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  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!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Shrimp Boil & Stuck In The Mud

IMG_2677 We had Stake Conference today, but we skipped and went to church at the young single adult ward where Uncle Robert & Aunt Sandy are in charge.  It’s such a small branch, so I think their sacrament meeting numbers were doubled by us being there.  We left after sacrament meeting and went back to Aunt Sandy & Uncle Robert’s house for a shrimp boil.  We are so lucky & blessed to have so much family so close.  I love it that we get together so often and that Autumn gets a chance to know some of her extended family.

IMG_4894 Aunt Sandy had this super yummy treat for us.  It’s cinnamon & sugar chips with a fruit salsa.  It was really good and healthy, too.

IMG_4896 After everyone ate, they went to the farm to try out the new zip line Uncle Robert had put up.  I stayed at the house and took a nap and loved on Heather & Rocky’s new baby.  Baby River is only 5 days old & I was in 7th heaven (although it looks like Baby River isn’t).

IMG_4897 When everyone got back from the farm, I heard Autumn had quite the adventure.  I’m glad Dad was there to take pics for me.  The pond at the farm has dried up, so Autumn went investigating.  I guess she didn’t realize how muddy it was and before she knew it, she was STUCK!  She even lost one of her shoes in the mud that was not retrieved.  They had to use a big stick to help pull her out.  She’s wearing her nice church dress b/c she decided to pack her short cheer shorts to change into & I vetoed that super quick.  She knows better than to wear short shorts so I made her put her dress back on.  I’m glad it ended well and that it’s now a fun story to tell.

IMG_2684Uncle Kerry & Aunt Tafta were here visiting, so we had to get a picture of the 3 siblings together.  We had dessert, watched a little bit of the Cowboys game, and then hit the road for home around 5:00.  I was done for the day and just wanted a little peace & quiet so we came back to our house instead of going over to Mom & Dad’s house.  Autumn & I just relaxed and watched Once Upon A Time & got ready for the coming week.  It was a super fun Sunday!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Half Marathon

IMG_2660 It rained all last night, so Autumn’s cheer game this morning was cancelled b/c the fields were too wet.  So, we ran and got doughnuts for everyone and headed to Mom & Dad’s.  Last year Papa and the grandkids handed out water in our backyard along the road for a half marathon.  It was so much fun that we did it again this year.  It was nice and cloudy and cool all day.

IMG_2658 We filled paper cups at first, but when the runners went by they just crumpled so we used plastic instead.  We had a water cup assembly line set up.  We also had Eye Of The Tiger blasting from my car.  We noticed that the first quarter group of runners that came through were super serious b/c they were in it to win it.  Then the next half that came through were lots of fun & were thankful for the water.  Then the last quarter were super serious again b/c they were tired and just wanted to be done.

IMG_2664 Nate decided late last night that he was going to run the half marathon too!  He put on his Facebook page, “About to just up and run a half marathon like it's something to do. I love when my brain is all like: ‘ya, you haven't run more than 2 miles in a couple months, but what's 13 miles?! You're Nate Johnson.’ It is humorous to me, however, to see all these peeps decked out with their running belts and such hahaha I just woke up and here I am!! Let's do this.”  He’s so crazy, but we’re so proud of him.  We for sure yelled and cheered the loudest when he went by.

IMG_4882 Poor Adam was so worn out from cheering at the race that he fell asleep in his high chair feeding himself.  It was so funny.

IMG_4890 We spent the afternoon watching the Texas/OU game & then the TCU/Baylor game.  We also did this Halloween puzzle.  After dinner we watched the new Transformers movie.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A First From Lexie & Autumn

IMG_4872Lexie accomplished a major feat today … she made dinner all by herself.  Mom was just helping her w/ this one little part.  Lexie made meatloaf, twice baked potatoes, and roasted butternut squash.  It was all delicious and Lexie did a GREAT job.  We were so proud of her.

IMG_4874Autumn wanted to learn how to change a diaper, so Lexie helped her change Olivia’s diaper and get her in pajamas.  It’s Autumn’s first time changing a diaper and I’m so proud of her for being such a good helper.

IMG_4878When we got home, Autumn yelled for me to come in her room.  There was a big gecko on the wall by her door.  I put a clear Tupperware thing over it and then slid a little paper underneath it and let it go outside.  That’s usually an Uncle Nick job, but he wasn’t home so we manned up and did it ourselves.  WOOT WOOT!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Grandbaby On Each Knee

IMG_4870 Tonight I dropped Autumn off at cheer practice and then went over to Mom & Dad’s.  Papa was so happy watching the BYU game w/ a grand baby on each knee.  It was a good game, but I’m sad that BYU lost in the end.  I went and got Autumn from cheer practice and then we came home and she showered.  Once I got her to bed, I watched Parenthood & Project Runway.  I’m so glad tomorrow’s Friday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Babies, Sunset, & Volleyball

IMG_4867 Mom brought Lexie & Adam up here to stay for a few weeks.  Mimi is SO HAPPY to have her 2 youngest grandbabies, Olivia & Adam, together.  It was wonderful having so many people gathered around the dinner table tonight (Mom, Dad, Me, Autumn, Lexie, Nick, Nate, & Riannon).

P1120255 I stopped at WalMart tonight before heading to Mutual to pick up some pictures and to see if they had any volleyballs.  They had all sorts of basketballs, footballs & soccer balls, but not a single solitary volleyball.  What’s up w/ that???  Anyways, this was the gorgeous fiery sunset I got to see on my way out!

P1120268 For our YM/YW combined activity in October, we usually do a Fall Fest.  However, the youth decided they would rather play sand volleyball.  Us leaders were all for that, b/c it’s so much easier to plan and put together.  It was 90 degrees tonight, but there was a nice wind so that made it tolerable weather wise.  The youth had a lot of fun just being together and playing or talking.  We had ice cream sandwiches for dessert and then sent them home.  I love activities like this!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Carpet Cleaning & Crepes

IMG_4856 Dad rented a carpet cleaner today and cleaned the carpets in the living room & other main parts of the house.  Since Mom is in Austin today (she went down this morning to watch the boys while Lexie & Jon go see Beauty & The Beast), he opened up the house & turned off the A/C to help the carpets dry faster.  It was SO HOT inside that we decided to eat out on the patio even though it was 92 degrees outside!  We had yummy fajitas that Nate & Riannon fixed.

IMG_4859 Autumn has gotten all good days at school for the past month, so she earned a crepe.  She LOVES going to our favorite crepe place and watching the guy make them.  We decided to branch out and try the lemon custard/blueberry crepe instead of our usual strawberry cheesecake.  Neither of us were very impressed w/ the lemon one and we both decided next time we’ll stick w/ the strawberry one.

IMG_4861After we ate, we walked around and checked out this new tree house they built over the river.  Autumn had fun running all around it.  That big white circle looks like the moon (which was a full moon tonight) but it’s just a big ball of light that changes color, and they have them all over in the trees over the tree house.  It was a fun evening out celebrating the good choices my Autumn Girl is making.  LOVE HER!!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

FHE & Autumn The Cat Whisperer

IMG_4848 Tonight for Family Home Evening Autumn led the music.  I am trying to teach her about how to lead to 4/4 timing instead of just randomly moving her hand around wherever she wants.  She did really great tonight.  I gave the lesson about how to be IN the world, but not OF the world.  I used THIS object lesson with oil, water, and red food coloring.  Then we read 1 John 4:1-11 and had a discussion about it as we went.

IMG_4854We’ve seen this cat walking around our yard on random nights over the past few weeks.  I know it’s tame b/c it has a collar w/ tags.  Autumn wants to pet it, but for some reason is super scared.  So, she just stands and watches it.  I’ve picked it up and held it and pet it, and she hesitantly touched the fur on its back (barely).  I don’t know why she’s afraid of cats?  She likes it when it comes around, and goes out and “meows” at it.  She tells me she can talk to it.  What a cutie!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

General Conference Sunday

IMG_4842 Since we would be coming over in the morning to watch General Conference anyways, Autumn & I spent the night at Mom & Dad’s last night.  Mom & I got up this morning and got busy cooking & baking.  We made a batch of butterhorn rolls, garlic mashed potatoes, and a beef stroganoff type gravy.

IMG_4836General Conference was really good, and Autumn enjoyed getting to eat the treats w/ the picture of the Apostle that spoke.  Although, she kept sneaking treats all day instead of just when that Apostle was speaking.  It really doesn’t matter as long as it helps her listen and pay attention.

IMG_2650 In between sessions, we had our super yummy lunch.  We are so glad that the Monzingos join us when they can.  They brought a delicious berry cobbler for dessert.  After I got all the dishes done, I went and watched last week’s episode of Downton Abbey Season 5 b/c I didn’t watch it last Sunday.  Now I’ll have to get caught up w/ episode 3 from today.

IMG_4847The last session of conference was really good and it made me laugh to already see quotes w/ fancy backgrounds up on Facebook 2 minutes after someone had spoken.  Technology is so amazing.  We spent the evening watching football and doing this fun puzzle Mom got.  Autumn is hiding behind her blanket b/c she’s tired and ready to go home to bed!

I’m so thankful for General Conference weekends where we can gather as a family, listen to the words of living a living Prophet & Apostles, and have my Spirit filled to overflowing.  What a great weekend!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cheering At SMU Stadium & General Conference

IMG_2598 Autumn and I got up this morning at 7:30 and had a relaxing morning.  We watched cartoons & I made blueberry muffins w/ some bulk mix I got at Winco.  They were really good & were easy, b/c I just had to add water.  We got ready and left to head down to the SMU campus in Dallas.  It’s “Stadium Week” for all the teams, and her team got chosen to play at SMU!  I have never been there before and it’s a gorgeous campus.  We had to stop and get a pic near the mustangs statue.

IMG_4806 She was surprised at how big the stadium was.  There were SO MANY monarch butterflies all over the whole time we were there.  It was really cool to watch them.

IMG_2609It was fun for the football players & the cheerleaders to be in such a big stadium.  They even had the announcer introduce each football player over the loud sound system.  It was so fun to see the football players go running through the sign.

IMG_2618 Autumn did such a great job and is such a leader on the team.  I just love her to pieces.

IMG_2625 During half time our girls got to go out into the middle of the field to perform.  The announcer introduced each of the girls by name over the loud sound system.  When he said their name, each girl took a step forward and shook their pom poms.  This was obviously Autumn’s turn.

IMG_2634 Our cheerleaders were really loud and did a great job.  It’s always funny to me that us cheer parents are louder than the football parents.

IMG_2647 We lost to the other team (6 to 0), but it was a great experience and I’m so glad our kids got this chance.  GO LIONS!!!

IMG_4813 It usually would take us 40 minutes to get home, but a truck had lost its load of sheet metal on the freeway, so it took us 2 hours to get home!  We were both super hungry by this point b/c it was 3:30 and we hadn’t had lunch. We went to Sonic for half price drinks & to get some food.  Autumn took a taste of her drink and said disappointedly, "you shouldn't have ordered me what I asked for!" I couldn't help but laugh out loud for real!!! I guess she wanted a strawberry shake but she said a strawberry slush. #firstworldproblems

IMG_4819 We came home and watched the last part of the 2nd session of General Conference.  It was so good, and Elder Holland is always one of my favorites.  It was so cool to see that General Conference was the #1 trending topic on Facebook! #sharegoodness #ldsconf

IMG_4817We are SO GLAD that Mom & Dad got home from their vacation.  This picture of Olivia cracks me up.  She was playing w/ these foam squares and kept putting them over her head.  We watched the Priesthood session together, and I especially loved Elder Erying’s talk, b/c he said things that I SOOOOOOO needed to hear. It's an answer to my prayer about how to help the Young Women!!!