Monday, April 30, 2012

cute huh?

when ellis flew like an eagle off the bed the other day, damon decided he should have a popsicle to stop his little mouth from bleeding. on our bed. that was one part of it. the other was when damon took it away from him and he cried like woah for half an hour.

 little artist...

 King of the Playground- right after this he plunged face first down the slide.

 This dude loooooves the swings. We stayed in there till he was actually ready to leave- without throwing down a fight all the way to the car!

this is a regular thing: damon puts one of my long boot socks on ellis, and one of my gloves on ellis. why use baby socks?

Hey, mom, cool phone!

Let me have it.

What's your problem?! Why aren't you sharing?

We went down to the open house for the Kansas City Temple.. It was beautiful and crowded and windy. But fun to take Ellis in the temple (though he was pretty obnoxious the whole time) and also our tour guides were so nice.

Then we took a super flattering picture outside.

Ellis got some booties and a snickerdoodle to reward his bad behavior.

But then we went to one of the best restaurants ever, Carrabbas! It was sooooo good. And then Damon drove us the almost 3 hours home in a torrential downpour and we still survived. Blessings!

That's been our life the last few days, what a fun weekend!

Also this:
 The first time he did this, Damon thought he was having a seizure.  Good news though, he's just being funny. Really funny- like last night he did it and maybe I peed my pants a little. I think it's funnier in person though, cause you can't tell really how hard he is shaking here. Also, hear that bird in the background? I took a nap while Ellis did, on that couch there. And that bird was still chirping once ever second. IT. WAS. SO. ANNOYING. So glad when dark came tonight and he went away. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hap Hap Happy Birthday!

Monday was Damon's birthday- the big 27!! Woah! That is kind of an adult year. When I was in middle school my favorite teacher was 27 (how did I even know that) and I thought wow, that is an interesting adult age- you are old, but young enough to still be cool. So I'm glad that Damon is at that age. and that I have a long way to go before I get there.

He is indeed the coolest 27 year old I know.

We had a pretty happening day. First. We celebrated mostly on Saturday because his real day was on a Monday- wah wuuuuhhhh... So. Back To Saturday. I can't remember now if Damon went to play basketball. So there's that issue. I do know that some day that we were celebrating his birthday, I made buttermilk pancakes (and didn't ruin pancakes for the first time ever!) and also buttermilk syrup which is the most classy and amazing thing ever and I don't know if I can eat Aunt J anymore. Then... I'm sure Damon had to go to school to study. I'm starting to think I have my pancake day and my celebrating day mixed up. And he came home at 5. No 4. Then our friend Michelle (who also had a birthday on Monday! But her spouse gave her a trip to New York City, so there's that, and Happy Birthday Michelle!) came over to watch Ellis scratch that we dropped Ellis off at her house to be watched and Damon and I went to the yummiest pizza place I've been to in forever. or Ever. Because I liked it better than The Pie (woah). It is called Felix and Oscar's and it is Chicago Deep Dish Pizza style and the crust is soooo good and flaky like a real pie and the sauce and also even the ranch dressing was soooo good. Mmmmm. I even let Damon take the leftovers for lunch yesterday cause it is his Birthday week after all.

This is really turning into something.

After pizza which took longer than expected we cut bowling from our agenda and instead went to a malt shop called Snookies. Which was also amazing and you should always support local businesses. Keep Des Moines Weird, I always say. Damon decided on a strawberry banana malt, which is a flavor I didn't think really existed in malt-ed-ness. But it did and it was good. So we picked up the little tyrant and went home and watched a movie. I think Captain America. It also could have been Crazy Stupid Love. Both were watched in one weekend, so who am I to remember.

Well. His real bday was on Monday, and so Ellis and I brought him a Razzbury Milkshake from the pharmacy by his school that was so good. And we gave him the gift of music via spotify. And then I made a lasagna and a strawberry lemon chiffon cake even. I think I even did the dishes, which was weird. Also we watched another movie I'm sure. This time Captain America.

Wow, what craziness!

Here are a very few pictures but not too many on account of for his birthday Damon decided to sell my Evo and pay $10 to get me a new Iphone. So I didn't really know how to use it well to document but there are a couple.

Ellis saying "welcome home from studying, dad!" Also note how few toys are all over the ground! I even cleaned!

Damon blowing out the matches, seeing as how we couldn't find the candles anywhere. Also my cake that turned into a mudslide.

Damon's gift to himself. That guy. "Happy Birthday Damon, you are going to be well fed. Love, Damon" What a sneak.

Happy Birthday to the best husband I could have ever asked for- he exceeded all expectations I had for myself (haha, wink, get it damon?)!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

we need boxes

cause we'll be packing up all that girl stuff.

we are having another boy!

we are so excited to have to little men running around, 2 missionaries out at maybe the same time, 2 less wedding to foot the bill for... and maybe 2 little ginger boys?

and of course...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thrifting for a girl

So one of my all-time most favorite hobbies is thrift shopping- goodwill (though man, I miss DI so bad, everything is so clean and nice and not smoke-smelling), salvation army, garage sales, etc.  Lately I have had the bug big time!
This weekend I had some big scores at both garage sales and goodwill.
It's amazing to me that someone will pay $20 for a book and then sell it for a quarter in a garage sale. Children's books are things I think I'll never be able to get rid of, I love collecting them for Ellis. This weekend knocked a few classics off my list, here are my finds:

*You Are Special- Hardcover (i have this in a mini size but wanted a big one)
*Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday (i LOVE the Alexander books- I'm still hoping to find Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, but I'd break down and pay full price for that one if I have to)
*Another Alexander book that I can't remember or make out the title in the pic
*Goodnight Moon
*Goodnight Goon (a creepy parody, it says)
*The Runaway Bunny
*Love You Forever
and, some other ones that I of course can't remember and they are in Ellis room but he is napping. Anyways, I looked at all the prices in the books and added them up to $95 worth- I paid $5 for all of them- awesome!

Then later that day I took some alone time while Ellis was napping and went to mosey around Goodwill. Not only did I find 3 awesome old granny shirts for me that I love, but I found some amazing things for the baby... IF the baby is a girl. If it's not, well then they may be gifted, or they may sit in my box of girl things I've been collecting for the last 2 years. 

*2 crochet blankets made by somebody's grandma (I'd like to think), I love mint green, and will probably steer that direction with nursery items- if it's a boy it may still be mint green, just with orange or something like that. I love these two blankets and paid under $2 for each
*A big lacy cream curtain, which I originally thought may be a table cloth but upon bringing it home, it's not- but that's even better, because it would go perfect in a nursery or redone into something new
*White gown with pink trim (made in USA)
*Pink knitted jumper (made in Italy, from Saks)
*Pink dress with flowers (made in USA)
all three undoubtable older, considering, when was the last time you found something made in USA or Italy, and not the Philippines or Taiwan

I always said I didn't like light pastel colors for girls, but I do love anything vintage looking, and especially anything without characters and bogus creatures printed on them. So I love all of these.

We'll find out tomorrow if these will be used on a baby girl, or if they'll be stored away for #3!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

this month we've

been growing babies (some of us are working harder than others...)

eating classy meals during General Conference (wasn't President Uchtdorf's talk the best? And Elder Holland's talk? I could read those both over and over- and generally need to)... ramen, hot dogs, and white trash fruit/marshmallow salad.

Climbing all over dad during Conference...

Going to Ellis' first friend birthday party- it was a princess party, but Ellis was a Duke!

Making bowties for Ellis' Easter basket...

Visiting the geese and eating pinecones

Playing at the mall play place when the weather isn't nice...

Eating apples like a real kid

Wearing pants that are too big

Escaping church to wander outside

Wearing helmets

and seeing the creepiest Easter bunny at DMU's Easter party. I agree Ellis. I agree. They should just start renting an actual cute white rabbit, kids would take much better pictures.

My favorite part of Elder Holland's amazing talk:
My beloved brothers and sisters, what happened in this story at 9:00 or noon or 3:00 is swept up in the grandeur of the universally generous payment at the end of the day. The formula of faith is to hold on, work on, see it through, and let the distress of earlier hours—real or imagined—fall away in the abundance of the final reward. Don’t dwell on old issues or grievances—not toward yourself nor your neighbor nor even, I might add, toward this true and living Church. The majesty of your life, of your neighbor’s life, and of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be made manifest at the last day, even if such majesty is not always recognized by everyone in the early going. So don’t hyperventilate about something that happened at 9:00 in the morning when the grace of God is trying to reward you at 6:00 in the evening—whatever your labor arrangements have been through the day.

And my favorite part of President Uchtdorf's (though reading that entire talk would be doing it a huge injustice)... Actually, I am reading it again to pull what I thought was my favorite part, but I just can't, I am going to past the whole thing here, so you don't even have to click over if you don't want to. If you missed this talk or never had the opportunity to read such a thing, please please please read it. It is incredible and something we all need.
My dear brothers and sisters, not long ago I received a letter from a concerned mother who pleaded for a general conference talk on a topic that would specifically benefit her two children. A rift had grown between them, and they had stopped speaking to each other. The mother was heartbroken. In the letter she assured me that a general conference message on this topic would reconcile her children, and all would be well.
This good sister’s sincere and heartfelt plea was just one of several promptings I have received over these last months that I should say a few words today on a topic that is a growing concern—not only for a worried mother but for many in the Church and, indeed, the world.
I am impressed by the faith of this loving mother that a general conference talk could help heal the relationship between her children. I am sure that her confidence was not so much in the abilities of the speakers but in “the virtue of the word of God,” which has a “more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than … anything else.”1Dear sister, I pray that the Spirit will touch your children’s hearts.

When Relationships Go Bad

Strained and broken relationships are as old as humankind itself. Ancient Cain was the first who allowed the cancer of bitterness and malice to canker his heart. He tilled the ground of his soul with envy and hatred and allowed these feelings to ripen until he did the unthinkable—murdering his own brother and becoming, in the process, the father of Satan’s lies.2
Since those first days the spirit of envy and hatred has led to some of the most tragic stories in history. It turned Saul against David, the sons of Jacob against their brother Joseph, Laman and Lemuel against Nephi, and Amalickiah against Moroni.
I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious, it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment.

The Doctrine

Of course, we know this is wrong. The doctrine is clear. We all depend on the Savior; none of us can be saved without Him. Christ’s Atonement is infinite and eternal. Forgiveness for our sins comes with conditions. We must repent, and we must be willing to forgive others. Jesus taught: “Forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not … [stands] condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin”3 and “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”4
Of course, these words seem perfectly reasonable—when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don’t like it when people judge us.
But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate. Though we cannot look into another’s heart, we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that, in our case, we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, said that those who pass judgment on others are “inexcusable.” The moment we judge someone else, he explained, we condemn ourselves, for none is without sin.5Refusing to forgive is a grievous sin—one the Savior warned against. Jesus’s own disciples had “sought occasion against [each other] and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.”6
Our Savior has spoken so clearly on this subject that there is little room for private interpretation. “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive,” but then He said, “… of you it is required to forgive all men.”7
May I add a footnote here? When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive—as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness—is the person looking back at us in the mirror.

The Bottom Line

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?
Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?

The Love of God

Is this difficult to do?
Yes, of course.
Forgiving ourselves and others is not easy. In fact, for most of us it requires a major change in our attitude and way of thinking—even a change of heart. But there is good news. This “mighty change”8 of heart is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to bring into our lives.
How is it done? Through the love of God.
When our hearts are filled with the love of God, something good and pure happens to us. We “keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.”9
The more we allow the love of God to govern our minds and emotions—the more we allow our love for our Heavenly Father to swell within our hearts—the easier it is to love others with the pure love of Christ. As we open our hearts to the glowing dawn of the love of God, the darkness and cold of animosity and envy will eventually fade.
As always, Christ is our exemplar. In His teachings as in His life, He showed us the way. He forgave the wicked, the vulgar, and those who sought to hurt and to do Him harm.
Jesus said it is easy to love those who love us; even the wicked can dothat. But Jesus Christ taught a higher law. His words echo through the centuries and are meant for us today. They are meant for all who desire to be His disciples. They are meant for you and me: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”10
When our hearts are filled with the love of God, we become “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving [each other], even as God for Christ’s sake [forgave us].”11
The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath from our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us: as flawed and imperfect mortals who have potential and worth far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive each other.

The Way of the Disciple

My dear brothers and sisters, consider the following questions as a self-test:
Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
Do you secretly envy another?
Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply the two-word sermon from earlier: stop it!
In a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”12
Brothers and sisters, let us put down our stones.
Let us be kind.
Let us forgive.
Let us talk peacefully with each other.
Let the love of God fill our hearts.
“Let us do good unto all men.”13
The Savior promised: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. … For with the same measure that [you use] it shall be measured to you again.”14
Shouldn’t this promise be enough to always focus our efforts on acts of kindness, forgiveness, and charity instead of on any negative behavior?
Let us, as disciples of Jesus Christ, return good for evil.15 Let us not seek revenge or allow our wrath to overcome us.
“For it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink. …
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”16
Remember: in the end, it is the merciful who obtain mercy.17
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wherever we may be, let us be known as a people who “have love one to another.”18

Love One Another

Brothers and sisters, there is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment.
We are not perfect.
The people around us are not perfect.19 People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way.
Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way.
Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.
Lay your burden at the Savior’s feet. Let go of judgment. Allow Christ’s Atonement to change and heal your heart. Love one another. Forgive one another.
The merciful will obtain mercy.
Of this I testify in the name of the One who loved so well and so completely that He gave His life for us, His friends—in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

i see you too...