Monday, December 31, 2007

36....and still counting

so, this year would not be complete without a mention of this wonderful neighborhood we call home. this year, we delivered 36 Christmas gifts to our neighbors/friends, oh yeah and all within a less than 2 mile radius, and we even need to go back and do the few families we accidentaly forgot! and that doesn't count the various other friends who live outside the walls of Spectrum Estates. wow! we count ourselves beyond blessed to live in this place, at this time. now, just so you understand, we don't casually call each of our neighbors "friend", no each of these 36+ families are people we admire, trust, would do anything for, can count on, and generally love. who can say that about an entire neighborhood of people?

it has been said, "No man is a failure who has friends," and i feel this especially in my life.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


so, as i mentioned before, Anna has really taken to caring for her babydoll. notice i didn't say, "mothering," for she refuses to be referred to as the mommy of said doll. when she was crying and telling me, "i don't want to be a mom," i replied, "yeah, know it's a huge responsibiliy." a few days later, my parents were in town and asked, "what's your baby's name?" the reply was hilarious, and has endured. ladies and gentleman - i present little miss 'Sponsibiliy.
she may be a handful, but Anna sure loves her.
here she is feeling the weight of 'Sponsibiliy. and nighty night!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


so, if you know Anna, and if you happened to have asked her what she wanted for Christmas this year, you will have heard this new word she seemed to coin, "abikeanababydoll." the direct translations is, "a bike and a baby doll." these were the only 2 Christmas wishes from my first born. as most parents do, we agonized that she needed more...if Santa only brought these two things, she would be bored and have nothing to open on Christmas. and as most parents do, we realized we were wrong! Anna did receive some other gifts from Santa this year, but only has eyes for her bike and babydoll. in fact, i'm not sure the bike has received quite as much love as the lovely pink babydoll Anna has so sweetly been feeding, burping, and cuddling for 2 days now. in fact, Anna has spent so much time with her babydoll, she is starting to feel the weight of parental responsibility. today, as she squeezed her babydoll after a feeding, the baby gave a squeal (oh yeah, this baby talks), and said, "mama." i said, "Anna your baby is crying for you." she looked at me, simply bewildered and said, "no mommy, i don't want to be the mom anymore." so, i am the mom to the babydoll, while Anna continues to be the primary caregiver.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Santa Claus is coming to town

so, i don't think a discussion of Christmas 2007 would be complete without acknowledging the fact that our timid little girl did some major growing up this season. even at 5 months, her first Christmas she cried on Santa's lap. (not for the picture though) and last year she cried despite the fact that the whole family was with her.

this year however, as reported in an earlier post, she climbed right on Santa's lap at our neighborhood party on the 1st. then it became her favorite activity. she went right up to Santa at the mall, and was not even afraid to give him a kiss at Jason's grand opening event. (although she did say she thought that Santa reminded her of her Grandpa.)

our little Anna is a little less timid at the dawn of 2008, now it's little sister's turn.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve

on Christmas Eve, we celebrated with a beautiful dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Earl's house. Anna and Sean had so much fun making (and eating cookies.)
when we got home, it was time to prepare for Santa's visit. so we decided to make his favorite cookies. we have the book Santa Claus, which has Mrs. Claus' cookie recipe. Anna was so excited to make it. once the cookies were on the plate, it was time to pour the milk and write Santa a thank you note for all of his hard work. Anna went to bed just like any other night, i don't think we'll get too many more years like that.
Jason and i thought we heard some rustling downstairs, and low and behold we saw Santa had come. i was pretty sure Anna got at least one of the presents she asked for, because if you look closely the package on the left is a little see-through. it looked like a bike to me!
it was a lovely night, with the promise of a fun morning.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve

so, one of my favorite days of the year growing up was "Christmas Eve Eve," a name i gave to the day before Christmas Eve. it was probably so special to me because it was usually the day we got together with my Dad's family, and therefore the first day we opened presents. this day started off the whole Christmas deluge of parties and gifts. well, the tradition slowly died down, with family getting together on a different night; i grew up, left the house, started having new traditions. i miss my extended family, since i am in AZ this year. and i especially miss my grandparents since they have all left the earth. but still this day, "Christmas Eve Eve" holds a certain excitement. i am charged with the anticipation of Christmas day, which promises to be a milestone since it is the first time my own child will be aware of her Christmas wishes fulfilled. and my little family is starting some traditions of our own: i had a wonderful day at church where i fulfilled a secret wish to be in the ward choir, and loving sang my little heart out in honor of our Savior's birth, Jason and i had some alone time during the girls' naps, a miracle in and of itself; and now were settling in for a family viewing of Elf before reading Luke 2, and tucking in our daughters. so here's to Christmas Eve Eve, still a favorite day after all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

photo shoot for four

while my brother's kids were in town Autumn and I took them for some Christmas portraits. to say we had low expectations would be an understatement. after our experience 2 years ago with a mere 2 children to photograph, we expected to capture mass calamity and call it good. to our wonderment, (seriously, i couldn't believe my eyes, i kept saying, "i bet when we actually see the pictures they'll have their eyes closed or something."), the pics turned out great! i would have liked to have seen some smiles on the babies for this group shot, but they turned on the charm for the individuals and sibling shots so what more can you ask for.

seriously, a huge improvement on our 2005 attempt. i wish i had bought all the terrible photos just for posterity's sake. instead we just took our free 8x10 and ran. this was the best shot.

this is not a loving hand on the knee Henry is giving Anna, it is actually a push. i believe he actually used these candy canes as weapons at one point to knock over the friendly gingerbreadman. and the smile Anna seems to be making was the only one, and fleeting at that. i'll say it again, hurray for our 2007 Beardsley cousin photo shoot. well done children!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Cousins

so, my brother Barrett and his family came to visit us for a week! it was some awesome family fun time for all. (minus Jason who is working 14+ hour days.) Anna was excited for months about Henry's visit, and couldn't wait to take him to the train. if you remember from previous posts, the train is sort of Henry and Anna's thing.

we went to stillman mccormick train park in scottsdale - twice! the kids had so much fun waving to all the people they passed by, even Maddie got in on the act. on our train ride friday night, she was waving with the best of them. (despite the bitter cold.)

i call this series of photos, "you lookin' at me?" so, one big difference i notice in Anna and Maddie's personalities so far is that Madeline is sort of a dare devil, and Anna - not so much. Anna sat in this swing happily watching Henry and Madeline swing, "high in the sky." she on the other hand did not want to swing AT ALL, even a wind gust was too scary. we'll see how that develops. it definitely tests my patience, since i was more outgoing as a kid.
we also visited the wildlife world zoo. this is my favorite zoo. the phoenix zoo is okay, but this one seems more authentic. you get to feed the animals which is worth the drive.
something that surprised me, floored me really, was Anna's total bravery with the animals. she was all over feeding the giraffe, and even braved the petting zoo. and this is not your ordinary petting zoo - the animals are, well, animals. they are very aggressive and have even made grown men cry. they wait by the feeders and literally attack the people getting food. a deer actually ate part of Anna's dress, but she happily petted it and gave it food. i was stunned.
back at the train park, we rode the Christmas train and saw such characters as Barney, Henry's personal favorite. oh how i wish i snapped a pic of him dancing with this large purple dinasaur.
this picture sums up the week of fun. here we are all together smiling! it was a blast. we hope our cousins come back soon! though i'm told Barrett won't have another break until summer after the boards. good luck Bear.
i wish this could have been our Christmas card, the ones of our individual family weren't as good. funny how that works, you take a million like, "here lets try to get a shot for our Christmas card," and none of them are too good. and then you pat the guy in front of you on the train and ask him to take a quick shot of all 8 of you before the train takes off and you get perfection. oh well, better luck next year.
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when what to my wondering eyes should appear...

but this lovely little package, from my friend so dear.

i could not have been more surprised to win this, a few weeks ago, and then to receive my winnings only to discover that i either, 1) forgot and told you Tonya how much i wanted to learn cake decoating, or 2) have a sweet friends who is somewhat of a mind reader. i really think it's the latter. so, funny. well, thank you, this package will surely make our Chrismas a little sweeter! "Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!"
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

so, Christmastime is in full effect in the Earl household. we have made a gingerbread house, decked the halls, trimmed the tree, (which fell over two nights ago), and had our annual Christmas party on our street. now, we are enjoying some holiday fun time with our cousins Henry and Laine. oh, and we had a Christmas miracle - Anna sat on Santa's lap, not once but twice this week! 'tis the season

Friday, December 7, 2007

a late entry

so, Maddie has been taking steps since just after the 8 month mark. but, i'm just getting around to capturing it on film. she's pretty good, but we decided what's hindering her from full blown walking is that she doesn't know how to stop.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

words that strike fear into a parents heart

and send you running into the room...

hearing these words set my mind racing, "where did she get makeup? how did she get it downstairs without me knowing? how much damage has been done?" to my shear delight, i discovered the "makeup" was nothing other than this:and my only duty was to guard against any eye poking. Maddie loved it, check her out, leaning into the lipstick portion of her makeover:i was also given a touch-up. and i couldn't stop laughing when i asked Anna, "how do i look?" she replied, "better!" i mean, you know it's bad when a 2 year old wielding a purple crayon can improve your looks! so there was no eye gouging, only giggles! a day for the blog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


i love that my girls are friends. we've started to see signs of the terrible twos lately, but even then i have to admit that Anna is an angel. she may not love sharing as much as she always did, but she still loves spending time with her baby sister. here's how they watch tv together. if i took a video, you would hear Anna telling Madeline all about what's going on, who the characters are, how they love Anna and Madeline, and all the funny jokes and songs.

Monday, December 3, 2007

wait for it

sarah - i'm almost there with the whole html thing. i'll let you know when it's all figured out! - Got it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

waiting for the train

now you might think that waiting for the train is boring, but not when you have your cousin there:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

we gathered together

we started the festivities off with another pot luck in the Court. i sort of spearheaded this shindig, so i was pleased that everyone had a good time and there was very little complaining that we party too much on our street. the spread was amazing - anytime i get to taste the samplings of these kitchens is a good time! (you may not be able to see this, but the vintage looking dessert stand on the table was purchased by me the day before the party for $5! this was very exciting for me.) we failed to snap many pics of the kids and their fun. but here is a mug shot of the dessert bandit. Anna snuck from plate to plate picking off tiny bites of EVERY dessert on the table. i caught her several times and everytime i went back to the table, i'd see a few more nibbles. good thing we have forgiving neighbors!

then it was off to "Caniforna" to visit grandma and grandpa! Anna could hardly contain her excitement, singing the whole way. (oh, minus the crying, whining, and agitation that goes with a 6 hour car ride.) once there we enjoyed yet another delicious feast, and the good company of our loving family. pictured below are 3 of the "divine nine" an elite group of infant and toddler girls all born during the last 2 years....let me explain. beginning with Anna each child that was born to a cousin on my mom's side was a girl until the spell was broken with my cousin Meghan having her 4th boy in July of this year. it goes like this, Anna (me), Karah (Erin), Brighton (Ashley), Leila (Caitlin), Jameson (Kerianne), Ellison (Meghan), Madeline (me again), Gillian (Michelle), and Laine (Autumn). wow, that is a lot of girls! my mom came up with the affectionate nick-name. here are Madeline, Leila, and Laine on Thanksgiving, with their respective mothers.
Maddie wasn't one for turkey, yams, or potatoes - she prefers cardboard! Anna's whole purpose for coming to "Caniforna" was to go with Henry to the choo-choo and ponies. so, we took the kids to Irvine park for some choo-choo/pony madness. Anna and Grandpa were really excited.
it was time for the pony ride, and Anna decided maybe she wasn't ready. she sat on the pony, but ultimately she did not want to ride. Henry on the other hand was ready to go, he even decided on a "trotter" this time. but then something happened that hasn't happened in a loooooong time. Anna decided that i, her mommy, might be able to do something better than her dad!!! she requested i escort her on the pony ride, and it was smooth sailing after that. (tough loss Jase.) she even said next time she wants a "fast pony" like Henry.

for the choo-choo portion of our day, i was nominated yet again to take Henry, Anna, and Maddie on the ride. Henry was very protective of Anna, keeping his arm around her until the tunnel, when he raised his hands above his head and screamed his head off!

Henry needed to look down at his cheat sheet/shirt for the answer to "how old are you?" and Anna needs to learn how to hold up the fingers she needs to answer.

here's Madeline ready for her train ride.

next it was off to feed the ducks. unfortunately we were less than prepared for this activity. fortunately, i always have Cheerios on hand for the girls, oh and the ducks. i seriously thought i'd be jumping in this less than pristine water after my little girl. happily she kept her balance all day, thank goodness for small miracles.

now, about the ducks. i snapped this shot (which didn't turn out that great) to show what we deemed the ugliest duck and the most beautiful one. we wondered if the other ducks were like, "how did a duck like that snag such a hot mallard?" and what is the deal with ducks that have tumors? it seems like everytime i am near a duck pond, i spy a duck with some sort of growth on his head like this one. curious? and a little gross.