Friday, December 31, 2010

It's Just What I Always Wanted....kind of

This year there seemed to be a lot of funny gifts given at our various celebrations. Sure, most were normal, fabulous, well thought out gifts, (Kids with Santa gifts: Star Wars Legos, Care Bears to love, and a Zhu Zhu pet track)

but what fun would it be to go through those? I am here to share the truly awesome:

Our gift to Dad. It took Dad a little while, and some mistified looks before I explained what this was...any guesses?

This may have been a little self serving, to give your wife mistletoe, but the true kicker is that it suction cups to my head. Awesome.

Dad got another funny one. See if you can tell how the Chinese version differs slightly from our American one.

My Grandma Donna is know for her amazingly funny gifts (Eric wrote a whole song about them) and I just had to laugh when I saw this. It is ONE Child Identification Kit.
Eric and I are still discussing which child we like the most so we can use it on that one.

The piece-de-resistance.
In his defence, Ryan didn't know Jared was coming until about a week before Christmas, and when he did know Jared wouldn't respond to texts or emails about what he wanted, so Ryan improvised.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reason 2,568,997 I LOVE Disneyland, or Ariel Rocks!

Oh Disneyland, how do I love thee, let me count the one thousand, two one thousand....
One of the things that made this trip awesome was that it was the torrential rain and so nobody was in the park. We were able to walk on most rides and were able to go on everything that we wanted, lots of them more than once! We did have to plan ahead and buy rain gear before we got to Down Town Disney (or we would have spent twice as much) but for the most part we stayed nice and dry, just a little bulky.

This was such a fun trip to Disneyland because we tried so many new things. It was just our little family and my mom so we were able to do things for the kids and not worry that we were boring 7 other adults. We found some new gems that I hope we continue to do every time!
Just a note: They have "cast members" (employees) that have special pins on their jackets that show they are character experts. I learned that the Beast's real name is Adam. Go figure.

We ate lunch in the Golden Horse Shoe, which we had never done. The food was fried, but the entertainment they put on was very funny. The inside is beautifully done as a theatre, and we got prime seats in the balcony.
While the brave 3, Mom, Eric, and Ella, went on Splash Mountain.... (like we needed to have more water poured on us) Ethan, Livi and I explored the candy shop right at the exit. We tried their mini cupcakes and (take note Jes) they have the most amazing dipped marshmallows. I got the kind dipped in caramel, and then dipped in chocolate. Delicious.

While the big kids went with Eric on Matterhorn we took Livi to Toontown to meet "Mihee Mouse." She is just in love with Mickey Mouse so we thought it would be fun. Normally the line to meet him in his house takes FOREVER, but because no one was there we were able to walk through the house, meet Goofy and Minnie too, and then go right up and meet the big mouse himself. Livi was in heaven and still gets excited when she sees the pictures.

Also new for us, in Frontier land they had turned an area into Santa's Home. They had all 8 reindeer, and a keeper we could ask questions to. Santa had the cutest decorated little cottage and Ella waited in a short line to tell him what she wanted for Christmas. He was the best Santa I have ever seen in person.

But the thing that TRULY made this my favorite trip to Disneyland was going to see the princesses. We have never done this because the line is normally 2 hours long, but this time it was only an hour, so we braved it because Ella really wanted to meet them. It was finally our turn and she was so excited she ran over to Ariel, slipped on the wet stones, and fell hard on the ground. Ariel picked up her dress and RAN over to Ella, hugging her and soothing her, all in character. My favorite line was "I slip all the time while I have my human legs."
She spent 10 minutes just talking to Ella and making sure she was ok, the whole while keeping everyone in line waiting, just for my little girl. She wrote a long note to Ella in her autograph book, asked about what she wanted for Christmas and then they did a special princess handshake to promise to be best friends forever. I cried. It was so sweet that she would take so much notice and care to be sure that Ella had a good experience. Thank you Disney for employing such wonderful princesses.
I just included this picture because I like the look on Ethan's face. It's like he is expecting the horse to break and come crashing down at any minute!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Very Hobbit Christmas... or 4 Christmases

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, but we are finally back, and almost functioning at 50%. We've had a busy Christmas season with all sorts of fun (craziness), but for this post I am just mentioning the 4 celebrations we were able to take part of.
We started on the 12th with a dinner and present exchange with the Bagleys. We ate a ton, and it really started to feel like Christmas.

In California we able to spend time with both our families on Christmas morning (although since Jared wasn't up until 9:45 it was a good thing we did the actual morning at my parents and went to Stotts for mid-morning). All of my siblings were at their in-laws so we were the only ones with my parents. It was weird and shorter than usual, but we had a great time anyways and it was fun to have Grandma and Grandpa with us enjoyed the kids' enthusiasm. Around 10 we headed to Stotts and waited for Jared :) When we all ready we opened presents one by one for the first time and it was fun to see what everyone got. Joan and Alan were nice enough to get us a Wii (yes, I finally gave in) and everyone had a fun time playing with it, until the Laker game came on. We finally got home very early Tuesday morning (thanks east coast storm for delaying everything) so Tuesday evening we finally were able to open the gifts I had left here in Nebraska. All day Tuesday I heard lots of whining about "Can't we open our gifts yet?" "What time does Dad get home?" and my least favorite "Let me open just ooooonnnnneeee!" When the kids were finally able to open the long awaited gifts the dug in with so much enthusiasm there was paper all over the living room.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Lithe Livi

I've been meaning to post this video for a few days, but I had to swallow my pride first. Livi is adorable and funny while she dances, but she had just eaten and I had to take off her clothes, so she looks like a rag-a-muffin. Also I had been working on roman blinds for the kids rooms so all my sewing stuff if strewn about. If you can get past how messy my house was and how dirty Livi looked, then by all means, click and watch the video. If you can't, and you will be forced to judge me then don't click on it and next time you see us I'll act it out for you. Totally worth it not to be judged!
p.s. My favorite parts are when she runs over intermittently to get a snack of frosted flakes, and when when spanks her own bottom (thanks to Ethan for teaching her that move).

Monday, November 29, 2010

No Boys Allowed, or Christmas Tree Shopping

Eric and I are pretty good about agreeing before buying big purchases (except for life altering puppies). We discuss before any big ticket items are bought and we try hard to be frugal and only buy things that we "need." Occasionally though we disagree as to what we "need." Sometimes I "need" a new pair of brown knee high boots, and rather than disagree Eric gets a sage look on his face and says "ok, if you think you really need them then go ahead." Nothing stops me in my spending tracks faster than Eric agreeing but with the undertone of "if you buy it your children will starve." I've taken to buying any recklessly unnecessary purchases while he is at work so I don't have to meet his pitying gaze and kind words. I thought I had it all worked out, until I took the kids shopping to get a Christmas tree.

Eric was still at work, we needed a new artificial tree so I decided to do it after I picked the kids up from school. I thought the kids would be as excited as I was, and was really looking forward to it. I told them what our errand was and they talked the whole way to the store about how big a tree we were going to get.

Christmas trees have come a long way since we bought our first 2 foot, tiny, fake tree. They have beautiful life like branches, gently dusted with snow and pine cones,and lights pre-attached. I was drooling over them while the kids lobbied for the bright purple monstrosity. I had made up my mind. I was buying this perfect tree that I could love for years to come.

"It doesn't cost that much if you divide it up over 50 years!" I told myself in justification.

"I could love this tree FOREVER!"
I tried not to think of my husband patiently nodding his head and saying "if you really need it..." I picked up the giant box to put it in my cart when Ethan came over.

"What are you doing Mom?" he inquires innocently
"Getting our new tree." I gasp with excitement.
"Which one is it?" he replies thoughtfully.
"That one right there, the really pretty one." I answer, my face exuding joy.
Ethan looks at the display, then abruptly scowls at me and points to the price tag. Dang, I knew we should have kept him in the dark about money longer.

We got the cheap tree.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tartar Sauce may be over 100 years old, but our Tarter Sauce is 2!

Olivia's best friend, Carter (she calls him "Tarter") turned two on Wednesday. It is so fun to see the two of the growing up, but a little sad too. They are at my favorite stage where they are opinionated, mobile, talkative, funny and just plain sweet (and a little sour sometimes :) To celebrate Tarter Sauce's birthday we were invited to go with the Bagleys to go see "Tangled" and then to have dinner afterwards.
Before the movie, while we were waiting for it to start I let the kids get little prizes from the vending machine by the snack bar (WAY cheaper than letting them get a candy!) The girls all got rings, Ethan got some boyish necklace, but Caleb got the BEST item ever distributed by a 25 cent machine: a fake mustache! He looked very debonair.
Livi wanted to sit next to Carter, but when you have 7 kids and only 4 adults it makes finding seats next to everyone you want a little difficult. Melissa was so nice and let Livi sit on her lap, but then Carter wanted to sit on her lap too. They were so cute during the previews. One came on for the new "Cars" movie and they started screaming "CARS" "MATER" "AHHHHH." It's like they were playing off each other and kept getting louder and louder and louder!
Tangled is one of my new favorite movies. I literally laughed and cried (but I do that in almost every movie I watch). It was so much fun, and everyone in the family had a great time.
After the movie we headed over to McDonalds (in negative degree weather). The kids loved the food, the play place, and especially the chocolate cake. Livi dragged a chair over by her Tarter and spent the whole night eating and playing with him. What a fun night!
We spent Thanksgiving the next day with the Bagleys as well, but I forgot to take any pictures. It was still awesome even though I didn't document it.

72 degrees with 97% humidity

Livi had been sick so we bought a new humidifier. I put regular Livi down for her nap, but Goldilocks was there when she woke up. Grandpa Rulon eat your heart out!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ethan the Enforcer

I'm not sure what he was afraid of when he went to bed, but it had better watch out! (It's a toy bat that is wrapped up in the covers with him.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just Put It In The Food Storage....

Everyone told me to expect a TON of trick-or-treaters this year. We live up on the hill and people drive their kids up here just to go in this neighborhood. For the last 2 months I have bought a couple of candy bags every time I went to the store, just so I would have enough. People said to easily expect 200 kids. Well, we got 20 little groups. Thanks a lot everyone that expressed an opinion. I now have 15 bags of candy sitting in my basement (I ate WAY to many when they were upstairs). I don't know what to do for next year since there were a lot of people on the street we run off of but not our street, and I think not as many people came, with Halloween landing on a Sunday.
It was hard decision this year. Normally I LOVE trick-or-treating and it is a no brainer. It almost makes me cry when I take the kids around and people are so nice and willing to come together to make a great night for all the kids in town. We were not going to go, since Halloween was on the Sabbath, but after moving into our new home all our neighbors mentioned how happy they were to have kids on the street again. Everyone has been so warm and welcoming it felt like a snub not to take the kids around on Halloween night. I think it was the right thing to do. Our neighbors were so happy to see them, and one couple invited the kids in and gave them special treats and soda. It is really such a wonderful place to live, I feel so spoiled.
So here they are in all their costumed glory:
Our cranky and well cast Queen of Hearts:
Our sweet Alice, who didn't want to wear a costume that didn't have pink on it, but was a good sport:
Our gallant knight who insisted on a two sided tunic so that he would only have to wear the heart side to the ward party and could have the lion the other times he wore the costume:
And here is our overly excited kids about to start their trek around the neighborhood:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Livi's 2!!!!!

I cannot believe my little tiny baby is 2! The time has truly flown by (okay not the first 6 months, but everything after that has). Livi is one of the cutest 2 year olds I have ever met, she loves singing and dancing like her big sister Ella. She loves telling stories (even if we have no idea what they are about) like her big brother Ethan. She loves to read books, go on walks, watch Care Bears, and especially play with Tarter Sauce (Carter).(I love this picture. They insisted on sitting by each other during the birthday dinner of pizza.)

Her birthday was busy, but we tried hard to make sure she knew it was special and that we loved her. We started opening gifts in the morning, and I loved how much fun she had. She still loves taking off the wrapping paper, but unlike last year she gets excited about what is UNDER the paper. Late, after all the errands and school we had the Bagleys over for pizza with brownies and icecream for dessert (it's easier than cake for little fingers).
Here are some videos that show her amazingly cute reactions:
Video 1- opening her gifts from Ethan and Ella. It was backwards shirt day at school so Ella's shirt is like that on purpose, I promise (Ethan refused on principal).
Video 2- Gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Beesley
Video 3- Gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Stott
Video 4- Opening package in mail from Beesleys

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thanks A Lot Miss Nebraska, or Carving Pumpkins

On Monday we went to Longfellow, the kids school, to help the kids carve pumpkins. The zoo was recently privatized (made crappy) and they needed volunteers to carve pumpkins. One of the banks in town donated the pumpkins and some people from the community came to help the kids carve. WNCC our community college sent over some softball players, the bank let some of the personnel come, lots of parents helped out, and of course our native Scottbluffonian(?) Miss Nebraska. I didn't realize she was coming until she pulled up a seat at Ella's table to help some of her classmates. She is a wonderful woman, I thought she was very sweet and patient with the kids, but I was a little bummed out that all the pictures Ella's teacher took of us had both me and Miss Nebraska in them. Yeah for her. Booooooo for me. Like I need pictures with this tiny, skinny, blond bombshell in them. Miss Nebraska is the pretty blond in the background, fyi. It's just that easy to feel self-esteem bleed from your system!
Anyways, we had fun, the kids did a great job. Eric and I were both in the 2nd grade to help, and we were so busy trying to convince the boys they didn't need the "extremely hard" stencils of mummies and flames that we weren't really paying attention to what Livi was doing.
We went the next night to look for the pumpkins they had carved. Ella put a giant "E" on the back of hers so we could find it (plus it was the only one I saw with eyelashes!)and Ethan carved a question mark on the top of his. Ella's was right at the beginning of the zoo and super easy to spot, but we never found Ethan's. I can only guess that it was tipped over, or the light was shorted where it was. I like to think it was in the throng of pumpkins below: Poor guy, but at least we got a picture before we sent it!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Waiter, there is a frog in my water...

I went to take a drink out of my water bottle the other day and stopped right before a giant swig. Something had caught my eye. It was a little pink toy frog that Ethan had gotten from somewhere. Livi thought he needed to go for a swim. Either that or she is a budding biologist and new that he would never survive without wetting his skin. One of the two.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why Is October Always So Crazy?-UPDATED

It has been a very interesting week. I've been run ragged with all the different activities, deadlines, baking, costume making, birthdays, and parties that have gone on this week that it is actually a relief to sit down for once and just type for my blog. Sorry to everyone who called me this week, not only am I still recovering my normal voice from being sick, but my mind has been elsewhere as the stress has mounted.
I will go into these more for anyone interested, but I want to review the week before my brain wipes it from my memory as a self defense mechanism.

Sunday: Played 3 hours of piano at church and found feud with program lady has escalated.
Worked on costumes

Monday: Helped kids carve pumpkins at school for zoo spook-tacular from 8:15-11:00, luckily Eric took an early lunch to help out.

Went grocery shopping
Worked on costumes
Had family home evening where we carved our own pumpkins.

Worked on costumes.

Tuesday: Went to Ella's class to read a couple of books while her teacher did testing
Worked on costumes.
Went to zoo spook-tacular to find the kids' pumpkins (Ella's had giant "E" on back so we could find it)

Wednesday: Made a QUADRUPLE batch of sugar cookie dough.
Worked on costumes.
Baked half the sugar cookie dough batch (roughly 50 cookies)
Worked on costumes.
Wrapped presents.

Thursday: OPENED PRESENTS - Livi's 2!!!!
Went to Ethan's class to help kids who didn't finish writing assignment at their home.
Went to mini plays put on for Ethan's class by high school kids.
Went to do visiting teaching (which time was changed as I was pulling up).
Baked rest of sugar cookie dough.
Took Ella to ballet.
Baked brownies for Livi's cake.
Ordered pizza.
Had Bagley's over to celebrate Livi's b-day.

Iced 91 cookies.

Friday: Got stuff ready for both kid's parties.
Took Livi to 2 year check up, got 2 shots and finger stick for blood test.
Dropped off Eric's forgotten lunch.
Tried to finish my costume.
Went to kids' parade and parties at school.

Worked on Eric's costume.
Went to ward party.

Cleaned up all the sewing crap all over my house.
Sat on couch and refused to move.

My Octobers always seem to be like this. The rest of the month wasn't a cake walk either. I always feel more stress in October than even December. Maybe it's because I have all month to worry and plan, were as in December you get the last week to only worry about how you are going to pay for everything you did the 3 weeks before. I'll do longer posts on the major activities, but right now I am going to bed and letting my mind just rest.
p.s. OUR WINDOWS CAME IN!!!! Hopefully we can start getting some real work done on our house!

UPDATE: To clarify, the feud is new, and not really a big deal, but funny. I did start the costumes in September, but remember I did 5 costumes by hand. Livi's had hand beading and a pleated bodice. Ethan's and Livi's I had to adapt the patterns quite a bit and they involved appliques and Ethan's is reversible. Ella's didn't even have a pattern, so I had to make a mock up in muslin. I didn't procrastinate, I just had a full plate. Sorry. Oh and I did all the carving for our family because it went really late and kids had to go to bed. They picked out stencils and helped outline, but I did the actual carving while Eric put the kids down. FYI