Thursday, January 31, 2008

O' Happiness!

Yesterday, after showing this recipe for O' Henry! bars on Becky's blog (I love pretending I'm on a first-name basis with people I don't really know but wish I did) to Adam, he asked if we could make them. I said "sure" (thinking next week for FHE), but he begged, so we made them today (it doesn't take long to push me over when it comes to chocolate, huh?). They. Are. Good. I haven't made them since before I was married, and it was Mike's first time having them. He really liked them, but we both agreed that the chocolate layer was a BIT thick. If/when I make them again, I would halve the ingredients for the frosting. The kids ADORED them, though.

Okay, Adam has a really weird expression on his face in that picture, but he really did like them.(And for anyone analyzing the photos, yes, we had cheese crisps and canned corn for dinner yesterday. A complicated chef I am not).

I got some money for Christmas, and I spent half of it on developing film. And the other half on a book that I have wanted for FOREVER: Best of Becky Higgins Sketches (scrapbooking book). I found it half-price on, and am very happy because it arrived yesterday afternoon! It came a week early, and the mailman ACTUALLY brought it to our door! Normally, the mailman leaves the packages at the post office, and doesn't bother letting us know that they are there. Nice. I have been devouring this book all day... pretty much to the point where I began ignoring my children, and Adam inquired if I was EVER going to give him lunch (it was 12:30... but he's a stickler on lunch being at 12:00). Oh, well. I LOVE Becky's sketches, and am super happy about this book.Mike is less-than-thrilled with it... he warily asked if this meant that I was going to buy scrapbooking products to use with it. Obviously. :) He just doesn't get it... the way I see it, I'm recording our family history when I scrapbook, which is pretty much a commandment. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Tonight, we took a "pajama walk" (we get into our pjs after baths and go on a walk) to the mailbox to check the mail. I received a bill from Cox Communications, and had this totally harsh coversation with Adam:

Adam: Is that a letter from Cox?
Me: Yes.
Adam: Why are they writing you?
Me: Because they love me.
Adam: Mom, I don't know if you are going to understand this but you aren't very cute. People don't love people who aren't cute.
Me: You don't think I'm cute?
Adam: Well, after you get out of the shower, your hair is just crazy. Maybe you should comb it and you would look better.

That is so beyond rude that I'm not even going to acknowledge any truths contained in his statement. So maybe I didn't comb my hair today. But it's not like I left the house. Sheesh!

After we got home he apologized profusely, and told me that I was gorgeous. I'm pretty sure that the only reason he did that, though, was because he thought I might not play a game with him as revenge. Oh, well. A compliments a compliment, right? :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monthly Outing: Las Vegas Natural History Museum

We finally made it on our monthly outing. Yay! It was really windy today and raining on and off, so we went to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. This place was fun. I thought it might be a little boring, but we took a chance, and went anyways, and I'm glad we did.

It was only $10 for all of us, which was perfect for our budget. We spent 2 hours looking at huge dinosaurs, fossils, live sharks, stingrays, fish, Africa, and a TON of animals! All of the displays were interactive, and most were kid-friendly. There was a room that was completely hands-on. Adam and Grace loved digging for fossils and looking at x-rays of different animals in it.

It was the perfect size: not so small, that you feel like you didn't get your money's worth, and not so huge that you feel the need to drag your toddler from room-to-room TO get your money's worth.

I think today was one of the most perfect days ever. We woke up to rain (love rain!), went to the museum for a few hours, came home for lunch and naps, cleaned up a bit, played some games, and tonight, had pizza, an FHE lesson, and played Xbox together. There was no fighting or whining. Everyone got along and had fun.

It was just a really, really good day. I'm so grateful for days like this. And I'm so grateful to have such great kids and an awesome husband. I can't believe how blessed we are.

A Few Quick Things...

1) Our stake conference was today. Every single talk was about temple attendance. And it put me on a major guilt trip. Mike works fairly close to the temple (about 5 miles), so he's going to try and go once a week before work (isn't he awesome?) for the 6:00am session. So, at least one of us will be going. And, we are going to try and go 4 times this year as a couple. I know that's not very much, but, I'm going to try and be a little better this year, and build on it every year.

2) We are going to do a fun family activity tomorrow. Yay! Mike has the brakes fixed, and we are ready to go. We are either going to the zoo or to the Las Vegas Natural History museum. Both look very fun. And both sites had coupons for entrance, so both will be about $10 to go for the whole family. Very cool. There's a 50% chance of rain tomorrow, so the weather will decide which one. Will report tomorrow + photos.

3) Grace is teething again. I feel like she's always teething. This has made her even grumpier than usual.

4) Sorry about the lack of photos lately. My camera's batteries are dead. I'm going to pick some more up tomorrow before our activity.

Hope everyone had a great Sunday! Make today a good one!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

He's Turning Into... His Mother!

These are a few things that Adam has said to ME today. Who knew he was actually listening all this time?

"Maybe, Mom, if you had taken better care of your things, you would know where your scissors are." [When I asked him to help me find the scissors... you probably figured that out, however]

"I only have 2 hands, Mom!" [When I asked him to put his clothes in the hamper AND put away a puzzle]

"Mom, we are a family, and we help each other out, no matter if we made the mess or not." [When I told him that he messed up his room, and he was going to clean it by himself]

Wow... what a little snot. Just kidding. It's good to know that I've passed on mom cliches to another generation. I've done my part.

Friday, January 25, 2008

This is What Happens If...

... you leave the room while your kids are "exploring" the kitchen drawers, and happen on a Sharpie.

... your diaper bag gets caught in the washing machine. It makes a really scary noise, too. When your son hears the noise, he will freak out and insist that a "Bad Guy Transformer" is coming and run around the house screaming until you fix the problem, prompting your downstairs neighbors to bang on your floor.

... you are SO tired from the past few days of your daughter staying up until past midnight and your son waking up at 5:30am (WHY can't they EVER be on the same schedule???), that you fall asleep on the couch at 9:30pm, while waiting for your husband to get home., and leave your daughter free to destroy anything in her path (or on the table).

Oh, I love them. I really do.

On a positive note, the INSIDE of the diaper bag tore a while ago, and has been tearing more and more ever since, but I couldn't justify buying a new one. I think I can now. :)

Tomorrow's our cleaning and shopping day, and on Sunday we have Stake Conference, so I get a bit of a break (not that trying to keep a toddler occupied for 2 hours is any easier than dealing with her in Primary). But we get to sleep in a bit at least (if the kids let me, that is :) ).

Have a great day, everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Biting Woes

When we were at the park on Saturday, Grace pointed to the drinking fountain, and said, "Dink," so I took her over to get a drink. However, when I pushed the button, nothing came out. It was broken. Apparently this was cause for a tantrum by Grace. She screamed and threw herself back. I caught her, and TRIED explaining about the water. Instead of being reasonable, she grabbed my arm and bit me.

What is with my kids? It took me years to get Adam to stop biting (and apparently, it didn't sink in TOO much, as he bit me last December at Michael's), and now Grace? I don't even know where they GET it from. It's not like some bad habits that are mimicked from me and Mike (like when your 2-year-old screams, "What the heck!" at the grocery store). I mean, it's not like I go around biting people when I'm angry, and they think they should, too. What in her little body, made her think, "My mom's denying me water... I'm gonna bite her!"

Today, she bit Adam, because he took away a toy. He was VERY upset, and a part of me (the evil part), thought, "Ha! Now you KNOW how it feels!"

Sigh... here's to the start of the "Terrible Twos" and biting. Hopefully, I can be a bit of a better parent this time around and get her to stop before kindergarden.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Total Random Acts of Kindness I've Been Blessed With (Or... "Not All People in Vegas are Criminals, Like I Once Said")

I have had so many great experiences this past week of total random acts of kindness. I can't believe I ever thought that the people in Vegas were awful. I seem to be eating my own words a lot lately. :)

-Last week, I popped the hood of our car while at the bank, to put some more radiator fluid in it (we have a leak). A guy ran out of the Farmer's Insurance, and insisted on helping me. (I think he felt bad for me... I was having a hard time unlatching the hood :) )

-I have a neighbor who watches out for me to come home grocery shopping every week, and runs out to help me carry in the groceries. (Yes, this may be borderline-stalking, but still, incredibly nice... and very much appreciated).

-A woman standing behind me in line at Wal-Mart held down Grace, while I paid (Grace likes to climb out of carts... I have to keep one hand on her at all times).

-The Relief Society presidency brought me some cookies "just because."

And all of that has been in a little over a week! I can't believe how incredibly nice people are. I'm so blessed.

Our Not-So-Exciting (but still fun) Weekend

Well, for ALL the plans we made, and all of the research I did, our weekend turned out to be not as exciting as I had planned. But, we still had fun.

We had plans Saturday to go hiking in the morning, but late Friday night, we were asked to help clean our church building instead. And I couldn't say, "no," because we haven't been able to do it yet, since Mike is usually working. So, we cleaned the building for a couple of hours Saturday morning. Then Mike realized he took the DI truck keys home with him, so we drove out to DI. And stopped to talk to everyone there. Adam and Grace were pretty cranky, so we went back home to take a nap. We went to the park and played with Adam's remote control truck for a while late that afternoon. We then used a Chili's gift card we had, and went out to dinner. Adam was SO super excited about this! He loves "eating out" (not sure what that says about my cooking... hmmmm...). However, it wasn't the greatest experience. Our food ended up not coming for 45 minutes, and when we got it, it was cold. By that point, Grace was angry about being in her chair, and Adam was bored. So, we ate quickly and left to go grocery shopping.

Grace woke up on Sunday morning at 5am (she's not sleeping very well lately), and being the nice wife that I am, I got up with her. :) We decided to have a little fashion show, to see what clothes she fits into now (what else would I do at 5 am?), and good news! Her Easter dress that I made her LAST year but that she couldn't wear because it was HUGE, finally fits! Yay! I'm wondering... can I cheat and just use this dress for this Easter? Hmmm.... I probably, won't though, because after looking at her in it, I have decided that yellow is not her color. And I would feel really guilty if I did, for some odd reason. I'm weird.

We had a great Sunday, and planned on going to the MLK parade the next morning, before heading to the park and library. I thought that Adam and Grace might like the floats and things. Grace came down with ANOTHER cold, though, so we decided to not go to the parade, and stayed inside warm. And it's a good thing we didn't, because we found out later that gun shots were fired there (though no one was hurt). Scary! We went to the park that afternoon, and then realized that the library was closed. We rented High School Musical 2 (Adam's request.... he's cute), and had a fun movie night.

So, it wasn't terribly exciting, and pretty much all of our plans didn't happen. But, that's okay. The main thing was that we got to relax and spend time together. Hope everyone had a great 3-day weekend, too. Make today a great one!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Collection Conversation and Blender Waffles

A conversation I had with Adam today:

Adam: Mom, I'm so happy! I have three collections!
Me: Three? What are they?
Adam: A Hot Wheels collection, a marble collection, and a sticky tape collection
Me: A sticky tape collection?
Adam: Well, I haven't exactly started it yet. But I'm planning on it soon.

Mike brought us home a blender last week from DI. When he got home, he made blender waffles (he must really like them, or my dinner wasn't good enough or something). He followed a recipe he got from the Internet, and they were very good... no chunks of wheat or anything. I kind of missed the bits of wheat, though, so when I made them for dinner tonight, I blended the wheat a little less, so they would have texture. Adam took one bite and said, "Mom... I hope this doesn't make you mad, but I liked dad's a lot better." I liked them anyways. Here's the recipe we used (not sure how much it's like the cannery cookbook):

1 c whole-wheat berries
1 1/2 c milk
2 eggs
2 tsp sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/3 c oil
3/4 tsp salt

Put wheat berries and 1 cup milk into blender. Blend on high for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 c milk and blend additional 2 min. Add remaining ingredients and cook on hot waffle iron.

The kids are on the mend... and driving me crazy! I hate the part of sickness where they are well enough to want to be outside and running around, but not well enough to be outside (especially with how chilly it's been here... it's supposed to be in the 40s the next week... I am no longer a Flagstaff girl, I guess :) ). Grace is doing much better, and did not gag herself at all today. Not sure what yesterday was about. We are still undecided for what to do this weekend, but it's sure to be fun, so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Rejects and "Me Pretty"

Today, I was trying to organize my photos, and putting away my Christmas present (more about that later). I came upon the pictures that I took back in November for the Christmas frames for our families. When I did the photo shoot of them, I was a bit sad. They both take really great pictures by themselves; however, together it was a war. She screamed, he touched, she screamed some more, I lost my patience, so I moved the camera, etc.. The picture that we gave to our families of Grace and Adam reading a book together, was the only semi-decent picture. When I was looking at the photo "rejects" today, though, I realized how funny some of them were. And I didn't want to throw them in a box. So, I began putting together a scrapbook layout of these pictures tonight. And if you click on the picture, I'm pretty sure that it will enlarge, so that you can see the details of the pictures. They really are too funny together.

When Grace woke up this morning and saw her dress hanging on her door, she literally freaked out. She SCREAMED, "Me pretty! Me pretty!" until I finally let her try it on. She looked even more adorable in it than I thought she would... girls are so fun. However, she DID throw a tantrum when I made her take it off to eat breakfast.

Grace is still pretty sick... a bit worse, if anything. She's wheezing now, is feverish, and cranky. However, I think that she is still has enough energy to be a little mischievous. The past few nights when she's thrown up, I've gotten her out of bed to change/wash her sheets, given her lots of juice and cuddles, etc.. I think she's figured out throwing up = attention, because she spent a lot of her time today gagging herself. And I really think that it's for all of the attention she gets when she does throw up. She LOVES her baths, and she's taken about 20 in the past few days. So much, that as soon as she starts coughing, she now says, "bath." I really think that kids are too smart sometimes.

Oh, well. They are both asleep for now... so, life's good. :) Have a great day, everyone!

Our (Maybe) Apartment, So Sweet, and Cute Dress

Okay, so I know I freaked out my mom a bit with our (possible) new apartment. I will explain. The apartment and the apartment complex is actually rather cute. It IS a lot smaller than our current apartment (about 800 square feet compared to our 1100), and only has 1 bathroom (hey, one less to clean each week). However, it has a really nice kitchen, a washer/dryer, a cute little fireplace (Adam is extremely excited about this possibility... though I really don't know why you would need a fireplace in Las Vegas), and a greenhouse window in the kitchen. The apartment complex has lots of grass and trees, and is really close to a park. That said, it's in what some, less adventurous, people, might consider a bad area of town. The surrounding apartments and homes aren't that great, and it's really close to a casino. And (this won't mean anything to anyone but Katie) the cross streets are Vegas Valley Drive and Mountain Vista (yes, it's right by Nellis). BUT, it's one of the only 2-bedroom apartments in Las Vegas renting for under $900/month AND includes water/trash/sewer. So... we haven't signed anything yet, and we're still looking, but... it's a definite possibility.

Adam is doing much better, but Grace took a turn for the worse. She woke up coughing/throwing up no less than 8 TIMES last night! Goodness! And I seem to be coming down with it, too. Yuck! I can't complain, though, because I haven't been sick at all in over a year (yay!) and I'm grateful for that. Poor Adam... when Mike left for work this morning, he told Adam to, "Take care of my girls." Adam got tears in his eyes and said, "But Dad, I'm only a little 4-year-old... I can't take care of everyone!" Poor guy. Today, after I laid Grace down for her nap, I heard Adam in the room with her. I went in there to tell him to get out, and found him giving her a sweet kiss! For someone who can sure fight with her a lot, it's good to know that he definitely loves her.

Tonight, I needed a break, so I ran over to Target when Mike got home, to buy some toilet paper (Grace has decided that her goal for the year is to unravel as MANY rolls as possible... she went through 4 this week). I was browsing around, and saw this dress for $4, and totally broke my "Clearance Rack" rule of: "It doesn't matter how cheap it is, if it's not a necessity" and bought it! It is just TOO darling! It was 75% off, though, and I bought it for NEXT Christmas, so it's kind of a necessity, really... I think I was pretty justified in my purchase (or I'm good at justifying it, anyways). :)

Hope everyone is doing good! Until next time, make it a great one!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Family Monday Summary

Mike normally has Mondays off (yay!) and we normally have a bunch of errands to run, but try to work in some fun stuff, too. Here's a summary of our Monday:

5 Things We Did
1) Did some more apartment hunting (Think we found a winner... and it is in a totally un-approved area, Katie, but I summarize it like this: not ghetto enough where you have to worry about drive-bys, but ghetto enough to make it exciting.)
2) Watched Underdog after our FHE lesson (for Adam, for Adam.... because the only thing I truly hate in this world is movies with talking animals... but for him, I watched it.)
3) Drove down the strip
4) Saw/fed some "seagulls" (though I explained to Adam that seagulls only live by the SEA, he insisted)
5) Drove around the temple, and looked at the beautiful grounds. (I pointed out the Angel Moroni on top, and Adam admitted he was disappointed that he wasn't playing something "more awesome" like the drums. He's hard to impress)

4 Things We Ate Today
1) Peanut butter on toast
2) Chicken nuggets
3) Mike's homemade Chinese stir-fry (Yum!)
4) Cinnamon rolls for FHE dessert from the "day old" rack (not so good). (Mike really wanted me to make this lemon cake from the new Kraft food & family magazine, but the cinnamon rolls were cheaper... I'll wait until the ingredients go on sale, I think)

3 Games We Played
1) Monopoly Jr.
2) Dora Memory
3) Feed the Kitty

2 Things We Were Supposed to Do and Didn't
1) Mike needs to change the brakes on the Focus. (He has had the brakes for a while, just needs to do it... this weekend, for sure)
2) Sign Adam up for basketball (We are waiting to see when we are moving, and if we should just wait until after the move).

1 Really Weird Thing We Saw
1) 6 billboards for hernia surgery. (I have never seen this in Phoenix or Flagstaff. Do people get an abnormal amount of hernias in Las Vegas?)

Mike gets Saturday, Sunday, AND Monday off THIS weekend (for Martin Luther King, Jr. day). One of our family resolutions was to have one family outing a month... just something a little extra special. We are going to do it this weekend. We each gave our opinion about what to do: a hike and picnic (me), the zoo (Adam), "baby" (Grace), and bowling (Mike). I also just read about a Leonardo de Vinci festival going on, that's supposed to be really fun, and kids are free, so that's an option, too. Should be fun!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Primary Funnies

I survived! The kids survived! Mike survived! Yay! Actually, the kids had a lot of fun. Namely because, "Daddy didn't make us have a fruit or vegetable with our hot dogs, Mom! He lets us be not healthy!" was what Adam told me the second I opened the door. They played games and Hot Wheels cars and colored and did mazes and ate no healthy food when they were sick. That's okay. I'm glad they all had fun.

Our Primary class is way cute. Had to share two funnies from today:

1) I had my class draw pictures of, "What Would Jesus Want Me to Do," drawing something that they should do, and share it with the class. Ruby drew a picture of her mom and fairies. I asked her to explain, and she replied, "I drew this to remind my mom that even though I threw a fit in the store, that Jesus does not want her to throw away my fairy toys like she did."

2) A girl in my class, Abbie, has the prettiest eyes, they are almost gold and brown. I complimented her on them today, and she replied, "Thanks. My mom made them for me."

I love Primary!

Nervous!, and So Cute!

Adam and Grace have both been sick for the past few days. Poor Adam. I think that he inherited my bad lungs. Anytime he gets anything, it goes straight to his lungs, and he gets croup or bronchitis, and all those fun illnesses. On Wednesday he woke up not breathing in the middle of the night (again) with a croup attack. Luckily, I still had medicine from the ER for the breathing machine, so I gave it to him, and he's been fine. Grace just starting the coughing/throwing up illness today. Fun, fun.

So, neither is going to church tomorrow. Mike and I have to teach, which left us with the dilemma of what to do. Because they'd rather have a female alone with kids in the Primary, rather than a male, Mike gets to sleep in and stay home with the kids. But, I'm totally nervous, because I'm supposed to have a meeting after church, which means about 4 hours of Mike being alone with the kids. Mike's a GREAT dad. Don't get me wrong. But, he's never, ever been alone with both Adam AND Grace. Ever. It's just never happened, for some odd reason. Plus, they are both sick, which makes parenting even harder. So, I'm nervous about tomorrow. Not that I don't have faith in Mike, or anything. But staying at home with 2 kids requires a certain amount of insanity, and Mike's far too sane and practical... and impatient. :) He will do great, I'm sure.

So, when I wasn't being a nurse today, I was looking around the Internet today at Valentine's day things, and I saw this cute Valentine's stackers from Deidre. Aren't they adorable? I SO want them! I normally get my vinyl from Deidre for any projects that I do (like the Christmas frames). She has THE cutest things on her sight. It's a good thing we don't have a lot of money... because it would be gone buying vinyl projects... and then we'd have no where to sleep. :) But, whenever I have ordered something from her in the past, I normally just get the vinyl only, and do the wood (or I bought the frames at Michael's for $1) myself. It saves money on shipping and the project, because her vinyl is really reasonable, but I can normally get wood for cheaper. I know I sound like a walking advertisement for Deidre. But, seriously, she's good. Anyways, this isn't wood that Home Depot would cut for me, so I'm trying to figure out how to cut them... because if I can, I'm so going to make them. Very cute. I'm kind of getting excited for Valentine's day... it's such a fun holiday! Yay!

Well, I'm off to sleep before I get to wake up and wrestle 10 4-year-olds in my CTR class by myself tomorrow. They are cute... just 4. :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Our Christmas 2007

Okay, I'm FINALLY getting around to posting about our Christmas! Yay! I know that you've all been waiting with baited breath. :) This is going to be super long (don't say I didn't warn you), but I wanted to journal it all.

Adam woke up really early on our Christmas morning, and we managed to hold him off until 6:30. When Mike and I got up and ready, and got the cameras ready, we woke up Grace, and walked out. Adam screamed and ran over! I was SO happy he was excited, because, he's not the super-excited type of kid. He's already been questioning Santa Clause a lot this year, and had NO desire to visit him or anything. But, he was excited, so maybe my weeks of saying, "Aren't you SO excited?" hundreds of times a day paid off. Or maybe he was just playing for me.

But, we opened the stockings first, and they were both thrilled. Santa FINALLY wised up in the stocking-buying business, taking extra bits of money all year long and buying clearanced items to fill the stockings, rather than her usual mid-December run and grab. Adam got a few card games, puzzles, a pair of sunglasses, and candy. Grace got lots of books, a puzzle, crayons, and candy in hers.

We moved onto the present that Santa left each of them: a baby and stroller for Grace and a remote control truck for Adam. Grace SQUEALED when she ripped open the package and immediately started loving on her baby's box (Santa might wise up AGAIN next year and remove all of the stupid, silver twist ties beforehand... wow!). Adam screamed and screamed when he opened up his remote control truck. He wanted to play with it right away, and again, maybe Santa should have read the instructions beforehand, because we found out that it had to be charged 8 HOURS before using it! He was a bit disappointed, but we charged it right away, and played with his games instead.

My mom sent Adam and Grace some money to buy Mike and me some presents (which they then "worked off" by helping her with the gingerbread houses in Phoenix). I got a scrapbook magazine and new paper cutter (mine disappeared in the move), and Mike got a watch and 2 Hot Wheels cars (wonder who selected the Hot Wheels cars for him....).

After presents, we ate THE WORLD'S YUMMIEST cinnamon rolls! They were SO beyond good. They would have been even better, though, had I not tripled the frosting. The recipe called for, I think, 3 oz. of cream cheese, but I had an 8 oz. package, so I thought, "Why not?" and tripled it. This would have been okay. It was smearing the entire tripled recipe ONTO the cinnamon rolls that was the problem. It made them WAY, WAY too rich! So, if you try the recipe (and you really have to), double it, don't triple. Man, oh, man... try it, though. Super easy. Super delish.

We played at the park with bubbles, and Adam's (partially) charged truck and ran errands that afternoon. All in all, it was a great Christmas... and it was just starting!

We drove down the next day to Phoenix. Katie, you must be the most patient person in the world to make that drive as often as you did! Maybe it's just that I haven't ventured more than 20 miles from our house in 7 months, but that was the longest drive ever. It didn't help that we had to stop SO often for potty breaks, or left a little later than planned and had to go through Laughlin.

We finally made it, though, and went to my parent's house to drop off a toolbox for them, before heading to the Wilkins. However, when we got there, they surprised us with snow! Doran and Danyel had driven up to Flagstaff and brought snow down for the kids to play in, since Adam was bummed we were missing the snow in Flagstaff. So sweet! And the kids had A BLAST! Thanks, guys!

We headed over to the Wilkins for dinner and to spend the night. The next morning we went to church with them, and spent the early afternoon visiting, before leaving so that I could take a 5-Generation picture with my family. I'm really glad that we got to do that... very neat.

That night was my mom's "Grammy Day!" My mom is so cute... she has her day every year, and we decorate gingerbread houses that she has made (with a HUGE stockpile of candy that she's been saving), and eat a "G" dinner: goulash, green salad, grapes, Goldfish crackers, and gummy bears. Isn't that fun? Adam keeps begging me to do it again... I think that he LOVES that he got candy for dinner. LOL. It was the first time EVER that my siblings and I were ALL together. Very neat. The gingerbread houses turned out WAY cute! We had a blast making them and visiting with everyone.

We spent the night at the Wilkins, and woke up the next morning to get ready for the Wilkins Christmas Party! It was SO fun! I hadn't realized how much I had missed all of Mike's family until we were there. I have the BEST in-laws in the world! They are all so much fun to be around! I also have the world's cutest nieces and nephews (it's a fact), and it was amazing how much everyone had grown. Adam loved playing with all of his cousins. Playing with everyone in the backyard was his favorite part of coming down to Phoenix. We had dinner, had the kids gift exchange, and did a White Elephant adult gift exchange. So fun! Thanks again, you guys, you have NO idea how great it was to come down for Christmas and see everyone!

We headed to Nano's (my grandma) house for Christmas Eve dinner and presents. She has lived in Mesa for a long time, and recently moved into her house in Phoenix. She redecorated it, and it looks AMAZING! I loved seeing what they had done to it. After dinner, we opened presents. Back at Thanksgiving, Adam and I pulled the wishbone together, and he wished for a box of Hot Wheels cars. He waited and waited. That night at Nano's, he received a basket, and it had a TON of Hot Wheels in it! That night he told me he was SO happy because his wish had come true... he got his Hot Wheels! So cute! Nano didn't even know that he made that wish, but she made it come true.

All of my siblings and I spent the night at my mom and dad's that night. The next morning, we woke up and opened presents and stockings. One of the things that Adam received was a toolbox from my dad. He loves taking things apart, so it was perfect. The day after we got back to Las Vegas, Adam woke me up by telling me that he had "fixed" our DVD player and knew what the problem was. I groaned to myself... because our DVD player WASN'T broken! I walked out to the living room, and found the DVD player in pieces! His diagnosis? There was a DVD in it! :) Oh, Adam. He put it back together, and it works, so he must be good! :)

We went to my Grandma's house that afternoon for HER Christmas party (we are so lucky to have so much family to celebrate with us... 4 Christmas celebrations!). After Christmas lunch and presents at her house, we went back to the Wilkins to say good-bye. The only thing that we didn't get to do was see Mike's Grandma Hansom. I was really sad that it didn't work out, but Mike called her to wish her a "Merry Christmas" and we will put her as our #1 priority when we visit again.

We headed back up to Las Vegas in the late afternoon. And I found out that I was wrong. The drive down to Phoenix was nothing compared to the drive up. Grace threw up 3 times, Adam complained, and from Kingman on, Grace SCREAMED the ENTIRE 2 hours. No joke. And she LITERALLY fell asleep as we turned into our apartment complex. I couldn't even make that up. It was crazy!

We had the most wonderfully, awesomely, best Christmas ever! If you actually made it through this horrendously long post, yay for you! If not, that's okay. I wanted to journal it for us. Thanks again to the Wilkins for having us and making it possible for us to come down. It was the BEST Christmas gift ever! You will never know how much it meant to see everyone. Thanks to my family for the snow, and gingerbread houses and presents and fun. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, too!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy New Year 2008!

Happy 2008 everyone! We had a really fun time celebrating the New Year! Mike had to work on New Year's Eve day, so I took the kids to the library. They had a "New Year's Around the World Celebration," complete with a countdown to noon. Adam and Grace made noisemakers, little shoes with candy, had their fortunes told (Adam will (apparently) learn how to sign the alphabet in sign language), and cheered during the coundown. A reporter was there taking pictures, and he took a lot of Grace, but because we don't get the paper, I'm not sure if she made it in or not. Very fun, though. I love the library.

When we got home, I made Adam and Grace take a late nap, because we had decided to let them stay up until midnight. I made some snacks while they slept (7-layer dip, lil' smokies, and Adam's "lobster" (aka cream cheese puffs)). When they woke up and Mike got home, we ate the snacks, and watched Shrek the Third, which was pretty fun. Cute story... Grace LOVES salsa. It doesn't matter how spicy it is. I actually have to HIDE it in the refrigerator, because she takes it out otherwise and eats it straight from the jar. LOL! Too funny. Well, Mike brought some Mint Oreos (yum!) home from work for our little party. Guess what Grace dipped hers in? Salsa. Yummy!

We cleaned up and played games and puzzles until about 11:30. We had heard that there were fireworks on the strip at midnight, so we found an empty lot about a mile from our house with a clear view of the strip, and we parked there to watch the fireworks and countdown. We all screamed and cheered at midnight, and Mike let off some poppers. The fireworks were actually pretty cool. Eight of the casinos let off simulatenous fireworks for about 10 minutes. We were pretty far away and it looked really neat, so I imagine if you were even closer, it would be really crazy. But, we were happy keeping our distance. :)

We all slept in the next morning, and when Adam and Grace woke up, they got to open one last present. I had read about some people celebrating the New Year by receiving a visit from Little New Year, an elf who fills the stockings one last time before they are put away, with healthy treats and things for the new year (like calendars, etc.). I didn't get around to doing that this year, but really want to next year, because it sounds SO fun. BUT, I decided that every year everyone IS going to get new journals on New Year's day, and we will all take an hour or so EVERY Sunday and write in them. I really want to get everyone in the habit of this, because it's so important. I got these cute little notebooks for Adam and Grace for $1 each, and they were so excited to get one last gift. This past Sunday after church we had our first "Journal Sunday." Mike and I wrote for the kids (Adam dictated to him, I just wrote about Grace in hers), and then let them color on the pages, while we wrote in our journals. It was a lot of fun, and I think that if we keep it up, it will really be neat to look back on someday.

Hope everyone's New Year's was wonderful. We wish you all a Happy (belated) New Year!

Oops!, Apartment Hunting, and Kindergarten

Wow! I keep meaning to blog about our wonderful Christmas and New Year... I really do. But, I've been super BUSY with everything and just have been putting it off. So... oops! Sorry about that. I will get it done one of these days.

We have been busy cleaning and un-decorating and organizing. We are doing a "Winter Cleaning", I guess, in preparation for moving. For those of you who don't know, we live about 23 miles or so from Mike's work. Gas is ridiculous, so he normally takes the bus there and back, which is a 2 hour drive each way. Add to that his crazy work schedule, and it's no wonder we never see him! So, when our lease is up in April, we are going to move closer. We are SO excited about being able to see him more, and saving money on all of those bus passes, too.

Another reason for the move, is that the raise is looking to be pretty solid. And I was SO excited about it... until I did the math and realized that when we get the raise in April (right when they would be reviewing our finances for the lease), that we will make JUST over the limit for low-income housing. Which means we will have to get a regular apartment, and they are ridiculously expensive here, so any extra money we would have had, will go toward our new lease.

How utterly ridiculous IS that? I think I was talking to Kristi over Christmas about this same thing. Mike's raise will put us over the limit for the low-income, so we will have to pay more, which puts us back in the low-income (at least in our pocketbooks). It reminds me of when we were in Flagstaff and Mike couldn't work full-time, because then we would lose our insurance through AHCCCS, and I was pregnant and HAD to have insurance, so we had to keep on like we were. The system is a bit messed up, I think.

Anyways, so we have been apartment hunting and cleaning and organizing. Not the most fun things to do, but necessary. Adam is having an especially hard time with all of this. For those of you who know him, he has a REALLY hard time letting things go, it doesn't matter what it is: old toys, broken items, friends, strangers, family, apartments, trash... he literally cries if I don't put his hair into a baggie for him after I give him a haircut. I'm serious. It's bad. He's a pack rat with items (just like his dad), so the past week of cleaning has been a bit tough, and I have had mixed emotions of guilt for sneaking down bags to the car for DI while he's sleeping, and frustration because he can't let things GO. Then today as we were apartment hunting, he cried over losing our apartment. 4 months from now. I'm hoping it's something he outgrows soon. Very soon.

I've also been busy figuring out kindergarten. Aagh! I can't believe Adam's going to kindergarten this year! It's SO crazy! The education is Nevada is 48th in the nation, and I had really hoped that we would be somewhere else when he went to kindergarten that was a bit better (like Connecticut :) ), but it's looking like we are going to be here. I have a few friends in our ward who are/were teachers in Las Vegas, and they all tell me that it's awful here. Kids here are tough and mean and parents don't care if their kids go to school or graduate or how they act, so after a few years, the teachers stop caring, too. I mean, I know that things are rough everywhere in this day and age, but everyone I talk to agrees that things are just... different in Las Vegas.

So, I've been contemplating either a) homeschooling him, just while were are living in Las Vegas; b) finding a good charter school; or c) telling myself to suck it up, and put him in regular school. Sigh... it's a BIG decision. I've been visiting schools and talking to teachers these past few days. I know I probably sound like a crazy, psycho mom, who wants her son going to Harvard someday, so he has to have THE very best education at all. And it's really not that. I want his early learning experiences to be fun and enjoyable, so that he will love learning his entire life. I don't want him around kids at such a young age who will crush his little spirit, like I've seen some kids around our apartment complex do. One program that I'm really looking into, is a distance-learning charter school they have here. They give you all of the materials, you teach your child, and once a week the teacher comes to your house, while you are there, to go over everything. And then once a month or so, the school gets together for field trips and whatnot. It is sounding like a pretty good option. Not a permanent one, I don't want to do this forever, but for now it might work. Decisions, decisions.

Wow... that was probably one of THE most boring posts ever. Oh, well. I got to keep everyone up to date, though, right? Even if it's not very exciting, it's still us.