Tuesday, January 24, 2017

a short visit from the Texans

The company Brennan works for shuts down between Christmas and New Years. It is nice to get that time off without using vacation but Iowa winter doesn't really lend itself to having a grand old time. This year Mara and Ben and co. made the drive up from Texas to spend a few days which was great! It was still winter in Iowa but at least we had company!

We made lots of treats, like more rice krispie peanut butter balls. And played lots of games, old and new.
Emry got chubbier.
Declan touched Emry's cheeks a lot.
Sleepovers in Grandma and Papa's room. Maybe one day they will learn to actually go to sleep when they are in the same room, but that day didn't happen on this trip. :) I have to constantly remind myself that they are making valuable memories with their cousins and it's worth my having to deal with grumpy and emotional kids.
We played basketball and spike ball at the church. Brennan made this fort for the kids right before we left. They were disappointed they didn't get to play in it more. We left it up, thinking we would come back but we never did make it back.
Watching an afternoon movie. Declan is extremely outnumbered in this group.
Cousins in curlers!
Kickball at the old middle school gym. We tried to do boys vs. girls with the kids split evenly between us, but the women ended up with all the kids (surprise, surprise) and we never ended up keeping score, that I know of.

It was a fun game and we got to visit Kelbie at the chocolate shop right down the hall.

Lucy loved holding Emry even though Emry wasn't often cooperative.
Tag at Papa's work is the perfect winter activity. No better way to burn off that extra energy.

Oh, Emry. You are a bright spot in this dreary winter, that is for sure.

We got to have the Gardners stay with us on their last night. It was short but a lot of fun.

The day they left was New Year's Eve. It was the most anticlimactic New Year's Eve of my life. We were all tired out from the week and we just hung out at home, played some games and built with legos with the kids. Kind of lame I guess, but just what we needed.
It was fun to see Kelbie after her first semester of college. Somehow I didn't get any pictures of her! But she brought the kids these BYU sweatshirts and they love them.
And just like that it was 2017. And now it's almost February. Time marches on. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Christmas 2016

I grew up watching The Muppet Christmas Carol and it's a tradition I must continue! :) I've tried doing it on Christmas Eve but there never seems to be enough time and I tossed around the idea of watching it the day after Thanksgiving as a kick off to the Christmas season but totally forgot about it when the time came. This year I think we found the tradition that will stick. Brennan made delicious homemade cinnamon rolls and we ate them while watching the movie on the morning of Christmas Eve. I really enjoyed it. 

 Saturday is a bath day for the kids but we knew the evening would be busy so we bathed them right after our morning movie and they got their new pjs. Declan has been working on perfecting the pout/scowl, crossed arms and all. It's a joyous phase.
 A smile from Scrooge himself!

We headed to my parents' house for the evening. We ate dinner, read the scriptures and sang carols.

Emry was cute.

 My played her harp for some of the songs which is always a nice touch.
And Declan fell asleep during it all. And he was out. Brennan got a real kick out of laying him all sorts of places.
We headed home to get ready for Santa. We didn't have too much work to do this year, which was nice. My dad built this great train table for Declan and we got him a couple little wooden train sets to use on it. Tatum asked for an American Girl doll but we thought she was a little young for such an expensive doll so she got Target's knock off version. She was perfectly thrilled.
Christmas morning! Is there a better day?! I just love watching the kids' excitement and enthusiasm.
This was our first Christmas morning with just our little family. It was certainly different but calm and quiet. There weren't a lot of gifts to open so the kids got to take their time playing with each thing. Not as much time as they could have though, since we had to get to Church. In fact, I failed to mention that we had to wake them up! They aren't old enough for their excitement to get them up early. And we were headed back to grandma and papa's right after Church so we wanted time to open everything.

 Very excited for his "Batman set" which was a very late addition to his wish list.

 Brennan's new coat!
 And my new hat. And weird face. :)
 Haha, I love his little expression in this picture.
 New books from their great grandparents.
 Emry was thrilled to be remembered.
 Tatum gave Declan Tracker for Christmas. It is one of the only PAW Patrol pups they don't have yet and he was so stoked. In fact, now that we are a couple weeks out, it is usually the only Christmas present he even remembers when people ask.
 I may or may not force my children to hug each other from time to time haha. They hug each other pretty regularly without being forced but I'm bound and determined to make them less averse to hugging than the Cardons. )

 Trying on my new snow boots from Brennan.
 We always like to get the kids a new game for Christmas. This year I picked up this one, The Magic Labyrinth, at Target during a game sale. I didn't know anything about it but it was a really good price and it received a game of the year award a few years back. Annnnnyway, if you're looking for a game for young kids I would highly recommend this one. The kids love it and we don't hate playing it with them. ;) I've only seen it at Target and on Amazon. I love it because it is simple enough that Declan can play but it isn't boring for the rest of us.

 Oh boy. I went shopping on my own a couple weeks before Christmas (heavenly!) and found some really good deals on clothes for Brennan at Kohls. I found this sweater and it seemed strange to me but I couldn't put my finger on it. I kept looking at it and wondering why I didn't really like but it but is was only like 3 or 4 dollars so I got it. Well turns out it is a women's sweater!! Brennan pointed out all the signs, which all seemed obvious. But that night in the store, I'm telling you, it wasn't obvious. I made him try it on just for kicks. It gave me a good laugh. The slits on the sides. That wide neck. So hilarious.

Playing Hot Potato. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Did he seriously jam his finger on a plush potato?! This kid gets hurt all. the. time.

 With the present opening done we got the kids ready for Church and headed to Mt. Vernon. We even made it there early to hear my mom play her harp for prelude!

We got out of Church much faster than my parents so we tried to get a Christmas photo as a whole family while we waited for them to get home. I'll spare you looking at all the pictures we took, but I have to include some because our struggle is just too funny.

First we tried to get the camera set up at the right angle so we could just use the timer. Unfortunately that was quite difficult and the lighting was bad and our camera's flash is having problems cooperating.
 Next we tried to use my watch to take some with my phone. They aren't horrible but they sure make me laugh. I gave my watch to Brennan since I was holding Emry and I said to him "Be sure to old it kind of behind you so it isn't obvious." His response was something along the lines of "duh" and then these are the pictures.

Not obvious at all right?! :)
Brennan's next idea was just an easy family selfie. Only by now, Scrooge had reappeared. You may be thinking that you can't blame the kid since apparently his parents were determined to torture him on Christmas of all days by taking a million pictures. But I promise you, this all happened in a matter just a few minutes.
I'm in the middle of some effort to get Declan to smile.
Brennan joined me, but you can see Tatum was our steady smile through it all. :)
Finally a smile but his eyes are closed!
Eyes open and a smile, but blurry. We'll take it! And in walked my parents.
And we got this! :) Success! Or at least our version of it.  Sorry for the over abundance of pictures of us doing the exact same pose over and over and over again. It's just kind of amusing what can go on to get one semi-decent picture of a family. And I want to remember the craziness that sometimes goes undocumented.
The Eskelsens joined us and we had our traditional breakfast sandwiches and then dove into the second round of present opening. Look at that mountain of presents!

 My mom got Declan new running pants for Christmas and all his dreams came true. Unfortunately our camera had completely stopped cooperating by now so the picture of him throwing the pants around and being downright gleeful is way too dark. But he wasted no time stripping down so he could put them on. And now he can live in running pants. Although we still won't let him wear them to bed, much to his dismay.

 We spent the rest of the day playing new games and eating yummy food. It was a wonderful Christmas and we are truly and abundantly blessed. And apparently tired. Brennan snapped this photo of me after I fed Emry later in the day. I am completely passed out under that mop of hair.
We had cousins come in town just a couple days later so the fun (and exhaustion) didn't end here. We really did have a wonderful Christmas and we hope all of you, our friends and family, did too!