Friday, December 30, 2011

Capri's Ballet Demonstration

I was so nervous about Capri's first Ballet Demonstration held in December. Looking back at her demonstration in July where she wouldn't participate and kept her hand in her mouth, I had reason. On the other hand, she has LOVED her ballet class so far and she was very excited to have me come and watch. I figured we would give it a go and if it meant her needing Miss Natalie to take her through each step, it would still be worth it. Well, she completely blew me away and was the most beautiful and angelic little ballerina. I wanted to cry a bit. I was just so proud of her and I loved that she was constantly looking at me to make sure I was watching because she knew how proud I would be. Precious girl!
Just about ready to start on the pink benches...
The first thing these tiny ballerinas do in class is warm up. They do all different stretches and get ready by pretending to put on makeup and jewelry. It is simply magical! Here is Capri with her toes out in front ready to start.
My one claim to fame in the ballet world was something very small but that I won't forget. I won the jumping contest in my class at the Christensen Center and still have the Ballet pin I received. It looks like I will have to hand that down to my Capri who loves to leap and jump!
Capri was so excited to enroll in Little Lady Ballet with her friend, one of my best friend's daughter, Mikayla. I think it really helped to have a familiar face, especially considering this was her first time taking a ballet class. These two are adorable together!
Capri wanted a picture with Miss Natalie and Miss Connie. She loves her teachers and talks about them often. I absolutely loved Miss Connie as a teacher and Miss Natalie was such a sweet friend so of course Capri would love them too!
She didn't want to leave. This girl twirled and skipped as I watched as happy as a mother could be! Here she is for her final pose, first position. I love her.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I love my ward

I mean I truly love my ward! We have made the best of friends, my kids have made the best of friends, everyone is so supportive of one another, there aren't any major cliques, and everyone goes out of there way to be friendly to everyone else. See? The greatest! Now if only we could convince everyone to stay put forever...
Our ward Christmas party was a lot of fun. It was Breakfast with Santa and all of us wore our jammies. It was so nice and simple and I hope it becomes a tradition. Here the kids are with Santa and I am thinking that Karoline wasn't a huge fan.
The night before the party, our Young Women joined for the annual lateover (simply a late night!). I have been so impressed with these girls and have felt the need to better myself in order to feel adequate as their leader. It has deepened my testimony and given me so much hope to know what this group of girls has accomplished in growing their testimony. I love them already and couldn't be more excited about my calling.
So, to make this night special and in tune with the true meaning of Christmas, we took them on a bit of an adventure. It started out with us meeting at the Watt's home only to find out that their basement had flooded (or so we told the girls!). We told them we would have to find another venue and headed to Cheri's house. When Cheri told us that she would normally love to have us, but was already hosting another party, we left again for Kate's house. When we were rejected yet again, Sister Dickman offered up an idea of where we could go. She then lead us to a small farm just a couple minutes away. There we all walked into an actual stable where Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus (some friends willing to dress up and wait in the cold!) awaited us. We sang a few hymns and called it a successful night even before all of the food and games back at the house. Here is the group consisting of the best girls and leaders I could ask for:

The beginning of a wonderful Christmas season...

As soon as we got home from California, we got ready for Thanksgiving. Tucker had to stay in LA to work for a few days, but got home in time to spend the week with his family. His brother Tyler came into town with his family and we were so excited to see them. Roman loves his Uncle Tyty and all of his cool gadgets and games. Capri adores Ava and Lilly and wants to be just like them. In fact, as soon as she realized I had recorded her ballet demo (more on that later!) she insisted I show it to Ava and Lilly. Too cute. Karoline is just 3 months younger than Naomi and 4 months older than Isla so I am just loving the fact that she will have such good friends her age. Already they are so cute to watch together and I know it will only get better! It was so fun to celebrate Lilly's birthday and Thanksgiving with the Nielson's and this was a first in a long time. Unfortunately, Tyler had his super nice camera for the week and so I didn't take a single picture! As soon as I get a few pictures from him, I will update this entry. I did capture this photo with my phone-Roman and his favorite person right before we settled down to eat our Thanksgiving feast!
I love Thanksgiving and always have. I realized why I love it so much-all of the best things about Christmas, family, friends, food and fun-without the craziness! Too, my brother-in-law Cody mentioned that with Thanksgiving, you have Christmas to look forward to and it's the excitement of what's to come that makes it so great. I agree 100%. That being said, the day after Thanksgiving, I am ripping down the decorations to make room for Christmas-I just LOVE decorating for Christmas and I simply can't wait! I love putting on Christmas music or a Christmas movie and decorating the house with my kids. It puts us all in the Christmas spirit for the most wonderful time of the year!
Here we are putting up the tree and the kids couldn't have been more excited. Especially when they saw the Elf on the Shelf IN the tree (you can see him in this next picture), they were going nuts!
They have loved our elf Barry whom Capri named this year. The first thing they would want to do when they woke up was to find Barry and there were a few close calls (sometimes Barry would forget to move spots!), but we managed to keep the magic alive! Capri was so sad when I told her that Barry had to go home to the North Pole on Christmas Eve that she got teary-eyed. Poor thing, she loved that crazy little elf!Another tradition we have kept up is the building of a Gingerbread House. It is always such a mess, it never turns out like you had hoped (or like the picture on the box!), but the kids and I can't resist trying to build a fabulous addition to our Christmas decor. It was extra fun building, frosting, and decorating with our cousins Spencer, Kaleb, and Eli. This year I also bought sugar cones for the kids to frost and decorate with candy and we will continue to do that next year. It was so fun for them to have their own creation as well as contribute to the house.
Capri loved the frosting!
My sweet grandma loves being around the great grandkids and vice versa.
Here is my little man and our finished product...with crazy-eyed snowman and only half of a roof. Yep, nailed it.


We got to California Saturday night and since we couldn't go to Disneyland on Sunday, we spent the day in Newport. I have such great memories of vacationing there with my family and our friends so it is always a treat to visit!
We walked all the way from Newport Pier to Balboa Pier with a stop along the way at the park. Once we got to Balboa, we rented a surrey to ride down to the wedge. We were packed on that thing and since there was no room for my dad, he offered to rollerblade down. Have I mentioned how much my dad loves to rollerblade? I love it, it's like 1987 all over again! Anyway, we had a great time riding the surrey. The kids were in heaven and laughing most of the time. Us adults were laughing as well, but mostly because we were struggling so much-it was hard to pedal that thing with so many of us on! Good times. :)
Once we got to the wedge, we relaxed and took in the gorgeous views evening views. A fun little outing to complete our California trip!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Disneyland for the holidays...

Disneyland is always a good time. After all, it's the happiest place on earth! What I didn't realize, however, was how truly magical it becomes during the Christmas season. We experienced this firsthand in November. Tucker and Cody had to be in Anaheim for work so the wives and kids decided to tag along. To make it even better, my parents met us there making the grandkids thoroughly excited and providing some much needed help to us adults.
We spent three days in the park and we packed a lot in...
Here we are at the entrance and as you can see, Roman was a little hyper with excitement!
My mom and dad. Aren't they the cutest? I was just so happy they were willing to be there with us.
Right as we walked into California Adventure, we ran into the guy in the red suit. Roman was so excited to talk to Santa and tell him what he wanted for Christmas. Unfortunately, none of the other kids were willing to get near him so no group picture this time.
We loved the Ferris wheel, especially because of the delicious caramel popcorn we ate while we were on it!
Roman worked with all of his might to pull the sword out. I swear this kid is so determined!Three generations of Curtis girls in a teacup.
A definite highlight for Capri was meeting the real Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder. She literally lit up when we walked in and was beyond thrilled when they started talking to her. Starstruck!
We took full advantage of the stroller passes (we had 4 strollers!) which gave us the opportunity to do some fun "big kid" rides too. When Tucker and I were on baby/kid duty, Tucker worked his magic to keep them all entertained. I think it was working...
I am so sad I didn't get a great picture of us on It's a Small World. Maybe because I was tearing up it was so beautiful. The Christmas decorations were unbelievable in there and it made Capri's favorite ride even more magical. They even had a special ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the lighting of It's a Small World while we were there.
They also lit up the castle one night and I was just dying! It was over-the-top with fake snow and everything. We even witnessed a marriage proposal right after-it was that perfect of a moment!
The favorite rides this time around were It's a Small World, Storybook, Dumbo, Ariel, and Toy Story. The lines were so short we did some of these rides three times! I was very proud of my kids and their increased bravery. Roman and Capri actually enjoyed Star Tours and though Capri wouldn't even go into Soarin' California last time, she loved the ride this trip.
Here we are on Storybrook:
The adults all had fun on Grizzly Rapids-we were so glad the weather was nice enough! Here's our crew right after-pretty dry thanks to the ponchos we found:
Main Street was covered in Christmas lights and decorations and they put on a Christmas Parade that was absolutely darling. Capri's loved seeing the princesses-they were all right there with their princes-but her favorite part was the ballerina-I think she is really loving her ballet these days! Roman loved the music and the awesome floats. Karoline was getting tired and started whining when this sweet lady started talking to her and trying to get her excited about the parade. It worked! I thought she would freak out with this stranger taking her hands and yet she started clapping with her. Surprise, surprise!
So bummed this picture didn't turn out, but I love that you get a taste of the size and decor of the Main Street Christmas Tree-fabulous!
When we lived in California, it never felt like Christmas-too many palm trees and not enough snow. We all decided, however, that you can definitely feel that Christmas spirit in Southern California as long as you are in Disneyland!

Dave, it's been five years...

November 4th, 2011 marked the 5th anniversary of the passing of my brother Dave. We all miss him so much. I have to constantly remind myself that he is incredibly happy where he is and that even though we wish he were here with us, he watches from above and we can all feel our love for one another. With that in mind, rather than visiting his grave on the 5th, we decided as a family to go to the temple and do sealings. After all, the knowledge of an eternal family is what brings us our greatest peace and we hoped to provide that for others.
Not wanting to share too much of that special day, I will simply say it was perfect. We had an incredible experience full of overwhelming joy and I could truly feel David there. To have all of my siblings, my parents, and my husband in the same room was just wonderful.
I hope my loved ones know that I have a very strong testimony of eternal families. That as long as we are living up to our covenants, we can live with one another forever and I can't imagine anything more important. I love you Dave.

Photograph of the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Mormon Temple

First Big Snow of the Season!

At the beginning of November, we experienced our first big snowfall. There is something so fun and magical about the first snow. The kids couldn't wait to get in their new gear and build a snowman. Even Karoline was thrilled to be out with the big kids and eating lots of that fluffy white stuff!Capri insisted our snowman was a girl with all of that silly hair:
Roman was easy-going as usual and went with it. Such a trooper!
I went out with the kids for a bit and I loved watching them explore. Karoline struggled every time she had to get back up and it was so stinking cute. Capri was doing snow angels and then just stopped to look up at the clouds. When I asked her what she was doing, she replied in a daydream state, "Mom, the clouds are moving!" I loved it. Roman and Capri were so into building our big snowman and are at the age where they can really participate. It just makes it that much more fun for me!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Halloween-it lasted the entire month of October!

I know, it is after Thanksgiving and I am just now posting about Halloween. No need to read if you are simply not up for reading about this holiday of the past...
We had such an exciting month of Halloween festivities. Yes, an entire month full of Witch's Nights Out, Witches Retreat, Breakfast with the Witches, Ward Trunk-or-treat, the annual Morris Family Halloween Party, Cornbelly's, a couple's costume party, and of course, trick-or-treating. It was fabulous but maybe a bit much?!
The girls in the neighborhood love to party. Hence, two Witch parties. Nothing better than the ladies getting together to eat and chat while dressed to the nines, witches style.
Cheri, my mom and I about to head out-I just love that we do these things together!
These are some of my favorite girls in my ward-Annelise, Katie and Jenn...I think you can see why...We have had this other Witches Night Out party for three years now...It's HUGE!
Love that my high school girls make an effort to hang out with our kids. Jessica found a fun event at Gardner Village called Breakfast with the Witches. I was excited to spend some time with the twins and so I left Karoline with Grandma and off we went. We met up with the group and sat down for breakfast. Roman and Capri seemed a tad nervous at first, but soon warmed up to the crazy, loud witches. Capri even wanted to go on stage to play with the rubber rats...gross. There favorite part of the morning was being able to run around and finding all of the fake witches. It was such a perfect morning-we all soaked in the wonderful fall weather and each other's company.
Capri with Witch Brazilla-seriously couldn't believe she wanted a picture with the stranger witch!
Finding the funny witches all over the Village:Our best attempt at a group shot of the 2nd generation:Here are my darling girlfriends with their kids-we have a great bunch!Every Halloween, the Young Men and Young Women put together a trunk-or-treat for the ward. My Beehives were in charge of a trunk and a few games. It went off without a hitch and all of us, organizers and participants, had a great time. This was the first time the kids got to wear their costumes and I must say that as much as I loved our cohesive themed costumes last year, Capri was dying to be Rapunzel and I wasn't about to make Roman be Flynn Ryder. He wanted to be Batman and he thought it was about as cool as it gets. Karoline was a fairy and her and London matched-it was insanely cute...My Batman, Rapunzel and fairy:
Tucker took the kids around while I manned the trunk and then we switched-I didn't want to miss out on the faces of my kids getting candy at each trunk. They were pretty happy about that! When it was getting cold, they huddled up in our trunk and checked out all of their goodies.
We had never been to Cornbelly's before, but I think we need to make it a tradition from here on out. The kids had an absolute blast with the trampolines, bouncy houses, life-size lincoln logs, train rides, and the many play sets. Karoline was old enough to really get a kick out of it. I was just so happy to see my kids with permanent smiles all day.
Capri in one of the wooden trucks as happy as can be!
Roman on the inflatable trampoline-this was fun for all of the kids.
All the kids loved climbing to the top of the hay bales and were pretty proud of themselves as they reached the top:
The kids loved the farm animal band that sang songs and danced. My little niece Isla was totally dancing by swaying her shoulders. You would die if you saw such a cuteness explosion.
Drew and I with the babes on the wagon ride that was quite bumpy and fun!
Cheri and Cody put on an awesome party for our friends. It was a Famous Couples theme but Tucker and I were lame and went as a cat and mouse. Yeah, we are that creative and willing to dress up. ;) What's funny, however, is this was the same costume I wore the first night Tucker and I met. He totally doesn't remember me from that night, but I remembered him dressed up as Yasser Arafat. Hmmm...
We played some great games including the traditional doughnut eating contest, Funny Bones and Just Dance 3 on the wii. Good times. Really good times.
The devil and the cat-pretty much $10 costume kits with a shirt and fake leather pants...that's how we roll.Our sweet action pic!
Roman and Capri had a Halloween parade at their preschool and they were happy to show off their costumes. Roman was not comfortable in his, unfortunately, so he stuck with the black clothes and then Batman gloves and belt. Close enough.
Trick-or-treating couldn't have been better this year. Not only were Roman and Capri thrilled to be making the rounds, Karoline was totally into it. She wouldn't even leave the house without us putting a piece of candy in her bucket to start. She would say "Happy Halloween" and "Trick-or-treat" to earn her candy and we were just dying from all the cuteness. It was unseasonably warm which made it that much nicer of a night. To top it off, we had both sets of grandparents, Cheri and Cody with London, Rob and jesse with the boys, and tons of fabulous neighbors to trick-or-treat with. Huge success. Check out the video below to see the kids in action!
One of my favorite parts of the night, however, was when Capri, Roman, and even Karoline for a moment, decided they were going to pass out candy at home. Capri had the little chairs set up and would sit anxiously waiting for more kids to come along. When they did come, she would comment on their costumes, smile, and give them some candy. It was the sweetest thing.
We had dinner at my house with everyone which has become an annual event. It's so nice to have everyone come celebrate with my kids and it's so fun for me to host. The perfect way to close up Halloween.