Monday, November 30, 2009


I am in a bit of a post-holiday funk, which is silly cuz CHRISTMAS IS COMING, but I just need a "spark" or sumthin. Prolly I'm just really super tired but not sleeping well and my chiro benefits ran out the same time as my budget, so Tylenol is my new best friend for now. Waa, waa, waaa. Sorry. I really am grateful and happy and feeling some seasonal glow coming on. I'm just too tired for real blogging. So instead I wanted to share this little video that cheered me up so much today. I have quite a few friends who are waiting for a baby or have had the experience of "getting the call," and I thought you would enjoy this. It's a bit of joy for the general population, too, and big belated thanksgiving to all the birth moms who give this most beautiful gift. Watch it and smile along...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Festive Friday

Let me preface my preface by saying
(he's my BIL & we luv him!)
Let me preface the story of this post by reiterating that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I married into a family that doesn't make it a big deal, but they LIVE with Thanksgiving, so I have learned to adjust. I love Turkey. I love North America, my Land Bountiful, and its history. Also, as a grown up with my own house to manage, a certain rhythm has developed in our traditions. One of those beats is that we decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Some people think this takes away from TG, but I feel like it's a natural progression. Because if I count my blessings countdown-style, number one always ends up being my faith/ the gospel of Christ, and how appropos to begin to celebrate His birth and all He's made and done for us on the day after Thanksgiving (after we've been pondering providence and abundance from His hands).

Okay, so one thing that will NOT be a tradition with us in Black Friday shopping, although it was fun to try it out this morning. Grandma Melin had the kids sleepover at her house after TG dinner last night, so Rich and I came home, planned out our routes and lists (we had subscribed to a few weeks ago), snuggled up and watched a movie, slept a little, then headed out at 2:20am to our first stop (Old Navy at 3am...Rich took a picture and I'll post it here when I upload it). We finished there by 3:25am and stopped at IHOP for crepes (and watched an episode of Arrested Development on Rich's phone) before the 5am openings of Walmart and Target. We got to Walmart at about 4:15 am, rocked it by 5:20, then stopped by Target (which was INSANE, so we didn't buy), and made it to Michael's for the door opening at 6am (where we met up with Aunt Debbie and her girls). We finished at Michael's at 6:40, grabbed some envelopes at the Staples next door, and were hiding the loot in our room by 7:26am! So I have now been awake for 33 hours with only 21/2 hours of sleep. Yay, me. But, like the kids on the DisneyWorld commercial, "I'm too excited to sleep!" And WHY, you ask? Because I'm in the middle of THIS:

Decking the halls and fluffing my fake tree so the kids can decorate it when they get home from Costco with Rich & Uncle Mike!
When Rich started bringing the Christmas boxes down from the attic, Heidi started making a decoration cheklist for us. It was so amazingly adorable, I scanned it so you could see it, too (click to enlarge).
She was serioulsy standing in the living room with her marker making check marks as we unpacked her favorite things--so funny! She inspired me to post a few of my favorite Christmas things...

[Heidi's self-portrait with her Christmas bear]

I found this box of ShinyBrite "unbreakable"ornaments in my Grandma Layton's closet the evening after her funeral in Thatcher (Feb 2007)...I love the packaging even more than the bulbs, so I just set them out in their cute vintage box and think of my cutie "unbreakable"Gram.

I love my Baby Jesus.
I love that he comes out of his manger, because when I was little, I loved to sit and hold the Baby Jesus from my Grandma's nativity in my hand. Now my girls do that, too.

I love this vintage Christmas card. Three years ago, I visit-taught a much older sister in my ward (she's great-grandma to my local nieces & nephews) who lives out on a ranch. She always gave me preserves in vintage jars, and she gave me this super cool card for Christmas 2006. I hang it up every year.

This is another favorite card from Tryst Press which I treasure--love, love, love it! I had it in a frame, but it just wasn't right, so I hung it up this year where people will see it and read the beautiful poem ("Love came down on Christmas/ Love all lovely, Love divine...").

...and I love my Fisher-Price Little People can you not? We have two sets--one with music, one without, and the kids have fun playing with them each year (remember THIS?). They are so cute!
I forgot to post this picture last week with Addie's bday/baptism pix...

This was taken Sunday morning 11/22 as Papa Jim and Gramm Becky Layton were heading back to Idaho, and Addie was heading for church. I love it; so glad they were here for her special day!


I'm gonna go try for a nap B4 the kids get home...hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not Feelin' So Hot at the Turkey Trot

So my sinuses are nigh unto exploding. My eyes, ears, and teeth hurt from the pressure. BUT--I got up and had fun with my kids this afternoon. First, we had popcorn and watched the end of the Mayflower show on the History channel. Then they all started fighting and had to have time-outs and I yelled at them and had a time out, too. Then we went to watch Heidi's "awesome" Kindergarten Thanksgiving Play at 5pm. Then I went to Community Children's Choir with Addie. Now we are all DAWG TARD. Here are some great pictures I stole from my MIL's camera...

Turkeys and Eagles singing about Pumpkin Pie

(the premise of the play is turkeys and eagles vying to be the National Bird--eagles win, but they console the turkeys with the fact that they are all over the newspapers and decorations every November, and they sing a couple of songs about it).Heidi flappin' her turkey wings

Heidi with her teacher, Mrs. Thums, aka Mama Turkey.

My three turkeys
(the other two are incognito)


I also uploaded a few pix MIL had of my nieces' birthday party on November 14th. Last week, Hannah turned 2 and Rosalie turned 4, so their fun mama (Rich's sis, Angie) had a fun party for them.
The fabulous Candyland Cake Angie made
Hannah & Rosalie get ready to make wishes

Hannah likes cake!

Rosalie loved her Furreal pets and headband.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Saturday morning Rich and I woke up to the realization that we had no sausage to feed the masses, and what's a pancake breakfast (especially for Miss Adeline, birthday girl and sausage lover) without sausage? So Rich ran to fetch sausage at 8am and I started cooking pumpkin pancakes and the turkeys for our family dinner. The birthday girl and her cousins were soon up, dressed, and chowing down! James, Ben, Heidi, Jack, and Jared
Marshall, Abby, Belle, Addie, and Ally
(with Rich, Jill and me working in the kitchen)

Jill making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for the post-baptism bday gathering

After breakfast, Addie opened some birthday gifts. This one was from Aunt Amie & Uncle Matt--a beautiful bracelet and pocket mirror from Pier One.
Uncle Matt was waiting around to rough up bad guys.
Addie got a beautiful letter and cute pictures from Uncle Mark, Aunt Elena, Liana, Sariah, and Jared down in Texas. It was wonderful to start off her special day by reading the testimonies in that letter--thanks, MarLena!
Later, after some more cooking and football-watching, we loaded up the vans with food and kids and went up to the church to share a family turkey dinner (35 people were there!)
Here are Jack, Ally, and Jake ready to go.
Nana & Gabriel
Laura & Nana
Our delicious spread!
Aunt Amieand Addie=LOVE!
Ally & Nana fold programs
Papa Mark, Nana Lyndi, Gramma Becky, and Papa Jim visit after dinner...
We missed all of you family who couldn't come!!!!

Baptism Weekend: The Baptism & Party

At 4:45 or so, we all headed into the chapel to prepare for The Big Event--Addie's baptism. But first, Uncle Mike took some shots of Addie, Dad, and me... Rich & Addie
Proud parents of a sweet girl

Daddy & Addie
There were two really super sweet moments between dinner and the baptism. First, I looked all over the church for Addie, Ally and Abby, and I finally found them in the girls' restroom locker. Ally and Abby had helped Addie find the best fitting bapstimal clothes in the cupboard. That was so cute of them to just sneak off and do that by themselves.
Secondly, I was busily trying to get my kids to sit down and be reverent when I turned around and noticed the whole chapel was full. FULL. I kid you not! Just turning and seeing SO MANY faces of people I love and who, most importantly, love my daughter, who have and will support and sustain her throughout her life...well, the sight just filled my heart to overflowing. (If you were there last night as part of our blood family or part of our ward family, please know how much your presence meant to me and to Addie; we are so blessed by your love).
Brother Dave Bowden, our ward mission leader, conducted our baptismal service. His daughter Chelsie led the music and Sister Westenskow played the piano. The opening song was "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and Grandma Melin said the opening prayer. Then Uncle Drew talked to us about baptism and following Christ's example in our daily lives. All the cousins sang "I Am A Child of God" and we all went out to the font where Addie was baptized.
Jill, Laura, Mom, and I got Addie ready to return to the chapel after she was baptized by her daddy.
The senior Primary Girls sang, "I Will Follow God's Plan for Me" after we returned to the chapel, then Uncle Matt talked about the Holy Ghost for a few minutes.
[Jenny, Cayden, Michaela, Cassidy, Hailey, Kelli, Gracie, Ally, Addie, Isabelle, and Abby]

Then Addie was confirmed by her Daddy, with Grandpa Melin, Papa Jim, Papa Mark, Uncle Drew, Uncle Matt, Uncle Davey, and Bishop Tyner. Sister Kim Strupp welcomed her to the senior Primary and Bishop George Tyner welcomed her to the ward, then we closed the meeting by singing "The Family is of God."
After the service, we went back to they gym and had dessert with our friends who came to the baptism. In addition to members of our ward family, Addie's first grade teacher came, Mike and Page Gilmore came all the way from Powell, Wyoming, and the Bates family came from Bozeman (with the great news that they will be moving back to Livingston, only 4 blocks up the hill from us!). Addie opened gifts and we danced and chatted and enjoyed ourselves for about an hour. Then the kids kept dancing and/or playing basketball and we started the big job of cleaning up after ourselves. Luckily, we were home in our jammies by 8pm!
Isabelle and Jill
(Jill, you looked so pretty this weekend! Love your haircut!)
Gabriel & Laura
Aunt Amie [aka Sherry Bobbins] entertains all the kids

Aunt Angie made these beautiful cupcakes for Addie...
Isn't she so talented?

Jill & Mark
Amie & Sam
Belle with her pumpkin roll and cupcake.
Amie & Matt
My "bio" Parents--Jim Layton & Lyndi Drews
Addie opening gifts--this one is a scrapbook from Aunt Jenn Claar.

My Mighty Heidi is next up for baptism (in 28 months)
...she's so fun! Addie looks pretty excited about this necklace from Aunt Debbie Holm!
Uncle Marshall looks handsome!
More gifts from generous friends...
Sweet Cousin Ally
Addie loved her new scarf from uncle Mike and Christina
(check out Christina's Etsy Shop)
Heidi dancing "like a T-Rex" to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce.
(That's Sarah Bates busting a move in the background)

Addie, Ally, Belle, and Azalea dancing
Aunt Abby joined in the fun, "making a joyful noise!"
Beautiful cake tree!

Crowd dwindling in the gym...Rich & his mom are there on the left, with Mark Westenskow, Mick Carter and their wives in the background, and Jill and Drew. My dear friends Amy and Jenn are in the foreground, with Amie and Matt, and my Dad Layton's back.
Once the lights were back on and all the cookies and pies were gone, Uncle Matt broke out the basketball. It was fun to see my dad and stepdad shoot some hoops.

Basketball in white shirts, like missionaries (Papa Mark and Papa Jim).
It was a GIFT to me to see my parents having a good time together.

Back at home, we watched some DVR'ed Glee (oh-how-I-love-that-show!) episodes, and this is what the girls were doing while they were "getting ready for bed"...they are so dang funny! I am so glad they have each other because there is nothing better than cousin pals!!!


Dear Loved Ones,                      This week has been a lot of work. Kids have been home sick with colds, Heidi was home on grievi...