Holiday Hurray

A corpse and his bride

Carl and I were invited to a fantastic Halloween Party this year that required us to not only wear a costume, but comply to a Tim Burton theme.  I love this kind of stuff!  We weren’t sure what to wear until my mom mentioned that she still had her wedding dress “sitting in the dress up box”.  Fingers crossed it would even fit me, I had her ship it to make The Corpse Bride.  The dress itself was really pretty, my mom sewed it all herself.  (Can you imagine sewing your own wedding dress?  Talk about stressful!)  And the best part was that it fit me if I sucked it in while standing straight up to zip it.  Mom assured me she didn’t care if I ruined it with makeup or hair paint but still, I was a little nervous.


But it made the perfect Corpse Bride costume.  I tried my best to copy Emily’s look.


I had my costume all figured out but Carl’s was a lot more tricky.  We had 3 hours before the party so we made a quick trip to Goodwill to see if anything would work.  We found this really cool jacket that did just the trick.  Carl even let me put makeup on him to make him look just like Victor.


The party was amazing but the best part was hanging out with my favorite ghoul.  Carl was such a good sport!

Categories: Family, Holiday Hurray | 2 Comments

Great to be 8!

Yesterday I became the mother of an 8 year old.  Oh man.  Is this really happening?  It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t too long ago when I was changing Crew’s diapers and watching him chase Archie (our old dog) around the house.  Now he’s all grown up and planning to change the world, one science project at a time.

{Crew enjoying his birthday doughnut, compliments of Krispy Kreme}

Crew went back and forth on having a party or just getting an awesome gift.  What he really wanted was a brand new fish tank with lots of cool fish to go with it.  And we’re not talking goldfish, he wanted “real fish”.  But setting ourselves up for fish ownership was proving to be too pricey for what we were willing to spend.  Carl suggested going in on it 50/50.  Jax and Milo also wanted some claim to the aquatic life too so all three boys agreed to use part of their Creature Keeper business earnings to get some great stuff and great fish to enjoy together with the tank.  After that, any talk of a birthday party with invitations and friends went out the door.  After all, Crew has done nothing but read about fish, talk about fish, and ask about fish for the last month.  Just say the word “fish” and he’ll tell you every fact he has learned about them.  It’s pretty impressive.  Kinda reminds me of how obsessed I was over horses when I was little.

{No fish yet, making sure the water is just right for them.}

We shopped around and found a seller on Craigslist offering two 10 lb. tanks and all the fish gear to go with them.  Jax really likes frogs and lizards so this way everyone walked away a winner.  One tank for fish (on top) and one tank for reptiles (on bottom, waiting for a resident).  A sort of pet duplex if you will.  The kids swear up and down that they’ll be the ones taking care of both so we’ll see how this goes.    I’m proud of my boys too for working so hard this summer to earn something big like this, something they’ve all wanted for quite some time.

I was worried that Crew would be disappointed with his birthday, not having a party or a big to do for his BIG EIGHT.  But Carl told me at the end of the night that Crew had declared this to be the best birthday ever.  Oh, that makes me so, so, happy (and relieved)!  Happy Birthday Crew!  We love you dearly!!



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Stars and stripes forever

Really, is there a better holiday than Independence Day?  I love the 4th!  Summer heat, pool parties, BBQ’s, friends and fireworks.  This year was no exception, thanks to Jim and Dyana who offered up their pool while they were out of town.  The kids swam non-stop for 4 straight hours…

while the guys manned the grill, leaving me free to catch up with friends I hadn’t spent time with in far too long.

By the time we got home the kids were so water-logged and worn out that they fell into bed and were asleep within minutes.  Awesome!  And we soon found that we can see the local fireworks from our bedroom window, so Carl and I turned out the lights and enjoyed them in our quiet house.

Happy Birthday America!  I love ya!

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This week marked 12 years together for Carl and I. That’s 12 years of laughing, loving, parenting, moving, struggling, celebrating, working and playing with my best friend.


I love you Carl!

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Like a freight train

We joined up with friends tonight for a pre-Memorial Day BBQ. The food was awesome, complete with homemade ice cream cones which were delicious! Afterward the kids hopped the fence down to the bike path behind their house and raced plasma cars til dark.

Oh my. They were flying! Video coming soon!

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Every day randomness… an effort to catch up

Hi!  I was starting to think I’d never make it back here to post again.  Sharing a computer with a masters degree student who also happens to be working all the time is proving to be very difficult!  But I’m not complaining… too loudly, anyway.

So how about some random pics of what we’ve been up to lately, hmmm?  Ok, then.  Here we go!

We took a trip up to Big Bear with some friends of ours with all the kids in tow.  There were lots of laughs, late night games, sledding, snowball fighting and ipod time.  Oh, and a Happy Birthday to me too!  It was just what we all needed for the weekend.


{Milo’s in the all yellow coat, Crew’s in the red and grey, Jax in the green camo}

Crew’s school held a Variety Show and he sooooo wanted to be a part of it.  But each student wanting to participate had to audition for a part.  I didn’t have the time or energy to think up something for him so I was thrilled when some friends recruited him for their dance to Smooth Criminal.  He was a cop with two other boys.


He took his part very seriously.  He even pulled off a flawless performance when I got my days of the week mixed up and didn’t get his costume to school for him in time for a performance.  (Let me tell you, I felt like dirt!)  But he had a great time and kept telling me how happy he was to be in the Variety Show.  I owe Jen, the choreographer, A LOT!


{That’s Crew front and center with the neon shoes}

I’ve been neck deep in planning Stake YW Camp.  I love, love, LOVE this calling and will forever appreciate those who plan such big events like this for the church.  Milo “helped” me sort through the hundreds of registration papers to get a count for the camp.  So far we’re at 297 campers (not including the stake staff)!  Yowza!


Milo is definitely a third child.  Between drop offs and pick ups, meetings and errands, he’s learned how to grab a nap wherever and whenever he can.  The only challenge is stacking the groceries strategically around him without waking him up!  The only thing worse than a tired Milo is a woken up Milo!


Every Tuesday Milo has a playdate until noon leaving Jax and I home alone together.  I quickly realized I needed to take better advantage of our time together if we were going to survive the school year.  So we go hiking.  Just the two of us.  We pack a lunch and head out as soon as the others are dropped off for the day.


It’s been so, so fun, for me especially.  I love sharing the outdoors with Jax.  It’s been an answer to this frustrated Momma’s prayers.  And finally, FINALLY our conversations don’t revolve around video games!


Carl’s car was in the shop so we went to pick him up from work and ended up with a grand tour or Quiet Cool.  I was so worried about disturbing the other employees but Carl was patient and pretty much just plain awesome with the boys.  Only Carl can turn fans into something magical.


Spring Break is here and again I find myself with two weeks of “what do I do with the boys?!”  We’re one week into it and it thankfully hasn’t been bad at all.  We’ve had our fair share of ice cream cones.

ImageWe spent a chilly afternoon at the beach.

ImageBut it’s ok, we came prepared!  What can I say, I LOVE the beach.


Now we’re gearing up for conference weekend and Easter.  I thought I’d take the boys to the mall and brave some shopping.


We hit up three stores and pickings were slim so we settled for ties this year.  Then we rewarded ourselves with treats from Rocky Mountain Candy Co.  Delish!

Carl and I have been training for Ragnar and doing what we can to get in shape for summer.  My boys like to workout “with me” which really means I get to do the workout twice.  The more training, the better I guess.  It’s so funny to see their interpretations of pushups, burpees, and squats.   And to hear them pretend to be out of breath like me.  Haha!


I love that they notice our effort to eat and live healthy.  Carl has lost 20 lbs.  Crew has joined the running club at his school and ran 5 miles one weekend with Carl.  Holy.Cow!  This morning I ran 8 miles, the farthest I’ve ever gone and my boys were there to greet me at home and ask how I did.  Aw, it makes me so happy.

 Welp, that’s about it.  It feels super to have things caught up so I can start posting again.  Have yourself a scrummy weekend!

Categories: Beach babe, Family, Friends, Holiday Hurray, school is cool | 1 Comment


Milo turned 3 this month.  THREE!  Whoa, where did time go?  I still remember when he was curled up under my chin like a jellybean, all cuddly and soft and newborn.  Now he’s a big ‘ol three year old who can tell a good joke, make killer rocket ship noises and jump off literally any surface.  If I could give him a nickname it would be mountain goat.  We had to celebrate Milo’s birthday in bits and pieces over the course of the weekend thanks to church callings, school and work.  But it was actually kinda nice that way.  Saturday we went for breakfast at McDonalds, played with friends at a birthday party (that we sorta pretended was Milo’s) and went to dinner with friends on the reservation.

And Sunday we made cupcakes and sang Happy Birthday.  We still need to go for our traditional trip to Toys R’ Us to pick out a gift.  Shhh, we’re working on it.  *laugh*

Happy Birthday Milo, you sweet, silly, charming, cuddly kid you!  We love you!


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Thursday = pink, red and white

Jax asked me other other day why we don’t have any Valentines Day decorations.  I’d been meaning to make some for a while but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.  So since we’re basically on house arrest thanks to potty training, I figured I’d make a few things to help us look a little more festive.  Jax and I made a hugs and kisses garland cutting the shapes out of felt and sewing them together.

I cut some monograms out of cardboard and wrapped them in yard.

Milo helped me update the calendar too for the new month.

Thanks for the extra push Jax!  It’s a good jumping off point to celebrate one of my favorite holidays.

Categories: Holiday Hurray | 1 Comment

Wrap it up, ring it in

Well hello there.  It’s been quite a holiday season for us here at home.  Seeing as it’s almost Valentines Day I’d best post how we celebrated the end of 2011!

We piled in the ol’ Navi once again and went to Utah for Christmas to be with family and friends.  The trip was almost canceled when our heater decided to act like a/c full time.  But after tweaking with it we realized that heat was still reaching the back seats just not the driver and front passenger seat.  So Carl and I put on some layers and packed blankets for each of us and made sure the boys were bundled up comfy.  And away we went, far too excited for the trip to let a little thing like -15 degree temperatures slow us down.  And it did drop that low, but only for about 20 minutes in one portion of Utah.  We blasted the heat in the back to compensate for the cold air up front (we had to keep it on in order for the backseat heat to work).  At one point Crew had stripped down to his undies while Carl and I were in beanies and coats.  He kept saying, “I’m sweaty!  Can you turn the air conditioner on?”  Pretty funny!

We arrived at our parents’ homes and spent 10 fun filled days with our kids, family and friends.  Here’s what we have to show for it:

We rode Trax to downtown SLC with Nana, Papa, Britney, Greg, Daxton & Boston.  We stopped in at Deseret Book for a free gingerbread cookie and met up with Jay and Janice, Janica (and soon to be baby), Seth and Warren and Nathan before seeing the lights at Temple Square.  IT.WAS.COLD!!

A quick family photo in front of the temple where it all began on June 6, 2000.

Or at least our best attempt at a picture.  Kids don’t like to hold still and smile when they’re turning into popcycles.

Aw, I just love this guy. (And I love that Carl’s beard grows in red!)

We made one quick walk around the grounds and then hightailed it out of Temple Square and back to the Trax station with minimum frostbite.  How quickly we forget how cold it gets in the wintertime there!  Yeesh!

The kids were the happiest when they realized we were leaving!

Goofing off and thawing out on Trax back home.

{Daxton and Crew}

{Britney and Boston}

{Nana and Jax}

Milo didn’t make it 5 minutes on the tram.  He was out like a light until the next morning.  Yes, I put him in his Pj’s.  Ha!

My parents have been holding a gingerbread house contest on Christmas Eve so we were pumped to be here for it.  There was a lot of trash talk and intimidating texts between me and my siblings leading up to this.  You better believe we came with our A game.  For the record, we made a special call in to Nana before arriving to find out what the rules of the contest were.  Structural support was allowed, we just had to provide our own supplies and bring candy to contribute to the pot.  Here’s what we started out with.

The timer was set for 2 hours.  Ready… Set… Go!  Carl, being experienced in construction (not really) began building the framework for our creation.  Milo sampled the candy to make sure it was up to code.

Brit, Greg and Daxton built a neat little bird feeder.


Kolby and Dustin recreated a scene from 300.

It was pretty awesome… and I haven’t even seen the movie!

Court and Joe built their dream home, complete with stained glass windows.  Peyton just wanted to know when she could eat the gum bricks.

Ryan and Ashley made a replica of my mom’s mantle clock.  And there’s no cardboard holding that stuff up.  Now that’s skill!

Milo carefully applied the candy, even Crew was impressed at how well he helped out.

And here’s our finished house.  Do you recognize it?  It’s the house from the Disney movie Up.  I love that the husband and wife in the movie are named Carl and Elle.  We modified it a bit.

Everyone voted on who should get the awards my dad had come up with.  We won most colorful.  Crew and Jax were pretty happy about that.  And I must say, I was a little nervous at how Crew would deal with this.  He tends to be overly competitive.  But he laughed, allowed Daxton to help us (even though he was technically the opposition), and cheered everyone else on when awards were handed out.  I love this tradition!

Then we had dinner.  Mmmm ham.

Peyton and the boys opened their pj’s.

And posed for a few pictures.

{Milo, Crew, Peyton, Jax}

And don’t forget the mandatory ninja pose.  It took Peyt a few tries to get this down but she was all set once she put Nana’s slippers on.

Then we read a few Christmas stories and said goodnight to the kids.

This is what they found the next morning!

Santa brought Peyton a new Tricycle and the boys Plasma Cars!

Jax and his new block set.  He LOVES to build.

Milo and his new race car track.  Did you ever have a marble track like this?  It’s awesome!

Crew and his new Spiderwick Chronicles series to read.

Dad and his new game to play with friends “Cidadels”.  Good thing, all our board games are long since trashed from the kids.

And here’s me getting all teary with my new Harry Potter series!!!  I’ve wanted this for so long!

Peyt and her hilarious bounce horse.

All ready for church.  I can’t remember the last time Christmas hit on a Sunday but it was nice to sing the carols (again, I cried.  Sheesh.) and be reminded of why we really celebrate Christmas.

Then we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Christmas dinner with Car’s family.  It was a really fun filled Merry Christmas!

Over the next several days we did lots of fun things.  Carl’s mom and I took our usual trip to D.I. for thrift shopping.  I didn’t find anything fun this time but I did see this and couldn’t help but laugh.  I guess the craze if finally ending in Happy Valley.

We ate at Rumbi Grill, or “Rumbly Grill” according to Crew.  He still asks when we can go back!  I’ll admit, it was pretty tasty.

{Jax & Crew}

And we decided that Milo can and will sleep anywhere!

We went to Cabellas.

And had a few good laughs!

Another day we visited a dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point.  I’ve never been to a museum like this.  We were all very impressed.

Jax kept telling us he had to use the bathroom but then we’d all get distracted by the next cool exhibit.  Next thing I know, Jax is crying and both his legs are wet from his waist down to his shoes.  Yep, peed his pants.  So we had to leave before seeing everything.  Both Jax and Crew were devastated.  Carl and I felt terrible because we hadn’t paid closer attention to Jax.  But the ticket clerk was understanding and after talking with her manager gave us free passes to come back another day and see all that we missed.  The day was saved!

Carl’s buddy Charles invited us to go up to their property in the mountains and go sledding.  There wasn’t much snow to speak of (which was the case the entire trip) but we still had fun with our new friends.

The kids cooked hot dogs around this fire made from some tubing and an old tire.  Very cool!

Crew and Jax tried their hand at BB guns… and lived to tell about it.  Barely.

Jax made the perfect snow angel.

And Charles took us for a few sledding runs with the snowmobile.  I forget how fun sledding really is!

Paul and Lisa let us use their truck to haul the 4wheeler up the mountain.  Judging from this picture I’d say it was a successful day!  (Thanks Pauly!)

We all cleaned up and made a mad dash back up north to Matt and Deanne’s for a party with all our Utah buddies.  My boys absolutely adore their girls Macy and Peyton.  I must admit, they’re pretty rad.

Poor Jax.  He threw up when we came down from the sledding.  We diagnosed it as car sickness (he get’s motion sick all the time) and had him sleep on the drive to the party.  He ended up sleeping all night and woke up just minutes before the party was over.  Just in time to throw up again.  But even after all that, he was still all smiles.  That’s how much we love these girlies.

Jax was sick the rest of the night so we decided to skip a potential day of snowboarding (there wasn’t any snow to be heard of anyway) and opted to lay low all day.  We watched lots of movies and didn’t leave the house except to buy diapers.  This is what happens when you have several fun filled days without a nap.

Saturday was our last day in Utah so Carl and I split up to maximize our last few hours of fun.  He took the boys back to the dinosaur museum to make up for the pee incident.  This time they were able to dig for fossils and see all the other cool exhibits we’d missed.

I joined Joe, Court and Peyton for a shopping trip to an antiques warehouse I’d heard about called Euro Treasures Antique.  Apparently the story is this:  A man in London was a sort of antiques hoarder and collected all this stuff.  He became ill and sold all of it to the warehouse owners.  There was so much stuff that it took them 3 years to have it all shipped to Utah!  We walked in and  I’d never seen anything like it.  The upstairs was dedicated to just chairs with a few tables and desks.  Look at it!  An ocean of chairs!  Some had their dates of origin.  I found one that was from 1200 A.D. and it was NOT cheap.

Downstairs there were pianos, old doors, stuffed lions (!!), everything you could think of.  And rows of old stained glass windows that were taken from old cottages.  Some glass cleaner and these would be beautiful.

One wall of the warehouse had been converted into a floor-to-ceiling shelving system for armoires and dressers and the like.  It was nuts.

Peyt was just as curious about things as we were.

There were so many great things to buy but the trouble was getting them back to Utah.  But I couldn’t help myself when I found this little chair for $20.  The antiques dealer said it was 200 years old.  This much was apparent when I brought it home to clean it up and realized it leans to the left.  Alot.  But I don’t mind, I think it just adds to it’s character.  And it reminds me of the fun I had finding it.

Joe took us to a great sandwich shop called Moochies for lunch.  Then we made one last stop to a shop called Home Again.

It’s a consignment and antiques shop with a totally different shopping experience from the last place.  Everything was staged so adorably that you couldn’t help but want everything in the shop.  Court and Joe bought a little table for Peyt’s room.  I chose something small this time, a little vintage water heater for $10.  Perfect for a making a cup of tea (or hot chocolate in my case).

A cord plugs into this socket and the coil inside heats up the water.  Cute, right?

It also happened to be my Grandma B’s birthday so we left our shopping and met the rest of my family at the cemetery to place flowers on her grave.  Jax still randomly says, “I sure do miss Grandma B.”

The next morning Carl packed up the car to the gills (he was a good sport about my chair) and we gave our hugs, kisses and goodbyes to everyone.  California here we come!  But the vacation wasn’t over just yet.  We planned to stop in Pasedina for a Rose Parade camp out with several of our buddies back home.  We found camp around 1am.  The boys had been asleep for several hours so they were awake and excited when we found “camp” on the street.  They snuggled in with their friends under blankets and air mattresses and drifted off to sleep.  But Carl and I had come unprepared.  Rather than trying to sleep on the ground we tried to get comfy in some beach chairs until sunrise.  Let’s just say it was a long night.  If I’d been smart I would have grabbed my phone from my purse before packing it away with everyone things for the night’s safe keeping.  All night I kept thinking I could be watching movies, playing games or web surfing to pass the time.  Oh well.  It felt like a lifetime, but morning did eventually come.  And so did the crowds.

We took down the beds and set up the chairs and mooched off everyone’s snacks.  We sorta forgot that we’d need to feed our kids breakfast and didn’t bring any food.  Ironically, our car was overflowing with travel snacks.  Again, oh well.  We had great friends that came to our rescue until Carl could get us some breakfast burritos.

And once the parade started, all inconveniences and discomforts were forgotten.  We were just a curb away from the floats.  You can imagine how much fun that was!

I’ll admit, as soon as we got back in the car to drive the rest of the way home I was totally exhausted.  And so was Carl.  He gets huge points for doing all the driving while the rest of us did this.

This past year has been crazy, fun, exciting, frustrating, sad, scary and magical.  I love closing out the year with so much family fun.  I’m really looking forward to what this year has in store for our little family.  Look out 2012 ’cause here we come!

Categories: Family, Friends, Holiday Hurray, Vacation Bliss | 4 Comments

The halls are finally decked

Sometimes I think it would be nice if I were to wake up on December 1st and find that elves have put up all my Christmas decorations.  I love Christmas but putting everything out in preparation for it can be a little overwhelming and messy.  This year we had a busy first week of December and couldn’t get around to anything until that weekend.  So on Friday night after no less than 57 requests from Jax, we finally started decorating for Christmas.  Carl dragged our trees out from the garage and used the yard blower to clean off all the cobwebs, dead bugs and dirt from the boughs.  Then began the task of trying to rearrange the furniture so that the trees looked like parts of the room instead of getting smooshed into a corner.  It wasn’t easy and by the time we finally had it figured out I was a little frazzled.  Honestly, I wasn’t all that excited to set up Christmas with our worn out couches, scratched up walls and mismatched, half broken decorations.  I wanted cute, cozy cottage Christmas.  Not beat up, randomly scattered, frat house Christmas.

It was getting late, the kids were driving me crazy and I was ready to give up for the night.  Jax had disappeared at some point during the furniture shuffle so I went to find him.  Already grumpy and being the jerk that I am, I marched out with my bad attitude ready to bust him in the act of doing something naughty.  I thought, “He’s probably upstairs playing ipad and eating my secret stash of  Flips from my night stand.”  I rounded the corner and stopped in my tracks.  Every single decoration we owned (broken or otherwise) was unpacked and strung about the living room.  It was a disaster.  Just as I was about to exclaim, “What the @$%*?!”  I saw Jax.  There he was in the middle of it all, carefully and quietly hanging ornaments on the trees we’d set up.  Bless his heart, he’d been waiting for so long to decorate the tree he just couldn’t stand it any longer.  While I was steaming over the feng shui of our family room and our less than Better Homes and Gardens decor Jax was singing Jingle Bells and rediscovering all his favorite and familiar nicknacks.  If ever I needed to be chastised it was now.  I was schooled.  I had to bite my lip when he turned around to show me his work.  Smiling ear to ear.  What a tender heart.  He wasn’t bothered by decoration protocol, “Lights first, Jax.  Then decorations.”  He didn’t care if the tree bobbles weren’t coordinating with my couches.  He just wanted to invite Christmas into our home.  And to do that you have to decorate a Christmas tree.  Plain and simple.

{Jax and Milo}

I gave myself a time out for being such a brat.  I tucked the kids in bed for the night.  I read them extra chapters in our book. And I gave each of them a Merry Christmas kiss goodnight.  “Tomorrow,” I promised, “I will be better.”

The next morning I woke up with a better attitude, made breakfast for everyone and we all set to work once again putting our house in Christmas order.   But we soon realized that unless you counted the pile of shards at the bottom of the decorations box (looks like I didn’t do a very good job of packing it up last year) we really didn’t have much to put on the trees.  And our lights had pretty much had it too.   So we took a family trip to Walmart and picked out several boxes of “shatter proof” balls and lights.  We came home and decorated all the trees with Jax heading up the project.  Crew and Milo showed us their dance moves to Pandora Christmas music.   Carl made hot chocolate for everyone.  We even ate, I mean strung a little popcorn while watching football.  I make this day sound all warm and fuzzy because, well, it was!   When the day was done we went from this:

to this:

My favorite part is turning off all the overhead lights so the tree lights can sparkle in all their soft glowing glory.  Makes me want to snuggle up in a fuzzy blanket and watch A Muppets Christmas Carol.  I walked around the house and declaring, “Oh, our house is so pretty!”  It’s not Pottery Barn perfect, it’s our “we have little boys and we’re still growing” perfect and I really do love it.

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