Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eight Years and Counting...

Last Tuesday, David and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. It was a really great day. We went to a really nice steakhouse for dinner. He treated me to a dinner of melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon, garlic mashed potatoes, grilled portobello mushrooms, and for dessert, a coffee cheesecake with drizzled chocolate and toasted almonds. Wow. Just thinking about it makes me happy all over again. To celebrate our special day, I made him a video with pictures of our family over the past eight years set to music. Eight years! That means our ten year anniversary is right around the corner. Which means... Paris is right around the corner.

You see, I've always wanted to go to Paris, ever since I was a little girl, when I had posters of the Eiffel Tower hanging in my bedroom. I could see myself eating breakfast outside a lovely little cafe, visiting the Louvre, and stealing a kiss with my sweetheart in the world's most romantic city. Throughout my youth, this dream eluded me time and again. So, when David asked me to marry him (and after I said yes and kissed him a million times), I said in jest that he had ten years to take me to Paris or else I was going to leave him. I was kidding, of course! This became a running joke between us (...for our first anniversary, we went to Vegas and went to the top of the "Eiffel Tower" at the Paris Hotel. He asked if that counted. I said NO.) But, over the years, what started as a joke has turned into a real promise, and David has spoken time and again of our running countdown, and our upcoming trip to the City of Lights.

So, if everyone will please set your watches for May 17th, 2013. It's going to be pretty much the most amazing day of my life. It better be, if Mr. Tait enjoys having a Mrs. Tait around.

I kid! I kid!!! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ava's Lesson

Ava gave the lesson during Family Home Evening tonight. She made these little cards.

The pictures are, from left to right: John the Baptist baptizing Jesus, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith in the First Vision. Pretty great lesson if you ask me!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Ahhh...I love Mother's Day. I am so lucky to be a mom, and to have a wonderful mom, mother-in-law, and many friends and loved ones to celebrate with on this special day. I'm also lucky to be married to such a stud...the kind of guy that was making me breakfast in bed on Mother's Day before I even had kids. LOVE him. This year, however, the option of staying in bed and enjoying a relaxing breakfast was not realistic. We have church at 9:00 am and three kids to get dressed! But, David did set the table so beautifully, and made eggs, sourdough pancakes with fresh whipped cream, fruit, and lots of fresh juice. So yummy.

To celebrate the mommies I look up to most, I made these temple bracelets for my mom, mother-in-law and sister.

So, all in all, Mother's Day was great. Sweet homemade gifts from the kids, a great day at church, dinner with the family, and the hubs even sent me shopping the night before. Very nice. Can it be Mother's Day every Sunday, please? :) I wish!

Anyways, here's a look at the little bittys and what they've been up to over the last week or two.

Dallin is grabbing for toys all the time now! He really gets excited about batting things back and forth. He also grabs things and puts them in his mouth now. He's just growing up so much!

Ella is getting particularly good at making messes. She is not so great at cleaning them up! We always say that she is a budding little hoarder. She loves playing with her dollies and making them all have little pretend conversations. Very cute.

On Friday, Ava walked on the high balance beam all by herself! She was just playing around at open gym, and hopped up and walked right across...no problem! Thanks to my friend Kristina for keeping a close eye on her...just in case. :)

We've also been doing a lot of baking lately. I always like to have fresh bread on Mondays, so the girls like to help with that, too.

Yes, that's Ella stabbing her dough with a candy thermometer. Silly girl. :)

Last Monday we made crescent rolls. They turned out great. Super delish.

Tomorrow I think we are going to opt for some quick breads. Probably zucchini or banana. Or both.

Probably both. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oh yeah...the Easter Bunny came, too.

Easter was eggs-traordinary!! (I know, I know..cheesy. I couldn't help it.)

On the Monday prior to Easter, we had a special Family Home Evening about the Atonement and the Resurrection. We talked about why Jesus Christ died for us, and how we can repent and be made clean because of this perfect and eternal sacrifice. We made this simple craft, too.
The girls loved making these...they were so easy to cut, color, and paste together that the girls did them all by themselves. They also crumpled up brown paper bags and used them as stones to roll in front of (and away from) the tomb. I wanted to talk more about Christ and less about candy this Easter. And so we did.

Then, on Good Friday, I took the kids to see the Easter Pageant. David had to host a swim meet that night, so we braved the crowd on our own. The kids were so well-behaved! I know, Ella doesn't look so happy in this particular picture. She bonked her head right before the shot. But this particular picture is the only particular picture from the evening. Blurriness, red-eye, and all. (Dear iPhone, could you please try to take better pictures at night? Geez!)

But, in the end, they were really great. They sat still, and were as reverent as a little 5-year old, 3-year old, and 5-month old could be. I really think they could feel the special spirit that is always present there. We love the Easter Pageant.

Over the course of the weekend, the kids also went to Grandma Ruth's house to dye Easter eggs and have an Easter egg hunt. They loved playing with their cousins and going to the park together.

On Sunday morning, the girls found their Easter baskets in the living room.

They were very disappointed to have to eat breakfast before having any chocolate.

Then, we went to church. David spoke in Sacrament meeting. He always does such a fantastic job when he speaks, but this was really special. He spoke about the Atonement in such a poignant and personal way. I know I've said this before, but I really hit the husband jackpot with this guy. He's such a great dad, and has such a deep commitment to the gospel. He's so fun to be around, and not bad to look at, either. What a lucky lady I am! It's always fun to hear him speak in church, so this made our day extra special.

So, here's the after-church picture. I know I keep giving a disclaimer about these pictures, but really... it needs to be said. Three hours of church, sun in the eyes, and some gusty breezes do not a pretty picture make. Oh well. It is what it is.

But I do love how cute the girls are posed. Way to redeem the picture, ladies! :)

More pics at home. I was trying so hard to get the money shot. The kids had had just about enough at this point.

At least Dallin was a trooper. Look at that smile!

This was a shot I snapped of him in the Mother's Lounge at church. I LOVE HIM!!

After church, we started preparing our Easter dinner. We had my parents, and my sister and her family over to dinner at our home. We had ham, cheesy potatoes, Jell-O salad, green beans with almonds, and rolls. It was pretty delish.

Here's the table before everyone arrived. The weather that afternoon was perfect, too. Sunny with a light breeze.
And Easter Sunday was my dad's birthday, so I made him a special cake. I forgot to get a picture before we started serving it, but...well, you get the idea. YUM.

The cake was a hit with Ava.

So, that was our Easter! Phew. Now I'm ready to kick my feet up and celebrate May. Mother's Day, our 8-year wedding anniversary (including the "surprise" weekend getaway that I totally already know about), and Memorial Day Weekend at the cabin are sure to make for a very fun month.

Now, what to do with all this candy that is still lying around?

Friday, April 29, 2011

You've Got a Friend

I heard the song "You've Got a Friend" in the car the other day. It is one of my all-time favorite songs by one of my all-time favorite songwriters, Carole King.

As I was listening to the lyrics, I thought about how perfectly that message fit with visiting teaching...and I got the idea to make these little magnets for the ladies I visit teach.

The circular text says, "Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall...all you have to do is call."

I'm not sure why I blocked out my number. My mom is the only one who reads this blog, so I'm sure I'm pretty safe.

Then, and the top, it says, "You've Got a Friend", with my name and number, and the name and number of my companion in the middle. These were super easy to make, and I spent a total of $1.50 at Copy Solutions having them laminated. Not too bad.

I put self-adhesive magnets on the back, and Voila! Cute gifts for my visiting teachees.

Hopefully whenever they see these on their fridge, they'll remember the words to this beautiful song.

And then, hopefully, if they need me...they'll call.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Random Happenings

Here's a look at what my family has been up to over the last week...

Playtime. Ella having fun with cars while sister is at preschool and brother is napping.

Dress-up. While Ava and her friends chose fancy dresses and tiaras....Ella chose this. This girl blazes her own trail. I love it.

Braids! After 5 years of raising daughters, I finally learned how to french braid. I have been practicing a lot on my little hair models.

And buns! Ava's hair has been in a bun every day for nearly a week straight! Her ballet school had rehearsals every night last week for their performance of Coppelia at the Herberger Theatre.
The performance was on Saturday night, and it was phenomenal. The girls did a great job. And Ava's bun was perfect-o. :) Here's a picture of one proud mommy and her tiny dancer right after the show.

....and what blog post would be complete without a picture of this handsome guy?
Dallin is such a little charmer. He is constantly smiling, and has everyone wrapped around his little finger. I took him in for his 4 month well check last week, and by all accounts he is perfect. He weighs 13 pounds, and is right in the middle of the pack as far as height and weight percentiles go. My D is a very healthy and happy angel baby.

In other news, Ava and Ella both got a Betta fish for their birthdays this year from their friend Ella Katzenbach. Ella K. is super cool...what a great gift! And, in all honesty, I'm kind of obsessed with these little fishies. They are so pretty to look at.

Ava named her fish Marvelous (a not-so-original name, actually. The name was borrowed from her friend Ivy's fish). It is a lot of fun for Ava to say, and I must say, Marvelous is really marvelous. Isn't she pretty? Actually, I'm positive Marvelous is a male, but don't tell Ava that.

Ella named her fish Ariel. See her in the top right corner? Ariel is a really pretty iridescent pink color. A very cool fish, indeed.

So, that's what we've been up to. Actually, we've been up to a lot more than that, but that's just what I have pictures of. Between cooking, cleaning, laundry, preschool, playdates, and performances, it's been a typical busy week. This coming week will be lots of fun with preparations for Easter, the Easter Pageant, and family birthday parties. Ready, Set, GO!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Very Fabulous 5 Year-Old

Last Thursday my dear, sweet, precious baby girl turned FIVE! Ava Nicole Tait, where have the last five years gone?

Ava's birthday party was a success, despite the fact that I came down with a knock-down, drag-em-out case of strep throat the night before. Super-Dad Dave and my amazing parents pulled it all off as I watched from my bedroom window, propped up in bed.

Ava has been asking for a mermaid-themed party for months. She also wanted a bouncer. So what's a Mom to do who doesn't really want a big-busty image of Ariel being shoved in her children's faces?
Get a Nemo bouncer, instead! Ava loved it! And the ocean-themed images seemed much more kid-friendly to me. Well, maybe except the horrifyingly scary shark on top. I didn't know he'd be that big. And sharks probably eat mermaids, right? But I'll take sharks over Ariel's boobs any day. But that's just me.

The kids also played "mermaid games", which included a fish-catching game Dave had at the swim school, and potato sack races! Get it...mermaid's don't have legs? Hee hee. Everyone wore their bathing suits for all of the water-related games that ensued. And a good time was had by all....including one very happy birthday girl....who was asking to open her presents about 10 minutes after the party started.

Happy Birthday, dear Ava.

Make a Wish!

I hope and pray that all your wishes come true. Love, Mom.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Family Home Evening

Want a fun and easy Family Home Evening? Play games! Since General Conference is approaching, tonight we talked about latter-day prophets and how important it is to follow the counsel we receive from our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. For our activity, we played "Simon Says", but instead we said "The Prophet Says....". The girls loved it! There were lots of giggles had by all. As a closing song, we sang "Follow the Prophet". I love family nights that are simple and engaging...and tonight was just that. Pure fun with a sweet purpose.

Oh, and we also sang "Latter-Day Prophets", a song that Ava has been learning in Primary. Guess what she thought his name was?

.....Gordon BaHinckley.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Week in Review

A few weeks ago I started teaching very basic piano lessons to Ava. She has been asking me to teach her for a long time, and I just wasn't sure she was ready until recently. So, every Sunday after church, we have been sitting down together for a lesson. At first, I thought Ava was more interested in the uninterrupted one-on-one time with Mom (I really try to make sure I am giving her the same attention I would give to any of my other students...David takes Ella and Dallin in the other room, and we set a timer to make sure they all know it is Ava's time). But about two weeks ago, I started noticing something. She was really learning! In about one month's time, Ava has learned the musical alphabet, can point to any given key on the piano (A,B,C,D,E,F,G), can find middle C, is counting rhythms quite well (i.e. knows the difference between quarter, half, whole notes, eighth notes, and can count them accordingly), and can play a few simple songs while reading the music in front of her. The only reason I dare to be impressed by this is because I've been teaching piano for about 10 years now, to dozens of different students young and old...and my little Ava is among the fastest learners I have taught. That's my girl! Granted, she's no little Beethoven just yet, but I think she is displaying some musical talent, just the same. I'm just happy that she seems to be enjoying it, and sits down to practice her songs several times throughout the week without me having to ask.
For today's lesson, she decided to wear a fancy dress-up.

Meanwhile, Ella played quietly on the computer in the other room. The combination of headphones and Nick Jr. is God's gift to mothers.

This past week it was also my turn to teach Ella's preschool. We learned all about nursery rhymes. We talked about rhyming words, read stories, and then played games that correlated with the nursery rhymes we read. For example, we had a race to "fetch a pail of water", we jumped over candlesticks, we ate "curds and whey" while pretend spiders sat down beside us, and they each got a turn to let Humpty Dumpty (each kid got a hard boiled egg) have a GREAT fall. Oh, and we played with watercolors. What day at preschool is complete without watercolors?
Let's see, what else did we do last week? Hmmmmm... oh yeah. We did a whole lot of snuggling with this handsome little guy.

OOoohh....he was trying so hard to crawl here. He was eying that toy. For sure.

And I finally decided to lay him in his crib at night! Hooray! He has been doing great. He is sleeping from 8 to 6 or so, just like normal. What a champ.

So, here I sit on a Sunday night, with everyone else asleep, and planning for the week ahead. It's strange, because I think I may be the only person in the entire universe that absolutely loves Monday mornings. For me, the dawn of a new week is like New Year's Day all over again. I feel fresh, renewed, and revitalized, with lists of goals to accomplish, and hope for a wonderful week ahead. Call me crazy, but it's true. In my mind, a "case of the Mondays" consists of a clean house, (Monday is always deep-cleaning day) fresh vacuum lines in the carpet, clean sheets, fresh bread, folded laundry, a yummy dinner and a fun family night. What could be wrong with a day like that? Ahhh Monday...I love you so. Okay, okay....enough day-dreaming about tomorrow (I have a serious case of OCD if I'm day-dreaming about cleaning, I admit it).

For now, here's a little look at my 4-year old Beethoven in the making... (sorry it's upside down, I was holding my phone the wrong way when I took the video).