"Eeeny, Meeny, Minee Moe

Catch a tiger by the toe. If he hollers, let him go. My mom told me to pick the best one and you are not it."
"That's not FAIR!"
"You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit"
"Finders Keepers, Losers, Weepers!"

Seems like school "tag lines" haven't changed since I was there 25 years ago. Who keeps these phrases going, seriously? Is it a part of some secret curriculum I was not informed about??

Other things we've been exposed to since school started:


And the list keeps growing...


Springtime... for Hitler... in Germany

Spring idea books are HERE! Just when I think I have enough scrapbook stuff to drown in, and couldn't possibly want one more thing, gosh darnit, another catalog comes out and undoubtedly there's stuff I can't live without. Again! Genius, these people...Totally getting this "Good Times" set. Love the star paper. I'm so into boy stuff lately!Finally, the big alphabets have NUMBERS to go along with them! Yeah!


"I love it! I love Christmas!" —Allison

Well, it's over. We spent too much, got too much, did too much, and most certainly ate too much! We were blessed to spend it with both sides of the family — first at home with Nonnie & Papa and then again with the Carter side of the fam in Scottsdale. Here are some photos:

Amanda was thrilled to give Daddy the tie she'd picked out.
Grandma went overboard and bought a dollhouse that's as tall as the girls!
Favorite gifts by FAR were the scooters Santa brought for the girls. They played on them all day long.
Josh loved all of his presents, though he had much more fun chewing on tags than actually playing with anything.Thanks for coming up to share Christmas with us, Nonnie & Papa!

Fear Not! For I bring you good tidings of great joy!

The Carter cousins performed the nativity on Sunday evening, with Josh like a star shining brightly, hanging over the whole world to see...He's not as bored as he looks, just tired.Manda was a fantastic angel, who recited her lines perfectly with Grandma's help.Best part of this photo? Note Josh's legs overhead.

And here are the three wise men, or wise guys, rather...
This was part of the post-nativity celebration dance. Hey, that's kind of how I felt too, after being not "with child" anymore.


Legendary Movie.

Loved it. See it. Take someone you can grab onto in the scary parts.


Christmas Performanda

Tonight was Manda's Christmas performance at her preschool.
So cute, all the kids donned their little elf hats,
performed a few Santa-ish songs,
in which most kids mouthed the words...
some kids did the actions...
and a few even sang!
Volume was a tad low, but overall it was pretty darn tootin' adorable!
"He sees you when you're sleeping..."
Then they gave the parent-types their calendar gifts they'd made, (note Josh's approval in the background!)
and then SANTA came!
While Manda's still trying to settle on her exact wish list,
Josh was thrilled to see him again, considering the last time he was on Santa's lap he was asleep. Josh was finally able to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas. (Now if only he'd tell US!)


Right on Track!

Josh had his 6-month appt. yesterday. 17 pounds, 2 ounces (no WONDER I can barely lift him in his carseat anymore!) - which is 50th percentile, and he is 27" long (75th percentile).. Crawling and eating just like he's supposed to, and now we can start fruits and veggies! Shots didn't even make him sick this time. Man, I'm raising that kid well.


I'm a survivor...

Whew! We had our Holiday Who-bilation this weekend, and I'm here right now, still alive, to tell about it! Yeah! After a small debacle on the building coordinator's part and an unexpected Spanish YSA dance on Friday night, we got up and decorated our little hearts out on Saturday morning (I won't tell you what time we got to the church. Bless you Nick, Bro. Jones, Rachel, Amanda and Julie!) before the Who-bilation breakfast! The food was good (green eggs and ham, of course!), kid ornaments were a hit, Santa was great,decorations were AMAZING, I mean, the cultural hall looked as good, I thought, as a cultural hall can look, thanks to Rachel... and my pink and green taffeta Who-skirt and outfit were... well... worn by me. At least my Who-hair looked cool.



My friend Spence, of Spence and Jen, is truly a creative genius. He filmed this video,and just won this contest from DIY network "Burt Builds a Bandit" - including a tricked out crazy $$$ trans-am
plus more $$$! (Which may or may not be enough to pay for the taxes on it - TBD!) Truly, there is not a more deserving person. Congratulations Spence! It's amazing to actually know that real people win these things!! Woohoo!


Christmas Poem, 2007

It’s the day for the annual Christmas rhyme,
We hope you’ll read and enjoy this ... if you have the time!
The Carters started 2007 with quite a blast,
Discovering we’d have a baby boy at last!

Nick started at SRP, and is again a happy one,
A great company for the long term; he’s really having fun.
Shellie’s plugging along with her work in design,
Scrapbooking and other projects are coming along fine.

This spring, pregnant Shellie jetted off to Maryland
She got to eat real seafood, and visit some old friends.
Nick took the girls to Legoland (what a feat!)
They all had a blast, and Daddy came home beat!

In June, Joshua came, and perfect, he was!
Good thing he was able to survive all those hugs.
The girls practiced being fishes all summer,
But waiting in the heat for swim lessons was a bummer.

Nick took the girls for the fourth of July,
Up to Heber and the mountains, for the show in the sky.
Shellie’s new calling started out with a bang
Vineyard Ward activities will never be the same.

Summer also brought a trip to the beach and the sand
But vacationing with 3 kids was almost too much to stand.
In August, Nick blessed Josh, and gave him his name.
We enjoyed tons of family — from 3 states they came!

August brought with it the first day of SCHOOL!
Allison’s doing great, and thinks it’s really cool.
Learning her phonograms, and to read and to write,
She always wants to do her best, and really is quite bright.

Manda started a new preschool too,
With letters, songs and lots of glue!
She’s learning a lot and building her brain,
Plus preschool hours keep Mommy sane.

In the fall, we went to Cinderella’s palace,
Then dressed up for Halloween as characters from Alice.
Nick and Shellie took a quick trip to Albuquerque,
For Aaron and Tannis' wedding, and lots of fun with family.

In December, we’re trying to fit it all in and more,
with work, school, church and family, plus projects galore.
Nick’s now the 1st counselor in the bishopric game
Our family Sundays will never be the same.

We wish you all the merriest of the merry.
And hope that you didn't find this rhyming too scary.
Come pay us a visit, or drop us a note,
If you do come to Phoenix, you won’t need a coat!

Christmas Survey

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper. Unless I can't find a box!

2. Real or Artificial tree?
Fake, as long as we live in Phoenix. If we move somewhere else, though, I'm going real again.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Since we have a fake one now, it went up 2 days after Thanksgiving!

4. When do you take down the tree?
As soon as possible. Before New Years, if I have time.

5. Do you like eggnog?
eh... not really. Storebought stuff is kind of nasty, and no one makes it anymore.

6. Favorite gift as a child?
A cedar chest from my Grandpa Hardy.

7. Do you have a nativity set?
Yes, several.

8. Hardest person to buy for?

9. Easiest person to buy for?
Allison. Knows what she wants early, and sticks with her list.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever got?
hmmm... none stand out, though I've gotten some doozies.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. Handmade. Dozens and dozens of them.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
Elf. Miracle on 34th Street.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Try to make gifts all year long. Shopping usually begins hard-core early November.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Rarely. But I ALWAYS recycle handmade Christmas cards that other people send me.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Those peanut butter kiss cookies (nipple cookies). Pecan Tassies. Mexican Wedding Cookies.

16. Colored or clear lights on the tree?
Clear. It's the only way to go.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Oh Holy Night (Clay Aiken's version). Big Red Hat (Harry Connick Jr.) Carol of the Bells. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Cindy Lauper and Frank SInatra version).

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Hmmm... tough call. Have done both! Getting different with my kids, though - so we will probably stay home for many years to come.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Yes. And I know how to spell Donder as well.

20. Angel on top of the tree or star?
Star. The shepherds didn't follow an angel to Bethlehem, hello...

21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning?
Only on Christmas morning. I'm a purist.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Traffic and slow cashiers

23. What do you enjoy most about Christmas?
the MUSIC!

Top Ten Songs you'll never hear Mo-Tab sing.

10. Last Christmas
9. Mary, did you know?
8. I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
7. The Shoes
6. All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth
5. Baby, it's cold outside
4. Blue Christmas
3. I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
2. Santa Baby
1. Grandma got ran over by a reindeer


Caroling and Cookie-ing

Tonight we had a very holidayish FHE with some friends...First, we cookied, (Look at the concentration! So much like her mother... )Soon, Josh, very soon...then everyone took turns with the blinking Rudolf nose (okay, maybe just Joel and the kids took turns)and then we went caroling. So fun! Even the weather cooperated to make it feel almost like winter!


Going through the motions

I keep hearing, and reading, about everyone trying to catch the mood of Christmas this year — Simply something I don't understand! I started way back in October making gifts, and then continued the weekend of Thanksgiving, getting Christmas photos taken, decorating the house, putting up the tree, then started Monday Nov. 26th on all of the many cards... which are 1/2 sent and ALMOST finished, thank goodness! Many gifts are wrapped and under the tree, will head to the post office tomorrow to send my only "out of stater" gift. Made pumpkin bread for Nick's HT families, put up the lights on our house last Monday with the help of my light-fixer Dad... all this while trying to work, clean my house, transport kids back and forth to school, plan the ward's Grinch party, feed everyone and teach my baby how to eat off a spoon. I honestly don't have the luxury of worrying about my mood -- too many things to DO! I just keep thinking if I get everything done sooner, I'll have less guilt when Christmas morning actually does get here. Sigh... methinks I'm not setting a good example of Christmas for my children, when all they see is the crazy. I've become exactly what's wrong with the season, yet I don't know what, if anything, to change.


Rockin' the night away

Josh is SO CLOSE to crawling. He gets up on all fours and then rocks back and forth - usually losing balance and launching himself into a faceplant. I think he'll have it figured out before Christmas through sheer willpower. The kid can't WAIT to keep up with his sisters. Was there ever a sweeter baby? Seriously? Man, that's a good lookin' guy. Wonder who he is...


All I want for Christmas is... a pair of those legs.

Tonight we (meaning all the girls in the fam) went to the Rockettes "Christmas Spectacular" show. It gave us an excuse to get dressed up, (Thanks J, for doing my hair - looked great!) even wearing our nice dresses and wool coats (which were completely unnecessary). The girls were REALLY great, especially considering they were out past 10pm, and totally loved the show. I loved seeing this again, through their eyes. Manda asked "Can we do this on lots of days?" and "Can I be one of those (dancers) when I grow up?" and sang along to most of the Christmas songs she knew. During the nativity she wanted to go up and see baby Jesus too, along with the wise men. Cute. Allison was so excited to tell Daddy that Santa was in the show - to which Manda matter-of-factly added "He SURE was!" Allison's favorites were the rag dolls, and the little dancing bears. Mine, of course, were the toy soldiers! Fab! Thanks a million, Grandma, for the "spectacular" birthday present!


Tired of Mary Poppins? Try this.

The Game is on!!! And you're IT!

Describe ME in one word.... just ONE single word. Post your word, then add this to your own blog! See how many strange & interesting things everyone says about you. This is really fun!

**NOTE** You couldn't offend me even if you tried, so be honest!


Cute stuff they don't do anymore. If you can think of any more, add them!

Between 1-2 years, Allison would dance a little shimmy in her carseat while listening to Queen's greatest hits. Mostly, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Now she refers to it as her "baby song".

Amanda used to be in LOVE with a little stuffed lamb of hers, named "Lambie". It went with us most everywhere.

Allison didn't used to be able to say Amanda's name. We'd practice with her "Ma - Ma - Manda" but she always repeated "Ma - Ma - Nanda."

When Manda was a baby and facing backward in her infant carseat, she sat next to Allison in the car. They always held hands everywhere we went.

Allison has always had the same hairstyle. When Aunt Robyn tried to do it differently one day, she told her "No! I need an Allison pony!" and put her hand, with a pointed finger, on the side of her head where her ponytail usually was to show her.

While driving, when Manda was small, we knew she was tired when she'd put her arm up behind her head. Now we know she's tired when she starts asking or searching for "purple big blankie".

Allison used to blow kisses to us - and hugs. She blew me a hug the 1st day of kindergarten when I dropped her off, and I don't think she's done it since.

Allison was so excited to get a baby brother. During his first few weeks, she often ran to come tell me about his "words"... "MOM! MOM! Josh just said his first word — QUA!!!"

Amanda sings the Star Wars theme to Josh. She thinks its his favorite.



Aren't we cute???

Man, it's difficult to get 5 people to look good all at the same time. Especially when that big red bow is just so darn enticing.Cute girls, though, don't you think?Nine years down, forever to go...Manda's fantastic.LOVE this one.


• Josh has reached the 6-month mark. Only 6 more months of buying formula. Woohoo!
• Josh can hold his own bottle. Good thing, because if he couldn't, the kid would starve.
• Allison can ride her bike without training wheels. She mastered it yesterday.
• I have given up trying to carry Josh around in his carseat. He's too heavy, and I've got too much to carry. As of today, I'm one of those people who takes the stroller into church. I'm fine with it.
• Nick was ordained a high priest today, and was put in as the 1st counselor in the bishopric. So long, for a few years, to our Sundays together. Sigh...


In Full Swing...

We're all about Christmas over here. Fall is almost completely put away, and Christmas is mostly up - including our tree! You know, for most of my life I pronounced that I'd never have an artificial one. Last year, however, I gave in, because it's just completely wrong to go pick out a half-dead tree in a grocery store parking lot wearing a t-shirt and flip-flops. I've trudged through the snow carrying two kids to cut down "the one" before, and until I can do it again, fakesies it is. I must admit it is kind of nice to be able to put it up so early. The girls claimed my little trees as their own this year, and insisted on putting their ornaments on them. Works out well, actually, because there's three kids and three trees, and now they'll leave mine alone to decorate it as I please. Yes, that's a mini Sleeping Beauty dress in the highest place of honor on Allison's tree. Of course. Christmas card-making is in process too... very tough with Manda helping right along side me. A couple dozen down, a few more dozen to go! We had our family picture taken last weekend, so as soon as I edit the photos and make myself look beautiful, those can be printed and stuck in!

Letters to Santa have been written, and although I'm still trying to steer Manda to the stuff WE ALREADY BOUGHT, she's convinced she wants this horrid fifty-five dollar talking parrot from Target. It's awful, and will never be in my house. Sigh - - my will against the will of a 4-year-old.

Several gifts bought, others ordered, and still more ideas for gifts are coming slowly but surely. Lights are forthcoming this weekend, though we've already been outdone by some new neighbors. I think their lights are actually timed with music they've got playing. How cool is that?

Thanksgiving pics

What's Nick so worried about?
Allison wouldn't try a bite of anything, of course...
Just a few of the mini pumpkin cheesecakes...and note to self for next time, the ones with the sour cream topping were better.