***I'm determined to catch up on cataloging our family's events this year. Be ready for outdated posts galore!


Easter 2011

{are you as shocked as i am that its only the day after Easter and here i am posting about it? craziness. maybe i'll actually get caught up one of these days.}

holidays are becoming more fun every year since the girls anticipate whats coming and are old enough to really know what its about and how we celebrate.  Easter morning did not disappoint.  madison waited patiently for dad to make sure the Easter bunny came/hide the hard boiled eggs.  grace was ready to get the show on the road! 

after finding baskets and summer dresses upstairs the girls got ready to hunt for Easter eggs in the basement.  (i opted not to buy Easter dresses this year since the girls already have plenty of dresses that fit them.  they wore beautiful dresses aunt lindsay gave them a couple months ago and looked so cute.  taking a cute Easter picture didn't make it on my list of things to do yesterday.  maybe next year.)

the girls had to empty their baskets with dad's help and then continue the hunt before all the eggs were found.  we went a little overboard considering only two kids were hunting but dying eggs (we did that fri night) is so fun that we did three dozen.

we had a few busy days leading up to Easter since midweek we decided to invite a couple families over for sunday dinner. we cooked and cleaned like crazy and after much stress, on my part, it all came together smoothly.  my main concern was getting the ham to turn out.  this is the best ham ever. ever.  it's an imlay tradition that i will gladly adopt.  after dressing the ham with pineapple, brown sugar, and a secret ingredient, you cover is with foil and cook it over night at a low temp.  the next morning it's falling-off-the-bone-tender and ends up being the consistency of pot roast, shredding easily.  i may have texted/called mark with questions about 20 times. :) but it turned out so i was happy. 

mint limeade....so good and even a hit with the kids!  i need to get the recipe for that one.  plus dan surprised me with flowers - so sweet!

on the menu: fruit filled jello, fruit dip with fresh pineapple and strawberries, veggie spinach dip with crusty bread, spinach salad with peppers, walnuts, berries and a poppy seed dressing, and then not pictured, funeral potatoes, sweet rolls and shredded ham.  can you tell i like food?  it was delicious!!  {i SO didn't make everything!!}

adult table

kid's table

someone made a cute Easter cake. {never mind my blurry picture}

we decided to get rid of our extra candy by having another Easter egg hunt with all the kids after dinner.  today grace keeps asking when we're going to have another one. :)  

we had such a great Easter weekend full of fun with our little family and good friends.  we talked to the girls a lot about what we really celebrate this time of year and i think they understood as well as they can at their age.  

we'd been discussing Christ and the Atonement and Resurrection for a couple days when madison said this in her prayers one night, "thank you for dad, and all of his sins.  thank you for mom, and all of her sins. and thank you for gracie and me and all of our sins."  hahaha. we straightened that out a little bit more when she was done.  but it was neat to see her thinking about what we'd been teaching and talking about. 

the girls also watched the living scripture movie "He is Risen" a dozen times, we went through the classic Easter egg nativity with scriptures and objects to go along with them in plastic eggs, and madison learned about Easter last week at preschool.

i am grateful for a holiday that helps us slow down and remember important things.  i'm grateful for the Spirit in our home as we focused on the Savior and the significant events at the end of His life.  i'm grateful for little girls that are interested and excited about the serious things Easter celebrates and not just the fluff like the Easter bunny.

most of all, i am grateful for the knowledge that my Savior lives and that He loves me. 

hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Easter 2011: Shelter Gardens

our first Easter egg hunt this year was saturday at shelter gardens, hosted by the Dirks family.  it was beautiful and other than being a little bit timid, the girls had a blast.

the grass was the perfect length to hide eggs and sometimes you almost stepped on them before actually seeing them.

200 eggs hidden out there for the 0-6 year olds and 100 something on the other side of the garden for the 7-11 year olds.  the Dirks went all out!


this little girl has some spunk in her!

the girls and mary dirks.
she is the yw's president in our ward and i have the pleasure of serving with her.  she is incredible in so many ways and her talents never cease to amaze me.  she especially loves little kids.  despite initially putting up a front, my girls have warmed up to her and can't wait to go have a picnic at her house (with her dogs, todd and jeffrey).  we had so much fun and are so grateful for all the incredible people we get to associate with here in MO!!


mary posted this picture on facebook and wrote underneath it, "me and a few of my closest friends".  


Sunday Evening Stroll

Sunday, April 17 

{i would have cropped this picture but did you notice the gorgeous pink blossoms on our neighbor's tree?  i could stare out my kitchen window at them all day long.  spring here in MO is beautiful and i can't get enough!}

sunday evenings are looked forward to at our house.

dad finally home from a looong day at church
simple dinners and ramekins with jello
sometimes games and dessert with friends
or skyping with aunts, uncles, and grandparents
 but usually just quiet, cozy moments
and slow paced evening strolls

 yesterday, madison practiced hitting the brakes down our street
we met a few neighbors
watched the sun set through the blossoming trees 
and grace made herself right at home on the front porch of a little old lady's house  
she and patches, the cat, had a staring contest through the window

after returning home, it was
"tickle eye drops" for madison
scriptures, prayers, songs, and books before bedtime
and the mr. and i studied and discussed an article about marriage and such
-there's always room to improve, right? 

sometimes i can't help but think this is the calm before the storm - the transition from two kids to three, when life gets crazy.  part of me feels a little sad and nostalgic that our lives as we know it will change.  but we're excited for the big day in 7 weeks or less (hopefully less!!!) when we can bring ""baby brother" home to offically join our family and fill that spot next to grace in the stroller.  in the meantime we're so very much enjoying and cherishing life as the four of us, one walk at a time.  


Daiquiri Ice

{friday movie night a few weeks back}

i look forward to the weekend all week long - like most people i'm sure.  something about having no fewer commitments and dad at home is refreshing.  we try and make friday nights especially fun for the girls - anything like pillow fights, homemade pizza, a movie and popcorn, or games can be on the agenda.  usually its cheap and simple.  i love cheap and simple.  

this evening started out with yard work in the back - a precursor for tomorrow's long list of things to accomplish.  as i helped the girls carry broken remnants of sidewalk chalk from the front porch to the back patio, so they could create a masterpiece under my watchful eye, madison said, "THIS is the funnest day ever!"  surprised, i laughed.  after a simple thrown together dinner, we took the girls out for ice cream cones - something that usually only happens when we're in mexico.  they were SO excited.

it took me back to when i was young.  
my dad was busy. so so so busy.  i don't think my memory even does it justice.  he was a pathology resident, father of four little kids, and bishop of a bustling young ward.  i honestly don't know how he and my mom did it.  how did they balance everything that was being asked of them?  somehow they made family time a priority because while i remember my dad being busy, i have so many memories of him being home.

we were outside all the time - throwing fallen oranges from the most recent monsoon into the wash across the street, sweeping out the carport and the patios, watering trees and bushes, raking gravel under all the citrus, and various other odds and ends. i'm sure a lot of what we did was play, while my parents did the working.  often we'd walk down the street to conor park and play catch or soccer or even kick the can.

one of our favorite things to do when dad could be home was ride bikes. we'd load up the van and drive to the rillito river.  from there we'd race down the bridges, past the horse track and to the park on our bikes, just to turn around and race all the way back.  hannah was young enough that she was always strapped in one of those seats right behind my dad as he rode. 

if we were in for a really special treat, we'd ride from our house down to baskin robbins, park our bikes outside, and venture in to pick out the flavor of our choice.  i always chose rainbow sherbet.  something about the colors always snagged my attention.  but i remember the first time i tasted my dad's favorite flavor - daiquiri ice. sweet and tangy. icy blue. so good.  i've been hooked ever since.  

i'm sure my dad was gone way more than i remember but i'm so grateful for all the times he was home and all the fun things we were able to do growing up.
 i'm grateful for those simple pleasures and sweet memories.
and i'm happy that my girls are experiencing the same things with their dad. 
only now,can i really understand the love that was behind it all.

so tonight:
baskin robbins-
bubble gum for grace, 
rainbow sherbet for madi, 
mint chocolate chip for dan, 
and daiquiri ice for me. 
single scoops and sugar cones.
our little family of four (and three quarters). 
"funnest day ever!" according to madison.
i know exactly where she's coming from.