A Day In the Life of Me

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Easter was really hard for me. I missed my family a lot and was not feeling particularly motivated to cook a big dinner just for my family on that day either. But I couldn't let myself not do it either. I ended up inviting a friend and her family over who are in a similar situation as us. It was so enjoyable! And anyone who really knows me knows I like to cook for other people. I made the works: glazed ham, homemade rolls, salad, carrot cake, and my friend brought the potatoes (which were awesome!). It was really nice to just eat and chat while the kids all ran around.

The day before Easter we went to a ward member's house and the kids had a blast! The eggs had some candy, but most of them were filled with tickets which the kids could "buy" various things with. Maddy was sooo excited to get dangly earrings that she said she thought Grandma Stephens would think were pretty. She even wore them to church on Easter. She is getting to seem so grown up!

The kids love going to the park. The one that is by the library has a merry-go-round. I couldn't resist this picture of them laying on each other on it.

Homeschooling is going well. The kids and I love the parts where we can go do things out of the house. Library day is something we look forward to. This scene of all my kids sitting quietly and reading books sure made this Mom proud! I love that they all just devour books. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


So, I have been trying to lose weight the past month or so. I joined weight watchers and it has been a great starting point for me and has opened my eyes to realize that I have been eating about twice as much as I actually need to. I sort of hit a plateau after losing 3.5 pounds. I wasn't gaining weight, but I wasn't losing more either. I was getting really frustrated! After admitting to myself that I was kind of finding ways around weight watchers to still get to eat whatever I wanted, I have upped my ante and decided to make at least half (4 or more) dinners vegetarian. I really don't eat enough veggies... even with a salad for lunch every day. So, I am getting creative and the kids haven't even missed the meat. I've already noticed a difference in my energy level and how much my back hurts (it's been giving me grief every morning for about a month). Jay likes to call this kind of eating flexitarian... which makes me chuckle... I like it! I don't really have any desire to give up meat entirely, but I'm really enjoying feeling better. It also helps my motivation to have joined a contest with my brother-in-law and my parents to lose 6.1 percent of our body weight this month. And whoever doesn't make it, has to pay those who did $20. I don't want to pay out $60 because I didn't control myself enough to lose the weight! I'm also trying to get in as many walks/jogs as I can. Eat less, move more, drink more water! That's my mantra lately. I'm also considering doing a contest with a prize... to see who can lose the most body weight percentage... would anyone be interested in doing that with me?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Road Trips and Rest Stops

So, Jay has been out of town this week on a business trip to Kansas City (and Wichita) and he is driving back tonight. He was talking about a stop he was making to use the rest room and stretch his legs and how he remembered we stopped at the same place and he parked in the same spot as when we were driving back from Utah over Christmas. He was asking if I remember stops on trips like that and I admitted that I usually don't pay that much detail to stops like that, but I know that Jay does. He remembers the most random gas stations and tries to make the same stops on trips. It makes it kind of fun! I do remember when I was a kid and we would make the road trip from Texas to Utah we would stop at the same gas station every time... and of course I remember it because it had a big green "Little Foot" dinosaur outside of it that we could climb on. You know the one I'm talking about?

I'm sure my parents have pictures of the kids all climbing on it and thinking we were at the best gas station in the U.S.

So, Jay and I were talking about a rest stop that we really liked when we drove out to Utah for Christmas and he couldn't remember where it was. I thought it was in Kansas, and I was right! (Holy cow! Someone be amazed that I remembered where something was that I have been to a single time.) It was near Manhattan, Kansas. And it had this pretty cool sunflower statue and a walking trail that we walked on for a little while and let everyone stretch their legs at.

I think we will try to make this a regular stop on our road trips to Utah. I would love to have a packed lunch there (if I'm remembering right, it had shaded picnic tables).

Are there any rest stops or frequent stops you make when you go on trips that you have special memories of?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Six months already!?

So, I know I've been terrible about blogging still, but I have a ton of pictures to share with you all. It will give you a glimpse of what we've been up to since we've moved to Missouri. And in no particular order. I'll give a brief description of the picture underneath them. :)

Outside of the History Museum with the group of kids we were there with. A fun time, for sure!
Miles did this himself, with no promptings from me. Gangster!
Hyrum has really really gotten into origami. He loves folding and folding and folding.
This is a view of Creve Couer Lake on a date that Jay and I went on. This picture doesn't do the breath-taking view justice!
If you didn't know yet, I've started homeschooling. This is the first project we did (making rock candy) and my cute youngest son. :)
Spring has sprung! My favorite season! The kids loved the big beautiful flowers on this tree.
Hyrum turned 9 years old! How did that happen?! (Maddy also had a birthday, but I guess I was too busy to take a picture on that day. She is now 7!)
Halloween! This was shortly after we moved into our house. The kids had a blast trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.
Parks, parks, and more parks! St. Louis has so many wonderful parks and we love going to them... especially since the weather has warmed up.
Graham plays with his (or someone else's) ear when he falls asleep. His ear got stuck when he fell asleep... couldn't pass up the silly picture!
Miles suffered a concussion. He got a frog and a dino (which you can't see) for being so still during the CAT scan.
Miles is getting better at drawing actually pictures. When did my little boy get so grown up!?
We love Trader Joe's! I love it for the produce and cheese and the kids love it for the stickers they get!
I though merry-go-rounds were a thing of the past. My kids had a blast on this one after getting books at the library.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big move!

Ok, so I know... it's been a year and a half since I posted on the blog. Life got busy and I lost motivation to keep up on this, but we are moving to St. Louis, Missouri on October 2nd (this Sunday ACK!) and this is the best way to keep everyone updated on what the kids and Jay and I are doing. Expect LOTS of pictures and updates about what we are doing soon. I have been busy packing and going through all our stuff. It's amazing what you collect when you live in the same place for 6 years.

We are excited for the St. Louis Adventure and all that comes with that! See you soon from Missouri!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada Cruise

Here's a synopsis of our trip, day by day. I just have to say, it was an absolute blast and I would go again in a heartbeat! Most of this is written by Jay, but we did almost everything together and I don't want to write it all out again.

Friday 3/5/2010 Drive to Las Vegas, walk the strip. Watch the fountains at Bellagio. Eat at Amore Patisserie, Macaroni Grill in Caesar’s Palace
Sat 3/6/2010 Drive to San Diego, board the cruise ship. Toured the ship, buffet lunch, Karaoke in the Cole Porter Lounge, Mikado Theater for standup comedian Jerome. First night on the ship and Jay got seasick. Talk about vertigo!

Sunday 3/7/2010 Day at Sea. Breakfast in the Imagination Dining Room. Elegant dinner in the Imagination Dining Room; we wore our best dress/formal clothing. Mikado Theater for Hypnotist Jac Rene—Brock Simmons and Tyler Stephens were hypnotized, hilarious! Went to the casino after the hypnotist show and Melissa won $31!

Monday 3/8/2010 Cabo San Lucas. Breakfast in the Imagination Dining Room. Took the tender to Cabo and walked (a ton). Shopped at the flea market (Jay got a bracelet, Melissa got a necklace, and a cool sewn palm leaf bag). We ate lunch at Hard Rock Cabo, then made our way to the beach where we swam, and played for 3 hours. We walked back to the peir where the tender would pick us up. Jay got chafed, yet we still went in to the Cabo Harley-Davidson shop. Jay got a magnet and some cool stickers and David Henry gave him some bag balm and that was enough to get them back to the pier. Once back to the boat and preparing to shower, Jay noted he had two tablespoons of very coarse Cabo sand in his swimsuit. CHAFE! Dinner was at the Imagination Dining Room, and we caught a show afterwards. The first comedian was Tyler Linkin; he did a very dry yet hilarious routine which involved juggling. The second act, Glenn Hirsch had a hard time following up Mr. Linkin’s act. We would absolutely see Tyler Linkin again.

Tuesday 3/9/2010 Cabo San Lucsas. Breakfast in the Imagination Dining Room. Took the tender in to Cabo and hired an all-day excursion for whale watching, touring the sites, and snorkeling at a distant beach (40+ min away; Santa Maria Beach). We saw two whales just off Land’s End (a rock formation south-east of town near the arch and Lover’s Beach). After the whale chasing and subsequent soaking we got from the Pacific waves (which ruined our nice DSLR), we turned about and went back into the Sea of Cortez and Santa Maria Beach. The beach was fantastic! Coarse sands, pieces of sea glass and coral, amazing snorkeling with a ton of fish, and a much smaller crowd made this excursion the highlight of the trip so far. We played, got sunburned, fed fish, picked up five pounds of shells/coral/glass, and had an amazing Mexican experience. Dinner was, you guessed it, in the Imagination Dining Room. Our Waitress and her assistant had our routine down pat and the food was very appealing both visually and to the palate. We are now en-route to Ensenada and quickly falling in love with Carnival Cruise Lines!

(This is also the day that my camera bit the dust (or salt, in this case) so there are no more pictures for the rest of the trip.)

Wednesday 3/10/2010 Day at Sea. A guy sang swing tunes which was the best show so far of the cruise. When he stopped singing I just wanted him to sing one or two more. I won $10 more dollars at the quarter slots at the casino today, too.

Thursday 3/11/2010 Ensenada. Shopping was good and it was cool to see the blow-hole. It has changed a lot since I came last time 10 years ago. It is much more developed now. The best part of the day was eating some fish tacos for lunch. They made the tortillas fresh right in front of us, even, using a hand press to flatten them. They were so good and I’m glad Jay insisted we bought some there. The churros were excellent, too. Nothing like the churros you get in the states. We both thought the ground felt like it was swaying like we were still on the ship the whole time we were walking.

Friday 3/12/2010 Melissa and I are on Lido Deck sitting in the sun waiting for debarkation to occur. After speaking with one of the stewards by the dining room we have approximately one hour to wait before it begins. We already had breakfast, this time at the buffet here on Lido. Melissa has reclined with her book and I am typing at my laptop—we checked our voicemails, and texted everyone who has taken care of our children while we were out to sea. Anna has our kids and will take them home tonight to await our return. Fantastic that she is doing that; it will save us an extra hour of driving after we get home. Looking back over the trip it is hard to place a favorite moment. I have asked several people over the last couple of days what their moments were; some of mine correlate. A definite top moment was Playa Santa Maria and its beautiful sand, snorkeling and contented feeling. I also really enjoyed myself in Ensenada with the street vendors, the fish tacos, and just being there with Melissa. Overall this cruise has been extremely relaxing; Melissa and I had our moments where we got on one another’s nerves, but they were very small and were usually related to one of us being tired. Those sorts of things are healed with apology and sleep. It has been quite nice to get to bed by 1030ish and up by 8ish. Will miss that for sure! In these last moments on the boat we have called home for the past six days I feel content. The Elation is back where we boarded her in San Diego Bay, right next to the USS Nimitz. We have a 12 hour drive ahead of us and then we’ll be home! The ground solidly below us, our children around us, and two more days off before work resumes. It’s been a good trip.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday, Maddy Jane!

I can't believe Maddy has turned 5 years old! She seems so grown up and is such a little mommy to her brothers and helps take care of them. She absolutely loves preschool and is thriving in that environment. She is constantly amazing me with what she learns and remembers. Here are some pictures of my sweet girl on her big day:

We had a family birthday party for her and held it in our church building's gym. Here she is surrounded by cousins opening her gifts.

Maddy is opening another gift, but I had to post this because I love Savy's arm around her. Cousins are the best!

My mom made party hats for me for the kids to wear and we had to put one on Graham. He totally looks like a garden gnome! HA!

My mom made this huge Cinderella castle for a wedding reception and we couldn't pass up using it for Maddy's party. Some of the princesses (Kara and I are not in the picture) in the family posing in front of their castle.
Princess Maddy in front of her castle.

Close up of the cupcakes I made. I kinda went all out on these. I am awful with making frosting look good on cupcakes, so to get out of that, I made sugar cookies to go on top. I think they turned out so cute and Maddy loved them!

Cupcakes on the stand.

Maddy had seen an infomercial about the "big top cupcake" and said she wanted it for her birthday cake. I was happy to oblige with the wilton version of it. I made the cookies and my mom decorated it. I thought it turned out adorable! Maddy about died when she saw it.

Maddy showing me how old she is now. Such a big girl!
My mom had curled her hair for church a couple weeks ago and she said she wanted it curled for her birthday. I have such a beautiful daughter!
In her Princess crown... she loved wearing this around the house and at her party. She would put it on and proclaim "I'm a princess!" She always is!