Saturday, February 28, 2009

8 Things About Me

Mandy tagged me so here it goes.
8 Favorite TV Shows
1. Bones
2. Project Runway
3. Top Chef
4. Amazing Race
5. Big Bang Theory
6. Mythbusters
7. Scrubs
8. Two and a Half Men

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Walked to work in -16 F temperatures
2. Listened to the Dom & Jane show
3. Worked at the computer
4. Visited Facebook
5. Read a book
6. Watched Bones
7. Cooked dinner
8. Comforted a fussy baby

8 Things I am Looking Forward To
1. Seeing my family (I don't know when, but I'm looking forward nonetheless)
2. Taking a nap during my lunch hour
3. Seeing the new Harry Potter movie
4. Seeing the new Twilight movie
5. My anniversary (date night)
6. Brekken sleeping through the night consistently
7. Tax refund
8. Finishing my project at work

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. El Jimador
2. Applebee's
3. Burger King
4. Taco Bell
5. Olive Garden
6. Red Lobster
7. Chilis
8. Sonic

8 Things on My Wish List
1. Living closer to family
2. Aaron gets a big raise OR
3. Aaron quits his job to be stay-at-home dad
4. Something big to celebrate our 10th anniversary
5. Preston stopping the bedtime battles
6. Winning the lottery (a little difficult, since I don't buy tickets)
7. Shopping spree on
8. Everyone in the family to stay healthy for a change!

If you read this, you've been tagged. You're it!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Wi-brerry

Haley likes to try and help Preston practice the words they learn on shows like Dora the Explorer. After they hear a new word in Spanish, Haley will repeat it. Then she turns to Preston and says: "Now you say it. {word} Good job!" It's quite a routine with them.

So last night, I picked the kids up from daycare and we ran to the library to return some books. The kids had a good time picking out their new books and movies to borrow. As we drove home, Preston said happily: "I wuv the wi-brerry." Trying to model the correct pronunciation without correcting him, I agreed: "Yes, it's fun to visit the library."

Preston immediately informed me I was saying it wrong: "No, wi-brerry, Mommy. Now you say it. Wi-brerry."

I said: "Library."

Preston: "No mommy, WI-BRERRY!"

Me: "Wi-brerry?"

Preston: "Yay! You did it, Mommy! Good job!"

I guess he taught me...

Thursday, February 26, 2009


We really enjoyed our Christmas. The kids let us sleep in until 7:30 - although they had actually promised us 9:30. Oh well; in another year or so, I'm sure we'll be fondly remembering "sleeping in" like that on Christmas morning!
Santa left some fun things for the kids. Their favorite thing by far is the roller coaster. They have been riding it nonstop since yesterday morning!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

They also had lots of fun opening their gifts. Haley has been doing a lot with the craft kit from Grandma & Grandpa Shields and Preston really likes the fire truck they gave him. Grandma & Grandpa Schurz gave all the kids puzzles of their names, and they've all really liked playing with those, too. Though, to be fair, Brekken just chews on his.

We have also been having fun with the Wii - we're still figuring it out, though!

Haley got a sticker kit and immediately plastered them all over her face.

Preston after a successful run on the coaster.

Brekken opening a present.

There are more Christmas pictures at if you want to see.
Hope you all had a merry Christmas, too!

Missing Mom

I was home with Brekken today because he was sick. I took advantage of being home to take time to call and talk to my mom. It's one of those things I always mean to do, and then it gets put off because life gets in the way. Before I know it, a couple of weeks have gone by and we haven't spoken. So even though the kids would be mad if they knew I talked to Grandma and they weren't here to get their turn, I called just to chat.

It was nice to talk to her just about random stuff going on. It reminded me how much I love my mom and wish we lived closer! I love living here for many reasons - I have a good job, great friends, we like our neighborhood and our ward, even the weather for the most part (today being the exception). The only problem is that our families are on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. The weather during the winter is so bad across the Rockies that it feels like we never see our families between about October and May.

I wish we could visit more often. I wish they could visit more often. I wish we all had enough money that we could fly over for a quick visit. Until then, I guess I'll focus on being glad that I can just pick up the phone and call when I'm missing my Mom.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Feeling Crafty

When I went to Christmas brunch at Melissa Howell's (Firestone) a few weeks ago, she showed us how she made some very cute pendants. Basically, you take a Scrabble tile and cut a piece of scrapbook paper to just the right size to cover the tile. Then mod-podge the scrapbook paper onto the tile to hold it in place, add a coating of diamond glaze to give it a smooth and shiny finish, and glue on a bail (the thing the chain goes through). Pretty simple, but certainly nothing I would have ever come up with if Melissa hadn't shown me how!

Well, Haley and I decided to be crafty and make these pendants to give out as party favors at her birthday party this weekend. We had lots of fun with the project. It started with a trip to Michael's craft store where Haley and Preston picked out the paper, a glittery mod-pdge glue and the other project supplies. (BTW, Melissa - they have a diamond glaze at the Michael's in Brighton!) Haley was in heaven at Michael's. She just loves craft projects, and here is a whole store full of projects waiting to happen!

When we started the project, Haley very carefully selected just the right portions of the scrapbook paper patterns to make into her necklaces. She helped cut and glue and brush on the mod-podge, too. Preston helped make the favors to give to the boys at the party - same basic steps, but we glued a magnet to the back instead of making it into a necklace.

I think they turned out great! Here's a couple of the necklaces...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just Venting...

Okay, this blog entry is really just a rant so that I can vent and get out some frustration with my day. If you don't feel like reading it, feel free to skip it! I just need to get it all off my chest...

I had to spend today in company diversity training. It was a horrible, horrible experience. I understand that we serve a lot of different populations in the work we do and it's important to be culturally sensitive, so I'm all for information on that. But the way this training was delivered was awful. I hated the model the trainers used for discussion. It basically said that everything in life is based on stimulus-response patterns. If you react negatively to something today, it can all be traced back to something that happened to you in your childhood. And the thing that really triggered me was when she said you can't blame anyone for their reactions. I beg to differ! You can't blame anyone for their emotions, but everyone can certainly control how they decide to react to a given situation. Personal responsibility for your actions didn't seem to be any part of this model. On top of that, the training perpetuated the image of white males as evil oppressors. I really hate that. White males are not responsible for all the bad things in the world. You'd certainly never know that based on my classes today, though. It's really unfortunate. I went into the workshops this morning liking everyone I worked with – or at least not having any negative feelings towards anyone. By the end of the day, I did have very negative feelings for some of my co-workers. Hopefully those will fade with a little bit of time. The day was seriously so horrible that when a car ran a stop sign and almost hit me on my drive home, I regretted it a little. I seriously had the thought that if the car had hit me and I'd maybe broken an arm or leg, at least I would be able to skip the 2nd day of diversity training scheduled for tomorrow.

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm feeling thankful for music. I love music - torch songs to swing to classical to Broadway to pop/rock to Christian to hymns. Even some heavy metal, R&B and rap. I like to listen to music, to sing music, to play it on the piano... Listening to the right music can be a huge boost to a bad mood, calming on an anxious day, soothing to a cranky child.

What brought this to my mind this week was the beautiful piece that was played during President Obama's inauguration ceremony. "Air and Simple Gifts" arranged by John Williams. It was such a wonderful piece of music.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

I get a lot of chain e-mails... messages asking me to help a sick child, find a lost child, sign a petition, take a stand on important legislation, get free products, or avoid the latest computer virus. Unfortunately, the messages that aren't outright hoaxes are often still full of misinformation. Even the ones that have some truth to them are usually pretty out of date.

So every time I get a chain e-mail like that, I go out to to check it out. Snopes has a comprehensive database of the frauds and scams and practical jokes floating around in cyberspace. You can search the database to learn whether the e-mail forward is true or false. If I find proof that the forwarded e-mail is false, I try to let people know what Snopes had to say. Just trying to do my part to stop the plague of bad e-mails out there! =)

So that's what works for me this week! For lots of amazing tips, or to add your own, visit Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Growing Up So Fast

I was just reading a post on Rosa's blog about how her kids are getting very independent these days, and it made me think about how fast my kids are growing up. It doesn't seem very long ago at all that we came home from the hospital with Haley. We called her our little Glow-Worm. She had such a bad case of jaundice that she had to have the photo-therapy lights. Luckily, they didn't keep her at the hospital, but just sent us home with a portable light. We had to slide the light up against her back inside her little nightgown. It made her light up like one of those little Glow-Worm dolls. Now she's 5 years old and so grown up. She picks out her own clothes and dresses herself. She is such a good helper with her brothers.

Preston is SO VERY independent these days. His most common phrase lately is "No, I do it!" It can cause problems - especially when he does things like insist on getting the sacrament cup for himself and almost dumps the entire tray in my lap. But he's getting better at things like that. He's even doing a little better with bedtime the last few nights. He's great at helping with clean-up. He loves to sing the clean-up song. Sure, he gets so involved with the song that he stops cleaning, but the thought is there.

Brekken is really growing up too fast for me. He's my last baby, so I just wish that he would stay a baby a little longer so I can savor it. But he is growing so fast. He already wears mostly size 12 months because he's gotten big so quickly. He's crawling everywhere and loves to pull up on the furniture. Last night he was feeling very brave and kept standing there with only one hand very lightly holding on to the couch. He may be like Haley and decide not to crawl for long at all. I'm glad he still is my cuddle baby. I hope he doesn't outgrow that very soon.

I need to remember to spend some more time cuddling with all my babies - even the big 5 year old so that I can enjoy them a little more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful that even though it seems like for the last few months my kids have been constantly sick with something, at least it's never anything serious. They catch a cold or a stomach bug, but it's an annoyance, not anything horrible or life-threatening. I'm trying to keep that in mind and hold on to my perspective!

I'm also thankful that Aaron and I have bosses who are understanding when we have to be home to take care of the sick kids, especially given how many times one or the other of us has had to call in to work in the last couple of months!

Family Christmas Letter

Well, I could claim that I'm posting a family Christmas letter online instead of mailing it out because I'm trying to save trees (no printing all the letters) or save money (not buying extra postage). But the truth is that I just wasn't organized enough to get the letter done before sending out the Christmas cards!

So this year…

Started out in January with a trip to Disneyworld!! It was a great time. We took almost three weeks to visit places from Chicago to Orlando to Baltimore. We all really enjoyed seeing all the new places and had a WONDERFUL time at Disneyworld. We'll definitely have to do that again sometime. Preferably when I am NOT 6 months pregnant so I can ride the roller coasters! The one bad note was when I got a phone call near the end of vacation telling me I had been laid off. That's news that could have waited a couple of days! I had worked for Lehman Brothers in their mortgage division, and well, you all know what's been going on in the mortgage industry this year! Thankfully, Lehman Brothers provided a generous severance package, including paying for the maternity leave I would have gotten if I'd still been employed. So all together, I was home with the kids for 6 months and got paid for it. Can't complain about that!

So speaking of maternity leave, in May we welcomed another little boy to our family. Brekken Malachi was born on May 7, 2008. Not quite two weeks later, Preston turned 2. With the two of them being so close in age, they will probably go back and forth between being best friends and sworn enemies for the next 18 years or so!

When Brekken was 10 days old, I got a new job. Luckily they were willing to wait for me until I had taken all my maternity leave, so I didn't actually start the job right away.

At the beginning of July, we went to Utah for the Wardle family reunion. Since we had a very young baby, we stayed at my parent's place at night and went up the mountain each day to visit with everyone. It was lots of fun as usual, and we loved getting to see everyone.

All through July, Haley asked me every day if she could go back to daycare yet. She'd had enough of staying home with Mommy and was ready to get back to daycare where she could play with friends all day! Preston was also anxious to go back to playing with his buddy Cooper. So they were glad when I started my new job in July! They have both continued to really enjoy daycare and their friends. Haley also goes to preschool a couple of days a week and loves that. She can't wait for next year when she'll get to go to school every day. Brekken has also adjusted to daycare without any problem.

I love my new job. I create educational materials for the Nurse-Family Partnership. Nurse-Family Partnership is a nurse home visiting program that improves the health, well-being and self-sufficiency of low-income, first-time parents and their children. After working in the mortgage industry for several years, it's really nice to work somewhere with such a great mission!

In October, they realigned our ward boundaries for the wards in our building. We had 2 enormous wards and 2 tiny wards so they tried to balance that out. We lost only 2 families (unfortunately, one was our good friends) but gained around 20 families. So we have been very happy to get all these new people in the ward! After the realignment, Aaron was the only member of the Young Men's presidency left in the ward for a while! He was very glad when a new President, 1st counselor and Scout Master were called. It's the first time they've had a full Presidency in at least a year. Suddenly, the calling is much lower stress than it had been and he seems to be enjoying it a lot more!

Also in October, we started battling a nasty stomach bug. Poor Preston had it for a week. Then of course it made the rounds of all our kids, plus several of the kids at daycare.

In November we went to Grandma & Grandpa Shields' for Thanksgiving. It was lots of fun to see everyone. We got a bonus when Grandma & Grandpa Schurz and some of the rest of that side of the family came out to Salt Lake for a Jazz basketball game. We got to see everyone at the game and then made a trip to Temple Square to see the lights. Unfortunately, Preston came down with the stomach bug again while at Grandma & Grandpa Shields' house. We're hoping no one else caught it from him… no one has called us to complain about it, anyway! On the drive home from Thanksgiving, we got caught in a big snowstorm as usual. We are jinxed when it comes to Thanksgiving travel!! On top of that, Aaron got the stomach bug on Sunday night and I got it on Monday morning. Not fun while traveling.

In December, we have continued to battle that darned stomach bug. It seems to come back around every week or two. I have disinfected every surface and toy in our house, but it still keeps coming back. Everyone is healthy at the moment, so fingers crossed that we can stay that way at least until after Christmas and Haley's 5th birthday!

Other than that, everything is going well for our family as we close out the year. Brekken is growing like a weed. At 7 months old he is already wearing lots of 12 month sizes because he keeps growing out of everything. He's bound to start crawling any day now. He's already pretty mobile, because he just scoots and rolls himself where he wants to go. Preston is very independent and wants to do everything for himself these days. He can be very obstinate and frustrating, but he's also just the sweetest little guy. His smiles and dimples melt my heart. He loves anything to do with cars and trucks and balls. He's learned most of his alphabet and can count to 10 already. Haley is as smart as a whip – just this last week we realized that she was actually reading now, not just recognizing a word here and there. She's growing up a lot. It's hard to believe that she will be 5 here soon! She's looking forward to her birthday party and has been very involved in planning it, choosing her cake, and even making the party favors. She loves to cook and make crafts. Aaron is still working at Rockley Music, where he's pretty indispensible. They rarely manage to make it through a weekend without calling him for help or advice about something!

I am grateful that we have made it through the year in pretty good shape. We had some health scares with my grandma and grandpa, but thankfully both of them have recovered and are still doing well. The rest of the family is in good health as well (with the exception of that darned stomach bug!). We're happy that Christmas is almost here and wish we could see you all – but thank goodness for the technology that lets us all stay in touch!

If you'd like to see pictures from the past year, you can find them at

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

We had a treat exchange planned for work and I thought that I would be ambitious and make fudge. So I attempted to do the bowl over a pot of boiling water to melt the chocolate and all... it didn't work. The chocolate seized up and I ended up with a pan of rock hard separated chocolate. Nasty. I gave up on that method and figured I'd just buy some slice and bake cookies or something.

But then I got an e-mail that had a recipe for fudge in the microwave. It looked easy, I had the ingredients, so I decided to be brave and give it a try. It worked great! Now I'm all set for the treat exchange. =)

1/4 teaspoon of salt
14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups mini-marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Put it all in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 90 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 90 seconds. Stir it all together and then pour (quickly because it starts to set up very fast) into a 8" or 9" pan lined with parchment paper. Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set up firmly. Remove from pan, peel off the parchment paper and slice. Easy and yummy!

So that's what works for me this week! For lots of amazing tips, or to add your own, visit Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, February 16, 2009

My kids are weird...

Saturday was a very goofy day for my kids. They woke up in a wild mood and just kept on with it all day. At least they were cheerful!

Preston playing with a set of dress-up antennae.

Haley takes her turn.

We got all of them out of their pajamas, but then no one wanted to put on any clothes!

Click on the links to check out a couple of videos from Saturday morning. (Sorry they're sideways... I never had a chance to edit the videos and fix that part.)

Haley made up a song about refusing to get dressed.

Then Preston wanted a chance to sing his own song.

I just had to follow up all of the strangeness with some super-cute pictures!


Sunday, February 15, 2009


It was -18 this morning when I left the house, with a windchill of -31. Yikes, that's just painful! It was a hard choice to make, do I take the bus and avoid driving on the slick and icy roads? Or do I drive to work and avoid having to walk 5 blocks in -31 temperatures? I ended up driving because I missed the bus. Not a fun drive, but at least I was fairly warm with the heater blasting all the way.

Haley's Reading!

Last night Haley brought out a book she wanted me to read to her. It was a new book that we'd never read before. I was a little distracted trying to feed the baby when she climbed into my lap with it, so I told her she needed to read it to herself for a minute until I could read to her. To my surprise, she proceeded to read the first page to me! She had to have help with a couple of words, but for the most part she was reading the book. She read about half the book before she got tired of it and just wanted me to read the rest. I had no idea she could read, yet! There's a happy surprise. =)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gardenias in January

I was reading this article in the Ensign this morning and it really touched me. It's a nice reminder that the Lord is looking out for us even when life is hard.
Wendy Foutz McKinney, "Gardenias in January," Ensign, Jan 2009, 60

A few years ago I purchased a lovely gardenia plant. I kept it in a large pot and tended it with care, enjoying the fragrant blossoms that came once a year. Gardenias typically bloom mid-spring and lie dormant the rest of the year.

One year the plant did not produce many blossoms. I wondered what was wrong. I took it inside for the winter and placed it in a sunlit spot, as I normally did.

To my surprise, the plant began budding right after Christmas. In January it produced fragrant blossoms. While admiring the beautiful plant, I thought of my friend Anita, who was at home enduring the end of a long battle with cancer. Despite treatments, the cancer had returned three times. Though Anita was only in her 30s, doctors predicted she did not have much time left. It struck me that she might like this hint of spring in her home.

I took the gardenia to Anita. When I arrived, she said, "How did you know gardenias are my favorite flowers?"

"I didn't," I replied, "but Heavenly Father knew. These gardenias bloomed in January just for you."

We were silent for a while marveling at the little miracle. Then she said, "I needed this reminder of spring. Thank you."

Anita passed away in February, but during the last weeks of her life, she enjoyed the sweet fragrance of her favorite flower. Her husband even pinned one of the gardenias on the inside of her casket.

I'm thankful that I was able to witness how the Lord can bless those He loves during their most difficult hours. He gave Anita joy during her pain. He gave her gardenias in January.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Haley's Night-Talking

Haley has been talking in her sleep for as long as she's been talking. Mostly it's just little mumbles, but lately she's said a few funny things.

"But Dora said it was okay..." (I assume Dora the Explorer)

"Don't tell ME what to do!" (Note the attitude, even while asleep!)

"Leave me alone, Preston!" (We hear this one a lot while she's awake, too.)

"The baby needs some crunchies!" (Crunchies are what the kids call the dry food we give the cats - I hope she's not slipping the baby any crunchies!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

At work yesterday I was asked to research ways to make your own cleaning products at home, as opposed to going out to the store and buying a can of Comet. It's a cheaper and greener way to clean. I found some interesting information, and I'm planning to try some of them out myself!


So that's what works for me this week! For lots of amazing tips, or to add your own, visit Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pay It Forward Challenge

I got this Pay it Forward challenge from my friend Rosa's blog. I thought it was such a fun idea! If you would like to join me just follow the instructions below.

This is how it works: The Pay it Forward Exchange is based off of the concept from the movie "Pay it Forward". I will send a hand-made gift to the first three people who comment on this post on my blog requesting to join the PIF Exchange. All the gifts will be made and sent out some time within this year. How exciting to not know when your surprise package will arrive! What you need to do in return, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your own blog.


I'd love for you to join me. Will you? Other comments are welcome but only the first three will be my Pay it Forward recipients. Come and join me, who doesn't love a gift or giving gifts???