Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Recap

Christmas at our house proved to be a wonderful day! Santa came and left the boys their most requested gifts and a few surprises as well.

Christmas eve:
Jed and Kathy came to join in the festivities with us and as always that made the day more special. We had a nice Christmas eve dinner of Chicken Cordon Bleu, homemade bread, caesar salad, cheesy potatoes and for dessert...triple layer chocolate cake (which ended up being double layer as one of the layers got stuck in the pan.) After dinner we had our annual Christmas reading complete with Christmas hymns and the boys got to open a few gifts. They got new Christmas pajama pants (that I can't believe I finished) and a few books from mom and dad. Then they got to open presents from Grandpa and Grandma in Utah. Erik and Cameron were thrilled when they discovered that they had been enrolled in the Lego Brickmaster club and they even got a couple of lego sets to start them off. Thanks Grandpa and Grandma M! Then from Grandma S, they opened a card with money in it for them to spend on whatever they wanted. Last, we started a Christmas puzzle and worked on that until it was time to check Norad to track Santa and off to bed.

Christmas day:
The boys waited until 7:00am to wake us (not too bad!) and then it was downstairs to see if Santa had come.

He came all right!

We had a great morning tearing open presents and sharing in the excitement of our boys!

What did I get for Christmas?

Brett did good!

Merry Christmas!

(We completed our puzzle)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Enjoying our Sunday

It's cold. It's rainy. The boys are watching a Christmas movie (Ok, so they're having some kind of battle on the couch, but the movie is on in the background). Austin is asleep. Brett is watching football and I am doing this......

and this...

A couple of small steps closer to finishing up some of my last minute Christmas projects. Feels good!

And now my mantle looks like this:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We've decked the halls....

We pulled out our Christmas decorations and put up the tree the weekend before our trip to Utah for Thanksgiving. We wanted to come home to our own winter wonderland (minus the snow of course). So here is a sampling of our Christmas decor and of course I have a few projects that I would like to finish before the end of the holiday season. I guess that I better get busy!

The mantel needs work. A couple of my projects are going right here!

My favorite decorations of all...

Got Cereal?

Austin helped himself to a HEAPING bowl of Lucky Charms! I found him happy as could be eating nothing but the marshmallows! Luckily he didn't attempt to pour the milk. That could have been disastrous!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some Christmas joy from Utah

The beautiful Salt Lake Temple all lit up:

Don't my kids look thrilled to have their pictures taken?!

The boys with Santa.

Their Christmas lists.

Erik: Legos and building sets

Cameron: Pokemon (after seeing Santa he was very concerned and said "Mom, I forgot to ask for Bakugan." I replied "Don't worry, Santa knows")

Austin: Well he didn't ask Santa for anything (we were thrilled he even sat on his lap), but if you ask him he says that Santa is going to come and bring him presents. I have a feeling he's right!

Thanks for the sneaking the Santa picture Mom! And thanks for being our photographers Dad and Annie!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I can no longer keep a secret....

(thanks to my ever expanding belly)

Baby Names - Name Badge Ticker

We are excited and happy to announce that our family is growing! We are expecting our fourth in June! Morning sickness is fading (thank goodness), and now I'm just waiting for my energy to come back! The boys are so excited and convinced that this baby is going to be a girl! Cameron told me that he hopes it's a girl so that I won't have to be the lonely girl in our family. Aaah, thanks Cam!

We're home!

Well our last trip to Utah in 2008 has come and gone and now we are home busily preparing for Christmas (which is coming way too fast if you ask me). As you read from my previous post, we all had a great time being sick while on vacation (everyone except Brett, how he mangaed that I'll never know). After we were all well again, we were able to enjoy our final week. So, here's the run-down of our vacation. We shopped (shocking I know). We went to the mall to visit Santa. The boys gave him their christmas lists and even Austin even sat on his lap. We made it to Temple Square. Getting there was quite the experience, we drove to my dad's building which is a few blocks away from the temple and we parked in his garage (free parking right?!). We decided that it would be much faster to take Trax (Utah's light rail) to the temple since it was free. We all boarded and found seats and made it to our stop. The doors opened and we all proceeded to exit Trax well, I was 3rd from the back and as I'm stepping off, the alarm starts sounding that the doors are about to close and as I step down on the last step the doors start closing on me! I narrowly escape being wedged in between the doors and I jump down and turn around to see my sister Ali, sister-in-law Adrienne and my mom and niece trapped inside and the darn car takes off to its next destination. So we wait and wait for them to take the next car back and finally we see them walking up the street from the station 3 blocks down the road. Needless to say, we did not take Trax back to my dad's building. I think that I'm scarred for life. I have had nightmares about being trapped in the doors by my coat as Trax flies along the rails. Luckily we all got a good laugh about it and the Temple looked beautiful all lit up for christmas. The kids got to spend lots of time with their cousins. I crafted and sold a few of my goods at a craft boutique hosted by my Sister-in-law Simone. We ate out at some of our favorite restaurants (AKA The Pie and Arctic Circle for the kids) and we managed to see a few movies (Twilight with the girls, Madagascar with the kiddos and Quantum of Solace with Brett,yeah date night!) So despite the rough start, things turned out pretty well. We even survived the loooooong drive home with Cameron asking every mile how much further we had to go, and he wanted to know even down to how many seconds until we arrived in good old CA. Fun stuff I tell ya. Now we're home, the boys are off-track and we're trying to keep busy. I am managing to complete our christmas shopping (no easy task with all the kids in tow, thank goodness for online shopping.) Oh and in case you didn't know there are only 15 days until Christmas and in case you don't believe me, ask Cameron!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yes, I am still here.....

So I can't believe how long it has been since I've updated my blog. We are here in Utah trying to enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday. However, week one and we've all been sick! Stomach flu! It started with Austin, then moved on to me and Cameron, Erik was next in line and we are hoping against hope that it ends there. So needless to say we are ready to be well and finally start our vacation. Before the sickness struck, I did manage to go and see Twilight with my mom and sisters. We had such a blast! The movie was good (laughable in some parts), but of course it didn't quite measure up to the book. Overall, I liked it and I want to see it again. As always, it was great to just be out with the girls! So as for the rest of our trip, I am looking forward to doing a little shopping, doing some crafts and taking the kids down to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights, so everyone better get better quick!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quick, Inexpensive and Easy Christmas Gift

Bookmark Tutorial
(I hope this makes sense. Please feel free to comment with any questions that you might have)

Step 1: gather supplies

Step 2: Cut the elastic to 22"

Step 3: Using a small piece of wire bend to make a threader, side it through the bead and pull the elastic through the bead. Repeat on the other side. You should now have 2 beads on each end of your elastic.

Step 4: Now pull opposite ends of elastic back through the beads forming a loop. knot the ends and you're finished.

Step 5: Cut a piece of wire about 6" and loop over the finished bookmark

Step 6: Attach a crimp bead to secure. Begin stringing beads in desired pattern. Be sure to tuck the stray end into the beads to hide.

Step 7: After attaching end bead, string a crimp bead and one final bead, bend wire around and thread the end back through the crimp bead and adjacent beads to hide the end (you may need to trim the wire down at this point). Holding the beads tightly together smash the crimp bead to secure.

That's it! The perfect homemade gift for all the people on your list who love to read.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

For all Moms....

Invisible Mother......

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously, not.
No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ... Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.
It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my daughter to tell the friend she's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want her to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to her friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's A 2 Bath Day...

Gotta love it! I had Austin all bathed last night before bed, smelling and looking good and then first thing this morning, this is what I found:

(The marker went all the way up to his thighs)

After finding him in this state, I began to worry that if there was marker all over him, then it must be on other things too. So upon further inspection, I found out that my suspicions were correct.

(The Cocoa Pebbles add an additional design element don't you think?)

What is it with this kid and markers? When will I learn to put the markers away, out of his reach? Lucky for him covered in marker or not, he is pretty cute!

On another note, Austin said the family prayer last night for the first time with a little help! It was so cute and we all cheered for him and the boys gave him high fives for being such a big boy! Yep, we love this little guy! Now I guess I'm off to mop my kitchen floor. (sigh)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today's the day

Get out and vote! Happy Election Day! I'm off to the polls.

Monday, November 3, 2008

FHE "Secret Service Agents"

We had a great Family Home Evening tonight! The boys really participated and enjoyed the lesson and that made for a very pleasant evening. Don't get me wrong, little Austin still ran around in circles and tried everything he could think of to distract his older brothers by making them laugh (little stinker), but overall it was a great night. I adapted this lesson on service with the amazing story of the Candy Bomber. Now you can see why my boys were so into this lesson. What little boy doesn't love bombers and candy? And if you can combine the 2 even better! So we read the story and we talked about service and then Brett and I challenged the boys to perform a secret act of service for a member of our family. When the service is completed, they get to leave a heart that says "You've been served" behind. Erik said it was like being "Secret Service Agents" How cool is that. So I will be watching for little hearts to start popping up all over our house this week. Then for dessert....Brett's favorite....the best Texas Sheet Cake ever!

Texas Sheet Cake from Allrecipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup butter
1 cup water
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

6 tablespoons milk
5 tablespoons unsweetened
cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10x15 inch pan.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix in the sour cream, then beat in the eggs. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the water and 5 tablespoons cocoa. Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly, then stir cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing until blended.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
4. For the icing: In a large saucepan, combine the milk, 5 tablespoons cocoa and 1/2 cup butter. Bring to a bowl, then remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, then fold in the nuts, mixing until blended. Spread frosting over warm cake.

*There is a picture book called "Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot" that tells the story of Col. Halvorsen (the candy bomber) I have it on hold at the library and I am going to read it to my children this week. Check it out!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

The Costumes... The Loot... According to Erik, this was the best Halloween ever! Hope that you all had a wonderfully, spooky Halloween night too!

Trick-or-treat re-enactment