December 27, 2009

Best Christmas Of ALL TIME!

Does every Christmas get better or is it just me? Last year we had so much fun, but this year far exceeded all my expectations! The thought that kept running through my head on Christmas was how blessed I am. Life has turned out even better than what I had hoped for and this year I've felt overwhelming gratitude. I just sat back while Christy, Ben, and Kimmy helped Sadie unwrap everyone's presents and thought about all the things I've been blessed with. It was a really nice little moment in time!

Here are my favorite memories of the day:
  • Sadie being shocked when she woke up and she was finally able to explore the stuff under the tree which I've been telling her not to touch for weeks.
  • Later, at my parent's house, watching Sadie try to unwrap everyone's presents for them.
  • Ben and I going on a scavenger hunt to find our present from my parents.
  • Laughing at our old family home videos with everyone in the afternoon.
  • Sadie and I going on a walk, just the two of us, that night to look at the Christmas lights.

(Ben and Sadie shown above first thing Christmas morning. Ben seen sitting with his new piano)

(Sadie and Alicia shown opening a Christmas present from Grandma Cliffie)

(Later, at my parents, Sadie is shown with Christy anxiously awaiting present-opening time)

(Sadie shown above admiring Shadow - she LOVES that dog)

(Kimmy shown with her stunning water color painting which she painstakingly created for us with 20 hours of her time! She also made Sadie and Ethan adorable ABC books which she has spent every available moment of the last week working on. In fact, she didn't even go to sleep Christmas Eve - she stayed up the ENTIRE NIGHT working on the projects. She watched Pocahontas 4 times while working on them. Wow! That's love :)

(Sadie and her dad shown above playing with her new farm toys from Grammy and Grampy)

And always, because I'm extra sentimental around Christmastime, I spent the second half of Christmas day wondering what the upcoming year will bring and what next Christmas will be like. We have a lot to look forward to this year and it will be interesting to see how life unfolds.

Christmas With Gramma Meyers

This is my Gramma Meyers. She is amazing! I hope I grow up to be like her. She is 82 years old yet she has more energy and spunk for life than I can muster on a daily basis.

She's definately not the soft-spoken, dainty, fragile type of grandmother. Her hobbies are tennis, yard-work, and house renovations. She has taught all her grandchildren to play tennis and fully intends on teaching her great-grandchildren, too. Which I think she'll be able to do because she is still really good! Also, gramma has more stamina for yard work than anyone else in the family - I am NOT kidding!! She can work for hours and hours in the Florida summer heat without tiring. The rest of us quit long before she ever does. She loves to plant trees and than cut them down. My dad finally took her chain saw away two years ago. But, she still has her saws and electric drills. We also bought her a nail gun last year for her birthday which she uses for her house projects.

One more thing I like about Gramma is that she is so no nonsense. I often hear her say things like, "Why would I get mad? How would that help?" or "I'm getting old - you people need to accept that." Life just is what it is to her and she never gets her feathers rustled or is irrational or overly emotional about things. She accepts the truth and just lives the life she's been dealt the best she knows how.

Also, she is such a loyal mother! She claims my father is perfect and will defend him on any issue. I can really tell she loves her two children more than anything in life. It's really sweet.

Anyways, she is visiting my Uncle Steve in Maryland this year for Christmas so we celebrated with her last week. It was a very fun evening! She made her trademark lazagna. Sadie received lots of presents from her and her favorite was her new tennis racket which she has been smacking us with all week. Gramma is anxious to get Sadie out on the courts and get her swinging!

(Above: My Dad was asked to pose for a picture. This was his reaction.)

(Kimmy shown above mocking my father while imitating his 'pose')

(Ben looks on with humor at Kimmy)

(Gramma LOVES giving and opening presents.)

(Kimmy and Michael are shown above sporting new sweat bands. They say "I Heart Santa")

(My Mom asks for dish towels every year for Christmas!)

(Sarah and Ethan shown above looking happy and handsome)

(Ethan shown above and Sadie shown below sitting in the new wagon my parents bought Gramma for Christmas. She wanted one to use in the yard to cart plants and weeds around)

December 21, 2009

Fun With Aunties

Sadie loves Kimmy and Christy so much. Here are a couple pictures of them playing together last night:

(Sadie was especially fond of Christy this night.)

(Above: Christy shown above with Sadie walking peacefully through the grass)

(Then Kimmy came along and started chasing Sadie and Christy)

(Sadie shown above running for her life from Kimmy)

(Sadie seeks protection from Christy above)

(She barely gets to Christy in time!)

(Sadie shown above rejoicing in the safety of Christy's arms)

(Next: Sadie and Christy seek revenge)

(Run, Kimmy, Run!)

(Kimmy shown flapping her wings like a bird)

(Kimmy tried hiding behind a bush for protection)

(Kimmy's plan worked because Sadie got distracted by the flowers and forgot about chasing Kimmy)

(Then Sadie heard an airplane and we searched for it)

(We found the airplane and it was dinnertime)

The End.

December 20, 2009

Favorite Christmas Quotes

David O. McKay (1873–1970) declared: “True happiness comes only by making others happy—the practical application of the Savior’s doctrine of losing one’s life to gain it. In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service.

“As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always. We shall learn to forget ourselves. We shall turn our thoughts to the greater benefit of others.” – Thomas S. Monson, December 1987

“Remember!—It is christianity TO DO GOOD always—even to those who do evil to us. It is christianity to love our neighbour as ourself, and to do to all men as we would have them Do to us. It is christianity to be gentle, merciful, and forgiving, and to keep those qualities quiet in our own hearts, and never make a boast of them, or of our prayers or of our love of God, but always to shew that we love Him by humbly trying to do right in everything. If we do this, and remember the life and lessons of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and try to act up to them, we may confidently hope that God will forgive us our sins and mistakes, and enable us to live and die in Peace” – Charles Dickens, The Life of Our Lord

“One of the things we can give at Christmas time, that no one else can give, is our thanks… This is a time when we ponder our blessings and when we also prepare for the new year, for which we should make new resolves and set new personal goals. This partial inventory of our collective blessings should help us to be ever more grateful and ever more determined. Please do the same within your families. Count your blessings, and express your gratitude to your eternal partners, to your children, and to your parents for all that they do.” – Spencer W. Kimball, December 1977

Have you heard this new Andrea Bocelli song? I love it!

December 16, 2009

All Aboard!

Have you heard of Travelzoo? It's an travel deal finder. Their alerts come to my email every so often and I browse through all the different travel packages. Occasionally I forward them on to Ben with messages like, "Can we please go to India? Look at the great deal attached!" or "You want to go to Paris this weekend?". A girl can dream, right?

Yesterday one came that really caught my eye: Florida Cruises. After a little plotting, pleading, and planning we decided to book a cruise for New Years. It's going to be our Christmas present to each other. Actually, I've already done all my shopping for Ben, so I guess it's his Christmas present to me. Which he should be happy about because he dreads going to the mall.

Anyways, I was very excited about it yesterday. For months I've been telling Ben that I need to get away: go on a vacation, recoup on all the lost hours of sleep, have a little time to rediscover my sanity before round two of motherhood comes along, etc. This seemed like the perfect solution!

Then I went to bed.

All I could do was lay there and think about how awful it's going to be to leave Sadie! The idea of the cruise became less and less exciting and more and more gut wrenching.

We're going to leave her with my parents and sisters while we're gone (three nights and four days!). My parents have a fairly good track record in the child rearing department, don't you think? And Kimmy - Sadie LOVES Kimmy. She's been known to even call her 'mom' on occasion and may have a slight preference for her over me. And then there's Christy - very patient and playful with Sadie. She can keep her occupied for hours!

So, why am I so stressed about leaving her?

This was not the type of parent I had planned to be. I pictured myself more layed back and easy going. But, Sadie has turned me into an overbearing and cautious parent. It's the mom she's needed me to be and I've conformed. Now I'm trying to transition back to normality and help her develop a little independence. This is already proving to be a painful process for me; I just hope it will be smoother for her.

I picture her wandering through my parents house looking for us in each room. Or waking up in the morning and calling, "Daaad? Maaam?" only to be upset when we're not there. How sad!

Hopefully it won't be like that! Hopefully she'll have the time of her life. Hopefully I'll be able to relax and enjoy myself. Hopefully we'll both be better from the experience! I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope!

December 13, 2009

Sadie Vs. Santa

We had our ward Christmas party this past weekend and we thought we'd try introducing Sadie to Santa Claus.

At first she didn't quite know what to think:

Then, Santa's little helper made her smile:

Things were going so surprisingly well we tried getting closer to Santa:

But, she really didn't like that:

After 10 minutes of crying and wailing she finally calmed down again. When we got home we let her open one of Auntie Kimmy's Christmas presents so that she wouldn't have negative feelings associated with Christmas:

December 10, 2009

Pretty Please

I'm embarrassed to ask this, but not so embarrassed I'm not going to because that's how bad I want to win a full day at the spa.....

I've entered a simple little photo contest and the person who gets the most votes wins an entire day at the spa. My body desperately needs a little pampering now that it's in it's expanding, I've-given-up-on-myself pregnancy state.

So, if you have a moment please, oh please, vote for the picture of Sadie on this website: Photo Contest. In case you don't recognize her, my picture is the one called "Let the games begin!".

This is me saying Thank You:

P.S. This is my one hundredth blog post...where has the time gone?

December 07, 2009

The Cycle of My Life

What did you do today? This is what I do everyday:

(Sadie shown above after her lunch)

(Did you need a close-up view?)

(Next comes clean-up time)

(Sadie shown above drinking the water; it's impossible to prevent - I've given up trying!)

Who knew keeping a toddler clean was a full-time job? It's worth it to see her cute, sparkling face after the bath....even if it only lasts for a few minutes.

November 23, 2009

Illnesses and Motherhood

Usually I don't blog about when Sadie is sick, because it happens so often and I don't really care to remember it. However, this illness has been eye opening and a bit of an self-esteem booster for me, so I'm going to record my thoughts.

It had been three wonderful months since Sadie's last cold. That's by far the longest she's ever gone without getting sick. My little nephew Ethan just turned one. He's had three colds in his entire first year of life. Sadie, on the other hand, has had three colds in one month on many occasions. She's easily had 30 - 40 colds in her 22 months of life! When you combine that with chronic constipation, stomach aches, hemorrhoids, and teething you can see that she's been sick or uncomfortable most of her short life.

Also, when Sadie gets sick she really gets sick. She never has a low grade fever; it goes sky high. It takes days for her temperature to break, and she's up every hour during the night (literally!). When Sadie gets sick it means exhausting days of trying to comfort her and sleepless nights of rocking her. It's hard work and scary!

Looking back I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. All the mothers I know seem to really enjoy motherhood. But I kept thinking: What's so fun about having a baby that cries all the time, who is terrified of everyone, who gets up 4 or 5 times a night, and I can't take anywhere because she's either A) sick or B) going to get sick? (All while teaching seminary, by the way!). So, no wonder I didn't greatly enjoy her first year of life. Who would - being sick, sleep deprived, and lonely?

Back to present, it's been three wonderful months of enjoying my happy toddler and I finally understand what is so wonderful about motherhood! What's not great about having a cute, funny, little replica of one's self that you can dress up and take out and everyone admires? Sadie has become so enjoyable and manageable!

However, sadly, we slipped back into our old habits this past week - illness, sleeplessness, and crying. But now, I know that's not normal. Yes, it's a part of motherhood where our patience is tested and perhaps our most growth occurs, but I think I've come to realize that it's understandable and okay that I do not enjoy that. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy motherhood or that I don't love Sadie. It's just the majority of my experience with Sadie during the first year and a half of her life were of her sick; so, no wonder I was often stressed, and consequently, constantly questioning why I didn't find more joy in motherhood.

So, when I look back on the first year of Sadie's life, it may not have been all bliss and happiness; but at least I have the peace of mind to know that we were the most responsive, nurturing, and loving parents we knew how to be. Despite many peoples' good intentions, we never let Sadie's cry go unanswered or let her silently suffer if we knew there was something we could do to comfort her even if it meant our own needs were often unmet. That may not sound like much, but I'm really proud I can say that!

I survived, I'm better for it, I adore my child, my child adores me.....but I really really hope the next one is easier!

(The picture shown above is representative of the first year and a half of Sadie's life.)

November 18, 2009

Bloom Where You Are Planted

My reasons for wanting to move:
  • We need more space for when baby #2 comes along
  • Ben has almost an hour commute each way
  • My parents (aka our babysitters) live over an hour away
  • The ward we are in is crazy and I've had repeated nightmares about certain ward members kidnapping Sadie from nursery
  • I miss being close to the beaches
  • The schools up here scare me and there is NO WAY I'm sending Sadie to one of them
For some time now I have been hoping, wishing, and praying that we would move back to Seminole or Palm Harbor for the named reasons above.

However, we received devastating news last week from a lender that if we want to get out of this house we would have to do a short sale. That's not an option for us. So, therefore, I feel stuck and frustrated.

But I keep repeating in my mind a line from a YW's lesson I remember from my youth: bloom where you are planted. So, that's my new motto. I'm trying not to dwell on how life would be so lovely to live 5 minutes from Ben's office and see him everyday for lunch and have an additional two hours a day with him and be able to accept help with Sadie on Sunday from people I trust and be able to go on dates every weekend and get Sadie in a really great preschool and find a bigger home to accommodate our growing family. No! I'm not dwelling on that!

Instead I'm asking myself: What good can I do in this sad city of Hudson? What can I do to help strengthen some of the ward members that scare me, so that they won't frighten me as much? How can I help the youth in this area make better choices and encourage them to get an education? Are we making the meager amount of time we have together as a family as meaningful, memorable, and happy as possible?

I'm trying to enjoy all the open space, great parks, and good people up here (because there are a lot of good people, too). Also, we do love our home and with a little ingenuity it's plenty big enough for another person. And surely one day, when we are able to move, it will be very sad to leave. So, I'm trying my best to thrive and count my blessings; I'm accepting my fate and trying to make the best of it. Pray for my success, please!!

November 09, 2009

Video Of Us At Home

~Video of Sadie from the other night~

She was a little (lot) cranky but she's cute nonetheless. It's a long video, don't feel obligated to watch all of it!

November 06, 2009

The Rest of the Story....

Remember the dreadful day of October 7, 2009?
I'm now going to tell you the rest of the story:

11:00-11:41 - Sadie and Alicia work to clean out messy garage to surprise Ben.

11:42 - Nice neighbor lady pulls up and wants to chat.

12:06 - Alicia starts feeling light headed while talking to neighbor lady.

12:11 - Alicia finally ends conversation with nice neighbor lady.

12:11 - Alicia and Sadie walk to the house. Alicia knows she's going to never-never land.

12:12 - Alicia goes to never-never land. Sadie steps in ant pile :(

12:13 - Alicia's back from never-never land and Sadie is crying.

12:14 - A very dizzy Alicia puts a very distraught Sadie in the bathtub.

12:15 - A very guilty, crying, and feisty Alicia calls Ben at work (while she's laying on a nice cold tile floor in the bathroom) and is angry with him because, "Cleaning out the garage is a man's job and if you had been home and done it this wouldn't have happened." A very lovely Ben says, "I totally agree, I'm so sorry. Do you need me to come home?"

Alicia feels bad.

She says, "No, we'll be okay. I'll call you later. Bye."

12:16 - While laying on the floor it occurs to Alicia that maybe she's pregnant.

12:17 - Alicia peels herself off the floor and takes a pregnancy test.

12:19 - The pregnancy test is positive.

12:19 - Alicia decides she'd better lay down again! She has a thousand thoughts running through her mind!!

12:22 - Alicia and Sadie take a nice, relaxing shower and they both feel so much better. They put on their favorite pajamas even though it's the middle of the day.

12:47 - A very happy and relaxed Alicia calls Ben, "Hi Honey! How are you today?"

A still concerned and stressed Ben replies, "I'm fine but I'm really worried about you and Sadie. Do you want me to come home?"

Alicia says, "Oh no! We're doing great!!"

Alicia debates whether to tell Ben now or wait until he gets home from work. She really, really wants to wait and make it a big surprise but she's not disciplined enough, "Guess what Ben...I took a pregnancy test."

Ben waits and waits, "And....."

"....And it was positive!" says a happy Alicia.

Ben is shocked and excited.

They talk a few more minutes, both with very uplifted moods, and then they say good bye.

12:56 - Alicia tries all sorts of remedies for Sadie's feet.

Mostly Sadie just wants to be held.

So, Alicia and Sadie sit on the sofa and watch Barney all afternoon.

Sadie laughs and smiles at the show; Alicia smiles, too, as she daydreams about their new little baby.

~And that's the rest of the story!~

November 03, 2009

House Renovations

Guess what...

We're expanding our house by two feet.

The addition will take place some time in June!

October 27, 2009


This is Ben. This is my first post. I'm not much for words and certainly not as talented as my clever spouse, so you can probably skip this post and wait patiently for the next one. But for those of you who have two minutes to spare and would like to know a few of the ways Sadie has changed in the last few months, read on....

She now drinks out of a sippy cup. It took us a really long time to get her to do this, so if feels like a big deal to us. It was a struggle to get her off the bottle.

Sometimes when she falls she doesn't cry. Our little Sadie has very tender feelings. And though, often when she falls she's not hurt physically you would think she was by her dramatic crying and big alligator tears. Lately, however, she's having so much fun running around that when she falls she gets right back up and continues on her happy rampage.

She likes me! For a long time Sadie didn't like me very much. Despite my best efforts - she was a mama's girl. She wouldn't even let me hold her. The tide is starting to turn, so to speak. She'll sit on my lap, enjoys playtime at night with me, and her face lights up when I get home from work and she runs to me and gives me hugs and kisses. Love it.

She sleeps through the night. After 19 long months of little to no sleep and nighttime feedings and cryings our little one has finally come of age. Though it's a challenge at times to get her to fall asleep, once she's down she's typically down for the night. I feel 5 years younger (but don't look it - that's for sure).

Sadie is really understanding what we say to her. When we ask her to put her shoes on she goes into her room and can usually find a matching pair and sometimes even comes out wearing them. Tonight she fell down on her face and Alicia asked her where she got hurt and she pointed to her nose. It's so nice to be able to communicate with her!

For those of you still reading - thank you for your time and attention. I hope you have enjoyed my update about our little girl. Talk to you next year!

*I am Ben Johnson and I approve this message*

October 22, 2009

Fall Is A Floridian's Spring

This week's I discovered that my favorite season is now fall. Not because we have the changing of leaves or beautiful apply orchards or the trademark 'crispness' in the air.

The reason I love fall is because finally after 4 long, hot months the weather is becoming tolerable again. Finally I can start going on outdoor walks without endangering my life or my child's health. Finally I can get into the car without worrying about burning myself. Now I can have worms in my compost pile without them getting cooked to death. Now I can sleep with the windows open at night. Now I can meet Ben for lunch at the park. Now I have look forward to 8 beautiful months of perfect weather.

Northerns probably look forward to spring the same way Floridians look forward to fall. After their long winters of being stuck indoors and only being permitted outside in layers of cumbersome clothes - spring comes. Same thing in Florida, except our enemy is the hot summer's day when you can only go outside if wearing a bathing suit and you have to have a body of water closeby to jump into.

As a teenager I loved summertime, but motherhood has changed that. It takes me an hour to pack up all the gear for the pool or beach and another hour to clean everything up afterwards. Also, swimming is not as leisurely when trying to control a toddler running around the pool. No ma'am - that's just stressful. Maybe next summer will be different, but these past two summers we have spent most of our time indoors. And I was going crazy!

But, fall is here! And fall brings the excitement of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Three months of holidays with lots of vacation time spent with family. What could be better? I already feel healthier with all the fresh air, extra exercise, and anticipation of the months to come.

October 20, 2009

Stephany's Baby Shower

My cousin Stephany is going to soon have a little baby boy, Ethan Carter. We celebrated with them this past weekend at my parent's house. We also celebrated Aunt Sharon's BIG 6-0 birthday.

(Shown above: Stephany and Mike, the proud parents-to-be.)

(Big brother Trae above. He did all the decorating for the turned out great!)

(Mike shown above with new toy monkey on head)

(Above: Aunt Susie shown looking nicely, as always)

(Aunt Sharon, also known as 'Birthday Girl', shown opening a present)

(Gigi, my 90 year old grandma shown above)

(Aunt Debbie can be seen above looking happy and content)

(Sharon and Trae shown in a sweet embrace)

(Stephany shown opening presents....Aunt CharChar made this outfit)