Saturday, March 31, 2012

Play Groups

We spend a lot of our time in play groups with all of our wonderful friends. It has gotten to the point that Bee wakes up every morning and asks me where we are going and who we are going to see. We do not have play groups every day, but some days it seems like we do.
I still attend a weekly playgroup with some of the other Centre wives. Some of us get together on Wednesdays to let the  children play. We met at Milca's house and everybody had fun watching the horses and donkeys run around in the field. The horses were somewhat agitated because Milca's MIL had just gone out for a horse ride and some of the horses got left behind. They were jealous.

Another day we went to M's house to play. They had lots of fun jumping on the trampoline, coloring with chalk, drinking apple juice, and just playing pretend with each other. Bee's favorite toy was a motorized bike. She was fascinated and drove it forward and backward over and over. She also was hesitant to color on the driveway. She kept asking permission to be in the 'street.' 

Thanks to Christy for inviting us over and a happy birthday to M. who is now also three years old. They grow up quickly.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rainy Day

Sometimes weather predictions are accurate and other times they're downright unfair. This day it was predicted to be rainy and stormy intermittently throughout the day. We had a beautiful morning with blue sky and no rain. I had waited to go for a quick jog outside in the hopes that the bad weather would pass. Finally I decided that maybe the bad weather would never arrive. I decided to chance it and jogged to our local park. Then I let Bee out of the stroller and she played for a while. When the black clouds were sufficiently menacing, I packed up and headed home hoping to avoid the storm that was finally coming. Two minutes later it started pouring. The heavens opened and all the rain that had not fallen all day came down right then. I do not have a rain cover for my jogging stroller and Bee was hiding her face into her jacket. We both ended up very wet. When we were a block from our home, the black clouds disappeared and revealed a beautiful blue sky. We walked the last minute in perfect weather. Perfect timing. I decided to let her jump in our 'puddle' since she was already wet. She was thrilled. My favorite part was when she starting making hand prints on the wall. She would dip her hands in the water and then make prints. She ended up with a long line of prints that were all her height.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Spatula

Abigail had been sick for several weeks in February and March. She was starting to get better and then spiked a fever the next day. I took her to the doctor to make sure nothing was seriously wrong to find out that she had double ear infections again. Poor girl, I had no idea. She behaved well for the doctor and held very still. We then headed to grocery store to fill her prescription. While we waited for them to fill it, I decided to buy her a small treat for being so brave. We went to the Easter aisle and looked at the fun toys and treats. I told her that she could pick anything that she wanted. I guided her away from the large stuffed animals towards the smaller toys and treats. There were lots of fun things and she carefully picked them all up, held them, and then put them all back. In the end, she chose a green kitchen spatula. She was very particular about the color. This has been the favorite toy for the last few weeks. She carries it around with her and even sleeps with it in her arms. She is so creative as she pretends to use it to make cakes. So cute and so unexpected. We even took it with us to DC.

This beautiful self portrait captures her eyes and is a good example of why we always have smudges in all of our pictures.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Celebrations Continue

We also celebrated on his actual birthday. We started early with the opening of the presents. He received lots of books. His family knows him well.
He had lots of help opening presents and Bee was pleasantly surprised when one of the gifts was a book for her.

I surprised him with a GPS that I had purchased Black Friday last year. I somehow managed to keep the secret until now. He was excited. We found it to be extremely useful the next month when we took a trip to Washington, DC. We love the GPS and are entertained by the Yoda voice that we downloaded on it. He got really spoiled for his birthday this year. I bought this GPS before I knew that he would ask to go to a concert for his birthday.
I love his birthdays, they are so easy for me. He decides what he wants to do, plans it, executes it, etc. and I come along for the ride. So easy.

We had never eaten here before and decided to try it out for the birthday. We spoiled ourselves with lots of eating out this birthday. Their waffles tasted like cake. Yum. Although I was surprised that they do not even offer pancakes.

Bee bought her dad a balloon bouquet for his birthday. She loved sharing his present with him.

The weather is beautiful here and we tried to take all of the kids for a walk in the wagon.  Bee felt a little squished.

We decided to eat out once again for dinner. We're now on a small eating out budget for the rest of the year. We ate at Eddy Montgomery's, which is a steakhouse owned by Eddy who is a country singer from the group Montgomery Gentry with Trace Adkins. The restaurant was fancy. Benjamin chose the calamari, of course. Too bad there weren't any live music performances on the stage while we there.  For dessert, instead of the traditional cake, he asked me to make him his favorite chocolate crispy bars. Looks like they will be a birthday tradition for him.

 Benjamin had an enjoyable birthday, even though he spent most of his day in student paper conferences. We love you Benjamin!

Research on Mormon naming practices

A recently-published article on discusses unique Mormon naming practices:

The byline reads:

Names are a way every culture identifies itself, and Mormon culture is no different. Jennifer Mansfield, a graduate student of folklore, has even identified six different "types" of Mormon names - as well as the reasons for (and effects of) such names.

The researcher interviewed for this article just happens to be my little sister, who happens to have a very proud big brother.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Irish Flair

After the museum we headed into town. Benjamin had previously researched an Irish pub where we could eat some authentic food before heading to the concert.

We ate at Molly Malone's. I let Benjamin order lots of fun things to try and we had a nice dinner. We also got the chance to walk around the city for a bit.

One of the benefits of Benjamin getting interested in his family history is that he gains new interests and cultural tastes. Last year as he was learning about his Irish heritage, he started searching out music groups that represented that culture. He found lots of different kinds and especially became fond of a musical group called Gaelic Storm. He loves their music and lyrics and has purchased many of the Cd's. He has been anxious to see them live and has recommended several times that we drive hours and hours to see them play. I have never acquiesced...until now. We chose the Thursday Cincinnati show instead of the Friday Columbus show because we would leave Bee for less time.
He was pretty excited about the performance and he did not leave disappointed. It was fun to see him singing along with the lyrics. This was our first time at a concert that required standing for the entire two hours. The atmosphere was fun and the fiddling was fantastic. Many of the numbers even include the bagpipe. Happy Birthday to Ben.

We drove home after that and had an early morning the next morning, but it was all worth it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Creation Museum

We headed to Cincinnati for Benjamin's early birthday celebration. Our friends generously offered to watch Bee and we were excited to spend a day together just the two of us. We researched many options for things to see during the day and curiosity won out, we decided to visit the Creation Museum. This museum presents natural history from a religious perspective. They present a professional museum based on the premise that Genesis is and should be taken literally. They argued that the world was created in seven literal days.

The prophets.

The Garden of Eden.

They believe that dinosaurs were part of this creation and that they lived on the earth up until shortly after the flood.

The serpent. Pretty scary.

This scale model of the ark shows dinosaurs walking up the ramp.

I loved their explanations and models of the ark. It showed how life on such a large boat might have been feasible with so many different animals.

This dinosaur was motion activated and would move it's head toward you and roar if you got to close.
I do not agree with everything that they present in this museum, but was interested in the displays and impressed with the high quality. I also enjoyed the movie at the end that talked about Christ and His importance. This museum made me extremely grateful for modern revelation that clarifies some of the ambiguities in ancient texts and for modern prophets who understand the plan of salvation and who help us know who our Father in Heaven is and how to come closer to Him.

I am curious to see what Benjamin will add to this post about his experience at this museum.

We spent about four hours there and even enjoyed a short walk on the grounds outside. We bought Bee a dinosaur magnet.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


We recently had a playgroup with Christy and her daughter M. The girls played well together while Christy and I tried to come up with a craft for the girls to do. She brought these white polo shirts with her.They were much to large for our girls. Her idea was to let the girls paint on them to make personalized keepsakes. We came up with several different ideas on how we could decorate them. M wanted Hello Kitty and Bee wanted dragons. Oh, and they are supposed to match. I told her that I could turn them into dresses so that they would fit the girls better. She left the shirts with me and we planned to get together sometime to paint them.
I was excited to see if I could make it work. It was a surprisingly simple project and did not take me very long at all to turn this t-shirt into a cute little dress. They turned out so cute that neither of use want to paint them. I think we are just going to accessorize them with cute belts.

I made the dresses while these two were playing. Bee is finally getting to the age where having a friend over is less work for me instead of more. I was able to watch them and easily work on my sewing project.
I downloaded instagram and am trying to figure out how to use it.

I love how this photo shows off their different personalities. C. is busy eating his lunch and does not think much about where his legs are. Bee is sitting on the chair backward and has her legs wound around each other.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Family Visit

We have 9:30 a.m. church. The adults were up early on Sunday preparing everybody. We would have been on time too, if I hadn't suggested that we take some pictures of everybody all dressed up. I do not regret it either. This first picture of Abigail and me is one my favorites of all time. She is the most precious thing ever. Jeff brought his nice camera and used the skills that he has gained by taking local photography classes. I want a nice camera and knowledge on how to use it.

We had pink, heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast with eggs. I had meant to make these for Valentine's day but it hadn't happened, so I decided to make them for our guests. Church was eventful. Abigail went up with the primary children to play a musical number with the bells. She somehow managed to hit herself in the face with a bell mid song and was brought down to me crying hysterically. It is not always a good thing that churches are designed to carry sound. I then took her out and soothed her. She was thrilled to have lots of cousins to play with in the pew and kept moving up and down it. She seemed to think she was more at liberty to misbehave because I was so far from her. I had to repeatedly sit her down. Then she asked to go to the restroom. I took her. Somehow she made it all the way there only to have an accident in front of the toilet. Her tights were soaked. I found an extra pair of panties in the car. She waited with her naked little bottom on the couch while I ran out the car. The edge of the dress was a little wet, but I decided that it wasn't worth it to drive home for an outfit change.
On to primary. Bee still does not like it. She pouts and refuses to participate. Sometimes she hides underneath the table. Sometimes they bring her to me because she will not stop crying. As I was trying to deal with this, Brooklyn started choking. The sacrament speaker had handed out little round mint candies to all the children. She choked on hers and ended up vomiting all over the hallway. Ben, Jeff, and I tried to clean it up the best we could while Shelly cleaned up Brooklyn and herself. No fun. I thought that Bee had stayed in primary only to find out that she spent the entire Priesthood hour with Benjamin all while he was teaching the lesson. Why, oh why, won't she stay in Primary?

Home from church we ate a yummy crock pot stew and bid farewell to our cousins. It was so fun to see them and to have them stay at our house. Bee also loved having friends to play with and she still remembers her cousins.

Shelly blogged about this too, you can read about it here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I have enjoyed writing, with help from husband, this blog. I am unfortunately not a consistent journal writer and while I have spiritual journals and daily journals, they are not a good record of our daily activities and lives. I do not scrapbook either. I have found that I am much better at recording our activities here on this blog.

So I am proud to announce that this post is our 500th post. It only took me four years to get here. We have recorded so many important and fun memories here on Inspiration Knoll. Recently I worked on organizing all of my blog posts for 2008 and 2009 into a book. The time spent creating this book is immeasurable when you consider the time necessary to  write each individual post, wait for each photo/video to upload, upload blog posts into Blurb, and try to make their editing software do what I wanted it to. It was a lot of effort but was so worth all of it.

This is our scrapbook, our record of our lives...and now I have it in print, in my HOME! I love it. I love reading and remembering all the big things and the small things. We have been married for six and half years and time continues to pass quickly. Thank you to all of our family and friends who keep track of us through this blog. We love you and we appreciate all your thought, comments, and prayers.

We really do have a good life. I needed that reminder.

Here's to 500 more.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Trip to Lousville with Family

I was so excited when my cousin Shelly emailed a few weeks back to let us know that they would be coming our way over President's day weekend. She had the great idea of spending a day in Louisville and graciously offered to  help with Bee so that we could attend the temple.

We got up early that Saturday and headed to Louisville, arriving at their hotel with little time to get to the temple. The men stayed and entertained the children while Shelly and I rushed off to the temple. We arrived in time and had a wonderful time at the temple. The dads had to entertain the kids until the hotel pool opened and then they successfully kept everybody safe in the pool. I heard that it was quite the experience, especially for Jeff. They also managed to get all the kids dressed, packed, and out of the hotel. They met us at the temple and we watched the children in the lobby while they worked on some ordinance work for Benjamin's family names.

After the temple we headed to downtown Louisville and managed to find a coffee shop/diner to eat at for lunch. We were all hungry by this time and the food (for the adults) did not disappoint. The kids were kept occupied with crayons and a small coloring book.

Then it was on to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. I have always wanted to tour this factory and was excited to go.
Nicole, Brooklyn, Emma, Bradford, Abigail, Katie, & Benjamin.

We let the children play in the kid's area, then watched the film about bats and bat creation, followed by a quick view of the museum, and a tour of the factory. We watched bats made by hand as they used to be (they used to take at least 30 minutes to make a single bat) and we saw them precisely chiseled by a high-powered machine (only took thirty seconds per bat). There was sawdust everywhere and the sound was deafening. We saw lots of different colors and sizes of bats. Apparently this is a good time of year to visit because they were busy preparing bats for spring training. As we exited the tour, we were each handed a small souvenir bat. So fun, but also so dangerous in the hands of three three-year-olds. Then we headed back to the museum. We all had fun posing with the wax baseball players. Except for Bee, she doesn't do anything on cue.

This amazing glove was located in the kid's play area. It was carved out of stone! The details are amazing and the weight was in the ridiculous thousands of pounds.

Bee enjoyed hitting the baseball off of the tee in the batting cages. I am tempted to get her a tee to practice with here at home.
We had so much fun in Louisville and managed to all get home safely. We had a fun evening afterwards. We ate a yummy dinner prepared by Ben, talked and talked, watched the kids play, ate chocolate chip cookies, and enjoyed ourselves. I wanted to stay up later but our early morning had worn us out and we could not keep our eyes open.

Shelly also blogged about the trip, you can read about it here.