Monday, December 19, 2011

The Ship Parade

After a fun dinner with great friends, we packed donuts and hot chocolate to the park by the river to watch the annual ship light parade. Here are some of the awesomely lit up ships!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Favorite Christmas Toy

Playmobil Nativity. But where Baby Jesus' top half went is a Christmas mystery.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fancy Molly

Molly was invited to a Fancy Nancy Christmas Party. I thought she looked too beautiful not to share!

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Gingerbread village

So, lest you think it's all been fun and games, there was the gingerbread village mishap...

I found a gingerbread village kit, and thought, how perfect, 5 little houses! No need to fight over one house, right?

Not so much. They ended up being ridiculously small, and impossible to build when you have human sized hands.

Olivia dissolved into tears when hers fell apart.

Ian happily munched on his.

Molly weeped over her disastrous house.

Max ate his. Notice a pattern?

So, I have decided that there is a reason that this tradition has never stuck for us. You don't have to include the stuff that's more stress than fun!

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The Nutcracker

Last Saturday, I took the girls to the Nutcracker. First we went out to lunch at our favorite spot, The
Olive Garden, where the unwrapped this year's nutcracker:

Here is Olivia in front of the pit orchestra.

And here is Molly! It was beautiful and we all loved it as much as ever!

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Luau

**photo courtesy of Steve**
Our ward Christmas party this year was a Christmas Luau. It was so much fun! The cultural hall was decorated beautifully, the food was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G, and we even had some island entertainment (yes, I hula'd), complete with a surfing Santa! The whole family had a blast. A big thanks to those who slaved away to make this party so much fun.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingerbread Pirates

Our favorite Christmas book this year.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Zoo lights

We headed to Zoo Lights Monday. It was freezing!!!! But not raining. So, we took advantage. The lights were so pretty and fun! And, we were all ready for cookies and hot chocolate afterwards.

The girls loved the bear! It was probably warm!

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Our Tree

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Festival of Trees

I think this is our third year going to the Festival of Trees downtown. It always falls on the first Friday of the month, which the kids have off of school. There is so much to do and see there, we always have such a great time and it really gets us in the mood for Christmas!

There's face painting (this is what Ian got after he was told they couldn't do Yoda):

A Teddy bear hospital. All the kids get a bear which they get to name and doctor up! It's so cute! Bandages, xrays, and face masks! This is the highlight of the event! Here is Ian having his bear's ("Big Boy") heartbeat listened to:

Olivia's bear! ("Caroline")

Max's bear (Fella):

Molly's bear, ("Snowflake").

Mrs. Claus' kitchen. They each got to decorate a cookie.

There is a magnificent trays display!

And then, there are the trees!!!

It is such a fun day! And we loved going with great friends!

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2011 Holiday Kickoff!

So I have a bunch of pipe dreams about how I am going to document all of our fun holiday activities. We pack in a bunch of stuff during December, but blogging about it January 1 is totally overwhelming, so I never get to it. This year I will try to "blog as I go," so we can remember at the end of the frenzy that we really did have fun!

So, since I am anti-Christmas until after my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, our festivities began the day after Thanksgiving with the annual tree lighting in our little community. Apparently we have the largest live Christmas tree in the nation. Or so the mayor said. I have not checked his research on that. Anywho, here she is in her lit up glory!

After the tree lighting, the mayor points out Santa, in a fire engine, and we all parade after him to the plaza where you can stand in line to see him. Since this is not our first ball game we know that you have to hi-tail it down there unless you want to stand in line all night! We got there pretty quick, stood in line, and chatted extensively with the big guy. Also, we saw this cute bear and lots of other jolly critters handing out cookies and candy canes. I guess this is one time of year where it's ok to talk to and take stuff from strangers..

Ian with the big guy. His list is so fun this year: a castle with horses and knights! I hope the elves can manage that!

Stay tuned for lots more of our fun!
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to our big boy!

My baby is three (sniff)! I can't believe it! He had a great birthday, because, really, how can your birthday be anything but great on Halloween?! He dressed up as Obi Wan for the trunk or treat and fall carnival, but when the big day arrived he chose to be Yoda!

Here is the little punkin picking out his Pumpkin!

Yay for Star Wars birthday toys! Isn't he the handsomest?

Birthday smiles for Grandma! He loves his Star Wars guys!

And, Jonny delivered again with
A darling Yoda cake!

We love Ian! I will try to post
some nostalgia pics later!
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from the Star Wars Clan:

Dad- Old Obi Wan
Mom- The Dark Side (yes, I pulled off being a concept!
Olivia- Princess Leia
Molly- Queen Amidala
Max- Darth Vader
Ian- Young Obi Wan

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Thursday, October 20, 2011


Molly is tired of everyone at school asking her name. So, she sat down and made a bunch of these:

And instead of answering said people, she hands them one of her "cards!"

She seriously cracks me up.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011

I went to ChiTown (that's what people call Chicago, apparently) last weekend to run the marathon. It's one of the top 5 marathons in the world, with over 45,000 registrants. My good friend and runner extraordinaire, Brittany, went to school there, so when we were trying to decide on a fall marathon, Chicago won out over local options. I have never been to Chicago, so it was a treat to see such a cool city. I loved it! It has a cool energy, and lots of diversity, yet the people were so friendly and laid back. I would love to visit again under better circumstances.

I won't bore you all with details of the race. I have rehashed it so much, even I am sick of hearing about it. A marathon is a funny animal. You train for 4+ months, including long 20+ mile runs on weekends toward the end of training. You over analyze everything from your diet, to your fueling, to your sleep, to your hydration to dial in the perfect senario. You visualize, meditate, and positive think yourself into KNOWING it will be a great race. You carb load the week before, and avoid anything that might cause the stomach distress that often comes with long runs. It's consuming. And, kind of a big deal. Anywho, here I am at the start (ignore the bags under my eyes from not sleeping a wink):

And, here is the sign that made me believe that I might actually make it across the finish line. What happened in between these two pics is a grueling four hours that made me swear off running forever and ever.
In conclusion, we have good running days, and we have bad running days. That day in Chicago, I had a bad running day. I have gone over it all with a fine tooth comb and have no idea why I felt like crap, but I did. And, I felt like crap pretty much the whole race. It was not at all how I visualized it.

But, I did it. I finished. I beat my last marathon time by 12 minutes. I made my legs move when they surely didn't want to. I dug deeper than I ever have in my life and reminded myself over and over again that, "my dad didn't give me these legs to look good in skirts." The mind is a powerful thing. Much more powerful than my legs, in this case.

I am trying not to let this be a disappointment. I didn't reach my goal. I did everything right and still, it did not happen. But, I learned that I can do really hard things.

And, there is always the next one...

Also, as an important side note, my sweet, supportive husband was right there with me through this whole journey. He has encouraged me from the start. He never complains that he is left in charge every Saturday monring when I am running for hours. He showed up at the end of a very tough run with doughnuts and ice water for Britt and me. He rubbed my feet and legs every night before the race. He took care of everything and sent me to bed in the days following. He is always there to lend an ear, an opinion (even though I often don't want to hear it), and gives lots of great advice. He never rolls his eyes (like I am guilty of doing) when I start planning another race. He is quick to tell me that he is super proud of me. I think he is so great and am totally unworthy of such a friend.

And, another side note, Brittany, my super great running buddy, is my hero! She rocked this marathon and is so much fun to run with every single week. I am so happy I found her and that we have taken these journeys together! I have a feeling there will be many more!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Max's first day of Kindergarten!

Here is the big guy on the first day. Isn't he so cute with his spikey hair and cute big-boy clothes!? I can't get enough of him dressed for school! He is even sporting really (seriously) cool Darth Vader shoes, which I am usually opposed to. But, these are not super cheesey, or ugly, and he really loves them!
Here is the happy guy hanging up his super cool guitar backpack. He has been so easy going about school! He is so happy to get up and get ready each and every morning. He is loving his new friends (all 4 of them! the class split is 13 girls and 5 boys)! And, he had no separation anxiety about me leaving him (sniff, sniff). This guy is going to rule the Kindergarten!
We are all super excited for a great school year!

Molly's first day of Kindergarten!

Molly was so excited on her first day of Kindergarten! She was so thrilled to wear her new SKINNY jeans (she only likes skinny jeans not fat jeans-her words, not mine) and t-shirt, because again, it was 95 degrees! She had lots of opinions about what she wore, her hair, her shoes, etc. Not all of them were my preferences, but with Molly, one learns quickly which battles to fight.
How cute are they RUNNING to school?! We all tried to keep up. They were so full of energy and I loved that they were holding hands. I think they eased each other's fears!
In front of the bulletin board outside of their class.
And, finally, Molly, hanging up her backpack. She got a little nervous at this point and clung to me for a while. TOTALLY caught me off guard. I expected that more from Max, because she is usually so dang independent! But, her teacher distracted her and she was happily playing soon after!
Here are her and Max drawing a picture of their favorite animal. Molly drew an elephant and Max drew a Saber-toothed Tiger.
And, this is where I would like to insert "getting off the bus on the first day pictures," but lo, when the bus pulled up to my house, Max and Molly were not on it. Apparently they were on the "walk list" because we live too close to the school, so they were pulled off of the bus and the bus driver was kind enough to pull over to inform me that they were waiting for me in the school office. They were so deflated when I got there to pick them up. They were so looking forward to the bus! The secretary informed me that she and the principal were working with transportation and would get it all worked out. The Kindergarten bus is for ALL kindergarteners. And, this was one time that I knew the school secretary's feistiness would work in my favor. Sure enough, by the next morning I got a call from her saying that they were on the list and could take the bus home that day. Oh happy day! They were so excited and ALL smiles when they got off of the bus that second day. I am pretty sure that the bus is the highlight of Kindergarten so far.
It is so great seeing them come home happy every day and loving school. To me, that is the sole purpose of kindergarten. I am so happy that they got a great, fun teacher and that they are loving it so much!

Backing up a bit...the first day of school!

I had to back up to the first day of school! It's always so monumental and exciting. This year was no exception. Olivia went to 5th grade. She was so excited!!! Of course, it was 95 degrees on the first day of school, so she had to only wear half new school clothes with some shorts. Funny, it's cool here all summer, then the first week of school gets blasting hot. Oh well. Here is my grown up darling!
Here she is heading down the hallway to her new class! The first day was super special this year because Grandma got to come with us! Olivia was so happy to have her there! Also, Olivia started the day before Max and Molly, so she got her "own" first day. That made it nice and less hectic!
And here is the only picture I got of her in her new classroom where she was not saying, "mom, STOP" and giving me the evil eye. It is apparently no longer "cool" for your mom to walk you to class in 5th grade and take lots of photos. Eventually I looked around and noticed that, yes, I was the only parent in the class. Yikes. Jon is sure that I will be there until her senior year. He could be right. It's just such a big deal. I couldn't send her off to the sharks without checking out the water and making sure it was friendly. It's my motherly duty, right?
Here's to a great 5th grade year and LAST year at elementary school....sniff, baby is growing up to fast!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Max!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy! This guy stole my heart from the get-go! At 4 lbs 12 oz he literally felt like such a fragile, special little gift, and he was so sweet and cuddly. He and I had a special connection right away. I mean, look at this little guy, swimming in his premie clothes. My heart just longs to have him back in my arms, but oh no! He is SIX! Crazy!
We were so lucky to have Grandma here for the big birthday celebration! She saved my bacon, loved the kids, and just was so fun to have around for a whole week! So, even though this is a blurry picture, it's an important one. Max really loves his grandma!!!
And, here is the father of the year, working on his masterpiece. Jon was so great to help out with Max's cake. He did an excellent job!
And, drumroll...ta-da! Darth Maul (for those of you non-Star Wars fans):
And, here's the cute birthday boy in his new birthday outfit on his way to school! He is such a cool kid!And, this is actually Max, don't be fooled by his awesome new costume! He has been dying for a Darth Vader costume for months!
Happy birthday, Max! Here's to a great year being SIX! We are so proud of who you are becoming and are so grateful to be your parents!!!