Saturday, January 25, 2014

20 Toppings: Hotdogs!

This year we're going to try to have people over every month for 20 Toppings nights. 20 Toppings nights are where we pick a food that uses toppings, and eat it with 20 toppings. 

Tonight was our first 20 Toppings night, and we did hot dogs.  Hotdogs with 10 or more toppings are pretty common street fare in São Paulo, and Christy is always talking about her beloved Completos she is enjoying in Chile.

Our 20 Hotdog toppings were:
  1. Ketchup
  2. Mustard (both brown and yellow, but only counting it once!)
  3. Mayonnaise
  4. Relish
  5. Pineapple
  6. Jalapeños
  7. Sauerkraut 
  8. Guacamole
  9. Mushrooms
  10. Bacon bits
  11. Fritos
  12. French Fried Onions
  13. Cheese
  14. Tomatoes
  15. Fresh onions
  16. Green Peppers
  17. Corn
  18. Lettuce
  19. Fried Eggs
  20. Chile
We used the 80 count beef franks from Sam's Club and bolillo rolls for the buns. The bolillo rolls we found at the local Cub grocery store. They're bigger and stretchier than hot dog buns, which was critical for our super dogs. 

Here's me with a single hot dog, with everything on it. 

Monday, January 20, 2014


For Christmas, we gave Calvin a hamster cage and told him that once we got back home from our trip, I would take him to the pet store and he could pick out a hamster.  He was SO excited!  We got back late on a Saturday night, and we don't shop on Sundays, so that left Monday morning as the earliest possible hamster pick up day.  It was a windchill of -35, but I still took Calvin to get his hamster.  He was just so adorably excited that I didn't have it in me to disappoint him!

So out we went to the pet store, where Calvin picked out his very first pet!  He wanted a teddy bear hamster, and the store had exactly two.  He had his heart set on a brown one, and we were in luck!  The had one brown one, and one that was white and grey.  He told the salesperson that he wanted the brown one, and while she went to get the paperwork, we looked at the hamsters and reached in to pet them.  The brown one kept scrambilng away and wanted nothing to do with Calvin.  But the white and grey one was so sweet and friendly.  It just kept coming up to Calvin's hand and sniffing him.  And with that, Calvin fell in love and announced that he had changed his mind!  So we got our little hamster all packed up and headed home!  On the way, Calvin announced that her name would be Peps.  I'm not sure where he came up with it, but I think it suits her. 

Calvin LOVES Peps, and takes very good care of her.  I have to remind him not to put weird things in her cage, and to leave the cage on the table in his room where it belongs, etc.  But so far he has taken great care of Peps, always making sure she had enough food and water and cleaning her cage when it gets dirty.  We take her out once in a while and let her explore in her hamster ball.  She's usually sleeping during the day, but despite that fact, the first thing Calvin does when he gets home from school is run to his room "to check on Peps!"  She's always awake at night when I put the laundry away once the kids are sleeping, there running on her wheel!

She is a great little pet, and Calvin sure loves her.  And Ryan and Sophie and our cousins and friends have been pretty impressed, too, which has been fun for Calvin.  Here are some pictures of our little buddy!

Picking her out at the pet store:

Trying out the hamster ball:

Getting to know his little buddy:

 Tonight Michael had a stroke of genius.  We've had this little house for a while, and Michael grabbed it right before dinner and set it out on the table.  Then he put Peps inside and shut the door.  Then we called the kids for dinner and didn't say anything about it.  They were absolutely shocked and delighted when after a few seconds, Peps nudged the door open and crawled right out!  I only wish we had video taped it!  Their faces were so priceless!  Calvin said, "That was SO SURPRISING!!!!"

We kept her in the house, though.  Except she did wander out a bit during the prayer and made it all the way over to Calvin's plate to sniff his food...

That little house was just the right size for her!

We gave her a bit of carrot and a piece of squash...

 Here she is, peeking through the window:

And here she is, crawling around on Calvin after dinner:

This boy loves his hamster!

Welcome to the family, Peps!  You should know, Calvin prays for you every time he says prayers.  It's awfully sweet.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

9 Months Old

Our sweet little Hannah turned 9 months old on the 2nd!  She is funny--she only had a handful of tricks (sitting up, scooting backwards, rolling over...) before we left on our trip, but by the time we got back, she was clapping, waving, saying "hi", pulling herself to standing, pointing, and crawling! So we now officially have a mover, and pretty much nothing is safe anymore!  She is getting faster with her crawl, and I especially like it when she comes to find me.  It's pretty cute.

So, some things about Hannah at 9 months.

-She has always been a little shorter than average and a little heftier than average, but she's now solidly average in height, weight and head.  She weighs about 18 1/2 pounds. 
-Hannah HATES bibs.  HATES them.  She yells and screams when I put them on her, and is fine once they're off.  Usually she'll be distracted enough to eat regardless, but sometimes she hollers until I remove the bib.
-She discovered oranges for the first time the other day and went totally nuts.  She loves them.
-She is mesmerized by toothbrushes.
 -She still likes to rock, just not as much as she used to.  I guess she has better things to do now.  But she does like the rockin' dog we have in our basement!
-If she could play with anything in the world, I am pretty sure she would choose a pen or an electrical cord.
-Hannah still loves bath time.  She especially loves it when she has Sophie in the tub with her.
-Hannah is a very social baby.  She loves to say hi to people and wave her arms frantically at them.  And today at church she was asleep when we arrived, and so when she woke up in the middle and we took her out of her seat, she was SOOOO HAPPY to see that she was in a room completely full of people to smile at.
-Poor Hannah falls down a lot, now that she's mobile and trying to stand up.  She's always clunking her head on something...
-Hannah has a feisty streak, for sure.  Borderline violent.  It has me a bit nervous about how this is going to take shape in her personality.  She pinches, grabs hard, yanks hair, whacks you in the face, you name it.  I don't remember this from our other babies, at least not to this extent.  It's usually when she doesn't want to be put to bed or when she's super hungry.  So watch out for Hangry Hannah!
-She is still a good little snuggler, when she's done being feisty, that is!  She still sometimes bops around between us in bed in the mornings, but not as often.  She's usually more interested now in getting down and playing.
-She loves to be in the middle of the older sibling action.  She'll sometimes still tolerate being put in the exersaucer, in which case I feel comfortable letting her stay down in the basement with them watching them play while I get something done.  But most of the time she wants to be crawling around playing with things, and who can blame her!
-She really loves when people clap and cheer for her, and especially loves to give them a good round of applause in return.
-She goes through more diapers and more outfits than any baby ever.  We actually had to buy her some clothes on the Utah trip because we couldn't keep up with the laundry.
-Hannah is our little percussionist.  She loves the bongos, the snare drum, drum sticks, the cowbell, or even just some good old fashioned pots and pans.
-She totally lost interest in nursing last month, and is now 100% bottle fed.  Something about that age for my kids, 3 out of the 4 have weaned themselves between 8 and 9 months.
-She still doesn't have any teeth.  But she doesn't let that stop her from gumming up table food to the best of her abilities!  She loves to feed herself, but also sometimes gets pretty mad because she can't get herself full enough.  Then she will allow us to spoon feed her.
-She is so SO excited to see me when I get her out of her crib after sleeping.  It's my favorite.  I'll have to go in there with a camera one these days and capture it.
-She is working hard to be a professional whistler, you know, King Julian style.
-She can almost always be cheered up by a bottle and/or her big sister and brothers.  She loves them so much, and they are so good to her.

We love our sweet little Hannah girl!  And now for some pictures!

A couple of weeks ago, we stuck Hannah in a box to play.  Then we handed her some guys from the nativity set to play with.  Then I had the strangest feeling of deja vu!

Hannah at 9 months:

Sophie at 9 months!  She sure looks scrawny, hey? These are from Sophie's 9 month blog post!

 Here are some pictures of my 9 month photo shoot with Hannah:

I can see why Grandma thinks she just might have red hair someday:

She crawls on her toes with one foot, and with the other foot tucked underneath, dragging along:

Cheesy smile!


Discovering her sticker... What is this thing??

 Hey, it comes off!

Did you SEE THIS???

I should eat it.

Or maybe stick it here.

No, no, I'll just it eat.

Hannah now stands to bongo.

The swath of destruction she left in the kitchen the other day.  It's like a hidden picture thing!  Can you find 3 pot lids, a pot lid rack, a metal organizer she ripped off the cabinet, wax paper, parchment paper, plastic wrap, tin foil, a jar ring, an alphabet pals fridge toy, a magnet, and a bag of sweet potatoes!

Hannah loves to eat, and spends a good portion of time in her high chair each day.  This day AnnaMarie and the kids were over having waffles for dinner, and we left the bowl of whipped cream a little too close.  Good snag, Hannah!

She just woke up, and was pleased as punch to have 3 binkies to hold onto!  She kept roatating which one was in her mouth.

She discovered cottage cheese is a big way.

Smoochies from Daddy:

Cool baby:

A video of Hannah saying her first word!  The first couple tries are pretty good.  After that she gets a little lazy...

And if you have ever been dying to see 3 minutes and 56 seconds of Hannah playing the drums, etc., then look no further!

Hannah rocking on the rockin' dog!  That part is at the beginning, the rest in Calvin and Sophie showing off for their future selves...cute, but a little on the long side :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The rest of our trip!

As I said in the last post, the wedding was so lovely, and we were so very glad we were able to go for it!  But as of Sunday, James and Miranda were honeymooning, Abbey and Spencer were in Texas, and everyone who came in for the wedding had gone back out.

We were sad to see them all go, but super excited to spend some time with my Aunt and Uncle, cousins, and some dear friends.  We seriously had such a great time!  David and Joanne were such gracious hosts.  They made us a delicious hot breakfast every single day!  I tried to beat them out to the kitchen in the mornings and make something for them a couple of times, but they always, ALWAYS beat me!

They treated our kids like their own grandchildren, and our kids just seriously LOVED them!  And Chloe the dachshund, and the bed with the remote control, and the toys and the movies and the fabulous meals, and my cousin Richard's basement apartment.  It was so nice of Dave and Joanne to let us pretty much take over their house for a week.  I will never forget the wonderful time we got to spend with them!

On Sunday we went to church with my cousin Stephanie and her family, and it was so fun!  They have such sweet kids, and it was so fun to see our kids buddy right up.  That night, Dave and Joanne hosted a get together with some of my cousins and aunts and uncles that live in the area.  We had such a great time getting together!  All of the kids are getting so big, and it is so fun to see them all together.  We sure missed everybody who couldn't make it!

On Monday we went to hear Stephanie's concert on Temple Square and went to see the lights.  It was beautiful, and the kids really loved the concert, which surprised me, because they usually don't really love sitting still quietly...But they really did great!  After the concert, however, our kids were pretty much lost it.  So we decided to come back on Tuesday to let the kids look around.  And that was really fun!  We got to see the Christus statue and do the tour of the conference center and everything.  It was great, and the kids really loved it.

On Tuesday afternoon, we headed down to Spanish Fork to spend New Years Eve going sledding with our good friends, Brian and Diane and their kids.  The sledding was so awesome!  It was a great sledding hill, it was 40 degrees outside, and the hill bordered the Festival of Lights, so there were Christmas lights and Christmas music playing all around.  We all had such a blast!

After the sledding, we headed back to Brian and Diane's house to have dinner, play games (we are now hooked on Bananagrams!), and let the kids play around.  We decided that we would head back to Dave and Joanne's whenever the kids got grumpy and put them to bed there.  We told them that we would leave when they were grumpy, and guess what?  They never got grumpy!  All 3 stayed awake until midnight!!!  Without naps, folks!  It was insane.  Brian and Diane's kids all ended up falling asleep, but our kids were determined!  So we all rang in 2014 awake!!  Except maybe Hannah.

The next day, as I recall, we really paid for letting them stay up late, and they were all pretty much disasters.  But they still got to play with Stephanie's kids again and we all had a nice dinner together with Dave and Joanne and Kim and Stephanie.  It was really a lovely way to end the trip!

That night once the kids were off to bed, Michael and I packed everything up and got all ready to go.  I headed out to the store for a couple of last minute things, and while I was at Target (after checking out and walking towards the exit), I totally saw a bunch of college kids racing towards the exit with 2 carts FULL of stuff.  It was crazy, no one even tried to stop them.  Well, I'm not one to just let that sort of thing slide.  So I followed them discreetly and took down their plate number and called the cops.  Ha, joke's on you, punks!  I wish I knew whether they ever got them or not.  But it was funny, on the way back to my Uncle's house, I called Michael and told him I may have helped apprehend some criminals, and he laughed and said I was out fighting crime.  Good memories.

On Thursday morning, we bid a fond farewell to my aunt and uncle and headed on our way home!  On the way back we decided to make it a little more fun for the kids and stop for two nights instead of just one, and take more time to swim and have some fun.  The kids did awesome for the most part (the last few hours of the trip is always complete insanity for everyone), and we stayed at hotels with really awesome pools and free mini golf.  We had a great time!  We even got to stop in and see Vicki in Rawlins, which is always fun.  Next time we'll have to make a point of staying there and spending more than just an hour with her.  She is so wonderful, and we love her to pieces!

So, we finally made it home on Saturday, around 8 or so at night.  Hallelujah!  It was a long but a really lovely trip!  Thanks for getting married, James and Miranda, so we had a good excuse to come!

And now, a (not) surprisingly huge number of pictures!  Disclaimer: a lot of these have red eyes.  I usually fix them, but I just didn't have it in me tonight!

Uncle Dave, letting the kids help with making breakfast:

A whole bunch of second cousins watching a movie!


Discovering that the bed Sophie had been sleeping on for 4 days was, in fact, a remote control bed!

Calvin and Sophie liked pretending they were on a roller coaster.  Pretty exciting roller coaster...

Here's a video of them playing with the bed, for your viewing pleasure:

 Michael and a happy Hannah:

Hannah playing with my cousin Richard:

Michael and Hannah:

Ryan and Calvin with their second cousins, Amelia and Lucy:

Our happy family!  That's a joke.  Sophie is totally freaking out.  I guess the rest of us were fine, though.

Me with three of my little loves:


The whole family at temple square the next day:

Ryan REALLY wanted a picture in this spot.

Seeing the Christus statue:

Hannah loves riding on Michael's shoulders:

Kids by the temple:

Ryan was in his element at the sledding hill.  We borrowed these flexible flyers form my aunt and uncle, and they were REALLY fast.  Like so fast that I was too scared to go down on them a second time.

Hannah and Me:

Calvin heading back up the hill:

Sophie had fun, even though she totally refused to wear gloves.

Happy little Calvin:

Michael makes a good tow rope.

Michael and Hannah:

Sledding buddies:

The kids relaxing at Brian and Diane's house:

We made it to midnight, hooray!

My three crazy kids just after ringing in 2014:

Me, Michael, Brian and Diane:

Playing with Chloe back at Uncle Dave's house.  She was a huge hit with the kids:

Sophie and Joanne:

Ryan and Amelia.  He admitted to me after leaving that he had a crush on her.  I informed him that cousins were off limits.

Ryan, Calvin, Lucy and Amelia:

My kids with Uncle Dave and Aunt Joanne:

Me with my cousins, Kim and Stephanie:

Amelia LOVED Hannah.  The feeling was mutual.

Meeting up with Vicki for lunch in Rawlins.  Oh, funny story!  While we were there, some perfect stranger came up to us and asked if we knew AnnaMarie Ferrell.  Uh, yep??  Turns out they were friends of theirs from Milwaukee, and somehow they recognized us from pictures or something.  They were on their way home from Utah, too!  Crazy small world!

Kids having an after-swim bath:

Calvin LOVED is alligator in the pool:

And Sophie LOVED the teeny tiny water slides:

She really DIDN'T love the alligator, but insisted on taking a picture with it after Calvin took one...

My girls in their matching swimsuits:

 Playing mini golf at the hotel:

Sophie did this a lot of the time:

And also a lot of this.  She said she was playing a cheetah game, whatever that meas.  Whatever it was, it didn't involve golfing.

Calvin getting serious about his shot:

A very grainy picture of all of us crammed onto the king sized bed, watching March of the Penguins.  It was a fun night!

So, Hannah started crawling on out hotel room floor on that Thursday night!  Here's some video proof: