Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell to 2012. . .

(I always post our Christmas card and letter on the last day of the year.  It's a good round-up of the year, I think.)

Ben’s biggest news is that he was called as a Bishop of the newly formed ward in our area.  He was sustained on the first Sunday of November, so everything is still relatively new.  He’s doing great, has wonderful counselors, and could market a new weight-loss plan!  He designed, engineered, and built a backyard ice-rink – complete with walls, a roof, and goals.  Now all we need is for this 60-degree weather to drop about 30 degrees and we’ll be skating to our hearts’ content.  Ben went on a 5-day backpacking trip with the youth in our ward over the summer.  They survived all the lightning storms, hail storms, and long nights that were part of the adventure.

I continue to Exercise each morning.  I completed another ½ marathon in the summer – my last, as I always say. . .I also love to hula-hoop and jump-rope!  I continue to deal with melt-downs on an every-day basis.  Yes, from my kids as well as myself!  I try and be involved with my kids’ school by attending the PAC (formerly PTA?) meetings, volunteering in my boys’ classrooms a couple times a month, and being a coach for the schools’ Girls on the Run program.  I still love chocolate and frozen yogurt.

Miles is definitely a boy filled with Many questions.  He’s been this way since he was 2.  During the first week of school Miles’ teacher remarked to me about Miles’ intelligence and said something like, “He asked me this question and I just couldn’t answer it at all.”  Miles is fascinated by the little things.  Tiny rocks.  Tiny plants.  The microscopic world.  We went to Yellowstone this past summer and, while he was impressed with Old Faithful, Miles was much more interested in the little geyser in front of Old Faithful.  expecto Patronus!  (Harry Potter terminology)  Miles started reading the Harry Potter series this school year and is currently on the 5th book; he even dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween.  Split Cone was the name of the little geyser in front of Old Faithful; Miles asked a ranger about it.

Jonas might have a career in Journalism as he has written many “books” in his 1st-grade class.  Books about so-and-so (classmates, sometimes including himself) getting married and having babies.  Supposedly they are huge hits in the classroom.  Of all my children Jonas has got to be the best at obedience.  Not that he listens all the time, but he does obey waaaay better than all his siblings. There is never a day that Jonas doesn’t want to have a friend over to play.  His easy-going personality makes him a good and fun friend.  Jonas is an a+ student at school and truly excels in reading and math.  He has recently begun a fascination with star Wars and so we, as a family, watched episodes IV, V, and VI.  Fun times!  It was only fitting for Jonas to be Luke Skywalker for Halloween.

Emmy is an Excellent big-sister.  Not perfect, but definitely excellent.  She invites Lucy to play with her a lot and they spend many hours a day playing together– anything from princesses, to gymnastics, to Star Wars.  Emmy is my 3rd child to “enroll” in our mommy ‘n me school.  A couple times a week we do reading, counting, cutting, etc.  She is also lucky enough to be involved with a “homeschool preschool” group as I call it.  There are 3 other sweet girls and each of us moms takes one week of the month (twice a week) and hosts it at our house.  Every day I am asked, “Is it preschool today?!”  Her room is 99% of the time one huge mess.  It’s incredible.  Five-minutes after cleaning it all up, it’s a mess all over again.  I wish I wouldn’t care as much as I do. . .  young love: this year Emmy had what I will call her first crush - Luke Skywalker.  Yes, it included such things as dreamy eyes and swooning. 

Lucy loves Lollipops (tongue twister?).  When Emmy is away at preschool Lucy gets to/has to join me for a run.  She totally looks forward to the runs because I give her a lollipop (it’s a nasty habit I started after Halloween. . .).  Lucy has an uncanny ability of speech.  Not only can she say a million words, she knows exactly what they all mean.  Lucy is crazy:  crazy cute, crazy silly, crazy awesome, crazy talker, crazy fun, and crazy bossy!  Despite Lucy’s status of “youngest” she does not let that get in her way.  She very much directs and orders all of us around.  When Lucy and Emmy play “house,” Lucy is the mom and Emmy the baby – much to Emmy’s disappointment.  Lucy is not afraid to speak - or yell - her mind and she does not back down easily – if at all.

Life is not perfect, but life is definitely good.   We love and miss our friends and family that live far away!  Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friday Night Hockey Game

We had fun playing on Friday night.  The girls lasted for a bit, but then went back in the house.  So then the game was on:  Jonas & mom versus Miles & dad.  It was a close game.  But, in the end, Jonas scored the winning point for our team.  Yay!  :)  I then went in and put the girls to bed, while Ben and the boys probably stayed out for another 45 minutes.  So cool.

We're definitely having fun on the ice.  It's been used every day - well, not today (Sunday).  Thursday evening we had a few Young Men from the ward over - plus the YM president and one of Ben's counselor (who has some darn good skills!).  On Saturday Jonas had his friend Jake over - and Jake brought his big sister Elizabeth over.  The kids spent a lot of time on the ice - it was Jake's second time on the rink and Elizabeth's first - it was also their first times skating!  So cool.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


I created a monster here.  A video-making Miles-monster.  But I think it's a pretty cool thing, actually.  The whole thing started when Miles showed me a bunch of pictures he had taken of his *favorite* Christmas present - some small car thingy that changes into another car thingy.  It's from Japan - my parents.  Anyways he showed me all the pictures he took of every transformation and I said, "Oh, we could make this in to a fun movie!"  So we did.  And he made more.  And more.  And more.  (Jonas has done a few and maybe another day I'll post some of his.  So here are some of my favs:

Here's where it all started. . .

Then he produced this one - he created it all and took every single picture on his own (around 100).  I wasn't even in the room.  Pretty cool.  He calls it Car Crash.

Simple.  Fun.  Rush Hour (the game)

Okay, this was my goofy idea. . . Miles falling

Miles' first "claymation" one:

Love this one.  I helped with the idea.  He put it together.  Melting snowman:

I'll post one of Jonas' videos now.  His are a little more shaky and less choreographed, but still fun.  We worked on this one together.  Star Wars

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas morning

 Don't let this picture make you think that Emmy was surprised by what she saw - because this picture was taken at 6:30am and at around 2:30 am she had gone down and peeked at everything.  We had to go and talk to Miles (who had been up for who knows how long and who knows how long he stayed up for afterwards. . . ) and Emmy because Miles was emphatically telling her, "No, Emmy!  We can't go downstairs!"  But she already had. . . but she was still excited about the dolls at 6:30.  :)

 Jonas got a pretty cool Star Wars coloring book from Santa (matches his PJs).

 Oh yes, Lucy loved (loves) her doll.

 In fact, both girls love their dolls.  Such pretties - sisters and dolls and all.

 The boys got a mini-lego set from Santa and Jonas wasted no time in working on it.

 Santa brought the boys cameras.  Cool.

 Pretty parasols from Grandma and Grandpa in Japan.

 Ohlala.  Cute girls in their fancy tutus and tiaras made by Aunt-E.

 A light-saber!

 Lucy also got this puppy.  Both puppy and doll were her sleeping buddies last night.  So sweet.

 Miles really loves his Rush Hour game.  He's gotten past the "beginner" level.

And Lucy's sleeping.  She was determined to get a doll and sleeping bag for Christmas.  Lucky Lucy.  She adores the sleeping bag and just looks too cute in it.  The sleeping came with a little duffle bag/backpack that she adores, too.  And a tent.  And a flashlight.  Soooo lucky Lucy.

It was a fun day and the kids loved all their gifts.  They got lots of other neat gifts.  The all (except) Lucy got a lego set:  Miles got Hagrid's Hut from Harry Potter, Jonas got an X-wing from Star Wars, and Emmy got a Lego Friends set - an RV with a grill, picnic table, 2 girls, bikes, etc.  She loves it and has played a lot with it.

Anyways, we ended the evening (after eating jell-o and bread for dinner as our chicken wasn't done, nor the veggies. . .) out on the ice rink.  All 6 of us.  It was so fun!  We played a little 2-on-2 hockey game - me and Jonas v. Ben and Miles.  We were playing to 5, but had to stop at 3-3 (how convenient) after Miles fell on his elbow and was kind of done.  It was late, anyways. . . but Jonas and I have challenged the other team to another game. . . Soon, hopefully we'll play again.  The girls were cute and just did their own thing, occasionally getting hit (softly) by a passing puck (usually by their mother).

I hope everyone else had a Merry Christmas, too.

Opening Day

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Day and Eve

Well Ben flooded the rink one week ago and today we felt was the perfect day for its Grand Opening.  It was perfect!  Jonas was out there by about 7:45.  All in all, the kids spent a few hours on it today.  It is a lot of fun!

 Go, go, Jonas!

 I love this.

 The happy skating gang.

 She's already better than she was last year.

 Such a cutie!  Although she's very aware and not-super happy that she does not have skates like everybody else.

So that was how our morning and afternoon was spent - with some things intermingled in as well.  Tonight  was spent getting our Little House on the Prairie dinner ready.  This is our 2nd year doing this theme - and since last year's was pretty horrible tasting, I knew it wouldn't be worse!  And it was actually good - at least some of it.  Here was our menu:  oyster soup (nobody else like but Ben), rabbit and dumplings (the rabbit was actually very, very good and the dumplings were great too - "the best I've ever had," said Ben), and creamed carrots (the only hit from last year and so I wanted them again; a hit again).
 Our cute kids eating their fare.

 After we had cleaned up, Lucy found a rabbit-leg and ate it up.  What a funny gal.

Then it was time for the siblings to exchange their "handmade" gifts to the person's name they had picked:
Lucy - Emmy had gotten her and with Ben's help they made some fun bath toys (PVC and suction cups - pour water in them, etc.).  Miles - Jonas had picked his name and so we made him some paper animals:  a whale and a swallow-tail bird.  Emmy - Miles had gotten her and made her a fairy wand and fairy dust (sugar, powdered sugar, and cinnamon).  Jonas - Lucy had him and so we printed up a picture and decorated a frame.  Lucy made the hearts with her fingerprints.  Jonas was so sweet and kept telling her thank you.  All the kids were excited about giving and getting.

Then it was time for new PJs.  I didn't make them. . . maybe every other year I will.

 This pretty much sums up how Monas Jonas was for most of the evening.  Sweet Emmy was trying to put her arm around him and he was so mad about it.

After about 1/2 a dozen shots I finally said, "Nobody will leave until everyone smiles."
It worked, for the most part (Lucy was making a face back at her dad :).

Happy Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sleeping under Mr. Willowby

The three oldest kids got to sleep under Mr. Willowby on Friday night.  Ben and I didn't.  We had a lot to do and by the time we were done, the kids were fast asleep - so we figured it didn't matter to them if we slept there or not.  Truthfully, I had never planned to sleep on the floor - the couch, perhaps . . .  They had fun though under the magical glow of lights.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ben's Birthday - or rather Birthnight - or rather Bornnight

So Ben's birthday, of course seeing as it was on a Thursday, was spent at work.  Right up until dinnertime.  (He's had another week of having 40-hours, give or take, by Thursday evening.  Blah.)  But when he called and said he was heading home, I told the kids and about 10 minutes later we went out on the porch to watch him ride up.

 Don't ask what they were wearing.  But it was freezing (maybe in the teens at this point - warmer than our -2 this morning).

 The boys were the "look-outs."  Although I'm pretty sure I was the one who shouted, "There he is!  He's coming!"  I get excited, too, when he comes home!

 Yes, it is now a tradition - 2 years running.  Decorating Ben's bike.  I took all the kids after school and we got some balloons.  We then went to his work and tied them on.  Luckily for Ben it was pretty cold in the shade and so balloons were all we did . . .

 I had my flash, but I guess the snow confused it or something since none of my pictures really worked out.  Oh well.  He's a good sport.

After dinner - his choice:  Bean and Ham and More Soup (which he loved) - we had cake.  Or Apple Pudding Pie.  Or Apple Custard Pie.  I can't remember what it was called.  It was pretty much delicious.  Make a wish . . .

Then, well after a few phone calls (the visiting kind, not the bishopric kind. . .:), we started decorating our gingerbread houses.  This was Lucy's first year and she was really good and pretty serious about it all.  I would put some frosting on and then she would place the candies.  She did great.
 Hard and studiously at work.

 All done - what cuties:  Lucy and her 1st gingerbread house!

 Emmy did pretty great, too.  She had an idea, then would ask me to squirt out the frosting, then would go at it.  I love her's since she "designed" it all by herself.

 Miles, miles, miles.  At first his house irked me.  Probably because I am a bad mom and all I could see was Miles' hoarding/greediness tendencies.  But, ya know, Miles is extremely creative and festive and so I need to focus more on that.  :)  We'll dedicate his house to Grandma Dee and Diana (both love gum drops . . .).  Nice work Miles!

 And Jonas.  I think those are marshmallow missile-launchers on the side.  Awesome.  He's cute and had fun, too.  Thataboy.

 Here they all are - L-R, oldest to youngest.  And we finally have a decent place to display them!  We usually have our nativity set here but were able to put it elsewhere this year.  So I was happy tonight when I realized we'd be able to showcase them here.  :)

Not only do I love this handsome man a lot, so do all the kiddos surrounding him.  We are lucky people to have him.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Birthday

Technically it should be "Happy Bornday."  To his lovely mother, we should tell her, "Happy Birthday."  That's how Ben and I feel about it.  :)

Anyways, I really love this man.  A lot.

Happy Day, Ben!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Santa Claus Came to Town!

We have this super sweet set-up for Santa in our town.  It's a cute little cabin that is all homey and nice inside.  It even comes with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  You can't beat that!
 Lucy's first picture with Santa!  Yes, she got a little nervous, but Mrs. Claus told her to sit on her and so I plopped her down and she was okay.  When asked what she wanted, she told Santa, "A sleeping bag and a dolly."  Santa knew exactly what she had said and was quite impressed.  :)

The whole gang.  So super cute.  I love it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Jonas' 7th Birthday

We "lucked" out and were able to have Ben home on Friday morning for Jonas' birthday (he had already put in 43 hours by Thursday night).  I don't have a "classic" picture of birthday kid walking through his/her crepe paper door because Lucy or Emmy or someone ripped it down "accidentally" before I had the chance.  And by the time it was put back up, I had forgotten to get the picture.  Oh well.

 Here is Jonas opening his one present in the morning - a very cool Star Wars Yoda watch.  Yay!  He loved it.

 Jonas sitting in his birthday chair with his special birthday cereal.  Yum.

 Jonas showing off his new watch and the cool star wars snowflakes on the widow.  Cool, huh?

 Here are the girls "helping" me make the cake.

 The boys can earn a coupon for a free personal pan pizza for every month that they read every day.  Both boys had gotten their 2nd coupon and we decided to go out on Jonas' birthday.  It was fun - though Jonas gulped down his root beer (his "special treat") so fast that he was freezing for the rest of the time.  He also chomped down his pizza pretty quickly and then he felt sick.  Ha.  He ended up having a good day at school - it was the December birthdays celebration in his class that day and so that was extra fun.  He had asked me to make some carrot/spinach puree brownies (since the school requires only "healthy" snacks - blah) from a cookbook he had looked through.  As soon as he walked through the door from school he declared, "No one liked your brownies mom!"  Hahahaha.  No duh.

We then opened presents.  He got a lot of fun and great things and spent a lot of time with a bunch of his toys.  He really liked the big Star Wars lego set he got and spent most of his time working on that.  We had dinner and then started watching Spy Kids.  Half-way through we had an intermission and had cake.  Too bad Jonas didn't feel like eating it then - perhaps it was the huge chunk of "sugar bread" (as Jonas called it and was given to him by an "older" friend) and spaghetti and meatballs he ate for dinner. . . (He did eat his piece of cake before bed.).
His cake was the Millenium Falcon, from Star Wars of course.  Awesome.

After cake we finished the movie and then the boys played for a bit and then slept downstairs in the playroom in their sleeping bags.  A fun night and a fun way to end a special day for a special boy.