Monday, December 15, 2008

{early christmas}




We celebrated Christmas a bit early with our VA family this year.
{We are leaving tomorrow for a long vacation in CA and UT. }
The kids both got lots of gifts, and are very happy playing with them all today while mommy does lots of laundry, cleaning and packing! Titi and Tutu gave Caleb "T-Trax"...which he hasnt put down sense. Caleb even feeds him...things such as his toy seal and the lions tail {guess t-trax already devoured the rest of lion, all we can find is his tail!} Gracies is very happy playing with her baby doll and shopping cart, and i'm sure will get around to the rest of the toys soon.

Off to CA...
Vacation, Family, Christmas, Wedding, Reception, St George, New Years, and Disney...at least once!
It's gonna fly!
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Friday, December 12, 2008

{perfect}

i'm in love with this picture.
Have you seen stepmom? you know the oh so funny and adorable son? does that picture of Henry not remind you of him!?!!? i keep going to my sisters blog just to see this picture, so i figured i would post it on mine! :) Henry is getting so big and we are getting to know each other a lot better {you know, my whole "get that baby away from me" phase i'm in...hes not a baby anymore :) } This picture depicts his humor perfectly. Love you "Henny"

Monday, November 24, 2008



just had to post these too! :)
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first program!

Caleb had his first preschool program with all the other 3 year olds.

Gracie and Daddy waiting for the kids to come.


Caleb is top right.


Singing his favorite song, Indian Warrior.


His teacher had asked each child what they were thankful for and written their answer on a paper and then at the end of the program had each one come up and say what they were thankful for. Lots of "mom and dad" and "toys" and even "horse" and "apples"...and our little caleb got up there and said "i'm thankful for my church!" i cried. immediately. It was a very special moment for me. i talked to his teacher later and asked her if he came up with it on his own and she assured me that all she did was say "caleb, what are you thankful for?". he immediately said "my church". oh too precious!
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Chocolate Turtle Cookies

I didnt get around to taking a picture...they were gone too fast!
These cookies are amazing! they kinda remind me of the See's Toffee Ettes i posted about here.
1C. all purpose flour
1/3 C. cocoa powder
1/4 tea. salt
8 T. unsalted butter, softened
{we used salted}
2/3 C. sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 T. milk
1 tea. vanilla extract
1 C. pecans, chopped fine
14 soft caramel candies
{werther's original are worth the little extra you'll pay!}
3 T. heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. {i used my non stick sheet on one pan and pam on the other and they both worked fine.} combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. with electric mixer on med-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. refrigerate dough until firm, at least an hour.
2. {this is when i really turned my oven on. i didnt think it needed to be on for the time the dough was in the fridge!} whisk egg whites in bowl until frothy. place pecans in another bowl. one at a time, roll dough into 1 inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. using teaspoon measure {i used 1/4 teaspoon cause it was clean!}, make indentation in center of each ball. bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
3. meanwhile, microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. once cookies are removed from oven, gently press existing indentations with teaspoon measure. fill each with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
makes 2 dozen cookies. this is the first time i have ever made cookies and actually got how many they say it makes.. 2 dozen exactly! which means next time i'll be doubling the recipe!!! :) did i mention these are good?
{* once again, thanks Cooks Country! you cease to amaze me!}

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cradled by family, crash victims on path to 'enjoy life again'

Everything that Stephanie feels, Christian has felt before.
In the hospital, he stands next to her bed, and she stares up at him, her green eyes wide and wondering.
He's just ahead of her on the recovery path. He tells her what is to come.
He knows the bafflement of waking after weeks of sedation, and discovering a new season, a changed life.
He remembers what it feels like to take those first painful steps, joints and muscles aching from months of bed rest, that taut, newly grafted skin stretching for the first time.
He was as nervous as she was to talk to the couple's four children for the first time after the plane crash, afraid to realize the anguish the accident caused in their small lives. She was in a medically induced coma for almost four months, missing Nicholas' second birthday, Claire's seventh and Halloween. She woke wondering who Sarah Palin was and why she was on TV.
And Christian knows the guilt Stephanie feels for her absence from the children, for getting on that plane. He helped her through that first, short phone call to their kids last weekend: I-love-yous and many tears.
It gets easier, he tells her.
"That's where I find my greatest consolation," Christian says. "I know exactly what she's going through and how to overcome some of the obstacles that she's feeling. And that makes me feel like I can do something in what would seem to be a helpless situation."
Now, every night in the hospital, Christian and Stephanie talk about the days ahead.
For now, they skip over the things that make Stephanie anxious, like her changed appearance she's not ready to see. Her face is covered entirely with patchy new skin, eyebrows gone, her dark hair shorn but growing back. They even forgo stories about the kids, which bring up the guilt.
"I can't answer the question of why this had to happen," Christian says, "but I can answer the question of what our future looks like, and I know it's bright. Stephanie and I - having each other and enjoying life like we do, knowing that we lived through this - it's easy to believe that we're going to enjoy life again."
Stephanie wants only to talk about going home, and she's on her way.
Stephanie and Christian are going back to Utah, where she grew up and the couple fell in love.
As soon as there's a bed available, Stephanie will be flown to a rehabilitation hospital in Salt Lake City, where she will be closer to her parents and eight siblings. Her doctors at the Arizona Burn Center say Stephanie is ready to move on, and believe that having family near will help her healing.
Christian will move in with Stephanie's sister, Courtney Kendrick, who is caring for the couple's children at her home in nearby Provo, Utah.
"I'm kind of thinking the kids are going to spend just as much time in my bed as they do in their own," Christian says, "and that's fine with me."
Stephanie's oldest sister, Page Checketts, even bought the couple a house in Provo just blocks from Stephanie's sisters and parents, so that when Stephanie is ready to leave rehab, she will have help.
They see already that Stephanie hates to be alone.
Familial solace
In the hospital, Stephanie lies quiet most of the time, content just to have her mother and sisters in the room, talking. She likes to soak up the chatter. Christian, who is rehabilitating at his parents' Mesa home, visits every day. Page is installed almost permanently at Stephanie's side, though she had to stop sleeping in her room.
"She wakes up every five minutes to see if I'm still there," Page says.
The nights are the hardest. Stephanie's arms are strapped to splints that stretch her tight, red skin, so Page and Stephanie talk to distract her from the pain.
"One night she was having a real hard night, so I said, 'Let's talk about what we're going to plant in the garden,' " Page remembers. "She wants pumpkins and tomatoes."
When Christian was first waking, he found comfort at night with his mother, Mary Nielson.
"In the beginning when I was lonely and afraid," he says, she spent every night in the hospital with him. "I just felt like a little boy again, being taken care of by my mom. We kind of joke about it now when she tucks me in bed, in my old room, and kisses me good night.
"I don't understand how anybody would recover from something like this without extraordinary family," Christian says. "And not just good family, but extraordinary."
Laughter and thanks
This month, Stephanie's hospital room has been filled with her own extraordinary family. Her brother Matt came, teased her about not being able to eat, and she smiled and called him a jerk. Such spunk, her family was thrilled.
Another brother, Andrew, flew in for a visit and had Stephanie in giggles.
Courtney, who is caring for the kids, came just as her sister was waking. Stephanie said "thank you" as soon as she could talk.
"She said, 'I'm gonna find a way to pay you back,' " Courtney remembers. "I said, 'Stephanie, you would do it for me, wouldn't you? You just come to Utah and be my neighbor and we'll raise our kids together and help each other,' " Courtney says.
"Deal," Stephanie replied. And then Stephanie said something else: "I feel stupid."
"She feels bad for making a decision that affected (her children's) lives so dramatically," Courtney says of the plane crash that killed the couple's friend and flight instructor, Doug Kinneard. Christian, Stephanie and Kinneard had taken a day trip to New Mexico and crashed on the way home.
"And that's so typical Stephanie," Courtney says. "She said that every day of her life, was always feeling stupid about something.
"I said, 'Steph, you go ahead and feel stupid right now, but one day you're going to realize how you changed the world and you won't feel stupid anymore.' "
World of prayers
While Stephanie and Christian recovered, their story inspired others across the world.
Stephanie and Courtney wrote popular blogs, and Courtney kept them both updated with news about Stephanie and Christian, asking for prayers. Courtney shared their love story, told about the couple's Mormon faith and Stephanie's delight in everyday life as a mother.
Friends and strangers nationwide held fundraisers to help the couple, whose medical costs will stretch into the millions. Insurance will pay some. Almost $250,000 has been raised.
Courtney's mailbox is now filled with hundreds of letters from readers who vow to live a little more like Stephanie, to be content, to look for joy each day.
Stephanie is slowly absorbing all of this: grateful, but "embarrassed," Christian says. She wants to thank everyone for their prayers.
"She feels them," Christian says. "It reminds me that people are good, that this is a good world."
But it turns out the woman who shared her life and even love letters to her husband online is shy.
"She's not one for the limelight," Christian says. "She's just modest and is puzzled why people are so kind to her. Being the president of her fan club, I know why people are interested in helping her and making her happy. That's my joy in life, to try and make her happy.
"Everything about life with Stephanie is good," he says. "To live with a woman like her is a wonderful thing. I'll get stronger to help her through the next set of hurdles.
"I don't plan to be away from her from here on out."

you can read more on Courtney's blog.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mashed Potato Casserole

If any of you are looking for a great Mashed Potato Casserole for the holidays, look no farther!
i have made this many times, and it is a hit every time!

Happy Eggs

Hard-cooked eggs are prone to greenish-colored yolks and sulfurous odors. Our tests uncovered what causes the problem and how you can make perfect hard-cooked eggs every time. Don’t boil the eggs. After countless tests, the test kitchen found it best to cover the eggs with an inch of water, bring to a boil, cover, and remove from the heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with 1 quart water and 1 dozen ice cubes. Pour off water from saucepan and gently shake pan back and forth to crack shells. Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon and let cool 5 minutes. The gentle heat perfectly cooks the eggs—not a chance of the green tinge or unpleasant smell.
To center the yolks, turn the carton of eggs on its side in the refrigerator the day before you plan to cook the eggs.

Monday, November 17, 2008





On Sunday i got to take some pics of my sister and mike. It was freezing. and windy. mike was shaking. noses were red. but it made for some laughs and a couple pics...
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The other night i moved Caleb into Grace's room with her so that they now share a room. Caleb's old room is just the playroom now. The kids are both very excited about it, and so am i!

While we were moving furniture around the kids thought they should take an opportunity to lay on the shelves {with help from Daddy}. So this is what i came in to.

{and ps, the furniture isnt crooked, the camera apparently was :) }
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Thanks Ash!




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Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Presidency Urges Respect, Civility In Public Discourse
11/14/2008 01:19 PM MST
SALT LAKE CITY14 November 2008

Five months ago, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a letter to members of the Church in California, encouraging them to join the millions of other Californians from many religious denominations, ethnic groups and political persuasions in a broad coalition to defend marriage as it has been defined for millennia.

During the election campaign, both sides of the argument on Proposition 8 had ample opportunities to express their viewpoint. The result was conclusively in favor of traditional marriage. More than 40 states in the United States have now voted to protect traditional marriage, either directly or through their elected representatives.

Today the First Presidency issued this statement about the democratic process:

Since the people of California voted to reaffirm the sanctity of traditional marriage between a man and a woman on November 4, 2008, places of worship have been targeted by opponents of Proposition 8 with demonstrations and, in some cases, vandalism. People of faith have been intimidated for simply exercising their democratic rights. These are not actions that are worthy of the democratic ideals of our nation. The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America.

The Church is keenly aware of the differences of opinion on this difficult and sensitive matter. The reasons for this principled stand in defense of marriage have already been articulated elsewhere. However, some of what we have seen since Californians voted to pass Proposition 8 has been deeply disappointing.

Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal. Efforts to force citizens out of public discussion should be deplored by people of goodwill everywhere.

We call upon those who have honest disagreements on this issue to urge restraint upon the extreme actions of a few that are further polarizing our communities and urge them to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other.

Standard of Truth

“The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame. But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and dependent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah will say, ‘The work is done.'”
~Joseph Smith

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blue Ridge, Golden.

Explination, of course, three posts down. though you probably dont need one.
Parkway. Autumn.


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A couple weeks ago we went up on the beautiful parkway to enjoy the autumn that is in full swing, and snapped some pics. Better late than never, and out of order than not at all :)



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"big water"


Caleb requested "big water" the other day during bath time. I had turned the water off, but later heard it running and came in to this. big water.


I hope you can see Grace's face. I cant only imagine what she was thinking.
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YardWork


Caleb and Gracie had some friends over and they decided they were going to help Papa do some yard work :)
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Monday, November 10, 2008

a sister is held even closer

I'm actually at a loss for words right now, but wanted to share this story. I'm sure most {probably all } of you have heard this by now, but this is a great article that does a beautiful job at telling their story. This story really touches me for many many reasons, but i think what really resonates with me the most is the love between the sisters. i cant even imagine this happening to my sister. Their love for their sister makes me even more grateful for my own sister. i know that she would do nothing short of what they are doing...and really she does it to some extent just about every day.

Its wonderful to see the Gospel at work in this family's life.

Grab a tissue {the whole box} and take a read.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/10/26/20081026sisters1026a1.html

Monday, November 3, 2008

SNL - Real Sarah Palin On SNL - Tina Fey Meets Her Match - SNL - Part 2 - Amy Poehler Rap For Palin

This is SO funny! i wish it showed Sarah more...she was so funny dancing :) i love her :)

V O T E

I keep going back and forth on what i want to say.
Morals and Standards are important to me. I dont like Obama. I could write a Dr Seuss book about all the things i dont like. But what it comes down to is that he represents bad things, to me. Basic, fundamental things that i think are important are not supported by him. I want my family to be protected. I want the family to be protected. i want human life to be protected.
a "fair" ecomony? go to a country where its "fair". you'll come back. and his definition of "fair" is taking away something that somebody earned and giving it to someone that didnt earn it?? How long do you think it will take for the people that are working hard to figure out they can stop working hard and get paid just like the people they have been paying? This would be a serious downfall in our country.
and why doesnt it bother people that he is so shady!?!?!?!?!?!
how can you not care if your president is friends with terrorists!?!?!
I wish i had a better option...but for me i'm voting AGAINST OBAMA.
Mccain is behind in VA in the polling. I wasnt polled. so i know i can make a difference.
Regardless of your opinion it is a privilege to vote. PLEASE go vote tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

doing the laundry


caleb apparently knew that whatever is in the basket needs to be washed :)
i put him in the bath basket-less and came back to this. He's really just too cute!
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pox


My Sister posted a picture of the chicken pox that is so disgusting i'm not sure i'll go back until it's off! So it made me want to find the picture of me when i had the chicken pox for her to use instead. Adorable, yes!? I vote she uses me instead!
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Kansas 5- heading back home



This was a "park" that someone gave us directions to when we stopped to give the kids a break. Its someones back yard. at first we were so freaked we drove away but went back to take a pic and saw the elderly man who lived there and decided to go ahead and take advantage of it. Its actually really sweet...they are an old couple and they put this "playground" together and also a basketball court and putt putt course for the "community" to use. so if you ignore that most of the items on the playground are possibly lethal, it's cute :)
{dont even remember what mid-west state this is?}


The playground did the trick. West Va. Napping.
Caleb with a blanket over his head bec he was mad at me cause i asked him to nap so he hid his face...which worked against him bec he almost immediately fell asleep :)
{i made a breathing hole in the blanket after taking the pic}
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