Archive for December, 2008

A busy week

Vacation always seems like a good idea, but vacation and Christmas?  When you combine post-Christmas letdown with post-vacation letdown, it doubles the feeling.  I’m quite thankful that all the craziness of life and activities for the kids doesn’t start until next Monday, otherwise I may need to be committed.  We went to Traveler’s aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas.  They live in southern California.  Our trip was prolonged by about 12 hours because of the threat of a storm hitting the mountain passes we needed pass through.  After running around crazy last Tuesday afternoon, we threw everything into the truck and headed out a little after 6 pm.  We arrived at 1:30 am with 3 girls exhausted and looking forward to stretching out.  The roads were uneventful and we made great time.  Christmas Eve was pretty mellow.  Christmas, on the other hand, was a bit crazy.  Traveler’s cousin and his family came over.  They have a 6yo boy, a 4yo girl, and a 2mo girl.  Having an additional 2 kids in the mix definitely heightened the excitement level of the house.  There were about 3 rounds of present opening for the kids – this was of course after the 3 rounds of opening presents with the grandparents on Sunday. 

christmas-stocking-dec08

A good Christmas was had by all.  Traveler’s cousins and aunt and uncle all pitched in and got us a Wii – which was a total surprise, especially since my kids had no idea what a Wii was until Christmas morning.  Smarty Pants also got a Nintendo DS from Santa as did I.  We haven’t yet challenged each other yet, but I’m sure that’s coming!  I think I have a new form of punishment for when the kids can’t get along – make them box each other!  It wears them out but lets them take out their aggressions on each other!  They loved being able to customize their Mii’s.  It was especially entertaining to see what choices they made. 

On Friday we headed out to Legoland.  I had heard of it before but never really looked into it.  It’s sorta like a Disneyland meant mostly for kids.  There weren’t a lot of rides geared towards adults.  Unfortunately Sweet Pea was just a smidge too small to ride on the rides the older kids wanted to, so Traveler’s aunt and I took her on some smaller rides.  She loved having the undivided attention of 2 adults.  That ratio is a rarity in our world.  I think the best part of Legoland (aside from seeing Sweet Pea enjoying doing “big kid” stuff) was seeing their Miniland.  There was an area dedicated to replication of real buildings and points of interest from across the country.  We “visited” Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angelas, a generic “northeast” lighthouse/crabbing community, and a farm.  It was really amazing to see what can be done with those little plastic blocks.

welcome-to-las-vegas-dec08

Empire

Empire State Building (if you look closely you can seen Mt. Rushmore in the background)

On Saturday we visited the aquarium in Long Beach.  We walked along the piers and saw the Queen Mary from across the bay.  I missed out on some of the aquarium because being surrounded by glass and water triggered some weird vertigo feelings, but the kids had a blast.  Smarty Pants and Sass had the chance to pet a manta ray and a small shark (not sure what kind it was – but it was only about 2 feet long as an adult). 

Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Sunday we headed north about 40 minutes to visit my aunt and uncle for the afternoon.  The girls were starting to burn out from so much activity going on daily, so they were content to just hang out at their house and enjoy the quiet. 

Yesterday we got up and headed home.  Overall it was a nice vacation, but I think we are all glad to be home…well except Traveler.  He’s at it again.  This time he is headed to Vegas for work for New Year’s Eve.  Sounds like a hoax, huh?  He works for the state issuing licensing to companies that have and use radiological devices.  So on New Year’s Eve he gets to take part in a “task force” of sorts with the LVPD, ATF, and FBI to make sure everyone partying on the strip stays safe for the New Year’s festivities.  And then he might be home for a couple of days and then off for a week’s worth of work in Boise for the guard. 

Mono Lake as seen from Hwy 395

Mono Lake as seen from Hwy 395

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  We sure did.

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What a weekend

This past weekend was quite full, and amazingly I didn’t feel overwhelmed about it all.  Maybe that’s because I had no work this weekend due to a massive snowstorm in Wisconsin. 

Friday I finished baking cookies.  I have never baked cookies to give away as gifts.  The kitchen is not my friend.  If I don’t have to be in there, I don’t want to be in there.  But with all the wonderful cookie recipes I kept seeing on various blogs, I had to give them a shot.  And you know what?  It didn’t take as long as I thought it would.  The best part of making 4 different recipes in one day?  I didn’t have the urge to eat any of the goodies.  I was content to package them up and not think twice about them.  Also on Friday my niece came over for a couple of hours and she helped my 3 girls decorate with frosting and sprinkles. 

Saturday proved to be just as festive.  As part of the challenge from The Sisterhood I decided that since my brother only lives about mile or so from us, we would walk to my niece’s 4th birthday party.  It was cold, so we all bundled up.  Sweet Pea had the pleasure of being pushed in the stroller.  I figured correctly that I’d get a little more cardio by pushing her at my pace rather than walking slow with her.  Fun was had by all at the party.  They painted little ceramic figures.

painting-sass-dec08

painting-smarty-pants

painting-sweet-pea-dec08

Although we had a little excitment on the way home.  Traveler was pushing Sweet Pea and as we had our house within sight, we were racing to see who would get home first.  Traveler hit a bump with the stroller’s front wheels, which catapulted Sweet Pea head first into the street.  I knew I had buckled her in and the buckle on the stroller is pretty difficult to unlatch. so I couldn’t figure out how she fell out.  When we got back to the house, I checked out my 7-year-old umbrella stroller and realized that 2 of the 3 strap connections had snapped!  So needless to say I might be in the market for a new stroller.  That evening we played, literally, for hours Connect Four.  I never really played this game as a kid, but Traveler loved it.  He said he never had one of his own and loved visiting his cousins, so he could play it with them.  Even Sweet Pea got in on the action.

Yesterday was a very full day.  We started off by having a light breakfast and then heading over to my parents to deliver cookies, pictures, and a homemade snowman.  Here is the one that Smarty Pants made. 

snowman-dec081

We ate homemade cinnamon rolls, and the girls got to open their presents.  After that we headed up to Traveler’s dad and step-mom’s place for “brunch” and more presents.  I think the girls are going to be a little disappointed on Christmas when they only have a handful of presents left to open.  Usually they get all of them on Christmas, but they did get some great stuff.  I am not a girly girl, and to have 3 girls has been an adjustment for me over time.  Pink was never a color I purposefully grabbed for, and Sass would love to be in pink head to toe every day.  Since Traveler’s parents know this, they went looking for the “anti-Barbie” game.  I think they found it – “What’s In Ned’s Head   It is really quite gross, but hysterically funny at the same time.  It even gives you blank cards on which to add your own icky contents to Ned’s head.   After that stop we headed to Traveler’s grandparents’ house…were the girls had more snacks and opened more presents.  One of them was a puzzle made out of 12 cubes.  For each of the 6 sides of the cubes, there was a different puzzle.  I love this because it is compact (the box is about the size of a notecard box), and it takes more mental power that just putting the pieces together.  Sweet Pea can even do it with a little help.  Then we headed home for a little R&R. 

I’ve been on the lookout for a good Nevada sunset to share since I posted the pics from Idaho.  And as luck would have it, it has been cloudy and overcast ever since.  Last night on our way to church I took a couple of pictures of the clouds and got a decent one of the sunset.  Unfortunately the best picture would have been while at the stoplight with the sunset behind us.  But I will share what I have.

cloudy evening

Nevada sunset

Our church has a youth mass on Sunday evenings where they liven things up a bit to help keep the kids engaged.  It is more geared towards middle school and high school kids as they have a youth group meeting after mass, but today they were inviting everyone to stay and enjoy a Christmas dinner.  They had a live Christian band (I don’t remember their name) who was playing Christmas songs.  They had a raffle and Sweet Pea won a 3-pack of bubbles – which thrilled her beyond belief.  (And it thrilled me that it was a 3-pack so there is very little room for argument and jealousy.)  We got home at 7:30 just in time for PJ’s and bed.  After the girls were in bed Traveler and I finished wrapping presents and then watched one of our favorite shows – The Unit.

Today we are getting a little bit of school work done and then heading out to run some errands.  I still have to finish packing and cleaning up the house before we leave.  Not sure if we are leaving tomorrow night after I’m done working or early Wednesday morning.  Thankfully the weather is supposed to be clear on both days for our drive to southern California to visit Traveler’s aunt and uncle. 

I will be taking Traveler’s laptop with us, so hopefully I’ll get some festive pictures up while we are out of town.  I will try to give updates on my status for The Sisterhood’s challenge.  (I have to get some exercise done today if I’m going to make it!)

Week of (not) Shrinking Jeans

This past week was difficult to keep eating healthy and exercising.  The exercise I accomplished, but I’m still waiting for it to start feeling like a chore and more enjoyable.  Today I will hit the treadmill, even though I slept horribly tonight and I have a long list of stuff I want to do and have to do.  My eating habits were pretty pathetic.  We ate out Friday night, had pizza and birthday cake Saturday evening, Sunday ate at Qudoba (although Traveler and I did split a burrito instead of having our own), and there has been chocolate in the house and cookies.  I do really well eating healthy if the temptation is not around, but it’s been around, so I’ve been snacking on those little bite-sized Dove chocolates instead of carrots or the delicious fresh snow peas I have in my fridge.  I am meeting my goal of reaching 300 miles with Nike+.  I believe I have 10 pounds to go before the end of the year.  I should make that before we leave down on Christmas Eve.  So at least I have that going for me.  So here’s to a better week of eating healthy!

My baby is 3

I can hardly believe that my littlest girl who started out like this:

going-home2-dec05

now looks like this:

blowing-candle

One reason

One reason I miss Idaho is the exact opposite of why I missed Nevada so much.  We lived outside of Boise and compared to Northern Nevada the moutains were very sparse.  I missed them after growing up in Nevada.  Last weekend the girls and I headed back to see friends in Idaho.  Traveler had drill up in Boise, so we sort of made a weekend out of it – mind you, a very long weekend with way too much driving.  Our friends that we were staying with have, I think, about 5 acres (probably more).  They have chickens, goats, a horse, and a handful of cows.  Well the cows not so much anymore because we have half of one in our freezer now.  They live about 15-20 miles outside of town.  This sunset with the wide open horizon took my breath away.  My camera is nothing special but I was hoping to be able to capture the essence of it.  They are a bit small and will get bigger if you click on them – which unfortunately makes them a bit grainy. 

Nevada’s sunsets are framed by the moutains and have a beauty in their own right.  Maybe I’ll try and take a couple of pictures to compare.

Shrinking Jeans weekly update

Here’s my weekly update of my get healthier in December kick.

Since last Wednesday I have been on the treadmill twice – last Wednesday and Thursday.  I was out of town from Friday through Monday with 2 days essentially eating in the car and not very healthy foods either.  I made the yummy mistake of making cookies with the girls last week.  I am not in the habit of making goodies, because I feel the need to eat them.  Usually when I make cookies I only cook enough at a time for everyone to have one (maybe 2 cookies for the parents!) and then keep the rest of the dough in the fridge.  It helps because if I’m looking for something to nibble on, and I have to wait for the oven to warm up and then cook the dough, it isn’t worth the wait.  I’m lazy and impatient!  I ate the last 2 cookies yesterday morning.  Not the best mid morning snack – but there were only 2 left and I have 3 kids.  You can’t really split that so everyone is happy – so I ate them! 

My plan is to get on the treadmill today and Friday definitely.  I hope to make it tomorrow afternoon or Saturday before we celebrate Sweet Pea’s birthday.  So I guess I have to include not going overboard on the cake and ice cream this weekend as a goal too.  I am hoping that enough people will come that I won’t have any leftover cake.  Ice cream I can resist because, once again, it takes effort to scoop the damn stuff out of the carton, so my laziness will take over.  Good luck to the rest of the “sisterhood”.

A day of pictures

I just downloaded the pictures off my camera.  I figured since we are heading for Idaho tomorrow for a long weekend, I should probably empty the camera and charge it before we leave.  I found too many cuties and wanted to share.  As all mothers know there are days where I want to string the kids up or at a minimum duct tape their adorable little moster bodies and lock them in the closet – but I love them to pieces.  Having pictures of their cuteness reminds me why I love them on days when they are very lovable.  (Trust me, I know I have unlovable days too!)  So without further ado my girls.

 

Sweet Pea and her cousin

Sweet Pea and her cousin

Smarty Pants is my only blue-eyed girl

Smarty Pants is my only blue-eyed girl

Sass's bangs are growing out. This looks like a lion's mane to me.

Sass

Lots of Kungfu Panda practice going on in our house.

Lots of Kungfu Panda practice going on in our house.

See look, here more!

See look, here more!