Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas!

 Our lil’ Sam is now tearing around the corners of our house and we can often hear him sliding around and crashing to the ground. It’s fun to watch him sit perfectly still after one of these falls, taking inventory to make sure he isn’t seriously injured, before jumping back up and taking off in another direction. Elsie often tells him he needs to “stop and walk, Sam!” She will then do a super-speed shuffle so she is in front of him, then take off at a run and tell him to run after her. As long as she is first, all is well in our household. Sam is really starting to enjoy tormenting his older sister. He will grab things out of Elsie’s hand, or take something from the toy bin that he can see she is going after, and take off with it. You can hear him running down the hall with Elsie shouting after him. He’ll come around the corner with this mischievous glint in his eye and a grin on his face. It is fun to watch, if not exhausting at times.

Elsie loves to dance, and will ask you to stop whatever you are doing to watch her latest pirouette. She is getting so big and is smarter than ever. She enjoys swimming and disputing facts with you. She is always on the lookout for a way around authority, and already has us scratching our heads as to where she gets it from! She has a darling sense of humor and keeps us on our toes. She is quite competitive, just like her father, and we look forward to the upcoming years of getting kicked out of sporting events….

 Amber is now working at our local YMCA gym as a Group Power instructor. She finished her certification in the course at the end of October and was hired on as an instructor at the beginning of December. She loves working and mingling with the staff and members of the gym.
Tyler continues working for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Parma. Work is plentiful and there is never a dull moment. He was able to go on a ‘New Employee Tour’ for 3 weeks this spring to see the different areas of the state and also had the chance to network with employees in different regions.  When he has time, he still enjoys golfing and bowling.

We were able to see many of our family and friends this year, and we treasure the relationships we are fortunate to have with all of you. May you be blessed in all of your endeavors during the upcoming year, and we hope we will see you soon!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Word Girl & Captain Huggy Face

Tyler watched the PBS show 'Word Girl & Captain Huggy Face' with the kids a couple of times. While watching the show, he said something like, "That's what you should be for Halloween (to the kids, not me)!" Elsie, with her steel-trap memory, quickly agreed. Since then, anytime anyone has asked her what she was going to be for Halloween this year, she would quickly tell them, "WordGirlandSamisCaptainHuggyFace!" People never knew what she was saying. Either because she said it so fast and excited, or because they were thrown off by the fact that a 3-year-old was speaking so well. OR because few people watch PBS these days. I don't know - maybe all of the above. Anyway, I would explain to people what they were going to be, and its origins. Not until the week before Halloween did I sit down to put the costumes together. They turned out remarkably well (for my skill-set anyway), and looked adorable. I started to put together all of the accessories, but soon realized that the effort was going to go unappreciated. Seems that once I finished the cape and belts there was no need for anything more. Unless you have seen the show, you may not recognize the costumes. But the kids loved them, and still like to put on there costumes and "fly" around. Elsie even says fun things like, "Sam, Jump on my back & then you can fly!" On the show, the side-kick Captain Huggy Face doesn't have the super ability to fly. So he usually catches a ride on Word Girl's back. The first time Sam tried to "climb aboard" Elsie was reminded that her darling little brother is only a mere 8 pounds lighter than her. After crumbling to the floor under his weight, they decided he might be able to fly all by himself afterall....

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I'm new to sewing. Thank goodness my Mother-In-Law has an excellent sewing machine she is willing to let me use. This way I will know how serious I am about the whole sewing thing before actually investing in my own machine. Here is a shot of 3 "Hooter Hiders" I made for various friends and family. My Sister-In-Law was here the whole time, supervising. As far as I am concerned, she is easily one of the most proficient amateur seamstresses (is that a word) I know. Plus, her enthusiasm is so contagious, I always feel like I can take on the world. So, I did, as far as I am concerned, in making 3 hooter hiders in one day. They all turned out great - of course. ;)
In February we celebrated my nieces 6th birthday. I can't believe my younger brother has a daughter who is that old. His daughters age makes him seem old. And if he seems old, that means I am old. Or old-seeming...when I think about it? Not sure. At any rate, my life is definitely speeding up. Just like everyone promised. I also remember my Mom telling me when I was much, much younger and wouldn't take a nap (this is going to be a really long sentence, I can tell already), that there would come a day when I would wish for a nap more than anything - and I would look back on my younger years and realize how foolish I had been not to nap at the time. I didn't believe her. Now, more than ever, I am convinced of her eternal wisdom. Not just about napping, but in all things.
I also had a very dear friend come to visit. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of her while she was here. I did, however, get a cute picture of our adorable little boys on the couch, watching "Shaun the Sheep". I had a great time visiting and relaxing with her while she is here. Can't wait for our next get-together.
Speaking of the refusal to nap - Anytime Elsie's cousin (and best friend) comes over Elsie has a very hard time taking a nap. They often play in the room for an hour or so (very quietly so we don't know they aren't sleeping) before we find out they haven't actually slept. Here is Elsie on the couch "watching a show" after her cousin has left for the day. I have found her like this a couple of times after her cousin has left. Poor thing is all tuckered out. Too bad I always have to wake her up as soon as I find her, since it is usually much too late in the day for her to be napping.
Last, but certainly not least, we made a trip to the family cabin in Island Park with some old friends from Colorado to enjoy the snow, and peace and quiet. Tyler's brother jimmy-rigged an old bike-stroller into a "Rick-Shaw" (aka: a bike stroller with the wheels removed and skis put on in their place). It was fun to pull the kids around. At least, I thought so. Tyler was pretty exhausted when we got back to the cabin. I don't know what it is about pulling 2 kids behind you while you are in snowshoes through fresh powder that left him so tired...?
The kids had a good time, despite the wind. Sam was asleep in minutes. Elsie was nodding off by the time we got back to the cabin. 
Here's our friend helping me put my snowshoe back on. I hadn't tightened it enough, and he was gracious enough to re-harness my foot.
After our snowshoeing excursion Elsie played outside with Uncle Brendon & Aunt DeNae. They had a great time, and Elsie was rosy-cheeked and full of fresh mountain air when they came back in. We had delicious hot chocolate to warm everyone up.
Elsie & Brendon killing time.
Sam loved playing upstairs and looking down through the slots. He only got his giant head stuck between the logs once. Thank goodness it came out with relative ease.

Here he is playing on the stairs. He could see me, but wasn't able to get to me. He was very confused, and pretty upset. This was shortly after arriving at the cabin. Luckily, he figured things out pretty quickly.

Brendon & DeNae offered to stay with the kids while Tyler & I went out on the snowmobiles. We had a great time, and it was the perfect ending to a great winter vacation.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The kids brushing their teeth. No, this isn't the first time ever. Just the first time I managed to get a shot of both of them at the same time. Sam loves brushing his teeth, and any time he hears me in the bathroom he will come running in and start shouting "Teeth!" Which also sounds a lot like "Please!" and many other things in his new vocabulary. It was nice when I finally figured out what he was saying.
Also, any time he hears the beaters going in the kitchen, he comes running in shouting "PLEASE!" Thinking it will be the always delicious beaters covered in either frosting or whipped cream. The other night when whipping egg whites for waffles he was exceptionally disappointed when I finally relented and let him have a quick lick of the beater. Just to get him to stop shouting at me. He looked completely betrayed when his tongue touched the egg whipped beater. At least now he believes me when I tell him it is "Yucky".
Here are the girls playing Twister during a play-date with my cousin and sister-in-law. The older girls loved it - despite their struggles to coordinate different limbs into the different positions. Elsie was just there for decoration (hence the butterfly costume).
Also in January - it snowed! We got the girls all bundled up to play and play they did. They built a tiny little snowman, then came in for hot chocolate and cookies. Once naps were over the snow was gone. My sister-in-law was right when we first moved here and she said, "When it snows here, make sure you go out and play in it as soon as there is snow on the ground. Because 2 hours later it will be gone..." And gone it was. I think this is one of two "snow days" we were able to enjoy. Which was wonderful. I am definitely enjoying this milder climate.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The rest of December

Tyler's family has a great tradition of having the family line up at what used to be the top of the stairs (which is now the bottom, since there are so many grand kids, who are all quite grand. I thought it was spelled 'grandkids', but my spell check keeps telling me to correct it. ANYWAY-)-The youngest goes first, who happened to be our lil' Sam this year. In this shot you see Tyler coaxing Sam to the top of the stairs, while simultaneously restraining sweet, energetic Elsie as she is now 3rd in line on the Christmas stairs. She did not like this line-up one bit.
 Until she was much closer to the top of the stairs, and was able to catch a glimpse of Santa's generosity. Please note that you can now see lil' Sam back to his proper place in line - which appears to be anywhere behind Elsie. Nice.

 Elsie was instantly distracted with the toy Santa brought for Sam. It is a race track that you can race 2 cars at a time on. She proceeded to push Sam out of the way each time he was even remotely close in order to highlight all of the wonderful "bells and whistles" for him.
 Elsie's 2nd most favorite gift of the season was this incredible magnifying glass. It is now nearing the end of April, and she continues to run around the house shouting, "Where's my telescope?!?" every time we head outside. She does love to look at things up close and magnified.
Here is Elsie's sweet, innocent cousin. Crying her eyes out because Elsie tried to get the cutlery back from the tea set Elsie received from Grandma & Papa. Eve was devastated, and could not be consoled. It was a good year to learn about sharing.
These last 3 are just a few of my favorite snapshots from Christmas 2011. If I knew how to link gentle Christmas music in the background to these next three, I would. But I don't, and I don't care to teach myself how simple this actually is just now. So, I invite you to mentally tune in to your favorite Christmas medley....now.

I love Christmas because I love family. 
Oh what a wonderful life. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

December - The Lights

In December, we heard the downtown Christmas lights in Caldwell were a pretty good thing to see. So, we bundled the kids, and headed out the door. Or tried to head out the door. This is a shot of Sam after he collapsed mid-crawl because he had so many layers on he was barely able to move. He also has a new pair of winter boots on, that might be one or two sizes too small... Seeing that I was taking a picture of his predicament, he was able to dig deep into his reserve of strength and balance, lift his awkward mass and make his way toward me so he could see the picture I just took. After seeing how cute Sam looked, of course our little Elsie wanted her picture taken too. Here are the little trouble-makers bundled and buckled up. Ready for the big drive, 2 miles up the road. It was VERY exciting. The light show was pretty impressive. So impressive that I told my sister-in-law she should definitely drag her kids out to see them. Shortly after telling her this, my brother was taking some people around the city of Boise on a helicopter tour of the city's Christmas lights. My brother commented that he needed to get over to the Boise Botanical Gardens and see the lights with his kids. The customer's on the flight told Shaun the Botanical Garden lights were pretty nice, but if he wanted to see some good lights he should take his family to see the lights in Caldwell. And there you have it. Caldwell really is up-and-coming. Here we have Elsie & Dad by a snowman. Elsie kept asking Tyler where the snowman was - expecting to see an actual snowman. Finally Tyler was able to help her understand it was a snowman made out of Christmas lights. She was even more excited when she realized that was even possible! A friendly citizen took this shot of us. It was a fun night. The kids didn't complain (too much) about the cold, and we had a great time checking out the local city lights. Yes, that is Sam under all those blankets in the stroller. Might be time to invest in some winter gear for that little guy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

December - The Baking & Sewing

I don't know about you, but for us, December is a pretty big deal. There is baking, cooking, sewing, wrapping, parties, traveling, etc., etc. Therefore, I have decided to post installments of December, in an effort to help you fully appreciate just how crazy, and fun we had. Here we go... Before the fun even begins, Sam is already in the White Almond Bark. I was mixing frosting for the sugar cookies, and turned around to find his chubby little cheeks wrapped around one of his new best friends. After snapping a few quick shots, I was forced to take away his one-pound block of white almond bark (much to his dismay) and put the bag of baking/cooking supplies in a much higher, and therefore safer, location. Here are the girls getting food prepared for our Christmas plates. The younger girls are decorating cookies to take to their Daddies, and Kelli is front and center, dazzling me with her pretzel-dipping skilz. I have never dipped pretzels, or anything else for that matter. Kelli made it look so easy, so I started "helping" only to realize my skilz were better suited to frosting cookies and taking pictures. Kelli - grabbing a quick sample of her delicious pretzels. Here are me and the girls, showing off our great sugar cookies. Elsie is very excited about sprinkles, and shortly after this shot was taken she managed to pry the sprinkle part of the sprinkle bottle (is this making any sense) off of the sprinkles, and proceeded to pile her cookie with the entire contents of the bottle. To which we (the moms are in the kitchen) hear Addie say, "Uh oh, Elsie... Uh - Mom...?" We walked in to find a mountain of sprinkles not only on the cookie, but all over the floor as well. Good thing we have wood floors! It was very easy to sweep up.Not the best picture, but I love it when I catch these 2 sitting in the chair together, reading to one another. It's adorable. Kelli & I spent most of another day putting together these cute little numbers for our family Christmas presents. Kelli's family had my brother's name for Christmas, and made their whole family matching aprons. I thought it was such a great idea I did the same for my Sister and her family (whose name I had this year). My sister called me the day after Christmas to say how excited her whole family was to receive them. Especially her little Ivylicious. We did pockets on the girl's aprons, and made little "tool-belts" on the ones for the boys. They turned out adorable. I'm glad they were such a hit. Kelli & I had a great time making them together. And here we have Sam, enjoying the fruits of our sugar cookie labors. He & Summer did great all day. We had a blast, and looking back at these pictures is already making me excited for the fun we will have again next year.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Here is my adorable little niece playing the in leaves while we rake them up, yet again. She loved all the leaves. We had to keep a close eye on her, so we didn't bury her in the all-consuming piles. We went to a lecture on snakes at the Nature Center in Boise. After getting over her initial distaste for the slithering creatures, Elsie warmed right up and enjoyed petting them. After the snakes lecture we walked around the Nature Park and found two cute owls to take our pictures by. I am holding Sam up so that his head will fit in the hole. Elsie's head fit just right, though. Here's a shot of Sam during Thanksgiving dinner prep. He sat on the counter, chatting away with whoever was in the kitchen. He LOVES potatoes. And thought his Aunt would be able to appreciate them just as much as he did.