Monday, January 31, 2011

some DELICIOUS soup recipes

A couple of posts ago, I referred to a blog about cooking dinners. I hope you read it and I hope it changed your life like it did mine. My family is loving my new excitement for cooking meals for them. The last two weeks I have tried some soup recipes that I have loved, so I thought I would share them with all of you.

Both of them come from the top two places that I go when I am looking for recipe ideas. The first one is from The Sisters Cafe. My friend, Melanie (who wrote the AMAZING post about cooking dinners)and her sisters created this cooking blog. Click here to find my new favorite soup.
The other two recipes come from Our Best Bites. Click here and here.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Raising Girls

I often wonder what it would be like to have had all boys instead of all girls. As I read some of my friend's blogs about life with boys, I find myself intrigued. I don't know what it is like to grow up with a brother, and heaven knows I would have no idea what to do with a boy if perhaps by some miracle I actually had one. But, I still dream of my little boy. A little boy who loves to play and loves to get dirty even more, who will play sports with his Daddy and tackle his sisters, and who will one day get that letter in the mail that will call him to serve a mission for the Lord.

Life with all boys would be very different. Our house would probably be a lot louder, the toilets would definitely be grosser, and I'm pretty sure I would learn more than I ever wanted to about superheroes, monsters, and whatever else boys are into these days.

But, I don't know anything about that world except for what I glean from others. My life, at least right now, revolves around barbies, baby dolls, dress-up clothes, princesses, the color pink, etc. I love having girls. I love teaching my girls about the importance of being a mother, having charity, being modest, supporting the men in their life, and acting like ladies (or at least trying to). I find great joy and passion in raising my girls to be righteous women. But, there are also some parts about raising girls that overwhelm me...especially lately. With girls, there are and always will be a lot of emotions involved....hurt feelings, broken hearts, shattered dreams, insecure moments, and sometimes, just plain old bad days. I was prepared for all of those things because I've been there and felt those same feelings. But, I was not prepared for what I experienced yesterday. I was not prepared for the day that my 7 year old daughter would come home, curl up in my lap, and cry out her heart to me about some of the mean things that were said about her at school. As I listened to her, I felt all of those feelings that I felt as an insecure girl, but then they were multiplied by a thousand because this time it was not me dealing with, it was me watching my daughter have to deal with it. As a mother, there is just nothing worse than having to watch your children suffer and hurt. After I listened, we talked for awhile and hugged for a long while, and then she jumped off my lap with a smile on her face and a skip in her step, ready to go outside and climb a tree. After she shut the front door, I fell on my knees and just cried, and prayed, and cried some more.

As I laid in bed last night, I continued worrying and searching for better things to say and more ways to help her. Then I began to think about Cloey and wonder if I had shown her enough attention and love that day. Then my thoughts turned to Hailey as I began to worry about any lasting effects from her fall the other day from her high chair. It is never-ending. The worry and concern that a mother has for her children is constant and can be very overwhelming. I can't even imagine the worry level that will come with having teenage daughters. But for now, my deepest wish and my greatest prayer is that my daughters will be confident and happy with who they are. That they can find peace in knowing that they are daughters of a loving and perfect Heavenly Father. I want them to be able to see themselves the way that He sees them, and in doing so, I know that nothing else anybody ever says will matter. As for Hailey, I just pray and pray each day that my worry will lessen and my fears will fade. There is not a day that goes by that the thought doesn't creep into my mind that somehow and in some way I will lose her too.

Raising children is definitely not for the faint of heart. It is a divine job given to women. This I know for sure. I thank God everyday for my little girls. While raising them, I know that the Lord is refining and molding me into the woman and mother that He knows I can be. This gives me great hope and faith, and yet I also know that along with being a mother and a woman there will always be emotions involved...hurt feelings, broken hearts, shattered dreams, insecure moments, and sometimes...just plain old bad days.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

4 Questions 4 You

1.Did you watch the State of the Union address last night?
I watched every second of it. There were some things that I disagreed with, but overall I thought it was really good. The whole part on education....SO GOOD!! I'm not sure about the whole "Race to the Top" program (because I don't know any of the specifics), but I loved how he spoke about the importance of teaching in the home and the responsibility that we have to instill a love for learning in our children. I think he must have read my blog. :) J/K.

2.Did you know that boys have tails?
When I showed my girls the ultrasound picture after my doctor's appointment on Monday, Katelund said, "Oh, the baby is definitely a boy because I see a tail right there by his bottom and all boys have tails on their bottoms." Yes, there was a "tail" but it was the umbilical cord. Hopefully we'll see a tail at my next appointment.

3. Do people "glitter" in your neighborhood?
Yesterday when I was walking the girls home from the bus stop, Cloey reached down and picked up some glass from the street. Then she said, "Mommy, I have to pick up this glitter. I can't believe that people are glittering in our neighborhood!"

4. Is this not the cutest face ever?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brain Declutter

My friend, Carrie, does "brain declutters" on her blog and today I decided that I needed to do one as well. So here are all of the random things going on in my brain today....

*So I still haven't made my first doctor's appointment and yesterday as I was talking with a friend, I admitted to the real reason why I haven't called yet. I am totally embarrassed. I'm afraid that he is going to say, "Weren't you just here having your last baby?" And I'll say "Oh yes, she's right here. Would you mind holding her while I strip down and get in my favorite paper robe?" Or maybe he'll say, "Do you know what birth control is?" And I'll say, "Yes, but remember there is still that tiny chance?" Maybe he won't even remember me and it won't even be a big deal. Or maybe, just maybe, he will be happy to see me because I am keeping him in business, right?! I know what you are thinking, "just make your appointment!" I know, I know. I should just pick up the phone right now, but...what's the big hurry anyway? I'm only 13 weeks along!!!

*School stresses me out!!! I thought that the day that I got my college diploma was the day that all of my school stress was over. I couldn't have been more wrong!! Second grade is making my hair go gray. On Katelund's last report card she was so excited that she made the honor roll once again. It took everything in me to be excited with her because all that I could see were the B's staring back at me. She got a 96, 93, 91, and 86. Well apparently, in Tennessee they like to use the college grading scale in elementary school and make an A be 93-100. Which makes her 91 a B!!! SERIOUSLY!!!! THIS MAKES ME ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!!!! Now, I know I should be happy for her because she has worked really hard and her reading has drastically improved this year, but still..... two B's?! All I can hear in the back of my head is my dad saying, "You got another B?" You see, in my dad's opinion B is failing. Well all through high school, I was an AB student but when I went to college I was determined to change that. I worked harder than I've ever worked in my life and by the end of my 4th year in college, I had a cumulative GPA of 3.8. Cory still remembers the day that I came home crying like crazy after taking a test in the testing center because I had gotten a 93. Grades became a really big deal to me and I think I was a little obsessed. Well, I don't want grades to control me the way they used to because grades are NOT the most important thing!! So what is wrong with me??? I have got to get over this!!!! Because as smart as Katelund is, she has a very distracted and creative mind. She has some AMAZING gifts and abilities but she is just not the sit in your desk and quietly do your work all day kind of girl. I love who she is and I just need help her to be her best self, not somebody who I think she should be. Does anyone else have this problem?

*How am I ever going to keep up with 6 people's laundry? I am barely surviving 5 people's worth right now!!!!

*The baby bump/bulge/makes everything fit tight stage is here. Stefani, Cory's youngest sister who is due the same week that I am with her first baby, has not gained a pound. Good for her right?! As for myself.....come on, it's my 5th pregnancy!! All though I did do pretty awesome on the P90X cardio workout the other day with Cory. At least I'm working out this pregnancy. But not obsessively like I did with Katelund. I only gained 19 pounds with her. (is it just me or does it seem like I am using the word obsessed a lot? Maybe I really do have a problem!)

*Do you have an extra couple of minutes (probably not if you have made it this far in this never-ending post)? Well if you do, you HAVE to read this post by my friend Melanie. It has changed my life...SERIOUSLY!!! I am determined to be better at dinners. My problem is that I always wait until crazy time (when Hailey wants attention and the girls are doing homework/fighting/begging for attention and food) to make dinner. Which means that on some nights it is not even ready until 7!! I am going to change!! And she gives some great ideas on how to. THANKS MELANIE!!!!

[ETA.....I just got off the phone from making my first appointment for next week. What made me decide to actually pick up the phone? My sister-in-law had her appointment today and she texted me a picture of her ultrasound. It got me all excited and I called my doctor right away.]

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Between the Lines

Today in church I fell in love all over again with the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I have always liked this song. In fact, I remember singing it in my acapella choir group in high school. But this time as I sung it, the following verse jumped out at me and really spoke to my heart.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on

Isn't it funny how you can go through three hours of church, listen to some amazing talks, be humbled by a much needed lesson, and yet, be taught the greatest sermon of all within a couple of lines of a verse in the closing song? Between those lines my heart was softened, my dedication renewed, and a prayer was answered. Between those lines I received strength and desire beyond my own as I realized how much more I should be doing. Between those lines the Spirit taught me my very own sermon. A sermon meant just for me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

3 days (no sun+no school+no husband+lots of snow)=


We were supposed to pick Cory up from the Atlanta airport on Monday night, but the airport was closed and we were completely snowed in. The earliest flight he could get home was this morning (Wednesday). When Cory told me the bad news, I got off the phone as quick as I could so that I could bawl my eyes out. Of course I missed him, but the crying was mostly because I was going absolutely CRAZY!!! As much as I love my children and my home, not being able to escape for even a short amount of time was almost more than I could take. So on Tuesday afternoon, I decided to go dig out my ski pants, gloves, and Columbia snow boots and go play in the snow. The girls were SO EXCITED!! We had a great time and it really helped with the depression that was seriously starting to set in. This morning the sun finally made an appearance and Cory finally made it back home. The girls are STILL out of school and the snow is still everywhere, but I am feeling wonderful!!! Clean house + husband home + sun shining + happy children = 1 content and happy momma!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Rolling into the New Year

On New Year's Day, we spent the afternoon roller skating as a family. We had such a blast! Cory skated with the girls for an hour and a half and I took the last hour and a half. The girls have both gone a couple of times now and they both did great (although Katelund has picked it up a lot quicker). As for Cory and I...well lets just say we were the coolest parents out there (at least that's what our girls thought, and that's all that mattered to us). I especially loved the speed round where all of us "experienced" skaters could go as fast as we could. I may or may not have been sore for the rest of the week, but least I was keeping up with the ten year old girl who had her own specialty skates and everything. After the speed round, I started gagging like crazy and Hailey was getting tired so we left. It was a great way to spend New Year's Day!

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to play with my children more. Since my girls play pretend about 98% of the time, I have had to really work on my imagination. For some reason, it is just not easy for me to play pretend like it used to be. In fact, it is TORTURE!!! There, I said it. But, they LOVE it when I play with them and I just don't want to be one of those moms who never gets down on the ground and I have had to cowboy up (actually "princess up" would be a lot more fitting). The more I play, the more they are realizing how much they would rather not have me part of their pretend world because although I am playing, I still have to take every opportunity possible to teach them. For example, here is one of Katelund and I's conversations from this morning....

Katelund (aka Katie, the oldest Princess): "Little sister, I have to go to work today."
Me (aka Sarah, the youngest princess): "Today is the Sabbath."
Kate: "No mommy, pretend it is Monday."
Me: "How old are you big sister?"
Kate: 18
Me: "Shouldn't you be going to school?"
Kate: "No, I already finished high school."
Me: "So shouldn't you be in college?"
Kate: "No, I was really smart so they told me I didn't have to go to college."
Me: "Um, no. That is not how it works and college is a must in our family."
Kate: " Mommy, this is just PRETEND!!!"

One more example...

Kate: "Sarah, this is my boyfriend."
Me: "How old is your boyfriend?"
Kate: "20"
Me: "Then he better not be your boyfriend because he should be on a mission and besides, at 18 you should be dating lots of boys not just one."
Kate: "MOMMY!!!"

I just can't help it!!!!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Ring to Remember

[warning: This post is very mushy!]

I still remember seeing it for the very first time. I remember thinking that I had never seen anything more beautiful in my life. As Cory carefully placed it on my ring finger, I remember how badly his own hand was shaking. Under the moonlight and the stars, and through the blurry vision created by tears, I still remember how beautifully it shone. For weeks afterwards, I would still find myself in a trance as I stared down at the engagement ring that had finally found its permanent home on my finger. It wasn't just the fact that it was beautiful and exactly what I had wanted, princess cut and all, it was also what it represented. It was a symbol of our love. A reminder of covenants and blessings that would bind us together for eternity.

As I look down at the same ring today, I still think it is absolutely gorgeous. It is not as shiny nor is it scratch-free, but it is still perfect. It is missing one of the small diamonds on the side, which I will not replace because just as everything in my life, I look at it symbolically. I lost it about four years ago. It was a time in my life when things were definitely not perfect. It was a turning point in our life together. A time when we both realized that a marriage takes constant work and nourishment. Our relationship with one another became first priority. Although that was a rough time for us, I draw strength from the results of it. Our relationship today is very strong and it is not something that either one of us take for granted...ever. The missing diamond in my ring reminds me of that time, but it also reminds me of so much more. It reminds me that my relationship with Cory is the most important relationship that I have here on earth. A relationship that needs constant and consistent polishing and strengthening, so that it will never be lost. Today, I am more in love with my husband than I was the day that I put my engagement ring on for the very first time. Our love has deepened and grown to a completely new level. He means everything to me and I will spend the rest of my life falling in love with him over and over again.

On Christmas morning, the very last present to be opened was from Cory to me. It was in a HUGE box. As I unwrapped and opened the box, I was surprised to see that there was another box to be opened. This continued on and on for about 10 more boxes. As I finally got down to the tiny little black box inside, I gently opened it and as I did all of the tender feelings that I feel for Cory were multiplied by a million. He held me in his arms as we sat and cried together. I knew that the ring was symbolic and I also knew that financially, it came at a great price. The ring is absolutely gorgeous. It is a ruby with small diamonds surrounding it. The ruby is Clairisa's birth stone. The ring not only reminds me of our perfect daughter whom I can't wait to be reunited with again someday, but it also reminds me that families can literally be together forever.

As I wear my wedding ring on my left hand, I think of the covenants that I made ten years ago across an altar in the Dallas temple. I think of the man, really boy, that I was completely in love with. Now as I look at the ring on my right hand, I realize that knowing what I have now, I really had no idea what it meant to truly be in love with someone. Someone who carried you when you were too weak to stand and someone who you have carried as well. Someone whom you have felt the deep anguish of sorrow and loss with and also someone whom you have experienced the greatest joy of all. The ring on my left hand reminds me of where we have been and how it all began. The ring that has now found its permanent home on my right hand is one that reminds us of where we want to go and how we can get there. Each one....a ring to remember. To remember,as Robert Frost so beautifully stated, that "[we] have promises to keep,
and miles to go before [we] sleep."

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