Friday, December 28

For Love of Fridays...

I love 1st Birthdays!

Yesterday, my little girl turned one year old... it was so fun. I decorated a Winnie the Pooh cake for her (then it was damaged by some two-year-old fingers 45 minutes before party time... so I re-decorated some of it) and she loved it. We let her and Sarah dig into the #1 on the cake and we had purple frosting EVERYWHERE. It was all worth it.

In the past year Emma has become a little person. We simply love her. Here are some of her favorite things:

  • standing up
  • playing toys with Sarah
  • eating
  • wrestling with Sarah
  • getting tickled
  • singing songs with Mommy
  • eating
  • her little doll - Molly
  • cuddling with Daddy
  • eating

We love our little Emma, Missy Mae, and Emma Mae! Happy Birthday Emma!

Yummm... feed my face please!

This is how it's done, Emma!

Oh, sweet cake... how I love you!

Wednesday, December 26

Merry Christmas 2007!!

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. It was so fun to have Emma celebrate her first Christmas. We could have gotten her only one toy because once she had her "Molly," she didn't want to bother with anything else. Sarah got the hang of it, though, and she had the time of her life. Dennis and I made homemade doughnuts for breakfast and we think we'll hang on to that for our own little tradition. It isn't fun to be away from family, but we really enjoy having our little family together to make new memories and traditions!

Friday, December 21

For Love of Fridays...


I love my Christmas tree. I just think it is so fun to decorate the Christmas tree as a family every year. Sarah loves helping Dennis put the star on top and both the girls like climbing under the branches and hanging out under there. We started out with the ornaments evenly spaced around the tree, but each day more and more get taken off the bottom to play with. That's why each day, more and more get put on the upper half of the tree!

I love Christmas decorations. We don't have a whole lot of Christmas decorations yet, but I really enjoy the ones I've got. My favorites are the Willow Tree nativity and our stockings. Dennis gave me the nativity piece by piece last year for Christmas. A couple weeks before Christmas, he gave me baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Then, on Christmas morning he surprised me with the rest of the set. Before we got this nativity, our other was the Little People set from Fisher Price. I got it in college before I was married, so everyone thought I was crazy to have a kid's nativity set. But, the girls adore it! It gets played with all day long. Whatever nativity you've got, it's just so nice to see and think of our Savior.

Our stockings are also so fun to me. My 7th grade algebra teacher has this amazing wife and she makes them. I think she uses a machine, but they are marvelous. They are each a little unique in the pattern and they have our names crocheted into them. Aren't they so cute?

I love Christmas cookies. Sugar cookies are just one of the best things in the world! I love making them for different holidays and taking plates full to neighbors. It's hard for me to perfect my method on these because I only make them a few times a year, but I definitely did it on this batch. Sarah helped me pick out the sprinkles and test them today. She approved... (the trees are my favorite).

Wednesday, December 19

Historical Site or Gas Station?

Well, I've had a few requests to dedicate a post to how Dennis and I met. If you've heard this story too many times, feel free to quit reading now!

The summer after my freshman year of college, my parents were taking a trip to the midwest to see Nauvoo and some of the other church historical sites in the area. I tagged along with them because I was their only child not married. My dad didn't really think I needed to come, but my mom thought it would be fun. So, we flew into St. Louis, Misouri and drove across the state. We had our whole trip planned out, but halfway into the first day we were already ahead of schedule so we continued on to some more sights. That's how we ended up in Adam-Ondi-Ahman that fateful day... ;)

So, now to Dennis. He and his brothers had been down from Iowa City to Kansas City to see a Nascar race. (I know... kind of white trash). Anyway, on the way back home the air conditioning in their car went out and they were getting miserable because it was the first part of July and extremely humid. One of the brothers suggested they stop at Adam-Ondi-Ahman since they were close by, but Dennis just wanted to keep on going. He was the only one who didn't want to stop, so he got out-voted and they stopped.

There are two look-outs at Adam-Ondi-Ahman that look out onto some soybean fields (and that's about all that is there). As my parents and I were done with the first one and headed up to the second, a good-looking guy (Dennis) came up to us and said, "How far is it to the look-out?" I checked for a wedding ring (a habit I'd formed in college that year), and there wasn't one. I thought that was it until this same guy and three more looking vaguely like him showed up while my parents and I were still at the second look-out. My dad is a home builder, so he was wearing a Utah Home Builders shirt that day, and Dennis' oldest brother (Russ) noticed this and started up a conversation with us because he also is a home builder and so is one of the other brothers (Neal). After the conversation about building, they started in on farming because what do you know? The Hunger brothers and my dad all grew up on a farm. Gotta love it... They asked us about our vacation and when we told them our final destination was Nauvoo, they told us that was their home stake center while growing up. The major tip they gave us was that we HAD to stop at the Fudge Shoppe because the stake president and his wife owned it.

I remember trying to figure out all the brother's ages that day and thinking that Dennis was the cutest, the tallest, and he seemed really funny, which is super important to me. I figured he was about 24 at the time and I was 19, which seemed like no big deal. Dennis later told me that his thoughts that day were, "Why can't there be a girl like that in Iowa?"

For the next 4 or 5 days, my parents and I constantly referred to "The Hunger Brothers." They said this or that, or whatever it was. So, my mind was on them a lot and I had it in my mind that I had nothing to lose and that I would regret it if I never saw Dennis again. Like I said, I knew from the first day that Dennis was who I was interested in although 3 of the 4 weren't married. We went to the Fudge Shoppe at least 2 or 3 times that week, but on our last day we were going to stop one more time on our way out of town. We'd already told the owner how we met "the Hunger Brothers", and she just went on and on about what nice boys they were. Out of the blue, my mom told me that I should write Bryan a letter because we'd all figured he was the youngest. I told her that I already had considered writing Dennis a letter. She was very shocked that I'd consider her suggestion, and even more shocked I even knew I'd rather write one to Dennis! So, I sat down in the hotel room and wrote a short little letter about myself and gave him my address. I stuck it in an envelope and wrote his name on it, and then I asked the Fudge Shoppe lady if she could get it to him. That was that - I told my parents as we walked out of the Shoppe that I didn't want to talk about it, so they shouldn't ask any questions and they weren't to tell ANYone that I'd done it.

I decided if I didn't get a response within three weeks that it wasn't going to happen. Meanwhile, Dennis got the letter at his parents house after more than 2 weeks. He said that at first he couldn't remember who on earth "Jeny Mitchell" was, so whether it was after an hour or a few days he remembered and decided to write me back. He said at first he wasn't going to tell me his age, but he ended up doing it because I had told him. So after about 3 1/2 weeks (I'd given up hope), I got a letter from Dennis but he told me all about himself and that actually he was 26 - almost 27. I got kind of worried about how much older he is than me, but my mom told me that she didn't think it was bad at all.

That started our letter writing but after probably 2 months, I felt like it was taking TOO long. I was always on the computer, so I asked him to write me e-mails instead. Well... once again I was impatient. I noticed that no matter when I wrote him(after a day or four days), Dennis would always respond on either Sunday or Monday nights. Somewhere during this time, his brother Russ came to Utah to see some old friends. He actually stopped by and visited with me one afternoon. After that day, I was just miserable thinking how I wanted to see Dennis and talk to him more so that we could get to know each other better. Russ went home (he and Dennis were roommates) and said, "Don't mess this one up."

Well, I decided we needed to start instant messaging on the computer. I gave him detailed instructions on how to set up an account, and I waited on a Sunday night for him to get online. It was so nice to finally ask a question and get a response quickly! We started "talking" most nights for a couple hours at that point and I think it was in early November. A couple weeks after that, I stumbled upon Dennis's phone number... oops! I saw that the University of Iowa had a phone list for all its students, so I easily found Dennis. I was too nervous to call him because I figured he needed to take the next step for a change, but one of my roommates talked me into it. Russ answered and Dennis wasn't home, so I didn't want to leave a message but Russ recognized my voice and I was caught!

We'd already been talking about how Dennis was planning on visiting Utah over his Christmas break to see some friends from BYU, so we decided we'd see each other then. What it really was is an excuse for Dennis to come see me without having to put himself out there too much. He ended up staying at my parents house the whole time and saw 2 friends in one afternoon. The rest of the time, we spent having fun and going on tons of dates. We both had a great time that week.

Anyway, that was the end of December and we scheduled a trip for February when I could come meet his family. We actually got engaged on that trip, and every 3 weeks or so we visited each other until May when we got married.

The funny thing about this whole story is that this is SO not like me. I'm very timid when I meet people, and I don't like to put myself out there to try to make friends. I usually wait around until someone is friendly to me and then I'll reciprocate. I guess the Lord knew I needed to do this to make it work because Dennis says that we always prayed he would know where he stood with a girl.

Wow! That's a long story... now I'm sure some of you wish that Dennis and I did meet in a gas station. That would have been a much shorter story.

Friday, December 14

For Love of Fridays...

I love Dennis.
I just have to say that Dennis is just amazing to me. I love him with all my heart and I am so grateful each day that we found each other in the middle of a soybean field in Missouri. It had to have been divine intervention, or else we never would have found each other. I knew after that first meeting that I would regret it if I didn't try to see him again and I wasn't wrong! I can't imagine what life would be like if I hadn't followed my heart that day.
He is so great with kids. Our girls adore him, and I know he's going to be a great father for our little boy too. Emma thinks he is her personal cuddle bug. She loves to give him a squeeze when he walks in the door from work, and she now likes to give fun slobbery kisses too!

He can make Sarah giggle like no one else. I love that dad's seem to always find the fun way to do things. He'll race her down the hall, or play the "tickle puppy dog," or simply give her a big bear hug when she's sad. No matter what it is, Daddy is the best medicine for our little two-year-old.

I just love this picture of Dennis with his three brothers. I met them all that first day, but was especially impressed with Dennis. First of all, he's the tallest (a must for me); and second, he was so funny. He and his brothers are very fun and every year try to take a weekend trip to an Iowa football game. This picture is of their game this year to Wisconsin.

I just think that we need to remember to be grateful for the amazing people in our lives. They are more important than anything else!

Monday, December 10


We are stuck in an ice storm! Yesterday, I flew into Oklahoma City to find it covered in ice. After spending over 9 hours traveling with my little ones, I spent about 45 minutes scraping off my car - someone took pity on me and gave me their ice scraper because I didn't have one with me. I had the car heater and defrost going full blast the entire time. Emma was super tired and hungry, so she just cried her little eyes out. Sarah had the best time playing in the car and peeking through the windows at me. I never managed to get the doors on the driver's side to open, so when I got home Dennis had to use a rubber mallet to knock the ice off Sarah's door. It was just such an adventure for us.
For those of you who have never had the opportunity to be in an ice storm, I thought I'd take a picture of the bushes out our front door. It's just too weird to see the rooftops, trees, grass, and bushes covered in ice instead of snow. But, hey... a girl used to a white Christmas will take what she can get!

Dennis went to work today and said that most people didn't come in today, so he came home for a long lunch. I told him that he should skip out for the rest of the day and we could do our Christmas shopping. He didn't think that was such a great idea. Oh well... I tried. So, the girls and I have had a fun day with the fireplace going and we're just wondering if our power will hold on. Luckily, I learned how to start the fire myself today (huge acccomplishment - yeah me)! So, if the power goes out we'll be fine and we'll enjoy our little icy wonderland.

Friday, December 7

For Love of Fridays...

Well, this Friday I am in Utah for a family funeral. For my Friday posts, I usually write about my kids and my life in Oklahoma with Dennis and our little family. But, being here in Utah has reminded me of all the things I love here.

I love my MOM!

My mom is just the best... she is one of my closest friends and I feel like we talk at least 5 times a week. I can call her about questions with my kids, ingredients for recipes, or if I just feel like talking. We have so much fun together and I love that she loves my kids. She is the sweetest grandmother and is a total push-over to boot. I'm always telling her, "Boy, you didn't let us kids get away with something like that!" But, I love it. I also love the way she's always challenging herself. A few years ago, she lost 85 pounds and now she walks marathons with one of her good friends - not to mention that she walks 4-6 miles 6 days a week (which she's been doing since I was a baby). She is just full of life and full of fun.

I love my DAD.

He is a fun-loving, goofy, and admirable man. My dad is a great guy to be around... I remember as a little girl that I wanted to marry someone like my dad because I have always respected him so much. I love when I come to visit my parents because my dad takes me on a "doughnut run." Last time I visited, we actually went on two runs because the doughnuts ran out too fast and we needed more the next day. I don't think I will ever grow out of being "Daddy's little girl," and I don't think I want to!

I love snow!

Okay... I don't always love the snow, but living in Oklahoma has made me really miss it. Today it has been snowing at my parents' house, and even though I have complained about how cold it is, I still just love the winter feeling that only snow can bring. It's actually starting to feel like Christmas-time to me to see the huge flakes coming down outside...

Friday, November 30

For Love of Fridays...

I love playgroup!
I have a playgroup that I try to go to at least a few times a month, and I love meeting new people from different places and backgrounds. Sarah has a blast with all the other little kids, and Emma is doing really well playing and adjusting to new environments. It gives us all a chance to get out of the house and do something we wouldn't normally do on our own.

I love kids' words!
Emma just said her first word in the last couple weeks. She says, "Hi. Hi." It's adorable with her little limp-wristed wave. Sarah is always cracking us up with her words. I swear she learns 20 new ones every day! Her latest thing that makes me smile is that she says the word "does" like "doos." She'll say, "Don't suck the thumb. That's what baby doos." Also, she tells me that she has a baby brother in her tummy.

I love yummy scents!
I have a Scentsy candle warmer that brightens my day. I can change the scent anytime I want depending on my mood or the season. Today was the first day of my Christmas scents, and everytime I walk past it I just think how wonderful Christmas smells...

I love life.

Thursday, November 29

Photo Shoot!

Every few months (or weeks) I like to take some pictures of the girls. I haven't done it in a really long time, so I thought I better get to it. We took Emma's first and she did pretty good so Sarah was really excited to get her picture taken. It was her best shoot ever - I was so pleased.

I really wanted to get some pictures of the two of them together, but it didn't quite work out! I thought I'd include some of the out-takes because they were too funny. It really turned into a giggling/tickling/wrestling match. I'm happy they had fun, even if I didn't get my pic!

Thursday, November 22

Happy Turkey Day!

I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday filled with family and good food. We're up in Iowa with the Hunger's this year and it has been so much fun! All of Dennis's siblings and their families are here together and there are so many kids for Sarah and Emma to play with - they've loved ALMOST every minute.

I am so thankful for my wonderful little family I've been blessed with. I couldn't ask for a man more fit for me. We complement each other and challenge and bless each other. It's amazing! I have two little girls that I adore. Every day they teach me something about myself and about life. I wouldn't be who I am without them and their spirits. I am blessed to be expecting a new baby boy in less than four months, and I look forward to the new challenges and insights a boy will bring. Isn't life amazing? We are so quick to remember all the trials and hard parts of life, but are sometimes slow to think of the small (and big) blessings that are sent our way every day. Our Father in Heaven loves us and blesses us, and for that I am thankful!

Tuesday, November 13

New Family Pics!

Dennis and I really wanted to have a family picture taken while we were still a family of four, so we took advantage of the nice weather last weekend. It's just a snapshot that we've cropped, but I really like how it turned out. It's hard to accept the fact that we couldn't get both of the girls looking at the camera and smiling... but with a two-year-old and a ten-month-old, what's a mom to do?

Friday, November 9

For Love of Fridays...

I saw this idea on my good friend's blog, and I wanted to start doing it on my own blog. The idea is to post each week a few of the things I love, so here goes:

I love that my girls make me smile!
Sarah thinks it's fun to make silly faces lately. She's always saying, "Watch this, Mom!" I don't know where she learned it (maybe nursery?), but she's getting more faces each week to add to her repertoire.

Emma is learning how to wave. She'll use a limp wrist and wave her chubby little hand when we say "hi" or "bye-bye" to her. It's not quite working when someone else says it, but usually only if Daddy or Mommy does. She also is "cruising" with her cute little red car, and if she gets stuck she'll squawk a little until someone turns her around so she can cross the room again! I love that she's starting to explore the world on two feet.

I love to bake!
This week I've really been in the mood to bake, so we've had peanut butter cookies and sugar cookies. Plus one day I got adventurous and made really yummy beef stew (which made so much that we're still working on finishing it). There is just something therapeutic about baking that I don't quite understand. Not only do I enjoy actually making the product, but eating it isn't half bad either!

I love the fall colors!
I was beginning to think the leaves weren't going to change their beautiful colors this year, but as I looked out my front window yesterday I saw reds, oranges, and yellows. I just love the changes each season brings! (I don't have a good picture of the fall colors, so I thought I'd include a pic of the decorations on my front porch).

Friday, November 2

Happy Halloween - 2007

One of my favorite things about Halloween is making my kids' costumes. It is so fun to look for ideas and then try to see what I can do with my creativity. Sometimes it goes well, and sometimes... it really doesn't. Sarah has been a flower, Minnie Mouse (my favorite), and this year she was a dalmatian puppy dog. I thought it would be fun for the girls' costumes to coordinate, so Emma was a little kitty cat.

Sarah kind of turned out looking like a spotted cow (when she didn't have her ears up), but it was still fun and she absolutely loved her tail. She'd show it to people, and then say "Emma have a tail, too!"

Emma was so fun crawling around in her costume and looked like the cutest little kitten we'd ever seen. Too bad most people thought she was a little boy. I guess that's why we put a bow on her head most days. Note to self: use a pink boy to distinguish girl kitties from boy kitties!

Our town has trick-or-treating from business to business, so it was great for Sarah to be able to go around when it was still daylight and not too cold. She got the hang of it all and wasn't even intimidated by all the bigger and older kids around. Someone gave Emma a box of Red Hots, and she just shook them like a rattle the entire time. It was a really fun evening!

Tuesday, October 30

Pumpkin Carving

For Family Home Evening last night, we carved our own little pumpkin. Daddy cut it open, and Sarah was in charge of scooping out the guts. She couldn't stop giggling, and just kept saying over and over, "Yucky guts!" What a cutie...

After we carved out a cute face for our pumpkin, Sarah immediately asked, "Can I hug him?" She even decided to give the pumpkin some kisses. After waking up this morning, she asked to see her pumpkin and when she saw that it wasn't lit up she told us that the pumpking was sleeping.


Last Sunday, Sarah and Emma sat down for their own little storytime. The funny thing is that we go to storytime at the library on Tuesdays, so I guess Sarah was just copying what she had seen. It's great to watch her learning new things!

I just love seeing them interact like this. It makes those long days of being a mother seem so short and totally worth it all.

Fall Fun at the Park

Ever since it has started to cool off here, we like to head to the park whenever possible. It's so nice when Dennis gets home from work that we hurry and put jackets on, grab the stroller, and go on a walk. There's a great neighborhood park about a mile from our house, and we're usually the only ones there. The girls have the best time playing together and with Daddy. It's also a great added bonus that they really get worn out after playing so hard!

Wednesday, October 24

Testing it all out

I just seem to find more and more people each week who are blogging, so I thought, "What the heck?" It's not like I don't already spend too much time on the internet, right? It's so fun to stay in touch with family and friends from all different places and parts of life!

We just found out Monday that we're expecting our first little boy. We couldn't be more excited, and I've already got the wheels turning in my head of how to decorate the nursery. It has been decided since probably three years ago that we'll do a farm theme. Was there any question? But, I just need to find a pattern that I'm in love with to go hog-wild!