Monday, December 31, 2007

I usually dread a windy day, but...

...not when Aunt Wendy is in town! She showed my kids how to tie an old sheet around your waist and then raise your arms, holding the sheet corners...instant parachute! They had so much fun getting yanked around the backyard by the ridiculously strong winds. I tried it too and it was really hard to hold onto the sheet, but I could not stop laughing!Hold on guys! Yes, Brady's sheet was tied around his neck. Not the best idea, but he couldn't really get the hang of it anyway.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

This is the traditional late night picture that marks the moment
when I can breathe a sigh of relief and start getting excited for what's to come!
We had such a nice, quiet, slow Christmas morning. I loved not feeling rushed and staying in our pajamas and playing with new toys most of the day! It was the perfect way to spend Christmas with our little family before heading out to the slightly bigger family gathering at my parent's house that evening.
Great Gramma brought See's Toffee lollipops to share with everyone...yum!

Doin' the Wii Dance

I captured my girls "boxing" with our new Wii game system. Check out these moves! You can hear Brady coaching "Punch him in the tummy!" and Daddy's warning to "scoot back, Erin!" (They came dangerously close to whacking the TV several times!)
Click to play the video.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Can we eat it YET?

Ah, Gingerbread houses. My kids love to make them, then DEVOUR them! It's so funny to watch how my kids, especially the girls, meticulously place each gumdrop and peppermint disk to decorate the perfect little candy house, admire their work, pose for a few pictures, then when I give the okay, they pluck away like vultures until there's nothing left but a sad little frosting crusted shack. Gotta love it. What could be more fun than playing with candy and then getting to eat it??
On Christmas Eve, Aunt Tricia had about 12 of these little graham cracker houses constructed and waiting to be loaded up with the perfect assortment of treats: gummy bears, froot loops, candy canes, mini kisses, pretzels, red hots, and more! All of the grandkids loved having a house all their own to create and eat. Thanks Tricia!

Finally, with Aunt Wendy's help, the kids got to make the Gingerbread house from the kit my mom had given us weeks earlier. It turned out cute, but the roof kept sliding off. Oh well, it didn't last long anyway...delicious!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Dresses and Pajamas!

My three Christmas-y girls! Red is my favorite color so I love their dresses. I wanted to include Brady in this picture too, but he literally had his shirt unbuttoned before we'd even left the church!

The tradition continues! Doesn't everyone get new pajamas on Christmas Eve? These cute pjs are courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa Clinton and they're so soft & cozy!

Monday, December 17, 2007

O Christmas Tree & Good Memories

We assembled our faux Christmas tree a few days after Thanksgiving, but the poor thing has been waiting patiently to be fluffed and adorned for weeks now! We finally got around to decorating it for Family Night tonight. Brady had fallen asleep early and Holly was in bed, so it was just me and the girls pulling out and hanging ornaments while Daddy looked on. It was so nice to be able to decorate the tree without interruptions. Our tree is beautiful and it is officially Christmas at our house now!
This year I got a 4 foot tree for Erin and Jenna's room and they were thrilled to be able to decorate it with all the ornaments I didn't need for our main tree. They think they're so cool to have a Christmas tree in their room! And it's PINK!
Every year Erin enjoys digging through the box of ornaments and hearing about where each one came from, who it belongs to, who made it, etc. Tonight she told me that she loves decorating the tree "because of all the good memories it gives you." :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Holly is 6 months old!

Holly, (aka Holly Jo, Holly May, Tiny Girl, Little Shnookum, Shnook, Holly Jolly) is 6 months old today! I am so enamored with this little baby girl! This is my very favorite age.

For Family Night we surprised the kids with an outing to the mall where it "snows" little clusters of bubbles every night at 7pm. They loved it! It was freezing outside, but they were jumping and dancing around so much, they stayed perfectly warm. After the snowfall, we visited the Apple Store--a favorite of Jason's AND the kids, then we took them to see Santa. The night ended with hot chocolate (due to a tired baby, we got it 'to go') from Red Robin. Fun stuff!

Jason and I just happened to be at the mall in time for the snow show on our Friday night date. We ran into Kate & kids and she took this picture of us.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Snow Day in Southern CA!

Check out our "Winter Wonderland" next door! Our neighbors had a party and decided to create a snowy scene in their front yard...very cool. The snow didn't melt because of the cold weather we've been having, so they said the neighborhood kids were welcome to play in it until it's gone. We had so much fun! Those of you who live in snowy areas are probably thinking "Big deal!" but my kids have only played in snow once before. We busted out our sand toys and they did it all -- attempted snow angels, threw snow balls, ate the snow, etc. Keep in mind that this was day-old manufactured snow, so it was very icy and hard, but my kids didn't know the difference! No complaints, just a perfect winter playground!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Be mine.

Be happy.
Be silly.
Be mad.
Be sad.
Be surprised!
Be friends...

Happy Birthday Grampa!

We love our Grampa!!
(yes, even Holly. she was just feeling a little grumpy.)

10 of Grampa's 31 (soon to be 34) grandchildren
gather for a closer look at his birthday gifts.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas in Bethlehem

Our ward Christmas party was set in old time Bethlehem and this is my attempt to dress Jenna and Brady accordingly!
The party was very well done and really kept with the feeling of the time of Christ's birth. Dinner was herb chicken, lentils, cheeses, olives, pita bread, fresh & dried fruits, and Fig Newtons (hee hee!). The program was a re-enactment of the nativity story with all of the familiar hymns being sung by the audience. I really appreciate the time put into planning such a memorable evening that started off the Christmas season with our thoughts on the Savior's birth.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My BrandiRae Original

For those of you who have commented on my cute new purse, no, you cannot buy it in stores. This is my BrandiRae original handbag, made specially for my birthday. Isn't it so cute? And functional too, with 3 inside pockets and a snap closure. I LOVE the fabric she chose. My sister Heidi got a super cute tan and blue design. Thanks Brand! I am always so impressed by your sewing skills! Oh, and that's my cute new wallet from Jason's mom. Love it too! It was a good birthday...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

These are days to remember...

My kids are in heaven with Grampa and their cousins on the ranch!
It just doesn't get any better.

Friday, November 23, 2007


birthday lunch at Dakota's with Jason's mom and sisters

birthday dinner at Chili's

My birthday celebration at my parent's house was the day after Thanksgiving,
thus the pumpkin pie birthday cake!

November birthday girls: Hayley, Ginger, and Isabelle

In both of our families combined,
Jason and I have 11 November birthdays!

Daddy and Holly

Giving Thanks for Family

A few favorite pictures from our wonderful Thanksgiving holiday...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

San Francisco Birthday Trip!

I really wanted to do something special for my 30th (gasp!) birthday. When I say "something special" what that really means is a long romantic retreat with my husband to a tropical location where we could just soak up the sun and lounge on the beach for hours. Well, presently, I am lucky enough to have a little baby girl that I'm crazy about and she's pretty crazy about me too. Leaving her was not an option. Consequently, I had to sacrifice a few key adjectives of my "something special"-- good-bye to long, romantic, tropical, and lounge.
I'd never been to San Francisco and it turned out to be the perfect choice for a quick trip with it's close location, famous sights, and great restaurants. We did a lot of walking around with Holly strapped to us in the baby pack thing (apparently we were quite a spectacle because everyone walking by us stared and pointed, no kidding!) and we got pretty good at the public transportation using trains, buses, and taxis. We did have some rainy weather one day, but I was just happy it wasn't too hot because we were outside the majority of the time. One of Jason's high school friends, Tim, lives just a few blocks from where our hotel was. It was fun to visit with him and it really helped to get advice and recommendations from a "local."
a few places we went:
Union Square Mall (8 stories tall! see picture)
Ghiradelli Square ice cream shop (yum)
the Golden Gate Bridge (two days in a row because the first day it was so foggy we couldn't see it AT ALL even though we were walking on it.)
Pier 39 at Fisherman's Warf (Jason had the clam chowder in a bread bowl and I opted for the chili)
The Stinking Rose famous garlic-obsessed restaurant (even ordered the garlic ice cream for dessert...would not recommend, but at least we tried it!)
I love that Jason and I don't stress about cramming too many activites into our days when we're vacationing. We didn't have any time schedules or much of a plan. We walked out of our hotel room each morning and let the city dictate what we'd do that day. It was so enjoyable and I was captivated by the city itself. I had no idea it was so "New York-like" just on a much smaller scale. The architecture and the history is amazing. It was an ideal way to get away for my birthday with a baby. Holly was such an angel. And why wouldn't she be? We held her ALL DAY! I really appreciated the time to give her our undivided attention without other interuptions or distractions.
Thank you for a memorable 30th birthday honey! I promise we'll be baby-less for our 10 year anniversary, and that'll be the time for long, romantic, tropical, and lounging...start planning!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another reason to love this house we're renting...

I saw the OCEAN from our house this morning. I was literally standing on our backyard grass taking this picture. The realtor and our neighbor told us we would be able to see it on a clear day, but I didn't really believe it. Today was clear because of the wind, and there it was!
If you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, you can see a boat beside that big telephone tower. Now if I could just catch a glimpse of some dolphins swimming by...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Let Me Clarify

I have gotten some feedback about my #4 below that makes me feel like I should take a moment to explain a little bit better.
To be blunt, what I'm saying is that I'm selfish. I know I am a selfish person. I am happy to take, receive, benefit from, other people's talents and abilities, but I'm unwilling to take the time or put in the effort to be the "go to" person in return. I don't know why I am that way. I guess I don't like the responsibility of giving advice or being a mentor. For me, it is stressful. Besides that, I can barely handle my own everyday stuff and I don't want to take on more. That's why I hide in the background and avoid seeming like the right person to ask. Does that make me totally crazy? Yes, and selfish, like I said.
Don't question how genuine I am in my compliments. I mean what I say. Everyone deserves to be praised for things they are good at. I really do need A LOT of help in a lot of areas and by being vocal about my appreciation, I am hopeful that people will continue to be willing to be UNselfish with what they have to offer. My life is full of talented, capable people who are willing to share even if they don't "want" to or live a busy life. I want to be like that. This is an invitation to ask me to do stuff for you so I can practice stepping out of my comfort zone and give back a little. See, there I go asking for help in yet another area of my life that needs improvement. (sigh)
Maybe I should have never written what I did, but when I was considering what makes me "me" it was something I thought about and wanted to put into words. I'm glad I did. It has helped step back and learn a few things about myself.

Blogging is cheap therapy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm "IT" and you could be next!

There's a game of tag going on and I got caught. I have to tell 6 little known facts/weird, quirky things about myself. Please still be my friend even after I tell you these...promise? Here they are, in no particular order...

1. I think feet are disgusting, including my own and especially my husband's. I CANNOT stand when someone puts their bare feet near me or on me. I can hardly touch dirty socks when I do laundry. I would NEVER give someone a pedicure. I only clip my children's toenails after they've been soaking in the bathtub and only because it is absolutely necessary. Funny thing is, I LOVE baby feet. They're so soft and playdough-y. I'm always kissing Holly's feet when she's laying on my lap. Go figure.

2. I never make my bed. Correction: I never make my bed in the MORNING. Just lazy I guess. However, I HAVE to straighten the sheets and blankets before I get in bed at night. It bugs me if they aren't smooth and even. Sometimes I accidently wake up Jason (who goes to bed hours before I do) because I'm tugging at the blankets that are tangled under him. See, he falls right into the bed that's in the same messy state it was in when we woke up. Somehow, it doesn't bother him.

3. I can only drink milk if it is ICE cold. I don't like the TASTE of milk, I like the COLD, refreshingness of it. To get it to that perfect state of icy coldness, naturally, I add ice. Yes, I know it's cold right out of the fridge, but it does not maintain that temperature for long. Ice is the solution to this problem. Thank you Dad, I learned this from you. A glass of milk with a brownie? 3 ice cubes & milk. A bowl of cold cereal? 4 ice cubes, milk, and say, Grape-nuts. Some people think it's disgusting, I think it is delicious and a must. No ice, no milk. Try it sometime.

4. I like to keep people's expectations for me low. I don't want to let on how talented, creative, and able I am. I like to ask a lot of questions, seek advice, and give praise for other people's abilities. It makes them feel good and appreciated, and this also puts me in a "student" position where I get to learn from those who take pity on me and want to help me. I'm not saying that I'm exceptionally proficient at a lot of stuff, but I'm better than I let on. You don't believe me, do you? Man, I'm good.

5. This one is dangerous. Being in a car is an instant sleeping pill for me. If I'm the passenger, not so bad. When I'm the driver, it's torture. I would NEVER take a long road trip alone. Even on a short drive, like picking up my girls from school, which is only about 10-15 minutes, I get extremely drowsy and can hardly keep my eyes open. I've never gotten in an accident, but I've had several close calls. It's scary and annoying.

6. I secretly enjoy children's TV shows. I sit and watch them with my kids. I love "That's So Raven." It cracks me up. I love "Arthur." It's so clever and funny. I've even watched it without my kids! Am I really admitting this? Oh well. I sing along with "Pinky Dinky Doo" ("yes sir-roonie, posit-toonie..." Sing it Winks!) and the Berenstein Bears' theme song. I like "Miss Spider," "Oswald," and "Little Bill." These are all sweet and slow and nice. I DO NOT like obnoxious and over-the-top-silly cartoons (Spongebob, for example), nor do I let my kids watch them. Watching TV is bad enough without that extra over-stimulation. Anyway, now you know my secret. I know, I'm easily entertained.

Well, do you feel like you know me a little better now? Maybe too much information? You have to still be my friend. You promised.

I get to tag 3 people now. Heidi, Kate, and Melinda---TAG, you're it!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

There is NO Crying at Disneyland

That was our family motto yesterday at the "Happiest Place on Earth:" NO crying. It sort of worked.
Our recipe for some quality family time:
Combine an ample amount of Halloween candy with a very late night.
Add waking up early and the excitement of a surprise trip to Disneyland.
Mix together two determined, yet skeptical parents.
Toss in a couple of bickering sisters.
Vigorously stir in an almost 3 year old with a tendency to bolt at full throttle with no warning.
Gently fold in an innocent 5 month old who simply wants to be held all day long.
Just for good measure, add a pinch of terrified moments, including but not limited to: sobbing, cowering, and begging to get off, on rides that resulted in uncontrollable giggling LAST year.
Sprinkle with "It's a Small World" unless it happens to be closed for Christmas decorating,
and serve with the parade that never was.
But hey, it was fun. Really. I bet it will be even more fun the next time we go...when our kids are teenagers.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Here Comes the Sun

How amazing are the colors of this sunrise? 6:30am and I'm outside taking pictures because a display this brilliant must be documented. FYI: this has nothing to do with the fires, just a particularly beautiful morning. It's really too bad we're just renting this house...