Monday, December 21, 2009

Secret Pal 2009

Each year, one of our Christmas traditions is to make a HOMEMADE gift for another person in our family. We each put our name in a hat (sometime in October or November), pick out a slip of paper with someone else's name on it, and then SECRETLY make a gift for that person.

Last night we opened our gifts. It is amazing how much time and thought went into each present!

Nyah bought a bear from the Dollar Store and then made a scarf and hat for the bear. She also sewed a pocket onto the front of it to stick candy in. Carson was thrilled! Now he can take the bear and the candy to bed with him!

Carson was Nyah's Secret Pal this year. He tied a fleece blanket for her. It was so fun to watch him pick out the fleece. He settled on material with frogs that says, "Kiss Me!" He is not a very good secret keeper. I heard him tell Nyah, "I'm your Secret Pal", many times throughout the month of December!

I was Ian's Secret Pal this year. I decided to paint/redecorate his bedroom for him. It was really tough to keep it a surprise since he and Carson had to continue sleeping in there, so I gave him some Oreos to open up on the night of the unveiling!

Aaron had Cali this year. He made her a photo book of her year. It was a real tearjerker. He spent a lot of time and thought putting it together. He's such a neat dad!

Cali made me the coolest pair of fleece pajama bottoms. She went over to her friend, Mendy's house to sew them so that I wouldn't see her working on them. They are a perfect fit!

Ian picked Aaron's name this year. I think it is a lot harder for the boys to come up with ideas for each other! Ian gave it his all though. He got on the computer and made his dad a coupon book. They were adorable. Here are a couple examples:

I'll give you a 30 minute backscratch.
I'll get you a Diet Coke. (He means he'll just go to the fridge and grab one for him!)
I'll shovel the sidewalks when it snows.
I'll give you Swedish fish. (we aren't sure where he is going to get these!)
I'll play a computer game with you for 30 minutes. (Aaron thought this one was hilarious, as it is Ian who really wants to play the computer game. Aaron said, "So, Ian, I'm limited to 30 minutes, huh?!" "Oh, no. I'll play a whole game with you, Dad!" What a giving child! Ha! Ha)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This is the Life!

Being the mother of a 6-year-old boy, is kind of like eating a box of chocolates: you never know what you are going to get!

The other day, Carson came home from kindergarten acting very suspicious. He kept patting his coat pocket and doing nervous twitchy eyes. Being the intuitive mother that I am, I quickly asked, "Carson, what's in your pocket?"

"Nothing, Mom!"

I pushed harder, "Carson, I know there is something in your pocket. I need you to show it to me."

"NO! I mean, there's nothing in it." He quickly ran into his bedroom and reappeared without his coat.

"Carson! Go get whatever is in your pocket right now!"

He reemerged from his bedroom with a piece of paper. He slapped it on the counter and said, "I wish Mrs. Hyer wouldn't have written this."

On the counter was our family's first naughty note sent home from a teacher. Cali, Ian, and Nyah, never received a naughty note, so I wasn't quite sure how to react.

"Dear Mrs. Heber,
Carson and __________ were fighting on the rug when I was out of the room. Please talk to him about it."

What to do? "Carson, why were you fighting?"

"We weren't fighting, we were wrestling."

"Carson, you know you don't wrestle in school."

"Uh, we weren't wrestling, we were playing!"

What a talker! And all this from the same boy that told his entire Primary class of innocent little 5 and 6 year olds that, "There isn't a Santa Claus!" What was I going to do with this kid?

I decided to give the matter some time to sink in while I made Carson some lunch: his usual, a turkey and cheese bagel sandwich. I had to run some quick errands, so he ate the sandwich on the go.

I looked over at my "sweet" 6-year-old, sitting beside me in the car eating his sandwich. He took a bite, looked back at me, and said, "This is the life!"

I looked at my little guy at that moment and thought, "Yes, it is frustrating that Carson was "fighting" at school. It is also sad that he doesn't believe Santa is a big man in a red suit. But, he knows how to melt my heart with his smile and cute one-liners. He is right. This is the life!"

**By the way, the little guy lost his computer privileges for "fighting", but earned them back soon after by totally kissing up to his mom!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Interview With the Tooth Fairy

After many tears and much wiggling, Nyah lost another tooth. She put the tooth in her tooth pillow and said, "I think I'm going to ask the tooth fairy to leave my tooth this time so I can show my friends at school tomorrow!"

Aaron's response was, "The tooth fairy will leave your tooth OR some money, but not both!"

"Well, I'm going to write her a note and ask her!" So, Nyah wrote the tooth fairy a letter with her request and also some questions for the fairy to answer. When I got home this morning, Nyah met me with a huge smile at the door. "Look what the tooth fairy left me!" It was $5, her tooth, and her note, which she proceeded to read aloud:

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I have some questions:

Q: Where do you live?
A: In an apartment in Santa Barbara, California

Q: What do you do with the teeth?
A: Glue them together to make big teeth to give to old beavers that lose their teeth.

Q: Can you leave me my tooth?
A: Just this once. Those old beavers realy need their teeth replacements.

**Our children are definitely going to need therapy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Polar Express

Grandma Joannie took Nyah and Carson on a Grandma Date to The Polar Express. The kids have always wanted to go, but it is kind of pricey so we've always weaseled out of it. Grandma surprised them with tickets. When they got home from their night I asked them how it was:

Grandma Joannie: Well . . . why don't you see what the kids have to say about it.

Nyah: Well, we got a bell. It was okay.

Carson: It was long.

To sum it all up, you pay $36 bucks a person to ride on a train jam-packed with people. They read "The Polar Express to you, give you a bell and some hot chocolate and send you on your way. An added bonus: Cute elves and a creepy Santa. Don't think it will be a repeat performance next year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Little Toasted . . .

This year we decided to liven up the usual Thanksgiving fare with some mixed drinks . . .
Mmm, that cocktail edger was tasty!

Ian had about a dozen drinks. He gave it the thumbs up!

Carson felt the holiday cheer!

Nyah was in heaven!

Aaron was the bartender!

After the appetizers and fancy drinks, none of us were hungry for the feast.

Everyone felt a little toasted after stuffing our faces so . . .

we headed outdoors for a little touch football. Some of us felt like puking, others felt like taking a nap, but we took one for the team and ran off a couple of calories. It was a blast! (Mom and Dad were team captains. I was the last to get chosen. I showed them. TOUCHDOWN!!)

Here's the recipe for that fabulous drink!

Virgin Green-Apple Martini

2 ounces Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider
1/2 ounce Granny Smith apple (chopped)
2 ounces lemon-lime soda
2 dashes cinnamon
1/2 cups crushed ice

Put ingredients in blender, add ice, blend. Pour into martini glass. Garnish with an apple wedge and serve. Makes 1 drink.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Celebrity Look Alike

Over the years I've noticed that I have a lot of physical similarities to a certain celebrity.

Notice the bushy eyebrows and bad complexion. Also the use of a bandana to hold back the unruly locks of afro.

Similar facial bone structure and pasty white skin.

Out of control hair, even on "non-windy" days.

I recently found out that we even have running in common.
I'm sure you've guessed what Hollywood celebrity I resemble. My long lost twin . . .

None other than . . . Howard Stern! Check out those legs. Definitely me!

I know poor Howard would be shocked to find out that I, Vanessa, an ordinary, Everyday Housewife, could possibly match his physical beauty and prowess, but . . . I think I may have this one in the bag!

The Thanksgiving Feast

Carson's kindergarten class held their Thanksgiving Feast today. They served warmed up turkey deli slices (nastiest thing I've ever heard of), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. The teacher said, "You just have to try everything!" And guess what? The kids did! They tried a bit of everything and there was no complaining. I really need to enforce that rule at home.

While the kids were eating, the parent helpers walked around serving seconds. While we were serving the food, Carson piped up and said, "This is just like an ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET!! Mrs. Hyer and the parents got a kick out of that one. The odd thing is, Carson has never eaten at an all-you-can-eat-buffet. He must have dreams of it though.

After observing the feast, I have decided to start a new tradition: who needs to mess with a giant 25 lb. bird? Warm deli turkey is the way to go!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where did that Rule come from?

I have always told the girls they need to wait until they are 12 years old to get their ears pierced. I don't know how I came up with that number. I think it was tradition -- I had to wait until I was 12, so by golly, they were going to wait to.

I fudged a teeny bit with Cali on this rule. She approached me when she was 11 1/2 years old and said, "My friend, Julie, is getting her ears pierced for her b-day and wants me to do it with her for her party." Well, since it was a mere 6 months early, I grudgingly let her break the 12 year rule.

Last week, on Tueday, I walked into the kids' school to deliver something to a teacher. Nyah's teacher from last year, Mrs. Stokes' saw me and said, "Hey, Vanessa. Nyah just told me she's getting her ears pierced this weekend. How fun!" I was completely caught off guard. What? This was news to me! What in the world was Miss Nyah telling people? And why?!

When Nyah walked in the door from school I said, "So, Nyah. You are getting your ears pierced, huh?!"

"Oh, yeah. I was going to talk to you about that, Mom!"

Well, it turns out, Nyah's friend, Ady, was planning to get her ears pierced and invited Nyah along. I, of course, said, "Nyah, you are only 9 years old. You have to be 12 to get your ears pierced."

"Why?" Nyah asked.

"Yeah, Mom, why?" Cali chimed in.

"Well . . . uh, well . . ." I hesitated for a second before I came up with my fabulous mommy response. "Cali, you had to wait until you were ALMOST 12, and Nyah, you are only 9 years old. You have to be able to take care of them so they don't get infected! You don't want to have red, pussy ears!"

"Mom, I'll help Nyah take care of her ears. It'll be easy!" Cali responded.

Tag Team! What could I say now? "Well, the answer is, no! The family rule is 12 years old."

When Aaron got home from work, I told him about the situation. He just kind of looked at me blankly and said, "Well, why are we saying 12 years old?"

By this time I was completely frustrated. "We just do. That's the rule!"

As the days of the week ticked by, I started to wear down. Nyah would look at me with her sweet puppy dog eyes and say, "Please, Mom! I promise I'll take care of them."

Finally, on Friday, Nyah asked one last time. "Just call your dad and ask him!" I said in frustration.

I heard Nyah talking to Aaron and then she said, "Mom, Dad wants to talk to you."

I put the phone to my ear. "Vanessa, I told Nyah I'm just an old softy. I really don't care if she gets her ears pierced. It's up to you."

Why do I always have to be the bad guy? Did I really care anyways? Twelve years old. Nine years old. What's the difference?

Needless to say, Nyah was pleased as punch as she got dressed to head to the mall on Saturday.

She took her frog, "Sour Apple," along to help her feel brave.

Holding hands with Ady for moral support.

McKenzie, Kaitlin, Nyah and Ady with their beautiful new ears!

Hopefully, I will have more strength of character with the rest of the family rules: no dating till you're 16, and absolutely no kissing till you're 30! Ha! Ha!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just a Normal Day in the Crazy House

Today was just a normal day . . .

Cali played a Concerto with her teacher, Cyrena, at the Sonatina Festival.

We drove up to Orem to shop at Xpedex, my new favorite store. They have the coolest selection of envelopes -- if you're ever in the market! Ha! Ha! Aaron kept groaning and saying, "How much longer are we going to be in this store?!" He's such a trooper.

We went and ate lunch at Carraba's to celebrate Cali's performance at the recital. We had a gift card, so we went all out . . . an appetizer, sodas . . . Usually when the kids try to order sodas at a restaurant, I give them the evil eye and they quickly change their order to water. But not today. Ian gave his meal a perfect 10!

Next we headed to a fancy Stamp Store to pick up some items for a Scout Merit Badge. Fun, fun!! The owner of the shop was nice but VERY quiet. I guess that's to be expected when you hang out with stamps all day long.

WalMart was the next stop. The girls had a list. The boys had a list. The race began. The girls got sidetracked at the clothing section. The boys won!!

Cali got called back for the Winner's Recital -- Top 10! She got to play her concerto again!

Aaron baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for me so I could go listen to Cali play at the festival.

Ian sorted 100s of stamps by country and loaded them into a binder.

The evening ended with a little homemade pencil making. Don't ask!

All in all -- just a "normal" Saturday at the Heber house.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

To Trick or To Treat . . . that is the question.

Our week started out with Halloween school parties on Wednesday. Children are not allowed to wear masks to school, so Ian had to come up with a quick alternative. He ended up going as Russell from the movie, "Up." No one knew who he was. Ian came home from school and said, "Of course no one knew who I was. I wasn't chubby enough!" He almost refused to carry the chocolate bar (which Russell does in the movie) because even touching chocolate is disgusting to Ian!

Nyah dressed up as an Arabian princess and Carson was a Ninja for the 2nd year in a row. He's really stuck on any sort of sword fighting. Unfortunately, he couldn't wear his mask to school or carry a sword! Outfit -- revised!

We had various Halloween parties to dress up again for on Thursday and Friday. By the time Saturday rolled around for trick-or-treating, everyone was a little bit tuckered out. We decided to do it for the candy, and put the outfits on one more time. Ian chose to opt out of trick-or-treating this year. He sat on the stairs with the bowl of candy and scared all of the children with his mask and high pitched scream. Children were frightened, adults were slightly annoyed, but Ian had a blast! I think it was his favorite Halloween so far -- no candy and lots of scares!

Best costume of the night goes to our neighbor who dressed up as the house in "Up." Absolute genius!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No More Sweaty Dinners!

We have lived for 7 years now with a hot kitchen. The heat does not come from our oven. It comes from the sun that beats on the back of our house from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Most of the family has sweat dripping down their faces during dinnertime. Well, that's an exaggeration -- but it is NOT comfortable!

Our FABULOUS friend and neighbor just finished framing and contracting out some work for a patio cover for the back of our home. He got all of the work completed in around a week! We are so happy with his work.

We LOVE it and are enjoying sweatfree dinners! Now, all we need is the patio!

The Bounty

My mom told me about a new way to plant potatoes -- inside old tires. We planted our spuds in May, and then worked hard all summer long, watering, weeding, and babying those potatoes.

We were so excited when Grandma Joannie told us that it was time to harvest our taters! The boys dug through the dirt, excited to root out 5 or 10 pounds of potatoes for dinner. This is what we found!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cowboys in the Chapel!

Sunday was our last day in Arizona. We went to church with Kristin and Brian. They live in a ward that has 100 children under the age of 2. I've known for a while that I am done having children, but after attending the sacrament meeting in their ward, I am DEFINITELY done -- in fact, I think I will go have my tubes tied even though Aaron's already been snipped -- just as an extra precaution!!

We sat down on some hard folding chairs near the back of the cultural hall -- we weren't late, it's just a BIG ward. A member of the Bishopric got up and started talking into the microphone: "Welcome to Mum . . .mmmm . . . bbbb. We are sssss . . . but ttttt . . . . Bro. C . . . .was . . . . . to . . . . ." I looked at Kristin for a translation. It turns out that the sound system was down. A nice brother from the ward had brought a home microphone system to hook up, which didn't help at all. All I heard was mumbling from the pulpit.

Unfortunately, it was a young missionary's homecoming that day. The poor guy might as well not have prepared a talk. I could hear him sobbing a couple of times and saw him wipe his eyes a lot, so I tried to guess whether his mission had been super spiritual or a catastrophe. I couldn't hear any of his stories, so I started looking around me for some entertainment.

In the row in front of us, a young couple with 3 small children were the most entertaining to watch. The mom had brought some of those cardboard shapes with holes punched out around the edges and pieces of yarn for the children to try to sew with. Instead of sewing, the 4 year old son had turned a long piece of the yarn into a lasso which he had tightened around his father's neck. The 2 year old daughter ate 3 packs of fruit snacks, left the room for a couple of drinking fountain breaks, and then conned her dad into 2 pieces of gum, which she promptly chewed up and then stuck on the ground under the chair in front of me. What a zoo!

My attention next turned to a teenager 2 rows in front of me with a red cast on his right hand/arm. I watched him pick lint out of his cast for about 10 minutes before I lost interest.

I looked over to my right. I saw Brian and Kristin taking a nap. What a good idea! Then, I noticed a boy to the right of them rubbing a glue stick all over his cheeks while his mom watched. And what do you know? She was smiling at him -- giving him a thumbs up! It must've been washable glue or else she had completely lost it!

I came away from that Sacrament Meeting with a newfound love for my own children who occassionally look bored out of their minds or color on their hands during the talks. I think I need to thank them next Sunday for being so good. At least I don't have a lasso around MY neck!

HIghlights of Arizona

Picked up at airport by Krissy! What a happy reunion!

Mom played Ruth's grand piano and got tips! I really wish I would've kept taking lessons!

Went to Kristin and Brian's gorgeous apartment for baked ziti. Yummy!!

Posed by random license plate for pictures. Got some strange looks from onlookers.

My favorite part of the trip was eating and lounging. Here we are lounging on a white coach at "Blanco" restaurant before stuffing our faces with some fabulous Mexican fare.

Mom's meal was the most interesting: literally, a MOUNTAIN of salad!

Biehly cooked the best dinner: chicken cakes, bleu cheese potatoes, and glazed pear salad. If I invite you over for dinner and serve this, you'll know I really love you!

Hanging out on campus with Brian and Kristin. I've really got to get back into school. In some sick, twisted way, I miss cramming for tests!

After all that rest and relaxation, I returned to Spanish Fork to find the whole house SICK! At least I was well rested from all the shopping, eating, and lounging. Vacation is fabulous -- but boy, it's nice to come home!! (If you noted any sarcasm in that statement . . . well . . .)