This weeks list is about as random as they come. Photos I've been saving because they don't really fit anywhere else. Things I want to remember that will mean nothing to anyone except me and perhaps the children. That is the nature of this blog anyway, a visual journal of our ordinary day to day lives.
1. A special lunch with Grandma and Grandpa after all the children submitted an entry to their "Decorate the nook" contest. Dad scanned all the children's entries, I will have to remember to post them because some are pretty funny. I have no idea why I didn't get a photo of Gus, she was sitting right in front of me. Thanks Mom and Dad!
3. Ellie had just come home from the groomers and she was showing how put out she was that we left her. She is a spoiled puppy as evidence by the snuggle in exhibit #4.
However, she is also a puppy bully. Our trainer held a puppy play group last week to work on socialization and Ellie was the most aggressive, or rather the other dogs didn't want to jump and run quite like Ellie. Apparently we have been poor dog owners and not had her socialize enough with other dogs. I left the whole event feeling terrible. We are clueless owners doing the best we can and quite frankly I have so many other little people that Ellie's socialization is not a priority. Brother! Who knew a puppy could be so complicated and that I would feel puppy guilt?
Still she's a sweetheart and we like her, even if she is a bully and we are clueless.
5. A painting at the doctor's office last month. Loved the whimsy. It made me smile.
6. Bubbles, riding helmets, and time with the horses. Life is good! I have been knitting some washcloths (#8) while I wait at the arena.
7. I have a blogging analysis page, that came with part of the blog, that I occasionally look at to see the statistics of where people are that come and read the blog. It's nothing fancy and really I have no idea what to do with the date that is presented to me, nor do I really care (that is the key).
Last month I noticed a new feature (new to me) that tracks people's searches or rather when someone searches something online (ie. digital scrapbooking kits, adoption) a selection of sites appears. Well if from the search you come to allisonkimball.com it shows up on this analysis page.
When I opened the page last week in the number 6 spot was the search: Jesus Christ. I was stunned and absolutely humbled to think that when someone searches Christ's name on the internet they are sometimes directed here. The responsibility I feel is overwhelming. I don't think there is anything special or extraordinary about our lives. I would love to imagine that I would suddenly be parent of the year, because of this, but alas I am still struggling with the same sins I was 10 years ago.
I loved this quote that was posted a few days ago over at Mormon.org. Something I desperately needed to hear that day:
"Perfect people don't need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and in our grief" (Cheiko N. Okazaki, "Lighten Up!")
So I will continue in my imperfections, hopefully finding strength in each day and joy in my journey.
9. Guelita came over to stay with us one evening, she arrived just as Tank was working on a spelling word search. Before Guelita arrived he was complaining quite loudly about having to do another homework page, we were both getting frustrated. Then I suddenly remembered that Guelita loves word search puzzles. I asked her if she would be willing to help Tank, which of course she was. She would do anything for him.
It was the sweetest thing to see my big boy suddenly soften, sit down quietly by Guelita and spend the next 15 minutes content. Guelita loved it as well, we are so thankful she lives so close.
Did you notice Tank is almost the same height as Guelita? He is growing up too quickly!
10. In passing one day John said, "It would be really nice if our couches could be set up around the fireplace when the winter comes. We could drink hot chocolate and read stories together." I love that about my husband, he wants and looks forward to time together with us.
However inside my mind was racing, how could I possibly make this work? See our family room is a strangely long shape and although the fireplace is the focal point arranging two large couches, a loveseat and arm chair in the space is nearly impossible, especially because we had the large bookcase against the north wall. Over the next week I measured and tried to find an arrangement where everything would work and not require too much moving as I am nursing two ankle injuries.
I finally decided the bookcase would have to go in the only available room (the music room) and was getting a little frustrated as the moving started because things were not coming together as I had hoped. The girls patiently helped as my frustration mounted due to my weakened condition as we rushed around trying to get it all completely to surprise John as he was getting back into town.
He was so pleased when he walked into the house after his late flight. The expression on his face was priceless and it was just in time for the heavy snows we received the following week. For me the bookcase in the music room is the perfect piece to tie everything together. I didn't know I needed it and I would have never made the change if I hadn't wanted to do something nice for John. I smile every time I walk past that room.
11. Gus and Ellie hanging out taking pictures for Gus' school project.
12. We converted Loaf's crib into a toddler bed. She loves to have "sleep overs" and Dash always volunteers. Of course both end up in our bed by the time the night is over. In fact yesterday as I was crawling out of bed with a kink in my neck Loaf opened her eyes, smiled and said, "Did you have a sleepover with me?" Made me laugh.
13. I love finding random photos on the phone that I didn't take.
14. The last of the apples are off the tree, but before they were gone Gus taught herself to make apple pie. She makes a delicious pie crust.
The last little piece of brownie in the pan was shaped like a heart. See, what I mean... this is a very random post.
Finally, I took the big boys on a mother/son date. We went and had sushi and talked. It was so fun to be with them and have such a pleasant evening. They are amazing young men and I'm trying to enjoy each day because they are growing up so quickly.
15. This is what I see most in my day: two little girls looking up at me. They are usually inseparable and I spend much of my day taking contraband food away from Ellie. Loaf figures if she can eat it Ellie can as well. Ellie is of course happy to oblige, but chocolate chips and grapes are not authorized.
“Spiritual warnings should lead to increasingly vigilant watching. You and I live in “a day of warning”. And because we have been and will be warned, we need to be…”watching…with all perseverance.” (Elder David A. Bednar, "Watching with all Perserverance", Ensign, May 2009)
Thank you again Jon, you have a gift not only with the camera but with people. It was a delight and a pleasure.
From oldest to youngest...
Twice of many photos of Loaf, nothing new. She was not going to smile for Jonathan. Those images where she is peaking at him are my favorite.
A final one with all the children, I will add this to my all about me page when I update it in the next few days.
We managed to pull ourselves together this year and have our pictures taken. It's been a few years. The incentive was Munch's mission call. The idea of not being able to have them all together for a group picture threw me into gear. Thankfully Jonathan was able to squeeze us in. I can't say enough about Jonathan, he is so great with the children! Seriously, he had them laughing and they loved having their pictures taken. Our session was quick, key with my wild group and had I thought about the group I would have done a children only photo and maybe some interactions between the boys and girls. However, I love what he captured! Their personalities and relationships shine in the images. Thank you Jonathan!
I just have to add that this will be a photo heavy post, but I promise I did eliminate photos and this is only the color film. I will post the black and white film tomorrow! Makes me a little giddy, love this beautiful family of mine!
There was no way the boys were going to pose for any more photos than they had to and photos with mom and dad was not in the plan for that afternoon. The wind was blowing like crazy that day up in the canyon.
Jonathan charmed everyone except Loaf and she wanted nothing to do with him. I think there is one photo right at the end in the b&w where she gave him half a smile. It makes me happy to see this part of her personality caught on film.
I think Jon had asked Fred and Gus to be serious, but I don't think it ever ended up happening.
So I have this other blog: Simple Testimony, that has been neglected and quite frankly boring. The problem is I have hundreds of posts in the draft mode waiting for me to try and figure out where I want this blog to go and no inspiration or direction. Thus the neglect.
As I was working on a project yesterday I scrolled through the hundreds of fonts I have and the creative light bulb clicked. I made a bunch of quick quote signs (standard US 8.5 x 11 paper) to see if this would work for the blog. The added color and simple design elements suddenly helped me remember and internalize what I post.
See this is how I study. I created a sort of "color table of contents" that I added to the front of my scriptures.
It has been refined over the years and quite frankly probably only makes sense to me and overwhelms other members of my family. I found that as I study and mark my scriptures I am able to remember more clearly because of the added color, so I'm sticking with it. In fact I have a new set of scriptures and it's a little disconcerting, because I can't find anything yet.
However the journey of studying is so wonderful I can't wait to fill them up. Now back to the Simple Testimony blog.
I won't make a sign for every quote I post, but the blog is starting to make more sense to me. You are welcome to download the pdf files and I have included the source where I found the font. You are welcome to share my work with others, I would just ask that you direct them back to site to download directly from here. Thank you.
Click on the signs and you will be directed to the downloads. I will update "Simple Testimony" a few times a week however I won't always post the updates here. I have set up a separate feed subscription for your convenience if you would like to have access to the downloads.
A few of my helpers. Whether it's bringing in the garbage and recycling cans to helping decorate a friends home before a rivalry game, I treasure my time with my darling children. Life is beautiful with them by my side.
A surprise I found on the phone. I have no idea where they were or what they were doing. Makes me smile to see them all squished together.
Loaf has a fascination right now with riding, perhaps it's seeing the children at their riding lessons each week. She tries to ride on everyone, including Ellie. Ellie ends up being a flattened puppy when Loaf jumps on. As you can see she also tried to give Fred a ride. It didn't work out so well.
A few games she likes to play.
I am left handed and write with my paper going sideways. This photo is taken looking down at my lap as I was catching up on a few thoughts. I've always written this way so I don't notice it, but Brick came in and enthusiastically said, "MOM! You write on the side? COOL! I want to write on the side too." Made me smile to think that a small idiosyncrasy was cool.
More randomness (clockwise): Lunch with cousins, getting dressed up for a concert, cheese and more squished fun with cousins.
Every time we drive past cousin CC's house Dash laments, "Where is C? I miss her, when is she coming home." Cousin C moved away to college this fall and it's been harder on Dash than anyone anticipated. We love you C.
Just another flower. I have a back log of flower photos with the big camera, I might just make a flower post sometime.
Rock and Tank beamed when they found a little sweet treat left by Arnold. It was a simple thing that left them feeling so loved. Warmed my heart all day, such that I had to open the fridge and take a picture. I love when the children express love to one another. It helps counter all the disagreements and contentious moments that seem to creep into our lives.
Don't you love Dash's glee as the bubbles kept getting stuck in Loaf's hair. Seriously that smile is priceless.
Loaf loves to dress up, from her Spanish flamenco dress to a princess crown and of course sunglasses. She was particularly fond of the pair I received after my eye appointment. She wore them for days, perfect to stuff into your pocket and pull out at a moments notice.
My ophthalmologist said I've reached the age and stage in my life that adding a little more "umph" to my lenses won't do much good. Not quite sure how I feel about that. I think he noticed my distress and quickly added that it was normal and that he was 3 years older than I am so no need to worry. I don't know if I like getting old.
With Fred's recent birthday and Munch moving back into our ward as she prepares for her mission we were all able to be together for the first time. It made me so happy and wanted to document the moment. The girls were very embarrassed, but that is my primary job.
John and I took Brick on a special lunch for his birthday and at one point we asked him how school was going. To which he replied, "Girls want to marry me." (fish out some tofu from the miso) "How do you know that girls want to marry you? John asked. "They tell me at recess." (insert another bite of sushi) "Wow Brick! How many girls want to marry you?" I respond. "All the girls in the school!" he replies with great amusement on his face.
Rock and Tank's self portraits. "I am irritated with mom!" I hear from the other room. I of course had to come and find out what I had done today to cause such great irritation. I don't know if Tank heard me coming and was quickly trying to recover, but as I walked in the room he said, "The good kind of irritated. I'm irritated with her love for me."
My favorite kind of irritating.
“So if your prayers don’t always seem answered, take heart. One greater than you…cried, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani…My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46) If sometimes the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who ever lived.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, The Inconvenient Messiah, Ensign, Feb 1984)
I love visiting teaching! I don't think there has ever been a sister with whom I haven't loved and cherished as a result of time together. That being said, I'm not the kind of visiting teacher that does wonderful handouts and stuff. I would love to be, but I'm usually thrilled just to have showered and treats are in my purse for Loaf. I have very patient sisters who welcome Loaf as well.
Last month as I was listening to conference, Elder Ballard used the analogy of the honeybee and I practically squealed with delight (internally of course) because I remembered the stained glass bees I had down in my little gift box (I purchased them at Deseret Book : here is the link to the bee). I knew it was going to be the perfect gift for our November visit.
I love the way they turned out so much that I just ordered more bees to give as thank you/early Christmas gifts for the children's teachers who have added to their testimony of the Savior. So if one of you is reading this, act surprised!
The download today has a png file so you can run your tags through your printer. I used the large tags that measure about 4x8", this is what the text was designed for, but you could make it smaller. I have also included a pdf file with slightly smaller tags that you can just print on card stock and cutout if that is easier.
Here is a quote from Elder Ballard's talk that I included on the back.
"And remember, like the little honeybee’s one-twelfth teaspoon of honey provided to the hive, if we multiply our efforts by tens of thousands, even millions of prayerful efforts to share God’s love for His children through Christian service, there will be a compounding effect of good that will bring the Light of Christ to this ever-darkening world. Bound together, we will bring love and compassion to our own family and to the lonely, the poor, the broken, and to those of our Heavenly Father’s children who are searching for truth and peace." (Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Be Anxiously Engaged", October 2012 General Conference)
If you want to share any downloads from my site with other people, please direct them back to my site to download directly. Thank you.