Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas week

Grandpa Paul and Grandma Sandi drove all the way here from Wilsonville, Oregon to spend Christmas with us and Spencer's brothers who are also in Southern California. We are the furthest north so we were lucky enough to get them for two whole days before we got together with everyone else in Palm Springs on Christmas Eve. They brought some fun books for the kids and Madeleine and Ian just loved sitting with Grandpa reading.
Grandma is the best at keeping the kids entertained! If she wasn't having Madeleine help her make cookies, she might have been playing the piano and singing. Or she could have been reading to them or playing some other games. And on top of that she would put the kids to bed and get them dressed and bathed and help me with laundry and dishes. What a wonderful guest to have around! You can visit anytime! We all love having you here!
Here's Ian Christmas morning. He didn't care too much about any of the presents he got. He would have been perfectly happy if that delicious candy cane was the only thing in his stocking.
Anytime Madeleine was asked what she wanted from Santa for Christmas, the answer was the same. " Lots of princesses." And that is what Santa brought. She was so cute when she opened it. She exclaimed, "Oh! How did he know?!"
Like I said in my last post, we had a lot of fun hanging out in Palm Springs with our family. The kids had an especially great time! They even got to go swimming one day. I just love to see them play together! I have some cousins that I was really close with growing up and I hope that Madeleine and Avery will be too.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Lights in Palm Springs

We spent Christmas in Palm Springs this year with Spencer's family. It was super fun the whole time. Good food, great company, nice weather...really great all around. Christmas night, we thought it would be fun to go for a drive to see some lights and Spencer even did a little research before we went to see the good places to go. One place he read about was called "Christmas Village." It boasted over a million lights and the picture in the article was similar to the one above. Looks nice right? Look a little closer. You can see in this picture a few of the huge and very strange robot sculptures. Here's the thing: Sure there were a lot of lights, but other than that, this was not a very Christmas-y display at all. In fact, it was pretty creepy. Look at the reindeer sculpture below.
HELLO! A human skull on the reindeer?! How freaky is that?! Other freaky things we saw were a robot who had one arm made out of a child-size mannequin tightly wound with an electrical cord and mural with a huge Mohammed, a medium sized Jesus and a small alien peeking out from behind Jesus. When we first got there, we were really amazed at the size of the place and how many lights there were and there was a monstrous Santa or two, but as we walked around we felt like we had been tricked. We decided we had been lured there under completely false pretenses. Christmas Village? I don't think so. Evidently they have termed it RoboChristmas, so feel free to search it on the internet if you want to see more of it. Perhaps I just didn't "understand the art," but I was not the only one who had an icky feeling being there. We are all hoping that the kids won't remember it for fear it might give them nightmares.

P.S. After we left the Twilight Zone we took a drive to a normal old Candy Cane Lane that was quite nice.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas lights

We took the kids to see the lights at the LA Temple a few nights ago. I was able to get this cool shot of Maddie thanks to her being able to sit really still and using no flash.
Ian does not sit still so any pics without flash were a blurry mess. He could have climbed on (and fallen off) this rock all night. Too bad it started to rain while we were there. His fun had to be cut short.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

these silly kids of our's....

Ian likes to jump in his crib and will do it when we promt him by saying, "Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!" in a voice that is annoying to anyone but a baby. While we were trying to capture it on video Madeleine came in to show off her lovely singing voice. She does a great "Jingle Bells" twice.

If you watched the whole thing (sorry if it was a little long) you saw how Ian was shaking his head back and forth with incredible speed. You may have even noticed my comment about how tired he was that he probably couldn't even see straight. Do your children do this when they are extremely tired? Another thing I have seen him do is hit himself in the face to stay awake. It's kind of funny and kind of sad at the same time.

When does the change occur in us when we decide we would rather let ourselves sleep than do crazy things to stay awake? I guess there is probably still a little of that in most people. Imagine if you were driving and beginning to nod off. You obviously can't let yourself sleep at the wheel so you start hitting yourself in the face or other assorted insane activities to keep yourself conscious. I think I might like to see a video like that.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thinking about Christmas

I set up our tree a couple days ago in hopes of getting it to feel a little more Christmas-y around here. Madeleine helped a little. She put some ornaments on, all clustered together so I helped move them to be a little prettier. I think I may have to grow up to be the kind of mom who (when I have space for this) has one tree for me that is pretty and uniform, etc. and another tree for the kids. Is that lame? Or maybe the lame thing is keeping our tree as "mine" instead of letting the kids have at it and getting a tree of my own when we have room for two trees. I guess it will depend on how long we are in a one-Christmas-tree size home. Since the kids are still so young I don't feel too bad about not letting them decorate it. Maybe in a couple years I'll relinquish my interest in the beauty of our tree. Until then, I love my fake, pre-lit, beautifully uniform tree!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Football fun

We had tickets to attend the BYU-SDSU football game on October 27 in San Diego. But because of the wildfires and poor air quality, the game was postponed until yesterday. So, we got to spend the day down in SD with Curtis and Amy and their girls.
Madeleine and Avery were such troopers! A football game lasts a very long time for 2 and 3 year old girls. They sat and watched some, played on the rail some, and did quite a bit of snacking. They seemed to really like the paratroopers who landed in the stadium during halftime (that was my favorite part, too) and the fireworks when SDSU scored.
Ian with his Uncle Curtis, Spencer's younger brother.
Coral feeding Mikaya and Aunt Amy. We are so glad they live out here in SoCal now!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ian's new skill

We didn't intentionally teach this, but it's pretty cute so we had to share.

We are going to see family in Arizona for Thanksgiving this week. I am so excited to see everyone and get away from the building for a little while. Plus, I LOVE this holiday! Mmmm, all the yummy food....I can hardly wait! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Welcome home, Spencer.

Spencer went out of town for business last week, leaving Thursday and getting home Sunday. The kids and I were SO happy to have him back! It's amazing the difference it makes for the kids to spend just a little bit of time with him each day. I'm sure it's the same way for most families with young children. By the time he gets home from work, we eat dinner and put the kids to bed. They get to spend maybe an hour and half together. The amount of time is small, but I've discovered it to be incredibly valuable. Not only do Madeleine and Ian get some fun playtime with their favorite playmate, but I get a chance to briefly focus my attention on something besides the kids. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids and I am so thankful I get to stay home with them, but it's got to be the toughest job there is. I am just about ready to stop even attempting to clean my house. I don't think it will make a difference in the way the house looks, but I might feel better for not having wasted my energy. Ian is going through an extremely destructive phase. At least I hope it's a phase. I felt like I literally spent all day Friday cleaning, but I guarantee you wouldn't think so if you had come over on Saturday. This is how it goes: I put Ian down for a nap and start cleaning. Madeleine will watch a movie for awhile so I can work around her. A short way into Ian's nap, Madeleine goes into their room to change her clothes and wakes Ian up. Thanks a lot. My hopes are dashed. I know I can't clean now. And once Ian is out and playing, it's evident that any cleaning I was able to accomplish is about to be messed up again. I know what I really need to do is clean after I put the kids to bed. But who wants to do that?! One of these days I hope I can figure it out. By that time it will probably be difficult to tell if I really progressed in my abilities or if the kids have just gotten easier and less messy as they have gotten older. Anyway, back to my original thought, I am so thankful that Spencer is back in town! Just knowing he'll be home for dinner and can help me with the kids at bedtime is such a comforting thought. Hooray for husbands!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Madeleine was the cutest Little Mermaid this year. She loves this holiday so much. She is already talking about what she is going to be next Halloween.
Here's our little Ian-dragon. I confess that we took this picture a couple days after Halloween. He was sick that night and fell asleep around 6:15, so he didn't get dressed up and go out trick-or-treating.
So, I stayed home with Ian, and Spencer took Madeleine around our neighborhood. They didn't get very far when she started rummaging through her sack looking for which piece of candy she wanted to eat. After about 45 minutes she said she had enough candy and they came home. When I was a kid, I wanted to go out as early as possible and stay out as late as possible in hopes of geting the most candy I could. Granted, I don't remember thinking that way when I was 3 (probably because I don't remember anything from when I was 3). Maybe we have enough treats at our house on a regular basis that she won't have to become a total candy fiend like her mother. Or maybe when she gets older she will develop the desire for more candy than anyone should ever have. We'll see what happens next year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall Fun

Tonight we took the kids to the pumpkin patch at Pierce College to enjoy the little fair and to find the perfect pumpkin.
Ian was his normal, busy self--running around and checking everything out.
Looks like a good choice, don't you think? (This wasn't the one we bought, but Madeleine wanted to show us how many pumpkins there were that weren't too heavy for her to lift.)
Our masterpiece.This one was just asking to be sat on. It was pretty beastly.

Mad took a turn in the bumper boats. She didn't end up liking it as much as she thought she would. She pretty much hated it. I'm not sure if it was because she was spinning around in circles against her will or if it was that she bumped someone or something and then bumped her mouth on the steering wheel. Whatever it was, she cried until they let her out. Too bad. It looked like fun to me.
This was Ian's first ride on a carousel. He was all smiles when we first got on, but he seemed bored by the end. Oh well, what are you gonna do?

He was being a little daredevil standing up in the wagon. That was before they told us we couldn't let our kids ride in it.
Striking a pose, as usual.
We had a really fun time. This time of year is so much better for me now that I have kids. And especially now that Madeleine is old enough to appreciate so much of it. We are going trick-or-treating tomorrow, so be on the look out for the kids in their costumes.

Boney Island

If you live in Los Angeles and have never been to Boney Island, you have GOT to go!! It's just a few blocks away from our apartment so we found it a few years ago and have enjoyed checking it out each year since. For a couple weeks before Halloween, this family sets up the most amazing display in their yard. They call it an Animated Skeleton Carnival. Tomorrow night will be the last night of it this year, and if you've never been you may want to try to squeeze it in tomorrow. I picked up a flier while I was there that said this will be the last year they do it. I hope it's not true! Check out the website at The address is 4602 Morse Ave. in Sherman Oaks and it runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm. If you go, you can expect huge crowds. We wanted to go earlier, but we didn't make it there till tonight and there were tons of people there. It's still so worth it!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Hangman

Two posts in one day!?! That hasn't happened since I started this blog! Here's a little game in the spirit of Halloween. Have fun!

Well, I have to say there hasn't been a lot going on to post about, but it's been long enough since my last posting that I am ready to see something new when I check in on my blog 10 times each day.

I'm sure you all are aware of the crazy wildfires that have been going on here in California. We are far enough from them that we weren't affected much, but the air quality where we live was much worse than normal. That meant that I had to skip out on running in the evenings, Madeleine's school didn't have any outside playtime, and we couldn't meet all our friends at the park on Wednesday afternoon. All in all, not much to complain about.

We did get to the gym last Wednesday where Madeleine got these cute flowers painted on her face. She hated to wash them off! She wanted so badly for her friends at school to see them! Ian got something painted on his hand. It lloked like a 'B' but maybe it was supposed to be something else. Anyway, I am sure that's about the best you can do on a wiggly one year old.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ian's Birthday Party

Can you call it a party if it's just our little family? Let's just go with it. We had Ian's party tonight, complete with cake, ice cream and presents. He absolutely LOVED feeding himself the cake! As you can see, he tried his best to lick the plate clean.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ian!

Has a whole year gone by already?! Browsing through pictures from when Ian was born, it really doesn't seem like that long ago. But our little man is a big 1 year old now. He is walking everywhere. That is, everywhere except where I want him to go. He's quite a babbler too. A few of his words are pretty clear, like 'mommy' and 'da da' and 'ba' (which is ball), but he does a whole bunch of babbling with real feeling. I know he is trying to say something important. One of these days it will all become clear.
We haven't had any cake and ice cream yet because we were in Las Vegas for the BYU-UNLV football game. I'll post more pics soon after he has a chance to feed himself his birthday cake. I know it's lame that he didn't get to have a party on his actual b-day, but we got to go to M&M World on the strip. So what if Madeleine is the one who picked out all the candy and Ian only got to have part of one M&M?

He also went to his first BYU football game. He loved being in the stadium surrounded by all the crazy fans. Even though he didn't realize it was his birthday, I think he had a very happy day. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Ian Stuart Rands! We love you and we are so happy to have you in our family!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Manhattan Beach 10k

Sorry, no pictures to document this, but I ran the 30th Annual Manhattan Beach 10k on October 6. It was too early in the morning and over so quickly I didn't ask Spencer to wake the kids and haul them down there just to get a picture that may or may not have turned out well. Anyway, I've been running a few times a week with my friends, Gabrielle and Samarah, in preparation and I think it paid off. My final time was 56 minutes--a 9:01 minute mile. I was certainly not the overall winner, but I felt good about my time. There were separate starting points for even and odd bib numbers so I didn't get to run with my friends. They finished just a couple minutes behind me.

I love the atmosphere and the feeling of a race like that. Although, I have to say I think the crowd at this one was a little much. There were quite a few times I wanted to go around the other runners but couldn't. Oh well. The view was gorgeous. The finish line was right on the strand near the pier at the beach. Also, the t-shirt is my favorite race tee so far. Comfy long sleeves and the best fit of all the shirts I've gotten in the past. I am considering running the Rose Bowl half marathon in December. I'm not fully committed to the idea of running 13 miles, so if anyone has a compelling argument as to why I definitely should or should not do it, let's hear it.

P.S. Here's a link to my results.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007




A- Attached or single: Attached
B- Best Friend: Spencer
C-Cake or Pie: pie
D- Day of choice: Sunday
E- Essential Item: lip gloss
F- Favorite Color: green
G- Gummi Bears or Worms: Bears
H- Hometown: Billings, MT
I- Indulgence(s): pedicures
J- January or July: July
K- Kids: 2 of the cutest EVER!
L-Life is Incomplete Without: Family
M- Marriage Date: September 16, 2000
N- Number of Siblings: 4 brothers, 4 sisters
O- Oranges or Apples: apples
P- Phobias or Fears: Something happening to my family.
Q- Quotes: "No pain, no gain."
R- Reason To Smile: Watching Madeleine and Ian play together.
S- Season: Summer
T- Tag Three +: Anneli & Jon-o, Amy & Curtis, Melanie & Lin, Sara & Allen
U- Unknown Fact About Me: I am/was a massage therapist.
V- Vegetarian or Meat Eater: Meat
W- Worst Habit: wasting time on the computer.
X- X-Rays or Ultrasounds: ultrasound
Y- Your Favorite Food: Mexican food
Z- Zodiac: Leo

A- Attached or single: Attached
B- Best Friend: besides Rachel, nobody because I'm a lone star
C-Cake or Pie: Pie
D- Day of choice: Saturday
E- Essential Item: glasses
F- Favorite Color: blue
G- Gummi Bears or Worms: bears
H- Hometown: Wilsonville, OR
I- Indulgence(s): chocolate
J- January or July: July
K- Kids: two awesome ones
L- Life is Incomplete Without: Rachel
M- Marriage Date: 9/16/00
N- Number of Siblings: 4
O- Oranges or Apples: Oranges
P- Phobias or Fears: no money at retirement age
Q- Quote(s): "Daddy!" - Ian & Madeleine
R- Reason To Smile: The way Maddie tries to sound like a grown-up or how chunky Ian is
S- Season: Summer
T- Tag Three +:
U- Unknown fact About Me: I used to bench-press 250 lbs in high school
V- Vegetarian or Meat Eater: Meat
W- Worst Habit: not paying attention when people speak, even though I look like I'm paying attention
X- X-Rays or Ultrasounds: ultrasounds
Y- Your Favorite Food: sushi
Z- Zodiac: aquarius

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Los Angeles County Fair

The fair has been going on all month. We hadn't really been planning to go, but this past Friday we desperately needed to get out and do something, and the fair seemed to be the best of all our ideas. It turned out to be even better than we imagined. It was a bit of a drive out to the fairplex in Pomona, but that let Madeleine have a nap so she had lots of energy for all the activities.

Spencer took her on the "Euro-Slide" first. (She deliberately chose the pink lane.) They both loved it! It was so great that I had to take her on it next so I could experience the joy of it for myself! (Again in the pink lane.) A little later we found the kids' area and the slide she could go on all by herself. If you are able to click on that pic and zoom way in, you may be able to see the look of absolute terror on her face. She may be tall enough to do some rides herself, but still not really ready.

There were not a ton of rides she was able to do, but there were certainly enough. Including the roller coaster she and I did together and the Rockin' Tug she almost did by herself. At the last second we got a little concerned that without someone next to her she would be sliding around too much, so the nice carnie let me jump on. When looking at this picture she told me that was the ride she went on with her "friends," because by the time I got on she had already made friends with the boys sitting next to her.
Ian enjoyed the fair from the stroller, most of the time. Occasionally we let him out to walk around a bit, but he is definitely too small to appreciate it like Madeleine did. He was so tired that I would not have been surprised if he slept through the whole thing. But he stayed awake and relatively happy the entire time.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well, she did it...

Madeleine chopped off some of her hair. It's very sad, I know. I really don't think it was intentional. She was cutting paper on the floor and her hair wasn't pulled back and the next thing we knew, there was a chunk of her hair on the ground. So here's our cute girl with her new, much shorter, hairstyle.

P.S. Yes, I am a bad mom because I was not supervising close enough while she was using scissors.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Anniversary to us!

On September 16, 2000, Spencer and I were married in the Billings, Montana temple. The last seven years have been great and I have no doubt that we have many, many more wonderful years to come!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Madeleine's first day of Preschool

Just before leaving for school, Madeleine stood still for a moment for this shot. (not that exciting, I know, but I had to get one, right?) She was so excited about her new school clothes--and you better believe the skirts are TOP favorites! Really, I don't know why I even bothered to buy pants. She'll never want to wear them. Don't worry, I'll force her to.

I made her stand still for one more picture once we got to school. She had been talking about the dress-up clothes ever since we went to her school for the open house last week. Notice in the mirror behind her she is holding the dress she planned to put on. Also, you see how she is not looking at the camera? There was another girl in her class doing some painting. That obviously caught Maddie's eye. There were so many fun things to do that she ended up not playing dress-up at all!

I dropped her off at 12:30 and she was not at all sad to see me go. Like I said, so many fun things to do! How could she possibly think about missing me and Ian? She was glad when we came back for her at 3:00. Her first day was a little rough. It all involved a little hair pulling (M's hair), a little sand throwing into faces (M's and another girl who started it) and a girl (M) getting pushed off a tricycle. Is this normal? I guess when you have a bunch of 3 year olds together you are in for some excitement.
How did I spend my free 2 1/2 hours? Ian and I made a leisurely trip to Costco. It at least felt leisurely since I only had one kid with me. I may attempt a trip to a clothing store on Thursday. That should be a breeze with just Ian!

Now for a brief Ian spotlight, check out the belly on that one! That little walker toy makes a great stroller for dad to push the kids in!

I guess this picture isn't too exciting. What kid wouldn't love being behind the wheel when they normally face the rear of the car?

Next we have me and that handsome little guy after the BYU football fireside (which was GREAT, by the way) in Glendale the night before the BYU-UCLA game. Sad that BYU lost, but they put up a real good fight against the 12th ranked team in college football. I guess I forgot to take a picture of Spencer and me at the game. oops. Anyway, we were there, it was fun, BYU lost, it took us over an hour to get out of the parking. Stupid Rose Bowl. Back to Ian.
Now, what I really need here is a video to demonstrate this talent of Ian's, but instead I just have this picture. Sorry. When I feed him, I'll say, "Open up," and he opens his mouth like this, which is way wider than is necessary to get a bite of food, and says,"aaa." Not, "aah," but the short 'a' sound, as in 'cat'. It's so cute! At first, I thought it was a fluke so I had to make him do it over and over again.

Now, so everything is equal, a couple more of Madeleine. Spencer hooked her up with the headphones and The Beatles while she colored one day. And below, he gave her a shoulder ride after the fireside because we parked half a mile from the stake center.