Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holiday Activities

One of the best parts of the Christmas season is when Jared takes a few days off and we can do some fun activities.  Since the Caspers were staying with us, we figured we'd do a few fun activities!

Jared took the kids bowling - just Jared and 6 kids!  The big kids, Jacob, Claire nad Trey, bowled on their own lane and had a great time.  Liam and Duffy used a lot of body language with his rolls while Kate just wanted to suck her thumb.

Jared somehow scored his highest eve, including his first Turkey!!!

Nana sent a fun activity, making chocolate pretzel trees.  The kids were all excited and very involved in their trees.  They were proud of the results!

For Family Home Evening, we played 6 on a couch.  Or so it seemed!

We took a trip to OMSI with Trey.  After playing in the ball room for a while, we built earthquake-proof structures out of Legos and other materials.

We also built a pyramid - which lasted just long enough for us to snap a picture before Kate pushed it down!  It was pretty funny to watch the kids reactions when it fell.

We got the kids in front of the green screen and took pictures of floating heads.

Torin had a great time at OMSI too!

Dani even found a few minutes to play the guitar!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmastime activities

We decided that we have lived in Portland for over 5 years and haven't done as many Christmas events as we would like, so we made it a point to get out and explore some new events.  For the first time since we moved here, we went downtown to see the Christmas tree on Pioneer Square.  It was huge - over 75 feet tall!  We had some chestnuts (Jared insisted, with memories of buying them from street vendors on bicycles in Portugal). Jacob and Claire had spotted a large chess set in a square.  They played a game against a little boy (probably 5-6 years old) who obviously had chess running in his bloodlines!  They had a good time and put up a good match.  It was funny to watch these little people carry around those big chess pieces!

For FHE, we went to see a nativity display at a church in Milwaukee.  The setup of the church was quite beautiful!  They had booths around the sides of the gym with displays of different shops, and they had built a well in the middle of the gym, complete with stone pavers, raised off the gym floor.  The stage was set up like the city of Jerusalem.  There were performers (Howard Young's wife, Fontella, and some others from his ward) as well.  It was a very well-done display!

One of the very first nativities we saw was a Lego one!  The kids (and Jared) were pretty amused by the creativity.  For the next few days, Jacob and Claire worked on their own Lego nativities.  We enjoyed seeing the many different nativities.

We took the kids to the Portland Speedway for their lights show.  We waited in line for a long time (seriously) before we got to see the lights.  Trey fell asleep while we were waiting (even though he kept saying he wasn't tired, he was bored), and as much as we tried, we could not wake him up!  We were singing the 12 days of Christmas loudly as we passed the lights representing the 12 days, we touched his arms, and I'm pretty sure Claire and Jacob patted his head for a full minute.  After we had gotten milk shakes from McDonalds in Tigard (they don't serve peppermint, we found out - though with added candy canes, it made it peppermint-like), Trey woke up and asked, "Is it time to see the lights?"

Dani even spent an evening playing guitar!

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Bunko" Party

For the second year in a row, our annual Ugly Sweater Bunko party turned into more of a  Ugly Sweater Christmas social with our friends.  We had a smallish crowd this year because of how late in the season we held it, but it was a lot of fun to be together with friends.

Mel went all out with her light-up sweater and super bright lipstick!

Santa made his annual appearance, too.

As usual, we had a fantastic spread!  Yum!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Get in my belly!

We introduced Torin to a little dab of cream cheese frosting and he got a huge smile on his face and started diving for more!

One of the benefits of being a 5th child!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Visiting Santa

We took the kids to Sleigh Bells to visit Santa.  We love visiting Santa there, and the kids were so happy to sit with Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas:
Jacob: Mario Kart 8
Claire: a white Christmas tree 
Liam: dirt and a scooper for scooping dirt and a race track

or at least most of us do - Kate refused!  She clung tightly to Jared's leg, even as Santa offered a candy cane.  When he asked what Kate wanted for Christmas, she said, "I already told the elf!"  Jacob was kind enough to tell Santa in person (ponies and an Anna dress).   

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Carrying the family

Sometimes, Jared has to prove things that he claims.  Yes, he can carry all the kids at the same time (Torin was not included for his own safety)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

We love our Christmas tree!

One of the traditions we love in Oregon is going to a Christmas tree farm and finding the perfect tree!  On the first day back from our trip to Cody (we got back at 1 am), we were up in the morning to get our tree.  All the kids participate in the search, quickly choosing their favorite trees.

We found our tree, put it up the same day, lit it and decorated it all before November ended!  We love the look, the smells, and the feeling having a Christmas brings in welcoming the Christmas season!

Christmas Ornaments

Kate's Elsa ornament is the beginning of a very Elsa Christmas, and was a perfect sign of her year of being a princess.

Jacob started piano lessons this year (first from Claire, then from Andrea, his piano teacher) and has been pretty excited to play.

Over the past few months, Claire has become completely engulfed into the world of Harry Potter, so we found her a sorting hat ornament (which we discovered talks, too!).

We had the hardest time finding an ornament for Liam.  Our first thoughts were to get him a Godzilla ornament would be best (he was at a high point of a rather destructive year), but we settled on a "Where the Wild Things Are" ornament.  Liam making mischief of one kind or another, threatening to "eat you up" and getting in trouble - kind of perfect!

Torin got a little glass ball with a rubber duck in it.  For the family, we got a Killer Whale (for the San Diego trip) and a Santa mail box.  We love the annual ornament tradition!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving in Cody

We drove to Cody for Thanksgiving.  The trip to Cody was a really wet one - except the hour it was snowing!  It really was one of the wettest drives we have ever had.  We stayed in Missoula and made it to Cody mid-day.

We spent some cousin time at the bowling alley.  

Breckin and Brighton took turns taking the kids out on the 4 wheelers around the yard.  They had a great time!

Treycen and Torin enjoyed some cousin play time.

And the kids got to have some great time with their grandparents.

Travis went hunting on Thanksgiving day and came back with a bunch of birds.  He was outside cleaning them when the kids went out to investigate.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but they seemed to be okay with all of it.  Liam did declare that he likes food chicken much better than the animal birds.

The kids had a lot of fun with their grandparents.  One of the favorite activities was reading time.
They loved helping in the kitchen, helping Grandpa make apple pie.  Really, the kids just liked helping out in the kitchen!

Kate particularly loved her reading time.  She found that Heath was a very willing reader (in exchange for snuggle time!).

Kate and Bentley were both really excited to see each other.  They love video chatting with one another and have talked about seeing each other for weeks.  When we arrived, Kate walked around the house looking for Bentley and was sad to hear that she would have to wait to see her the next day.  When Heath and Bri arrived with their kids, Kate came bursting up from downstairs, thrilled to give Bentley a huge hug... until Bentley says, "woah woah woah woah" - she needed to take off her coat.  Then when they finally did hug, Bentley said, "Okay, that's it" meaning that the hug was done.  The girls had a great time together after that, but it was a funny start to their week!