Monday, January 30, 2012


Dear Angel,

Happy Birthday!  It literally seems like yesterday that I was writing you a letter on your 6th birthday!  It truly seems that the years fly by with increasing speed with each year that passes!  Oh, how I long for time to stand still, so that I may enjoy you as you are at this moment!  You are spectacular!
1 year old

I heard a quote once that always reminds me of you: "A girl is innocence playing in the mud, beauty standing on its head, and motherhood dragging a doll by the foot."  You are precocious and wise beyond your years, yet innocent and naive. You are beautiful on the outside and inside, yet completely unaware of it, and unconcerned with keeping up appearances.  You are confident yet unassuming, strong and brave yet sensitive.

Age 2 (with a 6 month old Grins)
Earlier this year, you told me that someone in your class said to you, "You talk quiet."  I couldn't believe this!  I don't think I've ever heard you speak softly unless you were specifically trying to whisper.  It surprised me so much, because at home, you are bold, outspoken, and determined to make your opinions and voice heard by all, particularly if you perceive the least bit of injustice.  We are constantly reminding you to 'calm down', take a breath, and try to see things from someone else's view.  Your father and I often think you will be a lawyer or a judge - your need for justice and equality and your ability to argue your case are that strong!

Age 3
You excel in learning.  You are an excellent reader, writer, speller, and mathematician.  You love learning - you asked for a science kit for Christmas!  You enjoy playing the piano, dancing (you LOVED the ballet class you recently finished), singing, and crafting.  But I think that, if it were up to you, you would spend all of your time reading or drawing.  In fact, we often have to remove your books from you to help you focus on things like getting dressed or doing chores.  Your books and art supplies are your constant companions.  You especially like to draw pictures to portray how you are feeling.  If you are angry, you often will draw an angry person acting out or saying angry words, and then by the time you get it all out, you feel better and cross out the picture, and draw a happy one.  Your art truly is your therapy.

Age 4
You are fire and ice.  Incredibly dramatic.  When you are happy, you will do anything to obey and please me.  You are as sweet as can be.  It's as though you are floating on clouds, and you walk around smiling and singing.  When you are angry, there is no talking you out of it.  I must simply give you time to cool down, and let you come around on your own time, in your own way, on your own terms.  But fortunately your anger usually leaves just as quickly as it came, and you are back to your sweet, angel self. :)  One surefire way to dissipate your anger, though, is if someone is crying.  Your nurturing compassion simply can't stand to watch someone suffer or hurt, and you are always the first in line to comfort and console anyone in need!

Age 5

You are snuggly and cuddly, with the biggest heart I've ever known.  You treat all of your dollies and stuffed animals as if they were delicate newborn babies, and you can't bear to part with even the dirtiest, most ragged of them - as if they were living members of your family.  We've had to limit you to 2 at night - we would find your bed FULL of them, with scarcely enough room for you.  I asked you once why you insisted on having so many toys in bed, to which you responded, "They aren't toys.  They are people and animals.  They have feelings too, and they feel lonely and left out when they're just in the bin all night."  I remember thinking this too, as a young girl, and I love how you keep the magic alive in your heart.  We are working at channeling your creativity just a little, as you tend to get lost in your own thoughts.  But when your creativity is focused, it is intense and inspiring!
Age 6

You are smart, creative, artistic, and compassionate.  You are talented, loving, and strong.  You have many emerging strengths and characteristics which will serve you well in life.  I couldn't be more honored or grateful for the privilege and opportunity of being your mother.  You've taught me more in these past 7 years than I learned in the 23 years before your birth!  It is a joy to know you, and a blessing to love you!

Age 7 (almost) 

Love, Mommy

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Angel turns 7!!

It is hard to believe that our Angel is 7 years old!  Where has the time gone?  And yet, I can't even fathom life without her!

Her birthday morning started out with a little snow storm and school cancellation (you can see the start of the snow on the back deck - I always keep the deck clean, so this was all fresh, and we got a few more inches throughout the day).  She was disappointed not to be able to go to school, but we managed to have a very fun day at home together, preparing for her puppy party!
Our 3-generation birthday tradition is choosing a breakfast cereal on your special day.  Not the healthiest tradition but at least it's only once a year!  She chose Lucky Charms! Yummmmy!

After breakfast, we got to work setting up for the party which would take place later that night!  Angel, the party-planner, was thrilled to be able to help (I would have done most of it during the day while she was at school).

I constructed a dog house out of a large box, and it proved to be time well spent!  The birthday girl and all of her guests enjoyed it immensely!  We are still enjoying it today, more than a week later!

Of course, assembling the 'doggie bags' was a lot of fun!  Grins and Angel love this sort of thing

Silly Angel wanted a picture of what went in the bags - dog bone necklaces, 'puppymint' BARK, puppy chow, loli pup, dog stickers, and doggie bookmarks.

After setting up for the party, Angel opened some gifts, we enjoyed some stories and games together, plus a lot of play time, and anxiously awaited the upcoming party!

Finally, the blessed moment came and guests began arriving.  (As a side note: Our family rule is that the birthday child may invite as many friends as years of age - so Angel was allowed 7 guests.  Of course, the decision making process was very difficult on her - there were several close friends she was sad to 'leave out' (though of course they didn't know about it) - but I was proud of her for making a little 'list', writing everyone she'd like to invite, and then systematically narrowing down the list.  She made special little notes to give to the friends she didn't invite to her party, inviting them for a playdate, or telling them she was glad they were her friend, since she felt badly about 'excluding' them...completely her idea.  She is so thoughtful and concerned with the feelings of others.)

First, guests were transformed into 'puppies'.  They glued spots onto puppy ear headbands, and then the Mr. painted their faces.  It was adorable to see how they all chose different colors/styles, and all looked so cute and unique!
Here they all are with their ears and painted faces!
We also took pictures of all the 'puppies'.  They were adorable!  Of course, my children's pictures didn't turn out well....I may have to do theirs over (they wouldn't mind, since they are sporting the ears almost daily still.)

Next, we played "Puppy Pile-up" (similar to "Twister"), and then "Give the dog a Bone" (Similar to pin the tail on the donkey - on a poster Angel drew herself!)

Since many of our guests were excited and full of energy, towards the beginning of the party, I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to handle the group.  Fortunately, I realized very quickly that these little puppies were very eager to please.  So, whenever it got loud or rambunctious, I would simply hold up my hand and say "Puppies, quiet!" and immediately, it was silent.  It was unbelievably effective, and so much fun!

After our delicious (ha!) dinner of hot dogs, etc, we played, "Doggy, Doggy, Where's your bone?"  We should have played this first - it was the highlight of the evening!  No one wanted to stop, and we must have played 20 rounds at least!  I was finally able to end it only with the promise of refreshments and gift opening, otherwise, I think it would have lasted all night! :)

Finally, we ate cake and ice cream, and Angel opened her gifts.  Of course Wiggles wanted to play the role of puppy and stick her tongue out, showing the blue frosting (which I got against my better judgment...)  Angel had wanted a cheesecake topped with 'puppy chow' (cocoa crispies), but I was worried not all of the guests would enjoy cheesecake, so we had a cake/cupcakes as well (she would have taken the cupcakes to school were it not for the snow day).  

I didn't get any pictures of the gifts - I was too busy barking out commands "Puppies, sit!  Puppies, stay!  Puppies, one gift at a time!" and writing notes on who gifted what....but Angel was much to enthralled in the gift opening process to have looked up anyhow. :)

All in all, it was a memorable and fun party, and enjoyed by all!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kid Giddy Giveaway

I don't usually promote giveaways on our little family blog, but I did want to take a moment to give a shout out to my friend over at Kid Giddy who is hosting an AWESOME giveaway right now!  Check it out...

Sunday, January 22, 2012


On our way out the door to church I snapped a couple of quick shots...

No naps....

Mean that this girl usually falls asleep during dinner, and is out like a light!  (Naps = she's up until 10pm or later!  So we try to avoid them when possible!)

Keeping us laughing

Last night while reading the story of Abraham and Isaac from the Bible, we were discussing the sacrifices anciently made in fulfilling the Law of Moses.  Grins asked, "Why does Heavenly Father like dead bodies so much?"

Then tonight, after we reminded him to include "GG and GGPa" in our evening prayers, he asked, "Please bless GG and GGPa to have a good life, for the rest of their life."  That pretty much covers it...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Last Year's Goals......

About a year ago, I posted the following list of things I wanted to do last year.  Unfortunately, I never actually posted the list on paper anywhere in my house/planner/ I essentially forgot about it.....or so I thought, until I went through the list and found that I actually HAD completed quite a few of the listed tasks!  This was actually quite a liberating/positive little exercise, because I realized that I actually HAVE accomplished a few things in the past know, BESIDES the day to day laundry/dishes/cleaning/packing lunches/making meals/visiting teaching/bathing and dressing children/changing diapers/reading scriptures/helping with homework/kissing owies/being Young Womens president/volunteering in classrooms/breaking up fights/PTO/driving children around/having playdates/paying bills/taping together books that a 3 year old has torn to shreds...and those sorts of everyday things.  Who knew I had it in me to be a (tiny bit) productive at times?  I MAY actually post pictures to prove it sometime soon.  But no wasn't on the list. :)

101 in 365

I saw this on another blog and thought it was a great idea. The list I saw was 101 in 1001, but I don't think I can wait 3 years to get to I'm shooting for a year! That should still give me plenty of here I go! I will return and change the color of the items I complete - and add a post for the 'tangible'/visible projects (if I'm feeling extra motivated.)

1. Potty train Wiggles - have taught her many times.  The rest is up to her...
2. Paint my computer armoire black and add hardware 
3. Hang pictures on my walls. wow. still haven't. sad.
4. Finish painting the front room
5. Paint the great room
6. Rearrange the front room furniture
7. Build a shelf for my entry
8. Create an art supplies storage system
9. Not raise my voice at my children for an entire week - working on it!!!
10. Teach Grins to read
11. Clean out the storage shed
12. Have another baby - want to!  Need my husband home for this one...
13. Teach Angel some basic piano lessons
14. Teach Wiggles to read - working on it
15. Get rid of things I haven't used in 6 months
16. Get rid of the antique bottles I dug up in the yard
17. Organize my garage
18. Make the kids job boards
19. Create a better storage system for the coat closet
20. Rake all the leaves in my yard (not that I haven't already done it, but I think the leaves are finally finished falling so this might be the last time this season?)
21. Organize the kids' closet
22. Install mirrors
23. Clean off the bar
24. Organize and label the food storage
25. Organize my recipes
26. Organize my magazine clippings
27. Organize my filing cabinet I did this but it could probably use it again...
28. Set up my new ipod touch :)
29. Vacuum the car
30. Get a shop vac so I can vacuum my car from home!
31. Set up a good 'drop zone' for the Mr.
32. Get on a better shopping/meal planning schedule
33. Stick to a 'computer time' budget for at least 1 week
34. Run a race
35. Go without after-dinner snacks for at least 1 week
36. Put hooks in the kids closet
37. Organize the hair accessories - have done this several times.  Need a better system that will stick!
38. Find a cute way to organize my jewelry
39. Organize the desk
40. Implement a good system for dealing with 'hot spots'
41. Implement a good deep cleaning schedule
42. Implement a good scrapbooking schedule
43. Get curtains back up in the front room (must finish painting first....)
44. Put a valance in my kitchen window
45. Hang curtains in the dining room
46. Hang curtains in the kitchen
47. Sew or alter at least one item
48. Make bread
49. Write in my journal every day for a month
50. Set up Sunday stations again
51. Set up a Family Home Evening lesson file
52. Set up our Family Home Evening board
53. Involve the children in Family Home Evening more
54. Organize a "paper" system
55. Change the oil in the car by myself (I always wait for the Mr. but it is something I could do on my own!)
56. Set up my new bookshelf!
57. Sort through my scrapbook things
58. Come up with a system for preserving the childrens' creations
60. Make a book of Family Traditions we enjoy and others we would like to implement
61. Catch up on Christmas ornaments (I've sort of gotten out of the habit the last 2 years....)
62. Organize my 'misc' closet
63. Organize my armoire
64. Organize my cedar chest
65. Set up a 'mud room' in the basement before the snow starts
66. Move my armoire to make room for the wood stove
67. Toast marshmallows in our fireplace!
68. Have a yard sale and DECLUTTER (this will obviously have to wait until Spring!)
69. Carol and deliver holiday goodies to everyone on our street
70. Get our Christmas Cards out the day after Thanksgiving
71. Exercise 5 days/week for at least a month
72. Make a new yule log for our family tradition
73. Set up a "Gift Shop" where my children can spend their chore bucks on gifts for family members and friends
74. Host a Christmas Caroling (or other sort of) party in our neighborhood
75. Update our 72 hour kits with warm clothing
76. Do a Fall Cleaning of our house (Deep cleaning)
77. Organize my laundry room closet
78. Be completely prepared for the sabbath on Sat night for a consecutive month
79. Have a "yes" day for my children
80. Go on a date with the Mr.
81. Go to the temple at least 4 times before June 2011
82. Get my Maine Physician Assistant Licensure
83. Take pictures (and blog them) of my children every Sunday for a month. (I can do this now that I have a new camera!!!!! THANK YOU Mom and Dad B!!!!)
84. Implement a good photo organization/sharing system.
85. Implement a new 'responsibility' motivation system for the children.
86. Stay home at least 1 weekday/week for a month.
87. Do a good, thorough cleaning of my house each week for a month.
88. Do a family service project at least once a month for 6 consecutive months.
89. Put on a family play.
90. Perform a song as a family.
91. Visit family in Utah and/or Oregon.
92. Get Angel's camera hooked up and teach her to use it.
93. Host a family sock hop
94. Implement a better recycling system
95. Smooth out and lay rocks in the driveway
96. Finish our gratitude chain (taller than the house)
97. Blog every Sunday for 2 months
98. Remember and call/send a card to every family member on their birthday for an entire year
99. Keep a New Year's Resolution for a least the entire month of January
100. Leave the Mr. a love note every day for a week.
101. Not complain about how much the Mr. is gone (aloud OR to myself) for an entire week! (NOT counting the week he is off....)
102. (OK, I keep thinking of more; why stop at 101?) Dance with my children every day for at least a week.
103. Have a freezer cooking day.

Piano Lessons

I read a story in the Friend magazine a couple of weeks ago about some young children (ages 8 to 11) who played the piano for their church music program!  The article said their ward (church congregation) lacked a piano player, at least for the Primary (children's organization), so one of the adult leaders came up with the idea to have some of the children each learn to play one or two songs.  Each child told of how they practiced and practiced, and were able to perform it for their musical program at the end of the year!

It really inspired me to get my children started on piano lessons!  Of course we have always planned to put all of our children in piano lessons in a few years when we have the financial means.  We had initially decided to start them when they were 8 years old.  But reading the article just sort of inspired me and helped me realize that I have the knowledge I need to teach them the basics to get started.  So I decided to start now and see where it took us.  So we did!

Of course, we are still in the very early stages, so it's still very thrilling and exciting for the children.  But we are enjoying it immensely!

Grins was SO excited after his first lesson that he begged me to let him stay and listen to Angel's lesson too, so he could 'help teach her' and hear it all again.  He was literally jumping up and down listening to her lesson, he was so excited!  Every day they've asked if they could practice (I've never had to remind them!), and they have both already learned and mastered a song (right hand only so far...but good nonetheless!)  I LOVE watching them work together on it as I prepare dinner (and Wiggles sits in her little chair and reads)!  I keep thinking to myself, "It just doesn't get any better than this!"

Fun in the snow!

What do you do with 12 inches of fresh, powdery snow?  Why go sledding, of course!  So we did!

Last year, Angel and Grins' sledding adventures were severely limited by Wiggles' inability to withstand the cold temperatures for very long.  I was constantly torn between Wiggles crying to go home and the older two begging and pleading to stay and play.  So imagine my surprise and delight when, after 10 minutes or so, I looked around to find Wiggles and saw her hiking (all by herself, amid countless school children) to the top of the hill, then sledding down, laughing.  And then repeating the process, over and over and over again.  Heaven on earth, I tell you.  It was true bliss.
I didn't get any great shots of her sledding, but she could really get moving on that little slope slider!

Making a train with friends!

Of course, the boys wanted to try it standing up, and backwards, and head first....

Grins started trying 'tricks' where he would spin/twist/turn/jump.

Angel and her friend had a lot of fun too!

I seriously have the most adorable kids on the planet!

Doesn't Wiggles look like a little pink marshmallow?  When she's in her snow suit I want to just eat her up!!!
We are truly enjoying living here!  How incredible to have sledding hills and skating ponds at our fingertips!  Winter sure is fun!!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....

Oh the weather outside is frightful! (12 inches in 12 hours!  We were EVER so grateful for the Snow Blower extraordinaire we were given this past summer and tried it out for the first time.  The Mr. was very excited that he got to be home for a bit near the end of the storm to break the snow blower in - and I was thrilled to not be the one clearing our driveway for a change!  :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Zeo Sleep Manager

Have you heard about the Zeo Sleep Manager?  Neither had I until today...but now that I have, I must admit, I'm intrigued, and I even want one.  Though, I realize that I don't NEED one - since I KNOW that I don't get enough sleep, and I know WHY (my 3 little sweethearts wake me up at least twice a night...usually more).  Still, check it out here: doesn't it sound cool?  (And you can even enter to win a free one here or here:!)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Ice Skating

As a child, it never occurred to me that people still actually skate on ponds.  Growing up in Oregon, I never experienced a winter cold enough to freeze a pond, so I assumed it was something the pioneers did 'way back when'.  So last year, our first New England winter, I was shocked to see the pond near our house frozen SOLID!  How exciting and novel!  So, we collected some hand-me-down ice skates and hit the pond.

Last year, Wiggles only lasted about 10 seconds before she'd decided she had had enough skating. Ever.  And wouldn't even allow us to put her skates back on her.  This year, though, she was right out there with the rest of them.  It was a bit 'warm' (in the 30s) so the ice was a bit soft, but we will had a lot of fun - and stayed for 4 HOURS!!!  This may very well be the ONLY benefit to sub-freezing temperatures but hey, we've got to take whatever advantage we can get! :)

I loathe pictures of myself but am including this one 1- so my children will know I do things with them!  and 2 - because I love Wiggles' expression!

This girl didn't stop!  She just kept going and going, despite several face plants (as evidenced by the wet legs)

Grins doesn't skate - he RUNS on the ice.  It's so much fun to watch!

Angel takes her time but was certainly more adventurous than last year!

Of course, everyone prefers skating with Daddy, because he goes much faster than Mom! :)