Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hogle Zoo trip from forever ago :)

Bryce was obsessed with the monkeys. Ahhhh, I have it recorded now. How good that feels. :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Casa Grande

Have I mentioned how beautiful it's been here lately? Marty and I have driven 25 or so minutes to Coolidge more than once and not stopped at the Casa Grande National Monument. So this Saturday, we decided it was one of those days we really needed to get out of the house and that's what we did! It was SO fun! SO perfect for the kids!

By the way, the Casa Grande is a bunch of ancient Hohokam ruins (from around AD 1200) and was the nations first archaeological preserve in 1892 and the site was declared a National Monument in 1918.

Complete with a picnic!

All in a day's fun

I want to remember how much FUN it is to be a mom. Especially a mom of little ones. I've been lucky enough to be able to stay home and enjoy this phase of life to its fullest. I know this phase is so short and in just a little while I'll hit the soccer mom phase and I will never be able to go back to having just a couple toddlers to care for and play with all day long. To be honest, I have panic attacks anywhere from 2 to 100 times a week when I think about how quickly Brynn will be off to school and how terribly I'll miss her!

ANYWAY, I just wanted to document some of the very simple fun we've been having lately. First of all, the laundry basket. Who knew? I brought stupid laundry basket outside to use as a goal for a game of soccer (we went to a QCHS soccer game and Brynn LOVED it). They played with this thing all day long. The laundry basket became:

a goal:

a stage: (Brynn belts out every song she knows as loud as she can the second she steps outside, it's the weirdest thing)

A Disneyland boat: (I think she must have seen a Disney Cruise advertisement or something)

A pirate boat:
A scary cave:

And a picnic table:
I love this girl's imagination. She could play on her own all day and be perfectly content. Bryce needs constant love and attention to keep him content. But that's how Brynn was a couple years ago and she grew out of it, so I guess we'll just wait and see. All the time I walk past a "display" she has set up, and as much as dirty shoes on the kitchen counter gross me out, I had to laugh when I saw this.
Marty's sister gave us this marble runner game and I thought we'd save it for the summer when we barricade ourselves inside all day. But I couldn't wait, we busted it out this week and it was so much fun.

Brynn and I made Beignets while Bryce napped. I don't know why I feel the need to give disclaimers, but here ya go. We took Brynn to go see "The Princess and the Frog" in the theater and thought that Tiana was a good princess but we were totally APPALLED at all the black magic and scary "spirits from the other side" and what-not. Well, we've got it on netflix and Brynn saw it as we were browsing through and begged to see it again. I told her we didn't want the scary man on in our house, which she was fine with, so we just show here the half-hour version of Tiana (working for her restaurant, at the ball, getting married at the end) and we're all happy with that.
Anyway, we saw "Tiana's Cookbook" at the library and that's where we got the recipes for the Beignets it shows in the movie. I told Brynn that a couple of years ago Grandma and Grandpa Oldham went to New Orleans and had Beignets right by where Tiana made them. Brynn was in total awe, so we called Grandma while we were making them and had a fun little chat and Tiana party after Bryce woke up.

The kids have been working more, too. I remember about a year and a half ago I came to this startling conclusion that Brynn was old enough to start learning how to help around the house. I just barely have come to the same conclusion yet again, "Wait a second, Bryce isn't a baby! He can put away silverware and pick up toys and put his clothes in the laundry basket!" Of course this means that any job I give the kids will take 10 times as long as it would take me to just do it myself, so it's not usually much help to me. But besides the fact that I feel like it's never to young to learn work and money management, the kids have been keeping me company more while I work! Last week on laundry day (one of my least favorite days) the kids helped me load the washer and switch the loads most of the day and amazingly we all had a lot of fun together.

Yep, I just posted that.

All of these things are really little. But I guess I recently recorded a rough couple of weeks, and now I want to record a couple of fun ones!
***I love being a mom.***
My friend gave us their old swing set! More fun!
Yes, well, the camera ran out of memory, but you get the general idea. We did stuff all four in here.

Guess who has a FOUR year old?

My sweet sweet Brynnie-Pie turned four on December 22. Before we went up to Utah we threw our first birthday party for her. It was kind of crazy and was right in the middle of all my foot trouble, but I have great friends and had help, and I think the kids loved it, which is the important part.

We had a princess and knight party. The girls were all so cute in their princess dresses and I made little crowns and shields for the boys.

We played "pin the tail on the unicorn," went on a treasure hunt, had a cake walk, and played in the dragon (well, really it's a dinosaur, but no one seemed to mind).
I think she was more excited about her cake than any of her presents. Crown cupcakes! And Cinderella lights up! Remember the part about how I didn't spend hours and love on my own cake creation and just went and bought one at Walmart this year? Yeah. Cortisone shots just a couple days earlier and a 2 week trip to Utah the day after. It was WELL worth it. :)

Her actual birthday was while we were in Utah. So she woke up at Kelly and Christy's and played with her cousins, then we wanted to have a little time with just our family, so we went and got lunch at one of the most posh play places I've ever seen. Then we took her to Ross and let her pick out an outfit (she loves to shop - no lie). Then we went to G&G Oldhams, spent some time there and the went to PIRATE PIZZA! For a girlie girl like Brynn, it always strikes me as funny that she is SO interested in pirates. It was perfect!

Who's having more fun here, honestly?
Love when these two love each other.

There was something so cute about the way she so carefully folded and then stuffed all the tickets into her pockets.

Awwwwe, her first shooting lesson

We discovered a talent Brynn has. She was actually pretty good at shooting hoops. We couldn't believe how many shots she made.
The pirates sang to her and brought her ice cream.

She opened presents from Grandma and Grandpa....

who happened to have the best idea for a present for Bryncess I've ever heard. They gave her a wad of cash, took her to the Disney store at the mall and let her run wild and pick out whatever she wanted! After eliminating Aladdin and Jasmine dolls, a sparkly Belle suitcase, and a few other things, she finally decided on an Alice in Wonderland figurine set (figurines are her absolute favorite toys - she prefers them over baby dolls, barbies, everything) and a Rapunzel doll with looooong sparkly hair. Nice work, G&G and Brynn!

What a FUN birthday!!!!!!!!!

And by the way, if you are wondering about the sores on Brynn's mouth featured in the last 5 posts, we still are not sure what they are. I thought they were horrible cold sores that were getting infected, so the dr. gave us some medicine for them. But for 2 months they still just never went away, so then they recommended hydro cortisone lotion, and for now they have gone down again. I'm still skeptical, since they've done this multiple times and then come back, but we'll just wait and see.

Christmas 2010

Highlights of Christmas in Utah (in no particular order...)

Baking Christmas sugar cookies with Grandma Oldham

We spent half of the trip and Christmas morning at the Johnsons, and the rest of Christmas and the other half of the trip at the Oldhams. Here is Christmas at the Oldhams. The kids are opening their new bikes from G&G!

A Rapunzel bike,

and a "Cars" bikeand they look so cute in their helmets!

And of course plenty of snow play

Grandpa got a workout, and to thank him for pulling her around in the sled all day, Brynn used Grandpa as target practice for her newly acquired snowball-throwing skills.
And here is the "Shepherd Party" that G&G Johnson gave the kids.

Here they are, "shearing the sheep."And listening to Grandpa talk about shepherds...

and loving every minute of it!
Pinning the bell on the sheep

and a few other shepherd games.
But of course, the evening wouldn't be complete without Shepherd's Pie and...riding around the house like total MANIACS on the bumblebees and ladybugs!

They babies of the families. I hope they will be as close as their older cousins.

Here was the traditional Christmas Eve Nativity reenactment. Definitely our least reverent year. :) Kids are hilarious, you can never expect what they are going to do next. So if you give them a costume and ask them to act, they get creative and come up with acting choices the adults might not have thought of.
For instance, Brynn not only loves princesses, she actually believes she is one. So here is Brynn taking her part very seriously, and possibly believing that she is Mary.
Daddy as the donkey (and yes, I refrained - no donkey jokes).The rest of the cast. And don't judge us too harshly for having Buzz in the manger - we were with a whole house full of boys and not a single baby doll to be found!

The wise man had some problems with his costume


Brynn's two much much much MUCH requested items, the "Woody Couch"

and the Leapster.

And Santa heard about Bryce's new absolute ADORATION of trains.

Kelly and Christy were hospitable as always and invited us to share Christmas morning with them. I was so glad we did! The only excitement that beats "a kid on Christmas morning" is "a kid with her cousins on Christmas morning." Chaotic as it was, it was so. much. fun. Thanks for letting us crash your Christmas, Johnsons!
5 kids (ages 4 and under) + Christmas morning = 1 FULL living room!

We finally went to see the lights at temple square. Every year I say I'm going to, and every year we don't want to brave the blizzard and drive up to Salt Lake. But one night the weather was perfect. I was a little worried about being a wimp outside all night, now that I have acclimated to Arizona and get to see the AZ temple lights with temps in the 60s. Every year the first time we stop for gas in Utah, I step out of the car and shiver so hard I look like I am convulsing. But after a day or two in Utah, I remember that you just put on your coats and gloves and go out anyway, and it's JUST FINE.
I get homesick for the following things:
1. My family
2. Temple Square
So this was a wonderful night.

Kelly and Christy and fam.

Brynn is SOUND asleep in the back of the stroller. We tried everything to wake her up, but after a few days of sleeping in the same room as her cousins, I guess the sleep deprivation was getting to her.

On the walk from the conference center to the temple we were saying, "Brynn, look at the temple, look at the lights!" And we couldn't ever get her to look up. Finally, right as we were getting to the temple we saw a horse & buggy, and the words "royal horse and princess carriage" did the trick and she popped right up.
Stroller patrol!

Unfortunately, my amateur camera and photography skills weren't able to capture the beauty of the night. At the end of the night it started to snow gently, and I forgot how much I love to be out in the snow on peaceful nights. But on the drive home, the snow started getting worse, reminding me of how much I hate hate hate driving on the snow. Maybe that was a good thing. :)