Tuesday, December 30, 2008

the day after christmas

After a wonderful Christmas day, we all decided that Grandma D and Aunt Helen should spend the night. They did and thus enabled us to have the whole next day to enjoy one another. We ate a huge yummy breakfast, played with our Christmas gifts, baked cookies, worked on a puzzle, played Ticket To Ride and Cribbage, and ate some more.

Hopefully Ebo didn't add any of the special sprinkles he found to the cookies.

One of my gifts from Grandma D was a set of cookie cutters. She had also brought up some yummy cookie dough and set to work with the kids making tons of Christmas cookies.
While she did this Aunt Helen and I worked on a puzzle. I learned that Helen is very skilled at putting together puzzles and I.am.not.!
I like this shot because it shows not only the puzzle ninja but also the lovely white Christmas we enjoyed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

christmas day

Christmas Day is our day to celebrate with Mike's side of the family. Here is our Grandma D, the matriarch.
Our family does not really worry about the dividing lines of "in-laws." Thus my parents and Mike's mom love and enjoy one another. And Denise has adopted my sisters and their kids as part of her family too. So for a couple hours at the first part of the day we were all together.
At one point Aunt Helen began reading a book to Ava. Before Helen had read very far, her audience grew.

And grew.
Helen is a pretty great reader.
After my parents left, we had a little present exchange with Denise, Helen, my sisters, and their kids. It was nice and my sisters were blessed by Grandma D's knack for finding, buying, and making great clothes for everyone.
We had let the boys pick out some things for Alix and Keegan to open on this day too. Here is a lovely pair of footwear for Alix.
Cherie mentioned that her downstairs neighbors will especially appreciate this gift. And speaking of noisy gifts, the boys found this item for Keegan.
After the presents, we enjoyed a little lunch together and then Sarah and Keegan and Alix and Cherie took off to join my parents for a different celebration in Puyallup.
We were sad to see these sweeties go, but there was more party to be had.
Yep. It is a leotard. Grandma D got Ava her first leotard. Flash dance fans get ready.
We had a terrific rest of the day. We played games together while the kids napped and afterward video taped some memories.
Then we opened gifts and enjoyed hanging out.
The day wouldn't be complete without another big meal of course, so we partook of that as well. We ended the evening with our traditional game of Cribbage with the two most competitive cribbage players ever (Denise and Mike) and then everyone went to bed.
More happenings to come on the day after Christmas.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

christmas eve

Our Christmas celebrations began on Christmas eve day. This is the day that we spend with Amy's family. The night before, Aunt Cherie and Alix drove up to beat the coming storm. Isn't Alix such a cutie-pie?

Here is Alix and Cherie.

Grandma and Papa arrived later that afternoon. Grandma started cooking a big Christmas dinner for everyone and the rest of us just hung out and visited. Here is grandma in the kitchen. And Papa bearing gifts.

The last part of our Christmas Eve party was Aunt Sarah and Keegan.
Once they arrived we had a grandma, a papa, two aunts, three two year olds, my boys and Mike and I. It was a party ready for some fun. We ate, we opened gifts, our stocking full of explosives from Papa and we sang songs.
Some sang with a little more gusto than others.
We got Alix a doll house and it was a big hit with all of the kids.
I think everyone had a good time. It was just nice to be all together. My family had not been all together since Christmas two years ago when Cherie and Sarah were pregnant. We were thankful for this time to have everyone together.

A time for fun and a time for bonding.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

ethan's birthday

December 13th is Ethan’s birthday. This year he turned four. I can’t believe I can no longer use “he’s just a three year old” as an excuse for his crazy behavior! But that is the case.

In a lot of ways it makes sense that he is now four. Four years old has always been one of my most favorite ages and Ethan is a ton of fun! He is smart, funny, energetic, full of ideas and imagination, a very likable guy.

Ethan has a zest for life that is contagious. He likes almost everything. This is one of the things that makes buying presents for him very difficult. He likes everything. And because of that it is hard to narrow down what might be a good gift. This year when asked what he wanted for his birthday he would always say, “a sword and a sheath just like Luke’s.” So he wanted Luke’s same present. We decided to just go with it.

We also picked up this soft elephant (Ethan is very into the textures of things) for him which he loves.

The day of his birthday, Ethan helped his daddy make his birthday cake. This year it was a gingerbread with molasses whipped cream cake which they all loved. He was very proud that he cracked his first egg by himself.

On his birthday we had a nice visit from some favorite buddies who brought him a gift. It was so cute: as soon as our friends arrived with gift in hand, all the kids ran off to play leaving us adults with the gift. Ethan was just way more interested in visitors than a present! But that's okay. Someone else was happy to play with his elephant.

That night Aunt Helen joined us for cake after which we all enjoyed watching the beginning of the The Return of the Jedi (Star Wars is a current favorite around here). After that, someone was a little reluctant to return Ebo's elephant to him.

It was a very nice day enjoyed by all. Our sweet Ethan is fun to celebrate because it is always a party to be around him (unless we are asking him to eat taco soup). We are so thankful for our buddy Ethan and pray that he continues to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord.

the aquarium

At the end of our last day at Whistler we drove home. At home we were greeted by our wonderful and lovely Aunt Helen who had cooked us dinner! So nice.
The next morning we woke early and headed down to Seattle to visit the Aquarium with our dear friends. Mike and I have been friends with Bob and Rebecca since before we were married and our kids have known one another from birth. These guys are such kindred spirits and always fun to be around.

Unfortunately an Aquarium visit does not make for the best pictures. Almost all of our pictures look like this:

A picture of people looking at things is not the most exciting. While I enjoy the backs of my kid's heads I love the fronts more!

We enjoyed looking at all the fish and water exibits while chatting and hanging out with good friends.

We learned a lot and we even had fun dressing up.

This is the only picture we got of Ava and Mercy. I am so sad because these girls are so cute.

I had a lot of fun.
This is the only picture we got of Rebecca and I! That is Rebecca to the far left with sleeping Josiah in the sling.
This is the best picture we have of Bob and Rebecca together. (and some random lady trying to nurse her baby).
We had a really good time, just too good to concentrate on getting decent pictures of everyone.
But I want to remember the event. The fun trip with our friends, the experience. How the boys all discovered their mutual love for Star Wars. How Mercy and Ava are alike in many ways. And I don't want to forget the way the kids were so happy to run together at the end of our time while the adults enjoyed our last bit of chatting. That is until the aquarium worker asked us to get the kids to stop running because "they might fall down." :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

five days in Whistler, good medicine.

We had such a nice little vacation up at Whistler village. It was different than we thought it would be (we were planning on sledding and playing in the snow) but we all enjoyed ourselves immensely! This is the only snow that was available for us to play in.

Instead of snow play we explored the cute village all decked for Christmas.

One of the wonderful things about having kids the ages of our kids is that it does not take much to amuse. The kids, Mike and I were all perfectly happy to walk around the village enjoying the sights. So, we did a lot of that.
I don't know why the village pictures are so Ava-centric, but they are. Oh well, she is cute.
The village also had lots of hints about the upcoming Olympics it will be hosting. Exciting stuff that was fun to see now as I have no desire to see with the crowds.

Did you know what the Olympic rings are good for?
Mike can rock a hoola-hoop. I am so sad that this is the only picture we came home with of him. I guess that is the downside of having a camera that weighs a million pounds --only the person with the passion is willing to carry it.

In addition to exploring the village we had a blast hiking (really slow walking in our case) in the woods. We all love the woods so much and completly enjoyed our time playing on the trails. This year I noticed that Luke has a particular fondness of scrambling. And he is really good at too.
In the evenings we all watch the origional Star Wars as a family. The boys were enthrawlled! And this is what they were playing while in the woods. Who knew there were stormtroopers around every corner? Don't worry, Ethan will get 'em!
We hiked to this georgeous waterfall.
Aidan and I were a little nervous with the way Ava was running around on this high balcony. The rest of the family however feels that Aidan and I are way too cautious (I think they mean paranoid).
We also found two really cool looking playgrounds. We had a lot of fun playing at these (I am sure you can tell by the pictures, but it was really, really cold).
Besides all this we did lost of resting and relaxing. For three days of our time our good buddies also came up and rented a condo. We hung out with them sharing lots of food and laughter.

Here the kids are watching a video before bed.

Yep. We love Whistler! And being together even more.