Monday, December 29, 2008

You can call me Maddie!

OK - I have a new favorite thing! This does not by any means replace my Cupcake pj's, as those are evening wear and this is outerwear - 2 totally different categories!
It is my new coat.
It is red. I look like Madeline in it. It has black buttons. For those who don't feel comfortable calling me Cupcake - you can call me Maddie! I will wear it always and NEVER take it off!

Cheap Entertainment

So, Christmas is over, the kids are at home - the stores are still too crowded to shop and we are SO DONE watching movies. What should we do to entertain ourselves? I know - let's make pizza! I didn't really want it to be a big deal or a big mess, so we just opted for good old Chef Boyardee! Surprisingly, it tasted pretty good! Tim mixing the dough

Maggie & BFF Haley making the crust

Such good pizza, that when Haley got up for seconds Shae decided to take her place and ask Maggie for a bite! Tommy would not be happy to see this!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

I have a few minutes while everyone is playing with their new toys, so I thought I would do a little bit of blogging! This year was a pretty traditional Christmas for us - we had some friends (the Flaishans) over for a nice Christmas Eve dinner. Stefanie brought some treats, including my favorite pumpkin roll! SO yummy! I have been missing Donelle's pumpkin roll since they moved to Utah. Now I know where I can get hooked up!(Taylor, Amber, Maggie, Jacob
Hunter and Tim)

Then the four of us nestled in for our Christmas Eve routine. We began with the usual opening of the Christmas pajamas, then the reading of the two stories - the Saviors birth from the Bible and The Night Before Christmas. Then we varied a bit and Tommy started a wonderful discussion. He asked Tim what stood out to him most when he thought of the Saviors birth. We all really got into talking about it and we each took something different from the story. Maggie spoke about some things that she learned and the new perspective she had after having a great lesson at a young women activity a few weeks ago. I was THRILLED to hear that she had taken from that lesson! I also was thinking of that lesson, and of'course I cried when it was my turn to share my thoughts. What a spiritual way to wrap up our evening. Then the stockings were hung and we all went to bed.

This morning, Tim was the first to crawl out of bed and get everyone up. The kids were very happy with what Santa had left for them (Rockband for Tim and a giant Edward Cullen for Maggie!)and they were grateful for all of the fun gifts from family and friends.After a yummy breakfast, we have all gone our separate ways to try out our new presents. We agreed to watch movies together on Tommy's new t.v. later this afternoon. That brings me here!
I love that I have my family home for a few days - that is what I am most thankful for this year. I wish that I could be with the rest of my family, but I will think of them and all of my wonderful memories of Christmases past often today.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
P.S. We finally decorated our tree! Check out the slide for some of our pre-Christmas baking and decorating!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008


You know how Oprah has a "favorite things" list? Well, these are at the top of mine this year. These are my CUPCAKE pajamas. I love them so much that I bought 4 pair of them! One in hot pink, one in black and two in the best color - turquoise!
Let me explain the cupcake part - that isn't the brand or the style name, that is just what I feel like when I wear them - a great big CUPCAKE! So, the cupcake thing has caught on, and Maggie says that when she has children - she will not have them call me Grandma or Granny or any Grandmother-ly name... they will call me CUPCAKE!!

Nana & Pa

I may be wrong, but I don't know that - other than wedding photos - I have ever seen any pictures of my parents together. Weird - they have been married for over 40 years - you would think I would find at least one! We never even took family photos until I demanded it as an adult, and even then, we have only done that twice! So, when they came to visit, I insisted that they let me snap a few shots. My father wasn't very excited about it, but he did cooperate and I am so pleased that I have some nice photos to pass along to my kids now!
These are my parents, Steve & Margie Akin.

Married August 8, 1964

Maggie jumping in the photos - at this point I had lost all control and they were playing "America's Next Top Model"! Who is the grown up here?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, How lovely are thy branches?

I have been looking around at lots of blogs this morning, and I am noticing that several people have pics of their Christmas trees and fun shots of the families decorating those trees. It is all so beautiful, so I thought I would add our tree to my blog - it somehow doesn't quite live up to everyone else's standard this year!

Yes, that's right - no ornaments! Unless you count the paper airplane that Tim flew into the top of it! We have a kitty problem this year that we have never had before - you see, Tim adopted a stray back in September, and she LOVES the tree! I found her sleeping in it yesterday. No matter how often I try to make her leave it alone, she just can't resist it's charms! We are NOT willing to put up our much loved breakable ornaments just to watch them smash to the ground all season long - I am thinking of having the kids make some cute trinkets to put up for this year. Hopefully, next year - we will be over the "Frisky Kitten" stage and I can post a once again, beautiful tree!
Sprout - the ever innocent kitty culprit. This looks like a mugshot doesn't it? - how appropriate!

Sprout - realizing she is about to get the spray bottle & trying to make a quick exit out of the tree - not forgetting her toy of'course!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vacation 2008!

Our vacation this year was to...Florida! Surprised? I know, no real shocker there since we go just about every year! This year was different because we usually go to get away from everyone and focus on the four of us, y'know, really reconnect with each other - but this vacation we took some of Tommy's side of the family along!
However, we did spend the first week of our vacation as a foursome. We stayed at the Portofino Bay Resort in Orlando, and spent lots of time at Universal Studios. Maggie really wanted to go there, but we told her that it was too expensive (which unfortunately is true!) She was very happy when we pulled in and she realized we would be staying for a whole week! We all enjoyed the beautiful weather, Tim loved the pool, Maggie liked the roller coasters, Tommy liked the spa massages, and I liked the Luau with all of those cute Samoan boys dancing!

Week two was all about Disney World and extended family! There were 13 of us in all - Gran, Papa, Lindsey, Rebecca, Kurt, Valinda, Dylan, Kyndal (Happy 8th Birthday Kyndal!), Railey and the four of us. We stayed at the Contemporary, which was new for us, and actually spent quite a bit of time at the parks. We haven't done that in several years because the kids know exactly what rides they want to go on and exactly what shows they want to see - that doesn't take very long, so they like just hanging out at the resorts instead. None of the family we were with had been before, so we went to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It was fun riding some of the classic rides and noticing some of the improvements that have been made. My favorite ride is always Pirates of the Caribbean, but Expedition Everest is a very close second! Tim got over some of his roller coaster fears this time, (he braved Everest and Space Mountain both - twice!!Good job, Tim! We will try for Tower of Terror next trip!) and Maggie realized her dream of visiting the Bippity Boppity Boutique, where she had make-up, hair and nails done - and best of all she got to dress as her favorite Disney Princess,Cinderella!

We were pleased that we were able to get that appointment, as this was the last year that she would fit into the dress - it's not exactly meant for 14 year old princesses! Of'course for all of you who know Maggie, you know she would wear the dress no matter how small it was (or IS in this case! I LOVE the shoes!)Her silly personality really shines through in her princess photographs! It was fun that the girly cousins got to join in on that fun - even Auntie V had her hair and make-up done! It is hard not to catch that Disney Spirit, huh Lindsey?! Thanks go out to Tim and Dylan for being so patient. It was a long wait outside of that boutique - good practice for when they are married, i guess! I can't say what Tommy liked best, but I know he always likes seeing the parades and fireworks every night. He looks just like one of the kids when Tinkerbell flies and the fireworks begin! Maybe that is why we keep going back year after year!