Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Giving Season

It always seems like a challenge to keep the reason for the season in your heart during Christmas. It is an uBer busy time of year and it always seems to be a personal quest to make sure my kids know the true meaning of Christmas. I feel like service is the best way to feel the true meaning of Christmas. This year I submerged myself in a variety of service and it truly brought the season. It didn't seem busy or too crazy or intense. It felt joyful, peaceful and perfect. Submersion in service is always the answer.

Here is what we were involved in:

~ Piano recital and caroling at the Nursing Home (previously posted about.)
~ I asked every preschooler bring a new or gently used toy in to donate to our local "Help Them to Hope" organization. Between the 3 preschool classes and our family we had 2 large black garage bags full.
~ Each preschool class also sponsored a local kid in our community (it was anonymous. We just knew some basic info that they provided us and then picked out some Christmas gifts for each child.)
~ As a YW group we went over to the "Help Them to Hope" head quarters in Ontario. We learned about their operation (very impressive - I hope to get move involved in the future!) And then we helped bag candy for their Christmas food boxes.
~ The YW did the 12 days of Christmas for 3 different widows in our ward. Each class took one widow. Each day we brought a piece of the nativity along with a correndating scritpure or song. Our family went on Monday night (the 21st) and had family home evening with Sister Gardner. It was such a great experience, one that I hope we'll continue reguarly in the new year.
~ We also had Jeff and Julie for Christmas this year so we decided to do the 12 days of Christmas for them too. It was based off the song and so a little more silly but still lots of fun.
~ The kids also drew names to give gifts for each other. But the rule was that they had to made the present and wrapping paper. It was fun to brainstorm and create secretly with each of them. On Christmas they each were appreciative and enjoyed the homemade present they received. Definitely a tradition to keep.

As I learned long ago there is no better way to feel/show God's love than through service.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Finally Another Nephew!

Congratulations to Elaine and Ben!!!

Today Ethan Farnsworth entered the world and joined the family. He weighs 7 lbs even and 21 inches long. Elaine and baby are doing well. She had him all natural - I'm so proud of her! :D She is anxious to get out of the hospital as all the family is arriving in Logan tomorrow. She doesn't want to miss a moment of Christmas!

I can't wait to meet this sweet new addition for myself! Welcome baby Ethan, we're so glad to have you in our family. WE LOVE YOU!

Christmas Miracle

Tonight we went to a widow in our ward and had family home evening with her. Like usual we left in a rush to get there on time. We had a wonderful time. The kids were comfortable - she had baked cookies and had a present for each of them. We had a good lesson and game. I'm confident that my children know why we celebrate Christmas and that makes me so happy.

After FHE we made about 8 different stops deliverying presents and goodies to YW, people we home teach or serve with. About 3 hours later we arrived home. Austin walked in and asked, "What is that smell? It smells terrible." Kurt immediatly thought the pellet stove had gone out and rush downstairs to restart it. As I walked in the house and smelt it for myself I knew it wasn't the pellet stove but the oven. I walked into the kitchen to investigate the reality dawning on me. I had been making Christmas tree cakes before we left. And in our rush to leave I forgot to take it out of the oven before we left! 3 hours later at 350 degrees and unbelievablely no damage. It was in a silocone pan and honestly you could never know it had baked for 3 1/2 hours.

I don't know what's on your graditude list this Christmas season, but I for one am so grateful that I didn't burn the house down! I'm grateful for this direct blessing of doing service. WOW.

BTW this was a white cake mix.

Kurt had the brilliant idea to use it for our bird feeder (the activity for the night from our Christmas Activity Advent - more to come about that soon.) It was a solid rock.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Saturday night was our ward Christmas party. The kids were looking adorable (as always) but I love all the red at Christmas. I asked Kurt to take a few pictures while I finished getting ready. He captured what is now my most favorite picture of my 4 fabulous kids.

Favorite moments:

Austin came upstairs to tell us that he had a surprise for us. So we followed him downstairs. He had google earth pulled up on the computer and had found our house. He was pretty excited (and his father pretty proud.)

I asked the kids to help clean up before we left (for some errand I don't remember which.) Emma Lynn came upstairs 15 minutes later, "Mom I cleaned up the whole play room for you." And when she started it was in true play room form (utter disaster!) She is so good to me!

During the Christmas party we watched a video of the Primary kids in our ward. One child said that Jesus was born in a cave. Spencer was quick to reply, "No He wasn't. Jesus was born in Bethlehem."

Rooster is constantly dancing with her endless chatter these days. We are getting arm swaying, turns and bends. I find it all very hopeful that it'll lead to the stage. :) We all love to watch and she is starting to demand an audience (is this a bad thing???)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ornament Exchange

This year we participated in an ornament exchanged hosted by The Crafty Crow blog. We made 5 ornaments in the Fairy Tale theme and sent them to the 5 people in our group. And then we waited for our 5 ornaments to arrive. The kids and I had fun creating and then awaiting the mail. Great tradition to start.

Here are the different ornaments we received. The last one was a castle made out of Legos. It lasted about 3 minutes with my lego lovers. They had to dissemble it so they could build a bigger, better .... ahhh the possibilities of Legos.

We decided to make winter fairies.

First we painted a (cinnamon scented) pine cone with modge podge.

Second we sprinkled it with glitter.

Then we cut out white wings out of felt.

Drew faces on small wooden balls.

And attached it all together with a hot glue gun and finally adding a wire hook.

Naturally the kids expressed their creativity when they made their own.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

She's HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How many exclamation points can I put to express my joy and not be obnoxious?!!! Who cares! KAREN IS HOME!!!

Her plane landed this morning just as I started preschool. So. I. Had. To. Wait. We were doing our Christmas parties in preschool today which equals lots of sugar and lots of excitement so I really didn't have time to think about it. But the minute they were all gone I called home.

It was so great to hear her voice and talk to her!!! I admit I was emotional and I'm dying to SEE her beautiful face and give her a long awaited hug!!!

This is the sign the kids and I am made a few weeks ago. We sent it to grandma so she could hold it in the airport when Karen arrived. It was the best we could do since we couldn't personally be in DC. (The kids were really proud of this sign and almost didn't want me to send it!)

6 days and counting till RSR (Richards Sisters Reunited!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Today I'm celebrating NINE years with my soul mate, eternal companion, father of my children, provider, team captain and best friend. Can't believe it's been nine. And yet shouldn't it be more (I mean that in the most honest and true complimentary sincerity. It's hard to remember life without him.)

1 super-trying-to-be-eternal-family
2 homes we've owned
3 vehicles (not including work related.)
4 fabulous children
5 (x 6) snakes we killed in our Blackfoot house
6 children we wanted to have when we first got married
7 rungs in the banister that we've broken
8 moves
9 amazingly, wonderful, it-just-keeps-getting-better-with-you YEARS


(later that night...)

When I got home late after mutual tonight Kurt took me on a surprise scavenger hunt. He worked really hard on the clues (it must rhyme to be a poem!) They made me laugh.

~ If you will recount with me, our 9 year lived blissfully. The first clue you'll easily find in a book where we can sit and rewind. Take a few minutes to remember those days of wonderful courtship and my use of rays.

~ Year number one was full of school, CNA work that was kind of cool. Special Olympics was great, beg your pardon but the best part of the year was spent in a garden. Find the next clue under a souvenir we bought for you.

~ Year number two took us to Ames, lots of new friends that played lots of games. We stayed for a while and then I should tell ya, we moved to an odd town known to most as Pella. Your started your school and itw as fantastic, you enjoyed it so much I thought you were spastic. We were expecting and what to expect, you'll find the next clue in that book of sect.

~ Year number three was full of surprises. Our awaited bundle of joy was early as wises. Sir William was born in the town of Des Moines because he wanted to jump out of your loins. This made life exciting as he was the first to arrive. Now he does homework like is alive. He puts his homework in a folder, there you'll find the next clue in order.

~ Year number four was spent back in Ames where we loved to go camping and play lots of games. School was good and home was suprema, we created a body for beautiful Emma. She loves art and where does she put it. with the clue in dad's little cubit.

~ Year five was a year of transition, we moved to Blackfoot and I took position. We worked as missionaries for the church, it was tough work but rewarding for sur'ch. We had two and I still can't remember how easy it was that life in September. You met Tiniel and you two share a hobby, find the next clue in this case not from Robby.

~ Year six was the worst of your life, we moved to a place full of turmoil and strife. This year was so great to make recompense, it was also the year that we welcomed our Spence. He brings us such joy and makes us all smile, the next clue can be found in his shoe in which he ran a mile.

~ Year number seven we went a loved one to heaven. It caused lots of heartache, it wasn't a pretty sight. I am so proud of you for still trying to make it right. You are a good person and I think you're terr. Find the next clue with a picture of her.

~ In year number eight we added a Rooster, bought a new house, and taught many youngsters. You are a great teacher ...... (edited for PG version) ......

~ We continue to grow in year number nine. This is where I ran out of rhymes. Reading our scriptures, attending the temple, I am truly blessed to find someone who wants to be together forever as much as I do. Thank you for making me a better person. I love you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Today in sacrament I felt inspired to step up my game in an area that has needed it for a while.

No more PG-13 movies.
No more TV sitcoms, drama, reality shows, etc...(we don't have TV but we would watch a few shows on the internet.)

Rarely are these things up-lifting. I know this resolve will help me step it up. I know it'll be hard initially (I am openly a movie junkie) but ultimately worth it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Annual Gingerbread-Making-Parties

I love having family activities with my preschoolers. One of my favorites from last year was gingerbread house making. I supply the graham crackers and frosting and everyone brings a candy to share for decorating. This week we had our 2nd annual ginger-bread-making parties.

Monday night was the 3 year old (busy bee) class. And tonight we had both the 4 year old classes (Caterpillars at 6 and Ladybugs at 7.) Still a favorite event. Does 2 years running make it a tradition? Well I'll keep doing it as long as I teach preschool.

Spencer's Sensational Creation

Emma Lynn has been anticipating Thursday all week just because of the first party. She didn't want to make one on Monday with Spencer's class. She was determined to wait until her class came. She made one with Kurt and then very diligently frosted the entire thing by herself (I was very busy helping everyone get set up at that point and Kurt was keeping the other kids preoccupied.) As she was decorating the roof caved in. I tried to resurrect the building as much as I could but every wall was breaking at that point. We salvaged it as much as possible but the noteworthy point worth mentioning is that she didn't cry or have a meltdown even though she was upset and disappointed. What process she has made!!!

Naturally Rooster had to get in on the action. She was SO cute about it! (Check out the pictures and tell me I'm lying. I dare ya! So stinkin' cute!)

Thanks again Kurt for all your help in making it successful.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Austin's First Recital

Tonight I had my 4 piano students (that includes Austin) play Christmas songs down at our local nursing home. I planned it on a Wednesday night so the YW could come perform and carol at the same time. Am I a thinker or what?!!! It turned out really well. Music, especially Christmas music is such a soul lifter. Nothing pleases the soul more than a song of the heart. I love to spread that joy. This is exactly why my family carols every Christmas Eve. I'm glad the YW could learn to feel that too.

And now I'm going to brag. Austin did so well! He didn't make a single mistake. Flawless. I'm so PROUD of him!!! His hands weren't shaking or anything (although he did look scared out of his mind.) He hasn't even been playing a year. I picked a hard song for him and he worked and practiced and it paid off. YAY AUSTIN!!!

Kurt was busy manning the other 3 kids so he didn't get video of him playing so we had him play it again for us when he got home. The first time through he played by himself and then we played a duet.

Constant Chatter

Rooster's "talking."

Monday, December 7, 2009


Capturing every day moments before they change...

~ Brought his prayer rock to school for show and tell last week. Love it!
~ Picked up a Harry Potter book that we own and started reading it. [I've dreamed about this day!!!] We were just sitting there and he said, "Petrify!" love it!
~ He finished his second AR reading chart (comprehensive tests over books, 25 books per chart) last week (well ahead of the competition. Which I am finding out is important to him. He definitely gets that from his father!)
~ Today he earned a Star Reward at school for helping another boy with his work. I love that he can find service and confidence in his talents.

Friday morning (no school, aahhh) creation. I love his creativity.

Emma Lynn
~ Is reading well. She has finished 2 Dick and Jane books and has a few other series we are reading through. She uses the sight word flash cards Austin brings home and is doing really well with them.
~ ART lessons on Tuesday are still one of the most anticipated times of the week. Brecca Marvin has been a great teacher for her this fall. She has explored different mediums, tried a few techniques and had lots of fun. They painted a small nativity set last week. It is proudly displayed on top of the piano with our collection.
~ Because of her love for art we have been doing a ton more crafts which I have really been enjoying to. She came to Super Saturday with me and together we got all the projects done. It's been a fun bond to share.
~ Emma is a natural teacher. She is truly a tremendous help to me with the other preschool classes. I really appreciate her.
~ Right now I look at her and can physically see her growing/changing (physically and in maturity level.) There are certain times in your children's development where you can SEE them slipping out of one stage and into the other. It is quite surreal, exciting, and a bit sad all at the same time. She is an amazing girl!

Joining the band wagon with her own flare.

Art work from lessons ~ sea turtle in chalk (raised.)

~ Spencer has mastered his name! The past month he has been able to put all the letters together and in the correct order. Each week getting better and better. Today at school he actually got them all on the same line. Way to go bud!
~ He enjoys singing and is good at it. He is currently singing "God is bigger than the boogie man" (from veggie tales) all over the place.
~ Spencer LOVES that Braxton come to preschool now. LOVES it. He saves him a spot, waves vigorously when he arrives and tells me constantly, "Braxton is my best buddy!" Braxton seems indifferent to it all but we're sure glad he's there!
~ Spencer is so lovable. He is easy to love. And he has been easy to raise. He has such a soft spot in my heart. I love that boy!


~ Very much a rascal but she is quiet about it and it can be funny. We try not to laugh! For example the previous tooth-brush-down-the-sink experience (btw the count is up to 10. She struck again last week!)
~ Spencer and Emma Lynn were trying to get their jammies on tonight but were moving slowly. Rooster came through (quietly) and put their clean jammies down the laundry chute so they couldn't find them. Spencer was looking all over for them. Meanwhile she was just laughing about it!
~ The snack in preschool today was 2 different kinds of donuts. They forgot to the take the leftovers home and they were still sitting on my desk. I was in the kitchen cooking when Rooster came in with one (she had climbed up onto my desk to get them.) I told her no more. She ate the donuts and went back to playing. 5 minutes later she comes back...with the other kind of donut, grinning away. What a Rascal!
~ Still very limited vocabulary but she has mastered, perfected the usage of "NO!" She answers every question with that word. I am not exaggerating. We make a fun game out of it (her siblings find it hilarious!)

matching pants

Life is definitely not dull. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Inside Joke

I keep thinking that if my life was organized down to the very last detail that it would help cut down on the big stuff busyness. So I said this to Kurt,

"My goals for 2007 are to become more organized."

Kurt just started bustin' up. I didn't even realize what I had said until he pointed out that apparently I was still stuck in the year 2006.

You can only imagine the jokes that have followed since then. He still gets a reaction (laughter or smiling) from me so they keep coming. And probably will until 2008!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


- noun

1. a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of the holiday season.
2. the coming of Christ into the world.
3. the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.

I love advent calendars. The official countdown calendar. We have a few going as of TODAY! Happy Countdown to the celebration of our Savior's birth.

From Grandma Richards

A new creation this year that we are loving (Thank You!!!) This is mini muffin tin and inside each cup is chocolate (of course!) This is a really good time of year to have an even number of children (so they all get the same amount of turns! very important.)


This is a craft I finished up today. I'm happy with the way it turned out and the math strengthening possibilities. I think we'll be moving it to the preschool room tomorrow!


Scripture readings for our morning devotional to take us through the events up to the Savior's birth.

Family Activity Surprise

Inside each cone is a treat (naturally) and an activity we can do together as a family. Tonight it read, "Decorate the tree." perfect!

"till the branches touch the clover"

Santa and his reindeer!

Home Again

June 3 - 9, 2018 Sunday, 06.03 Monday, 06.04   Tuesday, 06.05 Wednesday, 06.06 Happy 2nd Birthday to sweet Eleanor!! ...