Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Joseph and Elizabeth!

Tonight we celebrated Joseph and Elizabeth's birthdays. We had our families over for cake and ice cream...Lizzie is now a full-fledged two year old toddler. (See picture below with artistic lipstick applied by herself to herself...) She has been our easiest baby. She is very patient and easy to please. Even when she is starving or exhausted, she hardly fusses. She was a surprise baby, and it is almost as if she inately understands her luck and doesn't want to rock the boat! She is just glad to be around people she loves. I have a feeling she will probably be an easy toddler. So far, she hasn't done anything really naughty. I love hearing her tiny voice call for me: "Mommy, are you?" ("Mommy, where are you?") I actually enjoy taking her with me to run errands because she is so well behaved and mellow in shopping carts. I really like her company. Because she is our last child, I like to rock her longer before bed and kiss her 'one more time.' I love that she loves violin. You'd think with all the music lessons going on around here, for as many years as it has, that ALL of my kids would naturally be drawn to it. Not so much. But Elizabeth, yes. We have to hide Emma's violin because Lizzie wants to play it. All the time. And she whines to me, "Mommy, song. Mommy, song." This means she wants me to play the piano while she sways back and forth pretending to play her tiny 1/64th size violin. A couple of months ago a student of mine played in our sacrament meeting. After she was done, Elizabeth stood on the bench with outstretched arms screaming "Bio-in! MYYYY Bio-in!!!" We couldn't calm her down so Joseph spent the rest of the meeting pacing out in the halls trying to get her to forget the musical number. She imitates students exactly during lessons, adjusting her bow fingers, pointing to the music with her bow, and finally taking the final bow at the end of each lesson. We'll keep our fingers crossed with this child! She is truly a joy. Our bonus baby...

As for my sweet Joseph, whom I affectionately call "Fofe", I love him more than I can express. He was and continues to be the choice of my heart. I had a terrible day on Saturday and I broke down in tears of sorrow. (Neither of us could remember the last time I cried because I was sad!) But he wrapped his arms around me and held me until I had stopped crying and my breathing became even again. And he listened.

He is a walking miracle. Just ask his adoring, beautiful, gracious mother who threatened to deliver him 3 months early. Just ask her about how a car backed over him as a toddler and when she picked him up, he had tread marks on his little red shirt, but no broken bones or internal damage or scratches of any kind. Just ask his Dad about the time he went missing as a toddler at an outdoor church function and several minutes later, found him lying face down in a pond. Just ask his adoring wife who continues to be amazed that he not only puts up with me (I'm hard to live with!), but he forgives me, he loves me, he supports me and he offers all of his tender heart to me. How grateful I am that he was born. He is my better half. And somehow he completes me. I am high strung, animated and sometimes controlling, but he gently leads me and calms my stormy tendencies. I am so privileged to have his hand. I've watched him serving in these leadership positions the past year in our ward, and I have seen him kneeling in prayer over and over again to summon answers and strength from the Lord. The other night we were having companionship prayer and he was saying it. I wasn't very focused, because I noticed he had been praying for 22 minutes. I was starting to get a little restless. I think I started to mumble something not-so-Christlike under my breath when we said 'amen', but I immediately regreted it because I caught the beauty of the situation. I'm so blessed to have someone pray so specifically for all the important things in our lives. What was I thinking? :) Anyway, he's going to kill me for this post because he is a very private person, but hey, he can get me back by praying longer when it's his turn next...

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Am Mad!

Two headlines in today's news make me furious! First of all, President Barry Obama's first day in office: His priority is shutting down Guantanamo Bay. What's wrong with that you may ask? Don't foreign terrorists have rights? Sure, they have human rights, but they should not have access to American rights and liberties. And what about the rights of the victims of 9/11? Unfortunately they no longer have any. So today's Fox News headline stated that Al Quaeda's chief was released from Gitmo and sent back to his home in Yemen. I hate the fact that Obama is soft on terrorism. What will he do if and when there is another terrorist attack-- where will we detain the terrorists? It better not be on American soil. The terrorists do not, I repeat, DO NOT deserve access to our court systems and the luxury of our current prison system. Yet, they do not deserve to be released to the judgment of their own country either; many of which support and fund terrorism. Where will Obama put future terrorists? They shouldn't be on our soil again, ever. Not even to be tried in our court system using our tax dollars. Gitmo, being a military facility on the tip of Cuba is the perfect place.

Headline number two: "How Teens Feel About Pornography: Studies show that teens find three valuable uses for porn. 1) positive interaction between themselves and their peers. 2) Porn is a valuable information source as teens begin navigating their sexuality. 3)It is an inspiration for sexual excitement."
What a worldy fallacy the Adversary has painted. And you remember last week's big headling:
"22-Year Old Sells Her Virginity Online to Highest Bidder".

What a blessing it is to have the guiding light of the Restored Gospel in these tumultuous times. I love that our General Young Women leaders have added the new value, Virtue, to the theme this year! How prophetic and visionary are our leaders! And let me end on a positive summary from Elder Holland:

"Both research and experience show that parental love and a happy home is the strongest defense our children have against anything the lords of darkenss can throw at them."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mrs. Field's Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cafe Rio!!!

I've tried a lot of chocolate chip recipes in my life. Ahem. A LOT!!! This one was given to me by my friend Carmonie Russell. It is the blue ribbon winner in my book. It makes a h-u-g-e batch which we use a couple of dozen at a time. I refrigerate the rest and we bake them fresh every couple of nights for a bed time snack. Enjoy with a tall glass of Reed's Dairy milk. ***I admit, the ink is still wet on my New Year's Resolution to lose some weight. But hey, they are that good!

1 pound butter (I use 1 cup butter plus 1 cup of butter flavored Crisco)
3/4 C. white sugar
2 C. brown sugar
2 T. vanilla
3 eggs
Beat together well. In another bowl, mix and then add:
6 C. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. soda
1 pkg. chocolate chips
Bake @ 350 for 10-12 minutes. (My oven seems slower, so 355* did better)

More good news: The Taggarts joyfully announce the upcoming arrival of Cafe Rio to Idaho Falls! Coming soon to the new building behind Texas Roadhouse! Life is good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

the rough draft...

I should preface the Mission Statement by showing you the kids' contributions so you can see how we enlarged their ideas (things they thought were important in our family) :

JOSH: "support each other" = "celebrate each other's achievements"
"wrestling dad"
"reading scriptures together and being kind to others" = studying scriptures as a
family helps us have a heart like the Savior's
"have fun doing things together"
EMMA: "tell the truth" = "we value honesty"
"share our feelings" = create a home where we feel safe to share...
"hugs and kisses"
"say 'please' and 'thank you' and 'I'm sorry'" = being respectful even when we are
frustrated or angry (a challenge in our home)
CALEB: "I'm glad we have spiderman pajamas and walls in our house"=???

And Mom and Dad filled in the rest, but the kids (obviously the older ones with some sort of critical thinking abilities) did a great job coming up with things they felt were important. This particular FHE was quite crazy due to the two toddlers mistaking this activity for a pillow fight, but the older kids seemed to enjoy it despite the chaos!

Now does anyone have any ideas as to what I do with this project to put it up somehow in our kitchen?

Kelly Family Mission Statement 2009

We, the Kelly Family love each other very much. We love to spend time together having fun, laughing and praying together. We enjoy giving lots of hugs and kisses and wrestling with Dad. This helps us feel good about our love for each other.

We try to be respectful of each other by using good manners and sharing, even when we feel frustrated and angry. We value honor and truth and hard work, even when it is not popular. We love having family traditions because it helps create memories that will strengthen our family circle.

We try to celebrate each other's achievements and want our home to be a place where we feel safe to share ideas, feelings and worries. We want to treat everyone that enters our home like a child of God. We can best learn how to do this by making regular family scripture study a cherished habit. When we learn about the Savior's life and Gospel, it will sink into our hearts and then we can share that light and love with those around us.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Family Mission Statement 2009

We're embarking into undiscovered territory for Family Home Evening tonight. In the LDS Church, our modern day prophets have all emphasized the importance of setting aside one night a week devoted to family (usually Monday nights.) Typically families (which come in all shapes and sizes-- with single parents or widowed spouse can and are encouraged to hold FHE regardless of your family situation) pray and sing together, have some Gospel instruction and have a refreshment at the end. It has been said that Family Home Evening is the only argument that begins and ends with a prayer. This would accurately describe the 7-8:00 hour in the Kelly home on Monday nights. Sigh. But I'm confident that someday it will pay off in dividends we cannot imagine. Anyway, last night Joseph and I were discussing what to do for FHE and we thought it would be a great idea to start the year off with a special family council: We are going to write a Family Mission Statement. I'm a little nervous about this, with our young children, but hopeful they will catch the vision of how it can unify our family. So here are my ideas for developing a family mission statement:

1. Include everyone, even small children.
2. Explain the purpose of a mission statement: "It keeps our family moving in the same direction and provides a sense of belonging." This should be treated as a road map versus a set of rules.
3. Define the family's values. (We love our family because...)
4. Brainstorm adjectives that describe the family (funny, quirky, honest, loving, etc.)
5. Develop the adjectives into thoughts and then into sentences with goal-oriented phrasing.
6. Post it where it can be referenced often. When good or bad decisions are made, tie it back to the family mission statement.
7. Reassess as often as needed, as the growth of the family changes.

Well, here goes nothing! I'll post our results (keeping fingers crossed) pending our quality of evening... this all looks good in writing, but can we carry it out successfully? Has anybody ever written one or read one that was encouraging?