Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Visit to Santa

Just before my family headed back home, we made one last trip to the mall to sit on Santa's lap. I stood in the line while Bampa took the kids to a store to make the waiting go a little faster.
I must say I was a little surprised that the kids all enjoyed their sit on his lap and nobody screamed or cried.

Sareny informed us as we pulled into the mall parking lot that she was going to tug on his beard to see if he was the real Santa, (We've been watching Miracle on 34th St.) but in the excitement of the moment, she forgot to give it a tug. (thank goodness!)

Originally, both Sareny and Isaac were going to ask Santa for bikes, but Sareny has now decided that she wants a baby doll--the one that brushes it's teeth and says, (this is the most important part) "bye bye pee pee! bye bye poo poo!" She actually sat on his lap and told him that, but we'll have to see what Santa decides...
A couple of years ago Grammy Jo bought this adorable little headband for Sareny, which fit Finley's little head perfectly. Sareny was a little miffed that she didn't get to wear the headband, so at the last minute I sat down and made her some little red Christmas bows.
Don't you just want to give these little cheeks a squeeze and a kiss?
So everybody is getting pretty excited for Christmas around here. Time to get out the tree and advent calendar!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving!

We had such a great Thanksgiving this year! Grammy Jo, Bampa, and Lexi came for the weekend and our friends Jay, Shauntel, Caleb and Claire came for dinner. The table looked great and the food was all really delicious.

Everyone pitched in to get the food on the table, whether it was mashing potatoes or entertaining the kids, who happen to love their Bampa.
I have decided that Lexi must have more clothing than any other human being on the planet, because she refuses to use laundromats and just saves up her clothes until she visits home to do any laundry. Well, to be fair, she did say she did one load of darks in the month between visits. Anyway, what this means is that she had to bring all of her laundry to my house to do.
Here is Sareny modeling one article of Lexi's clothing, which prompted probably the funniest thing that happened all weekend. Isaac pointed at it and said, "Ucky's Boobies." Apparently ucky is how he says Lexi. It was just darn hilarious!
Sareny absolutely loves her tia Lexi. I think Lex is the only one who will straighten Sareny's hair, and she was so excited. I kind of feel like I already have a teenager, since Sareny always wants to have her hair straightened and has even asked if we could dye her hair brown.
Lexi picked up these adorable little leggings for me from someone who sells them in Utah. It is actually my friend Debra Gardner's sister-in-law, and because I'm cheap, I opted to have Lex pick them up for me instead of paying for shipping. I think they are so darn cute!

The rest of the weekend was pretty crazy. For the first time ever, we decided to participate in Black Friday to see what all the fuss was about. Me, my mom, and Lexi started the day off at 4:30 am in Walmart, while my dad covered Lowe's and Big 5 (Keith had to miss out on the fun by sleeping in with the kids.) I felt like I was on Shop 'til You Drop--I seriously just ran from stack to stack, dumping stuff in the shopping cart as I ran by. We got several good movies for just $2 each, as well as various other cool deals. We went to Target next, but they seemed to be pretty cleaned out already, so we just basically got a few movies before heading off to Jo-Anne Fabric. I dropped Grammy Jo and Lexi off and went back home to unload all of our purchases, feed Finley, and pickup Keith, Sareny, Isaac and Finley for a trip to the mall. We went to Sear's, where Keith got some dress shirt and tie combos for $15 and I got some Hallmark ornaments for regular price. Sad. The shopping spree ended with lunch at Mimi's where the whole group reunited.
One of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is decorating gingerbread houses. This is something Keith's family always did when he was a kid, and something we started doing together when we were just dating. Now gingerbread houses have also become a Keel family tradition and something our own kids are starting to look forward to. We always have a huge assortment of candies to choose from and everyone gets creative and has a lot of fun. Our company had to leave this afternoon so Bampa could get back home in time for church tomorrow, since he is the Bishop of their ward right now. Before they left, we squeezed in one last trip to the mall, but I'll have to post about that later since this is already so long!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We've been busy!

For the first time ever, we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house. I like for everything to be perfect, (of course, it never is) and as I mentioned in our last post, we don't have very many Fall decorations. Once we decided to hold Thanksgiving here, I purchased festive tablecloths and napkins, and the kids and I set to work making some cute little craft items to decorate and get our house ready for the Holiday.

We made a pilgrim hat centerpiece and filled it with fall flowers. Sareny and Isaac loved painting these mini-pilgrim hats, which we filled with dried popcorn to hold the namecards. The turkey placecards are made with stamppads and their fingerprints.

We also made an entire family of turkeys out of pipecleaners and pinecones from a friend's yard.

The kids also got to paint a ton of little wooden craft spoons to make the turkeys for these napkin ring holders, seen here on my new turkey platter.

I really don't think you can truly appreciate the huge mess they made of the table and themselves while doing these projects. Thank goodness for an understanding daddy who tolerated all the mess and cleaned up the kiddos after! But they really have been so excited to help make fun things for our house and can't wait for Grammy Jo, Bampa, and Lexi to get here later today so they can show off their beautiful artwork.

And speaking of artwork, Sareny made these adorable Thanksgiving crafts at preschool and I plan to store them with our new Thanksgiving decorations and proudly hang them up for years to come. I am thankful for the fall and such a fun holiday!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Look what I made!

I love finding a good deal, and today when I ran in to Hobby Lobby to buy one $2.00 clay pot, I couldn't resist heading over to check out their fall items when I saw a sign that said they were all on sale for 80% off. I love clearance shopping! I found this super cute basket and filled it with some little pumpkins and goards and a couple of sprigs for color. I know nothing about decorating, but I thought it turned out pretty nice. The kids have been warned excessively about not touching, so we'll see how long that lasts. Isaac already tried taking a bite out of one of the vegetables and left huge teeth marks, which prompted a severe tongue-lashing--I hope it sunk in.

Sareny picked out this little sparkly pumpkin, which really didn't fit in with the theme of my basket but I got it anyway and figured it could go on a table. She thinks it is hers, and I was trying to take her picture holding her pumpkin when I got the following shot. I missed the pumpkin, but she looked awfully cute.

So now our house looks a little more festive for the fall.

Monday, November 17, 2008

How much longer...

will my baby girl be able to take a bath in the bathroom sink? Not much.

I put the two older kids in the tub tonight and planned on sticking Finley in with them, but when I saw how absolutely filthy the bathwater was, there was no way I was going to put her in there. Sareny and Isaac had been playing outside all day, and I'm telling you, that water was so dirty and full of grass I had to drain it and rinse them in new water. In fact, when I removed Isaac's diaper, his little bottom was completely covered with dried grass...So into the sink went little Fin Lynn.

I love her cute little smile and dimple. Sometimes I just despair at how fast they grow up. Other times, I must admit I'm grateful. :) But for now, we will cherish her little chubby thighs and cute little grins.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Chocolates, chocolates, chocolates. This time of year, our house is transformed into a chocolate factory. We make thousands of chocolates. It is a tradition that I sometimes want to abandon, but it is something that Keith loves to do and looks forward to every year. It is an annual project that we do together. Sareny is already asking if she can help.

It all began about 10 years ago when we started making orange sticks to give away to friends and family for Christmas. Over the years, we have added thin mints, carmel pecan patties, peanut butter bon bons, english toffee, peanut clusters, chocolate covered cherries, and other candies. If any of you know us very well, you know that we tend to go overboard with crafts and projects. Soon we were buying fancy boxes and packaging for the chocolates and spending more and more money on this annual project. We were encouraged by all of the wonderful comments about the chocolates. Our friends told us they looked forward to the white box with the red ribbon every year. A couple even asked to purchase them to give to their friends.

That only encouraged us (Keith) to do more. Last year we started telling people that we sell chocolates and managed to recoup our costs, including the ones we gave away. This year a friend of mine invited us to participate in her annual Avon sale (thanks Heidi). This was the first time we started marketing our chocolates to those besides friends and family. This has made us start thinking of ways to expand.

For example, we celebrated Veterans' Day by making six "world's best" caramel recipes. We wanted to find out which recipe was really the best. We invited a family over to sample them and Keith took them to work for his coworkers to do a taste test. It was a close contest, but we think we have decided on a winner.

I often think we are crazy with our projects and this sort of activity just affirms those thoughts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Rock

On Friday we went over to our good friends, the Dominguez's, for dinner and to try out Sandra's birthday present--Guitar Hero. We thought it was a lot of fun, and if we had a game system to play it on, I would be thinking about asking for it for Christmas, but I guess I'll have to ask Santa for something more practical. (Are we the only people in America without a Wii? It seems like it.)

The kids enjoyed playing it on the Beginner level where all you have to do is "strum" at the right time. Keith and I started out on the Easy level where there are three buttons you have to push in addition to strumming. By the end of the night I got brave and moved to the Medium level where you have to push four buttons. I wasn't that good, but had fun trying. Maybe all those years of playing the viola helped me out!

We had shredded beef tacos for dinner, which is my favorite thing to eat at their house. They are seriously so good, and lots better than when I make them, possibly in part because Sandra fries her own tortilla shells. Thanks so much for inviting us over!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My handsome boy and pretty girl

My kids just looked so darn cute this morning all dressed up for church that I had to share their pictures with you. My little boy in dress pants and a tie just looks so handsome. He actually smiled and posed for this shot and I think it looks so silly! I also think he looks a lot like my brother Jake did as a boy.

Sareny is wearing the hair bows I made for her last night. I'm so glad I learned how to make these! (Thanks, Amy.) I love her little blond ringlets.
Today at church someone said that my daughter looked so much like me today. That made me happy, even though I don't personally see too much resemblance. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

'F' is for Farm

This is one of my catch-up posts I mentioned earlier! A couple of weeks ago Sareny's preschool had a field trip to Tolmachoff Farms. We usually go there every year to enjoy all of the fun things farm life has to offer.

The kids had fun grinding corn to feed to the baby chicks, and they even got to hold them. Isaac loved holding the chick right up near his face.

Finley was a good girl and enjoyed her car seat for the first little bit of our visit.

The farm had some really fun bike/go-cart type of things that we all had fun riding our kids around on. The kids couldn't reach the peddles, so they took turns pushing each other around on them, and Isaac just wanted me to ride him around and around.

Isaac, as we have long known, loves trains, and while I was getting Finley in the sling by the bikes he took off for the train ride. I quickly herded him back over to the group and reminded him that he needed to stay by me. Unfortunately, he has a one-track mind and doesn't mind being alone, because later while all the kids were enjoying the slide I suddenly realized he had disapeared again, leaving his shoes at the bottom of the slide. I was sure he had headed back to the train, but was unable to spot him there. Our entire preschool group began searching, and after several increasingly frantic minutes without any sign of him, I admit I was starting to get a little nervous. Suppose he had wandered into the corn maze and was now doomed to meander forever among the tall stalks. I could also see how a tragic news report would play out. (Close up of small, dusty little boy's shoes lying abandoned in the grass.) "A young boy has been kidnapped here in the West Valley today..."
Fortunately neither of those scenarios occured and a mom asked me if I was looking for a little blond boy. "Yes," I said eagerly, "Was he barefoot?" It was him all right. My next question? "Was he crying?" I'm sure you all think I was hoping that he wasn't crying, that he was okay. But no, reader, I must report that I was hoping to hear that he was crying, thereby signifying that he had realized his folly and wasn't doomed to repeat it. No such luck. So it turns out he had gone to the trains, and random strangers took him up to the store, where he also wasn't crying. It's only a matter of time until he attempts to slip away again. Time to get out the leash!

Despite our little interlude of excitement, we really had a good time.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We had such a fun Halloween this year! Grammy Jo and Bampa came down on Thursday after the Moapa Valley High School football game where Bampa is a coach, getting here after 5 am on Friday! Keith and Bampa of course went golfing immediately upon their waking. Grammy Jo and I did, what else, but hit the mall for some shopping.
Our ward always has such a fun trunk or treat party, and this year they held it on Halloween. I love going to the church and seeing all of our friends dressed up with their trunks all decked out, enjoying carnival games and hotdogs.

This year, despite the fact that I would only have two weeks in which to actually complete the costumes, I decided to have our whole family dress up as Raggedy Ann and Andy. It wasn't long into the project before I started to feel completely overwhelmed and to wonder what in the world I had been thinking to take this project on with 3 small kids and so little time. Not smart. So, after quite a few late nights, great expense, two "leisure suites," three dresses, three pinfores, three bloomers, two hats, and five wigs later, our costumes were complete. (With nary a minute to spare, finishing touches being added right before heading out the door.) If only our ward held a family costume contest, I'm pretty sure we would have won.
I am relieved to be finished of this horrendous project, and sad to report the neglect of my kids and complete demolition of my house by projects end. I have even gotten behind in my blog--I have several posts I'll have to do out of order. I have determined that next year we can buy our costumes like everyone else. :)
That being said, I still think they turned out pretty adorable.
My little dolls dressed up as dolls.