Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

I realized last night (yes, the 21st) that somehow I had not sent cards to those on my list whose last names begin with A - C. I thought I was so on top of it having them sent the first week of December, alas...

So, here is my card with an apology to all those who are getting theirs late. Oh, and if you read this and don't get a card from me, let me know your address and I'd love to send one to you next year.

Dear Family and Friends,

This year finds us growing, happy, and blessed. We keep our blog updated at and that is where to find pictures and news on all of us – particularly the girls as they change so quickly. Here are the highlights:

Laura is 7 years old and in second grade. Her favorite things are choir, piano, reading and friends.

Sara is 3 years old and began preschool. She loves Ariel, purple, pandas and rice.

Eliza is 16 months and has turned into a true toddler. She loves to walk, dance and follow around after her sisters.

This year Jason and Melinda did lots and lots of yard work in addition to our regular jobs as a programmer and home mom.

We took trips to Disneyland and Seaside Oregon this year. Vacations are our favorite for we relish our family time together!

We hope this letter finds you all happy, healthy and blessed as well. We consider all of you to be a blessing in our lives.

Merry Christmas!!
Jason, Melinda, Laura, Sara and Eliza

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pictureless Activities

I hate it when I forget to take pictures of fun things. I've done it a lot lately. Here's the pathetic, pictureless rundown:

On Monday the 13th, Jason, Laura and I all went to the Jazz v. Golden State game. I adored teaching Laura all about the game and was thrilled when she pointed out a steal to me all by herself. A big thank you to Todd for the tickets and an even bigger thank you to Mom and Dad B. for watching the little girls for us so we could all go!

I also keep forgetting to take pictures of "Second Sunday Dinner." We've started a little tradition of a potluck dinner after the second Sunday church services and we've done it three months in a row. I love it, but can't seem to get a picture. There are three families that come and a pile of little girls. I'll get a picture next second Sunday, right?!

I forgot to take pictures at Laura's class Christmas party today. I loved being in there and seeing her. We decorated cookies, unwrapped a bazillion layers on a present, did a wordsearch and pin art, and made an adorable candy cane reindeer. (Key to the reindeer...gluedots on the eyes and nose.) Thank you Mom and Dad for watching the little girls so I could have such a great time with Laura and her class. Well, here's a picture of the reindeer after the fact.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Homey Christmas

Christmas was feeling a little "purchased" so far this year. So, I needed to make things feel a bit more homey. Other than piles of baking (cookies, bread, etc) which always helps that homey feeling, I decided to do a few crafty things. Amazing, I know.

Fortunately, my friend Steph came over the other day and I asked her to teach us all how to cut gorgeous snowflakes. Though I initially thought to hang them in front of mirrors around the house. I ended up putting them in front of the windows in the Family Room. (And this inspired me to clean all the curtains in the house...dryel worked beautifully, btw.)
I was also inspired by my friend Christy and the way she displays the Christmas Cards in her house. I did my version of it and hope to be crafty enough next year to make these clips to display the cards instead of just using curling ribbon.
Finally, we did our neighbor gifts and instead of just cutting squares for our note, I actually made a cute tag. Yes, I did a paper craft; are you sitting down yet?! They are a little less racy this year than last. And I was able to use them as cute tags on teacher gifts (bread and gift cards) with the saying "Thank you for helping me measure up to my potential." I'm glad I bought so many measuring spoons and cups when I found them on sale!
Now, if only I can get an advent calendar done in time for next year's Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Preschool Christmas Performance - Sara

Sara had her little (30 min) preschool Christmas performance today. It was great fun to watch her be in front of people and the star of the show. She was much more outgoing than I expected. Eliza couldn't stop watching her.
She sang songs and recited poems for us. I love her preschool!
She kept my folks, Jason and I grinning with pride at how well she knew her parts. But, she also kept us in in stitches because she was really




How we love our Sara and her big personality!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Choir Concert - Laura 2010

Laura is doing her school choir again this year. She adores it and is always practicing her songs to her ipod. It's adorable!

Her first concert this year was a Christmas Concert for the school (that I could not attend) and then a concert at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It was chaos getting her home from school and up to SLC in time to perform. Thank heavens my parents came to help me out and drive me (the hormone crazy lady) up there and help me out with the little girls. I don't think I could've survived without them. THANKS Mom and Dad!!
It was a beautiful setting, but it was kinda hard to hear the kids over the great expanse. I was very impressed with the professionalism of such a young choir and how well they did despite everything that was working against them.
Sara was enthralled with the music and sat intently throughout the whole performance. She can't wait to be in choir when she gets to school. Eliza was a different story. I think she wore out all three of us adults trying to keep her from injuring herself as she ran around and explored the old Hotel Utah. Fortunately, she's adorable and none of us could do anything but grin at her antics.
We took a few moments to enjoy the beautiful tree and then we brought home the exhausted girls.
The next night was the parent's performance and so much more fun. The setting was relaxed, intimate and it was easy to see and hear the kids.

We could see the kids so well that Eliza kept escaping and attempting to reach Laura. I was really glad I had heard the performance before because I spent much of the time in the back with Eliza trying to keep her away from her sister. (Thanks Jason for all the pictures of the night.)
After the performance, Laura requested that we all go out for treats. Laura loved performing and being a perfect center of attention. And, I think she loved being with her grandparents and the root beer float as well.
This little girl makes me proud every time I encounter her. I love you, Laura! Your voice is beautiful; you sang perfectly; and you behaved like a lady! (And, I forgive you for dancing on my plants.)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Cold Time at the Zoo

We spent an hour and a half at the zoo on Saturday morning while Jason helped some friends move. It was freezing, but amazing. I bundled up the girls and we just had the best time. I think we only saw 8 other people there.
They had just fed all the apes and they were inside so we were warm. Eliza loved getting to know Acara as she ate her lunch of pinecones. Yes, the chimpanzee fully waved and put her hand up to the girls. So sad that I left my camera outside with the stroller.

I have never seen all the big cats so active. We got to know a snow leopard, siberian lynx, cheetah, and tigers all very well as they came very close and were fun to watch move and prowl.
If you have an annual pass, I must recommend a quick trip to the zoo around 10 am one cold morning. It was a totally new and totally awesome experience!

Clean House

I have a thing. A majorly anal thing about having my house clean. The clean I mean is "company ready." I mean that it's not "open house" perfect, but also not "fine for my mom" clean either. The kids doors can be closed in a "company ready" house, but anyone can walk in for a glass of water or to use the bathroom without embarassment if you get my definition.

Because I have been super sick with my lupron shot, my house has not been nearly clean enough for my taste this past month. I had a horribly embarassing moment when my nephews came by without much notice and found my house an utter disaster. But, I also learned how comfortable I am with my mom, in-laws, and a couple of my best girlfriends to let them see my house in such a state.

Now, I am feeling better, and this week has been back to my cleaning schedule. Yep, I keep a schedule. After having kid #2, and moving into a house with double the square footage, to keep my house "company ready" I have had to develop a system. I have lost many brain cells while carrying my babies and my system has the ring of something you would teach a five-year-old...alas. Since I have had many requests (from friends moving into bigger homes or adding kids) for my system and schedule, here it is:

Monday - Menus and Mirrors (I shop and plan for my weekly menus this day and clean all the glass surfaces in the house)
Tuesday - Toilets, Tubs and Toys (I clean all the toilets, sinks, tubs/showers and disinfect one of my four drawers of toys by tossing them in a tub. I also deep clean one of my bathrooms each week and rotate through as I have 4 bathrooms)
Wednesday - Wood (I do all my dusting and wood polishing this day and I either clean one wood surface, like cabinets or table, with Murphy's or do a big dusting project, like silk plants or light fixtures, each week)
Thursday - Kitchen (I move my items on my counter, clean the appliances and scour the sink and one big project like pantry organizing or cleaning behind the refrigerator)
Friday - Floors: deep clean vacuuming and mopping of all floors (Yep, I don't do the floors the same time I do the other rooms I do them together on one day, and I sweep the porch this day too)
Saturday - I tackle big projects, outdoor projects or just hang out with the kids
Sunday - Bless the day of rest!
Daily - Wipe down counters and quickly clean sink after lunch and bedtime. Run the robot vacuum in 1 of 3 high traffic areas or do a quick once over with the shark. Pick up toys and all clutter after kids bedtime. Run through one load of laundry each day.

Despite looking daunting, my cleaning takes me less than an hour a day because of this system and my preferred cleaning supplies. It feels good to be clean again - Phew!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Decorations 2010

For some reason, I just can't stop collecting Christmas decorations. The most fun addition this year has been individual trees in the girls' rooms. They selected their favorite color trees (pink and purple) and decorated them completely by themselves. Sara made sure that Eliza couldn't reach any of her ornaments, hence the decorating style you see below.
I got the silver ornaments, tree skirt, and star topper to fill out their trees. They loved putting their own ornaments that they have been collecting each year from Grandma and Grandpa on their own special trees. Laura also put ornaments that she made herself on her tree and decorated it just like a designer. Yep, that's my little pink perfectionist.
This year I added new candles (courtesy of my mom's garage cleanout) and a new advent (so much for my grand plans of making an adorable advent - I bought the house from Kohl's) to the hearth. It is probably my favorite part of Christmas decor.
I was finally able to find something I have wanted for years - a HUGE ornament to hang in my entry archway. My mom helped me with the bows, I strung it with fishing line and I just love how it turned out. I reused the hook from Pickles the witch and it makes me happy each time I see it.
Though I had the apothecaries last year, I updated them with new candy favorites for this year. Eliza adores the candy cane kisses that she eats in just one bite. Sara loves the Kit Kats and we all love candy canes in our hot chocolate. The candy has been so adored that one of my jars has gotten chipped. That just means I made good selections, right?!
Finally, the girls decorated the downstairs tree almost completely by themselves this year - with help from a step stool. It made decorating so much fun instead of a bit of a chore. They were adorable and I love that the tree turned out just like they like it, instead of decorator done. (The decorator tree is upstairs.) It makes Christmas seem more like it should - all about the kids!
Oh, and all my Christmas shopping is done - phew. Time to enjoy the season and feed people! Okay, I still have Christmas Cards and neighbor gifts to tag, but that's not much since it's not quite yet December!

Riding Hood v. 2

Sara took it into her mind that she wanted to be "Little Purple Riding Hood" and deliver treats to Grandma and Grandpa. So, she filled her basket with leftover halloween candy, got dressed in all her purple (including her new favorite purple shoes) and off we went. This kid is awfully smart at getting what she wants - seeing grandma and grandpa in this case.
She was absolutely adorable at the front door and reminded me a lot of her big sister. Grandma was equally receptive of "Little Purple Riding Hood" as she was of "Little Red Riding Hood" four years earlier.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This year we were on schedule to celebrate Thanksgiving with Jasons family. It was great. Somehow the majority of his family got off rotation with us and it ended up a smaller party, but it was calm, wonderful and a fun time!
Thankfully (bad hormone day) most of my food had to be done the day before - Jello and frozen chocolate pies - so we had a great and relaxed morning waiting for the feast. We went to IHOP for breakfast, looked at ads, and played with the girls. Eliza showed us all how big of a turkey (seriously, that girl is a huge tease) she is while wearing Sara's gobbow showt. We were all in stitches.
I successfully transported the house (pies, jello, green beans, board games, camera, serving pieces, etc.) to Jason's mom's house and the dinner was delicious and lovely. Jason's mom made me my own celery-free stuffing that I devoured. Isn't she sweet?!
Jason loved being with his brothers. He also was with them the next night at the Jazz game - yes, the one where they spanked the Lakers, lucky duck. The girls loved spending time with their big cousin Hannah. Sara had one table laughing while Eliza entertained the other table. Laura, loved seeing Grandma Great.
It was a lovely holiday!

Well, At Least I'm Not Crazy

I have been sick for years. I have an auto-histamine disorder. Yes, my histamines are attacking the linings of my body. I hate it. However, I used to function pretty darn well and had learned to manage it (yay allegra and CLEAN living) comfortably. Since Eliza's birth, I haven't been my usual self.

After a bazillion trips to my GP and urologist, I finally broke down and cried to my GP because I was so frustrated. Those two doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong. I was beginning to think that I was crazy - some kind of bizarre hypochondriac. The docs only knew that I had a ton of internal bleeding (coughing it up, throwing it up, and you know) and were trying to stop it. I had tracked my symptoms for months and found them cyclical and figured it was worth a trip to the OB/GYN despite my frustration and desire to quit searching.

Bless my OB/GYN. He found an answer for me. I am not crazy. I have endometriosis; really severe endometriosis. Yep, that's why there is blood everywhere and pain cyclically. Now I am working through treatment options. They have been really unpleasant so far and I have kindof fallen off the face of the planet. Sorry to all my family and friends for my absence. My body does not like uneven hormones. But, I am confident that there will be a solution and that soon I will feel better than I have in years.

November Catch Up: Anniversary

It's been 8 years since Jason and I got hitched! They've been amazing. Not hard I suppose when he is so amazing! I am a lucky girl to have found Jason and to still love nothing more than holding his hand and chatting and laughing with him. I had no idea that marriage could be so awesome!

We didn't do much for our anniversary, because of my health. My wonderful parents watched the girls so we could go out to sushi and it was a huge treat. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

November Catch Up: Second Grade Thanksgiving Party

The two second grade classes partnered for the Thanksgiving party. As one of the room moms, I did a lot of planning. The other room mom took the lead on the food and I took the lead on the activities.

We had a true feast in the classrooms. (This was made remarkably tricky due to some serious peanut allergies affecting a kid in each class.) We stuck with mostly finger foods to keep it easier and cleaner. There were turkey and cheese sandwiches, apples, potato chips, olives, carrots, celery, wassail to drink, and pumpkin pie for dessert. The kids loved it!
My job was to be in charge of the activities. This stressed me out because it was going to be a 3 hour party. It began with a wordsearch for them to work on while they were eating or waiting to be served.
While they were finishing up eating, the kids read their letters. I had arranged with the teachers beforehand to have their students write a letter as if they were the turkey pleading with the farmer not to eat them for thanksgiving dinner. The letters were hilarious! I gave prizes to 2 students the teachers selected as doing a noteworthy job.

Then we had a dad volunteer to do some storytelling (Timpanogos Storytelling Festival style) about the first thanksgiving. The kids did remarkably well in the story as he worked really hard to involve all 50 of them.
Then we went outside for games. I had 5 stations that we rotated the kids through in about 7 minutes per station. I had gunnysack races, fruit basket with Thanksgiving pictures, clothespin drop, Indian Corn passing without hands, and pumpkin rolling. Since we had the party on the Friday before Thanksgiving, the weather was beautiful and the kids had a great time getting out all their wiggles.

Oh, and there was a live turkey. Yep, the other room mom keeps turkeys and brought one of them to show the kids. It was WAY cool!
I had nixed the idea of making graham cracker turkeys (stupid peanut allergies) but that worked out fine because we didn't even have time for the movie. Yep, I worried so much about the time that I planned too much.

I loved being able to spend that special time watching Laura interact with her classmates and getting to know all the kids that she talks about to me at home.