Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gigi's Early Christmas Gift

My mom, otherwise known as Gigi to Caiden came over for the day, and allowed Caiden to open up a Christmas gift early.

He chose his gift carefully, and quickly unraveled and unwrapped it with quite the fury. He then asked to open it so he could play with it.
Caiden chose his gift carefully
Set it down
And then paper started flying!

He opened Lincoln Logs!! Caiden has been quite into building lately, so this was a great gift. He promptly read the directions (I swear, he's better than me...I never read directions, neither does Dave), and started building. I was so impressed. Now when I mean read, I mean look at the pictures of course.
He then read the directions
And began to build

He had a lot of fun. When he was done building Gigi took a picture of Caiden and I by the tree. :)

Caiden, me and soon-to-be Kiya

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Spark of Love Toy Drive 2007

For the past two years, since Dave has been with the San Bernardino Fire Department, we have participated in the toy drive. This has been no exception for my team at work either. I informed them of the specifics of the toy drive and they stated they wanted to help:

  • Children for low income communities are chosen at the Elementary schools for an invitation to the Fire House for Toys.
  • The chosen children are allowed to bring their whole family so this includes babies, teenagers, other elementary aged siblings and of course their parents.
  • All children whom are present get toys
  • These families are families that without the assistance from the Fire Department and the people who donated toys would otherwise not have a Christmas with gifts
  • The invited guests are treated to snacks of hot cocoa, punch, pastries and cookies while they meet Fire Santa Claus and receive gifts (the parents receive them so they can present them on Christmas morning).

Special thanks to Heather, Michael, Yovan and Ronnie for all of their help and donations. Heather and Michael had the most generous competition on who could supply the kids with more toys. Yovan and Ronnie, donated their time as well by coming down to Station 77 and helping with the toy drive. It was MUCH appreciated! :)
Pictures of some of the stacks of toys. They had sections for boys and girls and their ages

We arrived at the fire station, and quickly helped distribute the toys in the age appropriate spaces that were provided on the ground. We then went inside for some pizza and a quick briefing before the guests arrived. We then took our posts for the event. How the event works is that outside the fire station are two lines. One for the invited guests, and the other for the uninvited guests (people in the community that are aware of the event and would like to receive assistance for their Christmas as well).
This is Ronnie, Caiden, me and Yovan trying to take a picture of each other ourselves
Ronnie, Me, Cade, and Yovan with some downtime before the event begins
Caiden was a little tired. Here he is with Dave. Father and son firefighters :P

Yovan was stationed at the front gate to assist with any of the interpreting needs that we had. The families were let in a few at a time, where they would go meet Ronnie who was manning the refreshment area before they entered the bay where myself and the other "writers" were sitting. We would speak with the families and find out how many children and what gender and ages they were. We would then write that information along with the family name on a post-it note and hand it to a runner (Caiden and a Explorer) who would take a bag and quickly fill the bag with toys and gifts that were age appropriate. The bag would then be given to the "callers" who would then call the family name and provide the bag of toys to the parents.

Yovan stationed at the front gate to help interpret
Ronnie the cookie man :) Appropriate as he is the keeper of candy at work :)
Caiden helping an explorer find toys for the boys and girls on their list
Caiden took his job seriously picking out good toys

While the families were waiting for their toys to be gathered, they were allowed to enjoy their refreshments as well as take pictures and meet the Fire Santa and his elf. *Quick side note: there were supposed to be two elves, but one had a family emergency. Unfortunately, he had taken his elf costume with him, or Dave would have been prancing around in tights...I would have LOVED to see that. He volunteered for the job - we couldn't find another elf costume though :(*
Fire Santa Claus and his elf

Dave was in charge of keeping peace within the lines outside (some of the non-invited guests decided it was wise to keep themselves warm and occupy their minds by destroying the plants and bushes outside the fire department as well as kick around the piles of sand that the FD keeps for sand bags). Dave also handed out bikes and helmets to lucky families who were escorted outside of the building by an alternate route to avoid other people seeing them. He also did the job of the runner for a little while, as well as present checker - to ensure that people were not giving away so many toys that we didn't have enough for all of the families.
Some of the bikes that were given to the invited families

While this is a very rewarding experience for both the families and ourselves, this was also an opportunity to teach my 3 yr. old the importance of giving to others and being a responsible citizen. Caiden is very blessed to have 3 sets of grandparents that adore him, and often spoil him :P He has to understand that he is a very lucky boy, and that he is blessed and these things are not to be expected. We spoke about the children and the families that were less fortunate and he really took it to heart. He did a GREAT job helping to choose toys for the boys and girls (along with an explorer) and it even curbed his desire for the toys.

When we got home, both Dave and I explained how proud we were of Caiden, and how happy he made both us as well as the families and boys and girls that he chose gifts for. He was BEAMING. He is such a sweetheart. He really worked hard to choose good gifts that he would want for the little boys and girls and he took his job very seriously.

Now it wasn't ALL work for Caiden, who was SO excited to see the Fire Santa Claus. He ran up to him, arms outstretched to sit on his lap. He was talking NON-STOP! It made everyone laugh and ooh and aww. It was very sweet.
Caiden with Fire Santa - as you can see he had a lot to say
Caiden and Fire Santa Claus

Although we did not have as many toys as we did last year, all in all it was a good night...a little chilly, but a successful toy drive for 2007. Thank you to all who participated and donated both toys and their time to helping those in need.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Meaning to the term "Bun In the Oven"

Caiden and I were fast at work making cookies again for some of the teachers and directors at his school. Clearly, I misjudged the rather large size of my belly when I was taking the cookies out of the oven and ended up burning my stomach (ouch!!!).

Not knowing if I should put burn cream (if that would affect Kiya) I just grabbed some ice and put it on my wound. That resulted in serious kicks from Kiya, but at least it didn't hurt her.

I was telling one of my friends about it, and he said..."Well you're not supposed to put your belly in the oven you know. That gives a whole new meaning to the term "bun in the oven"".

I thought that was pretty funny. Oh well. It's not a bad burn, but it's there. Hopefully it heals soon...:)

The cookies turned out great, and Caiden loved giving them to his teachers and the other workers at his school. He even dressed up in a very cute outfit (sweater, nice pants and formal black shoes which he picked out himself) to present the cookies and the gifts we had purchased for his teachers and school director. He waltzed into the school saying, "Merry Christmas", and "I made beautiful cookies for you".

My son is an angel! :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Card 2007

I always MEANT to send out a Christmas card...really, what I was going to do was send out a Christmas letter like my Mimi and mom used to do. My intentions have been good, but honestly I have NEVER sent out a Christmas card (photo) or Christmas letter.

Every year I buy special paper for my Christmas letter, or I collect photos, but then the days go by and by the time I think about doing it again (or have the time) Christmas has come and gone.

NOT THIS YEAR, baby!!! That's because my mom came over and showed me how to make a fast and easy Christmas Photo card from Adobe Photoshop.

Check out the first ever Bonney Christmas Photo Card! :) Now all I have to do is send it!

Thank you mom for all your help. I think it came out GREAT!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Tradition

Ever since Caiden was born, I have been making cookies with Caiden for the neighbors. This year was no exception.

Caiden has been such a big helper and loves to make the cookies. He really got into it this year as you can tell from the flour on his face, and of course some frosting. He really takes pride in his work, and has to "test" the frosting to ensure that it is fresh and usable :P

Ready to Roll
The proper technique - one must be completely on the counter
Lean over to ensure proper shape cutting
beautiful presentation
add some sprinkles
smash down to ensure proper securing of sprinkles
decorated unsprinkled cookies with frosting - taste first to ensure frosting freshness
make cute faces
plate the cookies

After we finished making the cookies we dressed up in our winter gear and trekked out into the frigid temperatures (about 35 degrees) to pass out our cookies to our neighbors. :)

Deliver with Daddy and mama :)

The below video is one of our neighbor's houses. They went ALL out for Christmas...we told them they really should get into the spirit of decorating. :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Countdown to Christmas

When Caiden went to visit Papa Lance and Grandma Susan, he made a countdown to Christmas tree. He did such a great job and has been diligent about taking one off everyday.

Great idea Grammie Susan :)

Caiden taking off another day closer to Christmas :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Decorating the House & Tree

Since Dave and Caiden did such a good job decorating the outside with lights and blow up Santas, Penguins and Snowmen...Caiden and I decided to give Dave a break from decorating. We decided to decorate the house together and surprise Dave when he came home.

I didn't take pictures of the entire house decorated, but mostly because my back hurt so bad that I couldn't move for 2 days. No lie. I literally COULD NOT move. Strangest thing ever.

Caiden was a great helper...we had a lot of fun decorating the tree. We listened to Christmas music, had popcorn and hot cocoa, and decorated to our hearts content. We did have a few casualties in the way of ornaments (nothing that can't be replaced) and I did battle with the lights on the tree (they won), but other than that I think the tree came out nice.

Caiden trying to hang ornaments from the couch...could have been a reason we had some many casualties :P
So we tried a different strategy
Caiden hanging an ornament
And what is a tree without an Angel? This reminds me of my Mimi...except she should be in purple

We decorated by the door, the dining room, the stairs and the living and family rooms.

Notice the Santas - Caiden chose where they went
These aren't all of the stockings. I couldn't figure out how to fit the cats...they are smaller version of the dog's stockings. Sue was kind enough to knit Kiya's name into her stocking, as Grandma Sara is no longer with us. Grandma Sara made the stockings for Dave and I.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why Pregnant Women Don't Tip Over

So I was going through my emails when I came across the following title. "Why pregnant women don't tip over". I started laughing and told Michael Chapman...whose comment was "Why pregnant women don't tip over...what do you mean, like a weeble?"

I thought it was kind of funny - I guess there was an actual study done on it. You can read it below:

Why pregnant women don't tip overWed, Dec 12, 2007 (HealthDay News) — Given that a woman's abdominal mass increases by a third during pregnancy, it's a miracle that such a significant shift in gravity doesn't have her tipping over during her final trimester.Now, a new study describes a surprising set of anatomical reasons why the delicate balancing act works.According to researchers, the female spine has evolved differently, most likely to accommodate the tremendous demands of pregnancy. Without these evolutionary adaptations, women would probably experience even more back problems than they already do during the gestational period."The maternal center of mass shifts forward about three to five centimeters during pregnancy, so that it's no longer beautifully aligned with the hips and feet," said study author Katherine Whitcome, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University's department of anthropology who began the research as a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.Whitcome explained that the female body compensates for this shift in several ways. One is to recruit more back muscles. Solely using these muscles, Whitcome said, would quickly cause muscle fatigue and make women more prone to injury. Instead, the female back has evolved to allow three lower vertebrae to form a larger curve to support the growing fetus. In men, only two vertebrae form this curve, called lordosis, she explained.Females also have a key hip joint that is larger and can flare out further, according to the study, published in the Dec. 13 issue of Nature."It's a nifty little package of adaptations. We see it in modern humans, but it's also apparent from the little bit of vertebral anatomy we see in earlier hominids," said Whitcome. "It seems part and parcel of the challenges of bipedalism [walking on two feet rather than four]." These changes would have allowed women in prehistoric times to continue to forage for food, as well as quickly avoid predators, she said.Whitcome's study included 19 pregnant women between the ages of 20 and 40. The researchers found that when the women were standing, they naturally increased their spine's lordosis, sometimes by as much as 60 percent. Even when the women extended their hips only slightly, their lower backs were extended by as much as 28 degrees.However, despite what appear to be nature's best intentions, back pain is still a common complication during pregnancy."Women, by and large, make pregnancy look so easy, but there are very few women who have experienced pregnancy who haven't had some back pain," said Whitcome. But, she added, "without these adaptations, I think this back pain would be exceedingly worse. I think these adaptations mediate some of the intensity of back pain."Dr. Miriam Greene, an obstetrician at New York University Medical Center, agreed that "there's plenty of back pain in pregnancy," but said she wasn't convinced that the differences in male and female spines account for the majority of a woman's pregnancy stability."I think the reason why pregnant women don't tip over is that the placenta produces relaxin, a hormone released in pregnancy that spreads your pelvis, making it wider, and giving you a wider stance. That's why you walk like a duck when you're pregnant," she said.Greene said a pregnant woman's center of gravity starts to shift slowly as she gains weight, with the majority of the shift occurring in the third trimester.To prevent falls and back strain, Greene recommends wearing flat shoes, ditching heavy bags, taking extra care anytime you lift objects, and perhaps wearing a pregnancy belt. Additionally, she said that pregnancy exercise classes can help maintain the strength in your back.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Knott's Berry Farm - Holiday Event

Every year, Knott's Berry Farm allows Firefighters and their families to come into the park at Christmas time. Dave and I were excited to take Caiden this year.

The Christmas Tree at Knott's
Cade and I
Dave and Caiden at Camp Snoopy

Although I couldn't go on any rides, it was fun to watch Caiden and Dave partake in the fun and festivities that Knott's offered. Caiden is A LOT like me and was very apprehensive to go on the rides...he wanted to go with me, not Dave because "Daddy likes the fast rides". The funny thing is Caiden LOVED these rides last year. I was the same way. I was always afraid to go on them.

Caiden did end up going on the rides that he loved like the roller coaster, the car ride, and the Huff and Puff ride too. Although he was a bit apprehensive he did go on and LOVED it!

On the Rollercoaster before it takes off
Coming back from the ride...smiling faces
No hands driving :)
Holding on tight
Caiden on the Huff and Puff
He had a great time
Daddy and Caiden on the school bus ride
Caiden went into the bounce house

We had a fun time, and can't wait to do it again. Caiden had a nice rest on the way home. ;)

Cool California Caiden