Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010

Oh, where to even begin. I can't say this was my favorite Christmas ever. In fact, I was so sick throughout the entire week, that I spent most of it in a drug induced coma. But, for the sake of my blog, I will do my best to remember what happened this Christmas.

Our family home evening before Christmas consisted of making a sugar cookie mess. The intent was to make them and save some to set out for Santa, but after decorating an eating a few, the fun was over and I threw the rest of the cookies away. Aren't I a Scrooge?

Mitchel also spent the entire week before Christmas very sick. He missed Mon-Wed of school. On Tuesday though, they perform the Christmas concert for the kids at school and it is the best program of the year. Since he had practiced so hard during the month, I made him get up and go to at least that so I could film it. It ended up being a wonderful concert. Every grade does such a good job of teaching the students the songs and they perform them perfectly. I love it!

Max's 1st grade sang "Santa brought me Choo-Choo Trains" and "I've Been Waiting for Christmas." Wonderful!

Here is Mitchel looking half dead, but the 4th grade sang "When Christmas Comes to Town, from the Polar Express" and "I Want some Silly Bands for Christmas." The Polar Express song made me cry. Loved it!
The Harker's have a tradition to get together on the 23rd of December for the annual cousin gift exchange and soup eating. By then, I was pretty sick, so I think we all had fun?
Here are the Harker cousins with one or two missing.
Christmas Eve was spent at Jeff and Suzie Miller's house. We ate, and ate, and ate, sang Christmas carols, played the chimes, and did the nativity. Again, I was mostly in a coma, but I think it was a good night.

Acting out the Nativity was always my favorite tradition as a child, and I love now seeing my own kids do it. I had a shepard and two wise men this year. Miles didn't want to participate yet.

Christmas morning, somehow Santa came, even thought no one left him any cookies to eat. He brought....

Legos and a Kung Zu pet for Max.

A scooter and Batman for Mason

An electric Snap Circut set for Mitchel (really cool!)

A new trike for Miles
I didn't even get one picture of all the kids in front of the tree. While making Christmas breakfast, Mason threw up, I was still feeling like crap, and Mitchel and Max were coughing all over the place. How Miles didn't get sick, I'll never know, but I am so grateful!
Next it was off to Grandma and Grandpa Miller's.
The hit gift was "Pillow Pets!" Each grandchild got a different one. My boys love theirs and now carry them all over the house and sleep with them and have many pillow fights with them.

That night we all just went home to play with the games and toys we got. I went to bed for a long time. The next day, Sunday, all of us but Mike stayed home from church. I slept most of the day again. Seriously, I was wiped out! Finally by Monday I figured it was time to get my act together and clean some stuff up a little. To this day (New Years Eve) I am still coughing, but finally feeling back to normal.
So, Christmas happened. I hope that as time goes on I'll only remember the good parts and not remember being in my death bed. But it was still a good time spent with my boys and hopefully it was a good one for them!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

18 months...nursery here we come!

My baby officially turned 18 months on Christmas day.
Miles is turning into quite a little character! He fits right in with the rest of my crazy boys. He loves to run and chase them all, wrestle, make messes, and drink lots of chocolate milk. Seriously, I think he is addicted to the stuff. He loves to carry around his blankie and it's still a struggle to get him to let go of his binki. His new game is run away and hide. He is quick too! He has figured out how to turn the water on to the bath tub, so I always have to make sure the bathroom door is closed. We are looking forward to church in this new year now that he will be able to go into nursery. We are hoping that the Sabbath really does turn into a day to worship, learn, and listen, instead of carry, chase, and try to make Miles not scream.

Miles is so full of life and energy. He never stops moving. He also is the messiest eater on the planet. The crazy thing is that he still isn't talking yet. Oh, he babbles lots of things, and he can understand everything I am saying to him. But for some reason, he doesn't want to form any words of his own. Should I be worried? I don't know yet. He is such a cutie though and makes us laugh a lot. He also is a trouble maker and makes me do a lot of extra cleaning and picking up. Oh well. I'm glad he is getting older and more independent. I couldn't do the newborn thing again. I am getting prepared for the potty training stage soon, and once that's over, it will be smooth sailing right?

Anyway, happy 18th month birthday Miles. I love you, crazy boy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December stuff

This month has just flown by. I can't believe Christmas is this week. Life has been busy as usual, but we have found the time to have some fun as well. A few weeks back, we had a major snow storm that dumped about a foot of snow on our yard. As a result, the boys spent quite a bit of time sledding down our hill, despite the fact that it was 10 degrees outside. Getting Miles into all his snow gear was exactly like to was for Randy's mom in "A Christmas Story." It took forever to get on the snow pants, boots, coat, hat, and mittens. Then after being outside for exactly 5 minutes, he had had enough and wanted to come back inside. Another fun thing we did was build gingerbread houses. In the past, I've been too cheap to buy one of those precut ones, and instead usually used graham crackers. But this year my boys talked me into it since we found one that included 5 different buildings for only $10. Luckily, the day we were going to make the houses, I read my friend Laurie's blog. Her family had also attempted to make a house earlier in the week. Unfortunately, the frosting that is supplied with the kit does not hold the gingerbread pieces together very well. She lamented on her blog how she wished she had just used her hot glue gun. "Brilliant!" I said and that is exactly what we did! It worked like a charm and all of ours stayed put together perfectly!

A neighbor of mine had told us a couple of months ago about a Science show they do up at the U called the "Faraday Lectures." It is totally free and is geared toward kids and showing them about chemistry and science. It was so cool! I took Mitchel, his friend Hayden, Max and Mason. We all loved it. They made things blow up, smashed things, changed the color of things, lit things on fire, pretty much a boy's paradise. We learned a lot too!
I've been pretty busy with weddings over the past few weeks. The latest one was just this past weekend in San Diego. Mike's cousin Justin was getting married in the San Diego temple. I've done his other two brother's weddings as well. So they flew me out there on Thursday (I took two days off school) and we took some beach pictures of the two of them while Mike, his brother, and their parents drove down. The wedding and reception were on Friday. Then we all drove back home together on Saturday. It was a quick trip, but well worth it. I think their video will turn out awesome.

Here we are at the reception. The cake was delicious!
So it has been a busy December. Lots of work and not as much play as I would have liked, but I'm looking forward to the Christmas break and spending some time with my kids. Maybe I'll even get my house in order, but don't hold me to that one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Cup is Overflowing

"...and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." Alma 34:38
I've always been not only a "glass half full" kind of person, but really a "cup overflowing" kind of person. I think I've been able to see from a very young age the blessings from the Lord in my life. We had a lesson in Young Womens this past Sunday on spiritual gifts, and I think one of mine is being able to feel gratitude easily. I also think that this has helped me to be a pretty happy person through out my life as well. There is just no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father knows me and blesses me daily! I can feel his hand in my life all the time and recognize that all these blessings and tender mercies come from him. So because it is Thanksgiving, I thought I would list some of the things I am grateful for. This list could probably be endless, but I'll just post a few.
First and foremost, I am thankful for my relationship with my Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. My testimony began a long time ago as my parents taught me and made sure I went to church every Sunday. I can't really think of a time when I doubted if the Church was true or if I was a child of God. I remember vividly on the Sunday I was confirmed after my baptism when I stood and bore my testimony, and then bawled for the rest of the meeting because I felt the Holy Ghost so strongly. If I ever did question, I always thought back to that day. Since then, and especially as I've been married and had children, I've tried especially hard to have the Holy Ghost as my constant companion. Through my teaching and service opportunities in the church, and in following the commandments, my knowledge and love of the Savior has continued to grow. I know now, like I've never known in my life before, that I can not do anything by myself. The Savior makes everything possible and magnifies my efforts 100 fold.
I am thankful for my home. It is small, there is not much room to store things, most of my furniture is hand me downs, it is rarely spotless, I live on an annoying hill, but I LOVE my home. We have created so many family memories in this little house. I always know where everyone is and there are lots of times when we just have to get cozy to watch a movie together or eat together. I love my neighbors, neighborhood, and ward. I love living where everyone else is "in the same boat" financially. I love having neighbors I can borrow a stick of butter from when I need it. I love that there is at least enough rooms in my house that I can have a toy room so I can just shut the door and I don't have to see the big mess all the time. I love that it is hard to tell when my new carpet it dirty so even though I know I haven't vacuumed for a while, you can't really see the dirt all that much.
I am thankful for the blessings of the temple.

(this is from the last wedding I just filmed)
It is obvious when Mike and I haven't been to the temple in a while. Our tempers are shorter with each other and we just don't seem to connect as well. Somehow, when we make the effort to go, our relationship is blessed. I am so grateful to know that Mike and I and our children will be able to be together forever. I love that as a couple, we have our ultimate goal in mind, and everything we do is to get us to that goal. It unites us as a husband and wife and it gives us direction in raising our children.
I am thankful for my calling with the Young WomenThese are "my girls." So what if I wasn't given daughters of my own, instead he gave me 17 of the most wonderful, amazing, and talented girls to hang out with. It's amazing to me how Heavenly Father gives us the ability to love those that we serve. They truly are a blessing to me and I love the experiences, especially camp and Youth Conferences, that I get to have with these girls. It is fun watching them grow up and to see their testimonies grow.
I am thankful for my job
(My "Success Maker" computer club in the morning.)

(My fifth grade reading class.)
How lucky am I to be able to get up each morning excited to go to work? How many people can say that? I absolutely love my job as a teacher. Besides being a wife and mother, I feel like it is what I was put on this earth to do. There are so many things these kids need to know and their learning abilities and styles and levels are all so different, so every day is a challenge. But they are full of potential. More than anything, I feel like my job is to help them be successful and know that they can do more than they think they can.
I am thankful for my extended family
Even though this picture only shows the Miller side (I don't have one of the Harkers) I am so blessed to have some of the best parents, in-laws, grandparents for my children, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews on the planet. I am so lucky that we all live relatively close to one another and can spend holidays and special occasions together. Some of my best times are spent with them.
I am thankful for my own family

How could I not love and adore these sweet faces? I am amazed and grateful daily that Heavenly Father entrusted some of his choicest spirits to come to Mike and I. I feel the great responsibility of raising them to be righteous men. They make me smile constantly. I am so proud of how curious and smart they are. They soak up knowledge like little sponges. I love that they get along (most of the time) and watch out for each other. I love how they won't go to bed without family prayer and a hug and kiss from mom. And then even more grateful that they stay asleep all night. I hear my friends complain that their kids wake up in the middle of the night and come into their room or in their bed, and mine have never done that once! I love that they are willing to help around the house. I love that they don't demand unnecessary things (like toys or treats from the store) and I haven't seen a temper tantrum out of the oldest three in a really long time. They are trying so hard to do their best and live what Mike and I are trying to teach them. They want to be obedient and I just know that they are here for a special reason. All four of them have a mission Heavenly Father wants them to fulfill while here on earth.
Along with my children, I am so thankful for Mike. Everything I have listed is because I chose to marry him. I wouldn't have any of it if it wasn't for his willingness to love and take care of me. He has had to really step up to the plate lately with me being so busy with Young Womens and school. He gets the kids where they need to go each morning, and he is NOT a morning person. He stays home while I go to meetings or activities and never complains about it. I am loving watching the relationship between him and our boys grow. I know they are looking up to him and learning to be like him. I couldn't ask for anything more. He is my partner through it all and gives me hope and encouragement when I need it the most. I will love him forever!
Of course there are a million other things I could list. My life is "full to the brim" with blessings and I am so thankful for each and every one.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh We've Got Trouble!

See this sweet, innocent face? Well, don't let it fool you. This kid is nothing but trouble! He is into EVERYTHING! I go into one room to clean up one mess, and come into the next room to find it all torn apart. Books, Tupperware, Kleenex, toilet brushes, nothing is off limits to this kid. His new favorite toy is the toilet. Mason went into the bathroom the other day and was freaking out because his socks got all wet. "How?" I asked only to find the bathroom floor covered with toilet water that Miles had splashed everywhere. Last night I came home from Young Women's to find every cupboard and drawer in the bathroom completely emptied with the contents strewn all around the house. (Yes, nice babysitting Mike!) And right now as I am typing this he is throwing a soccer ball all around the office and knocking things of the desk. He has also started throwing some pretty good temper tantrums by flopping down on the floor and grinding his nose into the carpet. The other night we went to get our family Christmas photo at Target. The family shot went well, but when I wanted just one with the boys, Miles wouldn't have any of it and flopped right onto the floor and started bawling. A few weeks ago I got a call from a dispatcher at 911 asking if I had an emergency at our house. Apparently Miles was playing with the phone and dialed 911.

Of all my boys, this one is by far the most spirited and demanding. He climbs on everything, wants to be picked up, then gets mad and wants to be put down. Most the time I don't think he even knows what he wants. He sure is giving me a run for my money.

But despite it all, he is super cute and can be pretty funny. The other boys laugh at him all the time, which might explain why he continues his "naughty" behavior. He LOVES the reaction he gets from the older three. Everyday is an adventure with him, that is for sure!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Halloween happened. It started with the pumpkin carving for Family Home Evening. Each child did all their own gut scraping and carving. They all did a great job. I have some pretty creative and independent children.

Even Miles got in on the fun flipping pumpkin seeds all around the dining room.

The spooky, finished products.

My two animals. A dinosaur and an elephant. I did not buy one new costume this year. All of them were hand-me-downs. That saved me a lot of money!

My two fighters, a ninja and a pirate.

This is Mitchel's fourth grade class after the big parade. His teacher's costume was by far the best! She was the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.

Mason also had a parade that day at preschool. These are his teachers Ms. Jackie, Ms. Chris, and Ms. Carol.

Halloween afternoon was our first ever Trunk-or-Treat. Because of the rain, we had to have it indoors.
The turnout was great!
Later that night we went out Trick-or-Treating for real. First we did a few houses in my parent's neighborhood, then came back and did our block with some of our neighborhood friends. When all was said and done we had a pile of fat, lard and sugar sitting on our counter top. I didn't even have a bowl big enough to put it all in, so I had to go get a tote!
Another Halloween come and gone. Time goes by super fast. I am grateful that I get to experience all these holidays with my kids. They sure make life more fun!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Paris? London? Rome? No...Moab!

What a perfect fall break we spent camping in Moab, UT. I wish I could describe the absolute joy and relaxation I feel when I am camping with my family. It's like every single moment is a wonder to me. I love the dirt, the fire, the quiet, the nature, the simpleness of it all. I think I would rather be camping with my boys than anywhere else on earth. I truly have become a nature lover (but not quite a tree hugger.)
Anyway, here we are at the entrance to the park.

Our first hike was called "Park Avenue." It takes you through a "road" of rock formations that feel like buildings on all sides of you. This is near the end and the formation is called "The Three Gossips."

Later that evening we explored "Devil's Garden." Here there are several hikes that take you to different arches. The one below is called "Landscape Arch" and is the longest known arch in the world. It is longer than a football field. A few years back a big chunk of it fell off of it in the middle. Goes to show you that these things aren't here for forever, so you better see them while you can.

On that same hike we found "Navajo Arch" along with a few others. By the time we were done hiking around, it was getting dark.
The nights and morning were pretty cold, so we all got bundled up the best we could. We actually all slept really cozy warm with our sleeping bags and the 100 blankets I brought.

The weather was absolutely perfect the entire time. High 70's in the day and 40's at night. Cold enough that the fire felt wonderful to sit around at night and cool enough during the day that we weren't sweating to death on the hikes. We camped on BLM land which meant there was no running water or toilets or anything like that. I know it sounds weird, but I like that even better than staying at an actual campground. It feels like you are all by yourself. The kids can run around and yell as much as they want (until I yell at them to knock it off.) It's just part of the freedom of camping.

Every park we go to, our boys have to be Jr. Rangers. The one in Moab is actually pretty easy and my kids were able to earn it in a day. They loved their badges and wore them for the rest of the trip.
Of all the hikes that must be done in Arches, the one to "Delicate Arch" is a must! The hike is up some steep slickrock but it is totally worth it. To see the famous arch is an amazing experience. It is breathtaking!

We all gave it a thumbs up!

These are my "artistic" photos of the arch.

Balancing rock is also a must see (but you can view it right off the road) We walked around it though and showed off our balancing skills. One day this rock is going to go tumbling right off too, and no one knows when it will happen.

On our way out of Moab, we stopped at this little trail the rangers had told us about that had real, live dinosaur bones still in the rock. It was pretty cool to see the real thing right in front of us. Even the boys were impressed!

Another short trail led us to dinosaur foot prints. They really were here!
I really do wish I could describe the actual feelings I felt while we were here. It is hard to put into words the appreciation I have for this beautiful, peaceful place where I can spend time with my favorite people on the planet. The only way I can think of is to say it is "pure JOY!"