Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 30

Last day of this challenge and I went overboard in the lengthiness of this post. 
I won't be offended if you skip this post, it is more for me anyhow. 

Wow. It is kind of crazy how quickly November flew by, and I'm extremely grateful for that because I am very excited  to head to Utah and visit family and friends. I'm also grateful that I stuck it out and finished this 30 Thankful Days challenge. I was talking with Ryan about how happy/relieved I was to be over and done with it. His response: "So you didn't have a life changing experience from this?" Made me laugh a little, but in all seriousness, not a life changing experience, but it definitely enriched it. I seemed to be a little more patient as a parent, and little more thoughtful as a friend and more aware of what direction my thoughts should be. 

I have had several experiences this month that I believe were to help me feel more gratitude in my life. I also talked with Ryan how I felt silly mentioning some of them on the blog because they were too "sappy" or "churchy." Not that I'm afraid of offending anyone who reads this (I'm pretty sure no one would be) but wouldn't want any of my sincere feelings to come off as fake or hollow. I do want to share one experience that I had that really filled my heart with gratitude. 

It actually was just yesterday, and has to do with the microwave fudge recipe. Ryan and I decided last minute to make a treat for FHE last night (slightly prompted by Sarah) and wanted to make something quick. I was going to whip up the brownie recipe that I'm oh so grateful for, but decided that I wanted to try the microwaved fudge that my friend had told me about around Halloween. I vaguely remembered the ingredients and figured that I didn't need to bother her and could just google it and find a similar recipe. Then I felt that it would give me a chance to say hi and texted her to double check I had it right. She responded quickly and I almost just said Thanks and ended it. Again I felt that it was an opportunity to check up on her life and make sure she was doing well. Turns out she really needed to talk to someone, and was grateful I followed those promptings (I'll spare you the details)

I am so grateful for the Spirit. Honestly I can't say that I always feel in tune with the spirit. I know I have a lot to learn and grow in that area. But I'm grateful when I do recognize the gentle promptings that are given to me that can make such a huge impact in my life and the lives of those around me. I am grateful that I didn't just ignore those promptings and as a result was able to grow a little closer to my friend and love her more. 

The End.

I always feel kind of silly sharing personal/spiritual things like that. 
So here's a little bit more fun list of things I'm grateful for. 

Sarah's grin and sparkle in her eye (especially when she knows she is being cute)
Abby's giggle when I tickle her tummy. 
That Ryan is able to study at home (so I can see him more)
Having dinner as a family each night.
Abby's toothy grin and how her whole face lights up when she smiles.
How Sarah says please, thank you and sorry almost reflexively.
The time I get to myself after the girls are in bed (main reason behind my night owlish behavior).
My crafting buddies that I have made. 
The parenting class I'm taking through a sister in our ward. 
That people love me (especially Ryan) even though I have so many faults. 
Having mail when I check the mailbox (real mail, not just junk).
Abby's sweet little cry... so grateful she doesn't cry loudly.
For what a great big sister Sarah is. 
How well Sarah is learning to listen, she's not perfect, but I don't give her near enough credit.
Netflix - instant play. 
To be working in the Nursery, no matter how burn out/isolated I'm feeling currently, I still am grateful to be serving in the Nursery. 
That I have an able body, can exercise and do most anything (physically) that I set out to do.
For our Savior and all that he did for us. 
For the Christmas season to reflect and remember that most precious gift we received. 
That families are eternal. 
Sarah's sweet little singing voice.
How Abby gets excited and does the actions in songs long before I sing them. 
The big hug and kiss I get from our girls after family prayer. 
That Sarah and Abby can't fall asleep until they get tucked in by mommy and daddy. 
My water jug and that our fridge had an ice make on it.
For my amazing family, in laws and friends. 
For anyone who actually read through to the end of this post. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 29

I am grateful for microwaves. I don't think a day goes by where I don't have to zap something quick in it. Seriously, who came up with that thing? How does it really work? (I don't really need to know). There are somethings that I even think taste better when cooked in the microwave, like oatmeal.

I'm also thankful for microwaves because it came in handy for whipping up our FHE treat tonight. 
So yummy. Thank you trustee microwave. :)


FHE Treat in a Jiff (aka - 5 Minute Fudge)
2 bags of milk chocolate chips or one large bag
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla

Combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in microwaveable dish and cook for five minutes.  Stir in vanilla and pour into a foil lined, greased pan (the foil is so you can just pull it out and serve). Don't worry if all of the chips are melted yet, it is yummy if they aren't.
Cool and enjoy. 

We experimented and swirled in some peanut butter and it was delicious. 
There are a lot of  fun things that can be done with this {dangerously} simple recipe. 

30 Thankful Days: Day 28

I am grateful for our piano. It was such a great little find and I am so grateful that we finally have a real piano for Ryan to play. This afternoon our house was filled with Ryan playing Christmas music on the Piano. Mostly Kurt Bestor and my favorite, Jon Schmidt's I Saw Three Ships (did you know that there wasn't music available at the time Ryan wanted to learn it, so he figured out how to play the song by ear? He is amazing!)

I sat and busily crocheted (I'm working on a crazy project... that of course is for Christmas) while the girls pranced around the house dancing and making up their own little songs. It was adorable. I am so grateful that our home is filled with music. The other night while I was making dinner, Ryan came down from studying and helped with the girls so I wouldn't go crazy. He patiently sat with Sarah at the piano and played games with her (that sneakily teaches her the names of the keys). I was not only grateful for him distracting her, but grateful that he is helping her grow to love the piano (and learn at the same time). I hope my daughters love music as much as Ryan and I do, and take after their daddy and learn how to play the piano as beautifully. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 27

I'm grateful for super glue. It really is an amazing thing. Tonight when I was unpacking our Christmas decorations (for the first time since our move) I found a few of my favorite decorations broken. I was sad, for just a little bit and then pulled out the super glue and made it almost good as new. 

Thanks for being super mr. glue, and for always coming to my rescue!

Don't Punch... Our Car

Have you seen this yet? It is too good not to share!


Ryan and I discovered this about a week ago and we still laugh each time.

PS - the little girl it ADORABLE!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ticket to Ride

I can't remember mentioning this on the blog or not, but Sarah has fallen love with the Beatles song 
"Ticket to Ride." 
She frequently requests to listen to the song, and how can I say no when she sings along so adorably! I'll try to get  it on video soon, but I wanted write this down before I forgot (or she stopped doing it). 

The only part that Sarah really knows is the course, ya know:
"She's got a ticket to ri-de, she's gotta ticket to ri-h-ide, she's got a ticket to ride, but she don't care"

Well, tonight on the way home Sarah was trying hard to learn more lyrics... and the song ends repeating:
"My baby don't care"
Well Sarah heard: 
"I think we don't care" 
Ryan and I thought it was pretty cute and funny. 

Keep on singing along little girl! I love it!

30 Thankful Days: Day 26

I am grateful for Games!

I love getting together and playing games. I'll play pretty much any game. As long as it is fun and sure to include lots of laughter. I especially love playing "Hands Up Squidman!" What?!! You've never heard of it? Well come on over and we'll teach it to you. It is basically like telephone on paper with words and pictures. Very funny!

I am grateful for all of the wonderful memories I have made playing games with my family and friends. Good times, and I hope there are many good times to come!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 25

Wow, today was a really hard day to feel grateful...

Oh, by the way... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Why? Well, apparently the leftovers I ate Wednesday were... well, no longer good, and gave me food poisoning. So Thanksgiving morning I woke up... worshiping the porcelain gods. Bleh! 
(I hereby vow NOT to eat anything on the day before Thanksgiving again... it just doesn't taste good the second time around)

So while my stomach was cramping and hurting terribly I tried to think of different things to distract myself. I quickly thought about my lil' blog and how I've been trying to be much more grateful. So I tried to make a mental lists of reasons why I was thankful today. 

Here is what I came up with:

I am grateful that we didn't plan Thanksgiving at our house. 

I'm grateful that our invitation was from one of Ryan's school friends, so he didn't feel weird going w/o me. (And I wasn't as bummed to miss out)

I am grateful for the calories I saved myself that day. 

I'm grateful for Ryan rubbing my back while I was bent over the bowl (I'm sure he would have held my hair if it wasn't already in a ponytail). 

I'm grateful for my sweet hubby for making the rolls that day to take over for dinner.

I'm grateful those rolls didn't rise fast enough to be done in time, so we baked them late that night and now I can enjoy them too. 

I'm grateful that the house Ryan and Sarah went to had a dog, so Sarah was thoroughly entertained the entire time.

I'm grateful that Abby took a little bit of a nap, and that we got to snuggle and hang out while Sarah and Ryan were gone, just the two of us.

I'm grateful for the bottle of Sprite Ryan and Sarah brought home to me.

I'm grateful that after I had fallen asleep at 7:30pm that Ryan cleaned the whole house (which I discovered when I woke up at 10:30pm...wide awake). 

I'm grateful for layers of blankets to snuggle into and get warm. 

I'm grateful I was feeling mostly better at 10:30pm and had a little bit of leftovers that Ryan brought home for me. Yum!

I'm grateful that it was just food poisoning and not something contagious, like the stomach flu.  

I am grateful for the reminder this holiday gives to truly think about all of the many ways we are blessed. 


I hope you all had an extra wonderful holiday, and were able to remember all of the little things to be grateful for in life. I am grateful for all of you. Love you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 24

I am thankful for me time. 

I love my family, I really do. I have two very sweet little girls and an amazing husband. 
But it is nice to have a little time to myself.
Even if it is for a few minutes before following the gang upstairs to bed. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 23

I am thankful for diaper rash cream. 
Abby's bum is grateful too! 


On a completely different note, I am grateful for Freecycle. Sarah has wanted a Little Tikes "Cozy Coupe" forever (you know the ride in Flintstones car). Anyway, I posted on Freecycle that I was looking for one for Christmas and a lady responded right away. It is perfect. Needs a little cleaning, but Sarah is going to be so excited! Thank you my fellow Freecycler!

PS - We are planning on having Santa visit our home early (because obviously we aren't going to fly that car to Utah and then back again). It has to be before the 11th of December... how early would you do Christmas? I at least want the girls to have a little time to play with their toys before we leave. Just curious on your thoughts. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 22

I am thankful for Creative Minds.
(especially when it comes to crafts)

Why? Because I'm a copycat. And a blog stalker.  I love seein' what amazing things people are making. There are some serious skills out there. I am determined to find some cute things to make for the girls for Christmas this year. 

Thank you, you creative people you! 
For being so inspiring and posting tutorials for all of the amazing things you've created. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 21

So today in Nursery our Lesson was on being Thankful (ya know, for Thanksgiving). Those Nursery kids are so stinking cute, I'm really blessed to be in there (even if 20 kids show up and I'm totally overwhelmed each week), I truly am grateful to be in there.

Anyway, Sarah actually didn't go to Nursery today (she has a cold/cough) and after church I was talking about our lesson with her and asked her what she was grateful for. Her first reply was food, and then toys. Then I said that I was grateful for my parents and then she cheerfully shouted "and Heavenly Father!" It just made me so happy that she would think of that (you know... after the food and toys). This world is getting so crazy that it is scary to think about what challenges my girls will face when they are older. I'm grateful for the Primary/Nursery program to help teach little lessons to them and build their knowledge and faith in the gospel. I'm grateful for my wonderful friends and family that are amazing examples and help to teach them right from wrong. I get so stressed about being the perfect mom, I have so many faults. But I hope that my girls know of my testimony of the gospel and that I know that if they trust in God and remember that all of their blessing come from him that they will find true happiness and joy in their lives.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 20

Movies. 

We just finished a movie night with the girls and I just love movie nights. They are so much fun! I am so grateful for Redbox and Netflix (instant on the Wii) for making movie watching so cheap and easy. I just love it. Some of my favorite family memories involve movies. We are a bunch of movie-enthusiasts. I don't think we have ever spent time together where at least one movie quote didn't come into the conversation (maybe that is just typical of all families). I love that we are a bunch of nerds. Makes life fun. 

So thank you film makers. You rock. Especially when you provide good clean movies for me to enjoy with my family (shout out to Pixar and Dreamworks). I'm pretty sure that my life would be pretty dull without movies... is that so sad to admit? What can I say, I enjoy relaxing, cuddling with my hubby and giggling with my girls to a good show. :)

PS - I'm also grateful for the sanity that movies provide me on long car rides and errand running days. Thank you, thank you!

30 Thankful Days: Day 19

I am thankful for my garbage men.

They just rock. Here in Pittsburgh they pick up garbage the old school way. Ya know, where the men walk behind the truck and pick up your trash can and dump it in the back (like in the movies). They are the nicest guys. Very polite and friendly. If they ever catch the girls peeking out the window at them, they will give them a big smile and wave hello to them. A couple of times we forgot to put our trash out only to remember when we heard the truck coming up our street, they always stop and let us run up with our can to get it dumped. They also will take away ANYTHING you put out. So you could set a couch on your curb and they'll just haul it away. It is pretty awesome.

I'm thankful for all of their hard work, and for taking away my stinky garbage each week. Thanks fellas!

Oh, and I'm thankful for my recycling guys too, encouraging me to be a little greener. 

Princess Tea Party

I needed something to look forward to, so what better thing to get excited about than a Princess Tea Party for 8 lil' girls. Oh my goodness, it was so much fun. It has been a while since I was so excited for a Thursday to roll around. 

I have a darling little china tea set from when I was a little girl, but a few of the cups have been broken and glued back together, so out of the set of six, I think I only have about 3-4 that are really usable anymore. On a little thrift store trip I scored this china set that had Eight place settings {perfect}. It didn't have the tea pot, and was missing one saucer, but other that that, it was an amazing find! It even had a nice serving bowl and platter. It was perfect for hosting a tea party. The best part was, it was only six bucks, so I won't care if anything happens to it. 

 All set up and ready for the Princesses to arrive.
We did lunch so the girls had piggies in a blanket and grapes with these lovely deserts. 
Yum! Yum!

I let Sarah pick out her own costume... and what did she pick? 
The too-big-for-her Snow White costume.
She still looked cute of course,
but she was tripping over her skirt the whole time. 
Silly girl. 

Here are the girls. They are so excited to get this party started... they weren't too excited about me taking pictures though. 
I was a little distracted handing out food, filling up tea cups with hot cocoa and everything to get any real cute pictures... I should have asked someone to come and do pictures. 
While the girls were eating we talked about etiquette, how to make polite princess conversation (ya know, about the weather, how our gardens were, our horses), and other princess-y stuff. 

When the girls had their fill of goodies we had a special treat. 
I probably shouldn't have prefaced it like this... but I told them we were going to do something special that their parents wouldn't want them to... and I brought in a...
mattress for them to jump on. 
They loved it! We took turns letting two princesses jump at a time for 10 seconds. 
So much fun!
Hopefully it burned a little of their energy out. 

We played with my animal egg shakers and danced around for a bit, and then we made some crowns for them to take home. 

Here are my lil' princesses.
I love this last picture. So cute!

I had so much fun with these little girls. I'm glad their moms let me kidnap them for a couple of hours and have some fun. I'm really thinking about making this a monthly thing, I had so much fun. 

Thank you my lil' princesses for bringing a little sunshine into my day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dress Up Time

Sarah has really been into dressing up lately... maybe from all of the dressing up she did during Halloween. 



I love it. I scored this cute super hero costume at Wally's World for $.75, Sa-weet! Sarah wanted to wear it the entire day... I think she would have if I had let her (but we had a playdate, and I only had the one cape). 

Abby loves being girly. So when I saw a little snow white costume, I had to snag it for her (it was only $1.70... well worth it). It fits her perfectly right now (which means she'll grow out of it soon...sad) so we are getting our fun out of it.

We love dressing up at our house. Want to come and join us?

Cuteness

Here is a little dose of cuteness for you.


Oh how I love this baby girl. 

Her eyes looked so blue, I love it. 

30 Thankful Days: Day 18

I am thankful for little girls. 
They are so much fun. I was never a girlie-girl growing up, but I have no problem encouraging my girls to me. Frilliness, pink, jewelry, tutus, princesses, tea parties, horses, flowers, fairies, I love it all. I'm especially thankful for my two girlie-girls and giving me excuse to pretend to be a girlie-girl. 

PS - this is kind of a lame thing to put in a thankful post all on its own, but can I just say that I am grateful for air fresheners? I have this super paranoia of having a stinky home, so I am grateful for air fresheners. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 17

I'm thankful for food. There are so many people in this world that go hungry everyday, and I need to avoid food in my kitchen to adhere to my eating plan. Seriously though, I am so blessed to have food to eat. I need to remind myself of this when I feel like there is nothing to eat in the house. We have been so blessed to always have food in our cupboards, I think I take it for granted all too often. 

I love cooking and baking, it is so fun (even though it isn't so helpful for my waistline). I enjoy making favorite recipes to share. And what is better than hanging out with friends while munching on some yummies? I guess it is my way to pay it forward. I feel blessed to have food to eat, so those blessing must be shared.

Along the lines of food. Today I am grateful for my little kitchen helper, Sarah-Bear. Most days I'm not patient enough to really let her help out in the kitchen, but today I was brave and let her give it a whirl. She helped me make some cupcakes and I even let her crack the eggs all by herself (the first one she broke apart so quickly it fell onto the counter and slipped off the edge running all down the front of our dishwasher and all over the floor, blech). She had lots of fun though. I think her favorite part was licking the beaters. I wish I would have thought to pull out my camera. I guess I was a little distracted thinking about how I need to deeply sanitize my kitchen after that egg spill (I have a salmonella phobia)

Thank you Sarah, I really did love spending time with you in the kitchen. We need to do that more often. I love you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 16

Flexible Schedules.

I know that this time won't last forever. Sarah will be starting school before I know it and I really need to enjoy the flexible lifestyle that we have right now. As much as our lives probably could benefit from the routines school provides, I'm grateful that we haven't quite reached that stage. We can have lazy days, run errands whenever, take baths in the middle of the day, have tea parties, eat dinner early, have breakfast late, exercise in the middle of the day, blow bubbles all after noon and just enjoy time together. 

I love it and I am so grateful for it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 15

Living in Pittsburgh. 

I feel like we are being so blessed while here in Pittsburgh, and as much as it stinks to be so far away from family and friends, I truly am grateful for the opportunity to be out here. 

I am way impressed with how family friendly Pittsburgh is, it isn't a city you'd think of for great places for families, but I really feel like it is perfect for ours. Although I haven't lived all that many places, I would have to rank Pittsburgh in the top 5 places that I'd love to raise our family in. I have the most friendly neighbors (even though I still don't know that many of them). The parks/playgrounds are super cool. Our ward rocks! Even though it is very transient, the people who are in it are stellar and I look up to so many of them. 

I am grateful that we get to live here and that we'll be here for another 3-4 years. We are definitely having fun creating memories for our little family. We're looking forward to having lots more fun. 

PS - I'm also grateful that we live so far away because it really has helped me to blog more. I started out doing it mostly for the Grandma's to see pictures of the girls. But it has been so fun recording little moments of our lives, journaling my thoughts, and capturing priceless memories. I love looking back a year and being able to see how much life has changed. So you can thank Pittsburgh too for all of the fun-ness we've been able to share with you through the blog. ;)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 14

Music

I think I would go mad in a world with no music. 
I am grateful for it in so many ways.

It helps me get through my runs (which somedays I need a LOT of help). There is nothing like a good beat that can make the time fly by when I'm pounding out the pavement. I know how some people enjoy running without music (which power to them, I can't do that) but somehow I love how my mind wanders during songs, and how certain songs bring up old memories and help to distract me from how slowly the scenery is passing by.

I'm thankful that my husband appreciates music and fills our home with it through the piano. I don't think I take the time to enjoy his playing enough (because most days I am so tired of the noise the girls have filled the house with all day, that I just want it quiet when he gets home). I do appreciate it though, and really enjoyed listening to him play variations of some of my favorite hymns after church today.

I love how music facilitates the spirit. Music is one of the best ways that I am able to feel the spirit and I think that it is the easiest way for children to learn to recognize the spirit as well. I need to set aside more time to listen to uplifting music and increase the spirit in my heart and home.

And nothing is better than rocking out in the car making the other drivers around you think you have lost your marbles. It is really fun because Sarah and Abby have started bouncing around to my music when it is mommy's turn to control the tunes. 

I hope that I can teach my children to love and appreciate music. I know that I have so many cute little songs that my mother taught me when I was little, even songs that she made up. Did you know that my mom wrote a song for all of my family members? Even the in-laws. It is a really fun thing to sing along together. Do you want to know how my song goes?

Elizabeth, Elizabeth she likes to pull your nose. 
She likes to laugh and giggle and wiggle all her toes. 
She likes to pull her sister's hair and rollie pollie too. 
Elizabeth, Elizabeth, we love you.

Silly, but I can remember many a times driving in the car as a family and we'd take turns singing each other songs. We all hated it when it was our turn because it was so embarrassing, but I know deep down we all loved it because it made us feel special and know that our family loves us. 

I love listen to Sarah sing songs she has learned and Abby humming her own rendition of melodies she has heard. It really makes our home happier when the girls are playing around the house singing/humming songs. I'm also grateful for the easy distraction a song can be from a bonk or other drama filled incidences in our home. 

Music is wonderful, and I am so grateful for it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 13

I am grateful for Relief Society.

I didn't always have an appreciation for the program, I actually used to get quite bored in Relief Society and opt out of activities. But right now I am working in the Nursery and am unable to attend Relief Society on Sundays. I guess I am feeling especially grateful for Relief Society because I know how much I need it (and you don't really appreciate something until you have to go with out it, right?). I was able to attend a couple of weeks ago and I was an emotional blob. It had been a while since I had felt the spirit and that sisterly love so strong and I needed that strength. I love the nursery, I really do, but there is nothing like being in a room full of spiritual giants and feeling of their spirits, love and learning from their examples. 

I'm grateful for Joseph Smith and the divine revelation he received to create this program, and for those early women who pioneered it and created a firm foundation for it to be built upon. I am also grateful for our Prophet, President Monson who shows his support and continues to receive revelation for this program.

I hope that everyone embraces each opportunity to attend these prayerfully planned activities and rejoices in the spirit that can be felt at them. I know that I have so much growth to make spiritually and I know that participating in the Relief Society program helps me to do so. 

Thank you, thank you dear sisters.

Berta's Visit

We had such a fun time with you Roberta!

The girls love having someone new to play with (and I am always grateful when someone else is around to distract them)

We were all pretty much starved after Roberta's flight got in, so we headed to a nearby mall to grab some grub and let the girls run around. They were in heaven.
Not that you can really tell by the pictures. 



On Saturday morning Roberta was a trooper and went for a jog with me... although I was going slow enough that she could speed walk and keep up with me. It felt nice to get out and run, especially after being sick and missing quite a few runs. 

We decided to spend that afternoon at the Carnegie Science Center.  

We of course had to play over at the Sports Works center so Sarah could be a Human Yo-yo again, and try out some of the other activities. 

Getting ready to jump on the trampoline

Abby thought the Trampoline looked pretty fun

There she goes! Jumping so high
After Sarah's turn was up (they had a timer) Roberta asked if she could hop on and show Sarah what it was like to flip over (which was sneaky because it gave Sarah like an extra 30 seconds of trampoline time...sly, hehehe). Sarah loved it.

Sarah racing... she blew the other little girl out of the water. 

Sarah making us all dizzy. 

There is a submarine in the river next to the Science Center that you can go in and tour. It was pretty cool, but the oily machine smell was overwhelming and sort of made me sick to my stomach. Blech! 

It was one exciting sub to tour. 
See?


Sarah was a little nervous to go in, but she ended up going through it twice, and wanted to go again!

Abby loved being able to see the water. 

I love this pictures... Abby's smile is the best. 

We headed over to the main part of the Science Center to check out some more stuff for a little bit. 
 We were beat, or at least I was, so after the Science Center Roberta treated us to our favorite pizza place, Rialtos and we got their classic Steak Ranch Pizza. 
Honestly, after watching Biggest Loser this season, I felt really guilty eating this thing... I mean it has fries right on the pizza... but is was sooooo good. 

Sunday was a great day. Nursery was awesome (that is where I'm at) and Ryan even got to enjoy Priesthood because Berta volunteered to chase this little one all over the building. 
She is becoming quite the little busy body. I can't believe how much this girl loves to CLIMB! You can see in this picture how she is making her way onto the table.  

Berta taught Sarah how to play memory while I finished making dinner (Chicken Curry, YUM!)
After the girls were in bed we had fun chatting and playing scrabble. I really love that game. Sometimes I rock and others, not so much, but it is fun to play a game and pretend to be smart and a good speller. 

On Monday, Sarah was SO excited to take Berta to gymnastics and introduce her to Ms. Beth, Ryan even got to come along and watch her class for the first time too. 
Afterward, Abby and Ryan headed home for nap/study time while Sarah, Roberta and I head out to run some errands. It was a fun day, and it was nice for Sarah to have all of the attention to herself. 

The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so we had to go on a walk around the neighborhood. 
Abby is quite the little cruiser, it was almost impossible to get any pictures of her. 

Not from a lack of trying though...

Sarah on the other hand loved showing all of her favorite things about walks.
Like climbing on walls and making wishes with dandelions 

We did get a couple of cute ones though. 

I just love the look on Ryan's face in this one. 

Later that night Ryan and I were able to go on a date while the girls had a fun night playing with Berta.
Looks like they had lots of fun, especially with the balloon party they threw. 

Abby thought it was cool that the balloons stuck to her. 

So did Sarah. 

I almost felt bad having Sarah go to preschool on Roberta's last day in town.
I hope it was fun to see how excited she was to go to preschool and meet a few of her classmates.

Thanks for the visit. It was so nice to have company and a reason to clean the house. We miss you so much already, and I know the girls miss the added attention (and I definitely miss them being distracted).
Please come again soon!

Well... we don't have any more visitors planned for the rest of the year, but we've begun taking reservations for 2011. So get our your calendars and plan a trip to come and see us in Pittsburgh!

Friday, November 12, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 12

Imaginations
Is that a weird thing to be grateful for?

Life would be pretty dull with out them. 

There is nothing I love more than to watch my girls entertain themselves. Sarah has really gotten into pretend play and I enjoy it so much. I love listening to the little voices that she makes for her toys and the fun little scenarios she creates. Earlier today Sarah was helping Hello Kitty lock up Tweedy Bird in "jail" (an upside down laundry basket) and cackling has she twisted the key (a triangle block). Makes me smile. I'm grateful that my daughters use their imaginations to entertain themselves. 

I'm grateful for my mother and her creative imagination. We wouldn't view fairies the same way if it weren't for her (or even have a fairy garden). I work so hard to see things in the same light she does. She always can help turn something as mundane as brushing your teeth at night into the final quest before conquering mount bunk-bed for slumber. Of course nothing beats an original bedtime fairytale from my mom. Thank you mom, for helping to make the world a much more magical place for Sarah and Abby. 

I am also grateful for the opportunities Sarah gets to build her imagination with her friends. She is getting to the point where playing with her friends is mutually fun because they understand each other and enter the others imaginary world. I love listening to the little things Sarah says while she plays with her friends (I just wish she wasn't so bossy...Eldest Child Syndrome, I guess). So thank you parents who make time to let lil' miss bossy play with your precious little ones. I'm sure Sarah has much more fun playing with them than with boring ole' mom.

I'm also grateful for books and movies that help increase our imaginations. I know I love jumping into a writers world and losing myself in their story. Speaking of which... I need a good book to read. 

Bummer

{Sort of}

A week or so ago I looked at the course map for the half marathon I was training for. I've fallen off my running schedule with this past cold I caught (and the cold/dark mornings haven't helped either), but I figured if the course was relatively flat I could push through it. 

Well...

Its NOT!! It is almost the opposite of flat. There are hills throughout the ENTIRE course and the worst one (a 5% increase) is in the last mile of the course. Are you kidding me? Who mapped that thing? 

So I decided that I'm not going to run it 
(for that reason and a couple of other valid ones). 

I'm a little bummed. I shouldn't be, my main goal is to just get into better shape and be healthy, but my darn pessimism is getting the best of me. Aside from feeling that I'm a quitter, I've had thoughts like this, "Well if you're not going to run that race Liz, you don't need to get up and run." See, I'm terrible. I need to have something I'm working toward to keep me motivated (and sadly, just losing weight hasn't been enough of a motivator)

I am still planning on running the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 15th, and my hard core training for that can start no later than the last week in January. So in the meantime I'm going to try and run 2-3 times a week and do strength training the other days... and not hate myself when I miss a workout. *sigh*

I'm struggling though. I just need a second wind. I know I can do it, and that I will run the marathon in May, but right now I'm just feeling a little disappointed in my lack of determination. Need to change my attitude. 

I can do this! I'm making huge leaps and bounds in my health. 
I'm amazing. Fantastic!
I am woman - hear me ROAR! 
I AM SUPER WOMAN!!!
(bit much?)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 11

GRAPES!

They are so sweet and delicious this time of year (and I'm loving the $.99/lb price)

We've gone through bag after bag. I'm grateful for a yummy treat that doesn't make me feel like I've jumped off the deep end in my diet. :)

Thank you mother nature for making them so scrumptious this time of year!
(and giving me something other than chocolate to be grateful for)



PS - Oh, and our GI tract thanks you too... it is running smoother than ever. TMI? Sorry.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 10

I guess I haven't really wanted to post how grateful I am for obvious things like my loved ones, but today I just can't resist posting about how grateful I am for my two sweet daughters. With all of the bad mother moments I've had lately, I sometimes wonder why I was allowed to be a mother, but I am so grateful to have my sweet girls to teach me patients and show me unconditional love.

Sarah, I am so grateful to be your mother. You are so smart and loving. I am constantly amazed at how much you pick up on and what a wonderful big sister you are. Just today you surprised me when you brought your cup of popcorn over to comfort Abby when she fell off the chair and bonked her head. I love watching you play and do silly things like pretending to be a super hero and saving snow white (Abby) by giving her hugs. It makes me so happy to listen to you sing songs around the house and make up words to Daddy's piano playing. I especially loved you latest lyrics that consisted of "I love my sister, Abigail and my pink ball" repeated over, and over, and over again. I love you so much Sarah. I hope you remember that (especially when I am short tempered and impatient). Thanks for being a member of our little family and for being such a great example to your little sister.

Abby, you are my little ray of sunshine and I am so grateful for that. Even though you aren't really talking yet, I love how you make little noises to tell us what you need. I love how you hum your own little versions of songs that you've heard and I adore how you light up when I sing to you. I'm grateful for how cuddly you are. There is nothing that can clear the blues better than a big love from you. I love how intently you watch your big sisters every move. You love her so much and that makes me so grateful. I love how curious you are about things, even if it leads to you climbing onto chairs and tables and getting into pretty much everything. It so fun to play with you when you are so interested in the simplest of things. I love how excited you get when you know you are doing something like a big girl, like today when you got some mac 'n cheese on your fork, you were so proud of yourself. Thanks for being my sweet baby girl and I hope you can always be my little cuddle buddy.

I love you both so much, and am so grateful for you in my lives.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 9

It was a gorgeous day today! So I can't help but be grateful for anything other than the 
SUNSHINE 
Thank you, thank you Mr. Sun for visiting us. :) After "Snowmageddon" last year I am really not looking forward to the gloomy winter months. I love the sun, and it is not fun to have it hiding behind so many clouds in the winter out here. So I am very, very grateful for the sunshine I get each day and will try to go out and savor all of the sunny days we have left.

I love Sunshine!



PS - I was thinking of my post about being thankful for technology... and this popped in my head. 
Hope it makes you laugh too (oh, and I don't know what is up with the green bar on the video).

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 8

Having a Washer and Dryer

I know that sounds really lame, but I am really trying to create a more positive outlook on life. I hate strongly dislike doing the laundry. It is such a pain! Having to gather it all up (and finding where Ryan has stashed his socks all over the house is a pain), sort it all, haul it all down two flights of stairs to the basement, remembering to switch loads, and then to lug it all back up two flights of stairs, fold it, and put it all away. It is exhausting and I get lazy about it, but I was just thinking what it would be like if I had to go to the laundromat each time. I usually do laundry once a week (sometimes in the winter I do it like every four days or so) and it would really be more work having to lug it all down to the laundromat... have to wait around for it to finish and then lug it all back home... and with kids in tow, that would be even more difficult. 

So I am grateful that I have a washer and dryer to use in the comfort of my own home. 
That I am able to be productive and do other things while I am waiting to switch loads.
(not saying that I always am)
 It is such a blessing, no matter how much I grumble as I work. 

PS - I guess part of this has come from talking to my mom... her dryer killed over this past week, and they've been trying to get by until their new one comes. 
Talk about no fun! Way to be a trooper mom!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 7

Brownies. 

Especially today... very grateful for the warm chocolatey goodness I just pulled out of the oven. 

Not just any brownies though... THE {made from scratch} Newey Brownies.

THE BEST BROWNIES EVER!!!

I was going to take a picture to show you, but... umm... yeah. They're gone. 
Sorry.


For those of you who want to discover for yourself that these brownies 
are much better than any boxed mix.
Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 oz unsweetened chocolate squares
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. In a medium sized pot melt together butter and chocolate (be careful not to scorch). Remove from heat, add sugar and vanilla. Mix in eggs separately and stir well. Mix in flour. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan and bake for 35 minutes. This is excellent doubled, just bake in 9x13 pan if you do. 

Let me know if you try them. 
You'll be so glad you did.

*use THIS brand of unsweetened chocolate... you can find it anywhere.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 6

I'm really thankful for Technology. 
Kind of a cop out because it is a little 'all encompassing.' I am really grateful though. 

We went over to the Carnegie Science Center again, and was reminded of all of these stepping stones we've taken to get to where we are. Holy Cow we have the most amazing things available to us! Let me tell you all of my favorite things right now (who knows someday this will date me)

Cell phones. 
I love my cell phone and the sense of security it gives me being only a button away from help. Plus, the whole text messaging thing has done wonders for my phone-phobia (I hate calling people, I'm always so awkward... texting is glorious!)

Digital Cameras. 
Hello! There have been so many precious memories that I have been able to capture AND share them, all because of my little digital camera. It hasn't helped with my picture taking obsession though... but I'm grateful for that too!

The Internet (I guess this would also include my computer).
I know bad things have come from the internet, but I LOVE all of the good. Email, blogs, researching abilities, watching shows, reading my scriptures, teaching resources... I mean it is just endless.

Those are probably the only three big ones that I'm feeling the most grateful for at this time in my life. And it is crazy to think that many of them weren't full around when I was in Jr High or High School. Man... I'm getting old.

So thank you you nerdy/techy people you. I'm sure appreciating all of your long hours in the research lab working on the things I use everyday. You rock!

Friday, November 5, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 5

I am grateful for a clean house when my house is clean

Why?

Because it usually means it is playdate time, visitor time, par-tay time and generally just FUN TIMES!

I wish I had more motivation to keep my house clean all the time. It really does make me happier. Probably because I've associated it with people coming over... and that makes me happy! (not the cleaning)

Yeah for clean houses!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crunch

As much as I love going out of my way to tromp through the leaves this time of year 
nothing beats walking on these... 
 
They make such a satisfying crunch.
It is the best part about going to the playground... I could spend the entire time walking around on them. 
Although, as much as I do love them, I'm glad I don't have to deal with them in my yard... I sure it would get old fast. 

The colors of the leaves are still hanging on. 
Oh how I love it. 
Can't fall just stay forever. 
Pretty Please?
with a cherry on top?

30 Thankful Days: Day 4

Sleep.

Even though some nights my inner owl keeps me up way too late, I'm grateful that I still can sleep well, even if I am forced to get up in the middle of the night occasionally or wake up way earlier than I'd like, for the most part I get a decent amount of sleep each night. I have several friends where sleep is a really hard thing for them to get (whether from insomnia or from their kids). I feel for them. I do not handle sleepless nights as well as I did in high school. How did I survive those years anyways? I never slept. Guess I'm making up for it now. I love my sleep.

I'm even more so grateful that Abby still takes naps, not the case for her older sister, but I can usually get Sarah distracted enough so I can take a nap too. I have been so tired lately, even before I was sick. I don't know what my deal has been. No. I'm not pregnant. 

So sleep. I love you. Thanks for working your magic on me.
Especially this afternoon when I got an out of the blue raging migraine.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 Thankful Days: Day 3

Wow, its only day three. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I have already sat down several times throughout the day to write what I am grateful for... and couldn't decide on anything? What is wrong with me?!!!
I know that there are so many things to be grateful for, but golly, it has just been one of "those days" and being down and depressing doesn't seem to mesh well with gratitude. 

Okay - Lets clear the mind. The girls are both laying in bed, getting their last wiggles from the day before drifting off into slumber. The hubby is up diligently studying away for his test this Friday, and I am sitting here on the computer, avoiding the toys on the floor and the dishes. *sigh* Seems like everyone is doing what they are supposed to but me. 

Soooo today... I'm grateful for the good examples in my life. I have people constantly pushing me to be a better me than I ever imagined I could be. I can't tell you how many times I have been struggling with some aspect of my self-esteem when a comment, call, or e-mail comes flying my way to help me look on the bright side and to give myself a little more credit. 

I have a wonderful family. A girl couldn't ask for a better pair of parents (Who can sometimes be caught singing show tunes at the top of their lungs when high on paint fumes - did you know they both got their degrees in Theater?). They have taught me how to live an been examples of how to do it. They are so supportive in anything I do and constantly show me their love. I love you Mom and Dad!

I have an amazing sister who is such a good mother. Her kids are so talented and loving and I know it is from the wonderful job she is doing raising them. And for someone who was THE most picky eater in my family growing up, she has become the most phenomenal cook! Every time I have eaten over there she has introduced me to some new dish from all over the world and they are ALWAYS so yummy!

I have three stellar brothers who can always make me smile and bring out the silly in me. My oldest brother who is the comedian and never passes up a moment to make us laugh at ourselves. He is such an amazing Dad, and I love how sweet he is to my little girls. To my little brother, whom I lovingly call "the chump" (which he is not) is the most kind hearted person I have ever met, really, I think it may be made of gold. He will do anything for you if you ask him. And my youngest little brother amazes me with his courage. I can't believe how easily he can stand up and talk in front of people. He just says it how it is, no matter what others my think of him. 

I have an incredibly hard working husband who loves me despite all of my depressed and bitter days, and even puts up with my constant nagging and anal-ness about silly things, like loading the dish washer the "right" way. I know one of the reasons he is in my life is because of his firm foundation in the gospel. He is constantly setting a good example of prayer and scripture study. I don't know how in the world we ended up together, but I am grateful everyday that we did. I need and love him more than he could ever know.

I have people around me who inspire me to work hard at my goals and never give up. Even if it feels like I will never reach them, they are still there to help me keep my chin up (and after all of the crap I've eaten these past two weeks, I need a lot of help from my BOBF gals!). I have some of the most amazing friends. Who work hard, serve others, love life and live it to the fullest. I strive to be like them and have that light that they do. It is nice to have all of these people to watch and learn from. I need a lot of guidance, and I enjoy people-watching/blog-stalking...hehehe

So thank you. To my family, my love, and my friends. I am grateful for you and all that you are to me. 

I know that some of the people that I have mentioned in here deserve their own "I'm thankful for" post... but today, I'm just acknowledging in general the good examples all around me. 

Sarah Songs



Here are the words (since you can't really understand some of them)

Mean Old Witch
I'm a Mean Old Witch with a hat,
I'm riding on her broom with a cat.
My nose is pointy and my chin is too, (She completely skipped this line)
You better watch out or I...will...scare.... YOU!!!

Bunny Song (There was a little house)
The was a little house in the middle of the woods,
by the window a little man stood.
He saw a little bunny go hopping by,
knocking at the door.
Help Me! Help Me! The bunny cried.
Or the hunter will shoot me down.
Come little bunny, come with me.
Happy we will be. (Um, yeah she slaughtered this last line)

Another Bunny Song (So cute and funny)
Here is a bunny so cute and funny,
Here is his hole in the ground.
When a noise he hears,
He pricks up his ears.
And jumps in his hole in the ground.
Of course everyone's favorite part is the bunny getting stuck in the hole and needing help out.