A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pinata party

I can't believe I almost forgot to post pictures of our annual family pinata party! We generally do it after Christmas when people are more relaxed and have more open schedules. At this year's party we got to meet my nephew's fiancee. I still can't believe my nieces and nephews are starting to get married!

Anyway, here are the cute pics of the kids. Apparently they've also decided that wearing pieces of the pinata is cool, so that happened a lot this year, too:

Snowman pinata 2011
As is tradition, we start with the youngest in hopes this allows more kids to hit the thing before it falls apart. Austin quite enjoyed it this year:

The other kids also enjoyed it and got some pretty good hits, even with a blindfold:

Austin decided to help Gavin by ganging up on Gavin's pinata:
(James couldn't help because he was crying because his dad tried to make him hit the pinata.)

And as for the wearing:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do NOT blame the mother!

Some days I just really hope Shayla's teacher knows she did her own hair or coordinated her own clothes. I've been tempted to e-mail and let her know before, but I figure she's probably seen plenty in her years there. My SILs Heidi and Christina both taught kindergarten and have told me not to worry. But I still hope she knows things like the two butterflies were not my idea:
Good thing Shayla's adorable no matter what!

Christmas ... finally :)

Wow. I can't believe it's already been a month since Christmas. How is time flying by so quickly? Here's my last Christmas post ...

We started our Christmas with a Christmas Eve tradition -- opening one present, which is always jammies. The kids have always wanted some with button-up shirts, so that's what they got this year. I couldn't believe how well the boys' matched, even though I didn't plan it that way:
Christmas jammies
Christmas morning we had church at 9 a.m. We decided that rather than rush the present-opening experience that we'd just make the kids wait until after church to open presents. They were cool with that, although I'm sure it was hard. We went to church, came home and got back in our jammies, and got to opening presents.

Tyler has really gotten into chess this year, so he was thrilled to get his own glass set from Zachary:

The boys got a dream gift -- Nintendo DSs. We have never gotten them because they are still expensive, so they didn't even think to ask for them. So boy were they surprised and thrilled (and then goofy) upon opening them:
Yes! We each got a Nintendo DS!
Goofy boys!
Austin was adorable to watch. He'd rip off one one piece of wrapping paper and then had to throw it away before he'd rip off the next piece. If only all the kids were that clean every day! :)

Then, after opening his two gifts, he got plenty of entertainment trying to feed Pooh Bear crackers. It was so cute:

Becca enjoyed opening her gifts and was a little spoiled this year. She got the entire Harry Potter series on DVD and a new camera. That's some good stuff:
Becca opening a camera
 She also got a new blanket I made for her on a whim. She always says it's cold, so I made it with half denim so it's nice and heavy. It also has cute patterned material so it's not TOO heavy and has a bit more color:

Shayla was adorable to watch opening presents. I mean, the girl has personality. She opened her Easy Bake oven (first picture) and then had the cutest reaction when she realized what it was (2nd picture):

She also got another pair of jammies, even though she didn't need them. However, they had Pinkalicioius on them, and for a couple of years she believed she WAS Pinkalicious:

The afternoon was very enjoyable. We were lazy. We had good food. We visited Grandma and Grandpa. Becca and Shayla had sister time and cooked in her oven:
Shayla's first cake: Yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Yum!
There was also a lot of quiet time and kids looking like this:
DSs, Leap Frog and new games -- oh, my!
Ahhhhhh ... that is peace to my ears. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Santa pictures

So my kiddos got lucky and got to see Santa twice this year -- once at our ward party and once at my parents' ward party. Normally we do the Santa thing only once, but this year we had to do it twice since the second Santa was someone my kids know and love (their uncle Gus).

I was glad we had a second chance, because the Santa at our ward party told Tyler he didn't have to sit on his lap if he didn't want to. What? Tyler had never considered otherwise, and I didn't like putting any ideas into his head. Well, if Tyler wasn't going to sit on Santa's lap then Zachary wasn't going to, either. Sigh. But they had to sit on Santa's lap at my parents' party or they weren't given the treat bag each child received. :)

I love the picture of Tyler as he recognizes the voice behind the beard:

Zachary also knew who it was:

Shayla didn't figure it out, at least I don't think she did since she was still nervous:

And Austin? Well, everyone in my family claims (probably truthfully) that they've NEVER heard him scream as loud as he did this night:

Here's the cutest picture of the evening -- Santa stealing a little smooch while his son screams about Santa "attacking" his mom:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thank you, Harry Potter

So, we did it! When Zachary asked if I would read him the Harry Potter series, I thought he was nuts. I mean, that would take years, right? But he bugged me until I finally conceded. We started in August and have moved our way through the books.

I don't think I realized how much I'd enjoy reading them again. After about the third or fourth book, I read each one in just a couple of days after they came out. I read very quickly just wanting to know what happened. This time, reading them out loud made me read them slower (obviously), and I just read them amazed and fascinated.

How does someone create a pseudo world that seems so completely believable and real? She has names of spells that do various things; witches and wizards are good in different areas (some are better at potions, others at herbology, others at transfiguration, etc.); animals that we've never heard of; games that apply only to the wizarding world; etc. I seriously was just in awe at the awesomeness of this series!

Needless to say, a couple of weeks before Christmas we finished book 7:

Tyler had just gone to a Harry Potter birthday party (where he got this new wand he's holding), and Zachary hadn't known for sure exactly how the details worked themselves out in the end. Neither of them have seen all the movies -- they have to wait to 13 to watch the PG-13 ones -- and it was fun for them to notice differences in the books of the movies they have seen.

For Christmas Eve we have a tradition of getting a new game for the family to help the day go by faster. This year we got "Scene it -- Harry Potter" edition with all eight movies. Becca has watched the movies soooo many times that she used to be our resident expert. However, Tyler has overtaken this title, and he does better than any of us even though he hasn't seen all the movies. All of us (excluding Shayla) had a lot of fun playing. (Her reaction was to start crying when they opened the game, "Why does it have to be Harry Potter?" She got over it quickly enough, though. :)

Now we've got to find a new series to read, because my boys love it. Zachary wants Percy Jackson, but nothing is going to compare to Hogwarts and Harry.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New tradition

Our Christmas was wonderful, and I'll post pics of it later. However, I wanted to share a new, very special tradition that we started this year. I saw it on a friend's FB post, and at the last minute we decided to implement it.

Christmas evening after everyone has enjoyed the day of giving and receiving, we turned out ALL the lights, lit a few candles and ate dinner over candlelight. We ate food that may have been eaten in Christ's time (flat bread, cheese, grapes, olives, etc). We discussed the Nativity and the sacredness of the day. We discussed the rejoicing in heaven the shepherds heard, and how we were among those rejoicing. We discussed the gifts of the Wise Men, along with their symbolic and practical meanings (from a New Era article in the Dec. 2011 issue). I explained the birth of my own kids and how special they were, and how even more special was the birth of our Savior. I also discussed how scary it must have been for this young girl to be away from home and be delivered by a man who was not a physician. I told them how excited I was to tell everyone they were born, and how Mary must have been so excited to show off her son to the shepherds. We discussed the star and the significance of the Wise Men watching for and following it. Etc.

The kids loved it! I was so glad, and I hope the distinctness of it makes it especially memorable for the kids. I was going to buy nice square wooden plates to use, but it was too last-minute and pricey. (I still plan to, but I'll have to save up. :)

We're going to do the same thing at Easter and discuss the Resurrection. I'm already looking forward to it! I love implementing new traditions that will help my kids feel the true spirit of the holidays and feel this one is an awesome one to start. (By the way, Becca is annoyed that we're starting all the "good" traditions as she's getting ready to move out ... We'll continue to do our best at it. ;)