Conversation with Manda:

"Hey Mom, I know why Finnegan's head is flat."

Me, puzzled. Please, enlighten me, dear.

"It's because Jonas laid on his Mommy's tummy and made it all squished." (Gestures the squishing)

Me, "Why do you think Finn's head is flat?"

"You know, Mom, it's an OVAL. It's all flat... and like, skinny..." (Squeezes her cheeks together with her hands) ... "Why is Finn's head all skinny?"

Me, "Because he looks like his Mommy, Sister Malone."

"Oh." Apparently Manda doesn't see the family resemblance like the rest of us do!


Just can't get enough ...

This kid is amazing, honestly. Perfection, personified.He gets about a thousand kisses and hugs a day. Who could resist this face?His sisters think he's pretty great, too...


My week.

#1 Wrote copy for a website about electricity and waste oil and generators. Random, huh?

#2 Felt much guilt due to the fact that my kids watched a LOT of TV, due to #1.

#3 Finally started writing my novel. I'm the next Stephenie Meyer, I tell ya.

#4 Went and saw the Dark Knight. Was actually cowering and covering my eyes at one point. I highly recommend it.

#5 Cleaned house, did laundry and packed.

#6 Realized that it would have been much more fun for everyone to travel if kids and I were sleeping while we attempted such travel.

#7 Went and saw the old homestead in Show Low. Sigh - such a pretty house, still.

#8 Attended the St. Johns camporama, where Josh ate an entire bowl of chili himself. This kid's gonna be an eater.

#9 Couldn't find my watch, CTR ring, or wedding ring when we got back to the hotel.

#10 Turned every piece of clothing, furniture and bedding inside out three or four times looking for said jewelry, thinking my 4-year-old had hidden it.

#11 Started to panic, cry and get very, very angry coming to the realization that my jewelry had been stolen out of our hotel room.

#12 Was unable to sleep on rock-hard mattress. Stayed up all night, instead, reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Compelling, but wouldn't recommend it. Very sad.

#13 Attended extended family reunion activities. Allison was part of a skit and was a very, very cute shoveler. She made herself a very best friend with one of the cousins, Jacklyn.

#14 Was thanked about 500 times for reunion t-shirt design. Does that mean I can't send a bill to anyone? Ha!

#15 Took naps in the hotel room with Josh, finally able to sleep. Aaaahhh...

#16 Let's just say... our waitress at dinner was "similiar" to one of the worst I've had in a long time. Chant with me: Please don't spit in my food. Please don't spit in my food.

#17 Finally called the police to make a police report about stolen jewelry.

#18 Stayed up half the night playing farkle with family.

#19 Finished that darn book. Now I can get on with my life.

#20 Got up, started packing to come home... and guess what,

#21 Found my watch and rings UNDER the mattress in Josh's play yard. Any guesses as to how they got there?

#22 Had breakfast with family chock full of yummy carbs, then headed for home. Whew.

Now, to re-read Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse before Breaking Dawn comes out on Saturday.


FHE Idea

I stole this off a random blog, thought it was cute

As family members walk into the room have them take a sticker and write their first name on it. You can write it for those who are too young to do it themselves. (take extra stickers and pens in with you for further use)
Opening Song: When Jesus Christ Was Baptized

Lesson: Welcome everyone to Family Home Evening (be dramatic about reading every one's names off their stickers. It will make the kids laugh if you pretend not to know their names, this allows them to point out their name on the sticker).

Talk a little bit about the importance of their name, who they were named after, why we have names, and how we use our names. Explain how our actions are attached to our names. If you are always honest people begin to say, "That Johnny, there, he is an honest boy. You can be sure that if he says it, it's the truth," or, "Cindy is always a good example to her friends." Point out some bad examples too, like, "Have you ever met Sammy? Well, if Sammy is in the room you can be sure that trouble is soon to follow." Ask the kids what kind of things they want people to associate with their names.

Now, give the children another name sticker (a kid can never have enough stickers) and a pen while saying, "You also have another name. You have a last name. Can you write your last name and stick it to your shirt?" Point out that you all have the same last name (or not, if they are different). Ask them where this second name comes from (daddy, mommy, or their parents, and you could also talk about names changing when you get married or are adopted). Explain that, just like their first name, their actions will have an effect on what people think about that name, but this time it won't just effect their name, it will effect everyone who shares that name with them. So, if you make a bad choice it can reflect badly on the whole family (give some examples). What do you want people to think about the "Smiths?" (insert your own last name here)

Give children another name sticker. "When you get baptized you receive another name. This name is a very, very special name. Do you know what it is?"

Read: 2 Nephi 31:13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism-yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongues of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

Or, Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Hold up a name sticker with the name Jesus Christ written on it. Have children write the same name on their 3rd sticker, letting them look at your so they can see how to spell it. After they put this third sticker on discuss with them the importance of having this name. When we take upon us the name of Christ it means we are willing to be responsible for what people think of Him. This means that everything we say and everything we do should be what Christ would say or do. Do you think this would change the way we act? Do you think this will be easy to do? Sometimes it can be hard to remember, even for adults. Sometimes you might make a mistake, or a bad choice, and do something that Jesus wouldn't do. What do you think we should do then? Should we just give up and take his name off of us (act as if you are about to take the Christ sticker off your shirt)? We don't have to if we remember what we learned about last week. Does anyone remember what we learned about last week? (Repentance)

So, remember, you need to take care of the names you've been given.

Closing Song: I'm Trying to be Like Jesus

I think I'm in love

Very, very excited to try these. Jalapenos with cream cheese, a chunk of pineapple, and a chunk of peach, and then wrapped in bacon. Doesn't it look divine?
Pioneer Woman is a bacon-wrapping genius.


Tag, you're it. Come and Play.

1. Grab the nearest book, preferably without moving from your computer. If you are currently reading something, that will be fine too.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences on your Blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet. I know that's what you were thinking!
6. Tag 5 people.

>>Okay the closest book to me happens to be the Book of Mormon Made Easier, part 2 (no I haven't read it yet, but this officially counts as my scripture reading for the day now)

Now I say unto you, Go; and whosoever will not repent of his sins shall not be numbered among my people (you will have to excommunicate them); and this shall be observed from this time forward.
And it came to pass when Alma had heard these words he wrote them down that he might have them, and that he might judge the people of that church according to the commandments of God.
And it came to pass that Alma went and judged those that had been taken in iniquity, according to the word of the Lord.
And whosoever repented of their sins and did confess them, them did he number among the people of the church (they retained their membership in the Church).

Your turn!


My parents think I've got too much on my plate. Perhaps they're right.

7:30am - wake (after sleeping in - Nonnie and Papa were here!), make bed, get dressed, make & eat breakfast
8am - Get recycling together, break down a box, get it out to the curb, run to Walmart, sans kids, to pick up items needed for dinner group and school supplies/shoes for Allison.
9:15 - Prep meal for dinner group
10:30 - squeeze three casserole dishes into the already-full fridge
10:45 - pack lunches, and a bag for the rest of the day
11am - say goodbye to Nonnie and Papa, get loaded in the car and drive to Gilbert
11:45am to 3pm - Change into painting clothes, help my friend Jen paint some awesome stripes in her girls' bedroom
3pm - get A&A to change into leotards, race to Tempe for gymnastics
3:30 - witness Allison SO CLOSE to being able to do the splits!
4:30 - head home in traffic
5pm - throw dishes in oven to bake, start on spanish rice
5:45pm - Nick gets home, we walk over to deliver meals
6pm - A&A are dying to swim, we jump in Amberly's pool for a bit
6:30pm - head over to another family's house for dinner with the missionaries
8:15pm - finally pull the girls off the Wii and head home
9pm - read books, get girls to bed
9:30pm - start working on daunting website copy project I've got this week
10:30pm - Josh wakes up crying, he lets me actually cuddle and rock him (a rarity!)
11pm - read a few pages in my book. Eyes involuntarily close.


Good 'Ol Red.

One.Hundred.Thousand.Miles.And.Counting. The blessed event occurred on the way home from Walmart, of all places, yesterday afternoon, July 14th, 2008, year of our Lord, at about 3:10pm.
I love my car.


Hey all -- Josh here. Just wanted to let you know what I've been up to lately. I've been doing plenty of THIS, of course (looking cute, obviously, if you didn't figure that out...)and I like to hang out on the stairs a lot too. I'm about to figure out how to go forward down the stairs, even though Mommy doesn't want me to, for some reason. Don't mind my drool here, please, I'm working on getting teeth.I also like to sleep in my bed.MY BED, do you understand? Mommy and Daddy keep dragging me places on the weekends and expecting me to sleep in all kinds of crazy places. And I'll tell you WHAT - I'm just NOT having it. Like this weekend? We all went to the Legacy and stayed for three days. Allison kept occupied by building all sorts of forts out of the furniture,Manda took a couple of good naps,But mostly we just hung out and swam. I didn't much make it out of my PJs and my swim suit for two days.
Overall, it was pretty cool. I totally learned how to jump in the pool on my own. I have no fear at all. I'm pretty much a stud, yep. Oh, and check out my hair lately. No curling iron required, even after a nap. It's no JACKSON, I admit, still, Mom thinks it's pretty foxy.


Free Cookie.

Print this out and take it to Cookies By Design next time you're in Scottsdale - well, before next Monday, anyway! Address is 8435 E Mcdonald Drive!

Allison's Song

Allison wanted to sing one too, so here it is.

I'm a pretty, pretty princess.
I have a scooter, I'll ride it to the end of the rainbow,
and maybe, maybe, and maybe, maybe
I'll find some scooters
or gold
or find a precious box with a necklace
with a swirl on the necklace
or maybe, maybe a bucket full of jewels
or maybe stinky laundry
Ohhh.... maybe.
Video games on the computer
playing is good, and singing and talking
and playing jokes, okes, okes,
Sending cards are fun too
Oh, yeah, it's July and my friend moved away.
I can't believe it, now I only have one friend, she has a dog and it bit me, bit me, bit me.
I have a little brother and he is so sweet, so sweet, so sweet
and his name is Josh Carl Carter.
My name is ... Allison.

Manda's Impromptu Song

to a tune she's made up all on her own.

I'm riding, riding, riding on my scooter.
I'm riding, riding, riding on my bike... or my tricycle.
I can, I can, I can dooooo... whatever I want.
I can ride on a rainbow, or slide on a rainbow, or look at a rainbow
I can, I can, get dressed for school.
I can fly, fly, I can fly on an airplane
or fly like a bird
like anything I want.
I can doooo... anything I want.
I can do a puzzle... I'm gonna do a puzzle - YEAH!
I love to do computers, I can watch TV, watch TV, watch TV, watch TV
I can, I can...
la la la la
I love how my mother sings, I love how my mother sings when I love you but the reason is, the reason is, I can't even talk, I can't even sing,
I'm just kidding, I can talk.



Amanda: Mom, I know why Heavenly Father gave us houses.
Mom: Oh? Why's that?
Amanda: So we wouldn't be hot and have to sleep in the garden.

So true.

Allison: Mommy, do you want some of those green bags? They keep your food fresh for lots of days! (My girls are completly sucked in by commercials like this. Manda totally wants me to get Aquaglobes.)

Allison, to Daddy, as he's struggling holding everybody: Daddy, it's FUN having three kids, huh!


Do I have blog stalkers?

Well, I think we ALL know the answer to that one. It would be nice, however, if some of you would share your own blog addresses so I can stalk you too! Cousins, long-lost acquaintances, aunts, hairstylists... you know who you are!


My Cabin Fund

Just spent a short weekend up north at the Carter cabin and thankfully got out of the heat for a bit. Saw fireworks in Payson on Friday night, dodging the rain, then spent Saturday in Forest Lakes - first, at their annual 4th Celebration - (which in the past we remembered as being quaint and charming, with fun games and bouncy castles for the kids - this year, we just felt ripped off - ha! Ask Nick about the dirty second-hand stuffed animal game.) - then hung out at the Davis cabin and let the kids play with cousins. Thanks much to the Davis family for letting us crash their party - my girls love going to, and I quote, "the house with all the girls"! Witnessed a way-intense hail storm, then loaded up and went to see fireworks in Heber. Once again, a fantastic firework show - and the weather couldn't have been more perfect!

We got a little idea to have the girls sell glow-in-the-dark stuff, so I bought some at the dollar store before leaving (Mind you, not really enough to feel bad if the venture flopped). The girls loaded up a little wagon of Josh's with bracelets and went around yelling "TWO BRACELETS FOR ONE DOLLAR!" and actually sold a couple dozen. Funny! It must have been the ultimate cute factor they've got going on. They put their money right back into the glow market, however, and bought some light-up swords. We'll definitely have to get a little more serious about this business venture next year - and maybe get enough to pay for my gas bill for the trip!

This trip renewed the whole discussion of possibly buying a lot up north to someday build a cabin on - - I guess if we're going to be in Phoenix for the long term, this would be a good thing! I'm taking a lead from Ashlee and writing these down, so I can hopefully realize this dream someday... maybe something like one of these...

These are the things I will be enjoying in our future cabin retreat:

Pine trees as tall as can be offering plenty of shade.
A one-level cabin, or doors at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Big, covered porch with kid-safe railing to let kids roam free.
Wood floors.
Fireplace with mantle to cozy up in front of on snowy winter days.
At least 3 bedrooms with doors to take undisturbed naps. Aaaah...
A laundry room with storage.
A large great room, with kitchen, dining, and lounge space all in one to facilitate entertaining.
Another "kid" play room, separate from the adult space. Possibly upstairs?
Endless board and card games.
A playset I build myself, in addition to, or possibly attached to, a tree house.
My very own hammock.

Isn't this a great place? You should come visit. Just give me 10 years to get it built first. Oh, and if you could contribute to my "cabin fund" that would help too.

The Fabulous Flag-a-licious Fourth of July Freedom Breakfast

Well, I actually took my camera, but didn't break it out - too busy! (Hmmm... that's happening more and more lately!) On Friday morning we hosted our ward's pancake breakfast at the church. It was a little simpler this year, yet I'm still very pleased with the results! We had about 85 people there, which I thought was fantastic considering all of my usual go-to-families were out of town, and the fact that we barely advertised this year! Breakfast included scrambled eggs with cheese, salsa, sausage, bacon, pancakes, both buttermilk and maple syrup, berries, whipped cream, OJ and milk. The scouts presented the flag (but we still couldn't hear them, maybe we'll move it outside again next year) and we did a sing-a-long (how to get people motivated to sing next year? Hmmm...) Nick acted as MC with the cheesy patriotic jokes and such, and then we did the trivia again with the corny prizes. Not many knew the questions this time - perhaps I used up all the well-known stuff last year, and these were too obscure?? Anyway - thanks to all who attended, and helped out. Brenda and Don you were WONDERFUL! And can I tell you how handy Rachel is to have around? Oh, and all her cool party supplies and ideas? Love it!

I'm starting to like making these crossword puzzles!
And note to self for next year:
15 pounds of pancake mix
2.5 pounds of shredded cheese
About 75 eggs
2-3 cups of salsa MAX
The pre-cooked bacon was easy but WAY greasy.
People like bacon more than sausage, apparently.
And people like the link sausage WAY more than the patties. We need about 120 links next time.
6 gallons of orange juice
3 gallons of milk
2 squirty whipped creams
6 pints of raspberries (these were the most popular)
1 pound blueberries
1 flat of strawberries
Buttermilk syrup was a hit
And for goodness sakes remember the BUTTER!


So appropriate for this house...

I am Cinderella, who are you??
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Dignified and hard working. With a gentle and soft-spoken manner you have something many people don't. Patience. Even through the moments of heartbreak you're still able to hold onto all of your hopes and dreams. Bide your time; your dream will come true.

Which Disney Princess Are You?