Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!







Wednesday, December 26, 2007

WISHING YOU AND YOURS...





...a very HAPPY HOLIDAY!!!

It has come and gone again so quickly. But it always time well spent and lots of memories to store away for future rememberance. Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful gifts, goodies, cards, letters and photos.
As is our family's tradition, we spend Christmas Eve with Brian's family and then Christmas with mine.


Christmas Eve started at 5.00pm. We had our Mexican Fiesta-handmade tamales, steak soft tacos, salsa, chips, 7-layer bean dip, guacamole, and sodie pop! Grandpa Mike tried a new approach to telling the Nativity Story by playing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's "Joy to the World" DVD, but we barely made it thru Christ's birth in Bethlehem and then Grandma Mad put the kabosh on the story----stating the kids had lost interest! We then had present exchanges and then the annual adult exchange. This year, not much was made about this exchange as is done in the past. Usually, we have months of debate on the "theme" of the exchange. This year, it was unusually quiet. We each brought a $20 gift. Brian brought a silicone muffin tin and cookie sheet; I brought a $15 ITune gift certificate and Planters peanuts. The hot item in the group was the "Planet Earth" DVD box set. Neil ended up walking away with it. By 9.00pm we had all worn out our welcome and headed home.


Christmas morning didn't come too early at our home. The kids slept in until 8.30am, giving Brian and I a good 5 hours sleep. Jake was thrilled about getting the Calvin and Hobbes complete set. It contains every C and H comic strip in 3-volumes that probably weighs about 100 pounds. Liv loved the pink digital camera she got. Santa took notice with her interest in snapping pics this past year. Hopefully, like cooking, she'll really get into it and take over for me. Ian got a plethera of Transformers. Though there was some temptation for Santa to continue with Ian's Thomas the train obsession; he thought better of it and thought to introduce Ian to something new to obsess on. And Maggie, because the vaccum and I are tired of Polly Pockets, Santa brought her Fisher-Price's snap n' style dolls. Overall, I think the day was a success.



Later Christmas day, we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa Garfield's home for festivities with everyone. We had dinner at 4.00pm (well, most of us had dinner at the scheduled time!) and then had a surprise visit from aunt Ada Lynne and the Dalley family. Then the rest of the night was spent with gift exchanges. First, the cousins each gave a present to one another and then we had the adult gift exchange. This year, Bev proposed a new way to do it. It was very successful and fun, trying to guess who wanted: "Giada de Laurentis' Italian Cookbook" (Brian), "Groundation" CD (Seth), "Sweetland: A Love Story" DVD (JoJo), "Transformers" DVD (Jeff), "Wicked" soundtrack (me), "Yo Yo Ma's Appasionato" (Kim), "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer (Bevany), "Mountaineering: Life on the Hills" (Mike), "Amazing Grace" DVD (Vance), a Heather Nova CD (Sarah), "Fountainhead" book on tape (Kirk), a $20 gift certificate (Audrey), or "Simpsons: The Movie" DVD (Erik). And most of all, who has a secret liking for "Saturday's Warrior" DVD with karaoke??? It is a mystery.


So, all in all, it was a great holiday season.
Until next year...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Best Movies of 2007

Since the end of the year is approaching I thought I would start a 'Best Of' series to add to the blog. For some reason it seems like we went to the movies more this year than normal. Now if you know me you know that it takes a lot for the 'Wood to get into my wallet so without any further introduction I present the 5 best movie going experiences of 2007.




5 - The Golden Compass




We saw this with Erinne's parents and Jake and Olivia. Definitely one to get you thinking and also a great fantasy film that is not just a Lord of the Rings clone.


4 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (IMAX 3-D)


I took Jake and Liv to see this at the 3-D IMAX theater and we all loved it. Erinne is the real HP freak of the family and ended up seeing it 3-4 times. I think this one is my favorite so far.






3 - Nancy Drew




I took Olivia to see this as a Daddy/Daughter movie time and although I was expecting it to be painful we both had a great time. Nothing wrong with a little Girl power....






2 - The Bourne Ultimatum




We tried to revive the Garfield Dinner and a Movie tradition with this film and we more or less pulled it off. While the dinner was not that great the movie was one of the best of the year.





1 - The King of Kong - A Fistful of Quarters




Hands down the best movie of 2007. It had it all...drama...comedy and some serious flashback enducing video game footage. Me and Erinne saw this at the Broadway as part of our first annual double feature date night. If you haven't caught this one I highly recommend you check it out on DVD.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I'LL SHOW YOU MINE, IF YOU SHOW ME YOURS









(Explanation of title forthcoming. It's 4.30am and I'm falling asleep at the keyboard. Nighty-night.)


Okay, I'm back! Now let me do some explaining before you all start thinking bad thoughts about me!


One thing I enjoy about Christmas is the excuse to decorate my house without constraint (Though I only keep it confined to the great room. Eventually, I would like to expand to other parts of the home).


I love the cozy feeling you get when spaces are filled with holiday paraphernalia-Santas, snowmen, holly, garland, snowflakes, ornaments, Christmas trains, candles, fake trees, stars, books, tinsel, the Nativity, twinkly lights, etc. And of course, constant Christmas music playing in the background.


I'm hoping by showing you what I've done, my "blog" friends (and even those who don't have a blog YET-send pics via email, won't you?!?) will post pics of what they have done to decorate their homes. This isn't a competition or anything like that. It's a time of sharing and seeing all the wonderful interpretations of holiday decorating. I look forward to seeing what you've got! Enjoy!

A TALE OF TWO TREES




As most of you are aware, a couple of years ago, Brian had some Christmas tree rage. Let me explain: Every year, for the past 9 years, we had our annual argument-fake tree vs. real tree. And every year I won the argument-REAL TREES RULE!!! Well, up until two years ago, when the 10-foot real tree I was wrapping with lights came crashing down on the kids, all h-e-double-tooth-picks broke loose! That was the final straw or pine needle that broke Brian's back!!!! It was all the excuse Brian needed to take that real tree and shove it out the back door, lights and all. The following day, he had brought home a fake tree from Lowes.

So, I got to admit, the fake tree wasn't all that bad and last year, when we had a tree-argument-free year, I kind of like it. But this year, as we discussed with the kids what they wanted to do during this holiday season, they all put on their puppy dogs eyes and whimpered to their dad that they missed going up into the mountains to cut down a real tree. I know Brian has already posted about the tree cutting this year, so I won't continue with that part of the story.

Now we have the real tree, which is outside on our porch and the fake tree fully decorated in our living room. Because I'm a Christmas tree decoration Nazi, I bought some bright-colored ornaments from Target for the kids to decorate the outside tree. Yeah, I know a bit weird to have a cut real tree sitting outside, but heck, what else can you do?!?

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LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW!












Continuing on with Saturday...after the girls and I got home from "The Nutcracker", most of the neighborhood was already out playing in the most significant snowfall we've received this season.

If your kids are anything like mine, they sure love the idea of getting all bundled up and rolling around in the white stuff, but it never lasts long. That is why I have a 30-minute minimum. (Again, I have to get my "money's worth".) It takes me 10 times as long to get them dressed as it takes them to realize "IT'S COLD!!!"

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THE NUTCRACKER




Last Saturday, Liv, Maggie and I joined Gram Mad and aunt Corey at the Peery Egyptian Theatre to see "The Nutcracker". Our Bond cousins, Aimee and Andrea were in it. Actually, Aimee was "Clara". This performance is an abridged version of the real thing, but just perfect for kids. It was fun to see it and of course, the music is always the best. Afterwards, Mad had originally suggested ice cream at Farrs, but it was a bit too cold. So, we headed for the nearest Starbucks and had a hot drink to warm us up.

FESTIVAL OF TREES


As I continue to blog out of order, I wanted to show some pics from our family's outing to the Festival of Trees last Friday. We picked up Brian at work right after the kid's got out of school. We were all starving at 2.00 in the afternoon, so we made it to 106th So. for a bite to eat at Rumbi Grill before heading to the Festival.

I love and look forward to seeing all the wonderfully and not so wonderfully decorated trees every year. Brian on the other hand, wishes I didn't have this need to get my $4.00 charitable contribution worth by needing to see EVERY tree. I think he continues to wish that we went to this holiday favorite with his family. Because they didn't mess with trees. They would glance right and left at the trees as they made a beeline to the candy shoppe. But you gotta love the homemade fudge and decadent caramel apples. Then we'd head home. Short and sweet.


Some highlights of the outing: The electricity kept going off. Fortunately, the backup power would kick on, but only the lights on the trees would keep us from crashing into everyone. We also saw Dan Pope, the weatherman from KSL. He's a tiny guy in person. Not as tall as you'd think he is from seeing him on TV. The Darth Vader tree was one of the coolest trees, but I do miss the beer tree that caused such an uproar a few years ago. You had to give it credit for being unique.

BEWARE THE WOLF HAS BECOME A BEAR


So again, along with Gram Mad, Gram Kim and Gramps Vance, we went to Pack Meeting last Thursday. Jakob, who recently turned 9, received his Wolf and advanced to the Bears. CONGRATULATIONS JAKE!!!

But first, in good ol' Scout fashion, we got to do a fun activity. And of course, a team-building on at that! Okay, since Native Americans was the focus of the month, we built a totem pole. Each family brought a box, covered it with paper and proceeded to decorate it with some imagery that represented the family. We immediately knew that a guitar was to emblazon itself on our portion of the pole. After everyone completed their piece, all the Scouts got up and tried to assemble it without having it fall over. Eventually, a dad got up and somehow got it to stand.




(Here's that crazy girl again. You'll only get this if you've gone to the Freakin' Lasers blog.)








SING YOUR HEART OUT!



Last night we attended, along with Gram Mad and Beckett, and Gram Kim and Gramps Vance, Olivia's final Christmas concert of the season. Olivia is part of our school's choir. She's been in it for a couple of years. Jake was also a member until he became too mature to sing with the common folk. He also throws out that I put too much on his plate and he needs a break to be a kid at least once a week. Anyway, my favorite song they performed was "Happy, Happy Hanukkah". (No, we aren't Jewish, if you're wondering, but Hanukkah songs are always so catchy. Check out Barenaked Ladies' "Barenaked for the Holidays". It has some Jewish classics and a family favorite). Unfortunately, I can't show you any video of my favorite song because of the damn lady sitting in front of me. She kept throwing her elbow into my view. I tried to bypass her interfering appendage but in the end...was very unsuccessful.

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