Monday, January 26, 2015

January Blessings

Two Sundays in a row I had a brother bless his new baby girl. The first was Aaron blessing Macey and the second was Rob blessing Moira. We weren't able to go to Macey's blessing, but we went to Moira's yesterday and got to see both little ladies and their families, plus Grandma and Grandpa.
It's always fun to be at church with my family. Brings back fond memories. And I got to hear my Dad sing (in the congregation), hold Macey and watch her laugh at her cousins, and let Emil and Colin sit by Grandma and go through her bag of tricks. It was a strangely nice day for January, so the outdoor pictures at the church were easy to endure.
We had Claire's Dad take this photo before everyone ran away. This is the one with only one person closing her eyes. Sorry Lori. There are a lot of things I'd like to fix about this photo, but I'm officially dropping it now.
Poor Moira! So hungry and having to deal with the press. She cried lustily until her Dad started the blessing, then she fell perfectly silent. 
We went to Rob and Claire's place for some brunch and craziness. Emil, Colin, and Ian ran in circles and yelled with happiness. After Moira had eaten, she was ready for a photo shoot.
This one was my favorite. Look at that dress! ("Slowly bring your fist up to your chin...")
Holding Bridget's hand for support. :)
Macey joined Moira after a little while. The two of them are watching me stand above them, their moms and Grandma and Bridget trying to make them smile. So much craziness!
Colin asked, "I hold him?"

It's always so nice to be with my family. I love seeing our kids play together. Thanks for giving us a great reason to get together, Rob and Aaron. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's Midnight Somewhere!

Grandma Peggy made New Year's Eve so fun last year, that we decided to do the hourly boxes again. This time Grandma and Grandpa were at our house and we had Rob, Claire, Ian, and Moira join us for the party. The first box was dinner - make your own pizzas!
They turned out delicious. I used a pizza crust recommended by Melissa, a copycat recipe for Dewey's pizza crust. (Famous in St. Louis, I think.)

After dinner it was time for Minute to Win It games! I looked up a bunch of them on Pinterest and picked ones I thought our crowd of mostly little boys could handle. All the boys (Emil, Colin, and Ian) did their share of melting down, but it was still fun. 
Building a snowman. Colin was feeling claustrophobic. Too bad kid-sad-faces are one of my guilty pleasures. They make me laugh and feel sad at the same time.
Kodi joined us for pizzas and the first game, but her brother Cole (Grandma is wrapping him in toilet paper) came to the door just as we were starting our second round of snowman building. I asked Cole if he wanted to play and he shrugged and came right in. Ha! He's still never spoken to me, but he was all for playing a game. Cute.
Shoveling Snow was putting cotton balls from one bowl to another using your nose covered in Vaseline and no hands. Colin got frustrated that the cotton balls weren't sticking, so he'd put the cotton ball on his nose, then drop it into the bowl. (Oh! Seeing the crock pot in the background reminds me that Brian did L'il Smokies wrapped in bacon for one of our appetizers. Awesome. We also had cheeseball and crackers and Mom's famous dip with veggies.)
I forgot what this game was called, but we emptied a big bag of Skittles and the contestant had to separate them by color into the cups. Somehow Brian was able to get 94 Skittles color coordinated into the cups. Spooky.

I didn't get photos of the other games. We blew ping-pong balls across the bar with straws and tried to get them into the cups we'd taped to the side of the bar (Snow-blower). Colin OWNED that game. Emil couldn't even make his ping-pong ball move. We're so mean to make an asthmatic do that game. We had the kids race with a small (in most cases) balloon between their knees - The Penguin Walk. The next box was a movie and popcorn downstairs. The boys wandered up during the movie and I gave them a bath. It was only about 8:30, but that was a lot of action for evening at our house. Then it was the "midnight" box (secretly 9:15). Party hats, noise-makers, and Martinelli's Sparkling Whatever. Brian found a countdown by King Julian from Madagascar on Netflix, which was fun. "It's midnight somewhere!" The kids were down with making a lot of noise. By 10:00 I was in a bubble bath watching a show on my Kindle. Suckas! My kind of New Year's Eve.

The next day we ate a late breakfast of quiche and fruit and perfect hot chocolate. Grandpa played games with the boys, Bridget threw up a couple of times and then played American Girl Dolls with Grandma. The two of them looked up the new Girl of the Year, too. Not sure Bridget needed to be introduced to that. :)
Here's Annalee (Bridget's doll), Ginger (Grandma Peggy's new doll), and Winnie (Grandma Peggy's birthday doll). Bridget told me the other day that she can't find time to dress Annalee before school starts every day. It ain't easy, people!
Emil and Grandpa were green and Colin was yellow. Naturally.
Then it was time to get Grandma and Grandpa out the door. Colin and Emil are big helpers.
Poor Bridget. Puke-asaurus. I had to pop that balloon a few hours after this photo was taken. And she's wearing one of Grandma's doll's headbands as a bracelet. (They also forgot a box of cookies and the baby car seat and stroller. Fail.)
Awww. Hugs. Brian got the boys real cowboy boots for Christmas. Colin wouldn't even put his on and Emil wore his once and said they hurt his feet. I guess they're not real cowboys. I found them some winter boots after we'd taken back the cowboy boots. Emil wakes up in the morning and puts his boots on before breakfast. Win!

In all, we've started 2015 right. We stayed home for most of our vacation - a quick trip to Ogden for a fun holiday dinner with cousins and aunts and uncles. I'm related to the coolest people! We could have one of those every week and I still wouldn't get to talk to everyone as long as I want to. 2015 is going to be awesome!

Monday, December 29, 2014

November and December Book Report 2014

It's shameful. I know. I'm currently reading interesting stuff, but my speed is way down since about the middle of November. I binge-watched two full seasons of "The Mindy Project" and I'm still binging on "Finding Your Roots," which is a little like a book. I'm definitely learning a lot from that show. "The Mindy Project" is just for laughs. I'll be back on track in January 2015! Go team.
1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
We were about to leave Melissa and Jeff's house after a fantastic Thanksgiving and I needed something to listen to during the 10 hour car ride. Something that was not The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, which is what I'd tried to listen to on the way to Arizona. Vacation Reads are kind of like Beach Reads for me. I couldn't bear heavy, serious stuff at that moment. Melissa suggested Mindy Kaling's book, so I hurried and downloaded it from Audible before we left their house. I laughed a lot during Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy is smart, a graduate of Dartmouth (which makes Dr. Prentiss from "The Mindy Project" even funnier to me - I suspect he is a real person). She has the perfect combination of nerdiness and girliness. I completely get her sense of humor. We would be friends in real life. :)

I listened to this a while ago, but one of the essays that sticks out is her take on one night stands. They're gross and scary. Testify! Obviously (right?) my life is nowhere near a one night stand, but I've often wondered what possible appeal they would have to anyone ever. Mindy expressed the same sensibility and she is close enough to that lifestyle to at least hear stories from girlfriends.

Mindy Kaling is a pretty rare bird - female, Indian, chubby (her word), and extremely successful. I like that she had the tenacity, ambition, education, and talent to make a life doing what she loves. She is definitely getting funnier and better at her job as she goes. It was fun to listen to her perspective and spot-on observations and laugh. Like I said, I get her. "The Mindy Project" can be pretty crude, so I wouldn't recommend it outright (especially not to my Mom and Dad), but if you are a girl born in the 1970s and you've rolled your eyes at least once during every romantic comedy you've ever seen, "The Mindy Project" is for you. Kellie! You'd like it. :)

2. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
See? I can only read candy right now. I was one of those people who watched "The Princess Bride" with my family and quoted it with my friends. I love that movie! It might be the perfect movie. After the 25 year reunion in 2012, Cary Elwes wrote this book. I guess he was asked what the movie has meant to him during a question-and-answer session and he didn't feel like he gave justice to how "The Princess Bride" has truly affected him. Elwes goes through the whole process - from the movie getting made, to him getting the part, to the production and release and aftermath. Elwes has a real talent for impressions. He did have most of the cast on the audiobook, too, but it was fun to hear him do a gravely voice for Andre the Giant and his impression of Rob Reiner was so close that I sometimes mistook him for the real Rob Reiner (who also did several readings on this audiobook).

I don't know if I came away with anything really new after reading this. There were some stories that were told from several perspectives when they didn't need to be. I enjoyed the stories about Andre the Giant. It sounds like the making of the movie was just a huge love fest. (Also, actors are so insecure! Almost everyone in the movie thought they were going to be replaced or didn't feel like everyone loved them or something at least once during production. Sheesh.) The synergy for "The Princess Bride" is very rare - the writer, the director, the actors, the setting, the story. Everything was just right. The love definitely comes out and that's probably why the movie has endured so well. I'll watch it differently from now on. Because of course I'll be introducing it to my kids. :)

3. Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
I know! It's not a book. My other two books are mostly TV and movie, too. Sigh. I just can't right now, okay?! This is a really good show and I think you should check it out. I want to be friends with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. I think we're family history kindred spirits. I absolutely love what he's teaching me about race and history. I already have a strong... testimony? that knowing your family history makes you a better person. We can feel the experiences and struggles of our ancestors in our spirits, I think. It's interesting to see how Mr. Gates's guests identify themselves and then for them to see where that feeling might be mirrored in their family history. I'm fascinated with all the DNA research as well. 

One of my favorite parts of "Finding Your Roots" is when they find the white ancestors of African Americans. The African Americans he's had on the show identify solely with their black ancestors. Every one of them has a white ancestor in there somewhere. In some cases the union is clearly involuntary, but in Mr. Gates's case, his white male ancestor married the African slave he bought and was thereafter shunned by white society. Remarkable. And Wanda Sykes's eighth great grandmother was a white indentured servant in Virginia in the 1600s who had a child with a black slave, so everyone who came after this white woman (Wanda called her the first white trash - ha!) was a free black person. The law said that whatever the mother was, the children were. If a mother was a slave, the children were slaves. Wanda's eighth great grandmother was an indentured servant, a free person, so all her children were free. History is so interesting!! There are many, many stories that are better than fiction. 

So! Watch it. It's a PBS show (I've linked to it in the beginning of this post).

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Finally Christmas Day

I'm sure our neighbors have been wondering if we have some lights out on our tree or if the blinds in that spot are always turned the wrong way. Yes. The lights are out. This is what it looked like on Christmas morning when the kids walked in. I didn't take pictures on Christmas Eve because I was trying to be in the moment. I love having a lot of photos of this time of year, but I've noticed that I see the best moments through the camera and not in real life. This year I wanted to be in more moments, so less photos. :) 

Bridget got that extra present from Santa at the Christmas party, so I found something else for the boys to open on Christmas Eve in addition to their pajamas. Who knew Emil and Colin would be so into crazy slippers? Bridget claimed she'd been awake for "an hour" before Emil came in and told her it was CHRISTMAS DAY and time to open presents. Bridget and Emil then had to try to wake up Colin, who was in Mommy and Daddy's bed snoring. They finally convinced him to get up by reminding him about his new slippers. They look like monster feet and they make me laugh.
Aren't Bridget's pajamas from Santa beautiful! Emil and Colin were both very pleased with their pajamas. After forgetting about the pajamas until December 24th last year, they were my first order of business back in August.
Bridget got her American Girl Doll! Now she and Grandma Peggy can PLAY! :) They're dressed in the same pajamas and the doll has freckles and glasses too. (Brian to me: "You sound crazy right now.") Bridget was so happy, though. I love it! I asked her what she was thinking about naming her new doll and she didn't hesitate, "Annalee." I reminded her that Annalee was kind of my name (first name Anna, maiden name Lee) and she shrugged. Didn't even know that. 
For the last two months (at least) Emil has been cutting out the toy trucks in all the Cal Ranch ads. I saved the first one because I love that he was doing that. Make no mistake, Emil was getting a TRUCK and a trailer. And also, two horses. Then he borrowed my new flashlight:
Always check under the hood.
Colin got a new train set and tracks that match the tracks that Aunt Makenzie and Uncle David brought a few weeks ago. We can almost fill a room with all the tracks! It's super fun, but not so much fun in the box on Christmas morning. Colin opened the big box from Mommy and we spread out the quilt. He made an appreciative, "Ohhh!" noise and then I told him it was for him - I'd made it for him. "WHAT?! FO ME?! THANKS, MOM!" Then he jumped across the quilt in his monster feet and gave me a big hug. It was easily my favorite moment of Christmas morning and I cried. :) Happy tears. (The stars and the circle lines glow in the dark, by the way.)
I got a new 50mm lens for my camera. (I used it for the above photo. Who takes a photo of a camera lens?) Happy day! Get ready for tight shots of food and quilts and kids. :)
Daddy got new tools (nothing says "get to work, Dad" like new tools). Here he is looking at our new treasure from Makenzie and David - a family tree with four generations on it. It's so beautiful! We have most of those people framed on our wall in the front room. Love it. We had Makenzie and David this year and I made them this:
Yes, it's the lone star I was going to keep for myself. But it was done! And I had both the boys' quilts to finish and the piecing on a twin-size Irish Chain that I did for Carmen. Not to worry, Broadbent's had the fabrics in stock and I made one change (different red), so Makenzie and I will be Lone Star Twins. Also, I loved this one so much that I felt good about giving it away.
I can't get enough of that stripe-y binding.
That's Bridget's stash in the foreground. When Aunt Katy heard Bridget was asking Santa for an American Girl Doll, she asked me if she could make a sweater and hat set for the doll. Isn't that amazing? It's so beautiful, too. Let me remind you that Katy has six children of her own and three of them have birthdays in December. That cute little sweater set was here and under the tree by the 22nd. I still can't believe it. (Aunt Katy also made that beautiful brown blanket next to Brian. Talent!) Bridget got a store-bought dress from me this year instead of a quilt like her brothers got. Remember how I wanted to be around for more moments? Yeah, another sewing project wasn't going to work.
Each of the kids got a game from Santa. Colin got a Scooby Doo matching game. It's always out now. "Wanna play Gooby-Doo Match with me, Mommy?"
We ate breakfast and played for a while, then went to Grandma's to see what was going on and open more presents. We were there at the same time as Uncle Kyle and Aunt Diana and their family, which hasn't happened for a lot of years, I think. Grandma liked her new calendar. Whew!
Grandma gave the boys new Lego sets and Colin squealed with delight. It made Aunt Diana and Uncle Kyle smile and it reminded me that our kids are at the most fun age ever for Christmastime. We're loving it. Colin will never disappoint with his reaction to a gift. So cute.
Bridget got a very fancy art set from Grandma and Grandpa.
Emil got real Legos instead of Duplos. The day after Christmas he and Daddy were putting his construction site together while Mommy, Colin and Bridget played Frozen Uno on the other side of the table from them. We'd been playing for a little while when Emil asked, "Mommy, are you having fun?" Yes. I'm having fun. :)
We waited around to watch Nate open his presents and eat more of Grandma and Grandpa's food. The kids had kind of a glazed-over look. Dreams coming true is exhausting! Emil is wearing his new hoodie from Grandma Peggy. She also made everyone three travel bags for laundry and sundries. I keep forgetting to tell her how awesome that is. I hate putting my dirty stuff next to my clean stuff in such close quarters of a suitcase.

So, Christmas was a huge success. For me it was a success because I was done shopping a long time ago and all the last minute activities didn't wear me out. I've learned from Christmas past! Miraculous.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

It's about time I did a post on the big family Christmas party. The kids were so cute with Santa this year. I love how much their reaction changes as the years go by. Once again we had the party at Grandma and Grandpa's house and all the cousins and aunts and uncles were there. This year Dena resurrected an old family recipe for Crab Salad that is my new favorite thing. Where has that been all this time?! Anyway. I'm always all about the food.
It was between this photo and another one where Brighton was giving Emil a mean face. He was clearly interrupting her phone time with her Aunt Janessa.
Uncle Hal was about to get punched in the gut by his son, Nate. Or maybe this was after the punch.
We did a fish pond again for the eight and younger crowd. This time we let them go fishing three times. 
 Of course Emil tried to negotiate a fourth turn.
This year Kalvin messed with the kids a little toward the end of their fishing trip. Those fish got heavier and heavier! I'm glad someone was making them work for it a little. :)
Bridget is trying to secure all her loot in a torn bag. Nate is having happiness overload. :)
I love this so much. Brighton stopped to put her lipstick on during the fishing.
After the fishing pond we played the Dice Game. Grandpa picked this awesome lunch box packed with a PBJ and chips. No one was stealing that! I got fake mustaches and shaving cream and razors. When will I learn that I just need to steal something that is already opened? Duh.
Then Santa came!
My favorite was when he told Nate that he saw him at church. Ha! 
Emil was listening closely to the older kids and asked Santa for an iPod and a phone. What?!!
Then he laughed and laughed. He really wants a truck and a trailer, Santa.
Colin asked for a big train. I love this picture.
Bridget was more shy than her brothers. She got an extra gift this year that Santa instructed her to open on Christmas Eve. Pretty spoiled!
All the grandkids and great-grandkids with Santa. Tradition!
Nick and Linzy's kids got to open presents from Great Grandma and Aiden finally gave me this look after I'd been taking pictures of him all night. Back off, lady.

As always, the Christmas party was a huge success. All the musical toys were running the whole time, good food, funny kids, fun games. Aunt Dena also gave a well-received story of the birth of the Savior. A good time was had by all. :)