Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!  So...I had good intentions?  Ha ha...To my credit it was the end of the semester and I have been busy with finals and all of that.  But now...Im on an almost 3 week break from school. Then it's off to my FINAL semester of happy :)

Christmas always seems to come and go so quickly each year.  All the preparations, the madness, the shopping, the mailing and then in 3.5's over.  This year was a tiny bit anticlimactic for me.  First of all, the tree was a disaster.  Not only did it physically die the 2nd week it was up...and I am talking touch it and it crumbles dead, but half the lights stopped working AFTER I was finished decorating.  To top it off, every store I went to was sold out of clear tree lights! So, we spent most of December with a dead, half lit tree.  Its so droopy that ornaments are falling off the poor thing!  I just finally threw my hands up in the air and said "OH WELL".   Here is a picture with the lovely dark spot. Haha!  Oh boy.

Second of all we scaled back a bit on gifts.  Just seemed like the right thing to do in this economy but it made the big reveal fall a little flat.  Last year we heard "Look at all the presents!!!" and this year it was..."Hey you guys, Santa left some presents under the tree..." in a less than super excited voice... BUT, the worst part about it is that I live in this little apartment with nowhere to hide the gifts and I am almost 100% sure that my middle child saw everything that he was getting this year.  The little snoop.  I never did anything like that when I was a kid (LOL!!!  Yeah...right)  Unfortunately for him, he is a horrible liar and a horrible actor.  The fake surprise he tried to pull was almost kind of funny... and then it was irritating.  So, as far as all that went....I have had better years playing Santa.

Addison was a joy though because at 5 she has really grabbed onto the fun of Christmas!  She lit up at all of her gifts and was just so excited.  She was even the first person up this morning!  Gotta love her.

She is growing up and has lost her first couple of teeth this past over Thanksgiving weekend and another this weekend.  I am sad that she is my last one to really enjoy the magic of Christmas so I will try and savor it every year.

The kids were pretty excited about their Dad being in town though.  Denver flew in on Christmas Eve day and you can see from the picture just how happy they were.

The day before Christmas Eve we went over to Nathan's house for our little Ries get together.  Unlike a lot of people, we really have zero familial obligations during the holidays...not that it would be a bad thing but other than my brothers, we enjoy a fairly intimate Christmas holiday and that makes going to Nate's house all the more special.  Here is Addison with her cousin Jude....he has been so sick and had just gotten up toward the end of our visit.  He is so sweet...Addie just loves him :)

This Christmas was also bittersweet for tragic reasons.  Denver's cousin was in a horrific car accident in Indiana the week before Christmas.  He, his wife, his 15 year old daughter and their 8 year old nephew were hit head on by a 17 year old girl.  Everyone died but Kristena, the 15 year old.  It has just had me heartbroken and sick that she has to go through this at such a special time of year.  Literally orphaned with no siblings even to lean on.  I cried for 3 days over it and I just cannot imagine how she will get through it.  She broke her back and as soon as she is healed from that she will have to go live with relatives...probably in Michigan with one of Denver's other cousins.  It seems so unfair sometimes the way life plays out for some people and I count my blessings that I have been spared from such tragedy.  It has definitely made me pause and reflect on those blessings a little extra this year!

I hope that everyone enjoyed their Christmas and wish you all the best for the coming year!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011...

Look how horrible I have become at posting!  I look forward to the day when I am finished with school and can turn more attention to projects that I enjoy, such as this.  In the meantime...I'll try to be better about posting.

November came and went with the wind!! I can't believe it is already December and Christmas is staring at me in the face!  We went to Reno for Thanksgiving this year to spend it with my parents and took my youngest brother Jeff with us.  It was wonderfully relaxing.  I think we watched 10 movies over the 4 days we were there.  There is something to be said about waking up with zero plans and zero obligations. I could have used another weeks worth of it!

Dinner was yummy as usual...although we almost didn't get turkey since the oven got turned off midway through the baking time!  Never fear...we managed to get it cooked and eaten at a reasonable hour.

The kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly...especially with the dogs.  I don't think my parents dogs have ever been played with so much.  Another plus was that my boys forgot to bring their chargers for their Nintendo gaming systems so after the battery ran down on the way to Reno, they were stuck the rest of the trip without games to play.  It forced them to be more creative about how to spend their time.  Nothing wrong with a dose of that once in a while!

We are back to reality now...and gearing up for Christmas.  We just put the Christmas tree up last night.

Makes the house feel so cozy.  And now it is snowing outside.  I think December is the only month where I actually enjoy seeing it snow.  Too bad it has to last longer than a month!

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Arrow of Light....

Look at my sweet, fresh faced little Cub Scout....just starting out.  I swear I took this picture just yesterday.

But no...sadly, it was 4 years ago and tonight Ian graduated from Cub Scouts.  He received his Arrow of Light award.  Look at what a difference 4 years makes!!  I am so proud of him.

Here is the whole den.  I love that he spent his entire Cub Scouts with just about all of these boys. It's so nice for kids to have something constant like this to remember.

 Proud Mom and son :)

Ian and his AMAZING den leaders...and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  Without them, Ian would definitely not have been here today.  They have been so helpful to me since I have been an epic failure at being the good scouting mom.

 He worked hard to get its on to the Big Boy Scouts!!!

Ian invited his best friend Gabe to come to the ceremony.

And here is pretty little Addison....with the rose Ian gave me tonight :)

Misc Stuff....

I cannot believe how behind I got on my blog.  School is really taking up a lot of time now that I am almost done.  Here are some pictures to catch up the past month....I'll try to be better about updating in the future!

We went to the Gateway for some shopping and ice cream!

We went to Barnes & Noble with my best friend Shannon and her daughter Hannah and after that had lunch at the Olive Garden

Denver was in town this past week and after a yummy birthday lunch at Chuck-o-Rama we went to see the strange sculptures at Gilgal Gardens.

I went to the Opera "Fidelio" all by myself and loved every minute of it!!


Halloween was lots of fun this year for the kids.  Mainly because Daddy was in town.  This year we had a 20's style gangster, a Hollywood starlet, and an Army guy.

We joined the cousins Soren, a.k.a Metro Man and the cutest little teddy bear you've ever seen.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Ian is 11....

Every time one of my children has a birthday I go on and on about how I can't believe they are already however old now.  How time passes so quickly and where does it all go?  But I'm not going to do that this time.  Ian has hit an age now where more than ever I am trying to enjoy every bit of little boy he has left.  He truly is turning into a young man right before my eyes!  I love him so much and his mommy's boy personality.  I love that he isn't your typically aggressive, competitive boy.  He is quieter and attentive to others feelings.  The best part though is that in spite of the fact that he is 11 and trying so hard to be a teenager, he still holds my hand in public.  Isn't that great!?  I sure do love him.

For his birthday this year we kept it low key.  We went to Nathan's house and ate soup and rolls and had a caramel apple making station completely with yummy toppings.  Denver was in town also which made it extra special for Ian.

We gave Ian an acoustic guitar this year.  I was so happy when I told him he had to choose between  yet another handheld gaming system and the guitar.  Ian says to me after about 10 minutes of "thinking about it" that it didn't make sense to get another Nintendo DSI when he already had one that worked just he chose the guitar.  Much better gift!  He is very musically inclined and has dabbled in a fews instruments so far.  First was the piano which he still tinkers on.  Then he took a year of violin through his school.  Right now he is taking Cello lessons at school and probably next Spring we will look into some guitar lessons.  He also is taking some theater classes and of course there is always singing.

We brought his best friend Gabe along to the party as well.  Gabe plays the electric bass and this year for the talent show at school Gabe and Ian are going to perform a song together with Ian singing and Gabe accompanying him.  I can't wait to hear it.

One more thing that Ian is into this year is Poetry.  He is quite the accomplished little poet and his teacher gushes about it every chance she gets.  Ian told me the other day that when he grows up he wants to be a Poet.  Well, I can't say I am disappointed about that!!  Although I may have to continue feeding him into his 30's if he really chooses to do that, haha.

 It was a fun day and I am just happy to say that I still have 2 years before I officially have a teenager!

Friday, September 9, 2011

10 Years.....

It is hard for me to believe that ten years have passed so quickly.  So many events have happened since that day which have altered my life in some way but none have been quite as monumental as the attacks on September 11, 2001.  Ian was just 10 months old and I had discovered only 4 days earlier that I was pregnant with Evan.  It was a very significant time in our lives in all the good ways....with this horrible day sandwiched in between.

Today I had the opportunity to go to Ian's school to watch an assembly about that day.  It was very moving and sadly took an individual teacher setting it up because the administration didn't think it was necessary.  And even worse, only the classes in Ian's ELP (gifted & talented) program were allowed to attend.  The rest of the children in the school were kept in class.  Evan's school didn't even mention it! After school I discussed the circumstances of that day with my 2 oldest children.  They have seen the images.  They have heard some of the stories.  They wanted to know what I was doing and how I felt about it all, so I shared that with them.  The fear, the uncertainty, the desire to do something about it.  All of those feelings that caused me to feel helpless at the same time.

I remember the very first thing I wanted to do was go home to my family.  But within seconds of that another desire; the desire to drive as fast as I could to the Air National Guard base so that I could join my old unit and do something.  I had only been out of the military for 10 months and I felt so left out in that moment.  Left out of being able to do something to help.  Anything.  It shook me a little because I had been so ready to leave the military - and here I was wishing I was still in.  We also discussed the Winter Olympics which were held in Salt Lake City that following January or February.  I remember distinctly asking Denver if we couldn't just go on vacation...leave the state completely as there was talk of another attack during these Olympic games. The fear was still very fresh.

The entire experience was surreal and to this day still rattles me at my core.  Such a tremendous loss.  I hope that schools will continue to teach about the attacks.  As depressing as the subject may be, it is absolutely an important part of United States history and has changed the course of many aspects of our lives in this country... forever.

 I want to share this poem that Ian wrote on a card for the Utah division of Urban Search & Rescue who assisted in the recovery process at Ground Zero.  One of their members came and talked to the kids today.  It was tough...he had a hard time talking without getting choked up.  His life was forever altered too and I pretty much just wanted to give the guy a gigantic hug after he was through.  The kids all made thank you cards and posters for them....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I completely forgot to post Addison's first day of school picture! I cant believe she is in kindergarten already. I officially have no kids at home :( So far she loves school. I hope that feeling lasts a while!

2011 School Pictures....

This year I made the decision to take my kids to a studio for school pictures.  Now that Addison is in Kindergarten that means 3 packages of pictures from the school photographer and just one pose to choose from.  The price for the "standard" school package is $30 which includes 40 of the same picture in different sizes.  Its a complete waste of money really.  So, instead of spending $90 on pictures I dont really like or use, I spent $80 on some great pictures from FotoFly in Draper.  We just love the studio.  The kids always have a good time and they seem to be able to bring the best out in all 3 of my children.  These are just 4 pictures out of 50 that they took and the best part....we get a CD with all the images and the copyright to them so I can print, post, and share them as much as I want!!  Best deal in town.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Other Stuff....

So in other big news....we got a new-ish car. The van has been dying a slow death this year that was rapidly speeding up this summer. I was just praying that it would get me through the summer and it did. But, I had to get something more reliable. After a very painful 5 1/2 hours in the dealership, we ended up with this little SUV.

Not exactly what I wanted (and not the greatest picture) but beggars cant be choosers as they say. It's clean and in good shape though and I am excited to pick it up on Tuesday. The kids were with me for the entire time and I have to say they were so well behaved. I was beaming with pride the numerous times someone mentioned to me how well behaved they were. People were very shocked by it. To celebrate the new car and to let them know how much I appreciated them for sticking with me, we went to dinner at Tres Hombres. Can't lose with Mexican Food.

The next day (yesterday) we spent 4 1/2 hours at the laundromat catching up on laundry that I had let slide during my surgery recovery. Once again I had people comment about how good they were. So, thank them...we went and saw Spy Kids at the movie theater. I sure do love my kiddo's.

And just for fun, Im adding this little picture I created....if there was any question that Ian was my son (as if....) here is proof.

School Days....

Last week school started for the boys. Finally. I hate to be one of those mom's who seems so anxious to get her kids out of the house but....the truth hurts. It was one long summer and because I was in school, there wasn't much time to do anything fun. We did a few things of wasn't a total bust... but I do feel badly for not being able to do a lot more. One more year though and I will finally be done so I can go back to being a normal mom. In my defense it also didn't help that Denver wasn't here...probably wouldn't have been quite as stressful. AND there was that little thing called a hysterectomy I am still recovering from. Add it all together and maybe you can understand why I was a tiny bit giddy the day they went back to school. I sure do love them though. Addison starts Wednesday and can hardly wait. She was devastated to find out she didn't start the same day as her brothers. Denver will be in town this week too which makes it extra special for her.

Here is Ian, my big 5th grader! Hard to believe I have one that is almost done with Elementary school. This year he gets to do the whole 'maturation program'.... wont that be a good time? I think I need to schedule Denver's trip that week so he can go with him instead of me, haha!

And, here is the 4th grader...right on Ian's tail. He is just as tall as Ian now....but unlike his older brother, Evan was actually excited to go back to school.