Thursday, December 30, 2010


It would be so easy to focus on the stress and the negativity in my life right now. Sure Trav's having a hard time finding a new job and the lay off at his company is stretching on longer than we had thought it would. And yes, this couldn't have come at a worse time since we just bankrupted both our savings and emergency funds in September (don't think for a second I'm complaining about that at all though. She's totally worth it.)

And yet despite the job scarcity and the money being tight, when I look at my life I see a life surrounded by abundance. An abundace of love. An Abundance of smiles and hugs and kisses. An abundance of mornings spent snuggling the two sweetest kids in the world. An abundance of family and friends who are both supportive and understanding. An abundance of faith, knowing that because we've made the correct choices and sacrifies, that the Lord will provide. An abundance of joy. An abundance of health. An abundance of little blessings in disguise that seem to come to us each day. I could go on and on and on. There are so many blessings in my life that my cup truly runneth over.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Photos At Last!

Sorry these have taken me so long to get posted. It's been really busy around here. We were so blessed this year for so many reasons! But we had a great holiday weekend. We spent Friday night up at Grandma & Grandpa's house, so that Santa could come see us there. After spending Christmas morning there we came back to Trav's parents' house where Santa also visited. It was a blessed holiday. And now, sadly, we return to real life, which includes an out of work husband and worries about the lay off. Anyone hiring a Certified Welding Inspector these days?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cali's Top 5 Infamous Christmases

Most of my memories of Christmas past are the usual kind, I suppose. Warm and fuzzy. Full of images of family and gifts and fun and food. I can even bring to mind a few outstanding Spiritual Christmas moments that meant a lot to me. But some Christmases are memorable because they're more infamous than famous. So in the spirit of all that is fun about the holidays, here's the dubious list of my top 5 infamous Christmases:

5. 1986- We spent this Christmas in Indiana with the Eppert side of the family. I remember many things about that holiday including the huge tree at Grandpa Doc's and getting in trouble for opening a present before I was supposed to. But mostly I remember Christmas Eve of that year. Some of you might remember that my mom's birthday is Christmas Eve, so we had her party that year over at Grandma Charlotte's house. I remember two things distinctly a) mom was very pregnant with Skye and b) her cake. Mom turned 30 that Christmas Eve and her sisters had ordered a cake with gray icing and a tombstone that read "RIP Here lies Cindy youth." At 9 Years old I thought it was the most appropriate birthday cake I'd ever seen. Afterall 30 was OLD! Now well into my 30's I cringe to think of that moment because I don't consider my own youth gone at all. Perhaps the tombstone cake was a little premature. (All bets are off though when Travis turns 40 next year.)

4. 1997 - Our first Christmas in Idaho. The family had moved here nearly a year earlier, but for that first Christmas, Santa brought Cody a new sled. Naturally we were, at that time, thrilled by having a white Christmas (also something I cringe about. Having spent waaaaaay too many white, icy, cold, windy Christmases here, I can truthfully say that I agree with Kenny Chesney, all I really want for Christmas anymore is a real good tan! But I digress.) We took the new sled up the butte to a neighbors house, and took turns sliding down the long hill. It was icy, slick, fast and most definitely a rush. That is until mom went down head first and took out another neighbor's garbage cans with her head. The best part is that we have the whole thing on tape thanks to a somewhat dated video camera and Shiloh's mad filming skills from the back of the sled. It's pretty funny stuff!

3. 1998 - Mom had always had this dream of having everyone dress for Christmas dinner. For some reason she had visions of us carving a turkey in suits, ties and fancy gowns. I'm sure it had something to do with something she'd read in a book or seen on television. Either way I was all for it. Any reason to wear high heels and red lipstick is okay with me. Somehow though "dressing for dinner" turned into "dressing up" for dinner. We ended up with me in a sparkly green dress and everyone else...well...let's just say it's the only Christmas dinner you could ever have mistaken for Halloween. We had Uncle Sam at the table and Annie Oakley. I'm pretty sure someone was wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt. And Cody was dressed as a Mariachi Singer in the outfit he'd brought back from Mexico a few weeks earlier. It was all fun and games until Dillon (a boy Cami was dating) showed up. It was only awkward for a few seconds and then the laughter broke out. (I'm pretty sure Cami was more embarrassed at the time than she'll admit now though.) For some reason this tradition stuck around for years despite my adamant refusal to participate and desperate attempts to stamp it out. One year we even had Dolly Parton at the dinner table. (Refresh my memory, did Jesse do Dolly before or after she got together with Kelly?) Anyway, although it provided us with a lot of laughter I for one, am glad we haven't done "dressing for dinner" the last few years. The last thing I need is more stress in my life trying to come up with a costume for Christmas dinner. I already have a hard enough time managing Halloween.

2. 2000 - Sometimes I think I just set myself up for disappointment. After returning home from my mission in late October I had these great expectations about how wonderful it would be to have a Christmas holiday with my family again. I had built up in my mind the great dinner we'd cook and eat together. And all the little things that had become Christmas tradition (including the costumes, although I was dreading that part.) And then mom got to pneumonia. On her birthday they took her to the urgent care clinic. It was only because it was a holiday that they didn't hospitalize her. Instead they gave her lots of drugs and sent her home. She was so sick that she sent Cami and Jacob (who weren't yet officially engaged) to the grocery store to buy everything necessary for Christmas dinner. (Sidebar, two days before Jacob had cut his hand on a tile saw while working on the new house and had to have stitches. Then he bought the engagement ring on his way home from the hospital. I always thought that was a funny story, but no one else seems to find it as amusing as I do.) Anyway Cami and Jacob came home with the list of necessities (milk, eggs, bread, etc) and a Christmas ham. But nothing else. Our Christmas dinner consisted of that lovely ham, canned green beans and peaches and sliced bread with butter, because that's what we had in the house. Santa Claus also struggled that year when he realized at around midnight while he was trying to stuff stockings that because his elf had become ill, she hadn't gotten around to purchasing candy or stocking stuffers. With the help of several of his daughters, he emptied his dresser drawers and stuffed stockings with ammo and a variety of items he'd kept for years. Including 30 year old key chains, shells from beach trips he couldn't remember and even one of his own wisdom teeth. (I returned that to him.)

1. 1988 - Two words: Pink Eye. We were living in a hosue that my dad actually built but we always referred to as the Burgess's house. (The family who lived there after he built it, before we moved into it.) Shiloh got a horse named Honey that year. We made most of our gifts for each other, including sweatshirts decorated with puff paints (Don't judge, it was the 80's.) But mostly I remember four of us lying on the floor under one blanket, watching Christmas specials on TV. And everyone one of us had a patch on one eye or the other. It was pretty miserable. If memory serves (And given the two decades that have passed since I could be foggy on the details) I don't even think we had our Christmas dinner on Christmas. We were used to celebrating with Grandma Peggy and Grandpa Bill but since we were all infected, I don't even remember seeing them that Christmas. I do remember having Christmas dinner a day or two later, but by that time it seemed a little anticlimatic because I'm pretty sure a bout of the flu was circulating through the family. But again, that could be my brain just mushing two different experiences together.

These are by far not the only funny or cringe-worthy Christmas memories I have, but these are the top five that stick in my brain. As we approach Christmas I grow more and more grateful for all of my wonderful blessings, most especially my crazy family who I love so much! This trip down memory lane was mostly intended for them, but I hope the rest of you got some enjoyment out of it as well.
So as a mother I've come to HATE stickers. I hate trying to scrape them off of floors and furniture. Gideon knows he can put them on himself or in a coloring book, or on certain papers, but that's it. When he found a sheet of Christmas stickers the other day, he started passing them out to everyone on in the room, including Michael and Ashlynn who were over for a quick visit. But eventually he decided that Michael would benefit from having ALL of the stickers. And he found increasingly more unique places to put them, including his eyes and mouth.
On a completely unrelated note, my babies were so beautiful for church today that I had to get a picture. Too bad Parker decided she'd had enough. I never could get her to smile for the camera. But trust me, she was gorgeous!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I love my munchkin! He's such a little goofball!!!! Everyday he seems to find new ways to crack me up! Last week I got a new headlamp for the upcoming Ragnar Florida Keys race. (BTW SOOOOOOOOOO excited for that I almost can't stand it!) Of course he had to try it out. Then he went in his bedroom and shut the door and dug through his toy box with all of the lights off. He thought it was the coolest thing ever. I actually had to hide it once he was in bed to make sure and spare the batteries for the actual race!

And yes, he's still in the cowboy phase. He wants to wear his own cowboy boots everywhere and he usually makes Daddy and Grandpa put on their boots so that they'll match. Of course, that's not including the times he wears grandpa's or daddy's boots himself.

As Requested by Cami

Pictures of our holiday decorations. We got a new nativity this year. It's nice because it's inexpensive so Gideon can play with it and I don't worry.

I only put out a couple of my villages this year just because I knew Gideon wouldn't be able to keep his hands off them. (And of course he hasn't.)

My tree is a little bare this year. I purposely left most of the ornaments with any sentimental or intrinsic value in the boxes. My wrapping papers this year are red, silver and white, so I pretty much stuck with that theme for the tree too.

Some special Thanks!

Not to embarrass anyone but I have a few people I want to mention who helped make our Thanksgiving weekend even better! Of course it was a super special weekend for us anyway. We were able to be sealed to our Princess Parker for time and all eternity and then have her blessed in church on Sunday. She was so pretty in all her white. And Gideon couldn't have been more handsome! So first a big shout out to Donna who made not only Parker's gorgeous dress, but Gideon's suit! (Not to mention a bonnet, burp cloth and bib as well!) To everyone who came to the events of the weekend, it was so special to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family members. It was neat to have B.'s parents there as well. What a special family they are! We felt so loved! An especially big hug of thanks to those who traveled so far to be here. James & JeNae for driving through the snow! I was so happy you could be here. And to Pope who not only flew in from Toronto for the weekend, but also did me a great favor by taking over the food preparations for our luncheon. The food was so great and I can never thank her enough for all of her hard work. Plus it was so fun having her here for the entire weekend. And our dear friends Sam & Sara for helping in the kitchen and then taking all of the amazing photos you see here on this post! Anyway we feel so blessed to have such great friends. And even more blessed to have these two beautiful babies in our family forever and ever.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Are you this hard core?

I've never considered myself a hard core runner. In fact I often berate and belittle myself for taking it a little lightly. I run because I enjoy it. I run because it's fun. I run so I can eat whatever I want. I'm not a true racer. Just a recreational runner. But this morning's Turkey Trot made me feel just a little bit hard core. When I lined up at the start line in a temperature of -2 F (and a wind chill of -15) I wondered if I was just a little out of my mind. To be fair, the turkey was probably the warmest guy out there.

Fortunately I wasn't the only insane person out there. There were a couple hundred others out there. All of us dressed in so many layers it was like a running herd of bloated sasquatches. (Sasquatches? Sasquatch?)

Actually it was the volunteers I felt the most sorry for. Especially the 80 missionaries who were out there, giving up part of their holiday to stand in the frigid weather and direct the race. As for me I had on two pair of socks, two pair of running tights, sweatpants, a long sleeve shirt, a technical tee, a sweat shirt, a coat, two pair of gloves, a headband and a hat. Frankly I got so hot around mile two the coat ended up tied around my waist.

But the race was slow going. First of all we were running on a lot of ice and packed snow. It was treacherous in quite a few places, but we managed even though we had to slow down to a walk at several spots. My lungs were burning. I'm not going to lie, it was one of the hardest races I'd done. I kept having to remind myself that I've run a marathon, so I could easily manage this short distance. But it was tough. There were times when the only reason I kept running was the knowledge that if I stopped I'd freeze to death. The highlight of the run came at a corner around the 2.5 mile mark when one happy elder (bouncing around to try and keep himself warm) shouted, "Happy Thanksgiving Y'all! Good Work" I spun around and asked him what part of Texas he was from, "How did you know I was from Texas?" "Honey it takes a Texan to know one." Turns out he was from McAllen which is basically Mexico. He admitted this was the first time he'd ever seen snow. Anyway that little exchange gave me the boost I needed to finish the loop strong. Still when I reached the moment of truth, I decided I'd been as hard core as I needed to be for one Thanksgiving morning. Instead of taking the turn around and going back for another lap (and an additional 3 miles, as I'd been originally slated to do,) I took the fork to the left and headed for the finish.

I tried not to beat myself up for doing only a 5K, instead of 10. But my lungs were on fire, my body was heavy and my eyes were burning and watering from the wind. I did what I always do at the end of the race and kicked it into high gear in the home stretch. I started to feel great when the 30 or so missionaries at the finish line started yelling and cheering. That is until I completely wiped out 10 feet from the finish line. It was humiliating and for the first time I was grateful that no one I knew was there to see it.

Here's me at the starting line. By the end of the race I had frost on my hat and gloves. I saw people with frost on their hair and eyebrows. But I'm glad I did it. In a small way, I feel like a hard core runner and a total rockstar for pushing myself to do this while everyone else was still in bed. And besides, when I was stuffing myself full of turkey and pie some 5 hours later, at least I felt like I had earned every bite.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where to Begin...

It's been so very busy! What a whirlwind weekend! Seriously my head is still spinning! So on Friday we had a little birthday party for Gavin who turned 2 on Saturday. The boys had a good time eating cupcakes and Gideon was super excited to give Gavin his gift.

Speaking of my super sweet baby boy, he's entering this new cowboy phase where he wears daddy's hat, his boots and runs around yelling "YEEHAW!" Actually I think he's being Woody from Toy Story. What's really fun is when he's Woody and Buzz both. He'll wear his Halloween costume and then put on his boots and hat with it.

Travis came home Sunday afternoon. We had a birthday dinner with family that evening. It was fun.

Even Princess P seemed to enjoy everything. She sat comfortably in grandpa's arms and watched everything going down. She's so fun being so alert and awake lately!

A super yummy ice cream cake from Cold Stone! I know there aren't 39 candles on the cake, but don't worry, next year there will definitely be 40!

Daddy, of course, had help blowing out the candles and unwrapping some gifts.

So my mom made a comment the other day about Trav's favorite meal. I told her it was macaroni & cheese and hot dogs. So what did she give him for his birthday?

Monday Travis and I went on a date in the middle of the day. We went to a matinee of Harry Potter (which was incredible) and then had hot chocolate. After that, we had a family date with the judge. Parker got hungry waiting for our turn in the courtroom.

So Nana fixed her up with a little snack.

Parker was so cute during the proceedings. She just sat quietly on my lap and watched everything with a happy smile on her face. After it was all done we visited with our caseworker, Dale and case manager, David from LDS Family Services.

We somehow failed to get a photo with the judge or our attorney, but that's okay, we got a family photo in the courtroom where we became a family legally.

Anyway, last night less than an hour after we left the courtroom, Travis and I jumped in the car and headed toward Utah. He flew out at 6:00am this morning, so we drove through the storm and got a hotel room by the airport. (There was a bonus, though, we managed to get a room at an airport hotel which had a shuttle, so I didn't even have to get out of bed to take him to the airport at 5:00am.) However, I got a very worried phone call from my mother at 7:00am asking what time I was headed home. Apparently there was a huge blizzard hitting the area. I got up and out of there, but still drove right into the teeth of the thing. I hit it at Inkom, just south of Pocatello. The roads were bad, but the blowing snow made the visibility almost nothing. It was just white, white everywhere. It was a grueling drive home but I finally made it. But let me tell you, I was exhausted when I finally got here. I'm so happy to be home, by my fireplace with my babies right now.