Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Crawling!!!

Ezra finally crawled for the first time today! He's been sitting forever, scooting on his bum, and scooting backwards on his belly, and near crawling lift-off for so long. Today, he finally got up on his knees and did it! Now he can chase his sister around the room! I'm so excited about this moment, I'm dual posting on both of my blogs!
Join the fun at

Monday, October 26, 2009

Times are a Changin': Wet Eyes for the Primary Program?

I've never been shy to admit this: I don't really enjoy children singing. In organized groups, I mean. Of course, I adore it when my own child makes up songs and sings loudly and off-tune. My own offspring is the exception. I don't particularly want to attend a school choir concert, I pass over kid's CDs that feature actual children singing, and I've never been a big fan of the end of the year Primary program at church. I love children and I will attend their concerts and smile during their time to shine, but my eyes will probably stray to the clock a few times.

So, I was a bit shocked yesterday when I found my eyes watering up a bit during the first song of our ward's annual Primary program at church. I thought, "What's happening to me?" My kids are too young to participate. As I read the words in the program, I realized that I'm becoming a bit of a softy. People have always told me that I'd get over this issue with kids singing as my kids grew. But I never believed them. Now I might have to eat my words.

The kids still sang off tune. The smallest ones still mumbled the words and then practically shouted the ones they knew. The older kids still looked like someone was torturing them. But they were singing the sweetest songs about the family and, as I read the words in the program, I was so touched. I loved that these children attended church each Sunday for a year and focused on their eternal families. The words to the songs were so simple and lovely. I instantly wanted to go home and download them so I could learn them along with Ella (they are all new to me).

Here are some of the songs that melted my frosty  heart:

Matthew Neeley, “The Family Is of God,” Friend, Oct 2008, 28–29

1. Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.

2. A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.

3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.

4. I’ll love and serve my family and be
A good example to each fam’ly member.
And when I am a mom or dad, so glad,
I’ll help my fam’ly remember:

God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

Seek the Lord Early,” Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 108

I’ll seek the Lord early while in my youth,
And he will help me to know the truth.
I’ll search the scriptures and find him there,
Then go to our Father in fervent prayer.
I’ll seek the Lord early, and I’ll obey
His living prophets in all they say.
I’ll keep his commandments; his love will abound.
I will seek the Lord early, and he will be found.

Words and music: Joanne Bushman Doxey, b. 1932

 “I’ll Walk with You,” Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 140–41
If you don’t walk as most people do,
Some people walk away from you,
But I won’t! I won’t!
If you don’t talk as most people do,
Some people talk and laugh at you,
But I won’t! I won’t!
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.
Jesus walked away from none.
He gave his love to ev’ryone.
So I will! I will!
Jesus blessed all he could see,
Then turned and said, “Come, follow me.”
And I will! I will!
I will! I will!
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.

Words: Carol Lynn Pearson, b. 1939. © 1987 IRI
Music: Reid N. Nibley, b. 1923. © 1987 IRI

If you're interested in listening to audio versions of - children ;0) - singing these songs, you can find them at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Belated Anniversary Post for My Favorite Person

Tim and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary on September 4th and enjoyed a wonderful evening away together in St Louis (thanks Bryan and Heather!). We really needed to get away and simply focus on each other. I couldn't believe how physically relaxed we felt and looked after one evening celebrating our anniversary!

Awhile back, I wrote about how love songs in the car always make me think of Tim. I know it sounds a bit corny, but marrying Tim is the best choice I ever made! I love being married and Tim is my favorite person. For our five year anniversary, I thought it would be fun to compile a few poems and songs that always remind me of my husband.

I love you, Tim! Thanks for 5 incredible, joyful years together! This is my belated anniversary note to you:

The Shirt by Jane Kenyon 
When I first read this poem in college, it took my breath away with its brevity and sensuality. It expresses so much of how I feel about you in so few words.

The shirt touches his neck
and smooths over his back.
It slides down his sides.
It even goes down below his belt—
down into his pants.
Lucky shirt.

From "It Feels Like Today" by Rascall Flats
From our wedding video - I always imagine us walking out of the temple, grinning, when I hear this song. I can feel the thrill of the moment again and the incredible joy I felt holding your hand, standing next to you, knowing we were married for eternity.

I Woke up this morning
With this feeling inside me that I can't explain
like a weight that I've carried
Been carried away, away

But I know something is coming
I don't know what it is
But I know it's amazing, you save me
My time is coming
And I'll find my way out of this longest drought...

It feels like today I know
It feels like today I'm sure
It's the one thing that's missin'
The one thing I'm wishin'
Life's sacred blessin' and then
It feels like today
Feels like today

XLIII. "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..." by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth's sonnet for Robert expresses the way I feel for you so eloquently...

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

From "Accidentally in Love" by Counting Crows 
This somehow became "our song" in a way and it always reminds me of you. I want to crank it up whenever I hear it and I miss having it as "your" ring tone.

So I said, "I'm a snowball running"
Running down into the spring
That's coming all this love melting under
Blue skies belting out sunlight, shimmering love

Well baby I surrender to the strawberry ice cream
Never ever end of all this love
Well I didn't mean to do it
But there's no escaping your love

These lines of lightning
Mean we're never alone
Never alone, no, no

Come on, come on
Move a little closer
Come on, come on
I want to hear you whisper
Come on, come on
Settle down inside my love

Come on, come on
Jump a little higher
Come on, come on
If you feel a little lighter
Come on, come on
We were once upon a time in love

We're accidentally in love

From a Fortune Cookie at our Wedding:
Wise words that appealed to me then, but mean much more to me now.

Love does not consist of gazing at each other,
but looking outward in the same direction.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~



Monday, October 19, 2009

A Moment of Gratitude

My oldest sister is suffering from both pneumonia and the H1N1 flu right now and I feel so bad for her. I know she is terribly sick and hope she gets better soon. Apparently, the rest of her family was able to get the vaccination and I am so grateful, especially since she has a toddler at home. I am praying that she recovers soon.

I took Ezra in for the second half of his flu shot today (you have to get it twice the first time you are vaccinated for the flu). They told me that they'd actually run out of flu shots and don't normally even start giving them out until October. Luckily, they were able to get some from another clinic. When I heard this news, I looked at my sweet little boy and felt profound gratitude. I felt so grateful that 1. Ella and I had our flu shots last month, 2. A second dose was available for Ezra and, 3. I live in a time when we are blessed with modern medicine and vaccines. I've heard and read several recommendations that everyone get a flu shot this year, even if they don't normally. Now it's just getting Dad in for his.

Everyone will make a choice about this flu shot, as well as the H1N1 vaccination, if and when it is available. I am not getting on my soap box here. Every individual and family will choose for themselves. Sometimes it simply feels good to express gratitude out loud (or on your blog). Today I am so grateful for my little family and to live in a time and place where we can be vaccinated if we choose.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Success (Finally!): Homemade Pizza

I've been on a mission to make a successful homemade pizza for awhile now, with little success. Every time I've attempted to make pizza a'la Mindy, the results have not justified the time, effort, and money spent. I've used prepared crusts, jiffy crusts, and various dough recipes, all to no avail.

I did a little blog hopping this week, starting at Happily Domestic and linking to Menu Plan Monday at". Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie had a bread machine pizza dough recipe on her site and I decided to try it and then top it with my own selection of ingredients.

I used this delicious dough recipe: Bread Maker Pizza Dough and my bread machine did all of the work. I pulled it out of the bread machine and can't tell you how relived I was when it had the perfect elasticity and was not sticky (the usual results of my previous attempts). Then I simply rolled it into a circle slightly larger than my pizza pan, put the pan over it, flipped everything over, crimped up the sides to create a crust, then lightly brushed some olive oil over the raised crusts.
Then, I added the following:
Ranch Dressing (Maybe 1/2 Cup - spread as you would pizza sauce)
Red Onion and Mushrooms (cooked in oil on stovetop for about 5 minutes)

16 ounces shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded Colby Jack Cheese

Canned Artichokes (cut into small pieces)
2 Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (cooked in olive oil on stovetop with Italian Seasoning until cooked through and browned)

I cooked it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes and got this:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Ella's New Do

Ella gets a new style! Thanks to Kendra - we love it!

See More Wordless Wednesday Links at

P is for Preschool

Our girl loves preschool! I laugh a bit now when I think that I was worried that Ella's preschool only offered an everyday schedule. If she didn't go every day, I think we'd have a revolution at our house. We've always read with Ella, as well as incorporated numbers, colors, shapes, and letters into our play. I'm amazed to see how much she's progressed in school after only a month and half, though. My favorite part about school is how excited she is to be independent about putting on her shoes, zipping her coat, going potty, etc.

We had our first parent/teacher conferences last week and I was so impressed by the detailed information her teacher provided, as well as the goals she created for Ella during this quarter. They were simple and achievable and something we could work together on at home as well. Her school is the only NEAYC accredited program in the area, as well as being a public preschool. We're so happy that we have the opportunity to send her to this school!

I wrote an article on Ella's school recently for the Source (go to my Scribd link to read this when the issue posts). They asked me to take pictures as well, so I was able to take a few of Ella in action. She cracked me up, because she barely noticed my presence and just went on busily about her business.

I love seeing how much she thrives in a learning environment and it's so fun to talk to her about school every day. She inevitably answers the question, "What did you do at school today?" with "Painted" and "Rode the school bus." (She rides the bus home because she insisted on it and loves it). Today I tried asking specific questions about what she did and she'd just say, "Yeah." I said, "Did you put your pants on your head?" and random stuff like that. At first, she just responded, "Yeah," but then I saw a twinkle in her eye as she responded. Funny girl!

The school does a terrific job of engaging parents in the units they do at school. The first month, they focused on colors and now Ella loves to frequently ask, "What color is this, mommy?" Her vocabulary (which was already strong) has also increased in this short amount of time, as well as her sentence structure. I especially love her excellent use of "please" and "thank you." :0)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thoughts from General Conference

Twice a year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called Mormon), of which I am a member, broadcasts a General Conference for its members. This conference is broadcast worldwide and allows us the opportunity to listen to uplifting, Christ-centered messages. We believe that there is a living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, as well as living apostles. General Conference provides an amazing opportunity to listen to these men, as well as the women who lead organizations within our church, an. Each time I attend Conference, I increase my testimony and understanding of gospel principles. I am so grateful for this month's General Conference and was touched by so many talks.  Next month, two church publications, the Ensign and the Liahona, will publish text of these talks in various languages.I wanted to share some quotes from a few talks that particularly spoke to me.

From The Love of God by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf,Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.
God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.
He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.
What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.

My thoughts: Days after listening to President Uchtdorf, his words resonated with me and I kept returning to this incredible passage:Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely."These words so eloquently express what I feel in my heart. As my children grow, feel discouraged, and make choices, this is a message I want them to internalize.

From More Diligent and Concerned at Home by Elder David A. Bednar, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
As our sons were growing up, our family did what you have done and what you now do. We had regular family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Now, I am sure what I am about to describe has never occurred in your home, but it did in ours.

Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile. Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts such as “He’s touching me!” “Make him stop looking at me!” “Mom, he’s breathing my air!” Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking. And with active, rambunctious boys, family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification. At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected.
Today if you could ask our adult sons what they remember about family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening, I believe I know how they would answer. They likely would not identify a particular prayer or a specific instance of scripture study or an especially meaningful family home evening lesson as the defining moment in their spiritual development. What they would say they remember is that as a family we were consistent.
Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome. But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together. The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time.

My Thoughts: Listening to this talk made me grin as I both recalled some laughing fits during prayers as a kid and thought of my little family's Family Home Evenings that often consist of a short story, quite a few songs, and a highly anticipated dessert. I worry sometimes that it's not as spiritually edifying as it should be. Elder Bednar's words helped me to understand that it is the consistency that matter. Even a short thought on eternal families, followed by "Families Can Be Together Forever," then brownies  strengthens my family. He also inspired me to consider other ways I can be more consistent in my personal study and worship.

From What Have I done for Someone Today? by President Thomas S. Monson
The Apostle Paul admonished, “By love serve one another.”3 Recall with me the familiar words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”4

The Savior taught His disciples, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”5
I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.

My Thoughts: I think it is significant that Thomas S. Monson, our prophet, chose to emphasize service during conference. When we struggle personally, professionally, financially, etc., it can be easy to look inward. I definitely have a long way to go before I serve others as I should, but I have a testimony that, when you lose yourself in service, that is when you find yourself. President Monson also shared stories of ways young children celebrated his birthday through gifts of service and they inspired me to find ways to help my own children understand the joy of service.

Text, Audio, and Video from these and other talks from the October 2009 General Conference can be found at

I'm a Diaper Discussions Contributer Today!

I'm a contributer on Diaper Discussions today, sharing my Love/Hate Relationship with Prefold Diapers! Visit A Love Hate Relationship with Prefolds to view my post. Thanks for the opportunity, Julie!

Diaper Discussions

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dads are the Best

Despite the rain and chill, Ella is still desperate to play outside these days. I do my best, but Ezra and I don't enjoy playing outside for quite as long as she does. Tim took her out yesterday evening, despite the fact that he was tired and just wanted to stay inside. I went out to call them in for dinner and was treated to a delightful sight. Tim had his bicycle out and was riding up and down the sidewalk while Ella chased after him. Ella was slightly winded, with rosy red cheeks, and bright eyes. Her excitement was palpable and she said, "I'm chasing Daddy on his bike!" Mommy is never this fun. Aren't dads the best?!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: First Hair Cut!

I put a fun photo of Ella's hair on The Inquisitive Mom blog, so I thought I'd highlight Ezra's new do for this one. My friend Kendra couldn't stand the long hairs around Ezra's ears and neck this past Friday, so she just went ahead and trimmed him during our babysitting trade night. When I walked in, she said, "I hope you won't be made at me" and I laughed. I'm glad he got a little trim, but a tiny bit sad I missed it! Oh, well, she did me a favor and he looks like such a big boy (although, thank goodness he left the personality on top!).

Visit for more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mr. Personality

I looked at Ezra today and thought, "He won't be a baby much longer." Made me feel a tiny bit sad, but also excited for what's to come. He is such a delightful little guy and gets cuter by the minute. I love how much he shows his personality lately and caught a few fun shots of him this past week. My friend, Kendra, had her turn babysitting on Friday and just couldn't stand the long hair around the ears anymore (She's a Hair Stylist). So, she trimmed up his hair (but left the personality on top) and he looks like such a big boy! Photos to come!

Ezra tried "Yo Baby" Yogurt for the first time this week - Yum!

This messy face is pretty common around our house.

Ezra was delighted by this balloon the other day.

Look at those cool string - and my big boy sitting himself up.

I love his big grin and silly hair!

Everything goes in the mouth. Look at Ezra sharing!

Hmmm...what  happens if I drop it?

Where'd it go?

Can I reach it?