Friday, June 29, 2012

West Fest Fun

I know I am getting far to old to excitedly look forward to when the local carnival comes to town, but I can't help it.  I love the WestFest!  Since we live quit close to the parkgrounds where it is held, it makes for a lot of fun with very little effort getting to it.

This year we took the boys over to ride the rides on family night, when the rides are $1 a piece, instead of the regular $3-$4.  The boys had a blast!  And we had a lot of fun watching them have fun.

We watched the parade Saturday morning.  Palmer ran around quickly and happily, grabbing any candy that came his way, and Brody absolutely lit up as the parade ended with a caravan of firetrucks (his favorite!).

And we ended the fair by watching fireworks.  We had played with friends all day prior and barely made it home in time to watch the fireworks.  They actually started as we were walking to the park.  I kind of overdid it this particular day, and had contractions for four hours that night, but all turned out well, and we were able to have a lot of fun together as a family.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Testimony of Valerie May Nichols

I found my mother's handwritten testimony in an envelope in one of her journals (from 1989).  What a treasure!  I thought I'd record it here for all to enjoy.

I know that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the restored gospel in its fullness.  I know this because the Holy Ghost has born witness to me.  I have personal testimony of individual principles of the gospel because of experiences in my life.  I was inactive and I returned to the Lord through dedicated home teachers.  I was given a calling that I was in no way suited for or worthy of, but this calling helped nurture me back to the fold.  I have a testimony that leaders of the organizations do have divine inspiration when neccesary to give callings.  I have a testimony that the Lord loves me as He prepared me over a few years time to be able to return to Him.  I have a testimony of the Priesthood because of the way my husband honors it and because of the comfort I have received through blessings given by the Priesthood.  I have a testimony of the Relief Society because of the growth, the knowledge and the love I have recieved through it.  I know that we are all children of our Father in Heaven.  I know this becasue of the love I feel for my brothers and sisters.  I know that Jesus is my savior because of the swelling in my heart when I read the scriptures and when I think of Christ.  I know that God and Jesus live and I know that we will all have eternal life.  I know because this is truth.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Recipe - Seven Layer Bars

I haven't been trying too many new recipes lately.  I don't quite have the same energy I used to have, so my meals have been on the easier side.  This recipe is an oldie but a goodie.  I got the recipe from my mom.  I'm sure many of you have this recipe or something similar, and if you don't then it's your lucky day.  Seven layer bars are a cinch to make and they always taste yummy!  We made them on Father's Day to give to the father of our ward, the Bishop.  It's been a tradition we've done each Father's Day, one that we hope to carry on as our children grow older.  We are so grateful for the Bishops we have had, who watch over us and guide us.  They truly do a selfless work.

Seven Layer Bars

1/4 pound butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

          Melt butter in a 13x9 pan.  Press graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of the pan to create a crust.  Add the other ingredients in order as layers.  Do not stir.  Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Big 3-0!

Looks like I am officially grown up.  I turned 30 on June 8th.  It's been a day I've been fearing for a while now, but honestly it wasn't so bad.  I had a great time celebrating, and I think being uber pregnant helped take my mind off of just how old I am getting.

Greg spoiled me rotten!  He took me on a surprise overnight getaway, and even arranged for the babysitter.  Grandma Nancy watched the boys while Greg took me to The Grand America hotel.  When checking in, the receptionist kindly informed him that he had made his reservation at the Little America, not The Grand America.  Greg had not realized they were separate hotels.  He was pretty bummed, but I thought the mix up was hilarious!   We crossed the street to the correct hotel and checked in.  The room was very, very nice.  And I was glad he had not spent more at The Grand America anyway, since The Little America was plenty extravagant enough.  We had dinner at the hotel (which wasn't great) and had breakfast across the street at The Grand America's breakfast buffet (which was amazing!!!).  It was so great to hang out, just us, and relax and sleep in.

He also hired a maid service to come and deep clean our home before we left.  Yep, he's pretty amazing!  It was my first experience with a maid service, and I can definitely see why people would use them.  It was awesome having someone else do all my difficult undesirable chores while I hung out with the kids.  It would have taken me about a week (with my pregnant body and my attention demanding children) to accomplish what two women did in an hour and a half.  Unfortunately the perfectly scrubbed floors didn't last very long.  Within 15 minutes after they left Palmer crumbed a cookie down the stairs.  And within moments of us returning from an errand we ran just after the cookie incident, Brody splashed a smoothy all over the hardwood floor in the hallway.  No wonder why I can't seem to keep the house clean!

On Sunday we had both sides of the family, as well as my best bud Jenn and her girls, over for a barbecue.  Greg did most of the cooking, prepping and grilling spicy honey chicken thighs.  We had cake and ice cream and I opened some awesome gifts.

So, like I said, turning 30 wasn't so bad.  In fact, thanks to my husband, family and friends, it was just great.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cut and Color

Being seven months pregnant with twins and turning thirty entitles one to a little beautification! I had my haircut (thanks to my sister Sariah) and highlighted (thanks to my friend Kaylin) last week, and am loving the results.

I also chose to get a pedicure for my Mother's Day gift. Can you tell I am desperately trying to feel somewhat cute and attractive, instead of the mack truck that I feel like most of the time?

Most of my family gave me money for my birthday, and if I didn't have a little more than a month to go before the babies come, I'd be spending it all on the cutest maternity clothes (although I think cute maternity clothes is usually an oxymoron) I could find. I'm still somewhat tempted to save the money and buy cute clothes that I can get more use out of after I have the babies. However, realistically I know that the size I want to wear will take a while to get to.  So, I think I'll settle for a new iPod.  Mine's been on the fritz ever since I washed it, imagine that!?  And having some good tunes to workout to will help me get to that size I want to be once I am done being a pregnant mack truck.  Beep, beep!    

Monday, June 11, 2012

Third Trimester with Twins

Here I am, seven months pregnant with the twins.  The third trimester of this pregnancy has gone pretty well.  As of right now, I would still say this has been my best pregnancy. 

I do get worn out quite quickly, and I get frustrated with my body not being able to keep up with what I want it to do.  Things are getting very uncomfortable, and it's getting difficult to sleep a full night, or bend over, or carry things, or sit too long... but I'll survive.  :)  I did not measure large at all during my prenatal check-ups until the appointment after we found out we were having twins (about 20 weeks), which was odd.  After that I grew very big, very fast!  Some of my stomach muscles tore because of the rapid growth, and that was painful.  My belly has thankfully decided to slow down a bit, and now I am right on track for what I should be measuring with twins, and am not hurting as much.

I get contractions easily, so I try to not be to take it easy most of the time.  I had contractions with all my pregnancies, so the fact that they come frequently isn't too much of a concern for me.  I just try to stop them by resting when they do come on.  However, I do feel so very large and pregnant, so much so that I can't help but think I will go into labor almost each night when I am going to sleep.  I only have my past pregnancies to compare this one with, and right now I feel like I did when I went into labor with them.  I am hoping and praying that I can make it to 36 weeks (July 28), which is considered full term with twins.  If I do make it farther than 36 weeks (which my doctor says is rare), he will be scheduling a c-section at 37 weeks.  I am planning to tandem nurse the babies when they come, and I hear the success rate with breastfeeding twins is much higher if the babies are around six pounds.  And of course, I want them to grew as big and healthy as possible.  With regular ultrasounds, my doctor has assured me that so far, they are growing very healthily and well.  They are around three pounds each right now.

We are very excited for these sweet babes to soon join our family!  They're expected arrival date is only about six weeks to go from here!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Looking Back, After the Fog

We had a lesson in Relief Society this last week, where the instructor related personal revelation to a pilot receiving instruction while flying through fog.  Since I was a youth, I've always had a strong testimony of personal revelation.  I could tell of many experiences when I know the Lord guided me through my life, usually even when I did not understand why, and I received blessings for following that guidance.
During the lesson, I couldn't help but reflect on our most recent experience of Heavenly Father guiding us through the "fog."  Several months ago, Greg was up for a promotion at work.  This promotion would put him in the exact position he wanted for his career path.  For the past couple years, his boss had been telling him that they were preparing him for this position.  It pretty much came across to us, that when the position was made, the job was in the bag for Greg.  His company tested all the applicants, and Greg tested at the top.  We both desperately wanted and were very excited for Greg to be able to progress in his career; he was feeling stagnant.  However, when the time came to announce who got the job, it was given to another one of Greg's coworkers.  Greg was happy for his coworker, but we could not help but feel confused and wonder what had gone wrong.

Through out the process, we had been praying that whatever job that was best for our family would be the one to work out.  And with each prayer, we had felt comfort that, indeed, all would work out for the best.  Shortly after the promotion was given to someone else, we found out that it would have resulted in a pay decrease, due to Greg going to a salaried position and losing his overtime and the company's policy on raise percentages.  We then found out that my sister was in need of help and would need to move in with us, and that I was carrying twins and would have to quit my job.  Money is often too tight as it is, and with added expenses, a pay decrease would have not worked for us.  Also, the coworker who received the promotion has been traveling most weekends since he started the job; I was very sick at the beginning of this pregnancy and it would have been very, very difficult to not have Greg around to help.  Obviously, the job would not have been a good fit for our family, as much as we wanted it.

Not only did the wrong job not work out, but we were recently further blessed with a new job that fell into Greg's lap, which he will be starting next week.  It is not the type of IT work he thought he would pursue, it's not at the company he currently enjoys working for, and it does not have the title he has been seeking.  But it will give him new experience to add to his resume, it is with a company with an extremely low turnover rate that all of it's employees rave about, and he was hired on at the highest level due to his current technical knowledge. It also comes with a nice hefty raise that will more than provide for our upcoming financial needs.

That fog often is unclear, dark and just nasty when you are amidst it.  But isn't it amazing that we can be safely guided through it by a loving Heavenly Father.  And isn't it just wonderful when we can look back, after that fog has lifted, and see not only what we have come through, but also understand why we had to take the path we took.  And sometimes, mercifully, we are even given a glimpse of the grandeur that is now in store!