Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday and my buddy Cooper

For some reason Cooper was really excited about Black Friday shopping this year. I am not sure whether it was the thought of quality time together or because he thought he could finagle me into buying him a lego set on sale (which he did, but won't get it until he pays me back). Anyway, this was my second year shopping, we never did this growing up. My parents were more of the philosophy that you didn't go anywhere near stores on Black Friday, with good reason.

Cooper set his alarm clock for 4 am after suggesting that I set out my clothes for the next day and sleeping in his. Then he woke me at 4:21 am and started helping me get dressed and ready. He got a stool out and stood by my closet and asked me what I wanted to wear, "Maybe a blouse, mom?" No thanks, more like a t-shirt and sweater. I didn't even know he knew the word "blouse". Then he got out other choices: a denim skirt, some brown dress pants before he finally found my jeans and we settled on a green sweater, pink shirt and jeans. He told me that my sweater and shirt would look good together because they are close together on the color wheel.

After Cooper hustled me out the door and we made our way to Walmart, he insisted that we RUN into the store at 4:55 am. Run? I was barely stumbling. But we ran in and got everything on our list. It was fun to have a little shopping buddy though I think he was expecting to find a couple of Wii games and Guitar Hero for $5. We didn't find that but I did treat him to a delectable breakfast at McDonald's when we were done.

Paris and Austin . . . Vampires?

It's my own little Edward and Reneesme!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Little Girls Are Cute

If I only knew how fun having a little girl was going to be, I wonder if I would have wished for boys so much initially. My favorite is her in the blanket.

Although she is all snuggled up next to the Anthropologie shopping bag -- that could make me wish for boys again.


Saturday, November 7, 2009


This week at my bible study class our lecture was on Psalm 125 and specifically deliverance from the Lord. The lecturer spoke about a concept I have forgotten along the way. We have the mistaken belief that deliverance means that our trials will end or we will somehow have relief. I like how the lecturer described deliverance:

"it means living confidently as one who is protected, impenetrable like Mount Zion . . . rest in the powerful surrounding presence of God . . . living in the storm of trials and having peace."

Lately I've been very frustrated with my life, my kids, how my brain seems to have evaporated and the constant fatigue that comes with being a mom. This lecture brought me back to what we are doing here. I am here to be tested and tried and polished through the fire of difficulty. But the silver lining is that I will be able to do it, I will be able to get through it with Christ and come out better for it.

This morning something happened that perfectly illustrated this point to me. A friend and I drove 1 1/2 hours away to attend the Columbia, South Carolina temple. Don't even get me started on the fact that I had to leave at 6:30 am and had been up since 2 am with a bout of insomnia. Anyway, after the session I was definitely ready to go home quick and rest and felt weepy and nauseated from lack of sleep.

When I tried to start my car it wouldn't turn over, and the battery seemed to be dead. This was the trial and then came the deliverance. We found a man in the parking lot who was a mechanic who gave us a jump and even more importantly helped us find the battery. I'm not completely stupid, but have you ever looked for the battery under the hood of a BMW? It is in a weird spot and doesn't look anything like any other battery in a car. So anyway, this wonderful man was able to correctly hook our jumper cables up and jump us and even point out the fact that I had left my lights on, and that is why the battery was dead. By the way, I was driving Austin's car so I wasn't familiar with all these BMW quirks.

I was frustrated but just so grateful for how this played out, it could have been much different. It could have been pouring rain, we could have been boxed in by other cars in the parking lot with no way to reach the engine with the cables, there could have been no other cars there. We could have hooked the cables to the wrong spot and blown up the car! I felt like Mount Zion - we got through it with all the extra helpful things from Heavenly Father. AND I learned from my trial to always make sure to turn my lights off!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

24 Hour Readathon

Many people were confused or simply thought I was ridiculous when I told them about participating in my first 24 hour readathon. It was lots of fun with my friend Tricia. We spent most of the day at her house reading on her comfy couches and being served by her smiley husband, then spent the night at a Southpark hotel with yummy food from Maggianos and Cheesecake factory. (Meanwhile Austin was at home feeding the kids Cici's pizza for under $10 for the whole family).

Despite the lack of snacks to shovel into our mouths the whole time -Tricia doesn't believe in snacking while reading, or ever - we still had a great time.

I read for about 14 hours of the 24, completed 3.3 books and 823 pages, had lots of laughs and even stayed up past 9 pm for my first time!

By the way, despite what this picture looks like, we had our own beds and didn't snuggle on the same pillow the whole night.

"Punkin" House with Paris

A couple years ago, I bought a few of these kits that I thought would be fun to make with the kids. I think last time Will and I tried one there was wailing and gnashing of teeth, so Paris and I tried one again together and had a great time. Here is the finished project with my cute little baby next to it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lucky to be a Boy

Today I inadvertently stumbled upon a talk about periods (as in, once a month) with Cooper. I was trying to explain why girls have them and I got a bit tongue-tied.

Me: Uh, when the egg is released and there is no sperm to make a baby, then, um, everything has to come out to clean out the uterus.

Cooper: Uterus, what the crap is a uterus?


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

U2 Concert

We traveled several hours on Saturday to see the U2 concert in Raleigh. Enduring tons of traffic and a round trip drive of 5 hours was TOTALLY WORTH IT! I haven't seen many concerts in my life and this was amazing. I would definitely go see them again.

U of M Game Day!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cub Scout Campout

Austin recently took Coop and Will on the Cub Scout campout and thanks to my lovely friend Heather we have these fun pictures.

I love this one of Cooper and his buddy Tyler - they've known each other since they were little chubby 3-year-olds. I love seeing them together still.

This is what happens when mom decides not to go to the campout and Cooper decides to run in the ashes of the fire - Great idea Coop! Was it still burning?
Will is just happy to be there and by the way, notice his new glasses?

Thank you Austin for taking them!!! I really was happy to stay home snug in my own warm bed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Always a great start to the day . . .

When I have to sign my tardy kids in to school wearing my not-so-loose hand me down from my sister red reindeer pajamas with no bra and crazy hair. Good thing I brushed my teeth at least.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yo-Yo Necklace Tutorial

It's my first tutorial! I found this cute yo-yo necklace idea and thought I would try my hand at my own tutorial. Basically it's a bunch of yo-yos that you combine and anchor to your neck with a chain or ribbon. And to give credit where credit is due, I found this idea online and wanted to link to it but couldn't find the link, so this is definitely not my original creation.

I'll show you my steps but if you want a more detailed and really great tutorial just to make the yo-yos, check here.

So first I gathered my materials. Basically you need some fabric scraps, round shapes to use for a cutout, scissors, needles, thread, glue gun, base fabric piece if desired, chain or ribbon for making the necklace and I think that's about it.

Here's the stuff:

Next use several different size circular items to trace your circle shape. Keep in mind that the yo-yo will turn out about half the size of the item you use to trace originally.

Cut out your circles. I am showing just one of mine, but you will need several. I used a total of 8.

Next you will thread your needle and make a knot at the end. Then fold over the edge of the circle and use long basting stitches all around the edge of the circle.

When you have finished stitching around the edge of the circle, start pulling up the stitches so that the circle starts to close in on itself, like this:

This is what it will look like when you have gathered the stitches completely. Go up and down through the middle a few times with the needle and thread and secure with a knot on the bottom of the yo-yo.

Arrange the yo-yos in any order that you like.

Then take a piece of scrap fabric or felt to use as a base for your necklace. Just cut it in something close to what your shape looks like. You will trim it later.

You can stitch your yo-yos together if you like but I chose the faster and lazier way of using the glue gun. I just started with the biggest yo-yo and started securing them to the base fabric and each other with a little bit of glue around the yo-yo edges.

Then turn it over and trim around the glue to make a base that you won't see from the other side.

Next decide what you would like to use for the necklace attachment. I decided to use chain but I have also seen ribbon or even different trims used for this. This is a horrible picture of me sewing my chain to the back of the yo-yo base.
I'm not going to go into detail about the clasp of the chain, crimp beads, etc. But just know that you will need those if you use chain, if you use ribbon, just glue it onto the back and tie it on. Fray-check is always helpful to make sure the ribbon ends don't get all stringy.

Wa-la! Here it is! Wear, give away for gifts and have lots of fun. I love these because you don't need lots of fabric and can probably even use up some of those scraps you may have hanging around.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A GREAT Crockpot Cooking website

I love this new crockpot website! I can't say enough about it. I love my crock-pot, makes dinner so yummy and easy and this blog has TONS of great new recipes to try.

Just thought I would share! It changed my life.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We Need your Help, suggestions and votes

My sweet, vivacious wife reads about 5 books a week or something crazy like that. She has another blog where she writes reviews of all these books she reads (In comparison, I have read about 3 books in the last year, but about 1,500 - 2,000 sports related articles).

But anyway, her blog is called "Book Thoughts."

So I came home one night and made a less sensitive crack about the blog name. I mean "Book Thoughts" -- I guess that is what it is, thoughts about books, but what a boring name. This coming from my wife who has the email Stitchdiva, who is known for her style, is called a cool hipster by my colleagues at work, and just oozes with spunk and personality.

"Book Thoughts? That seems kind of unoriginal," I say.

Well it turns out it was not a good time or day to say this. This led hurt feelings which led to her changing her blog name which was "inadvertently stolen" from another book blog, which she later posted an apology for on her blog.

So let's get Shanda a name that marries her love of books with her spunky, fun personality. Book Thoughts -- That will just not do.

If you have any ideas -- please post a comment or tell me. I have listed a few ideas and if you like any of the ones I have listed, feel free to comment, but I know nothing about books or blogs, but here goes.

Sassy Synopses -- (Showing her sassy but educated side)
Book Banter -- (Showing her liveliness and spunk)
Bad Ass Book Reviews -- (Just sounds cool and she is a bad-ass)
Babes, Boobs and Books -- (Well at least books, but now that I have your attention...)
StitchDiva Diaries -- Book Reviews of a stay at home Mom
For the love of the Library -- (showing her love of the library and books)
Bedtime Stories -- (She always reads to put herself to sleep, but could be misinterpreted...)
3 men and a Baby and me -- What I do when my family actually leaves me alone
Raw Reads -- Sassy, Spunky, straight from the heart book reviews

Thats all I got -- Post your thoughts, ideas, etc. -- Not for me, but for Shanda.

Book Thoughts -- It is just a tragedy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Anchor

I've been wanting to take a bible study class for some years now. This year I finally found one at one of the local churches and decided to take the plunge. Today was my first day, we are studying Psalms. The focus is going to be improving our prayers, instead of just saying the same rote words every time. The leader talked about how selfish our prayers have become, we don't seem to try so hard to develop a relationship with God so much as just rattle off a list of demands. We are going to learn why we pray, who we are praying to, and how to pray more effectively.

I was inspired by this teacher who is not a member of my church, but is teaching things that are helpful to me and in fact timely. I have been trying to work on more thoughtful prayers lately and feel grateful that I have this chance to learn more about prayer from the Bible.

Though it is a little weird to me in a way. Somehow part of me wonders is this o.k? To learn these truths from a different church than mine? It's a little tiny bit uncomfortable but I also like it. I like the people I have met there and everyone has welcomed me in, even knowing that I am a Mormon. I think it will be a good thing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Christmas in September for Will

Will woke up bright and early (about 6:30 AM) on Saturday morning all dressed and ready for his first little league baseball game.

But first things first.

"Dad, We haaavvvveeee to get me a cup today!" he insisted.
"Yeah, ok, buddy, time to sleep now," I said.
"Dad, My coach said we can not play unless we have a cup today," he continued unconvinced by my response.
"OK Will. When the store opens, we will go get you a cup, I promise." I replied.

So after checking a couple of stores we found the perfect cup (just the right size, more the boxer brief model than the old school jock strap -- I mean we are talking Will here, not just any old cup will do).

And then we found it, for all of $14.99. After we purchased it, he immediately went to the store restroom and tore all of his clothes off. He ripped open the box and put it on. It was everything he had imagined and more.

With a couple of knocks with his knuckles on his cup for good measure, he looked up at me and said, "Dad, this is the greatest thing you have ever got me. Thank you soooooo much."

"No problem, Buddy," I said. I gave him a good shot to the groin as well for good measure.

"Did that hurt," I asked

"Nope," Will responded.

"Yep, she looks like a good one Will," I agreed.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anyone Want to Make a YoYo Necklace?

I really want to make a yoyo necklace and I know you guys want to also. They even have a similiar necklace on Anthropologie for all you skeptics out there. Come along, it will be fun!

The Power of Fasting

Today my brother-in-law Sean is going in for a job interview after 11 months of searching and interviews and we have decided to fast as a family that he may get this job. By the way, Sean has always been very successful - he is smart, fun to be around and great with people. Unfortunately his field is in recruiting and when the job market is down, not so many people need recruiters, or managers or recruiters, or trainers of recruiters, etc.

Austin's Mom's call for a family fast sparked the strong feelings I have gained about fasting and I wanted to record them. I had a rough summer. We had fun, but having the three kids was hard. I'm not belittling any other mom's job or moaning that mine is so much harder than anyone else's, but I just don't seem to handle stress well. Once a long time ago my mom told me that she never thought I would have three kids because I'm fragile. I get overwhlemed, I cry, I scream, I throw tantrums right back at the kids, I throw things, I hide in my bedroom. I never thought that I would be a good mom, when growing up, I didn't look forward to it because I didn't think I could handle it and thought I would yell at them and not be the mom they needed.

Toward the end of the summer, I really felt like I was getting out of control. Not that I was going to beat them, but just screaming a lot and feeling like giving up. I decided that I needed to fast and to have Austin give me a blessing. I decided to make my fasts a weekly thing for a few weeks to gain the strength and patience and consistency that I needed to be a good mom and a good example to them.

I know that fasting works. I have seen miracles happen in my life and have felt much more in control and have realized that my screaming doesn't help anything, it just escalates the situation and teaches them to scream about their problems. I have found different resources to help me and the fact that Heavenly Father had school start up about the time I started fasting is no coincidence. :) I am grateful for our Savior and our Gospel and the teachings we have that show us we can keep trying and we can ask for help and receive it. I am thankful for fasting and the testimony I have gained of its power.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Indexing or Extractions in the Old Days

My grandparents on my dad's side have both passed away but they were wonderful people. I remember them constantly working in their yard or garden and then canning wonderful food and sharing it or trying to do something good for someone. One memory I have of them is both of them in their office diligently working on extractions for hours.

So I have a new and convenient service project that brings me back to Grandma and Grandpa Murray. It is doing family search indexing online. It's easy, you just go to the website and register as a volunteer and then they guide you through the process of looking at old documents and transferring the information to what will become a searchable database. Plus you can do as much or as little as you want and can work on it anytime of day or night. It's also really cool to see the old documents and old handwriting styles and the old names. Believe me, I have an appreciation for neat handwriting now!

Check out this link for more information -


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Many of you have probably seen the show Supernanny and have opinions about it. i personally like it, plus my mom is always saying," Did you see that episode last week?" Probably trying to tell me something right? That's OK, I can admit when I need help with the kids. So this last weekend I watched a few episodes while the kids were napping and inevitably the episode included getting the kids to go to sleep by themselves.

So I have gotten into a bit of a bad habit of snuggling Paris until she falls asleep or else she will scream and cry. So tonight is the night I decided we are getting done with that. We are currently nearly an hour into the put-them-back-in-their-bed-without-looking-at-them-or-talking-to-them-plan and I am heartily sick of it. I don't really see an end in sight but am determined to follow through with this so we don't have to do it again.

But to kill time between Paris getting out of bed and putting her back in again, I thought I would record some of her responses.

When we first started:

Lots of screaming and crying and shouts of "I want you Mommy!" "Please sweep with me Mommy!" "I need you Mommy!" and other such delights.

Now we have moved into the more quiet stage where she says (in a stern voice) "I don't want to Mommy!" "You're mean Mommy!"

Also, she noticed Cooper is downstairs and said,"That is my brother, I love my brother mommy!"

Now coming out and just saying, "Can I come downstairs mommy? Is that Ok?" in a sweet little voice. I never knew Paris knew all these manipulation techniques already!

She is out again, gotta go for round 157.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Will is back in Jesus World

Austin has been gone this weekend, traveling several hours by car and plane just to see the BYU-Oklahoma football game yesterday so needless to say, it has been a delightful Sunday morning. Lucklily there hasn't been any screaming from Mom, mostly because I am just so appalled at the children's behavior that I am speechless.

The priesthood came to our door to collect fast offerings and they were greeted with loud screams and jumping off of couches and a delightful two-year-old girl wearing nothing but white sandals. She doesn't want to get potty-trained, but doesn't want her diaper either. That's great.

Another issue is that Will is giving a talk in primary today. Usually Austin takes care of the preparation for the talks. He has a special way to illustrate the talk notes that make it easy for a budding reader like Will to give the talk independently. Unfortunately, it will just be a talk that I whisper in his ear today because Will can't calm down enough to sit and work on the talk. Of course, if I would have remembered to prepare him earlier than today at 10 am that would help.

So I just invited him into the office for some quiet time to work on his talk. I asked him if he remembered the scripture that talks about the prophet's words being the same as Heavenly Father's. "No Mama, I don't like Jesus," Will responded very saucily. Knowing that this was a very blasphemous thing to say, he quickly bowed his head and asked Heavenly Father to forgive him.

Then he put his arm around my neck and said, "Don't worry Mom, I'm back in Jesus World!"

It's clear that I am providing a fantastic example to my children of how to be reverent, humble and draw closer to the Lord.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Things I love that Paris is saying lately . . .

"Mommy, I want to nuggle (snuggle) you."

"Mommy, I want you to sweep me. (sleep in my bed with me)"

It's really fun having a little girl who says these fun things and flits around happily all day.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Maybe my little bookworm?

I've loved reading ever since I can remember. Austin always claims that I read 20 books a week - which is definitely an exaggeration. But it is definitely my favorite pastime. So I've been hoping that one of my kids would enjoy reading just as much as me. So far, Cooper likes it, but doesn't get quite as excited as I did. Will could care less, I think, only reading when under force with sudden bursts of screaming and "I hate reading!"

But I think Paris might be my little reading buddy. She loves to get any books she can find and will climb up in bed or a chair and open the books and read them to herself out loud. Also, and this is one of my favorites, when I am sleeping and she comes down to wake me up in the morning, she'll get a stack of 20 books and climb up next to me. Then she'll look at me and say, "Mommy, read!" meaning, that I need to get my book out and read to myself also. If I sneak a look over to see what she is looking at, again she will command, "Mommy, read!" What a dream come true for me! She wants me to keep reading! The boys usually will just climb all over and pull at my eyelids until I open them and then drag me out of bed.

Yesterday at library reading time was my favorite. I told Paris she could go up to the front to see the pictures in the book being read. After every line the librarian read, Paris would look back at me and paraphrase. It was adorable.

Librarian - "Wemberly was worried about the first day of school."

Paris (not so quietly) "Worried about school, mommy!"

Librarian - "So she took her doll petal and would rub her ears when she got nervous."

Paris - "Petal, rub ears nerbus, mommy!"

Loved it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My New Favorite Website

I just found the greatest blog about repurposing clothes to make adorable kid's clothes. And it's easy too! Here it is for my fellow sewing buddies . . . uh, I don't think I have any actually, but maybe this might win me some! I'm talking to you Tricia with your boxed up brand new sewing machine!

Second Morning of School 2009

Started with wailing and knashing of teeth from Will who did NOT wear his school clothes to bed this time.

But ended with two sweet boys on the porch who wrapped hugs around me and kissed me both at the same time, starting my day with happy, loving feelings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of School 2009

Still posting without pictures due to our lack of a camera right now but here are some special moments from the first day of school this year.

*Will decided that it would help if he wore his school clothes to bed the night before, this included socks and shoes.

*Will was happy when he woke up because "he had already been to school and knows it is fun."

*The sweet, happy chatter shared with Mom, Cooper and Will as we sat on the porch at 6:30 am waiting for the bus to come.

*Our excitement when we found out that Ms. Helms (the saint of a bus driver from last year who waited multiple minutes multiple times for Will to get his buns out the door) is the bus driver for this year too.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Good Example from little Paris

Today in sacrament meeting I was whispering to Austin about something while they were passing the sacrament. I knew that I shouldn't be doing that, but did anyway.

Paris looked up at me and said, "Quiet Mommy, Quiet Mommy" and then put her finger to her lips just like I probably always do to her.

It was a good reminder from the girl who a few minutes later was laying on her back and kicking the front of the podium where the bishopric was sitting.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cool Sequence of Action Shots at Cooper's game

There is a play at the plate!

The Throw is a little late...
Coop tries to block the plate, but the tag is not in time, but what is this...

The runner on second is trying to go to get third!

This throw is in time and a nice tag by third!

"He's out!" says the Umpire!
Coop gets a high five from his coach for a nice throw!

Publish Post

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Fleeting Moment of Glory

So I never really was that good of a basketball player. Church ball was the height of my basketball prowess, but at the age of 34, it keeps me exercising and I enjoy it. So anyway, my buddies & I recently joined a city league thinking it would make the church league seem like a walk in the park. We are currently 0-8 in the city league, our team name is Fat & Slow, and last week we got alley-oop dunked on three times in our game.

However, tonight was a magical night (Yes, I am about to brag about myself here). I had my best game in about 3 years going a perfect 7 -7 from the field (2 - 2 from 3 point land) and 1 - 1 from the free throw line. I think my season average is about 4 points a game. I played way over my head. I was feeling good. I brought my kids to the game.

We got in the car. I was waiting for the praise to come.

Instead Will had just one question.

"Dad, how do you get your hair like that?" Will asked.
"Like what?" I answered.
"You know, with that spot in the back, where you don't have any hair."

I had officially been knocked off my cloud. Defensively I answered,
"I decided to have kids and started stressing out over how I was going to provide for them."

Cooper then decided to join the conversation.

"I doubt that, I mean seriously. Stress can not cause your hair to fall out Dad."

"Go Google it, kid," I responded, but the damage had been done and the magical night forgotten and instead I was reminded of my balding head instead of my game.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You know your life is awesome (or seriously lame) when . . .

1. Your husband tells you to go ahead and buy the carpet steam cleaner on sale at Costco and you are super excited like it is Christmas morning.

2. Your daughter yells out during sacrament meeting - "No Daddy, No boobies!" several times, after recently learning who has boobies and who doesn't.

3. Your 8-year-old tells his friend that there won't be any more kids born in his family because "my dad got some stitches in his balls."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ode to Coop and the Yankees -- This is Why I love Little League Baseball

One of Cooper's teammates was a photographer by trade and took a lot of pictures of the team throughout the season. So here are some fun pics of Coop through out the season.