Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Catching Up

I have about 15 hours left in 2014, so I thought I should catch up the blog and start fresh for next year.

Here's a recap of our last 8 days.

First, I don't have any pictures, but we adopted a family for Christmas. So, on the 23rd we took presents over to the three kids and coats for the parents. We brought them a ham with all the fixings to make up a dinner. They were very appreciative and it was nice to do something that my kids will remember. It was great to see who the gifts went to and meet them.

Grammie was here from the 13-28th. Noah and her got along splendidly this visit.


We headed down to my Dad and Suzy's for Christmas Eve. Here's my Aunt Billie and cousin Mike. God love Aunt Billie. She's 80 or something like that and her memory is going. She's in great physical health though which is wonderful. This is my Mom's sister.


Here's Suzy's daughter Nikki and her two kiddos.


Tiffany and Auna.


The kids were so excited to open presents.


Here's some of the crowd.


Noah played Santa and handed out gifts. Well, for like 2 minutes, then he was over it.


He got all his gifts and was ready to go. These kids are super spoiled.


Christmas Day at our house. I really tried to scale back some this year. We just have too much stuff. Also, the kids aren't getting big things anymore like train tables and barbie mansions. It's DS games and small stuff, so that made it nice too. We had nothing to assemble. It was lovely.








I took the kids to the Dollar store to pick out gifts for us. Noah got David a zombie finger puppet. I think Noah was pretty happy about this gift.


Christmas evening, the cousins and Aunt Alisa showed up from North Carolina.


There was more gifts...


And big dinners.


Here's our deep fried turkey.


Emily and Rachel just happen to have the same shirt.


They played minecraft and other video games.




And they played outside.


Here's the gang with Grammie.


And that was Christmas! It was lovely.

Now, it's the last day of 2014, and we are expecting 3-5 inches of snow. It just started, but it's supposed to snow for 2 days! FUN!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Party

For seven years, we've had a Christmas party with our great group of friends in our neighborhood. We used to do it at someone house, but over the years, the group has gotten too big. Now, we rent out the clubhouse and it makes it way easier on everyone.

There is lots of yummy food.


We hang out and catch up with friends.


Our friend Mark read a book and told about the birth of Christ.


Then, Santa comes and the kids say Christ who? We want presents. :)


He calls each kid up and gives them a present.


Emily got a Minecraft blind box. You don't know what's in it until you open it and then, surprise! It was wrapped in a bigger box because last year she was the last person called and was almost in tears. So, Santa put it in a bigger box knowing that the little box would head straight to the bottom of his bag. Smart Santa.


Ben's turn.


He got Steve from Minecraft.


Noah's turn.


He got a ninja turtle. Shocker.


All the kids were super interested to see what Emily got in her blind box.


It was a great party, and we are so fortunate to have such great friends.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Senior Home and David's Work Party (kind of)

It was time to spread Christmas cheer at the Senior home. This is always one of the highlights at Christmas.

Emily played a piano solo.


Noah got bored and did some modern dance or maybe just fell asleep.


Here's our big crew! Ben is hiding in the back.


We do the performance twice. The first is for the assisted living area. The second time we go to the dementia unit.

This is Oval. She's been there for the three years we've been doing this. She's is now 103, and the lady next to her is 100!


Ben got into it a little more on the second go round!


Here's our audience.


This is Lupe Rose. She's awesome. She yells out praise the Lord and fun little sayings as the kids perform. She's there every year too and always gives me a big hug. I think she remembers me and then I think, no she probably doesn't remember anything. :( She was sharing some wisdom with Ben.


I'm glad we get to do that every year.

David is a trainer now, so he doesn't really have a team of people he works with on a daily basis. His old unit that he supervised was having their work party on Friday night. It just so happens the worker that was hosting it lives right across the street. They invited all of us to go, but knowing David and his antisocial ways, he wasn't planning on going. Then, they knocked on our door and David went over with Noah and Ben. They had a snowman game and Noah was the snowman. I was dying when I saw this.






After 30 minutes, Ben came home. But, Noah had an absolute ball. He was the life of the party. I'm not sure where we got this kid.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ben and Emily's Christmas Recitals

I'm a little behind in blogging. We've been busy. :)

Thursday night was Ben and Emily's singing concert for school.

Here they are before the concert.




And trying to get all three of them looking at the impossible. But, you can tell Noah and Ben are brothers, both looking off to the side.


Ben's grade did like a like trip around the world with Feliz Navidad (Spanish), Buon Natle (Italian), Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian). In the beginning of the video, the music teacher stops the performance and tells some people in the front that they need to stop talking. The lady next to me said, "Dude!" thinking he was being rude, but then I pointed out to her that the sixth graders were in the pit and that's who he was telling to be quiet. They have to strategically place each grade before the show, so the choir was on the stage because the started, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade were in the cafeteria next to the auditorium and 6th was sitting in the pit area in front of the stage. So, I'm glad he stopped and put those kids in their place and I think everyone was once they realized he was telling students not parents to stop talking. Although, some parents need that reminder too...unfortunately.


Then, it was Emily's turn. I thought I had a perfect view and then the music teacher stood right in front of her. But, her nose and mouth did an outstanding job performing. She sang Twinkle (Little Christmas Lights), The Christmas Song and Hey Santa Claus.


Then, he moved on the last song and we could see that Emily's mouth did a great job too!


I love these fun little music concerts!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Noah's Christmas Concert

Noah had his Christmas Concert last night. Those little Kinder kids are so cute, but I think Noah is just the cutest. I mean look at this kid...




He was so excited to get up on stage and perform. He did a great job.


To celebrate, we came home and I made him pumpkin muffins and he watched the new Ninja Turtle movie. I think it was his idea of a perfect night.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Emily's Piano Recital

Here's a video of Em's piano songs.
She played:
The Holly and the Ivy
Deck the Halls
Angels We Have Heard on High
Silent Night
Canon



She's doing so well with her piano. She rocks!

Spelling Bee

Ben was in the spelling bee today. He was one of the top kids from his class, and he was competing with 3rd - 6th graders. He did so well and got out on the third round. He spelled zipper and squirm right and then missed on ultimatum. We are so proud of him.



I think Ben was getting a little bored with the whole thing especially when his whole row was out and he was sitting there by himself. They started out with about 40 kids. After the first round, there was about 30. After the second round, about 20. By they time they got to Ben on the third round, he was up there with maybe 15 kids and most were 6th graders! We are so super proud of him.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Emily's Piano Recital

Grammie flew in from Orlando for the holidays. She wasn't here 5 minutes and Noah had her playing Knock 'em Sock 'em and dressed up as Darth Vadar.

But today, Grammie wasn't feeling great, and she missed Em's piano recital. The good news is that I took a video of the entire thing and she got to watch it like she was there. I have that video uploading to youtube, but the file is huge, so it will take awhile. But, I got lots of great pictures.

Here's my pretty girl.


And here's the four piano girls...




Here's Mrs. Stacy, their wonderful teacher.


Emily playing her songs. She did so great. I'm so proud of her. She is doing so well with piano and just blows me away.


They sang a little song at the end. Emily wasn't very into it, but she lip synch's like a champ and she certainly looks pretty.


Then, they got certificates.


And medals...


These girls are so awesome.


We have a full week ahead. I'll get the video of Emily's song added to the blog tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Day of Sweetness

Sometimes, Emily and Noah are like oil and water.  But yesterday, I was making their lunches (and their breakfast) and walked out to see them snuggling on the sofa watching A Christmas Carol.  I wish they could get along like that 100% of the time.





































Last night, we got a surprise delivery from our dear family Eunice and Bill.  Eunice is from the Chicago area, so after our wonderful trip there last month, she sent us 2 deep dish pizza's from Lou Malnati's!  OMG, we are so excited.  They are so sweet and thoughtful and we will enjoy every bite!

Then, David enjoyed playing with the dry ice.  I'm not even kidding the boys sat over the sink and played with it for like 10 minutes.  David was ready for his nightly walk with the dog, but stopped everything to open the pizza.  Then, the dry ice sucked him in.  He said it was 1,000 times better than bubble wrap.
Next year, he's getting dry ice for his birthday!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Spirit

This weekend was full of everything Christmas. On Friday night, we did the Walk Through Bethlehem with a bunch of friends. It's at a church in Prescott and you walk through different scenes portraying the night of Jesus' birth. I forgot my camera and took some iphone photos which weren't very good. But, my friends Mom took this one of Ben. They actually had real animals, sheep, chicken, etc. But, this one scene, they had a sheep puppet and Ben tried to feed it hay. Then, he said that there was something wrong with the sheep because he kept feeding it and it kept spitting out the hay.


Ben and Noah really get into it. Half the time, they are more fun to watch then the actors.

On Saturday, we went to Flagstaff for the North Pole Experience. We had never done it before, and I got a great deal on tickets. It's set up that you take a trolley (fancy bus) from this hotel to the North Pole. The kids were choking a penguin while we waited.


And playing in the gift shop.


Here we were going through the "portal" to get there.


Then, there are several different rooms and the kids do different stuff.

They got to help dress bears that would be used to give out to kids.



That was all fine and good. But then, they got to have a rocket fight because those elves don't like working too much. This was more Noah's style.



In this room, there were shoots that this elf would throw toys down. Then, he started throwing balls.


Each room lasted for about 15 minutes. We got to have some of Mrs. Claus' cookies and cocoa.


And there was elf school.


Then, the mailroom where we got to write letters to Santa.


Santa's huge sleigh.


Ben checking out the control room.


Then, it was was a short visit with Santa and we were dropped back off at the hotel. It was fun. The kids had a good time.

Outside the hotel, there was this Santa that the kids wanted to pose with. Funny thing was we didn't know anybody on the Nice side, but David's name was first on the Naughty side, along with my Mom (Sharon) and Aunt Pam! The kids thought that was pretty funny.




It was a long day, but I'm glad we took the kids.

This week is pretty low key, which is good because next week is a doozy!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

He's Back!

I just walked out and look who's back!  I'm kind of torn about Buddy. The kids really like him, but he sure leaves a mess sometimes. At least this time, he brought donuts!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Family, Family and More Family

I knew Thanksgiving would be hard without my sister, and it was. But, it was still full of great times, laughter and love. The kids went swimming. The pool was about 60 something degrees, but the kids went in. My brother was filming them.


Here's the smokers.


My nieces.


We played some pool.


Here's Suzy (who cooked a huge delicious feast) and my Mom.


Here's my brother Joe and Scott. Scott is Tiffany's Dad. So, my sister's baby Daddy. :)


Mr bro and my boys.


And how beautiful is the view from my Dad's backyard?


It was a wonderful Thanksgiving and it was so nice to get together with my family and be happy.

Today, we drove to Sedona to spend the day with David's extended family. We had a lovely lunch on the creek in Sedona at a fancy resort. I gave the speech that we were eating somewhere fancy with cloth napkins and real glasses. They were on their best behavior, but as Ben said, "Ok, this is really stepping out of my comfort zone". That kid kills me.




This is Eunice and new baby Kate. Oh my gosh, Asian babies are just the cutest in the world. Kate was so, so good. I mean, she didn't make a peep the entire time.


This is Bill, David and Ben hopped in the picture at the last second.


Then, Noah hopped in. He was feeding the ducks our leftover fries. It was like one for the ducks, two for him...


Here we go, no kids!


Then, we went back to their cottage, so Eunice could feed baby Kate and Noah was posing in this tree.


Oh, he can be a ham alright.


Emily was not cooperating with my photo taking, but she still looks pretty.


Then, we headed back over the mountain home. It was a wonderful afternoon. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by so much family.

Tomorrow, we decorate for Christmas! I think that is one of the kids' favorite days of the entire year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Vacation, or Not

I decided the kids needed to do something productive today besides play Minecraft. So, we started the day with sucking up six huge bags of leaves from the front yard. Noah helped for about 5 seconds. Ben helped for a few minutes and then said his muscles hurt.
Whatever.  So I put them on garage duty.  The other day it was wicked windy and we'd open the garage for 2 minutes and about 100 leaves came in.  They actually did a pretty decent job on the garage.  Although, I had to do a final sweep.

+

































Now we are all ready to decorate for Christmas! David likes to help, so we are going to get the inside and outside done this weekend.  I can't wait.  A little Christmas cheer is just what we need!



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Geocaching, Grumpy Cat and Good Chicago Pics



I really need to get back into writing.  Two posts in a month is not good.  

When we were in Chicago, David's cousin, Jenny, was talking to me about geocaching.  I'd heard of it, but didn't really know what it was.  She explained it and I knew the kids would find it fun.  It's like a treasure hunt.  People hide stuff and you have to find it.  There are sometimes little toys in them, which I knew the kids would like.  You take a toy and leave a toy.  

We found some in our neighborhood and headed out the other day.  It was so cold out.  David is the master at geocaching.  We'd all give up after a few minutes and he'd keep looking and finally find it.  This was the kids first ever geocache.  Unfortunately, water got in it and it was mostly mold, but they didn't care.  We found five more and couldn't find two.  The kids had fun and it was something different.



































Noah drew this picture of Grumpy Cat. I was dying laughing. It seriously looks just like him.
















Now, for a mass of pictures. We took our good camera to Chicago with us, but we didn't take a computer. I knew Ben would be lost without the laptop for 4 days and Emily would feel the same without her tablet. So, we only had our phones. I managed to blog from that, but an iphone picture and a Canon picture are night and day. So, here are the good pictures.

I think I already wrote about the story. So here's pics of the family. After being with David for 12 years, I just met all of them for the first time.













Here are pics from our trek around Chicago. Looks cold, eh?




This is the Bean. The reflection is the coolest.












And this is The Field Museum:







David not enjoying the Egyptian beds.


The view from the museum.


The Sears Tower.


We chose to go to the top of the John Hancock Building instead of the Sears Tower. They are close to the same height and I've been in the Sears tower. I was worried that we were going too late in the day, but it was perfect timing. We did one lap around and it was still daylight. Then, it turned to night and everything was lite up.

In this photo, you can make out the McDonald's right in the middle. Our hotel was right by that.





Navy Pier.






David and I had such a great time!

Ok, in an effort to get me back into blogging, I'm going to attempt to write something every day. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 17, 2014

48 Hours

We have packed so much into 48 hours. Today started with these huge donuts. 

We needed nourishment for our 2.5 mile walk to the Field Museum. But, we passed The Bean and had to get some photos. It was super cool to see the reflection of the city in the bean. 

The walk took twice as long because we kept stopping for pics. 

We finally made it and saw Sue, the t-Rex. 

The museum was awesome. We could've spent the entire day there. We left after lunch. It was about zero degrees with the wind chill. I was warm but my legs were freezing. 

We walked the 2.5 miles back and went to Portillos. David had a hot dog with everything and I had an Italian beef sandwich. Yum!

Then, we came back to warm up. My little pork chop legs felt like they were in a meat locker. 

We bundled back up and walked the mile to the John Hancock Tower, 95 stories up. Wow!  It was dusk so we walked around once and it looked like day. Our second lap, all the lights were on. It was awesome timing. 

Then we walked another mile to eat at Lou Malnati's. We kept it light with wings, soup, and salad. 

Then, what else do you do when it's below zero outside?  You get frozen custard!  So, we walked a half mile for that. And it was so worth it!

My feet are sore and we are wiped out. We head to the airport in the morning. We had the greatest anniversary. After 11 years of marriage and 12 years together, there is nobody that I'd rather spend my days with. 





Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our Surprise and Anniversay


Wow!  What a trip we've had in just two days. We arrived in Chicago yesterday afternoon. We rented a car and drove two hours south to Uncle Jim and Aunt Linda's house. It was her 50th birthday and we were surprising her. She was very surprised. 



We had a great time at their house. They are wonderful hosts. The made a huge breakfast for us this morning. It was a short and lovely visit. 

This is their two daughters jenny and Sarah. 


We drove to Chicago and check in to our hotel. We headed straight for deep dish pizza. 

It's a little cold in Chicago in November. Below freezing. 

We found this great restaurant / store called Eataly. Like Italy. It's Mario Battali's place and super cool. David was in stinky cheese heaven. 

Tomorrow is more yummy food. Maybe a museum and exploring this awesome city. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ben's Blog

I haven't felt much like blogging lately. I want to do a post about my sister, but I know it will be emotionally draining and I just keep putting it off. So, I'm not writing anything.

The good news is Ben has been writing on his blog. You can read it here. It's some fiction some non fiction. Mainly, it's just Ben's imagination at it's finest. Sometimes he blogs from my phone and for someone who doesn't know how to type, it takes him awhile. I admire his dedication.

David and I are headed to Page, Arizona for a weekend getaway for our anniversary. We've been married for 11 years tomorrow, together for 12. Wow! Where does the time go? I'm looking forward to a little time away with him. My Mom is coming up to watch the kids. Page isn't quite as hopping as Vegas, from last year, but I've been wanting to see some National Parks in Page. They are just stunning, and I can't believe I've never been when they are only 3 hours away.

That's it. Over and out.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween

Our Halloween was pretty awesome. The kids love getting dressed up.

Noah was a ninja turtle....again.


Ben was Harry Potter.


Emily was going to be gymnast, but decided it wasn't Halloweeny enough. So, she was an Indian...again.





We went to our friends house first and had a yummy spread with chili and all the fixings.

Here's Em and her friend Alanah, who was a kitty cat.


We went trick or treating and got loads of candy.

We went to another friends for dessert and cocoa.

Then, we came home and crashed.

It was a long, fun, wonderful night!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Around Our House

Last Monday, October 20th, my sister, Tammy, passed away.  She was 45.  She battled drug addiction her entire life and her body just quit.  I want to write a well thought out post about my sister, but I just can't yet.  It's been a rough 11 days.

So, onto other news around our house because the world keeps on turning despite my sorrow.

First, the kids got their report cards.  Emily got Prinicpal's List, all A's.

Ben got Honor Roll.  He missed Principal's List with only one B+ in expresses complete thoughts.  Funny, because I would think that would be an area Ben would get an A+ at, but I'd give Ben an A+ in everything.
They don't do assembly's for the kids until they reach third grade, so this was Ben's first.  He was super excited to get a ribbon.
























And.....Ben lost ANOTHER tooth.  He lost six I think in about 6 months.  This one was almost tragic.  Ben had a pair of nunchucks in his mouth and Noah pulled them.  The tooth, which was already loose, came out and Ben couldn't find it.  It was lost in the sofa somewhere.  He was all worried the tooth fairy wouldn't come if we couldn't find the tooth.  I moved cushions very slowly and there it was, under a seat cushion.  Thank goodness it didn't fall any farther or we never would have found it.



He looks like a Jack O Lantern.



We carved our pumpkins last night.  My kids like doing this, but aren't super into it, so I bought two pumpkins.  One to carve, and one to keep out as decoration through Thanksgiving.  But, Emily had to have her own when she saw this owl template we had.  So, we carved them both.  The kids helped.



They helped for about two minutes.  Then, they went to watch Charlie Brown's Halloween and it was up to David and I.


Ben and Noah agreed on eyes, nose and mouth.  Noah is learning shapes, so he said he wanted the rhombus nose.  Impressive.


And here's Emily's owl.



Noah's classroom had a pumpkin party today before school.  Since David almost always drops them off for school, he got to go.  I was glad since I'm in the classroom often, and it's nice for him to go and get to be with Noah.



They were pumpkin parents for a day and had to take care of their pumpkins.


Tonight is Halloween, and the kids are super excited to dress up.  Ben is being Harry Potter.  Noah is a ninja turtle, same as last year.  And Emily is a gymnast.  I did not spend a penny on Halloween costumes this year.  I love that.

We are also having a fun night with our friends.  A chili and mummy dog party before.  Then, trick or treating.  Then, smores and a bonfire in the culd de sac after.  FUN!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Our Weekend

We had a nice weekend.  My Dad and Suzy came up and they took us out to eat for my birthday.  Noah looks done with dinner in this photo.

We went to church and in the kids program, they were talking about some of the amazing stories in the bible.  Ben was so intrigued in David and Goliath and Nebuchadnezzar (thank you Google) that he came home and wanted to make a lego Jesus.  Bens left eye is swollen.  Not sure what was wrong with it, but it's better today.


We usually have bacon every Sunday when we make waffles.  But on Saturday, Ben asked for bacon.  I told him we'll make it on Sunday.  To which he replied, "come on Mom, I won 52 packs!"  How could I turn him down?

 I found this picture on my camera from my birthday.  That was my yummy cheesecake David made me.  We halved the recipe and it looked more like a tart, but it tasted delicious!


We also went out to take our family photos with our friends.  Oh, this is always such a crazy time.  It's chaos and kids being crazy.  But, it certainly is pretty, and I'm always grateful that we took the time to take the pictures.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Great Day

My birthday on Saturday was such a great day.  We don't veer off our normal path too often, so a fun day in Phoenix was awesome.

We headed to my BFF's Mom's house to visit with Baby Keegan.  He belongs to Pam's sister, Katie.  This kid is just adorable.  Ben was freakin' out a little holding him.



Noah LOVES him.  After we left, he kept saying I like Keegan's little feet.  I like Keegan's little hands.  Keegan's little ears are soooo cute.  It's sweet seeing Noah being so sweet.


And Emily will have a babysitting business before too long.  She is so good with him.


Oh, I love this squeeshy kid.  David said he looks like the Gerber baby, and he does!

Me and my BFF, Pam.

Then, we took the kids to my Moms since she was watching them while we went to dinner and the hockey game.  There are some stray cats that live in and around her backyard.  My Mom feeds them.  This was a little kitty that my Mom named Pretty Pretty.  I think Noah played with those cats for hours.

We got to visit with my Aunt Bille and her boys Mike and Rory for a bit.  They were in town visiting and it's been ages since I've seen them.  It was a nice visit.

Then, we went to dinner and the hockey game.  Our seats were awesome!  It was such a good game.  We won in overtime!


Then, we got the kids and drove back up to Prescott.  We were home by 11:00.  It was a wonderful day!

I had seen on the news that Phoenix is getting fogged due to the mosquitos.  They are doing like 100 neighborhoods.  Each time, it's about a mile that they do.  Well, Saturday night, they were doing an area 1/2 mile from my Mom's house which was probably a good thing because this is what Noah's legs looked like the next morning.  He probably had 50-75 mosquito bites.


Ben had maybe 10.  Emily none, but she was wearing pants.  Ben wasn't outside much.  They really liked Noah!  He's better already though.