Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Review

What a year of twists, turns, fun, tears, laughter... you name it. Here is a highlight of just a few things that happened this year:

2nd year anniversary

Wes and I spend our first year as Youth Conference parents

April graduates from Cal State San Bernardino

April begins working full time as a Realtor at Ascension Real Estate

Wes gets a new job (Repo Work)

April turns 23, Wes turns 25 years old

Saw the play Wicked

Wes' Aunt Lisa passed away

A tornado hit Perris, CA

Wes gets another job (working with April in real estate)

April's parents move to Riverside

Mr. Sparkle (our fish) died- Kiki our old puppy runs away- Snoop follows me home and is kept- Piper our new puppy comes home

Todd's go on Family Feud- loose miserably

2 new babies born- 1 nephew (Asher), 1 niece (Delanie)

Family vaca. to Zion National Park- Todd's

Family vaca. to Solvang- Aleman's

We were Mario and Luigi for Halloween

Had the Best Christmas Ever!!!

Heidi, Ned and Family move to Perris, CA (welcome neighbors! :)

We are more in love than ever!!!!

Can't wait to see what happens in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Time Was Here

As I am sure many couples know Christmas Time can be incredibly stressful... what with balancing family, friends, activities, etc. Luckily for Wes and I we have a great routine worked out for the holidays which allows us to have the BEST time with the least amount of stress. Now, notice I didn't say NO stress, just minimal. :)

We have decided that Christmas Eve will be spent with my side of the family, Christmas morning with our own little family (well at least when we have kids), and Christmas Day with Wes' Family. It has worked out very nicely so far.

However, my sister Hayley was not able to make it to Christmas Eve this year with us, so last Sunday we had our sibling gift exchange at dinner. We all decided to bring a $20 dollar gift, and then did good ole' Yankee swap for the presents, so we didn't really buy a specific person a gift.

It went a little faster than expected, I guess only 4 couples goes faster than a big group. We ended up getting the present Danny and Sarah brought, which was a game called "Mad Gab." We were really happy to get it, because our game collection is a little pathetic. Unfortunately, this is a game I do not excel at, which is bothersome because I hate to lose. Wes is extra happy about this... little punk! :)

CHRISTMAS EVE:

Was a BLAST! It was crazy, and it was fun, and it was crazy fun. We had 4 little kids under 5 in the mix which made for a loud evening. Luckily, none were mine, so I got to laugh and enjoy their rambunctiousness throughout the evening.

We of course had the entire dining room table full of good junk food and snacks. The young Todd family brought these good pulled pork burritos to off set the crap food, which was nice of them and delicious of them. I on the other hand failed miserably (again) at my attempt to cook. For those of you who don't know me, I struggle with being a good homemaking house wife... oh well. I attempted to make monkey bread, which sounded relatively easy. I did what I thought the recipe asked, but didn't notice I was not supposed to make the pudding only add the dry ingredients. I left the entire thing out to rise over-night. However, the next morning the dog-sitter came over for instructions (don't ask) and asked what the blob on the counter was. My monkey bread became like the bread on I Love Lucy, when it expanded way too much. It started to take over everything in its path. I tried to save it, pushing it into the bundt pan, and attempting to bake it regardless of the blob-like shape; But, I only ended up burning it and smelling up the whole house... not to mention nearly setting off the fire alarms with all the smoke. Therefore, I gave myself a big FAIL, and brought over the back-up snack, apples and caramel.

The BLOB


We then played a few games, including throwing Christmas Cards into a laundry basket (much more fun that it sounds). Heidi and Wes tied and had a throw off, which Heidi won. Then we played a left/right game for gift cards, had the world's hardest Christmas History Trivia Game, which was tied by Ned and Danny... not because of knowledge, but more by sheer luck. My dad read the questions, and the real Mr. Todd came out as we were scolded for talking during questions, and not paying enough attention, etc. We did a white elephant gift exchange, where the real winner went home with an angelic figurine... right Hayley. ;) My mom is so fun, she always buys a bunch of Gift Cards to give out for the winners.

Participating in the Trivia Game:


Christmas Card Throwing Game:



Busting the Pinata:



But, the big competition of the night was for the newly traditioned annual, "Don We Now Our Gay Apparel" competition... aka: ugly sweater party.

1st place: Heidi, Ned and Family
2nd place: Wes and I



Here are a few of the other glamour shots:


Group Shot:


Ned looked somewhat like Uncle Eddie in Christmas Vacation, and Heidi was an early 90's-trying too hard-snow bunny.

Wes made his own sweater, and a kind 80 year old from my parent's old ward can be thanked for my dazzling ensemble.

My parents gave us our Disneyland Passes again, and we kids gave them a Wii. The presentation of their gift was very entertaining, as we all acted it out and made them guess before revealing it.

Boppie as always had a great time shopping and came out with bags, boxes, etc. of gifts for all the kids. Though he did give Ned and Wes some chips... go figure.

Wes and I spent the night at their house, since we figured we would go home that night and drive right back by the next day on our way to Chino.

CHRISTMAS DAY:

I volunteered to make breakfast for my family before we headed out to Chino to be with the Aleman fam. Well, that breakfast was similar to my attempt the night before... it turned out better but like I said, no one will be calling me Martha anytime soon.

I attempted an egg/spinach strata.
Supposedly I should have started it the night before, but who reads the recipe before they make it. My blob the night before had ruined the original recipe, so my mom and I searched online for the same one, we found it, but it was not doubled like mine had been... however, we assumed it would be fine for the 5 of us eating.

I went through, stressing out about time, making it... honestly, I was quite miserable, grouchy and stressed. I made it, and only after putting it in the oven did I realize everything was right except I put in twice as much spinach as I should have. After some tears, and stress I calmed down enough to enjoy myself... It was only about an hour I felt this way. We ate the strata, which still turned out well, and headed to the Aleman house.

We got there and the family was in the middle of opening gifts. We watched and enjoyed.

We missed the majority of the kids opening their presents, but from what we saw after, and especially from what we heard... they both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. :)


Wes' family too did a secret sibling gift exchange. Shaun had my name and got me a gift certificate to Panera Bread, one of my very favorite lunch places... I was ecstatic!!! Patrick had Wes and got him a X-Box 360 game, Iron Man. It will be fun to play. I'm sure according to Sandie, we played too much of it already on Christmas, sorry. :)

Wes' parents got us a beautiful rug to go under our couch. It was amazing how well it matches, fits, looks, etc. I love, love, love it. It was ironic because just this week we had been talking about how badly we needed/wanted a new rug for the room, so it was such a well received gift. The colors match our room, and it just adds some flava'.

Christmas was so relaxing a nice. Again, we stuffed ourselves silly with junk food, shrimp, pastries, cheese balls, etc. We then ate a great roast meal, and enjoyed the company of family and friends. Wes' cousins, and their kids came down from Arrowhead and joined in with the festivities. We played a fun game Matt and Jaime got called Snorta. I let little Delanie sleep on me... made me soooo happy. We watched a lot of football... joy! It was just so nice to be together.

Me and Delanie... the newest member of the Huefner/Aleman Clan.


Sandie also always does this big crossword puzzle with all of the family, extended family, and Christmas events. That way throughout the night people would find themselves looking for their names and others. By the end we were all determined to find the few missing names; only to discover they had not been added... no wonder they were so challenging.


I didn't take too many photos, because I was just too caught up in the moment... and I kind of forgot. Besides, some that I did get, I was asked not to put on the blog... you know who you are.

We left in the evening and just came home and relaxed.

FRI/SAT:

We headed up to Arrowbear, to the cabin we rent from our friends to enjoy the snow. We drove up with Danny, his wife, and kids.

The 45 minute drive there ended up taking, oh, 4 hours!!! From the time we hit the bottom of the mountain we were in dead stop traffic. We could only assume it was from all the people putting on their chains, as they were required.

We pulled over to put ours on, only to find they didn't fit the wheel right. We didn't know what to do. Sarah said a little prayer for help, and within minutes a man named Doug who was working their with the some state department putting on chains for people (if you were willing to dish out $40 bones) came over and offered his help. We informed him we didn't have money, but did ask for some advise. He was so kind that he offered to help for free. After about 15 minutes, some chain cutting and extensions, he put them on. We tried to pay him something, but he asked if rather than paying we would give him the rubber part of the chains that we didn't use. He said he could sell them, and that would be fine. What a blessing he was.

Waiting on the side of the road... kids: don't want to be in the car... don't want their hands cold in 19 degree weather. Go figure! :)


However, Wes (who put chains on for the first time this trip) became an ace at it real fast!


So 3.5 hours later, some stress, and traffic we were nearly to our destination. Again, unfortunately, my parents had the keys to the cabin and they were pretty far behind us. We tried staying warm in the van, dug out the stairs, and finally figured out a way inside.

About 20 minutes later my mom called and informed us that they were stuck down the road. That their little Honda just couldn't make it. So, Danny and Wes went to the rescue.

Not an easy task... to sum it up my stubborn dad tried and tried to make it. Chains kept falling off, Danny nearly broke his knee cap, my dad was a grumbling, both Danny and Wes were nearly pinned between a wall of snow and the car, and in the end the car stayed where it was, dented and abused, and my parents drove in the van the rest of the way. And did I mention is was 19 degrees at this time.

Well, they got back to the cabin. We had a fire going, heater on, hot chocolate mixing, and fun waiting. :)

Even when it hit 9 degrees we were nice and toasty in the cabin. We had home made clam chowder, and salad for dinner. Good conversation into the wee hours of the night, and Danny and Wes enjoyed their x-box.

The next day we went out searching, to Carter's delight, for a perfect place to sled. And, might I add we found it!!! My mom who lived her whole life in Utah even said it was the best sledding hill she had ever been on. It was beautiful. Because of where we were too, we were the only ones there enjoying it all. The snow was soft and dry, making it not too cold. The sun was out, in fact we even shed our jackets it got so warm. The hills we were on appeared to be an old ski resort. I'm telling you it was perfect! However, I never knew what a work out sledding was though. I was huffing and puffing after each run... I guess that was a message that I needed to get into shape, huh? Wes was a big dare devil and hiked an even bigger hill for the thrill. We all had a hard time staying on the sled the whole time. I was a rookie as this was my first time, and kicked more ice into my face then I could have ever imagined... even having a hard time breathing as I went down because of it.

After all this fun, we went back to the cabin, had more hot chocolate, lunch, and naps. We cleaned up and headed home.



This time at least it only took us a little over 2 hours to get home... much better. :(

Wes and Danny were a little stressed because they had plans. The Big UFC fight was going on, and they were afraid to miss it. They made it, and I hung out with Sarah and the kids for a while before coming home and taking the doggies for a walk.

It was a great weekend and we couldn't have enjoyed it more!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-My camera was out of batteries... I managed 3 photos. So, my brother took the photos, I will post them once I get them. :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh the Joy of a New Puppy

So, before I do my long post all about Christmas, I would like to talk about the "awesome" morning we had Thursday night/Friday morning.

Our new puppy has kennel cough, which means she is hacking up a bone all the time, sometime nothing comes up, but many times there is a lot of phlegm. Thursday night was the WORST!!!

We've been sleeping on the couch the last few days with her leashed to one of us. She has slept good for the most part, waking us once or twice, and when she gets up it usually means she needs to go outside to do her business and then we come right back in to sleep. So, she will wake us up with a tug and one of us will take her out.

Well, Thursday night she didn't sleep at all, she tugged and coughed directly in my face for an hour. I finally lost my patience and began to freak out, waking Wes into a panick. Good old patient Wes took over, but was then kept up the rest of the night. (I love my husband)!

So finally, after a long sleepless night, we got up and started to get ready to leave for the mountains. However, the rest of the morning went something like this:
-cleaning up pee
-cleaning up throw-up
-cleaning up spilled soda (that one was me)
-Having the other dog get me muddy as I was feeding him/causing me to have to change
-forgetting things after we locked up
-having soda shoot up into my face in the car
-road closure getting onto the freeway

It just seemed like one thing after another. What better birth control than a new puppy?!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Disneyland at Christmas Time

From Disneyland boys birthdays 2008


From Disneyland boys birthdays 2008


Last week Wes and I took Ryan and Carter (our nephews) to Disneyland with us for their birthdays.

We had a lot of fun! We started the day by going to McDonald's (Happy Donald's as Ryan calls it) and (Old McDonald's which Carter calls it). We got the boys happy meals and they played in the play place for a few minutes.

I have to say the ride to Disneyland was hilarious as both boys were very chatty. They had some good conversations about how they couldn't whine or cry because Santa is always watching, etc.

They were both soooo good the entire time we were there. We spent the majority of the time in A Bug Life's Land, riding all the fun rides. Carter liked the lady bug tea cups... he at one point yelled, "Why don't they have Straps," as he and Ryan were thrown all around, even bumping heads at one point, though this just made them both laugh harder.

From Disneyland boys birthdays 2008


In the Rocket boxes... I guess what you could call them... we were Raisins.
From Disneyland boys birthdays 2008


From Disneyland boys birthdays 2008


We also did Toy Story Mania, the Matterhorn, and Star Tours while there.

Here are the boys in line for the Matterhorn... it got chilly.
From Disneyland boys birthdays 2008


We ended the night with ice-cream and two very sleepy boys. Ryan was out within minutes laying his head on the seat to the side of him, and Carter knocked out a little later on the plastic arm rest to the side of him. It's amazing how kids can sleep so uncomfortably in the car.

From Disneyland boys birthdays 2008


Now we are just preparing ourselves for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Packages, Plumbing, Piper, and the Makings of a Bag Lady

So, yesterday was a very hectic day, especially from what we expected.

We were supposed to have a mid morning apt to show a few properties, but our clients had to cancel last minute... which was okay with us, since we had other things we still needed to take care of before the end of the week.

Luckily, I also started to get some of the packages I had ordered before Christmas. Unfortunately, I don't think one will make it on time, so Wes will just have to wait. Booooo!!!! But, we did get our new 4 in one printer for our home office. It includes a scanner, printer, copier, and faxer; so we are very excited! :)

Also, last week we adopted a new pound puppy. She is a cute little 5/month old golden retriever, whom we have named Piper. She had to be spayed, and have her shots over the weekend, so we will finally be able to take her home yesterday, I know Snoop will be happy to have a new friend. We finally gave up the search for Kiki after months and months and months of driving around our little city, checking the pound, etc. She ran away in the summer and we never were able to find her. I have to imagine a little 13 year old boy found her, and she sleeps in his bed, and they share ice-cream cones and are best friends, or else I feel absolutely horrible. Getting Piper is very bitter sweet for me. But, Snoop has truly suffered from depression after she left, and he is driving us a little crazy too, so having a new friend I am positive will help. Unfortunately, he will have to wait to play with her til next week. She has kennel cough and needs to be kept away from him for about 10 days, plus her surgery requires her not to do anything too active, which is hard when you put two puppies together.



Oh yeah, and our bath tub filled up with sewage yesterday after a root grew through the pipe in the front of the house. It is absolutely obscene how much they are charging us to fix it. So, our house will be suffering even more with curb appeal after we rip out that gosh darn tree that has caused so much hell!

And one last thing, I think I am slowly on my way to becoming a bag lady. For some reason this little kitty has taken to Wes and I. I woke up at 3:45am the other morning to a cat caressing my hand. And, every night it sneaks through this small hole we have in our door and will jump on us on the couch and purr and sleep on our chest. It is the absolute sweetest cat I could ever imagine, making it that much harder to get rid of. So, if anyone wants the world's sweetest cat, and incredibly pretty to boot, please let us know and come by and pick her up. She let's anyone hold her, and nuzzle's into your face. We've actually named her "Bag Lady", and if my mom and sister weren't deathly allergic I would keep her myself, but it would be impossibly for me now. I know we really are suckers for cute animals... We just can't help ourselves!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Todd Christmas 1995, or 1996 ???

Here is yet another golden oldie... I am not positive of the year... mom, Heidi, Danny, you have any ideas???

Yeah, I think I am actually wearing my mom's sweater.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Aleman Family 2007

Here is the other one as promised.

video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Todd Family 2007

We made this video last year as a present for my family members. Its quite long... but I just wanted to test it out and see if it worked on here... and it did!

I also made one for the Alemans (very similar to this one), but I can't seem to create it on a dvd... I sometimes hate technology.

video

I'll post the other one later. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mission Inn Christmas Lights

So, as some may recall for the past few years we have gone to the Mission Inn in Riverside at Christmas time just for fun. The day after Thanksgiving they do a big celebration, and turn on their Christmas lights.... we went with my family this year. In the past we went to the outdoor ice-skating rink with our good friends the Duncans, and Burlingames.

Well, on Friday we took our young single adults class, which is our callings to the Mission Inn for some ice-skating and fun. Unfortunately, only 4 of our class members showed up, but it was still a lot of fun.

Wes and I were shocked because all 4 of them ice-skated the entire allotted hour. After 10 minutes I am always done. So, while they skated, Wes and I went and walked around. We bought some hot chocolate, and these bomb sugar/cinnamon cashews and just enjoyed ourselves.

While we waited for them to finish we had lots of time, thus so many of the silly pictures... my apologies.

This is me in President Taft's Chair, specially made for his... um, large stature. I did my darndest to fill it out. :)


Just some Christmasy, fun photos of Weston to the B. and Me.


I love this boy! :)


Waiting and enjoying our hot cocoa on a cold night... what fun!


Our class.


Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Little Boy's Birthdays

December 2nd was Ryan Hamilton's (my nephews) big 5 birthday. I still can't believe he is 5. Because Hayley my sister lived with us when Ryan was born, and I was in my wild single days, I remember coming home some nights at like 2 and hearing him up and crying. Since I was still very awake and had like 5 hours until school started... yeah I know, I would bring him downstairs with me to watch tv, snack, and do all sorts of fun things.
We celebrated his birthday with the family at Graziano's Pizza in Ontario. It was loads of fun. Thanks Hamiltons!!! :)

Graziano's is nice because it is pizza and games, without the crowds of Chuck-E-Cheese; what more could a 5 year old want?!

No doubt about it, these 2 are going to be good buds, they love each other so much already.
From Ryan's 5th b-day 2008


Don't you love what black frosting does to us adults who just want to enjoy every once in a while?

This is what happens to young children who eat too much cake... frosting coma!
From Ryan's 5th b-day 2008


And, this is how you get there.
From Ryan's 5th b-day 2008


From Ryan's 5th b-day 2008


Then, we celebrated Carter's birthday last Sunday, although his birthday is actually today... so HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARTER! He turned 4 years old today. He and Ryan are little rascals together. They are more like brothers than cousins. They love each other, fight, argue, hit, team up on Ella, you name it. Wes and I were lucky enough to be in Danny and Sarah's ward when we were first married. Because we lived so close we developed a very special bond with this little guy, and love him so much! :)

Carter helped decorate his own cake.
From Carter's 4th b-day, 2008


And, we had a special guest appearance, Indiana Jones!
Aren't these 2 boys so cute!?
Blowin' out the candles. :)