Thursday, December 29, 2011

December Wrap Up

I don't want to end December with just one measly post, so here I am wrapping it up!

Kallie's preschool class had a Christmas performance. Kallie is on the very far left.

They sang a snowman song, Jingle Bells, and The Reindeer Pokey.

Kallie is a good mom to her baby, "Rainbow," and wanted to make sure she was buckled in.

I have been wanting to display my kids' artwork in the hallway by our garage, but have never thought of a good way to do it. I finally came up with the idea of a memo board, and since it was so close to Christmas, I decided to make some for my mom and sisters. Mine will have to wait a little longer...

Here is Jill's...


And my mom's... aren't they so cute?

We had another merry Christmas Eve party at my mom's house, and I make it my policy not to carry my camera everywhere (because I tend to go overboard on pics when I do), so I have no pictures from that. It was a jolly good time, though! I got plush snowballs from the white elephant gift exchange, and my kids just love to use them for snowball fights. What fun!

On to Christmas morning, we woke up and checked out what Santa brought, but we waited until after church to open our gifts. I had to play the primary song in sacrament meeting that morning, which was totally nerve wracking to me, so I enjoyed Christmas much better once that was over!!

(Just wanted to explain why Russ might be in a suit... no, we don't generally get dressed up before opening gifts on Christmas...)

Will found this ornament with Kyle's picture on it in his stocking - how'd that get there?!? Santa had a little too much eggnog, I guess...

Paige got... a box!! The kids aren't impressed by that joke at all, but Russ and I can't seem to get enough of it.

This was the first year Brandon could actually help open gifts. The tearing of the paper was the best part for him.

Russ, if you're going to pull a goofy face, then be prepared for it to be published! :) Oh, the joy!

Kallie said she was wishing for a Rapunzel dress, and Santa delivered! She had been wearing that yarn on her head the day before as her Rapunzel hair, so she put it back on along with her new dress just as soon as she opened it.

Thanks, Paige, for making sure there was a picture of me. I was there! And I had makeup on - going to church first may have been a great idea after all.

Gee, I didn't know bedding could be so exciting. He got bedding when he was eight, too, and didn't have near that same reaction...

Action-packed unwrapping frenzy!

Hmm... I wonder what that could be!

Christmas night, we had another gathering at my mom's house with gifts galore! Mom, have you dug yourself out of that mess yet? Jill and I took a bunch of kids out on a surrey ride to see Christmas lights. It was hard work because all the kids were mostly dead weight, but we needed to work off the pie somehow. This one street in my parents' neighborhood is all decked out, and it was like a tourist attraction. We got in the line of cars and sang Christmas carols as loud as we could. The surrey was all lit up with Christmas lights and adorned with a wreath in the back, so we were kinda like one of the attractions. It was tons of fun!

And now, I have finally dug out of the Christmas chaos and am ready to ring in the new year. I even have some new purple and blue sparkly nailpolish to wear! (Thanks, Lolo)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sweet P

Sometimes I get just a little annoyed when parents rave about how wonderful their children are, so be prepared to be a little annoyed if you are anything like me.

First of all, last week was Paige's dance recital.

Go Paigey!

Then Saturday was her baptism day. She was so excited for this day to come and kept talking about how it would make her all clean. When she went to meet with the bishop beforehand, Kallie was worried about being left behind and said, "I want to see what it is like to get baptized!" We reassured her that she wouldn't miss the baptism.

I made the dress, and it really wasn't that stressful (seam ripping and all). This was my first time sewing on a sheer fabric, and I thought it came out wonderfully. Awesome, another sewing skill under my belt.

Paige endured some burns on her ears to make this beautiful hairdo possible. She looked like an angel to me.

When we went into the dressing room to change her into her baptismal suit, I was all teary eyed remembering when I was in her position and my mom was in mine. I can't explain how privileged I felt to be the mother of such a sweet child.

We gave her scriptures for her baptism, and she insisted on reading passages about baptism with the family later that day. She took them in the car everywhere we went, and started highlighting passages.

Sunday night, I discovered her scriptures, the primary song book and hymn book opened to Christmas songs, and a manger scene set up in my office.

Later I found the program that listed who would play Mary and Joseph, who would be singing which songs, and who would be reading scripture passages. She had planned a whole Christmas program for the family to participate in when her cousins came over for dinner that evening. Apparently, nobody wanted to, but I think it's so sweet that she planned it out like that.

After all the festivities, she was helping clean up and she said, "Mom, do you know why I'm helping clean?" When I asked why, she said, "Because baptism changed my life."

Can a parent ask for anything more?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Wonder Under the Sea at Molokini Crater

I'd like to think that the airport x-ray machines damaged my film because it was ISO 800 and we forgot to ask for the hand inspection, but I think the reality is that the camera was just crappy. No zoom, no preview - we were stuck with whatever came out. And then LATER, I read on the back that the underwater pictures are supposed to be taken within a range of one meter. Good thing Walgreens screwed up my order and I got them developed for free!

So, the color you see here is very dull compared to what we saw... see, I told you that you just had to be there! Try to use your imaginations, okay?

Cool long, skinny fish... fish sticks?

It was like swimming in an aquarium.

I tried to capture the breath-taking drop off into the abyss... imagine harder, people!

Lots and lots of black fish... and one yellow one doing his own thing.

This was taken at a shallower depth, so you can see a LITTLE more color. I love the orange ones, don't you?

My legs can't be THAT white, right? Dang those x-ray machines... they totally washed me out... totally...

Hi Russ!

Lookin' cool...

Now go see it for yourselves, people! It'll be like watching Dorothy step out into the colorful land of Oz.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Aloha from Maui

Ain't nobody ever say, "I don't like no Maui." We liked it so much in 2005 that we decided to go back to celebrate our 10th anniversary (I know, how much celebrating do we need? Do we have to stop now?). Amazing doesn't even begin to describe our trip... lots of things are amazing, but this was special amazing :)

Our first day, we drove up the coast of west Maui.

None of the pictures I took can come close to showing the wonder of the lava formations, the immensity of the surf, or the intensity of the raging sea. You just have to be there. For example, this blowhole was shooting at least 50 feet in the air. We just didn't want to get very close for fear of being washed out to sea.

The pounding surf.

We dubbed this formation "Poseidon's Thumb" (even if it does look more like a middle finger) - it's saying, "Epic surf, dudes!"

On our second day, we took a fantastic snorkeling and sailing trip to Molokini Crater. I brought an underwater camera to take pictures of the coral and fish, but I haven't had the pictures developed yet. (Developed... what's that, right?) Along the side of the crater where it slopes down into the sea, we looked over the edge of the coral reef into the the abyss... an awe-inspiring sight that makes you feel so small. I hope I got some good pictures, but like the coastline... you probably just had to be there to experience it yourself.

The boat crew actually put up the sails, but not to full mast. What you see here is maybe halfway up the mast.

There were only five other customers on this boat that normally can take 38, so it was almost like a private charter... very cool!

That night, we saw a magic show at Warren & Annabelle's. Fun, unique atmosphere, yummy appetizers, and really funny and talented sleight of hand magicians... thumbs up! (But I'm still wondering... how did he get that ring inside the walnut?)

Our hotel was great, but we didn't want to spend extra money on an ocean view, so we got this mountain view instead (I did a nice job of cropping out the parking lot, don't you think?).

And here we are sitting on the beach right behind our hotel.

On our last trip to Maui, we took the road to Hana, but we stopped so many times that it was dark by the time we got to Hana, and we never made it to Ohe'o Gulch. This time, we decided we'd only hit our favorite stops from last time.

And we added some of the places we didn't see last time, like the state-run arboretum. Here are some lovely examples of the plant life we encountered...

I'd like to interrupt this program to bring you a public service announcement... please slow down around turns on the road to Hana!

Thank you. And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

By mid-afternoon, we had made it to Ohe'o Gulch, but what sad news... it was a high water day, and they weren't letting anyone play in the water. We went all that way for NOTHING! Okay, it was still cool, but that just made us want to play there even more.

We hiked up close to this massive waterfall and were literally blown away by the force of the water and soaked by the overspray.

One of the best stops from 2005 was the bl ack sand beach. Alas, there was an endangered monk seal lying on the beach, so no people were allowed down there. How many bummers can there be on this excursion?!? (Note: A bummer in Hawaii is much less crummy than a bummer at home.)

On our last full day in Hawaii, we went on a zipline tour, which was something we had wanted to do last time. This one happens to be the first commercial zipline in the United States, so the equipment was a little old school, but it was still fun.

And then we drove up to the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala Crater, which we hadn't ever visited before. Nothing like the lush crater on Kauai, this crater was vast, barren, and starkly beautiful.

This plant, called a silversword, really is silvery when viewed in the sunlight - quite unique in the plant world. It blooms once in its life and then dies... and it only grows here on Haleakala crater.

I'm telling you, this place gave me chills... you won't get that from my photos, but I tried.

At 10,000 feet, we were above the clouds... it was like being in heaven (or Care-a-lot).

We decided to have a special dinner on our last night, so we ate at the restaurant at our hotel that is right by the beach. We got there right when they opened, and so we got the table closest to the ocean. It was bright at first...

But before our dinner was served, the sun started to fade into the horizon, and we got front row seats for our last sunset in Hawaii. It was PERFECT!

The next morning before our flight home, we spent a little more time playing on the beach, saying goodbye. I miss it already.

PS - Thanks Mom and Dad for watching our kids so that this trip could be possible for us. You're the best, and we love you!