Saturday, December 22, 2007

All Done!

We are done!!
Eric finished his 35 page thesis and turned it in on Friday, so as long as his professor gives him a C- or better, he will be an official college graduate!!
Not only that, but I finished my intense work week in which at its peak I worked straight from Noon on Friday to 3pm Saturday. I think I had a 5 hour sleep break. It was AWESOME. I was in my element: organizing and making lists and highlighting and recording things and organizing some more and making more lists, it was great.
And, we are done blogging for the year! We will be back in two weeks.
To celebrate all these accomplishments we went all out tonight! In absence of the extra better wings from Wild Bill, we went for a wing smorgasbord from around Provo! We drove around Provo for 80 minutes and found Little Caesar's hot-n-ready wings, Lon's Cookin' Shack sweet and spicy wings, Winger's famous wings, Tucanos's BBQ chicken wings, and to balance us out Bombay House vegetable samosa and mango lassi (sorry Swagat).
We sat down with these, and our good friends the Metcalfe's and watched BYU in the Las Vegas bowl game. Final score 17-16...BYU. Miracle? YES. And for the record, we all decided Little Caesar's makes a goooood wing!
May everyone have a very Merry Merry Christmas...we leave you with this favorite carol.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Secrets

We have been having non-stop Christmas fun since Thursday!! I wanted to share some Christmas gems with you, and if you have any fav traditions or outings to help bring Christmas cheer, please let us all know!

Spanish Fork Festival of Lights
$5 per car. Follow Highway 6 out to the Spanish Fork golf course. This was such a fun little family outing!! Viana LOVED the lights. There were such creative displays, and even a little window visit with Santa. Don't forget to roll your window down to enjoy the "soundtrack" they play throughout the drive. I would highly recommend it, and for us, it was worth the $5.
Provo Town Center North Pole
It's free to see Santa and get a fun North Pole activity coloring pamphlet. You can take as many pics with your camera as you want. To buy theirs is a lot more pricey ($15 for 1 5x7). What makes this Santa visit more endearing than University mall is the train. $3 a person for a whirl around Santa 6 or 7 times is a little pricey, but for the smile on Viana's face, it was worth it. If your little one (or your big one) is in to trains--it's HEAVEN. You can even request to ride with the"conductor" (aka teenage girl from Payson HS or the like) and pull the train whistle.
Pond Town Christmas in Salem, UT
This is the little brother to Spanish Fork's Festival of Lights, but as such, it is FREE. Remember my previous visit to Salem? You can find directions on that link, or once you get into Salem, it looked like they had signage pointing you to "Pond Town." Earlier in the year I had seen 4 floatation devices with lights on them on the ponds bank, so had been looking forward to going back during Christmas. It was a pleasant and BEAUTIFUL surprise. They even have a hay wagon ride, but we didn't see the price on that one. If you're into driving the distance, SUPER worth it.
Temple Square in SLC
A classic Christmas tradition. We tried to go on Saturday evening when there was a Jazz game, Light of the World, millions of wards going as an activity and a concert at the Kingsbury Hall, not to mention the underground parking is no longer. Needless to say, we drove around looking for parking for 30 minutes, gave up and went home. But tried again we did. It still took a while, but we did find close enough parking tonight. So, BEWARE--classic? Of course. Miserable parking situation? You bet. Still Viana loved the nativities and the temple and the lights and the new star. Well worth the double trip and grumbles about the parking situation. Next?...
We would love to hear about any other gems around Utah. And hey, we'll be in Washington for Christmas if anyone knows of great Christmas treats up north. And if you're a reader in Colorado--don't miss the Seven Falls experience. Entrance is a canned food donation!

The LIGHT of the Christmas season has been a draw to us. We find these "twinkles" to be beautiful and symbolic. Viana loves to see the new star that she knows means Baby Jesus is near by. We love to see that same star in the sky, and know that it is a light that we all can follow in this world of increasing darkness. "I am the light which shineth in darkness" D&C 6:21 "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." Matt 2:10Merry Christmas, and may this light warm your hearts!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

All I want for Christmas...

Dear Santa,
I've been very good all year, so here is my wish list. I am hoping there is room in your bag for everything I want.
Love, CJ

*I would like the most caring and selfless husband possible.
*Can you please give me two daughters that love being sisters?
*I would also like a 2 year old that loves to vacuum with her rolling suitcase and take her stroller for walks. *And with that can you include a sense of curiosity and learning?
*I would love a 5 month old who is learning to sit.
*And if she can sit, can you make sure she has a great smile too?
*Do you think it would be too much to ask for not only a perfect husband, but also a phenomenal father, all rolled up into one person?
*Oh, but make sure he is still a silly little boy at heart.
*And if it's not too much, can he also be a great seminary teacher?
*Can I also have a wonderful relationship with both of my daughters?
*An to top it all off, can I have a family that can have fun together always?

P.S. Well Santa, after making my list, it looks like I already have everything I want. So instead can you help ensure that there is peace on earth and that my friends and family can be blessed with health and happiness and that those who have needs around me can be touched by the charity of others? I would really really really appreciate that. Thank you Santa.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Viana is 2!

Dec. 7 was Viana's birthday, and a fabulous one at that!! We started off the day with the Carter tradition of opening one present when you wake up. Viana got to open a present from Meemaw, and she was THRILLED. It was a Buzz Lightyear camping chair. I love this picture and think it accurately describes her excitement (ie, she is literally jumping for joy).
The entire day was happy and fun (especially since Viana got to wear her special birthday dress), but the real fun started at Viana's COLOR PARTY! Here's a great video sum up of probably the world's greatest party ever.


And here are some pictures.
Highlights are to include; the yummy homemade cookies and frosting that I made and got a high-five on from Mr. Feed Your Family, the attendance of
so many family and friends, the coloring on the wall on posters Daddy made as a suprise, playing with regular balloons, and the suprise of helium filled balloons from the Rife's, opening way too many presents, play-doh for the kids, and a fairly competitive game of Clay-tionary for the adults--this included the creation of Anne's amazing fisherman (refer to pic #2 in collage for Anne's fish...it was great).
It was SO MUCH FUN!! Viana loved it and had such a great time. We sure love Viana a lot and have been blessed these past two years to have her in our lives. She is a silly goose and a cutie patootie and we love her.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Milestones

I know, I know, today was Viana's birthday, so you are probably all expecting a fabulous report on her COLOR party. Rest easy knowing that a party post will come in the very near future, but, first things first.
We had two significant milestones in our children's lives that need documenting.
#1-Brooke had rice cereal for the first time on the eve of her 5 month lunarversary. We are hoping this will fill her up a little more before bed so that I can sleep more than two hours at a time at night.
She liked it for the most part. And I did get 3 hours of sleep in a row last night. So that was nice...
#2-Viana finished "reading" the Book of Mormon for the first time on her 2nd Birthday eve-eve. We started on Jan. 2, 2006 when Viana was 3 1/2 weeks old. And now we're all done!We bear testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and we have seen it bless Viana's life as she has learned about Jesus from this book of scripture. It thrills our hearts to hear Viana say "Book -uh-moemon" and then to open it and point to the pictures of Jesus. We are blessed to live in this time where we can have the Book of Mormon in our lives and learn from its teaching, and testify that when we read it as a family we can feel the spirit and know the love that God has for each of us.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hidden Talents

Tonight was our ward Christmas party, and whilst we were there, we found some hidden Carter talents that you might like to know about...

Well, this one may not be so hidden, but Viana LOVES to color!! But it was a hidden talent that she looks adorable in Santa hats!
Brooke's hidden talent is that she is an expert at Santa Hat peek-a-boo, especially with the aide of our friend and home teacher Wayne Linford.
Not only that, but we had a bagpipe play, and Brooke knows how to do an Irish jig! She really gets the hang of it by the end of the song. (Once again, a shout out to Wayne!)
We learned that Eric's hidden talent was signing us up to bring a side dish (you should have heard the, "YOU DID WHAT??" when he told me that one--I'm more of a beverage or store bought rolls kinda gal) BUT, I found a recipe for pea salad, went to the store and bought ingredients, then spent a good 20 minutes in the kitchen making real food. I'm domestic! And guess what? I don't know if it got eaten, but it at least got spooned onto people's plates!! And CJ's hidden talent is that I can (sorta) play the accordion. I was SO nervous. I made a medley of Joy to the World and The First Noel. I messed up a bit...but that's ok (seriously, I was more nervous to play the accordion than I was about our interview with Elder Lund--no joke). So here I am, serenading the ward!

My great Grandpa Lenhart taught me the basics of accordion playing, and I inherited this practice accordion of his.

So there ya go, some hidden Carter Talents...now fair is fair, so fess up, give us something good about yourself!