My Temple Day

What a day today has been! A wonderful, wonderful, wonderful day. 
1- Last week my sister volunteered to watch the boys so we could go to the temple. I hate to say this, but I haven't gone in far too long. Having kids one after another and trying to keep my head on straight has taken a lot of time and energy for me :) And to even think about going up to the Portland temple is a two-hour drive, both ways. Plus the time inside. I know it's not that bad, that a lot of people have it worse. But this is the farthest I have ever lived from a temple and it definitely makes things difficult with three little kids. Rach and I settled on times and what not and today arrived. Brad and I embarked to Portland at seven and got there before nine. Perfect :) The only thing that sort of dampened the trip was I completely forgot our camera. I love taking pictures of the temple, so I was bummed. Oh well. Camera phone time! 
Being at the temple brings me such peace and happiness. It brings our families together forever. There is nothing like it in the world. If you want to know more about forever families and the purpose of temples, follow this link
2- As we were leaving, Brad remembered that he needed some things from Deseret Book/Distribution and we turned around to go there. There was a door on the sign saying that Corbin Allred would be signing his new movie (or whatever!) at noon. It was almost 11:30. I was hoping we would be there to see/meet him- I've been a fan for a while! We got our things, then I remembered a few extra items I needed to look at (trying to figure out what to give the kids in my CTR 7 class when they are baptized this year and then a New Testament children's story book for Easter for the boys). With that, we were able to see him come! Ok, if you don't know Corbin Allred off the top of your head, he's been in a few things you might know about- I originally know him from a TV show called "Teen Angel" in '98. My sister and I loved that show and were so sad they canceled it after one season. He's also the boy in "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" that screams/yells from being chased in the beginning. More recently he is in "Saints and Soldiers", which takes place during WWII. Very good movie, it's on Netflix. Go watch it. Also "Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed", also on Netflix. He has a new movie that came out, "The Saratov Approach", which is based on a true story about two LDS missionaries who were kidnapped in Russia. Haven't seen it, I'm sure it's good. Anyways, he came in a bit early and a few people went up to get his autograph and picture. I was acting like a total nerd and was getting all nervous, not even sure if I wanted to bother him. Brad made me do it. What a good husband. Seriously. When we get there, there really wasn't anyone behind us so we talked to him for a while. Very nice, very cool and just a great guy. Brad talked for us (because I was tongue tied and shy) and said we loved him in "Saints and Soldiers" and it's been a while since "Men in Tights". He laughed and I then said, "I've been a fan since 'Teen Angel'." He was like, "Whoa, that show was in like '98? It's been a while." We then talked about how my sister and I were sad it got canceled, but he told me it was good because it let him be able to go on his mission to Australia. Then he asked Brad where he served (Guatemala) and he asked if he knew an Elder Clyde. Brad said  no. Corbin (we're on a first name basis, apparently) said that it's one of his best buddies and old roommates, KC Clyde. "Oh, he's another actor. He's in... you know 'The Best Two Years'?" I said, YES that is my favorite LDS film! We couldn't quite remember which one KC Clyde played and he said he's the main actor, the Elder who struggles with being on the mission. Love him in it. Well, being the silly girl I am, I started geeking out a bit, and said, "HE'S your best friend?? He's SO good in that movie!!" Corbin: "You know what, how about I call him on the phone and you can talk to him yourself? Hold on..." Yeah, I was blushing and completely mortified/nervous/excited this was all happening. I know they aren't well known, but I've really loved their roles and what they stand for. Just so awesome. He gets KC on the phone and tells him he has a fan (oh my gosh... that word sounds so silly when it's about you...) who wants to talk to him. He tells him my name and hands me his phone. 

KC: hello? He..Hello?
Me: *ahem* Hi, KC, how are you?
KC: *laughs* I'm good, I'm good, how are you?
Me: *nervous giggle* ME? Oh, I'm fantastic
KC: that's great. So you're seeing Corbin? He's a good guy, he's really great.
Me: Yeah, he really is. Look, I just wanted to say I loved you in "the Best Two Years"...
KC: oh, why thank you
Me:... *basically talking over him because I'm trying to get it all out*... and I have to say the part where you bear your testimony is my favorite part and it always get me. So thank you.
KC: Well, thank you, Amy
Me: Ok, well, have a great day! Thanks... *hands back phone*
We talked some more with Corbin (which I won't bore you with, this is getting long!) and got our picture and left. 
I immediately called my sister who geeked out with me (gotta love sisters). I couldn't stop smiling. What a DAY! The temple, walking the beautiful spring grounds, meeting an actor we really like and respect, talking to another one on the phone... holy cow! 

3- Panera for lunch. Delish. Enough said.

4- My sister and her boyfriend staying late to hang and eat dinner with us. They are both awesome and amazing. I truly don't think they understand what their service meant to us, watching the boys for so long. 
Today the sky was blue. The spring flowers were out. Wild daffodils were all over the place. The grass is the perfect shade of green. The weather wasn't too cold. It was a special day and I will remember it forever. I cannot wait to go back to the temple and bask in its peace. My soul feels calm. I feel fed. Life is good and beautiful.


A Few Firsts

Almost two months ago we mowed our lawn for the first time. We moved at the time of year where there were basically no lawn mowers for sale. Thanks to Christmas for taking over stores so fast :( We waited and finally got one in later winter/early spring. The lawn was beautiful. Luckily with winter the grass doesn't grow very much so it wasn't grossly long, but there was definitely a difference after the cut. Love fresh cut grass!
We got our official first family pet! His name is Sirius (Black) and he is the best cat. I've been wanting a cat for a little while now and we designated the weekend after Valentine's Day as "the day". Well, I hoped it would be the day. And it was! We went to our local PetsMart and they were having a National Adoption Weekend and in addition to their usual cattery, they had another shelter from the coast there as well, another area for the dogs, and then another area for a different rescue organization's dogs. The shelter from the coast had a litter of five tabby kittens- so beautiful. AND they were get two for the price of one. We oohed and aahed over them for a bit, then went into the rescue cattery at PetsMart. Only one cat was being active and the boys immediately wanted to play with him, i.e. push him into a corner and overwhelm him. The cat didn't hiss. He didn't scratch. He played with them. And when he seemed like he would scratch, he would keep his claws in. I actually asked twice if he was declawed (which I am totally against- so bad for them. but that is just how much his claws didn't come out), I was so amazed at how well he was behaving! We found out he was born in August (so around seven months old now) and had originally been shy and they were just amazed at how well he was doing with three boys. He was so pretty too- a black and white tuxedo with adorable paws. White whiskers. Handsome guy. We went outside to weigh our options and decided that as much as we'd love a tabby, we couldn't really tell their personalities as much and it would be hard to say no to a cat who was doing so well with the boys. Tuxedo boy it was! We took care of business and brought him home where he basically lived under our bed for a week. Poor thing. But he slowly came out of his shell that next week and he is definitely feeling right at home now. The boys love him. He lets them hold them, still doesn't claw. He bites, but very little and gentle and only to warn or play. He's absolutely perfect for us. And man, is he affectionate. Can't even look at him without him going into a deep purr. It's been great for us to add a furry animal to our mix and we are all so excited to have him be in our family.
Saturday we planted our first flowers! It was feeling way too empty with other flowers sprouting up on the other side of the walkway. The picture above is where all our bulb flowers are coming up. I'm glad we waited to see where bulbs already are before we went forward with planting.

I'm so excited to watch them grow and blossom more. We weeded the whole thing and then loosened the soil a bit. Fun discovery- Gavin loves to weed. Like really loves it and is awesomely thorough. James helped for a bit, but wanted to have fun after a while. He kept trying to get Gavin to play with him and Gavin kept saying, "James, I'm weeding!". Very dedicated. He's my little work horse. Jack was pretty useless except for getting into constant trouble, like falling in our neighbor's pond and getting soaked. Ah, two-year olds...
I need to get a few more to finish it off, but it makes such a difference already. We got a combo of pansies, geraniums, ranonculus, and some filler laverndar flower whose name escapes me. Going to be beautiful!
With this great weather and new seasons coming, I'm excited for so many more firsts headed our way in our new home. Our first harvest (hello, plum, pear, and apple trees! raspberries! blueberry bushes! strawberry plants! rhubarb poking up! grape vines! plus all we'll be planting!). Our first barbecue. Our first backyard campout (yes, this will happen). Many, many more memories to make this year. Cannot wait.


The Boys

This post is mainly because I 1-realized I have actually taken pictures that I haven't put on here yet and 2- took a video of (mainly) Gavin dancing the other day that is just too cute not to put on here.

Big event happened here last month- the crib is down! This picture is a bit before we actually took it down. Jack and Gavin were obsessed with filling it with their stuffed animals and climbing in.
Just me and the James. Love this boy.
We took the boys to the movies for the first time- Frozen! We all liked it. The definite highlight was Olaf. The younger two weren't a big fan of the "dark" parts of seeing the movie (trailers and lights going out at the beginning). Extra bonus was we found out my sister and her boyfriend were actually coming down to see the same movie, at the same time. Made it even more fun.
Going, going... GONE. SO happy the crib is down. Jack had a bit of a rough time adapting to a bed (which was weird, because James and Gavin had no problem and Jack loves their beds), but he's loving it now. Especially now that he realizes he can get up and open the door and come see us. Super fun trick (or not). Next up- potty training.
James is such a poser. He is so my child. Here he has all his adventure get up stuff on and I just had to take a picture. He loves to role play and has such an amazing imagination.
Valentine's Day! It was so great here! The night before I cut out a bunch of hearts and taped them to the door so the boys would have a heart attack when they woke up. James was the last one to wake up and when he saw it he said, "Oh, this is so sweet!". We then had pink heart pancakes and strawberries, heart shaped sandwiches and heart cut bananas for lunch, a baggie of m&m's and Reese's hearts (which was not consumed in one day, thank goodness), made sugar cookies, tried to deliver them to neighbors but it was pouring rain, and just had a wonderful day. 
One of the boys' favorite shows is Daniel Tiger on PBS. I swear, I love that tiger. The boys learn so much from that show, it's insane. Anyways, one of the segments had kids making crowns and James and Gavin just thought that was the COOLEST thing to do. After I found our art supplies (hello still-not-totally-moved-in-yet-doubt-we-ever-will-be!) and got some glitter glue, we made these bad boys. Gotta say, lots of fun. I think only one of them have survived, and these were made last week. Pretty impressive. 
 This little boy is just full of charm and love these days- seriously cannot get enough of my baby.
We love music in our household. Love. Gavin is really finding what he likes and what he likes is the harder rock. Not hard rock, but definitely not pop or soft songs. He also likes it LOUD. All three of them love to break out into the "We Will Rock You" chorus. They know "Radioactive" by heart. James favorite song is "Madness" by Muse. We're also big fans of Capital Cities "Safe and Sound". Like boys dancing like crazy in their car seats. If a good song is on, we can't leave the car until it's over. And I have to be quick to turn the radio off in case something else comes on or it's meltdown city. I seriously need to make a playlist for our car because they have some definite favorite songs. With this boost of love for music lately and my discovery that the Roku has Pandora, we've been listening and dancing to music a lot lately. I could watch them dance all day, it's so dang funny. What a great way to burn off excess energy! So I captured a snippet of Gavin dancing. Mind you, he was waaay more into it before I started recording but he tends to realize when a camera is on so I feel pretty lucky that I got this. Enjoy :)


A Random Assortment

I've tried at least four times over the last month writing a new post. And it turns into my yammering on and on... it looks like that's what this post is going to have to be. Because that's what it's like inside my head and in our lives :) Lots of yammering and stuff going on. 

First off and most recent, our weekend was spent mostly cooped up inside. Reason one, a snow storm hit Thursday night and all day Friday. Then on Saturday we had freezing rain and everything was encased in ice. Seriously, it was gorgeous and iced. I would have gotten pictures if I wasn't stuck to the couch. Yup, sick this weekend- Brad, James, and I with nasty colds. Luckily the parents got the worst of it so the boys got to be crazy, watch movies, get easy and yummy food, and play all day long while Brad and I tried to rest as much as possible. Yesterday the snow started melting and today lots more is gone and we are back to feeling human. 

We are concentrating on more house projects, trying to get a move on things. Our current project is putting side shelves in the boys' closets. I hate closets. Ah, let me elaborate. I hate the wasted space in closets. The area on the sides?? What the heck. So we have been getting the shelves ready to install, though it was postponed due to the colds. Right now we have the boys dresser in their closet because there isn't really a good spot for it in the room. And I don't like wasting room space for a dresser. Once the shelves are put in, we're going to have their clothes go in baskets/drawers so they can still get to them really easy. Boom, useful space. In Jack's room, if we do it (which I hope we do), it'll be more for toy organization. I have a few other ideas, but we'll see when we get to them.

A major thing we are waiting on right now is bookcases. We've had our bookcases from Target for... almost six years now? After we moved to Rexburg (can it really be that long ago we moved there?? makes me sad). They've gotten a decent beating through the years. And I am ready for something new and different! I have my eye on this shelving unit
I love the idea of the back being open, staining/painting it to our own taste (dark wood or a grey color?), and having enough room for our books, pictures, and decor. It's pretty massive and just happens to be slightly smaller than our large room's back wall. Perfection. Just have to wait for a good weekend for a Portland trip! Because I am not going with my three boys... more like I'm not going without my husband's muscles! I'm also hoping to get lots of baskets and organizing items there to help get everything in order here more. I love me some IKEA.

On the topic of furniture- couches. I loathe couch shopping. It. Just. Sucks. We'd like to get a new one due to ours looking a bit beat up. The piping is coming off (thank you, baby James and then brothers), the color isn't doing much for us, the fabric is stained... we need an update. It is over eight years old. We'v done lots of furniture shopping in stores and online, and we are under impressed. We feel like the prices aren't matching what we would be getting. We do have a certain style we are absolutely in love with (English Arm Roll- swooooon), but we feel like maybe we ought to wait a few years to take the plunge with the boys being so young. They'll still be rowdy and messy in a few years, but at least they'll be better listeners (one can hope...). So now our question is- do we DIY reupholster/slipcover our beloved couch (it is terribly comfy and cozy, still greatly padded, long and somewhat deep) or buy a cheaper couch until we feel more comfortable spending the money on a nice couch? Or just spend the money?? What to do, what to do (and if we DIY the upholstery, does any one have a certain fabric they'd recommend or process?? i've been looking up linen and twill fabric mostly). We are gearing up to reupholster some wingbacks. We snagged two wingback chairs off craigslist for a steal. It has great fabric, but just not the feeling we are going for. We bought fabric for one and are waiting for some free time (and good amount of energy, if that will ever happen) to tackle that task. I'm super scared and super excited to do it!

I recently joined education.com for the boys. So glad I did! Took me long enough... I've been meaning to for a while, but I have the worst memory. I haven't delved too much into it, but what we've done so far (some coloring and letter pages) have been a big hit. I put the boys pictures on the fridge and they keep taking them down and showing each other, complimenting one another, and loving their own. James is really into tearing out pieces of paper and writing "notes" and asking us what it says. We're always wrong. Imagine that :)

We have been having regular scripture study this year. This warms my heart. If we forget, the boys quickly (and excitedly) remind us that we need to read. They love saying the scriptures and asking us what words mean and what is happening. Hearing their sweet voices and not perfect English read the scriptures... oh, it is just so amazing and special and sweet. Makes up for the wiggles they inevitably get during it :) Watching their love of the scriptures and of our Savior, Jesus Christ, grow is truly a beautiful thing.

There aren't any pictures on this post for a reason... I just found my camera today. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen it for a few weeks now. I don't know what's wrong with me. BUT on the camera front we are hoping to be investing in a DSLR soon! We feel like it's about time and we really want to start capturing better images of our lives and our boys. The one we are leaning towards (as in 99% sure it's "the one") is the Canon t3i. Not too complicated for beginners (that's us!), but still captures great images. 

Ta-da-- the end! Good job if you read all this babbling.


Five Years Old

James turned five. FIVE. I don't think I'll ever get over my kids getting one year older every year. 
Just hours old. So freaking sweet
James is such a wonderful little boy. Some things about him-

- still a huge lover/cuddler. unfortunately his brothers are not. they tolerate it... to a certain point
- loves to learn... but is easily, easily distracted
- has a wonderful imagination. and he loves to tell us, "am i using my imagination??" or "isn't this great imagining??"
- loves books. i have a feeling once he starts reading, there'll be no stopping him
- fan of all super heroes. i can't even tell you how many batman, superman, spiderman, and other heroes we have
- is very considerate to others. he wants everyone to be happy
- is such a sensitive and sweet little guy
- energy. energy. energy. and then there'll probably be even more energy
- loves the outdoors. we're hoping to do some family hikes soon and we know he'll be in heaven
- wants to be a paleontologist or pilot when he grows up
- has an easy and beautiful smile
- the gospel is starting to mean more to him. he surprises me with what he gets and will sometimes start talking about how Heavenly Father will listen to us and Jesus loves us. such sweet and special moments to see his testimony starting to sprout and grow
- loves to dress up
- he also loves to get dressed... and change... multiple times a day...
- aaaand he loves to notice what someone is wearing in a story (or tell us what the person is wearing if we are making up a story). loves clothes. and boots. loooooves boots
- is so very excited to start kindergarten this year
- loves to be creative- either drawing or play-doh or whatever we're doing

James is such a special boy and I'm so grateful for him. He is an amazing big brother and just loves having his brothers be his best buds. He gives hugs and kisses out easily and loves to comfort. I love watching him grow, and am so impressed with who he is. I really look forward to watching him make his way in the world and hope our home can be his sanctuary and we can help guide him in the years to come. 

His birthday was great. We started the day out right- with donuts. It was just James and I who went to get them, and it was a bit chillier than he had anticipated. When I told him we needed to go get chocolate milk too, he replied with, "No, let's just make it at home. I'm too cold!" He just wanted to be in his warm car and then the warm house! 
After breakfast the boys played while I made the cake. I must have left it too long to cool in the pan (dagnabit!) and it kind of-almost fell apart on me. But it didn't! And it worked! Though frosting was a bit tricky to not get the cake all mixed on it. Originally, James had wanted Spider-Man. I felt more confident I could do it this year (as opposed to last year...). And true to little kid style, a few days before the big day he changed his mind to a Batman cake. Good thing I hadn't bought the cake and supplies yet :) Batman it was! Turned out pretty cool, I think. Tasted good, and that's all that really matters.
We gave the boys a small lunch and then opened presents. We had wanted him to open his gifts early so it's not so  much at night time. He loved everything he got. After presents we had the Batman cake. 
 First thing he says after putting on his new zip-up vest- "do i look like Han Solo?" Heck yes
We went and played at the park by my parent's house and walked back for dinner. We had one of his favorites- homemade mac and cheese, hot dogs, and broccoli. It didn't disappoint. It was a great day and he was so excited to finally be five! 


The Holidays, Part Two

Back to the holidays...
That Tuesday/Christmas Eve found us at Brad's parents house, enjoying the animals and the outdoors.
 Jack is seriously an animal whisperer. After he was done riding, we watched the horses in the pasture. I turn around for one second and he's sitting down with a horse. Like their best buds. Later we couldn't find him and his uncle found him in the pasture with a horse. This kid...
Then... Christmas! The boys were great helpers (for the most part- got confused a few times who the presents were for) and enjoyed all they got.
Sleds from Santa! And my gramma was able to join us and watched us open presents- we loved having her there with us!
The next day we headed out to Muir Woods for an early day trip for James' birthday. We had originally planned it for on his birthday, but my dad (being the smart man that he is) pointed out that it'd be even more crowded on the weekend. So earlier we went! The boys loved walking the trail and seeing the enormous redwood trees. There is a part of the trail called Cathedral Grove, where they ask you to be quieter in respect to the beautiful nature surrounding you. Before we got there, I told the boys we were coming to a part where we'd have to be quiet. To my surprise, they were very quiet and reverent while we looked at the amazing trees and plants all around. It's one of my favorite parts. Later, Gavin turned around early with Nana and Papa. James and Jack finished the trail with us and they were all such troopers. We only hiked the main trail, which I think is around 2-3 miles round trip. Pretty awesome. We had planned on going to San Francisco afterwards (favorite city!), but decided against it to keep our little guys happy. I hated missing the city, but knew it would be pushing their good moods too much. 
 Don't let that face fool you- he was totally posing and being silly
 The beautiful redwoods
  Gavin looks tooootally creepers here! 
 The drive back over the San Rafael bridge
Friday was a down day (thank heavens). My parents took Rach and Thomas to Monterrey. I would have gladly joined, but didn't think the boys would be up for another 2-3 hour drive, both ways. Instead we stayed home, relaxed, went to the park, got amazing Mexican food, and Brad took James and Gavin back to his parents for a few hours. That night we watched the BYU game (saaad game) and Jack fell asleep on Papa, lucky dog. So sweet- the little guy was so tuckered out from all the fun we'd been having!
Saturday was birthday day... another post :) Then our vacation ended on Sunday. California was great fun and we are looking forward to visiting again soon!