Friday, December 3, 2010

Where's YOUR Husband??

It's 4:30 am and 20 degrees outside. Do you know where YOUR husband is...??

I woke up this morning to discover Jaron's car still parked in the driveway. I double-checked the bed, but he wasn't in it. After checking downstairs to make sure he hadn't fallen asleep studying, I realized that Jaron had done the unthinkable: He actually RODE HIS BIKE to work!! Call me a wuss, but I stop running outside when the mercury dips below freezing, and when we consider the extra windchill one would experience on a bike...well, let's just say that my "low" limit would be more like 50 degrees!

I think Jaron deserves this week's official "I'm Too Sexy For the Cold" award.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trip to Chi-Town

A.K.A. Chicago.

A couple weeks ago, we took a little family vacation to the "Windy City". We went to a couple museums and stayed in a hotel with a pool. We had so much fun together!
During the 4-hour drive there, we told the boys about skyscrapers. As we got closer to the city, we went through a town with some 6-story office buildings. Mikey saw those tall buildings and said, "Look Mom! Skyscrapers!!" Boy, was he in for a treat!

Chicago Children's museum:

We worked together as a family and built this super-tall skyscraper!

Trevor taking in the view:

I love this guy!!

Look Mom! I'm the Sears Tower!!

We didn't get many pictures at the Shedd Aquarium because it was EXTREMELY crowded, AND a couple of us were REALLY tired from staying up too late at the hotel, so we cut our visit here short. But we LOVED the 4-D Diego movie, especially the part when we got sprayed with water!

I love this giant statue of "Man Hugging Fish" outside the Aquarium.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We *Heart* IOWA

From fall leaves to pumpkin patches, from Big 10 Homecoming parades to corn up to your eyeballs, there's a lot to love here in our "North Texas" land! :-)


Elmo, Darth Vader, Batman, and Plain ol' Mom and Doctor-Dad hope you all had a great Halloween! Four Halloween parties (not counting the actual Halloween night) gave us PLENTY of candy to send us on sugar-highs all through the holidays. Jaron's work puts on a trick-or-treat / party every Halloween:

We also LOVED having Nana in town for the week!! Trevor puts on a good "stink-eye", but don't be fooled!! He has been asking for Nana at least 20 times a day ever since she left!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gotta Love that Mikey

We're driving to church yesterday, on a beautiful winding road lined with autumn-colored trees. I was enjoying the view, and the rare peace within the car, when I heard Mikey share my reverence for nature's beauty. He said, "We sure are lucky to have so many trees..." (I was thinking, "Awww, what a sweet thought")
" that we can get lots and lots of paper!"

Way to be practical, Mikey.


A truly successful day, by my standards, is when I haul a basket of laundry to the basement, wash and dry that laundry, then fold AND put away all the said laundry...before any more laundry piles up on the floor where the basket should be!!

Let's just say, I have not experienced success in a long, LONG time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Best $3 Ever Spent

Trevor loves anything with wheels: cars, motorcycles, tractors and busses. He calls them all the same thing: "Kaa". Lately he's developed a greater love for busses because we walk his big brothers to the bus every morning and pick them up in the afternoon. And Trev gets to see lots of city busses driving around (and he squeals "Kaa! Kaa!" from the backseat every time we see one). I found the Score of all kid-toy-scores a couple weeks ago at a consignment store: a Little Tykes Bus, complete with passengers and battery-operated sounds. Trev has been inseparable with the bus ever since I bought it (over 2 weeks ago).

At the dinner table...

Along the lines of Trevor loving anything with wheels, he was thrilled to discover that his PJ's can hold several cars.

At a recent apple orchard visit, Trev wasn't at all interested in the apple-sampling or the warm apple turnovers. He ran right up to the tractor-trailer, sat down, and waited until it was time to go on the tractor ride. Mind you, he's never been here before, but he instinctively knew that the tractor ride was for him!

Date With Mikey

Mikey loves Kindergarten, but like his older brother, the transition to full-time school hasn't been entirely smooth. It's pretty exhausting for this tough-guy, and we've had our share of meltdowns after school. I felt like so many of our interactions were negative (me disciplining him, or prodding him to hurry up for school), and I've missed cuddling up with him to read or talk every day; there just isn't always time after school when we have homework, extracurriculars, and a 7 pm bedtime. So when I heard about a "free Friday" at the "local" (1 hr away) zoo, I jumped at the chance to have a date with Mikey. I took him out of school early and headed out to see the animals. We had a lovely time. Lots of giggles and cuddles. I'll cherish this date for a long time (especially during those "meltdown" moments!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mikey's Gone Pro

We had one of Jaron's friends over for dinner the other day, and he was admiring Jaron's handiwork on his skate ramp. He asked Mikey, "Do you like to skate on the ramp?" To which Mikey responded, "I'm not bery (very) good at skateboarding, but I'm a PROFESSIONAL at tying shoes!!" (with much emphasis on "professional"!)

After years of velcro shoes, I finally broke down and got him a pair of lace-ups. We had a couple of shoe-tying lessons during General Conference (2 weeks ago), and look at Mikey now! Way to go Mikey!!

Family Race

Forgive me for bragging a little: (after that last "spiritual" post I want to remind all my loved ones how prideful I can be!) Last weekend, the boys and I ran a race. I ran the 5K, and the boys ran in a Kid's Race (a sprint around the track), competing against their age-groups. Here's the brag: Spencer, Mikey and I each finished first in our age categories of our races! I love being in the "Over 30" age-group b/c I don't have to keep up with those young-bucks to stand out! I was so thrilled, that I vowed to keep running until I'm in my 80's just so I could always come in first place (and only place!)!

It was also a great bonding moment for the boys and me (Jaron had to work). I loved sharing something that I love so much with them, and for them to actually experience the stress and exhilaration of a race for themselves. They talked for days about how fun their race was (and how FAST their mom is--just kidding!!). Sadly, my camera ran out of batteries after taking only one (blurry) picture, so I have nothing to show!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Bit of Heaven on Earth

Heaven is manifested all around us--the beauties of nature; the kindness of a stranger; the wisdom and thoughtfulness of a friend; the unconditional love we receive from family; moments when we pause to listen to and connect with the true Source of Light and Love.

We got to do some connecting this weekend, during General Conference (aka "Jennifer" conference, if you're Mikey). I made some delicious food (if I do say so myself)--cinnamon rolls that were to DIE for, and some scrumptious Cafe Rio knock-off dishes--to tempt my family to cozy up with me and listen to 8 hours of talks from inspired servants of God. Not that they needed much bribing--the kids have come to look forward to the bi-annual General Conference weekends as special time with family (crafting, eating, coloring, drawing), and and even a little listening to the inspired messages.

We have a tradition where, at the start of each talk, Jaron or I will pick a word (like "families), and every time the speaker says the word, the kids can get a candy from a bowl up by the computer. It keeps them (and us) from falling asleep (which is no easy feat after all that good food and cozy-ness!), and helps them stay at least a little attentive to the speakers. This year, we kept forgetting to mention a "keyword", so the kids just took the initiative to reward themselves with a candy whenever they thought they deserved one. The candy bowl emptied pretty quick this year.

The weather was also gorgeous here, so in the mornings before the sessions started we'd go for a "bike ride" (mom huffing it on foot to keep up with the youngsters on bikes), and then settle in at 11 for some good food and inspiration from the internet. Jaron also took advantage of the before-and-between session time to paint his skateboard ramp. And can I just say that I am SO grateful for the internet?? When I was a child, we'd go to the church to watch the satellite broadcast of Conference. Since the church building was 25-ish minutes away, we never had time to go home and relax or eat in between sessions, so we'd haul our food to the church (sandwiches again...yum), and of course be in our "Sunday best" (which really means "un-comfortable") all day. I much prefer cozying up on the couch in my sweats and slippers, cuddling all my boys while I watch and listen.

There were a lot of powerful, peace-inspiring messages given. I'm glad I can go to the LDS website and re-watch or listen to all of the talks, so that I can really let them sink in better. But I wanted to share on this post something I liked that President Monson said:

"My counsel for all of us is to look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue. It beckons through the storms of life. The lighthouse of the Lord sends forth signals readily recognized and never failing. I love the words found in Psalms: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; … I will call upon the Lord … so [I shall] be saved from mine enemies.”3

Add a Note

The Lord loves us, my brothers and sisters, and will bless us as we call upon Him."

I agree wholeheartedly with what President Monson says--that Heavenly Father is the God of ALL His children, and that he'll nourish and guide us more abundantly than we probably recognize. I have had too many specific, heart-wrenching prayers answered in clear and powerful ways to ever deny that God is Real, Present, and Ever Ready for us to seek Him so that He can bless us. May we all seek Him a little more intently, because surely He is all around us and has the power to open our spiritual eyes to recognize Him.

I also came away from this Conference weekend filled with love for others and desire to serve others better! Let me start by saying that I'm SO grateful for all your friendship!! I feel like I'm the luckiest gal because I've always been surrounded by good, fun, inspiring friends. If you're reading this blog, you can be sure that you've touched my or Jaron's life in some way, and from the bottom of my heart, I (and we) thank you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


At church on Sunday, Mikey's teacher gave a lesson on talents. She had the children list some of their talents, then sent a card home with each child's talents on it.

Among Mikey's talents??

"Kung Fu Master"
...Enough said.

After church, when I saw the card:
Em: "Mikey, how did you learn to become a kung fu master?"
M: "Spencer taught me...Wanna see my super high kick?"

Glad he's getting a lot out of church.

A couple days later, Mikey was riding his bike alongside me as I pushed Trevor in the jogging stroller. This is the conversation we had:

M: "Bike riding really makes your leg muscles strong, right mom?"
E: "That's right, Mikey."
M: "Yea, and I have really strong leg muscles for kung fu, so I can kick really high."
E: "That's great, Mikey."
M: "I also do exercises to get strong...I do sit-ups to make my arm muscles and head muscles strong...I do push-ups to make my legs and stomach strong...and I do jumping around on the couch because it makes me sweat."

Lesson learned: You can be whatever you dream with a little exercise.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

THE Highlight of our Summer!

No question. Hands down. The most, MOST fun we had all summer was when the Haley Family drove cross-country to visit us for a week in August!! And it's not just because of all the REALLY fun things we did, like: skateboarding, waterslides, Children's museum, kiddie carnival rides, Wii, the beach, eating "restaurant style" waffles every morning, eating "Chicago-style" pizza, going out for ice-cream, the parent's double-date to downtown, staying up late playing games, and my morning walks with Jaimie on beautiful trails...

No, it was our absolute most favorite week of the summer because we got to do all those fun things with Aaron, Jaimie, Dallon, Dawson and Easton! It meant SO much to us that they made Iowa their family vacation destination (shows how hard-pressed they were for excitement!).

We know that it's not an easy drive, and on top of that, Aaron tore his ACL just a few days (or a week?) before they were supposed to come! They almost didn't come, but Aaron--who earns 5,000 brownie points, in my opinion, for making the trip with a painful leg--decided to "take one for the team" and make the trek anyway! And we're sooooo grateful that he did!
Before we dive into these incredible pics (have I enticed anyone else yet to come for a visit?) I need to give credit where it's due. The following barrage of pictures would literally not be possible without Jaimie's incredible photography skills AND her willingness to send me a CD in the mail of these superb vacation photos (thanks again SO much!!).

I love little Easton, he's such a sweetheart!

Jaron worked with the kids on "dropping in" on our ramp. They had a blast, and I breathed a sigh of relief when there were no broken bones!

We went to our local community pool. It's a fun one w/waterslides and a splash pad. I love these pictures Jaimie took:

I love this picture of Jaim and Aaron!

We had tons of fun at a nearby lake ("the beach"). Jaimie headed up the traditional sand-castle building, which turned out to be another grand one!

After a long day at the beach, we enjoyed delicious chicago-style pizza.

Fun at the Children's Museum:

...and getting ice cream...

...and at a local park with "carnival rides" (Trevor's favorite is this fun train!)

Then it's back on the skateboards for more fun..

...and a little "down time" playing Wii.

Before our double date with Jaimie and Aaron, Jaimie did a little photo shoot with us big-kids, and I think they turned out great!

Jaim and Aaron made time on their way out of town to watch Jaron compete in a road-bike race (which he did awesome in!!). Thanks for going the extra mile guys! We love you and have been missing you ever since you left!!