Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

This snowman was once tall, tall, tall, but he very slowly started leaning to the right and eventually morphed into a dinosaur.  I couldn't believe when I saw how close to the ground it had melted without breaking. The picture doesn't do it justice, but it looked really cool.  The blue stuff is Jentzen's spider man web.

I wanted to get a shot of the falling snow, but was fortunate enough to also get Spiderman/Jentz out spinning webs.

Christmas came and went quicker than lightning!  All the magic, work, preparation, stress, anticipation, worry, excitement, hustle & bustle, MONEY, sneaking around, and just sheer fun, is all over just like that!! What a special day though. We woke up to 3 inches of snow, which might not sound like much, but add that to our already fallen 4 inches from days earlier, it was truly a splendid, white Christmas.  It snowed all day which added to the fun.  My parents and little brother Larry came down and watched the kids open gifts and we enjoyed our traditional breakfast casserole and caramel sticky buns w/o.j. and chocolate milk for breakfast.  They stayed and played with us the whole day.  The kids loved EVERY minute of having their best Uncle "hang out" with them, along with their fun Grandparents.  We ate ourselves silly. My Mom threw a turkey in the oven and we ate cheesy potatoes and every imaginable snack your mind can conjure up. There was minimal fighting amongst the young 'ens, however it was frustrating to say the least, at how much time it took to retrieve each item out of the ridiculous, overly extreme packaging tactics the manufacturers use to keep their products free of theft!! Did anyone's daughters get a Little Mommy Gotta Go doll?  It took Shaun 15 minutes (no lie) to clip all the wires and unscrew this little doll and her few little accessories from the box.  We couldn't believe it. I guess it teaches us all, (including parents) patience. Aside from that, everyone seemed happy most of the day, we had stock piled batteries weeks in advance. Everyone's gifts were in great working condition.  No broken/defective toys this year. (Poor Logan, EVERY year something of his gets broken or is defective)  We lucked out though this year. There was a wonderful feeling in our home all day and it was a quick reminder of why I love Christmas so much.  The spirit of giving, the feelings of love, the tolerance of one another's imperfections, the joy and gratitude.  I wish I knew how to make it last everyday in our home and always feel like this. It was a perfect day. EERRRGGGSSSSTT!!! That's the sound of a record being scratched and the sound of brakes as our peaceful day is coming to a screeching halt, because it doesn't feel like that in our home anymore!  Like I said before, Christmas is over and life is back to normal.  The kids are fighting over each other's toys, nobody will pick up the mess they made, and so and so keeps touching my stuff without asking etc!!! You get the picture. BUT I want to end this post on a positive note, SO aside from a few cranky children, messy house, and dark circles under my eyes (from lack of sleep) I realize just how truly blessed I am.  We had a very Merry Christmas, I have the best husband, parents, and brother and the best in-laws anyone could ask for, and I'm grateful for my wonderful kids who create very fulfilling and exciting days and bring so much joy into our lives.  I can't imagine my life without them, or any of my wonderful friends.  I'm the luckiest lady in the whole world!

Patiently waiting to see what Santa brought them, while I'm putting breakfast in the oven. (I'm so mean, I totally took my time, they waited on those steps for 5 long minutes)

What great sports Grandpa & Grandma were to have their hair done by "Mal Extraordinaire"

Look at his smile!

It actually looked pretty cute when she was finished.

Gage LOVES anything to do with cars, and I just HAD to post this picture!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Excitement

I feel like breaking out into song, "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year".... We put up our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving and the kids did a great job decorating the tree. I used to be VERY particular about how our tree was decorated, but as the kids got older and voiced their desire to "help" decorate I came to the realization that this was THEIR tree too. Ever since Carston was about 8 years old the kids have decorated our tree. My job is to throw a few ribbons in the "blank" spots on the branches after they decorate and then I drape the garland, (oh by the way, I've learned over the years that it's easier to put the garland on first, then decorate with the ornaments), but that's my only part. I'm usually busy sorting through all the Christmas bins reminiscing over each little heirloom/keepsake ornament and trying to remember where it came from.  I love looking through all the "stuff" we've collected over the years.  Some of it's pretty hideous and I can't believe I ever decorated with it. This year however, we tried out a new theme; silver and crystal.  Not our traditional decorations, but I was inspired while shopping one day back in July, when they first started setting out Christmas decorations. hehehe just kidding it was really October, but I swear they set them out earlier every year.  Anyways my eyes were drawn to these pretty little crystal prisms, with pearls and silver, and they were $2.00 each.  So began my hunt/collection of silver and crystal ornaments. After visits to several different stores, our ornament collection was complete.  Silver ribbon, crystal garland, stars, springs, glittery shatter resistant finial ornaments, we even found a charming little lighted star tree topper and sparkly tree skirt and finally my favorite are these very simple looking but fragile blown crystal orbs.  I insisted on placing those orbs on the branches because I'm not sure how I would replace them if they broke, because the store I bought them from (Interior Elements) just went out of business. (drat).  We had fun, jamming out  to Christmas tunes while we decked our halls.
We're almost finished with our Christmas shopping, just a couple more things to pick up.  I've made 2 batches of yummy caramels(my fave) and this week I will be making english toffee yum. Next week will be sugar cookies (Shaun's favorite, but I can't make them as good as his Mom) and then I think I might get to relax for the holidays, yah whatever!!  I'm so stinkin excited for Christmas.  I can hardly stand it!  I'm 40 1/2 years old and I love it just as much today as I did clear back when I was a little girl, if not more!!  We've been watching Christmas movies every night and I love when everyone is home together.  The spirit and magic that's in the air makes my heart skip.  Too bad everyone can't be this nice all year long. (I was kind of gushy there for a minute, but that's what this time of year does to you)!!
The anticipation and excitement CONSUMES me.  Christmas Eve is the hardest and funnest!! We got a brilliant idea from my friend Kathy who does a Christmas Eve box for her family.  We let the kids open it after their beds are made and the house is tidied and clean for Santa and other visitors. We fill it with a new game, a new movie, snacks, drinks (this year we bought pomegranite 7-up to try and peppermint filled Oreo's), some years we put new pj's in there for them to unwrap, (this year they do get new pj's because I was able to grab those $3.99 pj's at Wal*Mart on Black Friday.  *SCORE*!!  Then I wrap all of it, even the bag of dorito's, licorice, pistachios etc.... then we open it and it helps curve some of the anxiety and energy the kids exhibit.  Oh who am I trying to kid, I'm just as anxious as they are. :D We try to have a nice dinner, nothing too fancy since we've gorged ourselves on snacks all day and sometimes we set up a table and eat in the front room with all the lights out except for the tree.  It's harder now because there's so many of us, we squish around our fold out table.  But we'll give it a try again this year since this will be our last Christmas with Carston for 2 years, and he has fond memories of doing that.  After clean up we try not to have any plans set in stone, it's fun to just let the night carry itself out.
Then we have prayers and tuck-ins.  Unlike my kids who usually fall right to sleep, (HOW do they do it???)  I lay awake all night long and every hour on the hour I ask Shaun if we can wake up yet. I can't contain my excitement!! He's very tolerant of me.   Today there is only 15 more days of Christmas!!  WOO-HOO!!  Best wishes to you all, we love you!!  Feel free to post your memories or traditions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our "Twilight" experience!!


Here's our tickets!!

We're right out front of Cinemark in American Fork.
  Diet Cokes, licorice, blankets, good company, what more could we ask for????

Some of the people inside were there since 10:00am!!  Weirdo's!

Here we are finally in our seats!!  Worth the wait????
YES absolutely!!!

Who knew that a bad case of stomach flu, causing me to be bedridden for days AND a very persistent teenage daughter could send me spiraling into a distorted world of teenage infatuations, vampires and werewolves? Yes it's true, I did succumb to Kaymin's multiple plea's to read her Twilight books. She's talked non stop about them for over a year, but I've had NO desire whatsoever to read them.  I love to read but these books sounded very juvenile.  She plain and simply wanted me to read Twilight. That was it!! It wasn't like I was being asked to pose nude for an art class or anything, however, the shame of my addiction to these well written "teenagery" books rendered the same feelings in comparison. Once I read the first page, of the first book of four, there was no turning back, I was hooked!!
I devoured the first book, "Twilight" in 3 days!  The second book, "New Moon" took me a whopping 5-6 days to read.(not my favorite) Book #3, "Eclipse" (my favorite) I read in a day and a half and the 4th book, "Breaking Dawn" took me 3 days. Two weeks of my life gone forever, never to be retrieved again.  But I could NOT stop.  My poor family! The laundry was stacked to the ceiling, who knows what homework didn't get signed or turned in, I even skipped going in to help in Jentzen's kindergarten class.  The kids knew not to disturb me and if they needed an answer to a question, my reply would be a quiet mumble or something like that.  They survived on a diet of cold cereal and sandwiches while their pathetic excuse for a Mother had her nose stuck in a book, reading, reading, reading!!  (My cheeks are a little stingish as I'm writing this because I'm embarrassed that I became so addicted to these books)!! I'm certain they are what "cured" my illness, because by the end of the two weeks I was completely well again!! hehehe
Well that was back in September. My life is somewhat back to normal.  My laundry is caught up, dishes are washed, my kids have fresh clean sheets, (seriously I'm addicted to clean sheets on ALL our beds, and I didn't even change them for those 2 weeks, but that's a whole other entry for another day) and my family is back to eating fairly decent dinners again.  I finally had put Twilight up on the shelf never to be thought of again, but then the Twilight movie tickets went on sale and I just had to see the movie. We bought our tickets a week in advance and were able to go to the first midnight showing Nov. 21st. We stood in line outside in the cold for 3 hours.  It was a fast 3 hours. We got there at 7:30p and they let us go in and sit down at 10:30p. We were in line next to the funnest girls and Yes!! I was the oldest girl in line.  Wait, I did see a Grandma looking lady several yards ahead of me, but I was definitely the "next" oldest person. Kaymin and I had fun visiting and drinking hot chocolate and we got really good seats.  I couldn't believe some people had been in line since 10:00am that morning for the midnight showing and they sat right next to us.  So they stood in line all day and their seats were the same as ours and we got in line 9 1/2 hours later.  Funny people!  I'll admit that I was very nervous that I would hate the movie because there was no way it could even come close to the books, but to my surprise, I ended up really liking the movie.  In fact we went and saw it again the very next night!  Well there's my belated post about my Twilight experience.  Thank You Kaymin!! 

Monday, November 17, 2008

CAMPAIGNING 2008 (Funny Story)

Alright, so my blog is a little blah.  This "blogging thing" is really a challenge for me because:
a) it's a struggle for me to try and remember to take pictures of events, such as b-days, raking leaves, visiting Hee-Haws, carving pumpkins, losing teeth, pictures of (little hands) that are BIG & PUFFY from bee stings, cute play-doh creations, my 4 year old boy setting the dinner table in the most adorable fashion (actually, I do have a picture of that), new haircuts, clean bedrooms etc... etc and
b) I lack in the area of consistently journaling the blessings and happenings of each day that I enjoy, so that I can blog about them.  Kudo's to each of my friends.  You all have the funnest, most interesting blogs and I SOOO enjoy reading them!  I definitely have a deeper appreciation for your well thought out posts and clever captions.
Although a lot has happened, I haven't journaled or captured any pictures, and I CAN'T for the life of me remember the details of each event. Dang.  Hence the reason to keep a journal AHA! But here's a funny little story about my cute Hubby (Staunch Republican) and his friend's, Austin and Brad (Democrats) and the "friendly banter" between them.
On Halloween night while we were out trick-or-treating with our kids, we stopped in at our friend's Emily & Austin's house and enjoyed yummy soup and hot chocolate.  The kids loved exchanging their candy with the other kids there, and loading their plates up with even MORE treats, while the adults enjoyed visiting with each other.  During our brief visit, Austin and Brad decided to sneak away and go "trick-or-treating" with their kids, or so we thought.... 
When we came home, we bathed the kids, sorted through all their candy, and then got everyone snugly and warm and watched movies until late.  When I woke up early the next morning, I opened my bedroom blinds and saw an OBAMA '08 sign tightly screwed into the branch of our walnut tree, perfectly placed at eye level.  I laughed my head off when I saw it, because I knew Shaun would NOT be over-joyed to see it hanging there AND because I knew he HADN'T seen it before he left.  He, Travis & Logan had to be at BYU early in the a.m. for the merit badge pow wow, and the blinds were still closed.  I couldn't wait for him to come home, so I could see his reaction when he saw the sign.  I threatened the kids not to say anything to Daddy that would make him look up in the tree.  I WANTED him to find it on his own!  I busied myself and the other kids with raking leaves and cleaning up the yard.  A few people came by and noticed the sign, including the 2 men that had put it there! (hehehe) They (Brad & Austin) had a good laugh when I told them it was placed perfectly at eye level.  They Had NOT done that on purpose. Which made it funnier.
Finally they got home from the pow wow, and came out to the front yard where we were finishing up with raking, and Logan (Who was not aware of the threat I made to the other kids) looks up in the tree and blurts out, "Why is there a OBAMA'08 sign in our tree"? and Shaun said, "WHAT!!???" and looked up and saw it.  We all busted up laughing at the look of disgust on Shaun's face.  We found out later that Travis had come home for a minute to grab something to go with his costume, and caught them red-handed while they were drilling it into the tree. They made him promise not to say anything to Shaun about it.  Goll, where are your loyalties Trav?? (hahaha) Anyways, these are a couple of shots I happened to snag just in the nick of time.  If I had been one minute sooner, I could've got a picture of Shaun unsuccessfully trying to "jump" up into the tree, but I was too late.......

This is what I saw when I opened my blinds. :D

I love that he "tried" to scale the tree, but to no avail... he surrenders and fetches the ladder....

Shaun and Carston had fun de-facing the sign to read, "NOBAMA '08 and later that night staked it into Austin's front yard.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween 2008

We had so much fun.  It was the best weather we've EVER had on a Halloween in my whole life! We didn't even wear jackets.  Shaun and I went trick-or-treating with the kids.  We've gone every year with them.  I've never outgrown it!  I seriously wouldn't mind taking my kids all over the county if their little legs wouldn't give out on them.  When I was younger, I remember loving Halloween WAY more than any of my friends did.  My Mom would never let me trick-or-treat alone, and since none of my friends could never go anywhere past our culdesac, I would drag my cute little brother Larry all over the neighborhood, out to our whole ward, and clear around our stake boundaries.  There was some sick and twisted enjoyment I got out of knocking on people's doors with my hands outstretched, waiting anxiously to see what they'd drop into my bag.  Of course I always relished the "cool" candy that could be found at the "richer" homes.  I would dash home at the end of the night and the sorting ritual would begin.  Suckers in one pile, smarties and sweetarts in another pile, bubble gum, taffy, pixie stix, each in their own piles, cool wax lips, licorice, chic o sticks, then the "pile of Gold" would be my candy bars/anything chocolate.  I would savor these pieces and only eat them sparingly.  Of course I would throw away all the YUCKY candy which consisted of boxed raisins (are you kidding me?), those gross round assorted hard peppermint candy that you find in a grandma's purse, now and laters, also the horrid tasting peanut butter kisses in the black and orange wrappers (does anyone like those?) Way back then, I would store my candy stash away for months!!  Not the case now.  Anyways, enough about that.  The kids dressed up in diff't costumes for the Halloween parade, than they did for trick-or-treating.  More work for Mom, Yeah!!  I'm sad I didn't get ANY pictures of Gage in his cute Fireman outfit.  He wouldn't keep it on long enough, and the only picture I got of Kaymin is with her crammed in the backseat.  She was a nurse.  Even Carston and Travis joined in the fun.  Carston looks like Bon Jovi and Travis was the chainsaw killer.  And of course our "punk rocker kitty, Calli".  I'm also sad I didn't get pictures of our pumpkins being carved nor did I capture the completed masterpieces.  But, oh well there's always next year.

Halloween 2008

Our "punk rocker kitty, CALLIE" such a good sport

My soon to be missionary.  :)

TRAVIS "repressed anger"


MALLORY (I wish the camera could capture her long, fake eyelashes, but hers are already so long that you can hardly tell she has them glued on)

    JENTZEN (I'm marveling at that fantastic square knot, somebody tied)  Travis wore this costume when he was this young.

LOGAN  (I'm pretty sure he is a vampire EVERY year)

 MALLORY  (Hope it's many moons away before you're really a bride)

JENTZEN  (Wow, he's really got the facial expression going on)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Carston's Mission Call

Proud Papa!!

Anxiously waiting.......

     G-Ma Chamberlain trying to call Uncle Larry

Here he goes.....

The long awaited day is here....we have been preparing for this day since we can remember.   I can't believe it has finally arrived.  Looking back, I can just see his cute little munchkin face singing "I Hope They Call Me On a Mission" in Primary and now, here he is taking a missionary prep class and turning in his mission papers.  We were told that once they were turned in, we should expect it in about 2 weeks.  So, by the third week, we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of that big white envelope.  We went out to the mailbox with our hopes high, only to have the helium let out of our balloon.  Rumor has it that they show up on Wednesdays, so out to the mailbox we go letter.   Ahhh!  We have to wait a whole other week!  Not sure if we can handle this sort of torture!!  So, another LONG week goes by and Wednesday finally rolls around again.  We had the blinds open and we would glance out the window every two seconds to watch for that mail truck to pull up.  Finally, we hear his little engine go by and we know that he's already stopped by.  Out to the mailbox we go, camera in hand.  We open the mailbox white....stupid piece of junk mail!!!  Seriously!?!  Now, I know for sure I cannot handle the thought of having to wait another week.  It's already been 4 weeks.  We start it sitting on a desk?  Did we leave something out and it's sitting there at Church Headquarters?  We knew that things would be delayed a little due to General Conference, but 5 weeks?  You can't do that to an anxious pre-missionary and his impatient mom!  So, I called the post office and they took down my name and phone number.   They said if they saw it come through, they would call me.  They usually try to call early in the morning when they see those big white envelopes arrive, but I was told that now, since most of the mail is metered, that sometimes they go straight to the carrier's bins and bypass the actual people.  So, Thursday I called the post office again and still nothing.  My little nephew, Isaac, got his call on a Thursday so I knew that it wasn't out of the realm of possibilities.  But, there was nothing for us.  The post office told me that they'd keep their eye out for it and that they would call me as soon as they saw it; and that if I hadn't heard from them by 7:30 am Friday, then I should call them.  So, on Friday October 10th at 7:31 am (literally, I could NOT wait another minute!) I called them and he said that he hadn't seen anything, BUT, that there was one more bin yet to be sorted.  He took down my name and number and told me that he would call me back if he came across anything.  So, can you believe that at 7:50 am the phone rings and the caller ID says United States Postal Service!  I couldn't believe my eyes!  I tried to mask my overwhelming excitement when I said, "Hello?"  In his deep husky voice he said, "I have a big white envelope here for Elder Carston Shields."  Eeee!   "Elder Shields!"  He said "Elder Shields!"  It about killed me though because at this point Carston had already left to go work with Brother Pope and everyone else had already left too.  I was the only one here with no way to go and get it.  I had to wait for the mailman to deliver it.  Although I was as giddy as all get out, it was so painful to have to wait!  He pulled up around 10:10 am and there it was!  The sight we have been waiting for, 4 weeks now!  Yeah!  I brought it inside and dutifully put it in our mail basket and I was so good.  (Well, I must confess that I DID, hold it up to the light, but that was not helpful at all!!)   So, there it sat ALL DAY.  I called Carston to let him know that it finally came.  He later said that it was so hard knowing that the call was just sitting there while he had to mow 5 lawns and think about it while thousands of countries were running through his head.  I called Shaun (who then called his parents) and then I called my parents, who all wanted to be there for the big moment.  It's amazing how quickly word can spread through the modern marvel of texting!  Before long, Allysa  Mayne, Trent Zimmerman, Alan Moody, Joey Mason, Chris Fullmer, Matt Cox, Colby Bowen, Chris VanCamp and Rachel Bates were all notified and were all here by 3:00!  We weren't planning on opening it until 5:00, but we knew that my parents were postponing their trip to St. George so they could be here, so we moved the time up to 3:00.  We got the room quieted down, turned on the video camera, and then the drumroll..... bdddddddddd, He didn't waist any time.  He opened it and was so anxious that he read it aloud extremely fast.  He said that he knew if he read it slow that his eyes might meander down to the words he was looking for.  And then he said it...
"You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the


You should report to the Missionary Training Center at Provo, Utah on 
Wednesday, 11 February 2009". 

I didn't even cry.  I thought I would bawl my eyes out, but I was so overjoyed that all I could feel was happiness.  The whole room erupted into cheers, screaming and clapping!  It was a very surreal that I'll never forget.  

Carston is so ecstatic!  He is just so excited to get to go to a foreign country and be able to brush up on his junior high spanish!:)  He anticipated being in the MTC during Christmas, so having to wait until February will be tough.  In the meantime though, he'll keep working for Brother Pope, being a SCAREcrow down at Hee Haws, and attending his missionary prep class.  Carst, we are so proud of you and grateful that you made this decision and have lived your life in such a way to allow you this experience.  It's an exciting time in our lives and the kids are just beside themselves with anticipation!  Thanks for being such a wonderful example to us all! 

The disappointing Wednesday journey to the EMPTY mailbox.

There it is...a sight to behold.

Elder Carston Versal Shields

The anticipation is building!  
(Oh, and don't let the same shirt in both pictures confuse you...
yes, same shirt, two different days...)

Friday, October 17, 2008