Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A very Cool Yule

What a Holiday!
We had an amazing Christmas- way too much food, way too many gifts, way too much generosity on our behalf, we are so blessed. Don't think for a minute we don't know that- because we absolutely DO!

Our Christmas Eve went smooth. And not to rub it in too much for all those out there who don't live in Zion- but can I just tell you about the picture perfect weather that we had??? About 80 degrees in the afternoon, soooo pleasant at night. I went outside to turn our lights on and found this sunset before me:

Which is why Jacob decided to pull some weeds while we were out there...

Okay, getting back to matter at hand...The kids opened their gifts of new Pajamas-

Can you feel the love yet? Oh, you're about to...

We ususally just let them open just the one present, but after we did our Christmas Eve activities and then sat and stared at each other for a good 30 minutes, I called in some reinforcements- I let Cindy open another present, which was the Monkey's Jumping on the bed game that I thought could cure our boredom. It was pretty entertaining! Cindy loved it anyway, and that is what really matters, I guess.

The kids had no problem going to sleep. I never quite know if Cindy believes the whole Santa thing or not. She is starting to ask the usual questions like "How does he get in our house when we don't have a fireplace?" and quandries such as these.
She did tell me as I was reading her a final book to put her to bed that "Tonight I am going to stay in my bed ALL night!!" I said to her, "Oh good!" And then she wrinkled up her faced and looked at me all quizzical like and said, "Why did you say THAT?" I played the usual "Nevermind" card and she forgot about it. Hard to explain to a kid why you don't really like them sleeping in your bed. :)

But, on Christmas morning we got to sleep till 8am- I was in a coma that morning, having had stayed up WAY too late the night before- (seriously, it has been YEARS since I stayed up as late as I have the past few nights, my body is totally confused)but Cindy came in with the Barbie Alexa doll that I left unwrapped with only ribbon and whispered very loud, "Mom!! Santa came!!" and then she left again to go tend to her treasures. Jacob and I managed to get up somehow and then we woke Luke. He has recently been very interested in unwrapping things, from gifts to Dum Dums, so Christmas was fun for him to open things up. He was totally confused by the contents, but still had fun ripping and tearing paper and not getting in trouble.

He got some cars, Mr. Potato head, an Elmo monster truck, some clothes, a giant sucker, spider man stuff and 'THE THING'. DeAnne told me about a gift they had as a child that her Uncle (?) made for her and her brothers and sisters and it was a board with different type latches and switches on it. I googled the idea and found many homemade boards and after a trip to Lowe's and a good rummage through our garage workbench, I had enough little gizmos to make a decent board. Jacob put it all together for me and here is the finished product- complete with a springy doorstop "twanger"- which is Luke's favorite part.

Anyway, it is a fun little toy for Luke. We also gladly punished our lame, broken DVD/VCR combo by ripping the guts out of the back and glueing it to the board so Luke could plug in the RCA cord over and over. We stole its electrical cord too. Cindy also got a ton of stuff - besides the doll she got some clothes, hair clippies, a Cinderella board game (that she loves) a cookie game (that she loves maybe a little bit more) and some other little goodies. She still HATES to get her picture taken, so even getting any pics was a bonus.

And I had to take my "bow on the head" picture of Luke....

He really has grown up since last year!

Once Cindy knew that we were now scheduled to go to Grandma Sweeney's house, she was ready to rock n'roll. We headed over there about 9am for swedish pancakes. A Sweeney tradition! They were delicious, as usual. DeAnne makes them the BEST! Cindy actually ate some too.

We opened our presents and they were great!! Cindy got some play-doh, some Hawaii sand, a pretty fan, clothes and many other goodies. Luke got the coolest present- a box of dinosaurs!! I loved that. Oh, and Uncle Nathan gave Cindy a bumblebee toy that makes a funny noise when you squeeze it and then "buzzes" when you press its hand. Cindy and Luke both loved this one.

And Nathan gave Grandpa Sweeney the coolest sunglasses ever!! I think they are supposed to help you find your golf ball on the golf course, actually, but I am not really sure...

And guess who got Curry in their sock!?!? Yup, ME! Seriously, 8 boxes from DeAnne and I am stoked! I told you that people love to get that as a present! And you didn't believe me.... Actually, reflecting on the gifts Jacob and I got from everyone, they were perfect because they were so functional and useful! (our favorite) From the NEW RICE COOKER, to the curry, to the giant bag of frozen turkey loins, to the Sam's Club Membership to the french fry cutter- so many great things to actually use and really enjoy! As your local McDonalds would say, I'm lovin' it. :)

I definitely know that Cindy doesn't realize how kind Uncle Nathan is to her. He was the one out of all of us to put on Cindy's fake nails- with polish, AND find some double sided tape for her when they started falling off. Cindy was very happy about that!

The other highlight of the morning was talking to Sean from his mission in Pennsylvania. My favorite part of our conversation was him saying, "I had the best dinner last night. Seriously, it makes me warm everytime I think about it. Prime Rib." And then I remember laughing inside because of how much Jacob HATES prime rib (too fatty...he is a true meat snob).

Anyway, I then headed home with Luke for a nap- no, not me, just him- and then at about 3pm we headed to my Mom's because that was the designated time to call Brian on his mission in Spain. After a nervous half hour of not getting through to him, Mom's prayers were answered and we got to talk to Brian. Hooray for Who-ville!

Then there was more eating (oh, the eating!!) and then presents (oh the presents!!) and then the SILLY STRING FIGHT returned! It was most excellent :) Here are some pics....

The totally awesome Nacho shirt I got for Chris. I am not sure about the Captain Hook pose, but it is creative, I will give you that! (also, you can see the cardboard box in the background that served as the wrapping paper basketball goal. My first throw was a left handed sky hook and I totally hit Joseph in the manger. Dad told me that just between him and my mom that morning "The Holy Family took a beating today. Joseph and Mary both took one for the team a few times." Good times.
Luke got some sweet trucks for the sandbox....

On to the silly string!!

I was SO happy we did this again!! It felt good to be outside in the mid-70 degree weather. I thought Luke would enjoy the shenanigans as much as the rest of us but he was not feeling it. He actually stood up by the front walkway and just screamed and cried. I felt bad about it. For a minute...

This is where I am missing the group picture that is on my Mom's camera... It will be appearing soon....

After the fight, we talked, we ate, and the girls got some good quality cousin time.

Sometimes I think I tend to make Christmas a little complicated. I do worry about the gifts being just right and being places and seeing things, but really it is all about family and simplicity. As illustrated by the fact that many days now after Christmas has passed, the favorite toy out of all the toys and everything the kids got is:.......the giant ballon.

I am going to remember this next Christmas...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Grab your hardhat!

Because the blog is under construction- well, I am trying out some new looks and what not, so please be patient. There is so much I never knew about blogging and templates! Anyway, the Christmas post is almost finished! Check back in tomorrow!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

After a full day of present opening, playing, talking, and, of course, EATING- this picture pretty much sums up how we feel right now when it comes to any sort of food. But overall we really had an amazing day. Between spending time with just ourselves or both sets of parents and some brothers- we recognize how blessed we really are in our lives. We got to speak with both Sean and Brian who are out serving their missions. Sean spoke of the amazing prime rib he had the night before, Brian spoke of the fish soup he ate for Christmas dinner. Tasty! They are such good boys. We really miss them. Hope everyone out there had a great day and feels tremendous gratitude for all blessings, big and small. We definitely do!

Merry Christmas from Sweeneyville!

Oh, and for the record- I did it! I blogged 25 straight days in a row. Ta-da! Yeah, I know, big deal. But I just thought it was worth mentioning ;-) And I don't expect to keep up this pace, although you will just have to keep checking in to make sure you don't miss anything. Heaven forbid you miss another snake story or reindeer joke...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Well, the kids have opened their jammies, Luke is in bed, Cindy, Jacob and I just played Old Maid, Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Chutes and Ladders. And that was after watching the church video 'Joy to the World', reading scriptures, opening the last of the advent calendar windows AND going for a neighborhood walk to see the Christmas lights (where we were all in shorts and sandals with nary a jacket in sight). So I would say that this Christmas Eve has been very eventful and so far going right according to plan. Anyway, I hope that you all have a great Christmas and hope you get to have a small child around somewhere because I have realized that that 'magic' of Christmas is so much better looking through their eyes.

A quick story about Cindy... I was on the computer the other day (blogging, I am sure) and she came and sat in my lap, facing me, which makes typing very hard. Finally, I said to her, quite exasperated, "Why must you always come and sit on me like this?!" To which she replied sheepishly, "I just like you, Mom." And I just really like her too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


"You may be aksing, 'How did this tradition get started?'" "I will tell you....I don't know!" You may recognize that line from Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye tries to explain some of his family's traditions. It sums up exactly what I know of some of my family's Christmas traditions. I thought I would share a few with you really quick-

1. "Christmas Gift!"- I don't know why (this might be a pattern today) but this is how we answered the phone in my house on Christmas Day growing up. No, not "Hello!" or "Merry Christmas!" or even "Freeway Aamco!" (that right there is another blog post all in itself...) But truly, the phone would ring, and whoever answered it would say "Christmas Gift!" This is only understood by my Dad's side of the family- anyone else who called would say something like, "Um, is this the Bingham's???" And so that tradition continues to this day. Go ahead, call my parents house on Thursday! You won't be disappointed.

2. One Gift on Christmas Eve- This one is not that undheard of, I think many families do this. We would always open the little gifts from my Aunt Liz (actually my Dad's Aunt) that she sent us every year. Wouldn't know her if I passed her on the street, but she would always send us 5 or 10 bucks every Christmas and that was always the gift we opened on Christmas Eve. Now, in my own little family, I have changed it to opening one gift, but you know darn well it is going to be pajamas.

3. Wrapping Paper Basketball- Every year after we each opened a present we had to wad the wrapping paper into a ball and try to make a very creative basket in a giant cardboard box that was strategically placed in the living room. Over the years we each perfected the ricochet off the a/c vent, or bouncing off of the top of the wreath or the double bounce off the entertainment center and speaker. Off the ceiling was always popular and if you could involve the cat in some way, double points. This tradition still endures. That is why gift bags are such a bummer- they have terribly trajectory.

4. Christmas Day Silly String Fight- Okay, this tradition has died out over the past few years, but we were on a roll there for about 6 years in a row with this one. Our neighbors thought we were insane, but nothing says Merry Christmas quite like running around your yard, screaming your head off and spraying silly string in the face of a loved one. I am secretly hoping this one makes a comeback this year. I will keep you "posted"- aha! Blog humor. Never gets old. Well, to me, it doesn't :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Gift!

Okay, yesterday's post was a little too serious. Gotta shake it off and get back to business. I have been slaving away all day working on some top ten lists for you and I couldn't decide whether or not to give them all to you at once, or to ration them out day by day and slowly torture you. But, in the spirit of Christmas, I have decided to give you all three. Yes, you are welcome.

Top Ten Rejected Reindeer Names:
1. Brazen
2. Flasher
3. Flusher
4. Nasty
5. Tinselhoff
6. Ninja
7. Nixon
8. Hefty
9. Schnitzel
10. Spatula

Top ten least favorite Christmas cookies:
1. Rudolph lumps
2. Antler bark
3. Chocolate covered Elf thumbs
4. Grinch bites
5. Santa’s beard brittle
6. Gingerbread feet
7. Lost mitten meltaways
8. Mrs. Claus’ bolus biscotti
9. Nutcracker wedgies
10. Soot balls

Top Ten Ways to mispronounce 'Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer'
1. Adolf the big-nosed Hitler
2. 8 moths could not be cleaner
3. Oh please don’t name your kid Chandler!
4. Elvis is a tad bit ganglier
5. Two dogs in bed? That’s great, dear!
6. Sandy the Clean clothes sniffer
7. Robots and carnies drink light beer
8. Hammacher Schlemmer
9. Don't cough unless you live here
10. Get off my sled, you lawn chair!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

For all the ladies out there

I saw this quote and I loved it. Just thought I would share...

We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are."

-Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's 11, time for the film

Last night was the Christmas party I told you all about- and the gift exchange, for me, did not disappoint one bit. Here now is what I ended up with at the end of the night:

Yes, you are reading that right. A self-tanning system, and not only that, it is the Frankie Avalon Self-Tanning System so you KNOW it is quality. It comes with a refreshing herbal mist, an exfoliating cleanser AND the self-tanning lotion. What a bargain!!

Now, you are probably wondering if I will actually use this, and the answer is "Already did!" I went from pale and nasty to tan-o-riffic!:

Personally, I was thrilled with how natural it looks. Not at all fake like some other self-tanning products. I decided I was not the only one who would benefit from this. So I shared it :)

The animals were quite cooperative, I must say. And the truck looks totally AWESOME with a tan.

Now, the real story on this gift is that it was purchased from the Home Shopping Network 20 years ago and it was a real, live product that was sold on TV. It obviously never got used and now it is mine to have and to hold for as long as we both shall live. I did peruse my little eyeballs through the pamphlet that came with it, straight from Frankie himself, and I found a few bits of useful information:

#1. Never Underestimate the Sun!
#2. This product is best used up to 6 months within purchase (Oops!)
#3. I can use the herbal mist anytime I wish to feel more refreshed.
#4. He wants to know how well it works for me. Because, remember, "[he] reads every single letter personally." Well, I will be mailing him a postcard ASAP! And lastly,
#5. He has spent more than half his life at the beach. Not a bad way to live, my friend!

If anyone needs to borrow some of this, let me know, I can spare a little. But not too much, I gotta keep up with the program or people will think it is fake!

Friday, December 19, 2008

If there is ONE thing I am good at, it is....

Growing a broccoli! I am not sure why, but for some reason these things really like my garden soil and have turned great out every winter since I moved here. So here is this year's crop. The brussel sprouts are gonna need some more time to hopefully grow in the cool weather they need- which we have not had yet.

The snow and sugar snap peas must have really liked the fertilizer I put on them because they have shot up pretty well onto the tomato cages in just the past week. Those will be yummy.

Luke still calls all fruit and garen fare "Apple!!"

I suppose my lone tomato is the closest thing to that...

Sure doesn't measure up to that cabbage I grew last year, though. (Totally kidding, of course! This was somewhere over in England. It still boggles the mind that a tiny seed can make something that big. Astounding!)