Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New wheels!

My dear Miss Alyssa turned a whopping four years old today. Oh my, where has the time gone! Seems like only yesterday I was sitting in the hospital reminding the hospital staff that I had a GIRL* and that - No, even though we didn't already have a name picked out we were NOT naming her Katrina**.

Daddy took the day off so we could celebrate as a family and boy what a celebration it was!

According to our family tradition, she got to decorate her own birthday cake. (Minus the chocolate frosting and the writing...)

We're not big party people around our house so we generally just have the Grandmas and Grandpas from both sides come over for a little cake and ice cream. My Aunt and Uncle arrived at my parents' house just as they were leaving for the party, so they piled in car and came over to join in the festivities.

Kenna just couldn't resist trying to help Lyssa blow those candles out!

Liam certainly enjoyed his piece of cake. It was gone in a flash! I think the cake part ended up (mostly) in his stomach, but I'm pretty sure the majority of the frosting was on his face.

He was also eager to help Alyssa with the presents. He managed to snatch a bow before she could shoo him away.

Reading the fun card the Aunt Tanya sent. There was an audible gasp when she saw that there was money inside...and stickers too! What more could a girl want?

And the finale of the presents - Mom and Dad finally broke down and got the kid some wheels. For some reason we have been reluctant (or too lazy...whatever) to get the kids bikes, so we decided that a scooter might be the way to get both the parents and the kids used to some extra mobility.

Liam immediately made a grab for the scooter while Lyssa was trying on her helmet. Looks like more than one kid might be getting wheels this year since they are already fighting over it. (SIGH.) I forsee many hours of enduring his screams while watching her ride it around.

After everyone left and we ran a quick errand, we let Alyssa pick where she wanted to go for dinner. She picked Arctic Circle based on the fact that they have a playground (and the fact that McKenna kept encouraging her to go there). Mom and dad were less than thrilled with the choice, but the kids enjoyed it.

After we read her new book and got snuggled into bed for the night, she told me that she had a really fun birthday.

Here's wishing you many more my sweet girl...

*There was another baby with the same last name born on the same day as Lyssa in our hospital. The other family had a boy. Somehow they thought that OUR baby was the boy. They had a blue card in her bassinet and one of the pediatricians even showed up for a pre-circumcision check-up. (That was disturbing in and of itself since we certainly didn't request the procedure.) We had to convince every doctor and nurse that came to check on us during our stay that we actually had a girl.

**Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans the day after Alyssa was born. Way too many people suggested we should name her after the storm. Like I want my child to have that kind of a namesake...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dancing Fool

When we got home this afternoon I went upstairs to change clothes. When I came back down, this is what I found...

Liam had pushed the chair all the way over to the girls' computer desk, climbed up and was trying to wrestle the mouse away from Lyssa.

After I took the picture, I went back upstairs to put the camera away and heard the music on the game Lyssa was playing suddenly get LOUD. I ran back downstairs to turn it down and found Liam twiddling the knob and dancing his little heart out.

That kid cracks me up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

C is for Cookie

I am ever on the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookies. We were in the mood to make a treat for Matt today so I decided to try a new recipe. I tweaked it a little bit to suit our tastes and what I had in the pantry.

They are perfectly soft inside and just a little bit crunchy on the outside. Just the way I like them. They were good enough I think I might keep working on the recipe to get it just right.

This is the way we made them tonight:

2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 (3.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes.

(If you don't want the cookie itself to be chocolate, substitute vanilla pudding mix instead. That's actually what the original recipe called for, but I only had chocolate and didn't want to go to the store.)

Liam really was enjoying his cookie, despite the face he's making in the photo. He's decided giving people angry looks is a fun game. As soon as you give the look back to him, he breaks out in the giggles.

Boys are weird.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Liam is walking!

My back is loving not having to carry a 25 pound baby all around the house!

(Also...note the pot and lid - these are his new favorite toys. He carries them all around the house and has been known to cry if he is put down to sleep without them.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This was the argument at our house after we got out of the car last night.

Kenna: "Dad, I think that bright star by the moon is Venus."
Alyssa: "No it's not."
Kenna: "Yes, it is. Right there. That one."
Alyssa: "No, it's NOT. That's a satellite."
Kenna: "No, satellites MOVE. That's not a satellite."
Alyssa: "Some satellites stay still. It's a satellite."
Kenna: "No it's not. It's VENUS. It's a planet."

They went back and forth, louder and louder. It felt a little like watching the Monty Python sketch about the African and European Swallows.

Matt leaned over to me as we finished getting all the stuff out of the car and said, "Do you think other parents have problems with their 5 and 3 year olds arguing about stuff like this?"

If they do...I pity them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Learning the Ropes

I'm still working on learning how to use the camera. Unfortunately I don't have nearly as much time to spend with it as I would like. I took a few more shots of the flowers downtown, since my lunch break seems to be the only time I can squeeze in some quality time with the camera.

Tanya had asked me to take some pictures of purple flowers for a friend of hers. I took quite a few pictures, but I didn't get any that I really loved. I definitely need more practice!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Bunny

Apparently my family has a tradition of doing the Easter Bunny part of Easter on the Saturday before the actual Easter holiday. Somehow I did not remember this and was reminded of it by my mother on Thursday night.

After she told me about it I thought, Wow! My parents are so smart! That makes it so much easier to "enjoy" the whole Easter basket-egg finding-gorging on candy thing and still reserve Sunday for the celebration of the religious type Easter (and not have hyper kids during Church!).

So...this year we picked up an (apparently forgotten!) Easter tradition from my family and celebrated the Easter Bunny on Saturday morning. I am now a big advocate of this approach. It was much more relaxed and fun for every one.

Some Easter basket treasures....

The Easter Bunny was cheap this year. $1 bubbles were a big hit though.

We had a little egg hunt in the backyard since I have not been able to bring myself to brave one of the city sponsored ones. I have nightmares of my children getting trampled and then coming home empty handed to boot.

Intense concentration is required when peeling an egg you are going to complain about eating about 10 minutes later.

Liam attempted to eat the egg before we had taken the shell off and managed to give himself a good schmear of blue lipstick for the rest of the day.

It was a wee tad cold outside, but so nice to have a relaxing morning to enjoy the time with the kids.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Temple Square

If you have never been to Temple Square in the Spring, you are really missing out. It is absolutely lovely. They plan the gardens out in great detail and are constantly replanting to make sure there are always blooms to look at (so even if you don't go in the Spring it is still worth the time!). My kids absolutely love going up there just to look at the flowers and the waterfalls.

I was able to spend a couple of hours with the camera up there this week and this is what I came home with.

Plan a trip! It is definitely worth a couple hours if you live nearby.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pre-Easter Preparations

Decorating Easter eggs is one of those things that strikes fear into my heart. Multi-colored dye with the potential of staining anything it touches, hanging around in liquid form, and actually meant for child participation. Scary! I feel the need to go break out the spot remover just thinking about it.

Apparently it scares Liam too.

We took precautions (note the large field of while in the photo – hooray for white plastic garbage bags!) and managed to escape without incident.

Matt got involved and made a very interesting rainbow spotted egg using the wax from a candle and soaking the egg in increasingly darker colors. Apparently the process required intense concentration…

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy birthday to one of the most humble,
and amazing people I know.

You have been my inspiration,
my confidant, my comforter, my example,
and my friend.

I love you so much.
And I'm grateful for every minute of your 72 years
that I have been able to spend with you.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hermana Dinner

Some of the "Herms" from my mission got together at our Mission President's house for a Dominican feast last Friday.

I wasn't sure how well I would do with the food. To be honest, thinking of Dominican food kind of makes my stomach turn. Nearly 8 years later, I still cannot eat rice and beans together.

I was pleasantly surprised though. The food tasted really good to me (miracles!) most likely because of the talented ladies that made it and the great company.

Thank goodness el Presidente got the chicken foot. This one had longer claws than normal and totally freaked me out. (I woke up to chickens being slaughtered outside our bathroom window for 6 months. I will never forget the flapping sound as they hit the bucket...{shudder}.)

I wasn't the only one that enjoyed the food. Look at those clean plates!

I had a wonderful time eating and chatting with everyone. It has been way too long since I have seen most of them.

Pres. and Sis. J. were gracious and kind hosts as usual. I feel so privileged to have served with such an amazing bunch.

Thanks to Perry and Sis. J. for organizing it, especially on a night I could be there!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We've been busy...

We ran to the park.

While we were there, we were treated to a new 5 year old phenomenon - POUTING. Kenna is using this new tool at every opportunity.

I am not amused.

Lyssa played while Kenna sulked.

She finally cheered up long enough to chase a remote control airplane around with about 500 other neighborhood kids that were taking advantage of the weather.

Lyssa ran her little heart out. She really wanted to catch the plane.

We had sandwiches...big ones. Lyssa showed proper etiquette by raising that dainty pinky finger every time she took a bite.

Liam played with Mom while Dad tried to get the external flash on the camera up and running. (He finally found it after several years of being hidden in a box.)

We tried out a yummy new donut place. I fell in love with the green one. I think Key Lime is one of my new favorite flavors.

We raced paper airplanes. (Bad picture of me. Yuck. But you can see the shorter hair. I was having a hard time getting the remote picture taking timed just right. Also note the amount of sincere effort the girls put into throwing those planes.) We got a chance to try out our new tripod with this picture. Yay for more camera equipment!

And we got girly. Liam escaped sans curlers, but only because his hair isn't long enough for the girls to put one in it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cruise - The Backstory

In order to understand why this trip was such a crazy thing, I have to give a little backstory about how we even got there in the first place.

On Feb. 10th, my dad had an appointment with his oncologist. The doctor noticed that my dad’s PSA numbers were starting to rapidly jump again (from the mid 300’s to the high 700’s in a month) and let him know that they would need to start chemo again soon. He also told him that the chemo would be less effective this time, so they wouldn’t do as many treatments (3-4 instead of the 9 he had before). The only treatment available after that would be an experimental pill they are testing in Vegas that would require them to drive down there often for check-ups.

He suggested that if there was anywhere my dad wanted to go, or anything he wanted to see, he should probably go before his next appointment, because he would likely not be well enough again. His next appointment was scheduled for the 3rd of March.

So, on the way home from the appointment that day, my siblings sort of joked a little about going on a cruise - something my parents have wanted to do for quite a while - to try and lighten the mood a little. I guess at some point my sister Lori whipped out her handy iPhone and started looking around the internet for cruise deals.

I'll spare all the details on how they eventually ended up finding something, but it was sort of miraculous how it all worked out. They ended up with an itinerary that my dad had really wanted that was leaving the following Sunday.

My sister called that evening and told me about the trip. She said that they were trying to get all the siblings to go along, that it would be a great trip, etc. My heart sort of sank. I knew there was no way I could go. We wouldn't have anyone to watch the kids while Matt was at work, my passport had expired, I didn't know if I could get work off, an old friend was coming for a visit during the same week, we didn't have the money...yeah, you get the idea. I told her I wouldn't be able to go.

I mentioned it when I talked to Matt on the phone that night. But didn't really say too much because I had pretty much decided it was impossible. I didn't really think too much more about it until I got home from work on Wednesday and Matt called me. He doesn't normally call me from work unless it's something really important so when I answered I was a slightly worried. He just said, "Can you get next week off work?" and I sort of panicked inside, not sure why he would be asking. I told him him I probably could and when I asked why he said, "I've been working things out with your sister. You're going on the cruise. You need to call her right now and give her the credit card number."

I was floored. The only thing I could do was cry. I hadn't realized how much it meant to me to go until he said I was going with them. He had been working all day to get work off for the next week and to get things arranged with my sister. He said he thought I'd regret it if I didn't go and chances like this only come around once in a great while. I called my sister, gave her the information she needed, hung up the phone and then sat down on the kitchen floor and just cried. I was overwhelmed.

There were a million things running through my brain...mostly just the gratitude for my amazing husband and his willingness to sacrifice so much for me and for the amazing opportunity to spend the time with my parents and siblings.

That and I was panicking when I realized I only had three days to get everything put together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick would be proud...

Oh boy did we celebrate! I was feeling bad that the girls didn't get to go to school and partake of all the activities today...so we decided to liven things up a little at home.

We made green pancakes for dinner (I couldn't think of anything Irish and that was the best bet for food coloring).

To be followed by green cupcakes with green frosting and green sprinkles.

I'm sure we had waaaaaay too much food coloring.

But, it had the great side effect of making Kenna forget about being sick for a couple of hours. Which means, I think she's feeling better, she's just stringing it out in order to get more "green drink". ("green drink" = Sprite - since it comes in the green bottles they think it's green, even though we've pointed out it is not green once you pour it out.)

I really hope no one else comes down with this one. I can do colds, but Sunday night was a LONG one and I have no desire to do more throw up laundry. Yuck. Plus Kenna insisting that she has to carry a bowl around everywhere is embarrassing. It's awkward to explain that at the grocery store.

Also, did I mention that Liam is tall enough to get an open yogurt container off the kitchen table?

Awesome. I love cleaning up after these munchkins.