Thursday, April 7, 2011

"The Thinker"

Thinking beyond her years

I have three daughters.

Three very different daughters.

They each want to have their own claim, yet love a lot of the same things.

As a mom it's tricky to highlight and praise their individual talents. We recently got a chance to highlight our Alex on her Kindergarten Special Day. Alex loves to create. Often times I will find her quietly drawing or coloring, when the other kids are off doing something else. My grocery list often get compromised with sketches and it's nearly impossible to find a notebook without her "touch".

For her special day she wanted to make a mural of all her favorite things. She worked so hard on it and I think it turned out great! She included the mountains, one for skiing and one for camping (she even drew a tent for us and one for Max and Kaysie). She drew our house with a long road to Utah to see Papa and Chicky. She is a long time BYU fan so a "Y" was included. She drew two missionaries representing Uncle James on his mission, her flying a kite, and of course Mickey Mouse.

Like all artists she signed her work. But it didn't end there. She started writing something under her name in her very best handwriting.

"You never know what you can do".

I asked her where she heard that and she just said it was in her head. I didn't know what to say. Here I have this amazing 6 year old given to raise and she is raising me.

I don't share this story to brag or boast but to pass on her message that we truly never know what we can do until we try.

She is such a special girl to us Everyday!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The First and Last


As parents we often celebrate the many firsts in our children's lives. They are Huge, Important, Monumental and life changing. I'm talking about the first cry, first steps, first day of Kindergarten, first lost tooth. My kids are young so I will stop there as I can't bare the many many more firsts we have coming. I have the most well documented firsts for my children, but what about their lasts? They often happen and we don't even realize. As my baby's 2nd birthday is approaching I realize this next year will be a year of lasts for her. With potty training & Binky disappearance coming, I'm not especially sad but in a way I am because it just means she's growing up too fast.

I love the way she wraps her arms around my neck when I get home, even if I've been gone only a little while. It always cracks me up how when she hears Ben in the kitchen after the big girls have gone to bed, she runs yelling "popcorn". She is usually right and she always gets some. She will watch and listen for the school bus so she can hide in the front closet and scare B & A. And somehow they are always scared. I love rocking her to sleep while she pats her blanket looking for a tie to twirl in her fingers. I love how she says "sorry" after an intentional hit to her sisters head with a brush. I am going to miss all the babyish sweet things she does but I am so excited for this next year too. Maybe that's why we celebrate the firsts more than the lasts it gives us something to work towards and look forward to.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grandpa Fillerup

This is my Grandpa. He has been such an influence in my life. When I moved from Utah to go to school at Northwest I found it so comforting to have my grandparents near. As a young girl we lived close but it wasn't until I moved back did I become so close to my them. I lived with them the summer after my first year of college in their basement. Grandpa was always good for a joke with dinner. I shouldn't have been surprised when after dinner he would study the scriptures in both English and Portuguese. It seems they were the first to know I would marry Ben (even before I did) and I remember they told my parents, who hadn't met him yet, what a good guy he was. I got a call from my mom asking what was going on. They were serving a mission in New Jersey when Ben and I got married and moved to Lovell. Grandpa grew up in Lovell and would we would write back and forth and he would tell me all about his days growing up. The regrets, mischief, and pleasures. When I had Brooklyn he and my Grandma came to the hospital to visit me and their first great grandchild. I remember he ran into a friend who's daughter was having a baby to. He thought that was pretty funny. Grandpa had friends everywhere, and if not he made them. He and Grandma always came to my girls birthday parties, baby blessings, and dance recitals. They made such an effort to support us. Some of my girls fondest memories are going up on Tuesdays for dance and getting to visit Grandpa & Grandma after. Grandpa would take the girls in his studio and set them up with watercolors and paper and they would all paint together. I remember when the girls would act up he would just shake his head and give a little chuckle. One time Brooklyn found an old children's song book and took it to Grandpa to sing with her. I still remember that voice singing with her, the same one I had heard singing me Happy Birthday over the phone for years. He took the time to make the little things count. In the more recent years their trips here have been few, so we spend more time at their house. When we haven't been for awhile the girls start bugging us to go. When Grandpa took a turn for the worse and his years of neglecting his diabetes caught up with him, it hit us all hard. I spent many days just being there, wishing now it would have been more. He passed away on July 2 at the age of 86. It is hard to remember all the wonderful things you love about a person who's gone, hoping they knew how much they meant to you. The tears are flowing as I write this, sad tears, because I miss him. I go and visit Grandma now on a regular basis. She is doing amazingly well, she misses her sweetheart and has his pictures surrounding her chair reminding her of happier days. The girls get mad when I go while they are in school because they love to go see Grandma too. We still say "Hi-ho" when we walk in the door and occasionally I find the girls peeking in the studio, after I shoo them out I take a deep breath just for his smell. I feel very blessed to have had him this long and that he was able to be part of my girls lives. I have caught Alex crying because she misses him too. That's when we curl up and read his book of his life history. Boring bedtime story, I know, but it seems to make us all feel better.



Alex's VIP Preschool Graduation
I wish my kids could stay in preschool forever...or at least VIP. I truly believe that once all the parents were shooed and gone that something magical happened, almost like Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Where everything comes to life and the kids are so eager and willing to learn. They come home bubbly and excited about their creations: mud pigs, fire trucks and finger painted pictures. Miss C and Miss L created a place like no other, so full of love and kindness you could feel it in the air. It always seemed contagious and if I took Alex to school grumpy she came home happy and cheerful. Some will say it's not magic but I believe it is.

Our Dear Joy School Group

Team Alex!! Thanks for coming April, Gretchen and gang.

People try and tell you to be cautious who you marry, because you marry the whole family. In some cases it's a bad thing but in my case I think I did better than I could have planned. I got to see this family in action this month when my sister in law, April, got married. We were all able to come together and create this beautiful reception for April and Ryan. I must say I was so overwhelmed at times but it always seemed there was someone there just when they were needed. We are all so happy for April and Ryan and love them to pieces!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010



Aunt Susan and Uncle Dave have put on an egg hunt for the whole family for a few years now. They hide eggs and candy in their back yard and then the kids find it! They even make if fun for all the Mom's too. They have a golden and silver egg with a movie pass to the Hyart. It's always a fun time to get together and see everyone. Thanks Aunt Susan and Uncle Dave!!

Candace's First Birthday!!!

No one likes being sick especially on your very 1st Birthday! Poor Candace woke up feeling miserable, one of those you can see in their eyes. I told the girls that morning we were going to have to cancel her party scheduled for that evening. Alex looked at me with a look of unbelief and said "Mom you can't take away her birthday!" We did make her cupcakes that day but I wouldn't let her open any presents (I didn't want her sick germs to get on them, dumb I know). Our neighbor kids came over and we all sang to her. She was so sick she didn't want to eat dinner but she perked up for her cupcake. Who doesn't? So even though her birthday day wasn't much we did have a great party about 2 weeks later.

1 year olds are the best! She is so easy to please and seems to go with the flow of our crazy life. I have never had a such a great napper/sleeper. Ben calles her "Linus" because where ever she is, her blanket is right behind her. We seem to call her "Cancan" quite a bit. Our sweet little neighbor, Carter, loves to make her smile and his favorite way is by dancing and singing the cancan song to her. He is usually succesful at getting smiles out of everyone. :) It has taken me most of her first year to get adjusted to 3 kids and now the house seems empty when the girls are gone to school. She loves to be outside and seems to have no fear of cats, sprinklers or grasshoppers. She seems to have melted a special place in everyones hearts and we are so blessed to have her in our family.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

March: part two

March: Part Two


We had 3 total days to spend in Disneyland & CA Adventure and we used up every minute of it. We spent most of our time there with Sam & Brandee which was handy so we could kid swap and go on all the rides we wanted, sometimes twice! I think we might of wore them out a bit from all the running but they were good sports and we had a BLAST! On the way home the girls were already talking about "next year". I told them to give us a few years. It's hard My family has been going since I was a small child (my grandparents lived 1 hr away) and Disney kind of gets in your blood. I must admit I am already looking for tickets for next summer with hopes for a bargain. Any takers
Alex, Brooklyn & Taycee on Splash Mountain. Brooklyn got soaked but still rode again...this time in the back.

Ben loves taking the roller coaster shots. See that sweet little girl next to me? Ya, she can scream like no other sound I have ever heard!

If you have ever "opened" Disneyland or CA Adventure you know it's the way to go. Ya, you have to get up before the sun but it's sooo worth it. The girls were great sports and it pays off when you get to ride all the "big" rides by walking on. You can see Ben and Alex are soaked, the bad thing about those early mornings is the sun isn't out yet. We took the girls on Grizzly Rapids and we all were pretty wet coming off. They were pretty tough and eventually we dried out.

Our little family, waiting for the shuttle. It was hard to keep them calm they were so excited!

This is the last day and you can tell we had lots of fun and wore them out.

March: part one


In March we went to Las Vegas and stayed a few days and then on to California for a few more. I think I'm going to break it up since we did so many fun things and I don't want to have to pick just a few.
We stayed at this condo that had amazing swimming pools. We went in March and us WYO folks thought it was going to be boiling hot. It was a little on the cool side, but we swam anyway.

Have you ever driven Las Vegas BLVD aka "The Strip" at night, in a suburban, with construction and big buses? Well put that on my list of things I've done and don't need to do again. We had girls night and Heidi was able to get us some tickets to Phantom of the Opera. I had never been to an opera so I thought everything was AMAZING. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat and totally mesmerized the whole time.
Since Heidi was living there she knew this great Children's Museum. I had looked it up before we went and found out they had a Berenstain Bears exhibit while we were there. We all love the B.Bears so of course we had to go for a few hours. This is part of the Children's museum where they had a bunch of science activities. This is a wind tunnel that the breezes got up to 80 miles per hour. I thought Wyoming was windy! All our hair was in knots for the rest of the day.


I don' think I can call this a February activity but more an all winter activity. This was the girls 3rd year skiing and they get better each time we went. Brooklyn has gained alot of confidence and tries to go off jumps like Aunt Becca. Alex is getting more and more confidence and loved to play follow the leader. It is fun to have them liking it and we can't wait to hit the slopes again.

This is Princess Cancan playing in Alex's fire truck from school.

Alex turned 5 this past year and she is growing up so fast. She is Candace's biggest protector and tormentor. She is my biggest helper and messiest child. She waves to Ben each morning in our picture window until she can't see his truck and the first to hug him when he comes home at night. She is always ready to play with Brooklyn when she gets home and eager to hear about her day. Alex would rather fruit and veggies over candy or sweets. She would rather you play a game or read a book to her than buy her a present. One time she was in trouble for something and was having a time out in her room. Ben had gotten home from work and I told him to go and get her out but that it was my turn to have a time out in my room. Pretty soon here comes Alex with some lotion asking if I would like a foot rub. She is a great peacemaker and I hope learn something from having a child just like myself. We love this girl who loves life and wants to make others happy.

*notice the missing tooth. She lost her first tooth New Years Eve and her second one New Years Day. Two teeth in two days and in two different years!


January: I had the best 30th Birthday ever!! (glad I will only have one) I flew to Vegas for a shopping trip with Heidi. Dan came and picked me up from my late flight because Heidi was supposedly not feeling well. When I got to their apartment all the lights were out with candles and balloons everywhere. That's when my Mom, Mickey and Becca jumped out to surprise me. We had talked about everyone meeting there, but had decided it couldn't work in everyones schedules. They made some sacrafices to come and I loved every minute of it! We do have pictures somewhere, I have seen them. They must be on someone elses camera. Just imagine the fun while I track down the pics.


CHRISTMAS Season!!! We again were able to be in Heber for Christmas and I am so glad we were. Little did we know it would be my Grandpa Fillerup's last Christmas. On Christmas Eve we did the usual songs and nativity but what made it special was my Grandma and Grandpa each took a turn telling us of past Christmases they remembered. I was able to record some of my Grandmas but with my usual plight of dead camera battery was unable to get any of Grandpas.
Of all the Christmases we spend in Utah my girls hadn't been to Temple Square to see the lights. It was -10 out but we kept warm with hand warmers and cuddling. The lights were not as spectacular as I remembered and I read later that they are cutting back to save electricity. Everything was still beautiful and the girls enjoyed seeing where Mom and Dad were married 10 years earlier (almost to the day)
Family Picture of some of My Dad's family: Dad, Aunt MaryBeth, Aunt Sharon, Uncle Sel and Grandpa and Grandma in front. Candace's First Christmas



We were able to go to Heber for Thanksgiving and try out the Mountain Man Thanksgiving. My parents have been putting this on for a few years now and have new people every year who want to try it out. Us included. Here is what makes it Mountain Man....everything is cooked over a fire, you eat outside or in the tee pee and everyone pitches in and helps cook. They do roast on a spit and everyone gets a turn, turning it. You cook your own rolls and potatoes are wrapped in foil and put in the fire. Everything was delicious and the day we perfect. With Thanksgiving around the corner we have lots to be thankful for.