Sunday, November 20, 2011

Utah Museum of Natural History

Friday we decided to take our girls on a mini-stay-cation. We got tickets for the opening day at the Museum of Natural History & took the girls out of school an hour early to make our ticket-time. The museum was very impressive. They have five levels and recommend that you take the elevator to the top and work your way down through time (the top floor has the most recent events & the lower you go the older the displays).
However, Sarah has been dying to see some REAL dinosaur bones and so we indulged her and started at the bottom and worked our way up. The girls had a great time digging for dinosaur bones (Sarah unearthed some bones from the bottom of the pile that quite likely had never been found before since we were there on the first day). The museum has an indoor and outdoor digging area and we were happy that it was pleasant enough outside to let them dig in the larger pit.
The museum also had some fun magnetic puzzle pottery that you try to stick back to a metal vase. Because it was opening day we were also able to go into some of the archive rooms where we saw row after row of dead snakes, lizards and toads in jars. The girls were a little put off when they found out they were real animals, and wondered if the people who work there killed all those snakes or if they found them dead. Sadly they asked the question after we left.
The museum had hours worth of entertainment. I was very impressed with the interactive displays and the amount of child-friendly hands on content provided.
So other than being grateful for dinosaurs I am also grateful to live in a community that values the arts & museums and that we have such neat places that we can visit in our own backyard.

Piano Recitals

This week we went to a piano recital for Becca and Ellie. The girls did such a great job; it is also nice as Primary President to go because more than half of our senior primary takes from our girls' teacher & were all there. So, without further are the videos of the girls at the recital.

Becca Piano Recital:

Ellie Piano Recital:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rachel's Christmas List

I was asking Rachel the other day what she wanted Santa to bring her for Christmas. She stopped playing for a minute, and told me she didn't know. I said, "What about underpants?" to which she responded enthusiastically that underwear would be GREAT! I then asked if she would like Santa to bring her bedsheets. Again, her answer was a resounding YES! I continued to think of the most boring gifts I could come up with and each one received a positive response. I thought it was so cute that she would be glad with anything Santa might bring. Sadly I forgot to ask her about coal, but since she loves it when Greg builds a fire I'm pretty sure even that would have been just fine.


So while I am grateful that I can exercise, today's post is just a funny story. Today as I was exercising I felt like I was getting tired much more quickly than usual (I try to go running on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day). I kept having to adjust my speed and wondered why I was so sluggish this morning. As I was getting ready to cool down I bumped the incline button and saw that I had been running with the treadmill inclined the entire time. I suddenly felt much better about how hard my run was, and felt like I had accomplished more than I set out to do!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I think I have laughed about fifty times today. Nothing consequential. I read "Blue Hat, Green Hat" to the girls and we laughed ourselves silly. Greg came into our room offering a glass of water; I was looking at something on the computer & he LOUDLY downed the entire glass in moments. When I looked up he showed me the empty glass then switched hands and held out a full cup to me. We watched a funny show, Rachel got yogurt on her nose, and the girls looked at kangaroo pictures sent straight from Australia (which they thought were fantastic).
I love to laugh, and I love to hear the sound of my girls' laughter.
What a blessing to be able to laugh.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Family Time!

In Sacrament meeting today we heard a talk about the importance of doing the simple, every day things with our families. They talked about reading scriptures, praying, and spending time together with our children. Yesterday we had a great family day. The girls were great helpers getting the house cleaned (Sarah was especially helpful)so we decided to do something fun and took the girls to the planetarium. The weather wasn't especially cooperative (it was a regular blizzard), but the girls enjoyed driving in the snow. When we got to the planetarium we gave the girls a few pennies and let them race the money around the cyclone coin shoot. We let them play around the exhibits, look around the gift shop and then we watched a movie on the IMAX. Because of our membership each of the girls gets a free popcorn when we go to a show, and they think it is the greatest thing EVER.
I love the fact that our girls are still excited to spend time together as a family. I realize that we are fast approaching the teenage years when family time won't have the same appeal it does right now, but I treasure the time we get to spend together as a family.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day

Greg and the girls never knew my grandpa Hodgkinson (first and third pictures), but he was quite an amazing man. In addition to serving faithfully in the church through his entire life (he never really had the chance to summer in Utah and winter in Arizona because he and my grandma served three missions and he served in the Stake Presidency in Arizona & so they didn't get much of a chance to spend time in Utah after they moved) he was also very patriotic and served our country during WWII.
Growing up I knew that he had been shot in the hip (because my dad told me), but Grandpa never talked about the war...ever. It was not until after he passed away that I heard the story of his Silver Star.
Grandpa's platoon was in the streets of an Italian town. The Nazis had taken over two houses on either side of the street, and were shooting out at the troops on the road. Grandpa was able to somehow sneak to one of the houses where the Nazis were shooting and throw a grenade in a window. Then, he went over to the other side of the street and threw a grenade in that house.
He received the purple heart when he was shot in the hip. The Germans came along with bayonets stabbing kicking the bodies on the ground. Grandpa was kicked and rolled over, but was able to play dead until the soldiers moved on.
I feel so grateful that both of my grandfathers served in the military. I know that countless people have made it possible for us to have the freedoms that we do today, and I just want to say Thank You to those who are fighting or have fought for my freedom.
Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Thursday nights are typically the heaviest nights of homework around our house. Spelling tests and homework packets are usually due on Friday and so Thursdays are often the catch-all for homework that hasn't been taken care of. Some nights I feel rushed trying to get it all done, but tonight as Sarah and I sat at the kitchen table working on her homework packet it was quite delightful.
Watching her get excited about handwriting, addition, and creative writing (claiming to be the smartest person in her WHOLE class) was so much fun as a parent. I love seeing the girls' confidence grow as they learn new concepts, do well on tests, and feel the excitement of getting a good report card.
So, knowing that there will be times that I get bogged down in the monotony of helping the girls with the same lessons night after night, I just need to remember how great it is to look back on their accomplishments.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Last night we were able to visit with Greg's parents for the first time using Skype. It was SO great to see them and talk with them...It was hard to believe that they are actually half way around the world. What a blessing it is to live in a time when technology is "Jettson-esque" and we can see and talk to each other whenever we want.

On the missionary front, Steve and Lorna are doing great. They are jumping in with both feet and it was fun to hear how things are going. Already they have purchased a new bed and bedding, they plan to visit all the elderly ladies in their branch, they have yard projects in the works (time set aside each day for weeding and planting flowers), pruning bushes and trees, and just getting things up to par. They are getting the house sprayed for spiders (they had spiderwebs ALL over their house apparently), visiting new members and planning a service project to unite the members of the branch.

The girls thought it was absolutely wonderful to see and talk to their grandparents. It really makes them seem close when you can just call and visit whenever the time difference allows (I don't think they would appreciate a call right now since it is the middle of the night there).

Monday, November 07, 2011

Ordinary Mary

I love the story Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed. In the book, Mary does something kind, which prompts the recipient to do something for someone else until eventually everyone in the world has been touched by kindness thanks to Mary's good deed. I love the idea that we can pass along kindness, but I am afraid I am seriously in debt.

Yesterday I only left my house to go to church and my parents' house, but as I think of the people who have touched my life, the list seems huge compared to how few places I have been. Here are a few of the people that did "extraordinary deeds" in just one day:

-My Primary Presidency: We had a presidency meeting yesterday, and they are such an amazing support as we get ready for the new year in Primary (There is SO much to be done)

-The Primary Teachers/Leaders: I have such a wonderful, reliable Primary Board; I never worry that a class will be left alone, or that we won't have anyone to play the piano/lead the music.

-The Elder's Quorum: We had a Visiting Teaching Conference during the third hour of church yesterday and the Elder's Quorum took over the combined Sharing Time and Singing Time so all of the sisters who serve in Primary could attend.

-The Relief Society Presidency (Stake and Ward) During the Visiting Teaching Conference I had two members of the Stake Relief Society Presidency approach me to see how I was doing and just say Hello. I also was able to visit with someone from the Ward RS presidency to talk about the best way to get messages about RS to those who serve in Primary. They have so many people to look after I am amazed at how much time they take to lift and serve the sisters in the area.

-The Stake Presidency: The Stake President spoke in the conference yesterday, and hearing the sweet simple message he shared (Be a PRO--Pray Read & Obey every day) reminded me that if I do the simple things the Lord will take care of the difficult things. I can only imagine the hours he and his counselors spend on their knees praying for the members of the Stake. What a blessing it is to have such a great Stake Presidency.

-My family (immediate and extended): Where would I be without my family? We were able to go to my parents' house for dinner, and I didn't have to bring a thing! It was such a wonderful, relaxing evening, and I was reminded how grateful I am for my family.

-My neighbors: Attending Relief Society with all the women in the neighborhood was such a nice experience. It always feels so great to hear a friendly "hello" when you enter a room. As much as I love the children in our ward it was really nice to see friends that I don't always get to talk to since I am usually in the Primary room.

So, as you can see it would take me a lifetime to try to pass along all the kindness that has been shown to me in just one day. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life, and I would be remiss if I didn't at least say THANK YOU! to everyone who blesses my life in so many ways!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

An Extra Hour

There is something very nice about the psychological benefits of a little more time. I don't know why 25 hours in a days seems so much more alluring than 24; maybe it is just that it is the one bright spot in the knowledge that we are heading into a dark winter, but I love taking advantage of the extra time. I remember going to dances in high school during the daylight saving switch & convincing my parents to bump curfew an hour so I could stay out a little later. Now, I like knowing that I have an extra hour to get everything ready for church. Somehow being a little more aware of the extra hour also helps me be aware of the time I always have, and hopefully it will help me take advantage of the 24 hours I have every day.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Cozy Days

We woke up this morning to a white world. The girls were thrilled to spend the morning making snow angels, sledding and having a snowball fight. Then we got cleaned up and headed to Greg's sister's house for the perfect lunch...soup and bread sticks. Yum! The reason for the get together was even better; my niece, Lindsey, got baptised today. It was the first event Greg's parents have missed, and we sure missed them, but we took pictures and had them in our thoughts and prayers. After the baptism there was more snow filled fun around the yard followed by some hot chocolate and a fire. After the girls watched a Christmas movie Greg took them over to the church to shovel, and I was lucky enough to curl up by the fire with a good book. It was very relaxing, but it was even better when the girls came home and sat next to me at the fire and told me about their adventures shoveling. So today I am grateful for cozy days that help me slow down and enjoy my family a little more.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Today the kids received their report cards. They did a great job. I also had the chance to volunteer at the school, and I was reminded about how great the girls' teachers are. As I finished volunteering, Ellie's class was headed out to recess and her teacher hurried past to get fifty cents from her car so that the star of the week could choose a soda from the faculty room. I was reminded of the little details the teachers put in to make their students feel loved. Sarah's class recently put on a Halloween program, and it was soo cute. After finishing the primary program I know first hand the countless hours that go into a successful program, and watching the kids sing and use the props they had made was so much fun. It made me so grateful for her teacher. As I watch my kids and see their progress year after year I am continually in awe at the wonderful teachers they have. It is such a blessing to see the happiness my girls have knowing they have teachers who care about them so much.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I have always loved nature, and there is something thrilling to me about fall. Today as I was picking up Rachel's room I was feeling a little tired and took a moment to sit on her bed. While I was sitting there a light breeze picked up and the aspen trees right outside her window started shaking. I stood up, opened her window and leaned up to the sill. As I stood watching the golden leaves raining down to the ground, smelling the cool autumn air and listening to the quaking leaves rustle in the wind my heart was lightened and I felt overwhelming gratitude for the beauties of nature, and for the opportunity I have to enjoy them right out my windows.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Growing up I didn't have many cousins my own age which had certain advantages and disadvantages. I was often included at the 'adult' table for meals, I was the chosen babysitter, and always felt very grown up, but I never really looked forward to "playing" with my cousins (the only cousins my age lived in Alaska for most of my growing up years). However, my kids have been blessed to have cousins to play with on both sides of the family & they LOVE it. My girls' best friends are all cousins. We have holiday parties, birthday parties, vacations, and Sunday dinners together regularly, and just get together to play, go to the zoo or other outings as well. We had a Halloween party on both sides of the family, and I can't count the number of times I heard the girls compliment and be complimented on their costumes. There was never any jealousy, but sheer excitement for each other.
How grateful I am that my kids have been blessed with such wonderful friends in their cousins!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy November

I know I have been terrible about posting, and I make no guarantee that I will ever catch up on the last few months, but yesterday Greg's parents flew out to Australia and in an effort to keep better track of our lives here in order to report to them on the happenings of our world, I am going to try to revive the blog. :)
I also wanted to repeat what I did a couple years ago where in November I try to mention a blessing a day. If it is too cheesy for you, feel free to pretend I haven't started writing again, but today at the front of my mind I am so grateful for wonderful in-laws. They are setting such a great example to my family as the set off on their mission. I am so thankful for their love, kindness and goodness. I am so grateful for the important role the gospel plays in their lives, and I look forward to hearing the stories they have to share with our family. We have already had the chance to sit down and visit with them about their experience in the MTC, and were able to feel a tiny piece of the spirit that is there. So today, I have to share with everyone how grateful I am for Steve & Lorna. They really are the best in-laws anyone could ever have!