Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

The last day of 2008 finds me making homemade bbq beef taquitos, salsa, bean dip, and chili con queso. YUMMY! The rest of the bunch are in the midst of a Star Wars movie marathon - note the complete lack of interest in what mom is doing......

Here's wishing all of you an amazing 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Day to Celebrate

Today is a big day of celebration....
For starters,
Happy Anniversary Rick!

I love you tons! Since we are celebrating our 3rd anniversary, here are just 3 things from the super long list of things I love about my husband:
1. He goes above and beyond everyday to take care of me (and the girls)
2. He willingly puts up with our social calendar because he knows how much I love to hang out with friends.
3. He loves to listen to Julee and Alexis laugh so most of the time he is doing funny things to make them laugh - it makes our house a happy, though often crazy, place.

And second,
Happy Birthday Grandpa Bear!

Today we celebrate my dad's 67th birthday. We love you tons and miss you even more! Wish we could be there to celebrate with you! We could easily list 67 things we love about him, but that could get lengthy. So here are just a few:
1. his teddy bear growl
2. how he always sounds excited to talk to you on the phone
3. how he still calls me Stephi Jo like I'm 5 even though I'm 35
4. the way he interacts with the grandkids - he can fit right into their world (his ting tang walla walla bing bang song comes to mind)
5. you can always trust his judgement and inspiration when it comes to making decisions

Both of these guys play a special role in my life and I cannot imagine life without them!
Love you both!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

What a great Christmas we had! We spent Christmas Eve as a family watching 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' and frosting cookies. Christmas morning we had a fun time opening presents and having brunch. In the evening we went over to hang out with friends and eat yummy appetizers and treats!
New jammies for Christmas Eve!
Santa stopped by sometime in the night.....
The final look just before all the presents are passed out...
Alexis is excited to get a jewelry set from Grandma and Grandpa
Julee gets her very own digital camera - WOW!
Alexis made this cute soldier out of a Pringles can - my favorite gift!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Today is Christmas Eve! We are so excited that Christmas is finally here! All the presents are wrapped and under the tree and a yummy ham dinner is cooking in the crockpot.

The girls and I just finished rolling and cutting out the traditional sugar cookies. Later tonight all the bells, trees, and gingerbread boys will take on their own personalities when we frost them "like Grandmama does".

Alexis' Big Day

Again, the weather in New York added a little excitement to our lives as a big storm came through and left 10-12 inches of snow last Friday. Alexis' baptism was scheduled for Saturday morning at 10am. Late Friday evening, we decided to postpone until later in the morning hoping for a break in the weather and for the snow plows to take to the streets. As luck (or was it more than luck?) would have it, everything worked out. The snow had stopped, the plows were plowing, and our good friends went to the church early to fill the font and shovel the sidewalks. When we got to the church, the parking lot had not even been plowed yet which made for a very interesting parking job. By 11:30, everything was ready especially Alexis! Our home teacher and Julee gave the talks and Rick baptized and confirmed her. Of course, I played the piano and gave the closing prayer. Two of Alexis' buddies (who are mom's friends) also participated by saying a prayer and leading the music. We are blessed that so many of our friends and ward family were able to attend despite the lousy weather. Alexis' dad and half sister, Ava, even made the trip from Michigan to share this special day with her. We are so proud of Alexis and her GREAT decision to be baptized. She is a great example to us and those around her!
Don't worry - we made her lose the socks before she went into the water!

One last practice - Alexis was NOT going to have to go under twice!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ice Storm and Julee's Winter Concert

One thing I have learned about the weather in this part of the country is that it can really mess everything up! The day we had our big ice storm that left everything looking like this:....

(All the shiny you see is ice on the trees)

.....they cancelled all school functions which included Julee's Winter Concert. Of course, they rescheduled it for the very next Thursday which conflicted nicely with the Relief Society Christmas Dinner and Program which I was in charge of. I was bummed and not sure what to do because I couldn't be in both places at the same time and I REALLY didn't want to miss her concert. Finally, it was decided that Rick and Alexis would go to Julee's concert on Thursday night and I would sneak in to one of the concerts on Friday when they performed for the school. The concert was great and I am proud to say that Julee is an awesome percussionist! The band performed 4 songs and she played 7 different instruments within those 4 songs. Here is video of one of my favorites. Julee is playing the snare drum which can be heard very distinctly - she even had a little solo of sorts. Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Small miracles

I am always grateful for those opportunities/situations that arise to remind us that our Heavenly Father is constantly watching over us no matter how big or small the situation. Last night was one of those times. We were in the midst of a huge ice storm here in the Northeast where it had been sleeting for almost 24 hours straight. Late last night (around 11pm) we heard a loud noise like a car crashing or something. Then our car alarm started going off. We grabbed the keys and went downstairs to see what happened. This is what we found......

The branch laying between the two cars (ours is the red one) snapped off the tree due to the weight of the ice on the branch. There is not even a scratch on our car. Unfortunately, when the branch fell it hit a car across the street and broke the back windshield. The branch was large enough to span the width of the street. We ended up having to call the police who had to have DPW come out and use a chainsaw to cut the branch into pieces in order to remove it. We felt sorry for the poor guys from DPW who were out there in the nasty weather clearing the street. This morning it is still raining and there is a big mess outside our front door. Ugh......BUT, we are truly grateful that no damage was done to our car. We are also grateful to still have power since many of the neighborhoods around us do not. What a blessing!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy 8th Birthday Alexis!

Today Alexis turns 8 years old! Here are a few facts about Alexis:
1. has the most contagious giggle - you can't help but smile when you hear it.
2. is a smart girl and has been selected to participate on her grade's Odyssey of the Mind team
3. loves fluff sandwiches
4. loves to read more than she loves fluff sandwiches
5. can quote almost any Sponge Bob Square Pants episode beginning to end
6. refuses to wear jeans or socks with a seam at the toe
7. is dying for enough snow to build a snowman
8. makes friends with everybdy and anybody
9. can be convinced to try almost any kind of food and usually likes most of them
10. is very stubborn and set in her ways (since birth as many of you know)
11. says things that never cease to amaze you and definitely keeps you on your toes
12. cannot wait to go to her first Faith in God activity
13. has made the most important decision to be baptized (December 20th - you're all invited)
14. is "practically perfect in every way" according to her 2nd grade teacher
15. takes life by its horns and doesn't let go - loving every minute of it

Alexis is an important member of our family and we love her very much! We are proud of her and what a good girl she is! Happy birthday baby girl (she'll hate that I wrote that)!