Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Favorite: Sausage Legs

I love these squishy legs!  So edible. Mmmmmmm!

Also loving that William has been such a big help with Elijah lately.  He even played with him for about 20 minutes the other day because I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. I felt so much better after getting that little nap! Unfortunately, between Isaac and Elijah both being sick for about the last 2 weeks and Chris starting into finals, I am definitely feeling the effects of sleep deprivation.  William has been a huge help and I am so grateful! Too bad I'm not cool enough to realize that I am focusing on the tree instead of the boys.  This was the least blurry picture I got so it'll have to do.  Blurry or not, they are pretty cute :).

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Puzzler

Isaac is a puzzle whiz kid. He absolutely loves doing puzzles and he is really good at them. He also has a surprising attention span and memory for it considering his age and somewhat squirrely self.  He especially likes big floor puzzles, but really any puzzle that is somewhat challenging but still doable is fine. His tongue sticking out makes me smile :).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Favorite: William's Choice

Today I asked William what some of his favorites were and here are the answers he gave me:

Favorite Color: Orange and dark green
Favorite Food: Cookies with sprinkles on them for Halloween. Witches, pumpkins and bat cookies
Favorite Animal: Chickens
Favorite TV Show: Diego
Favorite Song: Jingle Bells
Favorite thing about preschool: Free Play Time
Favorite thing about Isaac: That I can Play with him
Favorite thing about Elijah: That I like him
Favorite thing about Dad: He takes me fishing!
Favorite thing about Mom: That I can give you hugs and kisses and play with you
Favorite thing to wear: Camouflage (I think this is inspired by his cousin Elliot)
Favorite place to go: Blastoff (We've only been there once.  It must have made an impression)
Favorite book: Harry Potter
Favorite holiday: Christmas!!!
Favorite thing about being 5: That I can go fly fishing
Favorite place in the house: Living Room
Favorite season: Fall  Why? Because we can jump in the leaves and play
Favorite part of your body: My mouth that I can eat and drink with
Favorite thing to do outside: Shoot BB guns
Favorite thing to do inside: Shoot a blow gun
Favorite word: You

And here he is singing his favorite song in his own particular way:

And here are some of his thoughts on Christmas. I really need to come up with a good way to explain to him that muggles can't do magic; with or without a wand. He isn't convinced yet.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


So I totally dropped the ball on posting something I was thankful for every day this month.  I really thought I was going to do it, but lets face it, this last week or so has been a little crazy (primary program, teaching preschool, piano recital, extra group lesson, thanksgiving prep etc.) and, although I did think about things I was grateful for, sitting down at the computer and writing them down dropped off the top of my priority list.  There are a few things I really did want to write down however, so here they are:

One of the days I was really really grateful for my hilarious children.  We actually own one baby doll at this house and this baby has actually become quite an integral part in some of the games they play which is fun to see. Lately my boys have started pretending to "nurse" the baby.  They take turns pulling their shirts up and sticking the baby doll to their chests. Well on this particular day last week, they were carrying on an epic battle game complete with nerf guns, war noises, chasing etc.  William was riding on a little scooter toy we have, chasing Isaac around with a gun...all while having the baby doll clutched to his chest "nursing." It was pretty dang funny to watch. 

On another day I was thankful for William's helpfulness.  Lots of times when I talk about "helpful" kids I am being slightly sarcastic, but this particular day I was busy making a bunch of cookies for my piano recital and William stood by me and washed all the dishes as I went, and did a really great job of it!  And he even volunteered to do it.  I was so so so grateful because I probably would have had a completely trashed kitchen to clean at the end of it if he hadn't, and because it was fun to being doing something like that together. 

Another evening Isaac was having a really hard time settling down and going to sleep.  He had taken a pretty long nap that afternoon, so he was awake long after William was asleep and kept coming out of his room over and over again.  Finally I could see that he was just having trouble unwinding so I decided that instead of getting frustrated with him (which I would normally do) I would just sit down with him in the rocking chair and sing to him and try to help him settle down.  We ended up hanging out for quite a while talking about all sorts of things, like the location of Madagascar, and the fact that the girl named Dora who was coming to for Thanksgiving was not actually Dora the Explorer (although he never quite understood that until she got here today and he said "She doesn't look like Dora?!"). We sang songs and snuggled and then after a while I could tell he was getting really sleepy and all of a sudden he said, " I am going to go back to bed now." And he did.  And I was so grateful I had chosen patience instead of frustration.  I hardly ever get moments like that with Isaac so I was glad I had taken advantage of that one.

So...even if I wasn't posting them, I am glad I started doing this month of Thanksgiving thing because I planned on trying to find something specific to that day that I had been thankful for and it really made me focus on what I was doing each day and what I had specifically to be thankful for.  It's easy to come up with the generic things (family, food, shelter, the gospel etc.) and not that being grateful for those things is bad, but I am glad that this gave me a chance to dig a little deeper and notice the little things each day that truly made me happy. 

And now I just want to share a pictures of pies. Pie is my family's big Thanksgiving tradition. We made 15 pies this year (a record I think) plus my grandma brought a pie and a chocolate cake.  So all in all we had one pie/cake per adult who ate dinner at our house.  Um...holy cow.

I wish I had remembered to take pictures of anything else about our Thanksgiving meal this year, but I didn't.  It was delicious though, and fun to have so many people there.  In addition to those of us who live here, we had Tim and Irene, Mary, Grandma Creighton, Tim's friends Jared and Katriell, Irene's brother Micah and his wife Rachel, Irene's coworker Dora, and the Sant family including Chris's brother Brad.  It was really fun to have such a full house, and it made me realize how much I really do have to be thankful for. 

And now I am grateful for Mary, who is about to give me a back massage even though she doesn't know it yet :).

Friday, November 9, 2012

1 hour

Elijah napped for a full hour today, right during my piano lessons.  Now THAT is something to be grateful for!  That adorable boy has decided for the past month or more that he shouldn't nap for more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time, and I can rarely seem to get him to sleep during the times I am teaching, even if I try to plan my whole day that way. Yesterday he took three 20 minute naps between 9:00 in the morning and 8:00 at night.  Well, today I put him down for a nap about 10 minutes before my two piano students came and he slept until about 5 minutes before we were done.  It was fantastic!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I figured out that I could download the free kindle app on my iPad and can download free or very cheap books onto it. I have spent much more time reading today than I should have! But I am so grateful for books. I love reading. I love reading to my kids. I am so glad my parents read to me all the time I was growing up and always encouraged and supported reading in our home. Reading bigger books with William (we just started the Narnia books) has been so much fun for all of us. And I've actually learned to enjoy reading non-fiction as well as fiction. I am so grateful for books and how easily accessible they are today!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Today I am feeling really thankful that I've been able to nurse all of my kids. I know some women can't and some don't want to, and that is fine, but for me it has been such a sweet experience. Sure, it's not always easy ( especially at first) and sometimes it's painful or inconvenient, but most of the time I love being able to sit down and take a little break from busyness and just snuggle close to my baby. I love that through nursing I can not only nourish his body, but also our relationship. I love that on days when he is out of sorts or not feeling well (such as today) that I have a ready made way to comfort and help him. I love that my body and my milk can adapt to his needs day by day. It's pretty awesomely amazing!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Today I am really grateful for the fact that my kids are rarely really sick. Sure they get their share of runny noses, but compared to a lot of kids they hardly ever get sick and generally bounce back very quickly. William was down with a fever and the aches for about half the day yesterday and today he's back to normal. I've never had to take my kids in for ear infections, and I can count the number of times William has had the stomach flu on one hand. As far as I can remember Isaac has never had it. I've really been blessed in that way!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grateful Monday

Today I'm grateful for daylight savings.  Although my kids woke me up an hour earlier than normal, it was actually pretty nice to be able to have William get dressed, do his chores, eat breakfast etc. and be ready for preschool all without me having to tell him to hurry. I was also able to shower and get myself ready so I didn't have to spend time on that when I got home. It was kind of nice! Don't ask me how I feel about it tomorrow though...

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Today I am very grateful for my calling in the Primary.  I recently got called to be in the Primary presidency in our ward, and I'll admit, was a little wistful about it as I really quite enjoy going to Relief Society. Today, though, as we practiced for the Primary program that is next week, I really felt a sense of joy in being able to work with these kids.  Two of the kids bore their testimonies in Sacrament Meeting today and it was so neat to hear the wisdom coming from these young children.  It really made me realize that kids understand and internalize much more than I tend to give them credit for sometimes. I know that this calling will stretch me and make me do things I'm not generally comfortable doing, but I also know that I will be greatly enriched by association with the children in our ward if I can look past the craziness and see the joy like I was able to today.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

So Thankful...

For this wonderful man!

He really is my best friend and the best Dad I could ask for for my children. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Favorite: Facial Feature

It's true.  I have always been partial to Isaac's eyebrows.  Ever since he was a tiny baby I have absolutely loved his big expressive eyebrows.  I know you aren't supposed to have favorites as a mother, but there you have it...I think I like Isaac's eyebrows better than William or Elijah's.  I think it has something to do with the fact that his eyebrows are EXACTLY like Chris's, and something to do with the fact that the things he does with them make me laugh on a daily basis.  He cracks me up.  William is actually very expressive with his eyebrows as well, and quite funny, but his eyebrows just don't stand out quite like Isaac's.

Those rosy cheeks and lips are pretty scrumptious too...

Grateful Day 2

Today I am really grateful for how nice it was outside.  All the snow did melt and it was so warm that we decided to go for a bike ride to the park.  I know there won't be a whole lot more days like this so I am really grateful for the ones I get and I am going to try to take advantage of them and spend as much time outside as we can! To anyone who actually reads this...please don't take this picture as proof that I'm a terrible parent (there are plenty of other things to prove that, but this isn't one of them :)).  Elijah fell asleep on the bike ride home from the park, but his head was back and he was perfectly safe and comfortable.  It only came forward when I lowered the bike trailer down, and he was like that for about 1 minute while I took the picture. 

So grateful for nice weather in November!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Month of Gratitude: Day 1

Today I am really really grateful that William's preschool got changed to tomorrow instead of today due to a conflict of the mom who was in charge of teaching this week.  After all of the hullabaloo of Halloween it was so nice to not have to worry about getting us all up and ready in time for William to be at preschool!  In fact, I laid in bed until 9:00.  It was wonderful!

Speaking of preschool, I've been wanting to put up some pictures from when I taught last.  I had a great time with the kids, even if it is a little crazy with so many with widely varying attention spans, plus a baby!

Gluing yarn into letter B and b

They had fun making a band (letter B again)

Puzzle Station

Sorting beans by number station

Pouring Station

Picking up yarn with a clothespin station (fine motor skills and pencil holding)

Pouring again.  The kids ALL loved this even though I had planned it more for the younger ones.

Gluing shapes station

Stringing beads station.  Cute C was so good at this! She did it for a long time!
Number peg puzzle station
The stations that I did the second day of the week were actually a huge hit with the kids.  They all wanted to try all of them out even though I had geared some to the younger and some to the older kids, and they didn't want to stop when I said it was time to go on to something else.  They each had one or two that they really gravitated to and wanted to do for a long time.  All except Isaac that is. He kept flitting from activity to activity constantly wanting to try out another one.  I couldn't decide if it was an attention span issue, or just that he was so excited to have all of these kids over at his house.  Probably a combination actually.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Favorites: Phrase of the Week

It snowed yesterday.  Sigh.  I can't say I was quite ready for that. The kids were super excited though! After preschool William was telling me that he wanted to play out in the snow.  He said, "And Mom, I want to wear my...(searching for the word) snow waders!" Of course, he was referring to his snow pants, I just found it hilarious that the thing that readily came to mind was [fishing] waders.  I still chuckle when I think about it.  When I texted Chris he responded "That's my boy!"

So anyway, I put their snow waders on them and let them run around in the snow to their hearts content. Now lets hope it all melts and decides to go back to being Autumn for at least a little longer.

In other news, this little cutie pants is four months old today.  Crazy how this four months has flown by but the four months before I had him seemed to last a year.  We all just love him to death! Isaac sometimes quite literally.  William was making Elijah belly laugh tonight.  I was bummed my video camera was not handy because it was quite funny.  Hopefully I'll be able to catch it next time.  
I didn't take him out in the snow, but in digging through the winter clothes bin I found some cute hats we had to try.

Friday, October 12, 2012


My dear Grandpa Hall passed away early yesterday morning.  All through my busy day I was filled with the sweetest memories of him.  Nothing too specific really, mostly impressions and images and smells. And mostly from when I was young.

-The feel of his soft skin when he would give me a hug

-Teaching me to swim in his pool in California

-How he called me sweetheart

-Listening to opera music

-Sitting in his recliner

-Making me some toast

Things like that. 

Last night I had Chris help me put together this video.  My Grandpa had a beautiful voice.  I really wish I would have been able to hear him sing in his prime, but even though this is from when he was in his late sixties and his voice has aged some, he still sounds incredible. And it's exactly how I remember him sounding which makes it even better. As far as we know this is the only recording there is of him singing so it is priceless.

Grandpa was a gentleman to his core. He really was the kindest and best of men.  He was always interested in what we were doing, and I could always tell that he had been thinking about me and my family a lot even when we hadn't seen him in a long time.

 I like to think that some of my love for classical music comes from him. 

Although I will miss him a lot, it's comforting to me to know that families are eternal, and that Grandpa Hall is surely looking out for us from the spirit world, just as he always did in this life. 

We love you so much Grandpa. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Favorites: Los Hijitos

Today I just wanted to write down some things I'm loving about each of my boys right now. And though I mean this to be more of an individual type thing, I have to include that right now, and in fact all day today William and Isaac have been playing and playing and playing together.  With minimal fighting.  And with much creativity and imagination.  They've built lego structures, hunted monsters in the dark with guns built out of snap cubes, written letters to the "code messenger" and probably a bunch of stuff I don't even know about.  I LOVE days when they play like this.  Are they still in their pajamas?  Yes.  Have they made some big messes? Yes. But that's okay, because I told them we could have a movie night tonight if they clean it all up, which means they probably will. Now if only Elijah would nap for more than 15 minutes at a time I could get some serious stuff done!

Anyway...on to the individual stuff. 

This picture was taken on the first day of "preschool" for William.  We are doing a preschool co-op with some friends and William loves it.

There is a lot of stuff about William that I am loving right now, but one of my very favorite things is that we have been reading the "Little House" books together, and he loves it.  We have already read Little House in the Big Woods and are most of the way through Little House on the Prairie and have checked out Farmer Boy from the library for when we finish it.  He wants me to read it to him all the time, and I absolutely love it that he can get into the story and empathize with the characters and follow the story line even with gaps of time in between.  He has always been a snuggler, and it's fun for me to get to snuggle up with him and read a book that I enjoy as well.  Toward the beginning of Little House on the Prairie they lose their dog Jack down a river and think he is dead, and William was SO concerned about it.  You could tell that he was feeling so bad for them and was so worried about them being alright without their dog.  I'll admit that I got a little choked up watching his face as I read. 

One other thing that I am really enjoying with William is his thirst for knowledge of all sorts.  He is interested in EVERYTHING and wants to know the whys and the hows and the wherefores, and the history behind it and what it means for the future etc. etc. etc.  Although this can get a little hard to live with sometimes for the most part I really like how interested he is in everything. 

Taken at Tim and Irene's reception. The bib was an attempt to keep his nice clothes clean.  It failed miserably.

  Isaac has been little destructo-boy lately, so at first it was a little hard for me to think of something for him (is that okay for a parent to admit?), but after thinking for about 30 seconds all the things that I love about Isaac came flooding to me.  With Isaac my favorite things are kind of hard to put into words because they have more to do with how he squints his eye and cocks his head and talks in his musical little voice than some specific thing he is actually doing. Isaac makes hilarious faces all the time.  He has a different face for everything he is saying, whether it's something serious, emphatic, silly, sad etc. And not only does he make funny faces, but he combines them with some awesome voices. It makes me laugh every single day. I just can't manage to stay frustrated with Isaac for very long because he is just so stinking cute. We were driving in the car the other day and he was in the middle of the backseat right where I could see him in the rear view mirror and it almost took my breath away because I saw again what an incredibly beautiful child he is.  I could hardly stop looking at him to watch the road!

The most recent picture I have of Elijah, taken on William's birthday at the Cutler's house.  Babies change so much that he already seems so different than pictures taken just a few weeks ago!

One of my favorite things about Elijah right now is that he definitely knows me and loves me!  He always seems to have a big grin for me when I pick him up, or will turn toward me when someone else is holding him and he hears my voice.  The other day he even reached out his arms like he wanted me to take him!  I am loving having a baby right now.  Sometimes it's stressful, and it's hard to have another mamma's boy, but at the same time I absolutely love having cuddle time and baby grins and giggles.  I also love that Elijah is usually ready to go to bed when the other boys go down between 8:00 and 9:00 and that in general he sleeps really well at night.  It definitely helps my sanity level!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Isaac turns 3

Isaac turned three years old at the end of August.  How did that even happen? I swear he was a tiny baby just yesterday!

We were originally planning to go canoeing for his birthday, but it turned out to be a pretty windy day which didn't make canoeing sound all that exciting to Mom and Dad.  So we presented Isaac with some other options and he chose to go to the zoo.  Luckily he was just as excited about that as about canoeing.

Connecting with one of their own kind :)
The lion out basking in the sun

The zoo got a new tiger!  It was pacing back and forth at the front of the enclosure.  Pretty cool to watch.

Chris scared the kids by pretending this was a real tiger that was out of its cage.  It was pretty funny.

Brushing one of the goats.  Isaac was fine with it as long as he was approaching the back of a goat, but if the goat turned and started approaching him he would run for his life!

Baby Eli and Mommy hanging out together as usual

That evening we had family come over for cake, ice cream and presents.

Gearing up to blow out those candles

Super excited about his flashlight from Grandma and Grandpa Cutler.  You can never go wrong giving a kid a flashlight!
Sporting his new backpack.  He and William play school all the time now. It's very cute!

This kid loves opening presents!  William picked out the recorder to give him and I was regretting consenting to it within about 2 minutes. 

After looking at this picture we decided that Elijah is a mini Grandpa Cutler.  Elijah looks just like him!
William, Jain and Trey watching the present opening.
Justin and Cassara came with their baby Anniston who is just 3 weeks younger than Elijah.

Elijah hanging out with Uncle Ben who is one of his favorite people.

Chris made sure everyone was served.  I never seem to have good pictures of Chris because he is usually the one behind the camera, so I have to include any that I have!
Tim and Irene came down from Rexburg for the festivities as well!

Other people not pictured were Grandma Hall, Grandma Cutler, Katherine, Chad and Mary.  We are so glad to have so much of our families close and miss those who are far away.  It sure will be hard when we (eventually) move somewhere where we don't have family close by. 

Happy Birthday Isaac Mannie! We love you so much!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Elijah's Blessing Day

We are so blessed to have this little sweetheart in our family!
 We blessed Elijah on August 5th.  It was the day after my brother Tim's reception so we were glad to have family in town for that who stayed for the blessing as well.

The blessing was wonderful.  I was struck again with how incredibly special it is for these new little people to be surrounded by men that love them and all hold the Priesthood.  Elijah had both his grandfathers, several of his uncles and of course his father, that stood in the circle along with the members of our Bishopric. All of these men love him and want the best for him in this life.

As people bore their testimonies I was thinking about the connectedness of that circle.  All the men are connected physically by the touch of their hands to each other and to my son, and connected spiritually through the Priesthood to each other and to God.  The symbolism and significance of that connection struck me very forcibly and I thought how appropriate it is that our baby's name is Elijah.

One of the things that I like about the name Elijah is that it is an every day reminder to me of the fact that my family has been sealed together in the temple.  When I think of the prophet Elijah I think of the sealing power that he restored to Joseph Smith.  I am so grateful that I know that if we live worthily our family is sealed together both in this life and through eternity.  Having little Elijah is a daily reminder to me that I want those promised blessings.

We are already at the point where we can't imagine life without this little guy in it.  We love him so much!

A picture of Father and son.  I'm so grateful that my kids have such a wonderful Dad!
The older boys were so exhausted from the whole reception the day before and then being up and ready for 9:00 church that there was no way I was going to try to get them to take a picture with us, so we just got one of Mom and Dad with baby Eli.

Lyndon and Bonnie with Elijah after the blessing. We love these people so much! It's like having extra grandparents that live close.  I think they have been present for every big event in my life which means so much to me.
Chris's parents were so so so kind to offer to host the luncheon after church.  I seriously don't know what I would have done if they hadn't.  There would have been no time or place to prepare food for everyone.  The food was delicious and beautiful (like everything his parents do) and it was fun to still have the tables set up from the reception so we could eat outside.  We just put canopies up to give a little shade from the heat.

We loved having so much family and so many friends to celebrate Eliah's blessing day!