Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Victoria, as some of you know
is our wild child!
I feel like her beautiful name is being worn out, we yell it so much.
I have to stay 10 steps ahead of her on a daily basis.
And then you mix in the excitement of Christmas
quickly approaching and you have a mixture of
sweetness and disaster!
Pickles and Ice Cream!
That's what she is.
For the past several weeks some would say she has been
out of control,
a bundle of anticipation,
hell bent on wheels.
We kept reminding her to pull it together or she was going to get
COAL in her stocking.
Victoria would respond as she would put her hand to her forehead,
shaking her head,
"I know, I am just so happy, I have a hard time obeying,
 I try to have self control!"
 Well, I think someone taller than me assisted Santa with his
list of naughty children.
Victoria got coal in her stocking.......again!
Her response?
" Usually I get a whole bag!
I only got ONE this year!"
I think she thought she was improving.
Speaking of staying 10 steps ahead of Victoria........
Before we left Phoenix, Kirk and I had discussed Christmas
and what our budget was going to be.
We came up with a dollar amount and decided that we would spend it on
one gift per kiddo.
As we were wrapping their individual gift, I realized that
Victoria's was the biggest.
Knowing her, I didn't want her to guess what her gift was.
At the time I was thinking that she would only have one gift under the tree and being a little kid
I didn't want any dissappointments. 
At the time I had no idea what was being sent by
 Uncle Josh & Aunt Jolie!
I wrote on the tag that it was Henry's gift.
Of course she spotted it and immediately looked to see who's it was.
"Wow Henry, I wonder what you are getting in that big present?!
Every once in a while I would see her "chatting" with Henry about his
present and asking him if he wanted her to help him open it.
To her surprise it was her present
and a new horse(from Target)  for her American Girl dolls!
And Henry?
He got a Squeeky Toy!
Though HE thought it was Priceless!
We spent the day lounging around and playing.
Baby Jesus has been so good to us this Christmas.
He is with us every step of the way
on this difficult journey that our family is in.
We wouldn't be surviving right now if he weren't with us.
I know some day we will look back on our situation and just be even more
amazed than we already are as to how we have survived these past four years
since Kirk lost his job.  And then me losing mine almost a year ago.
Things have been horribly tough but I have recently read
" It isn't what you get at the end of a journey,
 it is who you are at the end of that journey."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

 I know that Christmas is so much more about the birth of Christ.
I can't not think about Christmas and Cookies
all in the same thought.
The birth of our Savior and
Sugar Cookies.
They are both sweet and save me from life's predicaments.
 Well, we have spent our first Christmas in our new home,
with our new church
and the same traditions.
But the traditions have been so much more fun with
crisp temperatures, snow on the ground, new surroundings
and a new outlook on life.
 My friend Kelly had done this with her daughter and sounded like a great idea.
So we had to make one too.
I wasn't sure if Victoria's foot was going to actually fit on a dinner plate
but it did.  She kept asking me
"you want me to step on the plate.......with paint?"
It turned out adorable.
Long ago we started decorating gingerbread men on Christmas Eve.
We have all looked forward to it......that is if I correctly planned ahead.
Though I do make a few stipulations.
1. Don't squeeze the icing out the top of the bag and make it all goopy.
That drives me insane and will make me into a "wicked Mommy".
2. Don't hog the icing.  I'm not making more so you have to share.
3.  Don't decorate more than your share of cookies.
I know I sound pretty bad.
Don't do this, don't do that.
BUT, there is so much laughter that goes on at the table
I don't think anyone actually hears that.
They are probably just saying
Alright Already, let me at it!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Wonderland

 We are learning what it means to live in the
Cache Valley.
We woke up to ice crystals all over the trees.
It is absolutely beautiful!
 This is the street that our church is on. 
At the very end of the street you can just barely see the old railroad station.
 This cat was taking its dear sweet time sauntering across the street.
And then it stopped in the opposing lane and watched us drive by.
You gotta wonder what cats are thinking.
We are loving it here.
This is right outside of the church steps.
We know that God has a plan for us.
He is taking care of us in the midst of what should be the worst time
of our lives without jobs.
By the way, the highs today were a whole 23 degrees!
Makes me wonder what tonight will drop to.

Christmas Spirit

I has been years since I have actually looked forward to the
Christmas Season.
Our situation in Phoenix was so depressing
it felt hopeless.
Our house was cramped.
And the thought of "decorating"
would make my skin crawl.
This year, we should be hopeless in our situation
I am so excited about Christmas.
We managed to scrounge up enough money for one gift
for each of our children.
You would think the kids would be depressed over that....
only getting one gift for Christmas.
Not our children.
They are happy to be living in our new home.
 Christmas is exciting this year.
I didn't have the heart to throw out the little pumpkins that
Kathy grew in her garden......and I had to throw out my candles before we moved.
They would have melted just loading them into the moving truck.
So I painted them white, sprinkled a little glitter and plopped them
on top of my candle holders.
I love candles and the light they give off.
I am so excited to have window sills.
The cats and I.
We have lived without window sills for 17 years.
You really don't think about how much you would miss a window sill until
you don't have one.
Well, Christmas is quickly approaching.
The kids did get to do some shopping for eachother because
their Nana and Poppa sent them money
to shop for them.
But really, this year?
We see God's hand in everything we do,
in everything that happens.
He has planted us in a place where we will grow
in our Faith,
have Peace and Joy
continue to Love and be Loved.
To think that Jesus came
as a sweet little baby, with sweet baby smells
to save all of us.

Christmas Book and Craft

The Biggest Best Snowman
by Margery Cuyler
is a cute story about a little girl who is told that she is too small
to do just about anything. 
That is until her and her little forest friends
build an enormous snowman and
show her mom and her funky dressed sisters what they did.
I hated it when I was a kid and I was told, you can't do that,
you're too little.
I think that is probably why I have always let my kids try things
and use scissors when they were two.
(They never cut themselves by the way)
If I have to make a decision that really is because one of the
kids is too young or small, I try to think up some other reason
so I don't have to shatter their dream because
they are too little to do it.
 This idea for the snowman started with a mini pringles can that Victoria had.
We were both looking at the can as to what
we could make out of it.
And then I cut these wierd leg ties off the dog sweater and instantly
saw a snowman scarf.
Victoria is liking that she can use the cool temp glue gun
if she is careful.
 My baby isn't a baby anymore.

Christmas Book and Craft

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
by Laura Numeroff
illustrated by Felicia Bond
should be on your list to read to your little one. 
Heck, even your big kids will like this story.
It reminds me of a little kids mind and the chain of thoughts
that it takes as he or she is visually
stimulated in life.
Victoria made these adorable mice from walnuts.
It was the intention that she was making ornaments to give to people
but then it became a family of mice with one black mouse.
It became a whole story in itself.
Kind of like the story of the mouse in the book.
So, needless to say she kept all of her mice and has decorated
the house with all 20 of them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christmas book and a craft

We read "B is for Bethlehem" by Isabel Wilner
and illustrated by Elisa Kleven. 
I really like this book mostly for the illustrations.
The artist used every color to depict the
Christmas story.
Victoria and I glued a paper chain.
I think that every child needs the experience of gluing a paper chain. 
I remember doing some when I was little and helping each of my children do one.
It is funny how you either like making a paper chain or you don't.
You either get a good glue stick that actually sticks the paper
together or you don't and have to resort to a stapler. 
Fortunately we had two really good sticky glue sticks.
It is kind of a childhood right of passage.
I think Sammy even enjoyed getting in on the festivities.

Sewing Project

This is Victoria's sewing project. 
She came to me with the fabric and said that she wanted to stitch a christmas tree to hang on her door.
I drew out the pattern on a piece of paper and showed her once how to work the cross stitch.  She picked it up quickly and was done lickety split.
I did have to fix a couple knots on the back.
She learned that the back is just as important as the front.
I always hated that lesson.
She was pretty proud of herself and couldn't wait to show her Dad. 
I am proud of her too.  She really stuck with it and finished the whole idea.
I also loved that she found everything she needed in a few plastic boxes.

Spud Gun OoohHah!

 Every boys dream.
To build a Potato Gun.
All you need is PVC, glue, a striker, cheap hair spray and of course
a potatoe.
I had no idea this thing could be so cool!
The boys built it as a projectile project for Scouts.  Our fingers were really cold trying to twist the striker at a speed that would ignite the hair spray.  I always knew that hair spray was flammable but this was totally awesome.  And the FWOOP sound of the potatoe that was shot out of the cannon was just as exciting.  I can't wait for the boys to show my Dad this. 
 This is neat!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy December

Victoria and I made these little advent cups with what we had on hand.
I put a little strip of paper in each one of something for her to do each day.
So far she has told her Dad something that she loves about him and
helped her brother with his chores.
I think they turned out pretty cute.
I got the idea here .
We used wrapping paper instead of scrapbook paper.
I am actually surprised that I could find supplies.
We got rid of so much before the move.
So..........Happy December!

Word of the Day

Jared has way too much fun learning vocabulary words.
This book called Vocabulary Cartoons by Sam, Max and Bryan Burchers,
is a great way to learn vocabulary words.
Quick and easy because the pictures stick in your memory easier.
Jared comes to me frequently to show me a picture with the word. 
This one in particular said that it reminds him of Kaleb.
I had to agree.
This one reminded him of Sam when he ate the apple pie. 
He definately was the culprit.

O Come All Ye Wakeful

O Come All Ye Wakeful
sing to:  O Come All Ye Faithful

O come all ye wakeful
Find a nice location
A warm knee, a settee
Relax in the sun
Sleep on your sweater
Though your coat is better

Refrain:  O let us yawn and snore some
Keeping one eye open
O let us yawn and snore some
Ou-r reward

O come and be gracious
Your bed is so spacious
O choose well and snooze well
And don't make a fuss
Sofa and armchair
Cover them with shed hair


O sleep where you're able
Bookshelf or a table
A good nap on broad lap
Will serve just as well
Life has such meaning
Paws in air and dreaming

They look all cozy and cute with their little eyes tightly shut.
All cuddled together.

A Visit from the Darts

We had our first Phoenix visitors
The Dart Family.
It was so good to see them.  It felt surreal that they were in our new home and in our new town.
Rachelle and Jared took Victoria and Kaleb to the park.
While they were there they came upon this piece of ice in the shape of a heart.
Jared told me about it the next day.  Next thing I know he is standing in front of me, ears and nose reddened with freezing arms in a short sleeve t-shirt.
He had run over to the playground to retrieve it.
I am surprised that he found it. 
I felt it was quite appropriate that they discovered this heart.
It reflects our natural love for the Dart family.
We have a bond with them that will never be broken.
It was so thoughtful of them to drive up from Salt Lake City to see us.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We spent our first Thanksgiving in our new home extremely grateful for our Lord's blessings on our family.
We also spent this special day with my cousins Kathy, Troy and Rich.
The last holiday that I spent with my cousins was when I was 3, Rich would have been 6 and Kathy would have been 7.  We had a great time.  They arrived Wed. night while there was still snow on the ground.
We promptly ran out of butter and flour, so Kathy and I made a mad dash with all the other shoppers to the market to pick up a few things.  It was so fun preparing for our Thanksgiving meal together.
Kathy had made the comment that it is kind of hard sometimes cooking in someone elses kitchen.
I said...... I know, this is someone elses kitchen for me too!
We had so much fun just hanging out with eachother reminescing about old times and making new memories.
Jared has a knack of being involved with something disasterous without intending for anything to happen.  Well, he picked up the bottle of sparkling cider on the counter and was going to pretend to drink out of the bottle when the top blew off, hit the ceiling and proceeded to spew a fountain of cider straight up in the air, all over the floor.  We all looked at him like, What Did You Do?
What he did was harmless but because it involved JARED, anything goes.  I have no idea how this happens but he is like an accident waiting to happen.  Anything that could break, pop, crack, or explode is at risk in his presence.  We all had a good laugh with some "voltage" as Kathy called it.  You know, the thing you do when you see your kid making a complete mess of your clean floor.  We all got over that pretty quick.  We decided that Jared was just makin' memories.
After we ate way too much we walked down the street and around the corner to see the movie "In Time".  It was very invigorating walking in the crisp air with snow still on the ground.  We had a major snow ball fight as we headed down the street.  There is always fun involved with anything that Rich is doing.  We all just have a blast messing around. 
To top off our Thanksgiving we stayed up until midnight to stand in line for Kolh's Black Friday sale.  Kathy, Rich, Kirk, Daphne and I had a pretty good time standing in line for almost two hours to pay.  We thought we were nuts but enjoyed each others company.  I loved every minute of it.
We got home at 3 a.m. to catch a couple winks before heading to the mall this morning at 6:30.  Kathy and I were the only crazy ones in the bunch to make it back out  in the morning.
We all enjoyed being together.  I kept looking at us all feeling like I needed to pinch myself.
Are we really here?
Yep! We are and lovin' every minute!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crazy Snow

We had the greatest snow storm all day yesterday.
We kept expecting it to stop but it snowed for 12 hours! 
It looks like a Winter Wonderland.
 We were lovin' every  minute of it.
So there were a few things that we discovered that
we needed to equipt ourselves in this type of weather.
We have been told that Logan gets "crazy snow".
I think we need to prepare ourselves.
First, almost all of us have boots and gloves. 
So that is first on the list to fulfill when the budget allows.
Second, we need to replace and add to our snow shovel that was left behind
by the previous tenant.
I think it would go faster if we had more than
one shovel and maybe they should be a little stronger.
This one is pretty flimsy. The neighbor across the street just broke one of his this morning. 
So supposedly they don't last very long.  I guess it depends on the kind you have.
The third thing we did was visit Discount Tire in town and asked them to fix us up with some decent snow tires for the van.  Remember, we've heard Logan gets
We've been seeing this new snow tread on various trucks around town.  They didn't cost much more than your basic snow tire.  I think these will work out just fine!
We will definately not be getting stuck in the snow this winter!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our First Snow!

We set out Friday for Ogden, just an hour away.
Kirk had a resume for some freelance that he wanted to give an architectural firm.
We only made it a mile from our destination when the van completely quit.
Somehow we made it to the extremely narrow one, and called our insurance company for a tow.  I had to laugh when the young man on the other end asked if I had any passengers with me.
Yes, there are 6 of us ..........and.........two dogs!
The guy said Oookaayyy, I might need to call you a taxi as well.
Well, the tow truck was just big enough for us and the two dogs to cram into the cab.  We were all practically sitting on top of eachother.
In the mean time I had called my dear ol' Dad for a diagnosis. 
My hands were a little trembly due to the spot that we were stopped at.  There were huge trucks whizzing past us shaking the van.  I was really nervous but didn't want the kids to pick up on it.
Really, I just wanted to burst into tears but decided to just "suck it up" instead.
So when I heard my Dad's voice I nearly lost it.  I was a little choked but managed to keept it together.
Everything ended up being fine.  We were towed to "Kirk's Auto Care".  Can't beat a name like that.
It was a dirty air flow sensor from the ding dong at Jiffy Lube who didn't seat the air filter properly in Sept!
These were honest guys with a family fun business.
What a relief!
On the way back over the hill from Ogden to Logan, it poured rain.
Then it completely switched.  It was a more silent rain and Victoria said it looked like we were on Space Mountain at Disneyland.  In pitch black we were driving into a snow flurry.  The way the flakes were coming at us, and the way the headlights hit the flakes, it was like we were in a tunnel of lights.
It was really cool but was making me car sick!  Uugh!
Right about then my cousin Kathy called to say it was snowing at her house in Malad.
I had to tell her that we weren't home and that we were driving thru the pass and that it was snowing!
We are loving the weather.
We woke to 2 inches of snow this morning and the boys and Victoria have been outside for the past 3 hours playing in it with the young girl next door, Emily.  They seem to be having a blast and haven't called it quits yet even though I am sure they will come in drenched.
The dogs were estatic when they saw the snow.
They loved ice cubes when we lived in Phoenix.
I think they saw each flake of snow as an ice cube. They spent all their time eating snow this morning. It was pretty funny to watch. 
I just heard that Victoria found a piece of cardboard and is trying to slide on the front lawn.
We are definately from Arizona.
I wonder if it is obvious?

Victoria was out before the sun was shining through.
 They used up all the snow in our yard so they continued their snow ball fight with Emily next door, who is 12, in her yard.  Last I saw they were busy in the front yards and
Victoria was in the back of Kirk's truck getting handfulls to throw. 
She may be 7 but can hold her own with the older kids.
It makes me so happy that they are able to safely spend so much time outside just playing with a neighbor.
Things are different here, and I am so thankful that we followed the Spirit with this move.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I know what you are thinking.
You have time to bake?
No, I didn't.  But when a certain little someone has been living in a world of chaos since our home was broken into at the end of July, I couldn't put her off any longer.
So Sat. morning while the boys were having a garage sale in 32 degree weather, Victoria and I were snug as a bug baking pumpkin cookies in front of the oven.
She had borrowed a book from the library
(did I mention that the library is out the back gate across the alfalfa field?)
that had these cookies in them.
She wouldn't let anyone eat one until Aunt Carol came for her visit. 
It was killing her waiting.  She kept asking when Aunt Carol would be coming.
And then I think they were gone in less than an hour.
It was a small batch.
Later that night we met up with Kathy and all of her kids, and my Aunt and cousin Rich at The Green Canyon Corn Maze just down the street from us that was 20 acres.
I made Victoria promise that she wouldn't say a word about going home because it was a haunted maze that particular night.  She had begged to come.
We had a great time.  It was pitch black outside and people in horrible masks kept jumping out from no where or following you down the aisle to where it lead I don't know.
My cousin Rich kept running up ahead and then hiding and jumping out at us to scare us. Or he would be walking along and literally throw himself into the corn field and dissappear among the stalks.
 It was really funny.  I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time.
I would have been completely lost but Kirk had a map of the maze. 
It was bigger than what they provided at the booth. 
And then I heard him tell someone that he had taken their google map and
photoshopped it so he could see it better. The reason for that was because he and the boys had already done the maze earlier in the week with the Boy Scout troop and they were completely lost
and kept running in circles. 
The scariest thing that messed with your mind was the freaky guy that had a chain saw.
I think that is what sent Kaleb over the edge.  He then wanted to leave and pretty much held onto my arm and kept his eyes shut the remainder of the time.
Now, Victoria? She would just keep walking straight and saying
You know you're not real.......
I will have to steal a picture of the group shot Kathy has before we went in.
We had so much fun.


 All during us moving, Victoria kept saying that she wanted to be a Jedi. 
I kept saying, ookaaayy.  Not really sure if I could pull it off.  Like I really have time to drag out my sewing machine and sew her a Jedi costume.
Okay, I saw the challenge and managed to piece one together.  Once I got working on it, it didn't really take that long. Though I did finish it just hours before she needed it.
And Kaleb, well, we drug out whatever we could find to make him a Rodeo Clown again.
I had to search through two stores for white make up.  Kirk did the rest with paint.
Whew.  Got through that one. 
Daphne got a new coat from Nana for her birthday so she was a musher.
And Jared, well, he has been blessing us with an attitude so his Dad and I blessed him with a shirt we saw on clearance of the Grouch.
If I had time on my hands......I would have made him a trash can for him to wear around him.
He told me that, that would be pushing it.
Darn, I thought it was a great idea.
Being in a new neighborhood we weren't sure what to expect.
There were so many kids we almost ran out of candy.
We had fun walking around the neighborhood and enjoying the weather.
The first thing the kids noticed is that they weren't sweating in their costumes.  Especially Kaleb who had his face painted.

Girl's Birthday

Just 4 days after we moved to Logan, we celebrated Victoria's 7th birthday
and just 5 days after that we celebrated Daphne's 19th birthday.
Between unpacking and trying desperately to find some sort of normalcy, whatever that is, we drove into Logan Canyon to catch a final glimpse of the Fall colors.
It felt like being in Wonderland.
It was beautiful. 
That night we had heard that there was a Pumpkin Walk just East of where we are living and it started that night.'s free.
Yeah, what the heck, lets go.  It's free.  Probably cute for the kids.  The little one.  Yeah, we can do that.
We had heard that there was a place to park and that they shuttle you up in buses. 
Okay.  We all pile into the van in the dark.  Victoria is preparing for a drive so she grabs her brand new pillow pet!
We barely drive around the corner from our house and we see people parking in the school parking lot and a bus with people lined up to get in.
Okay, so we laugh at that one that the whole even takes place just walking distance from our house.
So we take the van back to the house and walk to the corner and board a bus.
Daphne thought it was fun to ride on a public bus and wanted our friend Suzan to know that we did it.  She's from Jersey.  (I think that is supposed to explain it all).
We get there and there is this huge line with tons of families standing in the cold waiting to see this
Pumpkin Walk.
We are still not quite sure what it is all about, but we are at the park, people watching.....
We couldn't believe our eyes.
These aren't just pumpkins.
The theme was My Favorite Things, and the artists who were just families, schools, individuals, amateurs and professionals created these scenes using pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. 
They were so unbelieveably realistic. 
We had a blast and enjoyed every minute of it.
I think Calvin and Hobbes was our favorite. 
Especially the snowman scene.
 The back drops were really well painted.
It was so nice to see quality work. 
Yeah, you could make the statement that these people have way too much time on their hands.  But, I think it is more that these people who participated are very creative and talented people who had an idea and went with it.
Hmmm.  Sounds like my family.
 There was this one scene of Gilligans Island.
The faces were amazing.
Here's the Skipper.

 I love this last picture.
It is really a blackmail picture for Jared.
I talked him into it.  He didn't want to.  I had to wait for him to FINALLY put his head up to the HOLE!
He wasn't cooperating.
I love it still.  I think it fits their personalities very well.