Almost here

I've got to do a lot of blogging now because after Christmas, I'm going to take some time away from the computer and relax! Dustin is actually going to take a few days off of work. Can you believe it?

We've been finishing off the rest of our Must-Do list this weekend. Ellie and Dustin went to the Nutcracker, got my massage and hair color and cut, cookies, last minute shopping. . .

Our street did a special Christmas project and included all of our kids in on the fun. Janel did a super cute party for all of them at the end. They played Bingo, ate cookies and drank hot cocoa, and a Christmas story to wrap it all up.
She's probably going to kill me for putting a picture of her up on my blog, but I'll risk it! Thanks for the party Janel -- definitely needs to be a new yearly tradition.It's always funny to have all 3 of the Sadie's together. I'd notice Sadie was missing and ask the kids where Sadie was. The answer was usually, "Sadie's with Sadie," or "Which Sadie? Baby Sadie, little Sadie or Big Sadie?"

Today was almost the end of our 8:3o church block. I can't wait for 11 am next year. I tried to get some pictures since I knew by noon the the kids would be trashed,. I'm just going to have to settle for what I got in the few seconds we had before church because I was right -- they were covered in frosting when we got home.

This last one is for my mom. Ellie dresses Sadie up on a regular basis. This was tonight's concoction.


These are a few of my favorite things. . .

Last night I went over to my friend Kerry's house to help her wrap her Christmas presents. I thought *I* was being the nice one, but instead I ended up feeling like I was on Oprah's "Favorite Things" show. Every time I turned around she was giving me more things to take home and then I'd pretend scream like I was on Oprah -- with lots of dramatic gasps thrown in for good. It went something like this. . .

Kerry: I have a Christmas present for you. . .
Kerry: I got you something for helping me wrap presents. . .
Kerry: Oh here, my kids hate these snacks, will yours eat them?
Kerry: Oh here, my mom gave me this mix and I don't like that flavor, do you?
Kerry: I just found 15 of that I bought on clearance for $2 last year. Do you want one?
Kerry: I have a shirt for Nate let me go get it. . .

I seriously ended up leaving her house with a box full of stuff. Which Ellie turned into a train for Nate

So in honor of my great friend Kerry, here are a few of my favorite things this morning.

Kids in pajamas!This morning was awesome because Ellie has no school! She slept in until about 8 and Nate and Sadie were so happy when she finally got up. They had a big old cuddle fest.

Nate's favorite thing right now is his race car ornament.It was a good compromise -- car for him, some glitter for me.

Sadie's new stocking. It arrived in the mail the other day and I love it! Ellie cried because she was a little jealous, but I think she'll get over it. It fits in with our stocking perfectly.

All my JOYs. Bonnie made us the cutest JOY blocks for us -- the red and white ones -- and when she dropped them off, she mentioned that we already had a few and she should have thought of a better word. But I LOVE them. I love all of them. They are all gifts from different people, they all have different spots in our house, and can you really ever have *too* much joy? I think not!

Also, please note the picture in the red album! That's our Christmas card album where we keep all our friend's old pictures and letters. . .but I've never changed the front picture out. I am so LAME!

Advent Calendars.
Can you ever have too many ways to count down to Christmas? Not in our house! We have four. One is our advent tree . I made them with Tasha and Molly one year and they are stuffed with spiritual things to do each day to Christmas. The one above was a Christmas gift from Michelle. She always goes above and beyond! It has fun things to do. Then Nate has 2 paper chains -- one we made at Boy School and one we made at the neighborhood playgroup when it was at my house on Monday. The last one is suppose to be books under our tree. I stole the idea from Molly where you unwrap a Christmas book to read each night, but *someone* got to them. Can you guess who?
My new Christmas decoration. Kerry made it for me. It was one of my "Oprah's Favorite Things" gifts. She also got me a Nativity Bracelet. I've never seen one before. It's the worst picture, but can see what some of the stuff is? There's an angel, a baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph. . . anyway, I LOVE IT!

Christmas Cards! I actually just threw that in for Chelsea because I'm mean that way ;p. Just kidding! One of my favorite things is my friends and family. I love you all!

And of course the Savior. As everyone is getting ready for last minute Christmas things, I hope we can all find some time to reflect on the greatest gift and really remember to focus on what is most important.

OK, I'm trying to find a picture of Christ, but my sister keeps calling and insisting I talk to her. So later hopefully!

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Tag

I know I have frightened many of you with my hatred of tags -- and junk forwards as well -- but there is one kind of tag I like: CHRISTMAS TAGS! So here goes

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I love to wrap, so of course wrapping paper. I wrap everything in sight! I also wrap early. I buy the rolls at Costco as soon as they come out -- which is in October. Dustin is off in the snow of Colorado and he asked if he could wear his new coat I bought him for Christmas. NOPE! And you know why -- because it's been wrapped since the day the box arrived. I'll take things out of the box so I can wrap each item individually. It's a sickness.

2. Real tree or artificial? Fake. We did real one year and then Dustin missed the pick up date, so it sat on the side of our house until May. So yeah, FAKE!
I got this tree as birthday presents and it's still one of my favorite memories. Dustin had hidden it in a neighbor's garage, so he snuck off with the kids and came blaring down the street with Christmas music playing out of the car and honking the horn. I loved it!

3. When do you put up the tree? The day after Thanksgiving -- the most wonderful day of the year.

4. When do you take the tree down? Ummmmm, sometime before New Years. I get antsy to get things cleaned up and all organized quickly.

5. Do you like eggnog? About 3 sips of it. I'll buy a whole thing of it and then we have to throw over half of it away.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Anything to do with dolls. Dolls, doll houses, paper dolls, barbie dolls. Loved them all.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Three -- One is nice one from my Aunt, one is a Little People from my Aunt, and my kids love the felt nativity scene we got from a girlfriend a few years ago. You can dress the people up and everything.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Dustin is a pain in the butt. He cannot commit to anything. I'll come up with fabulous ideas and he'll veto them all. Then he'll say he wants something like running shoes. The one thing I don't buy without people trying them on is running shoes! They're expensive and they all fit differently.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Nate. Ellie's at the I-already-have-everything-but-I-still-thinki-I-need-something-huge-and-stupid-and-expensive stage, Sadie's at the what-the-heck-do-you-need stage, but Nate is at the I-love-everything-you-get-for-me-even-if-it's-just-a-piece-of-paper stage. Just right!

***Speaking of Sadie, I'm starting to feel guilty about not getting her anything. So whoever comes up with something really fabulous I can get her gets a PRIZE. ***

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever got? I love every gift. Really I do. And if you believe that you're crazy.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? MAIL! I love going to the mail and getting Christmas cards! It's my FAVORITE part of the season. So much of life is in *cyber space* these days, that I love having something physical to hold onto. Plus I love t put up the pictures and look at the cute photos of their kids. . . and I put them all in an album that I look through to see how everyone's kids have grown. Sometimes when I go to the mail and I don't have any Christmas cards, I curse my e-mail card friends under my breath. If they had mailed theirs, maybe I'd have mail today! I hope Chelsea is feeling guilty now ;p

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Miracle of 34th Street and ELF!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? December 26th. Ha ha, just kidding. I usually get stuff starting in the summer. Right when I start my Christmas cards. For me Christmas starts in July.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Uhhh, maybe. I'm not telling. yes.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Sugar cookies. Any neighbor gifts. . . pretty much anything with carbs.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear. The kids like colored though, so the advent tree has colored lights on it just for them.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night. I love that commercial where all the babies are sleeping. . . Such a peaceful song.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home! I've done the traveling and I'd prefer to be home, where my kids seem to not get sick.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Possibly. Do I want to try? No.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel -- Ellie picked her out because she has a harp.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? What cheat opens their present on Christmas Eve? LAME! Christmas morning. All of them. Even if it takes 3 hours.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Weight gain.

23. What do you love most about Christmas? All of it! There are so many fun traditions and you really realize how blessed you are. I love the cards so I can catch up with friends, gifts from people to remind you how many people you love, traditions my kids look forward to every year, all the service opportunities so you can serve others, the music. . Can you tell it's my favorite time of the year?

I also have to share a funny Ellie moment. Before Dustin's flight the other night, he put a dinner in the crock pot for me. I also popped some refridgerated rolls in the oven that my girl friend had brought over the night before. So Ellie sees me in the kitchen and thinks I'm actually making things. After dinner she says, "Thanks for making us dinner mom! You never do that." I didn't bother correcting her that a. I didn't make dinner and b. UH YES I have! I may not do it a lot and it may not be the best, but I cook *something* at least every other week!

** DON'T forget about the PRIZE! I'm desperate people! Give me suggestions **


The Ghost of Christmas Past

Since I'm sure no one wants a total recap of my weekend every Monday, I thought I'd honor Merry Monday by posting a little about Christmases past.2oo2 -- Ellie was 8 months old for her first Christmas. This picture kills me because Sadie is almost 11 months, but looks tinier wearing the same dress. I think it must be her small head?

We went to Virgina for Christmas and my nephew ended up in the hospital on an IV drip with rotavirus. He passed it onto Ellie before that, though, so we were up all night changing sheets and diapers. Ellie also got waaaaay too many presents. I can't believe how much stuff everyone got her. Sadie isn't even getting anything from us this year! I definitely learned my lesson.2oo3 -- Ellie was sick AGAIN! She had croup and was up coughing all night. She also had a constant runny nose that I wiped off so much that she scabbed over. I thought it was dried boogers, so I tried to scrape them off and she started bleeding. A fine mommy moment!

Dustin whole family came to Arizona for Christmas and we spent Christmas Eve at Dustin's brother's in Maricopa. All 16 of us in a 3 bedroom house and half of the family was sick -- double ear infections, pneumonia, more croup. . . It's funny to think about now! We still managed to have a good time and it was fun to have the cousins together on Christmas morning.
2oo4 -- Nate's first Christmas. We were back in Virgina for this year too for Casey and Sarah's wedding. While Dustin's whole family and my family were together, we blessed Nate at my parents' house. Darian and Jen were the only one's missing, but they get a free pass since Jerge was back in Tennessee giving birth to Wyatt the same day.2oo5 -- We finally got to stay home for a Christmas! It was also the start of our Christmas Eve tradition. We have friends over for soup in bread bowls, do the Nativity, decorate cookies for Santa, and then Santa comes and leaves pajamas on the doorstep for all of the kids. It's my favorite part of Christmas!

Dustin's parents came out from Iowa and brought Nate his stocking. Dustin's mom hand makes them all. Aren't they perfect? She does an amazing job. I can't wait for Sadie's to arrive for this year.2oo6 -- The year my parents bought the kids a hummer! This year my sister came all the way from William and Mary to spend Christmas with us. I was incredibly pregnant with Sadie and trying to do anything to get that little girl to come out. Who knew it would be almost a month later!

Those PJs were also a huge hit. Nate wore those penguin PJs until his belly button was poking out. It was a sad day for him when I put them in the storage bin. And Ellie can still wear hers. I can't wait to see all three of my kids in their Santa PJs.

Awww, looking at all of these pictures has me so excited for this year and all the memories we're going to have! So Merry Monday to you!


Last week's highlights

Just a few fun things since I last blogged

1. We read Christmas Jars for our book club this month and met last week. As usual, I am the only one who did not like this book. Anyone out in cyber space read this? I thought it was poorly written, took too long to get to the action, and once we got there, it wasn't even worth all the hype. Plus the ending! Oh my gosh that was so cheesey! So if you've read this book, weigh in! Am I just a Christmas book grinch?

2. Ward Christmas Party -- I have extra dreidels if anyone needs some. I know they're hard to find since I searched everywhere for those stinking things. It's a long story as to why I was in charge of a Jewish gambling game for our Christmas party, but it was still fun. Janel did all the music and it was beautiful. Ellie was at a Polar Express party so we only had 2 kids. Oh man, I forgot how easy it was to have 2 kids!

3. Trip to Prescott with some friends. I scrap with the most hilarious, crazy, fun girls. We get together once a month and December is our big Christmas one, which means we actually don't scrap at all. This year we went up to Lisa's house in Prescott and it SNOWED! I haven't seen snow in so long, but now that I've seen it once this year, I'm good. Michelle and Kaelene are missing form the picture because they headed home early, but I've got a cute one of Michelle that I'm saving for a later date. We shopped, took pictures, laughed, exchanged gifts and ornaments, ate, made little Christmas crafts. . . just a fun night all around.

4. I think all of the gifts are out of the house. Monday night we went out and delivered most of our neighbor gifts -- even though it was raining. We had to end a little early since the kids were drenched and cold, but they still had fun. I think it rained on us last year. Maybe we're cursed?

5. Since I was gone Wednesday morning, Dustin got Ellie ready for school. I didn't lay clothes out for him, but I figured he couldn't go wrong since she has to wear a uniform. How can you mess up red, white and blue? Yeahhhhh, this is what I found when I picked her up from school.

Hair -- undone. And how many layers is that? Honestly, I can't even begin to talk about what is wrong with this outfit. When I picked her up, her teacher was laughing about the ensemble and pointed out that Ellie is wearing every possible color allowed: red, white, khaki and navy.

I love my husband and I love that he was willing to pick up the slack in the morning so I could make it to the Temple, but I definitely learned a lesson.


You know how sometimes you're just so behind and you have so many things to say that you just keep procrastinating? That's me today. I have been doing so many fun things and have so many great things to share, but no energy to upload the pictures and type it all out. So I'll just do the TAG Holly gave me.

5 things I was doing 10 years ago

1. I graduated from High School in Austria
2. I started my freshman year at BYU
3. I lived in Heritage Halls -- an interesting choice for a person who can't cook. Good think I like toast and quesadillas.
4. I had a boy friend who I was sure I was going to marry. HA HA! He went on a mission and I got married before he even came home.
5. I spent that Christmas in Virginia -- in a house I had never been in before and with no one I knew around. Isn't that sad? Luckily I had some friends from college there to keep me company.

5 things on my to do list today.
1.Go to the Temple with Molly -- CHECK
we went to the 5:3o session which explains #2
2.Nap while Nate is at Boy School -- CHECK
3. Take Nate and Sadie Christmas shopping for Dustin -- CHECK
4. Pick girls up from school, homework with Ellie and then to piano -- CHECK
5. Fold 3 loads of laundry while watching Harry Potter tonight -- hopefully I can stay awake

5 Snacks I enjoy.
1. Dried mangoes from Trader Joe's. Nate and I just finished off a pack ourselves.
2. Cookies -- they HAVE to be warm, and with milk
3. Skinny Cows
4. toast
5. the kid's fruit snacks

5 Things I would do if I were a billionaire.
1. Trip around the world. I think I could easily fill up the list with places I want to visit and take my family to see.
2. I'd probably level my house and build a bigger one with a basement so there's be some room for a pool. I don't want to leave my neighborhood though.
3. Bigger car! Who needs to wait?
4. I'd probably spoil all my friends and family for Christmas
5. Vacation home and lots of girl trips!

5 Bad Habits.
1. Stressing people out
2. Whining about my weight
3. I don't like to call people to schedule appointments or things so I always procrastinate or make Dustin do it
4. Obsessing
5. Losing my temper

5 Places I have lived.
1. Seoul, Korea
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Pacific Grove, California
4. Chicago, Illinois
5. Aloha, Oregon
I thought I'd skip the obvious ones

5 Job that I have had.
1. Babysitter
2. State Department
3. Telemarketer -- gotta love Provo, they're everywhere and the pay so well
4. 4th grade teacher
5. Mommy

5 things you may not know about me.
I don't know if there is anything people don't know about me, but I'll try
1. I can actually cook really good meatballs
2. I can play the piano -- but I never practice, so I'm not good on the spot
3. I hate socks. I am still wearing flip flops in December because I only own 4 pairs of socks
4. As spotless as I keep my house, right now my bathroom and closet are a disaster because. . . Sadie sleeps in our closet. She's almost 11 months old and she is still in a pack-in-play in our walk-in. In my defense, it has a little nook just for her and she loves how dark and quite it is in there. Nate slept in there from 6-16 months.
5. No one really called me Maddy until I was in High School. I decided that I wanted a nickname, so I did for about 7 years. In college, I decided that I was going to go back to my full name, but it never caught on. I keep thinking I'll do it every time we move. I wonder if I ever actually will?


It's amazing how the little things can make you so happy. For instance, these knee socks. I love little girls in knee socks but Ellie has been protesting them all year. It's a small miracle that I convinced her they were cool because we all know that girl is stubborn!

So yesterday I talk her into wearing them and I ask her which skirts she wants to wear with them. She looks at all of them and asks, "Which is the shortest?" Turns out that Ellie thinks if you wear long socks, you have to wear a short skirt. Luckily the high today is going to be 77. In December.

This morning she wakes up all cranky because she had a "really really bad dream. Tayler and Hannah had holes in the their teeth and they were HUUUUUGE." The nightmares of little girls I guess. So she's cranky, just like her mamma, she is not a morning person, and she can't decide what kind of hair do she wants. She's pouting and Nate's hollering at me, "I want somethingIcan'tunderstand." So I ask him to repeat it a few times until I finally get, "I.WANT.BRAIDS!" Ah ha! I guess Nate was tired of no one making a decision and made one for us. He also picked out Ellie's red shoes.

You can also see Ellie's cute Gingerbread coloring. She's taking a Gingerbread Village class where they are making a little village out of wooden blocks, but it has to stay at the class until it is done. I can't wait to see how cute it turns out!


Slight update

I get a lot of questions about where I got my pastry domes from. I have to give credit to Jill who had them first. I bought mine here. Make sure you "refer a friend" and get $5 off. Use my e-mail if you need to.

Also, for all my holiday over-achieving, I can't believe I have been bested TWICE! Once by my sister-in-law, whose gifts arrived weeks ago and tonight by Katherine who showed up with holiday goodies. I am impressed!

Merry Monday!

Christmas things accomplished in the last 3 days:
1. Christmas cards and letters -- mailed unless you're one of the 5 people on Dustin's list who moved this year and he hasn't e-mailed to get a new address yet.
2. Packages with presents -- mailed
3. Christmas lights -- UP!
4. Recipe cards for Thursday's Book Club party -- super easy, thanks for the recipe Jill

5. Neighbor gifts -- made. Not all that good, but made. I hope they realize it's the thought and effort that counts, not the taste
6. Gingerbread House -- done
I am ready for Christmas! Bring it on! I also promise to keep my Christmas related posts to Merry Mondays only.