Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wow, What A Couple Of Weeks This Has Been...

We have been so busy, as I am sure everyone has been. We have been doing very important things.

Things like licking the Cool Whip container when we were finished making oh-so-yummy chocolate pies!

And making sure some got in his hair.

And things like going to Rylee's Christmas program at school. Grandma came with us, and it was such a good thing because Hayden took his ever important nap in her arms after running around like a stinker.

And then there is another very important job of licking the pan after I make fudge. I gave Rylee and Amelia spoons and let them go to town. How cute are they!

And then there is the important job of trying to figure out why Lana broke out in a crazy looking rash the Sunday before Christmas. I thought she may have had an allergic reaction of some sort. But two doses of Benadryl did nothing. This led me to the internet. And I was almost sure she has Fifth Disease. Then, lo and behold, I talk to Stephanie and I am describing Lana's symptoms and wouldn't you know that Tess has the same thing. WHEW! They both had Fifth Disease. They probably picked it up from church the week before or from preschool. I was relieved it was just that. That little bug is not a bad one to have. So here are the two sweet little "slapped cheek" girls.

And then Hayden and Kate had to jump in the picture too and give me a "Cheese!"

Another "important" item of business: Holiday Baking!!! I spent about seven hours the Sunday before Christmas making goodies to send with Bill to work. I love holiday baking. I sent three trays of stuff with him and had a blast making it all. (Thank you Alesha for the new Almond Roca recipe and the Mint Chocolate Cookie recipe - they will be a tradition every year now!)

There were about a million other things we had to do that were equally important, but because my brain has left me this holiday season, I didn't take my camera everywhere. My sister, Brooke, graduated from hair school. YAY Brooke!!! So we had a get-together for her the Saturday before Christmas.

My other sister, Tai, and I did a Christmas Eve party for all the kids and our families. It was lots of fun! The kids had a blast and since we have done this for the past few years, I think it qualifies as a tradition - right? That takes it to a whole new level of "important."

And then, of course, there was Christmas Day and the important duty of opening presents. The kids loved what they got and it was a fun morning with them.

Kate loved her new little baby buggy. Santa must have known that she loves playing with her babies!

Santa brought Rylee a guitar, and she could not stop playing it all day. She could have stopped opening presents after that one and she would have been happy. What a good day for her!

Lana loved getting this doll from Santa, but her favorite gifts were "The Wizard of Oz" DVD and the set of McDonalds Madame Alexander Wizard of Oz dolls. She loves them! She is really into that movie for some reason, and when I saw the set of dolls online while I was looking for the DVD, I couldn't resist. She always says she wants to get all of them, but we just don't go to McDonalds enough to get them.

Hayden got a lot of "Cars" things and loved them all. My parents gave him some "Cars" swim shorts, and he had to put them on right away. At least they coordinate with his "Cars" pajama top, right?

Bill even got a fun surprise from Santa. He got a remote-control helicopter. I guess that Santa knows you are never too old to get a toy for Christmas.

Then we were able to go over to my parents' house and talk to my little brother on the phone. Even though he is a missionary, he still has his sense of humor and his spunk. I love that kid and miss him tons. Those people in Tennessee are lucky to have him there.

We had a fantastic couple of weeks filled with family, friends and good memories. We hope you all did as well.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

She Guessed It!

Classic story here:

Last night we were all hanging out as a family and Lana was asking if we could play a game. It was half an hour until bed time, so I wasn't in the mood to get out any games. Off the top of my head, I decided to play 20 Questions with them.

So the game began. I was laying on my back on the bed with Kate jumping on my gut. Lana, Rylee and Bill were all sitting on the bed for our rip-roaring game. I thought of something and the questions began.

"Is it a person?"

"Kind of," I replied.

"Do you hold it when you use it?" For any of you who have played the 20Q game, you know where Rylee got that question from.

"Can you eat it?" I would not recommend it.

I bet you are dying to know what I was thinking about, aren't you! You will find out soon, just like the rest of them did.

"Is it a holiday figure?" Rylee was on the right track.

"Is it Santa Claus?" Nope, not Santa Claus.

"Is it baby Jesus?" Nope. Keep guessing.

At this point, Kate stands up on my stomach as tall as she can and sings, "Foseee, Nowman!"

I couldn't help giggling. She guessed it!!! Hayden and Kate love Frosty the Snowman and they sing the song all the time. It was so cute that she guessed it right on cue.

When I laughed and said, "You guessed it, Kate," everyone started laughing right along with me. It was one of those funny moments that just was so cute that we need to remember it. And my whole family was saying, "You gotta blog this!"

I love moments like this with my family during the holidays when we are all together just laughing and enjoying our time together.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Tag

Steph tagged me for this Christmas meme. I haven't blogged for a while because I have been so busy, but this one looked like fun. So here it goes:

Christmas Tag

1. Wrapping paper or gift bag? Wrapping paper

2. When do you put the tree up? The day after Thanksgiving

3. When do you take the tree down? Sometime between Christmas and New Year's Day - whenever I can't stand the tree any more.

4. Eggnog?? BARF!!!

5. Favorite gift received as a child? That one is hard. Probably the year that I got my first Cabbage Patch Doll.

6. Hardest person to buy for? Our parents.

7. Easiest person to buy for? This year - Hayden. He likes anything "Cars," "Mickey Mouse," or "Thomas."

8. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, and I LOVE it!

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Christmas cards! I love to get them, so why wouldn't other people?

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? Wow, that one is hard. Off the top of my head I really can't think of a bad one. Guess I'm lucky.

11. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? After Thanksgiving. I would like to start earlier, but Bill hates to. So we are last minute shoppers.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Don't think so, unless you count my kids playing with the Cabbage Patch stuff and My Little Ponies that I got as a kid.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Home-made chocolates.

15. Lights on the tree? Yes. Who doesn't?

16. Favorite Christmas song? Canon in D, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, O Holy Night, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (that one's for you, Dad!)

17. Least favorite Christmas song? Santa Baby

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Heavens, yes. I have four kids. I better be able to!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither - a big bow.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? On Christmas Eve, the kids all get new pajamas and a book. Then we read all of their new books to them before bed. The rest of the presents have to wait until Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Too many parties. I just want to spend time with my kids and make goodies.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I have several ornaments that I love. My mom has given us ornaments every year, and I love them all.

24. Favorite Christmas dinner? Either a turkey dinner or Yummy potatoes, little smokies (not for me, but the kids love them), homemade French bread, veggies, crackers, etc. Now I'm hungry.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Nuttin'!

I would love to see the answers on this tag for Mom, Tai, Ashley, and Brooke. Have fun!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Little Sneak

This is what I have caught Kate doing twice this week:

I walk into my room and can hear her little noises and her little voice saying, "ELMO!" So I look in my closet where Bill and I have stashed a bunch of Christmas presents and there she is. She has peeked under the blanket that is covering the gifts and found one of hers.

She SO gets that from me. I can control myself now, but I used to be the biggest "peeker." She knows that she is busted, but she is happy about it.

At least we know that she will like one of her gifts. I just hope she doesn't lead the other kids in there and show them her discovery!:)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Promise I Didn't Teach Her This

I have no idea where Kate learned this. She just started chasing Rylee with the toy rolling pin yesterday saying, "I gonna get you," and then she would try to hit her with it. The stinker!!! I promise I don't chase my kids with a rolling pin saying I am going to get them and then hit them with it.

After her little rolling pin antics, you can see some of her other little phrases she has learned. I love how she says, "Yeah," all the time. I ask her questions all day long just to hear her say it because I can't get enough of it. And her quick version of "I don't know" is awesome! She is too fun and I hope that I have a sweet girl growing up and not a monster who will pick on everyone she sees.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fourth Picture in the Fourth Album tag...

My darling cousin, Ashley, tagged me for this one. I like this kind of tag. I can go into my fourth album and find the fourth picture with no problem! I don't have to think of something creative to say about myself.

So are you ready? I don't even know which picture it is going to be yet. Ready, the suspense is building...and here it is:

Aw, I love this picture. It is Bill (in his "sexy shirt" if you remember that post from way back when) with my chubby-faced baby last January. Makes me miss her being that small. (Right now she is supposed to be taking a nap, but she is in her crib banging on the walls and has probably taken her pants off - her new favorite hobby.)

Thanks for tagging me, Ashley. That one was fun.

And since I had so much fun with that one and it wasn't any trouble at all, I am going to tag four people. I am tagging: Katherine, Candace, Alesha, and my cousin Angie. Have fun!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Too Busy To Blog

WOWZERS, it has been a long time since I have blogged. We have been super busy the past week (as I'm sure everyone has!) So here is our little update. (I apologize for the million pictures.)

Last Sunday, Hayden was pouring over the ads after church. He was so cute. He got so excited every time he saw anything "Cars" and just kept looking at the ads over and over again. It was so fun to watch.

Tuesday was Lana's preschool program. I love the Thanksgiving program. Her sweet teacher has them all dress up as Pilgrims or Indians and they look adorable. Here is our cute little Pilgrim eating after the program.

Wednesday was pie day. It is tradition that I make apple pies with my girls the day before Thanksgiving. Of course, I flaked on the pictures. But trust me, we had fun! We made traditional apple pies and Dutch apple pies. YUMMY! Then on the morning of Thanksgiving we make chocolate pies. Those are just better fresh.

Thanksgiving Day was lots of fun. We had dinner with my dad's side of the family at my parents' church house. There were so many people there, and we had so much fun seeing all of them. My dad comes from a family of eight kids and all were there but two. (We missed you tons, Carol and Jim!) It is always fun to catch up with family that we don't see often enough. The food was great and the company was great. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for hosting all of us. We appreciate your hard work!

My dad being a good sport playing with Hayden.

The ever-funny, crazy golf-lovin' uncle Bryan. Lana is always so excited when she gets to see him.

Rylee loves my uncle, Bill. Here she is talking to him and his daughter, Alyssa. I grew up with this uncle coming to visit and calling me a little frog all the time. Now I guess I am the Big Frog, and Rylee is the Little Frog. It is so weird how fast time flies.

And this is my uncle Bill's wife Lori and in the background is my other sweet aunt April (my dad's sister.) I LOVE these ladies. They are always so fun to talk to and make me feel like a million bucks when I am around them.

Rylee and my mom having a tender little picture moment. Thanks for posing!:)

Here is a fun little group chatting. My sister, Brooke and her husband Andy, my dad's sister Donna, and my sister Tai.

This is the best I could get of April. She didn't seem to want me to take her picture. I have no idea why. The girl is beautiful!!!

Kate ran around the gymnasium most of the time and chased basketballs. She LOVED it! Bill finally caught her to pose for a picture with my brother, Jordan.

And here are me, Jordan, and Rylee. We don't see nearly enough of Jordan. He is going to school and apparently he only likes to come visit when there is food. I guess I will have to bribe him with more food. We love you, dude!:)

Here are the kids in their favorite spot in the church - on the stage! What kid doesn't love running around on the stage as they give their parents heart attacks because they get so close to the edge?! Hayden and Brielle were inseparable, as always.

This is another one of my dad's sisters and her husband, Bonny and Adam. I have such a soft spot for all of my dad's family. They have always been so good to me and I love them all so much. I feel very blessed to have such amazing aunts, uncles and cousins. I wish I could have written about and included a picture of everyone who was there.

And last, but not least, a picture of my amazing grandma with my sister, Brooke. I love these two so much and think the world of both of them. I wish I could spend more time with both of them.

Friday, after we stuffed ourselves silly, we had to work it off. Bill got up and hit the doorbusters at 4:30 that morning and as soon as he got home we started putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations.

Bill was handing out ornaments to the kids left and right as he was trying to take work phone calls. Poor guy.

The kids all got into the fun. The tree went up really fast this year with three extra little sets of hands helping.

Hayden thought this was all so fun, and he kept looking at the tree saying, "It's so beautiful." He is such a sweetheart. And we have only had two ornaments get broken so far. :)
When we were all finished decorating, the main area of our house looked like this:

I know, it looks like the Christmas freak came to town, but Christmas is my favorite time of year to decorate for.

And just for kicks - a picture of our "confused flower." Hello, it is December 1st, and this bulb is blooming. But, hey, it's red. Maybe it is just showing it's enthusiasm for Christmas. I can't bring myself to cut it down the way I have done with the other bulbs.
Last night, to get in the real Christmas/Winter spirit, we pulled out the Cocomotion and had hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes. The kids loved it!

Okay, Kate wasn't a big fan, but she always loves a cookie (and a nice bath afterwards!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

On This Day of Holy Wars...

Bill and I have a friendly little rivalry going on in our own house today. May the best man win.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Need A Maid

Today is yet another cleaning day. (Didn't I just do this?) I can't believe how fast Monday comes around. I was tempted to just let it go today because I have a dirty rotten cold and just wasn't feeling up to cleaning. Yeah, that didn't work because I have a problem. I have a major case of O.C.D. when it comes to cleaning day. It makes me absolutely crazy if I can't get it done. So, I buckled down and got it done.

Only one problem: When you really need your kids to be good while you clean so that you can get it done fast before you run out of steam, they won't. I was happily cleaning away as I listened to my iPod since the loud and up-tempo music helps me not only get the job done quicker, but it helps drown out the kids. I figure that if they really need something, they will come get me. Otherwise, they can work out their little tiffs. Yeah, so my kitchen looked like this:

AAAHHHH. Nice and clean.

And my bedroom looked like this:
Ahhh, clean sheets. Can I crawl in that bed and go to sleep yet?

The bathrooms were clean and smelled like freshly bleached towels:

I hadn't heard from my kids for a while and then Lana comes in as I am finishing the last bathroom and says, "Mom, Hayden is making messes." Great. Can't wait to see. Apparently the iPod also makes Mommy unable to hear when the kids are getting into trouble. Dang it. I just can't win. So I walk into the girls' bedroom and this is what I find (a common occurrence in our house):

Great, I get to clean up about a thousand books. Why do I have to like books so much? And then, I walk into Hayden's room and find this:

So much for giving the Kate Goldfish crackers to keep her busy. Grrrr.

And do you see any children in those pictures? Nope. They made their messes and left. So what were they doing? They were making a mess of the family room! At lest they were playing and having fun together instead of fighting!:)

Even the kids themselves were a mess. Hey, I never claimed to be an attentive mother on cleaning day.

So off I went to clean up those fun messes and as I was in the bedrooms cleaning up books, vacuuming, and doing a little bit of huffing and puffing under my breath, the kids were busy in the family room. This time I got a good surprise. When I came out, this is what I found:

Happy kids who had cleaned up the whole family room without being asked! What good kids!

Then when they asked me to make them lunch, my first thought was, "Great, here goes the spotless kitchen and the "freshly-Pledged" table." But then I thought about part of the talk that President Monson gave in conference about finding joy in the journey. I'll just give the quote since I could never do it justice:

'If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will - to your surprise - miss them profoundly.'

I still get discouraged when I work so hard and things get messed up, but I know that this time will go fast and that I WILL miss all of it someday. I need to be better at "finding joy in my journey." Maybe that is why I take pictures of a clean house - because it doesn't last long. You know the phrase "Take a picture, it will last longer?" Totally true when it comes to a clean house. But I also had to take pictures of the messes because that is all part of having kids, and the fact that they pitched in and cleaned up without being asked makes me smile.

I love my kiddos to pieces and will be so sad when they are grown up and I don't have their little fingerprints all over the house and their dirty laundry to do and their artwork all over the fridge... But I hope that when that day comes I can say that I enjoyed my kids.

But this all brings me back to the title. I think I need a maid on cleaning day to do that deep cleaning so that I can play with the kids more, don't ya think?:)