Sunday, September 28, 2008

"I Am a Child of God" solo

She did it! Today was our sacrament primary program and the last song they sang was the first verse of 'I Am a Child of God'. They had our little 4 year old Elisabeth climb up on a stool at the pulpit, they pulled the microphone down to her mouth and then she sang the first part all by herself and the other kids came in on the chorus! She was on perfect pitch, sang loud and clear and it was beautiful! Great job Elisabeth!

Yesterday I went to the primary program rehearsal at the church and recorded most of her solo so here it is:


When the primary presidency came over and asked me a few weeks ago if I thought that would be okay(for her to sing a solo...which they apparently had already practiced in primary) I told them I thought that would be fine and that we could give it a try. Then I decided that I would do a few things to help her prepare for this without her really knowing that was what I was doing. First of all, when she told me that she sang the solo in primary I just said, "oh cool, I bet you sounded wonderful. You know lots of teachers have told me what a beautiful voice you have(which is true)." And that was that. I made sure that I never even mentioned the words, "scared, nervous, anxious' etc around her, so for all I know she's never heard those words in her life(minus 'scary' as in monsters and witches...she's into princess movies so that's sort of inevitable)...and I don't intend on using them now that she's finished her solo either. Last night was the first and only time she mentioned not wanting to sing in the microphone. Though I didn't hear her say that, Scott told me about it and so later that evening, just before bed I sat with her on her bed and we watched her video on our camera of her singing it earlier that day at the primary practice. After it finished she was smiling and I told her what a beautiful voice she had and how I loved to hear it and that I was so excited for daddy to hear it the next day. I told her that I was so pleased with her sharing her beautiful voice with everyone(they also had her sing it for the singles ward sacrament last week as a practice run through, along with a couple of other songs that the entire primary did) that after the primary program was done that we could do something fun on Monday as a celebration....so we're going to Arctic Circle tomorrow! Another thing we did was that each night for the last couple of weeks I choose for my song(we sing three songs every night: Char, Elisabeth and I each pick one) for us to sing the first verse of I am a Child of God. Granted, she already knew the song perfectly, but I still wanted her to be so familiar and practiced that even if she did get a little flustered from being up in front of everyone that she'd be able to sing the words out of habit and without having to think about it at all. And she really did sing beautifully and it was such a sweet site to see this little angel, who was barely able to see over the pulpit, singing this beautiful song about God and families.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Horse back riding

This morning I met with 3 other women at 630am and we went horse back riding! My family had a horse growing up for a year or two while I was in elementary school but once we sold her I rarely got to ride anymore, so it's been years, and after 2 hours of riding today I can feel the pain of my lack of practice in my bum. I've got a couple of sore spots that make it hard to sit for a long period of time. I'm sure it'll pass soon, and it's really not that bothersome, it's a good kind of pain...you know, the kind you get after a vigorous aerobic workout or after lifting weights. Except that this is probably mostly due to my bouncing on the hard saddle rather than because of my endurance/stamina etc. but still, a good pain. Anyways, here are some pictures of us loading up and riding on the trail(we mostly walked but my horse, 'Rusty', was last in line on the trail for a good amount of time so he would take his time and we'd get far behind the others and then trot to catch up! I loved it!). I sure hope I get to go again sometime soon! I had a blast!

Friday, September 26, 2008

2008 Family Photos

We had lots of pictures that we loved and here are some of our favorites(I just added a few more because I really want to have them published in my blog book):




Between each photo location Charles would grab sticks and carry them around; I'm glad that Lindsay caught part of his personality on camera!



Thank you SO much Lindsay for taking our family photos! You are wonderful. Anyone who lives in Utah should definitely use Lindsay as their photographer. She was great with the kids and we loved the way the pictures turned out. If you'd like to view more of her work or get in contact with her you can visit her website at: http://expressionsbylindsayg.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Job location change

Don't worry, we're not moving. Scott was working up north which was an hour bus ride but as of the last month or so he was temporarily moved down south to another office location(but same company) that's only a 15 minute car ride away. Today they told him that he'd be there permanently until the project they are working on is finished which should be several years! We're so excited for this change because this means we get almost 2 extra hours each day to spend time with Daddy!

This is a picture of Char and Scott in his break room at work. We met him for lunch one day this week and just stayed in to eat...Scott and I played foosball but he creamed me :), better luck next time.

Daddy imitating Char's typical camera smile

Thanks...

Thank you Ben and Gina for allowing Annabelle to borrow your seat jumper toy, she LOVES it! I have a cute video of her bouncing around but I've been having trouble uploading my videos lately so I guess we'll just have to keep our videos to ourselves for awhile.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update on Char's potty training

Charles is doing fantastic! Ever since his first couple days of potty training, he hasn't had any accidents! Granted, we stay home most of the time but still, he's doing great. He wears underwear all day unless he sleeps, then I'll put a diaper or pull up on him. Yesterday after he went potty we went to the store which was his first time out in public without a diaper, and we had no problems! He also went poop in the potty yesterday and all by himself! He just walked over to his little potty seat, pulled down his jeans and underwear, sort of squatted down while holding onto the sides and pooped. I was so pleased :). Afterwards we took his potty to the toilet, flushed the poop down, wiped him and then cleaned out the potty seat. It was still pretty gross cleaning out the potty seat so I told him last night that we needed to try and put his potty seat on the toilet today, which he wasn't too excited about but we attached it today and he's done fine: we've had no complaints and lots of successful trips to the toilet. I can't believe how easy potty training was this time around(well once he was finally ready). It seemed like when we tried to potty train Elisabeth we sat in the bathroom a lot just waiting for something to happen which made for a frustrated mom and child. I'm glad we didn't do that this time...I think mostly it was because Charles was older and more ready. He is over two and a half(he'll be three in January) and Elisabeth wasn't even two when we started training her. Now we'll just have to work on the sleep time training though I expect him to take quite a bit of time doing that which is fine with me. I am so pleased with his progress! Great job Char!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Go BYU!

Charlie's shirt has a cougar in a crib and says, "victory party in my crib!"
I am not one who has ever really cared about watching sports...okay wait, I take that back, I do like to watch my friends and family play sports but to follow some famous team or player and add to their fame and fortune, now that's never been me. Well that is until I listened to Bronco Something's(can't remember his last name, but he's the football couch for BYU) interview with Jim Someone(he hosts a national sports talk radio show) this morning that my Hubby had posted on his blog. Here it is if you'd like to listen:
http://1280thezone.com/images/uploads/audio/9-17-08%20rome%20with%20bronco.mp3

Amazing! What a cool team and what a cool coach. Bronco says that 70+ are return missionaries and over 30 are married. He says that this group of young men have their heads on straight and have high standards. I loved that he talked about some of their beliefs: none of them drink alcohol, use tobacco or have premarital sex. Now this is the kind of team that I would love to support. Go BYU! (I'll always be partial to my alma mater, and how could you not be partial to a school that provides and supports academic and spiritual excellence).

The BYU cheerleader outfit Annabelle is wearing used to be Elisabeth's
And speaking of BYU, Congratulations to my cousin Jack for getting into the Animation program at BYU! You are so talented! My mom hired me to bake a congratulations cake for Jack and a cake for another cousin, Jake, for his birthday:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Elisa and Freecycle

The other day when I was at my friend Elisa's house(this is Elisa writing and I have a friend named Elisa) I realized I didn't have any pictures of her and so we took some together...and we took a couple of our little girls. The story of how we met is sort of interesting and I'd like to have it for my records so I'll share it here: I first saw Elisa in Washington She was visiting her in-laws and her mother-in-law, who was the relief society stake president at church for the area, had asked her to sing during a stake relief society seminar that her mom gave on family reunions(Monique, you might remember this). I was there listening to that seminar. We weren't introduced then. Then fast forward to a month or two later; I moved to Utah and started attending story time at our little community library and Elisa was there with her son. I recognized her and introduced myself. She and I were both pregnant with girls and due within about a month of eachother. She told me she also had just moved to the same city about a month ago from Philadelphia(right Elisa? I think it was Philadelphia :)). I think since we were both sort of friendless and familyless(we had a couple friends/family but none that lived really close) we exchanged phone numbers and about a week later we started walking together. We've been getting together weekly since. This is Annika(Elisa's daughter) and she is not even a month older than our Annabelle; I think they'll be good friends(mostly because they'll be forced together often because of the friendship of their mothers :)) and that's fine with me because I love their family. I remember that in one of my Marriage/Family classes at BYU it was mentioned that a good way to encourage your children to have friendships with certain people is to make friends with their parents and get together occasionally :).Now, changing subjects, I wanted to write a little about freecycle because I've just recently discovered it and think that most people would like to use it at some time or another and may have never heard of it. It's a website that allows you to give things away, to post wanted ads for things you might be in need of and to recieve those items, everything is free(giving/receiving). Now if you're already well off and don't need anything for free then just use it as your D.I., but rather than having to haul your furniture/clothes/books etc out there yourself, you can just post an offer ad on this website and generally by the end of the day someone(and usually lots of people) will have seen your ad and asked if they can come take it off your hands. So if you would like to use this go to http://www.freecycle.org/, type in the area you live, you'll have to set up a yahoo account and then you can get started. There are certain rules like you can only post 2 wanted ads a week things like that, but everything you need to know is there. I've gotten several needed items already(a bike helmet for Elisabeth, an alarm clock/noise maker for Char and some other small things) and today I was finally able to post something I could give which was produce...zucchini and tomatoes and surprisingly it went fast! I didn't think anyone would want my zucchini and tomatoes but within the hour it was listed I got 8 responses. So anyways, what you may think no one would want, most likely someone will be in need of so give it a try, it makes you feel good when you can help someone else.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pictures from the weekend...and today


While Daddy was at his elder's quorum meeting Saturday morning, the kids and I took some pictures together. I love Elisabeth's outfit: striped pastel tights, brown Dora tennis shoes, a black skirt with red flowers and a pink t-shirt :).When he got home we walked over to the church for the fresh food market exchange that our neighborhood participates in: you can bring in food from your garden to share with others and you can take what ever you would like that others have brought. I love that we do this! Once we picked our share we walked across the parking lot to the big grass field and flew our kite. The wind was pretty gusty so our kite wouldn't stay airborne for long, but we all had fun.

Later that night Scott and I had a movie date night...just Me and Him, snuggling on the couch, the rest of the house was quiet because all the kids were sleeping....heavenly!
Sunday Krissy(Scott's little sister who is back from her mission and at BYU again) came over for dinner! We had home-made pizza and iced molasses cookies(thanks Lindsay for the pizza dough recipe, we LOVED it!)! Everything was delicious. The kids loved playing with Aunt Krissy...come again soon, we sure love having you here!
Last week we didn't work on potty training because of our ill health....so Char had only gone pee in the potty once and it was two, maybe three, drops worth. Today I pulled out the potty again and the underwear. He had a little accident this morning (only a little tiny bit of pee was in his undies so I knew he still needed to go more), so I had him sit on the potty but he wouldn't relieve himself. He asked for a diaper probably 5 times which clued me in that he still really needed to go. I told him 'no' for now and then about 5 minutes later(and with a little encouragement from Elisabeth who kept reminding him that if he went pee in the potty they'd both get a lollipop :)) he went pee in the potty, and a lot! Hooray! They were both so excited so I took a picture.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Healthy and blessed

First of all I just wanted to say that we're all healthy and well again! Charles continued to run a fever yesterday but didn't throw up again and today he woke up feeling just fine. I was feeling almost 100% as of yesterday and feel even better today. No one else in the family got sick! Hallelujah! I'm so grateful for laundry detergents, soaps, hand sanitizers, and lysol wipes! I couldn't bring myself to go to the store with a feverish boy who may or may not vomit on our trip over so thank you Sarah (our neighbor and friend) for supplying us with some bland foods, they made a HUGE difference! The applesauce worked miracles with Charles! It seemed to rejuvenate him.

Over the last couple of days I've been talking with both sets of grandparents and am overwhelmed with emotion for the love, kindness, and support that they continually show to our family. We love you and miss you and are grateful for all that you do for us.

Today the kids were able to go pick out some new shoes as a gift from Grandma and Grandpa Smith. Kids grow so fast that it's hard to keep up with all of their changing sizes, it seems like every 6 months they all need bigger clothes and shoes! I like to allow the kids to have a say on what shoes/clothes they'd like to wear but I do have a few guidelines that must be met: 1. shoes without shoe laces would be best so that you can put them on yourself 2. we need to dress for the weather and since it's almost winter we need closed toe shoes and long sleeved pants and shirts 3. we live by a budget so we'll need to find shoes/clothes within that budget(a lot of times we get things used for cheap or even free which is nice). So Elisabeth picked Dora tennis shoes and Charles picked Lightning McQueen tennis shoes....they love their new shoes which makes us all happy!

I had a dentist appointment yesterday...

...and those always end ugly for me. I always come out of those 6 month x-ray and cleanings needing some kind of work done. The good news is that the dentist thinks I only need two crowns right now instead of three(which is what I was previously told), though someday I'm sure I'll have to get a third. The bad news is that even with my insurance paying 50% for my crowns, we'll still need to come up with about $1000. This dentist office is a little bit more expensive than some others because of the new technology that they use with their Cad- Cam that allow you to make a CEREC crown milled out of pure ceramic...this will allow me to get my crown tooth done in a single day rather than 2 weeks and 2 appointments which is the typical amount of time it takes but with this new technology you don't have to send a mold of the tooth into a lab, get a temporary tooth, or wait to have them make the tooth at the lab and send it back. When I heard that this was possible I was SO happy! I've had to get 2 crowns in the last few years(one was a replacement because apparently the other dentist hadn't done a very good job and food and plaque was getting inside) and they both were painful experiences. And it wasn't just pain from being at the dentist and having them work on the tooth in the office, but during my two week wait my tooth was in a good amount of pain. So I am ready to try something new, and am so excited that it can be done all in one day! The dentist suggested we do one and then wait a year or so to do the other, which me and my bank account also think is a good idea. I haven't made the appointment to get the first one done but when I do get it done I'll let you know how everything goes with my CEREC crown.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11

"The September 11 attacks (often referred to as 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Islamic extremists belonging to the al-Qaeda movement upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the building, causing both buildings to collapse within two hours, destroying at least two nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There are no known survivors from any of the flights.

Excluding the 19 hijackers, 2,974 people died in the attacks. Another 24 are missing and presumed dead. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90 different countries. In addition, the death of at least one person from lung disease was ruled by a medical examiner to be a result of exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse, as rescue and recovery workers were exposed to airborne contaminants following the buildings' collapse.

The United States responded to the attacks by launching a War on Terrorism, invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists, and enacting the USA PATRIOT Act. Many other nations also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers."


I understand that war is sometimes necessary. Necessary in order for us to protect our families, our religion and our freedom, but I also know that war comes with a very high price. A good friend of mine from high school, Nic Madrazo, was serving as a Marine in Afganistan and died yesterday, at age 25, in a roadside bombing. Thank you Nic and thank you to all the other soldiers out there who are fighting this battle for us.
"God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We're sick

Last week I was thinking how unusually healthy our family has been these past several months(I think we haven't been sick since before Annabelle's birth). But before her birth it seemed like one of us was always sick with something.

Monday night I went to bed with a stuffy nose and a sore throat. Tuesday I was experiencing an awful amount of pressure in the front of my head down to my ears, my throat was worse and my entire body was aching. I think I had a sinus infection or something of the sort. I did my best during the day without any medication(I try not to take meds unless I really NEED to), my wonderful husband came home a little early to fix dinner and take over, and then just before bed I took Tylenol Sinus and slept peacefully through the night. I'm feeling much better today; still have the sore throat and a little vertigo when I try and move quickly but my head and body feel pretty good.
Charles took a good afternoon nap today which was my first clue that something was different(he always has quiet time but generally won't sleep). After his nap he came and gave me a hug on the couch(I was resting during their quiet time since I still wasn't feeling my best) and he felt really warm, but I didn't do anything then. I got snacks out and he took one little bite and was done which is also very unusual for Char. So I went over to him, felt his head again, took his temperature(under arm) and it was up to about 101. He sat in his booster seat at the table for a long time and just watched Elisabeth. Then he said he wasn't feeling good so I laid him down on the couch with his blanket, pillow and water sippy cup. He wanted me there with him at all times so Elisabeth brought over some coloring books and toys for Annabelle and we just hung out in the living room. After about an hour of this Charlie sat up and whined, "Mommy..." I looked up and he starts licking his mouth so I quickly grabbed him and rushed him into the kitchen but I wasn't quite quick enough. He got a little bit of vomit on the carpet, but luckily, most of it got on the tile, in the sink and on our clothes(clothes are easy to wash so I don't mind that so much even though it's kinda stinky and gross). Poor kid. He hasn't eaten anything since lunch and we're going to try and hold off any foods until tomorrow; he's doing okay now and it's almost bed time. I expect he'll be just as lethargic tomorrow so we'll probably have a movie day. I sure loved having a healthy family; hopefully we'll all get better soon.

More baking

This last Saturday Scott made a yummy braided bread. We like to eat it with butter and honey(probably not the healthiest choice but I suppose white bread in general is not the healthiest choice...and, besides, when we bake we're not really going for healthy :)).

Sunday after Church we made oatmeal chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies. I've finally found my favorite Utah cookie recipe! In Washington my favorite recipe used butter, but here (because of very different elevations and the dry humidity factor) I can't use that recipe because the cookie ends up extremely flat. This cookie is neither flat nor really round and cakey...those aren't my favorite either. I love oatmeal in my cookies which is another reason why I choose this recipe, and I love how chewy it is. The cookies were still nice and chewy and wonderful the following day, but by day three they were starting to get a little hard. I could have put a piece of bread in our cookie jar with the cookies to keep them soft but sometimes they get so soft that they fall apart while stacked which is a mess (for me the bread thing works better when I have them in a plastic tupperware and not stacked really high in a narrow cookie car). Luckily I only kept enough cookies out for 3-4 days and the rest I froze and those will taste nice, fresh and chewy when we pull them out.Here is the recipe:

Elisa’s favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies(for Utah)

1c. shortening(vegetable) 1 ½ c. flour

1c. sugar 1 tsp. baking soda

1c. brown sugar 1 tsp. salt

2 eggs 3c. oatmeal

1 tsp. vanilla white or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat shortening and sugar til creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Stir into sugar mix; mix well. Stir in oats. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake ~10minutes(if you like them really soft and chewy then underbake them about 30sec. to a minute)

Monday, September 8, 2008

"Jeron!"


"Mommy there's Jeron! Can I go play with him?!" This is the hurried question that I get whenever Charlie sees our 12-year-old neighbor outside shooting hoops, which Jeron does a lot. I usually let Char go out when he asks, unless Jaron has friends over(wouldn't want to embarrass him too much). He is such a cool kid and seems to thoroughly enjoy Charlie and Elisabeth's(when she decides to join them) presence despite the huge age range and the frequent visits. He helps them dribble and shoot hoops and then he gives them big high 5's(I know because Annabelle and I watch them from the window or from our front porch)! We love all of our neighbors and feel very fortunate to live in such a good neighborhood with lots of great people.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

'Let's pretend'and much improved refried beans

"What is the good of pretending to be what you are not? Well, even on the human level, you know, there are two kinds of pretending. There is a bad kind, where the pretence is there instead of the real thing; as when a man pretends he is going to help you instead of really helping you. But there is also a good kind, where the pretence leads up to the real thing. When you are not feeling particularly friendly but you know you ought to be, the best thing you can do, very often, is to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are. And in a few minutes, as we have all noticed, you will be really feeling friendlier than you were. Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups --playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest." -C.S. Lewis



Wouldn't it be nice if everyone would at least pretend to be friendly and nice. I wouldn't even care that they were faking it! And I'm sure What Lewis said is true about becoming what you do. Here are a couple pictures of our kids pretending to make dinner along side Scott and me. They are learning a lot from this make believe play, you should see the things they do and the conversations that they carry while pretending. They had bowls, canned food and other types of food, an icecream scoop, a pizza cutter, a can opener, and a couple of recipe books that they'd refer to often(I would hear Elisabeth say, "No, Char it's not in that book, it's in this recipe book. This one has the good one."). I love watching them copy grown-up play. And isn't that a great quote!? I have 10 pages of typed quotes from C.S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity...I'm sure I'll be posting more in the future. Have I mentioned what a fantastic book that is?

Regarding dinner tonight, here is a picture of the refried beans I made.
Last week I finally finished the pinto beans that we got when we were first married 5 years ago and I was able to use brand new beans from Costco and MAN! What a difference! New beans compared to 5 year old and not very well packaged beans really changes the taste, texture and look of the beans. These were SO good! Tasted just like Dad's(practically)! Tonight Scott said, "These are good. I was worried before that you weren't doing it right." So was I Honey, so was I. The old beans were grainy when you ate them and instead of cooking them for 1.5-2 hours we had to cook them for over 4 hours...and even then they were still a bit hard. I'm so relieved that we finally figured this out! I should have taken my Dad's advice during his last visit. Oh well, you live and you learn :).