Our little Emma went skiing for the first time Wednesday at Brighton in Utah. We put her in ski school for a couple of hours, and afterwards, she was cruising all by herself. She was all smiles and has been telling us over and over how fun it was and asking when she can go again. We loved every second of it! Way to go Emma girl!
We had a great time as usual for Thanksgiving. Nick's mom organized a pine wood derby, and while our cars didn't win, they were pretty. Emma had a pink princess car complete with a riding princess, Ashlyn sported a purple Dora car with a Dora taped to the top, and Nick had, well, a flying egg plant. He's always been the king of randomness. We were also able to go swimming with just the cousins. We really had a great time together. Nick spent most of the time down with a cold, but tis the season. Thanks Carolyn for organizing yet another fun-filled Thanksgiving.
Emma was in charge of bringing snacks to preschool the day before Thanksgiving. She found these cookies on PBSkids.org and really wanted to make them. While they did take a lot of time, she loved them, and they turned out pretty cute.
I've been doing a bit of thinking lately. Rather scary, I know, but it's true. I am so incredibly blessed. Things are good in my life. We're all healthy. Sure we get the everyday colds and other bugs, but we're healthy in general. I have a strong relationship/friendship with my husband. I am so grateful to be able to say that he is my friend. I love him and always look forward to spending time with him. Nick has a good job that provides for our needs and even some of our wants. This is especially important these days. My girls are incredible. They certainly keep me on my toes, but they keep me laughing as well. Some of the things they come up with are hilarious, and I love that they're playing with each other more and more every day. I'm very fortunate to have a good education and to be able to use that education in a job with a minimal hourly weekly commitment.
And then there are the unexplainable blessing that come from being a member of the LDS church. Over the past, oh, year, I've been incredibly frustrated with life and daily annoyances. I found myself being overly serious all day. Knowing that I was the main person my girls had to interact with, I felt pressure to be more fun and entertaining for them, but my heart wasn't in it.
Months ago our previous Young Women's president challenged us to begin reading the Book of Mormon. As a teenager I had the habit of reading every night. For some reason, as an adult I've found it increasingly difficult to find the time. Yet, in the past month or two, I've been reading more or less every evening. At first I didn't notice much difference, but slowly there's been a change. I am calmer, in general. The little annoyances don't bother me as much for as long. In general, I'm happier. I've been wondering why, and I believe I've found a truth.
Every time we allow ourselves the opportunity to listen to the words of the prophets, modern or ancient, we also give ourselves the chance to feel our Father's love. Even if we only read for a minute or two, the love and light are there. Our spirits respond to that and long for more. It also gives us a strength to face the trials that plague us. I have found a peace and joy that I've needed for a long time. Now I just need to keep it up. There truly is a strength through reading the Book of Mormon.
Have I ever mentioned that I have incredible sisters? My sister Kerri has started a new blog that will focus on studying the most recent conference talks. Anyone can comment, and if you want to contribute, just view the sight at http://www.wordsofthelatterdayprophets.blogspot.com/. We're going to study one conference talk a week, beginning with President Monson's talk "What Have I Done for Someone Today?" from the Sunday morning session. Please post your comments about the talk by next Sunday, November 1st. You can link to it and all other conference sessions here. You'll find the links to listen, read, or watch them. I look forward to reading your comments.
I finally resized our family pictures. I loved them all, so here's the lot of them. It really is a photo day. There are ways to put these into a collage or something, but this is what I'm up for right now. I am loving these pictures. Thanks again, Meegan.
I'm home nursing a sore throat, so I've spent my time updating my blog. My free time decreases dramatically when school begins. But we've been able to do a lot of fun things with family and friends. Thanks everyone for being such amazing parts of our lives. See below for pictures of our Jackson/Yellowstone trip, pumpkin patch adventures, 1/2 marathon, and vacation to the Dominican Republic.
We met up with John and Shanna Foster yesterday and made our way to Jackson, WY, and Yellowstone. It was so fun to see them again. They've recently moved back to Idaho and we're looking forward to many more similar adventures. The kids had so much fun together.
In Jackson we came across a clown making balloon animals. Everyone had one, even Baby Lexi.
Emma got a purple butterfly.Hallie had a pink butterfly. Ashlyn got a pink poodle. Brady, Hallie, and Emma really enjoyed playing together. They all enjoyed running as fast as they could. Here's the group, including a tired and hungry Ashlyn. Old Faithful is always a successful sight. Even the hour plus wait was worthwhile for such a breathtaking natural event.
Emma's preschool went to the pumpkin patch again this year, and we decided to make it a family affair. Everyone loved the corn maze. Look at those good-looking farmers, not to mention the calf. Emma found one of the biggest pumpkins in the patch to take home. And Ashlyn laid her own!
My sister has been telling me I needed to post about the 1/2 marathon Sept 5. Yes, it's been a while, but I did actually do it. I trained for about 10 weeks. It was a lot of work, but I'm so glad I did. Nick and the girls came and cheered me on before they had to leave for Wyoming to Nick's Uncle's funeral. While I wanted to be there, I'm not so sure there will ever be another marathon in my future, and I really wanted to meet my goal. Luckily everyone else supported me.
I was able to complete my race of 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes. That's not a record time by any means, but I was able to run/jog the entire way. It felt so good to accomplish my goal, and I can honestly say I had a blast. Thanks everyone for the support.
Nick and I had the amazing opportunity to go to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic for 6 days at the beginning of the month. It was amazing. It was an experience neither of us will forget. The culture was very different from our own. The best part though was getting to spend time together and loving every minute of it. I'm so blessed to be married to my best friend.
This was taken in front of the fountain in our hotel's front lobby. We stayed at the Grand Oasis Marien. It was beautiful and the food was great. The only downsides were how difficult it was to call home and to get outside of the hotel without paying exaggerated prices. Other than that, it was amazing. We're not sure we'd do an all-inclusive again, but it was good for this trip. Hotel lobby. On our last day, Nick and I walked through town (4.5 miles) to this tram. We rode it to the top of the mountain, where there is a beautiful garden. Statue of Christ at the top of the mountain. We rode back to our hotel in this van with 20 other people. I snapped this as it drove off, so you can't see the missing side door (built in air conditioning), but yes, the window is broken out in back. Nick likes an adventure!The beach at our hotel. Sosua Beach. If you ever want to hear the adventure story of arriving/leaving this beautiful beach, just ask. This is already a long post. Snorkling at Sosua Beach. A typical gift shop on Sosua Beach. We got a laugh out of the name.This fort was built in the 1500s to protect the bay from pirates. It was fascinating to explore.Another picture of the resort.Our room. The maid would leave us fresh flowers daily and usually make some fancy arrangement out of the towels, such as a swan.Nick on the Yasika Adventures zip line.My turn! We got to go on 8 runs. The view was fantastic, and the adrenaline rush wasn't too bad either. View of the ocean at sunrise from our hotel balcony.View from the other direction.The most amazing thing we did was go to the 27 Waterfalls. You climb up the fall to turn around and jump or slide into them. Nick couldn't believe I actually jumped off the 20+ foot jump just to ask if we could do it again. I'm all about facing my fears. These are our amazing guides. The taught us all about the plants and animals in the area and even knocked passion fruit out of the trees for us to eat. They were great.The only downside was that we must have ruined our underwater camera as we tossed it down the falls to our guides to take pictures. This is the only photo we got.We had so much fun. It was an incredible trip. Thanks Kathy for watching the girls the entire time. We couldn't have gone without you!