Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Supernacle!

Well, today was awesome. We all went early in the morning to the Conference Center to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Broadcast, and it was so sweet - we got VIP treatment! We sat in the reserved seats on the second row, right in the middle and we got to watch the rehearsal, and then they did the countdown to the live broadcast. We were able to bring Lizzie with us since she is almost 8 yrs. old and she was fascinated by the organ and how it all worked. It was really great! Here's a picture Adam took with his phone. Good thing we were on the front row.



Towards the end of the program, I looked down our row and saw the Becks - a family in our ward in Arizona! What a coincidence that we saw them here!

I was busting with pride that that was my little sister singing today! Great job, Erin!

Lizzie and Eli Ski

video** Adam had to film this while he was skiing backwards, by the way... and also, that was Megan that snowboarded by, me yelling "Slow Down!" to Lizzie, and Whitney waiting for us at the end in the brown jacket! What a fun group!

Adam's Birthday!

For Adam's birthday this year, he wanted to go skiing with the kids. We went to Brighton ski resort and it was a high of about 20 degrees that day! Holy shocking culture change! Lizzie hadn't been skiing for a couple years, and Eli hadn't been since last year, but after we actually had a ton of fun. Megan (Adam's sister) and Whitney (my sister) came along too. We had a great time.





Saturday, December 29, 2007

Erin's latest Gig

So, if you want to hear Erin (my younger sister) solo with the MoTab, tune into "Music and the Spoken Word" live on KSL at 9:30 - 10:00 am this Sunday morning! She's doing some Messiah solos and the choir is doing several of the choruses. We'll be there live in the Conference Center (silently) cheering her on!

You can go to this link to watch it live at 9:30 am Mountain Standard Time:

www.musicandthespokenword.com

Or, you can watch it live on BYU television, if you have that kind of thing in your house.

Enjoy!!

Visiting Zebra!

My dearest friend (and cousin), Deborah (Zebra - use a short "e" sound, you'll get it!), had us over the other night!

Below is what I saw when I came into the kitchen. Look carefully. Now, we're going to play a game - Provide a caption for this picture! You know, like they do in the New Yorker magazine. The one with the funniest caption wins!



Here's the kids playing together! They were being so silly!


And then Adam found their wood burning stove. They hadn't started using it yet this winter, so, he, being an expert in all things Paul Bunyon, couldn't resist getting it going!


So, let the caption game begin! Entertain me! I've given you alot to go on, so go crazy!!

I'll be checking!

But, we still like the snow at Christmas time...

So we went to Utah!

We love visiting family over Christmas break - we get to celebrate Adam's birthday, go skiing, and visit with alot of friends that are all in town visiting their families! There really is something beautiful about snow-laden pine trees at Christmastime. The bitter cold I could do without!

Here's our friends the Stephensons from Wisconsin - we met them: Daisy, Ivy, Eli, Lizzie, Lizzie, and Anna. So fun to see them!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Baking Day



We made "Lizzie Pies" with Grandpa Stewart over Christmas! We were so glad he was able to come down to Phoenix and spend Christmas with us.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

"Christmas in Arizona"

The visitor sadly shook his head
As he basked in the tropical sun;
"Call this Christmas?" to us he said,
"Well, not where I come from!"

Christmas needs snow and ice and cold,
And the sound of sleigh bells ring;
And as for me, I can't be sold
On this winter that feels like spring."

We looked at him and then we smiled
As he scoffed aloud at our "plight":
And we felt pity and were not riled
'Cause he was so far from right!

For no snow fell on Bethlehem
On the night the star first shone,
There was neither blizzard nor howling gale,
That swept with a shriek and a moan.

The breeze was soft, and what is more
The night the Christ Child came,
The Hibiscus bloomed near the stable door,
As Mary murmured His Name.

Bougainvillea of violet hue
Arched in graceful bower,
Poinsettias, wet with midnight dew,
Enhanced that sacred hour.

The heavenly Host in the starry sky
Proclaimed the birth of the King;
And the rustling palms echoed the cry,
As the whole Earth seemed to sing.

So we find here in our sun-drenched land.
Untouched by the ice and snow.
That the Spirit of Christmas is near at hand
And we feel God willed it so.

--Anonymous

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gingerbread House!














Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Muir for sending us this kit for Christmas! What a fun afternoon we've had decorating the Gingerbread House... and believe it or not, we actually finally finished off all our Halloween Candy!

Whew! It's been awhile!

Sorry to my dedicated readers out there, I have deserted you for over a week! Shame on me! I have missed you too.

Well, it's that Crazy Christmas time of year, where everything builds up and builds up until you either get sick, have a total meltdown, or decide to hibernate and declare that you're actually of Jewish descent, so under no obligation to carry out the huge production that Christmas has become. You know you're in trouble when you find yourself envying your friend who is bedridden this month! (Sorry, Robyn, I admit, the thought did cross my head - but only for a second!!)

Being an actual true Christian, I decided against the Judaism option, so I have decided that the theme of this Christmas is "less is more" and I am determined not to get caught up in the madness. This plan sounds all good and well until I start comparing myself with others around me:

Do I have Christmas lights up on my house, outlining my roof and encircling our (dead) tree in the front yard?

Do I have unique, well-thought out and non-dollar-store gifts for all my children's teachers?

Did I have a Christmas family portrait taken - or even, for that matter, can I find a picture from 2007 where all five of us are in the same shot?

Can I find said picture before January 2008?

These are the questions that haunt me as a modern mother. So this year, I am taking a stand and determined not to feel guilty about either the things that I may have overdone because I love them, or the things that I just won't get to this year. And that has really given me peace of mind to be able to enjoy this time of year.

Peace (of mind) on Earth, Goodwill to Men!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ten Things About Me

One of our assignments as a new Relief Society presidency is to write a paragraph about ourselves for the stake newsletter. Here's mine...hey, maybe you'll find out something new about me!

1. I will be singing the Messiah choruses six nights this week and 5 nights next week with the Phoenix Symphony Chourus. Hallelujah.

2. I married a man who likes to bake. He tortures us on Fast Sundays after church by making not one or two, but several desserts before we’ve broken our fast.

3. After my freshman year at BYU, I went on a study abroad to Israel and it made a significant difference in my life – a really self-defining moment you could say.

4. My favorite books are Anna Karenina, Pope Joan, and Pride and Prejudice.

5. I believe that music is something that everyone can and should participate in and that it has so much potential power for good.

6. I love to blog! It gives me a chance to express myself and it combines scrapbooking and writing in my journal – two things I’m not very good at – into something that I like to do.

7. Our three children are the only grandkids on both sides of the family – so, yes, they are in high demand during the holidays!

8. I have lived in 6 different states, and spent almost completely equal time on the east coast and in the west. The longest I’ve lived anywhere was in Hershey, Pennsylvania for 6 years. (Maybe that explains the chocolate addiction!)

9. I’ve recently been told that my “eyebrows need help…times ten!” Maybe I’ll get to that after Christmas…

10. One of the most fantastic experiences I’ve had was playing “Maria” in The Sound of Music. My daughter got to play “Gretl” and my husband played a Nazi. But, really, he’s very a nice man.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Don't worry, the rest of the Christmas party was GREAT! :)



We had dinner and a program, and Lizzie and 7 of her friends did a dance number to "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" that was totally rockin'! Don't they look cute in their matching outfits?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wanted: An Older, Bearded, Friendly Gentleman with a Round Belly.


They had such high hopes. Of meeting the real Santa. Those of you at our Ward Christmas Party last year will remember that this year's Santa was a ginormous improvement. His hands were clean, he didn't have a dark mustauch peeking over the folded white elastic band that had pillow stuffing glue-sticked onto it. But where we made up for in appearances, we lost in affability. Last year, Santa gave an overfriendly thumbs-up with the kids for each picture that was taken. This year, maybe I missed it, but I heard no "Ho, ho, ho" ever escaping his lips (granted, the cardboard beard was surely an obstacle). I'm not even sure if he asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas. Most of them didn't get that far.

It's not Lizzie I'm worried about (Eli saw the Santa and went MIA - looking for candy, most likely). It's the others. They don't remember ever having seen a Santa that looks anything like the guy from "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." For Lizzie, we are holding on tightly to the memory of a Santa in Roanoke with a Real Beard, who played guitar and had a singalong with the kids and who let them sit with him on his Real Sleigh.

But the others have no other memories to draw upon in this time of need.



In the words of Liz Waterman: "I'm just waiting for the year when they finally decide to save up and spring for a real Santa."

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree




When we went to find a Christmas tree last Saturday, the kids ran up to the smallest tree and said, "OOOOH! Can we get this cute little one?!" Ivy was pointing to it saying "Little Baby" and at the bigger trees around her "Big Mommy" and "Big Daddy"

At first Adam and I said no.

Then we asked how much the 9 foot trees were.

"The little one looks GREAT, kids! Let's get it!"

So we put our Baby Tree in the trunk and drove home. And as we were decorating, I was thinking to myself, Why haven't we done this before!? No tying the tree down to the top of the van, no ladders to put the star on, and decorating took no time at all. The kids even stuck around to the end!!

Best Bonus: The small tree will make all our presents look BIGGER!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

We Can Have Snowball Fights Too!

Okay, so check it out.

There is something we do here in Arizona when we want to have a big party in December with kids. Someone pays aLOT of money and hires someone else to load a dumptruck full of snow from somewhere cold like Flagstaff and then drive 2 hours down to Phoenix real fast and dump it in the parking lot. PARTY! (But party quick, cuz it's melting before your very eyes.)



I saw this for the first time last year, and I was so confused - ("Did it just snow on this little square patch in the parking lot? What kind of strange El Nino weather pattern was THAT?")

I love the kid with her capris and short sleeved shirt walking onto the pile of snow. I can just imagine her conversation with her mother before they got there:

"Honey, this is called a "glove." We put it over our hands - kind of like a little jacket for our fingers. It protects our fingers when they start feeling this strange sensation people call "getting cold."

We gots to do what we gots to do.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Seussical, the Meussical!



I was lucky enough to get to go on Lizzie's field trip this morning to "Seussical the Musical" (for only $8, I might add!) What a fun show! The sets and costumes were so very Seussey and the music had some pretty catchy tunes! I love it when they put the band onstage, too. It's so fun to see them play - and they all had on huge striped bow-ties - how fun!

My very favorite line (that was lost on the youngs' minds) was when they were going to auction off Horton sitting on Mazie's egg up in the tree and the auctioneer stood up and said "Welcome to 'Seuss-ebey's'" Ha! I bet they planned the entire show around that one joke. I would have!

We went to the Tempe Center for the Arts, which just opened for business this season. What a beautiful facility!

I think we might have to go to some of their shows next spring - especially since they're doing "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," - one of my all-time favorite storybooks.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Let it Rain, Let it Rain, Let it Rain!




This past weekend, we had a HUGE rainstorm in Phoenix. Well, huge for Phoenix, anyway. We got 4 inches of rain! That's half of our annual average!! It's the most it has rained since we moved here. It was so funny to hear people saying, "I can't believe it rained SO LONG! 12 hours STRAIGHT!" People who have always lived here had never seen anything like it before. I told them about the week in CT when it rained for 10 days straight. Ugh! It was so cute, though, the way the kids were all acting. It reminded me of the excitement of the first snowfall of every winter. And the best part - Ivy got a chance to wear that raincoat!

And I was surprised he climbed the wall????

Friday, November 30, 2007

Promises

Right now, we are supposed to be on a preschool field trip to a really cool restaurant in Mesa called Organ Stop Pizza. This restaurant features a mega-theater-organ which they have rigged up so that the entire restaurant is part of the music - horns blowing out from the back walls, drum sets in the corner. The organist plays the entire time you eat. It is way cool for kids and adults.

Unfortunately, we are not there right now because I am the meanest mother in the world. You see, a couple weeks ago, I got a phone call from the neighbor behind us. She said, "Did you know Eli is over here at my house?" and I said, "WHAT?"

When we pieced it together, we realized that Eli had figured out how to climb the back wall (easily 7 ft. tall)using our trampoline, and once on top, he jumped down to a little playset of the neighbor's, slid down their slide, and voila! A playdate without the hassle of parental involvement! Needless to say, our neighbor's mom wasn't so happy about him showing up in her house, and Adam and I were totally mortified, and scared for his safety, in that order.

Well, we had a big talk with him. But over the next several days, it happened again, and again, and again!! Now we were really mad, mortified, and scared for his safety (still in the right order)! We started threatenings, taking privileges away, and still nothing worked.

Then, Happy Apple Preschool announced their Field Trip coming up! Haha! Ammo! I was very clear when I explained to Eli that if he hopped over that wall one more time, we would not be going on the field trip to his all-time favorite restaurant.

HOP! Over he went. I'm not that mean, so I gave him 2 more chances.

HOP!

HOP!!

Well, that was it. No Field Trip. That night I told Adam what had happened, and we also decided that a physical barrier was imperative. We moved the trampoline a foot or two further away from the wall.

The next day, Eli wanted to play outside. I made my usual threatenings, Eli made his usual promises. Out he went.

30 seconds later, I hear Eli yelling his head off in the back yard. "MOM!!!"

I sauntered outside. Eli was balancing at a 45 degree angle with his feet wrapped around the trampoline edge and his arms pressed against the back wall. He was completely stuck and helpless. "MOM!! I can't get down!"

"Oh, Eli what are you doing there? I thought you weren't going to climb the wall?"

"I just wanted to see how far away it was! Help me get down!"

"Oh, I'll be there in a second, you just wait while I go get my shoes."

I slowly sauntered into house to get my shoes, and then I moseyed across the backyard and rescued my suspended son, whose arms were trembling at this point.

Shockingly, we haven't had any incidents since then.

But, we're still not going on the Field Trip.

I don't want to take any chances.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Having a Distractable (hold on one sec...) Day...

Today, I am baking. Snickerdoodles, to be exact. I am doubling the recipe for maximum efficiency. So, this means fractions are involved. Anyway, I have been so distractable today, that even with an entirely quiet house, my thoughts were distracting me so much that I put in 5 eggs instead of 4 and had to scoop the superfluous egg out. Then I forgot the baking soda at the end, so I had to replace the beater and mix it in. Then, after rolling my first moist cookie, I realized that I must have doubled the 2 3/4 cups of flour incorrectly. Having been only able to find my 1/2 cup measure, I figured that 2 and 3/4 cups flour times 2 was the same as 11 half cups. Wrong! Recheck your work, girl! It is 11 half cups plus a quarter cup! So again, I replaced said blade and mixed it in.

My whole intent in going fast is to multi-task. In fact, I pride myself on my multi-tasking abilities. Hold on one sec, the cookies are done. Okay, I'm back, what was I saying? Oh yes, I feel like I'm accomplishing so much when I multi-task! But I believe I have crossed the line when my brain is distracting itself. This is the very reason that Adam is in charge of all food-flipping tasks: french toast, pancakes and grilled cheese. Oh, I can start out just fine. But waiting is what gets me! I'm so impatient, I'll think of something else I can do real fast and of course I plan to come back before the food is browned. That's when Adam steps in and the next thing I know, he's serving me a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich and I've completely forgotten about said flippable food. We must be a good match.

Well, I have errands to run! Gotta go!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Phoenician!






Dad treated all the boys to a day of golfing at the Phoenician. The weather was perfect! Eli learned to tee off and putt - he even got his own clubs and of course loved to drive the golf cart. But in the end, Dad was the one who won it all - just the way he likes it!! :)

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: Guitar Hero III


Truly, this was a highlight of the week: Watching Matt rip it up on HYPERSPEED EXPERT level playing Cliffs of Dover. It was pretty sweet.

Rock on, Brother.

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Feast!









We have some serious cooks in this family! John made the butternut squash soup, asparagus, and carved the turkey, Erin made the salad, Adam made the stuffing, Mom made the shrimp cocktail, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams and dessert, and I did the turkey and cranberry sauce! YUM!!!