Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Catch-Up

I have to say, we had a pretty nice Christmas at our house.  We made it to Mass on Christmas Eve. This was no easy feat.  We tried to attend 4:00 Mass but were turned away (along with another hundred people or so) because the church was already full.  We were 45 minutes early.... sigh.  Evidently the Fire Marshall said that nobody could stand, every person must have a seat.  Thank goodness there were 4 Mass times for that evening.  We made it to 8:00 Mass instead. It was beautiful. I think in the future we will just aim for that one anyway.  On Christmas Eve the boys also spent the day tracking Santa on NORAD. Every year we do this and the boys always enjoy watching the short video of Santa landing in Red Square!  Christmas morning arrived early... not too early as we had feared... but early enough for us!  As you can see, people were very pleased with their presents judging by all of the hugging going on.

 Connor got the Leapster Explorer. Travis owned the original Leapster. Unfortunately it did not make it to see the end of 2011. When thinking of what to get the boys for Christmas I decided Connor could use a Leapster of his own.  I couldn't believe how much the product has changed since just 5 or 6 years ago.  This toy is incredible. I highly recommend it if you have a child 3-6. You will not be disappointed. (No, I am not paid to endorse Leapster!  It is honestly an awesome toy!) I especially love how you can download e-books... you must check it out!
I got a new camera for Christmas, yahoo!  I don't know that it is much better than my old one, but at least it has all of the screws in place to hold it together.  lol!  It has some different settings so I was doing some experimenting with it. Here are the boys checking out some of their new toys on Christmas morning.
 Daryle and I just messing around with the camera.
 We always go to my mom and dad's in the afternoon on Christmas day and then we have a nice dinner.  (My dad always grills steak.... yummy!!!!)  Here are Travis and Grammy just before opening up more presents.
 Yes, that is Connor holding up some remote control cars.  And yes, there is a HUGE smile behind that box!
 Red Truck Grandpa always comes too.  We all love to watch the kids open up their gifts.
A few years ago my parents started investing in a nice train set.  Over the years they have added some different pieces.  This was bought with Travis in mind, however, now that Connor is around he is enjoying the fun of the train as well.  Travis is "in charge" while Connor gets to "watch".  Travis and Grammy have spent a lot of time collecting little figurines to make the train more exciting. My mom gets to excited...she waits until the day after Christmas and then heads down to Walgreens and gets them for 75% off. Smart idea!! When you are only paying $1 or $2 then you tend to take everything that is left on the shelf!  Now they are collecting ones that light up... pretty cute I must say! Here is Connor being a good boy and "watching". (This can be a challenge at times...)
 Here is Travis setting up the village.  I asked him why he keeps doing those signs with his hands. His reply.... Mom, it means Peace Bro!  Well, ok then.... So whatever Travis does.....
 Connor does too!  He copies everything his big brother does... the good and the funny as well as the "bad"....
Wishing you peace and happiness during this Christmas season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A new look!

Yes, we went and had some new family pictures done this year.  Instead of going to one of our "usual" places I decided to try something new.  We hired a photographer and went to an actual location.  I think they turned out pretty nice, despite the fact that Connor was being an absolute stinker most of the time. It was early in the morning... note to self... the next time make it later in the day. Overall it was fun and we will probably do something like this again.  Here are some of my favorites.

So, there you have it. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Monday, December 19, 2011


It's funny what you find on your camera sometimes.  Last week it was super cold and rainy here in the dry desert.  I put Connor in this green fleece outfit.  When I put it on him he looked like one of Santa's elves!  He wanted to wear his Santa hat as well, I thought he looked pretty cute!  

 In typical older brother fashion, Travis had to put on a Santa hat and get his picture taken too. We can't have just one elf in the family.  What kind of elf is this anyway??
 Here they are in "Super Hero Elf" form... what?!?!  (You should have heard the noises that came with this pose!)
 Last Tuesday our church had a family Christmas party for the RE program that Travis attends.  Each family was asked to bring some Christmas decorations to decorate "a small tree". I didn't know how small this tree would be.  Plus, I waited a bit too long to finally buy our decorations.  I just couldn't decide what to buy. Add in the fact that I am not very crafty.  I feel I need to explain this before you see our "little tree".  Here is Travis with our tree in the church.  We all gave our trees a blessing before we started decorating.
 Here is Travis with our tree.  It was a lot cuter in person. There were no tree toppers left at the store so "uncrafty me" thought this cute Santa hat would look cute on top.  I thought it would bring a smile to somebodies face.  I hope it did.  You see, all of these trees were delivered to three local hospitals and two nursing homes.  I am not sure exactly how many trees were decorated, but I am sure there were a couple hundred. I love this tradition and am glad we were a part of it.
 The kids also enjoyed cookies, hot chocolate, Christmas carols and some candy while we decorated. Here is our final product. I tried really hard to capture it's cuteness. 
 I tried to get a picture of the trees all lined up on the floor. It didn't turn out very well... this is why I really need a new camera for Christmas!  lol  (Santa, can you hear me??)  I know my boys and I felt really good when we left.  I really hope these trees are brightening up some people's lives right now.  There were some super cute ones. And then there is ours.  I just hope that it is making somebody smile.   
I just hope that maybe getting a new camera will help me gain some crafty thoughts for next year... well, a girl can wish can't she??!

Early Celebrations

Every year my mom's side of the family gets together to celebrate Christmas.  She comes from a big family so of course over the years the family just keeps growing and growing!  I love getting together with all of my cousins. Now it is so much fun watching all of our own kids grow up and get to experience big family gatherings.  On Saturday my aunt and uncle had us all over to their house. We usually celebrate early so that everybody can come.  We were told in advance that there would be a "surprise guest" sometime during the evening.  Well, you can imagine the shock and surprise when Santa and Rudolph arrived at our family Christmas party!  Here is Connor greeting Santa with a BIG hello hug!
Travis stopped to pose with Rudolph...
 Daryle even rushed in to give Santa a hug.... he asked Santa about the coal he has been getting lately... lol!
 Connor had to check out Rudolph's blinking nose.
 Santa had all the little one's attention.. I think he was asking who was on the good boys and girls list!
 Each child got their own one on one time with Santa.  (Some children got more than the one personal chat.... ahem... you will see in the following pictures who that might have been!)  Santa was talking to Travis about some of the things he has been doing over the year. (I think Santa might be reading my blog from time to time. I wonder where he gets his information?) 
 Holy moly!  Travis has been asking for a remote control helicopter.... Santa is the best!
 Meanwhile on the sidelines Connor and Rudolph were dancing the night away. They were also tossing a small soccer ball back and forth for a while... right by the Christmas tree... nobody got hurt. Phew... I was worried.
 I guess he needed another chat with Santa... maybe to clear a few things up??
 Here are all of the great-grandchildren in the family.  They are all so much fun.  I love watching them all grow up. They really are a sweet bunch. This was the best we could get... trying to get this many little ones to sit still is a challenge.  The two three year olds, the 18 month old and even the two five year olds were a little on the "busy" side if you know what I mean.
 Hmmm... just how much do you need to tell Santa anyway??  Santa looks so understanding.
 Best Buddies
 Even my grandma got in on some Santa time!!
Each family even got a picture with Santa and Rudolph.  It was getting late and I think Connor was all smiled out!
We had a most wonderful time. I didn't get a good picture of Connor with his gift. He got one of those Smart Cycle Racer games.  That is why I am able to type up this post totally uninterrupted. He is in heaven. If you don't know what that is, it is a stationary bike hooked up to learning video type games on the TV. It should wear him out pretty good. He has been peddling away for over an hour now.  I am realizing that I don't have pictures of any of the adults. I would say that one of the best parts was my Aunt Mary Ann coming in from California.  It was nice having her with us to celebrate Christmas!  My boys were really excited to see her. Why, she is "Grammy's Sister" ... they equate that with a really fun person!  They are pretty sharp. 

After all of this excitement I hope they are still excited for Christmas morning too.  We don't want to lose sight of what is really important though ... such as celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  We have been patiently lighting the candles on our advent wreath every night for the past four weeks. Finally we get to light all four candles on our wreath.  Wow, Christmas is almost here!  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where Does the Time Go Anyway??

Every year on Halloween night I tell Daryle, "Just watch... Christmas will be here in the blink of an eye!"  It just seems that each year it goes faster and faster.  We have been busy, busy, busy. I can say that both of the boys have been so much fun this holiday season. Travis has lots of questions... he would like to be an elf... he wants to fly on Santa's sleigh... he wants to help the elves with the naughty and nice list... and the questions this year. Oh my!  I have to say, I am loving every minute of it!  Yesterday there was a car show just down the street from us. Daryle took the boys so I could clean the house and finish putting up the Christmas decorations. (It is so much easier to do this when they are out of the house!)  I got a text saying that they would like this for Christmas....
Or maybe a couple of these....
Does Santa have a money tree I can put in the backyard?  lol
Santa was also at the car show.  We decided he must be a "helper" Santa. Would the real Santa really come to a car show in our small town?? 

Since they were looking so cute I had them do some posing in front of the Christmas tree. We had to get a new one this year.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving Travis and I dug out the old tree, got it all set up, then we went to plug it in.  Nothing lit up.  Total  disappointment.  We went out to find a new one but had no luck. The following day we went to a few stores and ended up finding one at Michael's.  Not the way I wanted to buy a new tree, but what do you do?  I always used to have a fresh one in the house (before kids), but around here things are so dry I just don't like the fire hazard. Plus with Travis and his asthma I don't want to risk it.  We got 6 good years out of our old one... hopefully this one will last a little longer!  After looking at these pictures I realized how BIG Travis is getting!  Wow!
Then we decided to have a little family shoot.  Connor found the Santa hats... he is in love with them!  We even have one that fits his head perfectly. He wore it all last night.  Here they are making a Daddy Sandwich.
Travis wanted to take a turn with the camera... how does he get these shots??!
Here I am with my boys... Rock was getting jealous so we let him get in on the pictures too.  He even has a santa hat as well!
(I heart these boys!!)
My mom called up yesterday and asked if we wanted to go looking at Christmas lights.  We thought that sounded like a lot of fun.  It is amazing what people do to decorate!  We even found Santa!  Boy, you can imagine the questions from Travis in the car. Where are the reindeer? Do they know the way home? Will they leave without Santa? Where will Santa sleep tonight?  Did he get dinner? Where are the elves?  This went on, and on, and on forever.  I kept my answers the same each and every time.  I think he was trying to see if I would change my answers...  This was an awesome Santa. Connor ran right up to him, it was pretty cute!
A little Christmas in the desert humor....
Connor loved how Frosty and Santa would pop up from this igloo. I think he thinks they are all "real"...
Today I have been hustling and bustling around doing a bunch of shopping. I really need to grade papers and work on report cards.  Procrastination...  Blogging is such a good way to put things off just a a little bit longer.  Plus it actually relaxes me a bit, puts my mind at ease.  It's almost time to start dinner... so I had better go grade a few papers first!! Until next time....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Polar Express

Two years ago we took Travis for his first ride on the Polar Express.  We had such a wonderful time. We didn't take Connor that year because we weren't sure what to expect and plus it was at a time where we needed some one on one time with Travis.  At that time Connor was a wild man and we didn't want to lose him! Fast forward to this year and not only did Connor get to go but so did all of the grandparents.  We drove up to Williams/Flagstaff right away after school. After checking into our hotel we had dinner, got the kids changed into their pajamas and then we were off to ride the train.  Here we are waiting to board the train. Connor looked at the girl and said, "Lady, I am going to sleep on your train!"  (He was being grumpy, he had no idea what was going on even though we tried to tell him this was going to be  FUN!) Well, let me tell you, he did NOT fall asleep on the train. In fact, he did not want to get off the train at all when it was time to leave!  We all had a super good time.
Mrs. Claus worked hard all day making these delicious snicker doodles.  We gobbled them all up!
 Time for hot choc-o-late! That sure brought a smile to the face of Mr. Grump-a-saurous!
 Here we all are enjoying our hot chocolate and cookies.  A little too much sugar for Connor??
 I tried and tried and to get a good picture of the boys... there was just too much activity going on to get them to both look at the camera at the same time.  This was the best I could get!
 FINALLY!!  SANTA!!  Can you believe he came right on our train? He gave all of the children a silver bell.  We could all hear it ring.... WE BELIEVE!!
 On his way out Santa stopped to talk to my dad.  He told him, "Sorry about all of that coal in your stocking!"
Just look at the sparkle in Grandpa's eyes. I don't know who had more fun!  (When Santa saw him, he pointed to him and said, "I know you!")
 Here are the boys with our chef for the night.  When asked what was his favorite part of the night, Travis said making a new friend!
 We found an elf! With real elf ears!  Travis had to check them out, up close and personal.  He was very intrigued....
 Wow, Mrs. Claus even made an appearance!  She asked us how we liked the snicker doodles that she had made earlier that day. We told her we loved them!
 After that, this is pretty much the look Connor gave me every time I asked him to smile for a picture.
 Here is a cute one of the boys with Grammy and Grandpa.
We had so much fun. I am so thankful for my family and the many blessings we have.  My children are so lucky to have so many grandparents who dote on them and love them so much.  Taking short road trips and making memories like this are what it's all about in my book.  Happy Thanksgiving!