Thursday, July 31, 2014

Love list: New words and chairs and more

1. Add "Josh" to the list
Punkito's very small vocabulary has grown, thanks to our new house member. Now she can say "Josh"! And she does it with such purpose and enthusiasm. I love it. Of course, after I finished filming this, she walked around saying it over and over again. Ah, well. So cute.
2. Big girl chair
I have been drooling over these Pottery Barn Anywhere Chairs for a while now. We finally bit the bullet and got her one tonight. She looooooves it. She brought a book to read in it. She loves to wiggle her little behind back until she's all the way in it.
She kept standing on it and we were worried she would tip over.
And then we heard a crash...
3. Unintentional matching 
Em and I went to the Thinkery (children's museum) today and the girl at the front said "hey, you match!" Um, not intentional. Guess I just have a thing for blue tops and striped skirts.

4. Damn Delicious
We are always trying to change up our dinner rotations and lately we have been trying a bunch of recipes from this website, Damn Delicious. True to its name, they are pretty much all dang good. We have only tried one so far that we didn't like, from over more than half a dozen. If you need some new things to try, check it out! We recommend: Enchilada Pasta, Honey Walnut Shrimp, PF Changs Lettuce Wraps, Jalapeno Shrimp Enchiladas (our favorite so far!), and Sirloin Gyros. The only one we didn't love was the honey salmon.
5. New swimsuits
Look how cute these are! I found all of these on Pinterest, but why can't I find a cute one in stores? I think I need a new one before our Cali trip and unfortunately we are at the end of swimsuit season. Any recommendations?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TFOT: Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease

I love that the Teaching for Our Times topics have moved into this past April's conference so I can use all my printables as handouts :) That's a nice perk.

What really makes this lesson valuable is the comments from the class. Leave plenty of time for that. I found that I didn't need to plan much - there are so many great quotes. Read those and then open up for comments. My rough outline is below, hope it helps!

Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease

Story about the truck - Ask someone to summarize

Individual Loads

Elder Bednar uses this story to illustrate an important point about the load - it was the weight of the load that gave the traction the truck needed to get out of the snow. He asks that you keep this example in mind as we discuss the loads that we have to bear.

What is our load?

Quote 1: “Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. “

How do we view those loads?

Quote 2: “Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load: “Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?”

Quote 3: “Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that truly matter most.”

I wondered what he had in mind when he said that last part - things that are nice but unnecessary. What do you think some of those things could be?

Bearing that load with strength from the Atonement

Quote 4: “The Savior said: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).

What is a yoke and how does this example help us understand the importance of the atonement in bearing our burdens?

How do we take up that yoke?

Quote 5: “Making and keeping sacred covenants yokes us to and with the LordJesus Christ. In essence, the Savior is beckoning us to rely upon and pull together with Him, even though our best efforts are not equal to and cannot be compared with His. As we trust in and pull our load with Him during the journey of mortality, truly His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”

But in order to receive this promised aid, we must do our part. Elder Bednar emphasizes: “Note the centrality of covenants to the promise of deliverance. Covenants received and honored with integrity and ordinances performed by proper priesthood authority are necessary to receive all of the blessings made available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Bednar draws from the book of Mosiah:

Quote 6: “”And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs” (Mosiah 24:14). Many of us may assume this scripture is suggesting that a burden suddenly and permanently will be taken away. The next verse, however, describes how the burden was eased. “And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:15).”

What do we learn from this? How does it make you feel?

I find that it gives me great comfort, even more than if it said that my burdens would be removed. I don’t think that that’s realistic - we will always have burdens and as Elder Bednar noted in the first part of his talk, they are necessary to help us get traction. I think I would be far worse off if I expected to have none rather than feeling equipped to handle them when they come.

The Atonement comforts us

We are all on the same page about our burdens not taken from us. We have discussed how the Atonement strengthens us and enables us to get through them. But it’s kind of a two-pronged approach. The Atonement strengthens, yes, but it also is our source of comfort when we are feeling low.

Quote 7: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12). Thus, the Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us.”

Is there anyone who has experienced this comfort and would be willing to share their experience?

Learn more about the Atonement

Elder Bednar encourages us to study, pray, ponder and strive to learn more about the Atonement so that we can understand how to apply it in our lives to the burdens that we carry. He says:

Quote 8: “The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah. I testify and promise the Savior will help us to bear up our burdens with ease. As we are yoked with Him through sacred covenants and receive the enabling power of His Atonement in our lives, we increasingly will seek to understand and live according to His will. We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly for God to change our circumstances according to our will. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon. We will be blessed with spiritual traction.”


My favorite part of this talk was this quote:

“We are not and never need be alone. We can press forward in our daily lives with heavenly help. Through the Savior’s Atonement we can receive capacity and “strength beyond [our] own” (“Lord, I Would Follow Thee,”Hymns, no. 220). As the Lord declared, “Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end” (D&C 100:12).”


How easy it is to forget when we are wallowing in our pain or our difficulty that there is someone to help us. We feel alone. This simple statement “We are not and never need be alone” has two very powerful messages in it. The first is that our Savior is always with us, to help us, strengthen us, guide us, succor us. The second part is that we must CHOOSE not to be alone. It is up to us to make those covenants that bind us to Him and share the yoke. If we feel alone, it is not because we are, but because we have removed ourselves from feeling his love, his strength, his help. Do not forget him, do not forget to draw closer to him and LET him help you. You are not alone and you never have to feel alone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

48 hours with Bapa

Wow, what a weekend! I am exhausted. I think Punkito is, too.

My dad has a business meeting in Dallas tomorrow, so he flew in to Austin early to spend the weekend with us. We packed a lot in and had so. much. fun. Emma sure loves him and we are grateful for every minute we get to spend with him.

We went swimming. Our little clown wanted to put on her own suit. She was definitely trying to make us laugh (and succeeded!)
We went to the toy store (Terra Toys) where Emma fell in love with this marble maze.
 We waited in a way too long line for Hopdoddy's but it was worth it for the milkshakes. Emma and Bapa had matching whip cream staches until Uncle Josh decided to contribute.
Emma turned 17 months on Sunday and so she went into nursery for her very first time. (Pause: what?! How is my child this old? Staaaaahp.) We stayed with her the whole time, but she did pretty well! I think she likes it.
I feel like she looks so little next to the other kids
Hey, I know Itsy Bitsy Spider, too!
She loved the pretzels. Mama never gets those for her... guess I have to now.
Bubbles? They just won her over.
Sunday selfies with Bapa 
How 'bout a three generation selfie?
Our mural pic of the week
Yup. Fingers in their noses. Two of a kind.
Then on to symphony in the park... this week was big band music and it was awesome! We had so much fun (even though it was stinkin' hot). 
Sweaty baby! 
Time for a break.
Just chillin' with my best friend.
In their own world in the middle of Barnes and Noble
We love Olivia books!
Oh, these two. I love them.
Thanks for visiting, Bapa! We can't wait to see you again soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Love list: A big thanks

There's pretty much only one Love that matters on the list this week. The Austin Fire Department.

I'm a little nervous to share this with you because I'm really ashamed of what happened. And it was really traumatic. Tuesday we were headed to the pool to meet Em's playgroup. They had been there for a while and we were the last to get there due to a late (and not great) nap. I got in the backseat with Em to buckle her into her car seat, tossed my keys in the front seat, buckled her up, shut the door, went around the car and.... the door was locked. I don't even know how - the car cannot lock when doors are open. It makes a loud warning buzz to tell you a door is open and it can't lock. I tried all doors, already getting frantic. We have no spare key. The car wasn't on and it's Texas. In July. And it was 4 p.m. As I called Hans to tell him what was going on, I went in the garage to get a hammer thinking I would just bust out the window. But Hans is so good about being calm when I'm panicking. He instructed me to call AAA. They said they could send a guy, but it would take 20 minutes, so they also called the fire department. The nearest station house is about a mile away - I heard the sirens immediately. Minutes later four very nice gentlemen used some crazy tool to pry the door open enough to thread it through and unlock the car. During all of this, Emma just sat in her seat waving at Mama, giving me weird looks because I was crying and hysterical, and playing with her baby doll. Only near the end did she start to whimper, and I think that was actually because the four big firemen trying to break into the car may have scared her. She wasn't even sweaty and from the time the door shut until they got it open again was no more than 15 minutes, with the car in the shade. But I was a sobbing, shaking mess and sat there clutching my daughter while they checked her out to make sure she's ok.

I have literally had nightmares about this happening and it was one of the longest and worst 15 minutes I have ever experienced. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I am so thankful I had my phone (I usually leave it in the diaper bag in the back seat and just happened to have it this time), thankful that Hans was calm enough to help me call for help, and I am so, so, so grateful to these quick firemen for freeing my sweet girl. I recognize that this situation could have been so very much worse and I am so grateful that she is ok. A big, big thank you to those wonderful firefighters.

Folks, be extra careful with your little ones in the car. Make sure you have a spare key. Leave another door or window open while you put them in their car seats. And should this ever happen to you, call the fire department. Hopefully yours will be as quick and amazing as ours.

And now because that was extra heavy, I present the rest of the Love List to lighten the mood, though it seems pretty inconsequential right now. Maybe that's why I need it - to help me focus on some good moments from this week, no matter how small or silly. Celebrate little wins, right?

2. Peek a Zoo
Bapa has been sending a lot of books. Best Bapa award. We love them all, but he really hit it out of the park with this one. It's called Peek a Zoo and there's really not much to it. But for some reason the kid is obsessed with it. She will literally read it over and over again. As soon as finish it, she demands to start over. One day last week we read it nine times in a row. I'm a little sick of it but I do love how much she loves it. It's adorable. Thanks, Bapa.
3. New bathing suits
We just booked flights for a little vacation in California (in a couple months). I am so very excited. We are planning to live at the beach with our little water bug. Shortly after buying tickets and as I was getting Em dressed to go to the pool, I realized that a) her swimsuits are a little snug right now and may not fit at all by the time we go to Cali and b) it's almost the end of summer and in a couple weeks swimsuits will be hard to find! I rushed over to the mall to see if I could find any and was very, very pleasantly surprised - BabyGap was having a huge end of season sale. So I snagged THREE at about $6 a pop. I was on such a shopping high. It *almost* made up for the fact that it broke my heart buying my baby girl 2T clothes...
4. YouTube curling tutorials
Remember last week how much I sucked at curling my hair? I'm getting better! Mostly thanks to this video from Gal Meets Glam. I have been practicing and I think it's helping. But seriously, I watched a ton of youtube videos and this one was by far the most helpful.
5. The new gym
My younger brother (the one that recently moved in with us) got us a membership to this amazing gym near our house, LifeTime. That's the beautiful pool you keep seeing in our pictures. I'm kinda obsessed with it and we go there almost every day. They have a great child care center that we tried for the first time a week ago. I planned to take a Pilates class so I got there 30 minutes early to give us time for her to get used to the center and acclimated and all that. She ran right in and started playing right away and didn't even notice me leave. I ended up chilling in the hall for half an hour waiting for the class. Almost every time we go (today being the one exception and I blame teeth) she runs in all happy and excited and plays hard for 1-2 hours. And goes home tired :) And I go work out, guilt-free! (slash... sit in the cafe and drink a smoothie and work on some freelance writing... What. Mom's gotta get it done). I haven't really done much besides the Pilates class yet and I'm suspicious that the instructor might be a spandex-clad spawn of satan. Seriously, every part of my body hurts after just two classes. Planks. Arms. Ouch. But seriously, we love this gym. Thanks, Josh!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spiritual Thought: Exquisite and Sweet

Alma is my favorite book in the Book of Mormon. All of it just seems to clear and simple to me. And I think I relate to Alma in a lot of ways.

Today I was reading in chapter 36 as Alma recounts his personal conversion. I love that he says the angels spoke to him "not of any worthiness of myself" (v. 5). He wasn't even seeking it out. In fact, he was causing a lot of trouble. But the Lord saw fit to pierce right to his heart and Alma was awakened to a knowledge of all his sins.
But after wrestling with that knowledge, he ultimately called on the Savior for forgiveness. And this is my favorite part: "There could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains....on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as my joy." (v. 21)

This so perfectly describes how I felt during my personal conversion. I think it's important to reflect on that time often. I don't always do that because I get caught up in the day-to-day of life. But every once in a while, I get the opportunity to share my story with someone and I realize that I benefit far more than they do. I remember with vivid clarity the exquisite bitterness. And I have a recall with gratitude and awe the exquisite sweetness of joy. The memories of these experiences help to renew my conviction and deepen my appreciation.

And that's my thought for today. Share your story with someone and bring yourself back to that moment of exquisite and sweet joy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The hole weekend

This was our weekend. There was a big storm last week and our best guess is that it shifted this big tree in our yard, the roots of which run under some of our pipes. And said shift broke the pipe and caused water to gush down our driveway. So most of our weekend was Hans digging out the pipe to find the break and replace it.
Em helped picked out a new shovel
We did manage to sneak in some little fun - a quick trip to the pool (even though it was still a little cloudy and windy, Emma didn't mind!), a dinner date and ice cream with friends, and a mama/baby attempt at Sunday selfies.
Girl loves her some breakfast tacos
We all scream for ice cream!
Coloring is our lifesaver in sacrament! 
At least I got some kisses... 
hey, this one's almost cute! 
Wonder-dad Hans has fixed the pipe and hopefully next weekend can be more fun. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mama Monday: Baby library

Punkito's collection of books is growing by the day. I love it! But now what to do with them... Up 'til now all baby books were just kinda stuffed into a basket on our dresser. It can hold no more!
Solution: Ikea picture ledges!

We went with the intention of getting these RIBBA picture ledges, but there were other ones right next to them. I can't find them on Ikea's website or remember what they were called - sorry! I think it started with a V... so maybe it was part of the Virserum series? In any event, the Ribba ones would work just as well, but we liked that the ones we got looked a little more like molding instead of just plain, straight boards. So we picked up three of the 21 inch ledges at $10 a pop.
After scoping out several potential spots for the shelves, we ended up going with the spot behind her bedroom door. It's not ideal, but our primary goal with these book ledges was to put them at Emma's height so she would be able to reach them and read any time she wants.

And that she does. Sometimes, like today, she pulled a book off, "read it," then pulled the next one, "read," and continued for several books. Thankfully she does enjoy putting them back on the shelf, too.
For now, we just keep her favorites and sturdier board books on the shelf and some of the lesser read ones are still in the basket. I love our new little baby library and I highly recommend getting some of these picture ledges - perfect for encouraging little reading. Read on!