Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Day of 2011

Happy New Year's Eve! My dad reminded me that today marks his parents' 90th wedding anniversary. Yes, 90th! If they were alive they would be 123 and 107 (I think). What a fun day to have gotten married. So glad my dad was born to them.

Today I'm taking the 3 younger kids to Chuck E. Cheese's, which we do every New Year's Eve. Bryce took Tyce snowboarding at Mt.Charleston along with Tyce's friend Zack. Later tonight we're going to a Hardy party, aka a get-together with Kim and Rex. Yay! And sometime in there I have to write a talk for tomorrow.

I saw the coolest idea for a New Year's Eve tree. After you take down your Christmas ornaments you redecorate with party hats, blowers, horns, and balloons. The balloons have fortunes and money inside, and everyone gets to pop one. I love it! But I still have my Christmas ornaments up and I'm totally running out of time. We shall see how much I can fit in today.

These critters are my joy and my distraction--finding it hard to get stuff done while they're home (but we're having fun).

This week we've been swimming twice, saw the movie Tintin, played with friends, and spent a lot of money running errands. My wallet will be glad when school starts.

Wishing you a wonderful, fun day as we end another year! Best wishes to you for renewed faith in a loving God, an eternal perspective and a positive outlook, and a belief that you can achieve whatever you desire in 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Day

Santa came, to the relief of the twins. He brought a remote-controlled airplane for Tyce, a Mario game for Mary, Pirates of the Caribbean action figures for Cam, and Legos for Harrison. What a nice guy!

After family prayer, the kids were seriously ready to head downstairs.

Santa didn't forget our little miss--she got a gingerbread girl in her stocking!

Cam and his new guys--he was happy.

Harrison got the Lego boat he'd wanted.

Mary liked the snowman snow globe in her stocking.

Yes indeed, it is the R/C airplane he'd been hinting at.
We went to church at 9:00 am, which I thought would be nigh unto impossible to pull off. But surprise, surprise--we were there EARLY, and I mean like 30 minutes early. Hello. It's amazing what a little preparation and getting up on time will do for punctuality. We had lovely musical numbers and I sang with the ward choir. When we came home this pretty scene awaited us:

How lovely!
Some kids changed back into pajamas while others kept their church clothes on. Tyce, Mary, and I kept on our finery. The other three crawled back into comfort.

I think it is so cute how Katie climbs on a dining chair and waits expectantly, as if eating off a plate is a regular occurrence. We all know she's just trying to scavenge leftover breakfast ham.

Tyce passed out the gifts.

Art supplies for Mary!

Part of a bigger gift, but a cheetah puzzle for Tyce!

Border collie book and calendar! Bryce also made me a blanket. When he's finished tying it I'll take a picture.

Expressive Mary! This was a look of disbelief and joy that I remembered what she really wanted.

Make your own lip balm!
Katie's first Christmas with us--she's the best present we could ask for!

Bryce loves his dog.
Harrison really wanted a volleyball.

Cam finally got his own basketball.

Tyce got the boys Lion King hats from when he saw the musical.

Giant sunglasses from Cam.


A Tony Hawk Wii game!

Cam loves to skateboard.
After presents we had a great afternoon playing together at home and at the park. The whole neighborhood was out and it was fun to see kids playing with new basketball hoops, throwing footballs, and riding bikes.

I am grateful for the birth of Jesus Christ and for the joy of Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve

We had a nice candlelight dinner of ham, twice-baked potatoes with cheese, green onions and red peppers, AND roasted potatoes (for Bryce, whose excuse is "I'm English"), raspberry Jell-o, sparking cider and pies for dessert (which nobody ate but that's okay).

Mary did a great job! She set and decorated the table.

She used napkin rings for the first time; she said, "I had to roll up 4 or 5 to make them fit!" We do have cloth linens but they are obviously rarely used.

The family--aren't they cute!

We love opening Christmas crackers--Harrison was really hoping for a whoopie cushion as his prize. He got a mirror.

Everything seems magical by candlelight.

We watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas.
Love, love, love that DVD.

Bryce led our Christmas candlelight devotional.

Letting our Light shine through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

And we all opened new Christmas pajamas from Grandma Judy and Grandpa Al! Bryce also got books for the kids: an Orson Scott Card graphic novel for Tyce, Phantom of the Opera for Mare (which she read in one night), and Shel Silverstein books for the twins.

Cameron (7), Harrison (7), Mary (almost 12), and Tyce (15).

This is their default pose.

Ready to head off to bed with good books.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just Checking In

Winter home. But the best part so far was that my parents came to visit for five days! They got to see me sing in sacrament meeting and perform with Tyce in our community choir. I'm 37 years old and there's nothing that makes me more proud than to have my mom and dad smiling at me while I'm on stage. We also did some fun things out and about (which I will show you later) and played games. Ah, I wish we lived closer...after they leave Texas seems even farther away.

Today I'm attempting to bake again. I made one of my best recipes yesterday, sugar cookies, and because I was counting on them to turn out....they betrayed me. Thanks a lot, tough pale blobs. I think I mis-measured the flour or something. Today I'm making bar cookies only. I have faith and confidence that I will have little plates of treats to share by Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow I am having lunch with Jen and Rebecca S. because a girl's gotta have some time with her friends. Friday can't come soon enough, you know?

The twins have been kept in line by threats of ending up on the Naughty List. Thank goodness for that!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Family Portrait

The morning of the picture I was still stressing about the wardrobe. Then Mary decided to have an opinion and not wear the outfit I'd picked out for her. And Tyce begged to wear the blue shirt and vest instead of the white one with a tie. Luckily Bryce and the little boys still obey my costuming commands. I think you'll agree that in the end everyone looked great!

That's the one hanging on our wall. But here are some of the outtakes:

Cameron! What a face.

Oh Harrison.
 I like these back-to-back photos. The boys are practically the same height--maybe only a quarter of an inch difference.
Handsome boys.

A similar picture was taken a few years back of Tyce and Mary--and they were almost the exact same height as well. Except that Tyce is nearly 4 years older than his little sis and and hated being mistaken for her twin!
Thank goodness for a growth spurt! But to be fair, Mary is very tall. At 11, she's taller than I am and I'm 5'4.

I love these individual pictures. These are my favorites (though there was so many good ones).

Tyce, age 15.  

Mary Rachel, almost 12.

Cameron, age 7.

Harrison, age 7.

At the end of the photo session, Bryce asked the photographer to take one more picture--Cameron doing what he loves to do best.

Head spin!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Decking the Halls

I am trying to focus on peace as December marches onward. I've done well, except for the insane amount of time I've obsessed about our family portrait wardrobe. What's that saying, the devil is in the details? Maybe. It will all be over tomorrow when--for better or worse--we will have our annual holiday picture.

Focusing on the positive, you know. Here are some things I like about Christmas.

Cute kids playing on the hearth.

The piano dressed up.

The tree in all her sparkly glory.

Giant-headed snowmen from Target for the boys.

Adorable red-scarfed penguin for the girl.

Focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. I love this set. But the kids played with baby Jesus so much last year they broke off his head. I can't decide if it's disrespectful to still display this nativity or not?

Stockings for everyone, even the dog.

Mine and Bryce's favorite decoration, cut from our first tree as a family.

Reading special books at night.

Watching Christmas specials on TV! Though I was dismayed to discover Harrison does not like the classic claymation Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer.

I look forward to having my parents visit next week, getting the carpets cleaned (much needed), singing the Hallelujah chorus with Tyce's choir on stage at the high school, our HCA performance at church next Sunday night, wrapping gifts (or more specifically, being done with wrapping gifts), making treats, and all the other good things that happen at this--as Bing would say--the most wonderful time of the year.