Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Hate Santa!!

Yesterday, Carson had a Christmas Program at preschool. A secret visitor (that happy, jolly old elf) came to visit the kids at the end of the program. All the kids sat on Santa's lap and got a yummy looking blue or pink Dora the Explorer candy cane. I even commented on the beautiful canes. "Wow! What great looking candy canes!"

Well, when it was time for Carson to sit on Santa's lap, he chose to stand beside him instead. (I think he was tramatized at the last Christmas party, when Santa got a little too friendly). Anyways, after Carson told Santa he wanted Star Wars Legos for Christmas, Santa said, "I'll see what I can do," and then handed Carson an itsy bitsy red and white striped candy cane. Carson promptly ran to me, hid his head on my shoulder, and refused to talk. As soon as we stepped out the door, Carson yelled, "I hate Santa! Santa is mean!" He couldn't stop talking about Mean Mr. Santa for the rest of the day.

I'm glad Santa is already a bad guy, because guess what? Carson is not getting Star Wars legos for Christmas!! Santa's really going to be in the Doghouse now!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cali's Christmas Piano Recital

Cali played "What Child Is This" today at her piano recital. The piece starts out really slow, so don't worry, she hasn't forgotten what notes she's supposed to play!!


I hate seafood, or any form of ocean life that I am supposed to ingest. I grew up in the MidWest (is that where Ohio is?) and the closest thing I ever came to eating seafood was VandeCamps Fish Sticks. I love those deep fried little guys.

Somehow, I managed to marry a man that LOVES seafood, and I gave birth to a son who arrived with the same palate as his father. Ian orders the Captain's Platter whenever we visit the ocean. The platter contains almost every form of fish, crawling creature, and shell found in the ocean. So far, Ian has loved every piece of seafood he's tried.

Today, he tried Oyster-on-the-Halfshell (otherwise known as a Naked Oyster)for the first time. These are the results!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't Talk to Strangers . . . except during the month of December!!

"Mom, I really don't want to talk to him!"

"Sure you do. Look excited!"

"I'm really nervous, but I really want a present!"

"Everyone is staring at me. Why is Mom making me do this?!"

Cali told Santa she didn't want to sit on his lap, but he insisted.

The kids were much more comfortable in a group setting. After all, they had the numbers: 3 to 1. Santa didn't have a chance!

Did you ever notice how adults contradict themselves?!
During the Spring, Summer, Fall, and most of the Winter:

"Kids. Go straight to school. Don't talk to strangers. Don't even smile at them. If anyone you don't know tries to give you candy or tries to talk to you or asks you to get in the car with them, run away as fast as you can. We can't be too careful these days!! There are lots of wackos out there."

During December:
"Hey, Kids! Guess what you get to do tonight. You get to sit on a strange man's lap, tell him all of your secret hopes and dreams about Christmas morning, take candy from him, eat the candy he gives you, give him a hug, and have a photo taken with him that will soon be posted on the Internet. Make sure you smile or else you won't get any presents!"

"But, Mom. I don't want to sit on his lap or talk to him. He's strange. He has a fake beard, he coughs, and he smells funny. Plus, I don't want one of those old candy canes."

"Sit on his lap, or else!!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Side by Side, Hand in Hand, Heart to Heart

Aaron is going to turn 38 years old on Christmas day, so I thought I'd give him an early (free) birthday gift . . .
Here are 38 reasons why I love you!
1. You never complain about my sweaty palms. (I'm still looking for a cure! If anyone has any suggestions . . .)
2. You are funnier than anyone else I know. (Besides me, of course!)
3. Your smile lights up the room! (Those bleach whitening strips are great!)
5. You LOVE your job. (I'm so glad you come home happy!)
6. You always compliment my cooking (Even when it's just cold cereal! Get excited. That's what we're having tonight!)
7. You clean toilets.
8. You make the bed on Saturdays and Sundays.
9. You read to the kids.
10. You do dishes.
11. You watch The Amazing Race with me. (Wasn't that the best season ever?!)
12. You watch Survivor with me.
13. You catch me up on current events since I don't read the newspaper or watch the news.
14. You fix the computer.
15. You change lightbulbs. (By the way . . . will you pick some more lightbulbs up after work today?)
16. You shop at Costco for me so I won't spend too much money.
17. You never mention my terrible case of adult on-set acne.
18. You always say, "Yes!" when I say I want to go out to eat.
19. You always share a Founder's Favorite with me from Cold Stone.
20. You're a great tipper.
21. You never kiss me after you've eaten seafood.
22. You love my family.
23. You never look around the house and say, "So, what did you do today?!"
24. You love our kids as much as I do.
25. You call me from work even though you hate to talk on the phone.
26. You secretly enjoy my love for Hollywood gossip.
27. You love Diet Pepsi with fresh lime squeezed in it with pebbled ice.
28. You look like Matt Damon. (Wait a second, I think he looks like you!!)
29. You love to go to the movies and eat popcorn with me even though it has 10,000 calories in 1 bucket. (Plus, you never complain when I want the free refill!)
30. You love to read.
31. You want to retire at the beach!
32. You don't talk to much!
33. You are a great listener.
34. Your eyes twinkle when you're happy.
35. You hardly ever get mad.
36. You do all the driving on long trips so I can take naps!
37. You don't think it's strange that I sometimes cry for no reason at all.
38. You are 100% trustworthy and support all my hopes and dreams.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We Found Someone to Hold All of our Stuff!!

We were a little bit concerned about what we were going to do with our dog, Biscuit, and our heavy, winter coats during the photo shoot. No need to worry. We found a nice homeless man who was willing to take care of all of our stuff -- including the dog!!

Sisters by Birth, Friends by Choice

The girls have this saying on the wall in their bedroom. I think this picture does the quotation justice!!

I Crack Myself Up!

Whether it's kosher or not, I've always laughed at my own jokes. I've had a hunch for a while now, that I think I'm funnier than Aaron does. These pictures prove it!!

Nyah's Audition for Next Twilight Movie

I've Only Got One . . .

We asked Maritza to take pictures of our family on Friday. It was freezing outside, but we had a blast! Maritza came back to our house with us to check out the results of our photo session on the computer. Ian saw a picture of himself and announced, "Look. I've only got one nipple!" Wow!! We all burst into peals of laughter. Ian thought about what he'd said and quickly corrected himself, "I mean, I've only got one dimple!" We seem to have at least one accidental, nasty comment in our home a day!! I love kids!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nyah's Reflections Entry

Nyah won 1st place for her film/video entry for the Reflections Contest this year. I'm pretty sure she was the only person that entered this category for her age division, but we were very proud of her first efforts as a writer, director, and producer of her "short film."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ian's Reflections Entry

Ian entered the school's Reflections contest this year under the category of "Dance". The theme was "Wow"! The kids just had to do something that fell under the theme. Now, you have to admit, after watching Ian's performance, you do feel like saying, "Wow"! He did not get 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, or even an Honorable Mention, but he sure won a place in my heart for being brave enough to show off his truly original talent!!

Thanksgiving Pictures

The whole clan feeling sick after Thanksgiving dinner. Consuming 8,000 calories a piece never felt so good!

Dad took on dish duty with Nyah. You go,Dad!

Cali and Ian tried their hand at making stuffed mushrooms. Fabulous!!

Aaron and Cali made some kind of yellow looking mustard. I don't remember serving that at our Thanksgiving feast!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


There is nothing "hotter" than a piano playing, guitar playing, beautiful singing, dancing, flipping around the stage, sweaty Chris Martin -- and Aaron agrees! We went to the Coldplay concert Saturday night at the Delta Center. I can honestly say it was the most well-rounded crowd I've ever seen at a concert. Ages ranged from 7-year-olds to 80-year-olds. There was a 70-year-old, white haired Chinese Man sitting in front of us waving his arms and dancing with the best of them. Everybody loved the show. At one point, the stage went black and we thought the band was taking an intermission, but they were really running up the stairs to stand in the middle of the audience where they sang 3 more songs. I got chills! Viva la vida!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Carson's New Phrase

Carson came home from preschool today, opened his backpack, pulled a receipt out of his bag, and said, "What in the Hally Hack is that?"

I said, "Who did you hear that from Carson? Who says that?"

"No one!"

"Come on, Carson. Did you hear that from a movie or someone at preschool? Who says that?"

"I say it. How about that?!"

Wow!! And all that from a 5-year-old Pilgrim!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wacky Wednesday (alias for Freaky Friday)

Nyah and I got to switch places today for Activity Days. She was me and I was her. She was horrified when Cali and I were working on her hair. We had to curl it, rat it, and curl it some more. She kept yelling, “It’s too big!” Now she knows how I feel everyday! She loved wearing my high heels and makeup. I did not love my pigtails and bows. I looked like an overgrown child.
We had a blast writing each other love letters, doing relay races, playing music trivia (I got one right about the Jonas Brothers!), and playing the Newlywed Game. We had to see how much we knew about each other. Somehow, Nyah knew how old I was (26) when I gave birth to her, but I couldn’t figure out what her favorite color is (blue). I chose pink! I’m pretty sure that pink was her favorite color at one time – maybe when she was 2.
At the end of the activity, Nyah had to serve us both dessert (dirt pudding). It was interesting how her serving of pudding came up to the top of her cup, and the one she chose to hand to me was only half full! I got her back though. She asked me for my gummy worms, and I licked the pudding off before I gave them to her. I’m so mature!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Daughter's A Magician!

Yesterday, Cali and I went on our annual shopping adventure to Park City to begin our Christmas Madness! Each November we head up the canyon with our neighbor to SHOP, SHOP, SHOP. This year, our neighbor decided to bring along her 9 year-old daughter, so I invited Nyah along to keep her daughter company. Nyah was thrilled to be invited along, until she remembered that she gets carsick every time we drive 2 miles to the grocery store. She requested Dramamine, but then changed her mind when I reminded her that she acts “loopy” all day when she takes it. She decided to try the trip without any drugs. As we turned the corner to pick up our friends (we’d gone about ½ mile), Nyah smiled and said, “Mom, guess what?! I’m not carsick!” Wow! Nyah is one of a kind!
After about 3 1/2 hours of perfect behavior, the girls started getting hungry and a little antsy. They wanted to go play at the park that is located in the middle of the Outlets. I didn’t see any harm in that. Nyah is a good listener and usually stays put. I reminded her and her friend not to talk to strangers, not to leave the park, and to be nice to all the “little” kids. I went shopping for another ½ hour and then went back to check on them. The girls were so excited when I walked up. “We have to show you a magic trick!” I followed them towards a little Merry-Go-Round, the kind that costs 50 cents and goes around in a circle for about 1 ½ minutes. “Watch this!” The girls hopped on the horses and started rocking their horses back and forth with the force of their bodies. After about 20 seconds of violent rocking, the carousel started up! Each time the ride ended, the girls would rock back and forth again, until the ride started back up. I watched a couple of rounds of this, told the girls “Congratulations” on being so inventive, and told them to come back to the stores with me. “But we want to keep playing on the Merry-Go-Round! We love it!”

“What about other kids that want to ride it?”

“Oh, every time someone else wants to ride, we let them get on and we magically start the ride up for them!”
What a dilemma! Should I explain to the girls that they should really be depositing money for these fun rides? Should I tell them that the carousel would never be the same after the beatings it was taking from the violent start-up action, or should I let them continue believing they were “magicians” so that I could keep shopping? Being the great mom that I am, I chose . . .
Shopping with children has never been so easy!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Conversation of the Day

Carson: Mom, when I get married will you still know me?
Me: Of course! I’ll still love you just like now! Will you still love me, Carson?
Carson: Yes, but I’ll have to love the other girl too!
Me: Yes, you will love your wife with all your heart!
Pause . . .
Carson: But, I’ll still love you too, Mom!
Me: Yes, you’ll still love me too.
Carson: But if I love her with my whole heart . . . ? I don’t have two hearts!
Me: You can love both of us with all your heart, Carson. That just means you love someone a lot.
Carson: But I don’t want to cut my heart in half!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Reasons for not Tuning your Piano

Our piano hasn't been tuned for 2 years. It costs over $100 to get it tuned each time, and it hasn't been high on my list of things to spend a C-note on. Cali was giving Nyah a piano lesson the other day, and finally broke down and said, "Mom, there are some keys that don't even play anymore! It makes it kind of difficult to practice!" So, I called the piano tuner and scheduled an appointment.

Today's the day for the tuning. I woke up thinking about all the things I was going to get accomplished today. After all, Friday is my cleaning day. But . . .

What do you do for 2 hours while the piano tuner is tuning your piano?

A. Clean the house (Can't really do that cuz I might make too much noise and he won't be able to hear to tune it properly.

B. Sew on Ian's Cub Scout patches (That only took 2 minutes; I've got 118 minutes left).

C. Make lunch (I don't have any food in the house, but I can't leave to get any cuz the piano man is here).

D. Take a shower (Can't cuz the piano man is here).

E. Play the piano (Obviously not!)

F. Plan my YW lesson (Can't concentrate with that constant banging on the piano keys).

G. Give Biscuit a bath (Can't, cuz Biscuit hates the piano man and barks ferociously).

H. Call someone on the phone (Can't hear the other person talking cuz of the piano playing).

I. Get out some old bubble wrap and pop it really loud outside in the backyard to get over the frustration I feel about the 2 hour piano tuning and let Carson join in and eventually take a nap on the bubble wrap since he can't sleep inside because the piano tuning is still going on and it has now been 2:14:32.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Today's Weather Forecast Is . . .

I got home from the gym this morning (ouch), and my 3 youngest kids had done the most marvelous thing! They'd cleaned off the driveway! You might be wondering what they had to clean off the driveway; was it mulch, stones, maybe grass from the last lawn trimming? None of the above! It was SNOW!!
Friday, for Halloween, we didn't even have to wear coats. It was like California weather (only in Utah)! Then, today, only 5 days later, we got our first sticking snowfall. We had almost enough snow in our yard to make a snowman. Almost. Instead of making Frosty, Carson spent his time filling up our emergency "poo" bucket with snow for hours on end. (The bucket is for when we have disasters and our toilet doesn't work. The plan is, we will go potty in this bucket called the Lugabaloo; for now, however, we just use it to make iceblocks when building igloos in the snow. I sure hope that our bucket isn't buried in the snow when we actually need it for something other than igloo building.) I couldn't believe Carson didn't get cold and want to come inside sooner! I guess the snow is good for something -- entertaining children!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Best French Baguettes

I am a sucker for buying things because of a great sample! I went to a craft show a month ago with some friends. While we were there, we got to sample the most fabulous french baguettes! I, of course, ended up buying the cookbook. An added plus: I got a hug and a kiss on the cheek from the author. She must've been really excited about selling those cookbooks! I haven't had time to make the bread until today. Unfortunately, I didn't have a baguette pan, and I made one loaf a lot chubbier than the other, but it tastes fabulous, so I thought I'd pass the recipe along!

French Baguettes (makes 2 loaves)

1 1/2 c. warm water, divided
1 1/2 T. (or 2 packets) active dry yeast
2 t. sugar, divided
3 1/4 c. all purpose unbleached flour
2 t. salt
Melted butter, for brushing on loaves

1. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 c. water, the yeast, and 1 t. of the sugar. Stir just to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Let the mixture stand about 5 minutes or until bubbly or foamy (mine actually bubbled over the 1 c. measuring cup I put it in!)
2. In a large mixing bowl blend the flour, salt, the remaining 1 t. of sugar, and the yeast mixture. Gradually add water, up to the remaining 1 cup (I had 1/4 c. that I never added), and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball that is not too sticky to handle. (If the dough ends up too sticky, add a little more flour.) Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

3. Cut the dough in half and shape the halves into baguettes (I don't know how to shape baguettes, but I rolled mine up like a super skinny cinnamon roll and tucked the edges under.) Grease a baguette pan (I didn't have these either so I just put both beside each other on a greased cookie sheet). Score the loaves down the middle (make a long, shallow cut), cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes or till doubled in bulk.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 and place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake the baguettes for 15 minutes or until they have a hollow sound when tapped with a knife. If desired, brush the tops of the loaves with butter halfway through baking. For a softer crust, brush with butter when they have finished baking.

**It's a LONG recipe, but was actually a cinch to throw together. We're having it tonight with spaghetti (IF there is any left by the time everyone gets home. I've already eaten 5 slices!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

At Long Last . . .

A huge miracle occurred in our family today. During church Carson was acting really agitated. He was twiddling with my hair, rolling around on the pew, pacing back and forth, all signs that he needs to go #2! I don't know why he doesn't enjoy going to the bathroom. In fact, he won't even admit that he needs to go. He just suffers for days on end, and then finally, is forced to run to the restroom!

Well, he was driving me bonkers with all of his pacing, so I held his hand and we marched out of the chapel headed towards the infamous restroom. He kept insisting that he didn't need to go, but finally sat down when I threatened him with "Dad!"

He was in the bathroom stall for a couple minutes, when I finally heard him say: "Hey, Mom. Can McKenzie wipe herself?" McKenzie is his 4-year-old friend.

"Yes!" I responded.

It was quiet for another minute. I think he was thinking about the fact that all of his 3 and 4-year-old friends wipe themselves. The next thing I heard was, "Mom, I did it! I wiped myself!"

I was overjoyed. At that exact moment, a woman walked into the restroom. I prayed that Carson was done talking. But, no! "Hey, mom! Can you believe it? I finally wiped a #2! Now I can go to kindergarten."

"Carson, open the door so I can come in and make sure you're clean," I whispered through the door.

"No, Mom. I wiped over and over again until all the poo was gone. All by myself. Aren't you excited?!"

Unfortunately, the woman came out of her stall before I was able to excape with my talented son. I apologized for the poo conversation she'd had to endure. She smiled and simply said, "I enjoyed it!" I know I am going to enjoy every day from now on. No more wiping!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The "Happy" Pumpkin

We went to Mom’s Chili Cook Off last night before trick-or-treating. Mom’s friend gave her a pumpkin costume to wear to the party, which Mom didn’t want to wear. Mom wanted to be something pretty, so she decided to dress up like Jackie Onassis instead. She realized at the last minute that her friend’s feelings would be hurt because she wasn’t wearing the gorgeous pumpkin outfit, so she guilted me into slipping it on. I felt absolutely ridiculous being introduced to all of Mom’s friends for the first time, as a round pumpkin.
As you can see, Mom looks happy as a clam in her costume. I on the other hand . ..
The kids rated all of the kinds of chili they tried. 5 fingers being the best . . . The winner was . . . something that looked like macaroni goulash.
Ian, the scary clown, ate too many bowls of chili. Luckily, we went outside to trick-or-treat.

The whole clan. Cali finally decided to be a "babydoll" even though she didn't go trick-or-treating. I remember I wasn't allowed to go trick-or-treating when I turned 13. I dressed up as a nurse and stayed home to pass out candy. I was not a happy camper! What is Halloween without a bucket of candy? This year I tried to collect candy along with the kids, but just got a lot of dirty looks. I wonder why? Mommy pumpkins deserve Snickers and Twix too, right?!

Mom is so pleased with her costume choice!

I didn't notice before, but I think I may have had a large booger in my left nostril. Hopefully Mom's friends will just think it was pumpkin pulp and that I was trying really hard to get into the spirit of the costume!

Ian is actually really happy about the chili!

Nyah gave this chili 4 out of 5 stars!

Josh, tried some “chili” that had chunks of chicken in it. This is him before he removed the chicken from his front tooth.
You asked for it, Natalie! Here is the full view of my gorgeous 1 piece costume. Cali calls it my "Pumpkin Turtleneck!" I didn't plan on wearing the costume ahead of time, or I would've made myself a green headdress and painted my face orange. At least then, no one would've recognized me later!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carson the Cook

I've decided this week that I haven't done a good job at teaching the kids to cook. I usually ask them to help out, but it goes in spurts. Sometimes it's just easier, calmer, less messy, (did I say easier?) to do it myself. I broke down though and decided this week, to assign each of the kids a day to cook dinner. Carson made breadsticks today -- from scratch! Now, a smart mom would've started out with something like Kraft Mac&Cheese. What was I thinking?!
I think more flour got on the counter than in the bowl!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Carson Has a Girlfriend!

Every day after preschool, I ask Carson the same question: “Who did you play with today?”

Every day, it’s the same answer: “I talked to McKenzie.” or “I sat by McKenzie” or “I played on the swing set with McKenzie.” Now, I’ve never met McKenzie but I know she must be pretty important to Carson. A friend sent me these pictures from a preschool field trip that they took to the pumpkin patch. I’m thinking, I’d better meet McKenzie pretty soon, before the situation gets out of control!!

Ian has a Girlfriend?

Two weeks ago, a mother from school came up to me with a really excited look on her face and said, “Vanessa, I have to tell you something!” She could hardly contain her excitement. “I saw Ian walking home from school yesterday, holding hands with his girlfriend!”

My heart sank. My stomach started swirling around like I’d eaten some bad pork chops or something. “Negative, I’m a Bad Mother” thoughts starting creeping into my head: “Don’t I know my son better than this? Aren’t I in tune enough to know about a love interest before it gets to the stage of HANDHOLDING! Don’t I talk to him enough to know about his special someone?"

“What does she look like?” I questioned the mother. I certainly hoped it wasn’t an older woman. Even worse, I hoped it wasn’t a kindergartner. I didn’t want the girl’s parents to press charges.

The mother answered, “She’s really cute. She’s almost as tall as Ian. When I saw her she had 2 pigtails in her hair. They were holding hands, smiling and talking the whole way home.”

My mind raced. Who could this mystery girl be? Then a thought occurred to me . . . “I think . . . I think that was Ian’s sister, Nyah!”

“No!” the mother replied. “They really looked like they like each other a lot!”

Well, I couldn’t wait to get home and find out if I was right. Was Ian still an innocent 10 year old who still loved his sister more than any other girl at school, or was he really holding hands with some stranger that his dear mother hadn’t even met? That night, I told the kids the story . . . about the SIGHTING of the handholders!

Pretty much in unison, Ian and Nyah both started laughing. “That was Nyah, Mom!” “That was me, Mom!” Oh, I was so relieved. It looks like I won’t have to start searching his backpack for love notes until next year, and I’ll have to store all that lie detector equipment I picked up at Wal Mart for another day.

Mental Breakdown 2008 . . . I Mean, Carving Pumpkins with the Family

We always carve pumpkins with the kids about a week before Halloween each year. Every year I wonder, “Why do we do this to ourselves?” Nyah was crying that the pumpkin guts were burning her hands, Ian was wielding the carving knife like a weapon and getting dirty looks from Aaron, Carson was standing on the kitchen table, trying to help, but nearly toppling our antique kitchen table over, and Cali was looking on like, “What kind of family do I belong to?” These are the results of our efforts.

The boys named their pumpkin, Igor.

The girls named their pumpkin, Fred if it’s a boy, and Sue Ellen if it’s a girl. I’m not sure how we check for the private parts on a pumpkin!!