Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Gifts of Christmas

We celebrated Christmas a bit differently this year.  Tia had a very important appointment in Maricopa Christmas morning, so we decided to open all our gifts Christmas Eve so she could be with us.  We had so much fun and decided that our family enjoys the festivities much more at night, than early in the morning!  We got comfy in our pj's and played Yahtzee together (the game Tia got from our gift exhange game earlier in the evening).  The kids had a hard time focusing on the game due to the anticipation of opening gifts, but we were able to hold them off until 11:30pm. 

This is what Curt surprised me with!  All my babies pictures!
I can't stop looking at them...
Can you guess who is who?

I think this might be my favorite picture of all time...
each of my kids holding their own baby picture.  It brings tears to my eyes to think that they are all growing up so fast!

The girls with their new purses, the boys in their new jackets, loving the new electric motorbike.
I will spare you the many, many crazy pictures that were posed on this thing during the early morning hours!

We all went to bed way too late, slept in the next morning and had a delicious brunch with timely visits from Grandma Charlene and Grandpa and Grandma Clark.

We all agreed that this was an awesome Christmas in every way.  We are so blessed to have what we have, know what we know, and to have each other.  By unanimous vote, we will be celebrating this way again next year.  It just seems to work with teenagers and plus, we look a whole lot better in the pictures!

P.S.  We are happy to report that the work of spreading the gospel in Florence, Italy is going well and that the missionaries serving there are happy and healthy and working hard. This was by far Tia's best and most anticipated Christmas gift...maybe of all time!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

E.T. & Kristin hosted our Christmas Eve festivities this year.
The night began with a delicious traditional dinner of ham, augratin potatoes, and the works. E.T. was asked to be in charge of the program and he took his job very seriously!  He had the whole program outlined and involved each of the children with a part...piano playing, scripture reading, or a part in the nativity.  It was a wonderful evening!

Grandpa and Grandma conducted the program and shared some heartfelt experiences and testimonies.

David shared a Christmas story .

Clark played "Silent Night" flawlessly.
When I first told him of his assignment, there was a minor protest, but he buckled down and worked on the song for several days.  I think I got more practicing out of him in those few days, than the whole school semester and it totally paid off. 

The adult choir sang "Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains"
(all 4 verses, I might add!)

This guy did a great job belting it out!

Clark took his part of Herod very seriously!

Good thing this donkey took a couple of motrin before the evening began.  Although his load was light, it wasn't easy on an already hurting back!  Max and Courtney played their parts of Joseph and Mary perfectly!
I think the baby Jesus was only dropped 5 times, lending some leavity to the production!

Our narrators...Anna and Robin
We were sad that Cash wasn't feeling well.

The full cast of characters

We then had a rousing gift exchange game.
It is now two years in a row of NO tears if you don't get the gift you want!
(We knew Cash was really sick when he "stole" the Barbie Christmas DVD from Courtney and Clark looked especially cute in his new headband!)

We love our family so much and are so grateful for the opportunity we had to spend this special night with them reflecting and testifying of the birth of our Savior.

Merry Christmas!

We miss all our family and friends who live away!
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Carols

All the choirs at Poston put on an amazing Christmas Concert.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I love having one of my kids in choir.  It is truly amazing for me to  see and hear the talent that these kids have.

Clark and Parker

Here are some of the other choir "cuties"
Rock, Luke, Paxton and Clark
Austin, Smith and Cole

We were so glad that Grandma Charlene and Ally could attend.
Grandpa and Grandma Clark were also there, but I forgot to get a picture!

On the 22nd, we combined forces with the Allens and did some serious Christmas caroling on Uncle Chuck's flatbed trailer.  We had about 60 people there and it was beyond fun! 

Cousins and friends...
Jaylee, Cassidy, and Aubree

Haley and Tia
(Haley donned her elf hat on more than one occasion this season)

Bennett and Vance

Haley and Preslie
Those cheeks just kill me!

We were even lucky enough to have Santa caroling with us!
 (aka Uncle Wayne)
Camette and Kinsey were his little elves!

We finished off the evening with Tammy's fabulous hot chocolate and Krispy Kreme Donuts!
A HUGE Thank you to Uncle Chuck (who couldn't even be there) and to Aunt JuDene for making this favorite family tradition happen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bennett's Birthday Party

I am not a birthday party mom, so it is a really big deal to my kids when they actually get a party.  Bennett caught me in a weak moment, and I agreed to a party in mid-December.

It was the easiest party ever!  We went to the church, played frisbee dodgeball, basketball and ate pizza.  We gave each of the boys a shirt that said "Team Bennett 09" as a take home gift. 
 It was a lot of fun and we are so grateful that Bennett has such great friends!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Here is what 45 looks like with 45 red roses!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Birthday Week

Having a December birthday myself,
I know first hand what a drag it can be. 
It is easy for the birthday festivities to get
glossed over in the Christmas rush.
In highschool, there was always
a concert or finals on my birthday.
I learned to cope, but also swore I would never get married in
December, and I certainly would not make the same mistake as my mom...
that is to have two babies in December. 
Well, I learned quickly...NEVER SAY NEVER!

So, due to my apparant lack of planning, I was gifted with not just one December baby, BUT 3!!!!
As crazy as it all is, I am so grateful to have each one of these amazing children!

Bennett was born on December 6th and has a heart of gold. 
He was able to celebrate his special day with cousin Isaac, who's birthday was two days earlier.

Bennett's birthday was extra special this year as he turned 12 and was ordained a deacon.
Grandma Charlene was able to attend and witness his ordination, as well as Haley being set apart as Laurel class President, and Cassidy as the Laurel class Secretary.

We greeted Haley during her lunch hour with a curb side delivery of pizza for her to share with her friends.

Finally, at 11:00pm on December 10th, we were able
to dig into Haley's birthday cake.
Happy 17th, Haley!

She was so excited to see antlers and a big red nose decorating her car.  She had been loving all the cars she had seen that were decked out, and after going to 5 different stores, I finally found a Walgreens that had one in stock.

It is hard to believe that on December 12th, 20 years ago, in Pasadena, California, I became a Mom!
There is nothing like holding your first baby in your arms, smelling that newborn scent and realizing the responsibility that is now yours.  Tia holds that place in my heart.

The Koozers took great care of her with a beautiful cake and decorations, along with 20 reasons why they love Tia attached to 20 roses.  (A special someone all the way in Italy also had 20 of his own reasons for loving her!)

The icing on the cake, was being able to go as a family to perform baptisms at the temple.
A family first and a day never to be forgotten!

It is always a crazy week, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Happy Birthday to all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Love "The Sing-Off"

I don't watch a lot of TV sitcoms or reality television.  I am a news junkie and prefer 48 Hours, Prime Time Live, and the local news.  So, in September, I was so excited to see the promos for the new show "Glee".   The commercials looked so cute and the reviews and hype were amazing.  I got the family out the door to mutual that first Wednesday night and cuddled up for what I thought would be a fun and entertaining family show.  Boy, was I wrong!   I was so disappointed and down right mad after viewing just one episode.  I was shocked at not oly the inuendo, but the outright blatent sexual content.  It was so unbelieveable to me, that I had Curt watch it on the internet.  He, too was stunned and I had to break the news to the kids that we would NOT be watching that show.  (I know a lot of people love this show, but the one and only episode I saw ruined it for me!)

So, when I saw "The Sing-Off" promos, I was cautiously excited.  An acapella singing competition does sound cheesy, but I turned the TV on at 7pm and within a few minutes the girls and I were loving most everything about this show (except for Nick Lachey as the host and two very weak judges...we like Ben). Tonight we had everyone (except Clark who had to watch the Suns game) thoroughly entertained.  Curt could not stop singing along to every song that was performed. It was a total killjoy for the rest of us!

Watch the short clip above...(ignore the annoying commercial at the beginning) and then tune in tomorrow night at 7pm and again Monday night for the finale. It makes me happy and just a little bitter that I can't have a killer singing voice!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Christmas Story

Each Christmas Season, our wonderful neighbors, Jack & Bonnie, invite us over for a Family Home Evening.  Bonnie reads us a Christmas story, gives us each a treat and then we play a game called "Ho, Ho, Ho".  If you want to see competition at its best, watch the Browns play this game!Jack & Bonnie with the kids...(Tia was at her Single's Ward FHE)

This was the book Bonnie read this year.  So cute!

Monday, December 7, 2009

16 x 2 = A Whole Lot of Fun

This past weekend was Winter Formal for Haley and Cassidy.
This is the first time I have had 2 girls going to the dances at the same time.  For 3 weeks every year, they are the same age and this year was extra special...SWEET 16!

Our wonderful neighborhood make-up artist, Darla, always glams them up.  She is awesome and so much fun!  Here she is working her magic on Cassidy.

Haley and Darla with the "after" results

Cousin Stacia always does the hair...
and she even makes house calls!
(Cassidy wore one of Tia's dresses, but we jazzed it up with a beautiful flower cluster at the waist that Tia made.  It was so beautiful, and made it a different dress.  Sorry there isn't a better picture of it.)

I love, love, love them...

These two girls, for years, have watched Tia, Kimberly, and Haley get all dolled up for their dances.
It is now finally Cassidy's turn and Katie was here to cheer her on!
Only 4 more months until it's Katie's turn, too and we can hardly wait!

These two girls have been friends since they were 3 years old.
We are so glad that Brimley is still hanging out with Haley and this year they are in Stu Co together!

Cassidy and Michael
He was so nice and polite and even brought her a "thank you" the day after the dance.

Haley & Beau

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Down on the Farm

Haley's day activity for Winter Formal was beyond fun!  They had "Farm Olympics" on a real farm.
She dressed up in her best "cowgirl" attire.
Beau and Haley

All the cowgirls...

All the cowboys...

Beau, Haley, Dallin, Ashlie

They did all sorts of fun activities...
milked goats, wheelbarrow races, egg toss (which Haley and Beau won!), gunny sack races, chicken chase and a greased pig chase!
(there were so many other activities that I can't even remember)
They topped off the activity with a catered dinner from Joe's BBQ and singing around a campfire.

Haley was in her element...she came home filthy and oh, so happy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Missionary Books

Family traditions are the best!  One of our favorite, and also the longest running (38 years), is the annual signing of the missionary books with the Riggs family.  We started the evening with a song and a prayer.  ET and Ammon both shared experiences that they had while serving as full time missionaries in the Netherlands and in Iowa.  It was so great for the kids to hear of the challenges and blessings of serving a mission.

Some future missionaries!
Matthew, Max, Clark & Bennett

We made sure to feed the masses...(about 50 people!)
Barro's Pizza, fruit, veggies & dip, chips and salsa and
Krispy Kreme donuts and hot chocolate to top it all off!
Haley, Cassidy, Katie

It is always fun for the adults to get caught up on life, jobs and kids!
Curt and Clark

And the purpose of the party...signing books to send to our missionaires!
(Our family alone, had 15 books to sign for cousins, friends and ward members)

(ok, so this picture is all about the food, but we DID sign a slew of books!)

Just as a cute side note...
The afternoon of the book signing, I was at Walmart with Bennett, and we ran into Kim Riggs Thomas.  We were talking about how excited the kids were to get together that evening, and that it is so great that our kids know each other from school.  When the conversation ended, and Bennett and I were walking away, he said, "So, how are we related to them"?  I informed him that we were not related.  He was so confused.  He said, "I thought we were cousins...why the heck do we sign books with them if we aren't related?"  I assured him that we had been friends with the Riggs for like forever and that some people think that Grandma and Sister Riggs are sisters.  So...maybe we are long lost cousins!!!