Thursday, December 29, 2011

Randy's Birthday

We are going to post out of order and share some pictures of Randy on his birthday before I write about Christmas. For those of you who don't know, Randy's birthday is the day after Christmas (Dec. 26), and there couldn't be a tougher day to have a birthday. Randy hates it, I have a hard time every year pulling things together, and the boys are in care less mode. So it is really hard. But, we work with it.

Randy wants the same thing for his birthday every year-- to take down Christmas. He wants the trees out of the house, the decorations put away, and the lights off the roof. Well this year it was a nice sunny day, so he was able to take the lights down and the decorations got put away for next year. While he was vacuuming up pine needles, I heard him cursing at the vacuum. Randy hates our vacuum. He cried when our last one died, and he has never found peace with the new one. Apparently it wasn't picking up pine needles like he wanted it to, so I gave him one of his birthday presents-- a shop vac. He was very excited and there were no more expletives flying around our house as he happily vacuumed the pine needles that had covered our floor.
One of our Christmas trees this year.

This year, Mark and Dax helped me design the cakes. Both he and Dax were upset that I was just baking a sheet cake. They thought dad should have fancy cakes like them. Dax said dad should have four basketball cakes (he had two basketball cakes on his 2nd birthday this year). Mark thought we should do an entire baseball field of the Boston Red Sox. So we compromised. I made round cakes like I did for Dax's birthday, but we turned one into a baseball and the other into a Red Sox cake. Check them out!


Dad likes to put on a good show for his kids!

I even invited Randy's sister and family over to have cake and play games. It turned out to be a very fun evening. I hope that Randy had a happy birthday. I won't tell you how old he is because that is another birthday present I'm giving him!
Love this guy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

I am going to be completely honest and say that I often dread making gingerbread houses. It is often a messy tradition and I usually end up building three houses (mine and my two boys). But this year I was actually excited. Our good friends, the Haws family, were coming to make gingerbread houses with us. And the evening did not disappoint. Mark was big enough to design his own while I just helped a little with the construction and Randy helped Dax. I was very impressed with how well all the children built their houses and there was hardly any mess. It was nice to have someone to share it with this year and we had a ton of fun! Each house turned out so unique and the kids enjoyed jumping off the couch for the last 30 minutes while the grown-ups chatted. It was a great night and we hope to do it again next year! I have included the icing cement recipe I use (I got it from Randy's sister) in case anyone wants to use it. It sets up very quickly which is important in building gingerbread houses and it is really easy to make.

Icing Cement
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat egg whites until stiff (about 2-3 minutes). Add cream of tartar and powdered sugar a little bit at a time (I usually add the cream of tartar and about a cup of powdered sugar and beat that all up, then add another cup and so on). Beat until stiff. Use immediately or store covered with a damp cloth.

Dax with his rambler style gingerbread house (the roof only caved in 3 times).

Mark's A-frame gingerbread house.

Lucy with her trendy apartment including balcony.

Norah and Mandy's fully landscaped cottage.

Millie and Zach's bell tower.

Benny's southwestern motif! I wish you could see his car, but it's parked in the back.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Snow!

On Tuesday morning, it snowed for a few hours. The boys were SO excited. We had to go and enjoy the few hours it was out there. By lunchtime it had all melted, so I am glad we went out when we did. I am not a huge fan of the snow, but I hope it snows again soon so my boys can be as happy as they were Tuesday morning. Here are some of our pictures of our snowy morning.
Mark's 6 inch snowman. He used leaves for arms, eyes, nose, everything!

Yes, Dax is shoveling the street.

Mark is the king of snowballs. He is trying to catch me off guard here!

I think Dax forgot how to sled. 

Mark wishing dad was home to pull him around the yard.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Temple Square

Tonight we headed up to temple square in Salt Lake to see the Christmas Lights. We went early so we could take pictures of the boys by the temple for their temple books (if you want to know more about this click here). Then we headed off to eat dinner at a place Randy'd had his eye on for awhile-- Iggy's Sports Bar (it was so-so). When we returned to temple square, it was jam packed with people. I think it was more crowded than at General Conference time. Despite all the people, the boys loved seeing the lights and for some reason, they really liked listening to a high-school choir in The Assembly Hall. There are lights everywhere on temple square, by the Conference Center, and reflecting pool. We had a really fun time. The only disappointing part was that Mark and Dax really wanted to take a ride on the carriage, but the line was way too long and it was almost bedtime. So we'll have to head back up another night, but next time we'll go when it's not Christmas time.

Mark's temple picture

Dax's temple picture

Someone handed them these free temple pictures (pass along cards).
They thought they were amazing!

Enjoying the lights by The Conference Center

I love Dax's face in this picture! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I love 2 year olds

Tonight we had found a neat Christmas experience called The Living Nativity in Alpine, UT. We had no idea what to expect, so we were unprepared for being outside for two hours and almost froze to death. But it was totally worth it. Read more on my other blog about it.

On the way home, I asked everyone what their favorite part of the night was and here were the responses:
Dad--When baby Jesus looked right at me.
Mom--Seeing baby Jesus with his mom and dad.
Mark--Petting the animals and seeing baby Jesus.
Dax--Finding a penny in my pocket in the gas station bathroom.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Trees 2011

Every year after Thanksgiving, we head down to Ephraim Canyon to cut down our Christmas tree. If you want to read more about how to do this click here. This year, the highlight of our trip was definitely sledding. Mark is big enough that he can climb the hill by himself and usually haul up the sled (sometimes we just tossed it up to him). Dax had to be carried up, but he grinned the whole ride down. They have been looking forward to snow for a long time, so this was a special treat for them. A nice treat for me was the fact that my brother-in-law brought his camp stove and cooked up hot chocolate. That was a fun new addition. Anyway. . .  we got two great trees and took many rides down the hill on the sleds.
Dax and Mark loved riding the four wheelers. Todd took them on lots of rides, and so did their dad!

Had to stick Dax on the sled so he would stop spilling hot chocolate all over the snow.

Mark chose to sit on the back of the truck.

Mark sledding. Is he having fun or terrified?

Dax sledding one-handed.

Randy finally feeling better (he was sick all of Thanksgiving).

Here is a short video of both boys sledding. It was done on my photo camera, not my video camera, so don't expect high quality.

video

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Jar

We found a fun idea to increase gratitude in our house on my friend's blog (check it out here). So we have been doing all sorts of activities as a family--baking cookies (we're thankful for our kitchen), watching The Lion King together (we're thankful for our eyes), making cards for dad (we're thankful for our dad), and my favorite so far, raking our neighbors leaves (we're thankful for our neighbors). It was so much fun to watch the boys get excited about service. They couldn't wait for dad to come home and help us rake the leaves in our neighbor's yard. They did a great job!


Mark is a good raker.

Dax likes to play with the rake.

Look at those hard workers.

Cleaning up leaves with dad.

And who knows what we'll be thankful for tomorrow!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Activities

We have been doing so many things lately that I feel like I can't keep up on the blog. So here is a compilation of all the fun things we have done through October (except Halloween--we already talked about that holiday).

Mark had a field trip to the fire station. Don't they make cute firefighters?

Dancing in the leaves.

Throwing leaves.

Mark took this picture of Randy and me at Cornbelly's.

Playing at Cornbelly's.

My sister had us and some friends over to make Halloween cookies and cupcakes. Here's Mark being silly!

Our monster cupcakes!

This is how Dax eats a cupcake. I have tried and tried to get
him to pick it up, but he just wants to eat it this way.

Mark frosting cookies.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hey, this is Randy. . . 

Well, we managed to have a happy Halloween after all. Dax refused to wear a costume for the weeks leading up to the day, despite the fact that we had the cutest little monkey costume that my sister, Laurie, made. We tried a bunch of different things to get him excited, but what finally worked was having his brother dress up and knock on each of the bedroom doors as Dad handed out candy. Seeing the principle in action changed Dax's mind in a hurry! He still wouldn't go for the monkey costume because he didn't want anything on his head. We finally got him in a Buzz Lightyear outfit, but he refused to put the hood up on that, too.

He did get into the spirit, though, and we Trunk-or-Treated with our ward, and then went out on Halloween night as well. It was a pretty good memory exercise for him. After the first house he'd say, "I got m&ms." After house two: "I got m&ms and a Kit Kat." Then, "I got m&ms, a Kit Kat and a sucker!" He could remember up to about 6 houses. Then he'd start dropping items out of his list. 

We hope you all had as happy a Halloween as we did! Here are the pictures:

Trick or Treating in the house.

Natalie worked really hard on this Luke Skywalker costume.
Funny how Mark really wanted to be Luke despite having seen about 5
minutes of Return of the Jedi-- clearly the weakest of the old movies!

Halloween night--off we go to Trick or Treat.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall

This is my favorite time of year. I love the warm days and cool nights. I love the colors of the trees. But I don't love Halloween. Don't worry, I put on a happy face for my kids and I will post about Halloween after it is over. But for now, I want to share with you some of our fun fall pictures. Every year we make sure to drive up Payson Canyon (Nebo Loop). If you want to see a few more and read about a new easy hike we found, check out our other blog Utah Valley Family Adventures. We have a picnic and then we collect leaves for the boys to use in art projects or just to enjoy. It was a beautiful day this year and we got some great pictures!

The mountain looked so beautiful with all the colors!

We followed this Monarch butterfly around for awhile.

Our picnic

Dax taking a 5 second break from throwing rocks into the stream.

I love this picture because they are both showing their cheese face,
 but neither one is looking anywhere near the camera!

I thought this tree looked so beautiful next to the blue sky!

Mark! He is so grown up.

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