Friday, December 26, 2008

White Christmas

Christmas has come and gone, and a whole lot of snow came with it! Every time we shoveled out, we turned around, and it was snowing again! Despite all the snow and wind, we had a wonderful Christmas and hope that all of you did as well. I was glad we didn't have to travel anywhere and could just enjoy the snow from our warm home. We woke up this morning with another 8 inches or so! Crazy weather after such a mild fall! It took Paul and Justin about 3 hours to dig us out as well as his sister and our neighbor who is ill. They were beat, but the other boys had some fun!

My sister Denise and I braving the snow and cold just long enough to take some pictures.

Denise and the boys

Eric wanted to "help" shovel, but he had more fun making snowballs and throwing them at nothing in particular.

"My snowball's bigger than your snowball." And this is when I turned and ran inside!
Now that I have enjoyed a nice white Christmas, I am looking forward to an early spring!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Traditions

"The children are nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads...." or something like that! As I sit here waiting for them to fall asleep so that Santa can come, I thought I would update the blog with some family traditions we have for Christmas Eve. We started the day off by baking sugar cookies. It just isn't Christmas without our decorated sugar cookies! I hate making them, but I love eating them!

After cleaning up and having some lunch, we headed off for another family favorite on Christmas Eve--the movies. Today we saw Madagascar 2. It was really a fun movie. This tradition started when I was very young. We were so obnoxious and roudy on Christmas Eve that my mom sent my sister and brothers to a movie to give us something to do for 2 hours and get us out of her hair for 2 hours of peace and quiet! As we grew up (I think we became less obnoxious), and it turned into a whole family tradition. Now we do it with our kids. We usually pick up some pizzas on the way home for dinner, finish up any last minute wrapping, and watch some Christmas specials. The boys then get to open one gift (always the same every year)--new pj's that I make from the dollar flannel at walmart! Easy to do, and it's a fun tradition. My grandma used to make us elaborate nightgowns when we were young. Good thing I only have boys! I'm only good with straight seems and simple patterns!
The night ends with magic Christmas cocoa (works like a charm to help the little ones sleep--and no, it's not spiked!) and their magic Christmas pillow cases sewn by Aunt Susan, guaranteed to help them fall asleep and sleep all night!
What are some of your favorite family traditions?
Here's wishing you all a very merry Christmas, from our family to yours!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Finally! For a while there, I was sure we wouldn't get any snow for Christmas (and I was secretly a little happy!). Not that I don't like snow on Christmas. I just think it should fall on the night before Christmas Eve, stay beautiful and white through Christmas Day, and then make a hasty retreat the morning of the 26th, not to be seen again until the next Dec. 23rd. What can I say...even after almost 20 years of living in Utah, I am still a California girl at heart! I hate winter, and I especially hate the snow unless all I have to do is sit in my recliner in front of the fireplace watching it fall quietly outside while drinking a nice cup of hot chocolate and watching a great movie or reading a book. If I have to actually go outside in it, forget it. And don't get me started on the gray, dirty, ugly piles of it that never go away by the time January rolls around! Oh well....I seem to have digressed from the intended topic! I'm still a little behind on my blogging, so here we go.
Once we wisked the kids away from Grandma and Grandpa's on Thanksgiving without getting any leftovers for dinner :( we started to think Christmas. I love the Christmas trees and all of the lights and music that go with the holidays, so we usually try to get them up soon after Thanksgiving. We worked on it that very weekend this year. It was nice to have the boys old enough now to assemble the whole tree with decorations downstairs while also giving a little help with the one upstairs. I always enjoy putting all the decorations's taking them down that is not so fun. Maybe that is why people leave their Christmas lights up until June, sometimes. I guess I can relate to that, and I might even stop secretly mocking them. Who knows. Maybe that will be one of my new year's resolutions. Hope you have all had fun decorating for the holidays! It's always a lot of work, but I love having a whole month to enjoy them!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Hello again. So, it's been a looooong time since I've posted! I have no good excuse other than I have been busy. You know, the usual post-vacation blues, trying to readjust to reality, Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping and decorating...blah, blah, blah. Again, no good excuse! Since this is a post about Thanksgiving (albeit, belated), I'd like to say thanks to all of my dear friends who secretly wanted to write me hate comments telling me to update my blog--or else.....thanks so much for only thinking it, and not really doing it, even though we all know you wanted to!
For Thanksgiving this year, we headed down to Paul's Mom and Dad's home for the extended family potluck at the church. It actually turned out better than I thought it would (I've never been a big fan of family gatherings at the church). The food was all yummy--and I didn't have to cook it all! There were lots of fun relatives there, good games, and a lot of really good pies! Here's a few of the family pictures from the event.

Paul had a lot of work to get done later that night, and I had a sale at Michael's to get to, so we headed out pretty early after putting the church back in order. We had eaten at noon at the church, and it wasn't until we were on the road and all the kids wanted to know what we were having for dinner that we realized our mistake...we had left before taking advantage of leftovers for dinner!!! That is one of my favorite parts of the day!! And we hadn't even stolen any of the leftovers to take home with us. I'm still feeling deprived of my proper Thanksgiving experience. I guess this is one of the drawbacks of not cooking it all myself at home! There's always next year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Week In Paradise...

Paul and I just returned from a fun filled week on board the ms Veendam. What a great trip! We went with my mom, brother, his wife, and my sister. It was to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday this year. I wasn't sure Paul would survive 8 days with my family stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean, but he did! The week was full of many great memories! Here are a few of the highlights:
Most Memorable:
Being waited on hand and foot. Dressing up for amazing 5 course meals every night--if you want one of everything on the menu, they will bring it to you!

Spending time with family in amazing and exotic parts of the world!

Most Relaxing Shipboard Activity:

Sitting out on the promenade deck, watching beautiful sunsets over the ocean.

Favorite Treats:
Of course there are always amazing amounts of treats and gourmet desserts on board ship, but one of our favorites, and a daily treat for us was the ice cream bar, practically 24/7! Tastes so good after an afternoon of lounging in the sun!

Another fabulous treat we discovered in Key West was Key Lime Pie on a Stick! It was frozen and dipped in chocolate! Yum!!!

Most Relaxing Excursion:
There we were, in the middle of the rain forest in Guatemala, and what did we do? We went to this really cool, beautiful resort complete with private pools, private beach, hammocks, a turtle and iguana farm, water slides, a light house, and great shopping! It was so fun! We had a riot on the water slides and in the pool, but we also just had plenty of time to lay in a hammock or chaise and just relax!

Place we spent the most time on board:
The lido deck! Yes, they really have lido decks on cruise ships--not just on the Love Boat on TV!

Most Interesting Excursion:
The Mayan ruins of Altun Ha in Belize. Due to flooding, our original excursion to the Xunantunich ruins was cancelled. We went here instead and really enjoyed learning its history and climbing the temple behind us in the photo!

Most Fun In Port:
Here we are in the hurricane ravaged port of Costa Maya, Mexico. We hadn't planned an excursion here. Just planned on enjoying the beautiful beach below! Once there, however, we decided to rent a jet ski for an hour of endless fun and exhilaration! After that, we hopped on a boat that took us out to the reef to snorkel for an hour, and we saw some great fish! Really a fun day!

Funniest Moments:
The day we found out there was a "peasant revolt" in Roatan so we couldn't get off the ship there (that was a bummer, but the peasant revolt cracked us up! Especially since right in our daily program Roatan boasted the fact that there had never been any political uprising in their history!) The next funny moment happened later that day when Paul and I snuck up to the completely empty "Teens Only" area (thus the reason for sneaking as we are clearly past teenage years, though compared to the rest of the passengers, we could pass for teenagers!) to lay in the hammocks up there for a little nap. I very gracefully sat on one and proceeded to do a complete 180 in it, effectively dumping me on my rear end on the floor! Paul wished he had the video camera rolling for it, but he was laughing too hard! He did make me stay on the ground until he could snap a quick photo to document my graceful moves!

Lastly, volunteering my brother and sister-in-law to participate in the Newly and Not So Newly Wed Game. Once up there we learned all kinds of things about them, including my brother's not so appropriate pet name for his wife. But the funniest part came when they had to announce in front of all their family where was the most unusual spot they had a little fun (if you know what I mean)! Poor Todd! Nothing like sharing it all with your mom and sisters in the audience!

All in all, a great vacation! I can't wait for the next one!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Weekend of Firsts...

Now, nobody faint or anything--especially those of you who know me well and have heard me say many times that this is something I would never do--but I started the "weekend of firsts" off with a little homemaking session. I canned carrots that we grew in our garden!!! I know. Shock and amazement are written all over your face! For those of you not so familiar with my background, here is the long version. I am a California girl. My parents had the brilliant idea one summer to rent space at a farm to grow a garden. Ugh!!! I hated going there every Saturday to weed and take care of it! I hate ANY kind of yard work, especially weeding! So, I really had no desire to have a garden of my own someday. Needless to say, I am still not a great gardener! My kids and husband do most of the work! But, nevertheless, I did have a small part in growing and harvesting these carrots. As for canning....I always swore that I would never do anything so "molly" as canning food! Yuck! I grew up on fresh fruits and vegetables which makes me kind of a produce snob I guess because I really hate canned items. But the bigger reason behind never wanting to can is I'm basically a lazy person, and it just seems like so much work! Well, last week, a good friend of mine mentioned she needed to can her carrots. When I mentioned that Jordan had just pulled up a whole bowl full of carrots out of our garden, she invited me over to can with her. Now that is my idea of canning! Going to someone else's house, making a mess in their kitchen, using their equipment, being told exactly how to do it, and then leaving before the cans actually cool down! Wow! Canning for dummies (lazy ones to boot!) So, long story short, I did something I said I'd never do; they actually turned out; and I am very proud! =)
So the weekend continued with doing new things....A few of my friends invited me to join them at Witch's Night Out at Gardner Village. I've lived here for several years and have never gone. For those of you who don't know what it is or live nearby and haven't gone, it is basically a huge GNO around Halloween when every girl (all ages) dresses up like a witch and heads to Gardner Village for shopping, eating, dancing, and hanging out with all your friends. It was a ton of fun! Here is a shot of the craziness and a couple others of my friends and I in our finest witch's costumes! Great time, girls. Thanks for inviting me!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Family Photo Shoot

Here are some of our favorite shots from our weekend photo shoot with Paul's sister-in-law. She's really been developing her photography business lately, and we think she does a great job! We are really grateful to her for spending part of her vacation working with us! Anyone need a photographer.....? Let me know!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall is definitely here!

This past weekend for BYU's homecoming game we were looking forward to a visit from Paul's brother and his wife from California. We don't get to see them often enough, so we were looking forward to it. I've been wanting Alisha to do a family photo shoot for us, and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity! The weather has been fabulous, and there were plenty of fall leaves up the canyon for some great outside shots! Wouldn't you know it....just my luck....the one weekend they are here and able to do the family photo is not only supposed to be freezing but possibly raining and snowing! Unbelieveably, the weather held long enough for us to get some great shots, but we froze our toes off while doing it! It was a rude awakening that fall is definitely here! A huge thanks to Matt and Alisha and their thin California blood for enduring the cold with us on not only one, but two separate occassions to get all of our pictures taken! I totally stole this proof from Alisha's blog to post as a little sneak peak of more to come! When I get the DVD full of pictures, I'll post some more! This was one of my favorite pictures of the boys!