Valencia Ward Fall Festival

We continued with our Halloween fun by heading out to our ward party.

Our little cheerleader, Addie.

Bun in the Oven, Cheerleader, Baker and Snow White.

Cayle and Lexi

Spider leg ring toss

The Baker and his girls.

No tears, meltdowns, tantrums, or ripped costumes. Success!


Get Out the Knives

It's pumpkin carving time!

This year, we wondered if Lexi would dig in and help with the carving process. At this point, things are looking hopeful.

Um, not lookin' so hopeful here.

Allen tries asking her to help him out. Notice the fear. The poor thing is near tears at this point.

Wait! Is she going to go for it?!?

Nope, no go. Things just went down hill from here.

Yuck! It's too sticky!


Ok, fine. I'll watch.

During the pumpkin drama, I made some caramel apples.

Hmmm. Not much apple and a whole lotta caramel eatin' is what I think happened here.

Even with the rough patches, we managed to walk away with a few decent jack-o-lanterns.

Let's Get This Party Started!

Today was the first day of our Halloween celebrations. We kicked it off at Lexi's preschool party.

She's been very excited to wear her Snow White costume to school.

Musical pumpkins

Count the clothespin game

Here's the fishing for candy game. You might be able to tell from the mommy helper's expression that Lexi was a little over zealous here. She would give the "fish" about 2 seconds to give her some candy and jerk that pole back so hard that candy would go flying and hit another kid in the head.

Of course, it was her favorite game.

Listening to the Halloween story.

The party was lots of fun for everyone. It was the perfect way to start our Halloween weekend.


The Great Pumpkin

We made our first trek to the local Pumpkin patch on Saturday. This place is far more than a place to pick some pumpkins. There are activities and attractions galore for every age. The kids behaved perfectly, we had a picnic lunch and we were able to find the perfect pumpkins.

This is a little cow train they have for the smaller kids.

A small maze for the youngsters. Lexi cheated her way through the entire thing and in the process convinced a number of other innocent children to join in her devious ways.

Tractor tires make for great climbing and hiding.
Addie enjoyed the petting zoo.

Pumpkin sling shots.

This was a corn box. Rather than sand for the kids to dig in, they had filled it with corn.

Just in case you weren't sure where sheep go to church.

On the way to the pumpkin patch.

Addie picked hers pretty quickly.

The weather was chilly and windy for most of the day, but it was a great time. Lexi had a blast and the place was so kid friendly, she could easily do everything by herself. We will definitely be going again next year.


This Time, It's Personal

Anyone who's spent anytime with me knows that I've been involved in our church's youth program for a while. I was baptized in September 2001. About 2 weeks after I joined the church, I was asked to be the Secretary for the Young Women's organization (girls 12-18) in our ward (congregation). In the LDS church, we have no paid clergy. Thus, each active member is given a calling, or position, within the ward to help things run smoothly. I've been in the program ever since. I've lived in a number of wards (they are divided up by location) and in each ward, been asked to be in YW. That's 8 years I've been involved with this group.

Young Women's, in my humble opinion, is the rockinist group in all of the church. The girls are fun. The activities are fun. We laugh and giggle. We feel the Spirit. Seeing the girls of the church gives me hope for the future.

Every week we have an activity. That's 52 activities a year. As a YW leader, it's my job (there are 3 of us in each "presidency" or group of leaders) along with my presidency members, to come up with the activities and help the girls carry them out. In addition, we have dances to chaperone, Youth Conference to attend, Girls' Camp, special conferences, and Temple trips. Needless to say, they keep the youth busy with good things. And, they keep us leaders busy too.

One of the major programs within the YW organization is Personal Progress. It's akin to the scouting programs the boys participate in. The girls have to complete 42 small projects and seven 10 hour projects while they are in the YW program. The projects fall under themes such as Faith, Divine Nature, Integrity, Virtue and Knowledge. The purpose of the program is to bring the YW unto Christ. When you have done all of these things, you earn a medallion and the honor of knowing you worked your tail and did something great.

A leader may earn her Personal Progress (PP) after she has served for one year. We are encouraged to earn our PP along with the girls. Because I didn't grow up in the church, I never did get to do PP as a youth. So, why not?

PP is one of those things that is easy to overlook when you're busy trying to do all of the things us living folks must do. My little booklet sat in my scripture bag. And sat. And sat. Every 6 months or so, I would think "crap!" and pull it out. I'd set some goals and work on it. Slowly, but surely I checked off one task after the other. Then, I had my kids. Personal Progress? Forgetta 'bout it!

However, this last year, I renewed my commitment to complete this program. For gosh's sakes, I've been in the program for 8 years. That's 2 years longer than the girls. What kind of leader can't get this done in 8 years? Not this leader. Plus, I knew my time with YW would end eventually. I didn't want to walk away knowing I'd squandered the chance I'd been given.

Last week, I checked off the last 2 of my PP requirements. I did it. I actually finished something I started. And, coincidentally, I was released the same week. I can walk away with my head held high knowing I did what I asked my girls to do. I put in the same time. I developed my testimony. I recorded my life. I created good habits. I'm so dang proud that I didn't let this fall through the cracks. I love the YW organization. I love the girls. I've learned how to be a strong LDS woman because of their example and the example of the other women I've worked with along the way. The PP program has only enhanced my experience.

I'm so grateful to have had the chance to serve in this capacity. I would not be who I am today without these experiences. I know I'll be a better mom to my teenagers because of my involvement. When they are working on their own PP, maybe my example will help them to keep on keepin' on and get 'er done. It's kind of hard to believe that 8 years have gone by so quickly. While I was ready for a change, I will miss being involved with the youth of the church. I hope the girls I've worked with will look back one day and feel the fond feelings I do for the time we spent together.


The Brat Pack

A friend of mine said this, "It's the third one that puts you over the edge, don't you think?" We were talking about dogs. We totally agreed. It IS the third that puts you over the edge. Suddenly, your two well-behaved dogs turn into a barking, salivating, maniacal pack of mangy beasts. They feed each other's frenzy. They conspire against you. They enter the "group mentality" way of thinking in which all trained thought constantly eludes them and they act like bozos most of the time.

And so, if true with dogs, why not kids? Once a family has three kids wouldn't they, too, become a "pack" of sorts? No matter what, you and your spouse have gone from a manageable duo of cute kids to a pack of dirty, crusty food on the face, tousled hair, unkempt looking little maniacs. You can never set up a man-on-man defense once you've had that third kid. It's all zone coverage, folks, and you know how easy it is for the other team to get one up on you then. When I think of being a mom to three, I think of forever being surrounded, outnumbered, and out-manned.

If I feel this way, why would I consider having a third kid? Well, because I've prayed about this family, pondered about this family, and been giving some inspiration about this family. And, we're not quite complete. Allen asked me if I'm excited about having a third. No, not really. I'm scared out of my gourd. If being a mom to two is this challenging for me, how much more so will it be with three? Another person I'm responsible for. Accountable for. I have the charge of seeing that this innocent and clean slate goes out into the world armed and prepared for greatness. I'll be the one who must see that this child knows how to function in the world. More importantly, I'll be the one teaching this kid how to treat others, be involved in relationships, be a friend, respond to adversity, and make it through this very challenging life by drawing on his or her faith. Traits, both good and bad, will be traceable right back to me.

I know that I am completely unprepared to provide all of these things for my kids. I've never been a parent before. I don't know the right answer in every situation. Thank goodness, though, I'm in contact with someone who does. Someone who can see far beyond the moment. Someone who loves my children even more than I do. Knowing that I can rely on my Heavenly Father's guidance to fill in the so many gaps I have as a parent is like a balm for my soul. When the answer should be a hug rather than time out, he can help me to know this. When a child may be in danger, he can help me to be aware of the risk. When my kids need space, rather than a lecture, he can tell me. I'm so grateful to know this. With out his help, I really don't have a chance at covering all the bases.

We go into this new chapter hopeful but not ignorant enough to be believe that it will be any easier. I plan on complete chaos (you can tell I'm still in denial because I am still PLANNING chaos - planning chaos, how futile). Addie and this baby will be 16 months apart. I know this does not bode well for my sanity. But, I'm definitely not foolish enough to begrudge a blessing from the Lord. So, I'll embrace the challenge. Do my part. Have faith that we're doing what Heaven knows we can and go forward with that faith. We're gonna get our trashed kicked. God be with us.


It Is Done

Well, we finally got the rest of the rocks put in around the lawn. It all came together really nice and feels great to know we'll be weed free next year (in the backyard at least). Not to mention, how much nicer the whole place looks now.

What? That much work would have made anybody hungry.

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.