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!

Extra, Extra!

Emmy and her teammates were in the newspaper.  Go Snowshadow!

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Fun, Family & Friends-Filled Weekend

So the celebrations started on Thursday for Jonas' birthday . . . and didn't stop until Monday morning when it was back-to-school time!

On Friday the kids had their book-club meeting and then we went to our ward's Christmas party.  Both sets of grandparents were here by now and so we all went!  We had yummy food and a fun talent show - including yours-truly Lucy Maxwell, playing 2 piano numbers (Jingle Bells and Away in a Manger).  Lucy did great.  Grandpa G. even won the adult-contest for "Ugliest Sweater," even though it was a t-shirt!  Oops, I didn't get a picture of that!

Saturday morning was full of complaints while the kids did their chores (I missed most of it as I was out running . . .).  After lunch, Ben took Jonas and Miles and two extra friends - Aiden and Ivan - mountain biking.  The kids had a good time and Jonas LOVES his new bike!  He's actually inspired Miles to want a new mountain bike for his birthday.  Awesome.

That evening we enjoyed dinner together and making s'mores on my new (but used) raclette cooker from my mom.  After that we went to our parents' hotel and the kids went swimming.  Fun, fun.

Sunday morning we all met up at the church for Jonas' ordination to the Aaronic priesthood and the office of a deacon.  Jonas was so excited about it all!  Jonas had been sustained a couple weeks before and so we were able do the ordination before church - thus Jonas was able, and delighted, to pass the sacrament to his grandparents.  He also got to shut the chapel doors and was even excited about that.  :)

We had a nice Sunday afternoon and evening and said our goodbyes to the grandparents that night.

It was a fabulous weekend and we were glad to have our parents come to our home and be a part of it all!

I really love this picture.  Probably because I'm slightly a goof.  But one of our wise men's head broke off a year or so ago and this is how Miles fixed it on Saturday morning.  Yes, Erin, I am pretty sure we tried E6000, but I'll try again just in case!

 The boys and Brigham ready to ride and run!  Aiden, Miles, Jonas, and Ivan.

 The boys on the trail.

 Jonas loving his new bike and shocks!

 Ivan and Jonas riding on the trail.

Saturday-night dinner, minus Grandpa Max who was taking our photo.

 Sunday morning after Jonas was ordained.

 Two grandfathers, one dad, and two brothers.

 Jonas sure has beautiful grandmothers!

Hahahahaha.  We found this lovely selfie on our camera.  It's pretty indicative of how Emmy can sometimes be - especially during Saturday-morning chore-time!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Jonas had a date with Star Wars for his 12th birthday

So I hadn't planned on Jonas' birthday being so Star-Wars-y, but that's how it turned out.  I had gotten him the DVDs for episodes IV, V, and VI.  I also bought our entire family (plus my parents who came out yesterday) tickets for Star Wars:  The Last Jedi, episode VIII.  It was a total surprise for Jonas.  So I thought it funny that when I asked what he wanted for his cake (he not knowing our movie plans) and he replied, "The symbol for the Star Wars rebels."  I had no idea what that was and had to look it up, but it definitely fit for the day!  I think Jonas had a pretty great day.

Seeing as it was his 12th birthday, he is due a party.  He decided on inviting a few friends and going skiing - at Kendall Mtn. in Silverton.  We were supposed to do that on the 16th.  But, seeing as there is no snow this year, the resort hasn't opened yet and so his party is postponed. . . But I'm sure it will be fun when it happens!

 The obligatory picture of the bedroom door decorated with crepe paper and flashing your new age!  12!

 Jonas' big present from us (and mostly only, except for the DVDs and a leather Book of Mormon he picked out earlier this year) was a mountain bike.  A very cool and very nice mountain bike.  So instead of skiing with friends on Saturday, a few boys and Ben will go for a cool mountain bike ride.  So fun!

 Jonas said it would be okay if I put balloons on his bike - so I did!  He also had to lug his trombone to school that day and so it was a full bike-load!

I think he had a good day at school.  Many kids knew it was his birthday and one girl even wrote "Happy Birthday Jonas" on the chalkboard in his science class.  Fun, fun.

Jonas rode his bike around the neighborhood waiting for Ben to finally come home.  When Ben did get home, we ate our dinner of green spaghetti and meatballs and over-cooked, but still yummy, asparagus.  Then it was on to birthday cake!  My cakes are definitely "home-made" and not professional, but my kids always think they are so great and so that is nice (Emmy told me that I should post this one on Pinterest.  :).  I do like how Jonas' cake turned out!  And he loved it and so that's what's important!

 Happy birthday Jonas!

We then went to the theater for the pre-release showing of Star Wars:  The Last Jedi.  It was a great and fun movie . . . and long - the movie started at 7:30 and got over a little after 10!  But it was a special occasion to celebrate our special 12-year old.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dear Deacon Jonas,

Well now that you are 12 and will soon be a deacon (on Sunday!), you, too, will get called by your father Deacon Jonas.  At least I'm guessing that will happen since in the past 1 1/2 years your brother has often been referred to as Deacon Miles (mostly when asked to give a prayer).

You were sustained to the office of a Deacon on November 26th - so that you can be ordained and pass the sacrament when all your grandparents are in attendance at sacrament meeting on December 17th.  You were totally grinning when you stood and were sustained.  You told me afterwards how many people had told you "congratulations."  I think you were excited and proud.  I hope you always feel this way about bearing the priesthood.

It's been a big year for you - starting middle school!  You and Miles ride your bikes every day to school - you guys even get there early so you can play gaga ball.  You've done really well in school and seem to like middle school just fine.  Your advanced-math teacher, Mrs. Knight, nominated you to go to Washington D.C. for some "Junior National Young Leaders Conference."  It was a surprise, really, but a great honor from a teacher.  (Unfortunately, we won't be sending you - luckily you were okay with that!)  You joined the STUCO (student council) and like being a part of that.

You continue to be on the swim team.  You are supposed to now go 4 times a week, but we opted for 3 so you can go to scouts on Tuesday nights.  However, three even seemed too much (as evidence by how much ANGER you would display when asked to get ready for swimming) and you are now back down to two.  We gave you the option of quitting because it was just too much for us to have to deal with you (!) but you wanted to keep doing it - just twice a week.  You like it and are always happy after the lessons.  I'm not sure you push yourself enough to really see big improvements, but that's okay - at least you are doing something and exerting yourself somewhat!

You can be a super sweet and thoughtful child/sibling one moment, and then that next moment you lose all sense of reality, calmness, and kindness.  One statement, one noise, can you throw you totally out of whack.  It's not cool!  Hopefully it is something you will outgrow!

Oh, you also started playing the trombone this year for 6th-grade band.  You seem to enjoy it - although you are never super-eager to practice each week.  But, again, it's great that you are a part of something.  We just went to your 2nd band performance last night and it was good and you had fun.

You still love all things Star Wars and all things Harry Potter.  You still can't stand your sister's chewing.  You don't like ice cream.  You like mountain biking.  You don't like it when homework takes "too long!"  You like making up games.  You bought a MP3 player and like downloading music on it.  You like skiing.  You don't like it when we say something . . . you don't like. 

We like you, Jonas, a whole lot!  In fact, we even love you - sometimes-angry boy and all!

I hope your birthday is marvelous (even though we had to postponed your skiing birthday party until we actually get some snow!).


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Emmy's Level 3 State Gymnastics Meet

Well we had a wonderful, but too-quick, weekend up in the Denver area.  Emmy had her state competition in Loveland on Saturday, December 9th.  So we drove up to Littleton on Friday, spent the morning and afternoon in Loveland on Saturday.  That late-aftrenoon we went over to the cousin's house (Joe and Britt's home) and then we went to their ward Christmas party.  Then back to their house to watch Emmy's videos.  On Sunday we left Jim and Diana's in the early morning, hit a sacrament meeting in Frisco (we have been to that ward building during our Maxwell reunions and so we thought it would be fun to go to sacrament there), and made it back to Montrose in time for my Stake meeting and then the Stake Christmas music program later that evening.  A busy, but very enjoyable weekend!

Emmy had a really good meet and did much better than her first competition.  Her biggest worry was scoring a 34 all-around so that she could move up to Level 4 (her coach's parameters for advancing).  Her first competition she had scored a 31.75-ish and so we were all a little worried about her getting a 34.  I tried to just tell her not to worry about that, but just to go out and do her best.

We had an early morning on Saturday and had to leave Jim and Diana's home by about 6:20.  We got up to Loveland, Emmy began her warm-ups, and then the competition began.  Jim and Diana came up to watch, too.

Emmy's team got the olympic rotation:  vault, bars, beam, floor.  I could tell in her warm-ups that her vault was a little off.  So it wasn't her best vault, but it was still pretty good!  Her bar routine was solid.  Her beam - which I couldn't watch because she fell twice on her warm-up routine - turned out pretty darn good, too.  By then I knew she'd make a 34 all-around and was super excited for her!  She didn't know quite yet.  She did her floor routine and looked good on that, too!  She ended up getting a 35.2 all-around - go Emmy!  She loved the competition and had a really great time and did a really great job.  It was so fun watching her (I watched her beam routine on the camera as soon as she finished - hehe)!

Here were her scores:  vault - 9.225, bars - 8.825, beam - 8.4, and floor - 8.75.

There were 5 sessions of Level 3 gymnasts.  Then each session was broken down in to 5 groups of about 15 girls each.  Placement awards were given to every gymnast.  Each gymnast, before the awards, received a plaque.  There were 5 empty spots on the plaque - for each event and all-around.  Each time you went up for your award, you got a placement sticker (i.,e, 3rd place) and put that on the plaque under the event.  It was actually pretty cool!  I do think medals should have been awarded to the all-arounders, but whatever.

Anyways, here was Emmy's standings: vault - 4th place, bars - 5th place, beam - 7th place, floor - 4th place, and all-around - 3rd place!  Wahoo!  We were so excited and proud of her!

 Here's Emmy all bright-and-early, heading in to Loveland High School, where the meet was held.

 Emmy warming up with her two other teammates - Mylee on our left and Jhoselin on the right.  (The three Level 4 girls compete the week before.  The other level 3 gymnast, Natasha, was competing in the next session.)

 Yay Snow Shadow!

 4th place vault.

 5th place bars.

 7th place beam.

 4th place floor.

 3rd place all-around!!!

 Emmy with Grandma Diana and Grandpa Max.  Emmy was sure happy to have them there!

 More of Emmy's fans!  :)

What an adorable gymnast!

Emmy bought (we her nice parents paying half) a cute t-shirt at the meet.  Although you would have thought it a leather-jacket or something for the price!  But it has a Level 3 gymnatics logo on the front and then on the back it has all the gyms and gymnasts listed.  It's pretty cool and Emmy LOVES it.  :)

Okay, here are the videos of each of her events:
Comments - There is a typo but I'm too lazy to go and edit it and re-save it.  It takes too long on my computer.  :)  But I should have written "seconds."  Ha.  I love how Ben tells me I should watch during her beam routine.  :)  The kids thought I cheered loudly.  I didn't care.  Too bad that man walked right through the video during Emmy's floor routine.  Oh well!

Go Emmy!