Sunday, May 31, 2009

On Being the Mom

Are you a mother?
Do you have 1 child running around your feet or 20?
Or none?
If you are a mother you'll know exactly where I'm coming from.
If you're not, then just imagine.
I love being a mom.
It is hands down the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
It is also hands down the hardest.
No one ever taught me how to be a mom.
If you know me well, you'll know my mom was, well, absent.
She was physically there, but at the same time she was gone, in another universe.
It's hard to explain and I could write a whole novel about that in itself.
Simply said, she did not teach me how to be a mom.
Not the kind of mom I wanted to be anyway.
So this 'being the mom' stuff is so new and at times scary for me.
I fear I am not doing enough.
I fear I'm not doing it right.
I fear I don't hold them enough and just love them enough.
I fear my house is not clean enough.
I worry about if I feed them the right foods and if they get enough to eat.
I worry about if they are getting enough sleep.
I worry about some sort of harm coming to them.
I worry they squabble too much.
There is no one at my side telling me, "You're doing a good job." or "That's it, keep going, you'll get the hang of it."
But somehow I know I'm doing OK.
At least so far.
I am loving this journey we call motherhood.
I love to laugh with my kids.
I love to play in the sunshine and the snow.
I love to sing primary songs.
I love to eat watermelon and let the sticky juice run down my arms all the way to my elbows.
I love to play at the park.
I love to read bedtime stories.
I love to dip my toes in the river water.
I love hiking in the mountains with a baby in the backpack.
I love road trips.
I love baby kisses
I love catching bugs and putting them in jars.
I love hearing their noisy chatter first thing in the morning.
I love to kiss their sweaty heads after they've fallen asleep.
I love their laughter and their songs.
I love their artwork.
I love just being a part of them and their daily lives.
Sometimes I wish so hard I could keep them little forever.
But I know that is in vain.
I know they will grow and be gone before I can even blink.
Last week I gave a lesson in Relief Society from a conference talk that President Monson gave in the October 2008 conference called Finding Joy in the Journey.
It really touched my heart in so many ways. Here is my favorite passage from that talk.
"If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly."
I am trying hard to capture every moment I can so I can keep all of these precious memories for the rest of my life.
I try to appreciate the journey every day.
Sure I have my moments when I'm stressed out and I'm not as patient as I'd like to be, but for the most part I am just loving my kids the best I can every moment.
I try to be patient and understanding to their sensitive feelings.
I try to teach them to work even though I know I could do the same task 10 times faster if I just did it myself.
I read scriptures with them and have family prayer daily, even when they are too wriggly for their own good.
I wake up with them in the night if they've puked or have had a bad dream.
I comfort them when they're sad.
I am trying to be a good mom so I can tell my kids things no one ever told me about being a mom, like nursing a baby for the first few months hurts like nothing you've ever felt and you'll wish you had an epidural for that pain instead of labor.
I will tell them to wipe their girls' bottoms front to back.
I will tell them that having a baby is like having someone take your heart out of your chest and wrap it up in a little pink or blue blanket.
I will tell them to read to their kids starting the day they are born.
I will tell them they may as well buy stock in the diaper companies for all the diapers they will be buying.
I will tell them breast is best!
I will tell them there will be sleepless nights and silent tears.
I will tell them they will learn a new meaning for the word prayer.
I will make sure they have a rocking chair.
I will share my recipe book with them.
I will tell them that some days as a parent are really lonely, even with 8 little hands all around you.
I will tell them they will feel inadequate for the job some days.
I am trying so hard to be a good mom so that when my kids become parents I can whisper in their ears, "You're doing a fantastic job!"
"That's it, keep going, you'll get the hang of it."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Somewhere, My Love, There Will Be Skies of Blue

We have been having so many great adventures.
We were really tempted to do school work this morning. I had all the kids down stairs with our morning devotional all ready to start, then I noticed a message on my cell phone.
I made the mistake of listening to it before we started school.
It was Lisa and she wanted to go to Snow Basin for a horse ride today.
How could I resist?
If she were going anywhere else I may have been able to say no.
But Snow Basin? How could I?
Just look at those gorgeous leaves. They are so new and bright. They make me so happy just looking at them. The wild flowers are starting to bloom, too. In another couple of weeks that mountain will be covered with the most beautiful blue bells you have ever seen.

It was our first time back to our favorite horse riding spot since last fall.

It has been too long.

Snow Basin is up, up, up in the mountains and it takes longer for the snow to melt up, up, up there than it does down, down, down here.

Oh Snow Basin, how we have missed thee!

We have missed the sweet music of the mountains. The birds chirping above us, the sound of the river rushing at our feet, the sound of the baby oohing at all the majesty, the sound of the horses breath as they trot, the sound of the clip clop of the horses hooves, the sound of all the little bugs buzzing around.

We have missed the scenic vistas and wonderful hiking trails.

We have missed dipping our toes in the crisp water of the river.

We have missed eating our lunch in the shade of the twinkling leaves.

We have missed spending the afternoon with Grandpa and Lisa and Jessica and Jo.

We missed the wriggly fuzzy caterpillars and the purple butterflies.

Being back up in Snow Basin today felt a little like coming home after being gone much, much too long.

When we got home and got the car unloaded we were ready for a nice cool treat. I made the kids a super tasty chocolate slushie.

We drank them in the hideously long grass of our back yard and wished the day would never end. Oh, OK, since you asked so nicely I'll give you the recipe. You'll die when you see how easy it is.
Super Yummy Chocolate Slushie
2 c milk (I use rice milk since we have dairy allergies, but cow milk works, too)
1/3 c agave nectar or honey (or 1/2 c sugar)
2 T cocoa powder
Put the first 3 ingredients in the blender then put in ice, blend on high until it's nice and slushie. I don't measure the ice, I just keep putting more in if it's not slishie-y enough(let's just pretend for today that slushie-y is a real word, K?) .
See, told ya, it's as easy as it gets. The kids think they're getting some kind of special treat and I get CHOCOLATE!
Does life get any better than this?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Take Cover!

Just look at this cute, cute baby!
He sure dose love the tubby. He knows just how to make mom give him a bath, too.
As I was busy getting dinner ready and the kids fed before Doodle's dance class this evening Doodle screamed from the top of the stairs,
"The baby exploded!"
I waited a second expecting her to finish her sentence.
The baby exploded a tube of toothpaste.
The baby exploded a roll of toilet paper in the toilet.
The baby exploded a tube of makeup all over the bathroom.
You see, I knew the problem was bathroom oriented because that is where he always is when he does his damage.
I was half right, he was in the bathroom.
Doodle went on, "Well, at least he was near the toilet when he exploded."
You guessed it, he had a massive poo explosion, the likes of which we have not seen since he was a newborn.
It was all the way up to his neck and down his legs.
It even dripped a big steamy blob on the floor.
Thank heavens for linoleum.
I know, I know you did not need to know this.
I posted this experience for one person only.
OK, two people.
Josh and Tiffany, congratulations on your pregnancy!
We hope you enjoy every minute of parenthood!
We sure do love you guys.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Nature's StairMaster

How was you memorial day?
Did you do anything fun?
We had a blast.
We met our family at Mr Bird's mom's grave in the morning. We also visited Mr Bird's grandparents graves and had fun listening to his dad tell fun stories about his parents.
For lunch we all came back to our house for a potluck lunch.
We played in the sunshine with cousins for hours.
Look at our baby chicks. They are not quite babies anymore. I guess now they are considered pullets (hens under a year old). have you ever seen a chicken sit so happily in a cup holder before?

My little niece, marina was fascinated with the little birds.

Of course grandpa could not let our horse, Shadow, sit in the corral all by herself.
He so graciously offered to hold onto her so she could join the party too. She did a wonderful job of mowing our lawn which, by the way, is shamefully long right now.
But hey, who has time to mow when there is so much fun to be had?

My niece Jordana's philosophy is that life is a photo shoot. She is always posing for a photo. I think we finally caught her off guard with the chicken on her shoulder.
What's the matter Jo, afraid she'll poo on your cute outfit?
Michael was determined to get her to fly.
She was perfectly happy to roost right where she was.

Baby Cakes was so funny with the birds. He'd barely touch them them giggle and hide his face.

How about a chicken hat?

Doodle had so much fun with her cousins. Moriah loves horses almost as much as Doodle.

After we were done eating and playing we all loaded in the car and headed for my favorite hiking trail.

Waterfall canyon is gorgeous this time of year.

Most of the trail goes right past the river. At the very top is a beautiful waterfall.

We call this section nature's StairMaster, although this is much steeper than most stair cases around. Talk about a good bum work out.

My kids love their aunt Lisa. She has the most beautiful smile. We were looking back at pictures from about 4 years ago, when Doodle was just little. Lisa was holding her but had sunglasses on. I asked Doodle who was holding her. She looked for a while then finally said,
"LISA! I can always tell it's her by her pretty smile!"

This really is a tough hike, but as you can see we stopped often to take pictures.

The kids did awesome.

They had so much fun with their cousins and climbed those rocks like little troopers.

At last, the falls. The spray from the waterfall was so nice and cool on our hot tired bodies.

This is the biggest I've ever seen these falls. I think it's the earliest in the season we've ever gone and all the spring run off is still coming down fast.

The view down the canyon of the Ogden valley was also breathtaking. This photo does it no justice.

We had a few bumps and scrapes along the way. Here are my little troopers showing off their battle wounds.

Kid quote of the day:

Beano: Johnny got two mosquito bites today.

Dubs:Two?!? Well I got 51 mosquito bites today.

Beano: Dubs (insert his real name), if you had 51 mosquito bites you would be a mosquito bite!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nauvoo Trip, the Conclusion

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I bet you all think I've fallen off the face of the earth.
Don't worry, I'm still here.
This is just a super busy time of year for me.
I'll blog about all we've been up to in the next few days, but before we get to that I bet you're all dying to hear about the rest of our trip.
Sorry for yet another slide show, but there are just too many pictures and I have a hard time cutting any out.
So after we loaded up from the Young Living Farm we drove another hour to Cove Fart, I mean Fort.
Cove Fort has a special memory for Mr Bird and I and Lisa's family. Suffice it to say we call it Cove Fart for short.
Ask me about it sometime, I just might tell that story another day.
We saw all the old pioneer artifacts and heard cool stories of President Hinkley's father and grandfather.
We played pioneer games and most importantly we all had a nice long potty break.
When we got back in the car it was time to book it to St George before the sun went down. We just made it.
We had enough time to unpack the cars into our condos and tuck the kids in for the night before the moon came out.
My Sister-in-Law, Joanne got us a great deal on the most awesome condos ever.
The bathroom in the master suite was so nice, not to mention all the walk in closets and washer and dryer and full kitchen.
The best part of all?
The Pool, Baby!
We swam every single day we were there. The weather was gorgeous and we could not keep the kids out of the water.
We also had fun climbing the Dixie rocks, shopping at the outlet malls, going on early morning walks (9am!!) and going to the temple in St George.
We ate good food and enjoyed good company.
I really love our family, they are the best. I married into the best family on the planet.
I am so glad we all get along and can do such fun things together.
That's not to say there was no drama, but we all get over it and go on loving each other.
We left for home Thursday afternoon and stopped in Cedar City to drop off my nephew, Josh and his pregnant wife Tiffany, who live there. While we were there we stopped at Discovery park and ate watermelon and flew kites and rested under the trees.
We finally made it home around 8pm, just in time for bed time.
We had such a fun week, start to finish.
Thanks for the good times, guys!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nauvoo Trip part 2

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I know it seems really silly to keep calling it the Nauvoo trip even though we made it no where near Nauvoo, but it has become such a joke that we can't bear to call our family adventures anything else.
Sunday evening we all decided to pack our bags for a fun trip through our beautiful state of Utah. We decided our final destination would be St George.
Along the way there were several sights we wanted to see. We decided our first stop would be the Young Living Farm in Mona, UT. This dinky town is located between Spanish Fork and Lehi.
I did not even know this place existed until this week.
The farm grows lavender and extracts the lavender oil for many homeopathic uses, such as insomnia, headaches, insect bites, rashes, sunburns (which I actually used some for this week), and many, many more. They have other farms around the world, one in Paris, France and one in South America. Their land was gorgeous. I could not stop taking pictures.
Sorry about all the slide shows, but there are just too many pictures, and this is less than half of the ones I took.
We got to take a tour of the farm and the process the lavender goes through to extract the oils. It really was cool.
After the farm they let us wonder the grounds.
They have an old western theme with an old water wheel and hand crank merry-go-round.
They also had the coolest swing I have ever seen, I really think Mr Bird needs to make one for our house. We fit 5 people in it at once, without even trying too hard.
They had an old western town which had cool stores and offices to look at. They also do jousting a few times a year. It was fun to see the huge jousting arena.
In the summer when they get lots of visitors they even give free wagon rides.
We need to go back, we really could have spent all day there.
We took our picnic lunch and ate in the beautiful Bowery next to their pond.
Then we loaded up into the cars and headed further South still.
Tomorrow I will post about our next stop.
(Ta Ta For Now)

Nauvoo or Bust

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We never made it Nauvoo.

Lots of things happened to prevent our trip from happening.

We knew our Mormon Assault Vehicle would be in the shop for much needed repairs. We could not drive it East the way it was and it would not be done in time to take it. She we figured we'd take the car and let one of the heathens ride with Grandpa or Aunt Lisa or Uncle Steve, all of whom were planning on caravanning with us.

Then, Lisa's vehicle was having problems. They were panning on buying a new car in the near future and decided to go ahead and do it before the trip. That fell through at the last minute and they were also without a reliable ride. Still, we decided to push and shove in different vehicles. We were determined to make this trip happen.

Then, the straw that broke the camel's back. The day before we were to leave Steve's water line to his house broke.

We all determined we just were not meant to go on this trip. So we bagged it.

But not totally.

All the guys had taken a week off work and we did not want to waste all that glorious time off. We decided that instead of going to Nauvoo we would spend Saturday fixing Steve's water line, then we would go on a fun horse ride in the evening. After the horse ride we all came back to our house for pizza and games. We has so much fun just being together. Sunday we all went to church for Mother's day, then we met at our house to plan the rest of the week.

This slide show is of our "Nauvoo Trip" Day 1

I'll post day 2 a little later. We did end up going out of town, more details on that in the next edition of...

Nauvoo or BUST!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

4 am

Where were you this morning at 4 am?
Let me guess, you were nice and snug in your toasty bed, snuggled close to your lover, dead asleep.
Me? I was getting ready to load the shuttle bus bound for Eden, UT which was the beginning of the Ogden Half Marathon.
Don't ask me why we had to get up so stinking early. The race did not start until 7am. The shuttle left near the finish line at precisely 4:45. That left nearly 2,000 runners waiting in the cold, dark morning for over an hour and a half.
Madness, I know.
I think they wanted to freeze us before we started so our joints would be nice and stiff for the race.
Let me preface my 1/2 marathon entry by saying that this was my very first 1/2 marathon, I am no where near a professional runner,
If you can even call what I do running.
I did not even start running until I had all 4 of my babies.
I run for the fun of it.
I run for the silence.
I run for the sweat.
I run for the smells of the blossoming trees.
I run for the sound of the birds.
I run so I don't get grumpy.
I run for the sunshine.
I run for the runners high.
I run for the crazy races.
I run very slowly, never the less,
I run.
Today however, was a little different.
Today I hobbled.
I started having knee pain about a month ago during my training.
I pushed through on my long runs and my short runs were a little easier, but the pain was always there. I was nervous about it coming back for the race, but I determined that if it did I'd just run through it and deal with it after the race.
My knee did not like that idea.
It started hurting within the first 1/4 mile. I knew I was in for a battle. I told myself, just don't stop until the end, no matter what. I knew that if I stopped I'd never get started again.
My knee did not like that idea either. Just after mile 2 the pain became unbearable.
It nearly took my breath away.
I decided to walk a little until the pain went away.
As soon as I started walking the pain stopped. So I ran. Again the pain returned immediately. I played this game for the next mile and a half. I really wanted to be running. I had energy, I felt good, I was ready to just go. But my knee would not let me. I decided to walk for a solid mile and try again. Again, unbearable pain. So around mile 6 I resigned myself to walking the rest of the course. It was really pitiful. I was being passed by old people (no offense to you old ones). Then I saw the first full marathon runner pass me. I think I may have been the last 1/2 marathon runner (hobbler) to finish.
My worst fear realized.
Oh well, someone had to be last!
But I finished!
And guess what? I'm not even sore,
as long as I don't move.
I can not bend my knee,
at all.
I have like a 2 degree range of motion.
What is wrong?
I really hope it's not hurt for good.
Other than my blasted knee the race was amazing.
That is a really good course.
It starts in Eden, UT which is total farm land and just open country.
I saw horses running in fields and beautiful green rolling hills.
Then the course went along the Pine view reservoir, which was gorgeous in the early morning light. Then we went over the Pine View dam. Next we made our way through the Ogden canyon which is full of rugged rocky cliffs. There were 2 different waterfalls, one of which I had never seen before, it was hiding behind bushes. The river passes along the course all through the canyon and then beyond. Once we were through the canyon we started along the Ogden River Parkway, which also follows the river. The parkway was lined with trees and is simply beautiful. After the parkway we were headed for the final stretch to the finish line in down town Ogden, just behind the Ogden temple.
It really was a beautiful course, and mostly all down hill.
It would have been a perfect run it my knee had cooperated.
But one good thing came form this adventure.
I used a porta potty.
That is huge for me.
I have not used one of those things for well over 10 years.
I have a debilitating fear of the ronchy things.
This fear is almost as bad as my fear of the little 8 legged creepy things that shall not be named.
Porta Johns and I don't get along.
I can't handle the wide openness of the waste catcher.
I can't handle the smell.
I can't handle the confined space.
I can't handle how it sounds when your "business" lands in the pile of other people's "business".
OK, I'm giving myself the Heeby Geebys.
I would much rather use the trees or a bush or something, but with a huge crowd of people watching and not a decent grove in sight and a long run ahead of me, I bit the bullet.
I closed my eyes and would not look in the hole.
I plugged my ears and sang,"la,la,la,la,la,la."
Then I was out of there like a flash.
Now, just because I used it once does not mean this will become a regular habit.
It was every bit as terrifying as I imagined it would be.
I think I need counseling.
So do you want to know my time for finishing the race?
You have to promise not to laugh.
I am only telling you to show you that if I can hobble this course, anyone can do it.
I also want all of you marathoners and 1/2 marathoners to feel really good about your own finish time.
Plus, it will be really easy for me to beat my personal best next year.
Unless of course my knee is broken for good.
OK, here it is.
3 hours and 12 minutes.
Go ahead, feel better about yourselves at my expense.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Busy Bees

I have not blogged all week.
I think I'm going through with drawls.
This dry spell I'm experiencing is not because we have been doing nothing around here and I have nothing to blog about.
In fact, quite the opposite is true.
We have been busier than a one armed paper hanger.
This is naturally a busy time of the year for us, with all the end of "school" activities.
This time of year makes me long for "school" to be out.
Doodle's dance class will end, Liberty Girls will end, choir will end, and her sewing class is already finished.
Whew! And to complicate things even more we have been getting ready to go on a family vacation to Nauvoo, Illinois tomorrow.
Is it considered a vacation if you are stuck in a car with 4 kids for 2 days straight?
So if I'm not around the blogosphere for the next 10 days you know why.
Be prepared for a full vacation debriefing when we get back.
Give me a few days to get the heaps and heaps of vacation laundry clean and folded first.
I really can't believe how much clothes 6 people require.
It really is stunning!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I had a companion on my mission who had a term for strange or out of the ordinary things.
When we saw a dead deer strapped to the top of a little white two door car in the middle of a multi million peopled city she sighed and said,
"Weirdo Billy."
When we were tracting in the coldest cold you can think of and our boogers would freeze to our nose hairs she would spontaneously belt out, "Weirdo Billy!"
I know some of you think I have gone around the corner to the luney bin with this new healthy eating kick I'm on.
No wheat, no dairy, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
And now I'm thinking of giving up meat.
I know, I know, don't roll your eyes at me.
Don't make me open this screen and smack you.
Stop it, I have my reasons.
I went to talk to the nursery leader in church today to warn her of impending changes.
I told her that next month Baby Cakes would be joining them in her class. At first she was looking at me like, "Ya, I knew that, we are excited for him to join us."
Then I said, "But there's a catch, he's allergic to dairy and wheat and artificial food additives."
She immediately looked at me like I was from outer space.
I may as well have not worried about tucking in my tail.
I went on to explain that he pretty much could not have anything prepackaged.
She grimly said, "So no gold fish or colored marshmallows?"
Nope, those would be out.
Seeing the lost, helpless look in her eyes I decided this was going to be more of a challenge than I had thought. I offered to bring his snacks for nursery in a baggie for him so she would not have to worry about finding things to feed the class that met my child's dietary needs.
I saw the relief wash over her face and as I turned to leave I swear I could her her sigh,
"Weirdo Billy."
as I turned the corner to go to Sunday School.
But guess what I found out?
I'm not the only weird one.
Guess who else changed her whole diet for the sake of her child's health?

Jenny Mccarthy, that's who.

You know, famous hot actress married to Jim Carrey, Jenny Mccarthy.

Ya, that one.

She claims to have cured her son's autism by eliminating wheat and dairy and other dietary changes. And you know what, if it's OK for her, it's OK for me. I am not ashamed to tell the world I'm changing how we eat so we can be healthy and happy. I am not afraid to spend double the amount of time cooking as I once did. After all, I really enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen with my kids.

So maybe I'm not the weird one after all.

Maybe the weirdo Billys are the ones who know they have health problems and have yet to try radical things in order to improve their health.

Maybe the weirdo Billys are the ones that whine and complain about being over weight but are not willing to give up the problem foods.

Maybe I'm not weird at all.

Maybe I'll live to be 107!

Check out Dr. Oz on Oprah and his research on Blue Zones, which are areas in the world where people regularly live into their second century of life.

"But it's not only about longevity—they live with strength, vitality and happiness"

Do you think they do that by eating Ho-Ho's and Dorito's? Guess again!

It turns out what we put into our bodies has a direct correlation between how we feel and ultimately how long we live. Go figure.

So weird or not, I plan to live in health and happiness for a long, long time!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bunnies and Chicks and Ponies, Oh MY!

Doodle belongs to a book group filled with other home school girls just her age called Liberty Girls.

This year we have been reading the Little House on the Prairie series.
We meet twice a month and discuss our latest book and have a fun activity that correlates with the book we have read.
We have so much fun and have become really good friends with our liberty girls friends.

Last week we all drove our families to the American West Heritage Center in beautiful Logan, Utah for a field trip.
Doesn't this remind you of The Sound of Music? I love those mountains!
We set the girls against boys in a game of tug of war.
6 girls to 3 boys.
The boys won.
It was a long battle though, those girls gave them a run for their money.
The tour guide that was showing us the pioneer games was amazing. She took lots of time with us and answered all of our questions and was so friendly.

They played a game with a stick and an iron wheel. You are supposed to roll the wheel down the stick. When it hits the ground rolling you're supposed to run behind it and keep it rolling by pushing it with the stick. It's a lot harder than it looks. After a while Doodle got the hang of it.

Baby Cakes had to try too. He has a little less coordination than the other kids, it was quite funny to watch him get frustrated. He had a hard time lifting the thing, it weighed almost as much as he does.

All the girls loved seeing the baby animals. This silly goat let all the kids pick her up. The volunteers that worked there were awesome. We were the last group of the day and we got the royal treatment. We stood and talked to the guy in charge of the goats for quite a while. That man knows his goats.

The sheep were fun to see. They had a black one and a white one. The girls were amazed at how much hotter the black one's wool was than the white one.
Another mom and I realized that between us and the other girls we had at one time or another had all the animals at our homes that they had there, except for sheep.

It was still fun for the girls to go and see the babies. The bunny was too cute and cottony.

In my humble opinion the ducks were too smelly.

This is a Shetland pony named Tinkerbell. Granted, we don't have a pony, but we do have a full sized horse. Close enough, right. Not to the girls. they thought it was so cool to see a mini horse. I did not think it was so cool. She bit Baby Cake's fingers and made him cry. I guess he has sweet fingers. But I already knew that!

One of the boys found a robin's egg that had fallen from a nest into the grass and had survived the fall. It was so pretty.

It made me want to come home and paint a room that color.

The highlight of the trip for me was the dugout and log cabin home they have there. They were fully stocked with pioneer artifacts from kerosene lamps to beds and quilts and cook wear. They even had tin cups just like the one Laura Ingalls got for Christmas one year. That was it, her whole Christmas was a tin cup. To her it was a big deal because it meant she did not have to share a cup with her sister Mary anymore. I think about that and I am so humbled. Think about our modern Christmases. In general we are so spoiled. We first read these books a few years ago and since then we have scaled way back on our Christmas offerings. Our kids get more than a tin cup, but we have tried really hard to give more personal and meaningful gifts rather than just more stuff.

Anyway, back on topic. I did not get any photos of the cabin or the dug out, which is just like the one the Ingalls family lived in during their time in Plum Creek (On the Banks of Plum Creek). I was way too busy being fascinated with all the cool stuff. I did not even realize my folly until I got home and down loaded the pictures. Oh well, I guess that means we'll just have to go back another time so I can get my pictures.

If you have young girls you must read these books to them. In my opinion they are required reading for girlhood. I love, love, love them. Doodle loves them. They just put things into perspective and make us really think about our lives and the things that are truly important. Doodle has learned from Laura Ingalls Wilder how to be kind and how to value life skills such as sewing and cooking and helping with jobs around the house. She has learned to love nature and being a kid. She has learned to love her family and to value education. She has learned to be obedient and honest. She has learned to love animals, especially horses. She has learned that sometimes we need to do things that are hard, even when we don't want to. She has learned all this and more from a woman who lived and died before she was even born.

Now that's the power of a good book.