Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Photos

For Thanksgiving this year, we started the day at home with Ben's family. I had told the kids down here in Vegas, who missed Grandma's photo booth party, that I would let them do a photo booth. So I fixed my props and these goofy kids had some fun.

Then while that crew was getting ready to sit down and eat, we packed up and headed to my parents house where Ben and I cooked a small Thanksgiving dinner. It was nice and quiet and oh so yummy. Later that night my sisters arrived for dessert and to decorate my parents Christmas tree. I'm so very grateful that Ben and I are lucky enough to have both sets of parents close by and get to spend holidays together. It's been a rough year but I'm so grateful for the never changing love of family.

And I wanted to add that the Friday after Thanksgiving, Ben and I celebrated our 11th Wedding Anniversary. I really love that husband of mine and I sure am grateful for all he does for me and our family. He's my favorite!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Birthday Girl

While Ben and I were traveling to Utah in November, Shelby was busy turning 9. My mom and sister, Katie, spoiled her rotten and she had a birthday she probably won't forget. I know my mom won't forget it either, since she had to go to the ER for stitches that night. Oh bless my parents for taking my kids! So since we were gone on her actual birthday, we allowed her to have a big friend party. TEN 8-10 year old girls singing karaoke! It was crazy fun!

I sure do love this amazing girl of mine. She's so smart and talented. I'm pretty much the luckiest mom ever because I get to call her my daughter! Happy Birthday Miss Shelby Rae!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Family Time and Temple Time

In the middle of November, Ben and I were lucky enough to take a quick trip up to Utah.  We celebrated his mom's 60th birthday with a surprise party. I was in charge of the photo booth and it was fun! These are just a small sampling of pictures I took that night.

 Oh these boys...not sure what to do about my husband...

 This was the favorite prop of the night. But come on...Batman!

The next morning was a very special day as we headed to central Utah for Ben's sister Rachel and her husband, CD's sealing in the Manti Temple. It was our first time visiting that temple and wow is that a beautiful building! While we were waiting for our time to head in, Ben humored me and let me lead him down the hill to the cemetery. My grandpa Water's had told me that my great (times a few) grandpa was buried there and that his headstone was the largest one there. Unfortunately, I didn't know his name. But that didn't stop me, and guess what...we found him!
And yes it was the biggest FLAT headstone and made of solid marble. I was pretty excited when I found out later that it was in fact the right one.

The Manti temple only does live sessions and so that was a really awesome experience in and of itself but add on top of that the fact that so much of Ben's family was all there together, it was a truly amazing experience. I'm so incredibly grateful for sealing powers and for the knowledge that my family is forever.

 And it was really nice to have another link in our family chain connected.

October Randoms

So be prepared for loads of posts over the next few days, I'm way behind and I have lots to share. Here's some randomness from October.

1. The kids slept out in a tent for the whole weekend and loved it.
2. Dooley has an after school choir class that Stryder and Shelby joined.  They love it and that was their first performance in front of the school.
3. Yes, I let him wear that outfit to school, he's a hipster.
4. Field Trip to the Smith's Center with Soren's class this time.
5. Ben helped sew quite a bit of Stryd's costume and I had to snap a pic to prove it later.
6. Helped in Soren's class for the Halloween party. It was the last costume parade too, I'm pretty sad and relieved by that.
7. Ben and I made Diamondback Snake bread sticks for the boys' classes on Halloween.
8. The park was the best place to see trees change color.
9. Soren lost his other front tooth. The best part is that it still hasn't grown in. I love that toothless smile.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Something about Stryder

I have so much to catch up on but really didn't want to forget anything from yesterday.  Over the weekend, Ben and I were out of town for his mom's surprise birthday party and sister's sealing (much more to come about those soon) and were headed home late Saturday night when we got the phone call saying one of our kids was puking. I really hoped it wasn't Stryder because we were coming home so late, so that we could hear him sing in Sacrament Meeting the next afternoon.  Of course, as luck would have it, Stryder was the one sick. We were all worried and sad that he wouldn't be able to sing the next day. We took him and the other kids home, gave him a Priesthood blessing, and prayed for the best. He continued to throw up several times throughout the night. Gratefully, he started feeling better and kept food down and we decided to let him sing. Now I have to give a little bit of background about this opportunity.  Two weeks ago, Stryder was asked by our Primary President if he would like to sing with a group of boys, one being her son, in Sacrament meeting. Now these boys are 14 and Stryder is 10. He felt like the most special, cool kid getting asked to join them and even though I knew we were going to be out of town that weekend, I was not letting him or me miss it. He practiced with them and was singing the song all the time and I was heart broken at the thought of him missing it. So it may not have been the best decision but I took him to church so he could sing. The boys all wore matching ties given out to a select group of boys in our stake and sang amazingly. The song was called "Men of God" and it talks about different Book of Mormon men who taught the truth and were courageous. In the song they ask "If I stand for right, obey the Lord with all my might, could I be like this man of God?" At the end they sing "I will stand for right seeking God with all my might for I can be like these men of God." It makes me tear up even now just thinking about these faithful boys singing this song and the Spirit that was so strong. Stryder sat down with tears in his eyes too and once again I was grateful for the Holy Ghost manifesting the truth of that song to him. Then our stake Young Men's President spoke about the amazing youth in our stake and the great missionary work they are and will accomplish. He said something in his talk that I knew I had to write down, he was quoting someone else but he said "This life is not a test. We were not sent here to be tested. The Lord already knew how we'd do being tested. We were sent here to learn to become like Him (our Savior)" I love this thought and really believe that it's true. I feel so incredibly blessed to have seen my son overcome the stomach bug and stand there singing about becoming a man of God. I hope I can continue to help him learn and grow and see him stand for right as he truly becomes that man of God.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Happy Homemade Halloween

I don't even have words to describe Halloween this year.  Life has been pretty crazy and we decided that we were going to do homemade costumes this year or just use what we already have around the house.  Little did I know that spending less than $10.00 and using lots of creativity, would turn this year into something so magical.

Stryder had plans to be a pirate, but Grandma Brown pulled out fleece to make Jedi robes for the boys and girls who grew out of their old ones about a week before Halloween and Ben got a brilliant idea.  So with his creative brain and Grandma's excellent sewing skills and ideas, Stryder became Ezio Auditore from the Assassin's Creed video game.  He was the most excited I've seen him about a costume in a long time and we were more than excited to make him another costume that he will wear for years to come.

Shelby's costume this year was my idea and luckily she thought it was hilarious and totally rocked it.  She's Hipster Snow White and she had an apple before Steve Jobs.  It made me smile all day.  Her skirt and top were crazy clearance and cost about $3.00, everything else came from our drawers and closets.  This girl is beautiful and so full of sass, not sure I'm going to like that too much in about 7 years.

Soren's always had a thing for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and when I reminded him of this shirt we inherited from Uncle Trevor, he was so happy and right away wanted to be Leonardo.  His only request was a full green head with a mask.  I whipped together a quick pair of fleece pants and a beanie and mask spending less than $7.00 on the fabric. That cute guy steals my heart everytime and he was so grateful for his costume.

 With her "Apple" ;)

I handed over my camera to Ben so that he could snap a few pictures of me and Shelby and after she was done, he kept snapping.  This is so me telling him to "Stop taking pictures of me!".  I'm sure Ben and my kids have seen that finger way too many times.

Halloween isn't really a favorite holiday of mine other than it seems to kick off the holiday season which I love.  However, my kids live for this day.  The drawers and drawers of costumes prove my point, dressing up is what they love to do.  So I in turn love to give them more things to dress up as and then take awesome pictures of them (some of my favorite pictures of them are from Halloween).   It makes me so happy to see my little munchkins so happy so I guess that makes for one Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Picture Day My Way

With the beginning of a new school year comes school pictures.  I have only ever bought one or two of Stryder's and none of the other two.  I got into photography and felt like I could better capture their personalities with better backgrounds for much cheaper.  These are quick pictures I grabbed the morning of picture day so I could at least remember what they wore that day.  Hopefully we can get out and have a more formal session soon.  It was kind of freaking me out as I edited these just how grown up these faces are getting.  Good thing I've been purposefully loving on them lately.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Love Primary!

Today was another one of my favorite Sundays. It was the Primary Program in our ward. Words can never describe how wonderful it is to sit and feel of those amazing kids' spirits. The theme in Primary this year has been "I am a child of God" and they have been learning all year about this and what it means to be a child of God. It was so neat to hear the kids share their testimonies through words and songs. Of course the songs are always so beautiful and brings the Spirit so strongly. Hearing them sing about how Heavenly Father loves them with a sweet sister playing the violin was incredible. They sang another song about Noah and his ark. It talked about how Noah listened to God and built an ark to protect him from the rain and then how if we listen to God we can build an ark and be protected from life's rain. I loved it and want to get the words and music so I can learn it. My favorite song, however, was the final closing number. It was written by the Primary choristers' sister after she challenged her Sunday school class to write a song about their testimony. When our chorister, sister Stolworthy, heard it she knew our primary had to sing it. It was all about this life's plan. It talked about how He never said it would be easy but that it would be worth it and that coming to families was part of His plan and just how important it is to remember we are children of God and follow His plan. Stryder told me yesterday how much he loved the last song and that it gave him chills every time they sang it. Well, he definitely felt the Spirit today and said that he almost couldn't finish singing it. After the program was over, all three of my kids came to sit by me and their eyes were glistening and I know that their hearts were full and that all three of them felt the Spirit so strongly today. It was a special moment for me as I wrapped my arms around them all and reminded them that what they were feeling was the Holy Ghost testifying to them that the words they sang were true. It was such a tender moment that I had to record it here for a reminder on those hard days. I'm so grateful for our primary leaders and teachers who work so hard for our kids. I'm so grateful for the experience I shared with my kids today and so grateful for primary music.

Friday, September 6, 2013


We survived the first two weeks of school!  The kids are still loving their teachers but the novelty is definitely wearing off.  Homework is hard and annoying, according to them, and waking up early is for the birds, according to me.  The house is very quiet and it's still really weird being home without my little munchkins around but I have goals of finally getting things more organized and taking the time to create.  I have to admit that some days it's kind of boring around here but hopefully I can find more and more things to keep myself busy with this year.  
And here's some pictures from my phone from the last few weeks.
 We went to Fuddruckers with my family and our other family the Russells to celebrate birthdays.  I love my dad and I'm so dang lucky to have him in my life.  I hope I look as good as he and my mom do when I get to be their age.

 Trevor came to hang out with us for the weekend before school started and we took the kids to see Despicable Me 2 as a final good-bye to summer.

 Us on the first day of school proving that we all survived the day.  It was pretty hard for me that day but I'm hopeful of good things to come this year for all of us.

 This is something Stryder filled out the first day of school.  It's kind of hard to read but number 2 is the reason I took a picture of it.
2. When I grow up I want to be "A desiner at NVEnergy" because "My dad has that job and I want to be like him"
Pretty much stopped me in my tracks and made my heart burst.  Hopefully we grows up to be just like his dad.

And yeah this happened.  She's had a hard time washing it by herself and hates to comb it and will rarely let me braid it so we cut it all off.  She loves it, I have my moments.  But all that matters is that she's happy and there are no tears when it's time to brush her hair, which in turn, makes me happy. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

All Three All Day

I never thought this day would come. When I was deep in the trenches of no sleep, diapers, potty training, babies and toddlers, I never thought I would see the day where all three of my babies are at school all day. Time is going by too fast and it seems like just yesterday I was sitting in my recliner with a newborn asleep on my shoulder, a baby curled up in my lap and a toddler wrapped around my legs. I'm really missing those days right now, but it's exciting to see them grow up and learn new things and have new experiences.

 Soren made a big step to 1st grade this year and is at school all day. He's got a great teacher this year and I'm hopeful he will have an awesome first grade year. It was pretty hard saying good-bye to him this morning, I'm not going to lie. I think he was a little nervous but he smiled and walked on in. I can hardly wait til I get to pick him up and hear all about his first day.

 Shelby is a third grader this year. I think this year is going to test and stretch her, in a good way. She's starting cursive, multiplication, and G.A.T.E. She's got a great teacher as well (but really at Dooley that's not too hard to do) and I'm so excited to see her progress and grow, except I think she needs to stop growing taller.

 I could not believe the smiles I got out of him this morning. He had been kind of whiny about school starting the last few weeks but this weekend something shifted and he was one happy boy this morning. He's a big man on campus as he starts his fifth grade year. He's in a class with two awesome teachers and tons of kids he knows and has gone to school with since kindergarten. He did ask me not to kiss him good-bye and I was surprised at how hard it was to walk away from him.  He's growing up and moving forward and it's going to be an amazing ride for him and me.

 New shoes and new backpacks and new shirts.  

We walked to school this morning in the drizzly rain, something that rarely happens here in the desert.  The kids are excited about living here on Derby and getting to walk to and from school. 
I'm trying to adjust to this quiet house and counting down the hours till I pick them up.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Our Cabin Trip 2013

Late into August with only a little time before school started, we packed up and headed to Ben's family's cabin.  It's been 2 years since we were there last but of course, nothing really changes.  We still eat really good with lots of junk food, play games, and stay up WAY to late.  This year was a little different for us in that we stayed an extra night after all the rest of the family went home.  It made for a little bit more work for us but it also made it super for fun for us as well.

 Kids never get to sleep in the bedrooms and all three of my kids shared one of the beds.

Then we woke up super early, before the sun, and headed to the Benches to fish.

 Each of the kids caught a fish, Shelby reeling in the biggest.

 It was a beautiful and chilly morning and I just could not get enough of these adorable faces.