Saturday, September 29, 2012


Peter decided to add some storage under the stairs. 
First he cut this hole.
 Then he cut a bigger hole and as you can see there was some construction debris that had been swept in there and left never to be seen again- or so they thought.
 We saw this spoon stuck in the stairs- some worker thought he was clever.
It actually ended up being a spork- I feel that is an added bonus!
 The finished door- I like it.  Peter did a great job and learned a new skill.
Peter did sheetrock it which looks really nice.  Now I just need to move my flour from upstairs to this new place and buy some more wheat and flour. 
I love more storage!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Flashback Friday

Photo one:
This is why you should never turn your back when a child is eating chocolate ice cream!
 Photo Two: 
I love this picture of Joey.  He is helping me make pie.  I miss his curls.
 Photo Three:
One night, I left for a meeting or something and told Peter dinner was on the stove.  He says that a few minutes later he heard noise in the kitchen and came in find Joey serving dinner up for everyone. 
Joey used to love tortilla pizzas and the below video shows how he knew everything that was needed and how to make one at about 2 1/2 years old.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Joey's Birthday - 9!!

First, Joey got to be the announcer for the skit at scouts and he loved it.
Jon even got to participate.
 Now for the Birthday Festivities.
We decided not to do parties this year.
A week or two before each of our children were born we went to eat at a new (new to us) restaurant.
For Joey, Mimi's Cafe had just opened in Orem.  It was a great last date as just Peter and I.
We were so excited to meet our little boy and become parents. 
 We ate at Mimi's on Monday night because Tuesday was packed with activities.   The food was delicious and we even all got dessert. Jon and Arabella are excited about their restaurants now.
 We headed home and opened presents. Earlier, after school, a package had arrived from Grandma and Grandpa Rabner.  I told Joey he could open it but if the present inside was wrapped he would have to wait to open them  He was so excited they were not and he could play right away. 
Above, Joey is opening the alien mothership lego set from Grandma and Grandpa Bird.  He nearly finished building it this morning.  He has told everyone that it is "19.3 inches long which is one foot and 7.3 inches."
 New Wii Game from Jon and Arabella
 Clawzord from the Bird cousins- he tells everyone about this.  
 Mega lego pack from us and some books that just were not as cool as the toys.
Tuesday we had waffles for breakfast.  He wanted apple slices and carmel dip for his class treat (I heard the carmel was a sticky mess- sorry Mrs. Bailey).  For dinner we had pizza.  Then after piano, soccer game, and taekwondo practice we had brownies and ice cream sundaes with hot fudge, carmel, and candy bars on top.  

We love you Joey! You are a great big brother and love being a big brother.  You are a hard worker and you try so hard to be right at everything.  You are becoming really strong in your taekwondo and your piano is sounding great! I am thankful every day for you and your help.  You are one of my greatest blessings!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Courage (Part 2)

As I thought about courage, I also thought about 2 other words with courage in them: encourage and discourage.
Let's start with definitions: 
Encourage: to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence; to stimulate by assistance or approval.
Discourage: to deprive or courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit.

As I was thinking of these other couples and the sad things that were taking place, I reflected upon my own marriage.  I am not pointing fingers at any of these people (obviously some made really bad choices) but hearing these stories made me want to protect and work on my own even more. 
Earlier this year we took a short road trip to Houston on our way home we played The Un-game to pass the time.  If you are not familiar with this game it is a card game where each player takes a turn picking a card and then answering the question on it.  Other players are not allowed to interrupt or comment on what they say. Peter got this question (or something like it): Who encourages you?
He thought about it for awhile and then said, "Nobody." The silence had already made me realize that I was obviously not the answer.  I couldn't resist so I said, "what about your dad?" He said that yea his dad did kind of but there was not really anyone. 
At that moment, I felt like a failure of a wife. 
I have thought a great deal about this and how I treat Peter and what it means to encourage someone. It also made me wonder if by not encouraging someone if you were in a way discouraging them or at least leading them to a path of discouragement. 
I love Peter and I tell him that all of the time.  We kiss and hold hands and find opportunities to talk about life and work and kids and us.  But after this game, I have tried even harder to ask him about work, scouts, the projects around the house he wants to do.  I try to recognize him more and give credit to him for the many things he does.  I try to point out to our children how much their dad loves them and works for them. I need to be a champion for my husband as much as I try to be for my kids.  
I can not say that I have seen some sort of obvious change in Peter or our relationship really.  But, I do feel that I love Peter more and I am more aware of the amazing man he is which has affected our relationship for me. 
I am sure that each of us can remember a time in our lives when we were discouraged.  It is hard to see the light sometimes. When I think of some of the harder times in my life, discouragement becomes a vicious cycle.  Everything seems bad even if in a better time in my life it would be just normal.  Satan wants us to feel that way.  
I love the talk given by Pres. Henry B. Eyring from last conference: Mountains to climb.  
Here are 2 quotes from it:
My purpose today is to describe what I know of how we can lay that unshakable foundation. I do it with great humility for two reasons. First, what I say could discourage some who are struggling in the midst of great adversity and feel their foundation of faith is crumbling. And second, I know that ever-greater tests lie before me before the end of life. Therefore, the prescription I offer you has yet to be proven in my own life through enduring to the end.

Now, I wish to encourage those who are in the midst of hard trials, who feel their faith may be fading under the onslaught of troubles. Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith. Moroni, the son of Mormon in the Book of Mormon, told us how that blessing could come to pass. He teaches the simple and sweet truth that acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it:
“And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
“For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.
“But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.
“Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.”7

I am trying harder in my life to find ways to encourage those around me and to avoid discouraging my kids or husband. I hope I can even work on finding better ways to encourage my friends and family.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It took awhile...

But, we finally hung our painting. 
We bought it in New Orleans in February 2011 always knowing where it would eventually find a home.
The trick was that I wanted the scripture to go with it and I could not decide exactly how to do it.
 After several ideas and some help from my friend Emily, I settled on a canvas print of the scripture. 
I chose specific words to be larger than others because to me they are so important and powerful!
 This is what you will see as you walk in our house.
We still have our awesome gun and spur chandelier which I believe really adds to the ambiance of the entryway experience.  Hey, we live in Texas so, we can get away with it. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Our litte princess

Okay so I found this in my drafts and decided it was time to post it.  Well I should have set the time for Friday but oh well, Enjoy a very little Arabella!

I wanted to get a video of how our sweet Arabella wiggles and coos now. This is not a great representation but she is super cute and since she is only wearing a diaper you can see her little chunka legs. We are letting her sleep in her room for the first time tonight and I hope it goes well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oh Lily

She makes us smile and laugh!
 She put the little bloomers on her own head.

 Proof that her hair is getting longer, but only in the back.

 She loves to wear sunglasses and usually they are around her neck.
 She can get into the pantry if it is left open for even a few minutes.  
She knows how to open ziploc bags.
She can pour out potato pearls and then put them in the laundry basket making sure to eat a few along the way.
 She tries to run away!
But if she is caught she will charm you with her smile and those big blue eyes!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Courage (Part 1)

I have had the topic of courage on my mind lately.  Several events that have occurred to people I know or to their children started my mind thinking of courage. I was on the phone with a friend and she told me of three different marriages that were ending due to infidelity and/or pornography.  Then about one week later my dear friend (not the one on the phone) had her world and family turned upside down by her husband’s poor choices.  My heart was aching for these people and the horrible challenges they were facing.  Their lives were being changed drastically not because of their own choices but because of the choices made by someone they loved. 
            I began to think of what could have possibly lead to different outcomes in these situations.  In each, there had to have been a point where a choice could be made to stay on the straight and narrow or to follow a path that seemed pleasing, enticing, or inviting.  I wondered why they did not have the courage to stay and not to veer.  I then began to think of all of the situations where courage is needed to make good choices or to do hard things.  I thought of the people affected and the courage they now needed to take the life they now have and make it into something better, not to become bitter and to discover the true beauty of the atonement and seek the ability to forgive the one who has harmed them. 
            Courage is actually defined as: the power or quality of dealing with or facing fear, danger, pain, etc.; the confidence to act in accordance to one’s beliefs; to nerve oneself to perform an action.  I also found an obsolete definition which is: mind, disposition, spirit.  So really, courage comes in many different forms and is not the same for any two people. 
            Peter has been watching the show Band of Brothers recently and as I watched with him one evening I was reminded of the apostles and prophet who we have as our leaders who found themselves serving in that same war (WWII).  Those soldiers (even soldiers today) exhibit a courage that I do not know if I possess.  They showed courage in facing the horrors of war and then again as they came home and tried to put those horrors aside and move forward doing good and normal life things: marriage, family, job, church, etc.  I realized that it is a blessing that we have such brave, strong and courageous men leading us today.  They faced things that many of us will never know or understand and yet we can be inspired by their example as we are faced with challenges. 
            I heard Elder Perry share a story of when he was serving in Japan during WWII.  I believe he was in Nagasaki and the city was in shambles.  As they were moving around the city, he noticed that the Christian places of worship had been abandoned for some time and in need of many repairs.  He and several other soldiers asked their commanding officers if they could spend their free time working to rebuild these places of worship.  They were granted permission and spent time rebuilding and seeking out the pastors and ministers of these places.  These soldiers were mocked by other soldiers who had chosen to drink and find girlfriends in their time off.  But when the time came for the soldiers to leave, they were sitting on the train and saw a group of people come marching down the hill.  It was the people they had served and helped to rebuild.  They were singing “Onward Christian Soldiers”. 
            After hearing this story, my mind again thought of courage.  Yes, they showed courage in serving in the military and being at war.  But, they showed courage again when they chose to look past the “enemy” and see God’s children and an opportunity to serve in the time they had.  Do I have this kind of courage?  I pray that I can find this courage in my heart.
            Another example of courage to me is the early Saints.  They showed a type of courage that again I do not know if I possess.  First, the courage to believe in the prophet Joseph Smith and the true gospel message he brought.  They were baptized, traveled across the ocean in some cases, traveled around the Eastern and Midwest striving to find a place to call Zion, then traveled into the unknown West after being forced from Nauvoo, buried children and loved ones all along the way, they then worked to build Zion, sent husbands on missions for 3 or more years at a time, carried on at home and fought with nature and the elements.  Would I have been able to believe and face so many obstacles, fears, and pains (refer to the definition of courage)? 
            In the song “Come, Come Ye Saints”, the second verse reads: “Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? Tis not so, all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight? Gird up your loins, fresh courage take, our God will never us forsake.  And soon we’ll have this tale to tell.  All is well, All is well.”  I am so thankful for the perspective of these words.  My lot is not hard- I am grateful for the chance I have had to know sorrow and hardship so that I can appreciate the joy more fully.  I do gain courage in knowing that God will never forsake me.  He is always there for me.  I have faced my challenges and without a doubt I know that those were the times that I felt Him watching over me more closely hoping that I will come out of the refiner’s fire a bit more polished, a bit more complete.  He does not want me to suffer or to struggle but He does want me to gain experience.
            I have had so many other thoughts about courage but in closing I want to share these two quotes by Pres. Monson.
“We are surrounded by the messages of the adversary: “Just this once won’t matter.” “Don’t worry; no one will know.”  Decisions are constantly before us.  To make them wisely, courage is needed-the courage to say no, the courage to say yes.  Decisions do determine destiny. “
 “Finally, may you endure.  What does it mean to endure?  I love this definition: to withstand with courage.  Courage may be necessary for you to believe; it will at times be necessary as you obey.  It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence.”
            I may not know exactly what sort of courage I have. But, I do have a great desire to endure to the end and so I will use what courage I have and the faith that I have to face what lies ahead of me. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Flashback Friday

Joey turned two the weekend we moved into our house in Las Vegas. 
If I remember correctly we headed to Utah just before and celebrated with grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We headed to the ice arena for some skating fun!

 It is strange to see Brooklyn and Joey so small.  I believe Brooklyn is eating a ding dong and not a hockey puck, to put your minds at ease.
 Goalie Josh

 Joey loved to give hugs at this time in his life. But, being the rather large boy that he was he usually knocked kids over in the process.
 Joey after some chocolate cake on his actual birthday.  
What a silly boy!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jon's First Soccer Game

Jon decided he wanted to give soccer a try since he practiced running so much this summer and there is a lot of running in soccer. (those were just about his words exactly.)
He is on the Scorpions, which he thinks is really cool!

 He says they won this first game but I am not actually sure if they keep score.  I believe it may have been a close game actually.  
 He still has a few things to learn- like once you kick the ball you need to keep running so you can kick it again.  
 But he knows how to celebrate and he loves that there are treats!
Here's to a great season Scorpions!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Days of School

The boys started school a few weeks ago but I just have not gotten around to posting their picture.
Jon is in 1st grade in Mrs. Sessions' class.  She was Joey's 1st grade teacher and we love her.  He is doing really well so far and is having a run of green smiley face behavior days! Keep it up Jon!
Joey is in 3rd grade in Mrs. Bailey's class.  This is the first year he will take state testing and so there is some added pressure to everything they do.  He is doing really well so far.  He is excited about everything that he learns and spouts facts about all sorts of things. 
They are both becoming even better readers!

 Arabella started preschool yesterday.  She has been SO excited! She keeps telling people that she will go to school when she is 5 and then they ask her how old she is and she tells them 3.  I think she will be crushed when her 5th birthday comes and she will have to wait another 9 months to start kindergarten.
I am doing a Joy school with 2 ladies.  The first week was at our house.  
Highlights have been:  Arabella and Luke taking turns pushing each other on the swing.  The three kids playing ring around the rosies on the trampoline.  And Arabella calling me teacher when she needed something or wanted to get my attention.  Also, today the kids were to bring something that started with the letter A and she decided to bring herself.  She thought she was so funny!
Lily just wanted in on the first day of preschool photos too!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Flashback Friday

Joey as a little boy (and some still today) had a thing for cleaning.
He loved the vacuum.  As an infant, we would turn on the vacuum and it would calm him down.
This little red vacuum has been so handy and used by all of our children.
 Our apartment in Springville.
 Our Apartment in Las Vegas.  Joey decided to get his own pancake mix.
 He would insist on helping and I felt that was a reasonable thing to do- have him help clean up the mess he had made.  Then, he started to make messes just so we could use the vacuum.  So, I was a mean mom and made him sit in time out while I had all of the fun cleaning up the mess with the vacuum.  Can you believe the cruelty?!
 Cleaning at grandma's house.
 Cleaning at a friend's house.  Swiffers were about as cool as vacuums.  
 Just a silly picture.
 What a dashing young man.
And finally, the big vacuum at our house in Las Vegas. He is about 2 1/2 years old in this picture and the video.  
I hope the sound appears in these videos.  I had no sound when I previewed them.  
Enjoy and have a great weekend!