Sunday, January 31, 2010

Today is the Last Day of January

This January has not been an easy month for me.
The last several weeks have been filled with many changes.
All good ones, but hard for me nonetheless.

Josh and I accepted my mom's challenge of reading the "Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. We have implemented his money strategies: we have established an emergency savings, we cut up the credit cards, we have written a monthly budget, and we have a one-year, debt-free plan in place (except for the new house payment). It's already been difficult to stick to the plan, but with two credit cards paid off now, it has been rewarding.

Josh and I joined the "We are Fit" challenge put on by our ward Relief Society. We both want to be in better shape, lose weight, and feel better about ourselves. We have been drinking more water, exercising, and watching what we eat. We've both lost 3 pounds in 3 weeks. That means only 33 more pounds for me to go, so at this rate, I'll reach my weight-loss goal by September! This challenge has also been difficult, but we are reaping its benefits.

My dad challenged his offspring to read the Book of Mormon this year. Josh, Ammon, and I have taken it on! I love reading it, and I remember how happy I felt when I read it constantly in high school--it's been that long since I read it all the way through. I'm grateful for the chance to read it along with my brothers and sisters and husband and son. I have difficulty reading it unless it's quiet because I want to focus and concentrate and process what it is that I'm reading. Waiting for a quiet time in this tiny house is difficult. The boys are up at 7am, playing the computer, and all day it's noisy, until about 11pm when Josh turns off the TV to sleep and I'm exhausted. I'm not as far as I'd like to be in the book, but I know that my efforts to press on in this wonderful endeavor will be worth it!

We have plans in place to purchase a home this spring--we have put our finances together to be able to afford what we desire and need the most, and have been approved from the mortgage company. We have been looking forward to this occasion for years, and are so excited! The hardest part about this right now for me is that for the last two years, we've used some of our tax refund money towards a couple's vacation. Two years ago, we went to England. Last year we went to New Orleans. This year we WERE going to go skiing in Park City with just a portion of the refund. But the entire refund we just received went towards credit card payoffs and home-purchase preparations. Which means we're NOT going. In the dreary month of January, I usually plan and look forward to the upcoming retreat in February. But not this year. No couple's retreat, no vacation to plan, nothing to lift me from the depressing days of January.

Change is hard. First I embraced it, but after two weeks, I began resisting it. Even though I know everything we are doing now physically, financially, and spiritually will be for a greater cause for us and our family, I've still been struggling mentally.

The truth is I've been depressed for weeks. And I'm tired of it.
Today is the last day of January, and it's time for my pity-party to end.

February starts tomorrow.
In February, I will see my niece be baptized.
I will get to visit my family alone.
I will go to the temple.
Valentine's Day will be celebrated.
We will be living our last month in this old house.
Happy times are on the horizon!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dough Boy

My boys all love to eat cookie dough.
So much so, that they eat it by the gallon.

Friday, January 29, 2010

and not a day too late!

For 15 days of the 17-day Christmas Break, we had no snow in Salmon. But thankfully, the Saturday before we returned to school, we finally got some!!! The boys were so ecstatic! We were glad that the snow arrived just in time for us to enjoy it, and not a day too late!

We took them up to Lover's Lookout (just a mile from our house) for two hours of sledding bliss!Gideon & Alyssa, and Grandpa T. came too! Grandpa brought the 4-wheeler, so he could pull sledders up the LONG hill after going down it! We had such a delightful time! We love spending quality time with family while basking in the beautiful white stuff that God blessed us with!

Josh likes to pave a trail in the giant tube
Gid & Lys going down together
Ammon is ready for a relaxing ride
Micah likes going alone
Jonah likes riding with others
Kanyon was brave enough to take this ride all by himself
I was the queen of the hill--my sled reached the furthest point at the bottom
Sledders linked like a choo-choo train
Racing to the bottom of the hill

Thursday, January 28, 2010

what little boys are made of

I have 3 younger sisters.
I liked mothering my little sisters when I was in my youth.
I understood girls and I couldn't wait to be a mother when I grew up.
Now I am the mother of 4 sons.
And most days I have no idea how to raise boys!

Boys are so different from girls...
Girls are socially active, and use words to express their feelings.
Boys are physically active, and use agression to show their feelings.
Girls like to be pretty, and have nice-smelling things.
Boys hate to change their socks, and have stinky-smelling things.
Girls have lots of emotions.
Boys have lots of energy.

One of the areas that I have no expertise in is the usage of body part grammar with boys.
Boys love to talk about body parts and noisy bodily functions.
When they were little, I had no idea what I would call those parts.
If I used the correct terminology, I'd be hearing those words all day long.
Over and over and over.
That didn't seem like a good option.
But I also didn't want them growing up using cheesy nicknames for their body parts either.

Thankfully, the boys figured out what to call the body parts all by themselves.

"He kicked me in the tenders" Jonah said one day.
And it stuck.
Tenders for privates.
Sounds good to me.

One day, Micah pointed to a bathing Kanyon and said "He has nibbles like me!"
Nibbles for nipples.
I kind of like it.

So, Tenders and Nibbles it is.
Chicken pieces doubling as Body parts.

That's what my little boys are made of!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


For his birthday in 2002, I gave Josh a Monopoly Golf. I knew how much he loved the board game, and when I found the "Golf" edition of it, I thought it was perfect for him! He loved it! But it was rarely played because I refuse to play it with him. He always wins Monopoly big-time, and I hate losing so badly over and over and over. Thankfully, when Ammon became old enough to understand the game, Josh found someone willing to play it over and over and over with him! And Ammon has gotten quite good at it, too, even beating his dad on a few occasions!

Now during every Christmas Break for the past 3 years, playing the Monopoly game has become a competition between Josh, Ammon, and Gideon. Ammon looks forward to it, and even played against himself a few times this year to practice for the competition! I think it's funny to watch the three guys play it together, all very serious and competitive, making the game last for hours! Alyssa decided to join in this year's competition, too...but I think she enjoyed it about as much as I did while playing against them, so I doubt she'll do it again!

Each year, at the end of the competition, the champion claims the cherished title of Monopoly King, reigning for a full year until the next Christmas Break!!!

January 2010 - Champion: Josh

January 2009 - Champion: Gideon

January 2008 - Champion: Josh
(sorry, no photo)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Year's Eve

We spend New Year's Eve in Salmon each year because the Tolman family participates each year in the local radio station's New Year's Oldies Contest & Trivia. A montage is played every half hour consisting of short excerpts of 12 songs, and the object is to guess each song's title and artist to win the prize of $20! In addition to that, trivia about oldies songs is announced all night long, and if you can call in fast enough and get the answer right, you can win items donated by local businesses! It is always so much fun!

This New Years was my favorite yet, because we won the montage contest within 2 hours--a record!!! We usually work on it all night, starting at 6:00, without getting every single song's name & artist, but we've won many years by having the most answers right by the time midnight comes. Each year, the songs are chosen using a common theme, and once you can figure out enough songs, it becomes apparent what the theme is to help you figure out the remainder of the songs. Josh figured out this year's theme: "deck of cards"--the songs/artists either included a number 2-10, or a king, queen, jack, ace, joker, or a heart or diamond. To claim the title, we worked as a group: Edward and Kathy figured out most of the songs from memory, I used the "Oldies Bible" to search for more song titles and artists, and Gideon & Alyssa used the internet to look up lyrics in order to figure out the last 3 songs.So after we won around 8:00, the rest of the evening was spent playing, laughing, and putting together a puzzle, all while trying to answer the radio trivia to win more prizes throughout the remainder of the night. We had a wonderful evening with the Tolmans, and were grateful that John, the Dalrymples, and the Whittiers could join us! The closer to midnight we got, the conversation became goofier, the puzzle was harder to piece, the air was filled with more laughter, and the eyelids became heavier! Only Kanyon didn't make it to see the 12:00 hour hit, and the rest of us were happy to hit the sack after that!

(doesn't it look like octopus arms piecing the puzzle?!)

(Josh and Edward are laughing hysterically in this photo about something Micah said)

(Micah and Alyssa pretending to sleep before midnight)

Goodbye 2009!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Outside Frozy, Inside Cozy

The day after Christmas, we left Utah for the coldest place in Idaho--Stanley. We arrived on a typical day, with the temperature being 20 degrees below zero. Brrrrrr!!!!But regardless of the freezing weather, we always get that warm, loving feeling when we go to Stanley because we get to visit family that we love: Josh's aunt, uncle, and the "big" cousins (because they're all older & much taller than my boys!). Their family owns a motel/gas station/country store, and it's fun to sleep in one of their nice hotel rooms and play in their large and spacious home behind the store.

About 5 years ago, Josh's dad started a tradition for the Tolman family to speak in the Stanley branch on the last Sunday of each year. The branch is in the Salmon LDS Stake, even though it is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Salmon. Because of the remoteness of the area that we live in, traveling from one end of the stake boundaries to the opposite end takes 4 hours!

This year, Josh and I both spoke (this was my first time doing so). The boys sang "I am a Child of God" while I did the sign language for it, and Josh accompanied on the piano. Great Grandma Tolman, Grandma and Grandpa T., Uncle Tim, and cousin Andrew also came that day! We had a wonderful visit after church with everyone.

Every winter, we look forward to going, and this year's trip was my favorite yet! As the children get older, the overnight trip is more of a vacation and less work! I enjoy spending time talking with Aunt Janet, Josh appreciates the opportunity to relax, and the boys love playing with their fun "big" cousins!

These were our favorites from this year's trip:

"playing the wii with the cousins" - Ammon(this photo was taken at Weaton's missionary farewell in April 2008)

"playing hide and seek with the cousins" - Jonah (do you see the boys playing behind the legs? There are actually 8 people in this photo!!)

"playing with the cousins' choo-choo trains" - Micah(they played for hours and hours with all of Aaron's trains!)

"playing choo choos and tractors" - Kanyon(they had so much fun with Orson while playing with Eric's large toy tractors)

"good conversation" - Josh(this is always how the Tolman men chat--standing in a semi-circle, staring at the floor!)

"spending quality time with family" - Kala(Isn't that giant tree so beautiful?! Thanks Aunt Janet for your fabulous hospitality and good company!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Santa's Loot

On Christmas morning, the boys awoke to find this awaiting them under the tree:
And since Santa brought what they had wished for, they were as happy as could be!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Full-Time Job

With 3 boys losing multiple teeth (8 teeth in all!) within several weeks of each other, the tooth fairy was busy with her full-time job at our house!!!
(Coincidentally, Micah lost his front two teeth only a week before Christmas this year--similar to last Christmas when Jonah was missing the same two teeth!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My (11-year-long) Project

When we were growing up, us children had our own individually decorated stockings. They were all very different, just as us siblings were. My own stocking was made from felt, and on the front of it was a girl with black yarn hair and a pretty dress made from different shades of felt. I loved my childhood stocking!

After I got married, I had a desire to make my own family's stockings inspired by my childhood one. Before our 1st Christmas together, I made mine and Josh's--an angel and a cowboy. Before Ammon's 2nd Christmas, I made his--a little drummer boy. Before the twins' 3rd Christmas, I made theirs--a shepherd and a nutcracker soldier. And finally, a week after Christmas this year so as to be ready for his 4th Christmas next year, I made Kanyon's--a wise man.

It really should never have taken this long to complete the project that I started 11 years ago, but I'm so glad that I've finished the stockings! Mine and Josh's were made following a pattern, and after that, I created my own designs to make the boys'. I think they're adorable and I love admiring them while they're hung during the holiday season!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Christmas Eve

Events of Christmas Eve 2009 in Utah...

1. Drove to Willard Bay to see the "Fantasy at the Bay" lights, and on the way there everyone wore different light glasses to view all the lights that we drove past (like 3-D glasses but with little holiday holograms that are magnified by light).
2. Read "Twas the Night Before Christmas"

3. Had our traditional reading of the first Christmas story from Luke Chapter 2
4. The boys each opened one gift--new hooded sweatshirts
5. Video-Talked over the internet to Aunt Tabbi who was in Taiwan
6. Went to bed late, with much anticipation and excitement for what was to come in the morning!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let it Snow!!!

When we left to Utah for Christmas, we still had not received enough snow in Salmon to cover the ground. The boys were going crazy being stuck inside during the beginning of Christmas Break, due to the freezing temperatures and the lack of snow. But that all changed when we went to Utah, because we arrived to several feet of the white stuff!!! The boys couldn't contain their excitement!
On Christmas Eve, we went to Logan to go sledding with some of my siblings and nieces. The boys and girls and adults all had so much fun together! It was the perfect activity!!! The park we went to has a large bowl with short and medium-sized hills, and a giant hill that was really slick. We started out on a shorter hill until everyone was ready to go to the giant one. But after several of us crashed into trees at the bottom of the giant hill, we ended with sliding down a medium hill.
A kids' playground is situated in the center of the park between the giant hill and the bowl. Kanyon loved playing there with his cousin Abbie after he tired of sledding.Afterwards, we all went out to eat at a local pizzeria. Going sledding with everyone was at the top of my boys' favorite activities during Christmas Break. I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend time with family, for the gift of snow at Christmas, and for the lasting memories that were made on this day!