Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend

Except for the fact that it snowed and we had a fire burning the whole weekend, we had a really nice Easter.  Nan and Dwight came to town for a few days in order to be here for Thomas' priesthood ordination on Sunday.  It was a really special occasion for Thomas and as well as for all of us.  It gives me a strange feeling to think that I have a 12-year-old son.  I remember vividly having crushes on the boys that would pass the sacrament each I have one of those cute boys?? Help.


We did the traditional Easter egg hunt and although I had real plans this year to separate the "bunny factor" from the sacredness of Easter morning and had planned to do the basket/egg thing on Saturday, plans just did not work out, so we did it on Sunday, but it ended up being a really nice Easter morning...candy, eggs, basket, bunny and all.

The Rabbit was pretty nice to the adults this year.  He brought ice cold Diet Cokes...he even remembered Nan and Dwight.


We had a really nice visit with Nan and Dwight.  We ate yummy food including a BBQ restaurant and the never disappointing favorite, The Cheesecake Factory. YUMMMM!!!

We have been a little spoiled the past few weeks with so many visits from family.  We are about to enter a visitor drought season, so we are extending an invitation to all those we love to pay a visit to "Hotel Williams" in Denver....anyone??

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Traditions

Spring is by far my favorite season.  I love the freshness and happy feeling in the air.  I am always blown away that the cycle of life continues despite the bitterness and longevity of winter.

This year I have committed myself to make Easter more meaningful for my kids.  Easter is such an incredible celebration of life and the miracle that was performed on that sacred morning.  It is shocking to me how commercialized it has become.  My kids have a "Clifford" book about Easter and I guess that I should not be surprised that the book only focuses on dying eggs and egg hunts and "how friends are what make Easter special."  Really Clifford?  That is what makes Easter special?

I want my kids to gain a deeper appreciation for this week and I am determined to use more than my "Clifford" book to help them.  We have been talking all week about the Savior and the purpose of His life, but I want to explore new ways to make it more meaningful.

Romney and I were talking last night and I think one thing we will try this year is do all the Easter Bunny stuff, egg dying, egg hunting, egg baskets and candy eating on Saturday and then save Sunday morning for the more significant discussion on the significance of the empty tomb. I am thinking possibly an egg hunt with eggs filled with items that represent Easter (silver coins, red fabric, soap, white cloth, a rock, a mini crown of thorns, an empty egg, etc.)

A friend recommended this idea for homemade "Empty Tomb Rolls" to be made on Easter morning.  I have never tried them, but have heard that they are very easy to make and are delicious.


Empty Tomb Easter Rolls 
As recommended, be sure to let your kids help prepare and tuck the marshmallow into the dough.  This is a sweet and simple way to teach your kids about the empty tomb because as the roll bakes, the marshmallow will disappear and an "empty tomb" is left.

Easter Morning Breakfast Rolls (Recipe from The Sisters Cafe)
1 package frozen bread or roll dough, thawed (or homemade roll dough)
6 TB sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 bag large marshmallows

1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Divide the dough into individual roll sized portions. Press each portion into a flat circle. Place 1 large marshmallow in the center of each roll. Pinch roll dough very firmly around the marshmallow. Roll each into a seamless, or nearly seamless, ball with your hands. Brush rolls with melted butter. Sprinkle sugar mixture over rolls. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight. On Sunday morning, preheat oven to 350°. Take rolls out of fridge and bake for 15 minutes until rolls are golden brown. Be careful not to overbake. (These may also be baked without sitting overnight. After wrapping the marshmallow in them, let them rise for about an hour or so and then bake them as usual.)


I think we will give this a try this Sunday morning.  I would love to incorporate some new Easter traditions to help my kids better understand the importance of this week, so, if you have any ideas, please feel free to share!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A 12th Birthday & The Gift of Motherhood

During our years in Boston, this week in April was always a highlight.  The weather was finally warming and the city came to life on Patriot's Day, the state holiday for Massachusetts, the third Monday in April.  This historical day, April 19th commemorates the start of the US Revolutionary War.  There is a re-enactment of the Paul Revere's ride, Battle at Lexington and Concord and on this day every year, runners from all over the world run the beloved Boston Marathon. Our friends would always gather on heartbreak hill to cheer on the marathon runners and then end the day at a local favorite, Kimball's Farm for delicious slow-churned ice cream.

Twelve years ago today, I ran my own version of the Boston Marathon when I gave birth to Thomas.  He was born on Patriot's Day, April 19th, at 8:45 AM.  The hospital sat just less than one mile from the famous finish line at Kenmore Square in Boston.

It is hard to believe that was 12 years ago today! What a journey it has been.  Thomas has been a determined and strong-willed child from the second he took his first breath.

I'll never forget how scary and vulnerable I felt as Romney and I walked out of that hospital with him in our arms.  I could not believe that the hospital staff was just going to let us walk out of there with a baby.  Didn't they know we had no clue what we were doing? I felt like I was stepping into adulthood as we drove away.  I think I was right.

On this day, Thomas gave me the gift of motherhood.  In a way,  we have been guinea pigs together--a first for both of us.  But, I'll be honest, being Thomas' mom has been a joy beyond measure.   Thomas and I are great friends...we have been from the start.  What an honor that I am the one who gets to watch him blossom into the amazing person he is.

12 is a big one.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for my darling Thomas...the sweet kid who will somehow always be my little guy with huge blue eyes and munchable cheeks.  I'll admit that I get a lump in my throat when I think about how quickly his childhood is flying by.

 Happy Birthday Mr. T!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Perfect Weekend

We had a great weekend.  Plenty of family time and beautiful spring weather.  It started with a family night-in on Friday with plenty of laughing as we all caught up on our favorite shows and also laughed while being entertained by Christian and his latest obsession, "mini man."  I don't really know where this started, but he pulls his t-shirt over his knees and rocks out whenever he hears music playing.  It is very funny.

He has even started "mini-man" soccer at recess.  It is hilarious to watch his friends with their shirts over their knees trying to run and kick the ball.  

How great is Romney??  He joined Christian in a "mini-man" dance while rocking out to Coldplay. 

On Saturday, Romney and I took the two boys on a guided a tour of the Denver Broncos stadium.  It was really fun and were shocked to hear what people are willing to pay for a suite....$10,000 - $30,000 for up to 15 people...PER GAME....this price does not include food or drink.  Um...Hello?  That is disgusting.

Here are a few highlights of the tour:

Overall, it was a great weekend.  Perfect family time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I hope it's okay to brag about this one....

At the end of last November, Lauren brought home a flier announcing district-wide auditions for the play Annie.  Lauren said that she wanted to try out and I figured why not.  Several weeks later, we showed up and were clearly novices surrounded by 90+ girls, many who had been professionally trained, all clamoring for a part in the beloved musical. (The only thing we did to prepare for Lauren's first acting experience was to watch the 1981 movie "Annie" a few days earlier...)

Well, as I already mentioned here, after hours of auditions and a call back a few days later, Lauren was offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play the leading role of Annie.  The practices have been long and hard, 3-hours a day M-F since last January, but her attitude has been remarkable.  She has never made one complaint about the demanding schedule.

The "Annie" production was last week and it was incredible.   I could not be prouder of my little girl who was given the chance to bloom in a way that blew my mind.  She was amazing and I am still in awe of her confidence and ability.

Sorry to appear boastful, but it was an extremely proud moment for me.  Here are a few highlights of the show.




Lauren with the director Rene Dill.  Rene played "Annie" at this same high school when she was 11 years old.  Lauren got to wear the same red dress she wore when Rene played the part.

It was an amazing experience for all of us.  She was great and won the hearts of her audiences...standing ovations, autographs and countless photos and not to mention the front page of a local paper.

Congratulations to my darling Lauren!!  Now...if we can somehow get these songs out of our heads!!!

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