Sunday, September 02, 2012

First Week of School

This was Charlotte's first week of school.  She was so excited, and did great walking into her class and settling right in.  Her day is 7 hours long, so I thought she might be tired after, but all of the activities seem to energize her even more!  After the first two days, I told her that she had to walk to her class all by herself from now on.  She worried about it most of the previous day, but asked for help in her prayers the night before.  When I dropped her off, she hopped right out of the car and didn't look back.  At this point I was more nervous than she was.  I drove back by the school, but didn't see her sobbing outside, so I went home and proceeded to worry about it all day until I picked her up.  She said she found her class just fine and was extremely proud of herself.  Watching her grow up is so fun.

To keep myself busy this week, I had some painting projects in the garage.  When we were in Houston, my mom spotted an old dresser on the side of the road waiting for trash pickup that was an ugly 90's wood color, but in good shape otherwise.  We shoved it into my car and took it apart so that I could take it back home with me.  I started sanding it down, then went and got some paint and supplies.  When I was grocery shopping, I came home to find that Helaman had finished the sanding, taken it completely apart and had already put the primer on.  Looks like he needed a project too!  He has his weekends [somewhat] back, yay!  We worked on it off and on all week, and I LOVE the result.  I only wish I had a before picture.  My favorite part are the perfect knobs I found at Hobby Lobby.  This was also my first attempt at using antique glaze.  It's not perfect but not bad for someone who has no clue what she is doing.  Olivia can now open and close her drawers without assistance (hallelujah) and the room just looks a thousand times cuter.

I also spray painted the kitchen cabinet knobs since the garage was set up for painting.  So four years later, I think every knob in this house has been painted or replaced! 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Inner Space Caverns

On our way home from Austin, we saw all these billboards advertising "Inner Space Caverns" so we decided to stop for lunch and check it out.  They stumbled on these caverns while drilling the I-35 highway, and they were pretty cool!  The girls were troopers, walking almost a full mile through the caverns and back during the tour.

In the caverns they found bones from the wooly mammoth, saber tooth tiger, a type of horse and camel that are extinct, and others.

Family Time

Last weekend we got the chance to see our extended family at Lighthouse Hill Ranch outside Austin.  It was hot, but we had a great time tubing in the river, rinsing off in the grotto, and relaxing in a blow up pool.  The ranch had cows and horses wandering around, and the backyard area had a fire pit we took full advantage of, despite the raging temperatures.  The girls loved seeing their cousins and Charlotte still can't stop talking about her "favorite" thing ever - reunions:)  Thanks to everyone for coming out!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Happy 4th!

Happy Birthday America!  We are so blessed to call America our home and enjoy the many freedoms it is easy to take for granted every day.  Our Fourth of July was kicked off by a spectacular ward breakfast and bike course in the morning.  The girls loved decorating their bikes and Charlotte went through the course many, many times.

Olivia still has some work to do in learning to pedal and steer.  However, she did love being pushed around.

Later, since Helaman was called into work, we had Katie and her friend over and had a burger and hotdog party.  Then we invited ourselves over to our friend Angela's house because we heard it was the place to be with all kinds of fun fireworks going on.  We capped it off by going to Frisco Square's fireworks show.  Olivia turned to me during the show and said, "I like this game, mom." 

Helaman has been working some nights this past week, so I thought we might go to the mall and grab some Chick fil A instead of making something at home.  Then I remembered seeing this recipe on Pinterest for Chick fil A chicken nuggets, and thought it would be the perfect chance to try it.  They were delicious, and Charlotte loved helping. 

Arboretum Field Trip

Our friend Anna invited us to come with her to the Dallas Arboretum.  It was a perfect overcast day for it - I am always afraid of being too hot or getting burned when it is sunny.

We walked around the whole arboretum, while Charlotte kept insisting that we look for the little playhouses.  We found a bunch and they loved them!

Along the way, though, I made them look at the cool glass sculptures on display, which they almost missed in their quest for playhouses.  This one in particular reminds me of Olivia's hair.

Afterward we had fun playing with Anna's play-doh dentist set and the girls loved following her dogs around and playing hide and seek in the house.  Thanks for a fun day Anna!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Summer!

Two weeks ago Charlotte got her chance to set up her own lemonade stand during our community garage sale.  The traffic was slow but we did get some customers!  Best of all, she had a great time.

 We've also been enjoying splash parks and our now-lush backyard lawn.  Happy Summer!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pre-K Graduation

My little girl graduated from Pre-K last week.  The year has flown by!  At a glance, it may seem like a big to-do to make for kids after completing just one year, but for Charlotte is was a huge accomplishment and I'm glad she got a chance to make a big deal about it.  She is a super sweet, shy girl, so I was so proud of her for going every day and making new friends in a class that could have been very intimidating - 14 out of the 17 kids were boys!  There were some days when she was nervous to go, but her wonderful teachers brought her in and made her feel comfortable, and she stuck it out each day - and ended up having a great time.  I will miss her a ton next year when she goes to kindergarten (Olivia will even more so!) but she loves learning and I know she is more than ready to do it full time.  Here's to 13+ more years!

 I love how proud of herself she looks in this picture.

In Charlotte's end-of-year video, they asked each kid what they want to be when they grow up.  Charlotte said she wants to be a mommy.  When Helaman tells he he wants her to be a doctor to take over the family business, she volunteers Olivia for that job:)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Mother Missed

This week my family has mourned the unexpected death of Alice Hansen, which occurred shortly after she gave birth to her third child.  The initial shock of hearing about someone your age, in your family, passing away made way to the helpless feeling that nothing one could say or do could ease the pain and grief of her husband.  However, we believe that families can be together forever, and know that they will be reunited again someday.

You can read more about the story here.  There is a donation fund for Alice's family there as well. If you feel you can help in any way, it would be greatly appreciated.  Expressions Vinyl is also donating $1 for every "like" to this Facebook post, so please click it!  Thank you!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Craigslist success

We got a new piano, and love it!  Thank you Craigslist for supplying to us for free (we just paid for the delivery and tuning).  I liked my front room before, but now I really enjoy being in there.  The girls love to sing along when songs are played, and are excited to learn little tunes of their own.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Grandma-in-Davis's Funeral

My immediate family

Last weekend my dear grandma Pauline - "Grandma-in-Davis" passed away. I spent the weekend in Davis, California joining my family in remembering and honoring the exemplary life she led and the ways in which she touched each of our lives. Growing up, we lived only about an hour away from Grandma's house. We visited frequently and never wanted to leave Grandma's huge smile, hugs and warmth. Though she was Grandma of 45, she knew each of us individually. She gave me a locket with my initials on it when I turned 6 (that I still have), saying that "sometimes the best presents are the smallest." When I called to tell her that I was getting married, she asked to speak to Helaman, telling him he "got the peach!"
Grandma holding me as a baby

I loved Grandma's stories, enthusiasm, and ability to bring our large family together year after year - hosting reunions that we all looked forward to. I'm so grateful for the time that we had to enjoy her. Going to her home in Davis for the last time was sad, remembering all of the times we came there. However, it wasn't the same without Grandma puttering around in the kitchen or chatting someone up in the front room. She will be missed, by no one more than Grandpa, her companion of 68 years. Those two "eloped" to the Manti temple after a short engagement, and are an amazing example of commitment in marriage and the importance of family and faith. Though I know she is busy in the work of the hereafter and enjoying reunification with her 9 siblings who all passed on before she did, her absence here is felt deeply.

Grandma with her 6 kids.  My dad is on the far right.
Same home, 55 years later


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful girl!
Charlotte wanted a Princess Party this year, like many of her friends.
Helaman's balloon making skills were a hit!

The princesses also got a kick out of beating their crown pinata!  We are glad you are our little princess, Charlotte!  Happy 5th!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Deal Trouble

I do not watch the Kardashians.  Any of them.  But I do watch The Soup, and my DVR sometimes tapes the last few minutes of the Kardashians.  A few weeks ago was this episode where Kourtney had been couponing and had this huge pile of stuff she had gotten for free.  I wanted to barf.  At that moment I knew it was all over.  The end had been coming for a while - starting with "Extreme Couponing," continuing with Kroger ending their coupon doubling and tripling, and many stores whittling their loss leaders down to one or two really good deals, only good for the first five minutes past opening til they were gone, and then this.  Lame pseudo celebrities couponing for fun, because they really have nothing else to do.  Certainly anyone can coupon, but does anyone else get a bad taste in their mouth to see obviously well off people collecting hoards of stuff for free just for fun, while lately there are seldom any of those deals left for the regular types?  This isn't the same as the lottery winners who continue to receive food stamps, but it has certainly turned me off to the whole thing.  Maybe when it becomes less popular again, I'll go back to trying to get good deals at the grocery and drug stores.  Until then, steering clear.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


I did not publish my New Year's Resolutions in January, because I was too busy working on them!  Better late than never...

1. Exercise regularly.  I have never exercised regularly before, and I love it.  Starting slow, I'm currently doing three classes at the gym per week.  Hey, don't want to get overwhelmed and quit.  Along those lines, we are also trying to cut back on the ice cream (Blue Bell) intake.
2. Have a regular cleaning schedule.  I printed a schedule from Pinterest outlining what cleaning to do on what days, and have been able to stick with it so far.  It makes a huge difference.  Not easy to follow through with, but having an "assignment" every day is far better than winging it, at least for me.
3. Don't over-commit.  Life is better when it's not so busy and hectic.  Learning to say no to some things to make time for more important things.
4. Studying scriptures, not just reading. 
5. No yelling.  Still working on this.  Hey, it wouldn't be a goal if I was already perfect.


This year is Helaman's General Surgery year, which is crazy some months, and better others.  He works very hard, and is currently studying for his third Board exam (they never end!)  Lately he has found time to play basketball once a week with friends and host "Daddy parties" for the little ladies when Mom isn't home, which they love.
This year I was elected Treasurer of my neighborhood HOA.  The meetings take more time than I would like, but I think ultimately myself and the other new members of the Board will be able to make some good changes in the community.  The whole experience, stemming from a $400 special assessment that I did not want to pay last summer, has reminded me how important it is to stay involved and informed about issues going on in our communities, cities, and nation.  It's not always easy (last year I was publicly berated and ridiculed by the now-former members of the HOA board, in front of hundreds of residents - awesome) but it is important to speak up when you feel there should be a change in leadership, policies or anything else.  More often than not, most people will agree with you.
Other than that, I am still loving Primary, playgroups (especially in this super mild winter), Supper Club, and watching my girls play together.  Charlotte is making great strides in her reading, and Olivia is just the most cuddly little girl whose cheeks I can't resist.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Happy Birthday Olivia!

My little girl is turning 2 today!  Though Olivia is a little high maintenance, she makes up for it in many ways.  She is super cute, and always comes up to me to cuddle and give me kisses.  She giggles easily, and allows me to squeeze her cheeks as much as I want.  She is very vocal, and has a great vocabulary.  She loves playing with Charlotte - dress up, Barbie, and playing with baby doll are her favorite pastimes.  Her enthusiasm for dresses, shoes, and her Jammie Dress is hilarious.  She loves eating fruit and pizza, and points out the Donut House every time we drive by it.  I love getting to see her learn and grow every day.  We love you Olivia!