Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas (Part I)

Merry Christmas! It was the quietest Christmas I can remember for a long time, but still fun for all of that. =) Here are some shots of each of us with one of our gifts from Christmas morning:

Steve-oh, with his oh-so-cool sled. (Watch out world! Not to mention those punks on Old Main, lol.)

Me, being completely spoiled by my husband. Behold the waterproof, shockproof, practically kidproof camera! With settings for just about every situation of picture taking, including self-portraits, candlelight, fireworks, night lights, underwater . . . way too much fun.

And the munchkin. Sure, she loved her spoons and cereal and high chair; but nothing could compare to the wrapping paper! Wheeee! (Okay, so the first munchkin picture is from a couple days ago when she unwrapped her Grandma and Grandpa ornament . . . but it's still cute!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Once there was a snowman . . .

So here is Steve's masterpiece (with some help from yours truly with the stacking).



And here is Marina for perspective the extremely warm winter's day after the night we built him. (Remember, the blonde is about four feet tall.) Don't worry, our snowman's not too concerned with his looks as he ages (i.e. melts). =)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Little Trickster

Jessica has loved being in her jumprope club these last few months. Tonight they had their equivalent of a recital. And here's one of Jessie's solos. And FYI, she was so not feeling well tonight after having had stomach troubles all day, but she was determined to do her part anyway.
video

And after she was done, she threw up.

No, she's not going to school tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I love my kids!

This morning I got up after many arguments with myself, fed the baby, put the baby back to bed, exercised, and then went out and shoveled our snow. Again. When I came in, it was time for the little kids to get up (the older ones got up while I was shoveling snow). When I was trying to convince Jessica and Marina to get up, amid many groans, I had to laugh and say, "Hey, I've already exercised AND shoveled the walk!" Jessica tilted her head backwards to look up at me and said, "You're a good mommy." Ah shucks. Now if I could only be that all the time. =)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Would you eat a spoonful of horseradish for $2.00?

So once again we had a fun night of seeing what the human body can endure for money. Steve offered anyone two dollars if they could eat a spoonful of horseradish sauce, keep it in the mouth for five seconds, and then swallow (no spitting out!). Even Crisha's friend got coerced into doing it. So here's the results. =)

















Take your pick for the funniest reaction, but hands down, Sim had the most unexpected one. None! That's our little half-blood Mexican! That kid can eat anything hot and it doesn't phase him. Guess I should have seen that one coming, right? =)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Family!!

So here's our family that was up here Thanksgiving day. Yay! We had a fun time (well, I did), and I discovered how Mom and Dad feel when we all gather at their house in Providence. Okay, so I kinda found out . . . Mom and Dad have just a bit bigger family. But hey! We had the typical feast with lots of yummy turkey, potatoes, gravy, veges, etc. And dessert. And more dessert. And still more dessert. After all, what's a feast for? And don't worry, we played several games to help keep us away from food part of the time and then wear off at least some of those delicious calories! =)

Christmas With a Capital C


Okay, so I normally don't do the whole Christian Rock thing, but I have to admit I enjoyed this clip. So hey, enjoy! Or if you don't enjoy it, imagine me with a silly grin listening to it instead. =)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Get out of my way!

So I laugh at this one every time I see it. Doesn't she just look like she's ready to sock someone? =) (Sorry it's a little blurry.)

Okay, here's the real Serene. Most of the time, lol.

Party, party!

So today was full of fun! Since it was the most doable time for parties for both our November birthday girls, that's what we did! Marina had a snake-themed party complete with all kinds of snake games from snake freeze tag to stick the tongue on the snake (created by Marina herself, but can you tell Jessie got closest? Body language tells all). And her party ended with lunch and cake in the shape of a snake . . . and somehow she also got a giant plush pink snake from us! Wow. So even though we remain firm on the no real snake policy (imagine if we got each of our kids a pet -- we'd be in a zoo!), she still gets some of what she loves. Go slithery, winding, hissing critters!

So after all that fun, who wouldn't want another party that night? Well, Xeneea organized this one, and it seemed like they had fun with minimal fuss. Just birthday cake and singing, then off to ice skating at the rink. And I will admit it was probably a lot more fun in an indoor rink than I remember having at an outdoor one . . . especially since it's been snowing most of the day today (and the last several days on and off). (And oh by the way, Xeneea's cake originally was several chocolate cupcakes, but for some reason they burnt on the bottoms . . . but she said she was fine with the little cake made with leftover batter in a cake pan. Just FYI, lol!)

So hey! Happy 9th and 14th, even if we are a trifle early! =)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Power of Mirrors

It started with this, just a whim over three different days . . .



Then I found this.



Aaaaaaaah! So maybe it's not grammatically correct, but I got the message. And this from a man who doesn't speak a word of French (but who found my English-French dictionary, lol).

Math Lesson


So apparently we have nothing better to do than to work out real-life math problems Steve comes up with on a Sunday night. Fun, fun, fun!!

Blessing




So a new baby is a blessing all by herself, but today was so much fun and so spiritual with family and friends coming together for Serene's blessing (and dinner!). So I had to show off the beautiful dress courtesy of Serene's unofficial godmother Alli. =) And, of course, Serene's wonderful father!

Halloween

Just a few pics here. =)

Serene as a cute jack-o-lantern . . . and said jack-o-lantern not sure about the sitting thing! (I love the face she's making in the seat, almost like she's going to attack something in a fit of craziness! Click on the picture for a close-up.)


Then our beautiful eastern Xeneea . . .

Little Witch,



Yours truly as Little Bo Peep (and photographer combined!) . . .



And of course, everybody's favorite -- Darth Santa!! (With a couple kids.)

What better Halloween could you ask? (And we didn't even get good pics of my maid or Miss Smartie-Pants!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Anyone remember that show "Kids Say the Darndest Things"? I was reminded of it yesterday when Marina set us all laughing. I had asked her and Jessica to please not rough house in the living room (the only place in the house we have off-limits for rough stuff). Of course, this meant they had to get off Steve -- who was at the time squashing Sim (very carefully, lol). The girls got off and Marina looked at her rough-housing dad and said, "Dad, you're such a hipogriff!" How can you not laugh at that? Can anyone tell she's reading Harry Potter? I have to say I'm impressed that she's got the vocabulary to even know the word hypocrite, much less get it mixed up with a mythical beast. =)

This also reminded me of times when I was a kid -- when Valerie call molasses crinkles Manasses Crinkles and also the time when someone was trying to quote a Superscope Storyteller tape of the Samson story and dramatically called out, "Let me die with the Philippines!" ("Philistines" was on the tape.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The household pets

So here's the most amazing thing -- after all that has happened, I actually have been able to keep some plants alive longer than a month! The last time that happened, I think I was in college for the first time. Well, ok, maybe more recently than that, but eventually everything did end up dead. Until now. =)

Here are our family's "pets" (aside from the cat outside). Feathers is the fern (Sim's pet), Spike is the plant on the bottom (Serene's pet, though she doesn't know it yet), Planty is the jade plant (Jessie's pet), and Monster Paws is the purple passion plant (Marina's pet). Now the amazing stories truly apply to Marina and Jessie's pets.

Story 1 -- Planty. Planty started out a tiny jade plant in a 2-inch pot several years ago, before Jessie started school and we moved to Logan area at least. Since then, Planty has been repotted several times (never a good experience for a plant when I do it), been hit by flying pillows, had several parts broken off and replanted . . . and is now alive and doing well. For size, just know that our tiles are about a foot square. Yay!
Story 2 -- Monter Paws. Monster Paws started out a little plant that we got to replace Claws (a cool form of any ivy plant) that had died. Monster Paws did well at first but didn't really grow too much in the shady spot we had him. But we transplanted him to a larger pot anyway . . . and he promptly died! Well, almost. He completely wilted and started shriveling up. I guessed that maybe it was the Miracle Grow he hated (a new factor in the transplanting), so I cut off the tips of his growths in the hope that we could salvage SOME form of life from the plant and put them in water to grow roots. At the same time, I took out the new soil from the larger pot and put in some non-Miracle-Grow-infected soil. When the cuttings of Monster Paws grew large enough roots, I planted them in the prepared pot and prayed. We put Monster Paws in a sunny area (I did some reading on this plant finally), and wow! He not only survived, he thrived! (And btw, his color is off here. He really does not have any yellowish leaves, and normally you can see much more purple from his little fuzzy hair-like things.) In fact, Marina has joked about changing his name to Monster Arms, and I'm sure you can see why, lol.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One Month



Okay, so our whole life has been taken over by little miss bright eyes, but no complaints! Amazing how some things now go out the window around here, but by and large things are still running, lol. Of course, it's harder to blog while bouncing the bouncy seat with my foot . . . =)

I love how alert she is already and how wide her eyes can get. We went online yesterday to see how long it would be before we know if she'll keep her blue eyes or (as is more likely given her dad has brown eyes and her mom gray-green) if they'll change. Yup, we'll be waiting a while -- up to nine months according to one source, but I could swear that Marina's took longer to go hazel. Ah well, we'll enjoy what we have, right? (Even when they're all red from crying!)


And because I couldn't resist, here's the munchkin right after a bath with her hair all nicely dried and everything. Yes, her hair does that naturally! It normally doesn't stay curly too long, though, because everyone, myself included, seems to feel the need to pet this little girl's head, oiling down her curls in record time, lol. What is it about baby hair that begs to be touched?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Anyone got chocolate?

So if anyone has a chocolate phone from Verizon (or any other that might share how to's), how do I get my pictures off my phone without using internet? I have a memory card, but my computer won't read it with the adapter, and when I plug in my phone, all it reads is music! Aaagh! And would you believe the manual is NO help at all with this? So I'm putting out a plea to cyberspace of how to do this. And oh by the way, if you know how to download MP3's w/o Windows Media Player . . . =)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Easy Fun Recipe - Just FYI

So this is just because I got an invite for a recipe exchange and wanted to share this with other people besides the one I was required to do . . . just in case someone wants a good roll recipe that is so versatile that in addition to the variations listed below, I've even used it to make soft pretzels on occasion! So if you want, have fun! If not, well, I'll go make some for me anyway, lol!

Easy Rolls

1 c warm water
2 tbsp yeast
1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c melted butter
4-6 c flour
(other melted butter, cinnamon, brown sugar if desired for roll variations)

Mix 1 cup warm water with 2 tbsp yeast, let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup melted butter, then enough flour to create a soft dough (I like around 5-6 cups). Let rise about an hour in a warm place (or if you use non-fast-acting yeast, you can cover and let rise in the fridge for at least 2 hours till you can make up the rolls), then make into rolls.

For regular dinner rolls, divide into 24 pieces and roll into balls, placing in greased 9X13 pan. You can also make them into crescents (divide into 3 balls and cut into 8 wedges. Roll each wedge up starting at the large side and shape into crescent and place in greased pan) or even cinnamon rolls (divide into two balls of dough. Roll one into a long rectangle, brush with melted butter, then spread brown sugar and cinnamon over top as desired. Roll up starting on one of the long sides and then cut into rolls of desired thickness (I like about 1-2 inches tall). Repeat with other ball of dough. Place in greased pan so that the spirals face up and rolls are about an inch apart).

For all rolls, let sit for another 10-20 minutes in a warm place and then bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are a nice golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter if desired. (And cinnamon rolls are great with cream cheese icing -- 4 oz cream cheese, 4 oz butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp milk, and enough powdered sugar to make icing desired consistency.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fun, important, cool stuff! (At least for me!)





So this last week Steve, Serene, and I went to Orlando for about six days. Wow! I swear I wasn't dry the whole time, and only once did we get caught in the rain. I can't believe I truly forgot how you constantly feel like you're in a bath in humid climates, but somehow I had. Ah well! The feel and the vegetation made me think of Japan, though, so that was fun remembering!

And why were we in Orlando? For Sea World, of course! Well, not really . . . really it was for the IFCA Truck Driving Championships (for truck drivers of the food distribution industry), but Sea World was a must since a) we were only a mile away, b) we were staying an extra day for touristy things, and c) it was one of the few attractions that did NOT rely mostly on rides to be fun (Serene was just a little under the height requirements). And while we had fun at Sea World Orlando and its shows, I must say I wish I could have seen Valerie's show instead (PLEASE say you don't have acrobatic bird people taking up most of a show! Not that they weren't good, but we came to see dolphins and whales! But that's a different story!) . . . but the plane just didn't want to stop in San Antonio! Go figure!

So the truck driving championships consisted of a written test on safety, procedures, first aid, hazmat stuff, etc., a pre-trip inspection of a truck to find things wrong, and an actual driving portion where the driver has to work his way through and around and by obstacles. Some of the obstacles involved getting as close as possible to a barrel on a right turn without hitting it, stopping as close to 15 feet from a railroad crossing, backing up to a simulated dock without hitting it, driving within a narrow lane, and a curbside stop that should be straight and with the rear of the trailer at a certain spot. Okay, so that was all of the course except the "funky monkey," and sorry, there's no way I'm going to try and explain that move, lol!

Steve said he thought he did okay on the written test and pre-trip, but nothing extraordinary; and he was really kicking himself for blowing the back-up on the driving course because he went half a second too far and bumped the "dock." Okay, so he nailed the right hand turn and the curbside stop and he did well on the remainder of the course, too; but Steve just knew after that botched back-up that he had put himself out of the running for any sort of prize. Ah well. It was a long day watching the competition (Steve was about 12 from the end out of about 120 or so people), but it was fun and Serene was great . . . eating, looking at people, and sleeping nicely on our table in the food tent. =) Hey, we gave her a pillow! Okay, so it was a folded up portable changing pad, but she seemed just fine with it and my arms got a break, lol. Serene was such a hit both at the competition and everywhere else we went. Honestly, everyone seemed 1) to have never seen a baby before, and 2) to feel that taking a newborn in public was some strange and mystical endeavor on my part. O-K.

The next evening was the awards banquet and ceremony. Children weren't supposed to be there, but we snuck Serene in and disguised her under my napkin. =) Okay, so I'd asked about here before, but one of the people in charge told me, "I'm going to pretend you didn't ask that. For insurance reasons, blah blah blah, no children are allowed. But we'll just do a don't ask don't tell policy here. And sit in the back." Yes, she really said blah, blah, blah. Well, almost. Anyway, so we went and Serene slept through the yummy meal (she'd get it later anyway, lol) as well as all the clapping later for sponsors and such. They recognized people who'd improved over past years on the written test, as well as people who got the highest scores in things like the pre-trip inspection. Then they gave out the awards for overall driving, starting with third places first (there were three divisions - straight truck (like a big moving van), three-axle truck (like a small semi and trailer), and 5-axle truck (regular semi with the tandem wheels). Steve's company sent out a driver for each category, with Steve being in the 5-axle (a.k.a. hardest) division.

So third place came and we were still hoping that maybe Steve still had won something. Uh, nope. They'd introduce the drivers who won by first saying how many years they had driving for their company and then how many years accident-free. When they said things like 27 years with a company, we knew it wasn't any of our guys! Then came the second place round, and we still had a little hope . . . but no, again it was like 21 years or something with the present company. Bummer. Oh well, we still got an all- expenses paid trip to Florida (except for our extra day and Sea World later of course!).

Then the first place awards were almost done. Along came the 5-axle award. They said the driver who won first in the 5-axle competition not only had the highest 5-axle score, but the highest overall score of anyone in the entire competition. (And this is a national thing, not to mention people from around Canada.) "This driver has been with his company for 10 years." Hey, what do you know? He's got the same number as Steve! "He's had 9 years accident- free." Wait a minute -- Steve has 9 accident-free years. "And he has a three-month, pardon me, a three-week-old baby who is here with us tonight!" EXCUSE ME??????? There aren't any other babies here!!

I still can't really describe that feeling when Steve won first place! I knew he could do it, but he was so sure he'd blown his chances that I hadn't been counting on it at all! I felt like someone had punched me in the gut, but I didn't mind at all! I was so happy for him! He has a cool trophy and medalion which he gets to keep forever . . . and a check for $1000 which I'm sure he's going to exchange for something else as soon as he pays tithing, lol! (He's been thinking about a welder for a while, but who knows?) That's my man! Instant celebrity and not just among our company's guys. Fun, fun!! And not just for Steve. I guess in years past the most anyone from our company got was like 14th place, and this year all three of our guys placed in the top ten . . . not to mention that first place! Not a bad showing for our Utah group. I don't think it's really settled in with Steve even still, but that's okay. He'll still have fun getting whatever guy toy he wants. And to think this all started with his winning his company rodeo back in June. Yay!

And just for an explanation (Sea World pics are self explanatory), here's Steve doing his pre-trip inspection (no, we weren't allowed anywhere near the drivers during the competition). He's the one in beige and black by the three-axle Sysco truck.
And here's the wives of our drivers and judge and company head that came (plus baby in bundle).