Friday, December 26, 2008

Vacation in Arizona

We are leaving for Arizona in the morning, not-so-bright and very early. My brother Jamie just returned home from his mission this last Tuesday. We get to go see him and are very excited to do so.

When we get back, Rinar and I will be jetting off to New Orleans to watch Utah play some football in the Sugar Bowl.

Therefore, I won't be posting anything new until the new year.

But stay tuned because I should have lots of pictures and stories to share.

Love you all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Primary Nativity

Boy... doing sharing time combined with singing time, and then conducting closing exercises can sure zap you pretty good. But I managed to get through and it was a wonderful day.

The shepherds were sore afraid...

And then they were really happy...

The wise men are so very wise...and stylish, I might add.

Peace on Earth, and in Primary as well.

(The boys with the funny hats are wicked Nephites trying to kill Samuel the Lamanite. They couldn't you know, because he had he power of God to protect him.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Boys Love Slapstick Comedies

Rinar and I have just experienced one of those wonderful six-year old joys: slapstick comedy. We have been watching Home Alone and Home Alone 2 for some fun Christmas entertainment. It is a riot to watch it with my boys. They laugh so hard and squeal with delight every time the burglars fall, get hit, get their hair caught on fire; all of it. It has been so much fun watching it with them.


I will cherish the experience. It has made me realize that the movie is definitely geared toward a six-year old boy's sense of humor.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't You HATE Global Warming?




** Okay, I must add this observation on, after looking at all the other Las Vegas snow blogs. Do you people seriously own scarves and mittens and boots and all of that stuff? I barely have a "coat" for each of my kids. I mean, look at my poor child in this picture. No gloves, nothing. Why should I buy that stuff? We never see snow and it rarely gets below 50 in this town. As the day wore on, my kids were using socks as gloves. There must have been 10 wet pairs strewn across my staircase.

Christmas Things We Did

The kids had a homeschool party yesterday at Kristina's house. Santa even came. She made us wear the silly antlers, but I thought they looked better on Eli...don't you think so?

My kids played with the play-dough almost the entire time. Xander is in the foreground and Nicholas is the boy at the end of the table. These are their homeschool buddies.

Later that evening, we went to Nevada School of the Arts for the kids Christmas Concert with their classmates. The kids in this group were from all Suzuki levels. Eli really enjoyed the music and clapped at all of the appropriate times.


Wow, look at those eyes...
This is their group teacher, Jennifer Petersen. She is a fantastic teacher. And she has a lot of patience...thank goodness.

Grace, a good friend from our ward is in the background. They have known her from the first week we moved to Las Vegas. They were in Nursery together. She is a very advanced violin player.

Grace, right before the concert started.


This is a girl from their class. Fortunately, the boys are in a small class. There are about 6 kids in the class, so they get a lot of attention and help with their technique. I am pretty sure her name is Emily, but I could be wrong.



video

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Walk Through Walls (Almost)

Funny thing about me... I walk into walls. Well, at least I did today. I went to the church to clean out the Primary closet with my counselors. I also diligently was returning the table cloths I had washed, that were used for the ward party. The green-checkered cloths went back into the Relief Society room. That is where I put them. Then I gracefully exited the room and turned left down the darkened hallway. I forgot that the door is inset from the wall about three feet and not flush with the wall, and I do tend to walk fast, and I was in a hurry to get things done....

BAM, SMACK, CRASH... I took a hard left turn right into the wall.

My face, the right eyelid more specifically, made a devastating collision with the corner of the wall. It really hurt, and then it hurt worse, and then I was nauseous and a little dizzy. Then Melanie saw me and made a worried face and informed me that I was bleeding. My eyelid swelled up and I had to lay down so that I would not faint or vomit.

After sitting for about five minutes, icing the wound, and taking some Tylenol, I was as good as new.

I am smooth as buttah baby, and needless to say, like, totally awesome, huh?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Decorations

Shanna asked last week what Christmas looked like at my house. Well, here is the answer.



This is our Charlie Brown tree. The kids put so many ornaments on one branch, it sags to an almost vertical line.












Thursday, December 11, 2008

Violin Recital 2008

The yearly recital was tonight and the kids did a fantastic job. There were some funny things that happened. I thought I would share the concert with everyone. I set my camera incorrectly, so Zach's number is in two parts. You will especially enjoy what happens in the second clip...so watch carefully.

But, have you ever seen such a happy violin player? It is so genuine. Zach loves the violin and he loves the stage. He had a lot of reasons to smile.

video

video

Raef must have really enjoyed Zach's piece, "Gavotte from Mignon" by A. Thomas, because he followed his brother and proceeded to play the song his brother had just played. It was an honest mistake. His song, "Theme From Witches Dance" by N. Paganini does not have any kind of introduction. Therefore he didn't have any kind of clue to keep him on track. So, he just stopped and then restarted with the correct number. He is very focused when he plays.

Oh yeah, and you will notice a ways into the video that it gets all shaky and you might hear snapping. Zach was busy talking to the piano player's daughter and so I was snapping at him to get him to zip it up. I swear, sometimes that child will be the death of me!

video

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dear Santa and Bath Time

Dear Santa letters have been put in the mail.

Santa Claus
North Pole
HOH OHO
CANADA

These are the letters they wrote. They also decorated their envelopes like Christmas presents.


Then Eli woke up from his nap with the biggest poopie he has ever had... ever. I decided to give him a bath, just in case I missed any crack or crevice. While he was taking his bath, Raef read his McGuffey reader to me. I could also hear Zach in the background playing the piano.

No butts about it, bath time is the berries!

Look at that angelic face.


Bath toys are delicious. Hmmmmm....

video

Afterwards, he got a bottle and his eyes were glistening because he was crying. Hey, he was really hungry. You would cry, too.

He's My Son...

So just because I think he is uber-cute...and not for any other reason.

video

Monday, December 8, 2008

King Narmer Does Not Shut Up

When Zach makes up his mind he is going to do something, it will be done or he will drive you crazy by the constant 2 minute reminders. Yesterday, he decided he wanted to make an Egyptian King Narmer crown. We had learned about it for our history section months ago, but for some reason yesterday he really wanted to make a crown.

So after reminding me about 10 times that he wanted to make a crown, he decided he would make a list for me ... and this is what he wrote:


In case you can't read it, it says, "remeber tomoroww Egypt crown like this together".

He drew it for me so I could remember what it was supposed to look like. He wrote the note himself. I did not help him at all with any of the spelling or composition.

Today we made the crown. Did I really have a choice? Here is what it looked like when he finished it.
He probably got the idea from his brother. Raef took it upon himself to make a pirate hat and several telescopes. Zach tried to convince Raef to make a hook as well, but he didn't seem too concerned about it. Raef made the hat all by himself without any help at all. He even drew a skull and cross bones on it as a nice added touch. He wore it all day yesterday.

Rinar left for SLC and Albuquerque in the early evening, so I decided to take the kids to a free Christmas concert tonight at UNLV. Here they are right before the show started. Notice the white angel with the blue background...


Zach was fascinated by it and how it changed colors and the picture changed also. He kept telling me every time it changed, about every 5 seconds through every darn song they performed. I kept telling him to stop talking, but he was undeterred. He just couldn't help himself. I kept thinking how handy it would have been to have this in my purse...

But, unfortunately for me, I didn't. Funny thing though...I did actually have this in my purse...


Seriously, I had two bottles of the stuff in my purse.

I had an internal debate with myself while the pops orchestra was playing a beautiful rendition of "We Three Kings"...would the glue even work? I decided against it for several reasons. First, it was dark and thus it would have been hard to apply evenly. Second, it would have been messy. And thirdly, it would not have dried before the show was over. I just had to resign myself to the incessant talking. I eased the burden of verbal barrage with some carmels I mercifully had in my purse. It took the edge off of the last 20 minutes.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Dynamic Duo Sing Away

The ward Christmas party was tonight and it was a lot of fun. I helped Jen decorate it and it turned out very nice. Unfortunately, once again I have misplaced my camera so there are no pictures to go with this post. But the Elder's Quorum hung white lights from the cultural hall ceiling and they put a few spotlights up. It created a beautiful, warm atmosphere because we were able to turn off all of the regular lights.

Jen and I pulled in the couches from the lobby and created a nice seating area that was comfy and was actually used by late-comers. For the centerpieces, we used a large square of wrapping paper, wreaths with shiny bulbs on them and a glass vase with ribbon in it. It turned out really well.

There was entertainment for the evening, including the dynamic duo: Raef and Zach. They sang "Away In A Manger" and I could just shoot myself that we didn't record it. I taught them harmony, so Zach sang alto because his voice is naturally lower than Raef's. It was so beautiful. I played the piano, which was unfortunate because I missed the funny things they did on stage. Zach, a control-freak, just like his Mom, was reaching over to Raef and making sure his mic wasn't too close to his mouth while they were singing. Then he started waving at his friend in the audience. Other people started waving at him, so he was able to wave at a lot of people. Plus he did this all while he continued to sing. Raef just stood there like a rock, with both hands on the microphone, not looking around and just singing the song.

It was quite a show.

We had a lot of fun.

Jen sure knows how to throw an awesome party.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What Things Have You Done?

I found this one on Corrine's blog and I had to do it....

Join in the fun!

Copy and paste the list. Bold the things you have done...

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run.

32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Made amends with someone who offended you
101. Flew in a small Cessna plan with just you and the pilot
102. Ran out of gas
103. Eaten fried okra
104. Swam in the Carribbean Sea
105. Peed in a swimming pool
106. Rented a beach house
107. Hosted an exchange student
108. Been a Secret Santa to a family in need
109. Worked on a political campaign
110. Coached a sports team

Now add something that's not on this list and keep it going, if you'd like.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Parade of My Home

Dear Grandma Carpenter,

Well, I promised to show you what my house looked like ages ago. I thought I would finally keep my promise to you. This is what my house looks like from the outside. We had it painted about a year ago to a little bit darker shade. It turned out really nice and we were happy with the results. The cage you see on top is to protect our two air conditioning units from pigeons. They like to build nests underneath it. It can be a real pain.

When you stand on the front step with your back to the door, this is what you will see. It actually rained today. It only rains in Las Vegas about five times a year. It is very unusual to see this ground the wet, so enjoy the moisture.

Behind the front door, this is the room that greets you. It is the living room. I think this room has come together very nicely. The futon at the back of the room was moved there out of desperation. It was the only place I could put it so that I could make room for a little schoolroom for my kids upstairs. I am actually very happy with it in this location. It makes for a very snuggly reading nook.Turn your head slightly to the left and this is what the rest of the living room looks like. I moved the piano over into this corner and it is great. Now all of the couches surround the piano and the kids will gather around it to play their violins also. Since I adjusted it, I still have not moved the mirror over center of the couch. I really need to put that on my Honey-Do list for Rinar. (Get the drill out, honey)

One of my favorite spots is right in the center. This is my original painting of Jesus Christ by Dan Lewis. It is wonderful and now that I had an extra end table, I put it right under the picture. What a great additon, huh? The flowers are from Rinar for our anniversary yesterday.

And this is the view from the futon looking at the front door. I love the stars on the wall and my faux-Monet painting.
The red bureau here is from our 5th anniversary. It is one of my most favorite pieces I have in my house.
And a look from the couch to the stairs. I still have not finished getting current family pictures up on the wall there. I need to put that on my list of things to do.
I made a little "mud room" for coats and shoes here. The thermostat i underneath the coats. There is a closet to the right that goes under the stairs. That is where I am keeping a lot of my food storage. Now...on to the kitchen.
We remodelled this kitchen when we first moved in and it is still not completely finished. I need to tile the backsplash and make some touch-ups to the ceiling. But it is a huge improvement over what we had before, which was akin to a hole in the wall. What I love about the design we came up with is that the kids or visitors will sit on the chairs at the island and I can stand in the kitchen and get stuff and they don't get in my way. It works out really well. They will eat breakfast and do crafts and read. Whatever. But the important thing is that they are with me but not in my way. I love that.
Turn around from the island and here is our ping-pong table/pool table. We have lots of fun having friends over and playing games. The ping-pong table is also a great place to cut fabric and do sewing projects.To the right of the refrigerator is a little pantry with pull-out shelves and a desk for a computer. I also have a radio here that I like to listen to daily.
And if you keep looking to the right you can see where we put our kitchen table. There is plenty of room to make the table bigger without encroaching on the kitchen. It enables us to have lots of guests over to our house for dinner and other things. The door to the left goes into the laundry room and a half bathroom. To the very left is a bay window with french doors leading to the backyard. Yep, this is what my laundry room looks like right now. Can you guess what I need to do before we go out of town tomorrow? The good thing is that the front-load washers can hold really big loads. So it doesn't take me quite as long to get all of the laundry done.

Our half bath...you get a half a picture of it. It is a bright cranberry color. Oh, why not?

A picture of the french doors. My friend and neighbor Elaine so kindly spent an entire day helping me make the window treatment for the door. It turned out great.
Here is the backyard. We have yet to actually landscape it. When we moved in there were only rocks. That was it. Rocks were everywhere: and some very poky African shrubs. The first thing we did when we moved into the house was put grass in the backyard. Rinar installed drip irrigation and it has worked out really well. He must have done it right. We rented a CAT to remove the rock and on his last trip to get rock out, he hit the water line and by the time we figured out how to turn the water off, there was a mini swimming pool in the backyard, behind where you see the basketball hoop. Yikes. But we fixed that too, so no big deal.
At the stop of our stairs looking down, this is the view. I still have not decided what color to paing the wall to the right. Green or cream? What should I do? I am leaning towards green.Turn to the left and you can see what the hallway looks like. I still have not put any artwork on the wall to the right. Come to think of it, that would be a good project for next year.
Now I have my back to the stairs, and you can see our little schoolroom. There is a table, desk and a bean bag. Behind the bean bag is a map of the world.


To the right of the room is a book shelf we put in a few months ago. I haven't really organized it yet, so it is pretty disastrous.
Now if you turn to the left of the stairs, this is our little hallway playroom. Can you tell? To the right are french doors going out to the porch we built a few years ago. Rinar built it with his Uncle Bruce. It is totally awesome.
Here it is. It provides great views of the neighborhood.
Look at our beautiful yard. I wanted to plant a tree where that dilapidated swing is, and then I realized how lucky I am. There is a palm tree growing there in the perfect spot. It looks like Heavenly Father took care of it for me. Yeah!

Our swimming pool. We added cement around the pool. Our yard is pretty abysmal, but I am fortunate that my neighbors yards are very beautiful. I sit up on the porch and admire theirs. I just try to ignore mine right now.
See? The grass still looks great after 4 years.

Now I am standing in that playroom looking into our family movie room. We built the seating on the back row. It is a great place to watch a show.Down the hall and on the right is the kids bedroom. I put the TV in their room this week for the holidays. It goes in and out of their room when I deem it necessary. Mostly, it is out of their room. I need to get those kids to make their beds.
I just told them to make their beds. Got to teach them responsibility, right?
This is their bathroom. This room drives me nuts. I swear it gets filthy five minutes after I clean it. Darn kids.
On the other side of the hall is my room.

And our bathroom. When we bought the house, the shower was a lot smaller, so we changed it. We also made a laundry shoot, which I am standing right next to as I took the picture. Hence, this bathroom is directly above the laundry room.
I still need to add curtains to the windows in the bathroom.
The toilet is to the left and the walk-in closet is on the right. I won't subject you to the frightening closet scene behind that door.
The only thing I didn't take a picture of was Eli's room. It is at the very end of the hall to the right. It is blue and there is a bed and crib in their.
I hope you enjoyed a tour of my house. I tried to clean it up mostly before I snapped these pictures. I realized my house would never be perfectly clean, so this is what you get. We look forward to seeing you soon. We love you tons.
Sincerely,
Kelly
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