Tuesday, December 25, 2007


It's here, it's here, it's here!!! Christmas morning finally arrived and it has been the best day ever. From waking up to the sounds (over the monitor) of Finley talking to Uncle Ben about his new "Brave, strong, robot" under the tree, to seeing Berlin's face light up upon seeing her new baby doll, it was a day full of wonder, amazement (that Santa knew just what they wanted), and delight. Here's Finley with the aforementioned "Brave, Strong, robot" and some other gifts. Berlin loved her little wagon and dolly, but she wasn't so sure about the crawl tunnel. I even got a Snoopy Snowcone Machine - just like the one I received for my birthday about 26 years ago.

As for the yummy food - Ryan made German pancakes (puffed ups) for breakfast with syrup and whip cream. Some meats & cheeses for aven broat (sp ?), and Rolladen & potatoes for dinner, which I made for the first time (by myself) from Renate's (Ryan's mom) recipe. Ryan said it was awesome and that it brought back happy memories, so it must have been good. Needless to say we were all stuffed.

It was an amazing day, but in the end I know that it's not the presents that matter. And I know that the things that I will remember aren't going to be what toys Santa did/didn't bring. But the songs we sang, like Silent Night and Away in a Manger, before putting the kids to bed. The re-telling of the story of Christ's birth as Finley re-created the manger scene with stickers, puzzles, and books. Watching Finn play with the sweet nativity figurines and overhearing him whisper to baby Jesus that mommy Mary loves him. It's the peace and love that comes into our hearts as we reflect upon the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that I have been blessed with the knowledge, the truth, and the light of Christ in my own life, and for the opportunity to share this with my children. May the spirit of Christ be in our homes always and may we feel of His love daily.

Looks like Santa came thru with a Pirate Ship after all.

A"Strong, Brave, robot" (no clue where that came from but that's what he keeps calling it). Finn was a bit unsure of this the first time we turned him on (he walks, talks, shoots, and spins). But now he finds him a worthy opponent against his buzz laserband.

A blast from the past - tasting mom's snowcone.

She wasn't so sure about this tunnel. 10 seconds later she was crying.

Berlin's affectionate headlock grip. She honestly spent all day giving her baby kisses.

Ten seconds of calm with Rudolph and Clarice before the craziness broke out.

Berlin and all her stocking goodies.

Finn's favorite present of the day - a Buzz lightyear Star Command laser band (thank you Disneyland for carrying such an item while we happend to be there in November). Finley refused to take this off except for when he had to wash his hands. Honestly. He even ate (what little he ate today - other than candy) with it on.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gingerbread Trains

For those who have made gingerbread trains/houses with 2 year olds, you know this formula to be true: gingerbread + frosting + candy = one big sugar high.

I learned this to be the case on Friday morning when Finley and I decided to make our first gingerbread train together (from a kit of course - like I have time to make gingerbread from scratch *smile*). He was super at helping me squeeze the frosting onto the train, and placing the candy into the frosting. However, he must have thought there would be none left for him because about half-way thru he decided to put the candy into his mouth faster than I could get it on the train. Needless to say he ate a good 1/4 of the candy (and that's only because I had to ration it). But that's what Christmas is about right? So I let it slide after the first couple reminders/reprimands went unheeded.

It was so much fun to see the delight on Finn's face throughout the whole process. And I must say we have one spectacular choo-choo train on our table now. This will definitely become a Christmas tradition - and maybe, just maybe I'll try and bake my own gingerbread (who am I kidding?).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

10 months and crawling

On the 13th of December, Berlin was officially out of me as long as she was inside of me. Huh - kinda weird to think considering I still look 5 months pregnant. But, if that's the price for having such a stinkin' cute little girl, I'll take it wholeheartedly and embrace my body. And at 10 months, Berlin has decided that it's time to venture out and try new things - you know, like crawling. Unlike Finn, it wasn't a 'one day let's start crawling and never look back again' kind of thing. Berlin was (and still is) much more cautious about this new means of getting about, but she's roaming all over the house. In fact, I caught her in a pile of wrapping paper yesterday after crawling over to the Christmas tree and pulling the paper off some of the presents. It serves me right for putting them there in the first place.

Here she is being a ham on her bike. She loves to sit on this and to be pushed around the house. Her favorite animal is a dog, and she will even pant like a puppy when she sees Bentley or another dog. Berlin loves to wave hi to everyone, clap with joy, and blow kisses to anyone who asks. I forgot how fun this age could be and I am loving every minute of it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Temple Lights

This being the first Christmas that Finley "gets" we decided to take the kids down to Temple Square to look at all the lights. So this past Monday we decided to go to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory (Finn's fave restaurant) and then head on down to see the lights. Finley fell fast asleep on the way to the restaurant, slept thru dinner, then woke up as we were leaving. So we just planned on going home. However, in a groggy haze he quietly asked to see the lights.

So to the lights we went. Much to Ryan's disappointment, there seemed to be quite a few trees unlit, but luckily, there were enough that it was still pretty. And Finn liked it, especially the little manger nativity & program by the visitor's center. It was a nice family activity in the end, even in the freezing cold. Of course, on the ride home Finley pipes up from the backseat, "I want my spaghetti dinner now." Hey buddy, you snooze you loose. So he had to settle for a bowl of fruit loops and some string cheese (his choosing) when we got home.

Here are the only 2 pics that turned out. If only I had thought to switch the camera setting to candelight/lowlight mode sooner. Oh well. The first was in normal mode - sorry it's dark & hazy. The temple pic is in the right mode and thus looks better.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dear Santa ...

This weekend I had the opportunity to do some Bday & Christmas shopping for cousins and some friends. Finn of course thought all the toys were his - and upon learning he couldn't open them when we got home, we had a meltdown to deal with. So, to make things better, I told him that Santa brings toys at Christmas to happy little boys and that if he wanted Santa to bring him some toys, he needed to tell Santa what he wanted. So we sat down and made a list of 3 things that Finley wanted Santa to bring him. So here's how the list went in Finley's own words.

Finley, what would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas?:

1. "A Pirate Ship - just a pirate ship mom"
2. "Candies "
3." ummm ... more Candy"

When I asked him what toys Santa should bring for Berlin, he said:

"Candy for Berlin" and then pretended to be a cat and crawled away. Apparently candy is considered a toy in our house.

So, should I be worried that 1. the thing he wants is the 1 thing Santa may not have gotten this year, and 2. CANDY??? Ok, either he gets too much of this already or not enough. I doubt it's the latter.

Anyway, looks like Santa & Mrs. Claus have it easy this year - that is if they can find a Lil People pirate ship in less than 2 weeks.

We also had our ward party on Saturday. It was an International Christmas party with food from all over the world. We ate up the German fare of course and Finley was so excited to wear his Lederhosen. The biggest surprise of the night was that Finley didn't freak out when he saw Santa Claus. He probably would have if Berlin hadn't already been sitting on his lap happy as could be. She was trying to figure out 1. who this strange guys was, and 2. how she could manage to get his glasses. But I'm pretty happy with the picture as I'm sure it's the only one we'll get this year.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Frosty the Snowman

So it snowed again Friday night into Saturday afternoon, and after shoveling the snow twice, we got about 11 1/2 inches in all. With all this snow we just had to try our hand at building a real full-size snowman - no mini ones this time around. But Finley refused to wear a hat or put on gloves so we didn't get to it on Saturday. But when we put Berlin down for her Sunday afternoon nap Finley asked to build Frosty so we all bundled up and went out to play in the snow. It had melted quite a bit, but there was still plenty for a snowman. Finley helped with the bottom of the snowman, but then quickly lost interest and just walked around in the snow or followed Ryan as he knocked icicles off the roof and shoveled some more areas. Then once the snowman was finished, Finley decided to taste the snow and decided that it tastes yummy.

Finley is tasting the snow in the picture below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Let it Snow!!!

Yesterday, last night, and today it snowed. And this time, there were a couple inches that stuck to the ground. After begging all day yesterday to play in the snow and all morning today, I gave in and bundled us all up to go outside. Finley wanted to build a Buzz lightyear snowman - uh yeah, I'm not that good. The snow was extremely dry and powdery so it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. So he had to settle for a plain old midget snowman - or I guess snowgirl since Finley decided that she was a girl like mommy. Berlin loved being outside but after being in her exersaucer, she decided she wanted to try out the snow with Finley and I. It was so much fun watching Finley and Berlin in the snow. I usually hate the snow & cold, but having children definitely makes it more fun.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Where has the time gone?

Today has been a day of cleaning: laundry, vacuuming, mopping, more laundry, putting Fall decorations away to make room for our Christmas stuff. When the mail came, I took a brief second to sit down and read it. In it was our healthcare statement for Berlin who had her 9 month checkup last week. And it got me to thinking, where the heck has the past 9 months gone? I can't believe that she is 9 months old. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing home this tiny 7 lb baby girl. Now, at 9 months, she is 17.1 lbs and 26 1/2 inches tall. She is all over the place - not quite crawling (she's almost got it), mostly scooting on her bum or rolling. She screams if anything is taken from her and she loves to put anything and everything in her mouth. She loves to stand and play with the the Leapfrog Learning table and sing along with the music. We finally gave her Finley's room & crib as Finn is now in a big boy bed downstairs (and LOVING it). Anyway, I just can't believe that she is 9 months old. That means that in less than 3 months she is going to be 1 year?!?!?!? Augh! It really has gone by so fast.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ryan asked me what I am thankful for this year. Here's a list of the first few things that came to my mind:

1. The birth of a happy & healthy baby - Berlin, back in February.

2. For Ryan, whom I love, and I'm grateful he puts up with me.

3. My children - Finley & Berlin. They are the best thing in my life and I love them so much.

4. Ryan's family & my family - I'm grateful that both sides are so awesome!

5. The blessing & opportunity to be a stay at home mom.

6. My testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and of the gospel.

7. Playdates that tire my kids out so they sleep well at night.

8. Naptime - and the rare occasion when both kids nap at the same time.

9. Playtime - when Finn asks to read books together, dance, and/or sing songs. I am grateful for these moments as I know they won't last forever.

Of course, I could go on and on forever as there are many things I'm grateful for. But I'll leave it at this, and wish everyone some good eatin' today. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Over the river and thru the woods ...

to Grandmother's house we go... Ok, so no rivers or woods, just mountains and desert, but to Grandpa & Grandma Leach's house we went. We spent time with my parents in Upland and with my sister Shauna and her little family in San Diego this past week (actually, 2 weeks ago). And it was a blast. We hit the San Diego Zoo, Seaside Village and the Port in San Diego (Yummy Anthony's fish fry for lunch of course), Sea World, and 2 days at Disneyland. The kids were definitely tuckered out each night. If you ask Finley, his favorite ride would be the Buzz Lightyear Astro-blasters. However, I would say it was the Teacups. His face lit up everytime he and Ryan spun around in those dizzying teacups. It was priceless. On our second day Finley even braved the Matterhorn and told me all about the snow monsters with red eyes. Berlin was a trooper. She endured numerous trips on Pirates, Haunted Mansion, all the fantasy land rides, Buzz, and more. The only one she didn't care for was the rocket ride. My favorite was riding Thunder Mountain with my mom, Pirates of the Caribean. We all LOVED the Haunted Mansion which is redone right now for the holiday in The Nightmare Before Christmas theme. It was done so well that I think we'll only do Disneyland in the Fall so we can always enjoy it. Even It's a Small World re-opened our 2nd day in the park with all the Christmas decorations and carols added. It was beautiful all lit up at night.

These are just some fun pics of the trip. Sorry there are so many, but I have a hard time downsizing when it comes to cute photos. We had such a good time. I definitely need a vacation to recover from this vacation. And the fact that I came down with strep (again) the day after returning - and I'm still fighting a cough - is my body telling me to take a break. But with Thanksgiving tomorrow, and Christmas just around the corner, I doubt that will happen.

Finley refused to go on any ride with me (he wanted dad) so I picked him up and took him to Dumbo. Atleast he's smiling :)

Berlin and Grandpa Leach playing on the floor.

Belin tuckered out the last night in Calif.

Berlin-e-boo playing with her new Boo doll.

Finley & Ryan on the Rocket Ride.

Aunt Shauna, Keegan, Grandma Leach on Rockets.

Aunt Shauna & Keegan on Auto-topia.

Berlin, Ryan, & Finley waiting for Bugs Life 3-D (Finn did NOT love this!)

It's a Small World all lit up.

Finley manning Goofy's ship in Toon Town.

Berlin tinkling the ivories in Goofy's house.

Finley loved all the cars & trucks in Toon Town. That was about it though.

Berlin & Grandma Leach after lunch.

Baby Keegs - yes, he's almost always this happy.

This doesn't show it to true justice, but Finley was really trying to get that darn sword out.

Finley & Ryan on Dumbo.

Berlin, Finley, and I waiting for Honey I Shrunk the Audience 3-D (LAME - don't ever do it.)

Ryan an Finley braving the Matterhorn.

They Survived the Snow Monsters with red eyes.

Berlin & Keegan playing a game of remote control headbutt.

Finley and the Baluga Whale at Sea World.

Finley and the territorial polar bears.

Finley & Ryan cruising the Auto-topia highway.

Finley's highlight of the trip - meeting Buzz Lightyear in person. And all he could say was, "He has buttons!"