Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yo Quiero Taco Bell

I love Taco Bell. It is fast and yummy and cheap. I have many fond memories associated with Taco Bell menu items- most of them including Carrie. Good times!

Ros HATES Taco Bell. He thinks it is gross, overpriced, and completely unMexican. (For the record- I do NOT like Taco Bell because it is Mexican. I realize there is a HUGE difference. I like Taco Bell for its Taco Belly goodness and not because I want Mexican food). Ross earned himself that juicy kiss below by suggesting we use the $3.42 in the coin cup in our car on Taco Bell. We went shopping on Friday to hit some after Christmas sales only to find that there weren't any good ones. We spent longer than we had anticipated, and realized that we were starving, and were more than an hour away from home, where there would be another half hour of cooking before any real nourishment could be provided. Taco Bell was the perfect solution for a cheap ($2.24) yet satisfying mini-meal.

Notice how disgusted Ross looks to be ordering from there.
He really liked his Rice and Beef Burrito. Thank you value menu!
I am very much anticipating the Mild Sauce goodness that I have been deprived of for more than a year. :)
I know, I am a dork for not only taking pictures of our Taco Bell experience- but also for blogging about it. It just made me happy. Ross is good at that!

The Best Christmas Present Ever (aside from my new red camera, of course!)

My little sister Caulene had my family for Chirstmas this year, and she gave Ross and me one of the best presents I have had ever! She offered to watch the girls over night so that Ross and I could have some time ALONE without all the parenting responsibilities. It took me approximtely 13 seconds to decide that I could handle being away from both girls for that long. (*the 13 seconds was mostly due to the fact that Sara still nurses about twice a day still).

We started off by hitting a movie. We used my mom's giant popcorn bucket that costs 5o cents to fill at Wynnsong, and then dumped most of that into a ziplock bag that we hid in my purse along with a bunch of other Christmas candy and headed over to the new digital theater to see Yes Man. We are cheapskates- I know. Also, that movie was lame and dirty and was not my favorite. The theater was empty though- so we enjoyed contraband goodies and a nice make-out session.

After this we went to Salt Lake to see if we could get stand-by tickets for Savior of the World. We did- and it was awesome. I was a littledissappointed that Melinda wasn't playing Mary that night- I guess she was sick. Katie Bastian did a wonderful job though, and we were both touched. After the show was over we ran over to see the lights at temple square, and I have to say- they were a little disappointing this year.

After we were done freezing our little tushies off we went to the only place we could find open a that late hour (who knew I-HOP closed early on the 23rd? Lame!)- Denny's. We split a Grand Slam and made fun of the Emo garage band losers that were there commiserating with each other about their painful lives and then went home and . . .
It was a great night! I also LOVED getting 11 hours of sleep. Straight sleep! That was the first time in a month I had more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. It was grand. Thank you, Caulene! We needed that time together, and you are a lovely human being for OFFERING to give it to us. We love you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Festival of Trees- and Memory Monday

I know- these are really old. I didn't realize I had this many un-bloggified (according to Brittany, English Majors are allowed to make up words) pictures.

On December 5th, We went to the Festival of Trees. I love the Festival of Trees. It is one of my very favorite things to do at Christmas time- even more so than seeing the lights at Temple Square. The spirit of love and service is almost as thick as the smell of handmade scones and cotton candy. Last year I had plans to make a tree myself- but we ended up not having enough funds to do it the way I wanted to. I hope to do one this next year- maybe one of the medium sized ones. . .

Emma slept most of the time, which was fine with us because she was being a GRINCH! She woke up very pleased to find herself in a winter wonderland with cotton candy.

This was our favorite tree. It was all made of wood and there were large marbles running down it. It was amazing- I think my Grandpa Wallace would have LOVED this. It had four different tracks for the marbles to go down, and there was a vaccuum at the bottom to suck them back up to the top. So fun!

Unfortunately, my camera died- so those are all the pictures I have.

The other siginifcant part of this day was a tree that was COVERED in Santa figurines. We were about 100 feet away from it when I told Ross about one of my 4th grade teachers named Mr. Johnson who had an extensive collection of Santa figurines that he would bring in to the school around Christmas time. He was a giant of a man- about 400 pounds- and he LOVED Santa. The power of giving and loving service was important to him and he modeled his life around that.

Mr. Johnson was an amazing teacher for many reasons. First of all- he was strict, but loving. I cried many times because of harsh criticism from him, but I was also very determined to make him proud. He was a gifted musician with a booming voice and he LOVED to share his talent with the students. Truth be told- he was too good a teacher for that area. West Valley- at least the part that we lived in- was pretty much the ghetto of Utah. I mean that too! Do you remember Mr. Mcgruff? He came to our school and taught us about gang colors and made sure we didn't ever wear a straight blue or red shirt. He also taught us that if we heard a car outside our house after 11:00pm, we should duck to the floor just in case there was a drive-by shooting underway. I remember 3 kids from my school getting hurt in such instances.

Anyway- Mr. Johnson did not live in West Valley. He commuted there because he knew that it was a school in need of good leadership and qualified teachers. He knew the power of a good education and the gift of music. He was wonderful.

As I was explaining this man to Ross and the impact that he had on me at such a young age, I notcied a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Santa- and I knew that this Santa tree was Mr. Johnson's. We asked one of the Festival volunteers to let us read the card that explained who donated the tree, and sure enough- it was donated by Monroe Elementary in West Valley, Utah in behalf of Dale Johnson who passed away a couple years ago from a heart attack. He left his entire collection to the school when he passed. The school decided to let his spirit of giving live on by donating it to a cause that would help many sick children. The card even challenged the person who bought the tree to donate it next year as well- thus creating a perpetuating service. Amazing man!

Spelling Lesson You Should Have Learned in 4th Grade

The word is 'Grateful' - NOT 'Greatfull'

I have seen this common error 31 times today- twice in published and edited articles. Annoyance supreme.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Love this Girl!

"Take a picture, Mom- I'm so cute!"

These ducks are AWESOME!

Dear Caulene,

Thank you so very much for this amazingly cute kitchen set. The two hours of assembly time and the slice on my knuckle is WELL worth the continued laughter and joy of your sweet little nieces.

A Very Grateful Mother

Jumpin' Jacks

On the 14th, we had our Family Night with a group from Ross's office. His boss had rented out Jumpin' Jacks and invited all the agents in the office with kids to come and join him. Emma waited all weekend for this, and tried to be a very good girl so that she could go to the 'bouncy party'. It was a lot of fun, and we hope that Nate puts together a lot more of these fun family parties. Emma's first stop was in the 'Cookie Room'. No refreshments ever get passed up with Emma and Ross around. Those two have the biggest sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) of anyone I know.
Emma liked the bouncy flowers the best.
It took a lot of courage for her to get up these slides on her own.
She got the hang of it, though.
Sara liked bouncing too.
She was not happy when I wanted to take a rest.

Christmas 2008

We had a wonderful Christmas this year! The girls were incredibly spoiled- and it wasn't at all by us! We purchased them an ornament, some framed pictures (well- we got frames from Wal-Mart and put cute pictures from the Friend in them) and some candy canes. The rest of this mountain of presents is from Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, and family friends. Emma and Sara are loved, and we are grateful. My dad got them those cute bear chairs- and they LOVE them. It has been nice to be able to cuddle with Ross again, since neither of them feel the need to crawl up on the couch with us any more. Thanks, Dad!

Ross and I weren't going to exchange any gifts at all this year. We decided to take the money we would have spent on each other and put it towards our debt. Ross was surprised to get some shirts and ties that I bought for him for Chirstmas in July (yes- I am one of those shoppers!) and a movie (that I got for free from one of my survey points things). I was even more surprised to see that Santa had got a GREAT deal on a new CAMERA for me!! It is red and shiny, and the flash works when I want it to, and the dial moves like it is supposed to and I LOVE it! Thanks, Santa! (especially for your amazing- almost Jewish- bargaining and coupon usage skills! I am TOTALLY rubbing off on him!)
Emma needed a little prodding to get going with the present opening business. I guess after telling her to leave them alone all month, she needed some extra reassurance that she wasn't going to get in trouble this time.
Grandma Jones got the girls a huge Mr. Potato set. They love it. I love it. It entertains them for the perfect amount of time for me to do a P-90 x workout. Perfect!
That poinsettia box behind Emma held a smoothie blender from my Mother-in-Law. I think our moms were either in cahoots with each other, or are just mind readers. The 2 kitchen appliances I have wanted for FOREVER but have never found a good enough excuse to actually pay money for are a coacoa late' machine, and a smoothie blender. I got both!! I am loved! I made Coacoa for breakfast, and a smoothie when we got home from my Grandma's house. Thanks Moms!
Sara loves candy canes- plastic and all.
Aunt Caulene got Emma a kitchen set and a LOT of fun food to go with it. She really loved it once we got it all put together for her. (Note to self- avoid 'Assembly Required' merchandise at all costs in the future!)
After most of the presents were gone we finally got Emma to dig through her stocking. She was so excited to see all the treats! Too bad she still only gets a couple a day. We are glad that she didn't seem to mind that half of it was left-over Halloween candy.
Caulene also got Sara this cute, cute, CUTE Tinkerbell dog from Build-A-Bear. She immediately started giving it kisses.
Emma is telling us what to do and who gets to go next- bossy little thing! :)
After presents were opened and hot chocolate consumed (thanks to the Coacoa Late' my mom got for me and the Stephens coacoa mix she got Ross) we headed out for my grandma's house. It looked a little something like this most of the way.
Emma didn't mind. She had her new blanket and some nice coacoa.

Safe and sound at Grandma's house- with the smell of honey baked ham and cheesy potatoes- I love Christmas.
I love Ross more, though. (I will never tire of these pictures!)
Sara Bear!
Emma and Sara are both wearing the cute outfits that Grandma Goodman sent.
Heather is pretending to be happy we are there. Hi! :)
I rarely see my Aunt Carrie without her camera. Which is fine- because it leads to some great blogging on her part, which I thoroughly enjoy!
Emma Roo!
This is my cousin Kim. She is gorgeous.

Here is my lovely little camera. She is hot!
Merry Christmas, Everyone! We hope you had a great one!