Friday, August 31, 2007

Backstage Tour

We had the neatest experience last Saturday. We got a backstage tour of the LDS Conference Center. It was awesome to see the inner workings of this amazing building. Thank you Mom and Dad for arranging this for all of us; it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. (Here is a picture of the missionaries on the roof of the Conference Center followed by a picture of my entire family that could make the tour at the same location.)

We got to go in places that I never could have imagined going and hope to never go again. Since I don't sing well, I'm sure that will be my only experience in the choir seats. Also, I NEVER want to speak in that huge building...so intimidating. But, we got to see some special things (all the thousands of pipes - more than 7,000 -behind the organ, and the view from the pulpit). Here we are in the choir seats, the GA seats, and behind the Black Walnut pulpit.


The technology of how they keep the huge building working was also fascinating. We saw the huge pipes that help heat and cool the place as well as duct work that was so huge in places that I think you could drive a Mini inside. We saw the underside of the balcony seats and we saw a 10-storey high wall that supports the back of the organ.

Finally, we saw some places that we had no idea existed like storage areas, food places, etc. But, one of the most amazing places was the translation room. This is the room that is used by the translators during general conference. Here is Laura and Grandma in one of the many aisles of translators and a picture of all the languages they do on site. (These are only some of the languages conference is translated into, 58 there on site and more than 90 total.)
Laura's favorite part was pushing the buttons on the elevator. Trust kids to be thrilled with something like that. Sara, thankfully slept through almost the entire tour. Laura also loved the pink fish (salmon) on the yummy dinner that Mom and Dad treated us all to at the Lion House Pantry afterwards. She also enjoyed tossing a coin into the fountain on the roof.
Thanks again Mom and Dad for this amazing experience. But, most of all, thank you for serving the Lord and being such a great example of the importance of missionary service to us and our girls! We love you!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Laura Activities

Now that I am finally feeling better, I've been trying to make sure that Laura has some special activity on a regular basis. One of her favorite things is playing outside with the ball. She is getting particularly good at baseball.
video
She also loves to run after the ball in the big common area. We are big fans of this activity as it helps her sleep better at night. We call it "Running Laura". And she seems to love it.

video
As you may have noticed, another one of her favorite activities is watching herself in video. We have been going through a lot of old ones on the computer together lately.

Naturally, one of her most favorite special activities is playing with friends. She has spent some great time with her best bud, Lily. Also, we had a fun picnic at the park with Ashton and Emma, and Lily and Micah. I really enjoyed the time with Karyn and Andrea as well.

I have been trying to do a few activities that are fun, but also have an element of learning in them. We made friendship bracelets for her cousins. It was a great opportunity to work on patterns and she was super proud of the results. (Her hair is in one of her new favorite do's in this picture; two "bouncy balls" with bows)
We also made cookies. We work on math when we bake. Laura reads the numbers of the ingredients and does some basic addition and subtraction for how many we have left to add, etc. Unfortunately, this cookie baking experience sold me on the joys of convection; faster baking with several pans at a time, and better results. My new oven will have to be convection now.
But, the best part of making cookies is delivering them. Laura delivered plates to her two favorite neighbors in my parents neighborhood. The neighbors loved the delivery, but I think they loved her chocolatey face even more. Laura's favorite delivery was to Daddy's work. She ran them into him and instructed him to share them with his friends in the meeting. She seemed to be a welcome interruption to the meeting.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Comparison

Okay, I know that I am not supposed to compare my girls. But, I have to post these pictures of them at the same age and doing the same thing. (Laura is the one in the middle; Sara is the top and bottom)


Naturally, I don't think they look much alike. (Even though they are the two most beautiful girl babies I have ever seen ;) Mommy prejudice running rampant here) What do you think; do they look alike?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Entertainment

Since the arrival of Sara, our family activities seem to have diminished. We figured it was time for Laura to get out and have some fun at some place other than the cabin. So, naturally, we broke out our annual passes and went to the zoo. Jason took a half day on Friday so we could spend the time together as a family. Check out my three turkeys.
Laura had a grand time seeing all her favorite animals and sights. As usual, she guided us all around the zoo with her map.
We all enjoyed some new things; the white crocodile (who with the big belly and short little fat legs we humorously noted looks a bit like Sara's baby body) and the marshland exhibit (where Laura liked hanging out in the beaver lodge). Sara did really well in the stroller. It was nice to have that purchase confirmed as a good one.
We didn't stay particularly long because of the heat, and the time seemed just right for the girls. It was great to have that time together as a family.

That night I had a grand time with Andrea. We went and saw Hairspray and laughed our guts out. Originally we laughed because despite both outside times advertising that the movie began at 9:25, our tickets and the actual start time was 9:50. Then we got super excited because one of my favorite book series from High School is being made into a movie and we got to see the trailer: The Golden Compass. (One of my favorite recommendations from Steph. Yes, she was even that good in High School!) We ended up being the only people in the theater for the show and it made it ever so much fun to comment and truly laugh out loud. It was great girl therapy for me.

Saturday, we went back up to the cabin to do some more on the deck. We'd like to get it finished before sweat equity on the house begins. And there, we saw a real beaver! On the way home we did some shopping at the Park City outlets. Though I didn't find any outfits for the family picture we'll be taking this fall, we did get some good finds.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Birthday Fun

Okay, the post is a little behind, but I need to document the fun that we had on Jason's birthday. The day began with Laura and I making Jason's birthday cake. Laura really enjoys baking with me and is getting to be quite the wonderful helper. She made sure the cake had sprinkles on it and if you look closely, there are also little nips at the frosting on the cake. Daddy is one lucky guy to get a birthday cake with pretty sprinkles on it!
Though I think Laura's favorite thing was getting to lick the frosting beaters.
The next project involved decorating the bag for Daddy's present. Laura worked SO hard on the bag. She wanted a beautiful rainbow and it took her almost 2 hours to get it just like she wanted it. Here she is showing off her hard work to her dad. Yes, the bag is now in her memory box.
As a side note: Laura has been very into rainbows lately and has enjoyed seeing real ones in the sky as well as little ones on the floor from the stained glass windows.
I think Jason had a good day despite having to go to work. I made him his requested meal of fajitas - the first dinner I ever fixed for him when we were dating, which he ate a lot of. And I am certain that he loved his gift. The only time it has been out of his posession since he got it was church on Sunday. Yay for my tech-y boy!
Finally, here is a picture of the family on his birthday. I must brag about the fact that this outfit I am sporting cost me a total of $13. Yep, the jeans were $8 and the shirt was $5. Oh, how I love the sales at Kohl's.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Necessity: The Mother of ...

Invention, Crafting, Creativity?? Regardless, because of the needs of my little one, I have been exploring sides of myself that I normally don't explore. Or perhaps all my crafty friends are inspiring me.

Sara is a spitter. A serious spitter. Laura was not. Therefore, we had a serious lack of burp cloths at our house. I searched EVERYWHERE -- we are talking every single big box store for a month -- to find more of the wonderfully absorbent and big cloth diapers that were our favorites. They do not exist anymore. So, I had to take matters into my own hands in order to save my shirts, nose, baby clothes and poor Laura's gag reflex.

Let me introduce you to what I have humorously named the "Uber-Urper". It is my version of the ideal burp cloth: thick enough that it doesn't soak through, big enough that the wiggly baby doesn't dodge its coverage, very absorbent (ie: absorbs a lot and fast), and soft enough that she can sleep on it during middle of the night feedings. I particularly enjoyed using the decorative stitches on my sewing machine while making these.
Laura really enjoyed helping me sew. She picked out the colors of thread and decorative stitches. But, her favorite part was pressing the backwards button. Here is Jason modeling one of the new burp cloths. Oh, and another bonus, I finally have something that I can make for boy babies that arrive in the warmer months. I prefer that some part of my baby gift be handmade, alas, my repertoire was very limited when it came to boys.
Also, I made some binky straps for Sara because no store bought ones attatch to her preferred binky brand. Laura really loved helping me with these. We were able to work on patterns together and she just loved picking out the pretty beads. Any suggestions on how to make the clasps cute? I just can't come up with anything that doesn't fall off or get trashed in a matter of days.
Finally, I made some more bows for Sara. Why is a little girl with a bow on her head just so much more adorable?! This is my new favorite. (She is "hangin'" with Papaw in this picture...her favorite position when her tummy is bothering her.)

Favorite

Happy Birthday, Jason! A sick baby means this post won't be quite as long a tribute as I'd like. However, your three girls wanted to let you know that you are our favorite boy! We each wanted to let you know our three favorite things about you.

Melinda: 1 - You are a worthy priesthold holder and my eternal companion. 2 - You are the best Daddy in the entire world to our precious girls. 3 - You take amazing care of me when I am sick and being that I seem to have been sick for the entire last year, that is one big task and you do it perfectly.

Laura (she told me these herself...no prompting): 1 - You laugh and tickle her. 2 - You play with her. 3 - You hug her at night when she is scared and you snuggle her.

Sara (okay, it's just my interpretation, but these seem to be her favorites): 1 - You are warm and comfy and make her feel good, particularly a warm hand on an upset belly. 2 - You make her smile. 3 - You are the fastest diaper changer ever.

Happy Birthday, honey! You are the best ever!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Recital and Eagle

We had a fun weekend enjoying the accomplishments of my brother Steve's kids. On Saturday Jason and I got our first real time away from both girls (Thank you, Jason's Mom) and enjoyed Becca and Jeff's amazing piano recital. Oh my goodness they are so good! It's incredible that a 15 and 16 year old can hold your attention for an hour and a half of music. We are also thrilled that as soon as Laura gets old enough that we'll be able to pay family for piano lessons.

We also got to see Jeff receive his Eagle Scout Award. It's fun to see that other people think he's as amazing as we do. We also enjoyed seeing Steve as Bishop and all the boys in their scouting garb. Think we'll be able to avoid any scouting callings with having only girls? Laura sure enjoyed the treats they had after.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Sa Sa Sa Sara

This will once again be a picture-centric post. It just amazes me how quickly Sara changes and here is some of the documentation of how she is right now. Here is her two month comparison picture.
The best thing that has happened is that she is smiling so much more frequently and easily now. She grins at the tongue game with her sister and regularly when all of us play and interact with her. It is wonderful to feel like we are truly interacting now that she responds to us. Isn't her little smile cute and toothless?!! Please note that her eyes scrunch when she smiles, just like her Mom and her Dad.

Sara is also doing a really good job at holding her head up and looking around. She's just adorable. And in this picture you can kinda see that her eyes continue to be blue. Jason and I are just amazed that our brown-eyed selves produced a blue-eyed girl!
However, all this new interaction and activity makes a girl tired. Look at that huge yawn and the way she still sleeps all sprawled out. Oh, and what a great night sleeper she is. Her nighttime schedule is sleeping a 5 hour stretch, getting up to eat and then going right back for another 5 hour stretch. What a wonderful change from our sleepless Laura! Bless you, Emily, for the book that has helped us all get some good sleep and maintain our sanity!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bookin' It

This month has brought a lot of good reading for Melinda. I am now part of two book groups and some of my favorite series released new books this month. For my old book group we read "Letters" by Marjorie Pay Hinckley. It was a fun read with lots of interesting tidbits about the lives of an apostle, Utah in times past, and the fact that even the wife of a prophet has a hard time sometimes. We had a wonderful discussion about it last night. I love that group of ladies and their insights and laughter!


My other book group unfortunately meets on the same night. But, naturally I did not discover that until after I had read the book. It was "Persuasion" by Jane Austen. Not my favorite Austen novel, but okay. It looks like I'll be switching months and only attending each book group every other month.

Naturally, Jason and I each read the new Harry Potter book as well. Though it didn't capture my attention for a while into the book, the ending was fabulous. Jason and I each stayed up WAY too late one night finishing it. I was impressed how all the threads got tied together in the end. It was a good way to end the series, in my opinion.


Finally, my favorite book that I read this month was "Eclipse" by Stepehenie Meyer. In fact, I was so excited about the release of this book that I went to the release party for it at Barnes and Noble. I was thrilled that the Andrea's also wanted to come to the release party. Darling Andrea M. got us vampire teeth for the occasion and I made us some red ribbon bookmarks. It was a great time standing in line and chatting with them. Okay, so the people watching was a blast too.

The book was marvelous and anyone who liked "Twilight" will love "Eclipse".