Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 9th Birthday, David!

We've had a nice, relaxing day celebrating David's birthday. This is due, in part, to the fact that we are holding off the celebrating until tomorrow when Ez has the day off! Ez got home this morning at about 7 and David was still asleep, but I knew he was not going to want to wait until Ez woke up to open his gifts. Ez and I decided it would be fun to wake up David and give him his gifts in bed! Of course not all the kids saw it, but it was something different and fun.

Waking up

A bit more awake when he realizes he got another jersey!

David is definitely a great blessing in our family, I am really greatful for him. Here are nine things I love about David on his 9th birthday!
1. David is a bright boy. He catches on to things quickly.
2. He has a great laugh. It is one of those that is sort of a giggle, and once he gets going, it's hard not to laugh right along with him.
3. He is becoming quite the assistant barbecuer to Ez, always helping him out. He actually seasoned our dinner on Sunday, and it was perfect.
4. David is athletic. We're glad he takes after dad in this way!
5. He is a good brother. David can be a very kind, helpful, thoughtful big brother.
6. David is quite skilled in the art of video games. He really enjoys playing his PSP when he can and loves to challenge just about anybody on Guitar Hero.
7. He loves his dad more than anything. They are best buds. David loves to play football with Ez, wrestle with him, just sit and watch football. He even has the same favorite foods as Ez--rib-eye steak, sea salt and vinegar chips, rocky road ice cream. He even has the same smile!
8. David is a night owl, just like his mom. His least favorite part of the day is bedtime because he so dislikes the idea of going to bed before the adults and potentially missing out on something good!
9. David is determined. When there is something he wants to learn to do, he will make sure he figures out how to do it. He will try and try, ask questions, observe, and try some more until he is satisfied.

Happy Birthday, David! We hope this birthday will be special and memorable for you. We love you!

A few photos of David as he has celebrated his birthdays:

Just a few hours old

A few days old

1 year

2 years

3 years

4 years

5 years

6 years

7 years

8 years

9 years

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Trying Something New

I have always liked the idea of writing in journals for my kids but have never been very successful at it. Last year I became inspired once again when I heard a father speaking about the many great things his children learned by writing in their personal journals once a week. He would print up photos each week of something each child did, then they would attach their photo to their journal and write about it.

I thought of the great potential there would be in having my kids do something like that, so I was excited! I went and bought binders for the kids, helped them decorate them, and pulled out all sorts of paper and photos we already have and let them start. There were a few obvious problems from the start. The first is that I am terrible at getting photos printed up, so I didn't have a lot of current photos. Lily wasn't writing at the time, so it left me and Ez to help Lily, Joe, and Evelyn with their journals. David does not like to write, so he whined about the activity the entire time. So pretty much only Alexis was enjoying it, and it was too much work for just one kid to like it, so I abandoned it after only a few weeks.

I came up with a better solution after seeing a few friends do something similar--I have started a blog for each of the kids! Alexis has been wanting one for a while, so she is rather excited. David and Lily are pretty excited too! The great thing is that I don't have to worry about printing photos, they are just on the computer. The big kids can each do their own typing and I can help edit it afterwards.

I am hoping this will be a much better solution and a way for the kids to find their voice and express themselves. We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Because we can

Ever get a craving for something random? Joe decided he really really really needed a snow cone for dessert last night. It's too cold, I said! No way, I don't want to, I said. But he persisted and he got Lily on board...and well, I decided it really wasn't worth the fight. So, if you can make snow cones in December and you want to, why not? Poor Alexis missed out because she's having a slumber party at Grandma's. Next time, I guess.

Guitar Hero-ing

As with any video game we tend to get, David is quickly mastering it, with Ez just trailing and the rest of us lagging far behind, but we are all having fun with it!Just a few photos from the first couple hours of Guitar Hero at the house.


Christmas morning started shortly after 7, when Ez got home from work. The kids opened their stockings and Ez made a yummy breakfast of french toast, eggs, bacon, and orange juice.

This year David, Alexis, and Lily all wanted more expensive gifts for Christmas, and they knew that if they got those gifts, they wouldn't get too many other things from mom and dad. David wanted 2 PSP games--Madden 2009, and NCAA 2009. Alexis wanted a pink Nintendo DS, and Lily wanted the American Girl doll, Elizabeth. They were all so excited to get their presents!

The first 30 minutes or so of gift opening made the morning rather crazy. Alexis opened her DS and was thrilled, but about 10 minutes after opening it, she couldn't find her stylus. David got his first game, went to play it and his PSP decided to stop working. So while we were tearing apart the living room searching for a pink stylus, and trying to figure out how to fix the PSP and calm David's tears, Lily and Joe and Evie tried to be patient. We found the stylus and helped David to relax a bit by letting him open another cool gift--a football jersey. It didn't make up for the PSP problem, but helped!

Alexis and her DS

Lily and Elizabeth


The rest of the present opening became a bit of a blur. Our intentions to all take turns opening gifts, taking pictures, that sort of thing kind of deteriorated a bit, but all the presents did officially get opened, everyone was happy, and that was that.

We decided to get a few more gifts for the family this year than we typically do--a couple of moves, a few games (board and Wii), but the biggest excitement was Guitar Hero, with 2 guitars! David was satisfied enough with the family gifts to keep him content the entire day. The kids are now all walking around singing songs like Walk This Way, Moving Out, and I Hate Myself for Loving You.

More photos from the morning:

Evie's fun spinny toy

Loving her new ride on car

Joe was so excited to get his own "PSP"

You can't go wrong with press on nails and a new Webkinz!

David's first Webkinz--the only one he has ever wanted

Trying our her new DS

David and his USC blanket from mom

The girls and their aprons from mom

Part of the aftermath...oh boy!

Christmas Eve

We had a lovely Christmas Eve. Ez was able to work out his schedule so that he didn't have to leave for work until 10:30 at night, so once he was awake, we had dad the entire evening.

The morning was rather relaxed, we all cleaned up around the house and then the kids had free time. When Ez woke up I ran to Target for a few last minute purchases, and then it was time for the fun of the evening to begin!

The evening was nice and relaxed, with only one hang up--the garbage disposal ate too many potato peels and they jammed the pipes (I will not divulge the perpetrator). So, while we were finishing up all the dinner preperations, Ez saved the day and emptied out the stuck pipe. Luckily it was a pretty easy, not too messy fix. Dinner was yum--we had ham, shrimp, salad, mashed potatoes, and rolls.

In keeping with long running tradition, our evening included the kids getting new pajamas, followed by the reading of the story of the birth of the Savior in Luke 2 and reading the Gift of the Magi (which mom cannot even listen to without crying, and she has heard it yearly her whole life). Lily was rather tired and was nearly asleep on the couch when our reading had finished, so we all sat and chatted until she was having a peaceful slumber.

We decided to let the kids open one family gift (we bought a number of games for the family this year), and had a lot of fun playing Doodle Dice. By the end of the gaming and the eating of dessert, the kids were luckily rather tired and went to bed easily. Ez headed off to work, and Jane and I set to wrapping and wrapping for quite a while! I also had to finish the girl's aprons I was making for them and by the time it was all finished and wrapped and the mess cleaned up and everything in front of the tree, it was nearing 2 a.m. once more. I need to do better next year in making sure I am done with things earlier!

Evie shook her gift upon receiving it, copying what the kids have been doing the past few days!

The pants were insanely long, but easy enough to trim


Lily is thrilled with her Camp Rock jammies


The gang

Finally ready for the morning!

New cuts

The girls decided it was time for a change. I had convinced Alexis it would be wise to cut a few inches off to try to eliminate some of her tangles, so we went on Tuesday to get her hair cut. Lily decided to tag along.

Lily loves her long hair, but every now and then she wants hair like Kit Kittredge (you know, the American Girl doll). I always discourage it because I love her long hair too, but while at the hair place, she decided to go for it!

Very cute, ladies!

The Days Before Christmas

We of course had lots of fun the few days prior to Christmas, who doesn't? We were busy cleaning and cooking and crafting and playing. On the 19th David and Lily went to Grandma's for a slumber party and to go to a play at the B Street theater. We were meeting them and Grandma at church on Sunday, so Alexis and I decided it was the perfect chance to have a play date with some friends.

Saturday morning Alexis helped me make a bunch of sugar cookies, and that evening Emma and Marissa came to play. They played Dream Life, ate home made pizza, decorated cookies, and giggled--it was a perfect evening for a few friends.

Evie loves to help unload the helpful!

Alexis making the sugar cookies

Evie tasting the dough

Joe crafting

Evie enjoying the sprinkles Joe so generously shared with her

On Monday night I took the kids to deliver plates of Christmas goodies do some caroling to a few friends. It was fun for me to take them since I remember doing the same thing with my family years ago. We made it easy and sang a verse of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, but we had lots of fun.

We also got our first package of Christmas gifts from family on Monday. It is always a hugely thrilling moment, especially because I had not put a single gift under the tree yet! I was so afraid Evie and Joe would terrorize the gifts, but they pretty much left them alone--it was our oldest who was the biggest offender! Alexis just couldn't wait to open gifts and kept picking them up and shaking them, begging to open "just one".

The large boxes from the packages kept the kids entertained for a while. Just the right size for young children to hide in--they were surprise gifts for dad!

Joe thinks being shut into a box will be great fun

Lily's not sure she likes this idea

Apparently Evie is indifferent

As for me, I had way procrastinated on the gifts I was planning on making for the kids, so I was up until 2 in the morning sewing for 3 nights in a row. It might not have been too bad if Evelyn wasn't in a terrible habit of waking up each morning at 5:25 on the dot.

It was a busy and tiring few days, but well worth it! We had lots of fun together and got everything done!