Sunday, December 28, 2014

Backyard Sledding

Fri. Dec. 26th: We finally got some good snow this last week. Kenny got out his shovel and created a fun path for sledding in our already-sloped backyard. Also a pile at the top to get some good momentum. It was awesome. Hopefully it will continue to snow so we can make it even better and it won't melt away. It's a lot easier and more fun to go play outside when you have snow to play in!! Otherwise it's just cold and boring and the kids won't go out. So I'm grateful for the snow that gives them lots to do! We are blessed to have a big backyard. Also, Kelsey was napping during this time (it had been several days in a row with no nap and she desperately needed one), so she'll have to try it out tomorrow.

This guy. He sure works hard to make our lives a lot more fun! :) 

The little sled trail goes down and curves around through the trees

Christmas Sunday--Dec. 21st

I love when Ty thinks he looks good. When I complimented him on how handsome he is, he said "yeah I'm like one of those poser guys!" (That's called a model haha)

She wouldn't put down her apple, but at least she smiled, right?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Our Christmas Party (yet another one)

Several weeks ago I was sitting here wishing we could do something fun with some of our Anchorage friends. We really loved the ward we were in last, and wish we could see them all more often. We don't have many families in Wasilla that we seem to have really connected with yet. So I was up really early in the morning feeding Briggs and thinking about all this. I double checked to make sure they weren't having a ward party that night (almost everyone is from one ward) and sent out an e-vite. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I knew that if I didn't act I would end up changing my mind and things would get in the way. So once it was official, I told Kenny about it. He was thrilled ;). It was this last Saturday night on the cool date of 12-13-14. I went ahead and invited 9 families, which is a lot. But I figured it was a busy time of year, and I thought the hour drive might discourage some people too. But we were so happy to have 8 families (or at least one representative of them) show up! It was packed and I was so happy to have them all here and catch up. The kids played and played and adults just chatted. I know I was being a little selfish having them all drive out here, but it was so fun for us. We just did appetizers and desserts. I'll be sure to have a few more hot appetizers (especially some more kid-friendly) next time, but it was okay. Kenny was a HUGE help in getting everything ready. He even hung up pictures on our big empty kitchen wall. Once we took down our Thankful tree we realized how very blank it was, and set out to fix it. Hopefully we'll get some more and better pictures of us as a family, meaning including Brigham :). But for now it will do to fill the void. It only lasted for a few hours, it was just perfect. I know there's quite an over-kill of parties and gatherings in December, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. And I was not the best photographer of the evening and didn't get very many people that came, but I did snatch a few shots which I'm glad to have. The families that came: Sponsellers, Allisons, Swifts, Westons (Andy and Shalee), Lemmons (just Brandon and Johnathan as Cassandra was at home with her other 2 sick kids), Grimshaws, Joshua Peterson (we missed Shasta!), and Jason Reed came with his kids (we missed Ann too!). 

Carmin  and Emi

Kiana and David

Kenny's going to kill me for posting this but he always has a great time talking to Sam :) and their beautiful Alina.

David, Ethan, (Jeremy in the back) and Tyler

Work Christmas Party

Kenny and I didn't get to go to the adult Christmas party because it was on Madison's birthday. And even if we didn't have extra kids at our house, we wouldn't have gone for her sake. So I was so glad when he told me that they were having a family Christmas party too. I told the kids they were going to get to sit on Santa's lap. It's not that I have purposefully avoided sitting on Santa's lap, but really I think the kids have only done it like one other time in their lives. And only Tyler remembers it. It was at the North Pole at the Santa Claus house 2 years ago. But for some reason we just haven't done it any other time. So I didn't expect them to be so very excited about it!! They were anticipating it all day long. We drove into Anchorage to get there by 4 p.m. Lots of people had dressed their kids up in their Sunday best/christmas outfits for the pictures. I had no idea it was such a big deal. Obviously I'm a little behind on all the Santa stuff. Anyway, we watched as child after child in front of us (after waiting in line for quite a while) freaked out and screamed and cried and squirmed off of his lap. I crossed my fingers this would be a fun thing, but really didn't know how they'd react. Madison seemed to be the only one getting apprehensive about it. So we decided to go oldest to youngest, so they'd see how harmless it was for their siblings. And they all did awesome. Briggs slept through the whole thing :), so it was pretty perfect. They had a photographer taking pictures for us and they immediately printed them off. So I do have them, I just need to scan them into the computer. They had lots of fun stuff that night. The kids each got their faces painted, they had a balloon guy there making all kinds of fun balloon things. We had some really yummy food and desserts. Then we finished off the night with a horse ride. Not exactly a sleigh, but still a fun ride around the block downtown. It was freezing so I was glad it wasn't any longer. I was worried about Brigham being out. Anyway it was a really fun event and the kids had such a blast.

Madison's Birthday

On December 5th, Madison turned 4 years old!! We had already had a pre-birthday party with Grandpa and Grandma Weston while they were still here, so they could give her their gifts in person. And it was combined with 2 other b-days. She was pretty happy to have her own special day just for her :). Madison is so mature and big for her age that it always seems like she should be older than she is. I often had to remind myself she was only 3 a lot of times, because she seemed older for a long time. Anyway. We were babysitting cousins for the weekend. Andy and Shalee got to go on an all-expenses paid trip for their work Christmas party in Colorado. Since she took our kids for several days after Briggs was born, I was more than happy to return the favor. Plus, they all have such a good time together I knew the kids would be in heaven. Since we had 8 kids under the age of 8, it was definitely crazy at some points. But for Madi, it was like an all-day party with them here. In the morning she requested chocolate chip, banana pancakes with strawberry sauce and bacon. :) They pretty much just played all day long. We are having an extremely unusual winter and have hardly had any snow. Thankfully we had some then! By some great tender mercy I was able to get the 3 youngest to take a good nap at the same time, while the older 4 played outside in the snow! That's when I cleaned up everything from the first half of the day, in preparation for the second half. I also had time to make her birthday cake. She wanted red velvet. I saw a thing on master chef where they took the extra cake (from cutting off the tops before stacking) and crumbled it, then stuck it to the side. I thought I'd give it a try. It sort of looked like a weird, fuzzy or furry cake. Not as appetizing as I thought it would be, but oh well. It's always fun to try making something new. For dinner she chose sweet and sour chicken and brown rice with broccoli. That's her very favorite meal! I use Mel's recipe and it has a lot of sugar in the sauce, so I'm sure that's why it's such a hit with kids :).  Daddy surprised us all by taking the early bus home so he got home by 5:30 instead of 6:45. So we didn't have to wait as long to do presents and cake and ice cream. She's been really wanting rollerblades like her big sister for a while, and was so happy to have them. She also got some new clothes because she is growing so darn fast. She never gets any pants handed down from Bryn because Brynlee wears holes in the knees of every single pair of pants she's ever owned. I kid you not. We sure love our Madi cakes. She is such a sweet girl with a nurturing and gentle spirit. She is a smart little cookie and so much fun to have around. She gets in these silly moods where she is just such a ham. She has the whole family cracking up at her craziness, which only make her act it up even more. A funny quirk she has that I love is that she makes noises when she's eating. I don't think she even realizes she's doing it. Just little grunts and Mmm noises. It's hard to explain, but pretty funny. We're so blessed to have her in our family. Happy Birthday beautiful girl!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Brigham's Blessing

 Brigham was given a blessing on Wed. Nov. 26th. He was obviously a little older than most babies are when they're blessed. But we knew that Kenny's parents were coming for Thanksgiving, and since Briggs' middle name is from his Grandpa, we decided it would be a little more special to wait for him to be here. It was held in our home, and our awesome Bishop Bowen, and his counselor Brother Porritt also came. Unfortunately there was a mis-communication on the time, (Kenny remembered it being at 5:30) so we were all ready and waiting. Dinner was simmering on the stove thinking we would wait till it was over to eat. After waiting for quite a while, (of course Briggs was perfectly calm and sleeping during this whole time, the opportune time to do it). But after calling the Bishop we learned they were coming at 6:30! So we tried to hurry and eat dinner really fast. Then Brigham woke up right before they came, so he was hungry when they came in and screamed really loud throughout the whole blessing haha. Poor Kenny couldn't hardly think straight it was so loud and disruptive. So he had a rather short blessing :). But that's okay. Even in the picture below, you can see he's still crying. I hurried and snapped a picture with everyone then went upstairs to feed him. And that was that. :)

Uncle Andy, Grandpa, Kenny and Briggs, Bro. Porritt, Bishop Bowen

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving Week

Grandpa and Grandma Weston flew here from Idaho on Thurs. Dec. 20th. Kenny brought them home with him after work that night. We were so excited to have them here! They stayed until Dec. 1st, late that night. Andy and Shalee and their kids also stayed at our house while they were here so they wouldn't have to go back and forth every day to and from Anchorage. We had a great time with everyone, and it was especially fun to be with family on Thanksgiving. We did lots of fun things: ice skating, Color Me Mine, Bouncin Bears, decorating gingerbread houses and sugar cookies, a Christmas party (including acting out nativity scene), a birthday party for the 3 December birthdays (Andy, Skyler, and Madison) and just lots of playing and hanging out. We also took advantage of them being here and blessed Briggs, which I'll post about later. We wish we could be with grandparents more than once or twice a year, but we sure cherish the time we do have together.
Yeah I'm pretty sure Kelsey's pickin her nose...she's good at that.
This is to remember these little plants that Kenny and Andy bought. They also got a jar of little fruit flies to feed to them. The kids (and dads) really loved watching the plants snap shut and trap the flies to eat them. It was quite entertaining :)

She can skate, she just likes to go extra fast with these things :)

teaching them leap frog after a hilarious group workout

The gingerbread houses: we had a girls team and a boys team

We don't have too many pictures of his cute little crooked smile he does, so I just had to post it. It's one of my favorite things that he does :)

The boys "House of Rock" with a man sitting down in front because they couldn't get him to stand

The girls' happy house. There's a big frosting smiley face on the back side

Brigham didn't last as baby Jesus for very long. He was crying really hard (surprise!!). But as soon as I picked him up he fell asleep on me so I know he was just so tired. It's hard to time all of our activities with little babies. Oh well.

 They got spoiled by their grandparents, as they do every year, and loved all of their presents. :) These girls really love their beautiful "princess dresses" (nightgowns).

 They each chose a plate or a mug and painted it. We still have yet to pick them up (it'd be easier if we lived there...) but I'm excited to see the finished products.