Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It's been nearly a decade since I moved to AZ from Utah. Despite the time's passage, I still miss the change in seasons, especially the winter white of Christmas. Somehow a long sleeved shirt or possibly a thin sweater just doesn't conjure up images of "chestnuts roasting on an open fire". Neither does the yellowed grass and blue sky feel like a walk in a "winter wonderland". So by the time I'm in a Christmas mood, the season is nearly done and I feel like In an effort to prevent this, I set up the tree and trim the house right after Thanksgiving. This year I've also begun the treat/goodies department much earlier (usually we only do it 2 weeks before the big 25 - yes I'm a bit of a health freak) to allow for more time to enjoy the things my tastebuds associate with the holiday. I suspect it will show a little more around the waistline, but after all, this is what Christmas is about - more love, more giving and more eating! ;0)

Isaac is such a big boy now! He had carefully watched Uncle Brian putting up the tree and insisted that he do the same. So I obediently 'fluffed' and Keila patiently passed him the branches. What a team!

We went to the Tomlachoff Farms again this year. We has such great shot from going 2 years ago and hoped for the same thing. Unfortunately they were moving around too much but we still had fun.

The Bounce house was a favorite. I keep thinking I need to get a trampoline for them to burn off that extra energy!

The day ended with a 'bike' ride with Baba. Mama tried, but her belly kept throwing little bodies off her! At least Kent got a great work out!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Impromptu Road Trip

We were all set up for a quiet Thanksgiving this year when I had the crazy idea of a last minute trip to Las Vegas to visit an old roommate of mine and her family. Besides, we've been dying to test out the van on an official road trip and enjoy the luxury it had to offer.

Travelling with a Civic always required strategic planning since space was always such a problem. This time I tossed out the lists, grabbed whatever caught my fancy and dumped it in the back of the van. This lack of planning did cause a few problems though, one of which we forgot the ever sacred "Pei-pei" for Keila. We were 40 minutes from home when it dawned on us so we drove 15 mins back to the nearest Walmart to buy another one. As fate would have it, they were all out of the pink ones. The next nearest Walmart was only 10 mins from our home ... yep you guess it, we just drove on back to our house, after all, no store bought Pei-pei would EVER compared with a loved, worn stinky one! So were we rather late in getting to our hotel. Thankfully we had the loan of a DVD player from a friend and the kids were angelic for the trip!

The next 3 days were spent in a haze of eating, and more eating (I am positive I have regained all weight lost in the first trimester!) playtime for the kiddos, game time for the adults, laughter and jokes for one and all.

I love the little converstions kids have as they play. Julia was telling Isaac she was the Mama, and he was the Daddy knight. As she drove Keila around Isaac was quick to yell, "Watch out!" and swipe away a deadly leaf if it dared to come close to them. So cute.

Karri and Brian Yang were the supreme hosts (could there be any more food?!!!) and their children, Sophia, Julia and Logan were the best playmates. Baby Damian was darling and a good reminder of what will be in store in just a few months. Thanks to the Yang family for all the fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blessing Tree!

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that always gets shorted. It's caught between the hoopla of Halloween and Christmas and somehow we jump from candy overdose to 'I Want' season in a blink of an eye. I liked having it in Canada where it fell in early October and I had the chance to ponder on all my blessings before being whisked away into consumerism.

This year I vowed I'd do better and found an idea on a blog for a Thanksgiving Tree, or what Isaac has named as our Blessing Tree. It was so simple but the kids love it! Kent simply went out and cut some branches off of the trees in our wash. We arranged them in a vase with rocks and every evening we write on a piece of paper something we're grateful of for the day. It looked a little stark at first, but it's blossomed into something beautiful and is the centerpiece of our kitchen and living area. I've been amazed at how the simple task of writing one blessing from the day has made me realize how truly rich I am and I find myself wanting to list more things in gratitude for my Savior and the life He has given me. This will be a tradition that we will surely keep as the years go on.

Here is our little tree, just half way through the month. I think I need to get a Cricket so I can cut the paper into leaves, imagine how cute that would be!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who's the Real Teacher?

Lately I've been thinking alot about perspective, especially mine. It seems as if the times that motherhood is the easiest isn't when the kiddos are the best behaved (though it helps - ALOT!) or when Kent is around to help more, or when things aren't so busy. More than anything it seems to be the times when I'm able to keep other people's perspective in mind, specifically my children. When I think of them a little individuals trying their darnedest to do all the big wide world has to offer, I seem to have more patience and appreciation for their small acts of service. When I'm too absorbed with my own perspective, I tend to get selfish, or almost 'victimized' - you know the thought line, "After all I do! .... Can't you guys just try and help a little more?" I tend to do it alot and unfortunately no one is happy. So I've tried to remember this a little more when things seem to be rough. It's made a bit of a difference, if not for the children, then most certainly for me.

With so much going on this time of year it's hard to capture it all let alone find time to post pictures. The following are some random shots of the kids and all their goings-on.

Isaac is thrilled with the idea of the baby coming. He asks often to talk to baby and then proceeds to yell at my belly, 'Hey baby! What are you doing in there?!!" Keila mimics of course and soon there's a bit of a yelling match to see who baby will respond to. When this little person begins kicking and the kiddos will be able to see it, I'm sure it'll be a major pastime for us! In the meanwhile, Isaac often has Keila stuff his panda under her shirt claiming she's going to have a baby soon. Keila giggles in response and rubs her belly gently ... wonder where she got that from?! ;0)

One of our weekly playgroup dates at the park where we feed the ducks, fish and turtles. For whatever reason, Keila always eats the stale bread .... yuck! Isaac enjoys feeding them for a bit and then the poor birds find themselves running/flying for their lives the moment he switches into Dr Jekyll and chases them down. Such the boy!

We had a Thanksgiving Feast for the playgroup and afterwards the kiddos had fun with bubbles. I have no idea why the camera chose to focus on the bubbles in this shot, but it did and I thought it was rather cool.

Keila and her best fuzzy friend. They adore each other and it's a rare moment when I can capture it on camera since it's always when I'm cooking dinner. But this time I had just enough of a break and both parties stayed long enough for a shot. Whenever Isaac comes near, Sunshine is sure to take off.

My children have taught me to love more, smile and laugh more and understand myself more. Sometimes I think they're the real teacher here!

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's a Hoe Down!

The ward/congregation that we attend has been having alot more activities this year. The Hoe Down was new to their usual repertoire and despite having pregnancy fatigue, headaches and the struggles that come wtih keeping kiddos up late, we decided to attend. Thank heavens, it was so much fun!

You'll notice that most of the pictures are of Keila, that's because Isaac spent the time chasing and wrestling with his peers. It was pointless to try to capture any of it since it would be a blur or a snapshot of a rather awkward pose with him shoving his hand in somebody face. Aside from the moments he stopped to drink some water and eat some dessert he was never still. He dropped like a stone once we got home.

Keila waving a ribbon enthusiastically while Ghost Riders in the Sky was performed.

Keila on the other hand was ALL about the dancing. Kent held her while we did the Virginia Reel as well as a few other line dances. The moments when its was just music, she was begging one of us to be her partner and to hold her hands while she spun us in circles or just wiggled her little toddler bottom. I was aching badly the next day but I'd do it all over again for our little dancing queen.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Warm, Fuzzy and Furry!

We try and attend the state fair every year. For those of you who know me well enough, you'll know it's NOT the fried food (which grows in ghastly proportions every year! - who knew, fried butter is appealing! Eck!) Although I must admit those darn turkey legs do look good. Rather it's the rabbits. Yes, you heard me, I go to see the rabbits. Before Sunshine became a part of our fam, we looked into raising and breeding them, especially Netherland dwarfs but happily we just settled on a cutie mini mix and that's all we have. Kent swears he'll never get another pet (except maybe a fish - and children, they do count don't they?) but he softens up when he gets petting a one of those velvety mini Rexs. Keila LOVES it because she can surround herself with all the warm, fuzzy, furries possible and chatters away with them like their her peers. Isaac on the other hand tolerates animals, but we were surprised that this year brought him a few changes.

Once we got this fellow familiar with our scent, he was practically begging us to take him home. The moment we began walking away he'd scratch his cage frantically. When we put our fingers through the wires, he'd pop his head right under and sigh with practically audible relief as we 'hit' all the right spots.

The petting zoo area had ducks that Isaac was fascinated with. After following one about and tiring the poor thing out, it sat still in some water so Isaac could gently pet it's back. Next think I knew I watched it walk behind a protected area and lay this egg. If you look carefully, you can see it's still wet from having just come out.

Keila's first encounter with a Wallaby.

Love at first sight for Keila.

Isaac spent most of his time harassing the duck, but even he got into it and grabbed a brush and comb goats and lamas. It was strange to see since he's not usually so interested in animals, but I think he's getting a soft spot for them, he was even a little reluctant to leave.

Keila's fond farewell.

Afterwards we hit the Body Show, which features actual cadavers of humans. Isaac loves learning about the body and being the former Bio teacher, I wanted to encourage his wonder of God's creation. I did explain that these were once people that had passed on and he was mature enough to understand we view them with respect. He didn't display any fears or disturbed feelings. (which Kent was alittle afraid of) On the other hand, he asked countless questions peppered with comments of, "Heavenly Father made all this for us?" or "Wow, that's amazing, our bodies are amazing!" Poor Keila was bored stiff (pardon the pun) with the time we spent there, but it was all good in the end since we left early enough for us to eat a good Dim Sum meal and take afternoon naps. How I love having family outings with my cuties!