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...