Friday, January 15, 2010

Christmas Day

Over Christmas we stayed with Emily & Steve and their kids at their new house - which we love! The kids played so well together. Christmas morning was a lot of fun... Love the fresh morning looks!
bed head!
Lexi got the Barbie castle and barbies she asked for.

And Jackson got all sorts of Thomas stuff - including this one that moves and talks.
We had a relaxing day at Emily's hanging out with everyone, playing games, eating, and watching Blindside. Saturday the boys went golfing and then the girls went shopping and out to lunch.
That evening we met up with the Jensons, who were staying in Valencia for Christmas. We got a bite at Red Robin together before we headed back to Vegas...wish you guys were heading back there, too!

Christmas Eve

This year we went to Yucaipa to be with the Luszecks for Christmas. Christmas Eve we got up in the morning and went to meet a group of Jeff's friends for breakfast in Oak Glen.
Oak Glen
The clan - Lindsay, where are you??? :)We all met at the Luszecks in the afternoon for the traditional Christmas Eve meal - rouladen. Gavin made quite an impressive Jenga tower!
And then it was time to open presents from the family. Jackson loved his new train set!
And Lexi carried these barbies around the rest of the night!
Our attempt at a cousins picture - this was the best shot I got!
Luszeck siblings

Christmas Activities

Sitting on Santa's lap at the ward Christmas Party

On Sat. Dec 12th we met up with the Simpsons to ride the Polar Express in Boulder City.
kids with Santa
and Mrs. Claus

And of course, I had to make a batch of sugar cookies during the holiday season. The kids were happy to help!

Saturday Excursion

Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend Jeff wanted to take the kids to the Luxor and Excalibur. I wasn't too excited about the idea, but I went along. Well, as I expected it was pretty lame! The (only) highlight was taking the kids on the tram between the two hotels. Since Jackson is obsessed with trains, he thought it was pretty cool. I think we actually rode it twice!

me (and my belly!) and Jackson
After we went to Town Square to let the kids play and then ate a Claim Jumper. Luckily the pretzels with cheese dip made up for the rest of the trip! :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This year we hosted our first Thanksgiving Dinner for some of the Luszeck clan. It was so fun to have them come stay at our house for a few days. They arrived Wednesday afternoon, and headed to the Dinosaur park in Aliante to let the kids play. That night we heated up the hot tub and Jeff and I went in with all of the kids, which was a lot of fun.

Just as we were heading to bed I pulled the turkey out of the fridge to prep it for baking...only to discover that the inside of it was still frozen. Ugh! I couldn't believe it. It had been defrosting in the fridge since Sunday! Well, it took us until 12:30 to get it thawed enough to pull the giblets out, rinse it, and get it ready.

I set my alarm for 4am so I could stuff the turkey and put it in the oven. Since I was baking the turkey on the lowest rack in the oven, I put foil down on the bottom of the oven in case it dripped. Right as I was going to put the turkey in the oven I noticed a funny smell and realized that the foil had melted to the bottom of the oven! I tried to scrape it off, but some of it wouldn't come off no matter what I used. Hello - panic! Here I was alone at 4:30 in the morning thinking I had just ruined our brand new oven. And not only that - I was trying to figure out how we could pull off Thanksgiving dinner in 10 hours without the use of an oven.

Jeff's dad wandered in right about then and eventually we woke up Jeff. He pulled out the oven instructions (which happen to say "don't use foil to line the oven!") and was able to remove the bottom tray where the foil was melted. I was so relieved. I didn't know that it was a removable part. By 6:00 the turkey was in the oven and we had gone back to bed, but neither of us could sleep after all of that.

Fortunately the turkey turned out just fine. And with a lot of help from everyone - especially Linda and Emily, dinner was great. Steve had brought a turkey fryer with him, so we also had a fried turkey. That was my first time trying fried turkey, and it was delicious! Honestly I've never had better turkey.

Macie. Lexi loved having Macie stay in her room with her.
Gavin. It was so fun getting to know Gavin a little better this trip. He usually doesn't say much to me or Jeff, but he was OBSESSED with the fact that I was pregnant. I can't count how many times he touched my belly or commented on it! We had several conversations about it. It was funny to see how fascinated he was by it. Here he is trying to make his own little belly.
Jeff doing his signature move - sticking things up his nose. This used to be the only way to get Gavin to laugh, and it started years ago at Disneyland with grapes. But a fork will work, too.
Thanksgiving night I thought we'd go see a movie or something, but we were all really tired. We just hung out and played cards, which was fine with me. That night Jeff, Linda, and Emily woke up at 2am to hit the Black Friday sales. We got some good deals!!

Steve brought their four wheeler and motorcycle with them. Friday morning we took the kids out for rides. They were in HEAVEN!

Emily and Lexi - the funny thing was Emily said the whole time they were riding, Lexi was watching Steve on the motorcycle and saying that she wanted to go fast like him.

with Papa

MAcie took Jackson for a quick little ride. I love how you can only see his eyes, but you can tell how big he is smiling under the helmet!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Jensons

Right after Thanksgiving our good friends, the Jensons, moved to San Antonio, TX. We got together a number of times in November before they left (how did we never get to play cards again?). We will miss them!! We have done so many fun things together in the last few years and have so many great memories with them.
Date night at Claim Jumper

Alyson, Leslie, Lana, me (the giant!), and Nicole

One day Alyson hosted a surprise goodbye party for the kids. The whole thing was cowboy themed. Isn't the sign she made the cutest thing!
She even ordered a bounce house! It was so fun to have the kids play and for the moms to visit for hours.
The last weekend they were here we had a few families come for a final hang out at our place.
The last day they were here we dropped off some goodies for the car ride and said goodbye.
Lexi still says daily, "mom, it is not good that Lindsey and Haley moved far, far away." I agree!


When we bought our house as a foreclosure, we knew we would have a few projects to do. The biggest one was the back yard. This is what it looked like when we moved in:
The lovely shed behing the hot tub was the first thing to go. Our neighbor came and helped Jeff tear it down one Saturday. I'm sure he was just as happy to see it go as we were. We also put a gate around the pool the first day we moved in. We still need to find the replacement grill for the built in BBQ.
against the house
right side of pool
left side of pool
Jeff and I talked a lot about what we wanted to do in the back. We got a few estimates from landscaping companies, and decided to go with one of them that had given us a few ideas. we basically removed all the grass, rocks, plants, and trees that were there, replaced the entire sprinkler system, removed a few concrete slabs, and then added grass, rock, plants, and trees back where we wanted them. We also had the bushes from along the pool transplanted to the perimeter of the yard.

There was a crew of five or more here from Monday morning through Friday afternoon. By the end of it, this is what we had:

against the house
right side *The palm trees look a little funny, because you have to keep the branches tied up for the first month.
We didn't really know what to do with the huge empty side of our yard. For now it's filled with rocks. Someday we'll figure out what to do with it.

left side

The back corner triangle will hopefully be filled with a playground and trampoline sometime sooner than later. We haven't decided what we want on the ground under all of it, so we left it empty for now.