Monday, October 27, 2008

Things I am Grateful for...

I have had a nice day on the good news front:

1. My mother in law, who we found out about a week and a half ago has cancer, had an appointment with the oncologist today and it appears that the lump that was already removed was the only cancer in her body at this time! We couldn't have asked for better news on that front.

2. I got a $44 check in the mail today out of the blue! Apparently we overpaid a bill in Madison so they were reimburing us. Or maybe it was a deposit we originally made or something, but whatever it is, I like it! Don't you wish you got random checks in the mail everyday?

3. My 3rd bit of good news for the day I just realized I really can't post. It isn't my news to share, but for the people out there whose good news it is, yay!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


It snowed in Madison last night I am told. I miss my friends dearly, but I don't miss that! Still, I think I could put up with a little snow to see my friends again!

No complaints about the weather here though. Last night we had the ward Trunk or Treat. First of all it seemed almost silly to be having corn bread and soup or chili because it was warm outside! Of course I love it because it is a perfect fall meal, but it just seemed a little unfitting with the weather. Then, it seemed wrong to be going outside to trunk or treat and not wearing a heavy coat, hats, gloves, boot, and the works. I think probably all but 1 year of the trunk or treat in Madison it was freezing outside for it. I will admit, the warm weather was nice-oh and the palm trees around the church swaying softly in the breeze, the sound of the ocean in the distance... Am I making any of you Madison friends want to come and visit? We have a very comfortable couch. :) (You couldn't actually hear the ocean in the distance, but you could drive 5-10 miles and be there-am I tempting anyone?)

Anyway, the boys had a great time at the trunk or treat. We took our neighbor and her son who is Nathan's age and that was great. I think she had a really fun time. The funny thing was that when we pulled up to the church she said "I have been here before-I came to church here with a friend a couple of times!" Apparently she had a Mormon friend who invited her to church a few times years back but she didn't realize that it was the same church till we got there.

The boys were Batman, Superman and Robin. I made the costumes, I always do. But this year I put thought into it-why do I make the costumes? I probably could have bought all the costumes for less $ than I spent making them. My mother made all of my costumes, Josh's mom made all of his. So perhaps it is just the tradition. But then, as I was sewing them last Sat. afternoon the real reason hit me. Nathan sat next to me watching me create Batman from nothing and my "cool mom" factor increased dramatically as each part of the costume came together. He was enthralled at my ability to turn a pair of grey sweats and a pile of black fabric into a genuine Batman ensemble and it was fun for me to watch the magic of it all through his eyes. Both Nathan and Jack have spent quite a bit of time in their costumes already and I know they will use them for years to come. But most importantly, I am a cool mom.

Dal's little friend was batman and we thought it was too cute that we had a little batman and robin so we got a picture:

And I found this picture on my camera. I think Jack was complaining about something so I snapped his picture. This is the Jack I know and love, the Jack's whose attitude I get to bash heads with everyday. This picture just sums up Jack so well. I love him (maybe in part because he might get some of that stubborness from you know who...)

I'm the lucky one really...

Tonight I realized that I never write much on my blog about Josh. So this post is dedicated to him. When Josh called his mission pres. 8 years ago to tell him he was engaged, his mission Pres. said to him "well, you are a lucky man to have her" or something along those lines, and Josh, getting confused about what his Pres. had just said responded with "Well President, she's the lucky one really." We still laugh about that today, and truly, I am the lucky one really.

Today I am grateful for Josh because:

1. He cooks! I know not all wives can say that about their hubbies but this man can cook and loves to cook. He made us dinner tonight-Thai Peanut Chicken Skewers and potato salad. And all this while I slept!

2. He is such a fun daddy to the boys. They love to play "daddy knock over game" with him and to wrestle him and I just love to see them doing that. He has a role to fulfill with his sons that I just can't do-it is his alone and he does it wonderfully. Chest thumps/high fives before bed, long talks about science with Nathan, Hubert the Traveling Monarch Butterfly stories at bedtime, snuggles with Jack (who actually calls out for daddy in the night which I really love), belly tickles for Dal, the list could go on and on.

3. He treats me like a queen. I know that sounds so cliche, but how else can I put it? He sent me an email the other day when I was feeling sad and just reading his words I could tell he was willing to do anything to help cheer me up. Josh never gets angry at me (well, if he by chance gets a little irritated it is short lived and he treats me well in spite of it) and he should probably get mad at me more often, and he is so willing to help me out in anything. He lets me sleep in on occasion-a rare priviledge around our house, makes Nathan's lunches in the evening, helps do the dishes and clean up our thrashed house after the boys go to bed at night, you get the picture.

There are a million more little things I love about him but he said that I should not stay up and blog too late. I just wanted to say: This guy is great!

This is me...

This is me, standing on a street corner, holding up a sign while some happy cars drive past honking and waving and showing their support but far too many flip me the bird, tell me things about my mother and call me a biggot. (Thanks Liz for the great picture.) Honestly, I have a new understanding of the Mormon pioneers and what it took for them to stand up for what they believed in, and for that experience at least I am grateful.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mr. Dallen

I just had to record this. This is what Dallen does literally every single time he sees a mirror-he waves at that adorable baby that he sees. The video is a little hard to see. I walked from the hallway into our bathroom so that you could see how he does it as we approach the mirror. If you look close you will notice that he starts waving (opening and closing his hand) the moment we are in sight of the mirror.) I just love this kid-he is so much fun!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Splash Park and Pumpkin Patch

Two fun things we did this week: on Monday and Wednesday we went to a splash park that we found nearby. Wednesday we went with some friends from Nathan's school which was really fun both for the boys because they love to play with all the kids and for me because I really like the moms. We have found sort a little group to be friends with there. Four moms (including myself) each with kids in kindergarten and then a handful of other kids-two Jack's age and 1 Dallen's age, so it works out well. Two of the three live right near us (one of them just 2 doors down).

Dallen really enjoyed the splash park. I think part of it was that enjoyed being mostly naked. I got some really great pictures of him but this was my favorite because of his bright blue eyes:

This one just cracks me up. I told the boys to sit down and let me take a picture of them with their arms around each other. Now normally on a blog you would just post the lovely picture of the two smiling boys lovingly wrapping their arms around each other's shoulder and grinning at the camera, but I just had to post the picture that captures the reality of their relationship. In this picture Jack is yelling "he's choking me!"
Then moments later they have worked it out and have that sweet brotherly love thing going. I love the looks on their faces here:
The other great thing we did this week was our annual trip to a pumpkin patch. In Wisconsin on any Saturday in October you could find us at a local farm on their pumpkin patch. So we wanted to try to keep the tradition alive and after a quick search on Google found that there is in fact a pumpkin patch just 15 minutes from us up in Escondido. So we hopped in the car all rallied up and ready to pick some pumpkins. When we got there we thought "surely that can't be the pumpkin patch" so we kept driving until we finally realized that the first thing we passed my have really been the pumpkin patch. So back we went to the small farm nestled right next to the busy I-15 with the small field with scattered pumpkins. So much for the corn mazes and kettle corn, barns and petting zoos of the Wisconsin pumpkin patches. There isn't a lot we miss about Wisconsin weather, but a nice fall day in Wisconsin, especially if you are visiting a pumpkin patch, just can't be beat.

Anyway, we really had a great time at our California pumpkin patch. It was a cool day actually-we were even in long pants for the first time since moving here and I got some really great pictures. Here are just a few:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Me and My Bubble

I am not a person who likes all. And I like to live in what I lovingly refer to as my bubble. I don't watch the news or read the news because I don't want to hear about all of the bad or controversial things going on in the world. I tell Josh the same thing when he comes home and wants to tell me the latest story he read about on don't want to hear it. I want to live in my happy little contented bubble and keep seeing the world through my rose colored lenses.

But alas, this time I have to come out of my bubble-like it or not. Many of you know, in fact I have talked at least via email to many of you, that marriage is being threatened in California currently. On November 4th the state of California will vote to amend the constitution to state that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.

I believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and is central to his plan for His children. I truly believe that we must protect the institution of marriage.

In California we (we being of course those of us in favor of marriage between a man and a woman) are working hard to do what we can to protect the institution of marriage. I have personally made phone calls to registered voters to tell them about Proposition 8-to give them the facts, find out how they plan to vote and do a little persuading where needed. Not something that I like to do in my spare time but I am doing it because I know that it matters. Josh has walked and knocked doors to do the same. We have a bumper sticker and a yard sign proclaiming YES on 8. We have donated money, we have prayed, we have fasted, we have talked to friends and we will continue to do these things.

Tonight I attended a fireside about this effort. Elders Ballard and Cook of the Quorum of the 12 and Elder Clayton from the 70 spoke about the importance of this amendment and, here is the fun part, asked the young people of the church to use the internet to spread the word and help gain support for this cause. I can do that and so can you! I haven't posted about this on my blog before because pretty much everyone I know who reads my blog already agrees with me on this issue and hardly any of you live in CA. But as I listened to Elders Ballard and Cook tonight I thought of a plan. I am posting this on my blog and "tagging" ALL of you to post it on yours. In your own words or use mine, I don't care but it could have a ripple effect if you all post about this on your blog and then ask others to post on theirs too. Or use your facebook or myspace accounts or email or whatever you can do.

Here are a few facts:
Proposition 8 (vote YES!) does not remove any rights from the gay community. It simply defines marriage as between a man and a woman. This truly isn't anti-gay. We aren't condeming them, we are simply stating that we believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. We can still love the people out there who are gay, but we don't have to embrace their lifestyle choice.

Should the amendment not pass, children can and will be taught in public schools about gay marriage and worse, homosexual sexuality.

Churches who refuse to support gay marriage could lose their tax exempt status and the churches with adoption agencies could be forced to adopt babies to gay couples. (Or quit adoptions altogether.)

(All of the above statements were said tonight by the General Authorities.)

What you can do?

Remind anyone you know in CA to register to vote and vote YES on prop 8 on Nov. 4th

Spread the word on your own blog, facebook, myspace, email, anywhere-you never know where the ripple could go and how it might help

Donate money to the Protect Marriage Coalition here: They are working on commercials currently that the polls are showing ARE affecting voters in a good way! But they need more money. This is an easy way for people outside of CA to help.

Pray for the amendment to pass.

If you want to educate yourself more on this issue, the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) has set up a website with vidoes and information for everyone:

In fact, read their words there because I am sure they said it better than I can.

At the close of the meeting tonight we sang a hymn. I thought the choice of hymn was a wonderful and powerful reminder of why we do what we do. We sang "Let us all Press On" and the words struck me in a new way:

Let us all press on in the work of the Lord, That when life is o'er we may gain a reward;
In the fight for right let us wield a sword, The mighty sword of truth.
Fear not, though the enemy deride; Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
We will heed not what the wicked may say, But the Lord alone we will obey.

It felt great to sing that among my fellow Californians and feel the strength of a group of people willing to stand up for what is right.

Vote YES for Prop 8

Monday, October 6, 2008

I think I am sick!

Thanks to Jen-my friend from Madison, I have a new sickness. Hi my name is Amber and I am totally and completely addicted to Grocery Gaming. I blogged about it once before but just couldn't resist doing it once again. Hey, it's my blog right? I can write about it again! I am just loving this game of saving money! Here is my picture (yes, I took a picture because I was that excited!) of what I bought last week:

I got 3 things of Tide, enough makeup to last me at least a year (4 lipsticks, 2 mascaras, 1 foundation all in the brand I usually use), 2 things of Ziplocs, Scrubbing Bubbles, 2 of my very favorite cookie dough (Pilsbury), pasta, spagetti sauce, Halloween Candy, 2 boxes of pancakes, 2 kids toothpastes, Reese's Puffs (me and Josh's new favorite after the boys go to bed treat), hand soap, dish soap, and anything else in that picture that I forgot to list all for the low low price of $59.62! (The makeup alone might have cost me that at regular prices. At CVS I was watching the total as she rung it up-$69. Then as she entered coupons and deals it went down to something like $23. Nice! I think my total savings was something like $80. I look forward to Mondays every week (my shopping day) just because I have so much fun doing this. And no, I am not buying things that I would not otherwise buy so yes, this is saving me hundreds of dollars.

Today I got 1 Children's Tylenol, 1 Children's Ibu, 1 Adult Ibu, 1 Adult Tylenol, 2 toothbrushes, 1 tube of toothpaste, 4 bags of Halloween Candy, a bar of soap, a pack of razors, a bag of candy corn, hmm, and I think that was everything for I think it was $24. Plus I have $2 in extra care bucks to use next time.

OK, so now you all know, I am sick-I get totally and completely excited about going to the grocery store!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What a weekend!

I would love to say that this weekend was everything that we so excitedly looked forward to. That we gathered in the living room surrounding the computer watching General Conference while the spirit filled our home with peace and love. That the boys sweetly and happily played in the backyard and picked up leaves in the front yard as I watched the morning session of conference on Saturday while contentedly beading beautiful bracelets. That we enjoyed the afternoon sessions while all three boys simultaneously slept. That we decorated our home with fun Halloween decorations between sessions. That we made yummy homemade donuts and enjoyed them with chocolate milk while Daddy told us all about the Priesthood session talks. That the lasting effects of watching conference left us all feeling happy and contented and treating each other with sweet kindness while love filled our happy home after a nice, relaxing weekend of conference. At least that is what I foresaw as I looked forward to this weekend.

As I was "watching" conference this weekend I thought back to 6 years ago this October conference-it was that Sunday night that we found out that we were pregnant with Nathan. I am sure that in our minds that weekend we thought "maybe, just maybe, next year we will have a sweet little baby with us next year when we watch conference." And then things spiraled out of control and 5 years later we can't even sit peacefully and hear what is being said. At one point this morning Josh and I looked at each other and said "why are we even bothering to try?" And then when President Monson spoke about houses strewn with piles of toys and laundry piling up we looked at each other and wondered if he was at that moment having a vision of our home. We appreciate the words he spoke-about finding joy in the journey and loving the piles of toys (although I admit-loving them may be a struggle for me, I can at least appreciate that someday I will miss the trains all over the floor, the crayon marks on my carpet and Jack's little voice that at this moment I am hearing loud and clear even though he was told 20 minutes ago to lay down and go to sleep.) I do enjoy the journey and I did enjoy this weekend, in spite of the less than idyllic circumstances.

Yes, we did watch conference, yes the boys did listen to President Monson speak and did in fact act as though they felt the spirit, yes the boys did go outside and clean up the yard while I watched and made bracelets (they were earning money to use at the school bookfair this week), yes we did make donuts and drink chocolate milk, its just that none of it went as smoothly as I would have hoped. During our donut making there was fighting, Dallen's head hitting the tile floor, cinnamon sugar all over the floor, Jack licking sugar off of the donuts, arguing over who gets to help with what part of the process, tired Dallen continuing to cry and want to be held while I tried to flip donuts in hot oil. But I hope that the boys will remember the good moments-the traditions of making donuts with mommy and decorating for Halloween. That mommy and daddy cared enough about General Conference to do their best to listen in spite of it all, and that we have love in our home, even when they do color on the carpet.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dallen Crawls

I have been promising this videa to my mother in law for a while now and have had a really hard time getting it to upload-giving You Tube a whirl now. Let's see if this works.

You will have to copy and paste the code if you want to see it. I seriously hate hearing my own voice on that! UGH! But at least you get to see a cute little Dallen face.