Oakley has shown a lot of interest lately in the Titanic. Just like his mom he is fascinated by the tragedy and it's events. We were reading in an article that someone is building a replica so people interested can buy tickets for a passage. Very sad and you couldn't pay me enough to sail on it.
The kids get a friend birthday party every other year and this year for Oakley's party he decided he wanted a Star Wars theme. We planned it when my mom was here for a visit so she got to help out. By the way, when Mom was here we spent the entire week cleaning and organizing the house. She is so amazing with organization and when she left I felt like I had a new house!
We had the kids shoot hanging targets from the ceiling, pin their name on either the dark side of the force or join the rebel alliance (above) while blindfolded...
rented a virtual reality set that included a game using light sabers...
played some active Star Wars themed games in the common area...
and had a Darth Vader pinata. It was a success and I'm so glad next year we don't have to throw a single friend party for the kids!
I love it when I see the kids reading their scriptures or other books together. 💚
We took the kids to the BYU vs. Boise Broncos basketball game in November and it was so much fun. I really enjoy sitting through a basketball game; football not so much. Unfortunately the Cougars lost but we still had fun.
Aspen's Christmas concert. She is first chair now for violin.
Scentsy Christmas lights
Shooting targets with the boys.
On Thanksgiving morning I went for a run near the local middle school. There in the field were about one hundred geese. For some reason it made the day feel even more like Thanksgiving.
I decided to put lights on our cedar tree this year after lighting the birch. Hard work! I probably won't do that again; getting between those sharp needles and branches was tough. But I am always thinking of where we can add lights. Eric and I hang out while he lights the house and I light the trees.
We always buy a real tree each year. Our tree this year was a bit sad. What I mean is that the trunk grew crooked so we couldn't get it straight, and there were a lot of empty spaces in the branches. It wasn't the prettiest tree, but it was a real tree. I was thinking about this one day while looking at the tree, and had this moment of truth come to me that the only perfect things in this world are fake. Having an imperfect, real tree is worth it to me.
We had a nice Thanksgiving this year, spending it with the Ritter side of the family. The weekend ended with a light snow.
I am Birch's Art Mom this year, which means I come a few times a month and teach his class about an artist and then we do some sort of project to mirror that artist's work. For November and December we made pinch pots. My friend Sara came and helped me (her son is in B's class) and it was so fun to see the pots the kids created. They turned out so pretty; I love spending time in B's class and getting to be with him and his classmates. They are great kids.
Eric and his Revostate buddies ordered some t-shirts for their business; Eric, his partner Matt and I took a business class through our church and Eric and Matt wore these at the end of the course to present their business plan. I took the course to help me with our cabin rental and also to support Eric. Eric and his buddies are working hard on getting webinars, blog posts and other things under way for Spring.
We took a short trip to McCall at the beginning of December which was so much fun. We've never gone at this particular time before and it happened to be the town's tree lighting weekend, complete with snacks served in the open-until-late shops in town and a small setup of local booths. It was so much fun that we might make it a tradition.
We decorated the cabin for Christmas, putting up a wreath and setting up a small tree.
We played games and enjoyed watching the snow that was falling outside.
Our artist pal Kara made us some beautiful Idaho ornaments that we gave to our guests staying in December.
...at the tree lighting
checking out the window display...
we walked through downtown to the Salmon River Brewery for dinner before heading back to the cabin.
The next day we headed to the Pankcake House for breakfast, followed by a visit to a sweet sledding hill we discovered a few years ago.
Santa was at the Pancake House, and there was no line. Ka-ching! and that was checked off our list ;)
We checked out the Christmas shop behind the restaurant; they have so many fun things.
Sledding was fun but Roo hurt herself on one of her slides down...
she headed back to the car to read while the rest of us kept playing in the snow.
The boys made some friends and they sledded for a long time together.
This sledding area is pretty quiet, and there's lots of hills, but they can be a bit fast and bumpy so I'm always cautious where I slide down. I'm not as young as I used to be!! Anyway it was a great trip for us.
O building something
One of our favorite places to look at lights, the amazing house up at Quail Ridge.
I felt like this past Christmas season was a little less stressful and that we weren't cramming in a bunch of things like we usually do. We really tried to focus on the Savior and would try to do a challenge each day that would follow His example. We've done this the last few years and it makes the season so special. We did some new things during the season this year too, and I just kind of went with the flow. And scaled down. It was nice. I always sing in our congregation's Christmas program the Sunday before Christmas too to celebrate.
Sasha and James came and stayed with us on their way out to WA for Christmas. Unfortunately I didn't get to see Sasha as much that night because Aspen and I went to see the Nutcracker (which was AWEsome except for not being with Sash), but Oakley, Eli, James and Eric went and saw the last Star Wars movie together that night. And Pete met them there too. They were doing some fun things at the theater like photo ops.
The Nutcracker had all new costumes and sets this year so that was fun to see. And Mom and Mary came with us so that was fun too.
After church on Sunday we headed out to WA to spend Christmas with Dad and Lisa, the Egglis, and Ian and Kaylene. We got in around 7:00 I think and everyone was at Dad and Lisa's so Christmas week had officially begun! Dad and Lisa ended up renting a cabana near the beach for us to hang out in during the day; it was in a beautiful spot with a trail right behind leading to Washington Park.
By a Christmas miracle the weather was amazing and we were able to go for short hikes on the trail almost every day.
Dad and Lisa thought of so many ways to make things special; they spent a lot of time decorating the cabana and supplying it with crafts, games, toys for the kids, a tv, and lots and lots of snacks and goodies.
I just love this picture of Sasha shooting with her camera. She's got a great eye for photography.
These two love each other so much and are never without each other when we're visiting. I love the Charlie Brown tree on the table.
Monday night we had a delicious dinner, followed by a visit from one of Santa's helpers. He had a gift for each of the children.
Just as he finished giving gifts and we thought he was leaving, he unveiled an air tank and a load of balloons. Then he told us that he was going to make each of us whatever we wanted out of balloons. You name it, he'll make it.
I know this sounds silly, but this was one of the coolest things I've ever seen! You could tell him to make literally anything and he would create it, right out of his head. Birch asked for a dragon.
Oakley asked for an x-wing.
Aspen asked for Simba.
Sasha asked for an owl...I don't remember what Gideon asked for.....
Eric asked for baby Yoda. It came with a handle that projected outward so it looked like he was floating in his egg. Amazing!!
What do you ask for when someone can make you any kind of balloon creation?? I thought and thought, but all I could come up with was a snowman. Still cool but I wish I would have thought of something cooler.
The next day the women started cooking at the house, and the boys took the kids to Ian's so they could ride his excavator. All the kids loved that.
One of the things I made was a gluten free apple pie. A cold piece of dutch apple pie is one of my favorite things, and I was able to piece together a few recipes to come up with this gf version. It was so good; maybe even better than the original recipe! One of the other things we did was have a fudge bake off. Ian and I are always bantering about our recipe being the better one, so we decided to both make it and have everyone judge. Then Sasha said she had a great recipe she wanted to make. Then James joined in too. We had a LOT of fudge that week. And there was a winner...and it may have been me, but by a very small margin! It was all amazing.
more hiking...we had all the kids with us this time and we ended up going pretty far; all the way to Washington Park.
Aspen and Kimmie were so excited to have so much time together. Roo slept at Kimmie's almost every night so they wouldn't have to be apart.
We found this pretty headstone belonging to the man who donated his land that would become Washington Park.
Christmas Eve dining tables
Reading about the nativity with Papi.
The kids opening up their Christmas jammies
Just before Santa's visit
A view from the cabana. We spent time at both the cabana and Dad and Lisa' during the week.
Ian and Kaylene spent Christmas morning at their place, but the rest of us were at Dad and Lisa's.
Eric and I ended up getting each other the same gift: a history of the making of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. 😂
Christmas evening. After opening gifts we hung around and eventually had leftovers for dinner at the cabana. Some of us went on another hike as the sun was setting.
So so beautiful; I love it there so much.
Thursday evening Eric, the kids and I headed to Mt Baker so we could ski there the next day.
Here are my thoughts on Baker: absolutely breathtaking! It felt like the largest ski area I'd ever been to; sprawling and with amazing 360 degree views. I couldn't get over it.
The mountain was set up a bit strange; you had to ski uphill to get to the lifts (which may have been due to the lesser amount of snowfall), the runs weren't labeled very well (which wouldn't be a big deal if you skied there frequently and learned your way around), and some of the lifts would drop you off at one spot but keep on going to drop you off somewhere else (which we're just not used to). But we had a great time exploring another ski mountain and seeing the views.
I have to tell this crazy experience B and I had while we were there, though he'd die of embarrassment if he knew I was writing about it. At one point during the day Eric took the older kids to a run and B and I went a different way (on purpose). Well actually let me back up. During lunch Aspen had bought herself and the boys a 12 oz. bottle of juice. When I saw her bringing them to the table I knew it was bad news. I mentioned something about it not being a good idea for B to drink that much when we still had a few hours of skiing left, but my warnings fell on deaf ears. So fast forward to B and I splitting off from Eric and the other kids right after lunch. I kid you not, the moment Birch and I begin descending the run he starts complaining of needing to use the bathroom (he had just gone before we got on the lift). I know at this moment it will take us a good 10 minutes to reach the bottom of the run, plus take another 5 minutes or so to actually get him undressed and on a toilet. So I tell him to ski as fast as he can so we can get there. For the next 3 minutes or so he's just wailing the he's going to pee his pants. Then he falls down and is frantic because he can't get up without having an accident. There are people everywhere. All around. Despite this I finally realize that unless I want to have a wet mess of a boy I'm going to have to find a place for him to go to the bathroom. I get him up and I see a little grove of trees on the run, but it's up higher so after we reach it B is going to have to climb to reach the trees. We stop and I take off his skis, his coat and gloves, and he is all out yelling now. He hikes up to the trees and finally gets his ski suit off and his pants down. Some lady skis by, sees him and looks at me with a laugh. Poor Birch I feel so bad everyone can see him! I'm also afraid I'm going to get some kind of ticket for indecency. Anyway after he goes he tells me he didn't make it in time and got pee on himself. Oh well, I say, and come on down so we can get your skis back on. Okay here's where things get even worse. I'm at an angle on the hill and B's skis are to my left, so I'm bending over on my left side and a bit behind trying to get his skis on, but with the snow on the bottom of his boots this proves a trying task, and after 15 minutes I FINally have his skis on him. Now after putting on his gloves and coat we are finally ready to ski down the run.
When we finally reached the bottom and collapsed.
Some fun photos that Sasha took of us. Love these so much! And the kids had so much fun being on the playground that staging was pretty smooth.
O with many of the deer we saw during our trip
Out for dinner, just the adults. Sash and James had already left. We missed them, and we sure missed Demri and Eric. They spent Christmas in KY this year. The next day we left for home :(
skiing at Bogus with Eric's friend Porter and his son James.
The boys with James
I made Eric take me to Star Wars one night. I love going to the movies over the holidays.
Since Aspen is turning 12 this year she can now go to the temple. Eric and I took her over New Years week and it was wonderful; she looked so tiny to me in those moments, because even though she's so big she's still my baby. She got to go back the next week with the youth at church, and Eric was there too. They youth go to the temple to do baptisms for other people that weren't baptized during their lives. She was able to be baptized for one of our ancestors which was really special. I'm excited for us to go back with her.
Ending the Christmas season with ice skating and lights in Nampa.
I always buy myself a bouquet of flowers when our Christmas decorations get put away.
Found this gem the other day!
We've gotten a little snow here and there, nothing too deep though.
Thanks to my Yak Trax I was able to go for a run after a snow this week. No slips or falls and it sure was pretty!
The kids making snow sculptures the other evening.
Hearts and Thunder Mountain
On Wednesday Oakley got to go to the Boise Capitol to represent Galileo's Lego League. There were lots of schools and groups there with robots and other machines and creations and it was so fun to get to see O there with his group. Mom, Dad, Eric and I met there and hung out with him for a bit while we checked out the other tables.
Afterward we went out to lunch with Mom and Dad to Goldy's downtown. It was a fun, spontaneous lunch and a great afternoon!