Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Zoo Lights!

Last Thursday was my birthday (31st, for those of you curious), and my mom came out to spend the afternoon/evening with me. Mark had to work late, so he and I went out to dinner & a movie the next night (thanks to Mark's parents for babysitting!). Anyway, when my mom came out to visit me she brought me some yummy take out for a late lunch and we enjoyed it together while the boys napped. It was really nice & relaxing. That evening we took Noah & Lincoln to see Zoo Lights, and we had a great time! It was really cold (in the 20's), so it was actually good that Noah wanted to walk since that kept him warmer...and then Lincoln got the blanket to himself!

Noah specifically asked if there would be elephant lights, so I was relieved to see that they did have them!

I just thought that Noah looked too cute (and tiny) standing under this archway of jungle bird lights.

When it was time to warm up for a bit we bought a hot cocoa. Noah even talked me into getting it in one of the souvenir mugs that had flashing lights in it (a necessity for every household, right?) . However, even after cooling down his cocoa by adding ice, Noah took one sip and wouldn't touch it again - saying it was toooo hot. And there was no convincing him otherwise. Those of you that know Noah know that he prefers his food (and drink, obviously) luke-warm to cold and that we usually have to put his food in the freezer prior to serving it to him. We usually only get one shot at it too...and if it's too "hot" then he won't attempt eating it a second time. I somehow figured that those rules wouldn't apply to a sugary, chocolate drink if it was warm. Wrong! Luckily I'd packed some hot cocoa in a sippy (which was now cold), so he sucked that down & I drank the warm cocoa. So! Here is Noah enjoying his cold cocoa...and, yes, I tucked napkins into his coat before he had a drink (and you can see why).

Lincoln was pretty quiet (surprisingly) most of this outing. And my mom & I got a few good laughs when we'd peek around to check on him and he'd look like this...

And here's a shot of him without his hat covering his eyes.

My mom took Noah on the carousel and being first in line he even got first pick on what animal to ride. You'd think he'd pick the elephant, or the lion? tiger? Nope. The peacock bench. Yup, it doesn't go up and down or anything. Oh well, we said he could choose any one he wanted. I didn't get a good shot of them riding it, but this was right afterward. I have to mention that I got a good laugh out of the lady in the background that smiled right at the camera when I took the picture. It's just the opposite reaction that I have if I'm going to accidentally be in somebody's picture (which is get out of the way, or look away)...but hey, I guess if you're going to be in a picture you might as well make it a flattering shot of you.
I had a great birthday, Mom. And it seemed appropriate to be celebrating that day with the person that brought me into the world (& helped raise me)! I love you, Mom. Thanks also to all my friends and family that dropped emails/cards, left messages, gave such thoughtful gifts, or visited me on my "Holly-day". It meant a lot to know that you were thinking of me! I'm one lucky girl.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Village

For the last several years our family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) on my mom's side has enjoyed a tradition of meeting together to walk through the Christmas Village in Ogden & then afterward going over to my aunt & uncle's home for treats. For different reasons each year Mark & I have never been able to attend, but this year we could!

It was really cold that night, but still worth the trip. Noah loved running from home to home at the village and looking into the windows. We got a good laugh out of watching him run too. His coat is stiff...so when he runs his arms swing forward and back, but don't bend at the elbows. It was pretty funny. My only regret from the outing was my choice of shoes! My feet got so cold! Note to self...next year wear nice, warm winter boots!

Here's a shot of me holding Noah up so that he could get a good look of Santa.

Lincoln and his daddy. (And Lincoln is sporting a cute wool hat that his aunt Rachel made for his birthday. It fits perfectly & we love it!)

Cold, but never too cold for a quick family photo!

And we enjoyed delicious cocoa and cookies afterward. Thanks, Shelly!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who is Your Favorite Charity?

I'm the first to admit that I am not great on keeping up with current trends, particularly when it's associated with technology, so you tell me...am I the last one to hear about "GoodSearch"? It's a search engine that contributes 50% of its revenue to the charity or school of your choice (about 1 cent per search)! Simply go to www.goodsearch.com, enter in the charity of your choice, and bookmark it (or add it as your default search engine on that toolbar)! It took me just a few seconds & now the charity of my choice will automatically receive money every time I search the internet! Wahoo! If you're like me, I find myself "googling" stuff often throughout the day - so if my internet is ever down I feel a bit cut off from the world & information. However, now instead of "googling", I will be "goodsearching"! Give it a try!...and what charity will you choose?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Beginning to Look (and Feel) a lot Like Christmas...

Now that December is half over I'm pleased to say that our shopping is done, we've made good progress on our Christmas card list, and our Christmas decorations are up. Although our Christmas tree does leave much to be desired. We left the glass ornaments off due to the curious hands of our very mobile 1 year old, and we still have yet to purchase a nice star for the top of the tree. So! Our tree is simply adorned with a Santa hat on top, is strung with some white lights, and draped with silver beads (which actually look quite pretty when the lights are on...except that all the beads have been pulled into a heap at the bottom of the tree again)! We have also attended a few Christmas events (which is good since Christmas is officially next week already). So! Add to that the several inches of snow we were blanketed with this weekend and it IS beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here!

Every year while I was growing up, I remember my mom volunteering for the Festival of Trees. It is a great event where 100% of the proceeds go to help children in need at Primary Children's Medical Center. Other than "Pennies by the Inch" (which I was our neighborhood coordinator for this year) I think this is the only fundraiser they do.

Anyhow, I don't really know everything that my mom did, but I mostly remember her making suckers and butter-mints to donate, and I remember visiting "Festival" and seeing her working the sweets counter. I also remember her delivering trees after the event was over. Many items, such as trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, etc. are on display. They go to the highest bidder & are delivered once the festival is over. The most memorable tree for me over the years was one that was done during my senior year of high school in memory of my soccer teammate who was tragically killed in a car accident. Many of the trees there are beautiful tributes to people's loved ones. So! Attending the Festival of Trees is not only something that is a great event to support, but has always been a tradition for our family and has lots of sentimental feelings for me. So, I was excited to attend this year with my mom, Noah & Lincoln. The first thing we did when we got there was look at the gingerbread houses & then head straight over to the scones & cinnamon rolls! I don't think Noah had ever had a cinnamon roll before, but it didn't take him long to decide that they were a good idea!

Lincoln was a pretty happy camper hanging out in the stroller, it would've been pretty rough to have kept tabs on him if we let him out. Next year, buddy...

I wish that I could've gotten a picture of Noah that showed how big his eyes were here! He saw this Disney tree that had all sorts of Disney movies, toys, books, etc. under the tree & he was smitten! I think he would've sat there all night if we had let him. The line of people walking through to look at the trees just went around him as he sat and stared. He'd periodically reach out wanting to touch something, but I was actually amazed how well he did restraining himself as we'd remind him not to touch, and that he had to stay behind the chain.

Noah thought that the "scary grinch" was pretty cool too.

Grandma & Noah.

Noah was so excited when he found out that Santa was there! The boys sat on his lap & Lincoln hardly even fussed either, which surprised me. When Santa asked Noah what he wanted for Christmas - Noah put his index finger on his chin and tapped it repeatedly while saying "Uummmm...ummmm...ummm" (finally I had to pull out the "come on, honey - there are other kids waiting to see Santa"). So, a couple of ummms later he looks Santa in the eyes and said in his most sugary-sweet voice, "Santa, can I please have a Zurg toy?" (I melted.)

I have to mention how extraordinarily patient Noah can be with some things. We learned about this trait of his as he looked forward to our Disneyland vacation for several months. Now, he is being pretty dang patient (particularly for a 2 year old) waiting for this whole Christmas present thing that we've been explaining to him. Any time that we're in a store and see a toy he wants, or he sees an ad on tv or in a magazine, he'll say "I want that, Mom!!" to which I automatically reply, "Well, ask Santa for it & we'll see!" which Noah always responds with an "OK!" This is particularly helpful when he's grabbed an item off the shelf at a store that he wants. I continue to be amazed that my response still works & that he automatically will respond with an "ok!" while putting the item back and simply moving on. He has even recently begun sparing me having to feed him the line, and he'll go straight from, "I want this, Mom!" to "Ask Santa for it?"...so all I even have to say these days is, "yup!" What a kid! (What will I do when Christmas is over however? Any ideas?....)

After seeing Santa Claus I did take Lincoln's candy cane away (poor guy), so he immediately replaced it with my hair. Nice. Serves me right for taking candy away from a child maybe?

There was a kiddie area where you could purchase tickets for various activities. Noah got his heart set on talking to an elf, so we bought a couple of tickets and got in line at the phone booth. This was the slowest moving line of all time, seriously! I don't know how these elves had so much to say to these kids, but every kid seemed to sit in that phone booth chatting forever. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Noah buddied up with the lady that was manning the phone booth (yes, that's her foot in this photo). Then we waited some more...

...eventually Noah resorted to harassing the kids that were in the phone booth. I'm not sure if he thought this might hurry them up, or if it was purely out of sheer boredom. Either way I have to admit that I got a pretty good chuckle out of it.

Finally it was Noah's turn & he seemed to think the whole thing was pretty cool. He went into the booth, dialed up the elf, chatted it up for a bit and then we could hear him say "Bye!" and he hung up and marched out of the booth & wanted to know what we were going to do next! The lady manning the phone booth was really surprised (usually she had to tell the kids that it was time to come out). That's my boy, getting right down to business.

The last thing that Noah chose to use a ticket on was the fish pond (it must have been ice-fishing, right?). Anyway, I was pleased since there was no line at all and it was really cute to watch him catch his fish (which has a sucker or something on it).

Before leaving I told Noah that he could choose one treat to buy, which of course he was really excited about. He chose a bag of Christmas colored popcorn & was quite delighted with his choice. As you can see, Lincoln was past ready for bed at this point as he eyed the popcorn, but didn't seem to have the energy to harass Noah for it or try to take it away. We had such a great time and (other than Lincoln's blow-out diaper right before driving home) it was a fun, mostly relaxing evening! Thanks, Mom!

Before wrapping up this post I thought I'd include a few quick shots from our church Christmas party. We had a great time & everything was really well done. Here is Noah playing with Balloons with a boy in our ward named Jack.

Me and Linc! Isn't he kissable? Also, I have to document that this was, sadly, my last time wearing my jade bracelet (that I loved). My host family bought it for me when I lived in Taiwan. The next day it got dropped in the kitchen and broke into several pieces. *sigh* It was one of only a few pieces of sentimental jewelry that I had left since we were robbed at Christmas time a few years ago while living in Iowa (and all my jewelry was stolen). Bummer.

Yes, Noah giving Lincoln a kiss was adorable (and even more adorable the way that Linc would squeal while he did it)...but I also wanted to show how close their height difference has become already. I'm guessing that Lincoln is going to pass Noah up, what do you think?

At the end of the party I took Noah back to the dessert tables and told him he could pick anything he wanted, but just one. There were pies, cakes, brownies, cookies, etc. He chose raspberry jello! Sweet. That ended up being my choice too (and yes, it was tasty).
I didn't take any pictures at Mark's residency program's Christmas party, but we had a nice time there too...and we've got a few more festive events this week, so hopefully I'll have another post soon! I hope that everyone is enjoying the holidays as much as we are so far!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

November Wrap-Up

As a substantial storm blows into our area today...and several inches of snow continue to accumulate outside - catching up all blog-posts associated with autumn felt somehow more urgent. So, I'm posting a few pictures (that I'd set aside to include on my blog) that somehow never made it into a post.

First of all a picture of our house. When the beautiful, mature tree in our front yard decides to unload its burden of autumn leaves it seems to do it all at once. I think it's pretty though, so I snapped a picture of it before they all got raked/mowed up. Just thought that I'd share it.

Lincoln and Mark. I just think this picture is sweet.

We managed to fit in a few visits to the Children's Museum during November. One of them was this visit with my good friend (of 19 years) Allison & her adorable son Isaac. Noah & Isaac play really well together and we had a great time. I had to include this short clip of Noah riding the horse there. I still get a kick out of how he says "Right on, cowboy!" (instead of "ride 'em, cowboy!").

Noah & Isaac.

I'm going to have to be sure to bring a change of shirt for Noah as we visit the museum during the winter months. He always ends up sopping wet...and here's why.

Just a random picture of Lincoln that I loved. The little vest that he's wearing was Mark's when he was a baby too!

It's a pretty frequent occurrence to find the boys shirtless at our house. Either because I'm changing their shirts after they got dirty, or because I've removed them to prevent them from getting dirty during eating (or some other activity). If I remember this instance correctly though I just hadn't gotten their shirts on yet. I believe that they were enthralled at this moment with watching the garbage truck collect our garbage. I just thought they looked pretty cute & had to grab a quick photo before the moment passed!

Yes, another shirtless moment for these two. This picture was actually taken the night of Lincoln's first birthday while Mark was reading their bedtime stories. Have I mentioned that I love my boys? I have? Oh, well! I sure do!


I keep waiting for time to put together a clever or creative post from Thanksgiving...however, since I can see that "time" isn't going to happen any time soon - I'll just put together a traditional re-cap! We celebrated Thanksgiving Day with Mark's parents this year & it was such a nice, relaxing day. When we arrived they had the table all decorated with these cute little cornucopias that they made (Noah particularly loved them)! After a while the boys (Noah & Lincoln) began to get restless so I took them on a walk, along with grandpa, while Mark & Mary stayed back to work their magic in the kitchen in peace!

I have to admit that, for the most part, the boys were super cute together all day. Maybe I was just feeling a little extra of that Thanksgiving-sentiment, but I sure felt overwhelmingly adoring of our two little guys. I'm so grateful that we have both of them in our family, and little makes me more happy than to watch them being fun or sweet with each other. Here's a photo of them taking turns being a monster and growling at each other - they thought it was pretty funny (and so did I actually)!

I was glad that I already had my camera in hand at this moment when Noah went up to Lincoln and gave him the sweetest little unsolicited hug & kiss. I mention this because it is somewhat of a novelty & was also so out of the blue, but sooo cute. Note the shiner on Lincoln's forehead too, it's rare these days that his head doesn't have a bruise somewhere from takin' a tumble.

Noah giving Grandpa a tickle! I love Noah's proud-of-himself smile in this photo.

Mark & Noah posing for a picture with the bird!

Grandma & Grandpa!

Grandpa carving the turkey.

I liked that Mary took the time to let us know that the napkin holders on our plates were handmade by her father (and I'm quite sure the dishes were her mother's). Both of her parents passed away this year, so it was nice to pause and remember them for a moment on a day when we especially give thanks for all the things and people that we are grateful for in our lives.

A quick little father/son smooch!

And, I couldn't only post the sentimental stuff. There's always plenty of teasing and goofing around going on too. Here's a shot of Mark & Noah at their finest :) Sorry, babe - if you don't want me sharing pictures like this of you...then don't pull such goofy faces when I'm taking your picture!

Lincoln - shirt off, bib on, ready to go!

I had to get a quick shot like this to show how Noah was sitting on two phone books to be able to sit up to the table with all of us "big kids". Pretty cute.

Eating is pretty hit or miss with Noah. Sometimes he wolfs down asparagus or brussel sprouts without a problem and other times he turns his nose up at the most basic delicious foods. He was in a more picky mood this day. While we all indulged ourselves with the traditional Thanksgiving spread, Noah only approved of some turkey & a roll, but that was about it...so we put some chex on his plate and he was pleased with that. Whatever...it's his holiday too, right?

And the meal was perfectly capped with scrumptious pies (thanks, Mary!)...

Now, I include this photo of Lincoln's belly not only to remind myself (as if I need reminding) that after dinner all of our bellies were full & round like this...but also because I wanted to say how much I love these jeans that I have for the boys - with their elastic waists! I'm telling you that they're the perfect idea for not only pudgy baby/toddler bellies, but a great idea for all of us to be wearing on Thanksgiving Day...
...when we feel like this!

After veggin' on the couch with Dad (watching a little "Grinch..") Noah wandered into the kitchen where we were cleaning up and announced, "Look at me! I'm cute!" We looked over to see that Noah had taken Mark's glasses (since he was passed out on the couch) and put them on, upside-down, and was feeling quite pleased with himself. Funny little guy.

To cap off a nice day Noah got to decorate a gingerbread house kit with Grandma & Grandpa.

Although Noah was amused with the idea of putting together a house made of cookies...I have to say that once it came to the decorating he was more interested in eating the candy than in placing it decoratively on the house! Hey, he is a two year old though, right? :)
Thanks again, Mont & Mary for such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Among our lengthy list of things that we're grateful to have been blessed with in our lives...our family (which means you, obviously!) is the thing that we treasure the very most.