Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Egg FHE

Last night we did our Easter Egg Family Home Evening, which we have been doing since the year we were engaged. I made it at a Young Women's activity, so THANK YOU diligent YW leaders! We have loved doing it, so I thought I would share.
If it looks like a 13-year-old decorated it, that's because one did. :)

Inside each one of a dozen plastic eggs there is a scripture written out on a little scroll of paper and some type of object to go along with it.

1. Matt 26:39 Sacrament cup
2. Matt 26: 14-15 Three dimes
3. Matt 27: 1-2 Piece of twine or rope
4: Matt 27: 24-26 Chunk of hand soap
5. Matt 27: 28-30 Piece of red velvet (ours is just felt)
6. Matt 27: 31-32 Nail
7. Matt 27:35-36 Pair of dice
8. Matt 27: 50-51 & 54 Small rocks, or potting soil
9: Matt 27: 57-60 Piece of white cloth
10: Matt 27: 60 & 65-66 A stone
11: Mark 16:1 & Matt 28: 2-5 Herbs (we have a bay leaf and cloves)
12: Matt 28:6 Empty ("He is not here, He is risen")

It was really fun to do this activity with Brynn last night. Of course she didn't understand everything, but I think the objects helped her pick up on a lot of things. Immediately when she opened the egg with rocks in it she said, "Oh no, did they throw rocks at him, too? Poor Jesus."

Anyway, it would probably be quite a bit of work to get everything together (you can't just go buy Sacrament cups, can you?) but for us it been a wonderful tradition.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


During last year's Spring Break, I was eight months pregnant, painting practically the entire house (in a heck of a lot of pain, I might add) and potty-training Brynn. I couldn't have been happier to see Spring Break come to an end. But THIS year, I am sad to say good-bye to it! Over the last two weeks we traveled to Las Vegas to be with the Johnson's, and Washington D.C. to be with the Sparks Family. It was the best Spring Break ever!

My favorite part of Las Vegas (I'll post about D.C. later) was obviously being able to hang out with my amazing family! We met up there with Marty's brother Greg, and his other brother Kelly and his family. I have the best and the funnest in-laws ever!!!!

Aside from that, I think one of the highlights of Vegas was the Bellagio. I remembered the fountains (which are choreographed to music) from the movie "Ocean's Eleven" but it's hard to tell on TV just how incredible they are. Kelly had seen them and was talking them up so much, and saying he could spend all night there watching them. Then he started to worry that he had built it up too much, but no way! They were AMAZING!!!

In fact, we had to go back the next day to see more!
And here are a few other shots from inside the Bellagio.

A hideous picture of me, but the giant snail behind me is made of roses.

If you read my blog, you should know by now that Brynn not only loves princesses, she actually believes she is a princess. So you can imagine her excitement, no - elation! when we took her to the Excalibur (a giant castle).
New York, New York

We walked down the strip a little at night, too.
But not all of the kids made it...

Here's Marty at Treasure Island. That's a pirate ship in the background. Landon and Carter are really into pirates right now, and we were super excited to see the show (the pirate ships sail in and shoot cannons at each other and pirates jump ships, etc) but they didn't allow strollers (what the?) so that ruled us out, BIG time, and we left.
We saw them...

And her...

But by far the biggest spectacle was...


With our two kids and Kelly and Christy's 3 year old twins and baby, we had 5 kids ages 3 and under. We went everywhere with 3 strollers. And I NEVER got used to the looks people gave us walking past, I loved it! We'd roll out of elevators one after another after another and hear, "GOOD GRIEF!" when they thought we were out of earshot. At one point Kelly and Greg wandered off somewhere leaving Christy and I with Marty and the 5 kids, and we all felt the need to yell to everyone, "We are NOT from Colorado City!"

The world's largest TV

We had to do a buffet while we were there, of course, so we went to the Main Street casino buffet.

We stayed at the Circus Circus casino hotel, which was a blast for me because I had never been to a circus.

An amazing juggler
Trapeze artist

We got there way early so we could have good seats for the show. The kids were so patient and absolute angels. Of course that's just because we had a secret weapon...
Uncle Greg!

They have this gigantic dome with all sorts of rides. I had never been on an indoor roller coaster before, and it was way better than Marty and I were expecting.

And here's Kelly and Christy getting ready for their ride!

The kids chose to do the airplane ride. Brynn always wants to ride on the carousel at the mall, and the couple of times we've let her she's gotten really afraid and wants to get off. I figured the airplanes would be a disaster since once the ride starts, the kids just have to deal with it.

Judging from the following two pictures, would you say Brynn loved it, or hated it?

Well, Brynn hammed it up and waved to crowd during the ride. and the tears are not tears of fear, but tears that the ride had to come to and end. Way to go Brynnie, you are getting braver every day! And I wasn't terribly bothered by the little tantrum at the end of the ride. We put all the kids in the same room to sleep at night so the grown-ups could stay up and play games. Needless to say, that's the least amount of sleep Brynn has ever had in her life. And we couldn't have been happier for her - cousins are supposed to stay up giggling together until all hours of the night!

And then quite a change of feeling - we also visited the Las Vegas Temple.

We took the kids swimming, even though it was a little cold.

But they loved it!

We are probably Las Vegas' worst tourists. We took advantage of every free activity we could (which are PLENTIFUL) and of course didn't spend a dime in the casinos. It was a quick trip, only two nights, and the first day was shorter than we had anticipated because it took us two and a half hours to move five miles at Hoover Dam. And even though we were very sad to say good-bye to family, we were not too sad to say good-bye to Las Vegas. After just a short time in Sin City, our eyes were burning out of their sockets (if you've been there, you know what I'm talking about) and our spirits were ready for the refuge of our sacred home. But anyway, it was a WONDERFUL vacation - thanks, Johnsons!

200th post! (or some lessons learned)

R.I.P Fishy. You will be missed (by Brynn). We came home from our Spring Break vacation to find a very very dead, stinky fishy. Marty told Brynn Fishy died, then she asked when he was going to come back, then Marty told her about Fishy Heaven and then she said, "Are you gonna die, Dad?" And we explained that, no, Daddy wasn't going to die. Then she contemplated it more and said, "And Jesus died, and he came back?" So we had a bit longer three-year-old discussion on the Resurrection, but I thought it was cute that she connected those two things in that little mind of hers.

And the lesson learned? Stop buying fishes. Oh, and teaching the gospel now comes in handy later.

On Friday I started my first real fast I've had in about 20 months (because of the pregnancy and nursing), although I've done sugar fasts. We wanted to break the fast with something good Saturday, but all we wanted was breakfast food, probably because we lounged around all morning until lunch. What?! We've been jet-lagged! And sick! Anyway, we had a crepe feast and I ditched the bad recipe I've used the last couple of times and found a better recipe and had the best crepes ever! Here's the recipe:

1-1/2 C all purpose flour
1 T sugar
1/2 t baking powder
1.2 t salt
2 C milk
2 T butter or margarine, melted
1/2 t vanilla
2 large eggs

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk, butter, vanilla, and eggs. Beat with hand beater until smooth

2. Lightly butter a skillet. Heat over medium heat until bubbly.

3. For each crepe, pour 1/4 C batter into skillet. Rotate skillet until thin layer of batter covers bottom. Cook until light brown. Turn and cook other side until light brown.

We filled ours with fresh berries & sugar, and eggs. And we each drizzled a little chocolate over one or two of our berry crepes. Ahhhh......

Lesson learned: Betty Crocker always wins.

Almost a month ago Brynn woke up in the morning whimpering, which is rare for her. I went in and asked her what was the matter. She held up her hand and said, "I did this!" Around her wrist was the elastic band her hair was in the night before. It was so extremely tight, I guess she hadn't been able to get it off. But judging by how grotesquely purple and swollen her hand was, I'm pretty positive she'd slept with it like that. I figured it would go down quickly enough, and it did some, but in the late afternoon it was still this swollen:

I wonder if I should have called the Dr., because here we are a month later and she's STILL got a big red mark around her wrist.

Lesson learned: I will take her hair-bands out before I put her to bed from now on.

I'm am learning how to play guitar! I'm ashamed that it's taken me so long, given how amazing my dad and brothers at guitar, and that we always had Heaven knows how many guitars laying around (don't deny it, Dad) and that I now have a guitar of my own just sitting in my closet, and it wouldn't be that hard since I already play a stringed instrument and know a lot about chord structure/progressions. I've been saying that in the fall I was going to take guitar lessons, but one of the main reasons I've wanted to learn was so that I could play around a campfire. And Marty and I are taking a CES Church History tour workshop thing (pioneer trails) where the campfires will be plentiful, and dang it! I want to play and sing with Marty there! So on Friday I went and bought a chord book and I have been working so hard! I can already play a bunch of my "goal songs" and I am not letting up! Although, my heavens, why didn't anyone tell me it hurt so much to build up calluses on your fingers? It's way worse than violin! Meh, no pain, no gain.

Lesson learned: Marty says he will never under-estimate me again.
Brynn was in her first Primary program today!!!! She was sooooo cute. She walked up confidently, smiled at the congregation, sang the words, then came back to the bench and said, "I sing good, huh?"

Lesson: I guess Brynn got the performance gene.
Or: My mom wasn't kidding when she said our little girl personalities are similar.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

whip cream/garden failures/free woman

First of all, the whip cream. Mostly I just wanted to post the pictures because Bryce is just too too cute without a shirt. We were painting with whip cream on Thursday (must have been a no-Daddy-day), and as you can see Bryce loves it, but I can't get my silly Brynn to get her hands dirty no matter what I try. I guess Myxophobia (fear of sticky things - I looked it up) starts young.

If she didn't have fun getting messy, at least she had fun encouraging Little Brother to do so. There's a fine line between Brynn encouraging Bryce to do things she doesn't want to do, and Brynn throwing Bryce under a bus. Such as:

"No, no, Bryce can get messy, he likes messy."
"No Daddy, throw Bryce in the air. Brynn doesn't like that, Bryce likes that." (which is true)
"NOOO!! Give BRYCE a shot!!! Bryce WANTS to have a shot!! Don't give it to Brynn!"

Ok, the garden. Look at all the beautiful carrots we pulled out of the garden yesterday!

Well....I guess you win some, you lose some, because this is how big those carrots really are. Whoopsie, we planted them way way way way way too close.
On the plus side, Brynn thought the "twisty" carrots were "sooooo cuuuuute!" that she immediately wanted to run inside and eat them. So getting my 3 year old excited for vegetables has to count for something, right?

Our second failure was this: You can't just leave a broccoli plant to keep getting bigger and better, because they just bloom.
Which is what happened to our last broccoli plant. And it brought lots of bees.

So we purged our garden, ready to try a whole new set of crops...
when we came to our third disappointment of the day. After we had gotten our runaway lettuce plant, broccoli plant, and everything else out of there, we got a closer look to see that our garden was pretty severely infested with tiny green bugs which may or may not be termites, so we'll have to look into that (immediately, I know, I know). We sprayed the heck out of our garden box and decided to wait until the bugs were under control before we planted the new stuff. By the way, we decided, after lots of compromise (mostly Marty talking me down from 6 squares of eggplant to only 2) to try eggplant, beans, strawberries, tomatoes, green bell and jalapeno peppers, and we'll keep the spinach, parsley, and cilantro going.

And as for the free woman thing, if you'll allow me to get a bit personal, I weaned Bryce this week. He turns one next month, he is cutting his two front teeth, and I just thought it was time. I've been telling Marty for a while that when he is officially weaned, I am going to get the ABSOLUTE SPICIEST thing I can find. I told him that I didn't even want to be able to enjoy the food because my mouth was burning, THAT spicy. Well, Saturday night we were pooped and we didn't want to go to far for food, so we went to the Burger King hoping they had something like the FLAME-THROWER (the Dairy Queen burger that was my ceremonial wean meal with Brynn). No luck at Burger King, just the crummy spicy chicken sandwich. I was so bummed and I told Marty "That's not how it was supposed to happen!" So my patient Marty took me to Fry's where I ran in and asked the man at the sushi counter to give me the spiciest thing he had. He seemed excited, like, overly-eager to oblige. So, short story long, I had my spicy sushi that was both miserable and blissful all at the same time.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wish us luck!

Recently I became a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs, which means my piano students can enter the yearly piano festival. They get to play in front of judges, be critiqued, receive feedback, and earn points towards certificates and trophies. Our first piano festival is TODAY!!! I'm really excited for my students. This is the system that I competed in for almost ten years in Utah and I absolutely loved it. It really motivated me to work hard, and then helped me gain confidence as I set goals and reached them. Good luck, students!