Tuesday, February 9, 2010

If you have not seen "Butterfly Circus" please follow the link below and watch it. It's about 20 minutes long. It's a beautiful reminder of the worth of souls, regardless of size, shape, or challenges. My teacher showed it to us in my Family Stress and Coping Class and it really touched me. I've watched it four times or so now. I hope you enjoy it as much I do.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Here is an update from the Cook home. We are happy and love love LOVE our bigger apartment. We are so grateful to have two bedrooms now and yet still be in the same ward (in our 90 apt. complex there are only two two-bedroom apts). Our time at this place we love so much is soon coming to an end......but not yet, and we're still glad to be here for this last little bit of time, which is at least until August or so. As you can see from above Kaylee really likes helping mommy cook. When I'm baking she often crawls over to my feet and kind of tugs on my legs or looks up at me with that inquisitive face, letting me know that she wants in on the good stuff. It's fun to have her help, regardless of the mess I have to clean up afterwards.
I had my 25th birthday last week. A quarter of a century, can you believe! Jared had one of my good friends get me out of the house and so we went and made some yummy bread at her place. She dropped me off and when I came home Jared had dinner cooking. I was so impressed. I love surprises and he pulled a good one. He baked chicken cordon bleu from scratch (I've told him that's his specialty now, that's how fantastic it tasted), with cheese sticks and home made steak fries. It was a neat surprise. I think the Cook birthday tradition is to eat dinner on the living room floor, or at least we've done that with the birthdays we've had since we got married. He started it last year when he made dinner for me and set the table on the floor and then I did it for his, he did it for mine . . . . I'm glad he started that tradition. Now I need some good ideas for his birthday (May 16th).

These are our good friends, Luke and Mary Alley. We lived below them before we switched apartments in December. We spend a lot of time together and always have a good laugh together. It's funny but Luke is Jared's 1st counselor in the Elders Quorum Presidency and Mary is my 1st counselor in the Relief Society Presidency. I know those are rare circumstance but it has definitely been the right thing and we've grown to love them so much as we've served with them and played together.
I wanted you to know that I made this bagel from scratch. Isn't it beautiful...looks just like one from the store, don't you think! I'm really into making what things I can from scratch and I enjoy tackling new food projects. It was delicious and I don't think I'll buy bagels again from the store. It's cheaper and easy to make at home. I had fun making wheat bagels, white bagels, and cinnamon raisin bagels. Now I make a bunch, freeze them, and then when Jared wants one for lunch all he has to do is toast it. I think it's become a hobby to make things on my own...it gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment to do things like this for my little family, especially when I see how much Jared loves something I took the time to make.....don't worry though, I definitely have my failures. A few weeks ago I made some pumpkin potato soup. Doesn't that sound good on a cold, snowy winter night? I thought so. It was disgusting, just uneatable. Kaylee liked it and it was really healthy so I kept giving it to her. I gave some to Jared and after one bite I knew there was no way he was going to eat more. Oh, I felt sad about that, taking all that time to make it only to have it taste so bad. Why did it taste so bad, you ask? I don't know, I just blame it on the recipe :->. Well to be funny I told Mary Alley about it and we decided to play a trick on her husband. Luke is quite the teaser himself so we thought this would be funny to pull on him. I gave her the soup and she was going to pretend that she made it that night for dinner and tell Luke how good it was before he ate any. Well when he took a bite she said his comment was "are you kidding me?" (or something to that effect). Of course she started laughing and gave up the joke. Oh what a good joke that was because if you had tasted that soup you'd be sorry if you had to take a bite of it.
This is Kaylee's little buddy Hyrum. I spend Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30 with one of my good friends Annie and her little boy (she's the one who showed me how to make the yummy homemade bread on my birthday). It's fun to have time to get out of the house and be with a friend who has a little one the same age as Kaylee. I've learned that being a mom is more fun and enjoyable if you find ways to get out of the house and get involved in different things, like being with friends who have kids the same age, taking walks, playgroups, teaching each other fun things that you've learned at home (like the bread..and I taught another friend how to make bagels...that was fun). I just can't be at home everyday all day without going anywhere. I go stir crazy. I have to get out and go someone at least once a day. I think it's good for Kaylee to get out and be around other people a lot too and I like taking her places with me so she can be around other little kids, grownups, whatever. I think it makes a big difference and it makes being a mom even more fun!

We didn't have a bathtub in our last apartment and so we thoroughly enjoy having one now. Kaylee really likes baths and so she gets them a lot. She has a good time and if she's ever grumpy for whatever reason, a bath seems to help most everytime (unless she's sick and then I thank heaven for baby ibuprofen).
Jared taught Kaylee how to flush the toilet. One night when we were on the couch we heard this little clunk clunk clunk and we started laughing because we realized that Kaylee was pulling on the toilet handle but couldn't pull it down the entire way to flush it. Jared ran in and taught her how and now she's mastered that little skill. Oh she gets so excited when she flushes the toilet. Her little hands wave in the air, her face lights up, and life is wonderful for her at that moment. One day mommy will potty train Kaylee and then won't that be something to celebrate...Let's hope she finds that just as exciting.

I thought this was adorable. I love cleaning, weird I know, but it relieves stress for me and I just enjoy it so Kaylee has seen me scrub all sorts of things. A few weeks ago she grabbed a towel on the floor and went around scrubbing the fridge, the cupboard, and then to the oven. It was so cute. I realized how aware she is of me and what she sees me do.

See, when I see this beautiful face look up at me it makes me happy. Little Kaylee we love you

I took this picture of my little sister Kimberly at Angie's wedding. Isn't it beautiful! I think it's the best picture of her I've ever seen. Ang got married on January 5th and everything turned out better than I ever thought it would. Two ladies in my mom's ward offered to decorate the chapel for the reception and oh wow, they transformed that place into something stunning. I was so impressed.
The picture above is of the Mckeen girls, the newly added brother-in-law Austin and our neighbors Becky and Audrey. We've been friends with them since we moved to Farmington twelve years ago.

Ok, you see these cakes...I made them. Yep, that's right. I expended a lot of time and energy but it was fun! I used to make and decorate cakes at Cold Stone and I had a ball. I would go back to doing that any day. Since I worked there I had always wanted to make Ang's cake so I was glad she let me. This is as close of a shot as I would take because there were definitely flaws but for a first try what can you expect? Now I know what I'd do differently next time, if there is a next time. The flowers are what made it look beautiful though. Thank you flower lady!
The pictures below are of the dinner we had the night before Ang and Austin got married.

And to end this long post here's a quote Brad sent me on his mission and one I have looked at often as a good reminder. Until I post next...have a beautiful day!

President Gordon B. Hinckley
"Rejoice in the privilege[s] which [are] yours. Your opportunities will not last forever. Too soon there will be only the memory of the great experience[s] you are now having. None of us will accomplish all we might wish to, but let us do the best we can."