Saturday, December 30, 2006

A great Christmas.

Every year at this time I try to think about how to make next Christmas less busy, but I think I have finally realized that all that busy is what makes it so fun. I love the process of making gifts, buying gifts and doing things for others so much, that the actual day of opening gifts almost seems anticlimactic.

Here some of what I enjoyed this Christmas:

Having my Mom here to completely spoil us with great cooking and buying tons of groceries. The night before she came I was so sick I couldn’t cook and we all ate cereal for dinner. I told the girls that Grandma would be here soon and that she would cook them real food. She cooked tons and we ate tons. I think we ate more food and treats last week then one should eat in a year.

Having Eric home for the three days before Christmas. It was so fun to have him home for the whole holiday and not to be traveling.

Taking the kids to houses on Christmas Eve to “ding, dong ditch” as Haley called it. I had several gifts (from last year’s 75% off Target sale) that we delivered to families that we thought would appreciate a little extra something this year. It was fun to watch the girls get into it.

Watching the kids put out the reindeer food on Christmas Eve. They were very serious about how and where to put it on the grass. Lucy brought home this little bag from Preschool that says:

Sprinkle on the lawn at night
the moon will make it sparkle bright
Santa's reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home!

The bag had oatmeal, green glitter and red sugar sprinkles. The girls had so much fun with the idea that we all forgot to leave milk and cookies for Santa.

Watching the girls open their gifts Christmas morning. Eric made and painted a indo board (balance board that you "surf" over a pipe) for Haley. She loves it, but I am expecting a broken arm or leg soon.

Actually getting to see TWO movies in the THEATER with my husband. I can’t remember the last movie that Eric and I went to together. We have Netflix so we never go out to movies. Since my Mom was here she put the kids to bed and sent us out to the movies. We saw the pursuit of Happyness and The Holiday- both very good movies.

And last but not least, significantly increasing the livable space of our home by removing the Christmas tree and all Christmas clutter. Priceless.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The day in LA

We (Mom, husband and 3 kids and myself) spent the entire day on the freeway, or at least it felt like it. We went out to Downey to drop off a gift to a lady that my Mom has been friends with since High School; she was not home- big bummer. Then we drove to Lynwood (the town between Compton and Watts) to go visit with Bernice.

Bernice cleaned our home for over 20 years and was part of our family. She used to always tell me stories about faith and prayer and would sing while she cleaned. One day she could not make it out to our house because a lady in her church fell on her when she was saying hallelujah- got to love a church like that. I was so excited for her to meet my girls and my girls to meet her.

Then we headed to downtown LA to the fashion district. We shopped on Santee alley and then the fabric district.
Yes, there is a fabric district. The 1st time I went there I was so excited I almost stopped breathing. This was my 3rd time there so I could at least pretend that I have self control.

For dinner we drove out to La Brea and Fairfax to the best place to get Italian food in LA, Andre's. It’s a little hole in the wall that we used to eat at when I was a kid and it was in the middle of nowhere…now its right across the street from The Grove (The coolest new Huge outdoor shopping center). Such a long day, I slept in the car the whole way home.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A little traumatized
Last night was out Relief Society Christmas Dinner. I did not want to go. I have come down with the sickness that has plagued everyone I know. On top of feeling lousy, my Mom’s flight was coming in at the same time as the dinner- a perfect out. For some reason I really felt like I should go to the dinner, so I did. I arrived at the dinner, set my purse down next to my good friend and then walked out into the hall to talk to someone. Almost immediately my friend that I set my purse next to grabbed my arm hard and pulled me out into the hall. As soon as I saw her eyes I knew what was wrong. This dear friend, my age and with 3 children also, has a brain tumor. They tried unsuccessfully to remove it last year. I took her into the Relief Society closet (a large closet with carpet on the floor). I then held her as she went through a terrible seizure. I felt unbelievably calm, like I knew what to do. I had the Missionaries come give her a blessing and called her husband. I have never seen a seizure before. I had no idea how terrible and scary they are. After it was over her husband arrived and took her home. I quietly sat through the RS program feeling completely disconnected from it and traumatized but I absolutely knew why I needed to be there last night. I am so thankful that I listened to the prompting to go and I am thankful for the comfort that I felt during. I am so thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A crazy day...but I am tickled pink!

Today was so busy. Both Ruby and Lucy had friends come over to play. It was freezing outside so I pulled the slide(another Eric invention) out of the garage and let the kids play.

There was no crying or bleeding so I figured all was well and did laundry and bills. Oh how capable children are when working together. I had told Lucy she could play with her make up if she stayed in the bathroom.

I did not realize there was glitter in the handle of the blush brush. Glitter was all over the bathroom and on all the girls. Every toy, and clothing item upstairs was out, it looked like a disaster. This mess combined with the stress of just having gone through the bills, I was not having a good day. After dinner I went out to get the mail (my 1st time leaving the house) and found several Christmas cards and my Pink Christmas gift! I can't believe how excited I am. Who cares that my house is thrashed and we're poor- life is good! If you don't know about the pink Christmas gift exchange click here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Parties, Parties, Parties...Food, Food, Food...Candy, Candy, Candy

Ward Christmas Party

At our Ward Christmas party unfortunately Santa could not make it, but he called our own Grandpa John to sit in for him. He was a wonderful Santa and my girls had no idea that Santa was their grandpa! Thank you Santa John! (Fyi-I can't crop photos E stripped all the excess programs off when our computer crashed)

Hawley & John's house

We went to Hawley and John's (aka Santa) Christmas party and had a great time. The food was great, all the cousins played really well and decorated the tree. The adults had the much anticipated gift exchange! Eric and I learned a whole new way to play/steal and get what you want-Shonda and Wayne are professionals at this game.

Here is a photo of Hawley and John with some of the grandkids, the older ones did not want to be in the photo.

April & Derik's house

Saturday we went to a Christmas party at April's home in Laguna Beach. April is Eric's step Sister and the one responsible for setting Eric and I up on a blind date 13 years ago.

When we got there all the kids went down to the garage to decorate the little gingerwood houses that Eric made. I think most of the kids ended up eating more candy then they put in there houses, but they had a great time.

The kids had a gift exchange and Lucy ended up getting a purse full of make up. She could not have gotten something that she would have loved more.

It was so fun to see her beautiful home. It is decorated in a cool beach-Christmas way. She has a large starfish as the star on the top of their tree- so cool!

The adults also had a gift exchange. I have never seen such a serious white elephant exchange. People were very...passionate about it, I'll just leave it at that.

April had taken photos all through the night and had posted them on a ribbon board for everyone to take photos home with them. Such a great idea.

We have a blast and I think my kids have now officially eaten enough candy that we will be paying for Dr. Wacker (our Dentist) to buy his own house in Laguna Beach!

I am so thankful that we finally live close to family and are able to see them often. I know my kids love having so many cousins close by.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Santa's workshop

We have been busy with all the splendid chaos that is Christmas. There has been non-stop cooking, sewing and woodworking. I have been embroidering 50 hot pads for our Relief Society gifts. I have been wrapping up all the teacher gifts, white elephant gifts and helping Santa with his gift wrapping.

Eric made 15 little gingerwood houses for the kids to decorate at a Christmas party next week. He stained and poliurithaned them, so they can be used again next year. I got this great idea from my friend Kristi. This way when the kids put on the 15 lbs of frosting and candy they do not collapse- brilliant! Thank you Kristi!

I made 60 heart gingerbread cookie ornaments (the kind that smell really good but you cannot eat) for my Relief Society lesson “Of one heart and Mind” next Sunday.

Today we are delivering some of our traditional friend/neighbor gifts- caramel corn Christmas trees decorated with M&M ornaments and a star tag on top. I made these the 1st year we moved here and everyone loved them so much we decided to make it a tradition. I do large trees for big families and and small trees for some of the single ladies and couples without kids. I ate way more of the carmel corn then I should have-I will be making another batch of these trees next week.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Traditions

My friend Kristi has compiled a great list of lots of holiday traditions. She asked me for ours around Halloween and I could not think of anything Christmas at the time. Now that our house has been enveloped by Christmas, I realize all the Christmas traditions we have.

Here are a few:

Every year (since Haley was born) we put a photo of our family on the tree. I usually use the photo we sent with our Christmas cards. My girls love lining up the frames on the table to see how our family has changed. This year we have 8 photos to hang (one I need to fix and I didn’t want to show this years photo) so we put several toward the back so it doesn’t start to look like a shrine.

Nativities are big at our house. I have the plastic one they can play with, but I also buy porcelain ones cheep after Christmas. They love to play with all of them but they think they are getting away with something when they play with the breakable ones.

This is the 3rd year that we have painted pine cones like Christmas trees. Eric’s Dad collects pine cones at the golf course and puts a wood block on the bottom for us. Then the girls use glitter and paint to decorate them. I write the child’s name and year on the bottom of the wood block.

Christmas Eve we have friends over and serve potato bacon soup and tons of desserts. The girls get to open one gift early and it is always matching pajamas. That night when Santa comes to our house he always leaves everyone’s stuffed stocking on the foot of their bed. If you wake up early you can go through your stocking, but you cannot go downstairs until everyone is awake. Growing up Eric always had a new toothbrush and an orange in his stocking. I always had lifesaver book, lip-gloss and jewelry in mine. Santa makes sure all those items are in the girls stockings.

When I was a kid my Dad would have all the Christmas decorations put away by the end of Christmas day. He did this because we often went to Hawaii the day after Christmas until the day after New Years and they did not want to have to clean it up after the vacation. Unfortunately this rubbed off on me. As soon as Christmas is over, I want it al cleaned up but I usually wait until the next day.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Last year after Christmas, our Target had a huge toy clearance and lots of toys were 75% off. I bought TONS of toys and stashed them in the garage for future use. One of the things I bought was a Playmobil Santa's house (like a Christmas doll house) I paid $3.74 for it.
Yesterday I told the kids a little impromptu poem about how much we love them and how much we love Christmas and cant wait to give them gifts. So I told them if they could figure out the riddle they could have one gift early. The riddle was "when you go up, the gift is down". It took them a long time, but they finally figured out it was in the closet under the stairs. I can't belive how cool this little house is, it has tons of accessories and I can't believe I paid less then $4 for it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Today was SEW cool!

I started giving both my girls sewing lessons about a year ago when I got my new machine. This machine lets you adjust the stitch speed so I figured it was a good time to teach them. The funny thing is my 8 year old gets really frustrated while sewing but still wants to do it. My 5 year old (Ruby) sews like she has been doing it all her life. My machine has lot of buttons and does lots of tricks and Ruby knows how to use them like a pro. A few weeks ago Ruby was complaining that Haley takes Piano lessons so she wanted to take sewing lessons from a real teacher, not her Mom. I thought that was a great idea, but after calling everywhere that teaches sewing lessons to children I realized that there was no place that would teach a 5 year old. I tried to explain that she is a really good at it, but everywhere said she had to be at least 8.

So I called a lady in our church that is great with kids and a great sewer and begged her to teach Ruby. She said she would LOVE to do it. Ruby has been in heaven with these lessons. She tells everyone she meets that she is taking sewing lessons. She has sewing home work and can’t wait until her next lesson. Well today was the best day, she finished her first project with Ms. Laurie... a pink floral skirt!

I think you can tell from the photos how proud she is.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Baby Jesus
So Christmas decorations are up and the tree is decorated. Lucy and Ruby love taking all the Jesus dolls out of the nativities and playing with them. After watching them play with these little dolls all day long, I had an idea. I decided to make them their own Jesus baby dolls. After the girls went to bed I pulled out stuff I already had, tea died some muslin and got sewing. I had their new babies in their beds when they woke up. What a hit. To say they LOVE there new dolls is an understatement.

Thanksgiving Day

What a fun Thanksgiving! We went to Ken and Natalie’s house (Eric's Dad and Step Mom) and had a feast all prepared by Natalie and it was all ready on time. The sad thing was everyone was late to the dinner. One of Eric’s brothers even got a ticket trying to get there on time. It was so fun to have Eric and his 3 brothers (and their 14 kids) all together for Thanksgiving. After dinner the sofa turned into a big dog pile of people.

The little girls loved playing dress up and put on a play of Little Red Riding Hood for everyone. We all had a great time.

A Perfect Pilgrim
I have already switched over to Christmas but I need to back up and write a little about Thanksgiving.
The day before Ruby’s Thanksgiving feast her teacher told everyone that she would randomly select who would be Native Americans and who would be Pilgrims. Ruby came home stressed. She wanted to be a pilgrim so bad she even asked Heavenly Father in her prayer that night to make her be a Pilgrim. The next morning Ruby decided that if she looked like a pilgrim, the teacher had to make her one. So she wore a white skirt, her apron and asked me to put her hair in a bun. When I dropped off the food for the feast the teacher said to me “So it looks like Ruby REALLY wants to be a Pilgrim- I’ll make sure that happens”. Ruby was in Heaven. She was so excited she got to wear the “bonnet” as she called it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dead Rats in Butter!

This is my favorite Thanksgiving dish.
It is basically potatoes cut super thin with the skins left on, a pound of butter then chives and kosher salt on top. Bake it at 400 for an hour. My Mom has made this every year for as long as I can remember. Why do we call it Dead rats in butter? About 15 years ago at a Thanksgiving dinner my Uncle Fred asked my Mom how she got potatoes to taste so good. My Father said “You put this much butter on dead rats and they will taste good”. I just made this for a recipe exchange and when my girls heard what I was making, Haley and Ruby both said “Oh I love dead rats”.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My many talents...
For months when we would get in the car in the morning Lucy would ask me "Why do you have a mouth on your forehead Mom?” I used to try to explain reflections, but one day I just started talking funny and moving my lips like crazy. Now every morning she askes me to talk out of my forehead and every time she cracks up. I never knewI had so many talents.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Black Friday is coming…
are you ready?

I love to shop the big sales the day after Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day I used to sit and study the ads (with my friend Jacki O.) and make lists. Then Jackie and I with cell phones in hand would sneak out of the house at 5am to get to work. I have not been able to shop with Jackie since we left New Orleans, but I still love the early morning rush of a good deal.
Now you do not need to wait for the ads to come out. You can view them all here. They have all 206 of Target's sale items listed with prices and Toys-R-Us they have the actual scan of the ad. If there is a store with a Black Friday Sale- it will be listed here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lulu's turn with Dr. Wacker!

Haley’s 1st trip to the Dentist was all tears and freaking out, and they only counted her teeth. Ruby’s 1st trip to the Dentist she was nervous, but went in the chair after Haley. No Tears. Today was Lucy’s 1st visit to the Dentist-Dr. Wacker the Great! She kept telling me she didn’t want to go, she just wanted the treat bag her older sisters got last week when they went. Once we walked in the very cool fish themed office. Lucy was scared speechless and motionless- that’s a 1st. I filled out a sheet when we got there that asked all about her. One of the questions was her favorite hobby- I was honest and wrote lipstick. I know, not a hobby but to Lucy it is.

She did everything they asked her to do but never spoke. She even had x-rays and a real cleaning. When she was done with her check up the Dental Assistant said she was so good she had a special gift for her and handed her a vanilla flavored Chap stick with the clinic logo on it along with her goodie bag(bouncy ball, stickers, floss, toothbrush). Lucy was in Heaven and obviously can’t wait to go back.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Famly Home Evening
Last night was Family Home Evening. Even Eric made it home in time to participate. Ruby taught the lesson. It was the 1st time she has willingly taught a lesson that is not about being kind to animals. She taught (with help) about how we can follow the Savior by making good choices.

Haley was in charge of the treat and the treat for Family Home Evening is a big deal. She always puts a lot of thought into her treats. She loves to go through my cookbooks and choose what she wants us to make. One time she found this chocolate lace bowl that she wanted to make to serve ice cream in. It looked way too hard and messy, but we tried it anyway. It was so easy and the girls loved it. You line muffin tins with tinfoil then melt chocolate and put it in a thick (freezer) zip lock bag. Cut a Small tip off one of the corners and just squeeze out a swirl design inside the cups. Then we put them in the fridge and the chocolate cups came right off the foil and looked so cool with chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce & whipped cream-just like she wanted them.
Last night she wanted to make cupcakes in ice cream cones with flowers. So as is the norm, I had 3 girls on the counters and a dog on the floor during this process(That how you get 4 bodies into a 1 body kitchen). We all had a great time making them and eating them too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Today is Eric's Birthday so I thought I would write some of the reasons why I think he is the greatest!
Eric is hilarious. But sometimes I am the only one that thinks so. His humor is so dry and usually a little inappropriate- I love it!
Eric is the best gift giver. He puts a lot of time, research and thought into the gifts he gives and gives them in the most creative way.
He is an incredible Dad. He works long hours, especially this year as Chief (he is working all day today-on his Birthday!) and has a time consuming calling so he makes sure that when he is home the girls (me included) know how much he loves us. Eric takes one of our girls on a special date with him every Thursday night. They love this time with him and look forward to their date each month. Even when he has been super busy and really doesn’t have time to go- he always does. He schedules a vacation day so he can go on the girl's school field trips. He never comes home grumpy or acting tired, he walks in the door acting like he missed us and couldn’t wait to see us again. Last night the girls and I made Eric a cake for his birthday. He says that he loves wedding cake (translation white cake and white frosting) but we thought it would be funny to make a real wedding cake.

I really admire his self discipline, ability to focus, set goals and complete them. He never quits or gives up. Such a good example for me.

I love the fact that he wears bow ties, and only wears a strait tie to church for Halloween. He loves bow ties and thinks he needs more…I won't tell you how many he has.
He not only tolerates the creative chaos I create in our home, but often helps me when I am in over my head. In several ways he is more creative then I. He has taught me to pay more attention to details and do things the right way.
He is so supportive and appreciates me and anything I do.
I know that he is one of the greatest blessings of my life.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New discovery

As we were leaving to go to school Lucy forgot her backpack. She hopped out of the car to go get it. After several minutes I realized that Lucy was just standing behind the van. I got out and told her to hustle so we wouldn't be late. She just stood there I asked her what was wrong and she said "Look how tall I am". I then realized that she was looking at her shadow and how "tall" she was. I carry a little camera in my purse was so glad that I could capture her discovery.

Priceless artwork

This is a poster titled “Jorja” is by an artist named Christine Rosamond. When I was 16, I purchased an original AP (Artist’s proof) serigraph from Christine Rosamond's gallery in Carmel. She was impressed that I was so young and buying her art work (I was making good money at the time) she signed this poster and gave it to me. It hangs right above the table where we eat and spend tons of time.
The other night while we were eating dinner Eric casually said "You know, I wouldn't mind if you sold that picture on Ebay". I have been known to sell lots of stuff we don't need- but I like this picture. After talking it over I realized that no guy would be thrilled to have two large pictures of women (Ya, he doesn’t like the other one either) that he doesn’t even know hanging in his house. We compromised. I kept the Serigraph and sold the poster on Ebay for $200. This left us with a really nice frame and nothing to put in it. So I commissioned three of the most elite artists in the area to do a custom work of art for our home. I choose the colors and let them do the rest. I have to admit, I don’t miss Jorja at all.

Monday, November 06, 2006

When we lived down in Louisiana everyone would eat red beans and rice on Mondays. According to my mailman (Gilbert) it was because Monday was laundry day and you could put the beans on the stove and leave them all day while you worked. I liked the idea of doing all the laundry on one day, so I started doing this when we lived down there and still do it today. I also started making red beans and rice as well.
Monday is still my work day. I don’t shower, I stay in grungy clothes (sometimes my pajamas) and I do ALL of our laundry. Wash, fold and put it away. While I am waiting for loads to finish, I mop the floors and vacuum ect. I love going to bed and knowing that everything is clean, even if it will only last for a few hours.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Missing Sucker

Today Lucy was sucking on a sucker (from her Halloween stash) walking around the house. She came in the kitchen and said that her sucker dropped. I asked her where and he said "here" and pointed to the kitchen floor. Our kitchen is tiny. We looked all over the 3ft x 4ft floor and couldn't see the sucker anywhere. I told her she must have put it down somewhere, but we were unable to find it. Two and a half hours later we are sitting on the sofa petting Max and there was her sucker stuck in his hair. Of course as a typical three year old, Lucy pulled the sucker out (hair and all) and was anxious to eat it. I got her a new sucker.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween night

What a great night. The girls had a blast at the trunk or treat. Haley had asked me to make them candy bags that matched their costumes, that was a great idea.
Mrs. Incredible is their Primary President- she really is an incredible woman!

Eric and I decided to go along with the "Cat" theme of the night so he went as a litter box and I a ball of yarn. One of the ladies in my ward told me that she was so glad that she was not married to Eric. Apparently she did not care for his costume. I love the fact that Eric is willing to dress up and have fun with his girls and I love the fact that he is married to me!

After the trunk or Treat we went over to Olive St.where everyone goes all out decorating and they close down the street. I took the photo below before it got dark because I wanted Ryan and Weston to see the Pirate ship.

On the drive home we were all exhausted. I said "As soon as we get home you girls need to brush your teeth really well and scrub your faces." Lucy said "But Mom, I didn’t eat anything with my face".

Monday, October 30, 2006


Yesterday while I was trying to sleep in, my girls started a craft project that Witchalina left for them. Lucy had a blast with the glue, it was everywhere.

This morning I came down to them quietly studying the scriptures Witchalina left looking for clues.
I love that Witch!

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