Sunday, December 20, 2009

Leah at 18 months

Our little Leah is officially a little girl but she will forever be my "Baby Love." Leah turned 18 months and is the joy of my heart. She still loves me and needs me in a way my older kids have outgrown. Leah knows that she is sooo cute and adored in our family but she in turn loves each family member as well. She says "Abi" really well and likes Abi to read to her, or hold her or help her with things. Talmage is really good to play with her. When Daddy comes home at night she runs for the door with up stretched arms squealing "Dadoo, Dadoo." In the middle of the night or when hurt or sad she still calls out "Mom, Mom," though.

Leah is really enjoying the Christmas season. She helps un-decorate the lower branches of our tree. She points at our tree and says, "Pretty, On!!!" indicating that she wants us to turn on the lights. Our Little People manger set is her favorite though. She always seems press the star to turn on the song during family prayer. She likes to carry the characters, especially Baby Jesus and the animals around, even to bed. So far she has only looked at the presents under the tree but she loved dancing on the unrolled wrapping paper as we tried to wrap presents. It made a nice crinkly sound. We went and visited Santa after the Downtown tree lighting and she did really well. At first she was curious about this strange man, then she got close enough to him that Abi could hold her for a picture and finally she let him hold her for a picture, but just for a minute.

Leah remains tall and skinny but her weight and her appetite are picking up. She is 33 1/2 inches tall which is the 95% for height, and 21.4 lbs for weight which is the 10%. I think that is the highest percentile for her weight since she was born. Leah had gone through a really picky stage but she is surprising me how much she will eat at some meals. Here she is eating a favorite - Mac & Cheese and peas. She also loves instant oatmeal, cream of wheat, tomato soup, any pasta with tomato sauce, apples without the skin, grapes, yogurt and anything with sauce. We have to be careful to keep all ketchup, jam, salad dressing etc. out of her sight or she will holler "Sauce" and climb on the table and will not be redirected until she has a big pile of "Sauce" on her plate in which she is sticking her fingers and then licking them off.

This picture is deja vu as I have one of Abi also clomping around in my shoes in her PJ's. Leah loves to put on her "Shuzy" and then will grab your hand and lead you toward the door to go "Side"/Outside. With the recent cold and snow I haven't taken her outdoors much. After the first snowfall, I bundled her up in snowpants, boots, coat, gloves and hat. She tromped around for a minute, tore off her gloves and refused to put them on again, started eating the snow, and then tripped and face planted in the snow and started crying. That ended our first snow outing. Leah's vocabulary is really expanding. She knows most parts of her body, titles to our family, foods like apples, cheese, "tookie", "Nack"/snack, "Juz"/ juice, "Mik"/ milk and water. She also knows to brush "teeth" and bath. Leah enjoys a few "Mooovie"s including "cars" and "Doggy" or 102 Dalmations. She also likes coloring pictures, playing with her toys and jumping on our little trampoline downstairs. Leah can communicate most of what she wants with words, Uh-Uh's, or by taking your hand and pulling you over to what she wants you to do. She adores Nursery and her leaders. Leah is a joy to all of her family.

Merry Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas from the Meeks 2009

Kris and I celebrated our tenth anniversary this year. It was fun looking back and realizing how much we’ve done in the last ten years, how much we’ve grown ( +3 kids), and how many blessings we have received. To commemorate this banner year I have compiled a TOP TEN LIST of things that have happened in the Meek family this year.

10. Abi (8) and Tal (6) again played Spring Soccer with AYSO. Kris coached Tal’s team – the Fireballs. Dad especially learned a lot and the kids had a great time. Abi and Tal each scored several goals and we are proud of their hard work.

9. Abi turned eight years old and was baptized this June by her dad. We were so grateful to have many family and friends join us in celebrating this milestone. Abi gave a talk in sacrament meeting about her baptism in which she confessed she was a little scared at first, but afterwards thought “That was the easiest thing ever.”

8. Kris was called into the bishopric of our ward as the Second Counselor in July. I’ll admit, I bawled at first; but the Lord has truly blessed us. Two lovely angels sit with the kids and me on Sunday. Kris and I are learning even more how to schedule and balance our lives to keep the more important things and let go of the rest. Kris’s law practice is growing. And with the right attitude, we are growing closer as a couple and as a family by serving the Lord.

7. We took our first non-camping Family Vacation since law school this summer. We went down to Utah where we spent 2 days traipsing around Ogden Dinosaur Park, Hill Air Force Base, Hogle Zoo, Temple Square, the Clark Planetarium, and then a whole fun-filled day at Lagoon. Kris, Abi and Tal rode Wicked and claim it was “AWESOME!!!” but I was a big chicken.

6. Tal started Tae Kwon Do this Fall and is loving it. He is “this close” to earning his orange belt. His favorite part is breaking the boards.

5. Donalee and Kris are ever busy with their projects. I should say that Donalee keeps Kris busy with projects. We spruced up our deck and yard, refinished a dining room set, and redecorated Tal’s room. Kris is President of the local Civitan Club this year as well as being active in the Inn of Court (I don’t know either). I juggle PTO, church callings, my home and family, and my new interests, Food Storage and Couponing, in my spare time.

4. Leah is growing and growing. She just turned 18 months and started Nursery which she adores. Her vocabulary is exploding and she is starting to string words together - “No want to!” Leah loves to sing songs like “Popcorn Popping”. She also loves books, drawing pictures, playing with Little People, and going outside. She is the center of attention in our house and knows it; good thing she is soooo cute.

3. Abi and Talmage are excelling in school, their activities and piano. I continue to teach them piano and hope to start teaching a few other beginning students in January. Abi continues to dance ballet and is so graceful and talented. Both Abi and Tal are in the Discovery class in their school.

2. I was called to be the Activity Day Leader for Girls in our ward. It is THE BEST calling in the church. I adore the girls I teach and even more love spending extra time with Abi.

1. Our family spends a lot of time together. Game nights on our Wii whether bowling, tennis or carnival games are a new favorite. We’ve also started reading the Harry Potter series together before bed. We enjoy grilling outside in the summer, taking walks around the Greenbelt, playing board games and watching movies accompanied by popcorn. Our family is our greatest blessing and we love doing things together. I try to capture the highlights in our blog

We hope that this Christmas season finds you all well, peaceful, and happy. Delight in this season of remembering our Savior and the “good news” of the gospel – He lives, He has atoned for us, and we can live with Him again. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wrapping Up November Blessings 25-30

Blessing #25 - Being a Stay At Home Mom. Now it took me many years to believe that it was better to stay home than to be at work, but now I can't imagine trying to work and take care of my family. I am so grateful for my husband and his job which let me spend time doing fun things like making our first ever pie with Abi. It is a pumpkin pie and it turned out pretty good.
Blessing #26 - My Activity Day Girls. I've said it before, but I have the best calling in the church. My girls are fun, beautiful, smart, cheerful and a load of laughs. ( Even if they think that my frosty pink nails are "old ladyish.") We had a really good time learning how to do manicures from Camille. Two weeks later the girls gave service by giving manicures to a couple of shut-in ladies in our ward.

Blessing #27 - Living close to family. I enjoy the closeness most at the holidays when we get to be with them rather than being far away. I appreciate my mom being able to babysit for us on occasion. I am glad we can visit our Nanas and Papa on Sunday afternoons. I really appreciate all of the help, meals and love we enjoy.

Blessing # 28 - Music. Nothing sets the mood like music. I love being able to listen to Sunday music on Sunday to get me in the mood for church. I love playing Christmas music to put me in the holiday spirit. I love listening to my kids practice the piano. I love playing the piano ( in the rare moment) I get the chance.

Blessing #29 - Modern Conveniences. Our power was out for 2 hours on Sunday. Somehow, it takes the removal of a blessing to make you aware of it in your life. I am thankful for electricity, and heat, for running water and indoor plumbing. I am thankful for a grocery store down the road and a refrigerator and freezer in which to keep our food. I am thankful for our cars to take us around town and anywhere else we need to go. We are truly spoiled.

Blessing#30 - Family Home Evening. Monday nights we gather as a family and spend time together. We usually sing songs and open with a prayer. Currently we sing "Popcorn Popping" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" for Leah because she loves the actions. Then we have a story or lesson. If I start a story from The Friend, Kris usually has to end it because they always make me cry. ( My husband and kids make fun of me.) Then we have an activity and treats. Yesterday we made our annual Gingerbread House. I hadn't read the instructions so I was unaware that with this particular kit you were supposed to let the icing dry 2 hours after constructing the house before decorating. Well.... we didn't really have time, so HOT GLUE to the rescue. We covered it up with icing and it looks as cute as ever.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blessing #24 - Random Things

I know this may sound odd, but I've been thinking about a few random things that make my life soooo much easier and nicer, and I'm really thankful for them.

Family Shopping carts - You know the ones with the extra seating attached on the back for all of the littles to ride in. They are awful to maneuver around the store but a lifesaver when I have more than just Leah.

My cell phone - It's my only phone and I can take it anywhere. Think back 15 years, unheard of then, and yet I take it for granted now.

My minivan - It has automatic sliding doors for when my hands are full, a DVD player to keep the littles occupied, removable seats for when I need to transport big things like a table and chairs, and carries our whole family while keeping them separated so that I don't have to hear, "Mom, he's breathing on me."

Our Wii - Having never been a video gamer growing up, I am pleasantly surprised at how much I like it. I love my Wii Fit and Kris and I had a fun little date playing Mario Kart the other night.
We can all go bowling together or take turns teaming up for tennis. Loads of family fun.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blessing #23 - My Family

Today and everyday I am thankful for the family I grew up in. My parents taught me to work hard and encouraged us in developing our talents. The gospel was taught in our home through FHE, scripture study, prayers and everyday life. We enjoyed family time playing card and board games, bowling, vacations and going out for ice cream. Both my mother and father are great examples of Christlike service. Countless times I remember my mom baking rolls and carrying big pots of soup or casseroles to neighbors and ward members. My dad is the hardest worker I know and is willing to help everyone out. Just last week he drove out to the butcher to pick up my beef for me, then drove it in to town and carried it into the house and down the stairs to set it right next to my freezer. My sister Kalene was my best friend growing up. I drug her into all of my crazy plans, schemes, plays and performances. I love having her live so close so that we can raise our kids together. She is a huge help to me in watching my kids. She is one probably the most patient, even tempered person I know. I wasn't as close to my brother Jared and youngest sister Mallory growing up, but as I've gotten older I am getting to know them better and appreciate their amazing and creative talent and fun personalities.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blessings #21 & 22

OK. This 2 for 1 day is becoming more of the rule rather than the exception. I apologize but I doubt that it will get better as we head into the week.

Blessing #21 - Friends
I truly believe that women need girlfriends in order to be happy and well balanced. Not "girlfriends" per say, but friends that are girls. ( Did you see New Moon? I totally laughed at that part.) On Saturday I went out with a few friends to see New Moon and have lunch. I liked the movie, but I really enjoyed the company. Women talk differently to other women vs. husbands etc.: we share and commiserate, and dissect silly things like movies. I leave Girls Outings with a wide smile, a happy heart and a more positive outlook just from spending time and talking with friends.

Blessing #22 - Sis Johnson and Camille
When Kris was called to the bishopric, one of my first thoughts was "How will I ever make it through Sundays?" And Heavenly Father responded by sending two lovely angels to sit with me and my little brood during sacrament. Sis Johnson rubs Tal's back and lets Leah explore her watches, necklaces and pretty clothes. She helps the kids sing and acts as a fence on one side. Camille plays with each of my children but especially Leah and acts as a fence on the other side. I sit in the middle and pass out snacks, toys, drawing implements and referee any fights or climbing over or under the benches. Were not perfect, but thanks to these wonderful women we make it through each Sunday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blessing #20 - Our Home

After moving around and living in little apartments for so long, we were so excited to buy our home and put down roots. Admittedly, sometimes I do grumble and wish for my "dream home" but when I sit back, I am so grateful for our house which we've made our home. I love having gardens to dig in, putter around in, and admire. I love the rich color in our hardwood floors. I love having a Master Bath right off of our bedroom. I love having my office in the breakfast nook of my kitchen so I can blog while dinner bakes. I love the yellow walls and crisp white cabinets in our kitchen which brighten even the darkest winter day. I love finally having a garage to park my van in, ( hopefully someday we'll get a 2 car garage so that Kris doesn't have to park outside.) I love having a place to call ours, to take pride in, to improve and to love. I especially love our home on Fridays when I clean and it stays clean for about 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blessing #18 & #19

This is harder than I thought, blogging every day, not counting my blessings. Another 2 for 1 day.

Blessing #18 - A Good Book
Last night I didn't feel like doing anything I was supposed to, you know those days. I grabbed a book that Abi had been reading "City of Ember" and started in. I had previously watched the movie with Abi and Tal so I was intrigued. Two hours and 195 pages later I had to quit to go to bed. And tonight while Kris is away at meetings, I curled back up on the couch and finished it. Oh, sweet luxury.

Blessing #19 - A Good Neighbor
I have the best neighbor, she knows who she is. She is my walking and talking partner, mostly in the summer, but I'm trying to get her back out. She watches my kids often, probably toooo often for her, and they LOVE to go to her house. She always has that ingredient I just ran out of on Sunday afternoon. She is ever willing to give and share. She makes fantastic cookies and sends little plates over to my house. She shoots me funny little e-mails that brighten my day. She organized a Girl's Day Out and invited me and I soooooo need to get out. She lets me bounce ideas off her and always has a good thoughtful response. She is kind, lovely, talented, compassionate and caring. I'm so glad that she is my neighbor and I hope that you have a wonderful neighbor like that too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blessing #16 & #17

Blessing #16 - Food, Glorious Food

I love food. I don't LOVE to cook, but I do love to eat. And I don't mind cooking because I love eating so much. And I love to try new and different things so I cook them. I am so grateful for the wide variety of foods that we do have to eat. My family likes everything from down home cooking, through Mexican, Asian, Italian and more. I've tried out a few Middle Eastern dishes which I really like, but my hubby thinks that cumin tastes like body odor, so that rules most of them out. Generally however, my family is really open to new things. I love growing our own food in the garden in the summer. Nothing beats a fresh strawberry out of the patch or picking all of your salad items right out the back door. Tonight we had chicken and dumplings with carrots and sage from our garden. Yummy!!! In America, we are truly blessed with an abundance and variety of good food.

Blessing #17 - The Internet

Now it's almost hard to imagine life without the Internet. But I can remember back to when I was in college and our Internet just hooked us up to databases at other institutions. Then we got a DOS based e-mail system and I could keep up with friends and family. Then the Internet seemed to explode and now so much of my life operates within the Internet world. I check my e-mail almost every day if not 2-3 times a day. I hardly ever write a letter anymore. I pay most of my bills and do a large portion of my banking online. Today I ordered a Christmas present online. I'm blogging - and that is my journal. I browse grocery ads and belong to grocery forums online as well as print coupons off the Internet. One of my favorite websites is, which I go to for almost all of my "new" recipes. I am on Facebook, but I'm almost never on there - it's a big time suck. We use the Internet as our encyclopedia, to watch episodes of "The Office" that we missed, to entertain our kids with games ( Horrible parent, I know), to listen to General Conference, and to search for just about anything I can think of.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blessing #15 - Nursery

Leah is not quite old enough to officially go to Nursery until December 3rd. But our Nursery Leader has let Leah come in the last 2 weeks as long as I came as well. Leah LOVES Nursery. She runs from toy to toy and loves having all of the kids around. She doesn't play with the other kids but she really enjoys watching them. She enjoys coloring and snack time. Leah is a little hesitant at singing time but she does like to do the hand motions for "Popcorn Popping" and "Do As I'm Doing." Today I had to sneak out for a minute to play the piano in R.S. and she didn't even peep; I'm not sure she even noticed that I was gone. The Nursery Leaders are so kind and loving with the kids and know little details about each one. Nursery and the Leaders are a HUGE blessing in my life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blessing #14 - Lazy Saturdays

Sleeping in, snuggling with my hubby, pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, and nowhere we have to go and nothing we have to do. What could be better than that? I love Saturdays at home with my family. We hung out, did a little Christmas browsing in a few stores but mostly were just lazy. I'm also looking forward to a low key dinner of tacos and chips and salsa with friends. P.S. Wassail mulling in the crock pot is like the cherry on top.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blessing #12 and #13

Woops!!! I missed a day. We all knew it would happen, life just gets busy. So today I'm posting a two for one.

Blessing # 12 - The Temple

Even before I received my own endowment, I have loved going to the temple. I got a special use recommend from my bishop when I was in college at the U of Utah and would go to the Salt Lake Temple to do baptisms a few times a month. After I received my endowment I loved returning often. The temple has been a great source of peace, comfort and strength for me. Many times I have taken important decisions or things I have been struggling with to the temple, and many times I have received the personal revelation I was seeking while in the temple. Unfortunately life always seems to get in the way and as we've added more children and moved around it has been difficult to get to the temple very often. But tonight my dear mom has offered to watch our children and Kris and I will be going to do an endowment session. After a long week at home with "the chillens" I am looking forward to a little peace and enlightenment.

Blessing #13 - Mall Walking

OK, not quite as spiritual, but none the less morning mall walking does lift my spirits. During the nicer few months of the year I love to get out and cruise the neighborhood, often with baby in stroller and a friend and her stroller at my side. I enjoy the exercises, the outdoors and maybe most of all the conversation. But with the onset of cold I am stuck indoors. Exercise helps keep me out of my winter blues and other years I have joined a gym, done yoga or Pilates at home, and last year worked out with my Wii Fit. But Leah loves to climb all over me when I try to exercise and I can't really justify the gym membership to my budget, so mall walking it is. Good thing the stores are closed at 8:45 in the morning or that might put the kibosh on my budget. Feel free to join me Mon, Tues, or Thurs mornings.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blessing #11 - My Savior Jesus Christ

Tonight our Relief Society Activity was entitled "A Walk With Christ." The night focused on the last week of Jesus Christ's mortal ministry. Each day was titled such as "Day of Recognition" for Palm Sunday through "Day of Triumph" for Easter Sunday. I was blessed to have the opportunity to provide the scriptural narrative for each day and then different presenters discussed how the principle of that day applied to our lives and provided a thought provoking question for us to then reflect on. As I studied in preparation for writing this narrative I again had the opportunity to delve into the scriptures and examine my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I remembered feelings, thoughts and experiences I had while living in the Jerusalem studying at the BYU Center. I reflected on His life and the importance of the Atonement in mine. Tonight was the capstone of my week of drawing closer to Him. At one point a video clip was shown of Christ ministering to the people of the Americas after His resurrection. I yearned to be there, to see Him, and to feel His hands touch me. I know that Jesus Christ lives, that He took upon Himself my sins so that I might live with Him and the Father. I love Him and bear testimony of His greatness, goodness, kindness and love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blessing #10 - Public Library

Tuesdays are our library days. Abi, Leah and I go while Tal is at Tae Kwon Do. As I was checking out the librarian commented that I had quite the pile - which I did, 23 items. I had books for Abi, I swear she reads 1 good sized book in 1-2 days, Easy Readers and a few early chapter books for Tal, a novel for me, a parenting book for me, 2 board books for Leah ( She loves "Moo, Baa, La La La"), 2 CD's of kids songs for the car, 2 Baby Einstein DVD's for Leah, 2 DVD's for the Kris and I , and 2 DVD's for the kids. Wow!!! All for free. Well, mostly free except for the taxes of which the library portion is negligible and the late fees I have to pay every once in a while. But even with that, what a great deal. How blessed are we to be able to read for one, and secondly to be able to borrow so many books on so many subjects to educate and enlighten our minds. I am a lover of books, but not books to read once and put on my shelf. I am a lover of the library books which I can read and then exchange over and over again.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blessing #9 - Sunshine

Fall is still holding on to its crisp sunny days before the snows and cloudy skies of winter set in. My 9th blessing is Sunshine. Sunny days boost my spirits and I love to get outside. Today, like most nice days, Leah and I went outside for 15-20 minutes after lunch. We jumped on the trampoline and lay down to feel the warm sun on our faces. The sun is still streaming through my dining room window brightening my house. In a few minutes, I'll be doing my dishes but I can look out my kitchen window to a sunny patch of backyard miraculously holding onto the green of a summer past.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Halloween

We had a very busy Halloween season this year. On Wednesday we started off at the ward trunk or treat. It took Leah a few cars but she soon figured out that if you held out your bucket people would put treats in it. Then as soon as she got one treat, she wanted to eat that one right then before moving on. Then on Thursday we went to the carnival at the kids' school where they had a wonderful time. Here we are Friday at Kris's Civitan Party that they host for the disabled people in our community.
And on Saturday my little Trick or Treaters made the rounds. Talmage is a Clone Trooper from Star Wars though I forget which one. Abi is a Vampiress. And Leah is a little ladybug. She wore the same costume Abi wore at that age and they look sooooooo much alike. It brings back memories of Abi running around our living room saying "Bug, Bug." Leah only treated around our block and then helped me hand out candy as Kris took Abi and Tal around to some friends houses. Whenever the trick or treaters would come to our door to collect their candy, Leah would say " NO, MINE!!!" And then would I would close the door she would "Uh, Uh" beg me for another candy out of the bowl. Sooooo much fun.

Fall Nesting

I realize that the term "nesting" usually has to do with pregnant women. And NO, I am not pregnant. I never have the urge to clean my house while pregnant. Rather, I am content to lie on the couch for 9 months.

However, "Nesting Instinct" always seems to hit me in the fall. As the days grow shorter and cooler, and especially on those blustery rainy days, I get in the mood to scrub and organize my house top to bottom. I crave freshly baked bread and creamy soups to warm me and my family up. I feel compelled to knit my family woolen hats to keep them cozy. ( This one I have to suppress because they never liked the hats I knitted.) My CD players spins the Celtic Music I borrow from the library just at this time of year. It must just sound fall-ish to me, or it could be that I love historical fiction set in the Scottish Highlands and as fall sets in I love to curl up under a blanket with a good book. I stockpile hot cocoa, cold medicine, kleenex and soup. I'm also compelled to fill the shelves in my storage room, like a little mama squirrel storing nuts for winter. I put my gardens to bed last weekend: trimming my perennials, rolling up my hoses, and nestling my plants under blankets of chopped up leaf mulch. And I reflect. The slowing down and shuttering up for winter encourage me to reflect on the things we did this past year, to ponder the things I am grateful for, and to plan for the months coming - especially the holidays.

As I was reflecting, I thought it would be fun to post one blessing a day to help keep me in this mood of pondering and thanksgiving. But of course, life gets in the way and here it is the 8th. (Someday I am going to figure out a system whereby I can blog while I wash my dishes as that is the time that I do most of my thinking and mental journaling.) So here are my first 8 and I am making it a goal to take the 5 minutes each day to post my blessing for that day.

1. My husband Kris - my best friend, confidant, father of my children, lover, and soul mate.

2. Abi - my biggest helper, smart, cheerful, friendly, compassionate daughter

3. Talmage - my 100% boy, best hugger, spirited, intelligent, loving son

4. Leah - my "baby love", joy of my days, active, sweetest little girl

5. My financial planner - Trent Yost, who kept me out of the bigger house we really couldn't afford and encouraged us to save at least $100/ month for emergencies.

6. Kris's job - I know we will have the same paycheck every 2 weeks. It covers our needs and many of our wants and lets me stay home with our kids.

7. Full storage room shelves. To paraphrase President Hinckley, " It may not always be tasty, but it would be nutritious."

8. Our Health - After a few little health problems in our family this last few weeks I can be grateful for our relative good health and I can cope with the little bumps in the road.

Are you nesting this month? What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Fun

Admittedly, fall is NOT my favorite season. I mourn the passing of the warm, lazy days of summer and I dread the coming cold, dreariness of winter. Fall in SE Idaho lasts about 2 days as well before the snow flier and we are socked into winter for half of the year. But both Abi and Tal love fall for the leaves. They had a great time raking and building this giant leaf pile in our front yard. Tal had been dying to rake the leaves on Sunday but he couldn't, so on Monday he burst home from school and grabbed the rake. He was a more than a little upset when I made him come in and do his piano practicing and homework first. But when he saw I wasn't budging, he raced through he chores in record time.
Leah loves the leaves as well. She loves getting outside everyday after lunch for 15-20 minutes. Some days we walk around the block and as the first leaves started falling she would squeal in delight as she crunched across them. Then she would turn around and dance back across them again to hear the delightfully crisp sound.
On Saturday, Kris took Abi and Tal to the U-Pick pumpkin patch to choose the prefect pumpkin for our jack o'lanterns. Leah was recovering from the flu, so we had to stay home.
They regaled me with stories about the corn maze and how much fun they had. Abi confided that by the 3rd time she had it memorized and so "it was easy."
They also got to ride on this fun little train. See them peeking out of the yellow caboose.
On Monday night we carved our jack o'lanterns. This year we gave in and bought the $4 carving kit. We are NEVER going back to plain old knives. It was quick, easy and little chance of impaling ourselves or chopping off a finger. Leah got into the act by smearing pumpkin innards all over her belly.
We turned out some pretty cool pumpkins. Tal's is a face of flames. Abi's is a bat. My favorite part is making the roasted pumpkin seeds. They are soooooo addictive. Recipe below from one of my favorite sites:

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp margarine, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce ( I used more because I love it.)
2 cups cleaned pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients together to coat pumpkin seeds and pour onto cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes or so. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happiness Is...

I've been struggling a little lately with that green eyed monster. I get caught between wanting the bigger house , the new furniture, and the exotic vacations and then learning about a woman from Kris's mission whose family was hit hard by the typhoon in the Philippines or the devastation from the tsunami in American Samoa where other friends once lived. I keep re-learning over and over that gratitude and service are the only ways to combat that green eyed monster. True happiness has to come from within - not from material possessions. ( I'll have to come back to this post often to remind myself.) Here are a few random things that have made me happy lately.

Abi, Tal and I made these festive pumpkins on their long weekend off from school. I am becoming a pro with the spray paint.
I wasn't too happy when I first discovered how Leah had disposed of an entire tube of my favorite lipstick - OK the only lipstick I wear. But before I got mad, I just had to grab the camera. She was so pleased with herself and thought that she looked soooooo pretty.

Making Ultimate Chocolate Brownies - Yum Yum. Talmage was my good little helper, and of course the best part is licking the beater.
The gorgeous sunshine of this weekend. I got out in my gardens and cleaned them out and put them to bed. Working out in the sunshine, especially in my gardens is one of the things that brings me the most happiness in life.

Ten amazing years and counting

This past September 17th, Kris and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. Now I don't have a scanner so I can't post a photo from our wedding, but trust me, we were really good looking :) And here we are ten years later with 3 kids, a mortgage and a minivan. And life, love and marriage are better than we every dreamed it would be. We celebrated with a Stay-cation. We sent our kids to my parents for the weekend and we stayed at our house. If you haven't tried it, it's FANTASTIC. We ate out at places we've wanted to try, we went golfing, we went to all the stores we have wanted to go to, we went to a late movie, stayed up late, slept in late, and thoroughly enjoyed just being together.

Milestones always make me reflect and our anniversary made me think about what an amazing husband I have and how grateful I am for our marriage. As a tribute to my darling husband:
Ten Things I Love About You
  1. Kris went grocery shopping for me the other night - coupons and everything.
  2. Kris fixed our toilets yesterday and does all of the other handyman jobs around the house.
  3. He washes the dishes for me nearly every night.
  4. He brought home a chick flick from the Redbox that he knew I had been wanting to watch.
  5. He bought me jelly beans at the grocery store because he knows how much I love them.
  6. He brings me home the flowers from work.
  7. He sacrifices buying things he wants - like a motorbike - for things that I want.
  8. He suggested that we read Conference talks together for scripture study and that we go to the temple more often.
  9. He got up with the kids on Saturday morning and let me sleep in.
  10. He is my best friend, my confidant, my lover - amazing by the way, a wonderful father to our children, and the person I fall more and more in love with every day.

Modest is Hottest

To preface, I have THE BEST calling in the church. I am the Activity Days Leader for our ward. Activity Days For Girls is a bit like Girl Scouts. We meet twice a month to work on goals and projects that help the girls develop talents and skills in 4 different areas. Most of our activities are planned around the "Faith in God for Girls" program of the LDS church. The girls are fun and silly and developing into such sweet young women. Best of all, I get to spend extra time with my own daughter Abi who is eight. In September we had a Super Activity that we called "Modest Is Hottest." During one of our weekly activities we learned about modest dress and made a poster of modest fashions. Then we planned this activity for a Saturday where we made pajama pants, had a little luncheon, and a fashion show of their pajama pants and a school outfit.

The moms and girls had a great time sewing together. Now, I'm not much of a seamstress but with a little help from an expert seamstress in our ward I had asked to help guide us along, we all turned out a cute pair of pajama pants.
Abi and I are working hard.

After our lovely luncheon the girls modeled thier pajama pants. They were so proud of themselves. Big shout out to Julie for the decorations and Tony for the sound system and catwalk music. It was awesome!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New to Us - Table and Chairs

When Leah insisted that she was tooo big for her high chair and that she wanted to sit at the table like all of us, it expedited the need for a new dining set. A humongous THANK YOU goes out to my sister Kalene, who gave us her old dining set with six chairs vs our four. It was a great, solid wood set that had been treated really well but didn't quite fit into the eventual grand decorating scheme for our house. But with a lot of hard work and even more black paint, it looks amazing now. First Kris secured any loose legs, arms or dowels with screws and gorilla glue. Then we sanded them all down, the steel wool on the spindles was the hardest. Next I washed them all with TSP substitute. The chairs we decided to spray paint and so I first sprayed them with Rustoleum Primer in brown, 2 coats. Then I used Rustoleum spray lacquer in black for a top coat, 4-5 coats. This is what took soooooo much paint. I used 7 cans of primer and 15 cans of lacquer on 6 chairs. I just kept going back, and going back to Home Depot for more paint. For the table, my cousin - in-law a professional painter recommended painting it by hand. Per his recommendation I used Zinser Bullseye Primer - that's a latex primer- tinted grey. Then I painted it with Porterguard Oil based enamel in black satin. Because our table will be well loved for many years to come by our family of 5+ I protected it with polyurethane, 2 coats gloss and 1 coat satin. Total cost - about $150. But look at it now........

Of course, it's not perfect but I am thrilled. I looks gorgeous and when the chairs get dinged up, as they will, I can just wash them down and hit them with another coat of lacquer. We are also protecting the table with the clear vinyl heavy duty tablecloth.

I'm posting my re-do on A Soft Place to Land Check out all of the other fun DIY projects.

Fair Fun

Visiting the Eastern Idaho State Fair is a tradition for the Meek family. Opening day was a beautiful Saturday so we loaded up and went. Abi and Tal love seeing all of the animals. They were especially excited to get to pet this miniature horse.
You have to get a hat from the Culligan Water booth - it's tradition. Leah is our little runner, but we kept close tabs on her with her Elmo harness. Tal is upset that I wouldn't buy everything for him.
We love going to McKee's petting zoo. Leah was thrilled that the goats would eat right out of her hand. You just hold out the food and they lick it right off. It tickles.
In the Ag Education Area our kids participated in many fun activities. This is as close to milking a cow as my city slicker son will probably ever get.
Leah found it quite enjoyable to play in the corn pit. This is one time when it is OK to play with your food.
Abi enjoyed milking the cow too. Hmmmm, maybe I should hire them out. We topped it all off with what else, ice cream from the Dairy Barn. Huckleberry Cream for me - Mmmmmm.

Leah at 15 months

Our little Leah is making the change from baby to little girl. This past month she refused to sit in her high chair any more and made the jump to the booster seat. She looks so tiny sitting up to the table but she knows that she is soooooo BIG. She is pretty good with a cup and spoon as well. Leah continues to grow tall and thin. She is 32 inches, in the 90th percentile for height, but only 19 lb 5 oz, just above the 3rd percentile for weight. Leah also stopped nursing and started sleeping through the night this past week. Yeah!!!
Leah also had her first haircut. Her bangs were getting a little long and so they got a little snip. She was soooooo good, just fascinated with the cape. Leah continues to love to take baths and play with the toys. She also likes to "help" wash dishes and drink out of all of the clean cups.
Leah's vocabulary is really starting to take off. She knows the parts of her face as well as "belly" and "toes". She loves animals and can say "doggie" and "bird". "Want down" is another favorite but it can mean down or up. Leah loves snacks and food. Here she is tearing into a fresh chocolate chip cookie. Yum. Other favorites are mac and cheese, cottage cheese, cheese, juice, cheerios, peaches, yogurt, peas and all kinds of sauces. I joke that her carrots or fries are just the vehicle for the sauce. She will dip them and then lick all of the ranch or ketchup off. Likewise she will lick the peanut butter or jam off of her bread and leave the bread. Leah loves books - her two favorite are "Baby Faces" and "Busy Baby." We read each of them before nap and bedtime.

Rock Reunion 2009

Our annual Rock Reunion was held in Lewisville this year at the homes of my parents and my aunt Patsi on August 21-23. Over the 3 days we were able to visit and socialize with all of my aunts and uncles, my Grandpa Rock who is 89, and many of my cousins and their kids. The kids enjoyed sleeping out in the tents at grandma's while mom and dad enjoyed sleeping inside in beds. (Now this is my kind of camping.) Our first activity was hiking the Menan Butte. Even though I grew up in Lewisville, I had never hiked to the top of the Butte. It was hot and steep but we made it.
Up at the top you can look down into the Crater and out to Rexburg or back across to our side of the Valley. ( Cousin Clint and Regina Hinckley and kids. Me, my brother Jared, Donetta and Terry Fife, Abi and Talmage, and Gabby and Sterling Howell. Cousin Elliott Hinckley and Ellie. Cousin Troy Hinckley and several of his kids. Aunt Patsi and Uncle Lee Hinckely.) On Friday night we watched a movie outside and enjoyed cobbler and homemade ice cream. The kids loved to watch the ice cream being cranked but weren't so fond of actually helping with the cranking.
On Saturday, the little cousins had the opportunity to make our craft - personalized tote bags. Luckily we kept the paint and markers mostly under control. Kris took charge of adding the buttons with the hot glue gun.
Later on Saturday afternoon we went to Jefferson Lake for wading, floating and a hot dog roast. Leah tip toed into the water at first but soon we couldn't keep her out.
The older crowd hung out up on the grass near the beach and visited. What else are family reunions for.
Kris organized and supervised the building of a sand castle. It was quite impressive, complete with a moat and suspended bridge.
Before dinner we tried our marksmanship with the BB guns. I'm not to good, but Abi and Tal are spot on.
After dinner we walked over to the Lewisville park where Uncle Brian shot off the Candy Cannon. It is quite a sight to see it go off.
And obviously it is a BIG HIT with all of the kids. They run for the candy.
Finally we enjoyed roasting marshmallows over the chimea'. That is my favorite part. Oooh, I love a golden brown toasted and gooey marshmallow. Yummy!!! We're looking forward to seeing you all next year.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Utah Vacation Day 3

Lagoon, It's what fun is!!! ( I never remember to take pics of signs. Thank goodness for the Internet where you can borrow someone else's :)
Abi and Tal were soooooo psyched to go to Lagoon. They've never been to a real amusement park before. Ever since we started researching our trip they talked and talked about going on Wicked. But we decided to start slow with the Lady Bug Bop.

Kris and I took turns going on rides with Abi and Tal while the other chased Leah around. After 2 days of sitting in her stroller she was ready to run around. The strollers main purpose was carrying the lunch and the diaper bag. I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to rides. I'll go on scarier ones with Kris, but I don't want my kids to hear me go "Oh, I don't want to do this," all the way up the line. So Kris and Abi rode the Rocket together. Tal was heartbroken that he was too short but we made up for it riding a couple of other rides together.

As the day wore on we worked our way up to the bigger rides. Even Kris opted out of riding the Samurai though, no one wanted to lose their lunch. Flying Aces did me in, so there was no question that I didn't want to whirl around and around anymore. Soon we were over to Wicked and Kris took off with Abi while I was going to watch Tal ride the kiddie rides. But soon Kris and Abi were back with great news, Tal could ride the big rides if he rode with an adult. Abi was tall enough by herself so off they went.
When Tal got off of Wicked he ran over to me yelling, "That was AWESOME!!!" They also rode Cliffhanger and Colosus. My favorite was The Bat. Then we took a little break and cooled off at Lagoon A Beach. Both Abi and Tal loved the water slides and Leah liked to float around the Lazy River so again Kris and I took turns going with each of them. After that everyone got to pick their favorite ride to ride one last time. Kris, Abi and Tal all loved Wicked again. Mom got to ride with them on The Bat which was also my favorite. And Leah got her first ride on the Carousel. She squealed as a little breeze ruffled her hair as she went up and down. And then she squealed again when the ride stopped because she didn't want to get off.

We finally drug ourselves out of the park just before 9:00 pm. We grabbed a bite to eat and changed into our PJ's. Then our kids fell into an exhausted sleep for the ride home. I loved our vacation: the fun, the memories and the time being together. My eyes twinkle whenever they talk about our trip, it was soooooo worth it.