Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is it Sunday already...

I always have such good intentions of keeping my blog updated, but Sunday rolls around and sure enough the last post is Easter, yet so much has happened in between. So much that I probably can't remember most of it! We had a wonderful Easter dinner with Bob and Virginia's family. Ham, potatoes, the whole works. It was delicious and it was so nice to be with family during the holiday. We had an intense egg hunt in the house for the boys who are older (17 and 12). Steve and his brother took pride in hiding these eggs in obscure places and then timing each boy to see how long it took to find 14 eggs. Each boy was over 23 minutes, like I said, they were in obscure places. Hallie enjoyed her loot of candy as well and when asked that night who gave her all the candy she innocently replied, "Jesus did". So I guess we caught the spirit of Easter in a way. At least the correct focus was there, maybe in a few years she'll become commercialized enough to know who really brings the candy!

Hallie and I had a good week with a lot of quality time. She's very interactive and she wants to be doing everything I'm doing. So I have a little shadow/helper as I'm doing laundry, loading the dishwasher, working in the yard. You name it, and my little sidekick is right there by my side, mimicking everything I say. She's a little parrot. And the kicker is she remembers the things she parrots, so when Steve gets home from work, she recalls all the things we've discussed during the day, quite the memory, yet she always forgets what color yellow is!

We're excited about the week coming up...I have a photography seminar tomorrow, Survivor is back on this week, my mom comes into town (YEAH!) and conference weekend. We'll keep you posted. Here's a few video clips of Hallie and her ever developing personality! (Pause the music to the side if you want to watch the videos)


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter...

Happy Easter from Wisconsin, where a new dimension is brought to the traditional Easter egg hunt...SNOW!We were enjoying some beautiful weather here in Milwaukee. Temperatures in the mid 40's, green grass abounding. I even spent time last week working on my flower garden, there were nice green buds from all my perennial flowers. There was an extra spring in my step as I marveled at the thought of spring. Thursday night/Friday morning the thought of spring was buried beneath a foot of snow! What is with the sporadic weather?? I had planned a great Saturday excursion; visiting the zoo to see the Easter bunny and participate in an egg hunt, the whole works. After Friday's weather we opted for less adventurous activities, like shoveling the driveway!
Last year for Easter I was in Idaho with Hallie and we spent the day outside in the beautiful weather, having a little egg hunt for the kids, it was the typical Easter, but that's not how they roll in Wisconsin. Their idea of fun is to hide eggs, let it snow 12 inches and then you go look for eggs, it adds a dimension of egg hunting that not everybody is privileged to experience. We wanted Hallie to get the full experience. So sure enough, we got her bundled in all her snow gear. I went how and literally just threw eggs in the snow, they'd hit the snow and kind of bury themselves. It was plenty for Hallie. Besides in most places it was too deep for her to walk, she kept falling and getting her hands wet, which she'd then want her hands dried before moving on. This afternoon we're going to Steve's brother's house; we'll probably try an indoor hunt, yesterday just wasn't long enough for her, but Steve and I were freezing so we cut it short. I'm so grateful for this time of year and season for reflection. It seems as though it's more important for me now than ever before and I think that's in part to having an impressionable child. I want to make sure she realizes why we celebrate Easter and the importance behind the holiday. It's so fun to be involved in the decorations, and egg hunts that it's easy to forget the true reason. And so with Hallie I've worked really hard with to her understand that this is a day to think of our Savior. This morning when she woke up, she asked to watch a movie about Jesus, and that we did.

I'm so grateful for a Savior, and this special day/week I've had of reflection. My testimony of Him as been strengthened as I come to understand and study His final days. What a blessing it is for all of us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monkey Around...

I know I wrote about Banana the Monkey before, but I can't get enough of Hallie and her love and concern for this floppy monkey. First off, the monkey has been sleeping with her lately. I think she likes the feel of the fabric next to her cheek. She goes in spurts, sometimes she likes silky, this week is soft and plush! I was working around her this morning, cleaning the bathroom, making the bed, getting ready for the morning, when I go to open her door to put some clothes away. Hallie, who had been standing in the hallway comes running to me very quietly, grabs my hand off the door and says ever so quietly, "No Mom, monkey's sleeping." Sure enough I peek through the crack and she has her monkey sitting in the baby's bed, with a silky blanket wrapped around it. A little while later I was trying to get some things put away and Hallie kept trying to get me to do things for her. The easiest distraction for her these days, is to tell her to go cook lunch or dinner for one of her dolls or monkey and she'll go to her room, get sidetracked and usually buy myself 10 minutes or so. Sure enough, it worked like a dream. She went to her room and started slaving away over a deliciously fake meal. Not too long after that I hear her tell the monkey to stop crying or it'll go to timeout...as a reward she takes it shopping! (I say it, because it's still up for debate whether Banana is a male or female!) I'm overhearing her conversations busting a gut, I can't get enough of this girl. She emerges from her room with a large monkey shoved into a small handheld shopping basket. The things they learn...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Steve's Observation...

This morning Steve was looking at the blog and was wondering why I post pictures of Hallie and Steve and rarely any of myself...very good observation on his part.  I feel like I go round and round with him on the subject, yet I will address it again.  I have no problem posting pictures of myself, however, it's a little difficult to post pictures when I'm behind the camera the whole time! We've talked about this many times before; the whole philosophy that years down the road Hallie is going to have no clue I was ever around as she was growing up because I'm always the one taking the picture and Steve never volunteers because he likes being in the pictures with Hallie! Go figure.  It's a lose-lose situation.  So I was looking at a friends blog today and noticed she had posted a picture from a baby shower we attended.  So this is for Steve...hopefully he will get the hint that unless he starts a snappin' the blog will be the Hallie/Steve show. Which as you can see from months and months of posting, I'm totally okay with!! There's something mysterious about living the life behind the lens of a camera...
Myself, Becky and Teneal

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another Daddy Daughter Date...

Steve and Hallie had yet another Daddy Daughter date today. What I love about this, is how excited Hallie gets. She doesn't get a whole lot of Steve time during the week or even on Sundays for that matter, so she soaks it in on Saturday and loves every moment. Steve had this day planned out since the beginning of the week. He took Hallie to the gym (Steve's brother gave us a two week pass to their gym, which it's more than a gym...it's a club you belong to, and it's really quite fun! We went last night and Steve asked me, "When can we join a club like this?") Anyway, Steve took Hallie today and they had a blast. Steve ran for a little bit which allowed Hallie to be in the little play area for kids for a little bit, and then they tackled the pool. Hallie is a water baby and would stay in for hours if by her choice. She would stand on the edge of the pool and count before she jumped in. When we took a swim lesson for her last spring, they taught the kids to count to three before you jump in so your parent could be ready for you. Which at the time was quite the accomplishment.

Now she can count much higher, so she stood at the edge of the pool counting to 13 until jumping in. They made a trip to McDonalds afterwards for a little lunch which was more for Hallie than for Steve. We are not McDonalds people. I think I can count on two hands how many times we been to the golden arches, and the majority of them are in airports! But for Hallie, Steve will do just about anything. Hallie was pretty much wiped out for the rest of the afternoon and slept like a champ.We had a ward chili cook-off tonight which we attended. The YW were having their annual fundraiser for camp. They hosted a dessert auction. Everyone in the ward brought desserts, which were then auctioned off for the YW camp fund. Huge success, everyone was very generous with their bids. I thought it was very creative, and didn't require a whole lot on the girls part...which means it didn't require a whole lot on the leaders. Score!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Family Home Evening...Tuesday...Wednesday...

A year ago, we had Steve's cousin and her family over for family home evening. She provided the lesson and we provided the treats. When she showed up, she had a DVD in her hand, and that was to be our lesson for the evening. I was a little confused, but she assured me her sons loved this FHE. So we popped in the DVD and sure enough it walks through the whole FHE process. Opening song, prayer, scripture application, story...and so on. Hallie was a little young at the time, but I thought it was a great concept. Months later I see them on the Deseret Book website on clearance, $5 a piece. So I bought all six, and they sat stashed in our closet for months.
When we bought our new entertainment center we went through all the dvds and organized them in the new center. Hallie of course was doing her best to help and she kept grabbing the FHE dvds. So the next Monday night we use one for FHE and she loved it. She's at the age where she enjoys it, but doesn't quite get it yet. This last Monday we said we were having FHE and she runs to the TV and pulls out a DVD- Mind you, we don't use the DVD's all the time, there good about once a month to kind of change things up. But she insisted, so we used it. She sat entranced for 20 minutes, through the whole dvd. It was great. She kept talking about being a happy helper that night. The next morning, she wakes up and that's all she can talk about, "I want family home evening" she kept saying. So we had FHE again on Tuesday, and then again this morning. When I tell her we'll watch it later, she just carries it around the house for a while, keeping it company. At least she's excited for FHE- hopefully never to grow out of that stage!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Breakfast...


1 o'clock church comes with it's fair share of disadvantages- missing nap time being the most prominent for us. But church that late makes for a lot of time in the morning, so we take that time to make a nice breakfast. This morning I made some Blueberry spice muffins, which were pretty delectable. They're a more dense muffin- less cake like- more banana bread like. Here's the recipe:BLUEBERRY SPICE MUFFINS
1 3⁄4 cup flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
3⁄4 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg lightly beaten
3⁄4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine (or applesauce works great as well)
1 1⁄4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (If you use frozen, put them in a strainer and run water over them to thaw them out before folding them in.)

Topping
1 tbsp sugar
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients. Add egg, milk, and butter, stir until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin lined tins. Sprinkle topping over muffins. Bake at 400 for 16-20 mins.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Movie Morning...

I had to work this morning, (my weekly four hour shift) which gives Hallie and Steve some special "Daddy-Daughter" time. Upon arriving at work I see a large stack of "Horton Hears a Who" special screening movie tickets. Pottery Barn Kids often gets special screening for children's movies, which we've never taken advantage of, I'm not sure why. Anyway, the screening was for this morning. So I hurry and call Steve and tell him it would be a fun thing to take Hallie to. He says he couldn't get them ready in time, not worth the drive, yadda, yadda. That's fine, not a big deal. Fifteen minutes later I see Hallie running into the store, of course thinking she's there to play since we often do that. But they were there strictly on business: grab the movie tickets and run. I was nervous they wouldn't make it in time, or it would be way too crowded. So I was happy to hear when I got home that they made it in time and with seats to spare. I was a little bummed out because I had made plans to go as a family next week to the movie, seeing as though it comes out on Friday. But who can pass up a free ticket. This was Hallie's first movie theater experience*, which of course needed to be in a theater with a hundred other noisy kids so no one noticed her. Steve said she did pretty well for the first half, then started finding the chair more fascinating. She was preceptive however, she remembered many of the names of the characters and would recall them to Steve multiple time when they came on the screen. After her nap, I asked her how the movie was. She starts telling me in an excited voice about the elephant...the monkeys...the kangaroo....Jo-Jo...I couldn't help but smile at the excitement she had for it. It just needed to be half the time and it would've been perfect. Steve said it was a cute movie- good to find out that Hallie is a little too young for movies on someone else's dime!

*Hallie's first movie experience we really don't count. It was Pride and Prejudice with our friends the Owens. Hallie was just over a month old, and everyone, and I mean everyone said, "Oh everyone takes newborns, they just sleep through the movie anyway. We took ours all the time." Everyone we knew told us the the same story. Our friends were moving away so we wanted to go out with them; we went to Pride and Prejudice. All those that know how Hallie was as an infant can probably imagine this was a disaster. I'm not sure what Steve and I were thinking, she didn't sleep one wink at home, let alone in a theater- being new parents we trusted everyone else's judgment! We now know better. Steve spent the whole time standing on the side or outside trying to keep her quiet. I figure she was out of the theater for well over half of it, so it really shouldn't count as her first movie experience!*

Friday, March 7, 2008

Snuggle time...

I tell you...Hallie knows just how to win my heart. That little girl has been so talkative lately and the things she has to say crack me up. Every night I take her in my arms and I thank her for having such a great day with me (there have been those nights on very few occasion when I'm just fed up and skip this part of our nightly ritual). I proceed to ask her what her favorite part of the day was. She continues to go on an on about all the fun things she did that day, usually half of them we never did, but in her mind we sure did. Never failing she always mentions how much fun she had with her friend Paige- lately we haven't seen Paige even once every other week, but Hallie sure talks like we do. The other thing is bubbles, she's always talking about how fun the bubbles were...once again, I can't remember the last time we did bubbles, but needless to say it's my special time with her every night that I treasure.

Lately Hallie has been picking up that "Snuggle time" can be used to her advantage. Anytime I mention something she needs to do that she doesn't want to do she asks for snuggle time. Especially after lunch time when she knows she's going to go down for a nap. Today I told her it was time to grab her blanket and head to her bedroom for nap time. She stops, puts both her hands on my shoulders and says, "Mom, lets snuggle a little bit." Who can refuse such an invitation? So for the next 20 minutes I took her in my arms, and every time she got a little bit squirmy I would mention nap time, and sure enough she'd ask for more snuggle time. Knowing very well a year down the road she's not going to ask for that, I soak up every second, sitting with her in the recliner and talking about our day!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The end is near...

I can feel it! I know that any day now spring is just going to blossom. In fact today, as we were heading to our weekly trip to Target, I noticed that the air didn't have the bite that it usually does. There's water puddling up on the sidewalk, and I can actually see grass under the tree. By george, spring is coming. Every time it snows, I think to myself, this could be it, this could be the last time it snows for the year and I glow with excitement. Tonight after Hallie went down to bed, I went to the grocery store, and just as luck would have it, it was snowing. My once warm thoughts for the future slowly froze inside my body. But I have high hopes for tomorrow- just the idea that the snow fall tonight, might have been the last one, will carry me through a few more days.

I then read my friend Amy's blog about the cute flip flops her son is already wearing in Arizona, and the pool is open for business, and I keep telling myself how much I love snowmen, and snowangels. Instead of buying cute flip flops, I'm buying scarves, hats and mittens and the longer winter is the more I'm going to appreciate summer!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Product of the Week...


Like many of you, our washing machine is dysfunctional. Every time a pair of socks goes in, one miraculously disintegrates. It's truly a fascinating process if you think about it. So we seem to go through a whole lot of socks in our house. At times I debate wearing a pair of socks twice just to get more use out of them before one dissolves in the washing machine. What's even more fascinating is the fact that it always happens more with colored socks (aka Steve's work socks). I was convinced we needed a new washing machine, but simple math told me it would be cheaper to continue to buy new socks every two weeks.

Obviously, I'm the launder in the family, so when Steve's socks don't match up, I clearly did something wrong. It couldn't be that when he threw his socks in the basket one got stuck behind landing under a pile of shoes. Nope, it's definitely the launders fault. So I spend what seems like forever looking at 15 different shades of black socks playing the match up game. Now Steve doesn't understand this process he just expects there to be pairs of socks in his dresser every morning for work. In comes Sock Pro.

I'd given up on the socks, I just started dumping them in his drawer and letting him sort through them for a week so he could sense the frustration, and on Day One I got the reaction I was looking for! I started the google search on a product that would solve our problems. There really is a gadget or gizmo for everything these days so I wasn't surprised to find four viable products. I chose one product ordered a ton and put them in Steve's stocking for Christmas. Christmas morning rolls around he sees them and I could see the confusion on his face, I guess they should have been in my stocking! But he kindly accepts the gift and starts using them promptly upon arriving home. The first few days half the socks would be together, the other half would be haphazardly thrown in the closet, only to lose it's mate. After one load of laundry and a group of his socks completely together ready to go in the morning, he was sold on the product. We have been happy customers now for two months, and laundry will never be the same. Now if the washing machine decides to dissolve a sock, it'll dissolve two, which means we'll never know, and if you don't know, it won't frustrate you!

Lion King...


For Valentine's Day, Steve surprised me with tickets to go see the Lion King Musical that was traveling through Milwaukee. He planned it with our friends the Johnsons, so we could all go together, which made it a great night. We dropped Hallie off with our sister-in-law Virginia who so generously offered to take her since it would be a late night for our normal babysitter, which we would prefer every day of the week. We hit P.F. Changs on the way down, made reservations before hand and believe it or not, we were in and out in 36 minutes!! You'd think that we'd inhaled our food or something, but we didn't, it was really that quick. We ordered the minute we sat down and our food was out to us in no time.We arrived at the theater in time to walk around a bit and then take our seat. Now of course we all know the story of Lion King, so it wasn't like going to Wicked where I had no clue the first go around. I've loved Lion King since it came out, loved the music, everything so this was quite entertaining for me. The costumes are unreal- so creative and realistic moving. Minutes in to it I had to look for the people behind the costume because I was so caught up in all the movement. For the most part it was word for word from the movie with a few different songs.

My favorite character was by far Timon. At first I was caught a little off guard by the costume. Timon is obviously a tan/brown character, but the person who moves him is wearing bright green, so for a while I couldn't help but look at the green guy, but than I realized it's supposed to be the grass- green grass. After I accepted this he became my favorite character. Thinking back he was probably my favorite character in the movie as well. He was so animated and his movement looked exactly as if it was the animated feature. I was impressed with all the movement. There has been a lot of time and energy put into the costumes and the cast, and it paid off because it was tremendous. Steve enjoyed it just as much, and we both agreed events like this are definitely something we will continue to be willing to pay for in the future!

Hallie didn't miss us at all...Virginia knows how to win a child over...take her to Chuck-E-Cheese and let her go crazy on all the games!
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