Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out with the girls

Kristen said that for her birthday she wanted to go out to lunch then shopping downtown with her mom and sisters. Mom chose a great place called Novo with patio seating overlooking the creek by the mission. It was a beautiful setting and perfect weather.

Three of us ordered this yummy chicken sandwich with sliced apples, brie and caramelized onions. It was fabulous!
Ellen ordered this fancy appetizer (I think it was Moroccan lamb) as her meal.
Emily happened to mention to our server that it was Kristen's birthday, and she surprised her with this beautiful vanilla bean custard with raspberries, mint and a sparkling candle.
Kristen said next time we should all save room for dessert. Afterwards we walked around and shopped. Mostly we just window shopped, but we all went a little nuts at Bath and Body Works because of their huge sales. I also got cute bright fish with hooks for Spencer's ocean room. It was a fun day!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dragon Park

Yesterday afternoon Emily and I took 13 of the kids to the dragon park while Kristen and Nathan spent the day together for their anniversary, Dave and Troy worked, and Brennan napped.
They spent most of the time climbing this cool castle and dragon.One by one they each made it to the top from Peter on up, and everyone encouraged and congratulated along the way.
I just love Peter's smile in this shot.Whew! They made it. It was touch and go there for awhile, but when the younger kids got up they had to get up too. Talk about peer pressure.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What a party!

Yesterday we all went to Kristen's house for her birthday. There were 28 of us there.
Look how patiently all the kids are waiting!
Happy Birthday Kristen! That little Brennan just sat watching everyone eat their cake and didn't make a sound. When I saw him there I quickly got out his cookies we brought, which he got excited about. Poor kid!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Yay! More cousins!

My sister Emily and her family drove here from Utah on Friday, and we spent the day with everyone at Kristen's house today. Sabrina (2 1/2) is just too cute with her curly red hair, bouncing up and down on the trampoline.

It was great - kids played in and out and all around (17 of them altogether), men played racquetball at the gym, and women chatted - everyone was happy. Here's Braden, Andrew and Alec in the big oak tree.Allison going up. And Daniel. I realized when I got home that I missed Tim. I'll have to catch him tomorrow when we all get together after church for Kristen's birthday.

Here's sweet little Anna in her new bow from Josh and Megan. You gotta love window light.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A very merry Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas. I actually did all my wrapping ahead of time and Dave assembled things last week, so we got to bed by 10:30, which is some kind of Christmas Eve record for us. The kids enjoyed tracking Santa on NORAD throughout the day yesterday, and Spencer had a lot of fun helping us set up after the other kids were asleep. Yes, our day began way before sunrise. I think people started getting up around 5:30, and we went out around 6:00. It was so funny - the first thing Tyler and Dallin did when they went into the living room was check to see if Santa ate his cookies and milk. We had to point out the toys to them.
Now everyone has their own light saber and we don't have to fight over them. Have I mentioned how popular Star Wars is around here? Even Brennan gets into it.
Santa brought Brennan this adorable dog. It's the closest I ever want to get to owning a real pet - it barks (not too loud or annoying), pants, moves his paws and wags his tail when you pet his head. You have no idea how hard it was for Santa to find this. He knew it's what he wanted, but it was hard to find a dog that was soft/snugly and barked. It was the last item on his list for a really long time.I woke up in the middle of the night with a cold and couldn't go back to sleep, so needless to say I was super tired and went down for a nap as soon as we were done opening presents.

Brennan loves his babies! He got one from us and one from grandparents. He loves to dress them, give them their binkies and wrap them in blankets. He went to bed with both babies and his dog tonight. The kids loved getting Star Wars toys. They've been setting up battles all day.Dress-ups! Dallin enjoyed putting us in jail (i.e. laundry room). Yay! Racket ball stuff. Nathan got a membership to the local gym for Christmas, and they plan on playing some racquetball together.My sister Emily had us for Christmas this year. They gave us Kung-Fu Panda, which we really wanted, and a bunch of Chinese Food dishes and accessories. We especially loved Troy's homemade chopstick holders - how clever!! We can't wait to try them out.Here's Tyler sporting his favorite gift of the year: spy dress-ups and accessories. The glasses are cool because they have mirrors on the sides so he can see behind him.

Spencer playing with the Air Hogs Zero Gravity R/C car - it works on walls and ceilings! He really wanted it, but I was doubtful how well it would work. It actually works great!
Dallin's T-ball power hit!Spencer's doing great with his Ripstick from Santa. Dave likes it too and picked it right up. I told him the kids toys are catching up to his level, which makes him so excited to get them this stuff. I tried it and got nervous - it's harder than it looks, and I don't like to go fast.

Santa finally gave one of our boys a big wheels! Dave's been talking about the one from his childhood forever. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Quotes

Tyler - "I'm making the Christmas shape pancakes!"

My parents gave the boys these awesome pancake molds for Christmas. They were a huge hit. Dallin - "Mom, am I on Santa's naughty list?" Oh Dallin, what am I going to do with you? Of course I told him no, but some days...
Tyler - "Mom, come watch Spencer catapult me off the hammock!" So they invented this new game in which one of them gets on one side while the other two climb up the other side and catapult him into the air. Boys!Luckily they didn't get too high into the air. Next time we'll have to move the hammock to the grass for a softer landing.
Spencer -"Mom, do you know the best gift you've given me?" I expected him to say his Air Hog Battle Helicopters, but he surprised me with "Teaching me to play the piano."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Early Christmas

We went down to my parents' house for Christmas dinner and presents last night, since my dad has to work on Christmas day. My kids did much better as the day went on (I'm guessing they all just woke up too early; they actually slept in today(!) and they're already having a better day). They were SOOO excited to meet their cousin Anna, who is 10 months old but has been living in Philadelphia, India and London all her life - she's quite the world traveler. Dallin slept on the way down and of course woke up crying. But as soon as he saw Anna he got happy and found her some toys. Brennan's face lit up, and he yelled "babba!" every time he saw her. The boys were going in and out the front door, and with the door left open she crawled right out after them. Her little lips were shivering, but she had to be out there with the kids. It was SO cute to watch Anna and Brennan doing Row, Row, Row Your Ooops! side by side and Patty Cake together. Today when I was photoshopping her picture, my kids said, "She's the cutest baby!" What is it about cousins that makes us instantly love them?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Be Nice!

There are times when my kids seem relatively easy and mellow. And then there are times when they are all fighting and driving me crazy! I don't know if it's the excitement of Christmas, sugar consumption, respiratory illness going around or lack of sleep (don't get me started on that one), but the thought of everyone being home for two weeks bugging each other wears me out. This morning I woke up at 6:00 to everyone crying and fighting about whether it was morning yet. The sun wasn't up yet, so Dallin said it wasn't. But Spencer and Tyler were convinced it was morning, just really early. While I was at the grocery store Dave tied ribbons around every one's wrist to help them remember to be nice to each other. So far Spencer has complained twice that the ribbon itches and Tyler has yelled at Dallin to look at his ribbon. And Brennan, who is usually my easy one, has a cold making him cranky and flaring up his asthma. Gotta go! Brennan just whacked Dallin on the head with a walking stick, and Spencer is yelling at Brennan, and Dallin and Brennan are crying.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

White Christmas

Last night was so much fun. We went to see my little brother Ben in the play White Christmas at the acting school he attends. First we went down to my parents' house with Kristen, Nathan, Christopher and Jonathan to have dinner with grandpa, uncle Michael, and Ellen and Jason, who just flew in from London on Friday. Then we all went to the play together. We almost took up a whole row.I think Ben's the tall one standing on the far left. The show was a lot like the movie, but the singing and dancing was way more fun to watch live. The sets and costumes were great, and I especially liked the White Christmas singalong at the end with snow falling on the audience as well as the stage. It felt very festive. Then afterward we hung around to talk to Ben and have him introduce us to some of the other actors. We're all watching a lot more live theater with Ben around.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas at school

Today was the boys' last day of school before Christmas. It's been a fun week for them with lots of Christmas crafts, movies and parties. Today Spencer's class wore pajamas, watched The Polar Express while drinking hot chocolate and eating popcorn, and made candy trains. He was so excited to go to school this morning; he woke up saying, "Today will be the best day of school ever!" Tyler's class made cinnamon ornaments (which broke on the way home), ate cupcakes and watched Arthur's Christmas. Dallin's preschool class also wore "jamamas" (as he calls them), made an ornament, decorated cookies and had a visit from Santa. I'm waiting for the sugar crash. I like how the schools here are not afraid to celebrate Christmas. I read a letter from the superintendent explaining the district's approach to religious holidays. He said that they feel it is important to acknowledge and celebrate in a way that coincides with the students' beliefs, and that it is not stepping on separation of church and state because they represent different religions, such as Hanukkah. Amen!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Newsletter

Spencer turned eight this year. He loves reading (and stays up way too late reading before bed; he's almost done his 2nd Harry Potter book), the ocean, piano, cub scouts, and playing with Tyler and his cousins at recess. He and Tyler walk to and from school by themselves this year (we're 10 houses away), and I can't tell you how much this has simplified my life.
Tyler (6) is in 1st grade and has started piano lessons and reading. He has lots of energy (he never just walks anywhere) and is so good about doing his homework! He just sits down and does it all on his own. Let's just say this is a nice change from other kids we know. He loves pirates, dress ups and playing with cousins.
Dallin (4) is strong-willed! He loves preschool, baking muffins and learning letters. He says the most amazing prayers - lengthy and full of thank-you's. He likes pirates, dressing up, imagining and clothes and will only wears things he thinks are "cool."
Brennan (2) is super sweet and snugly. He loves babies, dogs and cuddly blankets. We are all adjusting well to his food allergies, and his skin and lungs are doing tons better this year. He is a great sport about it and seems to know what he can and can't eat without complaints. He just makes everyone happy.
Dave & I celebrated our 10th anniversary in Hawaii this year. We also went back East to visit Dave's family, and Dave sadly returned for his brother's funeral. Dave's working 2 days a week in family practice and 3 days a week doing pulmonology); he's taught me rock climbing and mountain biking this year. I've enjoyed photoshopping, blogging and perfecting my domestic goddess skills. We are so excited about Christmas around here we can hardly stand it.