Friday, December 30, 2011

Oakland Temple Lights

My brother Nephi came into town last Thursday (he took Dominic up to Alaska and stayed for the week) and we had planned to go see the lights at the Oakland Temple. They go all out decorating the grounds with a huge nativity and lots of lights and a big star of Bethlehem. It really was very pretty. I love that you can walk on the rooftop of the Oakland Temple and see the whole Bay.

Sidenote: Before the temple we stopped in to Six Flags for a few minutes because we have season passes and had one free day pass. Nephi and Dominic went on the roller coaster Medusa 3 or 4 times and Penny was able to ride her favorite roller coaster, Cobra with Dad twice. It was a super short six flags visit, but it was a lot of fun. Dominic loves that he enjoys the bigger roller coasters. I wished I could have gone with them but....I'm a little too pregnant for that at this point.

So, anyways, back to the temple:
It was chilly out (hence my kids with hats on) but my sweater was plenty fine to keep me warm (though it was a breezy sweater). Nephi and I were giggling at some other friends we met there, Andrea was wearing a full on parka with fur around the ruff. I told her she needed to be on the next flight to Alaska, not Nephi. Hee hee....just teasing you Andrea but you need to thicken that blood of yours! ;P

After we got our family pics.... I wanted one with Nephi but there were people in the way and I almost didn't want to bother asking them to move and yada yada yada. I'm glad I got this picture. In fact, I love this picture. I don't think I have many, if any, pictures of Nephi and I. I love my Phi guy.

All over the temple grounds are stone benches. Michael found it necessary to stop at EVERY SINGLE ONE and say a prayer. It was stinking adorable. I'll have to get a prayer on camera because he's very good at them, "Hev Faduh, Thank Is Day, Is Food, Is Blessings, Home Safe, Jesus Chri, Amen" Melt a mama's heart.....

We had also met up with some friends (Sean grew up with Chris) at the temple and then headed over to get a bite to eat. They had paper on the table and gave us crayons. Awesome. I haven't seen Nephi draw in a very long time and it was fun. Dominic was flaberghasted.

Taking only minutes, he can draw masterpieces. I love seeing these monsters...I mean, I was the reason they came to be (inside story and its too late at night

So Dominic decided that since Nephi was drawing 'The Dominator" that he would draw a similar "Nephinator" I loved how he did his best at imitating Nephi's style of drawing.

Looks like Nephi right?

Saying a prayer again. Darn camera was too slow and took the picture after he got his head up. Its seriously the cutest thing ever.

Penny dug right in to the dessert.

Thanks McDougans and Nephi for a fun evening! Lets get together again soon!
Sean, did you change their last name? I swear I put in McGougans. Or is it McDougans......argh, I'll never get it right. Laugh it up fuzzball.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Sometimes, I take too long to answer a "Mommy all done!" call from the high chair and matters need to be taken into his own hands.

Rice and beans never get old! Don't you love the glow of the pellet stove in the background? This baby heats our house so well. We've figured that taking into account the cost of pellets, we're saving about $50 a month on our electric bill (our house it completely electric, no gas).We were very blessed with a small electric bill (compared to other 'all electric' homes in the area) .... the Lord knew what we needed and he provided for us in more ways than one. There was a reason this house felt so good and so right the moment I set foot inside it. We didn't know how much utilities would cost in this home....but when the spirit confirmed it, there was no denying that our needs would be met and this was to be our home.

Funny way to fall asleep, maybe that foot was really hot?

the tea set is put up high for a reason, so he can't get it at any given moment (though this is his tea set to play with) Doesn't stop him anymore. He has discovered that a couch or stool are very useful for getting to those hard to reach places.

Michael really likes to play in the flour. I've been trying to deter this urge by offering rice and beans to play with any time that I catch him in the flour. It, for the most part, has worked....but sometimes the temptation is just too much. I was very stern with him this time.....

and so the next time he brought the flour to me and asked if he could play in the flour. What a good boy......."but the answer is still no. How about rice and beans?" He loves to play with rice and beans, maybe the problem is that I have the #10 can of them hiding behind the couch and he can't just get to it and open it when he wants to like he can the flour.

We went to six flags for Christmas in the Park and had an awesome time. We didn't take many pictures, but this one of Shouka swimming right next to the window we were standing at. What an amazing mammal. She is so massive and she kept making pass after pass after pass. The kids (and I) were absolutely stunned by her enormity!

See? He uses the stool to get what he wants. Nothing in the drawers are ever safe anymore.

Michael loves to copy Daddy and so that means he gets to play with the 10 pound kettle bell. He lifts it up and says "Heaby, heaby. I strong." So stinking cute. He really is super strong.

Our neighbor has a huge oak tree in front of their yard and Penny loves to go out there every time the wind blows and rake up the leaves and play in them. She's such a poser.

Have you seen his taco tongue? Its awesome. He's saying the word "leaves" here and I caught him at the Sssss sound. This is what his tongue does for the ssss sound. Personally, I can't even do it, I'm not sure how he makes it happen but its cute and he knows it.

Shaking the rake super hard trying to get the leaves off. She meant serious business raking those leaves.

We found these decorating beads at the dollar store. They are wet and slippery and absorb water and get bigger. All 3 of my kids love to play with them (and secretly. so do I...its very therapeutic feeling).

Reading books with Great Grandma. She comes over and helps watch the kids while I go to Young Women's every Tuesday night. Sean is here, but he's usually working in the garage. This has been a great way to get our Grandma time in every week and the kids absolutely love having her over. She's over probably 2-3 times a week to play with the kids. So often, in fact, that the other day Daddy came through the front door and before Michael could see who it was, he jumped up and proclaimed, " Yay! Grandma's here!" We all started laughing.

Penny fell asleep and Michael kept crawling up to her and saying, "awww. Cuuuuuuute." and then hugging her. He did it so much that we had to move her because she was starting to get woken up and her hair pulled etc. He sure loves his sister (never mind the hitting bout he's been on the last few won't last. He's already figuring out that THAT behavior doesn't fly at our house.)

I was knitting my mom a scarf for Christmas and Dominic was knitting himself one. He has been really excited to learn how to knit and he's quite good at it. Who knew? He had a friend come over one day who begged me to teach him I did. Boys can knit...they really can.
Michael was not in the mood for a picture (Dominic was already gone for Alaska) before we went to our family Christmas party.

Penny was all for posing though. I love this girler.

Making popcorn is the most fun ever.

He put on his own Santa hat, said a few "Santa Santa Hhho hhho hhoo" 's and then proceeded to play with legos. He loves this santa hat. Whenever he says

She is her mommy's daughter. Monkey feet and all.

Sometimes I can't find Penny....there is usually a reason.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 !

Oh what an awesome Christmas we had. It started off with putting up the tree in early December. Sean had 2 of his wisdom teeth pulled on Friday and Saturday morning wasn't up to coming with us to get the tree, so I trudged out with 3 kids in tow to the tree farm to find that perfect tree. We found one after about 5 minutes but it looked a little tall, they assured me that it was okay, they could cut it until it was the right height. I'm never doing that again. Once they cut off some of the main bottom branches, the tree just didn't look right but we didn't know that until we got it home and in the stand. It was still a nice tree, but not the perfect tree that it was when we saw it.

Anyways, we put it in the stand and then waited till the next day, when Penny Grandma came to town, to decorate it. Sean took pictures while the rest of us decked the halls.

One of my favorite parts of decorating is pulling out all the old ornaments. The kids really enjoy this too and love finding these treasures of memory associated with each one. It was cute to hear Dominic tell Penny the stories that went behind some of the ones that she didn't know.....and she in turn told Michael a few as well.

I was giving Sean, "the look" that he gets when he's in trouble for whatever the reason may be. =) (jokingly of course). My belly has started to show. I'm almost 19 weeks in this picture.

Penny Gma and I strung the lights on the tree but we were one string too short. I gave away all our extra white lights last year as we hadn't used them in years and years and were just lugging them around. Guess I should have kept a few more (oh well, a new strand was only like $2.50)

Dominic was good at spreading the ornaments out this year and not bunching them all in one area. He and Penny put almost all the ornaments on by themselves.

Penny was in Christmas heaven! 

She insisted G-Gma put a few ornaments on the tree also.....and of course G-Gma always does anything Penny tells her to do. She just can't say no! =) Its cute, these two.

Dominic passed the torch off to Penny this year to put the angel on top. Its not that he didn't want to, but I'm not sure Dad could have lifted him that high without dropping him into the tree. Penny was quite proud. 

Here is the tree all lit (and the extra strand of lights finally put on). I love the look of Christmas in my own home. I find myself stopping and staring before I go up the stairs because it just brings so much joy and peace into my heart. Sean stopped and stared when going up the stairs for different reasons. He bought himself a new TV for his birthday and it makes our living room look a thousand times better (its the first TV he's ever purchased in his life, all the others were given to him by someone)

We had Christmas a week and a day early since it was Dominic's year to be with his Dad up in Alaska on Christmas day. Believe me, the kids didn't put up a fight and I have to admit....its kinda nice being all done when everyone else is finishing their last minute shopping. The stocking were hung and the presents were wrapped and all we needed were the kids to wake up! Sean and I stayed up much too late watching a movie and excited for our kids to open their presents (its hard to say who is more excited in our house, the kids or the parents)

We don't let them come down until we say. We have to snap a few pictures and make sure we're all set. We like seeing their faces when they see all the presents under the tree. Michael had no clue what was coming, but it didn't take long for him to figure it out.

Before Stockings even, Penny insisted that Michael open her present. She's been so excited for him to open up the angry birds stuffed animal she got him. He was beyond thrilled and could have stopped there. But of course, the stocking had chocolate in them....

Nothing wrong with chocolate for breakfast on Christmas day =) Penny's favorite present came in her stocking......a princess electric toothbrush. She brushes her teeth like 4 times a day now....well worth the $5.

I thought Michael would see his truck we got him and not be able to contain himself, but we had to point it out until he understood that he could play with it. Then he didn't want to open anything else.

She's a multi-tasker like her mom.

Had to stop for a milk break.

Dominic was completely surprised when he opened the XBox 360 with kinect. He'd been begging me for one and I had to play the mean mom and make up a story about how, "we don't need another gaming system in the house!" See, with the wii controllers, Sean can't play the games he likes to play with the now we have both. Its been fun to see Penny play with Daddy on the lego games....she really gets to giggling.

She loves the cookies and cream hersheys bars. I think she ate like 5 of them.

The tag reader was her big present. She loves it!

Michael has had so much fun with this pound and play toy. I really wanted good quality toys this year that would last for a few more kids and everything I got for them has been a hit! I wasn't sure if this would be too babyish but after a few minutes, I knew it was perfect. He LOVES this toy!

This girl and her sticky mosaic's. She can SIT and DO for hours. She is my crafty girl

Dominic was "helping" Penny build her sets, but was actually doing them for her. I kicked him out because he said it was too hard to teach her and just easier to just do it himself. Ha! Not the point Dominic. I sat down and taught her how to build legos and how to use the pictures to see what was different and build upon the last step. She definitely needed help, but she had so much fun doing it. 

This was a neat toy that I got for Michael that Penny has put to good use too. This tool has different drill bits that all work within the same screws. It will drill them forward and into the case and backward and out of the case. The kids love it! I'm just glad we invested in rechargeable batteries a few years back. =)

Another favorite thing in her stocking, her very own pink hairbrush. 

Snacks on the go. I went to the farmers market after opening presents and these grapes are so delicious! Michael ate almost half the bag that morning. 

These robot blocks are awesome. I got a few sets as I wanted them to really be able to build high with them. They are lots of fun.

Daddy had picked Penny's lego character up over his character's head and Penny thought that was the funniest thing ever. She was all fits of giggles playing video games with her dad and said something along the lines of, "its a good thing I'm 4 now and can play with you when Dominic is in Alaska otherwise you would have to play video games all by yourself and that is boring." Touche Penny, Touche.

Michael likes to push the buttons on the tag reader. I love the chin resting in his hand. As Michael would say, "mmmmmmmm. So good!"

Dominic really was here that day, but somehow we missed getting any pictures of him playing kinect, building his bionicles, playing with his lego motors etc. There are some awesome pictures on the Xbox though as proof of what he did all day! =)  It took me 3 days to get to the bottom layer of Christmas and have it feel officially, cleaned up. Our house was well played in.

On December 25th, the actual celebrated Christmas day, I put out this lit Christmas present and in the morning we talked about the true gift of Christmas; Jesus Christ. We had a quick discussion about why we needed a savior and then watched a cartoon depicting Mary and Joseph and their journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus, the angel proclaiming the birth to the shepherds and the wise men seeking him. It was actually, the perfect Christmas morning with no fluff of presents and messes to clean up. It was very calm and peaceful and the spirit was in our home.

I wouldn't mind having Christmas early every year and then Christmas day be like it was this year....just our one true gift of Christmas.

I asked Sean today (December 26th) if we could take down the tree tomorrow so that I could prepare the house for school to start next week. He looked at me with a sad face and said, "don't you want to savor the Christmas season and milk it till after new years?"

Of course I do. And so it stays. The lights on the tree are no longer on, but the box under the tree is shining bright and I like it.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!