Monday, December 12, 2011

My Baby

This is a post about Asher. My regularly ignored, underappreciated little guy. But before we talk about him, we are going to shove him into the corner one more time and talk about a big moment for my first baby.

I thought this moment would never happen.

My four year old not only shed not a single tear around Santa Claus but also sat on his lap and put in her Christmas request. It was amazing.

I prepped her for the moment while walking into the store the day before.

"Scarlet, remember that party we go to at the church that Santa Claus comes to?"

"Yeah..." she definitely seemed wary.

"Well that party is tomorrow. Do you think you are going to want to see Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas?"

"Oh yeah mom!" in full confidence. "Four year olds are not afraid of Santa. Kids are only afraid of Santa when they are 1 and 2 and 3. I am four mom."

Rhode was the wary one of the bunch this year but we still got him to talk to the guy in red. That kid will do anything for a candy cane.

My first picture of all my kids on Santa's lap since Scarlet was 9 months old. A good moment.

Okay, back to Asher. He is somehow already four months old. I know most mom's have this dilemma but it is always a little trippy when it feels equally like they were just born and they have been in your life forever.

Three months old was a rough age for this kid. He has some pretty strong food sensitivities that I was figuring out all month. While we sorted through the good and bad foods, he rewarded my efforts with 20-30 minute naps and not much longer stretches at night.

Thankfully four month old Asher is a dream baby.

Not such a dream that he would smile on command for my impromptu photo shoot this evening but pretty dreamy nonetheless. He is now a fantastic nap taker, a decent night sleeper and Mr. Happy and Content the rest of the time. Now I just have to not eat milk, chocolate, and eggs for the next long while and I get to keep this happy little dude.

Some babies are kind enough to only have a distaste for lactose, which gives moms a few more dairy options. Asher is not so kind. I am off all forms of dairy including butter and anything that even has milk on its ingredient list. I eat cereal with rice milk. If that isn't love I don't know what is.

He looks a lot like Scarlet as a baby... only more like Scarlet on Weight Watchers.

Asher at four months.

Scarlet at four months

And for comparison's sake, Rhode at four months.

Notice the lack of the Nielsen baby signature chub? At last check (last week) Asher is only a hair under 16 lbs. 50th percentile. Seriously. I have a baby who is of average weight. Thankfully he is 26" and in the 90th percentile for height... he is definitely ours.

He is still about as kind as a baby can be to his older siblings. They are loving in the most violent of ways and he just puts up with them.
I love that picture. His brother and sister get tons of smiles and giggles from this guy. He thinks they are hilarious. Even when they are on the verge of suffocating him. What a trooper.

He even has a few tricks. He loves opening and closing his hand and if you do the same action to him, he will do it right back at you. Nothing is more fun than saying, "Look my baby can wave!" and then pulling out this little number. It truly is about the little joys in life.

And as of tonight, he is also a boy aloft.

He can hold this for a good five minutes or so before getting bored and tumbling down. Maybe his slimmer size makes for easier balance. At least for a few minutes or so.

This guy is definitely a keeper.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Love Shampoo

Our favorite people in the entire city of Las Vegas are moving. It sucks. Big time.

I have made it very clear to my good friend that if she does not give me sufficient warning to their timely departure, consider her off my Christmas card list. She took my threat very seriously and has been breaking the news to me slowly for about six months now.

Sometime in October, we had the following conversation:

"Did your husband tell you that they are planning a weekend vacation for all of us to go on?"

"They are? Nope, haven't heard a word."

"Just talked to my husband, he said it was all your husband's idea and he knows nothing about it."

"Really? Mine says they were already deciding which weekend would work the best and talking about San Diego."

"Huh... so... should we make this happen?"


And that is how, as a final hurrah, we decided to take a Nielsen and Stout family weekend trip to San Diego.

I did a lot of research before this trip to score the best prices and to fit in as much fun as possible. Thanks to a fantastic condo hook up from my dad, we had a great place to stay and four days to do with as we pleased.

We took off Thursday morning, the Stouts got out the door a few hours ahead of us. We headed straight to meet them at the Mormon Battalion museum. And, soon after we finally parked the car, we had one of the scariest moments of my mom life.

We were still a little lost and started heading down the sidewalk in the direction we thought was right. The kids were two bundles of energy, having just been released from a long car ride. The street running next to us was just two lanes of cruising cars with cars parked bumper to bumper on both sides.

Jon was walking ahead of me with the kids and I was on the phone with the Stouts when I realized we were headed the wrong way. I turned around to head in the correct direction. At that moment, I guess Rhode decided to come join me. Thinking I had him, Jon took Scarlet across the street to look at a map. Rhode did not make it all the way to me and instead decided to follow dad across the street.

In a moment that could have only been directed by a spiritual prompting, Jon happened to glance behind him only to see Rhode walk straight out between two parked cars with a car barreling straight towards him.

His yell was thankfully loud enough that the car driver slammed on her brakes and Jon was able to pull Rhode straight into the air and out of danger with inches to spare.

It was a combination of sounds that make your stomach drop straight to the ground. We pulled ourselves together and finished our way to the museum.

As we sat in the darkened room, watching the presentation, I was so grateful for a moment to let my heart stop racing and let my mind turn to my Heavenly Father and thank Him for saving my son.

Now onto much more pleasant moments. Shockingly, the Mormon Battalion museum is way more interesting that you would think. They have this interactive presentation, they let the kids try on all the batallion gear, and at the end they let the kids pan for gold and pump well water. Seriously, would totally suggest it to any families in the area. They even took our picture!

The sister missionary who took the picture laughed for like five minutes over Rhode's face. Rhode had a rough weekend. He doesn't do well without naps (yeah the kid still takes like 2-3 hour naps every day, it's awesome) and he got one all weekend. He was at a varying degree of cranky all weekend. But hey, I was just grateful he didn't spend the weekend in the hospital!

Our condo was awesome, we settled in immediately and my kids found the tv remote shortly after.

My kids have been exposed to so little live television in their life (they only watch movies at home and DVR at grammy's house) that they get very frustrated with commercials and not being able to choose which shows are on. Jon and I, on the other hand, totally enjoyed our few days of television. There are some very interesting reality shows on these days...

Friday was our first day of adventure and we planned on spending the whole day at LegoLand. But according to the weatherman, it was going to be a very rainy day. We decided to keep our plans but go prepared. We had ponchos, umbrellas, and towels to dry off wet seats. We pulled up to the parking lot with two cars full of very excited kids... only to find out they shut down all rides on rain days. The sky would have to be totally clear for them to start the rides again.

Total bummer.

So, what other thing to do in San Diego on a rainy day but head for the beach!

Yes, that is a whole bunch of sea lions right on the beach. It was really cool. And it was pouring.
I can't even believe how cold and wet we were. Asher was dry and warm though!

At this point in our friendship, after spending a ton of time together, our kids are thick as thieves.

Rhode and Charlie especially treat each other just like brother and sister. Although they also inform us frequently that they will be married someday. We are totally cool with this arrangement.

Charlie (2), Rhode (3), Blaze (4), Scarlet (4), Bennett (6)

The kids jumped into the hotel's hot tub as soon as we got back to thaw and we spent the rest of our rainy evening indoors.

Saturday was Sea World day and it was a beautiful day to be at a park.

We debated back and forth about Sea World. Some people really enjoyed it, others weren't as impressed. But we ended up getting a good deal so we went for it.

Had we gone to Lego Land the day before, our kids might not have been as impressed but since it was our trip highlight, they had a great time. We were there from the minute they opened to the minute they closed, saw everything there was to see and walked away tired but not exhausted. It was overall a big winner of a trip.

Favorite parts:

1 - Pretty much every time the kids started to get whiny, it was time to get our seats for the next show. So we got to sit, rest their legs and pull out the backpack of snacks and refreshments and they were ready to go.

2 - Rhode loved the whales and spent the entire day raving about his new favorite whale "Shampoo" (trumping his old favorite, baby Beluga)

All day he kept saying, "Mom, I just really want to give Shampoo a hug and a kiss. It would be fun to kiss Shampoo."

We spent every show in the splash zone on Jon's request. He sat us as close to the whale platform as he could get. I insisted we sit one row back from the one he requested, hoping it would save us from getting absolutely drenched.

Jon then trained Scarlet and Rhode to stand up every time Shamu jumped on the platform and turn to face the camera. Rhode was on the higher degree of his cranky scale, but Scarlet was a willing participant.

Sadly, the couple that sat in Jon's preferred row had the same idea and blocked our picture every time. I got his best "I told you so" look more than once.

But it didn't stop him from trying to get his perfect whale with kid shot.

As the show went on, we were all done being thrown in front of the camera during every whale stunt, especially this guy.

He didn't love the camera stunts but he was totally enamored with the shows. I wonder what a sea life show looks like from a baby perspective.

Somehow after a full day in the splash zone we avoided any full drenchings. And believe me, some poor people walked away looking like they had gone for a swim. There was only one water casualty of the day.

His mood improved considerably when he found out the wettest kid of the show gets to pick out a treat from mom's candy stash.

The kids love the interactive exhibits
those poor sea stars...

and we really had just a great day.

Sunday, we crashed a Sacrament meeting and then spent another rainy day checking out tide pools. It turned into more of a water hike than a big tide pool adventure. But still a day that was totally enjoyed and we headed out Monday morning.

What will our world be like without the Stouts? I don't know but I am not looking forward to finding out.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Las Vegas Classy

I spent about a week on a blog entry about our latest weekend getaway to San Diego. It was flawless... and it completely disappeared. There is nothing worse (blog related that is) than having to rewrite yourself. It never comes out the same the second time. So, it is going on the back burner. Let's skip forward to Thanksgiving.

I talked Brad, Courtney and Kylie into heading down, shopped and cooked for about a week straight, talked some friends out of their planned trip to the buffet into joining us (seriously, it took more effort than you would think...) and totally nailed a fantastic meal.

Highlights: Perfectly fresh out of the oven Charla rolls (mother in law recipe)
Seven... yes seven different pies
Our first brined turkey. Yum
Leftovers that literally fed my family for a week

And now back to the true reason for this post. On Friday, I hopped on my computer to see if there were any free show tickets available on my free locals site. And what happens to appear but a very promising show called "Santa's Magical Circus." This is the first family themed show I have seen ever on this site and there were several tickets available. What luck! I scored seven free tickets for the whole crew and we planned our evening around the event.

Looking back, there were several warning signs that should have made it clear what I had just gotten us into.

Top three things I should have noticed:

1- I should have looked more closely at the poster. At first glance, all I really noticed was Santa.

It is only now that I notice Santa's Circus seems to only include a fluffy dog, a rabbit and a mostly nude woman.

2 - It was free and there were A LOT of tickets available.... never a good sign

3 - In my mind, the show advertised as "fun for the whole family" when instead the catch phrase was "something for everyone." Most definitely not the same thing.

So here is how this goes. We take our seats in a small little theater above the V Theater in Planet Hollywood. It is quaint but we are still pretty excited. To start the show, a bunny suddenly appeared on the side of the stage. It made its way up a pile of boxes to a microphone where it then stood on its back legs and started "talking" into the microphone. It was quite adorable.

By far, really BY FAR the best animal trick in the whole show.

After that, an exceptionally large Santa came out to greet us, explaining that he was taking a break from the north pole to create his own Las Vegas show. He then introduced us to his elf, a not very friendly looking little person, and his two lovely ladies, Holly and Jolly. And that was the only Christmas-y moment of the evening. The only one. At Santa's Magical Circus.

And the acts continued from there. One of the first to greet us was an animal act. He had several fluffy puppies that could bark on command, climb into a basket when asked and stand still while wearing silly costumes. That was about it.

And really, what could make a lame animal act better than adding inappropriate humor in a family show? His best material came out with his parrot. First was the joke about the STD "Chirpies", the joke he claimed got him kicked off television for 15 years. Awkward...

But really nothing beats the joke about who between the two of them, them being the parrot and himself, had the bigger 'pecker.' The audience was silent, obviously because we didn't get it. So he clarified. The parrot definitely has the bigger pecker. Still silence. And since we all just seemed a little dim he clarified for us one more time. "Because I don't have a big pecker."


The next act was a comedian who, though not all that funny, was not that bad. His main act was performing his Guinness book of world records stunt, balancing 40 cigar boxes on his chin. An impressive feat, no question. Though I did find it strange when he clarified, "We have wrapped the cigar boxes like presents so we aren't encouraging smoking to the children."

Yeah, no better way to discourage smoking than wrapping them in pretty shiny paper.

Holly and Jolly were actually very cute girls and performed some decent "person disappears in a box" magic tricks. And their costumes were much more covering than the poster would have suggested. But I guess I just don't understand why, at Santa's Magical Family Themed Circus, their dance moves needed to include shimmies and stripper dips down the side of their magical boxes. I guess that was the "something for everyone" part? Classy.

The true winner of the evening is when this "woman" graced the stage.
Let me introduce you to Tiny Bubbles. Tiny Bubbles is an extremely overweight transvestite. Not really sure where she got her stage name. Cause her bubbles were not tiny and insanely visible in her plunging black velvet evening gown.

Wait, your family themed Christmas show did not have a busty cross dresser? Weird...

The true winner of the evening was Tiny Bubble's second appearance on stage. This time she left the evening gown behind and donned her version of this classic Cher costume

Picture this costume, now add 300 pounds.

That mental image not enough for you? Now let's bring back out our little person elf, this time donning a Sonny get up.

Not from our show but this is in fact Tiny Bubbles with a little person who looks much more interested in participating in the act than ours did.
Through their rendition of "I Got You Babe", Cher would frequently knock her small sidekick over with her oversized behind, quite the gag. But on her last "oops I didn't see you there" knock, she put a little too much force behind it. I am not exactly sure what happened but I think Sonny's hip must have been dislocated in the jolt. The man could not get off stage because he couldn't walk. He would take a few steps and tumble back to the stage. There was nothing to do but watch as this poor small man inched his way off the stage, cussing most of the way out.

You probably think I am making this stuff up. Nope!

The only semi-impressive act of the evening was the puppeteer. His first act actually had the audience laughing and I was pretty amused. But now, as I think about it, it was an interesting choice for family viewing. His puppet was named Rigor Mortis, the oldest stripper in the world. The puppet was actually a skeleton with pasties and panty bottoms. When the pasties started doing 360's as the skeleton shook its hips, well it just really rounded out the evening beautifully.

At the end of the show, the cast came out to take their bows. It took me until this moment to realize Tiny Bubbles was playing Santa. Hey, it was a lot to take in. They informed us Santa was going to be available for pictures in the lobby. I then wondered, do I really want my children sitting on the lap of a Santa who recently bared her cleavage and even less savory body parts just minutes before?

I have never been more proud of my kids for still being terrified of Santa. We gave Santa a wave and headed out. Not fast enough to avoid the producer asking us what we thought of the show.

"Great!" I bare faced lied as I scooted my children out of there as quickly as possible.

We all laughed ourselves to tears in the lobby recounting all we had seen. I fear that if we were to move, my kids will find normal Christmas shows lacking, "Yeah it was okay, but it really could have used a cross dresser."

I am ruining them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


7:00 a.m Jon: "Ugh, I am so sick today"

9:00 a.m. Jon: "Supposed to meet with this guy today, but I am just too sick."

11:30 a.m. Jon "ZZZZZZ sooo sick ZZZZZZZ"

3:30 p.m. Jon "Do we have any soup or anything? I am so sick today"

5:30 p.m. Kacey "So I know you aren't feeling well today but we were just offered tickets to PBR (Professional Bull Riding) tonight. Are you interested?"

Jon: moaning immediately stops "Um, yes. We will most definitely be going to that."

We had awesome seats

Some awesome rodeo boots

and some awesome friends with us (too awesome to capture on film unfortunately) and had a truly awesome evening.

Asher even seemed to enjoy himself.

I am not sure I would categorize myself as a big bull riding fan but there is just something about it that was really entertaining! I couldn't help but think I could never be those guy's mother or wife... especially after a guy got totally trampled. I am glad the poor guy was unconscious when the bull stomped on his knee cap. I am also glad my kids were distracted with their bag of peanuts at that moment.

Highlights of the evening:

1 - A free outing with the family!

2 - Fantastic people watching, really some of the best in the world

3 - A great friend right behind me to share in all of the people watching glory

4 - Our friend's eight year old son, when offered an unshelled peanut proceeded to chomp down the entire thing whole. He was pretty embarrassed when his dad pointed out his error. But the people who should truly be embarrassed are his parents. Who hasn't taught their child how to shell a peanut! Take the poor child to a baseball game and make him an American for heavens sake! :)

5 - The Brazilian bull riders. Not only were they really good at the whole riding thing, they were usually sporting some fantastic gold or silver shiny fringe. Gotta love a little cowboy glam.


1 - Did not have significant warning to a) pull together a great cowboy wardrobe for my family or b) properly poof and crimp Scarlet and my hair

Yee- haw!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sticker Club

Scarlet got her first chain mail the other day. It seemed harmless enough, even kind of fun. The letter instructed us to do the usual letter copying and passing along. You also had to send a book of stickers to the name on the letter. You then sent your letters off to six different friends. If all moms were as dedicated with their sticker clubbing as we were, Scarlet would receive 36 books of stickers. Fun right?

Six people seemed a little excessive to me. I thought three would be a little more reasonable, but I am nothing if not chain mail obedient.

After her first letter arrived she received the following instructions: no stickers on our house, on furniture, on our car, or on anything that seems like it might be fun. Stickers can go on your body, your clothes and on clearly designated paper.

It wasn't until the first two sticker books arrived in the mail that the thought came to me, uh, that is a lot of stickers. What the heck is she going to do with all of these stickers?

A very real thank you for all you sticker club parents who slacked off in your letter delivering, leaving Scarlet with only 4 stickers books total. I am pretty sure 36 would have been the death of us all.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Sitting here in my computer chair stealing a moment of quiet to write this blog entry, I just feel the need to give a big sigh of relief.

Halloween is over.


I really didn't mean to put that much effort in this year. My ideas were all very simple. Jon, on the other hand, just kept making things difficult. I think next year I will inform him of my Halloween plans right as we are headed out the door to trunk or treat. Yeah, I think that
might work.

Before our true Halloween fun started, we fit in a quick trip to the pumpkin patch.

We have visited this same pumpkin patch every year for the three years we have lived in this neighborhood. They have rides, a petting zoo, and, obviously, pumpkins for sale. I have never spent a cent there. We show up, take pictures, and leave. They must totally hate us.

On those same lines, you know who else probably hates it when they see my family coming, Pet Smart. Similar situation only way more visits. Maybe someday we'll buy a fish.

We also held our annual Halloween Sewing Club Party. It was another great success with delicious goodies, adorable costumes and rockin' games I didn't have to plan! Those are the best kind of games. And I only took one picture all day long, and it's of the only child there not in a costume.

And then it was Halloween. Our trunk or treat was on Saturday evening. I spent the entire day finishing costumes. The Entire Day. I wrapped up just in time to take pictures and head us off to dinner at the trunk or treat. Even though I was impressed with my timing, there was a part of me that realized much more important things that were completely ignored.

And now, the costumes.

Scarlet's costume was the basis for our theme this year.

I talked my mom into sending me the old Halloween costumes she has been storing. I have very fond memories of this costume.

I even placed in a Snow White look alike contest that year.

And what more does any princess need than a handsome prince at her side?

I put this one together mostly from fabric I had in the sewing closet already. My biggest purchase of the outfit was the feather. $1.70 for one feather seemed a little ridiculous, especially when the rest of the outfit had only cost me $1 total. But the feather totally makes the costume. Two bucks very well spent in my book.

All evening, Scarlet would say, "Rhode you are my prince, we should be holding hands!"

"Okay!" he would respond and skip happily by her side. Can they just not ever grow up?

And then there was my costume, the Evil Queen.

My original idea was to go as the queen post-transformation. I had the old lady look down and the costume was much less demanding. Jon called the old lady look "so last year" and insisted I step it up. My costume took way more work than the kids but it was pretty fun to play the villain.

And now... drum roll please... the real proof I spent way too much time on Halloween costumes...

I would like to introduce to you to...

The Seven Dwarfs







and Grumpy
And there you have it. The Seven Dwarfs

Who knew I had such a knack for nylon doll art? I have already started my etsy site for selling these babies. Its called Who wouldn't want the chance to turn their old pantyhose into a freaky doll head that strongly resembles a potato? I think its really gonna catch on.

The Grumpy costume is another Earl classic though the hat was my own personal addition. I spent the evening looking at him and saying, "Oh Asher, why are you so cranky tonight?" Then I would realize he was just fine. It was those darn cranky eyebrows.

Here's the real kicker. The parking lot lights at our trunk or treat never actually turned on and nobody could see a thing. What are ya gonna do? So here's hoping at least my small blog world can enjoy my efforts, even if it just for a moment.

Happy Halloween!