Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last adventure of 2015








It took quite a bit of arm twisting, but I eventually convinced the family (mainly Austin) to leave the safety of our warm cozy house to brave the 3 degree temperatures to go ice skating. We bundled and layered our girls and made sure to pack a thermos of hot chocolate and made our way to the rink. It was a lot of fun and while he won't admit it, Austin had fun. He was by far the best skater in our family- I on the other hand will be babying a bruise the size of Alaska on my left hip, but totally worth it. You know those moments where you know you are creating memories for your children? We did that today. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to 2015.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas Eve:
The girls fresh out the bath and into their matching Christmas pjs.



Christmas morning:
 Boy, do Austin and I look tired! As you can tell by the window the sun was just barely coming up.

This girl and her vast love of baby dolls.


Thanks to Austin, this stuffed Animal is named "Trippy Rainbows". Thank you secret Santa!

Maisie in shock- a book that reads to you!?

Traditional Christmas day bowling:


p.s I won the Christmas bowling game- 123 to 121. Maisie got a 106 and Ellie a 99- they did have the bumpers on and the ball guide, while Austin and I were left on our own. This was our best bowling yet!

Christmas @ Hemming Village







Early in the month we took the girls to the Christmas event at Hemming Village. It's our yearly tradition to go to both the Halloween and Christmas events there. This year was especially cold and the Santa line was especially long, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless- hot chocolate helped our bellies and hands stay warm and  thus vastly improved our attitude to the cold weather. 

It's fun to see how much the girls have changed since last time. Here they were last year. It's hard to believe that this was only Ellie's second Christmas! Look how small she was last year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

On Santa's Lap



Maisie has never cried on the lap of Santa (or around any mascot for that matter) and knowing that's not usually the norm when it comes to children, I was curious how Ellie would fare this year. Ellie is not a people person. It takes a while for her to warm up, but once you have won her over, she stays loyal- it's a rare occurrence even getting to that point though. I can only name a handful of adults who Ellie truly enjoys (Austin and I included). So sitting on any man's lap would be quite a challenge for little Ellie, but how about a jolly, bearded man who gives you gifts? I thought Maisie (or by holding my hand) would provide some level of comfort to uneasy Ellie, but alas she was left comfortless and dare I say tortured?

I finally feel a part of a club of parents who's children cries/cried on the lap of Santa. As much as I love the pretty smiles and cheesy grins, this is great too. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

An email from Santa

About a month ago I took the girls to the university to have lunch with Austin. As we walked though the bookstore we noticed a little letter station with a mailbox that directly goes to Santa. Maisie couldn't stop thinking about it the entire lunch so we had to swing by before we left. Maisie penned her letter stating in messy kindergartener handwriting that she wanted Star Wars toys. At the bottom of the letter it asked for the parents email so I wrote ours down and then Maisie slipped the letter into the mailbox. Honestly I wasn't thinking much about it until a couple weeks later there was an email from Santa Claus. I started to tear up as I read the letter because it was so personalized and sweet. Maisie's eyes as I read it to her were full of magic and wonder. 

Here's the letter:

Ho ho ho!

Well Maisie, I bet you can't guess who this is! I hear you've been a good girl this year. Thanks for listening to your mommy and trying your best to be good. I'm sorry I can't write you more often, dear. We've been pretty busy here in the north pole! Rudolph has been getting sick, so I've had to take care of him to make sure we're all ready to deliver presents Christmas night! Oh how fun it is to fly through the night sky, visiting all of the homes and dropping off toys. You all are just so great! 
Can I ask you one huuuuuge favor? I need your help with something! Now, you must keep it a secret. I was talking with Yoda (him and I are good friends) and he told me that kids can have the force! Did you know that? I'll tell you how. You smile :) When you smile, and say thank you to your mommy, the force starts working on your mommy and daddy. They start smiling, your friends start smiling, all those around you start smiling!! It's the force! Betcha didn't know I use the force all the time on those grouchy elves ;) It's how I helped Rudolph feel better, though he was pretty sick so I had to use a little laughing to help as well. 
Well Maisie dear, you keep being a good girl. I sure am excited to drop off presents if you keep being a good girl! Remember to smile :) 

With a big ho, ho, ho, and lots of love, 
Santa Claus

Maisie after we read it stood in silence for a minute (very unlike her) and with large eyes she whispered "he IS real". I nodded my head and smiled back assuming she was talking about Santa and then she said "Yoda IS real!" I laughed so hard. I guess Santa was never in question, but Yoda? As Maisie would say "is he myth or fact?" but I guess this letter from Santa was all the confirmation she needed.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Star Wars Fanatic

Notice the Darth Vader on her shirt too.

For the last month Maisie has been OBSESSED with Star Wars. We finally introduced her to the original trilogy (which is far superior to the prequels- in our opinion) last month. It all came about because we couldn't agree on a movie to watch. We wanted something tame, but with a more intricate storyline that Maisie could keep up with. So we borrowed them from our friend and decided to give it a go, completely thinking Maisie would lose interest within the first half hour. She fell in love the second the opening song and credits turned on. She begged to watch a Star Wars movie every night until we blew through the whole collection. She has been begging to watch them again, but unfortunately we don't own them yet so we have to get creative with blaring the soundtrack in our home and in the car (who needs Christmas music right?), watching "The Clone Wars" and the Phineas and Ferb episodes "May the Ferb be with you 1 & 2" on Netflix, YouTube clips (these are her favorites, she calls them R2 funnies- 1 & 2), playing the Star Wars Lego game on the iPad and just by Googling/Pinteresting anything and everything related to the movie.

Maisie knows the entire story, who every single character is and has since developed an undying love for R2D2 and although she won't completely admit it, she totally has a crush on Luke Skywalker because "he's awesome and cool and awesome". Her words, not mine.

Every night before bed we tell funny stories about Maisie's adventures with her friends R2D2, C3PO, Luke and Darth Vader (yes, once again Maisie has a thing for the villain). Some times Wickett, Leia, Chewie and the Sand People get in on the action too. Often times she pretends one of them is coming over to dinner. The nights she invites Darth Vader are the especially fun because she's scared and excited all at once and she wants us all on our best behavior so we don't get forced choked.

Her Christmas requests this year are all Star Wars related items and you better believe I am so thankful the remake came out shortly after her obsession began because it would have been much more difficult finding the items she would like to have without "Star Wars VII The Force Awakens" coming out.

Speaking of "The Force Awakens" we took her to see it today as an early Christmas gift. We were going to wait to take her after Christmas because we obviously got her a couple Star Wars related gifts and we wanted her to have them for the movie, but the timing worked out better to do it today- our babysitter was available to watch Ellie and we were already going stir crazy with Christmas break just starting. We ended up letting Maisie open one present before the movie so she could proudly wear it- her very own R2D2 shirt (conveniently in her favorite color and also with glittery letters). Taking her to see the movie has been one of the most fun times I have had as a parent. She was so excited. I can't tell you how many times she cheered, clapped and made happy little screams during the movie. Seeing all her favorite characters and also BB8? Man, how do they make these little droids so lovable?! The movie was 6 thumbs up (two for each of us) and made our nerdy little family very happy. Now we just have to wait two more years until the next one... Oh boy.

After the movie and just after a refill on our bucket of popcorn. How cool is Maisie's shirt?

P.s Maisie is already planning a Star Wars themed 6th birthday party... only 5 months early.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Halloween 2015 - AKA The worst Halloween ever







Well this Halloween was eventful and it was really fun until it wasn't.

I was feeling funny the day prior, but didn't think much of it- loss of appetite and a sour feeling stomach. Anyway, on Halloween we all got ready in our Alice in Wonderland themed costumes (mostly homemade) and walked to the event just a handful of blocks from our house. When we got about halfway I commented how my stomach wasn't feeling great, but still not paying too much attention to it. We walked around for a couple hours, eating, playing games, riding the horse drawn hayrides. Then as we walked home I said "I might just throw up tonight". Anyone who knows me, knows that throwing up is about the worst thing my body can do. I fight it at all costs and cry like a baby after every "episode". Within a half hour of being home I knew I had the stomach flu (not really flu, but that's what everyone calls it). I hopped into the bath covered in goosebumps from the cramping, stomach churning and every fiber in my being aching with dread because it knew what was going to happen next. Then it happened.

Relief for about 20 minutes and then again and again and again for the next 8 or so hours. I was in bed the whole trick or treating experience and I cried hot tears knowing I was missing Maisie's favorite holiday. As I was trying to catch sleep between throwing up I heard Austin trying to get the girls ready for bed. Maisie mentioned that her stomach was kind of hurting, but Maisie's stomach is almost always hurting for some reason so Austin didn't think much of it. Big mistake. Huge. Within the hour she was sick as well. So allllll night long me and Maisie were alternating who was throwing up. While I could handle myself just fine (although nursing Ellie through the night was rough stuff) Austin was thrust into what I call panic mode. Maisie was so exhausted from the day and is such a deep sleeper that she wouldn't wake up all the way when she needed to throw up so Austin would hear a gurgle and immediately have to spring into action- changing clothes, starting laundry, bathing Maisie, making sure she stayed hydrated and comfortable while dealing with Ellie when she would wake up and checking in on me every so often.

Maisie and I awoke in the morning exhausted, dehydrated and empty, but no longer sick. It was such a relief to have had it pass. Definitely not the way we had intended our Halloween going,  I mean if someone is going to throw up- it better be from sugar overdose and certainly NOT the stomach bug. We will remember this Halloween for years to come, if only it were for better reasons.

p.s Austin and Ellie ended up getting it exactly two nights later- why, oh why, did it have to hit us two at a time!? I can almost say that, that night was worse than when I had it. But at least I had it first, which is usually not the case- I am usually last. So while I didn't enjoy watching Austin and Ellie deal with it, it was nice knowing I couldn't catch it... again.

Pumpkin Patching 2015 - Treehouse Nursery










The weekend before Halloween we went to a local pumpkin patch called The Treehouse Nursery. It was a fun family owned farm. How fun would it be to own and run a pumpkin patch? I think it's my calling in life... that or a Christmas tree farm... or a sheep farm? :)

Family Photos 2015

The Lee Family

The Lee Family

The Lee Family

The Lee Family

The Lee Family

The Lee Family

The Lee Family

The Lee Family

The Lee Family
I think this is my favorite picture- it was Maisie's idea to pose like this.

In mid October our friend here in Rexburg kindly offered to take some family photos for us. He's a photography major at the University and has all the fancy equipment any professional would have. He will be famous one day, I just know it! His work is awesome and we are so thankful for him, that he and his wife took the time to get some pictures of all four of us. I would be lying if I said getting these photos were easy because my normally photogenic and cooperative children decided that day would be a good day to want nothing to do with pictures. Playing in the mud and throwing rocks seemed like a better way to spend their time and while I can respect that, it didn't make for a good time for either Austin or I. Herding cats I tell you! So you will notice there aren't many of just the girls or with all of us together. It was just not going to happen that day- oh well. That's just the season of life we are in.

P.s we had to hike down to this spot from a bridge out in the middle of nowhere Rigby/Ririe area. It was a muddy venture and there were fresh moose tracks everywhere. We even heard moose calling from the other side of the river- it was pretty intense and REALLY loud. I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared- I have seen one too many videos of people being mauled by moose(s?).