Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

This past week we celebrated Alyssa's birthday...If it seems like I've posted a lot about birthdays lately it's because I HAVE!  Fall and Winter are the seasons of our family birthday craze!

This year Alyssa's birthday fell on Martin Luther King Day and so the kids had the day off of school. For an activity, Alyssa decided she wanted to have a picnic at the park and have a play date with her friend Ashlyn.

Here she is opening her present from Ashlyn. They both love anything Monster High.

She got a Monster High pet, and a Monster High bag that Ashlyn sewed for her.

Alyssa and Ashlyn are cute friends. They love to be together and they look so much alike.

In the evening Charlene and her family came over to celebrate. Alyssa decided that she wanted Chinese Food for her birthday dinner.

 Jason showing off his dinner.

 Here's the Birthday Girl with her new boots. She has been asking for months for boots. I guess they're the rage now. She loves them and wears them everywhere she goes. 

Here's another shot of Alyssa's dinner. We tried a recipe for Panda Express Orange Chicken in the crock pot that I found on Pintrest. Eh--it was okay--not quite the same as going to Panda.  Aunt Char made the ham fried rice and egg rolls. Those were a hit! 

 Alyssa wanted a chocolate ipod cake with purple frosting (all of her favorite things). :)

Here's Alyssa with her finished product.

Everyone is ready for cake and ice cream.

Lighting the candles.

Blowing out the candles.

 Alyssa with her stash of presents.

 Opening presents.

 Seriously, why this is sideways I have NO idea!! Anyway, she got a Batman and Catwoman Lego set from Grandma and Grandpa Smith. She loved putting the Lego set together and loves the little Lego Batman and Catwoman.

I think the little ones are even more excited than Alyssa.

From Grandma and Grandpa Wheeler, Alyssa got a Littlest Pet Shop set with 10 Little pets. Her favorite is the dog with the purple sparkly ears. Luckily Alyssa is great at sharing because her siblings were dying to get a hold of these.

One cool story about her birthday (and this shows a little about Alyssa's personality) is that she really wanted a Monster High Clawdeen Wolf doll for her birthday. But all the stores were sold out (I mean every store in the Metro-Phoenix area). We tried online and they were going for $50-60. There was no way we could get one for her. Even though that was on the top of her list, Alyssa decided to be grateful and enjoy the presents that she did get. She was patient, did not throw a fit and was grateful for what she had. We really feel privileged to have her as a daughter.

Anyway, Jason stopped by Walmart to get a few things (the one right by our house) and decided to check the toy section. They had 2 Clawdeen Wolf dolls (they were all out just a couple days prior) so Jason was able to surprise Alyssa with a Clawdeen Wolf (about a week after her birthday). She was
so excited!! 

Alyssa really had a great birthday full of friends and family. We really hope that Alyssa could feel special and know that she is loved.

Here are some fun facts about Alyssa

Favorite Food

Favorite Color

Favorite Movie

Favorite TV Show
Teen Titans

Favorite Book
Mermaid Sister

Favorite Scripture Story
Nephi and the Brass Plates

Favorite Song
Primary: Pioneer Children 
Other: Love Story -Taylor Swift and Love Song- Selena Gomez

Favorite Thing about School
Recess and Math

Favorite Activities
Make Cookies, Play with Barbies and Monster High dolls, Draw, Watch TV, Play Wii, Play with Friends

Special Things About Alyssa
*Alyssa is a night owl. She loves to go to bed late and likes to read in bed.
*Alyssa is probably the easiest one to get along with in the family.
*Alyssa is very content and grateful for what she has.
*Alyssa is constantly getting dirty- whether it's a milk mustache or dirty fingers--she must have a lot of fun.
*Alyssa has a very sweet spirit. There is just something endearing about her--I can't quite put my finger on it, but if Alyssa is sad it breaks our hearts.
*Alyssa is pretty quiet but you get her alone and she'll talk your ear off.
*Alyssa is playful and loves to tease.

We love Alyssa and are so happy to have her in our family. Truly without her, it wouldn't be the same.

Family Visits

Jason's cousin Lana and Kurt White came into town to attend a wedding. We were able to meet them at the Mesa LDS Temple and catch up a little.

 Alyssa is our tree climber. If there is a tree to climb, she'll be in it.

Lauren and Brynlie are trying to climb trees too.

 I love this shot of Alyssa.


After visiting at the temple, we went out for lunch. It was so much fun to catch up and visit together.

After visiting with Lana and Kurt, we headed over to the park to enjoy the beautiful afternoon weather.

Kamary, Alyssa and Lauren love playing in the sand. Hanna and Kohler played baseball and threw around Kohler's football.

Brynlie conquered the slide--it truly is a feat!

Kamary buried waist deep in sand.

It really was a great winter day in Arizona. Time together as family with plenty of sunshine and places to roam and explore.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Random Pics for the New Year!

Here are some random pics and things that we've been up to.

First the dogs. We have a huge English Mastiff named Minnie and a Chihuahua/Maltese mix named Little Smokie. We love having opposite dogs. The little one is feisty, the big one is a gentle giant and they are best friends. They love to cuddle. Every time we try to take pictures they move. So here's our attempt at capturing our sweet puppies.

 Smokie loves to lay on top of Minnie. This is a common sight. (Yes, I know my floor needs to be vacuumed).

Here they are on the couch.

 Sweet Minnie. She really is such a sweetheart. I don't remember when it became okay to lay on our couch, but somewhere along the line we gave in.

Minnie often sleeps with her tongue sticking out-- silly dog.

Another shot of Smokie and Minnie. It's really funny because Smokie freezes in the Winter so we have to keep her warm and Minnie gets too hot in the Summer so we have to keep her cool. I guess it goes with the polar opposites of size.

Charlene came over for the New Year and gave us all new looks-- Yay for Char. She is a total sweetheart!

Brynlie got her first hair cut ever.

She looks so cute!  More like a little girl instead of a toddler- sniff, sniff.

Another shot of Brynlie.

I decided to put some strawberry highlights in my hair. We knew that my hair pulled red, so we chose a really light color that hardly had any red in it. Here's the result. I really like it though. It's fun and has personality. 

 Another shot.

Here's the back.

 Lauren got a trim.

Alyssa got bangs again.

Here are Lauren and Alyssa together. Kohler also got a hair cut and looks like a handsome little boy (instead of a scraggly one)-- I didn't get a picture though. 

Here's another random picture...

Who needs a swimming pool?  My kids love to take baths everyday. Instead of struggling to get them in the bath, I struggle to get them out!

 Brynlie loves the movie Tangled and loves to pretend that she's Rapunzel. She uses a hooded towel for her long hair. If we brush her towel (or even her real hair) she'll sing Rapunzel's special song. Too bad it doesn't really make me younger (or at least give me more energy).

Here's her "hair" from the back. Kamary actually made Rapunzel hair for Brynlie out of yarn. I'm going to have to snag a picture of it and post later on.

Even though life is crazy and often chaotic, I love my kids. They bring so much personality, fun and entertainment into our home. They all have great spirits and really try their best to do what they know is right. I am blessed to be their mother.

Christmas 2011

For Christmas this year we had the pleasure of spending several days with Jason's parents and his sister Charlene and her family. It was a fun-filled 4 days and although we were all exhausted afterward, we sure did enjoy being with family.

We left our camera over at a friend's house and so we didn't get that many pictures. We took some with Hanna's old camera, but a lot of them are blurry.

The first day we spent making gingerbread houses. I made real gingerbread for the adults and my house smelled fabulous!

Putting together our houses with all the fixings. The adults got real gingerbread and the kids got graham crackers. 

 Char decorating her house. She put cereal on the roof. It looked like a country cottage--so cute.

 Kamary and Alyssa

Jason, Brianna and Sam

Kohler and Alyssa

The kids loved being creative and decorating their houses.

 The house was full of activity, which made things really fun.

Brynlie preferred just eating the candy.

Alyssa's finished product.

Sam went all out.

Now there's one decked out gingerbread house!

Kohler's didn't last very long.

Wesley and his finished house.

 On Christmas Eve we headed over to Charlene's house and had a grand buffet. Jason made Buffalo Chicken dip-- a new favorite. We had Ham, Potatoes, Buffalo Dip, Crab Rangoon Dip, Slushy Punch, Deviled Eggs, Avocado Bean Dip, Piggies in a Blanket, Sugar Cookies, Fudge, Pretzel Turtles and of course to be healthy--a Green Salad. 

It was a great feast and just fun to be together. Grandpa read the Christmas Story out of Luke Chapter 2. We didn't get home until midnight. It's a good thing the kids were crashed so we could just put them to bed before Santa got there.

It was funny, on Christmas morning, my kids slept in. We didn't even get up until 8:00 am. We even had to wake some of the kids up. Hanna and Alyssa had woken up earlier and were watching a show while waiting for us to wake up--seriously?  Funny kids.

After opening presents we got ready for church. I feel bad that I didn't get any pictures of their new Church clothes or Christmas PJs. 

Grandma and Grandpa had taken some of the kids to church before us. As soon as we walked into church, we found out that Hanna had thrown up all over the chapel (luckily it was on the gym floor instead of the carpet). I took her home and she slept for a couple of hours. After that she was fine and had a great rest of the day. She was so embarrassed--I'm sure this Christmas will burn in her memory.

After church we all got together and had a Mexican Fiesta! We had a Nacho Bar with chicken, beef and all the fixings. We also had Chili Rellenos, Enchiladas, Spanish Rice and Apricot Empanadas for dessert. It was quite the feast. After dinner we opened the presents from Grandma and Grandpa and each other.

It truly was a weekend full of celebration and we were sad to see it end (even though we were all so tired).

Here are some other pictures we took of our Christmas Season celebrations.

 We went to see the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights with Charlene and her family. Here is Brianna, Kamary and Alyssa.

Kohler, Brynlie, Alyssa and Lauren. It was really nice to be there at the temple. Earlier that day, I had been a little of a Scrooge and in a grumpy mood. Going to the temple and seeing the lights really helped bring back the Spirit of Christmas.

Kohler (I tried taking a picture without the flash).

Here's a picture of our Christmas tree. I wanted a red and white tree this year. Most of the ornaments are homemade. Every year we have a mini forest with our three trees. We love it--especially when the trees are lit.

We let the kids decorate our old tree. They actually put it together, put on the lights and decorated it all themselves. Pretty good for a 5, 7 & 8 year old. :)

This Christmas was very nice because even though it was busy (like normal), I didn't feel stressed. I was able to enjoy the season and being with my family. I was filled with peace and really enjoyed making crafts, being with my family and listening to my Christmas music. This year, I was kind of sad to see it go.