Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Groundhog & Presidents Day!

I love February because although it is still horribly cold, it has lots of holidays! Granted Groundhog Day & Presidents Day are not typically celebrated. James loves any excuse for a party or bbq. So as a family we celebrate them. Check out below to see how. (Maybe we can convince you to start a few new traditions too!)

This year James & Ryan celebrated their 5th Annual Groundhogs Day BBQ and I made my second groundhog cake in honor of the event. It was very snow on Feb 2nd this year so I decided to go with a more winter looking cake than last years. I made an Oreo Ice Cream cake. It is delicious if I do say so myself!

Then yesterday on the 21st we celebrated Presidents day. We had a fabulous day! In the evening we had a BBQ with friends & this was the dessert I choose to make in honor of our Presidents. It is a Molasses (Gingersnap) Cookie with cream cheese frosting & is actually so yummy. Click here for the recipe. After we ate we found a President Trivia Game on line & quizzed our knowledge of our founding fathers & presidents. Because I'm a nerd, I found it so fun! Click here to see how much you know about our Presidents.

Yesterday really was the best because James has been so busy with Grad school that we never see him. But he worked & studied like crazy on Friday & Saturday so he could spend the whole Presidents Day playing with us. It was awesome! In the morning we went sledding with our friends, Mike & Amy & their kids. It was MaryKate's first time ever!

She couldn't get enough. At first she touched the snow & said over and over, "Brrr... It's cold."

Then James took her on the sled & she squealed over & over, "Wee! Wee! Again!"

This is MaryKate with one of her favorite friends & her first snowman!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Amateur Quilter

My sister Becky, who is a fabulous quilter started this quilt for MaryKate when I got pregnant. In the 2 years that have transpired since then, Becky has had 2 babies, making it nearly impossible for her to find the time to quilt with 4 little ones. At Christmas the quilt pieces and design where passed to me to finish. After making a few final pieces, sewing all the pieces together, quilting each block, & binding it I have one finished imperfect quilt and a blister on my middle finger & thumb. Holy cow... quilting takes a lot of time! When MaryKate is a sassy teen & questions my love for her I will point at the quilt & enough said! For all you quilters out there, bless you for your patience. I hope to sit near you at church or the doctors office while MaryKate screams irreverently. I nearly cursed 3 times while making this & that is not like me. Anyway, thank you Becky for all your help! You're the best!

P.S. James' Valentines post was very, very kind & made me cry... just if you were wondering. I hope you all have someone that finds their own ways of making you feel loved like that. And I hope you had at least one delicious Valentine treat!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Letter from Dad

Kathy and I often will forego giving presents on Valentine's Days and Anniversaries and write each other letters instead. Probably because we are poor, but also because we feel like it gives us an opportunity to let each other know and read the things that sometimes go unsaid. So instead of a stuffed, singing monkey holding a heart, I am giving Kathy this letter. I realize that it may seem a little personal but I really wanted to share some of the things that I appreciate about Kathy with her friends and family that read this Blog. And maybe it will inspire you to write or letter or two yourself. I highly recommend it.

Dear Baby Mine #2,

Today is Valentine’s day and my birthday. About a year and a half ago I wrote a letter to your sister MaryKate while she was in the same place you are. I wanted to tell MaryKate some important things about your mother that she needed to know before she came out. I feel like I need to share some of the same things with you (to give you fair warning), and to remind your mom of somethings she forgets sometimes.

First you need to know that your mother is a very amazing person. She has a heart bigger than a cantaloupe, (by the way, you should know that your mother dislikes cantaloupe). She has the ability to love quickly...I imagine you will experience this trait as soon as you get here. Her love is so amazing that sometimes she will love you, even when you may not show love in return. Remember that she will always love you, even when you beg her to ride on Splash Mountain all day when we go to Disneyland and she really doesn’t want to go (you'll see). Though your mom's love is quick, it is strong and lasting. You'll be so grateful for that someday, I know I am.

Second you should know that your mom worries a lot. She has been worrying about you before you were born, before your mother and I were even married, she worried about you. She worries about your looks, your heart, your problems, your attitude, that Turkish terrorists will steal you, that you will bite when you breast feed, that you will be a boy and a girl, that you will be bossy. She worries that you are going to be too big or too small or have red hair (no offense if you do, she just has this thing with red hair). Your mom worries because of the first thing I told you about (because she loves you). Whenever she is worried there is one thing I suggest; give her a big hug and tell her you love her. I try to do that when she worries and most of the times it helps a little.

Third you should know that your mother is a very talented person. She can do most anything she puts her mind to and won't do anything she puts her mind against (with the exception of going to Deseret Industries, but you really have to plead). Just watch her go, she can do so much in so little time. She can sew a quilt for your sister, plan a party for your dad, make a present for her neighbor, plan service for someone who may be sad, and still have the energy to, kiss your dad when he comes home from school, workout early in the morning, listen to me talk and stay up late so she can spend more time with me (even when she is really tired) and do everything else a busy mom does. She has done a lot of hard things with you inside of her. I hope you were paying attention, it hasn't always been easy. I hope you are as grateful as I am.

Fourth you need to know how beautiful you mom is. This should go unexplained, but sometimes your mom has a hard time believing me when I tell her. Sometimes I just sit and look at her and think about how pretty she is. I hope you have her nose and eyes. I hope you have her laugh, her ears (because they are so fun). But most of all I hope you have the light in your eyes that she has. She sparkles. And I can attest that it is not only because she has you inside of her. She shines all the time and I can't get enough.

Last you should know how much I love your mom. This is important because I want you to try to love her more. You won't be able to, but I want you to try. I love your mom more every day, so I will at least have a couple of years on you. I love your mom because she is one hot momma. I love her because she loves the Lord. I love your mom because she gives. I love her because she loves me. I love your mom because she makes me laugh and cry. I love her because the thought of her makes me smile when I am driving in the car by myself. I love your mom because she isn't perfect and allows me to be imperfect too. I love her because she wants to be more. I love her because she hates to give up. I love her just because.

I love you sweet little thing. I've loved you for a long time. I can't wait to meet you. Be nice to your mom for me. okay?

Love you lots,


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Growing & Healing

I sat at the doctors office this afternoon watching MaryKate climb up the chairs, onto tables, then dash over to the fish tank & then to the pile of books on the shelf. Her light-up tennis shoes were blinking brightly & her endless chatter was filled with enthusiasm. I marveled that it was just over a year ago that I was at the doctors office with MaryKate: a bald, chubby baby who could barely roll over! It was then that I realized that growth happens so subtly, so quickly... whether I want it to or not. And although there are the few long sleepless nights that feel they will never end, they do end & before you know it, she has pig tails!

I think growing is so similar to healing. A year ago today my brother committed suicide. The loss of such a wonderful person was life shattering for us all. Knowing John, he never would want to hurt any of us & I believe he felt the world could go on just fine without him. Which is why secretly in my heart I decided that I would try to never stop grieving & mourning... then he would know that he was wrong, that we loved him so much more than he ever knew and that our world would never be the same without him. The first days & months dragged on so slowly, so miserably (much like the first long days & nights with MaryKate). But so subtly, whether I wanted to or not, I began to heal. Crying went from everyday to every other & then once a week & then once a month. Guilt & anger began to melt away along with the Utah snow & before I knew it I could think about John & smile and sometimes even laugh at a ridiculous memory I had of him.

I know we say we never want our babies to grow up, but of course we do... MaryKate is more fun everyday and though I miss the stages that have passed, I love each new one. I also know that I really believed for a while that I never wanted to heal, but of course I do... I miss John everyday & I still ache for a tight hug or a long talk with him, but I love each new day and I am thankful for the grace & miracle of healing.


Below is a picture of the last time I hugged John. It was on the day of my wedding at our reception. He left a few days later to Iraq. I am so thankful he was able to get permission to take leave so that he could be there for our wedding. It made the day even more special.