Family Pic 2015

Family Pic 2015

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!!

Love,
       Amy

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!

Thanksgiving

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."