Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Day in the Morning

Well, by the time you finish looking at all these pictures you're going to feel like you were really at our house for the big day, eh?

We got up and saw what Santa brought for each child: Tyce--an I Pod (!), Mary Rachel--Snowy Village Kit, Cameron--motorcyles (see, Santa came through!), and Harrison--expansion set for the trains (and a motorcycle in his stocking). Then the kids opened their stockings, which, yes, contained some candy. I think our boys were pretty, pretty happy.

The Cooks joined us a few minutes later and Cambria and Maya opened their gifts. Cambria got two dress-up dresses and many princess-themed things befitting a lovely 3-year-old girl. Maya got some books and push toys and some other girly things. Harrison was a bit jealous of the their new pink slippers.

Coming down the stairs!

Opening presents by the tree.

Is it what she thinks it is? YES! It's the horse stable!!!!

Tyce with his new digital camera.

Bryce told everyone to stay on their blankets for crowd-control purposes.

David and the adorable Maya.

My brother and his beautiful wife Brooklyn.

The twins open a gift from their Aunt Heather.

Woo hoo! Check out my new bling!

"Cheers! Mu-hahaha!"

Photo Overload

I find that I need to post a lot of pictures because I don't want anybody to be left out. When David, Brooklyn, Cambria and Maya were here we went to Sam's Town to eat (Cameron was wiggly and not into posing) and then bowling. All of the kids--even the 4 little ones--seemed to have a good time. The ball only got stuck going too slowly on the lane a few times. I got THREE strikes IN A ROW, which I later learned is called a "turkey." I still didn't even break 100. I am very inconsistent, obviously.

David and Brooklyn are quite good, and were the scoring leaders.

I just loved having my WHOLE family together. My neices are adorable and I'm so glad I love AND like my brother and his wife.

Later Cambria did Mary's hair, which David suggested she copied from the singer from Flock of Seagulls. Ha!!!!

Sunday Funny

I substituted in the Primary 6 class yesterday and the lesson was about prayer. This is how part of our lesson went:

Me: When we pray, we use special language because we're talking to God. So instead of "thank you" we say "I thank thee". Let's practice, okay? You tell me something you're thankful for, and then you'll say "I thank thee for . . ." that thing.

Child 1: I'm thankful for my new Hummer from Santa Claus. "I thank thee for my new Hummer."

Me: Ummmm . . . Okay! Next person.

Child 2: I'm thankful for . . .

Child 3: Teacher! Teacher! I got a train set from Santa Claus and it's really big and it has a whistle like this: hoooo hooooo! And then . . .

Child 4: Oooh! Teacher! I got a dolly . . .

Me: Okay children, wait your turn. And maybe you could think of something you're thankful for that's with you all the time, like your family--something you want to thank Heavenly Father for. Child 2?

Child 2: I'm thankful for my family. "I thank thee for my family."

Me: Good!

(And this continues through the rest of the group, with the standard answers of house, family, clothes, etc.)

Me: Now when we pray we can also ask Heavenly Father for blessings or to help us. When we pray we would say "We ask thee . . ." for what we need. Let's start on the other side this time. Child 6? What is something you could ask Heavenly Father for?

Child 6: I could ask for my dead dog to come back to life. I really miss him because he was brown and cute. "I ask thee for my dead dog to come back alive."

Me: Ohhhh . . . Your dog won't come back to life on this earth but someday he will be with you in Heaven, won't he?

Child 6: Yep.

Child 5: My Uncle Charlie died and he was so fun, he played games with me like tag and he was really cool. He had a red backpack and he would come over and say, "Hey, who wants to play?" Yeah, I'm sad he's dead . . . and actually his name was Wayne.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Better than a visit from Santa Claus

It was great having my parents and my brother's family visit for Christmas (more pictures to come). My mom had been really ill the week before coming out so we were soooo happy to that she was able to make it. The grandkids really enjoyed their special time with their Mopsie and Grandpa. Mary especially enjoyed playing numerous rounds of "Sorry" with Mopsie, and somehow managed to win every time. (She is very lucky that way.)

Grandpa played trains and read to the kids, as well as listened to many stories and tales told by the kids.

We had a wonderful time with them and it made me miss having them close by even more. I think they loved playing with their 6 grandkids (my four, plus Cambria and Maya).

It's good to have friends

Check out that cutie in the middle--is it any wonder our boys fight over their little friend Emily when she comes over to play?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

May you all enjoy the warmth and love that today brings, as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Our Tannenbaum

Like most families with small children, our tree doesn't have many ornaments at the bottom. In fact, this is the first year since the twins arrived that we've even had a tree on the ground that they could actually touch. I thought it best that I take a picture now. You never know what could transpire between now and Christmas day.

Art shot of some of the "top tier" ornaments.

I like this picture because it shows off the frog.

The whole tree. It's really hard to take a picture of a lit tree.

Rubba Dub Dub

Three men in a tub!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Problem-Solver . . . with a problem

Cameron whined repeatedly, "Mom, I want some chocolate milk!" I guess I wasn't responsive enough, and the poor guy took matters into his own hands.

(And yes, his pants have fallen down, but that has nothing to do with the incident.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tyce's Winter Concert

You'll have to trust me that Tyce looked cool with his horn, because I couldn't get a good picture. It was in the gym and there were all 3 bands (beginning, concert, and symphonic). Do you like the mural in the background?

The beginning band played a holiday medley and version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. I was pretty surprised at how good they sounded, especially because I had worked with the French horn section a few weeks ago and they were . . . hmmmm, how to say this nicely . . . positively horrible. LOL I worked for a whole hour with those kids trying to get them to play the right notes. Just when it looked like each person knew how to hit F, for example, we'd play it together and we sounded like a horn on a mack truck.

This applied to everyone but Tyce. He is very good and can hit the notes without a problem. He did what I asked and then sat there kind of bored while I worked with the other kids.

Anyway, the concert was great and the twins were so . . . well-behaved. I know you're waiting for the punch line, right? Seriously, they were great. This is the second time I've been pleasantly surprised when I've taken them out that they were so good (the first was the ward party).

After the concert we went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate. I was so proud of Tyce for his hard work and his good attitude leading up to the concert. It was awesome to see him perform.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thoughts on Santa

My friend Jen and I were comparing ward Christmas activities last night. She was horrified to find out that we didn't have Santa at our party. Bryce was told by a vocal, opinionated long-time ward member that the ward was anti-Santa at the ward party. I told this to Jen and she said, "Does XY speak for the whole ward then?" Hmmmm. I guess my assumption was . . . yes.

We both have four kids, pretty much the same ages. Is it a crime to deprive the children of a visit from St. Nick? Is that a pretty integral part of any ward party (with the exception of activities like Night in Bethlehem)?

I will say that both of our older children assumed that SC would be there and were really quite surprised to find out otherwise.

Anyway, I started to write my thoughts on Santa but they seemed too scoogey so I erased them.

I looked through a catalog yesterday and found these salt and pepper shakers that are SO up my alley. I think they are about the coolest (expensive, impractical) things ever. Santa, I love you in small, miniature doses.

Here's me going off on a tangent: This is the cutest salt and pepper shaker I have ever seen, non-Christmas. Seriously, who hasn't wished that their S&P could give each other a hug?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ward Christmas Party

The evening began with Bryce at the microphone:

"Welcome to the Palo Verde Ward Christmas Party!"

What he meant to say:

"The theme for this year's party is Two People With No Committee Get Trumped by Unscheduled Baptisms and Have to Set Up At the Last Minute, Not to Mention the Fact that the Angel Tree Information--Which is Highly Unusual for the WAC to be in Charge Of--was Received at 3 pm for a 6 pm Party and, By the Way, Our Printer Broke Mid-Cycle and We Only Have 12 of the 28 Angels Printed Out for You."

And I thought the week leading up to the party was pretty stressful!

Well after all that drama, we had a fine night. It was a dessert party, where families brought their favorite treats to share. There were some pretty good-looking (and tasting) things. As the WAC, we provided a fruit tray, a vegetable tray, nuts, and punch. This is my observation regarding punch: our ward is full of very thirsty people. I spent a hefty part of my time making new batches and refilling the bowl.

While the people socialized at their tables they also put together gingerbread houses. Mary was lucky enough to have one of the Primary teachers, Sister Durham, help her stick her walls together, because she (M.) was very very frustrated trying to do it herself with no adult supervision. In the end it turned out great and she was very proud. She was the only kid to make her own gingerbread house (the others were done by several people together, usually a whole family or two). The twins spent their time crawling under tables, finding and eating fallen candy.

The second part of the night was the musical program. I wasn't in the room for any of that but from what I heard in the kitchen it sounded great. There was a family who did a fun number, a few songs from a lady who sings like an angel, and Silent night sung by the Bishop and Bro. Muaina (with guitar), as well as reading of the Christmas story.

Tyce was a big help when it came to setting up and taking down. I don't think we could have done it without him.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A visit to Santa

Santa has been a person of interest at our house, as you can imagine, since two 3-year-olds have just really begun to understand his significance. This is a conversation I have with Cameron almost daily.

Cam: Santa will come to my house . . . today?

Me: No, not today. On Christmas Eve.

Cam: And he will bring me candy?

Me: Sure. He'll bring you a candy cane or something in your stocking.

Cam: Will he come into my room and hug me?

Me: No, he'll just deliver a present on Christmas Eve.

Cam: And candy?

Me: Yes, and a candy.

Cam: When I see Santa I will say, "Trick-or-treat! Ho Ho Ho! Gimme candy!"

I took the boys to the mall today to visit with the Jolly Old Man and they weren't scared or anything. In years past I've been able to snap my own photo without paying for the professional pics ($34!!!) but this year they got wise to cheap-os like me. In order to break out your own camera you have to shell out the big bucks first. Luckily the boys were at least able to talk to Santa, though I wasn't forward enough to sit them on his lap for fear of chastisement from the grumpy money-taking elf.

I think our Santa might have been Jewish, because he looked a lot like Tevye from our production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Anyway, the boys asked for candy and motorcycles. They gave Santa high fives and were dismissed from his presence with a coloring book. I shot this photo from the side, and you can see Santa in the background, can't you? Oh, I'm so very sneaky!

When it was time to go home, I loaded the boys into their carseats. I asked if they enjoyed meeting Santa and Harrison said, "Yeah, but . . . where's my candy and motorcycle?"

Poor thing probably thought this charade was a total rip-off. If only he can hold out till Christmas morning . . .

An entry for the Naughty File

You don't think the twins have stopped doing "holy-cow-why-why-why-would-you-do-that" kinds of things, do you? Of course not. Here's a picture of what we found in the fireplace, the cumulative effect of many shoves and slips through the grate since we've moved in.

Too bad Harrison can't read, because, ironically, one of the things he stuck in there was a little round sticker that says "Choose the Right". (You can see it if you click the photo.)

And here's a picture of the fireplace and stockings, just because I think it's pretty.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

chocolate and lights

What two better things to help celebrate Christmas, I always say.

Last night we went to the Ethel M chocolate factory for FHE to tour the decorated cactus garden. It was amazing.
Tyce read a sign that said there were over 500,000 lights used to turn it into a "winter wonderland" (the year's theme). It reminded me of a desert-y Temple Square.

At the end we went into the actual factory and got a free sample of almond toffee. I forgot the camera but I hope these pictures give you an idea of what it looked like. Just insert four rambunctious children into the photos and you'll get the idea.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

L'Chaim--To Life!

We went on a date AGAIN, and it was even at night this time. We're moving up the scale, wouldn't you say? Bryce and I saw "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Nevada Conservatory Theater, which is the BIG theater and not the little one I've been to for the other plays.

It was AWESOME!!! The lead, Tevye, was played by an amazing actor named David Brummel.

David Brummel plays the role of Tevye in the NCT production. He has performed in the Broadway productions of Sweet Smell of Success, The Bells Are Ringing, Nine, Evita, Oklahoma!, Annie, and The Pajama Game. He has performed all over the world in productions of Evita and West Side Story, as well as national tours of Zorba, Death of a Salesman, Company, Chess, 42nd Street, Man of LaMancha and Nine. He has played numerous roles on All My Children, As the World Turns, Search for Tomorrow and Third Watch. He also has a recurring role as Judge Gus Stamos on Law & Order.

So if you watch Law & Order, maybe you'll recognize him, eh?

Anyway, the music was incredible and it was just all around awesome. (Did I already use that word?) All of the other parts were expertly done, but Tevye was just a stand-out. Bryce and I absolutely loved it. Afterward we talked for a long time to Rod and Delynne Knudson. Rod is in the new bishopric of the Newport ward as well as being Tyce's science teacher, and Delynne is Mary's sewing teacher. We were pleasantly surprised to see them there (as I hope they were us) because neither of us knew that the other also had season tickets. We're on different days though and just happened to meet up last night due to a scheduling conflict.

We had the best babysitter of all last night--Tyce! I made sure the twins didn't nap that day, and we put them to bed at 7 pm. Tyce and Mary were given pep talks to be good, followed by promises of ice cream for people who behaved. We came home to find them comatose in front of the TV. I think it's against the kid rules to actually ever go to bed.