Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Pickett Princess

We just found out that come mid January we will be adding another little girl to our family. We are really excited. Every day since the ultra sound, which was a week ago, Mabel has been saying "baby, t.v." She loved seeing the baby on the "t.v." and I think it really clicked that there is a baby in mommy's tummy.

I have to take a minute to apologize for the lack of blogs over the past 4 months. I felt rather sick during my first trimester and really didnt do much of anything, including blogging or checking blogs. Pretty much May and June was spent reading Harry Potter 1-7---it was the only thing that could keep my mind off how miserable I felt. With that said, I am feeling much better and I am excited to get back to some of the things I like to do. . .like blogging, oh and cooking dinner. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Aboard the Odyssey

On April 22 Brett and I celebrate our 5th anniversary. We decided to celebrate early this year and take advantage of my parents babysitting while we were in Virginia. So Brett booked us for a dinner/dance riverboat cruise in Washington D.C. We sailed aboard the Odyssey along the Potomac River. We had such a wonderful time. It was awesome to get out with Brett and do something romantic.

We started by getting all dressed up and "prettified" and my sister Lyds did my hair all fancy and cut Bretts hair. Then we left for the city. We got there a little bit early and so we were able to walk around and enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms. The atmosphere of the boat was so fun. The food was good and the settings were beautiful. They kept the rolls coming (which was awesome) and I had my first lobster bisque ever.

When we weren't eating, we enjoyed walking around the boat and seeing the beautiful monuments all lit up and magnificent against the dark night.

We also enjoyed dancing. They had a live band which was pretty good and which played a fun mix of slow and fast favorites. At one point in the evening, the band announced all the birthdays and everyone on the boat sang happy birthday. Then they announced all the couples celebrating anniversaries. As each couple was called they got to walk to the dance floor. There were a ton of first anniversaries and everyone clapped really loudly for them. Then a couple celebrating their 4th anniversary was called and people clapped even louder. Then they called Brett and me with 5 years and people were even more loud. It was fun to walk up to the dance floor, holding Bretts hand, with the whole boat watching and clapping for us. After us there was a 10 year anniversary and a 27 year anniversary. It was kindof weird that we were the third longest couple celebrating on the boat and I feel like we are still so young. After all the couples were on the floor, they played a special slow song (unfortunately it was a song that I wasn't familiar with) and we got our own special dance.

All in all, it was a wonderful night and I am convinced that we will be doing it again and again throughout our lives!!!! Thank you Brett for the romantic evening and the memorable time celebrating our wonderful marriage!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Daffodils and Darling Daughters

Virginia Vacation and a Happy Easter

We drove up to Virginia to celebrate Easter with my family from April 8-14th. Although it is a very long 12 hour drive, the girls did awesome and it really wasnt that bad. I bring all sorts of treats and let the girls watch their favorite movies.

We got to meet Lydias new boyfriend. He's a pretty nice fellow. (Perhaps, if things continue along as they currently are, we'll get to make the trip up to VA again next winter or spring for a wedding. . . hmmm, who knows. )

We had a fun time celebrating Easter. On Saturday Grandma, Em, and I went to the grocery store. As we walked in we were each given a raffle ticket. After we had been there for about 15 minutes, they drew Emmelines number and she won a free easter cake. She was soooo excited. It was all she could talk about throughout the week. While we were at the store, we also got to decorate free easter cookies. Emmeline loaded hers up with frosting. It was a great shopping trip.

The girls also had fun decorating Easter eggs that night. My mom had gotten a different dye then usual and the girls got to use actual paint brushes instead of just submerging their eggs in the dye bath. I think they loved using brushes and painting their eggs instead of dying their eggs.

Sunday morning, the girls enjoyed going through their easter baskets. They each got a new swimming suit, some books, candy and other little nic nacs. Grandma had gotten them these cute little bunny purses to put all their stuff in. After church and dinner, we had a family easter egg hunt. As always, this is a highlight for my daughters. Plus, grandma and grandpa have a big yard to hide eggs which made this particular hunt super fun.

All in all, we had a great holiday and a very happy Easter.

While we were there my parents also took us to "The Greatest Show on Earth" the Circus. We love the circus. And Mabel was enthralled. She was so focused and taking everything in. She became very attached to my sister Lucy and throughout the show she would keep crawling back and forth between Lucy and me, never taking her eyes off what was happening down on the stage. It was quite hilarious.

On Monday we went to my moms classroom. It was a teacher workday so her class wasn't there and Emmeline and Mabel loved exploring the room. They liked to play with the giant checkers, the stacking toys, stickers and of course to color on the whiteboards and chalkboards.

Mostly we just enjoyed hanging out. I think that the girls favorite parts involved jumping on the trampoline with Lucy and Leland, blowing giant bubbles--and watching the Hefalump movie over and over again. I loved talking, singing and laughing all week with my family.

On Tuesday we left early and got back to Birmingham around 4:30. Just enough time for Brett to get to his class and for me to get refocused to head into class at 5:30. We had a great vacation!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April Babysitting Night

We took our turn babysitting on Friday April 3rd this month. It was perfect because it was just before Easter and the weather was awesome. So we had a couple of Easter eggs hunts of course. It was great to be able to let the kids run around outside instead of being stuck in the house all evening. And the one thing my girls can't seem to get enough of is hunting for those colored, plastic eggs. Mabel has to shake each one to see if its any good. She is all about quality. Emmeline on the other hand, could care less if there was anything inside the egg. She is all about quantity. hilarious!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nanas Visit

Nana came to visit us March 26-29. We were so happy that she came down south to see us.

On Friday she watched the girls while I went to the YMCA. I know the girls loved having special time alone with Nana. That afternoon, after Brett got home from work, we went to the Cheesecake Factory. It was delicious as always. I got the Burrito Grande and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves giant cheesy, loaded burritos filled with peppers, chicken, onions and so many other delicious flavors. But I digress. . .(why is it I always lose focus when it comes to delicious food. . ) After the restaurant, Nana, Em and Mabel all had a movie party while Brett and I went out on a date. We had a fun time going to a movie.

On Saturday Nana spoiled us rotten. She got both Brett and me our birthday presents early. A new dress for me and several new shirts and pants for Brett. She also bought the girls some beautiful spring dresses. We finished off our shopping trip with hotdogs at Costco. But the best part of the day was yet to come. After we finished eating we went to the park. Brett and I hid easter eggs while the girls played on the playground with Nana. Then the girls got to hunt those eggs down. They loved it so much they had us hide the eggs at least 3 more times. It was a great day for an Easter egg hunt. There was no one else at the park so we had it all to ourselves. We finished off the day by eating as much as we could of the 7 lb All American Chocolate cake that we got from Costco. mmmmmmmm.

We are so glad that Nana would take the time to come out here and visit us. We had a great time!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cookie Naturals

For FHE we decorated cookies. The girls LOVED it. Emmeline loved squeezing the frosting out of the bag and I think Mabel just loved the frosting!! I cant say I blame either one.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Book of Mormon--Time Machine Primary Activity

On February 28 we had our first primary quarterly activity of the year. We had a time machine that took the kids back to Book of Mormon times. I thought that the activity was a lot of fun and very memorable for the kids. I'll admit that it was a lot of work, but seeing the response of the kids, it was totally worth the effort.

Once the kids arrived at the church they got to make headbands and decorate "treasure bags" (brown paper bags). Then they were put into 6 different groups according to their ages. Then we all headed into the time machine. The time machine was on the stage. It was decorated with colored flashing lights, a strobe light and disco ball, and a fun sound effect. We had a "START" button which one child got to push and we all counted down together. Each group was taken to a different point in time. After each rotation the kids came back to the time machine where we "started" it again. We got to do this 7 times. It was really cool. The first time the sound was to soft and didn't make a big impression so I cranked up the volume. The second time it was so loud all of the kids were scared. oops. I turned the volume down. By the third time in the machine, I thought I had a pretty good balance of sound. . .even though the youngest kids (my three year old daughter included) continued to cover their ears each time in the machine. :)

The 7 rotations were:

-Nephite Market. This was our "atmosphere" or theme room. We completely decorated the primary room as if it were an ancient Nephite market. We lashed together several bamboo pieces to create market stalls. We brought in colorful woven blankets and pottery. We put up a "mayan temple" on the wall, covered the floor with straw and placed greenery all around. I thought it looked pretty awesome. We gave the children several gold (senine) and silver (onti) pieces which they could spend at the market. At one stall there were tortillas, rice and beans. At another stall there were fried scones and honey. And at the last stall there were beads to make bracelets and feathers. It was a fun rotation where the kids could wonder around the room on there own and do what they wanted and feel like children in an ancient market.

-Tree of Life. In this rotation the children got to go outside and experience walking along an iron rod to get to the tree of life and the most precious fruit. Along the way there were the young women trying to tempt the kids to let go. Out of all the 50+ children we had at the activity, only 4 let go. A funny story. . .one of those kids was my own sweet Emmeline. One of the young women held out a princess crown. Apparently (and I wasnt there to see this. . .but several people told me about it) Emmeline didnt even hesitate but ran straight for the princess crown. lol. I can see I'm going to have to talk to my girls about worldly treasures vs. eternal treasures.

-Ammon Theater Room. In this rotation the kids got to see the story of Ammon acted out. I'm pretty sure that it was an interactive kind of show. Brett was asked to be Ammon at the last minute. We had to ask a parent to go around with his class. . .but I think he enjoyed being part of one of the rotations. The kids got to see Ammon fighting to save the kings sheep and they also witnessed King Lamoni and the Queen being so overcome by the spirit that they fell as if they were dead.

-Samuel the Lamenite. For this rotation the children got to pretend that they were wicked Nephites and throw rocks (crushed paper) at Samuel who was on the wall after they listened to him testify of the Christ and tell them to repent. The kids really enjoyed this (as you can imagine).

-Moroni: Title of Liberty. For this rotation, Captain Moroni talked to the kids about his Title of Liberty and the things that were worthy to fight for--"In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." Then the children each got to make their own title of liberty on cloth shaped like a shirt. They tied their flags to some bamboo sticks for all to see.

-Moroni: Wondering alone in the Wilderness. Here the children got to be with a different prophet named Moroni. This was at the end of the Book of Mormon when Moroni is wondering around alone. We had a tent set up in this room and the children all hid together with Moroni in the tent. They each got some "plates" (foil covered 5'7 index cards) on which they got to "engrave" their testimonies of the Savior. (or draw pictures of their testimonies.)

-Testimony of the Savior coming to America. After each group had gone to each of the first 6 rotations, we brought them all together for the last one. Here we talked about the great storms and darkness which covered the land when the Savior was killed in Jerusalem. We flicked the lights (lightning) and used a severe thunderstorm background. I had covered all the windows with paper so that when we turned off the lights it was dark. Not pitch black and scary, but dark enough to give the children an idea of what I was talking about. Then we talked about when the Savior came to America and blessed the people and blessed the children. I made a slideshow including pictures of the Savior throughout his life to help the kids visualize who the Savior is and what He did for us. (I'll post this slideshow through youtube, just below this post.)

All in all, I would say that this has been one of my favorite primary activities yet (and I've been doing primary for almost 3 and a half years now). I think the children had fun learning about different times from the Book of Mormon and I hope that they felt the spirit as we talked about the Savior. I know that for me, this activity strengthened my own testimony of Jesus Christ. I was blessed to be in charge of the final rotation and put together the slideshow. As I listened to beautiful music and looked at beautiful representations of the Savior in art, I was filled with the peaceful spirit which accompanies thought of our Savior. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. I know that He lived a perfect life and that He atoned for the sins of the world and died on a cross because He loves us. I know that He lives and that He will come to the earth again. I know that He loves me. I know that He loves all of His children (even those of us who are not so small.) I am so thankful for the joy that His gospel brings into my life. And I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to share this testimony to the wonderful children in my ward each Sunday.