Friday, January 30, 2009

I finished filing our taxes tonight. I enjoy doing this every year. This year we had some extra "complicated" things, but they weren't too bad and I LOVE submitting taxes online. This year I did it through TurboTax. I just have to put in a good word for them--they were great! I also got to file a state income tax return for North Carolina for FREE!!! Plus the federal was free too! Now the wait for the $...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Here is the actual link to Love Burrito.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another mid-week post...

I started this post yesterday, Tuesday, but really didn't post it till today, Wednesday. So the post date is incorrect. I don't know why blogger does this.

We had a good past six or seven days. We'll start off with last Thursday. Since Lee was on call last weekend, we decided to take a weeknight trip to the temple. I got Clark out of school early and picked up Lee right when he finished work at 3. We got to St. Louis pretty much right at 5pm. We were back home before 10 pm. I felt bad because Clark had "PE" that afternoon and he missed it. He LOVES PE. I thought he had PE in the morning, but I guess it's in the afternoon. He was very sad that he missed it--almost to tears! I told him that next time we do a trip like this to the temple we will be sure to pick him up when he has music or art.

Friday night we went to a community center on base that showed Madagascar. We got free popcorn and drinks and the kids seemed to like it.

Saturday I went to a babyshower and won one of the games! That evening we went to a ward activity. I feel like I am getting to more know sisters and develop some good friendships here. It is a nice feeling!

Sunday Lee was called in to look at a fellow who supposedly was punched in the face to make sure his eye was still okay.

Monday I had a dr's appointment. We stopped and said hello to Lee before leaving the hospital. A storm was going to hit that afternoon so I got a couple of extra things at the commissary. They had a really bad ice storm two years ago and people were without power for a few days. After the commissary I went to the Tricare office and the to another office where I filled out some paper work to get reimbursed for visit to Columbia, MO to see a specialist. What healthcare reimburses you for travel for a doctor's appointment??!! Columbia is 2 1/2 hours away, so it qualifies as a reimbursable trip, and I am really glad that we can recoup some of the cost of going there. There are some great perks to the military!

After I picked up Clark from school that day, we went to the PX to buy a toy for his friend's upcoming birthday party. I was very happy with Clark and the toy choosing process. The boy handed out Transformer invitations and Clark said that he wanted to get him a Transformer toy. I didn't want to spend very much of course, and the Transformer toys were over $4 or $5 each. Yes, I am a cheapskate and that was TOO much! I picked out some toys that were under $3 and told Clark that this was all the money I would spend. (I have been telling him lately how we owe people a lot of money--aka student loans--when he asks for certain things.) He was very compliant and picked one of the toys. I also let him pick out some candy for his friend so the total cost was $2.80. Nice.

And since Monday was so busy, already why stop there? After FHE and putting the kids in bed, Lee and I made a movie of cutting up our credit cards. We are going to send it to Dave Ramsey and see if it will get on his Fox Business network show. It was fun to make!

The storm did come starting Monday afternoon with freezing rain. It wasn't too bad, and we still have power for which I am SO grateful! School was canceled on Tuesday which was not a surprise. But, Tuesday morning I hadn't received a call that school was canceled (our district sends out automated messages to your phone). I was surprised that school wasn't canceled, but that was fine. I got Clark all ready and Kelly came and picked him up. About 15 minutes later Kelly and Clark were at my front door. Hardly anyone was at the school. The principal was there and Kelly talked to him and found out school had been canceled. Neither Kelly or I knew! It was kind of weird.

I had a playgroup at my house that Tuesday morning and Kelly and her kids came, and another friend that lives on base also came with her kids. Lee got to come home about an hour and a half early as all patients were canceled that day. He had a lot of time to sit and read in his office. Tuesday evening we had a good "snow". Nice, big flakes were coming down and it snowed about three to four inches.

Wednesday school was cancelled again--today. Once again, all appointments were canceled at the hospital, but of course Lee went in. He sat around from 7:30 to 11:00 and the Colonel let him go home at 11:00. Clark and Cal went to the neighbors today and then later Clark went sledding with them. Thanks Kelly! There is a good sledding hill pretty much kitty-corner to our back yard, and Kelly said the kids had a lot of fun sledding. Another friend invited us to come sledding on the hill in her backyard. We went over after the girls naps. Clark and Cal didn't even want to go out. They just wanted to play with the toys. Clark had been in and out all morning and afternoon from playing in the snow anyway and Cal went out a few times too.

The roads are looking really good. Well, our residential road still has snow, but all the main ones are fine. The sun was even out all afternoon. Tonight I received a shocking phone call from my neighbor. School was canceled again! Who is the superintendent??? I hope she/he is from Hawaii or Jamaica! I looked at the weather wondering if maybe another storm was coming. Nope. Nothing. And it's even supposed to be 35 tomorrow. So weird.

I have a couple of Haley reports for you. A few days ago Haley spilled something on the ground, water or something. (I can't remember.) I told her to wipe it up and gave her a towel or a rag. That is all I told her. Next thing I know, she had promptly wiped up the mess and went into the laundry room and put the rag in the dirty clothes basket! Wow.

And another day this past week Haley was in the bathroom with me. While I was doing something (again, I can't remember) I saw her stick one finger into the toliet water and put it directly into her mouth, and pulled her finger right out of her mouth again. YUCK!!! By the way she did it you'd think she was tasting soup or some frosting!

Next I want to add something I heard Clark telling Cal. Cal wanted to go outside with Clark one day but Cal needed his shoes on. Clark pointed this out to him and basically said, "You need to get you socks and get your shoes and get some help from mommy to put them on." It was very cute.

Oh, and another tidbit, one of our neighbors gave us a Thomas the Tank Engine train track set. It is the set with the motorized plastic Thomas trains. It was a big set with lots of engines and cars. The boys have loved playing with it. What I enjoy is they'll play in their room together so well for a very long time. The train set-up is in their room so the "babies" won't mess it up. Cal really enjoys playing with Clark. Several times when Kelly has come to pick up Clark for school Cal asks me something about why Clark has to leave. He then says: "But I love Clark!"

Since you made it this far, or just even scrolled down past the text, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy the rest of the week!

Clark with a red sled on Tuesday, the 1st canceled day of school. The snow is more like hard, iced over snow in this picture. You can hardly see any footprints because it was so hard.

The rest are from this afternoon at my friend's house, the 2nd day of canceled school.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We know a lot of ladies that are pregnant. It's very fun! Including myself, we know 23 people that are expecting! It would have been 24 ladies a couple days ago, but one of my friend's just had a baby.

I hope the week has been going well for everyone. For some good news, we finally got our van back! It has been in the "shop" for about two weeks. We were very blessed to have the use of our friend's van while she was gone. We were getting nervous though, because I was picking up my friend Monday night at the airport and our van still wasn't done. Thankfully, the guy called Monday afternoon and said it was done. What a blessing! The mechanic(s) couldn't rebuild our transmission because it was giving them too many problems so they put in a new one. We were again blessed because the mechanic stuck to the quoted price and didn't charge us more!

After paying for the transmission on Monday, yesterday during lunch Lee called and paid off some more on our student loans. I have been waiting and wanting to make a payment for a month and a half, so it felt really nice to get another chunk chipped away at our debt.

Because of Martin Luther King, Jr. day, Lee had a four-day weekend and it was very nice. I love his job! Thursday night to kick off the weekend we watched The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Sometime this week, I "caught" the girls sitting quietly looking at books. I love it when my kids do this. Shanna is looking at a little photo album. She loves to find a picture of Lee where he is dressed up in Chinese garb.

The first day of Lee's break it snowed. Sorry Nicole, Ashley and's kind of wimpy compared to good ol' Wisconsin and Iowa snow! After lunch we took the kids over to my friend's house and then Lee and I went bowling! We had two free games (we thought we would get free shoes too, but no) to use and it was really fun. What was very weird, we both scored the same score for each game. On both games I bowled a 117 and on both games Lee bowled a 126! So weird. Not very high scores, but at least we both broke 100.

Here are the girls, Shanna and Haley, for a trial run of playing outside later Friday afternoon. It was very cold (okay it was only about 5 degrees out) but I thought they would want to come back inside right away. I was wrong!

So we bundled them up. Of course Lee and I didn't want to go out so Lee kept an eye on them through our big front window. The boys had fun too playing in the snow.

A relaxing Saturday morning watching a movie.

Saturday afternoon I went shopping on base and later Lee did too. That evening we watched another movie, Shadow of the Thin Man. A few weeks ago we watched The Thin Man. There are a couple more movies in the series that we look forward to watching.

Sunday of course was good. I am getting acquainted with more ladies at church so that is nice! My lesson went well too. It was on agency and the need and freedom to choose. At the end I did an object lesson that the manual suggested. I put some yarn (I didn't have rope) loosely around Lee's arms. Then I put some candy in front of him. As he reached for the candy I tightened the yarn so he couldn't have it. Then I related how Satan binds us with sin and that when we try to reach for something good (the candy) it's difficult/impossible because of the bonds of sin. I think the class liked it.

The girls on Monday

Monday morning a couple of friends came over for a little play group. We enjoyed talking and overall the kids had fun playing. Monday afternoon I got the anticipated call that our van was done and after switching vehicles and kids in Rolla, Lee went home and I headed to the airport to get my friend.

I missed the inauguration yesterday. We don't have TV channels and when my sister said she was watching it on the internet I was busy getting other stuff done. Yes, history is in the making with electing the first black president, which in itself is neat and remarkable. I happen to not like Obama's agenda though, as I stated in a much earlier post. I like the government out of my life as much as possible. When I was looking through the book order forms that Clark brought home from school, I was shocked when I saw a particular children's book entitled: Barack Obama: Child of Hope, Son of Promise. I dislike the title very much! I admit, I haven't read the book. Maybe the book is about how is mother's name is Hope and he made and kept promises as a son. Maybe I'll see if this library has it and see what it's all about, but so far it doesn't seem like my kind of book.

So a couple of random things, Clark and Cal have learned another Spanish word from Lee: "bobo" or "bo bo". It means silly, crazy, funny, weird. It has been cute hearing them say "que bo bo".

I think Shanna is now differentiating between the words mommy and daddy by calling us our appropriate names. For awhile Shanna would call each of us daddy, and Haley would call Lee and I momma. Today though Shanna called me mommy and she was looking at that photo book again and pointed to the picture of Lee in Chinese garb and called him daddy.

Shanna also can climb back into her crib! She has only done it on one occasion that I know of. One time during naps, I went into the girls' room because they weren't napping. I was very confident that Shanna was out of her crib, because I may have heard her bang on the door or something. Well, when I went in Shanna was in Haley's crib! And twice yesterday Shanna was able to get out of her room. That alone is amazing because we have child door knob things on the inside of the girls' doors.

And the girls like to get the shortening and eat it. (It is now been moved out of their reach.) On Friday Haley was with me in the laundry room. Shanna came in and beckoned to Haley to follow her. I thought it was cute that Shanna wanted Haley so I decided to follow. Shanna had the shortening on the floor with the lid off and wanted Haley to participate in eating it!

And yesterday, (this one is for Haley) I was cleaning the bathrooms and left to put a rag in the laundry room. I had a surprise when I came back! While Haley was unrolling toilet paper, Shanna was putting it in the toilet. A LOT of toilet paper. Ah! Sound familiar Aunt Anna Lee? They are doing pretty well though at not getting into too many things, I just need to make sure and keep good tabs on them.

Cal took some pictures yesterday. This one I thought was kind of weird.

Maybe he will be a Hitchcock junkie someday?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Overall we had a nice week. Normal life is settling in and I still wish I could sleep a little later every morning! Oh well. I am officially 20 weeks today with our little boy. Lee and I talked about names today, so if any of you have suggestions, please pass them on! We won't be using "C" names though for this boy.

The girls and Cal are having fun with the little strollers. Cal likes to push the girls in them. This isn't a good picture I know, but I thought it was kind of a fun "vanishing" picture.

Haley doesn't have anything on her mouth. If there is too much red or pink on the face, other than the eye area, the red-eye remover will darken spots on the face other than the eyes.

The weather on Friday was very nice, almost 60 degrees. I walked to school with the kids to pick up Clark and on our way home we stopped at two parks. At the second park Clark and I did his homework really quick. I know, we have a gazillion park pictures, so these are mainly for the grandma's. But take a peek if you wish!

The gang on the train.

At least Shanna is somewhat smiling. It looks like she's closing her eyes on purpose.

Cal trying to construct a silly face.

Haley still enjoys the camera!

Friday night our friends came over, Susie and John and family, and we had a fun time. The kids got to play together and the adults play Settlers of Catan. We have been bad about having people over and this is the first official friend-get-together we've done at our house since we've lived here!

Saturday Lee took the boys to Bolt, though they only stayed about an hour as Clark didn't like it. But we didn't mind, it was one of the free movies playing this weekend on base. I dropped them off at the theater and headed to Walmart with the girls to get a few things. While I was there I looked at the Christmas dresses. They had a couple of cute ones and they were half off. I found some I liked but only one style had two 24 month dresses. That happens quite a bit. There were other sizes of this style, but only two 24 month sizes! I was pretty happy about the style and contemplated buying them as they were half off. At $8 each, that wasn't a shabby deal.

As I looked at the dresses I noticed immediately that one of them had two small stains/marks on it. I asked to talk with a manager. I was able to talk to one almost immediately and asked her if I could get a dollar or two off of the dress with the stains. She was very obliging and said that wouldn't be a problem. She then looked at the reduced price of $8 and then on her walkie-talkie-radio thing, called up front to the people over the cashiers. (They're apparently called CSMs at Walmart.)

She said that a lady with twin girls would be coming up front to purchase Christmas dresses and to sell them to me for $5 each! I couldn't believe it! When she was done talking I told her that the other dress was fine and didn't have any stains on it. She didn't care and seemed happy to give them to me for $5 each. It probably helped that Shanna and Haley were with me looking like super-cute-matching snow babies! I am very happy about the dresses and the PRICE! It was a nice blessing. The material is like taffeta or would resemble stiff satin if satin were stiff, because I don't think "stiff satin" is actually manufactured. I am sure it's polyester (I haven't checked the label). Anyway, they're cute!

Saturday night Lee and I watched Miracle at Midnight. It was very good. Mom B and Mom R, you both would enjoy this movie. Though Mom B, I think you have seen it already.

Image from

And if people were wondering, which I am sure they weren't, we don't have a Wii. My brothers brought their Wii's to play over Christmas. Clark really enjoyed it. It was fun seeing the kids play one of the Wii games where the controller was an instrument or part of an instrument--for example drumsticks or a maraca. It was cute seeing them play in a "band" together. Maybe it is called Wii Music?

I have been staying up enjoying shows on Food Network and HGTV. One of my brothers bought cable for a month for us so the guys could watch football games. I am calling tomorrow to cancel. I'm glad I squeezed a few shows in!

This recipe is mainly for Stephanie, but all of you should try it out. It is soooooo good! We don't make it very often and it isn't very healthy. :)

Chicken Chili Lasagna
From L. Durrant
2 packages (3oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups shredded Mexican-cheese blend, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp ground cumin, divided
1/2 tsp parsley
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 can (4oz) chopped green chilies, drained
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
12 flour tortillas (6 inch) cut in half
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, onion, 1-1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend, garlic, 1/4 tsp cumin and parsley. Stir in chicken; set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in Monterrey Jack cheese, sour cream, chilies, thyme, salt, pepper and remaining cumin.
Spread 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce in a greased 13x9x2 inch pan. Top with 6 tortilla halves, a third of the chicken mixture and a fourth of the cheese sauce. Repeat tortilla, chicken and cheese sauce layers twice. Top with remaining tortillas, cheese sauce and Mexican cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 12 servings.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The holidays are over and everything is put away, and it is very sad. Clark and I were very sad when the last of our family drove off. Clark got choked up when they drove off and said something about how all of his cousins were gone. It was very sweet.

Our van is getting some new life put into it this new year. Yep, it is in the shop because of transmission problems. In 2005 I believe, we had a re-built transmission put in. Since then we've almost doubled the miles and have driven it a lot, so we weren't surprised when 2nd and eventually 4th gear went out on us. The dealership here would put one in for $3500. What a deal! (You all know I am joking, right?) The transmission place here in town basically wanted to pull a transmission from another vehicle and put it in ours. Uhhhh, that doesn't sound like a great idea either! I don't want some random transmission!

We called a place in Rolla and they rebuild your own transmission. The price was right so we took it in! It worked out well because our friends are out of town and they are letting us borrow their van while ours is out of commission, I mean transmission. This place will guarantee the transmission for one year, which is great! Of course we want it to last longer because realistically, we won't be ready to purchase a different/nicer vehicle for about 3 or 4 more years.

We made some new goals for the year, and we are excited for the challenge! For 2008 one of my sisters suggested the challenge of reading all of the standard works: Old & New Testament, The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. If it was a contest, Lee for sure won. Great job Lee!

Roger and I made two pinatas to break New Year's Day, but Lee and I couldn't find the candy for them! The next day I found it and Deb's family was still here, so we broke it. I didn't think much in advance of decorating the pinata, just making one. But hey, it's very organic, right? Clark got a good hit at it and Paul officially broke it open.

Look at Shanna. She has her hand over her cute!

This isn't the ideal shot, but here is Cal on Sunday at church for his first-day-of-Primary picture. Well actually, I guess it is a very truthful shot of his feelings going into Primary. He did great though.

Here are some nice pictures that Mike took New Year's day of our beautiful kids.

This is all we could get out of Shanna. She kept starring at us. My pig noises weren't entertaining enough I guess.

Yesterday was an eventful day for us. You'll be proud Dave Ramsey! We canceled ALL of our credit cards! We had only two, and rarely use them so we decided to get them out of our lives. For a long time I have had a "fear" of getting rid of credit cards. I had a false sense of security and just felt like I HAD to have a credit card "in case of an emergency". Recently I decided that once we had an emergency fund of 6 months' worth of expenses, then we would cancel them. I have been thinking about closing the one in my name for awhile though. Since it's in my name and when we go to buy a house someday I figure they will concentrate more on Lee's credit score than mine. I canceled it yesterday afternoon. After Lee was home from work, I talked to him a lot about it and how I am finally convinced that we don't need any credit cards.

While we were getting the kids ready for bed I got the idea to go ahead and close his too. We talked about it and realized that the credit limit on Lee's credit card is the exact same amount of money that we have at our disposal every month. Granted we are using that money for student loans, but if an emergency came up, we could just use our own money and not a credit card. And Lee has a military deferment on the rest of his student loans so we don't have to make any payments till 2011. (Which of course we are paying on them now because we don't have to pay interest!)

We also don't have problems with our debit card. I know some of you do just with normal purchases. Ours basically always works. This summer for the bulk of our cross-country trip we used our debit card. We've never had problems with reserving hotels or purchasing things online. I am constantly checking our online bank statement so I would know very soon if there was a discrepancy. A few days ago I noticed that Firestone charged us the wrong amount for an alignment. Lee went and talked to the guy and he said we got lucky. Lee pressed the point further because we owed them $50 more dollars, but the guy wouldn't take the money. OH well!

And if any of you are worried for us about our credit score, don't be. We actually don't care about our credit score. I won't be surprised if it goes down a little because we canceled both of our cards, but a credit score is for people who want to borrow money. They only time we plan on borrowing money is when we buy a house. And even at that time we are planning on having a traditional down payment. Plus with Lee's good job, it should be easy to get a great loan.

Something else that helped me decide to cancel the cards is that we have a great bank. Lee's "identity" was stolen a few years ago and somebody opened up a Walmart credit card and a Banana Republic credit card under his name. It was a mess, but we got it straightened out. We have never had an incorrect purchase show up on our personal credit cards as far as I can remember, but we did have to deal with those individual credit card companies to get Lee's fake debts cleared. On my mission I actually had a purchase show up on my debit card for some music store in LA. I never made that purchase, let alone went to any music store, and my bank was very easy to work with in removing the purchase.

If you made it this far, congrats! Happy New Year!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A little on the birds and the bees...

Though I am not an obstetric gynecologist, I feel I am correct in the fact that I am about to express. All you doc friends--especially you Brian N., please correct me if I am wrong.

I talked to a fellow a couple weeks ago. He is in his 40's I believe. He has a set of twins and I asked him if he was surprised when he found out that his wife was expecting twins. (We sure were! I was halfway through my pregnancy! At least it wasn't like my friend's mom--she had to be put under during the delivery and when she came to, she found out that two babies were waiting for her, not one!) He told me that he wasn't surprised at all. I questioned further, wondering if twins ran in his wife's family. No he said, twins "ran" in his family.


I did not correct him, but boy, he should have been SHOCKED that HIS wife had twins! Sorry to pop your bubble guys, but you have NOTHING to do with your wife having or not having twins/multiples. I realized this when I told people I was expecting twins. Many asked if twins ran in my side of the family or my husband's. I thought about it and realized that asking if twins ran in Lee's family was a silly question. Lee is not a blood relation of mine and I have none of his genes in me. If Lee does have a "twin gene" in him, it will be made manifest when (if) our girls have twins, or if Clark or Cal's daughters have twins/multiples. The fact that Lee's brother has twin girls is a mere coincidence. I am not blood related to his brother or his sister-in-law.

A little on multiple "multiple" pregnancies...

I went in for a yearly check-up several weeks ago and the doctors here thought I had a fibroid tumor. That of course made me a little anxious. I have always been "healthy" and even when pregnant have had no complications. After some blood work I was told that the tumor was benign, which was a relief; but still, the thought of a benign tumor wasn't that great either.

My doctor sent me to a specialist to double check the whole tumor thing. The ultrasound technician didn't think it was a fibroid, but wasn't quite sure what it was. The doctor came in and got a good look at the dark spot showing up on the ultrasound screen. It was the remnants of a twin! He showed me a faint line of a spinal cord and something else, but I can't remember.

They also looked at my other baby, which looks healthy and well--a boy, due May 31. It may seem odd and maybe unfeeling to some of you, but the news that I didn't have a tumor and that it was a "vanishing twin", was wonderful. I never saw the twin in baby form. It hasn't completely vanished yet either. It will eventually be reabsorbed, probably into my placenta, or will deliver when baby number FIVE is born.

Wow. Five kids sounds like a lot! I don't know how my mom had 10 or how Lee's mom had seven! My mom tells people she had them one at a time. That is not the case for me. Two twin pregnancies so far...hmm...I wonder if my sisters will have twins too!

I wonder if I'll have triplets next...

Child #1 and child #5 in the same picture.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Holidays! I think this is a record for the greatest number of pictures in one post. After I started creating this post I thought I should have split them up, but oh well. Hope you have a tub of popcorn and a jug of hot chocolate!

Lee and I at Lee's Christmas "work" party. We met and ate at a Chinese buffet in town. It was YUMMY!

Roger and Brittany arrived the 20th. The kids loved the attention, and playing with dad too of course.

Clark loved playing the Wii over the break!

My parents and Sheldon arrived the evening of the 22nd. We are enjoying ourselves--just concentrating. Carcassone is a great game!

We made gingerbread houses the 23rd.

My dad's



My mom's

My first one




Like my haircut? I gave it to myself. I know haircuts aren't that expensive, but I just can't bring myself to fork over $15-$20 for a haircut! I went to a nice salon this summer, but I think I won't visit a salon until 2010.


The night of the eve of Christmas Eve we went caroling with the missionaries. We gave two of our neighbors the Mr. Krueger's Christmas DVD and a gingerbread house.

Christmas Eve!

My dad turned 61 on Christmas Eve. When he was born of course my grandma was in the hospital Christmas day. And that particular Christmas day, one of my uncles received a doll from Santa. Guess the real Santa wasn't around to get things straight! Anyway, Roger put the candles in a cinnamon roll I made that morning, and then put it in the middle of the bunt cake.

Christmas Eve my dad read the Nativity Story from The Book of Mormon and the New Testament. Normally we dress up, but it was late and I hadn't thought about it, so the boys acted it out with a kid nativity while my dad was reading.

Excited for Christmas! Sam arrived about 10pm Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day!

We've started a new tradition. Now the kids will get a can of olives in their stockings. They LOVE them!

I thought it would be funny to have Sam and Sheldon see a tiny stocking (I used a pair of the girls' socks) Christmas morning. And it was. They had a big stocking too, but they were covered.

Shanna must think the bottle is a bottle of eye drops because she puts the bottle on her baby's eyes.

Haley loves her new stroller!

Clark "hid" a present in the Christmas tree and retrieved it for opening.

The day after Christmas. Shanna loves her new scarf from Clark and of course loved eating all of the candy. Here she is enjoying a sucker.

Deborah and family, Darrell and family, and Lena and family arrived the 26th.

The 27th we went to the St. Louis Temple and we siblings joined Sheldon as he went through the temple to receive his endowment. It was a good day. Seven of us siblings were together for the event! Shanna in the annex of the St. Louis Temple.

Cousins enjoying each other that evening.

Sunday morning Roger and Brittany left. Everyone else came to church with us. The Bishop was happy because so many people were in Sacrament meeting that day. I had a full class for Gospel Principles and I really enjoyed that. And new nursery leaders were called, so we won't be helping in the nursery on a regular basis anymore. Mike has some photo equipment--a backdrop, two lights with the umbrellas, and a nice camera. He took some pictures Sunday afternoon.

Sunday night we had a fun family talent show.

The 29th was Darrell's birthday. After lunch a group went fishing.

Darrell's cake!

The 30th brought about my 29th birthday! That morning some people visited Miller Cave here on base.

That afternoon we went to a park on base.

At 6:30am on base over some sort of intercom, revely is played, then 5:00pm retreat, then 9:00pm taps. We left the park right at 5:00 and when you're outside and hear revely you're supposed to stop and put your hand over your heart, and since Lee was in uniform he had to salute.

Because we had cake on the 24th, then again on the 29th, for my birthday I made a mousse-type-cream-cheese-strawberry dessert instead of a cake. I used the last piece and a half of Darrell's cake for my candles...and I should have saved some of my dad's candles for my cake!

Lee and I stuck to our $5 budget for Christmas presents for each other, basically. Well, Lee went about a $1.50 over and I $0.25 under, so it worked out fine. I should have put a "limit" on my birthday, but since I didn't think to say anything, Lee spoiled me! He surprised me with Settlers of Catan--I love that game!--and a knife sharpener. Plus I got some Dove chocolates from Darrell and Stacie and TimTams from my parents.

New Year's Eve we toured Lee's work at the hospital and at the 43rd.

We then enjoyed bowling. Our lane kept acting up, so they gave us free passes to come again. Free dates! YEAH! It was Clark and Cal's first time bowling. I think they enjoyed it. Deb bought us all french fries and that was a fun treat!

Every New Year's Eve we have a party with my family. Yummy snack food, like chips and dip, veggies, cheese balls, meatballs, little smokies, rootbeer floats and pizza. We also always play Monopoly and watch Star Wars. I couldn't believe it, I was the first one out of Monopoly! I had a bad first several rounds. My dad is the champion two years running now! The picture is of Lee and I at 12:00 midnight. We stayed up till 3:00am that morning.

Later today, before dinner, Mike did a little magic show for all of us, which was really fun. This afternoon he set up his camera equipment again and took some pictures of our kids. I was going to get "school" pictures for Clark, but the package I wanted was around $12 and I can get them done at Walmart for $5. I kept putting off getting pictures of Clark, and I am glad I did. Thanks to Mike the only thing I have to pay for are the prints!

Today, January 1, 2009, I went over our budget and am really excited about the prospect of being debt free before my 3oth birthday--my golden birthday--this coming December. Lee and I will have to be extra careful every month, but I am hoping for the best! I already figured out an estimate of what credits we'll receive for filing taxes this year, and that money will be key in helping us reach this goal. I am also looking forward to adding more food to my food storage. We've started our food storage a little bit, but I really need wheat, among other things. We have an AWESOME food storage coordinator in our ward, so I have some great help right here.

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you all meet your new goals, and reached your goals you set for 2008.