Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cut Short

So I was thinking about delving in to the world of putting pictures on the blog today. I hesitate to do that when I'm at my parents house because their computer does things differently than mine at home and last time I did it their computer stole all my picture off my memory card and I never got them back. I was gonna risk it today anyway because I have some seriously cute pictures on there. But I've changed my mind. And here's why: I'm going home early. Richard and I decided to cut our trip short a week and come home this weekend instead of the next. When we originally made plans to stay this long we thought there would be a wedding as the culmination of the time here, but since the wedding is postponed, those two weeks post-Christmas just seem like a long time. Just as a reminder, Richard is at home in Virginia working right now. He was supposed to fly down here in a week and a half to drive home with us. Now our hope is that Richard can switch to a flight this Friday evening. He won't know for sure until Friday (you can switch to any flight there's room on for only $50 if you wait until just 12 hours before the flight you want to be on - on American Airlines anyway). Anywho - that's the latest around here.

Tonight's big New Year's plans are to head out to my bro Joe's farm in Podunk, Texas and have a huge bonfire. Then after the kids are all tuckered out we'll send them home (with Grandma and Grandpa) and party on some more. My sis-in-law Jessica does this thing where she gets all these raw foods out and a big tabletop grill and you cook your own food right in front of you on the table. Then we'll play some games. Then I'm sleeping over there tonight because no way am I driving the hour home through little, dark back-woods roads on the drunkest night of the year.

So, until next year...

(Come one, you know I had to say it...)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Texas Weather

Texas is always a packing challenge. While we were there it iced an inch thick one day and it had been 75 just 2 days before. Here's some pics of the kids playing outside on a nice day with Uncle Josh.
Looking for bugs:



Wearing willow-tree-branch crowns made by Mom:
It was so nice we even ate lunch outside several days:


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Whew and a recap

Whew. It's been a whirlwind week since I last blogged. I think catching you up will be easiest in bullet point style so we'll go with that. Plus, most of my "readers" will have been a part of some part of this week so then you can just skip the ones you already know all about!

The road trip - We drove to Texas in two 10-hour days. The kids did great! I'd say it was the best road trip with kids ever. I think Karma was evening things out to make up for the last time. Naomi and Asher watched movies and actually played with each other. Isaiah was a little whiny but was easily satiated with snacks. And Richard and I just enjoyed being together for that long. I sure do like hanging out with that guy. I should really do that more often.

Pre-Christmas - We arrived in Texas to a pretty good sized party-in-progress. Ruthie and Josh (my sis and bro) were already here. We met Ruthie's fiancee Brant (he seems great). Baking and shopping were in full swing. Meals were major extravaganza's. Dishes were never all clean at once. ...You know, like a house full of people should be. Pretty soon Joe and fam (my bro) arrived for a few night's slumber parties even though they live kinda nearby. That really put the party into full swing since there were suddenly twice the kids in the house. All the kids played nicely together. It's so great that they're really getting old enough to enjoy each other and not just get on each other's nerves.

Christmas Eve - We had a big dinner of turkey and all the trimmings and did our usual Nativity play. Naomi was Mary and sat very sweetly and angelically. Isaiah was my fellow-shepherd since he wouldn't let me set him down (it was kinda late). Asher was a horse. Or dog. Or cow. Or something. Some sort of wild animal anyway. After the kids went to bed we did our Ashurst tradition of opening the present that is from your one sibling who had you in the family gift exchange. My bro Joe gave the kids Lincoln Logs and us "Battle of the Sexes". We gave my bro Josh an herb garden since he's all happy to see the light of day again (he just got out of the Navy where he spent most of his time underwater in a submarine). Everybody had one present to open and it was a nice, slow experience as opposed to the Christmas morning craziness (which is why we started that tradition). When we started piling the presents under the Christmas tree from their various hiding places it was truly amazing. We felt very blessed. Mom shared with us that her Dad (William Benac) used to get great joy out of counting all the presents under the Christmas tree each Christmas Eve because he came from a very poor family and loved to think about how blessed he was as an adult. We didn't count the exact number - but it was a LOT.

Christmas - We woke up around 7:30 and I think we went down stairs to open presents around 8:15. It was pure, wonderful chaos. There were 6 little kids and 7 adults. I'm guessing that you don't really need a description of this part of the day since you all lived it too. But it was great. Then we just had a fun day of playing with new toys and enjoying being together. And of course good food. I win the prize for giving the most surprising present this year (Richard usually one-up's me). He got a mini HD video camera. That thing is smaller than my cell phone. He was very happy and surprised and has used it non-stop since then.

Traveling again - The day after Christmas was more playing with toys and such until the afternoon. Richard and I had an 8pm flight to Columbus for his sister Karen's wedding. It was grand to be traveling all alone. I got on the airplane and thought "When I stepped on this plane nobody looked at me and thought 'Oh great! I hope those kids are good!' or anything like that! Nobody even noticed me!" We arrived at the hotel in Columbus to find a party going on in one of the bedrooms of Richard's siblings but the sad news was that one of his brothers and wife were stuck at the airport if Chicago. They weren't going to make it at all. We missed you Carl and Stacy!

Wedding - The next day we got Karen all dolled up in one hotel room while everyone else got themselves dolled up all around her. It was so fun to see Karen so happy. At one point she just sort of paused, mid chaos, and hollered "This is so exciting!" She had pure joy on her face. The sealing was beautiful. We ended up missing the informal luncheon afterward, but we were with a pack of Worth's and had our own lunch at a restaurant. Then we drove the hour and a half to the reception - which was beautiful. The church was done up very well with a sweet wintry theme. Snow flakes and trees everywhere. There was good food and dancing and happiness everywhere as we celebrated Karen and Jared. They were just so happy - I can't imagine anyone being able to have a remotely unhappy thought anywhere near them. Congratulations you two! (Pics I hope will come soon. I have to check to see if I ended up with the camera or Richard did)

Back to TX - That night I just went to bed (gotta get some sleep while I've got no kids!) while Richard stayed up and partied some more with his siblings. The next morning it was back to the airport for me first thing. Richard drove home with his parents. And I flew all by myself for the first time since I had kids. It was glorious. It was even a smaller plane with only one seat on one side and two on the other and I got a one seater so I didn't even have to sit next to anyone! I read the whole glorious time.

Back to life - So now I'm back and all the excitement is over. My Mom and Dad went back to work today. My sister went back to her home town further South. I'm here for another two weeks with no plans. My plan was to go to the gym every day but Asher has shot that idea down by having a nasty little cold. No way will the gym take such a snotty boy. Hopefully he'll get better soon and I can proceed as planned. Hopefully he won't just pass it along to his brother.

So that's it - a recap for you. I know it's not terribly detailed. Maybe I'll share more stories later.

Karen and Jared Tie the Knot

December 27, 2008: Karen and Jared blissfully are sealed for time and all eternity in the Columbus, Ohio temple. They both had looks on their faces that said "I've just won the eternal lottery." They are clearly both very in love.


We were supposed to meet up with the rest of the wedding party for a post-sealing-lunch but we were "unavoidably delayed" and ended up missing that lunch and stopping at some random place for our own little lunch. Sorry Karen and Jared. But we did have a lovely lunch with this group and we did toast to your love and marital success.

Here is Kevin talking to Karen. It kinda looks like he's her bridesmaid or something but he just got suckered into holding somebody's flowers. Sorry, Kev.

Here's a fun shot of me and Karen. It particularly shows off how great her jewelry looked with her dress. Love that Chic Made jewelry!
What does every reception have in common? The family sitting around happily chatting while waiting for the action to begin.

Here's a fun pic of Richard with his sister.

Mother and Father of the Bride

I am so in love with this picture. It is Karen with her brothers (those that were there anyway). I just really love that you can see how happy everyone was this day. This was truly a day to celebrate love.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

Christmas Eve: Naomi heard somewhere that you were supposed to leave treats for Santa. So she had to try it! She even wrote him a sweet little note.


The Morning Chaos:

Here's Isaiah opening his pack of sports balls with Grandma.


Asher with his train set:
Naomi donning her new ballet clothes:Richard with Wall-E paraphernalia:
Here Naomi, Asher and Isaiah get a huge kick out of the jack-in-the-box Grandma and Grandpa gave Isaiah. Mommy reading Asher his new Richard Scarry "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go" book (thanks Uncle Josh!):

(is it just me or do I look like...50... in that picture? Man, that makes me appreciate my contacts and makeup!)
The perfect picture of Christmas morning - a new train set, Lincoln Logs, and a baby carriage. And Grandpa playing with all three simultaneously.

Another great shot of Christmas morning chaos - Jessica, Joe, Winter and Sterling.


Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gingerbread Houses

I've always wanted to do gingerbread houses with my kids. But I admit, I've never actually been brave enough to do it. But Grandma and Grandpa are! They even did it with 6 kids! It turned into a "Grandpa and the boys vs. Grandma and the girls" kind of thing. It was great fun.

Somehow I never got shots of the final products. But here is the boys' with at least the actual structure completed!
Then, of course, the funnest part of a gingerbread house is the eating of it! Isaiah got started on that a few days later during dinner. We didn't notice that he sneakily turned around in his high chair and started eating the nearest house! No wonder he was so quiet during dinner!

But at least he was happy!

A few days later I let Asher, Ginger and Isaiah go at the other house while I got a little work done around the house. I thought that was a very clever way of keeping them busy until they finished and I realized I then needed to add "mop the floor" to my list!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pre Christmas Morning

Santa must have one really large, magical bag, because he is able to tote large presents all over the world with no logistical problems. I, however, am not quite so magical. So we opened a few presents this morning that were too big to make the trip. Asher got the Little People Garage, Isaiah got a box of new Lego's, and Naomi got a Barbie of Swan Lake DVD to watch in the car. I thought this also might help to keep the kids happily occupied while I run around getting things done today. It has helped some, but they're all fighting over the garage since that's the "coolest" of the presents.

Here Daddy does "some assembly required" while Asher impatiently waits (note to self: assemble before wrapping for Christmas-day gifts).

Naomi plays with the blocks. "Look how tall our towers can be now!"


Asher and Isaiah duke it out over one of the cars that came with the garage.


Asher is in heaven with his new gift. It's something he's been coveting in the church nursery for a while now. It's pretty much all he plays with there.


Also today was Naomi's Christmas program at her pre-school. Since she goes to a private pre-school, held in a church, it was really able to be a Christmas program (as opposed to a generic holiday program). They told the Nativity story and Naomi and her class were the "stars", standing on bleachers above all the rest. They sang a few songs and had cute little motions to go with it. Daddy even stayed home from work a little bit so he could see it, and Grandma Worth was here too - so Naomi had quite a cheering section. She did a great job of singing and wasn't too shy. I don't think she has much stage fright at all. The pictures are dark, but here are a few:
You can't really see Naomi in this shot, but you can see the "stars" standing in the middle, back. And the pretty church.

Here's a close-up of Naomi. She has a light blue shirt on and is standing right next to her teacher, Mrs. Bradish.

Here's Daddy with the kids after the program. We were so glad he could be there. Naomi didn't know he was coming so she was really excited to see him. (Look at my boys in their matching plaids! Aren't they cute?!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

For a silly video starring Naomi as Santa's helper, go here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sippy Cup Management

I have two children who still need to use a sippy cup. So I bought two colors of the same type of sippy cup - that way the little valve pieces are interchangeable but I can still tell whose cup is whose. We have at least 3 cups for each child. That's at least 6 total. I think there might actually be a phantom 7th cup wandering around here somewhere. Where, I don't know. That leads me to tonight's rant: the sippy cup search. Every third day or so I realize, as I am loading the dishwasher, that I only see 2 cups. 2 of 6 or 7. So I go hunting for sippy cups. The first place I look is under the couch in the family room. One there. Then I look around the main floor. One in the laundry room. Then I head to the basement. One there. Now I have 5 of 6 or 7. Some days I declare that good enough and go to bed. Other days I hunt further - getting more intense with my search. ... You get the picture. The point is, ... I don't know what the point is really. It's not my favorite part of the day, I guess. That's all. It's just one tedious but necessary part of my day. And now I've wasted your time telling you all about it. Neener neener to you.

Quote of the Day

"Go ahead and have one of those cookies I made for the neighbors. I was feeling more hungry than festive so I went ahead and ate some."

Sorry, neighbors.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Coming Up Fast!

We leave for our big Christmas festivities in 4 days! I spent last week doing things to get ready to get ready. That way this week I can just focus on getting ready. Ya know? The Christmas shopping is done. My calling is taken care of.

On Saturday was our ward Christmas party. The week before on Sunday they had passed around a sign up sheet and the teacher made a little guilt-inducing speech about how nobody had signed up yet and we needed to support our ward by doing our part. So when the sign-up sheet reached me and the talent show form was still blank I got a little brave. I didn't have any ideas but I signed our family up for a lip sync. Richard and I later decided on "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". Richard wore a silly costume of a little girl (where his hands are her feet and her arms are doll arms attached to a bib-like-thingy that he wears) and did the lip syncing while the kids and I marched around in a circle with picket signs. We got great laughs and were declared "the funniest" by the Primary President. The kids did great. Isaiah only broke ranks once to steal ornaments off the tree on the stage and Asher broke ranks once to run to the edge and wave hi to his friend. But those "breaks in character" were only met with more laughs. Naomi took the whole thing very seriously and even sang along quietly to all the words as she marched. I didn't get any pictures of the actual performance unfortunately. The Primary Pres. did and if she sends them to me I'll pass them on to you later. But here are the signs.
Naomi was even old enough to face Santa with no tears. She told him she wants an Ariel Barbie. But she's "not sure he heard her".


On Sunday we had friends over for dinner and just had a relaxing day.

On Monday, life kicked back in to full gear. This week I need to finish my Visiting Teaching (by having a luncheon at our house today for the remaining people), finish up a few Christmas packages, do all the laundry, plan the car's layout for maximum kid-happiness on our trip, pack, buy food for the trip... you know, just the essentials. I'll try to be better about blogging, but this is such a busy time!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brag

Just in case you're not following my Chic Made Jewelry blog, I must advise you to go check it out today. I just finished making my sister-in-law Karen's wedding necklace and I'm pretty proud of myself. Read all about it over there.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Like Magic

The following is NOT a paid advertisement by Zappo's or any of it's affiliates. But if you work with Zappo's and youd like me to review more of your products or services, just send me some shoes and I'd be happy to give them a glowing, yet honest, review. And keep them.


So, the other day it rained. A lot. And it was cold. And I had a bunch of errands to run. And I wore slip-on ballet flats with no socks. And my feet got wet. And I was cold all day because of it. So by 4:00 I was tired of my cold feet and I vowed to buy myself some new shoes that very day. But no way was I going back out in the wet. So I turned to the internet. And I went to Zappos.com. And I found these shoes and I ordered them. They told me they would ship out in 4 to 5 business days. I was OK with that. Then later that same day I got an email from Zappo's saying that they "have given your order special priority processing in our warehouse and are upgrading the shipping and delivery time frame for your order". Long story short[er], 24 hours after I ordered my shoes I was wearing them. 24 hours! The next day! Like magic!


When I told this story to Richard he nonchalantly said "What? You've never heard of next day shipping?" And, sure, he's got a point. But what I've never heard of is next day shipping that cost me "nothing". I say "nothing" in quotes because it's true that I probably actually did pay for it - they just lumped it in with the cost of doing business and my shoes cost more because of it - but the point is I AM A VERY HAPPY CUSTOMER. I will buy from Zappo's again. Because they're magic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Soothing

Today got a little crazy around dinner time (just like every other day). Mom is busy, kids are anxious and hungry, Dad is trying to finish something up "real quick". And Isaiah is trying to climb on the table and un-do all the setting that has finally been done. I guess it was somewhat apparent to Naomi that I was a little stressed today. She sat down at the table, took a bite of food she didn't really like, and said, "This is great, Mom." She swirled her spoon around in the soup a little longer, took another nibble, and said, "This really is great, Mommy." A couple more swirls and a slurp and "I don't think I'm very hungry." Then she cleared her dishes and went to play.

When did she get mature enough to know when to lie to her mother? And should I be proud or alarmed because of this?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dozer

Long, long ago, in a land far, far away (Washington state instead of Washington D.C.) there lived a happy family of 8 and their dog. The dog was named Dozer. Dozer had been given his name because when he was a puppy he bulldozed his way through his siblings to get to his food. He was a force to be reckoned with. No one and nothing kept him from his goal. His chub made his bulldozing moves even more powerful. He was loved by one and all - because who could NOT love a chubby little guy who has his heart set on something.

Flash forward to today.

One of the children from that family of 8 has children of her own. The child's child is named Isaiah, but is frequently referred to as Pooch or Poochy (and sometimes PoochMaster2000). This Pooch has many things in common with Dozer of Old. They both love food. They both make messes and eat food off the floor. They both let no one and nothing get in their way. Case in point, Poochy often elbows and shoves his way through his siblings to get to the prime spot on his Mommy's lap during story time. It doesn't matter what obstacle may block his path - he will get there. And, like his predecessor, Poochy is loved by one and all because who could NOT love a chubby little guy who has his heart set on something.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Party Saturday

Saturday was all about the parties at our house. First was a "Drive-In Movie" party at the church for the kids. Naomi and Asher each decorated a box to be their "car" and then they watched a movie at the church in their cars. They spent like an hour decorating their cars and all day afterward playing in them. (Isaiah and I shoe shopped while Daddy took the big kids to the movie thing.)



In the evening was Richard's fancy work Holiday Party. They have it at a country club and do dinner, some entertainment, and some dancing. This year the entertainment was a magician. He was a lot of fun, very good, and he had an excellent and very talented assistant from the audience...ME! (All I really did was hold up a little bag that he was pulling an egg out of or putting it back into every other minute and fall prey to his jokes about "oh, how I love when she checks if the egg is there" in a pervy way) It was a lot of fun. Then Richard and I danced the night away. We surprised everyone last year by showing off our dance moves (swing mostly) and so this year it was expected. I joked with the CEO that next year they really need to pay us since we were a large part of the "entertainment" for the evening. He then proceeded to "pay" us a huge compliment by saying that everyone enjoyed watching us so much because it is clear that we love each other and love being together.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Minimal craftyness

I love being crafty. But sometimes the mood just doesn't strike me. I have several crafts lined up, with supplies all bought and ready, that I just haven't been in the mood to do lately. But then I saw this on the Crafty Crow and just had to try it. Minimal craftyness was required - and just a glue stick and some junk mail for supplies!

I'm not even sure what about it says "Christmas", but I like it. It's not green or red or sparkly. I guess it kind of resembles a wreath or a Christmas ball. (I used an LL Bean catalog which is not exactly the most colorful) Whatever - I like it. I see much potential. Like, one made out of a book for book club. Or birthday parties. Or smaller ones to put on the tree. Or a whole garland of them. Whatever. I love it. Click through on the link above for instructions on how to make your own courtesy of Zakka Life.

(And if you haven't checked out The Crafty Crow before you really should take the time to do so. Such genius craft ideas for kids. Some are more intense than others - but I've been inspired several times with fun things for Naomi to do there.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chic Made Blog

I recently started a Chic Made blog - all about my jewelry making, selling, photographing, etc. I even plan to have some special blog-only deals. So be sure to check it out, add it to your Reader, or bookmark it!

chicmade.blogspot.com

Laughing Baby

video

Those chubby cheeks of Isaiah's may be de-chubbing quickly these days, but they're still chubby enough for a good squeeze! And who can resist tickling a naked baby? Naomi certainly can't. After we "tortured" Isaiah this way while putting his PJ's on, he went around tickling the other kids while they were naked during the PJ process. Turn-about is fair play!

(see post for video)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vocabulary

Asher: (walking up as Mom unloads the dishwasher) Hi, Mom. I back.

Mom: Oh, hi. Where were you? (Just to be clear, he was sitting on the floor in the family room.)

Asher: I was at work.

Mom: Oh. What did you do at work today?

Asher: Eat chocolate chip cookies and go to da gym.

Mom: Wow! Sounds like fun. What else did you do?

Asher: Play wid da choo choo and track.

Mom: OK!

Asher: Bye.

Asher is a total parrot right now. He copies sounds, words, phrases, everything. He do-do-da-do's along with the background music of his favorite movies and he quotes lines from them. The other day as Richard was leaving for work Asher randomly said to me " and customers and ladders" and it took me forever to figure out that he was quoting a line from The Incredibles (Mr. I is leaving home and Mrs. I says to him "Have a good day. Help customers, climb ladders..."). He even had the right inflection! He is soaking up new words like a sponge. So much, in fact, that I can't understand him half the time because I don't recognize his pronunciation of the new words. It is so fun to see children in these phases where the world is just literally growing for them and I can actually SEE it happening.

...Now if only Isaiah were talking at all!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Little People Nativity




I've wanted the Little People Nativity for several years now. The kids are always wanting a closer look at my fancy ones and I'm always resisting - so a Nativity that they can call their own makes perfect sense. I think it is a very sweet little set. And I think my children are very sweet when they play with it. The chubby little cheeks of the Little People remind me of my own little people's chubby cheeks. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Who can resist chubby cheeks?