Friday, January 28, 2011

New Beginnings

As part of the church group the girls would be joining once they turned 12, the organization holds something called "New Beginnings" where they introduce the program to the girls, give them their literature and get to know the older girls who are already part of the program.

The Young Women's leader went all out (as always) for this night. Check out the cool banner she made, as well as all the invitations, programs, decorations and gifts for the girls (in the paint cans).



These are the displays that depict each value they focus on in this program.  This one is Knowledge.


She made one of those flowers in each of the Young Women's colors.

I think this one is  Divine Nature
As part of the program, each mom sent a bunch of "Things to Know" about their daughter.  This is Morgan, one of the older girls reading Xoe's out loud to everyone.
The girls love Morgan and she is a great example of someone who (in the girls' words) can be "cool" but also "good." I tell Morgan all the time how thankful I am for her :) as well as the other girls. They have some great girls in their class over here.

This Xanthe's teacher reading hers.  I guess the girl who was in charge of Xanthe's wasn't there so she had to read from my phone. :) 

A few of the girls in their Young Women's class.  These are a great group of girls!

These are the girls who are Xanthe and Xoe's age going into the program during the year.  On the left is Ashley who has the same birthday as X&X and is a very good friend, and the other girls is Haley, a good friend of the X&X too.

I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FUN TO POST THE GIRLS' ANSWERS. These have changed, obviously, but it would be fun to see.

Type of Food: Italian Food
Mom's Dinner: Mom's Chicken Cacciatori
Fast Food: In And Out
Drink: Sprite
Restaurant: Olive Garden
Favorite Dessert: Tres Leches
Color: Blue
School Subject: Language Arts
Most Influential Teacher: Mr. Lawrence, Language Arts
Sport: Soccer
Special Talents: Art, Step Team, Skateboarding, Spying, Cleaning and Organizing, And Having Good Style
Groups And Bands: Allstar Weekend, Glee Cast
Books: Percy Jackson, Fablehaven and Series of Unfortunate Events
Movies: Percy Jackson, Despicable Me, Megamind, New Christmas Carol
TV Shows: GLEE, Wipeout and old TV shows like Bewitched and Gilligan’s Island
Singers: Selena Gomez, Taio Cruz, Rihanna, Michael Jackson
Time Of Year: Summer
Favorite Place I Traveled: All the places on the Mediterranean cruise, probably Pisa, Italy or Malta
Place I Want To Travel: Greece & Hawaii
Embarrassing Moments: Someone Made Me Start Laughing In Church And I Couldn't Stop Laughing And Then I Got A Tickle In My Throat So I Started Coughing And Couldn't Stop!!
Favorite Memories: Big Sur = Talent Show and Beach At Big Sur
Pasttimes: Reading, Drawing, Exploring, Computer Games, Hanging out with Friends, Making Crafts, Playing Board Games
Biggest Pet Peeves: People Who Ditches/Ignores Me, Losing A Soccer Game, and School
Extracurricular Activities I’ve Done Before: Step Team, Soccer, Girl Scouts, Dance, Gymnastics, Showbiz Kids, Art Lessons, Piano Lessons
Awards: Honor Roll, Art Show Recipient, Principal’s List
I Am Excited For Young Womens Because I Want To Do Fun (Spiritual) Things With The Young Women's Girls !!
My Goal This Year: To Try Harder To Clean My Room, Do My Homework, And Go To Bed On Time, Go To Sleep Ontime, And Go On The Bus More Often.


Type of Food: Italian
Type of Dinner: Colombian Empanadas
Fast Food: In N Out
Drink: Coke and Dr. Pepper
Restaurant: Olive Garden
Favorite Dessert: Chocolate Cake and Slurpees
Color: Teal and Orange
Sport: Soccer
Favorite Subject in School: Art and Aerospace Engineering
Most Influential Teacher: Daniel Limonadi, NASA Instructor when we got to see the Mars Rover
Special Talents: Drawing and Design
Groups or BandsMGMT, Allstar Weekend, The Roots, I'm From Barcelona.....
TV Shows: Glee, Wipeout, Fashion Shows,Yo Gabba Gabba, Old Shows, And Monk
Favorite Movies: Percy Jackson, Green Hornet...A Lot More
Favorite Books: Percy Jackson, Fablehaven
Singer: Selena Gomez, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson
Place to Travel:Greece, Utah or California
Favorite Place I’ve Traveled So Far: All the places I’ve been, London, Paris, Malta, Pisa, Africa
Memory/Place to Go: When my dad took me to see the Mars Rover in California a couple months ago and we got to our put our name on a paper that will go to Mars. I also love memories I make at reunions, Family Places, Incredible Pizza in Utah,
Time of Year: Summer
Pasttimes: Invent things, spending time with family, reading, shopping, playing computer games, and designing fashion
Biggest Pet Peeves:When people pretend to be my best friend.
Extracurricular Activities: Girl Scouts, Soccer, Gymnastics, Showbiz Kids, Step Team, Swimming, Piano, Art Classes, Singing
Something you may not know about me: I'm 50% Colombian, 25% German, and 25% English
Awards I’ve Received: Honor Roll, Cowboy Poetry National Award, Principal’s List
Why I’m excited to go into Young Women’s: The crafts and activities with the other mutual girls
Goals for this Year: Getting good grades, helping out more
Favorite Treat: Gummy Bears, Baby Bottle Top (it’s a sucker in the shape of a bottle on top that you dip into powder in the bottom), Sour Worms, Milk Duds, Twix

Saturday, January 22, 2011

70's Fondue Party

We have a really great group of friends that have thrown a few really fun parties.  Our friends Marnie and Kevin threw a great fondue party with a 70's theme.  I'm in love with fondue and had such a great time dressing up.  

Meat with Oil Fondue & Vegetable with Chicken Broth Fondue

Breads and Cheese

Sweet Station- There was Dark Chocolate Fondue and an Oreo Peanut Butter Fondue

Brian was like the druggy hippie. It was kind of freaky.

Amazing... Channeling Bosley

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Channeling Janet Jackson

So, I have this amazing friend named Jenni Bushman. I cannot tell you how amazing she is for our family.  It was seriously serendipitous that we even met.  She first realized it first when she heard me speak in church after I said I lived in L.A.  Although she was from Germany (grew up with her American family there), she moved to L.A. a few years ago.  We know a lot of the same people, have done a lot of the same things. It's just weird.  She looked super familiar the first time I met her, yet we can't figure out where we would have met.  Kindred spirits I tell ya!

Well, lucky me she moved back for a little while to Germany.  Her mom, our church Relief Society President (the president of the women's group), is amazing. She invites everyone new over for dinner.  Can you see where Jenni gets her amazingness from?  So, of course, in true X and X style, they bonded with Jenn and came up with a dress-up lip sync to Janet Jackson's "What Have you Done For Me Lately?"  I was almost falling on the floor laughing.  The girls had never heard that song before but within minutes had learned the opening part and lip synced, then did a full on dance for us.

For those of you would like to channel your inner Janet Jackson too as reminder-

What Have You Done For Me Lately Opener
What's up girl?
He stood me up again
Um hmmm
Well, what's up with this guy? Do you really like him that much?
Yes, honey, I love him. He is fine.  He does a lot of nice things for me.
I know he used to do nice stuff for you but what has he done for you laaaately!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life in the Air

Just returned home from yet another eventful airplane trip back overseas to our home in Germany.  These flights are just like childbirth to me (well, similar to childbirth experiences other people go through. I had beautiful C-sections).  It's a horrible and traumatic event to get what needs to be done, mingled in with a few great and happy events, which I then seem to forget very soon afterward because for some reason I keep subjecting myself to it again and again.  Each time I vow will be the last time, but alas, I again find myself on a 14-hour journey (with an added 6 hours combined inside three different airports) towing 3 carts of luggage and a car seat, with three kids along for the ride, including a toddler, and usually sans another adult, and once with a puppy chihuahua (who is no longer with us).  These experiences cause me to never want to fly again.  I'm having a hard time talking myself into going home for the summer.

Without going into too long of a minute-by-minute description of the ride (since many of you think I'm windy on my blog), I'm just going to list the things that happened so you can get an idea of how the trip went.

The Highlights
1. Brian being there.  A completely different experience having someone else helping to figure out how to get too much stuff into not enough suitcases.

2. My mom choosing not to take a trip to Utah for the funeral of an old acquaintance so she could stay for our last two days.  Then spending our whole last day with us, helping us pack, gathering things and riding with us to take us to the airport.  Then helping us kill an extra hour at the Carl's Jr. close-by while we waited for the three hours to pass before we got on the plane.

3. The Snuggie my mom got me for Christmas.  Takes up little-to-no space, but is super warm on the plane. Airline blankets are a joke.

4. Earplugs

5. Only 20 people on our layover flight from England to Germany, which meant every person on that flight had a full row to themselves to sleep on (even though it was only one hour).

6. Spencer sleeping 7.5 hours of the first 10 hour flight, then falling asleep (after our 3 hour layover) in the second plane before we even left to taxi to the runway.  He slept that entire flight too and we had to wake him up to get off the plane.

7.  The car seat trick I barely new about until this most recent trip (thank you to my sister, Amber!).  Spencer slept so much better in the car seat.  I love our car seat bag that has wheels on it (that we already happened to have... another bonus) that made it easy to transport throughout the airports.

8.  The movie "Social Network" on the airline's video network that completely confused, scared, inspired and transformed me.  

9.  SPACE SAVER BAGS!!!  Who never told me about these?  I mean, I KNEW about them, but never made the connection to use them. My sisters use them.  My mom even used them when she traveled over here in October.  But how come "I" never used them?  I finally made the connection when I was trying to make space for the girls' pillows and blankets to take on the planes (we don't use the airline's crappy pillows either).  I thought, "I wish there was a way I could shrink them down into a Ziploc bag.  Bing!  The light went on.  My mom had like 7  bags.  We used them for their pillows and blankets to fit into a carry on bag, and fit all of Spencer's huge pile of shirts, pants, jackets, pajamas and blankets into two tiny wedges of material.  The girls' two coats, my two coats and one of spencer's coats also fit into one and was shrunk down to the size of a pillowcase.  (Yes, there is the weight thing, but at least we could fit everything into carryons, rather than be stressed about fitting everything into our check on bags.)  I even called my sisters who use them and asked them why they never MADE me use them.  Seriously, I'm transformed.  

10.  Xoe and Xanthe making the comment, "It feels so good to be home" after complaining a lot in the states that they didn't want to go home and why couldn't they live in California.  It really did feel good to be home, even though it was freezing and there was snow everywhere.  There's something about having your own bed, your own space, and your own life to get back to normal to.

The Downsides
1. Being sick with a croup cough and the beginning of a sinus cold, complete with killer sore throat and sinus headache for a 10 hour flight.

2. The rude man in front of Spencer's seat that leaned his seat all the way back the minute he got into the seat, which made the seat lean almost completely into Spencer's lap. It was workable until the man kept obnoxiously stretching his legs and made it squeeze Spencer's legs and frustrated poor Spencer.  We couldn't change the situation til we were up in the air and could unhook the car seat to move it to the middle. Once we did this, though, it also meant that I had to sit on the side with the window and would have to climb over Spencer and his seat in order to go to the bathroom, as well as deal with that same man in front of me and not  see the video screen or eat from my meal tray.  Obnoxious!  He could have moved one seat over to the empty seat in the middle.  I kind of secretly wished Spencer would have kept kicking his chair enough to make him mad enough to move.  That's not very PS (polite society) of me is it?  We all make mistakes. :)

3. An almost completely full flight for the long flight, except for the row right next to us where two snotty girls snickered right at us when we were switching Spencer's car seat to a different row because a teenage girl had the ticket for the seat he was sitting in (mix-up with the tickets), and laughed as I was climbing over Spencer's car seat to get to the window seat. I looked over at one of the girls and she quickly looked away then spread out her legs on the two seats next to her then laid down and acted like she was going to sleep. I don't know why I was bitter, I was just so bitter.  Probably cuz I was already mad about the man in front of us too.  People were just so rude.

4.  The very rude and obnoxious all-male flight attendants on the long flight (as an added benefit, the all-female crew on the short flight was so considerate and overly kind).  I guess it had nothing to do with their gender, we were just surprised to see an all male crew... and very rude.

5.  The 0 (zero) hours of sleep I got on the 10-hour flight.  Spencer kept waking up (but would fall back asleep) so I was stressed about him staying awake.  So, it was not only out of the fact that I needed to refill his juice, but also out of anticipation that he was gonna wake up.  So I could never completely fall asleep.  (The movie I talked about above "Social Network" also kept me awake because of it's thought-producing content).

6. The necessary, but completely overpriced water bottles in the LAX airport selling for $3.25 a pop.  It's ridiculous how little water they give you on the plane, so I have to buy these... just ridiculous how expensive they are.  And you can't bring your own cuz of the security rules. 

7.  Not being able to bring a stroller with me to the airport.  London Heathrow does not allow you to bring a stroller up from below the plane, so it's silly to even take it with you to the plane's jetway.  I hate that airport and will never be traveling through it again (also it was the reason for all of Brian's flight cancellations. Caused horrible flight traffic stuff because of how ill-equipped it is to handle the snow in a country that snows A LOT!)

8.  My allergic reaction to the blueberry muffin in the breakfast box on the long flight. I've never been allergic to anything, but this was scary.  I was in the layover airport when I decided to finally eat it and the minute the first bite hit my throat, it started swelling up and closing, and I was coughing uncontrollably (didn't help that I already had the croup cough) and my right eye start swelling shut.  Very scary and I'm so very thankful I don't have allergies on a regular basis.

So, that's our experience in a nutshell.  Not on to getting through jetlag. I'm armed with Melatonin pills, melt-in-your-mouth Melatonin pills, Benadryl pills, Tylenol Cold and Triaminic.  We've been downing Vitamin C drinks, Scooby Doo vitamins and trying to get out in the sun (what little there is at this time of year in Germany).  The girls both woke up at 4 a.m. for a few hours then slept through the day today.  Spencer has been doing pretty well (slept all night except for waking up for some juice).  Usually he wakes up for 4 hours like it's the middle of the day. I'm swearing off anything this week and just trying to get better.  

The next trip will have to have a lot of time in between when we book the tickets.  I'm burnt out.