Saturday, July 25, 2009

Family Nauvoo Trip

For anyone who lives in this area or who is interested in Latter-day Saint history, Nauvoo is a must-visit place. If you're not familiar with Nauvoo, it became the religious, governmental, and cultural center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between 1839 and 1846. In it's prime, the city rivaled Chicago in size. Visitors can now tour historic Nauvoo and see restored homes and businesses. You could spend days there seeing everything and all the sites owned by the LDS Church are free of charge, so it's a great family vacation.

I've been to Nauvoo a few times now with visiting family. Each time we've visited in the fall or spring and have dealt with rain and a small toddler. These have put a damper (hee, hee) on my experience and I haven't enjoyed Nauvoo as much as I'd hoped. Tim took Thursday and Friday off last week so we could see the Nauvoo Pageant and I was determined to have a great time. We rented a log cabin with our delightful friends, the Leonards, and had a wonderful time with them. Ella was in heaven playing with their 3 boys!

During July and August, the big event is the Nauvoo Pageant. Pioneer games, music, dancing, arts and crafts, puppet shows, and other activities are available outside before the show. These are all run by missionaries and volunteers.The Pageant is a tribute to the Prophet Joseph Smith and details the experiences of the early LDS pioneers in Nauvoo. The production includes about 20 professional actors and 150 volunteer and is performed outside at night, starting at 8:45.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but this wonderful peace came over me as I watched the production. I don't always have patience for pioneer stories, but I felt such a connection to this story. Some of my relatives lived in Nauvoo and left their homes in Europe to join the Latter-day Saints in the US. The joys, struggles, triumphs, and challenges of the Saints are a huge part of my heritage. As I watched the actors that night, I felt such appreciation for their experiences and sacrifices.

The Pageant ends with the Saints leaving Nauvo and their precious temple behind. The actual Nauvoo Temple (now rebuilt) stands high on the hill above where the pageant takes place. It is dark behind the stage and then suddenly the temple is lit up and becomes a beacon in the dark. This site filled me with such reverence for the temple.

I loved the opportunity to get away for an evening and spend time as a family and as a couple. I'm already looking ahead to renting a cabin in the off-season. Once Ezra is weaned, this might be a perfect winter weekend get-away!

If you're interested in seeing more photos from Nauvoo, visit my facebook album at

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Scentsy Give Away!

This month, I am celebrating my 6 month anniversary as a Scentsy Consultant! It's been such pleasure being a part of this company and sharing such a wonderful product. I love meeting people who say, "I love Scentsy!" and introducing people to Scentsy warmers who say, "I want one!" To celebrate my anniversary, I am giving away a Scentsy plug-in and bar of wax! Anyone is welcome to enter (I will mail this prize free of charge within the continental US)! There are several ways to enter, so here it goes:

1. Leave me a comment here and I'll put your name in the drawing 1 time.

2. Blog about Scentsy (and send people to my giveaway) and I'll enter your name 2 times.

3. Share a link to this giveaway on facebook and I'll enter your name 3 times.

4. Send me your name and email to sign up for my once-a-month newsletter and specials alerts and I'll enter your name 4 times. If you would prefer to do this privately, email

5. Order through my Mystery Hostess Online Party at and I'll enter your name 5 times. Plus, you'll be eligible to win the hostess credits as the "Mystery Online" hostess!

6. Put a link to my website on your blog and I'll enter your name 6 times. ***

7. Host a party with me in July (there's still time!) and I'll enter your name 7 times. You can have an in-home party or a basket party. If you don't live near me or want a portable party, I will send you all you need to hold a basket party and share Scentsy in your office and home!

* Don't forget - Scentsy is giving away 5 $500 Visa gift cards this month! Host a party that reaches $500 in retail and you'll be entered to win!*

Please be sure to let me know what you've done in your comments here and provide your name and a way for me to contact you if you win! Good luck!
***How to put a link to my Scentsy website on your blog.
Right click on picture above and save it to your desktop. Go to your Blog layout and select "Add a gadget." Choose "Add a picture." Add this photo and
put in the link box. For the Caption, put: Need Scentsy? Click Here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

If You were a Fly on the Wall...

Seems everyone is slowing down on blogging in the summertime with the sunshine to enjoy. Plus, it's so easy to upload an album to facebook to share. I am determined to someday use my blog posts in digital scrapbooks for my kids, though. I thought it would be fun to post some of the things you'd see and hear if you were a fly on the wall at the Farmer's. I was going to alternate kids, but the photos didn't upload that way.

*Ezra chowing down on solids. Like most babies, he is not a veggie fan. He does seem to prefer all food with cereal mixed in as well.

*Ezra practicing his voice - loudly. Sometimes Ella says, "He's yelling, Mommy." But it's happy noise.
*Ezra kicking his legs and arms in excitement.

*Ezra laughing - this is one of the most delightful sounds I've ever heard!

*Ezra reaching for everything within his eye line. His favorite thing: my hair. If he could just get it in his mouth, he'd be in heaven.

*The kids playing and laughing together. Ella actually felt possessive at the library puppet show today. Some older kids were playing with Ezra and she declared, "No! That's my boy!"

*Ella replying, "Yes, sweetheart?" when I call her name. It's gratifying when they repeat the good things you say, isn't it?

*Ella saying, "Oh, man." Lately, she's told Tim and I "don't say that word. It's mine."

*Ella sitting on the potty! I've decided to let Ella take the lead and things have been going better. I still suggest and encourage, but she decides. Last night she peed and made "tinkles" in the potty. We called both Grandmas to share the news and hear their cheers.

*Ella telling a story she's made up. Love, love, love the imagination!

As an aside, I also want to share how much I love swapping babysitting with other couples in the area. Every Friday night, one of four couples watches everyone's kids. In exchange for 1 busy Friday, we get 3 free date nights! This experience is wonderful for the kids as well because they're used to going over to other people's houses, they're comfortable with other trusted adults, and they learn to be flexible. We're not excited for our night (tonight!), but truly appreciate the date nights!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Happiest Toddler on the Block

On the rare occasion I have the opportunity to peruse the library shelves for books, I usually head straight for the new books section. I simply don't have the time (and the kids don't have the patience) for searching the general fiction shelves. I love the new book section because it includes new fiction and non-fiction. Generally, I select books online and put holds on them, but our family decided to visit the library Monday evening for Family Home Evening. Tim and I alternated reading with Ella in the children's section and looking for our own books. (For some reason, Ezra came with me both times...hmm)

While searching the shelves, I came across the book, "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" by Harvey Karp. I thought, "Why not?" and put it in the pile. Once the kids were in bed, I had a some spare quiet time to begin reading. I felt immediately encouraged by the author's ideas. This book intends for parents to implement strategies today and can truly be read in small increments and utilized after each reading. The author suggests simple, straightforward ways to communicate with your toddler and create a more positive environment.

Truthfully, I think I love this book because it helped remind me why I love being a parent. With the birth of Ezra, I suddenly found myself looking at Ella and thinking, "She's not little anymore." We were constantly saying, "You're a big girl now." But the truth is, she's not a miniature adult. Ella is still so new to this world, trying to figure new things out everyday. Karp points out that toddlers are losing all day long - they're smaller, less coordinated, shorter, and unable to do many things on their own. But they don't have to feel like losers at home. Through positive techniques, you can create an environment where everyone wins.

I've found that the most important thing I've gained from this book is to focus on being a more thoughtful parent. We've been struggling with temper tantrums and power struggles lately. After trying some of the strategies in this book for just a few days, I can see a change in our relationship. This is not to say that Ella and I weren't close or loving in the past. Karp's suggestions have simply helped me learn how to communicate better, show more patience, demonstrate respect, and find ways for things to be win-win. As I've been more thoughtful in my approach to parenting, we're both happier and enjoying ourselves more.

Tim has also been a patient listener as I've shared ideas from this book and my experiences trying them out. One of my favorite things about Tim is that he might not pick up a book like this, but he's sincerely interested because I'm engaged in it. He even told me last night that he and Ella tried night-time sweet talk where you talk about all of the good things that happened in your day. I have loved "gossiping" about the wonderful things Ella does (to Dad, Grandma, and her ducks), as recommended by the book.

No book can replace our instincts as a parent or solve all of our parenting dilemmas, but this book came to my attention right when I needed a positive boost. Reading Karp's enthusiastic suggestions helped me feel renewed and excited. He suggests starting these strategies about 10 months and I look forward to trying them with Ezra!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Video Memories and It's all in the Family

I finally figured out how to upload video from my phone to the computer! The quality of the video leaves much to be desired, but it's still fun to see. The first video is of our little dancer and the second is of her singing. I don't know where she got her rhythm from, but this girl can dance! I think these are from about a year ago. It's incredible to see how much she's grown since then!

When my mom came to visit last year, she was showing Ella letters and, to help her understand the concept of big and small, they ended up calling them "Mommy" and "baby" letters. This has created a whole trend in our house. Here are a few examples to help explain how things are categorized in Ella's world. I love to see how, at this age, her whole world is family-centered.
* When we watch Wall-E, Wall-E is the "Daddy" robot and Eve is the "Mommy" robot. "Where'd the mommy robot go?"
* If we're eating grapes, she always asked for the "baby" grapes.
* Large is "Daddy" sized and medium is "Mommy" sized.
* Anyone who is "mature" is "a Grandma" or "a Grandpa."
* If anyone is upset (in person or on tv), they should "go find their Mommy and Daddy."
* She loves to be chased around by monsters and will say, "Be a Daddy monster!" Then, "Be a Mommy Monster!" This determines how loud you growl.
* When we sing "Old McDonald," she loves to use the same animal in several verses, but change its size.
* She likes to tell me that Ezra is her baby brother and she's the sister.

Ella's becoming so creative and I love it when she makes up words to her own songs now. I'll have to get this on video and post it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My First Tag

This is my first blog tag. Here it goes!

Things I'm looking forward to:
1. Friday off with Tim.
2. Watching some Mystery Science Theater this weekend.
3. The next season of Dexter on DVD.
4. Clearing our yard of weeds and planting grass instead.
5. Reading "North and South" (if it ever comes through inter-library loan)
6. Using my free trial of Adobe Photoshop Elements to do digital scrapbooking.
7. Seeing the Nauvoo Pageant for the first time.
8. Spending my entire Saturday playing!

Things I did this weekend:
1. Went on a date to see Transformers 2. Dumb movie. Good date.
2. Had the Nelsons over for Sunday dinner.
3. Celebrated the pipes getting fixed.
4. Played with my kids.
5. Realized that I've come along way in 5 years of marriage. I had my feelings hurt, but saw that it wasn't intentional, and was able to move on (even after he did it a second time!). If marriage doesn't teach good communication skills, nothing will.
6. Taught Young Women's on the fly (and not for the first time)
7. Played a hidden object game on the computer (love these!)
8. Looked through photo albums with Ella.

Things I wish I could do:
1. Take a cooking class.
2. Get the motivation to exercise.
3. Sell $1000 in Scentsy a month (at least).
4. Be patient enough to pump so I could be away for more than 3 hours at a time.
5. Sleep in.
6. Visit my family this summer!
7. Find time to write every day.
8. Get my writing published.

Shows that I watch:
1. 30 Rock
2. Ballykissangel
3. Fringe
4. Dexter
5. Lie to Me
6. Monarch of the Glen
7. The Office
8. Battlestar Galactica

Places I'd like to travel:
1. Australia
2. Maine
3. Hawaii
4. Wisconsin (nearby amazing water parks)
5. England
6. Ireland
7. Argentina
8. Spain

People I tag:
1. Keely
2. Tiffany
3. McKinzie
4. Kristi
5. Jen