ice skating, flying sharks and jars of chocolate cake…

december.  2011

We had fun having Jarom home Christmas through New Year’s Eve.  We love when we get to be together as a family!

During that week, we did different activities, including getting in our ice skating!   We had our Book of Mormon reading celebration that we did as a ward.  I made yummy chocolate cupcakes with mint gonache in personal jars for New Year’s, which was phenomenal!(Our best bites recipe).  Then of course, we had to share, the super cool flying shark that Jarom got himself for Christmas.  I have to admit, at first I complained about it, why do we need a huge balloon?  Then he put it together and flew it, and it was the coolest balloon show ever!

Ice Skating…was fun…but I must be getting old, since I don’t last very long!

Our little family at the church celebrating finishing reading the Book of Mormon!

Getting together with family usually means Jarom helping out with all the “techy” stuff!

Super Cool flying shark balloon, that moves his tail back and forth, which makes it look like it’s swimming.  Messes with your mind, because it looks like he’s swimming, but in the air!

 
Ummm, Ya, it’s as good as it looks!  Cupcake in a jar, amaaaazing!  What a great New Year’s dessert!
 
New Year’s Eve dinner with family!

christmas…

december. 2011

What a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas we had!  Christmas Eve, which was Saturday this year, we did the traditional, open-a-present-which-are-new-pajamas-to-wear-and-wake-up-wearing-on-Christmas-morning.  I really love that tradition!  Especially because I feel like everyone’s pajamas get so worn throughout the year, it’s nice to wake up with new cute p.j.’s on. 

And this year, with Christmas being on Sunday, was a change.   Usually we are in p.j.’s all day relaxing and playing with our new gifts.  So it was nice to get up, get ready, go to church, and come back and open presents and relax.  I will enjoy the next 6 years of just staying in p.j.’s though, which means no pictures of mom except on those that are Sunday Christmas’.

You know, that most things kids want, are played with for a few days and forgotten.   We’ve even in years past, just hurried through a store having them pick a present they think someone would like so we could just get home and be done Christmas shopping.   So we decided to bring this idea back and use it again…all the kids make or give something to each person in the family.  No spending any money.  Wow, did they love to go work on those projects and be creative, and more than that, excited to give what they had made to each of us, and so proud of what they had accomplished or thought of!

And usually Christmas day is spent preparing the food for the afternoon feast.  But not this year.  We had homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, along with the traditional “stocking snacks.”  This is a tradition from my childhood.  We would have a small box of cereal, string cheese, some hershey kisses, and a banana or orange.  So we would have snacks to snack on while people were opening presents.  

So Christmas was laid back, easy going, family time, and we enjoyed it so much!  We will continue these simplified ways for hopefully many, many years to come!

P.S.
If you seem to feel a little stressed decorating a tree with your children, because you want to be creative one way but don’t want to squelch your children’s creativity at the same time, I recommend two trees!  We always have a large live tree that the presents go under, and I decorate that one.  Then we have a smaller but still nice sized fake tree, that the kids can decorate any which way they want.  Then you both are happy, have a little extra cheer in the house with two trees, and nobody’s feelings get hurt while happy memories are being created!

 The opening of the pajamas!

 Alex helping Nadia write a note to Santa…Nadia signed her name all by herself!

Madison made all of these for family members!
Madison also made this for Alex!
 Cam made the man in the BYU plane for daddy!
Cam made the cute pillow for mom!
Cam sewed the cute little purse for Nadia all by herself!

Alex made this penguin that is wrapped in Madison’s arms!

 Cam has gotten really good at Cat’s Cradle-doing all sorts of hard and interesting tricks!

The girls putting their new pocket knives to work…they love to whittle!

the teenage years begin!…

december 21. 2011

Alex is officially a teenager. I think the moodiness began more around the age of 12, but I’m sure that was a stage to get us ready for the teenage stage. Trying to think back to when I was a teenager is difficult, one, because my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be before having kids, and B, I don’t really like to think about my childhood. I want my kids’ childhood to be much happier than mine, more family secure, gospel centered, and just want our kids to make sure they fill loved and that home is a safe place.

Our sweet Alex is truly a wonderful person. She works very hard in school, and in helping around the house and with her sisters. She is such a creative person too, I love that. And very thoughtful, and can be sensitive to others feelings as well, at least most of the time. She catches on to techy stuff so quickly, she can almost fix things as quickly as Jarom!

We have only five years left with Alex before she will be leaving for college, and I want to make sure she is armed with all the skills needed to have a productive, happy life in which to give her a sturdy sounding board to build off of as she grows and makes choices throughout her life.

Happy Birthday sweet Alex! We love you and are so very grateful to have you in our lives. We are so blessed to be able to be your parents, and get to go through life with you!

Now for the birthday details…so we ordered a 6’sub from subway, junk food, and played games…you know, the kind that were always fun as youth. You have to put all the winter attire on, and then eat a candy bar with a fork and knife before someone else rolls a 6. We played wink murder a million times, and it’s amazing how much fun that game can be. I think we played that for an hour and a half. No one was as good as mom, everyone kept trying to beat mom’s score. It was a hoot! Dessert and gifts last, and it was such a fun birthday. Dad got in later from traveling, and of course, that was the greatest treat of all!

the magic of december…

december.  2011

In the spirit of the month of December, and all the joy of the Christmas Season, we wanted to do some winter-y things with the girls.  We decided we would go ice skating in downtown Atlanta, at the outdoor ice skating rink.  Then we saw the hour and a half line, and the 30 degree weather, which dictated we weren’t going to stay.  So we took some fun pic’s, and headed home for a movie.  But we never give up, ice skating will happen!

December is also a time for getting gifts ready for loved ones.  We decided this year, and we’ve done this in the past, that the girls would make something for each other.  Toys are forgotten and lost, money wasted, and this only requires time and creativity.  Plus, it gets everyone in the “season of giving” more since it is coming from their hearts.

In December, the girls started music lessons.  Alex started the acoustic guitar, and after a year, she wants to start playing the electric guitar.  She taught herself the chords, and is loving every lesson!  Madison started voice lessons, she loves to sing and listen to music.  Camden started violin lessons, and is a natural. 

thanksgiving…a time we are very grateful for!…

november.  2011

Oh, Thanksgiving was tremendously amazing.  Probably different than most people expect.  With Jarom traveling Mon-Fri., and us getting two days to spend time together, get family things done, and do our church callings/meetings on Sundays, we don’t have a lot of relax time together.

So our Thanksgiving was stress-free.  It was just our little family.  We had the best Thanksgiving feast for as far back as I can remember.  Everything turned out amazing, and best of all, I didn’t even make a dessert.  We bought the large gigantic chocolate cake from Costco, and a pumpkin pie from there too.  Only two pieces of the pumpkin pie were eaten, but as you can tell, the chocolate cake had been munched on for days, and we still had so much left. 

I am very grateful for so many things, but especially for the gospel in my life, a husband who works hard for us, but at the same time, wants to spend all his time when not at work with us.  I love these sweet and amazing children we have been given.  They teach me so much everyday, mostly how I need to be a better person through their example.  I’m grateful for the choices I have made, and hope to continue to make good choices.  Life is great!

 How the kids were before I made them pose for a picture…

 Then our posed Thanksgiving pic…

 The most heavenly, decadent, chocolate cake on earth!!!

Cute pic’s of the girls…

hit so hard we were pushed 100 ft down a cement barrier…

september. 2011

We have a Yukon XL. If you don’t know what that is, it’s one of the largest roadside vehicles that you can purchase in America. Has a large steel frame, can run over Geo Metro’s like their rocks.

So in September, on highway 285 in Georgia, 4 car lane, we are in the farthest to the left, and morning traffic starts to come to a sudden halt. We brake suddenly also, and then the next thing I know, we are hit from behind, and are sliding down the cement block separator. We got hit so hard, we had to have been pushed probably 100 ft. I remember gripping the steering wheel, and hollering to the kids, “It’s ok, hang on, we’re in an accident!” We were nailed up against the wall, the whole left side cheek to cheek. I can figure, the woman behind me in the Ford Explorer didn’t realize everyone was breaking, and hit us full force.

Luckily, no one died or was injured in the four car pile-up that she created. Unfortunately for me, after the cop asked what happened to the woman at the back who started this whole nightmare, he came to me, blamed me, said it was my fault, and gave me a ticket, and ONLY me. Hmmmmm. About 99% of car accidents are caused from the back car, and he walks up without looking at any evidence, and tickets me.

So we hired a lawyer, went to court, and got my license cleared of any points. But at the same time, I question the justice? Where are my tax dollars going? Well, none of us probably really want to know that, but this cop said he had been doing this so long, he could just tell what happened. Obviously, his senilility should require him to retire early, and even the judge said, “Oh, Doraville County, that explains it.”  Blimey, the cop didn’t even write down the right make and models of the vehicle, and his accident report was as though a 1st grader wrote the sentence explaining what happened. 

I’m most grateful that we were in our giant beast, and that none of my children were injured. So our morning prayers we say together before we drive anywhere were answered.

This is how our car looked right after the accident.  Nothing was touched or changed.

Uhhh,  pretty self explanatory.  Everything is hanging by a thread at this point at the rear of the car.

We were the only ones pinned up against the side of the wall.  Everyone else pulled over as far left as they could so traffic could go by us easier.  The cop never even asked if vehicles had been moved after the accident.  Pathetic!
This is what a small car looks like after a Yukon XL is shoved into the back of it.  Thank goodness no one was in the back seat, and the driver was just fine.

mom and alex at spark 3…

october. 2011

Alex and I had so much fun at Spark. Jarom and I decided if we can afford to bring children, when they are 12 and older, they can come with mom if it still keeps going on that long.

Alex was one of two young women at the whole event. So many moms came up to us and told us they want to bring their daughters next year. Alex is very creative, artistic, and unfortunately for me, independent. Did I mention this is hard letting go as your child gets older? She didn’t need my help at all, in fact, I needed her help with all the artsy stuff.

The classes were great, the designers and people who have very successful businesses came and taught us some great projects!   We got hundreds of dollars of goody bag stuff to bring home, gift after gift after gift…but the only let-down was the snack room. Last year, it was stocked, and we could grab snacks anytime. This year, they would have an apple or cupcake or a small chocolate or something small. When you are there all day, 8am-9pm, ya need some snacks! But everything else was top-notch! Margie and the other women did a great job! I can’t wait for next year!

 Oh, my firstborn getting so big!  She is such a delight to be around, I’m so glad we get to spend so much time together.  She is such a wonderful person!

 Mindy Gledhill, a favorite artist of mine, came and performed again…loved hearing her again!

Our little wool craft covered soap…hand died from australia wool too…you wash your hands, it naturally sloughs off skin, and will shrink with the soap.  

 She-Art.  Oh, this was so cool and fun to do.  This is Alex’s, so great!

 Old vintage book you rip out pages and add cute vintage extra’s.  This was one of my favorite’s!
Amy Tangerine-super cool designer, taught us reverse applique.  She has gotten her designs into New York and Beverly Hills.
 We made our own rubber stamps…this was before the carving of the rubber began, and yes, Alex had to help me draw the Eiffel Tower.  Otherwise, mine would have looked like an “A.”

 Cute and amazing and such time consuming decor that always is so impressive!
 Alex with Margie-she got a $100 certificate for being the youngest person there!
 Sara Sample-another musician…her music is so cute and what an amazing vintage voice!
Here is Brittany from “One Charming Party.”  She has a very cute and successful party business online.  We met last year, and it was fun to visit with her again!

 What’s Spark without our late night visit the last night to “Dear Lizzie!”  Always the icing on the cake!