Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day!

Santa came! After a fairly long nights' sleep, we got up at 7 a.m. to see what Santa brought to us! Jess was very excited to receive a Leapster 2!
Syd was excited to see that she got a new bike! Her old one was falling apart. Dad had to put the chain on time and time again, and it was way too small for her. This new bike is the perfect size for her and she loves the hand brakes!
Mom and dad got a new computer! Yay! A MacBook Pro, my new favorite thing. It is very well used. We love it!
Kayman is a mad man on his new bike. He rode in circles around Grammy and Grandpa's kitchen all morning. He couldn't be happier!
My brother Brad and his son Gabriel. He got a stuffed English Bulldog that looks just like their real one! Gabe loved it. He kept giving it kisses, ok he was trying to eat it. Whatever. He loved it.
We headed to Andy's parents house around noon to spend the rest of the day with the Selcho family. I don't know how I managed to forget to take pictures, but I did. We had a truly meaningful and loving Christmas. We are so grateful for the love of Christ and for the opportunities of service we had this Christmas season. We had a lot of service done for us also. It is a magical time of year!

Christmas Eve

We spent most of the day home on Christmas Eve, but went to Selcho's house for dinner with the family. We had some family in town from Texas that we usually only get to see once a year. Andy's brother had a business meeting in Salt Lake and it just worked out that they were able to stay a little longer and spend Christmas here too! We had a delicious dinner and some good times together before we headed to my parents house.
My dad was ready to party it up! When we got there he was cooking fondu and had tons of treats ready for us. It was so good! My family and my sister and her husband stayed the night at my parents house Christmas Eve. After eating WAY too much food we headed out to the family room to listen to some beautiful music played by my sister, Jaycie.
She is a wonderful musician and loves to play and sing for us. She has written some beautiful music and has an incredible voice. We all love to listen to her play. My dad then read the Christmas story from Luke. The kids were very good and got a good understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. They got to put on their new Christmas pajamas (not Christmassy this year, I know) and just as they were going to head upstairs for bed...
a special visitor came! Santa showed up unexpectedly (not even my parents were expecting this) and the kids were somewhat less than amused. I thought they may get nervous that he would not come back since he came while they were still awake. Or that they would be ecstatic to see Santa one last time. I think they had just seen him too many times just didn't care anymore. Maybe it's that we had just read the Christmas story from the Bible and they knew that Christmas isn't really about Santa. Whatever the reason, they were not too thrilled to see him, though we did get them to pose for a picture.
The girls left some carrots for Rudolph!
Then it was off to bed. I wonder what Santa will bring??!?!!!?!?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jingle Bells

The girls had their dance performance tonight, and they did so great! They had these very cute scarves to go with their class outfit they wear to dance. Each class had a different accessory, and I love the green scarves with the bright pink tops.
They are in the same class this year and they did a very cute tap dance to Jingle Bells. They are getting so good! It's fun to watch them learn new things and improve. Both of them are constantly doing cartwheels and handstands around the house, and I mean CONSTANTLY! I can't tell you have many pieces of furniture, walls, and body parts have been kicked by a flying foot...but, they are getting very good!
The girls were partners in the dance and they were so dang cute! Just look at them! :) Love these girls to death!

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

...??? gave to me (4 calling birds)

Tonight we received some "calling" birds, aka toy cell phones for the kids! They love them! They were so excited to have a new toy, so thank you elves! Very clever! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On the first day of Christmas...(and 2nd and 3rd)

...??? gave to me: (a partridge in a pear tree)
A big bowl full of pears! I was so surprized to see this at our door Monday night and at first I thought for sure it was a mistake. I knew some friends were doing this for a neighbor and I figured they just got the wrong house. I didn't dare open it because I thought there was no way if was really for us. The next day I talked to my friend and she assured me that she got the right house when they delivered their 1st day gift, and it was not a bowl of pears. So this really was for us. I was so touched. I've had a hard time getting into the Spirit of Christmas this year, it just didn't feel like Christmas yet, but now it does. The service I see all around me has really softened my heart and am so full of love!
The second day of Christmas, ??? gave to me: (2 Turtle Doves)
2 bars of Dove soap and a box of Turtle chocolates! So yummy!
On the 3rd day of Christmas, ??? gave to me: (3 French Hens)
So today I got a text that said dinner was coming at 5:30 from our special elves. Can you imagine my joy! I didn't have to cook dinner tonight, it was being delivered to my door! What is better than that for a busy mom?! Not much, I can tell you that!
French bread (super yummy) and homemade Chicken Noodle Soup! Oh my, it was SO yummy! It really hit the spot on this cold winter day.
I have never heard of a 12 days of Christmas going all out like this! It's not just simple little things, they have really put a lot of thought and energy into this. I am so appreciative of this. It came at the perfect time for me, I really needed the boost this has given me. Thank you whoever you are! I love you! My family is grateful for you and your service!!!
What wonderful friends we have. So much to be grateful for!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ho Ho Ho!

Every Christmas we get together with Andy's buddies from High School and their families. We have had this Christmas party for about 7 years and it has been so fun to see everyone's families grow. We were the first with a kid, and this year there were 11 kids, all under the age of 7. It was quite the party! The annual Rowbotham Christmas party continues to grow every year, and this year the kids got a special visitor! Santa came and had each of the kids got to sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted him to bring them for Christmas.

Syd told Santa she wanted dress-ups. She kind of froze. She doesn't like to dress up, and what she really wants is for Santa to bring her one of his reindeer. I told her she is welcome to ask for whatever she wants, but Santa decides what to bring. I hope she is not disappointed when she doesn't get a reindeer...
Jessica has been asking for a reindeer too, but when she sat on his lap she said she wants a skateboard. She was very nervous, as you can see in the picture. She does not and never has liked people looking at her. Back when she was 2 and my parents took her to the State Fair they went to see the sheep. She was about eye level with them and she got all upset when they were looking at her. She said, "I don't want them looking at me." She doesn't like to be the center of attention. She wouldn't look Santa in the eye, but she gladly accepted the gift he gave her. Each of the kids got a stamp set.
Kayman is very sure he wants a skateboard. That's where Jess got the idea from. About 2 weeks ago we went to a friends house and Kayman saw a boy outside on a skateboard and he just fell in love with the idea. He thought it was the coolest thing ever. So, new that's what he wants. He's just a little small for a skateboard, we don't need any broken bones. We'll see what Santa comes up with.
Syd was sure this was not the real Santa. I asked her why she thought so and she said that he had pillows in his belly. This girl is so observant. I am not sure how long the magic of Santa will last for her. We shall see. For now, we are loving the fun that comes from the excitement of Santa and the thrill in the kids eyes when they see him!

Must Be Santa (clap)

The girls did their Christmas Program at school this week. It was fun to watch them perform with their classes and hear them sing the songs I have been hearing around the house for the last few weeks. They both got to be in the front row, but we didn't get good pictures of that though because I didn't think to take my zoom lense. I keep forgetting that the parents at Providence Hall get to the functions very early. We got there 10 minutes early and the seats were all taken. It was so crowded!
Here are the girls after the program. They were excited to wear their Christmas dresses. I didn't bother buying any this year since they already had some things that will work just fine.
Jessica's favorite song was "Must be Santa" and they taught them to clap after each "must be Santa." Jess still has a hard time saying her r's (they sound like l's) so when she sang "Must be santa (clap) Must be santa (clap) Must be santa, santa clause." It sounded like she was saying "Must be Santa (crap)" and Andy had fun with that one. He kept asking her why she was saying "crap." She didn't see the humor, but the rest of us thought it was funny.
Jessica's teacher Mrs. Sheffield is incredible. She has helped Jess so much and got her very excited about learning.
Miss Rodgers is Syd's teacher and she is so great with her. Syd is a bit of a talker and her teacher handles it very well. Syd is learning a ton and loves school.
Syd and her new "boyfriend" Conner. Nevermind the fact that she is about 4 inches taller than him, and everyone else in her class...
Jess in her classroom working on a card for her friend.
They are excited about Christmas and the new songs they have learned this year at school.

Friday, December 3, 2010

toys, toys, and more toys

Jess and I tackled a huge task today: cleaning out her toys.
She wasn't too happy about having to clean her room, so I told her I was happy to clean out her toys for her, but I would get rid of what I didn't think she used or needed anymore. Jess opted to help me because she knew that if I did it myself she would be missing a lot of toys when I got done.

One of the bins I dumped out had a bunch of these in it:

I couldn't figure out why Jess would have Lite Brite peices in with her Barbies and Polly Pockets. I asked her why they were in there and she looked at me and said, "They are the Polly Pockets' crayons" as though I should have thought of it myself. I never would have thought of it. I have very little imagination, I see things for what they are and have a hard time creating different uses for things. Jess, on the other hand, is a master at this. She is extremely creative. I love this about her. So, now I know. Lite Brite peices have an alternative use...I wish I'd known that before I vacuumed the rest of them up. They fall in the same category as Polly Pocket shoes - if they are on the floor when I vacuum, I'm not bothering to pick them up. They dissappear.

I only filled one small garbage bag with broken toys/junk, and we have a few to donate, and the room is cute again! Yay! One down, two to go...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Little Man!

He's 3. I can't believe he's 3. Little Man has been such a spit fire from the day he was born. He is full of energy and loads of fun. Kayman has his own wild imagination and loves to make people laugh. I love spending so much time with him while the girls are at school. He cuddles with me, plays games with me, watches movies with me, lets me read to him, sings and dances to Michael Jackson with me, does beads with me, exercises with me...he is my little buddy!

We had a small birthday party for him at our house tonight with our family and Andy's parents. He loved his cake and blowing out the candles!
And eating the chocolate off the candles, that's not a joint.
Andy and I were more practical this year. After strolling through Costco and realizing that we have EVERY toy there, in one version or another, I decided that Kayman probably has enough toys. We got him some shoes, socks, Toy Story underwear and pullups, and a few Toy Story action figures. I know it sounds boring, but I am trying to get him excited to potty train. He is finally interested, so I hope that not getting Woody or Buzz wet will be motivation enough for him! We'll see.
The girls are such wonderful big sisters. They went through their stuff and came up with meaningful gifts for their brother. They drew him pictures, found toys they knew he would like, an old wallet (since Kayman is 3 he will now be getting allowance, I'll post about that and how it works in our home later), some M&M's and Syd even gave him some of her money! They wrote cards for him and wrapped the gifts all by themselves. Kayman loved their gifts and played with the stuff they dug out of the toy box for him as though he had never seen any of it before. Such sweet girls to go to so much effort to make sure he had a fun birthday!
He loved his gift from Nana and Papa! Cars and a track that makes loud noises. What more could a boy want? He also got a Cowboys jersey from them! Kayman is a Dallas Cowboys fan by default...his dad has been a fan since he was a kid.

A little more about my boy:
Kayman had a rough start when he was born. He was hooked up to oxygen machines and IV's for the first 24 hours until he was able to function on his own. Then he cried and cried until he was 9 months old. He was very frustrated all the time. Thankfully, he is now a very content little boy. He's intense, but happy. He is independent and will continue on one activity for hours at a time. He is very smart and learning very quickly. He picks up a ton from the girls, some good and some bad.
Kayman loves to play with trains and cars, throw bouncy balls, put together puzzles, shoot his cap gun, watch Mickey Mouse, and his new favorite thing to do at night is choose which sisters room he is going to sleep in. He has had a lot of nightmares in the night, so he doesn't like to sleep in his own room anymore. It's great because the girls love to comfort him if he wakes up and I don't have to get up anymore! It's good for everyone. The girls always have something to bribe him with to get him to choose them.
Kayman is such a sweet child and I love him dearly! I am so grateful for him and all the laughter he brings into our home! Love you buddy!


Syd has the most amazing hair. I have always wanted thick hair, so I am glad she got it and I get to play with hers. She loves to take care of it and some day wants to donate it to Locks of Love. I just had to post this picture of how beautiful it looked today for church. This picture does not do it justice at all, it was gorgeous! Lucky girl!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving. What a great Holiday! I have spent a lot of time thinking today of all the blessings I have to be thankful for. Usually Thanksgiving just sort of passes me by without much thought, but this year was different.

I have been so blessed. I know I have much more (temporally) than a lot of people in the world have, and I am SO grateful for all the Lord has given me. I know the things I have been given are to enable me to serve others. I understand God's love for all of His children is the same. He wants all of us to return to live with Him again some day. I have been blessed to have Him in my life as my guiding light. I have the scriptures, my family, my friends, and most importantly, the Holy Spirit with me guiding me all the way home. I feel it, and I am grateful for that blessing.

My husband and children are the light of my life. They are so wonderful, and they love me despite my many faults. They accept me for who I am, even at my worst. I hope to be as good to them as they are to me. I try to be what they deserve, which is the best.
I am very grateful to all you family and friends out there who have supported me through so much. You know who you are. Thank you for standing by me and helping me when I need it.

Please know that if you are reading this, if I have given you the address to this blog, you have been an influence for good in my life. Thank you. I love you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

...but the fire is so delightful - oh wait, we don't have a fireplace. Dang! I so wish we did on these cold snowy days!
Can you believe what we woke up to? I measured 11 1/2 inches at our house. This is one of the times it's good Dallas (the dog) is nearly the size of a horse...we don't have to shovel the yard for him to get around. His legs are roughly, oh, I dunno, 11 1/2 inches I'd say. Maybe 12. I haven't measured. Anywho, look how beautiful this snow is!!! And that sky. I'm telling you, the sky out here has been magnificently beautiful every day!
The kids got their snow suits on and headed out first thing in the morning. They pulled out the sled and dragged each other across the yard on it. They brought in mounds of snow to eat (which I ended up cleaning up after most of it melted) before dad came to the rescue and made them actual snow cones! With snow cone syrup and everything. A lot of it.
Kayman needed and bath after he was done, and so did the kitchen, and everyone enjoyed the first big storm of the season! The next one is to come tomorrow. Here we go, welcome to winter.


I have been participating in a food co-op for close to a year now called Bountiful Baskets. I get 6 varieties of fruit and 6 varieties of vegetables, and each variety has a large portion. I end up with roughly $35-$40 worth of produce for only $16.50! I love it Not only for the fact that I save tons of money on produce because I get it a wholesale prices, but also because I always have healthy snacks on hand for the kids!
You're probably wondering if we really eat all this food in a week. Well, not always, but I am usually able to get through most of it. What we don't get through can either be preserved somehow or lasts a while, like potatoes. (I actually have 2 bags of russet potatoes and a bag of sweet potatoes as of now, but they last a long time so it's okay if we don't eat them the week of. I have dehydrated bananas and made countless batches of delicious banana bread since we get these every time and the kids are sick of them.)
This is the delicious acorn squash that Jess and I just love! She and I are the only ones who will eat it. It's a good thing that lasts a while too because we have a few. I love that my kids will eat all vegetables and fruits, and they are just as excited to get the basket full of produce as I am. It's a surprise every week (or every other week) because we never know what we are going to get.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


We have had the most beautiful sunsets lately! We have the best view from our front door and nearly every night we see something similar to this.
I am so grateful for the beauty God has blessed us with on this earth. It's too dark to see in this picture, but at the base of this mountain, right across the street from our house, is a field that usually has horses and/or cows grazing. It is breathtakingly beautiful! We love it here!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photo Shoot

My friend did a project she called "Celebration of Real Beauty" and wanted photos of women and children for her video she made. She set up a photo shoot and about 50 women showed up! It was amazing! The photographer I was assigned to had some equipment trouble, so we had to reschedule. I took my mom, sister, and daughters to the reschedules shoot. This is what we got!

This last picture actually made it on Good Things Utah when the creator of the project went on to tell about it!
I am so pleased with the pictures! This is just a small sample of them, we got about 80 shots. The very best part of the whole process is that the photographer has become one of my very best friends! She and I just clicked right away and have become very close since then. It's amazing how the Lord sends you the right people just when you need them!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Costume up

Fall has arrived and it is nearly Halloween! The girls had a Halloween party at their school and they were so excited for it. I am a huge procrastinator. I am trying to overcome this little problem I have acquired (and it has increasingly become worse since I had kids). I waited until Thursday night-the day before the party-to even think about costumes. I headed to Walmart to see what was available...

Jess wanted to be a witch, but does Walmart sell witch hats? You'd think that would be a very easy thing to find, but you'd think wrong. The only witch hats available were for adults, or part of an entire kid costume. So, I picked out a cute witch costume and just before I headed to checkout I decided to check the package to be sure everything was there. Guess what was missing. That's right, the hat. I guess I'm not the only one looking for a witch hat for a little girl.
Jess ended up with a "spider witch" costume. We had the hat from last year and it happened to go with the costume perfectly so that's what she is, and she's happy with it.
Syd wanted to be a fairy and I got her a fairy costume. Easy as that.
Kayman wanted to be a cowboy. Can I tell you how excited that made me? My sweet little boy in cowboy boots? How adorable is that? Well, it sounds easier than it is. Cowboy boots are sold at stores like IFA and Callisters, and Reams...and they cost about $40 for the cheap ones. I went on a wild goose chase to find some at Payless, or Walmart, or Kmart, (anywhere they may be around $20) and then just bent over and got them at Reams for $40. And while I was there I just had to get the Wranglers, it was physically impossible not to. You know how it is. I picked up a holster with 2 cap guns and we had a hat at home. Kayman was set.
So when we got home they tried on their costumes and looked absolutely adorable...
don't ya think?! This is actually right before the party with hair and make-up done too. The picture below is the night of the purchase and it was like pulling teeth to get that cap gun away from Man. He loves his boots. I love his jeans, and everyone at the party loved my little cowboy, fairy and witch.
I even had a guy stop me and asked if he could take Kayman's picture. I said, "Sure, isn't he the cutest cowboy ever?" The man said, "I have a friend who dresses like that every day, I want to send him a picture!" Haha! It's risky business dressing up as a cowboy for Halloween when you live in Herriman.

Play Dough

I, for the first time ever, made home made play dough! I always wanted to try it and I remember my mom making it all the time when I was a kid, but I never dared venture out and actually do it. Jessica's teacher at school asked me to make it for their classroom for one of their centers.
So, here is the play dough cooking in the pan...
...and here it is all squished up and smoothed out. It turned out perfect! It was super easy to make and the kids had a blast playing with it. I broke off a little bit for Jess and Kayman to play with.
They played with it for about an hour! It was great. I will probably make it again, and next time I will have to put some food coloring in and make it a little more fun.

Directions to make play dough

4 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 cups water

4 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup cream of tartar

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly before storing in an air tight container or zip lock bag.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grocery Savings!

I am addicted to couponing! I have been doing it for a while now and have really cut down on our grocery spending. We have $350/month budgeted for groceries (which includes toiletries, diapers, cleaning supplies, food storage etc.) and used to go over budget by at least $50/month. Well, now that I have discovered the value (and fun) of couponing we have stayed well below $350 most of the time, and we have WAY more food storage than we ever did before! I save an average of 65-70% each grocery trip. The anticipation of what my final cost will be, and the joy of watching the numbers drop on the register are worth the time I spend organizing my shopping trip and slipping/printing coupons. I shop at Smiths most of the time because they run great deals, and it's very close to my house.
Check out my latest buy:
12 boxes of GM cereal ($1 or less per box) usually around $4
8 boxes betty crocker fruit snacks ($.75 each) usually over $3
1 Hidden Valley dressing ($.50) usually around $4
1 Huggies diapers ($5.99) usually $9.99
2 Zone protein bars ($.50) usually over $2
2 gallons ice cream ($3.97...not on sale, but totally necessary!)

I spent a grand total of $31.88! This would have come to $88.11 without Fresh Values and manufacturer coupons. This is a savings of 65%, I got 71% the other day on oatmeal and sausage. I'd have to say this was a pretty good shopping trip! Lots of cereal and lots of fruit snacks for the kids, and ice cream for me! :)

New School

The girls got into a local charter school called Providence Hall. I put their names in the lottery back in February and 3 days before school was about to start at their old school I got a call from Providence Hall telling me I had 24 hours to let them know if we were interested in taking the 2 open slots for the girls.
Andy and I talked about it and decided that it was definitely the best move for our family. So far, it has been wonderful! The girls love their teachers, I'm pleased with the curriculum, they come home happy and seem to be learning a lot! Here they are on their first days of school. (Jess started a few days after Syd because of Kindergarten testing)

I love that they wear uniforms! My little preppy girls!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Can you can?

I love when I get to harvest my garden. We rarely use all of the vegetables we grow, so I like to bottle what I can. I have never tried making pickles out of my cucumbers before, so I thought I'd give it a try this year! It was very easy and they turned out so yummy! Even the kids will eat them! So far this year I have only canned strawberry jam and pickles, but hopefully I will have plenty of tomatoes and grape juice to can also!
If you've canned a lot I'd love to hear your tips and tricks if you have any! What do you can?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jessica turns 5!

My baby girl is 5 years old now and will be going to Kindergarten next month. It's surreal to me. This journey with her has been so amazing so far. She is such a special girl. I love Jess so much and admire her in so many ways. These are the 5 things I love most about Jess:
1. She loves to dress up every day. Looking pretty is very important to her and it's not unusual for her to sleep in her princess dresses. One night she even slept in her princess shoes, she just couldn't bear to take them off!
2. Jess is very helpful and loves to make people happy. If ever she makes her sister or brother sad, it doesn't take long before she is sacrificing something to make they happy again.
3. Jess knows how to make things fun. She has always been good at making me laugh, even in the times when nobody else could. She used to try to make me laugh during the sacrament when she was just 2. She is very silly.
4. She has her own personality and style, and she doesn't conform to what others think she should do. She know what she wants and doesn't let others push her around.
5. She comes up to me and gives me hugs all the time. She hasn't ever really been too cuddly or affectionate, but lately she just wants to be close to me all the time. I am eating it up while it lasts!
We celebrated her birthday tonight with friends and family with games, pizza, gifts, cupcakes, and a pinata. She was very excited about all her gifts and loved having so many people there to celebrate with her. She got some of her favorite things! Barbies, polly pockets, clothes, shoes, a movie, princess shoes, nail polish, etc...
The pinata was a hit! (he he) Each of the kids got a chance to hit it a few times.
It was Kayman who actually broke it down! What a little stud!
Next came the cupcakes, which was much easier than cake and ice cream might I add. The kids loved it. It was too windy for Jess to blow out her candles, we are in Herriman, but I'm sure she made a wish anyway.
Kayman and his friends chowing their cupcakes. These kids are all a month apart and are Kayman's best friends!
All but one of the kids who came to the party. One little girl didn't want her picture taken, but these are Jessica's closest friends. She had a great time with them!
Happy Birthday sweetie! We love you! Thanks for being such a light in our lives!