Monday, March 31, 2008

Day 1-Easter on the Road

We set off for Utah bright and early on Saturday morning. We were sad to miss out on all the easter egg hunts in our neighborhood so we found our own instead. I looked online to find out when different towns along the way would be having easter egg hunts. I found out that most of the towns would be having hunts at 10:00 so it just depended on where we were at that time. We ended up getting off the exit to La Grande just minutes before ten. We pulled into a gas station, got some direction to the park, and raced to make it on time. If your late for an egg hunt your pretty much out of luck. We made it just in time and all three kids got to participate in their different age groups. Abbie got the most and was the happiest to take part in the crazy fun. The other two weren't as excited by it all. I guess it was a little weird for them. We were racing to get there, it was a place and people they didn't know and the candy just wasn't luring enough.
Heather broke the rules by helping Emily out. Emily just stood there looking confused and scared so after collecting just a few eggs she was happy to be done.
I had to bribe Connor with computer time so that we would go on his egg hunt. I know it's weird to bribe your child with more computer time just so he'll go out and collect candy that isn't even good for him! I knew he'd be glad he did, and he was. Even if they were a little tentative at first, the kids were all happy to get out of the car for a while and run around.

We were nervous that the Easter Bunny would visit our house even though we weren't there. The kids were very excited when they got into the car after lunch at McDonalds and saw that the Easter Bunny had found our car and left baskets! That Easter Bunny is pretty smart. Even Holly was excited about her little lamb from the Easter Bunny.
The rest of the drive down was pretty uneventful. But this was my favorite pic from the day. Here's how Heather decided to travel. Driving with four kids and three adults in a van for 12 hours can be a little much. She coped by hiding out under the blanket to watch a movie. Whatever works!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

In Need of a Recovery Vacation!

Do you ever get home from vacation and feel like you need a vacation to recover? I just had to pull myself off the floor where I was curled into fetal position, almost asleep-and it's only 8:30! We didn't waste a minute in our quest for fun on our Utah vacation. We sacrificed many hours of sleep so we could play even more! Rick and I were rarely in bed before 1:00 a.m. and usually awake by 7:00-with no naps to help us recover. No wonder I'm exhausted! I've decided that each day is worthy of a post and so I'm writing this to commit to myself and those who find themselves reading this, that I'll have at least 1 post a day to tell you about the fun adventures. I have some awesome stories to share! For now-thanks so much to all my friends/family that we hung out with in Utah. You guys rock! I found myself considering a move back to Utah to be with all of you. That was until I smelled the Oregon air, saw the waterfalls, and felt the rain. I love it here! So for the time being, we'll continue to make our whirlwind trips to Utah and hope all of our friends and family will continue to visit us here-where things aren't quite so crazy. Ok-I'm having a really hard time spelling and completing sentences and my eyes are only half open. Time for bed-but keep checking for more details.

Friday, March 21, 2008

This is Something Everyone Needs to Know About

He did it! Rick Ellis passed all four sections of the CPA exam! For those of you who've been involved in our lives over the last few years, you know just how awesome that is. He gave me the go ahead to open the letter when it came. Last time he was 1% away from passing and he left a voice message telling me he was headed for the closest bridge. He was joking of course but we were all very frustrated. I was so nervous when I saw the letter. I ripped it open and hollered with joy when I saw that he had received credit for all four sections. We then made this sign (Maia and Emily helped with the coloring) and anxiously waited for him to get home from work. We were all of the front porch when he came home and he too hollered for joy when he saw the sign and realized what it meant. No more studying for this boy. We celebrated by eating a 51 point chocolate dessert from PF Changs (reminder: you should only have about 25 points in a day!!). Don't worry, we didn't eat the whole thing in one night. We've been snacking on it today as well. Yum. Rick also bought a new game for his PSP and is excited to play on the drive to Utah tomorrow. Just like a little kid!
It's 11:30 now and we are getting up at 5:00 for our long drive to Utah. I've spent the whole day packing and cleaning. I feel like all I really want to do is sit around in my nice clean house and recover from packing! I'm sure once we get on the road I'll be more excited. I'm exhausted but couldn't leave town without sharing this good news. All the hard work finally paid off. Way to go Rick!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fashion

I love Abbie's style. Most of the time she puts on whatever she happens to grab out of the drawer. Occasionally I'll have her change her clothes but she is mainly in charge of her fashion. She's the kind of girl that wants nothing down with her hair, ever, and wanted it cut to her ears. The majority of the time, she could care less what she has on. But there are those times when it really, really matters. Today was one of those days. Everything green was pulled out of the drawers to celebrate St. Patty's Day and to ensure that she would be free of pinches. I cringed when she put the bright green jacket on and suggested that maybe it just didn't work with the outfit. But it was green and it had to be worn. She compromised by putting it around her waist. At one point she had a white shirt under her green sweater. She wasn't satisfied and found a shirt that worked even better. The other time when it really, really mattered what she wore for the day, was on pocket day. That girl found whatever she could to guarantee that she would have more pockets than anyone in the class. The outfit was awesome-I wish I had a picture. It required wearing the super tight jeans that were a few sizes too small. But they had the most pockets! All that work and she ended up being a few pockets shy of winning the pocket competition. No wonder when we went shopping a few weeks later she put worldly fashion aside and was on the quest for pants and shirts with pockets. What more does a girl need? I love how little she cares, even if the outfits are a bit painful at times, and hope we can make it through the teenage years being satisfied with holiday colors and pockets. Do you think there's any chance?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Touch

My sisters both told me they were sick of looking at the kite picture. I can't understand why. I think it's a very happy, fun picture. I can't imagine there as sick of it as I am of looking at Heather's New Year's Eve pictures. Are we all in agreement that it's time for her to add something else!

I've had thoughts floating through my head the past week that I've wanted to share on my blog but haven't made the time to do so. Now that I know that the cuteness of the kites is wearing off, I'm making the time to share my thoughts.

I had the opportunity of talking at enrichment this past week. We were celebrating the RS birthday and a few of us shared how women in the church, our lives, the scriptures have blessed us. I was grateful for what others shared and so impressed by the impact we as women can have in this life.

I talked about the woman in the New Testament who suffered from an issue of blood. She's the one who fought her way through the crowd to touch her Savior's robes. Because of her faith she was made whole. Her account only takes up about 6 verses but the message from it is so powerful. It is a reminder for us to push through whatever it is that stands in the way of our Savior, to reach out to Him, and to let Him heal us. I love this quote by Elder Ballard and the hope that it offers.

“If our faith is anchored securely in our testimonies of Christ, we will be able to cope with whatever adversity comes our way, and we will be able to do so in a positive, faith-promoting manner. If we keep the eye of faith focused on Christ, we gain a broader view and an eternal perspective, and with that we can understand adversity from within the context of Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for all of His children. And we can find comfort in this life in the safety, peace, joy and security that He promises”
I have been so touched this week by a family who lost their 16-year old boy. He died trying to save an 11-year old who was drowning in the ocean. I have never met the family. They are in the neighboring ward, where my sister and some dear friends go. Through them I have learned that this family is using the healing power of Christ to help them through a trial that would otherwise be unbearable. They recognize the tender mercies they have been blessed with since their son died. They are reaching out to Him and letting Him heal their hearts.
It gives me hope to know that when things get too hard, which they do and will, I can reach out to my Savior and be healed. Life is not easy but with Christ's healing power we can do it!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Let's Go Fly a Kite

I love this picture!

Growing Up

You know your kids are growing up when they can tag along with you on the things you love to do. It opens up a whole new world of activities you can do with them. Heather and I took Abbie and Connor and friend Maddie with us on a cross-country ski trip and had a great time! Of course they wanted to spend lots of time resting and eating but that was ok with me. Our surroundings were beautiful.



The only miserable part was the 30 minute climb to the cars. It seemed like the hill was never going to end. This is a pic of Connor trying to recover from it. He was sure he wasn't going to make it.






And here's superwoman Heather carrying four set of skiis and poles to the car. Not sure what she was trying to prove but I was fine to carry my skiis and to take pics of her carrying everyone elses!

The whole trip made me very excited for the fun things I'll be able to do with my kids. It will be nice when one of them is having a hard time. We can run away to the mountain and try to make some sense of this crazy world.

Counting Points

It all started at a party about 6 months ago. I had some friends who were losing weight doing Weight Watchers and frequently asked questions about it. I had also seen success with my sister and brother. I'm not one to diet so I was mostly just asking questions out of curiosity.

Well-at this party I was eating a delicious crab dip on bread and asked one of these friends how many points it was. By this point I had had 3 servings not to mention everything else I had eaten that night. I found out that those three servings added up to almost 15 points and that the average person should have around 25 points for the day. So in less than 5 minutes I had eaten more than half my points for the day. I wouldn't be surprised if I had eaten close to 100 points that day. That's when I knew that things had to change.

I went on a run the next morning and committed to take charge of what I was eating. More than anything, for the first time in my life, I was aware of what and how much I was eating. Since that fateful night and run, I have been counting just about everything that goes into my mouth and love it! I got Steph on board and she lost weight and now Heather has lost almost 15 pounds in just a few months. Way to go! Here's Heather making a special low point concoction-popcorn and marshmellows. It was quite the ordeal and maybe not too tasty but it kept her from eating the chocolate fondue we had that night. She's amazing! Even the kids are on board. We have a nifty calculator that will tell you how many points things are. You plug in the calories, fat and fiber and it gives you a number. Connor finds out points on just about anything with a nutrition label. Heather gave him a peanut butter cup for Valentines. He flipped out his handy calculator, found out that this little treat had 4 points, and said, "No way am I eating that!" I'm sure he ending up eating it at some point but I loved that he recognized that maybe it wasn't the best use of points. And don't worry-I never count the kids points and don't worry about how many they have. They're kids!
So if you've ever thought you need to get control of what you eat-this is the way to do it. I feel like I'm finally keeping the word of wisdom and taking better care of my body. Of course, I still eat my treats and love food as much, if not more, than ever before. But I do it in moderation and feel happy because of it!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hooray for Wednesdays!

I've never been a big Wednesday person. In fact, I usually feel like I'm in survival mode from Monday to Thursday and then I cherish the weekends! That, my friends, has all changed. Wednesdays have become my very favorite days and I'm am using my blog to tell you why. This past Wednesday I put the camera in my purse so I could document the day.

I get Abbie and Connor off to school and then usually go for my morning run. I always love my runs. Then I come home and actually have more than 15 minutes before I have to rush out the door again-like every other day of the week. We are home from running by 9 and don't leave again until 10:30. It's nice to have that time to actually get ready for the day instead of racing around. Our first stop is gymnastics for Emily. Both Emily and I love this part of the week. She has so much fun and I have just as much fun watching her. I only get to watch through the windows but I'm ok with that. Sometimes I just sit outside the room and read a book. It's nice down time. After gym we drive about 15 minutes to meet Rick for lunch. Yeah!!! Rick works on 21st street in downtown Portland. There are many, many restaurants within 5 minutes of his work. When he got the job there we decided that we were going to take advantage of his location and have some fun. So every week we pick a new place (Rick keeps trying to pick old places that we love but I won't let him). So far we have had Italian, Japanese, Korean (only one I haven't liked so far), French, Vietnamese, yummy desserts, crepes and resturaunt named Elephants which was a combination of everything. So fun! If you have any great recomendations please let me know!
We bring Em and Holly along and they only add to the fun. Emily always packs a lunch and knows the drill. As soon as we get to the restaurant she pulls out all of her stuff and begins talking us into letting her eat dessert first. Occasionally she'll try our food but she's mostly content with her PB&J.

Rick and I love this time together. It's a guaranteed date every week. Let me know if you think my hair is too long-I think I'm ready to cut it!
After our Korean food we needed a little something else (remember how it's been my least favorite) so we hung out in the comfy chairs at Starbucks and drank hot chocolate and ate a yummy brownie.
Emily was having fun sitting in her princess pose getting her picture taken.
Emily is always worn out from her morning of fun and takes a nap in the car. We get home in time to pick the kids up from school and then spend the afternoon getting jobs done so we can head out for our next adventure!
Ice Skating! The kids decided they wanted to take ice skating lessons. It's a 6-week course and has been so fun. For them anyway. Emily and I freeze as we sit in the bleachers. We bring blankets so it isn't too bad.
They both have made huge improvments and will be sad to see it end. Here's the only sad part about Wednesdays. Poor Holly spends the majority of the day stuck in her carseat. I drag her from one place to the next and she has to sneak a nap in whenever she can. But look at that face. She doesn't seem to mind. It helped that I was giving her one grahm cracker after another.
After ice skating we have dinner, finish up jobs, and put the kids to bed. Rick has scouts that night which means I have to stay home (that's a very good thing. Most nights I'm gone doing RS stuff). I end the day reading a good book and looking forward to doing it all again. Hooray for Wednesdays!!!