Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me! and Giveaway Announcement!

The big 31!

Thanks everyone, for your wonderful birthday wishes yesterday! We had a fantastic time, all planned & orchestrated by Jake, with in-laws and Jake & Sarah's wonderful cooking. Jake grilled up some T-bone steaks (courtesy of my great father-in-law & mother-in-law) and Sarah made delicious mashed potatoes, fried okra (YUM!) and my favorite Chocolate Cake! It was so nice to just be with my family to celebrate being "one year older & wiser too!" Well, I don't know about the wiser part...

But, in celebration of my birthday, I'm doing a giveaway at the BusyButlers Boutique! Go check out my new Valentine Collection (more bows to be added soon) and enter to win a crocheted beanie and set of bows!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another New 'Do

The problem with cutting my hair off is that I start to get braver and braver and cut a little more off until there's nothing left. And then I decide I want it long again and have to grow it for a couple of years. But I'm really loving this latest cut. It's an A-Line cut, something new for me. And I probably wouldn't have considered it if not from my cute sister Lucinda, who suggested I try this style, since it looked like I already had it like this from the front because I always pulled the back into a ponytail. So thanks, Cindy! Great Idea!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why I LOVE Family Scripture Study!

Please pardon my waxing a little spiritual, here. But blogging is one way that I'm able to journal some of the thoughts that are important to me and I want to get this down mostly so I can print it out and put it in our Family History.

When Caroline was 16 months old, for our New Year's resolution as a family, we decided to do better about studying the scriptures as a family. Because she was so small, we opted to read out of the illustrated scripture stories (New Testament, Old Testament, Book of Mormon & Doctrine & Covenants) that our Church produces. It went well and Caroline always enjoyed sitting on Daddy's lap looking at the pictures and listening to the stories.
Last year, at a little over 2 years old, we decided she was big enough to "read" with us. We'd read a verse, a word at a time, and she would repeat each word. The most fun was when she figured out that the ending of "And it came..." was " pass". She'd get so that she could do the whole phrase by herself if we started her out. We started the Book of Mormon last year with this new goal and I have to say, the going has been slow. We read a column out of the book each night, which usually wasn't too many verses, but seemed just about right for a wiggly toddler.
So here we are in 2009. For those of you who are familiar, we just reached Omni. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, we're not that far into the book. At all. But we continue to perservere. And it's all worth it when my 17 month old wants to hand out the books every night and insists on having his own so he can follow along (he likes to look at the pictures.) And then to have my 3 year old want to make sure she's in exactly the right place (even though she can't read yet and is still repeating the verses after us) is priceless! I also LOVE it when Caroline asks "What does that mean?" It has presented us with some choice teaching moments as parents to teach gospel principles and explain things from the scriptures so that even a child can understand. And, Caroline hasn't graduated from looking at the pictures either - so after each scripture study session, we spend a few minutes looking at and discussing pictures. She can tell you who Samuel the Lamanite is and how and why Heavenly Father protected him from the rocks and arrows being thrown at him. She can identify Nephi, Moroni and Alma and tell you the stories associated with the beautiful illustrations in the front of the book. And she loves to look at the picture of Lehi & his family on their boat on the way to the Promised Land, though sometimes she insists it's Noah, which is okay with me because that tells me she understands that story, too.
(Notice Clayton in the background. He had been sitting on Jake's back, "reading" but decided to move just as I snapped the picture.)
How grateful I am for the scriptures and their daily application to our lives now. They may have been written a long time ago, but it is obvious that the Lord had our modern struggles in mind when he inspired those prophets to write the things in their hearts and to record the struggles of their people. And how thankful I am for the guidance they give me as a parent in these definitely challenging times! I pray my children will continue to have the love for the scriptures that is starting to grow in their hearts and that studying will help them to know of the reality and divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Just A Couple Cute Pics

I've taken these over the last couple weeks and forgot to download them onto the computer. Just a glimpse of everyday life in our home...

Jake let me sleep in one morning and when I emerged from the bedroom, this is the scene that greeted me. We love Saturday morning cartoons...

I walked into the living room one day and found Caroline in this position just watching TV. Little 'squatter'. I learned from my sister-in-law who served her mission in Mongolia that this is how everybody over there 'sits'. I don't know how she does it. My legs would get tired!

This is the snowman we made today. We had a fantastic snow on Wednesday night and part of Thursday. We went out today to make lunch and I promised the kids that after we ate we could go play in the snow. We walked out of the bunkhouse after eating and it had ALL melted and was like, 45 degrees! OH, the disappointment! When we got home, the shaded side of the house still had a little bit of snow, so we built this little snow guy. Made Caroline's whole day and saved me as a mom!
I have one more super darling picture of Clayton, but I'm afraid to post it for fear it will generate some controversy. Let's just say it has to do with the Lone Ranger, a new holster he got for Christmas from Grandma & Grandpa & those things that go in holsters (NOT real ones!!!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Jolly Holiday

Christmas was such a wonderful day for us! It was so fun and we just enjoyed being together and watching the kids enjoy their new (some homemade) things! The anticipation is always fun for us as "Santa's Helpers" and it is just so exciting to see the results of the kids playing with the things we worked so hard on and thought so much about to make the day special and just for them.
Caroline & her pile from Santa.
Caroline & Clayton riding their stick horses.
Caroline & the new dollhouse & her "Kelly" doll - she's feeding Kelly breakfast.
Clayton opening his big gift from Santa with a little help from Aunt Cindy.
Daddy helping him put together his big gift from Santa - a tool bench with a drill press that really makes noise & has a bit that spins around.
Caroline as "Tinkerbell"
Caroline & fabulously static-ey hair from the huge flower tent that she got from Mona & Papa.
We really enjoyed having all the Butlers that live in the vicinity over for Christmas dinner. It is just so nice to be near family. I had so much fun making the table extra special with the china I never get to use, and a nice centerpiece. But our house is a tad bit too snug for everyone and the food. So, even though it's not as "pretty," I think I'll have to resign future holiday dinners to the bunkhouse so everyone can fit and find the food and move around comfortably. *Sigh*.

Christmas Eve

We got together with the in-laws and the missionaries from our church to celebrate Christmas Eve at my sister-in-law, CindyLee's house. After an amazing meal of Cafe Rio copycat salad (so yummy! Good job, again, Cindy!) we all gathered downstairs around the tree. Grandpa read the Nativity from the New Testament and the kids acted out the parts with Paul as Joseph, Megan as Mary, Jake as the Donkey, Clayton as a Shepherd and Caroline as the Angel. Then CindyLee shared a tradition with us of reading a cute little nativity story about a donkey named Hee Haw. We exchanged gifts and then headed home to get ready for Santa's visit!
The angel (wrapped in a white bedsheet) speaking to Mary

Mary, Joseph & the Donkey on their journey. They passed a Shepherd abiding in his field.
The shy angel visiting the Shepherd.

CindyLee's family Christmas tradition.

Aunt Cindy's Visit

My sweet sister, Lucinda, was able to come to our home for a week-and-a-half long visit. It was so nice to have her all to ourselves for Christmas. (Well, the kids had her all to themselves and basically wouldn't share, but I loved seeing them enjoying her so much! By the end of the week, Clayton thought he had a new mother.) We didn't do a whole lot of anything very exciting. Just mostly hung around the house, chatted and played. Watched some TV & movies. It was nice the few days before Christmas because she watched the kiddos while I finished some things up. Here are a few highlights of her visit:
While I finished up some bows for gifts and orders, Clayton swiped a package of barrettes. He & Cindy proceeded to play "Hairdresser." He wouldn't leave them in for too long, though (Fortunately!!!)
Christmas Eve - getting ready to go to the family Christmas Eve gathering at the other Aunt Cindy's.
Hanging out in the new tent that Caroline got from Mona & Papa for Christmas - complete with two pairs of butterfly wings!
Gorgeous Cindy and her handsome new man.
Aunt Cindy's bravery. She painted Caroline's toenails and then let Caroline paint hers. Pretty much unassisted.
Shopping with Mom & Aunt Cindy. Caroline wore these around the store, followed me into the dressing room with them on and threw a tantrum when it was time to go and she had to take them off.
Riding the Merry-go-Round at the mall. Aunt Cindy's treat.
My babies and their buddy.