Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011 was wonderful for our family. One of the best parts was getting to spend it with Grandma and Grandpa Mann. It was so much fun to share our traditions with them and create the spirit and magic of Christmas together. It was a year that we will never forget. Of course, I wish I would've captured more of it on camera, but here is a little glimpse through a couple of pictures I did take.
Makayla created an instant bond with Grandpa. He can put her to sleep like nobody else can. It was so sweet to see her face light up when she saw him. He is such a sweet Grandpa and I am constantly amazed with how incredible he is with babies. I have yet to meet a baby that doesn't fall head over heels for him (and vice versa) :)
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Not the best picture of my Christmas dinner table, but I wanted to get a shot of the BEAUTIFUL new plates that my mom and dad gave me for Christmas. I LOVE them. Not only do I love the design, but I also love that they are Correll, which means they are durable and shatter resistant. The perfect plate set for our family. When my mom was here helping with Makayla, I had told her how much I love that my girls know how to do the dishes and load/unload the dishwasher BUT through the process of learning, my 8 piece plate set has dwindled to 5. So, not only did she send me durable beautiful plates, she also get me a set of 12. No, we are not going to have a family of 12 ( I would definitely have to be checked into a mental hospital..that many children takes a special you Tasha) but we do love to have company for dinner quite often and we also REALLY need some backups. :)
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Grandpa was totally my HERO while he was here. He started and finished so MANY projects around my house that have been on my "honey-do" list for way too long (love you Cory, but seriously, 6 months??!!) The week after Christmas Cory had to work so Dad stayed home and worked here. Not only did he finish projects around my house, he also watched the babies many times so that me and Mom could go shopping and get out. I'm pretty sure I have the best in-laws EVER!!!
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One of the projects Grandpa did was set up Hailey's new bed. Then, he and mom helped me "Hailey proof" her bedroom since the previous day during nap time, Hailey had stair stepped up her dresser and it almost crushed her (thank goodness for the crib that stopped the dresser from falling all the way down). I don't think I've even scratched the surface on my blog about how fun/crazy/mischevious/and HARD WORK Hailey is. This girl seriously keeps me on my toes. I could tell you story after story!! But, I think I'll save some of them for their own post. The whole transition to a big girl bed has not been easy at all. In fact, I think I'm going to do some research and try and find an 8 foot tall crib. :)
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A family picture we took after church on Christmas morning. Notice the ADORABLE Mary Jane shoes that Makayla is wearing. One of my sweet friends from the ward crocheted them for her. How sweet is that?! I love them!
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I love this picture! I took the girls with me to go and visit one of the sweet sisters I visit teach. Our family LOVES her. She feels more like a grandma to us than just a sister in the ward. In fact, on Sunday she kissed Cory on the cheek. It was so cute. When Katelund and Cloey were over there last week, she pulled out all sorts of dress up clothes for them. They were in HEAVEN!! This picture and the last picture of Katelund are some of the goods they came home with.
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I can't believe I didn't take any pictures with our other honored Christmas guest...Roxi (Uncle Logan and Aunt Becca's dog). The girls pampered her all week long. At first, Hailey was scared to death of her (I'm pretty sure that dogs are the only thing she is afraid of). But, after a day or two, she and Roxi became BFFs. Eventually we had to put Roxi downstairs while Hailey would eat, otherwise Hailey would throw all of her food off of her high chair tray onto the floor for Roxi. It was hilarious. Hailey is still asking where Roxi is everytime she eats. It was so cute to see my girls so in love with a dog. It ALMOST made me think that someday I might actually get one.
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Our Ride on the Polar Express

Four Months

Although Makayla has the most sensitive tummy EVER (yes, I'm still totally deprived of milk, cheese, ice cream, chocolate, broccoli, etc), she is such a sweet and happy baby. I'm LOVING every stage she is going through. I've decided not to introduce her to baby food until she is six months. I'm hoping it will give her a little more time to grow out of her food sensitivities.

Hailey is spelt T-R-O-U-B-L-E

Green Smoothies

Have you heard of these? Basically you fill your blender with spinach, frozen fruit, and water. Mix it all together for a super healthy drink. I was totally suprised by how much better tasting it was than I thought it would be. But, I was even more surprised by how much Hailey loved it.

Halloween Pictures

I'm trying to update my blog. It has seriously been suffering lately. So, I'm going all the way back to October to catch up on pictures.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Living with Gratitude

The other week we had some major septic issues in our home. When we moved in this home (almost 3 years ago) we were not given any specific directions on how to take care of a septic tank (although, in the last week I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about them). On Sunday night, as I was washing dishes after dinner and running the washer (Makayla had a MAJOR blow out diaper), the toilets started bubbling. The girls ran in and told me that something weird was happening in the bathroom. The next thing I know Cory is running in telling me to turn the water off because we had gray water filling our bathtubs. Yes, it was totally disgusting. At that point, we stopped using all our toilets, showers, washers, etc for the next three days. The reason we waited so long before it was fixed was because Monday morning we were told by a plumber that he was getting calls like crazy in our area. He said that because it had been raining non-stop for the last 2-3 days, the ground was super saturated and it was causing lots of issues for homes with septic tanks. He told us to wait until it stopped raining and then our issue would go away. Well we waited...and waited...until we just couldn't stand it any longer. The plumber who came out told us that our 1000 gallon tank was filled with 1200 gallons of sewage. He pumped our tank, cleared our drains, and we were good to go.

Yes, it was a total inconveniance but it was so much more than that. It became a lesson to always remember. Not a lesson on septic tanks, a lesson on gratitude and thanksgiving. I don't think it was a coincidence that this all happened around Thanksgiving week. Because you see, of all the many many lectures I have given my children on having an "attitude of gratitude" there are none that have made such a lasting and impressionable impact as this one. But, the greatest lesson was not the one learned by my children. It was the one taught to me.

On Sunday night, we loaded up all the girls into the van to take a trip to the church so that we could all go to the bathroom and brush our teeth for the night. As we were driving, I was totally feeling discouraged and down thinking about how I was ever going to be able to live without a septic system. As these pessimistic thoughts were overwhelming my mind, Katelund's voice pulled me back as she sweetly said to Cloey, "you know what song keeps going through my mind? Count Your Many Blessings." Then Cloey said, "Let's sing it." So they did. I was completely humbled. My children say and do a lot of naughty and impolite things at times, but then there are those other times....times when all of the sudden time stands still as a watch and listen in awe as they they do and/or say something amazing. So amazing that I wonder if during those sweet priceless moments, the Spirit is just pouring through their pure little hearts and inspiring them to say exactly what my troubled heart needs to hear. As their angelic little voices sang the words of the hymn, my mind and heart felt more peace than it had in a long time. It was then that I knew and realized how much I had to be grateful for.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning. After spending all day Monday running to grocery stores to use the bathroom and bathing myself and my children at a friend's house, I was feeling discouraged and pessimistic once again. As I immersed myself in the scriptures and tried to ignore the piles of dirty clothes and dishes and the sewer smell that was starting to take over our house, I came across the scripture about Elijah and how he will turn the hearts of the children to their fathers. It was at this point that the Spirit began to work on me once more. My thoughts turned to my ancestors. I thought about my 5th great grandma and the life she lived in hiding because of polygomy. I thought of another grandma and how she gave up everything in order to come to Zion. The stories that have brought strength to me through the years began to flow over and over in my mind as I began to see my circumstances in a new light. A light that made me feel completely weak, pathetic, and spoiled. I am, after all, the descendant of women who have gone through situations and circumstances that I can't even imagine. At this point, I knew what I needed to do. I got up and got busy. I took my dishes outside and washed them in the freezing rain. I cleaned up the best that I could and put a smile on my face. All though I have always loved that scripture because of its powerful message of prophecy being fulfilled in our day through the Spirit of Elijah, it now has personally found its way to my heart. I am a descendant of so many courageous men and women who lived hard lives and did things that seem almost impossible. As I turn my heart to all of my grandmothers who have lived lives of obedience, honor, courage, and faith, I find a greater desire to be true to the family name I bear. Just like them, I can also do hard things, and all things through Christ who strengthens me. My hard things don't even seem to compare to theirs, but just the same, together we stand fighting for our families, our children, and our faith....even if we stand decades and centuries apart.

This Thanksgiving, I learned what it really means to live with gratitude. Gratitude for children who speak the words of angels. Gratitude for ancestors whose lives and testimonies echo in my heart and stand as pillars of strength and courage in my life. Gratitude for friends who are so willing to serve and open their homes to my family. Gratitude for the Lord and the way that he teaches me so patiently, purposefully, and perfectly.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Conversations I don't want to forget....

After a family night on charity a couple weeks ago, Katelund told me that she had a great example of charity from that day. We have been talking a lot lately about the importance of choosing good friends. I tell my girls that choosing friends reminds me of how I eat a box of chocolates. I always take a little bit out of them to see what's in the middle so that I will know if I want to eat it or not. If I don't like what's in the middle then I put it back and don't eat it. I then told them as they get to know their friends they will begin to see what they are really like on the inside. If they discover that what is inside of that friend isn't that great or sweet, then they should not be friends with them. They have to be nice to everyone but they should always carefully choose their friends. Anyways, Katelund has a friend that she has really wanted to be friends with but she said that she isn't always nice to the other girls at recess. So Katelund had the following conversation with her...

Katelund: "I've decided that I don't really like you, but I am still going to try and be your friend."
friend: "Ok, I guess I can live with that."

If only we could all be that honest and humble.
Here is a conversation that happened later that night with Cloey...

Cloey: "Mommy, I have a really big problem"`
Me: "What is it?"
Cloey: "I don't like Lance anymore (Lance is in Cloey's primary class at church), but I really like another boy in my class. He is so nice, smart, and he never gets in trouble, just like me. I really want to marry him someday.....BUT (at this point she lowered her head) he can't take me to the temple.
Me: "That is a really big problem. What are you going to do?"
Cloey: "Well, I'm not going to marry him."
Me: "Good choice. It's a good thing that you're only six and you have plenty of time to find a boy who is just as nice and smart and who can take you to the temple someday."
Cloey: "And if I don't find someone, then I guess I'll just marry Lance."


Me: "Katelund, do you like the taste of spaghetti sauce on your broccoli?" (she kept dipping them in her sauce)
Katelund: "I am making them fall trees."

How clever is that?!


And since Hailey refuses to talk, I'll tell you the funny thing she was doing this morning. I guess she was getting bored and needed a challenge (I'm nipping the whole climbing thing in the least trying to) so she started walking all around the house with her eyes closed. When she would bump into things she would start laughing hysterically.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Pictures and No Pictures

Over the last two months I have been horrible about posting pictures and keeping my blog updated. So, here is a quick recap of pictures on my phone. Unfortunately, there were a lot of events that I didn't take pictures of but I still want to remember, so I'll give a quick recap of those as well (yes, quick and short...I promise I can do it).

My girls look pretty wild in this pictures, but I had to have one on here of "Aunt Stepi" (that's what they used to call her when we lived in Fayetteville).

Cory was in charge of our family night treat while Stefani was here. This is what he came up with. SERIOUSLY??!! Who is this guy? Just when I think I can out do him at something, he surprises me yet again. :)

This is the picture Stefani and I put together to "pin" on pinterest...but, then we realized how lame it would be to actually pin your own thing. We had a lot of fun setting up the "scenery". This was actually some of my homemade wheat bread that we gave to my friend's husband for stitching Stefani's finger up after she sliced it at our house.

Cory's parents just couldn't resist driving out here to visit Lily and their other grandkids....and maybe to see us too, then again maybe not....:)

Lily and Makayla are just weeks apart from each other. Their due dates were actually one day apart though. Apparently, none of my children like to come down to earth unless they can come down with a cousin.

Big sister taking care of the babies.

Hailey LOVES Makayla (a little too much!).

We had a family ward temple trip in October down to our temple in Atlanta. The primary had activities for the primary age children in the stake center while the adults and youth did sessions in the temple. When we first got there, I walked into the primary room to find my girls and another family's children all sitting in the chairs they'd set out and singing "Praise to the Man" together. It was the sweetest thing ever! Especially because they had decided to do it all on their own.

This is a love letter Katelund wrote to a little boy in her class.

Here is a picture of the handout I made for the Visiting Teaching Conference I did at the end of October. I wish I would've gotten pictures at the actual conference...but I guess I was too busy enjoying it.

Other things that I didn't take pictures of....

-I actually did the whole Breaking Dawn at midnight thing with a bunch of my friends. I've never gone to a midnight showing before, so I decided to do it for the last one. I'm so glad I did. The show itself was okay, but my favorite part was just being with the girls. Since we had to be there so stinking early beforehand, my friend Jenae and I, ran 3 miles around the movie theatre parking lot. It was a great way to wake myself up.

-For Halloween, we went over to a friend's house and did our traditional chili dinner with about 5 other families before the trick or treating. Then the kids went around while the adults all sat around their outdoor fire pit and hung out together. It was such a fun night!!

-For Thanksgiving, we actually didn't have any family this year so we invited three families and a man from our ward. I REALLY wish I would've taken pictures. The day started off great with my annual "Turkey Trot" (not an official one) with 3 of my friends. We ran about 5 miles...just enough to take away the guilt of all the pie we would eat. Then Cory went and played football at the ward Turkey Bowl. Cory and I cooked the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and bought a pecan pie. Then everyone else brought two sides and a pie. We had DELICIOUS food and even better company.

-Then this last week we had a lesson in gratitude, but that is a whole other post....coming soon.

-Oh, and one more thing, Makayla is officially sleeping through the night!!!! WOOHOO!!!!

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