Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013!

Maxwells 2013 Highlights:
Jan. – men’s and family hockey nights in our backyard ice rink
Feb. – Miles’ 1st pinewood derby race; cup-stacking tournament
March – Grandma Dixie and Gr. G. came out for Miles’ 9th birthday
April – Spring break in California; kids loved the beach
May – school ended; Emily ran the Black Canyon Ascent
June – camped, Dance Camp for Emmy, boys got gerbils
July – Ben and Emily went on a Pioneer Trek while Grandma Diana and Gr. Max watched the kids
Aug. – swam on Lucy’s 3rd birthday, Emmy turned 6, kids started school – kindergarten (Emmy), 2nd (Jonas) and 4th (Miles)
Sept. – Emily and Lucy went to Alaska for Emily’s brother’s wedding
Oct. – harvested our garden, took an Oompa Loompa, Jack Sparrow, and 2 mermaids trick-or-treating
Nov. – survived a year with Ben as bishop, saw Ben’s sister Debbie
Dec. – Jonas turned 8, was baptized, and had a Harry Potter party

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hockey Night

It was a little late planning for a hockey night, but luckily it came through!  Thanks to the fact that we have 3 elder missionaries serving in our ward and that they were able to come since they brought along one of their investigators, Jeff.  That made it for 3-on-3 - which is perfect!  Ben said they had fun and it surely sounded like that, too.  :)

From left-to-right, back-to-front:  Elder Merrill, Elder Jacobson, Jeron, Jeff, Elder I-don't-know, and Ben.

Little Pilots

The day after Christmas, when Ben got home from work, we took the kids to the church so that the boys could fly their helicopters in the big gym.  They had a blast:

Miles' first time flying in the gym.  Um, yeah, he was a bit excited.  :)

One more of Miles:

Jonas loved it, too, of course!

Jonas is always proud of his flying:  :)

Okay, and just one more because it is super cute of the boys just staring up at the helicopter . . .

Okay, I lied.  Not my last video, but the last one of the boys.  The girls had fun just playing on the stage.  This is not the most entertaining of their "shows" but I ran out of space on my camera and so these will have to work:

That silly Emmy!

The end.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Day!

And Merry Christmas!  The kids were told not to come in to our room until 6:30am.  At promptly 6:30 the kids turned on our lights and told us to wake up!  (Miles later told us that they left a little early so they would arrive at our room at exactly 6:30 and not a minute later.  You know, it's a long walk down the hallway from the kids' room to our room . . .).  But they are nice and obedient (at times, of course) and let us sleep until 6:30.  And, lo and behold, Santa had come:
 Lucy's loot from Santa.  Her big gift from Santa was a magnetic doll and dollhouse set (like paper dolls, just wooden and magnetic).

 Emmy's loot, including a porcelain doll and tea set.

 Miles' gift from Santa: a magic set.  It's a wooden set and very cool.

 Jonas' big gift: a skateboard.

 He loves it!

 She loves her doll!

 Lucy loved it all!

 Placing some new slipper on Lucy's feet.

 Our cute Christmas morning bunch.

 Playing with Santa's gifts.  Santa even gave the girls their pretty headbands.  So lovely.

 Ben tried on one of his ties that I got him.  A tie - so typical, right?  But it's what he wanted!

 More playing with Santa's toys.

 Miles reading his magic set instructions.

 Jonas skating around the house.

 Santa gave the kids a bag of rocks - very cool rocks.  Santa also had a sheet detailing what rocks were what.  Jonas is classifying his bag of rocks.

 Miles putting on a magic show for us.  :)

We spent a while just playing around with Santa's gifts.  Then we ate our breakfast and played a bit more.  Then it was time to open up the wrapped gifts from family:

So fun!

Grandma Dixie and Granpa G. gave some neat "puzzle boxes" to the boys.  They are almost like treasure boxes as they are quite tricky to open.  Jonas got a bear and Miles a moose.  They are really neat!

 Jonas opened his gift from us . . . and totally loved it!  He saw what it was (a remote-control helicopter) and then ran over and gave Ben a hug and then myself.  What a great kid!  He had no idea he was getting this and was super excited about it!

 The girls got a purse-bag full of "stuff."  Like a mirror, lip gloss, notepad, and . . . make-up!  Just for pretend of course.  At first I was going to make some fake make-up (buy real make-up, dump it out, pour nail-polish in and let them pretend . . .), but we just decided the girls would love the real stuff and have fun.  It was definitely an exciting (the most exciting) part of their day - putting on make-up.  :)

 Checking herself out.  "You can't see anything!"  So layered it on they did, as you will see in a bit . . .  :)

 Miles' Grandma Dixie came through with a much requested (from Santa) record player.  Before Miles has started begging Santa for one, Grandma Dixie (not even knowing Miles really wanted one) had found one on KSL.com, bought it, bought a better pin for it, and had brought it over - to give to Miles for his birthday.  But then she collaborated with Santa and decided that she would give it to him for Christmas.  He was and is a very, very happy record-playing boy.  It's awesome.  :)

After the gifts were opened everyone just played and Jonas started to play with his helicopter.  He was quite nervous at first and it was thus pretty exciting when he had "lift-off" for the first time!
 Um, how great is this picture!?

 I just had to zoom in on the excited spectators - I mean, how perfect are their faces!?  (You still love me, right; Ben?!).  I just laughed and laughed so hard when I saw this photo.  :)

 More practicing.  So Miles got a helicopter, too.  But we didn't have batteries for him until Jonas figured out to take some out of one of his toys.  Then Miles finally got to play with his, too.  They have gotten better and better.  They get to fly them for about 7-8 minutes and then it has to be recharged for 45 minutes.  This is quite typical for these little helicopters.  We looked around thinking we could spend a little more money for more play time, but even some really expensive ones were not much more time.  And guess what?  The kids are totally okay with it and don't complain.  So cool.

During some "charge-time" the boys enjoyed the homemade wooden and marble tic-tac-toe set made by Uncle Joe.  (I just have to say I love the sweet package we always get from Uncle Joe and Aunt Brittany and family.  Such sweet items!  It always makes me smile.)

 Looking quite made-up Emmy!  So cute, in a kid-put-on-make-up kind of way.  :)

And Lucy!  Her make-up is just about all gone . . . :)  She loved it, to say the least.

Sadly, those are the end of my pictures (well sad for me, maybe not for you :).  The rest of the afternoon was spent with the kids playing, Ben and I getting dinner ready, me going on a run, Ben going on a jog, and then the Sister Missionaries coming over (Sister Quist and Betts).  When they came over I still had yet to shower - oh well!  One sister skyped her family before dinner.  Then we ate - we each had our own cornish hen, my 7-layer Christmas jello (that I don't even like, but Ben does and I love how it looks!), mashed potatoes, clam dip, and rolls.  All was good.  After dinner another sister skyped her family.  Lucy, who was exhausted and asked to go to bed, was in bed by 6:30.  :)  We (the rest of the family and the 2 sisters) then went out on the ice and played some hockey.  The sisters weren't sure if they would be allowed to wear skates or not and so we just opted not to - well the kids got skates on but the adults didn't.  (Truthfully, it's probably more dangerous without skates!).  Anyways, we played for probably about an hour, came in for a drink break, then I put Emmy down to bed - per her request.  I then went back out and met up with the rest of the group on the ice and we played for another hour or so.  It was really fun and the sisters totally got in to it.  They were pretty good, too.  It was a fun evening!

Here's one video of Jonas flying his helicopter:

And that's a Christmas Wrap.  Harhar.

Christmas Eve Day and actual Christmas Eve

We invited our good friends, the Herrens, over for some fun on the ice and cookie decorating on Christmas Eve morning.  The Herrens have 4 kids and are good friends to our kids.  We all played on the ice and then some kids started trickling back in.  Ben, Miles, Kara (one of Miles' best-friends) and Audrey (the Herrens oldest child) stayed out for quite a bit and even played a bit of hockey.  Ben said they had a lot of fun and that Audrey really got in to it.  They were able to find skates in our little "skate shop" in the basement and so that was extra fun for everyone.

After everyone came in and had some hot-chocolate, we decorated some sugar cookies.  It was really fun and the kids really got in to it - especially dumping tons of sprinkles on their cookies.  Aiyiyi!

 Here's the whole gang pretty much, minus our husbands (Ben was photographing and Laura's husband was at work):  I'll start with me (then going clockwise), Miles, Audrey, Emmy, Laura, Pete, Lucy, Jonas, and Kara.  Oh I guess were missing little Tommy (3), too.  Fun group!

 Here's just one picture of the decorating.  Fun stuff.

The rest of the day was just spent cleaning up and cooking dinner (Ben made Swedish meatballs - very delicious!), and whatever the kids were up to.  Emmy and I ran over to our neighbor's house really quick for a little "open house" party.  Jack, the son, is in kindergarten and really wanted Emmy to come.  So we went - but just for about 10 minutes!  We had to get back and eat dinner and then head out to a Christmas service.
Laura Herren was telling me about her church's program and how Audrey and Kara had solo parts in the choir.  Kara skated over and invited us to come.  So, after talking with Ben, we decided to complicate our night and attend their church's program.  I'm really glad we did, if just to support their family.  There was a children's choir and I enjoyed their singing - I especially loved the solo parts of Audrey and Kara.  Very sweet.  The choir was part of a little "play" that they did as well.  We felt badly, but after the play/singing part was done (it had been an hour), we left - right as a sermon or something was about to happen.

We got home, cleaned the kitchen, ate our rice pudding with a lucky almond in one of the bowls (the almond was found in Miles' bowl, which meant he got to make a wish), and then opened up our tie-dye shirts.  I didn't buy PJs this year (ran out of time and money!) and couldn't make anything (ran out of time and money!) and so I was able to get free t-shrits from my Old Navy points and then I bought red and green tie-dye.  On Monday's FHE we dyed our shirt and then on Tuesday I washed them.  The kids unrolled their shirts on Christmas Eve and were surprised to see what their shirts looked like.  I love how they turned out:

 Cute kids in Christmas tie-dye shirts!

And, because she is our favorite, another one of just Lucy.

The night went well - the kids went down really well (all were in their beds by 8:30, which is pretty good for 4 kiddos!  I'm not sure when they all fell asleep, but we didn't hear a peep from any of them!) and Ben and I watched a really old movie called Holiday Inn.  It was fun to watch.  Then we got the gifts all out and got Christmas ready . . . then finally Ben and I got to bed.  :)

Good night to all!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Saturday's Christmas happenings . . .

I had checked out on Friday evening when "Santa's workshop" was to be open downtown and saw that Santa was to be in from 11-2.  So I told the kids about going - which I then later regretted as I didn't want to really take them anymore.  But I'm glad we did end up going.  Emmy told me that she was going to ask Santa what our elf's name is and if he got it right then she would know that he was the real Santa.  Oh boy.  Jonas also said the same thing.

So, just to make sure, you know, that Santa got it right - I mean he has millions of elves - I wrote a little note that said something to the effect of, "If my little girl asks you what our elf's name is, please say 'Eljin.'"  So as we were standing in line I kept mouthing to Ben, "How are we going to do this!?"  He came up with a brilliant idea - he'd ask the man in front of us to give our note to Santa.  (Each family goes in this little cabin when it's their turn - everyone else is kept out of doors.)  So I took the kids over to the fire-pit while Ben did his job.  We all came back and we chatted for a bit with the man in front of us (turned out the man in front of us is a member in the Cimmaron ward . . . :).

So it was our turn and we went in.  The kids sat on laps (Lucy did refuse to sit on Santa's lap, but agreed to Mrs. Claus' lap).  We were chatting and Emmy just kind of mumbled, "So what's our elf's name?"  Frankly, I don't think Santa even heard.  But Mrs. Claus said something like, "I think his name is Eljin."  It.  Was.  Perfect.  The kids were stunned and Jonas later remarked that he knew this was indeed the real Santa.  It was quite convincing if I say so myself . . .

So fun.  I can't remember what they all told Santa they wanted, but I think it was something like this:  Lucy - a doll perhaps?  Emmy - a motorcycle.  ?!  (A toy one.)  Jonas - a bird like Miles'.  And Miles - a record-player.

That evening we slept under/by the tree.  We watched "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and then the kids got cozy in the sleeping bags.  I decided to sleep on the hide-a-bed and begged Ben to join me.  :)  He did.  It was a pretty fun evening, especially once the kids got settled down and fell-asleep, which didn't take long since it was late . . .

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ben's birthday, aka: The Day We Decorate Gingerbread Houses

 Unfortunately there were no good birthday wishes granted at Ben's work on his birthday:  he came home about 2 hours later than a usual Friday.  Bummer!  But come home he finally did.  He called to tell me he was headed home and so about 10 minutes later me and all the kids went out to watch him ride up with his balloons and bike.  :)  Well it was more like 30 minutes later that he came home . . . . and he wasn't riding his bike!  :(  Many people at work told him how dumb he'd be if he rode home, in the dark, with no lights (his bike has lights but it is currently out-of-commission, so he's borrowing my bike . . .), on wet and slushy roads.  He gave in and so, um, his arrival wasn't quite what we had waited for.  But he was home and that was good!

 After dinner (his choice:  beef casserole), he opened up a few gifts (mostly handmade ones by the kids at school).  I actually made this shirt for him (like, "Got milk?" get it?).  Well, I didn't make the shirt - I bought the shirt and painted on the wording and hockey stick. (My sister actually printed me up the stencil for it and mailed it to me.  Is she great or what!?) I think it looks great on him!

 His "cake" request was shoefly pie.  I think most everyone enjoyed it - I know he did and that's what counts on his birthday.  :)

Then it was on to gingerbread decorating!  So much fun.  The kids are all getting older and more independent.  It's awesome.
 Miles and his lovely house.  He is really into decorating the "yard" of his houses, more than the house itself.  I've noticed this trend for the past couple of years.  He built a ladder on the side and even made a worker (who was fixing the roof) for it.  Awesome.

 Jonas was so excited about his house and felt it was his best house ever!  He did a great job on his roof - Necco-style.  :)  He even added an ice-rink - his idea.  Love it.

 Emmy just had fun and went to town on her house and did whatever she wanted.  I think it turned out cute and whimsical.  :)  Kind of like her.

 Lucy, Lucy.  Oh boy did she love this activity!  She was so happy and giggly and just had tons of fun.  It was adorable to watch her and hear her.  So cute.  Ben would help upon request, but she did a lot of it on her own.  So cute.

 And, because Lucy is our favorite, here is a close-up of her house.  So great!

 There's my cabin-in-the-forest gingerbread house.  In honor of my Alaskan family.  :)

 Ben's adorable house.  I love the cheeriness of it.  Ben was quite displeased with it (that man is hard on himself, even when it comes to gingerbread houses!), but in the end I think he was at peace with it.  :)  And maybe even liked it?!  I love it.

There they are!  I love, love, love them.  I love looking at them.  I love this tradition.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Another Happy Birthday . . .

Happy Birthday Ben!  Just a little note to let you know we all love you very, very much.

I'm bummed you can't have an ice-skating party tonite (darn this warm weather), but at least you were able to get out this last Monday:
(Ben had his first men's hockey night on Monday.  Although it was actually hockey morning.  
With his great friend, Randy Gerke.  And 4 missionaries.  Everyone had a great time!)

Miles says, "I really liked that you showed me your swords last night."
Jonas says, "I really, really love the ice rink.  Happy birthday."
Emmy says, "Happy birthday, dad.  Have a fun time."
Lucy says (after prompting her to tell you something for you birthday), "Um, something that's nice.  Like, I love you, dad."
I say, "I love you.  I miss you.  Come home as soon as you can!  Those gingerbread houses are just begging to be decorated.  Thanks for loving me."

Happy Birthday!