Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Calvin Rider Holman Smith - AKA Teenager!

On this very day, thirteen years ago, my second son entered the world.  He was born in Tucson, AZ at 7:00pm, on a Sunday, with his hair parted. I think he was getting gussied up for church, and was probably disappointed when he didn't get to go.  Less than 24 hours before he was born, my family went to see a new movie that had just come out: The Lord of the Rings. He came full circle for his birthday party, when he and some friends went to go see the new Hobbit movie, 3D style.  It is impossible for me to articulate how much  like this boy.  He is smart, helpful, an excellent artist, loves Boy Scouts, is a good big brother, and an all around kind, grateful guy.  Happy Birthday to my favorite 13 year old!

I love that Calvin is helping Owen get his snow gear on to play outside.  He is always quick to help out his siblings.

He wanted a Texas Sheet Cake, so that's what he got.

How clever! A giant "C" for Calvin!  Some families add a candle for "one to grow on." I decided to take one away, for... his thirteen years have been so much fun, and have gone so quickly, it only felt like twelve... (I was just glad that I found any candles in the house!)

Snow Surprise/ Welcome Home Miracle

After a late Sunday night arrival in Vegas, we slept in on Monday, went swimming in the hot tub, and took our time making our exit.  The weather was warm and beautiful!  By the time we hit Provo, the traffic was insanely slow... it took almost two hours to get home from Provo, but we weren't in any accidents, no one had to go to the bathroom, so all in all, it was a successful day of traveling.  When we drove up to our home, I knew that Santa/ Angels/ Good Samaritans/ High quality Friends/ Fantastic Neighbors had paid our driveway a visit. Thank you to the individual/ individuals who plowed our driveway.  Our driveway heads downhill toward our house. We were pulling a small U-Haul trailer and would have been able to pull it in, but with about a foot of snow, we would have NEVER been able to get our vehicle out of such a mess if snow had covered our driveway. Thank you, whoever you are, from the bottom of my toasty heart for our snow removal surprise..

Buffet breakfast.

The sausage hash was actually pretty tasty.

Mexican lunch fiesta.  Annie and Owen love the rice.

It took about 8 hours to get home. Owen is fast asleep but looks so uncomfortable.

By the time we needed to gas up in UT, it was freezing outside and our coats and jackets were hiding somewhere in the trailer or our luggage.  Last year I got Preston this Snuggie... which he thought was lame... but he brought it on our trip... and Ryan wore it like a wise-man while gassing up.

Hard to put on airs in a Snuggie.

*** This post is for Monday, Dec 29th, 2014***

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sunday Smith's

Our last day in Az was the Sabbath.  We did a late Christmas gift exchange with Ryan's parents, attended church, visited Grandpa Tom's home, and then headed off to Las Vegas.  We left a few hours later than we had planned, and rolled in around 11:00pm. Late, but safe and relatively happy.***

Grandpa Tom owned a grocery store for several years, called Wrights Market. We got this lovely tray with this fantastic picture in it.

Annie and her cousin playing jacks.

Owen and Grandpa fighting with some packaging bubbles.
I can't remember who won, but both had a wonderful time.

Right after church.

Ryan got some nice furniture from his Grandpa, so we U-Hauled it home.  And in this particular scenario, we really means Ryan and the boys, not his fully pregnant wife:~)

***This post is for December 28th, 2015.***

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas pics Continued

Today was our last Saturday in Tucson. We spent it the best way I know how: with my family.  Lesley made a gourmet breakfast of corn pancakes and coconut syrup. Then we headed over to Moms where the kids swam in the hot tubs, the adults chatted, the cousins wrestled, the girls did a fashion show,  and the Lindsey's soaked up the last bit of time with her family in the flesh (but seriously, so grateful for cell phones and email, Skype, etc. How lucky to live in a time where being 800 miles away doesn't mean being disconnected.)

Twins with Santa. I'm on the left, Lesley is on the right.
I'm guessing we were 3 or 4 years old.

Hillary, me, Lesley and John.  So fun to see these up on my mom's fridge.

Uncle Benjamin being awesome and cutting Preston's hair. He did a great job.

So nice to see cousins bonding.

I love my parents so much. I LOVE that this is the sign they have posted prominently in their kitchen.

I simply love this wreath, and sort of covet it...

Owen's loved all of his time with his boy cousins.

We drove back to Mesa in the late afternoon. The second Ryan got to his Mom's, he grabbed a bite to eat and went straight to a fabulous spot on the rug.  He wasn't feeling well, but as we all can see, he still looked very handsome.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Boxing Day in AZ

I'm not really sure why December 26th is called Boxing Day (or if it even is called that here in the USA), but I do know that my darling niece turned 12 today.  Her family calls it boxing day, and that has to refer to something, right? Anywhoo, today was relaxing fun with my Holman clan. We caught the new movie Annie (my review is that it was cute enough), picnicked in the park, played park games, gals went shopping, the boys got haircuts, cousins had a pizza party while we the grown-ups dined on Italian.  A good day. I love vacation, I love family time. 

Sandwiches: mmmmm.

I actually really like volleyball played on a tennis court.  The lower net should have made it easier getting the ball over to the other side... but it didn't.  Too many of us, too much laughing, not enough raw volleyball skill.

The three of us are watching our daughters try on ridiculously fancy, insanely expensive dresses. Three cheers for a comfy seat for the fashion show.

My older nieces have been looking for a good wand to give them flawless ringlets. Enter the kiosk in the mall that sells those, and does some fun demo's.  Annie was lucky enough to get her whole head done. Darling.

Here is the finished product.  Super cute, but pretty difficult to do because her hair is pretty short.  I didn't get sucked into to purchasing for that very reason, but my sisters really liked it, their daughters hair is longer, and my nieces are old enough to do it on their own, so two very nice medium size curling wands left the store with us. Well done salesladies. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day

Christmas Day, December 25th, 2014, Tucson, AZ
All of 28 of the Holman Family crew were present for the dinner.

Opening gifts with my twin's family, the Howe's, this morning.

Ryan giving Christmas a thumbs up.

Christmas dinner. Everyone loves tortilla chips that have been dyed to be bright green and red.  Now that is festive! Our feliz navidad was muy bueno.

The big kid's table.

After dinner we played some games. First was a picture game of "guess what Christmas song the picture represents." The second was holiday bingo, with red and green m & m's used to cover the squares.  Such fun, and for dessert we had eclair's, which were creamy and delicious. I wish our pets were here to celebrate with us, but I know they are in good hands.
Merry Christmas!  

Christmas Eve

We headed just two hours further South to spend some holiday time with my side of the family, the Holman clan.  Christmas Eve was wonderful, as was time spent with loved ones.  Many of the gifts I got for my children were shipped down to Tucson, via Amazon, so this evening I had quite a few things to wrap.  As a blessing, my twin (who we are lucky enough to be staying with) had already done all of her wrapping, so she joined in on the fun. It only took us one viewing of "Waking Ned Divine" to finish the job.  It was a Merry Christmas Eve.

A pal of mine goes bowling with her family every Christmas Eve.  
We decided to be Christmas copy cats and give it a whirl.  My parents, and twin's and brother's family joined us. 5 Lanes, 21 bowlers, root beer and fries, score of 133. Not too shabby.

We had time to kill in between our bowling and the Christmas Eve festivities at my Mom's house so we took the kids to the two places we lived before our small family headed to live in Berkeley, CA.
This place was super cheap, and a total dump:~)

About a month before Preston was due, we moved into a new apartment complex that I absolutely loved.  It cost a little bit more than the first place, but was totally worth every penny.

On to my mom's, where we celebrated Christmas Eve.  We pigged out on home-made rolls and ham, went caroling, read the nativity story found in the Bible, and just enjoyed each other's company.

I love hearing my Dad read.

In lieu of our family's more traditional Christmas pj's, I opted for Christmas Eve slippers instead.
Very fun, and cozy too.

Loads of stockings, waiting patiently for tomorrow morning.

*** December 24th, 2014 ***

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Scavenger Mania!

Jam packed Smith family reunion day  #2!

The day started out at Grandma's favorite pancake house, where Owen and his uncle made pretty nifty sculpture out of plastic ware.

The we went on a monster scavenger hunt though out the Mesa area.  There were tow parts:the go to a certain place and take a picture of it, and the Q and A Arizona trivia.  What can't a donkey do in Az? Sleep in a bathtub. And no, you can't hunt camel in AZ. That's also illegal.

One of the many stops we made to earn points for the game.

After we had lunch at Grandma's and then a service project led by Ryan Edward Smith.

We made cards for the cancer patients at the Hutsman cancer center. 
Just some jokes to make them smitle.

One of my brilliant contributions.

I didn't even make this one up!

Ryan and the cards.

After we did some family photos.  What a great looking croup of people.

On to the cousin gift exchange.

Annie got an apron.

Calvin got a cowboy hat and Owen got a marble game.

The grandkids and the adults then parted ways, where the kids had pizza and soda, and the adults went out to eat.  After our meals, we headed over to a friends house who has the most incredible game room. Ryan and I played pool, and I lost.  We bowled, and I lost, and then we played separate games:~) I won all the games aI played against myself.