Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

What a fantastic year for our family! Our "top stories" of 2011 include:

1) Paige being born! We love this girl and she is by far the best thing to happen to us in 2011

2) Adam finishing up his coursework! Great job Adam.

3) Addison and Amanda getting married. I love my new sister in law and I think they are a fantastic couple.

4) Papa Turney coming home from Iraq. It was a huge sigh of relief to have him back home, and have our family together again.

5) Sean getting home from his mission. It was a long two years without my brother and I'm so glad he returned home from Australia. He's doing great things with his life.

6) Hannah's vocabulary exploded in 2011. There is nothing she can't communicate to us. I love our relationship and I love talking with her.

7) Hannah being potty trained. Yep, I guess I can add this to our highlights because although it was miserable and she isn't PERFECT yet she is pretty amazing and I'm grateful I don't have to do it for another couple years...

8) Our little foreign exchange student adventure. It was a little difficult and ultimately with the Korean's smell I couldn't handle them and my morning sickness. To this day when I smell the febreeze we used in their room, or the plug in we used in their room, or even think about Kim Chi I feel nauseated. Although it ended early, we learned lots of things and it was one of our bigger adventures of the year.

9) Adam turning 30. He went skydiving which was incredible to watch and so fun for him but turning 30 was even more monumental than jumping out of the plane. I'm married to an old man now.

10) Getting in shape. Both Adam and I are working hard at being healthy. Adam is going to the gym several times a week and I'm running with the ultimate goal of running a half marathon in 2012. Adam looks incredible (even though he won't let me post pictures...oh well. Your jk) and I feel great and have lost 43 lbs so far.

2011 hasn't been perfect. It hasn't been easy. The pregnancy was not great...the semesters when Adam was taking 12-18 graduate level courses and working 50-60 hours a week on top of that were pretty brutal. The uncertainty with the school district is always lots of fun to deal with...but we have been incredibly blessed and we are ending the year proud to have accomplished a lot and to have survived. !

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Photo I Love

I decided I really love this picture. I love the look Adam and I are exchanging. It is very true to form. At the moment nothing was going right but often in those moments I find we can look across the room at each other, and our eyes meet. We communicate more to each other in one look than lots of people could in an entire conversation. I love being five years into marriage. I love not having to be constantly learning how to live with each other and all the quirky things about each other. I love just belonging to each other and just knowing who the other person is. I love that in spite of all these things there are still surprises and we are constantly learning and growing. Most of all I just love this man.

Adam loves going to the gym. I've had a hard week and yesterday Adam called to tell me he was on his way to the gym from work and would see me in about an hour. I told him alright I would see him then but 15 minutes later he came walking in. It made me so happy that he came home! He knew I needed a break so he took Hannah out to play at McDonalds. It made all the difference in the world to me.

I love you Adam T. and I'm so glad you married me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

{Because I have been given much}

I have had a crappy week with a capitol S. It all started on Saturday when our oven stopped heating. Sure, you can turn it on...but it won't heat up wwwwhich is kind of the point. It has been five days and the issue still isn't resolved in the slightest. Plus side? We have a friend who's husband does repairs just like that for a living. He has offered to come and take a look eventually, we don't know when. He's a busy man and we are just fortunate that he is willing to help out. We just hope that it isn't too expensive.

The second thing that happened was our living room lights started acting up in a major way. When we would flip the on switch they would blink in rhythm. It was the most bizarre thing I'd ever seen a light do. It was almost like a slow motion strobe light. Hannah thought it was really funny and kept saying "Happy Halloween! Pumpkins! Ghosts!" I was worried that something in our wiring was off.

The third thing was a very VERY long story so I'll make it as brief as possible. All of our bills come out automatically through Bill Pay. We open them each month to just make sure we are still good and then discard them. About 5 months ago our mortgage payment increased by about 80 dollars (it wasn't exactly our mortgage, it was like taxes or something that is tied into our mortgage). Because of that, we had to change what we'd been paying for the last two years and I didn't know how much it was anymore, I just knew the range it should be so I just kept paying as usual. Well, in October our payment increased--again--by 13 dollars. I didn't know this because I was just opening the bill, assuming the amount paid was correct, and letting my bill pay do it's job. I didn't think anything was wrong because we never received any notification. This month makes month 2 of the change and ADAM noticed that we had a late charge. You should all know that I am SUPER hyper about payments. I have NEVER missed a payment in my life of ANYTHING. I've never even been a day LATE on a payment. However, because the payment that I sent (two weeks early I might add) was 13 dollars short they did not accept the payment. At.All. In fact, they credited it towards the principal of the loan instead of the payment. Which means I didn't technically make a payment. So then, when the other payment arrived (again, two weeks early and 13 dollars short) it would have been credited to Novembers payment instead of Decembers payment (because at this point we are two payments behind) but they rejected it, being short and mailed it back. They mailed it back to us on December 2nd but we still haven't seen it.  This means that as of yesterday, we were two payments behind on our home, which means as of December 16th we would receive notice of foreclosure. Over a 26 dollar difference. Yeah. Luckily, since Adam noticed the difference I called and was able to reverse their decision to put the money into principal, I paid the difference of 13 dollars, and then paid the mortgage for December out of our bank account (because who knows how long it might be before the rejected payment check makes its way back home) and everything is hunky dory...aside from the fact that the November payment was reported to collections and our credit (which was previously impeccable, hopefully it wasn't affected TOO much because with our credit, we could have probably purchased ANOTHER home and several more cars without too much hassle (we seriously have

All this is magnified by the fact that Clark County School District is trying to change every teacher contract (18,000 teachers) to balance their budget. They threaten that either teachers take a pay cut (in Adam's case it is about 20 percent with a crappy change of benefits) or they will fire 1,000 teachers. The teachers union wants CCSD to balance their budget in other ways and not on the backs of teachers...ESPECIALLY since they hired 1,500 teachers in the past 11 months that were hired on a ONE YEAR FEDERAL GRANT BASIS but they want to keep those teachers without the grant meaning the teachers get a pay cut. In a nut shell, that means that not only Adam would get his 20 percent cut, but he would have to PAY BACK 6 months of his new contract so he wouldn't get a pay check for two months. Fun eh? Let the good times roll. Every penny of the raise of his new contract has gone into savings so if that were to happen--we'd be ok, we'd just have to live off our savings (although I don't know how we would pay for insurance since that comes out of Adam's paycheck). The decision is left up to one lone arbitrator so it's a 50/50 chance right now. We are praying with all our might because I don't know how we are going to be able to survive to be honest, should we take a pay cut and not get a couple months worth of paychecks.

So while I'm pondering these things that have all occurred in the past 5 days (seriously! FIVE DAYS!!!) and I'm bawling my eyes out I decided that I needed to serve someone. I won't go into details of what I did. Lets just say there was a need in the ward, and although I wasn't in a position to do much my "not much" was a lot to this person. I thought of my babies and how they have been able to have everything they need. Not only that but they have always had nice things. We may not have a lot of things but what we do have is all really nice. Serving someone made me feel a lot better about my situations. Also, Adam is a stud. Adam knows that when I get into my little funks he can't do anything about it. They don't last long but I have to work myself out of it and I need space. I told him last night to go to scouts and not come home unless his arms were filled with many pounds of comfort foods, pizza, ice cream, chocolate (he complied).

I'm trying to keep a good perspective but it is difficult to stay positive. I just have to look for more service opportunities.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving with the Turney's

This year I hosted my very first Thanksgiving dinner in my home. It was beautiful! The Turney family came down to Las Vegas to celebrate Paige's blessing and to spend Thanksgiving together. It was a wonderful day.

The food was delicious. I made my very first turkey. Kris kept asking me if I was nervous or if I knew how to make a turkey so I decided to have a little fun with her. I had purchased the turkey the Saturday before, I took it out to thaw early Tuesday morning, and by early Wednesday I had it soaking in a delicious brine (which consisted of things like, lemon juice, orange juice, oranges, jalipinios, cilantro, and tons of other yummy spices). I HAD to mess with my mother in law though, so when they called at 10:30 on Thursday (our dinner was at 1:00) I asked "when should I put the turkey in? At this point it was already cooking and she said that I should already have it in the oven. I told her it was still pretty frozen and I had JUST put it in some brine (two gallons of water and two table spoons taco seasoning). She was stunned and worried for a minute but I started laughing and told her I was joking at that point. It was pretty funny.

Addison and his new wife Amanda stayed with us. I was so happy to have them. I LOVE Amanda and I think we are going to have a lot of fun together over the years. Not only that, but I think we are going to truly become sisters. She is the first person who understands what it is like to become a Turney wife with me.

Hannah had so much fun with her uncles and aunts. If Avery stopped playing with her for two seconds she would tell me, "Mommy make him come to me." When we woke up, instead of calling for mommy and daddy like she usually does she said "Addison, Amanda, I am awake now...the sun is awake, come get me!" Paige was a snuggler to everyone and had a great time being passed from person to person.

We played a couple games, we went to a movie, we went out to eat...It was a lot of fun. Probably the most fun I've had in quite a while with the Turney's and I cannot emphasize enough how happy I am to have Amanda in the family. She really is awesome. I don't know how I've done without her all this time!

Paige's Blessing Weekend

Traditionally, it is the mother’s privilege to take the opportunity to bare her testimony on the day her baby is blessed. Since we didn’t bless Paige on fast and testimony Sunday I’d like to write my testimony out, along with some thoughts I’ve been having.  

This morning, I dressed Paige in her white dress and had a few minutes alone with her. I thought of the brief time she has had on earth, what a joy she is, and what a privilege it is to be her mommy. When I took her to the Dr. for her two month check up, the Dr. asked if she was smiling at Hannah and Adam yet. I told her of course and he said that was good because developmentally, that was where she should be and to expect her to start smiling at people who lived outside our home at about four months. I told him that not only does she smile, but she laughs at everyone, even people who she just meets. She has so much joy inside her already and she has so much love. I also get complements often at her attentiveness, and her ability to hold eye contact and concentrate for a long time. I think Paige is going to be a really great listener, a true friend. I feel angels in our home, guiding me daily to care for, and teach these beautiful daughters of God. Each day, I’m learning a little better how to do so. I am also learning more and more about the nature of our Heavenly Father. I have felt His love in a different, my personal way since becoming a mother. I have a testimony of His divine love for each of us, and his desire for us to obey his commandments so that we can return and live with Him and our family for eternity.

When naming each of our children, we have taken special consideration in the meaning of the name. Hannah Elizabeth came to us in the temple three weeks before she was born and means “Gift from God” and “Promise of God.” Paige was a name that we loved, and I love that it means “Little Servant,” because I like to think of her dedicating her life to the service of God.  “Lily,” means purity and innocence and we chose that name as a variation of Lilian after my Grandmother who is one of our favorite people. I hope, like my Grandma, Paige is a strong and faithful woman, dedicated to the gospel and her family, obedient…but also has a lot of personality and feistiness.
I am grateful for our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I have a testimony that he has been called of God and that he leads our church in righteousness. I feel comfort and peace when he speaks to us. I am grateful for our scriptures, and I’ve loved having the opportunity to share them with Hannah and Paige. Hannah loves the stories of Nephi and tells me “I want to obey Mommy like Nephi.” She will tell me that Nephi was “courageous” and Laman and Lemuel were “both afraid to try.” Although it will be a long time before our family can really get into the doctrine of the scriptures, I know that Hannah can understand what it means to be courageous like Nephi. To me, being a courageous member of the church means to be taking the small and simple steps like family home evening, scripture study, and prayer, attending church, and serving in the temple. We always hear about the “wicked people” in the scriptures like Laman and Lemuel and the bad things they do but I think Hannah understands it really well when she says that they were both afraid to try. Sometimes, we aren’t bad or wicked or whatever the case may be…we are just afraid to try, or too lazy to try, or even something else comes up so we don’t really put in the effort. I know we have all been “too afraid to try,” at some point but I hope that I can try a little harder each day to be a little better and to be courageous in keeping the commandments. That is what I am learning as we make our way slowly and imperfectly through the scriptures.

I have a testimony in the temple. I know that because of the covenants I’ve made, Adam and I can be an eternal family. I am grateful our daughters have been born into that covenant. I hope we can be courageous like Nephi so that we can live up to our sacred covenants. Adam was inspired to invite our families to serve together in the Temple together. He wanted everyone to gather in the place that seals families for eternity and is conducive to the spirit. My heart was full as I sat among three righteous mothers and grandmothers, six faithful priesthood holders, and four faithful sisters. I thought of how fortunate Adam and I were to grow up in your homes. Adam and I were blessed to be raised in the gospel of Jesus Christ by parents who led the way and set the example of being faithful members of the Church. A few Sundays ago, Hannah was acting up in sacrament meeting. I was extremely frustrated and embarrassed at her behavior. I wondered to myself why we even bothered getting our family of four dressed and ready each Sunday to make it to Sacrament meeting at 8:00am since none of us were able to get anything out of the meeting. I got the distinct impression that Heavenly Father was pleased with our efforts to gather as a family in sacrament meeting, and that our job was to get our children to church to build a foundation, and to set the example that each Sunday we follow the commandment to go to church. Adam and I were so blessed to have been given that example.

Finally, I want to share my testimony in Jesus Christ, our savior. I look forward to this Christmas season, to celebrate the life of Christ. One of my very favorite scriptures is 2nd Nephi 25:26 “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” Since becoming a mother I have made it a goal to spend the month of December focusing on Christ and his life so that my children may know to what source they may look, not only for a remission of sins but as an example of love, and faithfulness. I feel my saviors love as I hold my daughters, when I look into their eyes, when my husband takes me to the temple, when I study the scriptures, when we hold family home evening, when I pray in His name. I am grateful for the knowledge of his existence, I am grateful I grew up in a home with parents who talked of Christ, rejoiced in Christ, and preached of Christ so that I came to know Him and who I could turn to in peace. I close my testimony in His name. Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

House Guests

As everyone knows, I live in Las Vegas. Not only is Las Vegas a pretty entertaining place to be (no,'s not just sex, drugs, and gambling...) but for a Utah family who love the beach, and a California family who love the mountains, Las Vegas is also a half way point to these places. This means we have had LOTS of house guests. We love it! We LOVE when people ask to stay with us for a night or two. This is your invitation :)

My cousin Jon is staying with us tomorrow night and I wanted to find out just how many people have stayed in our home passing through or visiting Las Vegas. Here is what I've come up with.

Becky Strong
Joe Strong
C.J. Strong
Jeff Conley
Karen Conley
Matt Conley
Mark Conley
Katilyn Conley
Caroline Conley
Joe England
Laura England
Steve Bean
Suzie Bean
Carlie Bean
Emily Bean
Tiffany Bean
Tyler Bean
Jenny Bean
Maui Bean
Caitlin Fowler
Richard Fowler

As of this week I can also include:
Jon Conley
Amanda Turney

Which means 33 family members have stayed at my home and...

Janalea Olsen
Murray Olsen
Joe's Crew (X6)
Megan Long
Eric Long
Brian Clawson
Kim Clawson
Rosalie Mastaler
Michael Mastaler
Janelle Mastaler
Hunter Mastaler
Josh Rehfeld
Mariella Rehfeld
Rebbeka Rehfeld
David Nelson
Tera Nelson

23 friends

Which means there have been more than 56 people who have spent the night at my house...

And Family and Friends who have VISITED but not spent the night
Randy Whiting
Samantha Whiting
Granma Bea
Granpa Alan
Grandma Phyllis
Grandpa Don
Mike Leger
Caitlin Leger
Cory Nielsen
Lilian Nielsen
Alan Nielsen
Taylor Nielsen
Jacob Nielsen
Michael Nielsen
Archie Marsden
Julie Marsden
Ammanda Marsden
Alyssa Marsden
Aubree Marsden
Marivic Marsden
Kathy England
Richard England
Natalie England
Rich Ensign
Sarah Ensign
Austin Turney
Logan Sampson
Breanna Charles
Brandon Burton
Kelsea Burton
Katie Daniels
Danelle Prestwitch
Brended Prestwitch
Adi Shewell
Gulya (from Russia, I can't recall her last name)
Mindy Cannon (she doesn't really count, she used to live here lol)
 David Loads
Averil Loads
Katie Loads
Jacob Loads


Bringing the grand total of Utah and California visitors to 97 visitors to our home.

That means our 100th guest will get tickets to a show of their choice ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Making Christmas Special

Christmas was always an amazing time of year as a kid. Not just because we got loaded up with awesome new gifts, but because there is just a magical feel in the air. That was the best part about being a kid, having all the fun and no work...

Now as a mom, the best part about Christmas is doing things that make the season special for your kids. This year I bought a special advent calendar for our family, and tucked away in each pocket is an activity. I made special cards  and actually printed out more than 25 activities for each day.

These are the chosen activities. The BEST part is that most of these are ABSOLUTELY freeeeeee!

(In no particular order)
Decorate the tree
Open your special ornament
Watch the Live Nativity at Opportunity Village 
Ride the Santa Train
Write Letters to Santa
Read the Polar Express and Watch the Movie
Read How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Watch the Movie
Read A Christmas Carol Pop up and Watch a Mickey's Christmas Carol
Watch Elf
Go for a Drive to See Christmas Lights
Drink Egg Nog and Listen to your favorite Christmas Music
Turney Family Christmas Party
Do Service for Mommy (my personal favorite :)
Special Nativity Family Night
Much on M&Ms and read a Christmas Poem
Provide a Christmas Service for Friends
Buy Christmas Presents for Family (This year Hannah is going to the dollar store to pick something out for everyone herself)
Cactus Garden Christmas Lights
Make a Christmas Craft to send to Grandparents
Drive to see Grandma and Grandpa (or Nana and Papa on alternating years)
Listen to Grandpa tell his Santa Story
Watch a Christmas Movie on
Live like A Shepherd Family Night
Play with Jingle Bells and learn a new Christmas Song
Indoor Snowball Fight and hot chocolate

If anyone has any more suggestions I'd love to hear them! These will be rotated and changed and we'll try to mix it up (obviously we won't be watching all the movies night after night, probably one a week) but I'm so excited for my advent! For more Christmas ideas check out my CHRISTMAS PINTEREST board. There you can see my pottery barn advent calendar and the indoor snowball fight bucket. Too cute!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Potty at the Park

Today we went to the park. Hannah has a friend named Shepherd who loves her very much. When Hannah left the playground area and was on the sidewalk near the parking lot I ran to bring her back but Shepherd ran ahead and said "Hannah no! Cars are dangerous!" Good to know her friend is looking out for her...and good to know that SOMEDAY the "cars are dangerous" thing sinks in their brain (Shep is 3).

Hannah had three accidents today. She was completely potty trained and I don't know if it has been a power struggle for control but she has decided to stop being potty trained.  It is frustrating. Today as I was spilling my woes to my friends Hannah dropped her pants at the park because she had wet herself. We were all laughing at the irony. Hannah didn't want to leave the park but obviously we had to leave immediately and go home to change. We walked to the park so she had to sit in her potty for 20 minutes or so. I don't know how to reach her. Alicia Dobbins said that she chooses not to pick battles with things that you can't make humans do. You can't MAKE a kid eat. You can't MAKE a kid sleep. You can't MAKE a kid go to the bathroom, but if they don't do these things they have physical consequences. If you don't eat, you are hungry etc. I just need to keep praying and keep being consistent and hope that what I am teaching Hannah about obedience eventually sinks in and that she is a responsible, happy adult.

This quote helped me out today though:  "A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?" From Lynn G. Robbins talk What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be.

Hannah did take a three hour nap which was incredible. Then she woke up and we made Turkey crafts.

Meanwhile, while Hannah napped, Paige and I spent some much needed cuddle time together. I feel like she is growing up too quickly. I've been saying she is 8 weeks for three weeks until I realized that she was 11. Time is marching on too quickly with her it seems.

No matter what, I love my daughters.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My blog is about to get REAL boring =)

I'm going to try to be better at blogging the every day blessings and occurrences in our life. If something noteworthy has happened I'll put a little (*) next to the title, but for now I'm just going to use the blog more like a journal and take a few minutes a couple times a day to blog so here I go during nap time...

Today Hannah showered for one hour. It was a waste of water but she didn't want to get out and I wanted to get ready and fold the laundry in peace.

Today Paige woke up with the biggest smile. Every morning when she sees me for the first time she gives me such a huge grin like "Hey, I know you...where have you been."

Today Hannah said the following hilarious things..
"Mommy I was lost, I break your heart." She got lost in Joann's on Saturday and we've been really trying to emphasize what you do if you get lost, and how sad we would be...I don't remember saying my heart would break but she keeps repeating this so I must have.
"Daddy jump in the airplane, Hannah jump in the airplane too." She saw a picture of Adam skydiving...
"We gotta get daddy's credit card to buy toys." Hannah was in Adam's wallet and found his credit card and he told her we use it to buy toys...I told her Daddy was just teasing her, we really use it for emergencies only and we use money to buy toys. She then told me she wouldn't share her toys with Paige. I told her of course she would.
"We gonna exercise ? I gotta need a bra." I work out to Jillian Michaels every morning, or I go running. Either way I wear a work out bra. She saw me getting ready and so she wanted to wear one too. 

We went to the library today and I realized how big Paige is getting by how well she holds herself up. It made me sad/happy. She is such a snuggler and she cozies on up with me in the baby bijorn wherever we go. 

Hannah has been really into Disney Princesses and can't stop talking about the Dragon on Sleeping Beauty today. Adam brought her Beauty and the Beast from his classroom last night and she wanted to watch it today. When Gaston was fighting with the Beast Hannah kept saying "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!!" She looked like she would cry when the Beast died but had the biggest grin when he changed into a handsome prince. 

Hannah thinks there is an alligator living under her bed after reading the book "There is an Alligator under my bed." She frequently tells me "Mommy there's an alligator under my bed, let my show you hims." We then go upstairs and look under my bed and she "shows" me. I told her she is moving rooms soon and she's worried that the alligator won't go into the purple room. I told her he would. 

Now my girls are napping...I've cleaned the bathrooms and dusted. Adam is making a presentation at school today, he's had a lot of great opportunities to teach teachers and train them on technology and policy. We are hopping this opens doors for him in the near future :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful November

I've been reflecting this month on my blessings, which is easy to do when you spend several hours a day holding a precious baby girl and the other hours living life through the eyes of a two year old. Of course I have many wonderful blessings, most of all my two beautiful daughters who teach me more about my Heavenly Father's love than I ever thought possible and my amazing, supportive husband who is still my best friend and favorite person to be around. Aside from the "regular" blessings on my list I came up with one that I hadn't really thought about, or necessarily counted as a blessing before.

Today on Facebook, a friend of mine from high school posted THIS video. She also made this comment. "I do not watch Glee. I did the first season and made excuses for some of the content because I liked the musical aspect of it. During the second season I realized I was making excuses for a show that was bringing things into my home that I knew were against my values and beliefs. I made the decision to stop watching it. I read on the news what last night's episode was about and I think it is so destructive to teens (and adults) that are watching this show that promotes teen sex like it does. I am speaking out against this show because I think it is destructive and has a hidden agenda. I think it's time to stand up for what I believe in, in a world that seems so distant from my values. Here is a movie of 6 teens from 6 different faiths that have chosen to be sexually pure. These are the kind of people I look up to....NOT the teens portrayed on Glee." 

The episode she was referring to was called "First Time"  and as you can imagine it was about two couples (one heterosexual one homosexual) having sex for the first time. Now I'm not going to get into Glee. I loved Glee the first season. I thought it was awkward the second season. I've seen some of the third season, but I made the decision to give it up completely after hearing what this last episode was about. Not that I'm perfect with the shows I watch, or that sexual content in films, books, and TV really bothers me all that much. My big problem with Glee is that 1) It is targeted to teens who, lets face it, are insecure, or not really sure where they want their life to go...kind of like a plastic bag floating in the wind and that the messages Glee tells them aren't necessarily going to help them much. Then 2) I don't like that Glee tells you it's ok to be gay, straight, drunk, handicap, talented, different, any race, etc. but it is NOT ok to be pure...being pure is old fashioned, outdated, and unrealistic. I think it is important for teens to be given a place to express themselves, to feel loved for whoever they are and for their challenges no matter what, but when you exclude purity, and just being a "good" kid I don't think it's ok. 

ANYWAY. That's not what this post is even about. This post is about the fact that my friend Stacie posted that, and that I realized how lucky and blessed I was to be surrounded by people like Stacie, and my friend Stephanie, and Breanna, and Lisa, and Sarah, and several others that were maybe not necessarily my best friends (more like the school friends that you enjoy spending time with but not a lot of outside of school activities) but people I really respected, who were kind to everyone and accepted everyone for who they were without compromising their own standards. I really hope my daughters are able to be surrounded by people who a) can influence them to be better, the best they can be and b) accept them for their flaws and shortcomings without judgment (because lets face it, I was NOT the perfect person and had a lot of shortcomings). So thanks to those girls who were really a light in my life and helped shape me into a better person. I was lucky to be surrounded by good influences when I wasn't necessarily always on par with where I should have been.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Couch to 5k

My friend Katie and I have decided that even though we have had five babies between the two of us our bodies are awesome and we can push them to do anything. We have decided to try and run a half marathon next fall and we are starting with the Couch to 5k program which, obviously is a program that is supposed to go from lazy butt on the couch to running a 5k. We have completed the first week which is a brisk 5 minute walk then alternating running for 60 seconds, walking for 90 seconds, then a cool down for a total of 31 minutes.

Anyway. It's pretty fun. We will for sure finish the program (which will basically finish by the end of the year and then we are hoping to run a couple of 5k races at the first of the year) and then hopefully we will be strong enough to run the half marathon next fall. Probably in St. George. I saw this picture and thought about us and how good we look when we run...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


See that big nasty tarantula? Yeah, we saw him walking down the street as we were trick or treating. Crazy eh? Hannah had a blast! She was a pro at trick or treating and didn't want to leave the houses. My favorite part was when a guy in a very scary mask came out to pass out candy and she held her ground until she got the candy and then ran away.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


This week I've been potty training Hannah. We started bright and early on Tuesday morning when we took her remaining few diapers and ceremoniously tossed them into the trash can, waving goodbye and singing "no more stinky diapers." I read an e-book called "Three Day Potty Training" and followed it pretty perfectly. Basically you just give your child lots and lots and LOTS of fluids, then you wait for them to have an accident. As soon as they start to have an accident you RUN them to the bathroom and try to have them finish on the toilet. This is what you do, confined in your home for three days going nowhere. That's the gist of it. It was a horrible three days. By the end of day 3 I was about ready to pull my hair out, drive to the e-book's authors home, and burn down her house. Miraculously, After Hannah had gone to bed on the third night I heard her get up and knock on her door. I opened the door and Hannah ran past me to get on the toilet and go. It's now been three days AFTER the three day potty training, and while I'm sure we still have a ways to go, Hannah has woken up dry every morning since Wednesday (we don't use pull ups...they are expensive and supposedly lengthen the process...?) , and has only had two accidents since Thursday afternoon. We are progressing a lot.

It has had me thinking a lot though. This is seriously the hardest thing I've done as a parent to date. Even harder than when Hannah went in for surgery, because I know how difficult and frustrating it has been for her. She gets impatient with herself. I have to be kind and patient to her.

Being a parent is difficult. Today it's potty training, and before I know it, we'll be teaching her how to drive. Not only the physical lessons, but the emotional lessons as well. Today in Relief Society we were learning about how to be "Guardians of Virtue." I sat back thinking about our standards and what I'll need to teach my daughters, and felt super overwhelmed.

Recently, a good friend of mine gave me parenting advice. It was unsolicited, and actually stung quite a bit. While I know she was probably TRULY trying to help me with my strong willed two year old because Hannah really is strong willed (she has started to say "ouch, don't hurt me..." while I reprehend her, even if I'm not even touching her) and I know this. I know she disobeys and it is a physical and emotional struggle. There are constant power struggles going on between Hannah and I. The friend actually used the words "You need to discipline her. She has much too much freedom." I wanted to scream and shout "I DO! I have tried everything! I take toys away, I talk, I admonish, I yell, I scream, I spank, I take privileges away, I am consistent!!!" It came on a day that I was already feeling like a bad mother...then low and behold, someone else noticed that I was a bad mother too. I went home and bawled for hours. I know this person didn't mean to make me feel that way. I am not even upset at the things that were said to me. I just think...if you aren't in my home, if you don't know my child, you have no idea what is going on and the struggle I go through.

Hannah is strong willed. She is also very smart. I don't know any other two year old who can recognize not only every letter in the alphabet, but also match their phonetic sounds. She can count up to 30. She knows her birthday is "Juwy twenty seben" and Mommy's birthday is "October ten." She's memorized books and not just Goodnight Moon but also The Cat in the Hat. After watching Pinocchio, she asked "Mommy, you are Hannah's conscience?" She knows that "Gwandma and Gwandpa live in Utah with Sean and Meggie and Lizzy" and "Nana and Papa are in California and have doggies." She knows that "Hannah lives in Las Vegas Nevada." She also knows what she wants, when she wants it, and she rebels against me...and tries to trick me.

Parenting is hard. It is exhausting. Between Hannah, and Paige (mostly Paige) I haven't slept through the night since July and that is hard. I'm tired.

What is the hardest part of parenting for you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Name That Disney and or Pixar Film

Hannah and I have been really into play-doh lately. Her favorite things to make are babies, alligators, and snakes. All of which look pretty much the same, the only difference is what she assigns them to be in that moment. My favorite thing to do is make a shape and tell her to guess what movie. She is awesome at guessing. I'm particularly proud of her assessment of one of my creations. I challenge you all to guess (some are very obvious...maybe they all are and I am underestimating my abilities...) what movie my creation is from.

Monday, October 10, 2011


The first thing  Adam said was "I can't wait to do it again." Ummmm....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Birthday?

Today (October 9th 2011) in Mesquite Nevada, a 70 year old first time Skydiver and her tandem partner died while skydiving.

Tomorrow (October 10th, 2011) Adam and his best friend David are going skydiving in Las Vegas to celebrate Adam's 30th birthday.

I am freaking out.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy SURPRISE! Birthday!

Last night I threw a TOTALLY AWESOME surprise party for Adam. I've been planning it for months. To celebrate his monumental 30, I invited our friends to an 80s surprise party.

Adam thought we were going to drop off our girls at a friends house to babysit so we could go to Blue Man Group on a date. I had to pick a show I knew he wouldn't be disappointed to miss out on once he found out we were STAYING at our friends house hee hee! We walked in and Adam saw a bunch of kids hiding and thought "Wow, Kristen has a full house tonight, I hope Paige is going to be ok!" Then all the kids and adults jumped out and shouted SURPRISE!

We had a lot of good sports dress up in 80s clothes. Obviously I had to change once we got to the party, I couldn't go around looking like I was from the 80s. I also bought Adam a vintage Xmen shirt (which represented him in the 80s). We had pizza and soda and lots and lots of vintage 80s candy. It was aaawesome.

I'm so glad I could pull off that surprise (he was completely surprised) and that we could celebrate Adam's big 3-0.