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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Meetings & More Meetings

IMG_4970 Today was BUSY!!!  We got up at 7:30, got ready, and hit the road by 8:30 so we could be to Mom & Dad’s ward by 9:00.  Mom gave a talk in sacrament meeting about “The Love of God.”  She shared her story about depression and the hard things she has gone through.  I know there wasn’t a dry eye in our family.  I’m so proud of her for sharing some hard things and telling how she got through them.

After that we came home, I made 2 batches of brownies and then we left for our church at 1:00.  Church was really good & uplifting.  After church we rushed home, ate some food, and then I had a YWPresidency meeting at our house at 5:00.  Autumn watched some cheerleading DVD’s that Nate got her for Christmas last year while I was in my meeting.  I am thankful for such great counselors that truly love the Young Women in our ward.

Then at 6:45 I took one of my Laurel’s over to Pres. Jones’s house for the Priest/Laurel fireside at 7:00.  I dropped her off, went and dropped Autumn off at Mom & Dad’s, and went back to the fireside.  I am SO GLAD I brought a jacket and a blanket to cover my arms & legs, b/c we met outside on their terrace and the mosquitoes were out in full force. I would have tons of bites, but I was covered up.

The fireside was good and was about dating standards.  They did some role plays & made it interesting.  After the fireside I helped serve the cake & ice cream and then I took Ashley home.  I didn’t get home until 9:00 & Mom had already brought Nick & Autumn home and put Autumn to bed.  I don’t know what I’ll do when Mom & Dad are gone on their mission!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cheer, Fall Fest, Fender Bender & Trunk-or-Treat #2

IMG_2791 Autumn & I got up early this morning and got her ready for cheer.  I dropped her off 2 hours before the game, b/c they’re trying to get in as much practice as possible before the cheer off.  I went to Mom & Dad’s house to use the internet and then went back over to the fields when it was time for the game.  This is them sitting on the field during halftime and watching the cheerleaders from the other team perform.  They’re such cute girls & I’m so glad Autumn has bonded so well w/ them.

IMG_2793 This was at the end of their half time show.  Autumn’s face in this pic CRACKS.ME.UP!  She went down too hard on her butt while doing the splits and it shows in her facial expression!  Nate & Riannon & Olivia joined us for the 2nd half of the game.  All the cheer Moms were oohing and ahhing over how cute Olivia is.  I was holding Olivia on my lap and had her doing the cheer moves w/ the cheerleaders, which made them all smile and laugh.

IMG_2802 As soon as the game was over we went to Autumn's daycare for their Fall Fest.  We got there and got right on the hayride.  It was a big trailer w/ bales of hay on it that was pulled behind a truck.  We got to go “off roading” in the nearby field and a good time was had by all.  I tried thinking of some Halloween songs we could sing, but couldn’t come up with any!

IMG_2806 It was really warm today, so as soon as the hayride was over we went inside to cool off.  Each classroom was set up w/ a different activity.  In this room the kids got to hold these cool bubbles.  I guess they were super cold, b/c they had to wear gloves in order to touch the bubbles.  We walked around to the different classrooms and then ended up in the treats room.  We got some cookies, witches brew, and 7 layer dip w/ chips.

IMG_2819 Nate is such a goober & insisted on getting a family pic by the bales of hay.

IMG_2822 Me & My Cheerleader

IMG_2825 When we got home, I learned a lesson in patience.  Riannon was parking their new car, but it was taking her a while to get the car in the spot the way she wanted.  Plus, then they would have had to get Olivia out before I could park, so I just pulled onto the front lawn & parked there.  Nick went to leave for work after lunch & came back in to tell me he had hit my car!!!  I went out and he had somehow gone off the driveway and way onto the grass where I was parked and scratched up my back fender.  I was surprisingly calm about the whole thing.  I’m glad this is all it was and that no one was injured and that he didn’t do this to a stranger’s car.

IMG_2830 Autumn & I had fun watching the birds take a bath on the hot tub ledge.  We LOVE seeing this bright red Cardinal.  He kept puffing up his wings and would lay down in the water and then shake it off (cue Taylor Swift song).

IMG_2837 Around 3:00 we left and went to Sonic to get a drink for one of the Laurels that taught last Sunday.  It was her first time teaching and she did a GREAT job, so I wanted to tell her thank you.  We dropped off the Sonic drink and came home to have some peace & quiet for a while.  Then we got ready for Mom & Dad’s ward’s Trunk-or-Treat.  Autumn wanted a pic of her “white flowy things flying in the wind.”  What a kid!

IMG_2849For dinner there were all sorts of chili, cornbread, muffins, and all the fixin’s.  Autumn also did the cake walk and had fun w/ that.  Autumn & Olivia liked going on this train ride that was pulled around the field by a 4 wheeler.

IMG_2854 We had to stop and get a pic at this great fall backdrop.

IMG_2858 I can only pull off the “Official 8 Cow Woman” thing at a Mormon party.  On Halloween night I’ll just have to go as a Polynesian Princess.

IMG_2865 Like I said before … Elsa is the most popular costume this year.  Look at these 4 enchanting Elsas!

IMG_2868Nate said he had to get a pic w/ the horse, b/c he’s a pony after all.  His eyes look so red & creepy b/c he had Lasik surgery a few days ago.  I guess it fits in w/ the whole Halloween theme.

IMG_2878 After all that fun & excitement, it was time for the actual Trunk-or-Treat.  Autumn is not your typical kid when it comes to Halloween candy.  Instead of running around and trying to get as much candy as she could, she sat in the back of the truck & handed out the candy that she got at our TOTreat last night!  She loves candy, don’t get me wrong, but she’d rather give than receive.  I LOVE that about her!!!  We have had 2 busy & FUN PACKED days in a row!

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Birthday

IMG_2739 I’ve been celebrating my birthday all week, but today is my actual birthday.  I got up this morning and was so pleasantly surprised to find all these happy yellow suns on my door w/ sweet notes from the Young Women on them!

IMG_2742 Inside the yellow bag were a bunch of fun yellow items.  Who doesn’t love receiving a bag of sunshine?

P1120307 As I was getting ready this morning, I hit “shuffle” on my iPod playlist, and the first song that played was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.  That was one of mine & Tara’s favorite songs.  I’m pretty sure she also had something to do with arranging this gorgeous sunset for my birthday.  They were 2 small, but very meaningful tender mercies that let me know Tara was thinking of me on my birthday.  Thanks for the birthday presents, Tara!!!

IMG_2744 I usually ask for my birthday off, but just didn’t feel right about asking this year.  Well, now I understand why … both my bosses were out of town unexpectedly today and with my co-worker still out b/c of the death of her husband, there was no one here to hold down the fort.  So, I’m glad I didn’t ask for it off.  Mom & Nick & Riannon & Olivia brought lunch (Greek gyros), and we ate together in the conference room.  That was so nice of them to do that for me!

IMG_2752 As soon as I picked up Autumn from daycare, we rushed home and were greeted by this wonderful sight!  Someone had lined my driveway w/ balloons that were held down by big lollipops.  Someone else had left a big potted mum plant w/ balloons tied to the door.  Someone else had tied balloons to either side of the doorway!  I got teary eyed when I saw it.  I also had over 100 Happy Birthday messages on Facebook along with a bunch of text messages.  It meant so much to me for people to take time out of their day to make me feel important & special. 

IMG_2750 I hurried and got Autumn ready, and she is the most beautiful Elsa!  Elsa & Anna for were for sure the most popular costumes of the evening!

IMG_2757 Nate, Riannon, & Olivia came as 1980’s cartoon characters.  Nate was Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony, Riannon was Grumpy Bear from Care Bears, and Olivia was a Cabbage Patch doll.  Mom is so stinkin’ talented b/c she made Nate & Riannon’s costumes!

IMG_2763 Autumn was obviously Elsa, and I wanted a reason to wear all my Polynesian stuff so I pinned a sign to my shirt that says, “Official 8 Cow Woman.”  Now all I need is my Johnny Lingo!

IMG_2771As you can see, we had a great turn out for the ward Trunk-or-Treat, especially since this is just the kids!  They had hot dogs, bratwurst, homemade root beer, and all sorts of side dishes.  I was getting my food when a few people that know it is my birthday started singing “Happy Birthday” to me.  Pretty soon, the whole ward was singing to me!  I’m sure my cheeks were bright red.  After we ate & socialized it was time for the kids’ favorite part … CANDY!!!  I’m so thankful to have such a wonderful ward.  Autumn & I feel so loved and accepted.  What a great way to end my birthday!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Driveway Chalk

IMG_4952 I am LOVING the falling gas prices!  Tonight I dropped Autumn off at cheer practice and then went over to Mom & Dad’s to eat some dinner.  Aunt Sandy is here quilting & Uncle Robert came over after work to help Nate & Riannon w/ their resumes.  I did up the dishes and then left to go to the church.

P1120304 We had Stake Auxiliary Training tonight (my first one ever) and it was really good.  After we all watched a short training video together, we broke out into groups based on the Auxiliary we work with.  The Spirit in the Young Women’s room as we talked w/ other YW leaders was so strong!  It was great to hear input and ideas from other leaders about what they’re doing that’s working for them.  I’m thankful I got to be there w/ those great women. 

I was so surprised when I drove in the driveway & saw this HUGE chalk message.  I couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear!  No, we did not get a cat … that’s the neighborhood cat that comes and stops by our house a lot in the evenings.  I got Autumn to bed and then watched Parenthood & during the commercials I would flip over to Project Runway.  I am SO SAD that Kini didn’t win!  BOO!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Funeral & Pumpkin Carving

IMG_4945Today my boss & one other lady in my office attended the Episcopalian funeral services of the husband of a lady I work with. He was hit by a car and killed last week while on a business trip back East. My heart breaks for her and her 2 young daughters!! I am so thankful for my testimony of the plan of salvation, that there is life after death, and that families can be together forever!!!

IMG_4947Tonight for YW we were all combined & the Mia Maids were in charge.  Each class got a pumpkin (the Beehive class got 2 b/c there’s so many of them), & we had a pumpkin carving contest.  We just did it outside on the sidewalk b/c it was a messy activity.  Then if people got finished early we had them decorate some paper sacks w/ handles for the Trunk or Treat.  That way if there are any little kids who don’t have a bag for candy, we will have one for them.

We like to have a spiritual tie in for our activities to make them meaningful, so we read them this little thought to go along w/ the pumpkin carving:

Heavenly Father picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all of the dirt off
Then, He cuts the top off and scoops out all of the yucky stuff inside. 
He removes seeds
of doubt, hate, greed, unforgiveness, etc. 
Then, He
carves a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

B.O.W.S.I.E.: Newsies

IMG_4935 I have decided that I’d like to host a movie night at my house for the YW in my ward once a month.  Tonight was the night, and we watched Newsies.  A bunch of the YW had never seen it (SHOCKING … I KNOW!!!), and I told them I’d try not to swoon too much over Christian Bale.

IMG_4936I just love these girls (and also the ones that couldn’t make it) so much.  It’s fun having them come over, b/c I get to see them in their “natural element” so to speak.  They can just relax and be themselves.  Autumn LOVES having them over and fitting right in w/ them.  I provided the popcorn & they brought treats.  I noticed that they only watch about 1/2 of the movie, and the other half is spent talking to each other, or laughing about stuff on their cell phones.  But that’s totally OK, b/c the whole point is just to be together and let them bond and it gives me the chance to get to know them better.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My (Early) Birthday Dinner

P1120298 The sunrise this morning was crazy!  It was a fiery red and looked so cool!

P1120301 My birthday isn’t until Friday, but I have something going on every night this week except for tonight.  So, Mom made my birthday dinner.  I asked for chicken spaghetti, Oriental rice, steamed broccoli, and cheesecake for dessert.  I love that we have this tradition in our family.  I don’t know what we’ll do next year when Mom & Dad are gone on their mission!

P1120300This is a blurry pic, but I still had to include it.  My family (we’re missing a few people in this picture) is one of the greatest blessings in my life.  I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without them.  After dinner & dessert we had Family Home Evening.  Autumn taught the lesson on 1 Nephi 2:1-4.  Autumn & I had read that yesterday before church & had a good discussion, so I knew she would do a great job giving the lesson for FHE.  We had a GREAT & thought provoking discussion all together on only those 4 short verses. 

For the activity Autumn had everyone write on a piece of paper the things that Lehi & his family had to leave behind.  Then she had them write all the things they DID take.  Then she had us write some of the “precious things” we have to leave behind in order to follow the prophet.  Finally she had us write what are some things we would take with us if we were asked to leave our homes & travel in the wilderness.  I’m so proud of her for doing such a wonderful job.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Gracie Dress

IMG_4931It was SO NICE having 2 weeks off from regular church obligations due to General Conference & then we had Stake Conference the following week.  Today it was back to the usual busyness.  Autumn wanted to try on my beautiful necklace I got at my surprise party last night.  Mom got this dress for her at the kid’s consignment store, and I told Autumn (jokingly) that she’s never allowed to wear it again b/c it makes her look way too grown up.  Autumn of course loved hearing that & says it’s her “Gracie” dress b/c it makes her look like a teenage family friend we know and loved name Gracie.

Before church I made a pan of brownies and then we got ready for church and I dropped Autumn off at the Lee’s house so I could go to my meeting.  It was ward council, and I was in charge of the spiritual thought.  I shared some ideas from this incredible blog post from Daily Closer To Christ about, “Who is your Jethro?”  Sacrament meeting was good, and during the 2nd hour I went and sat w/ Sis. S’s class while she met w/ the Bishop.  Then during YW’s one of the Laurels taught our class for the first time and knocked it out of the park!!!  She did such a great job and was so prepared.  I am glad we made the switch and are having them teach once a month.  I think it’s going to be such a great thing for them.

After church we had a Laurel class presidency meeting at my house (which is why I had made the pan of brownies earlier in the day).  I really like short meetings, but this one was a little over an hour b/c we had a lot to go over.  I dropped the girls off at their houses, and then Autumn & I went over to Mom & Dad’s house.  I scarfed down some dinner and then went to BYD (Bishop’s Youth Discussion).  The Sister Missionaries led the discussion about  missionary work and did a fabulous job.

It was a LONG Sunday which was non-stop from 11:30 am – 8:30 pm.  But, I’m thankful I can serve and I have a much greater appreciation for people like Bishops & Stake Presidents who have a way more packed schedule than I do.  I’m grateful that I can contribute just a small part to helping others.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pink Cheer Game & A Surprise Birthday Party

IMG_2701 We got up early this morning, got ready for the day, and headed off to cheer.  Today Autumn’s team had their “pink game” since it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Autumn’s coach got all the girls these socks, headbands, and pink bows.  We had to be there an hour and a half before the game started so the girls can get in some extra practicing before cheer competition next month.

IMG_2718 Here’s Autumn leading one of the cheers during the game.  The girls looked so great in their pink gear.

IMG_4927 After the game we came home, changed clothes, got lunch at Taco Cabana, and then went to get our oil changed & tires aligned.  Autumn cracks me up b/c she just made herself right at home doing her rainbow looms while we waited.

IMG_2730After that, Autumn wanted to just go home instead of going to Papa & Mimi’s like usual.  We came home & I got the cleaning bug & got a lot done around the house.  I even organized the pantry shelves & decorated our fireplace mantel for Halloween.  I took Autumn over to Mom & Dad’s at 6:00 so I could go pick up Liz at 6:30.  She said she wanted to take me out for my birthday, and even though my birthday isn’t until next week this was the only night we could both do it.  So, I picked her up and we went to my favorite Italian restaurant.

I was so surprised when we walked to the back of the restaurant and the room was filled w/ these women that I know and love!  What a fun surprise to have a surprise birthday party!  We had such a great time eating good Italian food, talking, laughing, and catching up w/ each other.  It meant so much that Mom & Liz took the time to put it together & that everyone was willing take time out of their lives to come and spend time with me. I felt so LOVED! I am so blessed to have such strong, faithful, incredible, and loving women in my life.  And not only that, but to have them as close friends.

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Cute Curly Q

IMG_2692 Today was “Spirit Day” at school, so Autumn had me put her hair in foam stick rollers last night after her shower.  They curls turned out so great when we took the curlers out this morning.

IMG_2687She’s such a Cute Curly Q!  I’m so glad that she’s still able to fit in last year’s cheer uniform.  We had a nice and relaxing evening.  Autumn snuggled up on the couch next to Riannon & Olivia and read to them for her homework.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Copies & Chipotle

P1120283 Tonight after I dropped Autumn off at cheer practice, I went to Staples to make over 800 copies!  I’m working on a special & secret project for Dad.  By the time I got done w/ that, I was super hungry.  This was the beautiful sunset as I left Staples.  I went to Chipotle and had dinner, and then went and picked up Autumn.

IMG_2696Her school picture was in her backpack when we got out her folder at home.  It’s a cute picture except for the fact that she’s got food in 3 different places around her mouth & there’s some food stuck on the bottom of her tooth!  I don’t understand why her teacher or the photographer didn’t tell her to wipe her mouth really quick???  UGH!  So, we’ll for sure be doing a retake picture in a few weeks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We Went “Booing” & Some Sad News

P1120277 Mom came & got Lexie & Adam early this morning so Autumn & I could get to work & school on time.  Tonight on my drive to the church for YW, this was the beautiful sunset.  All of those little black specks are birds!  There must have been THOUSANDS of them sitting on the electrical wires & flying around!

IMG_4916 We ended up combining w/ the Mia Maids b/c we only had 2 Laurels show up, plus the Mia Maids were decorating Halloween cookies which went along perfectly w/ our activity.  We put together some Halloween treat plates, attached this cute paper to it, and then headed out.  We had 9 girls so we split into 2 cars.  One group went and “Booed” the Bishopric.  Our car went & booed random houses in a few neighborhoods.  It was a lot of fun & the girls loved it.

IMG_4917We had to stop & get free hot chocolate at RaceTrac as the perfect way to end the night.

There was some SUPER SAD news at work today.  One of the ladies in my office found out that her husband was killed last night!  He was back East on a business trip and was walking across a busy street (not in a designated crosswalk) and was hit by a car.  When I heard the news from my boss this morning when I came in, I was in shock and the tears flowed freely.  I’ve met him at a few of our work Christmas parties & also at the big Hallowen party they host at their house.  I am so heartbroken for her and their 2 daughters!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sister Sleepover

IMG_4907Tonight after dinner Autumn & I kidnapped Lexie & Adam for a fun night out.  Everyone else (except for Mom) was gone to the Texas State Fair.  First we took an unplanned detour to go see a house Curt & Mary are remodeling.  Then we went to RaceTrac for night #2 of free hot chocolate.

IMG_4908 By the time we got home, it was 8:15 so I put Autumn to bed and then Lexie picked what movie she wanted to watch.  After the movie we tried watching 2 old movies from our childhood (Scamper the Penguin & Willow The Sparrow).  We used to LOVE those movies as kids and would watch them all the time.  We couldn’t make it through either of those movies tonight b/c they were so lame & boring.  It’s funny how things change.  I was going to take Lexie & Adam home but it was already 11:30 by this point, so they just stayed the night.  Lexie & I ended up staying up and talking until 5:00 am!!!  I cherish our sister sleepovers & time we get to spend together.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Aunt Tafta & Free Hot Chocolate

IMG_4901 Uncle Kerry & Aunt Tafta came to visit for a few days before they head south to see their son & his family.  Autumn LOVES reading w/ Aunt Tafta b/c of the experience she had w/ her around this time last year.  She’s so loving and patient and kind, but she still demands excellence.  Autumn just soaks it up and really tries her hardest.  I need to learn how to be more like Aunt Tafta!

IMG_4903 After the reading was done & I had done the dishes, Aunt Tafta showed Lexie & I how to do a few family history things in FamilySearch.org.  She’s quite the family history buff, so it was good to learn from her.

IMG_4904Shannon had posted on Facebook that you can get FREE hot chocolate at RaceTrack this week, so Autumn & I stopped on our way home to get some.  It’s super hot, so we always got and get a handful of ice pebbles to put in it to cool it down.  I added some Almond Joy creamer to mine and it was DELICIOUS!