Thursday, April 30, 2009

tender moments...

These pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago. It was Sunday morning, and surprisingly, I had succeeded in getting both kids (and myself) ready - with time to spare - before John got home from his morning meetings. On a typical Sunday, he gets home from meetings; and while I usually have the kids ready at that point...I'm still in front of the mirror, half dressed, throwing makeup on, and simultaneously barking orders for him to stock the diaper bag, and let the dog out, and put the baby in his carrier. Yeah, it's usually a bit crazy on Sunday mornings at our house. However, for the past 4 weeks, we've been waking up (Monday-Saturday) at 6:30 am to exercise. I'm becoming conditioned to the early morning routine, so I decided to keep it going on Sundays as well. Although I'm not getting up to exercise, it's nice to have some personal quiet time to study the scriptures and pray; or just to simply clear my mind and be able to actually think...without interruptions. It's nice, too, because then we have plenty of time to get ready for church, and usually end up with extra time to enjoy moments like this one...

Because we were ready so early, I decided to just take the kids outside to wait for John. I went back inside to grab the diaper bag, and came out just in time to witness Ruby kissing and stroking Asher's head. I had to run back in and get my camera to capture the tenderness of the moment.


It just quite literally melted my heart...and still does, when I think about it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

what's wrong with this picture?


John and I were recently called to serve on this year's youth conference committee for our stake. Yesterday morning, a group of us drove up to check out the campsite (which was reserved site unseen), to make sure it would not only accommodate some 200 youth and leaders, but that it would also allow us the opportunity to do all the recreational activities that we have planned. Because we would be meeting at the church at 6:00 am, we waited until the very last minute to load the kids in the car. We knew that the likelihood of accomplishing the task at hand, without disturbing them from their peaceful slumber, was nearly impossible; but, being as careful as we could, we lifted them from their beds, and fastidiously placed each in their appointed carseat. So far, everything was going according to plan. It wasn't until we had been driving for nearly 3 hours, and were less than 30 minutes from our destination, that our fun little family outing started going south. Ruby suddenly began to panic because she needed to go potty. She had gone to bed at 6:45 the night before (I know - totally unheard of for her...our zoo excursion must have completed wiped her out), and it was now around 8:30 in the morning. She had not emptied her bladder in over 14 hours. Because we were nowhere near an exit, and also because we were following another car, our options were limited. Why had I not even thought about taking her in to use bathroom before I loaded her up in the car? While She was in the back seat slipping into hysterics, I was in the front racking my brain for ideas. That's it...I would put a diaper on her. Ingenious. I even had a size 4 diaper in my bag from the zoo when my friend asked if I could carry it for her...her son never ended up needing it, and I forgot to give it back to her. Size four would be a little snug, but we could totally make it work. I convinced Ruby that this was our only option until we could get off at the exit; and somehow, she became almost excited about the idea. Unfortunately, by the time I made it into the back to remove her from her seat, I discovered that we were too late; and the only pair of clean and dry panties that we had on our trip, were, well - no longer clean and dry. I removed her wet bottoms, wiped up and dried off everything as best I could, and then put the diaper on her. She thought it was great until she realized that she still had to go potty. I assured her that it was ok to go in the diaper, but she was throwing a fit. To me that was a good sign, the girl doesn't like to wet herself. She finally surrendered, and filled the diaper. I didn't quite know what to do at that point...her panties were wet, the size 4 diaper was wet...we were definitely out of options. It was then that Ruby so brilliantly suggested that she wear one of Asher's. It was a struggle to force a size 3 diaper over her buns and around her waist...but we managed (and before the completion of our trip, we succeeded in squeezing her into three more).
We finally made it to the campsite; and while it was breathtakingly beautiful - rich, lush Ponderosa pines blanketing the entire landscape, and a lake for fishing and canoeing located just yards away - the terrain was rough, every few feet spotted with lava rock and tree stumps. It would be nearly impossible to set up 50 or more tents on that land. Plus, because the domain was so flat, the zip line would be a no go. And if that wasn't enough, we were told that we would not be permitted to use bows and arrows, or shoot rifles - two other activities that we had hoped to be able to provide for the youth. Needless to say, the cons of the campsite far outweighed the pros; and we were forced to begin the hunt for a new location. We drove to a neighboring site located about 8 miles away, but it was not quite what we had in mind either. After what seemed like hours of driving through canyons, and forests, dirt roads, construction zones, up and down hills, following endless bends and curves, and making countless u-turns, we finally found a place (about an hour away) that was equipped with almost everything we needed and it was big and open, and still quite beautiful. We were happy that the day wasn't a complete bust, and began our journey home. I think all that stop-and-go travelling - not to mention the windy roads - took it's toll on poor Ruby; because just a mile away from our exit, she threw up everywhere. John quickly veered off onto the shoulder, and both of us jumped out to begin the clean up. This fun little family day trip I had previously envisioned, had evolved into a strange series of misadventure and unfortunate events; and please make note, I have only disclosed about half of our family's misfortune for the day. Thankfully, at that point, we were just minutes from home; and I must say - walking in that door, almost never felt better...especially after John pointed out that we could have made it to Utah in the time we were non-stop changing diapers on a potty trained 3 year old, cleaning up vomit, and exploring every camp site in the state of Arizona.

Friday, April 24, 2009

what's a snort?


Some friends and I took our kids, and met up at the Phoenix Zoo today. It was a perfect day. The sun was bright, but not too hot. The crowds were manageable. The animals, as always, were fascinating. It never ceases to amaze me as I study the complexity of each structure. The height and length of the giraffe, the zebra with it's perfectly painted stripes, the all it's varieties. How can the squirrel monkey be so small, and yet, the oragutan (some of them) - so massive? And the baboon, what a strange, yet interesting, and captivating, creature. It's facial features, especially...the beady eyes, the colored nose, and the orange and blue fur which so perfectly, yet so peculiarly, surrounds the entire face. Then there's the flamingo. Today I couldn't get over the legs on those flamingos...I could hardly even believe that those stick like appendages were indeed, real. Ruby was equally as fascinated. We've been to the zoo before, but it wasn't until today that she actually had some understanding as to where we were, and the purpose of our visit.

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As tired as she was, she totally did not want to leave. She cried the whole way out to the car, and I thought she (in true Ruby form) would be out, as in - completely asleep, within just a few minutes. Instead, on our drive home, she couldn't stop talking about the zoo, and the animals, and the snacks, and how nice her friends were. The best was when I asked her which animals were her favorites. She was in deep thought for a few moments, and then replied, "the lions, the tigers, and the snorts"...and she was totally serious. When I asked her what a snort was, she replied "well, it's a snort, you know". Apparently my mind was elsewhere when we visited the snort exhibit. I told her I'd make sure and pay more attention next time we go. As I got to thinking, however, I was reminded of a particular line in one of her Sandra Boynton books...rhinoceroses snort and snuff, and little dogs go ruff ruff ruff. We had, indeed, seen a couple of rhinos today; and I figured she may have just thought they were called snorts because of what it says in her book. I then asked, "Ruby, are you talking about the rhinoceroses?", and I couldn't help but laugh at her response, "oh yeah, that's right...the awesomenesses".

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

happy birthday, d


Little Dix is a year old today...and celebrate, we did - and will continue into the evening, I'm sure. This morning we all sang to him, and then Ruby gave him a doggie treat for no reason...other than just because he's the birthday boy.(Usually the treats are reserved as rewards for doing something good, or right...or as bribery, of course.) We also gave him a nice bath, shampoo, blow dry, and style. Although I doubt that he loved being pampered in that way as much as...say, I do. Oh well, he stunk; and no one is allowed to stink on their birthday. So after his spa treatment, we took him to Petsmart to pick out a toy. We grabbed him some more treats, two mini tennis balls, and a purple rubber bull that squeaks. Next we stopped at the party store, picked up some party hats, and headed to the park for playgroup. He had to have known that something was special and different about today, because we hardly ever let him come out with us...and especially not for playgroup. At the park, I let him off his leash to run, and roam, and just be free for a while. That's his favorite thing ever; and unfortunately, he doesn't get the opportunity much because our yard is so small. Ruby passed out the party hats to all of her friends, and several people asked who's birthday it was. It was a tad bit embarrassing to admit that it was just the dog's. You know what though? It's solely because of him that Ruby was able to conquer, and overcome her fear of dogs after the incident of last year. So to me, he deserves all the extra fluff, and attention, and praise, and honor. Today, he's my little hero.

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Happy 1st Birthday, sweet little Dix-D.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

all of this...

and more, for only $72.04.


So I know what you're're probably looking at the picture, and saying to yourself something like, well, she really didn't get that much stuff...or, 72.04 is still a lot of money, or it looks like she made out OK, but I'm not overly impressed. Please, just allow me to dissect these deals for you, and then you can make a fair determination. First of all, all of this - regular price - is worth just under $ basically, I saved about 80%. To me, it just doesn't get much better than that. Here's the break down:

These are the items that I picked up for free:
4 4 packs of Angel Soft toilet paper (reg 1.89 each)
4 Suave deodorants (reg. 1.49 each))
8 packs of Mentos gum (reg 1.49 each)
1 Bayer Aspirin quick release crystals (reg. 2.99)
1 Colgate sensitive (reg. $4.89)
2 Edge infused shave gel (reg. 3.29 each)
1 Softsoap body butter coconut scrub (reg. $5.49 each)
4 Barilla whole grain pasta (reg 1.99 each)
2 Crest pro health toothpastes (reg 3.89 each)
4 GE energy smart light bulbs (reg 4.99 each...thanks Brooke, i totally didn't even see that one)

That's a total of $75, but I paid absoltely nothing for any of it!

These are the things that were $1 or less:
1 Dove skin vitalizer- .50 (reg price 12.99)
4 boxes Capri Suns- .77
4 vitamin waters- .25
6 cans Libby's sweet corn- .38
2 Rimmel lip glosses- $1.00 (reg 6.99 each)
1 Mitchum deodorant-.25 (reg 3.99)

Other good deals:
8 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breast ($1.57/lb)
2 1 gallon milks ($1.57 each)
2 Loreal eyeliners ($2.00 each, reg. 8.99)
3 John Frieda brunette assorted hair care products ($1.50 each, reg. $8-$12)
2 packages of One A Day vitamins (reg. $13, paid $5)

Not great deals, but things I needed, or wanted:
3 bottles of St.Ives apricot scrub (2.00 each, reg 3.99)
1 small package of m&m's to keep Ruby happy while I shopped
1 container red grapes
2 cartons of strawberries (2 for $4, reg $4 each)
2 V8 Fusions (OK deal- reg. $4.29, paid $2 each)
1 pack of Orbit gum
1 child's nasal aspirator

And now, the best for last. This is by far, my favorite find of the day:


Together, this formula - regular price - totals about $120...but I got it all for less than $18! The 4 containers of Similac 22 oz. GO and Grow formula, ended up being only $1 each (reg price $19.99)! It's a good thing I got such a great deal on all of Asher's food; because, if you ask me, these little chunker legs have not yet reached their full potential. WOW! Can you even believe those suckers?


So as you can see, I am a huge advocate of couponing and shopping the deals. In our struggling economy it's just one way of really being able to cut back and put more into savings...because heaven only knows when that rainy day will be upon us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

all aboard...

For play group last week, we all headed out to the train park in Scottsdale. It's one of Ruby's very favorite places to go. In fact, I had told her the day before that we would be going again...this time with all her friends from play group. She couldn't stop talking about it from that moment on. So for literally 24 hours, I heard everything there is to tell about the train park, and the carousel (which she calls the carriage), and how we were going to eat lunch, and get a new train whistle. Next time, I'll probably just tell her about our plans mere moments before we actually head out...that way, I'll only be privileged to hear all about it during the 30 minute car ride.

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We had a great time, and spent several hours there, with all of our friends. I think that every single one of Ruby's expectations were met, as well as my own. We were even blessed with near perfect weather. 54 degrees is typical for a mid-winter's day here, not middle of spring, but the sun was shining, and it was beautiful. It blows my mind that now, just 5 days later, it's 103 degrees out...and probably way too hot for the train park. I'm glad we got in in when we did; because, if summer is here to stay, we probably won't be back till fall or winter.

Blistering hot Arizona we come!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


It wasn't until five days after the holiday, that we were finally able to take some pictures of all of us (together) in our Easter attire. The kids were a little better this time around, but John was the true sport. I mean, just seconds from stepping foot in the door, after a long day of hard work, he was told to change instantaneously into a suit, and head out back for a quicker than quick photo shoot (we only had a small window of opportunity before he had to be out the door again for Elder's Quorum visits). He agreed...and obeyed...and had a smile on his face the entire time. He is a true gem.


These pictures are far from ideal, but I wanted to post every single one of them, despite the many imperfections...just because each possesses something that the others lack...a certain quality which makes it unique, and different, and special...aside from the fact that they are all, essentially, one in the same.

I love this one because of the way Asher is looking up at me...his sweet little hand resting on my shoulder. It's like he's looking to me, his mother, for guidance and direction. I like to think of it as his own little way of letting me know - without the use of words (obviously)- that he needs me, and places his complete trust in me.

I love this picture because it epitomizes my little Asher right now...always reaching for something. Reaching, and intrigued by the simplest of things.

Our little peacemaker. I love this picture because rather than striking back at her little brother for his incessant pestering, Ruby simply (and quite literally), turns her other cheek (and her back on him altogether).

I love this one just because it's the only one in which we're all looking at the camera. I laugh when I study Ruby's expression, and I melt when I see Asher's. I'm just so in love with these people...all three of them.

Here are a few of daddy with his boy. Once again, I couldn't resist posting them all, as each one carries something that just simply melts me...

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Final two (I promise)...
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Friday, April 17, 2009

easter sunday...

As I mentioned before, some of my high hopes and expectations for this year's Easter Sunday, were never realized; but thankfully, there were some shining other words, it wasn't a complete disappointment.

We got up in the morning and watched Ruby hunt for her dyed eggs - which the Easter Bunny had so furtively hidden around our house. I myself, was grateful that she was able to find them all...can you imagine what our house would be smelling like after a few days if even just one egg had remained unfound?

She was so happy to find her Easter dress, hat, and new shoes...

Inside that giant pink plastic egg, the Easter bunny had placed a clue, which lead her to another clue, and another...and so on, until she finally found the baskets hidden in the bathtub. Inside her basket (among other things) was a new baby doll with an Easter dress that matched her own...


Also, inside her basket was a toy princess camera, which surprisingly, turned out to be her very favorite thing from the Easter bunny. It was one of those last minute, total afterthought items...but hey, leave it to the Easter Bunny...he apparently really knows what he's doing. She's been snapping pictures (of anyone who will pose for her) all week long.


After church, we (Ruby and I - because remember, John was sick in bed ALL day and Asher was asleep) headed over to Lori's for our annual Easter dinner and candy egg hunt for the kids.

Once again it was a huge hit for everyone who participated...

Here's Ruby getting a head start...she has finally learned to not waist even a single second in gathering her eggs.


I absolutely LOVE this chubby little hand...

Still on the hunt...

She hit the jackpot...

And so did Ella...
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Stopping at nothing, James climbs a tree to retrieve this lone yellow egg.

After a whole lot of strenuous running and arduous hunting, it's time to relax on the porch swing, and of course...dig into all that candy!

holy saturday...

was probably more fun than holy, for us.


Ruby had a great time dyeing eggs. I doubt she recalls her experience coloring eggs when she was 10 months old; and last year, we didn't have the opportunity, seeing how she had just come home from the hospital. So it was like she was doting upon the enchantment for the very first time. I loved to see how animated she was, dropping the eggs down into the little cups, and then reaching her hands in the water...grabbing one, and dropping it into a different colored cup of dye. We ended up with some very interesting colors of eggs (and more cracked than whole), when all was said and done.

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The kids LOVED getting their Easter package in the mail from grammy and grandpa. As you can see, Asher was thoroughly entertained for quite some time by his purple bunny that came inside a giant yellow plastic egg. I was quite surprised that he was able to open the egg himself to get to his stuffed bunny...actually, maybe he was a bit more intrigued with the egg rather than it's contents.

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Oh yeah, and we also made these little easter cake pops to give away, thanks to Bakerella for the darling idea...