Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another full week

We have had a fun and full week. We started the week on Monday with FHE at a member of our Stake Presidency's home for star gazing. In order to get ready for girls camp they had us over for treats and a cool night of star gazing with a man that new quite a bit about the heavens. It was a fun night even with Darren running all over and making way too much noise. There were about seven families there and we were definitely the noisiest. Everyone was super nice about it and Pres. Tilley was adorable with my boys. He wrestled with them for about 10 minutes. Wednesday was Darren's birthday and Thursday we had Pack Meeting. We started out with a dinosaur dig at the Riparian Preserve and then had awards. We have pretty ambitious boys in our pack so that always takes awhile. Bradley earned five belt loops, two pins, a silver arrow point and the cub scout outdoor activity award. Mark earned his Webelos badge, two activity pins, a compass point and four belt loops. I love the cub scout program. I would love to be released from the counselor over cub scouts and to be a den leader. Boys that age are crazy but a lot of fun. We just love our ward and how on top of scouting they are. It is great to have fabulous leaders that work so hard for your kids. On Friday my Mom called and told me my brother Colin and his new wife Paige were in town and could we please have a family party at our house. Of course. Alan and I love having parties. We had a ton of fun swimming, eating, playing volleyball and and the kids watching a movie outside while the adults played volleyball and talked. Living by family again is pure heaven. We missed it way too much when we were away. Saturday there was a Petersen family BBQ planned at our my in-laws but I asked Alan if we should call and offer it to be here since we had so much fun the night before. My mother-in-law was relieved to move it since they are busy getting ready to jet off to Europe for a quick trip to see their daughter and getting their house ready to go on a mission. We had another fun party with the Petersens. I was too tired to take any pictures of both of them. It is just too hectic to take pictures and host groups of 40+. We also had a primary activity day yesterday that went great. Luckily my part that I was in charge of was the games and took very little prep time. I love an easy assignment. I had sharing time today and it went fabulously. The spirit was so strong and the kids were absolutely silent, both junior and senior. They respond amazingly when you can invite the spirit and they feel it. I am so grateful for prayer and the power of preparation. What a blessing to feel the spirit. We talked about Jesus washing the feet of the apostles, serving our fellow man and becoming a Disciple of Christ by following his example. I love the Lord and I am so grateful to have a chance to teach his children in primary and to see how much faith they have and how sensitive they are to the spirit.
After stake leadership meeting and another camp meeting tonight we will be all ready to start a new week.
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Happy 2nd Birthday Darren!

We love our Darren. He has been the sweetest and most adorable baby. Just a few weeks ago he decided to turn 2 a little early. He now wants to do everything, "myself, mommy," he hits me and anyone else that does not agree with him or immediately surrender to him whatever it is he wants, he usually adds a nice scream to that and he goes to time out about 100 times a day. Time out lasts about 15 seconds and then he is ready to come out and kiss and hug and say sorry. It is really adorable. When he is in time out he puts his nose on the wall and then covers his eyes. If he didn't have to go there so often on his own I might put him there for fun becuase it is so dang cute. He has been "potty trained" for almost three months now. That consists of him saying "bafroom mom" and me getting him on the toilet and so he can "finish" what he started. It is slightly frustrating but I would take this over diapers anyday especially since he wakes up dry 9 out of 10 nights. He talks like crazy. All of my kids have talked a lot young and it is very nice to understand what they want. Today in church he was looking at my neck and found a scratch and turned to Alan and said, "Daddy, don't ever hurt mom ever again. Don't scratch her ever again." He said it about 16 times. He then got down and was stroking my legs which I did not shave today and they were prickly. He was very concerned and kept saying, "Mom cut- scratch, don't cut ever again." Sacrament meeting is a night mare with him but he is so cute that you just can't stay mad for long. I love the way he speaks. All of my kids have spoken pretty clearly so when they speak any kind of baby talk I love it. He says all of his words that start with two consonants together with an uh between the two consonants like pu-lease, gu-ross, and Bu-radley. And just like Luke and Eleanor he loves food. He begs for lunch and snacks starting about five minutes after a meal. It is so hard to find nutritious snacks that don't fill him up much. We hope these terrible two's don't last forever but we will take them as long as we get Darren. He is definitely worth it.
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More Birthday

We got to celebrate Darren's birthday a few times this week. It started with the morning birthday breakfast and then the next night when everyone could be home we had the birthday dinner and cake and presents and then both Friday and Saturday we had family over and celebrated again. Darren loved his Dinosaur bucket from Grandma Petersen. All of the kids have enjoyed playing with them. Darren loved helping to make the cake just as much as seeing it and blowing out the candle. We had to relight the candle seven times so he could blow them out again. That was his favorite part of his birthday. He has walked around all week repeating over and over again, "Darren's berfday, Darren's berfday."

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too few and far between

I am awfully ashamed of my lack of posts to this blog. I was going to be so good about finally keeping some form of a journal for my family because it was so easy to blog and you get pictures too. Well life just seems to get more and more busy and my posts get fewer and fewer.

I really started to fall apart way back in September when I didn't blog about Mark on his birthday and I missed blogging about all of the holidays and few more birthdays. I cannot necessarily go back but I am recommitting to begin again and improve. I am such a morning person and I think it is mostly because of the thought that today is a brand new day and I can do anything and shape it anyway I want. I don't have to repeat my mistakes of yesterday.

A few things that have consumed me for the past while are of course my children who I love dearly and have had to neglect somewhat because of all the rest of my projects. I am currently the second counselor in primary over scouts and cub scouts has had one event after another lately that requires so much time. I just got to spend 3 and 1/2 hours last Saturday at Leader Specific Training. I had no idea about all of the training I would need for this calling. I was called about two months ago to go to girls camp on the stake staff over 3rd year certification. Another thing I had no idea the time committment when I said yes. I love girls camp and am so excited but yikes! It takes so much preparation and time. I have canned 34 quarts of boneless skinless chicken in the last week. I made 12 quarts of yummy strawberry freezer jam as well. I decided we really needed to have a garden this season!!!!! so I took on the project of building four 4x4 garden grow boxes. Alan did not appreciate the project but he took it on anyways. I spent over a week planning and purchasing all of the supplies and then on conference Saturday Alan built the boxes while I mixed the soil, filled the boxes with the soil and then planted the garden. It was an excruciatingly long and tiring day but the boxes turned out beautifully and I love it now. We hope to add 8 more boxes for the fall planting season. Supposedly that will be enough for our family to eat out of and to can and preserve. I am still exercising like crazy with my group of girls. I do not love it anymore. I am exhausted all of the time and sore and wonder daily just why I need to have this "six pack". I need to give up something and I really should give this up but I love being with my freinds and we work out at my house and when else will I find time to exercise besides at 5am? Only six more weeks of P90X. The last major thing that has kept me so busy lately is the darn coupons craze I am on. I am enrolled in Coupon Sense and I spend way too much time getting amazing deals. I rarely go to the store without saving at least 80% on my purchases. I get most things for less than .50 cents or for free. My shelves are completely loaded with food and we are acquiring our 3 month supply and year supply for really cheap but it takes way too much time. I will not do this forever but I feel a need to do it now.

I talked to my sister-in-law the other night about how busy I am and how much I hate it. A friend of mine said to me "Amy, you do everything!" I did not take this as a compliment at all. I feel horrible that I have myself spread so thin. I am not doing everything. I have let so many of the most important things slide. I rarely sing to my kids at night anymore or tell them stories. I don't spend enough time helping with homework and going through backpacks. I haven't gotten out that Faith in God book in about two months to help Mark and Bradley work on. I don't spend nearly enough time cherishing my kids and playing with them. I am missing too much. My sister-in-law was in a very similar situation a year ago when a horrible car accident brought her life to a screaching hault. I do not want to have to learn the lesson that way. She has changed her life a ton and is so happy. She is my inspiration in so many ways. We really have to prioritize and constantly reevaluate what is most important.

I am committing to cutting back. I can't cut out all of it but I am going to cut back and enjoy my kids more. I feel time slipping by way too quickly. Tomorrow when the kids want to swim I think I will actually get my suit on and swim with them instead of clipping coupons, watering the garden, reading or the hundred other things I can think of doing while watching them swim.

Tomorrow is a brand new day!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Strawberry Freezer Jam

I am adding this post upon request. I buy the Ultra Gel from Shar's kitchen store on Gilbert road at Houston Ave. The Ultra Gel is only 12 dollars for a small bucket so it is way way cheaper than doing sure jell and you can use less sugar and you don't have to cook this at all. It is wonderful, delicious and easy.

6 cups pureed Strawberries (I just put them in the blender and blend to the desired consistency)
2 cups sugar (you can use less and it won't affect how much it jels)
8 Tbsp Ultra Gel

Puree the strawberries. Mix the sugar and Gel together and then add it to the strawberries. Stir them together. Mix well. Pour into jars or tupperware and freeze. This will last for three weeks in the fridge and much longer in the freezer. We are still eating jam from last year that tastes great.