Friday, December 28, 2012

Joy to the World

I love Christmas time: I love the lights and the music and the parties and the decorations and the treats and the family activities.
We had a wonderful Christmas: mellow and relaxes - just our little clan. We enjoyed a stress-free Christmas Eve day (a quick trip to Walmart for a handful of things that morning and then we just hung around for the rest of the day). We had turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and peas for dinner, with Sparkling Apple Cider. We haven't established a firm Christmas Eve food tradition yet (we heard about a couple of people who do homemade pizza on Christmas Eve, which peaked our interest a little.... maybe we'll try that next year). We talked about what Christmas really means as we sat around the dinner table. That evening we had a Family Home Evening where we read the scripture from our Christmas chain (our chain this year included a scripture or a story from the Friend or a song each night, which has been a nice way to incorporate the true meaning throughout the entire month). We prayed and then watched "Muppet Christmas Carol." The kids got treats ready for Santa and then headed to bed. We got going the next morning at around 7 AM. One of the best parts of Christmas is being a parent and seeing the look on your kids' faces on Christmas morning - really, it's magical. We opened presents: the last presents were the new quads we got (one was in the garage and the other was wrapped up in the front room). Austy spent most of the morning hanging out in a big box of packing peanuts - pure entertainment! Sean watched as the kids took turns riding the little quad later that day. The kids played and played with their new loot. Tom and Carolyn and Rachael and Great Grammy Dick came over that afternoon for dinner: ham, scalloped potatoes, rolls, roasted vegetables, orange salad and pie for dessert. It was a perfect kind of day. Some of the gifts included: Sean: Dewalt 18v cordless drill, harmonica, puzzle table, Life is Good hat; Tera: one piece pjs, cozy purple blanket, garlic press, phone cover; Caelan: snow boots, stationary, scarf, personal mini frying pan and spatula; Ben: Legos, Erector set, Mario Brother figurines, Spider Man toys; Megan: Coloring books and Eye Spy (style) books, ponies, scarf, makeup set, whistle; Nathan: Remote control car, Cars 2 cars, Lincoln logs with train table, Batman mask; Austin: Big stuffed monkey, ball, slippers, book; Everyone: quads and helmets, tickets to Cliffs Amusement Park

Friday, December 21, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Christmas season has come. We have busy with all sorts of holiday events. We took advantage of the first free weekend in December and went to a Festival of Trees at the Sandia resort. We grabbed some dinner and then headed over to the Bugg Lights in Albuquerque. It's a fun driving and walking display located at the Menaul School. We enjoyed the First Presidency Christmas devotional that Sunday night. Caelan and I went to handbell concert last weekend. Sean has busted out three holiday puzzles so far and is ready to get crackin' on another one this week. Last Monday night we went Christmas caroling with two other families. We hit 6 houses and then ended up back at the Hataburda's for hot chocolate.
Then this Friday was our ward Christmas party, which Sean was basically in charge of (his last Woodbadge ticket). We did a "Christmas Around the World party." I wish I would have gotten pictures of the decorations: different Nativities from around the worlds, map pendants hanging across the room, rolled maps to look like Christmas tree cones for the table center pieces, a big world map with the words: Joy to the World and a hanging pinata. It looked great. We had dinner: ham, potatoes (I peeled and cooked 70 lbs of potatoes that afternoon), rolls, salad and a variety of desserts. There were three presenters talking about Christmas traditions in different parts of the world, intermingled with three musical numbers. The Bishop said some words and after we closed we had the kids take turns whacking the pinata, which they loved....and luckily we came away with no injuries. YAY! It was a success! The next day Sean flew to CA for his Grandma Anderson's funeral. I went to the girls dance performance of "The Nutcracker," which was super cute (too bad Austin wouldn't fall asleep so I could enjoy both least he was good enough for me to see all Caelan and Megan's dance numbers). This week is a baking week and finishing the last little bits of shopping.

Giving Thanks

This year we wanted to get out of dodge for Thanksgiving....but we didn't really want to drive all that far, so we coordinated a Thanksgiving holiday in Heber, AZ with Grandpa and Grandma and Great Grammy Dick. We stayed at their friends, the Moore's, cabin. It was great! We had a tasty Thanksgiving dinner (we made most of it before we left and carried it with us: I made homemade sausage and roasted mushroom stuffing, sweet potatoes, raspberry pretzel jello, cranberry sauce, two kinds of cheese balls and pumpkin pie. We also had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, peas and homemade apple pie. Delish. We spent the rest of the weekend watching movies, playing games (the kids were introduced to the game, Sorry, and they loved it), riding quads, playing outside, doing a little exploring and hiking, crocheting (a new skill I learned from Sean's Mom while we were there). We also had a bonfire in the yard and roasted hotdogs and made smores. Sean and Grandpa took the kids fishing in a fishing boat. They came home with 5 fish: Nathan even boasted about catching one (it did get caught on his hook, although Sean reeled it in). We went to church on Sunday morning, ate homemade lasagna that Grammy Dick made and then packed it up and headed home. It was a very relaxing and fun weekend. c

Sunday, December 2, 2012


The awesome scrunchy face - this is a classic!
He LOVES stuffed animals and things that are soft. He likes to wrestle with big stuffed animals, and then the next second he will be loving all over it. We've caught him a handful of times standing next to the chair where Megan's fur lined jacket is hung just rubbing the fur.
Austy if a big fan of Bruno. In fact a couple of his very first words had something to do with the dog. He likes to go out and explore Bruno's dog house. One of his favorite things to do is dump out all of the food from Bruno's bowl.
Sean caught him sleeping like this one night. He has been sleeping in our closet (I have a really big walk in closet) in his Pack N' Play pretty much since he was born. A few months ago I decided it was time to transfer him to the crib in Caelan's bedroom. He was NOT a fan! He never cries when it's bedtime, and there were several nights where he cried and cried and cried when I went to lay him down. One night I wasn't in the mood to let him keep crying, so after 20 minutes I went and got him. He immediately stopped crying. I took him straight upstairs to my closet. He looked at his pack n' play and made a little laugh/happy noise and then pretty much dived in. I left him in silence and he slept all night. I wasn't going to give in, except that after just a couple of weeks Caelan came out after she had gone to bed and told me to come see the crib. He had pushed out about 5 of the crib bars. So, we still have yet to wood glue them all together really good. Since then he has been back in the closet - which he doesn't seem to mind at all.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Party for Meg

Mega Moo is 6. Her birthday landed on Election Day. The good news is that schools had the day off. I didn’t realize this until about 5 days earlier. I thought maybe I would try and get a party together for her actual day (she really wanted a birthday party with friends this year). I asked around and everyone was available. So, we had 7 little girls over and had a fun party. The girls made wands, we played musical carpets (for Aladdin) and pin the lips on the frog (they put lipstick on with q-tips and kissed a paper) (for Princess and the Frog) and Hot Poison Apple (for Snow White – like Hot potato, but we used an apple). We had a little lunch: star shaped ham and cheese sandwiches or cream cheese and jam sandwiches, fruit skewers, corn chips, vegetables and raspberry lemondade. Megan opened presents and LOVED them all. Then we had cake and ice cream. Then the girls played with the news toys and just had fun together. A few of the girls stayed later and Megan had fun with them. When Dad got home she opened up her family presents: a new coat, Princess games, a new backpack, a little doll, etc. She chose hot dogs and corn for her dinner, so that’s what we had: fast and easy. I think she was pretty happy with her day. And an added bonus was that she lost her first tooth later that afternoon. She was pretty thrilled the next afternoon when she realized the Tooth Fairy had left her a silver dollar under her pillow (she didn’t check in the morning because she forgot to put her envelope under her pillow – she wanted to take it to school for show-and-tell before the Tooth Fairy took it).
Some fun things about Megan: She loves all things that are girly: ponies, barbies, princesses, fairies, etc. She loves to have her nails painted. She is a skirt wearing girl – we are going to have to invest in leggings of every color because she wants to wear a skirt almost every day. She dances every Saturday in practice for the Nutcracker, which she is performing in in December. She likes vegetables and most fruits and “smashed beans” (refried…and not whole beans very much), hot dogs and noodle soup. She’s not a big fan of potatoes and she’s not a big breakfast eater: she’ll choose toast most mornings (although she does like pancakes quite a bit). Megan is a great helper. She can get a room cleaned up in no time and she is always very pleased with herself afterwards. She loves to hug and hold and love on Austin – sometimes until he’s crazy. She loves to sing and learns words to songs pretty quickly. She is a very physical person – loves to sit on her teachers laps at church, loves to snuggle, loves to be close to people when she is sitting next to them. Her teacher at school says she is a good learner and even better classroom member: she is very kind and empathetic and inclusive to like a mother figure in her classroom. She has lots of fun energy and can still be stubborn when she decides to, but most of the time she is very easy going and easy to reason with. We just LOVE Megan – she brings a happy, bright, energetic spirit into our home.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy Halloween

Another great Halloween holiday. This year most of the celebrating occurred on the same day, which was kind of nice. We went to the elementary school Fall Festival the weekend before (always a fun time). Nathan dressed up for his preschool party the day before Halloween. Then on the actual holiday the kids dressed up for school. They have a costume parade and then class parties. I took the boys and went to watch the parade and then make our rounds to the parties. I took Nathan to Library Story Time that morning, where he dressed up. Then, that night we stopped by the Beehive Home (an assisted living home) and the kids went trick-or-treating from door to door. Then we headed over to our ward party. It seemed a little smaller this year, but the kids still came away with plenty of candy. Sean made his famous chili, which got gobbled right up. He put in ALL the peppers and spices....and it was spicy, but not kill-you-dead spicy. It is delicious. He always decks the trunk real good and then passes out the candy. On our way home we stopped by a couple of houses on our street. They were thrilled to have trick-or-treaters and the kids walked away with full size candy bars and handfuls of candy. A fun time for all. I pretty much let the kids have at their candy. I've decided I like this way better. They eat and eat and eat....and in a few days the whole loot is gone. Their happy....and I'm happy that it's out of the houses sooner than later.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

We've always wanted to go to the well-known McCalls Pumpkin Patch in Moriarty, but we haven't quite gotten there yet. This year Megan took a field trip with her class there, and then Nathan's preschool class went about a week later. Austin and I went along with Nathan. We took a hayride over to the pumpkin fields where we each picked a pumpkin to take home. Then we went to the petting zoo area: pigs, goats, bunnies, sheep, chickens, cows, etc. There was a fun underground slide that Nathan had fun going down. Then he spent lots of time over at the new fort playground. We explored the old western town and both boys enjoyed playing in the corn pit. Maybe next year will be the year that the whole family goes together....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Up, Up and Away

This year we decided to go to the Balloon Fiesta on a weekday morning. We got up early on Thursday morning and headed to the park. We got there just in time to get on the field, eat some breakfast burritos and start to watch the Special Shape balloons take off. There weren't as many balloons as the Mass Ascension Days, but there were a lot of fun shapes to look at. The kids wandered around collecting balloon cards. We dropped off Nathan at preschool on the way home (just as his bus was leaving for their field trip to the Air Museum) and then we got home in time for the kids to change and get to school by 10 AM (just a couple of hours late). It was a perfect morning - not too cold or windy. We were lucky we went when we did because that weekend the weather got pretty cold and wet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Going Bananas

Austin REALLY likes bananas. He'll go to whatever lengths are necessary to get to them.

Day at the Fair

I signed up with a friend of mine who organizes a home school group to get into the fair each year. When you go with the group you get in free. I decided to pull Caelan, Ben and Megan out of school for the day and we all spent a fun day at the fair. The day we went last year was super crowded, especially all the kids events, but this year was perfect.
We had a great time: *Climbing and exploring all sorts of military vehicles (it was Military Day) *Watching the Pig races *Getting a milk shake from the dairy *Watching the White Lion show *Climbing the rock wall (Ben was a little monkey and went up twice in flip flops, Caelan also made it to the top, even when it got kind of hard for her, and Megan made it about half way) *Seeing lots of goats and sheep and pigs and cows *Going into the petting zoo and feeding the animals *Exploring the kids section, "Old McDonalds Farm" *Having fun in the "Agventure Land": corn box, riding little tractors, making coffee filter painted flowers, saddling a fake horse, making your own scarecrow, etc. *All the kids got to ride one ride (Megan, Ben and Caelan all went on the ferris wheel and Nathan rode the motorcycles). *Checked out the craft winners (the kids loved the Lego displays and a couple of the wood carvers made the kids wood owls) *Ate cotton candy and freshly made donuts - good fair food. I honestly didn't think we would last so long (I thought for sure one or more kid would have a melt down at some point), but we were there until after 4 PM and we all left happy.