This one's for the girls

My camera has been lost! No, really, it has! It sounds a lot like "the dog ate my homework", but it's true! We finally found it - hooray! It had been accidently laid on top of an open camping bin in the garage and then packed away. After a month and a half, it's back!

After looking through all of our recent pictures and taking some more, I decided to dedicate this post to my beautiful girls. Here are a few of my favorites:

Our little blue-eyed elf! Those eyes are amazing! Kate is a great helper in the kitchen. She actually does help, even though she is only 3 (well, now she's 4). She especially loves making bread because she can eat the dough. Bread dough is one of her favorite treats. Gross, strange, weird, I know. But she loves it.
Kate loving her Snow White dress that she got for Christmas (can't you tell?). Actually, she really does love it, but she's being weird about getting her picture taken.

Kate has loved the trampoline that Santa brought for Christmas. She asks at least 3 times a day to go out and jump on it. She usually wants me to go with her, but Hayden is a much more entertaining jumping buddy.

This baby LOVES her baths. She can't get enough. And, she drinks enough bathwater to last until the next bath. Eww.
I introduced Kate to the world of foam rollers. Every girl has to experience the pink foam rollers at least a couple of times, right? I did when I was little, so I'm passing the tradition on. Pretty silly since she has naturally curly hair, but she was a good sport.

Kate was so happy to get this Rapunzel doll for her birthday. It's not the kind of thing I would ever buy, but a friend took her to see Tangled and she loved, loved it! So, we surprised her, went against our instincts and bought her a Disney doll. Just look at her face. It was worth it.

Elaine finally started crawling at 9 months - yay! Now she's on the move and is trying to keep up with her big sister ... even when she's crawling on scratchy brown grass.

We had a Valentines picnic with Cletus in a field behind his office. The girls love getting to see him in the middle of the day (and so do I). It's a treat. And, he was happy to have 3 Valentines to celebrate with.

Kate will not just smile for the camera - on purpose. She insists on making silly faces with silly poses. Oh well, we love her anyway.
For some reason, the tongue always comes with the smile.

Thank goodness for sweet, talkative, imaginative, cuddly, bossy, rosy, loving, beautiful girls. What would I do without them?


For Cerah

I have a fan out there! These pictures are for Cerah who keeps patiently asking for a new post on my blog with pictures of the kids. I've gotten slack with my blog posts because life is just so busy (I know, likely excuse). Maybe this should be one of my New Years Resolutions along with exercising, not eating after 8:30 pm, and writing in my journal. Unfortunately, my track record for all of those resolutions is not very good.

These pictures are of Halloween, Great Wolf Lodge (Williamsburg, VA),
snow in NC in December (!?), and our sweet Christmas elf.

Surprise at the Mall

This is the coolest thing ever! I wish I'd been there. Just wanted to share.
(I know, I know. I don't post in forever and then I post a video. Trust me. These people are more entertaining than me).

Standing O

After a long and arduous WalMart shopping trip for two weeks worth of groceries, after listening to crying from two little girls and additional whining, after keeping a smile on my face and a good attitude in the mix, after saying "no" with a smile to a 3 year old who would like to buy everything in her line of vision, after getting good deals and not buying or spending too much while all of this is going on, I often hope to roll my full cart out into the parking lot to a standing ovation.

Family Picture Time

A sneak peek at our family pictures we had taken yesterday. There are lots more to come ...

The Sound of a 3-Year Old

Our kids have really gotten into The Sound of Music. They love it! We have the CD and they listen to it in the car, in the house ... in our sleep. I have chuckeld to myself as I hear Kate sing, "I need someone older and wiser telling me what to do" or "totally unprepared am I, to face a world of men". Wise girl.

Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo

We took our three little sweet crazies on a trip to Nauvoo last week. We were lucky to be able to fly instead of drive. Although honestly, the airports have gotten to be such a traumatic experience that maybe it wasn't easier at all. Here we are in the Chicago O'Hare airport on our way. This is by the exhibit of Mr. O'Hare himself. (Kate is showing off a "funny band" as she calls them)

Elaine was elated to be on a family vacation at her young age. You can see that she took every advantage to enjoy her surroundings in Nauvoo.

Hayden and Kate LOVED the Pioneer Pastimes area where they could dress up and play pioneer games. Kate is looking westward preparing for her journey across the Mississippi. (Actually, the sun was in her eyes and she was trying to look at me)

The stick pull was a favorite game. Guess who won this match? Hayden challenged me to a game of stick pull. After I easily won, he then challenged me to use just one hand. I still won. It's always fun to humble your children. We took the opportunity to go to several vingettes put on by members of the pageant cast. They were excellent! One was in a grove of trees and (the cast member playing) Joseph Smith came and gave part of the King Follette discourse. Afterwards, in jest, Cletus challenged him to a game of stick pull. Everyone gathered around to watch. I won't embarrass Cletus and say that this guy won in about 2 seconds both times with Cletus flying over his shoulder. I'll just say that .... Cletus was a good sport. Wish I had a picture of that, but we'd left our camera in the car.

Here is our little domestic pioneer. She loved doing housework in this little log cabin. Her favorite activity was making strawberry jam and strawberry lemonade. She and another little boy pretended that theie log cabin was on fire and started throwing the furniture out the front door. How cute.

We were excited to take Hayden to Nauvoo because I think he's finally at an age where he'll remember this trip and where it actually meant something to him. He absorbed a lot of historical information as well as feeling the Spirit several times through our activities. It's amazing to think that boys his age were leading the oxen alongside their families' wagon and some of them were drivign teams of horses.

Elaine was a trooper most of the time on our trip. She was taxi-ed around all day and night and had to eat and sleep on the run. Still, she was all smiles a lot of the time. When I took this picture, she was talking to me. I love hearing her "talk". She is such a little beauty.

We attended several performances: The Nauvoo Pageant, of course (3 times), Sunset on the Mississippi, High Hopes and Riverboats, and Just Plain Anna Amanda. Here we are at Sunset on the Mississippi: the pioneer version of a Stake Variety Show. It was so much fun! One of our favorites for sure. If Elaine looks a little worried in this picture about who is holding her, she probably is. And she should be.

Kate loved being pulled around in this handcart. And, I thought it was pretty fun as well - she only weighs about 30 lbs. I don't think this experience was anywhere close to what it was really like to pull a handcart.

Hayden is learning how to dance a Scottish jig. He picked it up pretty quickly. There were so many activities to do! We were there a week and still didn't manage to see and do everything. We introduced ourselves and our family so many times to people that Kate said in her sleep one night at the hotel, "My name is Kate". Which is ironic because she was playing shy and wouldn't talk to anyone, dance with anyone, and hid her face if anyone talked to her. Strange for a little girl who, a week ago, went to our neighbors house at night (without us knowing, of course), and asked them to help her put on her pajamas and her diaper.

Cletus finally lured Kate out on the dance floor with a jealousy tactic. He danced with me and then she was very eager to get out there and dance with her dad.

I bought Kate a pioneer bonnet while we were there and she wouldn't wear it! However, the dress-ups in the Pioneer Pastimes house were the neatest things she'd ever seen. Oh well. Here she is tending to her sheep.

We walked down Parley street reading the signs and ended up at the Mississippi River. It was amazing to be there in that very spot where so many people made such sacrifices. I was grateful to be there and to have the perspective of being a wife and a mother, leaving my home and taking my children into the unknown. I am awed by the faith that was required for such a trip.

We quickly dropped by the limestone quarry where the Saints got their stone for the temple. Here are our two Nauvoo boys. Hayden's shirt doesn't say "Mountain Dew", it says, "Mormon Dude". Probably one of his highlights from the trip was getting that shirt.

It was a wonderful, busy trip. So glad that we went and so glad to be home.