Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Audrey Buttons!

Five years ago, on a Sunday quite like today, my sweet little girl made her entrance into the world. She has given me so much over the last five years, including the satisfaction that I've managed keep a child alive and happy for FIVE years!! ;)

I put her hair up twists last night so that she would have cute little curls for her birthday! Miraculously, she kept them in all night!
She asked if she could wear something special on her birthday, so we sprang for an adorable dress.

This year, I am starting a tradition of asking my kids 20 Questions on their birthday. I got the idea here. Over the years, their answers will change and develop. My plan is to create a memory book for them that they can keep when they grow up. :)

Audrey's 2012 20 Questions

1. What is your favorite color?  Pink and purple
2. What is your favorite toy?  My Squirrels (She's referring to the Calico Critters of Cloverleaf Corners Squirrel Family that she got from Nanny for her birthday.)
3. What is your favorite fruit?  Bananas... and apples!
4. What is your favorite TV show:?  Kai-Lan and Hello Kitty
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Peanut Butter and Honey sandwich
6. What is your favorite outfit?  New Pink Check Dress
7. What is your favorite game?  Shoots and Ladders
8. What is your favorite snack?  Fruit Snacks
9. What is your favorite animal?  Horses and Cats... and Bunnies
10. What is your favorite song?  I am a Child of God
11. What is your favorite book?  Monkey Books (similar to Leap Frog) and Olivia Books (for her birthday, from Grammy)

12. Who is your best friend?  Henry
13. What is your favorite cereal?  Honey Bunches of Oats
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Play with my friend, Henry
15. What is your favorite drink?  Orange Juice
16. What is your favorite holiday?  Valentine's Day
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  My Bunny
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Toast
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Spaghetti and Cake
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?  A Cowgirl

Happy Birthday, Audrey!
We love you so much!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

16 of 30: 5 Greatest Accomplishments

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, click here.

What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

1. My children. I can't take all the credit for this one, but they are the most beautiful, loving, wonderful and smart kids I could ever hope for. I only hope I can be the best mom they could ever hope for.

2.  Marrying in the Temple. This was something I decided to do when I was young, so there was no question in my mind about it at all. There were times during my late teenage years when I chose to date guys that wouldn't have made that goal a priority in their own lives, but I learned from it and reaffirmed my desire to do what I knew was right. I'm glad I did.
Wow.. thinner, younger.. naive-er. Aren't we cute?

3. "Winning" NaNoWriMo two years in a row. For those of you not in the know, this is a yearly writing challenge. The goal is to write 50,000 words (which is the minimum length for a novel) in 30 days. Since I do not write on Sundays, it ended up being 26 days for me. It is brain-meltingly hard and I usually walk away from it completely burned out on writing for a couple of months. The prize at the end is the satisfaction of completing a truly difficult task, a certificate of accomplishment, and a nifty little avatar for my social networks.

4. Supporting my husband through college. Though I stopped the monetary support nearly five years ago, the emotional and spiritual support have been ongoing. Both Ben and I agree that it is entirely possible that it would have taken him much longer to finish his degree if I had not been supportive; if he finished at all. May 4th is the day, people! Can you tell I'm excited?

5. Being a forgiving and loving person. As I have said before, I don't hold grudges. I don't have the time, energy or space in my brain. I don't "keep score", tallying who was horrible to me and when, or keep a log of my charitable actions. I think I'm better for it.

Next: What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

Until next time, happy blogging!

Friday, April 13, 2012

15 of 30: What Animal?

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here

15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I really, really wanted to say a cat. I love cats. They are graceful, mysterious, playful, beautiful creatures with a teasing aloofness and lightning fast reflexes. They can be dangerous when cornered, leaving deep lacerations in an enemy.

Alas, those descriptions to not match me at all.

Given some more thought, I am sure I would be a horse. Horses work hard and play hard. They are independent, strong, inquisitive, intelligent and spirited. Some horses are wild and excitable. I don't think I am that type. I think of myself as a calm, easy-going type. I joke sometimes that if I were a horse, I'd be the horse you see pulling a wagon or plow on a farm.

Horses, while patient, gentle and long-suffering, can be dangerous when abused. While they don't leave deep wounds from claws, talons or fangs, they have strong legs and heavy hooves. Can you say "blunt force trauma"?

Horses are not aloof. They are affectionate creatures that desire companionship. Their behavior is often determined by how they have been trained up or by the treatment they receive. A horse that is trained and treated well will be a hard-working and willing companion. One that has been poorly trained or abused will often be wild, aggressive or, sadly, broken.

So, there you have it. Neigh!

Next Time: What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

14 of 30: 5 Strengths

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here

14. Describe 5 strengths you have.

1. I am very forgiving and I don't hold grudges. If you have hurt me, I will forgive you, though I may be a bit more cautious around you after that. If you hurt me over and over, that caution will quickly become a desire to stay away, but I won't hold a grudge. I don't have the energy to spend on grudges. I would rather spend time being happy than upset, any day.

2. I love people and find it easy to see the good in them. Because I see this good in people, it is not hard for me to encourage them when they are feeling down. I am non-judgmental when people tell me things that they may not be proud of or are having trouble with. I've had troubles of my own, so who am I to judge?

3. I treat all the experiences that I have had over the years as opportunities for learning. Whether they were good or bad, I know I can come away from them a little wiser. They make me stronger and more capable.

4. What you see is what you get. I don't hide who I am and I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I may not tell you my life story with all the nitty-gritty details, but I am honest about who I am. There are those who would call that a weakness, but I don't. 

5. I have a vivid imagination. The stories in my head play out as if I'm watching it with my eyes. When the right mood hits me, I can spin a unique and interesting tale. I think the imagination is a direct link to our potential as creators. You cannot create if you cannot imagine it first.

Next Time: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

13 of 30: 5 Weaknesses

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here

13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

1. Sugar is a huge weakness for me. The moment I think about trying to eat healthfully, I immediately crave cookies, or chocolate, or fruity candy, or.... 

2. Burning away my time on frivolous activities is another problem for me. I almost always have some sort of game going on in the background while I do other things. My current guilty pleasure is CastleVille on Facebook. I tell myself that I don't play it that much because you have a limit to the amount of energy you have, anyway. The  problem is, I leave it on and check it frequently to see if I have any renewed energy.

3. When my alarm goes off in the morning, indicating it's time to get up and go to work out at the gym, my brain gets the better of me. I tell myself several lies: "You stayed up too late, you'll use up all your energy at the gym and be a useless lump for the rest of the day." "You forgot to wash the hand towels you use to wipe away your sweat..." "Your shoes are buried under all the other shoes in the box upstairs, you'll be too noisy trying to find them and wake up your kids." "Staying in bed with your sweet husband is so much more eternally valuable than one tiny day at the gym." That last one is especially insidious.

4. I over-think everything. Taking my kids out to play can quickly be tossed out because I think about the cold, heat, wind, bugs, itchy grass, other kids, etc. Everything that my husband says has to be analyzed and digested to determine what he REALLY meant. The email that I didn't get from that person who said they would email me plagues me and I start wondering if I'm that off-putting that people can't even send me an impersonal message. It goes on and on. There's no use trying to logic it out with me because I will most certainly start wondering if you think I'm so stupid that I just can't get it on my own.

5. I'm a sucker for cuddle-time with my husband. Many a task have been put off in favor of squishing myself up next to my husband, even if he has no intention of doing anything other than look up the news, maps, weather, maps, sports, maps, rental properties, maps, and anything else that occurs to him... oh, and maps. I have spent many half-hours next to him, completely bored but reveling in asking him inane questions so that I can glean some attention. (Really, it's not as bad as I make it sound, but chores, errands and tasks definitely get passed on when the opportunity to spend time with him arises.) I wonder if that will change when he isn't spending so much time on school. Probably not.

Next Time: Describe 5 strengths you have.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

12 of 30: Typical Day

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here

12. Describe a typical day in your current life.

I had a hard time with this one because my time-wasting is awfully embarrassing.
I console myself with the idea that once Ben graduates, my time and routine will change drastically and, therefore, be less embarrassing.

6:20 - First alarm goes off indicating that it is time to get dressed and go to the gym. Lately, more often than not, it is the moment when I turn it off and go back to sleep. In the case of this morning, I don't even remember it going off and thought for sure that it had been turned off. Ben assured me that it did, indeed, go off. (Grumble)

7:00 - Second alarm goes off. If I had gotten dressed and gone to the gym, I would have turned it off. As such, the second alarm is to get me going so that I can get a few things done before the kids need breakfast. Pathetically, I usually turn this one off too and spend the next hour or two dozing or talking with Ben while we lay in bed. Ben is usually awake and playing Angry Birds on his phone. (If I had gone to the gym, I'd be home around 8 and take a shower.)

8:50 - A notification goes off on my phone that it is time for my morning scripture reading. Unfortunately, it isn't until now that we've been getting our kids up for breakfast. Oops.

9:00 - Breakfast for all. This usually takes about a half hour. It would be shorter but for Henry's tendency to dawdle. He has to get up at least 3 times in order to feel that he's had a productive meal.

9:30 - If my family is going to go out, this would be the typical time. Errands, shopping or even a fun family outing are usually on the menu. The family outings can be as simple as the park (like today) to let the kids play or perhaps a museum or the zoo. Our outings are quite a bit more fancy free now that we don't have to haul around a diaper bag and other infant paraphernalia. If we don't go out, this is usually play time in their room while Ben and I do our computer routines. (This is where Ben would interject about my CastleVille obsession.)

12:00 - Lunchtime. If we went on an outing, lunch is usually spent out as well.

12:45 - By this time, we are usually pooped and let the kids play in their room while we take care of computer business (CastleVille). Ben will usually notify me of interesting news items, job openings, map peculiarities and/or weather. Then, he will usually settle down and spend the rest of the afternoon on homework. I usually spend the afternoon reading/writing blogs, playing The Sims 2, messing about on Pinterest, doing laundry, thinking about filing the huge pile of papers on my printer, organizing and/or doing crafts - all while CastleVille is running in the background.

2:00 - Snack Time. We usually throw fruit snacks or something similar into their room. About 30 seconds later, they toss the empty packages over the gate.

3:15 or so - Head upstairs to fix dinner.

4:00 - We have dinner early because Ben has to be at work at 5. This is typically the time when we socialize the most with my parents as they've been busy with their own lives as well. Henry and/or Audrey will usually say something funny at the table. If I look at my mother during these moments, she is usually laughing about it, quietly. If I look at my father, he seems to be oblivious.

4:35 - Ben hugs and kisses the kids and me goodbye. The kids will watch him get into his car and wave at him as he drives down the street.

4:40 - The kids go downstairs and clean up their room. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on how tired/cranky they are. The rule is that if they get it done fast, they get to watch more of The Goodnight Show. After they clean up, they get their PJs on, go to the bathroom and brush their teeth (if I'm feeling ambitious).

Sometime after 4:50 or possibly as late as 5:30 - The kids come into my room and climb onto the bed to watch The Goodnight Show. They are allowed to watch until 6:40. During this time, I try to ignore the inane cartoons and sickly sweet show hosts as they teach my children about sharing, being kind, not being afraid of aliens or anyone else who may be different and going to bed when it is bedtime.

6:40 - I pick out a few picture books and read those to the kids. After that, I will read one chapter to Audrey from our current chapter book. Right now, we are working on Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. She pays attention pretty well and even understands some of what is going on.

7:00 - One more potty break and a drink of water. Then we call Ben at work to say goodnight.

7:05 - Bedtime prayers, then hugs and kisses and tuck into bed. Just as I turn off the light and start to close the door is when Audrey usually has three or four questions for me or claims she has to go to the bathroom again. This is when she gets a stern response from me and promises not to come to the door when she's supposed to be in bed.

7:10 - I sit at my computer and tensely play CastleVille while I wait to be sure that the kids really are going to sleep.

7:25 - I go upstairs to get snacks and water for the evening.

7:30 - I have a date with my DVR/Netflix. If I am feeling especially alert or positive, this is when I write. I have been lacking in ambition lately, however.

8:15 - If Audrey isn't alseep, this is when she calls for me about some sort of minor worry that she has. Last night it was that Henry was coughing a lot and needed medicine. I explained to her that he already got some and just because she didn't see me give it to him, doesn't mean she needs to play Mother Hen. Most other nights she claims that her brain is broken and she can't think of anything nice while she goes to sleep.

Sometime between 8:30 and 9:30ish - Ben calls to let me know that he is on his way home from work. When he gets home, he might want to go somewhere so that the two of us can have some time alone. Lately, we've been watching Downton Abbey. We catch up on Conan and settle down for the night.

After Conan and before Bedtime (which is usually around 11:30) - We've been trying to spend some quality time together in the evening. Video games, card games, cuddle time, couple quizzes, etc. I have a bag near my computer with paper strips folded up inside that we can pick from if we need ideas for things to do at home together. 

Bedtime - If we aren't completely wiped out, we read scriptures together and say a prayer. Then we fall on our faces and spend most of the night fighting over blankets, pillows and elbow room.

No wonder I wake up tired. ;)

If you're still with me, which I doubt, that is the gist of our typical day. Weekends and the days Ben goes up to school are a completely different ball of wax. 

I am looking forward to the complete change-up when Ben graduates. He'll take on more hours at work, but he will spend a lot more quality time with us. I'm all for that!

Next Time: Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

Until next time, happy blogging!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gifts from Audrey

One of Audrey's cousins had her birthday earlier this month. Audrey has been asking nearly every day since April began if it was her birthday. We have to keep telling her no. However, on her cousin's birthday, we were able to tell her that it was not her birthday but it was her cousin's birthday.

Audrey was thrilled with the idea that it was someone else's birthday.

An hour or so later, Audrey came to the door and asked me to look at a picture she colored for her cousin. I looked it over and then realized that there were a lot of letters written on the top. She had asked for no help from me and some of the letters looked purposeful, so I asked her what it said.

At the top, you will see what, at first glance, looks like nonsense.
Spaces mean nothing to Audrey yet. So, this is what she tole me it said:
"Happy Birthday From Audrey To Baylie"

I was impressed with her almost completely phonetic spelling of the message. The only letter she got "wrong" was the lower case "b" in place of a "d"

We were finally able to give Baylie her birthday message which she thought was very cute.

I am so proud of my little girl!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


This year marks the first when my kids have been able to have their first at home Easter egg hunt OUTSIDE. In the past, they have been too small, the weather too cold or wet, or Mother Nature was perverse enough to send two feet of snow on Easter Morning. We've had to do our hunts inside or the Easter Bunny simply left a basket for them on the table. Good thing my kids never really cared how they got their Easter surprise.

This year, I shook my fist at Mother Nature and informed her that if she insisted on poor weather again this year, I would simply have to massacre the daffodils that were springing up in the yard. I think she heard me because this morning was completely gorgeous.

Audrey with her bunny ears and Henry showing me what a completely horrible job I did on combing his hair.

The Easter Bunny wasn't tricky this year. He must have known that we don't need plastic eggs getting chopped up under the lawn mower or weed hacker.

Audrey filled up her basket very quickly and, instead of piling them precariously in her basket, gave the others she found to her brother! Ben commented that the kids seemed to be satisfied with how many eggs were in their baskets before they had found all of them. Two good signs! 

Henry's little bum kept poking out of his pants. That's what comes of having no hips! ;)

So much fun!

We went inside and opened up all the eggs. The Easter Bunny didn't bring tons of candy this year. Mostly little trinkets and toys were what filled the eggs. I'm all for that!

After lunch: I think we shall make some TP roll bird feeders!! I love Spring!

How about you? Did you have a spectacular Easter?

Monday, April 2, 2012

11 of 30: Pet Peeves

If you haven't been following along from the beginning, start here

11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

1. I hate running late. I feel rushed and like I'm missing something.

2. I hate when other people are late. It's rude.

3. Gratuitous and unrepentant grammatical errors drive me bonkers, both in writing and in spoken word. Note: This does not give you, my dear reader, an excuse to go back and analyze my previous works. ;)

4. When people try to take everything I say and twist it so that they can find offense. If I'm trying to say something offensive to you, you'll know it, no question.

5. Racism. To hate someone simply because their skin, background or culture is different makes absolutely no sense to me. It's disgusting.

6. The same goes for people who decide to hate those who's opinions are different from theirs. We don't have to agree, you know, and that doesn't make either of us bad people.

7. Presidential addresses, sports and other "special events" preempting my shows.

8. People who act as though they are superior. Guess what? You're dirt, just like me. Freeze it, cremate it, mummify it, you are worm food.

9. I hate it when people don't communicate. I need to know what is going on, even if you think I won't like it, I need to know. I hate feeling lost and confused.

10. Related to #9: I hate it when people don't tell me things in the name of "protecting me." I 'm stronger and more capable than you seem to think. Leaving me in the dark is not protecting me and I have to conclude that you don't have faith or trust in me.

Next Time: Describe a typical day in your current life.


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