a football themed 1st Birthday party. We were so grateful Grampa was able to be here for the fun! After questioning his mother's sanity, Nathan decided he loved birthday cake and the ice cream. The ice cream was spit out immediately, then Nate realized how yummy it was and was quite upset when his serving was gone. He even licked his plate when he was done.

The Cake


The Song/Confusion


The Hat


The Question


The First Taste


The Revelation


The Party


The Aftermath


The Proud Parents


At Nathan's 'well child' checkup the next day, he measured the following:
30 3/4" height
21.8 lbs weight
19 cm head circumference
He is still cruising along the furniture and climbing anything he can get away with :-) He loves rolling balls and then chasing them down and rolling them again. (especially if one of his sisters is chasing it with him) Nathan gives very wet kisses, much like a puppy ;-) He loves ham, bananas, cheese, yogurt, birthday cake, and much much more. Nathan also loves to wave bye bye, say dada and mama, and snuggle.

Happy Birthday my sweet boy. You are still my baby. I love you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Whoooo Whooooooooo!

Nathan LOVES to read books. His favorite are the "Snappy" pop-up books. Lately, he has enjoyed just about anything. He just loves to be read to. Last night Mackenzie chose "Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo" by Kevin Lewis. (Wonderful read aloud with a fantastic rhythm, and the pictures are so bright and fun) Nathan has enjoyed this book the last few times we have read it. He crawled right over to us and lifted his right arm and did the 'pull the whistle' motion as we were chanting Whoooooo Whhhoooooo and pulling the whistle as well! So funny!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What did you do on the last rainy day?

Lindsay and Mackenzie took full advantage of the newly opened Halloween box. Nathan was an unwilling, yet curious participant. Poor Katryn had the flu and was holed up in her room. The giggles were infectious!







Tasting the Sweetness

“Inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions such as anger, hate, passion, fear or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeƱo pepper. Both flavors are present but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit.” -–Elder Richard G. Scott

What a beautiful explanation and reminder. I am so grateful for General Conference and the teaching I learned today.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sis. Julie B. Beck

On Saturday, September 19th, I had a unique opportunity to hear Sister Julie B. Beck speak in person. Sister Beck is the President of the Relief Society, the world wide women's organization for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. The building was packed! There were women that had driven over four hours to be there. A huge gathering of Christian women there to be edified and grow spiritually. It was beautiful. Sis. Beck shared many sweet, sometimes funny and often poignant stories. The meeting was a question and answer format. One question was, How can we avoid burnout and encourage those who are feeling that way? One of her many comments: "We as women impose things on ourselves that the Lord would never require of us." Also, we need to understand that we cannot do it all. There are times when we are faced with the difficult realization we need to choose between two worthy ways in which to spend our time. We were encourage to become 'experts' in personal revelation. So that when we pray to God, we can ask for help deciding how best to spend our time, and that we will be able to feel and know His desires for us. She reminded us that we should be an example of joyful gospel living. Living a Christian life brings joy. If we begin to feel overwhelmed, one idea she suggested was making three columns for our 'to do lists'. Essential (things we need to do for eternal life), i.e. prayer, reading scriptures, perhaps service or temple work, this lift should be short. Should Do: Go to work, feed family, housework, etc. , Nice to Do: hobbies, etc. Accomplishing the Essentials gives us strength to accomplish the Shoulds. Prioritizing has always been a challenge for me. Perhaps this will help me. One sister asked about feelings guilt in our lives. The response: The feelings of "I'm not good enough" are damaging, feelings of "You can do better, and I will help you." are from the Lord and are pushing us to grow.

One of my favorite moments was when we were reminded that the Savior leads by influence not force. I thought this was an appropriate reminder for me as a mother. We are all much more likely to Choose the right paths in our lives if we are guided not forced. Of course, my kids still have to go to bed on time, but I am resolving to use influence whenever practical. He truly is our perfect example.


NOT QUITE AN ANGEL

During the meeting, Sis Beck shared a story when she was with two other women at a restaurant and the waitress asked them if they were "Nuns or something", surprised, they said no, but asked why she thought that as they weren't wearing any religious items. The waitress said, "I don't know, you just look spiritual or something." After the meeting, I went to dinner with two of my friends, as the three of us walked up to the restaurant, we joked that perhaps someone might ask if we were nuns (we were dressed in our Sunday best). Instead, as we walked in, the waitress exclaimed, "So you would like to sit at the bar?!" Well to say we were surprised, was an understatement. We managed to ask for a booth instead and laughed constantly for the next 15 minutes. Our poor waitress probably thought we must have already visited a bar elsewhere. We could barely talk we were laughing so hard. I guess we need to work on looking more spiritual. I am thinking of writing Sis. Beck to share our version of the story. Nuns? I guess not.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

11 Months on the 11th!


You have to admit, he is yummy!

My sweet pea is almost one! This next month better go by slowly. He loves to climb the stairs (and fall down them). Fortunately, his sisters, especially Mackenzie, keep a close eye on him as he bee lines it for the stairs. Mack calls out "Mom! Dad! Nate's in trouble!" Nathan is now crawling on his hands and knees and he still continues to army crawl. He is climbing on anything he can and is very impatient to grow, grow, grow! He is a sweetheart and finally started saying Mama! I think Nathan's favorite new skill however, is screaming. He especially loves to screech in the car. Let's just say it is a talent to reach the notes he does. :-) I love my Little Boy Blue.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It was just yesterday...

Eight years ago today, I woke to an absolutely beautiful clear morning in New Rochelle, NY. I'd actually had a fairly good night's sleep. Katryn was 6 months old and finally getting some sleep. My parents had left the day before. They had come to New York for Katryn's baby blessing and we had had a wonderful visit. I was sitting on the couch nursing Katryn and watching the "Today Show". I had just said to myself how nice it was they were doing a follow up show to see how people had bettered their lives since they had last done a particular story on them. Then "Breaking News". I said give me a break. Rarely did I think breaking news was really worthy of "breaking in". Wait. I see a horrible picture: the World Trade Center was on fire, there had been a horrible accident. A small plane had inadvertently crashed into the South Tower. I sadly continued to watch, thankful it was still a bit early and knowing it could have been so much worse. Then the unthinkable, in horror I watch a second plane crash into the other tower! I screamed. We were under attack?! Katryn started to cry. I put her down and ran to the phone. I frantically call Eric, he had left only 30 minutes before. He needed to get off the train. I was sure Grand Central or the Empire State Building was next. I dropped to my knees when his cell phone started ringing next to me. Eric NEVER forgot his phone. Why today?! I left a message at his office. What now? I called my neighbor upstairs. We cried. We sat in silence on the phone watching the horror unfold. The Pentagon, Flight 93, and incredulously, the collapse of the towers. Rapid fire thoughts were streaming through my head. We had celebrated our anniversary the year before at the Windows on the World, the restaurant on the top of the North tower. Eric called, he was safe. Everyone was crowded into the conference rooms with the view and also watching the television in the break rooms. When Eric was interviewing for positions in NYC, one firm he was very interested in was located in the WTC. I said no way. Those thoughts kept running through my mind. My daughter still had her father, I had my husband, my in-laws still had their son. Why? The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. Phone calls to and from loved ones. Yes, we were safe. Phone calls to our friends and neighbors, everyone was safe and accounted for, everyone we knew anyway. Went to my neighbors to take turns watching the news and our children. What could I do? Would 'they' let me donate blood? I was still nursing. What could I do to help? I prayed. I paced. I rocked my baby. I cried. When would the miraculous rescues be reported. Of course there would be scores rescued....Who would......Why would they.....

They didn't count on the fact that this is America, home of the brave, land of the free. These are not words of rhetoric, they are words of fact. We always get back up and brush ourselves off. We have heroes, most of which are unsung, unknown, still they are my heroes. Our military, police and fire services are amazing. Thank you for your service. We will stand. We will remember. I remember.

God Bless the USA.

The Sphere by Fritz Koenig, meant to be a symbol of peace. Once found in the WTC Plaza now found in Battery Park

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lindsay's First Day of Kindergarten!






Yes, I cried. Several times. Repeatedly. My little Lindsay was off to Kindergarten today. She took the bus with me following close behind. ;-) Her teacher is Mrs. Blomquist. Lindsay was so excited, I am almost certain she had no qualms. A parent was allowed to ride the bus today with their child. Since Eric had to go to work early, I just followed with all our kids in tow :-). As I followed, I was surprised to see how many old friends from the last two preschool classes were on our route. As everyone got off the bus, I was snapping pictures and a sweet woman came up to me, introduced herself and asked if I were Lindsay's mom. Surprised, I said I was and then one of the other moms I knew broke in laughing and said all the kids got on the bus and excitedly said "Lindsay! or HI LINDSAY!" (she was sitting up front), all but one that is. Then the other mom said yes that was my son! We didn't want to be left out so we had to meet Lindsay and her mom!

I interviewed Linds when she got home. Favorite part of the day: Playing outside. What she learned: How to use the bathroom sign, red means someone is inside and green means you can go in. Most surprising thing: Another girl named Isabella (we have a neighbor with the same name). How was your day?: I loved it!