Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude 5

I saw a beautiful sunrise today as I was out running this morning. It looked like this except not over the water. We are so lucky! What a beautiful world we live in! I'm so grateful for the beauty that is on this earth everywhere if we just look for it and appreciate it!

Along with this I'm also thankful today for a healthy body! After 4 weeks of recovering from a sprained ankle, today I finally ran without pain! You really don't appreciate your healthy body until it is taken away from you for a while.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude 4

I'm grateful for this land that we live in where we have freedom and live in relative peace and prosperity. I'm grateful for our founding fathers and their wisdom in crafting a government that has been able to uphold this freedom for over 200 years. I'm grateful to veterans who fought and died to preserve the liberty and peace that the rest of us enjoy! God bless America!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gratitude 3



I'm grateful for my faith and my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for living prophets on the earth today that receive revelation and for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratitude 2


When I look at this painting I think of my own two, dear little boys. How I love them and am so grateful for their miraculous births. They truly are gifts from my Heavenly Father and I'm so thankful that he sent them to our family.

I'm grateful for dear little hands....

And cute little feet...
 
For these little smiles:


And dimpled cheeks:
 
I love my boys!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gratitude

I decided to post some gratitude thoughts this week.

I have so much to be thankful for. Near the top of my list is this man here:



We've been married ten years now and it seems like just a blink of time has gone by... I'm so very, very grateful for him.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I love Fall

I love this time of year when the air is crisp, but the days are still mostly warm. When you don't need the heater or the air conditioner - the temperature is just right! When the leaves in the mountain put on their spectacular grand finale of color. When the harvest comes in - always more bounteous than you ever expected. When your house smells like baking, and canning all the time. When you can still hike in the mountains or barbecue on the patio, but it's not blazing hot. When you eat fruits and veggies by the dozens and still can't get enough. When squash decorate your house for a month, not because you're particularly decorative by nature, but because there's no place else to put them. When you can set your boys free to play in the corn patch or dig in the garden, thrilling their little souls.

To me, fall smells warm like homemade bread. It feels fresh like the wind and crisp like biting into an apple. It tastes sweet like a pie and savory like homemade stew. It sounds like laughter, crunching leaves and busy squirrels scurrying to gather nuts for the winter.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ten Years

Wow this was a marathon week.

On Monday C.G. started first grade. He has a sweet teacher and we're really excited for him. He loves it so much. He's been so excited to go every day. He fell down and got a scrape on his knee on Wednesday, but other than that, he had a great first week of school.

Tuesday was our 10th anniversary!! We celebrated with a bike ride (about 10 miles) up to where we got engaged and back. It was fun. We brought J.B. with us (C was in school) and he had fun. Afterward we went to a fun little place and got quinoa burgers and pie shakes....mmmhh!
We've also had 2 trips to the temple, 2 soccer games and a soccer practice, back to school night, several trips out to eat to celebrate various occasions :), I canned 14 jars of tomatoes, made salsa, squash muffins, piano lessons, 2 trips to the library, on top of everything else...wow! Crazy life! But fun! Love this time of year! So much to celebrate! So much transition and change. The garden is producing like crazy! Corn, tomatoes, squash, yum, yum, yum!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Family

We are still here - just not blogging much. Too much going on including a trip to yellowstone, 2 family reunions, a big garden an I won't mention the normal day-to-day conflict resolution that seems like a full-time job in and of itself. But still life plugs away and we are still finding time to spend together.

My parents are coming to visit next week so we'll have more fun with more family reunions. :) All of these reunions and time spent with family makes me sooooo grateful for family. We live far away from both of our parents so our kids don't get to see their grandparents as often as we would like, but they support in so many ways and it makes the miles seem a lot less. They understand and love our boys like only grandparents do. It's fun to watch them interact with our kids. They each have their own unique ways they reach out to them and bond with them. Grandparents are grand!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Fun

Not all days bring joy. Some days feel like they have brought with them everything but joy, but I think it's important to look for the joy, in spite of the trials that come. I'll try to look past those things for a minute and tell you about the joys we're having in our life right now.

Yesterday we went and ran errands (which is usually a difficult thing me by myself with the two boys) and we had hardly any trouble. The boys were as good as gold. We even went to the local splash pad and spent a few hours enjoying the sun. We had a grand time.

The boys finished up swimming lessons this week and it was so fun to see them progressing. Even little Jesse Bear can swim on his own a little bit, which I'm so happy about. Curious George feels very confident in the water and swims on his own pretty well.

We've gone on a few family bike rides lately and I have to tell you, family bike rides are one of my most favorite things to do together. I love spending time out in nature as I family and I love riding bikes.

Curious George has spent a lot of the summer reading, which he loves. He's finished most of the books in his favorite series so we're on the look out for a new one. He loves adventure and mystery books and here's a few of his favorite series so far.



Here's a few more of my favorite things:

Summer BBQ's, working in the garden, eating fresh peas and strawberries and lettuce from our garden, playing softball with the boys in our yard, working on projects, walking with the boys to the library, exercising each morning, cooking lots of new recipes, homemade icecream, eating yummy summer fruits and more!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Humanitarian Service

In our area, some women are pooling together their resources to put together projects that go to various humanitarian needs in our community, our nation and even the world. I just got back from a 2-day long activity where we worked on these projects and learned more about them. They include things like making leper bandages for lepers in India and other nations, knitting hats for cancer patients and newborn babies (and preemie's), making file folder games for countries where they need educational materials and more. There were eight projects total.

I loved the spirit of the activity, especially the fact that we were all working together in a common cause - to help those around the world that need it so badly. There were teachers and learners and some who just came to participate. I came prepared to learn how to knit and I finished three rows of my first knitted hat! I'm excited to knit and crochet and put together what I can of the other projects as well.
I love this video that they showed at the activity. I think it really shows each of us can do more than we do to help other people. If this little 6-year-old boy can raise enough money for a wheelchair ($86), we can all give a little more than we do. Here's a link to the whole story. I think it's wonderful that this little boy is already making such a big difference in the world, and cares so much about giving to others.



Here's a link where you can donate to the humanitarian effort of the church. The nice thing about donating through the LDS church is that there are no administrative fees. The program is run solely through volunteers and 100% of the donated money goes to those that really need it. Even just a dollar or two really makes a difference. But just think about it, for only $86 you can buy a wheelchair and give a disabled person access to independence, education, and self-reliance.

I know that when we give of our hearts, we're actually doing what the Savior would do if he were here on the earth. I believe all of us can give, no matter how little or how much we have. It touches my heart that people who have so little are often willing to give so much. If you're interested in learning more about these projects like those that we've been doing in our area, here's a link to some patterns that you can make and donate to the LDS church's humanitarian effort. All of us can do a little more than we do to serve those around us, near and far.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blind Man

Image
I love the story of Christ healing the blind man in the new testament (John 9:1–17, 35–38 ), but this made it even better for me. The other day is our three-year-old described the story to us as he had understood it from his sunbeams class at church.

J: "Do you know what to do when you are blind?"

Me: "No, what do you do?"

J: "You go get some play dough and put it on your eyes and touch your eyes like this."

He puts both hands over his eyes.

J: "And then you can see. And if you don't do that, you can't see and then you run into things."

He proceeds to demonstrate by running into the couch with his eyes closed.

I should mention that afterward we did discuss the difference between play dough and clay, thanks to C.G. And we were able to clarify a bit that it wasn't the clay that healed the blind man, it was Jesus and His power. :) But it sure was cute.

More cuteness...
We've been learning "Praise to the Man" in primary (and having a really hard time with the Jr. primary, may I add). The other day I overheard J singing it and couldn't stop laughing.

"Craze to the commandments immuned with Jehovah!"

If you think about all the hard words in that song, it really is no surprise!

Aren't kids fun?!?!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last Day...

CG's last day of kindergarten was yesterday. It was a great day. They had a pj party and watched tangled. :) We love that movie!!

For me, I've been having the feeling that you feel after you run a great race and it's suddenly over. It's been quite a race, but all the ups and downs don't matter because we finished! :) I'm so grateful for that and so grateful for C's wonderful teacher. She is so amazing.

Here's one of my favorite stories that C wrote this year. I'm not sure what it is about it that makes me smile when I read it. It's so very simple - maybe it's the suspense factor - how it builds up and builds up until whamo. I don't know, but I love it.

I think the other reason I like it so much is because of the illustrations - the chocolate chips keep diminishing and diminishing - so cute...We'll miss kindergarten and all of it's charm, but we're excited that C is maturing and growing in so many wonderful ways!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our Trip to England & Wales Part V: Last one!!

Well here I am again. :) And here's our final travel log for our trip to England and Wales.

On Tuesday we got up and decided to go get some breakfast and head over the Buckingham Palace for the horse-guards parade and changing of the guards. We inquired at the consier's desk in our hotel and he said it started at 10 and we had thought it didn't start until 11 (and it was 9:30 when we inquired) so we decided to hurry and go over there before breakfast. We hopped on the bikes and rode down there. We saw the guards at horse-guards first and there was no action going on so we figured we had missed it (we didn't get there until around 10 after 10). It was fun to see the guard on the horse there. I guess they have special horses that can stand there for 4 hour shifts, perfectly still. Pretty amazing, huh?
So we walked through Jame's park and the green park over to Buckingham palace. We must have looked pretty lost at one point because this old gentlemen came up to us and asked us if he could help. His name was Don. He was an old Englishman and it turns out he was an expert on Brittish history. He started talking and there was no stopping - he just had a wealth of information about the Brittish flag and all the ceremonial stuff that went on during the changing of the guards. He told us how to tell where the queen was staying because she had a special flag that was flown. And how to tell which car she drives because it has no license plate. And other really interesting stuff like that. He explained the correct way to hang the Brittish flag and how he noticed that it was actually hung wrong on some of the streets in preparation for the royal wedding. He explained all about what would happen at the royal wedding - I guess the ceremonial stuff is the same at every one. Anyway, it was really neat talking to him. He was such an interesting gentleman - I could have talked to him for hours. As it was he spent about an hour and a half with us taking us around and showing us the parades and giving us a history lesson. His daughter is an administrator in charge of one of the bands that plays during the ceremonies and he told us about a practice they were having at 2:00 a.m. in preparation for the royal wedding. Anyway, we were very glad that we came early (it turns out it really didn't start until 11) and happened to run into him. It made this part of our trip so much more interesting and fun. If we had just done what we had planned to do and go to horse-guards and the changing of the guards, we would have missed one of the highlights of our entire trip.

Here's Buckingham Palace
Here's a picture of some of the special set-up they had in preparation for the royal wedding. Normally the grounds are just kind of a park that you can wander around, but they had this structure put in place for the news crews and other people broadcasting the royal wedding.This is Charles I palace - there's a bunch of history about him that Don told us about how he was beheaded because the people rebelled against having a king. And then they didn't like not having one so they went and found one of his sons and made them king and there's been one ever since. I'm paraphrasing and probably messing this up, but that's kind of the idea.Here's a picture of Don. He just looks like a cute, little Englishman, doesn't he? :)
And here's some pictures of the changing of the guards parade.Here's Buckingham Palace in the background.
I loved listening to English accents while we were there. You can here Don's voice in this video telling us all about what was going on.
video
After we said goodbye to Don we were starving so we decided to go back to Covent garden for some food. We found this yummy yummy pie shop that had these chicken and bacon pies with mashed potatoes and gravy and peas. It was so good eating some real food (after a lot of street food) and it was delicious.
After that we headed over to the British Museum. We weren't planning on going (actually we weren't planning on going to any museums), but we were kind of tired so it was a good thing to do. It is HUGE! We were there for 2 1/2 hours and were going pretty quickly through it. We only got through 1 1/2 floors out of like 5 or more. We saw the Egyptian Mummies and statues. It was pretty cool.

Then we went back to our hotel to rest for a little bit cause we were tired of walking. That evening we went out to dinner at a really cute little Italian Restaurant. I had this yummy pizza and Brandon had pasta. We bought the rest of our souvenirs and found another waffle place for dessert. Yummy! Then we headed back to our hotel and packed our bags and went to sleep.

The next day we got up early and left to catch our subway to the airport. My back was hurting pretty bad after all of the walking. We got to the airport in plenty of time. It was a good thing too because they ended up searching both of my carry-on bags at the security check. Tons of people got searched. It must have been a high-security week due to the Royal wedding and everything.
They went through every single item in our bags and took them out and searched it. Crazy. Took like an hour! Anyway, then we found a little place and had omlettes for breakfast. And got on our flight home. It was a really long flight - it seemed to take forever.

Finally we got to Atlanta at what was like 10 p.m. London time. We were pretty tired. we only had an hour and a half layover to begin with but the plane got in late due to some high winds and we had to sit on the plane for another 20-30 minutes after we had landed waiting for our gate to clear. We rushed off the plane as soon as we could (luckily we were sitting pretty close to the front). We went to the passport place to get our passports checked and there were more than a hundred people in line in front of us. We thought we'd never make our flight (as it boarded in only 15 or 20 minutes). Somehow we made it through that line and then still had to go collect our bags, go through customs (luckily we didn't get stopped) and through security (luckily we didn't get stopped again) and then catch a train to the other end of the airport and run to our gate on the other end of the terminal. Crazy! It was after midnight when we finally arrived home. Totally exhausted, but we had the best time! Thanks, Brandon for a wonderful 10 year anniversary trip and thanks for the last wonderful 10 years!! :) I Love you!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Our Trip to England & Wales Part IV

Back again...

On Sunday (Actually it was Easter Sunday) we had a wonderful breakfast on the china tea set that they brought us at the hotel. We felt very English :). Of course we didn't have tea (we don't drink it), but we enjoyed milk, muffins and fruit that we had bought at the grocery store the night before.
After that we began our long walk to church (I think it was 2 or so miles - a bit uncomfortable in my non-walking shoes). We made it about an hour before the meeting started so we decided to go to the Natural History Museum which was right across the street. We figured it'd be a good thing to do on a Sunday since it was free and we could study about "things that are in the earth, and upon the earth ". :)

The museum had this really cool escalator that took us up through the middle of the "earth".
Here's just a few of the pictures we took inside the museum.

After that we went to church and enjoyed the wonderful meetings there. The people were very friendly and really made us feel welcome. Here's a picture of the LDS chapel in London.
After that we went to the Science museum to study more about "things that were above the earth". It was also free and right next to the museum of natural history. Here's a few pics of that.
Then we walked back to our hotel. Here's a little tiny car we found on the way.We stopped and went inside this beautiful church - we actually wanted to go to a singing service in one of the cathedrals to hear the lovely music, but they were all during our church block.
So instead we went back to our hotel and had a rather quiet evening. It was actually really nice after our busy week.

Monday morning we got up and rode bikes over to Portabello road. We got there a little early before most of the shops had even opened, but we found some yummy waffles and crepes for breakfast. The waffles we got at a wafflemeister shop - they had strawberries, whipped cream and belgian chocolate drizzled on the top...yum!
The crepes had strawberries and nutella - they were really good too.
We bought a few souvenirs on Portabello rode and then biked over to Paddington station. We mostly just wanted to see it, but while we were there we found some sausage rolls that came highly recommended that we picked up for lunch.
From there we rode over to Picadilly circus and Trafalgar square.

Then we walked by St. Martins in the field chapel and they happened to be having a piano concert right then so we got to go listen to it. It was a lovely setting and the music was beautiful.
After the concert we rode bikes to covent garden where they had lots of street performers and stuff. It was a fun place to walk around and see. Here's an opera singer that was doing a performance. He was good! There were also unicycle riders and other more humorous performers. There was this old man singing and playing the guitar.
Brandon gave a little performance of his own.We also went inside the royal opera house - which was beautiful. Sorry for the blurry picture
I guess I haven't mentioned the royal wedding. Yes we were there the same week, but we left 2 days before. There were a lot of this decorated for it and stuff. Here's an example - this building was wrapped up like a present.
After that we rode bikes/walked to waterloo station and then over to the borough market. Unfortunately by the time we got to borough market it was after 5:00 and those places kind of shut down at 5:00. We ended up riding on 2 different bike stretches (about an hour of riding) back to our hotel and then another bike ride over to Taza's again where we ate for dinner. We also visited the same delicious gelato shop for our last enjoyable gelato in London.

As you can tell our days in London were completely and utterly exhausting. We walked/rode bikes the whole time, but it was a blast. There's so much we were able to see that I never would be able to include it all on this blog, but this gives you the highlights at least. Well that's all for now. I think the next post will be my final one for our trip. Sorry if you are already bored!!! :0)