Sunday, July 31, 2011


While I was working Max decided to access his inner artist. Pen in hand, old phone bills to draw on, he plopped himself down under dads desk and got to work.
There's nothing I love more than baby legs.
He might have missed his paper a bit (note the marks on the arm).

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yard Crashers

For this years outdoor summer project we, (ok, by we I mostly mean me) decided to do the back corner of the yard so that we could put the trampoline there making it easier to see the boys while they play and also to use the side yard for more plants because it's the sunniest area we have back there. All this meant building two retaining walls because it was a pretty steep hill.

I wish I took some before pictures to see the differences, but trust me, it's a big change. Pretty much all of the area he filled in was not usable, empty with just a couple bushes. It's all been a really big job and I don't think I could count the number of man hours Jason has put into it all. He really is the most amazing, cleverest, handiest, hardest worker I've ever met. I probably would have given up after a couple hours. I would have liked to help him more but I mostly tried to keep the boys out of his hair the best I could.
But the boys have liked to go back and 'help' when they can, mostly just because then they can use their shovels and other tools. Max is usually the more enthused of the two, he's always loved to follow daddy around the yard doing whatever he does. If he hears the lawn being mowed you better bet he'll have his boots on and be out there as fast as those cute little legs can carry him.

What a hard worker I have. If there were some sort of natural disaster I am pretty sure the only reason we would survive, and that's including the rest of my family, is because of Jason.
Max's idea of shoveling mostly involves him flinging rocks and dirt around.

Levi isn't quite as into it but is pretty good about thanking dad for his hard work.

After several sessions of working in the yard and trying to steal dad's gloves whenever they were off, Jason found some just for Max. He loves them and has been pretty obsessed with gloves ever since.
More yard details later. The trampoline is now moved and Jason decided to put a new, bigger sandbox next to it. It is the perfect place.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Taste of Summer

Homemade jam is now a household staple. I made a pretty big batch last year and a month or so before my strawberries arrived for the 2011-2012 season we ran out and actually had to buy some. Let me tell you, after you've had homemade for so long anything but is absolutely disgusting. I didn't like the store bought stuff one bit and refused to eat it until we got our strawberries.

This pic is from our little 'garden' in the front yard. I've tried growing stuff in the back but with three huge trees and a sound barrier wall (we're right next to the freeway, well, it's one road away, but I've always liked it, sounds kind of like the ocean) it makes for a pretty shady yard. So we've decided to do strawberries and blueberries in the front because there is just a lot more sun. This year is our second year with them and they have taken off! They are producing a handful or so a day. Probably never enough to can or do much with, but we love to go out there to pick and eat them every day.
We finally got our two 30lb buckets of already picked, cut and washed berries from a group purchase we do through church and we were ready to go. Two of my amazing friends even came over to help. So with 6 crazy kids running around pulling out pretty much every toy we own, being distracted with Micky Mouse Clubhouse and generally wreaking havoc on my house, which actually a pretty normal occurrence around here, we were able to get about 45 pounds of strawberries made into jam. I don't even know how many jars that made, but it was a lot. We finished it off with some homemade bread. Perfect.
Kid tested, mother approved. My how to.

Those who really know me, know I don't like to follow directions. I'm more the "let-me-take-a-quick-look-and-I-can-figure-it-out-on-my-own" type of gal. When we got the instructions for the jam I was totally overwhelmed so we broke things down and actually wrote everything on paper plates which we stuck to the cupboard while we worked. It worked great and I thought I'd write it down for later use or for anyone who wants to know. And FYI I did a few batches of raspberry jam later using the same 'recipe' and it was amazing.

All this is made with reduced sugar because my kids don't need more of it, trust me, and I think it's just TOO sweet with all the sugar they require. Also I personally would rather taste more berry than sugar.

5 cups berries
1-3 cups sugar (for strawberries I did 2, raspberries 1 1/2)
1 packet of pectin

Put fruit in pan
Stir in pectin
Sit for 10 minutes
Bring to boil
Add sugar while boiling
Boil for 1 minute, stir consistently
Remove and skim foam (we didn't have any....)
Ladle into hot jars, leave 1/4" room
Put on lid and put into canner

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Flashback and Feeling Old

When I think back to high school it feels like I was JUST there maybe only a few years ago. Then I get to thinking and realize it's been a bit longer than that. Collage, a mission, marriage, two kids. Yeah. It's been a while. Plus I have a couple grey hairs to prove it.

Some people I know hated high school but personally I loved it. I had great friends, enjoyed learning and had fun with outside activities. I always think back to it with fond memories. Now I was never super popular, but I knew most people and got along with everyone in all the different 'groups'. So when talks of my 10 year high school came up I was pretty stoked to see some people I hadn't since then, though I was a little bit nervous because I wasn't sure who would show up and if I'd be sitting alone. I made a pact with Miss Becca M. that we would go together so at the very least we would have each other to talk to and I can never get enough of her, so win win.

It was held down a bar and grill in downtown Portland, which was interesting considering I've been in very few bars in my life. But we had a nice reserved area with lots of room to mingle.

A quick group shot. Me, Eric Fisher, Britta Sorensen, Brandon Ellison, and Roby (I don't think I ever knew his last name, he was like Prince and only needed one name I suppose)
This is Britta. She is amazing. When I was in high school, especially during my freshman and sophmore year, I was super shy and looking back now I realize I had really low self esteem. Britta, as well as some others, was one of the people who changed all that. She always made me feel like I was the most amazing, coolest people in the world. Other people had told me things like that but it was usually people from church or my relatives. I just always felt better around her. She is smart, hilarious, and extremely genuine. Everyone needs a Britta in their life. I wish we lived closer but I'm glad she I could see her while she was in town.

As we were saying our good byes, not knowing if we wouldn't see each other for another 10 years, I gave her a big hug and even got a little teary as I thanked her for her friend ship that had meant so much to me at a time in my life when I needed it.

And one of my favorite people ever. Becca. I'm so glad she lives around here and that she's married and has kids now , because lets face it, after you have kids, that's about all you talk about. At least I do. I am so excited for our kids to get old and play together, and if I can arrange it, getting our kids married (though, one of us would need to have a girl for that) It would be a dream come true if I were related to her. And I can guarantee she would be the best mother in law ever.

She is one of the nicest, friendliest, most genuine people I know. Also pretty dang crafty to boot. I miss our sewing party sleepovers. I know. Who has sewing parties in high school? We did, which paid off for her cause she's now a designer at Columbia Sport. Lucky girl.

Over all it was a fun night, though I wish some of my seminary/Mormon friends would have made an appearance. I know a bunch of them live around here, I just don't get to see them a lot. Kevin Vial and I were the only ones to show up. He said that he had talked to a couple of people who refused to come cause they 'got old and fat' to which he replied we all did, then gave me the best compliment ever when he said "Except for you, you look a lot skinnier". THANK YOU KEVIN!!! I am probably going to live off that compliment for a couple years at least. Hopefully the at the next 10 year reunion I'll see even more people and maybe even be a little smaller.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


This week was the first week as the Westview Ward. The sacrament went a bit longer than usual because of so many new people getting called, including myself. I bet it's a lot of work calling a whole new ward. I am now the 2nd counselor in the primary and am with some amazing ladies, all of which came from Bethany, so I know them, bonus! I'm going to miss doing music, which I loved, but it will be a good change and I still get to be with the kiddos. Also I'm a little relieved in some ways because pretty much every Saturday night was spent frantically working on the next day's music, which was usually a bit elaborate. Now it seems more administrative, organizational stuff during the week, and I actually have to go to meetings, but they should be fun with all the hilarious sisters I'm with.

Also primary should be interesting because for one it is a LOT smaller. Instead of having 140+ kids we have only 85 or so, a majority of them boys. In the older kids classes girls heavily outnumber boys and in the younger classes (Jr's) boys rule, some classes having only 1 or 2 girls and one without any.

This week everyone met together and it was a blast, the music person they have is AMAZING and is the wife to my choir instructor at BYU, small world. The bishop made an appearance and everyone pretty much attacked him with hugs. It was so cute. And the most hilarious thing is the primary president's son, who will be in sunbeams with Levi, must have had a cup full of sugar before he came because he was insane, running around his mom who was talking, pulling on her dress. The other counselor tried grabbing him and he kept hiding behind the podium, in the corners and anywhere. She doesn't really know him and neither do I but I picked him up and tried sitting with him in the back which didn't work but luckily one of the other ladies who knows him better got him, was actually able to hold him and took him to dad. It was a nice mix between frustrating and hilarious.

Tomorrow we are meeting and trying to figure out teachers. We'll see how it goes!

On another note Jason is still the assistant ward mission leader and my mom is having her records transferred so he can actually have a calling in our ward.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Independence Day

We had a great 4th of July this year and I am so glad both boys were old enough to really have fun with it. This time last year Max was barely walking so it was cut short and he was a little grumpy for most of it.

First we started off going to a pancake breakfast our ward puts on for the community which was followed by a kids parade and fun activities.

We had to hit up the park because slides are way too fun to pass up.
For the parade Levi and I decorated our wagon the day before with banners, and tons of flags. It was pretty easy to do and I think it turned out great. I also made up some captain america shirts for both boys, party for the 4th, partly because they're into superheros. Win win.

They both did great walking the parade route, Levi mostly walked with me while he followed some of the kids throwing candy out to the crowds.
After bouncing in bouncy houses, going on slides, throwing balls at the dunk tanks we took a hot dog break while Max showed off his balloon sword and ray gun.
He took no prisoners. And even called in for backup. Eventually a truce was made.
Mostly so Levi could vacuum up his hot dog.
After that we all went home for a much needed nap. It was heavenly. I personally think everyone should have a nap everyday.

Jason fired up the grill for burgers and other tasty food. While we waited for it to get dark, we pulled out the water balloons which took forever to fill but was TOTALLY worth it when I heard the giggles whenever one exploded on the ground. They loved it.
To start the night we pulled out the pop-its, which we had been playing around with pretty much the entire week before. They LOVED them, though it took some practice to get them to throw hard enough to pop.
Max had the most hilarious method to pop them. Basically it involved him doing a sort of yoga warrior pose, making a tough guy face and throwing it with all his might. It was so fun to watch. We first lit off some of the really fun fireworks, for Levi it was one shaped like a motorcycle, Max it was a race car and I had some sort of dragon. This one they were WAY too close and it did what we weren't expecting by popping like crazy. We just thought it would zoom off. Terrified Levi who ran and pretty much stayed at a good distance from them for the rest of the night.
After that we moved on to sparklers. Levi was extremely skeptical (don't worry, we got some shoes on him) and was pretty much nervous the entire time. He only did one and refused to do any more after that.

Max on the other hand had zero fear and wanted to hold the sparkler up close to the top. Try as we might to get him to hold it at the bottom, he wouldn't budge. So we put away all the sparklers and just had him wave his flag around which he basically did the rest of the night. Finally it was dark enough to do our 'big fireworks' and we spread some blankets out while Levi directed dad which ones to do when. Not long after our neighbors came out and joined us and holy cow did they put on a show! I'm pretty sure none of those were legal, but they sure were cool!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Today our ward got split up. It's all happened so fast, I can't believe it! They announced last week it would happen, today we had the meeting telling the specifics, and next week we are in a new ward, new building, new time.

I kind of like it quick, I'm not so good with good byes. I remember when Farmington got split up when I was a youngin' and it seemed like it took forever to happen from when they announced it to when it happened and that EVERY meeting, get-together and activity was full of speculations, roumors, and sad good-byes even though no one really knew if they were not in the ward anymore. Most stayed, hilariously, only a couple families went to a new one! I prefer the quick and painless route. We also did that on my mission, where we were told the night before, on a pretty random day, if we were going to a different area or having a change. It was nice you didn't have to worry about it and just kept on with the work.

Anyhoo. People kind of knew it was going to happen just because we couldn't stay as we were long, our ward and a number of others are HUGE. Primary was over 145 kids with an attendance rate of like 95% and apparently other wards were the same. It's funny though because the ward is one of the smallest geographically, everyone within a 1.5 mile area. We'll now it's pretty much half that!

Here's how it went down, we are now in the Westview ward! Everyone moving over to the new ward is released, so we'll see what happens on that front.
Also sadly, Levi is the only one moving from his sunbeam class, though we have 4 classes and hopefully some of the others are moving over too. He's going to miss them as well as his teachers, the Simmons, they are great! But the good news is we still live close to everyone and most of the kiddos his age are going to be going to his same elementary school and I believe all in the same jr. high and high school. And about half of his preschool class is from Bethany, so that will be nice to see some familiar faces.

Overall we're excited, a little sad because I am going to miss some of my favorite people ever, but the adventure continues!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Levi: Did you know aliens have green blood?
Me: Where did you hear that?
Levi: Star Trek

This is my mother's doing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Don't Want my Children to Be Happy

I am not a very eloquent person. Normally I don't say the right thing or can't express in word or text what my heart might want to convey. I read an article that mirrored my own personal feelings so exactly I'm going to pretend they came from me though I could never write something so perfectly written. I'll change it when necessary, take things out that don't quite apply. Article is found here.

Dear Max and Levi,

My goal as your mom is not your happiness. In fact, I spend at least half my day making you unhappy. If I had a nickle for every tear that falls in this home on a daily basis, we wouldn't need to worry about college tuition at all.

Happiness is fleeting. That means it doesn't last. It's a quick feeling that comes from a funny movie or a heart shaped lollipop or a really good birthday present. It's great. I love to be happy. But happiness is a reaction that is based on our surroundings. And our surroundings are so very rarely under our control. Even when - especially when - we think they are. So no, I absolutely don't want you to spend your life chasing something that has so little to do with your own abilities. You'll just be constantly frustrated.

There are two things I desire for you. There are two things that I spend most of my time as a mother trying cultivate in you. Happiness isn't one of them.

The first is, I want you to be content. Being content is so much different from being happy. Being content is not based on your surroundings. Being content comes from within. Contentment is a spirit of gratitude. It's the choice you make to either be thankful for the things you do have, or to whine about the things you don't have.

Being content and grateful leads to consistent joy.
Paul talked about being content. Paul said that he had "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." And Paul was in some rotten situations, kiddos, really rotten.

How could Paul be content whether he was in prison or if his life was literally a shipwreck? Because Paul was constantly seeking to be in the will of God instead of his own, was constantly sacrificing his own comfort for the sake of the gospel, and was constantly being confirmed, strengthened, and blessed by God because of his obedience. He was given a supernatural power to do things that most other humans could not do. And guess what? The bible tells us (in Ephesians 1) that God will give you the exact same power! If you want it!

Which leads me to my second desire for you.

I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be holy. That means, I want you to seek that heavenly power to make you content. I want you to want the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom. And that's hard, that is so hard. And that usually means passing up a lot of what the world considers happiness. But it means that you will achieve blessings directly from God that most of the world never dreams of because they are too occupied with the achieving the perfect birthday present!

This means you may be poor, 'in want' as Paul said, and that's okay. It will never, ever be okay with the world for you to be poor. So you'll be up against the world. But not your dad and me, because it was never our goal for you to be wealthy - at least not in the way that the world considers wealthy.

We love you so much. You will never even grasp how much we love you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it, and then you'll apologize for the ways you treated us ;) But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Ask Levi what the definition is for jail.

"It's time out for villains!"

On the 4th while Max was still napping and we were waiting to start smores and fireworks, we were channel surfing and stumbled on an old school Batman movie. I mean 1966. It was the most awesomest, cheesiest, extremely fake punching, horrible acting, movie I've ever seen. I couldn't stop laughing. We don't really let the boys watch superhero movies/shows, all of them are so dark, violent and just not what we want them seeing so young. The only way Levi knows about all these superheros are from what he asks us, some snippets of commercials, and seeing products in stores. That's it. But this movie was irresistible. So tame, cheesy, and full of hilarity yet it totally entranced my lover of all things superhero.

Any ways. We later got to talking about 'bad guys' and what happens when superheros get them. "They go to jail" I told him which he of course asks, "What's jail?". I had to pause for a moment to try and explain what a jail is to my sweet 3 year old. "It's where people who make bad choices go to think about what they've done, and try to be better". That's all I could come up with. "Oh, like time out", he said. "Yeah, kind of like that".

Monday, July 11, 2011


It's always fun to find new places to visit, especially when there only minutes away. We've passed this place so many times but finally decided to take a look. The boys loved it and I love that we now have a new park so close.

I lived within minutes of a duck pond growing up and have many great childhood memories of trying to get ducks to eat out of our hands, chasing them, and feeding them. So Levi and I raided our cupboard, completely depleting our stash of carbs and headed off. Within seconds of pulling out our offerings, honking ducks began to make their way towards us, lest they miss out on such a 'tasty' treat. They swarmed around us and it was obvious they knew the drill and were not afraid of us in the least bit.
Then they got a little too friendly and made this mamma pretty nervous. Max too.

We walked and walked and walked. Max ran for a lot of it though, those little legs sure are fast!

PB&J's. I am pretty sure if our family had personalized food pyramid, they would make up the base of it.
And how could we go anywhere near water without practicing our rock throwing skills?

A Lucky Day

Look what I spotted the other day!

Just so you know, L (Levi), D (Dean), G (Goodrich).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

June Craft Day

Levi loves crafts, wants to do them pretty much every day. He also LOVES being around other kids, so I figured I'd set up a couple of kids crafts days in the summer.
We made various crafts out of toilet paper rolls. They all got pretty into it, at least for the first minute or so, but I pretty much knew that was going to happen!
Hailey was pretty crafty and made a bunch of pink sparkly creatures. So girly!
Levi also pretty much was painting, gluing and helping most of the time. We made a monster, a crazy guy, an owl, and a butterfly. But eventually he was drawn in by all the shrieking and giggling going on and said "you finish while I go play". Deal. He ran off leaving me to finish up.
Max? He basically painted long enough to get a picture then ran off to swing. He's been way into playing superman lately.
Don't they look like they're having fun!?!?! We'll see you guys in again soon.

Friday, July 8, 2011


So this is all ramblings, mostly due to the fact that my house is a disaster (more so than usual) and the boys are napping so it's actually quiet and I don't feel like doing anything super productive.

We just got back from the zoo. It was INSANE. So insane that we actually didn't go to the zoo. I looked forever and couldn't find parking, even in the back. We kept going so far back we got to the Rose Gardens and ended up going to the big park they have there. Levi got over not seeing penguins, which he really wanted to see, and Max could have cared less and went with the flow. We'll go to the zoo some other, less crowded time.

They both had a fun time running around, and it was terribly funny to see Max walk around the 'upper levels' of the playground. He was crouched and walked really slowly. He's kind of afraid of heights. They chased a squirrel, a bird, Max fell in a bush running down a hill, Levi practiced introducing himself to new people. It was quite funny to watch, he's so sweet about it. I think some kids don't get him because he looks so big, like some of the 6 year olds we met, but still is only 3 almost 4 and talks like one. He was doing so good and trying so hard to meet new kids. He just loves to be around other little people.

At the park we even got ice cream from an ice cream truck, a first for them. Overall a good, semi-stress free, fun time. I'm glad we went, despite the fact that I almost didn't because my house is trashed and even worse I have an extremely bad sunburn I got Tuesday so basically anytime I move it hurts. Going to the park chasing kids with it didn't sound fun, but we took it easy.

In the car we (by we, I mean Levi) watched a documentary on ants. He loved it.

Tomorrow is the German Jamboree (Jason's family reunion) and I won't be going because I have my 10 year high school reunion. Man I feel old, yet at the same time pretty young. It seriously feels like I just graduated and that I'm still 17. But I'm not and I've even got a few stands of grey hairs to prove it. We'll see how it goes. My BFF Becca from high school is going with me and I don't think I'd go without her, I don't talk a lot to people from high school, not that I don't want to, just limited time, energy and such. It should be interesting.

Also I have to go to the gem faire to buy supplies for my shop in the morning where I hopefully don't break the bank. So many sparkly things. I love it. But all that going on means I can't go to the family reunion. Bummer. I always loved going. EXCEPT the year Levi puked all over me. I wish I could forget that one. At least that part of it. Definitely on of my top 10 most embarrassing moments EVER.

Trying to figure out what to do for dinner. It is one of the things I don't like doing much lately due to the fact that no matter what I make someone, or everyone, isn't going to be happy with it and it literally might get thrown on the floor.

Right now Jason is working on building a retaining wall in the back yard, we are moving the trampoline and dreaming and scheming of all the things we want to eventually do back there. The wall is this summers project. He is doing an amazing job and I can't believe I married someone so clever, handy, and hard working. Every day it looks better and better, he comes home from work and gets right to it. I might have even dug a little bit, which is only 1/100th of what he's done but I'm trying to keep kids out of his way, work on dinner, the house and such.

AHHHH! I hear the boys. Max at least. He slept the last five minutes of the ride in the car. I sure hope he doesn't think that was his nap.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lazy Lunch

Summer days are the best. And no joke, we have picnics a LEAST once a day.