Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

So this morning began with the playing of Christmas music to arouse those who were sleeping.  Once everyone was awake, about 8:00am, we began to open presents.  As per tradition we started from the youngest to the oldest.


Chloe got lots of Polly Pockets, a Barbie kitchen and  laptop, and new pajamas.  Cooper got a Nerf gun and compound bow, harmonica, camera, and new pajamas.  Zane got a Nerf gun,  a shirt, ear buds, gift card, and cash.  Zac got ear buds and an mp3 player, a gift card, cash, and a new shirt.  Oh, the shirt has a cow talking to a gallon jug of milk.  The cow says, "Milk, I am your father."  and the milk says, "Noooooo!"


Kyle got a watch, cologne, gift card, and an ornament.  I got a glove and scarf set, perfume and body wash, a DVD, an ornament, and a canister set.  So we opened all the gifts, everyone got to play with their toys.  We lounged around a bit.  We watched A Christmas Story (there is a marathon on TBS).  Then we watched my new DVD,  PeeWee's Playhouse Christmas.

After the movies, I started on our Christmas Dinner.  We are going to have prime rib.  I will add to this post after dinner and after the other things we do today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Traditions

My family has been talking about traditions for Christmas.  I thought I would put my two cents in.

1.  Christmas tree.  Growing up we had a 3 ft. plastic tree.  Since I've been married, we've always gotten a real tree.  Sure the first few years the tree was like Charlie Brown's tree.

2.  Ornaments.  we generally have the same color scheme for our tree each  year.  We use a string of bead as the garland.  The lights are colored lights.  The ornaments are a mixture of red and gold.  There are also Hallmark ornaments.  See, as a teenager I worked at a Drugstore that sold Hallmark ornaments.  I love to collect teddy bears, so I began purchasing teddy bear Hallmark ornaments.  My husband gets me one each year as my stocking stuffer.  He likes cars, so I get him an American Classic Car ornament each year for his stocking stuffer.

3.  Decorations.  I remember some of the little Christmas tchotchkes that my mother had that would be placed around the living room.  My favorite was Mr. & Mrs. Claus kissing.  I too have knick knacks that I put around the house.  I group them.  So there is a tree section, a snowman section, a Santa section, an angel section and two nativities.  One nativity is the nice one that is put out of reach of little hands.  Then I have a wooden kid-friendly nativity that is put within reach. Also, each of my groupings have books that go with them.

4.  Stockings.  I made our stockings after Zane was born.  I of course had to make more once Cooper and Chloe were born.  The stockings are made of felt and are fur-lined around the top.  I hang them from some posts that divide the living room and family room.

5.  Presents.  Kyle and I try to stick to a certain dollar amount to spend for each of the kids.  Depending on what they have asked for, and within the confines of the set $ limit, the kids will get one or multiple gifts.  They also get gifts from their grandparents.  On occasion they'll get something from their cousins or aunts & uncles.   For the ones that come in the mail, they go under the tree.  I know the kids would rather open them as they come.  But then they wouldn't have as many to open on Christmas Day.  We also open the gifts youngest to oldest just as I did as a kid.

6.  Cards.  I like to get and send Christmas cards.  Sometimes I include a newsletter.  There have been some years where I don't get that many cards.  I wonder if it is a dying art.  I always send a card because you have to get to give.  Also, I have friends, former neighbors or coworkers with whom I want to keep in contact.  Sometimes, the Christmas card is the only communication we'll have, unless one of us has a baby or has moved.  I post my Christmas cards around the entry way that separates the living room and family room.  My mother did this too.  Her cards would be posted around an entryway, archway or doorway depending on the house we lived in.

7.  Meals.  I am often the first one awake on Christmas morning.  I don't want to just go around waking everyone up just because I am anxious to open presents.  I want them to naturally wake up.  I am surprised that they aren't already up.  So, to lure them out of bed I start cooking breakfast.  I hope to awake their sense with smells of bacon, eggs, and hash browns.  I also make breakfast for them to eat something nutritious before they just binge on candy from their stocking.  We also make a nice Christmas dinner.  This is usually a ham or turkey. I like to set the table with china and crystal.  Last year Kyle got me some nice flatware.

8.  Snacks.  I like to make some snacks to give to the neighbors.  The kids will help me make Christmas cookies.  This year I am making fruit cocktail cake.  The neighbors also give us some holiday snacks.  So far this year we've gotten cinnamon rolls, carmel corn and toffee.  I have a neighbor who is from England.  She has given us mincemeat mini pies.

9.  Christmas Day.  So we wake up, eat breakfast, open presents, check our stockings and then just hang out.  We spend the day playing with our toys, playing games, playing in the snow, and taking naps.  We will make calls to the grandparents to thank them for the gifts, and to see what they got.

10.  Faux Christmas.  Now, since my family is spread throughout the country we can't all get together for Christmas.  My parents will travel to make the rounds to visit all of their children.  So they usually come to Utah the first or second weekend of December.  We gather at my sister's house and eat a nice meal, open presents, play games and have a nice visit.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Meme

The last time I went caroling - last month I went with the Primary kids and we sang Primary songs to the elderly in our ward.  I haven't been Christmas caroling in I don't know how long.

My favorite Drink in the winter is - Hot Chocolate.  In the winter I have a cup and some buttered toast for breakfast about every morning.  I love the Stephen's gourmet hot cocoas.  This year I have tried their cinnamon cocoa and their dulce de leche caramel cocoa.  I have yet to try their chocolate orange.

My favorite Holiday meal - I love to cook a nice formal Christmas dinner.  We use the china and crystal, and last year I got fancy flatware.

I think Fruit Cake - is something that people love to hate.

One tradition we had growing up - was that we couldn't come out of our rooms on Christmas morning until we heard my mother's Christmas albums playing softly.  That was our signal that it was OK to open presents.

One tradition we have now - When my husband and I are out Christmas shopping we stop at Apollo Burger and I get some baklava.

I get my Christmas Tree from - which ever local place has nice ones that are cheap.

I decorate - usually the first weekend in December.

On Christmas Eve I/we usually - probably watch Christmas movies.  I'm anxious for the kids to go to bed so that I can fill their stockings.

On Christmas morning I/we wake up - I am usually the first one up and am always surprised that my kids aren't up and waiting to open presents.  I play Christmas music and bake something to arouse them from their slumber.

One special thing I make at Christmas time is - sugar cookies that the kids help me cut out and decorate.

My Favorite Christmas song is - I have sooo many... "With Wondering Awe" "Ave Maria" "Baby It's Cold Outside"

Every Christmas - we play all day, watch whatever movies we got as gifts, eat a lot of candy from our stockings, we put together the toys, play outside in the snow and just hang out being lazy.

I hang my stockings - on posts that divide the family room from the living room.

Something I look forward to at Christmas time is - getting Christmas cards and getting treats from the neighbors.

My Favorite Thing about the Holidays - is spending time with family & friends.

Something I want to start incorporating is - having more Christ centered activities

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I say it's my Birthday! Happy Birthday to me!

One year older and wiser too.

So, today is my birthday.  I am 37 years old.  I can hardly believe it.  I don't mind saying my age out loud.  I'm not one of those people who are 21 or 29 for 15 years.  I like to say my age because I look younger than what I am.  One good thing that I got from my mother was good skin.  Oh, and the good sense to use sunscreen and not fake-bake.  I also have the good sense to not smoke.  Tanning and smoking are wrinkle makers.  I do have some wrinkles.  My laugh lines. If I wasn't such a humorous person, but had a serious, stoic personality I wouldn't even have those wrinkles.

My classmates are always shocked when they find out how old I am.  They swear I look 25 years old.  They say I don't look like I am old enough to have four children already, much less that my eldest child is 16 years old.

I like birthdays.  It is the one day you don't need to feel selfish of being self-centered.  Hey everybody, look at me!  It's my birthday!  There are those people who never mention their birthday and hope that it passes just like any other day.  Not me.  I want to be showered with congratulations, attention, and gifts.  I will mention my upcoming birthday in casual conversation.  While going over the calendar with my students I would mention my birth date and how I like chocolate and teddy bears.

This year my birthday got celebrated early.  Kyle bought me an mp3 player for our Thanksgiving trip.  Then last weekend he took me out to eat at Gloria's Little Italy.  I love pasta.  Kyle, not so much, but he puts up with it once a year for my birthday.

My parents gave me perfume and sent me an e-card.  I have received many birthday greetings on my Facebook page from former high school classmates, my friends, family and coworkers.  Kyle promises me that he will give me a card today.  I hope there is a cake or some chocolate eclairs to go along with it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Praxis Recognition

So what I like about blogging is that you can brag about yourself because it's your blog.  You don't have to feel guilty or you don't come off as a pompous jerk (hopefully).

Anyway, my last post I told you about the results of my Praxis II exam of Elementary Education Content Knowledge.  Out of a total of 200, I scored a 192.  So yesterday I get a big envelope with this big blue folder.

Inside the folder was a letter.

And then there was a certificate.

Again, I sang like Homer Simpson, "I am so smart.  S-M-R-T, I mean S-M-A-R-T." 
See Homer dance here:  Homer is so smart

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Last month I took the PRAXIS exam which is the teacher licensure exam.  (Doctor's take the MCAT, Lawyers take the LSAT).  Today the PRAXIS exam results were posted.  A passing score is 150 out of 200.  The average range of performance scores is 151-176.  The median score was 164.  Those who score in the top 15% earn the Recognition of Excellence.  They will be given a formal recognition certificate and congratulatory letter from the Educational Testing Service.

The PRAXIS scores 4 content areas; Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science.  So, now that I've built it up you are wondering where my score fell. Well, I passed!  I scored a 192 and I am in the top 15% of candidates and have earned the Recognition of Excellence!

Oh, yeah! I am so smart, S-M-R-T, I mean, S-M-A-R-T. (sung like Homer Simpson)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Miller Christmas Early

This weekend has been a busy weekend.  My parents were in town for a family Christmas.  We spent Friday night at my ward's Christmas party.  Then Saturday we went to my sister Emma's for our Miller Family Christmas and stayed for her ward's Christmas party.

We ate lots of good food, there was something for everyone we had pizza, Chinese and KFC chicken.  My dad made a fruit cocktail cake (which by the way I need the recipe).  Then we played some games and snacked on the desserts.  Then Kyle made a run to the nearest convenience store to get us something salty to snack on while we played games.

We opened presents in the mock family room.

Now, my sister had posted on her Facebook and blog about eating marshmallows, how she has been out of marshmallows, snacks she's made with marshmallows.  So what else could I get her for Christmas?

Then, later, guess who were Santa & Mrs. Claus?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Many faces of Kyle

So my husband Kyle has been playing around with his facial hair.  For many years he has worn a goatee.  He has black hair, but as he is growing older he has gotten some gray hairs.  His goatee sported black, brown and gray hairs having a salt and pepper look.  It was very distinguished.

Also, since he's gotten older the goatee is getting grayer.  He thinks it is making him look older.
Kyle shaved part of his goatee for Halloween for his rocker costume.

Of course he couldn't go to church the next day with that kind of facial hair so he shaved it all off.  Then throughout the week he got many comments on how he looked younger.  One friend said he was now "Babyface Kyle".

Kyle also wanted to play with a scruffy look.  He had seen the People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive and noticed that most of the men in there had some facial hair.  Just think about some pop culture icons with a five o'clock shadow or a three day shadow; George Michael, Dr. Gregory House,  Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, I'm sure I could go on and on.

So, what do you think?  Goatee, clean shaven or scruffy?  What look do you like on Kyle?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Our family tradition for Thanksgiving is to go to Wyoming to Kyle's parents' house.  From where we live in Utah it is an 11 hour drive.  We load up the minivan with our luggage, travel snacks, toys & games and movies for the drive.

We leave bright and early Wednesday morning so that we can arrive around dinner time.  Thanksgiving day is full of cooking, cleaning and preparing for the big dinner.  My job is to set the table and to make the relish tray.  Each relative has their own food dish that they are in charge of making ranging from salads and sides to pies.  We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, veggies, fruit salad, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, peach pie and muffins.

The kids got along well, they played pretty hard this weekend.  There were lots of babies for me to play with and get my baby 'fix'.  Then before everyone left for the evening we took some family pictures.

We got everyone in there including one of the dogs.  We have Kyle, Zac, Jim, Mary, Kellen, Trista, Krystina, Candy, Cayson, Cruz, Mercedes, Anna, Mike, Naomi, Chloe, Cooper, DeeDee, Kassie, Daxton, Larry, Zane and Yoti the dog.  Jeremy took the picture.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lost Dog

As I walked home from choir practice yesterday this dog was following me.  I figured after I got inside my house she would go away.  Nope.  She hung around.  Cooper and Chloe went outside to play in the snow and the dog was still there.  She followed the kids around.  They played fetch with her.  We found a tennis ball to throw to her.  We gave her some water.  Chloe tried to feed the dog some cat food.

Kyle called the police animal control department.  The guy doesn't work on Sunday so we'll have to call back on Monday.  Our choices were to leave the dog out and maybe she'll find her way home, or keep her contained over night until someone could pick her up in the morning.  We left her outside until we were ready to go to bed.  She was still out there.  So I put her in the garage with a blanket and some water.

This morning I let her out hoping she would just go home.  Nope.  She has been hanging around.  So after the kids left for school I called the police department for animal control.  She said that she would send the guy over.

Here are some pictures of the dog.  I think she's a boxer mix.

Look at those big brown eyes.  How could I turn her over to the doggie police?
I have three cats, a broken fence and no dog supplies, nor any money to buy such things.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BYU Campus, a nature preserve?

Friday I had some work to do on campus and Chloe came with me.  As we were walking up the hill, we saw two deer on the trail.  They seemed lost.  First they crossed the trail ducking under the railing.  Then they went up the hill a ways.  Then they back tracked down, ducked under the railing, and continued down the hill.

 After I did what work I could, we took a different path down the hill to the parking lot.  We stopped by the pond to see the duck.  There were lots of them.  Some of the ducks were fighting over an acorn that they found.  We stood by the pond, all the ducks in the pond started heading our way and all the ones on the ground started coming toward us too.  We just stood there, they just stood there looking at us expectantly.  I think they were expecting us to throw them some food.  Too bad we didn't have any bread.  When they realized we didn't have anything, they moved away.

After we watched a few splash-landings Chloe decided to chase a few ducks.  She got all the ducks in the pond.  What a good little herder.

Next time we go to look at the ducks I'll be sure to bring some bread.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Personal Space

For my Instructional Psychology and Technology class we had to make a self-modeling video.  We picked a social skill that we could emulate inappropriately and appropriately.  My group chose to model respecting the personal space of others and not being a "space invader".  Here you will see Autumn, Katie and Cami going up to random and unsuspecting people on BYU campus displaying the inappropriate ways to interact with others.  Then, I make an appearance (and Chloe) in displaying appropriate personal space distance.

Space Invaders

I hope you watched the end credits.  After watching our video you have to take a look at our inspiration for this social skill.  Here is Aaron 'the close talker', played by Judge Reinhold on Seinfeld.

Seinfeld clip

To everyone out there, be aware of your space bubble.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Here's what we dressed up as for Halloween this year:

Chloe was a Spider Witch

Cooper was Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat

I was a Bar Wench or a Gypsy.  I needed either a bierstein or more jangly jewelry to make it complete.

Kyle was my 80's rocker boyfriend.  He was basically Joe Dirt's dark-haired cousin.

Zane and his friend Shay dressed up as band member from Guns N Roses.  Zane was Izzy Stradlin and Shay was Slash.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grown-Up Girl Bonding Time

I had some errands to do on campus today, but no classes.  So, after lunch I took Chloe there with me.  After walking all over and climbing many stairs we got the task done.  So I treated us to some ice cream at the BYU Creamery at the Cougareat.

Chloe had the cookies and cream.  I had the Bishop's Bash, which was chocolate ice cream with burnt almonds and caramel.  Mmmh, Mmmh, Good!  Jealous?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Party

We had a lot of fun at the Pumpkin Party.  We got a late start, but once we started there was no stopping.

For eats we had a stuffed pumpkin, a savory pumpkin dip with crackers, a sweet pumpkin dip with cookies and crackers, pumpkin gooey bars, pumpkin streusel bars, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin-shaped cookies for the kids to frost and decorate.

The kids also got to do some Punkin' Chuckin'.  There were targets in the back yard, sling-shots for the smaller pumpkins and when they ran out of pumpkins they started shooting crab apples.

We also had pumpkin carving.  There were some funny faces, a lion and Chloe's name.

There was plenty of good conversation and games.  This is my second annual party.  I've been thinking about having parties featuring other foods.  Hmm, almost like my own Iron Chef, each dish must contain the featured ingredient.