This n That

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. It seems when things are just chugging along, there's not much to post about. Let me try to drum up some events in our lives...

1) Since I had to condescend to get a minivan, I at least got myself a personalized plate. :) It makes me happy. :) And yes, I'm an idiot and put the stickers on the wrong sides. To my defense, they are both 11's.
2) Laney is starting to talk, finally. She has a new word just about every day. Shoes, bow, Hi, No, yes, I go, etc.

3) I'm thinking about changing Laney's spelling on her name. I like Delanie better. I just don't know if I want to go through all the hoops to legally change it.

4) Christmas has been so fun this year! Lexi loves changing the countdown every day, and she tells me all about the Nativity. Lexi has been so good and hasn't touched the presents under the tree once, and Laney couldn't care less about them. And Lexi is so excited for Christmas and Santa to come.

5) Lexi has a new best friend. Her name is Rylie and she lives right next door(as in we share a wall with her family). She and Rylie just play all day long and just switch from house to house throughout the day. It's pretty cute. She's turning into a big girl!

6) Our kids really had fun picking out a Christmas tree for this year. Yes, we're one of those weirdos that have a real tree. We love it though. And the girls had a blast. And we finally got a star for the top of the tree. :)

7) We're one of the few that are not looking forward to 11am church. We have 9am now, and it's my favorite. Oh well. What time church do you like?

8) I love my hubbie. He's a stud. In every way.

9) We got another kitty. We're the crazy cat people now. :) We pick her up today. I'll post pictures when I can. She's a total sweetie and we're excited to play with her. She is so mellow! You've never seen a cat like this. She just sat there and let Laney hold and pet her. LANEY. You know, that crazy almost 2-yr-old who freaks out and loves animals? And she was free. The shelter is running a special thru December, so it was a win/win. :)

10) A few people have asked me if minivans can actually have spoilers. Yes, they can. It is pictured below. It's just at the top instead of toward the bottom. Funny, huh?

11) My incredibly talented sister-in-law created three different Xmas cards for us this year, and I couldn't decide. I loved all of them! So Brandon decided for me. We picked the middle one. Which do you like?
Merry Christmas!!
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"Small butt Cassie"

For some reason I like pics where the family is walking away. I have one from last year on my wall right now. It's kinda my thing. I just like it- it's cute, especially with little kids. So naturally I asked Mandi to take a couple for this year. Well, if you didn't know, I have a... well, a ghetto booty. I've accepted the fact that I have a pretty black butt for such a white person. Some things help... darker pants, heels... none of which I'm wearing in this pic.

Anyway, Mandi showed me a few pictures, and I emailed back that though my butt looks pretty huge in a few pictures, they turned out great.

She emailed this photo back to me and said she hoped this helped. Haha! Then she titled it 'small butt Cassie.' Classic. I think I'll put this on my wall this year... :)
It's probably the only time I'll see myself with a small booty...
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Annual family pics

Because I'm such a terrible photographer, I tend to get family pictures taken every year, just so my poor kids have nice pictures when they're older. I'm thinking of their wedding videos, ya know? So, here are some of my faves of this year.

Mandi Taylor is an excellent photographer by the way, and I'm so lucky to be her friend. She's due to have a baby, like, tomorrow, but if you want to wait a couple months, I'm sure she'd be glad to take your picture.

No, it's not the same place we took it last year. Just some of the pics look kinda the same. The locale for this year was incredible.
So pretty! Right at sunset, at Utah lake... and the weather was better than perfect for a November evening.
This was one of my faves... the colors- wow.
My girls... aren't they cute? Laney was awful for pictures, Lexi was a pro, but we actually got some good photos!
You'll have to stay tuned til Christmas to see which one I liked best- it will be on the Christmas card!
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Weddings and cars

There's the happy couple! Last weekend my mom got married to a wonderful man named Ron. My dad passed away about 5 years ago, and we are really happy Mom found someone to spend the rest of her life with. It was really fun to go down to AZ and have my WHOLE family together. That hasn't happened in, um, years. Here are just a few pictures. I'm terrible at taking pictures...

Here are all my mom's grandkids. Try and find Lexi and Laney... Laney was, well, terrible for all the pictures. She cried and cried and turned her head away. What do you expect? It was her naptime, and she's pretty serious about her sleep. AND she's 21 months. Kids aren't good at pictures until they're at least 4.
A close-up of Mom and Ron in Ron's family pictures. Ron has 5 kids, and Mom has 11. Thus making 16 kids, and about a bajillion grandkids. I don't have pictures of the whole family because I had to be in them, but when I get some I will post them. It was a LOT of people.
The cupcakes, oh the cupcakes. They were so good. My sister is awesome- she made all of them. If you're in Arizona, call her up. Brandon kept saying, "Cas, you have to get this recipe!"
This is our new van. After looking and looking and looking, we finally found one we could call our own! I always said I would never own a minivan, but they are pretty awesome. They are perfect for small kids, and they're way cheaper than SUV's. It got better gas mileage than our mazda on our drive to AZ.
It has all the conveniences I wanted- power sliding doors, dvd player, leather and bucket seats, and one glorious thing I didn't have on my list...
Seat warmers! It is fabulous, I have to say.

If you are going to go on a road trip, you have to get a minivan. It was SO much easier to drive 10 hours with some space in the car! The girls loved watching movies and playing games etc. And we didn't feel completely cramped. Get this- so, I forgot that I packed my mp3 player in my suitcase, so I just climbed in the back and got it out! It was awesome.
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Halloween '10

3 posts in one day... I'm so impressed with myself! So here we go with Halloween...

By far my favorite Halloween so far. Lexi and Laney were Minnie Mouse. Do you see Laney's little Minnie Mouse clip? Isn't it adorable? Brandon's mom made it out of a bowtie. I thought it was genius. She wouldn't have kept the ears on anyway, so this was the perfect solution.
Here's Lexi. She was so excited for her costume and for her dad's...
Brandon was such a good sport to dress up as Mickey. Again, Brandon's mom sent puffy hands and the ears, and I made the shorts and shoes. The shorts were pretty easy, and there's a tail in the back too. And I just hot-glued yellow cloth to some slippers that Brandon never wears. Turned out pretty fun!
Lexi wanted me to be Daisy Duck. Brandon had to match Lexi, not me. :) I had some pretty sweet purple shoes too, which I made with cloth and hot glue again, and the bow is the same, hot glued to a headband. The poor beak looked awful, but I couldn't find one at the stores, so I had to make one.
The trunk or treat had to be held inside because it was freezing and raining, but the girls had a total blast. Scratch that. Lexi had a blast and Laney whined and cried the whole time. But it was still a total blast, and we just might have to have family-themed costumes from now on. :)
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Lexi's birthday cake

Here's Lexi blowing out her Barbie cake. I think we're going to have to make a Coldstone Ice Cream cake tradition for birthdays around here. It was delicious!

Lexi's Birthday!

I was supposed to post this on Monday, but I had costumes to finish, and you know...

So, Lexi had an awesome birthday on Monday! She started by going to preschool and celebrating there. After that we met up with Megan and Andrew at the dinosaur museum, and they brought lunch and cupcakes for everyone! It was so nice, and it's always so fun at the dino museum.

Here she is before preschool...
After the dino museum, we came home, Lexi took a nap, and then of course it was time for presents! Below is a collage. I told her to pose for the camera after every present, and she was a champ. She got lots of books, because she's kind of obsessed with books. Like mother like daughter... she also got a princess castle bed thingy for her barbie, a Dora bathtime castle, pinkalicious stuff from Nana, tons of Dora stuff from Nani, a game from Gramma... let's just say she had a good birthday.
Then we had a barbie cake. I will post the video after this... And of course the picture of Laney smiling for the camera, as always. :)
All in all, it was a super fun day. Lexi was so happy to be the special birthday girl all day long, and we had a blast together.
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Cougs and Jacques

Because of Brandon's awesome old boss (not old as in old, old as in previous, huh Jim?) :) we got some great tickets to the BYU game on Saturday. And guess what? They actually won!! That was a bonus. You can't really see Laney's or Brandon's face, but I loved this pic because it shows what we were doing so well- eating and eating and eating. :) Laney's fave was popcorn, and Lexi's was pizza. I loved the pretzel with cheese and Brandon is weird and likes the peanuts in the shells.

Lexi was covering her ears because of the noise, and I told her that putting her hood on would help. She actually believed me and had her hood on the whole game. That's good parenting right there. :) And why do all kids do this smile?? And she has pizza face.
By the way, this is the first game we've gone to this year, and Lexi is at an age where she wants to know what's going on. Holy bagillion questions! So, I tried to explain to her in 4 year old terms so she could understand:

"Mom, why are you screaming?"
"Because we just got a touchdown."
"What's a touchdown?"
"It's when we get points."
"Oh. Mom, why do we want points?"
"Because we want to beat the guys in the red helmets."
"Oh. Mom, are the guys in the red helmets bad guys?" (She's thinking like the wicked stepmother)
"No, they're not bad, we just want to beat them."
"Mom, why are you cheering now?"
"Because we just got the ball up the field more."
"Mom, why are you screaming now?"
"Because we just got the ball from the red helmets, and they can't move up the field anymore."

And on and on and on. Geez. But I'm glad she's showing an interest in football. That will get her far in this family. :)

It was really hard getting a good picture. Oh well.
It was oh so fun, and Laney also did well. Til halftime. We left in the 3rd quarter. The girls were tired. But seriously, football games are the best!

And sadly, we said goodbye to Jacques this week. That's my car, if you didn't know. We haven't been driving it since we didn't want to spend the money to fix it and re-register it, but Brandon needed a car and I had the other car, so he drove it, and the timing belt snapped off on the I-15. Goo. We were gonna trade it in at the end of the year for a new car, but that wasn't possible now. If you don't speak guy, like me, a mechanic friend explained it to me. If you break the timing belt, you've basically killed your engine, or at least they have to take the engine apart to fix it, and our car's not worth the fix. We were going to sell it to a junkyard for about $250, but we put in on KSL first and sold it as a good 'parts' car. We put the price up at a hopeful $350, not thinking we could get that much, and we got like 20 emails in 3 hours. All these mechanics wanted it cuz it's a V-6. So, we sold it to a mechanic for $350 in like an hour and a half. Poor Jacques. We'll miss you! Be good to your new owners! If you want an incredibly long read on my car's and my history together, go here.
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This and that, plus an easy dinner

So, my life must not be very exciting lately, cuz I can't think of much to blog about. So, let me try and make this as interesting as possible...

1. Lexi loves preschool. Her new favorite thing is tracing letters. I kept her totally occupied during General Conference by giving her words to trace. Laney on the other hand was a psychopath and went a little crazy during conference. We finally reverted to putting Special Agent Oso on the laptop for her to watch. Don't judge.

2. Laney is finally starting to show an interest in talking. But still not much. Only I ever know what she's saying, but it's a start. The funny thing is that even though she doesn't talk, she can pretty much tell you exactly what she wants. She's a good communicator, just in other ways.

3. I'm not pregnant. And I was kinda hoping I would be by now. I hate it when I can't control everything. :)

4. Laney is CRANKY lately. I don't know if it's because she was sick just a few days ago and she's still getting over it, or if it's just a phase. But dude. It's getting old. But she's still super cute, right? So I guess we'll forgive her. And she takes 3-hour naps. And she sleeps at least 13 hours at night. Okay, maybe I have no right to complain...

5. It's really hard to want to cook dinner when you went an entire week with every meal provided for you. So we're taking some baby steps and making easy stuff. This meal was introduced to me by Megan, who most of you know and love as well. DON'T knock it til you try it, that's all I have to say.
Grilled Cheese and Apple Sandwiches
(Seriously, so good!)

Cinnamon raisin bread
Apples of your choice
Cheddar cheese

First off, I'm a huge fan of traditional grilled cheese sandwiches- white bread, cheap Kraft american cheese. With tomato soup. Yummy. So when Megan first made me try these, I wasn't extremely excited. But these are really yummy! And a good take on a traditional meal.

Put cheese and thinly sliced apples in the sandwich. Grill it up like you normally would. We usually use the George Foreman. It's super easy that way. AND because I'm lazy, I just spray the outsides with Pam instead of buttering them. Your choice. And they don't need any kind of dip. They're yummy as is.
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Ugh, Blogger's not working with me, I can't get my cursor above this picture, so we'll start down here. The above picture was on our 1am flight, so that's why we look so tired. But it was the beginning of our trip, so we were so excited! We went on a Caribbean cruise last week, and here I am to tell you all about it! There are exactly 30 pictures in this post, so here we go...

We had the 1am flight, then another flight, then we were in Miami! So we were very tired during the whole getting-on-the-ship process. I only managed a couple pictures that day. These are at dinner. The first of many amazing eating experiences...
This is kind of a gross picture, but I had some awesome ribs and I forgot to take a picture before I ate it all. So yummy...
I gave Brandon a new anniversary/wedding ring. I've had the idea for a few years now. His original ring was getting pretty scratched up, and it wasn't very much money in the first place, so I wanted to replace it. I had it inscribed too. He was very surprised. :) And he loved it. Yeah!
The first official day of the cruise was traveling on the boat, so we laid out and ate a lot. We also tried the gym, which we continued throughout the week. Aren't you proud? We needed something to counteract all the food. By the way, it's really weird running on a treadmill on a rocky boat. Gravity is with you, then it's against you. Repeat for the next 45 minutes. But I like a challenge. :) First book of the cruise: Mockingjay. Pretty good, but I was a little disappointed in the ending. One of the cool parts of the cruise- unlimited french fries with ice cream. Yum...
And while I was gorging myself with french fries, Brandon was eating a pear. Don't worry- he had plenty of frozen yogurt all week too. And he's wearing his new ring, if you want to check it out.
That night was the 'elegant' dinner. We pretty much dressed in church clothes. Brandon striking a pose...
Then me. Check out my awesome shoes! Those were a last-minute addition. I borrowed them from my mother-in-law. They were kinda hard to walk in though-the boat was pretty wobbly.
Wednesday- Grand Turk Island. It was pretty perfect. The only problem is that Brandon can only stand being in the sun for about 30 minutes. So everywhere we went we had to find one chair in the shade for him, and one chair in the sun for me. It was beautiful though.
By this time my chair was shaded, but I guess that's okay. :) Again, it was perfect. Lying around reading books. Book 2: My Name is Asher Lev. I read it in college and wanted to re-read it. Loved it all over again.
We got some cocktails that day- non-alcoholic of course. The waitress thought we were crazy...
Mmmm... pina colada...
Sandy toes. I don't know what it is, but sandy toes make me happy.
Then we played football on the beach for a while, went swimming, and got back on the boat. We forced someone to take our picture first...
Thursday- Half Moon Cay Island. I'm not kidding you, if I could create the ideal paradise, this would be it. You have no idea. It is perfect. The lens was blurry but I still liked the photo...
Lens now clear, but we didn't really want to pose anymore...
The sand was like powder, the water perfect (but it needed waves). We rented some snorkels and swam for a long time, read a lot, hung out, ate some BBQ for lunch, read some more, and got back on the boat at 5ish. I honestly wanted everyone to bribe the captain to stay an extra day.
This is what was going through my head: "Let's see. If we get a wireless air card for Brandon's computer, and a satellite phone, and rented some kind of shack, we could live here. That's totally doable. We'll just pick up the girls and come back."
I really didn't want to leave. I was dragging my feet back to the boat. Hubs looked really good too. It was honestly heaven on earth.
Friday: Nassau, Bahamas. We were a little spoiled from Half Moon Cay, so we rented a scooter to find a good beach and explore the island. My goodness, when we got that scooter, you would think that they gave Brandon a bar of gold. He had so much fun driving that scooter around. Every once in a while he'd turn to me and say, "This is awesome!" He probably felt really in-control. I was on the back navigating. But it was really weird driving on the left side of the road. Brandon adjusted pretty quickly though.
We went to 7 different beaches, and none of them were very good. We just had paradise the day before, so it was hard to go back to just normal. This one was called 'Jaws Beach,' hence the scared faces.
It wasn't terribly pretty, so we left.
Then we found a cave. With bats. It was pretty fun.

There was a hot dog stand by the cave, so Brandon got a hot dog, and I got...A Coke! Oh man, it tasted good. On the boat, they wanted to you pay a million dollars and your left leg for soda. K, maybe not the leg, but the million dollars. So I went without Coke all week. The stand had them for a good price, so I indulged. I didn't have much time to read my book this day. By the way, Book 3: Foreign Influence. Entertaining and suspenseful, but not my favorite.
Definitely written by a republican, so that was nice. :)
We gave the scooter back and went window shopping. If you know Brandon you know that he was chewing his arms off one by one while shopping he hates it so much, so we didn't do it very long. Then we went back to the boat. We stopped and took a picture by the Disney cruise boat. Not our boat, but we were talking just the day before about taking the girls on a Disney cruise. If you look close, you can see Donald hanging outside...
We got ready for dinner for the very last night, and took some pictures in the booth. Not the best pictures, but oh well.
We were trying to look sexy. Yeah, I know. Give us a break...
These were our dinner partners the whole week. It was slightly awkward the first day having dinner with strangers, but it was fine the rest of the week. Brandon can make anyone laugh. They're from New Jersey. They've been married a year or so.

We're relatively boring when it came to nighttime entertainment. We went to a 'PG comedy show' one night, but apparently the comedian thought that meant 'not funny comedy show,' cuz he wasn't very good. We did some trivia game shows other nights, watched Karaoke one night (that was hilarious, by the way), and started to watch the big finale show. That was a mistake. It pretty much consisted of naked Vegas showgirls dancing around the stage. So we left that and just walked around a bit. Pretty fun for us, but probably boring for most people. Anyway, the next morning we headed out to the airport.

We were pretty sad to leave. But we were excited to go see our babies again! And I have to say a big, huge, monstrous THANK YOU to my Mother-in-law Linda for watching the kids so we could go. It was SO fun having you over. I only wish you could have stayed longer. Thank you!
Next time I probably won't do Carnival. Maybe Royal Caribbean. Carnival was okay for a first cruise, but a different cruise line I think would be more fun. I only got through 3 books, which was slightly surprising. I thought I could do 4. But I was enjoying the company of my hubby, you know? :) Anyway, it was a blast. Next time I'd also like to go with friends. So what do you say? In 5 years we'll all go. Let's plan on it. :)
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