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!