Thursday, December 31, 2015

Halle finished the Book of Mormon

Just want to give a shout out to this amazing, self-motivated girl!  At the beginning of last year, Stephanie Cope, the Beehive adviser, gave her girls a challenge to read the BOM in a year.  She had a time line all printed out on what the girls should read each day.  Halle was not yet 12, but Stephanie invited all the girls who would be 12 by the end of the year to participate.  And Halle took the challenge.  It wasn't perfect.  Sometimes she would have to do big chunks of reading at a time to catch up.  But, I think that's also a great life lesson.  Rarely do things go exactly according to schedule.  But, when that happens don't give up!  Just keep moving forward.  She finished her last chapter on New Year's Eve.  I am so proud of her!  Keep being awesome Halle girl.

The Rest of Christmas Break

We sure know how to Party Hard.  The fun didn’t stop after Christmas, that’s for sure. 
Sat morning my Dad told Josh he had a suprise for him and told him to get in the car.  My Mom, Landon, and Rusty came too.  On the way over they asked him if he had any idea what the surprise could be. He said, “hmmmmm…..well, it must be for bigger kids since Blake didn’t come.  But, it must also be something that does not intregue Halle.”  They pulled up to the movie theater and Papa handed him a ticket and said, “Here’s your ticket to see the new Star Wars.”  He was so suprised and so excited.  Espically to see it with Papa and Landon. 

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The kids loved sledding behind the tractor.  That is, until it got stuck.  No amount of coaxing could get it unstuck and finally the kids had to abandon ship. 
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While the kids and Grandpa B were trying to dig the tractor out, Sharon, Grandpa Miller, Rusty and I, and Cory and Linds went to a delicious, relaxing lunch at the Blue Lemon.  It was just what the dr ordered!
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We went sledding at Sugarhouse Park one afternoon.  It was bitter cold but these kids had such a fun time.  Josh, Jack and Leo could have stayed all day.  After we were done sledding we picked up Little Ceasar’s Pizza and had Halle babysit all the kids so the adults could go to dinner.  Have I mentioned how awesome it is to have a Halle?  Everyone should get one Winking smile
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We went to Provisions in Millcreek and it was soooo yummy.  Michael picked the restaurant and he’s never let me down. 
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Rust, Alan, Michael and kids hit up a climbing gym in Lehi one morning.  It was a great way to burn some energy and all the kids had fun earning money on the dares that Grandpa set up for them.  It was In and Out for lunch when they had exhausted their climbing abilities. 
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We always look forward to the Miller family Christmas party.  What an awesome group of people.  I always wish we lived closer so I could hang out with all the fun cousins.  Lindsey, per usual, planned some super fun games.  We played Pie Face with Christmas Trivia and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!
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After our drive home (also a slow, snowy mess) we were delighted to find Christmas wasn’t completly over!  Santa left one more surprise for us!  Rock Band for the family!  Wahoo!
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Christmas Morning 2015

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Santa found us again!  We woke up to a VERY white Christmas morning.  Our kids never wake up early on Christmas, a fact that Landon and Cole are pretty grateful for.  They got up around 8 and everyone gathered round to see what Santa brought.  Their eyes grew huge as they took in their GIANT, soft, fuzzy pillow pets.  Blake immediately declared his dinosaur to be his new best friend.  It was so cute. 
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Santa brought Halle the Lego Dolphin Cruise ship. She also got some more doll craft kids, all the Anne of Green Gables books, a knitting loom, and a Simon Swipe game. 
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Josh got a Wii from Santa.  That lucky duck!  It was so fun to watch him open it and watch his face completely light up. He had told Santa to surprise him, and I don’t think he could have imagined a better surprise.  He also got a Rock Tumbler, the Exploding Kittens game, some Wii games, and a kids Guinness Book of World Records.
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Blake had begged and begged for a remote control BB-8 drone.  Santa totally went out of his way to research and find a fun, affordable model.  Blake was excited when he opened it, played with it for about 15 min, and then totally forgot about it.  I put it up in the cupboard when we got home from Utah to see if he would even remember he had it.  Well….he didn’t.  So, this mom took that toy back to Target.  (Halle, if you are reading this, don’t you dare tell Blake wlEmoticon-smile[2])
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Then it was time for the annual stocking hunt.  This one ended in tears, as it was Josh’s turn to find the stockings, but Halle found them first.  This year they all got a character from Inside Out in their stocking.  Josh got a girl mystery mini figure, but he did a good job holding back his disappointment.  The boys each got a set of Star Wars Mini Figures that they love.  And, quite possibly my favorite gift of the year appeared in Halle’s stocking.  It was a sweater for her seal, Princess.  She often tries to dress her in Build-a-Bear clothes but they never fit.  This cute pink sweater fit her perfectly and Halle just loves it.  Princess wears it often in the day but takes it off at night because it is too itchy to sleep in wlEmoticon-winkingsmile[2]
Santa also brought some fun ornaments this year.  From left to right, Halle’s nativity book, Josh’s Christmas Countdown, and Blake’s helicopter.
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Rust gave me the best present this year.  He donated to one of my favorite charity organizations—the International Rescue Committee and gave me the gift of one healthy pregnancy and one year of school for a refugee girl.  I teared up when I opened it.  Blake had made me a darling coaster that I just loved.  But he heard me tell someone that Rusty’s present was my favorite.  A few days later he came to me in tears.  I bent down and asked him what was wrong.  He threw his little arms around my neck and sobbed, “I wanted you to like my present the best, but you said Dad’s was your favorite!”  It about broke my heart and I assured him that his present meant so much to me.  I really do just cherish their little gifts.  Halle bought me a beautiful red necklace made from paper beads that an African organization was selling at her school.  I love it for two reasons—one, that she spent her hard earned money to buy it for me, and two, that it also helped women trying to fend for themselves. 
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Rusty and I almost bailed on our Christmas run because it was snowing, bitter cold, and there was probably 14 inches on the ground.  But we decided we just go for a few minutes.  Once we got outside it was absolutely beautiful.  We did a walk/run and went to the trials at Art Dye park that lead to Highland Glen.  There was a guy out who had just finished plowing the trails.  Couldn’t have asked for better timing.  5 miles later, and completely frozen, we made it home.  (Don’t mind my bug sunglasses—I do realize they aren’t my greatest pair)
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The boys all had fun playing the Wii together for most of the day.  I think by the time Christmas Break was over they had logged almost 24 hours of play.
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We spent Christmas Evening at the Banks house.  Rusty had purchased his favorite Vega One protein shake complete with bananas, chocolate almond milk and a jar of peanut butter for Cory and Lindsey and for Alan. We had been talking about breakfast food a few days before, and it an effort to keep his gift a secret he completely over sold his “favorite breakfast ever.”  Everyone was so intrigued by Christmas evening when we opened gifts that we all had a good laugh at the protein powder. 
We ate delicious stew and rolls and played games.  And apparently, I took no pics.  This is my only one. 
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Another special thing about this Christmas is that it was a full moon!  That hadn’t happened since 1977, and won’t happen again until 2034.  It was really beautiful and Josh thought that was one of the most cool parts of the day.  He wanted his picture with the full moon, but darn it all—that moon did not want to take a beautiful picture. 
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So, we turned to Google for a magnificent shot of Santa and the reindeer flying by.
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Merry Christmas to all, and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

Cornell Party

All our Christmas Events were so fun I think they all deserve their own post!  After we got home from skiing and a quick shower, the Cornell festivities began!  We had the traditional Costco ribs for dinner along with rolls, cheesy potatoes and a pear salad.  Delicious! 
Then we dressed the kids up for the Natvity.  We tried to do pictures first, before the Bible reading this year so the kids might be in a better mood, but it just kinda turned out the same as always.  They try to be good sports, but they all rip those costumes off as fast as they can when it’s over.
Now on to the talent show. Halle played “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” on the clarinet wonderfully, Josh played his piano recital songs and Blake played “Peter Peter Pumpkin eater very well.” (One of his new year resolutions is to learn a new piano song so he’ll have something new to play next year)  Landon played star wars and then we all sang “Scrooge” in honor of Aunt Joanne, who passed away a few weeks ago.  Gwen sang “Let it Go” with her new karoke machine, and The Girls did their annual rendition of “Candlelight Carol.”  It was a rousing good time.
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Grandpa and Grandma had a fun new game planned this year.  Well, everyone thought it was fun except Gwen.  It was called, “Naughty or Nice.”  The kids picked a number and then were read a scenario.  If it was nice, we said, “______ you are NICE!”  If it was naughty we pointed our fingers and said, “______ you are NAUGHTY!”  Poor Gwen just burst into tears when we told her she was naughty.  And I don’t blame her!  It was kinda scary to have all those fingers pointed at you. 
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Grandma had a special suprise to go along with the pajamas this year.  She had made all the kids a cute pillowcase that matched their room.  The all loved them!  The espically loved getting inside them and hopping all over the room. 
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It was a very Merry Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Alta on Christmas Eve

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Josh was very unsure that he wanted to ski on Christmas Eve.  I floated the idea of him taking a lesson, and after MUCH coaxing, Rusty agreed to give it a try.  We showed Josh some videos of lessons and of the magic carpet on YouTube and pretty soon he agreed to go.  After we decided to put Josh in a lesson we decided it would be great for Blake too.  So, Josh, Cohen and Blake all took a lesson, which freed up the rest of us adults to ski with the big kids.  And I have to say, skiing with the big kids is soooo much more fun than trying to teach the littles!  I love them, but I was definitely not meant to be a ski instructor Smile There had a been a ton of snow in the previous days and the avalanche guns were going off like crazy.  They were so loud and the kids would jump a mile every time they went off.  Those darn guns almost sent Josh running back to the car, but he powered through.
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The day started off beautifully but was deteriorating as the afternoon went on.  The base wasn’t too bad but the lift and the top were soooooo cold.  My fingers, chin, and toes were so numb.  Halle’s too.  I could tell she was so miserable but trying to be brave.  So I stopped off at the ski shop and got her a neck warmer that she could nuzzle down in as we rode the lifts.  After a bunch of runs everyone was ready for hot chocolate and fries at the logde.  I don’t know why, but those Alta fries are the most delicious things on earth. 
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Then we went and picked up the littles from ski school.  Then it was back to the lodge for more hot chocolate and fries with them.  They were eager to show us what they learned so we all headed over to the tow rope.  I was impressed at what one day in ski school could do!  They were both skiing great and I was so proud.  I’m am now a definite believer in ski school! 
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The highlight of the day for the big kids was skiing with Grandpa.  They think it is soooo cool that he can ski with them.
2015-12-24 16.49.11 HDRHalle and Bridger went up the lift a few times by themselves Halle and bridge took off to make a few runs. Halle and Bridge took forever to show up, I thought she was stuck somewhere and was just about to get ski patrol when they came down the mountain and sure enough she had gotten stuck in some powder.  It was Halle’s only time she had fallen that day and she waited right till the end. She couldn’t get her skis back on in the powder, and I think it scared her a little bit, but after a lot of work on trudging out of the powder she made it back down the hill. 

Best part of skiing?  The kids sleep like ROCKS and Santa can easily come and do his business Winking smile
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