Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bla, bla, bla...Blog Humbug

I'm actually posting this on February 16th, 2012. Yes, I've been busy, but mostly I've just had zero desire to blog. I'm hoping if I get caught up, I might be able to muster some. So here's the month of December in a nutshell:

December 1st:
I hosted a dinner for the Relief Society. It turned into quite the ordeal, since our power was out for most of the day. I farmed out the honey baked ham to a good friend who even offered her home if necessary. Luckily the electricity came on just in time to make the au gratins, garlic beans and rolls and warm up the house before the guests arrived. I was so stressed that I completely forgot to take a picture of the event, but here's one of Ainsley showing off the artwork that I took down in the cleaning process.

December 4th:
We invited Ralph, Judy and Jake over for dinner, and got one more use out of the fancy table setting.

December 9th:
It was our ward party. We had a dinner this year, with a simple, sweet and spiritual program—the nativity, and carols, performed by the primary kids.

December 13th:
A parent demonstration in Ainsley's ballet class—I forgot my camera. I took a few with my phone, but this one, by my friend Christianne, was my favorite. Ainsley, Duffy and Lulu:

December 14th:
Ralph and Judy gave us their front-row tickets to Annie, and I took the three youngest. We loved it!

December 15th:
Ellie's ballet class performance:

December 16th:
Joey's band performance at school. He and two of his friends played a song as a trio, since they're "the best musicians in the band."

December 17th:
We got a phone call in the early afternoon suggesting that we try to pull off a cousins photo to give my parents for Christmas. Here's how it turned out. Not bad for almost zero planning, 14 kids and an amateur photographer (me).

December 21st:
The school program.

December 23rd:
The Marsh family party. Details here. And the cutest presents ever, made by Melissa—see here.

December 24th:
We had what is usually our Christmas morning breakfast (ebleskivers)on Christmas Eve morning, since we knew we'd be scrambling to open presents and get to church. Yum.

And went to the Backman family party in the afternoon. Here's the traditional nativity re-enactment. Ellie was excited to finally play Mary.

The kids opened their new jammies and slippers, but I forgot to take a photo of them after they'd changed into them.

December 25:
I can't really pick just one photo from Christmas day, but I tried to narrow it down from the 155 + video that I took.

We always start with stockings, and the girls were so excited about the wands that they found in theirs.

Robbie was totally surprised by his new electronic drum kit. It was hidden under a huge plastic cover, and he guessed that it was a desk.

Joey and Ainsley both got iPod shuffles, so I think we own every color now. :)

Joey's big present was a Kindle. He loves being the first in the family to have an e-reader. He also got a new puffy coat, as requested.

Ellie got a new sewing machine and accessories, plus sewing lessons. She was very happy.

She also loves her microphone.

In addition to the iPod shuffle, Ainsley loved her Lalaloopsy doll and scooter.

We managed a photo with the timer on the camera before going to church at 11:00. It was a nice meeting. I love the focus on the Savior that comes when Christmas is on Sunday.

Ralph, Judy and Jake joined us for church and for lunch we had breakfast casserole, muffins, fruit, and the orange rolls left over from breakfast.

The kids opened their presents from Grandpa and Grandma. My mom and dad stopped by too, but didn't stay long enough for a photo...

Aww, aren't they sweet?

And silly...

Ainsley, aka Ginny, showing off her mad magic skills.

December 26th:
The fun continued, with the Riley family party. Since Cara hasn't been good enough to post for me, like Melissa did, here are a few photos:

We had brunch:

Ellie and Ainsley with cute Logan:

All of my siblings and their families were there, as well as my Grandma Clayton and Bus, Jan and Kaitlyn.

Joey was Mr. Cool, wearing his hat all day.

Robbie was fully engaged, like any good teenager.

And my parents loved the photo.

Grandma Clayton's party was that evening. She loves being surrounded by her great-grandkids!

December 29th:
We felt lucky to have our friends the Hydes come by for an afternoon during their trip here from Hong Kong. Wish they still lived here, but at least we see them every summer.

December 30th:
We finally took Robbie out for the steak dinner we promised for getting a 4.0 his first semester in junior high. After a great meal we went to see Sherlock Holmes.

New Year's Eve was laid back...I think we watched a movie.

Whew. I'm not sure how zero desire to blog translates into the longest post ever, but there it is. Finally.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Deceivingly blank...

It's not the first time I've skipped blogging for a whole month. But this time I hardly took any photos, which is unusual. 288 photos, on only eight days. Here's what I captured:

Robbie had a persistant cough for months, and was treated for infection and walking pneumonia with no results before I finally made an appointment with an allergist. It turns out he's not allergic or asthmatic, but the appointment still did the trick...he stopped coughing.
It wasn't the first snow of the year, but maybe the deepest. Ellie and Ainsley played outside for hours.
The elementary school was out for the day, so we staged a photo on 11/11/11 at 11:11 a.m.
We were able to attend the Draper Temple, where Davy and Emma were sealed. Oh, and the Utes beat Washington State in overtime. :)
Ralph told us about our Marsh ancestors at the Backman Family History Night.
Ainsley lost her first tooth! The slacker tooth fairy didn't make an appearance for four whole days though...
Thanksgiving! Our favorite holiday. We had a fabulous day and dinner in St. George at Ralph and Judy's. We were grateful to enjoy the company of Jake, the Stringhams, Grandpa & Grandma Backman, the Rasmussens and the Knaubs. It was my first year ever making my Grandma's fabulous candied yams, and they were a success!
We had a fun game of dodgeball with the family. The kids told me earlier in the month that their favorite Thanksgiving tradition is going to St. George. No wonder, they spent hours playing outside with their cousins.
We put up the Christmas tree a little early this year, since I was hostessing a Relief Society dinner on December 1st.
So, why the lack of photos? No, it was not restraint on my part. I was pretty much overwhelmed with daily responsibilities.

Here's what doesn't show up on this calendar: carpools, ballet lessons, piano lessons, early mornings at the gym, volunteering at the school, chess club, helping kids with homework x4, Webelos den meetings, pack meeting, Young Men's, volleyball, Achievement days, church, bishopric meetings, two book group meetings, primary practice & program, Beehive books, babysitting, SEPs, chiropractor, eye doctor, two birthday parties, PTA movie day, assembling 80 gifts for OJH piano donors and making dessert for the piano concert. Not to mention packing, unpacking, cleaning and trying to keep everyone fed & in clean clothes. More than I could fit on this little calendar, and stuff I'm trying to repress at this point.

Rob tells me my only New Year's resolution should be to say no. Of course then he called me to be a gospel doctrine teacher. No time commitment there. My first lesson was on December 6th, on...the Book of Revelation! So I also spent a couple of weeks in November preparing for that. Hard to believe I didn't fit in some time for blogging or Christmas cards. Maybe next November.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Operation Upward-Spiral

Last Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church I dropped something, bent over to pick it up...and threw my back out. Something that's happened many times, over a period of years. But it had been months, and I've been consistent in my physical therapy and strength training. I've been telling myself that even if I haven't reached my body composition goals this year, at least my back and shoulder are back in the game. I know it sounds like a ridiculous over-reaction, but I was devastated. I cried like a baby. (There may have been some out-of-control hormones adding fuel to the fire.) I pulled it together just enough to get myself and the kids to church. Rob was speaking in sacrament meeting, and I didn't want to miss it. We sat in the back (uncharacteristically) so I could make a quick escape after. But Rob's parents came to hear him, and so of course I wanted to talk to them after, but it wasn't long before I broke down embarrassing. I went home and really let go, and got it out of my system. I'm done with the downward-spiral.

"Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind.To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse.
To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better.
To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better."
                                                       —King Whitney Jr.

Onward and upward.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Almost forgot...

What would Halloween be without a procrastinated homework project?

As predicted.

Very funny, now that my heart rate has returned to normal.

Halloween catch-up

Yes, it it January, and I'm finally backdating a Halloween post. Par for the course around here. Hopefully Rob has someone there to revive him from the shock.

Halloween isn't our favorite holiday, but it was eventful. First the parade at school, held on the 28th because Fridays are early days.

Followed immediately by class parties. I was in charge of Ellie's class party, which was fun thanks to lots of help. Lucky Ainsley got to attend Ellie's party after her own in kindergarten.

That night was our ward carnival, which was amazing. Rob is well-known as a halloween scrooge, and had his own booth. Even he dressed up this year though, it's pretty impressive that he can still fit into the kilt he bought on his mission!

So the actual day of halloween was just a normal school day. The girls did have some cute shirts and tights to wear.

And this year Rob and I got the treat. All of our kids went trick-or-treating with friends, leaving us alone in a quiet and warm house! I managed photos of Joey with his group of friends, and the girls, with their friends, but didn't embarrass Robbie by taking a photo of the older kids.

As I said in my previous post, we made it to see three out of four grandparents, always a fun tradition. We feel lucky that the kids still have great-grandparents to visit!

It was fun, but busy! Next year might have to be another halloween vacation. Maybe Hawaii this time?

Happy Halloween!

This is especially for Ralph and Judy. We made it to the other grandparents because they're all within two miles of our house. But by the time the kids finished their homework, it was time to meet their friends, and too late when they finished to drive downtown—sorry Ralph and Judy! More candy for you. Complete details on all the Halloween festivities to follow, hopefully soon, just wanted you to see the trick-or-treaters you missed! In case you can't tell, Ellie is a gypsy, Robbie a surgeon (who didn't bother to take off his cargo shorts and sweatshirt before putting on his scrubs!), Ainsley a witch, and Joey is something scary. According to Shawn, most Americans consume 24 lbs. of candy each year. The way the kids were groaning about how heavy their bags were, we may have picked up our quota.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Ainsley

Again, starting with my favorite photo of the day.

After the surprise party the actual birthday may have been a little anti-climatic, especially since it was on a school day. But Ainsley is a master at living in the moment, and she was even thrilled that she had school, so she could take a treat for her class. We usually let the kids pick a special breakfast and dinner on their birthday, and all the kids woke up early in anticipation of Ainsley's breakfast choice, Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms. No photos because they were all done eating by the time I got back from my walk.

We picked up my Grandma and went to Costco to get Ainsley's school treat (baby carrots—healthy at the request of her teacher, and fruit roll-ups—less healthy at Ainsley's request). Then we ate lunch at "the place with the chocolate-covered strawberries" (Zupa's), again Ainsley's choice. While she was at school I finished shopping for her presents.

For dinner she picked crepes (three times in the past month, it's a good thing I found that low-carb version!). Then it was present time.

She got a watch, a pee wee pillow pet, a Webkinz dog, a purse, fingernail polish, a Tangled barbie, and some books. She was delighted and appreciative and fun to watch.

At six, Ainsley:
  • loves the color turquoise
  • is getting really tall, and can wear some of Ellie's clothes!
  • loves to do headstands and is often upside-down
  • is known as "Dad's barnacle" since she cuddles up on his lap every morning to watch the news
  • knows more about current events than her mom (see above)
  • is still a human GPS
  • is great at sharing
  • says she wants her own room, but still comes in to sleep on our floor some nights
  • could outlast the Energizer Bunny
  • loves to help
  • is a chatterbox
  • is a joy
We love you Ainsley!