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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Monday, November 12, 2007

Soaking in Some Sun

Some people have been asking, "Where have you been?" --yes my posts are lacking, but for good reason. We have been enjoying the beaches on the Island of Oahu! Details to follow soon!

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Halloween

I am so behind on everything, but thought I would slap up some pictures of the kids from Halloween. The day was crazy. My plan was to have Caden be a magician, and Sydney be a bunny coming out of a hat. Nancy had made the costumes for Noah and Maya when they were younger so I was going to use them. Caden had other plans...he wanted to be Superman. It still worked out. I had to go to a costume store to find some bunny ears for Sydney. Well...the ears ended up being the same cost as a full suit. So I went with the new costume. She was the cutest bunny ever! I was supposed to make chili to bring to our ward carnival, and by the time I got that all done, and got the kids in the car...we got to it right before it was supposed to end. I was frustrated because it took me so long! The kids were still able to enjoy themselves for a little bit, and we got a bite to eat before we went trick or treating. We got back home around 6:30 pm. I took the kids trick or treating while Shawn passed out candy. We only went down one street and a little around the corner when Caden declared that he was done! It was only a little after 7 pm! Shawn came and picked us up, and we went to do our "rounds" to the grandparents. Our first stop was my parents ward Trunk-or-Treat. Within minutes on the road I looked back to find Caden fast alseep! He was just exhausted. We got to my parents event, and woke up Caden. After only going to a few cars (and he was in the stroller) he began to cover his bucket, and said that he didn't want anymore...he wanted to go home! I was astonished! He turned down candy! Needless to say he was plain tired. Unfortunately we weren't able to go by Nana & Grandpa's (Shawn's mom). I felt bad...but didn't have much of a choice. Hopefully he will have more energy next year!


BTW -- No, I haven't opened the envelope yet. Sorry!

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

My 10 Year Reunion

Okay...I think that I am officially the last one to write a post about the reunion. I have been in a serious "blog funk", and just haven't had the desire to post much...sorry to my faithful fans. :) Anyway, the reunion was alot of fun. It was nice to see so many people that I hadn't seen in years. Sara had asked for my help a while back, and I was glad to be involved somewhat in the planning process. We definitely learned alot of what we do and don't want to happen at our 20 year! One thing is for sure...we will not be using Great Reunions. They jacked up the price, and then the people they sent to "run it" had NO CLUE as to what was going on.

The day was super busy. The program that we use to make slide shows was giving us (or should I say Shawn...he is my computer genius! I don't know what I would do without him!) alot of problems. We almost thought we wouldn't be able to pull it off. Shawn, of course was able to come to the rescue and everything turned out well.

We went to the picnic in the afternoon, and saw everyone and their adorable children. It is so weird to see the guys I went to high school with as fathers. I only took a few pictures there...I wish I would have taken more because there were a ton of people there that did not come to the dinner in the evening.

After the picnic we went home, and put Sydney down for a nap. Shawn worked out all the kinks in the slide show. Then, because I wanted to make our day even crazier we had set up an appointment with our friends for a photo shoot at 4. I know it was kinda stupid. It was not what was really needed that day. Fortunately we were able to pull it off.

We met Dusty and Elisha out at "The Farm". I took a few shots with my own camera so you can see what the kids looked like. We had a lot of fun, and the location was beautiful. It will be nice to finally have a family picture. I really regret not being on the ball sooner. We don't have a family photo with just Caden in it. I just wanted to make sure that we got pictures before the next baby came, and before I look like an elephant!!! I really think that the pictures are going to be great--and of course will post them here when we get them! After the shoot we headed home only to drop the kids off and race to the dinner part of the reunion.

The evening turned out well despite the ignorance of Great Reunions. I think that everyone had a good time, and enjoyed catching up with old friends. I tried to get pictures of everyone that was there. I am sure I missed some, but I think I got most. I am sure some of the people thought I was a little crazy because I don't really know some of them, but I thought it would be fun for those who weren't able to attend to see who was there. So enjoy the slide shows, and hopefully I will see more of my classmates at the next reunion. I am really glad that I decided to go. I think I would have regretted it otherwise.


This first slide show is the one that we made for the reunion.


This one is pictures of Friday night at Dos Gringos, a few at the picnic, and the dinner that evening. Enjoy!

(We had even transferred the senior video into a computer file. I have to talk to my amazing husband about how to upload that one. It is huge, and is almost 30 minutes long, but if you went to high school with me it is still kinda entertaining.)

I will post Halloween pics soon...I hope! I have enjoyed seeing all of the cute costumes on all the other blogs.

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