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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Polar Express

Our short tradition is that every other year we'll take the kids to the Polar Express (in Williams, AZ) at Christmastime. You have to buy your tix a year in advance unless you want to go after Christmas fyi in case you're thinking you'd like to do this sometime. We went a couple Saturdays before Christmas & the kids had been super excited about it all week! On the train they give you a cookie & hot cocoa served by chefs, just like in the story. We also listened to a reading of the book & rode the train to the North Pole. At the North Pole the train turns around and suddenly Santa isn't outside waving anymore. He boards the train & comes & gives every child a bell (like the one the boy gets in the book). Ellie was hilarious! She saw Santa & started yelling Santa! Santa! really loud! Everyone around us was cracking up - she was a hoot! She yelled for Santa all the way till he got to us. Then she stopped yelling & said Hi Santa in this soft little voice. :) All the kids loved their bells. Ellie recognized Santa all Christmas season & anytime she'd see a pic of Santa or anything she'd say Santa. The Polar Express was definitely fun for the kids, but I was a little bugged about our seats. Last time we went we were seated 2 in front of the other 2. The way the seats are made you can flip the seat over so that the 2 rows face each other. It seems like if you call to buy 4 tickets you'd obviously want to sit together and be able to flip your seats around. Instead they sat us across the aisle from each other. I was actually extremely annoyed by it! I guess I'll remember next time I call to specify that we need our seats one in front of the other! I booked early enough that there were a billion seats available so I still dont' understand why they did that. The important thing is that the kids LOVED it!

Jack giving us his thumbs-up approval (he does this a lot - it's awesome!)

At the North Pole

Here are some treats I sent to the kids' classes. Santa Nutter Butters! I saw the idea online & they weren't too much work to make & the teachers both said they were a HUGE hit with the kids! :)


Here's a recap of our Disneyland trip from the email I sent my missionary

-----Original Message-----
From: Hillary Divis
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 12:21 AM
To: Ellery Watkins; Stuart Watkins
Subject: disneyland

Hey guys,

So much crazy stuff to share, but I'm sure mom will fill you in on
EVERYTHING so I'll give you the short of it.

I bought the wrong tickets for Disneyland - they weren't valid to use till
January! - so we paid the difference & upgraded to annual passes.

We bought our hotel on hotwire. It wasn't horrible but I'd never stay there
again & Jeremiah says no more hotwire! :) Our room was right by the freeway
so it was pretty noisy. In fact Jack woke up early the first morning & said
he couldn't sleep anymore because it was too noisy!

Disneyland/CA Adventure itself was super fun w/the kids. Jack & Callie each
had $30 to spend that they'd been saving up for a LOOOONG time. Probably 8
mos or something. Jack bought a new pirate telescope & a pirate sword. And
also a buzz lightyear gun & a mickey mouse light saber thing. Callie got a
mylar princess balloon & a plush cat (Marie from Aristocats) that has a bow
around the neck & a blanket - both which you can take off & put back on &
she LOVES them! She keeps saying things like you guys need to be quiet,
Marie's trying to go to sleep. And she feeds her fruit snacks. She LOVES
that cat! LOL

Dad's truck blew a gasket or something (major) on Saturday. Jer had to go
get him & I asked to be dropped off w/the kids at Disneyland while he did
it. He insisted he'd only be gone like 20 mins. 2 or 2 1/2 hours later he
finally got back! LOL I should have insisted since we'd already had to
check out of our room & just had to sit in mom's waiting. Jer & I & fam
were supposed to stay the night at Justin/Jamie's & Jamie & I had planned
little Christmas activities for the kids. Ellie was sick though & Katelyn
gets sick real easily so we left Ellie w/dad & girls & took Jack/Callie to
Justin/Jamie's for a couple of hours, then we drove dad to Barstow to get
Tara's car to take it back to Anaheim since Kay's flight wasn't until today
& they still had a hotel for the night. Jer & I (& fam) went home & got in
about 12:30am. Jeremiah got up this morning & got ready & hooked up to a
trailer to go get dad's truck. In Barstow there was a problem so Jeremiah
was there for 4 hours! It was getting late when he finally got to Jason's

So it's been one big crazy thing after another it seems. But it was still a
really fun couple of days at Disneyland & I know we're EXTREMELY BLESSED to
be able to have gone to Disneyland for a couple of days & stayed in a hotel
& bought food & souvenirs in the park & everything.

Today after Jer jimmy-rigged the fake Christmas tree into the stand & took
off, the kids & I finished putting the tree up & decorating it & getting our
house all ready for Christmas. I'm trying to not panic about Christmas
being in just over 2 WEEKS! The 2 big things I have to do for the holidays
are neighbor gifts & Christmas cards. I'm mostly just stressing about the
neighbor gifts only because I don't have all the supplies I need & it's
gonna be hard to get them in a timely manner when I don't have a dang craft
store here. I'm going fairly simple I think, but I still need supplies!

Anyway, I know this is too long - sorry. Enjoy the pictures! I love & miss
you both!

Love, hill

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

This Thanksgiving we hosted dinner for one set of my grandparents, an uncle & aunt + kids, 2 sisters + 1 friend, 2 more friends, & my parents. Although when I say hosted I mostly mean dinner was at our house. We did the turkeys (yes, turkeys) & most of the pie, our friends brought a delicious cauliflower salad (try it - you'll be a believer), and my mom/grandma did the sides + pumpkin pie.

Since Jeremiah has mastered bbq brisket he decided to try smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving. We made a 2nd turkey as backup in case the smoked one didn't work out, but he did a great job & the smoked turkey was delicious! How can I ever eat plain turkey again?!

{My Grandpa Green}


{Our friends, The Brooks}

{My Uncle Jeff & Aunt Anna trying to get boy Noah to eat}

{Kayleigh & her friend Patrick}

{Playing Go Fish - Callie won! My mom later realized that Callie didn't quite have all the rules down - no wonder she won. LOL}

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is getting the paper & looking through the Black Friday ads. Yes I'd seen some of them online, but it's not the same. To fully experience it you must spread them all out in front of you & go through them one by one with your pen & paper & write huge lists of stuff you don't need. Then go back through the list & decide what you're really gonna get up for.

I got up for . . . What did I get up for? I think it was the thrill of it. I love it! I seriously considered just sleeping in, but in the end I couldn't let everyone else have all the fun. Tara & I got to KMart a couple mins before 5am & we were like the 20th people in line. I was thinking poor KMart, nobody likes your stuff this year, when it dawned on me that KMart wasn't opening until 6! There was only 1 thing I wanted from KMart so I went right over to WalMart & got them to admatch, even though it was a BOGO item & they don't normally do that. After some time in WalMart, my sisters Tara & Kayleigh, & Kayleigh's friend Patrick & I went to Bullhead to hit Target, Kohls, & then the Laughlin outlet mall. We came home & ate leftovers, napped, got the kids to bed & stayed up to play games. It was the perfect Black Friday! :)

Saturday was another great day. I love long weekends. More games were played & Kayleigh's friend Patrick made a seriously delicious ham for us for dinner. I loved it! Unfortunately my grandparents & uncle/aunt left early since they all got really sick. Aside from that, it was a really great Thanksgiving weekend. Let's do this again next year! :)

Window Clings

Chelsea sent these snowmen window gel clings home with me from KS (they're from the dollar spot at Target) and the kids have LOVED them! Unfortunately they are now at the dump. They got super gross really fast! But if you see them around get them - your kids will love them (and you will love the peace & quiet)!

Oh, & this one is just for your enjoyment. Christmas milk (egg nog) and powdered donuts for breakfast (please nominate me for mother of the year). How she got the milk on all the way around the rim of the cup & then on her face is a mystery - although not unexpected.

How will we survive next week?!

Next week it's all over for Ellie. We're taking away the binky. It's been coming for a while & I've been putting it off because it's going to be torture for all of us. And I already feel so sad for Ellie because I know she's going to have a really hard time going without it. She's an addict if I ever saw one! And it's been so much worse since I got back from KS. At least before she was only getting it at naptime & bedtime. But I gave it to her a lot in KS & now she's more dependent than ever. This fit is exactly what she does every time & she just won't stop. I've finally rationed that it's ridiculous to torture everyone when in another week it's going to be the real deal. I hope she enjoys her last week.

And PS - I feel almost mean that I recorded this all. Just needed to say that to make myself feel a little better. Oh, and really this was hardly a fit of hers. She can do much better.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Black Friday

There's a few things I'm wanting to buy but have been hesitant since Black Friday is a week away and I don't want to overpay. How awesome is it that you can check out the ads a little early? Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I got to visit Chelsea!

My sister
Chelsea moved to Lawrence, KS a little over a year ago so her husband Ryan could get his Ph.D. and I finally got to go visit! It's the farthest east I've ever been so I was excited to check out something new! Bonus - I only had Ellie with me (she was free to fly)! Callie & Jack were SO SAD! The day I got everything all worked out so I could go I said, "Guess what guys? I'm going to go visit Aunt Chelsea in Kansas!" They both cried right then & said "No mom! We don't want you to go!" LOL Fortunately I have the BEST friends/family who took care of Callie & Jack while I was gone and they had lots of fun too!

So I had a really great time with Chelsea & Ryan! We ate some delicious food, did some outlet shopping, went to the BEST fabric store I've been in (that might not say too much - I haven't been in tons - oh, & JoAnns doesn't count), shopped for vintage items, made cupcake pincushions! (I was so excited to do that!), visited Jeremiah's uncle & aunt who lived about 1/2 hour away, played lots of Mario Kart (lol), and drove around Lawrence so I could see FALL! I took my camera but it's too big/delicate to toss into my purse so unfortunately I took almost no pictures!

Chels/Ryan have a dog, Thunder, and Ellie mostly really loved playing with him. She fed him lots of Skittles & Nerds; she'd hold one out & Thunder would come eat it from her fingers & she'd giggle or squeal & tell us about it & then feed him another one. If he ran upstairs she'd go to the foot of the stairs & call out, "Oh doggy! Oh doggy!" Super cute!

Chels & I stayed up late so one morning Ellie was playing in our room & I had fallen back asleep & I woke up to this: (she'd found my emergency stash [for her, not me] in my purse & she kept going back & forth between the suckers & her binky)

Thanks Chelsea & Ryan for the really great visit!

On an unrelated note, the kids & I made these Acorn Doughnuts
for our family night treat last week and I just wanted to share. The idea was from Family Fun. They were simple & the kids had a great time making (and eating) them!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

i {heart} hallmark

Isn't this awesome?! I can't decide if I should get one of the grandmas to give this to my children or if I should do it myself! You know in case I die & it's the only way my children can hear my voice! LOL Morbid I know but it was seriously the first thing I thought of!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Halloween 2009

By the time Halloween rolled around I was burned out. Total bummer since Halloween is my favorite holiday! Besides Christmas of course. But it's right up there. No festive meals this year, no candy countdown chain, nothing extra. Next year I'll have to either buy costumes or start making them sooner because I don't want to have another bummer Halloween. Even though I started making the mermaid costume at the beginning of the month, I worked on it off & on until the week before Halloween. And then I still had to add a couple things. And I still had to make Jack's costume. Fortunately I had the sense to scrap the angel costume for Ellie before I even bought the fabric (only money on the on-sale pattern was wasted)! Instead she wore the Little Bo-Peep costume that Callie wore 4 years ago.

I love Jack's costume. To me it is just the epitome of a homemade Halloween costume. Simple & classic! Oh, & Jack insisted on being a "debil" after seeing a "pinchfork" at a store & deciding he wanted to be whatever got to carry that around!

SO MUCH WORK! Not impressive enough results for the amount of work this dang costume was! The important thing is that she LOVED IT! She put it on all week before Halloween & walked around the house.

This costume is semi-homemade. I made the pantaloons & I dyed the dress blue & put blue ribbon in the bonnet & smock, & I spray painted a junky lawn candy cane for the staff. The adorable lamb purse (not that you can tell from the pics) is one that Chelsea sent for Callie 4 1/2 years ago!