Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Here are my children. They are not all looking at the camera, but I can't really blame them because this picture was the one thing that was holding them from trick-or-treating:)
Here we are post trick-or-treating where it wasn't as hard to get them to focus on the camera. They looked adorable.
The octopus costume has been worn by all three of the kiddos.


11-months means wiggly and hard to get a picture. It also means adorable, happy, active and loving. My favorite things about Hannah right now are:

  • that she will eat anything
  • that she gives big open mouthed kisses
  • that she adores her brother and sister
  • that she is sleeping well
  • that she decided to take a binky (hence, the previous entry)
We sure love Hannah!


Abby turned 5-years-old. 5 is a milestone. Abby thinks so, too. (It was cute when the morning after her birthday she brought me one of her favorite outfits and told me we had better save it for Hannah because now that she is 5 it doesn't fit.) Abby is a delight in our family. She is creative, independent, happy and bright. We love her very much. Her personality and spirit are such important and needed parts of our family.

Abby, Briton, Hannah and I celebrated the morning of her birthday with a trip to Impressions 5, the local children's museum and McDonald's. That afternoon we had a fun birthday party. 10 of her friends came and I think that the kids had a nice time. She opened her family presents the day after her birthday due to some crazy schedules so it was fun to extend the festivities.

I think that my favorite part of the birthday celebrations was being the mom helper in Abby's preschool the day before her birthday. We celebrated in her class that day. October has been a busy month for our family and I feel that we've been jumping/racing from one thing to the next. It was so nice to not have any "lists" to think about for a couple hours and just focus on Abby. Her teacher asked her if she wanted mom to be the snack helper for the class or if she'd prefer that I just play with her. I was pleased (and slightly surprised coming from my uber-independent girl) that she said that she thought it would be best if I just played with her. It was a great day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grandma Mary

Last Friday, Mike's grandma passed away. We knew it was coming. She was a loving and energetic grandmother and we will miss our visits with her. She had a strong testimony of the gospel. I remember seeing her in the Salt Lake Temple a few times while she and Grandpa Frank were working there. I am glad that we were able to spend some time with her on each of our visits to Utah this year.

Mary's obituary

Friday evening (yes, pretty last minute) Mike jumped on a plane to travel to Salt Lake. He took Hannah with him. I know that surprised a few people but being that she still flies for free Mike knew that people would enjoy seeing her and he looked forward to the one-on-one time with Hannah.

Mike was able to spend time with his parents, siblings, Robinson aunts and uncles and all but one cousin (as well as other friends and family members). He stayed at my grandma Nielsen's house a few nights and they enjoyed time together.

Abby, Briton and I missed dad and Hannah but also enjoyed doing some fun things while they were gone. (Briton's phrase of the weekend: "My baby. I miss. My house." He really missed his baby and wanted her back in his house.)

Pictures: Mike and his siblings/cousins; Mike's immediate family at Hope's grave (same cemetery); Hannah at Hope's grave; Mike, Hannah and Grandpa David

The next week

Monday morning we headed out to Frankenmuth, Michigan. We loved it! Frankenmuth is a Bavarian town in rural Michigan with a few resort-y hotels, a chicken restaurant, shopping and the biggest Christmas store in the world. The Christmas store was our draw. Seriously. It was big and fun. Michiganders also like indoor water parks. We stayed at a hotel with one. It was perfect for our kids. The best part about it was that they didn't have height restrictions on the slides! Our kids are little so they are never allowed to go on waterslides. Here, as long as the little ones were accompanied by an adult, anyone could ride any of the slides. Brilliant! We spent two days in Frankenmuth. Wednesday we bid a sad farewell to my parents. Here are some photos:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Couple Weeks ago

The week after General Conference was very nice.

On Wednesday we had our Stake Temple Day. Mike was able to take the day off work. Briton's speech teachers came over for his 8:30 appointment and we were able to tell them a little bit about the temple since I was already dressed up. When they left, Briton was ready to leave as well since we'd told him we'd go to the temple after speech. It was cute that it was his teachers that convinced him to wait a few minutes until daddy was ready to go. (Mike had gone into work for a few minutes and was going to be home any minute.) I love that we get to take our kids with us when we go to the temple. (It makes for such a long day, it is hard to leave them behind.) We arrived at noon, took our turn babysitting for the noon session, attended the 2 pm session, did sealings at 4 and then attended the potluck at 6, getting home around 9. It was a fabulous day. The Detroit Temple is usually only open for 4 sessions on Wednesdays, but our stake provided all the workers to add two mid-day sessions. It was especially special to be in the temple with our stake family.

The next day my parents arrived. We had such a good time together. On Friday we played at home a fair amount (aside from the pedicures my mom and I got:). Saturday we went out to the Peacock Road Tree Farm for their Halloween activities. Pig races, pumpkin patches, train rides to get to the pumpkin patches, apple orchards, hay bale sculptures, pony rides and more.

Saturday night Mike and I attended the Adult Session of our Stake Conference. It was wonderful. We had a member of the Seventy (one of our church leaders) visiting named Elder David S. Baxter. He taught powerfully and we were blessed to be there. On Sunday, our Stake Presidency (some of our local leaders) was reorganized. We will miss being taught by our former Stake Presidency but are very much looking forward to learning from and getting to know our new leaders.

It was just a good week. I like good weeks.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

General Conference on Sunday and Summing it Up

Today we had the missionaries and some friends over all day for conference. It made for great company and even with 6 kids under 5 I think it was calmer than yesterday.

A couple of my thoughts from today:
  • I enjoyed Brother Richardson's talk. I've heard in a few settings lately the idea that teachers shouldn't get in the way of the learning of the students. I watched a talk given by Elder Bednar on this particular idea. How amazing it is that the Holy Ghost is able to teach all of us individually exactly what we need. The same lesson, if taught and received with and by the spirit can teach multiple students multiple lessons. Amazing.
  • Recently I studied some of the women in the Book of Mormon. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed Sister Dalton's talk a lot - especially the part about Abish. (Incidentally, Lamoni's wife was a favorite. She had amazing faith.)
  • The Book of Mormon is such a source of peace for me. I appreciated President Eyring's teachings from the Books of Mormon, Elder Callister's testimony of it, and Elder Scott encouraging us to memorize it (verses, I mean).
  • There seemed to be a lot of references to prayer today, specifically President Monson and Elder Cornish. I can always be a better pray-er.
Summing it up: I actually came to conference this weekend with a few specific questions about some things I want to improve in my life. Those questions were a focus for me and I could look for answers that perhaps I wouldn't have recognized if I didn't have the question in the first place. It's true that general conference can teach 14 million. It is also true that it can teach one. I appreciated that I was able to add a few pieces to my puzzle this weekend.

General Conference on Saturday

General conferences make for my favorite weekends. I am grateful for the focus they give me. Yesterday was kind of a rough day. I wasn't at the top of my game. Conference, however, was a bright spot and the afternoon session especially was just what I needed. (It was made better snuggling with a very peaceful baby.) A couple thoughts:
  • My favorite talk might have been Elder C. Cook who taught us that it is always better to look up. It reminds me of how far a simple yet sincere prayer or a few minutes in the scriptures can do on a downer day.
  • I love family history and I love Elder Bednar. Last night I opened some forgotten files and started looking for info on my 3rd great-grandfather's wife. Fun stuff!
  • Elder Andersen is also a favorite. My faith in and testimony of families was strengthened.
  • President Uchtdorf is always reminding us of who we are. Heavenly Father has such a different scale to measure the usefulness and worth of His children. Our value is limitless. Perhaps, if we could strive to feel that all the time we'd be limitless in our power to do good.
Those are a few of my thoughts. Today will be great.