Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye to 2011

This year has been very good to us!  Let's review, shall we?

January:  Kiersten Lyla Harvey - the beautiful addition to our family - was born!!

February:  Keith turned 5 years old, Mitchell turned 2 years old, we bought our van (still excited that we were able to pay cash, it'll be a while before we save up enough to do that again though)

March:  My brother added a sweet baby girl to his cute little family!  Also, that's when we started trying to eat a better, more fruit and veggie filled diet.

April:  Our prophet addressed the world in the semi-annual General Conference, Easter was celebrated with LOTS of wonderful family and again with wonderful friends, and we were able to attend a very dear friend's wedding reception!  Congrats again, Erin!  Ryan is one lucky guy!

May:  My sweet little Keith ended his time in preschool, and I got to attend a Green Smoothie Girl seminar!

June:  Um, not sure if we had anything exciting, but sometimes a lazy month is happy downtime!

July:  We did fireworks with our neighbors!  Also, we made our trip to Missouri to see my baby cousin get married!!!  We survived long days on the road (thanks in part to DVD players in the van), we survived one heck of a tire blow-out while driving, we visited Adam-Ondi-Ahmen, we met my nieces (Elizabeth and Lilly), we were able to introduce both Mitchell and Kiersten to my brother's family, we actually had the WHOLE family together for the first time since Christmas 2008 when Keith was still the only grandchild, and we got to spend a little time with some of Ben's family in Wyoming on our trip back home.  Also, this month was our 7th wedding anniversary!

August:  Ben was offered a position with RBS, Keith started Kindergarten

September:  Ben went to Connecticut for training for his new job.

October:  Ben turned 32 just after coming home from CT, my mom came to visit for a week.  Also, we were again addressed by our prophet in the Semi-Annual General Conference!

November:  We attended the baby blessing of our littlest new niece, Pyper, followed by attending Ben's baby cousin's wedding, and then a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of wonderful family!  We also found out that we are expecting baby #4 in late July!  We also officially announced to be up and running!  This is mostly Ben's but we call it OURS.  Please go check it out if you haven't yet.  It's a free online envelope budgeting system that we use ourselves!  We're so happy to see it taking off and getting more and more users that we don't know from across the country!  I very much hope that YOU are one of our users, whether we know you or not!  Please check it out!

December:  I turned 30 (I don't necessarily count this as part of the good things of the year, but I mentioned everyone else's birthdays and I suppose it is a blessing that I'm here and alive and well...despite that disgusting number/age now) - I got to spend a few hours with the missionary that baptized me 8 1/2 years ago and haven't seen since my wedding 7 1/2 years ago.  We interviewed midwives and decided on someone that I think will be wonderful, I had my first appointment and a quick low-intensity ultrasound to be sure that we were only expecting one baby (but that's the first time I have ever had such an early view of such a darling little blessing!!), and we spent Christmas with an amazing family in St. George!

I am so very excited to celebrate Kiersten's first birthday in just two days!  I'm excited for Mitchell to start preschool in the fall, and for Keith to start full-day school as he progresses to first grade.  I am excited for my sweet baby #4 to arrive in late July.  I am excited to see MiteBudget continue to progress and grow and develop.  I'm hoping that we'll be able to get our sprinklers fixed this summer, have a more productive garden, and possibly even be able to build a little in our basement.  I am excited to get into running again in the warmer months (I enjoyed it this summer until Ben left and I couldn't go by myself anymore, even got to where I was running a full 1.25 miles before I had to stop to walk... no where near a half-marathon like a good friend of mine accomplished this year though!).

I am excited to see what my Heavenly Father has in store for my growing family!!  He is so good to us and I am so very thankful for each of these blessings, and so many others that I've not mentioned (like COLOR!, how beautiful is COLOR?!, can you imagine a world with only shades of grey?, doesn't make for a pretty sunrise/set anymore, huh?).  I love my family.  I love my Savior and am thankful for His understanding and guidance.  I love my Heavenly Father and am thankful for His forgiveness, His blessings, and His love for me and my family.  I love my ward/neighborhood and how great they are to us.  I am a very blessed person.

Well, here's to having accomplished 2011 successfully, and to a prosperous and adventurous 2012!  CHEERS!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Temple Experience

Today, my friend (Tricia) and I went to the Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple.  I've been to various Temples quite a bit, but today was different.  Today, I took my own names... names from my own family's history.  And the experience was so completely different!

Since it was just me and Tricia, I had to ask if the mens names could be done by one of the random guys there today.  I was called up to do my stack of womens names but right afterward, a random young man was called up and did the stack of mens names I brought.  I was so happy as each was read and their work was done for them, but nothing prepared me for the overwhelming feelings that came over me as one specific name was done.  My grandfather.  It was so strong that I began to cry.  (side note: I think I'm getting more sensitive in my old age)  As we went to do the next ordinance, we had to ask for a guy to be pulled aside for it to be done so that all of my names could be done today.  As my grandfather's name was read and the work was done, again I was overwhelmed.  This time, I heard a soft, quiet "Thank you, Sweetheart" afterward.  The names continued and all of a sudden, the ordinance worker had to stop.  HE had become overwhelmed feeling the presence of yet another name, my great-grandfather on the other side!  Afterward, the ordinance worker said he's never been so overcome like that before!  And Tricia said that whomever that first name done was gave her a strong feeling, too.  That name Tricia had felt so strongly about had been the same that I had, my grandfather! 

Afterward, we did the next set of ordinances, again having to ask random men in attendance to do the work for my stack of mens names.  Overall, I left the Temple today (mind you, this is the Temple I was married in) feeling so happy, joyful, excited, and fulfilled because I know that I was able to help my ancestors get their Temple ordinance work completed. 

I know that not everyone will understand what in the world I am talking about.  However, for those of you that do, I hope so much that you will have such an experience sometime helping your own ancestors!  This was the most amazingly spiritual experience!  I am still so overcome with joy on their behalf, and such love for these people that have been gone from this earth for so long, most that I have never met! 

Needless to say, I have been given the inspiration I need to continue working on my family history.  I had given it up for quite a while because it was interfering with my sleep (easier to get it done at night when the kids are asleep).  But I think it's time to get back to work!  It was amazing to hear names read and know stories about them and feel so connected to these names and people!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


While watching SHARK TANK one day, I saw this awesome product that they didn't pick up.  It was for pregnant/laboring/nursing mama's.  HOT MAMA GOWNS!  It was an awesome product.  Much better than the makeshift birthing skirt I tried to make for when Kiersten was born.  So I was checking out their website/blog and found a giveaway that I really liked.  In case you can't tell, I already LOVE my ring sling.  But there's another type of carrier that I also like.  It's more of a wrap.  Here I am in a Moby Wrap with Kiersten: 
Kiersten age 16 days
Kiersten age 16 days
Kiersten age 2 months
However, I was borrowing that Moby Wrap from a good friend of mine who didn't currently have the need for it.  So when I found this giveaway for a similar style wrap, I was thrilled!

I was even MORE thrilled to find out that I WON an awesome Sugar Sweet Baby wrap!  It arrived on August 31st:
I am excited to get to use it!  Yes, it's November and I haven't yet worn it out of the house.  I keep meaning to look up directions for it because it's not the same fabric as the Moby and I can't seem to get it tight enough that I feel totally secure wearing Kiersten in it yet.  But I know it's possible because on Sugar Sweet Baby's facebook page, I see pictures of kids securely wrapped.  So, I'm going to work at it and make it work for me because I love it!!  I love babywearing, I love this wrap's looks, and I really want to get to use it!


 This August, KEITH STARTED KINDERGARTEN!!  When did he get to be such a big boy?  When did all this happen?  I tell ya, he was just a tiny baby a few days ago, and now he's 5 1/2 years old and going to school!  They put the class lists on the inside of the glass - smart in case of inclimate weather, not so great for proud mommies taking pictures.  You can see me and Kiersten in the window... using that ring sling again!  And Keith is there in the orange shirt, too!

We got to go into his classroom... this did NOT impress me.  Luckily, when we went in for Kindergarten testing the next week, I was unable to withhold my concern over this and it was fixed by the next time we went into the classroom.

First Day of Kindergarten

We were among the first to get to school, so I let Mitchell play on the playground with Keith.  Outside the school, there is a large fenced in playground especially for the Kindergartners.  The classrooms all open up into this area so they can play before/after school and also for recess.

Just before going into the school.

My baby boy leaving school happy!

Our next door neighbor, who is also in afternoon kindergarten, though in the other classroom.  Mitchell wanted in on the picture, too!
To the left is Kalli's sister, Kymbr.  She started school a week earlier but it was fun to get all 4 of the kiddos in a picture anyway!

8-11-11 Temple Square

 Being near Salt Lake City, one of the best places to go is Temple Square.  A lot of people think that looking at the pretty castle-like building is all there is to do there.  But there is so much more!  While Thanna's family was visiting, we took a tour of Temple Square.

We started at the Church History Museum!
My favorite part of the Church History Museum was the upstairs.  Downstairs has a lot of displays of events as the Church began.  Upstairs was fun!  I loved the displays of each prophet of our dispensation of time, beginning here with Joseph Smith.  I am so grateful that he was worthy and willing to serve as he restored the fullness of the gospel to the earth!
As I joined the church back in 2003, this was the current prophet, President Gordon B. Hinkley.  I love this man!  He was so tender and sweet as he inspired the members of the Church!
All that stuff isn't much fun for kids, but there was plenty for kids to do, too!  Here, the kids are putting together quilt blocks on a magnetic board.  Sounds simple enough, but they really enjoyed it!  Pictured left to right are Treena, Summer, Alyssa, Jaycee, Mitchell, and Keith.
While the kids were playing with magnetic quilt blocks, here is an actual quilt.  OH MY GOSH!  That is just fascinating!  Each of the strips of cloth that the women are holding has something written on it, too.
Bring up your children in light and truth. 

Another amazing quilt!
Here is Rylee with the temple she built out of the gigantic foam blocks!

Alyssa below is watching Jaycee and Keith (and some random kid) fishing from what I think was Noah's Ark.
Next we went outside for lunch.

Yep, using that ring sling from yet again!  Brittany, your work is fantastic!  I just love that sling!
Mitchell eating his sandwich.

This is where we ate, right in front of the Nauvoo Bell. 
The Nauvoo Bell originally hung in the Temple that the Church members built in Nauvoo, Illinois in the late 1840's.  The Saints removed the bell in 1846 when they were forced to leave Illinois because of persecution.  Following instructions from Brigham Young, the second company of pioneers carried the bell to the Salt Lake Valley.  During their journey, they rang the bell to signal daybreak and departure and to warn that night sentries were on duty.  The bell is now rung hourly as a symbol of religious freedom and is heard on KSL radio. 

This monument honors the Relief Society, and organization founded on 17 March 1842 for women of the Church.  The bell tower was built with donations from Relief Society members to mark the organizations centennial.
Next: The Conference Center

You can see the traffic lights as we cross the street to the Conference Center.  It's a gorgeous building.  I wish I could have gotten a better picture than just the fountain like this.
Keith, Treena, Rylee, Alyssa, and Koriann... waiting to go inside.
Twice each year, our prophet (now President Thomas S. Monson) addresses us along with other apostles and Church leaaders from the Conference Center.  It seats 21,200 people and is packed FULL every time!  It is also televised for those unable to attend.  This provides seating at General Conference for 158 general authorities and general officers of the church and the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The auditorium is large enough to hold two Boeing 747s side by side. All seats in the audience have an unobstructed view of the pulpit.  It is quite amazing to see... both the auditorium AND the Conference addresses!
This brought me to tears.  I'm not usually such a softie, but I cried when I saw this.  This is our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He loves me.  I love him.  Love doesn't seem strong enough.  The gratitude I feel as I look at this image/statue of him is overwhelming. 
This one is of Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma.  Again, gratitude and love.
On top of the Conference Center, they grow things that naturally inhabit Utah.  This is echinacea, which is an herb that, when ingested, stimulates the body's immune system and wards off infection.  It's a popular herb in our home.
This is the view of the Temple from the top of the Conference Center.
I don't remember if this view of The Capitol Building (toured previously in the week, but only Ben was able to go) was from the top of the Conference Center or the top of the Church Office Building.
This view of the Salt Lake Temple was from the top of the Church Office Building.  It wasn't too exciting, so no pictures of it.  Sorry!  But isn't this a fantastic view?
Mitchell and Keith - exhausted!
This was from the inside of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  I didn't get any other good pictures here.  Several of our group watched a movie but I had to leave pretty early on because Kiersten was unhappy.  So we sat out in the lobby of the little theater area for everyone else.  I wish I had seen more of the movie.  It was about Joseph Smith's life and was incredible the last time I had seen it.
 After all this, we went to Cafe Rio for a delicious Pork Salad before heading home with some exhausted kids!  It was a LOT of walking, but it was such a wonderful, spiritual day!  I am so glad I was able to see some things that I hadn't even realized were there!  Aren't these some sweet exhausted kids?!

08-08-11 - Swimming with the Cousins

Ben's sister, Thanna, lives about 5 hours away.  So she doesn't come up often.  When she does, it's such a treat!  She stayed for a whole week and we loved every minute of her visit!  This particular day, we hung out at Ben's other sister, Kathryn's place and swam!!

Kiersten got to splash around quite a bit and loved the water, as she had at Lagoon!
Again, Mitchell wasn't int being in the pool, but he loved to jump in OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!  Just be careful because he wasn't always sure someone was there to catch him!

Keith on the other hand, LOVED being in the pool!  The noodle kept him afloat and happy!
Loved getting to use their towels out where someone else could appreciate them.  My aunt made each of them a hooded towel with their names on them as a gift when they were born.  This is Keith's.  Mitchell's is blue.  Kiersten's is purple.  LOVE THEM!
Pretty girl had a happy day!