Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Equestrian Uncles are Great!

My brother Richard has been riding horses for over 10 years now, and is quite good at it. And every time we go to Utah, we have the fun opportunity to watch him ride. In preparing for this trip, Amelia REALLY wanted to ride one of Richard's horses and talked about it A LOT! She loves to hear about his horses, loves to watch him and talks about him with great admiration. In a lot of ways, I think Uncle Richard is one of Amelia's heroes. Both of them have such a great love for animals and it seems to have formed a special bond between the two of them. This was definitely a highlight of our trip.

This is Amelia, riding alongside her uncle on a VERY big horse

Lucy participated in the fun, too. I really didn't think she'd get on a horse, but these horses are truly magical, and Lucy was instantly grinning ear to ear.

Monday, March 30, 2009

How do YOU measure up?

These were just some of the very interesting birds we saw at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. One seemed very graceful, however the other seemed a bit flighty. Glad we caught a picture of these rare and beautiful birds!

Duck Hunt

One of our favorite things to do is go and feed the ducks. Grandpa especially likes this activity because it allows some good photographing opportunities of the birds. Well, Lulu brought an interesting challenge to his photography, because it was WAY too much fun to chase the ducks around than to quietly sit and feed them bread. She REALLY stirred things up at this pond! So much fun!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Foot Book

On our recent trip to Utah, the girls acquired a new favorite book at Grandpa's house, "The Foot Book" by Dr. Seuss. The best part was, Grandpa actually acted the book out. We had "feet in the air" and "over the chair feet". Left foot, left foot, left foot, RIGHT!

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Family Fun Nite

Our friend Ashlyn turned 5 yesterday, and for her birthday invited us to Xtreme play with her and her family for Monday, family fun night.

So family fun night it was! The girls bounced themselves silly, and you often found Lucy rambling to herself, "my bouncy castle..." I have to brag for a moment, Lucy conquered quite the feat tonight in climbing up the "big kid" ladders to reach the "big kid" slides. They had a specific boucing area designated for those 3 and under. Yeah, it lasted for Lucy about 5 minutes. All the other kids were having a blast on the big slides and leaving her out. Yeah, right!! The problem was, they all had these steep climbing walls, with nothing to hold onto but some wobbly blocks to climb up. The other challenge, parents were not allowed to enter the bouncy castles. So here I am watching my 2 year old, for 15 minutes try to scale a wall, fall off and try again. It took Dallan covering my mouth and restraining me from calling for help for her. I am grateful I have a partner in this adventure of parenting who can recognize growth moments for our children and can tell me to back off. After 15 minutes of determination and little progress, she persisted and conquered, and then spent the rest of the nights with the big kids. I was the proudest mom in bouncy castle heaven tonight! She held up traffic, but gained many adoring fans. Amelia also made me proud and watched out for her baby sister and helped her when needed. It was, in Amelia's words, "the best night EVER!"

Warning Label

I've often thought parenthood should come with a few warning labels, such as:

CAUTION: Side affects include drowsiness, loss of sleep and crankiness


CAUTION: Children may seem broken at times, especially in their ears, and may erupt in random loud shrieks, but don't worry. This is normal.

Well, today's warning is that of health.

CAUTION: Children may inflict serious injuries on their parents.
It's a good thing they're so cute that we can throw all caution to the wind.

Besides, it's a whole lot of fun to tell stories when people see my black eye. The truth, a really hard head and a really hard-head butting two year old.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stake Conference

This weekend was the Mesa South's stake conference, and guess who was asked to play the organ for this morning? Me! I thought for sure I would have gotten out of it, because just last November our ward was in charge of the music provided for the Regional conference. Somehow we drew the short straw again, and were asked to do it AGAIN. But you know what the advantage to doing it twice in a row is? The second time was far less nerve racking.

Now, in our stake center it has always bothered me at large functions that you just could not hear the organ while you were singing. Especially if you are sitting in the metal chairs all the way in the back, so 4 or 5 different tempos start going and its just a mess. So I decided, no matter what, all the stops were going to be pulled, within reason of course. And as I looked at the hymn choices of "Come, Come ye Saints", and "Scatter Sunshine" and "Hark all Ye Nations", I thought these are all very upbeat hymns, so a big full organ sound should accompany it quite nicely.

Well, I pulled all the stops and do you know what I learned afterward? The people in the back COULD hear the organ, so much so that some noticed that there were 3 beats instead of 4 in some of the measures of Come Come ye Saints, and even the Stake Presidency commented, "I've never heard this organ played with so much force".

Maybe I overdid it, but you know what? The people sang, and sang with feeling. The spirit was so strong that it near brought me to tears. I believe that through the power of the hymns, testimonies are born and strengthened. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to play, not once, but twice in such a spiritual setting. I have felt angels carry the music of the organ and move my fingers and feet so that the spirit could be present in a meeting. I thank God, with all my heart, for the gift of music which has played such an important part of my life.