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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Memories in the Making- Story Time!

Day 15- Lani's idea: Write a story together taking turns writing 2 sentences at a time.  This was fun and hopefully your minds are as sharp as ours and can comprehend the fantasy that blossomed as our minds combined to form this work of art.  Perhaps it'll become your new favorite story.


The Princess And The Grasshopper
A multi-authored story by Steve, Lani, Amara, and Lily.

Amara: Once upon a time there was a little princess and she said, “Um, I want a cookie.”  Then her mom said, “You have to eat your dinner.”  Then she said…

Lily:        “I want to go skydiving someday.  I really like to.  I really want to set up our Christmas tree and put ornaments on it.”

Mom:    “Wow,” said her mom.  “That’s a lot of things you want to do, and maybe if you eat your dinner you’ll have the energy necessary to do those things.”

Dad:       “Not only will you have the energy necessary to do those things, but you’ll be able to fly to the moon.  That’s why you should always eat a nutritious dinner.”

Amara: “Then if you do that you’ll get in big trouble if you not eat your dinner you’ll get in big trouble even.”  And then she said, “Eat your dinner all gone.”  And she did.  And she said, “I’m proud of you.”

Lily:        “I really am happy I can fly to the moon today with wings.  I went to the zoo that day and saw a dragon and alligator and a unicorn with wings and a horn.”

Mom:    Upon the princess’s return, her father was waiting for her.  Furious, he shouted, “Get down here this instant Zufelda!”

Dad:       “You forgot to tie the grasshoppers antennae together!  How dare you eat your breakfast and fly away without doing your chores!

Amara: “Then you can be good instead of a bad attitude.”  Then he told her mom that she ate her dinner.

Lily:        “I really want a horse for Christmas.  And a horse will fly like a unicorn and a unicorn I want!”

Mom:    Zufelda and her father were obviously flighty in mind and body.  Her father , the king, reached into his deep pockets and pulled out the golden grasshopper!

Dad:       “First tie the antennae together!”  With a quick practiced motion, Zufelda tied the antennae together and threw the grasshopper into the air.

Amara: Then he got hurt.  Then he got a scrape on his knee.

Lily:        Then Zufelda wanted a brother and she got a brother.  His name was Bluehead.

Mom:    Zufelda and Bluehead  were best of buds, but the grasshopper with the scraped knee never recovered.  They nursed him until he was old and silver and turned to magic dust.

Dad:       THE END.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Making More Heart-Warming Memories...

Day 9- Lani's idea: grown ups plan a time to attend the temple this month.  Kids, draw a nativity.

Day 10- Amara's idea: Have spaghetti and have fun with it.  Eat with huge utensils!  Take pictures!

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Day 11- Lily's idea: make up a joke!  Although we each contributed a few of our own made-up jokes that night, none of them made it into my memory, sorry.

Day 12- Steve's idea: Record a song and share it.  This was fun and totally last minute.  The girls sang their version of the popular Spanish/English tune, Feliz Navidad.  Their version says something like, "Alise mommynod!  Espello Pacino Manana..."  And, my brother and his wife did this and they wrote their own song.  It's really good!  Watch it at jacobandkellilauret.blogspot.com

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Day 13- Lani's idea: Read a favorite Christmas story together or share some of your favorite Christmas memories.

Day 14- Amara's idea: Grab some blankets and cuddle while watching something.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making Memories- A Family Recipe

Day 7- Amara's idea: Play a game.
Our game was going to be Apples to Apples, but last second we were invited to a Christmas dinner.  By the time the dinner ended, it was past bedtime, but at least we didn't go to bed without doing something fun.  I love a dinner I don't when I don't have to cook.

Day 8- Steve's idea: Create a recipe together.
Oh boy, are we ready for this?  Here it is folks, a concoction never been done before (I'm pretty sure, or at least not done like this).  Drumroll please...

Peanut Butter and Jelly Salad

PB Croutons:
1/2 Tbsp Peanut butter, melted
1/2 Tbsp Butter, melted
4 slices of Bread, crusts removed
Salt
~~~Combine peanut butter and butter and brush onto both sides of the bread.  Sprinkle with salt then cut into cubes.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Strawberry Jam Dressing:
some Strawberry yogurt
some Strawberry jam
a little Vinegar
Salt and pepper
~~~Whisk all ingredients together.

Salad:
Lettuce, chopped
Sliced Strawberries
~~~Toss lettuce with dressing.  Add strawberries and PB croutons on top.

So, we haven't tried it yet, but I'm quite curious if it turns out to be tasty or awful.  What do you think???

Perhaps you're curious about how this recipe idea came about.  Well, Steve started by contributing his idea for an ingredient- yogurt.  Amara then added her's- lettuce.  Then Lily- butter and peanut butter.  Phew!  I was stumped on what to make that incorporates all those random ingredients.  So, it took some brain power, and Lily and I came up with a concept and I have no clue what the end result tastes like.  No matter what it tastes like, it was fun to put our minds together to create a recipe.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Making Memories and Movies

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In an effort to better document our attempts at making memories, on Dec 3 (day 3) we made cookies as a family and I broke out the digital camera and let Lily and Amara host their own cooking show.  They're sweeter than the cookies, and those cookies were stellar-good! 

Day 4- Steve's idea: make a Christmas movie.  We couldn't let the girls go to bed without showing off some more of their natural talent, so we decided on a story we had just read to the girls called, "The Worst Person's Christmas." 

It was a rather cute story, but we didn't have much time to do the book justice.  We threw together a few scenes in 20 minutes and called it good.  Then we posted it to facebook, and in case you missed it there, it's here too.

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And Steve just couldn't get enough of the movie making, so he put the girls to work for 5 more minutes and made this spectacular feature...

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Day 5- Lily's idea: Tell the Christmas story or sing some Christmas hymns.  Our family sang some nice songs.

Day 6- Lani's idea: Write a letter.  We all sat down with cute stationary for Family Night and wrote/ illustrated  letters to my cousin who is serving a mission in California.  Merry Christmas to the missionaries! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Making Memories: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

Day 1: Lani's idea- Christmas Movie Night.

Between picking Steve up from work and running to the store to buy a few salad makings for the ward Christmas party later that night, our family took a short side trip to the library (one good part about living in a small town is that everything is close together).  I wanted to show the girls an old-time movie from my childhood~ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, an 8 minute vintage classic from 1948.

I found the video I was looking for and another short Christmas kid's cartoon, The Nutcracker. 

When we got home, the girls wanted to watch The Nutcracker movie, so that's what we put on.  While I made the salad, Steve diappeared to the office and the girls watched the movie, which turned out to be a 1/2 hour cartoon that resembled Japanese anime and according to Lily, the story was a little scary.  Not exactly the memory-making family time I was picturing.  Oh, well.  There's always another day.

Day 2: Amara's idea- Dance to Christmas tunes.

This was going to be easy.  At the end of the day, we'd tune in to the Christmas station and let our fancy feet take over.  Well, the end of the day came, we put the girls to sleep and then it dawned on me... we never danced.  Aw, boo.  Oh, well... again. 

RudolphOur feet may have not been fancy that night, but earlier that evening we made warm memories.  As a family, we sat together in our crowded living room (I'd been folding laundry for 2 days in there, and not one textile made it back into it's designated drawer), I snuggled in a fleece blanket and the girls nestled under their daddy's arms, and together we watched the treasured Rudolph I remembered.  There were also 2 bonus features- Jack Frost and some springtime-themed cartoon.  We made memories.  Prancing or no prancing, that night was a success! 

Day 3: Lily's idea: Make cookies!

We all put forth a little more effort on Day 3 and after dinner we made my 5 ingredient Double-Fudge-Mallow cookies. 

Here's the recipe:
Ingredients:
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 box devils food cake mix
16-18 marshmallows, halved
1/2 a bag of chocolate chips, melted

Mix butter, eggs, and cake mix until it comes together.  Form tablespoon-sized balls and bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes (the tops will start to look cracked).  Add a marshmallow half to the top of each cookie and bake another 2-3 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheet a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.  Spoon a little melted chocolate over the top of the cookies, covering the marshmallow completely.  TIP: To prevent the melted chocolate from stiffening, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and stir in completely. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amara, The Singing Sensation

Just released in time for Christmas... Amara and her ultimate picks for the season!  You'll enjoy original, one of a kind hits such as Triangle, Square, Oval! interspersed with Primary songs and a take on Feliz Navidad (I believe she says Alise Mommydad).  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kindergarten- Yay!

 Here's a close up picture of Lily's first homework assignment (due her first day of school).  She was to cut out the cardstock gingerbread-shaped person and then decorate it to look like herself (with the help of a parent) using things around the house.  She loves the color purple, if you can't tell.  She made the clothes out of foam sheets and cut it out herself.  I helped her staple the purple raffia hair to the paper.  Then she decorated with stickers I had.

Lily loves her teacher.  She really is a very sought-after teacher, requested by almost everyone who has a kindergartener.  We're so happy Lily got her!
We had Lily's first parent-teacher-student conference a while back and she tells me Lily is far ahead of any of her students (It's not surprising to me.  She was the one that was initiating her reading lesson everyday so she could learn to read when she was 4.).  Lily is enjoying all the fun things she's been able to do in Kindergarten like field trips, art time, library time, P.E., and playing on the playground.  I've started volunteering in her classroom once a week for an hour, and it's fun to see her at school and meet her classmates as well.

So, I know I'm two and a half months late with this post, but better late than never.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Our Autumn Adventures and Halloween

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Desert Star Theatre PhotosHalloween  has recently past, and this year we went to spend the creepy day with some of our favorite spooks.  We stayed with Steve's parents and enjoyed seeing them as well as his brother, Matt and his sisters Bev and Laurel and their families.  Lily and Amara had some good times with their cousins, grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles.  On Halloween, Steve and I got to go to the Desert Star Theater with my family to watch "Welcome Back Potter," a comical play about Harry Potter's 10 year high school reunion.  We all had a great time!  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera at home, so I don't have pictures of Halloween.


Later that night, Lily, Amara, and I got dressed up to go trick-or-treating.  Lily was a bumble bee, Amara was a ladybug, and I was a snow princess.  We brought Tamsin with us to Aunty April's neighborhood to trick-or-treat.  It was lightly drizzling rain the entire time, but it didn't get the girls spirits down.  In fact, Amara had the greatest endurance of the 3 trick-or-treaters, staying out a half hour longer than the rest (thanks April for taking her around).  The girls came away with plenty of sweets.  As the night got later, our little girls decided they wanted to see if the Candy Fairy would come, so they put their bags of candy on the dining table and sure enough, the next morning their candy was gone and there were 2 toys for each of them.  Candy fairy was a huge success, and the girls don't miss their candy, and they love their new toys.

Oh come on, you've played this game already, right?Steve and I went to Micah's house after the girls went to sleep (thanks to Steve's parents for babysitting our sleeping children), and we had tasty homemade doughnuts shaped like ghosts, and played a rousing game of Cranium with Dad, Debby, Micah, Mandy, April, Spencer, Missy, and Mandy's mom, dad, and brother.  Our dream team (Steve, me and my dad) led the game the entire time up until the end, then the slow and steady "Oldies but Goodies" (Mandy's parents and Debby) pulled through the finish line first.  Wish I had more pictures.  Boo hoo hoo!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spiders...EEK!

Steve took this picture.  Cool quarter,eh?  Oh yeah, and some spider.
It being Halloween today, I thought I would show-n-tell about the freaky-looking spider that made our house it's home.  It was actually living happily outside, next to our front door without being disturbed or detected... until one day.  One of my friends knocked at the door and upon my answering it, she tells me, "Hey, did you know you've got a huge cat-faced spider living over here?"  I only needed one look before I cowered behind and half-shut my front door.  My friend was definitely not a spider-hater, as her next words after my reaction was, "Don't kill it!  It's not poisonous.  It's good.  It eats bugs."  That trite fact was of little relief and I did not step aside from my front door shield.  Then she says, "You should bring it to your husband at school.  I bet his students would like to see it."  Uh huh.  A great idea, except the part about me bringing it to him...YIKES!  I HATE SPIDERS!  Well, one bright idea deserves another, so I piped up with, "Yeah, I bet he would like to see it.  If I got you a jar, would YOU catch it for me?"  I was glad that she had no problem with that, so I let her catch it, and I took it to my hubby.  The spider was quite a hit with the kids.  After school we set it free, far from the house in a lonely bush, but not without a photo shoot.  Enjoy the spooky smilebox.  By the way, we looked the spider up on the internet and it's not a cat-faced spider, like my friend thought.  It's an impressive Banded Orb Weaver Spider, and like my friend said, not poisonous and a good ole bug-eater.

Too bad we didn't save the spider for Halloween.  Nothing says "welcome trick or treaters" like a giant spider.  


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Monday, October 11, 2010

"Sweet" Memories, Reminiscing With My Dad

Talking with my dad last night was good.  We reminisced about how time flies by.  He was remembering this time of year when it was our first Halloween in the "new house" in North Orem (the house he still lives in that's now 25 years old, give or take a year).  Jacob would have been a baby, so this was before April was born, and all 4 kids were under the age of 5.  Dad's job was to hand out candy while my mom would take us kids around the neighborhood trick-or-treating.

Dad expected maybe 30 trick-or-treaters to show up, judging from his past candy-giving experiences in California and South Orem.  He had his small bowl of candy ready, and the doorbell started to ring.  Well, as my dad soon found out, the new neighborhood was FULL of children and young families.  As he puts it, 30 kids came by in the first 15 minutes, completely cleaning out his candy bowl.  At this point many candy-givers would turn their lights off and pretend no one was home... but not my dad.  When he realized that he wouldn't have enough candy, he put his gifted hands to work and scrambled to produce sweet treats.  He started baking cookies.  He can whip up cookie dough from scratch relying entirely on his number-oriented memory in mere minutes.  And he baked, baked, and baked what he estimates about 9 dozen cookies.  All the while he was stuffing them in plastic wrap and tucking in a slip of paper with his name and phone number on it so the kids would be allowed to eat it.  On top of that, he had to field the constant stream of ghosts and goblins at his front door.  As we (his kids) came home from trick-or-treating, he confiscated our candy too and began to hand it out, obviously teaching us the art of re-gifting at an early age.  I can imagine we were not all too happy about coming home that Halloween.  First we come into the warmth of our home to the smell of freshly baked cookies and we were told we couldn't have even one of them.  Then Dad takes our candy and gives it away!  He sure knows how to torture his kids on Halloween!  To his credit, he claims that he left us the few pieces that we most wanted.  By the time the last trick-or-treater came around, dad guesstimates he saw around 300 kids.  Wow.

Although I don't remember that particular Halloween with as much clarity as my dad, I do remember that every Halloween the streets were always full of kids when we'd go trick-or-treating.  And I remember that when we'd come home, dad would always automatically get to take some of our candy for himself.  I never thought it was fair that he got a portion of our hard earned sugar when all he did was sit at home, watch TV, and answer the door.  It was the unfair dad-tax that we were all subject to.  Did anyone else's dad do that?
Confession time.  Steve and I are parents.  We've adopted the unfair dad-tax.  Sorry, kids.  But look on the bright side, one day, you'll get to be an unfair parent too!

My parents fed the entire neighborhood on several occasions... and sometimes they even found out about it.  Well, after hearing this story about my dad and his efforts to feed the begging children, I think he earned every bit of the candy he got from us.  I love you dad!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sisterly Love

 I remember longing for the day when Amara would be old enough to play along with Lily and I thought the day might never come.  But I guess it just sort of happened little by little and now they play together everyday.   They know how to play together, they know how to fight together, and they even know how to serve the other, just like all siblings should.  I truly love being able to watch Amara pretend to be Lily's puppy, or Lily and Amara being cowgirls or princesses.  It warms my heart when Lily will race to turn the light on in the bathroom when Amara announces that she needs to go, or when Amara just HAS to give Lily a huge bear-hug before she starts her day at Kindergarten (even if Lily is late), and Lily embracing her back.  Their sisterly ways are so sweet.  I super-duper love our girls!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lily's Kindergarten Shots (back in June 2010)

I've meant to blog about Lily's Kindergarten shots (K-shots) ever since she got them a few months ago.  I don't remember how Lily found out that she had to get shots before she went to Kindergarten, but somehow she knew.  "Mom, I don't want to go to school if I have to get shots"  she would tell me.  We talked about her kindergarten shots weeks before she had to get them.  I'd try to make her feel better about getting them.  I told her of when I had to get my shots.  "Back when I got shots, I had to get 5 of them right on my bum.  I was afraid, but after it was over I realized it wasn't too bad.  Plus, I got a sucker when I was done."  My stories seemed to calm her nerves a bit, at least for a few days.  Then, "Mom, are they going to give me shots in my bum?"  she would ask.  I would tell her I wasn't sure where they were giving shots these days, but that she would be fine.

Well, the day arrived and it was time for K-shots.  We got ready to go, and Lily wanted to wear a dress so she wouldn't have to pull pants over a fresh wound.  Steve and I tried to make her happy and a little more calm.  I gave her our digital camera to take pictures to make into a scrapbook.  She liked that idea and it was a wonderful distraction.  If you're interested in looking at the photos she took, I finally compiled them for your amusement:
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When it was time for shots, Lily's bravery ran low and we had to break out some of our best bribes to get her to quit her thrashing and kicking on the doctor's table.  I bribed with stickers and movies, Steve promised she could go to a buffet and eat as many desserts as she wanted.  Lily eventually held still enough for the nurse to poke the 4 shots in (the nurse held her legs down and I held her arms).  She let everyone know of her pain and frustration by channeling all her energy into her scream.  Amara looked on with concern and then told her dad, "Is Lily freaking out?"  Ha ha ha!  To say the least.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Slideshow of Jake and Kelli's Wedding

It's about time I post something about my youngest brother getting married.  Jake and Kelli got married August 21, 2010 and it was a beautiful wedding with lots of family and a great luncheon and reception.  We're so happy to add Kelli to our family.  She is an absolutely adorable and genuinely kind person.  Here's the slideshow:

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...AND to exercise your smile muscles, here's Jake's engagement story revisited (from his blog).  It's worth a thousand reads.
"I'm engaged.
Now, for 25 whole years I have lived a life full of fun, full of memories, and now I'll have a new one, of a girl, a girl, that's right, a girl. 

I met this girl one day at a classroom where I work. As she entered in, her hair blew like a model in a magazine, her eyes fluttered like butterfly wings, and she looked at me, and "eye" at her. She didn't smile, but I did. Then she returned it. And I was happy. A year and a half past by where we were friends, words were exchanged on facebook, hangouts were arranged and implemented, and much to my surprise she still didn't like me. She left to London and she took her heart with her, she didn't leave me a piece. I would find her on facebook and ask her how her day was. She would respond. And I was satisfied. The time came when she would return to BYU and therefore be in the valley of Jake Lauret. We set a date to go "hangout." I wanted to surprise her, but she surprised me also by writing her name, full name, in the dirt on my car. She imprinted a name which will never be forgotten in the life and memory of Jake Lauret. I didn't regret it. But she did. A semester past and we did things every once in a while. And I would leave her windshield wipers up on her car every time I was in the area. The time came when she needed a job and I had one in the same classroom as me, where she had volunteered at in the past, where I met her.

I hooked her up with the job. Once again, she walked in through the door, wind blowing through her hair, eyes a-flutter, and this time her smile was at me, instead of the other way around. And at that moment I knew, something was going to be different. 

During this time, I had arranged to move out of my parent's house and move into her ward. By so doing, we were in the same FHE group. I knew that I would be having a lot of face time with her and I knew that that was the key to her heart, because seriously, who wouldn't absolutely adore a face like mine? And then, um. Things just got really crazy from there. . 

Um. She held my hand first. I held it back. We cuddled, never kissed, but there was much embrace. My stomach was filled with butterflies (figuratively speaking). My knee was shaking up and down like a piston in a car. I was sweating like a weak WWE wrestler before his match. After the meshing of hands, we parted ways and I went to bed with a smile on my face. A couple days later, it was late, we were hanging out, and we were in her car, and we decided that we liked each other. THE END!

j/k. We dated, we did homework, we laughed, we cried, we argued about bugs, and other little things like that. And after dating a couple months, I decided that it was time to move on with my life. I decided, I wanted this girl in my life. Therefore, I came up with a plan to engage myself to this woman to whom I would want to be wed to. I shopped for rings, I planned activities, and I even planned a day to ask for her hand and ring finger in marriage. 

The day was April 24, 2010. I decided that I would propose at high noon. So, I texted her at 9 in the morning asking her if she would be willing to go on a picnic. She texted back saying, "Ask me in an hour." I then said, "ok." And then, I called the person to whom I would pick up my engagement ring. I told him I was to propose at high noon that day. He said, he would not be available to do that and that I would not be able to pick up my ring. He continued, that I could pick it up at 3:00. My plans were foiled to propose at high noon. A new plan was devised to go shooting across Utah Lake to pass time. The time past, the jeweler called, the ring was ready and I could pick it up. We finished shooting and I arranged for the picnic. I chose to have the picnic at Utah Lake. One special reason was because we exchanged valentines gifts there. As for the picnic food, I made sandwiches, we had a pineapple, carrots, and drinks. I tried to act as normal as possible as to not deter her mind that she would be proposed to that day, that hour, and that moment. We walked up and down the pier of Utah Lake. We came back to the spot of the origin of the picnic, and there we danced to music coming out of my car. And as we were dancing, it was then that I told her how much that I loved her, and I got on one knee, specifically my right knee, and I asked after reaching into my pocket and pulling out the ring, if she would marry me. She then teared up, paused, like they do on TV before they reveal their answer, and I knelt there until she answered. And she said yes. And then, we were officially engaged in eachother forever until we get married, which is August 21, 2010. There is no reason behind this date besides that it is the most convenient. THE REAL END."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Amara celebrates her 3rd Birthday!


My baby turned 3.  She's officially what the parenting magazines refer to as a "preschooler."  That's just crazy.  
I decided to interview my very talkative Amara, and here are some of her responses.

Favorites:
Color- pink
food- Japanese food
thing- an animal
animal- giraffe
dinosaur- long neck
book- dinosaur sticker book (thanks Aunt Doralee!)

Tell me a joke:
Knock knock.
Whos there?
Ummm, Japanese food.
Japanese food who?
Japanese food in a flower.

Dislikes:
food- onion
~interview ends as she runs off to play.

Amara is an absolute joy to have in our family!  She gives us so many reasons to smile.  She's still a thumb-sucker and she is very attached to her ratty old blue blanky she's embraced since birth.  Steve noticed how big Amara's "sucked-on" thumb is compared to her other one.  Instead of discouraging her from thumb-sucking, he encourages her to suck the other thumb.  Amara's birthday fell on a Sunday this year.  She had a little celebration here at home and one later when we visited family in Utah Valley.  She is so very loved.  

Below is a smilebox collage I made of her on her birthday.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Don't grow up.

Tonight as I was kissing my darling daughters goodnight I told them, "Now, whatever you do, don't grow up anymore."

Amara says, "You mean no more birthdays?"

I said, "No more birthdays.  Just stay the way you are now."

Lily quickly responded, "Don't you want to see my precious babies?"

I answered, "Of course I do!  I would love to see them!"

Lily demandingly replies, "Then let me grow up!"
My girls are so cute and fun and I cherish them so much.   After their second trip to the bathroom (it never fails that Amara "feels it" the moment we turn off the light and say goodnight, so Lily helps her go to the bathroom one last time before bed, even though we have them go potty right before we put them down),  I hurried them off to bed saying, "I love you Lily and Amara!  Now it's time to go to bed.  It's past your bedtime and your dreams are starting without you."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reunion Time! Starvation Reservoir- July 21-25, 2010

Over the pioneer day weekend, we camped out on the beach at Starvation Reservoir.  We had a great time, got lots of sand, lots of wind, lots of sunblock, and lots of memories.

We love being together!