Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Magic Carpet Ride

As much as it looks like a magic carpet ride, it's not. This is a ride on The Polar Express, and this is when the train lets loose... If you could only hear their squeals of laughter. (There was a time when I dreamed of having children's laughter in my home, so you can image how much I was loving this.) Some other of my mom friends and I exchange babysitting once a week and about every 5th week or so I get to take a turn having them at my home. I love dropping my kids off at their friend's house so they have an opportunity to interact with them, and, I love getting a break; but, mostly, I love having all the kids here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Little Pink Ballerina

She started today. Although her shyness inhibited her from actually joining her class on the black line, she couldn't stop jumping up and down with excitement the entire time we were there. She was in awe as she watched the "real" ballerinas teach. All this while wearing her "pink" dancing clothes, that's just too much, all at once, for my little girl to take in.

I never did ballet nor have ever been into it, but she needed something to help her improve her balance and she so loves her ballerina dolls. I thought a ballet class would be perfect. I hope she becomes more comfortable so that she can enjoy it. She so wants to!

Monday, January 19, 2009


My newest little nephew was born this evening and we are so excited to have him as part of our family. I'm so happy for Chanda and Eddy. Isn't he precious? (This beautiful photo was taken by Carrie and stolen from Eddy's facebook sight. Thanks for sharing.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ok, I couldn't resist. I found this on my cousin's blog and I had to do it.
(Just copy and paste this to your blog and bold the ones that you HAVE done.)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity -- we were blessed with twins in return!
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (Ok, so I didn't actually make it through the song -- I can't sing -- oh, it was embarrassing!)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke -- once, in my cousin's room
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (painted by me -- school assingment -- it was awful!)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (not mine -- that was my job, to publish books by authors)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

I tag everyone who read this!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year / New Blog

Here goes! I'm finally joinin' my bloggin' friends with a blog of my own. Hummmmmm, what to write now ... well, mostly I just wanted to post photos anyway. I think I'll steal an idea I saw on another blog to get started... MEMORIES CREATED IN 2008

january 2008

One cold night in the middle of January, just before bed (and unbeknownst to Eli and me) our little lady, as she prefers to be called, turned off the heater. The next morning we woke up freezing cold! That night, as usual, she dressed herself for bed -- but, this time, with thermals under her sleeper, mittens and a snow cap. She announced, "I'm staying warm tonight!" Eli and I got a kick out of that and we still get a giggle when we see this photo.

It didn't matter that it was bitter cold outside, we bundled up good 'n warm so that we could play in the snow. These two figured out how to make a slide out of this hill of snow all-by-themselves. I was impressed with their ingenuity. It provided several minutes of fun and laughter.

february 2008

I pulled out MARKERS (now that's a big deal here) and a box full of heart shaped stickers to decorate faces, oh, I mean, Valentines!

march 2008

March was a busy month. We celebrated the twins 3rd birthday. Payton still talks about his Spiderman cake -- I think I'll have to do another one this year! We had a small birthday party and after our friends left they climbed up on top of a little table and sang their hearts out. It was quite an adorable performance.

Then we packed up and went to Idaho for my grandpa's funeral (the first of 3 grandparents to go in 3 months). We did enjoy spending that time with extended family. (The kids especially like jumping from air mattress to air mattress!) On the way home a bunch of us stopped at my sister's home and we celebrated Easter. After the hunt, I checked out Payton's bag to find that he had only picked up green eggs -- his favorite color!

april 2008

April Fools! Yes, I got carried away when it came to dinner this year. I started out the day not planning on pulling any pranks. But after going to play group and hearing about the other mom's plans I got all excited about doing a mixed up dinner. So, that meat and potato pie in the photo is suppose to look like a chocolate pie with strawberry whipped cream. I added a dinner plate with ice cream and caramel topping for mashed potatoes and gravy and cut up some candy to look like peas and carrots. Payton was so excited about having pink lemonade for dinner that I actually felt bad that it was really Jell-O. (I think next time I do something like this, I'll just stick to the Jell-O drink -- it was the easiest and the most convincing, after all.)

Every mommy should get a picture of her little girl the first time she ventures into her makeup bag. Just look how proud she is!

may 2008

We spent every good day this month outside building us a garden. Ok, I built the garden while the kids threw the dirt. But it was fun being outside together.

We headed to New Mexico for Eli's grandpa's funeral and stopped at Hole n' the Rock on the way out. Pretty neat house inside, but not for what they charge... Payton had a hard time staying with us during the tour, but he did not touch anything and that impressed the guide.

june 2008

I took Payton and Alyssa back out to Grandma and Grandpa's again the next month just so they could spend a little more time with them. Grandma took them to a water park and we had a blast splashing around! I had hoped to go back to the park before we headed home but we just had so many other fun things to do. Instead, Grandma set out her sprinkler. Payton got over the cold water and ran and jumped through it. Alyssa preferred to watch from the swing.

A tractor ride with Grandpa is always a favorite with the grandkids, and my kids are no exception.

Payton played so very hard that he took good long naps everyday. One afternoon I found him sleeping with his favorite pal, Sm-Elmo, and just got a kick over how they seemed to be laying the same way. Ha ha hahaha! I absolutely LOVE this photo!

july 2008

On the way home from visiting Grandma and Grandpa we met up with Eli and celebrated the 4th of July with my family. A few of us enjoyed the parade -- once we found a curbside to squeeze ourself onto. Then we enjoyed a simple picnic and an impromptu game of football. The youngest kids (yes, that includes my two) also enjoyed making a big mud puddle to stomp in. We celebrated July birthdays with an assortment of pies (thanks to my thoughtful sister), went for a swim, threw poppers and burned sparklers, then sprayed on insect repellent in anticipation of the grand city firework show. WHEW!!! What a day!

Later that month, my parents came here for a visit and we took a trip out to Martin's Cove. Unfortunately, we probably picked the hottest day of the year to do it and our air conditioner had just one out in our van... but it was still a very nice experience and we had many opportunities to feel the spirit as we checked out different church history sites. We heard many stories about the courageous pioneers from the Willie and Martin handcart companies and those who came out to rescue them. To complete our experience, we even tried out this little handcart (in the photo) for just a couple miles... it was just awful to pull! (And Eli and I volunteered to go on the trek this coming up July! What have we done?)

august 2008

We spent 2 days at the fair. There was just so much to do and the kids were loving it! (And we got FREE passes for both days!) Eli doesn't care for fair food, but it's a treat for me and this year I enjoyed what I wanted -- funnel cakes, corn on a stick and cotton candy! By the end of the 2nd day Alyssa was so exhausted that she cried to go to bed when Eli stopped to get ice cream on the way home.

Eli's mom planned another annual family temple trip. So, once again, we packed up and got together with family, not that I'm complaining -- in fact, l love spending time with family no matter what the event is for. Here, we got a picture of Payton and Alyssa with all their cousins on Eli's side. We had a grand time enjoying each others' company.

I also discovered I had enough veggies out in our garden to make a salad. The twins went out to help me harvest. We enjoyed picking and eating as we went, especially the yellow tomatoes and the sweet snow peas. YUMMY!

september 2008

We took a 4 day trip to Yellowstone National Park and visited all the sites that you could drive to or that had short, paved hikes to. (Well, most of them, we spent 1 day just driving there and an other day driving back and plain ran out of time to see everything!) But, WOW! This is an amazing place! We saw a ton of wildlife, mostly Elk and Buffalo, but we did see a bear once. I hope we return this year, but we will HAVE TO camp inside the park. It's so beautiful and we wished everyday we had brought a tent.

We took a family trip to the mall and Payton and his daddy got their hair cut. Payton has a way with the ladies, by the time he was done his hair was not only trimmed, he also had it spiked with green gel, and was given a green balloon and a green sucker (and an extra sucker he shared with his sis).

october 2008
We had a big snowfall early this month, but it turned out to be a very nice day -- probably the warmest snow day we'll have this year. So we spent a good hour getting all our warm clothes on before we ventured out to build a snowman. And they were still smiling by the end -- so I got a great snapshot! Then, we pulled off our wet stuff in front of the fireplace and warmed our insides with a cup of Ramen Noodle soup. (Nap time went very well.)

With Halloween coming at the end of the month there were plenty of opportunities for spooky activities -- like these web mask we cut out from the back of a couple cereal boxes. These masks provided hours of entertainment (as long as Mom kept the ties fixed!)

I was even adventurous enough to make Jack-o-lantern pancakes. Though they were a hit, and my daughter still talks about them, I don't think I'll make them again. It just takes too long to cook 1 pancake at a time.)

However, this Q-tip activity is definitely a do-over! It was simple and quick and they loved it. I downloaded the song "Dem Dry Bones" then pulled down my big skeleton decoration. We sang and the skeleton danced. Just last week I heard my daughter singing “ ‘Jim’ Bones” to her daddy.

Practically every morning this month Payton asked if it was the day to wear his costume! Fortunately, for them, they did get in a few wears. They wore them to the library for their Halloween storytime and out to the city's pre-Halloween event. And, finally, Halloween eve we went Trunk-or-Treating at our church party. They absolutely loved wearing those sleepers. And these costumes were so easy -- until it came to blue hair. That was a nightmare! I fretted over that for 2 weeks. Finally, I bought a couple fun hats, cut up a clown wig and hand stitched the blue hair inside -- Aren't they so cute? They love wearing these hats still (at least once the itchy clown hair was removed). Sometimes they still ask me who is Thing One and who is Thing Two -- I tell them Payton was born first, so he is Thing One. They love remembering Halloween when we sit and read "The Cat and the Hat" together.

november 2008

November seemed to start out in messes. Messes EVERY time I turned around. One morning, I thought Payton was finishing his bowl of cereal, but really he was playing with flour! I'm just glad I thought to grab the camera instead of freak out again. (This must have been the dozenth mess already this month, and I mean BIG messes.)

I felt terrible not knowing how he managed this one, because I thought he was cleaning up the flour when I found the dirt... so he got to clean this up too. I guess cleaning up flour and dirt all day isn't too much fun because he hasn't done it again -- Thank goodness!

We, meaning us four, and my side of the family met at my brother's house for a pre-Thanksgiving. His wife got an awesome camera and has been taking just beautiful pictures with it (like the 4 photos above). (Check out her photo blog to see more -- They were able to reserve space at this nice clubhouse in their neighborhood with a theatre room and game room in the back of the main room. And, although they had a few complications back at their house, such as their refrigerator stopped working and their dishwasher started leaking -- we still had lots of good food and fun. Thank you Dan and Carrie for making this an enjoyable and memorable event.

december 2008

December was just filled with activities. Finger painting...

Painting ornaments for gifts...

Putting up and decorating the tree and cheesing big for the Christmas card photo.

We even baked sugar cookies. (This was my favorite tradition as a little girl, so I was very excited to begin it with my kids this year -- and they seemed to enjoy it too!) As for delivering the cookies... that's a whole other story...

Gingerbread houses are over rated -- too much work and then they're all dried out by the time you want to eat it. I had no desire to make one, but, a chocolate Christmas cake -- I could handle that. And the kids LOVED decorating the tree! (I just used the same icing and sprinkles that we had for the sugar cookies.) It was still warm when we dug in!


My side of the family got together again for a party the weekend before Christmas. We loaded up all the kids and headed to Wal-Mart to purchase gifts for a family that needed something special this year. Then we came back and wrapped and wrapped. Once everything was wrapped, the older kids got to secretly drop off the boxes of gifts. Then we had a gift exchange of our own. It was nice to be with everyone, even if it was just for a crazy short trip. Thanks Chanda and Eddy for hosting it!

The Santa at our mall is great! (Not only is his beard real, but, there wasn't a line and I got to take my own picture!) Alyssa grinned from ear to ear the entire time she was with Santa -- although, she is so shy that she kept covering her eyes and wouldn't tell Santa about the pink notebook she wanted so she could write her letters in it. Payton told Santa he wanted 3 balls. Both got their wishes...

Thanks to Alyssa's cousin, Kamiah, she got a beautiful Christmas dress passed down to her. I hung this in her closet at the beginning of winter and she kept asking when she could wear it... so we manage to find 3 occasion right before Christmas -- she just sparkled in it. Alyssa felt like one of Santa's princesses when she wore it!

Eli and I worked very hard to finish refurbishing our hardwood floors upstairs so they could be enjoyed for the Holidays. So Merry Christmas to me! I got what I really wanted this year! So, with the walls and floor finally done, we could start moving upstairs! But Santa beat us to it!

Santa was very busy decorating at our house this year. He started with this room, and finished by physically moving a sleeping Alyssa into this bed.

He decorated some more and then moved a sleeping Payton up into this room.

He even managed to fill 3 of the stockings before he left. (Oh, he must've been sooooo tired!)

(Side note: my mom cross-stitched ALL of these. I bought Payton & Alyssa's stocking when they were born and my mom finished them just in time to hang this year. Aren't they gorgeous!)

Check out this ballerina book Santa left my little girl! She was quite excited.

We ended the Christmas season and the year with an enjoyable visit from Eli's parents.

WOW! We were busy this year!