Saturday, December 28, 2013

One Word Goal 2014 {Consistent}

My track record of new year's resolutions is not high. I got to the point that I wouldn't even make goals because I just knew that I wouldn't follow through and that I would forget about them a week later anyway.

But something is different with having a one word goal. And something amazing happened. I remembered my goal. I thought about it constantly through the year. And most importantly I changed.

This past year (2013) I decided to "EMBRACE" life. I had to learn to embrace Heavenly Father's timing and let go of my own as well as embracing His will. I learned to embrace Devin when my patience was super thin or when I would much rather be doing something without his help. I learned to embrace Casey and make a point to work on making our marriage better every day.

As I was making preparations for Christmas, I started looking inward thinking about who I want to become and who the Lord needs me to be. I thought about areas I could improve in and how.

I realized that I don't want to make huge drastic changes. I just need to focus on the little things. I need to let the little things become me day in and day out. Greatness is never achieved by the wave of a magic wand or some random chance. Greatness happens because you train for it. You practice for it. You live for it. And that is just it. I want to become great! 

But I want it to last. I don't want to just have one day of succeeding but rather 365.

That's why I choose 2014 to be CONSISTENT.

According to google, consistent is defined as unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time. It is choosing to become constant, dependable, reliable, predictable. Yes. I want to be predictable in the little things so no matter where life takes us, I know that I can always depend on them.

Although I will be looking for new ways to be consistent, I already know a few.
1. I will be consistent with Heavenly Father. I need His guidance and love in my life constantly. I will be consistent in reading my scriptures and saying my prayers.
2. I will be consistent with myself. My body can't handle all of these yo-yo diets. I will live a consistent lifestyle. I will eat healthy and exercise. I will be patient with myself and strive for ongoing healthy choices rather than the latest quick fad diet. 
3. I will be consistent with Devin. He needs to know that I will always be there for him and he is way more important than some stupid game or perfectly clean house.
4. I will be consistent with Casey. He will have a busy up coming semester and he needs my support and love. I will help take care of the house so he doesn't have to. I will continue to look forward to our weekly date so we can recharge together.

Here is to 2014. Here is to becoming consistent. Here is to finding success!

Elder Scott promises that "Strong character results from consistent correct choices."
So 2014 will really be the year that I build a strong character! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Brownie Points

I tried these brownies for the first time at my ward RS Christmas party earlier this month. In less than two weeks I have since made them three times. True story. I fell head over heals in love with these brownies. It is a mild, milk chocolate flavor. And so convenient to make because I keep all the ingredients on hand. I'm sure you will score major brownie points at your next party/ get-together/ date night at home/ etc. :)

1 c. butter--salted, melted
1/4 c. cocoa
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Combine the melted butter with the cocoa then set aside to let it cool. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer until stiff and foamy. (I use the wire whisk attachment on my kitchenaid--it takes several minutes for the eggs to get thick enough.) Beat in sugar one cup at a time. Add the vanilla. Gradually add in the flour. Combine the melted butter/ cocoa with the batter. Once it is all combined, turn to high and beat for ~1 minute. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350* for about 22-25 minutes. It should be set and toothpick clean but do not overbake.

While it is cooking, make the frosting.

1/4 c. butter, melted
2 T. cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. dry milk (can be omitted if desired)
2 c. powdered sugar

Combine the melted butter with the cocoa and vanilla. Stir in the dry milk then powdered sugar. Add enough milk until spreading consistency. It should be about the consistency of honey; maybe a little thinner. Pour frosting over warm brownies and spread. Add sprinkles/ nuts, if desired, immediately because the frosting will set quickly.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Memories are Made...

I learned a valuable lesson in the last few months.
Sorry for going MIA.
But memories are not made by:
blog posts statistics,
 the perfect food picture to share,
or something clever to write.

Memories are made day in and out.
Memories are made giggling.
Memories are made together.

Memories are Made...

...doing arts and crafts
(This is a masking tape mummy. If you use your imagination like Devin, I'm sure you can see it!)
...reading books

...digging for dinosaur fossils

...dressing as a frog for the Scarecrow festival

...playing in the bouncy house

...participating in a Halloween scavenger hunt
(This year for Halloween Devin was an airplane--his favorite word at the time.
Casey and I were air traffic controllers.)
...playing in Dino land

...learning to drive a car with Devin's cousin

...and also a tractor
(Driving the tractor was by far the favorite of both boys while we walked around Wheeler Farm.)
 ...flying over to the library for story time

...riding TRAX

...making a mess

...and learning to wash your own face

...begging for chocolate
(This was part of my anniversary present for Casey.
Devin is frantically signing "please" in hopes of Casey sharing.)
...making racetracks
(This was totally Devin's idea!)
 ...and driving another tractor
(Out of all the play equipment, Devin loved driving the best.)
 ...building a nest out of paper towels

...helping yourself to the chocolate cake
(Devin balanced on his rocking horse to grab the cake and my keys off the counter.
He was so proud of himself--he's self sufficient after all. LoL!)
...shoveling the snow for the first time

...learning how to close a folding chair

...touring Festival of Trees

...waiting in line to ride the train
(I just had to include this picture!
Devin was SOOO excited to ride the train at the mall.
He was smiling SOOO big and wiggling all over the place.
Even though my selfie skills are lacking, I just LOVE Devin's smile!)
...then riding said train with two of Devin's cousins

...cuddling with the vacuum (which is currently his favorite word)

...frosting gingerbread cookies

...trying to open the back door

...and finally sitting with Santa!
(Devin would not go for sitting on his lap by himself.
As long as I held him, he was ok.)

And just in case I get caught up making more memories instead of blogging...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sacrifice brings a Celestial Marriage

Four years ago today I married my best friend. Life was blissful and we were in love. <3

Or so we thought. But our love has only continued to grow, with a priceless increase today.

I have come to realize that this... not my marriage. It was my wedding. It was a very important day. It was done in the right place and by the right authority. But having a temple wedding is not enough. We have to work to have a celestial marriage.

Marriage is something you do day in and day out. It is staying up late with a sick kiddo. It is raking the leaves while it is beginning to snow. It is counting pennies three times in hopes they will stretch a little bit further. It is sacrificing your wants for the other person.

I have watched Casey sacrifice countless times for me. And I have done other things for him. But today I learned a huge lesson about sacrifice.

Money is ridiculously tight right now. Like uncomfortably so but our basic needs are being taken care of so we still feel so blessed. Blessed by our learning to live within a super strict budget and blessed abundantly by the generosity of others. Casey was in charge of planning our anniversary and he knew the budget. He would have to come up with something that had meaning and cost practically nothing.

I keep thinking about a quote by Pres. Monson that says:
During the challenging times, we grow closer together. Today was no exception.

For the past week, Casey left clues on our whiteboard about our upcoming anniversary he planned. One clue told me that I should wear something fancy. Some I didn't understand at the time but just thought he was sweet. Yesterday he wrote something about heading to Scotland and today it was about Tommy and Fiona. 

Um... who on are earth are Tommy and Fiona. Hello google. Apparently there is a play/ movie called Brigadoon (seriously... don't laugh... I have never heard of it before!) So next I started googling that to see if I could find if it was showing anywhere in the area. I was pleasantly surprised to find it is showing currently at a very nice theater not too far from our home.

My first thought was pure excitement. We haven't seen a play in a long time because it is way out of our budget. My second thought was hoping that Casey was given some tickets without my knowing so we wouldn't have to pay for it. But I decided to focus on the first thought and just look forward to the evening.

I instantly started texting Casey what I had figured out--my excitement bubbling through my fingers. And I also asked him to not buy me anything else because the tickets would be more than enough.

He knew his clue this morning would give it away and I would be googling as fast as I could type. But what I didn't know was his plan for the budget.

We each have a "piggy bank" in our budget. This is our free money that we can spend however we want. It just has to be recorded so the other person knows about it. The only money we have in our separate piggy banks right now is from our birthdays. Anything we had saved up prior was wiped clean to help pay for the furnace. Because money is so limited, it really makes our birthday money more special. It is our only piggy bank money.

Casey responded to my texts saying that he was paying for the tickets and wishing me a happy anniversary.

I knew as soon as I read it that he was going to use all of his precious birthday money to take me out on a date to celebrate my very favorite day of the year. I knew right then that I meant more to him than his piggy bank. I mean more than new clothes or toys or electronics.

And from his example, I lovingly learned about sacrifice. I re-learned about making marriage number one. I once again learned about growing closer together as we continue to scrimp and save.

Happy Anniversary My Love! 
I look forward to an eternity more! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I am Grateful for:

This pretty much speaks for itself! 

Instead of listing something I'm grateful for everyday on Facebook, I decided to fill in one simple worksheet. At least it looked simple before I began filling it out. It was interesting trying to figure out what to write in some of the categories--I really had to think and grow. 

And please know, there are so many countless relationships I'm grateful for and people who have helped me... unfortunately, I had a limited number of spaces for this activity. Also, my apologies that it is a bit difficult to read. I had to make the font rather small in order to fit it in the shape. If you click on the picture, it *should* become larger and hopefully easier to read.

Here is the fun part. It's your turn. Head to Second Chance to Dream and download your gratitude sheet. Then either print it off and fill it in (then scan it so you can post it). Or, I opened the picture in PowerPoint then added a text box for each separate shape. Once I was finished, I saved it as a jpeg.

And here is the best part. Let's play a game. I'm going to TAG...
Once you post your grateful sheet, be sure to tag back to me (so I can link to your actual post) and then tag others to keep spreading grateful hearts. :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wheeler Farm

Feeding the ducks is always a fun activity at Wheeler Farm. But there is so much more than just ducks! And I think that our exploration of the farm just scratched the surface. Wandering around the farm is FREE!! (Best price ever!) Sidenote: When I was growing up, my mom said that Wheeler Farm used to charge. I always just assumed it still did. I don't know when it changed but now it is part of Salt Lake County Parks and it really is free! There are a few activities (like watching the cows get milked or going on a wagon ride) that charge a minimal amount.

Devin enjoyed seeing animals. And following his cousin. He liked playing in the old tree house.

But his absolute favorite part...

We went a month or so ago with a friend to Wheeler Farm. Devin apparently has an amazing memory. As soon as he saw the tractor he started signing "help" then grabbed my hand and practically sprinted to the tractor. He remembered driving it and was so excited to do it again. He knew that he needed my help to be lifted up onto the seat. (I never know what Devin understands or if he is too little to get things. But this was an eye opening moment for me. He not only understands, he remembers!! He is definitely old enough to enjoy field trips!)

So... pack a picnic... grab a jacket... save your old bread... Wheeler Farm is calling your name! 4 tractor wheels approved! :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Raking Leaves

There is something magical about playing the leaves this time of year.

Crisp. Color. Cool. 

And Devin enjoyed helping as well. I gave  him a "Devin sized rake" (aka hand trowel) and he went to town. It was a fun adventure! My little buddy was such a cute helper too. I asked him to help pick up the leaves and throw them in the garbage bag. He would pick them up one at a time and walk to the bag. Such a cutie. 

It was a great afternoon field trip! Comes with a 10 bag recommendation. (If you don't own trees, adopt a neighbor or grandparent. Not comfortable with an adoption? Go on to a near by park and borrow the leaves for jumping, digging and crunching.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Feed the Ducks

This seems like an obvious field trip outing for little ones. But. I guess I will post the obvious today.

Old bread?
Duck Food.

We took some old bread and fed the ducks. At first Devin was scared and cried. He warmed up though. From watching me feed the ducks, he learned to rip little pieces of bread and then throw it. Or rather in Devin's case, drop it right below our feet. He was amused and enjoyed the outing! Definitely a 2 beak quack! :)

We went to Wheeler Farm to feed the ducks. Good because the ducks can come right up to you and eat the bread that Devin threw. Bad because the ducks do come right up to you and I had to keep shooing them away with my foot.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

WitchFest with a Frog

There are days when Casey comes home from work and I realize that Devin and I have not even left the house and then I wonder what did we do all day. In order to make memories last a lifetime, you have to do just that... make them. Sometimes staying home all day is needed because I was working on a project that had a deadline. Sometimes staying home all day is needed so I can catch up on my chores.

But sometimes it is just good to get out. To make those memories that I will cherish someday when I'm old and wrinkled and Devin is raising his own family.

Our field trip this past week was to Gardner Village to see the WitchFest. Devin seemed to enjoy it. He wasn't a huge fan of being really close to the witches but loved seeing all the people. He waves at everyone he passes. I made him walk and hold my hand the whole time and he is a trooper! 

Not many people were wearing costumes. But I didn't care. I dressed Devin up as a little frog. I figured frogs and witches went together. :) Just more memories for me to savor!

Before we went, I printed the Witch Scavenger Hunt and invited my mom. It is great to have company! We had to keep hunting but successfully found all 15 witches. We took a picnic lunch and just enjoyed our time together.

I would totally recommended Witch Fest to anyone with young children, old children or no children. 5 out of 5 warts. It is just a fun place to enjoy the upcoming holiday. Happy Field Tripping!

P.S. Stay tuned... I'm going to (1) make an effort to get out and about with Devin and (2) record those memories so you can be inspired too. Very likely that most ideas will be free or extremely cheap!

Friday, October 11, 2013

1-2-3 Magic

"Devin, don't touch that."
"Don't do that."
"Get down."

Sound familiar? The phrases (and many, MANY more) used by a mommy with a curious toddler. But I found a solution. We have actually been using the strategy for a very long time and it works like a charm when we stick to it. 

Allow me to introduce a must read for every parent (caregiver, babysitter, childcare person, etc!)... 

It is an easy read. Short book. There are also DVDs. I have read the book and watched the DVDs. Both teach the same parenting skills. I own the book but checked out the DVDs from the library. Personally, I don't really see a need to own either, just check it out. If you ever want to refer back to it, check it out again.

This book taught me how to discipline Devin without making a big deal and without it completely disrupting our lives. No yelling. No spanking. No discussions. No adult tantrums in response to the child. No fake apologies. 

The discipline strategy is timeout. And timeout is not rocket science but this book keeps it fair. It gives the child 2 warnings then timeout for approximately as many minutes as they are old. One thing that I LOVE about this book is it helped me realize that Devin is a child. Shocker! But seriously. I hear others all the time trying to rationalize with their kids and asking them why they have to keep telling them. You have to because they are kids and don't have the processing skills yet to rationalize.

I know that the subtitle says that it is for children ages 2-12. And now some of you are doing the math. Yes, Devin is 16 months old. And yes we have been using this since he was about 10 months old (when he started walking). It still works! I don't know if it would work for all babies that young, but Devin caught on. At first we would have to literally stand behind him and hold him in timeout for one minute. He didn't get to stay. He would cry hysterically the whole time during that minute. But he learned the limits. 

After we had been using this for a couple of months, Devin understood that he had to stay in timeout. So I would put him in timeout then go to a different room to set the timer. But he would still cry giant alligator tears with huge sobs. He was just fine. Let the kid cry in timeout. It didn't hurt him one bit!

Timeout continues to improve. Now Devin will sit in timeout for his minute and a half without an emotional meltdown. He just sits there. We have taught him that the beeping noise from the timer does not release him. He has to stay until one of us walk back to him and tell him, "You can come out now." And he knows he has to stay and we are not going to play the "timeout game." If he tries to play the timeout game where he comes out, the time starts over. There were a few times when he decided to come out just before his time was up or when the timer beeped. I took him back to timeout and his time started over.

We don't have an exact timeout spot. If we are playing in the kitchen or living room, normally timeout is by the front door. If we are upstairs then timeout is normally the hallway. If we are out in public, timeout is anywhere I put him. For us timeout is isolation. No books, toys, animals, blankets, etc. This is one thing that I don't agree with 1-2-3 Magic. The book allows kids to go to timeout to their bedrooms and play with all their toys. The theory is the punishment is simply having to change activities. I don't agree. Timeout is not a time to go play with different toys so I purposefully take everything away.

After timeout we simply go on. No fake apologies. No explanations as to what was wrong. No revisiting the crime because it is a fresh start. (This is something the book teaches and I love it.) If Devin goes straight back to the exact thing he was doing before then it is an automatic 3 and he goes straight back to timeout with an extra minute. 

The only times I have had to explain the situation to him was when he went straight back to the same thing for the 4th time. After sitting in three consecutive timeouts, I realized he wasn't getting it. He was just curious. For example, using very firm voice, I told him why he can't peel paint off the corner of the wall that already has a missing chunk. I started counting over and told him, "That's 1." He hasn't touched it since.

What's the hardest part? Remembering to count. Sometimes I just start telling Devin, "No!" "Get down" "Don't." He doesn't respond to my commands very well. It is also a challenge to be consistent with timeout when I'm tired and am not in the mood to deal with anything.

And here is the bonus. I used this when I was a teacher. It worked like a charm with my junior high kiddos. I had to modify it for a classroom setting but the idea was the same. There is a different book written specifically for teachers using the 1-2-3 Magic but I have never read it.

Good luck! And as Proverbs says,
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wading through Isaiah

At Stake Conference a little while ago, my stake presidency challenged everyone in the stake to read the Book of Mormon again. I know there are blessings for those that obey the counsel. And I also just LOVE that there are strength in numbers. While Casey and I chose to both read it for our personal study, I'm not studying this book alone.

I recently started the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi. I'm not going to lie, Isaiah and I are less than best friends. In fact, in my super highlighted, thoughts filling the margins and quotes stuffed almost everywhere, the Isaiah Chapters are almost completely white. Very few colored verses. No impressions in the margins. I just struggle to understand the symbolism and difficult language. (For all of you Isaiah lovers out there, don't judge!)

There is one quote though that I keep in 2 Nephi 11. I treasure this quote and ponder it constantly while I wade through Isaiah. If there is anyone out there like me that struggles with Isaiah, I hope this quote by Boyd K. Packer will encourage you too.

Pres. Packer's entire talk is about reading the Book of Mormon... an excellent read if you are struggling to find the motivation and time to read the Book of Mormon.

Friday, October 4, 2013

{General Conference} Cinnamon Rolls

I have searched and tried countless cinnamon roll recipes. But I could never find one that was amazing. I read through countless "best" cinnamon rolls on pinterest and I liked parts of each. Basically I combined 3 or 4 different recipes to create a recipe that truly is the best. They are light, fluffy, cinnamony, and huge! These are definitely my "go-to" recipe from now on!!

Everything about this just looks amazing!!
And here is the best part. Start to finish is less than 90 minutes (probably around 75-80 minutes). Perfect for Saturday morning General Conference!! I'm so EXCITED for this new General Conference tradition!! :)

1 c. warm water
3 T. yeast
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. buttermilk (room temperature)
1/4 c. melted butter (let sit after melting to cool)
2 t. salt
2 eggs
5-6 c. flour

1/2 c. butter (softened, NOT melted!)
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. cinnamon

3 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 c. butter (softened)
2 t. vanilla
2-3 c. powdered sugar
warm milk??

Before baking.
Note: I found if you use two pans and roll the cinnamon rolls up the short way (instead of the normal long way), they will be GIANT and still make 12. It makes them shorter but wider. They fill an entire paper plate--perfect for sharing with friends. I will take pictures of what I mean by long ways and short ways--check back!

In the bowl of a mixer, combine water, yeast and sugar. Allow it to sit for ~10 min. Mix in the buttermilk, melted butter, salt, eggs and 4 c. flour. Add more flour as needed until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead for 10 minutes. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Mix the 1/2 c. soft (room temperature) butter, brown sugar and cinnamon with a fork in a small mixing bowl. This should resemble the consistency of a spreadable frosting.

Preheat oven to 200* F then turn off. Lightly grease your countertop and roll the dough out to approximately the size of your jelly roll pan (large cookie sheet). "Frost" the dough with the filling. Roll the dough up and cut into 12 equal rolls. Line the cookie sheet with aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and lightly spray. Place rolls on cookie sheet and put in the warm (but turned off) oven for about 5 min. Take the rolls out of the oven THEN preheat it to 400* F. Bake the rolls for 12-15 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and 1/4 c. soft butter in the mixer on high until light and creamy. Beat in vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a TINY bit of warmed milk. I normally don't use any milk because I stop adding powdered sugar once it gets thick enough. This is a total guessing game though... sorry... frosting is not an exact science. :)

My cute helper!
He *loved* helping lick the filling bowl after I was all done with it!!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Priesthood & a Band-Aid

I have thought a lot about an object lesson I heard once for teachers. I can't remember where I heard it... maybe a class... maybe pinterest. So the idea is not my own but I wanted to share.
Several people had various ailments, illnesses and injuries. They went to their doctor in hopes of a treatment. After seeing the doctor, they had to wait in the lobby until everyone had spoken with the doctor.
The first person had a cut on their left arm. The doctor cleaned the wound and put a Band-Aid on. The second person complained about not being able to see. The doctor cleaned the left arm and put a Band-Aid on. The next person had extreme knee pain. The doctor cleaned the left arm and put a Band-Aid on. One person had headaches, one had an upset stomach, and so on. The treatment was always the same--clean the left arm and put a Band-Aid on.
While waiting in the waiting room, it became apparent that only the first person was happy. Everyone else said the doctor was a waste of their time and money. The second person wanted glasses. The next person wanted knee shots (ha,ha... no one ever wants these... trust me!). And so on. No one could figure out how a Band-Aid on the left arm did anything to help them so they decided to all ask the doctor.
Demanding to see the doctor again, the patients wanted an answer. "Why?!" they inquired. "How does a dumb Band-Aid help me when I never said anything about my left arm?"
The doctor slowly replied, "I was treating everyone equally... the same."
"But that's not fair," came the response. "We want a treatment for our own, individual problems."
"The first person needed a wound cleaned on the left arm and a Band-Aid. I'm treating my patients equally by providing the exact same treatment for all."
"But that's not fair," came the response again.
So obviously, this would never happen. A doctor would not treat all patients the same. The doctor would treat them fairly, providing a solution to each person's individual condition. The point is there is a huge difference between being fair and being equal.

When I was a teacher (a lifetime ago), I was being completely fair by allowing modifications on assignments and tests for students with learning disabilities. Was it the same? No. But was the easier assignment fair? Yes because I considered the student's personal abilities. As more children join our home, some long distance down the road, will I treat them equally? Not likely. But will I try to be fair? Yes. Fair to the circumstance, the situation and the child individually.

This post could stop here and be a good story. A great lesson to understand the difference between fair and equal. But I have to explain the reasons behind why I keep pondering this analogy and what it means to me today.

Thankfully, Heavenly Father does not treat us all equally. He considered us each personally as He gave us various talents and gifts. The world would be a mighty boring place if we were all the exact same with a Band-Aid on our left arm. But in His great wisdom and mercy, He gave me spiritual "knee shots" and someone else "glasses." 

Even more than spiritual knee shots and glasses though, Heavenly Father lovingly created me to be a woman. It is not by chance. There was no toss of the coin or a 50/50 chance. No! It was on purpose. I am on purpose. I am meant to be a woman. And my husband is meant to be a man (a very cute and smart one, I might add). We complete each other and help one another. And I am so, SOOO grateful that Heavenly Father did not send us both down to earth with Band-Aids on our left arms. Where would that get us?! Likely nowhere because we didn't need the Band-Aid.

Instead, He sent me down to earth with Motherhood. This is a divine gift, my friends. It is sacred and something I cherish deeply. It is honorable. It is nurturing. It fills my soul with the deepest warmth and the purest joy.

And in His great wisdom, he sent Casey down with the Priesthood. This is a divine gift too! And it is sacred and something I also deeply cherish. It guides Casey and he blesses my life with it. But our gifts are not the same because we are not the same. We use both our gifts to bless our family. We use them together. We use them to complete one another. But our gifts are not meant to be the same!

Are we absolutely equal as partners? 100% yes. Both in our eyes and in the Lord's!! But are we equal in our roles on this earth? In our purpose? In our mission? NO! I am a woman. He is a man. I am not meant to hold the Priesthood because Heavenly Father didn't send me down to earth with a useless Band-Aid. He sent me down with so much more. So much more! And in His great love, He is being completely fair!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Becoming a Diamond

My wedding ring is a constant reminder. It reminds me of Casey's eternal love. It reminds me of the temple covenants we entered into almost 4 years ago.

As I was studying my scriptures today, my wedding ring took on a whole new meaning. I saw the diamonds and I thought of the process they had to endure to become diamonds. Long before my wedding ring was designed, these precious diamonds used to be lumps of coal. Yes. Lumps of coal. Dirty. Sooty. Black. And of very little value comparatively.

But my diamonds endured. They went through intense pressure and heat for a very long period of time. And the end result is amazing. Sparkling. Beautiful. Forever.

To me, I think that is what Isaiah meant when he stated,
For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

And so day by day, I'm striving to become like my wedding ring. Pure. Lovely. Refined. Chosen.

Enduring life's challenges and trials. Holding fast to my testimony. Finding strength in my scriptures. Receiving comfort in my prayers. Knowing that all the struggles are for a purpose. And occasionally catching a glimpse of my life diamond in the process.

Life is not meant to be easy. We are meant to become diamonds.

Monday, September 23, 2013

15 Lessons from the 15 Month Old

Jesus taught that we should become as little children. (Matthew 18:2-3) His teaching is just beginning to make sense. I have learned so much from my charming 15 month old. Life lessons at their finest!

1. Say hello and wave to everyone you meet. It will bring a smile to both your faces and likely brighten their day. 

2. Applaud yourself. Celebrate even when you do the smallest things right. Clapping for yourself builds your confidence. 

3. Clap when anyone else does something right too. We all need a cheerleader in life. 

4. Let things go. So what if you made a mistake. You sit in time out for 90 seconds and come out smiling, ready to conquer your world and forget the problems. 

5. It's ok to ask others for help. Ask nicely. Say please and thank you. And more than likely they will be delighted to help in anyway they can. 

6. When you fall down, get back up. Falling is not failure. It just means you are learning. 

7. Support others when they have a bad day. Give them a cookie and a kiss. Because a cookie and a kiss really does make everything better. 

8. Try new things. Sometimes you might like them, it might even become your favorite. Sometimes you may not. But you never know until you try. 

9. Explore your world. There is so much out there. Pay attention and enjoy what you find. 

10. Find joy in the simple things. You don't need expensive toys to make you happy. 

11. Take a nap. Life's problems have a way of diminishing when you get enough rest. 

12. Worry less about your appearance. It doesn't really matter if your pants are too short or there's a spill on your shirt. Instead focus serving others. 

13. Make sure those you love know it. Tell them. Show them. Hug them. 

14. Patience goes a long way. Life is filled with waiting. You might as well enjoy it by  entertaining and playing with yourself. 

15. Don't judge others until you walk in their shoes. And even after walking in their shoes, still love and respect them unconditionally. 

If we could all just live by these simple guidelines and follow the counsel given by Christ... life would be so much more welcoming and supportive if we could truly learn to be like children. Thank you Devin for setting an example for me; an example worth copying.

Which is your favorite lesson taught by Devin?
Leave a comment--I would *love* to hear! :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

he's a little boy!

It hit me the other day that Devin is no longer a baby. At all. 
He had a major growth spurt recently.
And is now our little boy.
Enjoy our comings and goings with several pictures! :)
And I LOVE how he is smiling in a majority of the pictures.
He has the cutest smile!!

We have crazy weather these days. The afternoons are often filled with flash floods. And Devin insists that he has to go outside to check out the thunder. Sometimes I can convince him to sit on the porch with me. Other times... not so much. He was pushing his lawnmower and found the mud. He LOVES playing in the mud!

Devin drags that two-step ladder everywhere. With it, he can see and help. If it is put away, he will constantly sign help by the closet door to tell me he wants it. He had a brilliant idea to try to open the door with his step stool. Thankfully, he doesn't get how to twist door handles yet!

Helping me clean the kitchen. But if you will notice, all the hard work required a break time. He dropped his broom and started playing peek-a-boo (his hand is covering his eyes). After he played for a little bit, he went back to sweeping.

We were able to ride the Heber Creeper with all my family earlier this month. Devin enjoyed being able to look out the window and sit or stand on the seat next to Grandma instead of having to be buckled in his rear facing car seat.

Devin loves helping me cook. He is great at sampling whatever I'm making and banging the measuring cups on the counter. He is also great at smiling and making me laugh! :)

Another time helping me cook. He LOVED sampling this. It was the leftover filling (more like a frosting consistency) for some cinnamon rolls I made earlier. Which reminds me. I should post that recipe!

Awh. I just love seeing my sleeping boy. He is adorable!

Devin likes to push this car all over our driveway and sidewalk. Thankfully, somehow, I was able to teach him to stay out of the road. He rarely goes out to the road now. He begs me to take him outside to play.

He also likes to sit in his car. But he doesn't understand that it is a "Flintstone car" and that he can drive walk himself around while he is sitting.

I have no idea how he falls asleep in such awkward places. He was sitting on the bean bag on minute playing with Friend. The next he fell over asleep cuddling with Friend. Such a cutie!

Devin always wants to feed himself. Always. I have found that thick oatmeal is a good "learning to use a spoon" food. Picture below is yogurt and it is terrible for feeding himself. We have to hose him, his clothes, the high chair, and the floor down afterwards.