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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Curls, Poems, Testimonies, and Cancelled School

Julia sometimes does sponge curlers in her hair over night after taking a bath. Last night Agnes wanted to join her. I can't decide which was cuter, her with the curls in at night or the next day with the curly hair (sorry, I forgot to get a picture). Today when I dropped her off in her primary class. We walked by the nursery room and I asked if that was her class. She said no, took me by the hand, and showed me to the main primary room. I think she has really been enjoying being a big kid now. She was cracking everyone up in sacrament meeting today. She was at the end of our row and the patient young man was waiting for our family to finish up with the water. She insisted that she hold the tray. Rebecca rested it on some hymn books so she could think that she was holding it. Then she took her time picking out the exact right cups. After she drank it she loudly said something about there being just a little bit of water in it. Then she held the cup, made sure she had our attention, and asked if she should put it in the big slot or the little slot in the tray. She kept going back and forth big spot or little spot with a huge grin on her face. We were trying to motion the young man over to come and get it from her, but he didn't want to rush her. I could tell he was really stressed out about being way behind and all the other rows waiting on him. Finally, we were able to take it from her and give it to him. She then grabbed a hymn book and started to sing in her really high voice.



Julia and Ethan both shared their testimonies in church today and we were amazed at how well they did. Ethan talked about knowing that Heavenly Father, Jesus, and all of his family members love him. Julia talked about how valuable the atonement is and how we should really try to make use of it by repenting.

Julia has been on a poem kick lately. Here are a couple of her recent ones about me and Rebecca.



"Mom,
Kind and sweet.
Mother, you helped me since I was small,
And now I am tall.
I'll thank you with all.
Mother is so kind,
She helps anyone she can find.
Her cooking is great,
So we ate.
She has kind words to all,
Whether they big or small.
She came for the best,
Altogether she is put to the test.
I'll love her forever,
She is the best mom ever.
Love,
Your daughter,
Julia"

"Mom / Dad
Clouds race by,
On an evening sky,
While the sun goes downward,
But the Earth spins onward.
And the sky is turning,
Dark, dark, blue,
And the owl goes,
Whoo, whoo, whoo,
So I’ll love you too.
From Julia"

She wrote this one today because Christian is feeling sick.

"Christian
You are as nice as can be,
You're on of the best brothers as I can see,
I'll love you forever,
You're as kind as ever,
I hope you get feeling better,
Because you're one of the best brothers ever.
Even though you're sick,
You are as strong as a mountain,
But as handsome as a fountain.

Christian, I hope you get feeling better. I love you so much. I am praying for your. Get relaxed, and stay comfortable. Lots of love from, your sister, Julia."


We were thinking that this was going to be a long week for Julia, Ethan, and Christian, getting back into the school routine. Monday was off for New Years, but then because of all of our Monday night prep, Tuesday actually went pretty smoothly. Wednesday went fairly well too. And then school was canceled both Thursday and Friday. I was surprised about that, because they usually just do indoor recess when the weather is cold, so I didn't understand what the worry really was. On Friday in our car we saw it at -17. It has been pretty cold the past few days, but today it started warming up and tomorrow it is even supposed to rain!

Happy Birthday Elliott

Elliott turned five today!!! Now that he is five and he is missing both of his front teeth, he just seems like such a big kid. He also recently got a hair cut and I think that always makes our children look older.

Given that today was Fast Sunday, Elliott chose to celebrate his birthday yesterday. We started off with cleaning the church building (I know, it doesn't sound that fun, but it was our week and we let Elliott pick whatever job he wanted and I think he did end up having a lot of fun). For breakfast Elliott picked to have lemon poppy seed muffins which were super good. Then he opened up his presents. Some of the highlights were a bag that Julia had made for him (she has really become a pro with her sewing machine) and a ball from Christian. Usually we don't make our children give each other presents, but rather kind of just consider the presents to be from everyone. Christian though had been talking to Rebecca all week saying that he wanted to spend some of his own money on a gift for Elliott. We had already purchased the ball and Christian really liked the idea of just paying for that. It was neat to see how thoughtful and concerned he was.

After that it was pretty much lunch time. Elliott picked macaroni and cheese from a box. And then just everyone playing with Elliott's new toys. That lasted all afternoon! For dinner we had pizza and Rebecca and Julia had made a really yummy chocolate cake. Elliott had no problem blowing out the five candles, perhaps because he could get that extra air through the big gap in his front teeth.

The evening ended with his choice for a movie - Kung Fu Panda.

We are so glad that Elliott is a part of our family. His personality is very unique compared to our other children and he just loves being close to us and trying to make us feel happy. He is a pretty big guy though, so sometimes his physical attention ends up hurting some, but we still appreciate the love.

Here are some pictures of him with his siblings.











Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Break

We are all out school now for the rest of the year - Yay!!! My last week went pretty smoothly with final exams, reading through the last reports that were due, and entering grades. Julia, Ethan, and Christian all said that their last week was really tough and that their teachers wanted to make up for the time that they were going to have off. But then on Friday they had a huge school-wide -party. Sounds like they got to travel from class to class in the morning making different crafts and then play games and watch movies in the afternoon. This weekend we have been making plans for all the fun things we want to do together over the next couple of weeks.

The past three weeks we have been getting a ton of snow! Maybe 2-3 feet or so. It seems like every time I have cleared the driveway we get another snowfall the next day. Sometimes I have thought about just waiting and only clearing the necessary part of the driveway, but if I don't get to our driveway and sidewalk quick enough our 70 year old neighbor comes out to do it. I think he has done it 3 or 4 times already this season. He does have a snow blower, but I still feel bad every-time I come home and see that he did it.

On Friday we got our biggest snow fall. It started off with rain in the morning. Rebecca and I planned a temple trip for that day and was glad it was just raining so the roads wouldn't be bad. We got abut 30 miles out of Pocatello when the rain turned to snow. Instead of 80 miles per hour, we had to slow down to 40 for the rest of the drive. There were cars off the freeway all along the way. Rexburg looked like it had been hit really bad. The snow had slowed down a lot on our way home, but there were still tons of cars off the road, a few accidents, and even some semi-trucks that had crashed. IT took us an extra hour or so, but we made it home safe. That evening the snow really started to come down and the next morning there was probably a fresh foot on the ground.

On Saturday evening I had my work party and it was at our house. Some of my co-workers were worried about trying to make it up our hill. I spent two hours that day just clearing our driveway. Luckily a couple hours before the party the plows came through and cleared our roads. The party was lots of fun. It was just for the faculty, department staff, and family members, but there ended up being 50 or so people that were here. We did cram everyone upstairs for eating, but for the most pqart the kids all played downstairs while the adults where upstairs. There was a lot of yummy food. Rebecca found some homemade chicken nuggets that she loved, Julia at almost half a ham on her own, I really liked some Asian noodles that one of my co-workers from China brought, and the children drank between 2 and 3 pops and a couple capri-suns each. After the eating the children had a gift exchange. Our children were so excited all day that they were going to get presents. Julia and Christian got drawing sets, Ethan got the game Clue, Elliott got some nerf guns, and for Agnes we just wrapped up some of her old blocks instead of entering her in the drawing. Then the adults had a white elephant gift exchange. Of the 22 people, Rebecca got number 5. When it was her turn she stole an immersion blender from someone, which was great because ours broke a while back. I was number 13. Nothing had caught my eye earlier so I opened a new one. It was toilet paper with Donald Trumps face on it. Luckily Rebecca got to keep her blender throughout the exchange. I thought I was going to have to keep mine too, but then number 21 was super excited to get mine. I then got to steal a rubrics cube which we will probably re-gift to Christian and some Lindt chocolates. Rebecca and I shared a couple in church today, they are really good, especially the dark chocolate ones.

Rebecca, Julia, and Christian are off at a Messiah sing along this evening. I thought it would have been fun for us all to go, but it didn't start until 7 and Agnes and Elliott needed to get to bed so we let Julia, Ethan, and Christian choose whether or not they wanted to go. It will be fun one day, maybe ten or so years down the road, when we can all go together.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

First Presidency Christmas Devotional

We watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional this evening. I am so glad that the church does that every first Sunday of December. This year the final talk was by President Eyring on having peace in our lives. It was especially good. We had been talking about some of his comments on that earlier in church today, so the topic had been on my mind throughout the day. Rebecca and I have also been working on helping the children have peace in our home. The Savior definitely set the perfect example of this. I like how He was able to be at peace no matter what was going on around Him.



You can watch a rebroadcast of it here (www.lds.org or https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/categories/christmas-devotionals?lang=eng) if you would like.

We started a new family tradition for the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. We had nachos for dinner while we watched and then everyone got to suck on a candy cane after they were done with their dinner. The children all liked it and they agreed that we should keep doing it every year. I think the candy cane part is especially good because it gives them something to do with their hands and their mouth so the rest of their body has to just sit and listen. They were all pretty attentive throughout the whole thing. It was also fun watching Julia and Ethan eat their candy canes. They both tried to make theirs as sharp as possible. But then they started poking each other. I had to smile though because I remember doing that same thing when I was young.





Sunday, November 27, 2016

Start of the Christmas Season

We decided to start our Christmas activities a little earlier this year. Usually we wait until after Thanksgiving to pull out any of the Christmas stuff, but last year we didn't get to move into our home until mid December, so we felt a little cheated.



So Monday of this week we decided to put up all of our Christmas decorations. Of course, since we were putting up the decorations, Rebecca suggested that we also listen to Christmas music. I resisted, but she and all of the children ganged up on me so shortly after the Christmas tunes were playing.

We had a lot of fun putting up the tree and our stockings. We also have a couple smaller decorations throughout the house, but no lights on the outside yet. We have a bunch of lights, but I still don't have a tall ladder, so that is my excuse for this year at least.








This week we also watched Home Alone and Home Alone 2. The children just laughed and laughed throughout the whole movies. They are at that age now that they just love that type of hummor.

On Saturday we did our annual decorating of the Christmas gingerbread men. You can see that in addition to gingerbread men, we also had some gingerbread women and a few gingerbread monsters.



We have been singing our Christmas hymns as well for nightly devotionals and in church today we even sang Christmas hymns. This Thursday we will also have our ward Christmas party. We are all really excited for this long Christmas season.

Thanksgiving

We had a fun Thanksgiving this past week. In Pocatello the children get the entire week off of school. We did too at the university, so we had a ton of time together as a family. It was great. Monday and Tuesday were pretty low key - we did some shopping, went to the library, had a read-a-thon, played a bunch of games, and just spent time together. We also got to watch a few new movies for the children throughout the week. They watched Nine Lives which is a newer movie and we all thought it was pretty good. They also watched The Never Ending Story for the first time. They really liked it, which Rebecca and I thought was cool because we had liked it a lot when we were growing up.

On Wednesday we tried to do as much of our cooking as possible. I think we got all of the food either done or prepped so on Thursday we just had to heat things up. By the way, having a double oven just made the heating up go so much more smoothly than in previous years. We had our turkey going at one temperature and then the rolls and other things going at another temperature at the same time.

Nathanael and his family joined up Wednesday afternoon. We were so glad that they were able to come. For the rest of Wednesday night we mainly played around and spent some time catching up.

Nathanael and I thought about going to find a turkey bowl game on Thursday morning, but we decided against it. I hadn't heard about anyone in the ward getting together to play and we could have searched around I am sure and just found some random guys playing, but it was pretty cold out and so we just played a game downstairs with the children. Some of the children opted for Lego building instead, but for those of us who played it was pretty fun.

Caleb arrived that afternoon and he did a great job at occupying the children while we finished up with the meal. Lets see, we ended up having turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, a corn and bacon dish, rolls, a green jello dish, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, stuffing, pumpkin pie, apple pie, oatmeal pie, and Caleb brought these amazing drumsticks that were covered pretzels with rice crispe treats on top. It was a real feast.





For the rest of the evening we played a few more games and looked at all of the Black Friday ads.

On Friday we woke up and went out shopping. We are not the type to try to get all of the doorbuster deals at 2 am, but instead we like to go at 8 or so and just experience some of the frenzy and see if there are any amazing deals left.

That afternoon we went for a hike in the hills behind our house and played some basketball and had some fun with a new nerf gun that Ethan purchased. Our children just loved hanging out and playing with their cousins as well as their Aunt and Uncles.

We are all sad that the long break is coming to a close, but it is only three more weeks until we are off again for Christmas!

We have so much to be grateful for. Last year our house was still being built and although I was able to go back to Washington for a visit, it was hard being away from Rebecca and the children so much. All of the years before that in Alaska we were so far away from all of our family. This year we were all together in our own home and we were close enough to have family come and visit. We have wonderful children, a great job, and testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ and the restored gospel. Sometimes Rebecca and I talk about what we have in our time compared to 200 or so years ago. When we think about it, we imagine we may be a little embarrassed when we meet people from all the different generations of the world - just because we have so much and still we are sometimes not satisfied with what we have. It really motivates us to do the best we can given our blessed circumstances.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Rebecca's Parents get their Mission call

Rebecca's parents got their mission call this week. I don't know how they did it, but they waited all the way until today so that they could do an opening with family around and those of us at a distance on the phone.

They will be serving in Samoa! They will report to the MTC to start their mission in April.

Congratulations Bud and Karen!

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