Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The Christmas season is in full swing around here. We decorated our tree a couple weeks ago on a Saturday morning.

Spencer is sporting his old "Ho Ho" hat. He got it when he was 18 months old, and he was quite attached to it. It was like his security blanket, and he wore it for about 6 months straight. We still laugh about his "Ho Ho!"

It's so fun to see Levi enjoy everything this year like it's all new, because of course he doesn't remember last year. He keeps asking why we're doing everything.

The holidays can be exhausting!

It was Dallin's turn to put the star on the tree this year. 

We always have to look back at old blogs to know whose turn it is. 

I thought for sure that the tree would be an issue for Chloe this year (since my other kids were all very mobile at this age), but so far she barely notices it. She certainly doesn't try to pull ornaments off, so that's nice.

I liked this picture so much when I took it that I immediately printed it out and framed it. I had a Christmas frame that had been empty for several years, and now it has this adorable picture in it.

While Dave was setting up the tree and I was busy sorting garland and lights, Spencer set up ALL our nativity sets on the piano and all our other decorations on the bookcase. I was very impressed - he did it just how I usually do it. I love having big kids.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday Brennan!

Brennan turned 6 two weeks ago. Every time I make him a birthday cake, I am so thankful I get to make a real cake and not an icky gluten/dairy/egg-free cake. This one was half strawberry and half chocolate - it was super yummy. I especially like the magnifying glass. 

For his school treats he asked me to make chocolate marshmallow brownies. I've made these a few times, and they're really good. You make brownies, and about 4 minutes before they're done, you take them out of the oven and cover them with mini marshmallows. Then you put them back in the oven until they're done and the marshmallows are all melted together. When they've cooled completely, you smother them with chocolate frosting.

They were a big hit!

He's wearing his favorite present: a leather jacket. He's wanted one for a long time, but I assumed it would be way too expensive. Then I actually found one (fake leather, but it looks really cool) at Kohls a few months ago, and it was $68! So I watched and waited for it to go on sale. On black Friday I went there with 30% off and $10 off coupons. The jacket was already 60% off that day, so I ended up paying about $15! He loves it and wears it all the time.

He didn't have a friend party, since he had one last year. But we had my family over for cake and presents. His cousins gave him a remote control stunt car, and they all love playing with it. It's the best one we've had. 

When Brennan started school he became much more sensitive about his eye tattoo (given to him by a pencil when he was 15 months old). So we recently took him to an ophthalmology plastic surgeon, and we found out it's a simple office procedure to have it removed; however because of his age, he would need general anesthesia. We've decided to wait until he's old enough to have it done with just local anesthesia - about 12 years old.

Another fun gift we got him was Shrinky Dinks, which you can kinda see in the background. I used to love those when I was little, and he's really enjoying them. He's a huge craft person, and he loves watching them shrink.

One of the biggest challenges of my life right now is the relationship between Brennan and Levi. They fight constantly - way more than any of my other kids ever have. It's either from their personality differences or their 3-year age difference (I'm guessing?), but whatever the reason, I am at my whit's end. I've read Siblings Without Rivalry, and it's helped some, but it's just exhausting. I'm pretty sure they love each other because they always want to wake the other one up to "play." So the rare moment when they are happily playing together just makes me want to shout for joy. Here they are playing in a big box from Amazon before school. I'm hoping they can become better friends this year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A (mostly) happy Thanksgiving

I helped out with Brennan's Thanksgiving feast on the last day of school before break. They had huge chicken tenders, corn muffins with butter they made earlier in the day, baby carrots and cookies. I was so happy to see that Brennan was happy and silly and acting himself. His teacher told me that he retold a book (The Paper Bag Princess) in front of both kindergarten classes, and his teachers were amazed. Not only did he remember every single detail, including some lines that were word-for-word, but he was animated and excited and reminded them of his big actor brothers. I think he's finally adjusting to kindergarten!

Why is Levi always in his underwear? Too much trouble to put pants on after going potty, I guess.

The kids were off school for a whole week (furlough days), but the bummer was that they were ALL sick with high fevers and headaches and body aches for the first half of the week. We didn't get to go anywhere or do anything fun. They just lounged around watching T.V. We had a medicine schedule on the fridge to keep us on track, and the boys really got into taking their temperatures. Seriously, Dallin took it every 10 minutes and was amazed to see it come down so quickly after taking Motrin. It's a good thing we didn't travel over the holiday, because that would have been miserable.


My cherry pie was so beautiful I had to take pictures. 

Everyone was pretty much healthy by Thanksgiving, so we were able to get together with family after all.
 We ate around noon-ish so my dad could be there before heading off to work. 

On Friday we asked the kids if they wanted to go to the beach or go on a family bike ride, and they all chose  the bikes. Our town recently extended a nearby bike path all the way to the Salinas Riverbed, and it was a lot of fun. Our neighbor took this picture when we got back - I guess we were quite a site.

This was Chloe's first bike ride - she liked it!

Saturday was another low-key day. We worked on projects around the house, and Dave helped Brennan learn to ride a bike. He's not quite there yet. 

It rained almost the whole week after Thanksgiving. I love this picture of Levi jumping in the puddles!

Friday, November 30, 2012

9 months

Chloe is 9 months old! I've had a heck of a time with this blog because I ran out of storage space for my pictures on Picasa (apparently that's where blogger stores them), and I actually broke down and bought more. I kept deleting old pictures from my blog, but it never made enough difference. Anyway, I just had to post these pictures. They make me so happy.

Chloe has finally figured out that she likes food. I need to find where I put my baby food grinder. It's around here somewhere.

Eating daddy's beef stew - yum!

I love this face she makes!

 Look how much hair she's getting! It doesn't all stick straight up anymore, so that's nice.

She's getting better at just sitting on the floor and playing with toys. She even likes it more than her swing. Now we need to try hard to keep the floor picked up. Not an easy task.

We keep remembering that we have old toys in the basement that she can play with. She likes this one!

I've decided this is one of my new favorite colors. It looks especially cute on Chloe.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

San Marcos Ranch

Remember how I said that we had so much fun on Levi's field trip that we went back with the whole family the following Saturday and spent almost three hours there? Well here's a blog about that. We have so many in our family (some people think that 8 is a lot) that they gave us the school group rate. We paid $6/person (of course Chloe was free) and got to do everything. My favorite was the corn maze.

It wasn't JUST a corn maze. We had a map with a bunch of stations to find. At each station was a cool cardboard cut-out and a letter. We wrote down the letters to solve a puzzle. Afterwards everyone got a prize for figuring it out. How clever is that?

Everyone wanted their picture taken in front of a character.

The answer: Gobble Gobble means eat beef! Apparently they change it often. It was lots of fun, and we just might have to make this an annual tradition!

Then Dave took the big boys to this scary underground mine. They said they liked it, but it seemed really short. So if you're going to do just one thing, choose the maze.

Meanwhile I took Brennan and Levi down to ride the cars, which was only for kids under 6. They LOVED it.

Apparently the Saturday after Halloween is the perfect time to go there because we practically had the place to ourselves. They said that all the weekends in October were packed with long lines for everything.

There was a sign that they could only go around the track twice, but since no one else was there, they got to go around as much as they wanted.

There were lots of places to take pictures. 

It was such a beautiful fall day, and everyone wandered around and had fun. They also found their hidden skeleton named George and got another prize.

Spencer got a hold of my camera and had a blast. I'll end with a few of his pictures. This is a row of wagons.