Friday, May 28, 2010

You're Never Fully Dressed - Dress Rehearsal

After a wonderful year of driving every Thursday night to ballet, only to drive back 40 minutes later to pick her up, Ella's ready to have her performance this Saturday night. Ella is lucky, her teacher, Miss Tiffany, is a former Rockette who happens to be from the area and has returned to teach here. She is a stickler for technique so Ella knows all the ballet positions and they have strict hair and outfit requirements. This is going to be an amazing performance if the dress rehearsal is any indicator. The routines are cute, and even though this is not a high costume year Ella still got an amazingly cute (and well made) pink tutu-y outfit. We aren't allowed to tape that night since they are having a professional videographer come and charge us exorbitant amounts to buy it on DVD. Luckily they allowed us to tape dress rehearsal so I present for your viewing pleasure Ella in "You're Never Fully Dressed." (She is the one that is the leader)

Ella came home upset, saying she never wanted to take dance again. I couldn't understand what was going on until I watched the video. She was SOOOOOO embarrassed that she went the wrong way at the very end and was corrected. Eric and I are very excited for when she is 15 and in full diva mode! If you want to see the video bigger you can go to:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Golf Ball Sized Hail Keeps Falling On My Head...

We seem to have made the news lately. We had tornado warnings, had to hide in the basement, and was a little scared with all the wind and hail (of course Livi slept through it all!) Lots of people here had MAJOR damage done to their cars and houses. We are lucky to have had zero damage, although it did hurt a little when I had to run out and move the car to the garage before the windshield shattered. The above hail had melted a little on the trip in the house, but considering I have man hands they still look pretty impressive.

Pomp and Nanny Goats

Preschool is over. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I am so proud of Ella, I love watching how she grows and learns. I have loved Ready Steps and all the amazing things Mrs. Hessler has done for the kids. I have loved spending a few minutes with the other moms and Mrs. Hessler, and connecting to other women, even if just briefly. Not only is this the end of that era, but Mrs. Hessler will be retiring after next year so Olivia will not be able to have this wonderful experience too.Last Friday we had graduation. The kids put on a mini opera of "The Three Nanny Goats Gruff" and Ella even got to be one of the nanny goats! (Some of the girls really wanted two of the parts, 'Fanny Goat" and "Big Bertha Lee." I guarantee it is the only time girls fight over being called "Fanny" and "Big Bertha.") I was able to play the piano for the songs, which means I had the opportunity to watch the play a few times, and see the kids grow in their parts. There was a lot of effort on Mrs. Hesslers part to make this a great graduation, and it really was. I am so grateful to have had her in our lives!
Luckily, two of the girls that were with Ella are also members of our ward, and we will get to keep seeing them throughout the year. Here are Ella, Leah, and of course, Maddi (amazingly enough Ella is the youngest in her whole preschool class). This was our favorite song, which as Melissa pointed out was particularly poignant. The second video is Ella's speaking part, which you cant hear, but she said it perfectly!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ella Turns 5, Oh my!

My Bella turned 5, I can hardly believe it. It's too bad we couldn't have painted pottery and watched animated movies for her birthday and my mom had already gone home, but we still tried to have fun. We started by opening gifts in the morning. Grandma Joan and Grandpa Alan gave her a Ken doll so her Barbies wouldn't be so lonely. Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Rulon gave her a talking Dora doll that plugs into the computer and you can change her eyes, jewelry etc. Thank goodness I got a new computer so she can play with the doll. Our old duct tape model couldn't handle it! :) We had hot chocolate in her toy tea set for breakfast. Ella got to pick out the color (pink) of her cake, and the decorations. Luckily the Bagleys could stand to come over twice in one week and we got to spend a little more time with them over dinner and cake. Thank goodness for good friends who are there to help your kids feel special and celebrated. Happy Birthday Ella Bella, we love you!

Let Us Never Talk Of It Again

I may not be happy about it, I may have tried to ignore it, but somehow I turned 30 anyways. I don't want to dwell on it too much, since I am still recovering, emotionally, but here are a few highlights:
The kids helped me open presents. My mom and I went shopping a few days before and I was able to pick out a great purse (that Olivia commandeered and carted around all day filled with her "treasures" including treats that she expected my mother to hand feed her) and books that I had wanted. I am kind of a hard person to surprise since I clean the house and pay the bills, but Eric managed to surprise me with a new computer. For some reason he thought I might need a new laptop to write my important posts on. Yes that is our old (1 1/2 years old, not joking) computer. Yes, it is held together with two different types of duct tape.
I really wanted to get out of the house to either go bowling or to paint pottery, so I took a vote and everyone except Ella wanted to go bowling. Ella pitched a major fit and sulked the whole was to the bowling alley. We got there, and it was closed. On a Saturday afternoon it was closed. So we got to paint at Create Away instead with Ella beaming the whole time and me saying things like "this isn't because you were upset, the bowling alley was closed" as she rolled her eyes (Thanks bowling alley people for being closed and for setting a dangerous precedent for our kids). We watched How to Train Your Dragon and grabbed Sonic for dinner. To quote Ella "This was Mom's best birthday EVER!"
We ended the evening by having the Bagleys over for cake (since it wouldn't feel right without them there) and got to talk and eat yummy strawberry shortcake. I even got help blowing out my candle (only one, because I wouldn't let Eric put more on). It was a great birthday even if I'm still in denial that I somehow got to be this old.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Disneyland Take 5,461

Back to our regularly scheduled program, or at least catching up on our trip memories. We may go to Disneyland a lot, but every time we go it is magic. We make new memories, laugh at old ones, and somehow manage to notice something new every time. Here are our highlights:
Livi's rash was mostly gone, but she was still feeling pretty tired and out of sorts (Ahhhhhh, the reaction at the beach makes more sense now...) She had fun but slept a lot more than normal. She also wanted to be held all day long, which was killer on my back, but she's not a real cuddler so I'll take it. Ethan and Ella both got to drive cars on Autopia with very brave Grandma and Grandpa. Why is this next picture so important? Did you notice how skinny my face looks? Enough said.
Ebby getting dipped on Roger Rabbit. The new thing I noticed? Doesn't this look like a scene from Nebraska in "It's a Small World"? Nebraska rocks! (yes, I may have used flash photography, which normally I abhor on these rides, but it's Nebraska, at Disneyland)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Joys (problems) of Having Two Girls

So we seem to have a problem. The girls are 3 1/2 years apart and thought that would be plenty when it came to wanting each others toys (and in the future, boyfriends). Turns out that is not the case. Livi has REALLY gotten into baby dolls, and Ella doesn't really want to share with her. We have several dolls, but this is a Corolle doll that is the perfect size and squishy enough that Livi loves to carry it around under her arm. While my mom was here it escalated to new heights with Ella asking my mother to "babysit" her doll so Livi couldn't play with it. My mother did what any grandmother would do (okay maybe not, but it totally rocked). She went online and ordered Livi her own. We got the doll today and the girls were so exstatic. I had to tell Ella they were Livi's clothes/accessories because she kept trying to take them all and leave none for Olivia. We decided that Livi could "share" her new things, and that way both girls could play. Here are some videos of the blessed event:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Most of the kids liked the beach. Most of them.

We weren't sure we were going to make it to the beach, but after shopping we decided to just take a "quick" drive over to the beach. It may have taken 40 minutes from our hotel (we thought maybe 15) but it was totally worth it. The kids loved it. Well... most of them did. I will explain with photos, since they are supposed to be worth, like, 100 words or something. :) When we first got there everyone was happy. Then Ebby started squinting because he has photosynthesis, or photo-whatever like Andrew (okay, it's photo-phobia and it is real). Then I took Livi down to the water and dangled her legs in the water. BIG MISTAKE. Livi hated it.
"Livi, do you like the water." Livi opens mouth wide and cries. After that she didn't even want to sit on the sand. Finally she started playing in the sand again, but wouldn't let anything but her feet touch it (notice the squat rather than sit). The sun went down and we started to get cold, so we headed back to the hotel and warm baths. Ahhh, baths... I think I hear one calling now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Livi Pushing Ebby (no, not that way. In a stroller)

It isn't a typical trip to Disneyland if we don't spend the night before eating (and maybe a little shopping) at Down Town Disney. We have to hit Kitsun, the cutest kids store in the world were you "can" spend $60 on a babies onesie (I put can in quotes because I can't, but some of you *cough* could if you really wanted to). The kids run to the Lego store, and really I find new amazing things in there every time I go. We ate at Le Brea, yummiest grilled cheese ever, and we may have stopped at the Hagen Daz ice cream store, unless my Dad or Eric are reading this and then we didn't, we ate apples.
Ella loved shopping, but her eyes were "sensitive" (thanks Uncle Andrew for putting that in her head) so she needed (wanted) to wear my sunglasses around the shops. Yes, my 4 year old was walking around wearing Coach sunglasses. If we didn't blend in with the So-Cal crowd then, we never will.
The third best thing (behind shopping and eating) was pushing Ebby in the stroller. I kid you not. The kids fought over who got to push him around. I don't think Joy had to touch the handles at all. Even Livi got in on the act.

Baby Kisses are Wonderful, but Wet

The kids only have one cousin. Yep, only one. Ebby was the light of their existence when we were in California. Livi loved having a perma-friend and was so excited to hug Ebby and pull on him every chance she got. I love how Ebby looks so boyish and Livi looks so feminine, even though they are so little. Ethan was so sweet and loved to play and run around with him. I think he liked having another boy around. Yes, this is Ebby, Livi and Ella in a dog bed. I don't even know what to say about this. This picture is for Andrew as an homage to the iconic picture of him holding James. As for the title, it has nothing to do with the pictures, it is just a statement of fact.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Going (and staying) Crazy on the 405, or Julia and McKay Get Married

It feels a little overwhelming to be back from California with so many fun stories and hundreds of photos. We've had 2 birthdays, a trip to Disneyland, a trip to the beach, time with Grandmas, and of course, a wedding. I guess all I can do is bite the bullet and give my own scewed take on our vacations.
Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start: Wedding!!!! We were able to leave on Friday, since Nebraska employees get Arbor Day off. We noticed more policemen out on the roads on the way to Denver and were confused until we realized that it was Arbor Day, and as everyone knows, Arbor Day is a big party/fireworks/drunk driving day.
I realized in Cheyenne I had left my recommend at home, and then had a panic attack when we couldn't find Livi's blankie (it was behind her car seat where she had chucked it in a fit). We made it to California after a very bumpy plane ride, with a very unhappy, uncomfortable baby (remember the rash/illness). It took forever to get our rental car, we jumped on the 405 and proceeded to take 5 hours to get home. The trip normally takes about an hour and a half. Needless to say (but I will anyways) the kids were practically hysterical by the time we got to the Stott's house. Livi was literally rocking and wail-moaning in her car seat.
Julia and McKay got married the day after we got there. We left Livi with the Stotts (we didn't think she could take the car trip so soon after the traumatic trip the day before. (As it was she cried everytime we put her in a car seat for the rest of the trip). We headed down to the temple, trying to get there early so I could get in to see my baby sister get married. I hurried out of the car and rushed to the temple entrance only to see my entire family on the lawn talking on cell phones. Seems Julia got a little lost on her way to get married.
Eventually they were married in a beautiful, short and sweet ceremony and we were able to celebrate the rest of the day. There were only a few other mishaps, but all in all it was a great day and I am so glad I got to be there. Aunt Diane took the wedding photos (which I am totally jealous about) so hopefully there will be a photo of me in my "wonderful" 1980's prom/bridesmaid dress. My photos aren't the best, but they do give you an idea of our day.
The kids favorite part was playing with Ebby while they waited outside the temple. Okay, Ella's favorite part was having Aunt Diane take hundreds of photos of her posing in various places on the grounds, but playing with Ebby was a close second. Livi eventually made it to the reception, but only stayed long enough to dump food on my dress. Luckily inbetween throwing food on my hand-made masterpiece we were able to get a few pictures of her.
My brothers and their wives waiting for the restaurant to find our reservation. Speaking of the restaurant, Ethan and Ella thought feeding Ebby was the best entertainment they had ever seen. Seriously. They fed and fed and fed that poor little guy. He probably thought they were trying to torture him, except he kept opening his mouth, so I think they are in the clear with Aunt Joy.I have to post this just because it is SOOOO James. (That's my dad, and James' wife Jes in the picture too)