Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Party

I love Holiday Parties and catching up with people I care about. I don't love holiday parties given by some random entity and feeling a need to "stop by" out of obligation...such as the holiday party given by the bank that my husband's company banks at. I'll take an invitation to a box at the Jazz Game, but one more thing at Christmastime? Here's the invitation we received this year... and I DEFINITELY think we need to continue banking at this bank because they really get it! (Click to view larger!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Early Christmas

Just as I was getting ready to walk out the door early to get the Primary room set up for church, I got a phone call the the heat and lights were out in half of the building and we were only holding Sacrament Meeting at 1:00 and the rest of the meetings were cancelled. I wasn't sure what to think! "Are you joking? Is this a December April Fool's joke?" No, he assured me, but hurry and call all the Primary teachers so they know they can stop with last minute preparations for lessons. Ya-Hoo!! I was giddy and Christopher wondered if I didn't like church. "I love church. But I also love a church vacation!"

We had a fun afternoon all together. I made the pieces for our gingerbread house that we'll decorate tomorrow. We also watched The Nativity Story, starring Keisha Castle-Hughes (from The Whale Rider--another favorite). I highly recommend it. I could watch it again right now--it was really beautiful--and the whole family loved it. It makes me think of a book I loved in high school, Two From Galilee.

Earlier this year we had another "that never happens moment." During the Sacrament we passed the bread tray down the row and when it came to Nick he pulled out an entire slice of bread! His eyes were huge with disbelief! That was one of my greatest irreverent wishes when I was a kid--starving during the long 3 hour meeting and savoring the tiny piece of WHITE bread and imagining scenarios where I could get MORE! (I distinctly remember when I was young pinching a few pieces together and pretending I HAD NO IDEA I'd taken more than my 1 piece.) That was some good fortune, Nick, cuz that NEVER happens! I wouldn't be surprised if he remembers that the rest of this life!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Survivor Twin

My friend informed me I had a twin on Survivor. Meet Shannon--also known as Shambo. Watched a few minutes of video and we also have the same "what the heck's" and "darn wells" in our vocabulary. Sweet. Check out more of Shannon on Survivor here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Random October Photos

Why, yes, I do know it's nearly the end of November. But I didn't want to miss posting these photos that I took in October and meant to post then, but didn't. And while I'm thinking of things I've wanted to do but haven't, I'm reminded that with Nicholas going to preschool 5 days a week this year, I'd made a plan of what I was going to do in the afternoon with my 3 hours of free time. I was going to spend an hour writing, blog regularly and spend 30 minutes practicing the piano. Now, being nearly November, I've achieved only 1 day of that "free time." Today's time was spent preparing some things for Primary and the Preschool Fundraiser as well as a quick trip to Costco to pick up our Christmas Cards. Most days are something like that. Although yesterday was spent exercising, and well, I admit it, reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." So much for improving my piano and writing skills. Maybe in January?

These were taken on October 29. I'd never seen anything like it before -- these beautiful plants encased in ice. It was amazing!

Utah Airport Parking Lot -- arriving home from Palm Springs. That seagull just seemed like an appropriate welcoming committee.

Underneath our couch. Mmmmm...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Harry Potter Party!

My friend Kathy is a party genius!  She throws huge shin-digs for her kids' birthdays (or just because) and takes theme parties to a whole new level -- including actually painting living room walls to look like bricks on a castle or pink like Delores Umbridge's office!  One year she carved mini pumpkins and hung them from the living room ceiling!  When a room is used for the party, you don't work around the furniture, you REMOVE the furniture completely so nothing can take away from the effect!  She's amazing!  And she's one of my best friends and her kids are some of my kids best friends.  So I always get to be a part of these amazing events!

Last week, the day before Halloween, she hosted a Harry Potter Book 5 party.  See all the professors who came?  The sorting hat had a microphone rigged up in it so it actually talked to the kids and sorted them to their different houses (no one got Slytherin, surprisingly!). 

Each group attended 4 classes -- Care of Magical Creatures, Herbology, Potions and Divination.  After classes they enjoyed a feast and then The Final Challenge where they ran around the house and yard on a Harry Potter scavenger hunt.  The reward at the end?  10 Galleons to spend at Honeydukes.

I'd give more details but I want Kathy to hurry up and start her own blog now that the party is over! 

October Synopsis -- Pumpkin Carving

Dan was traveling so much in October we only had one day we could carve pumpkins.  It was a Friday night and Courtney and Marty chose friends over family pumpkin carving!  So with just us and the little guys, we let Christopher invite his friend Matt to help.  And the big news is... we grew these four pumpkins in our yard!  We planted a lot more -- extra small ones and a white variety -- but I think they got weeded.

Dan was helping Nicholas carve the first eye and then Nicholas decided he wanted to do the rest on his own.  He carved the whole thing by himself!

Pumpkin carving is getting so much easier now that kids can gut their own and even carve their own -- don't dread it as much anymore.  In fact, I kind of like it again!

Thousands and Thousands of Chestnuts

Our beautiful Chestnut Tree provides wonderful shade in the summer.
It was the only tree in our yard big enough to hang a tire swing.
But it comes at a price... 

 Horse Chestnuts come in a thorny shell--as prickly as a rose thorn.  Last year we had the kids pick up 100 a day.  We quickly upped the number to 350.  This year with two great windstorms about two weeks apart, we were able to get them all in just two picking-up sessions.  Our large garbage cans were filled to the rim each time.  Halloween day was such good weather and everyone was in such good spirits looking forward to the evening, the job was actually fun all working together outside!

Nick wanted me to save the Chestnuts he picked up.  They really are pretty -- silky smooth and a rich brown color.  Then they started to mold.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome Box Elder Bugs

Box elder bugs are crawling in every sunny window in our house.  They came out in droves today and will be sharing our home for the next two months.  It seems a little freaky and usually I have a really hard time with bugs, but when these guys get in the house, they're really not in a hurry to go anywhere, generally stay by the windows (so they're not lurking under pillows or in shoes like the cockroaches in Dallas!), and while they fly outside, they don't really fly at you in the house.  Guess they're pretty tame house pets.  We better be comfortable with them because they're here to stay for a while.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Enjoying Fall


A hay ride, apple picking and fresh apple cider at Farnsworth Farms.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nicholas is Still Cruisin'

Last night Nicholas asked if we could have dinner 'like in a restaurant.'  "Bring the bread first.  And then we'll wait a really long time for the rest of the food."  Christopher has been requesting a candlelight dinner.  So at 5:30 p.m. we lit candles in the dining room and ate "restaurant style."

Today I asked Nick if he wanted an egg for breakfast.
Nick:  Yes, on a French muffin.
Angela:  English muffin?
Nick:  Yeah, an English muffin. Scramble it and make it like a sandwich.
Angela:  We don't have any English muffins.  How about toast?
Nick:  (Sighs) Fine.  Scrambled on toast.   With an orange.  And a bowl of cereal.  And some orange juice.

Anything else, Nicholas?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Disney Magic!

Two years ago when we returned from our first Disney Cruise, we had two families who said if we ever went again, they wanted to come with us.  Cruising with friends is the best way to go.  When all the kids have a friend to hang out with, it's a dream vacation for everyone!

So we started to plan.  And we started to tell everyone.  And friends told their friends.  In the end, 11 families came--22 adults and 36 children!  And we all HAD A BLAST! 

We met new friends and got to know friends better.  The kids got to run around the ship like they owned the place.  Christopher and 7 friends were able to run around with freedom that 8-year-olds only dream about.  Courtney's hang-out for teens was open with planned activities until 2:00 a.m!  Marty stayed out until midnight!  Suddenly we were thrust into teenage-dom full force--each night telling the kids to wake us up when they got back to the cabin!

We made stops in St. Maarten and St. Thomas.  The ocean was unbelievably clear and so fun to sit on the beach or play in the water.  In St. Thomas we fed the fish pieces of dog biscuits and they swarmed around waiting for food.  Just when I was beginning to wonder if they'd notice the dog biscuit in my other hand, a fish bit me!  Felt just like a puppy nipping at you.  Scared me to death, of course!  I chucked the biscuit and swam to shore as fast as I could.

We also visited Blackbeard the Pirate's Castle but unfortunately it was closed that day! 
Aaarrrgh Matey!

The last stop was Castaway Cay -- Disney's private island.  Our whole group hung out, swam and watched the kids play.  A torrential downpour interrupted lunch, but ended quickly and soon it was beautiful again.  A couple of hours later another downpour hit us, this time accompanied by thunder and lightning.  We had to grab our stuff and run for cover and everyone headed back to the ship.

When the cruise ended (still makes me sad that it's over!) we visited Kennedy Space Center with two other good friends.  We've been before but it's so inspiring and amazing to be standing in the place where man-made rockets actually fly into outer space.  A common quote seen around the Space Center is "Failure is Not an Option."  Love it!

We arrived home to Fall which is a wonderful welcome home present!