Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trick or Treat

We had a lot of fun this Halloween season. Here's some pictures from our Halloween adventures.

Our Pumpkins

Karena's Cat

Hannah's Ghost

Tyler's Monster

Our Costumes

Tyler the Pirate

Tyler sporting a chocolate pirate's beard and mustache

Karena the Plain Green M&M

Hannah the Orange Peanut M&M

Our Family in Costume at our church Trunk or Treat
John the Hunter
Me the Good Witch

Our Halloween Dinner

Hannah modeling my witch hat

Dinner in a Pumpkin
aka Brains!


Goblin Eyeballs

Monday, October 31, 2011

11 years ago!

11 years ago today John and I met. I looked like this:

Just thought you'd like to know.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Five Things Friday

1. Tuesday night we went out for ice cream. It was the kids reward for being quiet during conference and letting John and I listen. This is our second time doing this and I love watching a new tradition start.

Everyone but Tyler was done with ice cream. He was having a hard time eating his frozen skittles. So I took the girls and headed down a few stores to this new store that's opened up, Altar'd State. I love this store!!!! The girls and I had fun browsing the jewelry, belts, scarves and fluffy coats as Hannah called them. It was so much fun to watch them get so excited over truly girly stuff. They both found some hats they liked, but there was no mirror close by. So they would try on a hat, look at each other and then switch. I guess they figured they could tell what they each looked like in the hats by looking at the other one wearing it. Oh, to have an identical twin!

Then the boys showed up. Tyler tried to sneak in. He's a bad sneak but it makes watching him try to be a good one so funny. I ended up scaring the living day lights out of him instead! I showed John these overly expensive and amazingly gorgeous coats I will never buy but just dream about daily. We found the $300 boots I tried on the last time I was there. Still love them! The girls and I decided that if we have a few hours that we will have to have a girl outing at Christmas to that store.

2. For awhile now the kids have been giving John and I math problems to solve in our heads. Most of the time they are pretty easy. "What's 1,000 + 300?" Well, on the way home from ice cream they decided to up the difficulty. "What's 1,000 x 200 (so far I'm thinking I can do this) + 27 x 2, 097 (now I'm not so sure) x 400 + 84 (now they've officially stumped me)?" I start to get out the calculator on my phone. Then I realize they don't know the answer anymore than I do. "4,623,479," I lie. "WOW!!" "How'd you do that?" "You figured it out?!"

One day I'll let them in on my secret, but for a while I'm content being the math genius. (By the way, the real answer is 22,847,684.)

3. Karena slipped coming down the stairs yesterday. She's fine. Just a little bump on the head. She was supposed to be upstairs doing her schoolwork, so as I rocked her to calm her down I asked her why she was coming down stairs. "Because I don't know any other way to get down here," was her reply.

4. Have you ever read the blog, Diapers and Divinity. Stephanie runs a fantastic blog that I've been following for a while now. I'm not sure how I stumbled on to it but do know it was for her General Conference book club! You ought to try it sometime. Anyway, she's been running a series called, Find a Friend Friday, and today I'm that friend! Go check it out. Maybe you'll learn something new about me.

5. Tyler and I were working on his reading earlier in the week. He informed me that he didn't like to read. It was boring. I started to tell him about all the adventure stories he could read one day, the ones about pirates and cowboys. I went on and on about all the fun reading could bring.

Tyler: But Mommy, I like it better when you read it.
Me: What about when you go to college?
Tyler: You can come with me.
Me: What about when you are married and have a baby and your baby wants you to read her a story?
Tyler: I'll call you and you can read it.

I hope his wife doesn't mind.

The Remarkable Women of God

This is a powerful video from Seth Adam Smith's Blog. I hope you take the time to watch it.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Conference Meme

I've been reading the blog, Diapers and Divinity, for a while now. Her love of General Conference is contagious. She is hosting a Conference Meme. Quoting her, "A meme is a questionnaire of sorts that is a little bit “viral”– it gets passed around among several people online." If you want to link up with this click here. So here are my answers to this October General Conference Meme.

1. Who were your three favorite speakers? Which talk spoke to you the most?

I loved Elder Uchtdorf’s RS talk – especially the part about not being forgotten. Elder Christofferson’s talk on repentance was very insightful. I need to study that one more in depth. Elder Arden’s talk on time management hit me as something I need to work on more.

2. What was your favorite Hymn and why did it move you? Did the music enhance your General Conference experience? How?

I love the music of General Conference. I love it when they sing songs my kids know and hearing them sing along. “I Believe in Christ” and “Consider the Lilies” were two of my favorites. I also loved listening to the Primary Choir.

3. Which speaker was the best dressed? (Come on, we can have a little fun.)

I’m not sure. I did notice some hairstyles I liked from the different choir members.

4. Were there any topics that you felt like were repeated often? Any conference “themes”?

Scriptures – read them, use them, make them your friend.

Missionary Work – be prepared, don’t be afraid to be one

Being charitable


5. Share a few of your favorite quotes from any of the talks (paraphrasing is fine).

“Scripture can calm an agitated soul” – Elder Scott

“It is the caring that counts.” – Sister Beck

“Before immortality there must be mortality.” – Elder Anderson

“It’s better to look up.” – Pres. Monson, quoted by Elder Cook of the Seventy

Speaking of the Book of Mormon, “Drink deeply and often.” – Elder Eyring

6. Name something(s) that made you smile or laugh during conference.

Pres. Monson’s stories, the 5 dollar bill and the temple speaker, his facial expressions this time were fantastic and his welcoming, “Hello!”

The fried chicken story

7. Was there any evidence that your children paid attention?

Amazingly yes! Karena has just soaked in conference this weekend. I knew she listened to Elder Bednar’s talk on family history but I didn’t know how much until Sunday morning. The kids love the games and stories on lds.org. Karena had asked to get on there before conference started back up again. The next thing I know she is hollering through the house, “Mom, how do you spell history?” She was trying to get to the website Elder Bednar mentioned in his talk. www.lds.org/familyhistoryyouth. She, John and eventually all the kids got on and spent another hour on that part of the website. She was a little disappointed to learn she couldn’t log in herself for another few months. (You have to be 8 first.)

8. What are some of your post-conference goals?

Read my scriptures with more purpose and diligence. Watch, read, or listen to a conference talk daily. Work on memorizing scriptures with my family. Be a better visiting teacher. Be more charitable to those around me.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Why is it that a person will travel hundreds of miles and spend lots of money to see other parts of the country but fails to visit what's available in their own town? I've lived in this area since 1995 minus 4 years for college and have experienced very little of the historical and interesting sights it has to offer. I hope over the next few years to fix that. As of last week I am now one step closer to that goal.

We went on a family field trip to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Mansion. John took the day off and we all went. It was coordinated by our local homeschool group. We started with a garden tour, had a picnic lunch and then toured the mansion and some more of the grounds. I wasn't too thrilled with the mansion. It was a big house with a lot of big rooms. The art they had displayed though was beautiful. I wish I could have taken some pictures to remember. There was a lot of nature scenes. John was captivated by a few of them.

The gardens were spectacular. I'd like to go back in the spring and see more of what they have. We walked through these amazing herb gardens. Everything smelled delicious. I was very jealous. They even had a lime balm plant that smelled like fresh limes.

One of the displays they have up now is a small collection of model trains. There is probably only about 5 trains but their tracks pass by models of different historical buildings throughout Tennessee. All of the model buildings are made of found, natural substances. Acorns, sticks, leaves, bark, etc. It was very remarkable to see them all.

It was a fantastic day. The grounds are very large and we didn't get to see all that we wanted. I'm excited to go again and see more of what they have to offer.

The sun was shining just right there and the weather was gorgeous. I was able to get some great shots off there.

Water Lily

Morning Glory seed pods

Japanese Dogwood

The Model Train Exhibit

Family Pictures

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tyler is reading!

Here's a video of Tyler reading. He just picked up the book and started to read. Its been a long and slow process but he is finally getting it and enjoying the process. For some reason when I uploaded the video it turned it sideways. Sorry about that.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Things Friday

I didn't get any posts out last week. It was exceptionally busy. The end of last week was CRAZY!! Here's what we did:

1. Two doctors appointments for Granddad. The first I knew about well in advance. The second was sprung on me less than 24 hours before. BUT, it was for a good cause. We met with his orthopedic specialist and an orthopedic surgeon. The end of November he will have his first knee replaced.

If you know anything about my father-in-law then you know he's struggled with his knees for a while but its become critical in the past year. The man can withstand more pain than anyone I know so when he says his knees hurt I know he's not lying. After looking at the x-rays this week I'm amazed he's not confined himself to bed. His knees are rubbing bone on bone. Add in bone spurs and you have a recipe for pain. The miracle of all this is he still walks 2-4 miles a day. The surgery should take away most of the pain. He will most likely not get rid of his cane or walker but if he doesn't have his knees done he can expect to eventually become completely crippled.

November 28 is the big day!

2. Tyler had a Spar-wars tournament for Taekwondo. He did very well. He ended up placing 3rd and winning a medal. It was unknown territory for all of us. Even with a few nerves he stayed calm. He competed with kids his same belt class and age. There were 3 other boys in his group. It was double elimination, so he had to lose twice. He won his first match and lost his next two. To win a match they had to either get 5 points or have the most points when the time ran out. Tyler lost one match 1-0. He was disappointed that he didn't win a trophy but perked up when his coach told him he could bring his medal to class. He tried his best and did very well. We are all very proud of him.

Here's a video of his matches. Tyler is in the blue sparring gear and usually on the right. Ignore the clicking noises and the crazy woman
you can hear cheering in the background.

3. We attended a picnic for a local homeschool association. I was amazed at how many people were there. I knew a lot of people and recognized even more. I love homeschooling!

4. Tuesday I taught my Relief Society scripture class. We've been studying Alma and this class was on Alma 34-35. Chapter 34 is all about the Atonement. We discussed the Fall, how the Atonement is infinite and eternal, mercy and justice and how the ultimate expression of the atonement is charity for others. Here are some awesome quotes I found:

"We grow in two ways—removing negative weeds and cultivating positive flowers. The Savior’s grace blesses both parts—if we do our part. First and repeatedly we must uproot the weeds of sin and bad choices. It isn’t enough just to mow the weeds. Yank them out by the roots, repenting fully to satisfy the conditions of mercy. But being forgiven is only part of our growth. We are not just paying a debt. Our purpose is to become celestial beings. So once we’ve cleared our heartland, we must continually plant, weed, and nourish the seeds of divine qualities. And then as our sweat and discipline stretch us to meet His gifts, “the flow’rs of grace appear,” like hope and meekness. Even a tree of life can take root in this heart-garden, bearing fruit so sweet that it lightens all our burdens “through the joy of his Son.” And when the flower of charity blooms here, we will love others with the power of Christ’s own love." Bruce C. Hafen, "The Atonement: All for All"

"The final and most important doctrinal fallacy in the concept of checklist repentance is that by concentrating on our outward actions we tend to emphasize our efforts and ignore the cleansing power of Christ. This approach to repentance makes it appear as though a remission of sins is something obtained primarily by mortal effort. Such a view minimizes the miraculous Atonement of Jesus Christ and the grace of God that makes a remission of sins possible. If we focus all of our attention and efforts on the steps we must take to repent, we tend to overlook what He did to make repentance possible. A humanistic or mechanical approach to repentance promotes “pseudo self-reliance.” Relying only upon our own efforts robs us of the repentance-enabling power of Christ. Thus the worst danger of this superficial view of repentance is that it causes an unwitting but crucial oversight of the most important “R” of repentance—Redeemer." Brent L. Top, “Faith Unto Repentance” in A Book of Mormon Treasury: Gospel Insights from General Authorities and Religious Educators

"You must choose between being at one with God or with mammon; you cannot be one with both (see Matt. 6:24); the one promises everything in this world for money, the other a place in the kingdom after you have “endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it,” for only so can you “inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world,” where your “joy shall be full forever” (2 Ne. 9:18).

"The key to keeping this commandment is, of course, faith, and faith is never without hope (anticipating and envisioning the results), and neither of these is of the slightest avail without charity. (See Moro. 7:41–44.) So we pray with energy for charity, which seeks not its own self-interest. (See 1 Cor. 13:4–5.) For “this love which [God has] for the children of men is charity”; without it, there is no “place … prepared in the mansions of [the] Father” (Ether 12:34, 37)—that is to say, there is no atonement." Hugh Nibley

5. Wednesday night we had the missionaries over for dinner. We asked them what they wanted for dinner and they requested chicken fettuccine alfredo. I know it sounds less than humble but I made an awesome dinner!!! I ended up making Chicken, Bacon, Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo and Marinated Tomato and Cucumber Salad. For those coming to Christmas dinner at my house we'll be having the salad. It looked very festive!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Four Things Friday

1. Last Saturday, John went scouting for a good hunting spot. He came home covered in ticks too many to count and barely too small to see. That night he started getting itchy. After counting he discovered over 100 chigger bites. Needless to say he's been extremely uncomfortable all week.

2. Tonight John and Tyler are going to a Father-Son camp out. The girls and I are having our annual girls night. We plan on doing some shopping, eating out, and then coming home to paint our nails and drink Shirley Temples.

3. I read this awesome blog post yesterday that somewhat followed up on my last blog post.

4. I have a new calling in church now. I'm the new Primary Music Leader. I'm a little overwhelmed because my job right now is to prepare all the kids for the primary program. I still have one more song to teach them.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Thoughtful Tuesday (Since I missed Monday Musings)

For the past week or so I’ve been contemplating the word compare. In a recent Relief Society class we were having a lively discussion about this very topic. Many suggested that we should not compare ourselves to others at all. As I sat there and thought I realized that in some ways though we should compare ourselves. It isn’t wrong to look up to someone and want to emulate some of their qualities. I know, being a woman, that one of the ways Satan tries to get at me is by comparing my faults to others strengths. He tricks us into thinking that we can’t ever be that good, or that nice, or that whatever. I believe that where we can benefit from comparing is by believing that we CAN be that good, or that nice, or that whatever. It takes faith to bust through Satan’s powerful lies. We are commanded to be like Christ and to do that we need to constantly compare our lives to His. “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12:48) Perfection is a seemingly impossible goal. When we look at others lives it sometimes seems easy to claim their lives are perfect. I would caution that we not put the label of perfection on anyone other than Christ. It puts an incredibly heavy burden for them to live up to. Who are they supposed to look up to if they are already perfect? I know I have become a better person by looking to those around me and wanting to be more like them.