Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not So Traditional

Our Thanksgiving this year was a little out of the ordinary, but boy did we love it!

Last year we had gone to Utah and froze for 3 was that trip where we decided we were done with winter holidays anywhere north. Why would we leave a paradise of 72 degrees?

My brother had come the 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, so we already did a turkey with him, since he hadn't been home for Thanksgiving in 8 years! My step-dad, Ken, had back surgery the week before, so my parents were in no condition to travel or host.

What were we to do???

Play outside, watch movies, go to the park, go shopping, and decorate for Christmas! The weather was beautiful making it just perfect!

Here's Brooke helping me in the kitchen

Kent and Braelynn watching Megamind

Let's eat! Steak, baked potato, roasted pesto veggies, and yummy sourdough with butter, garlic, and cheese

Kent definitely approves of the new holiday menu!

More bread Braelynn?

Brooke barely made it through the prayer!

Peek-a-boo Brooke!

Ahh- get a load of that sunset!

I love my little sweethearts!

How's the view from up there?

Yes ma'am! Flip-flops in November :)

And now onto Christmas!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So in Love...

I know, you are probably thinking that this post is about Kent and the last 4 blissful years. Well, that post is coming in a couple of days, but in the meantime I just gotta tell you how much in love with Braelynn I am!

She drives me absolutely crazy many days, but there are so many days that I could just eat her up!

Sunday. She was just so cute! All of a sudden, our little mess-of-a-girl has discovered how much fun it is to get girly. We do ponytails and now we're even getting into curlers.

Call my crazy, but I'm even obsessed with the peach fuzz on her arms. She's not a baby anymore!

She's never been one to "crash" anywhere...until she decided she was too big for naps!

She was definitely a fan of the Halloween candy!

Silly girl! Daddy doesn't need curlers :)

It's so fun counting with her, and singing the alphabet.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

San Diego, Baby Showers, Halloween and Other Stuff

Our "little dancer" in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Carly.

Nothing like a nice warm bath.

Braelynn's first trick-or-treatin' halloween.

Brae wearing the outfit Carly wore when she was a little girl (she's a clown, without the makeup)


Messy Girl! Cupcakes!

Carly throws one heck of party (Jeanette's baby shower).

Brooke at our hotel room

Our little princess...

Brae! Stop dragging Brooke across the floor!

Braelynn's first experience with curlers - she wore them all night for church today.

Some Notes from my Journal dated April 12, 2010:

When Moses first communicated with Jehovah on Mount Sinai, he was commanded to remove his shoes, for he stood on holy ground. Taking off one's shoes was custom in those days for anyone with the status of being a slave. For slaves were to stay fairly close by and give strict heed to their master's call.

In the telestial, fallen world we find ourselves in, we too are slaves, brought up like the children of Israel in captivity to sin and the influences of evil.

Like the ancient Israelites brought up in bondage to Egypt, we wrestle with the realities of scarcity, competition, and the harshness of living in a sometimes fierce and cruel and unfair world.

However, the Lord has shown us a better way, a way out. We can live in the world without living of the world.

The night the children of Israel were delivered from the Egyptians, they were commanded to keep their shoes on in preparation for the speedy and quick deliverance the next morning.

As the children of Israel were delivered from bondage, first through the red sea (representing the first ordinance of baptism) and later by the cloud of light (representing the Holy Ghost) they found themselves wanderers in the wilderness for 40 years. They learned to depend upon the Lord for daily bread from heaven (manna, representing the word of God), and healing from the effects of poisonous serpents (representing the effects of sin).

In a sense, they were introduced to a new world, with new challenges and struggles... but at least they were free from slavery. They had the Lord to guide them. It was a time of purging and purification and preparation for the Israelites. Only after they were truly purged could Moses as the Lord's prophet and messenger introduce them to the promised land, though he himself did not enter.

To the extent we live in this fallen world, yet remain faithful to our baptismal and temple covenants, and we continue to walk in faith and partake of the sacrament worthily each week, we find ourselves living in a different world - a terrestrial world, perhaps - where we trust in and depend upon the Lord and His chosen representatives and fellow Saints for our nourishment and survival.

We work and we're diligent. We live in the world, but not of the world. We live, no longer captive to sin, but also not realizing our final destination just yet...knowing that this life we find ourselves in is not our final destination.

And so, we hold on. We trust in the Lord. We keep the commandments. We strive to purify our hearts, our words, our actions. We follow the prophets. Until the final day when the promised land is introduced to our view, and the veil is parted, and we see clearly then...and we return home to our true home, our heavenly home where our Father in Heaven dwells.

My prayer is that each and every one of our family members may live worthy to enter the Lord's presence at that great and final day. That we may all be one.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Notes from EQ Lesson: "As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten”

Me: “Do you want to go to time out?”

Braelynn: “Yes” and she’ll sometimes willingly get up and put herself in timeout. Other times she has to be compelled to go. Much of her learning and development is attempting to find out the boundaries of what is or isn’t acceptable, and trying to become (though oft times with tears and frustration), obedient.

How do you usually feel during or after general conference? Uplifted? Inspired? Comforted? I usually feel a deep sense of urgency and inadequacy – as though I’m not doing enough to measure up. Perhaps this is because I’m usually a little complacent or too comfortable in my life situation.

“The purpose of the church is to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”

What does this scripture mean to you: “Woh unto them that are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1)

If we truly trust in the Lord, and we’re keeping the commandments, we can know with assurance that any affliction we’re suffering through is for our well being – and is a GIFT – therefore, we ought to rejoice in the gift by 1) searching out the lesson to be learned, and 2) trusting in the Lord that this present suffering serves some greater purpose.

If we feel our burden is too heavy to carry, it is because 1) we haven’t developed a deep enough love and gratitude for our Savior, or 2) we haven’t learned to trust Him fully or both.

If our love for the Savior is strong enough, no trial is too great & every sacrifice is an honor to bear. If our faith in the Lord is strong enough, we trust in Him fully and we know He can and will deliver us from it and that the trial serves some purpose.

Trials aren’t meant to punish us so much as they are meant to change us.

Alma 62:41:

41 But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their aafflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.

Do we receive chastisement from the Lord as a gift?

D&C 88:33

33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.


Hebrews 12: 1,5-7, 9-11-

1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the asin which doth so easily bbeset us, and let us run with cpatience the race that is set before us,

5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he achasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye aendure bchastening, God dealeth with you as with csons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

9 Furthermore we have had afathers of our flesh which bcorrected us, and we gave them creverence: shall we not much rather be in dsubjection unto the eFather of fspirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his aholiness.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the apeaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are bexercised thereby.

2 Tim 3:16-17 (esp 16): 16 aAll bscripture is given by cinspiration of God, and is dprofitable for edoctrine, for freproof, for correction, for ginstruction in hrighteousness:

17 That the man of God may be aperfect, throughly furnished unto all bgood works.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On the Move

She might not be able to sit on her own yet, but she can definitely move. Let the fun begin!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gimme More!

Yeah! Brooke not only started eating oatmeal this past week, she loves it too! It's so nice to have a little break from breast feeding (not that she is so into it like Braelynn was).

She gets so excited for it now. Whenever she sees the box, she grabs at it and squeals. I am so excited to start with some other foods in the next few weeks too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Tantrum-atic Twos

As I sat here tonight listening to the blood curdling screams for 61 minutes of a very tired 2 year old, who felt it was not her bedtime, I realized I hadn't posted anything about her birthday!

Braelynn turned 2 on Wednesday, the 21st. I cannot believe how fast this past year went. She just turned 1 yesterday!

Let me tell you, she is definitely 2!

Braelynn's energy could easily be bottled and sold to NASA for rocket fuel. She loves running, jumping, and dancing. Her laugh is hilarious, a true from-the-gut laugh. She loves to tell stories, that nobody understands, but is very aware of what she is saying. She is full of animal sounds and many other sound effects that she strategically puts in the middle of her sentences.

Some of our favorite "words" are:

Peash- Please
Monk- Blanket
Yeah Kay- Ok or Yes
Tick a Tick a Tick a- Tickle, Tickle, Tickle
Reece- Rice
Sigh- Outside
Tie- Tired
Moo- Movies (TV)
Mo- Elmo
Elcome- You're Welcome
Tank-oo- Thank You
Bwook- Brooke

All babies are "Bwook," and all cats are "Mar" (Marley, my Aunt's cat in NY).

She absolutely loves Nursery at church. She knows what room to go to, and when to go. She cries whenever we pick her up to go home.

We have nicknamed her "The Wedge." She has to be right in the middle of whatever is going on. She has a way of worming her way between Kent and I, or if we are holding Brooke.

She loves to give kisses to the grocery store clerks. When they say "Bye," she replies with "Byyyee," followed with a smooch!

In the past 2 years, I have been able to trim her nails maybe 10 times, and have yet to be able to get her hair up in any way. I managed to get a barrette in it today. She is not a girly-girl at all.

Her temper comes straight from her daddy. Watch out when she is mad!

We love every bit of her...even if we just put her to bed for the 13th time tonight! I couldn't imagine life without her. She exhausts me everyday, yet makes me laugh over the silliest things!

Happy 2nd Birthday Braelynn, we love you!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York and THE New York

The trip that I've been counting down to has come and gone. 3 years ago, when we got our Credit Card with an amazing points package, we started "saving" for our trip to New York.

We 1st headed upstate to visit my family. My Uncle Lance's house is probably my most favorite spot in the entire world and I finally got to share it with Kent. Nothing beats the view or the quietness of this place!

The main purpose of our trip was to spread my dad's ashes at Vroman's nose in Middleburgh. However, thanks to Hurricane Irene, the roads and town were closed. My Uncle is building a family cemetery on his property though, so we decided to spread the ashes there. My dad was very close to Uncle Lance and I know that he is enjoying his spot there. It was a very special experience...after I got over the grossness of the ashes (it might as well have been blood!).

We mostly just relaxed and visited with family, but on Saturday we went to Hick's Orchards and picked apples.

On Sunday, my cousin Tyler and his wife Heather came down from Vermont and we got to spend the day with them.

Braelynn's favorite part of the trip was Marley the cat, and the cat's food...she just didn't see anything wrong with getting a little extra protein!

On Monday we got up early and took the train to New York City. I was dreading this part of the trip, and was expecting absolute chaos with the girls, especially going the day after 9/11.

It wasn't so bad. We looked a TAD ridiculous. I was just amazed at how nice everyone there was! Seriously, people were helping us left and right with directions, suggestions for stuff to do, and loading all of our stupid crap on and off the busses, up the stairs, and everywhere.

We went to Arthur Avenue and had the most delicious calzones.

The next day we went to Wall Street and Times Square.

On the last day we went to Central Park. I have always had this fetish for Central Park and it was just as magical as I dreamed it would be. If only the train station didn't have 3 flights of stairs though!

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Then we flew back home that night. Frontier Airlines is AMAZING, but flying at night with 2 tired little girls SUCKS.

It is nice to be home now. Every muscle in my body hurts. I can't wait to go back though. Unfortunately the person who begged me to go to NYC now despises the place :( Kent is now reevaluating his plans for more condo in the city for him!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vacation Part Uno

We spent this past week up in Utah with Kent's family and had an absolute blast!

Kent and his brother Chad hiked the Narrows to start out the trip, while Natalie, the kids, and I perused the streets of St. George.

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Kent and I then went to BYU so he could showme aroundhis old stompin' grounds. That campus is just so pretty!

Then we headed up to AF to stay a few days at Hotel Dr. Burton (congrats again Chad!). Kent's mom flew in from Houston so we could spend some time with her as well.

The next morning Kent and I got up at 4:15 and went to the SLC temple, which was just great!

That afternoon we spent the day at the lake with Kent's sister Lanae...wakeboarding, tubing, and just chilling.

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In the evening we headed to Kent's dad's house and had a very yummy dinner.

In the morning we headed to church, and then spent the day getting ready for dinner that night. Kent and I tried to count everyone, and I thinkthere were about 34 people that came! It was so fun to see everyone.

The next morning we packed up and headed back to AZ without any problems. We stopped in to see my Aunt April for a little visit.

We are completely exhausted!

I am doing laundry today, packing tomorrow, and then heading to NY for another fun-filled week!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Notes from Kent's EQ Lesson on Sunday

List: Challenges to Marriage Today

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” – Mark 10:9

Marriage = Miracle.

Birth & early childhood – dependence

Teenage years and young adulthood – independence

Marriage/Parenthood – interdependence

It takes an independent person or persons to be in an interdepedent relationship.

5 Big Needs of Women:

1. Affection

2. Conversation

3. Honesty & Openness

4. Financial Support

5. Family Commitment

Movie: “Fireproof” – 1st presidency endorsed. For the Lord’s sake, if we’re truly contrite and humble and broken hearted, we’ll do whatever the Lord would have us do. In this state, we’re able to love our wife with a pure heart as the Lord would have us love her.


You’re responsible for your own happiness – you can’t ‘get’ your happiness ‘from’ your wife – you can only share your happiness, peace, joy, and love with your wife.

Express your love often – demonstrate love through service, spending quality time together, physical affection, or telling your spouse of your love for her.

Appreciation – similar to expressing it (outward), appreciation goes deeper to what’s going on inside your own heart and head – really, truly treasure your wife as your most precious of all assets.

Rituals and family traditions strengthen marriage and family – FHE, date night, family dinners, church worship, family scripture study and family prayer, etc.

Self-LESS-ness – The marriage comes first, the family second. Church callings, career, finances, etc. come later, but the SELF comes last. We must put wife, and children ahead of self. We’re holders of the priesthood after all, - we’re on the Lord’s errand and are representative of Him as if He were here. Love as He loved, serve as He served.

“Love is an adventure, not an investment” – Gordon B. Hinkley

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Phoenix Art Museum

This weekend we went on a family date to the Phoenix Art Museum and Tempe Town Lake.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Art Museum...I wasn't expecting much, but got a lot out of it. Each exhibit had explanations about art in the given time period and geographic location. We soon found ourselves looking a little more deeply into the art as opposed to the usual "scan and don't stop moving" style.

It had fun fountain at the entrance:

Not to get political...but here comes China!

Did this one scare anyone else? It talked and everything. Its voice reminded me of Hannibal Lecter.

Some of my favorites:

I love how the photographer combined old photos and new photos together. What a novel idea!

This one made me laugh!

Speaking of laughing, I was hysterical walking through this one the 1st time. It was a dark room, with multi-colored lights and mirrors. I recorded it the 2nd time. I don't know why I thought it was so funny. Maybe it was because the 1st time, it was just me and this old lady.

After the museum we went to the Splashpark at Tempe Town Lake to play. Braelynn had a lot of fun. It was so hot though, so we didn't stay long.

We are so excited that Brooke is starting to roll over. She liked to practice in her crib at night, but finally got the hang of it at a more feasible hour ;)

Kent and I also got callings in our new ward. He is a teacher in the Elder's Quorum, which he is pretty excited about. He taught today about marriage and successfully started a brawl in the meeting...The EQP called tonight to see if he was still interested in teaching. His lesson next week is on the Law of Chastity. I'm not sure if he's still excited about this calling!

Get ready for this...I was called to be Cubmaster. Never in my life did I ever expect to do this one! My Patriarchal Blessing says that I will do a lot of work with the RS and YW. I must not be right with the Lord ;) So far it has been an adventure. I get to go get my uniform next week. As soon as they told me it involved buying new clothes I got a little excited!

Our house is pretty much all set-up. I'll have to get photos of it all up soon. We still want wood floors and new carpet...but that's well down the road! The backyard is starting to get the grass back in, and I've been pulling 4 foot weeds like crazy! It will be nice to have it when it cools off.

Well, I think that's about it. Have a great week!