Thursday, December 8, 2016

Combined YW Christmas Activity 2016

 Tonight was the annual YW White Elephant gift Christmas party at my house. Autumn & I got a lot of cleaning done yesterday. I took her to Activity Days and then came home and started putting the final touches on things. I like to take pictures of my kitchen looking clean & uncluttered. I went to Chick-fil-A & picked up one of their big 100 piece platters, warmed up the hot chocolate, set out the desserts, filled up the treat bowls, etc.

 All the white elephant gifts on the left, and a pick of whatever shoes you want on the right. LOL!

 We had an opening prayer and then let the girls dig in. We had A LOT of food! This scene of my living room FILLED w/ people I LOVE just makes my heart so FULL to OVERFLOWING!!!

 After everyone had visited and had their fill of food, we had our special guest share some spiritual thoughts w/ us. We all just adore Sis. L, and it was fun to have her w/ us. She talked about a tradition they started in their house several years ago of giving a gift to Christ. It's personal for each person and is something you want to work on and improve throughout the year. They would write that item down on a piece of paper and then put it in a box where they would see it all the time. Then the next year at Christmas they would discuss with each other how they had done that year.

After she shared her thoughts, we gave each of the girls a slip of paper, and a white box to put their gift to the Savior in. I hope that it's meaningful to them and is something they think about throughout the year. My gift to the Savior this coming year is to work on not getting so angry over little things. I need to be kinder.

 After that, it was time for everyone's favorite part. I read the poem, "T'Was The Night Before Christmas" and every time I say "THE" they pass their present to the right. Every time I say "AND" they pass their present to the left. Then we had everyone open their gifts. It was really funny and there were some good white elephant gifts this year.

I had to get a picture of everyone before they left to go home. I LOVE each of these people so much and pray for them on a regular basis. I hope they know how much they are LOVED & CHERISHED. It was a fun young women's activity. Years past:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Craftin' & Shoppin' & Cleanin' & Bakin'

 This picture was included in the email Autumn's daycare sends every evening. They made these foam ornaments today and Autumn had at least 10 of them! She said she wants to decorate her door with them.

 Autumn & I are loving some of the fun Snapchat filters.

I know I'm biased b/c she's mine, but I think she is GORGEOUS! She definitely pulls off this filter better than I do. I'm in so much trouble when she's older and can start dating! I'll have to keep the boys at bay with a bat. LOL!

We went to WalMart tonight to get a bunch of things for a party we're hosting. While we were walking down one of the aisles, Autumn pointed out this "Polynesian" Ken doll & said he looked like Pita Taufatofua from the Olympics. LOL! We got home, put the groceries away, and got busy cleaning. I vacuumed, Autumn mopped, and I even made 2 pans of brownies and a pan of fudge. I was SO SAD that tonight was the last episode of "This Is Us" until January. Luckily it will be back on in a month. I LOVE that show!!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Homework, Homework, Homework

 This picture is a good depiction of our evenings lately. They have been FILLED with homework! We went over to Papa & Mimi's tonight for dinner and Family Home Evening. As soon as Autumn & I finished eating we went and sat on the couch and worked on homework. We even did some during FHE. Then as soon as we got home, we did another 30 minutes of homework. Sometimes it's a struggle and there are tears, but we still have to get it done. Our counter has these little rubber eraser "shavings" all over b/c Autumn does a lot of erasing. If something isn't perfect, she'll erase it and rewrite it until it meets her standards of perfection.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Spencer's Baby Blessing

I had ward council this morning, so I dropped Autumn off at our friend's house. Sacrament was great w/ all the testimonies shared. Sunday School was WONDERFUL and very thought provoking. I taught all the YW combined today, and I basically just stood up there and cried. We talked about how we can "invite others to Come Unto Christ." I shared the story of Reno & Sunny Mahe and how they have shown such STAGGERING faith & courage in the death of their 3 year old daughter, Elsie. They have inadvertently been able to invite others to "Come Unto Christ" through their social media updates. My heart just breaks for them, but I know my testimony has definitely been strengthened from reading their posts. Here are just a few that really impacted me:

"We received some much needed clarity while worshipping at the Salt Lake City Temple. The miraculous healing we have been praying for is not FOR Elsie, but FROM Elsie. We met this morning with a representative from the hospital organ donation team and feel confident that this is the Lord's will for Elsie - to be a life saving miracle for others. It is not the miracle that we wanted, but it is the one we got. It is still a miracle."

"But Elsie was not through showing us miracles. At 8:00 yesterday morning, the doctors told us that they believed she had another seizure and was again no longer breathing over the ventilator. Reno and I wept with gratitude to our Heavenly Father that Elsie would be granted a peaceful passing and would be able to save lives through her physical body still. As we considered the experience of her miraculous breathing and decline, we cannot help but wonder if someone else's horrible accident has not happened yet and Elsie was holding on to wait for them."

 After church we went over to Mom & Dad's house for lunch. Zack & Shari were visiting  b/c Nate blessed Spencer today in his ward. Plus, Shari needed Mom's help w/ embroidering some names for their Christmas stockings.

 I'm sad I missed Spencer's blessing, but it was during the time I was teaching young women's. Mom said that it was a beautiful blessing & that Nate did a great job. One thing that stood out to her was that Spencer was blessed that he will have a beautiful voice and that people will listen to him as he shares the Gospel! He's such a cutie (even though he spits up a lot) and I'm so glad he's a part of our family. 

 Olivia likes for Autumn to wrap her up in a blanket and carry her around the house like a baby. LOL! Autumn is so good to play w/ her and keep her entertained. We watched some football and then got tired of that and watched "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (Jim Carrey version).

 Spencer spit up all over himself, so Mom gave him a bath in the kitchen sink. Savi had never heard of such a thing before and thought it was so strange. LOL. Spencer loved it, and we loved sniffing hon him since he smelled like Johnson's Baby Magic shampoo & lotion. He's almost too big to fit in the sink!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Nativity Cleanup Of 2016

 Autumn & I got up this morning and met up w/ our friends to go and help make meals for the homeless. It was rainy, and the inside was PACKED! Luckily, it quit raining so we were able to go outside and find some room to work.

 When it was all said & done, everyone today helped make 9,065 sandwiches!!! That's so awesome, and I'm so glad we're able to participate in doing service. It's great to work alongside people from all walks of life, religions, backgrounds, etc. Everyone is just there to serve and be helpful. LOVE IT!

 Of course we had to stop and get some Mexican food for an early lunch while we're in the area.

 Then we went to one of my favorite jewelry stores since we hadn't been there in a while. Autumn was THRILLED to get one of these soft puff things to go on her backpack. I guess they're ALL THE RAGE right now. She decided on purple since that was Rufio's favorite color.

 We came home, did some organizing, got cleaned up, and then Mom came and picked Autumn up. Liz had invited me to go see The Nutcracker ballet w/ her. It ended up not being that great b/c it was just a bunch of kids. The main parts were good, but the rest was just OK. At least Liz & I had fun being together. I just love her to pieces and am so thankful for her friendship.

 I dropped her off & then went to Mom & Dad's to have some dinner and get ready to go take down the nativities. We had to get a pic of Autumn & Savi b/c they look like twinners w/ their dark hair, glasses, and height.

 Mom displayed 148 of her nativities this year, and that's not even all of the ones she owns. Luckily, she gets her own section so we don't have to go and hunt them down all over the gym. But, it still takes SEVERAL of us to pack them all back up.

 I'm really bitter against the nativity b/c it's SO MUCH WORK, but we survived the Nativity Cleanup of 2016!

 But once we get home, the work's not done. We still have to carry them in the house, up the stairs, and store them back in the attic until next year. Autumn & I got in a good workout tonight by carrying these bins up the stairs. WHEW!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Nick & Savi As Mary & Joseph

 The nativity that our church puts on started today, and I was asked to find some youth to be Mary & Joseph for the "live" nativity from 1:00 - 2:00 pm today. The only problem is that during that time all of our youth are in school. So, I asked Nick & Savi if they would do it.

 They said yes, and Mom went and took pics of them. They looked GREAT! Everyone thought it would be a really neat & spiritual experience for them to do together as newlyweds. But, when I asked them about it tonight they both said they would NEVER do it again! LOL.

 Nick said that the costumes were too tight and itchy.

 Savi said it was uncomfortable and hurt her back to sit there on those hard chairs for so long. Oh, well. At least they LOOKED the part! 

 After work, Autumn & I went over there to say hi to Papa. He was an "ambassador" which means he just helped people get around and answer questions. He was posted outside the gym as people left so he told them thanks for coming & Merry Christmas. His 2 hour shift was almost over, so Autumn & I walked around a little bit to look at nativities and then left to go over to Mom & Dad's for dinner.

We had a huge miracle & tender mercy happen. It was raining, so the roads were wet. We were approaching an intersection and the light was green, and had been green for a long time. Well, a car turning left decided they were tired of waiting and turned right as we got to the intersection. I SLAMMED on my breaks and I have no idea how we didn't hit that car. We must have missed hitting them by mere inches. I'm so thankful we didn't spin out or slide b/c the roads were so wet. We were very blessed!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Welcome Back, Rosy Posy!

 Autumn was SO HAPPY when she woke up this morning and saw that Rosy Posy was back! She even gave Autumn a chocolate advent calendar. I'm so glad that Rosy Posy is a SIMPLE Elf on the Shelf & that she doesn't do crazy stuff. She just moves locations.

 Our favorite December crafting activity started up again tonight, so we went to check it out. They had cute reindeer or snowman cards to decorate. Then inside they had paper cutouts of snowflakes that have seeds in the paper. You plant the paper and it will grow into flowers!!! So cool!

We just LOVE Ms. Cathy (the lady who runs it) and were so happy to see her again. She's so sweet and remembers Autumn every year.

We went to another local city's Christmas tree lighting, but it was pretty lame. We walked around and got a few free cookies, listened to some kids try and sing (they didn't sound very good), and then literally RAN back to our car to get in some exercise after eating cookies.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Circle Of Life (Surrounded By Pictures)

 Mom brought us Panda Express for dinner tonight. I'm glad I got a 2nd burst of energy and stayed up late last night (1:00 am) to finally clear off both tables (kitchen & formal dining room). They were COVERED with pictures that I'm trying to scan.

 Last night I had sorted through the pile of pics I had for Mom. There were a bunch that didn't have dates on the back of them, so I had her tell me where she thinks they go chronologically. How cool to have pics of your life spread out around you! I ADORE this picture!!!

 I had a few minutes to help Autumn w/ her homework before the YW came over. We couldn't have our activity at the church tonight b/c it's all set up for the nativity this weekend. So, we met at my house. Lauren was a sweetie & tried to help Autumn w/ her math homework while I got stuff together for our activity.

We made some cute little signs and then went and "heart attacked" the door of one of the other leaders. Her Mom passed away last week, so we wanted to let her know she is LOVED. Then everyone was hungry so we went through Wendy's & got their 4 items for $4. Not the most spiritual activity ever, but I'm glad we had so many Laurels there and that they didn't have to work tonight.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lunch With Uncle Nate & Olivia's Blessing

I'm putting this picture here, b/c this morning when I was dropping Autumn off at school, and officer had someone pulled over in the school parking lot. Come to find out, it was Uncle Nate! He was assigned to that area of town, so he went & got Chick-Fil-A and went and had lunch w/ Autumn. That was soooooo super nice of him to do. Autumn said all the kids in her class were asking about it, b/c he was in uniform. They forgot to get a picture, so I took this one of them together (Olivia wanted to be in it too) tonight.

 We needed to go shopping at WalMart, but it's never a good idea to shop on an empty stomach. So, we stopped at In-N-Out to get a hamburger. You KNOW it's a good hamburger when your hands are super messy & you have sauce dripping off your fingers.

 After our WalMart shopping trip, we went over to Nate & Riannon's. Spencer is at such a fun age where he smiles as soon as you start talking to him. He also spit up 3 times while we were there. LOL!

 Mom had been at the church all day setting up her nativity collection (over 140 of them are on display). We had pork tacos for dinner w/ all the side fixins and they were so good.

 Olivia was ON ONE tonight & went into full melt down mode several times. I was finally able to distract her by having her show me all her pretty princess dresses. She decided she wanted to wear her Belle dress and "dance with Papa." Autumn got in on the action too and it was so stinkin' cute!!!

When Nate got home from work, he gave Olivia a blessing. It had never been done while they were in Spain, so they finally decided that tonight was the night. She didn't want to sit still, so Nate told her if she did then she could get ice cream. That worked like a charm. LOL. I'm glad we live so close to family and can be here for things like this and create memories together. What a special evening.

Monday, November 28, 2016

FHE At Mom & Dad's House

 We had FHE over at Mom & Dad's house tonight. For our opening song, we wanted a Christmas hymn so Mom played the piano while we sang and Nate led. We actually sounded really good. I taught the lesson about #LIGHTtheWORLD so I showed this video & gave everyone a copy of the calendar of service ideas leading up to Christmas.

After FHE we made tacos for dinner and finally ate at 7:15, which is pretty late for us. It was fun being together.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sleeping In The Guest Room

This week at church it was much less hectic than last week. I didn't have any meetings before or after church. I also didn't have to give a talk or teach any classes. I was able to go and just soak in the Spirit. It's just like the ebb & flow of life ... sometimes we're the ones being taught and sometimes we're the ones doing the teaching.

We went to Mom & Dad's house after church to eat some yummy soup and watch football. We also said our sad goodbyes to Emma b/c the M family got back into town and came to pick her up. We're going to miss having her around. I wonder if this is the last time I'll see her? I say that every time, b/c I can't believe she's still alive.

 At 5:00 & 6:00 I had visiting teaching appointments. Autumn chose to come w/ me, and she was bored to tears. Luckily she was able to play some games on my cell phone. Hopefully going w/ me all these years will help to make her a great visiting teacher someday. Someone had this super cute set up outside their apartment ... complete w/ a blue pond of lights for the swans.

We got home at 8:00 & Autumn decided to sleep in our new guest bedroom tonight. She's slowly been moving her things into this room and tonight was the night she chose to finally sleep in her. What a cute little love bug!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bye Boys & Christmas Decoratin'

 I got up this morning, came home and changed, and went to the temple. It was a good endowment session, and I LOVED this simple nativity in white that they have set up at the front of the temple.

 After the temple I went to Mom & Dad's house to see what was going on. I am so sad that Autumn has to go back home tomorrow. It's been SO FUN having her here. Her cute little tongue that is always hanging out is so endearing.

The kids had fun out in the front yard "helping" Papa put up Christmas lights. Mom was busy making turkey bone soup & washing Jackson & Andrew's clothes.

 Autumn LOVES to climb trees and wanted me to take a picture. I'm glad that she enjoys being outside and being active.

 Mom & Dad started loading up the car to take Andrew & Jackson back to Lexie & Jon. We decided to be silly and climb in the front seats. We're sad they have to go back home, b/c it's been so much fun having them here!

 When they left, Autumn & I went to my nail appointment (I got gold tips again). Then we went and got our favorite penne dolcelatta for lunch since it was nearby.

 We had nothing going on this afternoon, so we decided to decorate for Christmas. I'm so happy that Autumn likes to decorate the tree. I just hand her the ornaments, and she puts them where she wants. We're lazy and didn't even fluff the branches, so there's big empty spots but we just filled those in w/ ornaments and called it good.

 After we got the tree all decorated, we set up the train.

 After that was done, we went outside to put lights on the bushes. That took quite a while, but we were in work mode and decided to keep going. So, we each got a pair of scissors and cut back these grass looking plants to prepare them for winter. Autumn was SUCH.A.GOOD.HELPER!!! 

We got to watch Baby Jordan tonight while Liz & Lib took Jacob to see Trolls. Jordan did great for about 4 minutes after they left. But then he realized they had left him and he cried for an hour straight. I felt so bad for him! We loaded him up in his carseat and went to Chick-Fil-A to use a coupon for a free ice cream as a treat to Autumn for being such a good helper. We were hoping that being in the car & driving around would help him stop crying. It worked the last 2 minutes of our trip. We got home and he started crying again. I was finally able to get him to take a bottle and he eventually fell asleep. He was only asleep for about 15 minutes before Liz & Lib came back.

Poor Autumn tried so hard to make him happy & get him to smile. It was a good lesson for her to learn that sometimes they just need to cry. We knew nothing was wrong w/ him other than he was sad. Autumn did great and didn't freak out or get angry or frustrated when he cried. That's a good sign that she'll be a good babysitter & good Mom.