Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 of 2010 2010 REALLY over?!?

I thought this year I would look for the highlights, and post the TOP 10 OF 2010!

10. Claire starts nursery (we snuck her in a few weeks early- she isn't supposed to start until January 9- but she loves it, and the teachers didn't mind so we went for it! YIPPEE- this is a REALLY big day at church when the little one finally gets to go to nursery!)

9. Audra starts dance class

8. Straight No Chaser concert- such a fantastic night!

7. Audra has her first big Birthday party

6. Ben finally gets his big screen TV

5. Claire and I go on a mommy/daughter trip to Logan, UT for my roommate reunion
4. Completed our food storage! (well, is it ever really complete?)

3. Christina becomes obsessed with the Last Days in what she believes is a healthy appreciation, but Ben thinks is a little psycho

2. Three week trip to Seattle to visit my family- it was unbelievable!!!!

And the NUMBER ONE (by far!!!!) BEST THING TO HAPPEN IN 2010....

1. MY DAD BEAT CANCER!!!!!!!!!


Monday, December 27, 2010


I have been wanting to do this for awhile now, and am finally getting around to it.

Here are some comparison pictures of Claire (now) and Audra when she was 18 months so we can see if they look alike.
      Audra on Christmas Day 2008 (18 months old):         

Claire Christmas Day 2010 (17 months old):


Audra at the grandma High's in June of 2008: 
Two pictures of Claire at Grandma High's Oct. 2010:

Audra at the zoo June 2008:
Claire at the zoo Oct. 2010:

What do you think? Do they look like sisters?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What a Great Christmas (outside of the fighting)!

   You will either have to indulge me with my million pictures or not read this post, because there are A LOT of pictures! But, it's Christmas, and it must be documented!!

This is a fun picture of Audra that I liked, so I added it to the bunch:
 Here is the tree after Santa came. We wrote to Santa and asked him not to go overboard with gifts, because we really don't want to focus on the gifts at Christmas. BUT...things are changing as the kids get older. Here's the deal: I have never understood how/why people would go into debt to buy rediculous amounts of gifts for their kids. I mean, how spoiled do kids really need to be? But, I am beginning to understand why parents do this: seeing the kiddos happy faces on Christmas morning is pretty priceless, I must admit.

Nevertheless, we are trying. So we asked Santa to not go too crazy. And he didn't. In fact, most of the presents he recycled from garage sales and we were so glad!

Hopefully you'll notice the bike under the tree- Santa was kind enough to fix Audra's bike for her for Christmas- it was a big hit! She loved it and went out and rode it in our freakishly warm weather.

 Audra got a laptop, but Claire was the one who played with it most:
 Here is Audra in her Pinkalicious dress (her favorite gift- thanks Grandma High! She wouldn't take it off all day!) playing on her sit and spin- which both the girls loved:

Ben doing his fatherly duty: putting together the new toys (in this case a doll stroller- another HUGE hit from Grandma High)

 At Grandma and Grandpa Marriott's having some fun:
 This was my favorite gift: Grandma Marriott and Aunt Beth superimposed Audra into a garden and made a poster out of it- it is awesome!!! (and, Audra came home and dressed up in that outfit, and layed on our green carpet and said "I'm pretending I'm in the garden"- it was very precious!)
 Who is the cutest 18-month-old?
 And the cutest 3-year-old?
 Ben opened this shirt/sweater combo from Grandma and Grandpa Marriott, and as soon as he opened it, I was like "put this on!!!" He looks so dang hot in this- as you can see from this model shot!
 This is for Grandma High- Audra LOVES her Pinkalicious dress!
 This is what they were really doing most of the day: fighting over Claire's stroller and baby doll. Seriously. They would not stop fighting over this. If Santa had known that Audra would want yet another doll in her large doll collection, he would have spent the $1.50 and bought her one as well. 
 I got a gift from Ben that I will have to wait to show you because it has to be installed first- I'll leave you with that clue! I am really excited, but it will be a couple of weeks until it is ready to go probably.

 Ben got a sleeping bag that keeps you warm to -5 degrees. Actually, I got everybody in the family one- for emergency purposes. My parents also got us a "sanitation kit" which includes an emergency potty. They are calling it the "biggest gag gift of the year" but it actually was on my list. Seriously, if there was an emergency situation where you could not use your toilet, wouldn't it be nice to have this? You just never know what might make you still feel like a civilized person!

Before you feel sorry for Ben, however, this is what he got himself exactly one week ago:
Yeah, a 46" LED TV. You don't feel sorry for him for getting a sleepig bag anymore, do you? I don't!

And, because I couldn't figure out how to move this picture back up with all of the other sit and spin pictures, I will end this very long pictoral post of our Christmas with this lovely picture of Claire:
Merry Christmas 2010!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Some Updates

On Saturday I finally got around to doing one of my favorite, and Ben's least favorite, Christmas traditions: Baking! This is the third time I have posted about Christmas baking, so I thought this year I would show why it is Ben's least favorite tradition:
It makes SUCH A MESS!!!! I literally use every dish I own- even my roasting pan to put the Rice Krispy Treats in (don't worry, we're almost vegetarians now so it doesn't get used for roasting anymore). It is defnitely the diritest my kitchen gets all year, but I think it is worth it because we end up with this:


Now, for a couple of other updates.
I distinctly remember when Audra was 18 months old and Ben went to get her out of her crib and she was pointing down at a dress on the floor, insisting she was going to wear it that day. From then on, she was in charge of her wardrobe.
Now, we have another fashionista in training:
A couple of weeks ago she started putting these Princess skirts on all by herself. Normally, she wears two- the pink and the yellow. Sometimes, she insists on wearing them over her pajamas to bed. It is really funny.
Claire is an interesting child. She is not an overly happy child- in fact, she is often quite grumpy. I don't mean that in a mean way, even though it is hard on Ben and me. It is like she is a 30-year-old in a 1-year-old body. She wants to be a grown-up! It is hard to explain. At 17 months she has full on tantrums- on the floor flailing her arms and everything. She also doesn't laugh a whole lot like other children. She processes things and thinks about things. She is very intense. It's interesting.
But, she does have one fantastic talent: HUGS! She LOVES to give hugs, and gives the best hugs. She loves hugging little babies especially, and if there is a baby in the room she will hug their legs over and over again. She will also come up and wrap her little arms around my neck and squeeze hard and give me the best hugs- I LOVE it!
Without a doubt, she loves her sister! They have a game where they wrestle with each other: basically, Audra lies on the floor and Claire lays on top of her and hugs her around her neck and they both laugh and laugh and laugh. That is one of the rare times where Claire laughs out loud!


She is really becoming very FUN and has quite the personality. She says the funniest things on a daily basis. She is a social butterfly. The other day we were meeting her friend and she said, "What is Kory going to wear?" I guess she wanted to make sure their outfits wouldn't clash.
Every time we are in the vicinity of the temple, I try to drive by the temple and talk to Audra about the temple. So now she is obsessed with getting "big so I can go to the temple and wear a special dress." (She knows I wear a dress to the temple- I guess that is where she gets the idea of a "special dress"). Yesterday as part of Family Night we drove to the temple to see the lights and she said "and Angel Moroni is on top and he has a trumpet because he wants to tell everybody to come to the temple." These are things that I have taught her, and it is really special to hear her talk about these things. Last night I bore my testimony to her in the car of how much I love the temple and how much I love Jesus and I really felt the Spirit. I know she is only 3, but I hope she felt it as well. It was really special- something I don't ever want to forget.

Can I just say, BEN IS A GENIUS! I know I have bragged about him before, but seriously...He has been on his current program for almost two years now and he recently completely transformed the program by fixing some serious glitches it has had for 30 years. He has now become one of the lead players on his program and is greatly respected for his work. Then he comes home and is the greatest dad to these two little girls who just adore him. I can't tell you how blessed I feel every day to think he settled for me- he could have done so much better, but don't tell him that!!!!

My life is pretty predictable.
Monday: a free day to relax at home
Tuesday: Adult Education at church (a Bible study class)
Wednesday: Audra's dance class and play group
Thursday: Baby-sitting Chloe and then going to the temple (I am now really trying to go once a week, though it doesn't always happen)
Friday: Errands and date night with Ben- date night always consist of going out to dinner
Saturday: Family activity
Sunday: Church

A couple of weeks ago I was really upset because friends of ours were moving and I didn't find out until right before they left (if you want to keep a secret from me, post it on Facebook- I'm not good at that:)) Anyway, thankfully I was able to say good-bye to them, for which I am grateful as they are great friends. But I was shocked at how upset I was about them moving. After awhile I realized part of it was I was sad that they were having this wonderful exciting adventure, and Ben and I are in a pretty boring stage of life. Ben will probably have this same job for the next 30 years. We are in this house forever. My life is pretty mundane- like I said, very predictable.
But, then I realized: isn't this what everybody wants? Stability. Security. A husband who loves you more than anything in the world and kids who you love to hang out with.
Yes, that is what everybody wants. And that is definitely what I want. I am incredibly happy with my life- even if it is boring to some, and predictable to all.
Seriously, I feel incredibly blessed with what I have been given and my lot in life.I LOVE being at home with my girls- I do not miss work at all! People ask me what I will do when the kids go back to school, and I'm like "whatever I want to do!" I hope I never have to go back to work!!!

So overall, life is great. What more could a girl want?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Proud Mama

Today was an exciting day...Audra's first dance recital! Actually, it was her first any kind of performance. The first (but certainly not the last) time Ben and I got to be crazy picture-taking overly proud parents, and we fit that bill quite nicely if I do say so myself.

This is Audra's "I'm shy" face. I was a little nervous, because I could tell that Audra was VERY nervous by this expression. But, she did great. She is a follower, so when the other kids started getting set up and doing what was needed, she followed suit. Yes, I am hoping she outgrows this by the time she is a teenager.

Is that a smile? Well, it was after the performance, so I guess she felt like she could smile:
On Audra's right is one of her best friends, Adelle. They always have to dance next to each other.

They did three dances total. Audra did very well, if I do say so myself. Actually, considering how nervous she was when she walked in, she did great! One little girl literally ran out of the room in tears, so I am glad we didn't have that fiasco! I am not predicting she will win "ballerina of the year" or anything, but it has been a lot of fun having her in dance class. She absolutely loves it, and we just think she is the cutest!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Gift-Mas

Today on the radio I actually heard a commercial where the spokesman said, "Merry Giftmas." Of course, I was appalled. I mean, talk about taking Christ out of Christmas and replacing it with what matters least this holiday season! I still stand firm by that, but then later today I saw a video on THIS blog. About 3 months ago they lost their 18 month old daughter, Preslee, in a drowning accident. It's a beautiful blog if you ever get a chance to read it, but if not- she posted this video about the TRUE meaning of Christmas and I thought I would share.

At the end it talks about the gifts we can give Christ for Christmas- being kind and loving others, etc. I used this for our Family Home Evening tonight to try and teach Audra what Christmas is really about, and it went well. Audra got it- at least for a few minutes.

So now when I think of that horrible commercial, I will think not of the gifts that I am buying or receiving, but the gifts of the heart that I can give to Christ.

But, in general, I will wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

After watching the video, the girls made Christmas ornaments for the tree.

Audra made Rudolph, Claire made a wreath:
 We didn't want Claire to actually hold her ornament because we knew she would rip it apart, so here is Claire near her ornament:
 I can't help it, I think she is just so incredibly cute, so here's another picture with her holding both ornaments:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If You Don't Take A Picture, It Never Happened

A friend of mine has four teenagers and then a 3-year-old. Because she never took pictures when the teenagers were little, they think they never did anything. So, here is more proof that we do take our kids on various adventures!

Last night we decided to take them to Chatfield Botanical Gardens to see the lights. Audra is in LOVE with lights this year! Honestly, she could have stayed for another 3 hours- especially because by the time we found the children's Christmas village with tons of cool things for kids to do, we had to leave because Claire was no longer cooperating. Poor thing- we had her nicely bundled up, but she was still freezing. Her poor little hands were ice cold and bright red- after an hour in the 30 degree temperature, it was time to go. So, like most activities, we left with two screaming children: one screaming because of the cold, one screaming because they wanted to stay longer.

 My new favorite picture:

 We went with Audra's friend Korryn (and Korryn's family). Now when we are going to meet up with her, Audra will ask, "What is Kory going to wear?" Apparently she wants to coordinate outfits.

Overall, it was a great- but VERY cold- night!
(On a related note, the weather here has actually been incredibly warm. We have had almost no moisture since August- seriously. Luckily, the mountains seem to be getting quite a bit of snow, so maybe we won't have a huge drought come next summer. Of course, I was reminded by a friend that we will probably get 10 feet dropped on us at once at some point. I am not looking forward to that storm...)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Traditions Continue

Tonight we continued two Christmas traditions. Tradition #1:
Visiting the most awesome Christmas house I've ever seen:

Tradition #2: Horrible family Christmas pictures
This year, we went with some wonderful friends and then afterwards they came to our house for hot chocolate and cookies. That was a blast and I think we will have that be a new tradition!

Here are some more pictures of the fun!

This is what a picture looks like when Claire tries to take the picture with you:
Here are Claire and I hanging out:
Yes, that is Claire still in a Baby Bjorn. One would think by 17 months she would hate this thing, but she actually seems to prefer it for places like the grocery store and places like this. Luckily, she only weighs 19 lbs, so it doesn't hurt my back- yet.

Audra walked up to this toy soldier and said, "Ohhhh, a robot!"
Here is the best picture I could get of Audra with her little friends. They were busy running around trying to see everything, so a picture of all of them proved almost impossible.
Then, just for fun, here are some pictures of Audra right before we left. I just thought she looked so beautiful- I am really not looking forward to the teenage years!