Saturday, April 30, 2011


How is this for consumerism? Audrey asked me if we bought our house. I confirmed to her that we did buy our house. She then wanted to know what we did with the box!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thoughts of Life

Today in the grocery store a man came up and started talking to Elysse, asking her questions and just being nice. I made the comment that she was enduring our shopping trip well.

His response surprised me a bit it didn't have anything to do with shopping. Instead he responded that her life is going to be tough and hard. He then went on to say that he is worried about what life will be like in the next ten years and expressed his concern for his grandchildren's lives.

I smiled through his comments and thought to myself that I am so grateful for the gospel. Yes, things are going to get hard, life is going to be tough but we look forward to the coming of Christ. If we keep strong to all that we believe and have been taught we will make it through these challenges. I use to be afraid of the second coming. I worried about loosing people that I love and the destruction that is prophesied to occur before His coming. As I have continued to learn and grow my fear has faded and I look forward to His coming to a time when all governments of the Earth will be done away with and we will live with Christ at our head. It is so sweet and wonderful to imagine. Though we will not get there without first enduring our trip well.

I began to think about my children: Nathan - the baby I couldn't wait to have; Audrey - the baby I fought so hard to keep; and Elysse - the baby I thought I would never hold. What great blessings they are to me. I want to be a good mom. I think of the relationship I want to have with them when they are grown. I want them to make good choices, to teach, to lead, to inspire others.

When Audrey was first diagnosed with cancer I cried and feared she would not get to experience all of the good this life has to offer. Yes - I said it, the GOOD THIS LIFE HAS TO OFFER. Though there are so many that dwell on the bad in the world and doom on the things that are changing whether it be in the government, crime, or issues with weather. This life is good. We experience things here, in mortality, that we cannot possibly experience elsewhere. Opportunities, experiences, building relationships, family - we get to have that here and if we prove ourselves worthy, with and through the Atonement of Christ, we will be able to take all of the wonderful things of this life with us.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Easter has been my favorite holiday for quite some time now. I loved the magic of Easter as a child. I believe it helped that Easter did not come with the same "commercialism" that Christmas has and therefore there aren't the grand expectations that come with gift giving at Christmas. As a girl and still now I love the excitement of dying eggs, the egg hunt and the gift basket.

Through the years Easter has become a very spiritual holiday to me. Each day we center our life and our home around our Savior, Jesus Christ. We teach and learn about his life on Earth, his teachings, his death and most importantly his resurrection. It is only through the Atonement that we are given the greatest blessing, eternal life.

In church one of my favorite guys, Grant Hardy, conducted a portion of our sacrament meeting. He related his thought that Christmas is a children's holiday but Easter is an adult holiday. I have thought a lot about what he said and I must say that I agree. It is as if we grow into the Easter holiday as we study and more fully understand the Atonement. As he conducted he changed the last hymn and asked everyone in the congregation to stand and sing together. It was powerful, the Spirit was felt and I was touched.

I love having children to share the fun of Easter and each year as they grow older I believe I will also see a transition in them as their understanding deepens.

Anyway, enough of my emotion and on to the pictures!!!
Nathan found the recipe for Bunnie Buns in the Friend magazine. The recipe was first published in 1980. Nathan was so excited about it he talked about it for weeks - and sent the recipe to Aunt Rosie!

The hunt.
In pursuit.
Checking to see what kind of loot the eggs held.
Reading instructions to Star Wars Guess Who.
Happy to be outside.
Little Ham.
Just "hanging out" after a diaper change.
Finding those hidden eggs.
A week ago Audrey said, "I hope, I hope I get bubbles for Easter."
Audrey showing off her skills with her Easter mitt. Check out how she has her hand ready to slap on top of that ball. She learns very quickly. She is athletic and it comes naturally to her.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A few things

On Monday I attempted making bread by myself and it worked perfectly. I did run out of my whole wheat flour so I mixed in white flour. The loaves were big and beautiful. I happened to pull them out of the oven right before I went to get Nathan from the bus stop. He entered the house and declared "Oh, it smells like fresh bread!" He then asked if he could have some for a snack and didn't even want to put anything on it because it is good just like it is.

I realize I haven't posted pictures in awhile. I have a confession to make - I didn't take one picture for the entire month of March. How is that possible? I guess we took so many pictures in February that I didn't get around to it? Anyway, in an effort to save even more money I have (since Nathan was a baby) taken my own pictures of the kids so as to avoid the expense of going to a studio and ordering expensive pictures. I have done a decent job. I am absolutely not a professional but I enjoy the pictures I have taken. While my mom was here we took the kids pictures and I think the individual ones turned out well. The pictures with the three of them bombed and didn't work at all; but, that is the beauty of taking the pictures on my own - I can always do it again. The other thing I do (which I happen to think is very smart) is order the pictures from Sams Club online. I can have the pictures sent anywhere in the country where there is a Sam's Club. So, I had mine sent to Asheville and Ryan picked them up after work. Sandy's, Rosie's and Beadle MI house were sent to the a Lansing location and Sandy picked them up. Chad's, Justin's and my parents were sent to the same Lansing location the next day (so as not to mix up the orders) and Chad picked them up. Beadle FL house was sent to Sarasota. When ordering the pictures online it also allows you to pay for them with a credit card so those picking them up can just get them and go!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Human Experience

Today I truly felt alive. While at James Madison College at Michigan State University I chose to study Social Relations. There were three other majors I could have picked at the time but I chose Social Relations because it made me feel something. As time went on I also picked up a love of Social Work. I suppose I felt the connection to social work because it took the learning I developed on the social relations front and literally put it to work.

When I was in third grade I decided I wanted to become an attorney. In fifth grade when given the assignment to write a dream career speech I came in third place out of 56 students as I described my drive and determination to become an attorney, to make something of myself. Through high school I focused my studies and my work study around that same goal. I was given the incredible opportunity to work for two attorneys as their secretary at the age of 16. I worked there through high school and continued on until my senior year in college. When I applied for college pre-law was all I had my mind set on. James Madison College was difficult it challenged me scholastically in ways that high school never did. Through my studies I came to love the study of people, the ways we think and work differently, the experiences we achieve based on culture and financial background among other things.

Ryan took Nathan and Audrey to practice riding bikes today while I stayed home so Elysse could nap. I found myself wondering what I should do - though I felt like I should pick up a book I went to Netflix instead and thought I might take a moment to veg. Instead I came upon this incredible documentary The Human Experience. It brought me back to my studies at James Madison. I thought more earnestly and critically than I have in quite some time.

The documentary involves two young men in their 20s, Jeff and Cliff Azize, from Brooklyn. The boys grew up in an a drug and physically abusive home. Jeff seemed to be the driving force behind the project of search. They were searching for answers to questions that involve who we are, why we are here and what we are going to do with our experiences. The two of them went many places and experienced different people and they found joy. Joy resonated from individuals you wouldn't expect to care for life or the situations they are in. There were several guest speakers with many good quotes about human experiences, the joy of life, the drive for purpose and families. The only part of the movie that disappointed me was the ending. Jeff had not seen his abusive father in more than 10 years and Cliff set up a surprise meeting. Though it may have been touching to most that Jeff and his father embraced it bothered me. Jeff told his father that he loved him and that he forgave him - that is important for Jeff, especially for his eternal well being. Yet the part that upset me the most when his father said do him, "you know how much I love you, don't you?" He never actually expressed his love and it always feels like manipulation when someone says that. There wasn't an apology or an expression of love. Jeff is an incredible young man that is going to make a difference in the lives of many.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ten Years Late

It seems that when growing up I whined a lot about learning new skills. I thought working in the garden was a death sentence. I didn't care much about canning, making bread or anything other than learning how to cook regular 30 minute or less meals (with a few exceptions). I have never had patience to sew. I would rather make something up rather than spend all of the time to learn to read and follow a pattern. If I can use a staple, tape or safety pin - it doesn't need to be stitched.

My mom came to visit last this past week. Usually she is busy the entire time she is here on some sewing project I have come up with. This time however there weren't any sewing projects. Instead we spent a lot of time playing with the kids and going on adventures.

We also worked in the yard. Other than mowing (which I am actually really good at - I guess it is sort of like cleaning) I do not have a lot of skill in the yard. The family that owned the house before us were flower garden nuts! There are multiple flower beds, all of which require a lot of work to maintain. Since we moved in we took out one of the flower beds and last fall we hired the Boy Scout troop to come over and rip out half of the rest of the flower beds. Last year when my mom was visiting she taught me how to clean out the fall debris from the flower beds and mulch. I have since learned (on my own) how to weed and seed the front lawn - it is a work in progress. This week we dug up and replanted a lot of perennial flowers, planted some annual flowers, cut one of the flowerbeds in half, planted grass, pulled and dug up crabgrass, mulched, planted grass seed and planted a large decorative grass. Audrey learned what a "juicy" worm is. Elysse learned how to pick purple flowers - despite our trying to get her to stop. Nathan learned the only thing he likes about gardening is making mud, the rest is too much work. Like I said it is a work in progress and it is a big deal that I can mostly tell what is a flower and what is a weed.

The other thing I was taught was how to make homemade bread. Last year shortly after Audrey and I returned from Jacksonville Nathan wanted to know why I did not make homemade bread like some of his friends' moms. My quick response was that I am always cleaning up after the kids which is why I don't have time to bake bread. Since then I have wanted to make bread. I am decent at following directions but there is something about making bread that makes me feel like I need a show and tell not just a recipe to follow - after all, baking bread is a skill. So, my mom and I found a recipe that looked good for wheat bread. My goal with this is to learn to make bread to replace what I would otherwise buy from the store. Nathan was so impressed that I baked homemade bread. He was actually giddy about it (I guess it is proof that I truly love him). He can't wait to go back to school and have a peanut butter sandwich out of the new bread. After it was baked and sitting on the cutting board Nathan would come up and break off pieces - so excited. This morning he had cinnamon toast and a peanut butter sandwich with the fresh bread. He just loved it. My mom left yesterday and Nathan wanted to be sure I had the "map" so I can make it even when grandma isn't here!

To explain the title: it just seems that I am learning all of these skills about 10 years later than I should have. It wasn't a lack of my mom's skill or encouragement. She is an amazing homemaker and I could have and should have learned so much more from her than I did when I was growing up. She bakes, cans, sews, gardens and so much more. I must admit that I am interested in and will grow some of these skills but the sewing thing just doesn't interest me...perhaps ten years from now...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First Word

Last night Elysse surprised is with her first word - other than mama and dadadadadada.

She was sitting at the table eating a cracker when she started looking around toward the ground and she said TJ (our dog). She was very quiet when she said his name. I immediately said it back to her and she was obviously pleased with herself. Then to charm us she said it several more times - each time being very quiet when she would say his name, probably trying to perfect it.