Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top 5 Tuesday - Influential People

I've been meaning to link up for awhile now to "Supernanny, Where Are You" and her Top 5 Tuesday. There have been several of these over the past few weeks that have caught my eye - like the Top 5 Places you love to shop (definitely would have listed Ann Taylor Loft and the Banana Republic OUTLET), or your Top 5 movie soundtracks (Moulin Rouge and Forrest Gump would have made my list), or last week's Top 5 asking all about how you got into this crazy, comment-addicted world of blogging & to link to your very FIRST post. (Oh my gosh...I can't believe I just linked that. Totally embarrassing.)

Seriously, I had no idea what I was getting myself into...and yes, I admit, I am slightly addicted. Right now I should be doing dishes, folding laundry, planning my story time and seminary lessons for this week, but instead, I am blogging.

My justification?

I haven't post anything in ALMOST A WEEK, and Noah is distracted with Play-Doh and fruit snacks right now so I'm seizing the opportunity. And this week's Top 5 is kind of sentimental (and you all know what a sap I am)...so here I go!

This week's question:
Who are the top 5 most influential people in your life? Who has helped define who you are, and why?

(DISCLAIMER: I know I will not be able to answer this as completely and thoughtfully as I'd like to with Noah running around all over the place. I'm also not sure how to narrow it down to just five people, but I'll give it a try.)

1) My mom - This is a given, I know, but since becoming a mother myself, I more fully understand the overwhelming influence a mother has on her children. She instilled a love for reading in me at an early age. She gave me a journal when I was barely six years old which fostered my love for writing. She shared her love for music by teaching us silly songs, belting out top hits together on our "Singing Machine", having me take piano lessons, and performing show tunes with her brothers and sisters at family reunions. She's taught me about faith, forgiveness, and overcoming obstacles in life...and I know I still have a lot to learn.

2) My dad - My dad has always been my biggest cheerleader, although he probably wouldn't appreciate that phrase very much...sorry, Dad. :) He took me to my first audition when I was six years old. We were even in "The Marvelous Land of Oz" together. He went to every single one of my plays and chorus concerts. Even now, at 31 years old, he'll tell me, "You know, Kelli, you should try out for American Idol." AS IF....and I've missed the age cutoff. darn...hahaha :) He still reminds me of the art contest I won when I was in first grade - "You remember that picture you drew of Cinderella and her carriage?" Unfortunately, I only inherited about 5% of my dad's artistic talent, but he's always willing to draw things for me whenever I need them whether it was a sign for my first classroom, a castle for Abby's b'day party, or a huge golf course mural in Noah's room. My dad would truly do anything for his kids.

3) My husband - We met on Halloween night, almost 13 years ago. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would have been married eight and a half months later, especially since I was only 19 years old. (GASP! I know.) We worked our way through school together. We built a home together. We've created a family together. And here we are 12 years later...still learning, still growing, still together.

4) My children - I never understood the depth of a mother's love until I became one. Since having my children, I feel like I have learned so much about gratitude, patience, faith, and unconditional love. Abby and Noah make me want to be a better person, a better mom, a better friend. They appreciate the simple things in life. They have such faith. They are so quick to forgive when Mommy's patience runs thin. They are always so willing to give a big hug and say I love you. They teach me so much every day. I'm so grateful that they are mine.

5) Wow! I can only pick one more? I can't do it. There are many people that have influenced my life for the better...my brothers, sisters, step-parents, friends, teachers, grandparents, students, church leaders. I have been fortunate to know so many genuinely good people and for that I feel truly blessed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Extreme Makeover - Blog Edition - THE REVEAL!!!

(Click here for the BEFORE post.)



Like the new look?

Makes you want to wear flip flops, doesn't it?

And I did it all by myself!

Unbelievable, I know.

I'm getting the hang of this blogging stuff...

Slowly, but surely.

(Maybe someday I'll really get serious and let a professional get their hands on this place, but this background was FREE! And FREE is a good price, my friends!)

I figured while I was at it, I might as well give my blog address a makeover too -

Thank you SO MUCH for adding my new address to your Google Reader &/or Blogroll...hint! hint! :)

WW - It's So Hard to Say Goodbye...

Can't summer last just a little longer?

Surf on over to 5 Minutes for Mom for more WW pics.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A few of my FAVORITES!

It's in the mail, Wendi!


And yes, I let my kids watch way too much Noggin this morning so I could get everything wrapped...(I even wrapped it all myself. Sorry, Tifany. My husband would have done a better job, but he was already at work. I'm really a gift bag kind of gal.)

I know you are just dying to know what's wrapped in that shimmering lavender tissue paper. (Lavender/purple is, of course, my FAVORITE color!)

Scroll down a bit so I don't ruin the surprise for my swap friend, Tifany, just in case she checks my blog wondering where her anxiously awaited package is...

*A cute little journal/notebook because writing is one of my FAVORITE things to do.
*Pink Mist Lip Shine (mint-infused) from Bath and Body Works. My friend, Jen, introduced me to these not too long ago. There are all kinds of flavors. LOVE these!
*While You Were Sleeping DVD- my all time FAVORITE romantic comedy. I think I've seen it at least 20 times. :)
*David Goes To School by David Shannon - You know how I love children's books. David Shannon is one of my FAVORITE author/illustrators.
*Dove chocolate with caramel filling....yum! No explanation needed.

And last, but not least, another one of my favorites that I couldn't include in the package so I sent it via "itunes gifts"...(I hope she has an ipod, but even if she doesn't, she can hopefully listen to the song on her computer.)
...One of my FAVORITE songs by Hilary Weeks - Faithful. Love her!

Of course, I cannot do a favorite things post without mentioning the one thing that is probably my most FAVORITE thing in the world. I wish I could have sent it, but I'm afraid it wouldn't have survived the trip...

A Crepe Diablotin from Baker's Crust...Believe me, if I could've, I would've!

Hope you enjoy the goodies, Tifany!

For more swapping fun, check out Wendi's Favorite Things Swap!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

a little rest for the weary...

Sunday mornings can be a little hairy in our house. Getting the kids breakfast, brushing teeth, sitting on the potty (Noah is always inspired to do this when we have somewhere we need to be), picking outfits, finding matching socks, packing up snacks, coloring books, etc...to entertain our restless kiddos during Sacrament, gathering manuals and materials to teach Primary, the list goes on...

Pat and I try to coordinate a schedule so that he's getting the kids breakfast while I get ready. Then I take over and get them dressed while he's in the shower. If we're lucky, we're out the door by 8:54am and pull into the church parking lot right as the opening hymn is starting at 9 o'clock.

But most Sunday mornings, we're not so lucky.

Take this morning for instance... The kids were in our room before the sun even came up. This has been going on for the last couple of months. They are waking up A LOT at night. Not sure why...but the sleep deprivation is wreaking havoc. Emotions are high and patience is low. I've heard that sleep deprivation is a form of torture in some countries, and I know EXACTLY why. Still, we have things to do, places to go, people to see, and on Sunday mornings, that means going to church.

Pat actually got up with them more than I did last night. My head hit the pillow and I was out until 3am when I heard Noah wailing "Mommmmmmmmy! Mommmmmmmmy!" Half-awake, I stumbled to his bedroom and opened the door to find poor Pat sitting slightly lopsided on Noah's bed, trying to shush him back to sleep.

That wasn't happening.

So just like last night and the night before and the one before that, my sleep-deprived self scooped Noah up and brought him into our bed in a desperate attempt to get a couple more hours of sleep. Over the next two and half hours, Pat and I must have been kicked in the face, stomach, and back close to 25 times. That kid was thrashing all over the place.

Abby finally made her appearance around 6:45am and squeezed herself into the tiny spot left in our bed between Pat and me and Noah (who was watching Max and Ruby by this time). Trying to salvage a few more minutes of sleep, I dozed off and on for the next little while until I heard the end of the Blues Clues theme song faintly in the background.

Crud...it was almost 8 o'clock.

Pat was still snoring (much like he is right now, sacked out on the couch while the kids are watching Pooh bear) so being the nice wife that I am (yeah, right), I took the kids down to get breakfast so he could sleep a little longer. I knew we weren't going to make it by 9am anyway, might as well have one somewhat rested parent.

In the meantime, the kids and I ate breakfast and watched the "Finding Faith in Christ" DVD. It's so inspiring...makes me cry every time. Abby and Noah had never seen it before and were just mesmerized watching scenes from the New Testament of the Savior performing miracles, blessing little children, and teaching the people...Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Rest...yes, that's exactly what I need.

As crazy as things have been around here with Pat's work schedule, teaching early morning seminary, kids waking up all night, walking around like a zombie, starting a new job, and just the day to day stresses, sometimes I am not sure how I am going to make it through the day.

But I do make it through and I am grateful...because I know that I am not doing this on my own.

The Savior is there to lift me up. He knows my struggles and knows that I am trying.

So as much as I would have liked to be at church on time today, there are days when we just have to do the best we can...especially when functioning on minuscule amounts of sleep.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who needs a realtor when you have a BLOG?

My wonderful friend, Amanda, needs a favor. Her husband got another job half way across the country so they are moving...and soon!

With the real estate market the way it is, she and her husband are trying to avoid using a realtor in hopes of getting the most they can out of their house.

That's where we come in!

If you know anyone moving to the Provo or Lehi, UT area, please let them know about this cute home...

Great home in a GREAT neighborhood. $215,000 - priced below market value. 4 bed 3 bath - 1600 sq ft - new paint and new tile & laminate wood floor - new light fixtures and 2in blinds throughout. Tri-multi level design with spacious kitchen, family room and living room with secluded upstairs bedrooms. Vaulted ceilings, 2 car attached garage with extra storage. Large fully fenced yard, great for kids and/or pets, plus maturing trees and garden area. Refrigerator, washer & dryer and swingset available with full price offer.

You can click here for more pictures and details about this great house.

I know there are A LOT of bloggin' mamas out there in UT so please spread the word!

Thanks for your help! Keep your fingers crossed...maybe we can get this house sold by the end of the month.

Hmmmm....maybe I should go into real estate. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WW - Me and My Shadow

*****For more Wordless Wednesday pics, click here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A PURSE-sonality Quiz...

Honestly, I was a little afraid to take this quiz.

You should see the inside of my purse.

It's not pretty.

What Your Handbag Says About You

You tend to be relaxed throughout the day. You are naturally at peace.

You are open and comfortable with who you are. You don't hide anything.

You are a very creative person. Your life tends to be a whirlwind, but you always seem to pull it together.

You are an outgoing and expressive person. You always speak your mind, and you're very approachable.

Surprisingly enough, besides the "relaxed" and "peaceful" part (...not really possible when you have a two-year-old), the results describe my PURSE-sonality fairly well...
although before I looked up the picture to link to this post, I had no idea it was called a Slouchy, Hobo Bag.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sentimental Sunday - Just Smile...

I'm trying to take a little advice from Nat King Cole. This song has been in my head for the past few days...

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

words by John Turner & Geoffrey Parsons
music by Charlie Chaplin

Even when things seem stressful and uncertain, I can always count on my kiddos to make me smile...
Abby begged me to take her picture the other day with this plastic garden owl my mom found to help protect our garden. Noah scurried on over and made sure to be in the picture too. "Wait! Wait! MAMAAAAA!!!" I've never seen them so excited to have their picture taken. They REALLY like this owl...funny kids. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh, Friday! I thought you'd never come...

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I am too tired to blog.

Yes, I said it.

But I'm doing it anyway.

(proceed with caution...brain is not functioning at full capacity.)

This week has been kicking my behind.

My kids have been waking up EVEN MORE during the night...almost every two hours.

I am not exaggerating.

It's like they know I have to be up at 5:15am.

Sleep deprivation is setting in...

And DH (to use blogging lingo) is going out of town for work this weekend.


But if I hadn't been so tired this week...

I would have posted all about Abby's first day of preschool...
and how she decorated her tote bag the day before...

and how cute she looked...
and how excited she was! "Look Mama! There's my preschool." (We were waiting in the carpool line.)

And how I wandered around town aimlessly not quite sure what to do just having one child...so we went to the Barnes and Noble storytime. (Noah loves playing with the trains.)

Then we ventured over to the playground (about a half mile away from the preschool...attachment issues I tell ya.)

Noah ran back and forth across this bridge close to 20 times. Is he a cute kid or what?

If I hadn't been so exhausted Tuesday night (& Weds night & Thurs night), I would have written all about how Abby absolutely loved her first day and couldn't wait to go back. And how I was proud of myself for keeping it together, even though I was fighting back tears as I dropped her off that morning...and as I pulled out of the parking lot...and as I drove down the road...and when I was sitting in B&N telling another mom that it was my daughter's first day of preschool.

She's growing up so fast...sniffle, sniffle. (She's snuggled in next to me as I am typing this.)

More preschool posts to come...

******Just a brief update from my prior post...

My early morning seminary class has gone pretty well so far. No one has slept through class yet so that's a major plus. :)

And I got the storyteller position I interviewed for on Monday. Yea!

Thanks for wishing me luck!

Now just cross your fingers that my kids will sleep for me tonight.

Did someone say Benadryl? :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wish me luck...I'm gonna need it.

Life as I know it is about to change...

Tomorrow morning I start teaching early morning Seminary. 6:15-7am, 5 days a week, 24 high school students (Yes, I'm a little nervous. Yes, I should be in bed right now...)

Tomorrow afternoon I am interviewing for the storytime/children's programmer part time position at the local library, which I would really enjoy. You know how I LOVE children's books! And I think I could take Noah with me to most of the storytimes.

Tuesday morning I take Abby to preschool for the first time. She's pretty excited. Me? Not so much. (I went to the parent orientation last week, and she met her teacher on Friday.) I'm kind of bummed that I can't even take her to her classroom on the first day. There's a carpool drop off line where the teachers greet the kids and take them inside. It's a whole process with assigned numbers to hang from our rear view mirrors, a map of how to navigate through the parking lot, etc...why am I doing this again?

Wednesday morning I take Abby to preschool for the second time.

Thursday morning I take Abby to preschool for the third time.

I'm not ready for this.

Is it Friday yet?

Thank You, Wendi (and EZ)!

(Sung to the tune of "Popcorn Popping")
I opened my front door and what did I see?
A great, BIG package was waiting for me.

From Wendi's giveaway, I won the prize.
A great, BIG box from EZ School Supplies!

Markers and folders and paper too.
Scissors, a pencil box, and even glue!

You say it isn't so?
But I can guarantee...
This great, BIG box was absolutely FREE!!!

(The bubble paper was a BIG hit too!)

******Now, I need your help, my friends!
At the request of EZ, I am supposed to send them a few pics of the kids opening the box to possibly appear in their newsletter! How cool is that? Which ones do you think I should send?

Friday, September 5, 2008

It Was Inevitable...

Abby has been begging for a pet for awhile.

You may remember her first fish...

...or recall this recent conversation informing me that having a pet is MUCH better than having a two-year-old little brother.

Abby: MAMA! Noah is not a pet...He doesn't even have pointy ears or a tail or anything!

Still, I held strong despite her numerous pleas since then..."When you're bigger, sweetie."

(Yes, I know a fish is not that big of a deal, but the visions in my head of constantly keeping Noah's curious little hands out of the fish bowl were haunting me. It's hard enough to keep him out of the toilet.)

Then came the "growth chart", an idea that she and Daddy came up with to calm her worries that she was "never going to grow big enough."

Over the past 2-3 weeks, Daddy has been measuring how tall she is. Abby's also been eating us out of house and home...not really the norm for her. Maybe she thought if she ate more, she would get taller faster, or else she's just been going through a growth spurt.

Lo and behold, last Sunday, Daddy measured her in at 42 inches. Almost a whole inch taller than when they started this growth chart a few weeks ago.

"Mama! I growed! I'm bigger now!" (Daddy swears up and down his measurements are accurate. Hmmmmm....)

How could I possibly argue with that?
The kiddos admiring our new fish - 2 zebra & 2 guppies in a 1 gallon tank with a LID!

I'm thinking this may have been a conspiracy. If Pat had his way, we'd have a dog, a rabbit, and a fish. (He promises he'll clean the tank...we'll see.)

One thing is for sure though...

I have one happy little, I mean, BIG girl.

For more photo story fun, click here...
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Who Knew Pigeons Could Be So Funny?

Not too long ago, I walked into Barnes and Noble (my favorite place on Earth) and saw this picture book on display...(The elementary school teacher in me CANNOT RESIST checking out new children's books.)

As I read this, I was seriously laughing out loud in the middle of the book store. The artwork is great. The captions are hilarious. It's so simple, but the pigeon's facial expressions and gestures crack me up...

I know, this is one of those "you have to read it for yourself" kind of things, but even if you don't buy the book, you can check out the website Pigeon Presents with your kiddos. (Mo Willems has a whole series of these Pigeon books and has written several other children's books as well featured on this site.) Abby got a kick out of playing Hot Dog Dress Up which goes along with this book. We probably "dressed up" a dozen of 'em. :) How does a hot dog topped with ice cream, relish, and marshmallows sound? (My little guy LOVES him some marshmallows!)


Monday, September 1, 2008

And the winner is....

Wow! I don't think I am cut out for this giveaway thing...it's too hard to choose a winner! There were so many sweet & clever comments to my 100 Things Nobody Told Me About Motherhood post, but this one actually brought tears to my eyes...

"Okay. So I didn't come to motherhood the natural and progressive way. However, since I am a Mommy, I will contribute to this -

I never expected to love someone so completely and fully that didn't come from me. I didn't expect my little boy to so completely grip my heart that it hurts sometimes to realize just how much I really do love him. I didn't expect there to be days when just when I thought I couldn't love him any more than I already do - he hugs me or calls me Mommy - and I realize that with each passing day, I love him just a smidge more.

But, perhaps the biggest impact on me that I didn't expect - how much emotion the word "MOMMY" would evoke from such a sap like me."

Congrats, Cindy! What makes this comment even sweeter is that her DREAM of becoming a mom just recently CAME TRUE when she was able to adopt the light of her life, her four-year-old little boy, Blake. I'm so happy for you, Cindy. Blake is such a blessed little boy to have such a loving mama.

Your book is on the way!

#101 - Nobody ever told me that motherhood would turn me into such a sentimental sap. :)