Sunday, July 28, 2013

I've Had a Birthday, Shout Hooray!

My birthday ended up being, not the boring Sunday I thought it would be, but instead an extended and thoughtful showing of love and care from my friends and family!

It started a week ago with a day of fun planned by a few of my greatest friends, in honor of my birthday. Jan, Crystal, and Camille took me to the Timpanogos Caves for a beautiful hike up to, and a tour through the caves. Then they spoiled me with lunch at one of my favorite places, Kneaders. Thanks, girls!

Then Friday, one of my other great friends (I'm a lucky girl to have really great friends) invited me and the kids over to have lunch and hang out. We spent quality time together, which we haven't had in ages! It did my heart a lot of good! And she surprised me with a thoughtful b-day gift that I LOVE! Thank You, Heather!

Yesterday for a fun birthday date, Bart took me to the gym where we worked out together! After, we had dinner at Malawii's Pizza, followed by a little shopping at the mall, then frozen yogurt at Menchi's. The most meaningful gift I received from my hubby was about 7-8 hours of hard labor de-cluttering and re-organizing a space that has been driving me NUTS for some time now! THANK YOU, BART!

This morning, I was gifted with fun presents, tons of hugs and kisses, and breakfast with my family. Thanks again Bart! And thank you, Genevieve, AnnaBelle, and Alexander!

Today, I loved having people over for music and cupcakes! Some may think I'm crazy for hosting a choir practice on my b-day! But for me, there is nothing more fun than music with friends. And I TRULY have come to love each choir member as a friend.  Thank you, Aspen 3rd Choir Friends! (Even the ones who couldn't make it today. Your birthday wishes were very kind, and mean a lot to me!)    :)

I have also received many texts, facebook posts, and voicemails from family and friends today. All of them wishing me well on this my 34th birthday! Thank you, wonderful family and friends that I love!

I'm embarrassed to say that I had complained to my friend that I didn't think my birthday was going to be recognized or acknowledged very much this year. Shame on me! Because as I sit and count my blessings, as I get what I get and am thankful for it, I realize how abundantly loved and supported I am. And really, what more does a girl need for her birthday, than to know, without a doubt, that she is loved? Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

We must be doing SOMETHING right!

Bart and I have 3 AMAZING children! Each of them in their own right have spectacular qualities that never cease to impress me. A few weeks ago, I had a day that reminded me all the sacrifice, heartache, and frustration that typically accompanies raising young children is completely worth it.

You can ask any of my brothers or sisters and I'd wager they would agree that we all fought and argued more than we ever got along. Not to say that we didn't care about one another, we just never really pointed that out to each other. ;)

Like all mothers do, I have made it a point to try and have the opposite for my children.  From the day my second daughter was born, I have been telling my children that they are each other's best friends.  That no one could ever take the place of a big sister or little brother in their hearts. I've taught them to speak to each other with kindness and respect.  And to be honest with one another about what's bothering them when they aren't getting along. I can teach them these concepts until I'm blue in the face, like my mom tried with me and my siblings. But whether or not they adopt these ideals is completely up to them.  For myself, it took growing up and becoming adults for a closeness to develop between us siblings.  I don't want my kids to miss out on the joys of having a brother or sister to lean on, turn to, laugh with, and share happy moments and memories with while in their young and tender years. But after a recent experience, I'm excited to say, I think we're moving in the right direction.

Anna was at another allergist office getting more testing done. As she lay there on her tummy, the pricks of pain began on her back.  She was already full of fear and anxiety before, but now her 5 year old eyes were full of tears and heartache. The nurse finished with the pricks and left the room to get a sucker while we began our fifteen minutes of being still and waiting for reactions to start showing.  As she cried I told her how sorry I was that we HAD to do these tests, but that they were helping to protect her from potential dangers to her health.  She put her face down sadly and then raised her head again and cried out, "I WANT GENNY!" My heart broke and swelled in one motion. I was SO sad to watch her be miserable, but felt a huge rush of joy and gratitude that when faced with pain and fear, the one thing she wanted most to comfort her - was her big sister.

Later, I was able to share with Genny Anna's expression of love for her.  As I told her the story of Anna's cry for her, Genny's eyes began to fill with tears while a tender smile formed on her face.  Even as a 6 year old she understood what a declaration of love that was.  Her big sister response, as she attempted to contain her emotion, was that she should give Anna a BIG hug. After which she let the tears lose, said they were happy tears, and buried her face in my side as we hugged.

During that same day, later in the afternoon, I sat with my 3 year old little boy.  We watched a Daniel Tiger episode together on PBS.  The teaching point of this particular episode was to think of something that makes you feel happy whenever you're starting to feel scared. Alex's blue eyes lit up and he asked excitedly, "Mom! Know what makes me feel happy!?" I said, "What makes you feel happy?" He responded, "Playing with Anna!"

Can you imagine!? ALL IN ONE DAY!! Each of my children expressed an appreciation, a comfort in, and love for one another. What mother could ask for more? I feel truly blessed and favored to have been entrusted with these incredible little ones.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Candace vs. Vanessa

Candace Flynn
Vanessa Doofenschmirtz

An interesting conversation happened at my house while watching one of our family's favorite fun shows. Phineas and Ferb have become a downtime staple. It's a witty and creative cartoon that we all enjoy together.  These two characters play different roles in the story line.

Candace is the older, overbearing, and obsessive sister of the title characters'. In every episode, she attempts to "bust" her brothers  for their elaborate inventions and activities. With constant threats and order barking, she always fails to get them caught in the act. But not without almost ruining some aspect of her personal life in the process. (Irony is funny!)

Vanessa is the daughter of the "Evil" but truly incompetent Dr. Doofensmirtz. Vanessa is a lay low kind of girl who makes it clear that just because her dad is evil, doesn't mean she is too. She likes to think she's goth, but is kind to everyone in spite of her attempt to have an attitude.

On this particular episode we were watching, the two characters sing a duet, one of many songs I love from this show, called "Busted". (Later, I may do a post on how "Phineas and Ferb" is keeping the love of musical theatre alive in the hearts of the children of this generation. But that's another topic entirely!) As I watched my Anna watching intently and moving along to the music, I wondered if she preferred one of these characters over the other.

  • Candace having a larger role, living in a "good" home, wearing light colors for her preppy style clothes, and a cute flip at the end of her one this might say wholesome / good.
  • Vanessa has a lesser role, lives in a broken home, is always wearing black and a bit of a sneer on her face, and the animators have given her more curve and feminine features than Candace... to one this might say worldly / bad. 
So, I asked my girls..."who do you like best"? The answer surprised me.  They both said that Vanessa was the character they enjoyed most.  Then I asked, "why Vanessa"? This is where I get VERY proud of my daughters.  Anna said that Vanessa is nicer to people than Candace. Genny said that she liked how Vanessa was more modest and covered up, but still pretty.  *sigh, heart touched*
I was impressed with my girls and happy to hear that, so far in their life, they choose to gravitate towards people based on the kindness of one's heart and the values they may have in common.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Early Merry Christmas From Genny!

She's doing well with piano. We're very happy with her progress.  I think she's right on track!
Way to go Sweetheart!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year!

The start of a NEW YEAR always brings to mind resolutions and new beginings. The shameful date of my last post tells me I have one resolution that needs to make the list. In order to capture 2011 before it disappears from our memories, here is a look at some of the year's highlights for our family. And because I only made it to Thanksgiving of 2010, I start with Christmas of that year. It seems daunting, I know, but the pictures can be really cute! Happy catching up!

Christmas 2010

Genny, a proud pre-schooler then, brought home a beautiful gingerbread house she made in class.

Baking and decorating Christmas cookies proved to be perfect Family Home Evening fun!

This is what outside looked liked in December of 2010. Not so much as a flake for Christmas in 2011!

Christmas Eve Jammies and Slippers. Mommy went all matchy, matchy on us.

Family feet! Even Mom and Dad got slippers!

As Bart worked to put a sprinkler system in our dirt filled backyard, the kids played and enjoyed the early Spring air.

Alex developed quite a love and addiction for sports. "I shoo-ing hoops!", he'd tell us.

Cross your fingers and pray it works! (It did.) Great job Bart!

Easter 2011

Easter Morning brought bright beautiful baskets...

and a lovely time at church. I just love Easter and all it stands for. I'm grateful to know that we all have a loving Savior in Jesus Christ.

His second most meaningful achievement! Winning the Elder's Quorum Pinewood Derby!
The First? Winning the Sportsmanship award when he was a boy at his 1st Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. He lost every race he was in at that derby, but still excitedly cheered on his friends. That's my hubby!

After purchasing TONS of dirt to fill in the yard, new sprinklers, and fencing, we were gifted some used curbing from our friends. This is my new flower bed.

The new garden space with a designated area for Rhubarb and Herbs.

And a curb-line to separate the lawn from the trees about to go in.

The lawn is here! The kids and their friends were in awe as they watched the grass be unloaded from the BIG truck. I have to admit, it was pretty cool to watch!

Bart getting ready to lay the sod. Many thanks to all the neighbors, friends, and my brother who came and helped with that project!

The kids and their friends wasted NO time getting on that grass and playing!

Finally! A safe, level, and BEAUTIFUL backyard for our family to play in. There are still a few other projects to be done, but the big ones are checked off the list!

Bart had several trips that took him to some cool places this year. Most of them work related, but not always full of work, as you will see. His first destination this year was to a place he goes fairly often. Good old CHINA. He actually got to go see the Great Wall this time. It was very fun for him.

Pretty amazing!
The wall's not bad either. ;)

After Dad got home, we took a day trip with the kids.

The Living Planet Aquarium was fun for all.

At least, I THINK we had fun. Yep! We did!

We also had a nice trip up to Uncle Benson and Aunt Tonya's house. We got to be there for our cousin's baptism.

We have so much fun together!

On the way home, we got to stop and stretch our legs while we visited the Rexburg Temple. How gorgeous is that!?

Then our cousin came for a fun week-long sleepover! What beautiful girls! They MUST be related.

We decided to wait till she's grown to tell her the rest of her family went to Disney World.

The next "work" destination landed Bart at the beautiful Pebble Beach for a weekend of golf.

Just look at him hard at work! Must be rough, but someone's gotta do it.

After Daddy's return, the best little boy we know had his birthday!

Turning 2 deserves BIG KISSES!

Enjoying his new birthday gift.

Like Father like Son!

July proved to be a VERY busy month for us. Not only did Bart have his Pebble Beach trip, and Alex have his birthday, we traveled to Fort Stevens in Oregon to camp-out with the rest of the Taylor clan for the Taylor Family Reunion.

Yes, Bart does come from good stock.

We had so much fun playing games and NOT singing around the campfire.
(That last part is an inside joke for the camp attenders.)

All of the 2-3 year old girls wore the jammies Grandma B had sent for Christmas! It wasn't planned, but it made for some great memories.

Along with all the other July born folks at camp, Mommy got a party and decorations on her tent for her birthday!

And a day at the beach, playing in the sand and being chased by the waves. It was a great birthday!

The rest of the summer looked pretty much like this. Just kickin' around not doing too much except enjoying the last days of summer.

School Days 2011

Then the big day came for Anna! Her VERY first day of school!

Look out Pre-school! Here I come!

And just in the nick of time for Kindergarten, Genny turns 5!

Such a happy and lovely girl! MAKE A WISH!

Then came Genny's first day of school!

Helloooo Kindergarten! We LOVE her teacher and Genny is thriving.

What's this!? Can't you guess? Another business trip for Bart, of course!

I'm only teasing Bart! I know, there really was business to attend to in San Francisco.

But that doesn't mean you can't take in the scenery while you're there!

The next month Bart received word that his Grandma Rasmussen, in her late 80's, had passed away.

If there's one good part about the passing of a loved one, it is this. The chance to see and catch up with loved ones who also loved Grandma R.

A lovely family, indeed.

Halloween 2011


Pretty as a Princess!

Rise and Shout! This Cougar's out!

November meant two fun things for us! Bart's birthday! And a visit from Grandma T!

Bowling for Daddy's birthday was so much fun! Probably most fun for Grandma T as she was able to giggle at all the funny things the kids did.

Having my mom for Thanksgiving was something to be really thankful for! We haven't gotten to cook together like that in years! And just LOOK at that criss-cross pie crust we did together!

Pies are kind of my thing.

Dang, I'm good!

I don't care what anyone says, Turkey in a BAG! Never fails!
We enjoyed a relaxing dinner with my mom, Aunt Sue, and as an added bonus... my brother Ben brought his newly proposed to FIANCE'! Congratulations you two!

Genny proved her rock star reading skills and earned a certificate and free dinner at a restaurant.
(K, I don't really know how well rock stars read, but you get my meaning.)

A chance to dress up? I'm In! We attended a lovely, formal Christmas dinner put on by Bart's company for all of the employees.

It was held at the Grand America Hotel. One of the most beautiful buildings in Utah! The dinner was deliciously divine. And the company was fun and fabulous. I asked our awesome babysitter to take this picture as proof that I actually do get out every now and then. ;) The lovely locks, and latest addition to my collection of hairstyles, were a gift from my mom during her Thanksgiving visit. Thanks again Mom!

It's what we've been waiting for, literally, ALL year long! Anna's birthday!!! On every even numbered birthday, the kids get a party. Turning 4 years old qualifies Anna!

She had a princess pajama party. Not a sleep-over. Just a late-over with pizza, barbie princess movie, and makeovers! Thank you's go to Bart and Heather for their awesome support and help. The party was a hit!

Guess who's back in Asia!

We're trying to figure out why these trips always seem to happen right next to someone's birthday. In fact this one had to be moved around and manipulated so that Bart COULD be home for Anna's birthday. Thanks for making that happen Bart!

K, now I'm just getting jealous.

Daddy made it back with plenty of time for Christmas. So, we hung our stockings with care.

Right to left: Mommy's, Genny's, Daddy's, Anna's, and Alex's. I wonder what they'll be filled with!

Mommy and Daddy helped Santa out a little. However, they also decided that Santa doesn't get credit for the good stuff anymore. That's right! All the good stuff comes from Mom and Dad!
Who do you love now?

Christmas morning! The girls wearing the gift I worked so hard to make for them. I'm so proud that they turned out so beautifully.

But then they changed right into the jammies Grandma B sent! Proving that Grandmas will always be cooler than Mommy's. Well, at least I've got Santa beat!


I'm good with my candy cane.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to ALL! May the Lord bless you with all you stand in need of this year. We are grateful for all of our friends and family and hope the New Year brings love and happiness for us all.