Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Gingerbread House for FHE!

Sooo last month at Pokeeno I won this gingerbread house kit...and now we are NEVER going back!
It came with EVERYTHING, and was the non-messiest thing EVER.
Besides it looks allot nicer than our typical "ghetto" ones!



EVEN though I thought the icing was NASTY--this is what all my kids were dreaming about doing all night LONG!
I solicited a few cheers for this one!
Lets just dig a hole in the new table (we got last year for x-mas) with scissors-after all, that is what kids do.--Things that just don't make sense!


Dacie BUSTED for sneaking the candy!
The kids want to eat their creations as quickly as they make them.
That is one of the ONLY reasons they look forward to Christmas being over, is me letting them eat the houses (sick!).

Dan's Christmas-Work Party! BLAZIN' M RANCH

Dan's boss has taken everyone to a cowboy/dinner/theatre show- the the last 2 years at the Blazin' M Ranch
Now mind you, I have seen a few of these shows in my day (travelling/living on the West coast) and this one is at THE TOP!
SO anyone who comes to visit needs to save up a bit and go to the show.
We have taken the kids, so we get a babysitter and make it a night out on the old west town.
Dan even bought himself a handsome cowboy hat w/out ANY prodding from me! PROMISE
For those of you who may not know he looks pretty DANG good in a cowboy hat--even before I became biased by marriage!
Afterwards I spent an hour on the phone talking with our neighbor about the main water line that had broke AGAIN (about the 3rd time in the last month).
BUT these shots show off MY NEW HAIR color y'all! Some have been asking to see it--it is hard to see with the coat, BUT you get the idea w/ red tints and all!

After forcing my sister to babysit we sometimes will share an orange or two with her-ha ha
Good thing she LOVES my kids!
What a FUN and festive night out!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!!

At Christmas and always,
may your heart and home be filled
with peace, warmth,
and contentment!

With Much Love-
the Sorensen Fam!



Monday, December 22, 2008

Colton SNoW Sledding!

This is how fast the slopes were! SWeeT! video

Ski Slope Search and Rescue!

video

I'm Dreaming of a WHITE Christmas...

We decided to give the kids a WhItE ArIzOnA Christmas!!
Aunt Kerri's man Marcy (who has never seen snow) was visiting from Texas--
So we decided to make a day of it and play in the SNOW!
We drove up North about 60 miles and played in the snow that has been dumping
for days!
(Here is Colton's 1st snowman that he immediately made upon exiting the car door)
Quite the masterpiece!
Dan has a cousin that lives up in Flag (Ken and Kimberly Higginson)--so we met up on the slopes!
(This is about as much action as we got from Ryland--the moment we got on the hill he was ready to go back to the car for some of the hot vanilla chocolate waiting there)

It was the same snow play area we went to last year...except the smaller hill was not run down enough-- and was pretty sluggish with fresh powder to sink in, not slide on!
So we moved on over to the bigger hill where we picked up some SPEED!
Dan went and went down the hill.
I could barely stop him to talk to him.
Dacie missed her naps (all for a good cause), and was on some Benadryl for her recent illness.
She was quite the non-responsive "slug" the whole day!
...at least she was not crying and got the warm clothes!

Aunt Kerri going down the hill (my only shot of her above--l have to borrow pictures from her later)
Kerri and I went with our feet down
AND we ended up with faces and fronts full of serious amounts of snow!
Since we see snow about once or twice a year (as it should be...according to Dan)--we always borrow snow attire.
The people we borrow from did not have quite the amount of clothes available as they did last year.
So we had to improvise--
Layers of pants, shorts, and swim shirts
Sterling even got to wear an old pair of my hiking boots from college (I knew I had hung on to them for a reason)-about 10 sizes to big!
I think that may have contributed to the lack of enthusiasm the kids showed, like they had in the past with the snow! (or it could have been that Sterling got plowed over with his cousin Ashley by a sledder)
They were ready to go home...
We rarely saw Colton (above)-he was grabbing people's sleds left and right (don't leave yours unattended!) and kept going and going down the hill w/ his 2nd cousin Isaac.

These two made out in the snow clothes department--which was good considering they did most the sitting!

(Dacie is snuggled in between Dan's legs in this shot. It was to prove that our 1-year-old was not afraid AT ALL!)
One of the funniest things about the day was Dacie's complacency--
Dan would take her down the hill at a pretty fast pace and then pull her up on the sled.
She laid on the sled and went down the hill without so much as a peep!
(If you look at the group of people above Dan-that would have been our sledding troupe)
Dacie had it made...this was the hardest thing about the whole day was walking back up the hill
Quite the workout!
After all was said and done we only could stay for about 2 hours (perfect amount of time for our snow wimps) before we had to head back to Cottonwood, to make it back in time for Dan;s work party. It was a fun gathering and much too short of a day!
I'm not gonna lie--it is allot of work to pack clothes, meals, blankets, & hot chocolate...for a few short hours BUT it is worth it when you look at the pictures and remember the memories (kinda like the beach-how grateful we are to parents who went to all that extra work for us!)
Colton and cousin Ashley making snowballs with the snowball maker!
HAPPY SNOW DAYS TO YOU!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Santa Claus HAS COME to Town!!!!!

OUR FAVORITE PLAYGROUP

...when Santa comes to town!

of course we had to have sufficient amounts of primping previous to his arrival


.... AND sufficient amount of time waiting for HIM to arrive!
Ryland and Dacie sat on each other like this while everyone gathered and sang a song before Santa arrived! I could not resist. It made my heart pitter patter to see them--

Our FUN playgroup friends

*** Thanks Brenda (who heads this up every year) for giving the kids crafts, pizza, Santa and visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads! You are the BEST!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekly Wrap-UPs!

Monday December 1- I have started waking up at 6:30am most mornings to run on my eliptical. I get in about a mile and a half before the house turns into organized chaos. I have soo much work to do to get to where I want to be...gotta start somewhere right?!
With the boys & I getting our hair cuts during Thanksgiving break, I got scissor happy and trimmed Dacie's just slightly. I am so scared to cut it. As you can see she was not thrilled with the whole ordeal! A few little side swipe bangs-to follow their natural growth pattern ...and she did NOT want to show off the 1/4 inch of hair I took off in the back! She is such a drama queen!
Ryland was in preschool that week at his friend Addison's house. Her mom is "oh so crafty" and made these elf's with them. Ryland lovingly calls him "hairy" because he had no hair and is trying to grow some for Christmas! Check out the photos below

It is a phenomenon to walk out every morning and see it grown inches! It took about a week for him to "sprout" his new hair. Now if only Dan (and some of his friends) would have the same luck in sprouting some hair for x-mas-ha ha
Tuesday December 2- Basketball practices started for Colton. I get soooo jealous as I drop him off. I would LOVE to be going to practice some hoops for an hour. He is the 2nd tallest on his team and one of the only ones who can even make it in the basket--lets hope this continues!
That evening we had our Enrichment Christmas party. We went to a local elderly care home and sang carols and delivered gifts (lap blankets)--that some of the sisters had made earlier in the month. It brought back so many memories of spending time w/ my Grandma Roth in her latter years, while she was at a care home. It also made me so sad. Some of them are so forgotten!
We ended the evening at the church with a serious yummy tamale dinner (a traditional Spanish Christmas dinner) it even had home-made salsa. I was IN HEAVEN! Ryland came with me that evening to capitalize on the free babysitting and give daddy one less kiddo at home. It was fun for me to spend one-on-one time with him. My kids would be so well-behaved IF they were only children-ha ha. He even helped me stop by the store after and get ground beef on serious sale!
Wednesday December 3- Was a half day at school. I do not remember allot from that day-despite the fact that having the older kids home definitely throws off the little ones naps and lunch schedule!
Thursday December 4- I DO NOT remember the exact day BUT our clothes dryer died! It has been making some awful noises as I have started it--but Dan went to do a little laundry (he touches it about once every 3 months) and it broke! We really have considered ourselves lucky, since I had purchased these machines over 4 years ago from an elderly lady at a garage sale. We knew our days were numbered. Knowing our washing machine is on borrowed time as well. I posted them on craigslist and they were gone by Friday afternoon.They were actually donated to a family in dire need, who are handy with machines and felt they could fix the dryer. I was happy to be able to help someone in need.
...Then we started looking at prices of a new set! AAAHHH! It is outrageous. We also started researching and reading reviews. We are realizing that they are not making them like they use too-sturdy, simple and reasonably priced.
About the same time this all took place. Dan's car has needed repair for a noise it was making. It was going to cost us 300 dollars, just for the part--and we had someone working on it that Dan treats at work. Well-the noise got REAL LOUD, so putting off the fixing of it became a necessity.
To top it off I went to plug in my blow dryer I had bought before we were married and it had died as well. It just seems they all break it at the same time, at CHRISTMAS no less. Our fridge started making noises too--(so I talked to it nicely asking it to hold on a few more years).
SO... for the first time since we have purchased our home and car, we were out a couple of thousand dollars in a few short days.
Well- I am happy to say we FINALLY decided on a washer and dryer and they are being delivered on the 18th of December (got to pay for delivery when there is not very many options in a small town!), until they arrive-- we LOVE Cara!
Our car ended up NOT needing that one part fixed so we returned it-- and went down to a $50 part instead--whew! There are blessings!
Colton had basketball practice again that night!
BYE BYE washer and dryer--you have served your family well!
Friday December 5- Today I was helping in Colton's class. I went in to catalog books for testing and ended up helping the kids with their writing. I LOVE being in the class again, but then sometimes I realize there are some aspects of teaching I do not miss. Like hard-to-handle kids.
The following week Colton was nominated as the Star student for 2nd grade in his school and will get his picture in the paper.
Dacie's hair looks like it is getting sooo long some days!
Saturday December 6- We attended our annual tradition of the Cottonwood Christmas Parade (w/my sister this year). My brother Chad lovingly calls it the LONGEST PARADE in the WORLD (as he came to it a few years ago). It is quite long, but we have always enjoyed every minute of it. It always makes me so proud of our small little town! We came away with lots of smiles and sandwich bags full of candy.
The mountain men!
Our Elementary Schools float--and Wiley Coyote their mascot
The purple hat ladies are always a wild bunch!
Cool hat!...and some candy to boot


The biking group-They were quite the crazy crowd pleasers this year w/ a unicycle riding violin player, some serious tricks, and decorated bikes....oh, and a few drunk guys who just jumped into the parade on their bikes.

Our friends the Taylors(not the ones I work for--they do the residential, we do the commercial)
This is what Dacie thought of the Ambulance and fire engines!
...of course the rest of the day we tried to get our outside decorations put up, and some touch-ups on the inside ones.
Our group date this month was an ugly sweater contest Christmas Party. Dan and I got a babysitter and went to laugh. We wanted to wear ugly sweaters BUT could not bring ourselves to paying 5 dollars each (that is how much they want for those at Goodwill) to only wear them once. However, they did have funny human tricks and I got Dan (to bend his hand in half, curl his toes under his foot and bend his thumb all the way back) and Cara (went into the complete splites) to do a few of those. No one wants to sit too close to me or I volunteer you to do stupid things! Oh, how I love our friends!
Oh what do you do with your Thanksgiving/Halloween pumpkins? I got this idea from a magazine and tried it out while we were decorating this year!
Sunday December 7- We got a surprise visit from Grandma and Grandpa Sorensen on their way back from a weekend trip w/ friends in Prescott (so I missed my stake SYC meeting--that is allright, I needed to be home more). They stayed for dinner and to watch the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional. I always LOVE the devotional. I never feel like the season has really begun until we watch it. What tender and true messages about the real feelings and meaning of Christmas.
Monday December 8- I had gotten a little side job of watching my friends 2 children after school for 2 days a week. Her son is one of Colton's best friends, and her daughter is in Sterling's primary class. It was so nice to have since I have NOT been answering phones for the trash business-(they have been getting hit hard w/ the economy and are having to cut back in as many things as they can). But today was my last day watching the children--as my friends husband got laid off totally unexpectedly that afternoon. She came to my house sobbing.
I am so sad for my good friends getting hit so hard financially. It is so hard to watch--I have had to watch it for a majority of my life with my own parents.
Not having the 'extra' money has been difficult for me too (and caused very LONG discussions w/ Dan and I while budgeting) BUT that is NOTHING in comparison to what they are having to worry about. I have stability and job security in a constant, same-income with my husband's profession, and my extra earnings were not for necessities.I was grateful for my talk on hope and peace in uncertain times that I was preparing for this week--it helped put things into eternal perspective!
FHE was putting up the tree. Typically by the time Dan gets home and we eat, we have very limited amount of time to have FHE--We barely got it up and the train track around it before it was bed-time. The kids were super bummed. Dan and I stayed up after to put on tinsel and some extra lights (since it is pre-lit) so it would be extra sparkly. We never got the rest of the ornaments on it until tonight 12/14. The tree is definitely a 'process' in our family.
Tuesday December 9- May have been the busiest day in December for us (hopefully). Dacie had a follow-up ear appointment at the doctors, where everything checked out clear. I then headed straight over to a camp meeting w/ the stake camp director. The stake runs camp here--it is not ward run. I am going to serve as the assistant camp director. We decided on a theme and got together names to submit to the stake presidency this evening. I stopped by the post office on the way home to mail off some holiday packages. Then at 3:30 I had a visiting teaching appointment. We had the Elders (missionaries) over for dinner at 5 and I was at a stake meeting at 6:30 until 9pm. I felt like I was stretched in so many different directions that day. Dan always has so much to get done on his days home. Today it was money, shopping and couponing--we went to bed late!
Wednesday December 10- Hmmm, another blank day on my calendar and no pictures. I know I have not had time to call friends back or take phone calls. I am always going and doing-- and shopping (according to Dan ha ha). OR cleaning up cat poop that got smeared all over my house (read past post below). I kept Ryland home from playgroup b/c he had a barking cough. Tis' the season. I am not stressed, just busy!
Thursday December 11- Another day at preschool (they always go on Mon. and Thurs., even when I do not mention it). I stood up a lady I visit teach that morning. I even had it on my calendar. Aaargh! I have had more and more of those forgetful moments.
That evening after we dropped Colton off at basketball practice, while the other kids, Cara, and I headed over to our favorite grocery store--Fry's. They had a "four hour" sale while the kids got to sit on Santa (what do you tell your kids when you know they are NOT getting what they want b/c it is way too much money? while other ones are getting it b/c it is NOT allot of money), write letters to Santa (on super cute stationary might I add), eat and ice sugar cookies, get balloons, and some face painting. I thought it might have been bedlam, but it was pretty much a fun, free thing AND I got the kids M&M's for their assignments (for their class parties) --at less than a buck a bag w/ my coupons and the sale! (as well as 50 cent hotwheels cars).
Dan picked up Colton after work and met us at the church building for tithing settlement. Our new Bishop had made us all fudge to take home-how sweet is that?
It was a late evening--thank heavens I had fed all the kids cereal at 4:30. What do you mom's do about meals when your evenings are 10 times busier than mine?
So Dacie would talk to Santa and look at him BUT forget sitting or being close to him!




Want some cookie to go with that icing?
Friday December 12- I was back in Sterling's class today helping--we did glitter angels and some writing with the more "difficult" students.
Dan had his gift exchange at work and got an i-tunes certificate and walmart gift certificate. Life does not get much better than that for him!
That evening we had our pizza and movie night-The Island of Nim. I went and picked up some friends kids from karate that evening as well, and took them home to their babysitter b/c their parents were at a work party. It started getting quite cold and a bit rainy!
Saturday December 13- I got off my last out-of-town package. We also had our ward party this evening. It was Sunday attire...so we had to give the kids baths before we left. Just after I got Dacie all beautiful in her dress and blow-dried her hair flipping up, w/ a sweet poinsetta in it--she started acting super sick. We were not sure if she was going to throw up. We were all bathed and ready to go-so I just grabbed some plastic bags, towel and some extra clothes just in case.
They had a really yummy, formal sit-down dinner. As the dinner progressed Dacie looked more and more unhappy, and got that glassy look in her eyes. She was on fire. Dan took her home early and stopped at the store for some sick meds on the way. I stayed with the boys for the rest of the evening.
They had done a FANTASTIC job. Our 3 wards that share the building get together and do the decorations and program outlines the same. Then we each take a evening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to have our individual wards party's (with the same theme).
Last year we were literally in Bethlehem and dressed the part. This year they had us go from room to room where they had done ELABORATE decorations (I wish I had my camera) portraying Christ's life.
The stage was a live nativity w/ a real brand new baby. The next room was Mary looking for Jesus and being told he was in the temple behind her. The next room was the Sea with a boat, water and sand. The next room was the Last Supper set up jsut as the painting portrays-- even w/ a basin & towel. The last room was the tomb. You receeived little items at each one, like scrolls, nativity stickers, shells, etc. We ended in the chapel w/ a movie (done by the photgrapher that took pictures of Christ-he is from Arizona and took most of the pictures in Arizona--many of you have seen these as I have gotten forwarded emails of it) they have been featured in temple visitors centers. Then we had a singing solo, and a quick message from the Bishop. Lastly, it was back into the Gym for tables and tables of desserts. It was a HUGE amount!
Aunt Kerri showed up on her way back from Winslow at the end of the party and came and rescued me picking me up with the boys. We all drove home and Kerri spent the night!
It was a beautiful evening and I felt the spirit stronger than I have in awhile.
Sunday December 14- With Dacie (and Dan and I's) not very restful sleep, Dan had to stay home with her from church. She is running a raging fever and we were blessed with NO stomach symptoms (yet). I took the kids to sacrament and left them w/ and older couple friend of ours (the Mooseman's) while I went and drove to Sedona to speak with the highcouncilmen in that ward. My talk was on hope and peace, and I ended it with the story that my family will never forget about a Christmas 17 years ago when my last little sister arrived. There was not very many dry eyes, including my own. My goal is to get through a talk without crying- ha ha ha! I LOVED giving the talk, parictularly around this time of year.
We all got good naps, except for Dacie who would not sleep-- and Dan who loved hanging out in his pj's all day!
We got the tree done finally, and Dacie has already been awake 3x's tonight. My goal tomorow is to get her fixed!
Well, to all a good night!
*It is so hard NOT to catch the kids enthusiasm for Christmas. We have been talking about giving rather than getting as a family, and sweet Sterling took all his allowance money and bought some small items at his school Christmas store, they put on every year. He wrapped them and took them over to the neighbors who he said "dont; have very much". I have yet to go over there and explain why they got feather pencils and beads...but I could not stifle that desire. I LOVE it when they are giving and childlike. Every day they have wanted to wrap something when they get home from school. Luckily, I have found some fun presents for them to give to friends that I can let them "go to town" on their own, so they are not driving me up the wall trying to wrap every toy in our house and using all the tape(well, they still are using all the tape like it is water)! ha ha LOVE MY KIDS!