Friday, November 28, 2014

Post Thanksgiving Sledding

Right before Thanksgiving we were hit with about 6 inches of snow. We had my parents and sister's family up for Thanksgiving and so the snow made for a very fun Black Friday activity. Due to an unsuccessful attempt at going down the hill in our backyard on cardboard on Thursday afternoon, we broke down and got a real sled later that night. Tested it out, yep, so much better. Nichole's son and Wee Boy definitely felt the rush, Cheeks - not so much. In fact I don't think she ever really bounced back. She endured being outside, but due to her limited mobility with so much extra clothing on, and the cold, and a hat that kept going srewywampus on her, she didn't have the most fun ever.

Soon the deck became a serious downfall to sledding safely in the backyard and we moved the festivities to our local firestation with a much better hill and tons more room to slow down safely. 

Cheeks was still not catching the vision of sledding but she was more or less patient with it all. 

 Wee Boy, on the other hand, thought it all the most fun ever.

 He loved it all except having to walk back up the hill. Poor boy. I made him walk back up on his own steam while Matthew carried him. Sucker.

Nichole's son and Grandpa also had a marvelous time. It's just too bad we only had one sled and Grandpa did not come well equipped for sledding. Can you just see the look of enthusiasm in that little boy's face. It really should be his middle name.

And then, of course, we took the opportunity to get our family picture taken. It probably won't hang on our wall, but we are pretty cute in our matching outfits (weird how that happened). It totally makes us look way more sporty and outdoorsy than we really are. But from our family to yours this Holiday Season 2014, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TBT Diary post - 1/18/91

Does anyone keep a journal. I am not a super consistent journal writer, but I have had a diary (though journal sounds more grown up) since I was 11. Going back and reading it has made me cringe. . . a lot, laugh, marvel that anyone makes it through puberty sane, and grateful that I never have to live those years again - except maybe through my kids which just might prove worse. Thankfully I have quite a few years before puberty hits my house so for now I get to reminisce.

A little context, I am 11 years old and in the sixth grade at Mokapu Elementary School on Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station (KMCAS) in Hawaii.

Diary, O.k. First of all, last week I dumped Shawn G. (I think we "went out" for a week or two which consisted of nothing other than telling our friends that we were "going out") Then Stephanie asked if we were going together and [he] was all like I'm glad we broke up and started acting tough and then today Tony C. his friend had to call me and ask me if I wanted to go to Shawn's party. How dumb. I don't understand boys at all. Oh well I'm still little. I've got a lot to learn. (Oh little one, you have no idea.) Mom bought some movies. Right now we have about 50 movies. Most are Betas. Today was so boring. Amber wasn't home. Cara was busy all day and Megan was being a pain so I couldn't play with her. Well gotta go.
Bye, Love Sara
P.S. I love my life but I'm confused.

A couple thoughts. 1. These two friends, Amber and Cara, play a major role in my diary during my 6th grade year. Apparently we fought A LOT. There is even an entry where I lament that I am too weak-willed to stay mad at these friends for the forever that I mean at the time. 2. Megan (my sister) is also a big component of my entries. We are a year and a week apart in age and were childhood best friends and worst enemies. Somehow though poor sister generally only gets maligned in my diary. 4. I love how innocent of an 11-year old I was. Are children this age still so innocent? I sure hope so, though I fear many aren't. How very sad. 3. I miss Beta movies and I love how proud I seemed to be of our budding collection.

Okay that's it. Nothing profound, just a funny little diary entry about my little life as a child.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stake Conference - Toddler style

First off, let me just say that Stake Conference is like going to church but instead of coercing my child into a seat for an hour until he/she can play, it is two. My children can be wrangled for an hour but after that it starts getting a bit dicey. As such I doubled my church bag and armed myself with snacks, my tablet, basically anything they wouldn't normally get in church but I'm desperate, so I cave. All in all it went pretty well. Either child only needed to be taken out for ten or fifteen minutes max. We did lose all the contents of a milk cup, that was sad on multiple levels. And I think a crayon may have gone astray as well. Not too terribly bad when all is said and done, and yet I still left feeling a little shell-shocked. I didn't leave feeling spiritually enriched so much as relieved I had survived two hours in a confined space with two active toddlers. I love my babies. Really I do, but I'm hoping that stake conference, and church to some extent, will soon stop feeling like a three-ring circus and eventually transition back to a beacon of peace and fellowship. Until then, at least they're cute those babes of mine and they know where my priorities lie. Somehow it does make it all easier.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Online Quote Board

Stuff I never thought I'd here myself say:

11/1/14 - "You only get to watch one thing, “Plan of Salvation" or "Pound Puppies"."

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

I think I've mentioned that my children were a bit under the weather this month. As such, my photographer friend did not want my babes anywhere near hers. So my pictures are the best we could do. I got Cheeks into her Minnie Mouse costume, thanks mother dear, but Wee Boy was too busy being a disinterested sickie to get into his. So here are a few pictures of the sweet girl.

The week or two before Halloween I tried prepping Wee Boy for trick or treating. I taught him to say "trick or treat" and taught him that if he said it he would get candy, but only on Halloween. For the day before and day of Halloween I prepped him that he was going to get into his costume after dinner on Friday and we would go get him some candy. But when it came to changing he didn't want to have anything to do with his costume. For some reason I just about cried. He and his sister already ruined pumpkin patches, was he going to ruin my hopes for his Halloween too? Oh sad, silly mama.

But then we went outside to give out candy and Wee Boy was excited for all things Halloween (just not for him). He LOVED being outside when it was dark outside. He LOVED playing with the pumpkins and pointing out that there was fire in them (well one of them - he blew out the other one). He LOVED playing with the candy. And he LOVE LOVE LOVED handing out candy to the kids coming to our door. He wanted to be the one to put candy in their bags. And he was already cheering for more kids when one group had just barely left. This boy was practically bouncing off the walls with joy and excitement with the "fun" of hanging out on the porch. I kept trying to convince him to let me get him into his costume, but he never did change his mind and by the end of the night I was finally okay with it. We didn't have fun going around the neighborhood, but we definitely enjoyed our evening.

Oh and Cheeks just wanted to wander around with candy in her hot little hands. 

Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


This little girl perfectly embodies my feelings some days. Today we were all dressed, the house vacuumed and the bathrooms cleaned by 9:30 am. It was all I set for myself to accomplish today and I still had SO MUCH time. Days like today I feel every single minute of the day. I look at my watch, it's only 9:45? It's only 9:49? I don't want to just kill time with my sweet children, but some days we just feel really bored despite my best intentions.

"The years rush past, as every older woman will tell the young mothers who complain that they still have two little ones at home and  it seems like forever before they will all be in school.  Oh no, they say, time flies - enjoy them while they're young - they grow up so fast...
The mothers agree that indeed the years do fly.  It's the days that don't.  The hours, minutes of a single day sometimes just stop.  And a mother finds herself standing in the middle of a room wondering.  Wondering.  Years fly.  Of course they do.  But a mother can gag on a day."
--Jain Sherrard

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sick Kids Ruin Everything

For the last two weekends we have made plans to go to a quaint little pumpkin patch to let our babes ride on hay, get dirty, get idyllic pictures taken, have magical childhood experiences and pick out pumpkins. The weather was perfect even. But one weekend Cheeks was a thrower-upper and the next weekend it was Wee Boy's turn. Darn those babes ruining their magical childhood experiences we had planned for them!! We had no choice but to go to the grocery store "pumpkin patch" and take our pictures there! Thankfully I'm pretty sure they didn't care and I was fairly well entertained by taking pictures outside of the grocer.


And when all is said and done store bought pumpkins carve up just the same as idyllic ones.


Monday, September 29, 2014

We Love Cousins

I don't have many memories of growing up with cousins, so I am so excited to live reasonably close to my older brother and sister and their children. They are always so sweet to my children. But there is a special cuteness with cousins your own age. So when my younger brother said he would be in Virginia visiting my parents for a couple of weeks I allowed myself to be talked into making the trip down to see him and his children. His oldest daughter is just five weeks younger than Wee Boy and his younger daughter is 6 months younger than Cheeks.

Wee Boy and cousin E could spend all day, if we let them, throwing rocks into the lake in my parent's backyard. It was beyond adorable to see them out there finding rocks, sticks, acorns or even dirt clods to throw into the water. They may have gotten a little wet and dirty in the process but what's childhood without mud?

Cheeks and cousin P while not quite as mobile and dirty were just as enthralled at each other. Anytime cousin P was awake, Cheeks would be over staring into her face completely oblivious to any sense of personal space. Thankfully Cousin P didn't seem to mind and thankfully Cheeks was mostly gentle with her cousin.

My original plan was to drive down Wednesday and come home on Saturday but the children were having so much fun playing together and eating themselves silly with fruit snacks that I again allowed myself to be talked into staying through the weekend and leaving Monday instead. Matthew was sad about the extension but the kids could have spent another week together I am sure. Oh how we LOVE cousins.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Book of Mormon - or at least my take on it.

I was recently asked to speak in church about how I've made the Book of Mormon part of my life. For weeks I had a chance to ponder on the subject and the result was the following stories and themes. They may not be what you have taken away from this most special of books, but it is mine and I thought it worthy of sharing on this public site for anyone who may be interested or even just for my future posterity. So here goes.

The first comes from the Book of Ether and is the story of the Jaredites crossing the ocean to the promised land. The Jaredites prepare themselves for their journey. They go where they are directed but stop short of reaching the promised land because, I am sure they were tired or maybe they just thought that the seashore they had reached must be what the Lord had intended as their promised land not realizing that he had much better plans in store. And then they are instructed to build barges that are tight like unto a dish. Five times in one verse we are told that their barge is tight like unto a dish. Later in the chapter, the Jaredites are told that the Lord is keenly aware of their journey and is even orchestrating the trip so that they will be successful. And then a few chapters after that we finally get to their journey. We read of furious winds, being buried in the depths of the sea because of the mountainous waves. We read of great and terrible tempests but we also read that no water could hurt them because they were tight like unto a dish. And we read that when they were tossed and buried by those mountainous waves they would pray and the Lord would again bring them up to the surface. We also read that not only did the water not hurt them but neither did any monsters of the sea. And all the while they had light for their almost one-year journey in their completely enclosed vessels. Finally we read that once they set foot in the promised land they didn’t shed tears of joy to be out of the cursed tight like unto a dish boats but for the multitude of tender mercies they experienced in their journey.

Oh how I love this story. What a beautiful metaphor for life is contained in a few short chapters. First, we must prepare ourselves – most importantly our testimonies – so that we will be tight like unto a dish, or in other words that the influence of the adversary will have no way to get into our lives and that our testimonies are filled with the light of Christ. Second, life is hard. There are storms and mountainous waves that force us under the water. There are veritable sea monsters that seem overwhelming to us and threaten to destroy our testimonies. But as long as we pray, the Lord will bring us out on top again. He doesn’t get rid of the waves, or the storms, or even the monsters, but he won’t let them hurt us if our testimonies are tight and filled with light. And finally, at the end of the journey, whether it be a small portion of our life, or at the end of our mortal journey, we will be able to shed tears of joy for the multitude of tender mercies the Lord so benevolently gave us. Because after all, the journey and everything we went through was carefully orchestrated by Him. Oh how I love this story and how perfectly relevant it is to our lives now and what we are going through, no matter what that might be.

The second story comes from the last 15 or so chapters of the book of Alma – also known as the war chapters. Now how could all these war chapters be relevant to us? With all the options Mormon had to include in his limited space, why so many chapters regarding war? What do we learn from these chapters.

First we learn that the purity of our lives, homes and families is not an accidental happening. We learn that a fortified city aka fortified home, fortified testimony is very hard to conquer. But we also learn that this fortification takes a lot of work and must be started before the adversary is trying to knock us down. And we learn that we can’t let up our guard or think we have won the war because we have won a battle. Those fortifications that come from reading the scriptures, attending church, praying and living the most Christlike lives we can, must ever be present if we are to come off conqueror. And we know that when we side with God, we always win and we win big.

Second we learn that fighting the adversary via use of stratagem is not a bad thing. We are not a pacifist religion, especially when it comes to fighting for what we believe in. We can’t sit idly by while the world tries to tell us what to believe, what to prize or with what to fill our time. We have to be actively seeking for what is virtuous and lovely and at the same time filling the world with light and truth.

Lastly we learn that our greatest chance for success in coming out of all of this alive is to remember what our mothers have taught us and to keep the commandments with exactness. If we can do that then life may hurt us, it may even wound us deeply, but it won’t kill us.

 Finally, you can’t talk about the Book of Mormon without talking about Christ. Some form of the Lord’s name is mentioned an average of 1.7 verses in the Book of Mormon using one hundred different names, such as Lord, Holy One, or the Eternal Judge. He is the central figure of the Book of Mormon. In total He is referenced in some form almost 4,000 times. But aside from being an interesting side note how does it make this book essential and relevant for us?

Joseph Smith told the saints that “The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

 If our goal is to become like God and perfect ourselves or even make our lives better, what better way than to use a book that talks of and rejoices in Christ more so than any other book? And what do we learn of the Savior from the Book of Mormon? I apologize that this list might not be your list but here are a few items that came to my mind as I was pondering this subject.

The Savior keeps His promises. The Book of Mormon is filled with promises and threatening’s that if you keep His commandments you will be blessed, if you don’t you’ll be cursed. But not only do you have the words but you have their fulfillment time and time again. In addition, there are countless prophecies, some direct quotes from Biblical prophets, that ALL come true. Not just some of them, but every single prophecy has been fulfilled, and we can infer from those fulfillments that future prophecies and promises will just as assuredly happen. The Savior keeps His promises.

The Savior is no respecter of persons. In the Book of Mormon, there are two general groups, the Nephites and the Lamanites. And while the Nephites are most often grouped with the good and the Lamanites with the bad, the Lord doesn’t just help the Nephites nor does He just curse the Lamanites. Again he keeps His promises to help those who love him and curse those who hate Him. But not only that, He gives the same lessons, almost verbatim to the Nephites and Lamanites when he comes to visit after His resurrection as He did to those in Jerusalem during his earthly ministry. And He promised to continue spreading His message to yet more of His flock. Why? Because He is no respecter of persons.

The Savior is intimately aware of us and is actively working on helping us be successful in this life. One of my most favorite verses in the Book of Mormon comes from Mormon 5:23 – Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? I love this image of my little world being held in the hands of someone infinitely wiser, kinder, and more powerful than I am. I was searching for my scripture and mistakingly fed hands of the Lord into the search engine instead of hands of God and what came up is meaningful enough to share. Based on my search I learned that that we can be preserved, brought, delivered, strengthened, directed, prospered and conversely destroyed by the hand of the Lord. What a beautiful reminder over and over again as we study this great book that the Lord loves us, is cheering for us, and is working tirelessly for our good.

The Savior will come again. This world has a finite life as does all the evil in it. The Savior will come again and every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is the Christ. So we can fall away from the Tree of Life out of shame because the world mocks us or we can invite others to come taste of the fruit that is most precious and desirable of any other fruit. We can study the Book of Mormon and live lives worthy of Christ so that He will count us as His own when he comes again.

The Book of Mormon truly is the keystone of our religion. It was always meant to be the most relevant in our day. But it won’t be relevant until we have it written as it were in our hearts. To know its stories so well that when those mountainous waves and monsters of the sea come, we already know to pray because that’s what the Jaredites did and the people of Alma, and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. And we know that whatever we are going through, whether it be sin, illness, job-loss, or we are just trying to be a better missionary, parent, sibling, or neighbor we know we can find our answers in this most precious of books.

Let me leave you with two quotes by former prophets and apostles of the Lord.

Ezra Taft Benson –It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life”, and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.

Marion G. Romney – I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity – the pure love of Christ – will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.

Thanks for your time.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Little Cheeks is a Oner

My baby girl is now a Oner. We celebrated sort of at home on her actual birthday. We went to Chick-fil-A for ice cream at 10 am. It was an odd thing to be eating dessert so early in the day and I felt the need to tell anyone there that today was my daughter's birthday and we don't normally have ice cream at 10 am. I'm pretty sure no one cared. . . .

Later that week we went to my parent's house for Labor Day weekend and to have someone else to help celebrate our baby girl. We opened presents . . .

. . . And then of course is the one-year rite of passage that is eating a cake all by yourself. Matthew still doesn't understand what he deems a barbaric event, but it's pretty cute to watch all the stages of confusion, uncertainty, delight and mess that ensue.

And of course, I should document that Wee Boy was present for the party. He was all about the cupcake, not so much about posing for the group cousin shot.

And finally we have my baby girl's one-year photo shoot. She's pretty cute if I do say so myself. Oh how I love this little one. She is so happy and contented the vast majority of the day but when she's not happy boy howdy can she throw a tantrum. She is eager to laugh, wants to be with her brother at all times, loves to accessorize with my scrap fabric and stacking rings. She is my sweetest of little Cheeks.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam

Just a post to show my sweet son as the Sunbeam his is!! Thanks to his Nursery teacher for making his sun and taking the picture!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lehigh Valley Zoo

Ah the Lehigh Valley Zoo, a smallish regional zoo that takes a short afternoon to meander through, but set amongst the most beautiful Pennsylvania rolling hills to make the drive completely worth it. It helped that upon leaving the zoo, the drive taking you out to the main road goes past a reserve with deer, moose, and bison and through a river even. I think Boy Howdy enjoyed the zoo but, darn him, sighting and/or collecting rocks still seemed the highlight of his trip. Sigh. Anyway, without further ado, some pictures of our excursion.
 Boy Howdy with our friends the Brintons looking at the reptilian denizen of the cage. Enthusiasm is this boy's middle name. 

 Petting goats. What little boy wouldn't love them. "Doats" is what he called them. He also loved the rocks in the doats' pen, and even tried picking up some poop pellets. Thank heavens for the hand sanitizer stations readily at hand.

And even a picture with his momsie.

And not to be forgotten is this little angel who impressed everyone with hanging out the entire time in the stroller without a fuss. Boy Howdy did well willingly getting back in the stroller, but still, the award for model child goes to Cheeks. Oh how I love that face.