Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Visitors

This Thanksgiving all of Rebecca's siblings were able to come over for a visit.

The first to arrive were Ryan's family from Las Vegas. They got in really really late on Sunday night. On Monday our children were still in school, so Ryan worked from our house and Monica and their children went to Idaho Falls to visit family.

On Tuesday we let our children skip school (the school district added on Monday and Tuesday of that week after school already started, so some of the teachers even said that attending was optional) and Ryan and Monica were kind enough to babysit while Rebecca and I attended the temple. Our children LOVED playing with their cousins all day long. Tyler's family came right before dinner on Tuesday. That night we had pizza and watched Boss Baby. Then all of the kids just slept together in our main downstairs room. The adults got in a couples game of Ticket to Ride. Right at the very end Ryan and Monica had a couple extra trains that they wanted to get rid of so they blocked the route that we were going to complete on the very next turn. Rebecca said it reminded her of playing games growing up and how strategic Ryan always was.

Some of the nights were pretty wild with them all downstairs, but it was fun to hear them talking and playing with each other.

On Wednesday a few of us went for an early morning hike. The weather was super nice, like in the 60s. Trenton's family arrived in the late morning - so that made it so all of her siblings were here. There were a total of 24 of us in the house. Since it was so nice in the afternoon we went to the park for a game of kickball. We also did a little bit of food prep that day. In the evening Hye Won made us a feast of curry and homemade potstickers. It was delicious. That night the adults played reverse charades, One Night Werewolf (which is a lot like Mafia), and The Great Dalmuti.

Thursday we mainly just played games, cooked, and ate. We had a salad, a sweet potato souffle, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, ham, and turkey. Then for dessert we had pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, apple pie, chocolate pie, raspberry pie, and oatmeal pie. It sounds like a lot of food (and dessert), but it was amazing how quickly it actually went.

Later that afternoon we did Skype with Rebecca's parents. They had sent clothes for all of the grandchildren that were made at the school that they teach at on their mission. We also tried to do some big group pictures of everyone. We had the children watch Home Alone that night and we played some more games after they went to bed.

On Friday it was a little rainy. Some of us went out to do some Black Friday shopping, but for most of the day we were just in doors. We celebrated Mackenzi's birthday that evening with pizza, cupcakes, and watching Kung Fu Panda 2. Saturday was mainly just everyone packing and leaving. We did celebrate Theodore's birthday before everyone left. Since it was his first birthday his parents lined up a bunch of objects and had him crawl to get one that would represent his future profession. Like his brother he chose the ball.

It was great to have everyone from her family here. It is always fun to celebrate the holidays with family around. We have so much to be thankful for, particularly our great family relationships and our testimonies of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Decorations

Usually we like to set up our Christmas decorations on the day after Thanksgiving. However, this year, we set them up a week early since we were going to have company in town. We had our tree and stockings like usual, but about a month ago Rebecca picked up a huge bin of garland for only one or two dollars and so we have that all around the house as well. It was fun setting everything up and starting to get into the Christmas spirit a little early this year.

Today we are also having a family council to discuss all of the different Christmas activities/traditions that we would like to do this year. I am looking forward to hearing all of the different ideas that the children will come up with.

Roller Skating

Pocatello has one roller skating place in it. It is not super fancy, but it is fun and they do a lot of specials to make skating pretty cheap for the entire family. The children had earned free coupons from selling their coupon books at school and then Rebecca and I had two free passes from the coupon book that we got. So, on the Monday after Julia's and Agnes' birthdays we decided to go as a family. At first it was a bit of a struggle while Rebecca or I sat out and held Asher and the other tried to help all of the other children, but then the workers there noticed and let us borrow a couple strollers. That was perfect, because then Asher and Agnes had a blast riding in the strollers and Ethan, Christian, and Elliott were able to push the strollers to help maintain their own balance. We stayed for about three hours and were all tired and sore by the time we went home.

Julia has been pretty sufficient on her own for the past few times that we have gone. By the end of the night Ethan had things down too and could skate anywhere on his own without falling. He wasn't too fast, but at least he was going. Christian and Elliott also both got a lot better. They went from needing to hold on to the wall and still falling a lot to being able to skating on their own with only a few falls per lap or being able to do really well if they were holding someone's had.

Our ward Christmas party in a couple of weeks is going to be back at the skating place and I am excited to see how far along they will be by the end of that.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Julia's Birthday

Julia's 11th birthday is today, but she has been spreading it out over the past half a week.

On Thursday she had her friend birthday party. Originally she was planning on Friday for that, but since school was canceled on Friday we thought Thursday would be a better night.

She just invited about 6 or 7 girls and they were all able to come. Since it was her 11th birthday she choose a Harry Potter theme. It was a huge hit. She made most of the decorations ahead of time (signs for the different shops and classes and decrees from the 5th book) and Rebecca and I added a few touches (3/4 up by our house numbers, stars hanging over the dinning room table).

Her guests received Hogwarts invites that were adapted to her party time and location. The party started at 3:30 with wand making. We have made these types of wands with dowels, hot glue, and paint several times before so even though this did take up a lot of time, it went pretty quickly. Then Julia got to show off her bedroom (the cupboard under the stairs) - I set this up while she was away at school and I thought she would be embarrassed to show her friends, but she seemed to really like it. Next we did the sorting hat. All the girls got put into Griffindor or Ravenclaw and Ethan, Christian, and Elliott got Slitherin. After that we went downstairs to play quidich. It was Griffindor vs. Ravenclaw with Slitherin being the bludgers. For this game we had three laundry baskets on each side and two balloons as quaffles. They got a point each time they could get a balloon into any one of the other team's basket. They couldn't carry the balloons and Slitherin got to throw little soft footballs (the bludgers) at anyone they wanted. The game got pretty wild and in the end Ravenclaw was victorious. Then we went back upstairs for a visit to HoneyDukes for cupcakes. Then potions class to make slime. After that Julia opened up her presents. That was the end of the official party, but all of the girls were invited to stay for pizza and to watch the first Harry Potter movie until about 8pm. It seemed like everyone had a blast and it was fun to see Julia play and talk with her friends now that she is almost a teenager.

Then on Saturday we did all of the regular birthday celebrations. Julia ordered Monkeybread, bacon, and sausage for breakfast. Then she opened up presents and she wanted to go out shopping with some of her birthday money. For lunch she requested nutella sandwiches and left over macaroni and cheese. Then I played some one-on-one laser tag with her. We were supposed to go out rollerskating in the afternoon, but we found out our coupons were not good for Saturday so we are going to go Monday evening. For dinner we had lasagna! Then we ended the night watching The Princess Bride.

We have continued the celebrations today with lots of game playing and just doing activities of her choosing.

We are so lucky to have Julia in our family. And so lucky that she was our first child. She helps out so much with her younger siblings and sets an excellent example for them at school or wherever she is. When she was young she always used to love spending time with me, but now she has developed a really close relationship with Rebecca. It is really neat seeing their friendship.

Julia was in charge of frosting and decorating her cake. She is trying to cover up that some of the frosting is falling down on the sides.


Lots of people frequently comment on Asher's hair so I just wanted to post a recent picture of him. He is definitely our blondest child and I don't think anyone else's hair grew this quickly. We cut it once pretty short when he was about 2 months old and looks like he is about ready for another one.

He really gets a lot of attention when we go to the assisted living place every week. The residents there always talk about how handsome he is and there are a couple in particular that want to hold him and hug him every time we visit. They usually just cuddle him and squeeze him until he starts crying. He is a pretty good sport about it and I can tell that it makes those ladies so happy.

Happy Birthday Agnes!!!

Agnes' birthday was on Wednesday. Luckily, I didn't have to go in to work that day so it was just me, Agnes, Rebecca, and Asher at home together all day long.

Agnes had been sick the previous day, but she woke up feeling pretty good. For breakfast she ordered chocolate chip pancakes. Then, while the other children were away at school she took a bath in the big tub, we played Spot It and Mousetrap, she had pizza for lunch, we watched Snow White, and we read a few books.

Then, once the rest of the children got home she opened up her presents. She had been excited for that and asking about it a lot all day long. For dinner she ordered Macaroni and Cheese and then she got another movie (Frozen) that night.

She seemed really happy all day long and was loving the extra attention. We are so lucky to have her in our family. When she got her baby blessing I remember that she was blessed that she would bring joy to others. I really think that is true - at church everyone always comments on how cute she is and how happy she makes them when they see her and then at home she just seems to get along great with all of her siblings (they all love playing with her especially when they are having a conflict with a different sibling). She has also started helping more in playing with Asher and trying to make him laugh.

(None of the pictures turned out very well, I just couldn't get the lighting right that day)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Our Little Witch

I was thinking that mail didn't come on Sundays, but today, just in time for her 11th birthday, Julia received an invitation to attend Hogwarts.