Thursday, August 25, 2011

West Coast Getaway

Last minute weekend getaways are the way to go.  Jared & I typically plan things months in advance, but the weekend before last, we went out on a limb and took a last minute two day trip to the west coast.  We even forgot the GPS, so my map reading skills were revisited (I didn’t do too bad until we got to Portland, but luckily, we hit a traffic jam, & I had sufficient time to figure things out;) ). 

  We first stopped off at Multnomah Falls just east of Portland.

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Just before we got to Portland, we drove through Hood River, the birthplace of my Dad.  (The scene below was past Hood River, but it gives you an idea of how beautiful Oregon country is).  I love Oregon.  It’s so green & picturesque.  We passed a sign that read , “Elephant Garlic Festival – turn here!”  Oh, I so wish we would have turned!

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After staying a night in Portland, we drove 90 miles to Seaside.  I have many memories there.  It’s a very quaint beach town full of petunias, seafood, surfers, homemade taffy, & multi-pedal bikes. 

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A Jr. College Women’s Volleyball Tournament was going on at the road side end of the beach.  We were pushed through to the ocean side pretty quickly, so I missed taking any pictures of the actual tournament.

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The Seaside Candyman had 150 different flavors of homemade taffy.  The list of flavors was unbelievable.  Almond Roca, Banana Marshmallow, Blueberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Christmas Peppermint, Irish crème, Mint Oreo, Root Beer Float, Peanut Butter & Jam, Pink Lemonade…I’ll stop already.

Jared snuck a Green Jalapeno flavor in.  Bad idea.

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Heading home before the typical rainfall. 

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We hope to see you again Seaside.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Flagship Store Tour

Last month I toured the new Deseret Book Flagship store in downtown SLC.  The store is located almost exactly in the same spot as the first Deseret Book location.  The art collection was full of original paintings and sculptures including replicas of the original Book of Mormon. 

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LDS Artist Michael Bedard happened to be painting on site that afternoon.  He was working on a new painting entitled “Ephraim Hanks, Angel of Mercy.”  (If you are not familiar with Ephraim Hanks, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read his personal account HERE.)  I was inspired to say the least.

“The beauties that surround us consist of two kinds:  those found in nature and those found in the fine arts.  The beauty in nature is our gift from God.  The beauty in the arts is our gift from others – artistic men and women of all ages and from all countries.”  - Belle DeJong VanWagenen

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mama Don’t Cry For Me

This morning my amazing friend Lisa (at The Far Side of Complexity) featured a post on my cousin & I’s song Mama Don’t Cry For Me.  You can check her post out HERE.  (Talk about a big surprise when checking her blog this morning!) ;)

Aside from Mandy’s son Clyde, Lisa’s daughter Elisabeth was a huge inspiration for us while writing this song.  Lisa has a contagious love for living that I admire beyond words.  Her faith & overall attitude is simply incredible. 

I am constantly amazed by the mothers of special needs children.  Even though Mama Don’t Cry For Me specifically refers to autism, our hope was to somehow reach out to any mother with a special needs child, sending the message that these children are “meant to be,” & would say if they could, “Mama don’t cry for me.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mommy Memo No. 4

Funny, but Mommy Memos are becoming a way for me to get advice from my own mom.  I love it.  Or maybe I am just secretly coercing my mother into documenting moments of significance in her own life.  Either way, I wanted her input on ways to give children self-esteem.  This is bold, but I think individual worth, the root of a positive self image, makes the difference between stability & instability.

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Julie:

As a Mom, I have come to realize that self esteem in children is developed through life experiences.  You can't give your children self-esteem.  You can only help them develop it.  When I was raising my children, through trial & error of course, I learned a few things about self-esteem.  Small children develop healthy self-esteem when they are taught these 5 things:

1.  " I belong."
2.  " I am capable."
3.  " I can handle the disappointments of life."
4.  " I can learn from my mistakes."
5.  " I can make meaningful contributions in my world."

A memory just popped into my mind!  Bedtime is always hard!  In fact, it's the hardest time of the day sometimes.  I remember one thing that worked with my little ones.  At my wits end one particular evening, I created a bedtime routine chart. I involved my children by asking them what they needed to do before they went to bed.  It seems like they were too young to write, and so we made a list of what they said.  I HAD THEM PUT THEIR LIST IN ORDER.  Going to the bathroom, washing their hands, getting on pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a book, saying their prayers, etc.  This made them feel very capable (an important ingredient of self-esteem).  They felt like they created the list, not the parent.  We took photos of them completing each task so they could post the photos on the routine chart.  The routine chart was posted in a place that could be seen everyday.  The routine chart became the BOSS, not me.  Instead of me telling my children "Get ready for bed," I only had to ask, "What is next on your routine chart?"  Bedtime became much easier.  My children got to tell me!  Most importantly, they felt smart and capable.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Birthday Party in Idaho

Both Jared & I grew up surrounded by lots & lots of family – cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas, & grandpas.  Birthdays were always a big deal in my family.  In fact, one might say my family went overboard in this department, but as I’ve gotten older, those celebrations have become some of my greatest childhood memories.  Every family has many different ways of showing love.  In my family, big birthday parties were a traditional way of showing love for one another.

Since my girls haven’t lived in neighborhood proximity to most of their extended family, I wanted to take the opportunity while we were in Idaho to throw AnnMarie a memorable birthday party surrounded by lots of family members who love & care about her.  So that’s exactly what we did - animal cupcakes & all.  (She specifically requested those). 

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This girl has an amazing amount of grandmas.  A huge thanks to everyone who came & made this such a special day.  It’s August, & we’re still talking about it. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Said YES…Again!

Two weeks ago we found ourselves in SLC again for more meetings.  Jared & I had a little extra time one night to enjoy Temple Square.

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We watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice for an upcoming concert in the Conference Center.

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During their rehearsal, Jared proposed to me with an anniversary band that I’ll wear in South America instead of my wedding ring.  I laughed, but I said yes – I didn’t' really have to think about it.  Very practical (& spontaneous) he is.  Spectators thought they were witnessing something monumental, but perhaps they were. 

Because marriage is about falling in love and saying yes to love every…single…day. 

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