Sunday, January 1, 2017

What's been going on

It's been quite a busy couple of months.  Here's a quick recap -


Every year I seem to be in denial that my children - and I - are getting older.  I still can't believe that I am old enough to have an 11 year old.  I started the tradition when he was really young to do a friend party every year, which is something that I tend to regret, especially when one of the kids wants something elaborate.  Thankfully Will took it easy on us this year.  All he wanted to do was have a few friends over for pizza and a movie.  Totally easy!  So 4 or 5 of his good friends from school and/or church came over and invaded the back living room for a couple of hours.

After the movie they had cake and ice cream and opened presents. 

Will said he wanted a Ninjago cake - this is what I came up with, which he wasn't super happy with but it was the best I could do with my minimal cake decorating knowledge.


Because Will turned 11, he is no longer in Cub Scouts and has moved up to Boy Scouts.  He wouldn't sit still long enough for us to get a picture of him alone with his awards at his last pack meeting, so here's a picture of him with his awesome Cubmaster.


Normally I'm not a big fan of Halloween.  I don't see much point in celebrating a day where we have to spend a bunch of money on costumes and candy.  But this year was a little more fun cause Bill and I decided to dress up.  Will was the Grim Reaper, Kayla was a vampire, Sarah was Sophia the First for the second year in a row, and Bill and I were a honey bee and her honey :)

Will wanted me to include this picture of him with his candy.  I think he had over 200 pieces by the end of the night.  We apparently live in a very generous neighborhood.



I stole this idea from my brother-in-law, who has done it with each of his kids.  Basically, each child gets to go out with me by themselves every 3 months.  We started back in September or October, and so far we've gone to see a movie, gone out to eat, and gone to the mall to see Santa Clause and ride a carousel.  They've been so much fun so far, and I'm really excited to continue.


This year's Christmas was WONDERFUL!  And that's all thanks to my amazing husband.  For my Christmas present this year he sent me off to Utah BY MYSELF for 5 days while he held down the fort.  I got to stay with my mom and sister, watch movies and eat yummy food; I got treated to a haircut; I got to go to my dad's Christmas concert; I got to see some extended family I wasn't expecting to see; I got to see the lights at Temple Square; basically I got to have a blast!  It was a little hard being away from Bill and the kids during that time, but I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go back West for a bit.

Of course, the fun didn't end there.  When I got back to Illinois it was time to enjoy being with Bill's side of the family.  His parents came out for Christmas, so we packed in as much fun as we could in a week and a half.  We went bowling, swimming, Grandma and Grandpa took various kids on special dates, Bill and I got to go on a date, and of course we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day all together playing games, eating food, and celebrating the Savior.


 Our Christmas Eve dinner was a shepherd's feast.  We had lamb, dates, raisins, bean soup, bread, and fruit.  I think the kids enjoyed sitting on the floor to eat.

 Christmas Eve program, with a number of musical performances and a short nativity play

 We played a bunch of Minute to Win It games at Bill's brother's house after Christmas dinner.  I think the adults had almost as much fun as the kids did. 

And to top off a wonderful Christmas vacation, this past weekend we drove over to Indiana to visit with my friend Eve for a whole day.  She and I have been friends since we were in junior high, so I was thrilled when I found out that she and her family were moving only about 3 hours away from us.  Unfortunately her husband had to work all day, but we still had a wonderful time with Eve and her two adorable little boys Abe and Jamie.  The kids were worried that they would be bored the whole time, cause her boys are so much younger than our kids, but by the end of the day everyone was getting along really well and we all had so much fun.  

Bill was Jamie's buddy the whole day, it was so cute to see them together

Eve helping everyone pick out which picture they want to use to make Shrinky Dinks.
Top picture - 1998(?)
Bottom picture - 2016
Both of us are doing our best to age gracefully :-)

It's hard to believe that we managed to pack in that much fun in just a couple of months.  2016 was a pretty great year for our family, and we are all looking forward to what 2017 has to offer.



Friday, October 21, 2016

Fall Fun with Friends

A few weeks ago Will and Kayla had a day off from school, so we joined a few friends at a local pumpkin patch.  It was muddy, unusually warm, and hard to keep track of all three kids at the same time but in the end I'm glad that we went.

We had A LOT of kids in our group, ranging from just a few months old to age 10

Sarah the Gourd

The Pumpkin King, Queen and Princess

I love Will's face.  He's got the preteen "I am too old for this place" attitude down.

Friday, September 23, 2016

New House - Part 4

These pictures show the primary reason why we decided to move into a place with more bedrooms.  We realized that having all 3 kids share a room wasn't working anymore.  There was an increase in sibling fights, plus Will is at the age where sharing a room with his little sisters wasn't a good idea anymore.  Kayla is a bit jealous of Will for getting his own room (she has started asking for her own room in her bedtime prayers), and she doesn't appreciate the fact that Sarah isn't very good at helping clean up their room, but for the time being the situation is going well. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

New House - Part 3

One part of the house that's a bit of a novelty for us is having 2 bathrooms.  We don't use the back one very often, but it's nice to have it in case we need it. 

Back bathroom

Main bathroom

Monday, September 12, 2016

The legacy lives on

Will has been taking piano lessons for about 4 years now.  He struggles with wanting to practice, but he has natural talent and is quite good now.  Now he is entering a new phase in his musical career.  He has decided to join the 5th grade band, and his instrument of choice is the trumpet.  He had been debating for a while whether to do trumpet or trombone, and I have to confess that I secretly hoped he wouldn't choose the trombone.  This is mostly because he comes from a long line of trumpet players.  My dad, my grandpa Rollie, and my great-grandpa Ray all play or played the trumpet, and I wanted Will to continue the tradition.  He just got his trumpet today, and I am excited to see how quickly he picks it up.  He is really excited about learning to play, and I hope that excitement continues for a long time. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

New House - Part 2

Today's pictures are the front living room and the front entry.  This is the area of the house that Bill and I love the most, and the area that we made sure got unpacked and put together first before anything else.  We love having two separate living rooms. There's a room in the back of the house (picture coming later) with the TV and computer, which we call the entertainment room.  This front living room is where we do things like FHE, scripture study, home/visiting teaching, etc. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Only in the Midwest...

Will you find a festival devoted to cheese.  Every Labor Day weekend hundreds of people travel to Arthur, Illinois for their cheese festival.  We used to go almost every year when we first moved here, but we hadn't gone for at least a couple of years so we decided to make the hour drive on Saturday.  We had hoped to make it on time for Bill to compete in their cheese curling competition (he's a two-time champion of the event), but unfortunately we arrived just as it was ending.  We were still able to find plenty for everyone to do to have a great time.

The happy festival attendees

The bounce houses and pony rides were popular attractions

   Any cheese festival has to have a cheese and mouse mascot as part of the parade

Friday, September 2, 2016

New House - part 1

 As most of you know, we moved into a new house about 4 months ago.  We are loving it!  There is so much more room; the kids can walk to school; we are near friends, a park and a walking path, etc.  We are still unpacking things and getting settled, but it already feels like home and we are so grateful for the people and circumstances that made it possible for us to live here.  Since I can't give everyone the grand tour in person (although we are always up for visitors!), I will post pictures at various times.  Today's pictures are the kitchen and our great backyard.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Still Alive and Kicking

Hello!  I'm sure that most of you had given up on us updating our blog, and to be honest I didn't think that we ever would again.  Life has been very busy and very crazy for our family over the past year, and trying to keep up with the blog seemed like something I didn't feel like adding to our lives.  Plus I'm on Facebook so much that I felt like that was a good substitute for the blog.  But then last night something happened that changed my mind.  I was working on a family history project, and I needed to go back through the blog to get some information.  As I was looking around I came across a post from back when Will was about 6 years old.  I had been having a hard day and I was sitting at the table with my head in my hands, and Will could see that something was wrong.  So he went off and drew me a picture of a rainbow with all of our names written around it.  And when he gave it to me he said "I drew this to make you happy again Mommy".  Looking at that old blog post, as well as many other ones that I found last night, made me realize that if I hadn't started this blog I wouldn't have all these pictures and wonderful memories to look back on.  So I've decided to start up the blog again.  I can't promise frequent updates, but we'll see how it goes.           

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Getting caught up

I don't have the time or energy to do individual posts for all the pictures I've taken in the last month, so I'm going to do another large post of various activities.  And I apologize to those who have already seen most of these pictures on Facebook.


A while back, Kayla told us that she wanted to get her haircut before school started this year.  After years of dealing with tangled hair and various other issues, we obliged.  I don't know why, but it's always been a big deal when my kids get their first real haircut.  I was that way with Will, and I was again that way with Kayla.  I didn't cry or anything, but it was a bit surreal watching the hairstylist cut off 6 years worth of hair.  But we were all really happy with the results.

Ward 5k:
Our ward has started a tradition recently: doing a ward 5k.  Last year Bill and I participated in it, this year the girls and I were on the sidelines watching Bill and Will.  They both did an awesome job.  Will even won for the Primary-aged boys.  It was a fun morning for all of us.

Will is approaching his final year of Cub Scouts so at this last pack meeting he received his Bear badge, along with one of his best friends.  Bill thoroughly enjoys doing scout things with him, and I am grateful that he is so invested in Will's success.

One thing I really like that they do is they ask the scouts to invite one of their parents to come up and present their awards to them.  It's only fitting that Will chooses his dad every time.

 At this pack meeting, the Cubmaster explained the significance of retiring the American flag.  I thought this was a really cool picture of Will and his friend Adam watching the flag being retired.

First day of school:
After a long, fun-filled summer everyone was looking forward to the return of the school year.  Will is now in 4th grade and Kayla is in 1st grade.  It's hard to believe that Will is more than halfway done with elementary school.  

Sarah wanted in on the photo fun too.  She'll probably be going to preschool next year.

Temple Dedication:
The Indianapolis Indiana Temple was dedicated recently, and we had the opportunity to attend one of the sessions being broadcast at the stake center.  It was especially wonderful because we were able to take Will with us.  We dropped Kayla and Sarah off at our friends' house then headed over.  There was such an amazing feeling throughout the dedication and it was great being there with most of our family, while thinking about the fact that, because of temples, our family will be together forever.