Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Festivities

For some reason I'm not that great at taking pictures during the holidays. I did alright this year, but I'm realizing I missed a few things. Oh well! A few of the things not pictured...We went to the lights at Thanksgiving point and afterward we saw the reindeer! We also went to the mall to meet Santa and ride the train. We were lucky enough to get to be on the train when it picked up Santa to take him to his "North Pole" after his lunch break. Fun stuff. I actually did get pictures of that, but only on my phone and I don't know how to blog them...hm. Then on Christmas Eve we went to my brother Dion's house and partied it up! My sister Debbie and her family were here from Boston and it was so fun to hang out with lots of family! Good food and a good ol' "yanky swap" (aka White Elephant gifts).

Okay, on to the pictures. First off we have our traditional gingerbread house building! So fun, the kids really look forward to it every year. One of these days we'll make one from scratch. This was not that year.


Next was mom's sick day. I was actually pretty sick all week, but Wednesday was the worst. I was throwing up all night and spent the morning at the InstaCare and the rest of the day on the couch or in bed. Thank heavens for a husband who works from home and can help out when I have days like that! The kids were taking really good care of me though! As you can see they wanted to make sure I didn't get too cold! There are 3 blankets there...


Christmas Eve we had our sugar cookie making party! I love sugar cookie day, despite the gigantic mess it creates. We invited some neighbors over to decorate with us. I forgot to take pictures during the festivities, but here are a few of the completed cookies. So cute and tasty!


Then finally, CHRISTMAS MORNING! The spoils before the kids got to them...

And after...


Everyone seemed happy with what they got, we got a Wii for a family gift and went pretty cheap otherwise, but the kids didn't seem to care that the toys weren't anything super big and expensive. They don't completely appreciate the Wii yet either, but we know they will once they get the hang of playing their games.

Kate didn't care thing one about any of her gifts really except the binkies from Santa and her new Leapfrog music table (new to her, we got it from kid to kid for $11! ). I KNEW she would love that table, no toy has ever kept her attention like it has, so glad I found it! The rest of her gifts were mostly hand me downs anyway, and she plays with them, but she was so engrossed with the table and watching the big kids rip paper to shreds that she didn't really notice the presents for her. But she thought it was all the best thing ever, boxes and paper and noise, it was great! It was so fun to watch!


Do you see the binky? Personalized and adorable! She got 3 like it and one "Mute Button" binky. Love it! And don't you just love the look she's giving me in this picture? haha...


Later that afternoon we went to Grandma and Grandpa Owen's house for more gifts and a yummy Christmas dinner. Didn't get pictures of that either. Doh! Then yesterday we went to my sister Doneen's house and had a big traditional Christmas dinner with my family. I just love being surrounded my family. I wish it could be like this all the time!

As for my gifts, it started a week or so ago at Ryan's work party where I got $150 in gift cards to spend on me! Yay! I've 2/3 of it already and have gotten a sweater jacket, a shirt, two dresses, and two pairs of pants...although I'm second guessing one pair, so I might still exchange those. I love new clothes...if only they could be 3 sizes smaller...I'm hoping to have a shopping day with my sister before she goes back to Boston to have her help me pick some things with the remaining gift card. I also got 2 books and the big Miche bag! Yay! I've been wanting it forever and Ryan has always made fun of me, but it turns out he's had it waiting to surprise me for weeks! Now I get to pick a shell for it. And of course, the Wii was a lot for me, we've already had a blast with it!

Ryan got $100 from his work that I think he is spending on more stuff for the Wii, then he got an ipad case, and iphone case, a book, a game and a movie. And of course new carpeting and flooring two months ago...haha.

All in all a great Christmas, if only I could have felt great all week it would have been perfect. I love my family and this time of year! On to New Years, yay! I cannot believe a new year in upon us. I can't wait to see what it brings. Here is one more picture to close things out, turns out Kate LOVES candy canes! :)

First Dance Recital!

Beth had her first dance recital on December 16th. It was so cute! I wasn't sure going into it if she even knew the dance cause she wouldn't show me, but she did great! The recital was SO crowded that most of our family had to stand. Kate and I and my mother-in-law got a seat right before it started, but in all the chaos I totally missed my chance to get a picture of her dancing on stage. Dang it! But here are some picture of her getting ready for the show. Each little girl class just wore their outfits that they practice in with a cute Christmas accessory. Beth's class had cute fluffy pink or purple plaid earmuffs. Her class danced to "Rockin' around the Christmas tree". I'm excited to see how she does at their big year end recital in May with real costumes and stuff. I can't believe how quickly she's growing up!


Bruce


The tooth fairy (whose name according to weird Owen family tradition is Bruce) made its first visit to our house! I CANNOT BELIEVE my Beth is old enough to be losing teeth. Craziness. Its been wiggling for several week and finally my sister-in-law yanked it last week. Beth was ecstatic with the "Golden Coin" that the tooth fairy left. I feel old.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Daddy


My Dad had a heart attack about a week and a half ago. It was probably the scariest couple of hours I have ever experienced. I was at my Christmas concert for the Sterling Singers when I started getting frantic calls and texts to call home. I finally got a chance to listen to my messages and there was one from my mom informing me that he had had a heart attack and was in the Cath lab. She had no idea what condition he was in and she was alone. Poor mom! I wished I could magically transport myself to Arizona to hug her and be with her while she waited for news. A couple hours later we were finally relieved to know that he was okay. They had to place 3 stents in his heart, but my mom was able to get him to the hospital so quickly that his chances of full recovery were good. They said another 10 minutes and he probably would have been in cardiac arrest. Scary, scary, scary! He was in the hospital for about 3 days and didn't know until near the end of that time whether there was any permanent damage. There were signs of heart damage, but the doctors finally concluded that it should correct itself now that blood flow has been restored.

I couldn't have been more shocked by all of this! Of all the possible things that could happen to my dad heart attack was never even on my radar. He eats grain mush half of his life for heavens sake! I've always been a bit of a daddy's girl. I spent most of my growing up years with my dad. And there is nothing like a near death experience to make your realize you are taking things for granted, even if its not your near death experience! I decided to start writing my dad letters. Real snail mail letters. There is something really special about real mail. I've only written one so far, and I'm waiting for my return letter to arrive. I can't wait! My life is not all that exciting, so I'm not sure what all I will write about, but I'm mostly excited for when he writes back. My dad is so smart, so full of wisdom and great stories and I can't wait to learn everything he still has to teach me. I hope he'll be around for a long long time so I can soak in all I can! I wish he lived closer, I still feel like I need to see him with my own two eyes and give him a great big hug to make sure he's really okay! I've talked to him on the phone several times and my brothers who went down there assure me he is, but I just wish I could see him. Maybe soon.

Love you daddy! I'm so glad you are okay!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Time Already??


This year is FLYING by! The day after Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite days of the year! I woke up, made coffee cake while listening to Christmas music, got out the Christmas decorations, went shopping for a few new Christmas decorations (hooray!!!) and watched Christmas movies. Then I had leftover turkey and ham sandwiches on homemade rolls, and leftover pie while the kids took naps. Now my house looks and feels warm and cozy and smells like cinnamon. The lights on the newly decorated tree are twinkling and I am happy. I LOVE the Christmas season SO MUCH!!! Here's to more Christmas music and movies and enjoying my house more than any other time of year. What is your favorite thing about Christmas?


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

I feel like I would be a pretty ungrateful person if I were to not do a post on the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I live a charmed life. I really do. The list of my blessings in pretty much innumerable, but I would like to highlight a few. I've been trying to make a list on facebook, but I kept getting behind, so I'll just start over! In no particular order here are the big things I'm grateful for today:

1. Ryan. I could not be more lucky in the husband department. He is a great friend, provider, husband and father. He helps me around the house a ton, I really don't know how anything would get done without him. I feel lost and incomplete when he is gone. Thankfully he works from home so I don't have to feel that way very often! I love him with all my heart and am so glad he puts up with me!

2. Beth. I prayed long and hard for Beth to come to our family. I always wanted to be a mom and the day she was born was surreal and amazing. She and I butt heads a lot, and she is an emotional wreck sometimes (I wonder where she gets that?...) But she is the sweetest most affectionate girl. I really can't imagine me without her. She made me a mother, and makes me have to strive every day to figure out how to be a better one, and a better person to deserve her undying and unquestionable love. And I love what a great big sister and helper she is. I'd be lost without her.


3. James. This boy can get on my nerves like no other (only since he turned 3 though, before that he was non-stop loveable). BUT, he is also a part of my heart. No one can pull at my heartstrings like this boy. His smile is completely infectious. He is so imaginative and fun and funny! I'm so glad I get to experience being a mom of a boy, its so different and so much fun (and so aggravating, but that's the life of a mom!). Truly our family would be incomplete without him.


4. Kate. What can I say about Kate? I've written before that the connection I have with her in inexplicable and God sent. She has been my biggest trial while at the same time being an incredible joy in my life. The thought of not having her in my life practically turns me inside out. I'm not me without her, even if the me with her is not quite sane ;). I can feel nothing but love when I look at her, even if she's in the process of screaming at me or tearing my house apart. My prayers for another child were answered in her. My faith that the Lord could help me through anything was also tested and strengthened in her. Today she is 9 months old and it breaks my heart because she is growing too fast. My last baby is almost not a baby anymore and I can't stand it.


5. My house/Neighborhood. I am so grateful to have a nice house to live in. One that is comfortable and feels like home. A safe place for me to raise my children and where we can build our memories together. And I am SO grateful to live in the neighborhood we live in. I have never felt so involved and so wanted and needed as I do here. I feel like there are people I can depend on everywhere I turn and like my family has grown to include so many new people. And I feel totally supported. When I am struggling someone is right there to step in and cheer me up for help me out, a lot of times without me needing to ask. It is a beautiful thing!

6. Family. Obviously I've already covered my little family, but I have to mention the rest of my family, my own and my in-laws. I feel truly blessed in this regard. I have a wonderful extended family that care about me and love me no matter what. My siblings are all inspirations to me, and I love them dearly. I don't get to see most of them very often, and I wish I knew them all a little better, but I love them! I have the funniest cousins, I don't get to see them often, but when I do it totally makes my day! My in-laws are awesome, all of them. I feel like a part of the family and always have. I love to spend evenings at Ryan's parents house and am so glad to know them and to have them as my children's grandparents. And of course, I am grateful to my parents. Their example and guidance in my life have brought me where I am, and it still influences me every day. The list goes on and on, my family being huge and all. Know that I love you all!

7. The Gospel. I am not as spiritual of a person as I strive to be. It is something I am trying very hard to work on and has become very important to me. But, I have never ever taken for granted the knowledge I have of God and his plan for me. I don't know how people live without that knowledge and I am grateful that I know I can turn to God in prayer to get help in raising my children or easing grief or just getting assurance that I am doing alright in this life and to keep on pushing ahead.

8. My health. I'm a fairly healthy person, maybe not by some people's standards, but for the most part I do pretty well. My asthma irks me on occasion, and sometimes prevents me from being as active and healthy as I want to be, but for the most part I can get up every day and do what needs to be done for my family without having to think about my body or my health. That truly is a blessing. While I'm not as trim as I'd like to be (so much for the 9 months on, 9 months off philosophy for baby weight. bah!), and still have a long ways to go to reach my fitness goals, I'm glad that my body doesn't really hold me back. I've known a lot of people lately that aren't so lucky and it has reminded me to be grateful.

Okay, this is getting rather lengthy, so I think I'll stop here. But, know that my list goes on and on and on and I hope you can see that no matter how whiny I sometimes come across in my blog posts that I LOVE MY LIFE! I get to wake up every day and do exactly what I always wanted to do with a family that is better than I could have imagined. The daily grind gets me down sometimes, and I don't always handle the frustrations of motherhood very well, but I know that I am blessed beyond measure. I hope you all get a chance to think of your blessings, and maybe even write them down, it'll do you some good! :) Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The mischief has begun!

That door was closed when I turned around for two minutes, next thing I know, its open and pull-ups litter the living room!

The blinds make a really fun banging noise! As do all the door "boingers" in the house!

Halloween 2010!



Halloween was fun, but pretty low key this year. Fine with me! I'm still recovering from "vacation". Haha!

The Costumes:
Fancy Nancy (If you are saying "Who?", you are not alone, She is one of Beth's favorite book characters, we have a ton of the books.)
Fancy Nancy has crazy curly hair, so every time she had to wear the costume we had to do curlers! This was the second time around, it was a bit more successful than the first (the above pictures)

Buzz Lightyear! To infinity, and beyond! (Doesn't he look excited? Not a single good picture. Darn kid!)

Katie Bug the Ladybug! Cutest bug ever!!

Gabby the Gator as the Good Witch! (Beth got to bring her home for a birthday sleepover from school, so we dressed her up to bring her to the school's trunk-or-treat!)

Forgot to get a picture of my costume! Dope! I dressed as an Angel for the ward party...Ryan is a party pooper, no costume there.

Posing with the cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house, a yearly tradition!

And, just for kicks, I have to throw this picture in! You can see Beth's really curly hair and my adorable matching girls!

Beth is 5!!

(My pretty girl! She insisted on going to get her hair done and wearing a dress-up all day, because that's what birthday girls do!)


Okay, so I'm more than a week late on this post, but my big girl turned 5! I seriously cannot believe she is that old. I feel like I just found out I was having my first baby and now I have three and the oldest is 5!!! Where did time go? Here are some highlights from her birthday weekend. No party this year, although I actually had a creative idea for one, but Disneryland was her big gift, no moolah left for a party!

Dinner at Red Robin, brownie sundaes, and presents with cousins!

Her giant cupcake cake! (Not my favorite i've ever made, but she liked it!)

Party with Grandma and Grandpa Owen

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Family Trip 2010

Yes, I called it a trip, not a vacation. A friend of mine said she had a friend who called it that when she had young kids, and its definitely more fitting. :) It was fun, for sure. And nice to not be in the daily grind and rush, but taking 3 kids out of their home and routine for 8 days is an adventure! Luckily it got better as the days went by, cause after day 1 we were ready to come home!

Day 1:
We drove. And drove. And drove some more. Our destination for day 1 was Primm, Nevada, just outside the California border. The kids had done surprisingly well in the car, we got to the hotel, checked in, got some dinner and went to settle down for the evening. Kate would NOT sleep in her the portacrib, and basically wouldn't sleep at all. Ryan spent hours walking her around the parking lot cause the halls were too smokey until she fell asleep. Then she had to sleep in bed with me, leaving no room for Ryan, so he tried to sleep on the floor. Just when we thought sleep might be possible, James fell out of bed waking everyone up. So I went to sleep next to James (I had about 3 whole inches to sleep on) and Ryan took over my spot next to the baby. Once James was finally sound asleep and we'd rigged some cushion in case he fell again, Ryan and I squeezed onto our bed and started to doze off (this is about 3am at this point). Just when all was calm again James sat up and threw up all over himself, the bed and his poor sister sharing a bed with him. The whole family was wide awake now and we undertook the clean up, calling house keeping for bedding and washing down the kids. eew. We discussed going home at this point, but decided we had to give California a chance. We turned on the tv to let the kids settle down and make sure James was ok and we finally all fell asleep around 4:30 and slept until about 7:30. So tired!



Day 2:
We tried to do some outlet shopping but the kids melted down about every 3 seconds because they were so tired, so we gave up and headed out on the 4 1/2 hour drive to our final destination Indio, California. The kids slept most of the way, thank heavens, and we made it to the condo without incident. The condo was AWESOME! This is the view from our back balcony...

It had a full kitchen, and two bedrooms so the big kids shared one, Ryan and I had our own bed, and we set up Kate's camp in the living room. We got a little swimming in before bed and then everyone slept pretty well. Kate woke up at least once every night of the trip, but she at least would sleep in the crib.

Day 3:
We hung out at the pools (there were two more besides what you see in the picture, plus a lazy river and a bunch of hot tubs) and wandered the resort and did not step foot in the car. It was great!

Day 4:
We took it easy all morning and then after lunch headed off to the coast (about another 2 hour drive) to see my brother David. I get to see him maybe once a year so it was really nice to get to see his house and have dinner with his family. His kids rock!

Day 5:
This was another take it easy day. We swam and did crafts with the kids and then had a big barbecue with all our friends that went with us on the trip. We were using our friends the Brumfield's time share and the Aune's came along too. It made it fun for the kids to have all their friends along! The girls all got a few minutes to head over to the spa and got a hand treatment and mini-massage. Fabulous!

Day 6:
The whole trip we had been debating whether we should go to an amusement park. we really didn't have the money, but all our friends were going and we felt like we had to take the chance since we are so rarely in California, and since it was almost Beth's birthday, so we ponied up a lot of money and took the kids to Disneyland! Of course, Owen luck kicked in and it rained. And rained. And Poured! My brother said maybe 7-10 days of the last 4 1/2 years have rained like that. We bought ponchos the second we walked in the park, but we were already soaked from our walk to the tram from the parking lot. Seriously drenched. The one upside to rain at Disneyland? Much shorter lines! But, some rides were closed and the kids were freezing most of the time, but we tried to make the most of it. It did clear up for a couple hours in the middle in the afternoon, so that was nice. The kids had a good time, Ryan and I felt a little bummed cause we didn't get to go on any of our favorite rides, but it was still a good time.

The rain! Disney made a fortune on overpriced ponchos that day!

Day 7:
We packed up and drove to Vegas to check into another condo. I might have even liked this one a little better, though it was basically the same as the first. The weather wasn't stellar but the pools were warm so we still took advantage!


Day 8:
We went down to "The Strip" and walked, and walked, and walked! We saw the Lions at MGM, and saw the M&M store, ate lunch at a fancy place in the Palazzo, then saw the gondolas in the Venician and rode the monorail. Then back to the condo for more swimming!


That night, thanks to the Brumfields, Ryan and I actually got to go on a date! It was the most fun date we've been on in a long time! We headed back down to the strip and went on the rollercoaster at the New York, New York. Then we walked down to the Bellagio and watched the fountain show, then had dinner at Serendipity and ice cream at Ghirardelli! Other than the smut peddlers all over the streets, it was a fantastic evening!

The next morning we packed up and headed home. All told we spent about 33 hours in the car. Yikes! And poor Kate spent more time than that in her carseat in the stroller. No wonder she was so clingy whenever she was out of it! Everyone was ecstatic to be home and we all slept like logs in our own beds. Fun trip, lots of adventure, but I think it'll be a while before we go on a family trip again! haha! Now if I could get a vacation to recover!