Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's all about moments!!

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." e e cummings

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Birthday Girl!

Can't believe our sweet Celeste turned 8 last week!! She's always had such a great smile and endearing personality...
This contagious smile has brightened our lives from the time she was a baby! Wherever we went, people would say, "That is the HAPPIEST baby I have ever seen!!"

And then she turned 2, and developed a bit of a 'tude... ;)

She definitely has some serious spunk! She's a strong person and she can assert herself with the best of them. And so smart!

And for as young as she is, she has gotten around a lot! She was born in Texas...

Travelled across country in a motorhome- twice! And visited 34 states!

(And thoroughly enjoyed it!)

And she's lived in 3 different states already. We can't wait to see where life will take her next!!

She had a friend pool party last week, and had a blast. Twelve giggly girls makes for one fun (and noisy) birthday bash!

Happy Birthday to our beautiful Celeste! You have such a bright future ahead!

We love you. Always have.

Always will.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Isagenix Results

Check this out! This video made me cry.

This woman is so inspiring! She achieved these results by adopting the lifestyle of nutritional cleansing I'm so passionate about. And it completely transformed her life. The amazing thing- she she was an audition finalist for the Biggest Loser and ended up losing more weight and inches than any contestant on this season's show. I really believe this is the best way to lose weight- and keep it off for life. Diets don't work! This is a healthy lifestyle change that cleanses the body and then replenishes it with the nutrients and minerals we need for optimal health. I can't stop talking about how great I feel by adopting this lifestyle. My sugar cravings are finally under control, hunger curbed, and I feel vibrant and healthy again. And now my (super sketpical) Mr. Wonderful has tried it and lost 32 lbs. in just over a month! And he loves it!! Totally don't blame him for being skeptical- I was too. When you hear claims like this- it seems like a quick fix- or a fad diet. But it's honestly not. It has been a lifesaver for me and my family- literally. With diabetes, and heart disease in our family- this lifestyle change could literally add years to our lives- not to mention dramatically improve the quality of those years. That's why I feel a moral obligation to share this with people I care about.

So I'm now coaching people through this process- and LOVING it. It's so fulfilling to help people regain their health and encourage them along the way. These are what two of my recent cleansers had to say:

"I'm so grateful that I joined Isagenix! I had been looking for a natural and healthy way to have more energy to keep up with our 5 energetic boys. After 9 days on it, I have found that I no longer need/want an afternoon nap! What?! I'm moremotivated to get things done and as an added bonus, I lost 4.5 lbs and 13 inches in those 9 days! It's an amazing product!" -Shannon P.

"After each pregnancy I went up a size in clothing, which with three kids, means a lot of weight! A wonderful friend convinced me to give Isagenix a try. Results? In my first 7 days I've lost 10 pounds, have a lot more energy, and reduced sugar cravings. I LOVE my results! Can't wait to see more weight fade away :D" -Jessica T.

See why medical doctors and nutritionists are recommending these products:

And this helps explain the difference between nutritional cleansing and dieting:

This stuff works. The results speak for themselves!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

FHE Lesson- Baptism

We try to hold a family home evening every monday night- it's a night designated in our church for families to draw closer together.  I've decided to start sharing fhe ideas on this blog- feel free to steal any ideas you like!  Some are my own, others are borrowed from church magazines and church Family Home Evening manuals.

Family Home Evening usually consists of a prayer, song, lesson, activity, and a treat- (saved for the end- a great way to bribe kids to cooperate!)  Unfortunately, many of these nights don't always go as planned- and turn out something like this!

But every once in a while we get it right.  And this was one of those special nights.  Celeste is turning 8 this week, so she'll be baptized soon!  In our church we believe children are born innocent and have no need for baptism until the age of accountability.  So for FHE, we wanted to make sure she felt prepared and ready for this important step in her life.  We wanted to make sure she understood the covenants she would be making with the Lord.  We started out with a song: "When I am Baptized" and a prayer.  It's so important to emphasize the need to pray for the spirit to be with us.  With all these young crazy kids, we need all the help we can get!

Then Celeste read a couple scriptures about baptism.  We always try to incorporate scriptures in family home evening.  The word of God will touch the hearts of our children more than anything else.  Then we watched this beautiful video on baptism that helped the kids quiet down and bring a spirit of reverence.  Music is also a powerful tool to teach and testify spiritual truth.

For the lesson, I held up 2 pennies, one shiny and new, and one dirty and tarnished.  Each kid got a tarnished penny and I explained that although we come to this life clean and pure, we make mistakes along the way.  But through the blessing of baptism, we can be washed clean of our sins through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
Then they each dropped their pennies in this solution- 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and the tarnish disappeared.  The pennies were shiny and new again.  Love object lessons!  It captures kids' attention and helps them understand and remember important principles.
(Oh- one tip- don't spill vinegar on carpet.)

Then Celeste had a chance to answer some possible interview questions about baptism, and then she got to practice what it will be like to be baptized.  Daddy didn't say the actual sacred prayer of course, but they just went through the motions:

And then the mayhem began...
And lastly, for a special baptism tradtion- when the kids turn 8, they get to choose a temple from our temple book- and it gets framed and put up in their rooms.  Celeste chose the St. Louis Missouri Temple. 

And for refreshments, we had pudding- Celeste's choice in honor of her special day coming up. 
But here's a cuter idea I found:

Immersion Cookies!

Just make sure they get fully dunked. ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not So Soccer Mom

It seems there has been a lot of talk in recent years about how families are overscheduled- constantly on the run and involved in too many activities.  We've made this mistake. 

Looks a little like this- Jon gets home from work, we give each other a quick peck- or not- sometimes I'm annoyed that he's late and didn't call, lol.  So things are slightly contentious anyway, and since we're late- I'm barking at the kids to hurry and get their stuff and we all scramble out the door and head off in different directions.  Jon takes a couple kids to one activity, and I take the other kids to another, and we both pick up nutritionally void fast food- a sorry excuse for dinner on the way home.  We finally get home past the kids bedtimes and say a quick family prayer and rush to get everyone in bed- and get up to do it all again.  So that might be an extreme example, but it has happened.

But now I refuse to live that way!  I'm all about giving my kids opportunities to grow and develop, but it will not come at the expense of our family happiness.  I understand the pressure parents feel to keep up- to continually keep kids busy with worthy pursuits.  But it comes at a cost.  The rushed madness can take away from the peace and stability of home and family life.   So I guess that means I'm not a cool soccer mom.  But that's ok with me. :)  The way I see it, I have one shot to be a parent of young kids- to teach them truth, and instill values in them, and I'm not going to let social pressures or too many extracurricular activities take away those special moments.

I heard once that it's easy to say "NO" to unnessesary activities and other people's expectations, when you have a burning "YES" inside for something more important.  And to me, that burning YES is for time together.  Alvin Rosenfeld, the author of The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap: said ''Parents rush so much to pay attention to activities that they neglect the relationships. And all the data shows the relationships (with parents and friends) make the difference.''  I like how President Hinckley’s put it in his book “Standing for Something.” even more.  He said, Our lives have become intensely fast paced filled with business and a frantic flitting about that was uncharacteristic of earlier ages.  We pack our lives with so many activities and pursuits that many of us have lost sight of something that is of critical importance to families… time together. 

I'm also a huge advocate of letting kids be kids!  Allowing them space and freedom to enjoy their childhood- letting them run, play, explore, and imagine.  When they're overscheduled, there's little free time for kids to be kids.
I think it's especially important in the formative years to provide that structure kids need.  Family dinner, reading together, bedtime routines, and Sunday worship are important family rituals that provide a wonderful sense of security.  As our kids get older, we may be a little more flexible- and keep them busier... so they'll stay out of trouble.  But for now, we're really kind of possessive of our time together. :)

In an effort to prevent an overscheduled family life, our current policy is to allow each child 1 activity of their choice a year (besides church activities)- starting in kindergarten.  So this year it's t-ball for Benji, piano for Celeste, and ballet for Charity.  We do our best to have dinner together first, and then go together to practices and games as a family to show our support for one another.  As they get older, they might not want all of us on the sidelines cheering them on, lol, but for now it really seems to mean a lot to them. 

So here are a few random pics from Benji's t-ball practice-

Of course, the kids are thrilled to go along to show their support.  Or maybe it's cause we stop for ice cream on the way home.  Yeah, so getting ice cream after each game might not be the healthiest habit- but at least we're together!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The truth about LOVE

I believe the most important thing parents can do for their children is to love each other and maintain a stable and happy relationship.  A strong marriage provides security for children and a model for their own future marriages.  To be totally honest, we've had rough times in our marriage- I won't lie.  We can both be very stubborn strong-willed.  We're continually learning how to better communicate to keep our marriage strong and happy.  It takes serious work.  But these little ones are worth every effort.

Someone once told Stephen Covey he had fallen out of love with his wife. He said, "The feeling we once had just isn't there anymore- our love is dead. I think our marriage may be over. But you know, we have 3 kids... what do you think we should we do?"

Covey responded, "Love her."

The guy said, "But I just told you, the feeling just isn't there anymore. So now what do you suggest?"

Covey repeated, "LOVE her. Love is a verb. Love the feeling is a fruit of love the verb.  Start thinking selflessly- give of yourself, sacrifice for her. Show love."

I think this is such a powerful truth! I know of so many marriages that have been rebuilt by couples choosing to love. Forgiving is a verb. Patience is a verb. We can choose our own response. We can choose to love first- instead of waiting for the other to be loving. We can choose to look for the good in each other. I have not always been good at looking for the good. Jon and I even have a nickname for my feisty side- Nicolette. Lol. But we're both learning that when we wake up each morning and think to ourselves, "What can I do to make my husband's/wife's life easier? What can I do to show him/her love?" It is a much happier way to live than being critical and negative.

Now I should add- I'm not naive enough to think that this is always the solution to every problem or that every marriage can or should survive. I worked as an advocate for domestic violence and sexual assault victims, so I'm well aware that there are situations where marriages have serious problems, and just love and patience will not always solve those problems. There are legitimate reasons for divorce.

But I believe many marriages can be saved if we would choose to be selfless. Love within marriage can be recreated through service, sacrifice, and devotion. We can never go wrong by choosing to love generously, even when we don't feel like it.  Charity never faileth.  That's the truth.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Our Little Wallflower

Most people who meet our Sweet Charity Lynn assume she's quiet, reserved, and shy.

And she can be, until you get to know her.

And then you realize, first impressions can be deceiving...

When she warms up, watch out!  This little girl has SPUNK!  I read a quote once... "It's beauty that captures your attention; personality captures your heart."  Well- this little girl has captured our attention AND our heart.  She is a beautiful girl, with an endearing personality, and I love every facet of it- including her feistiness and super strong will.  She will most definitely be a leader.

She had a nice birthday on July 8th.  It was just a family party this year.  Every even year starting at age 4, the kids are allowed a friend party.  But on the odd years- we have a family party with the usual Hudson birthday traditions, and a family outing.  So Charity chose to go swimming this time.  It was fun to celebrate together- just our family.  Sometimes friend parties can get a little out of hand, so it was nice to just have a simple party together to celebrate the birth of our sweet and spunky girl. 

We love you Charity Lynn.  Happy 5th Birthday!


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