Monday, January 28, 2013

The INGs

Just a grainy Iphone picture to accompany all this text. :)

LOVING: Southwestern Beef in the crockpot from Our Best Bites. This will be our 3rd night having it for dinner in one form or another. And I'm not even a beef girl.

READING: I am reading The Anatomy of Peace. It's about principles that can help us have peace in our lives and hearts. I don't love the style of writing, and I am not "eating it up" quite like I expected to. I CAN say that in some ways it has already been a life changer though.

WATCHING: Nate and I have been watching a show on Netflix called Out of the Wild: Venezuela. Nate served his mission in Venezuela, so that was the big reason we chose to start this show. It's about 9 people who are dropped off in a remote area of Venezuela. With only basic supplies, they have to survive and get back to civilization. We really like it.

ANTICIPATING: Oh this is an easy one. I have 4 wonderful friends that I met in Ohio, and we are having a girls' weekend here in a little over a week. Cannot wait for this. I am also super excited to see Nate's mom who will coming to visit next week.

LISTENING TO: We are really into the Disney Tarzan soundtrack lately. I have always loved it and used to own the CD. I recently downloaded about 5 of my favorite songs from the movie, and the kids are converted now too.

PLANNING: Nate and I are in charge of a Pinewood Derby for a big single adults conference being held here in Las Vegas in a few weeks. We have been planning and meeting and organizing and buying to make this event really fun and successful.

WORKING ON: Being respectful! All of us...but mostly Jansen and Natalie. 

WISHING: I wish I still knew French like I did at the end of high school. I have plans to start brushing up on it again, but we will have to see if that ever really happens.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

MLK Day Adventures

One of the great things about Nate's job is that he has holidays like Martin Luther King Day off from work. For the most part. We had a wide open day to spend together on Monday. I suggested we go to Valley of Fire State Park, and he jumped right on that idea...because the state park is only a short distance from where a very rare crane has been hanging out. We drove through some really small towns in Nevada to find this crane; which ironically, is called the Common Crane. 

There were other people out there trying to catch a glimpse of this bird too. They were nice enough to let us take a look through their spotting scopes. Oh how Nate wants a nice spotting scope!

Emmy insisted I hold her for most of the walk, but when I suggested she hold hands with Jansen, she practically jumped out of my arms. She often calls him "my Jansen." Poor Emmy got it in her head that we were there to find a bunny and asked about it the whole time.

After the crane adventure, we drove about 20 minutes to get here.

The weather was absolutely perfect. Between climbing, sand, small caves, and rocks, the kids could not have been happier.

I always hope and pray that having fun outside together is like little drops in a bucket that will keep our family strong in the future. And that somehow these experiences and memories will help make them good, successful, happy, hard working adults. 

We spent a good amount of time in this little spot building with sticks, grass, and rocks. Jansen kept complimenting Natalie on how creative she is.

It was a great morning. We even had time later that afternoon to ride bikes at the park with friends and grab some dinner at In n Out. Days like this make it hard to go back to school/work the next day!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Some Details

I hate doing Natalie's hair, and she hates having it done. We keep it simple, and that suits both of us. We took a few inches off recently to help keep the tangles away. This little lady that cut her hair was so sweet and kind to Natalie. I accidentally tipped her an amount that was twice the cost of the haircut (only $5), but hopefully it made her day because I appreciated her extra effort. 

Natalie also received the Tiger of the Month award recently for "Academic Excellence." She was sure excited. I think she really feeds off that kind of thing. I just love that she has her arm around the tiger.

As the weather has warmed up a tad, we have been spending a little time after school gets out collecting acorns (or something like that). Now I am stuck with the same problem I am faced with over and over...what to do with her bags of "stuff."

I wanted to get a picture of Jansen after he gets home from school. It's so nice to have him home early and around in the afternoon. Some of his favorite after school snacks right now are Rice Krispie cereal and/or graham crackers and milk. We've had some rough days in the past month, and he has sent me scurrying to friends, books, and prayer as I have tried to figure out 7 year olds. He is a very good kid, but Nate and I both want to make sure we have a handle on how we want to respond when he is having a tough moment. Nate and I have had a lot of talks lately as we discuss parenting. I am reading a book called "The Anatomy of Peace" and a line from it pretty much sums up our parenting goals/style: "Rather than simply correcting, for example, I need to reenergize my teaching, my helping, my listening, my learning. I need to put time and effort into building relationships." We have rules and consequences, but I want to be an empathetic parent and one who keeps her cool when everything is going crazy...which is EXTREMELY hard for me. Anyway, a lot on my mind. Lots to figure out.

This picture is a little hard to see, but it cracks me up. This is life over here. Emmy just going along with whatever Natalie's imagination has come up with. A few things about Emmy: she is so scared of small bits of fuzz and string right now. For some reason, they really bother her. Her new phrase is "It's okay I..." like "It's okay I have another banana?" or "It's okay I go outside?" She loves the color pink. I know this is pretty typical for little girls, but it's new to me. She wants the pink spoon, the pink jacket, the pink kitty, etc. I'm loving it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Favorite Thing in the World to Do

I have some friends that I always go out with when it's one of our birthdays. It just kind of started, and we really don't get together with all 4 of us ever besides our little birthday nights. We choose somewhere to eat and then do a little shopping. There are few things I love more than those two things together in a night. This time we were celebrating Julie's birthday (she's on the right...they are the first family we met when we moved here).

We ate at a really yummy place called Yardhouse. Me and Katie here shared a ham and pineapple pizza and a chicken avocado sandwich. Oh and lots of fries. Sweet potato fries, truffle fries, plain fries...

We did a little shopping at Town Square. This candy/novelty store was very fun...I should have taken more pictures. We ended the night with McDonald's hot chocolate and following an ambulance to make sure it wasn't going to any of our houses. :) Oh I love girls' nights.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lego Creations and a Cutie

Whenever Jansen gets a new Lego Club magazine in the mail, he always wants to enter the building contests. I feel bad because we usually don't completely follow through and enter his creations. I'm planning on making sure it happens this time. Here's his submission for this contest:

Natalie wanted to make a car to enter as well. 

Oh I love this little nut. I love to snuggle my face in her hair and just smell her. I love to nuzzle my nose on her soft cheeks. I love to ask her questions just so I can hear her talk. She has been repeating phrases lately. Like, "Can we go in the playroom? Can we can we?" Or, "Are you going to the store mom? Are you are you?"  

Her sleeping hasn't been so great lately. I don't know how I keep getting into these bad habits. She has been waking a couple times a night and calling for me. When I go in her room I usually end up rocking her and falling asleep myself which results in a numb bottom for me. On a whim I decided to just try telling her to stop waking up at night, and that I wasn't going to rock her anymore. I tell her right before she goes to bed.  The past two nights she has slept through the night! Coincidence maybe. We will see how tonight goes. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Snow Morning

We have to drive about 45 minutes to get to any snow around here. All the kids have coats, but anything more than that as far as winter wear...nope. Plus these Vegas kiddos seem to have gotten a little wimpy when it comes to feeling cold. Taking all that into consideration, it's always a hard to decide if we should make the trip to Mt. Charleston to do a little sledding. Thankfully this time I made my friend Becca make the decision for us! I'm glad she decided we should go for it. Jansen was in a pretty terrible mood that morning, but taking his picture while he sat on the hood of the car seemed to distract him and he was over it.

We got a great parking spot, and the sun was shining. Two good starts to the morning. In true Natalie fashion, this one spent a lot of the time by herself exploring, playing, and gathering.

Emmy kept wanting to do everything on her belly.

There were tons of broken sleds everywhere. People would just leave them! I couldn't believe it.

I love this one!

Natalie preferred to slide down the hill without anything but her own body.

It was so fun. I wish we could have stayed longer. Honestly we were probably only there about an hour. We reached a point when Natalie's feet were freezing, Jansen's bad mood was back, and Emmy was crying, so it was time to go. It was all still worth it though.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Little Bit of Everything

I'm not exactly sure when this picture was taken. December some time. It rained, and I loved the idea that Jansen and Natalie came up with to huddle under umbrellas with their blankets. It looked rather cozy actually!

For some reason, Emmy really loves these glasses. She tries to sleep with them on. Although our dress up tote feels like a big pile of random things, the kids love to use it. They come up with some crazy outfits.

Nate's mom made this hat for Natalie when she was a baby, and now Emmy has claimed it as a favorite. One of my favorite Emmy-isms right now is "What color my tongue?" Any time she eats something, she wants to know what color it has changed her tongue to.

This was Jansen's school Christmas concert. During one of the songs Jansen was supposed to have an instrument of some sort. I watched the mix up happen, and he didn't end up with one. It hurt my little mommy heart SO much to see him raise his little hand during the song to alert the teacher. Of course she had a million other things to worry about and didn't even notice him. I could tell he was so sad, and then almost angry. We both survived. :)

Nate has been working hard on a big research paper. Last night he stayed up until almost 4 am editing and changing it. This picture was taken on New Year's Eve. Natalie and Emmy had colds, so we had to cancel some plans and just stayed home. We had a pizza night and watched Brave for our first time. The kids still went to bed at 8...hehehe...I probably won't get away with that for much longer.

New Year's Day we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called On the Border.

 I usually HATE eating out with kids, but they were well behaved and we had a good night. 

A couple days have been nice enough to head to the park. 

Emmy was very very fussy last night. We figured she was in pain and considered teeth or a tummy ache. I put her to bed, but she woke up quickly and told me her ear hurt. Duh! We should have thought of ear infection since she's had a cold. Sure enough, she has a bad one. I rocked her back to sleep and expected a long night, but she slept through the night (total shocker) and was perfectly fine today. Her ear is still infected, but she must have a pretty high pain tolerance. Church changed to 1 pm, and I actually think I will like that time. Nate was recently released as YM President and I was released from Primary. We were called as the single adult representatives for our ward. It will be fun to be serving in a calling together.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Morning (And Some Eve)

Christmas Eve the kids opened their new pajamas and books. Jansen was so excited about his Ninjago book.

I'm glad I took this picture, and now I remember why I did. Natalie knew bedtime was approaching, and she was furiously writing as many notes as possible to as many people as possible before bedtime. They were like her little gifts to everyone.

Thankfully, the kids have never woken up super duper early on Christmas morning. Lexi and Brennon slept on a mattress upstairs, so our wake up time was their wake up time. It was really fun to have them there Christmas morning with Addi.

It's a little hard to see, but there was an evil elf under the chair trying to steal one of Jansen's presents. I had to yell at it to go away. See me creeping out from the Christmas tree? (Ok, seriously now. What the heck? Why would I have that look on my face on CHRISTMAS MORNING?) I love me.

Emmy had a looooong sucker in her stocking.

Jansen kept talking about what a great Christmas it was and about his pile of presents. He was so fun to watch.

Love our Mom and Moose.

I wish I had some pictures from it, but we went to Pectol's for breakfast. It was so so wonderful to be there Christmas morning with everyone. My uncle Don asked me to say the prayer on the food and I cried through the whole thing. I didn't realize I would do that! I think I was just feeling grateful and happy and really missed being with my family.

After that we went to my grandparent's house. Growing up we always went to their house after opening presents and met up with all our cousins. I loved being there. Emmy was such a good sport the whole trip. Here she is giving me the signal...***Mom, when I pull up one pant leg, it means I am done sitting on Grandpa's lap.***

My family loves Nate. He and my grandpa always have some good conversations.

Oh how I love my grandma and my cousin Meggie. It made my Christmas to get to see them both.

We actually drove back to Las Vegas that afternoon. The drive went well, and it really wasn't a big deal spending Christmas afternoon in the car.