Monday, April 26, 2010

And the Celebration Continues...

The birthday present that we ordered for Ben finally came in, so today we finished his month-long birthday celebration (you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a big wheel these days). I made him his Prince Caspian castle cake and Sean put together his new big wheel bike. We took a little stroll around the neighborhood with Caelan on her scooter, Ben on his big wheel, Megan on her trike, Nathan pushing his push-car, Sean walking the dog and me just walking along (until Nathan got tired).

Duck, Duck, Goose

It was a lovely day on Saturday, and the kids had been begging me to take them to the park. Sean had to work in the morning (inventory day), but when he got home we headed over to Mooney Grove Park. This is a great park in Visalia - tons of huge trees, 3 different playgrounds, ducks and geese with a little pond, lots of fields, a frisbee golf course, etc. In the summer they rent paddle boats and family bikes - we can't wait to try those out.

And of course we had to bring Bruno. He was pretty happy about it.

Playing at the park. Nathy is a little maniac on the playground.

And I just LOVE this expression. She was in the middle of telling me a very "serious" story. HE HE HE.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grandma's Carrot Cake

I whipped up this little baby last night for a Fine Arts Showcase at our church - carrot cake from scratch with homemade cream cheese frosting. It's my grandma Grant's recipe - pretty tasty. I can't remember ever making a carrot cake before (it's not my family's favorite), but it was pretty darn yummy. I'll have to do that more often. And it was a big hit at the event. Yay.

Family Fun Night

So, we are celebrating Ben's birthday in stages. We were gone on April 5th - his actual birthday, but Grandma made some cupcakes for him. I asked him a few weeks ago if he wanted to have a party with friends or go somewhere fun as a family. He chose the latter. So, yesterday we did our family fun trip. We went to Adventureland - a Family Fun Center here in town. Ben wanted to ride the go-karts and the bumper boats. Once we got on the bumper boats and kids started to squirt us with their boat squirters he realized maybe that wasn't as fun as he thought (sometimes he is particular about when he wants to get wet). Caelan loved it though. Then he took a ride on the go-karts with Dad. They were the only ones on the track, so they went around and around and around and around that track. Megan was a little frustrated that she was too short to go on either of the rides (one of the photos below accurately shows how she felt about it...HE HE HE). Nathy was pretty content to run around EVERYWHERE and slurp on his drink. Afterwards we went to Me & Ed's - a pretty yummy pizza place. The kids were wired (climbing over and under the table and booths), and it was pretty ironic when a middle aged couple (just a husband and wife) sitting at a table next to us dropped their pizza on the ground. Here we are with craziness emitting from all parts of our group and this calm, quiet couple causes a big scene (oh, I'm sure they were mortified). Good times!

We've had the hardest time finding the gift we want to give Ben for his birthday (we ordered it online, but the order was canceled), so I guess we'll have one more celebration when that actually comes in - plus he really wants me to make him a Prince Caspian Castle Cake. So I guess we'll be celebrating his birthday all month.

Friday, April 16, 2010


While we were sailing the seas in Mexico the kids were having a party of their own here at home with Grandma and Grandpa Dick (Grandma came the Friday before we left and Grandpa flew down to join her on Wednesday). The kids had a BLAST. They took a few trips to the park, they went and saw "How to Train Your Dragon" (which was a big hit), they spent a day at the Fresno Zoo, built Lego castles, took a trip to McDonalds and even got Happy Meals with a toy, read books, got acquainted with two new movies: The Princess and the Frog and Up (both super cute), made cupcakes for Ben's birthday and lots of other playing. I'm sure Grandpa and Grandma were ready for little vacation of their own by the time they left (carting kids to and from school, staying up all night with Megan who had a earache one night, bedtimes, naptimes, mealtimes, homework, Sacrament meeting with 4 kiddos, multiple kids finding their way into their bed at night, etc, etc). We can't say enough how GRATEFUL we are for them and their willingness to come and play with the kids for an entire week. The kids have mentioned several times this past week how they miss Grandma and Grandpa. Thanks a million!!

Party In Mexico

We had a BLAST cruising in Mexico with all the married members of the Sorensen clan: Dad and Andrea, Garrett and Melanie, Charity and Chad, Brittney and Porter and Sean and me.
Top Highlights of the Trip:
1) The BEST part of ALL was being all together for a week straight - I LOVED IT!
2) Snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas
3) Slummin' and bummin' in Mazatlan
4) Meeting the awesome LDS restaurant owner in Mazatlan who was one friendly dude and hooked us up with some delicious Mexican food. YUM!
5) Swimming and snorkeling in the bay in La Paz
6) Touring the glass factory in Cabo
7) Fruit bars at the ports - DELISH!
8) Eating and Eating and Eating and Eating all the tasty food on the ship.
9) Karaoke Nights on the boat: Charity, Chad, Melanie and I all participated.
10) Trivia games in the lounge during our days at Sea
11) A VERY windy game of miniature golf
12) Sorensen family basketball game (Sean was a point-scoring maniac)
13) Finding all the folded towel treasures in our rooms each evening
14) Not having to clean, cook, make a bed, change a diaper, fold laundry, etc for 7 full days.
15) Naps whenever we felt like it (Sean took serious advantage of this...HE HE HE)
16) Picking up some fun souvenirs for the kids
17) Dressing up on the formal nights (this probably was just a highlight for the girls - HA).
18) 24 hour access to yummy soft serve ice-cream (which now I am trying to work-off, but it was worth it).
19) Just meeting up with the family each day to plan out our activities or just chat and laugh
20) 24 hours a day for 7 days with my very favorite person, Sean.

After a full week we were ready to come back to the kids for sure - we missed them a lot, but we had a REALLY great time. Can't wait to do it again in another 10 years or so.

And the other side of Easter

Sean and I were leaving early Easter morning to drive down to San Diego to catch our boat, so I told the kids that I would make a special request for the Easter Bunny to come by our house on Saturday. He gladly complied. We colored our eggs on Friday night and decorated them with glitter pens (which never really dried) and paint. They were quite the site! Saturday morning the kids woke to find their individual Easter baskets on the kitchen counter. They were filled with the usual: jelly beans, peanut M&M's, chocolate eggs and of course, a chocolate bunny. They even had these little Veggie Tale gummy candies (which were really cute to look at but look pretty questionable to actually put in your mouth, which is probably why they are all still intact almost two weeks later...HE HE HE). Then we had an Egg hunt in the backyard: first I hid the eggs, and then the kids wanted to have a turn hiding them while the grown-ups looked for them. I love that part because they get so excited when they see that we are close to an egg that they almost just point them out each time. What a hoot. Then we spent the rest of the day watching General Conference and enjoying the day together.

We were happy to realize that we hadn't taken these pictures off our camera before we left on our cruise, so occasionally during the week while we were away we would pick up the camera and get our "kid fix."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Know He Lives

I love the Easter Season.
I love that we get to hear from our living prophet and the apostles at General Conference (which always falls around this time).
I love the worshipful music.
But mostly I love the message.
The good news.
The news that the Savior LIVES.
I KNOW that HE lives.
And it's not one of those "I've been taught and I believe" kind of feelings.
It's the "I KNOW like I know the sun will rise" kind of feelings.
I've received a witness for myself through the Spirit.
The quiet, yet powerful and VERY REAL feelings that confirm in my heart that it is true.
Jesus Christ is my Savior.
He lived a perfect life and showed us the way to follow.
He paid the ultimate price for me - for each of us,
And made it possible for us to overcome both physical and spiritual death,
Providing us the opportunity to return to live with our families and Him and our Father again someday.
He rose from the dead - literally, thereby breaking the bands of death.
So we, too will be resurrected and be with those we love who have passed on.

6 years ago my mom went "home" - to her Heavenly home. It happened on the day we celebrated that year as Good Friday (how appropriate, right? - following the Savior to the very end). I remember sitting in church two days later (Easter Sunday) and having that warm blanket-feeling come over me, and I knew. I had always had a testimony of the resurrection, but at that moment, I KNEW it. I knew because Jesus Christ had overcome death that so could my mom and so would I. We would be together again. It wasn't just a hope or a belief - it was truth sinking deep, deep into my soul. Each Easter time I get to feel that reminder, the Spirit whispering again to my heart that it is true.
I Know that HE Lives!