Friday, December 31, 2010


Remember this room?

We made it into this- ready for our first two guests:

And now, we've made it into this:

I love it, especially with that dingy yellow gone. I'd have liked a little more color in here, but I suppose beggars can't really be choosers-- or in this case, renters can't. But white is better than yellow and I like the effect we've pulled together. 

I'd like to add more color and wall decor, particularly here over the sofa, but as it stands I think I like what we've done with the place... The white and green combine in such a refreshing way and the brown really brings a comfortable warm feel to the room. I hope our guests like it as much as I do!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Day

Christmas morning, like every other household anticipating Santa, dawned early- earlier than either of the parents in this house wanted it to anyway. To prevent the kids from rushing headlong into the living room to inspect Santa's proffered gifts, we closed our shoji door. It's made of paper-- that'll be ample protection, right? Well, stop anticipating something dreadful, it was and the door's fine. 

So we all got up (at who knows what hour) and dove right in---

The one bummer about Christmas morning was the lack of decent lighting. Forgive the unfocused pictures. 

Roman loves watching the garbage truck come every week... so naturally Santa hooked him up with his very own. It was a hit.

He wouldn't be a boy if he didn't love weapons and violence. Of course, that being said, the girls each got these little guns too and they ran around shooting things and each other. After spending a considerable amount of time and frustration trying to figure out how to load them anyway.

The girls loved their wings. And we started watching the Harry Potter movies, so naturally I knew we had to have the books. I mean, Santa knew.

Does this even need a caption?

Our oh-so-thoughtful neighbors, Jimmy and Mei gave each of the kids gifts as well. This train was perfect.... the boy LOVES trains. Who am I kidding... anything with wheels!

I've been promising for quite some time (years?) to turn our blog into books. So I worked my butt off and got the first year of the blog put into book format just in time for Christmas. I don't think I've ever managed a gift that garnered this big of smile/reaction! I had one printed for my dad and Wayne and Zan as well.

As much as he loves things with wheels, this is a boy who really loves a good gecko. Avril capitalized on that and hooked him up with what I think was his absolute favorite- gauging by the time he spent playing and the number of times he said "Deh-doh!" 

I think everyone got a turn being "gotten" by the "deh-doh!"

Derek scored some major points for his gadget/tech-loving wife here... I'm loving it already and spent a good deal of the day finding awesome apps to download and play with. I'm so excited to tap into this thing- but a little overwhelmed and worried I won't maximize it's potential! Doesn't make me love it any less, though...

I told you everyone got "got" by the "deh-doh"!

Little faery princesses out for a trial flight and some magic.

Last year Christmas seemed pretty anti-climactic after the morning madness. I decided that like most things in life it should be remedied with food. Yes, that's right. I'm a commie cause I didn't do a big Christmas dinner. Well stop judging me, because I've reformed my anti-American/Christian ways and knocked myself out this year making this:

(Go ahead and go grab a napkin so you don't ruin your computer for heaven's sake. It's the internet. We'll wait for you.)

It was so fun to get to use the china and fancy up the kitchen. I haven't been cooking as much as I used to lately since it's so hot, so that was fun, too!

Merry Christmas everyone! I'm so grateful for this wonderful holiday, the opportunity to give and share with family. We definitely miss ours this holiday season and wish we didn't have an ocean between us. And more than anything I'm grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who was willing to send his perfect Son to us to lead us back to Him. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

I wanted to do something fun for Christmas Eve, so for breakfast I used an idea I found in my email: Santa pancakes. I think they were a hit:

Well, after he finished his banana anyway. I actually think the kids didn't quite know what to do with them. 

That night we read the Christmas Story in Luke 2 and talked about the Savior coming to earth. Derek does such a good job teaching our kids the scriptures. He is really such a good daddy to them. 

After they went to bed (being reminded that Santa doesn't come if you're awake- and he always knows), they were sure to leave their stockings out and their shoes under the tree for the elves (a tradition carried on from Derek's family- if you leave your shoes under the Christmas tree, every night until Christmas if you were good that day you get a treat in your shoe!), Derek and I of course went to relax and let Santa do his job. 

When we finally came upstairs, we saw that he'd come and left a bounteous supply of gifts behind:

Santa knows how much we all like snacks and drinks just as much as we like presents, so he was sure to leave plenty.

And look! He left me a monofin! 

Thanks Santa! We couldn't wait till Christmas morning so the kids could see all the fun Santa had left for us.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas from Avril

She couldn't actually wait till Christmas itself to give me (well, us) our present. She couldn't even wait until Derek got home from work actually. Right after school, she eagerly presented me with this envelope:

Inside was this card:

Inside the card was this loving note:

And finally our gift was included- a year long calendar with her cute picture and a sample of her adorable artwork. Our family is so cute :)

Christmas: Gingerbread Fun

We (Xandri, Roman and I) got together with our friend Heather for some festive gingerbread decorating. I'll give you three guesses who decorated and who ate the decorations. 

It reminded me of when I was a kid and every year my mom would help us decorate gingerbread houses. Mostly what I remember is how awesome hers always turned out. They were so cool-looking and detailed I didn't ever WANT to break and eat them! I remember she'd even do a little mailbox and the windows would be all pretty and scrolly and even the eaves had perfect little icicles hanging from them.

Mine didn't exactly turn out like that. They were a lot more gloppy. So I tried to cover them up with candy. 

Heather gave it to us to take home and enjoy, so that night we decided to get down to business. 

Avril had no problem eating our creation:

And then we all dug in, leaving not much in our wake. It was pretty good, but here's where I put in a plug for my mom's gingerbread recipe-- sooo much better!

I loved decorating with the kids so much I thought it would be a great preschool activity for them. I found these graham crackers that were made of gingerbread for that purpose exactly and thought, "What could be more perfect?" So I rounded up what random candy we had around the house (not much, truth be told), made some icing and we went to work.

That look of intense concentration isn't just for placing the marshmallow just so. It's just as much to not EAT the marshmallow just yet.

Even though Avril is in school during preschool hours, she loves doing the activities the kids do. This one was certainly no exception and she dove right in with finesse. And appetite.

The Haircut: Xandri-style

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. This one tells a little story about a little girl and some scissors. And the mom who tried to fix it. 

Is anyone under any impression that she somehow learned a valuable lesson from this experience? Or just biding her time till the next one?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Buried Sand Babies

Went up to the beach across from Dillingham Airfield this weekend with Heather and Jason. Brought a cooler full of yummy snacks and drinks and our boogie boards to play in the waves. It was a pretty perfect day. 

The snacks were a huge hit of course. I'm still not sure why the beach makes food so much more fun. Of course, maybe it's more that we bring the fun food to the beach, so the kids go for it since they don't usually get those snacks otherwise....

Crazy Xandri dancing with her string cheese...

So we all played in the water and snacked and hung out. Meanwhile, however, Derek was busy with his latest devious scheme...

His unwitting victims stood by, watching him work, little realizing the part they would play in his evil plot.

At first, all was fun and games...

But all too soon, he realized his mobility was severely impaired. Avril seemed unaffected by her imprisonment. In fact, I might go so far as to say she enjoyed it... strange, strange little girl.

At last the deed was complete, his prisoners secured in their sabulous immuration.

At long last (about two minutes later), the piteous cries softened their captor's callous heart.

Upon his release, his mood now greatly improved, the young captive capered about the hole, taunting it... but remained cautious.

His cellmate was yet unaffected by the ordeal and just seemed pleased to resemble a snickerdoodle. Slightly more accustomed to her father's antics, she regarded the shenanigans with good humour.