Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekend Fun

We had a pretty good weekend. On Friday, Shawn and I were able to go on a date. We went at grabbed a bite to eat at Pei Wei's and then headed out to watch "I am Legend." It is that new movie out with Will Smith. It was a pretty interesting film. It kinda has the same feel of Cast Away...lots of silence, not alot of music, and of course...only one main character. Will did a great job of carrying the role. I didn't like the ending as much, but the movie was an interesting concept. Apparently it is a remake of some 70's flick. I could never imagine living in a world where I was the only survivor. You will have to go see it and tell me what you thought.


On Saturday we woke up early and set up to tackle some projects. First I cut the boys hair. I really wish I knew how to do it a little better, but Shawn never seems to complain. In in end it saves us alot of money, and I guess the more I do it...the better I will get. It was so cute when we were finished. Sydney got up on the stool, and said "my turn." I guess that she felt a little left out. I wet her hair down, and then combed it out. She wanted me to use the clippers, but I refrained. We still haven't even trimmed Sydney's hair!

After haircuts we set out to put up our outside lights. We had meant to do them a few weeks back, but with Shawn out of town, and the rain...it never happened. So we finally drug out the box of lights, and set to work. Shawn did the majority of the work, and Sydney enjoyed hanging out with Dad for a bit. We still need to buy some more lights for the outside, but atleast we have some.

Later in the afternoon, we headed over to Tori and Tracy's for "Take Two" of our gingerbread houses. We hoped that these would fair better than our last attempt, and we are glad to say that it was a success! Caden was more into eating the candy this year than actually decorating it, but we still had fun. Tori and Tracy live right down the street from the Mesa Temple so afterwards we bundled up and went to see the lights. It really is one of the most beautiful light displays. At one point, Sydney didn't want to be in the stroller anymore, and all she wanted to do was "walk with Abby." They were so cute walking around hand in hand. It has been so fun watching Sydney...she is getting so independent, and just loves spending time with others.

One thing that has been different this time around is being pregnant during cold weather! Both Caden and Sydney were September babies so I never needed a jacket that would fit around my growing belly. Luckily it doesn't get too cold here, but I may have to go out and by myself a maternity jacket. I feel like it had taken forever for me to actually "look" pregnant, and not just fat...and then it seems as if I woke up this week, and now I am huge! The sad thing is that I know I am only going to get bigger! Oh the joys of pregnancy! Anyhoo, I had Shawn take some pictures of my fat self so you all can see how I am progressing, and be thankful that you aren't has fat as me! :) I am now 7 months along, and March is just around the corner! I can't believe how fast this pregnancy has gone by. (Oh...and BTW...No, we haven't opened the envelope yet! :)
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show! :)

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pre-K Christmas Party

Today was Caden's last day of pre-school before the new year. They had their Christmas Party, and all the parents were invited. In the past, Caden has had a really hard time adjusting to all the different people there. This time I tried something a little different. I made sure that Sydney was watched by a friend (Thanks Melanie!) and then we arrived there early. I thought that maybe he wouldn't have as much of a hard time if he was able to adjust to each arrival rather than all at once. It proved to help a little bit. Caden was still a little bit clingy, but was much more ready to participate. Hopefully over time, he will get better at it.

They did alot of fun things today. The first thing they got to do was decorate sugar cones into Christmas trees. It was a really fun craft. We plastered the cone with green frosting, and then Caden went to town decorating it will all different sorts of candy. He was really proud of the final creation.

They also got to make reindeer food for Santa's reindeer. It has been fun this year because Caden is really getting into the concept. He is excited to sprinke it onto our lawn so that they reindeer can eat it when they get to our house. He is sure they will be "so hungry."

Their next activity was a gift exchange. Everyone brought a small gift to give to someone in the class. Caden had gone with me to pick out a gift, but he didn't quite get the concept. He was so excited when we wrapped it last night, and made sure that we brought it to class. I had explained to him that he would be giving it to one of his friends in class....that is the part he didn't quite understand. His teacher tried to play a game where everyone was supposed to pass it to the person next to them while she played some music. As soon as the music stopped the present you had in your hands was the one they got to open. It was hilarious to watch. Caden wouldn't let go of his, and some of the others wouldn't either. One of the kids started opening every gift that was passed to him. In the end they threw all their gifts to the center and then they each picked a different one. That is when Caden lost it. He thought he was getting the one that we had bought together, and didn't want to have anything to do with the "new" gift. I guess in time he will understand the importance of giving rather than recieving.

Towards the end of class they had a special visit from Santa. It was pretty funny to see how excited the kids got. The costume was lacking, but the kids still ate it up. They each got a picture with Santa, and a treat from him too. Caden loves Santa, but is still afraid to approach him by himself. So I took him up there, and he was able to get his treat.

The best part for me was when they gave us our "parent" gift. This isn't the best picture, and it is impossible to get a picture that captures the whole thing. Obviously...it is an ornament. They had put Caden's hand in white paint and then had him grab the ball. Caden then decorated each finger to be a snowman. It is the cutest thing ever. It made his hand look soooo tiny, and I will cherish it forever. It also had a little poem attached to it that read

These aren't just five snowmen,
As anyone can see.
I made them with my hand
Which is a part of me.
Now each year when you trim the tree
You'll look back and recall
Christmas of 2007
When my hand was just this small!

We really had a fun time together. I love this boy more than words can express. This week he has been a pill, but in the end he just melts my heart away!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gingerbread Mishap

One of the traditions that we have with Shawn's family is getting together and building Gingerbread houses. We started it last year, and Caden never stopped talking about it. Well, the day arrived on Sunday for us to enjoy in the festivities once more. We had gathered loads of candy, the gingerbread was cut and ready to piece together, and the cement (frosting) was loaded.

For those of you who don't live in Arizona, we have been having some crazy weather. It has actually been raining off and on for the past week. It has made it very cold (atleast for AZ), and provided lots of moisture in the air. Well, that moisture proved to be our detriment.

As we started piecing the houses together we noticed that the roof's were having a hard time staying in place. We discovered that even though the gingerbread had sat out all day on Saturday it was still soft! All of the roofs started to bow in the center from the weight of the candy. In the end each house slowly began to fall apart, and only one house managed to make it through. The kids enjoyed pilfering the candy stash, and we had fun as a family.

We all laughed at the mishap we had this year. Last year the roofs were not wide enough so we had a huge gap at the top. It is something that we can look forward to every year, and as you can see creates a different memory each time. Gingerbread House making TAKE TWO will take place this Saturday. Hopefully those will turn out!

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

What we have been doing lately...

With December now here, our life seems a flurry full of activities. We began December with a bang by going to Broadway Palms rendition of Babes in Toyland. We always love going to these lunch theatre plays. It is an entertaining afternoon with food, family, and friends. The kids are always mesmerized by the performers. We didn't stay long enough to take pictures with the cast, but we still enjoyed the show!

After the play we headed over to the airport for my company's Children's Christmas party. They clear the whole hanger out and load it with all sorts of things for the kids to do. They had bouncers, rock climbing, the tall slides that you sit on a burlap bag to go down on, and of course Santa. They even had the fire department, and police department there with thier bikes, and a fire truck. Caden immediately was drawn to the truck and stayed there until the firefighters kicked him out. The kids ran around like chickens, and I was able to catch up with some friends, and coworkers that I don't see as often. The kids had so much fun they did not want to leave. (This last picture that I have here was taken as we were leaving the party. It was a cloudy day, and the sun had just broke through the clouds...so pretty!)
We eventually got our kids out of the playland only to head over to a performance by City Lights. City Lights is a singing and dancing performing group that Shawn was involved in during High School. His good friends mom had started the group, and had invited all the alumni to come to the latest performance. They had a slide show of all the previous performers, and some of Shawn's friends showed up. Afterwards we went out to dinner, and they reminisced about "the good times." (BTW-this photo was taken by Caden...he really loves the camera)

Somehow we managed to squeeze one more thing into that crazy day. Shawn's dad came over to watch our kids while we headed over to a Christmas party that a woman in our ward (church congregation) was having. Thank goodness we had already eaten because she had the best spread of yummy treats that you have ever seen! I seriously would have stuffed myself silly if I wasn't already stuffed in the first place. It was nice to mingle with others, and hang out with some friends.

This day had me tuckered, and I was ever so grateful for my bed in the evening! The following day we attended church. Shortly after we returned home Shawn packed up and headed for the airport for a week long trip to Atlanta, GA. He was conducting a training seminar for his job. I debated whether to go out there with him and the kids, but ended up opting out.

It was hard having him gone this whole week, but I sure got alot done. My house had been suffering, and without him here, I was able to clean up many of the areas that needed my help. He kinda joked that he should go out of town more often! Kudos go out to those single mothers out there. I have no idea how they do it! I love my children, but man I missed getting those little breaks once Shawn would come home from work. I was so happy when Shawn called and said that he would be coming home late Thursday rather than Friday evening.

Last night we went over to Julie and Robbie's and hung out for a few hours. It was so fun to watch Sydney and Gemma play together. I really wish that I would have gotten some pictures of the two of them. It looks like they are going to be good friends. They remind me so much of each other.

Now we are into the weekend, and Christmas is quickly approaching. I still feel like I have a million things to do in order to be prepared for the holiday. I hope to get some shopping done today! And then it is off to Shawn's company party! One thing that I did get done was my Christmas cards...now I just need to drop them off at the post office! If anyone still wants one...just email me your mailing address. Toodles!

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Friday, November 30, 2007

It's all in the mail...

One of the things that I absolutely love about Christmas is getting Christmas cards and letters from family and friends. There really is nothing better than going to mailbox to find a real life letter from someone. We have a special place in our house that we put all the pictures, and letters that everyone sends. I just love to read about what has been going on in everyone's lives. It helps me to feel reconnected to those that I care about, but have not seen in a long time.

So I am in the process of organizing all of my addresses. Please e-mail me your mailing address so I can send you our letter! My email is crissybug@gmail.com

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving Week

The festivities began on Tuesday when Caden's pre-school class had their "feast." It was so cute. The kids had all made costumes to be either a Pilgrim or an Indian. They also had learned some songs that they performed for the parents. Caden had been singing them over the past couple of weeks. Well, I don't know why this is the case, but the minute there are lots of people around Caden turns into a mommy magnet. His class has had a few party's and he is always so excited to go. Once we get there, and he sees all the parents...he just won't let go of me. He refuses to participate (you can see there are no pictures of him here.) I just don't know what to do. I want him to have fun, but he just doesn't seem to adjust to changes well. He really is a man of routine, and if something is different he completely shuts down. It really worries me. Do you have any suggestions of what you think I could do to help him adjust better?


Then of course, came the actual day of celebration. We started out by going over to visit with Shawn's dad. Shawn's parents are divorced so it is always crazy around the holidays as we try to visit everyone. We don't get over to his dad's very often so this was a nice treat. The kids were able to spend some time with "grandpa" before he had to go into work that afternoon. Lorraine's (Shawn's stepmom) son Brian and his wife Krista were there too. Most of Lorraine's kids live in Wyoming so it was nice to visit with them too.
Every year my sister has "Maya's Thanksgiving/Birthday Party." My niece was born on Nov. 28 so it is always easy to have the family birthday party combined with Thanksgiving. The kids always have so much fun. They LOVE to go to Nancy's house! She rents a bouncer every year, and the kids play to their hearts content. It is nice because I can relax, and just let them run free! The food was great, and I was stuffed.

This year we got a real nice treat when my cousin Artie (His wife, Amber, has a blog & also owns Beauty Queen Boutique) put on a show for the kids. He used to do this skit years ago, and had my Aunt Sheri make a costume for the occasion. The kids got a kick out of it, and I have to say it really was entertaining. We taped it, so here is the debut (if you don't see it here now - check back later, I am in the process of uploading it.) ...Hopefully he won't be too embarrassed that I put this on here.
We really had a great time, and the kids had wore themselves out so much that they were asleep within minutes of driving away from Nancy's!

The next day probably should have been spent running around getting the 'best deals', but I just wasn't into it this year. In fact, I have no desire to go out and buy my kids any more toys! I have decided this year they will be getting one toy from Santa, but the 'present' from us will be something that we will do together. Do you have any ideas of unique gifts that I could give that doesn't involve toys! It may sound crazy, but I am just sick of all the junk. I would rather have something that they can really look back and remember as something special.

Instead of shopping, we spent the day putting up all our inside Christmas decorations (we hope to get our outside lights up next weekend). Caden had alot of fun unwrapping each of the ornaments. One of the things that we have begun doing is getting an ornament for the tree whenever we go on a vacation. So then when we are hanging the ornaments we talk about where we got each one. We also get a new ornament for each member of the family that signifies something about that person for the year. It will be fun as the years pass, and we get more and more to hang on the tree. We do have a "fake" tree. I would love to have a "real" one, but succumbed to the pressure when I realized if I held out for a real one that we wouldn't have it up until a few days before Christmas. Now I set it up as soon as I can so that we can enjoy it all month long! (Thank goodness for Gold Canyon Candles -- then I don't miss out on the smell of a live tree!) Anyway, here are some pictures of our tree. I really love the way it looks when it is dark. There is nothing better than coming around the corner, and seeing the glow. Christmas really is a wonderful time!
One thing that I want to do more for my kids, is establish more traditions that they really can look forward to. Because we live by both of our families, I feel that sometimes we don't have any traditions that we do with just Shawn, me & the kids. I want my children to not only love being with their extended family, but to also realize that we alone are a special unit.

What are some traditions that you have done with your families to help build unity and memories that they can cherish?

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Photo Shoot

We got our pictures back from the photo shoot that we had a few weeks back. I have to say that they were okay. Sydney was in a terrible mood that day, and as you will be able to see - was not wanting to smile. I was really hoping to get some good pictures of the kids, but it just didn't turn out that way. I am trying to decide which one of the family pictures to get enlarged. Sydney is not cooperating in most of them, but what do you think? I am very indecisive, and I need some help!

The only picture they managed to get of her smiling was this one. Now I can't decide whether I like it in color, B&W, or sepia.

I also liked this shot, but also can't decide on the coloring

And here are a few photos of me and Shawn....also some 'pregnant' photos (even though I don't really look very pregnant in these photos!)

I know there is a critic in all of you...so tell me which ones you like best!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Our Hawaii Trip

I realize many of you were shocked when you saw that we went to Hawaii. To be honest, I kept forgetting that we were going to be going. For those of you who have been reading for a while, I posted about the opportunity here. Yeah, we went to one of those lame time share presentations, said "No Thank You," and got all of our "gifts." One of the gifts was a voucher for a 4 night stay in Hawaii. Of course those lovely vouchers have a lot of restrictions (ie, have to use them within one year, supposed to give 30 days notice, & of course there are the black out dates). Most the time they are virtually impossible to use, but somehow we managed. We knew that we had to go before we had the baby...so it only gave us a small window. I don't even think we gave them 30 day advance notice, but it all worked out in the end. We got it booked, and before we knew it we were on a plane to the beautiful island.

We had debated taking the kids, but in the end we brought them. There were times where we wondered what we were thinking. Overall it turned out to be a fun and memorable trip. Having the kids with us made it impossible to enjoy some of the things that Hawaii has to offer (snorkeling, hiking, and such), but it also made our trip unique in that way.

Here is some highlights of what we did on our trip:

*The first night we went to a Luau at Paradise Cove. It was a great luau right on the beach. When they started performing, Caden turned to me and said, "Mommy, why are they all naked?" (They weren't naked, but if any of you have been to a luau...they don't wear much.)

*Our second day was spent at the Polynesian Cultural Center. I highly recommend going there! You learn so much about the different surrounding islands and is much more family oriented. Caden got so excited when young children came out and performed some dances. He exclaimed, "Look! It's my dancing friends!" Every time they left, he asked when they would be coming back.

*We also went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. There we got to ride a train, and explore the worlds largest maze. We didn't get very far in the maze, but Caden had fun choosing which way to go.

*During one of the many times we stopped to enjoy the beach, Caden decided he wanted to "put his feet" in the water. We sat and watched him take little steps closer and closer to the waters edge. Then inevitably a big wave came and knocked him off his feet. After that Caden had no desire to "get his feet wet"

*We also made a trip out to Sea Life Park (if you have seen 50 First Dates --it was filmed there) It is kinda like Sea World, but they don't have killer whales. There main thing is the dolphins, and you can pay to "swim" with them, but we opted out on that. We still had a fun time seeing all the different animals they had to offer.

*When we returned from Sea Life Park, we discovered Caden's beloved "Mousey" was missing. That was a rough night, but we called and found out that it was found at the park. Shawn was not too happy about having to make the drive out there again, but we went back and got him. I don't know what Caden would have done without him!

*We also were able to tour most of Pearl Harbor. It really is an amazing sight to see. I can only imagine how horrific it would have been to be there on that tragic day. We are truly blessed to have so many loyal men and women serve our country.

*Part of a day was spent going to the Childrens Museum, and the Bishop's Museum. Both were alot of fun, and taught alot about the culture of Hawaii. At the Children's museum they also had basically a miniature town where you could dress up and pretend to be all sorts of "workers." The kids had so much fun pretending. I have to look into finding something like that in my neck of the woods.

*When we left for Hawaii (on a Tuesday) we had asked the ticket counter if we would have problems coming home on Saturday (oh the joys of non-rev standby). She said we shouldn't have any problem. To our dismay, when Saturday rolled around...we could not get on a flight back to Phoenix. Instead we took a detour to Seattle. Our good friends Jason & Jen live there, and were kind enough to put us up for the night. *THANK YOU SO MUCH GUYS!*

*The only problem about us going to Seattle was that is was FREEZING! We were not equipped for that weather at all! We also didn't plan on having to go to church. We somehow managed to round up some sort of church clothes, and was able to go to church with our friends. I am sure some people thought it strange because Sydney was in a summer dress with sandals, but what can you do!

*Jason & Jen drove us by Snoqualmie Falls before we headed off to the airport. What a beautiful place! We hope to make it back to Seattle when the weather is a bit warmer.

As always it is good to be home. Now we are preparing for all the holidays to come! I can't believe how fast they have crept up on us! Enjoy the slide show!


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oreo Turkey's

We are back...in fact we were when I wrote the last post...I am still working on a new post to tell you all about our trip. In the meantime, I wanted to let you in on one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Every year while I was growing up, I would go and spend the night at my Aunt Sheri's. When we woke up in the morning, Jenny, Lori, and I would make "Oreo Turkey's" while watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now we are grown and have our own families, and it is impossible to do that anymore. Instead, every year I go out, get the stuff, and make them myself. It always gets me thinking about those fun times I had bonding with my cousins. They are great people, and I love them to death. This year we got a little headstart, and while I had Karyn's kids over today (for our kid swap) we made some. With my cousins we always used them as place settings, but you can make a plate of them and give them to your neighbors too. Here is a step by step demo...not professional by any means, but you get the point! (BTW--this picture is of Caden and I --Thanksgiving 2006)

First of all you need the supplies!
1. Oreo's (you can use the generic ones, but I have found that the original's work the best!)
2. Whoppers
3. Candy Corn
4. Chocolate Frosting (do not get the creamy or whipped kind...it is too soft, and does not work well.)
5. Red Hots

Now here is the process you will go through to create your masterpiece!

STEP ONE
Separate the Oreo
Yes, I know for some of you this may be very difficult. No worries! If you are not able to perfectly separate the Oreo...use a knife to put all the "white shtuff" onto one side of the cookie.





STEP TWO

Spread the chocolate frosting onto the side of the cookie that has no "white shtuff"

STEP THREE

Add the "feathers" (candy corns)

Take the candy corns and smush them into the 'white shtuff'. You can put in as many or as little as you like. I usually have about 4 maybe 5. Just make sure that you leave a spot on the bottom of cookie.

STEP FOUR

Place the Whopper (the turkey's body) on the chocolate frosting side of the cookie.

If you can't figure that out...sorry...I can't help you.


STEP FIVE

Connect the the Whopper to the "feathers"

Place it perpendicular to the whopper. Then smush the whopper into the 'spot' you left in the 'white shtuff'. If you have a hard time getting it to stay up, you can apply a little more chocolate frosting to get it to stick.

STEP SIX

Apply the "Gobble" or the Red Hot

Simply put a little dab of frosting on the Whopper and then place the Red Hot on top!





You have now made yourself an Oreo Turkey! Show it off to your friend or gobble it up yourself! It's your choice! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Here are some pics of the kids while they were doing it! It was fun, easy, and as you can see yummy too!

What traditions do you have for Thanksgiving?
You can get some more ideas over at Scribbit's Winter Bazaar!

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