Friday, December 31, 2010

A year in Review

To end this year I thought a video slide show would capture the most important events of this year. It feels as though major life changing events have taken place in this crazy year: Maddie was in a body cast and lived in a wheel chair for a third of the year, Dan has been working on the biggest trial of his career, I went back to work after 10 years, Zach got baptised, and Jackers started elementry school. Life has been anything but boring at our house, and yet . . .we survived. I can't help but be thankful for that!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Did It!

I am a 33 year old Mormon housewife who just learned to can yesterday!!! Seriously, I can't believe it has taken me this long to get over my fear of canning. It was fun, easy, and almost painless. Just keep your fingers crossed that we don't die of botulism!!!!

What's next you ask? Pears. . . .Wednesday. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day of School

My baby started Kindergarten today! Jackson was so excited. He was the first one dressed, the first to eat breakfast, and the first one out the door to the bus stop. I asked him if he was nervous and he said "why would I be nervous mom, this is the best day of my life." Zach and Jack seem to be best friends at school; Zach took Jackson under his wing and showed him the ropes. (I could not be more proud of both of them!)
Zach is excited to be back in school, although his best friend is in another class this year, making Zach a little more nervous than usual. He is always making sure Jackson is okay at recess, and has had fun making new friends of his own.

Maddie was excited to get back to school to show everyone that her legs are as good as new with no wheel chair!! This year fifth graders are in the middle section of the school. She gets her own locker this year, and gets to sit by her best friend Hannah. Life is good. I went to kiss her goodbye on the first day of school and she freaked out and told me to never to that in public again. I had a good laugh, but deep down it made me a little sad that my sweet little girl doesn't publicly idolize her mom anymore. . .although secretly I think she still does.
I love school too! I have time to take long jogs every morning, do my hair, clean my house, oh and read a book in peace and quiet. I love it!! Is it weird that I am ready for apple pies, carved pumpkins, and falling leaves? Fall is in the air, but I am happy summer is here for few more weeks. I'm not quite ready for winter. . .who am I kidding. . .I'm never ready for winter.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

McCall to the Wild

Two weeks ago my parents rented a cabin near McCall for a fun, long weekend. I have to say, McCall is the prefect substitute for any beach vacation, and only takes a little over two hours to get there. My kids could have played in the sand the entire trip!
One of the best parts of the whole trip was that my sister flew out from Texas to join us. It was so fun to hang out with her all week. She even watched my kids so Dan and I could go to the Tim McGraw/Lady Antebellum concert the night before we left for McCall. (I owe her big!!)
The Pancake House and Christmas Store are always a must if you ever make it out there. I think we are planning one more trip before school starts if anyone wants to come for a day trip. Thanks mom and dad!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Order in the Court

Most of you know my husband is amazing, but now the entire state of Idaho gets to witness my husband's greatness!! This is the case he will be spending the rest of the year working on. (If you want to watch this video be sure to pause my music player at the bottom of this blog!)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Locks of Love

Every morning poor Maddie's head is traumatized as we try to brush through it. Her gorgeous curly red hair is a blessing and a curse that needed to be dealt with! We had heard about Locks of Love through some friends (thanks Andrea!) and decided that since it was for a good cause we would go shorter than planned by cutting off the required 10 inches. She looks adorable, as usual, and is so excited that someone else will get to have beautiful red hair like hers.
Before: (Just to show you how long it was last week)

After: (we have since styled it really curly and will post pictures later)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Value of Service

Today I took my children to Grace Assisted Living. We have become very close with the residents there and they look forward to us coming. I had a permanent lump in my throat all afternoon as I watched my kids interact with all of the amazing people who live there. Zach is full of hugs no matter who the person is. Jackson is my entertainer and "boogied" upon request, and Maddie is all smiles, and easily chit-chats with everyone. We passed out crossword puzzles (large print, of course) and Sudoku booklets to any resident who came buy and offered them cookies and lemonade. After 10 minutes we had over half of the residents sitting around the tables chatting about the "good old days." My kids were fascinated! It was a great summer activity that got my kids out of the house away from TV and video games! Teaching my kids the value of service ROCKS!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Magic Prayers

Monday, after Jack's baseball game I realized my keys were not in my camera bag. I had been taking pictures most of the game and remembered putting my keys in a little pocket of the camera bag. It was 7:00pm and my kids and my mom were waiting dinner for us. Dan began searching the vast baseball field looking for my keys. Jackson and I went to the lost and found but still no luck. After 25 minutes I began to think it was a lost cause. I called home telling my mom the situation and instructed her to feed my kids. She asked me if I had prayed for help. . . which I had, but at that moment we both thought to ask Maddie to say her own prayer--for some reason Maddie has such huge faith that everything she asks for she gets. Within 30 seconds I saw a little sparkle in the grass and without hesitation knew it was my keys.

When we got home, both Maddie and Zach were happy that their prayers were answered so quickly. Once again their testimonies in prayer were strengthened, as well as mine.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Surgery, Red Sox, Busy Husband, and Manifests

Yikes!! It has been a crazy month and a lot happening, so let me catch you up on the latest adventures of our lives!!
Maddie had surgery Monday, May 17 th. The doctor cut her femur just under the hip and twisted it 30 degrees. She has always had a funny walk, with one foot twisting inward causing lots of trips and falls. The surgery took 2 hours and the doctor put her in a body cast (leaving an open area for her to use the bathroom). The surgery seemed to be a success, and Maddie has had very little pain. She has been absolutely amazing with very little complaint!! She is in a wheelchair for six weeks with extensive physical therapy for another six weeks. It may be a long and boring summer for Maddie, but she seems to have a really positive attitude about the entire thing.

Jackson and Zach's baseball season is officially underway. They were excited to see that both of them were assigned to play as the Boston Red Sox. Zachary has really improved over last year and Jackson seems to really enjoy getting some of his own attention this year for baseball. Dan is an assistant coach for both teams and enjoys helping his boys develop an appreciation for the sport. We don't expect champion athletes, but we are proud of the progress they are making.

I don't often write about Dan and his adventures at work. As many of you know he is busy preparing for his murder case which is expected to be in court some time in October. It will be a busy summer as he preps for the "biggest case of the decade" (according to one of his bosses). I am hoping to post local news stories of Dan once the case takes off later in the fall and will keep you posted on the trial.

As for Me I am officially licensed as an Idaho certified teacher!!! I do not have a job yet, and my future is uncertain as to if I will be a working woman next year, but I was just told last week that my name is now on the Meridian School District's teacher manifest for possible teacher applicants. . .which basically means that if there is an opening for a history teacher, I might get some job interviews in the next few months. I am really excited, because I thought I thoroughly messed up during the interview process and would be rejected.

It has been a very busy month, but we are so glad the worst is over. Thanks again for all of your prayers and concern. So many of you have sent cards and gifts for Maddie helping her feel loved!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Handicapped Parking

People who don't think this sign applies to them really, really annoy me!!!

I will update my blog about this past week in the next few days, but Maddie is doing great!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Lesson in Fasting

As most of you know Maddie is having surgery May 17th. It is a really big deal because she will be in a wheel chair for 3 months! Today we told Maddie that all of her relatives (on both sides) were fasting for her. She was totally shocked and honored to have so many people care about her. We asked Maddie if she wanted to be a part of the family fast and she loved the idea. Zach wanted in too. When we got home from church we told Maddie to go upstairs and break her fast so we could eat dinner. Five minutes later Maddie came down stairs with tears streaming down her cheeks. She admitted that she really was scared for the surgery, and that fasting made her feel something good but scared inside. A few hours later when Maddie and I were alone, she expressed deep concern for her surgery. I asked her how she felt as she was praying to end her fast. She expressed that as she was telling Heavenly Father how scared she was she got a really funny feeling in her heart that felt really good, but still scared her. We had a special moment today when I got to share my testimony with Maddie about the great power of her fast. I could tell that she was beginning to understand Heavenly Father's love for her and that he would watch our for her during this scary time. Her faith made me feel better about the surgery too. It is moments like these where I know my daughter is growing up to be a righteous young lady who is such an example to me.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Piano Recital

Maddie had a piano recital last week and did an awesome job. She played "Ten Second Song" which was literally 10 seconds long. . .we timed it, and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." She was really proud of herself. It was a perfect recital because it was only 20 minutes long!! Maddie's piano teacher is a young girl down the street that teaches only a few kids, we love her. Maddie's piano skills have grown so much since she started last year and I hope she keeps it up!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Special Olympics

“Let me win, but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
(Special Olympics' motto)

Saturday was FREEZING!!!
But our hearts were touched as we met families from all over the valley who were just like us!
Each day I realize how blessed our family is!!!

They don't let words like "Autism" limit the things they can accomplish in life!!

The best thing that came out of today, was my realization that my children are amazing. They care for others and treat everyone the same no matter what disability others may have; they are friendly too all.

My kids came home Saturday feeling like winners!! It was a great feeling.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Houston! We Have a Problem.

(Me and G on the Bike)
Girl weekend has officially begun, and Houston is awesome. It is so much fun hanging out with my sister and mom.

Day one: Enjoyed my first TexMex. It was awesome, after a long day of travel!!

Day two: NASA and the Space Museum, visited the small city of Galveston to see the Gulf Coast, tasted my first Blue Bell ice cream and wanted more, and last but not least . . .(drum roll please) . . .rode my first motorcycle and lived to tell about it!! (No, Dan you can still not get one).

(me at NASA)
(Historical Mission Control)

(Mom and Meg on the beach)
Day three: Went to the zoo in Houston and saw the infamous baby elephant named Tucker (he appeared on Scrubs!), visited Hermann Park, and toured the Holocaust Museum.

(a railroad car at the holocaust museum, this is how they would have transported the Jewish people to the concentration camps)

(Hermann Park)
Day four: Went to church and took a nice long nap (we really needed a day of rest!!)

Tomorrow: Shopping and home!

The best part of this trip has been the constant laughter of three crazy women!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Worm Confessional

As a young mother I had no time for books. I read every parenting magazine I could find, but when it came time to read a good book, I was too busy changing diapers and playing peek-a-boo. Now that my kids are older I have a little bit more "me" time. Despite what you may think . . .I don't sit around reading all day while my kids are at school (there's no time), in fact, I usually read while my kids are in therapy, or once they are in bed . . .I am still a full time mom with a house to clean and errands to run during the day! But I have discovered that I love to read. I love a good book. However, Dan and I have differing opinions on what a good book actually is. We both agree that Harry Potter books are amazing, but I have discovered that Dan appreciates the classics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer, Lord of the Rings, things from Charles Dickens. I've tried reading them so I look smart, but I just end up yawning through most of it, and either never finish it, or read it over the course of the entire year, hoping to lose it along the way. I prefer historical fiction, romance, or just a good story. Being a history major you would think I know a lot of historical facts, which I do, but I am more into history for the good story and happy endings.
My all time favorite book is "The Year of Wonders" by Geraldine Brooks. The story of a young woman in the 17th century who lives in a town where everyone is dieing from some plague. She tries to care for the towns people as best she can, and falls in love too. It has everything I could ask for in a book: love, heroism, a good plot, and a little bit of history all in one. I encourage all to read it, I don't think you will be disappointed!

This past February I read five or six books and couldn't get enough. I must admit, I do love a good Nicholas Sparks book (I read two last month!!). But now I am in a book rut! I'm not sure what to read, and have read so many holocaust books these past few months that it is affecting my rational thoughts. I need some good recommendations and I need them quick!! Any ideas??

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of you know I LOVE to cook! Through the years I have gotten better and better. Since Dan and I have stopped eating so much junk, I haven't baked as much as I used too and I have really missed it. Now that I have a lot more self control I have decided that I need to start baking a bit more and "plump" up my children. They are so skinny. . .and super picky. . .what's a mother to do??

Here is my absolute favorite cookie recipe that I must share. I have tried every cookie recipe I can, but for some reason I just keep coming back to this one. I got it eight years ago from my next door neighbor. I was pregnant with Zachary and feeling so sick all day, every day. She made me a plate of these cookies and I thought I had tasted a little bit of heaven. The secret to these cookies is to NOT OVER BAKE!!! Cook these for only eight minutes and do not cook a second longer. They may look a little doughy, but take them out of the oven and let them sit on the cookie sheet for six minutes to finish cooking.

The Recipe
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
2 cubes of butter
2 eggs
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
2 C flour
2 1/2 C oatmeal
1 pkg. chocolate chips or 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 bag M&M's

cook at 350 degrees for 8 minutes

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Little Einstein

Okay, okay, I know I sound like every other parent when I say that my kid is a genius, but how many kids do you know who take a math workbook to sacrament meeting and work on it quietly for the entire hour. And. . .yes. . .every answer was correct!! Zach has become addicted to math, he sits at the kitchen table for hours figuring out math problems. He is even staring multiplication and is only in the first grade!!! He certainly did not get his math skills from his mom and dad!!

Today Zach was busy playing with his Gameboy when Dan started to ask Zach how school was. Without looking up to have a normal conversation with his father, Zach briefly stated that his day was "good." Trying to have a deeper conversation with his son, Dan asked Zach how the "spelling bee" went. Again Zach replied "good" and kept playing his game. Dan had about given up at this point, but tried once again to continue his conversation with Zach. He then asked Zach if he did well in the Spelling Bee, without interrupting his game-play Zach said, "Good, I think I won." and continued to play his Gameboy. I think Dan was a little shocked and wasn't sure if he heard him right. . .next thing I know Dan is calling me on the phone to ask if I knew what really happened at the Spelling Bee. (I was at our weekly Physical Therapy appointment with Maddie) I hadn't heard anything about it and was just as shocked to hear that Zach may really have won the spelling bee. I told Dan to check in Zach's backpack to see if there was a note from Zach's teacher or something and sure enough there was a note from Mrs. Redman claiming that Zach is one of the finalist and will have another spell-off this Wednesday against other students! Dan and I were freaking out!!! (Someone had to!!) The other funny thing was that we forgot about the Spelling Bee until last night and just had Zach glance at the words before bed. Our past few weeks were focused on recovery from his surgery, so we weren't going to worry too much about the Spelling Bee this year. I think Dan and I are still in shock!! Tonight we did have Zach look over the list of words that will be given at the next Spelling Bee and sure enough he is a spelling genius!! He got practically everyone right.
So, yes I may sound like an annoying parent who thinks their kid is the brightest, smartest kid in the whole wide world, but now I have proof!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keeing Busy

After Surgery

Zach is getting tired of having to stay home all week, but he has managed to keep himself pretty busy. I am surprised that he hasn't wanted to play the Wii and his Gameboy as much. Zach seems to be quite content coloring, reading, making pictures for his movie theater, and playing quietly in his room. Today as we colored together Zach and I had a pretty good talk. Our one on one talks have confirmed to me that Zach is a really good kid with hopes and dreams that make a mom proud.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Move over Spielberg meet Zach

While recovering from surgery Zach (with a little help from Grandma) made his own Pokemon movie. I made the popcorn and tickets. We had a fun afternoon. Grandmas' are great because they come up with some pretty fun ideas. It was a three hour project, but Zach was completely entertained!!
For those of you who don't know, Zach went in for surgery Monday. He had a sphincter pharyngoplasty done which you can read all about here and here. Basically having this surgery will force Zach to speak through his mouth rather than his nose. He can still breath through his nose, but his speech should be much more understandable as the air flow travels through to his mouth causing his speech to sound much clearer instead of sounding nasal-ey. He had to spend the night in the hospital, but came home the next day.

He has been watching TV, and playing Wii, but was getting pretty bored by this afternoon. He and Grandma made a shadow-box, colored Pokemon pictures, set up chairs, and got tickets ready. He first presented his movie to his stuffed animals. They thought it deserved an Oscar. Maddie and Jackson loved it too, and would like to made a sequel. Zach is very proud.

He should be back to school next Monday, but he may even want to try going for a few hours on Friday. He is such a good kid.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm In Love

I may not be a decorator, but Dan and I have had a lot of fun decorating our loft upstairs. Yesterday I introduced Dan to Hobby Lobby and I think he was impressed. He even bought me a ladder thing to hold some of my many pictures (I have wanted one for years!!). I also stole an idea from my sister-in-law and put a big "D" on one of my walls. Jackson was convinced the "D" stood for "Dad." I had to make myself stay away from Hobby Lobby today because it is very easy to spend money there!!
It is almost complete. . .I just need curtains, but they may need to wait until I know Jackson has the will-power to leave them alone. . .it could be years!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Butterfinger Crumb Cake

Many of you asked for the recipe:
1 Chocolate cake mix
2 small boxes vanilla or chocolate instant pudding
4 cups milk
3 Butterfinger candy bars (or any for that matter: Skore, Kit Kat, Twix, etc.)
whipped topping

Prepare cake as directed in 9x13 pan. Cool and cut into bite size cubes

Mix instant pudding with milk and chill until set.

Start Layering:
first add 1/3 of cake
then 1/2 pudding
finally: 1/3 candybar

add next layer:
1/3 cake
the rest of the pudding
1/3 of candy bar

last third of cake
entire tub of cool whip (small tub like 12 oz??)
the last of the candy bar

Chill and enjoy!
I'm a little embarassed because it is so easy, but I do love something that only takes 5 minutes to make and tastes good too!

It looks really nice in a trifle bowl, but you could serve it in anything!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yeah Me! I'm 33!

My birthday is awesome. How many people can say they were born on the last day of the year? Everyone around the world in some form or another celebrates my day (whether they know it or not). Many get drunk, set off fire crackers or stay up way past their bed time. As a child I thought Christmas was awesome, but always felt bad for other kids because they didn't get to open more presents a week later like me. I have never had to go to school on my birthday, and most of the time Dan has not had to work on my birthday. Some may think that Christmas over shadows my birthday but I don't see it that way. . .and to top it off I usually have a guilt free helping of an extra piece of birthday cake knowing that my diet will start the day after my birthday.
(I didn't want the traditional birthday cake this year. . . this Butterfinger trifle was delicious!)

So, to all of those who celebrated my birthday with or without me. . .Thanks!! 33 doesn't seem all that old, in fact I am healthier and happier (and lighter) than I have been in a long, long time!!

Other important things that have happened December 31st (besides me)

Microsoft buys Hotmail E-mail service

(and to think, I thought the Internet was just a fad)

South African and U.S. surgeons separate Zambian Siamese twins joined at the head

(I remember that!)

U.S.S.R., last day of existence

CNN Headline News debuts

Ted Bundy escapes from jail in Colorado

(I've always been fascinated by him)

Monkee's "I'm a Believer" hits #1 and stays there for 7 weeks

(My husband loves them. I loved their TV show when I was a kid)

President Truman officially proclaims end of WW II

(my favorite part of American history!!)

For 1st time a ball drops at Times Square to signal new year
(Gotta love Dick Clark!)

Ellis Island, in New York City, opens as a U.S. immigration depot
(I love NYC!!)