Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scripture & Prayer

Grace was assigned to give the scripture and prayer in primary last Sunday. We picked a scripture and practiced all week long. Justin would whisper the words into her ear and she would repeat it loud, pretending to speak into the microphone. She tried so hard to memorize it so she could do it all by herself. She had about half of it memorized by Sunday. When it was her turn she walked right up to the podium and started saying the prayer all by herself before Justin could get the microphone on. No one knew she was praying until she said "Amen." Justin had her do it again once the microphone was on. She insisted on saying it herself and when she stalled for a moment Justin tried to to help her. She pushed his face away and said, "I do it myself!" She did a great job reciting the scripture too. I was so proud of her. We were a little afraid that once she got up there she would be too nervous or scared, but she was such a big, brave girl.
I wanted to get a picture of her after primary wearing her special sticker she got for saying the scripture and prayer, but Grace loves stickers so much they don't last long.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Girl and Her Shoes

(I don't know why blogger keeps flipping this picture when I add it to the post)
Are they cute, or what? They were a gift from our friend and surrogate grandma, VA. Thanks V for teaching my children that it's important to accessorize!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Grace attended Primary for the first time last Sunday as an official Sunbeam. She had such a wonderful time. She just adores singing time. She's been teaching Claire the "Hello, Hello" song all week. It's so cute to watch her sing and do the actions along with the words. Her Sunbeam teacher is my friend Jaime, who is AWESOME with those little 3 year olds. All day Sunday Grace was telling me that Sister Pilcher is her friend. There's only two other kids in her her class, Oakley and Tony.
I just love the Primary organization in our church and the way it teaches and instills the most basic gospel principles in our little ones. Grace is developing such a sweet and simple testimony of Jesus Christ that will continue to grow and develop as she gets older and moves on through Primary and Young Women's.

Grace has always been pretty independent, but it seems as though it's becoming more obvious as she gets older. She insists on saying prayers all by herself now. She said the blessing on the food last Sunday evening and would not let us help her. She did such a great job, even blessing the food without any prompting from Justin or myself. She has led us in family prayer a couple of nights this week and when we try to help her or remind her what to say she gets very upset and says, "I can do it myself!" Gotta love her strong-willed, stubborn personality!

I also took Grace to her 3 year check-up this week. She weighs 38 pounds (94%) and is 39 1/4 inches tall (91%). She enjoyed showing the doctor all the neat things she's capable of doing, but she really, really could have done without the shot. She had to get one in her thigh this time and it was very traumatic. Good thing they had a purple lollipop to make it all better!

Here are a few tidbits about Grace at 3 years old:

  • favorite color is purple
  • she talks ALL. THE. TIME. and in really good sentences now
  • you have to repeat back to her what she has just said or else she will say it over, and over, and over, and over again
  • She loves princesses
  • likes to build towers with blocks and boxes
  • likes to play with friends
  • favorite food is quesadillas
  • has a new chocolate lab puppy named Jenny
  • loves to help mommy bake cookies and cupcakes
  • can count to 15 and recognize numbers up to 10
  • knows her entire alphabet, can recognize all letters and knows their sounds
  • knows all her colors
  • she's potty trained!!!
  • still takes a nap every afternoon (yay!)
  • loves to sing and dance
  • remembers EVERYTHING!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

End of the Year Wrap Up

I decided that since there was quite a bit of catching up to do (the last 2 months!) I would do it all in one long post. It's a much less daunting task than taking on several individual posts. We'll start with my trip to Oregon the first part of November. I flew to Portland with the girls where I met up with my parents, my sister from California, and my sister-in-law from Seattle. My dad took the girls back to their house for the weekend so I could attend Time Out For Women (TOFW) with my mom and sisters. We had such a fun time, I only wish it had been a longer trip. On Friday night we were fortunate to hear from one of my favorite women, Sister Ardeth Kapp. I just love her to pieces. I try to read anything by her and listen to her speak whenever I get the chance. She has dedicated her life to serving the Lord. I felt so lucky knowing that that night was to be Sister Kapps final TOFW event. The theme for the tour this year was "Infinite Hope." I thought I would highlight some things from the event.
  • Hope is reflected in ones attitude about life
  • Hope comes from knowing that God is with us
  • When we understand the source of hope, there is always reason for it
  • Suffering ceases to be suffering when we find a reason for it
  • Do your prayers reflect your most earnest hopes?

Sister Emily Watts (she spoke about our hopes as mothers):

  • The hope that your children can improve; Romans 8:24-25
  • The hope that the work we do as mothers is worth it
  • The hope that because of the importance of our work Heavenly Father will help me with it. Heavenly father will give us what we need this day. Tomorrow we must ask again.
Sister Merrilee Boyack (breast cancer survivor!)
  • When you have no control over anything else, you have control over your attitude.
  • "Strengthening Opportunities" - another name for trials
  • 7 choices we need to make daily - 1. Choose to be of good cheer D&C 68:6; 2. Choose to be strong; 3. Choose to be hopeful in our God - He will answer our prayers in the perfect time. Choose to fully submit to the Lord's will. Either we must trust God or we don't - there's no part way; 4. Choose to be faithful; 5. choose to accept suffering - Going through trials is the Lord's way of making us who He wants us to be. Suffering is a way for us to experience a minuscule amount of the suffering the Savior experienced. Suffering should be welcomed; 6. Choose to be grateful; 7. Choose to let God bear the burdens.

We had such an uplifting weekend. I was inspired to be a better wife, mother, daughter of God, and disciple of Christ. I hope I will have the opportunity to attend a TOFW event this year as well.

from left to right: Sarah, Mom, me, Stacie

After we said goodbye to Stacie and dropped Sarah off at the airport my mom and I headed back to her house to relieve my dad. He did such a marvelous job taking care of my kiddos all weekend, but he sure was wore out! The girls and I were able to spend the entire week at their house. We didn't do a lot (it was pretty cold) but we had fun spending time together. My parents watched Claire one afternoon so I could take Grace to the children's museum. She had a good time exploring all the different play areas.

putting groceries away in the kitchen

counting money at the bank

building at the workshop

Queen Gracie

Claire experienced Cheerios and puffed rice snacks while at my parents. She loves to eat!

Now, on to Thanksgiving. Shoot, I just realized that we have a bunch more Thanksgiving pictures on Justin's camera. Check back another time for an update because we spent the weekend in San Antonio!

We stayed in Texas for Thanksgiving this year. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with the Dodd family. Thanks V for inviting us! We're so grateful to have wonderful friends here who have opened their homes to us and made us feel like family.
I saw these cute turkey shirts on a blog and decided to make them for the girls. They turned out GREAT and were so stinking cute (again, pictures of them wearing the shirts are on Justin's camera). I can't remember the blog where I got the idea, but I'm sure you can google it if you're interested in making one for next year.
After dinner we packed up and headed to San Antonio for the weekend. We had a great time visiting the Alamo and walking along the river checking out all the restaurants. We've decided that we have to go back sometime without the kids so we can really enjoy it! We left San Antonio and drove up to Marble Falls and enjoyed a little of the Texas hill country. It really was gorgeous. We have plans of going back there too! Check back soon for a picture update of that part of our weekend.

We started December and all the Christmas festivities with the Primary Breakfast with Santa activity. Grace loves the idea of Santa Claus, but not so much the real thing. We had a yummy pancake breakfast, listened to some great Christmas stories, and then pictures with Santa.
Grace was not happy

Claire was just happy to be held!

Later in the month we got to celebrate Justin's great accomplishment of finishing his Master's program at UT Tyler. Rex and Cindy made the trip to be there for his commencement ceremony. It was a really fabulous day. We're so proud of Justin for his hard work, commitment and sacrifice.

We celebrated Grace's 3rd birthday on December 20th. We didn't do a big birthday party because things were so busy with Justin's graduation and Christmas so we got a cake, balloons, and of course PRESENTS!

All she wanted to do was dig in to that cake. I wish we would've gotten a picture or video of us singing happy birthday to her. It was the sweetest thing. She was so happy and grinning from ear to ear while we were singing. We love this girl!

For months Grace was asking for purple presents and a purple cake for her birthday. We did our best.

While Grandma Nessen was here she and Grace made sugar cookies. I think it was by far Grace's favorite activity.

Justin's parents went home to Utah on the 23rd, so we celebrated Christmas with just our little family this year. This was our 4th Christmas in Texas and the first one spent at home. Our first Christmas was in the hospital after Grace was born, and the last two have been in Utah and Oregon visiting family. It was a pretty relaxing holiday this year.

The girls opened their Christmas pj's on Christmas Eve

Christmas morning! Santa brought Grace a dollhouse and a Cinderella doll. Not to mention the infamous purple jump rope he left in her stocking. It was a great day!

Grandma and Grandpa Erlenbusch sent Grace a sleeping beauty dress for Christmas. She LOVES that thing!
2010 turned out to be a great year for our family and we hope it was for yours as well.
Happy New Year!