Dec 31, 2012

Enjoying the Holiday

OK, I admit it. We've been messing around, just enjoying the holidays. On Saturday my sweetie was all worried because Drama Queen has been trying to move a love seat to her apartment for about the last two months and we just haven't managed to find the time to help her. He was convinced that we had to accomplish this task before he went back to work on Wednesday.

It could have been easy. He could have had her just load it into her truck, then drive the 70 or so miles to her apartment with the Dog Walker and unload it and come back. But what fun was that???

Instead he asked me to get hotel rooms for an overnight stay on Sunday. So after church we loaded up the kids and overnight bags, the love seat, food and games for the evening (and our swimming suits, of course) and we headed out of town.

We arrived at our small-town destination just after 3:00. We dropped off her love seat at her apartment first and then we headed downtown to check into our motel. It was cold! There was ice and snow everywhere and we were a little disappointed to see that the swimming pool was set up in what looked like a greenhouse. That meant we had to change at the pool in the restrooms or else run across the parking lot in our wet things.

But we had paid to swim and enjoy time with our kids and we weren't about to miss out. Some of us chose my way...I changed at the pool and then changed again before heading to the room. And some did what Princess did, wear jeans over her wet suit with a coat to get back to the room. And some did what my crazy sweetie recommended which was to just make the polar run in a wet suit! OK, he was the only one, thank goodness.

We spent the evening with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, popcorn, and peppermint kisses. We played games and cards and watched a little food network. About 11:00 we sent the kids to their rooms and I read to my sweetie for a little while. It was so fun to just run away for a day. I'm so grateful that we can afford to do that every once in a while.

We could have done a bigger, splashier Christmas instead, but as I've gotten older, I'm starting to realize that the most important things are time spent together and memories shared. I'm kind of hoping we can afford to make this a new family tradition.

Minus the polar run...

Dec 29, 2012

Guest Blog: Playing with Dolls by Sweetie

My wife had an amazing trousseaux when we got married including a rather large collection of baby dresses and shoes. As a teenager she loved to plan for her future family and she bought clothes (mostly dresses and shoes) for her future babies. I still remember when we brought home little Bossy, our firstborn.

My wife was a bit emotional and exhausted and started crying that she didn’t dare change the baby's clothes because she was afraid she might break… I took the baby and suggested she get some sleep. Somehow I managed to change her clothes. When I took her back to her mom… it all started. If I could change Bossy and she wouldn’t break, well… the poor baby had to try on about 15 outfits that night, one right after another.

It’s twenty-eight years later and you would think she would be over it.  NOT!!  The only difference is now she orders the dolls to dress themselves. Sandy loves to go to Kohls, buy a bunch of good deals, and come home and make the kids do a fashion show. Today she went a bit nuts on some skirts.**Note from Sandy** (I did NOT go nuts, these skirts were almost all less than $5 each!)

When Princess tried getting away with, "They're all the same size," she threatened to take them back. And then she got the bright idea to take a picture of each and every new skirt…

As for me, I just pay for the doll clothes.. never participate…and I have no idea how 8 new Broncos shirts in various sizes got in the cart either...  

Dec 28, 2012

Fourth Quarter

So here it is, my final summary of 2012. I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by!

In October, readied Princess for her very first dates. She went miniature golfing with the guy down the street and then she went to the Homecoming dance with a different boy. We spent the entire fall break doing something fun with the family each and every day, including Cornbelly's, the Church History Museum, and the Scarecrow Festival. We also had the usual Halloween festivities. I think my favorite post was actually dress shopping with the girls. Baby Doll is just so cute trying on a little formal.

November sneaked right up on me! Princess had another date to a formal dance and I spent many hours preparing for Pinewood Derby. We finished up the football season and prepared for Thanksgiving. Prima Donna went absolutely nuts over her best friend's YouTube video, and we got the whole family in to see Disney on Ice. My favorite post is another one about Baby Doll. She just loved her new pointe shoes!

December was filled with all the usual Christmas planning and concerts and recitals. I did my first (and maybe my last!) Tupperware Boutique. Prima Donna insisted we just had to celebrate 12/12/12 and I wrote several posts that show the Dog Walker's amazing Christmas decorations. There were so many fun posts this month it was difficult to choose a favorite, but I really like the one about Scout's basketball team.

Thanks for strolling down memory lane with me! I'm looking forward to another bright year with many more happy memories.

Dec 27, 2012

Gift Wrapping

I bet you are a little confused when I said yesterday I missed the Dec 25 I want to explain that because I was confused too. It turns out that the Dog Walker was determined that I should write my post on the actual date of Christmas, but I was slow getting going and the girls and I were still sitting at the piano when the clock ticked down to midnight. He came in the office, sat down at my computer, and published an empty post! Then he reopened it and left it sitting there for me to write.

I came in, thinking maybe I had already started the post, and gave you the details. So if you saw an empty post, I'm sorry!

The Dog Walker and I are alike in many ways, we both want to post every day, we both like exercise video games (I played my first games of Just Dance 4 yesterday and I got 4 stars the first time!), and we both love basketball.

But there are some things where our thoughts are vastly different. Like see this stack of packages? They are nothing like the gifts I wrap. I wrap quickly and simply, with store-bought paper, no bows. His packages are amazing! I hope you can see them.

Every shoe box that comes into the house, by default, finds its way to the Dog Walker's bedroom. Then when he needs a gift for a birthday or some other occasion, he spends hours wrapping the box so it will still open. By that I mean that he wraps the lid and the box separately in 8 1/2 x 11 usually colored paper. This year he really outdid himself. He made his own paper (using huge amounts of toner from my printer).

That yellow one up there was for Princess. Her favorite color is yellow, so he took one of her favorite CDs, found an online picture of the cover and then made it black and white and printed it hundreds of times on several pieces of her paper. Then when he made his bow, he wrote Taylor Swift all over it so that it matched the paper!

I have to confess I don't believe I have ever spent that kind of time wrapping a single package in my entire life, but he was very proud of them and asked me to share them with you. It was pretty inventive, but not all that cheap given the cost of the ink.

He could probably become a professional gift wrapper although even with all of our many feet, eventually he would run out of shoe boxes...and toner.

Dec 25, 2012

Christmas Day

 I had hoped to put a post up while it was still Christmas Day, but that didn't happen. We've been partying right up to the end!

I told you yesterday I was still finishing up some last minute wrapping and other preparations. We finally dropped into bed about 3:30, but that didn't stop the kids from knocking on the door at 6:30. Yes, they were all up except for Baby Doll (who sleeps in our room), and they wanted to see what Santa had brought for them.

Five minutes later we were headed down the stairs. The little ones were so excited! We emptied our stockings first. They were a bit different this year, filled with oranges and granola bars and tiny packages of cookies. Then the kids really dug in. The grownup kids were thrilled with their Tupperware cookware I've been acquiring a piece at a time all year. The Dog Walker was totally overwhelmed with his karaoke machine that he has been wanting for ages. Princess got an electric toothbrush (the good kind) and an Ipod dock for her Ipod. Prima Donna got a basic Kindle reader and some renaissance clothing she wore all day. Crafty, Scout, and Baby Doll got knock-off American Dolls and tons of cute clothes for them. Curly and Sport got Lego City sets and Sport scored a slot-car race set while Curly got several wooden puzzles.

I gave my sweetie a navy blue pea coat with a gift box in the pocket. I had re-sized his wedding ring that he hasn't worn in about 20 years. It was tricky trying to figure out his size, but we managed and it fits just fine.

We opened gifts for about 30 minutes before Curly fell asleep on the floor. That gave me the perfect excuse to slip back to bed for a while. We reconvened at 11:30 and opened everything else. The kids were so cute and so excited to present their treasures to their siblings. The Dog Walker turned shoe boxes into awesome works of art and then carefully presented gifts he had bought with his own money to his brothers and sisters. Princess made adorable felt people we can use for FHE. It took her many hours to design the pattern and then cut them all out, glue on hair and clothe them. Scout had help from her dad to spray paint and glitter pinecones that looked like baby Christmas trees for her sisters. And you saw the amazing basketball games Sport made for everyone! Prima Donna had earned Target gift cards from Reflections and she used them to buy gifts for her siblings. Teach gave everyone books and the Gym Rat scored major points with his Lego Sets for the boys and CTR rings for the girls.

But the Drama Queen's gifts were way over the top. Now that she has a real job, she decided she wanted to spoil all of us a little. She bought corsets for her sisters and me. She bought samurai outfits for Curly and Sport and half a dozen tutus for Scout and Baby Doll. The silliest were the gifts for the Dog Walker and Gym Rat. She gave them Viking helmets with attached (and braided) yarn beards!

Bossy's family showed up around 4:00 and we opened gifts with them and then played cards for a while. My sweetie made us an amazing dinner and after cleanup we played a little more. Bossy's family left about 11:30 and then Princess and Prima Donna and I sang carols until the day was officially gone.

I love Christmas! I love being together and loving each other. I know some people think we are probably a little over-the-top because we like to give gifts to our neighbors and friends, teachers and coworkers, but it is so important to let people know that we love and care about them. And that we appreciate them and the way they touch our lives.

I wish there were some way I could give a gift to all of you, my loyal readers. You keep me writing every day because I don't think I would be motivated otherwise. Thank you so much for sticking with me! I hope your holiday season was as full of joy and love as ours was. Merry Christmas!

Dec 24, 2012

Happy Christmas Eve

Bossy's family joined us tonight for a little holiday cheer and to open a few early Christmas gifts including our traditional pjs. Teach insisted on a somber, grumpy pic, but I much prefer the top one with most of us smiling.
Then we opened the gifts from Sport. He has been working with his dad in the garage for weeks making something special for all of us.
The kids waited (mostly) patiently for him to pass them out to everyone. Then they all dug in together.

Aren't these little basketball games cute? I'm thinking I see another pack meeting project...

And I got to open this, a bright pink basketball! Yeah, it's been an amazing Christmas already.

Family Christmas Party

Once again the Dog Walker bailed me out on the post last night...thanks Nate!

After our awesome evening at the theater we all went to Applebees for 1/2 price appetizers and then we sat around and talked for a while and it was after midnight before we got home. Prima Donna still had a bunch of earrings to make for her church lesson today and I had a lesson to prepare for Curly's class. We also had a bunch of party prep to do before our big family party today.

If you remember from last year, we invite all my siblings over for dinner and a little fun. This year we decided to make candy. It was a bit of a stretch for us, but we wanted to try something new. My sweetie grew up dipping chocolates at Christmas time, but it was not something we have ever done. His favorite are the Almond Joys, so he made the centers and we put them in the "cooler" (our big van) overnight to set up.

We spent the better part of the week making treats to fill the little cardboard boxes we gave each person to take home. We made fudge and peppermint bark, peanut clusters, sweetie even tried his hand at divinity!

When our guests arrived, we had dinner first, potato bar and salads. After they were finished eating, we quickly took down all the tablecloths and replaced them with paper. Then we set out a bunch of bowls with liquid chocolate, gave them all the Almond Joy centers, and told them to have at it. While they were working on that my sweetie mixed up a batch of caramel and then we brought out the pretzels and let them make those.

After the candy mess was mostly finished my amazing sweetie dressed up in his Santa suit and passed out gifts to the kids then we mixed up a huge batch of eggnog shakes. Family gifts were exchanged and by about 9:00 the party was over.

I love having everyone here for the holidays, it keeps my family close and gives the cousins a chance to get reacquainted. My grandma had a party every year when we were kids for most of the holidays and now that we never get together I hardly know those cousins at all.

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays like we are. I better get moving, I've still got tons of gifts to wrap...I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve!

Dec 23, 2012

Guest-Blogger Forgotten Carols by Dog Walker

I remembered that Mom and Dad told us that they went to see the Forgotten Carols last year. So this year, they asked us to come see it in person. All of us, children got to watch it on a movie at home, but this time, we got to go see it at Cottonhills High School. Its auditorium was really huge, it was like going to an NBA arena. The Forgotten Carols worked kind of like in the movie, except it added some parts that weren't in the movie. It was fun to hear lots of good songs in it.

Right when the play was over, we got to stay in for some special thing of what Michael McLean did. He talked about why he made up the musical called Forgotten Carols. He also got to sing his carol that he thought of. Then another one about his granddaughter always wanting a cupcake dress. Then we got to sing along to one more song that we repeated like twelve times.

Then when we were free to leave the auditorium, we left it, and then we danced around the huge pit by the cafeteria while waiting for the others to come out of the restrooms. We were heading out to our vehicles, then we noticed the cast of the Forgotten Carols at the front desk signing autographs. It would've been fun to meet the cast, but it was way too long of a line, so we just saw them and left. We love the Forgotten Carols. It helps us want to feel the spirit while we're feeling happy about it. We might be able to have our own carols anytime soon.

With the Forgotten Carols being 21 years old for them, Michael McLean has made up a new musical called Threads. It would be fun to see it. Maybe someday we'll see it.

Dec 21, 2012

Third Quarter

Third quarter was definitely my favorite part of 2012. We spent the first couple of weeks concentrating on Girl Scouts and Princess's Gold Award. She taught two weeks of dance classes and then had a program so her 50+ students could perform. She did an amazing job!

Then we left immediately for our Vacation of a Lifetime! I can't even begin to choose my favorite, so I'm linking each city and you can click the ones that sound the most exciting to you... Lincoln, Keokuk, Nauvoo, Detroit, Kirtland, Palmyra, Hershey, Gettysberg, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver.

Besides the trip, one of my favorite activities was the Stadium of Fire. I loved watching the Beach Boys perform!

August was filled with getting back to school and football. We also had the roof reshingled and took the Girl Scouts to Tuacahn. Teach and I joined Curves and started working out every day. (It's a good thing since I'm having a hard time laying off the Christmas sweets.) We did some fun last minute field trips including a visit to the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving Point. I think my favorite post was this one although I was pretty upset about it at the time.

We did a bunch of birthday parties and other parties in September including our anniversary. We took a little trip to Bear Lake over Labor Day weekend and we loved the free tickets to the circus! My favorite post was just one of those random days when everything seemed to go wrong. It just seemed so typical of my life and something I never would have recorded without my blog.

I love this fun linkup!