Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Stockings Were Hung on the Chimney With Care...

Roman exhausted from all of our Christmas festivities!

I absolutely love the holidays. I love the traditions, the outings, the decorations, and the extra time spent with family and friends. No wonder it's "the most wonderful time of the year!" Here are some of our favorite "must-do's" during the holiday season:
*Drink hot chocolate (only Stephen's, nothing else is acceptable)-I keep my kettle out all winter just waiting to heat up.
*Going to see The Nutcracker. I used to go all the time to see my sister perform and loved the ballet (at least for the first 3 years!). Now that I have a little dancer of my own, I can't wait to take her. I didn't think she was ready for Ballet West just yet, so I was thrilled to hear that her preschool was going to see the Mountain West Ballet perform a few pieces. Capri was on the edge of her seat the entire time. I had to keep telling her to be quiet because she couldn't stop talking about the "beautiful dresses" and the "beautiful ballerinas." Roman, on the other hand, enjoyed the "big scary mouse and the swords!" I don't know if I will be taking Roman, but Capri will definitely be ready for the real thing next year!
Capri with the Sugar Plum Fairy
*Puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles. My family loves them and I love the way it gives us plenty of time to chat and laugh.
*Christmas movies. My favorites include Four Christmases, The Holiday, Elf, The Family Stone, and of course, Christmas Vacation. The kids have loved Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty, Rudolph, and Prep and Landing.
*Game Time, and I don't mean sports. We love to break out Boggle, Scattegories, Sequence, and if we are with Tucker's family, definitely Hearts.
*Decorating the house. We wait until the day after Thanksgiving and put everything up while listening to some of our favorite Christmas music. Growing up, we used to go up in the mountains to cut down our tree the day after Thankgsiving. It was a great tradition and maybe we will give that a try for the kid's tree, but I love my pre-lit and perfectly formed fake tree too much!
These were taken the night before Christmas.
The play room and the kids' tree.

*Making Gingerbread Houses. This year I found one at Costco that was already assembled so all you had to do was decorate-that's what I'm talking about. :)

*Making cookies for Santa. It was well worth it too considering it was the first thing my kids noticed Christmas morning, that Santa ate his cookies!
*Great parties. I am kind of a home-body around this time, I really can't get enough of being with my family at home (or at my parent's house...or at my sister's house...both 50 feet away from my house). However, as soon as I get to a Christmas party, I can't help but have a fabulous time with other adults (kids are never invited!) laughing so hard my stomach hurts. Keep in mind, I will never take pictures of such parties because I am having way too much fun enjoying myself to take the time for photos. Sorry. Thank you to Aly for another awesome party and the great ab workout that went along with it due to the insane laughter. Thank you Brooke for being the hostess with the mostest-you will never cease to amaze me with your home and culinary expertise.
*Shopping. I admit it. I thoroughly enjoy shopping, especially for Christmas. However, I am committed to getting my shopping done early next year so that it stays fun and won't be a stress.
*I hadn't been to the Festival of Trees in years but we decided to give it a try this year in hopes that the kids would enjoy it. They did! Capri pointed out all of the pink girlie trees and Roman loved the Superhero tree. Who would have thought!
Grammy and Karoline loving our night out.
*Neighborhood gifts. We keep it simple, but I love putting them together and spreading a little bit of Christmas cheer. Who doesn't love a little treat on their doorstep?
*Christmas cards. A much needed excuse for getting family pictures done.
Our Christmas card, front and back, were created by Joy Williams-love her!
I also love receiving them and putting them on my fridge so I can enjoy them all month long.

*Seeing my bestest girlfriends from way back when. We really don't miss a year and I am so glad. I love these girls and Christmas gives us the perfect reason to get together as everyone comes home for the holiday. We always go out to eat and then end up having to sit in someone's car to keep talking after the restaurant is closed for the night. Hours and hours of chatting and we still aren't done catching up!
Stephanie, Danielle, Jessica, me, Nicole and Erika

*This year we started a new tradition, the Elf on the Shelf. Wow. This worked to my advantage in so many ways in the few weeks we had Mr. Elf with us. You see, Mr. Elf watches us and makes sure we are on our best behavior. He then flies to the North Pole every night to let Santa know how we did. Worked. Every. Time. I seriously don't know what I am going to do now that Mr. Elf is at the North Pole until next Christmas!
*Another new tradition we started was allowing the kids to sleep together on Christmas Eve. Mr. Elf even brought Christmas jammies and new sleeping bags for the special occasion. The kids loved it and I can't wait for Karoline to be old enough to join them in a few years.
So excited in their Christmas PJs and new sleeping bags!

*Going to see the lights at Temple Square. I have done this since I can remember and it was definitely a tradition I wanted to carry on with my own family. This year was spectacular due to the intense fog that night. It gave the temple a glowing effect that we all loved. It was so fun to watch my kids' faces as they tried to take it all in. Their favorite part, however, was watching the Nativity and seeing the Christus statue. They talked about it for days after.
Our best attempt at getting a family picture...not great!
A bunch of us all bundled up!
Such a perfect way to remember the true meaning of Christmas!

You made it! That was a long post, I know. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day still to come!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Karoline at 9 months...

These were taken when Karoline was only 8 months, but I am a bit behind in posting them! She was not too happy during this little photo shoot, but I think we got a couple of great pictures...She was happy at first, but you can sense her anxiety here:
And now she has had enough!
Karoline is my dream baby. She is the sweetest little doll, is full of personality, loves to play, sing, and dance, is a great eater and sleeper now, and has yet to crawl. See, a dream baby! We are all so in love and really can't get enough of her (as in sometimes I want to eat her, literally!). Karoline's personality has grown considerably and can I say that if there was a perfect personality type, she would have it. Completely sweet, yet a bit of spunk, always up for fun, as happy as can be, no sob stories unless she is hurt or she really wants something(and in that case she will let you know!), and for one so small, Karoline is so nurturing. I know, perfection! I also know that things can change, but we will savor this stage for as long as we can. :)
Karoline has lots of new interests and tricks and here are a few:
*This girl loves to dance and wow can she move. Whenever she hears music, and I mean whenever, she starts dancing by bobbing up and down. Cutest. Thing. Ever.
*She rolls everywhere and can now scoot on the hardwood floor. Just when we were thinking she was going to follow in her mother's footsteps (I never crawled, always scooted just like she is doing), Karoline has started putting herself in the crawling position from the sitting position. She still hasn't crawled, but it looks like it is in the starts now.
*She likes to pull herself up in her crib so time to move the mattress down now too!
*While drinking her bottle, Karoline has to hold my fingers and play with them.
*Karoline sings all the time, especially when she is listening to music (she loves the Disneysoundtracks and all of the Christmas music we have had playing lately). We hear her "la, la, las" and "da, da, das" when she is going down to bed as well. It's like she is singing herself to sleep!
*Her favorite game is still "peek-a-boo" but now she can move the blanket we lay on her face. I play with her every time I put her down in her crib and she loves it and laughs so hard. She then gets so excited that she starts kicking her legs up in the air over and over again.
*Karoline adores her big brother and big sister. We count on them as sure fire ways to get her to smile and laugh-it works every time. She is really so content just being wherever they are so she can watch them play and interact.
*She still loves strangers as long as I am holding her or nearby. She wasn't a fan at getting her picture taken which I was surprised to see. Other than that, however, everyone loves talking to such an expressive little girl and she loves all of the attention.
*She loves to play, play, play. If she had a preference, it would definitely be with non-toys (keys, cellphones, kitchen utensils, straws, and remotes are her faves), but real toys are great too as long as you keep adding in new ones.
*As I mentioned, she is very nurturing. EVERY time I hand her a doll, she squeezes it and then starts to pat it and give it kisses (more like slobbers all over it, but it's a start).
*None of my kids are huge cuddlers, but Karoline is more so than the twins. One of my favorite tricks of hers is that whenever I lean my head in, she returns the favor and leans in towards me. So sweet.
*I love her scrunched up face she pulls when she gets tickled or has a tickle in her nose-I will try to get it on camera one of these days.
*Unfortunately, Karoline doesn't like her car-seat too much. One thing about this girl that keeps me on my toes is that she gets bored so easily. She wants to be entertained which is hard to do in the car! Hence, the music is a constant in our car and it seems to help most of the time.
*Karoline has to have two toys at all times, one to manipulate the other with. She must be smart, right?!
*She still clicks her tongue when she is happy or when we click our tongue as to say, "Hi!"
*Her new dropping game is a hit...with her. She drops something off of her high chair and has even said, "Uh-uh" instead of "uh-oh." Also, when I put her padded ring around her head like a halo, she lets it drop off and then tries to put it back on...but her arms aren't quite long enough (in fact, I think they may be a bit short like her dad's!).
*She finally got her first tooth this past week! Hooray!
I took her to the doctor for her 9-month check-up and she did great! The doctor said she looks very healthy, is growing and developing just as she should. I was amazed that when the nurse did a toe poke to draw blood, Karoline didn't even cry. Then, they gave her a booster flu shot and she cried for a few seconds and then was fine. Amazing, especially when compared to taking the twins to get their shots!

Here are her stats:
Weight: 19.3 lbs placing her in the 60th percentile
Height: 29 inches placing her in the 90th percentile
Head Circumfrence: I'm not sure the inches but she is in the 85th percentile
So she is in the same percentiles for weight and height as she was at her 6 month check-up, but it looks like she is starting to grow into her head a bit because that is down from the 93rd percentile. She is definitely a Curtis baby! So much so, in fact, that my mom swears she is holding me as a baby instead of Karoline.
What do you think?
Me at 8 months
Karoline at 9 months
Karoline is so much cuter with her round face, but I can see the similarities in our eyes and smiles!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

We had such a great Thanksgiving this year. Waking up with my little family to watch the Macy's Day Parade was the perfect way to start the day. My kids loved it just as much as I did growing up and for that, I was thrilled. The rest of the day involved my entire family as well as some of my mom's family so there were quite a few of us. Rather than stressing about cooking for 40 people the day of, my mom and I did a lot of the work the day before and it was well worth it. Who knew you could make mashed potatoes the day before and have them turn out absolutely scrumptious?! I really enjoyed working with my mom in preparing our Thanksgiving feast. I loved feeling like I actually belonged in the kitchen and that I could contribute something. I even found a recipe for and made THE BEST candied yams you have ever had...I am craving some right now. We also had my mother-in-law's delicious stuffing (I have to make it every year now, nothing else will do), green beans, butternut squash, orange rolls (these are a tradition and are absolutely my favorite Thanksgiving dessert), plenty of pie, and of course, the turkey! YUMMY! As great as the food was, however, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving is being with my family.
We got a few pictures of us before the rush of the afternoon started...
Roman and Capri love their Uncle Richard, but who wouldn't love someone that throws you up into the air?Our best of many attempts:I remember growing up and being so excited for Thanksgiving, like almost as excited as I was for Christmas. It meant that all of my cousins would be together, we would have lots of game playing, puzzle time, Christmas movies to watch, and hours of talking. This year was a bit different in that we added an intense competition to the mix. Yes, we held our first annual Thanksgiving Day Extravaganza Talent Show! I know, awesome title. I was a bit skeptical of Cheri's idea to put something like this together, but it was simply the greatest and everyone had such a good time participating and watching.
Funny story. My family doesn't have many talents. So, we decided to make fools of ourselves by dancing. All of us, parents included, "dancing through the decades." My parents started with the 60's "Twist and Shout" and they were shaking it up with the mashed potato, the pony, and of course, the twist. My brother Rob then came out with his insanely good robot that he has held on to since high school. Nothing like the robot danced to Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean." The grandkids were up next with disco fever in "Staying Alive," but they chickened out so Cheri and I had to step in...we didn't mind, I knew that dance from jr. high dance co. would come in handy sometime! Cheri, Jesse and I then came running in to the infamous "Whoomp There It Is." Our routine was pretty fab including the running man, the roger rabbit, the cabbage patch and many other sweet moves. However, nothing, I repeat, nothing, could have prepared everyone for the last number. It was a solo. Done by my little brother Richard. To Beyonce. "All the Single Ladies." He. Was. Awesome. Wearing a black tank and black biker shorts, Richard rocked out recreating this incredible piece of music and choreography.
Check us out!

Here is to the start of the Christmas Season!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Family Pictures

I couldn't believe it. We got a picture taken with 3 kids, ages 3 and under. And we are all looking at the camera. Amazing! Karoline wasn't exactly happy, she actually got quite scared, but she got through it. The twins had fallen asleep in the car on the way over and were not going to cooperate, but add a bit of chocolate and they got through it as well. I always thought I was the type to get portraits done all the time, but it is so much work, never mind the cost. Just the stress of getting the kids ready, hoping they will behave, getting through the session, and praying that something will turn out-AAAHHH! One thing I do love, however, is finding our attire. Granted, that can be an added stress, but I still enjoy finding pieces for each of us to wear. I don't like to do the matchy-match thing anymore (check out how many pictures I have with all of us in white tops-a bit boring), but instead try to find outfits that coordinate well. I think these pieces together were by far my favorite. More importantly, however, we have a fabulous final product...a family portrait...with five people...who are all looking at the camera. Hooray!
Take a look at these cuties:
My favorite picture of my favorite boys:
I love my girls too:
I cropped Roman out of this one (sorry bud) and used this in the girls' rooom:
I loved their expressions, but seriously, the positioning was off!
My handsome boy:
My princess of a girl:
And there is my happy baby:
That's a wrap!

Roman's new room...

Mommy: "Roman, where do you sleep?"
Roman: "In my airplane room!"
That's right, Roman now has his very own airplane room. We have finally made the transition and the twins are now separated. Sniff, sniff. I was very hesitant to split them up considering how much they love being together. They play, talk, make each other laugh, read books, get into trouble, and just like having one another there in their room. I bet I have more video footage of the twins in their cribs or beds than any other place. How could I take that away from them?
Well, it started when we put the girls' room together and Capri fell in love with her new "green room." While we had the toddler beds set up in Roman's room, I decided to make up her twin bed in the new room just to get an idea of where to place furniture. She then decided that she wanted to sleep in her new bed and I decided there was no harm in letting her try, though I thought for sure she would chicken out and want to sleep with Roman. At the time, we had a gate on Roman's room door so that the twins couldn't get out when they were supposed to be down for a nap or bedtime. So there is Roman, sitting on the floor and hanging onto the gate while asking for "Mommy, Daddy." Then there is Capri, sitting in her bed with the door open talking to Roman, trying to console him. "It's ok Roman. Mommy will be back. Do you want her to come hold you? It's ok. She will come." Lastly there is me, crying on the stairs below. Needless to say, I wasn't ready for that and thank goodness, Capri was just fine with moving back in with Roman.
Months have passed and we knew it was time to give the separation another try. Wow. I am amazed. We haven't had a single hiccup! I was just talking to a friend of mine about how we resist change so much and yet kids can adapt so easily. This was no exception. Capri loves being in her girly room with her baby sister Karoline (and vice versa) and Roman loves being in his airplane room that is everything boy. Why wouldn't he? Just look at this great room...
Right as you walk in:Tucker's fascination with planes definitely helped as he was able to identify every plane that was placed in the room:
Roman's desk:
The opposite side of the room (and check out the hanging pictures, one of Roman and his Daddy, and one of Roman at age 1, dressed with an aviator hat and scarf):
Even the curtain rods have airplanes on them!
This has been a major undertaking. The painting and paneling was done in February, but just this past month we refinished all of the furniture. It turned out great and I couldn't be happier-thank you to the best handyman, my husband!
We also added a few new things to the Capri and Karoline's room. We hung a new favorite picture of the two above the rocker:
We also added a few "ballerina" touches throughout:

The ballerina's bed:
There are few things I enjoy doing more than decorating my home so I am kind of sad that we are done. I guess I will have to find a new project soon!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

South Jordan Montessori Proudly Presents...

The Thanksgiving Day Show and Pow-Wow! I cannot tell you how much I love this preschool. It is truly a Montessori program, something that is hard to find these days. I really need to write an entire post just on their school...and I will, just not now. Today I want to talk about their family activity day and show. The kids were in heaven. They got to show Mommy and Daddy where they go to school, where they play, and who their favorite friends are.
Here is Capri on the rings being pushed by her daddy:
Once everyone was settled in, the class started the production. First up, a play of the first Thanksgiving. It was a little long but darling, complete with pilgrim hats and Indian headdresses created by the students. Roman and his buddy decided now was a good time to goof off (again, it was long!) and turned their headdresses upside down with the feather running down their face. Funny. I then started laughing really hard as I watched Roman in a head banging motion as he is hitting his buddy with the feather (while it is still on his head). It reminded me of something my little brother would have done. Yes Jon, Roman doesn't just have your great hair, he has inherited some personality characteristics as well! Fortunately, when the play came to an end, so did Roman's antics. We then listened to them sing songs such as the Turkey Pokey and my kids were really getting into it, especially the ones with actions or dancing (I know, I was surprised too!).
Here they are ready to start:

When the program was done, we ate a Thanksgiving Feast and started the pow-wow. All the families brought things to sell so the kids took their coins and went to town finding every possible treasure. I couldn't believe how excited everyone was as they learned how to use money to buy things they wanted. Great hands-on learning!
Home with their trinkets in hand and their faces painted:
A very fun day to kick off the Thanksgiving holiday!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just Keep Running...

Running is hard and it takes your body to its limit. Running is therapeutic as it literally erases your worries away. Running is great exercise to lose those extra pounds. Running is setting goals. Running is a social activity, it is time with my husband, family and friends. And I love it.
I never thought of myself as a runner. I ran my fastest mile in 9th grade at 7:24. I came in second place in my class (dance company-full of girls) and felt like I was going to throw up after. I hated it. When I started hitting the gym in high school, I was there to workout, yes, but it was much more of a social event than anything. "Let's go hangout at the Sports Mall!" I would huff and puff as I ran on the treadmill for about 10 a 10 minute/mile pace. Pathetic, I know. Then I got married and really got excited about exercising. Tucker started training for a marathon, but I was more of a 3 miles in 33 minutes kind of person. That was my limit and there was no way I could last another second. I stuck to my kickboxing and that kept me busy for years.
After I had Karoline, I knew I needed something different to get me motivated to lose all of the baby weight. I decided to train for a half marathon. Crazy for someone like me, but I felt it was just what I needed and I had an incredible husband that was 100% supportive. I don't mean he was simply encouraging me, he literally trained with me the entire time and then ran with me the entire time. Sweetest husband ever.
Our training was actually a lot of fun. Granted, I had dozens of runs on the treadmill (not so fun), but once or twice a week Tucker and I would run together, usually while pushing the strollers. It was great family time, being outside at the lake, talking, and sometimes stopping to watch the ducks. As it got cooler we had to bundle them up, but the kids loved it still, especially when they were awarded a treat to take with them. It can be tricky to manage 4 runs a week with 3 kids, but we did it and I am so glad we did. Our parents helped out too, which we are so grateful for. Thank you! Tucker and I had a favorite route for our long runs and that was running from his parent's house up Bengal Blvd, south on Wasatch, up to the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and back. It was on that run that I realized I really could finish a half and that was an awesome feeling.
Here are my girls ready to go in their pajamas and hats:
Our first race was the SoJo Half Marathon. It started in Copperfield and ended near our gym, Lifetime Fitness, in South Jordan. It was the perfect day (September 25th) and a great course. Nothing could get in my way of running with a great time of 2 hours and 20 minutes. I had my sister's iPod full of great music, the best running buddy, my husband, comic relief, Richard and Cody, and the added bonus of my sweet Dad who decided to run the race with no training. He is crazy, yes. I was feeling nervous, but anxious to get going as soon as the gun fired.
At the starting line:
The whole group including Cody, Tucker, me, my Dad and Richard:
We headed out and I was going faster than normal. Maybe a bit too fast considering my shins flared up after only a mile or so of running. This was going to be a problem and my goal of 2:20 was in jeopardy. I decided to try running on my toes which seemed to keep the shins on fire feeling away. It worked and by mile 5, the pain was completely gone. Smile on my face. I was even more happy to know that we ran that 5 miles in 45 minutes, much faster than my normal 10 minute mile pace.
Tucker and I at mile 3ish:
From then on, I was feeling great. The miles were flying by and we were keeping a great pace. That ended at mile 11. Wow, it got tough. The course was almost all downhill or flat until you hit the Jordan River Parkway and you start running upstream. I know it seems flat, but after you have run downhill or flat for 11 miles, the slightest incline feels like a hill. I definitely felt the need to walk, but fortunately I am competitive enough to keep going. You see, there were these two girls in bright orange shirts that I followed the entire time and I couldn't let them beat me that bad!
Here is Tucker and I in those last few miles, and you can tell we are pushing it!
I couldn't believe it-we made it! Hooray! And we ran those 13.1 miles in 2 hours. That's 20 minutes less than my goal time. We found out that the course was actually 13.5 miles which would put me in under 2 hours and I was ecstatic about that!
My baby girl that doesn't mind the sweat or smell:
Our group at the finish line:
My mom and Cheri brought the kids to meet us and I can't tell you how excited I was to see them. We all celebrated by heading to Kneaders for their Chunky Cinnamon French Toast. To. Die. For. You can only eat one slice, but it is absolutely heaven sent, especially when you don't have to feel guilty for eating it!
I was thinking I was done, but Tucker talked me into running one other race before the end of the season. The Halloween Half looked like a lot of fun and I was game...I had to be considering he had already signed me up. So glad he did. The race starts up Provo Canyon near Aspen Grove. It was freezing and so luckily they held us up in a heated tent. It was so fun to watch the costume contest rather than sit there worrying about the race. Tucker and I came with Cody and a friend Hailey, but we met up with a bunch of girls from my ward as well. It felt so nice to know you were in this with so many others!
Tucker and I getting warm and ready:
The race started and then immediately stopped. Seriously. There was such a bottleneck of runners that I was forced to stop and wait for a good 20-30 seconds. Stop my time please! Oh well. You start down a steep hill for the first 5 miles and then run along the Provo River. There is not another race as beautiful as this one! The trees and colors were stunning and there were several times that I wished I had my camera. Tucker ran this one on his own so I was glad I had something nice to look at running alone!
OK, so you are never really alone-check out this old guy cruising next to me in a full suit and wig!
It may have been due to my slack in training, my increased pace, or probably both, but this was the toughest thing I have put my body through. You feel insane fatigue and some serious pain in those last few miles. You start to wonder if you will throw up over everyone at the finish line. But then you find someone you want to beat and you just go! I had a group of 3 guys pass me at the last mile stretch and I thought to myself, "No way are they going to pass me this late in the game!" I busted pass them and finished at my best time of 1:52...or 1:51 if you use my stop watch time! That was truly the greatest feeling! I definitely didn't look great after shedding my ear warmer-the hair was not at its finest-but who cared, I was done!

Now, as good as I felt about my time, this girl, a great friend from California, took 3rd place in our age division! Rhandi finished in 1:28...impossible, right?! I was so glad I caught up with her after the race:
Cody (in full beard for Halloween), Tucker, me, and another great friend from my ward, Ashley Guymon (who also beat me big time, but that's ok because she was the one to encourage me to do this whole running thing in the first place!):
That concludes our racing season and it was a great one. Until next year...