Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008



So the last 2 days have been full of Halloween festivities at our house. Yesterday Gabe had his preschool Halloween party. He was so excited about puttting his costume on, having his party and going trick or treating with his friends in class. Several kids didn't make it to the party for one reason or another, but Gabe was still excited and had a lot of fun.







As you can see in the picture though - Hunter was less-than-thrilled to leave Gabe at preschool. Hunter has been catching on to Gabe having fun without him. Earlier this week I was dropping Gabe off at a friend's house to play. On the way to his friend's house Gabe was trying to convince me to let Hunter go play too. He said, "But Mom - Hunter will be so sad if I go play without him. He will cry and cry if he can't come play too." I told him that Hunter wouldn't even notice it. However, the second we got to the door and Gabe got out of our wagon Hunter did just that - he started crying and cried until I took him home and put him down for his nap. He did it again today and was sad that he couldn't go to Gabe's other play-date. So my sweet friend offered for Hunter to come play too - so Hunter had his first play-date and loved it!


Tonight was the official Halloween celebrations. Gabe was just dying to get out to go trick-or-treating, so we were some of the first in the neighborhood. There were certain people that Gabe was excited to go see, so we rode the ranger around the neighborhood to go see some of our friends. Then one of our old neighbors came by with their little boy Garrett who is a few months older than Gabe. They had gone trick-or-treating together last fall, so Gabe had planned on going with Garrett this year too. When they came by we got a laugh out of the cute costume Garrett was wearing - another Buzz Lightyear. Gabe's other friend Noah was going to dress up as Woody (from Toy Story also) - but didn't want to wear a costume - we got a cute couple of pictures with the boys still though.








Now I'm not the biggest fan of Halloween - the gore really gets to me. But to see the boys enjoy it this year, and have fun with going to people's houses and wear their cute costumes - it was worth it. Now if we could keep them wearing cute costumes from here out - we'd be good :)


Hope all of your Halloween celebrations were fabulous, your bags full of yummy chocolate, and your halloween face make up washable.

video

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our story....

A couple of months ago my Mother-In-Law asked me to write up a little memory of when we met and got engaged. I thought as we are celebrating our anniversary that it would be appropriate for me to share this too. (I should include pictures - but that was before the days of digital cameras - so all of my pictures would have to be scanned. Plus then you'd see that I used to be skinny....maybe later):

Cory and Joanna Ellis' Courtship - 1998

Cory and Joanna met shortly after Cory returned to Idaho from his mission to Peru in May of 1998. It was just a few days after he was home. Trent - Cory's best friend - had dated Joanna's roommate for the summer Brenda Smith. Trent and Brenda were just friends now, but Trent spent time at their apartment and was always talking about his friend Cory who was coming home from his mission soon. Joanna had just gotten out of a relationship and was planning to go home to Utah in a couple of weeks after the summer term was up - so she wasn't looking to meet a new returned missionary, much less someone to date.

The first time Trent brought Cory over to the girl's apartment everyone sat and asked him about his mission and poor Cory looked uncomfortable. He was in clothes that were obviously not his own (they were his *little* brothers), he looked kind of afraid of the girls and almost like English was a second language to him. Joanna didn't pay too much attention, but her roommates had a lot of fun with him.

Well the boys started hanging around more and more, and Joanna started to be more interested. She would go running at the track across the street and Cory and his friends would come over to the apartment. Cory liked that Joanna was a 'runner' (a fact he later learned wasn't exactly true....). A few days later Cory took the girls to Island Park to his grandparents cabin and see sights around West Yellowstone, Mesa Falls, etc. Most of the girls hadn't been around to those areas yet after a year of school and Cory was excited to take them.

During that trip Joanna really started falling for Cory. Little problem though - so did her other roommates! So her roommate Brenda said, "I don't want any of us to end up fighting over silly boys - so let's make a deal that none of us will date Trent or Cory". Well - nothing like a challenge to make Joanna work harder.... Now Joanna started showing even more interest in Cory. (It really was genuine interest!)

That week they all decided to go to Lagoon on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. They all drove down to Lagoon, played like crazy that day (and flirted a fair share too!) During the drive down, and the time at Lagoon Joanna knew even more than ever that she had a thing for Cory. In fact, when she got home to Orem (where everyone stayed that night) she told her parents, "I REALLY like Cory...in fact, I think I could marry him!" Joanna's parent's had heard this before - and her dad laughed. However, her mom said totally seriously "Scott - I think she means it this time!"

Coming home from Orem to Rexburg Joanna and Cory drove in her car together (Joanna hadn't had a car at school, but would be going home for the summer at the end of the week and so she took her car to pack everything in.). They talked about everything under the sun and in order to prolong the idea of going home to her apartment - they even decided to take a trip to see the Idaho Falls temple on the way home. They walked around the green-belt, did everything they could to not hold hands or kiss each other - entirely too much flirting, tickling, wrestling - all the things people do to avoid kissing each other :) Everyone was worried about them because it was HOURS later when they finally came home. Joanna's roommates had even called her parents to warn them that it looked serious with Cory.

A day or two later Cory and Joanna did kiss for the first time at the Intermural Fields at Ricks College. One of the sweetest kisses ever - and Joanna knew she was hooked. Unfortunately she was leaving to go home in a matter of days. Joanna thought they'd see each other maybe a couple of times through the summer, and maybe date some in the fall, but at that time she didn't see how dating long distance would work out.

However - they ended up talking almost every night on the phone, Cory came to visit almost every weekend, and it was really only a matter of a couple of weeks when they started talking about getting married. They spent time with Cory's family at a family reunion, with Joanna's family, went on a trip to the Manti temple pageant with (their soon-to-be brother-in-law) Spencer, and decided that they were pretty serious about each other. It was during the trip to the Manti temple that Joanna had the confirmation that she and Cory were meant to be married for time and all eternity. Joanna changed her summer plans and moved back to Rexburg early just to spend time with Cory before they got officially engaged.

For the next month or so Cory and Joanna spent most of their time together. They would go rafting, swimming, mountain biking, and just hang out together. Lots of time in the outdoors, and a lot of time just being gooshy and in love. They decided that if they were serious about this getting married stuff - they better be sure it was right. The courtship was a whirlwind, but the quality of the time was more important than the quantity.

On August 19th, Cory proposed to Joanna. They were heading to Farmington, New Mexico to see Joanna's family's new house they had just moved into, and Cory proposed when they stopped at Arches National Park. August 19th was Joanna's parent's wedding anniversary and right before Cory's parent's wedding anniversary - so it was kind of special. When they got to Farmington Joanna's mom freaked out because they were engaged. She had asked Joanna just that morning if she was - but since it happened on the trip down Joanna had told her no. So that was a little funny when Joanna's mom saw the ring on her finger.

Along with help from family and friends - Cory and Joanna planned the wedding quickly, and got married in the middle of the semester on October 30th, 1998. They were married in the Mt Timpanogos temple, which was special to Joanna in many ways. Their wedding reception in Utah was beautiful, and so kindly put together by Joanna's friends and YW leaders. Shortly after they shared a joint-reception in Rexburg with Cory's sister Ashley and his mission friend Spencer.

Now looking back on these past 10 years it's crazy to think all of this happened in a few short months. Met in May, engaged in August, and married in October. But it's been an amazing 10 years, lots has happened and there is lots more in store for the rest of eternity!

Claim Your Blessings

Exactly 10 years ago (like to the minute - I think we were married at 10 or 10:30 am) I was in the Mt. Timpanogos temple getting ready to marry my sweetheart for time and all eternity. I remember being full of nerves and being both scared/nervous, and at the same time (if it's possible...) be filled with the reassurance that we were doing the right thing. I remember walking into the sealing room and looking around the room at friends and family members and just feeling so overwhelmed and FILLED with love. I couldn't believe that there were people there who had traveled across the country, people who had seen me grow up in the Young Women program, parents, grandparents, a few cousins - I was just overwhelmed with the love that filled that room.

I also remember thinking about other people who weren't there. Mostly friends who hadn't been endowed yet, and so weren't at the temple with us, or my siblings who were all too young to be there - and just feeling sad that they weren't there to share the day with us. (I compare it to when we will one day pass away, and are in heaven waiting for our family members to join us - I think that when there are people who haven't made the choices that will get them to where we will hopefully be - that we'll be sad that they are not with us, feeling that love and joy. We will miss them.)

Truthfully I don't remember a whole lot about the sealing....(I was really trying to just feel the moment, and soak up the fact that this man wanted to be with me for eternity!) except for the feeling of love. Love from Cory, love from our family, love from our friends, but most of all love from our Heavenly Father who sent us here to earth to experience these feelings of joy. We were lucky that my parents went back and wrote down thoughts from the experience to share with us. One of the most prominent things that I remember, and that was expressed in those thoughts my parents wrote down was the idea that Heavenly Father had many, many blessings in store for us as a new family and couple. He wanted to give us so much in this life, if we would live worthy for them. The sealer said the phrase, "Claim Your Blessings" - which has become our mission statement in a way. In fact - Cory made a nice bed for us for his wedding gift to me, and on the foot-board he had that phrase carved into it so we could be reminded regularly of it.

One memory I do have of the day was the rain. The pouring, torrential rain that was coming down in sheets. We were quite discouraged about the weather because we didn't know how we would take pictures after the sealing was finished. How would we get pictures of our new family in pouring rain? But as I had gone back to the bride's preparation room with the people who had helped me get ready my mom said, "Hey - it looks like the sun is coming out!" The windows in the bride's room are stained glass, so we couldn't see out - but we could see rays of sunshine peeking through. So we hurried to get ready to catch the moments of sun for our pictures. (But I hadn't eaten anything that morning and I was feeling dizzy - so the sweet temple helpers had to get me a snack (which they said happens frequently with new brides) to keep me from passing out...) But we raced out and did manage to get a few pictures taken. They weren't great pictures....but pictures none the less. (The quality of the pictures mostly had to do with the fact that I was trying to save money and not get a professional photographer....BIG mistake!!!!!)

Later we had a luncheon at Los Hermanos (still one of my favorite restaurants) with family and friends, and a reception in Orem that evening. I had some amazing YW leaders who basically put on the whole reception (with help from my friend Jessica's mom who did gorgeous floral arrangements!) and we literally had to just show up, enjoy the evening and feel loved. I left the reception crying....bawling - because I had never felt such an outpouring of love. Seriously - to this day I still can't think of more than maybe 5 people who we invited to our reception who didn't come. All night long we had a constant line, and loved every minute of it. I think more of it was because my family had moved just 2 months before from Orem to New Mexico - and people were coming to see them - but still - I felt a lot of love for my family. And to this day I still get almost teary eyed thinking of people who attended and made that day so special.

So - I had meant for this post to be just a quick walk down memory lane regarding our wedding day...but it got long - sorry about that. Overall I felt blessed, loved, and so excited about what was ahead of us. Who knew where 10 years would take us? I didn't know we'd have gone through years of infertility, moves across the country for several summers, building up our own business. I couldn't have pictured where we would be in 10 years - but I do know that overall I am grateful for where we have ended up so far. Here's to 10 more years, may they be as blessed as the last 10.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now HE knows his ABC's

Recently I found out that Gabe knew the ABC song - but in true 3 year old fashion he would leave out a lot of the letters, or mix them up. Last night I heard him singing it in the car on the way to our date (we went to see High School Musical with my friend Mindy and her daughter) and he had it almost perfect. Then today he sang it nearly perfect several times. I wish I had gotten the other versions on tape - but this one is pretty sweet too.

I sure do love that he's learning so much and that he enjoys it. He has been picking letters out of signs and on packaging. He'll say, "Hey Mom - that word starts with a letter F - just like FISH", and can recognize most letters by sight. Mr. Smarty Pants!

video

Digital bug

Every once and a while it will hit me that I haven't scrapbooked anything in a long time. Usually when that happens I'll spend an afternoon at my computer, or in my scrapbook room and bang out a few layouts. It never feels like I've gotten enough done for the time I put into it....but at least I'm making a little head-way. And I love that after an afternoon of Digital Scrapping I don't have to worry about the giant mess I've made from cutting up paper. (I do however have to worry about the mess Gabe made as I neglected him during Hunter's nap....)



Brothers:
Kit: Lakehouse (part of this grab bag - great deal!)

Template: Misfits 2 - Janet Phillips at http://www.scrapbookgraphics.com/

font: 2Peas Old Type, CK Constitution and CK Script


Pumpkin Patch:
Kit: Corn Maze at http://www.sweetshoppedesigns.com/
Template: freebie template found here: http://christielemmondesigns.blogspot.com/2008/10/too-cute-template-freebie.html
Fonts: CK Constitution & 2Peas Old Type



Too Cute To Spook:
Kit: Sweet Treats by Baers Garten @ http://www.scrapbookgraphics.com/
Template - from this set of templates
Font: 2Peas Chunky Peanut Butter

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oreos

So Gabe has the preschool treat tomorrow and he's been excited about it since last month when it was his turn. We debated between the traditional pumpkin shaped sugar cookies and these homemade Oreos. I must admit that I swayed his vote a bit because I was craving the Oreos and I hate to make them unless I'm taking them somewhere (or I'll eat them all!) So we spent the afternoon making some tasty cookies. We added orange icing to the cookies to make them a bit festive.


Homemade Oreos

Beat Well:

1 pkg Devils Food Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter (makes them crisp) or margarine (makes them soft)
Roll in balls for the desired size and place on cookie sheet.

Bake for 7 minutes at 350. (I ended up cooking them about 9 minutes...but my oven is a bit temperamental)

Fill each cookie with cream cheese frosting (8 oz cream cheese & aprox 1 lb powdered sugar - beat together well)

Notes: These cookies are even better the next day as the cookies get softer.

You will probably want to double the recipe. This did not make very many since you use 2 cookies for each Oreo. It's good if you don't want to have a lot around to eat - but kind of disappointing too.....

Proud Mommy Moment

This morning Gabe found my stash of Hershey chocolate bars in the cupboard. I had bought these to have on hand if we were going to make smores this summer - but never did. He really wanted to go make a fire in the back-yard and make smores. I wasn't feeling particularly camp-fire-ish so I suggested we make them in the microwave....for breakfast....

It might not have fulfilled any nutritional requirements, but know what - we had a blast! Gabe helped put them together, Hunter made a mess and I laughed and laughed when the melted chocolate squished out of mine and ended up all over my hands - ALL OVER! (too bad I didn't get a picture of that one.

Our tasty breakfast ended with trips to the bath-tub and lots of smiles. Definitely worth the extra calories!

Tender, sweet, powerful, faith-promoting, heartbreaking....

....these are just a few of the words I'd use to describe how I feel when I read my daily dose of encouragement from this blog: c jane enjoy it . I'm sure many of you have stumbled upon her blog, or been lead to it by a friend. When I am having a hard day, or struggling with my patience with my kids I find myself hearing a little voice that reminds me to check her blog. This is where I feel buoyed up - no matter what the subject I feel strengthened by the author's words and experiences. I feel comforted by her faith, her love, and her service. When I read her words I am renewed and I hug my kids a little harder, and want to play with them a little longer.

See Courtney Jane took in her sister's children after a horrific plane crash in August. Her sister was the author of The NieNie Dialouges - another amazing blog (that I' sad I hadn't visited until after the crash). Their family's love for life, for their family members, for the gospel - all of it is beautiful - it's really what life is all about.

Please go and read this article today that tells of their story. Feel their family's love, devotion, heart-break and faith. And if you're anything like me you'll walk away from your computer with tears pooling on your desk and streaking down your face as you reach for your loved ones to tell them how precious they are to you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

10 years ago...

I got to thinking today about our anniversary coming up on Thursday. Cory and I will have been married for 10 years - an entire decade! So since the #10 is a pretty big and significant number I got to thinking what other kinds of numbers we've accumulated over the 10 years. Here are a few of the ones I came up with:
  • 18 - the number of church callings we've had (10 for Joanna, 8 for Cory)
  • 2 - dogs (Daisy & Sadie)
  • 2 - little boys (Gabe & Hunter)
  • 7 - # of years we were married without kids
  • 3 - # of years we have had kids
  • 2 - number of ranger's we've had
  • 8 - nieces (6) & nephews (2) born since we were married (Logan, Lexie, Lincoln, Allison, Linzy, Taylor, Lucy, Genevieve)
  • 4 - people who have married into our families since we were married (Spencer, Laura, Kori, Nicole)
  • 3 - # of brothers who served missions after we got married (Jed - Russia, Chase - California, Paul - Norway)
  • 4 - beds (1 queen, and 3 king)
  • 8 - # of apartments (nasty basement apartment in Rexburg, Cottonwood, Porters, Cottonwood, Cedar City twin home, Cleveland, Spanish Fork 4-plex, Detroit)
  • 2 - # of houses (Rexburg, Cedar)
  • 6 - # of states (ID, UT, OH, CA, UT, MI, IL, ID, UT - though Joanna didn't live in CA or IL when Cory did for short times)
  • 32 - # of jobs (14 for Joanna - early morning janitorial @ Ricks College, Walmart cashier, Porter's cashier, Porter's Accounts Payable, Preston's Office Plus, telemarketing, personal scrapbooker, Memory Lane, Alliance Marketing - office manager for summer office, Kopp design, Porter's scrapbook displays, Porter's Accounts Receivable, The Scrap Coop Marketing Director, The Blind Guy office manager. 18 - Cory - Porter's manager, Porter's Office City, WMA, Primerica, Preston's Office Plus, Brianhead ski instructor, telemarketing, Winder Dairy, Eclipse Marketing - summer sales, Macey's stocking, selling vacuums, Sundance ski instructor, World's Gym sales, Alliance Marketing - summer sales office manager, Porter's Office Plus, American Family insurance agent, house framing, The Blind Guy - business owner)
  • 4 - trips to Hawaii
  • 2 - trips to Disneyland
  • 12 - vehicles

one of my favorite pictures from fall

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Festival City USA

Living in "Festival City USA" we see all kinds of interesting festivals. There is the Renaissance Festival, the Children's Storybook Festival, Skyfest, the ever famous Shakespeare Festival, all kinds of music festivals - we even call our Parade of Homes the Festival of Homes now. But today we participated in one that has become my favorite - the Livestock & Heritage Festival - or the sheep-fest.

We got up and packed the kids into town for the parade which was basically farm equipment, horses, wagons, a BUNCH of the sheep-herder's trailers that they live in and you guessed it - SHEEP. The sheep paraded right down main street. The whole time I just laughed and laughed - I love that we live in a cute little town that celebrates all kinds of parts of our lives. So next time I complain that there is nothing to do in our sleepy old town - remind me of the sheep parade and I'm sure to at least crack a small smile.

(this photo is from the livestock fest website)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Buzz Lightyear and skeletons

Gabe had quite the tough time choosing his Halloween costume this year. Several months ago we started getting catalogs in the mail advertising Halloween. I gave Gabe the catalogs (because when I get the mail Gabe always asks what HE got in the mail - I always give him the junk mail). He started telling me right away what he wanted to be for Halloween. He started saying he wanted to be Buzz Lightyear. This was the most common choice - but other times he'd want to be Woody, a skeleton, a pirate, Lightening McQueen, various animals, etc.

Last week we were at Target and I told Gabe that we had to choose right away or he wasn't going to get a costume at all. He went back to his original choice of "Buzz Lightyear" - but the costume they had at Target was....well - it was ugly. It was cheap, and ugly - probably my least favorite costume they sold at Target. But Gabe was pretty determined to be Buzz Lightyear. Cory tried to talk Gabe out of the Buzz costume and talked him into getting a Mater costume (from the movie Cars). But before we even got home from Salt Lake Gabe started complaining and saying he really wanted the Buzz costume. So we made plans to return the Mater costume and ordered the Buzz Lightyear costume from The Disney Store online (a different costume than the one sold at Target).

The Buzz costume came in the mail today and Gabe was THRILLED. He's tried it on several times, he's zipped around the house yelling "To Infinity and Beyond!" and having a blast. I was glad to see how happy he was - it almost made all the running around, shopping and returning costumes worth it! He's pretty darn cute in the costume.

We also bought the boys the cutest skeleton pajamas this year. They glow in the dark! Trying to get a picture of the 2 of them together was (as usual) a total joke. Cute boys, not too cooperative when it comes to taking pictures.


Pumpkin Patch

Today was Gabe's first ever FIELD TRIP; the first of many he'll probably have. His preschool class went to the Judd Pumpkin Patch in Paragonah (and that is SUPER cute to hear Gabe say!) I had offered to help drive when we found out about it, but Gabe's teacher said they had enough helpers. However, she said if I wanted to go still I was more than welcome to join them. I sat back and thought about it, and asked Gabe what he wanted me to do and I just had to go with them. Gabe still wanted to drive in the car with the other kids, which was fine with me - but I was so glad he still wanted Hunter and I to tag along.

It was just a quick little trip to the pumpkin patch, and the pumpkins were a bit picked over this close to Halloween - but it was still fun. It was funny to watch the kids picking through the pumpkins and tripping through the dried up vines. Gabe and his little friend Jace just could not pick their pumpkins out - it was funny. They were so picky and kept picking out funky looking ones. Both of them kept finding TINY, rotten, mushy and green pumpkins. I suggested that Gabe look for a fun orange one. The next thing I heard was Gabe telling his teacher, "Teacher, I can't have that pumpkin - it has green on it and my mom told me I had to get an ORANGE pumpkin." Cute kids! It was fun to see the kids that Gabe has fun with every week in his class and to see him interact with his little friends.

When I was trying to decide whether or not I'd be going with Gabe it made me think about my kids growing up. I was just not ready to let my little guy go on a field trip without me! There are days when I feel like I need a break from my kids, but I also don't like the idea of them having fun experiences without me. The idea of them doing things on their own kind of scares me. Yes, I want them to learn and grow, and become their own person...but at the same time that kind of scares me. It scares me that there will be a point in time where they are completely on their own and won't need me at all. That makes me a little sad....ok - it makes me very sad! I'm not ready for them to grow up.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My boys

Man I love these boys! How did we get such CUTE little boys!?!?! They are just so funny - especially together. Today they kept clobbering each other (in a fun way) and Hunter kept hugging and kissing Gabe. It was funny to see. I hope they'll love playing together more and more as they grow up. I'm already finding more and more that they are enjoying each other's company.

And yes - Hunter is (pretty much) walking now. He'll take several steps at a time and then realize that crawling is faster and plop down. It's pretty cute to watch him balance and totter around.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Love where you're at...

Does anyone else have a hard time loving the station of life their train is currently stopped at? It seems that through my whole life I've always chased happiness - thinking that it was just around the corner - only to find that it was right in front of me all along.

When I was 11 years old I knew that life would be "complete" when I was old enough to be in the Young Women's program. At 15 I was certain that true happiness came when I was 16 and could officially date. Then as I got closer to the time to leave for college I was sure that when I left home and was on my own - THEN I would feel that contentment that must come at some point....and don't even get me started with the whole "boy" issue. I was so positive that once I had a boyfriend/fiance/husband - I would feel great about myself.

This has continued all through my life - and I have chased away way too many wonderful days with 'what if' thoughts, or 'if only...' moments. I have struggled with finding joy in the here-and-now.

One big example is regarding having children. Through our years of infertility and wanting desperately to have children I don't know if we ever sat back and enjoyed the time the 2 of us had together. I took for granted the fact that we could go to movies without worrying about having a babysitter - not to mention how much cheaper a night out was without paying said sitter. I didn't realize how blessed I was to go to the grocery store by myself and take as long as I wanted. I most certainly didn't appreciate the fact that I went to church on Sunday and heard the lessons - really got to listen. All I could think about at the time was how life would be so much more complete, and so much better if I had children by my side.

Fast forward several years to 2008 - to today. How often do I find myself stressed out or frustrated with the incessant noise in our home? I cry because I'm not a good enough entertainer or disciplinarian to my children. I feel overwhelmed by all of the things I don't get done because I am trying to spend time with my children, or feel upset because I only feel like a "MOM" and not a person. While I don't long for the sadness and loneliness that I felt through the years of infertility, I do wish I could have some of those feelings from time to time to remind me how blessed I currently am.

Today I read an essay from a great book called, "The Mother In Me" - about just this thing. It talked about a woman who was struggling with infertility and compared her feelings to the feelings of her sister-in-law who was struggling with being a young mother. As I read the essay and tears streamed my face I remembered for a moment those feelings, the thought that, "If I only had a baby - then I would fulfill my mission". The essay concluded saying essentially that we needed to sit back for a moment in OUR lives and be grateful for what we have going on right now. Whether or not those experiences are comfortable or "fun" is irrelevant. Remember that there are hundreds of women who long for your life.

For instance.....

If you are frustrated with not knowing what to cook for dinner tonight - remember that there is a mother in Africa who just longs to have food to cook for her children.

If you long for children of your own to hold - just for a moment relish in the idea that your time is truly your own.

If you feel overwhelmed by the children you have - think of the woman who cries herself to sleep each night begging Heavenly Father to be a mother.

If you are frustrated with a spouse who works overtime - think of the family with no job, no income who wonder where their next check will come from.

If you worry about keeping all of the "stuff" cleaned up in your house and wish you didn't have so many toys to clean up - picture the family who lost everything in a fire, who have no 'things' to clean up.

If you struggle with a way-ward teenager - remember the parents who buried a young baby, never to see them as a teenager.

I could go on and on - but I think you get the idea. Just for a moment sit back and be grateful for where you are at. Thank Heavenly Father for your set of 'blessings' or 'trials'. I know I'll think a little harder about it today and not wish away my todays.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Check this out - Digital Scrapbook SALE

WOW! Elemental Scraps is having a big $1.00 sale today (I think it's over 10/10 at midnight....? but I'm not sure.)

Check out some cute kits.

Jamaica trip

What a FUN trip! We've been lucky through the last few years to earn trips through our business. Lucky to see lots of fun places and do fun things. But I do have to say that this trip was one of the FUNNEST we've been on. We didn't actually earn this one, but one of our friends who is also a blind guy earned it and gave it to us (we've helped him get to several of his trips in the past). He actually had earned 2 trips for 2 people and couldn't go - so some friends of ours (Mindy and Jesse Smith) bought his other trip from him. And then our best friends Trent & Melissa also went because Melissa's brother owns the Blind Guy franchise in Idaho Falls and he gave the trip to them. So it was so fun!

  • Tuesday - flew with the Smith's from Cedar City to SLC, SLC to Atlanta. Then they set us up in a nice Hilton hotel for the night. We went to dinner at the hotel and to bed.
  • Wednesday - Cory started the day by getting his head shaved by "Smitty" at a little barber shop in our hotel. Then we met up with the Cheney's who had flown to Atlanta on a different flight. We ate at the airport and we hopped on our plane headed for Montego Bay, Jamaica. When we got to the airport it was POURING rain - absolute downpour. But we got on the bus headed for our resort in Ocho Rios and it wasn't too bad. We stopped for a bathroom break (the bus ride to the resort was over 2 hours long!!!!) and I got stuck in the bathroom. I had a hard time locking the bathroom door, and then once I got it locked it was STUCK. I was totally freaked out that I was going to be left in this stinky bathroom and not get to enjoy my vacation. But I ended up kind of breaking the door to get out....When we got to the resort we claimed our luggage and headed to our "villas". We didn't have a great view of the ocean, but we did have a semi-private pool and a cool little (it was small....) villa. The Smith's and the Cheney's villas were right by ours. The villas are all over the resort property and you actually get driven around in this little cart things - it was fun! (I'll have to get pictures from the Cheney's of the carts - I never got any taken...) That afternoon we went down to the beach and then got ready for the welcome dinner. We had an "interesting" waitress for dinner that night....she was devastated that none of us would drink any rum - she acted like we were totally odd. That night we also went swimming in our pool. There was a big hot tub down from our rooms - but it wasn't hot - so that was a bummer.
  • Thursday - We had breakfast and then headed out to do the zip line tour. Cory and I had already done this particular zip line when we went to Jamaica 2 years ago on our cruise. We'd had such a fun time we thought we'd try it again. It was a lot of fun! However - it was hotter than I remember being in a long time. And I'm pretty sure that I sweat more than I have ever sweat - it wasn't very attractive....After the zip line it did start raining. Later that day we went to the beach. We rode around on the aqua trikes (like paddle boats), had one of the resort employees take us out sailing on these little hobie cat boats and played around on the beach. That night we had dinner and then later Mindy and Jesse participated in the married couple game. Lots of embarrassing questions, but it sure made all of us laugh! I can't remember if we swam some that night or not....
  • Friday - We got up and hoped to go snorkeling in the morning - but the snorkel trips were all full when we got down to the sign-up desk. Instead Trent and Cory took a sailing lesson and I sat on the beach relaxing. Melissa was feeling sick, and the Smith's were getting massages. Then we headed to one of the 100 pools (seriously - the resort had 100 pools!) and chatted with a bunch of our blind guy friends. It was fun to swim up to the bar and drink yummy frozen drinks (once again - the bar-tenders thought we were crazy for not having alcohol!) Later we had a yummy lunch and then went into the town to go shopping. Some of our blind guy friends arranged to go on a shopping trip with a Jamaican and we went to see where they shop for just normal, every-day things. We definitely stuck out like a sore thumb - but it was nice to see things other than the touristy things we normally see on vacation. Then we also went shopping at a big tourist spot too (the one we'd shopped at on the cruise). Then we headed back to the resort and planned to have a nice formal dinner. We didn't get to the restaurant we wanted to on time so we ended up at another one which wasn't as good....but it was still fun. We always had good laughs if nothing else.
  • Saturday - This morning the boys were going to go golfing, but since we hadn't gotten to go snorkeling yet they skipped golf and we headed out snorkeling (minus Melissa - poor girl felt sick a bunch of the trip!). They took us out in a glass bottom boat and we snorkeled for around an hour. I wished we'd gotten to do it for longer (I really enjoy snorkeling!) - but we did have fun. Right before we were getting out to go back to shore I saw one of the coolest fish I have ever seen - it was only about 4 inches long (all of the fish were really small!) and dark blue/black. Then it had these gorgeous GLOWING blue dots all over it - they looked like little light-bulbs. It was so awesome! After snorkeling we dried off and jumped in a van to go back to the spot we'd gone to the zip-line earlier in the week (it's called Chukka Farms). There we went dune-buggy riding. It had rained off and on through the trip so we were excited to get a little muddy. What we hadn't planned on was getting COVERED in mud - there was mud and sticks in places we didn't even know we had places! In our mouths and there wasn't a place on our body not covered in brown goo. Then after the ride was over we ended at a place to go cliff diving into the ocean. I had said before that I wasn't going to do it - but once we were so dirty it actually looked refreshing. So we all plunged into the ocean. Cory's swimming suit didn't quite make it back with him as he swam to the surface - but he did recover it... (and everyone got a good laugh). I was freaked out - but pretty proud of myself for doing it. We tried getting the dirt off of us (we were so dirty though that I think we're STILL finding dirt in places!) - and then headed back. The dune buggies were extra fun because we also had 2 other couples that we're friends with from The Blind Guy (the Ripley's in Tri-Cities, WA and the Bagley's in Kalispel, MT). We all agreed that the ride might have been one of our funner excursions we've done on our trips. After the ride we headed back to the pool by our room. We swam for hours and Cory and the guys entertained us with what we refer to as the "SPECIAL" Olympics. I don't have any pictures of that either - so I'm hoping Trent and Melissa send pictures soon (wink-wink, nudge-nudge). All 3 guys were exhausted after all of the splashing, diving, running on water, splashing as much water OUT of the pool as possible, and other "events". The girls watched, got splashed, and laughed harder than we've laughed before - it was a riot! That night we had our group "beach party" for the group we were traveling with. LOTS of fun! The food stations were gorgeous, food yummy, and drinks....alcoholic. Yeah - alcoholic. We asked as we walked in if the drinks had rum or any other alcohol in them and the waitress said right to my face - NO. So we all enjoyed one (and some people more than one). They taste like grapefruit juice and didn't smell at all like alcohol. (earlier in the week we'd also been given drinks with rum in them - but noticed it before we drank them - THEY smelled like rum). But after a little while Mindy said, "Um, you guys - I think these have rum in them...." So we stopped another waiter and he said, "Yeah - they have rum in them". Nice. So the table full of non-drinking Mormons had all 'enjoyed' some "I Love Sunshine" drinks. Luckily we hadn't had enough to be very affected - but we were ticked that they had lied to us. (the only thing I noticed was that my lips felt numb, and my face felt flushed). After that we were even more careful about what we were drinking. We danced some - but it was HOT and HUMID. We were so hot that we decided to take a little swim in the ocean.....nice and refreshing.
  • Sunday - Time to head home. These trips always come to a close WAY too soon! We always say that we are going to extend the next trip, but we haven't to this point. I think next time around we'll definitely have to stick around longer - it seems like just as soon as you're fully in "VACATION MODE" it's time to come home. We flew from Jamaica to Atlanta, Atlanta to SLC, and SLC to Cedar. LONG DAY!
So thanks to Crae and Jenny for letting us use their trip, and thanks to awesome friends who made the trip fun, full of laughs, and one we'll have to repeat again someday!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Big news....

We have some big news here. Hunter took his first 2 steps on his own today! He only took 2 - but he made a lot of progress. I set him down to play on the floor in our office and he didn't want to sit. So I stood him up and he stood there on his own. Then he took 2 very normal looking steps before sitting down. We tried it quite a few more times, and he'd just stand there for a few minutes (and standing very well too!) and then he'd sit down.

He's also been trying to stand up from the floor - but ends up doing what looks like a head-stand. He loves holding anyone's hand to walk (including Gabe) and walks really well with just the slightest bit of support (I think it's a confidence thing). So watch out - Hunter might be on the run soon!

Blind Guy Showroom

Today was the big grand opening for our new office. All of the business owners who have offices in the complex that Cory's new shop is in had a big open house/grand opening. We had a ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce, the local radio station did a live remote, we had food, games, a bounce house, prizes - and we hopefully got some good exposure.

We've been working like mad to get things ready for the showroom (Cory and I even stayed at the shop until 1:30 am on Monday to work on it), and although the built in reception desk didn't get installed in time (and at no fault of ours....) things came together quite nicely.