Monday, December 29, 2008

Brad-isms 12/29

Yesterday Brad says to me "Let's pretend that you're the mommy and I'm the daddy."
Me: Ok, sounds good.
Brad: (From the other room) Dear!
Me: Yes?
Brad: I need a Diet Coke!
Interesting to get his perception of our relationship!

Today, at the dinner table:
Brad: Mommy, do you like cats?
Me: No, not really.
Brad: (With a sweet expression on his face holding his thumb and finger together) Just a tiny little bit?
Me: Yeah, I guess a tiny little bit.
Brad: Ok! Let's get one!
We're going to have to teach him about the hard sell.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bath Time!

Wow, three posts in one day! Aren't you proud?

I know the day will come when I can't put my kids in the bath together, but that day is not yet. Lucy loves her big brother so much. She just laughs and laughs at everything he does. He also loves her and does everything he can to make her happy. There's been no sibling rivalry at all. Having two is so much more fun than I ever thought it would be!

The Gingerbread Rocket

This Christmas season Brad has seen a few Gingerbread Houses and he wanted us to make one.  I decided it would be better to use graham crackers because there was just no way I was going to make gingerbread from scratch.  We went to the store and got candy and the crackers and frosting in a can (is that any worse or better than cheese in a can?) and came home to build the house.  Upon arriving home Brad informed us that he didn't want to make a gingerbread house, he wanted to make a gingerbread rocket.  It's a bit unorthodox, but it turned out great.  Here are the pictures!  

Brad spent a lot of the time eating the frosting and candy.

Here's the rocket starting to take shape.

And here's the final product.  Pretty sweet for the first ever Graham Cracker Christmas Rocket.

Merry Christmas

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Ours was wonderful. Wednesday night we had a great time playing games and singing carols. Joe read us the Christmas story from the bible and as we read each piece Brad put the ceramic nativity pieces into the stable. We also watched Joy to the World which is a DVD the LDS church put out last year (or the year before, I can't remember) which depicts the birth of Christ and the corresponding events in the Book of Mormon. It was a really nice evening.

That night both of the kids were TERRIBLE! Brad woke up like 4 times and Lucy woke up wanting to nurse like ever hour and a half. I don't know what it is about holidays but it just throws kids off. I was sooooo tired in the morning. Luckily both kids are too young to want to get up early for presents so we slept in until about 8:00.

Brad thoroughly enjoyed opening his gifts, however the first 2 he opened were both clothes and I think he got worried there were all clothes. He got some Legos (the big ones) and also a Little Critter Collection book which he loves. Lucy was way more into it than Brad ever was at her age, but still she liked the paper better than anything else.

Around noon we went to visit Grandma Pitts who is Joe's maternal Grandmother, who lives about 20 minutes away. There were other cousins and family there and we had lunch and enjoyed the company. She gave us the best present - Food Storage! What a great idea! She went to the cannery and packed oats and sugar and macaroni and other things and gave us a whole big box. I was really excited about that. She also put some of Grandpa Pitts' papers and pictures on a CD for us that I'm really excited to take a look at.

At 4:00 we had a family dinner hosted by Josh & Jo-Elle. We had turkey and potatoes and all the fixings. She had set a beautiful table and it was really nice. We then exchanged gifts with everyone in the 2nd annual Tibbs gift exchange. Last year we started a tradition where each couple buys for another couple and you have to get the most creative and fitting gift for $20.00. It is a lot of fun and also saves everyone money. Grandma Pitts even kicked in a $5.00 prize for the winners who were Jo-Elle & Josh. Brad had a great time wrestling with his uncle Matt and Lucy enjoyed being the center of her Grandparent's attention.

I feel truly blessed this year. It's been a great one for us and I'm so glad so many of you have been a part of it. I love Christmas and the time it gives us to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ and the reminder that we should be focusing on Him all year.

Ok, here are the pictures. There are a lot so I threw them into a slide-show. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, December 22, 2008

THAT 8-year-old girl

A couple of weeks ago our bishop announced that there were some families in our ward who could use some help with their Christmas needs. He said we could donate money through the ward and that they would make sure those needs were met. Joe and I felt strongly that we should help but we wanted to do something a little bit more personal to try to help Brad understand better about how Christmas is for Giving not Getting. Joe asked the bishop and was told that there was an 8-year-old girl in the ward whose family was short on cash for presents and that we could pick out a few things for her.

A few nights later we were talking to Brad and told him we were going to go shopping to get some Christmas presents for an 8-year-old girl. I didn't really think he would understand, but I did not expect his reaction at all. He totally went off the deep end! He was telling us that presents were only for him and his friends. He said we could buy presents for Kennedy, Anela, Kara, Abby & Alyssa, but not for THAT 8-year-old girl. We continued to explain that the girl's family didn't have enough money this Christmas and that we did, so we were going to share. Brad replied with, "We can't give THAT 8-year-old girl my dad's money! My dad likes his money!!" It was all a bit comical and a bit concerning at the same time. I told Brad that Christmas is to celebrate Jesus's birthday and that we give each other presents for His birthday and that Jesus would want us to share with this girl. Brad simply stated, "I will share with MY friends."

I am happy to report that the story has a happy ending. When we got to the store and started looking around for things an 8-year-old girl would like Brad had a change of heart. He helped us pick out the presents and even helped Joe wrap them. The hostility went away and Brad decided it was ok to share with a girl he didn't know. He even picked out a present for Lucy - something she would like instead of something he wanted. I think he's getting the Spirit of Christmas after all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lucy Sitting Up, Lots of Snow and Why We Don't Do Santa Claus

I've taken some fun photos the last few days and wanted to share them. First of all, Lucy is officially sitting up. It's like one day she couldn't and the next she could. I put her in front of the Christmas tree and took some pictures. She loves the tree but she's not mobile enough to be able to get to it on purpose, so it's pretty safe. Brad is old enough this year to leave it alone, so we've had a good tree year. Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):

And here's the Signature or "Siggy" I made for my message board using my favorite one:

Today we had our second large snow storm of the week. I don't mind snow, but I HATE driving in it. It just seems that some people think they should be able to drive as fast and as recklessly as they usually do and those people make me nervous. My car is really good in the snow, so I can't complain too much. I just prefer to stay home when it's on the ground. Brad went out to play this afternoon while Joe was shoveling the driveway. He was really cute about it. He mostly wanted to eat it.

And now on to the topic of controversy for my post today: Santa Claus. I want to preface this by saying I have no problem with Santa Claus. I don't even have a problem with parents who want their children to believe in Santa Claus, but I don't, and I thought some of you might be interested in knowing why. This is not meant to offend anyone, just to give you a glimpse into what I'm thinking.

There are a few reasons we don't do Santa in our home. The first has to do with how difficult it is to keep Christmas focused on the birth of The Savior. I think most people would agree that Christmas has become very commercialized. While we all know what the "true meaning of Christmas" is, I'm fairly sure that if you ask most people between the ages of 2 and about 10 what they think about when they think of Christmas it would have something to do with Santa Claus and getting presents. It's the only time during the year other than your birthday that you can expect other people to spend money getting you things you want. I'm guilty of it - I used Christmas as an excuse to get my new camera. Of course that was like 2 months ago, but what the heck. My point is that no matter how hard you try to focus on the birth of Jesus Christ, the world puts presents and spending money right in your face. To me, Santa Claus has become the very symbol of the commercialized Christmas. I don't believe that's the way Santa or Saint Nicholas is supposed to be. He's to supposed to be be a symbol of giving in it's most basic form. In many of the original stories of St. Nick he gave only to the poor and needy. It's for that very reason that I will teach my children about the legend of Santa Claus but I will not teach them that he's a real, live, jolly, fat man living at the North Pole and bringing presents to children if they are "good". What does that teach children about those who have less? If one of my friends shows up at school with an ipod and the other shows up with new pencils does that mean that the first friend was better behaved throughout the year?

The second reason for not teaching my children that Santa Claus is real has to do with being honest. I just don't like the idea of creating the elaborate deception that Santa Claus actually comes into our house on Christmas Eve, eats our baked goods and leaves presents. Again, for those of you that do, that's totally fine, it just doesn't sit well with me. I want to be able to tell them that Santa is a fun story, and the Easter Bunny is a fun tradition, but that Jesus and Heavenly Father are real, and I don't want that to cause any confusion. I know for most kids it wouldn't, but it just feels important to me.

Maybe one of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is that I was not raised believing that Santa Claus was real. I was taught about the story of Santa Claus by my parents who were loving and wonderful and always made Christmas special and magical without having to try to explain how Santa was going to get into our mobile home when we had nothing even resembling a chimney. Did I miss out on something? I don't think I did at all. I still got excited about Christmas. I even crept out of my room in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to check the Christmas Tree (wondering if my parents had put out the presents before they went to bed). I had a great appreciation of the spirit of Christmas and also an appreciation of the sacrifice my parents had to make each year to get us gifts when my dad's teaching salary didn't stretch as far as it sometimes needed to. I loved knowing that my mom had picked out just what I wanted and that my siblings were thrilled with what I picked for them. I actually feel that thinking Santa Claus was "real" would have taken away from the closeness I felt to my family during the Holiday Season.

I do love Christmas. I love Christmas music. I love having my tree up. I love Christmas lights, especially those at Temple Square. I love that the season is a reminder that our lives need to be focused on Christ. I even love the story of Santa Claus. So to those of you that now think I am Scrooge himself I will end by saying, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NYC...there's something about you.

Last week Joe, Lucy and I took our first trip to New York City. Let me preface this entire post by telling you that I was working. My company was doing event registration for the American College of Cardiology's New York Symposium so I was there to run a computer and hand out name badges. That being said, my flight, our hotel rooms and my meals were paid for...not such a bad way to do Manhattan. We stayed in the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers which was literally just blocks from Times Square and Central Park. It was great! Joe took Lucy everywhere in the back pack we have and Lucy was a total charmer.

I should note that I was too nervous to take my nice camera, so the pictures aren't the greatest. Oh well.

Here's a picture of Lucy visiting me at work where the conference was.
Here she is in the back pack. That pink suit was very warm and she wore a hat and just hung out looking at everything or napping (I dare you to tell me those lips aren't the cutest thing you've ever seen).
The animal life at Central Park is NUTS. The squirrels are huge and not afraid of anything and the pigeons are even worse. Any of you who understand how much I love birds will know how much I enjoyed that.
One evening we took the subway (which is really not that bad and in my opinion way nicer than the one in Boston) down to the end of the island and then took the Staten Island Ferry (which is FREE!) out and back. It was a nice ride and we got to see the Statue of Liberty as well as a great view of the City.
This is supposed to be a picture of the Statue of Liberty. It's a combination of my Pentax camera, low light and the dirty windows on the ferry. It was actually fairly impressive in person.

After taking the ferry ride we walked back up some ways and went past the World Trade Center site. There wasn't really anything to see as it's a construction site now, but there was still a very sad feeling there. We also walked up Wall street and saw the Stock Exchange (I guess there's a sad feeling there too!) and then went to the top of the Empire State Building. That was something I've always wanted to do and it did not disappoint. Lucy got hungry while we were up there so I fed her. I think the top of the Empire State Building is probably the coolest place I've ever nursed a baby.

One of the days when Joe and Lucy were roaming around they went to Grand Central Station and for some reason there were hundreds of Santas. Fat santas, skinny santas, girl santas, boy santas, ugly get the idea. We kept seeing groups of them all through the city, it was pretty entertaining.

On Friday night one of my co-workers volunteered to babysit Lucy, so Joe and I got to go out. Joe was lucky enough to get us reservations at one of Bobby Flay's restaurants, Bar American when someone else canceled. It was SOOOO good. Food to die for. I had tuna and Joe had pork (of course) Bobby Flay was even there standing in the open air kitchen. Definitely one of the best meals of my life.
When we left the restaurant we walked through Manhattan and saw the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. It was so huge and so beautiful. Joe and I celebrated out 7th anniversary on the day we flew home, so it was really nice that we got to go on a date in New York.

As good as the trip was, the flight home was a nightmare. We were only 18th in line to take off and they had turned off the engines because it was going to be a while, when suddenly someone at the front of the plane got sick and we had to turn back for a medical emergency. We sat there for 2.5 hours before even taking off. We were on that lovely plane with our 6 month old baby for 8 hours. Luckily she is a total angel. She did so well. She slept a lot of the time and other times just played and smiled. The woman sitting next to us wanted to take her home and I don't think that's usually what happens when a stranger gets seated near a baby on a plane.

Brad stayed with Joe's parents while we were gone and had a great time. They brought him to the airport to pick us up. He was waiting at the bottom of the escalator as we came down from the terminal and it was so very cute how excited he was to see us. I did miss him and was really happy to see him. It's good to have a break sometimes and makes you appreciate what you have. Brad and Lucy really missed each other and were happy to see each other.

Anyway, it was a great trip and worth working my tushy off for a couple of days. I hope to go back some time soon...maybe without any kids!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Camcorder Drama

Back in March Joe & I bought a pretty nice Panasonic Camcorder. I wanted to be able to take some video in addition to still pictures of the kids as they grow up because it happens so fast! Anyway, Joe has this really GOOD habit of purging through our junk. I'm really glad he does it and it makes me very happy every time he takes a load of stuff to DI, however I think at some point around May or June the charger for the Camcorder got thrown away. I didn't really think about it until the battery started to run low and I couldn't find it. I decided the cheapest thing to do would be to buy a replacement charger on Amazon and the one I found was a travel charger you put the battery in and plug into the wall. It was something like $20.00 so I got it and all was well. A few weeks after that I decided it was finally time to download the movies we had from the camcorder to the computer. I found the USB cable and plugged it in and it said "Connect AC Adaptor". I was very upset to find out that you cannot download the movies without the unit plugged in to the wall. LAME. Anyway, I went online and found the AC power cord for our model of Panasonic camcorder and ordered it. I think it was $13.00. When it came I promptly opened the package only to find out that this cord was the AC cord you plug into the charger (yeah the one we lost) and then plug into the camcorder. I then had to go online and order the actual charger which was $30.00 and on back order. It finally came yesterday and all is once again well.

Lesson learned? Don't throw away cords unless you know what they are for.

Anyway, now that I've made a short story long, here is a 3 minute video of Lucy eating and making noise. I don't expect anyone except her grandparents to watch it, but based on the $63.00 I spent just to be able to upload the thing I had to show something.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


On Sunday we had my brothers, sister and Dad and all their families over for a Thanksgiving repeat. We also celebrated my Dad's birthday (Happy B-Day Dad!). Between all of us we had 8 adults and 7 kids. While they were her we wanted some pictures of all the kids together. It was an adventure!

This is Nick & Lacy's daughter, Jayden:
And Jayden with her brother, Jack who is 2.5 weeks older than Lucy (and about twice her size):

And some awesome shots of Jack (I have the cutest nieces and nephews ever!):

Anyway, when we got them all together it was pretty much impossible to get them all to look good in the same shot. Here are some out-takes:

Luckily Photoshop is pretty cool, and by combining faces from some on bodies from another I got this final shot below. I think it's pretty cute! Enjoy mom!
P.S. if any of you want the hi resolution files of these for printing just e-mail me and I'll send them to you.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Brad-isms 12/1

I haven't done any Brad-isms for you for a while, so here are a few:

We were putting up our Christmas tree and of course Brad wanted to help. Joe was stringing beads around the tree and Brad was "helping" and Joe told him to do it differently. Brad replied "Dad, you make me so frustrated!" He's been doing a lot of eye rolling lately too. Somehow I thought he would be older when he started doing that.

When we're in the car Brad often asks me if I want to tell him a story. What he actually means is that he's going to pick a story and ask me a lot of questions about it. Usually the questions are hard to answer and usually they go on and on. On this particular day he picked Beauty and the Beast. It went something like this:
Brad - Mom, why does the Beast turn into a prince?
Me - He was a prince before the witch cast a spell on him, so when he learns to love Beauty he turns back into a prince.
Brad - Mom, why is Beauty afraid of Beast?
Me - At first he's mean to her.
Brad - Why?
Me - (getting tired of this already) He's unhappy so he's mean to her.
Brad - And why is there a talking Teacup?
I'm glad to know he thinks Disney is a bit off too.

Speaking of Disney - we were in church the other day singing "Oh Thou Rock of Our Salvation" and Brad said "Hey! I know this song! It's on Sleeping Beauty." Not sure where that one came from.

And lastly, the other day Brad wanted to eat in the living room and I said no. He said "But I'm always careful." and I said, "Brad you're never careful, you always spill!" to which he replied, "But I'm always careful this time." Hard to argue with logic like that.