Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween

From Calvin & Hobbes and a beautiful butterfly and an Owen fireman (who will be the cutest cowboy tomorrow :)

Poor Ellie has been sick and is so sad to be missing her class party and celebrations at school today! Hopefully she'll recover by tomorrow so she can join in on some of the fun!

Such a serious face, but he really was a happy little fireman! I decided when Owen was trying on costumes that 4 years old is just about the cutest possible age for Halloween costumes! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

pumpkin walk / studio C

I took the kids to the pumpkin walk last week while Jordan was in New York. There was a Halloween party at the North Logan library right after, so the kids got all dressed up in advance. When they started to look around and see that no other pumpkin walk visitors had costumes on though, they slowly de-costumed as we walked till I was pushing Porter in the stroller piled with butterfly wings, fireman's hat, comic book, etc. 

I just loved the Studio C scene! Something about seeing that just made my day. Kind of like the feeling I get whenever we are in Utah County and I start seeing people at Costco or Target dressed in BYU gear and I sort of just feel at home again. 

We love Studio C, and Jordan and I just started re-watching from the first season. We'd caught up and were just waiting for the next episode, but were still missing our favorite when-we-have-a-few-minutes-before-bedtime show.  (And Jordan loved the awkward avoidance Viking from the first seasons too)  

So it was great to see this funny scene and know there are other people who love this too, and just so fun to see these silly characters in such a super silly way!

(We've just watched a couple of sketches with the kids, and even though it has been months, we'll still hear the kids repeating every once in a while "The cows are standing on my kidneys!" )

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

pumpkin patch wall

Years ago when Jordan was traveling to New York at Christmas time, the kids and I worked all week on filling up a little box full of stars by writing down great things we were doing to help each other and take care of each other while Jordan was gone. Then we gave it to Jordan as an early Christmas present when he came home. I think that was the beginning of the tradition, and since then we have done lots of variations of the same thing. Last Fall we had a tree that we slowly filled with leaves. We've had hearts covering our kitchen wall and shamrocks I think, and a game board path we tried to complete. And last week we had this cute pumpkin patch :)

This has been such a great activity for us. I have a hard time when Jordan's gone (although with his two week trip in the Spring,  this five day trip felt a lot easier!) But this helps me, and all the kids too, to focus on all the great things that are happening and to notice and point out all the good things. And I love that the kids quickly get into this and love to catch each other doing great things that they can put a pumpkin (or whatever the theme is) up for.

And these are little things.
Owen sang a beautiful bedtime song for Porter. 
Ellie helped get everything ready for the movie party. 
Landon said "let's be nice to Ellie" 
Porter and Owen played nicely together
The kids all did fantastic at bed time

But writing them down and celebrating them helps to encourage more and more little things to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Provo house progress

Whenever we are down in Provo, we try to drive past our old Provo house to see what progress has been made toward its final parking lot future. (Even though Landon as now spent more of his life here in Logan, this is still heart breaking for him so he closes his eyes in the backseat - poor guy!)  

For a long time it was just a dirt field, but the last few trips we've seen some work happening. 

That fire hydrant is the only thing still standing from our time there. (This space was once three houses - ours on the corner and one more on each side).

And a funny little story -- the great big house just past the parking lot (lovingly called 'the barn') was built by our neighbors. When they started to make plans for a potential sale, they determined they could purchase an empty lot around the corner and MOVE their house. (!) I don't know why it worked out for the church to just expand the parking on either side, but that's how they ended up doing it and the barn avoided a tricky move!

And to help ease the angst for Landon, we also drove around the corner to the other side of the church  to show him our duplex where we lived when he was born --

Oh that sweet little cul-de-sac! And then across the street to the little blue house where Jordan and I lived for just a few months when we were first married --

Friends came over one Monday night for FHE, just before our wedding, and helped us take down the fence, clean up the weeds, and tame the bushes and trees. And I felt so loved!

With three houses within about a block of each other, you know we really liked this little neighborhood!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Break

We had a fun low-key Fall Break this year. For a few days, we stayed home and played with friends a bit, played Monopoly (even me!), made pumpkin muffins, played in the leaves and picked raspberries. Landon read his next Harry Potter book, Ellie did art projects... just happy little things.

Then we spent Friday/Saturday down in Provo. We had a fun Brazilian lunch in Salt Lake and visited the Museum of Curiosity for the first time. (It was super cool, and also super crazy with all of the other Fall Break families!) Then a spaghetti dinner with family to finish a full day. Saturday we attended the sealing for my cousin Paul at the new Payson temple, and it was beautiful. The rest of the day was filled with wedding activities and then a late evening drive home.

A few highlights:

I loved seeing two of my cousins, about my age, both expecting their first baby in the next month or two. They are two wonderful women who are so excited to be mothers, and it was just so fun to remember that unique joy of brand new motherhood.

My cousin Paul loves family history. On each table at the wedding luncheon they had a beautiful copy of a family tree of he and his new wife. It was so fitting for his interest, and also such a concrete reminder of what these two were beginning! I'm just barely getting started into some family history work and although I haven't set aside enough time yet, I am feeling really excited already to learn and do more.

I love the sweet reminders of weddings.  One of my most precious memories is of my wedding day and of the love I felt from Jordan and also from so many people - who had been so important to me throughout my life - all there to celebrate with us. Aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins and parents and brothers and sisters and roommates and wonderful friends. And then even past teachers, co-workers, families I'd babysat for or tutored... I've been so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life and it was great to be reminded of all that again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Our beautiful volunteer tomato plants that motivated me to plant all the rest of our garden have been sadly neglected these last few weeks. We have some near freezing lows this week though, so I finally went out yesterday with the kids and picked all the ripe fruit. And it was a lot! I thought I'd make a batch of spaghetti sauce to freeze and use them all up. But I made a double batch (with 12 cups of diced tomatoes) and still had at least twice that amount left over!

So back to the store for peppers and onions again this morning and I (with the help of these two sweet boys!) made another double batch. (So we have at least 15 dinners of pasta sauce ready to go...) Then I packed up two baking sheets full of frozen diced tomatoes into two giant ziplocs and phewph! the tomatoes were gone :)

there was no room in our inside or outside freezer to put any of this! And one of the kids had left the outside freezer open overnight...

So in between stirring and checking on the bubbling spaghetti sauce, I cleaned out both freezers, tried to chip away some of the ice outside and just managed to find space for everything to fit back in.

We still have two varieties of apples waiting to be picked on the tree though. (More apple chips? apple sauce? Smoothie apples? Apple pie?)  So either I'm going to have to actually learn to can or we are really going to have to get that larger freezer we've been thinking about!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ellie and the magic skirt

This pretty skirt was a present from Grammie and Grandpa when Ellie turned one. 

It was tagged as 18 months, but seemed a little big. Still, it was just so cute that I used a diaper pin at the top and with all it's ruffles, it was perfect! 

Now the magical part came when little Ellie grew to 18 months...

and beyond...

And this cute little skirt just stayed in her drawer, still a perfect fit and a favorite!

And little Ellie grew...

And grew...

And grew...

And this favorite just kept right on being a favorite!

Ellie said this week, "I think maybe just a little bit after I turn 8 maybe this skirt will be too small."

(It was so fun to look through my photos and find all of these cute pictures of sweet little Ellie growing up!!)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oh! Porter / Poor Owen!

In the last few months Porter has really gotten to be a little boy (and not our baby, though we still might call him that...) Along with that (and maybe just having the two little boys home together all day while Ellie and Landon are at school) but we've really started the name mix up with Owen and Porter.

(A side note -- my best friend in high school was the oldest of four girls, all with names beginning with "K", and her mom was constantly calling for one of the with "Kim, Karen, Katherine...Karisty!" It's nice to remember I'm not the only mother to mix up my children's names :)

With these two boys it turns out so funny as we start and then correct their names though -- Owen is frequently Por-Owen (poor Owen!) and Porter is commonly O-Porter (Oh! Porter!)

Yesterday, Ellie was tired or hurt and crying and Jordan said "Poor Ellie!" to which Porter quickly responded with a 'you're so silly' laugh "Not Poor Ellie! Por - ter! "

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ellie wrote a song / Piano lesson hoorays

I have been loving piano lessons with the kids so much. I'm loving to teach Landon and Ellie and make up fun little practicing games for them. I love their excitement to pass off a new song they've mastered. (And I've been so pleased with how hard Landon works to master his songs and keep moving forward so quickly). I love clapping and counting the rhythms with them or tapping along on the edge of the piano as their metronome. For the longest time I felt like I wanted to and even more felt like I should be getting started with teaching them lessons. Now that I finally am, I'm just so happy and surprised with how it's really just so fun.

An unexpected part of it has been the happy piano sounds filling our home! It is so fun listening to Landon and Ellie practice their little songs. And maybe even more fun is hearing them just playing around - making up tunes, trying out the organ sound or the bells. More than every before they're sitting down at the piano just for fun and I just love it so much.  This week in our piano lesson, Landon played a Halloween song he'd made up with the lowest low notes. And Ellie was so excited one day "I'm going to write a song!" And she did and it was as sweet and as can be!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Welcome to Fall Break!

backyard fall rainbow
The kids had an early out day at school today and are super excited about starting their Fall break! Landon made a list of hopeful activities, and I'm especially excited to spend some time outside on these beautiful, colorful days.

Other fun today --

- Perfectly fall colored Tuesday Flowers from Jordan!

- I went to volunteer in Ellie's class this morning, and the kids were all at an assembly. I sat in the back to watch and it was just fun to see all the excitement and happy little celebrations.

- The kids are super excited about Parent Teacher Conferences this afternoon. (They've been talking about this/looking forward to this for days!)  I can't imagine what their teachers prepped them for that has them so excited,  but it's fun to have them looking forward to this little thing with such happiness!

Monday, October 12, 2015

pics from Owen

Every once in a while, I'll find my camera roll with rows and rows of pictures of carpet, or toes, or light fixtures, blankets...  But today I found a great little collection that Owen made during quiet time with lots of my recent basement projects. And they looked so fun and colorful and happy from an Owen point-of-view that I thought I'd share. :)

(above - I wanted to make an "I love my family" picture for years but couldn't ever decide just how to make it. And then I finally just sat down one evening while Jordan was out of town and started cutting out letters and ta-da! :) And I love the rainbow circles back behind it too, these are just waiting for a new home on the wall with the basement switch around)

 A recent painting project above the fireplace -- that I love, except that I can't actually look at it or my eyes go all crazy seeing the little grey dots/squares at every intersection... I didn't anticipate that! Not sure what the fate of that project will be...

 We moved around our couches and bookshelves into every set up we could think of in the basement room and finally found something we like for now. I loved the idea of a somewhat hidden reading nook, but so far the kids haven't tried it out much.  Still this arrangement with the couches and shelves makes a a fun little play place for Owen during quiet time and a cozy morning scripture study place for Jordan and Landon.

It looks crazy here, but that colorful little banner above really is cute. :) It was a paint chip quiet-time project and I love it!

And a happy little set up from Landon. He got some tiny animal toys from the library as reading prizes and he came home so excited to play with them. I've forgotten the details already but this scene had some great imagination built in!

Friday, October 9, 2015

and more (and more) apples...

Our perfect climbing tree/apple tree has been crazy this year in how many apples we've had. The kids  go out to clean them all up from the lawn and earn a few dollars each (at 2 cents an apple, that's hundreds of apples!) and it's not long before it's time to clean them all up again and again and again! The last few days I've gathered the best and picked a bunch too (even many without worms, hooray!) and made a few giant pots full of applesauce to put in the freezer (round 2 and 3).   Owen is my helper to drop all the pieces into the pot, and he is a great helper! We've made a few batches of yummy apple oatmeal muffins. And worked through our smoothie apple stash.  And this afternoon Owen and Porter and I worked together and  put in trays full of apple slices for some more apple chips (round 3).  I certainly could have done a better job at using all these apples, but I'm happy to be doing something with at least a few (hundred) of them!

**Did you know that applesauce is so easy to make? I just chopped the sides off around the core (and tossed any bad parts), and dropped them into our biggest pot with a little bit of water. Then stir every once in a while for maybe 40 minutes or so? I'd pull out some of the peels as I stirred, but most stayed on and I used the immersion blender to smooth it all out when they were mostly all heated to mushy-ness. Easy peasy! (Except, my arms were sore from stirring so many all at once!)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

apple stand

Last week Ellie and Owen had an apple stand. They carried our worn little blue and yellow kids table to the front yard with its two red chairs, and set out the best apples they could find in a neat row across the table. And to any visitors (they had two,  hooray!) they offered a free apple.

I was out and missed the apple stand adventure, but the next day I was out on a walk and saw this darling sign (above) on the corner in our neighbors lawn.

And my favorite part of all was when our neighbor's son was out mowing and edging their lawn, he just left this little sign in it's place!

Also,  we have little friend around the corner who often rides his bike by or stops to say hello.  So with the 'apples'  sign still posted on the corner, he knocked on the door to ask "how much does it cost for an apple?" and then was so excited to pick one out plus one for his sister. (And I love that he knew exactly what this table sitting out with a row of apples was all about! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Porter's words

We were watching some family movies a few days ago from when Landon was just turning three. I loved hearing myself say to him in one movie "Should we go check and see?" And remembering how "check and see" was just one of Landon's favorite little phrases.

And since 2-year-old phrases are just the cutest ever, here's a few I want to remember from little Porter recently.

For a few weeks, everything that Porter saw that he wanted brought this -- "That's mine - bought it in California!" (I have no idea where this came from, but in his little Porter voice, it was darling :)

He's growing out of this :( but he still sometimes slips back and I love it, where  "I" or "my" is instead "mine" so he'll say things like "Mine do it!" or "Mine want to!"

"Up a counker  (counter) fine?"

"Rest a binky Momma?" (meaning "can you hold me on your bed while I rest with my binky? I love this -- and I love that it's so much like 2-year-old Landon's "pull fuzz with me?" where we'd rest on his bed and he'd get his binky and pull fuzz from his little blue blanket)

"Okay, I won't." His sweet reply when he gets into trouble/mischief, said so sincerely and sweetly!

"Play swing?"

And a favorite, in response to an "I love you Porter"  "I love you TOO!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

home sweet home

Some time after we'd moved to Logan (five years ago this Fall!), I had visited Provo and felt awfully homesick. Everywhere I went as I ran whatever errands I had, I'd spot the sidewalks, the trails, the shoulders of the roads where we had walked, biked, scootered, run, rollerbladed... I knew this place and all it's paths so well, and I missed that knowing and I missed all the city's tiny landmarks that sparked so many memories.

A few weeks ago, Jordan and I were visiting a few of the Parade of Homes houses and driving outside of our well-known routes. And I kept noticing all the familiar spots. And the past few weeks as I've thought about our five years here in this city we chose, I've been surprised how well we know this new/not-so-new place too:

The farmlands I bike through every once in a while on my early Tuesday morning rides.

The first house we thought we might buy - that had us imagining horses (crazily) or giant gardens and  (not so crazily) teaching our children to work and build and grow in this new town...

The Lee's hill that we know by heart. The gas station corner where the bike trailer brushes past the bushes with each passing. The little zig and zag of the sidewalk in front of the hardware store that's a bit too tight for the train bike. The grassy hills and slopes...

The tunnel where we cross on our bikes past Old Main, where every time we approach Ellie and Owen are sure to remind me to turn carefully after the tunnel and watch out for the prickly dirt off to the side(which Jordan and the kids discovered years ago with a few flat tires).

And our favorite spots in the Canyons. Our "rainbow campground" in Logan canyon and our secret hideaway in Green Canyon, back from the road and across the ditch where we've carried all of our campfire gear across and back again and again.

And our neighborhood that we love so much. I went for a walk recently and was just amazed to realize how much I love the quiet, alive sounds of our neighborhood.

And all the little spots we know so well on my walking routes. The little library that Owen is so excited to visit these days. The dogs that used to bark, but now just look up and see our familiar group and get back to whatever they were doing. The bench where I stop to take a picture of our changing mountains whenever I pass. The driveway where the crows always stop to snack. The corners I've set as my "I'll run till that spot before I stop to walk" markers. The little sidewalk marking reflector that the kids have designated as a kids bike stop sign.

And then our little home! With the perfect climbing tree, now complete with swings too. And our little family growing inside. What a happy feeling it is to have such sweet memories and happy paths here too.

Monday, October 5, 2015


The kids have learned to love our Sunday Conference tradition so much  (of listening for different words like scriptures, family or prayer and choosing a snack/treat from that bowl when they hear that word). I even heard things on Friday and Saturday morning like "I'm so excited for Conference!" Hooray for good traditions! (And this idea really works so well so for us -- not perfectly, but we made it to about 3/4 the way through the afternoon session before things started to get crazy, and that seemed pretty great :)

And I loved Conference! It was exciting to see and read later about the new apostles chosen. And so many talks felt just very applicable to me right now.

One of my favorite parts was seeing my old institute teacher, Brother Durrant stand up to give a talk (followed directly by my singles ward stake president, President Keetch!)

I think it was the summer after my freshman year in college when I started to attend an institute class with my good friend Katie. We met in the Stake Center High Council meeting room  in the Stake where I grew up. And it was just a few of us -- maybe 10 or 12 tops? that sat around the big table there and learned together. Brother and Sister Durrant took turns teaching with Richard Holzapfel and Brother and Sister Woods.  And the sweetest older couple would bring treats and we'd finish up with something like sweet candy filled popcorn balls.  I think I probably went mostly because I wanted to spend time with Katie (since I already had religion classes at school and an institute class in my own stake at Alta).  But I kept going and maybe because it was such a small class and a close setting or just the right time in my life when I needed those friendships, but I really loved that institute class.

(Another fun note: I lived at Bountiful Court for just one Spring term, when Jordan and I first started dating. One day Brother Durrant was at the complex inspecting the carpets or something. I was surprised to see him there till he said something like "Oh, well I own these apartments!" When I moved back to Alta at the end of the term, I got my deposit back with an extra $50 or so. I called the BC manager to ask about the mistake and she responded that Bother Durrant had sent it on purpose -- and I felt so grateful for such a caring gesture. )

Brother Durrant always had a funny story to tell and a great way of teaching the Old Testament with a sense of humor, so it was just so fun to watch him speak in Conference and see his eyes sparkling with happiness as he suggested we "Ponderize" a new scripture each week. (Which I think was also maybe the best counsel I could get right now -- this week mine is Jacob 3:2) It was great to see this person who made a difference in my life a long time ago, now making a difference in a new way.

And then to see President Keetch stand up next! In my recent decluttering, I'd come across a little notebook filled with Sunday notes, the first being from a Stake Conference with President Keetch (also from when I lived in Alta)

I just remember really loving President Keetch and his counsel. Once his wife gave a talk and as part of it she read the lyrics to "I Hope You Dance" which I thought at the time was kind of a cheesy song... but somehow when she read it I just knew how much she loved us and truly wanted the best for us.

Something so fun about growing up is feeling more and more how familiar these leaders are. The prophet and the twelve apostles that I've listened to for years and years now (except these new faces!) and other new leaders who I've learned from before in other roles.

I feel so strengthened from this weekend of listening and learning and I'm excited to keep studying and reviewing this counsel for the next few months too!

Friday, October 2, 2015

love love love / soccer

warm-ups one day

Landon's team did a great job at their soccer game yesterday. I think they still haven't won any games ( or maybe one?),  and I think that's just fine. It's been so fun to watch them practice and learn and improve. In the last five minutes last night, all the parents around me were up on their feet, stepping up closer and closer to the field, holding their breath watching their boys as they suddenly just really took off. It was really just a super fun game to watch. And I've loved seeing Landon getting better and better.

Even more though, I loved this moment above, sometime in the second half. The boys on the field were working hard, playing well, and maybe or maybe not listening to their parents directions and tips and sometimes frustrations from the sidelines. And I looked over to see Landon with his friends, just so perfectly happy.  And I felt just so filled up with love for this boy of mine. Who loves to play and run and work hard and is proud to ask every once in a while "did you see when I...?" And who just as much loves to sit and watch and talk and play with his friends from the side.

Every time we get in the car on our way to soccer, Landon asks "did you bring a trail mix bar?" and I've learned to remember so I pull one out of my bag for him, and he says, "Ah, thanks Mom!" and I love that I found this little way to say I love you to this Landon that I love oh, so much!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Welcome to October!

My favorite part of each new month is sitting at the kitchen counter with my box full of sharpies and my oversized newsprint paper pad to make a new calendar. Every once in a while I'll be tempted by some big fancy calendar. And for one month last year I decided maybe our fridge would be more beautiful without one of these... but without it,  I consistently forgot pretty much every appointment I had that month, so the clutter-free fridge disappeared and my happy little calendar returned.

(I can remember as a little girl making calendars, just for fun. And my big sister got a cute blank calendar template once that I photocopied again and again and used for years (and years and years! I still have some of those photo copies that I pull out every once in a while!) and somehow I never got frustrated with filling in all those dates...)

Our calendar is filled up so far with all the little things:

- Family home evening -- I wrote it out on the calendar this month, "Family Home Evening" instead of just FHE because I thought maybe if it filled up more of the space, I'd think about it more and spend more time making plans, etc. so it didn't end up so often as a quick, right-before-bed routine.

- Soccer -- we thought the season ended in September, but I'd misunderstood the schedule, so we still have a few more weeks of games :)

- Scouts for Landon and Scouts/Young Mens for Jordan

- Volunteering in Landon and Ellie's classes -- yay!

- Storytime/library time

Also on the calendar : General Conference this weekend, a trip to New York for Jordan, a happy anniversary (11 years!), Fall Break for the kids, Halloween and fun fall time activities, and  a temple trip to schedule.

I think October is maybe the most perfect month in Logan, and I'm excited to enjoy these beautiful Fall days!