Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Traditional Fondue New Year's Fun!

Two of our best friends, Josh and Sarah, inspired something that has become a yearly tradition on New Year's Eve.  We make fondue together!  We gather all kinds of yummy dippers and enjoy plunging them first into warm chocolate, and then into our salivating mouths - so yummy!!  Josh and Sarah were even able to join us from Texas this year!

Kyle ready to dip his pretzel...

 My mom and dad joining the fun...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

fun with the JERGENSEN'S

We got to see lots of family this Christmas!  Mark's oldest sister Jennifer, her husband Jace, and five of their six kids (one is on a mission) came to stay and play with us for a few days between Christmas and New Year's.  We had so much fun going out to fun places to eat, watching movies at night, making great food, and showing them around Phoenix.  They were also excited to go some place warmer than their native snowy Logan, Utah.  Phoenix is pretty awesome in the winter.  We even went out to his buckets of softballs at the park one day!  The weather was gorgeous and perfect.  We were in t-shirts and I wished I would have worn shorts once we started running around chasing balls.  It was so much fun.  We love the Jergensen's!

This picture was taken when we were watching a movie one night.  We have fun seeing how many people we can cram on that beanbag!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

PRESENT-ing (A.K.A. Christmas 2010)

I love Christmas.  I love the feeling in the air from about Halloween through Christmas.  There's just something magical about it.  Granted, it's just slightly less magical without the snow.  But that's OK.  A little trip to The Polar Express remedies that.

I love how excited the kids get.  I love telling our "Story A Day Until Christmas" each night up until Christmas.  Those stories make me cry.  Every one of them.  They also bring the true spirit of Christmas into our home.

I love Christmas music.  We start listening to it the week of Thanksgiving and don't stop until well into the New Year.  I love sitting down at the piano and playing Christmas carol after carol - especially when my kids wander into the room and stand behind me and sing.

I love getting out all our Christmas decorations and decorating our tree with ornaments my children have made or that have special meaning to our family.

I love our POLAR BEAR CHALLENGE, watching the kids have fun jumping into a freezing cold pool.

I love making and decorating our annual gingerbread house, eating all the candy over the next several days, then taking the rock hard house out into the desert to use for target practice with a BB gun Christmas day.

I love thinking up yummy treats to share with our friends and family (saving some for ourselves of course!).

I love the Christmas sacrament meeting program - complete with songs sung by the Primary children.

I love the story of the Christ child - remembering why he came to the earth and what he accomplished while he was here...what he did for me.  I love hearing Mark read the story of his birth from the scriptures Christmas Eve.

I love Santa.  I love the feeling of magic that comes on Christmas Eve as my children get ready for him to come.  I love reading Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Polar Express on Christmas Eve.

I love making reindeer food for my children to spread on the lawn Christmas Eve to guide Santa's reindeer to our home.

I love opening and climbing into brand new PJ's on Christmas Eve and getting to open one small gift - a nibble at what's to come in the morning.

I love leaving cookies and milk out for Santa (and a carrot for his reindeer).

I love sitting in a dark room at night...with only the glow of the Christmas lights on the tree to light the room...warming my heart right up.

I love finding the perfect gift.

I love taking our time to unwrap gifts Christmas morning...taking in every fun moment...trying to make it last as long as possible.

I love staying in my pajamas for most of Christmas day...setting up toys and games...playing with my family all day...eating yummy food all day.

I love making a fabulous Christmas dinner and sharing it with whatever friends and family are there for the occasion.  I also love the leftovers.


These first pictures were on Christmas Eve after my kids had opened up their traditional Christmas jammies present.  Then they each got to open up one more small present - a book for each of them.

Now for Christmas morning!  As you will see there is a predominant theme with our Christmases...many books.  We all LOVE to read.  One of the things I love to see (and hear, because it's one of the only times we have a quite house) are each of my children, curled up in their own little quiet corners, completely immersed in a story.  We have to beg them at night to stop reading, turn out the light and go to sleep.  Then we will come in to check on them later and they will be sneakily using whatever small light they have - even from a Nintendo DS or ipod, to read under the covers.  I wish I could get mad at that, but how do you scold a child for reading too much?  I must admit I did the exact same thing.
My kids get really excited about saving up the money they earn doing extra chores around the house to buy gifts for each other.  They really enjoy thinking of what will make their siblings happy.

This year we had several members of my family join us Christmas morning - my parents and sisters Jamie, Brittany, and Heidi.

We had Jamie's name for Christmas.  She received a basket of comfort...a fluffy quilt, cute slippers, and several boxes of different flavored gourmet hot chocolate!
The gifts that mean the most to me each year are the ones my kids have made for me.  This cute calendar from Kyle had a different theme picture each month of the upcoming year.  It was darling and he was SO proud of it!
A special BYU coin holder for Kyle from grandma and grandpa McOmber... 

Can you tell how excited Bryan is about his new series of books?

I had asked Mark for one special pan from the All Clad Copper-Core series of cookware.  I wanted an extra big one for cooking those extra big meals we make.  He and my kids were in cahoots planning to pull one over on me.  When I opened my first gift it was a nice bunch of cooking utensils...

Next I received a smaller version of the pan I had asked for.  I was fine with that because I could definitely use that size also.  I figured the other pan was to pricey and I could save up and get it later.

I really liked my new pan.  That may seem silly to some, but I love to cook and great cookware is exciting to me!
Mark had been badly in need of a new wallet, so our kids picked out the perfect one for him.

More books...

Imagine my surprise when my kids handed me a second gift...another pan from the cookware set I wanted - but still a different size than I originally asked for.  Now I was a little suspicious (and very excited).

Morgan is now at the age where clothes are super exciting to her.  She would rather have cute new clothes that a toy.  So she was very excited about these cute jeans.
A THIRD pan!

My dad enjoying his new book (really a great one by the way).

The last gift I opened was the pan I had originally asked for.  My dear husband LOVES to surprise me.  He will go out of his way to throw me off track and make me think he is going in a totally different direction.  He and my kids had so much fun keeping this secret from me for weeks.  He even had them shipped to a neighbor's house so I wouldn't see the package when they came.  I had so much fun watching the excitement in their faces when they saw how excited I was about their surprise!

One thing I think is so cute is the fact that Mark borrows both the following CD's from my children all the time.  They are some of his favorite to listen to.  He and Bryan will be rocking out in the car to Big Time Rush and then when it's he and Morgan it's Taylor Swift all the way.  He knows all the words on both CD's.  They have to ask for their music back from their dad.  Love it!

Bryan asked for some cologne...he got it...and the adoration of my sisters to boot!  Don't let the rolling of the eyes fool you.  He loves the attention!

We've had so much fun with this video game.  It's really fun to take turns watching each other dance (or try to dance these moves).
As far as the band-aid on Mark's forehead?  Bryan chucked a Christmas gift over to Mark, thinking it was soft (because it was wrapped inside with bubble wrap).  It was the cologne.  A corner of the box it was in must have been sticking out of the bubble wrap and it hit Mark square on the forehead.  Ouch!

Morgan had been borrowing Bryan's ripstick all year.  Now she doesn't have to ask for it every time she wants to go for a ride!

I love the expressions on Bryan and Kyle in these pictures...

It was s really fun day!  We spent the rest of it playing together, eating together, and just enjoying each other!