Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I could not get a decent picture of these birds, but I wanted to document it anyway. I looked out my window one day and saw thirty or forty cardinals perching in this tree and helping themselves to my neighbor's bird feeders. They were all so beautiful and there were so many.

I could not get any clear shots because of all of the branches.

If you try hard and look close, you can see several birds in this picture.
We love the birds here and always have them in our yard. I think about putting up birdfeeders, but for now I am just glad that my neighbors keep theirs well stocked.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snow Day

We have not had much snow this year. The two times that it actually did snow a little, school was cancelled. It does not affect us much yet, but still, we are always surprised by snow days for so little snow.

Looks dangerous to me.
 Luckily there was enough snow to play in. The wind chill was cold, not cold by Iowa or Utah standards, but we were still cold. The girls played outside for longer than we expected, sledding down this small hill, eating snow, and just playing. I even sledded down with them four or five times.

There was also enough to eat.

Only one of the girls could be talked into a snow angel, mine would not.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Over Christmas: "Everybody, everybody, you need to calm down." (southern twang) I think she was overwhelmed by all the people in our house.
To nana, concerning her new zhu zhu pet: "nana, nana, look what my cousins gave me."
"cousins, cousins, look what I have." She never really learned their names and preferred to refer to them in the plural.

For the last month her preferred language is Meowese. She talks in cat a lot and it is honestly one of the best ways to get her to do what we want. Instead of saying. Please pick up your coat, we say "meow, pick up your coat please gatita, meow." She especially reserts to meowese when she is scared or nervous and also when she is on the phone.

About Christmas: "Santa comes and gives me presents."
In the potty: "I’m going number three." Apparently number two isn’t good enough to describe it.

Aunt Kimberly wrote “B” on abby’s cup, based on my blog nickname. Abigail didn’t like it. She wanted “A for A-bi-gu-ail". Kimberly then wrote Abigail on the cup with several hearts two days later. Bee was thrilled and held it to her heart.
To nana: "I had a dream and walked into a place where there were bad boys that will bite me and I will just bite them back."

With Ben while talking about ages. “How old are you daddy?” I’m 28. “Oh my gracious!”
After waking up in the morning. “mommy you took away my paints, you need to say sorry” It was a dream, it wasn’t real. “It was real, you need to say sorry.”

In the car: “Mommy can I drive?” No, sweetie you are too small to drive. “I’m big” Not big enough to drive. “I can pretend I’m big.” That’s not how it works.

1.6.12 To mom: “you’re probably my hero.” Awwwwww, my little sweetie. She's been extremely cuddly and very attached to me lately. I can't say I hate it.

1.6.12 to daddy: “stop kissing mommy, she’s mine.”

1.6.12 "That’s a helicarter. ha ha ha. I just said heli-carter instead of helicopter. ha ha"

1.9.12 While having a discussion about why we are teaching her Spanish: "I talk bilingüe." Spanglish wins out.
1.9.12 "Mommy why are you sad? Let’s say an oración. mommy, fold your arms. Dear heavnly father, thank ya fer dis day, blessn my mommy, blessn my friends, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." I love that she prayed for me.

1.11.12 Beeism: "daddy, you wanna cas with me?" (quieres casarte conmigo?) Do you want to marry me?

1.15.12 Katie: "ah! daddy bumped into me!" Bee: "lucky boy!"

1.16.12 Abbyism: "I can't sing the song. My mouth is too small to sing it."

1.17.12 Katie: “I love you.” Bee sitting at the table eating lunch and swinging her legs, without look up nonchalantly said “yep.”
1.26.12 Bee played teacher for the first time. She called me ‘kid’ and told me where to sit and what to do. She held up a paper and slowly moved it around so all the ‘students’ could see it. She sang the alphabet with me and then taught me a bubble game. We are so proud of our little teacher.

Friday, January 27, 2012


This  is a cute clip of Bee playing pretend with me. She made me breakfast and then refused to let me eat until we had prayed and until she had read the 'Book of Mormon' to me. She read several books by describing the pictures that she saw. She is adorable. Click on the link above to watch the six minute clip.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pew Survey on Mormons in America

For those of you who haven't seen this, it's fascinating:

Pew is a respected firm that runs first-class surveys, so I take the results of this "Mormons in America" survey as fairly accurate.

The full complete report is available in PDF format (2 MB) and goes into much greater detail on the questions summarized in the link above:

Most of the results are not overly surprising, although there are a few head-scratchers in there. What do you all think is the most interesting finding of this survey???

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year's Festivities

 It was quite the new year for us. We celebrated the Parisian new year, meaning that we ate, played, made noise, and then were all home by 7:00 p.m. in time to put the kids to bed. Benjamin and I were exhausted from the week's festivities and decided to keep it low-key this year.

We arrived at the party to find out that the mom had found lice in her daughters' hair thirty minutes before the party started. We didn't see the daughter at all and we only saw the mom for a few seconds. My head has been a little itchy ever since. The power of suggestion is strong. We definitely don't want lice.

One of the moms that was there went in to labor that night, soon after the party, and had the first baby of the year in our local hospital. It was some party.

Benjamin and I went home and played games in front of the fire and then toasted in the new year with some sparkling grape juice. We have lots of goals for the new year and we are excited what it will bring. In 2011 we moved into our beautiful, Benjamin started his second year of work, I started teaching Spanish at the Montessori school, Bee turned three, I successfully taught Seminary for the most of the entire year, our car hung in there for the year (and hopefully for a few more), we made new friends, had great memories, took several trips, had lots of visitors, enjoyed good health, ate well (hence the need for repeat weight loss goals from last year), and have settled our family for now. Here's to a great 2012.
Countdown to 6:00 p.m. or midnight in Paris.


Here's a great shot of her new haircut in addition to her obssession with princess dresses.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Don't Leave

Christmas week flew by and soon our guests were leaving us. Nana and Papa had to leave first on Thursday, then Karolyn and A.J. flew out on Friday.

We enjoyed meeting A.J. and were saddened when things didn't work out between these two. He ended up breaking up with her shortly after the trip. Sorry Karolyn. We tried to be good, but you've got to admit, we're all crazy. :)
Three of the four sisters. Karolyn was missed.
We hired babysitters and took them to the airport, getting them there with only an hour to departure. Whoops. Luckily everything worked out. Sorry Karolyn for any undue anxiety you may have experience. Then Rob, Kimberly, Benjamin, and I went to the Louisville temple.

We had a spiritually edifying time and were so glad to have the opportunity to visit the temple together. We were worried about leaving the five children with the babysitters for over eight hours, but they did well and the kids had fun. Both Kimberly and I meant to take pictures of the four of us outside the temple, but none of us remembered. Oh well. Thanks Kim and Rob for a fun night out at the temple.

Obviously we found this picture on the web and did not take it ourselves.

They then spent Saturday packing, cleaning, playing a few more games, and then finally had to leave in the early afternoon. I really appreciate them coming, especially since it resulted in the totalling of their vehicle on the drive out. Luckily only the van was hurt. We feel so blessed that they were all unharmed and that they eventually made it safe here and later made it safe back to Texas. The silver lining, if there is one, is that they get to buy a newer van now. Their rental van was pretty sweet too.

We had s'mores for lunch on Saturday. Not healthy, but enthusiastically received by the boys.

Here's my attempt at writing in pancakes on Saturday morning.

The boys left us a mural to remember them by.

The rental van just before they pulled away. Sniff. The house is so quiet now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The girls found time on Thursday to head to a local thrift shop. We scored some fun things including gravy boats and new clothes for our men. I found a cool cash register toy that I am going to save for another holiday. A.J. and Karolyn got bored after a while and ended up sitting on the couch waiting for us. They were waiting for almost forty-five minutes. Poor things. I checked out at one point and then kept finding new things to buy. I told Kimberly that it was her fault that I kept buying things and in an effort to speed up her shopping I recommended she buy everything that I found from that point on. The sweet girl didn't agree, but then she did end up paying for the three things that I had found. Funny Kimberly.

Then Kimberly and Karolyn went to the dollhouse museum while the boys went to a local civil war battlefield. I love the detail of the displays. There is so much to see there. Bee and I have been to the museum several times recently so we played in the front of the store and out on the grounds. She pretended to be a horse and actually ate quite a few blades of grass. Silly girl. Is she ever going to grow out of her oral fixation phase?????
They look large, but they were tiny.

I love me a teeny tiny fabric shop.

We split up again in the evening with some of us, including the littlest persons, going to a basketball game at Ben's college and the other group heading to Lexington for some shopping and to see the lights displays at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Kimberly had to find a new car seat to replace the one that had been involved in their accident on their drive out. We looked at a Wal.mart here in the town and then headed to Le.xington where we checked out Sa.m's club, then Ta.rget, and finally ended up finding an acceptable one on the drive home at yet another W.almart.
We also saw the lights.
Cinderella's castle.

Horse race.

They had displays for each of the twelve days of Christmas. I love the one for the French hens. Maybe the Eiffel Tower is an overdone blatant stereotype, but it was still funny.

I also like this one.

"Mommy blogging" associated with maternal well-being and reduced stress

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Brandon McDaniel, a BYU psychology major who is now working on his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development and family studies at Penn State, surveyed 157 new mothers. Of those, 111 read blogs at least sometimes, and 96 of them started their own blogs about their experiences as a parent. For the study, he asked them questions about depressive symptoms, the quality of their marriages and their level of parenting stress.

“The more they blogged, the better they felt,” he said. “I can’t say it’s causal in nature — there needs to be more research... but right now, the research suggests that the more they blog, the more it turns into feelings of greater social connection.”

Full article available here: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53264120-78/blogging-social-com-mothers.html.csp?page=1

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Playground

One of my MOPS friends moved at the beginning of the year. Boo. The good news is that they will be starting a new job and that there will be better opportunities for their family. She will be missed. She did a great job of purging as she packed and got ready for the move. She sold things, gave things away, and threw away things. When she posted on facebook that she giving away a swing set, I responded immediately. Somehow I found another MOPS mom whose husband had a 16 foot trailer and was willing to help us move this swing set to our backyard only two days after Christmas. Late Christmas present. Woot woot! Did I mention that it was free and only cost thirty minutes of cold labor to get it too our backyard. It's a little rusty, but it is a great addition. The boys loved it. I even caught them jumping off of the top of it.

It's old and needs some repairs, I might even try spray painting it in the spring. The plastic glider seats are falling apart and need to be replaced as well.

It was fun to hear them sing the abc song as they glided back and forth.

I have such great sisters.

A.J., Karolyn, and I spent a lot of time putting together Bryce's 1,000 piece puzzle. I enjoyed the challenge. Other people helped, especially Rob, but most of the work was done by A.J. and Karolyn. We had the puzzle set up in the basement. The lighting wasn't great, but it kept it safe from little hands.

Ben got this shot of Kim's boys at the civil war battlefield.

I loved having so many people around to play with and entertain Bee. She was extremely cuddly and spent lots of time in others' arms.