Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

Can you believe it's already time to celebrate the new year???

After our bike ride afternoon and a little grocery shoppin', we sat down to some serious New Year's Eve game playing fun. Mexican Train was our game of choice while the kiddos played around the house.

Our good friend, Kathy Busby, came over to play games with us.

To our surprise and delight, Michelle and Sarah Holbrook dropped by! We've spent several New Year's Eve's with the Holbrooks, and it was seriously heart-warming to see these two on our doorstep.

It's just more fun when Kelly is playing with us.

Just before twelve, we turned on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Jenna was getting so excited she couldn't contain herself.

At twelve on the dot we exploded the poppers (thanks Michelle!) and had a toast.

Happy New Year 2011!!!

Biking to Balboa

We grabbed our bikes and rode from Huntington to Balboa today. It was a long ride, but so worth it! We had a beautiful sunny day, even if the weather was only like 59 degrees.

A gal on the pier was fishing and caught a crab. You have to look close, but she's holding it up for the kids.

Lunch at Ruby's. What a sweet spot we got!

Took the Ferry over to Balboa Island and back. It was a first for my kids.

We hung out a bit at the Fun Zone, and the kids rode the Ferris Wheel and Carousel.

Then back to the cars. We were gone about 4.5 hours and had a total blast!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

25 In 2010

25 in 2010
Things I've Never Done Before

1. Started a Cupcake Project
2. Visited a fish hatchery
3. Planned baptism for youngest daughter
4. Helped my dad with his open-heart surgery recovery
5. Attending a pre-movie release screening
5. Had "Jimmy Kimmel Live" interrupt the movie screening
6. Read 75 books
7. Read 50 different authors
8. Became the mother of a Middle School child
9. Visited the Oakland Zoo and saw fruit bats up close
10. Met Maria V. Snyder, author of the Study and Glass series'
11. Performed a major choral worked based on the Book of Mormon and composed by a friend
12. Had lunch with professional soloists including Erin Morley from the Metropolitan Opera.
13. Camped in Yosemite
14. Swam in the Merced River
15. Hiked to Vernal Falls
16. Looked out on the entire Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point
17. Committed to memory all 50 states and their capitol cities
18. Joined a Boot Camp workout group
19. Purchased wood floors for a room in my house
20. Researched and implemented for a 504 Plan for daughter
21. Choreographed a number for teenagers and stayed completely calm
22. Celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary
23. Watched my daughter become a cheerleader and cheer for her school
24. Decorated display case for church
25. Spent New Year's Even with my cousin Joanna and her family

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Did I post about this already? I can't remember. Yesterday I told you about my newest book discovery. I called the two books a "duo". Ha, ha. Yesterday, I also found that the third and fourth novels to this series are due out in the Fall of 2011 and 2012. I'm not sure why I thought I'd found a series that only had two books.

Does anyone write just one or two books anymore? I am always thrilled to have the fun go on and on, but I realized that my children are growing up in a world of sequels. Books and movies all have multiple stories. This fact was driven home last year when Jenna caught the writing bug. She loved to write stories, get a construction paper cover and staple the whole thing together. We have many of these gems lying around. What was funny was when she showed me her first story in "published" form and said, "Now I'm going to start on Book 2 and Book 3!" She wasn't talking about her 2nd and 3rd books, she was talking about the sequels.

I suppose a hundred years ago, people did write their stories in "volumes". I grew up with one story in one book at a time. Maybe the pendulum is swinging like it always does. What will our children do one day when they find out that some people only write one story and put it all in the same book? I wonder if they will like that or want their multiple volumes that they grew up with? Personally, I am good either way. We'll have to wait and see what our kids think in the years to come.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Latest Favorite Books

This duo by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl are awesome! If you are looking for something to read and haven't read these yet, I highly recommend them!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Village

Sunday evening we were invited to drive to Coto de Caza the home of a couple who displays a magnificent Christmas village each year. If you are familiar with the Department 56 artists, then you know how beautiful this display was. Beth and Kevin bought their sailboat from the couple years ago, and they still keep in touch. This was the husband's passion, and he passed away in July of this year. His wife spent a month setting up the village just like he used to. It was an honor to be invited into their home to see the display.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Who told these girls that they could get up before 7:00 a.m.?

Wishes fulfilled: From Santa, an American Girl doll for Jenna, a Lego Hagrid's Hut for Heather, and from Aunt Beth and Uncle Kevin...The Wii.

Christmas is Family...This year we had Grandpa, Aunt Kevin and Uncle Beth with us.

We had a full turkey dinner. A new table cloth, Spode napkins and Spode serving utensils to added to our table. Kelly's delicious turkey and stuffing was the best.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


We've had so much rain. Almost a week straight. It's wintery and lovely, but disturbing since we don't have rain like this. We have drains in all our planters except this one which really showed what kind of water we were getting in just a 24-hour period.

So what do you do during vacation when it's raining? You have friends over, of course. Madi, Grace and Heather spent the day at the Mosher's, and then at our house for dinner and sillies. Jenna was with Sarah at the Holbrook's as well, and Sarah and Caleb joined us for dinner and sillies as well. We just love good friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gingerbread House

I have to admit that I have never been fond of making gingerbread houses. My mom made beautiful ones for her business after I left home, but I just don't enjoy the fine decorating. Plus, does the one you make ever look like the picture on the box? No sir.

My girls have enjoyed constructing and decorating gingerbread houses with each of their aunties, Beth and Michelle, so as neither auntie is here, I bought a kit at Sam's Club. It was really easy to construct, but the frosting and fondant didn't behave for me like I would have liked. The kids, however, didn't have a clue and had a blast.

Next year, we've decided to call the Holbrook family to get the information on their house making traditions. They use graham crackers and everyone gets their own house and frosting. I think I like that plan, and the kids would love to not have to share everything and have mom involved so much.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Piano Recital

Tonight was the recital for Mrs. Holbrook's students. The room was filled to capacity, and the children did a wonderful job! Just scroll down to see all those relieved and excited faces! And I have to mention that sweet Heather got more compliments on her HAIR than her piano performance. Way to look stylish while performing Heather!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Meaningful Family Night

We have our family night lessons on Sunday evenings, and Heather asked if she could teach this week. She asked the day of, and we were skeptical about her preparation. She told us she was completely prepared so we gave her a shot. She spent an hour setting up and then called us in to begin the lesson. I want to record as much as possible because she simply blew us away.

She began in the kitchen with scripture reading. She had us get our scriptures and then asked each of us to read. We went through the entire story of the birth of the Savior. Then she read a story from The Friend magazine. We laughed when, in the middle of her lesson, her notes got mixed up and she said, "Boy, I never knew it took this much work to do a lesson!"

From the kitchen she directed us to the laundry room, otherwise known as the Time Machine. For those who don't know, our laundry room is a small, square room with a bathroom attached. There were glo stick lights hanging from the cupboard knobs and door handles. She instructed that when the sticks stopped flashing, we were at our destination. Behind the closed bathroom door, Jenna provided sound effects as the Time Machine moved through centuries. Heather operated all of the glow sticks. She left us in the machine for a minute and then came back to turn off the flashers indicating we had arrived.

When she opened the door for our exit, the entire house was dark except for all of my battery powered candles. She led us "down the road", past the Christmas tree and on to what we were to see.

She had us stop at each Nativity scene and explained what each was made of. She explained that the last set was made by Jim Shore, and she picked up each of the pieces to show and explain that the carved scenes depicting what we had read from the scriptures.

We then went back to the Time Machine and were transported home.

I just have to say that my heart is full. I am in awe of this sweet, eleven-year-old girl who listens to her lessons at church and at home, and she loves the Savior enough that she wants to teach others about His birth. I pray she never loses her enthusiasm or her testimony of Jesus Christ. We have been well instructed this week.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And a little child shall...smack them upside the head!

Yes, I know the scripture says, "...and a little child shall lead them." I don't know why, but when my little children show me the way, it feels more like a reality smackin'. Does this ever happen to you?

Tonight, after being up too late (all), being tired from doing so much today (all), and being grumpy while getting beds ready and finding shoes, dirty clothes, toys, etc. out where they didn't belong (me), I managed to get the kiddos tucked. Heather said to me, "Mom, when you go back out to the kitchen look at the note." So I did and followed directions.

What this little moment taught me tonight is that my girl was looking for the Spirit in our home, and since mom wasn't providing, she found a way to connect to some peace. By setting up this little display for me, she lovingly and innocently knocked me off my grumpy rear and provided me with my own moment of peace and reflection. Thank you Heather. For being only eleven years old, you are one smart cookie.

Cinnamon Rolls

Oh yes. Yummy goodness was brewing at our house on this cold, rainy day. The third generation of cinnamon roll bakers set to work and created some delectable deliciousness.