Roy, Sheena, D, K, A, C and L

Roy, Sheena, D, K, A, C and L

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Our Family Photographer

Our Family Photographer
Marissa Gifford Photography

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Design Flaw update

Anyone remember this place?
I've been taking a different route for the last while.  I thought I'd lost the house when I finally drove down that street again.
Turns out some things actually can be salvaged!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast

This Thanksgiving was great.  I totally went all out.  We had my in-laws coming so it was fun to plan and make some of the traditional things I kind of skip because we don't really eat them.
First off, appetizers.  I got the idea from a picture on pinterest.  After making them I realized waffle cones would have been a much better 'cornucopia'.  That's Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip in the middle.
 I saw Alton Brown's turkey recipe last year but didn't do it.  I knew I wanted to try brineing a turkey this year so it was very fortuitous that my favorite food blog simplified Alton's recipe.  It was AWESOME.

And here is the whole feast.  We used a mixture of red potatoes and russets for the mashed potatoes and Stove-Top provided our dressing.  I made my favorite cabbage and ramen noodle salad, Roy's favorite green jello/cottage cheese salad and our family's favorite crescent roll recipe.  I also tried some new recipes: candied coconut sweet potatoes, bacon-wrapped green bean bundles and cranberry sauce.
 How did it turn out you ask?  Well, the sweet potatoes were loved by all.  Even my FIL who doesn't generally like sweet potatoes had seconds and enjoyed the leftovers.  The cranberry sauce was better than canned but there was way too much of it.  I don't think I'll do the green bean bundles again.  I like my bacon really crispy and you can't do that when it is wrapped around green beans.  The salads and rolls were good. The rolls were a little dark on the bottom because they were on the bottom rack.  That's where a double oven would come in handy.

 I think everyone was well satisfied.  Dessert was good too, layered pumpkin pie toffee cheesecake and Grandma 'Net's Dutch apple pie.
It was a great meal with great company.  I love Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 12

I'm am grateful for Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel.  I'm grateful for my opportunity to be a part of the Savior's church that has been restored to the Earth again.  I'm grateful for the Atonement which makes it possible for me to reconcile to my Heavenly Father even though I'm not perfect.
I'm grateful for the restoration of living prophets and apostles.  I love to listen to their words and feel the Holy Ghost teach me during General Conference.
I'm grateful to have a direction and purpose to my life.  I'm so happy to not wander in darkness, wondering what to believe, who is right or why it matters.
I'm grateful for scriptures that teach the words of ancient prophets and recount the history of God's work on the Earth.
I'm grateful to be a Mormon and have a testimony of the love of my Heaven Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
To learn more about anything I said, check out

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 11

I'm grateful for family.  I know I've blogged individually about each member of my family, but I'm grateful for more.  I'm grateful to have a family and to have the sweet kids I have.  I'm also thankful for the extended family I have.  I was raised by great parents who taught be high moral standards as well as useful skills, like how to iron cook.  I'm grateful I was raised in a loving home with a mom and a dad who loved each other.  I'm grateful for the sacrifices I didn't recognize at the time but now realize were there.
I'm grateful for all three of my brothers.  They are handsome, intelligent, hard working men.  I'm proud of each of them and the choices they are making with their lives.
I'm grateful for my brother's wives.  I'm glad they make my brothers happy.
I'm grateful for the family I married into.  I always wanted to have a sister growing up.  I was fortunate to marry into a family with 9 sisters for me to get to know and love.  I'm grateful for my brother in laws as well.  I'm grateful for my mother and father-in-law and for the effort, time and sacrifice they put into raising such a wonderful man.   I'm am so lucky to have such a large and fun crowd of in-laws.
I'm grateful for my nieces and nephews.  It is so much fun to see them growing up and be a part of their lives.
I'm so glad I was able to grow up near my grandparents.  I am so thankful for the time I had with my paternal grandparents before they passed away.  It was a huge blessing to live in their home town.  I'm grateful for the memories I have of visiting my maternal grandparents.  I'm grateful I can take my kids to visit them and build a relationship with them.
I'm grateful for all the wonderful aunts, uncles and cousins I have.  Family is truly a blessing and has been an important part of my life.  Thank you to all of you I'm lucky enough to call family!

Monday, November 21, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 10

I'm grateful for friends.
I'm grateful for the friends who have made me who I am today.  The ones who shaped and molded me.  The ones who have know me all my life and still like me.
I'm grateful for the friends I've left behind.  I'm grateful for the ones who make an effort to stay in touch even if it is infrequent at best because life is busy enough.
I'm grateful for my 'new' friends.  I'm grateful to have friends who call to check on me, invite me to play games, bring me treats, wave and smile when they see me from afar.
I'm grateful to have friends near and far who all contribute something to the person I am right now.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 9

I'm grateful for D.  He is my first born and my only son.  He is my baby and will always be my baby.  He is the one who made me a mother.  He is the one who is teaching how to be a mother one new stage at a time.
D has always been intelligent.  He was differentiating between cars, vans, SUV's, buses and trucks before most kids can are out of the "vroom, vroom" stage.  We used to spell his name and he would tell us what we were spelling when he was 18 months.  He knew his letters and sounds by 2, was reading beginning words at 3 and was a fluent reader at 4.
Now, he is discovering how much fun numbers can be.  He is constantly asking Roy and I math questions and working multi-step abstract problems in his head.  He loves to learn and I am grateful that he wants to know things.
I'm glad he loves school.  I'm grateful we live in an area where he can attend a 'challenge' program and move at a faster pace than a regular classroom.  I'm grateful he wants to go to school.
D is a handsome boy.  I'm grateful for his big beautiful eyes that women envy and girls will swoon over (but not yet!).  I'm glad he has such great hair and someday he will be too.  I'm grateful for his strong body and coordination that allows him to play and ride bikes and swim.
I'm grateful to have a great big brother for my girls.  I'm grateful he likes to read stories to his sisters.  I'm grateful that he is protective of them and is learning how to take care of girls.
I'm grateful that D is so big and able.  I love that he can take a shower by himself and come out at least 80% clean.  I love that he can get his own snack and pour his own drinks.  I'm grateful that he wants to help and be a good boy.
I'm grateful for D's sense of humor.  He loves jokes.  He makes up his own jokes most of which are creative....  I'm grateful that he does have pretty good comedic timing (must get that from me...right?).
I'm grateful that D likes to play games.  His favorite game right now is U-Build Monopoly.  I'm grateful to have a kid who can play card games that involve more than fish.
I'm grateful to have a son who loves Heavenly Father and has faith in Jesus Christ.  I'm grateful for his desire to do what is right.  I'm grateful for his spirit which recognizes truth and responds with joy.  I'm grateful that D wants to get up early to read his scriptures in the morning before school.
I'm grateful to have such a beautiful, caring, sensitive, intelligent, fun boy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 8

Tonight, I want to express my gratitude for A.  She is my little chubster.  She my girl who can literally eat ALL day!  I can always count on A to be happy with dinner when the other two offspring are not.  In fact, A is the person in the house who usually expresses the most gratitude -- even for clean clothes!  I am grateful to hear her say, "Tank-oo mommy!"
I'm grateful for A's little voice.  She has been stringing phrases and sentences together and it is just precious to listen to.  She is regularly telling us, "no touch" when we get too close to her toys or "out my room" when she needs some space.  She always tells me she's the "beebee" and I'm the "mommy".  I'm grateful that I can understand her when others cannot.
I love to hear her sing.  She especially likes "too, fwee" which is a preschool song that starts out "1, 2, 3 come learn with me..."  She also sings and does the movements for the Wheels on the Bus.  And she is always singing "lala lala, emmo woo". (Elmo's World)
I love to watch her dance.  She really likes to move her body to the music.  She bounces and sways.  It is adorable!  I'm grateful that her little body works like it's supposed to.
A is my quiet, watchful one.  I'm grateful for her softer approach to life.  I'm grateful for the peacefulness that she has even as a 2 year old.
A is also my exhibitionist.  She gets dressed at least 5 times a day and is still naked by the time Roy gets home from work.  On Sundays, she usually has her boots and sweater off before the opening hymn starts.  I'm grateful she knows how to put her own clothes on and not just take them off.  I'm grateful to watch her chubby little legs pump as she runs away from me.  I'm grateful to see her chubby baby belly sag over her diaper after she's eaten all day. 
I'm grateful to watch her develop and see her intellect growing as she watches and mimics her siblings.  I'm grateful for her hugs and "muh's".  I'm grateful this little Angel is part of our family.

Dryer Balls

I learned a new tip/trick that I'm trying out...  Anti-static aluminum foil balls.  I got the idea from my friend Mel at Testosterone Overload.  I sort of forgot about it for a bit but today is the day!  I just put a load of wet clothes into the dryer without any dryer sheets.  I didn't use liquid fabric softener either.  I wadded up a tight wad of tinfoil about the size of a baseball/softball-ish and tossed it in the dryer with the wet clothes.  I'll let you know how it goes!
(About the noise, it sounds like you would expect a ball in a dryer to sound like... occasional thumps but not anything that would discourage me from using it if it works.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 7

This is a religious post.  Please be respectful if you chose to disagree with any or all of my religious views.
Yesterday, I had some friends over for a visit.  One woman was sharing a story about an associate to whom she looked up to in high school.  This associate has married and has 3 sons ages 2, 4, 6.  Recently, her 2 year old died tragically.  This story has stuck with me over the last couple of days.  I have always feared losing one of my children --even before I had children.  However, I am so grateful for the eternal perspective and promise of an eternal family.  
Roy and I were sealed on December 13, 2002 in a sacred temple by a man ordained with eternal keys.  Our family was promised that we could be together forever if we would live up to the covenants we made with God that day.  I am so grateful for temples and the priesthood ordinances performed in them.  I am so grateful to know that my kids will be my kids forever.  I'm grateful to know that I will be sealed to my parents forever.  I'm grateful that Roy and I are husband and wife for eternity, not just until we die. 
I'm also grateful that temples dot the earth so that all may receive the blessings of the temple.

For those curious about LDS temples, I would encourage you to check out this site's FAQs.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 6

Today I'm thankful for K.  She is such a crazy, funny, loving girl I almost can't stand it!  Sometimes I just want to squeeze the stuffing out of her!  I do refrain and settle for a hug and possibly a little tickling.
I was driving her home from Preschool today and the 80's Christmas song, Do They Know It's Christmas, was on.  It ended and another song came on but K wasn't done listening to the "feevah song".  So I turned the radio down and listened to her sing, "feevah whoah duh duh duh duh duh, feevah whoah duh duh duh duh duh, feevah whoah duh duh duh duh duh" until she was "done with the feevah song".  I just loved it!  I was soaking it up and was sad when she was done.  (Side note, Roy sings, "Free the world"  now we know where she gets her lyrical understanding from...)
I love ticking her little body.  She is so scrawny, I can almost put my hands around her waist and touch fingers. I love to hear her laugh and squirm away.  I love that I can tell her to put both hands on top of her head and even though she knows what's coming she still does it.  (I tickle her armpits.)
She still fits on my lap.  I love that her little buns fit in the hole of my legs when I sit cross legged.
I love her hair.  Honestly, she has GREAT hair!
I love her voice and smile.  She is so loving and smart.  Strangers love K.  She is outgoing enough to befriend almost anyone.  She will talk to grown-ups like she is one of them.  Of course, I have to watch what I say because if anyone is going to repeat a story I tell it will be her.  That's a good reminder for me to always watch what I say anyway.
One of the mom's from our preschool was talking to me about K.  It seems one of the little boys in the preschool has a bit of a preschool crush on K and talks about her all the time.  This mom was describing K as beautiful with just enough of aloofness to be mysterious.  She's only 4 so you can imagine what the next 20 years will be like for her daddy!
I am so grateful to be her mom.  I love you K!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 5

Tonight I want to tell you all how grateful I am for my Husband.
He's amazing.
He stays home with the kids every Wednesday night so I can go to Young Women's activities.  He is a great father.  The kids all adore him. He plays games with them, dances and sings with them, rides bikes with them.  He has special nicknames for all the kids and laughs when thinks about them.
He is a good provider who is looking for ways to improve his business and earning potential to better care for our family.
He is a handyman.  I mean, sure, he sometimes thinks he can do more than he can (remember the car?  still spray painted.)  But he almost single-handedly did the entire remodel on the interior of our house.  He also painted the exterior and maintains the yard (except the garden because he somehow things that's my job... why is that?).
He's a safe driver.  Never caused an accident.  That's more than some of us can say....
He is a faithful holder and exerciser of the Priesthood of God.  He leads our family in family prayer and scripture study.  He teaches the Gospel in simple and profound ways.  He is an example to me in spiritual matters.
He is a good companion.  He sometimes even laughs at my jokes.  He tells great stories and remembers events to tell stories about.
Did I mention that he's smokin' hot?  Cuz he is.
I'm grateful to be married to such a great guy who loves me and treats me with the love and respect I deserve and sometimes that I don't deserve.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 4

I am grateful for our house.  There is so much to be grateful for here.  We live in an amazing neighborhood that I love.  We have fabulous neighbors.  We have a fenced yard with green grass and a sandbox.  We have bedrooms for the kids and a spare room for junk crafting in and guests to stay.  It has indoor plumbing, a big plus in my book!  It has forced air heating.  I love that I can set the temperature and it is automatically maintained.  We have a toy room for the kids to play.  We have the space for a nice sitting room.  Someday, we may even have furniture in that nice sitting room area.  I have a private master bathroom and walk in closet.  The main level has hard wood floors that Roy installed himself. 
We have put a lot of time, effort and money into making this a comfortable home where we want to be.  I am so grateful to have this house and to make it our home.  I'm grateful to be warm and dry when it is cold and rainy outside.  I am grateful to listen to my kids playing in their rooms.  I'm even grateful, in a way, to clean it because it is mine and that's something to be grateful for!

Monday, November 14, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 3

I've been planning our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner and it has caused me to be grateful for the internet.  Seriously, how did people cook before Allrecipes, Google and my favorite food blog.  Ooo, and now Pinterest.  I mean, my mom had to actually purchase and read cookbooks.
All I have to do is google (I love how that is a noun and a verb!) "what's for dinner" and I get tons of ideas.
And if I'm ever stumped for a substitution or measurement equivalent?  Google!
I've tried more recipes than not from and their cookbook.
I am so grateful for the ease and convenience of the internet.  It makes my life easier in a lot of ways.  However, it is important to remember not to spend too much time on the internet.  It is so easy to get sucked in to pinterest or blog surfing.  So, while I'm grateful, I'm also trying to be cautious.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 2

I've been thinking off and on all day about what to post for day 2.  I was just cleaning up and tossed D-man's picture from primary.  The front was about walking in someone's shoes.  The back was a graphically detailed illustration of Fart Man: he has lots of gas.  All of a sudden I realized what I wanted to express gratitude for today  --  Primary Teachers!  And other teachers.  Basically anyone who helps teach my children but especially primary teachers.
You can see him dreaming up Fart Man now!
D has had the same teacher for the last year and a half.  She is a great woman who takes time to make lessons and awesome handouts.  I don't know much about what actually goes on in the classroom because getting information from a 7 year old boy is difficult at best but I see cool things when I go pick him up so I know cool things are happening.  I am so grateful for the time and thought she gives to my child.  I know she thinks about him individually as well as her class collectively.  I'm so grateful she puts that time and effort in even though it may seem like it is unappreciated.  And actually, to a great extent it is unappreciated by D because he has no idea what preparation it takes.  All he knows is what's happening in class.
The same can be said of K's primary teachers.  K is a sunbeam.  She is part of a class of like ten 3-4 year olds.  I'm grateful for the 2 women who have agreed to sacrifice 2 hours a week to be in that room as well as who-knows-how-many hours to prepare.  They always have a lesson and hand outs.  They are always smiling when I come to pick up K.  Come to think of it that could be because the kids are leaving.... I like to think it is because they are happy to be there....
A is in nursery for another year still.  I am so grateful for nursery leaders.   I had to teach a lesson in young women's a few weeks ago and A was brought to me because she had fallen and hit her head.  I had to teach with A in the room.  She was on and off and on and off my lap, into my bag, banging around and a general distraction.   I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR NURSERY LEADERS!
I am really really just so very grateful for the teachers who prepare and teach my children for no pay and minimal visible results.  I know there are results and I am grateful these people care enough to make the effort.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Funny things from the game

Roy's watching a football game tonight.  Sports are fertile ground for funny comments.

Roy: "Awww, NO!  Fumble!"
D: "NO!  Not a FUMBLE!!   ....    what's a fumble?"

D: "Come on Oregon!  Get a homerun!"  (it's football)

12 Days of Thanksgiving, Day 1

Today I'm grateful for my health and the health of my family.  We've been dealing with really minor and yet still inconvenient health issues for a week now.  Four out of five of us have contracted the illness D brought home from school last week.  As I was laying on the couch two nights ago, too miserable to sleep, watch tv or anything else, I felt gratitude for the knowledge that this was a short illness.  I have at many times thought about how blessed we have been health wise.  We get the occasional cold and flu.  We've had a few broken arms and many scraps, cuts, bruises etc.  But we've never dealt with long term or terminal illness.  I am grateful to feel good and be strong.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sick Kid

Wednesday night I walked in the door from Young Women's (youth group activity) just in time to see D toss his cookies on my rug.  He was downstairs standing in front of the couch -- about four steps away from the hardwood floor.  FOUR STEPS!  *sigh*
I got my neighbor out of bed to borrow her carpet shampooer.  Thanks Jenn.  Seriously.  And spent the next hour and a half going over and over my rug trying to get the red (he'd had medicine before he threw up) stain and puke smell out of the rug. 
It is now Friday and my rug is still trying to dry out.  The back still smells like puke.  It may never be the same.  I'm still holding out hope that the rug will someday lay flat but that's looking less and less likely with each passing hour. 
I kept D home from school on Thursday.  Then this morning when I called to tell the school he wouldn't be there today either, the secretary told me there were only 8 students in his class yesterday.  8!  And the 3rd grade challenge class that is basically in the same room only had 13 students.  Wow.  I guess the season of sickness is alive and well this year!