Sunday, February 28, 2010

Family Fun

The other day it had seemed to warm up a bit, so we decided to take a little trip to the grocery store on our bikes (only a mile away). Unfortunately we discovered that piece which attaches the bike trailer to a bike was missing, so we settled for me running with the trailer (carrying Grins and Wiggles inside) and Angel hooked up to the Mr. on her new tagalong (courtesy of Santa). She was SUPER nervous the entire time ("Don't go so fast, Daddy!" "AAAAAAAAhhhh! I'm scared!" "Don't go so close to the street!" "Don't go down such a steep hill!") but afterward she went on and on about how much fun it was. We were so proud of her for sticking it out! Grins and Wiggles were as good as can be, just sitting in the trailer giggling the entire ride. Now if only I can get in better shape, we'll have to do this more often! :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Funnies

The things my children say may not be nearly as funny to others as they are to me, but I never want to forget them; they make me laugh so much! I feel like that's all I've been posting about lately, so I've decided to consolidate all the funny things they say into one post per week: Friday Funnies. Here are a few things that made us laugh (or sometimes just say "awwwww") this past week:


"Mommy, each kiss holds a little piece of your heart."

"Crab walking is like crawling except you are inside-out."

(upon arising early in the morning, crying) "Mommy, please don't go to work today! I had a terrible dream that you left and never came back because the police took you away because you were smoking."


"Woah! We shot that rocket up to Heaven so Heavenly Father and Jesus can catch it!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010


(Angel came out in the morning and saw Daddy praying so she decided to join him.)

Recently, we had a Family Home Evening on the proper anatomy of a prayer. Since then, Angel and Grins have been putting much more thought into their prayers, which has been very sweet....most of the time. The past few evening prayers offered by Grins, however, ended something like "Please help me to have (Spiderman, Batman or Superman) dreams tonight!....Amen" Thoughtful? Yes. Reverent? Not so much.

Also, the other night when I knelt with Grins in his bed and said "OK, time for evening personal prayer" he folded his arms, bowed his head, and sat quietly. After a moment of silence I urged "Go ahead." to which he replied "Shh! I'm saying my prayers like Daddy." "What?" I wondered. "I'm saying them really, really quiet like Daddy." I then realized that the kids often see the Mr. say his own prayers silently. I thought that was cute.

Then, today, Grins announced "I'm going to sing 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' all by myself. Listen. Don't help me." He then began singing, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.....wait. I need to start over again. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are...shining for the whole world to the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Apparently, prayers are on Grins' brain lately! :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On babies and tummies

This morning we saw our neighbor leave for the hospital to have her baby. We watched her and then Grins said "Mommy, is it going to hurt her so bad? Will she cry?" We discussed babies and childbirth, and since then, pregnancy has been on the brain

A short time later, while sitting on the counter helping me make lunch, Grins patted my stomach and asked, "Mommy, is there a baby in your tummy?" "I don't think so," I responded (I'm used to this as he asks fairly often). He then proceeded to kick me (gently) in the stomach. Surprised, I asked "Why did you do that?" "I just didn't want to hurt the baby so I asked first" he said. Completely out of nowhere. It was hilarious.

Angel, sitting next to Grins and hearing our conversation wondered aloud, "If there's no baby in your tummy, why does your tummy stick out a little bit?" Since I try very hard to portray a healthy self-image in front of my children, I was trying to think of an appropriate (non self-deprecating) response when she suddenly exclaimed "I know, it's a little tummy cushion!" It actually makes that annoying, impossible-to-get-rid-of, post-baby bump sound kind of cute, don't you think? So, there you have it folks - apparently, I have a tummy cushion. But I'm OK with that - evidence of the three beautiful children I have helped bring into this world. And that is worth every inch. (mostly :) )

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flashback - Driving home from Oregon

The good news is that, thanks to my brother Daniel, our computer is now up and running again and he managed to salvage most of what was on it. The bad news is that we still lost quite a few pictures. We backed everything we have up, but in light of this, I'm going to start posting old photos so that, should anything like this recur in the future, we'll have at least some documentation of our childrens' childhood! :)
This past Christmas the Mr. had several interviews in Portland, OR the week before Christmas, so we decided to make a trip out of it. His last interview was the 23rd, and we had initially planned on leaving right after the interview in order to make it home by Christmas Eve, but the interview ran late so we ended up leaving Christmas Eve. We try to avoid driving 'straight through' (12 hours in the car is LONG, especially with Wiggles!) so we decided to stay in Boise (courtesy of Mom and Dad Stout - thank you!!!!)

So, we ended up spending Christmas Eve in a hotel (to stretch our little legs and get some sleep!) and driving home Christmas Day. Fortunately our kids are still young enough they didn't realize it, so we just had our own little Christmas Eve on the 25th once we were home, and Christmas morning on the 26th and they were none the wiser. (We felt bad about making all the hotel and gas station workers work on Christmas - we gave everyone little Christmas goodies and hoped they were making some good over time!) It was sort of an adventure trying to stock up on everything we would need for our drive (food, etc) on Christmas Eve - Walmart was the only place open and they ended up closing an hour early so we had less than 2 minutes in the store, meaning we had to literally run in and grab whatever we could find for dinner, breakfast and lunch the next day (not knowing what restaurants would be open on Christmas) - which was no small feat since the shelves were almost completely empty. We sort of felt like contestants on Supermarket Sweep. Both the Mr. and I ended up grabbing caesar salads so we had salad coming out our ears but not much else. The kids aren't huge salad fans but we managed to survive without going hungry, and it was so funny.

The highlight of the trip was, of course, the swimming pool! (our kids love to swim even more than they love to breathe, it seems!) Since it was Christmas we nearly had the hotel to ourselves, and in our hours at the pool we never saw another soul, so it was nice. The funny thing was that I somehow forgot to pack swimming suits. Strange, I know - what was I thinking?! We realized this moments before we left my parent's house in Oregon so we ransacked my mom's 'extra clothing' box and found 2 pairs of boys trunks, a girls top and another girls suit. The girls suit would have fit Angel but we had to do a little rearranging as you can see in the following pictures. We didn't have any swim diapers either (and didn't have time to grab them in our mad dash in Walmart) so with the combination of a water-loaded diaper and a 3-sizes-too-big suit, it was a miracle Wiggles stayed covered! :) I borrowed one of my sister's suits but the poor Mr. had to wear his only pair of shorts (and therefore ended up driving home in wet, wet shorts! :) Overall, this certainly tops the list for one of our most adventurous and hilarious family trips!

Toward the end of the trip, Grins was so tired he fell asleep with a cheesestick in his hand. I thought it was so funny I had to take a picture.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Match Day

Match Day is less than 4 weeks away and I am starting to have dreams about it now! Since I've had several questions about how this all works, I thought I'd briefly explain: (FYI if you're interested)

After 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical school, you graduate and are finally a Medical Doctor (M.D.) But you can't really practice medicine (at least on your own) until you have completed a Residency (additional, more specific training). So, in your last year of medical student, you apply to residency programs in the field of your choice. You complete applications, take exams, write essays, get letters of recommendation, and then, if selected, interview with various Residency programs. After interviewing, you compare and contrast the various programs with which you have interviewed, and come up with a "Match List" - a list of the programs you would like to attend, from your #1 choice down to your least favorite (but all of which you must be willing to be a part of for the next 3 to 6 years, depending on program length). The programs also make a list of their preferred applicants, and the lists go into a big computer program which 'matches' them all up. So, each applicant gets accepted to only one program, and that is where they must go.

This is a wee bit stressful for us, trying to determine which programs to rank so that 1) the Mr. will get the best training, 2) we find the best environment in which to raise our children (at least for the next several, formative years of their little lives, 3) which programs will be best for the Mr.'s careers as a whole (post-residency Fellowship opportunities and job market), etc. We realize it is not entirely up to us (some people match to their last or low-ranked programs) and strongly believe that the Lord is over all, but we want to make the most educated decision possible.

We submit our list in 2 days. Any final words of wisdom from anyone?

Oh, and I've noticed several votes for Maine. I have personally never been to Maine, though it has always appealed to me, but I'm wondering if any of you have specific reasons for voting for it???

Speak now or forever hold your peace. :)

Lessons in Sign Language

Yesterday the Mr. walked by our apartment and, through the window, saw Angel and Grins playing in their bedroom. He tapped on the window and held up his hand in the universal sign for "I love you":Grins looked up from his K'nex, smiled at the gesture, then, with his hugest grin ever and all the love he could muster, responded with this:

(He was innocently intending to return the "I love you" sign, by the way - he is completely oblivious to the fact that some hand gestures are less than kind.)

(By the way, is anyone else having problems posting pictures on blogger lately? The past few days, I can't arrange my pictures on my posts at all - which is why, you'll notice, there are two identical pictures in this post - the only way I could get text above the picture was to sandwich it between 2 pics, and now it won't let me erase the first one. Very strange. Ironic, now that I have so many pictures to post, I can't post them! Just wondering if it's a systemwide problem or my own little glitch. Thanks!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wiggles the blue-eyed reindeer

My parents have a cute, miniature sleigh in their Christmas things that they've had for years - I remember it being under the tree every Christmas of my childhood for as long as I can remember. This past Christmas, Wiggles fell in love with it. She wanted to sit in it 24 hours a day. If anyone tried to remove her from it - or take it away - she threw an enormous fit. It was hilarious. We finally gave in and, except for meals or sleep, left her alone. And when we finally found some reindeer antlers I just couldn't resist. (It's funny, in this picture she totally has the 'deer in the headlights' look since she just unrolled every bit of ribbon she could get her hands on)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dancing the Day Away

This picture is from exactly one year ago -
Angel was dressed up as a ballerina so Grins decided he wanted to be a ballerina as well. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for him) this picture doesn't do justice to his black hair ribbon and black tutu (although you can see them if you look very closely.)

Today, Angel stepped out of her room donning her too-small tutu, wanting desperately to learn to dance like a "real" ballerina. To begin, we looked up "nutcracker" on youtube and watched a portion of the dance of the sugar plum fairies featuring Natalya Arkhipova. Grins watched for a moment then said "That's a MOMMY, not a girl" ('Mommy' in this case is code for 'woman' as opposed to young girl). He watched, enchanted, and then said "She is SO beautiful. I just want to.....(a short pause during which I was nervous about what he might come up with)...I just want to dance with her, she's so beautiful."

That's my little gentleman for you. He never fails at making me smile.

Angel then said "I want to dance with her, too!" To which Grins replied "No, girls don't dance with girls! She's mine!"

Later, as we tried to repeat her repeated twirling-in-a-circle (she probably spun at least 20 times in a row! I'm sure there's a dance term for it), none of us could spin more than a few times before falling due to dizziness. Angel remarked "That ballerina must have spun at least 13 times! She must be undizzy-able!"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love Valentine's Day - I don't consider myself super romantic, but I love that there is a special occasion to say "I love you" to the important people in your life. Although the Mr. and I did enjoy an evening out with just the two of us, we mostly celebrated as a family. I love watching our children get into the holidays; holidays are SO much more fun with kids! This year, at the request of Angel, we had a "pink and red" dinner, which consisted of Raspberry chicken, pink mashed potatoes, rolls with strawberry jam, cabbage (dyed pink), beets, fresh strawberries, sparkling cranberry juice, and raspberry danish dessert. Then the "love bug" hit our home, leaving a web of strings throughout the house, one string for each person leading to their Valentine treat. We finished off the evening with my favorite part; the family 'gift' exchange. Last week, I let Angel and Grins each pick valentine 'gifts' for each family member - they ended up choosing treats rather than actual gifts, but it was so cute: They each chose a heart Pez dispenser for their sibling (probably because they each wanted one themselves, but it was very thoughtful). They each got Reese's pieces for the Mr. (they obviously know him well) and a heart of chocolates for me. My favorite, though, were the cards they made (especially Angel). I suggested they write the person's name on the front of the heart, and then something they loved about the person on the back. Grins needed some coaxing but Angel worked independently for nearly an hour and I was so impressed with her thoughtfulness.


Mom - I love your kindness.
"Dab" (the one word he actually wrote) - I love Daddy the most.
Angel - I love her because she's kind.
Wiggles - She's SO cute.


Mom - "i love U bEcus U Drus ep" (I love you because you dress up with me.)
Dad - "i love U bab! bEcus u ticel Me" (I love you dad because you tickle me)
Grins - "i love U BYCUS U MAK Me LAF" (I love you because you make me laugh.)
Wiggles - "i love U BEecus u LAF AT JOCS" (I love you because you laugh at my jokes.)

Oodles of hugs and kisses were shared, songs about love and family were sung, and Angel and Grins informed us that they "love Heavenly Father and Jesus most of all, more than anyone or anything else in the whole wide world." We have such amazing children and such a happy family! I love it! :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Something Heavy

Tonight while getting ready for bed, Angel came to me and said, "I'm carrying something heavy in my heart." "Oh no! That's too bad! Would you like to tell me about it?" I asked, wondering what she was worried about. "It's a feeling, a heavy, sad feeling inside my heart." "Why?" I inquired. "It's a heavy, sad feeling about [Grins] not wanting to wear the jammies I picked out for him."

Wow. If only my greatest sadness were such.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Sisters

I have been so blessed with such wonderful sisters...some through birth, others through marriage. My sweet sisters Mary and Niesha heard that my birthday was boring and uneventful and they wanted me to feel special, so they surprised me with a birthday visit, complete with balloons, lunch and treats, today. It was SO unexpected and SO sweet! I love the Mr's side of the family SO much! It's incredible how well we all get along. If we have to leave Utah it will be painful. We are having the hardest time putting our match list together because we have two great families, miles apart, and we want to live near both!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Autism and Vaccinations

Alison Singer, co-founder and president of the Autism Science Foundation (She also has a daughter and an older brother with autism), speaks out on the risk of autism in response to vaccinations here.

Check it out!

New Quiet Time Idea

Grins woke up SO early today that he fell asleep in the car on our way home from an activity at NOON! This is SO unlike him - I can rarely get him to fall asleep for his nap before 2 or 3 (and by then it's too late; if he naps then he's up all night!) Even though he's at the "nap vs no nap" transition stage, I still (try to) enforce a "Quiet Time" with the older 2 - reading books or playing quietly in their beds or mine for about an hour. Lately I've been feeling under the weather and needing naps of my own so when the kids actually adhere to "Quiet Time" guidelines (as in, they are QUIET and not fighting or screeching with laughter at one another's hilariousness) it is quite nice.

Today, however, was HEAVEN. Since Grins had already taken a nap, I was worried I wouldn't be able to convince him to have quiet time. Initially he resisted, but when I told him he could sit in my bed and read with me, he finally consented. Then he noticed a bottle of lotion on my nightstand. "Can I have some lotion?" he asked. "Sure." I replied, hoping it would buy me a few minutes of quiet. A minute later my quiet was interrupted with "Can I rub it on you, Mommy?" "OK" I again consented, hoping for at least another minute of shut-eye. What ensued then was the heavenly part. He proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes or so softly rubbing my arms, hands, feet, back and legs. It was the most soothing 10 minutes I've had all week! It was awesome! My own little personal Quiet Time Masseuse - and free, no less! Why didn't I think of this before?! I think we'll need to make this a daily tradition. :) OK, let's face it, the novelty would wear off really fast for Grins, but it was certainly a sweet little moment today. I love my little man!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

This Boy keeps me laughing...

So, I realize most of my posts lately have been about Grins, but he is just at the age of hilarious little sayings and I've got to write them down while they're fresh in my mind. So, forgive me for the repetition, but at least my kids are creative, right??....

The other night, while snuggling together in his bed, Grins said:
G: "I can't wait until I grow up into a Daddy!"
Me: "Why? What do you want to do as a Daddy that you can't to right now?"
G: "Sleep in YOUR bed with you!"

(After sneezing): "Excuse me, I blessed!" (he calls sneezes "bless"-es, because we say "bless you" after one.

(In response to me wincing and rubbing my thigh after banging it on the chair) "Oh Mommy, is your CHUB ok?" (It took me a minute to realize what he was saying and then I put it all together: I am constantly pinching Wiggles' thighs and saying "I love this little CHUB!!!!" - so Grins's interpretation was that chub=thigh. And, unfortunately, my thighs support this theory. :) Still, I find it funny.

On the way to a friend's Retirement Party, the children asked "What does 'retirement' mean?" I explained that Retirement is when a (usually "mature") person has worked for a long time and is ready to stop working and stay home. The kids (especially Angel) could simply not grasp this concept: "But, WHY would they want to do that? What are they going to do staying at home all day? That does not sound fun at all! Why are they having a party about that?...."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

29 {gasp}

So, today I'm another year older, which causes me to pause and think. What have I learned this past year?

Well, this may be a short list for 365 days worth of lessons, but off the top of my head (and in no particular order), I've learned that:

~ My children matter more to me than ANYTHING else. And I should certainly treat them as such.
~ I have the most incredible husband I could ever have hoped for. He is truly wonderful.
~ I am starting to get wrinkles. I don't like it.
~ My testimony is strengthened through trials. I wish it didn't take trials for it to grow stronger, but I am grateful for any opportunity to strengthen my testimony, so "come what may"...
~ I don't care nearly as much about what other people think as I used to (but I still probably care more than I should!)
~ My children are SO MUCH FUN! I seriously LOVE spending time with them!
~ I think I should put more into relationships with friends, because they really enrich my life in so many ways!
~ I need to be more sensitive to the needs of those around me. (In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion." )
~ I should back up my computer. MUCH more often!
~ I actually like living in Utah. I never thought I would, but now it feels like home!!
~ I need to get better at letting go of objects - decluttering, etc. Why am I such a packrat? I guess moving is good for something!
~ I have actually really enjoyed our medical school life! I can honestly say I'm going to miss it! (parts of it, at least)
~ I need to exercise more. I'm getting better at it...but still have much room for improvement.
~ I still want to run a marathon. c'mon, woman, get going already!!!!
~ I am completely at peace with my life right now.
~ I am not a perfect mother, and that's ok. I really am doing my best (most days....)!
~ My mother is amazing. I don't have any idea how she has pulled off everything she has, and how she is still going so strong! I respect her more than almost anyone else I know. ("All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my Angel Mother." ~Abraham Lincoln)
~ I love reading.
~ I love sewing.
~ I love cooking.
~ I love having babies and raising children. It is SO hard sometimes, but more fulfilling and rewarding than anything I've ever done or could ever hope to do. Truly!
~ I wish I had more patience, especially with my children. I am REALLY working on that.
~ There is SO much beauty and goodness in the world.
~ I have so many ideas of things I want to create, and so little time to work on them.
~ I love where I live right now - surrounded by wives of students who really understand what I'm going through! In some ways I want to stay here forever!
~ I want my kids to have so many opportunities in life....but still grow up humble, appreciating the simple things and being grateful for every thing they have!
~ I want to be involved in revolutionizing Health Care Reform but I don't have any great ideas about how to go about it!
~ I want to be more politically active.
~ I really love my life. I am SO blessed and have SO much to be grateful for!

Anyway, a special thanks to the Mr. for making my birthday so special! He always knows just what I need!!!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what's cooking at our house this week:

Sunday: Stuffed Pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, steamed carrots, steamed peas, fresh fruit, fresh baked rolls
Monday: Mr. on call - kids choice
Tuesday: The Mr. is surprising me (my birthday; I'm off the hook!)
Wednesday: White bean tortilla soup, sweet corn, avocado, tortilla chips, melon slices
Thursday: Mexican Lasagne, santa fe green salad, steamed mixed veggies, pineapple
Friday: Homemade whole wheat vegetable-stuffed calzones, tossed green salad, berries
Saturday: Mr. on call - kids choice