Thursday, December 29, 2011


We had a really nice Christmas season this year. Here's a log of some of the fun things we did!

Tim and I threw an Ugly Sweater Christmas party. We played games and set up a "photo booth" to take pictures of our friends in their glorious festive sweaters. I got my red tweed sweater with calico appliques at a garage sale and Tim's awesome sweater, in its hot pink glory, complete with shoulder pads, 3/4 length sleeves, bedazzles and gold glitter puffy paint, came from a second hand store in Exeter. He found it all by himself! Our party was awesome.

Tim dressed up as Santa for work again this year. I took the kids to see him and McKinley got really freaked out. She screamed so loud when we tried to put her on Tim's lap! Even when he pulled down the fake beard and removed his hat she wanted nothing to do with him. It's hard to tell in the next picture from the Christmas party at church, but she hated that Santa just as much. 

At school, Owen was chosen to play the lead in the first grade Christmas play. He played a beggar dressed in rags who asks some children for money, then later reveals himself as Santa. He had a lot of lines that he memorized. Here's a clip of his big reveal. Please excuse the poor photography!

On Christmas Eve, we drove down to Tim's Aunt Sherrill's home and spent the day with his Aunt, cousins Craig and Vickie, his parents, and sister Amber. We exchanged presents with everyone. The boys were excited to get toys, and not so excited when they got clothes. It's not surprising, but still funny when they excitedly rip open a box, then dejectedly say, "Pants." and throw them over their shoulder like it's such a disappointment. I guess we need to teach them a lesson on gratitude!

That evening we went to a big Koford Christmas party at Tim's cousin Shannon's home. The party was really cool; there was a magician, dinner, games, crafts for the kids, and at the end all of the children got a pillow pet!

We spent Christmas day at my parents' house with my parents as well as Susanna and her family. Chad's family came for dinner that evening. The kids were sooo excited to see what Santa brought. After we peeked in our stockings at the crack of dawn and had breakfast, we dressed up for church. Sacrament meeting at my parents' ward was a really nice musical Christmas program. My favorite part was when the Stake President and a sister in the ward played a duet of Silent Night on accordions!!! They even had another sister accompany them on the xylophone! I had never heard someone play the accordion in church before, but it was awesome. You just can't help but smile when people play the accordion! I absolutely loved it.

After church we came home and opened up all of the presents under the tree. Owen and Henry got wooden rubber-band guns that Grandpa made. I love to see how excited my children get on Christmas. It's so much fun. They had such a blast playing with their toys and their cousins, until Owen, playing on Blake's new skateboard ramp, smashed his nose so hard we thought it might be broken. He just about ruined Christmas! Luckily after it stopped bleeding and he had a little nap he was fine.

After a fabulous Christmas dinner, we all got together and played some Christmas songs on pipe chimes that my Dad made for me. I gave him some measurements and he cut metal conduit pipes at different lengths to make almost two octaves of chimes. Everyone got to play their notes to some songs, and I "conducted". Fun!

Then we divided into two teams and went head-to-head playing Christmas Minute-to-win-it. We had a bunch of different silly games, and here are a few pictures I managed to take: My Dad and Caleb squared off on the Holiday Nut Stacker game.

Sharli and my Mom stacked cups, and the boys had to hang ten ornaments on a yardstick balancing on a wrapping-paper tube without knocking it over. And go to my sister Susanna's blog to see way better and funnier pictures of our minute-to-win-it games!

It really was a wonderful Christmas. Although we missed all of the loved ones we weren't able to see, we feel so blessed to be able to celebrate the birth of Christ with so much of our family.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

nine months

Wow, McKinley is already nine months! She is growing so fast. She weighs 18 pounds, putting her just above the 50 percentile for girls her age. She loves to eat real food, especially crackers. Her eyes are somewhere in between brown and hazel. The left eye is more greenish-hazel and the right is more brownish-hazel. Whatever color they are, they're very beautiful. McKinley is almost crawling but still only wants to go backwards. When I tell her to say "Mama", she almost always says, "Da Da!" She celebrated her first Christmas this month at Grandma and Grandpa Packard's house. Also notable: she learned to scream really loud this month, just for fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

eight months

 McKinley had a great eighth month. This past month she got her second tooth, learned to wave, she can smack her lips, and sort of say Mama. She can turn around 360 degrees on her tummy and propel herself backward but isn't crawling yet. She likes to follow Mommy all around the house in her walker.

After accomplishing all that, McKinley decided she needed some excitement in her life. So she took her first trip to Disneyland, helped Owen celebrate his 6th birthday, hosted Grandma & Grandpa Packard and Chad & Sharli's family for Thanksgiving, and even helped Daddy, Uncle Chad, and Grandpa build a swing set in the backyard as an early Christmas gift. What an industrious baby!

Monday, October 31, 2011


We had a great Halloween this year. The boys dressed up as lumberjacks and McKinley was an owl. My sister, Merilee, made the owl costume. They were all so cute!

Friday, October 28, 2011

seven months

Having a seven-month-old is such a hoot! This month Miss McKinley learned to sit up, got her first tooth, and even learned to play peek-a-boo. She is dressing up as a little owl for Halloween. Let's hope her lumberjack brothers don't destroy her habitat!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

six months

Wow, I can't believe McKinley is already six months old. She is such a cutie! She captivates people all around when we are out and about. She smiles at everyone. She giggles when you put your face really close to her. And she's got a new nickname: Thumper. She thumps her little chunky legs when she wakes up in her crib. It's so loud, we can hear the thumping from our bedroom.

McKinley started eating solids this month, and she has rolled over exactly once, which made her very mad and she decided never to do it again. When we put her on her tummy she stretches her arms and legs up and out and looks like a little weeble-wobble. She is very grabby and likes to put everything in her mouth, especially anything made with fabric.

First bite of baby cereal before and after! She wasn't impressed.

Look at those cheeks!

Our little Weeble-Wobble! 

We just had another ultrasound and checkup with her doctor, and got great news: The McKidney is doing great and she got a clean bill of health. Hooray!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

SOOOO glad it's September!

I love September. It's still pretty hot here, but not quite with the intensity of the previous few months. Since my last stranded post things have gotten so much better. We bought a work car for Tim, and I got my independence back. Seriously, that and Owen going back to school made all the difference.

Owen started the first grade a few weeks ago and is doing great so far. The little boy that lives next door to us is in the same class, and they are having fun playing at recess and after school. We also just started him in piano lessons.

Henry doesn't seem to mind having Owen gone at school most of the day. He plays really well independently and likes to go around shopping with me. As soon as we pick up Owen from school, Henry brags about anything he got to do or have while Owen was at school. A few days ago it was, "Owen, I got a Wunchable!" (Lunchable) followed by the inevitable whiny "Awwwww!" from Owen.

And I have been busy creating, reworking, and doing stuff I like to do. After two months of not being able to think of any projects I wanted to do, now I've got at least five in different stages of completion. I started reupholstering this chair that will be going in McKinley's room. What a beauty, right??? What is it about gold velvet that was so enchanting three or four decades ago? I don't get it. I got this chair at a garage sale for three dollars! After stripping it down to the wood and removing about 42,562 staples, I painted the frame white, and now I'm about halfway done covering it with a pink and white houndstooth print. I'll definitely post pictures when I'm all finished. This project has been so fun to do. My grandfather was an amazing upholsterer, and I like to think some of that is coming out with this project. It's going to be gorgeous in McK's room!

I really need to take more pictures of my family. But I did get this one. And who doesn't love a picture of a cute baby with striped pants on? Come on, now. You know you love it.

five months

I've got a cute little 5-month-old! McKinley's eyes look to be settling to a nice Root Beer brown. She is getting to be such a big girl. She just moved into 6-9 month sized clothes and fills them out pretty well. This month she became very vocal and has perfected the raspberry. When she's unhappy or uncomfortable, she lets you know it! I think she got that from me. :)

McKinley sure likes to be stationary (aka she still isn't rolling over) but if she's held, she wants to be bounced or moved around. She loves to be in the Baby Bjorn carrier when I vacuum around the house. She also loves taking baths and walks outside. She is still very conservative with her laughs--if you want her to laugh, you've gotta work hard for it! Smiles are free, though.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stranded for the Summer

We love to take trips in the summer time, especially to visit family. But this year as family members called to invite us for a visit, we knew that with McKinley's surgery happening (and the bills resulting from it) as well as gas prices as they were in June, we'd probably need to stay home. I had no idea that my idea of being "stranded" was about to become much more literal at the beginning of July.

Tim went out the door for work one morning and found that his old Toyota pickup truck was gone. Like, stolen, no trace of the thing, gone. And after about a week and no signs of its return, I resigned myself to the fact that I would be without a car for a while. You see, in a two-car family in which the husband works and the wife stays home with the children, circumstances that lead to having only one car don't make all that much difference to the man. He's still got to get to work, so he takes the car. But for the wife, going down to one car is like a prison sentence.

I'm the one who is punished when a vehicle breaks down or is stolen. If I play my cards right and Tim's schedule works out, I may get one or possibly two days a week that I get the car after dropping him off at work. Those days I run around town like mad, trying to get all of my errands run and stock up the house with food. And if you are out and about in the evenings, you may see me on any of a series of late night Target runs where I've just got to get out and have some time by myself.

This was not a good time to lose Tim's truck. We've been looking for a replacement vehicle, but haven't secured anything yet. It has been hard to find a reliable vehicle in our low price range. So, subsequently, I have been a grouch for the past month. I haven't worked on any projects, blogged, or felt like being creative at all. I just feel trapped and I'm mad! I've read two novels in the past few weeks and only just now been hit with the parallels there. One is The Grapes of Wrath and the other is Room, a story about a woman and her child who are kidnapped and live in one room for seven years. Isn't that funny?

So, here is my sad log of the activities we have done this summer. And sorry about the negativity! This is why I haven't blogged about it! It's depressing!

Owen and Henry took swimming lessons at the high school for a few weeks!
   We went to a Fresno Grizzlies game for Tim's work picnic. Owen got a spider painted on his hand and Henry got his face painted like a dog. It was the cutest thing ever!
We did a million, zillion kids crafts. Seriously. After this summer I've got the recipe for homemade playdough completely memorized!

We did, actually, make it down to Newport Beach for one day. It was the best day ever!

 The kids played outside in the backyard a lot!

McKinley and I wore matching dresses and shoes to church one week! I love matching.
Oh man, Henry is going to be SO handsome when he gets older. Can't you see this boy at 17? What a babe!

Okay, so that's pretty much ALL we have done. We did go to Hesperia to see my sisters Merilee and Mindy and check out my mom's sewing camp she did for all of the (old enough) granddaughters. And just last week, we got a call from the CHP that Tim's truck had been found in an orchard about 1/2 hour away from here! We have it back, but it is thrashed and not driveable. I will try and post some pictures of the funny things done by the jerk who stole it soon!