Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell 2009

2009 was a great year for our family. It was filled with many fun adventures. We had a successful garden, started raising chickens and we raised two pigs. We finally caught up with the rest of the world and got the Internet and through this, I've been able to reconnect with so many old friends. The kids started school and started loosing teeth. We enjoyed many visits from family and friends this year and we welcomed new nieces, nephews and Aunt Calli into the family.
As I look back on all of the blessings we received in 2009 I am truly grateful to My Heavenly Father, he guides and blesses us daily. We're looking foreword to another great year filled with new and exciting adventures!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Morning

We all had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas at home. We're a little sad that it's over. We hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas too!
Being the president of his own bike riding club, Caleb really needed a bike upgrade. He was so thrilled to get a bike with " shocks and gears"! Sarah asked Santa for a surprise. I guess he knows how much she loves Cinderella. Her dress was made out of a $2.00 formal found at a thrift store. She absolutely loved it. Eliza specifically told Santa that she did not want Pretty presents, she only wanted cool stuff. Wish granted! She also got Bakugans, which she's been wanting for a while now.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Program

Every year Taylor Elementary Puts together a Christmas program. Yes, that's right CHRISTMAS! Not a "winter" program, or even a "holiday" program. It's all about Christmas, complete with Away in A Manger, and Silent Night. LOVE IT ! The kids all did a wonderful job. My kids love the spotlight and they sang loud and proud.
My only regret is that I didn't get any good pictures of the actual performance. I was helping the teachers get costumes on the kids in their classroom so by the time I got into the auditorium,the only seats available were way in the back. :( I did get some good pictures of the kids before the program so they'll have to suffice.

Don't they look great? After looking in the mirror Sarah shook her curls and said " I think today's the day I'm going to ask Tillison to marry me."(Tillison is a cute little boy that Sarah's had her eye on for a while.) I told her she should probably wait at least a few more years, before she pops the question.
Caleb's class sang "Here comes Suzi Snowflake." The girls sang "Sweet Angie the Christmas Tree Angel."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Birthday !

The Trio turned six yesterday, and we celebrated with a party! This was the first birthday party that the kids have ever had. (Besides family parties of course) I haven't thrown a party for them in the past because I feel that lately birthday party's have gotten so extreme, and over the top with themes, mega cakes and "goody bags". I think they are indulgent, and contests to see who can spoil their kids the most. I don't like the idea of a kid getting so many presents that they don't appreciate and take care of any of them. So for those reasons combined with with the fact that my kids Birthday falls in the middle of December,(the busiest month of the year...) we've always taken the money we would have spent on a party to get each of the kids one or two nice gifts and then do something really fun together as a family. (I'm pretty sure that little b-day tirade of mine probably cost my kids a few party invitations ...sorry guys. Please don't hold my kids responsible for their mother's issues. :) )
What I didn't count on , in my quest to shelter my kids from the evils' of birthday parties was that once they started school and made friends, that they would be invited to these spoil fests. ( I knew I should have home schooled !)
After attending a few of these parties, they've started to question the way we have always handled birthdays at our house. The questions are laced with underlying tones regarding their mother's lack of love and concern for her children. Don't they deserve a birthday party, is there something terribly wrong with them that makes them so undeserving of celebrating their birthday party with their closest 50 friends.
I wasn't surprised that when I asked the kids what they would like to do for their birthday they all said that they wanted a party. So what's a mom to do?
I laid down some ground rules for the party. First of all, there would not be a theme. That's right, no Hannah Montana, Spider Man, H.S. Musical or Clifford.
Second, they could each only invite two friends. I know I'm so cruel, but two multiplied by three is six. Add that to the three of them and you get nine kids. That is plenty of kids to make an official party.
Third rule..the party would be held here in our own home, not the local pizza place, bowling alley, or town social hall. They would also be responsible for coming up with their own entertainment and activities. I would not be hiring a clown, a band, a magician, acrobats, nine ladys' dancing or ten lords a leaping.
And finally the last rule, The Ace of cakes would be me. A homemade cake for a homemade Birthday party.
Get it... Got it... Good.
The kids each chose the two friends they wanted to invite and it turns out everyone in their primary class got invited. That worked out nicely. They decided that their guests would each get to make their own individual pizza for lunch and while the pizzas' were baking they would play Jenga, and Duck Duck goose, and "just play". After lunch we'd have cake and ice cream, and last but not least they'd get to open presents.
I spent a grand total of ten dollars at the dollar store on plates, cups, Balloons, and yes... "goodie bags". I spent another fifteen dollars at Bashas for Rohdes rolls ( makes perfect individual pizza crusts) cheese, sauce, pepperoni, ice cream, and soda pop. I already had a cake mix and frosting so the entire party cost twenty five dollars. I have to admit it was a lot cheaper than I thought it would be.
The party went just as planned. Everyone had a wonderful time and Eliza said that I'm "the best birthday mom ever !"So I guess Birthday Partys' aren't all that bad. The kids know not to expect one every year and I know that we can have a party once in a while and it won't corrupt my children.

plates and cups = $4.00
trinkets and balloons = $6.00
Food and drinks= $15.00
Giving your kids a birthday party they'll never forget = PRICELESS !

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year !

This time of year is full of traditions for our family. One tradition we have is decorating a gingerbread house. It makes a fun F.H.E. activity, and a cute Christmas centerpiece for our table. Other traditions we have are: Making a Christmas countdown chain, Baking goodies for our friends and neighbors, and Watching Polar Express on Christmas Eve. I love this time of year...don't we all...I love that it brings us closer together as a family and it brings us closer to our Savior.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree !

We decorated our Christmas tree on Saturday. Before we got started; I built a fire in the fireplace and I put a Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas CD in the CD player. Once the setting was perfect, we started setting up and decorating the tree.
I'm usually a bit of a Christmas Nazi, meaning I want everything done my way. But, this year I did pretty good at letting the kids decorate their way. (I only vetoed a few things. I also moved a few ornaments when their backs were turned...Is that bad?) The important thing is that we were all happy with how the tree turned out.Beautiful!

Love note.

Passing notes during sacrament meeting is not O.K. I repeat, passing notes in sacrament meeting is not O.K.

With that said, Caleb and I passed the following note back and forth during sacrament meeting a couple of weeks ago... He started it.

I was in a hurry when I wrote the translations. I hope you can read them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Tuesday

Adam and I spend every other Thanksgiving with the Gurrs, or Quists. Since this is an "odd" year, we were scheduled to have Thanksgiving dinner with the Gurrs this year. A list of things came up in the Gurr family, (work schedules, knee surgery, out of state visit scheduling conflicts etc..) that made it impossible for all of us to get together for Thanksgiving. We realized that we could all get together on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and since we seem to have the most available carpeted floor space for sleeping on, everyone decided to come up here to Taylor for our "Thanksgiving reunion".

Family members started arriving on Monday and by Monday night we had 27 Gurrs settled in. We spent Monday night visiting and Reminicing. We had a blast laughing at hilarious Gurr memories. Adam's sister Stacey presented Mom and Dad with a beautiful book of memories and testimonies written by all of their children. It was so fun to laugh together as the stories were told.

Tuesday was filled with buggy rides, Rook games, a Tresure hunt, and "Gurr Games".
Aunt Celeste organized the Gurr games. We had fun running three legged races, having sack races and tossing eggs. I didn't win any of the events ( I know, shocker right!?) but every one was kind enough to let me get the coveted Almond Roca prize. Thanks guys.

We had a wonderful feast, thanks to all of the talented Gurr women and their amazing cooking skills. Also thanks to the guys, who got the kids out of the way by taking them on a buggy ride.

We were sad when it was time to say goodbye to everyone. I'm already looking foreword to another Gurr reunion.

I'm now ready to decorate for Christmas! Yipee! LET THE CHRISTMAS SEASON BEGIN!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nothin' New

We haven't had any grand adventures lately, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to catch up on the every day stuff. Plus, Adam lost our camera on his last Scout outing so were gonna be picture-less for awhile.

Adam's been in the young men's presidency for several months now and he is enjoying it a lot. He's been able to keep doing tractor work, but there just hasn't been enough work to keep him busy full time. He was able to get a part time job delivering auto parts to garages in some of the other small towns in north-eastern AZ. It's not his favorite job, but it's proven to be a blessing financially and we're grateful for it.

I am currently serving in the Primary presidency. Primary is definitely my favorite place to be. I love working with those sweet kids. Now that it's fall, and the garden isn't taking up all of my time, I've been able to spend more time sewing and baking. It's been good for our quilt supply...bad for my waistline. I have also gotten to substitute teach a couple of times. I had a blast both days and hope to get to do it more often. The Trio continue to keep me busy, and happy. They never cease to surprise me with some of the crazy things they say and do.

The kids love school, primary, riding their bikes, making friends and doing their chores...Well maybe they don't love doing their chores, but they are getting good at doing them, and they are becoming so responsible.
They were recently asked to sing at the community "Evening of Sacred Music". They did a wonderful job singing "My Heavenly Father Loves Me". They enjoyed being in the spotlight, and they especially loved seeing their names printed in the program.

I guess that about covers things for now. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Maybe Jesus is having a treasure hunt."
Sarah 11-10-09

Monday, November 9, 2009

Birthday, Baptism, and Baby Blessing in Baghdad. ~Say that five times fast !

This past weekend we went to Baghdad, AZ so see Lydia's daughter, my niece Carolyn Hulse get baptized. Lydia's son Eric was also blessed on Sunday morning. Yay! A two-for-one visit. We were able to stay with my Brother Paul. He and his wife Beth were great hosts. The kids had a fun time with their cousins and I had a great time with my siblings. I love family get togethers. We enjoyed Carolyn's Birthday party at the park. The Baptism and the baby blessing were beautiful. We miss our extended family already, and we are looking foreword to our next get together at Thanksgiving! We Can't wait.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sweet Sarah

I just want to take a minute to brag about my sweet Sarah. Sarah Earned the "prestigious" Outstanding Citizenship Award at her school this week. The award is given to students who have great behavior, are kind to others, and complete all their assignments neatly and on time at school. We are all so proud of her for earning this award. Great job Sarah, we love you!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Taylor Elementary Halloween Parade and Party

I just wanted to share some pics of the kids at their school party. I had a great time helping out in their classroom, and the kids had a blast at the party. I love that the school throws political correctness out the window and still has a "Halloween" party and not a "Fall festival". They are going to have a Christmas party too. The kids are practicing "Away in a Manger" in their classroom. They'll be singing it at the school Christmas program. SWEET!
Both girls wanted to be Fairy Princess ballerinas. Easy... wings, crowns, and tutus.
Caleb wanted to be a super hero ...again. He'll always be my little heroThe kids spent the morning making bat puppets, paper ghosts, mummy pizza's,spider suckers, they also sang songs, and had story time and colored pictures. WOW what a party!.

Halloween Buggy Ride

We were so happy to have Adam's brother Richard and his wife Calli here for a visit this weekend. We love having company (hint,hint) and we decided to do something fun while they were here.
We took a drive up to the snow covered mountains and went on a buggy ride. We had so much fun. The weather was so perfect. It was sunny and warm. But not to warm, we obviously had to bundle up a little. We found some fun trails, and made a snowman,
Richard and Calli are so much fun to be with. We can't wait to do it again. We honestly didn't think there would be much snow left, so we didn't take any tubes or sleds for the kids to slide on. Caleb tried to slide down the hill on his bum, he didn't get very far. Next time we'll be prepared.

Harvest Valley Halloween Bash!

About a week ago I was talking to a couple of friends from our neighborhood, and I asked why no one around here goes Trick-or-Treating. They all gather somewhere for "Trunk-or-Treating" but for me and my kids, it's just not the same thing. There are a lot of good families in our neighborhood with kids but each year no one ever gets more than a hand full of kids that come by for candy, so a lot of families have just stopped turning on that porch light. It's just sad if you ask me. Well, as we were talking we figured that the reason why no one Trick-or-treats around here is because the houses out here are so far apart that it would take a couple hours just get around the "block".
That's when I came up with the idea of a "Trick-or-Treat Hayride". Adam could pull a trailer with the Ranger, and the kids could ride it around the neighborhood. They could all hop off when we got to a welcoming home, then hop back on and ride to the next house.
My friends loved the Idea. One of them donated some straw bales, another one offered to make a few fliers to spread the word that this year there would be Trick or treating in Harvest Valley. (Harvest Valley is the name of our sub division.) We decided that we'd meet at my house for a chili and corn bread pot luck, then we'd have the hay ride.
I was really looking foreword to our "little gathering". Having a Few families over for Halloween would be fun. By midweek however, Adam and I realized that there might be more people coming than we originally thought. In fact, it seemed that everywhere we went ( post office, grocery shopping, the kids school, church, etc...) people were stopping us to tell us how excited they were for the party, and asking what they could bring. In fact there were so many people planning on coming that we had to recruit more hay ride drivers. We started telling people to bring extra candy to give to home owners who normally see a "handful of Trick-or-treaters'".
What started out as a little gathering with a few families, turned out to be a huge gathering with over 80 people and 14 families ! And you know what? It was a blast! One family brought enough hot chocolate for everyone, another made homemade root beer.("witches brew") Every one brought candy, corn bread, chili, bowls, or cups. It was like the "loaves and the fishes" the way we were able to feed every one.
We had THREE hayride trailers FULL of Kids and there were more porch lights on in the neighborhood than there's ever been.
The party was such a success that everyone is already talking about next years party.
I was so busy hosting the party that I really wasn't able to get many good pictures but I did manage to take a few. ( I really need to take some lessons on photography) It was too dark on the hayride to get any good pictures. You'll just have to believe me when I say there were lots of smiles, and a good time had by all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm Dreaming Of a White....Halloween ?!?!

Oct. 28, 2009
We woke up to a couple inches of snow this morning!
The kids took a few minutes to play in the snow before going to school.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Countdown !

The atmosphere in our house is noticeably different. The kids are throwing around words like "spooky" and "Haunted". There's an excitement and anticipation in the air. I'm seeing paper Bats and candy corn math papers coming home from school. There are pumpkins around every corner. Halloween is almost here and WE CAN'T WAIT !
In preparation for the the Big Day, we went to the pumpkin patch last week to pick out a pumpkin to carve. It took a while to find one we all liked, but I do believe that we found just the right one.
The kids all took turns launching gourds at the pumpkin patch. They really enjoy watching "Pumpkin Chuckin" on T.V. They all thought Gourd launching was almost as cool. Eliza took a shot at scarecrow out in the field. She got a little help from a girl who works there at the pumpkin patch. Caleb also took a shot at it. He almost got that scarecrow. Last but not least Sarah took a shot. Her gourd flew past the scarecrow and Almost hit the barn on the other side of the field.

Eliza was in charge of FHE treats tonight and I was in charge of activity so we got together and made Halloween sugar cookies for everyone to decorate. We enjoyed making and eating them. We also had fun taking cookies to some "grandmas and grandpas" in our neighborhood.

Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And So it Begins......

Our family has just reached a major milestone!
Eliza has lost her first tooth! Eliza is technically our "first born", so it's only appropriate that she be the first one to loose a tooth. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. I'm sure that from here on out we'll be loosing teeth on a weekly if not daily basis around here. I don't know how the Tooth Fairy will manage to keep up, especially in these hard economic times.;) It's always bitter sweet when we reach these milestones in the kid's lives. It seems like just yesterday that we were waiting for those "little" teeth to come in. Now they will be replaced with "big" teeth that won't quite look like they belong in their sweet little smiles.... Sigh.. I know I'm probably being a bit melodramatic here, just humor me O.K.. These moments seem to come and go so quickly around here, so I'll celebrate (and morn) each of these moments while I can.
You're beautiful Eliza! Keep smiling.

My grandma and grandpa Burk were here visiting just before Eliza's tooth came out. Eliza granted them the "privilege" of wiggling her tooth. My Grandpa told her that if she didn't put her tongue in the "hole" when her tooth fell out, a gold one would grow in it's place. My grandpa told me the same thing when I was younger. I tried and tried not to put my tongue in the "hole", but eventually I always did. It looks like Eliza just couldn't resist either!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

That's My Boy !

Yesterday evening, Caleb and I had the following conversation:

" Mom, can you please read a story with me?"
" Oh Caleb, I wish I could but I just have too much to do right now."
" Well what do you have to do?"
" When I'm done sweeping, I need to vacuum the living room rug. When I'm done with that, I've got to do some laundry, and then I need to clean the bathroom before your cousins come."
" Wow Mom, you sure do have a lot of chores!"

The conversation ended and I went back to sweeping. When I was done I went into the living room to Vacuum. Someone had picked up and moved everything off of the rug (including the coffee table). So vacuuming took no time at all. When I went to take care of the laundry, the clothes that were in the dryer had been put in a basket and the clean clothes in the washing machine had been put into the dryer. I folded the clothes and went to put the towels away in the bathroom. I found Caleb in there cleaning the Toilet! It didn't matter to me that I'd have to do it myself when he wasn't looking. What did matter was that My boy helped me in every way that he could. Of course the rest of the chores were forgotten and we sat down to read that book together. What else can I say? That's my boy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stop, Drop, and Have a Ball !

Our community celebrated Fire Prevention and Safety Week; with an open house at the fire station last Thursday. (Wow, that was a long sentence.) The kids participated in some fun activities related to fire safety. They also got balloons, had their faces painted, ate cookies, and they took a tour of the fire station. The best part? It was all free!
We took some pictures of the kids with the helicopter that their Daddy "got" to ride in a couple of years ago. It did not bring back fond memories for dad (or mom). The kids loved climbing on the fire truck. Eliza was Happy to volunteer to go first. She wanted to be the "tallest".