Friday, January 19, 2018

So much to write!  Our computer wasn't working and then completely died (I know, always some excuse!) so I've been unable to update our blog for some time.  But here I am, determined!  I'm going to be as concise as I can though, to get through things quickly before I get interrupted :)
In October I got to go on a field trip with Oakley.  My first with him, maybe with he or Roo ever.  Eric always attends the kids' field trips but was unable to make this one.  We went to the Boise Urban Garden School, or BUGS, and learned all about, you guessed it, bugs.  And gardens, etc.  I loved seeing him socialize with his little buddies.  I tried to blend in as much as possible. ;)

Our fall was so busy.  I mean off the charts.  All great stuff though.  I was in charge of our church congregation's Christmas party, a dinner for 300 people (had a committee to help of course).  I started prepping early because I'd never been in charge of an event this big before and didn't want to overlooking anything.  One day B and I headed over to the church to count plastic flatware we already had on hand to see what more we had to purchase, and B grabbed my phone and started taking photos.  We had the building to ourselves (I have a key because of my church responsibilities) so we played hide and seek in the gym and classrooms and we had a pretty fun time after I was done sorting silverware.

One morning Oakley found this perfect milk heart that had been spilled on the table bench.  Isn't it pretty?
Eric has been waiting for years to sign O up for wrestling.  A few months ago his wish came true and O started lessons.  The class is so big that Eric is able to instruct Oakley himself after the teacher shouts out what the kids are to do next.  And one of Eric's church mission buddies just happened to put his son in the same class so that was a double bonus.

 O made this; a man picking something up.
 At the pumpkin patch with Annie, Beckham and Grammie.


Just a note on these costumes.  I saw the pirate costume at Costco and HAD to have it!  Good thing Oakley felt the same way.  Because it wasn't cheap, so we had him earn half of it.  Same with B's ninja and Roo's Belle's costumes.  I used to be all about thrift store costumes; throwing things together, etc.  Then Costco came along...darn Costco.
 I love this ghost cookie B decorated
The kids at the zoo for a Boo! at the Zoo event they have there.  Love this shot Eric took.
 Eric's pumkin he carved for O
 My...simple pumpkin for B
 Roo's cat.  I think Eric did this one too.
 Trick or treating with friends.




I love Halloween in our neighborhood!  Most holidays are about families and family time; everyone retreats inside and does their own thing.  But at Halloween everyone is out in their driveways, congregating and chilling with their fire pits and beers, passing out candy and chatting with their neighbors.  We meet up with our friends and the kids start hitting up the houses, never the exact route each year.  We run into different friends and neighbors all night long, finally ending at the Gills' house, who serve food and hot chocolate in their backyard around a fire.  
View from one of my runs
One of the most exciting things that happened recently is that a new temple opened just down the street from us.  It was announced 5 years ago that an LDS temple would be built here in Meridian, Idaho, and we couldn't believe it!  Then we found out that the location was a beautiful lot we drive past every day as I take the kids to school.  We've been watching the temple be built for years now and were so excited for it to open.

Before an LDS temple opens and is dedicated for use there is an open house so the public can walk through and view it.  Because the Meridian temple is in our area our congregation had the opportunity to help with the open house.  We were very busy volunteering with the ushering on the outside and inside, and cleaning the grounds.  I had the chance to give several tours of the inside, one in Spanish which was a really special experience for me.  One night we took our neighbor, Liz, through and Aspen's friend Araleigh came with us as well. Neither of them are members of our church and they had never been in a temple before.  It was a great experience for all of us.


Once the open house was over and the dedication happened (a special prayer to dedicate the temple to the work of the Lord), Eric and I were able to attend the temple and worship there.  It is such an amazing place and such a blessing; so beautiful and I can feel the Lord's presence each time I'm there.
 A tower O built.
Eric and Oakley went to California over his birthday.  Eric's brother Danny and his wife Shelby had their baby boy, Jacob, and he was having a baby blessing (a special blessing given to babies after they're born).  They spent a day at Legoland while they were there.

That same weekend Eli was getting baptized, so I took Aspen and Birch to Utah.  See what I mean about a crazy time??  But so great!  Look at this beautiful baby!!
 Legoland
 Roo and I may have fought a little over Gideon....
 O loved Legoland.  He thought it was fabulous. The best thing.

Eating out after the baptism.  Doh I don't have a photo of Eli after his baptism!!  I love this photo of Roo.  Pretty girl.




 Crazy couzinz

After the blessing.  Oakley and his cousin Ellie had a fun time playing.  Ellie wanted to do a bunch of silly things with Oakley and he was so good to play whatever she wanted.  She loved her time with him.  And we all enjoyed our weekends with family.
 B after a game of mommy and me soccer ;)
 Poppy stayed with us for a night during his drive home from Utah.  We had fun playing Suspend (which he and Marmie gave to Oakley for his birthday) and goofing off.
 Look Mom! All of them on!
Roo had her first orchestra concert and did a wonderful job.  She is loving playing the violin and everything music.  She is still playing piano and is wanting to tackle the flute next.
Oakley had a pirate birthday party when he turned 7.  10 boys came over (yikes).  Eric ran the whole thing and there were no fatalities so it was a good day.  Actually Eric did a fabulous job and the boys had a great time.  Here they are walking the plank.  I love that Roo is just hanging out here with a book.

 PiƱataing
 keeping balloons in the air

Can Oaks really be seven?  Somehow he manages to get cuter and cuter as he ages.  He can be such a stinker with his siblings the way he picks on them, and yet the most thoughtful, sensitive boy I know.  He is always inventing new things and envisioning what he can create out of nothing, and will give me big, long hugs for no reason.  And he's a wiry monkey when it comes to flexibility, which you'll see in a later post.  He's talented in so many ways.
This is the face Roo made when she found out she was spending her day off at a Humane Society day camp with her friend Audrey.  These two girls want a dog sooooooooo badly but their mamas just won't give them one!  They talk about it, email each other about it, the poor things!  So when my friend Brookann told me she had signed Audrey up for a day camp taking care of animals and asked if Aspen would like to join her, I jumped at the chance.  I knew it would make Aspen, well, this happy!
 Getting them to leave at the end of the day was almost impossible ;)

We went to Anacortes for Thanksgiving.  We travelled so much this year, we were really on the fence about making the trip.  But then Sasha and James decided they were going.  And then Dad and Lisa said they would be moving in February.  So then we just had to go.  (FYI not sure Dad and Lisa are moving but still glad we went ;))

We love going to Anacortes, and we loved being there again this time.  The weather was even beautiful while we were there, which never happens!  The boys had such a great time playing together, and Roo had some girl time with Marmie and Kaylene...
on a shopping trip, since she didn't have any girl cousins to play with.  Here she is with some beanie boo slippers she found.  She loves beanie boos, so when she found the slippers she couldn't believe they'd existed without her knowledge.  At least that's what her expression is saying to me. ;)
 doing crafts
 prepping T-day lunch
We went to the park on Thanksgiving day, and it was gorgeous outside!  Such a great day for pictures.  We snapped so many of the kids. Eric told the kids if they made it all the way around the jungle gym without touching the ground he'd give them a dollar.  They tried and tried and tried over the course of several days, the whole time we were there.  Over and over again, I mean again and again those kids tried.  I never knew how much gumption Eli had until Eric gave him that challenge.  That kid has serious grit!















 Finally, before we left the park on Thanksgiving day, Oakley made it all the way across.
You can see the pride in his face.  This is what I'm talking about when I say monkey skills.  This kid can swing and crawl like nothing I've seen before.  All the kids worked so hard.  We were so proud of all of them.  When Eli grows a bit more he's going to be really hard to beat.

One night Lisa and I were watching Foster and she lit some candles.  He flipped out when he saw the fire.  Like father like son!  It was so funny; he knew he wasn't supposed to touch the candles but he still tried to sneak a little feel right in front of our stares.  He is so adorable; I love giving him the biggest smile because he gets so embarrassed and turns his face away (smiling though).
 Having lunch at Scentsy
The living room with Christmas tree.  Trees were expensive this year so the tree was small :(. The mantel is decorated but you can't see it in the photo.  I took this photo one night when it was quiet and the fire was going and all was calm, all was bright.....
 Looking at Christmas lights at the crazy house in the foothills
 taking the kids to the ice rink at the Village.  A and O loved it; B literally lasted 5 minutes.

He was so upset with the whole experience that he wouldn't even look at me to take his picture after we left.
 The night of the Christmas party finally arrived, December 15th.  The decorations committee was doing an amazing job, and the committee in charge of the musical program had everything underway.
I got to the church that morning and was there all day, setting things up and prepping.  I had Christmas music on and was hanging with the girls on the committee helping with dinner.  It was so much fun!  The planning was a lot of work, but the execution was just play.  I wish I had taken photos of the girls and the room before everyone arrived.  We had ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, an Olive Garden style salad, rolls and lots of baked goods for dessert.
The evening was so much fun and we had enough food for everyone.  When it was time to clean up the girls and I met back up in the kitchen and just chatted and laughed the evening away.  The members of the ward cleaned up the gym, and then someone walked into the kitchen from outside and announced that it was snowing outside, which hadn't happened yet.  I hurried and opened the door and sure enough, huge flakes were dropping from the sky.  I ran into the gym and shouted, "It's snowing everyone!" We were so happy and excited with the evening and then the snow... it was just like White Christmas!  I know I'm sounding a bit romantic, but it really was a magical night.  The few months before while I had prepared my headaches had been really frequent and severe, but the Lord had helped me and everything had come together.  My friend Amanda and I finally finished washing dishes at 10:30, and I headed home with a big smile on my face.
 Celebrating an early Christmas with Eric's family
 Walking through the Scentsy light tunnel

 sleeping angels....

 snow!


Opening presents at our place before heading to the mountains for Christmas.   A and B got scooters, O a skateboard.
This year for Christmas we stayed at a cabin up in McCall.  We were there with Mom and my side of the family.  Eric and Demri flew out from Kentucky and everyone else drove out and made the trip.  It was cold!!  And beautiful.


 The cabin was on a big lot so there was lots of snow for the kids to play in.

There were three (adorable) babies there so lots of naps to schedule around, so we didn't leave much, but there was a lot to do at the cabin, such as billiards and hot tubbing, also a foosball table.

 The babies got passed around a lot!  We made decorations for the cute Christmas tree Mom brought,

 and reenacted the nativity.  Scott and Foster were sheep! ;)
 The kids opening their Christmas jammies.
 The spread
 Christmas morning

Oakley, Ian and Lucas all got laser tag guns, which were a huge hit and SO much fun!  We all took turns playing with them.  There were six altogether.  The first time we played Ian and I were on a team against the boys, and of course we knocked them off within a minute or two each time.  Then Ian gave them a few strategic pointers.  Fast forward to the next day when Sasha and I were on a team against the four of them and couldn't beat them no matter how hard we tried.  We would go upstairs, we would start downstairs, we would pounce, we would lay in wait, it didn't matter.  Those boys had played with those guns for hours and hours and knew the trade.  And we were the losers.
We girls got out one day and did a little snowshoeing.  So fun and so pretty outside.  And much warmer than a few days before thank goodness!






 I miss these babies!!

 The day before we left we headed to a sledding hill.  It was a blast!!! So much fun!
Eli was amazing.  He rode this disk like lightning.  And he 360ed it all the way down.  Just spun like crazy.  He was so fun to watch.
Eric found this hill a few days before; we had it to ourselves and it was really wide so there were several runs.

 These two; such good buddies






 Roo loved every moment she got to spend with Kimmie.  Finally some girl time!





 Demri was so hard core she broke a sled!


 Look at these boys!  Loving the tub.
Before we all left we went out for pizza, and then Ian and Kaylene met us for pancakes (because we really didn't want pizza haha).  It was a fun way to end the fun trip.
 Then we headed to Cascade to spend some time with Eric's family at the cabin.
We headed out onto the reservoir one day with our snowshoes and then Papa and Grammie met us there for some tag.




 Papa makes the best pancakes!
 We went skiing one day while we were up there.  Saw this in the bathroom....

 Love this photo of Roo
And this one of B
and this picture that Roo made.