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.