Monday, December 17, 2007

birthday shout out

on my side of the family, most birthdays are in may or november (my sister-in-law who was is expecting, just had her due date moved from june 1st to may 31st - very fitting.) while i hesitate to start acknowledging sibling birthdays, i feel i should mention a happy birthday to my sister and my niece since i'm mentioning all the november birthdays. without further ado,

happy birthday, wendy!! thank you for being a true sister and friend to me throughout the years.

happy birthday, maddie!! your quotables list would put mine to shame. i love what the things that you say and your spunk.

p.s. here are a couple of my favorite quotes from my niece:
"mommy, how come jesus gave you a sister and not me?"
"when i grow up, i want to live by myself and have lots of cats!"
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Sunday, December 16, 2007

faves about jake

jake turned 11 in november. belated birthday wishes, buddy!
below are some pictures of jake through the years. (once again, pictures that i had previously scanned in). i wish i could have scanned in a good picture of his curls - does anyone (besides kayla) remember the curls he used to have? his hair straightened in the past few years, but now seems to be getting curlier as he approaches being a teenager.
in honor of his birthday, here are some of my faves about jake:
  • he is such a trooper! his physical limitations are severe, yet he rarely complains. he seems to patiently persevere through whatever is asked of him.
  • his laugh is just pure joy!! my sister-in-law has done a good job of capturing it in photos; i've included a few below. when my opa was visiting, we had jake sleep upstairs with us so opa could use his bed on the main floor. one night when pat and i got in our beds, we heard jake just busting up in laughter. he will sometimes just randomly laugh for no apparent reasons. other times, he is laughing in response to such things as pat blowing his nose, the girls crying or when i raise my voice.
  • jake loves the extreme: the faster, the higher you go, the happier he is. i've always dreamed of taking him on a rollar coaster someday, but i wouldn't do it because i would worry about his safety since he can't sit up independently.
  • he has beautifully long eyelashes.
  • jake loves to be read to and listen to music. he calms down and listens to you when you speak to him.
  • he's probably the only person around who actually likes when i sing to him, and he giggles when pat or i sing his lullabuy ("abide with me") hymn to him.
  • helen keller once said: "the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. they must be felt within the heart." i don't know if its his physical limitations, but jake is very aware of the things of the heart and soul. he loves unconditionally. his physical therapist once said: "not liking jake is like not liking puppies." not only is he lovable, but jake is pure and so very giving.
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belated birthday blog mention, dad!

my dad celebrated his birthday on november 7th. (i actually did celebrate with him around his birthday as evidenced by that cupcake - just slow to write about it here). my scanner is still not hooked up and i actually can't locate the real gem of a picture that i recently found of him (i think i put it in a "safe" spot that i would remember. OI!! it will have to wait for another moment to be shared.) anyhoo, here are some pics from through the years that i had happened to previously scan into my computer. i absolutely love the one of my dad with gracie on the top left corner.

here are some of my favorite moments with my dad throughout the years that i do think show his character:
  • my dad is very "book" smart (graduated from caltech, could've gone to MIT as a sophomore). he traveled a lot when i was growing up, but was always willing to help us with our homework when he was home. i have lots of good memories of my dad helping me, especially with my english papers. asking him for help with math or science homework was a little like playing russian roullette. he usually came up with the right answer, but took ways to get there that were far above my understanding. case in point: my dad often drove me high school which was located about 20 minutes from our house. one morning at the start of our drive, i made the mistake of asking my dad what a quark was. he lost me by the second sentence in his response, but yet still managed to talk about quarks for the whole 20 minute ride!
  • as you can guess, my dad did instill in me a love for learning and the importance of an education. he often told me that he found it very helpful to read books twice when he was in high school! HA! i was proud of myself if i actually read all the required books.
  • my dad is a hard worker. he gives his all to his job, yet still makes time for family and helps around the house. sometimes he is a little too helpful around the house and tries to fix things that should probably have been serviced out (remember i said he was book smart - not so much mechanically smart.) he has earned the nickname of "Tim the toolman Taylor" by doing things such as setting the kitchen cabinets on fire because he didn't notice a hole in the gas pipe he was using to weld some pipes together.
  • my dad is a prankster. there's the infamous $200 water damage bill that his parents paid while he was in college for one of his pranks where he actually got caught and the time when i came home from college and he told me to wait in the car cuz they wanted to get a picture and then the whole family comes out with super soakers and yes, i pretty much got drenched - just to name a few. joking around with each other as a family made for some good family memories. we also had lots of water fights and i think there was a time when everyone in the family had their own super soaker.
  • just for fun: i remember the time that my dad poured hot soup on his pants and then immediately started stripping out of them despite the fact that my best friend from high school was at the dinner table with us. (dar, do you remember that?)
  • my dad has taught me to be honest through example. we share a love of mysteries and puzzles.
  • thing that my dad most often repeated to me growing up: "tis better to remain silent and be presumed a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt." -Mark Twain. this is probably a testament more to my character than his, as i don't think all my siblings repeatedly heard this quote. when he taught me to drive, the phrase "your other left" was used a lot. once again, more descriptive of me.
  • my dad has a big heart and tries to help when he can. i remember he once used frequent flyer miles to fly home one of my sister's friends so she could attend her father's funeral. when i was pregnant with evan, my dad would often come and help me (especially would go to church with me since pat usually sits on the stand and goes to early meetings since he assists our local bishop.) he stayed with me for a week and worked from my house when evan was a newborn so he could help me. my family has always been affectionate, but my dad has also shown he cares through his actions and service.
  • my dad is a big kid. he loves to run around and play with my kids and they adore him for it. he truly spends time with them.


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coming up for air

yes, yes, i am still alive. in my absence, i have missed four birthdays, been tagged twice, had a two week visit with my opa and a hospital stay for a scheduled procedure for jake (plus had an old roommate find my blog - bloggin is the best!).

sooooo, get ready for a marathon of posts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

well done

i am currently the chorister for our children's choir at church. i absolutely adore this job. once a year, the children present a program during the sacrament (main) meeting at church. they share what they have learned as well as sing songs that relate to their topic of study. this is a special day that the children as well as us teachers and leaders look forward to and prepare for all year. sunday was our program, and the children did great. the sang sweetly, spoke clearly and taught the congregation about faith (which was this year's topic).

for the program, gracie prepared and gave a 2 minute talk about her experience memorizing the articles of faith as well as accompanied a song on the piano. she also had her piano recital on friday evening (forgot the camera - sorry) and played the recorder and piano during a festival at school on wednesday (which we missed due to our trip to the school for the blind). it was a big week for her and she did great with all of her responsibilities/performances.

Monday, November 12, 2007

good school and a sweet surprise

ok, i now want to move to massachusettes so i can send jake here.
isn't it beautiful? this is the perkins school for the blind up near boston. the school itself is 178 years old and has been on this particular campus for the past 100 years. the campus is beautiful and has the feel of a college campus with much smaller buildings. we went to perkins last wednesday so that jake could be evaluated. he met with a teacher, speech, occupational and physical therapists and got a complete eye exam/evaluation. he was in good spirits and worked hard. the day was a huge success. the team of therapists will gather next week to begin collaboration on how we can better meet jake's educational needs. i'm anxious to get the report and start to implement some of the things that i saw. this school even has a workshop that we can sign up to use and make equipment/signs for jake to use during school. it was just an amazing day. i wish i could send jake there, but i will have to settle for trying to implement their knowledge here in connecticut (which i also love).

talking about the school for the blind reminded me of the sweet surprise pat and i had while watching this movie. i had put it on our blockbuster que months ago. it is about a man who gets laid off from work and decides to swim the english channel; (i probably put it on our que because i enjoyed the book "swimming to antartica" which i also highly recommend). anyhoo, there is a scene in this movie where the main character receives inspiration from some physically disabled children who swim in the same pool he's working out in. i don't believe they used actors for the scene, but that these children actually had severe physical handicaps. it was neat to see them in the water and easy to be inspired by them. obviously i have a tender spot in my heart for kids with special needs and it was a refreshing surprise to see them in this movie.
p.s. i have tried a few times to turn off the automatic play switch on my playlist, but i haven't figured it out yet (help, natalie or darlaina!!). i'll keep on it.

amazing race

yes, yes, my show has started and life is good. the past two episodes have been good and i'm excited for this season. here are some of the things that i already have enjoyed about this season:
  • when kate and pat said: "i know we are religious people, but we are under no delusions that God cares whether we win a million dollars." hallelujah!! considering myself to be religious as well, i'm glad that someone finally said that rather than pray for Jesus to help them win.
  • a pointer for all: don't go on the amazing race and say something like: "karma is a b****, but i'm a bigger b****", then steal someone's cab and then end up being the first team kicked off because your donkey won't move and you watch at least four other teams pass you. i will admit that ari and stealla were able to laugh about karma teaching them a lesson at the end of the episode.
  • i just love how quickly the blondes gave up on their appearances while the goth couple is keeping up with their make-up. something in that makes me smile for whatever reason.

here's some conversations between pat and i on our recent outing to Boston that explain why we've never applied to be on the show (other than being completely out of shape):

ME (turning a map upside down in my attempt to read it): "man, i would stink at reading maps on the amazing race."

PAT: "yeah, you would."

a few minutes later:

PAT (after i flick my fingers on his head in response to yet another sassy remark): "yeah, we would be very entertaining on the amazing race."


sorry to leave you hanging on our halloween costumes, this past week has been very busy. my opa comes in from california this coming wednesday and will stay for two weeks. so blogging in november might be sporatic.

now back to halloween: as you can tell from the picture, lily gladly wore her cindy-lou who costume. for once, i played my cards right. i knew that i didn't want to have a showdown over the costume until it was actually time to go trick-or-treating. so while i never fully agreed to gabriella, i never fully disagreed either. on halloween, i went out to buy glitter hairspray in an attempt to beef up gracie's "cheetah girl" costume (fyi - she insisted on the jean shorts and not too poofed up hair because that's how the cheetah girls dress). when i bought the hairspray, i told lily that she could put it in her hair if she was cindy-lou who. that night she came into the bathroom while i was doing gracie's hair. i started to put her hair up in the cindy-lou style and she got mad and left. i didn't say anything. she came back later, let me put her hair up like cindy-lou complete with gold glitter hairspray. there were no tears and she happily put her costume on after her hair was done. she even got double the candy at one house because (and i exaggerate not) the woman thought her cindy-lou who costume was so great and deserved extra candy. am i a great mom or what?! lest you think i'm too perfect, we also traditionally take the screen out of our storm door on halloween so we don't have to open two doors to give candy away. evan fell through the door twice (not once - twice) and landed on his face. and yes, i was nearby both times!

p.s. lily has asked to go trick-or-treating several times since halloween. she has also decided that she wants to be mary poppins for next halloween, which i think is an absolutely wonderful idea! note to self: next september ban any viewing of high school musical and only watch mary poppins up until halloween.

p.p.s. the boys were jack-jack and dash from the incredibles. jake hated to wear his mask and so it's not on in this picture. evan's mask was off by the next shot.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

my halloween quandry

here is lily's halloween costume which she proudly wore at my friend's awesome halloween party this past saturday; honestly, she was happy about it and had begged me to let her wear the dress at home for the whole month preceeding the party. she was cindy-lou who from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (inspired by the gazillion comments that we received when she was a baby that she was a cindy-lou who look-a-like plus i heart the book). for the past two days, she has informed me that she now wants to be gabriella from high school musical for halloween (yes, tice, i think it is because that's what kylie was at the party).
what to do? remember this is my child who wants to wear a swimsuit to church practically every sunday (which probably would be my worst nightmare). i've had to physically put a dress over her swimsuit on a couple of occasions when it became clear my coaxing wasn't going to work (or i was really late). i guess i could take out the cheerleading outfit from the dress-up box and talk about how that is high school musicalish (since gabriella is in regular clothes and i don't feel like going out and buying a brown wig.) but i like the cindy-lou outfit; it was after all, my idea. so most likely i will insist that she wears it and estimate/cross my fingers/hope that it will take no more than three houses of candy to get over her heartbreak.

life is good

here are just a few of the recent reasons i've had to smile, laugh, jump up and down and/or cheer!

new england looks like this right now. the weather is POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL: crisp, clear and sunny in a way that only autumn can do.

on monday, i held this six pound bundle of joy for about an hour while my older two were at school and my younger two were at my friend's house (thanks, tice). it was so theraputic and i couldn't be happier for the proud parents. congrats, ken and chelsea!

made this wonderful cake for FHE (which was the first legit reason that i could think of since my friend stace put the recipe on her blog. the picture is from her blog; my bundt cake is not that nice. my cake, however, did turn out very yummy! and yes, it's all gone.)

my show starts this sunday!!!! is there a better host than phil? i just don't think so.

daily occurrences or rather bits of crazy that occur in my family on a daily basis. case in point, this is what happens when you wipe your toddler's nose after he's just eaten a gummy worm.

I WON DESIGN MOM'S RANDOM GIVEAWAY!!!! [this is where the jumping up and down screaming fits in]. if you haven't checked her out on my frequent faves' list, you should. aside from wonderful giveaways, she features creative guests, artists, products and ideas. thanks to laina for turning me onto her when i started blogging back in february. thanks to pomegranate inc for the great giveaway. and thanks to design mom for blogging, introducing, connecting and (in the words of lara sorich) "making me famous." [CUE MUSIC as I EXIT STAGE RIGHT]

i won tea towels, apron and tablecloth similar to these. i got to choose my own patterns. i'm so stoked to use my new tablecloth for thanksgiving dinner!!!

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Monday, October 22, 2007

a favorite family pastime

in the previous post, i forgot to mention that we've been checking out "I Spy" books from the library. lily, grace and i all love them and even pat will join in the fun at times. every christmas, my family would put together a puzzle and i'm glad to see my kids enjoying the puzzling challenge of these books. i got a good thrill when i finally located the "cat with stripes" on the last page of this book after a couple of weeks of intermittent searching [it was on the a nesting doll that was on a bookcase].
in a related topic, gracie has been devouring chapter books lately. she has just started reading the boxcar children series and also enjoys the magic tree house books.

what we've been up to

conference and columbus day
our church had its semi-annual conference in the beginning of october. we have a family tradtion of making waffles, whip cream and strawberries when this occurs. the kids always enjoy the breakfast. unfortunately, we were late getting started and didn't have time to get jake's wheelchair out of the car. so he was on a blanket in the room with us; it did make for a fun picture though. columbus day was spent painting, reading good books and resting. it was a perfect day!

the girls and some friends made this wall of handprints (on the back of our house) with sidewalk chalk and some water. they surprised us with it when they were finished.

we did a little photo shoot for nanna jean's birthday. i thought i got some good pictures. (jake had fallen asleep early the night before, so we did his photo session the next morning.)

just felt i needed a picture of evan. here he is enjoying the pumpkin cheesecake that i made pat for his birthday. which reminds me, i've never mentioned our little oven fire on pat's birthday. this cheesecake was very tall in the pan, and i think some might have leaked over the top when it was cooking. later when i went to grill the quesadillas for dinner, the oven was set at a much higher temperature and caught on fire. it was a pretty good fire too! amazingly, no food was hurt or people for that matter. just another story to be reminded of for the rest of my life. (trust me the list is getting ridiculously long!)

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lily wanted to take a picture of me and the below pix is a result. i'm posting it because i actually like it (probably because i straightened my hair that day.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

nanna nan

belated birthday greetings to my stepmom, nan!

as you can probably tell from the pictures, nan has a very fun-loving personality (which my kids especially adore). nan also loves to learn, cares deeply for her friends and family and enjoys life. when i was young, she whole-heartedly accepted me as one of her own. i'm appreciate her example and influence as well.

we love you, nan!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

faves from pat

discovered this little gem last week (don't know how i overlooked it). and you all thought i was exaggerating about's pat's childhood glasses in my last post?

in honor of pat's b-day, i thought that i would write about pat's influence on me. while i can't say that he has totally changed me (thankfully he doesn't endeavor to try), i do feel i am better due to his influence. so here are just a few things that he has taught me over the years intermixed with some pictures of how our family has grown.
  • one of pat's great loves (other than me) is music; i have grown to love many songs that he has introduced me to. through much more effort and time than was necessary, i have created a playlist with a small sampling of some my favorite songs from pat. there were quite a few faves that i couldn't locate to download; i was still able to represent some of those artists with other songs, but was disappointed that i couldn't find more of my favorites. (after hours of fruitless searching, i realized that i couldn't download any songs from my itunes playlist to the blog.) despite these frustrations, i hope you enjoy my playlist. it will play automatically for the next few weeks and then i'll turn the automatic switch off.

(eight months after we were married, we both graduated from BYU)

  1. laugh at yourself
  2. don't worry, be happy (in other words, don't overthink.)
  3. the difference between what the make and model of a car is.
  4. a man can never own too many knives
  5. as americans, we pronounce many italian foods incorrectly. (frankly, i don't care that i pronounce them incorretly - but i have LEARNED FROM PAT that i do this.)
  6. be supportive
  7. find the humor in life

(here's how our family has grown: one child at a time. future posts will use the passing of years rather than additional children to demonstrate growth in our family.)

here are a few things that i hope to eventually learn from pat:

  1. keep a journal faithfully
  2. be patient
  3. don't let an unpaid bill sit around (thankfully he pays the bills)
  4. be concise
  5. don't waste time regretting things you cannot change
  6. be prompt
  7. "a soft answer turneth away wrath" (i greatly appreciate this one!)
  8. write nice love letters to your spouse on occasion

pat, thank you for your influence; you truly "complete me" (and any other

cheesy movie quote that you can think of.)

(bonus picture: like father, like son)

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my "mr. november"

Last, but certainly NOT least is my hubby, patrick, who celebrated his birthday on the 26th of september (yes, yes, don't remind me on how late on am in doing this post!) here are some snapshots of his life before me.

what a cute baby!

a little older: i couldn't find a good childhood picture of pat wearing glasses. he still has most of his glasses from childhood and i always have a good laugh whenever he models them for me (which doesn't happen often enough to be quite frank). since the glasses often take up at least half his adult face, i don't quite know how he was able to hold up his head as a child, but i guess he managed.

graduation from high school picture, and yes, he wore bow ties back then.

not sure what he's doing in this picture, maybe showing off facial hair? but he does look buff and handsome, right ladies?
(i'm working on another post about his birthday which i hope to finish and post on sunday.)
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a blitz of birthdays

a lot of important people in my life have recently had birthdays. i am late at acknowledging these birthdays (too many busy days followed by too much watching premiers/tv at night). here it goes:

first off, my friend amanda (shown here with her mr. november) turned 30 on september 29th! amanda has done so many quiet acts of service for me this past year (cards, a meal when jake was in the hospital even though she had just had a baby, remebering my birthday, flowers of comfort, etc....) that i just couldn't forget her. she is amazing: creative, well-spoken, thoughtful, kind. i am so glad to count her as a friend. (i'm also glad that she is finally 30; it's unbelievable to me how many of my good friends aren't even 30 yet! i'm glad you are finally joining me in this decade of life- even if i have a good head start). HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY, AMANDA!

my mother-in-law also celebrated her birthday on september 29th. she has come to help right after the birth of three of my children. i don't what i would have done without her! here she is with my newborns.

she quilts (all by hand), knits, sews, gardens, etc... her talents and creativity run deep. here is a TINY sampling of some of the treaures that she has made for my children:

here is a picture of her in younger years with the family minus pat and his little sister, ann. (side note: pat pointed out to me that his parents were younger than us in this picture; we think by at least four years.) my mother-in-law has gently encouraged me to do good things (like keep a journal when jake was in the hospital for 2 1/2 months after birth) as well as supported and respected me in my roles as a mother and wife. i don't think that i could
imagine a better mother-in-law than her. i'm glad to have her influence in our lives.

since i'm wishing two moms a happy birthday, i'd thought i'd share this post with all of you; i loved it when i read it over the summer. (the picture of the girl on the bottom is the author's youngest daughter.)

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

roundtuit farm

i helped chaperone an outing to roundtuit farm in massachusettes with the girls aged 8-11 from church. roundtuit farm is a minature horse farm and the daughter of the owner attends the same church as all of us. it was a great day and the girls had a wonderful time.

lily made a friend(s) (as pictured above), and i was pretty happy to pass off my three year old onto someone else! all the girls got to groom the horses, lead them out to the pasture, feed them and go up to the hayloft. below is a picture of the gang (the owner is in the light blue rugby shirt). i believe that horse is midnight whose full name was something like Arabian ?? Egyptian King Midnight Explosion.
i just love haylofts, even if it makes my skin a little itchy. the picture up at the top shows one of the girls who was daring enough to climb the old ladder up to the hayloft. i probably would've climbed it myself if lily hadn't needed me to take her up the stairs.

as i mentioned, it was a great day. their home was a more than hundred year old farmhouse. it was neat and the top of it had been renovated and a dance studio was built in. the hospitality, weather and horses made for a great day. this seems to be an annual trip, so hopefully, we can go again next year!
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"is that lily holding baby lily?" -lily's response when i showed her a picture of gracie holding her when lily was a baby.

"drama class is actually a lot of fun." -gracie (this is only humorous in that grace seemed surprised by how much she likes drama class. this from my child who we refer to as "a drama queen" when she is not around.)

"mom, you can go with my teacher and i'll stay home with japie and evan. daddy can go to work, and i'll be the mommy" -lily, in response to learning that she would be going to preschool next year instead of this year.

"mom, if you don't get rid of that smell soon, you're going to have to buy a new car." -gracie when it took me a couple of days to clean out my car after returning from a road trip.

"mommy, they have dress-ups for you!" -lily while walking by the prom dress section at macy's.

"i said the prayer "last"-erday." -lily's replacement word for "yesterday."