Monday, December 31, 2007

Other December Activities

I've missed quite a few things in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and moving and sick kids. Yes, we are sick again. This time Sara has RSV. Yep, that means in the past 6 weeks that we have had: Croup, Conjunctivitis, Rotavirus and now RSV. At least we were healthy for Christmas. And, it looks like despite two very scary diseases, we will stay out of the hospital. Our new house is just quarantined.

Babies
We did several things involving babies this month. My best friend Karyn gave birth to an absolutely gorgeous baby girl, Clara Emmaline. She is an amazing woman and I am grateful she shares her little ones with me.
We also got to spend some good time with Keri's littlest, Aysha. I just ate her up, (she is adorable) but I think that Sara liked her even more. Yay for cousin kisses. Laura enjoyed being with her close cousin Emily, and Keri and I had a great time chatting as well.
I also got to attend a surprise baby shower for an old friend from Nauvoo, Emily. It was great to see her and the progress in her life. It was also amazing to catch up with Kate. Kate did a much better write-up on the shower and you can read about it here. Remarkably, I found the time (while J was assembling his grill) to make a handmade baby gift.

Family Activities
We've done a few family activities as well. We attended a beautiful funeral and viewing for Grandma Jo. It was a sad experience, a learning experience (I loved learning more about her life) and a gathering experience (we got to see a lot of J's family). And, I finally got a good picture of Jason and his siblings.
Also, the girls have been playing together so nicely lately. They really enjoy one another's company and it is a beautiful thing. I often find them playing and laughing together. And Sara is working very hard to keep up with her sister. She is trying to crawl and nearly has the sitting thing down. She is also strengthening her legs in the jumper.
We have also been enjoying the PILES of snow that have been here lately. Sara doesn't like it much, but she looks great all bundled up. Laura, however adores the snow and is outside playing in it every chance she gets.


Food
As always, much of our lives revolve around food. Both girls have gotten rather picky lately. The only vegetable that does not bring a clamped mouth and the "done" sign from Sara is my homemade squash. I (or my mom) bakes it with sugar and butter then I puree it with Chicken Broth to thin it down. I think Sara wants big people food...a new favorite is Cream of Wheat.
Laura is not a fan of trying anything new lately. Fortunately she has a lot of old favorites. My Mom and Dad took pity on our quarantined house and brought us many her favorites. Yep, that's broccoli and squash on her plate. She may not like hamburgers, but broccoli and squash are always hits.
Jason assembled his new grill (a horribly difficult task). But, it seems to have been worth the effort. We can't wait to try out the rotisserie and infrared searer. He loves it and it makes great food - even in the snow.

House Stuff
We finally seem to have settled in the house. Very nearly everything is unpacked (upstairs only...we don't even talk about the basement) and in it's place. Now it is on to the most difficult tasks of all - finding places for and hanging all our art; oh, and finishing the basement.

Today we tackled the garage and got both cars in. It feels wonderful and will make life much more comfortable.
Here is a picture my mom gave me of our moving day. It was taken before all the snow (we're talking 5 inches) began to fall. Yep, all those cars were there to help us. We were truly blessed.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Traditions

Some of the best parts of Christmas this year were the newer traditions. Despite having piles of family in the area, we ended up not having any parties or get-togethers on Christmas Eve, so we began a tradition on our own. My parents also did not have plans that night, so we invited them to join in the festivities. I hope they will join us each subsequent year as well. They really made the evening much more fun!

I decided I wanted to do a different theme to our Christmas Eve each year. Being as I didn't have piles of extra energy (still unpacking) I went with an easy one this time. I went with an "Island" theme. (Some other ideas I have for subsequent years are "Little House on the Prairie", "Swedish", "Dickens Era", etc). Fortunately, easy as I made it, the evening was grand fun. Check our Sara enjoying herself in her festive jammies.
video
Most of the islandishness centered around food. Though we did all wear shell necklaces, courtesy of Mom and Dad. I made homemade Crab and Cream Cheese Wontons that I served on seashells that Mom got in Hawaii when she was younger than I am now. Jason worked the new fryer and they were delicious. Really, I should only have made the Wontons for dinner; they were definitely the best part. Fortunately, I made around 40 of them, so there were plenty for all of us. We also had Teriyaki Chicken and my fried Teriyaki noodles.
Jason and Laura made a pineapple upside down cake for dessert. This is a continuation of an older tradition (but still in the theme) that we initiated with Laura to teach her the real meaning of Christmas. We sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and blow out a candle. This year she insisted we sing all the birthday songs to Him. So, we sang 4 Primary songs in addition to "Happy Birthday"
Then we did a live nativity. My adorable Mom provided us with the costumes. Laura, of course, was Mary. Jason was Joseph. My Mom was a Shepherd and narrator. Dad was a Donkey and narrator. I was an Angel and Sara was the multitude of the heavenly hosts. It was wonderful to see how intent and reverent Laura was about it all. I think she understood how important and amazing the birth of the Savior really is. My Mom then told a story (using a flannel board, how awesome is she) she used to tell me when I was little to further illustrate the Christmas Story, "The Little Star"
We also opened the presents from my parents that night. (I'm glad we could because poor Laura might have burst from anticipation had she not been able to open something then.) We were all excited to get our new ornaments, as well as other gifts, and hung them on the tree right away. My parents always get the most perfect ornaments to commemorate our specific time of life. However, I think Sara liked the paper the most.
The next morning, after opening presents, we had Jason's parents over for a big breakfast. We once again used the fryer and had scones and honeybutter in addition to bacon, OJ and toast. The scones were stellar. Even Laura, who has suddenly become insanely picky about all new foods, liked the scones.
We then opened gifts from Jason's parents. The cool ball popper they got for Sara was a major hit! It then was lovely to just hang out with them, reminisce and enjoy watching the girls play with their new toys. You can read about their time with us HERE.
Okay, so almost all of the new traditions centered around food this year. I had a realization about this food thing. I love to feed people. I mean, I enjoy cooking, but the true enjoyment comes from feeding people. Yep, that means you will probably get an invitation to our house for dinner sometime.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Old Traditions

This Christmas was filled with many of our favorite old traditions. It began a while ago with Jason's family's candle lighting ceremony. We weren't able to stay long because it occurred the day after we moved and we were still fighting illness, but it was wonderful to look back at all our blessings this year with his family. You can read more about it in J's dad's post.
Then we got to go to my family's Christmas party. At this party we eat soup (I brought my tortilla soup this year) and exchange $5 gifts (drawn names) . It is amazing what people can find for $5. Sara enjoyed her first chance at opening a gift. Laura loved opening her first present of the season. And both girls loved playing with cousins...look at Sara's face as she interacted with her cousin Alex (final pic)!
We also got to do all the traditional Christmas day and eve activities. Laura left out homemade cookies, a carrot and milk for Santa on the new hearth. And we all just adored opening gifts in the morning. Laura got us up at 7:00 and you can see some sleepy faces!
Laura received her Princess Wii game from Santa and a digital camera as well as other small items (mostly crafting supplies) from Mom and Dad. Sara received her Laura requested baby food from Santa and a shape sorter and singing hippo from Mom and Dad. Jason got a grill that works with natural gas, a Wii game with it's corresponding gun and a wireless router so he could hook the Wii up to the internet. Though I think Jason's favorite present was the nose (a picture Laura drew of her own nose) from Laura. I received a Digital Picture frame and a cordless dustbuster (something I have been wanting for years).
Christmas day ended with a traditional (easy and yummy) dinner that my mom makes for all of us at her house. My sibs and I went in on a digital frame for my parents as well and we gave it to them at this time. I had preloaded it with pics sent by my sibs and we all (particularly my parents...phew success) enjoyed sitting around watching the frame. Sara was remarkably good there for having so many crazy days in a row. And Laura thoroughly enjoyed herself playing with her cousin Kiki. (Btw, I think Jason looks so CUTE in this picture!)
How I love the old traditions! Stay tuned for a post on the new traditions...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sara at Six Months

This post is incredibly late due to technical difficulties. But here are some of Sara's six month pictures. They were harder to get this time because she is so much more active and mobile. She liked hugging the bear and looking at her sister, but we did finally get a good one.


At her six month appointment, Sara came in at 17 lb 8 oz (90%), her head at 90%, and her length/height off the chart (significantly above the 97%...what would be like 120%) at 28.75 inches. According to the doctor she is tall and skinny. Can one really be skinny with those cheeks?! And, here she is in a new outfit I got for her pics and a darling hand-me-down outfit from her sister. Um, yah, Laura wore these clothes when she was a year old.

I got her professional pictures taken (Thank you for your help, Mom!) and they turned out beautifully. In fact, they asked me for a waiver so they could use her session/pictures for marketing purposes. Yep, that gave me a big proud mama head. Here are a few of those pics (low resolution due to copyright issues in the studio's email). My very favorites are the ones on the collage.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas-y

Despite the facts that we are not completely settled in the house and we still have lots of little things left to finish, we have taken some time to make life Christmas-y. Something very important if you are 4! And it's fun for the rest of us too.

The biggest deal was that we put up the tree. I adore the tree. My parents have given me, and now my girls, an ornament each year. So, putting up the tree is always a fun walk down memory lane. The tree may be eclectic (I've made an attempt to tie it together with red balls) but we love it. And, Laura loved decorating it and really loved her ornaments. Sara likes laying under the tree, but doesn't get to do it often as she tends to unwrap the presents while there.

I also love that the tree makes us look a bit festive from the street. There was no way we had the time or guts (there's been lots of snow here ever since the day we moved in) to put up Jason's perfect Christmas lights.
I also made sure to get the mantel painted so we could enjoy having a fireplace for the first time in our marriage. I purchased the stocking holders and I just love having stockings hanging above the fireplace.
A big part of Christmas, for me, is food. So today Laura and I baked cookies. (Santa just can't have Oreos from a bag; those cookies must be homemade, imho.) Oh, how I love having double convection ovens. The cooking went very fast (45 minutes total for 8 dozen cookies) even with my little helper. Laura loved licking the beaters and wearing an apron. Sara loved getting her first tastes of cookie and I think she'd eat one for every meal if we let her.
Finally, Laura was thrilled to get out the kids nativity. We have talked about the Christmas story every day since it's been out. Sara loves that the nativity plays music and that she can put the "Little People" in her mouth.