Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grandma's Birthday

We really really tried to celebrate my Mom's birthday at Disneyland this year with lots of fun, snuggles, a delicious dinner and World of Color. However, she was just too sick to make it and we had to sing to her over the cell phone instead. We ended up celebrating in person ridiculously late.
But, more singing, presents and white chocolate raspberry cupcakes are always fun no matter how late, right?!
White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
1 box white cake mix
1 cup Shasta Raspberry Cream Soda
1/4 tsp raspberry extract (I get mine HERE)
Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into cupcake pan with each about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
Frosting
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 box white chocolate jello instant pudding mix
1/4 tsp raspberry extract
Whip cream in cold bowl until soft peaks form. Add raspberry extract and powdered sugar slowly and beat until stiff peaks form. Add pudding mix and whip until all incorporated and frosting is stiffer than traditional whipped cream.

Disneyland Video Mothers Day 2011

YAY! I finished the Disneyland video from our last trip. I thought that I should put our schedule and hints up here along with the video.
Since we have annual passes, we are not allowed magic mornings. So, anytime there is a magic morning, we do the rope drop at DCA or we do a character breakfast. On the days we rope drop at DCA, they let you through the gates a half hour before the rides start running. We first go to get fast passes for World of Color or we get fast passes for Soarin' Over California - sometimes we get both. After getting those and grabbing a big soda, we get in line for the drop over by Grizzly River Run. From there, we head straight to Toy Story Mania. Then Laura rides Screamin' with both her dad then me while the other parent rides the carousel with the shorties. We'll hit one or two more rides down there (Silly Symphony Swings and Golden Zephyr) then head back up to do Soarin'. At that point we usually watch some shows and grab some food.
On days where we can catch the rope drop (not a magic morning) at Disneyland, we make sure to get in line at the ticket turnstiles 45 mins before the park opens then we head straight down main street to the rope. When the rope does drop, we run straight to fantasyland and do all the rides there. Then while we are pushing the stroller through the Matterhorn line, one of us will run and get Space Mountain fastpasses. Oh, and we love to eat at Disneyland.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eliza's First Haircut

Eliza got her first haircut this last Friday. She was looking scraggly and stringy. Julie distracted her with Oreos and cut her hair while she was in my arms. It looks so much better!
**You are so right. I needed an after picture!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sara's Preschool Graduation

Sara just had her preschool graduation. I can hardly believe it's been a whole year. But, my goodness she has grown up from her experience at Miss Shauna's.
Just like Laura's graduation, the kids recited poems and songs that they had learned throughout the year. Sara was very animated throughout the performance. She was perfectly behaved throughout the graduation - waiting and performing - and I was so proud to see what a good student she is.
We are exceptionally bummed that Miss Shauna is retiring this next year. We have loved having her for preschool.
My parents adjusted their MTC service schedule (despite short notice from me) so they could come to Sara's graduation. She loved having them there to support her and so did I.

Laura's Choir Concert Spring 2011

Laura just had her spring choir concert. This time they did things a little bit different - the kids dressed in costume. It was a "broadway/musicals" theme. Laura was a cheerleader as part of the High School Musical segment. She loved representing Grandma's alma mater of East High!
The kids were super animated and just adorable. Laura sang her heart out, knew every word, performed beautifully and was just darling.

video
Sara LOVED watching her and just danced along. Laura loves to perform and we all loved that so many people came to support her. YAY, Laura!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mothers Day 2011

Can you guess what I wanted for mother's day this year?! I wanted time with my family. Now, can you guess where I wanted it?? Let me give you a hint...
Yep, we were at Disneyland for mother's day and it was perfect. We wore my favorite shirts that I made for each of us: Melinda-Mommy Minnie, Laura-Original Minnie, Sara-Mini Minnie, Eliza-Micro Minnie, Jason-The One and Only Mickey.
I spent the day with my family in my favorite family place. I got lots and lots of hugs and snuggles. We smiled all day. What could be better?!
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wind = Kite Flying (& Allergies)

Today it was definitely windy enough for kite flying. So, we flew Laura's easter kite. We successfully got it in the air and kept it up in the crazy strong wind for a good long time! It was so much fun!
Jason and I were impressed that we got it going for the girls. I survived without too many allergy attacks - yay for the terrorist look. Eliza loved running around in the wind. Sara loved looking up at the kite, but lost interest quickly. Laura was awestruck and adored the whole process, but particularly flying the kite by herself!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Restoration

I am living in my ideal house. We built it - for crying out loud, it better be my ideal house! But, I have always loved old things. Particularly old homes filled with character. So, when my mom and I drove past my great grandpa's old house (built in 1896) and saw it was for sale, I had to go see it. To restore an old house that also had family history in it was a dream come true!
Fortunately, Jason's mom indulged us in her realtor capacity (thank you, mom) and my folks, our little family, and Mom B. went through it. Though we dreamed big and wanted so badly to renovate it, someone else beat us to the punch. But, it was great to imagine my grandpa there as a tiny boy and to hear all the stories from my mom.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Catch Up: Zoo

A month and a half ago, we went to the zoo with Steph and her boys. It wasn't long, but it was perfect! Little things like this are what make life amazing!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Becoming Mommy - Eliza

As is well documented, my pregnancy with Sara was awful. I couldn't believe the torture of getting beautiful Sara here. However, the first time I held her I knew it was all worth it. After soaking in the rapture of new baby Sara for a few minutes, I started bawling and told Jason that we had to have another and we had to do it soon.

Even with the memory of the terror of pregnancy so fresh in my brain, I felt so strongly that a special spirit was waiting to come to our family. We never weren't trying to get that baby here.

Getting Eliza here wasn't so easy either. By this time, we were pretty sure I had endometriosis and that it was interfering. I miscarried once farther in (8 wks) and another time (5 wks) early on. Fortunately, we made it without drugs again and we got our strong Eliza.

If we hadn't listened and had waited, we probably wouldn't have Eliza. I just can't imagine life without her. She completes our family and brings us all so much joy! And, knowing she is my last, I am just relishing her.
I am so grateful for the direction the Lord took in our lives regarding our family. I can hardly believe that with all my health issues, that I have 3 daughters. I have been blessed beyond measure and have the best job title in the world: "Mommy!" Check out the awards I get nowadays. Yep, this mirror when I go to bed at night and wake up in the morning is one of my greatest joys!

Mother's Day

Eight and a half years ago I made the best decision I've ever made in my life by marrying the most amazing girl I have ever met. Years later we are now blessed to have 3 gorgeous little girls and they have the best mommy in the entire world!

Thank you so much for teaching our little girls how to be brilliant, funny, gorgeous, beautiful, modest, sweet, tender, and loving. There is no better example for them than you.
Thank you for being my best friend, teammate, mommy, and confidant ever. I love you more than words and can't wait for decades more birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations to come. I love you more than anything. Forever and ALWAYS!!!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Becoming Mommy - Sara

My birth with Laura was traumatic - another story for another time. It left me with a big set of restrictions on when/how I could have my next baby. I was told that it would not be safe for me to have another baby until Laura and the baby would end up a full 3 years apart.

Jason and I stuck to the plan to have another baby as soon as it was safe for me. I was on hormonal birth control for 15 months. Then, as advised by our doctor to ensure fertility when we wanted it a year later, I stopped hormonal birth control.

Right on schedule, when Laura was 2 yrs and 3 months, we starting trying and fully expected to be pregnant right away. We got Laura here without trying at all, so we figured it wouldn't be a problem. We were wrong. We discovered that unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant is horrible. I had the most understanding best friend who lent me her baby (Micah) to hold and play with any time and it helped me deal.

Fortunately, my uber-specialist OB/GYN also calmed us down, didn't prescribe me any hormones (another blessing in hindsight) and we kept trying. Nine months later, we were pregnant with Sara.

I was so excited to be having another little spirit join our threesome. Instead of just a couple with a kid, having Sara made us a true family.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Becoming Mommy - Laura

I love being a Mommy! Nothing in the world is better! So, for this mother's day, I wanted to record how I got here.

When Jason and I got married, we took the time after the ceremony in the temple to discuss our greatest impressions that we received. I remember telling him that I finally understood the importance of having children and that maybe we shouldn't wait as long as we were planning; that we were a bit older getting married than many couples around us.

At that point, we were planning on waiting to start our family until Jason graduated from school and I would support him while he finished. I thought we would move it up a bit. However, God intervened and we got pregnant after only 3 months of marriage.

As a single young woman, I was very focused on dance, education and career. Being a mom was never that high on my radar. But, through the education I received in the temple, I was able to re-prioritize my life. The blessings, joy and fullness of life that I have had since becoming a mom can't even compare to any of the satisfactions or accolades that I received when I was single - being a mom is so much better!

Later we would find out that my cycle is wacky so traditional birth control was not effective. Today, with the knowledge that my endometriosis is spreading so quickly and interfering so much with life and it with getting pregnant subsequent times, I know the Lord blessed us. If we hadn't started so quickly we probably wouldn't have all three of our kiddos and possibly couldn't have had any.

How grateful I am that the Lord spoke to me in the temple to make my mind and heart ready for children and then sent me my Laura!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Big Beige Wall Saga

For my birthday, I really wanted to do something fun in my family room. Ever since we got the beige couches and changed from the green, it's just been too brown. However, it's really tough to do something in there because it has to coordinate with the coke kitchen and almost all the walls connect to one another. So, I decided to do an accent wall. This accent wall.
I've been seeing lots of cool wallpaper on two of my favorite design shows - Secrets From a Stylist and Divine Design - and really wanted that pop here. So, I went to a really fun store with Steph. Then went with my mom (thanks to Dad for watching the kids) to this store to hopefully find the fun I wanted without the cost of the designer store. I fell in love with this green wallpaper and this red wallpaper. However, with the big patterns and wasted paper, cost of professional hanging (because I was terrified of the 15 ft ceilings), and the size of the wall, I really couldn't justify it. But aren't these papers beautiful?!

Then I thought I could just hang some awesome damask (pronounced this way for all of you have listened to me struggle with the pronunciation of this word) vinyl on the wall. However, after a call to Mel my friend and vinyl expert, I was afraid the girls would just peel off the vinyl where they could reach it and I'd get upset at them. If I had just had an accent of vinyl instead of a LOT, I would've gone with the vinyl. However, I really wanted some all over pattern in order to keep the big piece of art. So, away went that idea.

This led me to think all the only option I had left was to paint the wall an accent color. BORING. I already have accent walls. Then I found this awesome stencil store online. I found many patterns I loved, but was nervous to try a true all-over pattern for my first stenciling foray, so I decided to order this stencil. But, I still can't decide how many to put on the wall: tight pattern, loose pattern, sporadic pattern, ordered pattern. Here are some of my mock-ups; done very quickly so don't judge. What do you think? Loose or tight? Could I go sporadic without messing up the aesthetic with the picture??
In the meantime, my birthday came and went and I used my birthday money to purchase a new rug for the upstairs. It has a lot more red in it and very little green and looks amazing with the couches and chair. (The other not-so-old rug was not holding up to my rigorous vacuuming and was coming undone on the edges. We got the new one from Kohl's, put the old one downstairs and I bid farewell to ALL allergy inducing wool rugs in my house - phew. I think the rugs all look better in their new homes and I feel better.)

Because of the rug, I now know my paint needs to be green. The girls and I went to the store and picked up tons of paint chips. I got lots of help and found my favorite hue. Now it's just down to the combinations. Jason and I got some samples, painted them on poster boards and have been living with them for a while. We're pretty sure we're going to do the second one in on the left - the only dark pattern on light background. That combination seems to look good in any light that hits the room.
Now, it's just on to the actual work of painting and stenciling. Wish me luck - oh, and help me make some decisions!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Lookin Cool

Oh, yah! You know you wish you looked as cool as me when you mow the lawn!!
Btw, didn't Laura take a great picture of me in all my auto-histamine glory?!!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Monster Sprinkle

No, it wasn't a "huge" sprinkle, it was a sprinkle to welcome Andrea's new little monster. Basically it was a repeat of my last sprinkle, but with a boy/monster theme. I purchased the monster images that I used for my invitations and for the onesies from this etsy shop. And I think they made the event a lot of fun!!
I did the onesies again, but this time I did them in blue and brown. We went shopping for the onesies (from Walmart) and the fabric for them on my birthday so I had the reassurance that I was getting her something she'd like. I used the monster images mentioned above as well as many from this site and some people were so creative that they drew their own images. Didn't they turn out adorable?!
I need to give a big thank you to my amazing girls Karyn and Andrea (pictured above with their onesies) who helped this whole thing come together! I love you girls!!