Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dear Missionaries

     It seems like everyone has been reporting on how cold it is, with the exception of mom, dad and Eli who are dying of heat stroke!  We are getting that same below zero weather.  In fact, I think that every school in Idaho is closed today because of it (except for us).  This cold weather made things pretty exciting around here on Tuesday, because the power went out a little before 7 a.m. and was out for three hours.  It was a wide-spread power outage, so the kids got their no school day then.  The house was feeling too cold to live in by 10:00, and I was just starting to pack the kids up to go spend the day over at Jim and Marilyn's (they had solar panels installed in their field this summer) when the power came back on!  We had a fantastic day at home.
     I use weekends and vacation days to catch up on sleep a little bit.  I have been known to sleep until 10:00 a.m.on those days. (That is after being up most of the night until 6:00 am.) I don't think I could make it through the long sleepless nights without being able to count on a little catch-up on the weekends!  I also went back to bed when the power was out.  The kids entertained themselves by piling the floor with pillows and jumping off the hearth onto them.  I found evidence of it on Caden's camera:)
     Early Sunday morning Shawn got up and sent me back to bed and I slept like a log!  I never heard him come in to shower and get ready and was panicked that he had left for church without a shower and a shave, just to let me sleep!  Turns out that I just slept through it.  Which is a miracle.  Because usually I can always hear Shawn no matter how quiet he tries to be.  I have often thought that it is obvious that he didn't grow up with a Katie in the house to teach him super- sneaky spying techniques, and how to soundlessly open and close a door ...among many other things!:) (Yes, I remember you teaching me that, Katie, and I use it all the time!  That and how to sneak across the house without anyone seeing you.  That comes in very handy when I need to become invisible to my kids.)

     Our ward Open house and Christmas Concert went very well!! Everyone is talking about making it a tradition.  Our family was a live nativity one night - Shawn says he feels like he is a little too mature-looking to play the part of Joseph anymore, so I think he felt a little silly.  We thought about having Kami and Caden play Mary and Joseph, along with Pace as baby Jesus, but decided that might raise some eye brows with everyone that came from other denominations.

Our "wise men" looked a bit like Jafar from Aladdin- a bit sinister-looking:) Abram is a sheep, only his head is to wide for the ears to hang right:)  We borrowed all of these costumes from Tara Bingham.  I remembered her saying that they dress up like this for the Christmas story every Christmas Eve. Pace was just fine about lying in the manger. I think Nolan is the sweetest little shepherd.  He took his role very seriously!  I was amazed with the amount of people that stood around and watched us.

     I think Shawn must have felt too old that night because he just turned 40 on Saturday!! We didn't get to celebrate his birthday much that day because of busyness during the day and the Christmas concert that night.  We did open presents, and then I made a birthday cake last night and Caden made homemade ice cream.  After we made it, we wondered if we would get to have it, because he still wasn't home and it was getting late.  He is in the beginnings of tithing settlement.  Finally he did get home, though.
     Kami and I had to run down to I.F. Saturday to get what she needs for the Christmas formal.  The
 boy that asked her is shorter than she is, so we found some cute flats.  He also asked her early enough that we can have plenty of time to make a dress, so we found some beautiful fabric and I have already started laying everything out to get going on that project. I'm hoping that she can help sew a lot of it, but we will see.  Her schedule is pretty busy right now.  This weekend her choir is supposed to go down to Salt lake to perform, so that is one weekend of work that is out. She is also working on some pieces that she is supposed to play to accompany the choir and the orchestra in a Christmas concert that is coming right up.
     I stayed home from church yesterday because the night before, Isabelle was running a fever and had a sore throat.  We were doing so well avoiding all of the germs.  She already went back to school today feeling as good as new, so at least it isn't a long-term thing. I just expect Pace to get it now, though, because Isabelle is always giving him a lot of attention.
    I am so excited for Christmas, and so excited that it snowed so that it looks like Christmas outside!  The kids have all done all of the shopping that they are going to do, I think.  Maddie probably has the Christmas spirit the most.  She keeps making very creative gifts for everyone and exclaiming about how she "really has the Christmas spirit!"  She is also the only one that has wrapped her presents.
     There are two things that I have really been enjoying lately.  One is teaching Caden to lift weights. He is interested in that right now, and asks me, most nights, if I can go upstairs and show him some lifts that he can do. I have been enjoying that time spent together talking and being together.

     The other thing I have been enjoying is the Christmas LDS songbook.  I had decided to tuck the younger kids into bed with two or three songs sung to them from that book every night during December.  It has ended up that it hasn't happened every night (bed-time IS NOT my favorite time of the day) but it has happened frequently enough that I am satisfied with the endeavor:)  I thought maybe this would help them think about the miracle of Christmas and not just the magic of it all. It has beautiful art work and all of the fun AND religious Christmas songs.
     Well, that's all the news that I can think of.  Dad, Shawn wonders if you got the ideas that he sent you?  Hopefully some of them work - I know the youth here loved them.  They may need tweaking to meet your needs. Eli, we were very encouraged that you got our "snail mail" as well as the pouch mail.  We had been wondering. More letters were sent to you last week! It's your turn this week, Abby!!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

handsome boys

I had to grab this picture of my matchy-matchy boys:)

And while I'm at it, I will add some pics of this cute little fellow:

He is getting to be SOOO much fun!!!....during the day.  He still has to sleep with someone, or not sleep at all during the night.  I will admit that there have been a lot of mornings following a sleepless night, that I have looked at his cute, smiling, lit-up-like-a light bulb little face and said, "Oh, you are in for a little shock...I can hardly wait until you are eight months old and can cry yourself to sleep!!!" It will be hard to hear, but it will be so nice to get the most sleep that I will have had in eight months.  Only 4 1/2 months to go!!:)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Anticipating Christmas - It's going to be a great one!!

I have been so incredibly excited for the Christmas season this year!!  It seems like there are years that time seems to slow down and I am able to enjoy every moment of the holidays and really feel the spirit of Christmas.  Then there are other years that seem disappointing because Christmas seems to come and go before I really FEEL anything.

Nolan's art:

I am sure that the reason that I am so excited this year is because of the anticipation of something that our ward is doing.  Shawn said that they have been discussing this idea in ward council since June: we are having an Art Display and Nativity on the 5th, 6th and 7th. This will include any form of art that focuses on our testimonies of the Savior.  Then, on the 7th, we will have a family orchestra and choir concert of Christmas music to culminate the event.

Isabelle's art:

Kami's art - I have managed to make it out of proportion by photographing it at a bad angle, but you get the idea:)

This is something that we have been asked to invite our friends and neighbors to.  As a ward, we have also invited other denominations to come and participate in our "Celebration of Christ".  We have had a lot of miraculous things happen and it has really strengthened my testimony and made me even more excited to do missionary work!  It is neat to make friends with the people from the other churches, and share our talents and testimonies of the Savior with each other.  Many of the churches declined participation, but we DO have the Presbyterian Bell Choir coming, and even though the Lutheran Church couldn't come, they have invited the ladies in our Relief Society to come watch their choir perform on a different day, and will be serving us a luncheon afterwards.  That will be great too!!

 Our family has been asked to be a live nativity for half an hour Thursday evening - I think there will be a lot of families doing this for half-hour segments throughout the Open House.  Kami, Isabelle and Nolan have all done some art work to contribute.  Kami is going to participate in the family orchestra.  She and Caden have both signed up, for half-hour increments, to play live Christmas music during the open house. Kami has invited two friends to attend the event with her, and the rest of us need to get with it and invite our friends that have come to mind as we have pondered about it.

This is just such a great way to bring the spirit of Christmas into our homes and lives a little earlier in the season, and also the lives and homes of our neighbors!


We ended up getting really spoiled for Thanksgiving because we got to have Shawn's parents and Aunt Linda ALL TO OURSELVES!!!  It was awesome.  Initially we were a little disappointed that no cousins were going to be there, but we had a great day! 

Because Jim and Marilyn would be working in the Visitor's Center that morning, and because we're getting to be a pretty big bunch to have over, I tried to take care of a big portion of the meal. Marilyn and Linda did the turkey, potatoes and gravy and corn.  The day before Thanksgiving, we baked like crazy.  I made a broccoli salad and a yam/pineapple bake dish and three pumpkin pies, Kami made two apple pies and four batches of delicious rolls, and Caden made a pumpkin trifle and jello salad, and orange rolls. (He also made homemade ice cream the day of). Maddie made a chocolate pie.

I love using the holidays to teach my kids, and make sure they aren't lacking any cooking skills- at least not any that I have and can share.:)  Everything is all relaxed, we don't have to worry about meeting any deadlines or appointments, and we can just enjoy time together.  I find myself wishing that from now until New Year's could just be a great big, school's- out, holiday!

After dinner the kids rode the four wheeler and they even got everyone to play a few fun games. Pit, Apples to Apples and "the name game."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Four and counting!

Knowing that Saturday (Abram's birthday) was going to have a crazy-busy morning, Kami, Caden and I did this before we went to bed:

Plus we put a lot of balloons on his bedroom floor so that he would feel extra special when he woke up!  I got up early and made some pumpkin pancakes (delicious!!) Abram woke up all bright-eyed and filled with excitement and we hurriedly ate before we were 'off to the races'!  Abram didn't appreciate the pancakes as I had hoped.  We usually don't eat syrup at our house, and I got some just for the occasion.  He ate a few bites and then proclaimed that he didn't like the "ketchup" that was on them.:)

Nolan and Shawn took off at 7:00 or 7:30? for weigh-ins for Nolan's wrestling tournament.  Nolan came home appalled that a lot of the die-hard little boys weighed in their underwear.  Shawn said Nolan was feeling pretty apprehensive until Shawn reassured him that he didn't need to do that!

I took off with Maddie at 7:45 to piano festival, and then got home in time to take Kami to violin festival.  The judge was running late, so I didn't get to hear her play.  I had to run home in time to get Maddie to her basketball game.  On the way to her game, I dropped Caden off for his piano festival and sent him in with Kami's books for HER piano festival as well.  Then I dropped Maddie off, and the rest of us ran over to see if we could catch any of Nolan's wrestling tournament.  We got there just in time for it to end:(  Nolan won all but one match and was pretty excited about that!

I hurried back to the festival to see if I was in time to hear the kids play.  I got there just in time to see Caden come out from his performance.  We all got in the car to go watch the rest of Maddie's b-ball game.  We were there five minutes and the game ended.  Sigh.  I was a little too late for everything.

After the game, Shawn took the kids to the store because they all wanted to shop for something for Abram.  Abram and I went home and got busy on his cake.  He said he wanted a "hulk" birthday cake.  We looked for ideas on-line and I asked him if any of them looked good to him.  I was a little concerned that he'd pick one of the most time-consuming ones...but he said, "I'd be happy with ANY of them!!!"  Bless his little heart:) While we made the cake, Abram asked me if he would get any "burning sticks" on it:)

We love our Abram boy!  He is so much fun and has such a sunny disposition. Isabelle summed it up really well with her card :

Monday, November 18, 2013


Right at the end of Kami's surprise party (previous post) a boy called MY phone (because Kami had left hers at home) and asked to speak to Kami.  He asked her on her first date. When I walked back to Shawn after handing Kami my phone, he groaned and said, "This just gives me the most sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach!  When did she get old enough for all of this stuff?"

When indeed?!?!

Shawn's nostalgia made the song "Sun Rise, Sun Set" from Fiddler On The Roof, one of my all-time favorite musicals, pop into my head. THEN I started feeling nostalgic...which can make you also feel a little melancholy. 

When DID she grow to be a beauty? Kami before her first date:

When DID she grow to be so tall?
WASN'T it yesterday when she was small?

Is this the little girl I carried?

I don't remember growing older....when did she? I look at these pictures and it seems like we just took them last year!

I miss that little face and little body!  I'm glad that I don't have to miss that sweet smile and bubbly good-natured personality!  I am loving the teenage years, but the sudden realization of how quickly this wonderful season of my life will come to a close saddens me. I love being a mom.

 Shawn and I felt a little melancholy that first night of our oldest turning 16, but the next day, when another boy called and asked for a date, we felt more accustomed to things.

And before the boy showed up, Shawn had to have his little joke:

Kami's surprise

Kami turned 16 on Friday!  Little did she know, but I had been planning a big surprise party for her for the last month!  I had contacted all of her friends about it, and then suddenly there was a surprise party for one or two kids per weekend!  So it didn't end up looking like a very original idea - I guess age sixteen is a surprise birthday party age:)

Friday morning I told Kami that I wanted to get some pictures of her on her 16th birthday when school got out.  After school, the rest of us were rushing around trying to tie up all the loose ends before the party, but Kami was oblivious to it.  She calmly practiced her piano and got ready because she thought we were going to go to the school play later on.  Caden and Maddie finished baking some cookies I had started while Shawn and I ran things back and forth to the party site.  At one point I apologized to Kami that she was having such an un-exciting birthday.  She replied, "I'm having a WONDERFUL birthday!"  So I decided to tease her a little bit.  I asked her what her friends had gotten her for her birthday (knowing that they hadn't given her anything yet).  She said, "Well, Hailee is the only one that gave me anything.)  I said, "Jeesh!  What slacker friends!!" And she said, "No.  Mom. They made me feel really special!!"  She is always so easy to please!:)

About ten minutes before the party started, I took Kami with me to grab a pizza for the younger kids.  I told her that after we took her pictures, she could choose something to eat.  Evidently, there were already two boys at the front door the second that Kami and I pulled out of the garage.  We just missed seeing them!  I really took my time, giving everyone a chance to gather, but Kami still had no idea!  When we got back to the house, we saw a (late) girl run up to the front door.  Caden pulled the girl into the house before she even had a chance to knock, came out and grabbed the pizza from us and then came back and jumped in the car and said, "We need to hurry and get those pictures taken! I'll come help!"  So we took off for the Wades shop where we had the party.  (I had told Kami that there were some great backdrops out at the Wade's barn) BTW - the late girl got there right behind us:) We walked in and everyone started singing to her and she was completely taken by surprise.

We played games and ate lots of food and I was so glad that we did this for Kami!  It was stressful day-of because so many friends had school things - sports, debate events, etc. that made it so that they couldn't come and I started worrying that the group would be too small to do everything that we had planned, but it ended up that we still had a good number. She had such a great time and I could tell that it meant a lot to her that we went to all that effort for her birthday.

And I really didn't get any individual pictures that night;)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Personality disorders

Yesterday Abram smiled up at me and said, "Mom, you're weird....But you're weird in a GOOD way." This got me to thinking about the weird things that I do or enjoy.

A little while later I was smashing the third spider of the day that I had found crawling around the house.  Man I hate spiders!  They ALL give me the creeps....except for one...and that one is the spider that lives in our storage room, that Abram and I refer to as our "pet spider".  I have very fond feelings for this spider!  Is this a "weird- in- a -good -way thing?" About a month ago, there were fruit flies ALL OVER our house!  Once I had Pace and was feeling more like navigating stairs again, I got to the bottom of the problem.  I cleaned out the storage room, which had been sadly neglected, and found some rotten squash which the fruit flies were going crazy over.  These fruit flies were a good/irritating thing - I don't need to spell out why it was irritating - fruit flies are irritating!!  It was a good thing, because whenever Pace was being really cranky and all I could do was hold him, I could still smash flies with a fly swatter.  Once the flies made it into our living quarters, they seemed to head straight for the upstairs bathrooms.  We have nine foot ceilings, so I spent many happy moments "accomplishing something" standing on the toilets or edges of the bathtubs, swatting at fruit flies on the ceiling.  They became my mission:)

One day Kami came home from lunch and had to share her funny fruit fly story of the day - she said that at lunch-time she headed to her locker to grab her lunch and several fruit flies flew out of her locker when she reached in to grab it!  We got a good laugh....we Gees are really something, I tell you!

...But back to this pet spider business....You should see all of the fruit flies that he/she(?) single-handedly dealt with! The smart little thing set up a web right by the door at the top of the storage room stairs and any time a fly tried to head out it got caught in it.  Then Abram and I could watch with fascination as the spider sucked their insides right out.  VERY SATISFYING!!!  Yes indeedy, you can bet that spider is safe in my long as he stays in the storage room.

 A few weeks ago, Shawn was gone week after week for a couple of months straight, only coming home on weekends.  I was living on three hours of interrupted sleep every night.  (Oh my goodness, life is SO MUCH better with a husband!  It's so nice to be able to trade off a little bit during the night and have both of us get adequate - if not sufficient- rest.) Anyways, one week while he was gone, all of my life-lines floated out to sea, so to speak.  These are my lifelines:

1. My husband.
2. Sleep
3. At least three days a week that I get to exercise
4. Socialization - usually with friends while I get the exercising done
5. A clean house

I could repeat the lifelines of "my husband" and "sleep" several times.  One day during the end of this loss-of-lifelines week, I started feeling stressed, and burdened and depressed.  I had kids to run all over while Pace screamed in the backseat.  I was stressed because several kids needed to be in different places at the same time.  Kami can drive, but not after dark - and HELLO!! It is dark practically from the second they get out of school now!!!! Did these day-light- saving people think this scenario through?  I think not!

 Then there was the Relief Society meeting that I really wanted to go to but would be super late to if I made it at all-and remember that socialization is one of the things that gets me feeling better about things.  So anyway, I was sitting outside in the car waiting for my kids to get out of piano lessons and my Father-in-law came out to talk to me.  He said, very sympathetically, "How are you doing today?"  And I started crying - how mortifying is that?!? It's mortifying for me because I'm not much of a crier.  THEN, I never could get things under control.  I cried ALL the way home.  Caden was sitting in the passenger seat staring straight ahead giving off the most "I'm uncomfortable" body language that you would ever see.  Under normal circumstances that would have sent me into peals of laughter.

Well, I made it to RS and it was very therapeutic.  When I got home I walked into a spotless house, - bless my traumatized children's hearts- got Pace to sleep and went to bed myself.  Then, miracle of miracles, he slept (for the first..and last time....) until 4:00 in the morning!  Three life-lines thrown to me in no time!! When the kids woke up, I said, "It's a miracle! He slept until 4:00 a.m!  They said, "yeah, we were all praying for that!"  Then Caden sent me back to bed and they all watched Pace and I slept, without stirring, until 10:00.  And do you know, from the second I woke up the world was just the most wonderful place again!  Boy do I love sleep - it just puts everything back into perspective.  And babies have a way of making you value every little bit you get even more!

Even though things aren't as pretty taken from my phone - or taken by me for that matter:), the phone is the only thing I ever have handy! So here you go. When I am rested I like seeing things like this:

Maddie was on activity and chose coloring for FHE
 or this:
I went to clean up this pillow from the floor and it seemed weightier than usual!

 or this:
I guess he must be comfortable...he isn't crying...

 And I like watching my kids enjoy things like this:

Maddie's team played her cousin Abby's team.  They had ALOT of cousin moments like this, (above) talking during the game:) And Abby was assigned to guard Maddie which gave them more opportunities:)

Shawn left again this morning, but before he went, he sent me off to exercise, and let me hurry down to IF with my good friend Amanda, since we both needed to buy some bulk honey.  We talked all the way.  Two life-lines down. And the house is clean.  That makes three. Now I'm just hoping to get a good night's sleep so that I don't develop any more "personality disorders".

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013

This year I had a vision of having the whole family be a family of monsters...then I wisely decided that this was not my year to do extras like that when I"m lucky if I can keep up with the basics!  So... Abram went as a dinosaur, in a costume that I made for Caden when he was about this age:

He was entirely cute, but I was only able to get him to agree to the costume by convincing him about how scary he looked:)
I took him to the store with me to buy some candy for our trick-or-treaters and it was a very entertaining shopping experience.  A big group of college girls spotted him right off and I heard them simultaneously say "cute!"  Then Abe began growling and roaring at them in the way he imagines that a dinosaur would sound and they all exclaimed, "AWESOME!!!"  He then growled and roared at people all through the store:)
I bought (or I should say Shawn bought) a Captain America costume for Nolan.  I made him a shield out of a pizza box.  This is at Nolan's class when Abram and I went to help with the Halloween party:
Maddie decided to go as a Barbie doll, I suspect because she would then get to wear make-up.  Isabelle was adamant that she DID NOT want to dress up this year.  I kept giving suggestions and she kept saying she didn't want to dress up.  But then I thought of an idea that completely appealed to her.  I asked her if she would like to dress up like a worn-out mother.  She was then so excited about her costume.  Isn't that funny?  I must make that role look pretty appealing!! Ha ha.  Anyways she wore her pj's with a bathrobe over the top, slippers, carried a baby doll, and then we ratted her hair and had a few curlers just hanging from the back of her head.  Here is the whole gang:
everyone's really taking on their role:)
And let's not forget the little monster:
Kelley gave Pace this outfit and that is what got me thinking about monsters.  Thanks Kelley!  He was pretty cute!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

unloading my phone

I have a plethora of pictures on my phone and email that need to be blogged about, such as:

*For Madeline's 11th birthday, Shawn and I presented her with tickets to a Mindy Gledhill concert.  Maddie LOVES Mindy Gledhill and has bought quite a few of her songs and listens to them frequently on i-tunes.  I was the lucky parent that she selected to bring along with her to the concert (one of us needed to be home with Pace or we would have BOTH taken her.)  It was a fun evening with Maddie - we did get a picture of Mindy and Maddie looking into the camera, but Maddie forbids me using the picture as she thinks it is a bad one of herself:)

 *My SIL, Suzette, has been dating this guy (Kory) since this last summer:
she could probably get a lot more specific as to how long they have been dating ......and it's our big, exciting romance of the decade!! We are so excited that she has met her match at last...  She has waited her whole life for it! And we all really like Kory. Don't you think this would make a great engagement picture?  I think it's beautiful. (I actually stole it from Suzette's blog:)

*Isabelle LOVES to jump rope!  She has started attending a jump roping clinic on Monday afternoons, put on by the high school jump roping team (they're really good!!) Yesterday she was practicing a new trick, but couldn't quite get it.  I borrowed her rope for a minute and showed her how, but she was still having troubles, so I stood behind her (without her jumping) and held onto her arms to show her how her arms were supposed to go. All of a sudden she forgot and actually jumped while I was leaning over her from behind.  My teeth went all the way through my tongue on both sides, and I was seeing stars for awhile.  I'm still slurring my speech because I have to try to talk without moving my tongue - OUCH!!

Belle pausing to talk to her friend Cambrie:

Isabelle is so cute with babies:
When she can't hold Pace, she has one of her dolls, "MaKayla" that she cares for.  The other morning, during scriptures, I told her to sit down, but then I immediately wished that I hadn't said anything.  She was bouncing and holding her baby standing up just as Shawn or I have to do with Pace every morning. I've even heard her sweetly saying to her baby things like, "It's time for tummy time now!"

*Meanwhile, Abram can't get enough of Pace:

This morning he was "helping" me bath Pace.  First he scrubbed his head with that spongy scrubber-thing that they send home with you from the hospital.  Pace was very patient.  Then he helped lotion him all up, putting lotion all over him, but not really rubbing it all in:) When Abram is trying to get smiles he gets right in Pace's face and if Pace turns his head he jumps to the other side and gets in his face again.  It's hilarious!

*I'm enjoying Abram's imagination.  This is what my entry-way table looks like right now:

This is what it looks like after Abram plays there:
Made me laugh.
This is where he sat in the car -  (dinosaur with a car in it's mouth):
The result of what happens to Abe's toys when he plays with them on my vanity. I found this later:

*This was a Saturday job list.  I guess Belle didn't want Pace to feel left out!  She made him a list of tasks to do and even crossed them off throughout the day as he accomplished them. I tried making the pic bigger, but then it just got too blurry:

(Make a diaper, drink a bottle, be happy, smile at whoever's holding him, take a nap)

*Shawn told Caden, when school started, that he wanted him to do some sort of after -school activity- he didn't care what, but he felt like he needed to stay busier. (Caden NEVER has any homework, unless he is helping one of the kids with theirs:).  He's even taking a Trigonometry class this year and still no homework!) Anyway, he told Shawn that he wants to build things.  So he and Shawn put their heads together and they planned out some lockers for the mudroom.  He and Shawn went and cut all the wood for them, and then Shawn left town.  Caden built these all by himself while he was gone:

Under the bench is storage that fits big Tupperware containers for seasonal clothes

I have since added some baskets to the empty boxes, and the kids keep gloves, hats, sunglasses, etc in them.
We love these lockers he built!  Now he is making a few more on the other side of the room, this time designed entirely by himself, and also something for shoes.  I will have to add pictures when the room is completely finished!  Next he is going to make cabinets in the garage. I can't believe what a good job he is doing!!  It's such a great experience for him - he knows his way around the lumber yard and can run a lot -maybe all-of the power tools now.

*These wild turkeys are making a mess of our yard! Literally!!  And the crazy bird-brains keep getting up on our trampoline and leaving great surprises behind... which is unfortunate because the kids really enjoy the trampline the most in the spring and in the fall. Lately, soon after everyone gets home from school, the kids all go out and jump for awhile.  The little boys are very disappointed when Caden can't come jump with them because he hoses off the tramp for them:)

*Nolan made treats for family home evening this week.  He chose Peanut Butter Balls.  I will include the recipe because my kids love them...they are delicious AND nutritious!

 Recipe is as follows:
Peanut Butter Balls
1/2 C. Honey
3/4 C. Peanut Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 C. Dry Milk
1/2 C. Oatmeal
1/4 C. Wheat Germ

Roll into balls and eat them up!

Anyway, I got a kick out of Nolan's PB Balls.  Usually we make them large enough that everyone gets about two a piece.  He was so pleased with himself because he made 52 or so of them and figured that THIS TIME everyone would get at least four!!! Some of them were very minute indeed!:

*Last night we went to Kami's choir concert.  Last spring Kami tried out for this choir and she has been really enjoying it!  She accompanied the choir for one of the songs and did a fantastic, flawless job!  She didn't looks a bit nervous, but she said that she has never been so nervous - she felt like her whole body was shaking, even the insides of her stomach!!:) She has never played for such a huge audience before! Kami after the concert with her supportive friends, Carli, Annie, Chloe, and Maryn (who also sang in the choir)

My parents sent these pictures from their mission this morning. Dad  in "the bush".  The path leads the way to a seminary teacher's house.  There are no street signs or anything - you just have to know where it is!:

Mom in one of the chapels.  So many people came to the meeting that there were people that had to stand outside and look in.  Luckily they have the kind of building that they can do that!
At a baptism:  Abram keeps being impressed with the far man on the right's "belly pot".  I'm sure glad we have clothes!!

A group of the local boys that agreed to have their picture taken: