Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Sunday morning Mark and I got on the road again headed back for AZ and CA.  This trip was a little more taxing than the one out to Louisiana.  Mark had spent the previous night with the runs and finally throwing up right before we left.  Alyssa also had thrown up the night before.  This time I was feeling much better so I drove the lion's share on the way home.  Mark had downloaded some Tom Clancy books on his ipod so we enjoyed one on the way out and one on the way back.  Brooklyn had a few melt downs.  One where she unbuckled herself out of her car seat and hugged my neck as she cried.  She was crying because I would not let her sit on my lap.  That episode ended when Brooklyn ripped one in my brother's face.  

The next morning after arriving to Maricopa, I loaded up our wagon and got in the car....and it wouldn't start.  I thought it might be the battery so I took the battery over to Autozone to get it tested.  The battery was just fine.  I put the battery back in, unloaded the car, and called my insurance company to get the car towed to nearest volvo dealer for repairs.  Before the tow truck arrived, I got in the car and tried to start it one last time....and guess what... it started!  So I loaded the car back up with it running, cancelled the tow truck, and took off.  I was a little nervous when we had to stop 15 minutes later and fill up with gas, but no problems.  We made it back to San Diego in a little over 5 & 1/2 hours.

Tina was there when we arrived and she had brought Brooklyn a nice surprise... a hand crafted, one of a kind, Jim McKendrick specialty wagon!  Completely custom with room enough for four.  Thanks, Jim.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

David and I rocking out with Hayden on the drums.
Here's a picture of Paige, Breyton, and Brooklyn during the open house.
Here's Michelle preparing for the open house.  All of the food was delicious.  

Saturday night we had an open house to celebrate Eric & Cindy's wedding, TJ & Michelle's wedding, and Rebecca & Taber's engagement.  By this time, I was so addicted to guitar hero that we played for about 30 minutes right before the open house began.  I was actually surprised that people came because it was like a monsoon outside.  The weather even knocked the power out for a few seconds.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Guitar Heros!

Friday night we all rocked out playing guitar hero while most of the girls did some crafts.  It was so much fun that we had to have a sign up sheet that filled up 2 pages front and back to make sure everyone got a chance to play.  

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bowling Badgers

The Friday after Christmas, all of the boys went over to the Kelty's house and played some mud football and baseball.  It brought back some great memories of summers growing up where the most difficult thing was deciding, "What am I going to have fun doing today?"  Even Joe and Rob Kelty were there.  It was great!

We then headed over to the bowling alley where my parents had once again rented out for a few hours.  Desirae stayed home with Ian and took a much needed nap while Brooklyn and I had a blast.  I bowled on the same lane as my Dad.  I didn't realize how good of a bowler my Dad is?!  I found out that he used to bowl every Saturday on one of the bases that he grew up on.  Who knew?  I don't remember exactly what I bowled...I believe it was around 180, but the more important thing is I had the highest score of the day....and yes, we're all competitive.  Brooklyn also had a great time with some of her younger cousins bowling with the bumpers on.  Thanks, Rebecca for helping all of the little ones with their first bowling experience.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day!

The long awaited day had finally come.  Needless to say it was a bit crazy, but I think everyone was pretty happy with what they received...Mom and Dad were very generous.  (Thanks Mom and Dad for Guitar Hero!  I'm still rocking out!)  Brooklyn got new monkey pajamas, a tutu, and fairy wings in addition to many other gifts.  She was also more than happy to help Ian open his gifts.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve David and Jana organized the recreation of the Nativity.  They did an excellent job.  Desirae and I assisted with Desirae on the piano and me on wardrobe duty.  Uncle David video taped the entire show as it unfolded.

Later that night, Tracy, Jana, and I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out how to fit everyone in the same room with all of the gifts.  I think that it worked out pretty well. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mustache Contest

Tuesday night after the skating rink fun, my brothers and I finalized the sculpting of our mustaches for the contest.  The bottom picture is of my beard before the final product pictured previously.  We never really had an official vote so I'll leave it up to each of you to decide who had the best mustache.  I just laugh each time I see these photos...I think we all look hilarious.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Catching UP!

For the past three months, I've been bugging Desirae to update our blog.  For some reason she's been slacking....maybe it has something to do with having two kids....Anyhow, I thought that I would take it upon myself to fill in some of the blanks that are missing in our blog!  It's been a long time since I've done it and I can't seem to be able to rearrange the photos in this first blog so ignore the fact that the first photo has to do with the end of this particular post.

Where to begin....well, lets start with the beginning of December.  The first weekend of December we headed up to good ol' Covina to participate in the McKendrick Christmas tradition of gingerbread house making (picture with her cousins Caden and Caleb is at the bottom of this post).  Brooklyn had a great time as she attempted to create a fancy house decorated with candy.  Only problem was that she ate half of the candy that was supposed to go on the house!  That same weekend we delivered all of the presents that we were going to exchange with the McKendrick family because we were going to Louisiana this year for Christmas.

Mark and I had the fantastic idea of driving together to Louisiana with the kids and flying our wives out so on December 19th (Friday) I loaded up our wagon and we headed out to Maricopa, AZ.  We arrived just after midnight and got a couple of hours of sleep before waking up and getting on the road at 4:30am.  Mark drove the lion's share of the trip out since I wasn't feeling a little under the weather.  I actually ended up getting an ear infection and not being able to hear out of my ear for half the week!  What's that all about?  I haven't had one of those since I was 10!  Despite some miss guided navigation on my part, Alyssa (my brother's oldest daughter) asking how much longer until we get there every 20 minutes, and the head phones to the DVD player being misplaced after each and every movie, we made it to DeRidder around 2am the next morning.  (I'm blaming the bad navigation part on my illness...)  If you really want some more juicy details of the christmas adventure, I suggest checking out Mark and Tracy's blog.  

Prior to going to Louisiana, I organized a conference call and set up a calender on google so that everyone would have an idea of when people were arriving and what was going on.  There were a total of 20 adults and 16 children staying at my parents house and our next door neighbor's house (the Kwoks happened to be in China for a couple of weeks on vacation).  

On Sunday, we all got up and went to church.  Since my parents ward is now the size of a branch, TJ and Eric were asked to give talks which were both excellent.  Brooklyn got enjoy nursery with Sister May who just so happened to be my nursery leader way back when.  

On Tuesday, we all headed out to Skate City!  Mom rented the entire skating rink out for a few hours.  Desirae told me that Brooklyn was tired and maybe we should leave her home to take a nap.  I insisted that we all go and be a part of the family activity.  Brooklyn and I put on some skates and made it around about twice before she asked me to pick her up.  
So I picked her up and went around the rink a few more times before she totally fell asleep on my shoulder.  Thus, the picture at the top which shows where I set her down on a picnic bench to sleep....yes, Desirae was right.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Handy Helper

This post is dedicated to my little helper, who is just as often my little destroyer...Before the baby came, Brooklyn and I discussed the many ways life would change.  She was told that she would need to help out a little more.  So far, she's done well with that.  Except for when she's totally disobedient and tells me "no" or "I not happy," mimicking, probably, things that I say to her.  So a couple of new "chores" that we have been experimenting with include matching the clean socks (see above) and helping me load and unload the dishwasher.  She already gets her own place setting out for meals because it's stored on a low shelf that she can reach.  Of course, it's always MUCH easier and QUICKER if I (the mom) do these things myself, but it is teaching her to help out and be responsible, nonetheless.  (I never believed my mother when she told me these things growing up about us kids doing the chores, now I totally get it!)  As a side note, I also discovered that Stephen is MUCH quicker at doing all the housework than I am - he is so efficient!  Dang!  It's really difficult for me to NOT want him to help out because he is SO good at it!  I am really, much slower than he is and my excuse is that I am more distracted with the kids at home but also more thorough.  Last night I wandered around the mall for about an hour with both kids and he basically was able to clean the house from top to bottom (except for the inside of the toilets, he reported) pretty impressively.  He only had the head start of getting the dusting done beforehand.  Then again, I will credit myself that the house is usually pretty organized and kept up on a daily basis so that the deep cleaning shouldn't be too difficult.  ANYWAY... this post is supposed to be about the cutie below!
So here she is proudly displaying her mastery of a couple file folder games that I made her.  They are such a cute idea that I got from my friend Lori.  Of course Lori has the complete collection that she has single-handedly assembled, while I have only made about 6 games.  Oh well!  I'll get there someday - maybe!
These games are color matching games.  Her favorite game is not yet laminated, but it has a bunch of different bodies that are to be matched with coordinating heads and hats.  The different characters include a grandma, Santa Clause, a baseball player, a king, etc.  Brooklyn just calls it "the grandma game." 
For those of you who have been around her lately, you know she is quite the chatter box.  In fact, a huge difference we noticed in our home when she stayed with my mom for a few days was how QUIET it was!  It's hard to remember what life was like without this cute little squeaky voice dialoging, singing, and parroting nonstop!  So just for fun, I decided the other day to note a few of her most repeated, or just funny lines that we will call "Brooklynisms."  Let's see how many of them you have already heard her say (if you live close).  For those family members who live far, you will probably hear some of these when we get together at Christmas time in D-town!
1)  Is that troof?
2)How's work, Stephen?
3)  Save it for Saturday. (later)
   (The other option here, is: if it's a food item, we'll put it in a baggie and save it for later)  (Example, one tiny gummy candy gets saved in a gallon-sized ziplock bag, all without mom's help.)
4)  Raaar!  (This one was adopted from her friend Rylie.)
5) How about...
6) Look, I stick my tongue out, like Mommy.  Yes, when eat tortilla. (This is referring to a photo of me holding up a tortilla that I made when I was in Mexico.  Apparently it made an impression on her!)
7) See you later, alligator.  After a while, crocodile.  (how original)
8)  You wish you had curly hair, momma, like me? (yes.) I wish I had straight hair, like you.
9)  It tastes like candy! (This referring to a variety of foods, from salmon to waffles or even minestrone soup.)
10) When I get bigger and bigger, I get married in the temple . . . to a boy.  (What else do you get to do when you grow bigger?) Wear big apron.  (On another occasion, she mentioned getting holes in her ears like Mommy.)
11) I too vizzy (tired).  (I figured out that it meant tired because we were running to the bathroom at the library park and it was a long distance.  She was out of breath and started walking.)
12) We eat out of you.  (to Dad, meaning "we will eat dinner without you")
13) WHY? (about everything)
14) Stop looking in the mirror, Dad.  (When he was looking at the mirror contemplating different mustache styles.)
15) It flew away in the wind. (whenever something is missing.)
16)Bretsist (Breakfast)
17) Mom, your list!  (She was sitting on the piano bench with me and looked up towards the loft.  There she noticed a long, narrow sheet of paper sticking off of the shelf.  She knew it had to be one of mom's many lists!  She also calls receipts lists.  I'm totally a list person and this word is already part of her vocabulary - scary!)
18) Turn it!  (This she says when she wants the volume up on the radio.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mom to the Rescue

All in a day's work!
How have we survived so far?  For those of you who are wondering... I've had LOTS of help, and so far, it has made the transition "doable."  First of all, my mom became the live-in maid and child-care provider the first week.  She not only did all of our laundry and cooking and cleaning, she also spoiled Brooklyn with lots of love and attention.  Then, as if that wasn't enough, my mom took Brooklyn back with her (on my mom's birthday - "Happy birthday, Mom.  Here, babysit my kid for a few days!") to spend a few days until Stephen and I could return to her house on Thanksgiving.  Besides that, I've had lots of friends bring us dinner and even more of them have volunteered to watch Brooklyn or help out with anything and everything!    
Brooklyn has been quite the "helpful" big sister.  She very proudly introduces her brother to the doctor, church friends, Stephen's co-workers, and anyone else who shows a moment's interest in him. 

This is Stephen with 3 of his favorite things!  (Okay, so one thing, and two people.)  His kids and probably an episode of The Office, Chuck, or My Own Worst Enemy, or any number of football games.  It's so crazy to think we have TWO of our own children now!  If we keep this up, they're going to outnumber us way too quickly - yikes!  I feel like I've already lost control.  

Thanks for making us all look bad, Evelyn!  You've got to know that you've at least set a precidence that NONE of us will probably attempt to follow due to our inadequate patience, tolerance, and overall ability to deal with all of the stress of having children or the energy to keep up with all of them.  I'm sure when Stephen comes home from work sometimes and sees how little I've accomplished during the day, he probably thinks, "My mom did this for years, and she never seemed to have a problem with it!"  Enough already.  Evelyn, we praise and adore you!

Here is Ian wearing the bili-light that helped his jaundice.  What a good sport.  I hated that thing!  You can't see it very well, but there was this thick black tube that connected a wide blue light belt to a metal box!  The belt with blue lights was supposed to stay wrapped around his waist with this totally useless tape.   It was definitely made holding, cuddling, and nursing feel a little unnatural.  He also looked like an alien because he was glowing neon blue beneath his clothes.