Monday, January 31, 2011

Christmas Day

And finally, THE day. It seemed a long time coming to this crew. Since it was Sunday, we had to dispense with the morning calisthenics, but we did torture the kids by making them wait while we read through the newspaper headlines and while both Shawn and I showered since we were going to have to be ready to go to church later. They waited somewhat patiently, mostly reading books, I think.
Almost everyone lined up and ready to go.
Peter wasn't really into this whole lining up thing. He was pouting in the corner.
With a bit of persuading, he at least came closer to the group.
Woohoo! This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas, when the kids first walk in and see their presents from Santa. Look at Duffy's face!
I just love seeing everyone's excitement and happiness.
Finally - a webkinz! She had been feeling so left out to be the only one without one.
And Amelia was thrilled to get Gnomeo and Juliet. The only thing that was consistently on her list for months. Unfortunately, she was still not feeling well, and this was the most excitement we saw out of her.
You see the kids different personalities come out in this setting as well. There's Jonas quietly examining and carefully reading about his gifts, while Samantha jumps down and starts tearing into hers.
Peter would have been happy with just this Thomas toy. That's the joy of a toddler - it doesn't take much to impress them.
All the kids got shoulder buddies in different colors.

After sorting through the loot from Santa, and opening one present each, it was time to get ready for church. We considered it our Christmas halftime show. A little spiritual reminder in the midst of the commercialized mayhem. (I have to admit, Christmas on Sunday is not my favorite, other than the spiritual uplift. It was a little tough to pull everyone away from their Christmas fun and get them all dressed and ready to go. However, I absolutely love Christmas Eve on a Sunday. It just makes things seem calmer somehow.)

After church everyone jumped right back into their pajamas and it was time to open presents. (This was our longest Christmas by far - at least as far as amount of time spent opening presents went. And we didn't even have to resort to opening presents with our toes to stretch it out, like last year.)

Samantha had a very Harry Christmas. And she couldn't have been happier about it.
Jonas never asks for much, so impressing him isn't too hard either. (A few ideas from him would be nice and helpful, though.)
All dressed in her Gryffindor gear, complete with wand and glasses - and a shoulder buddy to boot.
Amelia opened presents slowly, after laying down to take breaks in between. Poor kid.
A happy little elf.

Samantha did try a little present opening with her feet just to mix it up a bit.
Peter is at just the right age to begin appreciating Christmas. He was so much fun.

Amelia had a very disappointing Christmas because she was sick. (At least that's what she told anyone who asked her about her Christmas.) And it was lousy for her. Being sick on Christmas is no fun. I never remember anyone in my family growing up, being sick on Christmas, but this is the second time in 5 years that it happened at our house. And unfortunately, this was just the beginning. All the other kids suffered some type of illness in the days after, with Duffy getting it the worst. She spent 5 days throwing up, and lost so much weight she looked like a concentration camp victim. We ended up having to cancel our New Year's Eve Party. But I digress. Back to Christmas Day.

Peter was thrilled with his new bike and has been busy riding it all through the house.
The post present mayhem.
Peter got this glow in the dark race track from my Mom and Dad. It was so fun watching him play with it. He just kept giggling and spinning around in circles trying to watch the cars. He kept us all laughing and entertained.

I love Christmas. But the post Christmas letdown is a little hard to deal with. There's so much build up and so much excitement associated with this one day, and then Poof, like that it's over and there's nothing left to look forward to. We spent the evening watching a movie and eating beignets. (There was no time for them in the morning.) I am looking forward to a little downtime and some quiet, but not really to the Christmas clean-up. I guess it's time to start thinking about those New Year's Resolutions.

Friday, January 28, 2011

We've Been Busy...

We are getting ready for something here. I've been working hard on a couple of projects for the big event:

And Shawn's been lugging chairs around:
Still a lot to be done, but at the end of a 5 1/2 year process, we are ready to celebrate!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Accidental Discovery

I was running some errands this morning, with kids in tow, of course, and Duff spotted a t.c.b.y. I had no intention of going there, but finally agreed to take her in if she would stop complaining about having to go to preschool - a daily occurrence lately. (Yes, I bribed my preschooler. Please don't judge me.) Anyway, it turns out that on Wednesdays, kids 6 and under get a free 3 oz cup of yogurt with toppings! (Who knew? - Not me, obviously.) The only problem was that I then felt obligated to buy one for myself which was not in my original plan. It's rough, I know, but sometimes you've got to take one for the team. I can't say that I didn't enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Do You Hear That?

That's Mother Nature laughing at my expense. After blogging (just yesterday!) about how I was enjoying the blue sky, sunshine and warmer temperatures, this is what we got today:We're right back in the middle of a winter wonderland. Yep, that's about right. At least it looks nice.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Now This Is More Like It

It is so beautiful outside today. Blue skies, sunshine, clear air (at least looking east), warm-ish temperatures. It boosts my spirits just looking out there! Unfortunately, today's weather has me dreaming of this:(only, imagine it's the wake surf, because I haven't actually ridden the wakeboard in a couple of years, but this definitely gives you the idea of where my thought are headed). Before any of you go bursting my bubble and reminding me that it is only January and I still have lots and lots of days of cold and snow and inversion ahead of me, let me just say that a day like today gives me hope and just a little hope can help get me through a few more weeks of winter. That and a few more great ski and snowboard days. (C0me March, though, I may need something more.)

Photo courtesy of Michelle (as always.) One day I may have a cool camera and become a photographer, too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Banner Day

Poor Amelia has watched patiently for the past year and a half as most of her friends have lost tooth after tooth and she couldn't even get a little wiggle out of any of hers. Well, finally, 2 months before her 7th birthday, (we are a little dentally delayed around here,) she lost her first tooth! She was so excited. It has been loose for a couple of weeks, and Shawn tried to pull it last Sunday, but didn't get it out. Today, while driving up to the ski resort, it fell out. (Due to her constant wiggling of it, of course.)

I didn't get a picture until we were in the lodge for lunch, and my camera lens steamed up when I pulled it out of my pocket, so you'll have to excuse the poor quality, but I promised her a picture.

The 3 Amigos waiting for lunch.

The rest of the day was fabulous as well. It was a beautiful day. A little snowy, but still warm enough. Just a little layer of powder to ski through.

Shawn and the girls playing in the snow after their lessons:

Snow angels:

I decided to take a snowboard lesson with my friend Jan. Once we progressed past the hiking up the mountain part and were able to progress to the riding up the lift and snowboarding down the hill part, it started getting to be fun.
Despite what you see in this picture, I spent significantly less time on my knees and on my rear end than I had expected to. Definitely less than the first time I went 13 years ago. (Also the only time until today.) That's my friend, Jan, in the cool snowboard pants that she borrowed from her 13 year old son. She was a little embarrassed, but she fit right in with the Brighton crowd. (Her daughter's ski instructor had the same ones.)
Shawn on the lift with Duff, Amelia and Amelia's friend Hallee. (Also Jan's daughter.)
Close up of Shawn and the ski buddies - Amelia and Hallee.
A little video of the 3 girls skiing with Shawn, while I was still on the beginner hill trying to get better at this snowboarding thing.

In case that seems a little boring to those who have no personal tie to the girls, these next 2 are just funny. They make me laugh every time I watch them. The first one, we call "Face Plant" for obvious reasons. And the second one is Shawn, well, admiring the tree tops for a moment, I guess.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cake Boss

Warning: This is a power post - long and lots of pictures - of cake. Continue at your own risk.

Tonight our church's youth group had a cake boss competition. (Shawn, my resident cake boss, was not a participant, but as Young Men's President, he gets credit for coming up with the activity and helping with the planning, set up and so on...) Each of the 6 classes had to design and create a cake. Here are the results.
First were the Deacons (the 12 and 13 year old boys.) This was Jonas' group. I was a little unsure of how they were going to pull off their plan, but for a bunch of 12/13 year old boys, I think they did a pretty good job. They built a ski resort. Mt. Deacon was the name of it.
It was complete with a lift, a lodge, and a parking lot. The skiers were sour patch kids on pretzel sticks. The snowboarders were on juicy fruit and in a half pipe of marshmallows. There were also trees and bears. (Jonas also pointed out a couple of bear maulings, but I don't know if you can see them in these photos. That's always bad business for a ski resort, anyway.)

Next were the Beehives (the 12 and 13 year old girls.) They built colorful legos. We didn't catch a photo of this before the blue lego suffered some structural failure.
Next are the Teachers (the 14 and 15 year old boys.) They built a replica of the Salt Lake Temple (complete with a little Angel Moroni - which was actually a gold spray painted policeman - awesome) and the golden plates.

What temple scene wouldn't be complete without a police chase as depicted above?
These cakes were made by the Mia Maids (the 14 and 15 year old girls.) They won the 3 Amigos Kiss Up award, since they were the faces of the bishopric and coincidentally (or not,) the judges of the contest.
See, here they are - judging.

This lovely little design was made by the Priests (the 16 and 17 year old boys.) It is Mount Vesuvius. It sure isn't pretty to look at, but as Shawn pointed out, erupting volcanos leave carnage and it's not supposed to be pretty.
It did have this redeeming quality, though. It actually erupts.

(There were charred swedish fish all over the place after this.) This may be a sure fire way for Shawn to get released from his calling - allowing his priests to set off illegal fireworks in the cultural hall. (This is probably also what makes Shawn a good Young Men's President - he's really only 17 at heart. He probably, said, "Yeah, that's a good idea.")

And this cake, made by the Laurels (the 16 and 17 year old girls) won the Best of Show and Martha Stewart awards - for obvious reasons.) A spaghetti dinner, with sauce and meatballs, corn on the cob with butter and a bowl of peas and carrots - all made with cake and candy.
This one really was pretty amazing. It looked very real - especially the peas and carrots.

If the success of an activity is judged on attendance, participation and mess, then I'd say this was a winner.