Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Well, Christmas was a little different around our house this year (seems like I've said that before). First of all, Craig had to work Christmas Day :( So instead of opening all of our presents that morning when he would be gone we decided to open them on Christmas Eve with him. Actually it was kind of fun because the kids (and Craig) got to play with their fun new toys all evening before bed. Christmas morning we woke up to a note from Santa saying that he had delivered our presents to Grandma & Papa's house. In years past my parents have always come over early in the morning to be here when the kids opened their presents from Santa, but this year we decided to take Christmas to them so they didn't have to be up and around so early. So me and the kids jumped in the car and headed to grandma and papa's. Sari had asked for a new cell phone but mom and dad gave that to her so Santa brought her a new digital camera. Ashlie asked for a new baby, instead she got twins that talk to her and to each other. Can you guess what Tyler asked for??? I know it's tough, a train! So Santa brought him an electric train that has currently taken up residence in our front living room. I got lots of fun new socks and a new black dress jacket! And tons of other fun goodies. And since Craig has been such a very good boy this year I decided he deserved the iphone he has been begging for :) Even though Craig was working we had a wonderful day. We made sure that when we added Sari to our family plan for her phone that we all have unlimited texting which has already proved to be very needed. One of the funnest family gifts we received was Rock Band for the Wii. I wasn't overly interested at first but Craig assured me we would have a great time. So far it seems I'm the one that keeps turning it on. I even went on Tour by myself on the drums :)

One tradition I've started with my kids is beginning December 1st we have a red notebook that we read from each night instead of reading out of our scriptures. For each night there is a series of scriptures, a story or poem, and a song that goes along with a piece of a paper nativity we put on a back drop. I started doing this several years ago with the girls and they really get into it and enjoy looking ahead for what piece goes on the backdrop. Some of the songs they've learned to play on the piano so now they want to

accompany our scripture time with the piano. This year was especially fun because Tyler was able to participate more. He really began to understand the concept of Christmas. He loved to look at all of my nativities I have around the house and would point out Baby Jesus in each one of them. So it was really fun each night as we would read to have him ask questions and to tell us what he had learned about Jesus.

Christmas is such a magical time of the year. I am thankful for the opportunity recently to be able to reflect back on my life and to find the things that are most important. While opening presents and enjoying the good food is fun it is not what is most important. More than keeping with the traditions we've created, I found that more than anything I just wanted to spend time with my family. And while I focused more on just spending time with my family, I
found that this Christmas was just as magical if not more so than all of the others filled with gifts and toys. I hope that I can pass on the Christmas Spirit to my children and help them realize it is not about what we get, but about what we give to others.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Horse Back Riding

Sari's dream has finally come true. We have talked about it for years but never made it happen, so we signed Sari up for riding lessons. Of course she is thrilled beyond belief. She has already had two lessons. The second one was on Christmas Eve. She spent about 4 hours that day out riding and cleaning etc. She is having a great time. Here are some of the first few photos. The horse she is riding in these pictures is named Riley.

Making Santa's Cookies

As a child growing up one of my greatest memories was of Christmas baking with my mom. We would bake the entire day and at the end of the day the kitchen would be filled to the brim with goodies to share with anyone and everyone. As we've gotten older my mom has continued the tradition with the grandkids. This year was just a little different (seems like this entire holiday season has been a little different). This year my mom came to our house and helped the kids make some cookies here. We didn't go to quite the level my mom does but we did have enough to share with some friends and family and more than enough to eat ourselves. We had lots of fun and I think Santa really enjoyed his cookies because he ate 5 of them!

The kids had fun helping out also. Ashlie and Tyler both had tons of fun decorating the cookies. They both did pretty good with the cookie cutters too but I had to be careful with Tyler because he would do a cut out in about 5 different directions on the same cookie if I didn't catch him soon enough. Sari decided she was not quite so interested in cookie making this year so I put her on camera duty. However, she was quite interested in eating our cookies :)

Christmas Pictures

About a week into December I checked the mail one day only to find a very fun surprise, the very first Christmas card of the year. What a fun day. However, I realized that I had failed to do my own Christmas cards yet. So that Sunday before we left for church I set the kids in a couple of poses and was able to get just enough for the Christmas cards and even one good enough to frame for the grandparents.

As I was looking through the pictures on the camera that afternoon I was thinking back to just a couple of years ago. December 2005 to be exact, Tyler's first Christmas. I had the brilliant idea to take a picture of the kids in front of our tree. It couldn't be too hard I thought. Well, about 150 pictures and 3 hours later with 3 very tired children I finally had one I thought might work. Funny how we've progressed over the years. First of all, I'm a lot less picky on how the picture turns out, as long as everyone is facing the general direction of the camera and there are no crazy faces it is a good one. Second of all, the kids have become a little bit easier to pose.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ashlie's Christmas Dance Recital

Tonight was Ashlie's Christmas Dance Recital. She did a great job in all 3 of her dances. She puts a lot of time and energy into her dance practices and even practices at home whenever music comes on. She is quickly able to adjust the speed of her dance to fit the beat of the music. This year was quite enjoyable even with Tyler in attendance because he sat on my lap the whole time and loved watching all of the dancers. Of course his favorite dance was the one to that was to one of the Polar Express songs. Thanks to Sari for the photography while I contained Tyler and Craig handled the video camera :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Dog Bread House aka The Gingerbread House

I've been reading on all my friends blogs about their gingerbread houses so I thought it would be fun to do one with the kids. I hadn't exactly decided how, but I knew I wanted to do one. Just to my luck I was at Costco the other day and found the entire kit for $10. It included the premade gingerbread forms for a house, a tree, and 2 gingerbread men. It had all of the frosting and tons of different kinds of candy. I couldn't believe my good fortune. So yesterday afternoon when the kids started getting grumpy and restless I pulled out the kit. Sari decided she wasn't interested in building the house at all but Tyler and Ashlie had a blast. Sari has decided she is too big for many holiday activities this year :( So, Tyler, Ashlie, and I all sat down at the table and began. I did the "gluing" together with frosting of the basic pieces and then gave it over to them for the decorating. They had so much fun. The only thing I really didn't understand was why Tyler kept calling it a "Dog Bread House". He said it several times and I just had no clue. I kept correcting him and he would say it the right way and then the very next sentence he would refer to it as a Dog Bread House again. Finally, I figured it out. Our dog's name is Ginger. So he had thought of it in reference to the dog. So he turned Ginger Bread House into Dog Bread House. Funny!!! We had a very fun time making it and Sari spared no eagerness when it was time to begin eating it :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

2008 Annual Christmas Piano Recital

Last night was the Annual Christmas Piano Recital for the girls. They both did an excellent job. This was Sari's 4th recital and Ashlie's 1st. Ashlie played "Golden Trumpets" and "Silent Night" and Sari played "Entry of the Gladiators" and "Joy To The World". Good job girls. And of course Tyler had to pose since the girls were posing. Last year at the recital I spent the entire time out front with Tyler throwing a fit so this year being able to stay inside the whole time was wonderful.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Decorating for Christmas!

As wonderful of a holiday as Halloween is, even I know there is a time to take down the pumpkins and witches! (The only reason I can say that is because I now have my Halloween laundry room year round :)) We sort of skipped the entire month of November. Most holidays I think that you can skip the decorating if life throws you a curve ball, but not Christmas. Especially when you have little kids. I always dread the end of Halloween because I have to take down all of the fun stuff but I decided that since we were well into the first week of December and I could go straight into my lights and Nativities I thought it would be okay. So yesterday was the day. We decided we would attempt the outside first. While I set out all of the cutesy things on the ground Craig worked on the house lights. Things went relatively smooth with the biggest mishap being that all of the little plastic hooks for the lights to hang from the rain gutters were snapping in two, luckily we had extras to spare. The outside only took about 2.5 hours. Then we came inside and the festivities began. My mom and dad came over to watch us set up the Christmas tree since they won't be doing one of their own this year. The girls played Christmas songs on the piano as we got the tree set up and all of the lights on. Then we let the kids put all of the ornaments on. Sari did a pretty good job of getting them to the top, Tyler did an excellent job of getting the bottom decorated, and Ashlie seemed to focus on the side that faced the window. I managed to get a couple of pictures of Sari and Tyler, Ashlie gets plenty of other pictures posted so I think she'll survive. I managed to get a couple of Craig atop the roof putting up the lights on the second story. Most of the lights he can reach from the roof of the first floor but there is one peak over the entry that he had to get from the top of the 2nd story. A bit alarming for me but he did it with no stories to tell :) After we got the tree set up it was time to get ready for our Christmas party so I elected to save my nativities for today so I could take my time and get them perfect. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon activity. I also included a picture of Ginger wearing the reindeer antlers from the Christmas parade. Needless to say she wasn't too excited.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


As you will recall from previous posts I had a huge presentation due in my biology class the same day as my dad's surgery. I was able to talk to my teacher and turn it in early, however I only had about 2 hours notice that I would have to turn it in 3 days early. Thank goodness I am not that much of a procrastinator so I had it most of the way finished but not quite. Especially because the weekend before it was due I had a big craft fair I was participating in, my dad went in the hospital, and it was the primary program (I'm chorister). So even though I had it pretty well planned out I still had to kind of throw it together at the last minute. I wasn't really sure how I was going to do on it since I didn't feel like I was able to put my best work into it. Then, the week after my dad's surgery (he was still in the hospital and I had spent several days running back and forth to the hospital and trying to keep life somewhat functioning), I had a test in biology. I normally get in about one weeks worth of studying for each test, this test I got in about 3 hours. To say I was stressed was an understatement. So, today was the day to get my grades back on my project, my test, 4 other homework assignments, and the current overall grade in the class. Much to my surprise I got 96/100 on my presentation and I was able to pull a 90/100 on my test. After factoring in all of my homework assignments and such I have a 98.6% in my biology class. I just knew I was going to drop to the B range. Craig laughs because he says I am anal about getting an A. I guess my thinking is that when I was in school before (13 years ago) I had a lot of fun. And my grades are proof of the fun I had. So now that I am older and more mature (haha) I think that if I am going to spend the money and the time in going to school then I want to get a grade worthy of the time I put into it. So far so good. Craig also chuckles at me because I like to tell people how good I'm doing in class. I don't do it to be smug, I like telling people how well I'm doing because I work so hard at it. I certainly don't breeze through any of it, I work hours and hours and when you work so hard and so long on something sometimes it is nice to get recognition for the hardwork. So that is why I am pleased to tell you that while I didn't get the highest grade in my class on either my presentation or my test, my over all cumulative grade is the highest in the class :) So, my thoughts before my presentation and again before my test were simply that maybe Heavenly Father would bless me for my efforts with my dad and help me out in my class a little. I think it worked :)

Potty Training!

Okay, so I realized that I'm a little bit behind in my blogging! I'm not sure why!!! :) So Craig was talking to his mom last night and he made mention that Tyler is now potty trained and I realized that I had yet to blog about this momentous occasion!!! So here it is, Tyler is now potty trained, I think :) You know they really are never completely potty trained, I'm not sure when. I still find my girls dancing and have to tell them, "Go To The Bathroom!!!" Lol! However, Tyler is officially in underwear, night and day!!! We've gone back and forth for several months, actually almost a year with him. We graduated from diapers to pull ups and then would be very consistent for a couple of weeks taking him to the bathroom every couple of hours and hoping he would respond by starting to tell us when he had to go. Or even tell us if he had an accident, but no! He would wet and would walk around in it and would never tell us. So then we would give him a break for a couple of weeks and basically treat the pull-up like a diaper. We never criticized, we kept it all very positive! So every time he went in the toilet we made a very big deal out of it. Then after a little break we would start trying to take him back to the toilet every couple of hours but he just showed no interest. After doing this for probably 8 or 9 months we finally decided just to relax. Give him a break and see what happens. So this time we waited a couple of months. It fell over summer time though when we were traveling quite a bit so it worked nice to not have to find a bathroom constantly for him. About 4 weeks ago we decided that maybe we would try again. He is almost 3 1/2 and we thought that maybe he had a little more maturity (can 3 year old boys be mature???). So we put him in underwear. We still have to remember to take him but now he gives us warnings before he goes to the bathroom. What fun!!! Although sometimes it is a rather short warning, it is still a warning. He does still have the occasional accident, maybe once a week, but he is in underwear full time now. What a very big boy!! The next thing to teach him is how to stand to go to the bathroom instead of sitting :) I'll let Craig work on that!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Christmas Parade

We were able to go to the Annual Christmas Parade last night. It has been a tradition in our family since as long as I can remember. I remember going to the parade as a little girl and we always had so much fun. We go early to get a good spot to sit and as part of the tradition we eat dinner from one of the restaurants on Main Street. Someone sits on our blanket and saves the spot and the other person goes and gets the food. And we have always thought the more the merrier. So we always invite lots and lots of friends to go to the parade with us. As my sister and I got older we still went to the parade every year as a family. There was one year that I was married living in Idaho and my sister was at school at Ricks and my parents still went to the parade and kept the tradition alive. Since that time my sister and I have both moved back to the area and so we now all go with my parents and our kids. This year was a little sad for me because my parents and my sister weren't able to go. For obvious reasons my parents didn't go but my sister's kids were sick. I was happy that my cousin Christy and her family came and sat with us. We still had a really good time and enjoyed sitting together freezing as we watched the floats go by. Tyler was able to really enjoy the entire parade and sat mesmerized most of the time. The parade was almost 2 hours long so that is an incredible feat for him to sit for that long entertained. Of course Sari's favorite part was the horses, Ashlie had a hard time naming her favorite float. And of course Tyler loved the Polar Express float. Lucky for me it is the season of Santa Claus and so I can now defer all toy buying to Santa's workshop. Every time we enter Target Tyler wants to go straight to the trains. So we've been explaining about how he has to be a good boy and then Santa will bring him a toy for Christmas. So he was so excited to see Santa at the end of the parade last night. Of course I think he thought he was getting his toy there. We always have a good time at the parade and last night was no exception.