Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're still alive!

Barely. :p What a crazy week this has been so far! Time flies when you're having fun. :p Monday, we all left to drive up to Williams, AZ. We spent the night at the Grand Canyon Railway hotel, and then rode the train up to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday. That was... Crazy! And exhausting. And fun. The train ride is a little over 2 hours, and by the end Elly had about had it. She was done. She let everyone else know, too. Once we got off the train, Bryan needed to go potty. Grandpa was nice enough to take him. He made it all the way to the bathroom, but not quite on the toilet. So, there we were, at the Grand Canyon, and Bryan peed his pants. Poor kid. Grandma and Grandpa got on their way to find a store somewhere to get some new pants for Bryan, while we took the kids to catch a glimpse of the Canyon, and then play in the snow. There was lots of snow, but fortunately it was warm enough that day that Bryan didn't seem too bothered by his wet pants. We somehow managed to play for a couple of hours, and eventually Grandma and Grandpa found us again, and Bryan got some dry pants. At this point, kids were starting to get tired and grumpy, but we still had some time to kill. So what do we do when the going gets tough? Well, the tough get ice cream, of course! No kidding! We found a nice sunny spot to sit down, and the kids all enjoyed an ice cream cone. The time eventually came for us to get back on the train, and the ride back to the hotel was just as exciting as the ride up. I will spare you details of on-board entertainment. Let's just say cowboys are not my thing, and the passenger something-or-other assistant really needs to chill out... She literally kicked Dave off the train at the end, instead of realizing that maybe he could have used some help. Since, you know, he had an array of bags, one kid without shoes that had to be carried, another kid having a melt-down because she couldn't be carried... Not nice. Overall, a really fun day, but quite exhausting. The hotel was awesome, with some great food and an indoor pool. How much better can life get? :o) Well, we're all back at our other hotel now, and will be for a couple more days. More fun to follow! That's all for now, gotta go, baby needs some nursies. TTYL, my blogging friends. And my one-and-only blog fan, Emily, who was excited to meet me today. It was fun talking to you! :o)

Friday, December 26, 2008

The fun begins!

After an awesome Christmas morning at home, we hit the road (and skies) yesterday afternoon. We made it to Phoenix and our hotel fairly late, but everyone was nice enough to sleep in this morning. Seeing as we're cool like that, we got right down to business and had my awesome friend Chalice come to our hotel room to take pictures of the kids. We were going to do them outside, but as luck would have it, it was rather cold and windy. So Chalice brought all of her equipment to our room and set up shop there. The kids actually cooperated really well, which was amazing. It's not always easy when there's four to go around... Even Elly hammed it up for the camera! You can see some of the pictures on her blog, Photography by Chalice Leaman. Our's are the "w kids", in case you haven't seen enough here. ;o) Go check them out, they're really cute! :o)

Now off for some family fun time!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank you!

Thank you to those of you who donated to baby Kaiya's funeral fund. Through all of the generous donations, her parents were able to pay for her funeral costs, just in time for Christmas. :o)

Merry Christmas!



Today, we are:
  • dressed in shorts and t-shirts. Somehow that feels wrong...
  • tracking Santa.
  • doing lots of laundry.
  • doing lots of packing.
  • hoping that Dave won't be at work for too much longer.
  • playing games.
  • getting the house ready for visitors, who will be here to greet us when we get back from AZ!
  • looking forward to Santa coming, and unwrapping presents Christmas Morning.
  • having turkey for dinner (leftovers from Thanksgiving).
  • going out to see Christmas lights after it gets dark.
  • spending time together as a family.
  • looking forward to seeing family and going on the Polar Express in AZ.
  • enjoying our new home, all decorated for the Season.
Most importantly, we are remembering our Savior and celebrating His birth. Merry Christmas to all of you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh man...

...I have a headache. Today was kind of a rough day. Don't know why, really, but I've been in a horrible mood lately. Maybe it's "family reunion anxiety" setting in. Believe it or not, I'm not too fond of spending a lot of time with a lot of people. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Dave's family. It's just that there are so many of them. And I get total overload. I'm from a rather small family (one brother, two cousins, that's it), so getting together with the in-laws is so stressful for me. I'm afraid it always brings out the worst in me. I'm really not a people person (seriously!). I love to spend time with friends and family, but not with tons of friends and tons of family. As in, it's hard for me when there are 40some people to keep up with, all at the same time. More than half of which are 15 years and under. Oy. I'd much rather just spend time with, say, one family at a time. Of course, given the size of Dave's family, and the location of everyone, that's not possible. Hence the need for the family reunion. And I'm sure it'll be fun, Dave's parents have put a lot of time and effort into coming up with a schedule and fun things to do. And I'm hoping there'll be enough wiggle room for us to be able to still get Elly's naps in (well, at least one good one each day). So, I'll just try and focus on how excited I am to see everyone, and try my hardest to be pleasant to be around and have a good time. Wish me luck! (And I love you all, Dave's family who reads my blog! :D)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just in time!

I'm 9 months old today. Look what an awesome skill I perfected this morning!



Yay for me! I've also been working hard on my pincer grasp. Mom really needs to make sure she's keeping the floors clean now, or I may come to her rescue and do the vacuuming!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I love this picture!

So I was thinking today, about how Elly is just about 9 months old. She's been out longer than she was in! Somehow, that's always a big milestone to me. Like, wow, my baby is growing up. I was feeling a bit nostalgic, and looked through all of the pictures from her birth. I came across this one, and I just love all the details in it. Like, she's getting her newborn exam. On my kitchen table. I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of that table now! It's bad enough I couldn't bring along the living room she was born in. :p Seriously, though, I love how she's on the kitchen table, getting checked over by my midwife. Notice the juice pitcher, yes, I love Pampered Chef! Notice also the empty rubbermaid container that usually has freshly ground flour in it. Why was that on the table? I have no idea. Then there's Elly's little foot. Notice her long toes? I think she got those from her dad. Notice her head, nice and round. I guess that's what happens when you just float around forever and then decide to make a mad dash for the exit. Not much time for molding! Notice also how clean she is. I don't think we gave her a bath until her umbilical cord fell off. Not even a sponge bath. We did keep her diaper area clean, of course. But I just didn't feel the need to scrub her down. I think what I like most about the picture is her finger. Notice how she's got her pinky in her mouth? She still likes to chew on her fingers like that! She almost always has one in her mouth, though not so much the pinky anymore. She's moved past that, and now prefers the index finger. She doesn't suck on them, but actually chews around. I suppose that'll work until she gets teeth. Well, without further ado, here's the picture I'm talking about. No, it's not one of those spectacular shots that come along every so often, but there's lots to love about it. :o)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Houston, we have a cruiser!

No, not a yacht or a motorcycle. A human cruiser! Miss Elly is now quite confident walking along the couch by herself. My baby is growing up!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I re-decorated yesterday. I got to go shopping at Target without kids, and found lots of fun things to waste wisely spend money on. I had actually bought the garland with the lights for outside, but wasn't brave enough to climb up the ladder to put it up myself (I was going to put it around the arch entryway). After it sitting around the house for a while, I realized my husband was just too busy to help me put it up there, so I decided to put it elsewhere. I actually had two 25 ft. garlands, so I put one along the railing going up the stairs, and the other one around the fireplace. When I went shopping yesterday, I found a screen to put in front of the fireplace. We don't technically need one, since ours is just gas, but I thought it would look nice. See, told you I got to waste wisely spend some money. :p

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kale Soup recipe

Here it is, ladies. Do my kids eat it, you wonder? Well, Tyler does. Bryan doesn't, but then he doesn't eat anything green, so that's not too surprising. Kaylee won't eat it from her own bowl, but will eat off her dad's plate. Go figure. :p Be warned that the recipe is one of those "throw stuff together" kind of things. There are no real precise measurements, and I think it tastes a bit different each time I make it, haha! I make this in a crock pot, cooked on high for 6 hours. You could probably cook it on the stove top, but make sure you give it enough time, otherwise it may be bitter (but don't over-cook, or it'll get a sour taste). As for amounts of stuff, it really depends on how much soup you want. If you use the max given here, you'll fill up a 6 qt. crock pot, and will have enough for, oh, I don't know, depends how well people like it, I guess. ;o)

Take the stems off of one to two bunches of kale. Cut the leaves in pieces (kind of like you may cut lettuce for a salad so it'll fit on your mouth without you making a huge mess, know what I'm talking about?). Peel and dice 4-6 medium boiling potatoes into bite size pieces (reds, yukon golds, something like that). Cut half a pound to one pound of beef into small pieces. This is optional, you can leave it out if you want to cook vegetarian. Also, if you can get your hands on grass fed beef, it'll taste tons better! Put everything in crock pot, and put in just enough water to cover everything. If you choose to go with the max amount given here, you may not be able to put enough water to completely cover the kale, as it has a tendency to float. That's okay. I usually kind of push everything down with my hands, and as long as there's enough water to cover everything while a little "compacted", it should be good. Put in a some bouillon cubes. I use two, Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon with Herbs, I've liked that the best out of all the bouillons I've tried. Cover and cook on high for about 4 hours, then check progress, stir soup around. About an hour before the soup is done cooking, I usually thicken it. I take a non-stick pan, melt some butter in it (1/4 - 1/2 cup), then mix flour into the melted butter. Enough to make a thick paste. Then I use a ladle to get liquid from the soup to thin the flour mixture enough so I can pour it back into the soup. The flour mixture will be pretty lumpy at first, and you have to add quite a bit of liquid, a little at a time. So, add a little liquid, stir, add some more liquid, stir, etc. Once you have a smooth liquidy sauce, pour it back into the soup, stir, cover, and finish cooking. Once the soup is done, add salt and pepper to taste (note you may not need to add extra salt, depending on what kind of bouillon you use). That's it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Well, it's still going strong! I thought I'd quickly run out and take some more pictures, since there are no guarantees it'll still be here by morning. :p





Welcome to Texas!

To start out, we will serve you a couple of tropical storms. The main course will be a category 3 hurricane. It's so strong, it will blow you away! Dessert will be a slushie, and a complementary snow cone. We hope you enjoy your stay!



Seriously, how crazy is this place? It was 77 degrees yesterday, the high today was 36. It was snowing when I drove Tyler to cub scouts. No worries, though, it's going to be back in the 70's by the weekend. :p

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm tired

Today seriously wore me out. No wonder I never want to go to the store, it's too hard with kids in tow. Well, at least when one of the kids is a baby. And when the store is Super Target, and huge. And you have to get a million things, so it takes two hours. But hey, we now have some Christmas lights outside, Tyler has jeans that fit and a pair of basketball shoes he needed, Elly has some cozy fleece sleepers, and Kaylee has some rain boots. Okay, so all but Kaylee's boots were needed, but I can't seem to be able to take her to the store without getting her something. Make that another reason I don't often go shopping. :p She's a trooper, though, so she deserves it. Right?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Flower box

As you all know, I'm having a fun time with my garden. My flower box is something else I'm excited about. I've never had too much luck with flower boxes, but the one I have now is actually quite nice.



The pansies came up from seeds.


We brought this one from Utah. It was a present for Mother's Day.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fireplace

Okay, so I admit I've made fun of the fact that 99.9% of houses here have a fireplace. I mean, come on, it's Texas. Well, today I repent. I'm sorry I ever made fun of the local obsession with fireplaces. I'm sorry I suspected a ploy by the realtors to drive up home prices. Because you know what, having a fireplace is awesome! We turned ours on for the first time today. The whole family gathered in the living room, and by the light of the Christmas decorations and the fireplace, we sat and had a wonderful time together, celebrating Advent, and the Christmas season. I love this time of year, and I love that I now have a fireplace. Sure, it may limit the possibilites for living room decorating and arranging of furniture, but it sure is nice and cozy when it's a frosty 50 degrees outside. :p

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Nikolaus

Since we're German and all (well, one of us, and 4 that are half), we get to celebrate Nikolaus today! It's a fun little tradition leading into Christmas. Saint Nicholas comes during the night from the 5th to the 6th of December, and puts little treats and presents in the kids' shoes (which they set out the night of the 5th, before they go to bed). He's not to be confused with Santa Claus, who's a completely different person! Often, we lead into it on the 5th by having a cozy afternoon spent as a family, baking cookies, reading stories, etc. Due to Dave having a huge project due at work soon, we kinda had to skip over that part this year. Maybe we'll bake some cookies today!









Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Yum!

I went out for my first Fall harvest today. The kale looked ready, so I decided to pick a few leaves and make some kale soup. I love kale soup! The best thing about it, besides the good taste, is that I can make it in the crock pot. Put it in sometime in the morning, and then not have to worry about cooking when it comes closer to dinner time. Love it!



I realize it may not look the most appetizing, but trust me, it's yummy. Karatemommy can attest to that. Right??? :p

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I WON, I WON, I WON!!!

I won one of the prizes for blogging daily during NaBloPoMo. How cool is that? A set of handmade lace ornaments. Awesome! :D

Monday, December 01, 2008

If you have a dog...

...please don't let him/her run around outside without supervision. That's especially true if you have two dogs. And if they're fairly big. I don't care how nice or tame they are, and how they would never bite anyone. Because they will freak me out. Especially when I'm out walking with my 3 year old and my baby in the double stroller. Yes, it will scare me when they come right up to me to sniff, and then run around me and the stroller a few times as I keep walking. Yes, it will cause visions of news headlines about mauled children to pop up in my head. No, it's not the way I want to end my morning walk.