Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And The Yzma goes to....

I have decided that a new award will now be handed out annually in Sweeneyville.  
I call it, The Yzma.

(Sean Sweeney, you never fail me.)

This award goes to the most annoying celebrity or human on the planet for the year.  And I am calling it thus, because, like Yzma, I share her love for the ingenious plan of how best to get rid of said annoying person.

So after reviewing all of the possible choices, I proudly award the first annual Yzma to:
Miley Cyrus.  

Please take a moment to envision with Yzma (and myself) how Miley could meet an unfortunate end.

Honorable mentions include Piers Morgan, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and all Kardashians everywhere.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Putt, Putt, It Looks Like Golf

By my calculations, today was the last full day our family really had of uninterrupted vacation time together during the holiday break. I have to work three days this week and Jacob has soccer stuff so we decided to take advantage of the day and really do something adventurous.  We took our Christmas present money from Grandma and Grandpa Henrie to go mini golfing over in Orlando. (Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa! We had a great time :)  This kids are always wanting to go miniature golfing.  So we headed over to Congo River to play golf, watch some gators and really live it up with a million tourists from Europe.  

The clouds burned off just before we got there and the weather was glorious!

If it looks like Cindy is running to get out of the way, she is.  Luke's swings can be, how shall I say this, "unpredictable."  Where unpredictable means "like unto a blind jungle guide, hacking his way through the brush with a machete."

Luke and the hole of destiny!  Just put him down for a one.

He's not exactly the guy at the Polynesian Cultural Center that climbs the palm tree and picks the coconut, but he's still darn cute.

Here are the gators.  Which you can feed hot dogs on a little fishing pole for $4.50.  

Here are the Koi fish.  Which you can feed a handful of pellets for 25 cents. 
Koi fish for the win!

But Cindy still really wanted to feed those gators...

Wait for iiiiiiit....

Here are the two best jokes from Cindy's joke book that she got for Christmas. 

Q:  What do you get when you cross a pig with a centipede?
A: Bacon and legs.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Ewan who?
No, it's just me.

That is now my favorite knock, knock joke of all time.  All time.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Best Noel

So you want to know about my holiday break so far?  Me neither.  But, too bad, because I am going to tell you anyway.  And because I am related to George Washington, I cannot tell a lie.  I chopped down a cherry tree this Christmas. Just kidding. That which I cannot lie about is that this holiday break has been awesome.  I have loved every minute of it :)

Monday I took the kids for a little tennis.  Which turned out to be exponentially more fun than last time because the chance that my kids could return the ball back to me over the net increased from 0% to about 35%.  What a difference a year makes!  

Christmas Eve morning I took the kids ice skating.  It was a dream come true. For them. The rink was mostly empty and the bestest part was they were only playing Christmas music, so the experience was 100% Bieber-free!

Luke seems always to be most interested in the amount of "snow" that is accumulating on his blades.  Then at each half lap he can sit down to "take a break" and excitedly slide the snow off with his fingers.  I'm not exactly sure what my kids will do when they actually get to play in snow for the first time.  Hyperventilating, heads exploding- maybe even eyelash tingling are all sure to occur.

The good news is that Cindy remembered how to skate after only one lap around and only took two spills right at the end.  She claimed the first one broke her tailbone, but her tail was moving just fine by the time we left.

Luke apparently was beginning to get a little sick that day.  He had a fever and fell asleep multiple times after we got home.  Here he is sacked out at 3:15pm.  Poor little guy!

And here is the self-timer feature on my phone in action.  Not bad!  We sent this pic out to Jacob's family in Utah where they were having a big Christmas Eve get together.  It was our way of being there. A lame way, but a way just the same.

Luke was then fading again by about 7:30pm....

But he managed to perk himself up when it was time to open jammies!

I think both of the kids were genuinely surprised and happy with my choices this year.  Luke definitely did not see the Wimpy Kid pajamas coming.  My cryptic mentions of Ninja Turtles completely threw him off.  And eBay came through yet again.  

And now, the story of Cindy and the truth about Santa Claus.....
(I took most of this from excerpts from an email I sent to DeAnne)

Cindy having to be told Santa is not real came quite out of the blue at about 11pm on Christmas Eve night.   
I was realizing in the past few weeks how much Cindy TRULY believes in Santa Claus. I remember her asking me last year and I just said, what do you think? and left it at that.  But usually by 4th grade the jig is up and everyone at school has told you the truth.  But not for her!  She was the one leading the charge to make the cookies, and make sure the door was left unlocked and she even made a giant sign in the tree to point to the cookies- 

(And we didn't just leave Santa some lame-o cookies. Nope, we left him cinnamon Stormtrooper muffins. Boo-yah! Thanks, Susie!)

 Cindy even left a blank piece of paper that said "Dear Sweeney Family" at the top and "Love, Santa" at the bottom, so all he had to do was fill in the middle with a note to us.  I mean, this kid BELIEVED.  In a way, I was just loving it.  It kept her young and innocent.  So on Christmas Eve night we read the story in Luke 2, then we watched a bunch of videos on Mormon.org and then Jacob gave a little lesson.  Jacob was explaining to the children that Satan is the one who gets the world to only focus on Santa, elves, presents, etc. but we need to remember Christ and why we even have the holiday. The kids were reverent and asked a few questions and that was it.  It was a nice message right before bed.  Luke went right to bed after that but Cindy stayed up to watch a movie.  I came into the kitchen and she was pouring milk with a very furrowed brow and said, "Mom, Dad just said that Satan is the one who likes Santa and elves and stuff, and so just tell the truth, right here, right now.  Is Santa real?"  She was so serious I knew that I couldn't be ambiguous any longer.  I stalled for a minute because I didn't know what I wanted her to know at this point.  I thought she should talk to her dad.  So she went in to ask him and he said "Sit down."  And she did and he said, "Cindy, Santa is not real."  I literally heard a gasp and the blood drained from her face.  And she did the biggest face palm of all time. The worst part was that she was sooooo embarrassed.  And I was soooo sad.  She just could not believe it.  But, hey, she wanted to know and Jacob does not sugar coat anything. ever.  So there it was!  She asked all the questions, well then who ate the reindeer food last year?  Do you buy all my presents?  Did you ever mail my letters to Santa?  And the best of all was when I told her I ate the cookies every year.  She was dumbfounded!!!! I really think she was trying to trip me up so that Santa could still be real.  I said to her, "Haven't any of your friends told you that Santa is not real???"  She looked at me like I was crazy and said NO!  McKeel is more magical than I thought!  So after the secret was out she was trying to convince me to let her put out Luke's Santa present. She is funny.  I admit that after all this, I felt a little deflated.  I mean, that is the funnest part of Christmas- is playing Santa.  So after I sent her to bed, I went to Jacob and just cried.  It was so surreal to have a moment like that where the kid you refuse to believe is growing up actually does it in 15 minutes right before your eyes. I hate moments where I feel like I witness innocence leaving my child.  Plus, Cindy was 4 years old, like, yesterday!  Oh, it was just a difficult moment for me.  I still have a lot of emotion about it.  Of course we had to swear Cindy to ultimate secrecy for Luke's sake.  I am not sure how long that is going to last :)  But she did not let the cat out of the bag this year, so, for now, Journey can rest assured that Luke did not stop believing.

As for Christmas Day, it was great!  Even though I could not sleep and went to bed at 2:30 and Cindy woke me up at 7am by blowing in my face. What. the. heck.  I was not amused.  Then she told me that Luke was "throwing up bigtime", which got me right out of bed until I realized he was not.  He just had a little phlegm and Cindy was about to get thrashed.  But I went back to bed and finally got up at 8am and let them open their stockings while Jacob got a few more minutes of shut eye.  


 Socks!  In your sock. Ironic.

The big presents this year were a bow and arrow for Cindy...

She has been using it non-stop.  It was a very good present choice.  Although Cucuface needs to do some mighty fine steppin' around here now....

Luke's Santa gift was an RC Helicopter, which was difficult to fly on our windy Christmas day, so we headed to the church gym to try it out.  Worked great!

There was also some hot wheels track...


Rubber band bracelet loom...

And pencils and erasers all the way from England from Aunt KaRyn.

And clothes, underwear and some other "boring" stuff.

Now, as if this were not magical enough, that night it was kinda sorta cold enough for a fire!  On Christmas Day! What are the odds!!?  So I built us a sweet one while Cindy told me every joke in the joke book she got for Christmas.  

(About 15 minutes into the fire, Luke left and this is where I found him...)

And he was out for the next 13 hours...

Now, as I sat staring at the fire and realizing that I had to eventually get up and go cook dinner, it dawned on me that my delicious steaks that had been marinating for two days COULD BE COOKED ON THIS VERY FIRE!!!  So Jacob and I jimmy-rigged an outdoor grill and cooked the most outrageously delicious steaks I have ever had.  I am still dreaming of these steaks.

The most wonderful meal of the year.

The rest of the night was spent watching Star Trek movies, playing games, and generally doing nothing that required any effort whatsoever.  And I drifted off to sleep while reading my new book...

Cover art
Order here

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Best Gifts Ever

Hope your Christmas is full of everything you love :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Story I Forgot to tell

A few months ago I wanted to give my mom a framed copy of a picture that I took of some of the grandkids while we were up in Tennessee earlier this summer.  But the picture needed a little photoshopping.  Enter, Sean Sweeney, my photoshopping slave.  He is too awesome at this for me to ask anyone else to do it and too kind to say no to my never ending requests.  So here is the original photo he did for me:

remember this one?

As you can see, he blurred out the giant car and electrical box that were in the background of this photo.  The focus on the kids makes it look way better.  But just for fun he also sent me this one:

Well, who am I to let all his efforts go to waste?  So about a week after giving my mom a framed copy of the first photo, I snuck into her house and switched it with this one:


I only told my dad that I did this, just in case he was around when she finally noticed.  I had a feeling it might take a while.  Needless to say weeks went by.  Finally, she told me how she was home alone and dusting one day and when she moved this photo she looked at it and thought, Who is that kid in the background?  And then she put on her glasses and thought, What the heck is Luke Skywalker doing in this picture?!!  Classic. But wait, it gets better.  I was at her house when she was telling me this story and Cindy was standing right there and said, "And did you like Iron Man too?"  And she said, "Iron Man? What are you talking about?!"  So we brought out the picture and showed her Iron Man flying right above Luke's head.  She was astounded.  And she should also never be any sort of eyewitness in court.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Luke Quickie

Today while we were all at my parents' house, Cindy was using my phone to look up all the different birthstones for each month.  She was announcing to each of us what ours was.  As she was getting to Jacob's stone, she paused as she scrolled down the screen to find the exact name of it.  During the wait Luke said, "I think his is a marble."  Hey, how do you know it isn't a marble?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cats with Human Mouths

Just another reason why I love the Internet....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This Sticker. I Hate It.

I got one of my Christmas presents in the mail yesterday and I just couldn't wait to grace the world with its presence.  Besides, its really for Eleanor and she likes opening her presents early.

See Maggie, I told you!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The 12 Days of I'm running out of ideas already

I am making an effort to do a 12 Days of Christmas type thing with my kids where we do something kind of special or Christmasy for the 12 days leading up to Christmas.  Friday we went to the drive-in to see Frozen, because, well, it was finally cold enough to go!  My parents came along and we enjoyed the movie sitting in camp chairs in front of the car. Which made us able to hear the 17 passing trains extra good.  But once the trains stopped and the obnoxious man in the muscle car actually turned off his 120 decibel-rumbling engine, the movie was great! Bonus- Grandpa even bought us all hot chocolate from the concession stand.  And I ate half a family-sized bag of pretzel M&Ms. Without my family. I am so ashamed.  And I am also ashamed because I didn't take a picture.  Do'h!  

(imagine my family at the drive-in here)

Saturday I decided we could make cookies and do gingerbread houses.  I normally never really bake a lot of goodies anymore. Mostly because I will eat ALL of said goodies.  I have zero self control.  But I decided to give it a whirl, mostly because I found this recipe on Pinterest for Turtle Cookies.  It comes from the Bed, Bath and Beyond Blog.  Because that makes sense.  Here is how mine came out:

I just took a picture of my food.  The world is ending.

They were very delicious, but I already know what I will do next year to make them even more amazing. Yes, they will not be made until next year because I ate like 13 of these things already....

In a continuing effort to use up all the misfit Halloween candy that has been in my freezer since 2009, we made some gingerbread houses. Luke and Cindy loved every second of it and once that special frosting dried, it was hard enough to repair the actual walls in my house.  I even re-caulked my tub with it.  

Luke is such a funny kid because the whole time he was making his house he kept telling me the reason why he was designing it like he was.  And most every time it was because "that is the way Brian and Kelly did it last year."  Seriously, this kid has attention to detail that astounds me sometimes.  

He even made a Starburst/gobstopper Santa, complete with eyes and mouth and the big gumball is Santa's bag.  That is SO Luke ;)

Saturday night was also the Ward Christmas party, in which the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas was acted out.  My Dad was the Mayor of Whoville and my mom played, his wife, of all things.  They were great!  It was great to hear my dad talking in his "road show voice" again. I miss that.

And finally, Sunday night we all sat down together and actually watched the animated version of the Grinch.  Luke pays close attention, because today he told me, "You know what the creepiest part of the Grinch is? When he has spiders in his brain."  I am going to go with arsenic sauce on this one.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Look Back

Most of you are aware how much I love Spotify.com.  As I have now been a premium member for over a year, I just got my "Year in Review" report from them.  

The cat is officially out of the bag- I love the music of One Direction and I take full responsibility for that portion of this list.  I officially, however, DO NOT take ownership of the "Top Ten Tracks" portion of this report.  Four songs by Selena Gomez?  I don't think so.  I really gotta tell Jacob to start listening to other stuff....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Great, kid. Don't get cocky...

Luke's soccer team did end up winning the Judges Cup tournament! Since we couldn't be there, we had the coach get Luke's medal to Jacob and today we finally presented it to our young champion. 

In style.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry Christmas to Me!

The latest printed edition of Sweeneyville arrived Monday night. Which only puts me about three full years behind now. The kids have been reading these things non-stop and looking for every single "quickie" they can find. They love reading stories about all the silly things they said and did "back when they were little."  Definitely some of the best money I ever spent :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Island of Misfit Gifts

As Christmas is almost here and, as I am that one annoying friend you have that is done with all her shopping before the 10th of December, I feel it my duty to share with you some wonderful gift ideas.  I have come to learn that a part of being a Bingham is being a great gift giver.  It is just something we are good at. (When we want to be, as my brother Dave would say)  So if you are stumped with what to get someone, take a gander at these fine ideas and you can thank me the next time you see me.

Raise your hand if you love squirrels.  Anyone? Squirrels?  Exactly. No one likes squirrels. They are hideous vermin and need to be annihilated.  And what better way to send this message to all of them then by hanging this bad boy on your wall.  Personally, I love how annoyed the squirrel looks, as if he he is still alive and hating every minute of being treated this way.  He also appears to be plotting crazy squirrel revenge, so sleep with one eye open.

order here

Okay, fine.  Perhaps there are some people SOMEWHERE on this planet that actually like squirrels.  And that want to put tiny little clothes on them.  They have my pity. And also this gift suggestion:

order here

I know what you're thinking.  How ridiculous that they only make those for boys! 
Well, not so fast Judgey McJudgerson- 

order here

Don't think that having them wear clothes is going to make me feel any different about squirrels, mind you.

Is your canned soda in a rut?  Does your Diet Coke stay confined to the fridge all day with no hope of a social life? Or driver's license? Well, dangit, it's time you did something for them.  Like drive them around in a little dune buggy.  It's marketed as the remote controlled "Beverage Buggy" but come on, you don't buy this for yourself because you are too lazy to walk to the fridge.  No, you get this so your Diet Dr. Pepper can go on a date at least once before it dies.

order here

Excuse me, I believe I ordered the LARGE coffee.  Wow, I don't know if I should order this or just super glue a handle onto my 5 quart mixing bowl and save myself the trouble.  Plus also, are the crazy eyes included just because of the sheer shock of the size of this cup or do I need to drink that much coffee to make make them almost explode?

order here

Now, lest you think I am being purely sarcastic with my suggestions, check out this little invention. I am seriously thinking of ordering this pizza slicer fork so my kids can eat pancakes without my assistance once in their lives.  It's so genius I can hardly stand it!

order here

Question: What do you get someone who has everything?  Answer: The thumb of an ogre.  Just kidding, that's too weird.  No,you get them this Yodelling Pickle.  Yodle-lay-lee-who in the world is buying this?

order here

Last Christmas I helped my sister-in-law Kelly find my brother a Beardo- you know one of those knit caps that also comes with a knit beard attached to it?  I have now realized we could have done waaaay better.  It could have had knit dreadlocks!  My life is a failure.
But wait, perhaps you want a beard, but don't want itchy wool to touch your face.  Inflatable beard, to the rescue!

order here

But wait, maybe you need to one-up your neighbor who bought that lame, black inflatable beard and didn't know about the way more awesome Inflatable Beard of Bees!  In your face, neighbor! (Or, on your face, as the case may be.)

order here

And speaking of Japanese people, they come up with some doozies for presents, don't they?  Here we have the "lap pillow."  Which is an actual fake lap.  Because you can't stop them from doing this.  It's already done.

Whatever you do, do NOT order here

You know what your Christmas tree is missing this year? Santasquatch. Duh.  The trick is placing him in your tree where no one can get a really good look at him.  And be careful!  When you finally coax your friends over to see this yuletide yeti, he will be impossible to find.   

order here for Justin Adams

Okay, Japanese people, you have one chance to redeem yourself.  
Medieval armored knight hoodie?  Oh, alright.

order here

Do you have an annoying friend that is acting way too American these days?  Settle him down with this "Look and Feel Canadian Instantly Breath Spray." 

order here, eh
And by "settle him down" I mean "horribly downgrade."

We all know how much cats like to wear hats. One of the best selling books of all time was about that very subject, was it not?  So quit giving them something that every other cat in the world is going to be wearing and let them be a true one of a kind. Actually, a cat that would wear a hat would, in and of itself, be one of a kind, but this hat makes them, "the center of the universe." Rim shot!

order here

Okay, don't tell anyone, but secretly I think this "Bed Bug Cocoon" for hotel travelers is actually just a regular blanket.  I will check Familysearch.org to confirm this is the Snuggie's cousin.

order here

Since my kids always have two or three (or seven) rolls of toilet paper open and being used at the same time anyway, this Strong Man toilet paper holder would at least make it fun.

order here

And finally, we all know a manly guy out there that is a little embarrassed by having to push around a sissy baby stroller.  (Which is NOT the guy in this picture, by the way. He looks like a PE teacher.  Couldn't they get Chuck Norris or Bear Grylls to push this thing? But I digress...)  Enter, "The Manliest Stroller Ever Made."  Also doubles as that little cart thing on the railroad tracks that Wylie Coyote pumps to get away from the Roadrunner.

order here
P.S. There's a lot more of where this came from if you'll keep reading this blog with me.