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 Allrecipes.com, 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?