Monday, August 25

Ready, Set, Dance

This fall, Sarah is taking her very first dance class. She started last week, and is absolutely LOVING it! She has class every Monday - they do tap and ballet. All the girls wear black leotards and pink tights... so cute! Sarah just loves putting on her dance clothes. In fact, it's hard to get her to change back into street clothes after class.

I like to peek in the window and see what she's learning. It's so good for her to get some time away from me and learn to follow directions from someone else. It's also really nice for Emma to be the "big sister," even if it is for only 45 minutes. And Sarah feels like she is special to get to go to dance all by her big self. Every week, as she's going into class she tells Emma, "You're not going to dance class, Emma - only Sarah!" She doesn't mean to taunt her, but it sure sounds like it.

Seriously... makes me melt

Our little ballerinas

The choo-choo line
(Sarah is in front)

Here's a shot through the mirror (again... Sarah is the first kid right behind "Miss Nancy")

Tuesday, August 19

The Mega Post

I decided to do three posts in one because I haven't posted in a week.

The New Fave
We've been lucky to get a week of relief from the heat, so we branched out a bit and found a new park. It's actually an elementary school playground, but it was a complete hit. It was so fun for the girls (and even Daddy and Mommy) to play on all the old school equipment.

We climbed up the curly slide at least 20 times!
Emma got nervous on the way up, so we had to help out.

She has really turned into a Daddy's girl!

Monkey in the jungle gym!

I love this one... Emma thought she was on top of the world.

Yep... they're still cute here too.

I totally want a tire swing in our yard!

Drew was so happy the whole time.
He just sat there and watched us while kicking his feet.
Yes, he really is this happy most of the time!

Texas, Here They Come...
It's pretty nice living here in Oklahoma because two of Dennis's brothers are married to girls from Texas. So when they drive from Iowa to Texas, it's a perfect excuse to stop in for a few days. Two weeks ago, Russ's family stopped in and this weekend, Bryan's family stopped. We had the best time just hanging out and playing! Thanks for coming to visit your lonely little family Bryan & Angela!

Bedtime snack: popsicles!
L to R: Emma, Sarah, Ethan (4), and Allison (2 1/2)

Andrew is just 10 days older than their little Nicole

Our Family Home Evening activity was Candyland.
They had a great time as long as no one came near Sarah's red guy.

Lovin' On Drew
I know I've mentioned it before, but Emma just has a lot of love inside her little body. She loves to cuddle with Mom & Dad, and she is constantly wanting to hug, hold, kiss, squeeze, tickle, and touch Drew. If I sit him on the couch next to me, she slides right on in and puts her arm around him. I took these pictures this afternoon when everyone was feeling especially loving.

What great sisters... Drew is going to be well taken care of!

(I swear I don't even prompt her to hug him or give a kiss for these pics. They are pretty much candid).

Well, this one might not be so candid...

Heaven: my big kids loving my baby!

Tuesday, August 12

Yummy Pizza Pie

Growing up, we had a tradition of having homemade pizza on Friday nights. I don't even remember having pizza out until I slept over at a friend's house in 2nd or 3rd grade. Lucky for me, Dennis fell in love with my homemade pizza when we were first married. It's not quite the same tradition, but we like to have pizza a few times a month... and we'll even get a little crazy and have it in the middle of the week sometimes!

The kids ALL helped me in their own little way to whip up a pizza a last week.

Emma and Sarah mixing it up a bit-
they like to take turns putting in the ingredients.

Emma was upset she got "floured"...
Actually, she just got mad at me because I was trying to take her picture and she wanted to see the image before I took it.

Drew surprised me a little!
He's grabbing anything he can get his hands on lately.

Here's the recipe:

1 T. yeast
1 c. warm water
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
2 T. oil
2 1/2 c. flour

Mix all ingredients and knead dough as needed. Roll out onto pizza pan and bake at 425 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and flip over the crust. Then add sauce and toppings as desired. Put back into oven for 10-12 minutes.

Note: I use 3/4 of this recipe for one LARGE pizza because we like our crust thin. I then save 1/4 of the crust each time, freeze it, and then I have one complete crust every fourth time we make pizza.

We usually stick with the old standard of pepperoni pizza or sausage and pepperoni, but barbecue chicken is also a favorite around here. For the standard pizza topping combinations, spaghetti sauce works great as the sauce and you don't need to add any spices to it! For barbecue chicken pizza, use your favorite barbecue sauce for the sauce on the crust AND mix barbecue sauce with a can of canned chicken, then top with cheese.

Friday, August 8

Teach Me to Walk...

It seems that, as a parent, bedtime is a constant struggle. Even when the kids go to bed perfectly, you wonder what the next night might bring, or you wonder how to get them back on schedule after a vacation, or they're sick and aren't doing so hot. Anyway... bedtime is always something that we are working on. Our kids go to bed very well most of the time, but the girls share a room so even if one of them goes to sleep good the other might have a rough night.

Dennis and I started reading the scriptures each night with the girls (or we even have a "Book of Mormon stories" book with pictures that they really enjoy), we say our prayers, and then tuck them in. For the last couple of weeks, they've needed a little something more, so I've sang to them. I start out with some of the classics: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Rock-A-Bye-Baby, and then I switch to our church primary songs. I always end with Teach Me to Walk. It just gives me the best feeling, and makes me feel like through all the struggles of being a mother, I'm in it for my kids and with my kids.

1. (Child) Teach me to walk in the light of his love;
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.

2. (Parent) Come, little child, and together we’ll learn
Of his commandments, that we may return
Home to his presence, to live in his sight
Always, always to walk in the light.

3. (Both) Father in Heaven, we thank thee this day
For loving guidance to show us the way.
Grateful, we praise thee with songs of delight!
Gladly, gladly we’ll walk in the light

I, of course, sing all the verses myself which is really what pulls at my heart. My kids teach me so much and are a constant reminder of the person I need to be.

Isn't it such a blessing to be a mother?

Tuesday, August 5

Pocket Full of Posies

I love that the girls play together so well!

Monday, August 4

Cousins, Cousins Everywhere

We were able to enjoy another weekend with family this week! Our sister-in-law was headed from Iowa to Texas for a wedding, so she and her three kids (plus Dennis's aunt) stopped in for a few days to break up the loooong trip. We all had the best time playing together and having fun. The great thing is that their kids are fairly close in age to ours. Sarah is only two months younger than Samantha, they have a little boy (Caleb) one year younger, then comes Emma, and Corey is about five months older than Andrew. It is great to get all the kids together, and the older they get, the more fun they have!

Everyone got in on Thursday afternoon, so we had dinner and just played at home. On Friday, we ran some errands, and then went to a ward activity that was at a water park. It was the best place for kids. If I had a nanny to help me keep track of my three little ones, I would go there every day! Anyone know any free nannies? On Saturday, we went to a friend's house in the morning and then let the kids run through the sprinkler in the back yard. We let them run in their underwear, but in our defense it was 107 degrees that day!!! Sunday, we got to go to church (where I taught my first Relief Society lesson in about three years - stressful) and then everyone took naps, did some crafts, and played Candyland. It was a great weekend, and we were so sad to see them go this morning! They'll have a great time in Texas with their family, though.

The older kids:
This is what we do for fun in Oklahoma!

The little ones:
They aren't really aware of each other yet

Sarah at our friend's house on Saturday
(they've got a little hobby farm with a few acres and some animals)
She LOVES it there!

Emma cruisin' around the yard at our friend's

Drew chillaxin' in the swing
Who needs toys when you've got fingers to bite?

This kid just couldn't be happier...
He is so fun to have in our family!
Who can resist this guy?