Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

If you can't tell already, our family (me in particular) LOVES Halloween! Last night was pumpkin carving night. It is so much fun now that the older kids can do a little more designing, cutting, and "gutting" of their own. Mom and Dad came up as well which always makes it extra fun. They brought a very large and very "wrinkly" pumpkin which dad said was obviously a Grandpa pumpkin because it had so many wrinkles. This was Sadie's first pumpkin carving experience and she didn't quite know what to do, but she sure loved pulling out all of the insides of the pumpkin. The kids all did really fun and unique pumpkins. Cayden's was scary, McKell's was a princess complete with crown and jewels, and Ashlee's was a cat. Rob helped Sadie and did a cute little face on hers. Afterward we had yummy homemade pumpkin bars that McKell and Ashlee helped me make. The best part is when all of the pumpkins are lit up and we count to three and turn off all the lights.
McKell and her beautiful princess pumpkin
Ashlee's cute kitty pumpkin

Cayden's scary big mouthed pumpkin

Mom and Dad with their wrinkly pumpkin

Oooooh - The final shot!

Autumn Leaves

Every year, since we moved back to Utah, we have made it a tradition to go up into the canyon and look at the autumn leaves and collect a few as well. We usually go up Butterfield Canyon which is about 5 minutes from our home. We get dinner at Artic Circle and have a picnic and then off we go to look at leaves. Each of the kids gets a little bag to collect some leaves and acorns. The smell alone is worth the trip to me. It smells just glorious! This year was a lot of fun because Sadie was older and could pick some leaves as well. As I sat on the picnic blanket with Sadie watching my 3 older kids run through the trees and autumn leaves it once again made me realize how truly blessed I am. It also reaffirmed to me why these little moments of just taking a trip up to the canyon each year during the fall, are so meaningful and memorable to my family.

Ashlee, McKell & Cayden - the 3 amigos

Sadie and Rob hunting for leaves

Ashlee on the hunt!
As you can see, Sadie was VERY excited to be outside!

Halloween Party

We had a great Halloween party this year. Awesome costumes, delicious soups, yummy treats, fun games, etc. Here are a few photos of the crazy crew at the Halloween party.
Madi and Sadie - Madi is Sadie's self proclaimed Godmother. Poor Sadie was exhausted at this point! She really does love Madi.

Madi & Cassidy aka Hannah Montanna & Miley Cyrus
Bubbling Witch's Brew - Homemade Root Beer...YUM!

Spooky fingers coming out of the Guacamole!

Eyeballs! (Really mini cheeseballs) McKell & Ashlee had SO much fun making these with me. They especially loved it when I applied the "blood" and they applied the olive "pupils"

Witch's Broom Treats
The Quists (minus Heidi and Warren who we missed so much!)

The Peacocks
Our resident Cheerleaders - Anna, Juliann, and McKell. We officially adopted Juliann and her family to come to our family party. We are so glad they came!
Juliann, Anna, and Andrew

Derek (aka Captain BYU) and Melanie (sorry the picture is so dark!)
Our 2 hulks - Grandpa Hulk and Mini Hulk - Dad and Andrew
Wow, now THAT is scary! Dad and Mom
We had some others come as well, but I didn't get to the camera fast enough. I LOVE Halloween so doing this party is so much fun for me! I'm already looking forward to next year!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I am a Child of God...

So, today was our big primary program in our ward. I am serving as the primary president right now and it is such a great calling! We have quite a large primary and I wouldn't trade any of them. They are an awesome group of kids!

We have been practicing for the program for a few weeks now and had a final rehearsal yesterday. But no matter how much you rehearse and practice, you never know how it is going to go. I am happy to say that it went great! The kids did such a good job and knew their songs and parts so well! There were a few spontaneous moments, but that is fun and something I look forward to. One of my favorite parts that made me just bawl, was when sweet little Aram, who is usually in a wheelchair and cannot speak, did his part. His class was supposed to say their name, say something special about themselves and then say,"I am a child of God." So it came time for Aram's class and his mom brought him up to the microphone, took his little hands, and helped him sign, "I am Aram. I love to give hugs. I am a child of God." It still makes me cry just remembering it. Through the whole thing, he has his big huge smile on his face. He is an angel on earth and knows probably better than any of us that he is a child of God.

It was a lot of work and practice, but ultimately, it was all in the Lord's hands and I know that the Spirit was felt by those who were there. I got an unexpected surprise after the program when I learned that Sister Stevens from the Primary General Board had come with our stake primary president to watch the program. No pressure at all! :o) She was so gracious and sweet with her comments afterwards. That meant a lot to me.

So, another primary program has come and gone and now onto another new year.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Keep Your Expectations Low...

"Keep your expectations low" my montra in life. I didn't always think this way, but I came to this brilliant discovery shortly after I had kids. It sounds strange I'm sure, but let me explain. I am a person who has very specific expectations out of things. I am a recovering control freak and so I like things to go a certain way. That was all fine and good until the kids came along. They don't really care what the "plan" is. They just do whatever they want at the time and call it good. I used to get really upset about things when they didn't go exactly as planned. It really ticked me off. But then after years of having kids, I came to my brilliant motto in life - "Keep your expecations incredibly low...and then when something actually goes right or as planned, it is a very happy surprise!" I think it is great. Rob thinks it is somewhat depressing. I told my dad this last week and he just looked at me and didn't quite know what to say. At first it does sound really unpleasant, but it is quite the opposite. Otherwise, I feel you are always setting yourself up for disappointment. I'm just a realist.

Let me give you an example. This past Saturday, we went to Hee Haw Farms. Now, years ago, I would have had this beautiful image in my mind of a lovely autumn day, perfect weather, etc. And we would all go together and look like something out of a J Crew catalog and have a perfect day full of pumpkin picking, hayrides, and wonderful memories. This of course never happens, at least with us, so it would have been a big old disappointment when we showed up looking haggard. I let the girls pick out their own clothes so they looked more like models from the DI rather than J Crew. The weather was actually very nice and we did have some wonderful memories. But aside from looking pretty much a mess, we lost Ashlee numerous times, there was a big mix up on the pumpkin picking rules, there were a lot of bees, McKell was being dramatic, and I was in a lot of pain most of the time with my back. BUT because I had little or no high expectations for the day, it was no big deal. Compared to the catastrophe it could have been with 4 kids, it actually was a big success in my book. And the kids will look back at it and have great memories.

I am fortunate that my best friend, and sister-in-law, Juliann, shares this unique "view" on life. We both understand it very well.

So, wish me luck on Sunday when I, as the primary president to about 160 kids, have our primary program. Once again, my expectations are realistic. I don't expect perfection, in fact I kind of prefer it not to be perfect. Nothing like a primary age child getting to the microphone and starting to improv...sadly, it is usually one of my children. (A few years ago Ashlee had to be literally pulled from the microphone as she was yelling, "I'm not DONE YET!!") As long as a Sunbeam doesn't jump off the stand, anyone vomit, etc. I will call it a raging success. See...isn't it a great way to look at life? :o)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hee Haw Farms

Today we carried on a recent family tradition of going to Hee Haw Farms in Pleasant Grove. We discovered this place when we moved to Utah from Boise. It quickly became a family favorite and a place we have gone every year around Halloween time. It made it extra fun this year when Rob's brother and family came (Jon, Juliann, Anna and Andrew). We picked pumpkins, did the petting zoo, went on the big slide and animal train, and played in the corn pit. Of course, we had to see Leroy, the world's most giant pig. He is still as large and disturbing as ever! Here are a few photos of our fun day at Hee Haw Farms!
Jon and Juliann and Family
Thelma and Louise....I really mean that!

McKell & Ash on the big slide
Cayden & Ashlee
McKell & Anna on the animal train
Jon and Andrew on the animal train

Picking Pumpkins

Monday, October 13, 2008

Accident(s) Update...

I have had quite a few people ask for an update on Rob and I and our recovery from our accidents. So here is how things are going.
  • Rob is doing okay, not great, but okay. His left shoulder is still really bothering him and our doctor has ordered an MRI and a trip to the physical therapist.
  • Rob's car is officially totaled. Now comes the fun of trying to find another car, which wouldn't be so bad if we hadn't just done this for Rob 10 months ago when we bought his new Honda. He is now on the hunt for another Honda Civic.
  • He still has some neck and back pain, especially after sitting at a desk all day and working on a computer. But we definitely realize how much worse it could have been.
  • Marci is not doing as well...shocking, I know. I went to the physical therapist last week to discover that I have a herniated disc in my lower back and whiplash all the way up my back, neck, etc. I have continued to have awful headaches, including 3 full blown migraines. I guess there can be an onset of migraines after an accident like this. I am also supposed to get an MRI to find out which disc is herniated and how bad it is.
  • The "good" news is that because my back and head hurt so bad, it has made me almost forget my stupid toe injury! :o)
  • I got strep throat over the weekend...nothing to do with the accident, just some more "fun" I thought I'd throw in there.
  • Unfortunately, my case isn't going to be easy at all to deal with. The other driver in my accident is contesting what happened so it will be messy, drawn out, and overall a complete pain.
  • Due to all of this, we have opted not to have McKell and Ashlee's tonsil surgery tomorrow.

So, that is the update on us. We'll keep you posted as we know more. Thanks for the thoughts, prayers, concern, and humor. We really appreciate it.

Sisters' Retreat 2008

This past weekend was our annual sister's retreat with my sisters. There are 6 daughters and 2 daughters-in-law in my family and every year, we venture somewhere together to get away from kids, husbands, life in general. We usually don't get everyone there, but no matter how many come, we have a great time!
This year, my 3 sisters Marilyn, Miki, Miriam and I headed to Park City for the weekend. We had the BEST time ever! We laughed until we were sick, ate WAY too much junk, shopped a lot, and stayed up too late talking. And as always, it was way too short.
**I have had quite a few comments/questions on the "fur photos", so let me explain. No, that is not what Rob is getting for Christmas! We were walking down the street of Old Main Street in Park City and at a fur coat shop, THAT is what was in the main display window. The four of us about died laughing and of course HAD to take a photo of the front...and back. So, there you have it. It really is just wrong on SO many levels!

I love that we can all just sit around in our pajamas and do crafts, talk, eat, etc. and have a great time.