Saturday, October 29, 2011

Date Night

We haven't been on a date in MONTHS. Seriously. First, because I was just so huge and miserable. I really would not have been any fun on a date. And then because I was recovering and everyone was adjusting. And then life was just busy there for a little bit. But we finally made the time tonight. Our first sitter in sooooooo long. It's probably been over four months. WAY too long! I love my hubby. So glad we got to be boyfriend and girlfriend again for a night! :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Festivities!!

So far October has been such a fun month! We kicked it off with a fabulous Conference Weekend spent with good food, great talks, and the best company in the world! LOVE my family!! :)

We've been taking lots of walks lately. I love the cooler weather! And we've attempted to document the pretty colors we've been enjoying. Unfortunately we just haven't splurged for a nice camera yet, so these pictures don't do any of those leaves justice.

This is my favorite mountain anywhere. I love seeing it's snow dusted peaks. I can't describe the nostalgia I feel in words. My family lives right there in those colorful foothills. I have memories of high school, dates, family reunions, girls camps, and all sorts of things in those mountains. And now I'm getting to create more wonderful memories there with my little family. Love it!!

Here are my happy boys on one of our recent walks. Poor Payson is always in school and rarely gets to join us. :(

Some of the pretty fall colors down the street from our home.

We've also enjoyed the indoors this month! Cuddling up in mom's bed every morning or snuggling on the couch for family movie nights. So far we've watched Nightmare Before Christmas, Scared Shrekless, and Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outerspace! Up next, my personal favorite, Hocus Pocus!!

We've baked yummy treats! (I may have eaten 3 on Monday night after Family Home Evening. Oops!)

We've shopped for warmer clothes!! Including cute matching church clothes for my boys. I love having twinners now. :)

We carved pumpkins the other night for Family Home Evening! We always let the kiddos choose what they want to carve and then Jason and I end up doing all the work. :) But that's okay! We have fun!

Payson chose Rapunzel from Tangled and Jack chose Phinaes from Phinaes and Ferb (which he is obsessed with lately!)

Here they are all lit up!!

Lucas was there too. I promise. He just chilled in his bouncer and stared at us while we carved. :)

Here are Jason and I, posing with our works of art. Please pardon all the cleavage. I'm already a busty lady, but add nursing to the mix and there are always runaway boobies!! Very scary! Completely appropriate for Halloween, no?

And just for fun, that dining room doesn't look the same at all anymore!! We've had that crappy little less-than-$100-Walmart dining set for way too long! The cheap upholstered seats were stained and disgusting and the table was falling apart. Jason frequently had to drill new holes in the bottom of the table to keep the top on! Sad. And super embarrassing when we had company. And SMALL! This family of 5 was starting to feel cramped! So we got a lovely new set that was delivered this morning.

Ahh! Much better! Plenty of room to sit four, even 6 comfortably. And a leaf to add two more. And prettier, don't you think?

And last, we headed to Hee Haw Farms for some family fun! The kids have been dying to go for a while. We even had plans to go with friends one evening and we ended up not being able to make it. They've been begging to go ever since. So we finally made the trip last night.

First we made friends with a cute floppy eared bunny.

Then we posed with some ginormous pumpkins. The older two were definitely in the mood to ham it up for the camera yesterday.

Jack made friends with a chicken. Rooster? I don't know. Either way, they had some pretty intense conversations. :)

The admission cost of Hee Haws is totally worth their petting zoo alone. They just let you go right in with the animals and hang out for as long as you want. There were goats, pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and roosters, ducks, and bunnies. There were horses too, but they were in a much muckier coral. Lots of poop. We decided not to venture there.

This little goat was SUPER friendly! First, he escaped when we were entering the pen. Jason had to chase him down. He was finally cornered in a corn box (like a sand box, but with corn). He followed us around the pen while we pet the animals. He even jumped up on Payson at one point! Harmless as could be, but it startled Payson and she screamed and then laughed. :)

This chicken/rooster/hen/bird dude would follow us around as well. But wouldn't let us catch him! I tried but I was too chicken (get it?) of getting pecked. Ha ha! Jason made fun of me, but then he couldn't grab it either.

Jack had a good stare down with this big, old ram.

Then Jack crashed Payson's photo to continue his stare down.

They had grain sack slides. I know I cut the kids off at the bottom, but their faces coming down cracked me up!

Lucas was great for the first little bit. Then he got fussy and cold. So I fed him and he went right to sleep. He enjoyed the rest of the afternoon/evening tucked cosily into his stroller. :)

There were too many of these for the kids to pose in. I have so many pictures of them making ridiculous faces behind some big painted board.

We found the giant pigs later. They were pretty big! There were too large mamas who were very friendly...and noisy!

And back behind them were the sweetest little piglets! They were sleeping in a pile, trying to stay warm. It was the cutest!!

We also checked out the tractors.

And took a ride on Lacy the pony.

We finished up the night buying some Indian corn and tiny gourds to bring home. The kids are so proud of their little bitty pumpkins in their rooms. Or as Jack calls them, "punkins". :)

Fall has been fun so far for us! We can't wait to finish it up with Halloween parties, costume parades, chili cook offs, and of course, trick-or-treating! I'm sure there will be plenty more photos to come! I love this time of year!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pretty People...and other random musings.

Jason and I have determined that we are not the prettiest, not the ugliest, people. We're just somewhere in the middle. Our kids, however, are another story entirely!!

This picture doesn't even do them justice. Look at my handsome boys in their cute matching ties?! Ah!! I LOVE IT! And Payson's dress is to die for. Really, I wish I had a better picture. But this is what you get on a Sunday morning when you're running out the door for church. Payson holding a binky, Lucas falling asleep, and Jack...why is his hand on Lucas's head like that?? Ha ha ha! Seriously can't get enough of these kiddos of mine. My sweet little family is just full of my very favorite people.

And while I'm mentioning my favorite people, let's just check out this handsome hunk!!

Sorry, ladies. He's all mine! Yes, you should definitely be jealous. Aside from his stunning good looks, this week alone he has surprised me with flowers, cleaned bathrooms, helped me with laundry, and he is currently washing the dishes. Aren't you just green with envy?!

And just for fun, let's throw these into this post. The kids and I made cupcakes. I decorated the first dozen and let the kids go crazy with the rest. Can you tell which ones are mine?? ;)

Hope you're all having a lovely Sunday!!

Monday, October 17, 2011


That one word alone has a million thoughts running through my mind. So much I could write about. But today, I had a near "perfect" day. Meaning I had a loooong list of things to get done. And I got all but two things crossed off of that list. This was a great accomplishment.

But does crossing everything off of my list make today perfect? Heavens no! What made today perfect was the walk I took with my boys this morning. It was smiling and cooing with Lucas. It was watching Jack build sandcastles at the park. It was reading story after story after story after story. It was talking to my beautiful daughter about her day at school. It was sitting down to dinner together. It was a fun Family Home Evening full of laughing and love. It was more stories. It was family prayer. It was hugs and kisses. It was leaving the to do list for a few minutes here and there to do what matters.

Sure, I could have had a "perfect day" and crossed ALL of the items off of my to do list, if I had wanted to. But instead, I chose to spend my time with these three little fishies.

And I really had a PERFECT day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Thanks for everyone's thoughts and advice. Really, I pretty much made up my mind just typing out that post on becoming vegetarian or not. But the comments you left pushed me right over the edge. I just went for. I typed that all up on Monday. I coincidentally hadn't eaten any meat that day and haven't since. And after one week of being vegetarian again, I can tell you I don't plan on going back. Not only have I felt a MILLION times better, but I've lost 6 1/2 pounds. In a week! And I've eaten out! I've eaten treats! I even had pizza two nights in a row! Ha ha ha! I've really just eaten normal healthy meals and made smart choices and the pounds have melted right off. Now I just need to add in some exercise and I'll be burning through the pounds like crazy!!

Realistically, I know my weight loss slows down to a normal rate of 1-2 pounds per week after the first week or two, but it still feels good to see that initial big drop. And it feels good to know that this is my life this time. I'm not just trying this out to see if I can do it. I'm making a real choice to live this way forever. Which makes this so much easier than a stupid old diet. And I'm going to have to start blogging more of my vegetarian recipes since so many people have asked me for them. And if any of you come across any good ones, be sure to share!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Screen Bucks!!

We are not big television watchers. We love it too much. So to keep us from watching too much we just don't get cable. We had limited basic in Wyoming simply because it was the only way to get decent internet.

Now in our new place we get free cable. Not a million channels, but quite a few more than we've had in the past. And we ALL enjoy it. The kids love having Disney and Nick Jr. playing shows for them all day long. Jason loves that we have multiple ESPN channels. And I enjoy a whole slew of reality tv, Law and Order reruns, the food network and HGTV, and anything Oprah produced. :)

Having been miserably huge and tired this summer, and then having a newborn, we just got into the habit of watching WAY too much tv! And if it wasn't the tv it was the computer. And sometimes it was both simultaneously. While also playing games on the ipod or phones.

So for Family Home Evening this week I decided to talk to the kiddos about our screen time. We all agreed that EVERYONE in the family was guilty of spending way too much time in front of a screen of some kind. I asked the kids why this might not be such a good thing and they had tons of great ideas. So we decided to all try to cut back and created our own little way to manage our screen time.

I'm a good mom. Nothing spectacular. I make mistakes just like everyone else, but I do my best and I love my kids. And then every now and then I have moments of pure GENIUS!!

We made "Screen Bucks"! Screen bucks are "money" that can be traded for screen time. Each one is worth five minutes in front of a screen of your choice. They are received for doing chores without whining or being asked, doing something extra kind, and as general rewards throughout our day. And they work like magic!!

Not only have they helped us to significantly decrease our screen time, but they are helping to encourage good behavior all day as well! I love it! They are working so well for our family. Let's just hope their magic doesn't wear off anytime soon, because these moments of genius don't come to me quite often enough! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

To be or not to be...?

A vegetarian. That is the question. And it's been on my mind for a looong time. Like, a couple of years. You see, in early 2009 I decided to experiment a little. I wanted to try going meatless. Just for a while. Just to see if I could do it. I'd been raised on chicken or beef or fish every night but I'd seen my dad go meatless (although he did eat fish) a couple of times for about a year or so. He was so healthy during that time and I wanted to know if I could do it and become as healthy.

I had also just finished reading the book Eat to Live, which advocates a vegan lifestyle. It really just promotes healthy living, and has so many choices for meat eaters. But ideally promotes vegan or vegetarianism. The book was actually really fascinating. And then I'd prayerfully studied Doctrine and Covenants 89 and wanted to follow it's counsel of eating meat sparingly, in winter and times of famine.

So I did. And at first it was hard. Partly because I missed meat in certain foods. (Like spaghetti. I don't like spaghetti without meat sauce. And chili took some time to get used to without the ground beef.) And partly because I just didn't know what to eat instead. It took some time to build up a stash of recipes that I enjoyed that didn't contain meat. But eventually it got easier and I actually found that I felt amazing! I loved it! I had so much more energy and I was dropping pounds like crazy! I felt incredible! I was probably the healthiest I'd ever been in my entire life. Ever.

But after a while it wasn't super convenient and I sort of just gave up after a few months. And I found myself not enjoying meat at all.

Fast forward about two and a half years...and I'm still wondering why I'm not a vegetarian. I'm more unhealthy than I've ever been, I have little to no energy, and I am always wondering if I should just go back to being a vegetarian.

So I'm weighing out the pros and cons on my blog. And I'm going to ask for your opinions and advice. Not for whether or not YOU should become a vegetarian. But whether or not I should. Because I know most of you don't want to give up your meat. And I don't mind that at all! I wouldn't be doing this because of some moral high ground I've landed on, but because it works best for ME.

Here it goes. Pros. This is the easy list.
*I feel healthier.
*I have more energy.
*I make healthier choices.
*I lose weight quickly and consistently.
*I eat out less simply because there are fewer options.
*I don't have to pay for pricey meat.
*I never have to wait for meat to thaw!
*I feel proud of myself for being dedicated to something.
*And, (here's a TINY little soapbox moment) although I do believe that animals are here for the benefit of man, I think MOST meat eaters are completely irresponsible about it. No one cares where there meat comes from or how it was treated, so long as it comes and at the right price. So we end up inadvertently promoting cruelty to animals and ingesting meat that is pumped full of all kinds of gross chemicals. I don't think most people make educated decisions about where they get their meat or how much meat they eat or anything. I could go on and on about this one. But the basic pro here is that I do feel good morally about not eating meat. (I hope that didn't come off as completely judgmental.)

And the Cons list. Much more complicated.
*I do have several vegetarian recipes now, but not as many as I'd like.
*There are certain things I don't like or won't eat. Like TVP or tofu. Just not a fan. And fake meats. I don't like the idea of fake foods, plus they're processed and not super healthy. So I'll have a veggie burger or whatever rarely. But most vegetarian recipes contain one of these items. This makes it hard for me to get enough protein sometimes. I love beans so I eat lots. And when I go veg, I don't go vegan. I'm just not ready to give up milk and eggs and cheese yet. Although I do buy free range eggs, etc. But my main sources of protein are beans, lentils, and eggs which doesn't provide as much variety as I'd like some days.
*It is really difficult to be a vegetarian when you have to cook for family members who are not. The kids will pretty much eat whatever I give them, but it's hard for them to give up certain things that they love, like hot dogs and pepperoni. And Jason is super supportive, but he also likes meat every now and then. I do make certain meals where they get meat and I skip it. Like fajitas. I love to just pile on the beans and onions and bell peppers and then I cook up some chicken or something on the side for the fam. But it's still hard.
*Meat centered holidays. Thanksgiving. I can eat plenty of the other good stuff and just skip the turkey. But there are also meaty barbecues in the summer. And our traditional Easter meal has always been ham. You get the idea.
*And last, dinner parties. Not that we have them often. But whenever we are invited to eat somewhere else, the main dish is always meat. So either I eat just the sides (which is usually not super filling) or I have to tell someone what to cook when they've invited me over for dinner. And I'm just not comfortable with that.

Those are the main points, at least. And there are more pros than cons for me, for sure. I'm pretty sure I've made up my mind, just from writing all of this out. But I'm still interested in your advice and opinions. Or tips if you have them!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Today Makes Me Happy :)

It's October 1st, my parents' 29th anniversary. I'm so grateful to them for working so hard to show me what a good marriage is. They have provided me with a feeling of safety and peace and showed me a wonderful example of how an imperfect, but awesome marriage works. I just love them!!

It's also the month for Halloween and Fall festivities and corn mazes and pumpkin patches and the beginning of a season full of traditions and family get togethers! I LOVE this time of year!!

(I couldn't find my pictures from Halloween last year, so these are the year before. First up, our Scooby-Doo jack-o-lantern. Then my cute kiddos in their Halloween costumes, Dorothy and the Scarecrow! And last, me and my cute babies on a tractor ride at Cornbelly's at Thanksgiving Point. We have gone every year since Payson was about 1 1/2. Can't wait to go this year!!)

Last night we took the kids to the Build-A-Bear store, the out to dinner, and finally to see the Lion King in 3D. It was such a fun night as a family!! And the kids really had a blast! Unfortunately, Jack has found an interest in my camera lately so when I pulled it out to document the night the batteries were dead. :( But during all that fun I ate out at California Pizza Kitchen AND ate a candy bar at the movie. LUCKILY, I was smart and checked out nutritional information first. And because of I knew how many calories I should stick to for the day. I planned wisely,came in under my calorie budget, and when I woke up and weighed myself this morning I had lost another pound! Woot woot!! Of course, that only added to my happiness today.

And last, today is General Conference. I can't wait to listen to the words our prophet and apostles and leaders have prepared for us. I can't wait to feel the spirit so strongly in my home. I can't wait to listen to the beautiful music. And let's be honest, I can't wait to lounge around in my pajamas all weekend with my family!! :)

So today is just a great day. Now I'm off to make whole wheat (nutritious AND delicious because they're from Lehi Roller Mills!) pancakes with fresh fruit and whipped cream and enjoy my family. Conference Bingo, anyone? Happy October! Hope you have a good one!!