activity advent

can you believe tomorrow starts december? i can't. this year has absolutely flown by. when i woke up this morning i actually panicked thinking i had been in a dayquil-induced fog and somehow missed the start of december. phew, i "woke" up just in the knick of time. with barely enough time to whip up our activity advent calendar. this is a new tradition for us and i'm so excited about it! i downloaded a free calendar here and then wrote the activity for each day on the inside flap. some of our activities include (more ideas here):

make a snowman, watch the snowman, read snowman books
drink hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows
visit temple square to see the lights
zoo lights ($2 on thursdays in december!)
ice skating/sledding
wrap gifts
make and deliver cookies
make and decorate gingerbread house
pick out an "angel" and purchase/wrap/donate a gift
decorate the christmas tree, listen to manheim (it's tradition) and read christmas tree books
concert on temple square
the elf on the shelf
visit santa
letters to santa
leave cookies & milk for santa and carrots for the reindeer
open christmas jammies
special christmas dinner with just our little family before the whole-family-get-together

happy december! christmas is in the air!

oh, and as always, the christmas blog is still up and (barely) running. if you'd like to contribute, let me know in a comment and i'll add you.




a few things i'm thankful for this thanksgiving:

my body and the amazing things it can do in spite of itself. the hope that one day soon it can be normal again. and the knowledge that it will be perfected in the eternities.

my kids. they're the ones who keep me going when my body isn't capable of doing even average things. they're the ones who make me smile. they're the (only) ones who can wipe their boogers on me as if it's no big deal. they're the ones i worry about, the ones i wonder about, and the ones i adore.

my bevie. he's the one who takes the hits with me. the one i cry on. the one i yell at. the one who knows me best and the one i love the most.

my talents. all those little things that remind me of the gifts i've been given. they're the things that remind me of who i am, what i've been, and what i can be.

my flaws. the things that drive me to be a better person, set goals, and challenge myself. the things i look back on and feel good about having overcome. and the things i hope to change for the future.

and you. my friends. you're the ones who keep me sane and motivated. some live here, some i rarely see, and some i've never met, but you all inspire me and encourage me and i love you for it.

have a happy thanksgiving!


birthday review (unabridged)

libby's banner

last night as i put nash to bed i asked him if he had a good birthday. "it was a great birthday," he said, "i want more presents." hmmm...we'll need to work on that. it all started on thursday when he received his first presents in the mail. a special card and balloon (and a check for the bank account) from grape grandma. and a play drill from emery & sage. he didn't put it down all day and slept with it that night.

friday was movie day. emmy, haven, mama, and nash went to see planet 51. haven was enthralled for the first half hour, whether by the movie or the popcorn, i can't say. after that she got a little bored and started moving around. i gave up and let her crawl up and down the stairs where she finally made herself a bed with her blankie and watched the rest of the movie. nash was hilarious, making audible comments, gasps and screams throughout the movie. my favorite; 'whoa, he just bonked!"

after the movie we had naps & quiet time, then headed out for birthday photos. we started with six balloons and after about 20 minutes of shooting we were down to two. it was so windy the balloons went sideways. and then nash had to pee. game over.

bad photos

saturday was prep day. buying and wrapping gifts (in blue and green). and baking cupcakes. emmy and i created a new cupcake recipe (it still needs a little work) and nash helped. he loves chocolate as much as i do:

making cupcakes

nash also got a much-anticipated delivery from the mailman. a present sent all the way from pennsylvania on an airplane from "your mom" ("your mom" is my mom. that's how he sorts out the grandmas right now). he got a plane and a gas station to match his tractor and wagon. (he also got a curious george tea set while they were here a few weeks ago. he found it hidden behind my mom's bed and said "oh, is this for me?". surprise over. he's been making wet messes all over the house ever since.)

and then it was sunday. the real birthday. nash woke up before the rest of us eliminating the possibility of breakfast in bed. he chose pancakes with chocolate chunks. there were two yolks in the egg, so we knew it was going to be a good day. nash ate one pancake. the rest of us had none. so i was left with a perfectly good stack of scratch chocolate chunk pancakes. what else to do? i took pictures.


we watched a favorite dora: "who's birthday is it?" and ate pizza for lunch. at lunch i asked nash if he was having a good birthday so far and he said "it's at grandma's house." which is where we went next-to get the party started by playing with the cousins (a happier boy you've never seen than nash when playing with his cousins).

cupcakes were frosted & decorated and approved by the birthday boy. dark chocolate chocolate chunk cupcakes with almond-vanilla cream cheese buttercream. yellow. and white. and green...and purple.


the cousins made banners (in yellow. and white. and green...and purple. complete with a "3" and sprinklers (see above banner by the wonderful libby lou, age 7. it was my favorite of the banners. don't get mad, chase, yours was super cool too!).


he sang himself the birthday song and blew out his candles one at a time (with a crazy dad in the background). and then came presents.


what he got: a super cool outfit from the cousins. an art box from aunt emmy-full of markers, play-doh, paints, paper, and scissors. two rad shirts, shoes, a snowman book, and blocks (as you can see from indie's face those blocks were pretty cool) from mom & dad. legos airplane kit (trio) from brr & peeps. and a new winter coat and remote control car from grandma ("grandpa helped too").

nash was exhausted from a long day of fun and fell asleep in the car as we drove home in the first real snow storm of the year. when we got home we read books (the birthday bugs and on the night you were born). nash said his prayers. and then we read the birthday bugs a few more times. then a little while later we played with blocks and read the new snowman book. and then we went to sleep. it was the best birthday ever.

the end (finally!).


happy birthday, mashy bay!


my dude is three! nash has been so excited for his ninth birthday. that's right, ninth. if you've asked him his age at all in the last few months, you received the response, "i'm ten". naturally, then, nash would believe that today he is turning nine. he also believes that the "3" on his shirt is a "9." he's completely delusional. and unbelievably cute.

a few days ago i asked him what he wanted for his birthday. the conversation went a little like this:

m: hey, nash, what do you want for your birthday?
n: um...cake! yeah, cake.
m: oh, well what kind of cake?
n: mmm....cake pops. i like cake pops!
m: well, what color?
n: yellow. and white. and green...and purple!
m: do you want anything on them?
n: yes, a "9"
m: okay, well what kind of presents do you want?
n: green ones. and blue ones.

since i swore i wasn't going to go all out, we settled for cupcakes. yellow. and white. and green...and purple. we've wrapped all gifts in blue and green. and the cousins have been notified that the birthday banner should be created in yellow. and white. and green...and purple.

here's to the happiest birthday for our nashy boy!



nashy boy turns three on sunday. whaaaaat?!?! crazy, i know. i have no plans. whaaaaaat?!?! crazy, i know. it's so unlike me to not plan a party. part of it is because bevie will be in phoenix. and part of it is because i am trying to take a chill pill. that doesn't mean there won't be cake and presents and excitement, but there will be no themed party with decor and custom invites and coordinating everything. he'll be okay, right? right???

here's the deal: since my diagnosis with MS i've sort of been on this mission to do everything i can while i can do it. learn new things, make sure everyone i love (especially my kids) really knows i love them by going completely overboard with parties and gifts and yada yada yada. i never say no. i volunteer for more than i should. i take pictures of everything because i'm afraid that my MS will take memories away from me and only leave me with the pictures i thought to take when i could. i'm afraid that my kids will only know me as the mom who needs help brushing her teeth and not the mom who made dinner for her neighbors and sewed their halloween costumes and threw them the best parties they could imagine. i don't want my disease to be the first thing anyone thinks of when they think of me.


there have been some developments in MS research that are giving me a lot of hope. i got a text from my sister-in-law the other night to turn on the news. as soon as i did, i felt as though i'd been hit by a ton of bricks. instant emotion overtook me. there on the screen were the words "a cure for MS?" and then a two-minute segment on a procedure that is SO close to becoming a reality. so close to changing my life and the lives of so many i know. what if!?!??!!? what if they really can "reset" my immune system through one round of chemo? what if this disease is just a phase in my life that i will be able to look back on? what if i don't have to worry about my children ever getting it? what if i can live my life without the fear of my MS taking me down at any moment?

i have been feeling completely overwhelmed by this news. it may be years away, but it is looking like the cure will be around when i need it most. i can handle my life as is. so my goal is to do everything i can to keep my MS from developing any further. and part of that involves taking a serious chill pill. so that's what i'm going to try to do.

you know how you hear people say things like "i am so thankful for this challenge/disease/struggle." and you think "you're an idiot. why would you want this in your life?" well, i'm beginning to understand why anyone would say such a thing. i don't love my disease-i hate it. but that hate pushes me to do things i wouldn't otherwise do. it makes me want to be a better person while i still have the ability to try and do it. it makes me appreciate things in the moment. if i am someday physically cured, i will never be the same mentally and i will be very thankful for that. i will have been blessed with a new perspective on life. i already have been, but it would be a million times better if i had a body that could keep up with me.

update: as laurie mentioned in the comments, this treatment is also working on patients with several other types of autoimmune diseases-including lupus, so it's good news for a LOT of people.



i know i said i wasn't going to be posting my "other" photos on here, but i had to post just this one because i am SO in love with it (and them). this was my first engagement session and i am really happy with how they turned out.


you can always see more here.

meet the yip yips!

i had plans to take some photos of us in our costumes, alien style, but steve hasn't been home before dark all week. not that he's been out late, but it gets dark so early! so, i stole a few pictures from stacy and here we are: the yip yips!

i made the mouth pieces removable so we could eat and chat once the novelty wore off. we were able to see out of the black fabric, but no one could see in! these bad boys won us "scariest costume" at friday's party and "best couple" at saturday's. it brought both screams of terror (lauren's little girl dropped to her knees screaming and nash ran from me) and laughter. it was a really fun costume. and the best part? i didn't have to worry about putting on make-up, doing my hair, or wearing cute clothes. (mr. greene, i hope you are proud of my non-sexy look!)

we also had a little contest/game at saturday's party and took the prize there as well-that's the freaky photo of stevie the alien made from tape and q-tips.

lest you begin to think that we are an unbeatable force, let me tell you about friday's big road rally. five teams, four clues, four locations. jessie, one of our team members, knew the location for each one because she'd done the exact rally before. YET we came in dead last because my sweet stevie refused to drive over the speed limit, nor would he come close to meeting the speed limit. there may also have been some minor injuries along the way. happily, we are staying married, although it came pretty close to the alternative for a few minutes! apparently i'm competitive and stevie is fearful of the law. notes taken for next year!

yip yip!


trick or treat!

the kids had a blast trick or treating with the cousins. i thought the little garden gnome costumes suited them well, with their pointy ears and chubby cheeks. nash refused to wear his beard, but they both did a great job of keeping their hats on, so i was happy.

nash pulled haven in the wagon for the first little while, but then realized she was slowing him down and ditched her. he was the cutest trick or treater ever-grabbing two candies at each stop. "i gotta get one for havey," he'd say, then he'd run to the next house laughing the whole way. he was in heaven and haven made out like a bandit with no effort!

trick or treat 1

i love this one of all (minus haven who was eating her candy in the wagon) the kids knocking on a neighbor's door-especially libby up on her toes:

trick or treat 2

the kids also took a trip to gardner village last week with grandma martin, who was in town (but we got snowed out!), and went to a ward party with grandma & grandpa anderson (but stevie and i were busy at another party, so i don't have pictures).

nash asked me today if he could wear his outfit. i'm not sure he even understood that he was in a costume!

anyway, so that was the first half of our halloween, more to come from the adult side of things once i get some pictures ready!