Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations President Obama!

We, as a family, are absolutely ecstatic and inspired by the new era ushered in today by President Barack Obama. As a family, we watched President Obama take the oath of office. It was a special moment to witness history transpire right before our eyes. He is the individual we whole-heartedly supported and voted for as the leader we believe most closely represents and will carry out our ideas of good government. We are confident that our communities, states, and country as a whole will benefit from his excellent leadership and vision as they give us all hope of a more promising future.

We're excited to move forward with a theme of service and unity while continuing to teach our children about these precious life principles, which we as citizens of the United States of America live by and hold true. We are so fortunate to live in this amazing country and do not take that fact for granted.

Thank you, President Obama and family, for dedicating your life to serving our country. We will do our best to contribute positively to our own community and support your administration. May God bless you, your family, and your administration.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's Back!

After a pretty long hiatus I'm getting back into the swing of meal planning. So, here it is in all its appetizing glory!

SUN: Pot Roast, Red Mashed Potatoes, Carrots
MON: Szechuan Beef & Broccoli, Rice
TUE: BLT Turkey Burgers, Spinach Salad
WED: Left-overs
THU: Baked Ziti, Green Salad
FRI: Chili Dogs (Hebrew Nat'l 97% fat free) + Broccoli topped with grated cheese
SAT: Homemade Pizza, Bell Peppers

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our 'Journey' to Evanston

I'm not a big fan of the word journey. The reason being that it's the most overused word in reality TV! Haven't you ever noticed how every contestant no matter what show they're on, refer to how amazing "this journey" has been?!?! Next time you watch a reality TV show--you'll see what I'm talking about! And just for kicks and giggles--count how many times the word 'journey' is used in one single episode.

On December 19, 2008, we set out to travel to Evanston, Wyoming, to spend the Christmas holiday with the Staleys. In all honesty, it was a true journey. We left the house with enough time to arrive at the airport...only to find that in Portland--the Sky Cap isn't open at 2:00pm--say what???? YEAH. Nope. One has to take their luggage inside to check it. Well, we still needed to park our car at the airport, which included a shuttle ride back and the need to check our luggage: three suticases each weighing 50 pounds + diaper bag + man purse + coats + carseats + carry on bag. May I mention how much I love those $3 and $4 carts to lug your stuff around at the airport? The best $3 bucks I've ever spent in my entire life. Anyway, we decided to take turns checking in while the other waited out in the car with the kids. Yes, one would think that security would be flagging us down while our car sat there...but no--not a single person said anything! We weren't complaining--we one by one got all of our luggage checked and boarding passes in hand.

We were warned that while the flight had not yet been delayed--it would likely be. The previous SLC flight had not even departed and was 3 hours delayed. By the time we got through security and to the gate we found out our flight had been delayed. Three hours total, in fact. Yes, oh yes. So we did the bathroom breaks, changed bums, fed the fam, and chilled.

My testimony of iPhones with movies on them grew substantially on this trip.
Thanks, Papi.

Could she be anymore precious?!?! I mean, honestly.

While waiting, I called my good friend and colleague, Diana, asking her to take us in for the night since my father-in-law, Dave, said the roads weren't safe to head to Evanston. I told her we'd be arriving shortly before 10pm and would continue to update her. SIX HOURS later we landed. Why did a 1.75 hour flight take so long? Well, let me just share. There was a huge snow storm in SLC, which shutdown all runways and the airport so we circled, flew to Twin Falls, Idaho, to get more gas, and then were warned that upon return to SLC if we weren't allowed to land we would fly to Grand Junction, Colorado, to get more gas and then back to SLC to try again. Fortunately, we did not have to do the latter but in all it amounted to six hours on a plane with the kiddos and a SMALL plane I might add...Ryan couldn't even stand up straight, he had to duck! Oh, yeah, the bathroom was broken...so no potty brakes. The A/C was broken too. They did say that if we really needed to do the deed we could always use a cup and dump water down the toilet to make it manually flush. Thanks, Delta. And H-NO, we managed to not have to use the bathroom and had zero accidents. Phew!!!

We arrived at 1am and left the airport about 2:15am. Everyone got to land when we did so the rental car counters were swamped. All employees but one for each company had gone home for the night so they were slammed. We waited, patiently, but exhausted. We had to stop by Wal-Mart for more formula and then we finally made it to Diana's house at 3am...she graciously waited up for us and put us up for the night complete with a hot breakfast that morning. Diana--what would we have EVER done without you and your amazing family?!?! We're forever grateful. I actually considered that part a big blessing--we got to visit and enjoy some time together catching up. Even though we didn't get to bed until after 4am we felt that we weathered the madness and long hours quite well and the girls did remarkably well. We were so blessed through the whole ordeal and that we actually made it! (By the way, Portland airport closed for three days the day after we left due to weather--we really got out of there in the nick of time)! We arrived safe and sound, we were watched over, and our girls all in all enjoyed themselves. Might I add, Sofia introduced herself to two young girls on the plane and asked them to be friends--entertaining herself with them for awhile and Sydnei coo-ed and goo-ed with her sweet smile and dimples at everyone around her. She's quite captivating, ya know.

Heaven...Wrapped up with a Pretty Bow

November 30th and December 1st, we got together for a 2-day Christmas baking extravaganza. As you all know, I love to bake, my daughter, Sofia, loves to bake, and, well, our great friends the Espinos, share the same love. We made white chocolate peppermint bark, chocolate fudge, frosted snowmen, Christmas tree, and snowflake cookies, plus gingerbread man cookies. We had a blast and we're so impressed with how they all turned out. We made them for friends and our visiting teaching and home teaching families. The girls did a wonderful job helping to cut out the cookies and frost them (as you will see in the pictures!)--they especially loved pounding the peppermint bark into pieces.

Here, Amy makes a valiant attempt to explain the order of events to the girls while Isabel tries to open a bottle of sprinkles with her teeth--keep in mind she's lost several teeth over the last few months!

Geared up and ready to decorate!

The Gingerbread Men

Not to worry, we were quite careful in giving only those, which did not get contaminated by all the finger licking good frosting that was going on! We, of course, had no problems eating those that didn't make the cut!

Isabel and her Mom, Amy--frosting fun!

Natalie proudly places her masterpiece with the others.

Sophia is so DANG cute!!!

Sydnei enjoyed playing while we baked, especially in her johnny jump up.

Some of the finished product...

...and more.

Putting the gift boxes together...

...and a peak inside.

There's just nothin' like some homemade Christmas love!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas with MaMa

MaMa and Sofia with a brand new Belle doll and horse.
MaMa sure helped Santa this year--Sofia had been eyeing this doll for months!

December 15, 2008, we celebrated Christmas with my Mom. We enjoyed a yummy dinner, gift opening, music, and some yummy homemade Christmas cookies. I love exchanging gifts. It was so fun to see my Mom's reaction when she opened the present from us...

She was ecstatic! We gave her an 8.4" digital photo frame. We decided just after Christmas last year that this is what we were going to give our parents this Christmas. It's an excellent way to display thousands of photos. We had preloaded it with pictures so my Mom immediately pulled it out and turned it on.

Sofia also received matching Princess gown and slippers--she wasted no time in putting those bad boys on!

And Sydnei....well,
Wait for it....

Wait for it...

Bam! Perfectly poised, Sydnei is so happy with her new walker to wagon toy from MaMa (AND Uncle Kris & Cousin Jordan). They too gifted Sydnei this awesome toy--man--our family members know each of us SO WELL!!!

Every year since I was born, my Mom gives me and now us all socks for the year. I've never had to buy socks in my entire life! Mom spoiled us this year with Chipotle and Starbucks gift cards, slippers, and a brand new set of classy dinner glasses. Thanks, Mom/MaMa, WE LOVE YOU!!!

Our Sweet Little Christmas Tree

Staley Christmas Tree 2008

Even though we were spending the majority of the Christmas holiday with the Staleys in Evanston, Wyoming--we had to put up our own tree and decorations. Each family has a different style and traditions when it comes to decorating. Well, our family loves the "hodge podge" Christmas tree. We love to have a large variety of mismatched ornaments that represent different years of Christmas--from our own childhood to the present. Each year when we decorate, we reminisce about the meaning and story of different ornaments while introducing new ones.

Ryan and I started a tradition when Sofia was born to give our children their very own 1st Christmas ornament. Here are some pictures of Sydnei's first ornament.

Every year without fail, Ryan tries to make the Yellow Submarine Beatles ornament the tree topper. It lasts up there right until were about done with the tree--then it's replaced with a real topper! Mr. Submarine always remains toward the top of the tree, though.

Here is my new ornament this year. I don't always get a new ornament but when I saw this one I fell in love. It's from the snowman/smores line of ornaments and goes right along with my other smores ornament that says "I burn 4 U," which I gifted to Ry five or six years ago. So cute! (Unfortunately, I don't have a pic of that one)

When I pulled out the Christmas Tree boxes to set up for our decorating extravaganza, Sofia immediately went to get her new ornament this year, Cinderella, no surpise there. She must have stared at the Princess ornaments in the Disney store for a good 10 minutes trying to pick one of the many. She finally decided on Cinderella--and so did Nana! She received two of these this year--I guess that means her Nana knows her really well! Sofia was very happy to have two Cinderella's. One at home and one at Nana's.

In all her Princess glory....

Fun Times....

Christmas Fun Galore!!!

We had an awesome Christmas this year! We spent great time with family making memories that will last forever. There were so many different fun and crazy parts to the holiday that I've decided to break them up into various posts with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.