Designing a Valentine's box

"Ollie, we've got to make your Valentine's box for Thursday," I say to Ollie Monday evening as we prep dinner. 

"Okay Mom, I know what I want to do."

And with that we had a internet-idea-free box, complete with Big Bird. I only helped with the red and orange paper and the blue arrow. 

I love watching Oliver come up with ideas and execute them. He is so original. Something I wasn't completely as a kid (which isn't bad, I liked what my siblings did and I followed suit and it worked for my personality so well).  I think as the oldest child you've really got to break out and be brave as you experience the unknown often. Ansel really learns a lot from his brother and I'm thankful I was able to learn so much from my siblings. I often think of my oldest brother. The sibling who had to do everything "first."  And I'm thankful he is such a great older brother. And how I have five more older siblings who enabled me to follow in their wake and succeed. 

I don't know how this post took this turn, it was just supposed to be about Oliver's awesome box. But there you have it. 


"I'm three!"

This past week Ansel turned three. He's such a fun kid to be around. The whole week he'd point to 2s and 3s in books and on papers and say, "I used to be this (pointing to 2) and now I'm this (pointing to 3)!"  The kid is so excited about getting bigger. As a parent it sure is fun to watch him grow. 

For his birthday we went to a trampoline park. Because Ollie got a bounce house for his birthday party, Ansel thought that he'd be having one too, 'cause, ya know, birthdays = bounce houses. In hopes that he wouldn't be bummed that there was no such thing happening, we tried this out. Success. Fun had by all!


Skiing with the kids, try no. 1

Ansel says, "I'm ready to go home."

Yesterday we took the kids skiing for the first time. They were both up for it and we, as parents, were geared up and ready to go. The day was gray, very snowy, and the slopes were covered with powder. This of course, is wonderful for a seasoned skier but for two little boys who'd never been on the mountain before, it was a bit crazy. Still, the boys were patient and Ollie skied like a champ. Ansel got cold pretty quick, but he loved the rope tow. Jess and I are pretty sore today from how much effort the rope tow was due to having to support a nearly 3 or 6 year old. However, by the end Oliver could do it all by himself. I was impressed (and tired) at the end of the day.  

Ollie has a successful run down the hill

Then it took us 2 hours to get down the mountain. Wow! Holiday traffic mixed with the snowstorm took us back to our DC days and traffic jams. At one point Ansel and his new potty training self had to go while mom opened the door and held him tight. 

During our ride down the canyon, these were their "calm" faces. 

Adventures in parenting!  Totally worth it. 


The latest in conversation from my kids

Ollie: I haven't had an IKEA hotdog for months!

Ansel: Let's go to the in-quarium!

And after being on a total Charlie Brown kick over the break,

Oliver: Good grief!

Ansel: Bird-stock is Snoopy's friend, right mom?


Another year!

he other day I was told I was old(er) because I kept a blog.  Maybe true. Still, I will continue! There's something about the blog format that I like. 

Onward to 2016! And to celebrating nearly ten years in blogging stories, thoughts, humor, science, inconsistent posting, and somewhat obnoxious posts.


Merry Christmas

This Christmas season has been full of many things. We've had get-togethers, and parties, singing and sledding. We've had Christmas shopping and light decorating, card sending and gifting. What a wonderful time of year. I've been trying to get everything done so I can take a moment to soak it all in.  

I've had those moments here and there amid the errands and checking off lists. The moments when you can just feel the good and remember Christ's birth and how he lived and what he taught. One of them was just this evening.

I began to make tonight's dinner and bake some bread for our Christmas meal (we are going semi-traditional with ham sandwiches...at least we are having ham!). The doorbell rang. We have had neighbors dropping off gifts often the last few days. But I opened the door to my uncle! I haven't talked to him for at least 9 months, possibly a year.  Our families used to get together every Christmas for many years when I was a child and into adulthood. But everyone has grown and his wife (who hosted the party) has ill health, so the party has fallen to the wayside.  And I don't get a chance to see them much. 

But there he was, on my doorstep!

"We got your Christmas card in the mail and in the back it said that you guys like cinnamon rolls. So I thought I'd bring you some different kinds to try." He then proceeded to hand over some frozen cinnamon rolls, "Make 'em whenever you want. Maybe for Christmas breakfast!"

We chatted, I thanked him, gave him a hug and wished him a Merry Christmas. And off he went. I walked back in the house as I thought about his kindness. 

Here was my uncle, who is taking care of a suffering wife, thinking of me and my family on the eve of Christmas Eve.  Reaching out to another without any ulterior motives, just simple kindness.  That is the Christmas spirit indeed.

And with that I say, may you all (whoever still reads this) have a wonderful holiday full of the Christmas spirit!


First big storm

We woke up to a ton of snow and it keeps dropping. Jess and Ollie braved the snow and were off to work and school while Ansel and I stayed home.  Throughout the day, I shoveled the driveway three times. Let's just say I am grateful our driveway is flat and narrow. My last shovel session was done in the dark while the kids played. It was a winter magic kind of evening. 


Look who made the Saturday Evening Post

Seeing the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the BYU MOA this weekend was a highlight for me.  And what fun people to do it with!

At one point a a man going through the exhibit said to his friend, "I think these are all prints." The sad thing, he was looking at real paintings!  

Art does the body good, no doubt about it. 


With lots of thanks giving

A morning football game, finger painting, a personal turkey trot, mustachioed husband putting up lights, roll and cranberry sauce and mashed potato and pie making. I look around and there is much to be thankful for.  Use this good, I think to myself, for more good. 

p.s. There will be 6 pies at my brother 's house for dessert this year. I was not assigned to bring one, but I just had to make a pie, of course! So I made one for our family to enjoy...later. Baking issues...


on the ride home

Ansel: What eats bees?
Mom: I don't know.
Oliver: Chameleons!
Ansel: Whales eat ants.
Oliver: I guess an anteater is kind of like a whale.