Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bath Time

Asher wanted to take his cabbage patch baby in the tub with him.  I was trying to explain that he couldn't bring his baby, but he could bring a different toy.  So he kept brining me things and asking if he could take them in the tub.  His huge Elmo was my favorite proposal.  (I think Elmo was trying to squish Asher's most delectable buns in the second picture!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What have you learned?

Today on the way to school, Halle was telling me that her teacher does a question of the day.  Yesterday's question was, "What have you learned?"  Halle said the answer could be anything you have ever learned.  She said she told her teacher, "I'm trying to be like Jesus," and she had a warm feeling inside after that.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mr. Caterpillar

Haven met a new friend while we were working in the yard last week.  She lovingly named her furry caterpillar "Caterpillar."  Creative, I know.  She let the little bugger crawl all over her for a good hour and giggled to herself every few seconds with pure delight.

Meet Caterpillar

Asher takes advantage of the photo-op with his view finder.

Asher Ant
(The limbs we trimmed off some of our bushes made great antennae and antlers!)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Diaper-less Squishy Buns

It's official, I have no children in diapers!  Asher decided this week to potty train.  He is a rock star almost 2 1/2 year old in my eyes.  I dare say he was the easiest of my three to train, weird I know.  As demonstrated in the picture above, my family has a thing with buns.  Aunt Sar just can get enough of Asher's squishy buns!  

Please keep scrolling, I've done a little catching up!

Halloween 2008

Our fabulous pink poodle

The too cute bubble bather

The "yeehaw-giyup-hrse" (translated: yeehaw giddy up horse) cowboy

Trick or treating with cousins is simply the best

Preschool Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Haven's preschool went on a pumpkin patch field trip so Asher and I joined the party.  We went to a local farm and the kids enjoyed a hayride, picking a pumpkin, a trip through the corn maze and an ice cream cone to top it all off.

I love the way Asher sports his sunglasses... always upside down, such a trendsetter.

Silly Snapshots

Caught in the act.
Asher sporting his sisters dress-ups.  Mike loves this side of YaYa!

Halle's "routine." (click on the picture for an easier read)
Halle loves lists like her Mama.  It's no wonder my house has so much paper junk laying around.  How does someone throw away treasures like these?

Haven's pouch.
Haven would be an animal in her next life, if that were possible!

No, Mike is not a polygamist.  Halle's insisted on getting a picture before our friends the Yeates left.  The kids were being a little (ok a lot) crazy and Halle was taking her time getting everyone in just the right spot.  I think us grown-ups did a pretty good job hiding our "get on with it" faces.  Great picture Halle!

Just call me resourceful!
This picture demonstrates how to keep an ice pack on the noggin of a 2 year old.  Asher sported his icy head-dress for about 30 minutes until I came to take it off.

When do little girls learn to match?
This is what my girls pick to wear AND the reason they don't get to pick when we're leaving the house.

Before I left on my 10-day girls trip, we had a family home evening where we taught Mike to curl hair.  Before this FHE, one of my major concerns about my trip was that my children would go to school looking homeless.  Mike was a great student, don't pay any attention to the look on his face.

Haven sporting a pair of my favorite new shoes.  Haven has appreciated fashion since she was old enough to talk.

Get to Know Bishop Soptich

In September our primary did a "Get to Know Bishop" activity.  Since my dad is the fire chief, they had some of his firefighters come and do a demonstration in fire safety for the kids.  The kids loved everything about this activity, and I could tell my dad did too!

Grandpa Soptich, aka Chief Soptich, helps a few of his grandkids man the hose.

The whole gang, on a beautiful September day if I do say so.
(Dad is in the middle of the bunch, holding Brin, Kaden and Haven)

After the fire safety demo, everyone gathered inside for a Q&A period.  The kids asked Dad all kinds of questions.  I about fell of my chair when after one of Dad's answers, one little boy said, "Now that's what I'm talking about!"  Then everyone enjoyed one of Bishop's favorite treats, bear claws and milk.

Monday, November 3, 2008

20% off Stampin' Up!

Just in time for Christmas, I'm offering a 20% discount on your entire Stampin' Up order!  Stamps, designer paper, handy tools and card/scrapbook kits make awesome gifts for the crafty folks on your list.  Simply call or email your order to me by this Thursday (the 6th) to enjoy the 20% discount!  Click below to view the online catalog and current Stampin' Up promotions and new product lines.  If you would prefer to have a hard copy of the beautiful and inspiring Idea Book and Catalog just let me know.  Also, for your convenience, Stampin' Up is now accepting credit cards!  Happy stamping!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

For the Beauty of the Earth

In an effort to be a better pet owner and give our dog what the great Dog Whisperer says must be top priority, exercise, we took Dakota on a couple of great walks last week!  The first day I pulled the stroller out in preparation and Asher and Haven decided they preferred different modes of transportation, like her feet and his bike.  What a concept!  Sometimes I'm amazed at how fast my little ones are growing up right in front of my eyes.  Anyway, on our walk I kept finding myself thinking about how grateful I am for the beautiful place I live and the simple pleasures I enjoy and often take for granted, like the fresh air, blue and sometimes cloudy skies, awesome trees, the view of puget sound, the horses that come to greet us as we walk by, my kids that like to be close to me.  

Take off!
Also, this is a shot of our house and I must put a plug in for Asher's awesome, wooden, peadal-less, park racer bike, as recommended by one of my most favorite friends, Alyssa.   See what she had to say about these bikes here, look at #6.

The horses we at the little grey building when we approached the fence, and when they heard speaking to each other, they looked up and headed our way.

Kiddo and his sister, or so we're told, enjoying the carrots we brought to share

My little horse lover

My pack, because you know I am the Pack Leader!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Family Picture Special by Dustin and Ciera

My brother Dustin and his wife, Ciera, take awesome pictures!  In an effort to spread the word about their photography business they are offering a special in November.  In a nutshell, if you would like to partake of this great deal, you'll pay $25 for a 15 minute session and receive the 3 best digital images via email or on CD for an additional $2, with permission to print as many as you like! Check out their photography blog here to find out all the details and how to make an appointment. Look here to see a sampling of their work, our family pictures taken last fall. When you make your appointment, tell them their favorite sister sent you!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sweet Reunion with the Dunham Clan

Meet Connor Dunham!

Connor was one of my most very favorite patients at Children's, and his family was no exception.  The first time I cared for Connor was my first day back from maternity leave after I had Asher.  He had recently been diagnosed with Leukemia, just after his second birthday.  Fairly soon after the initial diagnosis, it was determined that Connor would require a bone marrow transplant.  Cute Connor and his mom spent a year in Seattle (they are from Wasilla, AK) with frequent visits from family, while he underwent treatment.   To make a long and difficult story short, Connor is now two years post transplant and doing awesome!  Last week he had to undergo a bunch of tests at Children's to follow up on his progress so they made a family trip out of it.  Alicia, Connor's mom, had emailed to see if we were available for a visit during their time in Seattle.  I was so honored that they would remember me and want to spend an afternoon with us.  Anyway, Thursday they drove up to our house to hang out for a few hours and eat dinner with us.  The kids had a blast and the grown ups enjoyed catching up!  Selfishly, it was a great payoff for me as a nurse to get to see Connor doing so great after taking care of him and his family when things were just plain crappy.  Visiting with the Dunhams made me miss my job just a tiny bit.  Taking care of families while they endure the unimaginable, is both a challenge and a huge blessing. 

Halle, Connor, Haven, Carson and Asher
I love how all the kids look like besty friends, when this was the first time they met

The whole gang, including Connor's mom, Alicia, and dad, Steve and Dakota!

The pleasure was all mine Dunhams!  Until next time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Please California, Vote YES on Prop. 8

Many of you have heard of Prop. 8 (Protect Marriage Amendment), but if you haven't it's important that you do.  There is great concern that each state will be facing similar votes in the near future.  Watch the videos below so you better understand how your family will be affected if Prop. 8 fails.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

No Men or Kids Allowed on this Trip

Last week, I embarked on a 10-day girls vacation.  Preparing to leave was a huge task, but once I climbed in the car with my mom and sister at 4:45 AM a couple Thursdays ago, I was set.  Many of you who know my mom, know that she has become quite the world traveler over the past 10 years.  In summer of 2007 she had the crazy idea to plan a girls cruise, but she was hoping to do it that fall.  I convinced her to give us all a year to save our pennies and so we got the word out and planned the trip for last month.  Originally there were going to be about 14 of us, but as they always do, things came up and a few people had to change their plans.  Anyway, the final group consisted of myself, my mom, my sister and her mother-in-law (Mary), Aunt Becky and Grandma Degraw (aka Soptich),  and Aunt Robin and her mom Tinker.  In planning the trip, our travel agent, Mom, thought it would be fun to spend a couple days in Disney World prior to hopping on the boat.  On the recommendations of our hotel concierge, we went to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  Which meant we saved $30 on our admission, there were no lines at any of the rides and there was trick or treating all over the park until midnight. Just imagine 5 grown women trick or treating until there was no room in our candy bags.  Anyway, it was an awesome trip, and the best part was that I only had to worry about me.  I recommend this type of trip for anyone who wants an opportunity to renew their appreciation for an amazing spouse, awesome children and a supportive extended family! Thanks Mike for taking great care of the kids and house while I was gone.  Thanks Margo and Grandma Barrett for filling in all the gaps!

Mary, Becky, Sarah and Mom when we arrived at Magic Kingdom

Gotta love when the wait time is 0 minutes (which is what this sign said)

Mary was a good sport and went on all the roller coasters with us.  Here she is on Thunder Mountain, repeating, "I hate you Sarah!"

Many people took this Halloween party very seriously.  Here is Ursala showing us what is underneath the tentacles, she said everyone wants to know.  Also notice Tinker Bell in the background.  Too bad we all left our princess gowns at home.

Flat Stanley was the only male allowed to travel with us!

Me and Mom.  One of the highlights of this trip for my mom was when everyone asked if we were sisters.  Our cabin steward even asked if we were twins!  Notice I said one of the highlights for my mom.  I can only hope that when I'm 51 and Halle is 29 people will think that we are sisters.

The beautiful waters of Cozumel

This is what I spent a lot of time reading.  I loved it, but I must say I'm sad to see the saga end.

The last night of our cruise it was pretty windy!  All the decks were closed so we went out on our balcony to check things out.  Mary was a little nervous so I let her borrow my life jacket.

Sarah, Mom and I that same windy night.  The boat rocked pretty good until the wee hours of the morning.

For a more thorough account and more fun pictures, since I only took about 10, you can visit Sarah's blog.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No More Excuses...July to September, a photo safari

So don't fall off your chair, but I finally devoted more than a few hours to updating my poor neglected blog!  This has been the fastest summer I've ever experienced and it makes me fear summers to come when my children are involved in their own activities.  The following is a "photo safari," (as Mike called it) of our summer in chronological order.  Enjoy!

I think I left off right after our first family reunion.  The annual Axtell family reunion was held at Mayfield Lake this year.  I love that my children now look forward to these reunions just like I always have and still do.

Gracie and Halle coloring, a great camping past-time. 

Ryan was playing hide and go seek with a handful of the little kids.  I love that all the kids hid all together each time Ryan counted.

He'll never find all five of us behind this big tree!

Haven enjoying the frigid, yet refreshing, water.

Ryan took my little invalid tubing.  We had two braces for Asher's bum collar bone:  one to swim in and one for the rest of the time.

This is what Asher looked like for four weeks this summer.  I think people thought he was just playing around most of the time.  His brace was a band around his chest that his upper arm and wrist were attached to.  It actually looked pretty comfortable and barely even slowed him down.  (Asher and Brinlee during the reunion games.)

We got home from the reunion on Sunday evening and then left for a dental convention in Orlando Tuesday evening.    The actual pictures of our time in Florida are on Mike's work camera, maybe sometime I'll get around to sharing those.  It was a fun trip.  We learned a lot at the convention and enjoyed our time, without children, at the parks as well!

One of the highlights of our little trip was running into Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie, and star of Deadliest Catch on the discovery channel.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about you must check it out here.  It's truly fascinating and Captain Phil is one of my favorites for some reason.  Anyway, Phil and some tall blonde were getting on the airport shuttle we were getting off of.  I was stunned to see him there and he seemed like he was in a hurry (without a smile on his mug) so I didn't have the guts to say anything.  I wanted to tell him that I had just caught the latest episode while my kids were in "quiet time."  I figure I look like and unlikely fan.

Our rental house had great cherry trees in the backyard.  I thought my kids would love to pick the cherries.  Boy was I wrong.  This picture was taken right after I heard Haven say, "Halle, you just made a leaf touch me."

We got back from Florida on Sunday afternoon and the following Friday moved into our NEW HOUSE!  Our new house was actually my parents home, which means we did a whole lot of moving that weekend.  I think we are all still recovering.  My mom vows that the next time she moves will be 6 feet underground. (This was not our actual moving truck, but ours was the same size and we loaded and unloaded that baby 3 times.)

One of my favorite college roommates, Alyssa Kalyssa and her family were our first house guests.  They spent a night with us among our boxes.  It was a welcomed break from the moving chaos.  (Alyssa with Halle and Haven)

Alyssa's husband Jared was the mission companion of one of my college friends.  I like to think I'm somewhat responsible for their happy marriage. J/K
(Jared and Sam)

Asher sporting Haven's red high heels.  Mike loves it when he does this.  Don't mind the very full morning diaper.

Me and Alyssa (on my new back porch, I don't have any pictures of the front of the house yet).

One of my kids favorite things to do in their new backyard is ride the tonka truck down the hill.  I love this picture of Haven with her hands in the air.

Sam and his toy snake (around his neck) casually enjoying the ride.

The day after Alyssa and Jared had to leave us, Mike competed in his second triathlon.  This time his brother (and now missionary) Rob, joined in the fun.  Mike did even better this time, regardless of the crazy hills on our beautiful island!  (Mike and Rob just before the race started.)

What a good looking team!

The following weekend was our second family reunion at Ocean City State Park.  This is one of our favorite locations!  We endured a little bit of rain this year, but we were resilient and had a blast anyway.  A bunch of us spent some time on the miniature golf course.  It was fun to watch the kids.

Haven loved helping me wash the camping dishes.  Remind me why she isn't doing dishes at home.

Halle coloring with my Aunt Becky, my dad's sister.

It's tradition to go out and jump the wave in the once again frigid water of the Washington coast.  This year I just didn't have the guts to do it.  But I have fond memories of doing this on many occasions with my crazy family growing up.  (from L to R: Dustin, Dad and Kaden, Kyle, Halle, Amanda, Haven, Mom, Aunt Carrie and Parker).  Notice the change of expressions and placement of their arms in the second picture.

Dustin and Ciera decided to have Grandma Great read a couple bedtime stories one night.  We found these huge books at Costco so Grandma read Skippy Jon Jones and my dad, Uncle Lee and Uncle Eric acted out the parts.  Pretty entertaining.

Just a shot of the girls playing with barbies.  I love this picture too because I remember similar moments I shared with my cousins, the moms of the other girls in this picture.

And what would a Smith reunion be without Uncle Don's parachute.  The kids could not get enough of it.  I managed to not get any shots of the kids when they were being tossed way up into the sky.  Oh well.

Do anyone else's kids eat breakfast with their helmets on? Does anyone else use a Christmas table cloth when they are camping?

This is a picture of my nieces and nephews with my kids on our back deck.  I don't even know who took this picture, but I love it! (from L to R: Rylin, Brin, Kaden, Asher, Parker, Halle and Haven.)

I found a great job for Asher, and I'm pretty sure he loved every minute of it.

These are my awesome friends from Issaquah, Denise and Debbie, who spent a day with me in Lynnwood finding great deals on everything I needed to decorate my new living room (pictures to come).  They have great taste and I'm so glad they were willing to help me out.  This picture was taken outside the furniture store where we borrowed the cushion of my new sofa to see if it matched the rug, window treatments and pillows we had picked out.  Shopping with these ladies was an experience in itself!

August 16th was our softball league championship and our team rocked.  We entered this championship third from the bottom and after 5 games, ended the day in 3rd place!  Go K9s!  It was so much fun playing this season, with such an amazing team.  No other team in the league even compared.  I'm already looking forward to next year!
(Back row from L to R: Joe, Jeff, Bob, Jim, Chris and Jimmy. Front row:Ray, Stacey, Kim, JB, Me, Maria and Amanda.)

Bob and I were elected All Stars by our teammates.  Thanks guys!

Coach Joe thanking our hot sponsor :)

One of my teammates Jim, has been playing softball for probably 30 years and said that this was his favorite team.  He made each one of us a personal baseball card that had our picture on one side and then on the back he put our position, a key moment of the season and then a statement of what we offered the team.  I told you my team rocked.  Notice my rally nails!

After four softball games (I didn't play in the fifth), I ran home to shower and get my family ready to go to my sister-in-law, Amber's, wedding.  It was a beautiful ceremony and a very fun reception followed.  We are excited to have Justin join our family.  He is perfect for Amber and an amazing daddy for Jade!

Jade (Amber's daughter) was the flower girl and Asher was the ring bearer.  They were so darn cute.  Justin, all of the groomsmen and Asher wore black and white checkered Vans.  I thought it was a cool touch. (photography courtesy of Dustin and Ciera)

Now somewhere in here I should have pictures of a team BBQ and a staff BBQ we hosted, but those pictures are no where to be found.  Regardless, a good time was had by all!

And now we are finally up to last week.  School started on Thursday (here's to a welcomed new routine) and so Michael gave each of the kids a blessing.  Right before he went to give Halle her blessing, after a short reminder lesson about the priesthood, Asher walked right up to Halle and put his hands on her head.  So precious.

We found out the week before school started that Halle was put in a 1st/2nd combination class.  She was a little nervous at first but seems to be adjusting just fine.  It helps that her teacher taught kindergarten last year and was our neighbor when we lived in our rental house.  So here she is on her first day of first grade.  She was totally excited and only a little nauseous, but that's nothing new for Miss Halle!

Sporting a new Barbie backpack that Asher absolutely loves.

This was her second day and she looked so darn cute.  It's also a little shot of my new living room decor.

The Tootsie Roll Patrol as my Aunt Carrie calls it!  That's right, we are also new pet owners.  A husky wandered on to Mike's parent's property and after weeks no one claimed her so she is ours now (there is a picture of Dakota at the bottom of this post.)  After Halle's first experience cleaning up after Dakota, she was in the house washing her hands, and the door knob she touched, she said, "I'm not sure why I signed up for this job!"  Oh the joys.
Last weekend Mike and I went to the BYU/Husky game in Seattle.  It was a great game, a little too close for comfort, but BYU came out victorious much to the dismay of all of those Husky fans.  I must admit I was a little weary wearing my BYU shirt amongst those Dawgs, but I am a Cougar through and through.  Notice that Mike was sporting a Husky shirt and a BYU hat.  We shared the day with a bunch of our friends from dental school.  It's always fun to catch up with them.

Today was Haven's first day of preschool.  She was excited (not about the pants she was wearing, hence the pose in the first picture).

And finally a picture of our new family member, Dakota.  Isn't she pretty? (Also notice Haven's huge penguin slippers that she adopted from Jenna during the garage sale we had last weekend.)

The view from my back porch tonight.  In my dad's words, "You'll never see another one like it!"