Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monthly Friend Dinner and Game Night

 Last August, we had a little get together with Corey and Danielle, two of my best friends from High School, and their families.  We had such a fun time that we decided to make the event a monthly thing.  I love it!  We trade off who provides dinner, dessert and drinks, and then we play some games, usually provided by McKay and Danielle who have excellent taste in that sort of thing and have introduced us to some of our new favorites.  This is the first month any of us got any pictures because Annette wanted to play with some of her new photography equipment.  I am glad we have some pictures to record this, because these monthly visits really are some of my very favorite nights.

This is little Cambrie, who played with a yellow cup for about half an hour straight.

 Jack was a little overwhelmed by the big flash.  I love this confused and hesitant expression.

 Danielle and Cambrie
 McKay and Danielle were in charge of desserts this time, and they brought sugar cookies for the kids to frost.  This was a huge hit!  Very much worth the mess! :)

 Look at that concentration.  She was into this!
 I don't know why Jack decided he needed that pirate hat, but I love it!
 McKay and Cambrie
 Corey and Isabelle- this baby is the most laid back and mellow child I have ever seen!  She is amazing!
 Gavin!  The girls love when Gavin comes to play!

 When all the other kids had vacated the area, this boy climbed up and helped himself to the sprinkles.  He had a good night!
I can't wait until next month to do this again!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dana's Sweet 16- Something I am Still in Denial About. . .

 Dana turned 16.  Well, kind of.  I may have blown out her candles for her, so I don't think it counts.  Right?  Someone back me up here, because my  baby sister can't possibly be driving and dating yet!
 Heather made her some awesome magnets with inside jokes.  We got her a wall decal and some fun jewelery.
 Caulene got her a Ken Doll- proof that I am not the only big sister not quite ready to let Dana grow up yet!

 Mom and Dad got her an easel and another canvas so that she can start using the paint set she got last year.
 I look pregnant.  I hate my overall chub when I am prego. Worth it, though.  It's hard cooking cute babies!
 Kassidy and Dana.  I love these girls. 
Happy Birthday, Dana. 

Valentine's Day

 I used to hate Valentine's Day.  I was a huge grump about it and was in that whole camp of people who find it too cliche and commercially driven.  I have grown up a little since then and have seen just how bereft this world can be of love and affection.  Now, Ross does a pretty good job of lovin' on me and the girls and making us feel special all the time, but I still feel like the greatest message Christ wanted to send in His teachings was to Love One Another.  I find it fitting that there is one day a year where we are to stop and evaluate our relationships, reflect on how we can improve them, and express love to all those in our life who we care about.

It does help a bit that Ross first said he loved me on Valentine's Day.  We have a special anniversary on this day.

This year, our budget was a bit tight due to the basement costs, so we had a simple night at home.  I made a roast (Ross's favorite meal!) and we had crock-pot chocolate fondue for dessert.  It was something we have never done before, and the kids loved it.

 We had some left over, so we will use it again once I find a way to include it in an FHE or something.
 I wanted to dip this belly in the chocolate and devour it, but was informed by Emma that it was probably not the best idea.  Party Pooper!
 This is my favorite story of the day.  Ross and I paid to send Emma a flower and some candy through the PTA fundraiser.  When she came out of class that day, she was holding it and beaming.  I was so happy to see her so excited.  When she got to me, she said, "Mom, this was my favorite present today (I don't think she knows it was from us) and I want you to have it because you LOVE flowers!  I was sad that I didn't have a present for you today, and now I do!"  I love this little munchkin and her tender heart.  I love my flower too.
The kids had picked out some fun presents for Daddy the day before, and Emma and Sara both had fun Valentine's parties at school.  We made some cards at home that said "You are just 'WRITE' for our class!" and we included a pencil (Walgreens fillers I had been collecting).  The girls liked giving something other than candy.  Sara saw one of her friends using the pencil she gave the other day, and she was super excited about it.  So cute!

It was a successful day, and everyone in this house went to bed feeling happy and loved.

Krispy Kreme Birthday Stop

 Sara wanted doughnuts for her birthday breakfast, and there is really only one kind of doughnut that doesn't make me want to hurl- so after our little party at my mom's house, we headed to Krispy Kreme.  Lucky for us, their Hot Now sign was on, so we headed inside to get our free samples and watch the doughnuts be made. The kids love this!  And really, what's not to love? 

Sara's Birthday Interview

Here is Sara's 4th Birthday Interview

Now for fun, here are some fun facts about our little Sara Bear.

  • Sara dresses herself.  She also does her own hair.  She has a very particular style and always knows just what she wants.  Sometimes it is a mess, but other times she puts together super cute outfits that I never would have thought of.  I can see major fashion sense in her future!
  • Sara is a drinker.  If she could have chocolate milk or juice for all her meals, she would.  
  • This one isn't as fun- but Sara  has had some problems with night terrors and very vivid dreams.  We are learning how to best calm her down when they happen, but I wish I had some better ideas of how to avoid them in the first place.
  • Jack and Sara have started getting very close.  They have to play with each other while Emma is at school, and they are starting to get really cute together.  This is a recent development, and is a welcome change from their frequent fighting or mutual avoidance of each other.  It makes my heart happy.
  • Sara likes to tell stories.  She loves telling me about what happened at school or church or while she was playing in her room alone.  Many of these stories are obvious exaggerations, (unless birds really do sneak into her room and tell her how pretty her hair is) but I love her creativity.
  • She loves to color and draw.  She will sit for hours just coloring in her coloring books or drawing me pretty pictures.  I am hoping this will lead into more effort for her writing abilities, but she just hasn't been interested in that yet.
  • Sara is a princess.  Through and through.  She likes all things sparkly with ruffles.  She is such a girl, and I love it.
  • This little girl can be a little manipulative.  She doesn't like to work or clean if she can help it, and she has found lots of ways to get out of work.  Ross and I are on to her and know how to get what we need, but Emma and Jack are not as quick on the draw, and they end up doing a lot of her work load if we aren't there to make sure Sara puts in her fair share of effort.  She takes after one of her aunts in this, and while I think it is smart and shows how clever she can be, it can be pretty frustrating.
  • Sara is photogenic.  Very photogenic.  Her big blue eyes and soft features are incapable of taking a bad picture.
  • She is still a Daddy's girl.  She and Ross have a very special bond.  Ross understands her in a way I don't think I will ever be able to.  It is really tender to see how much they love each other.
  • Sara is shy.  Much more shy than Emma ever was.  She is a ball of light and energy once she gets comfortable, but until then, she is a quiet little mouse of a girl.  
  • Sara is a Sunbeam now, but still isn't quite sure she likes that.  She asks me every week when she gets to go back to her real class.  
Basically, our little girl is growing like a weed and is getting prettier and smarter every day.

Sara's 4th Birthday

This is super late because I was a slacker of a mother and did not take any pictures of my own for any of her birthday celebrations and had to get others to send their pictures to me.  Thank you to everyone who helped with that!

Every time I asked Sara what she wanted for her birthday dinner she asked to go to Applebees, which is her favorite restaurant because she gets unlimited drinks from the kids menu.  See that apple juice box- it was one of 5 she downed before leaving. 
 My family met us there, and we had a fun time together.
 Caulene needed Emma's help with the crossword on the kid's menu.  Thank goodness for nieces, right? ;)

 Tickle war!
 After dinner, we headed to my parents' house for cake and presents and a movie.  She got lots of fun coloring books.
 This Tinkerbell Music Box has already been featured in a pre-school show and tell.
 This was the piece de resistance!  Her blue sparkly shoes.  When I was asking Sara what she wanted for her birthday, the final thing on her list was, "Blue Sparkly Shoes!!  I think I will have to ask Heather for those."  I have no idea why she thought Heather was the go-to aunt for such an accessory, but I passed on the message, and after much toil and trouble, Heather found these.  When Sara opened them she said, almost breathless with delight, "Oh!  These are what I ALWAYS wanted!"  The whole party was then put on hold while she changed into them.  She is rarely seen without them now.  Good work, Heather!
 The aunts made these fun crayons for the kids.

 Sara and Heather
 Cup cake time. 
 New Tinkerbell sheets.  This was a big hit!
 ABC books and coloring books from Grandma.

 Caulene got Sara a big box of headbands with lots of fun things to glue on them.  It came with a craft glue that hasn't worked well yet, so for craft time soon, we will break out the hot glue gun and do it right!
 Sara's actual birthday fell on Super Bowl Sunday, and since she didn't have any particular meal she wanted, we just invited Ross's Utah based siblings over and had Super Bowlish snacky foods.  It was fun, and it gave us a chance to use our newly finished basement! :)
 Emma got Sara this piggy bank for her birthday.  She picked it out after Christmas.  Emma got a piggy bank from her eye surgery clinical trial group, and Sara has been wanting one ever since.  When Emma saw this sparkly purple piggy bank, she knew it had to be Sara's.  I loved how thoughtful she was.
 Jack and Little Buddy got her some flower clips for her hair.  (Notice she is wearing a headband and the blue shoes from the night before!)

 Gena and her family brought Sara some bubbles and some birthday stickers.  She loves them!
 Melissa and Co. got her some fun Valentine's jewelery.
 It was a fun day of cousins playing and chatting with family.  Thank you to everyone who helped to make her day so special.  She is so loved, and we are so grateful!