Monday, December 28, 2009

You'll Shoot Yer Eye Out!

We braved the weather on Saturday and went to see A Christmas Story The Musical. It was really cute. They had these cute displays set up in the lobby and we couldn't pass them up. Dinner afterward on The Plaza at PF Changs was excellent as always. This was a Christmas to remember. It has not snowed on Christmas Day in Kansas City since about 1969. And total snowfall in our area.......14.5 inches!

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Christmas Day

An awesome holiday with the family.

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Twas The Night.....

We tweaked our family tradition a bit by deciding to sleep by the tree on the 23rd instead of Christmas Eve. Last year Santa almost missed our home because two little girls kept waking up.

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Yes Virginia, Kansas Does Get Snow

This was the white Christmas we woke up to on Friday. In fact we were actually snowed in. The plows hadn't gotten to our cul-de-sac so we had to cancel our movie plans. We were worried that we wouldn't make it to the musical and dinner on the 26th either, but thankfully the plows showed up. However, church was cancelled on Sunday.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Because Your Children Do Watch You

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hang my first painting on the refridgerator, and I learned we take pride in our work. When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals. When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life. When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to take care of each other. When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you take care of our home and everyone in it, and I learned we have to take care of what we are given. When you thought I wasn't looking I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up. When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but its all right to cry. When you thought I wasn't looking I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be. When you thought I wasn't looking I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up. When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and wanted to say, Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Wonderland

An evening at Santa's Winter Wonderland at Bass Pro Shop.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Holidays

Participated in our Lenexa Ward Christmas party on Friday. Excellent food served "family style" and a small program of the music talent on our ward. Savannah asked Santa for some huge Hannah Montana hotel thing and Haylie thinks she's getting either a laptop or a cell phone. Good luck with that!

Thought I better get a picture of our holiday decorations before its come and gone. We have our white Disney tree in our formal living room, and our main modge podge one in our great room. It doesn't show in the picture but I also got and 18 foot lighted garland for our catwalk upstairs. We leave those on all night and its very festive.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

After 8 years and 10 months......

This was our minivan we bought hot off the factory line in February 2001. And today; 8 years and 10 months after that purchase I hit 100,000 miles! Just an average of 11,320 miles per year. Not bad. And now in February 2011 I get to purchase this bad boy.....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We're Off To See The Wizard

My mother came for a visit over the Thanksgiving holiday and I decided to take the girls to Wamego, KS. There is an awesome Oz Museum with over 2,000 artifacts from 1900 to today. It offers everything imaginable from the earliest Baum books and Oz Parker Brothers board games to todays collectibles. Auntie Em even has her own gift shop.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tis The Season

I've been thinking a lot about this lately and I've shared it on my Facebook but thought I'd make a post about it here also. It especially started after I had spent 6 hours organizing our basement and the loads of "stuff" that I dropped off at Goodwill. Though some of it was clothes that the girls had grown out of (there got to be too many that I didn't have the gumption to sell them on eBay), most of it was toys they had received over the years and no longer play with. Material things. We have been blessed with so much. And unfortunately this can be passed down to our children. Not our children per se, but between parents and children in general. One of my ideas for Family Home Evening in December is to go volunteer at Harvesters or a soup kitchen so that my children realize how good they have it and not everyone is as fortunate. I have never felt that we spoiled our girls: I say "no" quite a bit. They see something they want, they know they have their allowance to save for it. I came across an article by Joe J Christensen who was a member of the Presidency of the Seventies in 1999. He said "instant gratification generally makes for weak people. As a consequence of overindulgence, many children leave homes ill-prepared to meet the real world. All too many enter marriage who have never learned to cook, sew, or develop other important life skills. We would do well if in all these areas of material things we and our children would follow the oft-quoted motto of our pioneer forebears to "fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." Children who always get what they want, will want as long as they live. I was also reading an article in the KC Parent magazine from a mother whose children get 4 gifts at Christmas: "Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read." I LOVE that. Children these days grow up believing they are "entitled" to everything. How can we reverse that thinking? I had a friend post on my FB comment of the 3 gifts her children get at Christmas in relation to the "three wisemen". One gift remains unwrapped from "Santa" and the other two from mom/dad. What a great idea! No more of this thing after thing after thing. I so cherish the gift my husband gives me to be a stay home mom. This gives me the chance to watch my children grow, nurture them, participate in school activities, take them to the park, play with them, have them read to me or I to them, just "be there" for them. Our men had a priesthood meeting last Sunday where one of the stake presidency remembered being able to go home everyday during high school at lunch to eat with his mother. His mother was a homemaker and he loved being able to go home and she'd be there at lunch. What a memory. In this day of expendable incomes, electronics, video games, and texting we need to get back to the basics. Our children are not going to remember what they got for their 6th birthday or many Christmases ago. The time we spend with them, the love we give them, and the attention we give them are going to go a lot farther than "buying" love with material possessions.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh My Heck

This is the reason that I did not get any Halloween decorations out this year. This is the result of absolutely no cleaning all summer long. EVERYTHING was out. All the Barbies and clothes, ALL the Polly Pockets, cars, houses, etc. I couldn't even see the floor. I was afraid to go downstairs. I was determined to finally tackle this before the holidays so I could actually get our Thanksgiving and Christmas decor out.

Here I am 2 hours into it.
And 6 HOURS later.....
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

Another fun halloween in Kansas. Our family went to the annual Enchanted Forest in Sar Ko Par Park. The kids dress up in costume and there are different performaces along the jogging trail. They have singers, story tellers, a magician, puppets, owls, and inflatables to play in. They used to give away hot chocolate for free but now you have to purchase it. But with that they also have popcorn, hot dogs, drinks and other treats. Our 2nd annual block party was last night. Everyone pitched in for an "Octoberfest" theme with hot dogs, chili, salsa, drinks, desserts and of course s'mores. Mike took all the kids around the neighborhood again to trick or treat. The weather was warm (but not as warm as our 70 degrees we had last year). Our family made it until around 10p, but Mike was up at 4a and said there were still several people out there by the fire pit just chatting away. Obviously none of them had church this morning. Savannah was a southern belle, Haylie was a seniorita, and little Lacie was a candy corn. What an awesome evening!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wichita or Bust

In the past 6 years we have lived in Kansas I have wanted to go to Wichita. Wichita is the largest city in Kansas with a population of 580,000 people. Mike signed up for a continuing education seminar through work so we were reimbursed for our hotel and gas. Pretty sweet. We left on Friday morning after taking Lacie to the kennel. She was so excited when she thought she was going with us. Mike always says how much he misses the mountains of Utah but I happen to think the Flint Hills are just as pretty; especially in the summer when it is all so green. THIS is Gods Country untouched by urbanization. The Museum of World Treasures was real interesting. The had an actual piece of the Berlin Wall on display. You are actually looking at the side that faced West Berlin.

The next day was my 43rd birthday. Yeah! We went to the Sedgwick County Zoo. According to the visitors and convention bureau this is the 16th largest zoo in the country.
They also have Exploration Place. This was pretty cool. Savannah was able to surround herself in a bubble. Haylie liked playing the vet. They also had an expansive minature set up of historical buildings and places in Kansas.
Lots of good places to eat. We ate at Genghis Khan (however BD's Mongolian BBQ is MUCH better). Jimmy Johns is always a favorite. Logan's Roadhouse was 2nd choice after Texas Roadhouse after we found out there was an hour wait time. And this place: Spangles. Typical diner reminicent of the 50's. I thought it was pretty good.
All in all I had a very good birthday trip with my family.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

One Last Time

The Garmeister (our weatherman Gary Lesak) says its supposed to be 71 degrees today. Yeah! I guess this means mowing the lawn one last time and getting the sprinkler system turned off. Welcome to fall everyone.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

A fun time today at the KC Pumpkin Patch in Gardner. We didn't do the corn maze but they had the jumping pillow, petting zoo, tricycle track, haunted barn, hay loft and horse swings, pumpkin cannon, mine shaft hill slide, rope maze, hay bale maze, jack & jill hill slide, pumpkin express train, pirate cove, corn crib play place, humpty dumpty rock climb, chicken coop slide, barnyard brain busters, duck races, yellow brick road train ride, and the zip line!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Diwali: Festival of Lights

Celebrated Diwali with our Hindu neighbors last night. Our entire cul-de-sac (14 homes) attended. Food was awesome and the music and dancing was great. Diwali is the biggest of all Hindu festivals. It is a celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fabulous Fall FHE

Since Mike worked a 12 on Monday, our weekly family home evening was tonight. We took a road trip 35 miles south to Louisburg, KS. They have the Louisburg Cider Mill which makes of cider! It was fun to see all the awesome pumpkins and watch the cider being made. We were also able to catch the lady making their famous apple cider donuts! So yummy we bought half a dozen. After our purchases we drove farther south to Paola which was founded in 1855. They have an awesome bbq joint called The BBQ Shack. This place was featured on the Food Networks "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives". LOVE our Kansas City bbq!

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Monday, October 5, 2009

St Louis or Bust

Our family drove out to St Louis on Saturday to see Phantom of the Opera at the Fox Theatre. This was a surprise to Savannah and Haylie. Mike and I have seen the play several times but this was a first for the girls. Unfortunately they both fell asleep during the second half. Because we had time to kill we decided to see the 3D Toy Story movies. I thought the movie theatre would be packed but there was only about 20 people. Savannah was a little disappointed that it was "real 3D" where things look like they're coming out at you like the stuff at Disneyland. Had a good lunch at O'Charleys and then dinner at Spaghetti Factory of course. Wanted to have breakfast at IHOP Sunday morning but it and Cracker Barrel were packed so we got a substandard breakfast at McDonalds. However, I do have to say maybe we were flying like the Jetsons. We made it both ways in 3 hours and 10 minutes. Our best time ever for 264 miles.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Musically Inclined

Our Savannah is starting violin!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Disneyland 2009 (cont)

What a great family vacation. I can't imagine going this in the middle of summer with the heat and the huge crowds. Waiting in line for 2 hours is not my thing. The longest wait time we had was 35 minutes for the Finding Nemo ride and Toy Story Mania. Most other rides we walked right on (without the FastPass). We did find that this trip was a little more crowded than all the other September's we've gone. I think people are catching on and not worrying about taking kids out of school. Savannah alone did 3 hours of homework BEFORE we even left and they also did some every night in the hotel. For a change of plans we researched the Orange County bus system and found a route that picked us up right in front of Disneyland and dropped us off right in front of Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton. OSF was a staple of ours when living in UT. Kansas City used to have one about 11 years ago (the sign is still on the building downtown) but not sure why they closed up. The closest one to us now is in St Louis so that is a must every time we go to the temple. We always save our shopping to the last day and just spend the evening in Downtown Disney (mostly at World of Disney). Needless to say the girls were given their budget and Haylie's way of doing things was putting everything in her basket that she liked then going over with me what items she could get within her budget. Funny girl! We've always gone during the off-peak season except for one October when I wanted to see it all decked out for Halloween - that was a bit crowded too. My last goal is to go just one time during Christmas (which I know will be extremely crowded) to see the park all decorated for the holidays before the girls are off to college. The nightly Celebration Parade was great. So many colors and lights!

Close up of our family brick.
Just a couple of snapshots.
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Disneyland 2009

So, we took our 12th trip to Disneyland. Had an awesome time with just hubby and girls. We arrived Sunday afternoon and spent the rest of the day there. This was the last day that Disney stayed open to 11p. Since this is an annual thing we decided to purchase a family brick that is outside the park in what they call the Walk of Magical Memories. We purchased ours in 2005 during the special 50th Anniversary. Got to have the typical picture from Main St. with the castle in the background. We only went through Toon Town once as it isn't one of our favorite points in the park. Love this picture we got with Mickey.

No, we don't belong to the esteemed Club 33 (although it would be awesome). For those of you who don't know about it, it is a very elite club limited to 487 member. The waiting period is now 14 years long and as of 2001 the membership fee was $7500 per person. We didn't want to pay the price for a disney picture. Don't you love the picture of the picture at Splash Mountain? The girls love the tea cups.
The next day we spent at California Adventure. The girls did the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Mike and I rode Grizzly River Run once and got a little wet so we didn't want to push our luck. The girls wanted to go again by themselves. Mulholland Madness is lots of fun. Had to get a picture of all the new construction going on where the lake used to be. They are putting in a big water show kind of like Illuminations at WDW. I was just amazed with how much detail there is to it.
Paradise Pier is always fun. I think my favorite ride is Toy Story Mania. This was Haylie's first time on California Screamin' and she LOVED it. They are getting a little big for Bugs Land but they did all the rides there. The Pixar Parade was real cute but we wish they still had The Electric Light Parade.
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We Remembered

Both my girls have belonged to the Cedar Creek Community Service Club ever since going to this school. Our first service of the year was to show our appreciation for the fire/police departments and to remember their contribution on 9/11. This group of kids walked from school down to the fire station with flags flying high. We sang the National Anthem at the flag outside then had a minute of silence. They then went inside to present the department with a huge italian dinner for them to enjoy. What a great thing our children can accomplish!

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