Sunday, March 23, 2014

This and That

Elise sure loves her older brother Seth. This pictures was taken while watching Rob's cousin Lydia play in a middle school volleyball tournament.
During Dr. Seuss week these kids made these fun hats at the library. We were driving somewhere and I turned around and saw this in the backseat...pretty adorable.
A few weeks ago these kids played in the Piano Festival.  It was a very positive experience for all three.  They each earned a Superior ranking.  If recommended by their teacher, the higher level students could audition for some music awards.  Seth and Brenna auditioned this past weekend and were quite pleased to come away with some money!  (Quite a bit, actually.  Brenna was awarded $100 and Seth $200!)  They were compared to students of similar age, with the monetary amounts increasing with age.
One morning while getting ready for church I noticed Brenna and Elise both had pink with zebra stripes on- I had to get a picture. Unfortunately Sydney stayed home sick that day, but she also has a dress that is pink and black. I keep meaning to have a professional photo of that done, but have yet to do it. :)

This picture just shows our adorable Elise!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Iowa Trip Part Two

Friday evening we left Julianne and Ryan's house to go to the airport to pick up my sister Sarah and her baby, Anna.  Sarah was originally supposed to be flying the last leg of her trip on the same flight as my parents, however, due to a "Snowpocalypse" (as she liked to call it) her plane from Portland was delayed and so she missed her connecting flight by mere minutes.  This was surprising to all of us since my mom was at the gate trying to get the airline employees to hold the plane.  Ususally my mom is very persuasive in these situations but to all of our surprise she did not prevail this time. :)
So poor Sarah had an extra long trip with her walking 11 month old. (FUN!)  To make matters worse, her last flight was delayed as well, meaning we picked her up, drove to the recital and arrived about 3 minutes after it was supposed to start.  (Thanks for waiting for us, Heidi!)

Heidi found a nice couple to watch our babies in the lounge while we attended the recital.
Now on to the recital:  It was amazing!  I was so proud of my sis!  She looked absolutely stunning and played exquisitely.   I enjoyed every note.  It was partly motivating (as in- I should go home and practice) and partly discouraging (as in- why bother- there is no way...)  But really, it was just amazing.  She told us later that night that that recital counted for her audition into the doctorate program as well as a requirement for her Master's and she passed both.  I am so happy for her!  They love her there.  The recital room was packed.  Sam told me recitals are not usually so well attended.  He said before Heidi came along the piano majors did not hardly talk to each other.  Heidi has done a lot to unify the students and imrpove socialization.  She is also a favorite among her group piano students, many of whom came to hear her play.  Oh yeah, that is my sister we are talking about!  She is awesome!

Considering the long day of travel and the late night, the babies were quite good-natured.
The day after the recital was my dad's birthday. We got him a cake and had some ice cream. It has been several several years since I have been with my dad on his birthday so this was a special treat. We all flew home on Sunday. It felt so WARM when we got back to Boise! Iowa was a frozen tundra!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Trip to Iowa Part 1

So way back in the beginning of February Rob, Elise, and I took a fun weekend trip to Iowa. It all started because my sister Heidi is getting her Master's Degree in Piano Performance and was giving a Recital. It just so happens that Rob's brother Ryan and family live 1.5 hours from Heidi and Sam. So we decided to go on Thursday and visit Ryan, then drive Friday night to the recital and spend a couple of days with Heidi, Sam, my parents and sister Sarah.

Ryan and Julianne have three adorable children.  Sam, age 5, Annie-2 and Joe-1.  Ryan is also a dentist so Rob enjoyed going to work with him on Friday and seeing his office.  Annie was my buddy that day while Sam was at school.  As you can see, she thought Elise was pretty fun, too.

Since Rob flew to Iowa from Indiana he had a few hours to kill until my flight arrived.  To ensure he was the favorite uncle he went to a nearby store and bought some gifts for Ryan's kids.  This picture shows the superman hat Rob picked out for Sam.  He wore it constantly the entire time we were there.
It was so great to visit with Ryan and Julianne.  They fed us delicious food and even sent us on our way with a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread!  We had a great time.

Some catch up

Look at this happy baby!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blog Post or Bust

I set a goal to post on this blog today, and despite some opposition, I am determined to reach that goal. 
My kids have been home for three weeks (three wonderful, blessed, weeks) so I suppose I should have had lots of time to blog.  Or, one could argue that that is why I have had no time to blog. :)  
Anyhow, we had a really great Christmas so that is what I am going to blog about today.

The above picture was taken before going the the Monster Concert Seth and Brenna performed in on Dec. 21.  I was grumbling a little about this concert because it was so late in the season.  A Monster Concert, by the way, is where students play duets but they have more than one piano on the stage- in this case eleven- so the students are all playing at the same time being led by a conductor.  It actually turned out to be a very nice concert and really got me in the Christmas spirit.  What made it extra special was that Rob's sister Melanie and her new husband were there.  They spent a couple of nights with us on their way to Idaho Falls for Christmas and were good natured enough to come along to the concert.  We were so happy to see them.  We miss having Melanie around!

We went outside the box this year and traveled to California for Christmas.  We were quite wishy-washy about the whole thing.  We kept my poor mom wondering if we were coming or not for far too long.  The idea sprouted when we heard BYU would be playing a bowl game in San Francisco on Dec. 27th.  We thought it would be a great excursion for the boys to go to that game with their grandpa.  So we headed to California the day before Christmas Eve, and although we elected to watch the game on grandpa's large TV rather than in person, we are so glad we made the trip.  We had such a pleasant time.  I think it was one of our most fun Christmases ever!  Thanks mom and dad for hosting us- we pretty much doubled the amount of people coming to your house for the holiday!

The night we arrived was the annual Messiah/Christmas music sing-a-long that my parents have done each year as long as I can remember.  It was so fun to be there singing beautiful music together.  I was happy that Seth and Brenna joined in.  I did not take enough pictures but I will always remember Heidi in her cute Santa hat and red sweater playing some jazzy Christmas carols (one of them arranged by her!) while her jingle bell on the end of her hat jangled.  Also memorable was singing a capella in my parents covered front door alcove that had great acoustics!

We enjoyed the weather in CA very much.  Sunny and 65 I think it was the whole time.  We helped a gentlemen in my parent's ward by picking clean his mandarin trees.  It felt great to be outside in the warm sunshine and eat the fresh mandarins.  We bought 20 lbs to take home with us from a local grower.  The fruit in the stores here just cannot compare.  The kids played tag and basketball outside every day with their aunts and uncles.  We also went and saw the new Disney movie.  I really enjoyed it!

One day I came into the kitchen and saw my mom like this!  HAHA this picture makes me smile.  She is so limber and is always doing Yoga poses- even, apparently, while cooking!  Only a woman with her height would think that was comfortable!
Christmas Eve was spent preparing for the feast.  Ham, gourmet potatoes, Christmas jello, pie...  It was delicious!  Afterward grandma shared a Christmas message and we discussed the importance of Christ's birth.  Grant shared a recitation of "The Night Before Christmas" and all the kids played their Christmas songs on the piano.  
By seating Sydney in the high chair we were all able to fit around the table!
Elise's seat :)


Love this picture!!!

 Christmas morning was everything it should be!  I watched the video today that Rob took of that morning and think it will be treasured in years to come.  

Sydney received a princess dress from Santa.  To our utter amazement when she put it on she was transformed into a princess and just stood there gesturing and posing before the populace.  I am not kidding- I do not know where she got that from.  She has not watched any movies or been exposed to anything that I know of that would have taught her to do that.  These pictures can give you somewhat of an idea of what she was like:


As you can see I am enjoying having a little girl in the house again. :)

On the other end of the spectrum Grant and Russell received.....Ninja Turtle gear!


I always enjoy giving and receiving gifts from extended family members.  It was fun this year to watch some of them be opened in person.  Heidi and Sam had our name this year and were so thoughtful in giving us a beautifully framed picture of the Living Christ testament.  They had some incredible obstacles they overcame to make that happen.  It was fun to see their enthusiasm!
I got brave and attempted to make some stockings for my sister Wendy's family.  We had her name this year and I did not know what to get her.  I remember her mentioning she wished she has some nice stockings and I remember Rob's sister Kristy had made some a couple years ago for her family so I enlisted her help.  Kristy was so fun to work with.  She came with me to the fabric store and even stayed and got the fabric cut when I had to leave.  She came over and showed me how to make the first one.  Here is a picture of the finished product:
please disregard the random items placed on the mantle to use as weights!

I am now working on some for my family.  I was inspired to start this project after Wendy had posted a cute blog post about an Advent calendar she had sewn from a kit.  Her enthusiasm for sewing was catching and I wanted to do a project too. :)

Anyhow, we had a wonderful Christmas Day spent with family.  We worked on a Nativity puzzle and took naps, played games, etc.  

The week after Christmas we spent a great New Year's Eve with Rob's aunt and sister and their families.  We played the fun game we learned to play in CA.  We all got together again on New Year's Day to celebrate our niece's birthday.  

Seth started back to school last week.  He tried out for the seventh grade basketball team and made it!  We are proud of him.  They have an A and a B team and he made the A team.  We are excited for him to improve his skills and confidence.

We got some snow last week and Grant and Brenna made a snowman.  I had to laugh because they had been playing out in the snow for quite a while when I said, "You should build a snowman" and they looked at me and said, 'Oh yeah! We should!"  This caught me as funny because for the past week they have been singing, "Do you want to build a snowman" from the new Frozen movie nonstop. :)

The next day the snow was melting and Grant went out and did what any true boy would do.  He smashed the snowman (whom they had named Charles.)  I said to him, "What happened to Charles?"  He responded, "Oh, I am like the real Charles.  I didn't want him to die slowly so I just killed him."  This is referring to the new Ingall's movie on BYU TV that we had just watched (that is so good, by the way) where Charles has to put down a horse that had broken a leg.  That boy is so funny.  
Grant and Brenna start back to school tomorrow.  I am not ready for it!  These three weeks have been so nice but I suppose they can't last forever.  

Happy New Year!