Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas past

For the first time, in seven years, our little family is on our own for Christmas. And so we have been reminiscing our Christmas's past. They all have been equally full of holiday magic. Here are just few of our favorite highlights.

Finding, chopping, transporting, setting up and decorating a
26 foot Christmas tree.

Opening our Christmas PJ's on Christmas Eve. Connors face is classic.

David (Hef) and his girls.

Nights filled with endless musical talent, singing Christmas favorites.

Sitting by the fire because it's cold outside.
Gandmama and Papa Piller with Pearce.

Driving to the Cabin in Colorado. Todd shoe skiing along the way.

Dining and walking around Telluride at night with snow gently falling, while snuggled next to my honey.

Wendi, Eric, Camille and Todd. Telluride Colorado.

Skiing with our kids. Connor wore his goggles on and off the slopes.

Skiing and snowboarding with no lines.
I was so cold I taped hot patches all over my body. Believe me it helped.
Connor is trailing behind in red.


Wendi and Connor just playing around.

Hot tubing in the snow, with Camille and Todd.

Ice skating with our family. Matthew, Connor and Kelsey.

Ice skating with our friends.

Finding snow in Hawaii. On the Big Island of Hawaii's highest summit Mauna Kea, which means White Mountain, sits 13, 796 feet above the ocean. The Astronomical community has recognized this spot as possibly the best place in the world to observe and star gaze. And this is why two dozen of the finest telescopes in the world call Mauna Kea home. These high powered telescopes can look at objects over 12 billion light years away, allowing scientists to look through comic clouds and watch stars being born. Now that's cool.

Playing in the first snow fall. Cottonwood Canyon Utah.

Snowball fights.

Looking out the window and seeing a beautiful blanket of snow.
Honest, this is a real picture I took.

Enjoying Christmas lights at Disneyland or at the Arizona Temple.
Kelsey, Pearce and Joci.

Wearing silly winter hats. Pearce.

Opening presents with everyone.
Here Joci's tackling a present with her teeth.

Watching our kids get really excited.

Watching Pearce open his first gift.

Relaxing with our family after the big event.

Hang'n with our family and eating really good food.
Where are Todd and Amy?

Okay, that was more than a few memories. A Big thank you to our family who always make Holiday time one to remember. We are truly blessed. And we miss and love you all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


The other day Pearce made a beeline towards me and cautiously declared, " I smell poop." Concerned I asked, " Where do you smell poop?" Pearce leaned in and whispered with the answer, "I think its Daddy." Holding back my laughter, I asked " Are you sure it's not you?" Pearce very serious now, leaned closer " No it's Daddy." Naturally it was Pearce who produced the poop smell that filled his nostrils. But it sure was funny that he tried to pin it on his Dad.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deck the halls

Pearce decking out the Christmas tree for the first time all by himself.
To hear the movie mute the auto playlist.

Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

DTP turns 60

DTP is my father in-law, David Thomas Phillips. DTP was one of the main reasons we went to Arizona in November, to attend his legendary Birthday Bash. Every decade he and his best bud, Wayne Arnett reunite their band 'The Retreads' and rock out all night long with 500 of their closest friends.

Lt to Rt: Sue and Wayne, DTP and Jane.

DTP's biggest fans, Pearce and Joci, hit the dance floor yelling "what I like about you Papa". So you can hear the band play in the movie, go to the very bottom of blog to the automatic playlist and click once on sound icon to mute.

My sister in-laws and I got to join the band. We sang the choirboys parts in The Rolling Stones 'You can't always get what you want'. It was such an adrenaline rush. I always wanted to be in a band. Now I can check that one off. Thanks for the gig DTP.

Lt to Rt: DTP, Wendi, Kelsey, Camille and Camille.

Wendi and Kelsey. Don't we look like sisters?

With my parents, Spencer and Pam Piller.

DTP's 60th Birthday Bash was a hit. And everyone left with smiles and a beat to their step. Not just because they ate well and rocked out to the Retreads. But because, DTP is one of the most generous, talented, adventurous, honest and happy guys who just leaves you feeling good. And I have to add, he is definitely the coolest father in-law I could ever wish for. Love you Daddy-David!

P.S. Back in the day, DTP's band opened for the Monkeys, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Credence Clearwater Revivals, and the Doors! Now that's cool.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving keeps giving

Like millions of traditional American families, my husband Eric started his thanksgiving day at the crack of dawn playing football. Enjoy a little movie magic that captures all the 'turkey bowl' drama . Special thanks to our favorite cameraman, director and editor the one and only Jared Foster.

Meanwhile at the Phillips compound, we started working on a little magic of our own, the biggest feast of the year. The Phillips hosted 36 family members and guests, not counting the kids. Fourteen lemon meringue, pecan, and pumpkin pies lovingly made by the hands of Jane Phillips and her father Ken Taylor (FYI: a legend in the kitchen). Kelsey, Camille and I helped with a few pie shells. Naturally there were several robust turkeys. Homemade stuffing, cranberry sauce, and artichoke dip, also made by Ken Taylor. And arriving families brought everything in between.

Lt to Rt: Jane, David, Marjan, and Todd.

I made my favorite thanksgiving dish, The Famous Pam's Yams. Who's Pam? Pam is my mom. For those who plan to pass on the yams this year, I challenge you to make my moms version of yams. I am willing to bet serious money and grantee that you will now love yams. Yes love is a strong word to use in the same sentence as yams. But trust me, we don't call them 'The Famous Pam's Yams' just to be over dramatic. All whom dared to partake has echoed that title. And so in the tradition of giving I am willing to share this coveted recipe. Enjoy.

Yam Filling

1/3 c. butter (room temp.)
3 c. mashed yams (5-6 yams, peel, chop and boil)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk


1/3 c. butter ( room temp.)
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
1 c. walnuts (chopped)

Don't cover. Bake for 1 hour at 350. If you are a Phillips, Taylor or a Piller you will need to add a little more sugar, butter and vanilla to yam filling and make double the topping.

From Lt to Rt: Eric, a boyfriend, Karen, Kenna, Kelly, Matthew, and Mike. MIA: the Reeds and the Cooks. We missed them and please pray for baby Bree.

Lt to Rt: Mimi holding Liberty, --------, GG Phillips, Tracey Bookes, Pam, Connor, Aunt Janet and Grandma Taylor.

One table of twelve, and three tables of eight held all of us.

Shoots from my seat. Lt to Rt: Spencer, Evelyn holding Izzy, Jessie and Eric. In the back ground, Todd, Jay, Grandpa Taylor, Kelsey.

Connor hiding in the pillows.

Phillips Family Lt to Rt top row: Todd, Wendi, Eric, Connor and Kelsey. Lt to Rt bottom row: Camille holding Brinly, David holding Joceyln and Pearce, and Jane. Sorry, no Piller Family picture. My brother, Grant and his wife, Amy couldn't make it to AZ. Next time.

Our Family. Eric, Wendi, Connor and Pearce.

My kids are pinball addicts. The only thing Pearce and Connor fight over..... turns to play.

Connor scored a record 108,890 points.

You did it Connor. You are now a pinball master.

It was a beautiful day with partly sunny, rainy skies. Picture taken at the basement level back door. In Chandler Arizona.

Taken on main level back balcony.

Taken on upper level back balcony view, over looking The Ocotillo Golf Course. Arizona is beautiful at this time of year.

Thank you to all for the good time, the good food and the good company! We are truly blessed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back in Arizona

Only a month home and we are packed to go again. The kids and I are headed to Arizona for three weeks. Eric will be in Washington D.C. for the first week and then will join us in Arizona for the following weeks.

Week One. We stayed at my parents, Spencer and Pam Piller's home in Chandler Arizona. It was very relaxing except for all the homework Connor had. Poor kid. It makes me wonder what they're doing during class time? Connor attends a private school that has an accelerated learning program. He is doing algebra in the fifth grade. I think that borders on cruelty. Just Kidding, he is getting a first class education. Of course I am thrilled.

Connor hard at work drawing a picture for his platypus children’s book project titled, 'Who's new at the zoo?’

Connor after too much homework! Or too much sugar?

Meanwhile, Pearce has been examining his pizza for an hour with a very large magnifying glass.

My Mom in the kitchen baking. Seriously, she should have her own bakers boutique. But I am glad she doesn't cause that means more treats for me. I think I ate at least six of her cookies a day. I love my Mom's cookies. Thanks Mom.

Pearce in time out. And the only time out he requested to relive. Maybe he was waiting for a massage?

My Dad in his man cave, I mean office looking up new toys, hobbies or places to travel. Doesn't retirement sound great. On one of the days, my Dad kidnapped me for a Daddy-daughter date. We spent the day at the golfing range. My Dad taught me how to golf again. If I can only keep my head down, I could make some real money. Then, we laughed it all off over lunch. I love Daddy-daughter dates. Thanks Dad.

The gang at the Zoo. Both my kids are big animal lovers. So this day trip was a hit.

Check out the size of those horns. Is that natural? Sorry, we don't have bulls in Hawaii. Well, at least not on my Island.

This is a little flick showing how my boys like to pass the time. If they’re not playing guys, playing sports, or playing Kung Fu wrestle mania tickle matches.

We had a great time with my folks. The only thing that would have made it better...if Eric was with us to share in the joy. But with the holidays coming the joy is just getting started.

P.S. Grant and Amy too. Miss you.