Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Almost Trip to Utah!!!

Well the fun never stops at the Fellows! The day after Christmas we woke up and despite the bad weather reports we decided to pack up and drive to Utah. Our kids were thrilled with the idea of a fun filled week with cousins, aunts and uncles! We were also hoping for a few little babies to be born while we were there!

We worked hard to load up the car with skis, snow gear, chains, movies and snacks. We gave our yummy Christmas left overs to our neighbors, cleaned up a bit from the Christmas festivities and off we went. Unfortunately, just outside of Colfax our car would not shift, started blowing out a ton of smoke from every nook and cranny and we lost all power as we coasted to the top of the exit. So basically our trip to Utah turned into our trip to Colfax! A real bummer, but it actually could have been a lot worse. We feel super lucky it broke down so close to home and that it wasn't too cold outside. As we waited for the tow truck our sweet neighbors drove the 50 minutes to come and pick those of us up who wouldn't fit in the tow truck!

The little gem getting towed away.

We are super grateful for a sweet sister who phoned all over trying to find us a rental van or airline tickets so we could still come out to visit. She made us feel so wanted! We are also grateful for a sweet Gigi and Papa who, as always helped us figure out our problem and cheered everyone up with a yummy dinner. They really are Mr. and Mrs. Mary Poppins giving us a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. We also met a lot of nice people who stopped to ask what they could do to help. One sweet family even came back with sodas and brownies for the kids(okay who am I fooling I ate the brownies too.)

Gracie was a little miffed when she figured out the trip was over and that we were not getting towed to Utah. The last two days she keeps asking me, "Mommy, can you please make sure next Christmas our car doesn't break." or "Mommy when are we going on our trip." I must admit there were a few tears shed, but we do realize it isn't so bad and we feel lucky we have a car to fix.

It was so stinky from all of the smoke we had to wait outside the car. Colfax really is a lovely little town.

We started out without hats, but after an
1 1/2 hrs we got COLD!!!

So now we are just waiting for the mechanic to open up on Monday and find our little gem in his driveway waiting to be fixed. We really hope that it isn't a new problem, but hopefully a transmission that was not fixed correctly the first time. If isn't the transmission, I might need a cup of sugar to help choke down that bad news. I was told at the Wong's on Christmas eve that it is the year of the Rat! Since both Mark and I are Rat's, hopefully it will mean a year of good luck for us (or at least our cars!)

Merry Christmas!

We have had a great week filled with a lot of memorable events!

The week started out a little questionable on Sunday when Gracie started out with a nasty case of croup, strep and a sinus infection all rolled into one. Luckily, we were able to get her to the doctor first thing on Monday and got her started on a new antibiotic right away. She was a trooper though and didn't want to miss out on any of the Christmas festivities! I dragged her all over the place and there was never a peep of complaint from her. We even got to see her perform in her little Gymnastics holiday show. She loved it and so did we.

Gracie's Gymnastics performance. Basically Bay doesn't do large stuffed things in any shape or form.

On Monday we decorated our Gingerbread Houses. This is a tradition we have done for several years with our good friends the Hersams. Every year I think it is going to be so much fun until I go to assemble my gingerbread house and then it doesn't want to stand and I remember how frustrated I get with the preparation for this fun activity. This year I hit a new low, I couldn't get it to stand up, so I resorted to the hot glue gun. Just for your information, it doesn't work if you have already coated your gingerbread with frosting that wasn't thick enough! I was able to thicken the frosting and get it stable enough for the fun to begin. The actual decorating is fun and of course my kids love devouring all of the candy after it is completed! For Family night we headed out to look at all of the great Christmas lights. Our favorites are always the Dovewood Court's display of lights. We really liked the Santa Surfing house and the Livestrong House. There are some pretty creative souls all living in the same court.

The kids creating their work of art, I was just happy it was still standing.

On Tuesday I got to take the kids to the Nutcracker. Unfortunately, Mark still had to work, but I don't really think it is totally his thing. The only bummer is that although we were set to go 1 hour and 10 minutes before the show began the typical 30 minute drive ended up being a lot longer due to some parade know one told me about. To top it all off, right before we got to the theater the train came causing another delay. I know they don't allow late seating, so I told McCall and Parker that I would give them the tickets and drop them off in front of the theater and then all the kids could run in and try to get seated while I parked the car. My thought was that they would have to let me in because they would never let a bunch of young kids sit there by themselves, boy was I wrong!

Me and the kids at the ballet. I can't figure out why Carson always makes weird faces.

The poor neglected children (another great look by Carson)

By the time I parked and got in the theater the show had been going for 15 minutes and believe it or not they were not going to let me in. The ushers looked absolutely horrified that I would allow my kids to go in there by themselves. I explained that if they were concerned, they could either let me go in and take care of them or they could watch them for me. They chose the later! I spent the first 53 minutes in the foyer eating an overpriced stale pretzel getting suckered into purchasing 4 cheap wands, while three ushers fell in love with my kids while enjoying the first and second acts of the Nutcracker. I was actually really proud to hear their new found friends gush over how well behaved they were without any "adult supervision" (I pretty sure it was a back handed compliment meant to put me in my place.) After the intermission I got to join the kiddos and see some of my favorite parts of the ballet. I really do love the Nutcracker. Later that night we got to go to a wonderful baptism and then the kids camped out around the Christmas tree.

The Christmas Tree camp out, even Bay got to participate

On Wednesday the kids were so excited for Christmas they could hardly contain their excitement. Mark and I finished up a few last minute stops early in the morning before the kids woke up. We started our baking for Christmas eve and Christmas Day dinner. We had planned to go Ice Skating with a few other families and even though it was raining we still wanted to go, so off we went. It was Carson and Gracie's first time Ice Skating and they had the greatest time. They both had it mastered by the time we left 2 hrs. later. I just want to note that my kids all had gloves and hats on, but because it was raining there gloves got soaking wet! It was actually warmer without them on! Gracie didn't want to leave, but I was able to bribe her with Santa's pending visit!

Apparently Mr. Rimbley and Mark didn't get the memo that you don't work at 3:30 on Christmas Eve. Oh well at least he was working from home! I just felt a little guilty having fun all day while he worked.

Ice Skating with the Millett's and Getz families. Here is Carson and Lacey! I love this girl, she is just the greatest and Carson loves her too! She was so patient with him.

Bayden loved playing in the rain watching the older kids skate. He was soaked by the end of the afternoon.

Denise, Parker and McCall making there way around the rink.

Gracie and me! I couldn't believe how coordinated she was she certainly doesn't get it from me!

We came home and made a few elf burgers for Santa's elves. We got Santa's cookies ready and had a few gift baskets destroyed and huge messes made by a few little angels. After we got everything cleaned up it was off to the Wong's for Christmas Eve. The kids could careless about all of the yummy food, but were only interested in opening the gifts that awaited them under the tree. I of course was only interested in all of the food. There was a ton of delicious stuff from the traditional Turkey dinner to beef curry, saffron rice and crab legs. I seriously think I ate continuously for 3 hours. Finally, the kids got to open their gifts and then we headed home to get the kids ready for bed and await a visit from Santa.

Anxious to open their one gift.

Ready for bed in their new Christmas P.J.'s

Gracie was thrilled with her new Fancy Nancy tutu, purse and sunglasses!

You can see the excitement on Carson's face when he got his new guitar. I should have wished for ear plugs.

The one night of the year that you will find our children in bed before 10 without a fight!

McCall could hardly sleep.

Christmas morning came a little to early at 2:45 a.m. about 15 minutes after Mark and I went to bed. All four kids ran into our room asking if Santa had come yet. We decided to divide and conquer, Mark taking the older two and I decided to sleep with the younger two...big mistake! Every 15 minutes Carson would yell out, did you hear that? I think Santa's come? Mom, has he come? Can you please go check? Finally at 4:30 he settled into a nice little rest until 6:45 a.m. At that point I gave up the battle since all of the other kids were waking up. They all assembled in the boys room while we checked to see if Santa made it. Sure enough he did not disappoint and the kids were thrilled with all of their fun gifts, so were Mark and I! It was such a relaxing day not having anywhere to go or anything to do. At 5:00 we were joined by our good friends the Millett's and Zinn's for Christmas dinner and a fun evening of games. I always get a little sad at the end of Christmas day because I hate to see all the wonderfulness come to an end. I always wish the holiday season could last a little big longer, especially the Christmas Day part where there is no running around, but just spending time together as a family.

My child who usually doesn't get it right, was the only one who got it right on Christmas morning...he just wanted to sleep.

The four yahoos who kept us awake all night, waiting for the okay to storm the premises

Poor baby dragged out of bed, can't even get his eyes to focus.

I love this picture for some many reasons, I only wish I had centered it better. Unfortunately, I was just as excited as them and moved to quickly. I love the sheer joy and excitement on their faces. I love how Parker is carrying Bay, he is always looking out for everyone and trying to take care of them as is evident in this pic.

Parker cried real tears of joy when he found out Santa brought him and Carson a Wii despite their mothers total disdain for video games. They were both ecstatic, I'm sure glad Santa came through. Such sweet boys. There is nothing better than a great surprise.

Gracie embracing one of her favorite gifts...books!

McCall and Parker also got some new books that they were really excited about!

Quarter collecting books for everyone.

Sweet Mark and McCall helping Bayden discover the goodies in his stocking.

We feel so blessed this time of year. We are so grateful for family and good friends and we hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too! The only thing that would have made ours better is to have some of you here to share the day with!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Traditional Fun

Our ward Christmas party is always a treat. As you can see Bayden doesn't like Mrs. Clause anymore than Santa!

Parker trying to stay warm at McCall's Soccer Tourament (it was FREEZING!)

Sorry if my last little post sounded a bit whiney. I didn't mean to complain, just stating the facts of what occurred on Dec. 1. I know I have a great life and that if those are my biggest problems than I'm lucky. I just think it is good to document all types of days, so when my kids look back and read over this little journal they will know that we had mostly good days sprinkled with a few bad ones and that it is okay to have a bad day (as long as it isn't everyday :-)! That being said we have had a fun couple of weeks participating in some of our favorite December traditions and a few new ones.
McCall's soccer team went undefeated this season and she got to participate in a fun tournament the first weekend of December. We must really love watching our kids play their sports, because it was freezing cold that day and I hate to be cold. She played in 3 different games, which meant we were there from 8-1! They had a great tournament, losing one, tying one and winning one and despite the cold we all had fun! She loved the tournament play and we hope she gets to do the same one next year.

McCall in-between games at her tourney
McCall was so happy to be playing again!

McCall and Kristina before heading out for their annual "December Day" They always do all sorts of fun things together and the rest of the kids are very jealous. This is one of McCall's favorite traditions that they started 3 years ago. This year they went to breakfast, ice skating, made sugar cookies, went out to lunch and then went and picked out a new ornament!

My worst holiday task...Christmas cards. McCall, Parker and Carson stuffed, licked, stamped and addressed all of them for me. What would I do without those three little angels?...yep, not send out cards!
In the absence of real snow (which I'm totally fine with) we made snowmen out of Play Doh. Here are the artists at work!

Here are the finished products. I guess we need to better educate Gracie what a snowman is! If you can't tell hers is on the far right.

Carson and Gracie both give a big thumbs up for our yummy Peppermint milkshakes.

Mark had to opportunity to participate in our Stake Nativity program. He was one of the wise guys. It was seriously comical watching him prepare for his big acting debut. He had never done anything like this, so was completely stressed out with memorizing and delivering his lines. I was so glad when it was over because I got sick of hearing the same lines over and over again as he walked around the house practicing them. I don't think I'm being biased when I say, he did a GREAT job! I wish I had gotten a picture of him in his costume, but I didn't. Just imagine him wearing some really ugly gold and maroon curtains draped over the top of his head and then secured with gold cording around his waist and no picture is necessary. A guy in our ward put it nicely when he told everyone "Come to the Stake Nativity and see Brother Fellows wearing his bedding." The kids loved watching their dad. The only problem was trying to restrain Bayden from running up on stage as he yelled "DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!!!!" during the middle of the performance. It added a really reverent touch to the performance!

The kiddos before they went to see Mark's big acting debut.

Monday, December 15, 2008

December Happenings

Is it really December 15th? I'm still recovering from December 1st. It ranks up there as one of my pretty bad days. It was so bad I actually have blocked out some of the things that happened that day, but I can still remember some of the stuff, so here it is for documentation:

5:59-Looking forward to a great week. Start unpacking from a great trip to Vegas.

7:30-Drive car to mechanic to determine if the check engine light means we really need a new transmission.

7:46-Drive up to train station to drop Mark off just as the train is pulling out of the station (this was a bad omen for the day!)

8:02-Return home to find gallon of milk dripping off the kitchen table and all over the kitchen floor.

8:23 Drop off McCall 2 minutes late to school.

9:12 Drop off Parker 2 minutes late to school.

9:30 Play with kids. While getting blocks out of closet, I lose my grip and the whole box falls off the top shelf and into my jaw! Leaving huge bruise (people look at Mark weird now) and 3 very sore teeth (it still hurts to chew).

10:00 Pest Control guy comes to investigate my suspicion that we might have a mouse in our attic because of some noises I hear overhead at night in our bedroom.

10:06 Pest Control guy informs me we have no mice, but RATS instead (SICK!!!!) and that they have gotten into a lot of stuff in our attic. He informs me they can cause a lot of very expensive damage.

10:08 I start breathing again and tell Pest Control guy to do whatever he has to to get rid of the rats. He sets traps, tells me he'll be back on Friday to check them, asks for his payment and then is gone.

10:10 Call Mark and tell him I want to cry!

10:20 Take Bayden to doctors office to make sure he doesn't have strep throat, drag Gracie and Carson along for the ride.

11:35 Leave doctors office with 3 strep positive children, 9 prescriptions, 2 referrals to specialist, 1 x-ray referral and another "mother of the year" trophy for my mantle.

11:43 Drop off Carson 17 minutes late to school.

11:51 Show up 6 minutes late to Bayden's Music Therapy.

12:08 Bayden throws Cabassa at Music Therapists head.

1:00 Dishwasher repair man shows up to inspect our broken dishwasher for the fifth time this year. Informs me we need a new motor and goes onto explain that it might be just as good to get a new dishwasher. He'll cut me a deal and install it for only $175 (what a bargain!)

1:37 Mechanic calls to inform me that, yes we do need a new transmission! It will take him 5 days to do the repairs and it will only cost $3700. Oh, he also wanted me to know that I owe him $148 for the diagnosis not included in the first quote.

1:38 Call Mark and tell him I really want to cry now.

2:00 Wash dishes by hand. Transfer any perishable items from our garage into our house, but not before checking any signs of rat tampering.

3:00 Do homework with 3 different children for 4 hours. Feel frustrated with 5th grade math, feel like an idiot.

5:13 Discover the rat traps work, Mickey has been caught, want to gag.

6:00 Mark arrives home. Hangs outdoor Christmas lights for 2 hours. Plugs them in and realizes half of them don't work (ended up buying new lights and rehanging them two nights later).

8:00 Decorate Christmas tree. A very happy thing on a very downer day! Kids all excited, which makes me happy.

11:34 Hear a little scurry overhead...Mickey has friends :-(

Luckily, things have only looked up since the 1st! We got the van fixed (the transmission + a few other problems they discovered) and I survived a week without a car although it was challenging at times. Mickey's friends have been caught and we haven't heard anymore action for a few days. They did destroy quite a few things, but at least they are gone. The outdoor Christmas lights look great! I'm going to hold off on the dishwasher until after the New Year, so I have time to research the best solution. My bruise is almost gone and Mark no longer gets weird looks in public. I just keep trying to remind myself that I'm grateful I have a car to fix and a house to protect!

We have had a great time as a family the past several days participating in some of our favorite Christmas traditions. If things slow down in the next few days, I will puts some pictures up of the kids.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thanksgiving Break

Gigi and the kids with Santa

I'm still trying to catch up from our Thanksgiving break trip to Las Vegas! We had a fun filled week hanging out with Gigi, Papa, Jen, Steve and the girlies! Our kids only wish was that their cousins had the entire week off from school like they did. A few of us got sick before we headed down there, so it was really nice to just be able to relax.

Mark and I saw more movies in one week than we have in the past two years combined! We also got to spend some time with the Reimschiissel Family. The kids got a visit to their favorite children's museum, lots of hide and go seek at the park, hiking in Redrock canyon, a trip to the movies and an entire evening at their beloved Christmas Village. Of course no trip to Vegas would be complete without nightly Ben & Jerry's parties and lots of time spent with family and friends.

We usually hit the Christmas Village on Thanksgiving night because we hang out with Andre Agasi and Stefi Graf and their children. I guess hang out might not be the correct term. We just always end up in front of them in line every year, so we consider ourselves their BFF's! Seriously, every year we see them and one year we had a lengthy conversation with them :-) We hated to disappoint them this year, but it was wet and cold on Thanksgiving and so we postponed our visit until Friday night! Sorry to disappoint Andre and Stef, we'll hook up next year!

Here are a few pics from our very fun trip! Thanks for a great week Fellows!

The cousins in front of Cinderella's carriage. Bay and Carson on the Carosousel
We waited in line for this train for about 1 hour.
Mark & the kiddos waiting in line.
Our annual family pic with Santa
The picture says it all!
Heading into the village
We have a thing with slides and we LOVE this one at the village.
This was a dad lead expedition, not mother approved! I guess their was a few cliffs and tense moments involved, I'm glad I wasn't there to have a heart attack!
Bayden and Gracie assuming the Ben & Jerry's position (several times a day)
Our favorite Ice Cream Coach!