Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ten Thousand Hours

When writing his latest book The Outliers, Malcom Gladwell developed something he likes to call the "ten thousand hour" principle.  The whole book discusses ridiculously successful individuals i.e. Bill Gates, Bill Joy, The Beatles etc.  He delves into what attributing factors have influenced their success aside from natural talent and sheer interest.  It is an intriguing book and I LOVED every second of it--please read it.  Your perspective on talents/success/hard work/heritage etc will completely change!  As he studied these people he found that by the time they had achieved their most renowned work, they had "practiced" whatever their craft was for at least 10,000 hours.  Bill Gates/Bill Joy had been programming for at least 10,000 hours by the time they developed software that became worldwide successes.  The Beatles best albums came after over 10,000 hours of playing live together and so on. 

As I read this book, I began feeling slightly mediocre, realizing that I had become a jack of all trades, master of none.  A little piano here, some ballroom dance there, some baking and cake decorating on one side, a little writing on another but nothing that truly defined me.  An in-tune soul at book club a few nights later pointed out (as my same sentiment was shared among most of us "house wives") that if we added up the hours invested into our families, we accumulated WELL OVER 10,000 hours in a much faster time than all those other uber successful individuals in Gladwell's book.  We women are investing time into what is most important and with that said, I suddenly felt more at peace with having many small talents and one major success--my family.  Hopefully when this life is all said and done, I'll have wiped enough tears, hugged plenty of little bodies, told enough scripture stories and clocked enough hours that my most "successful" work of art will be my children.  Women, when you are tired, lacking patience, feeling overlooked and outdated, just remember that the most important work you are doing will add up, minute by minute, hour by hour and the real people--the most important people--appreciate and understand the value of your "10,000 hours"!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Cake

Lisa and Matt asked me to make their wedding cake.  It was a TON of work but so worth it.  I think everyone liked it and more importantly, I achieved my main goal of it NOT tasting like an ordinary wedding cake but more of a gourmet bakery product.  I'm a firm believer that wedding desserts & specifically cakes, can and should be a unique gourmet experience that reflect the tastes and personalities of the bride and groom--not some generic pulled out of the freezer, from a box concoction that so many  cake decorators pass off as wonderful because of a nicely decorated exterior.  (ok, I won't rant anymore!) 

The bottom tier (14") and weighing in at 47.5 lb (yes I weighed it on my sis-in-law's scale before hauling it to the reception center) was made of dark chocolate cake with a dark chocolate orange ganache between the three layers.  The middle tier (10") and around 28lb was a moist pumpkin coconut with a whipped cream cheese filling.  And last, but definitely not least, was the top 6" tier--three layers of lemon poppy seed pound cake with a lemon cream filling.  Although I'm a chocolate lover at heart, the pumpkin was my favorite.  Lets just say I buy cream cheese in bulk at Costco and any occasion to add cream cheese to ANYTHING is fine by me!  The icing was a white chocolate butter cream.  For you cake connoisseurs out there, it was a basic Swiss mmeringue butter cream with added Guittard white chocolate for a better, less greasy, less buttery flavor.  It also helped stabalize the butter so that even in a warmer indoor climate, there wasn't a risk of the frosting softening and falling.

Moral of the story--cakes take a lot of time--especially with kids and trying to make half of it in Las Vegas and transport it to Utah to finish it up for the reception AHHHH.  The hubby was a single dad for about 4 days and is glad I don't have another sister getting married anytime soon :-)  I'm hoping it will be like labor and delivery--where you remember it not being pleasant but the specifics are dulled enough that you are willing to do it again and again (for his sake).

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Sister is Married!

So Scott and I have spent almost 8 of our almost 10 years of marriage as the ONLY marrieds in my family.  I am the oldest, got married young (20) and waited nearly 7 years before my brother David and AMAZING wife Summer joined the club.  I have been praying for this, crossing my fingers and jumping up and down, biting my tongue in dissension or approval at the various dates who've come and gone and now my little sister Lisa just married Matt in the SLC Temple and we have added yet another sibling to our wonderful little clan.  I can't wait to begin doing married things together, trips or retreats, date nights  etc.  I can't wait for them all to be married, to hurry up and have kids so mine can have cousins and for us to have reunions--you know, the kind where we all dump our kids on Grandma and Grandpa and head to Hawaii......those kind! 

The whole weekend was wonderful.  Matt's family is gracious and kind and fits Lisa perfectly.  She was the most beautiful bride--gorgeous dress, brilliant smile, patient as can be.  She let us all be involved as little or as much as we wanted, which meant a lot!  We had a family dinner Friday night in Provo--so fun to spend some "catch up" time a little more intimately before the throngs of excited family, friends and kiddos descended upon the occasion.  I even met one of Matt's sister-in-laws named Natalie who is completely adorable, loves to write and even has a brand new baby boy that I held for a few minutes and now I want another of my own (Scott you can blame it all on her!)  We headed to the SLC temple Saturday afternoon for the ceremony and it was perfect.  I love being in the temple with my family--I especially enjoy seeing the joy my parents get during occasions like this--gives me so much to work toward and look forward to.  That evening we went to a beautiful reception at the Highland Gardens in AF.  Lisa let me make her wedding cake and I LOVED the opportunity.  Scott was amazingly supportive and pretty much flew solo the whole week so I could work on the big project.  It turned out better than I imagined and was totally worth the long hours and late nights.  The happy couple are now living it up in Hawaii for a few days--lucky stinkers--and I expect a full report, pictures, pineapple and all when they return. 

Congrats little sister, I'm so excited for you! xoxoxo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cha Cha Cha Changes

My little boy isn't so little anymore.  I'm sure that is a phrase uttered by millions of parents, millions of times over the span of millions of years.  And whatever occasion that brought about those few little words is backed up by weeks, months, even years of little tiny moments, growths, differences that went overlooked until one day WHAM--your five year old looses his first tooth.  Suddenly you realize it is September, he has started Kindergarten, is so tall he needs all new pants and is MISSING HIS FRONT TOOTH with another one loose and on it's way out.  Where oh where did time go?  On top of it all Ryan just turned four and is now going to preschool.  He bops down the stairs, happy as can be, gobbles down his breakfast, throws on his backpack and bolts for the sidewalk where he waits excitedly for "bus bus" to come.  His teachers love him and the bus drivers love him even more.  Last but not least Collin is one, his 4 molars are coming in at the same time, he's walking everywhere and I just gave him his first real hair cut.  The strawberry golden curls are gone and along with them go my three little boys.

And yet....yes there is an "and yet" to this story.  And yet the same time that takes away the golden curls brings other "firsts" for my little boys.  Firsts--like first day of school, first loose tooth, first part in a primary program and so much more.  So I guess as time changes one thing and I feel the loss of little boy smiles & scrapes it also brings big boy events for me to look forward to.  Because as we all know, moms can do a great deal but we can't stop time!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Busy Summer--playing catch up...

Seems like I'm never as on top of this blogging thing as I'd like to be.  Here's what we've been up to lately--in no particular order because I can't keep track of what's coming up let alone what has already happened!

1. Headed to Idaho for my Grandmother's funeral --nice to be with family and celebrate a life well lived!
2. Jason & Ryan had their first session of Swim Lessons--EVER.  They loved it.  Ryan of course struggled with staying on task and following directions.  Jason is a total fish and can't wait for the next session in August.
3. Headed back to Idaho for my Ahlstrom Family Reunion--which was a BLAST.  Lots of golf, swimming, food, a bouncy house for the kiddos, an old west dinner & show, 4th of July parade and LOTS AND LOTS of family (I have 60 first cousins and there are 90+ Great Grand kids already--to put in in perspective)
4. Got a visit from our best friends from Kingman--who now live in Kansas so we LOVED having them stop over on their way from the Vegas airport to St. George where she is from.
5. We hit up our friend's cabin in BEAUTIFUL Duck Creek.  We go a couple times a year with 3 other families--besties from our old Fort Apache Ward!  It is a perfect place to get out doors, let the kids run around, eat TONS of good food and catch up on each other's lives.  If not for this group of friends, I couldn't have survived Vegas as long as I have!  They are the type where years could go by and I know we'd pick right up where we left off.  They are amazing friends--we'd do just about anything for each other!
6. We hiked Cathedral Rock with the kids (a scenic peak that's part of Mt. Charleston about 45 min from our house)  It was beautiful, not too hot, and great for teaching your kids to finish something tough!  I still can't believe that my 3 year old Ryan busted out that 2 mile hike (never once being carried) when some of Scott's Scouts quite less than half way up.  Nanner nanner to you big 12-18 year old sissies!
7.  Celebrated Collin's first birthday--we were at the cabin on his big day so we had a combined celebration with our friend's son Isaac who turned 8 and will be getting baptised next month.  So much fun!
I know there's stuff I've missed & pictures will follow (don't worry Grandparents, I'll get 'em posted!)  Now on to the Tidwell reunion, more swim lessons, karate class, gymnastics, birthdays and on and on...

...having been born of goodly grandparents...

Some would say I'm lucky, others sheltered, I say I'm blessed--undeservedly so.  I "happened" into an amazing family and my life is so much better for it!  My Grandmother Betty Ahlstrom--my Mom's Mom--passed away in June and I've had many opportunities to reflect on her life and how much my Grandparents (on both sides of my family) have molded and shaped the person I am.  I'll let them claim the good things and won't hold the terrible parts over their heads for too long :-)  Grandma had 10 kids--my mom was the 9th/10th (a twin no less)--and those 10 children resulted in 60 grandchildren.  I think I'm somewhere in the 30's.  So far, 3/4 of us are married and over 90 great-grandchildren have joined us.  It sounds like a lot, I know, but it is normal for me.  And we aren't just a bunch of strangers that see each other every 10 years.  I know my cousins well, I know their spouses, their children, and in a few short years, their children's children and I wouldn't have it any other way!  We would do just about anything for each other.  We each have had our struggles, some significantly more trying than others, but every single one of us is married in the temple, active in the church and are working hard to raise good families that will continue to do the same.

I've wondered what made my Grandparents so special--mine were story book Grandparents (always glad to have a house FULL of kids, Grandma always had homemade cookies ready and Grandpa would sneak us treats from his study.)  I think the bottom line is that they got IT--they understand that life is all about family and that as long as their family was around them, they were happy.  And they passed that sense of family unity on to my parents and now on to me and my children.  There is a lot I want out of life but it all boils down to doing what is best for my little family--both temporally and spiritually.  So thank you Grandma and Grandpa Ahlstrom, for setting such great examples, raising wonderful children and sacrificing so much for your family!                            
The 2 photos are their engagement picture in 1941 and Grandpa's Army photo (isn't he dreamy :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Couldn't Be More Proud

While hitting up the Bath & Bodyworks semi-annual sale yesterday :-) and using Jason as my giant bag carrier while I pushed the other two creatures in the massive double stroller, Jason struck up a conversation with another poor male soul who got roped into being a bag holder for his own mother.  The conversation went like this: 
Jason: I got to see Kungfu Panda 2
Other Boy: Well I'm going to see Mr. Popper's Penguins
Jason: Ohhh that's so cool
O.B.: I'm 6 years old
Jason: I'm five
O.B.: I have a swimming pool at my house
Jason: I wish I had a swimming pool at my house
O.B.: I have a four wheeler I can drive on the road
Jason: Wow, I just have a bike.  But it's new, I got it for my birthday.
O.B.: I just got a BRAND NEW XBOX
Jason: Well I have my very own LIBRARY CARD!
O.B.: No way, my mom says I'm too little, AWESOME!

I could have jumped up and down and done the Rocky Balboa cheer---hands above my head and everything--right there in the middle of the store.  We had just finished at the library (ALWAYS a stressfull time trying to use our "inside" voices) and stopped by B&BW on the way home.  Nice to know something is working!  Chalk one up for momma, the library, and a house full of reading time not video time! 
Mom: 1
Mushy-Video-Game-Little-Boy-Brain: 0

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hello Santa, It's Me, Natalie

Dear Santa,
You may think this is a little premature considering it is only May or even strange since I am a 29 year old mother of three writing a letter to you.  However, I have exhausted all options. I really really really really (ok you get the picture) would like something but no one is listening to me and I am desperate and have nowhere else to turn. I'm writing early because my birthday is in August and I'm hoping that in order to make your holiday less stressful, you could just give me my gift for my birthday instead. I'm not asking for anything too tough; not world peace, not my "pre-baby" body back, not even kids who magically clean up after themselves and potty train themselves as well. I am asking for one teensy tiny, itty bitty, magic machine found at any JoAnne’s, Michael’s or even Ebay (soooo much less expensive on Ebay!) I would like a (drum roll please.....) CRICUT CAKE MACHINE! I have drooling over this thing for a year and a half; I have been a very good girl and promise to be a very good girl FOREVER if I could just have one for my birthday.

My husband says it is totally unnecessary and says "it'll never happen". But I thought his golf clubs, shoes, nice golf bag, golf clothes, constant golf outings with friends, lost balls/broken tees and buying replacements for all of the above seem UNNESSECARY and yet he still owns them, still plays, still replaces and does all of this generally unhindered and supported by yours truly! Now that I think about it, he went golfing Wednesday night and is going again for 5 hours Saturday morning! So if the world of golf can eat hundreds of dollars a year for my dear sweet supportive husband to have a relaxing, enjoyable, usually peaceful hobby which I totally support, I would think that I could have one little $150 Cricut Cake Machine that will make all my wildest dreams come true.  That's just five or six golf outings--certainly fair under the current circumstances right?  I promise to decorate cakes and cupcakes for the poor and needy—you can even stop by for your birthday and I’ll make a cake just for you!

Thank you for granting me this one small, insignificant birthday/early Christmas wish that will benefit those around me for years to come. And just in case you are REALLY busy and forget, I'll be sure to have all my friends and family remind you the closer it gets to my birthday...August 15th...I'll be 30...I'll be really good I promise......Thanks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mothers Never Sleep

I have to attribute this adaptation to my cousin but it was too perfect not to pass along. I love my mother and grandmothers--all women to aspire to be like (clean homes included :-)

You may be familiar with President J. Reuben Clark’s notable quote on how interest on debt never sleeps. I believe that there is a parallel with Motherhood:

"Motherhood never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never fails to visit or travel to you; it is never laid off work or discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours. [. . .] Motherhood is your companion every minute of the day and night; children cannot shun it or slip away from it; they cannot dismiss it; it yields to polite entreaties, but not to demands or orders; and whenever you get in your Mom’s way or cross her course or fail to meet her demands, she crushes you with love."

Motherhood may not yield monetary rewards. But like the compounding power of interest, one day moms will turn around to see what their children have become. Sister Hinckley said that:

"Being a mother at any age is a blessing, but as we age and our children become interesting and productive adults we really begin to savor the joys of the harvest, the fruit of our labors. How could we have known when they were young and the demands so constant that we would ever have the luxury of simply enjoying their loving companionship?"

I loved this Mother's Day most of all--I think it will continue like that, each one better than the last as my children learn to create, serve and express their love for family. Thanks to the preschool and Primary teachers to went above and beyond, helping them make adorable cards, taking pictures and printing them and teaching cute songs to sing to me. Thanks to a great husband who is appreciative, gives me flowers, cooks me bacon just the way I like it and knows that the way to my heart is through gourmet food!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Noteworthy: "Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps"

I read this one and think it speaks volumes. Read it & pass it on--women everywhere (mothers in particular) need to see this!

Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps
Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) -- I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.

Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie "10" (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her "Xtina" phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.

You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word "Juicy" was written on her backside.

Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see all right. ... I hope her parents are proud. Their daughter was the sexiest girl in the terminal, and she's not even in middle school yet.

Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire this spring for introducing the "Ashley," a push-up bra for girls who normally are too young to have anything to push up. Originally it was marketed for girls as young as 7, but after public outcry, it raised its intended audience to the wise old age of 12. I wonder how do people initiate a conversation in the office about the undeveloped chest of elementary school girls without someone nearby thinking they're pedophiles?

Push-up bikini controversy

What kind of PowerPoint presentation was shown to the Abercrombie executives that persuaded them to green light such a product?

That there was a demand to make little girls hot?

I mean, that is the purpose of a push-up bra, right? To enhance sex appeal by lifting up, pushing together and basically showcasing the wearer's breasts. Now, thanks to AF Kids, girls don't have to wait until high school to feel self-conscious about their, uhm, girls. They can start almost as soon as they're potty trained. Maybe this fall the retailer should consider keeping a plastic surgeon on site for free consultations.

We've been here with Abercrombie before -- if you recall, about 10 years ago they sold thongs for 10-year-olds -- but they're hardly alone in pitching inappropriate clothing to young girls. Four years ago the popular "Bratz" franchise introduced padded bras called "bralettes" for girls as young as six. That was also around the time the good folks at Wal-Mart rolled out a pair of pink panties in its junior department with the phrase "Who Needs Credit Cards" printed on the front.

I guess I've been out-of-the-loop and didn't realize there's been an ongoing stampede of 10-year-old girls driving to the mall with their tiny fists full of cash demanding sexier apparel.

What's that you say? Ten-year-olds can't drive? They don't have money, either? Well, how else are they getting ahold of these push-up bras and whore-friendly panties?

Their parents?

Noooo, couldn't be.

What adult who wants a daughter to grow up with high self-esteem would even consider purchasing such items? What parent is looking at their sweet, little girl thinking, "She would be perfect if she just had a little bit more up top."

And then I remember the little girl at the airport. And the girls we've all seen at the mall. And the kiddie beauty pageants.

And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the "Ashley", the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergartners if they didn't think people would buy it.

If they didn't think parents would buy it, which raises the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?

It's easy to blast companies for introducing the sexy wear, but our ire really should be directed at the parents who think low rise jeans for a second grader is cute. They are the ones who are spending the money to fuel this budding trend. They are the ones who are suppose to decide what's appropriate for their young children to wear, not executives looking to brew up controversy or turn a profit.

I get it, Rihanna's really popular. But that's a pretty weak reason for someone to dress their little girl like her.

I don't care how popular Lil' Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn't always makes me popular -- and the house does get tense from time to time -- but I'm his father, not his friend.

Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, "No, and that's the end of it."

The way I see it, my son can go to therapy later if my strict rules have scarred him. But I have peace knowing he'll be able to afford therapy as an adult because I didn't allow him to wear or do whatever he wanted as a kid.

Maybe I'm a Tiger Dad.

Maybe I should mind my own business.

Or maybe I'm just a concerned parent worried about little girls like the one I saw at the airport.

In 2007, the American Psychological Association's Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls issued a report linking early sexualization with three of the most common mental-health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. There's nothing inherently wrong with parents wanting to appease their daughters by buying them the latest fashions. But is getting cool points today worth the harm dressing little girls like prostitutes could cause tomorrow?

A line needs to be drawn, but not by Abercrombie. Not by Britney Spears. And not by these little girls who don't know better and desperately need their parents to be parents and not 40-year-old BFFs.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Catch me if you I mean!

It seems like catching up on church, cleaning, laundry, blogging, (or catching RYAN as he runs barefoot and pants-less through Home Depot today for example) is all I ever do--I'm a consistent ball of "crazy mommy" playing catch up on life! So simply for posterity's sake, here is me playing catch up on our last few months...

1. Made a cake for a friend's parent's anniversary...this was a tastey one!

2. Hosted dinner at our home for a few of Scott's Priests and their dates for the 7 stake annual formal dance. Made prime rib, Abuala J's sugar rolls, chocolate raspberry souffles for dessert, yummm!

3. Weather started getting warmer--middle of March and yes, that is a photo of my naked boys playing outside with the hose--creating a slip 'n slide on the tramp. Are boys just born with a chip that tells them to do things like this?

4. Tried to turn back time because my little C-man is growing up toooo fast...try to tell me you've ever seen a kid this cute?
5. We moved...and yes, for those of you counting, that makes 4 times in 4 1/2 years. This was not a planned move, our land lord put our house up for sale and after finding a new place and three straight days of realtors camped out on my doorstep, we bailed. Our new place is still in the ward, owned by friends from our ward who moved a couple months ago. Turned out to be an awesome set up!

6. Made cinnamon rolls--Jenkins fam tradition--for General Conference Saturday morning and delivered them to the families that helped us move.
7. My drunk neighbor--whom I'd never really met before, aside from me knocking on his door at midnight asking him to turn down his BLARRING ghetto music--showed up on my door, pounding so hard he cracked & dented it. He persisted--pounding, screaming profanities, rattling the windows, waking up the kids--and since Scott was out of town, I grabbed the phone, called 911 and they hauled his sorry intoxicated hiney off to jail at 1am. It took 4 officers to wrestle him into handcuffs and then into the squad car, all while his poster-child-for-Corona-of-a-wife stands in the middle of the road yelling at him for embarrassing her and yelling at the cops for laying their hands "on her MAN" (finger snapping, head bobbing, hands on hips--I know you can see it in your mind). I felt like a guest celebrity on Jerry Springer.

Things have calmed down since (we really do live in a nice neighborhood, I think this guy just had a few too many and thought he lived on D-street, not Aliante!) Bring on the 90 degree weather (where did my Spring go?) family reunions, Scout Campouts, and even more days of finding Ryan running around the backyard--playing in the kiddie pool--stark naked. My neighbors think he's an exobitionist--I just think we've lived in "the Vegas" for WAY TOO LONG!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Smells Like Poop!

So I'm sitting in Sacrament Mtg.--Scott is passing the Sacrament because there aren't enough Deacons--we are in the middle of the opening hymn and Jason loudly states "It smells like POOP!" I already have my hands full because Ryan doesn't have any volume other than EXTRA LOUD, Collin wants to stand up and screeches any time I set him down, and Jason is sniffing something suspicious. I start sniffing as well--sniffing Collin, nope, sniffing Ryan, nope, sniffing Jason, better not be him he's totally potty trained. I tell Jason he's crazy but he insists something is STINKY. Pretty soon he is turned in his seat, facing backward right in the older couple's faces sitting behind us. He sniffs loudly several times and -- while looking straight at the couple -- says "I'm right Mom, it smells like POOP. Their breath stinks, they need to brush their teeth right Mom?" He stands up, walks to the opposite end of the bench and plants it there instead of in front of the poor couple--all the while plugging his nose. Bishop sees me wrestling with the boys, red faced, ready to grab them and the diaper bag and high tail it out of there before the Sacrament has even been passed and what does he do? Invites me to bare my testimony before turning the meeting over to the rest of the congregation. When I hear it, my head whips up fast--like someone had YANKED the back of my hair--type of fast--he's still chuckling and I'm vowing to toilet paper his house for family night. I start with something like "Bishop was watching me from the pulpit and figured if he didn't get me out of my seat and away from my children they might not make it through the rest of the meeting alive." Thank you life, thank you so much!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Elder Jenkins Returns

My youngest brother, Scott, just finished serving his mission in San Fernando, CA! From the minute he opened his call, we've been plotting to go pick him up & take the kiddos to Disneyland. He finished up the end of January and off we went. Actually my parents met him at the mission home, picked him up and toured the mission visiting some families and then met us in Anaheim. It was great to see him again! You always wonder what the returned missionary is going to be like? Will they have difficulty adjusting, how different will they be--for better or worse :-) Scotty stayed true to himself--his personality was exactly the same as I remembered and it is great to have him back. The boys were thrilled--especially Jason who remembered him the most--and our little hotel room immediately became a boy's "frat house" with wrestling, eating, teasing, laughing and the "occasional" bodily noise!

As for Disneyland, it couldn't have been easier with several sets of extra hands to wrangle our kiddos. Auntie Weesa (my sister Lisa) flew to Vegas and drove to CA with us. It was AWESOME to have her along--she is a huge help but mostly, we don't get to spend much time together and it was great to catch up. Besides, she totally spoiled the boys and they'd love to have her around anytime!
I think our favorite "kid" ride was Peter Pan's Flight--so cool. And my favorite "adult" ride had to be Indiana Jones. We polished off the last night by walking back to the hotel devouring roasted turkey legs. You know it's going to be good when you first bite into it and juice literally squirts five feet in the air. Oh how I wish a truck would deliver one to me once a week

On the way home from CA, we stopped at Cafe Rio before dropping Lisa off at the airport. Collin was gnawing on the table, bit down hard, jerked his head back and ripped his tooth out of the socket. He had blood gushing down his chin, I was completely freaked out, turned to my little sis and said what do I do???? Being the dental hygienist that she is, she calmly took a look and told me to pop it back in and then called our dad who is a dentist. I don't know what I would have done without her. We'll know it 6-8 weeks if the tooth is ok--if it starts to discolor, I have to yank it out. My poor little boy might have a huge gap until his permanent teeth grow in!

Aside from the tooth incident of 2011, the trip was perfect. We're glad the last of the Jenkins' boys are home from missions--we can finally take a family photo, have Thanksgiving and not feel like someone is missing all the time. So viva Mickey Mouse and welcome back brother!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Last few photos

Our Ugly Sweater Christmas Party--this was a Kingman tradition that stuck around!

Kids kids kids since that is what our life is all about now!

Taking the kiddos sledding--6 hours of work for 20 minutes of fun--& Christmas Eve turkey dinner w/friends, out to a movie with the fam--how Ryan got that much chocolate on his face in a movie theater, I'll never know!

Christmas Day

Aniversary Flowers--thank you dear!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Few Holiday Photos...

These are from Thanksgiving. Of course there must be documentation of the food!
If you ever wondered if Collin got enough love, think again!

The people & the fun. Some how the monkey mask kept creeping into photos.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Warn You Now...

...this is a long post--mostly for the sake of documenting our semi-interesting lives on a semi-consistent basis. This Christmas season was a new experience for us with many firsts. Our first Christmas not home in Idaho which was great not traveling 24 hours round trip but we definitely missed all the family and found it strangely "quiet" sometimes. However, the boys made up for the rare moments of silence with all out wars using their semi-auto dart guns that dad bought for everyone! We kept a lot of the same traditions like taking poppy seed bread to many friends & neighbors, doing a Christmas "service" for a family in need, going to see a movie on Christmas Eve Day (Tangled--a new favorite of mine!) and eating WAY too much food. We added a few new ones like eating El Salvadorian (is that a word?) & German food with friends on Christmas Eve, hosting a "Polar Express" party for several families in our ward with hot chocolate, cookies, pjs, bells and even the kid's very own ticket which we punched when they walked in the door. We even upheld a tradition from Kingman--surprising I know--an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. The outfits were atrocious--as expected--and set a pretty high standard for next year. We did a few things which we hope will NEVER become tradition--like being in charge of the food for the Ward Christmas Party--or taking our kids sledding with a 45 min drive to and from for only 20 minutes of tolerable snow time. Jason even got angry that there was snow in his show so he chucked it a good 10 yards away where it sunk and we never could find it. He left Mount Charleston wet, cold and shoeless. We are learning to simplify and decide when our family needs to be a priority over our demanding work/church/social schedules. But aside from the business of the season and realising that life is going to feel out of control for the next 20 years, we enjoyed ourselves. We witnessed outpourings of service, love and faith. We gave and received and were left feeling very grateful; grateful to be employed, grateful to be healthy, grateful for friends and family who open their homes to us when we feel so far from ours. Especially grateful for a knowledge and testimony of our Savior, the blessings of the temple, and the ability to live together as a family for eternity. It has been a great start to our New Year--gym memberships, healthy cookbooks etc :-) Hopefully this year will prove to be as abundant and memorable as the last!