Wednesday, November 28, 2012

TURKEY DAY- I mean Jon's Birthday

This year, Thanksgiving was extra super special for our family. Jon's birthday happened to land on Thanksgiving this year!! Because he so very often get's his birthday celebrations smashed into our Thanksgiving celebrations, I thought he deserved his very own BIRTHDAY post!

Thursday morning I woke up and drove down to the post office to snag a local paper with all the Black Friday ads in it. When I got back home I had this crazy little intuition that I should just leave the car in the driveway rather than pulling into the garage like I normally do.  Jon thinks I was in on this little prank, but I insist I was not! My thinking was that we were going to be headed to my parent's house in just a few hours and would probably be loading lots and lots of stuff in the car and it would be easier to do so if the car was in the driveway rather than the garage. ANYWAY, I left the car in the driveway. A few hours later we gathered our loads and loads of stuff and went to pack up the car. Zoey was the first one out the door and screamed "Daddy! Someone wrote on your car!!" We all came out to the driveway and found THIS:
Yes, that does say "I'm a Turkey....EAT ME....please?" We knew right away who did it. There's only two people in the world that call Jon "Juanito", and they just so happen to live a few blocks north of our house.  This guy and this gal! We love them so much! They sure put a smile on Jon's face!!

 Every year Jon asks for a coconut cake, and every year I end up going to the Safeway bakery and buying one. This year, I decided I was going to make the BEST COCONUT CAKE EVER! I found THIS little gem of a recipe on Pinterest and decided to try it out. Okay. I know I've said this a million times but I don't cook. I can bake some things (yes, there is a difference) but for someone who can burn anything I touch, this cake was quite the feat. I mean, I only had one 9 inch round cake pan, so I had to cook them at separate times and I managed to get them out of the oven in the PERFECT amount of time. AND the coconut. Have you ever tried to toast coconut?! It goes from not even dry to burnt to a crisp in like 10 seconds. There's definitely an art to it. So I made this AMAZING birthday cake for Jon. He was really impressed!

Jon's Epic Birthday Cake




So the bummer about Jon's birthday falling on Thanksgiving is that often, nobody really treats it like a special day for him.  Everyone would rather eat the pie than eat the cake.... and that's pretty much what happened this year too.  We had Thanksgiving dinner at my Mom and Dad's and everyone wanted the pie. Zoey and Jon were the only ones who took a piece of cake.  I figured, no big deal, I'll have some at home tonight when my turkey induced coma wears off. But the universe had other plans.

Let me just say, us Stanley's have a bad case of Murphy's Law syndrome (I just made up the syndrome part of that, deal with it). If something CAN go wrong on a holiday, it WILL! As we were packing up our stuff and leaving my parent's house, Jon came around the corner to where I was herding chickens gathering our children, with a look of absolute horror. I asked him what was wrong and he said "I just dropped the cake." Jon is like a big kid and often jokes about things that he probably shouldn't. Joking about dropping the epic birthday cake I made him (that took 3 hours to bake from start to finish), it's really not appropriate to joke about. So I asked him "Swear on your love?"- This is our little way of saying, "Okay... joke's over, now tell me the truth." to which Jon responded "I swear on my love." He had been carrying the cake holder by the handle and the lid wasn't snapped on all the way. So gravity won.....

I came around the corner and there was my masterpiece lying in a big heap of coconut, dirt, and strawberries. I felt like the Mom off the Christmas story when the hound dogs stole their Turkey and they had to go to the Chinese restaurant for dinner. All I could do was let out a half laugh-half cry. I'm not sure who was more disappointed, me, Jon, or my dad. He came out to the site of coconut all over his driveway and asked "But you left me a slice on the counter, right???" When we told him that we hadn't he goes "But I didn't even get to taste it!" LOL
What was left of the cake after cleaning/scraping it off the driveway

Jon felt so terrible. I like to think that he felt most terrible because of all the hard work I put into the cake, but I really think he felt terrible because he didn't get to have seconds. And even though Jon's birthday cake was smashed to bits.... I like to think he had a pretty swell birthday.  He even got to go Black Friday shopping for the first time in 5 years (thank you, Shamrock)!!

I sure am glad to have such an amazing husband! He has been such a blessing in my life for the last 8 years. No one can make me smile, laugh, and give me the butterfly's in my stomach like he does. Happy 29 years, Jon!! I love you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Inappropriate Laughter Gets Me in Trouble with my Kids

Did you ever play that game when you were little where you would try to make the other person laugh or smile by saying "Don't Smile.....don't smile" over and over again??? Remember how hard it was to sit there and keep a straight face when all you wanted to do was burst into laughter? That's how it's been for me lately when I've had to discipline my kids.

I have a pretty immature sense of humor for being almost 30 (and by "almost" I mean in two loooong years). I still get the giggles when I'm in a public bathroom and someone passes gas (totally just giggled out loud) or when someone gets hurt (but not too hurt.) Poor Jon. He used to get terrible charlie horses in the middle of the night and would wake up screaming in agony. I would just lie there and giggle until they'd pass. Or when he catches his "raptor toe", as I like to call it, on a door frame or coffee table. I cannot control my laughter as he's rolling around on the floor.

Once when I was growing up, I attempted to flick a piece of corn at my older sister who was making faces from the opposite end of the dinner table. My dad had taken his seat on the couch adjacent to the dining room table.  As I flicked the piece of corn at my sister, it took a detour and pegged my dad in the back of the head. HE WAS SOOOO MAD! At 6'1 and 250+ pounds, my no-nonsense police officer father can be pretty intimidating. I knew right away that I was in deep doo doo as he yelled "WHO'S THROWING FOOD?!" All I could do was burst into laughter. I'm pretty sure I got grounded for a month but all I remember was not being able to contain myself. Trying with every ounce of my strength to contain my laughter and it pouring out with a snort and a cough. The harder I tried not to laugh, the harder I did laugh.

Unfortunately, my 6 year old seems to have a very similar sense of humor. One of his absolute favorite things in the whole wide world is watching America's Funniest Home Videos. Although some of it may be genetic, I feel Tom Bergeron plays a major role in defining his sense of humor. This is where he learned what a "groin" was. Super! Thanks, Tom.

Lately, I've had a really hard time maintaining my composure while disciplining my children. My immature sense of humor gets the best of me and I am forced to snort and choke back all laughter that is dying to come bursting out! It's not a good thing at all. It's extremely detrimental to the cause when you're giggling while dishing out punishments. Let me show you a few examples:

A few weeks back Gavin was playing outside with his cousins and got hit in the "bad spot" with a ball. On my way to see if he was okay I hear him shout "Ohhhh man! I just got hit in the boing boings!" I had to choke back the laughter while I told him that it was rude to talk about his "boing boings" in front of other people. Try saying that sentence with a straight face. "It's not polite to talk about your 'boing boings' in front of other people. I don't want to hear that again." - Are you laughing? Smiling maybe? Okay...well... maybe it is just me.

 Last night sitting at the dinner table that cat was attacking the table cloth right under Gavin's chair. She jumped up and swatted and ended up hitting Gavin right in between the legs. He started giggling and said "She's trying to scratch my undercarriage!" I could not help myself.  Raspberry Crystal Lite shot out my nose across the table as I giggled uncontrollably. Undercarriage?! Really?! I think I've used that word maybe twice in my whole life. I totally blame Tom for this one!! Since this was a second offense I decided I would go into more depth with Gavin about talking about his private parts in front of other people, especially at the dinner table. They call them "private parts" because they really are private. No one needs to see them, no one needs to hear about them. I may have to have this conversation again when the tone is a little more serious. It's hard for him to take me seriously when I can't keep from smiling and giggling. Bottom line was Gavin's "undercarriage" is not an appropriate subject for the dinner table. CREATIVE, but not appropriate. Hilarious even, but still inappropriate.

Later last night, after Jon had left for a meeting in Denver and I had put the kids to bed for the night, I sat down to catch up on my Grey's Anatomy. I had gotten about 30 minutes into the show when I heard some chatter coming from Gavin and Tanner's bedroom. At first it kind of sounded like crying, but as I got closer I could tell that it was singing. I had already gotten after the boys several times that night for not going to sleep and horseplaying. So I listened carefully to see if it was one or both of them..... that's when I heard this coming from my funny little boy's mouth:

"Doot do do do do Manah Manah. Doot do do do. Manah manah"  With impressive accuracy my little boy was singing his little heart out to this muppet's melody. Trying as hard as I could to not laugh hysterically, I asked him what he was doing. He just kept on a singing like he didn't even hear me. So I asked him again "Gavin, what are you doing?" He replied flatly "singing." I reminded him that it was extremely late and that he had early school tomorrow and he needed a good night's rest, then went back to my spot on the couch and laughed until tears came out.


I love that my kids are so funny and can make me smile when it would be easy to scream. It makes being a good, level headed mommy easy to do. Now if only I could stop laughing when I'm disciplining them so they take me seriously! I guess it's a good problem to have :D

Friday, October 19, 2012

PINTERESTing Recipes


Okay, a little known fact about how things go down in the Stanley household. I'm a terrible cook. I MEAN TERRIBLE! I once tried to make a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and managed to turn it into a gooey paste that you couldn't even swallow because it stuck to everything it touched. It was horrible. I know what you're thinking: "How hard is it to follow a simple recipe?" Seriously, if it can be burned...it will be burned (flesh included). My husband, on the other hand, LOVES to cook and is pretty spectacular at it. He's really creative with cooking and knows how to make a lot of things. Because of this, Jon is typically the one who makes dinner every night.

Lately I've been feeling a little self conscious about my lack of cooking skills. I mean, really. Whenever women find out that I don't really cook I can feel them judging me! They get this smug look on their face like "MUST BE NICE!" Let me assure you, I do more than my fair share around this house. It's not like I sit on my bum watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy/Glee/Army Wives/Ugly Betty/Desperate Housewives/Drop Dead Diva/Bones/The Office/How I Met Your Mother on Netflix all day long while my husband works his butt off. Oh wait... okay maybe SOMETIMES I do that. When my dad found out that I don't really cook much he was appalled! He's pretty old school. He told me that it was my responsibility as the wife and I don't work (I actually have two jobs and take care of my kids/house and manage to volunteer as a Girl Scout Troop Leader). Anyway, I was really starting to feel a little guilty that Jon works all day then comes home and makes dinner. He says that he likes to cook and that it relaxes him, but even I can tell there are days that he just doesn't feel like cooking. So I felt like maybe I could help out a little every once in awhile.

Now, I have a little obsession. It's called Pinterest. I can spend hours on that site pinning ideas for home decorating, or cute outfits I want to magically appear into my closet, or fun ideas for my kids and girl scouts. I think I need a PINtervention. (Just for you Cammie because I know how much you love the corny play on words) But one of my favorite things to pin on Pinterest is recipes! I've actually used quite a few and thought I would share the ones I've used and if I loved or hated them.

Bang Bang Shrimp

Of all the recipes I've tried from Pinterest, this one is my absolute favorite! Jon and I hosted my family for Christmas last year and instead of having a huge dinner (like we do on Christmas Eve) we had snacks and treats. This FLEW off the table and it's SO easy to make! We actually buy pre-breaded shrimp from Shamrock instead of breading it ourselves. One of the many perks of my husband working for a food provider!

Pepperoni Roll Ups
This one is pretty much fool proof, which makes it a winner in my book! I tend to make these when Jon is out of town (he's not a huge fan). I serve them with little cup of pizza sauce on the side because my kids will eat anything they get to DIP. They're pretty yummy!!

Pizza Casserole
Awhile back my cousin was struggling with some pretty serious medical stuff and had to have some major surgery. I offered to bring him and his family dinner and decided to try this recipe out. I made a double batch and after we dropped it off at their house came home to eat.  I seriously felt AWFUL that I brought it to them. It was not very appetizing. In fact, I would go right out and say it was GROSS! Let's be honest... I like food. There's not a whole lot out there that I wont eat. But you can add this one to that list now!  And I seriously got a mad case of heart burn after eating what little bit I managed to swallow. No disrespect intended, try it if you like... let me know what you think.


Mexican Pizza
Are you seeing a trend? My family likes "pizza". This really is no big secret but it's something that I added to my menu planning because it's easy and my kids gobble it up!


Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chile
There's not much to screw up with this recipe. You just dump it all in the crock pot and 6 hours later feed it to your family! It suggests to serve it over rice but my family just eats it like a soup or chili. I've made it twice now and my family LOVES it. WARNING: It seriously looks like someone barfed in the bowl, but I promise you it is sooo yummy! On a side note, I made this for my sister and her family after my brother-in-law had surgery. He's kind of a picky eater and doesn't like chunks of tomatoes or black beans. So I switched it up a little and used tomato sauce and chili beans. It came out pretty good! Also, a second warning on this one. DO NOT leave this in the crockpot overnight to "soak". It gets all sorts of stanky and nasty really super fast. Woof.

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

Jon and I LOVE soups. My kids could really take them or leave them, but they ate this one up like crazy!! This is another one that I've made a few times and every single time it tastes sooo good. Pretty easy to make too!

I've done a ton more, but I'm pretty sure not everyone wants to read a fifty page post on food..... I'll make a separate post in the future. Just some ideas to get those creative juices flowing for dinner. And remember.... if I can make these....ANYONE can!



Thursday, September 27, 2012

I Love Good Deals!

Since the time I was old enough to purchase my own clothes, I've always been on a hunt for a good deal.  I absolutely REFUSE to pay full price for anything clothing related. Jon actually get's really super frustrated with me because anytime he takes me to go shopping I immediately head for the Clearance racks first.  He can't understand why I would head there first, especially if I'm there to spend a gift card (which is pretty much the ONLY time I ever buy anything for myself.) Here's how I respond to his frustration:  I would much rather find two or three things I like from a Clearance rack, then find one thing I like that's not on Clearance. Right?!

Right after I graduated high school (actually on the day I graduated) I started working in retail.  I worked for Mervyn's (man, how I miss that store!) for almost three years and learned to watch the Clearance racks.  They would have these AMAZING sales once a month when they would take an additional 25% off the price on the tag.  Couple that with my AMAZING 15% employee discount and I was able to get pretty cool stuff for dirt cheap! However, I wasn't making much (only $6.25/hour), and my paychecks really just went right back into the store. But, I did learn to pay attention to when certain stores do their markdowns (that's when you get the best stuff because it's not all picked over!) THIS blog was amazingly helpful in finding out when to hunt for bargains at Target. And who doesn't love Target?!

Over the years I've also gotten really good at couponing. Now, I'm not an extreme couponer by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I don't even typically use it for my groceries. BUT, whenever I know we need to buy something, I always check my resources before we leave the house.

My first resource is my phone. I have this super cool App on my Droid cleverly called The Coupons App that allows me to search by product name or by store.  You can also put in certain stores you love to shop at and get alerts anytime a new coupon is available for them! For instance, if I was needed to go buy my kids a coat I could do a search for the brand I wanted ("Columbia") or I could search by a store I know I could find a good coat at ("Old Navy"). Then it will pull up anything that matches.  Old Navy and Kohls are my favorite to search because they almost always have a coupon out, and it's almost always for at least 15% off the total price. If I can't find anything on the app then I hit up google and search for "Old Navy Coupon Codes" or something of the matter.  You have to be really careful if you google because there are a ton of sites that will give you viruses, and a ton of sites that want you to pay them to give you the codes (most of which are invalid). Just a heads up. I've used these strategies to score some pretty awesome deals. Most recently we were able to score a free pair of shoes for Tanner while we were back to school shopping.  We had a coupon for $10 off the total purchase (of $25 or more)from Payless and found a cute pair of shoes for Zoey that were on sale for $17.99. We also found a pair of shoes for Tanner on Clearance for only $8.00. Combined their shoes would have cost us $26 plus tax. But with the awesome coupon we only spent $16, which meant that Tanner's shoes were technically free! (Might I also add that it's a good thing these shoes were "free" because my dog ended up eating them two days later. If I would have paid for them, he would be a dead puppy right now!) We also have used it in the past to get free popcorn and drinks at the movies!

Another way that I snag some pretty sweet deals is by participating in some local trading/bartering/selling groups on Facebook. These can get WILDLY out of hand (and some times pretty obnoxious) but for the most part, if you use your common sense, can be a great way to buy and sell some gently used items.  For instance, prior to my yard sale I was cleaning out Zoey's closet and found three very pretty dresses that were just too small for her now.  She only wore them on Sundays and they were in great condition. If I would have put them out at my yard sale, someone would have chewed me down to .25 a piece...but I posted them on one of my FB groups and made $5.00 a piece off of them. Pretty sweet deal. The thing about these groups is that in order to get anything good, you pretty much have to sit around and scroll through the posts all day. I can't stand that! But I have managed to get a cute pair of jeans for Tanner for only $2.

The last way I snag some pretty sweet deals is by using this awesome website. I'm still pretty new to the scene here but it's an awesome opportunity.  I love to go into Once Upon A Child and look around. Sometimes, I get pretty annoyed that they put some stuff that should be at the Goodwill on their shelves and then try to get me to pay them $7.00 for a pair of $2.00 jeans. My friend recently sent me this website that works a lot like Once Upon a Child but has really great prices on their clothing.  The clothing is all gently used, mostly name brand clothing, at the prices you would see at the Goodwill. The best part? If you spend over $30 they'll ship to you for free! AND if you refer your friends, they give you a $10 credit on your account!  If you wanna check it out, HERE is a link!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hidden Gems - Our Hike to Hanging Lake

What a crazy little weekend we had!  It feels like just now was the first moment we had to stop and breathe. Tomorrow, Monday the 24th, my husband and I will celebrate 7 years of marriage together. Actually, I have a Girl Scout troop meeting and he's going to hang out with the boys while me and Zoey are gone. So we decided to celebrate this weekend. 

Our original plan was to go to Denver this weekend and catch the Jason Mraz concert at Red Rocks. I'm a HUGE GIGANTIC ENORMOUS Jason Mraz fan and we caught him at Red Rocks three years ago (for our anniversary) while I was pregnant with Tanner. BEST. CONCERT. EVER! Except for the fact that everyone around us was stoned and blowing their smoke in our general direction, we really enjoyed ourselves....and not just because we may have gotten a little bit of a contact high. ANYWAY, like I said, our origional plan was to catch the concert at Red Rocks...BUT... two things came up that made it pretty much impossible. ONE: the concert is on a Monday night. Seriously?! A Monday? We pretty much figured that it would be impossible to find someone to watch the kids during the school week and Jon would have to miss work, etc. etc. etc. TWO: we're trying really hard right now to pay off some debt and make our monthly bills smaller. In order to do this we have had to temporarily limit our spending. Our philosophy is that it is better to go without for a little bit, than to go into debt for a moment of fun. I don't think too many people have this philosophy anymore. We're such a I WANT IT NOW society (more on that some other time.)

So after we decided that Mr. A to Z would not be part of our anniversary we started coming up with some ideas that would be little or no cost to us. I came up with the BRILLIANT idea to head to Hanging Lake. I've lived in Grand Junction since I was just a wee one (two years old) and before we moved here, we lived in Carbondale, which is just a smidgen down the road from No Name (yes... that's the name of the town where Hanging Lake is located.) My husband is from the other side of the tracks... Utah. LOL. He moved to Grand Junction when he was in high school for a bit and later came back but had never taken the trip up to Hanging Lake.  Now, anyone from the valley can pretty much tell you that Hanging Lake is not a hidden gem.  But, since my husband had never been there before and I hadn't been since I was a teenager, it kinda is a hidden gem to us.

Now here's something important to note. I hadn't been to Hanging Lake since I was like 14 or 15, which was over ten years ago and like...oh...let's just say a LOT of pounds ago.  It's no secret that I'm VERY out of shape...unless you consider "round" to be a shape. I remember this hike being pretty challenging when I was younger, but thought that maybe I was just being a wuss. So I convinced my husband that this would be a GREAT way to spend our anniversary............ oh man.

So we dropped the kids with my sister and hit the road. The drive was sooo beautiful! The colors were changing and the air was crisp. I was so excited on the way up there.  Sorry for the glossy picture, I was afraid of dropping my phone out the window.

When we got to the canyon outside of Glenwood we noticed a big sign that said that the Hanging Lake parking lot was full. We decided to brave the parking lot anyway and maybe we could parking spot stalk someone who was leaving. We pulled onto the off ramp and there were cars all the way back to the highway. It was crazy busy!  We did manage to find a spot by stalking a family who was leaving. We loaded up our bag and hit the trail.  When we got to the trail head we looked up and saw a huge pile of rocks that we were supposed to climb up.  We both just kind of laughed and started our climb. Just to give you an idea about the hike, the trail itself is only 1.2 miles long. HOWEVER, you climb over 1020 feet in elevation throughout those 1.2 miles. After the first little jot up the rock stairs we took our first little break. YUP....a whole 1/8th of a mile into the hike and we're already stopping because I'm so winded I can barely stand. That's when I decided to take our first picture:
Bare in mind I don't have any makeup on and my hair is pulled back, I consider this to be a pretty good depiction of how we were feeling at this point. Both Jon and I have had knee surgery in the past and despite my physical therapists instructions, I let my right knee become super dominant and have really bad atrophy in my left knee. The entire climb to the top I lead with my right knee. By the time I got to the top my thighs felt like they were on fire and were shaking pretty much uncontrolably. Poor Jon. I could tell he really wanted to keep going a lot of the time but I just kept stopping and saying "Oh...my....gosh.....I....think....I'm....dying...." He was so patient with me. LOL. I am not kidding, we stopped a TON on the way up. And he not once got irritated or snapped at me. He was such a gentleman. I wont bore you with the stupid little details (like when we determined that I had been holding my breath every time I was climbing a rock), but we had a really fun time on our way up. We played this game where we counted how many women were wearing only their sports bras and how many men had lost their shirts... we called it the "Bare Chesties/Tummies" game. In case you were curious...our answer was 16. There was a crazy lot of people who were shedding their clothes.
The first little climb, yup the trail starts down by that river!



So before our final climb to the top (which includes the "Staircase of Doom") we stopped at this little hole in a rock.  We were joking about how hilarious it would be to hide there and pop out at the people coming down the trail. I suggested that this might not be a great idea because we may end up shot....but Jon insisted it would be SO funny. Right about then a man about our age passes by on the trail and Jon reaches his arm out past the rock and says "You could just reach out and rrrrroooaaarrrr" well as he reached out and growled like a bear a woman, who was traveling with the previous stated man, came around the corner and jumped about 200 feet off the ground. Jon scared the CRAP out of her and it wasn't even intentional. I couldn't help but laugh and I was already super winded so I couldn't breathe to tell her sorry or explain the situation. The only thing I got out was "he...didn't...mean to.... I promise!" She kind of laughed and kept walking but her man partner was not amused. He kept shooting Jon dirty looks and it didn't help that both of us were laughing uncontrollably. But, on the plus side, we didn't get shot!!!

This was actually taken RIGHT before Jon scared the poor girl to death but you can kind of get a glimpse of the spot he was hiding. And we were already laughing about something apparently....... Anywho.

We got to the last stretch before the lake when we hit the "staircase of doom" as I began to refer to it. This thing is an acrophobic's nightmare! It's like climbing a stair case on a cliff face to Hell. No lie. It wouldn't have been too bad, as there is a railing, except for the fact that there was an Asian tour group of about 45 people who were all coming DOWN as we were trying to go UP. They kept stopping right on the rail to take pictures.  Please, I do not mean anything racist by this comment. The only reason I bring up the fact that they are Asian is to point out that they were clearly from another country and wanting to take any and all photo opportunities as evident by the 15 minutes we waited for them to pass so that I could continue to clutch with all my might the railing that they were blocking.  This is Jon on the "Staircase of Doom" looking thoughtful and maybe confused.... Please do notice that there are no photo's of me on the "Staircase of Doom", this is not by accident. 


So we FINALLY make it up the "Staircase of Doom" and Jon catches his first glimpse of Hanging Lake. He was amazed by it's clear waters and the fact that you could see all the way to the bottom. We sat and had a little rest and snack. We snapped a bunch of pictures and silently hoped that the people who would balance out on the fallen tree that stretched across the lake would fall in.... but no one did.
Hanging Lake

This picture does NOT accurately show how bad I was dying. I honestly felt like they were going to have to call Flight for Life to get me off that Mountain!



The trip back down the mountain did not take NEARLY as long because we were able to go almost the entire way down without stopping. We stopped twice on the way down, once to check out a super cool Mongoose that crossed the trail ahead of us. The trip down the hill was a little harder on Jon than it was on the way up.  He hadn't used a lot of those muscles since his surgery and was pretty sore when we got done. Round trip took us about 3 hours. We were pretty disappointed in ourselves and resolved that NEXT year, we will hike this trail again...and be much less winded.  When we got back into town we picked up our kids and headed to get some take out at our SECOND hidden gem.

I fear that sharing this second hidden gem with those of you who live in the valley will ruin the fact that it is a hidden gem.... but it's just so good I had to share.  Jon and I stumbled upon this little place a few years back and we LOVE it.  They use all fresh produce and ingredients, they have a SUPER clean kitchen (when you're husband works in the food industry it's kind of sad when you don't get to eat at your favorite restaraunts because he's seen their kitchen....) and the owner is one of the most genuinely nice people we have ever met.  Also, we love to go out to places that you can actually have a conversation and not have to tune out the teenagers or loud mouthed person at the table next to you. This place is VERY low key and normally not very busy.  The food... it's fantastic. By far the best chineese food in the Grand Junction area.  It's a little place called EC's Asian Station and he's tucked away on First and Grand (next to Flyin' Roosters). 

So we picked up some take-out for us, and hit the T-Bell drive thru for the kids (they're not so big on Chinese food yet) and headed home for a relaxing night in.  It was absolutely perfect. More about Jon and I's seven years of marriage in the days to come... that's all for now!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Epic Conversations with Gavin

So lately, my little boy has been CRACKING me up. I thought I would share some of his insights because they certainly brought a smile to my face.

First of all, I've been struggling SO much lately with getting/keeping the house clean when my boys are home. I've tried millions of ways to keep them busy while I clean and even to engage them with the cleaning and NOTHING has worked. Until Saturday! We were going to have some friends over to play some games and the main bathroom (the one the kids use) was pretty funky.  You figure I've got a 5 year old, who refuses to lift the lid or flush when he goes, and a two year old who is potty training and doesn't have much "control". So I enlisted Gavin to help me clean.  Something I learned about Gav is that he doesn't like to pick things up when we're cleaning, but he really likes to wipe things off and scrub things down. So I equipped him with the toilet brush and cleaning supplies and let him go to town on the repulsive toilet. As he lifted the lid of the toilet we had the following discussion:

Gavin- "Wow. This is gross."
Me - "Yup. It sure is."
Gavin - "What is that?"
Me - "That's what pee looks like when it dries on the toilet."
Gavin - "SICK! I really need to start lifting the lid and flushing the toilet because THIS is not right."
Me - Laughing "You are so right!"


Since this conversation Gavin has flushed every single time and has even started lifting the lid!!! Once it clicks in his head, he is a changed kiddo! So he scrubbed the toilet and wiped down the toilet lid and seat and base. He went to town on that thing! I didn't even have to go back after him and fix it. He did a great job and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed himself. BONUS! If I never have to scrub another toilet I will be SO happy!

A few days later while I was driving him to school we had another EPIC conversation that just amazed me with how smart he is.

Me - "Gavy your birthday is coming up!"
Gavin - "It is?! Like tomorrow?"
Me - "No, next month. Right before Halloween. You're going to be six!"
Gavin - "YEAH! Will my voice change?"
Me- pretty stunned "Uhhh, probably not. Why do you ask?"
Gavin - "Because when I get older my voice changes."
Me - "How do you know that? Who told you that?"
Gavin - "No one told me. I just figured it out. Daddy doesn't have a little kid voice anymore and my voice is different from Tanner's small voice. So will my voice get bigger?"
Me- "Maybe a little but you probably wont notice until you're much older, like 13 or so"
Gavin- "I'm okay with that."
Me - "You are such a smart boy. You amaze me every day!"
Gavin- "Yeahhh"

LOL! I just love him so much! He amazes me with some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth.  I'm shocked with how much he is learning in school too. He started the school year pretty shaky with all his letters and he's coming home reading and recognizing site words.

So the last EPIC conversation that happened this week, wasn't actually a conversation.  It was just something he did that made me laugh so hard and wonder "Where did that come from?!" As I've said in my blogs before Gavin LOVES music.  He can memorize words to all sorts of songs after only hearing them a few times.  BUT sometimes he gets the words a little mixed up. As we were driving home on Saturday afternoon we were listening to a CD I made. The CD frequents our car rides because I hate having to scan radio stations for a decent song to listen to.  Needless to say, Gavin has heard this CD quite a few times. So there we are plugging down the road and the song "We're Not Gonna Take it" by Twisted Sister comes on.  From the back seat I hear Gavin start singing "Mommy likes the bacon". I almost had to pull over I was laughing so hard. I asked him to repeat himself just to make sure I heard him right....and I did. What's funny is that I really DON'T like bacon. I wish I could have gotten it on video. One of these days when he's not being so shy I'll capture his awesome singing in the car.

Not sure where he picked this one from but it made me laugh a lot. He's such a funny/smart/awesome kid and I'm so blessed to be his mommy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back 2 School - my awesome kids

Welp, I guess it's time to say goodbye to summer. Or at least to summer vacation.  The kids just started back to school this week, Zoey on Monday and Gavin on Tuesday. I'm going to brag on my kids in this post so if you don't want to hear it.... now would be a good time to dismiss yourself. :)


 Zoey is in third grade this year. Seriously?! Third grade? Already?! It seems like she was just taking her first steps and now she's in the middle of her elementary school career. I was pretty worried about Zoey on her first day of school.  We moved from one side of town to the other in October of last year but I kept her in the same school until she finished second grade. She hasn't had a lot of opportunities to meet kids her age out here so I was super worried about her. Zoey is a very special little spirit.  I know that all mom's think that their kids are the best. But I honestly feel like we won the lottery with Zoey.  Ever since she was a baby she was super mild mannered and a happy soul. She hardly ever cried as a baby and even now as an older girl she doesn't get involved with all the drama that most girls do.  I've never had Zoey come home crying because someone hurt her feelings or someone was mean to her.  She just shakes off the mean stuff and gets over it. (I still have trouble doing that and I'm....well....not 8 years old.) I honestly worried about her last year because I was afraid that she wasn't sure when people were being mean to her. I had a conversation with her teacher at parent teacher conferences about this concern and her teacher said that she was not worried at all. She said Zoey is a special kind of kid.  She knows how to pick good friends and is friends with everyone.  She has the ability to walk away from the popular group of girls when they're not making good choices. I think that's what every mom wants to hear! I'm so proud of miss Zoey.  I worried about her first day of school for nothing.  She came home with two new friends who "made a pact" to meet on the benches every morning.
3 year old little Zoey Bagoey


Little Miss Sassy Pants strutting her stuff on the first day of third grade!


 I found this brilliant idea on Pinterest to take a photo of your kids and write some stats down so you can look back and reflect on how much they've changed over the years. I wish I would have thought of that before this year so I could have begun with Zoey in Kindergarten but I guess now's as good of time as any to start! Look at how much she's grown in five years!


This year was a pretty big year for us. Gavin officially started school.  Talk about time flying! Gavin has been soooo excited for Kindergarten to start.  It's really not fair for the school's to have Kindergarten round up in April.... I've had to answer the "When do I get to go to school?" question at least twice a week for the last four months. Honestly, I wasn't as nervous for Gavy to start school as I was for Zoey.  I guess I figured that everyone in Gavin's class is in the same boat.  No one knows anyone yet.  Zoey, on the other hand, has to compete with kids that have gone to school with each other for three whole years! I did get pretty emotional dropping Gavin off though.  When we got to the school the first graders were out on the playground and it was still pretty early to drop him off.  He got to play on the playground for a few minutes before the bell rang for him to line up.  He immediately found a few little boys to play with and Jon commented (this was my first tear up moment) "He's already made some new friends!" When the bell rang he got in line, grabbed his bag, and was off to follow his teacher. I was kind of in shock! I needed a hug! I needed a kiss! I needed some closure here!! I snuck in a quick hug and he was off.... just like that. No tears, no holding back... he was a pro (second tear up moment)! This next part made my mom laugh so hard.... I don't get it. So, Jon and I needed to pay Gavin's school fees and we walked around the front of the school to the office.  The office is just a few feet down the hallway from Gavin's classroom so while Jon was waiting in line I wandered down the hallway to have a little peak.  I popped my head in the open door to see if Gav was melting down or if he was fine..... there he was.... sitting like a little gentleman singing his little heart out while Mr. Green played the guitar. I just wanted to peak... Gav didn't see me but when I told him after school that I snuck a peak he exclaimed "YOU SNEAKER!"

Gavin at about 6 months with his beautiful blue eyes!

He sure does make me laugh. Of course when I got out to the car I had a total melt down.  My little buddy is growing up so fast! I can't stand it! Gavin is a total goof ball. He's always making us laugh with his silly voices and songs.  He can do a perfect Roger from Open Season 2. Youtube it when you have a chance... it's hilarious!Gavin LOVES music. I like to brag that he can sing along with pretty much anything that I listen to in the car.  Here are a few artists from his collection of songs he knows: Tho Who, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Gaelic Storm, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, FUN., and many many others.  I'm pretty proud of his music knowledge! He so gets that from me :) No surprise that on his first day of school he told me his favorite part was Music class. AWESOME!
All ready to go on the first day of Kindergarten.






Baby Tanner around 5 or 6 months old. This was his first "real food" feeding ever :)

So Tanner is still my little guy at home and I'm kind of excited to spend a little more one on one time with him.  Zoey and I got super close before Gavy was born, and then when she went to school it kind of gave me some one on one time with Gavy, and now that Gav is headed off to school I really look forward to having some alone time with my little guy.  He's so different from my other two kids.  The older two have been so laid back and pretty easy on us as parents... but then Tanner Royce comes along and turns our whole world upside down.  He's so funny and smart but he is sure stubborn and loud to boot! He likes things just the way he wants 'em and if he can't get it he will holler until he does. But as much as Tanner loves to yell and boss others around, he loves just as much to cuddle and give loves.  He's a super sweet boy and definitely my shy kid of the three. He LOVES music too! If he's in a bad mood all I have to do is crank up the tunes and he'll start dancing and the crankies are all gone. He's really good about memorizing songs too. It's pretty funny to hear him sing along with the radio. He's pretty tall for his age and I catch myself thinking that he should be farther along (developmentally) for his age.  I have to remind myself that he's only 2 1/2 and he already talks so well.  Some of my favorite things he says are: "Mammer" - instead of calling my mom Grandma he reffered to her as 'Mammer' for the longest time. I loved it! He also loves to have his window down in the car and will almost always ask Jon "Daddy? My dow down, peese?" His biggest thing right now is when you ask him to do something or stop doing something he'll say "No, I not". This most of the time winds up with him in time out for sassing but it's still cute! We also really have to watch what we say. He repeats EVERYTHING.. and I mean EVERYTHING!
Tanner B at 2 1/2 years

I had a lot of fun putting these together. I can't wait to look back when they're ready to graduate high school and seeing how much they've grown. On second thought, yes I can wait. I will wait ever so patiently and enjoy every minute I get to spend with them. And when the day comes when they're ready to graduate and move on.... I'll have these to look back on and cry over ;)





Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Odie Von Scnitzle vs The Peeping Tom


Today while making my boys lunch I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. (Remember we don't have blinds or curtains on our sliding glass door?) At first I thought maybe it was a kitten from one of our neighbor's zillion cats that roam through our backyard every day. But then I realizes it wasn't a kitten.... it was a squirrel! Peaking through the back window with his little paws( I dunno what you call em) up against the window.

Okay.... I freaking HATE rodents. Any kind. I don't care if it's a "cute" (rabid) chipmunk or an "adorable" (rabid) squirrel or just a "little" (rabid) mouse... they freak me out! Gavin was playing in the living room so I told him to hurry and come look. (Because we were safely behind the glass door) We walked slowly and quietly up to the back door because I was certain as soon as he caught a glimpse of us he would take off running. But the thing just sat there and stared at us.

THAT'S when Odie Von Schnitzel, our wonder dog, noticed the intruder and all heck broke loose! Odie LOST it! Now one would think that Odie would have scared the squirrel away with his ferocious bark and terrifying growling.... but that dang squirrel just held it's ground like "What chu gonna do, dog?!" - Yes, this squirrel also has a terrifying Brooklyn accent. Seriously, though! This squirrel stared down my dog. After about a minute of Odie barking his head off at the stupid squirrel, it finally decided it had enough and took off down the right side of our house.  I decided to open the door and let Odie have a little fun. I didn't want that stupid thing coming back. Can you imagine what would happen if one of the kids let it run inside my house?! Or worse, what if Gavin or Tanner tried to pet the "adorable" (rabid) squirrel?! It gives me the creeps just thinking about it. Odie ran after it but wasn't able to catch up to him. Hopefully that thing won't come sniffing around our door again.
This picture actually makes it look like Odie was just staring... but I promise...there was a LOT of growling and barking going on!

Anyway, I called to tell my husband about the whole thing because he's in Denver today and anytime either one of us said the word Squirrel we said it like this little girl.
WARNING!!! THIS VIDEO IS DISTURBING... there are SO many things wrong with this video that I can hardly stand to watch it. For instance the way the little girl moves the squirrel's little head around or how about the way the parent's act like it's not really that big of a deal? GROSS!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chik-fil-a Bla Bla Bla

I'm sure you were all just dying to know my standpoint on this whole Chik-Fil-A debacle. I knew it!


I don't typically read the newspaper and we choose not to have cable in our home so I don't watch the news most of the time.  If I see something on MSN or Facebook that catches my eye I will do a little looking online but most of the time my current events don't involve my family. It's pretty hard to ignore this whole Chik-Fil-A thing right now. I mean, it's all over facebook. Both sides have blasted their news articles, pictures, and status updates pointing fingers and calling names. When this started happening I had no clue what the controversy  was. I gathered that the CEO of Chik-Fil-A said that he doesn't support homosexual-marriage and that the gay community was outraged and boycotting Chik-Fil-A. Wanting a little more info than that before I formed an opinion I took to the web to find out EXACTLY what was said and why it was such a big deal.

This is what I read.

I love Snopes.com because I feel like it will tell the whole story without offering a biased opinion on the matter. Based on what I read and what I've been seeing on Facebook posts, this is my opinion:

1. Chick-Fil-A is a known Christian organization. I mean anyone that walks through their doors, or doesn't walk through their doors on Sunday, can't help but to notice the Christian music playing over the speakers. You can't tell me that you were surprised at all to find out how a Christian company feels on the issue of same-sex marriage. It'd be like going to a Catholic Hospital and asking them how they feel about abortion. Christian's are pretty black and white when it comes to same-sex marriage.

2. As a company, I think it's best to keep your political agenda private.  If you want to donate to political campaigns that's something I feel you need to do as an individual and not a business. Chick-Fil-A donating money and backing anti-homosexual legislation is what opened this door in the first place. That's one of the mistakes I feel Chick-Fil-A made in this whole ordeal. Just my opinion.

3. The CEO of Chick-Fil-A was asked in a biblical interview his standpoint on same-sex marriage and gave his biblical answer. Again, what did we expect him to say?? And... he is entitled to have an opinion on the matter. He never stated that Homosexuals wouldn't be welcome in his restaurant, that they were dumb/stupid/disgusting (just making a point, this is NOT how I feel). He simply stated his stance on same-sex marriage. If we really wanted to blow up the controversy why don't we make a big deal about his stance on being divorced?! I mean, he says that they as a company are "first marriage" people.

4. If people have a problem with Chick-Fil-A as a Christian company with a Christian standpoint on same-sex marriage, it's their business if they want to boycott that company. That's their right! Just like it's your right as a Christian to eat at businesses who support your beliefs and values, they have a right to do the same thing.

My final point is one that comes from my beliefs and values as a member of the LDS church. Our Savior was the only perfect soul to walk this Earth. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed the hungry and the poor, and befriended the outcasts. How are we, as Christians, setting an example of Christ's love by flaunting our opinions and responding to conflict with more conflict? Blessed are the peacemakers... remember? I've been really disappointed in some of my friends and the choices that they've made to make such hurtful and hateful comments on their facebook pages.  The hypocrisy that's being demonstrated on both sides of the fence saddens me. We all want to be heard and given equal rights and treatment, yet we are not willing to listen and treat others fairly. Recently, in Relief Society, we were speaking about how to share the Gospel effectively. One of the comments that was made was that we should lead by example and always act with love. Where's the love in all of this mess?! We're all in this together.

Okay.  So, that's where I stand on this issue. I hope that I did not offend either side. My point of view is one that comes from love. I hope you can see that in this post. If not, I do apologize. If you feel the need to comment on this post, please know that any comments that are hurtful or hateful will be deleted. I won't stand for hate!

PEACE AND LOVE
-Kim


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Make Little Girls Cry



Since moving into our home in October our kids have struggled with finding kids to play with.  We live in a pretty small culdesac with just 10 homes on it. We're not a part of a bigger subdivision, just a small little culdesac in quite little Fruita. We love our home and MOST of our neighbors, the ones across the street are awesome and we've really enjoyed getting to know them. There are only two other houses on the street that have children at all, and one of them is a baby girl who just turned one. My kids are pretty limited on who they get to play with.

Outside of the neighbor boy who is 9 and the baby girl across the street, there is a little girl who stays with her Grandpa during the day while her mom and dad work. If I had to guess her age I'd say she's probably 6 or 7. She's a pretty sweet little girl, but she has some MAJOR boundary/manner issues. Over the summer she has managed to teach Gavin most of the "I'm Sexy and I Know It" song, explain to Gavin what "sexy" means, and ask if she can come in to "have a look around the house". She's also one of those little girls who asks "Where are you going?" every time we get into the car and "Why?" when I tell Gavin and Zoey that it's time to come inside. I'm not sure why that bugs me so much. Probably because if I ever did that as a kid I would have gotten slapped upside the head! I kid. I wouldn't have gotten slapped but my parents did a great job of teaching me that it's none of my dang business. She also manages to ring the doorbell EVERY SINGLE DAY in the middle of nap time. This is where the making little girls cry part comes in.....

Let me set the stage so you fully understand why I totally lost it yesterday. My kids have generally been fantastic sleepers.  They go to bed at a decent time and will most of the time sleep until I go and wake them up.  Gavin has a record sleep in time of 9:30am! Anyhow, lately Tanner has started getting up with the sun. Literally. As soon as the sun pops up over the horizon he is out of bed and wanting breakfast. This wouldn't be such a big deal if he didn't go to bed at 10:00pm the night before.  Don't judge me, this ONLY happens during the summer because it is still light out at 8:30pm. I promise! If he doesn't get a nap he is completely unmanageable. He will melt down over the smallest things and just sit on the couch and wail. It's not pleasant, to say the very least. So Tanner had gotten up pretty early yesterday, we had finished breakfast by 7:15. We had a pretty laid back day just laying but I had a few errands to run which kind of overlapped with nap time. He dozed off in the car so when we came home I hurried and ran him inside and lied him down. He woke up just briefly as I lied him in bed but quickly went back to sleep.  Ten minutes later I hear the doorbell ring. DANG IT! Tanner's and Gavin's room is just a few steps away from the front door and this little girl is LOUD. I was busy in the other room and heard Gavin say it was the neighbor girl and that he didn't feel like playing outside. I told him it was okay to answer the door and to tell her politely that he couldn't play right now. She asked him why and he told her that he was too hot to play outside. He also very politely asked her not to ring the doorbell again because his brother is sleeping. She said okay and left. As soon as the front door shut Tanner was out of bed and over nap time. I tried to get him to lay back down and he just screamed and cried. So I came to terms that Tanner was not going to get a nap that day and went back to cleaning the kitchen. 

Twenty minutes later or so as I'm working in the kitchen my dog starts growling and barking. We don't have blinds on our sliding glass door and he normally barks and growls at every cat that wanders through the field behind our house. I assumed this was what was making him go so crazy and hollered at him to stop. This went on for about five minutes or so before I went to get the squirt bottle. As I rounded the breakfast counter and headed toward the front bathroom I saw a little face peeking in the front door. Okay... I'm going to be honest here, she scared the CRAP out of me! My first reaction was to scream but it kind of came out as a yell "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?!"  (I know if I don't put this down my sister is totally going to rat me out... I didn't say heck... I said H-E-Double Hockey Sticks) she was clearly as scared as I was because she began to back out and head back to her Grandpa's house. I opened the front door and said "That's not okay! You don't peek in the windows, you don't open my front door. If you want to play you knock on the front door and if we don't answer you go home. And if Gavin tells you he can't play you don't keep coming back! You need to go home, now!"

Looking back I was probably a little more forceful than I needed to be. I mean, she's 6. But I can't stand bad manners on little kids. And she scared me! It was totally not my fault! She had it comin'! A few minutes after our encounter I was chatting with my sister and told her what had happened. She said "You cussed at a little girl?!" Now I feel like a terrible monster. To be fair, she didn't cry. She just kind of stared at me and probably called me a name once I closed the door. She most likely will never come to the door again and Gavin will be friendless. Way to go, Kim! Mom of the year right here..... anyway. I feel like maybe I should apologize. Thoughts????

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Best Friend's Wedding - not the story you're thinking of

Jon and I just got back from one of the most amazing weekends ever! It was absolutely perfect!
Let me start from the beginning!! THIS is me and my amazing friend, Cammie. We were dancing in the back of our young womens president's van. I chose to share this picture because I believe it truly captures the essence of our friendship.
2001
 My family moved into the area when I turned 9. I can't remember if Cammie's family was already there or if they moved in later but our families knew each other as we grew up. Our friendship became really strong my Junior year of high school when we had choir together.  Over the years Cammie has been the most amazing friend to me.  She is one of the most genuinely kind and selfless people I have ever met.  She NEVER gossips, something which I find extremely admirable because it is just so hard for me! More than anything Cammie has set the most incredible example of how to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Cammie served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for 18 months of her life in Aruba. She wrote me several letters while she was away, each one filled with more and more encouragement and love. Each one sealed with her testimony of our Savior's love for us. I kept every single letter!

Not only was she an amazing friend to me, she instantly clicked with Jon. Even though she was attending school at BYU, she was right by my side when Jon and I tied the knot. Cammie graduated from BYU and went on to attend Grad school at Auburn University in Alabama. We kept in contact through text messages and facebook and got to see each other occasionally as she would come to visit family. Although Jon and I were raised in the LDS church we hadn't attended church regularly since we began dating in 2004. We still felt like we had a testimony of our Savior but simply lacked the commitment and motivation to make it part of our daily lives. With the examples of some dear friends, Cammie and a few others, and the birth of our youngest son quickly approaching, we knew that our lives were missing something. We felt the hole that could only be filled by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We began attending church again in 2010 and set a goal to become an eternal family by being sealed in the temple.  We were met with several challenges that year, physically and emotionally and when 2011 rolled around we were ready to finally enter the temple and become an eternal family. Most of my family had been inactive for several years and as Jon and I finished our last temple class I had a hard realization: none of my family would be able to go through the temple with us for our sealing. This was so hard for me to swallow. For those of you who are not LDS, the temple is where we as members of the church go to complete sacred ordinances that are required for us to have eternal life. Eternal marriage, or being sealed in the temple, is one of these ordinances. Because these ordinances are sacred and they are done in a sacred place, members have to meet certain requirements to enter into the temple. So, this was a huge deal for me and Jon and our kids and to not be able to have a single family member go through with us was very sad. A few weeks before our sealing I called Cammie to tell her the news that we had finally had our interviews with our bishop and were ready to through the temple. She happened to be planning a trip to visit family around that same time and was able to be by my side again as we became an eternal family. (My pictures from that weekend ended up not capturing on my camera so you'll have to imagine what we all looked like). Along with Cammie we had some pretty amazing friends join us for our sealing. Some of our ward family from Grand Junction made the trip over, my young women's president that was living in West Jordan,Utah my good friend James that was in Eagle Mountain, Utah and Jon's dear friend Tyler from the same part of Utah came up as well as Jon's Mom who was living in New York. It was so awesome to be surrounded by so many people who loved us when my family was unable to be there. I have been so fortunate to have such amazing friends in my life.

SO.... longest blog EVER?? To tie everything back into my intended post: Cammie is just the most amazing friend anyone could ever ask for. Everyone loves her! Cammie and her boyfriend, Chad, came to visit over this last Christmas. Because of our crazy schedules we were only able to visit for a short time but I enjoyed it SO much! Cammie just glowed around Chad. After just a few  minutes I felt like I had known him for years and that we were already great friends. He was obviously head over heels for miss Cammie, and for good reason too! She's amazing! Not to mention she's absolutely gorgeous! Jon was working out of town and wasn't able to meet Chad but as soon as he came home I talked his ear off about them. I said to him "Cammie's gonna marry that guy! They're perfect for each other!!" So in January of this year Chad asked Cammie to marry him!! We were blessed enough to be able to attend their reception here in Junction and also their actual marriage in the Manti temple on Saturday. It was SO beautiful and I felt the spirit so strong (I had to choke back tears so bad so that I wasn't a blubbering mess when we went up to congratulate them). It was such an amazing weekend and we were so blessed that Cammie and Chad asked us to attend. It meant so much to us!  I did take a camera and I got some super cute shots of this weekend BUT I took my SD card out of the camera and it is MIA. I'm sure it's in the car or tucked in a bag. I'll probably blast them all over facebook when I find them. Don't you worry! ;)

 I did manage to grab this awesome picture of the temple as the rain clouds were rolling in. I LOVE this temple. Everything about it is so amazing, including two spiral stair cases that have no center support beam. They span over 70 feet and each stair is supported by the previous one. AMAZING!

Anyway, to make a very long story short, I couldn't ask for a better friend than my Cammie. And I couldn't ask for a better husband for her than Chad. They are an absolutely adorable couple (stole this pic form their announcement) and I'm so grateful that Jon and I were able to be part of their special day. Cheers to the happy couple!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Independence Day

These last few weeks have been absolutely a whirlwind. I keep thinking "my life is going to slow down after ________" but then that event comes and goes and things are just moving even faster. Seriously. SLOW DOWN! I plan to blog all sorts of stuff but am waiting on some pictures and a few extra minutes to make it all happen. This post is dedicated to the tons of fun we had on the 4th  this year! Next year I totally plan to have a huge 3rd of July party with tons of cute snacks and stuff for the kids....but our plans had to change when the city of Fruita cancelled their fireworks display because of the fire danger. We still had fun!! I love the 4th of July!!!



My sister and I started this tradition a few years back where we either make or buy t-shirts for the fourth of July. I REALLY wanted to make another Captain America Shirt for my boys this year but it was so challenging last time that we decided to go with something a little easier. (By the way, I've become totally obsessed with Captain America since I saw The Avengers. Husband is aware of this fascination....so we're okay.) ANYHOW, my sister and I decided that we would get together and make tie dye shirts for all 5 of our kids. It was so fun! I have never really tie dyed before...  I had to google and youtube videos (yes I just used Google and Youtube as verbs) just to figure out how to do it. I felt a little lame but I'm really glad I did. We got some pretty sweet tie dye shirts out of the deal. I got a little fancy with Gavin's shirt and I ended up pretty much hating it. Luckily, the shirt we made for Tanner ended up being HUGE. We had expected it to shrink and then it didn't... so I bought Tanner a new shirt, gave Gavin his old one, and made a new one for Tanner. Jon and I also made shirts but had to use different dye that didn't really match and our shirts were HUGE as we also expected them to shrink and they didn't. The kids looked super cute in their tie dye but the only picture I managed to capture was Gav showing off his new GJ Rockies hat that my parents bought him. 

Zoey's Shirt
Gavin's shirt that I hated... I don't know.. ..it just looks funny
Gavy and his cool new hat!
Tanner's shirt that ended up on Gavin for the 4th of July

So our 4th of July was pretty low key considering our entire county (and most of the outlying counties) all had strict fire bans in place. This was the first year that I can ever remember Grand Junction not having a fireworks display. I've lived in GJ for 26 years now and even on the years where there was a fire ban they at least had a display at the stadium put on by the Fire Department. So instead of risking a $750 fine and a class 3 misdemeanor, we decided to get together for a (gas grill as charcoal grills have been banned) barbecue as a family and let the kids play in the water.  My sister spent the day filling up water balloons and the kiddie pool. We played this cool little game as a family where we drew a bluesy in the center of Jen's cul-de-sac. We each took turns standing in the middle of the bulls eye while the rest of the family hurled water balloons at us. The rules were the family could only throw one water balloon each and the person standing in the middle of the bulls eye couldn't move. Yeah... no one really followed the rules. By the time my Dad ended up joining us there was only one water balloon left. Jon was posted in the middle of the bulls eye and we were all trying to hit him. I guess my dad figured he only had one shot and he didn't dare miss, so he hurled the water balloon at my back. I was standing about 4 feet in front of him and had just launched my balloon at Jon. Didn't even see it coming!


So the kids played in the pool and water for awhile before it got too chili and we ended up heading home early. We were seriously home by 8:00pm. We popped Brother Bear into the ol' VCR and just had a chill night hanging out as a family. Not really how I imagined my 4th of July going this year but it was still good!

Friday, June 22, 2012

CHORES!

So about a year ago I posted about an idea that I had to get my kids excited about chores. I had picked up these super cute little mail boxes from the Target dollar store. (They were actually on clearance when I picked them up so I got them for .50 a piece!)
 

The idea was that each kid has their own little mailbox. Each day I would select a few chores that they needed to do and put them in their mailbox. When they completed the chores they would put them back in mommy's mailbox to receive their rewards. Well last year was a whirlwind with the fire and moving so needless to say our little chore system slipped through the cracks. Plus, as the kids get older, they're able to take on more responsibility and the chores have changed quite a bit.

Well, a year later, I've decided to implement this idea again. It's a system I like to call: CHORE MAIL!
I came up with a list of chores that my kids need to do on a daily/weekly basis. Then, I created little "letters" that have the chores listed on them. I added a few pictures to help Gavin who can't quite read yet. 
Each chore is assigned a point value from 1 point to 5 points. Obviously, harder chores get more points. Here's a quick example of how I put my chore "letters" together:



I made a couple of the same chores so that Zoey and Gavin can work on the same chores at times, like putting their clothes away. I cut out each of the chores and matted them on a little piece of scrapbook paper (because scrapbook paper makes everything so much cuter) and then laminated them. I chose to laminate them to make them last longer and also because I wanted to be able to use a dry erase marker to put their initial on them. Sometimes when they turn their completed chores back into my mailbox I can't tell who did it. So by marking Zoey's with the letter Z and Gavin's with the letter G I can tell them apart. 

I felt a little guilty after I finished putting all the chores together, the kids have over 36 chores they are responsible for. They obviously wont be doing every single one of them every single day, but still! Oh well, more opportunities to earn rewards! And, speaking of rewards, because the chores are each assigned a point value, the kids have the opportunity to earn rewards.  Once they reach 100 points they get a reward.  I found these adorable little point tracker's that I customized for my kiddos to keep track of their points:

I got the point charts from http://www.alittletipsy.com/2011/02/printable-behavior-charts.html. I saved them as JPEG images and edited them with Paint.Net.

So we just started this back up today but I'm feeling really good about it. The kids were excited to check their mail boxes this morning and I was excited to have a little help with the house!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Necklace Giveaway!

My cousin Jodee is SUPER talented and crafty. Right now she is giving away a necklace that she made and it's SO pretty. Check out her blog, leave a comment and share her post and you could win the necklace!!

http://bradenandjodee.blogspot.com/2012/06/necklace-giveaway.html?showComment=1339103200324&m=1#c2278808348980638696

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pinterest projects

Woaaaah! It's been a super long time since I've blogged. Especially on this blog!

With my recent transition back into full time mommyhood/wifehood I've found I have A LOT of time on my hands. Time on my hands + Pinterest = crazy projects and a uber organized house.

I also decided that I'm going to update our blog more often. What a better way to update our blog than to post the projects I've been working on from Pinterest.

Right now I have two projects I'm working on:
1. Potty train my very independent 28 month old
2. 21 day organization for my home

The first is obviously going to be an ongoing project...at least until he gets the hang of things. The first day was REALLY rough. I think we went through 5 pairs of underwear and pants before 10am. That's when I hopped on Pinterest and found THIS:



So I'm not really sure I buy the whole POTTY TRAIN IN ONE DAY thing. I mean... maybe they'll be going when you take them....but really...by the end of day one I was ready to give up!

I took this lady's tips and started implementing them and they work great, BUT we still have a long way to go. He still doesn't understand that he needs to tell me when he needs to go, and he still has some accidents when he's not reminded to go. What has worked for us:
1. LOTS of juice
2. Setting a timer to go off every 15 minutes (for the first two days, now we set it for about every 30 - 45 minutes)
3. Treats - we used M&Ms and I gave him two or three the first time he sat down and actually went pee pee. We did this consistently until he stopped asking for the treat. Now I use the treats for BIG accomplishments like going all the way through nap with no accidents and telling me when he has to go or going in to use the potty by himself.
4. LOTS of praise. He loves to be told he's a big boy!

Problems we've ran into:
1. Synchronizing when he had to go. It took him about 10 big accidents before I was able to get our timed trips to the potty to line up with when he really had to go. It seemed like would just get him off the potty with NO results and he would pee in his undies. I just kept taking him to the potty every 10 to 15 minutes until he finally went. We've had minimal accidents since then.
2. Treating the undies like a diaper. At first it seemed like he didn't care if he was wet in his undies. It was just a diaper to him... so I ditched them for the first two days. I slipped him in a pair of soft cotton pants with no undies. He REALLY doesn't like the pee dripping down his leg so he's more willing to hold it until he gets to the potty.
3. Not being able to open his potty or reach the light. Tanner has a potty that's pretty simple. It was like 10 dollars at WalMart with no bells or whistles. The lid snaps down and becomes a stool. This became a problem. After we would dump the potty into the toilet we would close the lid. It's pretty hard for little hands to open the lid when we're in a hurry to make it to the potty. We had to make it a point to keep the lid open so the potty was ready to go. We also have to leave the light on so that he's more willing to run in and use the potty on his own if he's playing.

Like I said... we still have a long way to go but he is making HUGE strides and I'm only using diapers overnight. (Letting him have accidents over nap time but he's doing really good staying dry).

NOW! Onto Project number 2:
I found this post on Pinterest and thought "I could SO do that." So I decided to take on the 21 day challenge for an organized home. THIS is the post I saw:



Source: amazon.com via Kim on Pinterest


I know it says that day 1 you should organize your junk drawers but my pantry door fell off the hinges today so I figured I would start there and maybe skip around depending on what I felt like doing. I should have taken a before/after picture.... maybe for future posts! But it really only took me about 20 minutes and it looks SOOO much better. I'll post an AFTER picture maybe in a few days.

So that's what I'm working on lately... for those who say that Pinterest is a total waste of time: not in this house!

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