Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Citrus Trees

As most of you know, there is just nothing quite like Arizona Oranges! My aunt and uncle have an orchard about 25 minutes from here. Their oranges are so amazing! They are one of my favorite treats and I just can't stomach store bought citrus. It just leave so much to be desired. Well, when Dave and I bought this house, it was our desire to have our own citrus trees. About a year after moving in, I decided it was time and so I went out and dug the necessary trenches through what felt like cement, bought my trees (2 navel orange and 1 lemon for Dave), and got them planted. Since that day nearly 5 years ago (and I remember quite well that it was nearly 5 years ago because I was pregnant with CK at the time which made digging all those trenches just fun!), we have seen very little to be excited about until a few months ago when Dave proudly announced that he had found a small green ball on one of the trees that looked like it could grow into something more! I went out to see for myself and sure enough there it was! Not only that, but there was a second as well! Joyous day! We have been watching these 2 little miracles over the last couple of months to see what they will be come. Unfortunately about a month or 2 ago, L walked in with one of them that was just starting to turn a golden color leaving us with only 1. Yesterday, I looked out my kitchen window and was so pleased to see what a beautiful color it had taken on.

Here are our trees:

Here is our sweet little orange. She looks just beautiful. I think I will pluck her and see for myself just how sweet are the fruits of my labor tomorrow for my New Year's present.
I now have great hopes for next year. Maybe we will get 4!! One can only dream, and dream I will because they have already started to come true.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What a Merry Christmas It Was!

Hello, everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I know we did! Here are some photographical documentions of the wonderful day we had!

We had Christmas Eve dinner here ate our house. After dinner, we got all the kids together to do a live natvity scene. We have done this every Christmas season for as long as I can remember and my mom has really got quite a collection of costumes over the years!

Here are all the kids lined up getting ready to start.

L was Mary, D and B wise men.
CK was an angel, and a very happy one at that!After the nativity, we did the cousin gift exchange where the kids got to open the 1 present that was from their cousin. B and Zach are very funny about OJ. They think it is the coolest thing ever. This could partly be because Dave loves it so much, but doesn't share it, so it is sort of the forbidden drink. B has gotten juice as a present for his last 2 bdays and also last Christmas. He had Zach's name for Christmas this year and so we decided to give him OJ. See how happy he is?

Just after Zach opened his present, it was B's turn. His present was from Zach and surprise, surprise!!! (Zach also got him Tiger Woods "skater-aid." He just couldn't make up his mind what would be better so he did both. Such fun little boys!)

Christmas morning... breakfast is done... dishes are done... (yes, I make my kids eat breafast and clean the kitchen before opening any presenst or seeing what Santa brought them) time to see what Santa brought! All lined up and ready to go into the living room to see this years spoils.

B and his haul... his big gift was the bike, but can you see what he is proudly holding that Santa brought him?
CK's favorite gift was an "Uh-oh, gotta go!" Doll. It goes to the bathroom on the toilet (and yes, there are visual images for after her visit to the porcelin throne). She also really loves her Dora Sleeping Bag.KL got an Inch Worm. She is still a little small for it, but she still thinks it is cool. The other kids have certainly enjoyed it for her, though!

The thing she has loved the most was the stroller for the dolls. Amid all the toys and presents, the stroller was the first and only thing she saw and she immediately started pushing it around.D has really loved his MP3 player (actually, B & L also got one, just not as cool, and they aren't quite as obsessed with it). He also got a thing to hold his shoulder pads and helmet.
L got mostly pre-teen things... Hanna Montana, HSM, Camp Rock... all things right up her alley. She also got an Easy Bake oven and plenty of make-up that we are hoping is almost all gone!
After we had fun playing with all that Santa brought us, we went down stairs to open our other presents. KL caught on really quick how fun it is too rip the paper off.
CK opening
L opening. This shirt was one of the first things she opened and she loved it so she went and changed right away. She actually told me she likes it so much, she's even going "to try not get it ruined!" That is the first time she has ever made such a promise!

D opening
B opening

This is a special present to Dave from B. There is a very cute story about this, but it is a little long so it will be in a post all it's own, but remember this gift...My little sister helped to get the our family a very special present. Here are the boys opening it.

My grandparents had given us some money for Christmas. Dave and I decided to use it to take the kids out to dinner then pick out a movie that they could watch with their cousins. We were planning on taking them someplace nice like PF Changs, but when when we made our intentions known, there was much weeping, wailing, and knashing of teeth, mostly by B and L who just wanted to go to Chic-Fila. I decided there was really no reason to take them someplace that was so much more expensive that would just make them upset, so off we went to Chick-fila (we also had a couple of free kids meal coupons, so score even more!)

And this is the reason they wanted Chick Fila so bad... playland!

And by the way... this was the first year we had a child who couldn't sleep through the night. B was up at 3:30. I heard someone awake outside our room in the family room, but when I went to check, I didn't seen anyone. I could only see that someone had gotten one of the blankets out. A few minutes later, I heard KL in her crib. I laid there for another few minutes waiting to see if she would go back to sleep on her own, but then I heard a loud bang so I got up to investigate. Before I got to her room, I saw her run around the corner. I guess B had gone to lay on her floor, woken her up, then got her out of bed...maybe hoping if she were up, everyone would be allowed to get up. He did manage to go back to sleep. This was also the first year when we didn't have to wake them up. No throwing pillows at their door this year! D had all the kids dressed and beds made and upstairs by 6. He was a little confused when I told him they all had to go and put their Christmas PJ's back on. This was the first time they were told to go and get undressed so they could play! Nonetheless, they quickly complied and were nothing if not helpful as we made breakfast and cleaned up.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Yea! It is finally here! My favorite day of the year! I almost think that Christmas Eve is even better that Christmas. I think that is because the anticipation is thick you can almost touch it. Christmas morning is fabulous too. We always eat breakfast before we can see what Santa brought us and open our presents. Let me tell you! When I was a kid, I really didn't love this, but now I do! But even then, I could recogonize how exciting everything was. I was alwasy so filled with anticipation, I thought I might burst! It is just so fun to do this with kids. I love their excitement! However, Dave and I are always shocked at our kids ability to go to sleep Christmas Eve night and stay asleep! Every year, we think, "This is the year they will be up all night begging to get up at 3!" But still... they stay fast asleep in their sweet little beds. Last year, Dave finally got up at 7 and started throwing pillows down the stairs at the boys room to get them to wake up! He would throw a pillow then run jump back in bed and pretend he was asleep (he likes the kids to "wake" him up Christmas morning). He had to do this about 3 or 4 times before they finally woke up. They were confused why there was a pile of throw pillows from the couch in front of their bedroom door!

Last night, I decided to let the kids stay up late while I was folding laundry and watch Christmas movies. B went and borrowed the Christmas Classics from Jill (Santa Claus is Coming To Town, Rudolf The Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty, etc... it is a dvd collection. We use to have it, but all of the dvds have gotten lost, except for Rudolf). He really wanted to watch Santa Claus is Coming To Town. He was watching so intently, and then towards the end, he turned to me and asked, "Mom, is this non-fiction?"

I hope you all have a very wonderful Christmas and are able to enjoy the true spirit of this day, and your loved ones. Merry Christmas to you all!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Nativity

I don't know how many of you have watched The Nativity, but for those of you who haven't, I must highly encourage you to do so! It is a very powerful portrayal of all that Mary and Joseph went through. I especially love how Joseph is portrayed. It seems like we really don't hear too much about him, but in this movie, is really shows what a good, kind, and loving man he must have been. This movie was directed by Katherine Hardwicke, and for those of you who don't know, she directed Twilight as well. When I watch this movie, I really have to say it goes a long way towards exonerating her for that fiasco. Dave and I took the kids to see it in the theater when it first was released 2 years ago and I was so impressed. I decided to sit and watch it with the kids again last night for Family Night so they could have the proper prospective this close to Christmas. Before turning it on, we had a little talk about the movie and how sometimes the things we are asked to do aren't easy. Mary and Joseph were given a very hard task and while we will never be asked to do what they had to, we will be asked to make sacrifices. We always have the choice to accept the challenges and rise above them and we will alwasy have the help and guidance we need. Unfortuantely, they had all had a pretty late night the night before and so by the end of the movie, D and I were the only ones awake (though he is doing a pretty good impression of sleeping here!) . I decided to let them sleep in front of the tree and so here they all are.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Temple Lights

Last night, we got to have more Christmas fun! Dave's Uncle Alvin, and his wife, Anne and her son, Scott were all in town visiting Dave's cousin, Kelvin and his wife Lisa who moved here this summer to be closer to their daughter Andria and her family (husband Jared and boys Ethan and Max) who moved here about 2 1/2 years ago . Whew! Did you catch all that? Good for you if you did! Now back to the story... they all agreed to come over for dinner last night. L got ahold of the camera after dinner. Here is some of her work.


Anne, Alvin and Baby Max
Jared, Andria and Max
She took about a million more, but I think that hits most of our guests (except Ethan. Sorry buddy, we love you though!) Thanks, L for those great pictures

After dinner, we all went down to see the temple lights. This close to Christmas, it was pretty crowded, but still beautiful as always! The kids loved it and it was fun with CK as she was seeing all the different nativity components and piecing the whole story together.

Here is D
B and KLKL with the Wise Men

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Time To Par-Tay!

Yesterday was a fun filled of parties. KL, CK and I started out our day by taking a gift down to Dave's office for his work party's gift exchange that he had left at home. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of that party, but he assures us that it was fun. Along our way, we stopped by Petsmart to pick up a couple of goldfish. One for us, and one for another party... more on that later. We got home just in time to feed our new feed our new fish (which has been named Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Princess Dora Goldie--I told each of the kids they could give it a name. Since I don't imagine it being in our home for long, I didn't it would be worth with the fights that would surely ensue if only one person to pick the name) before heading out to our first party of the day. It was at B and L's class. Their teacher is so great! She invites any parents who want to come and to bring the little brothers and sisters to come along too. She did this for Halloween too. She doesn't even ask the parents to do anything for it. This time she did ask for us to bring bags of candy to help decorate the gingerbread houses, which we were only too happy to do. Here we have some pictures of that party.

Here is me with all the kids. They were allowed to wear their PJs to school that day. B didn't want too, but L did. I figured since she was wearing hers, the other girls could wear theirs too. CK felt so cool being able to be just like her big sister in school--really. She just didn't want to pose for this picture.
Here are the girls working on their houses. I thought it was so sweet that Mrs. MacRobbie (their wonderful teacher) even had things for the little siblings to make houses with. CK thought it was great too.
B working on his house.
B with his finished product.
CK's finished house.
L's finished masterpiece. I didn't get her picture until after it was in plastic, but she really did work long and hard on it. It has a fence, walk way, and a sleigh in the front yard.

One of the greatest thing for my twins is they get to have their cousins in their class. I don't think I'll ever get over how lucky they are. What I woudln't have given to have this!!! Here is Jill with her kids working on their houses. B just couldn't resist the oppurtunity to jump in as soon as I took the picture.

After the twins party, we ran home, the girls ate lunch, then they went over to Jill's to play while I went down to D's party. It was just at the end of the day and they just sat around eating treats til school was out. Hmm... sounds like my kind of party!
Here he is with some of his friends from his class.

Finally, that evening, we had our 3rd annual neighborhood Christmas party hosted by Jill and Scott. We always have so much fun. We have the greatest neighborhood and it is so fun to get together with everyone. We have dinner then do a white elephant gift exchange that is getting better every year as the inside jokes and repeat gifts go on an on! Here is just a quick pic of everyone mingling over dessert.

I had a great tip this year on a fabulous white elephant and I encourage anyone else to copy this! This is where the goldfish comes into play! I'm so glad that Beth opened it too! (Technically, Mark and Beth don't live in the neighborhood, but we always love and miss people when they leave so it is great when they come back!) She is not an animal lover. At first she just thought it was a bag of water. Once she realized what it was, she threw it at Mark. You can see how much she is loving it!

One more funny gift was to our neighbor Danny. He actually didn't get to pick out his present. There was one specifically designated for him. It was from Jill. It was a pair of pink fluffy slippers with the following note attached (hopefully, you can read it. It is a little blurry from scanning it):

One of the funniest parts was that as soon as he opened it, before he even had a chance to read the note was that Jarad (who was told NOTHING about this before hand) , another neighbor who can frequently be seen jogging around the neighborhood yelled out, "It's for his feet in the morning when he runs out to get the paper, so at least he can have something on!"

Here he is modeling his beautiful footware. Thanks for being such a great sport, Danny!

All in all, a very fun day! Hope you all are enjoying your parties this season too!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Ultimatum

Although I started wrapping our presents a few weeks ago, I haven't put any under the tree. I have been afraid that they would attract too much attention and quickly be unwrapped. Hence, they have been brightening the top of my closet and dresser for the last little while. The kids have started to notice that all of their friends have presents under their trees and have started asking when we get to put our presents under the tree. A couple of days ago, I came up with an idea. In the past, we have had our presents under our upstairs tree in our front room, but this year I decided we would use the downstairs tree. There are a couple of reasons for this; 1st, KL is down there less and it would therefore escape her attention longer. 2nd, I figured that most of the presents are for the kids and as soon as we finish opening them, Dave and I spend at least an hour or so telling them kids to take their things downstairs and put them away. Opening them downstairs is an effort to help that process. And finally, why not? Anyway, back to our empty tree and my brilliant idea. Wednesday when the kids came home from school, I told them that as soon as they had the basement clean (I told them this included my idea of clean, not theirs and it was for their rooms, bathroom, and family room), they could put the presents under the tree. I expected this to incite an amount of excitement and a cleaning frenzy to ensue. Well, no such luck. I kept trying to get them excited, but L went outside to play, D went down to play wii and B was here, there and everywhere. Finally, I got B to focus a little bit and told him to go down and clean his room. After about 15 minutes, I could tell he wasn't cleaning but had joined D. I yelled down, "Don't you want any presents?" He answered, "No. We like Wii better."

I gave up for the rest of the afternoon, but yesterday when D woke up, he was all gung ho and sure enough he had everything down before school. Yea! So, I'm happy to say, we now have presents under our tree.

Now to keep it clean... I told them today that if they let their room get messy, or if they don't put something away or do what they are told, I get to take one of their presents back! Hee hee hee!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm Not The Only One Who Thinks They Are Cute!

For those of you who missed it, I did an "elf" with my kids last week for them. In case you care to watch it, it is here. All my kids have loved watching it over and over. Dave sat down with KL the other day and she just died laughing and kept pointing to herself. I couldn't resist taking a picture of it. She's such a fun little baby!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Mary

Yesterday was my little sister's birthday. We celebrated by getting together for lunch. We went to a pizza place that has a little kids play area which was imperative because we all had little kids with us!

Jill and I were the first ones there and when we walked in, there were a couple of fire fighters who were leaving and gave the kids stickers which they thought was amazing! They even let the little kids go out and climb in their firetruck. Amazing!

Here is most of the party animals. I'll do my best naming everyone going from left to right. I'll start with misspelling Maithe (Mary's neighbor. She is from Puetro Rico. I know how to say her name, but I've never seen it spelt, so my apologies!), The Birthday Girl Mary!!, Jill, Stephanie (another neighbor), Candace (from their ward), Beth, Mom (and KL in the high chair)

Here are the kids eating and playing (CK is busy telling on Kyle who kept climbing up on the house when the sign said not to).
After KL had eaten 2 peices of pizza, I took her out of her high chair so she could go and play with the kids. She immediatly went for the kids plates and started grabbing their food too. I guess all my kids have inherited my love of food!
Sophie (daughter of that dear friend whose name I won't misspell again), Mary and Evelynne blowing out the candles from the cake Bethie brought.
We all had a fun time. Hope you had a happy birthday Mary! Thanks for letting us celebrate with you. (On a sidenote, B was absolutely heartbroken that the celebration would take place when he was at school and couldn't come. You have some explaining to do for him...)