Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh Lovely Autumn

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Emily Dickinson

This weekend we found autumn in the canyon...and a moose!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

German Maid

Today Cares wore a dirndl that was mine from over 25 years ago. When we lived in Germany (1981-1984), my mom bought them for all the girls in our family and we'd often wear them to church on Sunday (a tradition we continued even after we moved back to the states.) My mom kept some toddler and little girl sizes in excellent condition and now my Caroline can be just like her mommy!

Hier ist mein lieblings Madchen:

My family during our first year living in Germany (I love this picture--my super young parents and small siblings--so fun to look that far back!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wheeler Farm

A field trip yesterday with Bentley's preschool--do you think I took enough pictures?

Caroline loved the animals but she still kept her distance, especially from the ducks and geese who were just about her same height.

Hanging with Noah and watching something that made Bentley's day
--a cow going pee :)

Strong boys showing off their muscles

My sorry attempt at taking a pic of the kids and me on the wagon ride

It was a good day :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Girls Night Out

My sisters and I joined the masses and saw the So You Think You Can Dance tour last night. Heidi and I went last year in Reno, and while I loved the show, I certainly didn't feel like it was something I had to see season after season. But then I watched SYTYCD this year and just fell in love with so many dances. I actually saved them for ages on my DVR just so I could watch them again if I "needed" to :) I am a huge fan of good choreography as well as dancers who move with impeccable technique and dance from their hearts. Well--that's just what we saw last night. And in case anyone is wondering, dancing is about a hundred times better to watch live than on TV (even if you are surrounded by screeching (yes I said screeching--not screaming) teens and smelly feet...:)

It was a fabulous night and the dancers sure delivered amazing performances of the season's best dances--yay!!
Big Group Opener

The 3 boys to watch

Cheering for local dancers Gev and Chelsea

Loved this Mia Micheals piece with Katie and Joshua
(remember the assisted run? these 2 are truly thrilling to watch)

Gotta love the bed dance

Cec and me showing off our "4 Real" signs on our "babies"--see how my pregnant belly has popped right out?! (oh, and notice our background posers--funny :)

The Adam and Eve piece by Will and Jessica

Two words--the door. Awesome dance!

And Bleeding Love. For sure my favorite hip-hop piece...ever...

My "4 Real" impersonation. Do you remember the dancers (and then Nigel) doing this throughout the show? They explained it during the concert--something about 4 qualities that make you a better dancer/person and therefore "4 real." Kind of random. Oh--and they were season 4 of the show so that relates to it too...

There's one piece I only took video of for a minute and then just had to sit and watch without trying to take a picture--the one by Katie and Will to "Imagine" choreographed by the seriously famous dancer Desmond Richardson. Now that was a professional piece of choreography and Katie and Will were just beautifully connected and naturally fluid throughout. Wow--I'm so glad I got to see it live--and so glad to have had such a fun night out with my sissies too!!

Monday, September 22, 2008


My hubby and I have spent the last two evenings immersing ourselves in the Lord of the Rings DVDs. Complete nerd alert, I know. But honestly, I don't care because I am remembering how much I really love that epic story.

So far, we have seen all of The Fellowship of the Ring and half of The Two Towers (extended versions FYI--they hover close to 4 hours in length). There are so many reasons why I love those movies--the general themes of honor, courage, bearing trials with hope, and the long awaited and hard earned triumph of good over evil ring true during each film. But I think my favorite aspect of them all has simply to do with the theme of friendship and loyalty to those bonds. Like when Boromir dies honorably with Aragorn at his side, when Gimli and Legolas defend (and jovially compete with) each other in every battle, and when Frodo and Gandalf finally see each other just after Frodo and Sam's heroic conquest. Plus, I just love it when the 4 hobbits finally reunite at the very end of the show. I could go on but those of you familiar with the movies know what I am talking about. They are films that lift my spirit and fill my heart--and that's a hard thing to come by these days.

Anyway, I am thoroughly enjoying our epic DVD journey--can't wait for our next installment which includes the amazing battle at Helm's Deep (see what I mean? I am becoming an LOTR junkie even as I type...)

Anyone want to share what they love about these movies? (has anyone seen them and not liked them? I can hardly imagine but it could be...) And if you haven't seen them, you can borrow mine--they are completely worth the effort.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I have been:

--loving fall temperatures. I saw that it will be stormy and back in the low 70s (and maybe even high 60s) next week and I am ecstatic!

--tired as usual but I think the nausea is starting to slowly fade away (please, please be true!!)

--watching the first season of Ugly Betty. I had never seen any episodes and decided to rent the DVDs and see if I should add it to my DVR list in a few weeks. So far I have liked it, but I am not quite hooked (and I DO have the whole 2nd season to watch too--that's a lot of TV!)

--craving Tepanyaki (think Benihana style food) for every single meal. There is just something about all that butter, salt and teriyaki sauce they cook everything in that sounds absolutely delicious.

--proud of my Bentley for heading to preschool 3 days a week. He isn't completely thrilled about leaving Cares and me so often, especially if we run errands that he would like to do with us (like the "errand" of playing Polly Pockets with Maddie and Cec for an hour or so...)

--trying to plan a little family vacation before the debut of our new baby this spring. I think I have my heart set on Phoenix during November or December. I just miss that city a lot and would love to see some old friends and eat some delicious meals at Houston's, Tia Rosa, and SACKS. So far the planning has been purely in my head--but I am getting restless and need to get away.

--feeling so blessed simply to have a healthy and happy family. I have been reading daily updates about the Nielsons on C Jane's blog. As much as I love to hear about the hope and progress occurring almost daily, my heart still hurts for those 4 kids who must miss their parents and home so much. Their little world has been turned upside down and will really never be the same--and it just makes me sad when I know how well children thrive on normalcy and routine. Makes me hug my own babes tighter and more often during the day--and find more ways to laugh and play together.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Big Girl Bedroom

We finally succumbed and got our little girl a real bed. It is definitely time even though our new baby won't need the crib for several months. At this point in Bentley's life he had already been sleeping in a big boy bed for 6 months (and he had a 4 month old little sis too--wow, time flies :) Our little Cares was very excited for her new bed and girlie girl sheets. She was also very ready to be more like her big brother. The two children even tried out their first game of "ship" with their 2 beds yesterday as soon as we had Cares' bed set-up. Did anyone else play ship as a kid on their bed? It was one of my favorites.

Here are some 'before' pics of the lady's room (Cares is helping unwrap her new sheets in the first 2 shots):
And the 'after' pics:
I just adore this bedding and had to give it the spotlight for a moment.

We also got a new dresser to go with the bed. The baby dresser is still in Cares' room right now as it has no place to go except the basement for storage. Until we decide on the whole move to a new home/finish our basement debacle, we'll leave the dresser there.

There is still a lot of work to do in organizing and decorating this little room but I wanted to show off Cares' new bed pronto. And she has been sleeping in it beautifully, thank goodness. Isn't that a parent's biggest concern when changing things like this?

(we did have to add Bentley's hand-me-down side rail so our girl won't fall out of bed in the night but I just had to remove it for the pictures because it is baby blue and white and doesn't exactly all)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Design Star

While living in the lovely sea of on-again off-again nausea the last few weeks, I have found that sitting lazily on the couch with my laptop open offers quite a great distraction (and my couch is just really comfy too). Yes, I have read way too many blogs and played way too many solitaire games. But I have also accomplished a few small design projects (yay me for actually doing something productive ;)

1) Lullaby Cards for Caroline
Let me explain. Before nap-time and bedtime, Cares gets 2 stories sitting with mom or dad in the rocking chair, then lays down in bed with the lights out while we sing her 2 songs. Lately, she has decided that she gets to choose her very own songs (she must be 2 or something...) This worked out fine for a few weeks until she started saying, "I choose my own song. Ummmmm... ummmmm... ummmmm...etc..." If I started singing anything she hadn't chosen I was immediately interupted by a naughty little "No! I choose it." Well, needless to say, we had some bedtime battles beginning and our splendid routine was going right out the window. So, last week I made a list of Caroline's favorite lullabies and then made picture cards to represent the songs. Now she gets to choose 2 cards from the pile and hold them until the songs have been sung. Then we put them away, say goodnight and close the door. Ahhh, it has been working so well--I feel a little smug, I have to admit (even though I am sure she will find a way around them soon enough).

Caresie's Lullaby Cards (before cutting them out). Can you guess which song goes with each picture? There are definitely some randoms :)

2) Bean Table "I-Spy"
I borrowed this idea from my crafty little friend Camille who made a Bean Table for her own kids. It sounded like the perfect activity when we were needing something new and exciting to do last month. After picking up a 20 lb. bag of pinto beans and sturdy tupperware at Wal-Mart one morning, I rounded up the objects I would hide in the beans from around my house. Once the kids went down for naps, I photographed all the little items to hide in the beans and then made "I Spy" cards for each object we would search for. My kids have had a lot of fun with our Bean Table and they still feel like it's a special prize to get to play with it after they have eaten all of their lunch/dinner, picked up toys or taken great naps :)

Digging right in to that Bean Table!

And here are a few examples of the "I Spy" cards:

And now you can think that I am a total design star (which I would love to be but in my humility I will keep from stealing that thunder from my hubby. In all honesty, he actually IS a real-life designer so just think what he could've made of these projects?!!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Canyon FHE

Last night we met up with my parents, Marsh, and the Horsley family at Washington Park (off of Mountain Dell golf course) for FHE in the cool canyon. We ate fried chicken and fresh cantaloupe for dinner while the kids ran back and forth between the picnic table and playground equipment. We also had a short lesson consisting of a treasure hunt for things found in the woods followed by the big boy cousins reading 2 scriptures about nature and how it testifies of Christ. For the rest of the evening we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores, and the dads spent a lot of time playing soccer and spinning games with the kids. We love these kind of "big" family home evenings!

This picture reminds me that I actually do look like I'm related to my siblings :)

Marsh and Maddie enjoying the swings

my little lady

and my active boy (in his favorite wild animal pose)

MJ wouldn't let me take a picture of her while her mommy held her--but she posed quite sweetly with uncle Joe...