Tuesday, January 31, 2012

{Media Makeover}

Remember how cool these rear projection TVs were about 10 years ago?  I remember my uncle had a ginormous one in his basement and it was the biggest TV I had seen in a house before!  This is before HD and so the picture quality is fair at best on these things. Especially compared to today's standards.  And they are huge...I mean gigantic huge boxes that take up an unrealistic amount of space. 

Okay, so fast forward to us purchasing this house that is 10 years old.  The previous owners had actually sheetrocked a TV like this into a room upstairs.  Yes, sheetrock. The bottom half completely enclosed. As in they never, ever intended to get rid of it.  They must have thought technology would never change and the TV would never (gasp!) die. Seriously?  I could not believe it.   

The kids never minded it, but now that we are so spoiled by nice HDTVs, Trevor and I didn't use it to watch movies, TV, or sports.  But, in order to upgrade we had to figure out how we were going to get it out of that room without destroying the walls requiring a mini remodel, more sheetrock, and trying to match the custom paint?!  Let alone even if we destroyed the walls, the TV wouldn't make it down the stairs (they must have put it in before the stair railings went in).
Well, you bust out the reciprocating saw and demolish the TV.  I mean, you can't actually sell the thing. I don't think anyone would have even taken it for free!  I laughed at Trevor at first, but with the help of our friend Jon, they had that thing totally out of the room in about an hour.  (Note: They turned off the breaker to the room since the plug and outlet were also buried.  That way they avoided electrocuting themselves...that was my biggest worry about the whole thing!)

And what does a 65 inch rear projection TV look like inside?  It was mostly an empty plywood box.  I was surprised by how much was actually just wood! The electronic pieces were all in the lower half and could mostly be lifted out after taking apart a few screws.  Makes you think these things really aren't that sophisticated for sure. 
We kept the big mirror that was inside (that the image projects to)...as a little keepsake of the project. 

The hubster salvaged the paint and room.   And built a platform for a normal HDTV to go right in the same spot, but with access below for cords and cable so we can totally replace the new one when it becomes outdated in 10 years. After a quart of paint for the platform and a new TV from Santa, it is much improved!  It still boggles my mind that you would build a room around a TV that could not be accessed or replaced. But turns out it can... with a saw, a crowbar and a hammer!

We all love it.  Bring on the Super Bowl this weekend! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

{Growing kids}

This little guy is now a Sunbeam at church.  This is the non-nursery, first big-kid class and a major milestone.  He's so cute in his little chair right up front.  He is *mostly* good.  Wanders a bit and gets a little rowdy with his favorite buds in the class, but it's been good and so fun to see him learning and growing.  He absolutely loves primary songs.  His little raspy voice is always out of tune, but it is so endearing and sweet.  He loves "I am a Child of God", "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam", and "Once there was a Snowman".   He knows Jesus, says sweet prayers, and has a little testimony already growing (and got a much needed hair-cut a few days after these pictures. Sheesh, looking a little shaggy there). 

Our littlest one is almost 9 months old.  He is officially a crawler and cruising around everywhere, so we can no longer call him 'the slug'.  His world totally opened up to things that were beyond his reach a few weeks ago (like garbage cans, napkins, food scraps, and magazines).  His acid reflux is STILL bad.  So now we find little trails of spit-up in his path.  Great.  Makes for fun cleaning. 
But how can you get mad at someone as cute as this?

 You can't help but smile at his squeals and giggles.  I love his babbles and noises.  And his temperament is improving too.  Hooray for waking up happy in the morning AND at nap time.  Growing babies still seem like miracles to me.

And a little shot of those two cute bottom teeth...so much easier to eat Cheerios with!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

{Happy New Year 2012}

After a pretty quiet Christmas, we were so excited for a house full of family for the New Year!  At one point we had 22 people staying under our roof! From my side of the family, we were only missing my sister, Erin, who had to leave just before New Year's for a wedding. 
It was a wonderful few days.  And as expected, chaotic, messy, full of good food, late evenings, early mornings, happy kids, sports on TV, and the ringing in of the New Year. 

The big kids enjoying hot chocolate out on the deck by the fire.  It was a gorgeous day!

These two were instantly friends again after not seeing each other for a few months. 

Grandpa's new IPad2 got passed around quite a bit.

Major Just Dance 3 tourney.

 Minute to Win it games on New Year's Eve. This was good prep for Carson's 10th birthday with a Minute to Win It theme.

The kids' New Year's countdown at about 9PM.


And on New Years Day....some of the cousin crowd after church (missing a few!).  All in their matching outfits they received from Grandma Dalley for Christmas.
 Love my boys!

 Best shot of all 4 kids....oh well!

Becca, Me, Mom, and Charise (Camille didn't get there until later in the day).

Chris figured out our BBQ rotisserie and cooked up an amazing prime rib.  It was the biggest piece of meat I have ever seen!  It was so good!! We had a great meal on New Year's Day.

The 4 babies!! 

We convinced my sister to stay a few extra days before heading back to Chicago.  So Rylan got some one on one time in with Graham.  We hardly even saw these two during the day.  They just played for hours and hours! And we didn't have to break up any fights at all...they are just two peas in a pod.  Best buds!!

And of course, we got to snuggle on Ms. Claire too.  What a sweetheart!  I miss these kiddos all the way in Chicago!!!

It's always so wonderful to have the big group all together.  We missed you Erin!!  The kids couldn't be happier than spending every waking minute with their cousins.  They are their best friends. 
We were truly blessed beyond measure in 2011.  And we eagerly look forward to new adventures in 2012.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{Christmas Day 2011}

Christmas morning was just as it should be...exciting, warm, and cozy!  The smell of cinnamon bread, the sounds of Christmas music and the kids giggling, and the comfort of a warm fire and home.  I love it maybe more than the kids!
Carson slept upstairs so he could come down with the kids at the same time.  We enforce a strict "no peeking" rule and had to cover the banister and railing with a big blanket so they couldn't peek down below. 
They didn't wake up until about 7:30.  And I told them we couldn't go downstairs until they got Rylan up AND he had to be happy.  He's a grumpy gus in the morning...but it quickly faded with enticing thoughts of stockings, candy canes, and presents. 
Here they come!

Addy and Car quickly found the gifts they asked for from Santa.
Addy: Electric Scooter
Carson: Rip Rider

Since church didn't begin until 1:30, we enjoyed the entire morning opening gifts.  We really take our time...going one at a time and opening the toys and putting in batteries if they want.  Why rush it, right?  It still goes by too quickly...

Miles was so content and happy.  He took a nap part way through and rallied at the end with the lasts gifts of the afternoon.

This little girl was so excited for her new sewing machine from mom and dad!

And Rylan loves this Toy Story race track (Look, the same one from Nursery, Mom!)

He also loved this rug with roads and tracks from Grandma Judy. It went perfectly with the cars, trains, tracks, animals and other toys he got that day.

No pictures of the kids in their church clothes.  Honestly, we just threw something on pretty quickly, and I didn't fuss too much with hair or ties. As soon as we got home, the sun was shining so the kids changed in lightning speed and hit the street to try out their new toys.
The Rip Rider is pretty cool.  You pick up speed by pedaling and then crank the wheel and the wheels on the back allow you to do multiple 360 spins.  It's pretty fun (for adults too!).

Addy getting a lesson from Dad on driving her electric scooter.

It didn't take too long to figure it out.

Our parents spoiled all of us for Christmas.  The kids loved the toys, clothes, puzzles, and books galore.  They were truly treated with thoughtful and generous gifts.  I don't know how they manage all the shopping with the grandchildren list continuing to grow!

And Trevor and I loved the emergency preparedness gear and items for the kitchen and house that were so thoughtful.  I am SO excited to have my very own big-girl sewing machine too (Thanks Mom!!!).  I have a project I want to start this weekend.  Addy and I can learn together. I will aspire to be as good as my sister-in-law, Anne, who sent adorable quilted ornaments for Christmas. 

My sister had Trevor and I for Christmas this year and put together this adorable 'Christmas Symbols' bag/story. I love it!  She also took careful note of some kitchen things I mentioned wanting throughout the year, and a movie for the kids...all wrapped up in a gift that was so personal and loving! Thanks Reese & Chris!

The kids also loved exchanging gifts with their cousins.  It is always one of their favorite gifts to give and to open.  And they even got to thank them in person as we were all together for New Years Eve!
We were on the phone off and on most of the day and Skyped with all our family too.  It was so nice to talk to almost everyone!!

Since it was just us this year, I didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen cooking, so I took some cooking short-cuts and did Rhodes rolls and a pie from Costco.  Anyone notice or care? No. Add in some honey glazed ham, mashed potatoes, shrimp, and frog-eye salad...and it was a delicious, festive meal!

After dinner we tried out our new popcorn maker from Santa and played a family round of Just Dance 3.

We put together toys and set up Addy's sewing machine.  She's pretty good at threading the machine and winding the bobbin now.  She is using all my scrap fabric on sewing projects.

It was a wonderfully blessed Christmas.  I love how it connects our family, both near and far, in joyous celebration of our Savior's birth.  I feel so connected to them as we share our Christmas Day adventures and fun knowing we are all tied through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And that is greatest gift of all. 

And at the end of the day, two tired boys, snuggled up watching a movie. 
Doesn't get any better than that. 


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My little blog is a family journal. I include things on here I want to remember years and years from now. So when I post a zillion pictures...it is because I want to have it for my posterity. So please forgive the often posted-picture overload.

Currently I am trying to focus on my photography skills...reading, reading, reading, and taking pictures when I can. Then edit, read, read, read some more. I finally feel like I have a basic understanding of exposure...hooray! I updated my blog template so I can display larger photos because...aren't pictures better than anything I have to say anyway?

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