Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joey Testing

Joey had another testing towards getting his 2nd degree black belt on Saturday.
He is getting so much better. We are so proud of him and his progress and the effort he makes. 

 This is Joey showing off the Jiu-Jitsu moves they have been working on. They are some pretty intense moves.  I am pretty sure that if Joey were in a situation where someone were trying to hurt him he would remember some of these things they have gone over so many times and be able to protect himself. 
Peter took Joey to this testing (I had to work that night and so needed to stay home and sleep before hand). He said one of the best parts was watching the higher ranked black belts spar.  Joey's instructor used to do mixed martial arts fighting and was really good at it. He has some incredible reflexes and power.  Someday I would really like to see him go all out. I am going to attach a couple of videos.  There is a video of Joey sparring. Sparring is not his strongest area but he can hold his own. His kicks are getting so much higher and stronger.
Joey and Ralph sparring.
Joey's teacher Mr. Coleman (5th degree black belt the one with the Red lettering on his back) and Ms. Engle Joey's other primary teacher she is a Junior in High school and a 2nd nearly 3rd degree black belt. I would not mess with her.
Here Mr. Coleman takes on 3 other men.  Like I said he used to do mixed martial arts to the head gear annoys him.  When you watch him in person you are able to more fully tell that he is barely hitting his opponents, most of the time he makes enough contact for it to count as contact and then he is off and moving  again getting ready to strike again. I believe the men he is sparring are all 3rd degree and higher belts. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Delicious Daddy Dinner

Sirloin steak was on sale and we took advantage. 
Since I worked on Saturday night, I took a nap after church and so Peter was left to figure out dinner. I told him we were having steak and I suggested the sweet potato patties (thank you Family Fun magazine and Bountiful  Baskets). And yes, I have not taken off my Valentine table cloth yet, it is still February the month of love!

We feasted  upon clockwise from the top: sweet potato patties with an orange yogurt dipping sauce; loaded mashed potatoes (made with bacon, cheese, whipping cream, butter, salt, onion and garlic caramelized in the bacon drippings- which were added as well for more BACON flavor); rainbow carrots with brown sugar, salt and pepper cut bumpy for Arabella; grilled sirloin steak that was seasoned the night before with a grilled red onion for the adults.  To make the meal complete we paired this with an excellent 2011 Bird Vineyard grape juice. Peter did it all; I mixed the grape juice and finished cooking the sweet potato patties but otherwise he was the chef and I am sorry you were not all here to enjoy it!

Lily had been in her dress which she got yogurt on so it was taken off and a bib was put on.  She liked that for about 30 seconds before she was trying to get it off.  When she was unable to get it over her head she somehow managed to get it down around her chest.  What a girl!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soccer Saturday #2

Jon had his second game on Saturday and notice the new uniform. it looks nice, eh?!
I only took these two pictures because it was so cold! It was about 45 with the wind blowing and maybe 50 when it was not. I know for so many of you that seems warm but for us Texans who have had an unusually warm winter, it was cold!

I was again amazed at how much more control he has over his body and his overall awareness of what it going on. He is more engaged in the game. He is pretty good runner. 
I still had to laugh a few times because the boys on both teams rather than just going up and kicking the ball away from the other team seemed to pause and wait for the person to kick it - almost like they did not want to take the ball away or like they were taking turns.
It makes me think that we spend so much time trying to teach our kids to take turns and share that when we put them into something like a competitive sport it is a bit hard for their brains to switch gears and learn to "take" when playing this game or others like it. 
Joey missed his game because he had Taekwondo testing but Thursday will be his first game and we are looking forward to it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wednesday Night

I took a moment to capture the buzz of life last Wednesday night.
I was hurrying to get the house cleaned up because all of the Young Men were coming over that night.  I also needed to get dinner done- leftovers I love you but you also mean several containers will be emptied and need to be cleaned and the still remaining leftovers put away. 
 Lily was doing her part to swiffer the entry- I had done the kitchen, Arabella wanted to do the laundry room and so Lily did not want to be left out. I must say that I should try mopping in too big rain boots and see if it spices things up some because Lily was really happy!
 Joey was busy getting his practicing in. He is getting quite good and needs only occasional reminders to practice. 
 Jon would cut and create with paper and markers and crayons for hours and so he was supposed to be cleaning up the office and in the process made a few things. 
Arabella received a box of 64 crayons for Christmas and has had so much fun using them and taking them all out and putting them back in. I believe that this time she had been using them and Lily emptied them out but Arabella was a trooper and helped to clean them up. 

I am so thankful for my sweet children.  They each have their moments where they make me want to pull my hair out but they teach me so much each day. I am thankful for their forgiving hearts-they love me even after I get mad at them- this almost makes it worse because then I hate myself more for losing my patience with them.  The longer I am a mother and the more time I spend with my children the more I come to understand why we need to become like little children.  They love without questioning or without bias, they have a deep desire to do what will make others happy and they see the world with wonder and awe.  As adults we so often are quick to judge or turn away from people, the world tells us to do what makes us happy and not to worry about who gets hurt along the way, and we can easily be consumed by all that is wrong, scary, dangerous, or evil in this world. 

I am thankful each day that my Heavenly Father gave me the chance to be a parent so that I could learn better what it means to become like a little child and overall want to be a better person for my children.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


We decided to try soccer again with Jon and while we were at it we put Joey in so that he could play a team sport and try something different. 
Jon's team was supposed to have it's second practice last Thursday but since there was a fugitive on the loose that had killed an officer the park was closed due to him being seen in the are and so no practice. Good idea!
His first game was on Saturday morning after the Blue and Gold. 
He is a better player than he was this fall. He was more aware and seemed to have better control of his body which lead to better control of the ball. 
 I don't think his team won but it was a really good game!

Joey's team has had several practices and several cancelled at the last minute leaving me at a park with my kids and not knowing it had been cancelled. Also Joey's coach informed the parents the first practice that some of the kids has told him they were there to have fun- he said no we are here to win. So, in order to "take the team to the next level" he is holding practice 4 days a week for 90 minutes each time. This is a little more than we had bargained for and 2 of those practices interfere with taekwondo so we have decided he will go twice a week and attend the games.  Unfortunately Joey's first to games are during the exact same time as the Blue and Gold and this Saturday during his taekwondo testing. I am one of those must make everything types of people so this is good for me to have to choose and let go.  We can not make everything and that is okay. Joey is liking it which is really what matters. I want him to have a good experience. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blue and Gold 2013

Saturday morning we had our western themed blue and gold banquet.
The decorations were great. We served food out of the back of a handcart. There was a large WANTED poster photo spot. There stick horse races, horseshoes, and some tales of the trails were told. 
I am on the cub committee so I was able to help in the planning and execution. Some of my favorite touches were the firefly jars (they are hard to discern in this picture because we could not turn the lights all of the way off) and the wanted placemats made by the boys for each family member and their's had a black and white picture of them on it. 
Another big hit were the mustache straws seen below-so silly!

Our cub master introduced each boy by describing three things (sent in by parents) he had done that year and we had to guess.  I said Joey had played the piano in primary, learned to shoot a BB gun and could break a board with his hand and foot.
He was excited to earn his photography and language arts belt loops and pins.
We are so proud of Joey and his achievements.  Next year will be great because Jon will be a cub scout too!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Day

I will blame the fact that I worked from 1am to 7 am on the fact that these are the only 2 pictures I have of Valentine's Day.
We started our morning with Dad's famous pancakes and mine were extra special because they spelled LOVE. 
I spent the morning taking a short 1 hour nap and then hosting a preschool party at our house at 10:30.
Then Peter surprised me with lunch at 12:45.  Too bad I had to leave for the school at 1:25 to help with more class parties.

I ended up not making it to Jon's class at all but we had a great time in Joey's.  We had heart shaped donuts, strawberry soda floats, grapes, pretzels and carrots.  We made a quick lollipop craft and then finished the party by playing stack the candy hearts and transfer the candy hearts using a straw. 

Our afternoon was filled with driving kids to activities and a ravioli and leftover dinner (I had planned to do just ravioli but we had way too many left overs to not eat some of them).
We enjoyed strawberry soda floats for dinner too.  
When I took Joey to his 2nd taekwondo class I delivered valentine's to my visiting teaching companion and the ladies I visit teach. I was so ready for bed by the time it came.

I was so happy to spend the day taking care of and loving my family! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lily and the orange

Lily has discovered oranges and really likes them. 
We have had a lot of the cuties around and they are so easy to peel.  I usually start it and let her finish it. I love watching her tiny hands do the work. 
Saturday we got a bunch of small blood oranges in our Bountiful basket and she kept packing them around.
They are not as easy to peel but she had already started into 2 others earlier that day.  Then while we were cleaning up dinner we found her doing this. She had pushed a chair over to the counter where the fruit bowls are and picked an orange and went to town.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Joey's Camera

Joey received a camera from Grandma and Grandpa Bird for Christmas and has had a great time taking pictures with it. 
Here are a few of the pictures he has taken since then. 

I believe that is a picture of snow but I am not sure.
 Snow on Christmas day! 

 The kids tackling Dad!
 Peter and I received a building game set from Jared and the kids took all of the pieces one day and made this really long tunnel with it. They worked really well together.

Some pictures from our camping trip.

Grandma and Grandpa Rabner sent a new game to us called suspend. We played a few times today and had fun working together to make this. Glad we took a picture because parts of it are very carefully balanced. 
Keep up the good work taking pictures Joey!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Willow Trees

There is a house in our neighborhood that we pass everyday that has a weeping willow tree.
My kids are fascinated by it- probably because there are not any others around.
Arabella calls it a weeping willow half of the time and the other half a whipping willow- both are good, right?!
Arabella: Mom I know how you can tell if a weeping willow tree is dead.
Mom: How is that? (Thinking it is all dried up and brown, right.)
Arabella: Instead of being all bent over it will be stiff and straight.  Because a normal tree bends over when it is dead. 
Mom: I bet you are right. (Amazed at the thought process she used to come to that conclusion.)

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Jon: Mom I can name the planets in the solar system.
Me: Oh, what are they?
Jon: The sun, it counts because it is so big. Earth, Venus, Mars, Neptune and Pluto is still a planet mom.
Me: Yes, I believe it is.
Jon: Yea it is just an Uchtdorf planet.
Me: I think you mean dwarf planet. Uchtdorf is the name of one of the apostles.
Jon: That's right dwarf planet. 
Me: laughing to myself so as not to make him feel bad. I am still laughing about this. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tree of Life

I decided it was time for some creativity with our family home evening. 
We have been reading about Lehi and his vision of the tree of life and so we decided to make our own interpretations.
I would read about an element of the vision and then we would set to work creating them.
 Some great masterpieces. Lily's is below and she just loved the painting party and so it looks like she has a lot of mists of darkness. She did want some glue so t here are some leaves and pom poms on there.
Jon did a lot of gluing.  Joey was more into drawing and coloring his.  He also mixed paints to get the right colors.  Arabella wanted blue sky and painted her leaves green (we had collected them outside and they were more brown than green since it is winter). Our design -Peter and I worked together- is a bit 3 D.
The rod of iron is up off of the paper and looks like a hand rail.  

We discussed how we can work as a family to stay on the straight and narrow path and avoid the mists of darkness. We talked about what the great and spacious building was about and that we do not want to be there and should never be ashamed of choosing the right. 
We ended the evening with fruit crumble- it was delicious! 
I don't always do such family home evening lessons but we had so much fun I hope that I can try harder to be creative and think outside the box.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Well, I am really glad I stocked up on these last month.
We have gone through too many boxes lately.
I took 6 tissues into sacrament meeting with me thinking it would get us through church.  We used them all in the first 30 minutes. I grossly underestimated the mucous!
I survived last week and that seems like a major accomplishment.
Now, I am just wishing I owned stock in kleenex or another tissue company and I think stock in a pseudoephedrine company would not be a bad idea. If I owned those stocks I don't think I would feel quite as bad about throwing so many tissues away!
I hope all of you are surviving this worse than usual flu season.