Monday, January 08, 2018

Winter break is over

Well today is the last day of winter break - yes, our kids were still out of school as of today!  It was good when it was good and was awful when it was awful!  :)

The boys had a lot of adventures.  They were able to play at this "creek" (ditch) area and build forts with their friends for many days.  They rode their bikes all over as well - in town and in the Buzzard Gulch Mtn. Biking area.

The girls were home more.  Thus we had many "dance shows," etc.  They did manage one play-date with friends and I did take them to the pool like 4 times, I think.

But real life starts back.  I'm a little sad and a little glad.  Routines are nice, but it was also a nice break from the crazy activities of school, gymnastics, swimming, music class, etc.

Plus, I have to work tonight.  Sigh.

Why can't life be more balanced with play and work?! 

Because . . . that's life!

 Here's our December calendar . . . just posted a little late!

One of Emmy's Christmas gifts was a 3-month subscription to Kidstir.  It's a company that mails out a box that includes three recipes and a few kitchen "tools" to go along.  For December's box, Emmy got three cookie recipes and enjoyed making them.  She just got January's box - full of soup recipes.  Today she made the Oodles of Noodles soup - it was basically a homemade ramen noodle soup with carrots and tofu.  She had fun making it. . .

and eating it, too!  I tried a bite or two and it was yummy!  Her siblings all had a bowl and all enjoyed it, too.  Those are the cute chopsticks that came with Emmy's Kidstir box!

And here is one of the dance routines the girls came up with over break:

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Our Own "Winter Olympics"

So the first week of Winter Break was pretty long . . . I was missing our cool winter activities that we couldn't do because of the lack of snow and cold enough temps during the day (the nights have been plenty cold - including some single-digits).

Anyways, I started thinking that I should get a group of families and friends together and rent the Field House in town.  It just opened (it used to be the old pool) and so my family had never been and I thought it would make for a fun experience.  But . . . I didn't just want a bunch of kids running around crazy for 2 hours and so I decided to organize a "Winter Olympic" themed activity.

I wasn't sure I'd get enough families to commit (I needed 8 others so our price would be $20/family) - but it came through at the very end!  In fact, I had a group show up that I wasn't counting on and that brought it to exactly 9 families and so it was perfect.

Unfortunately, since I was in charge and running it, I didn't get any pictures myself.  My friends did send me a few from their phones, though.

We started out with a Captain's command game - just to get the kids together and moving.  Then we did the Olympic torch.  All the kids lined up and then ran half-way around the field with the torch and then passed it on.  It was fun to watch!
 Most of the kids all lined up and ready to run!  Miles started it off!

 Go, Lucy, go!  They ran around Csilla.  :)  Csilla was a great help and support for this activity and I'm glad she was there!

Emmy later told me, "It was fun to run with the torch, but also a little embarrassing."  Haha, good!

Then we named the three countries and its team members:  Finland, Sweden, and Norway!  I had made the teams up already and assigned point-values for the different ages of kids.  Thus each country had the same (or within one point) value, hopefully meaning the countries would be "even" in terms of ages and abilities.  (Which I think it was for the most part!)

Half of the fun is being with your friends - so I managed to group up many of the kids with one friend.  Here is Lucy with her friend Lila - go team Finland!  (We marked their cheeks with the first letter of their country.)

Okay, then on to our first event - Mogul skiing!  I used the 3 lines on the field for the three different countries and each team member had to jump over the line with both feet at a time (basically hoping side-to-side, but going forward . . .).  They had ski poles with them, too.  If they touched the line, 2 seconds were added to their country's over-all time.  It was a relay and so as soon as one kid finished, the next one in line went.  The kids looked awesome and funny!  :)

After moguls we did Bobsled.  We had three "bobsleds" and the teams broke up into three relay-groups and each group had to pull the bobsled down and back.  The kids enjoyed this one, too:
(Peter pulling Braden)

After bobsled, we did the biathlon.  I had brought three pairs of skis with boots on and the kids were going to have to hop in the boots/skis and "ski" down the field and then shoot using nerf guns.  But we weren't allowed to use skis on the field and so that kids just ran down the field, grabbed their nerf guns, and had 5 shots at cups.  For every cup knocked down, the team would earn a bonus point.  Miles said this was his favorite event.

Shoot, Emmy, shoot!

After the biathlon we had our slalom skiing.  We set up 10 "poles" or towers (made from lego container boxes that were about a foot high) along one line and you had to take the ski poles and weave in and out of the towers.  If you knocked down a tower, 2 seconds would be added to your finished time.  There were several close calls, but no towers were knocked down!  Jonas said this was his favorite event.

We were going to do "figure skating" next, but we were running out of time and so we nixed it.  But the kids were going to have to put wax paper on their feet (held up by a rubberband) and perform a little routine (skate forward in a circle, full turn on your right foot, skate backward in a circle, full turn on your left foot, some jumps, etc.).  Maybe next time!

So our last Olympic event was ice hockey.  I had enough hockey sticks and we used Csilla's trainer tennis ball (an extra-large tennis ball).  Two teams went first and had 5 minutes to play.  Whoever scored the most, won.  Then the losing team played the third team.  The winning team from that went and played the first winning team in the finals.  :)  It was fun and the kids played pretty decently!  This was Lucy's favorite event!

Then Csilla had worked her magic and we were allowed to use the "human bubbles" to let the kids roll around and pummel in to one another -for the last 20 minutes.  These bubbles can be rented, but you only get 10 of them for 1 hour for $200.  That's why I didn't do that . . . The older kids went first and then the youngers.  They got about 10 minutes each of play-time and they had a lot of fun for sure!
Fun - and totally funny when kids got stuck upside down and couldn't right themselves.  :)

Then it was on to the medal ceremony!  Team Finland won with 48 points!
Lucy, Lila, Kyle, Jonas, Ivan, Tyler, and Camden - all gold-winners!  I made medals for gold, silver, and bronze.  Gold got butterfingers.  I told them they had to bite them like the real Olympic gold medals.  :)

There was actually a tie (so crazy and I didn't fudge numbers to make it so!) for second - Norway and Sweden, of course (with 41 points each).  Silver medals were York patties and bronze medals were Reese's PB cups.  So the rest of the kids got either one of those.  :)

Here was the whole group - plus a few extra little kids that were hanging around and watching their siblings.  :)

Everything worked out pretty great and the kids all said they loved it.

At least we could pretend to ski and sled for a couple of hours!  :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


We finally got to enjoy a winter activity during our school Winter Break!  It's been a tough break as there has been a lack of snow and cold - thus we can't get out and do some fun, free winter activities.  Like sledding.  Skiing at Ouray's rope-tow.  Skiing at cheap Kendall Mtn.  Etc.  So last week was pretty long!

Luckily we had a good New Year's day up in Gunnison.  They have an indoor ice-rink and an outdoor pond and covered rink.  The indoor rink was closed for the holiday, but the outdoor rink and pond were open for pulic, and free, use.  We pretty much had the rinks to ourselves and got some good hockey-playing in.  It was awesome!  The kids and adults loved it!  Win-win.

 On the pond.  The covered rink is right behind the pond.

 Go, go Lucy!

 The pond was a little bumpy, but was still enjoyable.

 The outdoor covered rink was awesome!

 Lucy, like all the kids, just loved skating!

 Hockey time!

 Lunch time!

More hockey time!

End of 2017 Interviews

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Christmas Eve and Christmas day were both delights.

We started Christmas Eve by going to church . . .
 Oh they looked so nice!  I had found all these outfits at the second-hand store.  Miles' suit is just a bit small ("I can't move my arms up much.") and so it will probably be passed down to Jonas.  But they all looked beautiful and handsome.

Sacrament meeting was nice - full of music and narration.

 Lucy was just too excited about opening the kids' gifts to each other - so right after lunch they went up to open their gifts.  It was fun!

We watched Ben's favorite Christmas movie, The Christmas Carol.  Then we got dinner ready for us and the missionaries.  Swedish meatballs - oh so delicious!  I had to make a gluten-free version for one of the elders and that made it interesting, but I think it all worked out!

We did a little lesson with the elders, lit the luminarias, and said good-night to the elders.  We then had our rice-pudding - in which the one who gets the almond in his/her bowl gets their Christmas wish and to pick the Christmas-day movie.  Jonas won - much to Lucy's dismay and tears.

We surprised the kids with their Christmas eve jammies - yes, we try and do this every year but I wasn't sure it was going to happen this year.  Plus, Miles told me he and Jonas could just wear theirs from last year . . . But Emmy needed some real PJs and so we went to Target and managed to find some for 50% off (although our choices and sizes were limited and thus Miles's shorts are sized XL, haha).
There were all surprised to get some jammies and were super excited about them - the girls loved their long nightgowns!

The kids all slept in the boys' room and who knows what they did . . . but they were eventually asleep by 9:30, I think!

At 6:30, the designated "okay time to get up mom and dad," the kids came in to our room and said, "1, 2, 3, Merry Christmas!"  So we got up and the kids ran downstairs to check out what Santa had brought them . . .

 Running down the stairs - all in a blur except for Jonas!

 The girls got gigantic teddy-bears from Santa - and love them so much!  I love this picture - Lucy checking out her stocking loot and Emmy gazing at her teddy-bear.  :)

 Miles liked his gifts from Santa, too - a point-and-shoot camera, plus a stocking full of "stuff."

 The girls wrestling with their bears!

Santa didn't forget Brigham!  Brigham loved his rawhide bone!

The rest of the day the kids just played with their new toys!  Ben and I got out and did some exercising - me running with Brigham and Ben going for a bike-ride.  The kids were busy playing with their Legos (the boys) and barbies (the girls).

The kids all got neat gifts!  Miles - a camera, a Cafe lego set to go with his other awesome buildings (like the movie theater), string art crafting kit, subscription to National Geographic, etc.  Jonas - a YI lite camera (a more budget-friendly Go-Pro), the millenium falcom lego set, the Underland book series, juggling sticks, bike accessories (odometer, pump), etc.  Emmy - rubber-band set, gymnastics series books, a 3-month subscription to Kidstir (recipes and kitchen tools sent in the the mail), Magic 8 ball, and an Instax Mini camera (a small and adorable polaroid camera - so cute and she loves it!).  Lucy - a craft kit, Bearenstein bear books (her favorite!), an adorable fill-in-the-blank journal, Barbies (including some cool gymnastics barbies), etc.  Fun, fun.

 The girls playing barbies . . .

 The boys working on their legos . . .

 Lucy and Ben reading their new books on Smokey and Charlie.  :)

 Lucy stitching and Emmy making rubber-band necklaces . . . on Smokey and Charlie.  :)

Jonas figuring out the juggling sticks.  I think they are pretty fun, too!

We had a good dinner of cornish hens, leftover Christmas jello, rolls, carrots and potatoes.

Jonas chose the movie The Night at the Museum:  Battle of the Smithsonian.  It's hilarious.

What a fun and magical day!  We are blessed and grateful for all that we have - but especially for our family and our faith!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Pre-Christmas happenings

Here are a few things that have happened in the past few days:

 Lucy's 1st-grade class did a little "Reader's theater" presentation.  Lucy was "Natasha" from Russia.  We even had this real Russian hat from my Grandpa Ford (or something like that . . . ).  Lucy did great.  :)  She wanted me to record it so Ben could see, so here it is:

After the presentation there was an awards assembly for the second-quarter.  Lucy received the "Acts Responsible" award.  That falls under a "SAILS" award (since the school's mascot is navigators).  None of my kids have ever gotten a SAILS award (as opposed to a reading, writing, etc. award - which they have all gotten) so it was kind of awesome.  Go Lucy.

This past Friday, Ben and I went to a doctor's Christmas singing program at the Methodist church right down the street from us.  It was Dr. Rhonda Parker, one of the orthopedic doctors that Ben works with.  It was a nice performance and lasted 1 1/2 hours long!  We let the children stay home (we had thought about bringing them. . . if we would have, they would have been practically the only kids there!).  So while we were gone, they watched some Christmas movie classics - like Santa Claus is Coming to Town, etc.

Then they got to sleep under the tree.  Apparently they usually do it on Christmas Eve-eve, but this year we did it on Christmas-Eve-eve-eve as Jonas was going to be babysitting on Christmas Eve-eve (although that got postponed until next week . . . oh well!).
 Haha, Brigham is always where we are!  :)

 Minus Brigham and a brushing-his-teeth Miles.

Ben and I had to do a late-night run to Target (if you wait long enough to get Christmas PJs, they become 50% off!).  We got back at 10pm and found this:
All sleeping tight!

The kids have gotten gifts for each other and wrapped them and put them under a fake tree upstairs:
Some are bought gifts (like the Pokemans from Miles or the candy from Emmy), but most are not - as far as I know!  I don't know what most of those gifts are.  Although I do know there is at least one rock in there from Lucy because that's what her allowance of $0 affords her to give.  There are some hand-me-down clothes from Emmy to Lucy, and who knows what else!  The kids will open these gifts on Christmas Eve.

Which is fast approaching!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Ben's 42!

Well another Gingerbread day has come and gone - and with that day, we also celebrated Ben's birthday.  :)

As soon as Ben got home from work, the festivities began:  opening his few gifts and cards, decorating gingerbread houses, eating his special dinner of homemade French Onion soup with Gruyere cheese bread, watching a movie, and eating Maple Orange Walnut pie.  Fun times!

 Miles, the Master of decorating his "yard" space.

 Jonas, the Master of being the quickest.

 Emmy, the Master of not-liking hers and doing re-dos.

 Lucy, the Master of gummy bears.

 Our gingerbread neighborhood!

 Lucy liked to "play" with her house - and then wondered why some of her pieces kept falling . . .

Ahhh, there's the birthday boy - growing older and more handsome every year!  (P.S.  If you look closely at this picture you can find our elf, Eljin!)

Happy birthday Ben!  We love you!