Sunday, December 28, 2008

enjoying the Vista (Vista, CA that is)

I just realized that I haven't posted any pics from our trip to CA at Thanksgiving time.

The trip out there took forever because of all the holiday traffic. We stopped only 3 times for bathroom breaks and food, and spent about 11 hours in the car. Sheesh! I couldn't believe how good the kids were. They didn't fight, and just entertained each other the whole time. Amazing.

It rained on us most of the way there and turned out to be a 99 year record storm for San Diego. But it quit raining just for us, and we were able to get to the beach at Oceanside on Thanksgiving Day. I had almost as much fun taking pictures as my kids did playing on the beach. Laura was a good sport and took us again the next day - my kids could never get enough, I think, even if we lived there.

We also went to the Midway Museum - the retired aircraft carrier - in San Diego on Friday. The kids were a little disappointed to go there instead of the Wild Animal Park, but Grandpa really wanted to go and Grandma paid, so....

and it was fun anyway, at least I thought so. I think the boys liked it as well, but Brynn STILL won't quit talking about how boring it was. Not her thing, I guess. Oh well, she'll live.

And we had a good time just being together before Grandma and Grandpa and Scott and Sharon flew home. And who knows how many more of these trips Grandpa will be able to do.

When I caught Laura flirting with one of the sailors on board, I had to snap a picture. The funniest part was to see the faces of the other tourists....

I don't know why they were so shocked... I guess we're just used to her. :)

all the "B" girls

I took the "B" family photos about 3 weeks ago - again, before all our crazy snowstorms - and thought I'd post a few of theirs too. The have 4 adorable little girls and the oldest is only in 1st grade. All the girls did really well, especially the 2 and 4 year olds. So fun.

I told Dad how lucky he was to have so many beautiful women in his life and he wholeheartedly agreed. Considering how young the kids are, I thought they did great, it's always tricky to get that many little kids looking and smiling all at the same time.

Pretty cute bunch.

the aftermath

After so much stress getting ready for Christmas and then such a chaotic aftermath to the present opening, I couldn't wait to get cleaning. On Christmas Day, Marty's sister and nephew were here most of the day and I spent much of the day cooking and doing dishes. So I got up Friday and went crazy cleaning, doing laundry and getting the tree taken down. And by Saturday morning, I had mucked out my Christmas tote, organized all the ornaments, and sent them out to the storage shed. Then I was on a roll and moved on to the kid's rooms, my room, and the rest of the house. I even got about 2 hours worth of cleaning, organizing and purging done in my crap room, uh, I mean craft room.

(The living room on Christmas morning.)

Normally, I pretty much despise housework and figure that every moment spent doing housework is a moment wasted, when it could be better spent creating something, playing with my kids or playing with my horses. But for some reason, these last 2 days after Christmas, it's just felt really great to CLEAN, clean, clean. I even cleaned the top of the entertainment center and underneath my bed! Whew. And Marty even got into the spirit by scrubbing the tub, doing the dishes and folding about 4 batches of laundry. There was hardly a nook or cranny of the house that wasn't touched. It felt good to wake up on the Sabbath to a clean house.

I couldn't resist including this one of Marty in Luke's Hulk mask. Al least he has the muscles for it!

winter wonderland

For the first several years of our marriage, Marty would always try to convince me that we got as much snow here in Southern Utah as we had in Utah County because we're at the same elevation. And every winter I'd say, "Dear, this is just a fraction of the snow my parents are getting", and shake my head. Poor man, he must be deluded.

Last year we had enough snow to knock down the old barn over at Aunt Cecelia's where we stored most of our winter hay, and I started to believe. But this year takes the cake! And it's only December!

This is our picnic table out my kitchen window. And this is after having a couple of warmer days that have melted some of it. The wooden table top is about 4 1/2 inches thick. I need to go out and measure the snow.

And poor little Feather. Luckily he's living with a couple of big horses who break trail for him. And boy does he stick to the trail. If there weren't trails to the food and water, he'd really be in a fix. He's only about 32" tall - the snow on my table is probably that tall! He's actually a pretty tough little guy and definitely gets the hairiest horse award in our herd of 7 very hairy horses, so I do believe that he's staying warm. He looks like some kind of Tibetan goat beast! Still pretty cute, though.

All this winter weather makes me grateful for my cozy little home, my wood stove, my husband who got lots of wood this fall (and looks so sexy chopping it), my little town where the store, bank, school, doctor, and post office are all within walking distance if need be, and my 4 wheel drives. And I keep telling myself, that with all this moisture and fuel prices having dropped, maybe hay will be more abundant and more affordable next summer.

Friday, December 26, 2008

the saga of the Christmas doll ~ or ~ STUPID SANTA!

After realizing that the guitar I'd ordered off Amazon a month ahead of time was not coming, I sat Brynn down and asked her what she would want instead if Santa couldn't bring her the guitar. She had to think for a while, but finally decided that she wanted an old fashioned doll, like on Little House on the Prairie. Okay, I thought, no problem. Wrong! I couldn't find an old fashioned doll anywhere! We even went to St. George on Christmas Eve day and looked at about 7 stores! Yikes, I was really starting to panic. I finally went to Micheal's Crafts and found a naked plastic doll body. I bought the doll, a stand, and some fabric and headed for home.

By the time we got done with the town Nativity, the delivering, reading of the Christmas story, and opening a present, it was after 10:00 pm before the kids were in bed and I could begin to start sewing doll clothes. Man, it was way harder than I expected it to be. Where was my sister Sharon when I needed her most! The details were so tiny and I'm embarrassed to say how many times I had to unpick seams. My machine started acting up about 2:30 am, but I finally got the dress and bonnet finished around 4:30. Of course, I still had to fill stockings, so by 5:00 am, I was finally in bed. Marty got up about then to go out and push snow.

The kids were kind enough to sleep until 7:30, and seemed thrilled with their "Santa" gifts. Brynn also got season 4 of Little House, and seemed very happy with the way things turned out. So I functioned all day, cooking a huge meal and having Marty's sister and nephew there all day, on 2 1/2 hours of sleep.

And you know who gets all the credit?

Stupid Santa, that's who.

Plastic doll body: $3.99; fabric: $4.44; sewing from 10:00 pm until 4:30 am: you couldn't pay me enough to do it again;

Seeing your little girl's face light up on Christmas morning because she loves her doll that Stupid Santa brought her: priceless.

Kanga - Ruby, the snow dog

This dog is seriously crazy about snow, or seriously crazy - you decide.
We have gotten so much snow lately and she uses her limitless energy to leap, tunnel, slide, twist, and fly through the snow.

She turned 1 year old on Christmas Eve, but I've been told that Boxers don't start to grow up until they're at least 3. Oh boy.

What a dog.

the fabulous "E" family photo shoot

Boy has it been snowing a lot around here lately! We've never had so much snow before! But last Saturday, we ventured out to take the "E" families photos. Their daughter was determined to take everyone by this cool old truck, which just happened to be up in the middle of a field, quite a way off the plowed road. She and a bunch of siblings and friends went up there the night before and not only cleaned off the truck, but shoveled a clear path out to it. The day was gorgeous, lots of pristine snow and just the right amount of overcast. And did I mention how easy the bigger kids are to shoot?!

Lovely Miss K, who arranged the whole thing, with her beloved truck.

'Tis the season for family portraits

I have been posting my photos on a photoblog, but decided to condense my blogs and only post on this one.

'Tis the season for family portraits, it seems, and I thought I'd post some of my favorites from the last few weeks.

The Corry's are my best "customers" and have been great to let me practice on them. They are some of my favorite people in a town full of wonderful folk. They are expecting a baby soon, but Jenna still looks great.

I've learned to take Jaxon with me whenever I take their pictures, he can almost always get Dallin to laugh. How much does this kid look like his dad?

I can believe when looking at these that only a couple of weeks ago there was no snow on the ground and we were in short sleeves. These days we are definitely walking (and sliding and falling) in a winter wonderland.