Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sunday Will Come

This is one of my all-time favorite Easter messages. Sunday will come!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Called To Serve

Olivia and Coleman played this duet in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. It was so fun to watch them play together! We have had weeks of practicing (usually peacefully) and rehearsing.

They love seeing their names in print.

Our sweet music director always gives a little treat to people that do musical numbers. Liv and Coleman were thrilled with the note and brownies she brought by.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

80 Years Young

This cute Grandma Cole of mine turned 80 years old today. She is such an amazing woman! We have a close relationship... I feel so blessed to be a part of her posterity. I love her toasted cheese sandwiches and home canned peaches. I love talking to her on the phone. I love going to lunch with her. I love getting cards in the mail with her clear, perfect handwriting. I love that she remembers the treats that my kids love and that she always seems to have a little something on hand for them (including entire boxes of candy canes for Coleman). I love that she says things how they are (just yesterday she told Ryan he must be some kind of special to put up with me!) and doesn't mince words. I love that she loves me and tells me so. I love that she is my grandma!

She wanted to spend the day with her family--her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids. She wanted to do a temple session together, so we started out the day with a session at the Jordan River Temple. It was great to be there with my aunts and cousins and a few of my siblings and my mom... above are Lindsey, me, my mom, David, and Katty...

 ,,,and Ryan of course! Then we went to a church for a really nice luncheon that my aunts prepared.

 Four generations... me, Sophia, my dad, and my grandma.

 Here are my grandma and grandpa with their four kids--Dianne, Michael, Stan, and Channa.

I didn't get any pictures of Erin at the park, so I made her pose with me at the luncheon :).

My favorite part of the luncheon was a tribute that my aunt Channa did for her... she told her life story and talked about the legacy of love, faith, and service she had given to each of us. She has spent her life loving her family and friends (and we all love her!), showing faith in Jesus Christ, and serving all around her. My aunt Dianne made these cute stacking blocks for all of us.

I am so grateful for my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, talented, generous, and loving Grandma Cole.

Instead of learning to walk...

... I think I'll just use the scooter to get around!

Spring Break Day 5

On our last day of spring break we had a family picnic at Creekside Park!

My mom came for a bit and helped set up and cook. She is great!

Megan, Jaxton and Lindsey

Ryan was our grill guy... making sure the raw hamburger juices didn't get on the hot dogs. We ate completos. Yummy!

Sophia and my dad who was in town for my grandma's 80th birthday celebration (more to come on that later!).

This plaque is hanging up in the pavilion... Breneman Barr Bitner is one of my ancestors (great, great grandfather?) and his family donated or sold the land to the city where the park is now. Pretty cool!

The kids loved this round thing.... I'm not even sure what to call it.

Jonah and Brady had so much fun together!

The kids kept asking us to push them... my dad gave it a go several times (it was tiring work!).

Sophia LOVED the slides. She has found a new favorite thing to do!

We played a rousing game of kick-ball... David (with Katty and David Joseph) wanted to play dodgeball... but we stuck with kick-ball. It was very fun!

David had flip flops so he tried playing barefoot... the ball left an impression in his foot where he kicked it!

We didn't go out of town for spring break... and we didn't have perfect weather all week, but we managed to do some fun things during the week, especially with my dad and Lindsey visiting... now to get back on schedule and back in school!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Break Day 4

We spent day four of spring break doing a few fun things...

We saw this cute movie at the dollar theater....

...or rather, Olivia and Coleman and their aunts and grandpa and cousins watched the movie while Sophia and I roamed halls and played on mountains of booster seats.

She figured out that she really likes to sit in "big girl seats" all by herself.  And she really doesn't like to be quiet or still in movie theaters, no matter how many snacks you try to give her.

We went and saw Tayden's baseball game. He did great, but it was COLD!

We had a fun pizza dinner and finally called it a day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Break Day 3

Day three of spring break took us to a park near our home with my sister Lindsey and her kiddos who are here visiting.

Soph loved sliding with Liv...

...and all of the kids loved to race on this three-slide thingy... Jonah and Coleman took a turn.

Jaxton is such a cutie!

Liv and Linds tried to use the zip-line, but it kept getting stuck.

We blew bubbles and ate cookies and narrowly escaped the rain and wind.

(Said wind blew lots of shingles off of our house and uprooted a big tree in our neighbor's yard while we were inside eating hawaiian haystacks... the kids all agreed that it was the most exciting event of the day.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Break Day 2--Frisbee Golf

Day 2 of Spring Break included a picnic lunch at a park near Ryan's work for some Frisbee Golf.

Ryan's form is so graceful...

Coleman had to toss it a few more times to get it where he wanted it, but he was persistent!

Olivia had good aim and distance.

What a good looking group :).

Sophia rode on my shoulders (and tried to get Ryan to get her down... she says "Daddy!" in the cutest little voice!).

It was a very fun outing!

Spring Break Day 1

I am determined to not let all of spring break pass us by without doing some fun activities... so we started out the week by grabbing a couple of friends and heading off to Discover Park in PG.

Sophia LOVED the swings...

...and the slides...

Coleman and Jared loved playing hide and seek...

Doesn't Coleman have a great smile?

The whole gang (Olivia, Anna, Coleman, and Jared) had a great time at the park!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Conversations with a Moonflower

I'll be the first to admit that I am a sucker for advertising. It doesn't even have to be good advertising... but I am easily convinced that I "need" whatever is being sold. (This is why I stick to a list at Costco (those tasters' tables are so effective!) and why I don't watch infomercials.) I will also freely admit that I can't pass within a few feet of an author signing his or her books without stopping to chat (and picking up a book). I like to support local writers. I have no illusions that I am a talented writer, but would hope that if I ever were to write a book there would be a whole lot of nice people like me that would stop and talk and buy my book. So when I was using my list at Costco last week, hurriedly walking to the register, I passed by a smiling author with bright posters (and a mesmerizing video playing) and it dawned on me that she was the aunt of a dear friend... my friend had told me that she (the aunt) had written a book. When I saw her and her lovely advertising and book I recognized it all immediately. I had to stop. I had to tell her that I knew her niece. I had to buy the book.  It turned out to be a quick read and was quite enjoyable.

There were quite a few little gems throughout the book as the author has "conversations" with an amazing plant she acquires from an Amish friend. It is a moonflower that blooms at dusk in the summertime. By the time the sun comes up in the morning, the blooms have wilted and gone away. The author learns a lot about herself and her challenges as she spends time with the moonflower.  This idea stood out to me the most (from page 98-99):

"It has never occurred to me to try to be anything but what I am," the plant began. "I know who and what I am. I know better than anything what I can do and be. I wasn't created to have an intoxicating smell that would become perfume, or to be used in floral arrangements that would grace the most joyful and sorrowful occasions in people's lives. I was created to instill a sense of wonder in those who come my way, to help them slow down, ask questions, and listen. I know who I am and what my work is. I am a unique and amazing creation, and I have much to share exactly as I am."

**Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had such a strong sense of self, such a clear understanding of who we are and what we are capable of doing?
**Do you purchase books when the author is signing copies?
**Are you a sucker for good (or bad) advertising?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sophia's Garden Party

Sophia turned one and we had a party! I made her invitations to look like flowers with a little poem (and party info) on each of the petals. I gave a few out closed, like this...

...and giggled when I heard/saw what people thought it was... a flip book, a bug with many wings, or a set of baby footprints... it was supposed to be a flower (so I put a little note with the rest of the invites!).

We decorated with a fun birthday banner...

...some quotes about gardens...

...and some cute poofy things made of tissue paper that Olivia learned how to make in Activity Days.
We had lots of yummy food...

...and she got some very fun gifts...

...which she loves to play with.

...and she had a flower headband, but her mama couldn't find it during the party, so she wore it the next day for a brief moment :).

We had a yummy chocolate cake with Oreo dirt (Coleman was thrilled to add the gummy worms and candy rocks)...

...and Sophia got her very own little cake to dive into...

She wanted to grab the candle (what one-year old doesn't?)...

...and she wasn't timid about getting dirty!

We sent home party favors for the kids...

...and the grown ups....

...hoping that they are better at keeping their flowers alive than I am.

My favorite activity was reading these cute little notes... I asked everyone to write down their favorite thing about Sophia... many wrote about her smile and beautiful eyes and her ability to make people around her happy. She is such a blessing. I loved what my dear sister-in-law Kristen wrote... "She reminds us that miracles happen!"
We are so grateful to all of our family that could come and celebrate with us... and to those that couldn't, we missed you!