Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas morning

Merry Christmas everyone! I finally got around to organizing our pictures. Here are my favorites:

Castle and knights for Tyler.

Dallin asked Santa for a cookbook. That was an easy one.

More dress-ups for Brennan. These early morning pictures are hard because it's so dark. But this picture has an old-fashioned quality to it that I kinda like.

Now he has cowboy and Indian dress-ups - he got this one for his birthday.

The main thing Spencer wanted was a Nerf gun.

We like to dress up around here.
I've always loved keyboards, so when Dallin asked for one I was excited to get it for him.

Caps guns! Yes, they're loud, but the boys all love them. And I love the smell.

I can never have too many cookbooks.
Dave was so happy his mom was able to find a game he played as a kid. They don't make it anymore, but she found one online.

Levi slept through most of the morning, but he did wake up enough to enjoy this gift.

I love my new skillet! It's huge, and I can cook 12 pancakes or 9 pieces of french toast at once. It sure came in handy this week as we hosted my sister's family of 7.

The big gift for the kids this year was the Wii (or was it for Dave?!). We got Mario Cart and Super Mario Brothers, and I especially like watching Dallin play his cooking game.
Dave's big gift of the year. He had no idea he was getting it, which is amazing since Brennan was with me when I picked it up from REI a couple weeks ago. He's not known for keeping secrets. It was rainy and cold last weekend, so we haven't had a chance to take it out. Hopefully we can go Friday.

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas play

Last week the kids had their performing arts club play at school.

Spencer wasn't going to be in the play; the rehearsals were on the same day as cub scouts and roller hocker, making for a crazy day. But the director really wanted him in it, so she offered him a small part as the cop so that he wouldn't have to be at all the rehearsals. She called it his cameo appearance.
Dallin really got into it. He even added a few lines, which made me a tad nervous.
This can't hurt their self-confidence.
They have so much fun performing! They take after their uncle Ben, the actor, who was even able to come up with mom to see them.

Gingerbread Houses

We decorated our gingerbread house for family home evening last week. We did a kit again this year.
The kit came with a piece of cardboard to put it on instead of the handy plastic tray with grooves, and the icing didn't seem as stiff as usual.
Then we put it up on the mantle. Doesn't it look pretty? But then about 5 minutes later we heard a loud crash!

Oops. I guess we should have held it together for a little longer. Or used a tray with grooves and stiffer icing.

So they started eating it.
Tyler got to make this cute graham cracker house in school last week. The kids ate it up pretty quick.
Then last night we went caroling and dropped off plates of cookies (that I made all day Saturday) to neighbors and families we home/visit teach. At our last stop they were having a huge family gathering and invited us in to make gingerbread houses and do crafts with them. We'll see if these ones will last 'till Christmas.

Hockey Champs

Last week was the roller hockey finals. It was the most exciting game they've had all season. They were down the entire game, but then they came up to tie it at the very end. So they went into overtime and won!

Lining up to shake hands.
Then they took off their helmets and did some victory laps around the rink while they blasted "We are the Champions." First Spencer's team, then the other team joined them, and then all the little kids went out there and ran around.

Here's his team, the Heat. Afterwards all three teams had a big pizza party with cake and soda. My kids were in heaven.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas newsletter

Well we survived another family photo session. No wonder we don't do this more than every other year. Of course there was the stress of getting everyone ready (we had just gotten back from the beach, so that added to the craziness). And when we started out Levi was screaming, so we had to take a break so I could feed him. Then Dallin kept putting his hands in the air (he likes action shots), and Brennan kept looking away. It's hard to smile and look genuinely happy when you are busy yelling at your kids to look at the camera and smile. Out of 400 shots we ended up with about 2 family pictures that worked. Here's the runner up, which didn't make the Christmas card cut because Dallin wasn't smiling. But I love the background because it shows where we live. We don't drink wine, but I think the rolling vineyards around here are just gorgeous. A huge thank-you to Aaron Sessions for doing such a great job with the pictures! You were very patient.

Now on to our "newsletter." This year was an eventful one as we welcomed our 5th boy, Levi Parker, into our family on October 2nd. He was 20" long and weighed 8 lb 12 oz (our heaviest baby yet, born one week early). He looks a lot like his brothers, especially Dallin, and we all love him to pieces.

Brennan is turning out to be much more strong-willed at 3 than he was at 2. I'm thinking the adjustment to having a little brother may have something to do with that, although he does adore Levi. The great thing about Brennan this year is that he has already grown out of most of his food allergies - he can now eat wheat as well as milk and eggs, if they are cooked. He's even had pizza and birthday cake! What a huge blessing. He enjoys dressing up and being a "bad guy!"
Dallin (5) loved preschool; now he is loving Kindergarten, as we knew he would. He cracks me up with the funny things he says (most recently, he asked me if I do laundry every day. I said no, more like every other day. He responded, "So you do an AB pattern of doing laundry?" I love getting a glipse into his mind. He decided to start learning the piano just so he can play on the computer, and he still plans on being a chef when he grows up.
Tyler (7) is still one of the sweetest kids ever. The other boys don't always get along with each other, but everyone plays great with Tyler all the time. He loves math and reading, and he has started reading chapter books. He once told me, "When I'm reading, it's like I'm there!" He is doing well on the piano, has started boogie boarding, enjoys the performing arts club and has a lot of fun writing stories and doing elaborate set-ups.
Spencer (9) seems significantly older than the other kids all of a sudden. He stays up late reading every night, knows his way around the computer better than some adults I know, and has started playing roller hockey. He still enjoys the piano, performing arts club and cub scouts. His absolute favorite thing he's done this year is snorkling in San Diego.

Dave continues to split his time between pulmonology and family practice, which is working out great. I especially like that he is working closer to home, and we are even able to go on weekly lunch dates (in addition to our weekly Friday night dates - what can I say, I like to go out). He plays racquetball with my brother-in-law Nathan every morning at 5:30, takes the boys on dates and camping trips, and serves on the stake high council over the youth and seminary. I'm so grateful for all he does, and I love that he supports me in wanting lots of kids. We're busy, but we sure have fun raising these boys together.

We didn't do much for the first few months of the year, since I felt lousy with morning sickness. In June we went to Utah for a family reunion at Aspen Grove. On the way we stopped at the Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon. I've always wanted to go to those places, and it was all so beautiful. In July we went to Sea World in San Diego. Then of course Levi was born in October, so that's pretty much kept us busy since then. I spend my free time photoshopping pictures and blogging, so drop by here anytime to see what we've been up to. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Decorating the tree

We decorated the tree Saturday. We tried to do it first thing in the morning, but we realized there were too many burned out colored lights and fuses and Dave had to run to the store to buy more. By the time he got back it was time to take Dallin to a birthday party. Then Dave left to play paintball with some guys from church (his first time, and he loved it). By the time he got back the kids were really itching to get going, and we had just enough time to get it done before Dave and I left for a Christmas party that night.
We'll see if Brennan can keep his hands off the ornaments this year. Last year was tough - there were several broken glass balls by the end of the season.

Levi reminds me so much of baby Spencer in this picture. I think it's the head shape that does it. This is a 3-6 mos outfit I just got out of storage, and the shirt barely fits, dang it.

Brennan's turn to put the star on this year.

"That star is crooked!" How can you not quote that movie a million times over the holidays?

The great thing is that I don't have to do anything. I just let the kids do it all while I take pictures. Someone once told me that his mom used to rearrange all the ornaments after they'd worked so hard to decorate the tree, and it made him feel bad; I've decided not to do that. Plus I find that I really don't care that much how it looks.
I did suggest they put the bigger ornaments towards the bottom and the smaller ones towards the top and not put too many on one branch. They did an awesome job.

I love watching how excited they get about all the ornaments - recalling where each one came from, who made what and lots of "I remember this one!" and "I love this one!"
Tyler lost one front tooth Friday night, and his mouth just looked so funny with the other one hanging on by a thread there in the middle.

So thank goodness the other one came out during church today. What great timing - now he can sing All I Want For Christmas is my Two Front Teeth.