Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa

We had a nice ward party last Saturday and the girls got to see Santa. Shannon could hardly wait for her turn and was eager to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas. Leah, on the other hand...
We also made our gingerbread houses with Aunt Jeny's family. Mine is the temple (with Tinkerbell as the Angel Moroni), Matt's is the house with the brown roof, Shannon was very proud of the T she put on her roof, and I think Leah's is the best with one candy on it.
This is a bird I found in our yard the other day. Anyone know what it is? I thought it was very pretty.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Leah is Two

For Leah's birthday we got her a toy piano because she just loves the piano! It was really funny when I had it wrapped up, sitting by an end table and she sat on the box and pretended to play the piano on the end table!We went to Red Robin for her birthday dinner and she got lots of presents. Here she is opening them.Feeding her new baby.Lastly, here she is opening up her piano. She doesn't smile, but her eyes just light up! I love it! She adores her piano and plays it every day. Maybe next year we'll be getting a real one.

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Gingerbread Festival

This year the Gingerbread Festival was a last minute thing for us, but we made it in time for the last hour. Here is the candyland that was the most candy I have ever seen used!The Notre Dame cathedral, complete with Quasimodo between the towers.The house from "Up." This had so many details, we probably stared at it for 15 minutes. Very impressive!Another cute one.All that candy and cute things, and the only thing Shannon was interested in was the show! There was a group of middle or high school students singing Christmas songs and Shannon thought that was the best thing ever. After one of the soloists finished a song, Shannon asked if it was her turn. I think she would have been happy to entertain that audience. Here she is with her Nanny, enjoying the show. There are so many other pictures I could post, but these are probably the best houses. Pretty amazing!

Halloween!

Shannon, at the last minute, decided she wanted to be a flower just like Dora (in one of her library books). After 3 hours of sewing, here is the result. Leah was Cinderella.And here is the pumpkin carving mess. We didn't really go trick-or-treating because it was raining. We did a little bit at Walmart, so the girls were happy.Matt did a witch and I did Charlie Brown and Snoopy for Shannon. She really wanted Peter Pan, but I couldn't find a template for it. It was a fun night!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Snow and Cute Girls

Look what we woke up to this morning! After breakfast we got all bundled up, then I shoveled while the girls explored the snow.Then we made a snowman! I was under the impression that since it was "lake effect" snow it would be pretty wet, but I was wrong. I can't believe how dry Utah snow is! It makes it really hard to make a snowman when the snow doesn't pack together, but the girls had fun and they were very proud of their work. A few weeks ago Shannon thought Leah looked tired, so she got her a blanket and a pillow and her pacifier and put her to bed. Leah loved it!
Our girls love books. Here they are after getting some new books at the library, reading together. This is one of their favorite things to do.
I love sleeping kids. I can't stand how cute they are, so I take lots of pictures. I thought this was really cute because of her little hand under her head.
I used all of the rocks that I found in my yard and garden this summer to make a rock barrier for the flower bed in my backyard. Shannon thought I was making a giant snake, so she decided to make one of her own. She took a bunch of rocks to the driveway and made this. I especially loved the smile and the eyes made with sidewalk chalk.

Pumpkin Patch and Stuff

We met with Aunt Jeny at Hee Haw Farms a few weeks ago. Nickell and family were going to come as well, but Kade was sick that day.Here is the giany pumpkin at the entrance. The car in the background was smashed on purpose during this year's pumpkin drop. We didn't get to see that, but I bet it was impressive! This is what Leah does when she doesn't get her nap. She was a very good girl, but she mostly just wanted to snuggle her dad. Shannon went down the big slide all by herself this year, but if you listen carefully you can hear her scared sound. She did a great job, though!
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When Aunt Jeny went down with her, she wasn't scared at all. Aunt Jeny, on the other hand... (listen very carefully at the beginning)

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Shannon loved the "train" so much this year that she thought we were going to let her ride in every car. We might have had there not been other people waiting for a turn.

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Leah didn't want anything to do with the ponies, but Shannon loved it!
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Femininity

Most of you who know me are probably wondering what in the world this post is going to be about since the title has nothing to do with me, right? Well, it's going to be a long post, and possibly a very boring one, but it is one that I need to write.

I was recently reading a friend's blog and she has been taking part in a challenge issued by something (a blog, probably) called "Fearlessly Feminine." The challenge is to wear modest, feminine clothes for 7 days (skirts and dresses--no pants), take pictures of what she's wearing, and blog about her experience. While I don't find it at all necessary for me to take part in this particular challenge (I wore skirts and dresses every day for 19 months) it still got me thinking.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am not a "girly girl." I have never been good at doing my hair (actually, I think I am really bad at doing my hair), and as far as fashion goes I have always opted for comfortable, quick and easy. My parents, bless their hearts, tried in vain my whole life to get me do do my hair and make-up more often. Don't get me wrong--I don't hate looking nice and getting "gussied up." I just don't like the time it takes out of my day to do it.

Recently my niece posted this picture of me on the Lauritzen family website for my birthday (thanks, Nickell!)Terrible picture, right? I think it's a good example of how I am not good at taking care of how I look. My hair is in the typical ponytail, no make-up, no contact lenses. While it has been easy for me to just think I don't care what others think about me, it actually does matter. I have always known this, I have just never had enough desire to make the effort.
Here is why it matters:
Assuming that the prices were exactly the same and the stores were equidistant to your home, at which store would you rather shop? The vast majority of people would feel much more comfortable with the second one. The fact of the matter is, what's on the outside does count.


How you dress and present yourself affects how people treat you and how you feel about yourself. I distinctly remember the first time I got my hair and make-up done really well (thanks to my sister, Amy) and when we went out to the store there were guys actually looking at me. It may have been my imagination, but it doesn't matter, because I FELT different. I have a friend who dressed up like a "biker chick" for Halloween and she said she couldn't believe how much it affected how she acted. She was much more aggressive and rude. When we look nice, we feel good and that makes us act happier. I'm sure this isn't news for anyone out there.


As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are instructed to look a certain way. In the first version of the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet published in 1965, our church leaders wrote, "'Grubby' clothes are inappropriate in public for everyone. A 'real lady' doesn't go out in public, to the market, or to shops with her hair in curlers." While I found that very amusing the first time I heard it, the council has not ceased to be wise. That pamphlet, now updated and made more applicable to the problems that specifically face us these days, still contains great advice on modesty and decorum. We are not simply asked to be modest, but to look nice! Again, this is not news, but it's something of which I need to be reminded.

There is a scene in my favorite TV show, The Golden Girls, where Blanche is discussing chivalry with Dorothy. I don't remember it exactly, but it goes something like this:

Blanche: "I miss the days when men opened doors for women and paid for the date."

Dorothy: "So, exactly how far back do you want to go, Blanche? I mean, do you still want to be able to vote?"

I think a lot of us miss those days. Even those of us who are not old enough to remember them!

There was a time when women were respected simply because they were women. Not because we're the "weaker sex" or because men wanted to be in charge, but because femininity was gentle and sacred, and something not to take lightly.


Ever since the "sexual revolution" and the E.R.A. women have all but lost that respect. Women started acting more like men and dressing like men. Leaders of our church prophesied about what would happen if the E.R.A. passed, and they were dead on. Since the 60s, abortion, teenage pregnancy, divorce and single parenthood have skyrocketed. Granted, most of that isn't due to the change in our appearance, but I think it does have a lot to do with it. We are daughters of God, and we need to look the part. What we look like reflects who we are and how we are treated by others.

So, what is the point of all of my rambling? Simply that I would like to do better. There is no time like the present, as I have two young daughters who I would like to see grow into beautiful young women, and they are going to learn a lot from my example. I want them to have respect for their bodies and their divine nature. President Spencer W. Kimball said, "There is nothing so sacred as true womanhood." Femininity is an important part of that sacred womanhood.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Four!

For those who were confused by the title of a similar post last year--I am NOT pregnant. Shannon just turned 4! Here she is with her Sailor Moon cake (a stupid, slightly obscure Japanese cartoon that she adores).I tried my hardest, and though I don't really think it looks much like Sailor Moon, Shannon was excited and knew exactly who it was.Here she is opening one of her presents:
Here she is with her "pinoculars." The pajamas are hand-me-downs. Don't worry, she has never seen "High School Musical" and won't ever see it if I have anything to do about it. And here is a short video of her opening her Ariel Barbie. She had a great birthday!
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Flora and Fauna

Here is one of my little friends. We have more mourning doves in our neighborhood than I have ever seen anywhere else. In the evening there are usually 4 or 5 on our front lawn.I love how many birds we have here! Ok, so I could do without the starlings, but whatever. They like to line up on our fence like this.This is called a circumhorizon arc. I have seen them before, of course, but this one was very bright and pretty. The birdfeeder in the picture usually has at least 4 birds on it. They clean out all of the seeds in about 3 days.We had a fabulous thunderstorm come through when Shannon was in bed one night. She came running out of her room yelling, "Mom! There's a rainbow outside my window!" I took her out on the porch so that she could see it better and we watched the lightening for a while. You would have thought it was the 4th of July!My miniature wax plant recently bloomed like crazy. There was a cluster of flowers on almost every single vine. Here is a close-up of the flowers. They look like porcelain and glass and they have a very light perfume. Fun!Here is the bane of my gardening experience so far this year. Looks harmless, right? And it even makes pretty little yellow flowers.Now take a closer look. This is called a puncture vine. It makes all of these little burrs (they are the seeds) that dry up and become as hard and sharp as tacks. I spent several days going very carefully over my yard removing these, and I pulled enough to fill half of a black garbage bag. Crazy! Here is what my leg looked like after a wheelbarrow full of sod tipped over on it. The bruise actually got even darker a few days later. It was pretty cool.
Here's a video just for fun. The girls were making each other laugh and I wanted to catch it on camera. I especially love the last few seconds when Shannon tackles Leah.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bumblebee

When Matt tickles the kids he waves his finger in the air and says, "Bumblebee, tickle me," then tickles them. Yesterday Shannon was doing it to Leah and I heard Leah start saying it, then tickling herself. It's just about the cutest thing she has ever done. I cought it on video today (you can kind of understand her "bumblebee"), as well as her singing a song for me. She sings whenever I ask her to. It's pretty stinking cute!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Tulip Festival!

As some of you saw on Jeny's blog, she went with me and my girls to Thanskgiving Point on Saturday to see the Tulip Festival. We had plans for a whole group to go, but the weather was not the greatest, so we were the only ones to brave it. There are tons of pictures, because it was too pretty! Here is the view from the entrance:Here is a great-horned owl nesting her two babies. She made a nest in the man-made waterfall area.
I have been to the gardens here before, but I had never seen the Children's Discovery Garden before. The girls loved it! There was this sandbox, a xylophone, blocks to play with, man-made caves with bronze animals (that scared Shannon to death), and even a stream to race little wooden boats.
This is at the top of the children's garden area. I thought it was one of the prettiest spots in the whole garden. You can kind of see the fake alligator on the little island across the pond.
Here is the waterfall where that owl was nesting. There was also a Canadian Goose sitting on her 4 eggs. Shannon had her ears covered the whole time we were around this because the water was so loud.
Just a few of the 250,000 tulips we saw. Notice that Shannon is holding a dandelion. She was allowed to pick those, so she thought that was fun.
Here are some of my favorites. I really like flowers with lots of petals like this.
Anytime we came upon a hill Shannon had to run down it. She had so much fun.
All of the gardens are themed. This one is one of my favorites. It's the Italian Garden. Jeny thought it looked like a bunch of bathtubs stacked up. You can barely see the statue at the top.

These are probably my favorite. They look like they're painted!
This was the scent garden. There are raised beds with lots of herbs and smelly flowers. Chocolate mint is, of course, my favorite.
This is the creek garden. Very pretty!
More tulips.
Different colored beds. Jeny loved the orange and red one that's in the back. I love the bright white and pink one and the purple one. Oh, who am I kidding? I love them all!
Shannon is just funny. She gets so excited about everything. I love her enthusiasm!
Here is what the girls looked like on the ride home:

Lastly, here are some videos. This is the xylophone that the girls would probably have played with all day had we let them. It was really neat.
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Jeny taught Shannon how to roll down the hill. She eventually rolled down this entire hill and then beyond. If you look at the very first picture you can see the entire hill. It's the same one.
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