Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Catching up: Thanksgiving

We went to Sheena's house for Thanksgiving this year.  The grandparents and the whole Hixson family joined us for the feast, and what a feast it was!  Three turkeys, lots of sides and desserts, and a beautifully set table. 

Whitney had this tablecloth that she wanted everyone to write on.  This is what we came up with.  I'd like to think that our fingers aren't quite so sausage-y, but I guess you never know...
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Anecdotes and updates

Isaac is quite the burgeoning photographer.  We gave him an old camera of ours and he just loves taking pictures and videos of just about anything (we have several choice shots of the floor and the table). 

The boys' favorite game to play with us is hide and seek.  We play it just about daily, and it never seems to get old.  As you can see they're very good hiders.

A few months ago, Sammy had a week of very unfortunate head injuries.  The boys just kept knocking his head into things!  First he fell on the tile floor, then he misjudged the distance between the door frame and his head as he was running back to his bed from our room in the middle of the night, then it was falling on his bookcase.  He looked fairly a mess by the end of the week.  We call this his Rocky Balboa picture.

Collin makes dinner every Sunday.  He usually keeps it simple, but he's tackled a few fancy feasts lately:

Isaac is still the sweetest boy ever.  He's going through a rough patch in behavior right now - lots of epic, nigh unto psychotic tantrums lately - but his general demeanor mostly angelic.  He loves making things out of paper and cardboard and will put together the most creative things humankind has ever seen.  He's super into robots right now.  He likes stories better than books lately, which is really stretching my own imagination.  I recently taught him how to peel a potato and now he wants to peel everything he sees, including a graham cracker the while I was distracted with other things.  FYI: Graham crackers make a terrible mess when peeled.  He also fell asleep like this one night.  Kids are funny.

Samuel adores his baby sister, and by "adores" I usually mean "mauls."  Still, gotta promote the sibling love, right?

Elinor is just the sweetest little thing. She smiles at you all the time, giggles and coos, and is just a little cuddle bug.  She just went 2 weeks without pooing.  It was epic when she finally did.  She's sleeping on average 6 hours for her first stretch and has given me a few 8-hour nights.  Her recent well baby doctor's visit showed that she is in the 50th percentile for weight and head size (our kids usually have huge heads, so this is awesome), and 75th percentile for height.  75%!!  That's definitely a first for this family.  She might end up dwarfing us all when she's older! 

Isaac is super into Angry Birds Star Wars (two of his favorite things combine!) and loves watching Collin play.  He even celebrates a little when he clears a level.

Early last month I made the boys a simple little robot suit out of boxes.  It's been played with nearly every day since.  Songs and dances have been sung in its honor.  Seriously, best free toy ever!  And they had a blast painting it.

Sammy continues to be the family clown.  The boys seriously knows how to make you laugh.  He also knows how to drive you crazy, and he's mighty good at it.  Most days I can't decide if I'd rather hug him or throw him out the window.  We've taken to putting a leash on him everywhere we go because he keeps gleefully bolting into parking lots and large crowds without looking back.  My favorite frequently used phrase of his is, (said breathlessly) "Mommy, I wish-ah-tuh... go, go, go."  He says all kinds of grown up things, which of course sound so adorably out of place coming from such a little guy.  And his stunted way of saying things ("Hey!... That's... my four-...wheeler!") is beyond cute.  I love this kid!
I'm so grateful for all my kids.  They are such a light in my life, and I thank God for every day I have with them.  They test me and stretch me, often beyond my own limits, but I love how much I learn and grow from them in the end.  Each is so very unique and I love them for their different strengths and weaknesses. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Elinor's blessing day

Collin blessed Elinor at church last Sunday.  It was wonderful to have so much of Collin's family join us for the occasion.  We had a little brunch at our house afterward and managed to take our first family picture since Elinor was born.  Really, it was the first proper family photo since Samuel was a baby.  Embarrassing.
Especially this one.  Who are these weirdos?
Everyone oohed and aahed over Elinor's blessing dress.  While I would love to take credit for it, a talented seamstress I am not.  It belongs to my friend Kristen, seamstress extraordinaire, who made it using some hand tatted lace from another friend's mother.  Still with me?  Good.  Now prepare to ooh:
And aah:

And aw:
Yeah, we're kind of in love with this girl.  And this might possibly be the best cousins picture we've gotten to date.  At least no one is crying.  Awesome!
And of course there's the silly face one...
Thanks for coming out and making this day special, everyone!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's all in the details

Yeah, I'm one of those mommy bloggers who likes to post five nearly identical pictures of my kids because they're all just too precious to choose just one.  I'm sure you'll appreciate the nuances in their facial expressions as much as I.  If not, I'll go ahead and explain why each photo is so very unique and indispensable.

This here is the only one with all three smiling.  As an added bonus, Sammy managed to partially unzip his pajamas to achieve that special bared chest look.

 This one features a tighter shot of the kids, sans Sammy's bared chest. 

This one is the sharpest photo, which is an accomplishment because I was shooting in low lighting with a very wide open aperture (which is why in the other photos one kid is sharp and the others are blurry).

This is where things started falling apart, so of course we have to include one of these!

And there you have it - the inner workings of a proud-as-peaches mother with a trigger-happy camera finger.

Oh, and in case you were wondering how the actual kids are doing, they're great.  But that's another post for another day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Catching up: Isaac's real birthday

Isaac's birthday fell on a Sunday this year, so we had a small celebration that evening.  After all, he was still buzzing from the awesomeness of his Star Wars party from the day before.  He had originally asked for a chocolate chocolate lemon cake (nope, not a typo).  I managed to convince him to split up the flavors and have chocolate frosted cupcakes for his birthday party and a lemon cake for his birthday.  As has been tradition since last year, I've frosted his cake simply and let him go nuts with the sprinkles.

The cake is a simple lemon cake with a lemon Italian meringue buttercream frosting.  I decided fairly at the last minute to make a lemon curd for the filling and am really glad I did - it was the best part of the cake!  Brightly lemony and just sweet enough to balance the pucker (you could add up to a half cup more sugar if you like your curds on the sweet side, but I thought it was the perfect amount).  And for those of you with a Vitamix or Blendtec blender, I have the best thing in the world for you if you like lemon curd.  I'm pretty sure it actually can't get any easier to make than this.  Are you ready for it?

Lemon Curd
3 lemons
1 cup sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Throw all the ingredients (yes, all!) into your blender.  Cover and turn gradually from low to high speed like you're making a smoothie.  Let it rip on high speed for about 6 minutes or until the mixture thickens and is hot.  Keep an eye on it around the 5-minute mark and turn it off as soon as you see it thicken (blending too long will cook the eggs too much).  You may have to turn the blender off for a moment to check it with your finger. 

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Sunday, December 2, 2012

TJ's comes to Utah!

Trader Joe's.  It's the place to shop for delightfully unique treats and snacks, tasty all-natural convenience meals, and low-priced organic products.  It's the hipster's mecca, the only grocery store I know to have as devoted a cult following as Apple.  Naturally, we had to go yesterday.  On opening weekend.  With all three kids.

Not the best idea we've ever had.  See those crowds?  I'm sure there was some sort of fire code being broken.  An employee informed us that it was the biggest (read: most crowded) grand opening of any Trader Joe's store to date.  We couldn't move freely anywhere in the store.  Walking down each aisle was like standing in line for a brand new Disneyland attraction.  And all the empty shelves gave me a glimpse of what the End of Days will be like.

Still, there was something comforting about being back in my favorite grocery store.  And there was enough food left on the shelves for me to leave my wallet a fair amount lighter (this week's meals are going to be AWESOME!).

Poor Collin had a less than euphoric experience, having charge of the boys and a shopping cart.  He ended up parking himself in the least crowded part of the store (the banana stand, if you're wondering) and playing Star Wars Angry Birds with the boys while I ran shuffled slowly back and forth with a more portable basket.

We will definitely be going back, and often!  But we'll probably wait a while for the mania to die down.  Welcome to Utah, Trader Joe's!  I hope you bring another store closer to us very soon!

(Note: None of these images are mine.  I got them off the interwebs, but they are for the SLC location and that's what it looked like when we went.  Whee!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Catching up: Snow day

I've recently discovered that our little part of Lehi doesn't get much by way of weather. All the surrounding cities and even the northern part of Lehi will get all kinds of rain and snow when a storm system passes through.  Us?  We get a skiff at best, like the heavens are just idly drooling on our part of the land.  Turns out our area typically only gets a few worthwhile snowfalls each winter.  To that I say, "Boo!"

Not that it matters so far this year.  We've only had one snowfall statewide (not counting the higher elevations).  The boys were overjoyed to play out in the snow, even if it wasn't enough to sled in or make a snowman (too dry). 

They mostly just "washed the windows" for us.  Somehow popcorn was involved.  Gotta love kids and their games!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Catching up: Cornbelly's

This year we didn't get around to going to Cornbelly's until after Halloween, and it ended up being a fantastic decision.  The crowds were much smaller, so the lines were much shorter.  We met up with Collin's cousin David and his family and had a rather marvelous time. (Don't you think the word "marvelous" should be brought back into vogue?  I do.)

First we stopped for some photo ops, just so we could let everyone know what kind of a time we were about to have.
 We arrived just in time for the giant pumpkin smash.  That's an 800-lb. pumpkin being lifted up by a crane to be dropped onto a car.  Oh yeah, Lehi knows how to have fun!
 There were giant wooden play structures all over, so the boys were pretty much in heaven.

 The men decided to have a race.  I think David won, but Collin was slightly more encumbered.
 Whee!  Fun with animated GIFs!
 We finally got around to doing the kiddie corn maze.  The kids were generally more interested in the corn than the maze.

Elinor spent the entire time snug in her wrap, but here she is before departure looking all prim and proper.

 We look forward to going again next year!