Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lemons AND Marshmallows

Someone in our family is having a particularly difficult time using kind words lately. After an especially difficult/embarrassing day where we had to actually leave the park because we couldn't be nice to the other kids, I was feeling exhausted. I went to my room and got on my knees and prayed for some guidance, it was Monday so I wanted a family night lesson that was really going to create a lasting impression of the importance of speaking nicely. Instantly an idea come to my head and I got to work. That night I brought out a plate filled with marshmallows and lemon wedges. We talked about the difference between kind words and mean words and shared some examples. Then everyone had to taste a lemon slice so they knew how sour mean words taste. After that, they could roast their "kind words" marshmallow. So I said, "See? What do you want, kind words or mean words? lemons or marshmallows?" Winston looked right at me with a huge smile and said, "Lemons AND marshmallows!" and proceeded to eat his entire lemon slice along with three marshmallows! Lesson fail but we couldn't keep from laughing.

Some of my other favorite quotes from him lately:

Cosette and Winston were playing in the backyard and Winston had two swords. I asked him to share one of the swords with Cosette so she could fight the bad guys with him. Win thought about it for a minute and then said to her, "Um Cosette, could you just use your muscles to fight them?"

Getting ready for bed, it was time for a story so I laid down next to Win to read to him. He instantly burst into tears and shouted, "You laid on my pillow and now its going to be warm and not cold!"

The first time Winston figured out how to buckle his own car seat, I turned around and exclaimed how proud I was of him for doing it all by himself. He said very matter-of-factly, "Yeah, I did it. So I have myself a high five like this." and clapped his hands together.

Celery Bog

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Kirtland+ Cleveland

Ok. My mini van + the map of the Midwest are worse than a penny burning a hole in my pocket. There is a reason Indy is called the crossroads of America- there are so many places to see! The only real derivable destinations from Utah County were Vegas, Moab,  and St. George.... and heaven knows we exhausted those sites over the 9 year span. Purdue's fall break was last weekend so it was time for another adventure.


Kirtland, Ohio is rich in the history of our church and I'd never been. I didn't really realize until we were standing in those rooms how many life changing revelations were received there, such holy ground. We were a little bit nutty to drag our kids along on so many tours but they did great and I think they even felt a second or two of those sacred moments with us.

 "During the winter of 1833 we had a number of prayer meetings in the Prophet's chamber. In one of those meetings the Prophet told us, if we could humble ourselves before God, and exercise strong faith, we should see the face of the Lord. And about midday, the visions of my mind were opened, and the eyes of my understanding were enlightened, and I saw the form of a man, most lovely. The visage of his face was sound and fair as the sun. His hair a bright silver gray, curled in most majestic form, His eyes a keen penetrating blue, and the skin of his neck a most beautiful white. And He was covered from neck to feet with a loose garment, pure white, whiter than any garment I have ever before seen. His countenance was most penetrating and yet most lovely...And while I was endeavoring to comprehend the whole personage from head to feet, it slipped from me. But it left on my mind the impression of love, for months that I never felt before to that degree." Testimony of John Murdock - School of the Prophets in Newel K Whitney store
 Almost directly across from the Kirtland Temple is this divine restaurant Biga Wood Pizza- eat there when you go! Oh I felt like I was transported to Naples, Italy. Delicious.

The next day was all about giving these two some freedom. We sent Evan over to check out the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and spent our day at The Great Lakes Science Center. They took our children's museum pass so bonus we got in free! The kids spent a solid two hours in this ball pit, it was hilarious to watch them fill that crane and dump it over and over and over. I love Winston's face of anticipation as he prepares for the balls to pelt him head to toe.  The Giant's were also making a last ditch attempt at a playoff run so we had to spend a significant amount of time in pitching practice as well. Our last stop was the West Side Market where we sampled a bit of everything, but I think the smoothie was the winner in the end.  We spent our two nights in a super cheap semi-gross Air BnB duplex which I will not recommend but Winston has been begging to go back to "hotel Cleveland" since the minute we drove away. Let the adventures continue!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Labor Day Weekend

We picked up our mini van and drove that baby hot off the lot on it's first road trip. I'd been waffling on the mini van idea for a year. Yes I want one, no I'm not old enough, man it would be nice to have the space, no we don't really need one yet I'm just being spoiled, etc. Well, we sold the Jetta in May and were playing around with the idea of being a one car family for a minute. We spent a lot of time road tripping in the Camry this past summer and let me tell you there was no room to breathe, it became clear that if we were going to have one car, the Camry wasn't going to be it. That combined with the fact that I took a positive pregnancy test for baby #3 the day we bought our Odyssey sold me hard and it is truly my dream car. I feel like I really earned my Mommy wings that day and we now do preschool drop offs and offer people rides without a second thought. Driving a 10 hour road trip solo with two toddlers in a new car on new roads though was admittedly biting off a little more than I could chew. I was just so excited by the prospect of finally being a "drive-able distance" from my parents and getting to see my favorite big brother all at once that I didn't stop to evaluate how tough it would be. I couldn't stop shaking for a couple hours after arriving in the dark and rain from the windy Pennsylvania streets, praise heaven for that DVD player in my mini that kept the kids happy!! Luckily Evan was flying in a few days later and drove home with us so that simplified the stress of it a lot.

Meet baby Jonas! He is a miracle baby and my first nephew on my side of the family. I was so spoiled having a brother one year older than me to grow up all the way through college with, and I ache to see his family more. It was such a treat to spend the weekend with them!

We spent the first day there playing in the Brandywine River just a short walk from my parents house.

Another big draw for our visit was the Open House for the Philadelphia Temple. It is beautiful and they did a very cool job at incorporating the colonial history of the city in the architecture and interior design. The kids did oookaay... someday they'll know this is the most important place on earth. For now we'll just keep singing the song!

My cousins from DC came to visit for a day as well and it thrills Winston any time he has "friends" to play with. My mom is the greatest hostess and we can't wait to get back.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sunday Dinners

May 2016
By far, my hardest goodbye was to this sweet lady right here. We came to Utah often enough as kids, but with 35 cousins running around I honestly didn't spend a whole lot of time just with Grandma. I did inherit her "early to rise" gene though, so when she and I were the only ones awake every morning at 6 am I would sit on her lap and she'd read me Bernstein Bears books. Then I'd help her make a breakfast spread that Cracker Barrel would covet of as the scent of bacon and waffles slowly drew everyone to the kitchen. When I moved there for college, I loved having the safety net of my grandparents close by, I thought she would fill in for my mom when I needed it. I remember the first time I thought my world was ending, and I drove to Grandma and Grandpa's house with tears streaming down my face. I walked in and told her all about the problem and she just patted me on the shoulder and told me I'd be just fine. Ha! Emotional or sentimental are basically her antonyms, but she is the most generous and giving human on the planet. When people use the phrase "give you the shirt off their back," I always think they must have coined it after her. She's never actually offered me her own shirt but she literally offered me the sheets off her bed one time which is pretty dang close. Sunday dinners with them were a sanctuary for me. Grandma's table puts Mary Poppins purse to shame, expanding to include every single one of all of our roommates without any prior notice. You could always count on mashed potatoes, grape juice, and some gospel advice from Grandpa. I never thought to take pictures there because it was such a beautiful and expected routine. She kept "yearbooks" though for decades so I stole a few for this post. The cast of characters around the table drastically changed over nine years, from old boyfriends, to roommates, cousins, spouses, younger siblings, and my own children as they all came along. One of the sweetest blessings of my life was buying a house less than a mile from my grandparents. Once I had kids, I would take them over to pick raspberries or apples, swing on the swing set, play in the tree house, or nap in cribs while Grandma and I worked on a sewing project. I can't even count the times I wished somehow that I could reach through the wrinkles of time and raise my babies alongside her. She was truly my best friend, she is eighty years old but she just gets it. One of my favorite things about Grandma is that she doesn't ever give advice, even if you beg for it. You have to spend enough time with her to hear the stories and riddles in the way she speaks if you really want to know what she would do. One Sunday dinner I was helping her grate cheese in the kitchen and I didn't reach my hand inside the cheese grater when I was done to clear it out. She looked at it and then at me and said, "You know, a woman can throw more money out the back door with a teaspoon than a man can bring in the front door with a wheelbarrow." I will never ever forget to clean out the cheese grater again! I ache to be back there on Sundays, I could write hours of anecdotes about the things she's taught me but I would rather just buy a plane ticket to be there tomorrow.