Monday, December 14, 2009

He's Home!

The much anticipated day has finally arrived! Last week, my nephew Brady, who is really more like the brother I never had, returned home from his mission in France. We counted the days for weeks, and once the day came, we started counting hours. So imagine my surprise to answer a phone call from a "Pay Phone" (I didn't even know those existed anymore) to hear Brady's voice on the other line! He had a layover in Cincinnati and had "a few American coins" and wanted to call someone who wasn't at work. Thank goodness for working nights! It was so great to talk to him for a few minutes, and only made me that much more excited to see him! Despite the massive snow storm, he had quite the welcoming committee. All his cousins, aunts and uncles came out, along with some mission companions and some friends. The whole baggage claim erupted into excited squeals and tears when we saw him come down the escalator.
His reunion with his twin sister, Ashley, was so touching and sweet. We wondered if she really knew what was going on and had made bets on her reaction. She just clung to him, stepping on her toes to kiss his cheek, and then stepping back to stare at him. She wouldn't let him out of her sight and didn't let him get far without her on his arm.
He brought French chocolate to share with all his little cousins, which was a big hit. Although I'm not sure he needs the bribe for friendship. Our whole extended family just loves Brady so much, and all the cousins look up to him and were literally bouncing off the walls to see him.

Steve and Brady have always had such a special relationship, he was especially excited to see him. His coming home brought back many sweet memories of when he returned from his mission in Leeds, England. So he has been able to reminisce for the past few weeks and share his experiences there with the girls.
We were most excited for Brady to meet his newest cousin, Bode! The day Brady flew out to France, he was able to call us from the airport to say goodbye. We had just found out that we were expecting a baby and Brady was the first person we told. Like the rest of us, Brady seems to just love him already and I know they'll be the best of friends.
We have been able to spend some time with him the past few days. The girls just can't get enough of him. He has taught them the French way of kissing both cheeks when you leave, and Paige just eats it right up, while Claire remains a little shy and just gets the giggles. I was able to share my birthday with him at his homecoming where he did an amazing job speaking. We are so glad his experience was wonderful and are so excited to have him home. We love you, Elder Page!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Here comes Santa Claus...

There are definitely perks to having grandparents in assisted living. Aside from the health and care benefits for them, Legacy House throws some pretty great parties! Last weekend, Santa and Mrs. Claus made a visit. They brought breakfast for everyone and were happy to have grandbabies sit on their laps. It was surprisingly not busy so were able to walk right up and make our Christmas wishes. Paige told Santa that she wanted a Nintendo DS. Mrs. Claus told us that their electronic elves were really busy this year and they would really try to hold one aside, but just in case they were out (thank you, thank you!!) did she have a back up idea? She then asked for a sewing machine.
Claire wasn't much easier to please. She promptly asked for a bunk bed. She promised that she and Paige would take turns sleeping on the top. And then she would like a "real live toy cat" to sleep with her in it.
Thankfully, Bode was easy. He whispered to Santa that he wears a size 3 diaper and he likes the baby wipes from Costco.
Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite holidays. I love getting all dressed up in new outfits, heading to Little America where we eat our hearts out and leave the mess. This year was a little different with a smaller group. Dean and Kendyl were headed to San Diego guessed it...SOCCER! And Terry was hosting dinner at her house for all her kids. We were able to sit in the Idaho Room that we like, and were seated in a perfect spot with a hideaway corner for the kids to play when they were bored of food. From the looks of it, Bode got bored with the food rather quickly. He was actually really good, I think he ate more than both the girls combined, but being up earlier than usual didn't sit well with him and he was rather tired.
But never too tired to have dessert!
Claire's favorite part was the chocolate fountain. She kept coming back with stick after stick, saying, "Look what I stabbed for you!" She says she also loved the potato salad and the macaroni and cheese was pretty good too.

Paige says the ice cream sundae bar was her favorite part of Thanksgiving. Although she did love the mashed potatoes and "moon rolls" (croissants). She truly is my daughter!
Bode did finally conk out about halfway through, which meant I got to snuggle him while Steve brought my croissants and bread pudding. Not a bad gig! Steve and my favorite's included: prime rib, ham (incredible this year!), pork roast stuffed with sausage, pumpkin cheesecake, bread pudding with rum sauce, and of course croissants and shrimp! Can't say either one of us had a bite of turkey that day! Some memorable moments from this year were:
Michelle dumping her glass of water into Rob's lap. Inevitably that guy gets soaked at Thanksgiving every year. At least this year it wasn't pee!
Marnie requested a "bottle" of Diet Coke from our little foreign waitress. She brought her a kids cup with a lid. Marnie had to think hard of a way to convey to her what we wanted was a pitcher since we were going through quite a bit.
Dad's story of "Bruce".
Steve and Rob playing "Dirt" at the after party.
All in all it was a great holiday. I can't help but well up thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for this year. I think top of the list is my dad. It has been one HELL of a year for him. I know there were times when it would have been easier for him to just give up and let go, and I am so grateful he kept fighting. I still get so touched to watch him finally be able to eat again. And here he stands, at 89% he claims, still 30 lbs and a gall bladder lighter. He is such an important man in my life, I can't imagine it without him. Thanks for a great day, dad! We love you!


Growing up my sisters and I always looked forward to General Conference, but probably not for the same reasons most people do. My dad always hosted a McClure Super Saturday. Mom would make butterscotch bubble bun, Dad would put together a craft for us to paint, there was always a "No Whining" sign to be displayed and the Diet Coke was plentiful. By the end of the day, my sisters and I had laughed so hard we nearly wet ourselves and I'm pretty sure Dad was happy to show us to the door. Last Christmas, he re-instated Super Saturday by cutting out these Believe letters with the intention of getting together in the Spring for finishing. Apparently his pancreas had other plans, because it was just last weekend that we actually did it! I chose to "think out of the box" like my dad always encouraged us to, and made my set a little less traditional than my sisters and more "whimsical". I wasn't able to finish there since I had forgotten my stain and Mod Podge, so I promised to submit a picture so dad could admire my work. I haven't heard his opinion yet, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out!

Thanksgiving Decor

Uhh...pretty similar to Halloween, minus the witches and ghosts. Although I must admit, those baby blue pilgrims are pretty scary. Note to self: PAINT THOSE NEXT YEAR! Country blue and mauve are no longer in. Can you tell how long this couple has been around?? I do love how you can get a solid 2 months out of Fall and Harvest decorations. The "Give Thanks" sign will always be one of my favorites. It was a Super Saturday class my sisters and I taught with my mom less than a month before she passed away. I can now remember every detail about that day...what she wore, who she sat by, where we went to eat after. Good times! Sadly, Mr. Turkey has been a work in progress for years. For some reason, I can't finish his shoe buckles and every year I think I need to re-do his feathers. 2010 it is!

Halloween Decor

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to decorate for. I don't know if it's just because it's the beginning of the big run of decoration, or the fact that it's ok to be gross for a month, but I love it. I took a tip from my mother long ago to take pictures every year so you can remember where everything goes. This is particularly helpful when you add new stuff every year, like I did (SHHH...don't tell Steve!) Shelf in my entryway: I actually bought the wire pumpkin as a Bunco prize when I hosted last month, but I liked it too much to give it away. (One of several items I ended up keeping...note to self, buy ugly prizes!)
Desktop in entry: My leaf scentsy burner is new...sad to put it away! It was my first and I LOVED it! The spiders are new...intended as Bunco centerpieces until I remembered that we need the center of the table to play, DUH!
Living Room Shelf: Spooky bottles are new...bottled swamp fog and vampire blood!
All new!!! My Frankenstein lights up next to my spooky collection of spider legs and eyeballs. Pay no attention to his droopy left lip...he was experimental!
Same as last year!
Can't think of a good reason why I didn't take a picture of the front door. I bought a new candy corn wreath (again, for Bunco) and draped lit grapevine across the entryway. I added some fall leaves, which I still need to take down, and some spooky hanging bats.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Moon

Yes, it's true. With choices like these...I am a complete Bella Swanabe.
Last weekend my monthly Bunco group happened to fall on the same night as the New Moon premiere. So, Lanie and Steph, our cute hosts, went totally above and beyond and hosted the best New Moon party ever! I truly could have skipped out on Bunco that night, we were just so excited for the show! (Which by the way, did NOT disappoint!) My good friend and I were SO excited that we made "dazzling" shirts to wear. One Bunco member backed out at the last minute, so I was able to call my sister and invite her to meet us at the movies. She had already seen it the night before, but accepted the invite in an enthusiastic "YES!"

Steph and Lanie provided gift bags for everyone to take to the show, complete with "Blood", Edward, Bella and Jacob hologram cups, candy bars and Sweet-tarts, Twilight lotion, and of course...vampire teeth!
We pulled out our "inner vampires" and drank blood straight from the IV bags hanging into the punch bowl and feasted on red velvet cupcakes with dripping blood icing.
It was truly the funnest night! I can't WAIT to see it again!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Christmas Card???

Photography seems to be the new rage in my old West Jordan neighborhood. Several of my friends there have gotten fancy new cameras and have been taking classes and posting amazing pictures on their blogs. A few weeks ago, I called my friend Bobette and offered her some lovely new subjects to photograph. She accepted! We had a great day, wandering Gardner Village and catching up with each other. This is what she came up with:
Abnormally, Bode seemed a little shy...but Paige was more than happy to jump in for him. Bob just kept laughing that Paige was such a eager to have her picture taken and so different from her 7 year old boy who would rather "have his toenails pulled out" than smile for one more picture! I love how Bobette was able to capture Paige's beautiful crystal blue eyes...they have always been one of my favorite features.

This could quite easily be my favorite picture EVER of Claire. It is so rare to catch a genuine smile on that girl...she is all cheese, all the time.

And doesn't Bode look so angelic? Not to mention how much I LOVE the orange door!
Thanks Bobette, for a great day! Can't wait to see more!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Our annual trip to the pumpkin patch was disappointing this year. As usual the girls played on every tractor there, but this year they found baby wheelbarrows to push around. (So cute for pictures! ) But maybe they didn't realize that it was FREEZING and most of the pumpkins were rotted into mush! Granted it was 2 days before Halloween and we got them for next to nothing because of it...but still.

We came home to some homemade creamy chicken noodle soup and thawed out a little bit before digging right in. The girls loved getting messy and of course competing to see you could get their pumpkin inside the "cleanest".
We did have one minor set back with little Bode. He went crawling along too fast and slid on the kitchen floor, splitting his lip. He really was fine, but his poor sisters were terrified! Paige quit her pumpkin carving to write him a note that said, "Bode, I hope you FELL well soon. I SUR do ADOR you." What a sister!

This year we had this "GREAT" idea of buying a pattern book with tools that was "easy". False advertising at its best! What it really should have said was, " trace and cut out all the pumpkins with this itty, bitty saw that looks like a toothpick with a handle, all the while blocking out the whining of the children who "want to do it" yet snap the blades right off." Yea...NOT a family friendly activity. Although I did let them light their own...which turned out to be quite the popular chore!
BUT...after literally HOURS...we got some pretty awesome pumpkins!
Paige (upper left corner): hers was by far the hardest. You really can't tell...but hers is a little boy scared in his bed because of the giant eyeball peering through the window.
Daddy (upper right corner): the fiery eyeball face
Claire (lower left corner): poor girl goes by Boo more often than her own it was only right that she get that one
Bode (lower right): opposite day...he is so NOT a monster...but it was cute like him!
and her own because it was carved many hours later after the kids were in bed, the pumpkin seeds were sorted from the pumpkin goo, the goo was wiped off the fronts of the cabinets and the floor and I could quietly carve in peace.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Costume Parade

I {heart} Halloween. I really do! I know in years past I have complained about it being a stupid holiday because all I do is sew costumes into the wee hours of the night, but this year I started early enough that by the time Halloween rolled around I had no projects left to do! And this year was a total success!! I was thrilled with how each costume turned out! Paige is still on a baking kick from her August birthday bash! Maybe it's because I can no longer bake these days, or maybe it's because if she wants to stay up late with me, I make her watch Food Network...I don't know, either way, she wanted to be a CHEF this year. The pants were fairly simple...basic elastic waist pants in a fun food print. I had a pattern for the hat (and technically the jacket too, but it was a size 4). I found a pattern for a long wool coat and modified it to be a chef jacket. My only complaint is that it was pretty see through...but with a shirt under, who cares??
She topped it all off by trick or treating with a saucepan.

THE GIRLS...sadly Bode wasn't dressed yet, and I didn't really want pictures of him sitting in the dirt...kind of detracts from the girls cute full length costumes. Sorry, buddy...maybe next year!
Claire decided on Minnie Mouse. Honestly, I found the perfect Minnie dress fabric and gently persuaded her to be Minnie Mouse. It wasn't a hard sale. Who would have thought stupid McCalls and Simplicity would have pulled that classic pattern??? There were several options for a gazillion princesses, but not the mouse. So I took a basic dress pattern and viola!! Thanks mom, for teaching me how to sew...those early Saturday morning "UNITS" classes really have come in handy! I was planning on spray painting some old shoes yellow, but as it grew closer, the shoes grew stinkier and stinker and finally walked themselves to the trash! (Claire may be cute...but she has the stinkiest feet ever!) I totally scored at Walmart one afternoon in finding yellow crocs for 3 bucks! Tie a little red bow and perfect Minnie shoes!
Notice the ears...this is the second set we went through this year. Luckily they were abundant and easily found in the costume aisle. I was so happy to save a few bucks and re-use some ears from a previous "Boots the Monkey" costume. We had a ward trunk or treat early in the month, and since then couldn't find the ears again. Of course we didn't know the ears were missing until we were trying to walk out the door to Grandma and Grandpa McClure's party. So, one earless party and one trip to Walmart, you would think that would have made one happy girl, but instead it made 2 UNHAPPY girls since ear #2 came with tail #2, which led to both girls having play tails and only one set of ears to fight over for eternity. When will they learn that life just isn't fair? And speaking of life lessons...when will I learn (after black noses and whiskers 4 days in a row) that black eyeliner doesn't come off easily and it is best to buy the Halloween makeup?
Bode's little turtle costume came as quite a surprise as I had set out to make him into a snowman. I had all the supplies and was ready to start when I got a message from my sister, Marnie, saying, "Forget the snowman...Bode is going to be a turtle." In talking to her about it, she had hosted a costume exchange with her Primary. It wasn't a big hit, but her neighbor had brought over the cutest turtle costume, it almost wanted to make Marn have another baby...almost. (Luckily it fit Bode, so he saved her from going to all that trouble!) The costume was adorable, even though Bode refused to keep the hat on. I still really wanted him to be a snowman, until Steve gently pointed out that he would really just look like a snowBALL sitting in the might be a better idea to be a snowman that could actually walk. (So much for the surprise for next year!!)
I know this is really out of character for me to allow my children to wear a store-bought costume...but it's not a cheesy plastic outfit, it was plush and pouffy and it had the cutest shell and little turtle feet. And I could call Bode a little "TERD" and get away with it!
While daddy and the girls trick or treated, I crawled all around the living room floor making noises and faces, trying to get the perfect picture of Bode in his costume. He was more interested in drinking his bottle, and then moved on to reading books.
And then he turned into all smiles when I told him what we were going to do next...