Monday, December 1, 2008


we are thankful for...gingerbread houses with grandma chrisslumber party with the cousins and using every blanket we had in the house mesa temple christmas lights with all of us!
a yummy feast!

and great big cousin hugs - come back soon!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We broke all tradition tonight! It's true...we put up a Christmas Tree before Thanksgiving. {Gasp!} I know, you are thinking we are horrible, unthankful people! More confessions? We've resorted to artificial. {Gasp!} Yep, two of them! This would have never happened to us in Washington or Virginia. I've always dug my heels in and insisted on a fresh, evergreen scented, pine needles everywhere type of tree. How can you have artificial when you are surrounded by the real thing?
And, we've always waited until the day after Thanksgiving when we'd put our boots and gloves on, pack the car with a saw and some twine, find ourselves a U-Cut Christmas tree farm and pick out the most beautiful tree we could find. So what happened this year? I've just got the bug even though the sun is still shining brightly, there is no sign of snow or inclement weather and I haven't even made a single Christmas present purchase. So tonight we lugged the Christmas tree box off the top shelf in the garage, pieced the tree together like a puzzle, fluffed it's branches, plugged it in and voila, we've got ourselves a tree! A little different that what we are used to, but the kiddos still had the "It's Beginning To Feel a Lot Like Christmas" smile written all over their faces!

Of course, the webkinz had to make it into the picture too!

Oh, I guess I'd better confess this too... I've been listening to 99.9FM for all you locals. Hey, they are playing it and I'm listening to it! I know Mom, I'm breaking a BIG rule!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Participating in Democracy

Election day is always a fun and exciting day. Going to the voting booth, knowing the endless commercials are coming to an end, and the excitement of watching the results come in as the polls close help make the day unique from the other mundane Tuesdays. This year it was especially fun for me to share it with Tanner and Alex. They helped us fill out our mail-in ballots, with each of them taking turns completing the arrows on the ballot for the candidates we were voting for. It was also fun answering their questions about the various topics, and seeing their surprising enthusiasm for certain candidates. The best part was watching with the boys as the results came in from across the country. We had the TV on and the Internet up. As the results started to trickle in we watched the map of the United States change colors, and followed the count of the Electoral College. It really surprised me how interested and excited they were to see how this whole democracy things works. We talked about the math involved that's necessary to win the election. Minute by minute as new results surfaced they would yell for each other to come watch, and Alex would run into the other room declaring, "Mom, we just won Texas." Tanner counted up the minimum number of states a candidate needed to win the electoral college and thus the presidency (btw, it's 11). Alex started to keep his own tally of the electoral college so he could take the results with him around the house to tell others. He did it in the margins of his kindergarten coloring and writing assignment, and as you can see from the picture he had to keep erasing and updating Barack Obama's count so often that he actually wore through the paper. I was so proud of their interest and basic understanding of how this process works. Hopefully they'll remember the fun of participating in the experience and also how to accept victory and defeat while being a "good sport." We can savor our victories, and if we don't like the outcome, we can work harder to change it next time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lest we forget that Hallowed Eve...

Alex's Pumpkin Bat

Transformer (Alex), Cinderella (Madison) and Star Wars dude (Tanner)

The Princesses
The Princess and Fairy

The Wicked Old Witch (or Mom, whatever you prefer)and the beautiful Cinderella!
I'm thinking I'll go dark next trip to the Caldwell salon! What do ya think Crystal? Maybe not!

Crashing after the sugar high and enjoying a flick on the Martinez driveway!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A star is born (especially for Grandparents)

Madison is learning so many new things in her "Shinning Stars" pre-school. She loves going and playing with all the other kids. I was amazed that she knew the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't think I could recite it at three years old. She is our little star. Enjoy the show.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Be on the lookout

Well, it looks like the political discourse in America is alive and well. Voters are pondering the issues, and browsing up and down the aisles of the marketplace of ideas. We've tried to do our part. We've put out two "Yes on 102" signs in our yard and both have been eagerly snatched up presumably by opponents of the initiative who apparently didn't know where to get their own signs. Rather than express their own views they prefer to squelch ours. The first sign we put out was gone the very next day, and I assumed that it had just blown away because it had been a blustery day and the sign wasn't stapled to the stick. The next sign I put up, I made sure to staple it to the stick and hammer it in extra deep. A few days later it was gone too - stick and all. I've heard that a few other neighbors have had their signs taken or vandalized, so I guess I shouldn't feel too special. You'd think that instead of risking getting caught stealing a political sign out of someone's yard, it would just be easier to put out your own sign with the opposing view point.

It will be interesting to see how these three initiatives fare with the voters in each of their states this November. Prop 102 in Arizona, Prop 8 in California, and Prop 2 in Florida are basically similar state Constitutional amendments that attempt to prohibit gay marriage, and simply define marriage as between a man and a woman. In California, a Survey USA poll shows that as of October 17th, 48% of the people surveyed supported the initiative, 45% opposed it, and 7% were undecided. It's going to be a close battle. Some people think that if Obama begins to show early signs of winning in the east on Nov. 4th that it could suppress the No Voters on Prop 8 in California because of a sense that victory is in the bag for Obama, however the same could also happen to the Yes Voters because disgruntled McCain supporters might stay home wallowing in defeat. In Arizona, a recent Cronkite/Eight Poll showed that 49% of respondents planned to vote for Prop. 102, while 40% were against it, and 9% were undecided. We can't take any results for granted here in AZ, so please be sure to get out and vote early for Prop. 102.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A moment of silence, please . . .

I am officially in mourning over the BYU loss to TCU tonight. Dim the lights, lower the flag, silence the TV, and bow your heads. It was an awful game! Not only was it a complete butt-whoppin', and it ended their double digit winning streak, and it dashed all hope for a BCS bowl bid, and it does away with all the hasty Max-Hall-for-Heisman talk, but it reminds me again that in the eyes of the NCAA BYU will always be a second class citizen on the outside of the BCS bowl system looking in. The whole bowl structure is a farce and a scam. It needs to be changed so all schools have an equal opportunity to land the big bowl games. The current system of the "Haves" and the "Have Nots" does nothing but protect and perpetuate certain college brands based on opinion and fluctuating perception. It is a sham beauty contest with different hurdles for different schools trying to gain access to the same bowl game. I think it is high time for Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah), Senator Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) and Senator Larry Craig (Idaho) [okay, many not Sen. Craig, how about Sen. Mike Crapo] to launch a Congressional investigation into how the NCAA and the BCS choose bowl game contenders. Better yet, why doesn't some disgruntled Mid-Major university file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA and dispute this false notion of open competition in college football. And as long as Barack Obama is going to be sitting in the Oval Office after his campaign of "CHANGE," maybe he can champion this cause of justice, equality and fairness in the form of NCAA reform as part of his new administration. I guess before we start lighting the torches to storm the castle, maybe it would just be better for BYU to win all of its games first. So, in anticipation of next week's game, let's all "Rise and shout, the Courgars are out. . . ."

To help with everyone's grieving, I have attached a link to a homemade video my nephew and his wife made for a family reunion video contest. It is very funny. All True Blue BYU fans will love it. You'll have to scroll down past the picture of the yellow Tonka truck, and if you get to the pictures of Cosmo, Max Hall and Austin Collie, then you've gone too far. Enjoy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's TRUE...

We are out of the Terrible Two's (or so the saying goes)! But quite honestly, I'm not really all that excited to have my baby grow up. I love this stage with her. I keep telling her she can't get any bigger and I want her to stay just how she is. Although she is fiesty, stubborn, oh so dramatic and has more determination than ever to keep up with her two big brothers, she is a ray of sunlight in our home with her energy, spunk and curiousity. Every morning for the last couple of weeks she asks me, "Who's birthday is it today?" I would have to tell her it was somebody's in the world, but not hers. Well, finally "her" big day arrived and she is now happily and officially THREE! And like all three year old girls she celebrated like a PRINCESS!
We love you little Madison! Happy Birthday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Training Wheels Come Off

Alex passed a big milestone recently. He learned to ride his bike without his training wheels! We took the necessary precautions and decked him out in elbow and knee pads and strapped on his helmet, and went out to the street one evening after the weather had cooled down. He must have just been ready and ripe for this big step because he didn't take long to get the hang of it. I held the back of his bike seat and ran behind him a few steps and gave him a big push and off he went peddling and balancing down the road. He was a little nervous and kept looking over his shoulder to see if I was still there as back up, so I reminded him to keep looking forward to maintain his balance. I ran behind him a few trips up and down the street to make sure he didn't crash, and after a few times he didn't even need me to do that. He did great! He quickly learned how to turn around so he could came back toward home at the end of the street (and not be like Forrest Gump heading straight off to the horizon), but when it came time to stop, he did have a little trouble. Instead of braking until the bike stops and then putting your foot down, he went with the "abandon ship" method where the bike slows, and right before it stops, he jumps off or stands up as it collapses under him. Whatever works. We'll practice those details later, but for now, he is a riding and balancing machine. He loves it, and it is fun to see him enjoy it and feel like one of the big kids.

The Power of a Black Bat

Today was the day Alex has been waiting for ...the day he finally got to go to the dentist! Without going into all the details of previously failed visits, the number of dentists we have seen and the expenses we've incurred, we had told Alex that if he was brave and didn't get too crazy on us, we'd buy him his new favorite, "have to have" Black Bat webkinz. {I know, you've got to love bribery!} So needless to say, the past few weeks he has been all consumed with figuring out the number of days {he is a numbers kind of guy} until he could "earn" his next webkinz. The fact that he was going to have six more cavaties filled was purely secondary. Fortunately with the help of a little "sleepy juice" this time around, he did just fine and was a mighty brave and courageous little guy. We now have a Black Bat roaming our house and a happy boy that hopefully doesn't have to go back to the dentist for a long, long time! Who knew Webkinz could have such power?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why, Oh Why???

After working my tail off for an hour doing this

do I come home and find and indulge in these

when my fridge is fully stocked with spinach, cantelope, strawberries, whole wheat bread...

Back to work I go! Ugh!!
and no I didn't eat 60 packs....just enough to satisfy that sweet and salty craving!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mmmm....THE Bread!

How do you make approximately 24loaves of bread in just an hour and a half ? Just invite all of your favorite Beehives and of course The Expert, Trish to come over and voila! We didn't quite get them in the pans or cooked, but we still had a great time learning how to make that yummy sacrament bread. Thanks Trish!

Did I mention that I'm still finding flour everywhere? :-)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Labor Day Adventures (or misadventures...) at White Horse Lake

Our neighbors invited us to go "camping" with them over Labor Day weekend. We, of course, thought "sure, we'll go" because our kids just think camping is the greatest thing ever! Anything to make the kids happy and give them outdoor experiences, right? Now, I use the term camping loosly, because for our kind neighbors who invited us, "camping" is done in a brand new huge camper with all the amenities of home....fridge, microwave, beds, get the picture! For us , think not so luxurious like tent, dirt, bugs, mud... oh, so fun! So, after spending a day and a half packing, trying to figure out a menu that can last in the cooler for 3 days with only the ice that you take and watching the weather reports that didn't look promising, we finally get into to the car for what should be a 3 1/2 hour drive. Well that 3 1/2 hour drive turned into something like 7 with all the "quick errands" we needed to do on the way out, horrible holiday traffic, "I have to go potty" stops and a few phone calls from the neighbors who had made it to the campsite earlier reporting that they were having torrential rain storms. We were sooo close to turning around and heading back home. In fact, I had my three day weekend "honey-do list" already figured out in my head! But alas, from the back seat two little voices said, "We don't care if it rains, we'll still have fun and not complain!" "Really?, No crying if you get wet and muddy?" Nate and I tried to confirm with them. "Really!" they said. So, we pressed forward! And fun they had even with some major downpours here and there. We took a hike, attempted fishing, ate too many s'mores, took in the cool refreshing mountain air and, amazingly, the tent actually stayed dry! (inside that is! :-)

Nate whipping up some pancakes!
Madison & Jacob doing some diggin'

Balancing Act

Got to love catch and release!
Girlies playing with the bait

Tanner really getting serious about this fishing thing!

Oh so happy that neighbors have dogs so I don't have to!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Yippee For Our Shining Star!

After watching her brothers start the new school year, Madison has been beside herself waiting for her turn to go to pre-school. Every day she would ask, "Do I get to go to "Shiny Staw" today? Unfortunately the answer was always "no, not yet!" Finally the day arrived...and this is how she came down the stairs in the morning ready to head off to her very first day of preschool...and the terrifying part--she is still only two!

After a little mother intervention and a lot of coaxing we made it out the door looking like this...

Ahh, much better! (Or at least a little more innocent :-))

We love this Shining Star!

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Relinquished Job

I'd venture out to say that when a child decides to take on a household job, most mothers are more than happy to let them take it on. Well my little Madison has decided to take on this job...
Yep that's right she is now my resident cricket, silver fish any kind of bug catcher! She is quick to get her tissue and once she has the culprit captured, into the toilet it goes! I have no intention of EVER putting this task back on MY "to-do" list!