Monday, December 31, 2007

a great (stolen) quote

Why to blog?

"To you women of today, who are old or young, may I suggest to you that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper. Writing is a great discipline. It is a tremendous education effort. It will assist you in various ways, and you will bless the lives of many--now and in the years to come, as you put on paper some of your experiences and some of your musings." --President Gordon B. Hinckley

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

I woke up this morning to a beautiful sight. I love when there is freshly fallen snow. Everything looks so bright and clean and new. I think it's just the perfect way to end one year and ring in the next. Everyone at this time of year makes resolutions and plans on how to be better and skinnier and richer, etc... For years I have fought the urge to do the same, but have finally given in, and will resolve to be better this year. I don't think I'll be posting my resolutions here, but I have a journal where I will be setting my goals and keeping track of my progress. Mike and I are however going to be making healthier choices this year, and will be losing weight and getting into shape. If i can convince him to take a picture with me, I think it would be great to post a before and after photo. Even if you my blog readers (if you really exist?) don't care, that's OK, but at least we'll have it for Mike and I to look back on. The other thoughts I've had are about the Savior. Everything so clean and white reminds me of Him. Each time I look at my children I am reminded of His love for us, and his sacrifice. The innocence in their little faces (most of the time) makes me so grateful for all of the blessings I have. When I was pregnant with Tyler I received a priesthood blessing and it stated that Heavenly Father was grateful to me for bringing one of His spirit children to earth to gain a body. I am so grateful for the love and trust that my Eternal Father has for me. So as I look out the window at this beautiful white scene, I will be forever grateful for my blessings, and for this time of the year when I can resolve to be a better person and start clean and fresh.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quilting for Christmas

It all started on Thanksgiving 2007, in the kitchen of Rulon and Rebecca Simmons. An invitation to join the madness of "Black Friday" was extended to me from Lynette Loveridge, my awesome sister-in-law. She and Rebecca, my awesome mother-in-law, had big plans to venture out the next morning to take part in the madness that is BARGAIN SHOPPING. The targeted location, Joann's Etc. The bargain, all flannel material $.99/yd, yes that is correct, only $.99. This included all prints and solids (except the ones marked specifically for quilting.) How could I turn down the invitation? Oh yeah, Mike had to work the next morning at midnight until 10am. Who would stay home with my 4 children? After some quick thinking and mini-scheming, Lynette and I asked Bampa Simmons. The offer that made it irresistible was the use of our high-speed Internet. He so graciously accepted the opportunity to spend some quality time with my children and we were on our way to some shopping. The next morning, I woke up at 6am, all of the kiddies still nestled snugly in their beds, and I kept an eye out the front window for Bampa and my ride. Rebecca drove us and we headed down Ridge Rd to Joann's. The anticipation grew, none of us had been shopping on Black Friday before, and after all of the crazy news stories that I had seen on TV about people getting trampled, I wasn't sure how this would go. We managed to find a parking spot in the back of the lot, and walked carefully into the store, (the lot was a little slippery.) As we walked through the door we were amazed to see people's carts piled so high with fabric. Both Lynette and I commented on how crazy people were to have that much fabric in their carts...little did we know! We walked over to the flannel section of the store, which was packed, and started to look around. Suddenly, fabric that may not have appealed to us in the past, started to become so irresistibly cute, that we now had a cart full, and had to go back for a second cart to fit everything. We had a great time! We ended up there for at least 3 hours, and were standing around the aisles of flannel waiting for the women who were restocking from the cutting tables to replenish the supply. At one point I walked by a cart and touched a fabric inside it and commented on how cute it was, you should have seen the look on the ladies face! I wasn't going to take it out of her cart, but that seemed to be her concern, it was pretty funny! Only I could get into a fight at Joann's at 7am, over fabric! It must be a talent, or a scent I let off, I don't know! So when all was said and done, I purchased enough fabric to make a quilt for each of my 4 children! I left there so excited and ready to quilt! The hard part now was coming up with which patterns to use. Mike didn't think it could be done since I had only 4 weeks and 4 quilts to make. I got off to a great start with Tyler's quilt, and within days of purchasing the material, was well on my way. I went to the library in the following days and checked out 5 quilting pattern books and thumbed through those many times. I finally secured a pattern for McKee's quilt and started cutting out his material also. His quilt was a little tricky to hide because he's old enough to notice what I'm doing, and his material had basketballs on it, and that made it more obvious I think that it was for him. I finally decided on a pattern for Brooke's, actually, I designed one for her, and decided to go with a rag look, which I love! Seth's quilt gave me the most trouble. I had planned to use a great pattern called crazy eight, and got the pattern from Lynette, and cut out the material like the pattern said, and then I decided that I didn't have the right material for that pattern. So, back to the drawing board. I ended up making up my own pattern, and I really like it. So, on Sunday, December 23rd, after church, I spent the afternoon sewing my heart out, trying to get the quilts done. I went to bed at 11pm, after I had sewn a whole piece of material wrong side up. I didn't even unpick it, I just put the material down, turned off my machine, and the lights and then headed up to bed. I figured that if I made such an obvious mistake, I was too tired to keep going. So I set my alarm for 6:30am on Christmas Eve morning so I could get up and get sewing. By about 8am I decided that the kids were getting quilt tops on Christmas morning, and I would get them quilted together during the next couple weeks. I gave myself until noon that morning to sew, and then I had to get some cooking done since my family was coming over for dinner and festivities. So, here they are, the 4 quilt tops for my kids. They all loved their blankets by the way, I'm sure Tyler liked his too, but he was too busy trying to chew on everyone else's new toys, and he didn't show much interest!

Tyler's Quilt

Brooke's quilt

Seth's quilt

McKee's quilt

You May Have Noticed...

That the title of our last blog was "Nerry Christmas," and you may be wondering why? Well, one of our most favorite Christmas cards this year was one I received from my late Aunt's boyfriend. He was very sweet to think of us! I hung up his card on the doorway as I always do with my Christmas cards, and Sunday before Christmas I was sitting on the couch staring at the cards. Well, I thought maybe I was seeing things, but when I showed Mike, he confirmed that I wasn't crazy (well, at least not when it came to the card :)). See for yourself!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Crazy Quizzes

so i'm addicted to the blog quizzes! i think they're so cute! here's the newest one i took this morning.

You Should Have a Blue Christmas Tree

For you, the holidays represent a time of calm, understanding, and peace.
You avoid family fights, and you don't get too stressed out - even when things are crazy!

You like to make Christmas about making everyone's life a little bit better.
You don't get caught up in greed or commercialism. You're too sincere for that.

Your blue tree would look great with: Lots of silver tinsel

You should spend Christmas Eve watching: It's a Wonderful Life

What you should bake for Santa: Chocolate chip cookies

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Big boy and big tears!

Today is a bitter sweet day for me. Tyler has moved out of his infant car seat. He's 11 1/2 months old. You would think that wouldn't be a big deal. But I'm kind of an idiot I guess, and to me it means some sniffs. The car seat we have is the same one that brought Seth and Brooke and Tyler home from the hospital. Also my friends daughter Julianne (they couldn't get theirs back together after taking it apart to wash it!) My good friend Rachel also has the same car seat we do. A couple weeks ago I was trying to open the matching stroller and the handle snapped into pieces. I didn't realize how strong I was. And now, Tyler has outgrown his carrier. The poor guy has been stuffed into that car seat for weeks with a winter coat on, and I finally decided to give it up! So now my Tyler is a big boy and faces forward in the van. I took some pics of him this morning as we went to the library. He isn't feeling well today, so his eyes are a little droopy, but he loved riding where he could look out the window!

And here is the poor empty baby seat, never to be used again...tears from mommy...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Blogging for Church

The above is an article containing quotes from Elder Ballard. With a Mormon in the upcoming Presidential Elections, many people have been coming to their own conclusions about our church, or having conversations that may not be 100% accurate. He has made a request that we might make better known our beliefs and also to use online options because "all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them." So here is my plea. If you know me and are reading my blog, please feel free to ask me questions. I would love to tell you the truth about our beliefs. If you don't believe me :) you can always visit our church website or talk with our missionaries! I know that the teachings of my church are true, Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I also know that God lives, and loves each of us, no matter what. I have become a better person because of my membership in this church, and because I strive to live the gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ every day. I would love for everyone I know to be as happy as I am.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Harassed By Pizza!

Another awesome post by MIKE (Continue at your own risk)

I love a good pizza, but it was pizza that really got me to hate shoveling. See, no one likes shoveling....well, that's only true if you are not a kid. Kids for some reason love to shovel. It's one of those things that technically qualifies as cleaning that they are willing to do. Well, I hate shoveling. But, lets back up a month or two. My buddy who we'll call 1 Fish (name changed to protect Sean's identity) was elk hunting a few months ago and he decided to play superman and jump off the horse as it took off wildly. Well, about the time 1 Fish realized he couldn't fly, he hit the ground, probably rolled, and ended up breaking his arm in places he didn't knew he had. Well, that left 1 Fish with...well...1 Arm. So, now 1 Arm can't do much since he is down an arm (hopefully that will change someday.) So, how does this relate to pizza and shoveling? Well, have you ever tried eating a pizza with 1 arm? Wait, that's possible. Have you ever tried SHOVELING with 1 arm? So, I went to his house and shoveled his driveway. Still, not too keen on shoveling, but helping out where help was needed. Then, as I'm there minding my own business I get a wiff (hey, Firefox just put a red underline on "wiff" meaning it's spelled wrong....come on, that's a word....oh, it thinks there's an 'h' in it too)......i get a whiff of pizza. See, 1 Arm lives about...well...1 arms length from a pizza shop. So, imagine yourself being a good neighbor and shoveling and then being harassed by the smell of pizza. Maybe you are smart and think "Big freaking deal whiney pants MIKE! Just go buy a piece, or a whole (Guys, Flies &) Pie(S) and be done with it. Well, listen here Mr. or Mrs. Smartypants Reader!!! I think the same thing, reach into my pocket and realize I left my wallet at HOME!!! Needless to say I was ticked. So, I did what any concerned citizen would do. I picked up my cell phone and called 911 to report that I was being harassed... $400 in bail money later, I'm finally home and get to eat PB&J for dinner! Darn you pizza shop! I'll get my revenge!!!

Stay tuned! Crystal asked me to blog my opinion on how every job in the world is the same...and how everything in life is the same as that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


We took the kids last night to go and visit Santa! They have been begging us for a couple weeks now. Seth figured out that yesterday marked 2 weeks until Christmas and said "we better go see Santa soon." I had a great idea to take the kids to Midtown Plaza in downtown Rochester. This is the last year they will be there, because it's being torn down to build offices. It's a sad day for me. Mike thinks I'm crazy, it's not like I frequent the mall or anything, I just know it's a big part of Rochester's history. My mom used to go there when she was a kid, and so did Mike. I sang with my high school girls chorus in 9th grade near the Christmas tree. So I thought it would be fun to take the kids to see it before it's gone. So when McKee got off the bus yesterday at 4:00, we loaded up in the van and took off to downtown. The kids were so excited that we got to park in the underground parking garage, and then ride the elevators up to the mall. When we got there we spotted the HUGE Christmas tree, and the monorail. All 3 of them were so excited to ride it. We were lucky because just as we were walking up to get in line the lady made her last call for the day for rides. The kids had a blast! McKee thought it was a little slow, but he still enjoyed it. The only bummer was, Santa wasn't there! He was at a different place I guess. They have really strange hours down there, probably because there really aren't any big attractions to draw people in, so they close at 6pm. Santa only visits that mall until 2pm. So we got some fun family pics with the Christmas decorations, and then we headed over to Greece Ridge Mall to see if Santa was over there! Sure enough he was. We waited in line to see him, and a team mate of Seth's from soccer last year was in line in front of us. Finally it was our turn. I had been talking to the kids for a couple weeks getting them ready to talk to Santa. They are allowed to ask Santa for one present. So all of them stood around him, I was holding Tyler and one by one Santa asked them how old they were and what they wanted for Christmas. McKee asked for a Venom web shooter, without the mask (I told him that Santa knows not to bring toys that Moms don't like) Seth asked for a Spider man Web Blaster, and Brooke asked for a bean bag chair. Tyler asked for something to chew on! :) After the kids were done talking to Santa, Brooke and Tyler sat on his lap and Seth and McKee stood next to him for a photo. Tyler wasn't quite sure if he liked it, but Brooke loved it! When we were walking out of the mall I asked the kids if they had a good time and the boys said yes. Brooke looked a little bit sad and said "Santa didn't give me a bean bag." It was so precious. I guess we didn't explain the part about the presents coming on Christmas morning! I found a video on Youtube about Midtown if you have 5 minutes to view it, it's really interesting. Enjoy our pictures!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More of my Family

I was looking at my blog and I realized that I never posted any pics of my neices or my nephew Carson. The are all so adorable, I love them, even though I can't be close to them. I wish we could all live closer together so the kids could grow up together, but you have to be where the jobs are (or where the jobs pretend to be). Carson and Brynlee visited for Thanksgiving. Rulon took some great pics of the kids.

Brynlee Carson and Brooke

Carson and Seth

We still haven't met Claire in person, and we haven't seen Gwen in a while, but they are getting cuter and cuter every time we get pics of them. Enjoy!

Claire-Bear Ballerina Gwen

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Elf Name

Your Elf Name Is...
Fuzzy Stocking Stuffer

I'm an Aunt...Again!

My brother and sister-in-law had their baby last night! A baby boy named Jacob Rulon Simmons. He was 6lb 15.8 oz and 20 1/4 inches long! He's cute! Mom and baby are doing well as far as we've heard! He's a cutie!

This is Ken all decked out holding his new boy. Roxie ended up having a c-section, so that's where the gear comes in!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Clap, Clap

Tyler finally learned how to clap! When we were at the movie last Friday night, everyone in the audience was clapping when the show started and I looked down at Tyler (he was on my lap) and his little hands were clapping too! It was so cute. Now everytime we say "yay" he claps. Here is a cute little video of him clapping. This is Saturday night, so only a couple claps since his first ones!

Today is Tyler's 11 month b-day! I can't believe he's almost one already! My niece Claire will be 1yr old in 9 days! Happy Early Birthday Claire! Man the time flies!

Monday, December 3, 2007


I haven't posted in a while, and as I'm sitting down right now, I'm realizing there are a bunch of things I've been wanting to post. I decided recently that I'm not doing enough with the kids, and I really want them to have traditions and memories when they grow up. We have holiday traditions, those are the "easy" ones, but we don't have a lot of everyday things that are consistent enough for the kids to one day say "I want to do this with my kids someday." So I decided we would implement Family Movie Night. The kids love watching movies, and they watch movies often (although they don't think it's often enough), but I wanted all of us to sit down as a family and have some popcorn and watch movies together. So we've been doing this every week for about a month now, and I am loving it! I think the kids are really enjoying it too. It gives me an excuse to watch all the movies I loved when I was little, and I want my kids to see some of those movies too. I'm going to start a list on the side of my blog so I can keep track of what we're watching. Well, this last week, Friday night actually, Mike brought home some tickets to go to the Kodak Theatre on the Ridge to see Enchanted. I had seen the previews on TV and thought it looked cute, but going to the movies can get expensive, especially when you have 4 children. I planned on getting it from Redbox, at Wegmans, or checking it out at the library. I was excited for the chance to take the kids to the movies. The Kodak theatre is pretty cool. We sat up on the balcony level, and we ran into our neighbors, who also work at Kodak (it was a special showing for Kodak employees in the Digital Cinema department). When they opened the curtains to reveal the screen Brooke said "that's a really huge TV!" It was so cute. The boys were so excited. The movie enchanted was adorable! I will buy it on DVD when it comes out! It's worth seeing! It was funny too. My only beefs with it were, the witch was a little scary, but that was only for a few short scenes, Brooke was a little scared, but loved the rest of the movie, and there were a couple scenes that were not really appropriate for small kids, but it was humor and innuendo that children wouldn't understand anyway. For instance, there's a scene where the prince is knocking on doors trying to find the princess, and the first door opens with a woman holding a baby, and she has a couple children at her feet and he's all decked out in prince clothes, well, she looks at him and says "you're too late" and then closes the door. I thought that was hilarious! But a couple doors down a big biker dude in leather opens the door, spots the prince and starts making eyes at him. I just didn't think that a gay reference was necessary in a children's movie. Over all, it was great though. I think it's rated pg just because of the scary witch. I wish I had brought my camera to the theatre, it was beautiful in there, and the kids had fun. Oh, I almost forgot, at one point the prince has to kiss the princess to wake her up and Seth's comment was so funny. There's a cute chipmunk in the movie too, Seth said "Where's the chipmunk? He should kiss her!" McKee was yelling at the screen too as a dragon was falling "You're a dragon aren't you, can't you fly!" We had a great time!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Teach By Example.....Yeah Right!!!

So, I hope you all know that we've been lied to all our lives. You've all heard the phrase "Teach by example." It implies that if we want our kids to be reverent, we need to be reverent. If we want our kids to have manners, we need to have manners. Well, this all sounds first glance (can your ears glance?), but it's all lies!

Yep, I said it's all lies!!! "Teach by example DOES NOT WORK!!!

Sure, there are those times when our children are young and we say "clap clap" and they do (nice work last night Tyler) or the times when we show them how to crawl and they take their first steps, but don't let this fool you. You did not teach by example, they just learned how to start getting in trouble. It starts with sitting up (ok, everyone say "how cuuuuute") then they take their first step (is it a "step" when you start to crawl?), and then next thing you know they are, make that RUNNING around the house and using their "clapping" techniques you taught them to hit their siblings. Yeah, it all sounds crazy, but you know it's true!!!

I think we got side tracked, but we still learned something. So, now back to why teaching by example does not work. I go to work early in the morning (earlier than you think) and therefore I'm tired a lot. Every chance I get I try to lay my head down and take a nap. Every chance my kids get they try to get out of taking a nap. Why is that? Here I am, their father, resting peacefully (you know with 4 kids there is no "peacefully" around dinner time) on the couch and setting the PERFECT example of being quite, motionless, and sleeping for my kids. Out of 4 kids, none of them have followed my example of taking as many naps as possible. So, think I'm crazy? Well, I am, but, just think about the other examples i give my kids. I get up at Butt:30am every morning (I'll give you a moment to comprehend how early Butt:30am is......Crystal, did you come up with that phrase?.....Ok, everyone with me again?)....I get up at Butt:30am every morning and go to work before the sun comes up. Now, let me tell you in my 80,000 years of being a parent not once, not ever, not even a single time have ANY of my 4 children woken up that early AND GONE TO WORK! Seriously, is it my example that sucks, or is it just the pure and true fact that teaching by example does not work? You be the judge (but you have to wear the funny black robe too)!!!

I get up early, I go to work, I take naps, and my kids STILL have not done any of that, or even jumped in and said "Daddy, Daddy, wait, wait.....I've seen you change 30 million diapers (Crystal has changed 40 million) and now, from that example I want to give it a try. Let me dad, please, pleaaaaaase!!!"

Well, there you have it. Teaching by example does not work. Typing all this really tired me out, I'm going to give napping by example another shot.......zzzzZZZzzzzz!!!