Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Let's Go Fly a Kite...

We are in full spring break swing, and today with gusty winds, the kiddos got the perfect idea to go fly kites...

And I have to admit, I did try to 'redirect'...
We did some art
We did some chalk
We (meaning the kids part of we) even made some pseudo kites for the front yard (plastic bags tied to string)...

And I finally gave in and loaded up the troops (even took Bailey with us... how's that for above and beyond? Does that redeem me for trying to put off the kite flying for so long?!) for a walk to the school yard for some afternoon kite flying...

and on the way, daddy happened to be driving by on his way home, and jumped in on the fun :)

...admit it, now you have the song stuck in your head, too!

Monday, March 22, 2010

There's something about cooking with colors...

That just makes you feel like a good mom :)

Thanks, Janie, for the yummy sweet and sour meatball recipe!
This is one that we pretty much never have left overs -
the kiddos eat them up
In fact, this is the recipe that brought Joshy the name of
"meatball monster"
I think he eats more meatball from this dish
than all of the rest of us put together.
The End

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Butterfly Kisses

My heart is pretty tender lately. I am a self proclaimed daddy's girl. Always have been, always will be.

My parents recently returned from their THIRD (yes, that's right, THIRD mission... making it my dad's FOURTH!)... (and I still wake up in a panic sometimes just having dreamed that I went on a 2nd mission...).

He is a good man. No, he is an out of this world amazing man. If I could describe him in one word, it would be:
As in Peter the Rock.
That's my dad.
Unmovable in his testimony of Christ
Our family's Rock.

I really lucked out with men in my life - my husband and my father are two of my absolute heros.

My dad has a gift. Each person that he encounters in life has felt it. He has a power to make you feel like you are the most important person on earth. For example: I am the youngest of 7 kids. I know he loves all of his children. Secretly, I know that I'm his favorite. I can also guarantee that there are 6 other people who feel the exact same way. (That's okay, I'll let the rest of you feel that way... I know that I am really the favorite ;) ).

So, what does this have to do with Butterfly kisses, you ask?

I first learned how to butterfly kiss from my dad. I can't remember how old I was, or what I was wearing, but I vividly remember sitting on his lap at the kitchen table, the sun shining through the window, and him asking if I wanted a butterfly kiss.
"Butterfly kiss?? What's that??"
He leaned in, and tickled my cheek with his eye lids, causing a cascade of giggles to erupt from my toddler body.

So whenever I hear the song "Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlisle (FABULOUS song, by the way!!), as I did yesterday, I instantly think of that moment, and all of the other tiny moments that make up a lifetime of creating a daddy-daughter bond with one of my great heros in life...

... "Rise and Shout" to greet me each morning (complete with light flipped on, covers ripped from my cozy cacoon of a bed... wait, maybe this isn't quite a great memory to begin...)
... "Bore a hole in muley's horn, there you tie a string, dip him in the water, and PULL HIM OUT AGAIN" (there are probably only a handful of people who read this who will truly grasp the significance of that sentence!)
... "When Irish eye's are smiling..."
... "I've got six pence, jolly jolly six pence" (this song takes me back to the flyin B every time...
... eagles landing on heads (seriously, did mom have to get the 'baby eagle' every single time, while I seemed to get the grampa one??!)
... daddy daughter sun valley skiing trips (that man knows how to plan a date!) (to this day, he can STILL ski me into the ground!)
... "Are you ready on the right leg?" (seriously, how did you get free EVERY time??!)
... bucking horse (I never could get the right grip to last more than 5 seconds!)
... Hide in the bathroom
... fast Sunday interviews (snuggled up on his lap!)
... spspspsp, know what??
... Valentine's Day Chocolates, complete with prescription pad love notes
... "If your scholarship falls through, remember that you have access to the Walt Petersen scholarship fund"
... "That comes from the Albertson side of the family..." (yea, dad, we never bought this line!)
... President "Water" Petersen
... The perfect snake pirouette at the flyin B
... jitterbug to "In the Mood"

... "It hurts when I hold my hand like this..." "Well, then don't hold your hand like that..."
... "I just hit my head on the wall..." "Did you tell the wall sorry?"
... late night talks
... early morning beet hoes
... roller coaster plane rides (I think my stomach is still hovering over the Burley atmosphere somewhere!)
... Traditions!! (said in his best Tevia voice)

... and my favorite daddy moment of all time: coming down the runway after just finishing my mission, being clasped into his famous bear hug and have him whisper, "You did it! You did it!"... something that I'm hoping will be a precursor to meeting my Heavenly Father at the end of my life's mission. If that moment turns out to be anything like the moment with my dad, then this life will have ended perfectly.

I love you, Dad
... and I will always be your eensie weensie teensie eensie baby daughter :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Welcome Home!

Grama and Gramps "Mission" made it back to American Soil on Friday... and headed home to the place that I has been my 'home' since birth...

Wow - you may look at this and see just another house.
I look at this and am flooded with countless memories of a lifetime of
*comings and goings
*entering and exitings
*tearful goodbyes
*joyful hellos
*pictures on the porch
*learning volley ball from my big sis
on the front lawn
*learning the coolest basketball 'fake' move
from my big brother in the driveway
*many sleepovers on the tramp in the back
*neighborhood conglomerations concocting all
sorts of games and adventures
around the premises
*running in the door with exciting news
*making it to the door before the tears
fell with sad news
*feeling the unmistakable cling of steam hit you at the door and knowing it was 'canning night'
*seeing the soothing blue christmas lights surround the beautiful white tree in the window on a serene winter night and knowing you truly were 'home for Christmas'
*beautiful sunrises from the kitchen window
*exotic sunsets from the front porch
*family movie nights
*late night talks
*amazing home cooked meals
*snuggle time

It's what life is all about.
Thank you, mom and dad, for telling me with your words, but more importantly for teaching me with your actions.
Welcome Home
I love you

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

... to schedule 5 yo appt. and 4 month old appt. back to back. When I called and they said they had two time slots right by each other, first thing in the morning, I thought, "great! we'll zip in and zip out - no problem, right?" WRONG...

... I didn't count on the extended 5 year appt. guidelines (hearing/vision screening - with a boy who many people outside his 'trusted circle' actually think is mute... yea, try getting this one to say what letters he sees... that nurse earned her paycheck today!)
... I didn't count on big sis getting sick in the wee hours of the morning, missing school, coming with us, and actually throwing up in the Dr. office, right when the Dr. walked in (hey, at least it wasn't the bishops office this time, right??!)
... I didn't count on the Dr. (our FAVORITE pediatrician EVER) telling us that she was moving in two months... out west... to be closer to family... (right at my peak of home-sickness in knowing that my parents are returning to a huge family gathering this week... out west... and we will still be in the middle of tundraland minnesota)
... I didn't count on 2 yo having a major poopy diaper right in the middle of things and screaming such to the entire wing of the clinic as he kept opening the door to go out and get changed
... I didn't count on sick sis slamming her finger in the door right as we were walking out of the house to go to appointment
... I didn't count on 2 yo stomping through mud right before we left, then getting a cup of water in the exam room, spilling it, then stopping his muddy shoes all through it, creating our own personal mud pit in the middle of the exams
... I didn't count on 5 yo falling right into a wooden ledge in the dr's office just before they came back in for the shots, causing both a mouth AND nose bleed at the same time
... I didn't count on shots - well, I knew there would be shots... just didn't count on the fact that 5 yo would be getting FIVE shots, and this same boy who just a few months earlier hardly flinched at his flu vaccine shot started WAILING, FLAILING and GNASHING TEETH the minute he saw the 'shot bucket'. Seriously - have you ever tried to hold down a ravaged 99.9 percentile 5 year old who is bent on NOT getting his shots??!
... I didn't count on the fact that 4 month old would also be getting multiple vaccine shots - right at the time of the poopy diaper/bloody lip/screaming 5 yo episode

... Yep, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Be the Chocolate Chip!

No, seriously...
This is our unofficial young women's theme for the year - and our New Beginnings topic. It was such a fun topic - all the brain child of our Laurel Advisor, who used it for a lesson a few years ago in a primary class, and then used it again last year for a laurel lesson. We then elaborated it, created some T-shirts, and turned it into a whole topic.

For the real story behind the chocolate chip, feel free to email me (or someone tell me how to link it, and I will gladly post it!). It is a very interesting story on how the chocolate chips were invented.

I also have the whole lesson that elaborates on the theme, with mnemonics for the word C.H.I.P. of specifics on how we can, indeed be the chocolate chip in a world of cookies :).

I love young women's!

P.S. We are also selling the t-shirts for an unofficial camp fun raiser - let me know if you want one... (they do come with a cutsie copy of the story attached :) ).

The 70's called...

... and they wanted their disco ball knobs back.
Seriously, they are DISCO BALL KNOBS.

And I have lived with them for 5 years.
Along with a yellow kitchen.
Yes, I said yellow kitchen. With antiquing on the cabinets (that one realtor thought was dirt...).

So of course, 2 months before we leave, I finally get the overwhelming desire to completely repaint the kitchen. (?!)

So, this weekend, I did the deed.

Took down the cabinets
and Rehung

and of course, once the cabinets were done, I had to do the walls.
Add in some super cute photography by an uber-talented and super-creative friend (Thanks, Jolene!!)

... and the look is complete.

I can walk into my kitchen without shuttering
And cook in peace
... for the next two months.

I am convinced...

That the bodies which belong to 5th children are put through a more rigorous pre-spirit filled qualifying test, and must be made of a more durable fabric than the average every-day body.
... the bodies must pass extra tests of being stretched, squeezed, squished, kissed, grabbed, stickied, and just plain used and abused.

I am convinced that the spirits which come to those over-tested bodies are also put through some pre-life qualifications themselves, including extra doses of patience, long-suffering, smiles, and unconditional love.

Otherwise, there is no way that 5th children (or the mother of 5th children) would ever live to see their first birthdays with any sort of sanity in tact.

... and that's all I have to say about that.

So I got a call a month ago...

From a sweet pseudo-companion from the mission, asking me what I had going on the last weekend in Feb...

How do I even begin to describe Deb (or Hna. Barry as I met her so many years ago)...

... she's the type of person that makes you feel like her best friend, even though you know she has a jillion friends all over the world and they ALL feel that way.
... she is one of the big wigs in an organization called, "Save the Children," and she travels all over the world, well, saving children. Whenever there is a disaster in any country, be it natural or manmade, you can be that she is on the first plane out to help get programs in place for the children of the area.
... seriously, she has been to countries that I can't even pronounce, let alone find on a map! (she's had to explain a few geography lessons to me over the years...)
... and yes, she is right now in Haiti, and advising Chili at the same time...
... and when she's not out saving the children, she's meeting with U.N. officials, or in U.S. Senate meeting (which is ironic, since she is from Wales), or having lunch with newly elected presidents of Afganistan, ... you get the picture.
... and yet, through all of this, she still manages to remember my birthday EVERY year (and I think I have yet to get hers right on the date in all the years we've known each other... sorry Deb!!), or come and visit when my twins are born, or just 'pop' in if she has a layover in my vicinity.

... so when she calls and asks if you have a free weekend, you can bet it won't be free for long. This was no exception. While we were talking, she informed me that she was on the computer at that moment booking me a ticket to San Francisco for a mini-mission rendezvous.

... and my dear, sweet hubby offered to be Mr. Mom at home to make it work for me (LOVE that man!!).

... so before I knew what was happening, I was boarding a plane with babe in arms (can't quite separate her from her feeding source just yet...), on my way to Sunny California for 72 hours of laughing, reminiscing, and just plane hanging out with some of the finest women I have had the pleasure of knowing.

... it was a complete blast from the past. I found myself teleported back in time 14 years (yes, I really am getting OLD!!), and a couple countries away (I was actually surprised to have hot water, realizing that we were, in fact not in Guatemala anymore, but in an American Hotel room).

As each one of us got off the plane (all of the flights happened to be within a couple hours of each other), we just started talking as if we hadn't skipped a beat since the rare talk-times on the mission, and kept right on talking until we finally separated after the weekend to our various destinations.

... and we also squeezed in a few adventures, like...
Like a trolly ride through San Fran... Deb on the left, Kristen on the right.

Sweet Nou and Kirsten sitting on the other side of me

... mapping out our day to be sure to include classics like clam chowder, cheese cake, and chocolate!!

... striking poses by the ever-present palm trees (and emailing pictures of palm trees to hubby with the question of why we are living in Tundra land when some people get to see palm trees in February!!)

... and catching a glimpse of the Chinese New Year parade (where a group of Chinese tourists in front of us turned around and started snapping pictures of baby Elizabeth... go figure!)

... and of course culminating with a walk to the famous Ghiradelli Square (If you look closely, I think you can see the heavenly lights beaming down on this most heavenly place even!), where chocolate was had by all (and it wasn't even the Guate-wanna-be-but-not-quite-getting-it-right-chocolate, either!)

... But the best of all was just being able to pick up after 14 years like we had been together just the last P-Day carving Sandia's for Halloween or relishing choco-bananos, or getting stopped in the middle of the main freeway of Guatemala because a truckload of cows got free and the cows were roaming the road, or getting necklaces cut off by crazy knife-men on random city busses...

Seriously, to think that I would never have had the opportunity of meeting these amazing women had I not gone on a mission is so sad - they are the type of women that make you want to be better just by being in their presence. They all are so incredibly talented and amazing in so many different walks of life: teachers, wives, mothers, children savers, and yet all so incredibly down to earth and centered in the gospel. After so many years apart, just having the center of the gospel in common (and some crazy, relived mission stories!!) was like coming home once again.

... Love you girlies! Thanks for making such an eternal impact on my life. Thanks for making me leave the weekend wanting to be a little bit more like each one of you and be a better me.
Can't wait for New York!!

Did you know...

That while this has been the scene outside our windows for far too long now...
... some people are seeing this??
... so tell me again, WHY is Minnesota such a great place to live??

bitter burrrrr
Tundraland, MN