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Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas {2010}

I really wanted to better enjoy the holidays this year & I thought I was well on my way when the month started, but as it went on the usual stresses set in. Okay, stress. The thing I hate the most about the holidays is neighbor gifts. There, I said it. I'm a terrible person. I love our friends and "neighbors" but I stress out every single year about having to show that love.

I'm always trying to figure out a frugal way to do lots of gifts without having to slave in the kitchen or on any one thing for days and still give out something nice or cool. Pretty much not possible. I was honestly in tears the weekend before Christmas. I had wanted to be done with neighbor gifts by the 2nd weekend of the month, but it didn't happen. Thus the usual holiday stress because it was now the "last minute." When you wait till the last minute (the 21st) to deliver neighbor gifts it adds stress (for me at least) because there are people who are going to feel bad that you're giving them something & they didn't include you on their list. And since it's a few days before Christmas there's no time to graciously reciprocate. And I certainly don't care if I give something to someone & they don't give something to me, but I still don't want them to feel bad. I love to overthink everything. I agonize over who I should include on our list. Like this: if I give something to family A then do I need to give something to family B since A & B are good friends & we've all hung out, even though we wouldn't probably hang out with family B on our own? But I do like family B. But maybe it would be weird if I included them. Or lame since it's 4 days before Christmas.

SEE? I care way too much about other people's feelings I think. I actually had a few of our treats packaged & ready to deliver & was even on my way to one family's house but turned around & decided not to because of above-mentioned reasons. They & the other families got crossed off my list at the last second because I was too embarrased!

Next year I swear that by the 2nd weekend of the month I will have my neighbor gifts done. Of course I swore that this year & it didn't happen. But maybe if I'd written down how bad it sucks the previous year I could have read it this year & got my butt in gear. So here's to timely, stress-free neighbor gifts in 2011!

Oh, what was the neighbor gift? I came across this brilliant inspiration
here for hot chocolate on a stick and took it one step farther by using a candy cane that I cut the crook off of for the stick. I used her printable directions too & changed it to Merry Christmas (I just like that better). My pictures are of course nothing like the inspiration pictures, but the final product was WAY cute irl! It was really fun when a couple people called to tell me how much they loved it. Everyone loves a pat on the back, right? :D

Okay, moving on. A few years ago after spending enough Christmases with Jeremiah's family to adopt their traditions, I made my family change theirs. Growing up, Christmas Eve was nothing special. If we had a tradition it would be ordering Little Caesar's at 7pm while my mom was locked in her bedroom till all hours of the night wrapping presents. My mom was a working gal then & that's just when she was able to get to it. But now we're all grown up & things are different.

So what I love about Jeremiah's family's traditions: They ALWAYS go to Grandpa & Grandma Divis' for Christmas Eve dinner with as much of the extended family as possible. Grandpa Divis always reads the Christmas story from the scriptures. Once Jeremiah's family is back at home they open up the sibling exchange presents (as well as pajamas, a tradition that I like but modified). On Christmas day there isn't a huge meal. My first Christmas with Jeremiah's family was strange because of that - I've ALWAYS had a big Christmas dinner. I thought it was just so wrong! :) They will still cook a ham but it's to snack on & not for a formal sit-down. But guess what? Now I love all those things & have forced my own (as in my parents/siblings) to embrace these things.

Our Christmas Eve dinner the last few years has been prime rib, instead of the turkey & ham I grew up on for Christmas. I LOVE prime rib, and it's a treat because it's crazy expensive I think. Only because we haven't ever found it in normal sized portions to buy. Sure it's only $3.99/lb but when you can't find smaller than 17lb portions it gets spendy! So the only issue with dinner this year (and it was sort of a big one) was that I didn't buy the meat ahead of time & I didn't look over my recipe ahead of time. I tried to buy the meat on the 23rd while I was at WalMart, but I couldn't find it. I'm assuming WalMart doesn't carry prime rib. So as I'm looking at the recipe on Christmas Eve at about noon I see that the prime rib is supposed to be in the oven for 5 hours! Crap! I wasn't ready to run out to the store so I asked Jeremiah to grab it, but it was a while before he could leave work & it was 2 before we got it in the oven! So that moved our dinner back at least 2 hours right off the bat. But then our prime rib was a lot bigger than what the recipe called for so it wasn't done anywhere close to on time. We ended up feeding the kids around 7 & doing the nativity, and then the adults all ate around 8:30! Lame, huh?! Again, next year I need to be reading all of this so I can BE PREPARED!!! Thank goodness we didn't invite anyone over this year!

So here's my favorite picture from our little family nativity. Joseph & Mary had bad attitudes. And then there's our angel, happy to be in a "princess" dress! I love it!

Before the kids went to bed we let them open up their gifts to each other. Callie chose a mini Etch A Sketch for Jack and a little bag of Toy Story army guy LEGOs, Jack gave Ellie a pink bouncy ball & a bag of Skittles, & Ellie gave Callie a little Shrinky Dink set & a container of gum. As far as pajamas go, I decided years ago that instead of doing Christmas Eve pj's we'd give our kids Christmas pj's on Thanksgiving night. That way they could wear them throughout the holiday season. I know I could do everyday pj's for them to open Christmas Eve, but come on, I want them wearing their Christmas jammas on Christmas morning, not plain old everyday jammas! :) And it would be a waste to not give them Christmas themed pj's until Christmas Eve when the season is over. So that's my pj tradition modification.

Onto Christmas morning. I considered taking pictures, but in the end I decided to stay where I was & enjoy the moment with the kids & just write about it later. I regret that.

When Jack went to bed on Christmas Eve he asked Jeremiah if Santa might really give him coal for Christmas. Jeremiah said we'd have to see. Jack was being an optimist & said that even if Santa did give him coal it would be okay because he'd add it to his rock collection! Jack was the first child up on Christmas morning. He saw his wrapped present from Santa & was SO excited & did a little laugh & said "Santa brought me a present! He didn't bring me coal, he brought me a present!" It was absolutely priceless! I love that boy so much!

Santa brought Callie an Easy Bake Oven, the one thing she'd been pining over since before her birthday (Jul 1)! She was ELATED! Very very sadly, Santa forgot to bring her a lightbulb & we seriously did not have a single lightbult that would be even close to working :( It wasn't until a few days later that Callie & I baked her first Easy Bake masterpiece. Okay, not really a masterpiece. We didn't set the timer & lost track of time so it overbaked by a couple of mins. Instead of a yellow cake with chocolate frosting she had a yellow crunchy cookie with chocolate frosting! :) She still loved it & is excited to use her oven some more.

Jack really wanted this toy Spike the Dinosaur. He's a big remote control dino with a big price tag to match. If it were a toy that I feel he could have had for years to come I would have gladly encouraged Santa to bring it for him, but I know my kids. So when Jack asked Santa to bring Spike I explained to him that when toys are that expensive at the store, the elves have to work extra extra hard to make that kind of toy, and they just can't spend that much time making one child's toy. I had to tell him that several times during the season. One day close to Christmas he said, "Yeah, but I asked for Spike last year too & so maybe the elves could work on part of it last year & part of it this year so that it won't be too much work at once." He's so clever! Early in the season though I encouraged him to ask for a Hot Wheels set he'd played with & loved at a friend's house. So Santa brought Jack a Hot Wheels Dr. Bones Color Lab, and guess what? Jack loves it! And he wasn't sad about not getting Spike.

Ellie wanted a "baby doll just like Callie's." Early on I'd planned on asking Santa to bring her a Bitty Baby of her own, but then I got practical & decided she already had a baby she loved so why spend $45 on a Bitty Baby? I was really proud of myself for coming to that conclusion! So instead Santa was asked to bring her some more Snap N Style dolls & stuff. She loves Callie's old ones so I figured she'd be thrilled to have some more of them. But as the days to Christmas grew closer she kept talking about the baby doll that she wanted. She climbed in bed with Jeremiah & me one morning & we were talking about it & she was very adamant that she wanted a baby doll just like Callie's. That did it. I caved & sent in her order to Santa as soon as I got out of bed! She was VERY happy to open up her Bitty Baby from Santa on Christmas morning!

I tried to keep Christmas simple this year because last year was ridiculous. The only other thing that Jeremiah & I got our kids was a robe & a pillow pet (yes, you read that right. I bought my children a stupid pillow pet). But with gifts from grandparents & aunts/uncles, they were still spoiled & had lots to open.

Ellie got these sunglasses in her stocking from Santa & wore them around for quite a bit Christmas day. It didn't bother her at all that her hair was in her face!

Santa put a bunch of dart refills in Jack's stocking for his dart guns he got for his birthday, so Jeremiah & Jack had an all out war in the afternoon!

The rest of the day was spent snacking, napping, relaxing & playing. It was also really fun being able to talk to my 2 brothers, both on missions in Mexico (Veracruz & Mexico City West). In fact my Veracruz bro's mission pres let him do Skype! I couldn't believe it! I thought it was fun being able to see him for the first time in almost 2 years! They'll both be home mid-April. So despite my bad attitude earlier in the week from the tree & neighbor gift stuff, it was a great Christmas.

Oh this picture is from a few nights later, but here's our redecorated Christmas tree!

And that wraps up our 2010 Christmas! I'm so punny, I know!

Friday, December 24, 2010

handprint snowman ornaments

Last year I used the kids' handprints to make snowman handprint ornaments for the grandparents & for me. The kids' only involvement was their actual print, & I did the rest. They were super cute, but I didn't put the ornaments on the tree this year since they are GLASS & therefore very "Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian." (name that Christmas movie!)

When I saw
this post from one of my fav blogs I knew I wanted to make new & improved hand print snowman ornaments - this time on little canvases! And this time I let the kids pretty much do it themselves. It was very hard for me to let them have total creative control, but we all made it through it. Of course I had to help Ellie a bit, but really she did a lot. She did most of the buttons on her snowmen, most of the carrot noses, some of the snow, & some of the mouths. She also "helped" me with some of the other parts (I controlled her hand).

Here are the final results (tdf cute if you ask me!):




Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh {dead} Christmas Tree

I'm not even kidding, although I wish I were.

Last year we threw out our artificial tree b/c it was a piece of crap & we figured we'd buy a new one this year. Then this year came & Jeremiah decided he'd rather buy a live tree each year than deal with storage of an artificial tree from year to year since we're really out of space for something like that. Plus it seems that year after year I have issues with the lights on artificial trees working.

I loaded up the kids Thanksgiving weekend while Jeremiah was on his elk hunt & went to good ol' Home Depot to pick out a tree. They cut a bit off the bottom & I bought a new tree stand with big metal teeth on the bottom that would bite into the tree to help it absorb water.

Fast forward a few weeks. Our tree is DEAD. Dead, dead, dead. I had noticed a week or so before that the tree wasn't sucking up water. I haven't had a lot of live trees, but I seem to remember the ones I did being water hogs. We could go DAYS without adding water to this tree. Jeremiah wondered if drilling holes near the base would help. This was before it was completely dead & he didn't do it. So then once he determined it was officially dead, he brings in the drill. Silly Jeremiah. It was of course too late. At first I said I didn't care - I didn't want to deal with undecorating & redecorating a tree a week & a half before Christmas. But as the days went by our tree began to look like this: (see how the left side is shriveling into itself?!)

Until it got to this point I was ready to ignore the problem & take it down the day after Christmas. But Jeremiah had already said we were getting a different tree, and once it got this bad I knew we had to do it. So FIVE (5) DAYS before Christmas we undecorated our sad tree! Jeremiah took it back to Home Depot since they guaranteed it, but they only had 2 trees left & they were both shabby looking. They gave us our money back & very fortunately we were able to use a pre-lit artificial tree that Jeremiah's parents had just inherited but not put up since they were spending the holidays in Washington. It sucked redoing a tree. It sucked the first time I did it & I was swearing half the time then (issues with the stupid new base, issues with the the lights, pine needles everywhere, etc.). Imagine take 2! Fortunately Jeremiah was awesome & set up the artificial tree & helped hang the garland (the tree is usually all me). He started to hang ornaments but gave up after about 15 mins. I was feeling quite scrooge-ish by the time I finished! Bah-humbug!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is coming!

And Santa's sweatshop workshop is in full swing at our house! Christmas card addressing, neighbor gift baking, school teacher & classmate treats, etc.

Just look at the little elves wrapping up packages for Christmas day! {love it}

Callie was upset with me the other day because I wouldn't let her do something or I was getting onto her about something - I don't remember. I was being a mom. She got real quiet & thoughtful for a minute. Then she says, "Mom, would Santa ever put coal in a grown-up's stocking?" I started laughing & said, "I guess he could. Why? Do you think he should put coal in my stocking?" She said yes.

I'm still laughing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Australian/Austrian Costume

I'll be honest - I'm looking for a huge atta-girl here. Callie's teacher sent home a note from school last week saying that for their Christmas party they were going to do a celebration of countries around the world. Callie's assignment was Austria (which Callie kept telling me was Australia before I actually saw the paper), and the teacher wanted the kids to come to school in a costume that represented the country. Seriously?! This is 1st grade! I was feeling quite put out but I didn't want my kid to be the only one to show up without her country's costume!

I did what any awesome mom would do and put together a costume. My total cost was about $5.50 & tons of frustration! I bought a yard of black felt for her "vest" - whatever it's called, & a few yards of ribbon. We had the skirt. I used one of her shirts to trace the basic size/shape for the vest, then guessed on the neck. Turns out the shoulders were way too wide but oh well. I was going to just sew up the sides & attach the eyelets for lacing it up & call it good, but I sort of got into it & decided to see what some extra stitching would look like. Before long I was committed to a bunch of decorative stitching! And then I had all kinds of eyelet issues. I have an eyelet setting plier tool made for fabric eyelets & snaps & it didn't work. I gave up after ruining all but the eyelets I definitely needed plus 2 extra. I had to get creative & go through Jeremiah's toolbox to find something that would work to set the eyelets, but I finally got them done.

Callie was so excited about her costume. Even with the extra wide shoulders on her vest she looked cute. I even braided ribbon into her hair & we practiced saying "Merry Christmas" in German for a couple days before. Turns out the teacher never had the kids say Merry Christmas in their languages. Oh well. Anyway, don't I totally rock as a mom for throwing together a freaking Austrian costume the night before her Christmas party? I mean, seriously!

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Friday, December 17, 2010

snowman snack

I saw this snack idea
here & had the snowman head picks ordered within minutes! Jack had snack at preschool this week & I knew he'd love them. I got enough picks to take the snack to Callie's class next month too. I got the picks in the mail super quickly, and then of course I had the hardest time finding donut holes in this town! I called every grocery store & none of them bake their own & they were all out from their suppliers. I finally ordered some from the donut shop in town. They were huge - not the traditional donut hole I've ever seen/eaten, but they worked out in the end. And yes, Jack loved them!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Nutcracker! {2010}

I love traditions. A few years ago we took our kids to the Polar Express for the first time. I wanted to also do The Nutcracker, but let's be real- the streets are not paved with gold & it costs a lot of money to do all the extra stuff there is to do at the holidays. So a tradition was formed. One year as a family we do the Polar Express, and on the alternate year I'll take Callie (and next time Ellie) to see The Nutcracker. (If Jack wants to go sometime we'll have to talk about it then.) For now we're seeing a local community production. Someday I'll take Callie to a professional production, but for $20/ticket & some narration, the community production is perfect for kids!

The Nutcracker was on Friday night in Boulder City (almost to Las Vegas). I picked Callie up early from school (she was just a little bit excited about that), and she, my friend Abby & I headed to Henderson to do some shopping! I let Callie choose where she wanted to go for dinner. I made a few suggestions, one of them being Pei Wei. She said no to that since that's where we ate last time. Two years ago! Crazy that she remembered that, since we've eaten in Henderson a billion times since then. When I suggested Red Robin she asked if that's the place with balloons. Again, how does she remember this stuff? It's been a LONG time since she's been to Red Robin. Anyway, after a great afternoon of shopping, we headed to Red Robin in the mall & met up with some other friends.

The Nutcracker wasn't as great for me this time as it was last time. For one I didn't get to sit with Callie for most of the show. I would be happy to sit through a professional production of Nutcracker, but most of the enjoyment for me seeing this community production is watching Callie. She LOVED it last time & decided she wanted to be a ballerina. It had been great seeing her excitement. So this year I missed out on that. That combined with the embarrassingly revealing tights on the nutcracker. Seriously! It was like a bad train wreck you can't take your eyes off of! I was so distracted! Plus for some reason all the little girls ended up sitting together & I was cringing in my seat for the first 2/3 of the show because of their {lack of} theater ettiquette. I finally couldn't take it any more & I crawled down the row & made the girls scoot so I could sit by Callie & control my kid!

Callie really enjoyed The Nutcracker & still wants to be a ballerina. She loved taking pictures with some of the cast afterwards & also her friends. We ended the night with a stop at McDonald's. Since none of our friends joined us this time I got Callie a milkshake to go & we headed home. Callie was asleep before we were truly out of Boulder, I think. It was great spending the day with my Callie-girl! It had been a fun day hanging out with Abby too & getting our shop on!

Friday, December 10, 2010

This is the house that Jack built

I had been telling my kids we'd decorate "gingerbread" houses but I just hadn't gotten around to it yet, so I can't tell you how happy I was that my friend Kate invited us over to decorate houses! Awesome! The kids had a great time working on their houses, and I didn't have to deal with the mess. Unfortunately for Kate, she did! She had to leave to get her oldest from school so there wasn't time to do a thorough clean-up. Sorry girl!

Callie's house. On the roof is a skittle "snowflake." I also love her snowman - she did it by herself!

Ellie had a little help. Okay, maybe a lot. I just might have enjoyed decorating the houses as much more than my kids! :) There was a crazy cute mini snowman I'd made standing at the corner of the house. Ellie got into the front seat & had it eaten before I could get the other kids loaded in the car to go home. There was also a very lovely "thatched" dinner mint roof. Ellie destroyed that too. She's such a home wrecker!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Does this belly make me look fat?

I jokingly say that to Jeremiah, but can I just vent for a minute?

I can't tell you how sick I am of people telling me how huge I am. I KNOW I'M HUGE! I really am & there's nothing I can do about it. It's my 4th baby & I've been big with all my pregnancies, but this is by far the biggest I've been. I'm embarrased about it. I'm having major self-esteem issues about my size already- is it supposed to make my day better when you ask if I'm SURE I'm not having twins? Or that I look miserable? Or say wow! with popping eyes? Or tell me that I look like I'm about to pop even when I've just answered your question & you now know I have 2 months to go? If I really was "about to pop" maybe I could handle it, but I'm not. Why is it okay to comment about somebody's size? And surprisingly women are WAY worse than men! I just want to slap people. I'm to the point where I don't want to go to church or the store or anywhere public pretty much because it's inevitable that at least 1 person will make a stupid comment to me. I would NEVER go up to someone, stranger or not, & say, "wow - is this a bad hair day?" Or "whoa, those pants make your butt look huge!" Or anything at all to make somebody feel crappy about themselves. So why does everyone do it to me & other preggos?

On Sunday before church I was teary & Jeremiah asked what was wrong. I told him how I was dreading going to church because I was feeling so crappy about myself & I was sure people would say something about how I look. Sacrament mtg was miserable because it was super hot, my back was aching & my sausage feet (because of all the walking the last few days maybe?) were stuffed into my shoes & hurting but I couldn't take my shoes off or they wouldn't fit back on. And then sure enough after Sacrament mtg I'm in the hall & this woman, who I really like & is a nice person, comes up to me & says "How much more time do you have?" When I said 2 months she said "Seriously? And it's just one baby, right? You're sure it's not twins?!" I said yeah, I'm sure. She said DANG! I didn't respond. She made another comment about twins. Maybe she knew I was trying really hard not to cry then because after that she told me about all the weight she'd gained with her final baby. Oh good, that just smooths it all over.

And just the day before I was checking out at a store. The cashier asked me when I was due. The beginning of February. She said wow! really? (with wide eyes of course). I said, I know, I'm big. She said yeah, you are - and you're not having twins? I said nope, just one. She made another comment & I lightly asked her if she was trying to make me cry. But she plowed on ahead. Then the lady checking out next to me says to her friend, "look - she still has 2 months to go!" Then those ladies talked about it. And the cashier went on & on.

Why would I NOT be sensitive about this when people go out of their way to talk about my size? Jeremiah was pointing out Sunday night that at least I'm not super sick & pukey all the time. Yes, I'm glad I'm not & I'm glad my baby's healthy & everything's perfect, but just because I don't have one of those trials doesn't mean that it's easy to have people constantly making me feel worse about the way I look than I already do. Most of my shirts aren't fitting anymore & there's not much I can do. If I buy bigger shirts they'll be too big in the shoulders/chest so that's not really an option. Somebody bore their testimony on Sunday & I was especially touched & had a hard time not bawling when she said she knows that Heavenly Father knows & loves each of us & understands our trials & pain. I know that too. But as I thought more about that on Sunday night I also thought about how I know that Jeremiah loves me & I think can understand that I'm having a really hard time. But what does that change? Nothing. Glad I'm loved but it doesn't change stupid people & clothes not fitting. I'm just bummed.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Farewell Disneyland

We take our kids to Disneyland once a year - usually in October or December when it's decorated for Halloween or Christmas. Last year because I'd accidentally bought the wrong tickets online we paid the difference & upgraded to annual passes. I was with my mom & dad & they LOVE Disneyland so when my mom suggested it I went right along with it.

I hate to say it, but I am officially Disneylanded out! We will definitely be skipping Disneyland next year! :) Maybe we'll give Legoland & Sea World a try instead. We only went 4 times with our passes, but that's plenty - especially when Jeremiah thinks of Disneyland as the most miserable place on earth instead of the happiest place on earth! LOL

The kids & my parents & Jeremiah's mom drove over Wednesday night. I wanted to get to DCA right when they opened on Thursday to get tickets to the World of Color show since we hadn't seen it & I'd heard it was awesome & it would be our last chance & tickets are handed out first thing in the morning & you can't get them after that. So I had everyone drop me off at Downtown Disney & I booked it to CA Adventure with everyone's passes & waited in a pretty long line for the World of Color fastpasses. You'd have thought it was a line ride for the number of people in the line! I got to the front & found out that since the rest of our party hadn't entered the park & had their passes scanned I couldn't use their passes to get the fastpasses. My dad's pass has free parking so he'd gone to the Grand Californian lobby to wait for me to bring him his pass. I had him go through the entrance (lucky guests of the Grand Californian have their own entrance to DCA & we were able to use it), and then I went back to the car with him to get my mom & the kids so that all of their passes could get scanned, since they won't scan passes without the person being present. After that I booked it back to the fastpass distribution place where luckily the girl working had said to not wait in line again & just go to her since she'd also said I needed to be back w/in 30 minutes or they would probably be out of passes. She was cute - she was asking me why I was the runner for the group since I was pregnant. My dad had actually said I should let him go but I told him I thought I would still be faster, preggo or not! :) Anyway, I got the fastpasses, my mom took the kids to do a couple rides while I took my dad his pass again so he could go park. Then I was sent to get Jeremiah's mom's ticket to get into Disneyland. I knew it'd be a while before they got parked so I took advantage of the time & booked it back to Downtown Disney to the Lego store so I could look for a particular thing for Jack for Christmas. Of course they were sold out in the store & online! So if you're familiar at all with the layout of Disneyland & Downtown Disney, you'll understand how at this point I'd already walked a couple miles at least in the 45 mins that I'd been there! I thought I totally deserved one of the best treats of all times: a Hagen-Daazs Rocky Road Dazzler! It is SOOO good that there's not a Hagen-Daazs anywhere near my house! You think I'm big now... (and if you don't think I look gigantic in this picture then I'd say it's a flattering picture cause I am BIG).

After a busy start to our Disney day we went on Buzz Lightyear (less than 5 min wait - gotta love Disneyland during the week this time of year), and Small World. Jeremiah HATES this ride more than anything so it was good that he wasn't with us this day! :) Ellie hadn't been on it since she was a baby I don't think so it was pretty awesome for her. She was completely captivated the entire time - pointing & smiling & just staring, trying to take it all in.

The rest of the afternoon for me went by quickly. Jeremiah's mom & I had to leave Disneyland by 3:30 so we could get ready for my niece Katelyn's concert - she's in the Primary choir of the Orange County Mormon Choral Organization. Kind of like MoTab (Tabernacle Choir if you're not hip on the lingo) on a smaller scale & with some youth choirs. Katelyn's concert was great & Katelyn was adorable. My sil Richelle was supposed to be singing in it too, but instead she was in the hospital with a brand new baby born that afternoon!

After the concert I left Jeremiah's mom with Jeremiah's bro, Justin & raced back to Disneyland to make it to the World of Color show at 8:15p (& pick up my m/d/my kids). It had been an eventful afternoon for my poor mom - she'd tried taking Ellie potty a few times & Ellie refused to go because she said it was too yucky in the bathrooms. She'd finally peed her pants once or twice. So between the concert & getting back to Disneyland I stopped at the hotel to grab pj's to change her into. Jeremiah & his dad drove over that night.

The next day we went to the hospital to see our brand new nephew, Triston Adam. Ellie LOVED getting to hold baby Triston! I hope she enjoys her new brother/sister as much.

After the hospital Jer & the kids & I went back to Disneyland. Our passes expired this day so it was our last time to go. The park was packed & not so enjoyable so we didn't get much in. We got fast passes to Buzz Lightyear (Jack's fav besides Pirates), then tried to go on a couple other rides but the lines were ridiculous. Not summertime ridiculous, but I would NEVER go to Disneyland in the summer so to us they were bad.

We ended up going to the Reindeer Roundup where the kids got to see real reindeer while I waited in line to see Santa.

After probably an hour wait (stupid, I know. But where else are we going to see Santa this year? Walmart? Blech!), Ellie cried & Jack refused to go anywhere near him. I had to get down on Jack's level & growl threats in his ear to get him to even stand by Jeremiah for a picture. Ellie stopped crying when Jeremiah promised he wouldn't make her sit with Santa. Callie soaked it up.

After seeing Santa we stopped at the shooting arcade because Jack had been dying to shoot. I love his face in this picture!

We finally headed towards Tomorrow Land to use our Buzz fastpasses & we saw people lining up already for the parade. I don't think we've ever really watched the parade with our kids. We'd already decided we'd watch it & leave after, & since people were lining up at 4:20 for the 5:30 parade! I let Jer & the kids go to Buzz & I looked for a place on the curb. Of course I didn't find out until I'd been in my spot for about 10 mins that once the parade route was roped off my spot would be completely blocked from view. So Jer & the kids got back & we had to watch for the Disney people to come out with the rope so we could dive to the rope & sit along there. It was ridiculous & Jeremiah said it's that kind of stuff (besides the amt of people there on Friday) that makes him hate Disneyland. Luckily we got a great spot, right at the rope along the parade route. I'd promised the kids they could pick out a souvenir since it was our last Disney trip for a long time, so once we had our place secured I took Callie to the Main Street Emporium to make her choice. She chose an Ariel music box so I set it aside & took her back to Jeremiah to get Jack & Ellie. Ellie said she needed to go potty and I asked her if she had to pee or poop. She said poop & she also said she didn't need to go right then. So I took her & Jack into the Emporium & Ellie picked out a Minnie Mouse polly pocket toy right away, while Jack browsed a while & finally settled on a Toy Story 3 Hot Wheels toy. We were in line to pay & I was holding Ellie who was basically sitting on my belly when all of a sudden my belly got really warm. Oh yeah, Ellie totally peed all over me! She rarely full-on pees her pants (except it seems when we're in CA). She sometimes will dribble a little cause she waits too long, but when she does that her jeans are still dry. But oh no, this was soak city! There was even a trail of pee on the floor. I was beyond exasperated! I paid for our crap & we made our way back to Jeremiah, Callie, & my parents who'd joined us by then. I was not happy to say the least. Thank goodness I'd thought to take the kids' pj's again so at least when we got to the car we could change Ellie.

During the parade all the kids waved & called out to the different characters. In this picture Callie was waving & saying "Hi Minnie!"

It's very difficult to tell, but those are big snowmen in the picture. When they came by dancing Ellie got up & danced for a second, then turned to me & said, "Mom, can I hug him please?" Also when Buzz went by she said, "Hi Buzz! I love you!" She was so fun to watch during the parade!

The kids LOVED the parade & it was worth the hassle of getting a spot to watch it. It was the perfect ending to our year of Disney. 8:)

On Saturday we got packed up & went to Justin & Jamie's to visit again & to get Jeremiah's parents. Justin was really sick so the kids & I quietly played Pretty Pretty Princess with Katelyn. Even Jack got in on the fun! :)

Jeremiah's parents decided to stay in CA for a few more days so by the time we got a vehicle figured out for them & things taken care of it was late afternoon. I hate the drive to/from SoCal! It was nice to get home & have Sunday at home before starting another week.

The End.

Here Comes Santa Claus

And she's dressed in backwards pink lounge pants, a backwards red shirt, & a sock for a beard.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Jeremiah's 1st Elk!

We've lived here for 6 years now & Jeremiah finally got drawn for bull elk! Not only did he get drawn, but for a great area too - one of the best in the world (for trophy elk). He & his dad left on Thanksgiving night with the trailer to do a couple days of hunting. On Saturday night they came back after having no success. They left again Sunday night so they'd be able to be up bright & early Monday morning. There was lots of excitement here when Jeremiah called me mid-morning on Monday. I asked how it was going. He said pretty good- did you get my picture?! I was sooo happy for Jeremiah! Jack was whooping & hollering - so excited for his Dad! :) It took hours for Jeremiah & his Dad to haul the elk back to the truck/trailer & they didn't get home until about 7 (they were a couple hours away). The thing is massive (respectable in elk terms but massive in everyday animal terms), and we will be having a freezer dinner week for sure (when we get back from CA) to make room for all the new elk meat that we'll get back from the butcher! Congrats Jeremiah!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Ahhh, Thanksgiving. We started the day with my m/d, Jeremiah's m/d, and my 3 sisters & b-i-l doing breakfast at our house. It wouldn't be a holiday breakfast without my dad making egg sausage casserole. Jeremiah's mom got a recipe from her sisters & made the most delicious ever french toast casserole. It's definitely going to be included in future holiday breakfasts. And breakfasts in between too! We had fruit & oj also & gorged on our delicious breakfast while visiting & watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Later in the afternoon we headed to my m/d's. Jeremiah's mom made a cheeseball, I made a relish tray, my sister made shrimp dip stuff that we always have at the holidays, & I got chips & salsa from Chili's for snacking on between breakfast & dinner.

Callie made this sign for my m/d's front door & she was VERY proud of it!

We had a decent sized crowd at my parents' for dinner & lots of food! My 3 sisters & my b-i-l, my grandparents (mom's side), Jeremiah's parents, friends Kevin & Dawn & Dawn's son, and a couple from my m/d's ward, plus my crew. My mom did a turkey in the oven & Jeremiah smoked one (which was AWESOME!).

We had a billion desserts & I'd been looking forward to a sugar high for days, but ended up not even eating any dessert because I was having stomach pains similar to the ones I'd had when I went to the ER when I was 16 weeks pg. They weren't as intense or as often & thankfully I woke up Black Friday morning after a nap feeling fine. I guess it's better in the long run that I skipped the 5,000 calorie intake I'd planned for the evening.

Jack really wanted a turkey leg so we let him have one. Then my dad told Jack that if he could eat the entire thing in one hour that he'd give him $10. Jack was stoked b/c he wants to save his money to buy a new hunting game for the Wii so he went to work, but after about 20 mins hadn't made much progress. Uncle Ryan had finished his turkey leg so everyone at our table told Jack to give Ryan his leg & take Ryan's eaten leg to Grandpa to get the $10. My dad didn't believe that Jack had eaten the leg but everyone at our table was in on it backing Jack up so my dad gave him the money. Of course we were just messing around but Jack didn't understand & was upset when I said he had to give Grandpa his money back. Since he was upset about it I let it go & mentioned to everyone at my table that I'd sneak it out of his pocket later. My kids don't keep good track of their money so it wouldn't have been a big deal. But then Aunt Kayleigh took it upon herself to regulate & got the money from Jack & he was really undone. It was a big scene & Jack was bawling & when Kayleigh realized what my plan had been she felt really bad. Then the lady from m/d's ward that was there totally let us all (at our table with Jack) have it for doing that to him. She was completely out of line to be talking to us like she did but nobody said anything. It WAS nice of her to be so concerned about Jack, just not cool that she was telling us off - Jack's parents, grandparents (Jeremiah's m/d), aunts & an uncle. That was our dinner excitement.

I wish I had a picture of my 2nd favorite part of Thanksgiving (the 1st of course being the eats): pouring over the Black Friday ads & making lists of stuff to shop for. We do it every year. I think even if I were terribly wealthy I'd still do Black Friday shopping - it's so fun! My sisters & I always sit around for a long time passing the ads back & forth & planning our excursion. Almost every year I consider skipping the shopping since there usually isn't any one thing that we have to have, and every year I end up getting up & shopping.

And that was our Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday 2010

And to think I almost decided to skip it!

I got up at 2:30 am (!) to put on fresh makeup (I didn't want to feel disgusting all day) & throw on some clothes & drive to Bullhead. Tara wanted a tv from Target (an hour away from us) & they opened at 4 am. We didn't get there early enough to get a good spot in line so she missed out on the tv. I got stuff I could have gone home without & waited in line for an entire hour to pay for it while my dad & Tara dropped Kayleigh off at Walmart & they ran to Sam's. I went to Kohl's & spent another 35 mins in that line, then met up with everyone at Walmart. From there we all went to Sam's (Tara's final tv place) & had complimentary yogurt & juice (the muffins were gone) while we finished our browsing/buying. After a sub-par breakfast at McDonald's & a quick stop in Home Depot we split. My dad drove back home & Tara, Kayleigh & I went to the outlets. 2 hours later (maybe?) we were on our way back to Kingman. I've been working on a top secret project that had to be finished by midnight tonight and although I went a little over deadline I still got what I needed to do done. Christmas is in the bag!

And now that I've been up for almost 23 hours & only 3 1/2 hours of sleep before that, I'm off to bed. I love the holiday season!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hello, Santa

I just finished singing my kids songs & putting them to bed. On the request list tonight by Ellie & again in Jack's room: barking dogs jingle bells. And that's what they got. And then I sang up on the housetop & did the actions at the end for Jack. Afterwards Jack said, "I wish it was Halloween & you could be Santa, because Santa has a big tummy - it's fat. And your tummy is fat, huh?" Callie piped up from her room that I could be Mrs. Claus. :D

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1 Easy Bake Oven, please

I noticed that Jack's Christmas list has an Easy Bake Oven on it, which seemed suspicious since it was in Callie's writing & Callie has wanted one since at least July, if not earlier. I said, "Oh really, Jack wants an Easy Bake Oven?" to Callie. Jack piped up & said, "Yeah, cause I like to eat pie. And cupcakes."

Well okay than.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random Happenings

Here's what we've been up to the past couple of weeks:
  • I made this super cute banner with my friend Katie. Thanks girl for letting me do this with you - I love it!

  • Last weekend was Jack's last soccer game of the season. He so badly hoped he would get a trophy & Coach had mentioned something about scoring a goal & getting a trophy so of course Jack thought he had to do the one to get the other. The night before the game he was saying the blessing on the food so he blessed himself to score a goal. He also asked us as he & Jeremiah left early for the game on Saturday morning to please say a special prayer for him to score a goal. Well he didn't score a goal and although he wasn't acting all bummed out I don't think he was expecting a trophy when we went to his end of the season party at Pizza Hut with his team afterwards. It was so cute - he's number 10 & Coach started at the beginning & went in numerical order calling up each player & handing them a trophy. When he said "Number 10 - Jack!" my boy had the biggest grin ever on his face. He was honestly surprised to be getting a trophy & so elated. I wish I had the moment on camera. I almost cried seeing him so completely happy! Of course I tear up about EVERYTHING. Stinkin' hormones! :)

  • The kids & I were listening to a Raffi Christmas cd (I know - it's not even Thanksgiving! I've broken my personal rule this year!), and there's an upbeat, Bible-belt, gospel song on there about baby Jesus & the kids just LOVE it! Throughout the cd they'd ask me to pause the music so they could comment on something so we listened to the baby Jesus song once through & then the second time through (they always ask to listen to songs again that they like) Jack asked me to pause it. He said, "Mom, if our baby is a boy baby I know what we should name him. Jesus. Because Jesus is a good name." They named the baby Jesus, oh my Lord, way down in Bethlehem!

    Good thing I don't let my kids name my babies!

    And by the way that was big of Jack because until then he'd thought we should name the baby Jack if it's a boy. Ellie's going strong with Jack in the box for a boy & Ellie for a girl.

  • On Friday, after MONTHS (seriously) of waiting for our mantle to be painted (sprayed), Jeremiah brought it home & he and our friend Tim set it. And the guy who did the stone work on the bottom was able to come on Saturday to cut & set the stone on the top part of the face of the fireplace. In fact he should be here any time this morning to do the bottom part & grout it all! I can't tell you how excited I am to see this FINALLY getting done! We demoed the old one in JANUARY! I'll take a picture of the finished firplace as soon as it's finished - hopefully today or tomorrow! :)

  • Jeremiah's parents are MOVING TO KINGMAN! Well, maybe Kingman, maybe Lake Havasu. We have been wishing for years that they lived closer & it's happening! They'll be here tonight & will stay with us for a few days until they can get settled into the house they're temporarily renting. Jeremiah's dad will be working in Havasu so I guess he'll have to decide if he can handle the commute from Kingman every day (an hour each way). If he can handle it I think they'd be happy living by family since they've lived away from all their family for the past 6 years. Before then they'd never NOT lived by family. Anyway, we're SO excited!

Monday, November 08, 2010

all in a day's work


How lucky are our girls?! My sister Kayleigh asked if they make this in her size. It's so fun!

We'd been letting Ellie sleep in Callie's bed with her on the weekends for the past couple months & the bed sharing wasn't going well. Which is too bad for me since when we bought Callie's mattress & bedding Jeremiah thought we should go with a twin so we could eventually do bunks or 2 twins. I didn't ever want bunk beds since they're so hard to make & plus I thought it would be nice to have a full bed for our occassional guests (which I was also wrong about - a queen would have been better for that). And my argument was that I shared a bed with my sister growing up so our girls could do it too. Yeah, well what I didn't take into account was that my sister & I were a lot older than our girls when we started sharing a bed. Big difference. So after having problems with the girls sharing a bed we decided it wasn't going to work. Jeremiah has said "I told you so" several times! Enjoy Jeremiah - you don't get to say it very often! haha!

On Friday morning I was checking out bunk beds online even though I thought we'd wait another month to buy & officially move Ellie in with Callie, but after a lot of searching both new & Craigslist I came across the doll house bed by Tradewins. It was $400 from someone in Bullhead (45 mins away) who claims they paid $2500 in 2005. I checked it out a lot online & was able to find it new for $1100, but honestly if I'm going to spend that much on a bunk bed (which I realize is what you can expect to pay for a new set) I was going to go with a well made traditional set. I forwarded the info to Jeremiah who at first asked if I didn't think that seemed like a lot of money for bunk beds (he lives under a rock). I told him about all the bunk beds I'd found on Craigslist - metal or corral fence looking wood ones - & assured him this was a great find. He agreed to it & he was able to pick up the bed that evening.

So the all day part is because the guy we bought it from is a complete jack-a & totally screwed up & ruined the bed in so many ways! He drilled all kinds of holes all over in it that were completely not necessary. Not only were they not necessary, but he apparently didn't know how to use a tape measure either because in some places his first hole wasn't in the right place so he drilled a 2nd one close by. He also didn't know how to use a drill bit because he didn't pre-drill any holes before screwing stuff in. If you've ever worked with wood you'll know that that's a big deal because otherwise your wood splits from the screws. So yeah, total jack-a. Jeremiah said on Saturday night that if he'd known before we bought it how badly the guy had screwed it up he wouldn't have bought it. During the construction process he had to make 3 trips to town for supplies (because of course it was missing half the hardware). We also had to get creative for a lot of fixes. And I have to make a trip to Frazee (Paint store. That's not open on Saturdays.) with a part of the bed to get it color matched so that we can patch the billion screw holes from the idiot & do touch-up paint. I also have to call the manufacturer today to buy a new hardware set since none of the hardware stores here had a couple of the pieces we needed. (Don't worry, it's safe for the girls to sleep & play on for now.) So even though it's put together it still needs a bit of work. I think if we'd bought it new we could have had that baby up in an hour. For reals!

But the girls LOOOOOVE it! It's awesome! I just wish we'd been able to get it for $200 instead - it would have been more worth it. But I am stoked cause I found the matching bedding I need for the twin mattress that I have to buy on eBay. Not only is the auction for the quilt & sham, but also the exact sheeting that I have had a hard time finding. Yay!

Monday, November 01, 2010

bad mom

I was folding laundry this morning & didn't really feel like stopping to make Callie's lunch & since she was being a brat to Ellie & she hates hot lunch I got "creative" shall we say & told her if she didn't start acting nice (and this was after she'd already had a time out) & if I had to talk to her again about her bahavior I'd make her eat hot lunch.

She hates hot lunch because it's still a little scary for her AND she doesn't get to sit by her friends if she buys it. Because the school directs the kids where to sit & if her friends aren't in line next to her for hot lunch she sits by non-friends. Like this one little girl who she considers a "bully" b/c she is constantly messing with Callie's hair or pulling on her clothes or just being annoying & in her face. She even pulled the flower embellishment off of one of Callie's shoes one day. This girl seems to lack attention at home.

So after some more bratty behavior this morning I declared Callie was having hot lunch. You would have thought we were giving away her puppy. Not that she has one, but you know what I mean. She threw a crazy huge fit, acting like a total psycho and cried & cried and was stomping her feet & screaming that she wasn't going to school. I think Jeremiah had to carry her outside to leave. Then I felt bad because of the whole thing. My entire motivation for coming up with the punishment was not wanting to make lunch. But then again she did have a couple of warnings and punishments are supposed to be hard, right? But she already doesn't love school so maybe I should have thought of a different punishment instead of torturing her like this.

I called Jeremiah after he'd dropped her off. She had settled down because he'd talked to her about how embarrased she'd be if he had to drag her into her classroom screaming & crying. I asked if he thought I should drop off a lunch. We considered it because of the whole bully girl thing (who Callie's had to sit by a couple times when she's had hot lunch), but then again there's the thought that Callie needs to learn to cope with situations that aren't ideal. Not to mention that it would be a major parenting faux pas to renege on a punishment after such a huge fit was thrown! What's that saying? If you freak out enough over a punishment we'll change our minds? I'm not afraid to say sorry to my children if I've overreacted & there have been a couple times where we've rethought a punishment because maybe it was a little too severe for the crime, but like I said, she threw a crazy psycho fit & to go back on this one could be detrimental. I'm not dropping off a lunch. And I feel crummy. I hope she doesn't have a total meltdown at lunchtime. :(

It's hard being a parent.

Should we be saving our money to put our children through counseling as adults?

Halloween 2010

Halloween weekend was jam-packed with FUN this year! It started with a rockin' Halloween party hosted by some friends! It was a seriously great party! Lots of super delish eats, fun games, & good company.

We had our babysitter snap this picture before we left for the party. I have to add that Jeremiah didn't like dressing up as a kid & he has not once dressed up for the holiday as an adult. So he was pretty good with this "costume" - didn't take him too far out of his comfort zone! :) Thanks to my sister Chelsea for suggesting the idea. I thought it was so brilliant & after I started making it I was looking online to see how other people finished it & I found out it's a $50 mass-marketed vinyl costume. Who knew? Not this girl. In case you live under a rock our costume is "bun in the oven & the baker." And no Jeremiah wouldn't wear a white chef's hat - which is fine because what cool chef's do for one? And for two, he's a baker, not a chef! LOL

It had been a really busy week & here in the land of sun you can't carve a pumpkin more than a couple days in advance - it's just not cold enough so they get nasty & rotted very quickly. So on Saturday morning we finally let the kids get creative. This is the first year in I can't remember how many that I haven't gone all out & used a detailed pattern. I love carving pumpkins! But I just wasn't feeling it this year & I decided to let the kids have their own fun since when you do a pattern they can't do much more than pick it out & watch! To add to the simplicity of this year's pumpkins, Jack & Ellie opted to use the potato-head type parts on their pumpkins instead of carving. I wasn't going to try to talk them out of it - fine with me! :) They LOVED it!

Ellie trying to push & pound in the pieces

Both sides of Jack's creation

Callie wanted to actually carve a pumpkin. After we got all the guts out I let her draw on her own face. It didn't turn out quite like she'd hoped so she asked me to help her. She cut out most of it & insisted on using the bat pumpkin cutter to pound out a bat-looking hair bow!

After a late soccer game I brought the kids home & got them ready for a tri-ward trunk-or-treat. Thank goodness the wards skipped the chili & hot dogs before the trunk-or-treating this year. It's an insanely chaotic ordeal with canned chili & boiled fake meat hot dogs (blech!) and cheap buns.

I was happy that the kids had been happy to repeat last years' costumes (except Ellie since she's grown the most). I was glad because I worked dang hard on that mermaid costume last year! The devil cape wasn't difficult but it was still nice to see my labors pay off for two years & get plenty of use. Ellie wore a witch costume that Callie wore a few years ago. Each of the kids loved their characters.

The devil

The witch

The mermaid

The trunk. Thanks to my dad not being afraid to ask for stuff (his example has helped me score a few things too)! The giant inflatable spider had been over the produce section at WalMart but got a hole in it. He must have been there when they were taking it down. He asked if he could have it & then he took it home & patched it & borrowed a blower from a friend with a jump house business. He & my mom brought their spooky halloween trees too & we set up a great trunk :)

The great candy sort on Sunday morning

Since Halloween was on Sunday we didn't take the kids trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Instead they wore their Halloween pj's over to my parents' house who hosted a small get-together. We had 4 types of soup, homemade rolls & lots of desserts. We hung out & visited while my dad & the kids handed out candy to trick-or-treaters. Callie absolutely LOVED getting to pass out candy to everyone!

It was a perfect Halloween weekend!