Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas 2008 recap

We had a really nice Christmas vacation this year. We headed over to my aunt and uncles house in Atlanta Georgia where we were met by my folks and siblings. We all had a great time playing games (La Guillotine and Pirates Booty), eating lots of delicious food (soup in bread bowls--it really doesn't get better then that), and just hanging out. It was so fun to watch Emmeline and Mabel enjoy their christmas gifts and get so excited about everything. On the day after Christmas we went to the Coke factory. It was actually very cool and the people at Coke are genius. What else but genius could get other people to pay you 15 bucks so you can advertise to them??!! GENIUS! After a couple of days in Atlanta we drove down to Gainsville Florida where Bretts mom had flown for the holidays. It was really fun for Emmeline and Mabel to be able to play with their cousins. And the weather there was wonderful. Everyday we had a picnic at the park. . .in December. We also enjoyed playing games and visiting with Dave, Erin and Nana. We love our families very much and are very excited when we get to see them!!! Another wonderful Christmas down. I wonder what we'll do next year??? :)

Matching Christmas PJs

The ultimate Christmas present and activity: dollar store airball guns. . .and a shoot out. awesome!

Mabel's Goods

Emmeline's Goods

Digging right into the goods!

Christmas bells ringing

The Coke Factory

Cousins Havin a Good Time!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008--Christmas Letter written by Brett

Hello Everyone,
We wish we could be closer to you all during this happy time of year. We love getting caught up on everything that is going on in everybody’s life.
Things are going well in Birmingham, AL-in fact right now it’s a nice 68° here. Brett is half way through his 4th year of a PhD in Microbiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He’s enjoying researching the mutations that cause drug resistance in Hepatitis C virus by working with the genome sequences on a computer. He’s also teaching high school students in a lab at the science museum and working on getting two papers published so he can graduate within the next year and a half. He was recently moved into the primary and enjoys teaching the kids about the gospel. Other than that his time is spent having fun at home (or wherever) with his family.
Laura is enjoying staying at home with the two girls (Emmeline and Mabel) and works harder than Brett does most every day. She is in the primary presidency in our ward (no she didn’t have a part in moving Brett into the primary) and enjoys working with the other presidency members and helping the kids. She and the girls get out of the house and do something pretty much every day-whether it’s going to the science museum, the zoo, or the store. Laura’s life will become much more hectic next month since she is starting a Master’s Degree in History at UAB during the evenings.
Emmeline just turned 3 on Dec 6th and is into the “princess” stage. She gets dressed up, plays with stuffed animals, reads and loves to dance and sing-in fact she’s quite the little song encyclopedia just like her mom. She helps her mom and dad with chores, taking care of Mabel, setting the table, and taking the garbage out. She is very excited to start sunbeams in January.
Mabel is now 15 ½ months old (her birthday is Sept 6th) and she likes to: dance by bobbing her head and body, play with Emmeline, get dressed up, put on anybody’s shoes, play “kitchen”, and read. She is starting to understand what we say to her and mimics one-syllable words too.
We love you all and hope you have joy and peace during this Christmas season. We’re so grateful to our loving Heavenly Father for sending us His Son so we can be together forever one day.

Merry Christmas,
Brett, Laura, Emmeline, and Mabel Pickett

1413 17th Way S
Birmingham, AL 35205


Zoolight Safari 2008

Going to the zoolight safari has become another one of our many yearly traditions. We always seem to have a good time, and this year was no exception. We enjoyed seeing the lights and of course riding the train. Mostly we just enjoyed spending time all together with our family.

(dont be confused by the princess dress. . .this is not a halloween event. Emmeline goes most places these days in full princess attire and I figure--why not!! You're only 3 once!!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ward Christmas Party 2008

Since we no longer live in Utah where all of our extended family Christmas Parties are, we enjoy attending the ward Christmas Party. This year's party was very nice. There were crafts for the kids, dinner and music. Brett and I sang "Carol of the Bells" with a small ensemble. I was so happy to be able to participate with that group because our ward choir was not singing as many Christmas songs as I would have liked. (I grew up singing in a ward choir where my mom was usually the choir director and every Christmas there was a large program filled with several wonderful Christmas songs. This year we sang one song, which was a lovely Mozart piece, however, it would have been appropriate for Easter or really any Sunday for that matter. . .so I was missing all my usual Christmas music!!) Also the primary sang a couple of songs. It was fun because Emmeline got up and joined them. I loved watching and listening the the children sing.

It was very nice to get together with friends and celebrate the birth of Christ together as a ward family.

Making "Gingerbread" Houses

The girls and I participate in a weekly playgroup. The girls always have fun running around and playing with other little kids, while I enjoy chatting with some other adult women. On Wednesday December 10th we made gingerbread houses out of graham crackers and lots of candy. It was really fun. Emmeline did a great job decorating her house and even figured out how to do the frosting by herself. Mabel had fun eating the candy. She smooshed her house as soon as I had it together. . .but she sure loved eating the candy.

A funny story about Mabel: As we were all cleaning up my friend Rachel mentioned that she couldn't find her bag of mm's which had been just inside her purse. She also mentioned that she had seen Mabel in that area earlier and was wondering if perhaps Mabel had them. So I started looking around and couldn't see Mabel anywhere. Everyone started looking and calling out her name. I finally found her down in a little corner behind the stage--hiding with the mm's. It was funny to me that she grabbed them and ran but even more funny that she knew she had to hide as well. That little stinker.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mr. Fix-It!

Brett's been quite the handyman. One evening this past week it was raining very hard. Sometime during the middle of the night we woke up to a very loud CRASHING sound. We were concerned but too sleepy eyed to check things out. In the morning we set out to investigate and found that our rain gutter had fallen off and was being held up onto the roof but just one nail. We were very blessed that that little nail held on, or the gutter would have most likely swung right into our neighbors car. Brett climbed up the ladder and fixed it. (And I got some great shots of his hotty behind:))

Also Brett had to get up on the roof to repair and squirrel proof a couple of spots. Yes, we had another squirrel chew through a corner of the roof. We also had one sneak in next to the chimney. I lit the fire hoping to burn him down. . .but that didn't work. After I'd listened to the squirrels working away for about 3 days, Brett got things patched up and I havent heard anything since. Hopefully everything will hold and we wont have to worry about them again.

Thank you Mr. Fix-It Man!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birthday Party: Part 2--Princesses

We rescheduled Emmeline's birthday party for Tuesday evening. It turned out to be a lot of fun. After Emmeline and Mabel woke up from their naps, we spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready. Emmeline got to wear her new pink princess dress and she let me curl her hair. I have never curled her hair before and she did a really good job of holding still and letting me do it all. Her friends started arriving around 5:30ish-- all dressed as little princesses of course. When they all got to the house, we had a "banquet" of Emmeline's favorite foods: cheesy shells, pancakes and berries. Then the girls got to dance around while Brett and I cleared the table and set up for the princess crafts. Each child got a "princess kit" with a foam crown, wands and assorted accessories. The kids got to put jewels and stickers on their stuff. That was really fun. Luckily a couple of the moms stayed and helped me help the kids with their projects. Afterwards, we just danced around and played until 7:00 at which time we sang Happy Birthday, cut up the castle cake and let Em open her birthday presents. I know that Emmeline had a really fun evening and enjoyed her party. I love her very much and am so happy that she is my little princess.

(P.S.: I had a lot of fun making her cake this year. I'm glad she chose a castle and I'll be anxious to find out what she wants me to make next!!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Birthday Party: Part 1--Sick

Several months ago Em told me that she wanted a castle cake for her birthday. So, we created a princess party around that theme. We had invitations sent out to the children who would be in her sunbeam class next year plus the kids in our babysitting group. I found cute pink pencil boxes for 25 cents which Em and I turned into cute little princess boxes complete with foam crowns, foam wands, a brush, and plenty of rings, bracelets and necklaces. The idea was that during the party, each little princess could decorate her own things with stickers and gems. We also decorated the living room.

By Friday night we had twinkle lights, pink paper, purple ribbons, satin cloth, a sparkly white table cloth, hanging flower garlands and 14 purple, pink and white balloons. I had the cake all made and we were ready for the party to take place the next morning.
Then about midnight, Emmeline woke up crying. We ran upstairs and found that she had thrown up all over her bed and herself. Brett changed the bed while I put Em straight into the shower. After everything was cleaned up and Em was tucked back into her bed, we crossed our fingers and hoped that perhaps she just ate too many hotdogs for lunch that afternoon. No luck. An hour or so later. . .she threw up again. This time it wasn't bad enough that she had to have a shower, but she did have to have new pj's and a new pillow case. The rest of the night passed without incident and we were still planning to move ahead with the party in the morning. Emmeline got up and asked for breakfast, which I thought was a good sign. She ate while I was working on some last minute details. Then at about 9:30, out came all of breakfast. (that'll teach me!!) Once again, Brett cleaned up the couch while I cleaned up the sicko. Throughout this whole process Em kept claiming that she wasn't sick and that she didn't "spit-up." She had a party to attend after all. This last time however, I asked Em how she felt and if she wanted to move her party for a later time. She sadly nodded her head and said yes. So I hurried to call everyone and tell them not to come to the party which was scheduled to start at 11:00.
Emmeline spent the entire morning of her third birthday watching movies and sipping sprite. Two of her friends did drop presents off at our house and gave Em a happy birthday wish. I think she really liked that and it make her feel better about the situation. She had a lengthy nap in the afternoon from which she woke feeling much better. She got to open some presents from mom & dad. She got a pretend doctor kit, which she loves (and took with her to her yearly checkup the following monday. Dr. Bolus let Emmeline "check out" Mabel with her. After Dr. Bolus did everything-she let Emmeline have a turn. It was very cute. And Mabel didn't seem to mind :) ). She also got a princess sleeping bag, night light, flashlight, and pillow.
All which fit into a cute pink bag. (This whole thing cost 10 bucks at wal mart after thanksgiving. Thank you good sales.)
I think overall, Emmeline had an alright birthday and she got to enjoy the anticipation of her party for a few more days.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Emmeline 2008

On December 6, three years ago, Brett and I went to the hospital to deliver our first little baby girl Emmeline Louise Pickett. I cannot believe that Emmeline is now THREE.

Emmeline Louise Pickett Born December 6, 2005

      1 year old

      2 years old

       3 years old

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jingle Jam

There are many fun programs and story times at the library. Our favorite is called Rhythm and Rhyme time at the Homewood Library. The kids get to sing songs and dance to music as well as listen to fun interactive stories. This December they had a Jingle Jam. The kids got to shake jingle bells and listen to fun songs such as Sleigh Ride, Feliz Navidad and of course Jingle Bells. Basically it was just a fun dance party to kick off the holiday season. Thank you Homewood Library.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend this year. On Thursday we drove over to Atlanta to share Thanksgiving with my Aunt Sara and Uncle George and their family, just as we have for the past two years. Once we arrived, we devoured a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. The food was so yummy. Sara made her sweet potatoes in orange peel bowls. They are my favorite sweet potatoes ever. Brett and I brought our favorite green bean casserole (not made with any canned soup or french onions on top. . . but a different recipe that I love), a yummy cranberry-fruit jello, and a pumpkin roll. I have been looking forward to making the pumpkin roll for a whole year. See, I love a good pumpkin roll so much, that I cannot make one for just my small family because I would eat the whole thing. I seriously have zero restraint. So I can only make one when I get together with other people. However, even though I took the roll to the Parkers to share, I think I still ate at least half of it (or more) all by myself. mmmmmmmm. I cant wait until next years pumkin roll!!!
After dinner we talked, played around and Sara and I dove into the Black Friday ads to create our post Thanksgiving shopping lists. We are not such hard core black friday shoppers that we will wake up before 8:00 in the morning, but we are serious enough shoppers that we are usually out for several hours. I think this year was a total of 4. (that is a long shopping trip for me!!)
Brett decided to come shopping with us this year and it was nice to shop without the addition of three year old shopping buddies. :) We found several good deals (my favorites were: an $80 pair of boots that I picked up for $18 and a disney princess sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight and nightlight all packed in a cute tote with wheels for only 10 bucks. yeah for good deals.) Then we spent the rest of Friday afternoon/evening doing truly after Thanksgiving things--eating turkey and watching movies.
On Saturday we had planned to help the Parkers go pick out a Christmas tree. Since we only set up a little artificial tree, I was very excited to get to take Emmeline and Mabel out to cut down a live tree. I woke up very excited and went downstairs to notice that it was pouring rain out. Of course. We had a good breakfast and waited a little while. The rain slowed down a bit and we decided to brave the storm and go get the tree anyway. lollol. It was awesome. When we got to the tree farm the rain was just coming down lightly so we waited for the wagon to come get us. By the time the wagon got there and we all got in the wagon it was POURING down. The few umbrellas that we brought hardly even made a difference. During our wagon ride up to the big trees, we sang Christmas carols and laughed at ourselves. Then we walked around and debated which tree would be the best one. Finally, after some deliberation, George and Brett cut the tree down and carried it back to the wagon. Once we got back to the barn, we all enjoyed some hot apple cider and candy canes before driving back home.
Back at Sara's house, we had some lunch and then packed up to drive back to Birmingham.
It was a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am very thankful for the wonderful family that I had to share it with.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twilight Girls Retreat

On Saturday November 22 I saw Twilight the movie with a bunch of friends. First we all met at Olive Garden and had a nice lunch, then we headed over to the theater to watch the show.

I really enjoyed the movie. I haven't read the book for a long time so the details weren't all screwed up in the movie. (I did that intentionally.) I thought the actors were well cast for their characters and I loved the humans. I totally had friends like that in highschool (I was probably just like that in highschool :) ). I thought they were dead on. The only complaints I had were that I didn't like how Edward took Bella to the meadow. Without giving any spoilers I'll just say that that part was lame. And I didn't like how the movie minimized the strength and importance of Alice's ability to see into the future. Also, I think that if I hadn't read the book first then I would have hated some of the acting, especially near the beginning. I mean honestly, how do you portray an intense, passionate desire to drink someones blood. . .I guess looking like you have a sudden, intense case of diareah and nausea combined. . is as good a way as any. If I hadn't read the book first I would have hated Edward's first reaction to Bella and also Jaspers continual constipated look. However, since I had previously read the book, I got what they were trying to do and so it didn't bug me so much. With all of that said, I did really enjoy the movie. I loved the drama and passion between Edward and Bella, just as much as I did in the book. I loved some of the cinematography elements of the movie as well. I've heard some people say they didn't like all the time Edward and Bella spent up in the trees, but I did. How romantic would that be. . to spend the afternoon playing in treetops, looking down at the rest of the world as though you and your lover are the only two people in the world who exist?!!! But I regress, back to the movie. I loved it and can't wait to take Brett and snuggle during all the romantic parts. . .okay, maybe that will have to wait until I buy the movie on dvd.