Thursday, September 22, 2011

Birthday Boy

It wasn't a big milestone or party year for Joey. He did get Dunford's chocolate donuts for his class...

And a few presents...

Besides his suit (which he picked out and wore a couple of days early), he got Ninjago Legos, a Spiderman DS game, The Guinness Book of World Records and the latest book in the Magyk series.

We had grilled chicken with (his favorite) roasted potatoes and carrots for his birthday dinner, followed by lemon pie instead of cake.

Here are some of his favorites at age eleven, from the poster he made for school:

We love you Joey!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hike to Lake Mary

Robbie did a unit on family in his CTE (Career & Technical Ed) class, and had to organize a family outing. He planned a hike and picnic to Lake Mary. We picked up sandwiches at Jimmy Johns and got started around five. A highlight for Ainsley was seeing her swim teacher, Claire, on the trail. We missed the wildflower peak season, but it was still pretty and fun.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ellie's Baptism

Turning eight is a big milestone around here, because it's the age of baptism. Ellie was a little worried before her interview with the bishop the week before. She said, "What if I don't know the right answers to his questions?" We assured her that there were no "right" answers, that the bishop just wanted to find out if she had a testimony. She informed us that she didn't know if she did. After talking about what a testimony is, she determined that yes, she does believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus live and love us, the Holy Ghost has made her feel good inside, and that she wants to keep the commandments. I love that it really is that simple. We're so proud of her efforts to do what is right, especially this day, as she chose to be baptized and confirmed a member of the church.

She looked so cute. Thankfully my mom came over and french-braided her hair, I'm hopeless with anything more than ponytails or regular braids. I found a pretty but simple white dress, and she had a beautiful countenance.

There were only two kids being baptized, both from our ward. The program was short but sweet, with relevant and simple talks by Liz Doxey, the stake primary president and President Parkinson of the stake presidency. Ellie was thrilled to have Zoe, Sydney and Kalie sing one of her favorite songs, When I Am Baptized, accompanied by Robbie. In spite of the fact that it was Labor Day weekend, most of our extended family and many friends were able to be there.

After the meeting at the Stake Center, we went back to our house for dinner. Luckily the weather was nice and we were able to eat outside.

Ellie requested spaghetti, which I thought was a great idea until I realized she was wearing a white dress! I put an apron on her, but she ended up just eating noodles and cheese anyway.

There were a few stragglers that didn't make it outside until the game was over...

We feel so blessed to have so much support from family and friends.

I love this girl!

Four generations on the maternal side (wish I'd thought to take one with Rob's parents and grandparents too!)

I love this picture.

On Sunday, Rob was conducting, so he bore his testimony, and I got up as soon as he was done and bore mine. About half-way through the meeting, Ellie nervously asked if she could go up, and of course Ainsley wasn't far behind, a first-time for both of them. Joey followed Ainsley, and told Robbie he had to do it too, but Robbie doesn't cave to peer pressure. But, by the end of the meeting, he'd shared his testimony too. It wasn't planned, and I was almost embarrassed, but it was a sweet experience of family unity that hopefully made Ellie's baptism even more memorable for her.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Barbie Hoarders

Now that the kids are in school, I'm tackling a few cleaning and organizational issues. First up, the girls' rooms. They share a bedroom and a playroom, and have about a billion small toys, which get sorted and put away periodically, but are usually all over the place. I wish this were a true "before" picture, but I'd already filled several boxes and put them into storage when Rob suggested that I should take a photo. The dollhouse was especially bad, every room crammed with furniture, clothes, Barbies, Polly Pockets, Littlest Pet Shop, stuffed animals, novelty erasers, play food and more. It looked like an episode of Hoarders, starring Barbie.

We decided to try a modified version of the Stringham's clean up. We didn't box up everything, just most of the small stuff. They still have some dolls, Barbies, stuffed animals and kitchen stuff, but if they can't keep what amounts to about 1/3 of their stuff picked up, we'll box it up too.