Dec 19, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

First up, decorating the tree. We are doing an advent calendar with activities every day. This was one of the first activities. One night while the kids were sleeping I decorated the house and put up the tree. When they woke up they ran around the house looking at everything. I'm really glad that I decorated at night becuase it was so much less stressful for me to get things out without all the extra "help" PLUS the kids were so excited to wake up, see the decorations, and decorate the tree...it was kind of magical for them.




Next (not Christmas related), but this is how I've been finding Makenna a lot lately. And not just in the morning or after naps. She has definitely reached the stage when she knows how to take her clothes off and she does it often. Like sometimes 3 times in a half hour. I usually give up at this point and she goes naked the rest of the day. She is extra sneaky about it and usually hides while taking off her clothes and then hides her clothes too. Luckily (and I am double crossing my fingers here) she does not take off her diaper, so we are safe on that front.



We went to the church Christmas breakfast and the kids got to visit with Santa. Considering that Kenna is the biggest momma's girl ever, it's not too surpising that she did not want to have anything to do with Santa. Alli was a little shy, but she tried to be brave and she told Santa she wants a scarf for dress-up. And Nick was himself and not afraid at all and told Santa he wants a remote control car.



Makenna...before the terrifying close encounter with Santa.


And finally, at Alli's preschool last week Alli and Nick got to decorate gingerbread houses. It was so nice of Courtney to let Nick come too. The kids loved this project, especially eating candy.





I am excited about this week. Brian has a few days off and other people will be working in our basement, so we should have some fun family time before Christmas. Plus Brian's mom is coming in to town for Christmas and we are all so excited to see her and to spend time with my parents too.

Nov 26, 2011

Thanksgiving

We enjoyed Thanksgiving this year with my parents and Courtney and Russ and their kids. We made the turkey and had dinner at our house. Alli and Nick were so excited to have everyone over. I think all of the food turned out really good, thanks Brian, mom, and Courtney for all your hard work!

Toy Story Birthday Party

We had the twin's birthday party a few days after their birthday when Brian, my parents, and all of their friends could make it. I talked them into a joint birthday this year. They both like Toy Story and when I told them they could dress up like Jesse and Woody, they were sold. First we made Mr. Potato Head party bags.Next, we hid army men in Alli and Nick's room and had them find them. They got a piece of candy for every army man they found (kind of like an Easter egg hunt). Then we played pin the tail on Bullseye. Here is what Bullseye looked like when we were done.



The final (and most popular game) was The Claw, where the kids used tongs to pick out toys from a slit in this box.




Then we had pizza and veggies for lunch. Our kitchen was packed.Next was opening presents.
Then we had cake After everyone was gone, Makenna tried on Alli's cowgirl hat. She is so cute.
And then we gave Alli and Nick their last present - big kid bikes!


Alli and Nick are so lucky to have so many friends! We're glad that almost everyone could make it to the party!








Alli and Nick's Birthday Lunch

The twins didn't have their birthday party on their birthday this year, so we celebrated by having lunch with Brian at Red Robin. It is our favorite place for birthday lunches. Alli and Nick both got to pick out whatever they wanted from the kids menu. Alli picked a corn dog and salad and Nick picked pizza and carrot sticks. I'm not sure why Alli picked a corn dog; we haven't had them at home in a long time and when we did have them she didn't like them, but whatever, it's her birthday. They also got ice cream for dessert.

Makenna was so funny. I shared lunch with her, but all she wanted to eat was ranch. She just kept dipping the same french fry over and over again in the ranch and when she got tired of that she tried to drink it out of the cup. Red Robin does have good ranch, but seriously? Good thing we don't take the kids out to eat often!




I can't believe that Alli and Nick are 4! Time flies. Alli is already plotting her next birthday. She says, "In a few days when I turn 5 I will have a butterfly birthday". I try to explain to her that it is a lot more than just a few days. Time (months, years, weeks, etc.) is such a hard thing for the twins to understand right now. We talk about it a lot and they are trying to figure it out, but it hasn't clicked yet. But, she is probably right, it will only seem like a few days and then it will be their next birthday.

Nov 1, 2011

Halloween

Halloween was very much anticipated at our house this year. After I put our decorations up during the first week of October there were many teary moments (mostly involving Nick) where someone (he) could not understand why Halloween wasn't today. The decorations were up, it must be Halloween, right? We had many talks about the calendar and how many days were left, but to no avail. It helped take the edge off when Nick and Alli got to wear their costumes at their school parties and when we went to the ward party. Then finally, Halloween came! (Side note, it is a definite possiblity that we will not have any Christmas decorations up at our house until the week of Chirstmas).

Like every other year, we went to Courtney and Russ's for dinner and then went trick-or-treating afterwards. Thanks Courtney and Russ for hosting us! The Jacobs fam also stopped by just as we were getting ready to leave so we got to go with them too. So fun!

A rare picture of all our kids together. Alli is Rapunzel, Makenna is a monkey, and Nick is a dragon.
The princesses - Alli and Lindsey

My little monkey. If you remember, Nick and Alli wore this costume for their first Halloween.

Nick the dragon, commonly confused with a dinosaur.


My beautiful princess. She was so excited to get to wear her costume and she always makes silly faces for the camera.
And the babies, Makenna and Taylor. They aren't really babies anymore, but it's hard not to call them that when they are the youngest.


Hope that you had a fun Halloween too!

Oct 30, 2011

Carving Pumpkins

One of the (few) benefits of afternoon church is that we get to do some fun things together as a family in the morning. After we ate a yummy pancakes and bacon breakfast that Brian made, we carved our pumpkins in our pajamas. The kids tried to be really helpful with getting out all of the seeds and strings. Then they wanted to help with the cutting, but we had to draw the line. Nick and Alli each got to pick a design. Alli chose a Boo ghost and Nick chose a monster.

Yes, Nick and Alli are scraping out seeds from the bottom of the pumpkin. Brian saw something on the news about doing it this way and it worked out pretty well.

The finished product. My favorite Halloween tradition.


Oct 29, 2011

First Snow



Our first snow this year was a pretty big one! Makenna got to play in the snow for the first time. She was so cute and she had so much fun out there. The kids begged me to go outside all day, but since they had friends over all morning I made them wait until after Kenna's nap. They still played outside for an hour and a half and I could only lure them in with hot chocolate and cookies.

Miller Farms

A few weeks ago Alli's preschool (plus Nick, Tanner, and Lisa) went on a field trip to Miller Farms. It is a local farm where you can pick your own produce. We had heard good things about the farm before, but we'd never been there. For $14 I got three grocery sacks FULL of potatoes, onions, carrots, corn, cabbage, and tomatoes. Plus we got 3 pie pumpkins. It was fun for the kids to be able to pick there own produce. They were so excited to bring it home and eat it.

Here we are loaded up and ready to go.

Nick and his best buddy Tanner.


Alli with Lindsey and Shyler

They also had some fun things for the kids to do. Nick loved this airplane. We could not get him out of it.

I'm still finishing up using my potatoes and onions. It has been nice to have so much extra (and delicious!) produce.

Oct 5, 2011

Alli's New Haircut


This was not planned at all...in fact every time I talked to Alli about getting her hair trimmed she would beg me not to get any cut off so that she could have long hair like Rapunzel. She is going to be Rapunzel for Halloween and she was dead-set on having the longest hair possible.


Natalie came to cut our hair (we love Natallie, at home haircuts are so nice when you have little kids). Linsdey went first and got several inches trimmed off into a bob. When it came time for Alli's turn I asked her just to confirm, "you want just a little trimmed off, right?" Well, apparently she wants to be just like Lindsey and she changed her mind and now she wants her hair chopped off. After confirming with her like a million times I agree, but only to her shoulders. Then Natalie says that if she cuts an inch or two above that she can donate her hair. So that's what we did. I almost cried, I was totally unprepared to cut off that much. But it is so cute now, I love it!


And Alli will still be Rapunzel for Halloween, but like at the end of the movie when her hair is short.

Sep 8, 2011

Alli's First Day of Preschool


Alli started preschool this week and she loves it. This year I am doing a co-op preschool with 4 other moms twice a week. We all have girls and I think it will be so much fun. We are using the Mother Goose Time curriculum and it will be so nice because everything comes in the mail once a month. I don't have to think of any ideas so that will take a lot of pressure off! We've gotten the first packet of stuff and it looks great. Alli loves being with her cousin Linsdey and making some new friends too. Yay for Preschool!

10 Year Anniversary


We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary. My wonderful mom watched the kids overnight so that we could go on a mini-getaway. It was so fun to get to spend time together, going places we can't go to with the kids and to remember that we really do have more in common than our children.

Berry Patch Farms

This is one of my most favorite things to do at the end of the summer. It was a perfect day, finally starting to cool down. Brian was off from work and Nick was in Preschool, so we took the girls to pick some berries. Makenna ate every berry she could find and would get mad if there weren't any left in her basket. Her face was dripping red when we left. Alli was a good helper and a very serious berry picker. As soon as we got home Alli started eating berries. I would find her in the fridge every few minutes grabbing one.

Aug 30, 2011

Nick's First Day of Preschool

Nick started preschool and he loves it. He goes to the preschool program at Riverdale Elementary twice a week. He is in the fish room. School starts early at 7:45 AM. I know it's really not that early, but the kids and I are used to leaving the house at 9 at the earliest. So it's been an adjustment for me to wake up at 6 and then to have to wake the kids up and try to get them to eat breakfast and get dressed before 7:30. Not to mention the crazy parking situation around the school in the morning. Hence, not the best "first day" picture below. We barely made it in time and we were lucky to get a picture.

I'm glad that he likes school. He is always so excited to go - he just runs into his classroom and doesn't look back. I think preschool will be really good for him. And even though it is hard now, I am glad that we are getting an earlier start in the morning. Alli starts preschool in a week. She is doing an all girl co-op preschool with Lindsey and some new friends.

Aug 25, 2011

Camping at Mueller State Park

We decided early on in the summer to go on a camping trip this year. I am not the biggest fan of car camping, but with kids it's really the only option. We read an article about Mueller State Park and it sounded like a good place to visit - lots of family-friendly features (flush toilets, playground, walk-in tent campsites) and only 30 minutes from Colorado Springs. We made our reservations very far in advance because this place fills up quick.

The trip turned out way better than I expected. I hate to say that because it sounds like I have low expectations, but when it comes to car camping with kids, I guess I DO have low expectations! But, surprise - everyone had a great time and no major calamities. We all came home a little tired, but it was totally worth it to have some quality family time.

Day #1 - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
We heard wonderful things about this zoo from friends and it did not disappoint. I wouldn't say that it is better than Denver Zoo, it was just different. And different is a good thing when it comes to zoos because we go to the Denver Zoo a lot. Our favorite things at this zoo: feeding giraffes and seeing them up-close, all of the kid areas (caves, tunnels, playgrounds, petting zoo), and the amazing views of Colorado Springs.








Alli is petting a baby wallabee



Here is our campsite and our amazing camping dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup, haha. I think that is actually one of the things that made this trip a sucess. We tried to keep things simple and easy so that we could do more with the kids. The next night we had campfire hot dogs. The campsite was nice because we walked in about 20 yard from the car. It was far from the road and gave us some distance from other campers.Day #2 - Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds


We drove around the Garden of the Gods and then did a short hike around the main area. The rocks are amazing and it was fun to see the rock climbers. Nick insisted that I take a picture of him and Alli in the "circle". Temperatures were in the mid 90's that day, so we weren't out hiking for too long.



We didn't get any pictures at the Cave of the Winds. Alli and Nick's favorite thing was this kid's cave maze thing. They went though it about 20 times while we waited for our turn in the cave. I think they liked the actual cave, but got a little bored about 30 minutes into the tour.The caves were big and fairly easy to navigate through. There were a few sketchy moments with me carrying a sleeping Kenna through 3'10" tunnels and very narrow and steep staircases (hence no pictures), but other than that it was a fun time.





Day #3 - Dragonfly Trail and Drive Home



We stopped at this children's trail on our way out of the park. Alli and Nick loved it. It was just the perfect trail for them. They got to read signs, see how far they could jump, go over bridges, and go through tunnels. So fun...I wish we had something like this close to our house.





This really was a fun trip. I think we will try to come back next year, maybe even with Courtney's family and my parents.