Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Taylor & Austin's wedding

Avonlea meeting Great Aunt Nikki
On New Year's Eve, I went to my cousin, Taylor's, wedding and Adam and the kids joined us for the reception. The kids had a blast at the dance and this is probably the latest they've ever stayed up on New Year's Eve! Taylor's husband is stationed in Germany, so it was great to see them over the holidays and celebrate with them!

Wedding DJ made balloons
Balloon sword
DJ also had glow sticks
Ryan, Cohen, Jace and Saylor all had a blast dancing!
I'm not sure if the video will work, but you can imagine Saylor dancing, spinning and doing donkey kicks while Cohen "hopped" everywhere and Ryan played some mean air guitar and even demonstrated some "leg sweeps" break dancing. It was pretty entertaining.

 After we got home, Ryan took a few pictures of our exciting New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Minnesota Trip

We took off on Sunday afternoon for Adam's grandpa's farm in Minnesota. Not knowing how Avonlea would do on the drive (she hadn't driven more than 20 minutes), we decided to leave after lunch and see how everyone did. Every time we came to a town, Avonlea was still sleeping and Cohen slept a good 2 hours as well, so we just kept going. We ended up going all the way without stopping until we got to Annandale (a few miles from our destination) where we picked up subs for us and Grandpa. We spent the night and then Adam's parents came up the next day. Adam ended up sleeping with Ryan and I got Cohen for a bedmate. I was kind of jealous of Avonlea's Rock & Play!
Assume the (horizontal) position
The boys spent the day playing at Grandpa's house. It is different without Grandma around, but we were glad to get some time to spend with Grandpa.

At night, we went to one of the cousins' house and many members of the family came over for pizza (and mountains of Christmas goodies). They had done their official party the weekend before but we were thankful so many were able to get together again so our kids could play. There are lots of kids to play with (eleven kids age 7 and under with 3 other who couldn't make it) and it's fun to reconnect, even if it's only about twice/year.
Cohen and Isaiah (a few months older)
Karie and Avonlea
Adam, Ryan, and Malachi (a few months older)
Great Aunt Stacy
Alexa (March) and Avonlea (November)
Elisa and me with Elizbeth Karen (July) and Avonlea Elizabeth (November)
The trip home the next morning went smoothly as well with Avonlea sleeping almost the whole time except for a stop at lunch time. Cohen did great too and we had good weather, so we couldn't have asked for a better trip. It was nice having maternity leave during Adam's Christmas break so we could make this trip without taking time off and overall it was fun getting to spend the whole Christmas break together as a family!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas on Saturday

Saturday we got to spend the day with Adam's family. We had fajitas, tacos, and taco soup this year and it was delicious! I didn't mind the Pizza Ranch for supper either, of course.

It was fun with 4 grandkids there this year. Ryan and Cohen split present-distribution duties, so I guess the rule is now "the youngest with the ability to lift packages."

This is the only Christmas party where we attempted a family picture, so this one serves as the best "family of 5" picture we have!
Me and my girl
Christmas dress! (One of the few things I've actually pickd upt and bought for her!)
Miss Madie opening presents. Can't wait for these 2 little girlies to play together!
Boone grandkids
Now Grandpa's looking but Madie isn't, but Avonlea looks less scared. Oh the struggle!
Cohen helping Madie with her pop-up pals toy.
Ryan put together his entire Lego Firetruck by himself!

Pretty excited about opening a skateboard!

Big Boy in a little wagon.
Good night!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, the boys opened their stockings first. The $1 LED flashlights were a hit and they each got a new farm animal: a cat that looks just like "Catty", Ryan's stuffed animal, and a fox (they still sing "What does the fox say?). They also got their 2014 ornament--a Sorry! game for Ryan and a James train for Cohen. Avonlea's ornament was a pair of ceramic pink shoes. She also had to settle for some new washcloths for her stocking gift :)
We then made a deal that they had to bathe, get dressed, and eat breakfast before opening the presents under the tree. They each had a few gifts like coloring books, books, new socks, and some clothes. They didn't seem to mind the more practical gifts at all!

By late morning, it was time to head to my parent's house. We all enjoyed lunch and then presents. We all quickly regretted the "stocking stuffer" my mom picked out which was a shrieking howler monkey that did exactly that (shriek) when you flung it around.
Pure Evil.

How she slept through the chaos? I'll never know.
The kids all enjoyed their presents from grandpa and grandma and they had a great time playing with cousins. It was our last Christmas at the house where I grew up (the acreage is sold and my parents are moving this Spring) and it was nice to have some final Christmas memories at the farm.
Emily and Avonlea
Seven grandchildren age 8 and under.
Ryan's favorite gift--Sliver, the T-Rex, a Switch & Go Dinosaur
Bright-eyed and ready for the trip home!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

We spent most of Christmas Eve hanging out at home and just had to be ready to go to church at 4:30. This year, they had families who had welcomed a new baby during the year do the readings, so we participated in the first service. There is a video here of us reading the Christmas story (and Adam introducing himself with the wrong name :)) Our part starts at 10:25. (click the link, not the picture)

After church we headed to Hull for my dad's side of the family. We had great food and enjoyed catching up with many cousins, aunts and uncles. It's hard for the kids to stay contained and entertained in a bank community room watching Great-Grandma open presents, so I apologize for the fort-building that may have occurred with the chairs and the chase scene that happens when it's time to leave. Not going to lie, it might happen again next year.

We got the kids all snug in their beds and Santa got his job done overnight...although the crash we heard at about 11:00pm let us know his confidence in the 3M hooks that hold up the sign where the stockers are hung with care was misguided.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Now officially on Christmas break, we tried out a snowman craft (gluing marshmallows and decorating with cereal) and then Ryan built a tower from marshmallows, toothpicks and Froot Loops.

We finally got some snow that was packable and we had a warm day (almost slushy) so it was a perfect storm for a giant (and I mean GIANT) snowman.

Adam quickly realized that he was going to throw his back out if he tried to lift the second layer, so we had a little lesson in simple machines and he got the ramps out he uses to load things in his pickup and rolled it right up!

Year ago, I picked up a "snowman building kit" at a thrift shop which is just some wooden pieces on spikes (including a pipe!) that make it easy to decorate a proper snowman.

We added some spare winter clothing and then posed for a picture with their masterpiece!

It's a little disconcerting to open the kitchen shade and see this giant monster looming in the backyard, but I better get used to it because this guy will probably be here until May!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ryan's Christmas Programs

Ryan's preschool had an Open House with a little program by the class for parents. They practiced a lot and Ryan did a great job!

With his stocking (blue with red toe)

Here's a 4-minute video of the program if you're interested!

The week before the program, we found out that the preschoolers were going to be singing a song to kick off the church Christmas program which was held during our regular service. The kids didn't practice much and Ryan was a little hesitant to go up on stage, but ended up doing fine. He told me later he just didn't feel like doing the actions.
Christmas Program preschoolers
Here's a video - scroll to 3:50 for the start of the song.

Ryan, Cohen, Avonlea after the Christmas program.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Pretzels and Light Ride

We decided to do some fun Christmas things to break up a long Saturday. The boys helped decorate dipped pretzel rods. Tip: melt the squares of Almond Bark in a tall mug, then, you can dip the rod in and just twirl it around with the mug tilted. It probably would work better to roll the rods in the toppings instead of sprinkling, but we were operating at a novice level.

Sprinkles are a favorite. This kind had holes in the cap which was perfect for controlling the output.

Sprinkling mini M&Ms with a few sidetracked into his mouth.
We stored these in the freezer until our Christmas parties (and ate the broken and ugly ones).
After supper that night, we had the boys go on a treasure hunt where I just printed off pictures of things in our house so Ryan would run from one clue to the next. The last clues led to the Christmas tree where I had 2 tickets good for "Christmas Lights and Ice Cream."  So, they chose a stuffed animal to take along and we got into the van for a trip to Maurice to see the lights.

Afterwards we went to Dairy Queen where I LOVED the Candy Cane Chill blizzard (and the BOGO free coupon I had). To my surprise, Ryan chose a "red slush" over ice cream, but apparently gave it the Thumbs Up.

 It was a fun night and sometime inexpensive but memorable for us to do as a family.