Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Me & Cliff Huxtable

I'm still here!!!

The hurricane didn't get us.

At least, we didn't lose power.

And the day full of contractions didn't put me in the hospital (as I had hoped that it would!)

I'm feeling a bit like Cliff Huxtable today:  large and totally not in charge! :)

But at least I can see the humor in it...being pregnant, that is!

I have to say that I think this episode of the Cosby show is one of the funniest I've ever seen.  Hilarious, yet sweet in true Cosby-fashion.  (Plus it has a cameo from one of my favorite character actors.)

At the end of this episode, in which Cliff dreams that he and his male family members are all pregnant and give birth, he leans over to his wife and says, "I love you so much.  And I love women.  I think women are the most wonderful people on the face of this earth." 

Thanks, Bill Cosby...I think so too...but men are most wonderful as well...good strong, sensitive men who support the women around them.  They put up with so much, but miss out on all of "our fun!"  Yet, they still do it...and try their best to understand!  I dedicate this post to my husband who is one of those great men!

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Handling Fears Effectively

Recently, I noticed that Guy was experiencing some new fears.  I wasn't quite sure how best to help him work through them...until I received my Friend magazine in the mail.

Click here to read my weekly Friend tip and discover some apostolic advice that can help anyone--young or old---to handle their fears effectively!

Have a great Sunday!

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Friday, October 26, 2012

"Nothing But Sincerity As Far As the Eye Can See"


Is it just me or does this Halloween costume rule?!

I wore this to my friend Jenn's (awesome) Halloween party last weekend, and we all had a good laugh over it.  One little girl was seriously confused, since her mom had just had a baby, and their baby never did anything like that!  I found the idea on Pinterest and had Steve manufacture it for me!  (Thank you, honey!)  I'd point you to the pin, but the photo of it actually disturbs me.  Mine is the "niced-down" version, I guess.

Anyway, another funny:  I was volunteering at school today (not in costume) and one little boy in Scarlett's class pointed to my belly and said, "You look like the good pumpkin!"

Have a great weekend, and remember to go enter the 25 Days of Christ giveaway.  Just go here and guess when my baby will arrive to win!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

25 Days of Christ Giveaway

Christmas is coming.

The goose is getting fat.

(Or is that just my jolly, round belly?)

Now, I hear a lot of people complaining about Christmas decorations showing up in stores extra early this year...I however will never be one of those people!  I don't mind one bit!  I've even spotted two houses in our area with Christmas lights aglow!  (No joke!)

Anyway, I am nesting!  And we are busy as elves getting ready to welcome a new baby into our lives and looking forward to celebrating Christmas (and Thanksgiving!) with a new little spirit in our home.  (I am due November 5th.)

Since I love to do lots of ornament-making and Christmas Book-reading with my kids around the holidays, I jumped at the chance to try out this new Christmas Countdown from New Tradition Crafts called 25 Days of Christ.

It's going to make gathering Christmas craft items LOTS easier, since they send you practically everything you need...AND better yet...one of YOU is going to win this complete collection of ready-to-make Christmas ornaments as well as an accompanying Christ-centered LDS daily reading booklet to enjoy with your family this Christmas season!

Want to win this???  Of course you do!

I'm going to make this really easy on you!  

To be entered to win, please leave ONE comment on this post telling me the exact DATE and TIME that you think my baby will arrive!  (Be specific!)

Also, please include your email address or I might not be able to reach you when you win!

The person whose guess is closest, without going over, will win the giveaway.

Easy, right?  The giveaway will end when I have my baby!  It's a win-win! :)

Good luck to you all and scroll down if you'd like a sneak peek at what the package includes.  You can also look at or purchase the 25 Days of Christ at their site!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago today, this stunning creature entered our lives!

Happy Birthday, Autumn Frost!

We love you!!!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"We're Thankful for Imperfect FHEs..."

Family Home Evening was funny last night.  Not funny ha ha, at first, not funny wild...just funny at the very, very end of the night when Steve said in our bedtime prayer, "We're thankful for an imperfect FHE...and that we just keep trying."

At that point it became hysterically funny, to me anyway!
I'm like, "Honey, what wasn't perfect about FHE tonight?"

Here's how the evening went.  You be the judge.

As we finished up our dinner, I bribed the kids with pumpkin pie to get them to actually eat the main course.  

Guy mentioned that he wasn't very hungry, so I said, good idea, let's save the pie for after YOU give our lesson....to which Guy broke out in hysterics.

We all sat on the couch watching our lesson-giver for about five minutes weeping and wailing and gnashing his teeth about wanting to eat the pie right now!

MOMMY offered Guy a mix of unsavory but very real promises if Guy didn't stop crying immediately and give the lesson.

When that didn't work, I conceded that pie had a tendency to bring me to tears also, and that I understood his plight.  

I hugged him back into his happy place just before the other kids started to lose their interest.

Guy gave the lesson, reading to the girls about what we should do "When Scary Things Happen in the World."

Then Daddy, who had actually come home a bit early from work because he was feeling pretty sick decided that for our activity, we would all play "Princess Yahtzee, Jr." a game that Autumn got for her birthday this weekend.

As a stall tactic to getting down on the hard floor to play a game that sounds rather ridiculous, I instead grab my camera to snap a picture of this happy little family all down on the floor together playing a board game.

After a few minutes, Daddy tells Mommy to put the camera down and just play with us.  "Alright!" I say slightly agitated.  "I'm coming!"

It is then that I realize that no one can figure out how to play this ridiculously simple game.

Sick and groggy Daddy can't decipher the instructions, so he passes them to beach-ball-belly Mommy, who really has no desire to figure the rules out, who passes the instructions to six-year-old Guy who deems the game unplayable.

"Let's play Uno," Guy suggests.

"Let's break for pie," rules the Mom.

The girls burst out in cheers.  However, I notice they each have a handful of playing pieces from the game, and Autumn, in particular, looks ready to toss them in the air.

I say, "Don't you dare throw those pieces!  You'll lose them, and then we won't be able to play."

Apparently, that was the green-light that she was looking for.

Giggles and Princess Yahtzee, Jr. pieces went flying through the air and landed kamikaze in the dining and living room areas.

We make them pick up the pieces, before we can have pie.  The pie is delicious, but everyone complains because Mommy, who ate her two pieces for lunch earlier today, also consumed the last of the whipped cream!

"Sorry," I say...not feeling very sorry at all.

Meanwhile, Daddy is on a mission.  He is looking up the rules to Princess Yahtzee, Jr. on the internet, determined not to let that infernal children's game win.

Back to the rug.  We are going to play this game, although most of us would rather move on, and Mommy is voicing this rather insistently.

Daddy notices that pieces of the game are now missing...surprise, surprise.

I say, let's just play something else.

Daddy says, "Autumn, if you don't find the missing pieces, you'll lose the whole game, I'll have to throw it away, because we won't be able to play it anymore."

In a sweet voice, three-year-old Autumn responds, "That's ok, Daddy!"

Which only irritates Daddy even more. (Mind you, Daddy, is doing a really good job of keeping cool, even though he is sick, and Mommy is not being very sympathetic, only trying to move us along from this infernal game.)

I tell Guy it's ok to start playing Uno with his sisters, instead.

Guy doesn't want Autumn to play...not as her own team anyway.  Yelling and irritated voices ensue.

I take my "typical hands-on approach"...I place my hands on the piano and start to quietly strum through some hymns.

I see Daddy slip out the back-door for a little quiet time of his own.  What did he do out there?  Pray?  Breathe?  Count to ten?

I don't really know.  But in the meantime, the music seems to melt the moods of everyone in our home.  

Steve came back in, offered to play some kind of rendition of Princess Yahtzee with Autumn while the other two happily resumed their Uno match-up.

Peace was restored.  And we stayed that way--Guy and Scarlett playing Uno on the couch, Daddy and Autumn playing at the table, Me & Baby Bump playing softly at the piano--for a good 20 minutes or so.  And everything was as it should be...again.

Now, you tell me...what wasn't perfect about that FHE?

A beautiful sermon was taught without a word.  

And the kids were able to see how Mommy and Daddy deal with their own off-days...and that prayer and hymns really can bring the spirit back to quickly turn a situation around.

I'm ok with that kind of lesson.

By the way, the kids are now waking up...and I think at least two of three of them are getting sick!

PS - Check out That Good Part for a slightly less hairy FHE report, I'm sure!
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

C.L.E.A.N. Talk

I didn't get a chance to tell you about my Friend magazine tip for September, so here it is! 

As children return to school, it's important to remind them of the kind of language that is acceptable --and what is not.

After reading the counsel given by Elder L. Tom Perry in the September 2009 Friend, we created the acronym "C.L.E.A.N." to remind ourselves to use "clean" language.

Can you guess what C.L.E.A.N. stands for?

Go to the Friend Magazine's Weekly Thoughts & Tips page to find out!
(My CLEAN Talk tip is at the bottom of that page.)

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What Does Mormon Life Look Like?

What does Mormon life look like?  That is the question that Everyday Mormon Writers were asked to write about recently in their "Four Centuries of Mormon Stories" contest.

If you read my blog, you probably get a pretty comprehensive picture of what Mormon life looks like through my eyes.  It looks hopeful.  It looks bright.  It looks like my son Guy who recently came to me and said, "Mom, I love the Book of Mormon, and I want to read it all by myself before I get baptized this time next year." And he is making great strides toward that goal.

It looks like sweetness and sacrifice all rolled up into one.

But there are many other stories to be told that give insight into what it means to be Mormon and what it has meant during other periods of time in our history.

That is why, today, with the help of James Goldberg (You remember, the guy who put together this insightful piece for the Family Proclamation Celebration) I am inviting you to read and discuss one of the short essay finalists in the "Four Centuries of Mormon Stories" contest.  The story is called "Numbers" and you can read it by following the link below:

What has Mormon life looked like over the past two hundred years–and what will it look like over the next two hundred?

Everyday Mormon Writer’s “Four Centuries of Mormon Stories” contest features twelve very short stories depicting Latter-day Saints in the 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd centuries. 

So far, we've featured “Little Karl”  by Melissa Leilani Larson and “Ruby’s Gift” by Emily Debenham--today we're finishing off our 19th century stories with "Numbers" by Melody Burris and a discussion on this blog. 

After reading "Numbers" (It's very brief, I promise!) please return to my blog to discuss the questions below:

What are your initial reactions to the piece? 

This story narrates big, significant events--like a marriage, a war, and a death--by using small, mundane events--like a step in a field while plowing. How do big events and small events work together in making up meaning in your life? 

One thing that defines a person is his or her way of seeing--which things he or she notices and dwells on. What impressions do you have of the two main characters in this piece based on what they notice? 

We have nine stories to go, each with a discussion on a different blogPlease join us for the remainder of the contest--and vote for your favorite stories to win the $400 Grand Prize!  
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book of Mormon Party

Last night, we had our "Book of Mormon Party" in celebration of the fact that we finished reading the Book of Mormon together as a family for the first time!

October is a month of celebration, especially in our family, and I thought of all the things we celebrate, reading the Book of Mormon is one of the best reasons to do so!

Turns out, this was one of our favorite parties that we've thrown (and Steve and I have thrown many!) It was low-key, but meaningful, and we were joined by some good friends.  

Here is what we did.

First of all, the kids dressed up in their best renditions of Book of Mormon-style.  They either dressed up as their favorite character or just as someone from Book of Mormon times.  Autumn (pictured above) was Abish.  

We also had a Nephi and "Nephi's wife."

We ate Book of Mormon-themed food, prepared simply of course!  When everyone arrived, we let the kids create "Secret Combination Pizzas" and paired it with "Tree of Life Fruit Salad" (made by my friend Dawn...a walnut salad with pears...yummy!)  We finished it off with the "Golden Plate" cupcakes pictured above and a tangy party drink provided by my friend Cammie.  Delicious!

While the pizzas were in the oven, we made pencil and rubber band bow & arrows and the kids shot them at a target outside.  (Thanks Cammie, for showing me how to make these things at Book of Mormon Camp last summer!)

The kids played and played and ate...then it was time to make some Book of Mormon crafts.

Steve talked to the kids about the Brother of Jared and how he solved his dilemma of crossing the ocean in small boats without light.

He brought 16 stones to the Lord and asked him to touch them so that they would glow.  When the Lord did so, the Brother of Jared saw the finger of God and many great things were revealed to him.

To create our "glowing stones", we modified this idea for a glowing ghost craft.  First we activated the glow sticks, rolled them into a loop and wrapped them in clear packing tape to keep them compact.  Then we placed them inside translucent plastic cups and sealed them up with tape.  We cut slits in our cups so we could fold down the sides and make them more compacts and "stone-like."

To wrap up the evening, we surprised the kids with a re-enactment of Lehi's Dream.

I'm not good at taking night photos with my camera yet, but the tree looked awesome!  

Steve threw some Christmas lights on one of our trees and rigged up an "iron rod" for the kids to follow.  (We pretended that our trampoline was the "Great & Spacious Building!)  

Once, they reached the tree, they picked the "fruit" which consisted of more fun glowing items.  I can imagine that this is an image that will be burned into the kids' memories for a long time.

 As I put Scarlett to bed last night, I asked her what her favorite part of the party was.  She said "these" and held up the glow-stick that she picked from the tree.  I said, "Oh, you liked all of the glowy things?" She said, "No, I liked following the iron rod and picking the fruit from the tree of life!"

For anyone reading this who might wonder what this dream is about...It is symbolic of our earthly lives.  The tree symbolizes the Love of God which is manifest in the fact that God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us.  The "iron rod" is the word of God.  If we follow it, it will lead us back to the Savior to live with God again forever.  (You can read more about how Lehi's Dream relates to our lives in this talk called "Finding Ourselves in Lehi's Dream.")

These are some of the basic things that we can teach our children.  It was fun to play together and to celebrate these basic truths that guide our lives and bring us such happiness.

By the way, the parties are only just beginning...TOMORROW IS MY BIRTHDAY!  Autumn's is next week...and soon, we'll have a baby to celebrate!!  Too much fun!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus Day

After a wonderful General Conference weekend, we're just having a lovely day together at home...all together, because of an "in-service" day for the teachers!  

I've got to say that there were many wonderful talks this weekend that answered our family's questions:  questions about what we should be teaching our children, how we can be better parents, and how we can feel the Holy Ghost and follow the Savior.

In addition to those talks, I also really appreciated the tenderness of Larry Echo Hawk's remarks regarding the Book of Mormon being the record of his Native American ancestors.  His call to read the Book of Mormon and for this branch of the House of Israel to return to covenants was touching.  It reminded me that the promises in the Book of Mormon are true and that the same call and warnings apply to us as well.

Ever since the Amen was said on Conference yesterday, I've been thinking about how the world makes so much sense while we are listening to the prophets during General Conference...and how quickly we re-enter the confusion of the world that is so full of half-truths and distractions.

General Conference focuses us so quickly and completely on what is important in life, and for that I am most grateful.

In honor of Columbus Day, we read our favorite (probably our only) book about Christopher Columbus.  Then we spent time painting these hand-print "Santa Maria" paintings inspired by this pin on Pinterest.

These photos don't show it, but after the paint dried we added "sails" to our handprint boats.  I love seeing the progression in my children's art over time.  I could see a lot of growth in all of their work today as they blended blues and white for the ocean water and as they depicted volcanoes.

I hope you've all had a wonderful Monday!

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's About that Time...

It's General Conference time...and we are excited...EXCITED.

I told the kids "No crafting," until it's time for General Conference...No writing on your special notebooks...nada.  They aren't really listening though.

Scarlett decided to make "General Conference Bracelets" for everyone in our family...even a tiny one for the baby.  She's a cute little homemaker.

Autumn is prepping our General Conference Wall...

And now we are going to run around town and get the wiggles out before the real party starts!  Hope you tune in!  And ENJOY General Conference!

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Friday, October 5, 2012

it's Debatable

I was very impressed with Romney's performance in the debate this week, and I thought about talking about the presidential debate in my post yesterday, but I refrained...Little did I know that what I had to say would be appear on the front page of our local newspaper this morning.

My husband, kids, and I were just minding our own business last night having dinner together at the park when a reporter for the local paper came over and asked us for our reactions to Wednesday night's debate.  

(Note to self:  Don't be so anxious to speak on record to a reporter when a) you are 8 months pregnant, b) you have no make-up on, and c) you haven't washed your hair in about two days.  And second note to self:  expect to be slightly misquoted.)

The part that stuck out to me as a "misquote" was when the reporter wrote that "I hadn't been watching Romney a lot."  What I said was that I hadn't yet gotten a feel for who he was personally...but in the debate, he came across as relaxed and approachable, and therefore I felt I knew him much better.  Also the "not as politically-minded" point is a little misleading.  (I didn't say that either.)  What is more accurate is that I watch debates and campaigns from the perspective of a journalist who once covered these events, so I'm looking at how it's covered by the press, how the candidates present themselves, how directly/knowledgeably they answer the questions, their body language, their strategies, etc.  That's what I did on Wednesday night, and that is why I was so impressed by Romney's performance as a candidate/debater...and why I was not impressed by Obama.

Anyway, it was fun to appear in an article with my hubby, and Guy thought it was so exciting!  It seems like we get in the paper about every six months or so around here...so I guess it was time!  Here is most of the article...I think you can click on the pictures to read it if the text is too small to read.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

General Conference Predictions & a Baby Chain

The election is just a month away...and that means that my due date is also just one month away!!!!

So what else could we do but begin the countdown by making a chain.  You know we love countdown chains around here.  And there is so much going on for us this October that just about every link of the chain has a special event associated with it.

Our chain ends with election day.  The baby's due date is the day before the election.  

We had each person in our family make a prediction about when the baby will actually arrive and write it on that specific link of the chain.  Fun, fun!

Speaking of predictions...my talented and generous sister-in-law Emmalee Christensen has once again created a Fantasy General Conference Bracket and shared it with us...

You can download the bracket here and make your predictions about who will speak and what songs we'll sing at General Conference this weekend.  Share it with your family and make a game out of it!

Fantasy General Conference

Here is another version by Emmalee shared for the April 2013 General Conference:  Click Here and be sure to join the Fantasy General Conference page on Facebook to receive updated brackets for future conferences.
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