Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome 2011!

We were pretty certain that our girls would love New Year's more than Christmas, especially owing to the fact that they stayed up until 11pm the other week playing with their toys when I was sick and had fallen asleep on accident while Eric was out playing ball. We told them that New Year's is extra special because it is a party in the middle of the night, which means first you go to bed, then your mom and dad come wake you up when it is time to party. They were pretty excited with that idea...before they went to sleep... We did manage to stir Viana,

but when given the choice to party or keep sleeping, Brooke said--keep sleeping!
Viana was mostly a zombie as we played Disney Buzz and ate unhealthy foods. But she did like the countdown with the big ball and the party poppers. And the follow-up sleepover is always a hit.
The real fun was in the morning and everyone was awake! Brooke did her party popper and the kids threw the confetti around and drank their sparkling cider.
And they tried desperately to wake-up daddy. It didn't really work :)
We are excited for the new year...especially since it means one more joyous child coming to our family!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas morning

We were overly blessed this year and had a marvelous Christmas! Santa did indeed visit us (no pictures...but we do have video) and the girls we PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS! We had told them the night before when they woke up to run into our bedroom and that we would go out to the living room together. Well, Ram woke up at 7:20. Eric and I then had to wait til nearly 8:45 for the girls to wake-up. It was the longest hour-plus of our lives!! But we finally heard their door creak open so we popped out into the hall and here come two sisters holding hands knowing they were supposed to run to our room, but also peeking into the living room and seeing the stockings and the empty cookie plate. They were aglow with excitement and could hardly believe that Santa really did eat their cookies and even left them a note! The girls made out like bandits and at one point Viana said, "Santa must have thought we were REALLY good to give us this many presents!" The girls (and Ram) managed to get everything they wished for, especially when Grandma showed up that morning with a rocking horse!! (And maybe a new TV for Eric and I!) It was so grand and magical. The rest of the day we pigged out on junk food, had a ham dinner, and acted out the nativity story. Why did I not take pictures of that!! No worries, I will fill you in by saying everyone participated. (Me: "Viana, who do you want to be, Mary, Joseph, the angel?" Viana: "Gabriella wants to be Mary and Troy wants to be Joseph." What good would new toys be if they weren't immediately adopted into the family??) We hope all of you had a great Christmas as well!!!





Day 24: the NEW Carter tradition

Eric and I agree on basically everything--except for how Christmas should be carried out. This hasn't been a problem yet since we've traveled nearly all our Christmases together. But this simple at-home Christmas was the first test of our compromise skills. And this is what we came up with:

The very last envelope said, "It's Christmas Eve, and time for a scavenger hunt!"

And so it began. We just took pictures of places around the house that the girls would recognize and they followed the clues to a new family game. We played it and then watched a Christmas movie. We barely survived either though...Viana kept saying, "It is time for bed!" She was pretty certain if we didn't hurry up and go to sleep Santa was going to pass us by. The girls did great with the hunt. They would open the clue, look at the picture and Brooke would say, "I know where that is, follow me guys." It was precious.




Before all of that wonderful tradition began we got a pretty amazing Christmas surprise! Eric's Mom and Dad and brother Ron showed up on our doorstep all the way from Washington! It was very shocking and turned out great! The girls were SOOOOOO excited. And we got to revisit Sagebrush for their Christmas Eve special. It was, of course, 5-star DIVINE. Even at dinner Viana was ready to go home! We barely convinced her to ride along with our other new tradition of driving around looking at lights after dinner. It was so great and a fitting new evening of tradition for our little family!


The rest of the envelopes...

And the rest of the envelopes led us right up to Christmas Eve like this...


Day 15: A special trip to the Richfield Library...except for that it closed about 10 minutes before we got there. And then on our rescheduled day it poured snow and so we just bunkered down at home.

Day 16: Paint suncatcher ornaments
Day 17: Trip to see Brooke (as previously documented). But I will note that Ram got the flu that very day (Carter 2 of 4 that got the flu that week) and threw-up all over himself TWICE on the drive. Hooray for car trips with sick kids...

Day 18: Make Reindeer candy canes
Days 19 & 20: Learn Christmas songs, go caroling to our neighbors and sing those songs!
Day 21: Color HUGE Christmas pictures (this was the FAVORITE activity)
Day 22: Make magnetic Christmas picture frames
Day 23: Make gingerbread houses. I thought, hey for $9 I can get this whole kit of gingerbread houses which is going to be cheaper than me buying graham crackers and all the candies one needs to decorate, so we'll go for it. HAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHA. Next year, we will go for the grahams and candy. But it was still fun!
Day 24: May it have it's own post...

Final thoughts on the envelopes: LOVED it. Dollar store is the place to go for fun crafts, etc. Glue dots are the craft world's greatest inventions.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

BROOKE!

I have an eternal friend named Brooke. She is joy and pureness and goodness and a light in my life. She is so much so, that when my second daughter was born we named her Brooke in hopes that one day she could grow up and emulate this eternal friend. One of my favorite qualities that Momma Brooke posses is her ability to exude the gospel. She is not just a member of the church, but she embodies what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Everytime I am with her, my testimony is strengthened. Certainly I hope my little Brooke can live her life in this way too.

Momma Brooke ("When I grow old then you will know TWO Momma Brookes, your friend Momma Brooke and me, 'cause I will be bigger!") lives in Africa. But good fortune, her husband Scott's family lives in Utah...and guess where they came for their Thanksgiving/wedding/Christmas break?? The kiddos and I made it a little trip to see our dear friends the Rasmussens. And it was joy.
Ram and Natalie look like siblings...
And this is the essence of our friendship. We want to take a picture together. I give the camera to Viana...

This is all we get, I show the results to Brooke and we knowingly say to each other, "We are mothers." And we both LOVE it.

After our afternoon together we headed to Provo, mostly because I am too intimidated to drive in the dark at the threat of deer season and stopped for a little play break at the mall,
And then headed to Krista's apartment. It was so fun to be in college again! And see that boy, that is Tristram. He was one of my residents the very first year I was a HA. And now he is one of Krista's dear friends. It was great to catch up with him!
And, my children were made for college life. They had a blast!
And Krista treated us to 5-star sleeping arrangements. Thanks Kris! (And Chels and Rach and Elise and Brenda!)
What a great little detour to our normal week!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas countdown..are we really over halfway??

This year we've been having a pretty fun countdown to Christmas. Each day the girls get to open an envelope that has either an activity or an adventure in it. They really love it, and I love that they love it! Every day I hear them say, "Is it my turn or your turn to open it? Do you think it will be an activity or an adventure?" Well, here is what we have done thus far... Day 1: Paint Mickey Mouse Christmas pictures

Day 2: Make fun snowmen friends
Day 3: Visit Christmas Tree Lane
Day 4: Stay in a hotel in Las Vegas
What is good about a hotel? Everything when there are mirrors on the closet doors with plenty of room to dance...not to mention and UPSIDE DOWN Christmas tree in the lobby!
Day 5: Decorate felt Christmas trees
Day 6: Visit Santa in the park
We had a small Christmas miracle while there...Eric was supposed to be at class all night, but it was cancelled and he got there right before we saw Santa...that is glee like I've never seen it!
I didn't even want to risk Ram's reaction with Santa...so stroller it was
And we always love the hayride to the live nativity scene! (Basically I love Monroe)
Day 7: Party time for Veezy!
Day 8: Make lollipops (I thought, "How important can a candy thermometer be?" Apparently, VERY--but we still had fun!)
Day 10: Help teach library story hour and do a Christmas activity
Day 11: Spanish Fork Festival of Lights
We LOVED it!!!
And look at those RAMS!!!
Days 9 & 12: Make Christmas cookies, then pick 5 friends to deliver them to.
Day 13: Make and paint ornaments
Day 14: Do Christmas stencils...or let Ram get a hold of them

This has been so fun and it has helped our whole life! No envelope until we're dressed, fed and cleaned up...so we have had a cleaner home! And, Viana has such an active brain this has really helped direct her and give her something to do! What is ahead, activity or adventure? We will be sure to re-cap the rest when it is through!