Sunday, December 20, 2009

The things they say

I was just sitting here by the computer with Ellie. We were singing some songs from the Polar Express. . . a favorite in this house.

After singing the same song 45 times, I said, "OK, I have to go fold some clothes. Will you come help me?"

Ellie said, " Oh, I can't fold clothes. I have a baby in my tummy. And I'm sooo sick."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!! I was laughing too hard and thought I should write this down for my own memory. :) I love the things my kids say. They are their mother's children for sure.

And as I was typing this, Noah wrapped a string around his wrist several times and said, "Mom, don't you think I look like a Lamanite with this on my wrist?"

I am laughing again at rethinking it. :) I guess he kind of did look the part.

I love my kids. They make me laugh so much.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You be the judge. . .

Of the UGLIEST SWEATER/VEST/FUR COAT.(Brian and July Savage#1)(Christi and Luke Harmer#2)(Jason and Jana Smythe#3)(Kristen and Abram Ellis#4)(Lisa and Shawn Quinn# 5)
(Dan and Janie Ward#6)
(Elizabeth and Ryan Elder#7)(Anne and Jeff Bednar #8)

Last night we had a party here for Christmas. We decided to have everyone wear their ugly sweaters and a prize was won for the worst of all. So, I want to hear what you think. (If you were at the party and know the winner. . . hush).

It was a great party with lots of delicious food and even better friends. I am really going to miss the friends we have made here in Ann Arbor. I warn people that if they are going to be my friend. . . you are committing to a life with me. And I'm not kidding.

We played some pretty super duper fun games. . . GESTURES and Two Truths and a Lie. That was a new one for me and I loved it. (I learned lots of new things about everyone. Many, many laughs!!!)

Thanks everyone that brought food to share and came to celebrate this season together. We had a great time with you and hope to make this party more of a tradition. . . wherever we are. Utah obviously. :)

I am going to use this as my "Christmas Story" for this week. I really do want to have an "Ugly Sweater" party every year as a tradition. It was so much fun.

As a side note. . . I made my first trip to The Salvation Army. Not as bad as I thought it would be, but rest assured I am taking the sweaters we bought straight back to the donation center. Unless there are any takers for them. Mine and Lisa's are from Sears if you want to go get yourself one. Buttons and bells on both. Who doesn't love a sweater that jingles.

Actually, I have to tell this little story.

Jackson saw Jason in his sweater last night and said, "Oh Dad, I love your new sweater. It looks so snuggly. Can I sleep in it this week?" (All while rubbing his hands all over it).

My boys love to sleep in Jason's t-shirts when we let them (aka no clean laundry), and Jason's sweater was right up Jack's alley. It was that fleecy/chenille fabric.

Okay, that's it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The first of many!

Ellie is a girly girl. In every way.Here is her first of many dance recitals. Don't mind that she is a few beats behind on some of the moves. Because at least she eventually does all the moves. :) Two year old girls, trying to stay together takes some divine intervention!!Take a peak. It's quick.

Ellie's recital

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's a GIRL!!!

For those of you that didn't know I am pregnant, I am. And for those of you that knew, but were wondering if it was a boy or girl . . .


I'm thrilled! I wanted another little girl so much and I am so happy that we are getting one. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my boys. In fact, they are much easier than the little girl I already have, but I wanted just one more to even it out a bit. Ellie needs it. :) As Jason said a few nights ago, "It's like she walks around thinking she's entitled just because." So true. That's one of the things I love about my Elle Belle. And who doesn't want a sister!!!?

So, yay!!! We are having another girl and everything looked great on the ultra sound.

When we got there, I was getting a sick feeling that I was going to have a boy. Then the tech told me it may look that way. Then I hated her.

Then, after she had me get up and go to the bathroom so she could get a better shot of the babies spine, the baby finally moved position and the tech had a VERY clear shot of the gender. Then I loved the tech again.

All is good.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Jason had a work conference in Chicago so we decided to make a trip of it and all go for a few days. We went back and forth as to whether or not it would really be worth it with all the kids and cold weather, but I am so glad we went. We had a great time, the Residence Inn was fantastic (they upgraded our room to a 2 bedroom since our real room wasn't ready when we got there and with 4 kids in a 1 room hotel . . .not fun come bed time). The weather was actually not too bad and we had tons to do and see!!The kids were great about walking so much and getting out. The only one that gave us any sort of trouble was the darling little 2 year old that is seriously giving me a run for it! That girl is determined!!

Just some highlights of the trip.

-the American Girl Doll store. Ellie was in HEAVEN!!! Those bitty babies were right up her alley. She couldn't get enough of it. I think Santa was taking notes and possibly will be bringing something special from that store.
-Portillos. Awesome hot dogs, fries and shakes. It was a
recommendation, and how wise it was. The dogs had everything on them and they were delicious.
-Giordano's Pizzeria. At least that's the name I remember. I could be way off. Worth the long walk in the freezing cold.-playing in the hotel. Just seeing my kids love being in a hotel makes it so fun. They seriously love going to hotels. I do too.
-Cheesecake each night for dessert in the hotel. Jason made quick runs after the kids were in bed and we stayed up and devoured our goods.
-A carriage ride through the city. The kids wanted to do it
so bad, but totally not worth the money. We went on a tour of the same street we had walked 5 times already. But the kids all loved it. And we sang Christmas songs for most of the ride. It made for a great memory.
-Chicago popcorn. Cheese and caramel mixed. We were told that is the most famous, and rightfully so. Yum.
-Winter Wonderland Fest at the Navy Pier. It was totally decked out inside with TONS of rides and activities for the kids. It really was a winder wonderland, snowflakes in the air and all.

The drive home went fast and the kids were all wonderful. I barely ever knew Carson was around. He is one heck of a good baby boy!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Memory #1

I should for sure stop reading Amberly's blog. She keeps inspiring me to do new things. :)

This month I am going to record a Christmas memory from my past, or tradition, or anything I want that has to do with Christmas. So here it goes.

One of my BEST Christmas memories was the only Christmas I got to spend as a full time missionary in Argentina. I was serving in my second area, Bariloche. And it was gorgeous!! It will always hold a very special place in my heart. The people there, the scenery, and the amazing work I was able to do while there.

That Christmas was the first time I got to talk to my family while on my mission and it was wonderful. And although it was a big highlight of my day, it was by no means the best part of my day. (Maybe at the time I thought it was, but looking back, I learned so much more that day about what Christmas really means.)

My companion and I asked to use the phone of the Troncoso family and we were able to spend some of the day with them, in their tiny home, watching their small children gleam with excitement at the sight of a single toy for all of them to share. Their home was one of the smallest I have ever seen. And all dirt floors. The bathroom was an outhouse and the family all slept in one room, with one bed. There were 5 of them.

But they still gave so much to everyone around them. I can remember MANY days where we would be out tracting and they would see us and spend the few cents they had on a bit of juice for us. Or invite us to eat with them. And it was no different the day of Christmas. They gave us the best food they could and helped make the Christmas of 2 North American girls as memorable and special as possible. Whatever it was, I know it was always a sacrifice for them and I learned that Christmas truly isn't about "getting" but always about "giving".

That day we sang songs, played with the kids, and my companion and I shared a Christmas message with them that touched each of us. And reminded all of us why Christmas is such a special day.

Experiencing Christmas with their 3 small children, as they shared one single present made me so sad at first. But now I see how wonderful that really is. Those kids didn't care. They were just happy to get something. I don't know if I have ever been that selfless. I'm pretty sure I haven't.

Nothing new to any of us, but how easily I forget when someone asks me what I want. I seem to have an endless list going on in my mind. But I am grateful to know in my heart that getting things isn't what will make us happy. It's simple. Living the gospel will. And I'm thankful to have learned that day after day as a missionary, in so many different ways.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Deck the halls!

Can you take it?! Those cheeks are too much!!!

As you may have noticed, I stopped doing my "grateful" list. There's no reason other than laziness and business. Do those things e
ven go together? But I did want to post a couple of pictures.Apparently I need to take more pictures of the boys. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 24

1. Homemade tacos. Like I mentioned before, my mom is a great cook. We never ate anything that wasn't from scratch. At least of the good things. Rolls, pancakes, TACOS!!! And it sounds funny to say they are homemade, but when you make your own seasoning and fry your tortillas, that to me is so much more homemade than using crunchy taco shells. And so much more delicious. Try it.

2. At home hair cuts. I secretly, or actually not so secretly hate doing this. But I am glad that I am able to do it for my boys and they can get the haircut I want them to have. And I can be as picky as I need to be. And it's free.

3. Thanksgiving break. I am happy that we can sleep in tomorrow knowing Jackson doesn't have school.

4. Little Ellie. She was so sick this morning. Not a fever, but something was wrong. She woke up, super sweaty, and went straight to my bed for another 2 hours. And it's not like she woke up early. Try 10am. (We were up later last night decorating the tree). But she was so tired and sick that it made me feel so sad for her. Little Ellie just so helpless. So, I'm grateful for her and that she is fine. :)

5. The way my kids make me laugh. By far, some of my hardest laughs come from things my kids say. Today, Noah was playing the Wii and didn't want to let Jackson play. He did not want to lose. But that's too bad. We share. So then Noah said in the most pathetic little voice, "No mom, the wii isn't always about losing. It's about winning." I was ignoring him because he was not in the mood to share, but Jackson replied with, "No Noah. It's not about winning either. It's about playing together and having fun." So, I laugh at the honesty of my 4 year old and that to him, it is about winning. And that to my 5 year old, who I seriously think is 30, it's about enjoying the game. Although he is quite possibly the BIGGEST trash talked there is. I love my kids.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Because they make me smile!!

Just some pics of my darling kiddos.

It seems she has started the posing stage of her life.

Day 23

1. The tree is up. So thankful that is done.

2. The weather was nice enough to take my kids to the park today. It felt nice to go for a walk and get some park time in before it's too late!! I'm grateful for the small things that make my kids so happy.

3. A safe neighborhood. Anyone that knows anything about me knows I am extremely scared of home invasion. It has never happened to me, but it terrifies me. 911 knows me too well. Where we live is so safe and I am so thankful for that when Jason has to work through the night. Most of the time I can fall asleep and stay asleep. (It helps that one of my neighbors NEVER goes to bed. That makes me feel watched over). :)

4. My parents. They bought their plane tickets for Christmas and I am SO excited to have family here. It makes the holidays so fun and special. And getting to do it in my home is even better. I love having our own traditions and memories. Can't wait to have so much family here. . . no matter how cramped and crazy it gets.

5. Ben. My brother in law. He is a great cook and I can't wait for him to come and make me some PIE!!! I actually think pie is sick, but Ben has a gift. :) So glad you're in Louisville so you guys can come to our house for Christmas.

Read This

I remember when this talk was given. I remember when I wore a second earring on one ear. I remember taking it out. I know now that I do regret having pierced my ears more than once. What he said was true. I remember thinking it was such a powerful and direct talk. It helped me better myself then as a young adult. And now as a mother, it has so much more depth and meaning. This is a talk I want to refer back to for the rest of my life.

Your Greatest Challenge, Mothers

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 22

1. A long nap on Jackson's bed. I love taking naps in the boys room. Don't ask me why.

2. Jocelyn. We got to talk for a long time tonight on the phone because we both had our husbands around to take care of kids. And I got to order some yummy new Scentsy stuff. Yummy. Plus, it was just so nice talking with my sister. I wonder if we will ever all get to live by each other???!!!! I hope so. At least we have Christmas!!! :)

3. My visiting teacher. To be honest, I don't love visiting teachers. I'm active and I promise to call when I need something. But mine are genuine and thoughtful. I'm lucky. Elizabeth just showed up with a treat and brightened my day. She is a good person. And example. I need to do my V.T!!!!!

4. Carson. Everything about him makes me feel happy and full. He is the highlight of my life right now. I mean, all my kids are, but Carson has such an innocence and sweetness that only babies have. I can't imagine my life without him!!!!!! Sometimes I forget he is even there because of how simple his needs are. There's something to be said about non-talking children!!! :)

5. I'm grateful Ellie loves to help me in the kitchen. Most of the time it drives me up the wall, but I told myself long ago that I want to teach her how to love the kitchen and learn to cook so she would love it when she is older. I didn't know how to cook much at all when I got married. Just the basics. My mom is such an amazing cook that there was never any need for me in the kitchen . . .and I am pretty sure I never wanted to be helping. But that is not the case with me and my Ellie. I have a limited amount to teach her and she wants to learn. So for now, we are having fun with it. :)

Days 20 & 21

I am getting seriously lazy as my month progresses. The weekends are hard for me I guess.

1. Date night. Jason and I went to dinner at the Common Grill and it was heavenly. I had to undo the button on my pants in the car, but totally worth it! :)

2. Movies. There isn't much more I love than going to dinner and a movie. We tried to go see The Blind Side. SOLD OUT!!! Two nights in a row. Super annoying. So before Jason could seriously oppose, I quickly bought tickets to New Moon. He thought it was the lamest movie in the world, and I really enjoyed it. Hello Jacob!! He really grew up. :) Mmmmmmm!!!!

3. Farah. Again. Of course.

4. Delysm. I swear that is the best cough medicine. I KNOW it is a suppressant, but I would rather my kids get some sleep. And it has the approval from my husband.

5. A little boy that is growing up. I'm not particularly happy he is growing up, but he lost his first tooth and it was such an exciting event for the Smythe home yesterday morning. Jackson was brushing his teeth in the morning and he came running into me where I was changing Carson, GLEAMING that his tooth fell out. All he could talk about was going to bed so the Tooth Fairy would come. And she did. (Jason asked me if I had 2 quarters. LOL!!! Luckily for Jackson the Tooth Fairy had something better in mind. Two quarters?????)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 19

1. Baskin Robbins.

2. Laundry folded AND put away

3. Presidente y Hermana George. Got an email from my mission president and it was just like listening to him in a conference on my mission. He is a powerful, imspiring man. And I love him.

4. Crisp, cool mornings. Even though I usually hate the hour of wake up, (diapers to change, hair to comb, breakfast to make, children to dress), I love mornings. Something about the start of fresh, new day.

5. For what we have. I know we don't have everything, but we sure have more than many and I am thankful for a husband that has provided for his family. There really isn't much to complain about. We have been blessed greatly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 18

Late again.

1. Fran Coy Spa. I had a wonderful massage last night that took me to a different place.

2. Girls Night!!! A few hours of all girl talk. Which means stories of birth, pregnancy and our decrepit bodies thanks to those first two things.

3. Crock pot dinners. I love them.

4. Nap time for me.

5. Glee. I love the music and the show!!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mad, but laughing

Boys and girls really are naturally different. And I am so glad. But help me. Is having a daughter pay back for my mom?

Like, when did Jackson ever learn abo
ut Thomas? He was a little over one when he figured out that Thomas the Train was his first true obsession. He has since out grown that love, but for a few years, it was all I lived and breathed. I used to say that his college tuition was wrapped up in Thomas trains.

And Noah loves anything boy. Dirt, sports, bugs, burps. You name it. Noah can't get enough of it. And those are things I couldn't care less about. Or if I'm being truthful, HATE. Dirt? No thanks. Sports? Pass. Bugs? Jason really thinks I need to see someone professional about that. Burps? Nasty. I'm a lady
. :) Not Noah. He was born for those things.

And then there's Ellie. She LOVES LOVES LOVES my make up. It makes me crazy. When we moved here, Jason put some drawer locks on the drawers. Not all of them. (But that's a story for a different day and title). Needless to say, we still have plenty that need to be installed.

So, Ellie has a strong will. Or actually, she's strong. Sh
e busted through the drawer locks and has had free range on my make up. I HATE it! I can't leave her alone for 5 seconds. Don't doubt me. When will I learn to stop buying expensive make up??????

This morning, I was taking care of Carson (or surfing the Internet) and she came down stairs like this. I wish I knew how to take pictures so that it would all show up on the computer. Her face was covered in all sorts of shades and shimmer.
(She is actually posing for the camera. I do not do that. And please note the mascara in her eyebrows. I scrubbed, but my make up means business.)

Her hair only gets done when we are leaving the house. Clearly, today is a stay at home day.

Day 17

1. new jeans.

2. grilled chicken with Yoshida's Sauce. I love that stuff!!

3. new king size down pillows.

4. the scriptures. No matter how many times I have read the Book of Mormon, new things come to life for me each time. I know that is Heavenly Father's way of teaching us so many important things. And I'm thankful to keep learning.

5. amazing, faithful children. Not a night goes by that they don't remind me to pray and read. Even when I try and tell them that we are just doing an article of faith, that isn't enough for them. I hope they stay this way forever. Out of the mouths of babes!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 16

1. I am thankful that I can play Duck Duck Goose with my kids. Even though I told them they couldn't pick me. :) I threw up this morning due to some very unpleasant orange juice and it took my energy for the day. But we still had a fun and silly time playing together this afternoon.

2. Ellie and Noah were outside together this afternoon. I happened to be opening the blinds that let me see what they were doing and I caught them playing baseball. But Ellie was having some difficulty holding the bat so Noah came over and showed her how to hold it right. I loved it. I am grateful they are such good buddies.

3. I'm thankful Jackson is getting a little better. He has had a fever since Saturday and even though he still has one, he is acting more energetic. Which is good.

4. Jill. It had been a few weeks since we last talked and it was so nice to catch up. I can't wait until we live closer and I can talk to her face to face. . . shopping, going out to lunch, and just hanging out while Maddie babysits all my kids!!! :)

5. Shabby Chic duvet cover from Target. Thank you for having something I can afford. My heart was set on a much pricier one, but as Jason always reminds me, "In these hard economic times?" Which by the way I hate when he says it!!! But the duvet cover is darling. And perfect for the little while I will need it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 15

I skipped a day on accident so thanks to Melanie for pointing that out to me. Having the same title every day is getting hard for me I guess. :) Do here's to the real Day 15.

1. Homemade pretzels. Thanks Angela for the recipe. Delicious!

2. A day of nothing. Jackson was sick so I planned on staying home with him during church. And Carson. Jason had to go to work this morning and thought he would be home in time to go, (HAHA. As if that ever really happens). But still, I got Ellie and Noah ready to go, only to have Jason call and say he wouldn't be home to go. So, they changed and we have had a day of peace! And I loved it.

I really and truly can't think of anything else I did today that helped me feel thankful. Not that I'm not. . . but it really was a day of nothingness. So, I don't want to have to stretch for lame things to say. I already did that. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 14

1. Nordstrom. For so many reason. Great lunch. White Chocolate Bread Pudding. . . melting in my mouth!!! Friends to shop with. . . the list is endless. And a few new things for yours truly. :)

2. Ellie's dance class. I realize she is young and probably not so coordinated, but she LOVES it and that makes me love it. It's so fun dressing her up for it and watching her get so excited to show me her moves. And she get a thrill out of telling the boys it's not for them and they can't come in. :) Her recital is on December 12 so get set for pictures!!!

3. Libby. A friend that was instantly like a sister to me. It was like we knew each other in another life and she has taught me so much. Today I received a special gift and card from her. The card made me cry and the gift was so thoughtful. The card had music, a rap, just my style. Loved it! And I love her.

4. A scorching hot shower. I was so cold tonight and went to escape a little of our family chaos in a steamy hot shower. It took all my strength to turn the water off. It was just what I needed. Escape and warmth. :)

5. New tires. We went to Costco tonight (little shout out to my second love) and finally got new tires for my van. It needed them last year, but we waited. . . and waited. . . and waited. And finally the time came. I'm sure the tire guys were thinking I was an unfit mother to be driving kids around in that car with those seriously worn down tires. But what they don't know is that I am a seriously awesome driver! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 13

1. Sugar cookies. Whatever. Judge me. :) And yes, in the shapes of Christmas trees and gingerbread men. That's right! Fa la la la la!!!!!

2. Kids that love to help. Even though there are times when two of my three capable children tell me "no" to my face, there are those days when they are willing to do anything I ask. Today happened to be one of them. I had them going up and down the stairs so many times. It was great. I really loved having their help.

3. Farah. Love her. She is always there for me.

4. A new book to read. I finished Catching Fire a few days ago and it was great. Now I am starting Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Anyone read that yet?

5.The prayers of my children. There is something so real and valid about a 2 year old when she prays for her daddy to drive safe to work. Or a four year old asking to have good dreams so he can sleep well. Or a 5 year old, only telling Heavenly Father how grateful he is for his bed, clothes, the scriptures, the Prophet, and always his family, that we are together. Hearing their prayers seems like the perfect way to end my days. Especially when my days have made me tired and impatient. Kids have a way of reminding us how important they are.

Day 12

I know it is a day late, but I was just not up to it last night. :)

1. Garbage day. I love getting rid of things and garbage is no exception.

2. Grilled burgers. Onions, tomato's, lettuce, fry sauce. . . yum

3. David Archuleta's Christmas CD. Lovin' it!!

4. Parks and Recreation. Seriously, it is funny.

5. Jason. He is possibly the most hand's on dad ever. And I am thankful for that. I don't know how some moms do it practically by themselves!!! I watch him come home from work, just to keep going!!! We are lucky to have him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 11

1. Bed time. I am tired. :)

2. The return of Glee!!!! I am so thankful the world series is over!!!!! Bed time is going to be even better watching Glee.

3. DVR. Yes, to watch Glee. :)

4. Cooking Gals Ann Arbor. It was a delicious night of yummy soups and treats. And a couple that I will be making as family favorites.

5. My kids. There really isn't anything more in this world that makes me happier. All 4 of them are so different and unique and they each have a special way of making me proud and grateful. I used to say to Jackson,when he was the only one, "You are my life." And it couldn't be more true for all of them. I live for my kids.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 10

Is everyone getting so sick of seeing my blog on google reader and knowing it is just a list of gratitude? Too bad.

1. White Chicken Chili. Cooking Gals in Pittsburgh. Debi. Those three go hand in hand. This is quite possibly one of my very favorite meals. Debi brought it to a cooking gals three years ago and it instantly became a serious family favorite. By all of us. Mmmmmm!!! Want me to post the recipe????

2. Getting Christmas catalogs in the mail. My kids LOVE to look at each page very carefully and circle the things they want to ask Santa for. It is so fun to watch them dream and anticipate a very magical day.

3. Jason did the dinner dishes. That is big on my list of gratitude. I hate washing the crock pot. Don't you?

4. My mission. I actually feel so thankful for that every day. Jason and I have talked about our missions and how not a day has gone by since I came home nearly 8 years ago that my mission experiences don't enter my thoughts. People I taught, companions, horrible days, spiritual experiences, whatever! So much of my mission made me realize so many eternal truths. And that is something I want to remember daily. Simple gratitude for my mission doesn't seem adequate for the reward it gave me as a person.

5. Pre-school. Every Tuesday and Thursday I get 2 1/2 hours with just Carson. And to me, having just one child seems like playing house. I know when I only had Jackson, it was much harder than playing house, but now things are different and I realize just how simple it really was. Those couple of hours are some of my best hours of the week. Also, end up being the most expensive. Shopping with just one is too easy! :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 9

1. The boys running around outside and inside, chasing eath other with laser guns. All while laughing so hard they keep tripping.

2. A new book. This time I will tell the title. Catching Fire. I know. . . young reading. But I like it.

3. Carson's laugh. I don't know if there is much more that can make me smile so big as his little laugh right now. It's actually more like a hardy belly laugh.

4. Ellie and Noah. Even though they argue with each other more than any of my kids, they also play SO well together. They spend the most time together every day now that Jackson goes to school. They spent a few minutes on time outs today for the usual fighting, but it always ends in hugs and kisses and that makes me happy that they are so quick to forgive AND forget. (Sometimes).

5. More good weather. The boys have been able to play for hours outside each day and I love that they love being out there. Today I watched them from the upstairs bathroom window and I felt so happy seeing them imagine and play together. I don't know what they were playing, but they each kept taking turns spinning with their arms out. Airplanes maybe????

I'm so thankful my kids love to play with each other. I know they will never go with out friends because they will always have each other.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 8

Today was a good day. Sundays usually are. Even with the craziness of getting to church on time. :)

1. Church. It was uplifting and I was able to feel the Spirit so strong. Nothing in particular, but it was present in my day and I am so thankful for that. I need the Spirit more often to be with me.

2. Music. I think that helped me have the Spirit today and I am so grateful so many people have such beautiful voices and are willing the share them. It always touches me.

3. Faith. A girl in my ward here is dealing with something that I just can't even imagine. Something she deals with every day of her life, for the rest of her life and I think she is possibly one of the strongest women in the world. I don't know her well, but I am touched by her faith and strength. She inspires me.

4. Bob and Delsa Quinn. They were listening ears to a mommy that needs a little more encouragement these days. That would be me. :) And they always seem to have just the right words to say. No matter what the topic. They are, and have been for several years, great examples to me.

5. Cafe Rio salad. Yes, I am always grateful for food. I can't help it. It was delicious and the perfect meal to a wonderful day.

I am a very blessed girl.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 7

1. The Christmas Workshop. Sin anchovy potatoes. If you were there, you would know what I am talking about. Apart from that little experience. . .the morning was spent with friends, enjoying the beginning of the holiday season.

2. Janie Ward's cinnamon roll class. The only class I did and well worth it. Who doesn't LOVE bringing home a pan full of delicious cinnamon rolls?! And I am especially thankful for Janie because she rolled my dough. The worst part. And plus, she is an amazing person. I guess I should have just put her name down and that would be that. I am thankful for Janie. There.

3. Mother nature. The weather was GORGEOUS!!! There is nothing like a beautiful day amidst several freezing cold days to warm your heart. Or hands. Or feet. And face.

4.Shiny clean cars. Due to ideal car washing weather. And a husband that loves to wash cars. And possibly a couple little helpers named Jackson and Noah.

5. My mom. Talking to her today was a good dose of fun. I can't wait to live closer to family so I can actually see them when we are talking. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Numero Seis

1. Good movies. We took the boys to see "A Christmas Carol" tonight and I loved it. A little scary at times, but everyone seemed to really enjoy it. Yay for the holidays!!!!!

2. Farah. My wonderful babysitter across the street.

3. Tea parties. Ellie had a little princess/tea party today and I loved dropping her off and seeing all the darling little girls all decked out. Having a girl has been too fun!!!

4. A job. Not mine. I am unemployed. But I am so thankful Jason has a job. And that it is steady and dependable. People will always get sick and break bones. Not that I am happy about it, just thankful he has a profession that will always be needed.

5. Noah. A child full of energy. He keeps me going and I love him for it. And he's all boy. His love of life reminds me how lucky we are to have it. He is a joy to have.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 5

I'd like to say this is in no random order, but tonight. . . it is listed by most grateful to least grateful. That sounds funny. Least grateful. :)

1. The day is over. I am so glad to end this day. Not that it was so bad, but that I am tired, I had to take ALL 4 kids to the doctor's office today, shots were had by many and even though I was the first patient after lunch, they were still running 40 minutes behind. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I'm sure they saw us coming and drew toothpicks to see which lucky nurse got to call the big Mormon family back. :) But still . . .be on time!!!

Being a volunteer at Jackson's school. Each Thursday I get to go to his class for 1 hour and help the kids in what they call "centers" and I look forward to it all week. I love seeing Jackson in his element and how all the kids interact together. I still can't believe that it is the start of the next SEVERAL years for Jackson. Bitter-sweet.

3. Brooke. A dear friend of mine from Pittsburgh. I made one of her recipes tonight and it has been awhile since I have really cooked much. It was delicious. As all her recipes always are. I love having friends to share recipes with.

4. Good books. There is nothing I love more than reading a good book. The book of choice right now is nothing spectacular, and not even one I care to mention, but a page turner and entertaining. It takes me to a different place and sometimes isn't that what we need?????

Target. It always seems to be the perfect bribe. And for the brave ones today, they got to go to Target with their dad after work. That was a double treat!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 4

This might start to get a little repetitive. Sorry.

1. Jackson loves to play Mario Kart. He is awesome at it and so we "trash talk" a little bit. All in jest. Except today Ellie bumped into Jackson, costing him the first place trophy, meaning I came in first and Jackson actually started crying. (This is all after a bunch a serious trash talking!!) So, needless to say, he was not happy about losing. Then, a few hours later, Jackson comes up to me and says, "And you know Mom, it isn't always all about winning. It's about having fun and enjoying the game." That made me thankful. Jackson is a child that never ceases to amaze me. He "gets it" on so many levels for most 5 year olds.

2. My Reward Board. I bought this online last year this thing works wonders for my children. I decided today that we are a home of ZERO TOLERANCE for sass and tattletaling. And I mean it. And the mere threat of a bad mark on their chart is a miracle worker! I'm grateful my kids obey. . . or are scared not to obey!! :)

3. A friend named Kari. From high school. She posted something about the creation today and it made me feel good and right for having the family we are having. Even when I feel overwhelmed. It always helps me to remember how blessed I am to be a mother and take part in something that is the most rewarding experience of my life.

"Motherhood is the one thing in all the world which most truly exemplifies the God-given virtues of creating and sacrificing. The mother who, in compliance with eternal law, brings into the world an immortal spirit occupies first rank in the realm of creation."
--Gospel Ideals, "Respect for Mothers and Their Divine Role", Improvement Era, 1953], p.456 & Aaronic Priesthood Manual #1 (the lesson on Mothers).

(I found this quote last night actually after bumming around on that new site I was talking about that sends me emails for scripture reading).

4. Wendy's. It hit the spot for me.

5. Martina McBride's Christmas CD. The first of November marks the start of the holidays for me and she helps make my home a little more festive.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 3

More gratitude. . .

1. A very patient nurse that helped me get through getting the flu shot. Most everyone knows what a TOTAL baby I am when it comes to anything needles and she was so patient and kind to me. It made me feel loved, even if she was thinking I was the worst patient ever. :) She hid it well.

2. Election day. Not because I voted, or anything along those lines. But because that meant that Farrah, my babysitter could come and watch the kids in the middle of the day so I could get some guts and get that shot done!!!

3. Jackson. He is too smart for his own good. He made me laugh so many times today for no other reason other than his witty little come backs to me.

4. Avocado Black Bean Dip. Yuuuummmmmy! It really hit the spot tonight for my dinner. Jason is over night tonight and this was all I wanted. So, I am grateful for ripe avocados the most I guess. :)

5. A new website that sends me chapters of the Book of Mormon each day to help keep me on track. For some reason I seem to have time to check my email every day, multiple times a day, but when it comes to finding adequate time to read the scriptures, something always comes up. And what better email to have in my inbox than a chapter a day. This may seem pathetic to some of you more disciplined than me, but this is what I need at the time being. And I am thankful for it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 2

Five more things to be grateful for.

1. Elizabeth. Another thoughtful friend, brought us a yummy dinner. Thanks for saving us from another night of cold cereal.

2. Friendship. I feel so lucky to have such amazing friends in my life. Old and new. I have always been blessed by amazing friends that enrich my life and it is something I am VERY grateful for.

3. Quiet time and nap time. Carson and Ellie both take naps together and Jackson and Noah are so good at taking "quiet time". They know that it means time to whisper so mommy can rest too. :)

4. Costco. Jason took all the kids to Costco tonight and I stayed home and rested yet some more. I love Costco. And I love that Jason quite possibly loves it more than me. It was his idea to go and take all the kids. To him, that sounds fun. HAHA!!!! And I am going to love a stocked kitchen. It's been awhile. :)

5. Ellie's chocolaty face after eating a doughnut from her dad. For some reason, seeing her love that doughnut and have such a messy little face afterwards made my heart melt. The smallest things make her so happy. Wouldn't it be nice to eat so freely? :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

goal. . .slightly boring for everyone else

I was checking other blogs a few minutes ago and a friend of mine decide on a great goal for the month of November. Every day I am going to record 5 things I am grateful for. I say everyone give it a try!!!! This may. . . (I am almost positive it WILL) be slightly boring for almost everyone, but this is something I need to do at the time being. For many different reasons.

1. Jason. I know that sounds cheesy, but he really is the greatest husband. I have been so sick the last few days and he has really taken charge. Folding the laundry alone won him some major points!!!

2. Carson. I told Jason a few days ago that just looking at him makes it hard for me to function. I am just so in love with that little baby boy.

3. Cleaning people. Ahhhhh, the start of a new life for me. My house looked like it had been visited by my Fairy Godmother.

4. Lisa. A one of a kind friend. She brought us dinner tonight due to my sickness. And it was delicious. Anything I don't make OR have to clean up is quite possibly the best meal of my life. Thanks Lisa. You always seem to know when I need you.

5. A nice big bed. I have been in that thing a lot this last week and I am so glad it is comfy, warm and big. I hate being touched while I sleep.

There it is. More to come tomorrow. Thanks Amberly for inspiring me to do this.

October Days

(Just because he is such a cutie.)

This month seemed
to fly by. Maybe because I was gone for so much of it with the girls trip and several interviews for Jason's job, but I feel like I barely got to experience Halloween or even the perfect fall days.Oh well. I guess I just have to enjoy those things in the upcoming years. :)

But we did finally manage to make it to the pumpkin patch. Here's what happened.

I decided it was time to get some pumpkins with H
alloween only a few days away. Ellie insisted on wearing her pajamas all day and Noah only wanted to wear shorts and some funky sandals, with socks I might add. (Every time he puts them on I make him take them off. I hate them. Why did I buy them???) But this day I was full of exhaustion and decided pj's and ugly sandals were fine. I at least made Ellie put on clean pajamas, and ones that aren't zippered so going to the bathroom would be much easier. Smart thinking!
So we got the pumpkin patch, picked out some super cute pumpkins, if you call the last choice pumpkins cute and went to pay.WHAT??? Cash only? Lame. Who ever has cash on them? Probably everyone but me. So, we left our selections there, telling the lady we'd be back, and off to Walmart we went for some seriously huge pumpkins. And way cheaper!! And I used my credit card thank you very much.

So, sorry to disappoint my kids, but this is the mom you got! :) And I must say, even though Walmart makes me sick, the pumpkins were so much better there.

Then on Friday night we went to a super fun Halloween party (no kids allowed. . . perfect) hosted by some great friends, the Sadlers. Everyone dressed up, we played some great games and ate even better food. It was a great time. Thanks Sadlers for hosting such a fun night!
These were a couple of my favorites from the night!
Me & Jason as Shaggy and Daphine. Not so much a fave, but us. :)
Lisa and Shawn as Rednecks
Janie and Dan as Flapper and Mobster. . .they won for best costume.

Onto Halloween.

Jackson was Darth Vader. Noah was Spiderman. And
Ellie was Tinkerbell. They all loved how they looked and had a fun time wearing their costumes for hours!!!Some other friends of ours, the Elder's hosted a Halloween party the night of. More delicious food and company and the kids had a blast going trick or treating together. Despite the freezing cold wind. Thanks Elders!!

On the way back to our neighborhood last night I had Jason stop and let the kids and me out to finish the night by doing some last minute trick or treating on our street. They loved it. And I was glad I got to see them do their thing for a few minutes. Even though Jackson and Noah were RUNNING from house to house, at least Ellie and I savored the moment. :)

Here's to next year when I plan on going to the pumpkin patch early in October, cash in wallet! :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Funnest Trip EVER!

A few weeks ago I come back home from the funnest trip ever. A bunch of my closest friends from Pittsburgh all worked our crazy schedules around so we could all meet up. . . wherever!! We didn't care where, just as long as we were all there. And Orlando seemed to work the best.
So, for 5 glorious days, we talked and talked and talked, (that is seriously an understatement), ate a ton, and lounged around at the pool until all hours of the mornings!!!!!
Exhausted, but never laughing so much in my life, I had the greatest girls trip I have been on. And clearly from some of you making comments, I have been on a few. (In my defense. . . my girls trips rejuvenate me. I need them for being the ultimate mom). :)

Thanks girlies for a MARVELOUS time. I can't wait for the next one. Love you all!!!

All pictures courtesy of Melanie Pitcher. . .an amazing photographer and friend for sharing all her hard work. :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Check it out!

This is a new favorite site of mine. . . and it should be yours too. One of my greatest friends from Pittsburgh has turned her sewing obsession into something we can all enjoy. Check it out!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shout out!!

This is just a quick shout out to the Pittsburgh girls that are all going on the GIRLS TRIP next week to Orlando. GO GIRLS TRIP!!!!!!

I have been checking your blogs and getting older and nerdier as I sit here. All these new crafty things you are all doing is too much!!! I feel dated and matronly.

Please help.

Next week, I have decided to turn the "girls trip" into a Craft Get Away.

No, I do not craft. Yuck. But you all do. And I am willing to be taught. A little. If it will make me more stylish, I can do it. So please be prepared. :)

Love, Jana
The least crafty friend you have. But jealous of all of you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Go Blue!

Last weekend was the official start of the fall for me. Why?
Because we went to the the cider mill in Dexter for the first of MANY times this season and we took the boys, even Carson to their first University of Michigan football game. One of the fellows Jason works with has had family tickets to the games for years and happened to have 6 extra on Saturday. So, we decided it would be a great time to take the boys. My sister Jocelyn was here visiting so she come too. We left her boys and Ellie at home with a babysitter. :) And actually, Noah would have probably enjoyed the babysitter too. Michigan won!!!! It was great. We had a really fun time there, despite the hot weather. Jackson and Noah had a great time, or I should say started having a really great time when we were ready to leave. The student section really got the "wave" going and Jackson was loving it. (I was too). Carson did great. Half the time I never even know he's around. I am lucky he is so easy.
Here's to a season of cider, fresh doughnuts, football, and gorgeous walks in the neighborhood. And jeans and sweatshirts! There is nothing I love more than the start of fall. Even down to changing out my decorations. Is it too early to get out my Halloween????