Wednesday, October 31, 2012

a little halloween

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this year for halloween we had a witch, princess jasmine, and “v” or a poodle skirt girl, depending on the venue/celebration.

it was quite wonderful to have merrill home this year for all the halloween fun, last year just wasn’t halloween without him!

we had a little early halloween fun at the family “trunk or treat”.  lynn and I both won prizes in the costume contest.  she was “v” that night, and I was a flapper girl, fulfilling all of merrill’s halloween dreams.

we carved pumpkins at the last minute.  don’t know how I forgot about those!!

life was a little hectic with the second hotel opening.  we spent a lot of our days and nights there getting it ready to open.  maybe that is how I forgot about the pumpkins.

halloween day I helped in the second grade, totally blew my budget on frosting for cookies, forget that I had to buy the cookies, napkins, and all the junk that is necessary for a child to frost a cookie.  that is what I get for putting that off till the last minute!

that night, we made the rounds.  the kids had fun, but didn’t stay out long.  I wonder if the day will ever come that they feel the need to stay out and go as far and as fast as possible to collect obscene amounts of candy. 

here’s a couple of cute and quick ideas for friends, neighbors, and teachers:

(click on the images for list of credits.)


now here’s to willpower and not eating my kids candy!

(whatever, you know I bought extra that I do not plan to hand out.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

excuse me while i wax poetic.

fall does something to me.

the sights and sounds of the season awake my senses in a way that make me feel as if they have been hibernating for too many months.

the smells, both inside and out.  the colors.  the feeling in the air.  the cozy comfort of being bundled up, whether in a warm coat and hat, or in a comfy blanket.  the day turning into night faster.  the smell from the furnace when it kicks on those first few times.  putting the down comforter on the bed.  spiced cider.  waking up to frost on the grass.  snuggling, with the whole family, on the couch underneath thick blankets.

those things are all wonderful, they all evoke a happy, contented feeling in me, but the thing that I am really thinking of, the thing that consumes my mind the majority of this wonderful time, are the wonderful first memories of motherhood.  the poignant memories of all those firsts.  these thoughts, while they make me feel happy, leave me feeling homesick at the same time.

homesick for those firsts, for the simple days of being home, with the world entirely shut outside, with a new little person.  life was so much simpler then. 

both lynn and ash were born in the fall.  I was pregnant with all three girls in the fall.  for me, fall will always hold that feeling of new life, being pregnant (and loving every second of it), anticipating the exciting arrival of a new little person, soon to enter our home.  all of the fun preparations and the anticipation are feelings I still feel when this season hits.

lynn being born, all of those firsts, are linked with the colors outside, that crisp scent to the air.  smelling and seeing these things takes me back to becoming a mother, feeling so fulfilled and joyful.  these are also connected to ashley’s birth, and life becoming just a little more complicated, but entirely enjoyable, with our little family, in our little house, with everything else shut out.  it was just us, and it was sweet.

I crave my children being small, being home.  the days before our home was opened to the world, to school, to other people’s thoughts, beliefs, and ideas.  when our time was our own, we had to answer to no one.  there was no such thing as homework, or difficult situations dealing with children that aren’t in our family, all of those other outside influences.  I miss being able to load up, go to grandma’s house for the day, staying there and playing, talking, maybe working on a quilt or other project, coming home in time to make dinner.  we had nothing else holding us down.  I miss the days when it was all so much simpler. 

there was nothing better than snuggling a baby all day long.  no chore more pleasant than taking care of that baby, nursing and changing diapers, rocking and singing lullabies.  the days went all too fast and left memories all too sweet.

there is also something to be said for the preparatory phase of a new one’s arrival.  the only thing as fulfilling as taking care of that infant was preparing our home for their arrival.  cleaning, decorating, washing and folding the tiny laundry, getting our home ready for a new person.  that was the meaning of life to me.

it still is.  and while the tiny ones aren’t so tiny anymore, I still love the life I live.  I still embrace every season of life, I know I have a lot to look forward to, but I can’t help that fall makes me feel homesick for those early days.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

that old black magic

so with a few things on my plate, I forgot that yesterday was monday, until I realized that today is tuesday. does that even make sense?

whelp, it does to me!

here is a layout created with dani mogstad’s newest kit, “that old black magic”.

(click on layout for full list of credits.)


when I saw it, I immediately thought of my childhood halloweens.  I called my mom to have her scan in old halloween pics of me and my brothers and email them to me.  it was so fun looking back!  it was even funner trying to figure which year each one was taken.

Monday, October 15, 2012

luke a.

obviously, I need to start adding a last initial to my luke posts.

I have decided that lukes make some of the cutest baby boys.

I’ve yet to meet a female luke. ;)

here’s this sweet little guy, whose mom I have been lucky enough to know and be friends with since the 7th grade.

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his siblings are quite cute as well.  his brothers and their red hair have made me want a boy of my own!  they are too stinking cute.

anderson 03_edit_boost burnanderson 06_edit_boost burn

anderson 04_edit_b&w burn_crop

Friday, October 12, 2012

a year of no yelling: how I did it.

I thought it was funny, that the year mark fell on ashley’s baptism day. for anyone who has had a special event of this magnitude take place, you know that that day is stressful! if you make it through without yelling, emotional breakdowns, or threats on another’s life, then you have succeeded.

well, I made it!

let’s catalog the events that took place this past year, that I managed to not yell through, shall we?

- one trip to disneyland.  (this was a trial.)

- two lagoon trips.

- 3 birthdays.  (and all the prep work and EXCITEMENT!!  from the girls.)

- one summer, kinda stacked with chores, and the arguments that inevitably follow.

- countless nights of homework.  need I say more?

- countless nights of little girls getting out of their own beds, and coming to mine.

- one month of merrill being gone (gone two weeks at a time).

- one lake powell trip.

- many, many pictures taken.

- a number of sacrament meetings.  (oh, you know what I am talking about?)

how did I do it?

well, let me tell you that I have set this goal many times.  I was just never fully committed, or desired the change bad enough, I guess.  it was ashley’s birthday last year, and I can tell you that she is my kid who knows how to push buttons, and I felt so bad at the end of that day.  I felt like she was yelled at more than anything that day.  that is not how it should have been that day, or any other. 

I got out of the house to play volleyball, and afterward, had quite the heart to heart with my best friend.  I know that my change of heart came at the right time when she started to share information with me from a class she had been to that night.

it was an answered prayer.

some of the things that were discussed at her class were just the helps I needed, some tips that would get me going the way I wanted to go.

- talk low and slow.  (I think I am scarier when I do this than when I yell.)

- set reasonable punishments, and when you lay out a punishment/consequence, stick with it.

- take deep breaths.  (even if you pass out.)

sometimes, I was talking so low and so slow, my teeth were gritted so tight, I thought they would never part again.  but the girls HAD to listen, HAD to pay attention, or else they wouldn’t be able to hear.

the consequence thing was kind of hard at first, I wanted to throw out the scariest possible consequence just to scare them into obeying, but realizing that they would call my bluff, I had to learn to stop, think, sometimes ponder it for the night, and then set a consequence that would be both effective and reasonable.

a great example was a sacrament meeting when I was single parenting it up, and ashley was pushing my buttons.  I told her that if she kept it up, we would have to move to the foyer,  the way she was behaving was not appropriate for the chapel, and that it would not be good.  well, we moved out to the foyer, and it wasn’t good.  I told her that she would have her prized possessions repossessed, all that would be left to her in her room would be her bed, her clothes, and her bedding. 

blaming my older brother for some of her personality traits, she got real smart-ass like, and asked, “oh yeah?  will you take my light?  will you take my door?  will you take my carpet…”  and that was when I started to drag her out of the church, taking those deep breaths all along the way.

once we were home, I sat her on the stairs in the entryway, and explained to her what she had done, what I had told her would be her punishment, and then how she kept on.

she sat there and watched as I moved EVERYTHING out of her room.

she was left with a bed with her bedding, a nightstand and lamp, an empty bookshelf, a mirror on her wall, and her clothes. 

once she saw that I was serious, the tears began.  after letting her have a time out in her very empty room, we laid out a plan for how she could earn her belongings back.  every day, she had the opportunity to earn back 3 things: 1) if she were obedient getting ready for school and stayed on task.  2) coming home and getting homework done without complaint.  and 3) getting ready for bed and having a clean room.  some days were really good, and I was generous and would let her get an item or two more than the three, some days she was only allowed to pick out one.  that first night, she only got to pick out one item instead of the two we had talked about.  that was a hard night for her, she chose a stuffed animal over her cd player.  she learned pretty quickly that if something were important to her, she had better do her part to have what she wanted.

she has finally earned back all of her belongings. :)

but most of all, I prayed.  every day and night I would pray for help, and give a prayer of gratitude for how far I had come.

I decided that I didn’t want my home to feel the way it did anymore, I wanted my children to listen to me, instead of zone me out again because I was yelling again.  I wanted to better my relationship with them.  our home has been a happier place, when merrill comes home there isn’t such a dark cloud (most of the time).

but mostly, I wanted to be the kind of parent that my heavenly father would want me to be.  he never yells at me, I am sure he wants to sometimes, but his ways are better, and they do not include anger and yelling.

another good “side effect” of this change, is that my kids listen to me when I do yell.  like, when I was painting peyton’s room, she started to back into a wet wall, and when I yelled her name, she listened!  she ran to me, instead of away from me, like she would have.  another time as we were all leaving a store, walking through the parking lot, like a mother duck with her ducklings in tow, a car was coming too fast, and I yelled for them to run, and guess what, they listened.

I am so happy I made this change.

it has been a great year!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

quite the weekend.

this last weekend, was one to never forget.

ashley turned 8.

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she was baptized the day after her birthday.

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(thanks dad for taking this picture!!)

it was a good day.  2 soccer games (at the same time no less), conference, and ash was baptized between sessions.

we like to keep it simple in our family, simple program, short and sweet, nothing too crazy. 

merrill baptized and confirmed her, he did wonderfully.  it was fun to watch them in the hall before, practicing the hold and dunk move.  this time, I made sure to remember the controls to the electric blanket to help warm her afterward.  (I forgot them with lynn, she froze!!)  I love how simple ashley is, she has a different personality than lynn, and her taste is more simple.  her hair wasn’t a big deal, neither was her dress.  love this girl.

I did find it interesting when merrill confirmed her, that she was blessed, again, with integrity.  the same thing was said when she was blessed as a baby.  I found it interesting then too. 

it has been fun watching her grow up and come to this point.  she’s quite a girl!

and I marked one year (ONE YEAR!!) of no yelling (out of anger) at my girls.

(soccer is another matter.  that qualifies as excitement, not anger.)

more on that later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ashley’s special shoot.

when lynn was preparing to be baptized, we started a couple of traditions.  one was to go out, just me and that almost 8 year-old girl, and buy a special dress. the other was for me to take out the special girl, just she and i, and going to a location of her choice, take some special pictures in that special white dress.

ashley chose the salt lake temple. 

so we made dinner that night (fresh halibut from merrill’s recent trip, that I survived.), and hurried (and by hurried, you have no idea how hurried we were..), to salt lake, trying to get there before the sun set.

we made it.

just in time.

I have to say, I enjoyed that whole drive down and back.  we turned off the music, and talked and talked.  we talked about her upcoming baptism, and what it means.  it was so special to me, to be able to bear my testimony to her, just to her.  we plotted out her whole birthday, from her treat at school, to what she wanted for her birthday dinner, and the cakeS too, of course.  we talked about what she was hoping to unwrap that day,  and she somehow managed to get christmas into that segment of conversation.  I even shared my favorite memories of the day she was born, and more of her when she was younger.

I didn’t want to go back home.  it was such a fun evening.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

a spooky six pack.

no, not my abs.




pretty fun, right?

similar to the bottles I did for valentines a few years ago (but not really the same..  those were empties.), these have homemade labels that are spooky enough, but more fun than spooky.

I cut paper strips from my patterned paper that measured 8 1/2 x 3 1/2, and distressed them, first with an emery board, and then with some black ink.  I taped those on the bottles and then popped a label from nancie rowe janitz, distressed in the same way, on top of the taped-on strip.  I punched 1 inch circles out of the same papers, distressed again (I kinda like it that way.), and popped those on the bottle caps with a glue dot.  to finish off the bottles, I tied ric-rac or twill around the neck, cause it was cute.  the cardboard container was flattened and used as a template to trace onto more patterened paper that was cut to sixe, distressed (see, like it!), and glued onto the cardboard container. 

for a full list of digital supplies used, click on the pic!

the bonus to this cute, fun, halloween project:  I got to drink ibc rootbeer and crème soda (my second fav drink of all time) for the next few days. :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

treasure found.

while cleaning the c drive the other day, I found one file folder that read “mom’s”.

that was vague and mysterious enough to have me wonder what it was, and instead of deleting it immediately (pffft.  like I would do that..) I played it.

I am not going to lie when I tell you it brought tears to my eyes.

I forgot this even existed.

it is only a few seconds, but they are wonderful seconds.

ashley’s birthday

it was october 5th, 2004.  ashley made her way into this world via emergency c-section.

my plan for how that day was supposed to go, was completely thrown out the window.

as I look back on that day, I remember how wonderful it was, but realize how terrifying it must have been for merrill.  I have nothing but wonderful memories.  sure, I was nervous.  but it was one of the four most wonderful days of my life.

those days are in the past, the seconds have ticked by way too fast.

eight years later…

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and here we are!

happy birthday my little ashley.

for the record:

- you LOVE anything and everything coconut.

- you are not “short”, you are “fun-sized”.

- you love soccer.

- despite your energy level and active little body, you are not exhausted at the end of the day.  you are a night owl.  (one more item to add to the short list of traits you inherited from me.)

- you want tacos for your birthday dinner tonight.  my bet is that you eat the leftover tomatoes.

- you are so excited to be baptized!

- I can’t tell you what your favorite color is.  I am not sure, it seems to change weekly now.  just a couple of weeks ago, it was orange.  you wanted your whole room orange!  then it was fuchsia, then blue, and now, well as of yesterday anyway, it is maroon.

- you have suddenly turned into a neat freak.  your room hasn’t been messy for 2 weeks now!

- you are so thoughtful.  you asked for a coconut cake for your birthday, but realizing that lynn and dad don’t care for coconut, you asked if I could make a chocolate cake too.

we are so happy to have you as our favorite middle child!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

davis family

this is my cute friend cindy.

we once ran track together.

she is still darling, has a kind husband, a son with dimples that KILL me, and a sweet little girl that cracked me up with her serious ways.

snowbasin and mother nature cooperated awesomely to provide us with a beautiful backdrop.

here’s some of my favorites:

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012


love cake smashes!

(have I ever said that before?)

I joined a book club with my best friend this year.  we were invited by another friend.  we were a little scared at first, but it has been so much fun!  this little girl’s mom is one of the reasons it has been so fun.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

playing catch-up is a great form of exercise.

so merrill is home.


he has been home for a week, but I have been too busy enjoying his presence that I have not mentioned it.

we have already enjoyed our first halibut dinner.  delicious.

we were also thrust back into real life (i.e. work and the daily routine) rather quickly.

so while trying to be creative, take pictures, mother, cook, clean, organize (because fall puts me in the mood to de-clutter and visit the d.i.), prep. for a certain 8 year-old to be birthday+baptism, soccer, tumbling, and getting a new hotel ready to open, I have managed to have some fun.

I had an especially fun night last night while I cleaned-up the old hard drive on my computer.  organizing the c drive and the external hard drive seriously define what fun is to me.  I am a geek.  I did a little happy dance when I found a long lost (think almost 8 years long) video.  I also did another happy dance when I freed up about 100 gb on my c drive.

I have many projects to document, I allowed only a week of the two merrill was gone, to be depressed, then I got crafty.  they are quite cute, if I do say so myself.

so, you can sit back and be patient, enjoy these here posts as they come.

here’s the scrapbook layouts I got done in september:

(click on the image for the list of products and junk.)


I wanted to do a quick layout of all the snippets of memories from this year’s trip to lake powell, and that is what the journaling of this layout consists of, those little bits.

my favorite memories:

- merrill surprising me with a playlist for the drive that had old, sentimental songs on it.

- ashley jumping off the top of the houseboat!!!  (she is my dare-devil daughter.)

- staying in reflection canyon.  (gorgeous.)


here’s a layout featuring a quote that I have used before, and HAD to use again.  the picture told me to do it.


and, well, I will NEVER get tired of pictures of my girlies reading.


ash was so excited to start moby dick.