Monday, December 15, 2008

Playtime at the Park

Earlier this week, the girls and I discovered a new park in our area...more accurately, a new playground at a park we regularly frequent. The construction on the play area has been completed for just over a month or so, but the girls and I hadn't previously had a chance to go and check it out. The playground was huge - and it had a lot of fun and different activities for the girls to play on. I made great use of the camera while the girls ran from one area to the next. AK did manage to get an "owie" at one point, but that didn't stop her from thoroughly enjoying herself. The pictures express much better than I could in words just how much AK and Roo liked their day at the park.

BTW - Roo is in the white striped shirt w/brown sweatshirt and AK is in the brown shirt w/pink sweatshirt. Roo loved the rope bridge ("Look mama...I like Spiderman!"), the dizzy devil, and the teeter-totter (or see-saw...whatever they're called). AK loved the swings (her usual fav), the wobbly stepping stones, and the rock climbing tube-thingee. I loved the fact that we got to walk to the park and back (I pushed the girls in the stroller), which meant that even mama managed to get a little bit of exercise that day.
Needless to say, we will be visiting this particular playground quite frequently from this point forward.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

HoHoHo...Christmas Tag

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper…more hassle than the gift bags, but so much more fun to open Christmas morning.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real – the colors are so much brighter and I LOVE the smell that fills the home.
3. When do you put up your Christmas Tree? As a kid, we would beg my mom to put them up the day after Thanksgiving….that was the rule, wait until after T-Day. Although I still love to decorate the tree, I don’t have the same sense of urgency – we put it up when we put it up…we don’t even have ours yet this year.
4. When do you take the tree down? When I am tired of vacuuming up the needles.
5. Do you like eggnog? Not the store-bought kind, but I love my mom’s eggnog; really, it’s more like sweet, frothy milk than eggnog, but it’s fabulous none the less.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don’t know if I appreciated it so much as a child, but every year I received an orange in the bottom of my stocking…fresh picked from our tree outside. What I wouldn’t give for one of those oranges this year.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Doug – he doesn’t give me a whole lot of ideas to go from
8. Easiest person to buy for? The girls – so far, they seem happy to get whatever they’re given, so I’m not worried too much about disappointing them.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yup – we have a few that were given to us as wedding presents…that’s what happens when you get married a week after Christmas.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? My intention is always to get them sent out in the mail, but it doesn’t always turn out as planned….sorry folks.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I can’t recall any.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The old animated ones – Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman…you know which ones I’m talking about, right? Doug’s favorite is the Christmas Story. The girls would vote for anything starring Mickey Mouse.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? This year I started on the dreaded Black Friday….total chaos, but lots of fun.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don’t believe so, but it is possible.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Thing…as in singular? Come on…you all know me better than that when it comes to food. Let’s see….freshly baked orange rolls w/icing or homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, hot cocoa with marshmallows, candy canes, all the munching food (seven-layer dip, veggie platter, celery sticks w/cheese spread), those white mints w/the red and green waxy centers from Brach’s, Toblerone, honey glazed ham w/cheesy potatoes or turkey w/mashed potatoes, homemade rolls that melt in your mouth, dutch apple pie, spiced apple cider or some of my mom’s friendship tea, gingerbread cookies….I could go on and on.
16. Lights on the tree? Yes...Definitely
17. Favorite Christmas song? The music is one of the best things about Christmas…I love pretty much all of it, but my favorite CD’s are from Mannheim Steamroller, Carpenter’s Christmas, and Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Some of my favorite jingles are Joy to the World, O Holy Night, Hallelujah Choir, and Angels We Have Heard on High
18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph.
19. How do you countdown the days until Christmas? Doug's mom always buys the grandkids chocolate advent calendars...Doug and Roo eat up most of the chocolate before the month is halfway over. I got a few cute ideas for handmade advent calendars, but those will have to wait for next year I suppose.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Always had an angel on the tree as a kid; I bought a star after we got married but it broke a few years ago and we haven’t bought a new one…maybe I’ll take care of that this year.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We carry on the Hoopes Family tradition of opening Christmas jammies on the 24th, then everything else on Christmas morning.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? How greedy and inpatient people get. Just try to remember the reason for the season, folks…and simply enjoy it!!
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? An eclectic mix of everything…red, green, silver, teal, brown, homemade, hand-me-downs, store bought…it all works.
24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? See reply to question#15
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? For the girls to be potty trained…which would take a Christmas miracle!!
26. Christmas or X-mas? Christmas
27. Have you ever been smooched under the mistletoe? Nope, can't say that I have
28. Icicles or ribbon on the tree? Ribbon, garland, candy canes, and ornaments - anything but the stringy icicles...they are way too messy
29. Favorite holiday memories/traditions? Going to see the Sapphire Lights in Alta Loma, visiting nursing homes and singing Christmas carols when I was a kid, singing in the Upland 3rd Ward Choir Christmas program, playing Mary in the ward Christmas pageant, watching the Upland Christmas parade as a kid, Christmas lights at the Temple, annual Ward ice skating party (complete with donuts and hot cocoa out in the parking lot), sneaking out to peek in our stockings then having to wait for hours until we could wake our parents up and open presents.
30. Real or Fake snow? Real...although I'm not a fan of living in the snow, there is just something magical about it during the holidays. Wish we had some here in AZ.
As usual, I'm not going to officially tag anyone, but if you have the time and the desire, feel free to post this on your blog with your responses!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

T-Day Fun in Good Ol' California

Here are some pics of the girls from our Thanksgiving week trip to California. I was a bonehead and didn't use my camera for most of the trip, so I didn't get pictures of the girls with their cousins. Regardless, AK and Roo had a blast - they played hard all week and loved, loved, LOVED seeing relatives from both the Leach and Hoopes families.

They couldn't get enough of the swing set at their Aunt Shauna's house, partially thanks to Uncle Ben's endless supply of energy and willingness to push them on the swings and tire swing. They loved being in Fallbrook with the Miles (Grandpa's horse) and Kupua, and enjoyed getting as dirty as any 3-year old should get (I am still trying to get used to this, but I have to remind myself that I wasn't exactly the cleanest of gals myself - I used to love playing in the dirt and climbing trees as a kid, so I can't really fault the twins for wanting to enjoy nature). And, they even managed to get into some "parmesan cheese mischief" with their little friend Riley at Round Table Pizza's All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Night.

Doug enjoyed getting to surf Thanksgiving morning with his best friend Clint...nothing better than a good surf session followed by great food and good company. And, the entire week was a MUCH NEEDED break from his normal UOP routine...there is something calming about California that is simply good for Papa's soul.

I enjoyed being with family and friends...and the food wasn't too bad either (especially since we ended up having 2 Thanksgiving on Thursday with the Hoopes family and one on Saturday with the Leach family). I got to spend some time with some of my siblings who live in Utah and whom I don't get to see too often. And, for the first time ever, I participated in the total chaos known as "Black Friday," thanks to the promptings of my good friend Casey and my fun, FUN sisters-in-law.

Family, Friends, Food, Shopping...and CALIFORNIA; now that is MY idea of a WONDERFUL holiday.

These were at my sister's in San Diego - my camera battery was dead so I only got a few shots, and Roo was being less than cooperative, but I'll take what I can get with these two when it comes to pictures...
These were taken at the Park at Oceanside Pier. This is one of the girls' favorite spots to visit whenever we are in California. They had a blast...even the cloudy skies and cold temps didn't phase them.

These were taken by my sister-in-law Kary when we stopped at her house on our way back from CA. The girls received some cute horse stuffed animals from their cousins for their birthdays; they immediately named them Miles and couldn't stop smiling the entire time we were there. Don't mind the runny boogies from the noses or the ratted hair - we had been in the car for the past 5 1/2 hours.