Friday, November 30, 2007

"It came to pass..."

This morning I was in my room reading my scriptures. Cloey comes in and picks up one of my books and says, "Oh I need to read my scriptures too." She then opens up the book and begins to read. She says, "It came to pass Jesus came to the Nephites." It was so adorable.
When we read our scriptures together as a family, I often wonder if anyone, besides me, is getting anything out of them. It is good to know that after all of the fights to get them to sit still that there is some learning taking place.

....So we just had lunch and I just have to post about what Katelund said during the prayer because it was so stinkin' cute! She said, "...and please bless me that I will grow up so that I can do the dishes all by myself..." I gave a BIG AMEN to that prayer!! :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Girl Just Wanna Have Fun

I LOVE having little girls!!! I love to play dress up, play mommy/baby, twirl, dance, sing and braid, piggy tail, ponytail, and curl hair! I have been curling Katelund's hair a lot lately with my hot rollers and yesterday Cloey wanted me to do her hair. It looked so adorable and so of course I had to take a picture.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The best mom ever...

When my mom and dad came to visit in September, we went to a little restaurant in downtown Asheville called Tupilo Honey Cafe. It is the perfect place to take someone to give them a taste of Asheville because it is very organic, eccentric, and southern. Anyways, we all ordered their famous sweet potato pancakes and they were DELICIOUS (in fact, when Rachel Ray came through Asheville she raved about them as well). This last week I got a surprise in the mail from my mom. She sent me a sweet potato pancake recipe with some pecans to put over the top and then she had a little note attached that said, "Thinking of you!" How sweet is that!!! It's official...I have the best mom ever! :)

Katelund's Favorite Dress

When I was little I remember that I had a jean skirt that I ALWAYS wanted to wear. Although I'm sure it drove my mom crazy, she let me wear it anyway. Well...Katelund has decided that this dress is her favorite dress ever. Not only does she want to wear it every Sunday, but she also wants to wear it during the week. It really is not my favorite dress, and I have this weird thing about not wanting my girls to wear the same dress or skirt to church for at least a couple of months. Well, I finally gave in and this Sunday she wore the same dress that she had worn two Sundays before. It was quite a step for me. It know that it is so ridiculous that I even care because I know that nobody else does, but I guess it is just one of my quirks.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Trot, Turkey Bowl, and TURKEYS!

We had a great Thanksgiving! We started out the morning with some family traditions...Cory playing some flag football at the high school with a bunch of boys and men from the ward (while the girls cheered them on), and I went to the annual Asheville Turkey Trot 5k. It wasn't my PR (personal record), but it was still a great run. After we met back up at the house, we cooked like crazy and then went over to our friends', the Hutcheons, house. We had dinner with them and another family from our ward. Katelund and Cloey LOVE Laura and Dean. They have a lot of fun playing with the girls and vice versa. After a delicious dinner, we all went over to another family's house, the Curridens to have pie. I think there was about 7 or 8 pies to choose from. In fact, I had my new favorite pie...chocolate pecan. It was fabulous!

Before we ate, the boys all sat around watching football (GO COWBOYS!). If you look closely, you will notice Cory holding the Davis' newborn baby boy, Xander. Cory says that he was getting his baby fix out of his system, but it only made me more baby hungry just watching. :)

What cute little TURKEYS! :)
Do you think they love Laura?
Katelund loves to tease and play with Dean.

I have so much to be thankful for. My list could go on and on, but I am going to spare you the novel and just narrow it down to one thing. I am so thankful for the great plan of salvation. I am thankful to know who I am, where I came from, and where I am going. I am thankful to know that I can be with my family forever. What a wonderful gift it is to know that the work that I am doing here on earth as a mother and wife, is one with an eternal reward.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Our Dinner Conversation Tonight

Me: "Katelund, would you like some more soup?"
Kate: "Yes, please."
Kate: "What does 'yes, please' mean?
Me: "It means yes I would like some more please."
Kate: "But what does it mean?"
Me: "It means being polite."
Kate: "What does being polite mean?"
Me: "It means using good manners."
Kate: "What does using good manners mean?"
Me: "It means being a good girl."
Kate: "What does a good girl mean?"
Me: "It means choosing the right."
Kate: "What does choose the right mean?"
Me: "What do you think it means?"
Kate: "Obeying like Jesus."

More Pictures from the Weekend...

This is a picture of Katie and her boyfriend, Jason. He is also in the music program at BYU.
(Left to Right). Katie, Andrea, Grandpa Braithwaite, Grandma Braithwaite, me, and Mom. Back Row is my Aunt Sheri and Uncle Richard.
My Grandpa was buried at the Orem Cemetery, right next to my brother Kelly.
Family Picture (all though it just really isn't complete without husbands and children... I guess we'll have to take a complete family picture when we're together in June...maybe even Jason will be part of it... :) .

Family Pics from the Funeral

We spent a lot of time gathering pictures, metals, and other memorabilia to display on tables for the funeral. We went through about 100 shirts that my Grandpa had gotten from the 100 + races that he ran starting from the age of 44 (6 of them were marathons).
My Aunt Amy and Uncle Steve held a family luncheon at their house before the viewing on Sunday. It was so much fun to catch up with my cousins, aunts, and uncles My Grandparents have 11 granddaughters and 3 grandsons (only 2 living). No wonder I can't have any boys...
(Above). This is a picture of all the grandkids. My twin cousins' spouses are also in the picture.
(Below). This is a picture with my Grandma, her 3 sons, 3 daughter-in-laws, and 13 grandchildren (and two grandson-in-laws).

I am thankful for... Grandpa Black!!!

Last Thursday I had the great opportunity to fly out for my Grandpa's funeral in American Fork, Utah. It was a weekend that I will never forget. I was able to be with my two sisters and my parents as we helped my Grandma do all the MANY THINGS that you have to do in order to have a funeral. I can't believe how much preparatory work is involved. It was so amazing to watch my dad reaching out to comfort and strengthen his mom in the most tender and unforgettable way. It was also so wonderful to spend some one on one time with my two incredible sisters and my dear mother.

I could go on and on describing how incredible my Grandpa was. He certainly typified what it means to lose yourselves in the service of the Lord. He lived to love and serve anyone and everyone around him. At the viewing there were about 250 + people there of whom my Grandpa had touched in some way. Then, the next day at the funeral there was probably at least 100 more that came to the viewing before the funeral. I just wish I could share the talks that were given, the stories upon stories that were told of quiet service he rendered, the countless number of friends that he had in his lifetime, his many accomplishments throughout his life, etc... Words are just not adequate enough to describe the feelings that I felt this weekend, but to summarize it all I would have to say that I left with a greater desire to be better, do more, and live my life focusing more on others. I know that my Grandpa has returned to his heavenly home with glory and honor. Grandpa, I love you! May God be with our family until we all meet again in the presence of our Lord, Savior, and King.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am thankful for...

... the New Testament student manual. I LOVE it!! The manual ("The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostle") adds so many incredible insights. It just enriches my study of the New Testament in a remarkable way. I was studying the parable of the sower (my favorite parable that Christ gave) and I came across the following poem in the student I just had to share it.

To preface the poem, the author wrote the following; It is hoped that as you contemplate these teachings of the Master, you will consider your own soil--your own heart. Could it use some softening, some deepening, some cultivation--even, perhaps, some weeding?

When gospel truth is gently sown
in my unlearned heart,
I hope it finds no hardened crust
or wayside paths apart.

Nor even drops on softer spot
with hardness just below,
Where faithless, poorly rooted sprouts
are doomed to never grow.

I pray it shall not fall in dirt
Where thorns have made their bed.
Where choking plants, 'mid worldly cares,
grow fruitless, nearly dead.

But let that seed find fertile soil
in deep and clean abode,
And drawing life, yield true and full
to Him who gently sowed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tender Mercies

Today started out to be not so good of a day. Our washer is having issues, laundry is getting stacked up, girls are fighting non-stop, another friend is moving (three of my good friends have moved this year), and I have no motivation to clean up another disaster (the girls' room). So...we left the house and spent most of the day at the park (in awe of the beauty of Asheville in the fall), I came home and one of my good friends, who I hardly ever get to see, just randomly stopped by, AND then one of my friends from Rexburg just called me out of the blue to catch up on life. I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. On a day that was going downhill quickly, He allowed me to realize how much I really do love my life and how blessed I am to have so many incredible friends who uplift and strengthen me in such a miraculous way.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The best of both worlds...

This weekend was great!! I had been preparing all week for Young Women in Excellence on Saturday night, the primary program practice with a pancake breakfast on Saturday, and the primary program on Sunday. It was kinda crazy but a lot of fun!! I don't think I should post pictures of other people's children without their persmission, but I did take a picture of the name cards I made to put on the display table for YW in Excellence. I had so much fun with them. I chose a different font for every girl, one that reminded me of her. I spent way too long on it, but it was worth it. It was a wonderful night. I love being the personal progress leader! It is kinda crazy on Sundays because I have to run back and forth between Primary and YWs, but it makes it exciting, right?

The Primary Program was perfect! Last month when I was called to be in the Presidency, I had to leave my favorite calling in the whole world, primary music leader. It was so hard to watch someone else take it over with only weeks until the program, but she did a great job. Although I didn't get to lead the music, I got to sit right by the microphone and help the kids with their parts. I loved being able to see their little hands shaking and to watch how proud they were when they left the stand. Katelund did a great job on her part. She said her line by memory and she didn't act nervous at all. I was so proud of her.

My mom had given me such a great idea for sharing time. In their ward, they had put an insert into the programs for the ward members to write down positive comments to be read to the children after the program. So we did it in our ward as well. I had put a mailbox in the foyer and they just dropped them off as they left the chapel. We had such a great response. It took us about 20 minutes just to read all of the comments to the kids. It was the greatest reward possible. One mom wrote a letter specifically to her daughter to let her know how proud she was of her for being so brave, the little girl was just beaming. They all loved the attention, and I think it was a great bonding experience for the whole ward.

Layering at Two...

I told Cloey to go get dressed in something warm because it is so COLD outside. She came back with 8 shirts on!! Now I know that layering is really in style, but are you kidding me? After I laughed and took a picture, she came back a couple of minutes layer crying because she wanted my help to pull down the 9th shirt that she will be wearing today. I guess she'll be really warm.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I've Been Tagged

I have been tagged so now I am supposed to write about six things that people may not know about me. I don't know if I can come up with things that people don't know about me already...but, I am going to give it a try.

1. Since Cory and I have been married (for seven years now), we have lived in six different states and 9 different cities. We have moved a grand total of 12 times (due to all of our summer sales while we were in college) and two of those moves were while I was pregnant. Although there are things that I liked better about some places, I can honestly say that I have absolutely loved everywhere that we have lived (except for maybe Houston). I have good memories from each place and I have made such amazing friends everywhere I've lived. Although I will miss Asheville terribly when we move, I am excited to explore another new place when the time comes.

2. By the time this year is over, I will have ran in 5 races. Four of them being 5ks (3.1 miles) and the fifth one was a half-marathon (13.1 miles). I started running about two years ago when my Grandpa found out that he had leukemia and that he couldn't run races anymore. So... I decided that I would run them for him. I am still planning on running a full marathon someday, but I will have to wait until my kids are in school because I will need a lot of kid-free hours for training. I LOVE to run. It is such a stress-reliever for me and it is my time to be away from the world and just be by myself. There is also something exhilarating about running in a race, especially when I am doing it with Cory by my side.

3. I love to try new things!!!! My friend Austyn and I used to joke about the fact that we were just okay at a lot of things but weren't amazing at any one thing. (Although I don't really know why Austyn would say that because she was INCREDIBLE at MANY things!) I am actually grateful that I don't really excel at anything because the fact that I am just mediocre at so many things makes me not afraid to try something new because I am okay with not being the best at it. [That was really wordy, sorry...I hope it makes sense.]

4. Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Not only do I love the Sabbath and all of the spiritual nourishment that goes along with it, but I also like it because I LOVE to get all dressed up. I don't have to go all out during the week, but on Sunday I am all about busting out the pearls, diamonds (fake ones of course), hair curlers, foundation, and my nicest skirts and dresses. In fact, the majority of my wardrobe is made up of Sunday attire. I also LOVE to dress my girls up. In fact, I think that the majority of their wardrobe is also made up of dresses. What can I say? I love to play dress-up! :)

5. When I was at BYU-Idaho, one of my favorite classes was American Heritage with Brother Marshall. On the very last day of class, I sat on the fourth row back and just tried to soak in everything that I could because it was the very last time that I would be in the class that "changed my life" (there ended up being a handful of those classes by the time I finished school) . When the lecture was over everyone said their goodbyes, got up, and left the room....except for me. I couldn't move. I just sat in my chair and cried my eyes out. He was an amazing teacher and I couldn't imagine my life without getting to listen to his lectures three times a week. I ended up having many more classes and teachers that were just as amazing, but eventually I learned to deal with the fact that they would eventually have to come to an end. I know it sounds wired, but I LOVE to listen to lectures. I just love to learn from others, whether I'm in school, sacrament meeting, general conference, or a fireside... I could sit and listen forever.

6. I have no rhythm. I love to dance and I dream of being a ballerina someday. I also think that I am pretty good at the robot (just ask anyone in Cory's family :) ). Although I don't have rhythm, I have found that my children and Abby think that my ballet skills are pretty amazing, and that is all that matters to me. :)

So either you know me better than you did before or you have already stopped reading because I am not very good at keeping things short and simple. Either way, I have done my part. So here are those whom I would like to tag.... Austyn, Beth, Katie, Jenny, Shanna, and Courtney. I can't wait to learn more about you!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Heart of Gold

Last night we took the girls to McDonalds (they actually call it "Old McDonalds") to get ice cream cones. As we were leaving we walked out the door and passed a guy who looked pretty dirty and worn down. He asked Cory if he had any money he could spare so he could buy some dinner. Cory's first response was "No, sorry man I don't have any cash on me". Then after he buckled Cloey in her car seat he walked back over to him and told him to follow him. He went inside McDonalds and let him order whatever he wanted and then he paid for it. I was watching from the car as my eyes were tearing up and my heart was overflowing with love for such an incredible man. Really, I wasn't surprised because he does this kind of thing all of the time. As I've been on the phone with him as he's driving home from work he has pulled over numerous times to help jump a car, change a tire, push a car out of the road, give a ride etc. Sometimes I find myself looking at his weaknesses and I forgot or overlook all of the incredible things that he always does. It is just part of who he is. He has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. He is always finding ways to show his love for others, especially his family. He teaches me all of the time as he selflessly gives to not just those he loves, but those whom he doesn't even know. He truly has a heart of gold.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Recognizing His love

For Personal Progress last month, I had the girls make these little journals. I bought a whole bunch of little composition books from Walmart and then I cut up all different kinds of paper for the girls to choose from in order to cover their books. Then I let them use my scrapbook stuff to decorate them. It was a fun activity. I based it on President Eyring's conference talk about gratitude journals. On the inside cover of each of their books I wrote the following;

"Heavenly Father loves us and blesses us more than most of us will ever RECOGNIZE." --Pres. Eyring
Recognize His love for you by recording each day in this book how He reaches out and blesses your life.

Their value for the month was Individual Worth, and I just couldn't think of a better way to help them individually feel their great worth and the Lord's love for them than by having them record how He blesses their life's each day. I have been doing this in my life as well. It has been such an amazing experience for me. Even if I don't write it down everyday, it is always on my mind and it has really shown me how blessed I am and how grateful I should be. My prayers have become ones of gratitude and I have found so much more joy in my life. It is amazing to me how when we fill our life's with gratitude then we have so much more love to give to others. This weekend for our Stake Women's Conference we got to have Virginia Hinckley Pearce be our guest speaker. It was INCREDIBLE!! She is incredible. On Friday night, she talked about her experiences growing up and shared some personal insights into the life of Pres. Hinckley and Sister Hinckley. On Saturday, she based her talk on the book that she wrote, "A Heart Like His" (I read this book last summer and I LOVE it). She talked about how to have a open heart in order to feel the Lord's love in our life. My favorite thing that she said on Sat. was that when we allow God's love into our heart then we can't help but share it with everyone else around us. It was an amazing weekend.

Mann Family Football practice...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pay It Forward

A friend of mine had this on her blog, and I thought it looked like fun! (I LOVE handmade gifts!) So, here's the Pay It Forward idea:

I will send a handmade gift to the first three (3) people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. You may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog. (So, you must have a blog to participate.) I can't wait to see who I will be giving to. To join, just cut and paste this on your blog and comment away. So get posting.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Seasons of Life

A leaf upon one single tree,

is symbolic of the life one leads.

In the spring, the bud is born,

Just as a spirit from home is torn.

The sun and water provide daily needs,

Like the Living Water, or the Son, whose words we must always heed.

The years go by the days grow long,

Summer is here and sweet is the song.

Some days are rainy and some are clear,

But time we have with loved ones near.

As days get shorter and nights become cool,

Our memories will serve us as our greatest tool.

With Autumn comes beauty and wisdom anew,

And time becomes precious with perspective in view.

As winter draws near,

There is no reason to fear.

For as we part for a season,

In rejoicing there truly is reason.

The color will fade the darkness will come,

But life is not over, it has only just begun.

Today has been a really hard day for me. My Grandpa Black, who has had such an incredible and powerful influence on me, is approaching the "winter" in his life. I have spent a lot of the day crying and praying. I cannot even begin to put into words my feelings, so instead I wrote the above poem. I don't know what it is about writing, but it truly is a healing agent in my life. I don't know when the end is going to be for my Grandpa, but I do know that it really is only the beginning for him, and that we will be together again. He has lived a remarkable life and he will leave behind him a legacy and example for many generations to come. I am not ready to let him go, but I know that he will return home with honor and glory. Grandpa, I love you.

Halloween pics

We had a terrific Halloween. We spent the evening at the church for the Fall Festival filled with games, candy, and great company! If you can't tell from the pictures...Katelund was Cinderella, Cloey was a cheerleader, and I was a heart surgeon. I didn't get a picture of Cory, but he was a GQ model (at least that is what he looked like to me ) :) . HaPpY HAlloWeEn!!!

Pumpkin Fun

We had so much fun on Monday. We (the girls) spent the whole day doing things that revolved around pumpkins. We cut out paper pumpkins and the girls decorated them with macaroni noodles, we made pumpkin sugar cookies, we read books about pumpkins, etc... Then for FHE, we carved pumpkins. If you look closely at the picture, you will notice how much Cloey did NOT enjoy pulling the seeds out of the pumpkin. In fact, it is a good thing I got a pictures, because after pulling out one hand full she was done. She said it was too yucky! Katelund loved it. It is amazing how two little girls can be so different. We had a great day and then we topped it off with a night filled with fun games outside.

Cloey feeding her teddy bear...

Random Pictures

Cory took these pictures after church the other week.

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