Blink and You'll Miss It

*please excuse the awesome picture, someday our kids will be more cooperative... at least that's what people tell me*

We have had a very full/busy/fun Christmas season.
It was great to visit with family and friends and enjoy the break from our everyday routines.
My favorite part of Christmas might have been church on Sunday though, more specifically our Relief Society lesson. Wow. It was from Neil L. Andersen's conference talk Tell Me the Stories of Jesus. What a perfect lesson for the Sunday after Christmas. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the Savior's life, mission, crucifixion and resurrection and ponder what it is that I am supposed to teach my own children about Him. We discussed the significance of His humble birth, how we can teach our children from just a few verses that we don't have to have everything in order to create a purposeful life. It was a great reminder that when the world says more is better, Christ taught and really exemplified the opposite, less really is more.
This Christmas for our family was a good one, probably because we had the means to really say "thank you" to some of the people in our lives who deserve it most, and also "pay it forward" in a few ways that felt way better than receiving any of our own gifts. Last year felt heavy and this year we were able to lift that heaviness from some others, and that is what has made this Christmas so special for Steve and I.
The other thing that made it so great was our kids. Wow. They were so much fun on Christmas morning- they even took off upstairs to go play with a few things in the middle of opening presents, so Steve and I got to open ours in peace!
It was fun to see them so happy and to watch Brynlee get so excited about everything because she saw her big sister so excited. I am all about positive peer pressure!
There's something so special about knowing that at Christmas, we get to enjoy these little slice's of heaven, I'm already looking forward to next Christmas!


Christmas is Almost Here!

Really wanting to post pictures of my decorations/kids/baking etc... curse Kalea and her need to chew things. A new camera cord is probably on it's way to me in the next 24hrs :) Joy...
So Christmas is coming and this year I am SO excited. I am pretty sure that Steve is slightly annoyed at my level of excitement, but I just get SO SO SO excited at this time of the year. This year I have a few reasons
#1: We can actually afford Christmas presents for us and others this year, not that gifts are super important, but it's really nice to not have to worry about money at this time of the year.
#2: Steve let me get my very first and very own beautiful new pre-lit tree and gave up on his dream of a real one- at least for this year :)
#3: I have found an amazing sugar cookie and icing recipe this year, and I gave most of them away! Maintaining weight loss makes me excited too :)
#4: We don't have any newborns/infants this year which means we are getting infinitely more sleep in the days leading up to Christmas- even with the kids teething and/or having colds, and are therefore having a lot more fun!
#5: We are leaving on vacation in T minus 12 days! Is there such a thing as "The 12 Days Before Vacation"? I think there should be, hmmm...
#6: Kalea is really on her way to potty training. She might already be potty trained if it weren't for the hectic-ness of this time of the year and the fact that I have so little motivation to be consistent when I'm running in 10 different directions, but she is doing great to remind me! Ha and of course what is Kalea potty training without a funny story? Our home teachers came over last night and Kalea amused herself by coming up and downstairs a million times- once in a completely new outfit. She was also blowing kisses over her shoulder at the guys on her way up the stairs- evil girl. Anywho, we put a movie on for her so that she would stay out of our stuff and maybe not come up and down the stairs so much. So when the guys left I went upstairs to find her sitting in front of the tv on her potty. She was so proud of herself "Mommy I potty!" and all that jazz... I was proud too, although I was also a little sullen, for this child doesn't ever use the little potty and the bucket that catches urine/feces was downstairs where the little potty used to be. She basically pee'd on the floor, but had a spot to sit while she did it, grrrrrreat :) But yay, she used the little potty!
See, so much to be excited about!



This weekend we went up to Edmonton to see family and friends. I took my camera because I thought "Oh I will for sure get a picture of all us girls this time"... So I got pictures of 2 of our kids dancing instead. Judging from the joyful expressions, you can only imagine how happy I was to be around "my girls" again. It is weird to think that most of us have known each other since the age Kalea and Avery are now... It was SO fun to see most everyone and their kids and talk about all the craziness that is life now, and reminisce about all the fun we had. So that was my Saturday morning/early afternoon...
Friday night was my night out with Becky, Olivia and Cassie. Holy laugh fest! My abs were aching like I had consistently done a million sit-ups with no break, it hurt SO bad but it felt SO good :P We went out to Tokyo Express pretty much just like we used to before dances or at least once a weekend. I'm sure all the staff were wondering what was wrong with us crazy white girls, but it was such a blast! The best part of the conversation had to be when we were all kind of wondering out loud why we liked certain boys so much? Really, what was so great about so-and-so anyway? LOL It was so SO funny! We also talked about kids of course, and Cassie and I shared the "horror" of life with TWO not just one! Ha, sorry girls!
As a family we enjoyed time with Steve's Oma and Opa Behr, Wilf & Cindy's clan, a little visit with Serena and Jesse et al, and the Liberty Christmas Party, along with Advent at Cam and Cassie's on Sunday night. To say the weekend was jam-packed would be a HUGE understatement. It was fun, but I was exhausted by the end of it.
Our trip up couldn't have come at a better time though, this time of the year always makes me miss those faces that are so much a part of my past and hopefully still a huge part of my future. I am SO thankful for this family of friends that I have and cannot wait for our next "reunion".


3 Hi-lites of the Day

#1: A conversation with myself, because we all know my kids don't/can't really answer me.
"Kalea, why are you naked? Brynlee, why are you naked? Where did your diapers go? Who pooped?" blank stares...."Kalea do you need to go potty? Brynlee why is there poop on your bum? Oh you're the one that pooped" etc...

#2: Kalea "grooming" and thus making my day "interesting".
"Mommy? Mommy? Mom?" "Yes, Kalea" "Mom, here now" up the stairs I go to find my 2 year old in the bathroom doorway holding Daddy's very nice/new/fully charged razor in hand and crying whilst holding her girly parts saying "Mommy? Owwwww, hurt!"

#3: Upon my return from Christmas shopping.
Wow, our house feels super warm tonight, I wonder how the basement feels? I walk downstairs and the basement is more like a furnace room. Hmmm, interesting... I go upstairs to grab something to eat and check the thermostat... "Steeeeeeeeve?" "What?" "Were you aware that the thermostat is set to 32?!?!?" awkward silence "Steeeeeeven?" "Ummmmmmmm, maybe?"

And that boys and girls is the story of my life.


Weak Sauce & Other Random Tidbits

First, I did not get to complete Round #1 of my diet :( I was so sick I could hardly move last week. Steve took Kalea out and about for a few days and left me home with Brynlee- which was so fun for her- but there was one day where I quite literally could barely lift her out of her crib and ended up practically sliding down the stairs because I had about zero energy to walk down them. She laughed the whole way down. Good times. Anyways, the weight is staying off and it feels good to be eating more normal foods, although definitely not in the portions I was before. So we can call that a success I guess.
Second, Steve and I are venturing out to start our Bikram yoga this week. Yes that's the "hot" yoga. I think I am going to like it, if only for the fact that it will mean I get a regularly scheduled shower after each class :)
Third, Kalea told me that she loved me, unprompted for the very first time the other day. This was before she absolutely destroyed the basement and got in mega trouble, but I'll take it. She said it so happily, and made sure to yell "MOM" at the end. I even cried when I told Steve about it because some days I just feel like nothing is getting into her head, but I guess it is! Success again!
Fourth, Brynlee is so stinkin' cute I can hardly stand it. She is definitely a lovey dovey sap and loves to walk over to me and just put her head down on my lap. She is my cuddly girl and if I'm sitting on the floor, she is usually sitting with me. Bryn loves books and hearing her own voice, she quite frequently takes a book that I've just finished reading and will "read" it back to me in her own jibberish.
Fifth, Steve bought me a Christmas tree last week and we put Christmas up. I love it and it made me forget about being sick for a little bit. Christmas decorations are just so cheerful and the girls absolutely love all the lights and decorations, it makes me never want to take them down! I thought the sooner we got everything up, the sooner they'd get used to it and leave the ornaments alone, etc... It has worked! Once a day both girls have a moment of "ooh the tree" and shake a few ornaments/branches, but that's it. I just explain what it is and to only touch and then they get bored and move along. Thank goodness!


Tradition? I guess if you do it twice...

Brynlee finally joined Kalea's exclusive "Ears pierced" club yesterday. I really should've gotten a picture of Kalea watching, she was very concerned about the whole thing. All day she said things like "Nee nee kay?" or "Nee nee hurt?" and we'd have to assure her that, yes Brynlee is okay, and no she isn't hurt. In fact, she cried way LESS than Kalea did when she had hers done and hasn't touched her ears since. Prior to the piercing of her ears, Brynlee was able to meet Santa at the mall, she loved "oooo-ing" at all the fun decorations that they have along the pathway to greet Santa. I feel like she's the smartest one year old on the planet, today I showed her the picture we have of her and Santa and I asked her who's in the picture and she very happily said "San ta!" So clearly she wasn't too emotionally traumatized by the events of the day, she can't even name the females with the earring guns... LOL Oh and I think the closest Kalea came to Santa was glancing at him from behind the photographer, on the bright side, she wasn't afraid of Mrs.Claus, who quite frankly I found a wee bit frightening :S


I Do Mom Stuff...

So today whilst going about my daily routines I realized something that maybe I should've noticed a while ago, but I was probably in denial... I do mom stuff!?!? No seriously, let me explain. I have weird little routines/rituals that I do every day, that in my mind, help me get through the day relatively unscathed. Case in point, I heard Brynlee get up from her morning nap, so I get her sippy ready, run upstairs, bypass her bedroom for a quick potty break of my own, then retrieve her from her bed come downstairs, give her the sippy and voila, happiness abounds. Later in the routine of things I realize it's going to be naptime soon, so I run upstairs first to Kalea's room to fix her blankets, then to the bathroom- yes I pee'd twice today(!) then to Brynlee's room to fix her blankets and turn on the heater so her room is toasty warm for her afternoon nap. I even do dishes in a specific order now because I find grease sticks to plastic kid dishes, so I do the kids stuff separate from the big people dishes! Isn't that funny? I think it's so hilarious, because I'm really not this person, I swear!!! When did I become this person?! And as I sit here writing this I find myself wondering, what was my routine like before kids? What little routines did I have then... Oh right, none... BORING! Today I am realizing that not only have these kids brought a lot of craziness to my life, but they've kind've MADE my life. Good for them! Yay kids!


The Age of No & Go Away

Oh parenting...sigh...
Kalea is using her words a lot more these days. She's a slow talker, but we'll attribute that to her attachment to her soother. She is learning to take it out when she needs to talk. Although I'm not sure it was such a good idea to teach her that because now we have entered scary territory. I don't know if it's just because she's been stuck inside with me all week or what, but it feels like it's her "time of the month" or something! Talk about attitude! If I ask her any question she answers "No", and if I ask her a question like "Kalea are you hungry, would you like some dinner?" she responds, "No! Sure!" "Kalea do you want to watch a show?" "No, ya sure!" Maybe she's just confused about how to answer in the affirmative without the negative? As if... She's also telling me to "Go Away!" at least 2-3 times a day. Which I can totally relate to, because, quite frankly I wish I could tell her that sometimes. But what I don't understand is why she will yell my name forever, I'll respond and after about 2 minutes she's telling me to go away... UGH!
Moving right along... She has made a little potty progress this week. As in she has made a concerted effort to let me know she has gone in her diaper and needs it changed, and she's even gone to the potty a few times. She's starting to not want to wear her diaper anymore, either, so hopefully this time she's actually "ready". We'll see. It would be awesome to have her out of diapers in the new year...
In other news... I have been SO sick for a few days. It seems like since I've been married I don't just get sick I get REALLY sick. It is so strange and so annoying. I thought my head was going to explode yesterday, literally. But it seems like I get this once a year now, same symptoms and everything. I wonder what it is?


Who Knew?

Minced garlic in a jar? I have no idea why I didn't discover this sooner, but it is saving my life right now! Yay for delicious sauteed mushroom shrimp salad! Small things...
In other news, I feel like doing something nice for somebody today... random... But I've been thinking about it for more than a few days and I hope they don't think I'm totally weird...
More random, I decided to introduce Kalea to the movie Cool Runnings today... She yelled at me for dancing to the music at the beginning of it and when she finally got my attention she pointed upstairs and said "Go"... I really dunno what to make of that...


Diet Insanity

I do believe I had no idea what I signed up for when I started this ridiculous diet. A lot of people think it's crazy... quite frankly it kind of is for a normal single person, for a wife/mom it's kind of the perfect solution for my lack of ability to actually leave the "nest" for more than a late night grocery run. So, I said I would never "put a pregnancy hormone into my body if I wasn't pregnant" but I'm a total sell-out and a friend and I decided to do the hCG diet... I won't get into too many details, but let's just say no carbs/sugar/fat, lots of lettuce/protein, crazy under the tongue drops that make your mouth tingle, very specific menu items & a whole lot of water. I have no idea why I thought it would be easy! I don't generally have a lot of will power when it comes to denying myself something tasty, and I'm not even talking about real junk, I'm talking "Boy I sure could use/enjoy a jugo juice". Seriously. Maybe I'm more mad because I thought after the first week of losing quite quickly that every week following would be just as fruitful, not so. Frustration I guess is where I'm at. But on the bright side my "goal weight" isn't as far away and doesn't seem that unattainable anymore. I am definitely losing inches and my face is starting to have angles again! LOL I am also finding that I have more energy and less of a desire to take an afternoon nap. I feel better, which is probably more important than anything else. Steve has been my biggest foe- well not really, he's super supportive, but he has literally pressed a caramilk to my lips to tempt me. He told me that if I was going to cheat on the diet he would rather be the reason I did it. Thanks babe. I'm getting much more excited for this diet to be over so I can start Bikram yoga in December. I was really scared to do it before, but now I'm feeling a bit more confident that I'll have the energy to handle it. Oh yeah, no intense working out on this diet, short walks and crunches are my favorite anyways :) Another bonus of this diet, I'm becoming a lot more conscious of labels and how many calories are in things, blah blah blah... The fact that I am writing about dieting is actually pretty amusing to me, because I never ever had this problem before I had kids so it's all new to me. Seriously, I gained 10lbs from my high school weight to just after I got married, and I swore I would never diet, I'd just go to the gym. HA HA HA Oh the innocence of youth... So all this to say that if I never have to go to this extreme again, I definitely won't, but it's been full of lessons so I'm grateful that I'm doing it...



Kalea came home from nursery today with NO DIAPER... Go ahead and laugh, we sure did!


Brynlee's First Birthday!

Party Day Pictures
We had a really fun first birthday at our house this week! We made chocolate chip waffles and had, as Steve likes to call it "terrorist dinner"- they were "mummy dogs" and Brynlee enjoyed them! LOL
Bryn's First Year(kinda missing a few)
Steve and I still can't believe a whole year went by so fast, it's hard to remember "baby" Brynlee. She is definitely a great addition to our little family and we couldn't be happier to be her parents. Some of her favorite things right now include food, saying "wow" and walking! She's growing up way too fast!



We had a great time at our ward Trunk'O'Treat last night. There were a ridiculous amount of cars parked and loaded with candy to give out. We came a little late so we didn't get tons, but let's be honest, Steve is going out tomorrow morning to buy a million of the $4 sale boxes, so we haven't really missed out on anything. Once they closed the parking lot down/people ran out of candy, everyone was herded inside to enjoy the "Haunted House", Pumpkin Carving Contest, Food and the Dance! Kalea sure loved the dancing, she was a little energizer bunny on the dance floor, it was really fun to watch her. There were some great costumes and it was just a fun night out as a family. By the time we got home Kalea was definitely D.O.N.E. In fact, in the car she was crying for home and bed and once I got her out of her costume, she went straight to bed with no clothes on- it was a fight to put her nightgown on! LOL Poor kid. Brynlee was pretty mellow all night- I think she was just amazed that the rest of the world stays awake past 7:30. Her little eyes were so huge all night just taking everything in- and she is quite the little dancer too! Thanks to everyone who made it such a great night, our family sure appreciated it!


Dressing Up...

So Steve and I have started to look for our costumes for next year- since this year we didn't really plan ahead, or at all and he was away, etc... etc... While perusing the web we came upon this costume...

I wouldn't have been so drawn to it if I hadn't just 24hrs ago seen a picture of my cousins' kids' preschool teacher wearing this...

Interesting, huh?


Fresh From the Oven

My Buns...
These buns are really good, and I can't take credit for the recipe at all. The dough is actually my cinnamon bun recipe. You can find it on ourbestbites.com "Everyday Cinnamon Buns". The cinnamon buns are TO.DIE.FOR. Maybe because I make extra filling, mmmm....
And yes, in case you were wondering, I do in fact use muffin tins to make my buns. This is mostly due to the fact that if I don't, I can never manage to actually make 12 equally pretty buns. It's a weird issue, I know.
Anyways, dinner tonight was SO GOOD! I am proud of myself. Steve will be home later to confirm- the kids weren't huge fans of the crockpot pork, but they don't like foreign textures, so their opinions can't be trusted.
That's about it from my kitchen tonight. I'll share my banana muffin recipe sometime too, people always ask for it and I always forget to give it to them...



So for the past month it seems our complex has been visited by quite possibly the worst "landscaping company" on the planet. I put that in quotations because that's what they call themselves, but I don't believe they actually do the job they're hired to. Anyways, about this time last week I heard this most annoying noise and looked out my kitchen window to see leaves/debris flying into the air and onto my deck... What the heck? So I go outside and low and behold, it is somebody with a leaf blower, blowing leaves out of my neighbors' flower beds- not owned by the co-op, and blowing them across the grass and sidewalk and into the street... Today, the same thing is happening as I type this. SAME EXACT THING.
First, what is ridiculous about this task is that because it's been raining/snowing/windy, the leaves are very wet/heavy, therefore, perhaps a leaf blower isn't the best method for trying to get rid of them. Second, we live on the ridge of Fish Creek, and the wind blows towards us, maybe not such a bright idea to blow the leaves into the street, since they will only end up blowing back. Third, my neighbors have leaves in their flowerbeds for a very specific reason, therefore, probably don't make them angry by making it your weekly goal to blow the leaves out of their flowerbeds. Fourth, you are making it impossible for me to have any "quiet time" with the kids before they go have afternoon naps.
I have even gone out to talk to the stupid guy and ask him to go away so my kids can sleep and guess what? He didn't even notice I was there, or just blatantly ignored me. He stopped blowing leaves and I said "Excuse me can..." and he starts blowing again. He is not wearing any earplugs... I don't want to make assumptions... Except that I do! Ugh! I am SO ANNOYED!
We recently bought a rake for like $5, I wish they would do the same so I don't have to hear the howling of their stupid leaf blowers for the next few months- until I will undoubtedly be hearing their snow blowers, probably blowing snow into the street that will blow back onto the sidewalk, which will mean I will be having this hate/hate relationship with these guys for the next 8mths... GRRRRRRRRRRR



I went on a quest to find pretzel rods the other night, it was on my mind for days so I finally decided to just go find them. But this story isn't about the pretzel rods, it's about crazy/weird/drunken morons who, while in their strange state of being, decide it's a good time to try and pick up women...
I just really wish that people didn't have this weird tendency to holler at females from their vehicles when said females are alone, in a very dark parking lot, late at night. It is so unnerving. And then it is such an ego crush when they say something like, "Ooooh got some jiggly bits, that's okay I liiiiiiike it like thaaaaaaaaaaat". I mean, thanks for trying to make my day... :S
I had to return a movie to the Safeway dvd play box that same night. I appreciated the fact that a normal/decent human being was standing in line with me and asked all sorts of questions about the movies I've seen recently. Albeit, said normal/decent human being was pajama clad, but he didn't mention my jiggly bits and I felt far less intruded upon.
Needless to say, I was glad to get home to Steve and let him laugh at the fact that I have now moved into the stage of life where I attract total weirdo's. Hilarious. I am now on a quest to destroy my jiggly bits and to only venture out in daylight, wish me luck :)


Thanksgiving Picture

I honestly can't explain why it is, that Picasa and blogger have such a hard time communicating with each other, I mean, they are supposed to be an item. Nevertheless, here is the Thanksgiving picture collage- oh and can you see the one with Rex falling- I quickly found out it's difficult to take a picture and catch a kid, although I had plenty of time...I missed....
I can now add "Auntie of the Year" to my "Mom of the Year" collection.



This year we spent Thanksgiving up in Edmonton with Steve's family minus a few. It was lots of fun. The kids played/wrestled/danced/watched movies/did hair, etc...
Of course, what would a holiday weekend be without Kalea pulling some kind of awesome, death defying act? She must have nine lives or something.
The little hooligan decided she wanted to experience the luxury of Jesse and Serena's ensuite bathtub all by herself. So she got in and filled that beautiful tub to over-flowing. We think she must've got mighty cold because when she was found she was no longer in the overflowing bathtub, but rather dancing naked with her uncle's toothbrush beside the tub.
I'm not trying to make light of the situation, it could have been so SO much worse. Steve and I had both had impressions that we should find out where Kalea was, but we weren't quick to respond and I certainly felt the sting of that since I had a very specific impression and I ignored it. I can't imagine the guilt I would've felt if things had gone the other way. Stomache turning.
The next best part of it all was that once Kalea was "rescued" from her crazy self,
I went to grab a diaper and she proceeded to try and escape down the staircase. Um, Jesse and Serena's house is very open, so said staircase can be viewed from family room/kitchen/dining room. Did I mention the missionaries that joined us for dinner, they sat on the stairs...
Yes that's right, my naked child almost ran her naked self into one of those missionaries! Oh yeah, in front of a house full of relatives :) AWESOME.
Needless to say, we left relatively soon following that wonderful exhibit from our "spirited child". PS the food was AMAZING, hopefully people remember that and forget Kalea's nakedness!
In other news...
We got to go to the temple on Saturday and it was so nice for so many reasons.
It's always great to see familiar faces and to be in a room full of mostly family makes the experience a bit more special. We also hadn't been for quite a while, so it was great to be back, especially to our temple. Loved it.
Our kids got up early enough on Sunday that we decided to go out to Sherwood Park for 9 o'clock church. It was so nice to be "home". Again, familiar faces and a room full of friends.
It was fun to show off the kids, and get to visit with people who I haven't seen for a few years. Thank goodness for blogs and facebook although, I think they are a poor substitute for face to face contact, like really poor, as in, when exactly is our next *SPARK* gathering???
Oh, and the ride home...
Steve had to drive separately from me and the girls because he picked up his company car. Never. Again.
I'm just super grateful that a) nobody hit us/we didn't collide with any deer, etc... and b) no cops decided to pull me over and find that Kalea was sitting in front of her seatbelt, not buckled into her seat?! Oh yes. We have lots to be grateful for.



We had a great Thanksgiving weekend up in Edmonton, it was full of family and friends and an appreciation for the roles each of us plays in our families.
I'll post a few pix later, but for now I wanted to talk about the "conversation" that's happened since Elder Packer's wonderful conference talk last weekend,"Cleansing the Inner Vessel" (you can find it on lds.org). There have been protest letters against this wonderful man, for his willingness to take a stand on a tough social and political issue. His talk/sermon last Sunday was for all of us, not just one specific group of people. It was not anti-gay and it was certainly not a "hate crime". He spoke of our Heavenly Father and His purpose in creating us, His children, male and female. Elder Packer spoke of our roles as parents, to lead our children in righteousness, to be their lighthouse in the storm of this world. He spoke about the evils of the world and the confusing messages that are out there. He spoke of our Savior and His great love for each of us, of the Atonement and the ability that it gives us to repent and be clean of our sins and return to live with our Heavenly Father. Elder Packer, as a special witness of Jesus Christ, spoke of Him and His gospel. It was beautiful. It was pure and simple. It is too often misunderstood.
I am SO thankful for the blessing it is to have modern day prophets and apostles, that our Heavenly Father has provided counsel and guidance for us in our day. That we can have the blessings of knowing Him through those special witnesses that are here, in our midst today. I have a deep respect and love for Elder Packer. I know that what he said might not be popular with the rest of the world, but so often things that are right aren't. I am in awe of the strength and faith that he has in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I listened and as I've re-read this talk, I have been reminded of the Apostle Paul who, in Romans 1:16 wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..."
I can wholeheartedly echo that sentiment, I am not ashamed, have never been ashamed and will never be ashamed of what I believe. I am thankful everyday that I have been so fortunate to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life from the get-go. I am thankful for the family and the community that I have been raised in, that have allowed me to grow and to foster a love for my Savior and His teachings. I am so fortunate and couldn't be more thankful for the blessings I have because of it.


Why My Husband Is The Best/Cutest/Awesomest & A Good Read

Sorry if this makes anyone feel like their own husband is a slacker, but mine is pretty rad and here are the latest reasons...
1. Instead of telling me when he was coming home, Steve called on Saturday morning and asked to be put on speaker with Kalea, to tell her that he was coming home that very night!
2. He made us girls a stellar chocolate chip waffle breakfast on Sunday morning- even though he was up late and recovering from the eastern to mountain standard time change.
3. His carry-on wasn't a carry on at all, it was a super duper cute stuffed lobster for Brynlee.
4. He, and he alone, eradicated the mouse situation by tearing apart our basement storage area and finding exactly where those little *%(#&$^@# were nesting. He then proceeded to make it impossible for them to ever be comfortable in our home again.
5. When we woke up yesterday he turned to me and said "Let's take our mom's to Cora's for breakfast." To which I said, "Okay, but I have to shower". He responded "You go get ready and I'll get the girls ready". So off I went. Well, post shower I get a knock on the door from Kalea, so I open it and she is NOT ready AT ALL. Then Steve appears and he is NOT ready AT ALL. So I look at him and start my usual "How am I supposed to get everyone ready in the next 10 mins?" schpiel and he says "I'm not going and neither are the kids", to which I respond "What? Yes you are, go get dressed", to which he says "Nope, you are going out for a girls' day and I am going to watch the kids, so hurry up and get ready". WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?! Yes indeed I got to go SHOPPING with NO KIDS! I even got to have breakfast and lunch with NO SCREECHING, NO WHINING, NO FOOD SHARING, and NO CLIMBING OUT OF BOOSTER SEATS/HIGH CHAIRS!!! Blissful, wonderful, peaceful morning/afternoon of no stress! It was great, I had fantastic company and got some cute stuff and didn't have to worry about $$$ for the first time in a looooong time.
I am so happy to have Steve home, and honestly, all the extra's this week were unncessary, but very much appreciated. I survive pretty good without a lot of "stuff", but I really do have the sweetest, kindest, most selfless, wonderful husband on the planet. It is no small thing to not have Daddy at home for extended periods of time, it really does have a noticeable effect on kids- even at this early of an age. For now, I think our research into single parent family living is over. We have concluded that marriage really is an institution that weakens in the absence of one parent, no matter how valiant the effort to keep stability in the home. Chaos inevitably ensues in one form or another ie. poop or mice or if you're lucky, both. When, in our case, Daddy returns, life becomes stable and the level of happiness and peace in our home increases rapidly. It is one of those things that I didn't really notice before.
Speaking of marriage, I love it and I picked up an awesome book yesterday by Bruce C. Hafen called "Covenant Hearts: Marriage and the Joy of Human Love"(no this isn't a paid advertisement). But, I am pretty sure it is one of the best I have ever read on marriage/family life and I am only half way through it. This one is worth a day of neglecting your kids to read it all the way through HA! It's written from an LDS perspective, but it's really, in my opinion, a good read for anyone regardless of religious background. Great insight into what's happening in our world today and how we've gotten to this point, etc... I am loving it, and if my opinion changes I will let you know, but I am pretty sure I will still love it when I'm done later tonight.
So, to summarize, my husband=amazing, my new book=amazing, my marriage=not perfect, but amazing :)



There's a video link on facebook right now about a lady, Jianna Gessen, who survived a late-term abortion. It made me think about Kalea and the scare we had in one of her ultrasounds, which lead to some less than appealing "options" being brought up by some rather unprofessional ultrasound techs/doctors. My own doctor was furious with those individuals because what they found wasn't something that would necessitate one of these "options" to be discussed. And yet, in the past people have aborted, due to this kind of delinquent medical advice. We have a beautiful, happy and healthy child, I shudder to think about how many others aren't here because of such poor "advice".
We would've loved Kalea in whatever physical or mental state she came to us and we're grateful for the way she did come to us. Something to think about.

Who Has Seen the Pictures...


The View Is Changing Fast

Dear Carmen (in the Phils)
Fall is settling in rather quickly in our neck of the woods. I took this a week ago, and to be quite honest, there is a lot less green now than there was last week! I will trade you the changing leaves and nip in the air for tropical heat and some karaoke any day! Well maybe not the karaoke
Hope this helps fill your need for some "Fall". The girls and I will be going on an adventure into Fish Creek this week, so I will try to get pictures of more than just yellow, at least some orange would be nice to mix in, right?
Love you guys!


When Daddy's Away...

The girls do their best to entertain themselves until Daddy gets home.
I think they have done a formidable job this time around. I am very impressed with their overall ability to get into and out of awkward situations with some ease, and to smile, even when they know they are in BIG trouble.
In all honesty the past few weeks have gone really fast, in part due to the fact that Brynlee's weird illness and killing 4 mice and cleaning up poo took up all of week #1.
Kalea found her groove in week #2 and we had some fun play dates, which were a great way to burn off some energy and lead to great afternoon naps!
This week we are busy getting the house clean and tidy in anticipation of our much talked about Wednesday morning trip to the airport to pick up our favorite guy :)
Enjoy the smorgasborg of pictures there are quite a few this time.


Post Sunday Pondering

Yesterday, besides the "fun" of having children, church was really really uplifting.
I sometimes hate my calling because I feel like I know too much about different people's situations, and I really liked the days when I was kind of oblivious. But yesterday I found that I especially enjoyed our Relief Society lesson because of what I know about these situations. As a presidency and individually we pray over the ladies in our ward, and it seemed that everything said yesterday was an answer to, at the very least, my own prayers, and I gained some insight and ideas about how I can help these individuals. What a great blessing.
I didn't really get a chance to study this lesson over the past week, I had my hands full of chaos, but these are a few quotes that I absolutely loved, from Spencer W. Kimball, and I'm looking forward to studying more on the subject this week, he said,

"There must be works with faith. How foolish it would be to ask the Lord to give us knowledge, but how wise to ask the Lord's help to acquire knowledge, to study constructively, to think clearly, and to retain things that we have learned."

"In faith we plant the seed, and soon we see the miracle of the blossoming. Men have often misunderstood and have reversed the process."


Sabbath Day Musings

Sundays are, let's face it, not always my favorite day of the week. They are supposed to be, and every Saturday night I have learned to pack the girls' bag and my own things and figure out what people are going to wear, etc... But somehow, SOMEHOW even with all the "proper prior preparations" it seems that we either don't get out the door on time, or don't get to even sit in our seats. I am beginning to see the error of our parenting ways as far as Kalea goes when it comes to church. She is the hallway child. The one that never wants to sit for more than 5mins, especially in a building full of friendly faces and endless doors and light switches. I am sure that one of these days I will be that mother whose child is running through the choir seats while someone is trying to share their tender feelings about the gospel, etc... Today I was the one who got some mighty impressive glares as her child shrieked at the top of her lungs during a most reverent moment. AWESOME. I found the glares pretty funny though, I just smiled back and had the thought, "If only you knew". I was happy my Mom offered to come to church with me so she could help with Kalea, it was really nice to get to sit and actually listen to and hear at least some of what was being said. I'm sure Brynlee is well on her way to following in Kalea's footsteps, so any amount of sabbath observance that I can actually absorb now while I have the chance is a wonderful thing. Thanks Mom.
I am learning to understand Kalea a lot more these days, her language but also her feelings/emotions. Steve being away so much has been a huge adjustment for all of us, but it has affected her the most. Today I tried to keep our Sunday routine fairly close to what it is when Steve is here. Steve is the Sunday waffle maker, I'm more of a pancake girl, so I made those- they smell the same so as soon as Kalea got a whiff of them she came running. I am so glad they made her so happy. Most of her acting out today seems to have been caused by some of the other changes in her life.
First, her feet just grew a size... in one week?! How did this happen? I can only assume that she's inherited that from her Dad and she is well on her way to having feet as large as his. I just hope she gains the height too or that will be awkward. So she didn't have "prid-deeeeee"Sunday footwear. I can totally feel where she's coming from, I've lived that experience too. Poor Kalea, sometimes as much of a tomboy as she is, she really likes to dress up for Sundays.
Second, in all my preparations I forgot to bring her last remaining soother or "see-eeee"(we call it a sucky) to church with us. In my defence, she threw me a curveball at around 12:15 today while I was trying to get dressed, curious? She basically painted the basement floor with her feces. Really. No word of a lie. Grabbed one of her IKEA paintbrushes and went to town spreading that love around. This almost caused me to throw in the towel and forget church altogether. So in all the chaos to clean up I neglected to grab the dang soother and what ensued when she realized we were at church without it was, nothing short of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. If that is what hell sounds like, I definitely don't want to go there :D
I feel like I'm making progress when I can recognize the things that set her off, so I can help her and remember not to take it personally when she throws those, super embarassing fits of rage in sacrament meeting. This little Kalea person is teaching me so much, I can't help but love her, but I am sure looking forward to the day when she will just sit on her chair and color me or Steve a pretty picture. Once again, I was very grateful for the Nursery and my Mom today.



Note to self: Kalea is too smart for her own good. Just when you think she'll never figure out how to get into your practically adult proof stamp pads she figures it out! They are hard for me to open on a good day, how in the world did she do it???


Public Venting is Not the Answer

Sorry to all who read the blog yesterday. It's definitely not a good idea to blog when angry, so I would caution against it. I would also caution against letting things build up so much, that the venting has a chance of occurring at all. I have super strong opinions about certain things, I think everyone knows that. I also know that I can run my mouth over things that really don't concern me, and cross boundaries that I really probably shouldn't. There are many of us that aren't immune to that sort of problem. But, yesterday was one of those days when I really shouldn't have said anything at all. So for that I'm really sorry.


Thinking thinking I'm thinking...

I usually can think of something to write about, but not so much lately. Really, Kalea hasn't given me any good material lately- should I feel disappointed about that? LOL Maybe now I've jinxed myself and something exciting will happen soon. So for your reading pleasure, maybe I'll just share my random thoughts...
1. Yesterday morning as the sun was slowly assuming it's daytime position, I looked across to Fish Creek and marveled at how beautiful mist and trees and streaks of sunshine can be.
2. I hate that the leaves are turning already and instead of an Indian summer, it feels like winter is literally breathing down my neck.
3. I am not looking forward to Steve being away for 3wks but I am looking forward to the paychecks & having a car while he's away this time!
4. Kalea might love the fact that I am seriously considering taking her to Gymtastics every Friday until Christmas just to get her worn out so she will nap consistently at least once a week!
5. Brynlee is the best baby...EVER.

K, so on the subject of Gymnastics. This is a conversation Kalea and I had the other day.
Me: Kalea would you like to go into ballet class and learn pretty dancing?
K: No.
Me: You don't want to learn pretty dancing?
K: What?
Me: Do you want to dance?
Me: Would you like to go to Gymnastics?
K: Yay!
Me: Yes?
K: Yesh! (complete with jumping in circles)

And to clarify, she will not be taking actual gymnastics classes since they are expensive and parented and only go for 10wks. I can spend $9/wk to take her for just over an hour and parent her without instruction for the next 16wks instead. So I think that's the way to go, I can't justify paying someone else $15/hr for 10wks to tell me how to help my kid do a somersault when she does them on her own at home everyday. That's just me.
Any other suggestions for how to pass the "indoor time" that we all love so much?



Is it weird that I feel like "supermom" because I extracted 2 slivers from Kalea's foot? Honestly, I felt like I accomplished so much in that 2 minutes of my life, and she didn't squirm at all! LOL


Forgot My Camera-UGH!

We went to a wedding last night- well the reception part. It was for a girl that Steve has played volleyball with since at least 5yrs ago when we started dating. It was so fun to see her in something other than sweats & t-shirt or bikini & shorts :) Kinda funny to think I'd never seen her in anything else hahaha. I didn't take my camera, which I am kicking myself for now because for dinner she stayed in her wedding dress which was so gorgeous I could cry just thinking about it- tears of sadness for how much she probably spent on it, but it was SO worth it. After dinner, for the speeches Thuy (pronounced like tie or Thai) changed into a traditional red outfit. It was SO pretty, and the headdress was this bound fabric that is apparently super heavy. I wish we could've stayed to see what other outfits she changed into throughout the night. Moving on...
We were seated at a table with a bunch of the others that Steve plays volleyball with, Gwen is Asian and hysterical. Favorite convo from the night:
Gwen: Wow this wedding is so on-time, like down to the minute.
Steve: Wasn't your wedding on-time?
Gwen: No, I'm not that Asian. Everything is just so perfect.
Steve: Yeah, this food is awesome, do all you Asians do food like this?
Gwen: I guess, but ours was a 10 course served sit-down meal.
Steve: Oh, totally not on-time or anything?
Gwen: No, it was, it was just a big party. It was New Years, so it was just crazy.
Steve: So you're not that Asian at all huh, Gwen?
Gwen: *evil eye to Steve*
Laughed my butt off. I love how Asians compare themselves to each other so much- I can say this because I experienced it first-hand. It's so funny to me. I guess we all do it, but the way they do it is so funny, they're just so brutally honest with their opinions, and then they laugh and continue the conversation like they never said anything that sounded even remotely rude?!
On another note, Thuy made us bring our kids. Um, yeah never doing that again, unless it's a family wedding, our children should not be present. Here is my list of why we won't bring them again.
1. Bryn is too mobile to stay in one spot without being restrained in her carseat or sat on someone's lap. So, I didn't even finish all my yummy Asian food and I def didn't get to try any of the desserts- that's crazy right there.
2. Kalea is in the middle of figuring out the whole potty thing. Kind've embarassing when she stands on her chair, grabs her diaper and says "Pooooooooo pooooooooo!" until one of us notices. But on the bright side, she went potty in a public bathroom for the first time!
3. Kalea is too curious. She found the box with all the extra favors in them. Yeah, needless to say, we came home with quite a few extra's.
4. Um grossest part of the night was realizing that Kalea's diaper was leaking a substance of particular grossness onto my white skirt. Which in turn brought our swift and early exit from Thuy's reception.
And that boys and girls is what causes people to question having children and why we do not bring our children to "non-family" weddings :D


A Good Night

I meant to blog about this earlier in the week but neglected because I didn't want to sound like too much of a teenager... Ha! I don't think the effects of our night out have worn off at all. This was basically the most fun Steve and I have had at a concert since we saw Tim Magraw, when we were dating 5yrs ago. We were thoroughly entertained all night and it made the big price-tag of the tickets SO WORTH IT. I bought the tickets at a time when I probably shouldn't have even thought about it, since we weren't in the best financial situation. But I figured we'd make back to money and be fine and since the concert was near the end of the summer, we would be in definite need of a night out after all our weeks apart/hardly any date nights. I'm so glad I bought those tickets! Steve even forgot his cellphone- this is unheard of he practically sleeps with that thing. It took a while for me to be okay with the fact we didn't have the phone on us- as if we would've noticed it ringing? The bass was so loud you could feel the thumping in your chest, and I mean that quite literally. It was LOUD. I haven't listened to anything that loud in so long for fear of destroying my kids' ears. It was awesome. So awesome that if we ever get the chance to go again, we will, and next time we will get our tix for the party pit so we can dance and scream and shout with all those crazy kids and not have "old" people looking at us funny.
PS Joe whoever you are, that is running for mayor, last time I checked you didn't pay to advertise at their concert, so keep your stupid balloons to yourself. You irritated the heck out of us with the play-by-play of where they were being tossed around before the show. We were thrilled when the security guards sat on and further popped your balloons and we will not be voting for you.


Party People

This is a lot of pictures... Kalea woke up on her bday to find that the birthday fairies had come and decorated a little bit for her- she was very impressed with their ribbon curling skillzzzzzz. We got dressed and headed to Cora's for breakfast-good choice Steve! She freaked out when they brought out the apple chicken with the sparkler- all she said was "Fire! Fire!" and burrowed into my shoulder- hence no photo of that one. She was very happy that she got so much attention- the birthday button was a great helper! Brynlee was such a trouper all day long and put up with the craziness of the day rather well, although as you can see, at some point she had had enough! Grandma and Grandpa came back from their vacay early so they could join in the festivities, and we all had a great night together. Kalea sure was spoiled this year! She really enjoyed her party on Saturday with all her little friends, and we are so glad that Oma and Grandpa let us use their backyard- it was a little chilly to be at the lake that morning :( Oh well, it was still really fun & we all were able to relax and enjoy the day. We came home and opened another present and then lit the bday sparklers- Kalea was more than excited to hold them on her own, and I was impressed that she didn't burn herself or anyone else, although she did come close to sticking one down Steve's plumber's crack, hehehe, totally unassisted I swear! It was a great weekend.


Two Years Ago

The most outrageous/difficult/rewarding job of my life began!
On that morning I was so uncomfortable that I thought I would be delivering a baby out of my mouth- she never dropped until they broke my water, how pleasant.
On that morning we drove to the hospital while it was still dark and hit no red lights.
On that morning we rode to the hospital in our fancy Japanese, right hand drive Aristo.
On that morning I learned that all nurses are NOT created equal.
On that morning we met KALEA and consequently fell in love.
She made the parental transition really easy on us.
Thanks baby girl, we love you!


Elbow Falls 2010 in Pictures

Dear Family,
This is the perfect day that you all missed out on at the reunion last summer. Bummer! Here are some pix so you can see what it would be like if the weather had cooperated!