Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's A Beautiful Day!

Last week Ryan and I went on a date--a real date--where we left our cute kids with my wonderful sister Erin and went somewhere all by ourselves for longer than 40 minutes.

Ryan used some of his long-time saved "play money" (that our kids think is like Monopoly Money, when it is actually our discretionary spending money that we each get in our budget) and bought tickets to see U2!!! In 2001 they came and Ryan wanted to go... Liv was a brand new baby and I wasn't going to leave her, so he went with his brother Tim. This time it was my turn to go with him (I think I waited long enough, no?)!

We sat behind the stage, but with the set-up we both thought we had great seats. They had video footage on the mammoth screen, the sound was great, and all of the band members (even Adam Clayton) came around and performed to us.

This I know:
  • I like going on dates with Ryan. 
  • U2 makes great music. 
  • Bono is a performer and an ego-maniac. (Ryan reminds me that if you earn money like he does, you are allowed to be full of yourself.... while I agree with this, it was almost comical to watch Bono perform for the camera.... I must be getting old.)
  • Even though it was the end of May, it was COLD.
  • Speaking of getting old, by 10 pm I was checking my watch (not because I was bored... just because I was tired... and worried about my kiddos).
  • We left a song or two early to beat the crowd and make the trek to our car, which I swear was parked 2 miles away. It was worth it.
We had such a great time... it was worth the 10 year wait!

Whenever I go to concerts I think about some of the others I have been to... and laugh a little with the changes in my musical interests... James Taylor, Sting, Harry Connick, Jr., Rush, and even Celine Dion and Michael Bolton (remember, Amy???).  My dream concert? Simon and Garfunkel, baby. I don't think they tour together anymore.

**What are some of your memorable concerts?
**Who would you LOVE to see in concert?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Best Corn Ever

We are thrilled to finally have spring-like weather... even though it keeps getting interrupted by periods of rain and gloom.  Our favorite new recipe for corn comes from my favorite new recipe source, Our Best Bites. Find the full recipe for Elote--Mexican Style Corn on the Cob here.

First, you shuck the corn and remove all the stringiness you can...

Then, grill it so it's blackened and tasty...

And spread on the mayo/sour cream mixture that is flavored with fresh lime juice, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and kosher salt (I know, it sounds weird, but trust me, you'll be glad you did)...

Grate up some cotija cheese...

And spread it to cover the corn. This is especially delicious while it's piping hot. Make sure you clean your face and floss your teeth after, because it makes a delicious mess! It is SO worth the extra effort.

Soph-a-loaf loves corn... we leave off the sauce and cheese off of hers though :).

**Have you tried this type of corn before?
**If not, will you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

She's getting stuff figured out!

Look Who's Walking

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Recital 2011

It was time again for our Spring Piano Recital. Liv and Coleman's teachers are both our neighbors and friends, so they planned the recitals back to back.

We were excited that Grandma Jan and Grandpa Gee Gee could come....

...and happy that my mom could be there too!

All of the kids in Olivia's group played music from movies. She was assigned "Imperial March" from Star Wars. It was frequently used to work out her frustration and aggression :) and I can honestly say that I am relieved that the recital is past so that we won't have it in our home for 40 minutes each day. It is very true that music sets the tone!

She did a wonderful job though and worked really hard at adding feeling to her music.

Coleman doesn't love practicing, but he loves being able to play the piano and he has quite a knack for it.

I just love his teacher! She is so patient with him and has really helped him to progress.

He started out with "Super Sleuth" which was a fun spy song.

His second song was "Lauren's Lullyaby." We were impressed that he memorized both songs!

Way to go Olivia and Coleman! You both worked hard and performed well!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Funny Girl

This cute little girl likes to take things out of their containers.

And put them back.

And take them out, one at a time.

And put them back.

And pour them all out at the same time.

And watch, while I put them back.

And take them out, by the fistful.

And rearrange them on the floor.

And then crawl away or do the Frankenstein/drunken walk and move on to another cupboard or drawer or basket of things, leaving messes in her wake.

She likes to pose for photos too.

Handcart Trek--Fourth Grade Edition

Yesterday Olivia's fourth grade participated in the best activity of the year.

They dressed up as pioneers (Olivia chose her clothes and was convinced that this sweater was "in-style" back then... good thing we had the bonnet to make it a little more official, no?)...

...and got arranged into families...

...and pulled a handcart through the neighborhood. They crossed a stream en-route and stopped for lunch (beef-stew, which was reportedly not that tasty--but "it was food" so they ate it--and dutch oven desserts) and then participated in pioneer games and work-activities before trekking back to the school.

She even had to walk part of the way on crutches. All of the students (and parents) love this activity. So much time goes into preparing for it and it really paid off. Children learn by doing, and I love that Liv was able to learn more about our history and heritage by pulling a cart and playing the part for a day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Frilled Lizard

The second graders at our school do a report on animals... and Coleman chose to find out more about the Frilled Lizard.  He worked hard on his report and poster and discovered all sorts of interesting facts (thank you Wikipedia!).

He's had a great teacher this year! She really gives him opportunities that challenge him and push him to learn more.

Give the kid a microphone... and away he goes. He may have a future in public speaking!

If you want to learn more about this reptile with a fancy frill, listen to Coleman in his own words (it's only 24 seconds long):

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spoiled Mother's Day Goodness

Ryan and the kids never, ever disappoint when it comes to spoiling me on Mother's Day. I woke up to a yummy breakfast of chocolate chocolate chip pancakes with Buttermilk Caramel Syrup and a yummy fruit smoothie...

I was showered with gifts from the kids...

Liv made this darling plaque (It says "Some of my greatest blessings call me Mother") at Activity Days...

Sophia smiled and loved me all day long (and called me "Daddy" all day long too... but we don't need to focus on that since she calls everyone and everything "Daddy"... every once in awhile she says "Mama" too!).

Coleman made me this way cool puzzle of him holding flowers for me...

...and it was especially neat since it was double sided and he wrote me a sweet love note on the back...

...and he filled out a Bio sheet all about me...

He also made me the great bracelet I am wearing. I have some pretty talented kids!

In Primary Olivia and Coleman wrote sweet notes saying I was more precious than rubies...

...and Ryan formatted and printed a whole slew of blog pages for our blog book... Hooray! He also found the neatest Eye-Fi card for a new-to-me camera that uploads photos directly to my computer and/or phone... no cords, cables, or anything else required (if I can just remember to leave the camera ON long enough for the pictures to upload!). He is so great at picking out fun and useful gifts.

With our lunch we drank my new favorite beverage (that has enough sugar to fuel a rocket ship)... like all the recipes I am loving these days, it is from Our Best Bites. Try it. Your taste buds will love you. You will find any and every reason to make and drink Brazilian Lemonade.

I feel so blessed to be the mama to Olivia, Coleman, and Sophia. I feel blessed to have a partner like Ryan that helps me be the best mom I can be. I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I make more mistakes than I can count. I know that I will probably have to pay for therapy someday for all the ways I have ruined my kids. I also know that I love my children more than anything and hope and pray that they continue on the path they are on to becoming wonderful, kind, and thoughtful human beings. All of the things they did for me for Mother's Day were great, but the best gift of all is knowing the goodness that is within them and knowing that I get to be a part of their lives.

I am grateful for all of the women in my life that show me what it is to love unconditionally, to serve, to forgive, to teach, to lead, to be courageous, to be humble, to be confident, to be creative, to be thoughtful, to be generous, and to be good. For me Mother's Day is always a good reminder of the kind of person I am working to become.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women who give of their time, talents, and energy to mother those around them.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter 2011

We had a wonderful Easter, celebrating with...

...new ties for the boys...

...new skirts for the girls (thanks to Tina from Sewing Tink who made darling skirts and hair clippies for Soph and Liv)...

...a smily, wobbly Sophia, who is successfully taking several steps at a time before plopping down on her behind or falling over.... (She thought it was so wonderful to toddle and crawl around finding eggs filled with treats. She dutifully picked up each of her eggs and plopped it in her basket.)

...lots of hidden candy and treats...

...sugar cookies dipped in chocolate and toffee bits (recipe courtesy of Our Best Bites--I just got their cookbook from my dear friend and I have been baking and cooking my way through it... these cookies are a variation of their sugar cookie recipe--they were tasty--get the sugar cookie recipe here).

...and more sugar cookies with traditional cream cheese frosting. We had (have) sugar overload at our place. We are still working through the piles of candy....

But most of all, we felt grateful for the Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He Lives! I loved this message and wanted to share it, even though Easter has passed.