Tuesday, January 31, 2012


2 posts in one week, hey I may just catch up. We had a lovely Christmas season. It has been unseasonably warm with very little snow, so while we very much mourned our traditional New Year's Day sled trip, we have enjoyed riding bikes and playing outside. We also spent some time at our usual haunts, zoo (renewed out pass, oh how Claire loves it there and we adore the quieter winter atmosphere), aquarium, dino museum, Trafalga, Classic Fun Center, Jumpin Jacks (we got a pass for that month too).
Joseph getting into more mischief--helping me with my homemade gift goal (a homemade gift for everyone on my list). Look, I learned how to use my sewing machine!! Salt Dough ornaments
At the boys' Chrismas programs (they both did so well and were fun for the weeks ahead as they sang to us at home. I was really proud of both of then--I had video if anyone wants to see it). Claire decided she was attending the event incognito.
We braved the cold to catch zoo lights at the zoo. They had Santa this year which was a nice bonus. They all had a really good time and then we all enjoyed some hot cocoa. :)

Sending our letters to the North Pole
Claire-Berry's curls after the bath. I keep taking pics because I don't know how long we'll get to see them.

Lowell helped with this display--the boys got such a kick out of finding Joseph each morning.

I made Snowman Oreo truffle balls for my extended family party. Rumor has it they were very good (I don't care for Oreos so it was 1 treat that was easy for me to skip). And I did the faces in the car--such a multi-tasker (or procrastinator . . . )

Davis with our very favorite Santa (my uncle Kevin)

And Carter

Claire was so intrigued.

Group shot--one BIG happy family! There were 7 in my dad's family (his younger brother passed away from cancer and my grandpa died that same year--but other than that it is just always growing).

After the family party we met up with my family (minus Hill who had to work and BJ who is just a kill joy) to see the lights at Temple square. We usually go Christmas Eve, but Dec 23rd was close enough.

Christmas Eve we celebrated with Lowell's family, somehow those pics didn't make it on here. We were at our house this year, had a lovely dinner then shared some dessert and gifts. The kids had a great time and then headed off to bed listening for reindeer bells. I stayed up for a while and Dinda and Tam were very gracious in helping me to wrap. There was a lot--but all good deals I can assure you.

Christmas morning was a blast. The boys loved everything they got and Claire got a kick out of her gifts and the wrapping. My gift this year was a DSLR camera. Yeah me! Watch out for all the pics now, I am having too much fun with it.

Lowell got Missy a tiara and shoes set, of how she loves it. This little lady is all girl.

The aftermath

Attempt at a Christmas photo

We went up to my parents' house after church and exchanged more gifts and ate some more. My homemade gifts turned out good and I think everyone liked them, that photo is missing too. All the kids got crayon rolls, the women punched washer necklaces, and then men scarves. I also made heart shaped hand warmers for neighbors and teachers and a yummy body scrub for whoever that fit for. Oh, and some picture frames for the great-grandparents.

The one gift the kids consistently asked for was a Zombie Brain Lab. Seriously grossest thing ever. Their buddies A&A came and tested it out with them. Despite the faces, they really had a good time. They have since added the Zombie stomach, oh my. For those looking into it, I was impressed with the amount of product they give you, the kids can do each activity lots of times with the product provided and the science of it is pretty cool. Taste is only okay.

More playing with my camera with my little gal.

She is getting so tall and funny. She has personality coming out her ears. Busy busy silly little lady. And sometimes mean, she will bite, scratch, pull hair if she doesn't get what she wants.

She is saying and signing more words all the time. This week she has been big into signing fish, dog, eat, all done, and shoes. She likes to say shoes, fish, hi, wow, yay, uh oh, mama, dada, bubba, and plenty of shrieks and jibberish.

The big boys have been busy too. They are both doing great in school and Carter is already into first grade reading. Their writing still lags but is improving. They are funny and mischeiveous They are really into friends now and phone calls and play dates. The continue to be very interested in girls and the girls are into them too. We are in trouble.

For New Year's Lowell didn't want to have a party. Just do our own thing. And I said I was fine with that. I still picked up some party gear and treats and planned to have a quiet night. I did mention it wasn't much of a holiday without family over though and that I wasn't planning to stay up until midnight. And the kids kept complaining that they wanted their cousins over, so Lowell caved and invited his fam over last minute. It turned out really fun.

We ate, did fireworks, and screamed happy new year at I think 9 pm. Then we put the kids to bed, visited for a bit and then it seems like Lowell and I watched a few shows and saw 2012 come in.

Just some more shots of my girl--she grows so stinkin fast her clothes don't fit for very long.

Standing on her bouncy zebra--she has the bad combination her brothers had, agility, strength, and no fear.

Silly sassy girl, we can't get enough!

She can walk all over the house in her little heels. I can't even believe it.

Alright, another couple holidays done. Now on to January!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Long time no blog . . .

Well, I think this is the longest I have gone without blogging since I set up the blog. Ugh. And now I am so behind. I blame lots of things, mainly being much busier at work lately giving me less free time for such things and facebook. Because I post most of my pictures there and update on what we are doing so my friends already know what is up. (Friend me on facebook if you haven't and want to know what we are doing before 2 months has passed). But, facebook is not a journaling device and I don't record our lives in the same detail there so I really need to get back to work on here. A little at a time. Today--Thanksgiving, Dutch Christmas, and Santa Train.

Thanksgiving was joyful as usual this year, the boys had the added bonus of having feasts and whatnot at school. Here they are as a pilgrim and an indian (I love it!). Dressed up for dinner with the Penrods
The kiddo table--this year Dylan and Becky were able to join us, so awesome!
And might I say the food was fantastic. My SIL does an apple cider brined turkey that is just fantastic. In fact I have a free turkey from then still in the freezer and the recipe--next week is starting to sound yummy. And here's Claire prepping for Black Friday! I left immediately from dinner to camp out at WalMart. I even took my slice of pie in a nifty container and ate it sitting on the floor in the Mexican food aisle waiting for the 2 screen car DVD player. (Yes we already have DVD in the car, but it requires headphones and we have broken so many headphones that is was more cost effective to just buy the new one with built in speakers. It doesn't work quite as well, but it functions. And added bonus Claire has her own screen with her rear facing [until 2, seriously!?] car seat). They had 2 phases of the sale at WalMart, 10 pm and midnight so we (Hillary and I) camped out for different products at different times and I was also busy finding the same deals online (on Lowell's phone) with free shipping so I could avoid some of the mayhem. And yes, there was mayhem. Next we went to Kohl's but the line was too ridiculous so we hid the item I wanted and then camped out in the car for a little while shopping the online Toys R Us sale. We cruised over to JCPenney's and did okay on their toy sale and got the fun and free snow globes that my boys absolutely adored until they both broke them within a day. Back to Kohl's the place had cleared out and shopping was easy although annoying due to the persistent and aggressive pleas to get their credit card. That was why the line was so ridiculous earlier and after I pointed that out to the cashier--still trying to push the card--the debate became a bit heated. Let's just say I won't shop at Kohl's any more. I think we got breakfast in there somewhere too and then went home and crashed for a bit (before I was on call at work). Thanks Hill for being my shopping buddy, we really did good.
After a nap we met up with Dyl, Becky, and Dinda and made our traditional turkey cookies. Or as usual the kids played wii while the adults fussed over them, but better than usual my candy specialist SIL and my soon to be chef SIL did all the work while I unwrapped Reese's. And so they turned out pretty.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving we had the Dodenbier family turkey night and that was also delicious and fun.
Claire eating Jonny's left overs
Then I still can't believe the deal I got on the Santa train. So we have a fairly close train that runs a Polar Express all winter. It is over $100 for my family to go but I was really considering just me and the boys going because their days of believing are numbered. Then I happened to notice early in December they had a can food drive Santa train. For less than $20 and the spare cans we had in the pantry our whole family could go, and it was shorter which is in fact a big plus for our restless kids in a small space.

And hey, we picked up Santa half way along and he was great with the kids. They were so thrilled. And they gave them each a BIG bag of treats (probably worth more than we spent on their fare).

Of which Claire picked out the yogurt pretzels and proceeded to get us all very dirty.
Then we hurried over to the Dutch store to meet up with my family and Sinter Klaas and Black Pete.
Good times, what a fun full day. The kiddos went to bed and then Sinter Klaas came!

Building a zhu zhu village (thanks to Toys R Us, buy 1 get 2 free sale plus they charged me for the cheapest items. Holy cow I got a deal on all that stuff).
No doubt about it, sissy loves her candy.

Traditionally we put up our Christmas tree on Dutch Christmas

Later that week we had our twin friends over to make gingerbread houses. I am still crazy enough to insist on real gingerbread to the extent that I will bake enough for a dozen kids. The boxed stuff is just not edible and I don't like the graham cracker cheat.
You guess, which one did I "help" on and which one was the boys'?

We got a one month pass to Classic Fun Center and decided to try out the Orem version. It was a mistake, Sandy is WAY better, but we still had fun.

Claire, little miss accessory decided the tree skirt made a quite lovely cape:

Trying new things with her lengthening hair. It is pretty fun but the curls are either crazy or matted if I don't work them. Nothing easy with this little gal.
Love the monkey hat
Elf on the shelf joined us after Thanksgiving again this year and found plenty of mischief and new silly hiding places. The boys named him Joseph. This was one of my favorites, he painted a Christmas tree on the wall. And I just washed it off last week, the washable paint came off super easy.
We had out first snow fall in early December (and haven't seen a whole lot since).
Claire was not sure about the cold white stuff.
Okay, part of me really wants to jump ahead to what's going on now, but baby steps. I am just going to update a little at a time so I don't get overwhelmed. Stay tuned, hopefully I'll get there quickly.