Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another funny thing during scripture time...

happened tonight. I am not sure why these guys keep coming up with some fun and smart things right before bedtime-- maybe it is because during the day I may be too distracted to really listen, I don't know but all I do know is that I have to share. So, I was trying to get the kids in the room for scripture study tonight and they were kind-of rambunctious. When I would get one kid in the room, another would think that they had to leave to do something or had to ask me a question. So, I resorted to the comment, "If it is not a matter of Life or Death I want you to come in the bedroom and sit down reverently for scriptures." Hunter then stood right before me and said, "Mom, It is about life and death. You know, even if people die, you can still keep them right here (he taps his chest)... in your heart. You can even feel them when they are round watching over you. And sometimes, when you really want to see them, maybe you can dream about them and get your own vision of how they are doing." You know, he is one wise kid. I realize that I just need to stop and chat with my kids a little more often because I learn so much from them everyday. I think he really missed Grandma B.
Here is a little picture I took of Hunter just the other day (yes, I know -- even though it is in the end of March, we are still freezing and expect more snow this weekend). He is giving me his serious face -- fun, fun.

Why not...

since everyone else is doing it (I am resorting back to my teenage rationality). Actually, I am excited to come across this little list and so many of my friends have sent me so I thought it would be fun to respond. Here goes:

1. What time did you get up this morning? I got out of my bed at 6:35 yet I cheated and went into Kadan’s bed to cuddle for 20 more minutes.
2. Diamond or pearls? Diamonds – no matter the shape as long as they sparkle I LOVE it.
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Spiderwick Chronicles with my Mom and Harrison while I was in Arizona.
4. What is your favorite TV show? Extreme Makeover Home Edition, American Idol and Bones
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Eggs over-medium and orange juice
6. What is your middle name?Jensen – I love having my maiden name as my middle name.
7. What food do you dislike? Tomatoes – I call them the devil’s food since they are tempting on the outside and totally DISCUSTING on the inside.
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Mindy Gledhill for those relaxing times and Dave’s Before Braille promotional CD for the crazy times.
9. What kind of car do you drive? Black GMC Denali – it most definitely has to be BLACK
10. Favorite sandwich?Blacked Turkey Breast with avocados and cheese on Rye but it must be melted.
11. What characteristic do you despise? Unkindness, Intolerance
12. Favorite item of clothing? My dresses from Ann Taylor 13. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?If money was no object, I would go on a 180 day cruise around the world – yep, I have outrageous dreams!
14. Favorite brand of clothing?Gap due to the one stop shopping for the whole family.
15. Where would you retire to? I am already retired (he, he) from working out of the home that is. But if you don’t count that – in Scottsdale, AZ
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? My 34th on 7/7/2007 – Ian threw me a surprise party.
17. Favorite sport to watch? Basketball, esp. when Ian or the kids are playing.
18. Furthest place you are sending this? AZ
19. Person you expect to send it back first?I have no idea
20. When is your birthday? July 7th – I have the best birthday year 7/7/73
21. Are you a morning person or a night person? Both – I love to stay up late but if I love to get up in the early morning to go running. That is why I LOVE naps!!!!!!
22. What is your shoe size? 9 after I had my 4 kids. Before that I was an 8.
23. Pets? Nope – just kids
24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? We are moving back to AZ in less than 3 months.
25. What did you want to be when you were little? A mom or the President of the United States (bummer that I might not be the first woman President)
26. How are you today? Wonderful.
27. What is your favorite candy? Peanut M&M’s
28. What is your favorite flower? Peonies and Gerber daisies
29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Any day that I can have a lazy day and hang with the kids
30. What is your full name? Jennifer Jensen Brimhall
31. What are you listening to right now?Bo little chatter and King Friday singing a song on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
32. What did you eat last Night? A yucky hamburger from McDonald’s – gotta love those $1.50 Happy Meal Family Nites on Tuesday.
33. Do you wish on Shooting stars? Most definitely.
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Blue because it is one of the colors that children would always chose when they are drawing the sky or a rainbow or the ocean.
35. How is the weather right now? It’s March in Michigan – of course it is cold, gray and drizzly
36. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Tia inviting Addy to come over and play with Zack
37. Favorite soft drink?
Henry Weinherts Root beer -- yum
38. Favorite restaurant? Anything Mexican3
9. Hair color? Brown – bummer.
40. What was your favorite toy as a child? All my stuffed animals and dolls – I couldn’t have a favorite since it would hurt their feelings.
41. Summer or winter? Definitely summer – so I can go water skiing and play outside.
42. Hugs or Kisses? BOTH!!! You can’t have one without the other.
43. Chocolate or Vanilla? All types of CHOCOLATE!
44. Coffee or Tea? Neither – I would choose Stephen’s Hot Chocolate
45. Do you want your friends to email you back? Sure
46. The last time you cried? A week ago Saturday. My Mom, Harrison and I were laughing so hard that we cried.
47. What is under your bed? My guitar – I definitely need to get it out and practice
48. What did you do last night? Went to Karate with the 3 older kids then rushed to Scouts (I am the Bobcat Den Leader).
49. What are you afraid of? Death – having my family members die, esp. my children.
50. Salty or Sweet? Salty
51. How many keys on your key ring? 1 – I don’t even have a home key
52. How many years at your current job? Which one? PT – 10 years, ATSU – 6 years, UOP – 7 Years and best of all MOM – 9 years
53. Favorite day of the week? Friday – this is when we have Family Fun Night where we pull out the hide-a-bed, eat popcorn and watch movies as a family.
54. How many towns/ suburbs have you lived in? Please name them.There are just too many – but I like it that way. Here goes:
Columbia, South Carolina – where I was born
Emmett, Idaho
Provo, Utah
Sandy, Utah
Murray, Utah
Then back to Columbia, South Carolina
Garden City, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Mesa, Arizona
Salt Lake City, Utah then back to
Murray, Murray Utah then back to
Mesa, Arizona
St. Clair Shores, MI and pretty soon
Pinetop, Arizona
55. Do you make friends easily?
I hope so – I just love people.
56. How many people will you send this too?Not sure – I am going to post it on my blog and reply to those that I have already sent it to me.
57. How many will respond? Who knows? Lots of my family and friends have already filled it out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What about this basic main level floor plan?

I am still amazed about the difficulty of finding just the right floor plan for our family. We are finding out that they are many building codes, height restrictions, climate induced issues, and soil conditions that are limiting much of what we want for a plan. Also, being a PT, I have to think about the ability of family and friends to maneuver around the home with walkers, wheelchairs, etc. so main level living is very important. I found this other plan that has more living space on the main level. The kitchen needs tweaking, but most of the other things about the plan I like. Any opinions?

Who is the Messiah?

Just a follow-up to last night's scripture study. This evening we continued our reading of the last bit of 2nd Nephi and I asked Annalyse, "Bo, who is the Messiah?" Without even a moment of hesitation our little 2 year-old old said, "Jesus, Jesus." Ian and I looked at each other in TOTAL amazement. I guess we are doing something right with these little children of ours. They are definitely wise beyond their years.

Lions & Camels & Stingrays... Oh, MY...

During Christmas I went to the Phoenix zoo with the kids. But this was no ordinary zoo day -- I guess I was in the mood to splurge, so splurge we did. We touched the stingrays, rode the camels, climbed all that there was to climb and ate zoo hotdogs and popcorn until we couldn't fit any more food in our bellies. Here are some of my favorite photos of that fun event.

Who is Lucifer?

We were reading in the scriptures last night and I asked the kids, "Who is Lucifer?" Hunter was the first one to shout out the answer with complete confidence. He said, "Mom, it is the Wicked Step-mother's cat." Ian and I busted out laughing so hard. He is such a funny little guy. Thank goodness for these funny times like this brighten our life.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cuddles and pacifier kisses...

are my favorite things in the morning. Mornings are definitely crazy around here with the the early 7:35 am rush to get the boys on the bus but Annalyse tends to sleep through it all. About 5 minutes after they leave, Bo starts calling for me. I bound up the stairs to see her and sneak between her covers for a morning cuddle. She wraps her little arms and legs around me while she nestles her head tightly into my neck. And then we just cuddle there for a long, long time. I just listen to her breathe and give her gentle kisses on her head. She stays so still, yet after a while she starts playing with my face, rubbing her fingers on my eyebrows, my ears and my lips. She leans up and gives me pacifier kisses on my cheeks then my nose then my forehead. She slowly sit up, stretches really big, then whispers "Mom, where's Addy? Can I have a sippy cuppy?" I just love cuddly mornings!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This is TOTALLY stressful so I NEED opinions...

on our house plan. Long story short, I went up to Pinetop to look for a house and almost DIED -- the house prices are out of control. I was seeing some pretty dumpy stuff starting around $500, 00 for 2,500 sqft and up to 1.2 million for nice (but not exceptional) homes around 3,200 sqft. So, we looked at this house in the middle, met this builder and started asking questions. He is so great -- easy to work with, a reputable Scottsdale custom home builder, does QUALITY work, and is very reasonable (tons less expensive than the existing homes) -- so we asked if he would be willing to trade our Torreon land for his 3 acres as our down payment to get started. He said "YES" but wants to get started on the house plans right away so he can pour the foundation by the summer. HOLY COW! This is going just too smooth and TOO FAST! I found a great floor plan of the main level (with some size modifications -- need to reduce it by 30% -- and some other tweaks -- like deleting the formal dining, screen porch and the elevator). So, what do you all think? How big should the living room be -- do you actually use it? Should the Hearth/Family room be rotated 45 deg so that it is not angled? Should the breakfast room be more square (kind-of like the master's sitting area). Where should we put the stairs? It needs to be centrally located since in Pinetop they recommend no basements the kids BR will be on the upper level but do you like it being a feature? How many fireplaces will be really "need" in our home? What about a loft overlooking the Greatroom -- will it be too loud? Thanks for all your opinions -- I REALLY need them.
I hope that I am not breaking copyright laws but I will post the website so you can view the other plans available this this designer -- you know, I don't want to go to jail or be fined :-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I cannot believe how fast time has flown...

since we moved to MI. I can honesty say that I am not happy to leave. I have made some of the best friends and my kids have done the same. I just cannot believe that I will not be able to call Amy every day to see if Gavin can come over as an excuse to get together to just chat about the day OR having Tamia come over as soon as she hears Bo playing outside OR go to Ms. Anne's ballet class and see the other 6 moms from my ward that have their little princesses twirling every Tuesday with Addy OR have Andrew from down the street ring the doorbell at exactly 3:30 every M, W, F to see if Kadan can play OR have Chadd from down the street hop on his bike to ride with Hunter OR have the Mayes kids come over for the weekly Friday swap (Tia and I rotate having the kids over each Friday). It makes me cry just to think about it. I have been fortunate enough to take a few pictures of the kids over the years and ran across some while I was looking for house photos for our "For Sale" flyer. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of some of the neighborhood kids...
Gavin Moore & AddyZack MayesEspen & Jake Mayes

Quinn Mayes


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Can I just keep her little forever?

Today was Bo's 2 year-old check up (but she is 2 1/2 now -- yep, I always procrastinate Dr. appointments). She is now 36 1/2 inches tall and 35 pounds -- not even a little baby anymore. Where did the time go? I was longing to have my little newborn back so I decided to go through some pictures of her during her first year. She was such a pretty and good baby. She loved to sleep, loved to eat and loved to watch what everyone else was doing. She was also our miracle baby. During her first ultrasound we were told that she would have severe brain damage (maybe hydrocephaly), then at 20 weeks we were told that she may have Down's Syndrome, then at 38 weeks they told us that she has severe malformation of her cerebellum. After she was born we were told that she was possibly blind, then that she had fluid on her brain due her her large head, then that she had ligamentous abnormalities. Just look at her now -- perfect in EVERY way. She is our little miracle and has bought so much joy to your family. She is smart and funny and dramatic and helpful -- she completes us.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oh what do you do in the WINTER time, when all the world is white?

Go skiing of course. We have some wonderful friends, Tadj and Natalie Hemmingway, that always give us lots of free lift tickets for Pinenob ski resort. It is the perfect place to teach a child to ski. Since this winter has been full of snow and the kids just love to go skiing, we took a day trip in February with the older 3 kid-e-o's. On this trip, it was the first time that the children braved the chair lift (we usually only use the Magic Carpet and the rope pull). It was a little difficult for the kids at first -- I guess you can call it difficult since it took Natalie (a very seasoned skier) and 3 ski patrol to help Hunter down the hill for the first time and Kadan had to be held by Ian for the last 1/2 of the run. But, after a short break to groom the mountain, all the kids got back on the mountain and skied like champions. I had to take my little dumpy camera and it was so cold that the lens was foggy but I still love that I was able to capture some of that fun event.

I should be grading but...

I just had to complete this list instead (anything can distract me from grading hundreds of papers). Here is a fun list that was sent to me a while ago and I just got around to completing it:

A - Attached or Single: Attached
B - Best Friends: My family and All my gals
C - Cake or Pie: Can I say both? I always have enough room for dessert!
D - Day of choice: Saturday
E - Essential Item: Peanut M&M’s – they are a great pick me up
F - Favorite Color: Blue
G - Gummy Bears or Worms: Neither -- if it is not sour or chocolate there is no need to eat it.
H - Hometown: this is a hard one but I would have to say Mesa, Arizona
I - Indulgence(s): Anything chocolate and midnight TV watching when all the rest of the family is asleep. This is when I catch up on Extreme Makeover Home Edition and American Idol.
J - January or July: July - July of course – it is my birthday month
K - Kids: 2 rambunctious boys & 2 girly girls
L - Life is incomplete without: My family and the Gospel
M - Marriage Date: May 14, 1994
N - Number of Siblings: 3 sisters & 1 very lucky brother
O - Oranges or Apples: Oranges (if I don’t have to peal them)
P - Phobias or Fears: heights and eating tomatoes
Q - Quotes: “Life just isn’t to be endured, it is to be enjoyed!” – Gordon B. Hinckley (I just saw this quote on Holly’s blog and LOVE it)
R - Reason to smile: Getting a bouquet of freshly picked dandelions from my kids.
S - Season: Fall in Michigan – those leaves are just too beautiful.
T - Tag Three Friends/Family: Only 3? That's not fair. So I will tag anyone who wants to complete this fun list. BTW, is that cheating?
U - Unknown fact about me: I have always wanted to be a country music singer.
V - Very favorite store: Target – of COURSE!
W - Worst habit: Stacking – when I am too busy to clean I just stack.
X - X-ray or Ultrasound: Ultrasound – especially when I am looking at a little baby in a mommy’s tummy.
Y - Your favorite food: Anything Mexican
Z - Zodiac: Cancer

Our fun friends...

Tia and Quinners (aka Quinn)
Brave Espen Mayes -- one of Hunter's greatest buddies.

Gavin Moore -- one of Addy's Bestest friends!

Jake Mayes -- Kadan's crazy buddy

Amy and Tyler

And some more of that fun day...

Kadan just hangin' out waiting for the next ride
Hunter and Jacob MayesIan and Addy driving the 4-wheeler Hunter after being dumped off the tub -- he was NOT happy
Co-captain Addy

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lots of snow always brings out the child in...

Ian. He is such a fun-loving father and likes to go all out when it is time to play. In December we had tons of snow and with tons of snow brings tons of fun. One early wintry morning we got up early to shovel the walks. Ian and I tried to sneak out to complete the job but one by one each child came out to help. The shoveling turned to fort building and the fort building turned to rolling the largest snowball and the snowball turned into a snowball fight. Yet during the snowball fight E disappeared (he is really good at this, especially when it is time to give the kids a bath). We were all startled when we heard the revving of the 4-wheeler engine. After a few donuts in the backyard, Ian roared to the driveway asking the kids if they wanted to go tubing. We asked the Mayes and the Moores to join in the fun. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of that day.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

in MARCH! Oh the joys of living in Detroit. The day I left to go to Arizona for ATSU graduation, I awoke to the beautiful white surprise. Over 12 inches of snow! Hunter claims that it is because Kadan and he wore their pj's inside out. Why you might ask? Well, let me share how the idea went down.

On Tuesday, Hunter came bounding inside after school with a very important message for me. With excitement he told me that Mrs. Gaigalas said the if he wore his PJ's inside out that there would be a snow day. Within seconds, Kadan was in on the plotting. Both of them would wear them so that "it just had to happen." They dreamed of endless days of sleeping in, watching TV and playing video games all day long. After a few minutes, Kadan resolved that he was going to wear them this way for the rest of the school year so he could stay home until summer. But, the wise older brother stepped in weighing the pros and cons of endless snow and endless playtime. With a little reasonable coaxing from Hunter, they both decided that the trick could only be used once a year since they would miss their friends and their teachers.

Well, it was definitely an easy "get the children to bed" night. They even asked if it was bedtime yet in order to not miss the window of opportunity to start the snow falling. The next morning brought great joy -- after peaking out the window Hunter woke up the kids with the announcement "I just knew it! Look at all that snow."
*you can even see their inside out PJ's in the pictures -- he, he!

Monday, March 3, 2008

And what did you do today?

That has always been a dreaded question -- it actually can make my blood boil since so many times I am totally busy all day and still have not accomplished anything. Today was definitely NOT one of those days. This is what I did by noon:
  • got up, said my prayers and got ready for the day
  • woke the kids up, got them dressed, made homemade pancakes, spoon-fed Kadan (a usual event when he is extra tired in the morning)
  • packed lunches, said prayers, sent the boys on the bus, cleaned the kitchen (all by 7:45)
  • cleaned the kids room, made their beds, organized the closets, vacuumed
  • got the girls dressed, fixed their hair, picked up Gavin (the next door neighbor), drove kids to pre-school
  • when to the post office and waited in a long line to send off a package
  • returned some items to a friend (approx. 8 miles away from home)
  • went to the Drs, made an appointment, picked up a Rx
  • went to Costco -- returned several items then filled the cart full of yummy Costco treats
  • went to Walmart and again returned items -- you know how long those lines are -- it took FOREVER!
  • went to the pharmacy and dropped off the Rx
  • went home -- unloaded the car, picked up some checks that needed to be cashed and drove to pick up Addy and Gavin from school
  • picked up the kids, let them play for a few minutes on the indoor playground equipment and off to Wendy's for Chicken nuggets and a Jr. hamburger (they always love to con me into this one)
  • went to the bank, went to the car wash, went to the pharmacy
  • then drove back home.

I was so pleased -- it was a fun errand day today.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

He can make fun out of nothing...

my CRAZY Kadan. Today after a lazy Sunday Kadan decided that he wanted S'mores. Of course I told him that it was not possible since there is a few inches of snow on the ground, we do not have dry wood to build a fire, we are all out of graham crackers and there is no chocolate in sight. So, what did he do? He came up with a quick and easy solution. Kadan found shish kabob skewers, a bag of mini marsh mellows and a candle. In a jiffy he was roasting marshmallows. Soon the whole family was enjoying this camping treat. He is such a fun-loving and creative boy.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I am in TIME OUT...

and loving every minute of it. Finally I found some free internet access (since I am too cheap to pay for it) and just had to share the FUN! A group of 6 gals (including me) are in CHIGAGO for Time Out for Women and are having a great time. Since I only have a minute before we need to start eating -- I will have to write some more, but here is a glimpse of the girly group that I just downloaded from one of the gal's camera.