Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter

Easter coincided with General Conference this year. Look! Our neighbor took this picture for us! 
We had our Easter egg hunt on Saturday evening -- the kids lucked out, because I had a package of eggs stuffed with candy and the Double B goes "that's not enough eggs!!!" And went to the store to buy more eggs and candy, ha ha. That's what happens when your Dad loves Easter a whole, whole lot. 
I was very impressed with how kind and considerate KJ and Olivia were. We didn't give them a set number of eggs, just asked them to help Kate and make sure she got her share, too. They had her back and would pass over eggs, and point eggs out to her. Awesome. KJ found the special egg! He was mighty proud! Olivia kept reminding him "Well, you don't have to brag about it." Which is exactly the thing a sibling has to say in these situations. 
The Easter Bunny did a good job hiding the baskets this year. Poor KJ couldn't find his behind daddy's ties and I thought he was going to have an actual coronary. Thankfully, after suggesting that hopping had been heard in the closet earlier, they gave it another try and Olivia saved the day. He was mighty relieved! 
I had decided this year I was making the fancy Easter dinner, and Sunday morning as I was putting it all together, I totally felt like my Mom (which is always a happy achievement). I was thinking about how holidays bring out one of my favorite parts of marriage -- taking the traditions you both grew up with, and combining them to create something beautiful for your own little family. 
It was a wonderful General Conference. The kids did great, and KJ even built legos and listened to the whole thing of his own free will. That made me happy. Some of my favorite talks were from Linda K. Burton, Brent H. Nielson, and Jeffrey R. Holland. I am thankful for my personal witness of a living prophet, but most importantly, I am thankful by my personal witness of a Father in Heaven that loves and cares for us, His little children. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break

I love Spring Break. It's so fun to have my kids and a whole week stretching beautifully before us! 
The kids have decided it is their dream to start a YouTube channel. I have decided I am behind this. Now we just have to start one! We spent lots of time making practice videos. Here was our first rehearsal:
We also ended up at the zoo, since it was the last day of our pass. It was fun because we just took it easy, no pressure to see any particular thing. We did take in the bird show, which ended up being totally awesome! Poor Kate was very afraid before it started, so she squished onto my lap with Benson, and ended up thinking it was pretty awesome, too. I was so proud of her for being brave! You can see from her face she wasn't feeling too sure about things:
In the end, it was KJ that was ready to blow that popsicle stand! He really, really didn't like the birds flying right over his head. I thought that was the coolest part, actually! But only because I knew it was a controlled environment... Wouldn't have liked it so much out in the wild! 
We conducted a science experiment to see if we could make Benson's hair stay down. It worked after about half an hour of attending to. He was cute, but I did miss his wild do! He is lucky to have sisters to entertain him by dancing wildly, as Kate is demonstrating.  
We ended up having four extra kids a couple of the days. It was both fun and wild. My kids LOVED it, of course! We spent a lot of time outside. It was the only way! Benson thought that was just as good an idea as the big kids did. 
One of their adventures was creating the least successful lemonade stand in history. I actually pitied the handyman across the street, they were advertising so vigorously. I'm pretty sure they thought I'd cost them the sale, though, when after about half an hour of constant chanting I said they had to stop. Then they wanted to go door to door! Failed entrepreneurship at its finest. 
The highlight of the whole week was driving up to Nebraska to see Burdette and Holly. Jan and John were there and we spent the night and next day together. So, so, so fun! We love them a lot and it's a comfort to have family only 3 hours away. Plus, our kids are crazy about each other. We had a blast. Poor Benny was teething, but was a champ and we didn't let that get us down. Plus, first time in Nebraska! That's our 18th state. We're becoming adventurers in our old age! 

General Women's Session

The long anticipated day had arrived: Olivia was EIGHT, and it was the last weekend in March -- that meant the General Women's Session of General Conference and the beginning of a new tradition! 
I don't know which one of us was more excited. We've been taking about it for a long time, especially as it moved closer. She chose Chinese for the dinner portion of our date, which came as no surprise -- Chinese food has a fan in Olivia. 
It's always fun to read your fortune cookie, and they're always opened with some drama and presentation in this family. I liked these two, because I liked their hopeful tone. We decided we needed to remember them! 
Me and my Livi girl. 
We stopped at Target and she finagled her way into this unicorn. It was love at first sight! She named it Rainbow. She just HAD to text this picture to grandpa, with the message "dear grandpa, mommy let me get this unacorn." I loved his answer back: "it's a cute little thing!"
Ha ha ha. 
She worked hard to be still during the meeting and it was a great chance to be together for something special. It was an absolute pleasure. I loved it. I can't wait for Kate the Great to be eight so she can join us! Hurrah for General Women's Session!!! 

And I can't lie, I really do love that we are now the first official session of General Conference. We are so cool. 

Noteworthy

Prepare yourselves, ladies and gentlemen -- you are about to see the cutest picture of all time! 
Do you see? DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN!?!
Benson is a big fan of his dad. No doubt, I am the main squeeze in his life, but he is pretty much obsessed with his dad. It's actually very funny, if the Double B is anywhere near him Benson can't look at anything else... He just tracks his dad all around the room, waiting anxiously for BB to look at him so he can give Daddy great big smiles! Very charming. 
We are so proud to say Olivia earned the Character Award at school! That is so awesome. She loves her teacher so much and works so diligently to please her. She was so happy, and so are we. Liv and Kaje have both earned the Principals Award all three quarters this year. I'm grateful for their goodness. And diligence! 
I'm so happy to report that the direction the Spirit gave and is still giving for Katelyn is helping make beautiful progress! I'm so thankful for it, because it is making all the difference in the world. It is thrilling to see her confidence in herself and in her special place in our family grow. I love this little girl so, so, so much! Many less fits and many more hugs and snuggles. We are both working hard and becoming more positive and it is beautiful! I hope and pray I can continue to grow and become the Mom she needs. We were getting ready to go shopping and she wanted to take this picture to send to Grandma. It makes me smile. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Meet Me At The Fair

After the Arch we visited the Botanical Gardens. Absolutely loved this special place! 
In fact, I have a fairly solid theory the Lord picked up the Garden of Eden and dropped it off here. 
My brother Matt called this picture "I have a stick... I'm being cute... Hello, my people!" I think that says it all. 
For lunch, The Cheesecake Factory! My favorite restaurant. The Double B really went out of his way to spoil me. I'm so lucky. 
We all had such a great time together. 
Everyone was exhausted. And by chance, we passed the St Louis temple on the way home! And picked up the best Frozen Hot Chocolate from Dairy Queen we've ever had. And found out our foster daughter Mariah was in the hospital to have her sweet baby boy, Bryar! So big weekend. 
32 got off to a great start. I am thankful for my life and the many blessings the Lord has so merciful given me! 

Meet Me In St. Louie

For my 32nd birthday, the Double B gave us a big surprise: a trip to St Louis!
We've been wanting to go the whole time we've been here, but life gets in the way. Plus, everyone we love is west! So that's usually the direction we go. But not this day! 
We spent the night in a hotel and then early the next morning we headed out. But not before stopping for breakfast at a McDonald's in Ferguson! Ferguson has been a main news story for months now, especially in Missouri, so it was a little exciting to be there at the scene. Especially when they got our order mixed up and the hostile lady yelled at us. Ha ha! I was so delighted. I literally proclaimed it "best birthday ever!" Right then and there.
We headed over to the arch, which was totally awesome. Katelyn saw a dog, so that was scary! But she worked through it, bless her heart, and we had a marvelous time. 
We went to the visitors center under the arch -- surprisingly tight security! -- to watch a movie about it. Benson and Kate couldn't sit through it, so I took them out, and BB and Olivia slept through it, ha ha! But KJ found it utterly fascinating, so that's great news.  
We parked right by the baseball stadium! It was beautiful, and right in the middle of downtown, so that was cool. The whole downtown area was very pretty and awesome to see. 
Plus, the Tums factory! All the Tums in the world, made right here. It even SMELLED like Tums. We seriously were pretty excited about that, since we're big fans of Tums in this family.