Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmastime already?!?

Today we went to the Festival of Trees here in town. The kids went nuts looking at all the decorations, trying desperately not to touch them (since they were promised a fast trip to the car if they did), and dragging me from tree to tree to show me their favorite ornaments. I also went to a Relief Society craft day and got a wonderful idea for Christmas tree ornaments using kids alphabet blocks (maybe I'll post a picture when I actually make them). And tonight at our youth Hayride I was reminded that there are only 35 days until Christmas. WHAT?!?!?!

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It's almost here and before I know it, it will be January. I really need to slow things down so I can enjoy this next month (not sure how I'm gonna do it, but I'll work on it). Since this will be our last Christmas in Tallahassee I want to make it memorable. I want lots of family time, friend time, service time, and study/ponder time.

So today I'm grateful for Christmastime. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Not only do we get to celebrate the birth and life of our Savior, but we get to create so many memories with our families and friends--so many traditions. I love the extra emphasis on families and traditions that everyone feels this time of year. I love the increased attention to our Savior and His work. And I know that we should always be thinking of Him and His work, but it's especially wonderful at Christmastime.

P.S. It's been a very long day, so if this doesn't make any sense, I'll blame it on that!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Doctor's visit

Today Clara got 3 shots. She took it pretty well at the time (minimal crying) but spent the rest of the day fussy. But even after that, I'm grateful she can get good medical care.
I actually dread going to the doctor. We always have to spend at least and hour waiting for just 10 minutes with the doctor. But really, I'll take that any day to having to watch my child suffer through an ear infection, or worse.
While the health care system in this country is not perfect (and likely to get worse) I am so grateful I don't have to watch my kids suffer. It would literally break my heart to see my child suffering and know there is absolutely nothing I could do to help. Even ibuprofen is a miracle! If some awful disease struck or an accident happened, I know we have access to the best medical care in the world. Compared to the other 6 billion people on the planet, we've got it pretty good.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Today I'm grateful for my kids (and camera's that capture them just the way they are now). I love them all the same and different at the same time. I love their personalities. I love being the one they come to when they are happy and sad. I love sharing in their joys as well as their sorrows.
But mostly I love that they are all mine--forever, because this life is just not long enough.

William Antony Ricks--age 7 (almost 8--aaahhh!)

Hallie Mae Ricks--age 6

Gracie Mae Ricks--age 4 (almost 5)

Clara Mae Ricks--age 15 months

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today's gratitude post is for music. I love music. I'm so grateful that my loving Heavenly Father gave me something so beautiful, inspiring, and joyful. Music can always make me feel better, whether it's someone else playing or me.

When I was 8 years old I began to take piano lessons. We didn't have a piano at the time, but my mom did have a key to the church, so she would take my brothers and I down to the church almost every day so I could practice in the Primary room. I'm not sure how long that went on, but eventually we got a piano in our house.

For 5 years I HATED lessons. Because once we had the piano at home I hardly ever practiced. So lessons meant a 1/2 hour lecture on how I needed to practice more. Every week my mom would drive me to piano lessons and I would wish we could get in a car wreck on the way there so I wouldn't have to go (nothing major, just enough for us to have to cancel lessons for the week!) I begged and begged and begged to quit but my mom wouldn't let me. Twenty years later I'm eternally grateful she didn't.

Now I love to play the piano. I've leaned a little violin and organ since then too. I even teach my own kids piano lessons. We had a rocky start, but all of us have gotten the hang of it. Now with a few more students it's a great source of a little extra income. (Thanks, Mom!)

Music inspires me to be better. Music brings joy to my heart and to my home. Good music always makes me happy. And I think that's the point of everything beautiful in the world, to bring us joy and happiness--which is what music does for me.
Last night I planned on posting after the kids went to bed, but then I started reading this book and forgot all about it. So for yesterday I am going to say I'm grateful for good books. I love reading and when I find a good book I just can't stop myself. My house goes to ruin and my kids end up eating spaghetti 3 nights in a row until I've finished.

Last night I was reading Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall. I haven't finished yet, but after crying so much I had put it down and give my eyes a rest. It's a beautifully inspiring book that makes me want to be a better person. It's clean (hard to find these days) and very well written. Thanks, Jennifer, for recommending it!

Today I don't think I'll have any time to read, maybe tonight before I go to bed. But I know if I start I'll end up reading until 1:00 in the morning (which tends to make me cranky the next day). My poor family! The good news is that it should only take me one more night of reading to finish. Then my schedule can go back to normal--until I find another good read!

P.S. I'm always open to recommendations!

Monday, November 15, 2010

William, quit throwing things in the fire!

Today I'm grateful for 2 things...campfires and Family Home Evening. I wanted to have a campfire for Family Home Evening tonight but it threatened to rain outside. So instead I made tin foil dinners and cooked them in the oven. Then we used some flameless candles (you know, the kind you can switch on and it flickers like a real flame) under some orange grocery bags. We threw on some real sticks for good measure and voila--instant indoor campfire. So we all sat on the floor around it and ate our tin foil dinners off styrofoam plates. William would put a bite of his food on his fork and hold it over the "fire" like he was roasting a hot dog. Then, of course, the girls had to join in. When they started roasting their corn I told them they'd end up with popcorn and that really got them going!

After dinner we had a lesson on how and why our bodies are a temple. We sat around the "campfire" talking and while the message was simple, the Spirit was still there. Then we played charades and had hot cocoa (mixed with french vanilla coffee creamer...yummy!)

These kind of Family Home Evenings are rare at our house. Usually its a scripture story and a snack. And while I know it's more about the consistency than the substance, this has reinforced to me how much better it can be if I put just a little more effort into it.

(Here we are around the campfire. We had almost all the lights off, you just can't tell in this picture. As you can see, the kids are each "roasting" something over the "fire". And, sorry it's a little blurry!)

And yes, I did have to tell William to quit throwing things in the fire while Tony was giving the lesson. It makes me glad it wasn't a real fire!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm going to bed

Tonight I'm grateful that Young Women in Excellence is over.

P.S. It was wonderful! Thanks for asking!