Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 365--Woo hoo!

I'm sure you didn't think this day would ever come, but I'm done! 365 days! All done! C'est fini!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 364--Bye Nate


After we let Heather fly home with nary a picture of her, we were bound and determined not to let Nate get away photoless too.  I think he was really, really sick of my camera by the time he left (sorry Nate).  I love this picture of Nate and Spence!

Simple Math

   6 Crains in one house
+ 2   little sleep
+ 2 many goodies
________________


=100% FUN!


PS  we missed you K, Tim, Mom, & Dad! 

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Santa Connection

Ellie must have made quite the connection with Santa this year...





'cause he was really nice to her this Christmas!   



PS This post was published for the sole purpose of showing off that cute picture of Ellie and Santa.  I  just love that delighted  look on her face.
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Day 363--Uncle Nate!


It was almost time for Uncle Nate to head back home to California, so we decided to make sure we got some photos of him before he left.  My kids treat Nate as a human jungle gym whenever he comes to visit.  I don't think he minds this role at all.  :)

I ♥ Faces---Hilarious Outtakes

 I haven't participated in an I ♥ Faces challenge in several months, but thought it would be fun to join in on this one featuring "Hilarious Outtakes".

I snapped this picture of my husband's fun-loving cousin earlier this year as one of the other cousins pointed out the striking similarity between Jeff and the religious drawing of Peter on the wall behind him.   Jeff was a good sport and was happy to don the appropriate facial expressions for the occasion!   It cracks me up every time I come across it.  :) 

{Hi Marisa and Jeff!  We missed seeing you this Christmas!}


Be sure to check out lots of other hilarious outtakes at I ♥ Faces this week.







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Our Family Rocks

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the air
the smells of a Bethlehem dinner  wafted without  care.
The lentil soup, Greek salad,  and homemade flat bread
were better than even Cami would have said.


The homemade baklava was a pain in the patootie to bake
But in the end it was so yummy we shoveled it in with a rake.

Then we opened our jammies so filled with style
That they even gave Spencer a small little smile



We read the scriptures and with raspy, hacking voices
Filled the night with the sounds of our favorite Yuletide choices
So maybe it didn't rival the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,
But for our little home was enough to inspire.

After the singing tribute was complete
The kids wrote to Santa to make sure he made it to our street.
To sleep they went with visions of Christmas splendor in their heads
They rose at 4a.m. ready to see what Santa had brought but we sent them back to their beds!

In due time all was made right.
But we were grateful for the time we spent together the previous night.
Worshiping and celebrating the birth of the Savior born in a manger of hay.
We pray his spirit will fill your heart this and every day.


********************
(Lara's not a poet 
and now you all know it.  
Starting about line nine 
where it starts to sound fine
is right when my sweet faithful Glen

stepped in and made this poem what it should have been.)


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Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 362--Holey Moley


As a Christmas present to Emma, we brought her to the mall to get her ears pierced.   She was a little nervous, but was excited as can be in the end!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 361--Family Gathering

Today we had a family gathering at our house.  Ellie and Pete's three girls (Lauren, McKenzie, and Bridgette) had a fabulous time playing with the dollhouse.  




and with six out of eight Crain siblings all together there was a whole lot of silliness going on there. 


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 360--More Playing


Today was another day spent playing with their new toys.  This rubbery pink ball from Spencer was a huge hit with all the kids.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 359--Merry Christmas


It was a rather quiet Christmas, as far as Christmases go.  We spent the morning taking turns opening presents and then the rest of the day was spent playing with their loot.  This larger than life dollhouse was among the favorites of the day.  

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 358--Our Family Rocks



As per our Christmas Eve tradition, we opened up new pajamas tonight.  This year I found these fun matching ones which were a fun surprise for everyone.   :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 357--Snuggle Time


It doesn't happen often, but whenever the kids happen to wake up before we do they like to hop in bed with us for some good old fashioned snuggle time.  It's one of my favorite parts about sleeping in.

California Style Gingerbread Houses

One of our favorite Christmas traditions each year is having a gingerbread house party.

Sounds a little ambitious, huh?

Well before you get too impressed you should know that unlike more creative mothers I have always gone with the minimal preparation method of gingerbread house creating by using graham crackers as the base.   Heck, all I need is the graham crackers, a few kids, 14 tons of candy, some royal icing, and a clear spot on the dining room table and we're all set to go.  I even let the kids construct their own houses without milk cartons instead of making them in advance. 

This year I kept hearing about people who made REAL gingerbread houses (you know with flour and ginger and all that jazz) and I started wondering if I could possibly pull it off too.  I purposely did not buy any graham crackers, stocked up on bulk candy, powdered sugar, and molasses, but still was too chicken (and stressed) to try it.

Then the snowstorm came.

Once again, the snow provided a perfect opportunity to slow down and give it a try with just our family. 

While the snow raged on outside, I got to work and tried a random recipe and template I found online and made enough pieces for 5 houses.  Apparently there are cool kits with cookie cutter like templates for  ensuring straight and even lines, but I did not know about such kits until after I was done, so these were cut with my own non-steady hands.




The next day we attempted to construct the sugar laden dwellings with real deal royal icing.  Apparently though, my random recipe from online for royal icing was defective, since it seemed a little lacking in strength.  That's when I decided that these would just be California style gingerbread houses.  Cracks, uneven walls, extreme leaning....we would just pretend there had been an earthquake. 






The kids were painstaking in the decorating process and did their darndest to fill in the cracks and gaps with oodles of icing and candy...

 
Putting on the finishing touches.


 
Adam's sweet creation.


 
Emma's lovely masterpiece.



 
Ellie's beautiful dream house.


 and in the end I decided our imperfect gingerbread neighborhood looked pretty darn cool (and way fancier than the slum style graham cracker houses we'd made in years past).



They got full kid approval too...

especially this cute guy who missed the in-school gingerbread house making and was thrilled with the chance to make his own!


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 356--Another Snow Day


Today we made gingerbread houses without graham crackers for the first time ever.  It was a little pain to make the gingerbread, but the final product was worth it.  This was Adam's house.

Slow Lane and Snow Forts

Last week I was overwhelmed, over committed, and running too fast for my strength.  Then this snowstorm came.  We spent  the day before the snow arrived hurriedly finishing up our Christmas shopping, grocery shopping for gingerbread house supplies and hot chocolate, and in general preparing to be hunkered down for a few days.   I normally don't like to stay put for very long, but guess what?

  I loved it.

I loved that the snowstorm gave us an excuse to go nowhere at all for 2 days straight.  I loved that school was canceled and I didn't have to panic with Cami to get her big research paper done by Monday.  I loved that I didn't have to help in three different classrooms a day while they had their gingerbread parties, holiday rotation "parties" so they can properly learn about all the other winter holidays except Christmas,  and holiday  concerts where they play one Christmas song total. I even liked that church was canceled and we could rest from our callings and from rushing kids out the door for a week (please don't strike me with lightning). 

Instead we're living life in the SLOW LANE!!!!  Playing together outside, drinking our requisite 3 cups of hot chocolate a day, baking goodies, making real gingerbread houses (a topic worthy of a separate post), watching movies, playing games, and  spending the holidays as they're meant to be!  Now if I could just figure out how to recreate living life in the slow lane the rest of the year.  :) 

Now for a little nostalgia....

Last time we had more than a few inches of snow was February 2003.  I think the grand total was something like 16-inches and just like this time the kids didn't have school for an entire week.  Glen in his excitement to relive his snowy childhood in Colorado  built this snow fort for the kids. It provided hours of entertainment for them and was such a novelty that they talked about it for years later...
 


Fast forward almost 7 years and the kids couldn't wait to try to recreate the snow fort again with the 20-inches of this storm. Spencer and Cami labored out there for hours, before Glen finally caved (no pun intended) and put his poor shoveling muscles back to work to help them make this 3 entrance beauty! 

  It's a bit of a tighter squeeze now trying to recreate the 2003 photo, but it's providing just as many hours of fun and enjoyment for the whole family (and visiting friends)!


PS  We have a great sledding hill, lots of sleds, and this fort if anyone wants to bring the kids over for some grand winter fun!   Please come.  My kids (and I) would love it.   :)


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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Fun at its Best

Growing up in Minnesota, I never would have guessed that there would come a day when I would get so excited about a silly snow storm, but with snow a rare treat in our area I am as giddy as the kids about the nearly 20-inches we've received. 

Giddy for the free entertainment for my kids who have spent hours and hours outside the last couple of days.  (I'm typing this up at 10:20 pm and I still have kids outside building a snow fort as we "speak".) 

Giddy for the fun new backdrop for taking pictures.

Giddy for the entrepreneurial opportunity it lends to Spencer.  

And best of all giddy for the giddiness it incites in my kids....

Especially when they announced this evening that school was canceled for Monday, Tuesday, AND Wednesday!!!!  Betwixt the snow storm and the extended winter break it's  practically exciting enough that we could skip the presents on Friday.

Practically....but not quite they say. 


Giddiness encapsulated...


 
Adam easing his way into the outdoor life after spending the last two days sick in bed...


 
Emma giving the snow a try.  Later in the day we tried some snow cream which was totally DELISH and highly recommended for a fun winter treat!


 
Adam was able to stay outside about 20 minutes at a time today before hacking up half a lung, but at least the fever was gone.


 
Rocky was neck deep in the snow, but he was having as much fun as the kids...


 
Ellie was a little more tentative about all the snow, but definitely caught the giddiness bug eventually too.




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Day 354--Winter Wonderland!


Of course there was no church today, so we spent the day shoveling out some more and enjoying a beautiful sparkly, sunshiney day!

definition: pa·thet·ic



pa·thet·ic (adj.):  arousing sympathy, pity, or compassion

Sample usage: 

It was pathetic enough getting a 102° fever just in time to miss the first grade gingerbread house decorating party, 




  but when the fever got worse and the coughing kicked in right when the biggest snowstorm in decades hit the DC area (total snowfall 19.5-inches) it was even pathetic-er.





 Then when in a desperate attempt to enjoy the snow despite wheezing, coughing, and shivering he lasted only 5-minutes outside, he really won the prize for  patheticism




  
pa·thet·ic (noun):  Adam





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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 353--20 inches!


With about 20-inches of snow, it was the biggest storm we've seen in these parts since 2003.  Shoveling was quite the chore!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 352--Hurry, Hurry, Hurry...


It's our anniversary, it's a week before Christmas and a huge storm is coming.  Today was spent running all over creation.  I braved the hour long lines and grocery shopped, bought new gloves for the kids, and tried to finish up as much Christmas shopping as humanly possible.  After all was said and done we went out to eat and then to the late showing of Avatar in 3D to celebrate our anniversary.  It was slick as snot on the way home.  So slick that the people who were returning Cami after a babysitting job got stuck in our neighborhood and ended up at our house until about 1am.  We never even saw her though, since we got home right after that.

Flashback Friday: 16-Years-Ago Today

Sixteen years ago today,  Glen and I were married for eternity in the Denver Temple.

A few random memories from the day:
With it being wintertime in Denver we were quite nervous about having inclement weather for the day, but it ended up being a beautiful clear and cold day.  Perfect driving weather for all the people coming in from around the country (Minnesota, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma).  

We were too cheap to hire a photographer, so all of our wedding pictures are just snapshots.  We did end up with a collection of photos from various sources, but none of them are professional quality.  I've been on a mission ever since then to tell people not to skimp in that department!

Me and my roommates went to store after store looking for a dress and just never found anything that I loved (or could afford).  My Aunt Zina ended up volunteering to sew my dress for me, which seemed wonderful enough at the time, but looking back at her busy life with six small children I'm in awe that she pulled it off so beautifully.

Enough reminiscing now....


Happy Anniversary Glen!  I love you more now than ever!



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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 351--White Elephant


Tonight was the YM/YW annual white elephant party.  Spencer and his friend Ryan had entirely too much fun over-wrapping their presents.  On top of each present they taped a picture of Taylor Lautner in hopes of getting the girls to go gaga.  It worked like a charm, except the girls weren't too happy with the worthless junk (baking chocolate and hummingbird nectar) inside all that wrapping.

A New Christmas Tradition

We've recently just discovered a cheap family activity the whole family enjoyed....


Tacky Christmas Light Tour

This house in Alexandria has lights that dance in tune to music on the radio.    We sat there for a good 15 minutes just in awe at the ever-changing spectacle.




Every square inch of this tiny little yard was completely covered with Christmas paraphernalia and made the 3 giant inflatables in our yard look downright classy in comparison.  We saw an interview with the guy who does this who says his electric bill is $1000 every December.



This one was still over-the-top, but a lot less dramatic than the other two.   Cami liked it the best.

But my favorite part was still yet to come....

KRISPY KREME!


It was within a mile of the last two houses and a perfect way to finish out our night of Christmas light gawking!


 We watched in awe as the doughnuts were picked up right out of  the grease and dropped right into our hungry little hands...



Yum!  Yum!


  Christmas lights, laughing, playful critiquing, stuffing our faces with oodles of fresh hot doughnuts....


I definitely sense a new Christmas tradition in the making.  (Thanks Linda for the idea!)


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