Monday, November 30, 2009


Thanksgiving was a wonderful, much needed, break for us! The Goldade's (a family in our ward) invited us over. We felt right at home and had a wonderful time. Braden had fun playing with the blocks, as you can see above. He played with everyone around while I helped cook and get things ready. It was so nice to just spend the whole day with a family - cooking and getting things ready- just like we would if we were home.
The day started out fun for Justin at the annual Turkey Bowl that he looks forward to every year, no matter where we are. He has gotten a little too into it in years past and has always come home with injuries. I asked him if he was sure that he should play this year, because he already has an injured knee from soccer tournaments. He quickly assured me that this was only flag football and he wasn't going to get hurt. Famous last words...
He called me after a few hours after the fun had begun to inform me that he had a concussion! About 20 min of that morning is no longer in his memory bank. His initial reaction, after he had come to his senses a little bit and someone had told him what happened and helped him off the field, was to think of as many different parts and systems in the body and how they work and connect, etc. Once he was sure that his long-term memory was still there he was at ease. Instead of going to see a doctor, he simply ran through the checklist with himself when he got home - checking his pupils, etc. I guess that $50,000 a year for med school is paying off already. He saved himself a big fat bill from the hospital telling him he was fine. :)

The Goldade fam at dinner!

Braden's 1st Thanksgiving! You can see below that he enjoyed himself at the table. :) I think his favorite was the stuffing and rolls. I did give him a little bit of banana cream pie, which he thought was amazing!
The "bumbo head". Justin or I occasionally stick Braden's bumbo seat on our heads and he thinks it's so funny!

I love Thanksgiving and I am so grateful for a wonderful little family and sweet, loving people who take care of us no matter where we go. The Lord has been so good to us, and it seems in every stage of life provides just the right combination of things to help us grow, learn and feel His love.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Isn't that just the cutest little thing ever?! I fell in love with the red pandas at the zoo. They were so cute and climbing around in the trees.
We went to the zoo here for the first time today and it was a blast! Apparently Justin gets in free, because he is a student, so it was only $7 for a great time! They even had a little baby giraffe there, which was pretty cute. It was a little wet, but not too cold, so we had a great time and the animals were very active.
Braden pointed at all the animals and plants. I think he thought this was one of the coolest places ever. He doesn't look very enthusiastic in this picture, but he's got the pointing finger out and ready. :)

Cute boys enjoying the giraffe!
It's not even Thanksgiving yet and I am loving this holiday break! I love this time of year!


Braden is having a lot of fun eating these days. He is using a spoon and is pretty darn good at it!
He makes a mess of everything, which is really fun. I know most people don't enjoy it when their child has yogurt or applesauce all over themselves and the tray, but I really think it's kind of fun! It seems like there are little things that he is learning all the time and it just makes me happy.

Here's one happy, well-fed boy! Actually, I'm not sure how well-fed he is, because I don't know that he got all that much applesauce in his mouth, but he's happy anyway.

Braden also discovered the joy of flour. I needed a distraction for him while I got some bread ready to put in the oven and he kept pointing to the flour. So I put some by him and he thought it was great! At first he played in it a little bit and then he started eating it. I laughed, thinking he would get a "gross" look on his face, but he didn't. He just kept eating it and really seemed to enjoy it, as strange as that is. By the time he was done he had it all over his face and he looked like he was trying to be Santa Claus.

So, I've been really into making bread recently (there is a WONDERFUL, AMAZING, TO DIE FOR bread recipe down below, just in case you are interested in manna from heaven coming out of your oven. Plus, it's a bread machine recipe, so it's super easy. YES!). I thought I would post this recipe I found on It's potato bread, so it's amazingly soft. Originally it was a wheat recipe - and is really good that way - but most often I do it as a white recipe - and it is seriously addicting and delicious that way. Healthy and tasty or indescribably delicious? Hmmm....hard choice. But usually, indescribably delicious wins out.

Heavenly Whole Wheat or White Potato Bread (Bread Machine)

  • Ingredients

    1 1/8 cups warm water
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened and cut into pieces
    or 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (omit this if doing white bread)
  • 1 cup bread flour (3 cups if doing white bread - I've also had this turn out fine with just regular flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dry instant potato flakes
  • (you can also just microwave a potato and mash the insides - put it in with the wet ingredients if you do this. You will need to add a little more flour though, it will make your dough very moist.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


  1. Place all ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed or as suggested by the manufacturer.
  2. Set the bread machine on the following settings: "basic" bread; "light" crust;
  3. "1-1/2 pound" loaf size.
  4. NOTE: This bread can be made with the "delay" timer setting.
I usually just put the ingredients in and use the "dough" setting. I like to pull it out, knead it just a little, shape it into 2 circles and let it rise for an hour. Then bake it at 350 for 30 min.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Halloween and more...

While we were in Utah we stayed with my sis for most of the trip. It was a blast to spend time with her and her cute family. Braden loved the entertainment and attention of my niece and nephew, Katie and Andrew.
We all carved pumpkins together, Braden kept trying to eat the guts, and then would spit them out with a disgusted look on his face, try to eat them again, and, again, spit them out with an even more disgusted look. I think he probably did it 15 times. I think he thought that something that weird had to be tasted, even if it was gross. :)

At the end of the week Ang was nice enough to send me with her ticket to the Aggie basketball opening game! It was a blast and I loved every second of being back in the Aggie bball scene. Justin and I are going to miss that dearly this year. EVMS is just a medical school, so there are no sports events to go and get excited about. I think we'll probably just be Aggie bball fans the rest of our lives. Thanks again Ang and Scott for letting me relive some great memories! Justin was very jealous, but happy for me.

Me, my bro-in-law Scott, and their friends Mik and Nikki

The finished result of the pumpkins!

My friend Jaci made this great beanie for Braden! Isn't it so cute?! I love it! She is amazingly talented. If you are in need of a cute baby beanie or hat, she has just started up a website:
They are so great! She makes some really cute little girl ones, too, that I am going to have to invest in when we have a girl someday!

Mom and Ang and I whipped up some scary treats for Halloween night. It was a lot of fun and way more creative than I usually am! I think I'm going to try to make that a new tradition for us.

Braden was a cute little pumpkin and had a fun time on Halloween. We got cold a little early though, so we had to go back before everyone else. He still got some great treats to share with us though. And to his delight, he got a new toothbrush! There is a dentist that lives nearby Ang and Scott and he gives out popcorn and toothbrushes for Halloween. Braden was thrilled because he loves playing with toothbrushes. Thank you Dr. Theurer!

My bro Brian is an awesome uncle and decided to dress up with Andrew as a jedi. Don't they look sweet?! I was pretty impressed with their costumes.

And Katie was the cutest little monkey I've ever seen!

Me and my pumpkin!

Melanie and Katie getting ready to go trick or treating

Braden and Andrew had hours of fun together. Braden thought Andrew was hilarious and Andrew was so cute and loved to give Braden hugs and tell him he was his best friend.

Little Katie loves her thumb. She was a great little helper in taking care of Braden. She would also tell Braden that he was her best friend, which is amazingly cute coming from a 2 year old!

Thanks Ang and Scott for letting us move in for a few weeks! We miss you guys!

Ang and I both got haircuts while we were together and could watch each others kids. It was great for both of us. I love getting my hair cut and Ang's turned out so cute! I love it.

the "Sassy Sisters" look

We also got to visit my Grandma and Grandpa Neilson while we were there. They are so sweet and we love them to death.

I don't have many pictures of our visits with friends, but we really got to see a lot of people while we were there in Logan. So thanks to everyone who took the time to see us! Thanks also to Dan and Dana for picking us up from the airport and letting us invade for a little bit! We really miss everyone so much! We have the best family and friends in the world! LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grandma's Funeral

Well, a few weeks ago Braden and I took an unexpected trip to Utah. My Grandma Monson passed away, which was sad but good at the same time. She has been sick a long time and is the sweetest lady and my Grandpa passed away 8 years ago, so I'm sure it was a sweet, sweet reunion in heaven and I know she is so happy to be back with him and her other family members. She is one of the sweetest women that has ever lived I think. She had Alzheimer's for the last 8-10 years and in the last few weeks when she overheard one of my aunts describing the situation and suffering she was in she just said "Oh the poor dear. Why don't you have her come and stay with me and I will try to help take care of her." What a sweetheart. She was just so selfless that she didn't even realize they were talking about her.
The funeral was wonderful. This may sound strange, but I love funerals. I learned years ago at my Grandpa's funeral that often you never know the best thing about a person until they pass away and others share their best memories. It is always a good reminder to me to ask myself what I'm focusing on in others. If I went to their funeral tomorrow would I have seen all those great qualities in them? Or would I have been too blinded by the things I thought were wrong with them too see those beautiful things? One of my favorite quotes is from a play written by Oscar Wilde: "Did you LOOK at the person, or did you SEE them? Because there is a big difference between looking and seeing. And one never really sees anything until one sees it's beauty." I feel like at funerals I get to see different parts of a person that I wouldn't normally get to in day-to-day life. Which is particularly moving with the people we love and hold dear.

Tropical Storm (basically hurricane Ida leftovers)

The weather has been CRAZY here! I got back from Utah (I'll post lots about that later) a few days ago and apparently just at the right time because not too long afterwards it started raining and it has been going and going harder than I have ever been in before. The wind has been at a constant of 40-50 mph with gusts up to 62 mph and sometimes it really does sound like it's going to blow our house down! Wow! Justin and I both think it's a lot of fun to be in kind of extreme weather, particularly because we have been very fortunate and haven't had a lot of flooding in our yard or on our street. We keep watching the two lakes in our neighbors yard get bigger and bigger. Justin didn't have school today, which was awesome, and he won't have it tomorrow either, due to huge amounts of flooding in some of the streets. It has been really fun to just be home together and bundle up, eat soup and listen to the wind and rain outside! Here are some crazy pictures from the news of the flooding: