Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

I just wanted to tell everyone Merry Christmas and to share some pics of my kids from before church on Sunday. I love shopping for Quincy's Christmas dress each year. Nate and I saw this while we were in New York and knew that it was "the dress."

The church missionary department did a YouTube video about Christmas. If you have a minute check it out here:

We're truly grateful for this time of year. We're grateful for the birth of our Savior, his life, and his atonement. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas day!

Friday, December 19, 2008

For All Of You Moms Out There

I thought this was great! This clip is a video of my life, and I'm sure many of you will relate. Happy viewing!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Lights

One of my very favorite things to do during the holidays is drive around and look at Christmas lights. Nate always does such a good job at our house. He complains about it every year, but I think he secretly enjoys it, and is always happy with the end result.

Growing up (and even still), I thought I had the coolest Christmas house in Cedar City. Over thirty years ago, my great-grandpa Neeley started putting up a Nativity and Santa scene in his yard. When my parents moved into the home, my dad continued the tradition. Once he has put the decorations up, it truly feels like Christmas is on its way. I'm so grateful for this tradition. My kids look forward to seeing it each year, and many people in the community comment that it's one of the homes that they have to drive by each year.

Another fun thing we were able to do this year was join Alayna's family at the Ogden Christmas Villages. The local businesses each donate and decorate a little "house" that gets displayed around the Ogden downtown park. The kids had a great time peeking into the windows to see how each of the homes were decorated. The Grinch was even there to spread a little holiday cheer!

While we were up north, we also had the opportunity to walk around temple square. None of the kids had ever been there during Christmas, so they loved seeing all of the lights. Tanner even told Nate that our lights at home looked just as good. That made me smile. Nate's good, just not that good!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Family Pictures

Over the weekend the whole Cowan Family traveled up north to Madelyn's baby blessing. Tim did an awesome job and little Maddie looked beautiful! It's so fun to see Alayna with a little girl. Since we were all going to be in the same location at the same time (something that doesn't happen too often) we decided to get family pictures taken. The last time we had pictures done was at Alayna and Tim's wedding. We felt the two of them were a little over-dressed, so it was time for a replacement. Tim's cousin met us at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and started snapping away. The process was actually quite quick and easy, which was a pleasant surprise. Here are a few of the end result. Don't I have a good looking family? And those grandkids...


I know I'm a little behind, ok, a lot behind, but Happy Thanksgiving! We had such a great weekend filled with family, food, fun, food, laughing, food, and shopping. We're so lucky to have both families right here in the same town. We ate dinner with the Esplins this year, and as always, it was DELISH! Nate's mom is an excellent cook (I really need to learn to make gravy and pies like her), and we were definitely well-fed. The kids loved spending time with each of their cousins. We loved having them stay at our house and "partied like rock-stars" (as the kids said) each night.

What I am most grateful for.

Quincy, Parker, and Kaylee

Kaylee, Jackson, Quincy, Parker, Max, and Treyson
(Don't we have cute cousins?)

Quincy, Dawson, and Maddie

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grandparents Day and Share Fair

The day school got out for Thanksgiving break, Tanner's class had a grandparent's day. The kids could invite their grandparents (or a substitute if one isn't close by) to come and spend the afternoon with them. Tanner's lucky to have both sets of grandparents living here. Grandma Esplin (Grandpa E. couldn't get away from work), and Grandpa and Grandma Cowan joined Tanner in some games, recess, and a short program. Tanner was able to read a little thing about his grandfathers that have served in the military and show a picture of his grandpa Cowan in his uniform. He was so glad to have them share this day with him.

Treyson has been working on a project for school for about the last month. He had to research an ancestor that immigrated to the USA and then create a board displaying some of the things he found out. Can I just say that it was a huge pain! It was one of those "parent projects" that the student needs help all along the way. Thankfully, Nate's mom has quite a bit of info on various ancestors. She made the job much easier. In the end, he did a great job, and did most of the work, with a little guidance. I wonder though if Tanner can use the same project when he's in 5th grade. Wishful thinking.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
(Thanks Shannon for the poem.) We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. We're so lucky to be able to spend the day with most of our family members. We have been incredibly blessed this past year. Have a great day and eat lots of turkey!

Monday, November 24, 2008

High School Tag

I got "High School Tagged" from my aunt Shannon, so now you all get to read all about my exciting high school years. It was fun to read Shannon's memories from high school 30 years ago. We'll see if I can remember 1991-1995. Here goes!

1. Did you date someone from your school? Yes! I loved to have boyfriends (whoever tells Quincy that I did and that it's ok, is so in trouble)! Besides dating some fun boys, I ended up marrying one!

2. What kind of car did you drive? I had a pretty rockin' car. It was a 1976 Monte Carlo. We called it the "love machine" because it was big and red, inside and out.

3. Did y0u pass your Driver's License Test your first try? You betcha!

4. Were you a party animal? Most definitely not.

5. Were you considered a flirt? Hmmmm...

6. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? I was in the orchestra and played the violin-something that I really miss.

7. Were you a nerd? I don't think so.

8. Were you on any Varsity teams? I was on the varsity softball team all four years of high school. I was also a cheerleader.

9. Did you ever get suspended or expelled? No way. I've always been a little scared of authority figures and have always hated getting in trouble.

10. Can you still sing the fight song? Of course! (See #8 above) When you sing it week in and week out for four years, it's hard to forget it.

11. Who were your favorite teachers? I loved my science teachers-Mr. Sorensen and Mr. Stephensen (even though those weren't my favorite classes.) I also liked Mrs. Roundy in English.

12. Where did you sit for lunch? Thank goodness for an open campus! Before we could drive we would walk up to KB Oil, Taco Time, or Subway. After we turned 16, we would usually head to Wendy's or somewhere like that. The dollar menu saved us!

13. What is your school's full name? Cedar High School

14. What is your school's mascot and colors? The Redmen (an indian) and the colors were maroon and gold.

15. Did you go to Homecoming and with who? Yes with Todd Garrett, one of my good friends.

16. If you could go back and do it again would you? No way. I loved my time in high school and had great friends and some very good memories, but I don't ever want to repeat the drama that high school girls are involved in (I'm dreading it with Q).

17. What do you remember about Graduation? Graduation was held in the Centrum (basketball arena at the SUU campus). My classmates had selected me to be a speaker as the girl representative. I remember being totally freaked out because the arena was huge and it was full! I also remember just being so happy and proud that I had made it through high school with no regrets. We also left for our senior trip to California that night, so we were all anxious to grab our bags and go!

18. Where did you go senior skip day? Ok, maybe I was kind of a nerd. I had an AP test scheduled on the same day as the senior sluff day, so I sat in a classroom and took a test that day.

19. Were you in any clubs? Yes...The German Club (total extra credit), the spirit club, and a club for girl athletes (can't remember the name).

20. Have you gained some weight since then? Do I really need to answer that? I'll just say that I have four beautiful kids.

21. Who was your Prom date? His name was Pat.

22. Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion? Been there, done that. Our fifteen is in just over two years. I think that each one gets more fun as people change and continue to "grow up."

23. Did you have a job in High School? I worked for a little while at Godfather's Pizza. Life got too crazy with cheer and then softball to be able to spend much time making money!

Well, there you have it. I wish that I had a scanner to be able to share some lovely pictures from the mid-1990's. You'll just have to picture the big, permed hair.

Susy, Alayna, and Wendy...It's your turn to remember the good, old days!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New York

We're back from the land of excitement. We had such a great time and thoroughly enjoyed our time together. We went with our good friends the Barricks and the Sumans and did a lot of laughing, eating, and walking. We were able to go to "Wicked," Regis and Kelly, The Rockettes, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, and the Today show. We also hit Ground Zero and Top of the Rock (top of the Rockefeller Center). We did lots of shopping (the men were very good sports) and found some incredible deals. I loved going to the American Girl store and doing some (secret) shopping for Quincy. She would be in heaven there! One of our very favorite things was going to Canal Street in Chinatown and bartering for purses. Right when we got off the subway a Chinese lady quickly asked us if we were looking for handbags and told us to follow her. We went down, over, and around to get to her secret hideout of purses. She told us to cross the street, and as we did, another lady stepped out of a windowless van. We told our husbands we loved them and to kiss our kids for us and stepped into the van. For a minute we thought she was going to drive off, but after successfully getting our things, we reunited with the guys. We went to a variety of "hidden" purse rooms (we definitely got a workout walking up all of those stairs!) and came home with some fun finds. I just wish that I would have had enough room to bring one home to everyone!
The kids loved their tenders and we are so grateful for the cute couple that stayed with them. I know they were exhausted when we got home and were glad to go back to a normal life. Max ended up with double ear infections while we were gone, so I'm extra grateful for the extra love that he was given. I'm glad to be home to my babies, but I have to admit, another kid-free vacation always sounds tempting!

Here are some of my favorite pics from the trip (sorry, there are a lot!):

Happy BD, Grandma!

Today is my sweet grandma's birthday. She's 87-years-young and we are so grateful that she is still with us and is still so strong! She still lives by herself and is extremely independent. She even drove herself to renew her license a couple of weeks ago! Anyone that knows this lovely lady, will agree with me that she is the kindest, sweetest lady you will ever meet. When Treyson was little (I think about two), he nicknamed her "Sweetheart Grandma," because she calls everyone "sweetheart." It fits her perfectly and each of the great-grandkids call her that. She's an avid SUU basketball fan and has had season tickets for years. She does have a feisty side and can get after the refs as well as anyone. She loves her children and grandchildren fiercely and would do anything for them. I'm so grateful to have this wonderful woman in my life and in the lives of my children. She is an amazing example and someone I hope to be like. Love you, Grandma! Here's to many more birthdays!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NY, NY Here I come!

Nate and I are off tomorrow to the Big Apple! He has a meeting on Tuesday out there, so I'm going along to play! Another couple from work, and two of our good friends are joining us on the adventure. The two of us went out six years ago and were able to see most of the big sights, so I think we'll be spending alot of time on Canal Street (can you say bargain?). We have tickets for "Wicked" and are hoping to get some same-day, half-price tickets for another show, as well as the Rockettes Christmas show. And, if you're not busy Tuesday morning at 9:00, tune into Regis and Kelly, because WE GOT TICKETS! I guess it's pretty hard to get them, so we are ecstatic! We'll see you in a week!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick or Treat

We had such a fun, but crazy, month of October. We have so many traditions during the month (which makes for easy FHE planning!). From looking at the fall leaves, to picking and carving/painting pumpkins, we always have a good time. Unfortunately, this year when we went to get our pumpkins, they were all either rotten or green. So the "patch" we ended up buying them from was Wal-Mart. Gotta love that!

The kids have been planning since the spring to dress up as the characters from the Wizard of Oz. They wanted the whole family to play. Their well thought-out plan didn't end up happening. Treyson ended having a baseball tournament Halloween night in Mesquite, and when Tanner's tin-man costume came, his head was too big for the hat it came with (surprise, surprise). I offered to improvise for Tanner, but he decided to bag that idea, and was instead, the skeleton pirate from "Pirates of the Caribbean." Quincy was still Dorothy and Max was the Cowardly Lion.

My good husband offered to stay home and trick-or-treat with the kids, while I took Trey to his tournament. I went down Friday with just Trey, and the rest of the family came down Saturday for the rest of the games. Can I just say, it was heaven to sit through the first two games with no kids! Treyson's team did great! They went 3-1, putting them as the number two seed for the championship. They ended up getting slaughtered in the final game, but they had fun and didn't seem to care that their trick-or-treating took place in the parking lot after the night's last game.

1st Birthday Celebration

We partied like rockstars for Max's first birthday! The family all came up that night for dinner and cake. Max really could have cared less about the wrapping paper or the cake, but had a fun night anyways. I'm sure he was wondering what all of the fuss was about. He would lightly touch his cake and then throw it onto the floor. Why is it that the one time you really don't care if they make a total mess, they decide to be neat and tidy? We're grateful that we have family in town that could come help us celebrate the big day. Here's to a happy second year!

Enjoying the new birthday toys!

"Helping" me make the cake!

"You cannot make me wear this STUPID hat!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

HB to my #1 Sister!

I just wanted to wish Alayna a happy, happy birthday! I hate having her so far away. I wish that I could have wined and dined her today. She has such a good husband that goes all out for birthdays, so I know she was treated like royalty today.

Alayna is my very best friend. Growing up, I'm sure there were days that my parents wondered if I would ever get over myself and be nice to her. I am forever grateful for her and her example. She is truly one of the best little mommies around. She spends countless hours sitting on the floor playing trains with her three-year-old, or, being the school teacher she is, setting up "centers" for Dawson to rotate through. She is such a thoughtful, kind person. She truly loves others, and will do whatever she can to make someone's life easier. Besides being nice, she is ultra-talented! She works from home for a scrapbook company called Storytellers Club. It's a mail-order scrapbooking company. She designs for their monthly kits, plus does a monthly project using their supplies. Go check out some of her work at As I've said before, I want to be like her when I grow up.
I hope you have a day to remember, Alayna. You are the absolute best!

*I had in mind some fabulous pictures to post of A, but due to unforeseen circumstances (see below), I have nothing to share. All I have are these that I stole from other's blogs.

Lesson Learned

So, Sunday my hard-drive crashed. Not a happy day around here. You see, we have a one-year-old, whose pictures have not been backed up. I'm diligent about downloading from my memory card to the computer, but have no idea how to back them up onto a CD. I'm now going to learn. We don't know yet if we've lost everything, just a little bit, or nothing at all. I'm absolutely sick about the possibility of not having pictures of Max's first year. Thank goodness for blogs and grandpas. Because of them, if we have lost everything (pray with me!), I at least have these two sources for some pictures. So, learn from me, BACK UP YOUR PICTURES!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Baby is One!

From this:

To this:

My little guy turned one-year-old today! It's amazing to me to compare the first picture, taken at one month, to today's picture. Where has the time gone? I've been a little more sentimental with Max. He's our last, and I think will always be my "baby." I've tried to hold him a little longer, play with him a little more. Every new milestone that he's reached, I've realized that's the last time we would be experiencing anything like that again. He is such a happy, easy baby (until it's time to change a diaper or get him dressed-then he crawls away as fast as his legs will go). He has a lot of car-seat time as we take the older kids to their various activities, and he's always so content to sit there and go along for the ride. He has brought so much happiness into our family. His smile and dimples can melt my heart. I love this little guy and feel so blessed that he calls me "mamamama."
*Warning: Picture overload ahead!

One Day Old

1st Halloween

Professional pictures we had done at two weeks. LOVE those squishy lips!

Blessing Day

Two months old

Three Months
Five Months
Nine Months

Ten Months

Eleven Months
His very favorite thing to do

OSU Buckeye fan already