Thursday, May 29, 2008

last day of school

this is a momentous day. It's haeley's last day of kindergarten and tomorrow is her first day of summer break ever. If the rest of school goes this fast she'll be graduating in 3 weeks. where did the school year go? wow! she is already reading chapter books! I am so glad she goes to a school where they teach phonics (all 71 of them).

Another momentous thing happened yesterday. Haeley and I did hand stands in the basement. she did great. I on the other hand need my arm strength back. How I wish I could start lap swimming again. Maybe when Coleton goes to school - preschool - but we are still a long ways away from that since he is just barely 2. Anyway, Haeley and Coleton and I got a good laugh about it all.

Anyway, congrats little girl. I love you and I am grateful for your desire to learn.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

memorial day family time

I am working on a family album this year. So I had better keep up with the new stuff and catch up on the old stuff (January - April). I am keeping it kind of simple. It's so much fun preserving these memories and it is so nice to be able to sit and relax while still getting something valuable done at the same time.

oh, have you seen the movie p.s. i love you? if not bring a box of tissues. I cried through the entire movie. I am not one for tear jerkers but I loved the romance in the movie. I am so glad I didn't see that one in theaters because I would have made a fool of myself bawling. anyway, the kid's movie is almost done so I had better turn this computer off!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

trapped in my office...

There is often fought a battle between doing things with my kids and doing things for my kids. Last week I went with Haeley's kindergarten class to the local pool to learn about water safety. I loaded CJ into the stroller and walked from the elementary school to the high school with her entire class. It really was fun and the kids were well behaved. No, they didn't get to go in, just a hand or a foot. One of the lifeguards demonstrated different strokes for them. The other talked about safety.

This week, it's been about doing things for the kids. I finally got iMovie to do what I needed to do to make a slideshow for the kindergarten graduation this week. I made the sleeves for the DVDs and the teacher brought over a 50 pack of DVDs - the slide show is only 250 mb but the 600 photos are what took up all the room. I also had to decide which photos not to include in the slideshow because at 3 seconds each it would have been about 30 minutes but I succeeded and got it down to 11 minutes! I have been burning DVDs all day. And guess what, the last one just finished. I did get some folders organized on my computer and I made a two-page LO spread for Haeley's birthday. Well, I better go cook dinner!

Crazy day!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This is what our backyard originally looked like. Once we got the 200 truck loads of clay removed from the west side, they moved the topsoil from this backyard pile so that it was all over the yard. We stared at this all winter from our kitchen.

We put in a driveway last year and my MIL gave me some starts from her yard. I bought a few from a garden center because I didn't want to stare at plain old rocks and dirt from my dining table for years. We have one last pile of topsoil. I think we'll try and sell it to get a little more to put toward our yard. We have one little spot out front in a planter bed that I want to add rocks and some of that topsoil to, but that will not take very much soil.

Here you can see things once they moved the topsoil. It was a great thing we had all of that topsoil! You can also see all of the clay on the end - a 10 foot cliff of clay. We've stared at that for over a year not quite knowing what to do about it.

This was taken yesterday morning as the bulldozer got to work.

I love professionals! I showed them the landscape plan we had drawn up and made one suggestion and they created magic in my backyard!

Even this side looks so much better. I felt like I saw the flowers instead of the ugly dirt piles behind the rocks. These guys did in one day what would have taken us 30 years with a shovel!

We are getting it trenched next week. My flox have bloomed and my creepy crawlies are getting ready too. 5 of 6 lilies look like they'll make it and all of my front creepy crawlies except I'll have to move one. I can hardly wait to plant my veggies - that means we have to get sprinkler in by June 2nd or so. AHHHHHH!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dance Revue

Haeley had her dance Revue last night and it was so much fun! Grandma and Grandpa Patterson were there. Grandma and Grandpa Vanderbeek were there. This was Haeley's 3rd revue and next year she will be performing in the big revue - this one is for the preschool and kindergarten girls. I am excited for her and nervous all at the same time. They had 4 numbers performed by the older girls last night to give the parents a good idea what their little ones will eventually be able to do. It was stunning. Those girls really work hard and what a fun way to keep your body strong! My Dad said he didn't realize how seriously they take their dancing here. He said he really enjoyed watching and his cheeks were sore from smiling so long. I enjoyed it too. My mom said she is going to go through her boxes of photos and find my dance photos. That'll be interesting...

All those little girls in their adorable costumes - cousin A* was in a blue Cinderella costume and it was gorgeous. She really looks up to Haeley and wanted to be an indian though. I loved both costumes - wish we could have had all of them for each girl. I loved the theme this year and since Haeley was in the Kindergarten class, she was in the Peter Pan ballet. There were Pans, Crocodiles, Pirates, Lost Boys, and Indians. Then later she danced as a cowgirl (tap dance) and then to It's a Small World (jazz dance) - but the new hip hop version. Anyway, tons of fun and Haeley smiled so big in each performance. She was never scared and she really got into the music.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our SECOND yard!

Let me see, this is the second house we have had built and that means our second yard to put in. We had a landscaper draw up plans for us - addressing problems like drifting snow in the winter, bad drainage near our back rocks, and stuff like that. The guy called today and he is going to grade our dirt on Monday! Yes! He did our last yard and he did a fabulous job. Then we are going to have a trencher come out and them it's sprinkler time. There is a place here that makes your plans for free and then you just buy the parts. We figure it will save us thousands by putting the pipes together ourselves. We have many people who have volunteered to help us. We will do hydro-seed instead of sod this time. I just can hardly wait for the dirt to get covered up! I am always vacuuming the hardwood which is in every major walkway in our main level. Needless to say, all we had last year was 6 perennials that I bought and my MIL gave me some starts from her garden - she has flowering plants that crawl over the boulders and we have BOULDERS! The ones I started in June last year did fabulous - the ones from the fall well, only one survived the winter. So this year, she gave me 6 more of what I call creepy crawlies and she gave me two day lilies. The lilies were rather large and 5 years old, so I got 11 plants total out of the two. Now if I can keep them all alive! We have tulips that we planted last year in one little spot as a Family Home Evening lesson - you grow what you sow sort of thing. Other than the free ones from my MIL, nothing else will get planted this year because this whole grading and sprinkler and hydro seed thing is just about impossible to pull off. I am just so excited to get the dirt under control! My sister is in the same process - actually worse - they have to dig up their bad yard and start over.

Monday, May 12, 2008

HK & CJ @ Tepanyaki

We took a couple of photos of our children when we took my mom out to dinner on Saturday. They were so well behaved and I know that made all the difference for my mom.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday we drove down to see my niece baptized and confirmed. Her father, who is a member of the bishopric and a high priest, baptized her. In our church we wait until children are 8 (the age of accountability) to be baptized. It was a special experience. B is the oldest grandchild and so all of her cousins look up to her. I asked Haeley after how she felt and we talked about the good and peaceful feelings that were present at that time.

Then we drove up to meet my mom at Tepanyaki Grill - yum! - for dinner. She kept going on and on about what a special treat it was. The food there is delicious! And the kids were on their best behavior. Coleton even tried chopsticks. He wasn't really thrilled when they lit the whole grill on fire - but it was quick and he survived! He kept an eye out for our chef the rest of the evening. After we went over to my mom's house and she gave me 4 tomato plants and some seeds. We are getting excited to plant around June 1st.

We drove home but stopped to get shakes at a fast food drive up and guess who was in line in front of us - Grandpa and Grandma Vanderbeek. We'd gone separate ways at 5pm that day and about 60 miles south of where we were. Small world!

The kids went right to bed and slept in this morning until 8:30am! Yahoo! We got ready for church and at church they gave each of the mothers a special book (I haven't opened mine yet). I taught Relief Society today - lesson 9 in the manual - tough one! I got a lot of comments and I think the sisters taught themselves the lesson. I struggled in preparing for this one and worked on it for hours and hours but I just gave it to the Lord today and He really took care of the rest. Our neighbor, John, is in the ICU with kidney failure, so if you do not mind, please keep him and his family in your prayers for the next few days. He needs all the prayers he can get right now. He made it through the night and so we are very grateful for that!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Jackson Hole - quiet season

This time of year is the quiet season in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It's a great little tourist town with plenty of outdoorsy things to do. The rates are great and the eating establishments are just opening back up this time of the year. There are a lot of cyclist out, but not a whole lot of traffic otherwise. It was a quiet and peaceful weekend up there. We splurged and stayed at the Snake River Lodge in Teton Village instead of the Elk Antler Inn just north of Jackson. We even had the hot tubs and swimming pool to ourselves two nights in a row! We saw elk, bison, coyotes, osprey, 4 beaver, and two hilarious dogs (see photo below). We went snow shoeing on the edge of Jenny Lake with the Grand Teton mountains as our background. We laughed and held hands. Everything was still so frozen up there. We haven't been on a trip together without other family members being with us since our honeymoon. We've been to Alaska, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Arizona, and a few other places, but always with family. Now we are planning something we can do with our kids this summer - maybe a hike to a cave or something fun we haven't done before with our 2 little ones. Now if we can just get our grass in, we might be able to enjoy camping in the backyard once or twice this year like Haeley has been begging to do! Kids are so simple sometimes, it's great!

Freedom, Wyoming - population 100 and two big dogs sitting in the middle of the road between the church and the garage - wish they turned out in focus but I don't know much about Tyler's camera!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Year book 2007

I guess you could call it their personal year books. But I finally finished Haeley's last night and got it uploaded. They were both about 50 pages long. An opener, a family page, 2 page spread per month, and then all the random pages I made throughout the year. It was a fun project - but this means that it's the first of May and I have already completed 53 pages! (But that was last year's - so it's all catch up.) Today I scrapbooked CJ's birthday party (a 2 page spread) and started on Haeley's. I am thinking of doing a family album next year to make easier - just make a couple copies of one book instead of 2 separate books. Plus I really want to get more of my relationship with my incredible husband in there and not just my fun little kiddos.

I added a bunch of photos to our photography blog If you have any advice on reception centers in the area - please send it my way!

Someday I will post the Shutterfly slideshow - someday.

Good news! We have a landscape plan now! And we are having our sprinkler plans drawn up right now. I just really really want grass this year! REALLY, REALLY! And now I am going to quit blogging and go to bed!

getting better

I've been sick for the last 9 days and struggling just to keep up with the little things - like eating, dishes, laundry - so I haven't been doing much on the computer. I read one of my friend's blogs and she was talking about body image and how we are created in the image of God but how few of us are really happy with what we have. Here was my reply:

I was thinking the other day how good I looked a few years ago compared to now, and how I wished I could get all that back. Chemo did a number on my skin - but it was better than the alternative. I miss my long hair, but it's slowly growing back - although I know that at any moment it could be gone again. Having cancer really changed how I look at things - life seems much shorter now and well, I truly believe if we are faithful, and sacrifice our will for His, he will make it all up to us and it is all worth it in the end. As far as the body image goes, one day it hit me, I better enjoy it now because in a few years I'll be looking back at May 1, 2008 wishing I look like that again!

Here is something I should have added. When I was sick, I didn't look very pretty. I was bald, my skin sagged, and throwing up frequently is not pretty at all. I could do next to nothing - someone else cared for my children, cleaned my house, made our dinners, etc. I couldn't even scrapbook, read, or watch tv for months. I found this quote at :

While you may have cancer, YOU ARE NOT YOUR ILLNESS. And although treatment may temporarily affect your appearance and capabilities,YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE OR WHAT YOU CAN DO.

So I asked myself, "Then what am I?" I could never find the answer inside myself. For months I pondered this question. Then I prayed about it. I remember when the answer came. We were in the car on a rainy day while running errands. As I stared out of the window the answer came clear as day into my mind, "You are a daughter of God." And that was enough. I felt a happiness and peace I had never felt before. We hear it all the time, we sing 'I am a Child of God' on a regular basis, but it is so different when the Holy Ghost whispers to you personally and reminds you of who you really are. This time, it really sunk in.