Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Christmas hits and misses!
Hit: NYC the Saturday before Christmas. There was a little bit of snow, lots of fun decorations, and, along with our train ride through snow to and from, it helped us all feel more festive.Ashlee dancing on the "Big" piano in FAO Schwartz...in the pink. Miss: no pictures of the girls in their Christmas outfits - here is Maggie in part of hers, dancing with her sister. Miss - in a big way. Paige has shown zero interest in this board that we made her. Maybe we missed the age by a little bit, I was sure she was going to love it.

Hit: Dad's new helicopter. And the green thing on the floor by Ashlee's feet still has potential. Santa brought it for Paige who doesn't really love it, but the older two have a great time spinning around in it and standing on it etc...
For you Aunt Heather: HIT! Paige loved her new hat and cried when we took it off.

Hit/Miss: the littlest pet shop animals were a big hit, the Barbie laptop was a miss. Ashlee requested it several times so Santa brought it. But, she now feels it was made for "preschoolers" and "babies" and maybe she's right, Paige seems to really like it.

Miss: we miss being by family at Christmas time.
Hits: carrying on a few traditions that Christopher and I have both brought from our childhood Christmases; thinking about a couple to add for next year; seeing my Aunt and Uncle and cousins a couple of days after Christmas (thanks for the visit!); being involved in a couple of service projects with church and making a few visits to widows in our ward as a family; dinner with friends on Christmas Eve; just us for Christmas dinner - which allowed for a nice long nap after breakfast and before meal prep; being together!
(Please ignore the tennis balls on the chair legs - we have made many failed attempts at finding something that will stay on the chairs to keep the floor from getting all scratched up, and finally gave up and went with what works.)

Now we are looking forward to 2009 and the possibilities and opportunities of a new year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mag Pie

A couple of stories about my Magpie -

This year, she has been completely absorbed by the Harry Potter books, which thrills me beyond belief. I don't remember any books, aside from the Boxcar Children, from my childhood that I really, really loved. I didn't really start to love reading until I was older, so to have her so enthralled with these books makes my heart very happy. We have the last four books on CD and the library has all of them so she can check out books 1 - 3 to listen to. She is just finishing up listening to the series for a 2nd time this year. Well, often, she brings the CD's in the car with her to listen to while we drive places or she'll listen to them in the kitchen while I am cooking or doing dishes. I listened to about 70% of book 6 with her, but finished it before her on my own - it's the perfect backdrop to folding laundry etc... When she found out that I had started book 7 and she wasn't done with book 6, she was not happy with me. I guess, maybe a few times I have had her wait to listen to something until I can be in the room. So she felt a little betrayed. On Thursday last week, the day after my mom had gone and I was feeling a little bit melancholy, I had lots of laundry to do, and I decided to put Harry Potter in while Paige was sleeping and I was folding, sorting etc.. I looked everywhere and couldn't find the cd's. Then, it hit me: she must have hidden them somewhere so that I couldn't listen to them while she was at school. I looked everywhere I could think that she would have hidden them and still could NOT find them. Why? Because she had taken them to school with her. Yup, she just loaded the whole series into her box and took them to school. So, to get back, I didn't do ANY laundry and just sat and read the whole afternoon away.

This year for the first time since we have lived here, we have to get up early during the week. The elementary school that both girls have attended until now doesn't start until 9:30. So unless I had something pressing to do in the mornings, we just slept until we woke up. But, now Maggie attends a different school that starts at 8:00 am, her bus comes around 7:20. During the first part of the year, I woke her up. After a while, she lost confidence in my ability/willingness to wake her at the time she wanted. Now she sets her alarm for 6:30. I usually sleep until about 7:00 when she comes in to get me to help her make her lunch. Today was pizza day at the school. She buys her lunch every pizza day. So, when the alarm went off at 6:30 this morning I stumbled out of bed to turn up the heat and bumped into my darling daughter in the hall. I think I said good morning to her and may have also indicated that I would just be finding socks or something and return to the kitchen shortly. I climbed back into bed to get warm and the next thing I knew it was 7:30 and Maggie was long gone. How's that for great parenting. For a while I considered calling the school to make sure that she had made it, but wasn't sure how I would explain that I had been sleeping when she left. Now, if someone could just tell me who to call to collect my "World's Best Parent" award....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gingerbread & Flowers

My mom came for a visit for the first part of last week. It was really fun to have a shopping buddy - and I was pretty lonely after she left. Good thing Christopher got home the next day. While she was here, we made Gingerbread Houses for FHE - Paige was very obliging and went to bed early that night. We had a few engineering mis-steps, the biggest was we almost ran out of dough. So the roof pieces are very thin and Maggie's even had to have some reinforcement under the roof. But, all's well that ends well.One more shot of the finished product - I won't take a picture of how they look today (one week later). Lots of birds... We also went to Longwood Gardens with my mom. It was just as amazing as last year. Here is one of the rooms in the green house. This sunken floor is filled with water and the middle section is floating cranberries. We had a great time and wish we lived closer. Thank-you for coming, Mom

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Light covereth a mulitude of faults...

The tree is up - it's always chaotic. It takes me much longer than anyone (including me) thinks it should to get out the boxes (unload them from the garage closet), rearrange furniture (Rose is in her Christmas spot in the corner),and fluff the tree (it's not the greatest, but it's skinny and that's what we need). By the time everything was ready to go this year, it was a day later than when we started. We let the girls put things up wherever they want and to be honest I don't love the tree without the lights turned on, but turn the lights on and...... it is beautiful. To us anyway. Whenever I look at pictures of our house, it always looks empty, which surprises me because there are some days when I want to throw everything out it is so full in here.
I complain loudly sometimes about CAY and his pack rat ways...have I mentioned he still has all of his college paperwork???? Including his homework????? But every once in a while, it is charming. Here is an example of the charming, his saved Christmas ornaments. The gold ball was from an elementary school teacher,the gingerbread man is from Marlene in 1978, and the airplane was 1992.

We had a great Thanksgiving. We went down to my Uncle Michael and Aunt Karan's. They made a FEAST and they even let us take leftovers home to New Jersey the next day. They always make us feel so welcome and the girls never want to leave. Everyone is back to work and school now - just three weeks till Christmas break!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Paige is a dunker

These are from breakfast yesterday. Paige has been insisting on feeding herself EVERYTHING. Which is pretty much the only way she was ever going to be able to do it. CAY almost had to leave the room last night while she was eating yogurt- everywhere. But she concentrates so hard and it is really cute. Every bite went into the milk first.

Problem was, it was my milk, so here's what I was left with.

I couldn't throw it out - it was almost a full cup - so I closed my eyes and drank it super fast with my vitamins! MMMMMMM.....


Heard this review on NPR this morning - I haven't seen the movie and I am nervous about seeing it because all of the parts of the book (which I generally loved) that seemed too hokey to me while reading may be so apparent in the movie I won't be able to stomach it. This review nailed it for me - it's about the movie, but I think the same could be said about the books. Bella has no perspective - I could never figure out why Edward loved her. But I still wanted him to. Anyway I will be blog-stalking to see if other people love or hate it. My SIL, Miriam lives in Guam and has already seen it and loved it. Have you? Love, Hate or Tolerate? I don't want the movie to ruin the books for me.

Morning Edition, November 21, 2008 · I am not now nor have I ever been a 13-year-old girl, but Twilight made me wish I could be, at least for a couple of hours. It would help me appreciate a movie that has been targeted to that demographic with the specificity of a laser weapon.
Any romance fan can tell you that love stories need obstacles, and in this egalitarian age, the traditional obstacles — of class, caste, religion and fortune — are harder to come by. Twilight's notion is that Edward Cullen is a sexy vampire and Bella Swan is very much alive. Placing this conflict in high school, where emotions are extreme and every moment is a crisis, was the masterstroke that created a publishing-industry phenomenon.
And the film of Twilight succeeds in what it sets out to do — realize that phenomenon for a big-screen audience — because it treats those high-pressure high school emotions with unwavering, uncompromising seriousness; Laurence Olivier essaying Shakespeare didn't approach his material with more reverence than is on display here.
When Twilight opens, 17-year-old Bella is moving to the tiny Washington town of Forks to live with her dad. Even before the plot kicks in, Bella demonstrates the film's key attitude: As a teenager she is, by definition, a deeply superior being, elevated far above the dross of everyday life.
Forks High School holds no charms for this lofty creature — until she spies drop-dead handsome Edward. Aside from being a vampire, he's pretty much the ideal boyfriend.
And though the story's action quotient has been increased to appeal to the random males who might show up at the multiplex, Twilight is unabashedly a romance. All the story's inherent silliness aside, it is intent on conveying the magic of meeting that one special person you've been waiting for.
Maybe it is possible to be 13 and female after all — for a few hours, at least.

Related NPR Stories

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home - where my family is.

A few years ago, I visited a friend whose husband was in the Army and she had this quote displayed in her home: "I cast my lot with a soldier, and where he was, was home to me." (Francis Boyd) Too bad I can't really change it to something like "with an active duty military man" or "Air Force Member" or "Airman" (as they are correctly called). Soldier just sounds so much better. But, the sentiment is the same, even if I can't word it to fit my situation, since CAY is not a soldier. Still, he serves the same country, has taken the same oath....I digress. Where he is, really is home to me. And although, I still say I am from Colorado when asked, I'm pretty sure that Colorado doesn't feel like home to me anymore. My second home is probably where my brothers, sisters and parents - my blood - are and since most of them are in Utah now, that's what it felt like when Iwent for a visit this past weekend. My youngest brother, Andrew, got married to beautiful Carly. And in true AY fashion, I think I took 7 pictures the whole weekend. Here are a few pictures - none of them are of the happy couple. Because I didn't take any.

Sometimes I hate Blogger - I can't get it to type above the pictures. So here are the "captions" if you will.

1. Niece and Nephew waiting for departure to the wedding. They didn't want me to take the picture and covered their faces until I threatened to give them big sloppy aunt kisses in front of everyone at the wedding.

2. The flowers - Carly chose browns and white and My aunt Tina did the flowers - they were "super cool." I feel I have to put that in quotes because I'm not quite hip enough to pull it off without them.

3. My parents living room in the new - almost finished house - I still can't believe that it was presentable enough to host a dinner the night before for 30 plus people. They finished the fireplace the morning of the dinner.

4. Four wonderful women in cutesy aprons. I sure wish I could have been in that picture. Maybe next time, when I am an "after" shot for Turbo Jam or something!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ball in the Hall

Tonight, everyone had lots of fun playing ball in the hallway...yes, it's a hallway even if it is only a few feet long. First, Daddy throws it at Ashlee.

Then, Ashlee gets revenge...

Then Paige and Maggie ham it up for the camera.

Also, here is a preview of a picture for Christmas cards this year...

Do you think we got any good shots?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Waiting for Dinner

When Paige senses that dinner is almost ready, she climbs right up in her high chair to wait...I left the ranch dressing really close to the edge tonight.
So, she decided to help herself to some...if you look closely, you can see her making a sour face.

Also, the poor baby has terrible diaper rash right now, so tonight we left her diaper off and put on a pair of Ashlee's "big girl pants" for a while. It was too cute!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Few Halloween Pics

Here are some snapshots from Halloween...first a spooky dinner. On the menu:
goblin eyes
witches fingers
mummy dogs
mashed ghosts
slimy punch

Witches Lips!

Here are two girls excited to be going trick-or-treating and one who will scream until her jacket is removed. Then she will be all about the trick-or-treating.
A funny story from our night... Christopher dropped Paige back home after about 30 minutes and then took the two big girls and a neighbor out for a while longer. The weather was pretty mild so Paige and I stayed on the porch to hand out the candy. She was walking around, looking at the jack-o'lanterns and moving pumpkins from one location to another. I was sitting in a chair that was apparently hidden as you approached from one side of the house. As one family approached...the dad said..."Awww, what's the matter little fella, are you locked out?" She's eighteen months....and shes a girl. Although, I have to admit, she was wearing a boys black shirt - it's impossible to find plain colors without embellishment for girls sometimes- and she could look like a little boy I guess. But the locked out part???? I didn't get it.

On another note....if I get one more e-mail from the Obama campaign requesting money I might change my vote!!!!! Here is a link to something funny about that....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Paige has entered an especially cute phase....here are some new words:
sorry, shoe, go, cracker, no, hi, ball, & book. I would type how they sound, because she does not pronounce them that precisely, but I'm not that clever. Here she is climbing up on "Rose" And here she is playing with the rats and spiders (we have them to make our house scarier...per Ashlee's request) and giving me her camera face. Tonight we were watching a little TV - Chris was laying on the floor so Ashlee brought him a couple of pillows. A few seconds later, Paige brought him a pillow too and planted a big smooch right on him. That was the first time she has given a kiss without us coaching her. Of course it was for him. She also says Dada all the time, still no Mama. She's just so fun...

Joe the Plumber

Two years ago I called maintenance to have them fix a drippy faucet in the girls bathroom. The plumber came and told me how to turn the faucet off correctly. It continued to drip, I never called back. When Chris got home this last time he decided to fix it. Gallons and gallons and gallons of water have dripped down the drain - just doing our part for the environment. (Do you love the pink tile?) He fixed it! But, when he went to the maintenance office to get the part, the plumber (who came to our house and told me that the problem was the way we turned the faucet off) told Christopher that he needed a whole new mechanism because the old ones didn't work and had to be re-engineered. WHAT? Just a little sexism for you. I turn it off wrong, he needs a brand new faucet.

She's so stylish!

Today I asked the girls to get a couple of chores done while Chris and I were cleaning out behind the fridge and the stove. Here is what Maggie wore while vacuming. These shoes are mine, but I have never worn them... I never wear heels... I bought them hurriedly to go with an outfit for CAY's squadron Christmas Dinner a couple of years ago, but I didn't even wear them that night. I keep them in the closet though in case I ever decide to be brave. I'm sure they're out of style...they almost fit Maggie. Maybe she can keep them...Maybe you feel more like doing housework if you look pretty.
She didn't want me to take the picture, but I told her one day she would be glad to have a picture of this.

Carving Pumpkins....here they are, waiting to be carved...notice the rot spot on the one in the center. I'm pretty sure that was there when we brought it home - oops.
CAY and his helper, Paige - she was really into the messy part, she even tried to eat it a couple of times.Ashlee getting ready to carve....All lit up - we kept them in the kitchen last night because it was so cold.

Finished product!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Yesterday we went to an Orchard/Pumpkin patch. We intended to pick apples, pumpkins and fall raspberries. But the orchards that were still picking were at another location and the raspberries were picked through. So, we just picked pumpkins and treats (mixed with a few veggies) from their farm store. This picture is on our way out, Maggie is still working on her treat. I have always thought that m&m's on a caramel apple would kind of ruin the whole caramel apple thing, but after tasting hers, I have to say it is YUMMY! The rest of us had some apple cider doughnuts that were delicious - lots of people were stopping by just to pick up some of those.Our first year here, we went to a pumpkin patch where you actually cut your pumpkins off the vine, but they are closed this year. Every other patch seems to do it this way - plowed field with pumpkins spread around. Have I mentioned how happy we are to have Christopher home? We are really happy.
The reason I included this one is because people always say how much Maggie looks like her dad. I have always seen a resemblance, but in this picture, with just their faces, I realize HOW MUCH Maggie looks like her dad.
One of my gripes about New Jersey and from what I have seen, much of the East Coast, is how much everything costs. Most pumpkin patches this time of year have hay rides, corn mazes, pumpkin painting etc... But it all costs extra - $5 for the corn maze, $2 to paint a pumpkin etc...Many pumpkin patches are quite a distance from where you park, so you must ride the wagon out to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin. They charge for that also, and not 50 cents, more like $2.50 per person. That's one of the things I like about this particular place: the corn maze, the kids animal barn, all the extras, are free. (Even the pumpkin painting - if you buy the pumpkin you paint.)
This last shot is of Paige chasing/being chased by the guinea hens.

Sleepy Hollow

After Ashlee's soccer game on Saturday, we headed north to visit the Hudson Valley - it is a really beautiful part of New York and just 2 1/2 hours away. The leaves up there are a little bit ahead of us . We had planned on visiting the Great Jack o'Lantern Blaze, but the tickets were sold out. So, we played outside, got dinner, went swimming at the hotel and went to bed. I love this picture - Ashlee is dancing, Paige is saying "two, tree" (her version of one, two, three) and "weeee" as she walks all over the rock, Maggie is heading down the rock, doing her own thing. On Sunday, we went to church, went to a park to play -
And then went somewhere scary....
Washington Irving, author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," built a home in the Hudson Valley and there is actually a village called Sleepy Hollow there. So, on one of the Historic Farms - Phillipsburg Manor - they have "Sleepy Hollow Nights!" They had a story teller to tell us all "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and other haunted buildings.
The real attraction is the headless horseman,who rides in the night at Phillipsburg Manor. The girls loved it and weren't scared even a little. It was really fun. But, if we are here next year, we are booking early to be sure and see the Great Jack O'lantern Blaze.