Belated Valentine's Day

Inconveniently, Andrew had Drill over Valentine's weekend, so we weren't able to celebrate together until the following Saturday. All I knew was that at 4pm he was kicking me out of the house for 2 hours... sans kiddo. I decided to check out a new clothing store that I had been wanting to go to but just couldn't see myself trying on clothes with the 19 month old crawling out and into other people's dressing rooms. Yikes. I was excited for some "me time" but after about 30 minutes of shopping... the alone time was just too lonely. I missed the chaos that is my norm.

I couldn't wait until I could go back home!

I was greeted by a snazzy dressed Mr., a delish smelling home and Londyn with a babysitter. He led me into the kitchen where he had prepared and presented a romantic meal including flowers and a bunch of Odwalla protein bars that I have been wanting (but didn't want to pay that much for a snack!). The meal was even more significant because when we were living in Utah, Andrew once surprised me after a long day of work with this very setting waiting for me when I got home. The fresh bruschetta, pasta with sausage and red sauce, Mediterranean green salad and of course, Martinelli's. My favorite part was that we got to spend alone time together in our own home, without the hustle and bustle of going out. Since I don't get to see the Mr. very often, just having him at home and all to myself was the perfect Valentine's Day gift.

Nerds are HOT!

A few weeks ago, the speakers for our computer died and instead of buying new ones... my electronics guru of a husband decided he would just whip some up on his own! After purchasing the materials, it was only a few hours of work and WAH-LAH, we have speakers!

I have always had faith in Andrew and his aspirations to become an Electronics Engineer, but one of the most admirable qualities of his ambition is that he genuinely has a passion for the knowledge he is gaining in school. Although as he explains things to me, I feel a bit defeated when the topics I bring to the table are the the various consistencies of poop a 19 month old can produce... and his include words like Thevenin, NAN gates, oscilloscopes... transistors... etc. I am beyond proud of him for setting an example for our family, to work hard and love what you do.


Snow Day!

Today was Londyn's first snow day! The snow managed to stay on the ground until noon (typical Oregon snow experience) but after LJ's morning nap, I quickly bundled up the little Miss and let her play before it was completely out of sight. She was not a fan of the fluffy white stuff in her hands but did love stomping around and smushing it into the grass. The fun quickly ended when she face planted it in the mud... followed by tears and uttering the words "no no snow!"


Baby Mama

Londyn has gotten to be quite the little baby mama these days. She is constantly caring for her baby dolls... taking them for walks in their stroller, putting them "nigh nigh" in their port-a-crib, going shopping in their grocery cart, and most of all feeding, rocking and loving them. It's pretty cute to see her pack up the diaper bag and pretend to be a little mommy.


Little Valentine

Londyn was the perfect little Valentine today. After she woke up, she got dressed in her special Valentine's Day outfit and then I painted her finger nails red and her toe nails hot pink.

As we were heading out for some retail therapy, Londyn was really worried about her Dog-Dog and Wocket. She wanted to take them with her but said that they needed to go "nigh-nigh". This was quite the dilemma. Finally she laid them down on the couch, covered them with a blanket... gave them a kiss and said "nigh-nigh". She then grabbed my hand and said "side, side!"... and then we were off and running!

Since we were dateless for the evening, my super fabulous sis-in-law invited Londie Lou and I over for their Valentine's Day tradition of fondue! It was such a treat and so nice to be around family. Bec made a delish cheese fondue with lots of dippers and for dessert she made a yummy chocolate fondue with fruit kabobs!

Hanging out with the Milne crew is always a blast!

The only thing that was missing from this fabulous night was the Mr. The poor guy got stuck with PB&J's that I left for him on the kitchen table. Love you babe!

Thanks again Milne family for thinking of us!

{Advice on Marriage}

I have been reflecting on love, marriage and family a lot lately. I always feel like I could be doing more and wondering, how do other women/moms/wives achieve "the family"??? Some days I absolutely love being a domestic diva, and other days... I am hanging on by a thread.

As Andrew and I barely get to see each other, have maybe one sit-down meal together per week and time together, just the two of us... usually occurs when asleep, it's rough. Prior to marriage, I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I also knew that I wanted a genuinely happy family and would do anything and everything to make that possible.

Today is Valentine's Day and unlike many couples and the media, I will be spending it without my spouse. At first I was kind of bummed that we wouldn't get to spend time together on this holiday, but then I realized... who cares? I get to spend every day of this life and in the eternities with my husband. Although, I do love the mushy-gushy and lovey-dovey qualities of this specific holiday, I realize that all the pink and red "stuff" doesn't change our relationship. Although I know that Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday, I do believe that any day to acknowledge the love and sacrifice that is made in a marriage is worth celebrating. I am looking forward to this weekend... as Andrew has something planned!

(right after Andrew proposed in front of the waterfalls at Thanksgiving Point, May 2008)

Several weeks ago, my super cute Grandma sent out a letter to the family following their 65th year anniversary. This letter brought so many tears of joy to me and I will cherish it forever. I have been meaning to share a piece of it and this is the perfect day to do so!

And so, we've made it through those 23,725 days together, one step, one day at a time, sometimes in quiet desperation, sometimes in happy harmony. The blessing of it all is four great kids, 10 fabulous grandkids and now great grandkids, plus a great son and daughters in law.
I know I was destined to marry Ray Strawn and he was destined to marry me. The challenges we were to each other were meant to prepare us for our roles in the eternities. It's been a test and a trial we probably both needed. We're both a little nutty in our own peculiar way, and that's okay, too. We still quarrel, he still drives me up the wall sometimes, and I still push his buttons. But, we are in it for the long haul. It has not been easy. It wasn't meant to be easy.
And so... that's the way it Really was and is and by the way usually is in most marriages.

I guess Grandmas are supposed to be full of sage advice so I'll give it a try:
  1. If you are doing something you know is destructive to your marriage, your children, yourself, or your spouse... Stop it! Now! Grow up.
  2. Forgive and Then Forget.
  3. Walk each day with one hand in the hand of your spouse's and one hand in God's.
  4. We come into this world naked and alone, we leave this world naked and alone, except for those things which have enlarged our spirits, and improved our minds. Don't let "money & things" be your priority.
  5. Don't sweat the small stuff. Let it go. Ask yourself, would you rather be "right" or be happy?
  6. Above and beyond any other thing... Communicate. Talk. Share. Understand. Be transparent. Empathetic. That's the Key.
  7. Compliment each other every day (even if sometimes you have to pretend).
Tha-tha-tha-that's all, folks. Love you Forever, Mom, Grandma, G.G.

(cute Grandparents on my wedding day)


19 months

Londyn has never been super attached to any "lovey" but she has some serious separation anxiety if ever without her "pappy" AKA: pacifier. About 6 months ago, she was doing really well only needing her pacifier during naps or at bedtime but she is always getting or getting over being sick, which has led to lots of pappy time. Sometimes she'll be without it and start blabbing to herself and then she'll blurt out the word "pappy" which leads to instant desperation.

Patiently awaiting breakfast to be served... with bedhead and said pappy.
With the flirting sun these days, Londyn repeatedly pushes her nose up against the windows and says "side? side???" We bundle up and venture outside for a bit, but with the wind and rain spurts... it doesn't last for long. I can't wait until the Summer with her! We will definitely be taking advantage of as much of the Oregon sun as we can get!

These piggytails are our latest trend. I love that her hair tends to naturally curl. She must get that from Andrew's side of the family! I hope it lasts!
Who me?
I love this little ham


Calling Love

Can I just say, how much I love my calling?! I LOVE working with the Young Women in our ward, but the real bonus is working with some of the most amazing and talented women that I have ever met! Each of these women have oodles and oodles of energy, creativity and inner beauty to share! They are constant examples to me of mothers and women of Divine Nature.

This past week, we put on a super fun night of New Beginnings. Our theme was all things sports! Can you tell?

Aren't we cute with our value colored t-shirts? On the back of our shirts, it says "COACH" in big bold letters.
The bishopric... looking tough in their "zebra stripes"
Heather really outdid herself on the concessions stand! She had a treat/snack for every one of the YW values!