Monday, October 31, 2011

It's a Costume, Not an Announcement

I don't usually dress up for Halloween, but when I saw this, I couldn't resist.  So I sketched everything out, scanned it, cut it out in vinyl and stuck it to my shirt.  A little pillow underneath added to the effect.  It was just right for the Trunk-or-Treat at church.  I got a few laughs and plenty of inquiries.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Enough To Go Around

"[Mother] knows the love she feels for you and your brother or sister is complete.  She knows her love can't be divided up like a pie,
with everybody getting a piece exactly the same size.
Every child gets the whole pie."
                                         --Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard

I love that quote.  It reminds me of a conversation I had with a former coworker after Sam was born.  He had several children and he was telling me what a miracle it is when each child is born.  You may think that you won't be able to show enough love to your 2nd or 3rd child, etc., but then you find that you don't have to divide your love because with each child, your capacity to love is increased.  It's been true for me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Against All Odds

I love a good underdog story, especially when my team is the underdog that comes out on top.  Go Cards!  From a rough season to World Series champs, you've shown us that anything is possible.  :)

St. Louis Cardinals - 2011 World Series Champs!  (Wahoo!)

Without David Freese, there may not have been a Game 7. 
We love our Cardinals.  What a great Series!


A Package for Grandma

Grandma is in for a surprise when this precious cargo arrives on her doorstep!  Where can I get me one of these?  :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Worth Staying Up For

We were not supposed to win this game.  The Rangers were projected to win and the series would be over.  But we WON in eleven innings and it was awesome and we are SO HAPPY!   Game seven -- bring it on!!  Go Cards!

{And I thought BYU Football was bad for my heart.}

Sadie's List

I wasn't going to be home one evening so Sadie made a list of all the things she wanted to do (and eat) with daddy that night.  Too cute!

Translation:  Play; Junior Pictionary; Sponge-Bob crackers; milk; Go Fish; snack crackers; milk; milk; Old Maid; cheese; popcorn; milk (this girl loves her milk!); bath or shower, comb hair; movie choices:  Sleeping Beauty, Heffalump; brush teeth; get bed ready; play Mario Kart; get pajamas on; read to you; get in bed; say prayers; read scriptures; snuggle; fall asleep.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Challenge

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I received this in the mail:


Our  picture clue for the meeting place

It took some serious shifting to manipulate our calendar enough so that we could attend, but quite a few of our friends had also been invited and the word on the street was that it was going to be really fun.  The fact that the hosts were a mystery just added to the adventure.  So I submitted our RSVP and then got an e-mail or two with some instructions for the evening.  One contained a picture clue of the meeting place (we figured out it was the train station).  If we couldn't figure it out from the clue, we could ask for more information, but it would cost us points that night.

Jeff and I were asked to be team captains - we were the Marauding Monsters.  On the morning of the big event, we found this on our porch:

The Book of Secrets

We dutifully informed the rest of our team of some additional instructions we received with the locked Book of Secrets and we all promptly met at the train station that night with the other teams.  We opened our envelopes at the same time and each one contained several puzzle pieces.  When all teams combined the pieces, it was a poster with a riddle telling us how to open the locks on each book which would contain the rest of the instructions.  It was a mad dash around the train station to count various items, add 100, then subtract something-or-other to get the three digit number which would free the lock.  And then we were off.

The object of the evening was to find 19 apothecary vials, hidden all over town, and write down the ingredient listed on each which, when listed all together, would ultimately reveal the final meeting place.  The ingredients were things like Rat Tail, Blind Worm Sting, Tar, and Skin of Wild Monster.  In the Book of Secrets, there were 19 pictures giving clues to the location of each vial.

Some of the picture clues telling us where the vials were hidden around town.

Add all of this to three special challenges throughout the evening (like a roller skating race and popping balloons with a bow and arrow) and it was a well planned, crazy, super fun evening.  Our hosts ended up being a couple who just moved to the area.  They go to church with us and have a darling family.  It was fun to get to know them a little better and to be a part of their Halloween Challenge.  There is already talk about next year.  I can't wait!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fright Night

The cutest little grandpa ever!
Tonight was Fright Night, which is the annual Halloween concert put on by our university's symphony orchestra.  Oh, it was so good!  The audience is always full of little kids in costume who wouldn't want to miss the costume contest where they march across the stage with the orchestra playing in the background. Genius, really, to expose these kids to great classical pieces in such a fun setting. 

The entire orchestra is also in full costume which adds to the fun.  Sterling and Sam, who both play violin in the orchestra, were a grandpa and scientist respectively.  Don't you just love Sterling's cute face in the above photo?  I know I'm his mom, but man this kid is so cute!  (Sorry Sterling.  Handsome.  The word is handsome!) We sprayed tons of gray and white into his hair, but his hair is so thick that it soaked it all up so you can't really tell. 

Sam the scientist with the really big brain!

I love hearing these boys play the violin!  They practiced harder than usual for this concert and it really paid off.  You should have seen how fast their bows were moving during the 4th movement of the Peer Gynt suite.  Amazing!  Sadie and Soren were with us.  They scavenged the costume bucket for something to wear - Sadie was Belle and Soren wore his knight's armor - and they both loved seeing Sterling and Sam up on stage.  It was a great evening!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hansel and Gretel

I love living in a university town.  My kids have had some cool opportunities as a result.  Tonight Spencer was in a small production of "Hansel and Gretel," which was put on by an opera workshop class at the university.  Spencer's choir director from school last year was asked to gather a group of young kids to participate in the final number of the show.  These kids had several rehearsals over the past three weeks to learn their music and be ready for two performances this weekend.

After Hansel and Gretel pushed the witch into the oven, the kids (Spencer's group), who we learn had previously been captured by the witch, came out wearing drab gray clothing with their eyes closed. They sang a song that said, "We are saved, we are free eternally. One touch from you our eyes will open, too."  So Hansel and Gretel touched them and they came back to life and continued with their happy song. It was really cute and Spencer loved being a part of it. 

And now please excuse the terrible pictures I took with my phone. I've decided they are better than nothing.  It was a fun night.

Hansel and Gretel.  Both parts were played by girls.  (I should have gotten a photo of the female witch who was played by a boy.  Funny!)

Spencer (center) and two friends from the play.  A great experience for these kids!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Thanks.  I needed that! 

{I found this quote ages ago here:  I was lucky enough to remember it tonight.}

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Go Cards!

Game one of the World Series:  Rangers 2, Cardinals 3.  Wahoo!! :) 

image source

Monday, October 17, 2011

All the Right Notes

Sam and Savannah had a choir concert tonight.  Here's just a little clip which contains a small solo by Savannah. The lighting is terrible (Savannah's the one standing in the dark) and the sound system is not great either, but Savannah's voice is angelic!

Sam did a great job as well.  He is in the advanced choir and they sang some fun songs.  We've got a great music program in our little town with a lot of talent.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Worth It

Yesterday was a long day!  Jeff and I had leadership training in St. Louis with Sister Elaine S. Dalton.  She is the General Young Women President - basically over all the young women in the whole world - and she was so inspiring.  Her concern and love for all young women was so evident in her manner and her words.  All of the counsel given was calculated to help us gear our efforts to lift and strengthen them.  I was impressed by her examples (i.e., likening repentance to running a marathon), and her clarity.

That evening, she spoke to the young women at a fireside. Savannah and two other young women from our ward were there. Unable to find a separate ride to bring them down later, they willingly gave up their Saturday and rode with us, which meant they arrived four hours before their meeting and hung out in a classroom at the church during ours.

If Jeff and I had given Sister Dalton a list of things to talk about that would help Savannah, she couldn't have come any closer to speaking right to her!  It was as if her talk was tailor made for Savannah.  Savannah was sitting on the 2nd row and Sister Dalton made eye contact with her several times and then spoke encouraging words to her after the meeting as she held her hand and told her how special she is.  It was perfect!

It was worth the 6.5 hours in the car to get there and back.  It was worth the 30 minutes of practically-standing-still-traffic we endured on the way down.  It was worth listening to three giddy girls laughing hysterically all the way home as they texted boys.  It was worth finding someone to watch our other kids pretty much all day.  It was worth any inconvenience to be lifted and taught and inspired for 4 hours by a woman called of God.  Yesterday was a long day, but it was worth it!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


This little leaf, apparently feeling left out of all the color changes going on around here, fell into our open bucket of deck paint to try on some color of its own.  It made me smile.  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

No Points

Sterling's school has an incentive program called a "No Points Party" to reward the kids who are well behaved throughout each quarter.  First quarter ended today so the school bused these kids to a nearby state park for the morning.  Jeff was off work for the day and Sterling begged him to come along.  He did and they had a fun morning together.  We had quite a bit of rain midweek, but this morning was dry and crisp with the leaves still in color-changing mode.  A beautiful day!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Everything You Need To Know...

...about tying a scarf.  Entertaining and educational.  Enjoy!

(I stumbled upon this video, quite by accident, here. Fun stuff!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Out With the Old

Finally!!  I've wanted to update my blog look for quite a while now, but I wasn't sure exactly how to go about it.  Yesterday I forced myself to sit down and figure it out.  I'm still deciding if I'm completely happy with the new look, but now that I know what I'm doing, I can change the header whenever I want.  Don't be too surprised if I try on new looks now and then.  What do you think?  Better?  Worse?  I'd love to hear your feedback.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Welcome, Sawyer!

Isn't this little guy completely adorable?  My newest nephew was born Sunday morning.  Welcome, little Sawyer.  Don't grow up too fast!
Sawyer looks pretty content with Grandpa Stowell. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sin Here

Sadie started a little gymnastics class last week.  She was pretty excited about it and so, naturally, she came home and wanted to teach her family what she'd learned.  Here is the sign up sheet she posted on the refrigerator door:
Just "sin here" and you're in!  :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I just received this from a well-meaning friend.  Thanks a lot, Mike! :)


Jeff and I are off to a concert tonight which will certainly transport me to my younger years!
Happy Birthday to me! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Loretta's Wedding

This morning a friend and I went shopping in Amish country.  I smiled when I saw this notice up in the windows of each store: 

It's as if the whole world knows Loretta and we're all invited to the happy event.  If only all communities could be so eager and willing to share the big moments in the lives of each member.  Congratulations, Loretta, whoever you are.  I wish you the best!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The School Library

Mr. Taylor, a favorite teacher of ours who has taught four of my kids, was asked at the end of last school year if he would consider taking on the role of school librarian.  Realizing this was an opportunity for a new challenge and a way to influence many more children, he accepted and got to work.  He spent many, many hours over the summer sorting books and decorating the library in his own style.  Because he has been teaching for 10 years, he has accumulated a lot of books.  The library has had a policy in the past that if a child forgets to return their library books, they cannot check out another.  Not ever wanting to deprive a child of reading, Mr. Taylor has placed his own books on a large cart so that children who forget to return their library books can choose one of his.  That's just the way he is.

This summer he approached me with a page full of quotes by authors or about books/reading.  He asked if I'd be willing to do vinyl lettering for them so he could hang them on the walls of the library.  I had fun working up each quote just the way I pictured it.  Mr. T framed them in paint splattered frames and they look great up on the walls. 

Blurry with a glare, but you get the idea.

I did the lettering on this bulletin board for Mr. T's classroom last year.  He saved it and has it up in the library as well.

The Elementary School Library is a cheerful place!  It was fun to have a part in that.  :)