Monday, December 26, 2016


This is a ward initiative Travis gave our ward.

Travis got the new iphone 7 and was trying out the camera while we were at the park with my parents. We saw, "Sister Act" at the Hale one of THE best yet (Travis said Tarzan and this was his favorite so far), it was so funny, entertaining, and had a great message.  

Grant got a donut from grandpa too.
Happy Late birthday to the best mom EVER!!! We had a ham dinner for my moms birthday and a maple apple cake with ice cream for dessert.

Grant likes putting things on his head and thought it was so funny to walk around with this covering his eyes and running into me.

Kesler's "Thankful Turkey"

When I change Grant's diaper he is off the second I wipe his bum. This is how he would spend his whole day if he had his way.

See that tree in the background, yeah it was up on November 7th. I am such a Christmas nut! I love CHRISTMAS, I can't get enough of it!!!

The youth had their temple night and Travis always goes with them and I asked Shayla to watch the kids this night so I could go with them. It was such a special experience. I hadn't done baptisms since I got married and I got to do a family name for an older couple there at the temple while Travis baptized me, it was such a tender experience. 

The girls had ice skating lessons the next couple months and had such a great time. I think they want to be figure skater now. 

Happy Birthday to our big 9 year old girl!!! She is such a special girl, we are so grateful she is ours.

Kaydence wanted to take a few of her friends ice skating for her birthday and I invited Kassidy as well, it was so much fun! 

A couple days after driving all the way down here for Kaydences birthday Kim drove down again for grandparents day in Marley's class! Marley completely lit up when she saw grammy there, it was a surprise that she was able to make it. Marley was so happy and couldn't stop hugging her grandma, thank you so much for making Marley's whole day!

Driving up to Idaho for Thanksgiving.
Grant kept reaching out to hold Kaydences hand during the drive, it was so sweet. He sure loves his big sister. 

Amazing Turkey dinner at the Peterson home!

Kaitlin brought this cute little craft for them to make these turkeys.

Gotta have the nap after a big turkey dinner.

We got to enjoy another great turkey dinner at my moms house the next day.

Mickell and I were out picking the rest of the carrots out of my dads garden. These are some monster carrots!

The kids were feeding the horses all the tiny or misshapen carrots we pulled from the ground.

My mom had her backsplash redone just in time for Thanksgiving, it looks so gorgeous with the granite countertops, the cabinets re-stained and painted, and now the back splash.

Kent got Kathleen a new canon rebel so we were watching the dvd on all the settings and adjustments to use on it. Very informative (I had about 20 pictures of Kathleen like this just trying all the different settings and adjustments out). 

Grant fell asleep when I let him cry in the room for a bit since he was being so fussy.

We went to see Leslie and Mickells home in Shelley. It was is such a warm, cozy home with a big garden, a garage, and room to grow. The kids were especially fond of the two cats they had.

Marley didn't skate with us for Kaydence's birthday because we didn't have room in the van for the four friends Kaydence wanted to invite and her sister. So I took Marley out ice skating a week or two later for some one on one time together.

We went to the production, "Savior of the World". You have to be at least eight years old to attend so we took Kaydence with us. It was amazing, I felt the spirit so strong. It really brought the life and mission of the Savior to life for me. I would highly recommend it, such a powerful production.
Some of the parts in "Savior of the World" that struck me were how sacred and binding marriage was in the Jewish custom, specifically between Joseph and Mary in the play. Marriage is such a binding of souls, a covenant to each other and the Lord. That is what happens in the temple but it just struck me differently watching the play. There was this clothe the future bride (Mary) had to weave and she had to put forth her best effort to make the clothe the best she could, inside and out. It reminded me of the effort I am suppose to put forth in my marriage. I've heard it once said that if only we would put as much preparation and effort into our marriages as we put forth for a beautiful wedding, people's marriages would be a lot smoother. When planning a wedding it takes months and months of work, attention to detail, and trying to work out all the kinks so the wedding goes smoothly. Marriage takes a daily effort to make it the beautiful thriving relationship God intents it to be.
The clothe was then wrapped around the couples (Mary and Josephs) clasped hands as they were being married. Then later when Christ was born I noticed they had him wrapped in the clothe, he was wrapped in the covenant they made to each other and to God, such a beautiful symbol.  Just as Mary and Joseph wrapped their child in their clothe, their covenant, it stirred thoughts of what I want my marriage and our family to be. As we bring the best that we have, like Mary when she made that clothe brought the best she had, and wrapped their children in the center of it. It creates a marriage and a family that is successful, wonderful, joyful, and a marriage that thrives. The play also portrayed Joseph putting for his best effort in building their home and putting all he could into it and forming their lives together.
 Thoughts and things I've discussed with Travis that have kind of stemmed from this.
 There is such a difference between a marriage that survives versus a marriage that thrives. Both are commendable but to have a marriage that thrives, where you don't merely tolerate each other and make it work but a marriage where you are falling more in love with the person, growing closer together, and how you truly are working towards being one. It is another level of happiness that brings such joy and contentment to all other areas of life and I believe that is what God wants us all to experience but it definitely doesn't come without daily effort. When I got married and entered into our marriage covenant I entered into this triangle with my husband, and the Lord. I can only control my part of the triangle. As Travis and I keep our covenants we grow closer together and closer to the Lord. A daily effort to become more like my Savior, a daily effort to try to be selfless, not wasting time on trying to make things "fair" (I think we can waste so much precious energy on trying to make things fair and really when you think about it it is such a waste because we don't see all the pieces, we see things in our limited perspective based on our own experiences). I feel like being married I often can hear the adversary in my ear telling me things that aren't "equal" or "fair" between Travis and I and those thoughts only bring negative feelings and can create contention between us if I let it. One of the oldest cliches, "Life isn't fair".  It wasn't fair for Mary to be an unmarried pregnant woman in her day, it wasn't fair for Joseph to be espoused to a pregnant woman, it wasn't fair for Christ to be innocently crucified, the atonement itself wasn't fair, and if it wasn't fair for Mary, Joseph, and Christ is it really okay for me to expect fairness in marriage or in life. But through all that Mary, Joseph, and Christ gave of themselves, ALL of themselves. The main quality of these amazing individuals is that through their lives and everything they faced they were selfless. If they were thinking of themselves they would not have chosen the paths they did. Christ certainly never worried about making things "fair" on himself and he is the person I most long to emulate.  It helps me to focus on Him when I'm tempted to become upset by something or to complain. Christ was always focused on others, their needs, and showing compassion and forgiveness... even to those who did things to Him that I would think are unforgivable. In a marriage we shouldn't focus on each partner giving 50 percent, but I need to focus on giving my all. Trying to give 100 percent of what I can offer, and with Christ I have so much more to offer, I can be so much better than I am.
 Anyway I just feel like God wants us to put forth our best effort in this life, not our effort compared to others and what they do but to be the best Nicole I can be. Be the best wife I can be, be the best mom I can be, be the best friend, neighbor, or whatever I can be. That is also why repentance is so crucial, that is why the Savior came here in the first place. I stumble and fall on a daily basis as I try to be the best I can be but if there's anything I know, I know that the Savior is merciful, forgiving, and more than willing to forgive me and gives me strength to be better than I ever could be on my own. Being the stumbling person I am it makes it easy to forgive others and not judge others around me, I truly am nothing and lower than the dust of the Earth as to myself and my own strength. He is the light and the source of my joy and strength, it is through Him that I am made greater. And it's just like Christ taught, when we lose our lives in the service of others we find ourselves (because there is so much more of us to find). When we live for ourselves or continue seeking things that we hope will make us happy, lasting happiness and joy will not be found. It is such an interesting paradox.
There were other things that struck me during the play, and I could write a lot more, but I don't want this to become a book so I'll stop for now.

We were making our neighbor gifts and Trav took a few pictures of us. We gave wrapping paper with the message, "We hope this season is wrapped in thoughts of the Savior". 

Amy Grant Christmas music, my favorite Christmas album, in the background.