Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trip to Victoria, BC

For my birthday Dan and I took a trip to Victoria, BC. My mom came up from Boise with my little sister and they stayed and watched the kids for us. It was very nice to have some alone time together and have a chance to relax. This is a picture of Dan and I on our ferry boat ride up to Victoria. It was a lot like riding a city bus except your seat were in sets of 3 and you faced the other passengers with a table in between. So it was a lot like sitting at a booth in a restaurant, except you got your own individual chair. It took us about 3 hours to get there and we met some interesting people along the way.

This is my first ever customs paper! This was my first time out of the country and hopefully not the last.
Our hotel was great! We stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point which was about a 2 minute walk from the ferry docks. We were able to check in early since we upgraded to a better room that was all ready to go; So we didn't have to lug our bags around with us at all, which was nice. The room was very nice and my favorite part was the bathroom. It was floor to ceiling marble tile with a large soaker tub and more bottles of soap, lotions, and creams than I have ever seen in a hotel room at one time. There were even bath salts and an exfoliating mitt. Another great plus was the bathrobes. They were absolutely heavenly! So so so soft! I wished I could have brought one of those babies home with me. In the end we didn't even have to pay for the upgrade! When we went to check out of the hotel at the end of our stay we noticed they hadn't charged us for the upgrade so we mentioned it to them. In the end they ended up giving it to us for FREE! I guess it pays to be honest "EH"
We had a king sized bed and get this! We were able to sleep snore free! Maybe all Dan needs is a new pillow. It was very comfy.

Our room had a nice balcony and view of the harbor and of the hotel's Japanese gardens. It was great!
We saw lots of sea planes while we were there too. They were constantly coming into the harbor.
There were a bunch of these little trolly boats that took people from one side of the harbor to the other so they didn't have to walk all that way. Aren't they the cutest little things!
We thought it was pretty funny going out to eat at McDonalds. They had what was called a "double big mac." How crazy is that! They didn't taste anything like our regular big macs either. Believe me, we tried one just so we could say we did it.

The highlight of our trip was probably our trip to Adrena Line Ziplines. It was sooo fun! They took us for a 10 minute ATV ride up to the top and we ziplined our way back down on 8 different lines and 2 suspension bridges. It was snowing while we were up there in the tops of the trees so it was pretty cold, but fun none the less. I took a short video of myself going down one of the lines. I hope to get that posted as well.

We also made our way to the famous Buchart Gardens. They were beautiful! We were still there in the off season so not everything was in bloom yet but it was still very pretty. If we ever go again we'll have to plan it for 2 to 3 months later in the year so we can see the rose gardens in bloom.
While we were there it rained a bit but the park had umbrellas everywhere for their visitors. They made for nice photo props too I thought.
On our last day in Victoria we went to the Royal BC museum. It was pretty fascinating. We learned a lot and the exibits were sooo well done! They put the tiniest details into the displays that they didn't look fake or staged at all. Check out the fish market picture below and you'll see what I mean.

After the museum we had planned on taking a walk to another nice park in downtown Victoria but we ran out of time before we had to make our ferry so we took pictures in front of the museum instead. We had our tripod along and I wanted to get some cute couple shots. I think they turned out pretty nice.

Then we headed back to Seattle. The weather was beautiful! I got some shots of the water from the deck of the ferry and a shot or two of some nearby sail boats.
We had lots of fun and hope to do something like this again in the future. When we arrived back in Seattle we got stuck in line for awhile. We soon learned the reason was because someone was arrested and escorted in handcuffs. We watched as they escorted her out. It was interesting and we wish we knew the whole story of why.
Thanks mom and Kayla for staying with the kids! I know they had a lot of fun with you and I am sure you had fun spoiling them as well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Full Heart

I have been thinking a lot lately. I am not very good with words but I will try to say what I feel. Have you ever had so many feelings inside that you wish you could tell them to everyone and they'd know exactly what you meant because when you told them they could feel it too? Well that is what I have felt like recently. I feel like I could burst!

I am soooo blessed in my life. I see others around me who don't have what I do and wish I could hand it over. But the one thing I am most thankful for in my life is my testimony of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful of the knowledge that I have of him and his plan for us. I often wonder what my life would be like and where I'd be without knowing that I will one day be with him again. I know that one day I will too see other members of my family that have passed on. Life would be so sad and uncertain if I didn't believe that. I know everything in life has a purpose. Have you ever wondered what might have happened differently if you made a different choice than what you actually did at one point in time? I know I have. But I also know that what has happened, and what is to come, is more exciting and wonderful than I can even know now. I know my Heavenly Father loves me, and that he has a plan for me. I know that his Son Jesus Christ came to this earth and that he suffered and died for me. To know that someone was willing to do that for me is humbling and touches me deeply. It makes me want to do my best in this life to make that sacrifice worth the effort. I know the scriptures to be true and they are a blessing in my life. I love my family and look forward to spending all eternity with them. I have so much in my heart that I wish I could write.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Where's your smile?

I have the nursery manual that has all the lessons in it that they already do in Nursery but we use it for our FHE lessons since it focuses more on Kiera's age and comprehension level.
This Monday we did the lesson on being happy. We talked about how when we see people smile it makes us happy and when others see us smile we can make them happy. We sang "if you chance to meet a frown..." and "if you're happy and you know it.." Then it was time to pray. Kiera wasn't cooperating and was whining and pouting so I reminded her what our lesson was on.
I asked her where her smile was. She still pouted...then I asked her if it was in her pocket. Still no answer....I said Kiera where is your smile (trying to get her to smile) She said, "in my teeth" That was pretty funny. Then I said, "let me see it. Where is your smile? Can you find it?" She said, "no it's in my pocket" It was soo cute that Dan and I started laughing. I then went up to her and reached in her pocket, pulled her smile out and placed it on her mouth, and TA DA she was smiling from ear to ear! " I found my smile!", she exclaimed. We were then able to say the closing prayer and everyone was happy.
Ever since then she tells us "I found my smile!" And shows us her smile and we tell her that it makes us sooo happy. I think it was a success. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Letter from my Mother

Dear Brittany—

I’m thinking about you today as you are so far from home. I keep going over things in my mind. I have had your lifetime to prepare for this time, sometimes wanting it to come quickly and sometimes hoping it would never come. Most of the time though, I have been preparing myself and preparing you, by madly gathering life’s questions and answers in the hope that I haven’t forgotten anything. I keep revising the list inside my head; checking off all the things I know I’ve already told you – so many times. Protecting you and preparing you has been such a big part of who I am – it’s hard to redefine myself and accept that my job is done.

I remind myself that this is about you, but as usual, here I am making it about me again. Slightly neurotic, I find myself wanting to explain or apologize or gain some kind of forgiveness from you. I want to go back into your history and call myself to your attention and wipe the slate clean of all my mistakes. I do admit that I have been less than I should have been at times, and I don’t want you thinking it was your fault or that you didn’t deserve better. Yeah, yeah, I hear you say ‘Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter”.

I have such an urge to tell you of promises I made, as you slept below my heart all those years ago. So very real and profound to me, and so intense I’m sure I’d weep if I even tried to tell you. You of course, would shift from one leg to the other and endure my disclosure with patience.

Pictures of first steps, first words and first everything else’s consume me—Tooth fairies, Santa Claus and Easter bunnies, little trophies, wall posters, art projects, dress-up clothes, and Lego buildings. I’m indulging myself, it’s my prerogative. I want to reminisce. I’m going back to the baby and you are going forward to the woman. You have freedom, independence and adventure on your mind. I know you are ready; capable, competent and smarter than I’ll ever be.

My attitude shifts as I accept that you don’t need any precautions, no more moralizing; no more “You know what you should do…” And even though I have represented myself as parent and teacher, I see so clearly that I have also been the pupil. I have learned so much from you, you have played such a large part in molding me into the person I am. You have taught me well and I thank you.

I love you with all of my heart!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Joys of Potty Training

I told a few of you the other day that I was working on potty training with Kiera. I had made a skirt for Kiera and you've already seen the post of that but the next day I thought it might be fun to give Kiera some incentive for using the potty. I made a matching skirt and hair bow for one of her teddy bears (who is now called Sarah). I let Kiera open her surprise when she got up that morning and told her that we would set the timer and every time the timer went off it was her job to take Sarah to the potty. Then Sarah would get a sticker (which Kiera gladly put on our potty chart on the back of the bathroom door). All morning and up until nap time Kiera loved her new responsibility. She would get so excited and would stop whatever she was doing to run her new friend to the bathroom. Then it was time for naps.
The other part of the plan would take place when she got up. When Kiera got up I told her it was her turn to go to the potty when the timer went off. She happily did so, but only once! All the other times that I tried to get her to go, she would refuse and throw a fit. So since then we have gradually tried to get her excited again. Every once in awhile she'll ask to go on the potty but we haven't had any luck yet. She does however haul her "Sarah Bear" everywhere and she loves to wear her skirt around during the day (we usually end up putting it on over her pants). What are some things you've done to potty train your little ones?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My first giveaway.

My first giveaway! The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For YOU! I saw this on a blog and I thought, "hmm, in my attempt at being a better person, why not do a little service for friends and loved ones." This is going to be fun and I can't wait to start some new projects. It must be something to do with spring because once the sun comes out I all of the sudden get this huge urge to take on tons of new projects. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations: 1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make! 2. What I create will be just for you. 3. It'll be done this year. Hopefully sooner than later. 4. You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be sewn, painted, written, scrapbooky, or be something totally random that I come up with on a whim. I may even bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure! 5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange. The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must re-post this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog. And you have until 2:00 p.m. on March 16th. Let's spread some love! So, the first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they are doing it too win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me! (I know...that could either be cool or scary) Who knows! :)Be sure to post pictures of what you won when you recieve it! :) I thought this sounded like a pretty neat idea!

Ok, let's get in the crafting spirit! Leave me a comment telling me that you're going to do it too. The first five get something amazing from me!

A good thing to think about.

I found this quote today and I fell in love with it. "As a stay-at-home mom, I often do the same things over and over: I empty the dishwasher. I sort the laundry. I cook the mac n cheese. Everyday. And in all of those moments that seem so mundane, I have lots and lots of Moments of Meaning. Often with my kids or my husband, or a friend. That's what makes me not just an ordinary mom, but an everyday MOM (Moments of Meaning) mom. I add a little of my job skills to my life as a mom by trying to create order in our often chaotic lives. I know that my work DOES matter because I'm doing the job God gave me to do."
Sometimes we all need that little reminder of why we mothers do what we do. Thanks everyday mom!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The things kids will do for fun

The other day I was sitting on the couch just watching the kids play and I got a video of them playing with, not the toys, but the toy bin. Watch and enjoy. I thought it was fun. Ethan is so patient with Kiera too. I don't know how I'd handle being sat on.

Chugga chugga choo choo

And the little one said roll over...

Ethan videos

I finally got around to uploading a couple of my videos. These two are of Ethan and his amazing mobility. Click on the links to watch them and let me know what you think. I know I am probably the most impressed, but I thought I'd share anyway.

Ethan and his pushcart

My little climber

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What are we supposed to learn?

So what are some things we are supposed to learn from this? I am sure many of you have asked the same question when something goes another way than what you've planned. I heard the other day from a very wise man (my husband), "being ok, and having what we want, aren't always the same." Things will work out, it just may not be how we wanted it to.

I have had some time lately to sit and think about this question. So what are we supposed to be learning from all this? I know many people who have lost their jobs some are friends and others are close family. Many more people are being affected by the economy. It is scary to watch and it is stressful to about. These are really hard times. It makes me wonder what we are all supposed to be learning from this. Maybe it is Gods way of telling us we need to pull together more. Maybe he's telling us to focus on the more important things in life. Whatever it is, I know the experience may be hard but we'll pull through it somehow.

I'd like to hear from any of you who are experiencing similar trials. What have you learned or what are you learning?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring Time and Cute Frills

I had a project this weekend that I started after church on Sunday. I bought some really cute springy fabric at Goodwill on Friday and it only cost me .99 cents! I didn't have a pattern so I used a couple of examples online to get the general idea. I think it turned out really cute! Kiera was really excited when I finished. She wanted to put it on right then and there. She was really cute! She said, "Wow" (sort of in a loud lion growl) and then whispered, "that is so beautiful." It was so sweet! I let her put it on and right away she started spinning. It is a great skirt for twirling! Ethan just sat and watched her. It was a little difficult to get some still shots of her but I did manage a couple from behind. Ethan was too cute not to take a picture either so I have one of his cute little grin. You can tell I had been working on it all this morning too because Ethan is still in his PJ's.

Thinking back

I have a friend whose blog I read faithfully and her latest post convinced me to write about my past a little bit. Isn't it funny how we give names to things and in a way believe they are alive?
I did name my car once. I thought it was silly to have a name for a car and that only silly, obsessed men named their cars. But in high school it was no question that my car deserved a name. I had an old '76 Dodge Aspen that was painted maroon. You know the kind built like a tank and made of real metal.
It came with an AM radio and a broken drivers seat. So my mom and I fixed it up to make it suitable for a high school seniors pride. We put in an updated AM/FM radio (woohoo!) and fixed the drivers seat by putting an old camping foam pad over the top and buying some seat covers. We even updated the outside by replacing the old rusty hubcaps with some cheap plastic ones from WalMart. Pretty pathetic by today's standards but to me it was a "cool" car. Besides I had a car to call mine and that was worth it all by itself.
It used to be my grandmas car and she sold it to my parents who in turn let me drive it. I dubbed him "Forest" He never stopped running! He had his quirks and hiccups every once in awhile but he kept on going. Notice I gave it a boys name instead of the usual girls name.

Productive Weekend

This weekend turned out to be very productive. Dan's parents came up for a short visit and brought with them 40 lbs of chicken so we could add to our food storage. We got a pretty good deal on it. So this weekend his parents helped me to can some of that chicken. I got 20 pints done. I am very happy to have this done. Getting prepared does give you a sense of security. I took a picture of one of the shelves in our pantry because it was just too colorful not too! From left to right we have raspberry syrups and jams (they are sort of hidden but they are ther under the boxes of pasta), canned tomatos, tomato sauce, green beans, peaches, pears, and last but not least chicken. It feels so good to open the pantry up and see all the pretty colors. Thanks Bob and Shellie for your help with the chicken and for sharing some of you green beans with us!

While Dan's parents were here the DVD shelf finally recieved its doors. While Dan and his dad were attaching the doors they had to countersink some extra screws in the side to put the shelf together a little more and fill in the gaps. I will say I was a bit disappointed and was frustrated that I couldn't check this project off my list. I now have to go back and touch up the putty holes on the sides. Grrrrr. I hope it looks ok when I am done. We will have permanent circular spots on the side now. Hopefully Dan will let me put a piece of skinny trim on to cover them up if it doesn't work out. But other than that I am very happy with how it turned out. Oh yes and nobody enjoys the little white ornament hanging on the front more than I do. No more picking up the movies over and over!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

stretched to the max

Have you ever had one of those days where you just couldn't take it anymore? It felt like if it would have lasted one more second you were going to burst? Well for me today was one of those days. I don't usually complain and I know I whine too much but today is a day that I am calling the waaambulance. I am definitely learning patience these next few weeks. Taking on three toddlers is a huge thing for me. Some people make it look so easy! One of the mothers of whose child I watch included! Thankfully I ended up being short one since Ethan was feeling under the weather.
I am learning patience and flexibility. These next few weeks are going to make me stretch a little. I am taking on new tasks and will try to see what I am to learn from them. Hopefully I get it right.

Some of you are probably thinking, "why is she writing this?" Well, its as simple as this...I want my children to know that I am human too and I am not perfect. I am here to learn too. I think too often adults try to cover up their flaws and expect the children to live up to the half truths. It is hard to admit you need to work on certain character traits, and I think it is good for the children to see an adult admit those things and try to change them instead of thinking they are perfect all the time. I am not perfect and I do need to work on my flexibility and patience. I am used to order, or at least that is what I strive for and that is just not possible with 3 toddlers. How do some of you do it?!

I am so thankful for my husband, in that he can usually tell when I am getting to the breaking point and will take over. When he got home I was able to escape to the gym to work my exhaustion and stress off from my long day. Thanks love, I really needed that.

whew... Enough whining now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What is it about sawdust, a brush, and these two hands?

So today I put the last coat of stain on the cabinet doors. They look absolutely amazing! I can't wait to put them on tomorrow!

So I know there are many out there who don't have a clue what to do when it comes to staining furniture. But let me tell you, I was no expert either. I learned by doing. My first project was when I was about 15 or 16 and I wanted to refinish my bright pink dresser! Yes... it was bright pink and it was complete with blue puff paint (the kind you used to decorate t-shirts in the 80's) and that was around some fabric hearts that were glued on. Believe me.. it was hideous! My mom got it from a yard sale somewhere, and it had a matching night stand and toy box to go with it. But one mans trash is another mans treasure. Or at least we'd hoped.

So began my project. I started with the toy box, then the night stand and finally the dresser. It was a lot of work! I took off what seemed like 50 layers of different colored paint. First pink, then lime green, then gray...and on and on. It took some major sweat and blisters to get it down to the bare wood. I also learned that when you are using stripper chemicals that it isn't a good idea to do it in direct sunlight. You need to be in the shade or your chemical dries up and does no good at getting the paint off. By the time I finished stripping the night stand, and toy box I was pretty tired. But I still need to finish the dresser. I got most of it cleared up but something happened in my life that kept me occupied and I didn't have time for it anymore. We moved houses, I started at a new high school, and I got a job. I knew it would be awhile before I could focus my attention on the neglected dresser again.

Weeks, Months, and even years went by and eventually, the still unfinished dresser followed me into marriage. It looked awful but it worked for what we needed it for. Today I don't know where it ended up. When we graduated from college we sold the dresser because we didn't have room for it. Maybe today it is repainted with yet another coat of what I tried so desperately to get rid of, or some loving soul gave it to a new life with a beautiful stain.

After that, I found a new love. Starting from scratch! My husband built me a bookshelf with a cabinet on the bottom for Mother's Day. We built it together in a dark, moldy, basement on an unlevel floor. We could hardly see what we were doing but when we finally brought it out into the sunlight so we could carry it up the steps to the front door we were very pleased. From then on Dan and I have been trying to come up with other projects to work on to add to our collection of furniture. So far we have built a bed, (yes, Dan built a bed! complete with four drawers underneath) a dvd shelf, a rocking horse, and a kids table and chairs.

We are planning on building a coffee table for the living room, and maybe a cedar chest with a rounded top. There is something about creating something all your own and seeing it from start to finish that gives you such a sense of accomplishment and pride. We were meant to be creators.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Soon to be Walking...

Ethan is soon to be walking. I meant to post this video earlier but it wasn't loading right. Hopefully this time it works. Thanks to all of you who leave comments on the blog. I appreciate the feedback and love hearing from everyone!

Click below to see the video

Soon to be Walking Video

Cabinet Doors

Why is it that as soon as you are sure you have baby proofed everything possible, they figure out how to get into something else?

Ok, so I knew I was asking for trouble when we put the movies on an open faced shelf, and I knew we needed to get the door for it put on as soon as possible. But now I have finally had it. I am tired of picking up the movies 5+ times a day that the kids have strewn all over the house. And now Ethan has figured out how to open the movie cases; it is definitely time to do something about this.

That is why on Saturday Dan and I started (or I should say continued progress) on the cabinet doors. We built a DVD/movie shelf for the living room and we were originally going to just stain two 1X6 boards, add some hinges and hardware, and call it good but it just didn't look finished. It looked more like a tall skinny box. The door faces needed some pizaaz.

So on Saturday I took a white grease pencil and drew the lines of the design I wanted and then Dan followed them with our RotoZip/router. It is going to look fabulous! Dan says it reminds him of some of the woodwork you find in the Portland Temple. I will admit it probably isn't as well done as that, but for a first try it does look very nice. I put the first coat of stain on them today and it is now drying in the garage. One more coat and we should be all set!