Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry and Bright

 We had such a wonderful week of Christmas celebrations.  We had plenty of time to relax and spend time with family doing all sorts of Christmassy things.  The Davis family arrived Saturday and we kicked off the celebrations with cheese, chocolate, and carmel fondue.  So yummy.
 We took the kids to the Shops at Riverwoods to see the lights, Santa, and the horses pulling the carriages.  The kids were big fans.  They were running all over the place, dancing to the live music, and laughing at the jingle bell harnesses on the horses.  It was pretty fun to watch them.  Then we had a little gift exchange for the cousins.  They were so excited to finally get to open some of those presents under the tree.
 On Sunday we went to my parents' ward for their annual Choir Christmas program.  Their choir is led by a professional choir director at BYU, so they always put on a great program.  We maybe didn't get to enjoy it quite as much as we have in years past, with five kids four and under sitting on two rows at the front of the chapel, but it did help us feel a little bit more of the Christmas spirit.
We spent the afternoon cooking and then had our ham, potatoes, and apple pie dinner with Grandpa Bodell and the Stanton/McCorvey family.
 After dinner we attempted our first Hicks family nativity with the grandkids.  This little lady made a perfect angel.
 Brigham was a pretty good shepherd for a few minutes, long enough to take his sheep and lay it on top of the baby, but he wasn't too interested in making an extended visit to the stable.
 It ended looking something like this.  Memorable for sure.  Maybe we will try again next year.
 Sunday night and Monday morning we got snow!  And quite a bit of it.  So we headed out to go sledding on Christmas Eve afternoon.  Brigham LOVED it.
 He loved walking around in the snow and didn't mind walking up the hill, usually holding grandpa's hand, after each trip down.
 After sledding it was time for hot chocolate and decorating Christmas sugar cookies while listening to Christmas carols.

 On Christmas morning, Brigham woke up to see that Santa had brought him a train table.
 Santa remembered Lexi too.
 Then we headed down to Provo for the rest of the day where we opened lots of fun gifts, ate lots of good food, and spent time playing with our new toys.  The kids loved their new Toy Story toys and grandma's new play kitchen.  They played with that thing for hours.  The adults and kids loved playing Just Dance 4 on the wii as well as some competitive Disney Trivia.
 We are so incredibly grateful for this time of year that we have to celebrate the birth of our Savior and think about what his life and teachings mean to each of us.  We loved the extra time that we have had to spend with our family, and we are so very grateful for the many blessings that we enjoy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tis the Season to be Jolly

We are loving the Christmas season this year.  It is so much fun with these two little ones.
We started off the season with our traditional trip to the Festival of Trees, followed by a trip to see the lights at Temple Square.  Brigham was fascinated and kept looking around at all the trees and Nativities.  While Brigham stared at the lights, Lexi stared at Brigham.  She adores him.

The kids have been loving the tree, ornaments, nativity sets, and basket of Christmas books that we keep downstairs.  I will be a little bit sad to put it all away.

I attempted a little Christmas photo shoot and these are a few of my favorites.  I don't know which I love more, Brigham's double chin, or the snot bubble coming out of his nose.  Apparently I was doing something really funny when I took this one. 

I am loving watching these two start to play together.  It is so nice for them to always have a little buddy around.  Brigham loves to try and hold Lexi and make her laugh.  She thinks most things he does are hilarious.  His L's come out sounding more like S's, so it is pretty funny to hear him say her name.
A few more things we have been enjoying this season:  
1.  the family Christmas station on Pandora
2.  doing most of our Christmas shopping online
3.  Spotify's awesome library of Christmas music
4. White Christmas and Polar Express
5.  the tabernacle choir Christmas concert with Alfie
6.  marshmallow santas, peppermint ice cream, and cinnamon almonds

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Deck the Halls

After Thanksgiving was over we pulled out the decorations to get our house ready for Christmas.

The kids got a Little People Santa set with 9 reindeer.  It is set up right next to the Little People Nativity set, so sometimes we see Santa and the reindeer making visits to the stable.  Brigham spends a good amount of time each day rearranging the nativity animals and making the reindeer fly around with Santa's sleigh.  He has learned how to say Baby Jesus and Santa and loves to point them out when he sees them.

I was a little worried about Lexi pulling on the Christmas tree and trying to eat it, but no major accidents yet. She was pretty excited to help decorate the tree, or at least she was excited to taste all the ornaments she could get her hands on.

Brigham was super excited about decorating the tree.  He got so excited as we pulled out all the ornaments and he got to help put them on the tree.  He even appreciated the ones Aaron made as a young child and proudly hangs in a prominent spot on the tree each year. He has gotten a little too excited at times, and we have already had to use the super glue a few times.  He had an accident that decapitated Mickey, Minnie, and Daisy while driving Mickey's clubhouse car ornament.

In other news, this cute girl is crawling all over the place.  I can't believe how fast she is learning new things.  It seems she went from barely balancing in a sitting position to crawling, climbing, and standing  on everything within a few days.  She can pull herself up to standing, but doesn't know how to get down yet.  She likes to crawl and play under the kitchen table until she gets stuck and struggles to find a way out.  Her favorite place to be is wherever her brother is.  She loves to follow him around pretty much all day long.  Her eyes light up when she sees him in the morning or after naps.  She sure does love him, a lot.

The little man has learned the alphabet and loves to point out letters wherever he sees them (team logos on sports center, t-shirts, tires, books, puzzles).  I'm still not entirely sure where he started learning these.  Maybe the fisher-price alphabet zoo?  Occasionally watching episodes of Super Why?  Preschool Monkey Lunchbox app?  I hadn't really thought to start teaching him his letters.  I was more focused on trying to teach him to share and say understandable words.  But one day in the bathtub he just started holding up foam letters and telling me what some of them were.  After that we practiced more during tub time and while he did his puzzles and he now can name all the letters.  He loves to do his "ABCs" and listen to the ABC song.

These two kids love it when dad comes home.  Brigham usually runs to find a hiding place so that dad will come looking for him and then they do a bit of tickling, hugging, and wrestling.  Lexi saves some of her best smiles and laughs for dad.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


 I sure am thankful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving with these cute kids.

 As always, my mom prepared an incredible feast.  I think my favorite part this year was the toasted coconut sweet potatoes.  We decided to branch out and try a new recipe, and it did not disappoint.  But the homemade stuffing is hard to beat, so maybe the sweet potatoes were a close second.  I am grateful to Brandy for always being willing to pose for my pictures.  She is awesome.

 Pretty grateful to have this guy home for Thanksgiving as well.  We have missed him.  And he took some time out of his holiday to teach us all about cellular respiration.  Brigham was fascinated.

The rest of the break was filled with family, food, raking leaves, football, food, shopping, putting up Christmas decorations, and more food.  In other words, it was a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Good to Be Back

 It sure was good to go back to The Happiest Place on Earth.  These two boys were so excited to see each other.  We arrived in Anahiem around 10pm and they spent the next hour wrestling and laughing in the hotel room.  The next morning they were up and ready to go long before the park was open so grandma took them over early so they could run around between the two parks.  They ran and laughed and wrestled until it was time to go in.

We spent the morning at California Adventure where Brigham's favorite activity was the splash pad in Bug's Land.

We visited Cars Land and it was so much fun! It looked like it was straight out of the movie.  

Radiator Springs Racers was awesome.  

 Some of the boys spent the afternoon at the USC/Oregon football game while the rest of us enjoyed some time at Disneyland.  We managed to ride a few of the classics, eat corndogs, and see Fantasmic before the park closed.

Sunday we had a day to rest up for the next two days at Disneyland.  We got to spend the evening at the Newport Coast Villas with some of our cousins.  I love this place.  It is so beautiful.  We had a BBQ and roasted marshmallows while the kids played in the sandbox, on the basketball court, and on the putting green.  Thank you Stanton girls, yet again, for being associates of Marriott and sharing your benefits with us.

 We spent the next two days running around California Adventure and Disneyland. 

We saved Fantasyland to do during Magic Morning Hours on our last day there.  Luckily we were able to get in most of the rides before they closed it for the rest of the day while they were filming a movie there.  Tom Hanks is playing Walt Disney in a movie called "Saving Mr. Banks" and they were filming at Disneyland that day.

I believe Brigham's favorite parts of the trip were:  Jake, cuddling with grandma at night, the splash pad, Toy Story, Dumbo, Finding Nemo, Winnie-the-Pooh, the giant plastic watermelon outside of Goofy's house in Toontown, the Disney Junior show, glow sticks, the train (especially the part with the dinosaurs), and the Pixar Parade.

Apparently his favorites did not include posing for a picture by our family's brick.  But Lexi seemed to enjoy the chance she had to get out of the stroller and snack on some leaves.

A few of my favorites from the trip were seeing Cars Land, riding the swings in a double swing, Fantasmic, watching Brigham dance to the Disney Junior show, hearing newsies sing Seize the Day with Mickey Mouse on main street in California Adventure, riding space mountain with Johnny, splash mountain, the Monte Cristo and garlic parmesan fries in New Orleans Square, the Ghiradelli chocolate samples, and eating the chocolate bread pudding suffle at a late night dinner in Downtown Disney.  Of course none of these things would have been much fun without my family and travel companions.  I sure do love all of them.

Did I mention how excited we were to have Johnny with us?  He has missed out on the last few trips, and boy did we miss him.  I forgot how much fun California Screamin' and Space Mountain can be with my baby brother.  He can scream like crazy and makes the rides so much more fun.

 Not to be a downer, but there were a few things on this trip that we didn't love.  First, our kids waking up at 5:00 in the morning because not only were we in a new time zone, but daylight savings ended.  Second, the park didn't open until 10 on our last two days, so we had to entertain the kids for 4-5 hours before even getting in to the park.  Third, it was over 90 degrees in November.

  My guess is some of Aaron's favorites were the football game, corn dogs, toy story, Buzz Lightyear, being away from work, and upgrading our tickets to annual passes (well, maybe not the last one).  Lexi seemed to enjoy all the people watching, anyone that would smile at her, riding in the double stroller with her buddies, and being taken out of the stroller and being held.  She is pretty easy to please.
 All in all, another great trip to Disneyland.  The kids were awesome, the company was great, and the park was a blast.