Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Parties #2-5

Oh yes, we are very popular. We are all over the Christmas party scene this year. Seriously, we are very blessed to have such wonderful friends (that love to party).

Tanya and Daylan had a Christmas party and "Yankee gift swap." Our gift contributions were a little on the boring side (I didn't have much time to put something together so I wrapped up a new toothbrush and toothpaste... it's useful). The Candrians won a head-scratcher and a ham sandwich...the winners by far. Our girls got so sugared up at the party; Ruby did not go to sleep until midnight. Very fun.

Our neighbors had a party on Saturday. It was the most perfectly picturesque Christmas party I have ever been to. The snow was falling silently outside as if we were in a giant snow globe. The home was beautifully decorated, and everyone looked festively elegant in sweaters and cords. We sang Christmas carols and tasted all kinds of Christmas goodies. The kids joined in for the caroling by shaking maracas and banging cymbals. Alli and Ruby especially loved the giant bowls of candy left within their reach. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures, so you will have to imagine it.

The next party was at the church. The kids made reindeer antlers. Alli made some for the whole family. Alli found a sticky red circle to be her nose. The Bishop and his counselors read an updated version of "The Night Before Christmas." Ruby tried to steal the spotlight. She didn't have to try very hard with those pink boots on.
After the church party, Alli and Ruby went home with our friends, and Andy and I drove down to Beverly in a crazy snowstorm for another party with Andy's work friends. Mike and Amanda hosted a fabulous dinner party. Amanda performed on her piano. We sat by a cozy fireplace and talked while Mike and Amanda made dinner for us. They (especially Mike) really get into cooking. Mike caramelized onions for hours to make the French onion soup. It was delicious! They also served veal, homemade gnocchi and green beans. A-Mazing! Missy made a blueberry cobbler to top it all off. By then I felt like I needed to loosen my belt. Dinner conversation was lively, punctuated by reggae Christmas songs. It was really an unforgettable evening.
We left the party around midnight, and the snowstorm was still raging. The roads were terrible. We watched a car enter the highway, cross all the lanes of traffic, and do a 360 spin... and no one hit him! On our way back to our friends' house, the road was blocked by a car facing perpendicular to the road. Andy stopped to help, and our friend Greg came out to help too (he and his wife were watching our girls). A rear-wheel drive sports car really should not be out in the snow...ever! The driver wasn't going anywhere. Andy and Greg pushed him about half a block to an open parking spot and then they shoved the car in, sliding it sideways.
We were glad to get home around 2am. And we were even more glad to go to bed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas party #1

Alli had her Christmas party at school yesterday. We kicked off the festivities by singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. The kids all blew out the candles together. (That's Alli with the pigtails in the back. It almost seems like she is dressed normally, but that's because you can't see her necklace, orange striped tights and her multi-colored shoes in this picture).

The kids made ornaments and little Baby Jesus dolls. (Great crafts, Alison! You are too clever.)Here is Alli completely engrossed in her craft project. Ruby made an ornament too, she loved putting jewels on her project but didn't like sticky glue on her fingers.

Ruby and Alli enjoyed the birthday cake and cupcakes. Ruby ate hers hands-free-style, mouth-to-plate (she must get that from Andy...just kidding).

This is what happened when I said no more cupcakes....

But someone gave her a candy cane anyhow. That little tongue just cracks me up. She did not put that candy cane down. Probably half of it was melted on her hands when she finished, which she didn't mind at all. There is nothing like sticky, fuzzy, dirty little hands.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your celebrations are as festive as this.

Sugar Cookies

We made dozens of sugar cookies this week. It was (mostly) so much fun. Both Alli and Ruby love to help bake. They took turns mixing the ingredients and cutting out the cookies. They both love cookie dough. Ruby says, "Pinch please!" which means she wants to eat a pinch of dough.

Decorating the cookies was the best part. I glazed the cookies and Alli and Ruby covered them with sprinkles. By the time we were finished, both girls had multi-colored tongues and fingers.

Cookie making is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. My Grandma always made hundreds (maybe even thousands) of cookies every year to give to family and friends and neighbors. My family always made cookies together too. Every year we made cut-out cookies and decorated them as a family. The cookie tradition is one I plan to continue.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad neighborhoods...

Alli was telling me a story the other day. She started off telling the Nativity story but added her own little twists to it. Honestly, I wasn't paying full attention the whole time, but she started talking about Mary and Joseph riding their donkey into a neighborhood, and she said,
"It was a bad street. (pause) There were no good restaurants on it."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Where are you?

This morning we were awakened with Ruby's version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" followed by a very loud, "Where aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrree you?

Ruby is a little chatterbox. Everyday she is saying something new to amaze us... or crack us up. She answers questions with a "Yes Mom." I have no idea where that came from.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

O Christmas Tree

Our trees are up and decorated. We have a cluster of three small trees. The biggest one is about 4 feet tall. I put it on top of a box to make it seem taller. They are a little Charlie Brown-ish, but quite charming.

The girls love the Christmas trees. I always get a good "Whoa!" out of Ruby when I plug in the lights. Both girls have had fun rearranging the ornaments and using them as toys. Alli especially loves the vintage Christmas star light from Andy's grandma. (Unfortunately, it stopped lighting about five minutes after this picture was taken.)

Only one ornament has been broken so far. Not bad.

Once there was a snowman...

We got a decent amount of snow last week, and Alli was so excited to make a snowman. We packed the snow into a big blob and decorated it with the snowman kit from Grandma. Alli named him Frosty, of course. Ruby just calls him "Man!"

We also went sledding (Sorry, no pictures of that. My hands were full: two kids and two sleds). Both girls are very adventurous and enjoy going fast and testing gravity.
I made Alli shovel the sidewalk.
Just kidding. She was just piling up snow to make snowballs.
Today the snowman is about 12 inches high and shrinking. Until next time Frosty...

Away in a Manger

Last Sunday Alli's preschool class sang in the church service at the Lutheran church. Her class marched up to the front of the chapel dressed as angels, shepherds, sheep and cows and they sang "Away in a Manger" complete with hand motions and adorableness. They sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Christmas Star" at the end of the service, and then proudly displayed their nativity collages that they had made.
I was a proud mama.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Alli's uniform

Some people say that school uniforms limit creative expression. I beg to differ...
Alli layered her uniform skirt under her uniform jumper and accessorized with striped tights, colorful boots and her Christmas headband.

Chicago Christmas Traditions

Last Friday we took the girls downtown to see the decorated windows at Macy's on State. This is my favorite department store ever (not Macy's, just the one on State). The building is huge and gorgeous inside and out. It is especially magical at Christmas time.

This year the windows were decorated to tell the story of the Nutcracker.

We went from window to window watching the animated scenes and reading the story of Clara and her Nutcracker prince. Alli was mesmerized.

Ruby was a vegetable... or maybe she was mesmerized too.

Ruby loved the FAO Schwarz section of the store. There were amazing stuffed animals at 3/4 scale of the real animals. It was like being at the zoo... an exotic petting zoo with very sedated runt animals.

Alli was a good helper with Ruby. She lifted her up to see a lion on a table.
The store was decked out. The tree in the Walnut Room was amazing! It was decorated by none other than Martha Stewart. Unfortunately, we arrived at the Walnut Room ten minutes after the last seating, so we didn't eat under the giant tree. Next time.

We did make it just in time to see Santa. They closed the line right behind us. Alli was anxious to tell Santa what she would like for Christmas. She got up on his lap and gave him a hug, and then he asked her what she wanted...

It was A Christmas Story moment. Alli went blank.
Uh. Ummm. Uh.

Finally she said, "I want a teddy bear." Up until that moment, a teddy bear had not been on her list.

Ruby was not excited about Santa. At all.
After all the Christmas excitement, we were starving, so we went to Wow Bao (a place that serves Asian dumplings...or hot Asian buns as they say). We were there just before closing, so we got a dozen dumplings for free.

I love the magic of Christmas time, especially in downtown Chicago.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas projects

I told Alli I was going to post a picture of the apron I made, and she said, "It wasn't ALL you."
True enough.

Yesterday I made this apron and oven mitt for my niece for Christmas... with the help of Alli and Ruby. I die-cut the felt flowers with my QuicKutz tools and sewed them on and embellished them with buttons (hand-picked by Alli and Ruby). The apron is reversible (sparkly pink with a big green felt heart on the back).

This project wouldn't have been the same without their help. I had to pick up all the straight pins twice and all the buttons once... then they mixed them together so I had to sort them out when I was done. Fun.

Little Monsters

Rubyzilla the monster came to exact revenge on her arch nemesis Allizilla. It was payback time for all the tough love.

Rubyzilla attacked Allizilla, who tried to protect herself with an oven mitt, but it was no use. The gloves of fury tickled the big monster relentlessly.
The little monster won this time, but clearly there will always be a score to settle. Tune in next time...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Those aren't rose colored glasses!

We have a new guest in our house.
Hello Pink Eye. Make yourself comfortable. Can I get you anything?
The bad news is that everybody got it. I guess the good news is that everybody got it, so it will be gone soon. But it has been a long week as one by one we caught it.
Ruby and I are better now, but we are staying in until all eyes look normal. I can't wait for this one to work its way out of here.
(Doesn't that picture make your eyes water? Yikes.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sweet Ruby

She is so sweet that she needs a little sour lime to balance things out. Ruby sucked this lime dry and asked for more.

Ruby also likes raw onion and garlic. Yum.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We celebrated by sleeping in a little, going to the park during the first snow, watching a little bit of the Macy's parade (while I worked out on the elliptical), and shaking the turkey shaker (see above picture). Alli picked five hair bows on Thanksgiving Day and she requested five pigtails to put them in. It was a very festive hairdo, and I regret not having a better picture of it. Ruby sported two pigtails.
I only made one pie (plus crust-leftover apple cinnamon tiny pies). I think this was my best pie crust ever (thanks to Pam's coaching)...this is in the middle of baking, it did get a little more golden than this.

The mixed berry filling was good too.
We had a delicious dinner with our friends, the Malli's. They sent us home with lots of leftovers, so we enjoyed the meal many times over this week.
A tradition from my family is to name three things we are thankful for (usually done before dinner while all tummys growl), so here goes:
1. I am thankful for my family. Alli and Ruby are the best kids ever (sorry everybody else, it's true). Andy is the love of my life. I am blessed to have such wonderful people I can hold close and say "I love you" to everyday.
2. I am thankful for my eyebrows. Not that they are that great, but a friend of ours lost hers to cancer chemo/radiation. I guess what I am really thankful for is my health. But I would really miss my brows if they fell out.
3. I am thankful for music. I love to twirl with my ballerinas or make silly musical instruments or sing songs with them. I love the way it can change the mood, or rev me up. Music is powerful, and I am glad for the music in my life.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This is gross.

Fear Factor has nothing on motherhood.

Ruby, Alli and I were eating dinner tonight when Alli announced that she needed to go to the bathroom right away. And she wanted my assistance. She and I ran to the bathroom where she had a nasty case of diarrhea. Most of it made it into the toilet. Poor Alli.

After a quick clean-up and wardrobe change, Alli and I went back to the dinner table. Moments later, Alli began to heave up the contents of her stomach. She seemed like a never-ending spout. Alli was covered. So was the table, chair and floor.

What would you do? Alli is sick and covered in nastiness. Ruby is climbing up on the table. Vomit is running across the table and dripping down to the floor. Think fast. Act faster.

It was like a disgusting juggling act. I got Ruby off of the table. Covered the floor mess with paper towels. Called Andy. Stripped Alli down. Got Ruby off the table again. Wiped off table with paper towels. Wiped off Alli. Moved Ruby away from mess. Gagged. Disinfected table...

I finally got the kitchen to a point where I could walk out with the girls and put them in the tub. The bath was uneventful.

I put jammies on the girls and doubled up the sheets and mattress pads on Alli's bed [if you layer (from top to bottom) sheet, waterproof mattress pad, sheet, waterproof mattress pad on the bed, the 2am barf clean-up only takes a minute, just peel off the top two layers and put her back to bed]. Alli fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.

Ruby and I went back downstairs to scrub the kitchen down. I mopped and wiped and scrubbed until the kitchen was sparkling... and germ-free. I wasn't especially hungry for the rest of my dinner. Seeing the food all chewed up takes so much of the mystery out of it, I really wasn't interested.

Andy came home just in time for round two of the vomit adventure. This time Alli was working the toilet and the bucket at the same time. No fun.

The barf and poop is gross, but the worst part is that Alli just isn't herself. I hate to see her miserable. Keep Alli in your prayers for a quick recovery. And I'm praying that the rest of the family dodges the bullet on this one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thank you Lifetouch

Drumroll please... This morning when I dropped Alli off at school, there was a definite buzz by the cubbies. The school pictures were waiting in the cubbies, and moms were pulling them out and comparing and chuckling. With much anticipation I opened the envelope and pulled out the photo sheet. It was just the picture I was expecting. Off-center, awkward, stiff. Classic.

I love it.

I look forward to strange school pictures as she grows. This is a great start to the collection.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More visitors, American Girls, and Photoshop

My brother Dan and his daughter Katheryn came for a short visit last weekend. Dan makes custom mahogany doors, and he was delivering a few to Chicago, so he came for a quick visit. Katheryn and Alli enjoyed some quality cousin time. They put together a toy nativity set, played dress-up and ponies, raked leaves, and helped make cookies.
Katheryn wanted most-of-all to go to the American Girl Place while she was in Chicago. So Dan and I took Alli, Ruby and Katheryn to AGP on Saturday night. (We only have five seats in the car, so Andy took the train and met us downtown once we were finished at AGP... lucky him.) Katheryn and Alli enjoyed the store. They collected the wish list tags from around the store and tucked them into doll-sized shopping bags. Katheryn made a video of the store so she could show her sister Sarah when she got home. The girls wandered around the store with big eyes and jaws agape. Dan and I were like that too, but for different reasons ($$$$$).
We made it through the store without spending a dime. Hopefully Alli will always think of AGP as a museum rather than a retail store.
I have been playing with Photoshop quite a bit lately. Here is Katheryn playing in the leaves. I made the colors a little bit richer....or more rich.
What a cute girl.
Dan made a bookshelf/dollhouse for the girls that is adorable. He has skills. I need to finish painting it, but I will post a picture when it is all prettied-up. Thanks Dan.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Help in the Kitchen

Alli and Ruby have been very helpful in the kitchen lately. I found Ruby helping herself to some cider-- straight from the jug. Alli patiently waited for her turn. I had to mop the floor after that one.

Alli and Ruby decided to help with the dishes. Alli washed some bowls and spoons. Ruby just splashed in the water. I had to mop after this too.

I'm glad these two love to help in the kitchen. Maybe they will learn to mop up their helpful messes. Wouldn't that be nice?
They are darling.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday Fun

Andy has to be at church early on Sundays for meetings. So I have to get myself and the girls all ready for church and get us there on time. Sounds easy enough, but it is quite a tricky task. There are last-minute hijinks's nearly every Sunday which threaten to make us late or make me crazy (or both). This week was no exception.

Today I was doing my hair (usually I give it some extra effort on Sunday) with about 15 minutes until go-time and I heard a sploosh sploosh sound. I turned around and found Ruby straddling the toilet seat with one foot in the toilet water and one foot dangling outside the bowl. (Gasp!) She seemed to be using her foot like a plunger, and she was delighted with the splashes and funny sounds. We do keep the lid shut, but she can open it now, and she is apparently sneaky about it.

I whisked her from the toilet seat to the sink where she had a quick leg-bath. She really enjoyed that too and did not want to get out. She liked the sink so much that I probably reinforced some bad toilet behavior.

Ruby got a new outfit and fresh diaper. I helped Alli finish getting dressed and we ran out the door.

The girls had PB&J sandwiches in the car on our way to church. Ruby fell asleep in the car, so I carried her and my purse and Alli's backpack while dragging Alli behind me, and we made it into the chapel during the opening hymn.

Alli was an angel during Sacrament meeting. She sat quietly and played with some small toys she brought in her backpack. Ruby slept for about half of the meeting. Then she woke up. At first she was okay. Then she saw Daddy sitting up front and she wanted to get down and run to him. It only took a few minutes to go from wiggly and irritated to an all-out tantrum. I rushed Ruby to the foyer and waited out there for the rest of the meeting. Ruby ran in circles and used up some of her excess energy.

Andy has been serving as a counselor to our Bishop for a year and a half, and I still haven't figured out how to do Sunday mornings well on my own. A sense of humor helps.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Art in Chicago

My sister Janis came to Chicago this week. She has some artwork at SOFA Chicago, so this was a great excuse to come visit us for a few days.

Janis and I went to the opening reception at Navy Pier on Thursday. I always get a kick out of seeing the art crowd. The people-watching is almost as good as the art. People wear the strangest things that they have paid loads of money for... things you could only wear to artsy events (ie- a handmade magenta vest made of wool felt that looked like it was pulled from a Sesame Street shower drain, broaches that stick out 6-8 inches, necklace pendants that would make Flavor Flave's look like a tiny trinket). I guess it is fun to dress up though.

Janis has eight pieces in the show. As of this morning, two have red dots (sold). This piece is called Mother Load (this one is sold). It is about the trade-offs of motherhood and the beauty in it... and chaos. (Janis' explanation was much better, so ask her if you get the chance.) Click on the picture to see the details. This is a very intricate sculpture. Beautiful.

If you are in Chicago, check out SOFA at the Navy Pier. Sunday is the last day. And congratulations Janis for participating in this prestigious show!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

We experienced our first school Halloween party at Alli's preschool. It was fun to see the kids dressed up in their costumes. Alli was proud of her pink cat costume made by Grandma. I was in charge of the craft at the party. While I was crafting, Ruby tried to steal cookies from the snack table. She licked some frosting off of the table too. Ick. Luckily there were leftover cookies and she got her very own... which she ate all the frosting off of and left the cookie part. (She does this with PB&J too. Sometimes I think about just giving her a scoop of peanut butter and jelly because she doesn't eat the bread.)
Grandma brought her costume makeup to put the finishing touches on our little pink cats.

Ruby was fascinated by the makeup on Alli's face.

Alli was fascinated too.

Alli is a seasoned trick-or-treater, but tonight was Ruby's first time. She caught on very quickly. Ruby would take the candy and put it in her bag and then reach out for more. She was so cute that she usually got extra candy.
The best part of trick-or-treating is coming home and dumping the candy out on the floor to count and sort the booty. And Daddy was all too pleased to help.
No, the best part about trick-or-treating is trying to figure out how to ration the candy... or just binge so it will be gone soon. (Any advice?)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pink cats and the ER

What an eventful week we have had!

Grandma and Grandpa Utah were here. Betsy and Lucas were here. We had a full house.
We took our guests to the nature museum and zoo. We went shopping. We went out to eat (with three tired kids) and they gave us a private room... go figure.

On Friday we had a Halloween party at the church. Alli was a pink cat (costume by Grandma Utah). Ruby was a little pink cat (Alli inflicted her will on Ruby this year). I was a pink cat too. Andy was a blue cat. I whipped up Andy's and my own costumes moments before the party, so they weren't nearly as cool as the kids' costumes.

It was fun to see the creative costumes of our friends: a family of bees, propaganda poster figures, a bar code, blues brothers, and lots of other stuff that made me think, "Why didn't I think of that!?" Alli won a prize for her cute costume.

The party included dinner, games, and trunk-or-treating in the parking lot. Very fun. But the highlight of the evening for us was Ruby's injury which sent us to the ER.

Ruby was holding Grandma's hand when she (Ruby) dropped to the ground. A pop was heard. No crying nor fussing. A few minutes later, we began to notice that Ruby was not using her right arm. She would fuss if her arm was moved. I held out a piece of candy, and she couldn't reach for it. Then I knew that something was terribly wrong.

Everyone felt terrible. Ruby dislocated her shoulder in June, and we thought it was an injury repeat. We ended up taking Ruby to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital around 9pm.

Walking into the ER, I felt lucky to have the healthiest kid there. Ruby was cheerful, she just couldn't use her right arm. The triage nurse checked Ruby out and determined that it was Ruby's elbow that was dislocated. The nurse inadvertently reset Ruby's elbow in the process of checking it out. We didn't know it was healed, and we were sent to the urgent care area.

While waiting there, we noticed that Ruby was using her arm normally. We waited for the doctor anyhow. We were told to wait down the hall away from all the sick kids. We sat in the hall while Ruby ran up and down the hall laughing and playing. She tripped and cut her lip. Luckily it wasn't a big cut, but it bled a lot. She truly goes from one accident to another. (She currently has a scar on her forehead from the park, a scratch on her chin from ???, a bruise on her forehead, and a scrape on the side of her head from running into some furniture.)

I discovered I was still wearing the tail to my cat costume. Very cool.

We finally got in to see a doctor, and he confirmed that she was indeed fine. Apparently dislocated joints can be common in the under-3 crowd. Only a year-and-a-half to go with Ruby.

By 11pm, we were good to go. We walked the 1+ block home and went to bed.

I am now quite paranoid about Ruby's arms. We do not pick her up by the arms anymore. I am nervous about holding her hand. The monkey bars are a no-no. I feel like another dislocation is inevitable because she is so adventurous and active. I am going to pray that her guardian angels be extra attentive.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Alli sings

To see Alli's performance of the Cuppy Cake Song at the wedding reception click here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Picture Day

I think the worst pictures of my childhood came from school picture day.  Everyone dresses unnaturally, sits uncomfortably on a plastic cube in front of a marbled/brushstroke/non-descript background, sort-of-smiles for a complete stranger and is rushed through one quick photo.  And for these tacky pictures, parents have to shell out lots of money.  Everyone buys these lame photos, the pressure is on to buy them for grandparents and friends.  Lifetouch has their marketing strategies figured out.  Good parents buy pictures.

karyn kindergarten picture

Alli's picture day was this week.  She didn't have to wear her uniform, so I encouraged her to dress herself.  She picked out a bow for her hair.  She wore a floral shirt and two skirts (one plaid and one pink corduroy) layered and she wore floral fish-net tights with sequin flats.  Unfortunately the picture will only be a headshot.

I ordered the cheapest package so we could get the class picture and a few awkward pictures of our schoolgirl.

Maybe picture day is just a right of passage.  The unnatural pictures let you look back and gage your awkwardness each year.  This kindergarten picture is one of my better school pictures... it is quite awkward.

Right of passage or not, Lifetouch is making bank from bad pictures.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Newest Mrs. Mars

Congratulations to my brother Chris and his wife LaTrisha!  They were married October 12.


We drove to Ohio last Wednesday evening for a weekend of wedding fun.  We survived the drive by limiting Alli's liquid intake (after the second potty-stop), listening to stories on CD, and eating lots of snacks.  We got in late, but we were the first of my siblings to show up at my parents' home, so we got a bedroom to ourselves (this is a big deal when eight siblings, plus spouses and lots of kids stay in a four-bedroom home).

On Thursday we spent the day getting stuff ready for the reception.  I was given the title of "wedding planner" and the responsibility to decorate the reception fell on me.  Yikes.  We bought a few dozen pumpkins at a farm down the road and my dad painted them silver.

dad painting pumpkins

Friday was the wedding.  LaTrisha looked beautiful and Chris couldn't stop smiling.  They were so happy to be married.

chris latrisha 1

After the wedding we went to the church to set up the reception for Saturday.  I wasn't quite sure how the pumpkins and blue flowers would go together.

On Saturday morning I finally found a way to tie all the decorations together.  I collected several vases and clear glass dishes from my parents' house and arranged them at the head table with giant blue mums in the dishes, silver pumpkins, a silver bell garland, and lots of greenery winding through the vase collection.  It turned out much better than I could have imagined, but we were busy all morning getting ready for the 12 o'clock reception.

wedding decoration 1

wedding decoration 4         Chris and LaTrisha wanted Alli to sing a little song at the reception.  Alli told me she wouldn't do it.  Grandma Ohio (with promises of much candy) got her up on stage for a charming rendition of the Cuppy Cake Song.  Alli is still enjoying her candy today.

alli grandma cuppy cake 1

Ruby slept through most of the reception.  My former youth leader Sister Kris was delighted to hold Ruby while she slept.  Ruby had a good nap, and then enjoyed lots of attention from relatives and friends.

My youngest brother Ben looked quite dashing in his tux.  He is one of two unmarried Mars kids.  Marissa is available too... no hurry though.

ben joe izak wedding

Andy was a great help at the reception.  He and my brother Dan ran the pinata game.  Andy directed the kids and Daniel pulled the rope to make the pinata hard to hit. 

andy dan pinata

There were two pinatas.  The kids destroyed them in a few moments.  They had fun.

The reception was wonderful.  The Mars family can throw a good party.

Most siblings left Saturday night, and it was quiet at the Mars house again.  We drove back to Chicago Sunday morning after attending church.  Alli and Ruby both took long naps then ate lots of candy and treats from Grandma.  Despite the wedding and reception, it was a very relaxing weekend for us.