Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy "Nude" Year!

So we just got home from our New Years party. We had the best prime rib I have ever had - YUM! The party is going until midnight, but with the baby we decided to come home early. When we picked Gabe up from the babysitter I was telling Gabe "Happy New Year!" and I asked him if he was going to tell me Happy New Year too. He said, "No Mom - it's Happy Trick or Treat!" Sure - whatever works for you.

I liked "Happy Trick or Treat" a lot better than what Cory taught him right after - "Happy 'nude' year". Oh Dad - I'm so glad you can be a good influence on our children.

So whatever works for you - a happy new year, a happy NUDE year, or a happy trick or treat - I hope that it's happy, prosperous, and joyful. (and hopefully that it includes clothes....)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year at a glance scrapbook pages

Back about 7 years ago we started a tradition in the Rhien family. It was a few years after Cory and I had been married and we decided to start a scrapbook for my parents. The idea behind it was that even when the kids couldn't afford Christmas gifts (being newly-wed, new jobs, etc) that they could still create a simple scrapbook page to give to my parents to show a year in review of what they'd been up to. It just needed to be one page to represent each Rhien kid and in the end it would help us to create a family history. Eventually family will be able to look a the book and see what we've all been up to. It has nothing to do with the talent, or the scrapook ability - since not everyone scrapbooks - but it's more about the memories and the history. It's been tricky to keep up, but hopefully as of this year we'll be caught up and can do just one page at a time.

This year I offered to do pages for whoever needed them to get caught up. Paul and Nicole were the only ones who took me up on the offer though. So here are a few pages I did. I didn't get Paul and Nicole's last page scanned before I sent it....oops. It was really fun to work on these pages. I miss having scrapbook "assignments" - it helped keep me motivated.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Darn Weight Watchers!

Darn it - Weight Watchers really works!

I have eaten HORRIBLY through the holidays this year. I just felt stressed, overwhelmed and I guess a little sorry for myself - and I took it out on junk food. And know what? I gained weight (SURPRISE!). Everytime I "fall off the wagon" and eat like that I am frustrated that I gain weight - a lot faster than I took it off. You'd think that sooner or later I'd learn that I have to eat healthy ALL OF THE TIME.

So this week I was back to Weight Watchers after gorging myself on all kids of chocolate, neighbor treats, cheese ball, crackers, cinnamon rolls - anything that you can think of that is unhealthy....

And guess what? In just 2 days I've lost 3 lbs.

So yep - Weight Watchers works. Now I just need to stick with it and keep trying hard to eat better. (I also need to exercise more....but that is another topic all together.....)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ellis family skiing weekend

Every year the Ellis family goes on a ski trip to celebrate Christmas. Cory's parents take everyone skiing and we celebrate Christmas (we normally do it before Christmas so we still celebrate actual Christmas at home). This year we went to Eden, Utah and stayed at some condos and everyone (but me and Hunter) skiied at Powder Mountain ski resort. It was super snowy and cold, but I think everyone had a good time. The condos were nice, it was nice to spend time together and Gabe loved seeing his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Lots of fun.
Gabe tried skiing this year....and he'll try again next year :) He's such a little kid that I'm proud of him for trying. He would just get scared when he'd slide. Cory's going to keep trying with him, and practice sliding on the snow. I think if the weather hadn't been quite what it was that he would have done better - but I'm also pretty sure that he has a bit of my genes in him (poor kid) - so I hope that he doesn't always stay scared....

And check it out - Santa even skiied with them! Cory's dad dressed up as Santa this year and skiied the slopes to pass out candy canes. It kind of confused Gabe when we picked "Santa" up and drove him from one lodge to another in our car - he couldn't quite figure out why Santa's voice sounded so familiar...I think he thought it was funny. And then to see Santa lay a big kiss on Grandma - YIKES! :)

I stayed at the condo or in the lodge while they enjoyed their skiing with Hunter. Just wait - he'll be out on the slopes soon with all of the other Ellis boys!
Then after everyone skiied we headed back to the condos. We had tasty food, fun presents, a pinata and family time. I especially loved the adoreable pajamas and pillow cases that Grandma made for the boys to go with their Olivia books. SO cute!
Gabe didn't feel too great - but he still enjoyed it. Hopefully he'll be feeling better soon....Hunter has it now, so it could just keep going around and around and around our family. (hopefully not though!)

On our way up to the condos we took Cory's parents and younger brother Coby to a super fun place in Ogden called iFly. It's a sky-diving simulation in a wind tunnel. (check out the videos on-line) We started with flying instruction and then we each "flew" for 2 one minute flights. It was awesome! The instructor is in the wind tunnel with you, helping you with form and safety. The instructor said we were all really good for first timers (I'm pretty sure they say that to everyone....) bur Cory really was a natural! He flew right up high right away. It was funny to see everyone's expressions, and I wish we could have captured it better in pictures. The flash was reflecting on the plexi-glass, and to turn off the flash it was too blurry. We paid for a dvd of the experience, but when we got them home they didn't work. Bummer huh? They're going to see if they can retrieve the data on the disks and get them to work...but we're not counting on it. If not we might get to go back and get another one made at no cost (which would be fun anyway!) Here are some pictures of our flying experience:

Check these out!

Ok - I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. These little videos that my brother put together are so stinking hilarious! Check them out. I love that Hunter's head is so big and that he's dancing around. Gabe's loved watching them too. (over, and over, and over again)

Christmas Tree
Snowball Fight

(For those of you who don't know - the other people in the videos are my brother Jed, his wife Laura and my niece Allison)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


"Hunter, Hunter, Bo-Bunter"

Cory is always saying this....I don't know exactly why....but what used to be odd to me now makes me smile. When Gabe was about this age we called him "Gabers" (and we still do) - and I guess this has just become a term of endearment for Hunter. Cute little guy.

Anyway - here are just a couple cute pictures of Hunter with his giant grin. I especially love the 2nd picture because it shows the giant goobers of slobber dripping off his chin. This little guy is quite the slobbery one! Today his shirt was covered, blankets - covered, mommy - covered, we were all covered in Hunter slobber. But with a smile like that - who could be upset?

Neighbor Gifts 2007

Thought I'd share what we did for our neighbor gifts this year. I found these cute little "JOY" words that are made out of metal. I got red and white ones, wrapped them in cellophane and tied cute tags on them. The tags say (on the front): "We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". Then on the back they say,

Christmas is a time of JOY
A time for love and cheer.
A time for making memories
To last throughout the year.

May your Christmas season be filled with JOY
Love, The Ellis Family

We took them around for Family Home Evening last night and it's nice to have that checked off of our list. It was also neat to take them around to our special friends and neighbors and realize how blessed we are to have such special people we love in our lives. In fact, as we took them around I was realizing all the other people I probably should have bought gifts for too....It surprised me how many I felt we'd 'left out' (but they'll never realize that I don't think)....
The picture isn't great - but you get the general idea.

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Christmas Decor 2007

Thought I'd share a couple of my new Christmas decorations for this year:

  1. Santa: I got this at Robert's Craft and had to hide it up high because Gabe kept dragging Santa around the house.

  2. Counting Snowman: Another Robert's Craft find (and 50% off to boot!) I love that store.

  3. Willow Tree Nativity: My sweet grandparents gave this to us for Christmas this year. I have had my eye on this for years now and I'm SO excited to start adding to it. This year we put it in our bedroom so Gabe wouldn't get into it. I kind of like having a reminder of the true meaning on Christmas in our room.

  4. New Star Stocking Holders: We didn't have enough stocking holders for our new addition this year, so I picked up some new ones (and bought a couple of extra for the future - and no that is not an announcement!) They're rusty stars and match things on our tree really well.

  5. Annual Photo Christmas Ornaments: When Gabe was born I started a tradition of making a photo ornament each year for the tree. Then someday I'll have at least a picture each year for our tree. I also make them for grandparents and great grandparents. Lots of fun.

  6. Berry Candle Holder: Yet another Roberts deal

  7. Rusty Star in Tree: I LOVED this star when I bought it a couple of months ago, but didnt' know what to do with it or where to put it (I have a lot of stars around our house already). But when we put the tree up I wished I had bought more - and put them throughout the tree. I know it's not 'cool' to decorate with just one....3's or 5's would have been better - but oh well.

  8. Fisher Price Nativity: I actually bought this for Gabe last year, but it's one of my favorite things we put out. Gabe has wanted to get it out since before Halloween!

Our Boys!

Sometimes I just have to sit back and laugh about being a mom. I have tried getting some good pictures of the boys lately, but I haven't been real successful. Then this morning Gabe wanted me to take some pictures of him, but I wad afraid if I hurried and did his hair that Hunter wouldn't be too excited about it - so I took their pictures as-is. Hunter had been laughing, smiling, and then the camera came out - and NOTHING! Little stinker.

This week Hunter has been talking up a storm. Especially when he's eating. Yeah - he talks to me all through our nursing sessions. It started out as funny - but it's gotten loud and distracting. I can't even watch the news while I'm nursing him because he talks over it! He coos, moans and just makes all kinds of funny noises. Yesterday I had to take a break in my shopping at Walmart to nurse him in one of the dressing rooms and I wondered what the people in the adjacent dressing rooms were thinking - it was pretty comical. (Is it in the movie "What about Bob?" when he just moans and makes all of those gross sounds about how good dinner was? That's what it reminded me of!)

Hunter has also been a stinker lately with sleeping at night. We've had a few pretty good nights, but we've had a couple of nights lately when he gets up like every 1 1/2 - 2 hours all night long. Wears me out! Luckily it doesn't happen every night - but when it happens a few nights in a row I'm a wreck. I'm so tired, and being tired makes me snack all day long...not a good combo!

Gabe's been a typical 2 year old lately. I have to keep reminding myself that this stage will pass, it will pass. There are days though when I try to look at it with a different point of view, and realize that I'm lucky he is as "vocal" as he is, and that he knows what he wants. That's a trait I hope my kids develop (though in a more polite way....) - to know what they want in life. It's good to be determined - right? Cory sure is, and I think that's a good trait for them to develop. Today Gabe was cute though - he kept wanting to "Snuggle in mommy's bed and read books!" I tell ya - I can do that! I LOVE reading to the boys and especially when it includes snuggles! I've been giving the boys a Christmas book each day in December so it's been fun to see what the day's book is. (I got some cheap books from a Scholastic book order)

Gabe is also still very sure that Santa is going to bring him a "Mater COPTER!" (Mater Helicopter from the Cars movie). I have ordered one for him, but it's out of stock everywhere and the soonest Target's website says I'll get my order is like the 8th of January. Bummer huh? I did find a small little helicopter toy and I'm hoping it will fit the bill until Santa makes another appearance at our house in January. It's not that Gabe will be wanting on Christmas Day - I think we've bought him almost every other kind of toy there is - I just wanted him to get the one thing he actually asked for.

This weekend we don't have any big plans. It's BUNCO tonight with friends, but other than that - not much. I'm just about done with Christmas shopping - except perhaps a few more little things to finish for Cory. I have my neighbor gifts about 50% of the way finished - but that just involves putting things in bags and tying them with ribbons (I'll post them later). But all of our other shopping is done. I've been a lot more organized this year (I've had to be with 2 kids!) and that feels good. Now I just need to WRAP, WRAP, WRAP! We have our guest bed COVERED with Christmas present for everyone and I think it might take us until Christmas Day to get them wrapped. Good thing Cory ROCKS at wrapping gifts!
(Has anyone else noticed that sometimes Blogger does the screwiest things with formatting? Drives me nuts!)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

An early Christmas gift

Last week my cousin Liz left a comment on one of my gratitude posts after I mentioned that Cory had bought new bathroom rugs without being asked. She said,

He bought bathroom rugs without being asked?! Maybe Cory should start teaching seminars to married men who want really happy wives. :) I'm serious! You are always talking about the sweet things he does that my husband would never think of! He could make a fortune traveling the country teaching really unperceptive men what they should be doing. Think about the possibilities!

I totally laughed because all too often I think of all the things Cory isn't doing - instead of focusing on the little sweet things he does do. I've had several friends comment on Cory lately including a friend once who said, "He is SO romantic!" I laughed because I didn't view him as being romantic - not at all. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Cory really does sweet things a lot, and I need to recognize him more for it. He's a great guy and tries his very best. There are even days like today that he totally hits the nail on the head! I'm pretty lucky and need to remember it more often.

So I have been eyeing this fun new Cricut machine that came out a while ago. I've resisted - kept telling myself I'd eventually cash in on the computer cutter like the Wishblade or the one by Quickutz that Cory promised for my birthday in June (but I hadn't found anywhere local that carried it, or the accessories - so I hadn't bought one yet. I didn't want to have a cool toy that I couldn't go get accessories/blades/mats/etc for when I needed to). Anyway, I already have the original Cricut, and felt like it would be silly to buy the new one. What was such a big deal about it?

But then I got looking into it. WOW! The new one can cut up to 12 X 24 inches! I'm not totally sure WHY I need to cut something that size - all I know is that now I know it's possible I must be able to cut out huge letters and icons :). And - it also cuts vinyl! And they've released some great vinyl that I can pick up at Roberts Craft.

And it does other awesome things too - especially with the new software that I've begged Santa for (I'm pretty proud of myself for waiting until Christmas on this one).

Anyway - I told Cory that I would really like the new Cricut machine for Christmas...or sooner...but Christmas would be great. But today he came home before heading out to another job and put a big happy box on the counter. "Here," he said, "You can have it early since I got the Wii early". (Yeah, the day after Thanksgiving Cory was up at 4:00 am to get one of the coveted Wii game systems)

I said, "No, I want to still have something fun to open on Christmas Day - keep this so I will still get something on Christmas." He seemed offended that I would think he wouldn't get me something for Christmas. He said, "I'm just full of surprises - just you wait!"

So I need to say THANK YOU Cory - for surprising me early, for doing sweet things, working hard, helping out when you can, and for being pretty darn cute! I love you sweetie! (and really - not just because you buy me presents - that's just an added bonus!)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


So tonight I needed to take a treat to Young Women's and I made a double batch of my favorite recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies (from the Better Homes and Gardens classic cook-book). I added one bag of milk chocolate chips, and one bag of butterscotch - just for my hubby. As I finished making them I remembered that I needed a dessert to take to our big Relief Society Christmas party tomorrow night too and that I'd bought the stuff to make these tasty looking pretzels. So instead of eating a bunch of cookies tonight as I make them, and then eating a bunch of the hug pretzels tomorrow too I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone and get them both done today while the boys were sleeping. (Let's face it - I have zero will-power when it comes to warm chocolate chip cookies or Hershey Hugs!) That way I can hopefully be good tomorrow instead of having 2 days full of pigging out. The hug pretzels turned out so yummy looking (they're cooling in the fridge). Since I'm trying to be good and not eat myself into a Santa suit I hope I can resist enough that we can still have enough for the Relief Society party.
But that being said I have the hardest time with goodies this time of year. There are yummy things that aren't available during the year (like Mint M&M's - what's up with that!?!?) and I want to indulge because they won't be available again for a year. But I'm trying really hard to do good and not pig out. Loosing weight with Weight Watchers has been slow in coming after Hunter - much harder than with Gabe, and the holidays are exactly what I don't need right now. So wish me luck!
(The recipe and picture came from Becky Higgin's blog).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Hunter is 4 months old!

Yikes! Here we go again - another post with me going on and on about how fast my kids are growing up, how time is zipping by. And it is! Hunter is now 4 months old - 1/3 of his first year is over. I do have so say that this last month has been my favorite. Hunter has become (generally) a very happy baby. He's content sitting in his swing, determined to stick both of his hands in his mouth at the same time. He is full of smiles and loves to sit and talk to us. He doesn't however like being on his tummy - hate it really. We keep at it a little every day, but he ends up rubbing his face around on the blanket so much his poor nose gets all goobery and yucky. But it's helping him build the muscles he needs and he's rolling over a bit more as a result. He still doesn't roll a ton - but every once in a while - and he rolls over to his side all the time.

And he's getting bigger all the time too. He's 13 1/2 lbs so he's doubled his birth weight. He's in the 20-40% for everything, so he's a smaller kid, but what did you expect from Cory and I? (I just hope he hits 5 foot before his mission....!) I've also had more and more people say how much he looks like Gabe. I think he does definetly look like they're brothers - but they also have a lot of their own characteristics. In looking at pictures of me and my siblings when we were in Farmington last week I saw a lot of similarities between Hunter and my brother Jed, and Hunter and me when I was little. It's so fun to make those connections and see those similarities! But yes - he does look like Gabe, and it will be fun to have the 2 little tow-heads running around after each other in a year or so.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Now I don't know what says, "Merry Christmas" better than a trip to visit Santa Claus at the North Pole! We took the boys to "Santa-land" on Friday night. Here in Cedar City we have festivals for just about everthing under the sun - in fact, we don't even need things like holidays for festivals (like for the sheep festival in the fall) - but the stuff they do for Christmas is fun. Lots of fun trees, a fun North Pole to walk through to get to Santa and musical performances (that the boys were not interested in). I was pretty excited that we got a picture of both of the boys being pretty happy, and a great smile from Hunter. YAY!

When Santa asked Gabe what he wanted for Christmas he said, "A Mater copter!" Knowing Gabe-speak I knew that he was saying he wanted a helicopter from the Cars movie (at the end of the movie McQueen arranges for Mater to go on a ride in a helicopter like he's always wanted). Anyway, this was the first we had heard of this and we didn't even know if there was such a toy (we certainly hadn't seen it before). But after a bit of searching I did find this:
So I've ordered it, and we'll see if it gets here by Christmas. It says online that it will take 2-6 weeks, so I'm not holding my breath. And if it doesn't get here in time it will probably be ok too -I'm pretty sure Santa has done plenty of shopping and Gabe will find something under the tree that he'll enjoy :)

And we decorated last night - at least inside the house. I'm not sure we'll get real far with the outside of the house this year. Cory got all gung-ho about outdoor Christmas lights a couple of years ago, and it was beautiful, but he's kind of re-thinking it, and I don' t even know if he'll do the ones around the arch of our door-way like he did last year. I sure hope he does though - I love the look of our house all a-glow with white Christmas lights!

So Merry Christmas from our crew!