Tuesday, May 12, 2015

April Download

The week after conference I had to go downtown and do some baptism pictures for someone in our ward at the temple...so the whole family went and we made a FHE out of it. The kids all loved touching the temple and walking up ti the Christus. Isaac loved reading us the story of Christ with the new Bible pictures, and then we went to Leatherbey's for ice cream. I think it was one of the highlights of the month.

Disney remade Cinderella and so I tool Kelsie for a little Mother/Daughter time. It was nice to send a couple of hours just she and I and she LOVED the movie...although now she is so worried about me dying because Cinderella's mother dies.
After we went to Steamboat Springs we were able to go on a little field trip to Wheeler Farm. There were LOTS on new baby animals and Tay and Kels had fun riding in the cow wagon. After we saw all the animals we played some games in park with her classmates.

This is one of Ben's FAVORITE things to do on a Sunday evening....fall asleep while I play the piano and sing. The guy deserves a NAP!!

Steamboat Springs April 2015

We try to go on one vacation at the beginning of each year. Normally it is to some place warm as we are trying to get out of the winter weather, but this year we decided to go to Steamboat Springs in Colorado. The Wall family went with us. We left on Saturday April 18th. We decided to stop in Vernal for lunch and to see the temple there.

After lunch we headed to the National Dinosaur Monument. The kids really enjoyed this and it was really neat to see all the preserved dinosaur bones and that there are SO many of them. After visiting the quarry we took a little hike and were even able to see some in the rocks.

After the monument we headed into Colorado. It wasn't long before we started to hit snow. Colorado is so beautiful..even if it is snowing. We had a little car trouble about a half an hour from Steamboat. As we were driving we passed a big rig truck and it flipped a rock and somehow flipped off the cargo rack and completely shattered the sunroof on the Acadia. Thankfully the rack kept it covered and there was a screen on it so the glass didn't fall on us.

This is what Steamboat looked like when we got there as well as all day Sunday. Sunday we went to church, which was an experience. They started about 10 min late...which they said was early for them, haha.... and between our kids and the Walls we tripled the Primary!

On Monday we had a yummy breakfast and then we took the car to get fixed. Afterwords we decided to head to the movies and saw "HOME" it was cute and the kids loved it. Then we headed into town to see F.M. Sons. It is this store we saw billboards for ALL.THE.WAY to Steamboat. Then we had a yummy dinner from a place called The Backdoor Grill. After dinner the kids decided to watch a movie and the adults played games.

Tuesday was a pretty nice day so we decided to hike up to Fish Falls. It was a really nice hike and a beautiful waterfall. Whitney was TERRIFIED of the ledge taking pictures!

As we were hiking back down to the cars Isaac started throwing snowballs at Ben and Ben told him that if he hit him he would give him a whitewash...well you can only guess what happened by the pictures! Isaac was laughing though!

After the hike we headed to a Botanical garden and hen to a park for the kids to run off some energy!
Then it was off for ice cream!

Wednesday we went to a place called Winona's for breakfast they claimed to have the Worlds Best Cinnamon rolls.....and the DO! It was SOOOO YUMMY!! After breakfast we went to another park for the kids to play and then went for a drive that afternoon to see Steamboat Lake. We really didn't get out of the car though because it was snowing, but it was a really beautiful drive!

Thursday we headed downtown to walk main street. The kids had fun seeing all the new sights and we went into a candy store...which they LOVED!! It was also Ben's birthday that day so we went to a really YUMMY Italian restaurant and had some of the best pizza ever!

Of course our trips are not complete if swimming is not included. We did ALOT of it. It was what the kids just LOVED doing. They also loved sitting outside in the hot tub!

It was such a fun week spent with fun friends, eating good food, playing games every night, talking, laughing, napping and relaxing. It was such a great vacation.

Easter 2015

I think the kids had such a great Easter this year. Because Easter was on conference weekend we started a little earlier and went to the 12th wards Easter Egg hunt and breakfast the week before. We also had a little Easter Egg hunt at our house with the Stevens Family later that day. We dyed eggs and then the kids had to find their Easter baskets Easter morning and then we had a little hunt in the backyard. Taysom REALLY likes to find eggs!

I am so thankful for my beautiful family. It was such a nice weekend to listen to Conference and to spent it with my family. Love those cute faces!

March Phone Dowload

Next March Ben and I will be going on our 1st ever cruise with our friends. So to celebrate, we decided that on our year away we were going to have a party. We BBQ'd shishkaobs, had yummy fruit and drinks and played Caribbean music. We even dressed up on tropical apparel. Our husbands think we are nuts!

Isaac has learned to ride a two-wheeler! FINALLY!!! However he also had his first crash. This is what happens when you don't wear your helmet! He had quite the black eye and scrapes for a while.

We were invited to a friends birthday party for their daughter. I LOVE this picture because you can tell how much Isaac just LOVED going to an all-girl party!

Ben and I were able to go to a Gala down in Provo called the Pillar of Light. It was a nice event and we got to get all dressed up for this occasion.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Little things...

Back in February I had the opportunity to speak in Stake Conference. I was asked to speak on Doing the little things as a family. Here is my talk...

I’m sure there are many of you that have seen the movie Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good Very Bad Day. Well last month I was having just one of these days. I had been struggling all morning with a difficult child and after not knowing what else to do sent them to their room to finish the temper tantrum they were having. Now this child has quite the set of lungs and was letting it all out. About a half an hour later I got a knock at the door. To my surprise it was two police officers asking if they could come in and talk to me. They explained that someone walking down my street had heard a child screaming coming from my house and had called for them to check it out. I brought my child in and asked them to explain to the officers just why they were screaming. Fast forward a couple of hours and Ben gets a phone call from Pres. Gifford asking us to come in to speak to him. My mind is wondering just what he could need to talk to us about, and my husband starts to put into my mind that Pres. Gifford probably got wind of the situation at home that afternoon and wanted to talk to us about it. The first thing that Pres. Gifford says when we sit down is that he heard we had a visit from the police today. Then he proceeds to ask me if I would speak in stake conference the following month.  Now as I stand up here terrified, I think I would rather get a visit from the police than be in front of all of you. On the plus side I do get to sit by my husband. That doesn’t happen very often.

I have been asked to speak on doing the little things consistently in raising a family. We have four children between the ages of 8 and 2.  Right now it’s the little things that we are teaching our children. As I was thinking about this topic there are 6 things that I wanted to talk about.

1. Family Prayer –
Tad R Callister in the October 2014 General Conference stated, “Which parent in Book of Mormon times would have let their sons march out to the front of battle without a breastplate and shield and sword to protect them against the potentially mortal blows of the enemy? But how many of us let our children march out the front door each morning to the most dangerous of all battlefields, to face Satan and his myriad of temptations, without their spiritual breastplate and shield and sword that come from the protective power of prayer?”

My children are only in elementary school and I already see the temptations and evils that Satan is placing before my children. I know that the family prayer we have in  the mornings before they go to school is placing a protection upon my little ones as I send them away from the safety of our home in to the dangers of the world.

Family prayer is not only reserved for morning and evening. President Kimball said: “Never hesitate to gather your family around you for your prayers, especially in those times when more than morning and evening family prayer is needed. Extra needs require extra prayers.”

A couple of months ago as I was getting my children ready for school we found that my youngest who was almost 2 at the time had gone into the bathroom, shut the door, opened the drawer that was behind the door and climbed up on the counter. The drawer was open far enough that we couldn’t close it and we couldn’t open the door because the drawer was blocking it. Little Taysom was now sitting in the sink crying and wanting us to get him. He was unable to climb down from the counter so he was stuck. We couldn’t get to him. For about 40 min we tried everything we could think of to get the door open. We were frusterated, he was freaking out. Finally I grabbed all my children and we all knelt down in the hall. I prayers to our Heavenly Father that Taysom would calm down enough so that he would be able to listen and understand what we needed him to do in order to get him out. 5  min later I was able to calm Taysom down enough to instruct him to reach over and close the drawer so that we could open the door. That little experience is one that my children have often talked about since in learning that Heavenly Father answers prayers.

2. Family Home Evening –
Joseph B. Wirthlin stated; “The ideal way to transform your home into a house of learning is to hold family home evening faithfully. The Church has reserved Monday evening for that purpose. In 1915, the First Presidency instructed local leaders and parents to inaugurate a home evening, a time when parents should teach their families the principles of the gospel. The Presidency wrote: “If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them.”

I recall a conference talk given by Elder Bednar in which he recalled how he and his wife wondered if their efforts to do the spriutal things such as Family Home Evening were worthwhile. As he told of children fighting during lesson, being rambunctious and not knowing if they were getting anything out of the lessons, I thought to myself, this is exactly where we are. Sometimes our family home evenings last all of 10 minets because that is the attention span of most children under 5. But the thing that Elder Bednar pointed out was that it’s not always about the spiritual edification. It’s about consistency. In D&C 64:33, we read “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great”. Elder Bednar stated, “Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.”–

3. Church Attendance -
It is no small task to get four and myself to church by 9:00 each week. Someone has always lot their shoes, needs their shirt buttoned, hair done, diaper changed, breakfast made church bag packed, found the keys, buckled all the car seats, and finally getting into the chapel and seated in our seats.
Usually as I walk into the chapel someone says to me that they don’t know how I do it. How I get everyone ready and to church on time. As we got through the meeting I sometimes ask myself WHY do I do this? Most of the time I am out in the hall with one or more children and the others have been known to fist fight while I’m in the hall.

Yet again it’s the consisiancy that Elder Bednar talked about. My children know that on Sunday’s we go to church and my question of why do I do this gets answered as I sit in Primary and feel of the spirit that is there and know that my children feel that same spirit and as we come home and talk about the things that they have learned. I know that church attendance is laying a foundation for their testimonies.

4. Encourage good music, art and literature in the home –
I thoroughly believe that you are what you surround yourself with and that a home should be a heaven on earth. When our home is filled with good-music, pictures of the temple, our family and  the Savior it is a place where the spirit can reside and in so-doing can be place where are children can learn to recognize the spirit and what it feels like. Pres. Benson said, “Homes that have a spiritual refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.”

When my first child was born we read him stories and sang him songs before he went to bed. Some of the time it would be Nursery Rhym songs, sometimes Primary songs. As each child entered our family and we continued the routine of singing songs before bed, less and less were they Nursery ryme songs but rather more and more Primary Songs. In fact I don’t think my youngest child even knows Twinkle Twinkle little star. When asked what song he wants us to sing to him he proudly exclaimes “Dooey” which means I Love to See the temple. “this is my sacred duty.”My hope and prayer is that my children will remember these primary songs and that in times of struggle they will remember the words they have learned and they may help them make wise decisions.

5. Spending Time Together -
One of my favorite commerials that the church has put out is one where a little girl comes into the room of her sleeping parents. She goes to the side of her fathers bed with a book and says “Daddy, can you read me a story?”  He tells her not right now, but to go ask her mother. The little girl then walks to her Mother’s side of the bed and asks, “Mommy, can Daddy read me a story?”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.”1Whether family members get together for scheduled outings, sharing interests, or serving others, these gatherings strengthen relationships that can be eternal.

We love to spend time together as a family. Playing card games, watching movies, supporting each other in our various activities, going on walks, hiking, camping, playing at the park and we love to travel. We try as often possible to get away with our family. I pray that my children will cherish the time that we are able to spend as a family and that in so doing it will help build and bond our relationships together.

6. Service -
There are many different ways to serve but the one way I want to talk about is serving within the church.

President Benson stated “Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them so that they too will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.”

From the time I was 8 years old my father has served in very demanding church callings. I actually don’t remember a time when my father sat with us at church. My dad is amazing at his callings. He takes them seriously and serves in each capacity to the best of his ability. I am grateful for the examples that my parents have given me of serving in the church and also the examples that they have given me of supporting each other in their callings. In all the years of church service I have never heard my mom complain about all the time my dad has had to put into his callings. And when we as children complained that our dad couldn’t be to one of our activities she lovingly reminded us that he was serving the Lord. Through these years I’ve gained a testimony of service in the church. I’ve seen the blessings that have come to the lives of my family because of the service and sacrifice of my parents and I too have the desire to serve my Heavenly Father in whatever capacity he sees fit.
Looking back I feel that the Lord was preparing me for this time in my life where I am able to support my husband in his calling and help my children understand the importance of serving the Lord. I pray that in seeing their father serve and in me showing my support of him they too will want to serve in the Church.

I bare my testimony that this church us true and that our Savior lives and loves us. These things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

You would literally think it was Christmas morning when the kids woke up on St. Patrick's Day. We had set a trap for the Leprechaun the night before and all the kids were up early to see if they caught him. Well...of course they didn't, but they got to go on a little scavenger hunt to find what the little green dude left. They all got a new green shirt and some gold candy.

We had Lucky Charms for breakfast, green milk and then we had green eggs and ham for dinner. There was a lot of green food coloring ingested!

I can't get over how big my kids are getting! They are some pretty cute kids too!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February Download

I decided to put on my crafty pants and decorate for Valentines Day. It has only taken me 3 years to make those red balls!

Isaac celebrated 100 days of school. They had to come up with something that represented the day. Thank you Pinterest!

We took the crib down for the first AND the last time in nearly 9 years. It was a bitter sweet day. I shed a few tears knowing that my "baby" stage is over. I can't believe how fast it has gone! The kids got new bunk beds and I'm in the process of re-doing the room.

Taysom thinks this horse was meant for him to ride!

Kelsie is my creative one. She LOVES to color. It is probably the first thing she asks to do when she gets up in the morning and I'm happy to let her go it. When she's coloring....she's not in trouble!

At the age of 2 EACH ONE of my boys has been obsessed with Buzz Lightyear. They have carried his around EVERYWHERE they go , especially to bed. It's fun to have something they are attached to, but it's also horrible when they lose him!

We have had a VERY MILD winter this year. In fact we have already had some 70 degree days! So when the snow decided to come it REALLY to come down!

Kelsie has learned how to take "Selfies" She has learned that even though I lock my phone, she can swipe the camera up and take pictures. So we have lots of Kelsie selfies to search through.

This is Taysom's new trick. Talk about a blood rush!

I had the really fun opportunity to go on a field trip with Kayleb and the 1st graders. We went to the Children's Museum at the Gateway. They kids all had a great time! Although I think their favorite part was probably the bus ride.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kayleb Turns 6

It's hard to imagine that this kid is already 6 years old! Time has flown way to fast for this mama! This year we told him that we were going to have a family party. So he decided he wanted Taco Salad for dinner....it is one of his favorites....and then he wanted to play the Wii and PlayStation with Ben and Isaac. It was a good day. I think he enjoyed getting all the attention just on him for one day. Grandma and Grandpa Larsen came over do we could have ice cream. Kayleb doesn't like cake so we didn't do it.

We went for his 6 year old check-up as well and here are his stats:

41 lbs
43 3/4 inches tall
He LOVES to eat and is my BEST eater....he will eat everything I make...even broccoli.
Favorite Food is Taco Salad
Leaning how to read...does really well.
Loves to play the Wii and Playstation.
Loves Basketball and watching the Jazz games.
He is the comic relief in our family and always has something funny to say or do.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Potty-Training...for the LAST time!

This is really happening at our house! I wasn't even ready to start with potty-training yet, but this little guy has been telling me every so often for the last week that he needed to go! So last Friday we went and got him some undies and we decided to go for it. The first day he only had 2 accidents, and he woke up dry from his nap. Then he was sick on Saturday and Sunday and I didn't want to push it, so we started again today. He has had 2 accidents so far. We'll see how the rest of it goes. Heaven help me! I HATE potty-training!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

Valentine's Day was a pretty fun day. It was actually on a Saturday this year, so we got to celebrate all weekend long. The weekend started off by Ben and I going away Friday night. Ben had NO IDEA we were staying the night at the Armstrong Mansion. I had booked everything, gotten a sitter for the night, packed our bag and hid it in the car. We went to dinner and it was at dinner that I told him that we weren't going home after dinner....we were headed to the Armstrong Mansion for the night. He was SUPER surprised!

Saturday morning Ben and I stopped off at Banbury Cross to get the doughnuts for the kids....they are some of the yummiest doughnuts around! Then we headed home and gave the kids their gifts. They each got a new T-Shirt to wear for Valentines Day and some chocolates. It was such a beautiful day ad we really didn't have much going on, so it was fun to