Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016, Another Year for the Books

Goodbye 2016!

Ski Trip to Kendall Mtn.

It had been a while since we've been to Kendall.  I think maybe 2 years?  Seeing as it is the only place I would totally feel comfortable taking my four kids without Ben, Kendall it was!  I took them up on Friday.  My friend Patty and her son Ivan, Jonas' best-buddy, came as well - although Patty didn't ski.  We also took along Aiden - a friend of Miles'.  It was warm and wonderful there!  The three older kids were on their own and I only skied with them like once.  My ski-partner was Lucy.  :)  She did great and after two runs tethered up, she was on her own skiing the hills.  She's a great little skier and loves it - as do all the other kids.  I think it was really fun for them to just be on their own - although we'd see each other as it's such a lovely, small place. :)

I was happy that Red Mountain Pass was dry!  I cry when it's not.  :)  (That's not a picture I took - if so, there would have been snow everywhere but the road.)

It was a really great day and everyone had a lot of fun.  I didn't get many pictures of the kids because I didn't ski with the older three much and I just didn't want the hassle of taking photos.  :)  I tried to get some videos of Lucy, but my camera would just automatically stop - which was frustrating.  But I did get a few:

 The kid-gang at lunch:  Jonas, Ivan, Lucy, Emmy, Aiden, and Miles.  Miles is 6 months older than Aiden - and about a foot shorter.  :)

 Lucy on the lift.  :)

 Lucy skiing down the hill!

 Emmy.  She totally loves skiing!  She rode up with lots of "strangers" for most of the day.  Aiden and Miles usually went together, and Ivan and Jonas did as well.  Every once in a while someone from our group would ride with Emmy (I went up with her twice), but mostly she went with other "singles."  She told us how there were a couple of people that she "just didn't understand their language and they were so accent-y."  :)  Cute.  Ivan left at 3 (we stayed until closing at 4) and so Emmy was able to spend the last hour riding up with Jonas.

 Lucy and me.  Ski-buddies.  :)

My biggest focus for helping Lucy to ski was turning!  It's so important.  I told my kids, "Anyone can strap on skis and go straight down a mountain.  That's not skiing.  Skiing takes skills - like turning." (There was a young girl there - maybe Emmy's age - who had no clue how to ski and wouldn't turn.  Then she would wipe-out on just about every run.  She was scary.  For herself and others on the mountain.  I almost said something, but didn't.) Luckily, Lucy did very well turning.  :)

It was awesome to be back at Kendall.  It really is a great place!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Tis the Season of 2016

It all began on Christmas Eve . . . 
 The kids had gotten a bunch of gifts for each other all month long and wrapped them up and put them under the small fake tree right outside their rooms.  The items were handmade things, little toys they didn't want, money, etc.  It was really cute and they were all excited.  Miles had bought a big bag of taffy for everyone.  Cute, cute.

 Christmas PJs!

 What a sweet bunch!  (They were trying really hard all day long to be their very best.  Because, you know, one day of sweetness can wipe out the other 364 days of . . . not-so-sweetness!?  Haha.  :)

 The rest of our Christmas Eve was really nice - we ate our yummy (well only yummy to Ben and myself!) traditional dinner of Swedish meatballs, Lucy played some chords while Emmy sang along to "Joy to the World," Ben read Luke 2 and then we watched The Nativity.  Our final activity was eating our rice pudding - and Emmy had the almond in hers!  That meant she got to make a wish AND (this was new for this year) she would get to chose our movie for Christmas day.

Ben and I had a late night, of course, just setting everything up - plus we watched some old, and slightly odd, movie.

At 1am the 3 youngest were in the bathroom all soaking their feet.  We told them to go back to bed.  I think they were up around 5:30 or so, but they waited until 6:30 - the allotted time - to wake us up!

Christmas morning!  The girls got a gym mat and roll-out beam and lots of leotards from Santa.  See Lucy's face?  It's a classic!  Here it is up close because I love it so:
 Funny and cute!

 The kids got to check out their Santa gift and stockings right away.  So fun.

 Jonas and Miles got drones from Santa.  JOnas is holding a Boogie Board, something all the kids got in their stockings.  Boogie Boards are like . . . digital paper.  You draw something with the special "pen," and then push and button and it's erased!  We're saving trees now!  :)

 Thank goodness that Santa always brings some Legos for Christmas morning entertainment!

 Even the girls were in to building their little sets.

 Cute Emmy.

Then we enjoyed our Christmas breakfast (cheese braid bread, sausage, and orange julius) and got ready for church:
 The kids in their new Christmas clothes.  The boys got suspenders and looked great.  Although I need to teach Jonas some more about fashion - you know, how stripes and plaids don't really match?!  We were running late and so we had no time for a change!  (In fact, this picture was taken after church, since we were running late!)  The girls looked lovely in their dresses, of course.  :)

 Mrs. and Mr. Maxwell.  :)

 The girls playing on their new equipment in their new leotards!

 Nice pose.  :)

After church we came home and opened up our wrapped gifts.  It was fun and the kids were happy with all they got.
 Lucy got a crayon/market set with a bunch of coloring books.

 Jonas got a Harry Potter quill-set and has enjoyed writing letters with his ink pen and parchment paper.  And sealing the letter with a cool Hedgwig wax seal.  :)

 Miles got some lego minifigure set and a book on Lego Animation movies (like his stop-action movies he likes to make).  His big gift was a laptop computer/tablet.  It's pretty cool!  But what's cooler is that he is old enough and smart enough to set it up himself!  Yay!

Emmy's "big" gift was a camcorder/camera.  She shrieked with joy when she opened it!  Lots of picture and videos have been taken in the past day . . . :)

 Mile's boogie board, i.e., digital paper.  He liked his artwork so much he wanted a picture of it.  :)

 We had a delicious dinner of cornish hens, sweet potato casserole, bread from the Gerkes, and Christmas jello.

Jonas had lots of fun learning how to fly his drone!

We finished the day watching the new Annie, as picked by Emmy.  :)

It was a great and lovely day.  I actually really loved having Christmas on Sunday.  We are blessed indeed!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Welcome-Back Grandma and Grandpa Trip!

My parents came home from their mission in Germany a few weeks ago and so Ben had requested time off so we could go and visit them.  We had a great time and it went really quickly . . . !

We got there on Saturday and within an hour or so we were off to the skating rink.  It was super-freezing (upper-teens, I think), but we still stayed for a decent amount of time and it was fun to be back out on the ice.

On Sunday I spent the morning getting the gingerbread houses made.  We went to my parents' ward at 1 and then quickly came home, changed, and ate our sandwiches in the car as we drove to Salt Lake.  We visited Temple Square and saw the beautiful lights and temple:
 A little chilly, but not too bad!

We then rode the Jingle Bus as it drove us along downtown SLC:
 The bus was awesome and the foreign-Santa-driver was pretty great, too.  The kids got to ride in the back.  Cool.

While on the bus a lady told us about a giant gingerbread house at the Grand America.  So once we got off the bus, we walked to a TRAX station and road it to Grand America:
 As we walked to the gingerbread house (inside the hotel - my kids thought the hotel was sooooo fancy), there were lots of cute Christmas windows representing many different countries.  I loved them!

 The gingerbread house - it was real!  Whoa!  Gingerbread, rice krispies, gumballs, lots and lots of candy.  It was so fun to see!

 There we are!

 Lucy looking at another window display.  So sweet.

When we left Saturday morning, we left about 6 inches of freshly-fallen snow.  My parents didn't have quite as much, but definitely had enough for sledding.  The kids spent hours and hours sledding and had a great time:
So fun!

Monday was spent sledding, going to a theater to see the new Star Wars movie, and watching one of Ben's favorite movies later that night:  Jim Carey's Christmas Carol.

On Tuesday it was Ben's birthday!  41!  Wahoo!  We had a big day, full of a lot of fun activities.  We decorated our gingerbread houses:
 I love them, as always.  Can you find Jonas' house - it has a cannon and is civil-war themed (the houses are in no particular order)?

We had lunch and ate birthday cake (some Scandinavian cardamom cake):
 What a great looking bunch and the cake was yummy!

Then it was off for some ice skating:
 Go old-man, go!  He still can rock it on the ice.  :)

 I love this picture!

Girls on ice.

After skating we went out to dinner at the Homestead.  It was really great and we all pretty much ate our entire dinners - including the 4 kids.  Well, Miles took home 1/2 of his steak and potato - but he was ordering off the adult menu.  :)  Emmy asked something she has never asked at dinner in her life:  "Can I have more food to eat?!"  It was nice and cozy at the Homestead and a perfect place for a birthday/holiday dinner!

After dinner (I told you, it was a full day!) we headed straight to the local Midway-theater for the production of Annie.  It was really, really great and I just loved it!  The rest of the family (including my parents) loved it, too.
Yep, my kids had front row and we were right behind them.  Lucky us!

On Wednesday Ben and I went to the Provo City Temple and did some sealing work there.  That temple is beyond beautiful and I hope that all my kids get married there.  :)  We went to lunch afterwards in Provo and had a lovely time.  My dad then met us there and brought our dogs.  Ben threw the dogs in to the truck and he headed home; my dad and I headed back to Midway.

We played some games while there.  Sorry, Quiddler (what we are playing in the picture - it's like a card-version of Scrabble, somewhat), the boys and Grandma played pool at the Clubhouse, etc.  Fun, fun!

On Thursday we all went to Kamas and went to their Rec. Center.  They have a super-fun swimming pool and so we spent a couple of hours there and the kids loved every second of it.  As the water was somewhat warm, I was able to tolerate it okay.  :)

We came home from that and made cornflake wreaths - I always loved making those as a kid.  So easy and so yummy.  Then we (minus my dad who stayed to do hometeaching) went down to Hogle Zoo for its ZooLights.  There weren't tons of animals out, but we did see some cool animals (bears, snow leopards, tigers, crocodile, and lots of bats and other creepy things like that).
 This was a cool ice-sculpture!  A penguin and . . . something.  I can't remember.  :)

The lights were super impressive there!

On Friday morning I went for my last Midway-run and then got us packed up.  We headed out by 10am and got home by 4pm - beating the Utah-storm that is coming tonight!
As always, it was great to be with Grandma and Grandpa.  We're so glad they are back!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Pictures of a Boy's Birthday

 Well good morning you 11-year old!

 Lucy giving Jonas a birthday-hug because she is so like that.

 Ivan and his mom Patty came over to drop off a present for Jonas.  Then we all walked to school  It was a spirit day - Holiday Hat Day.  :)

 Jonas' civil-war cake I managed to make in between visiting teacher and a whole bunch of other stuff!

 Cool soldiers.  Awesome "trees" from our grape vine.

Jonas had a good day at school and came home and opened one gift:  the best of Queen in 2 CDs.  Haha, fun.  He also opened up Ivan's present, which was a lego set.  So he worked on that while I took Lucy to her music class.

We came home and the kids watched  a movie while I got Jonas' birthday dinner ready:  homemade spaghetti and meatballs.  YUM.  After dinner, Jonas got to open the rest of his gifts.

 Jonas reading what his book from Aune-e and Co. is all about.

 Jonas checking out his "big" gift - an "expert" level lego set.  A detective's office.  (Jonas finished it up today and it is awesome.  I'll have to take some fun pics of it later.).  Jonas is also sporting his second-hand store coat - which he'll probably grow out of in a month!  Also, he is wearing his cool New York hat - we had tried to find one while in New York over the summer, but never did.  Thanks to Amazon, we found a really cool one and he was super excited.

 Sweetest picture of the day:  Lucy totally excited as Jonas opened the gift she had given him (some random toys).

 Jonas lighting his birthday cake (which he absolutely LOVED - he also LOVES that he can play with the toy soldiers.  Cake AND present in one!).

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you . . .

What a fun birthday celebrating a fun boy!