Friday, December 28, 2012


Here were some of the outtakes from our Christmas photo shoot.


And I liked all the blond and all the crazy in this one....

And our finals...

Ah, it was such a festive season. Minus the snow.  But since it's our only Christmas actually staying in Miami, we're making sure to spend plenty of time doing just what is pictured above....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Programs

Since my mom is about the only one left that reads the blog and can't seem to get the pictures I email her, here are the kids Christmas programs!

I have to say, Cash was the stinking cutest clown!  Too bad their class show was mostly about the girls doing ballet and then the boys only ran out for the last few seconds!  But it was cute.

Then I have to say I LOVE that the twins' are at a Baptist pre-K and can have an actual nativity program, not just a holiday show.  And that they pledge allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Bible every morning.  Their show was so cute.  They're not in the first "We're Going to Bethlehem" song, but it's so darn cute.  Phoenix is the wiseman in purple and Ashton is on the right end in the back row when they're singing, "Virgin Mary had a baby boy."  And then I also love the "Happy Birthday Jesus....I'm so glad it's Christmas..."  I cry watching it every time I think it's so sweet.

I should have had a picture of me in my festive wear too.  I went to everything decked out in my candy cane tights, hats, and other festive attire. I asked Cash if I looked festive or crazy.  He said I looked so cute and festive so I went with it.  In a few years he'll be totally embarrassed. And I'm sure I'll still do it.  :)

Here was a cute little party we had at my house for the young women from our church, with s'mores (graham crackers spread with marshmallow creme, dipped in chocolate and topped with festive sprinkles) and a hot cocoa bar (toppings of marshmallows, whip cream and more festive sprinkles, or candy canes to stir in).  

And not to be forgotten, this little guy is pretty cute too.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Been getting in the holiday spirit over here! Made this cute jar for Cash's teacher:

His turned out so cute I wish it was mine!  Now to fill it with some candy and leave some votive candles in there for her.  Saw the idea here.

Took snowman poop for the bake sale last week.

Boy was that a hit.  Everybody here just brings in snack packs of oreos or crackers for bake sale donations, so when I always bring in something creative or homemade it's always such a novelty and people are like... well, in awe, I guess.  These things were gone before the first class got through.  I could hear teachers asking over the radio, "Is there still snowman poop??"  And then Cash's class was in there chanting "Snowman poop!  Snowman poop!"  I was laughing so hard. It's marshmallows, people. Seriously though, I'm going to be crushed when we move to Utah (probably) and no one is amazed at my creativity anymore.  :)  Crafty stay at home moms there are a dime a dozen.

But the latest project I'm really excited about is my new Sounds of Christmas Bingo!  I saw the idea for sound bingo here and thought it was great.  Then recently when I was thinking of ideas to go do some Christmas activities in the twins' Pre-K class, I thought it would be really fun and still work on listening skills to do a Christmas sounds bingo.  I had a hard time thinking I could come up with enough sounds but then had so much fun when I got the ideas!  A baby cooing, angels trumpeting, carolers singing, the clip clop of horse hooves (my mom and I always play a Sleigh Ride duet at Christmas so it immediately came to mind as a holiday sound I love), the crunching of a candy cane, a fire crackling in the fireplace, Mary singing a lullaby.... So I spent a bunch of time finding good sound bytes on the internet and just recorded them as voice memos on my iPhone so I could have it handy when I go in their class.  Some might be trickier than others for them, but I think it will be fun!

I probably should have googled it first to see if someone has already made one since I'm sure someone else could make it way cuter than I could.  And the sound was totally unprofessional - just me sticking my iPhone up to the computer speakers to record it.  But hey, it's the idea that counts.

If anyone wants a copy of the file and the sound bytes I recorded, feel free to email me ( - don't leave a comment since they just don't regularly come to my hotmail account, try as I might. I'm forever grateful for people who post their stuff on the internet for me to use!  (I'm just not as savvy as them to want to figure out a better way to pass on 12 sound bytes rather than email....

And finally these were for Cash's school class.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Favorite Disneyworld Videos

We finally went and did the "real" Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios in Disneyworld (as opposed to our birthday remake, which was pretty darn good itself).  The twins made for some pretty good fodder.

Here are a few of my other favorite Disneyworld videos from our year of Disney fun. (Sadly our passes have now expired).  This one is Phoenix's first time on Splash Mountain - first time on anything big really.  The thing that is so funny about this to me is that here we take them on Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, and then as far as he knows he's just happy-go-lucky getting on another ride. Until....

This one I love the pure spontaneous inhibition.  No encouragement from anyone else, he just feels the music and we look up to see this.  (Until he sees us all watching him I think.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012


This year's Halloween fun.  A ninja that you can't really see, Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin, a doctor who wore whatever we had around that was least likely to get ripped off, and two Toads from the Mario video games.

Ridiculously close at the ring toss...


The trunk-or-treat helper.  Content to sit in the trunk next to the whole bowl of candy rather than fend for his own.

Festive school bakesale treats - 

Halloween party with friends - 

And the 2 seconds the cute hat was on the head, which the camera obviously wasn't fast enough to catch.

I was so excited the twins actually wanted to match this year that I really wanted to do a whole Mario family, but got vetoed by the cost of 6 costumes for one night of wearing.  Well, a girl can dream about being Princess Peach. (Or cute matching family costumes, ever. Why must boys grow up to want ugly costumes? Only another year or two until we're on to the gory grossness....) I obviously go for the most non-sexy costume I can think of year after year here in Miami.  Must be revolting against the local tradition of lingerie and animal ears....  And wearing them to help at your child's school parties....

Anyhow, it seems parents are usually so ready to be over Halloween and be on to other holidays by the time Halloween season is over, but that takes on a whole new meaning when you're in charge of the ward Halloween party.  Here's to not having to do that again.  :)

** Good grief - after questioning from my mother, NO, the great pumpkin is not expecting. The great pumpkin was stuffed with tissue. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Strange turn of events

Well it's been a bizarre week. We were so saddened to hear of the passing of our niece Alyssa last week at age 21 from complications of diabetes, Addison's disease and hypothyroidism. After praying for answers about a job for weeks without feeling much inspiration, I finally felt strongly about one thing - I wanted us to all go to the funeral together. So we used miles and I got our one-way tickets to Utah booked for the next day.

In looking at return flights, I had the idea - hey, what if we just go back through Colorado Springs on the way home. Then hopefully having had our whole family together in Utah and then in Colorado Springs we would feel better about making a decision. So we booked our tickets. Ryan would leave Sunday to get back in time for work, and I would bring the kids back on Monday so I could stay and check out the church here (to make sure I could have some friends to make up for not being by family).

When one of the doctors heard we were coming, he was super nice and offered to put us up in the Broadmoor hotel- the nicest place on Colorado Springs. It was beautiful. We got to take paddle boats out on the lake, made s'mores out on the patio over the fire, and of course drove and drive and drove around to get a good feel for the area and see if we could get a good picture of our life here. We visited Garden of the Gods, saw the most gorgeous fall leaves (I was super excited to be in fall for the first time in 4 years!) and we visited with some lovely families in the area and our kids were so excited to make new friends.

(Ok but what's up with this? We told Cash we would move to Utah or Colorado instead of Iowa because there weren't tornadoes in those states - he is deathly afraid of tornadoes - and as soon as we step foot in the Denver airport, every 5 feet there's a sign telling you where the nearest tornado shelter is! What's up with that? I've never seen anything like it! Didn't take long for him to pick up on that and ensured a good night full of bad dreams.)

Well, Sunday night we talked as I left the area. It was still a tough decision. But we decided, and we were going to go for it. Just as Ryan was going to call the Colorado practice to tell them yes, they called him.

And pulled back the offer.

So folks, in a totally stunning turn of events, I guess we are not going to Colorado after all.

While we were super bugged and I had a rough time trying to sleep last night, I also can't help waking up this morning and thinking - we finally made our decision and it could may as well been God himself calling to tell us that He had let us put in a lot of work and effort to get ourselves to that decision - but no, it was the wrong one.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I'll be honest.  There are two things on my mind right now:

Colorado Springs and Salt Lake City.  (I know, it doesn't look like much of a difference). 

We are finally at the point where a real job is in sight.  As in like 10 months away.  But the choice about where we will be in 10 months is about one week away.  

And I am still stumped.

We have been at an impasse for about a month.  We never thought there would be a job opportunity in Utah.  So we never really had our sights set on it.  We've known for a little while that there was a good job opportunity in Colorado Springs and had that in the back of our minds.  Then something came up in Utah.  Now we don't know what to do.  

The job in Colorado Springs is probably a good fit for Ryan. They seem to think the way he does, run a business and work efficiently in the way he likes. But I'm not sure I love the place.  It's hard to tell when you have a day and a half and your husband is telling you to decide if you want to live and raise a family there for the rest of your life.  The houses were crammed together, yards were small, and believe it or not, I was dying for Utah to see some greenery it was so dry. I worry that I'm just going to be all on my own like I have been for years now and it gets lonely. 

Then there's Utah.  Family.  Lots of it, for both of us.  A place we know we both like.  But a job that may require a little more time away from family, a little more travel for work, and a market that is more saturated.  But still a great opportunity and a nice couple of guys to work with. (Although it seems that rather frequently when he talks to them in the evening they're not done with work or heading back in for another surgery.)  Utah seems a little better developed, lots of great things to do, and ski mountains are right at your back door. Colorado they're about 2 hours away - but the two hours away takes you to great places like Vail and Breckenridge. Both jobs just have enough pluses and minuses that they just seem to cancel each other out and keep bringing us around in circles to where we are back at no decision. 

Trying to sway our decision, my sister-in-law sent me this article about Utah being poised to be the best state to live in.  But when I opened the article, Utah was number 1, Minnesota was number 2, and Colorado was number 3.  Great - the three places we were considering for jobs. No wonder it was such a hard decision. Luckily the Minnesota job was taken by our good friend here at least narrowing it down to two. But good grief, I can't even decide what shirt to wear in the morning let alone where to live for the rest of my life.

For a while it seemed I was pining for Utah and he was happy with the job in Colorado.  Then when we thought we were getting closer to making a decision it turned out we flip-flopped.  Probably him realizing happy wife = happy family, and me thinking grumpy husband = miserable family.  

I know, people say we'll just know where we should be and it will just feel right.  Well, what if that hasn't happened after 4 months of thinking and praying about this and I'm getting down to the wire??

So.  Any thoughts?  Opinions?  Please, weigh in. Job where we'd love to live or live where the job is more cushy? Spend your vacations in Utah visiting family or live by family and spend your vacations elsewhere? Be adventurous and try somewhere new or let our kids grow up by their cousins in a place we know we like? I'm all ears. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Summer picture wrap-up

Some of our must-dos in Utah include the "jumping place" (Kangaroo Zoo), nickelcade, dollar movies (oh how we miss those here in Miami), swim lessons, museums, bowling and more bowling, parks, catching up with old friends and cousins, cousins, cousins. It was so darn much fun!

And when this kid gets in hugging mode it's so stinking adorable. 

Unless you happen to be smaller.

In which case you get a lot more than you're asking for.  Over and over. And over.  But the rest of us love it.  

And why Diesel is in the gutter I'm not sure, but have I mentioned what a lot of trouble this kid is?  Some days I think he's worse than the twins combined.  Then I remember that I just selectively blocked that time of my life from my memory.