Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sharing Time

This Jenga game has been sitting here by the computer for a few days... looking at me... saying, "Don't put me away yet- Share me!" {By the way, yes, all of our games have rubber bands around them otherwise Jackson dumps them all over the floor!} I rarely have an original creative idea, but I LOVE to copy everyone else's ideas- and sometimes tweak them to my needs. This idea came from Holly, but was the brain child of Leanne. I used this game of Jenga at a Young Women (teenage girls) activity. We made homemade pizzas and played this as a get to know you game- for our new Beehives (12 yr olds) to get to know the older girls. Each Jenga piece has a question on each side. {Printed up questions, cut them out and taped them to the blocks.} As you pull out a block, you have to answer the questions on it. It was really fun- and really interesting to sit back and listen. Some of the questions are:
*Do you wish upon stars?
*Do you close your eyes while on a roller coaster?
*What would you put in your own time capsule?
*When was the last time you ate chocolate?
*Where was your favorite Youth Conference?
*Are you scared of animals? Which ones?
*Gummy bears or gummy worms?
*Do you have any birthmarks? Where?
*Do you always wear your seatbelt?
*At what age do you think you will marry?
*When was the last time you hugged your parent or sibling?
*Did you see any Church movies lately? What is your favorite?
*Are you planning to go to college? Where? Have you decided on a career?
*Have you ever been to Utah? Did you go to a Temple, Visitor Center, Tabernacle?
You get the idea. My kids enjoy this game too. Now that I'm not in Young Womens anymore I should take some off that are more geared for that age group, and make up some more general questions for kids or adults. I suppose this would be fun for a small Relief Society Enrichment Group too (which is my calling now.) Anyhow, thanks Leanne for the inspiration! Great fun!

Now, for a depressing bit of information.

To work off just one small plain M&M you would need to walk the length of a football field AND back!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snow Day!

Well, really more of a wind day. We woke up last night from some pretty fierce winds beating on our house. At some points I wondered if we might lose our big window over the front door... the winds were so strong! (60 mph gusts!) Kobe of course woke up and come to our bed for protection. Poor boy is still so afraid of wind after his accident almost 2 years ago. By about 5am the rain and hail that was beating down our door changed into snow and white out conditions. We watched the news til 5:45am when they announced school was closed. I turned off all the alarm clocks and went back to sleep. I always appreciate a day to sleep in! :) Greg still ventured out to work. The worst of the weather seems to be down here in the "Southtowns" and his office is in the "Northtowns".
Today we are staying in (at noon the windchill is still -3*) and enjoying the fact that we still have power when many in the OP do not today. I can not imagine how different today would be if we had no power or water like others in the area. (note to us: we really need to think about a generator!) Instead of survival mode we're in cozy-stay-in-our-jammies-half-of-the-day mode.
We did have a fun outdoor snow day on MLK Day last week- no work and no school and a recent heavy snowfall meant finally we could all go sledding together.

This was Jackson's first time on the BIG hill. So much fun! I tried to record his face while we sled down, but holding the camera in one hand and him in the other and turning around half way down the hill, I didn't capture much. Here is also video of Greg sledding down (or across) the hill, Kobe speeding down on his new Christmas sled, and then the girls making the best of a backward slide down the hill. Good times!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

52 Blessings Project: Week #4

"We {I} Thank Thee O God For a Prophet..."

Gordon Bitner Hinckley (June 23, 1910 – January 27, 2008)

{click here for official statement from The Church}

The fifteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from March 12, 1995 until his death. He was the oldest person to preside over the Church in its history. As president of the Church of Jesus Christ, he was considered by its members to be a prophet, seer, and revelator. His presidency was noted for the building of new temples and the creation of the Perpetual Education Fund. Hinckley holds the record for dedicating the most Church temples and has dedicated more than half of the current Church temples.
All I can say that I'm sad for me, for us as a Church, but so glad for him. Can you even imagine how happy he is tonight? Can you imagine the pure joy, love, excitement going on in the Spirit World right now? I love President Hinckley so much! Every time he spoke I could feel his love for me. I am so blessed that he was our prophet for so many years. I am blessed that I got to meet him when I was young. (His son was our Bishop when I was young so he visited our ward before.) He is just amazing person and such a wonderful example. He will be so missed.
It's going to be hard to tell the kids in the morning. He is their prophet- the only one they've known. Jillie especially will be sad, since she always felt a special connection to him because they share a birthday.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The J and R Fair!

Last night we had a fabulous family activity provided by Jillie and Reagan. About a week ago Jillie out of the blue started posting these fliers she'd made around the house. And I mean ALL around the house!
They were everywhere- doors, walls, our shower door, trash can lids... She made sure we wouldn't forget. Then she and Reagan went about planning the details of their event.
{Our hostesses}
When Friday arrived they set up various stations around the house- with a few alterations from the original plan. By the time we got started it was a little late (that's why we might look a little tired in these pictures & some even have their jammies on already!) but we were greeted with a bag of tickets to use at "The J and R Fair" events.
They started us out here...
after which there was a random drawing. Daddy won and asked Kobe to choose a prize for him from the Prize Center.
The next event was
I think Daddy and Jackson were the only ones to get the ball to land on a picture.
Then silly photos...
The Spa for a massage and some lotion...
Whack A Mole competition...
Then a game show...
Followed by a Talent Show and face painting

{Talents: Kobe- making a penguin fly, Rea Rea- magic/gymnastics, Jack Jack- jumping, Jillie- announcing}
And of course we could use our tickets towards some snacks...
It was a very fun night for the whole family- everyone enjoyed themselves, got along great, cleaned up after themselves, and we didn't have to spend a dime. :)
Thanks Jillie & Reagan!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Little Happy Dance

For your viewing pleasure... {notice how he watches his reflection in the doorknob!}

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Today is the day that Greg was committed- January 24, 1991.

For those of you keeping track that is exactly one week from our first date. Something I didn't mention about that night was that Greg told me the longest relationship he'd ever been in lasted 1 month and he cheated on her 4 times! After learning that news, I knew not to get my hopes up with this one. I made it clear that just because we'd had a great first date- and had already kissed (which usually signified a commitment to me)- that we were not exclusive. I'm sure in Greg's mind, that meant he was free to date all the hot ladies he could find. This also meant in his mind that if a guy asked me out, I might say yes all the while thinking, "Well, Greg wouldn't mind so I guess I can go."

I also gathered from our conversations over that first week that apparently he was used to girls just fawning all over him, telling him how great he was, and that he could have just about any girl he'd ever wanted.

SO... Here's what happened. Greg had an assignment from a class to go to the Symphony and made a date with a girl from his class. He told me about that and then I told him that I'd made a date for that same night with another guy. I went out of my way and asked a guy out! He was not expecting that! (and not too happy about that!)

The night of our dates arrived- exactly a week after our first date. He went to the Symphony, I spent time with the other guy. When I returned home, there was a message from Greg. He wanted to see me. I went on up to his apartment to find a boy who was a bit nervous, but telling me how much he wanted to be with me- only me. He wasn't used to a girl who he had to chase, a girl who didn't act all ga-ga over him all the time, who kind of put him in his place when need be, who asked other guys out! :) I drilled him- if there was ANY chance he thought he might want to go out with anyone else, then don't make this commitment to me. I was totally fine dating him and other guys too. He absolutely promised that I was the only one for him and wanted to be the only one for me. So that was that. He's the last guy I ever had a first date with and my last "first kiss". He was (and still is) committed to me and I couldn't be happier about that.

SIDE NOTE: I have to add that I really don't know that this is interesting to anyone but me... and I'm not writing my memories assuming that everyone wants to know. It's just that while I've told these stories many, many times when asked, I don't think I have them recorded anywhere. These kinds of posts I hope to do often as part of my "Remember" for the year... record a personal and family history.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Update

The kids edition...
cried and carried on again while I tried to take him to Sunbeams... BUT about a minute and a half after I left, he quit. He actually participated in class and was very excited to be there! "Sister Jo" was very resourceful- after getting approval from the Stake Primary Presidency she used Blue (from Blue's Clues) to help teach. Their lesson was about bodies and she had a little matching game matching Blue's head with her body in different costumes. You know that got Jack Jack's attention. Can't miss with Blue's Clues and a matching activity. YEA! We are all very excited and hope this happiness trend continues! Maybe next week out little drama king can just start out happy. By the way isn't he so cute in the new Lakers gear Greg got for him?!

has been begging me for weeks to make this Cheesy Vegetable Snowman recipe from The Friend magazine- January 2008. Finally I made his wish come true tonight for dinner. It took a long time to make and I think he ate about 4 very small bites (he doesn't like cauliflower & Swiss cheese), but it sure made him so happy. It was worth the 45 minutes it took to make to please him. (And he ate 4 more bites of cauliflower than he would have otherwise!)

put her creative skills to work today. She created this little cardboard house which especially made Jackson's day. :) Stay tuned for some gymnastics footage of her in a couple of weeks as she has her Winter Show coming up. We're excited to see what she can do now.

is so grown up! Look at her in this new dress today. She is pleased to announce that this was purchased at The Gap- NOT Gap Kids! Yikes! She's moving on to women's sizes. Still can't believe she'll be 12 this year. This week she had a very hard game against a very strong team. We wish she had a better team to support her. She was all over that court trying to play the whole team herself. At one point her coach got on the team's case saying, "They are putting their best girl on Jillie because she's our best player. You need to get out there and help her!" Jillie was pleased to know she was the best on the team, but was more worried that the other girls might not like her now that that coach said that. Anyhow, like I said this was a tough team and she ran back and forth down that court faster than I've ever seen trying to defend every play. She was disappointed with the score, but we took her to Friendly's for dinner to celebrate her hard work.
The next day she stayed home from school. She was exhausted and her stomach hurt. She rested all day. That game really knocked her out. We're so proud of her though!

52 Blessings Project Week #3


This week I've been thinking about how blessed I am to have such a great husband. It's a real blessing to live with your own personal cheerleader. He supports me and loves me so much.

I wonder, can it be any better than this? Somehow, it keeps getting better. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Remembering January 17, 1991

{Recording a moment from my personal history...}

The (1st) Gulf War had just begun -Operation Desert Storm. I was in my 2nd year at BYU. My roommates (in Riviera #15), some guy friends (from Riviera #35) and I were sitting around the TV watching CNN. It was the first time our generation had seen a real war. This was the beginning of "The Mother of all Battles." Green missiles flying through the sky seen through a night vision lens. History in the making that night... in more ways than one.

While we watched, the new guy from Riviera #34 stopped over... what was his name again? Greg? We only referred to him as Cologne Man- he wore "Eternity" cologne- it lingers. We'd only met him a few times. Anyhow, we were all wondering why he was there. He looked at me and asked if he could talk to me for a minute. We went to the back of the apartment and Greg seemed a bit nervous.
"Who's that guy you were sitting by out there?"
"Scotty... he's your next door neighbor."
" Well, are you like... likin' him?"
I said no and then he relaxed.
"Well, I was wondering if you wanted to go out tonight? I was supposed to take my ex-girlfriend out to this movie, but she had to fly back to LA tonight at the last minute."

I was a little floored but I said yes and he told me he'd be back in 20 minutes to get me. I followed him back out to the door. My roommates Sara, Lisa, and Janna all had questioning looks on their faces. As soon as he was out the door they all asked in unison, "What was that all about??!" I tried not to seem too excited and just said,"He asked me's kind of weird... I've got to get ready." and hurried off to change my clothes.

At 9:20pm Greg returned to pick me up. On the way to the car Greg kept trying to reassure me that I wasn't a last resort, but that he'd wanted to ask me out for a while. Again, I tried to not get too excited. I was just trying to be casual, have fun, and never thought anything would come of it.

We went to Movies 8 to see a very bizarre movie. No two people ever had more fun on a first date than we did. We laughed the whole time about how crazy and completely confusing the movie was. It was stressful trying to understand the movie, but we had a great time together!

As we returned to the Riviera that night Greg said, "I'm so stressed!!! I need a steak! Do you want a steak? Come over and I'll make you a steak, OK?" This seemed a bit strange, but we were having so much fun, I went on over. Greg made us steaks and we sat around visiting with his roommates and Lisa. Finally, at about 1am Lisa and I walked home. I told her what a fun time I'd had, and to myself thought, "I could marry that guy!"

As we walked in our apartment door Janna was waiting for me. "Nikki, Greg just called for you." Of course I called him back. He said, "Yeah, I was wondering if you wanted to come watch the war with me?" It didn't take me too long to decide I guess. "Sure, I'll be right over." So much for not looking too excited! I brushed my hair... and teeth and returned to #34. We spent the entire night watching CNN, looking at his mission pictures, family pictures, getting to know each other better. I never kissed anyone on a first date... so let's call my return to his apartment our 2nd date, OK? :) He kissed me for the first time that night too. It was a very nice night. He asked me twice that night to marry him! Not seriously, obviously, but I think I was pretty different from most girls he'd dated before. Little did he know then that exactly 8 months from that first date he would officially propose to me!
And the rest , as they say, is (our) history.

{This one was taken a little over a week after that 1st date.}

{No date on these pictures, but they were from early on in our dating}

My Word: 2008

re·mem·ber –verb
1. to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; think of again

2. to retain in the memory; keep in mind; remain aware of
3. to have (something) come into the mind again
4. to bear (a person) in mind as deserving a gift, reward, or feel
5. to give a tip, donation, or gift to
6. to mention (a person) to another as sending kindly greetings
7. to possess or exercise the faculty of memory
8. to have recollection

I chose the word remember this year because I tend to forget. I forget to remember the things that I already know. I need to remember to...
* pray often, pray for inspiration, and listen
* count my blessings
* show affection & patience for my children- "you will be a mother to very special persons"
* allow my kids the chance for personal growth
* record family history- old and new
* study the scriptures- "you shall have a recalling of the teachings given to you..."
* have faith in myself- "you should not fear for you shall never fail"
* always work on my testimony
* not forget myself- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually
* not take my marriage and my super husband for granted
* cherish the temple
* strenghten extended family ties
* create life long friendships
* get better sleep!

I'm positive there are other things I need to remember- that I'm forgetting, of course. I will have to update my list as I remember.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mommy worries

Winter has returned to the OP. I think we probably got more than 6 inches at our house. It's so pretty. I love when the snow clings to every branch of every tree. One school in the area had a snow day, but not us. Rumor has it that since the schools were starting the New York State English Language Assessment testing today, they didn't cancel school when they may have otherwise. Kind of strange I think. Driving conditions were a bit crazy this morning- low visibility and slippery roads. The kids thought fishtailing around corners was great fun- me, not so much. Luckily there were no cars near when we did a really big one of those.

I've noticed lately how much Jackson just LOVES me lately. He can't seem to get enough of me. Now I really shouldn't complain about that, but I'm worried about his separation anxiety issues. He wants me to play with him all the time, he wants me next to him always, he wants to hug me and kiss me and tackle me, etc... He's so happy and so full of love these days. It's great. We used to have to beg for hugs. BUT- this worries me too. Is he wanting to be with me more because of the whole leaving him screaming in Primary thing? This is the time when I want him to start becoming a little more independent and the opposite seems to be happening. I just hope that the screaming in Primary thing is temporary- and the clinging to me. The hugs and kisses can stay. :)

{This is Jack Jack breaking into song for no apparent reason last night as he is happy to be up late with Mommy (after midnight)! }

I'm also concerned because in May we are going here- {St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands}

one of the perks of Greg being VP. We arrive there on our 16th anniversary! (Perfect timing!) Only 2 times in all those years have we spent the night away from the kids- and that was 1 night, not 4! I really need Jackson to be prepared for this!! I'm excited to go (it's about time we take a childless vacation!), just nervous about him- and what he'll put my parents through!

I need to REMEMBER though, that while I'm in a hurry for everyone to grow up more so I can get back a little independence, this time is fleeting. Sooner than I imagine they will all be off doing their own thing and I will want to be needed again. Oh my goodness, that just made me cry. Oh boy...

Anyhow- Holly's off to UT today (totally by herself!) and gets to spend time with Sunny- so I'm jealous! One of these days we'll have to do a sisters vacation all together. Anyone who reads Holly's blog- just know that she's on a little blogging vacation, but look for news of her trip sometime next week. Right, Holly??

Sunday, January 13, 2008

52 Blessings Project

I've seen this project in some other blogs and I decided it's something I'd like to get in on this year. Here's how it works...
The 52 Blessings Project
Once a week post a photo of something you are most grateful for. This gives us a chance to reflect on the good things we have learned from or that have made us better in our everyday lives or things we just enjoy! I think everyone needs to be more grateful for what they have now days instead of always thinking about what we want! This is one of the things we can do to be more gracious people. It will be like a photo gratitude journal.
Seems like a pretty simple thing to do- with great returns. I'm already a week behind so 'll do two weeks worth now.

I feel blessed that a 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith loved God, loved the scriptures, and very humbly desired to know God's will for him. He simply wanted to know which church to join. There were many and they differed so greatly. He knew from studying the Bible that there should be "one Lord, one faith, one baptism( Ephesians 4:5). Again he knew from his scripture study that he should ask God... “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” ( James 1:5). And so he did and because of his righteous desire, the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth again after it had been gone for so long. I feel blessed to be a member of that church- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
{Sister Hildebrand and Jackson }
I feel blessed that Sister Hildebrand and Sister Fieno are Jackson's Sunbeam teachers! I can think of no one better in our ward for this calling. They are willing to put up with his screaming and crying and carrying on while he gets over his separation anxiety issues. They treat him with kindness and patience and love- all while trying to teach him and 7 other energetic Sunbeams (3 year olds) about the gospel. Just say a little prayer for them that Jackson will get over it already so these nice ladies don't have to feel so frazzled by the end of class!