{ Our Gratitude Chain }

This year, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving we had a lesson in Family Home Evening about gratitude and tried really hard to focus on those things that we were thankful for. I was grateful for a Relief Society lesson that focused on a talk from General Conference by President Monson entitled “The Divine Gift of Gratitude” in October 2010. I was able to tell the story he told, and the Spirit was so strong. I love FHE lessons like that-it makes us feel so much closer as a family. The kids are all attentive and actually listening for a few minutes, and there are even a few tears shed. I love to see their sweet spirits be touched.

We decided to write down things we were thankful for until Thanksgiving. I gave them the challenge to not write down the common things we think of-though we are all VERY grateful for those, like Family, God, House. I wanted them to be very specific and also try to add a WHY to the thing they were grateful for.

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Our goal was to see if we could make a chain that went around the whole house. Even though we didn’t make it all the way around this year, we sure came up with a lot of things. On Thanksgiving day we added a few more, let my brother Mitch add in a few, and then stapled them all together. Even though the kids were having fun spouting out the funny ones as they were stapling, I didn’t get a chance to read them all until I typed them up. I was touched by some of the things that they wrote, laughed at quite a few, and really saw each of us individually as I read them. Everyone’s list really paints a picture of where they are in their life right now, their personality, and those things that they feel are important.

I tried to type them just as they were written because some of the little kids writing was so cute, and the older kids humor was just too funny to change. I love the idea of taking the time to really reflect on those things that we are so grateful for, I know for me it made my heart feel so much closer to our Heavenly Father and really see all that we have been blessed with.


  • I am thankful for an iPhone to help me communicate with my calling and decrease my time away from home
  • I am thankful for a bed that is comfortable instead of a hard cot or a sandy floor
  • I am thankful for Austin who teaches me teachability and meekness
  • I’m thankful for Erika for teaching me an easy going nature
  • I am thankful for Heavenly Father giving me Brooke who is an Ephraim’s child who is so steadfast
  • I am thankful for Brianna who helps me see myself
  • I am thankful for Monae for loving me despite my faults
  • I am thankful for pencils so we don’t have to use quills or engrave
  • I am thankful for the ability to have children
  • razor-sure beats a sharp rock
  • I am thankful for medical knowledge I have to bless my family and others
  • I’m thankful for illness to help me be understanding and compassionate
  • toothbrush-beats no teeth
  • diapers-oh how grateful instead of a cold stream or reusable ones
  • I’m thankful for shelter to protect me from cold, heat, rain
  • I’m thankful for clothing that keeps me warm and modest
  • I’m thankful for Jesus Christ who loves me no matter what
  • I’m thankful for water to drink and keep me alive, when others suffer
  • I am thankful for central heat to keep me warm in the winter
  • I am thankful for Abby for teaching me to include everyone
  • I am thankful for a car to drive and get easily wherever I want
  • I am thankful for Scott who teaches me to be creative and crafty
  • I am thankful for a job that helps me provide for my family
  • I am thankful for my ring that reminds me of my eternal marriage
  • I’m thankful for hair gel
  • I’m thankful for modern medicine that provides sanity
  • I am thankful I can watch Monae work (and she sometimes lets me)
  • I am thankful for Simon who is obedient and teaches my children to care for another living thing and responsibility
  • I am thankful to read stories to my kids
  • I an thankful for air conditioning to keep us cool in the summer
  • I am thankful for a spouse who supports my desire to worship God and be a spiritual leader in our home
  • I am thankful for being healthy with only mild illnesses on occasion
  • I am thankful for Ryan who runs and gives me a hug when I come home from work every day



  • I am thankful for a GPS so we can not get stressed out when we go on a trip
  • I am thankful for the “curly’s” in my life and the fun that they bring into our home
  • I am thankful for nail clippers when I have an uneven nail that would break low and bleed
  • I am thankful for my cozy comforter to keep me warm and cozy in my bed
  • I am thankful for my wedding ring to remind me of my loving husband
  • I am thankful for an indoor toilet so I don’t have to go outside in the middle of the night in the cold to go to the bathroom when I’m 9 months pregnant
  • I am thankful that Mitch and Michelli (my brother and sister-in-law) live close to us now and we get to see them often
  • I am thankful for the color blue because it calms me and makes me feel peaceful
  • I am thankful for money to buy groceries
  • I am thankful we live in a country where we have a variety of foods to eat
  • I am thankful for a dishwasher so I don’t have to stand and do dishes for a long time
  • I am thankful for clean hospitals to be able to have a safe place to give birth to my babies
  • I am thankful for a hot shower when I am cold and my back hurts
  • I am thankful for good health (specifically not throwing up)
  • I am thankful for toothpaste so my teeth don’t hurt and I can feel a clean mouth all day
  • I am thankful for binkies to calm my babies when they are sad
  • I am thankful for my beautiful kids because they remind me of love every time I see them
  • I am thankful for the ocean because it smells good and is calming to watch
  • I am thankful for cars so that we don’t have to walk everywhere
  • I am thankful for refrigerators to keep our milk cold so we don’t have to have warm milk on our cereal
  • I am thankful for chocolate because sometimes I’m grumpy and want something sweet to eat
  • I am thankful for the piano and kids that know how to play to fill our home with beautiful music
  • I am thankful for a husband that willingly and is able to work for our family
  • I am thankful for a written set of scriptures that I can read each day and not have to rely on only having someone read them to me on Sunday
  • I am thankful for the internet so I can get information about friends and family quickly
  • I am thankful for pretty things in my house that make it feel comfortable and make me happy when I look at them
  • I am thankful for the ability to have children and feel their love for me
  • I am thankful for my kids who get ready on their own each morning so I can rest
  • I am thankful for our noses that let us smell and be reminded of good memories
  • I am thankful for words that can be written for us to read when our memories aren’t so good
  • I am thankful for my parents who faithfully taught me the gospel
  • I am thankful for cameras to take pictures that help us remember memories
  • I am thankful for the good memories I have from our Europe trip
  • I am thankful for windows in my house that let in beautiful light and have the power to change a room from dreary to bright (okay, I so didn’t mean to be so rhymey with that one)
  • I am thankful for the warmth of the sunshine on my skin in the summer
  • I am thankful for shoes to wear so our feet don’t hurt on the pavement



  • I am thankful for a mom who shares her clothes with me
  • I am thankful for gel because it limits my hair to low minimum afro status
  • I’m thankful for soccer because I’m able to do something I’m good at and express myself as an athlete
  • I’m thankful for makeup because it makes me feel pretty and special
  • I’m thankful that mom is pregnant with a healthy baby brother Ethan (she was trying hard to influence this little guys name)
  • I’m thankful for Oreos because they satisfy my need of a yummy chocolate w/milk milkshake
  • I’m thankful for seminary because I can learn and prepare for my mission and to be prepared for day to day missionary experiences
  • I am thankful for the ability to play the piano because I can play and feel accomplished and feel happy or the Spirit
  • I’m thankful for braces that made my teeth nice and straight
  • I’m thankful for mom’s Christmas decorations around the house that help my mood and make me happier
  • I’m thankful for my purse to help hold and carry all my stuff
  • I’m thankful for hair ties to keep my hair out of my face
  • I’m thankful for Sister Meadows and the time she takes to teach us seminary on top of everything she is going through
  • I’m thankful for flip flops so I don’t have to wear closed toe shoes that suffocate my feet
  • I’m thankful for mom when she makes my lunches
  • I’m thankful for mechanical pencils that make life better instead of wooden pencils that you have to sharpen
  • I’m thankful for Elizabeth when she drives me to school in her car
  • I’m thankful I only have to take care of Simon 1 day a week
  • I’m thankful for a mirror because I can see myself and make sure there isn’t anything weird on my face
  • I’m thankful for shin guards to help protect me
  • I’m thankful for a light jacket to keep me warm when I’m inside or outside
  • I’m thankful for creative movie creators that made Catching Fire to entertain me when I need a brake or a good time
  • I’m thankful for a pillow to lay down on instead of the bed so my head is elevated and not down below the rest of my body to create a weird angle that’s annoying and rushes my blood to my head
  • I’m thankful for my own bedroom so I can have something of my own in this big family and to spend time by myself sometimes to think and ponder
  • I’m thankful for country music so I have something I connect to and is mine and personal I can listen to
  • I’m thankful for our family motto “no empty chairs” to help remind me of my ultimate goal
  • I’m thankful for Sister Meadows my seminary teacher so I can have someone as an example and someone always there for me
  • I’m thankful for my ability to play the piano so I can play Christmas music
  • I’m thankful for Wanelo, so I can interact with a good wholesome activity and look at clothes for cheap
  • I’m thankful for Nutella to help me when down and keep me pumped up
  • I’m thankful for friends to help me keep moving through hard times, support me, help me make right choices, and help me enjoy myself and have a good time
  • I’m thankful for mom who does my laundry so I don’t have dirty clothes
  • I’m thankful for jewelry to help my outfits to look cute and me to feel pretty
  • I’m thankful for games so I can spend time with family
  • I’m thankful for our family traditions of ding dong ditching people because I get to spend time with family, help others, and have a good Christmas season time
  • I’m thankful for a good book to be able to sit down and read



  • I’m thankful for the internet so I can do my homework
  • I am thankful for an oven mit so I don’t burn my hand
  • I am thankful for BYU because I can watch it whenever I want because my parents attended there
  • I’m thankful for the UPS guy because he brings Christmas gifts and other wonderful things
  • I’m thankful for people I can say “chill out” to
  • I am thankful for Simon because he is cuddly, soft, and always there for you even though sometimes he chews stuff up
  • I am thankful for legs because I can play sports and walk
  • I’m thankful for a dresser to keep my clothes in
  • I’m thankful for a stove so we can cook food and not eat raw stuff
  • I’m thankful for my book bag so I can use it to carry home my many books
  • I’m thankful for water so I can keep hydrated
  • I’m thankful for the old Chinese people that invented soccer
  • I’m thankful for a fan to keep me cool during summer nights
  • I’m thankful for the fan in Ryan’s room so I can’t hear him at night (funny because the loud fan is actually so Ryan can’t hear us being so loud and will fall asleep)
  • I’m thankful for the Atlanta temple that it is so close
  • I’m thankful for a dad’s who’s a doctor so we aren’t poor
  • I’m thankful for Halloween so that we can get lots of candy
  • I’m thankful for Ninjago (Lego cartoon on Netflix) so I can keep the boys busy when I am babysitting them
  • I’m thankful for an alarm to wake me up
  • I’m thankful for Oreos because they are almost every treat we have for FHE
  • I’m thankful for chairs so I don’t have to sit on the ground
  • I am thankful for my fellow youth because they are there for you and give you hugs when you need and they bring treats to BYF
  • I’m thankful for a computer so I can play Minecraft
  • I’m thankful for this book I’m using to write this on
  • I’m thankful for a lamp so I can read at night
  • I’m thankful for Mrs. Harris (my bus driver) because she takes me to and from school
  • I’m thankful for clocks so we can tell time and be on time
  • I’m thankful for glue so that I can do some of my school projects
  • I’m thankful for my teachers because they teach what I need to know to get into high school and later college
  • I am thankful for my little brother Ethan (another hopeful for the name Ethan)
  • I’m thankful for food that provides me with strength
  • I’m thankful for the Wright bros so we can now fly to different places and see family and other places
  • I’m thankful for mirrors so I can see myself and fix how I might look
  • I’m thankful for shower mats so my bathroom doesn’t get wet
  • I’m thankful for rubber duckies so I can play with them in the tub
  • I’m thankful for fire because without it I wouldn’t be here
  • I’m thankful for flowers because they bring color to the world
  • I’m thankful for family so we can have fun family reunions
  • I’m thankful for a shower so I can be clean
  • I’m thankful for towels so I can dry off after a warm shower
  • I’m thankful for toilet paper so I don’t have to use my hand like in India
  • I’m thankful for dog treats so that we can train Simon
  • I’m thankful for underwear so I’m not loose in my pants
  • I’m thankful for soccer because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be fit
  • I’m thankful for Axe so I can smell good for my lady friends
  • I’m thankful for this pen so I can write the things I am thankful for



  • I am thankful for hot/clean water to help me not get sick with dirtyness.
  • I am thankful for hairclips/brushes/pins to make me look pretty at school/church/stores etc.
  • I am thankful for food that help me not have a stomach ache
  • I am thankful for the use of shoes so my feet won’t get cold or num up because of cold winter or hard ground etc.
  • I am thankful for decorations because it makes my home more satisfactory
  • I am thankful for photosynthesis because it is the proses of our living breath
  • I am thankful for showers that keep me clean so I don’t get sick from dirtyness
  • I am thankful for a bed so I have a comfy, soft place to sleep
  • I am thankful for my life and all the blessings you gave me. Because I would be nothing without everything around me
  • I am thankful for no school, weekends, the summer because I get my rest
  • I’m thankful for this roof that is able to be over my head to protect me
  • I am thankful for deodorant so I won’t smell over gross to nature
  • I am thankful to be bored (written by Aaron-pretty sure there was some “I’m bored” complaining happening at that time)
  • I am thankful for toys so I am occupied during boring situations (written by Brooke)
  • I am thankful for a dad and mom. Dad-earns money for my belongings. Mom-to provide, clean, and protect
  • I am thankful for school/church etc. bags to carry my things so I won’t have to carry in my hands sooo much stuff
  • I am thankful for school so I won’t seem dumb and because math is life
  • I am thankful for purses, bags, etc so I don’t have to carry my things



  • I’m thankful for Heavenly Father because He gives us blessings
  • I’m thankful for my DS because I’m able to have whatever I want (she bought it with her own money and seems to find great pride in that)
  • I am thankful for my life
  • I’m thankful for my bed because it’s a soft place to sleep
  • I’m thankful for trees
  • I’m thankful for a life
  • I’m thankful for a TV
  • I’m thankful for a phone to call people if we’re in trouble
  • I’m thankful for dictionaries
  • I’m thankful for Simon because sometimes I get bored,so I like to play with him
  • I’m thankful for a family because I am be able to play with someone and they take care of me
  • I’m thankful for food, because some people don’t have enough food or don’t have money to buy food
  • I’m thankful for my toys
  • I’m thankful for electricity
  • I’m thankful for a clean bath and hot water
  • I’m thankful for a car to take us places
  • I’m thankful for the world
  • I’m thankful for shoes so I’m not barefoot
  • I’m thankful for blankets to keep me warm
  • I’m thankful for deodorant so I don’t smell BAD!!!!
  • I’m thankful for towels
  • I’m thankful for money!!!!! I love dad because he works for us
  • I’m thankful for a toothbrush to keep my teeth clean
  • I’m thankful for trees and plants
  • I’m thankful for books, so I will learn
  • I’m thankful for Simon
  • I’m thankful for games
  • I’m thankful for the Magic 8 ball to tell me what I got for Christmas
  • I’m thankful for my house because it protects our family in bad weather
  • I’m thankful that the American Girl store is nearby because it’s nearby and some people don’t even have a AGS nearby



  • I am thankful for a toothbrush to clean my teeth
  • I am thankful for a bed so I can sleep on it
  • I am thankful for trees because it gives us exingene (oxygen)
  • I’m thankful for rectricite (electricity) because if we didn’t it would be dark
  • I’m thankful for my toys to keep me active
  • I’m thankful for clothes to wear
  • I’m thankful for alarm clock to wake me up
  • I’m thankful for a brain cause if we were thinking of a story we could not even think of storys
  • I’m thankful for a table to eat my food on
  • I’m thankful for money to buy food
  • I’m thankful for a teacher to teach me
  • I’m thankful for scriptures to read when I’m bord
  • I’m thankful for Ethan because he’s cute (yet another vote for the Ethan name)
  • I’m thankful for a table to eat on
  • I’m thankful for a sink to drink water
  • I’m thankful for Thanksgiving because there is a big feast and ower aunt and uukle come
  • I’m thankful for a mom and dad to love us
  • I’m thankful for a shower to keep me clean
  • I’m thankful for rain for flowers to grow
  • I’m thankful for holidays because I can sellebrat them with my family
  • I’m thankful for medosen to feel not sick
  • I’m thankful for blankets to be cozy for bed
  • I’m thankful for a brothers to play with
  • I’m thankful for brothers and sisters to play with me



  • I’m thankful for our house so I can live in them
  • I’m thankful for towels so I can dry off after a bath
  • I’m thankful for a light bulb
  • I’m thankful for bubbles
  • I’m thankful for the swing set
  • I’m thankful I can run super fast in a circle so I don’t have to use crutches
  • I’m thankful for snakes so they can die
  • I am thankful for snacks at preschool like chips they are good
  • I am thankful for pencils so I can draw
  • I am thankful for my Spiderman laptop
  • I am thankful for Legos because I like to build tall buildings
  • I am thankful for my scooter to ride around the whole house
  • I’m thankful to go jogging



  • I’m thankful for building blocks so I can play with
  • I am thankful for Jesus
  • I am thankful for Scott’s birthday cake
  • I am thankful for the swing set
  • Ryan is thankful for me (I think he meant Brianna who was helping him write)
  • I’m thankful for my friend Ann
  • I am thankful for a whistle to blow
  • I am thankful for mom’s phone to watch it so mommy can rest
  • I am thankful for daddy. I kiss daddy
  • I am thankful for school
  • I am thankful to play games as a family



  • I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Atonement in my life
  • I am thankful for family, and being so close to the Starbuck family to visit often
  • I am thankful for graduating from college and having a job
  • I am thankful for Facetime to be able to talk to the princess in the city far,far away (his wife Michelli  was visiting her family back in Brazil during Thanksgiving)
  • I am thankful for my health and strength


{ Super Hero Halloween }

I feel like some days you got it, and some days you don’t.

Halloween this year was one of those “don’t got it” days. Scott and Ryan have been planning their costumes for weeks-well, mostly Scott was doing to grand planning for them both and Ryan just smiles and happily agrees to his plans. As for the girls they pulled out the witch costumes from a few years ago, didn’t want pictures, and were well overdue to go out trick or treating by the time Aaron came home from work. We took a few pictures of the little boys since they were really the most excited and called it good.

That being said, I am so glad I stopped and took the time to take a few pictures, this first one really is so cute to me. I  love to remember this time in their life. They are not only partners in crime crime-fighting, they are the best of buds. They tell each other all the time, “You are my best friend!” I love to hear that!

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Show me those superhero stances boys!

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And just ONE picture with your eyes open Scott! This was not by accident-that little stinker thinks it’s so funny to close his eyes on purpose the minute I get ready to snap a picture. Maybe this superhero is just a little camera shy?

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Okay, maybe this one? Nope, no such luck.

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Yeah! I snuck one in!

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“Okay, back to business mom, I‘ve got to be serious if I am going to fight those bad guys.”

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Superman Scott-Age 4

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Batman Ryan-Age 3

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“Last chance for a smile mom, before I go save the world…and load up on some treats”

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These two little ones were RUNNING (especially Ryan) from house to house the first half dozen or so. I thought, “What a difference from last year”! I was quickly brought back to reality when Ryan slowed down his trick or treating pace and was begging to be carried. We had to beg him to go just a few more houses just so we could keep caught up with the big girls. We ended up convincing him to make it around the rest of the neighborhood, had fun talking to some of our neighbors we don’t see as often, and enjoying plenty of treats along the way. Happy Halloween!


{ Erika’s American Girl Birthday }

We have had some major American Girl fever around this place, and Erika has been right at the middle of it. For the last few months, every time an American Girl magazine would show up in the mailbox the girls would grab it and be circling stuff like crazy. They finally made their own little binders with pages for each girl they liked, and cut out items and would glue them to each page. Erika was positive about what she wanted for her birthday-the American Girl doll Julie. She would show me almost everyday something new about Julie that was so cute she would just have to have it. She wasn’t shy about what she expected to show up in one of her presents.

We have an American Girl Doll store on the North side of Atlanta about 2 hours away-she was torn about whether she wanted to open the Julie doll for a present or go to the store and pick her out herself. Those back and forth decisions were changing on a daily basis, and as her birthday was coming closer, I had to make a decision and hope it was the right one…Present or Store?

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One of the other presents I had gotten for her months ago-like way back in April. She had been mentioning wanting another set of Lego Friends-The Vet, forever, so when I bought Brooke and Abby’s presents back in April I found a great deal and picked this one up as well. It had been hidden away in my closet for all these months hoping that she would still be interested in it by October. Lucky for me, she was, and had fun putting it together with Brooke and Abby that night.

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Her other present….I picked the STORE. I figured the memory and a special date with mom and dad was a lot more fun that just opening a present. We told her that she could bring Brooke and Abby if she wanted to or just go with Aaron and I. She really wanted to share her excitement with her sisters since they are just as American Girl doll crazy as she is- so the date was set for next night after school.

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Our newest 9 year old and our “Cake of the Year”-the chocolate stampede from Longhorn Steakhouse. SO GOOD!!!

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We left after school and stopped in Atlanta at a special pizza place we had heard about. It was suppose to have authentic Italian pizza-and it proved to be a great place to eat. It’s called Antico and it sits close to the Georgia Tech campus. It was fantastic-at least Aaron and I thought so. The menu was all in Italian, and they made the pizza right in front of you, threw on big clumps of cheese and cooked it in their brick oven. I love that the times say ”Open at 11:30am-until the dough runs out”. By the time you pay, and find a seat in their small cafeteria style seating, your pizza is ready. Talk about fast service. The thin crust and clumps of cheese made me long to be back in Europe! Aaron and I were in heaven. The girls tolerated it, and mostly enjoyed the tiny little soda bottles that they sold there.

They mostly wanted to eat as fast as they could so we could keep driving and get here….are those girls excited or what?!

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Erika went straight to the Julie display case. I don’t think I could have saw a bigger smile on that girl. She was so excited!

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We wandered around the store, the girls oohing and ahhing at one thing after another. I have to admit, I think Aaron and I was oohing and ahhing just as much-okay maybe me more than him, but he was being very excited for birthday sake too. If I was a nine year old girl-I would have been in heaven, there was so many cute things there. The girls had a good solid hour there of walking around and adoring all the cute dolls and accessories. A few minutes before the store closed Erika had picked out her Julie doll, a new brush, and some cute eyeglasses for her doll. The lady opened her up out of the box for Erika (Erika decided to keep her hairnet on for a little while longer so it wouldn’t get “ruined”), and a very happy girl left the store that night. The whole ride back we heard the three girls talking and giggling and playing dolls. It was a very happy birthday.

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9 Things We Love About Erika At 9

  • Her love for animals. She says she wants to be a vet someday.
  • Her complete dedication to something. NO matter what it is, she goes all out finding out anything and everything about it. If it’s horses, she goes horse crazy for awhile. Horse books, horse games,horse shows…She loves to be totally dedicated to something.
  • How she tears up when I share something spiritual during Family Home Evening. She is very close to the spirit-I love to see her little testimony bloom and grow.
  • Her excitement for her little brother to be born. She is completely obsessed with my stomach. She really would walk around ALL day long with her hands on my belly, just waiting for this little guy to kick, if I would let her. She is going to be a great big sister.
  • Her love of pasta. Some things never change. I am pretty sure I have written about her love of pasts for the last nine years. It is definitely her food of choice. She would rather have it than cereal for breakfast if I would make it for her.
  • Her laid back nature.Nothing bothers this girl too much. As long as she eats and sleeps on her very definite schedule-she is good.
  • Her bright imagination. She loves to “PLAY” still, which I love. Her and Abby or Brooke are always coming up with something to play. The latest ones are gymnastics, horse anything, dolls, dogs, and ice skating.
  • She is super observant. Keeping secrets from her is close to impossible. She is constantly looking over my shoulder. I always have to be one step ahead of this girl-which is HARD! She almost always figures out surprises beforehand. She definitely keeps me on my toes.
  • She loves to come and give random hugs-they are the best!

Happy Birthday Erika. We love you!!!


{ Ryan’s 3rd Birthday }

Ryan LOVES the Lorax movie. Everyday he wakes up, and the first thing he wants to do is watch the movie on my phone. He walks around the house quoting phrases from it like, “She’s a woman,… in high school”, and makes us all crack up. He even started standing up on the coffee table and saying really fast, “I’m the Lorax, I speak for the trees”, and then he falls over on to the couch and starts laughing. This kid is such a crack up. He sure knows how to make us laugh.

About a month before his birthday I thought it would be fun to have a Lorax themed birthday party for him-just our family of course, but really that’s as many people as any kid party. I started pinning ideas from Pinterest, and planning for some really big Lorax fun. I knew if I told Ryan that he would be asking me everyday if today was the day for his Lorax party. We kept that our little secret until just a few days before when I asked him if he wanted to help with making the cake pops for his cake for his Lorax party. Scott and him were so excited. We love cake pops around here, but don’t make them too often because they are so much work. The little boys were pretty excited to be my helpers in the kitchen to make our cute little Truffula tree cake pops.

During Ryan’s nap, Scott helped me to make our Truffula Trees for decorations, and put together our orange Lorax Gatorades. Scott loves to be my sidekick when it comes to any birthday surprise related thing. He always promises me he won’t tell what the presents are, but we play it safe and save it until naptime right before the party to wrap them. It’s fun to have everything set up so as the kids start trickling home from school they see the party all set up and ready to go-it makes them get so excited for whoever’s birthday it is.

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We’ve been working really hard to get Ryan to hold up three fingers instead of just two, and he was really proud of himself that he had mastered it before his actual birthday. He would get so excited when someone would ask how old he was just so he could hold up his three fingers.

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His birthday book this year of course was The Lorax. He was just a little bit happy about that. I love that big grin of his!

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I love seeing how excited he gets over opening his presents. At three he didn’t really have any big birthday wishes, except for one (his Lorax bag which he opens next), so his surprise was about as real as it could get when he saw what was inside. Being the youngest of seven marks off a lot of toys from the list, since most of them already live in our toy closet in the playroom. Some how Mr. and Mrs. Potato head were not part of our toy collection. He was so happy with them, though at first I’m not sure he knew exactly what they were.

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His only request for his birthday was this Lorax trick-or-treat bag from Pottery Barn Kids. When we received the magazine in the mail he found the page that had a Lorax costume and this cute little Lorax treat bag. He would carry that magazine around with him everywhere, and remind me that he wanted it. He would panic if he couldn’t find the right page that it was on, and come running to me, yelling, “Where is it?Where is it? Where is “I speak for the trees”?

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What is becoming our traditional three year old present-some new big boy underwear. He really was excited about it, even though it looks like he was a bit more consumed with his potato head toys. Afterwards, he took them all out of the package and wanted to put all of them on at once. Scott even tried to convince him that he should “share” those cool Incredibles underwear with him.

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And the most exciting gift was his new backpack. NO more sister-hand-me-down pink backpacks. His new elephant backpack was quickly filled up with all his new toys and all 7 pairs of underwear. Scott and him are big backpack kids-they are constantly carrying around their backpacks filled to the brim with toys and books that they carry with them everywhere. They are always finding some treasure to bring to preschool to play with or in the car to pick up Brianna from school or to do errands or to church (that one we usual have to compromise to bring it in the car, but leave it there while we are inside at church because I usual don’t monitor very well what gets put in there. I’m pretty sure at any given time there are some pretty noisy toys…or a whole bunch of extra underwear that doesn’t really need to be spread across the pew). To have his very own backpack was a pretty big deal for him.

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Later that night, Ryan put on his new batman pajamas he got and started filling up his new backpack with his toys, and all his new underwear. ‘'I need it for preschool!” I keep hoping that that new underwear will motivate him to want to actual be potty trained. Though hopeful, I’m not holding out. I think his main problem is a very tired, pregnant mom. Hopefully by the time this baby comes we will both be more motivated.

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3 Things we Love About Ryan at Age 3

  • The way he moves his eyebrows up and down and says, “How you doing?”
  • How he loves to have multiple binkies when he goes to sleep. One to suck on and two to hold in his hand and play with
  • His independence and the way he is quick to do stuff himself. There are times I am trying to “love” this about him because with independence comes a lot of super strong will power, but other times I love it. I will just mention in passing to Aaron that we need to do something and he will go and already do it. He is really good at going to get on his own pajamas, getting out everything and trying most morning to pour his own cereal and milk, and setting the table for us. One night I asked for him to help one of the bigger kids to set the table, and they were a little slow to help out, but Ryan went right to work setting it. When we sat down he had used all of the little kid plates and cups, and I was about to correct him that we needed big people plates when I noticed that he had color coordinated everyone's big plate, cup, and little polka dot plate. We happily ate our food that night on plastic because he had done such a good job matching everything.

Happy Birthday Ryan! We love you!!!