Sunday, November 29, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! This is our most recent family pic. I am so thankful for all of my blessings, but especially for my loving husband and our 2 sweet children. I feel like the luckiest person and couldn't be happier.

My sister Hannah came for the festivities and we had a great time cooking an easy, but tasty Thanksgiving feast. We made cornish hens and stuffed each one with stove top stuffing. We basted them with olive oil, rosemary, sage, and thyme and threw in some garlic for added flavor. We cooked them in my stoneware covered baker, so they turned out really moist and yummy. It was also fun to have our own individual birds. Andrew made garlic mashed potatoes, and we had sweet potatoes with pineapple and brown sugar (just enough sweetness), green beans, store-bought rolls, cranberry sauce, and my favorite- pumpkin pie. We had a Marie Calendar's razzleberry pie, but were too stuffed to eat it that day. We saved it for the next day. Needless to say, I feel like we took a step backwards in our diet.

We traced the kids hands to make turkeys and watched the Macy's day parade while Andrew was playing football with some of the guys from church. This is a horizontal pic, so I'm not sure why it is shown here vertically, but you get the gist.

Hannah made a turkey out of her foot.

We then turned Nate into an Indian as part of the Tribe of the 3 feathers. Here he is doing his tribal chant.
Hannah and I had fun this week. She was very sweet about helping out with the kids and Nate loved playing with her. Some highlights were when we took Nate to an open gym where he got to jump on the trampolines, jump in the foam cube pit, and run around on the padded turf with balls where the gymnasts do their floor routines. We then got to leave the kids and go out to a movie. I can't remember the last time I did that. We saw "The Blind Side" with Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. It was one of the best, and most uplifting sports movies I've seen in a long time. It had the typical plot of an underdog boy who turns into a professional athlete, but it had a lot of genuine and touching moments and was based on a true story. True stories are always better than what Hollywood writers can come up with. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and would see it again.

Hannah also gave me and Andrew a break, so we went on a date to get a Christmas tree. I wanted to get our tree early this year so we could enjoy it until we leave in a few weeks. Nate is showing it off after it got decorated.

We love you Han! Thanks for the great visit:)


Here is a quick Halloween post. So it was 4:30 on Halloween and we had to be at the church at 5:00 to set up for the Halloween party. We didn't really have costumes. The kids were going as a pirate (see the post about Nate's b-day to get his full pirate attire) and a flower. I told Andrew I thought it would be fun if we had a family theme. This is what we came up with:

Andrew used Nate's wig and hat since Nate wouldn't keep it on. I went as his pirate "maiden," although he informed me that it's actually called a wench.

We found a bandana for Nate, which he kept on most of the night.

And little Kaitlyn went as our pet monkey. We had this costume from when Nate was a baby and decided it went better with the theme then a flower.

The ward party was small, but fun. I had to include this pic of the Stromsdorfers and their family theme of "The Wizard of Oz." They looked adorable! The primary put on a cake walk- Nate was so excited about the cupcakes of course. They also had a fishing pond put on by the "Fishopric", well actually their wives. There was also pin the bone on the skeleton, the jackolantern ball toss from Nate's b-day, a nerf gun game, and pinatas. Nate was more excited to put the turtle head in his bag then the candy, though- kind of funny. We then did trick or treating in the classrooms around the church and the next day when we went to church, Nate said "trick treat?" He wanted to do it again, apparently.

This is our jackolantern for the year. Mom gave this "Mr. Potato Head" kit to Nate and it was the easiest jackolantern I've ever done. Andrew did make a pirate jacko, but we didn't get a pic of it.

This is Kate's reject costume that I made, but she did get to wear it at a play group earlier in the week, so it wasn't a total waste.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nate's b-day- He's already 2!

Nate turned 2 on October 24th! I can't believe my baby's already 2- how time flies! We decided, since he is such a social guy to throw him a birthday party and invite a few friends.We did the party on his birthday, which was a Saturday and did it early, so we could have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy time with grandma and "baca" (Nate's word for grandpa). We had to dress Nate up in his $5 consignment deal pirate costume, since the theme of the party was pirates. He kept this "Jack Sparrow" wig on for about 10 seconds, long enough for a picture, and then refused to put it back on. He was pretty cute in it, though. He was hesitant at first to get in to the party, but once he saw the other kids having fun, he joined in.

We played put the treasure chest on the "x" marks the spot and throw the balls in the jackolantern.

I then sent the boys on a treasure hunt around the house- there were clues, like "where does Nate sleep?" with a picture of a bed and they would have to go there to find the next clue and a gold coin. At the end of the treasure hunt they found swords at the bottom of the bathtub covered in orange balloons. We didn't get a picture of this, for some reason. We then had a sword fight until it got too rowdy. Andrew offered to make everyone a balloon hat, as you can see my dad was the one who liked them the most.

It was then time for the fishing pond and they got their goody bags and some goldfish from the pond. (this pic is actually from after the other boys left and Nate and Spencer wanted to fish again.)
We put on "Bob the Builder" and fed the boys a lunch of hot dogs, cheetos, and apples as they had a picnic in front of the movie. We then brought out the cupcakes- Nate was so excited! - and everyone sang Happy Birthday. The boys helped Nate open his gifts and he was good about letting them help and play with his toys.

The boys helped Nate open his gifts and he was good about letting them help and play with his toys.It was a pretty successful birthday party- no tantrums, potty accidents, fighting, or crying. It was kind of amazing! All of the sources I looked at said to invite the parents to parties for this age, but I think they might behaved better without their parents and they had a really good time. Most of the boys were 3, except for his friend Spencer who is just a few months older than him. He came late, so after everyone left, Nate and Spencer did all of the games again 2 year old style.
Nate got many cool presents from his grandparents. This one is a musical table that has several nursery rhymes and lots of different instrument sounds. It also teaches counting and the alphabet. Nate loves it! He also got a fisher price "play my way" table that has a kitchen bin and a tool bin. He plays with it everyday and is getting really good at hammering nails and using the screwdriver. He now cooks for me from his "chicken" (kitchen) and I order pizza, eggs, and spaghetti. He brings it to me on a plate with a fork. It's kind of a nice role reversal change!

Andrew and I got these cool blocks for Nate. They are cardboard blocks from Melissa and Doug, and they are sturdy enough for kids to stand on. We have a lot of fun building towers, chairs, runways, stairs, and anything else we can think of. His favorite part is destroying what we build, though. They are really fun because you can be so creative with them.

Happy Birthday Nate! We love you:)

Nate is old enough to travel by himself!

So my sister Hannah is visiting for Thanksgiving. Nate woke up from his nap and wanted to play with Hannah's suitcase in the living room. He started pulling it around and then conversation went as follows:

Mom: Nate, are you going on an airplane?

Nate: (matter-of-factly) Yes!

Mom: Who are you going to see?

Nate: (thinking for a second) Riley (his cousin)

Mom: Ok, see you later.

Nate walks to the door with the suitcase, turns around to blow us a kiss and says "bye!"

It was pretty cute:)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall Festivities: Butler's Orchard

For Columbus Day, our neighbors told us about this place in Germantown called Butler's Orchard.

It was a fun fall event for our little family, but it was the first cold day of the year- the temperature was probably in the low 60's. I'm sure my family from Maine doesn't think that's cold at all, but we were having like 80 degree weather. Anyways, the orchard had fruit that you could pick yourself, but it also had a whole fall themed area with fun things to do like...

admire the pumpkin people, ( they even had some pumpkin people that resembled the Charlie Brown characters from the movie "The Great Pumpkin")

push and ride the tractor bikes,

throw balls in the jackolantern face, (Nate kind of cheated by actually climbing up on the platform and putting the balls in the holes, rather than throwing them in from off the platform)

jump in haystacks,

pet the animals at the petting farm, ( Nate loved the sheep!)

ride down their huge metal slides and tube slide on burlap cloths,

make your way through a corn maze,

and my favorite part- take a hayride and pick out your own pumpkin. The kids were done at this point, hence the frowny faces.

We also played hide and seek in the covered haystack maze (this was Nate's favorite), raced rubber ducks, jumped in the jumping castle (another of Nate's favorites) and enjoyed a lunch of bbq beef and hot dogs. We had a great time and it was a fun way to kick off the fall season. After visiting Germantown, Andrew is determined to move there. It was a very nice community (from what we saw), but his commute would be a lot longer, so someday we'll have to find somewhere else just as nice.

A dance performance

The same week as SYTYCD, we had a dance performance at the Visitor's center with our BYU-alumni group. We had been practicing for several months and were excited to finally perform. I was stressing out sewing costumes and remembering my dances. My mommy brain has kicked in high gear with 2 little ones, so it seemed harder than normal to remember all of my dances. I danced the "Pele," a traditional Hawaiian dance, a modern hula with couples (the only dance Andrew danced this year), a tahitian, and a samoan dance. Polynesian dancing is really fun and you need a lot of energy to do it. I felt really good about my performance, though, and felt like I danced my best the night of the show. It definitely gives you a rush when you can relax and enjoy the energy of performing. I know that if I didn't practice so hard I would have just been nervous and it wouldn't have been as fun. Nathan also made an appearance. He represented the Hawaiian islands in the fashion show that the kids did at the beginning of the performance of all the islands.

He was such a cute little keiki! The Murphy clan came to support us and I saw a few friends from Hawaii that I haven't seen in awhile. It is fun to be able to catch up. It also makes me miss Hawaii, but we are lucky to be able to go for Christmas.

A dance concert

Andrew bought me tickets to see the "So you think you can dance" dance concert for my birthday in Baltimore at the First Mariner Arena. We didn't realize the date was so close to our U2 concert, so we got to have 2 really cool dates within a few weeks. My mom came to babysit, and this time I wasn't as nervous to leave the kids. They were fine last time, so it would be ok this time too. Besides, my mom loves them so much so it was good for her to get in some grandkid time.

We brought our binoculars because our seats were pretty high, but we were in the middle section, so we had a good view. It is amazing to see how much energy these dancers have. They also have incredible strength and extensions. I couldn't believe how high they could jump. I watched part of "Chorus Line" from the first level because I was using the bathroom and didn't get back to my seat in time, and I was amazed by their talent close-up. They had commentary in between their dances, and that was pretty corny, but it is definitely more fun to see them dance in real life than on TV. Andrew and I both felt that they were like teenagers on a field trip without a chaperone because none of the judges were there. It felt kind of like they were just goofing around, but they were still professional. I still really liked Janine, but Evan was a lot more relaxed on tour and did his solo ten times better. I really liked the Baliwood routine this time around and the classical ballet, which is funny, because I'm usually not that into ballet. I also liked the We had a great time and it got me pumped up for my polynesian dance performance on Saturday. Here is a video of part of one of our favorite routines- the bank robbers jazz routine by Brandon & Jeanette. It was with our camera and the lights were really bright, so the quality isn't the greatest.