Friday, December 5, 2008

Who you callin' turkey???

Yummy Thanksgiving breakfast!

The following post was written right after Thanksgiving, but due to camera connecting to computer issues I totally got out of blogger mode:

Thanksgiving was SO MUCH FUN at our house this year. Actually, Thanksgiving day itself was crazy warm (shocker) and we spent the whole day in the kitchen just to have a very anti-climactic dinner with way too tired children. Somehow things began to run late in the middle of the day and we knew we weren't going to be eating until closer to 6:30, not the 4:30 or 5 I had originally informed everyone. Justin wanted to use the new fabulous thermometer that came with the oven which you stick in a piece of meat (turkey) and then plug into a socket inside the oven so that it can continuously give you reads of the temperature of the meat. Justin was so excited to use it, I however am happy as a clam (that one's for you Jess) to just use the little plastic thing that pops out of a turkey when it's done.

That is the face that Justin makes for the camera each year while putting in the turkey, I don't know why.

Anyway, to make a long story short, by the time the turkey was done so was Ruby. She had had enough. Truthfully, all of the kids were wondering why we were eating so much later than usual and why it was pitch black outside. I was trying to make gravy and juggle all of the side dishes that were coming out of the oven while also insisting that the guests (Jessie and Taylor) dig in and enjoy the meal, but instead they were trying to help the kids and wait for me and Justin to begin eating. Finally we decided to put the kids to bed and then enjoy our own food. It was great to just sit around and talk and eat...and eat some more. Jessie would take long breaks, waiting for more room inside her cramped baby belly so that she could fit in more food that looked good to her. She even made room for some midnight pumpkin pie, yum!

Needless to say, there was way too much food. In years past I have cooked for my family, the Burton's, my Dad and Josh, and some years Jess. So, usually there are a lot of adults to eat all of the food, plus I would usually make enough so that the other families could take home leftovers. I made the exact same amount of everything this year than in years past. What was I thinking? The only thing I cut back on was desserts and I'm glad that I did because there are still one and a half pumpkin pies in the fridge. I think that I was too busy wolfing down Utah's famous green Jell-O (which may as well be a dessert) to worry about having any pie. In fact, Jessie did point out during dinner that more dishes on the table did have marshmallows than did not...not good. I found that very odd since I do not cook with mini marshmallows for any other dinner of the year, but it wouldn't be Thanksgiving at my house without my mom's delicious pomegranate salad, yams, or green Jell-O, all of which have marshmallows in the recipe. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised since a little boy at the grocery store the week before had said "Gee, you sure do have a lot of marshmallows!"

While Jess and I were cooking the husbands took the kids over to a park near our house, the same park I had taken Tate too a few months back that is right next to our pool. The kids had a great time playing football and riding their bikes around until I insisted that Jess see the pool. We went through the little gate to the pool and before we knew it my kids started to strip down and wade in. We were content to let them fool around for a little while so that we could enjoy the beautiful weather and views from the pool (it sits up high on a hill overlooking several other tree-filled hills and valley's). I think that that's how we got behind on the turkey, we spent too much time at the pool. All of the kids had to be dragged away with promises that we would return later, or possibly the next day...or never (we never made it back).

Tate stripped down and ready to go!

We did soooo many other fun things while the Miller's were here. We went out on several date nights, which NEVER, EVER happens. We saw multiple movies in one week (yes, I DID sleep through 2 of the 3---James Bond and Four Christmases---I stayed awake for Twilight) and had fun going out dinner or even just hanging out around the house. When Taylor wasn't around (he stayed in SLC for the first few days to work) Jess was back to her old ways and hung out in our bed at night watching Conan, etc. with me and Justin----it was great to know that some things never change. A little sister is still a little sister...even when she's seven months pregnant.

We stopped on the way home from the airport at Rudy's BBQ so that Taylor could start things off right with some authentic barbecue. Jess seemed mortified by the amount of food he ordered (just 6 slices????) but we all enjoyed it once we got home.

I should mention though that that younger sister did get one year older while in town. Jess had her 25th birthday last Sunday while she was here. It was so fun to celebrate with her! She had to share the limelight with her namesake niece little Ruby Jane. Ruby's birthday isn't until Saturday but we celebrated early so that Ruby could have family around. Jess even had the great idea to make Ruby a special birthday onesie. It was a joint effort on our parts and turned out really cute!! We spent a lot of time laughing and trying to figure out how to use a new brand of applique that neither of us were familiar with. Jess has made a bunch of darling onesies for baby Brody when he arrives, what a creative mommy!

I am so grateful for such a wonderful family. In fact there is nothing that I am more thankful for during this season than my husband and kids. I am also very blessed to have had such wonderful parents and siblings. Justin and I are both so lucky to have loving and supportive families who take such an active role in our lives!! We love you all!!!

Alright, this is getting a little long, plus Justin has been out of town all week and I'm really pushing it with how much time I have to update the blog while allowing the kids to roam unattended. So, the last item for the blog is a matching game. The Lee family has a tradition of making apple turkey's and this year was no different. We all gathered around the table with bowls of marshmallows (I know, more marshmallows), raisins, gumdrops, toothpicks, and apples and set about making our turkeys. My kids love the activity as much as I did as a little girl. See if you can guess who made which turkey!! The participants were: Bracken, Abbie, Tate, Jess, Taylor, Justin, and me. I'll post who did which turkey in my next blog!

Ok, well, since it has been about a million years since I wrote this post I can't even remember who made which turkey...oops!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bungee Jump Anyone?

I saw this on Allie's blog (who saw it on her friend Elisha's blog) and it looked like fun. I'd love to see what you have done from this list. Copy it and paste it to your blog and then put the things you have done in bold and the things you have yet to do leave regular. Have fun!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band school
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland /world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

I must admit that some of the ones I left "regular" I may have done but I didn't bold anything that I can't specifically recall. I hope this was semi-interesting, I really enjoyed reading Allie's and seeing how many were different for the two of us.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Three Cheers for Emily

I LOVE my sister-in-law Emily!!!!!  This is not breaking news, I have always loved Emily, but I am so grateful for her today.  In response to my plea of desperation (see post below) I received a very sweet voicemail on my cell phone this morning.  She left the message last night saying that she thinks she can help us out.  It is not even 7AM in Utah yet, so I have decided to place a thankful shout-out on my blog instead of waking her up with my hysterical shrieks of joy.  Emily, I will call you today!  You are the BEST!!!!!

[FYI we had not been harassing Emily (as we had her parents) to fill the position because we knew that she has school (BYU) and a job.  She was obviously on a very short list of most desirable candidates but we were saving her as an option only in an emergency situation----Emily we did this out of love and respect for you and your crazy schedule but if you are willing we are DEFINITELY going to accept!!!]

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I AM OFFICIALLY DESPERATE FOR HELP!!!!  As many of you know, Justin and I are going out of town at the end of January/beginning of February and we are totally desperate to find people to stay with our kids.  We have asked parents, aunts, cousins, friends, siblings...the list goes on and on.  For some reason this year--the only year I haven't been pregnant--all of my friends, and even my sister, are having babies and most of them are due around the time of our trip (so they can't help).  We have even asked people we hardly know in our ward.  At this point I am running out of options and am now turning to all of you.  Does anyone have any suggestions for me?  We were hoping to find someone local so that we could pay them, or two people who would  just be excited to see each other (from different parts of the country) so that we would only need to provide the airfare (which is unfortunately not inexpensive lately), or just one person who could handle it alone so we could provide airfare and pay them.   

I am basically just looking to find someone who loves kids and can do a good job.  I am planning to have play dates set for the kids and carpools for preschool so that the person willing to help will have limited demands placed on them.  We are going to Mexico for Justin's Club trip.  I learned on last year's trip (which my AMAZING Aunt Barbara helped us out for) that it is very frowned upon by the higher-ups if an employee attends without his spouse, or --heaven forbid--if he were to not go at all.   Apple has a "President's Club" trip each year that is awarded as a prize for employees who reach beyond a certain percentage of their quota and the trip is where everyone networks and hob-nobs and gets to know one another (hooray for Justin making it two years in a row!!).  There are meetings and award ceremonies that are important to attend, so it turns out we can't just not go.

Anyway, I'm hoping that one of my friends out there in cyber world will have a suggestion for me.  Do any of you have a friend, relative, etc. who you think wants to come to Austin for 5 days?  I realize this is a long shot but as I mentioned, I'm desperate.  Any ideas?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How Do Little Minds Work?

 On the way home from church today...
Bracken: Mom, is our house for sale?
Me: No, we finally bought our house.
Bracken: No, no, no.
Me: Yes, Daddy paid for it, so it is our house now. 
Bracken: Mommy I mean our house in Reginia.
Me: Oh, well that wasn't our house, that was Grandpa's house.
Bracken: Ugh!  Not Grandpa's house, OUR house.
Me:  The house that we lived in, the townhouse, was Grandpa's house, he was just letting us live there.
Bracken: What?
Me:  Grandpa lives in his own house but the townhouse we lived in, and the house the Burton's live in, are both Grandpa's too.  He just lets other people live in them.  It's called renting.  People pay to live in a house that someone else owns.
Bracken:  I can't believe this!  I didn't know Grandpa was a house seller!!!!!!!  I just thought he was a Grandpa!!!

The following anecdote is totally gross, you may want to skip it...
Bracken (after being put to bed, running down the stairs in his pajama's screaming): THERE'S SOMETHING SPICY IN MY BUNS!!!  THERES SOMETHING SPICY IN MY BUNS!!!
[Justin checked, and indeed there was something in his buns--I don't know if it was spicy---it was a fire ant and it was biting Bracken between his buns... I won't be any more graphic than that]

The other morning at 6:00AM in my bed...
Abbie (she says this every single morning when she appears in my room):  Mom aren't you going to make our breakfast?
Me:  Yes honey I will.
Abbie: Then make it.
Me:  I said I will, just give me a minute to wake up.
Abbie:  Mom, get out of your bed!
Me (to Justin):  I guess that's what moms are for.
Me (to Abbie):  Abbie, what are moms for?
Abbie (matter-of-factly as though I were an idiot):  For kids.

Upon receiving a gigantic life-sized Diner from Grandpa for his birthday...
Bracken (leaving a very somber message on my Dads cell phone):  Hi Grandpa, I have something to tell you that I think is going to make you very sad.  My mom says that we have to take this present back to the store.  She said that it is way too big and that we don't have room for it.  I'm sorry that we can't keep the present you got me.  Love, Bracken.
[I guess he thought that he was writing a letter---who says "love, (your name)" at the end of a message?]

Bracken (at dinner tonight, out of the blue):  Mom, I hope you don't die.
[hmmm, I hope I don't die too]

While getting out of the car at church today...
Bracken:  Mom, when I am Cooper and Kelly's age then you are going to be really old!
[We weren't even talking about Cooper and Kelly...funny how age, and the word "old", have become relative terms...I used to think thirty was quite old...that is no longer the case]

Right before bed tonight (before the fire ant incident)...
Bracken: Mom, I really have to tell you something.
Me: What.
Bracken:  I am not going to wear my Superman P.J.'s until Uncle Taylor comes.
Me: Ok.
Bracken:  I have to save them because he is going to think they are really cool and really special!
[I'm sure Taylor will hardly be able to contain himself!  Well...actually, I think he has already seen them.  Oh well, he and Bracken have some superhero/Batman watching Bracken to make sure he's good---sort of like Santa's elves---thing going]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some things only get better with age!

****So, I already published this post and realized that---yet again---I have published the pictures all out of order but I refuse to go through that all over again.  you are intelligent people and you'll figure out how they should go.****

Today was Bracken's fifth birthday---which is hard to believe because I am pretty sure he was born yesterday and then I blinked, but here we are.  He is an amazing child.  He is my oldest and has, thus, been my guinea pig of sorts.  He and I have grown and learned together how to be parent and child.  As is always the case with 'first' children he has taught me so much about how to be a mom and we have experienced countless firsts together.  Though I have enjoyed special experiences with each of my children, and they each have their own firsts, it is somehow a little different with your oldest child.  [Note to my other three children who may read this in future years, this does NOT mean that I feel any differently about Bracken than I do about the rest of you, just that I have experienced things differently with him.  Though, I must disclose that Bracken did ask at dinner tonight "Mom, who do you love the best tonight, and daddy doesn't count 'cause I only mean the kids?"  Clearly he thought his birthday should give him an edge.]

Bracken woke up early and was eager to get things going.  He had been counting down the days for several weeks and was beyond thrilled that the day had finally arrived.  I had asked Bracken earlier in the week what he wanted to have for breakfast on his big day---thinking he would choose something extra special like Belgian waffles---but he chose cinnamon rolls so that's what we had!  Cinnamon rolls and yogurt, quite the combo.

After breakfast Bracken was really itching to get to the one present we had told him he would be able to open before school---and truthfully we were pretty excited too.  Justin woke up extra early so that he could assemble Bracken's first two-wheeler (with training wheels of course) and we were dying to see the reaction.  I told all of the kids that they had to be dressed with shoes on before Bracken opened his gift, so while Justin got the video camera and the kids got their shoes I ran out to tie a big bow on the new Spiderman bike.  Unfortunately Bracken decided he should probably check and see what I was doing so he came out to the garage and caught me in the act.  My first reaction was, admittedly, not a good one...I freaked out and started shouting go back inside, go back inside!  Bracken turned and ran back in but not before catching a glimpse of the goods.  So, sadly, we did not get his reaction (or mine) on tape.  We did try and recreate the moment on film about two minutes later but it just wasn't the same.

Anyway, Justin drove the older two kids to school and stopped to get birthday cupcakes from the grocery store along the way.  I was very disappointed that the kids are not allowed to bring homemade treats to school to celebrate their birthdays, everything must be store bought, but at least they are not at a lame school where you have to bring something like a veggie tray.  I say let kids be kids and let them celebrate their day with something that they choose!  It turns out that Bracken had chosen the most colorful (and stain-possible) cupcakes I have ever seen.  Luckily the teachers were very careful with all of the kids and I didn't see any stained clothes or get any nasty looks from mom's at pick-up.

We had worried all morning that we would have to change our party plan of a moon bounce and pinata because it had been raining off and on for hours.  Of course we have lived here for nearly two months with only one other day of rain.  Just our luck.  But thankfully the rain stopped, the sun came out, and we were ready to go!  The moon bounce arrived after some of the children but other than the timing issues everything ran relatively smoothly.  Bracken had a superhero themed party and all of the boys from his preschool class were invited.  They all came wearing the costumes of their favorite hero (or Power Ranger, or Star Wars character, etc.) and showed-off their best moves to each other inside the moon bounce.  Bracken was the red Power Ranger with a brand new suit Aunt Jessie and Uncle Tay sent just for the occasion.  It was a little warm to be clothed in layers of spandex and capes but, despite my coaxing, only a few of them were willing to disrobe and become their normal selves.  Apparently running in eighty degree weather and dripping with sweat is not enough of a reason to become ones boring old self.

When all of the festivities were over and all of the kids had gone home, Bracken ran up to me and screamed "THIS WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!!!"  I couldn't have asked for more.  It was at about that time that our whole family piled into the moon bounce to take advantage of the extra time in our rental.  Ruby and Tate had napped through most of the party so they were extra delighted to have a chance to play.  Everyone was also ready for some cake since the kids had been to busy playing to care about food during the party---and the cake was quite a sight.  It was hideous really.  Bracken had chosen the ugliest cake weeks in advance from the grocery store bakery.  We all know he only wanted it for the transformer tank toy on top and what the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets!!!

There are so many details that I know I am forgetting and not capturing or communicating effectively mainly because I am exhausted from birthday-mania, but there were no shortage of pictures so you can all see for yourselves.  I called and asked Jessie how many pictures would constitute too many, she said that it was not possible to share too many pics on a blog, so you have her to blame if you get overwhelmed.

Lastly, I want to send one last birthday wish to my little boy whom I LOVE more than words can express.  I am so proud of the child he is and can't imagine our family without him.  

Also, here are 5 things that you may not know about Bracken:

1.  He is very compassionate and always wants to be sure that I am meeting his siblings needs (he comes to get me when any of the other kids seems to need help)
2.  He, of his own fruition, has decided that even when he grows up he will live with me
3.  He is as obedient as I can imagine a 5-year-old boy can be (unlike my sneaky middle 2 children) and never wants anyone to break any rules
4.  He LOVES it when we tell stories, he tells me stories and I tell him stories, we do this several times a day (I am running out of imagination)
5.  He will choose carrots and apples as snacks over other less desirable choices like cookies and chocolate (which leaves more for me and Abbie)


[Saigers, check out the Transformer truck toy that Bracken got from my Dad, look familiar?  As soon as he opened it I created the scene of you transforming Zach's at your house...hilarious!]