Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas and Cousins

For the first time in ages, David spent Christmas with his Mom and his sister. Gwynne came in 2 weeks ago from Florida. Alisa and her two kids came in last Saturday. It was a fun time. Five kids certainly amps up the noise in the house that's for sure. But, it was fun and lots of memories were made. This post is chock full of 31 photos. I'm doing all of it in one big post.

The day Alisa and her kids came in was Greg's fourth birthday. I made him a cake.

Anytime we tried to get a picture of all 5 kids, this is how it turned out.

Every night for dinner, we put Grammie at the table with all 5 of her grandkids. This was the annual tradition of doing the gingerbread house. Gwynne really looks forward to it every year. Or not...

Noah and Greg were best buds. Noah is actually 4 months older, but Greg looks a year older.

There was some Just Dance on the Wii.

On Christmas Eve, the kids got to open pajamas. Alisa got them matching ones. And I got them slippers.

Then, David and Alisa took them all to the drive thru Christmas lights and Gwynne and I enjoyed the silence and watched Sound of Music.

That night, I read everyone Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Then, Santa came.

Oh, Buddy the elf was great fun. The kids had a blast with him throughout the month. They were really, really sad at the thought of Buddy going back to the North Pole and leaving us. So, our Buddy is staying here with us. He's wrapped up in Christmas paper with his eyes peeking out and we'll open him next year.

There were lots of notes for Santa and he left one for the kids.

Here they are on Christmas morning.

Yea for toothbrushes!

Yea for stocking stuffers!

Yea for sneezes!

Ben got his Nintendo 3DS XL.

Noah got his ninja sewer.

Emily got her doll camper. It was so cute. My daughter gets a cute camper and my son got a sewer. It really explains so much about them.

Here are the kids surveying the damage.

And there was lots of damage...

We waited until all the presents were open and brought out Em's big gift. A new digital piano. She loved it.

Grammie got them all matching red shirts.

Noah wouldn't smile...

So, he got tickled.

That made him smile.

We wanted one of Grammie and all 5 kids in their red shirts. This is as good as it got.

It was a crazy, chaotic and fun filled 5 days. So much so that I didn't have time to blog at all. But, I'm back now!

Christmas Rest Home Visit

To say the last 2 weeks have been busy is an understatement. I have a lot of catching up to do. I'll start this post of our semi annual visit to the Senior Rest Home.

Here are the piano girls.

Here's are group getting ready to perform for the Alzheimer's side of the rest home. We do performances one for that side and one for the more able bodied side.

Here are all the girls.

And all the boys. I like how the girls just take a nice photo and the boys are all silly.

Here's Emily on the baby grand piano.

Here's Ben doing a poem.

Here's our crew. Noah kept doing something with his legs and the seniors thought he was channeling Elvis.

Here's some of our audience. You may notice Ben in the back walking around. He greeted every senior and told them Merry Christmas. They all loved it.

And Oval, who is 101, was still there. She came out for a moment and then went back to her room. The kids were all excited to see her.

It was another great visit and I'm so glad we can do this twice a year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Music Programs

Emily and Ben had their Christmas Music Programs this week. They were on different nights since they split the grades up to avoid overcrowding and it's still overly crowded.

I don't know why Ben is so difficult with pictures. I took 26 pictures (and I'm not kidding). They mostly looked like he was miserable or having some sort of spasm.

I finally ended up with a few semi smiles after begging him to cooperate.

Meanwhile, Emily gets up there and I take 5 perfect pictures and I have a hard time picking the best.

Emily's songs were an island theme, so they had the kids wearing flower clips and leis. So cute!

After Ben's perfomance, we went through the drive thru Christmas lights. My favorite are the tunnels.

And are the videos.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Parties

The weekends have been filled with fun get togethers with family and friends.

Last Saturday, we drove down to Phoenix. My Dad and Suzy were having our Christmas celebration early. Usually, we do it on Christmas Eve, but this year David's Mom, his sister and her kids will be at our house.

Suzy got a new organ. This thing looked like a cockpit! It was impressive.

I was thrilled to see my kids behaving and watching Rise of the Guardians. They looked cute as little stair steps.

Time for presents!

Ben loved this ninja turtle coat Suzy found for him.

It's a very TMNT Christmas if you couldn't tell.

Emily got her American Girl gymnastics bar and beam.

I thought the money they were charging for it was outrageous. So, I asked my Dad and Suzy to make her a set. Well, they bought her the AG version, but also made her a high bar and parallel bar. Turns out, she likes my Dad and Suzy version better!

On Sunday, we had a party at our clubhouse with all the families in our little group. I say little, but it's gotten so big over the years, we had to have it at the clubhouse. There were almost 70 people there. We had a hot cocoa bar.

Santa came.

Noah was the first gift called.
Noah liked Ben's gift better than his own.
Emily waited so patiently. She was the last gift called.

Here are some of the sweet girls in our group.

It was a nice party.

Now, we are heading into 2 music concerts for school and a performance at the retirement home. Busy, busy, busy and FUN!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Noah's Christmas Program

The Christmas program at the preschool is always so cute. This was our last one, and when I pulled out Ben's shirt and tie for Noah to wear, I got a little choked up. Time just goes so fast. Everyone says that, and I'm realizing it's so true. I remember going to this same program with Emily and then with Ben like it was yesterday. You can see what I blogged about Emily's program here and Ben's program here. It was just yesterday, I swear. Where are my little kids? I want them back.

Moving on...

Noah looked so sweet and handsome in Ben's hand me downs.
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Another class did the candle program that Ben and Emily had done. Noah's class did a play and he was a shepherd!
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Oh my gosh, could he be any cuter? NO!
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Here's some video of the play and songs. There were more songs, but he got covered up by some kids in the three year old class. I realize now why I like my tripod as these videos are so shaky! We kept waiting for Noah's shepherd hat to turn into a blindfold.

I love this one when he waves to us.

After the show, they did a slideshow of a few pictures of the kids.
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Then, they asked each kid what they wanted to get their Mom and Dad for Christmas. This is what Noah said:
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I asked him what he was talking about and he said a bed. It's probably because when we do family lovin' at night, I say we need a bigger bed. We have a king though, but it's not big enough for 5 people.

The program was so cute and they always do such a great job with the kids. It's our last one, but I know we have much more to look forward to.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Piano Recital

Emily had her Christmas Piano Recital last night. It's always so great to go and hear the girls play. My girl looked so pretty in her dress Grammie got her.
Here are the 4 piano girls.
And the girls with Mrs. Stacy.
Emily played O Christmas Tree, Up on the Housetop, God Rest Ye Merry Gentleen and Amazing Grace. Now, Emily isn't the best when it comes to practicing. She goes to her lesson every week, but when I tell her to practice, it's usually met with an eye roll or in a minute remark. We've been getting on her the last few weeks to really practice these songs and she did. Before the recital, she played all 4 of them perfectly. Then, we went to the recital and she struggled with every song in spots. She quickly recovered and it wasn't a big deal. But, when we got home, she was really upset with herself. We told her we were proud of her and that it's scary playing for 8 minutes in front of 10 people. We also told her if she practiced more, it may not have happened. I think she learned a few things from this recital.

As a parent, you just want your kids to do well. When she was on the beam at gymnastics the other day, I think I said in my head, please don't fall, through the whole routine. You know what they can do and you just want them to shine and feel good about what they've accomplished. So, when she started God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and paused. Then, tried to start again and paused. Then, let out a sigh and started again. I was just praying she didn't burst into tears. But, you know what? She let out that sigh, regained her composure and nailed it. I was so proud of her.

After the girls all get a trophy and certificate.
Stacy had this super cute cake made at Sam's Club.
The girls all thought it was neat that they got to eat their face.

It was a lovely night and we are so proud of Emily. She has asked that I post another video of her playing her songs perfectly when she gets home from school later today. Which is fine with me, but I hope she knows she doesn't have to prove anything to anybody. She knows she can nail all of them. We are only human and sometimes we all need to let out a deep sigh and start over.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Tis' the season of recitals, musicals and performances. To the Grandparents, this month should make your whole year with great videos and pictures. So, sit back and enjoy. It'll be like you were there. Almost.

Today was Emily's gymnastic showcase. I like that it's kind of low key. There isn't big rehearsals and expensive costumes. Emily's is in Girls Level 2. They all learn the same little routines and then the perform them one at a time.

Here's Emily on the beam.

Here is her floor routine.

Here is her bar routine.

I was so proud of her. She started gymnastics 4 months ago. She's come so far already. Here's all the kids that performed today.

Each girl then gets called up for a medal.

It was so great to see my girl show off. We are so excited she loves gymnastics and can't wait to see what she can do in another 4 months!

One of the coaches acted as a judge and called the girls names out. She gave them each a card with her notes at the end.

Then, we all went to Dairy Queen!

Up tomorrow night....are you ready grandmas?...wait for it...wait for it...Christmas piano recital!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Around Our House

Buddy is turning out to be great fun. Emily questions his authenticity daily. Ben finds him hysterical. Noah is indifferent. He just wants coffee in the morning. Here's what Buddy's been up to. 

And we cleaned up the leaves in the front yard so we could decorate. Ben helped with the leaf blower.  I think it's bigger than he is.
Noah is quite the character.  When I pick him up from preschool, he always asks what I brought him.  Usually, I just did my grocery shopping, so I open the trunk and let him grab something.  If I'm not running to the store first, I"ll throw something in my car, from almonds to M&M's.  

Today, he asked what I brought him and I pulled out a fruit roll up.
He said:  I bet you were shopping and you said, I think my little Kiki Diki would like a fruit roll up. (That's what we call him sometimes.)  So, you put the fruit roll ups in your cart.  And you know what?  You were right!

I was dying laughing.  He's a funny boy.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013


We had a great Thanksgiving at my Dad and Suzy's house. We always get there a little early. The kids were good and spent some time coloring in some cool coloring books that Grandma Suzy got them.
My Dad got this swing from a friend. It's super cool.
David and his kids.
Emily took one of David and I.
My Dad carving the turkey while Katie Sue patiently waits for a bite.
Noah pounding on the ivories. There was no tickling involved.
The crowd...
It was a great day, and it was nice to see everyone.

Meanwhile, Buddy the Elf is up to no good. I'll post pics in another post. But, the army men tied him up last night. It's been great fun waking up to see what he was up to!