Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy 11th Anniversary

Tomorrow is our 11th wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? For our anniversary, Tim got me these beautiful flowers, a maid to clean the rental we just left so I wouldn't have to and, of course, a new house!

I couldn't think of something exciting to buy (how can I compete with a new house?) to show Tim how much I love him and love being married to him. I decided to make something instead.

We have been married since 2001, but we actually met and started dating in 1997. If you don't know our story, I'll give you a summary. I don't know if I've ever blogged about it before. We met at Snow College. He was at my house for dinner (invited by one of my roommates) when I got there. I had just come from meeting with my bishop to get my mission papers. A boyfriend was not something I was looking for at the time. For 18 painful months we dated off and on- we both felt like we wanted to get married, but I still felt so strongly that I needed to serve a mission. In April of 1999, I left to serve a mission in San Jose, CA and Tim was so supportive of my decision. I think it was harder on him and much more of a sacrifice for him than for me. I treasure that time as a sacred part of our relationship that helped us grow stronger as individuals and as a couple. I saved every letter or note he wrote to me & I treasure those, too. We couldn't call or email each other, so our written correspondence is here for our kids to see, too. Tim was able to be there and stand in the circle when I was set apart as a missionary too. (A special blessing/ prayer when a missionary leaves to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) So special to me!

Our story begins long before we were married, or even engaged, for that matter. To pay tribute to the wonderful things Tim brings & has brought to my life, I bought helium balloons- 4 of one color for the years from when we met until the year before we were married- and 11 for the years we have been married, plus one for this year to come.

On each balloon I wrote the year and some of the highlights, struggles and milestones of that year.

Our early years...

Up close- 2012 says "The best is yet to come."
(I gave it to him a day early- I wasn't convinced that the balloons would make it over night & didn't want him to wonder why I skipped a year if something was missing...)

Tim is such a wonderful man! I am blessed to be sealed to him, which means we are married for this life and forever. We were married in the Manti LDS temple. Words cannot describe my love for him, and it only grows stronger every year. We've gone through some hard, scary things, but we've done it together. We can make it through anything, as long as we keep moving together in the same direction.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

Monday, January 30, 2012

A remake

Here's something from Jenna.

"Mom, they should re-make "The Wizard of Oz."

"Why do you think that?"

"Because I saw on Mythbusters that the man who played the Tin Man died because of the paint they put on him. They need to re-make the movie so that it is safe for the actors and effective. That would be a success!"

I thought it was the actress from "Goldfinger" that died. What do I know. I need to watch more Mythbusters, I guess.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Free-ninety-nine

How cool is my back window? Thanks, Kelli!

While out cruising the neighborhood in my trusty van the other day, I happened upon a miraculous blessing. I was driving past the house we first tried to buy in this neighborhood (we were outbid) and saw a moving truck at the house next door. On the other side of the moving truck was a large pile of furniture with a FREE sign on it. My favorite price!!!



 The first item in was this console table. I have been looking for a table to go in the entry way of our new home. I am cheap, so I've been looking at the DI, but no luck. I was looking there so I can paint it the way i want it and won't feel bad if I change it again in a few months.

 These two don't necessarily have a home yet, but I'm excited to see what happens. The basket/tray thing is about 18 inches wide and 24 inches tall. It'll get a coat of spray paint very soon. What color? My first reaction is cream or white. Maybe it's time to take the turquoise leap.

We left our giant computer hutch at our old house when we moved, so I've been hunting for a little desk where the girls can work on the desk-top computer. (I don't like them playing games on my laptop. That's what was happening when it crashed last year. I'm suspicious.)

Anyway, I've been combing the DI & ksl.com classifieds for something. Who knew it was waiting for me right here. The desk needs some touching up, but the chair is perfect!

I feel blessed to find these things for my home. Now that we've bought our new house, we've got some decorating to do- on a tight budget. I'm excited for the challenge.  I see lots of fun upcycled projects on my friends' blogs {and Pinterest, of course} and I am inspired to use my resources and creativity. Besides the things you see here, I still need to finish the giant doll house & toy chest I found at the DI last year.  Look for follow-up posts to come.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A new 'do

 I have seen some gorgeous hairstyles on Pinterest and I thought we'd try the cascading/ waterfall braid on Aubrey. (I did a partially hidden french braid with curls on myself yesterday but didn't take pictures.)
 I watched a few different tutorials that had slightly different techniques, but this is the one I ended up using.
This was our first attempt and we did it in about 10 minutes before we went to the Great to Be Eight baptism preview at our ward. She looked gorgeous and was so excited to start preparing for her baptism this summer!

A tiny little craft

To satisfy my urge to craft, I decided to try my hand at making earrings. There are so many fun materials to use and it is pretty fool proof.


Friday, January 13, 2012

The Nativity Calendar

Trendy Advent calendars are all over the internet these days- or they were last month, anyway. I'm sticking to something more classic and nostalgic.

This is the Advent calendar that hangs in our home throughout December. (Mom, I left it up through Epiphany, too, just for you.)

It is just like the Advent calendar that hangs in my parents' house and has for as long as I can remember. Some of aunts have it, some of my cousins, and all of my sisters, too. We have made them as an activity during wedding showers and I sat cutting out numbers for 7 years (give or take) for mine.

The pieces don't necessarily go in a particular order, but baby Jesus is always in the last pocket. That's the one everyone wants to do!Everyone takes turns hanging on piece a night.  I remember counting backwards at the beginning of the month to figure out the order we needed to take turns so that I would get the last pocket. My kids did the same thing this year.

I love this thing! I should probably start cutting now so I can finish calendars for each of my girls before they leave the nest!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Do Your Best

As we start a new year, don't we all set sky-high resolutions? Some we reach, some discard, some haunt us and make us feel like a failure. This year, I'm trying something different.

At Family Home Evening last week, we unveiled our family theme for the year. I've seen this other places and have always wanted to choose a theme for our family, but never have. Our theme for the year is "Do Your Best." I made that lovely sign above to hang on the door in our kitchen that leads to our garage. It is the last thing we see when we leave the house, and it's the last thing I say to my kids as I drop them off at school. "I love you! Do your best!"

For each of us, doing our best means something different. Even from day to day. It isn't a measurable goal, perhaps, but it is workable and livable. It might be doing your best on a spelling test, doing your best when you make your bed, answering patiently when asked the same question 30 times, setting the table neatly, not waiting to be asked to put your clothes away, whatever.

We also have a theme scripture for the year:
Book of Mormon, Ether 12:27
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theiraweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.


I have always loved that scripture. Who doesn't have a weakness? I know that no matter how big or how many my weaknesses, the Lord will help me overcome them if I ask for help.


We also found some quotes from President Monson from the January Ensign that went along with our theme. The quotes and the scripture will join the theme on the door as soon as I get the signs made.


"Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one’s coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve.


Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities.


So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.

Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.” "


We have high hopes for a great year!

This went along well with what (little) we did on New Year's Eve. We were all sick as dogs the week between Christmas and New Year's. Let's just say I cleaned puke off every floor in the house, as well as a few floors in other places. We decided we'd stay home and keep our germs to ourselves. 

Jenna helped me make cream cheese wontons and rice for dinner. Very festive. After dinner, we each wrote some of our hopes/wishes/goals for the year on little papers. We each attached our paper to the string of our balloon. (They say "Make a Wish"- thanks Dollar Tree!) Around 8:00 we went on the front porch and set the balloons free. I am probably responsible for that flock of birds that mysteriously died in Alabama that night. Sorry.

 Here is a picture of the party animals- 8:00 and already in pjs! Lydia is behind her balloon. These were the best pictures I could get. Eliza's note is right in front of her eyes. It was a rough week. The one below had a lot of my messy kitchen in it- cropping required.

Here are some of the goals/wishes we made. Some of us had the same ones, so I'll only list each one once. In no particular order:
Family scripture study; have a positive attitude; become an actress; get a cat, dog and trampoline; work on handwriting; make healthy choices; react and respond with kindness; get potty trained; be good; learn to talk; organize my home; get settled; play more..

Can you guess who belongs to each one?

So how was your New Year's Eve? Did you make any resolutions? Does anyone still read my blog after I was such a bad blogger last year? I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winner- play tickets

Congratulations to ANNALYN on winning the play tickets! 

Sounds like I need to have more giveaways! I'll work on it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Great things are happening...

...at the girls' new school. (I just realized I didn't take their picture on the first day of school here.)

With our move, the girls changed schools. They started in mid-November and have been loving it! I thought I'd share some of the cool new things they do. Some of these may be standard around the district, others might be just here. I don't have any previous experience in this school district, so I don't know. Here are some of the great things we've enjoyed. The school is brand new this year and they also went straight into the Common Core Curriculum that most Utah schools are starting next year.

- Staggered start. Half of each class starts school at 8:00 (early birds) and leaves at 2:15, the other half comes at 9:15 (later gators) and leaves at 3:30. The time when the smaller groups are there is when they concentrate on reading instruction. The small groups give the teachers & students more one-on-one time.

- The Christmas sing-in was very welcoming to parents. There were 100s of parents there & the principal welcomed us and even said that because of such great response, we might have to break it into two days next year.

- School shirts. I have wanted this for years. That's all I'll say here.

-They have little red flags that they put out on the side of the building on very cold mornings to let the kids know they can go directly inside, rather than wait out on the playground.

-They have lunch recess the 15 minutes BEFORE feeding the kids. No one dumps half of their food so they can go play sooner. They come in hungry & ready to eat.

-Aubrey's only homework every night is reading and one math activity that she chooses from a list from the teacher. One activity we have done: Learn about fractions by helping prepare a recipe.

-Part of Aubrey's reading is the Take Home Library books. Real stories about real things. No more Decodables!!

-Instead of class Christmas parties, the 4th graders collected items for babies & new moms. They wrapped the gifts & tied fleece blankets during the "party."

-They have fortune cookies with lunch every Monday. How fun is that! Great literacy moment.

- Every Friday is Spirit day where they encourage the kids to participate by wearing school colors.

-There is a high expectation for student performance (not behavior) and achievement. The principal's main concern when they had pajama day was that the he didn't want kids to think it was ok to dress sloppily on other days.

-They are open to trying new things, probably because there isn't the "way we've always done it" since it is a brand new school.

-The parents, PTA and administration work together so well. There is a ton of parental involvement and the principal is very involved and open. He's great!

-Every Monday there is an announcement assembly where the whole school comes together to hear the week's announcements, Caught-ya's (recognizing good work by kids), sing to the birthday kids, etc.

-Wednesday folders- all notes & fliers come home Wednesdays so you know when to look for important announcements.

We are loving it here and the great school has made the transition easier for the kids. I am glad to be involved in the PTA here and helping at the school. This has been a great move for our family!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

GIVEAWAY!! Pioneer Theater tickets- Find and Sign

Enter to win 2 tickets to see the world premier of Find and Sign at Pioneer Theater in Salt Lake City. The tickets are for Tuesday, January 17, 7:30 pm.

You can read more about the play on the Pioneer Theater Company website.

(Contains strong language and themes.)

If you'd like the tickets, leave a comment. I'll pick a winner on Friday, January 6th.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Leadership Quotes

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
 
Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.

No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.

A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.

Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.

You don't lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership.


If a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade.

If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.

If you command wisely, you'll be obeyed cheerfully.

If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn't any limit to what you can do with your business and your life. Ideas are any man's greatest asset.

If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.

If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.

Practice yourself in little things, and thence proceed to greater.
Epictetus
If you have great talents, industry will improve them; If moderate abilities, industry will supply their deficiencies. Nothing is denied to well-directed labor: nothing is ever to be attained without it.
Sir Joshua Reynolds
There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.
Hindu Proverb
What chance gathers she easily scatters. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. 
John Quincy Adams 
A willing helper does not wait until he is asked.
Danish Proverb
There is only one person who could ever make you happy, and that person is you.
David Burns, Intimate Connections
The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions—the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of a playful raillery, and the countless other infinitessimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The man is happiest who lives from day to day and asks no more, garnering the simple goodness of life.
Euripides
Happiness consists in activity: such is the constitution of our nature; it is a running stream, and not a stagnant pool.
John M. Good
Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
Margaret Lee Runbeck
Men spend their lives in anticipations,—in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other—it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age.
Charles Caleb Colton

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A- Z Book Challenge

I love to read and I'm very competitive, so when I saw this reading challenge, I decided to give it a try. I follow a blog called Library of Clean Reads and she posted the challenge, originally from Babies, Books and Signs. I see reading challenges mentioned frequently, but have never done one before. New year, new thing to do, right?

It is pretty straight forward: Read a book that starts with each letter of the alphabet throughout the year. Jenna, Aubrey and I are all going to do this. Some we'll read together, some on our own. We will keep track of them on separate pages over to the right of the posts. We'd love to have you join us! If you decided to do it, let us know & tell us what you're reading! Also go to her blog & sign up. She will send out accompanying challenges to keep you interested.

Here's the info from the challenge host's page:


Technical Stuff
This challenge will run from January 1st, 2012 until December 31st, 2012.
You can join anytime.
If you are blogger, leave the link to your actual post about this challenge.
If you are not a blogger, leave a link to where you will be keeping track of this challenge.

So there are two different ways you can set up your own A-Z challenge.

A - Make a list now of 26 books, picking one for each letter of the alphabet. For example: A - Atonement B- Black Beauty C - The Count of Monte Cristo D - Dances with Dragons etc.

OR

B - The lazy way (how I do it) : Make a list on your blog from A-Z. Throughout the year, as you go along, add the books you are reading to the list. Hope that by the end of the year you have read one book for each letter. Towards the end of the year, you can check and see which letters you are missing and find books to fit.




We are going with option B. I am starting with H. I got The Help  for Christmas and I'm loving it. Aubrey jumped right in with The Sneetches for S. Jenna is listening to Anne of Green Gables on CD, but I told her that doesn't count. She is waiting for The Report Card, which the librarian at her school ordered for her. She read a few Diary of a Wimpy Kid books over Christmas break, so I'll give her a day or two...


I'll try to remember to update our progress occasionally, but check out pages for sure! ---->

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