Friday, February 24, 2012

Audrey at the Water Pump

Erin's commentary: I love this video because in 25 seconds it captures Audrey's personality. She is determined and stubborn, and she will keep trying something until she masters it. But she doesn't get frustrated or discouraged by failure; she actually enjoys the process and journey and so she's always happy. I think she is going to be successful at whatever she decides she wants to do because she truly loves learning new things and is so dedicated. Love her.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

They Say It's A New Year

I so need to blog about our fantabulous Christmas, but a friend of mine [if I were more tech-savvy I would hyperlink that to her blog but I'm not tech-savvy] just blogged about some of the things she learned in 2011. I loved the post and thought I'd do the same here while my thoughts are fresh.

So, here I go:

(1) I came to a deeper understanding of the importance of gratitude. I am really starting to see that it is our attitude about our circumstances much more than our circumstances themselves that determines our happiness. We hear this so much that it might seem trite, but it's so profound and so true. In many ways, my 2010 and 2011 were mirror images of each other. I was home with a baby on maternity leave for the first half of 2010 and worked the second half, and then I worked the first half of 2011 and was home on maternity leave the second half. There were a lot of similarities in the years. A lot of the things that were challenges in 2010 were still challenges in 2011. But 2010 was a much harder year for me. And I think a lot of that was because when I was having a hard time in 2010, I started working on my attitude and focusing on the good, appreciating what I had, and living in the present, instead of focusing on what I didn't have and worrying about the future. That shift made 2011 a really happy year.

(2) I don't need to let the fact that I can't do something perfectly prevent me from doing it at all. So often I am paralyzed from action because I over-analyze and want to do the very best possible thing and can never settle on what that "best" option is (or even if I figure out what's best, it's totally not within my ability to do). For example, I spend so much time analyzing and stressing over the "BEST" possible work-out or the "MOST HEALTHY" possible diet or the "PERFECT" way of journaling for myself and my kids that I just don't even do it at all. I'm trying to let go of that and to just know that doing SOMETHING is better than doing NOTHING. A specific example is that for a long time I have wanted to do a better job of documenting my kids' milestones and funny/cute things they do and say. I have a lot of these things in scattered places but not in any one place because I couldn't decide on the PERFECT way to keep track of these things. Well, I dumped it all into word documents for each of the kids and am going to try to keep those updated. Is it fancy or beautiful? No. But will my kids appreciate having at least some sort of record of their childhoods, however shabby, over having nothing? Of course!

(3) Related to (2), I don't need to let the fact that I have failed to do something in the past prevent me from doing it now. This applies to a lot of the same types of things I talked about in (2): Just because I have never consistently exercised in 30 years doesn't mean I can't start now. Just because I haven't done the greatest job of keeping a consistent journal for myself and of my kids' milestones and what have you doesn't mean I can't start now. I'm sure my kids would rather have at least some documentation - even if they are some time gaps - than none. It is never too late to make positive changes.

This New Year I'm thinking a lot about something I try to remind the girls I teach in church: We don't have to be what we've always been. If we want to be better, we can be better. We don't need to let our old mistakes weigh us down. As Florence + the Machine says (in a song that is all about letting go of our past and re-starting and is my mantra for the year and is amazing and makes me cry and you should listen to it), "It's hard to dance with the devil on your back - so shake him off!"

I'm planning on doing some shaking this year.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Our families had a lot going on over Thanksgiving, so we ended up staying in San Diego and doing it on our own for the first time. I was a little worried I'd get sad/homesick/whatever, but it ended up being great.

On Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, we headed to Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs. We did some short hikes in Joshua Tree and then in Palm Springs we took the Aerial Tram up to San Jacinto State Park. There was snow up that high and the kids had fun playing in it.

Wednesday was cleaning, cooking, and prepping for Thursday's feast. We had Joseph's BFF, Ashton, and his parents over for dinner. I made all of the things that are most important to me: rolls, cream corn, mashed potatoes, jello salad, cranberry relish, stuffing, banana cream pie, and pumpkin cream pie. Ashton's mom made a great turkey, green beans, sweet potatoes, and two more pies. It was a LOT of food but it was delicious! Since I didn't cook the turkey this isn't saying much, but it didn't end up being too big a deal doing so many dishes and they turned out very yummy. In fact, Joseph and Audrey loved the rolls so much that we caught them finishing off the whole bunch of leftovers the next morning ...


Joseph wanted to be a hamburger for Halloween, which I thought was cute particularly considering he's at an age where lots of kids want to be superheroes or characters from T.V. shows, etc. It must be because we never, ever let him watch T.V. and so he's so creative. (HAH!!! Just kidding. Everything that kid knows he learned from PBS.) Anyway, since Audrey and William didn't have an opinion, we went with a family theme. Cute banquet, huh?

We had a Halloween party at work, a trunk-or-treat at church, homemade caramel apple night at homes, and finally, trick-or-treating on the actual night. Joseph went with his buddy Ryan. This was the first year where Audrey knew what was going on. It was hilarious. She would just stare people down as they kept giving her candy until she felt she had a sufficient amount. Then she'd say, "duh duh" ("thank you", obviously) and move on to the next house. If people let the kids pick their own candy, Audrey would grab two handfuls. She also strongly preferred lollipops and took them whenever available. It was a little embarrassing but she is such a tiny thing that everyone just thought it was funny.

We decided that the day after Halloween, the kids could just eat all the candy they wanted - but then it was going to disappear. So they did gorge themselves but it wasn't too bad and they were fine the next day when it disappeared. The best part was that with all the lollipops Audrey had collected, she'd have us open them, then take a few licks, and decide she was done and throw them in the trash. Fine with me!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Capturing baby smiles is always tough, but William sure has some sweet ones. He is really happy. Especially right when he's slept and eaten. He gets that from his dad.

Pumpkin Patch

We've gone to the same pumpkin patch every year since we moved here. Also, clearly I'm a sucker for holiday-themed clothing.

Road Trip

We took the kids to Utah so that William (and the rest of them) could spend some time with family. They had a great time at Grandma White's house, and the fall weather was beautiful.

One day we took the kids to BYU to hang around where Todd and I met. We took them to the Bean Museum, which is basically just a bunch of dead stuffed animals. Joseph was very concerned with what was going to happen in that building during the resurrection. Good point. He was also curious about whether his body was going to be put in a museum when he died. We said NO, and we will remember not to take him to BodyWorld anytime soon.

We also took a road trip to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I think National Parks are definitely our favorite family destination and I have been pleasantly surprised at how accessible they are and how many hikes are available that even we can do. The kids love being outside and Joseph especially enjoys doing "awesome hikes."