Friday, October 18, 2013


Tonight Ryan cashed in his m&m jar earnings of staying up one hour past bedtime.  Bless the kid's heart.  He's so much like his dad, and could barely stay awake that full extra hour.  All day he remind me of this great upcoming reward of staying up later than his sister, describing to me all the things he planned to do during that hour, and how lucky he was to have been given such an opportunity.  Yet, over the remaining 30 minutes of what was meant to be party time, he repeatedly asked me if it had been an hour yet.  When I finally asked him if he just wanted to go to bed, he looked at me sheepishly and nodded his head.  This kid knows when he's tired, never fights it, and is out almost instantly as soon as his head hits the pillow.  He plays hard, hard, hard all day long, and then sleeps hard, hard, hard all night long.  What a little boy.  His sleeping habits (and needs), so much like his dad's, are incredibly endearing to me.

When I finally tucked him in tonight (with 5 minutes to spare before his postponed bedtime), I asked the same question I ask several times a week:

"Ryan, will you stay little?"

"Moooom, I've already told you!  I don't know how!"
"I know, I know.  I don't really want you to stay little.  You're just so sweet to snuggle with when you're little, and I know that as you get bigger, you're not going to want to snuggle with me as much."

"I'm NOT little!  I'm a BIG boy!  ...  But Mom, you can still snuggle with me, even when I'm five, and then six, and then seven!  ...  And eight!  You can even snuggle with me when I'm TEN!"  

WHERE did this sweet boy come from, and HOW did I get lucky enough to be his mom!?  I ask myself these questions sooo frequently.  Truly, he has the most tender heart of any little guy I've ever known.  He is my mellow, go-with-the-flow, affectionate, willing-to-crawl-in-my-lap-any-time kid, who really truly loves his mama just as a boy should.  That's not to say he doesn't enjoy doing BOY things.  The kid knows how to roughhouse, assume the role of Super Hero, and demonstrate his vast array of Ninja skills.  I just love watching him be rough a tough one minute, and then sweet and tender the next.  He balances it all out rather well.

I can't believe he'll be FIVE in 3 weeks.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Still alive...

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it!

I'm not even sure where to begin.  Life has changed just a touch since I last blogged.  Chloe finished first grade.  Neil sold his Jetta and got a company car.  Oh yeah, and we bought a house!  It's 11 miles East of Land Park (where we were for 10 months), putting us in an entirely different area of Sacramento, ward and school district.  Like I said, a touch of change.  It amazes me to think back to a year ago, when we still lived in Ripon and were awaiting word on Neil's job.  His company had just been bought out by Johnson & Johnson, which was resulting in major territory re-alignments nationwide.  To complicate matters more, Neil had been covering Sacramento's largest account for the past month due to the main guy up and quitting the day of the buyout, and it was looking more and more like Neil was going to be replacing this guy permanently.  Of course we couldn't say anything or act on the assumption until we received final word from management.  Our lives were basically on hold from the beginning of July to August 16th when Neil finally learned his fate.  It's amazing to reflect on the many changes that have taken place in this short year, and to compare where we were last July to where we are today.  In some ways it's felt like three blinks of an eye, and in others, an eternity.  I feel very mixed about all the changes, but have grown tremendously and know we are where we're supposed to be today.

Here are the kids in front of the new house.  

We signed papers June 7th, got keys the 11th or 12th (can't remember now), and officially moved in the 15th (day before Father's Day).  This picture was taken on Father's Day, just before we took our first neighborhood walk.  Ryan was still in his church clothes, while Chloe was much more comfortably dressed.  They make me smile.  Such honest little expressions.

We are slowly getting settled and filling empty spaces.  It's going to take time, but we are excited for the projects and challenges that lie ahead.  More later! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Project Life: Week 1 (Utah)

Well, here is my Week 1 layout.  This was a tricky week to start Project Life because it wasn't an average, low-key week.  We drove to Utah to see my family, so I took more pictures than usual, and had A LOT to journal.  I am actually going to end up inserting a 6x12 sheet between these with January 5th's events, including a story about Ryan and my Grandma (see below), as well as Grandpa's birthday, which we celebrated together in his honor.  Anyway, I am mostly happy with this, but definitely need to come up with a simpler system to keep things consistent.  To me, this is too busy.  But again, there was a lot to squeeze in.  Week 2 and so forth should be a little easier to process. 

Here's half of the 6x12 insert. The other half (Grandpa's birthday tribute) is still in production.

A closer look...

This Utah trip was truly like no other. With all the recent developments relating to Grandma, my main priority was to spend time with her and to help my parents. It was an unforgettably sweet and humbling five days.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A week in pictures

My posts tend to be wordy.  So here's one with fewer words and more pictures.

Monday, Jan 21
Mohawks and giggles...
Swimming with JD...
...yes, in January.

Tuesday, Jan 22

Sweet, miserable, croup-coughin' boy...
...and some Fruity Pebbles with sprinkles to ease the pain.
Wednesday, Jan 23
Trains.  Enough said.
Thursday, Jan 24
34th birthday celebrating.
We love you, Neil/Daddy!
Friday, Jan 25
Crocker Art Museum field trip...
...with these rockin' first and second graders...
...and the Norman Rockwell exhibit {AMAZING}!!
Saturday, Jan 26
Sudden Toy Story kick.
Sunday, Jan 27
...and some good old-fashioned entertainment to finish the day.
I'd say it was a good week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Project Life!

Well, I've finally started Project Life, after contemplating, researching, and admiring the concept for two solid years.  I am using the digital system to document the every day of 2013, and also received a couple kits (in paper form) for Christmas from my parents to complete the kids' baby books.  Sadly, it isn't so much that I've put off doing their books all these years as I've just never been excited about any particular system I've seen out there.  I've wanted to do traditional scrapbooks for each of them, and have purchased goodness knows how many sheets of card stock, cutesy embellishments, brads, and other silly, unnecessary things.  Yet how many pages have I actually completed for either of the kids?  Might I remind you they are 7 and 4?  Two pages!  Total!  Yes, TWO.  It's pathetic.  I came to the conclusion long ago that traditional scrapbooking was not for me.  As much as I still love and appreciate it, I don't have the patience or time. 

Upon discovering Project Life, I was instantly smitten.  The concept of clean and simple, the ease of filling in 4x6 and 3x4 slots rather than tackling a blank 12x12 canvas, not to mention the inspiration it immediately triggered were all answers to prayer.  I know that must sound terribly cheesy, but it's simply the truth.

Last year, they came out with their Baby and Childhood Editions, and, that was pretty much it for me.  Between this and finally getting Chloe's baby pictures back (off our crashed hard drive), I knew it was time to make the plunge. Just after Christmas, I spent one evening going through all the kids' baby documents - hospital papers and bracelets, birth announcements, cards, stats, and other precious (and silly) keepsakes, which up to that point, had been sitting in a box.  It felt so good to finally be doing something with it all, and I have already started transferring some things into their books.  The kids ADORE looking at my blog.  They could spend hours sifting through old posts and giggling at the various pictures and updates from years past.  And since I've started filling their albums, Ryan hasn't missed a day of thumbing through his.  It's certainly something we will all enjoy and treasure for years to come.  And aren't books so much more enjoyable to look through than a glaring computer screen?  

Here's my title page for 2013.   

Currently, I am working on Weeks 1, 2, and 3, and will share them as soon as I'm finished.  Ultimately my goal is to print a book at the end of the year, encompassing all of my Project Life spreads and blog posts.  I'm leaning toward capturing more in my PL, and doing less blogging.  I am still finding my groove with it all, but I am so excited to have finally stumbled upon a system that I am confident will actually work for me.  Head over to Becky Higgins' site to learn more about Project Life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Year, New Goals.

Well, so much for 30 days of gratitude, or any December posts for that matter.  Sadly, all those gratitude posts are still stowed away in my draft folder.  Perhaps I'll get around to finishing, polishing, and sharing them soon.  In the meantime, let me apologize for my two month absence.  Life's been busy, what can I say?  I haven't had a lot of free time, and I haven't been in much of a blogging mood.  Even the few times I've attempted it, I've had an immediate writer's block.  Thankfully, said block appears to have passed, so here I am!

It's hard to believe we're now living in 2013.  Time flies, especially when you're an adult.  The Andersens are well, and looking forward to another productive year.  After a peaceful Christmas at home with Neil's mom visiting, the kids and I made a quick drive to Utah (on the 1st) to see my family.  We came home the 6th, and the following morning life was back in full swing.  Christmas break felt more like two days than two weeks, which makes me a little sad.  But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy to see the kids go back to school.  Breaks from one's children are healthy for relationships, and this mama most definitely needs hers.  :)

In honor of the new year, we focused our family home evening this week on goals and resolutions.  Cliche?  Absolutely!  But I really think the kids caught on to the concepts discussed.  I read the kids a story about a little boy who had resolved to keep his room clean but after only four days was failing miserably.  When he went to his mom, unsure of how to get back on track and stay there, she suggested that rather than be overwhelmed by the job as a whole, to break it down into steps.  We talked about how sometimes our responsibilities seem like too much to bear, but when we take a step back and analyze the breakdown of how to get from point A to point B, it becomes much more plausible.  At the end of our lesson we took a few minutes to jot down some of our individual goals for 2013.  We then shared those goals and resolved to not only maintain/achieve them, but to help encourage one another along their journey as well.

Chloe's goal sheet doesn't require much explanation.  It's clear she drew an illustration to accompany each goal (#3 is my favorite).  :)  Ryan's piece on the other hand... well, let me explain.  To start off, I must applaud him for writing out his goals all by himself.  I spelled the words for him, but he wrote every dot of ink you see below.  Then he drew a picture of himself with his remote control car.  He's apparently putting it away, thus fulfilling one of his goals to clean his room.  Oh, and the little blob off to the right side?  That's his baby, "Elisabeth."  ???  He and Chloe are both quite enthralled with the name.

Here are Neil's and my goals.  Doable, right?

It was fun to share our goals and talk about our plans of execution.  And ever since Monday, both the kids have seemed motivated.  Chloe in particular, has made her bed every morning first thing, and today, invited me out of her bedroom when I offered to help.  She's really taking this seriously!  :)

I stumbled upon this quote last week and LOVED it.  President Howard W. Hunter, though only our prophet for a short time, has always been one of my favorites.  I had a special experience involving him less than 24 hours before his death, and have always felt a unique connection to him as a result.  It's hard to explain, but he's very special to me, so naturally whenever I hear mention of his name, my ears perk up.  I love these sweet and gentle words of advice, and how timely to share them with the new year upon us.

“This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”                       

- Howard W. Hunter

Happy New Year, everyone!