Thursday, December 31, 2015


"Liam, if you want to have boy babies, you have to marry a girl."
- 2/17, since Liam always says how he doesn't like girls.

"I'm sad because I'm going to miss it here when I'm in heaven."
- 2/26.  Dani went in to check on Jacob and Claire and found Claire reading "Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs?" because she said she was sad.

"Please bless that Torin learns from the good things we do and not from the bad things"
- 9/1. Claire's prayer

"My room smells too strongly of perfume to sleep!"
- 12/27. Kate got some "Elsa" perfume, and it lingers like a thick cloud in the girls room after Kate sprays herself and many of her toys with it and Claire uses it as revenge for Liam throwing shoes at her.

"I traded a baseball card to Youssef for it!  I traded my worstest card for it."
- 2/19 after Dani found a packet of Kool Aid in a stack of cards in the bottom of his backpack.

"They fill my heart with joy!"
- 3/8 Jacob's reason for wanting Jolly Ranchers, his favorite candy.

"Ryker taught me a trick for hitting the ball - if you keep your eye on the ball, and you can hit it!"
- 5/28, following the 3rd to last game of the year.

"Wait, aunt Kaci is ADOPTED???"
- 12/23

"No more arguing!"
- 2/18, in the bathtub - looking at her reflection

"Mom, it's taking forEVER to grow up and to be an adult!!!"
- 4/17

"Mommy, did you find Daddy in BYU?"
- 5/17

"Mom, can we eat 3 cookies or 4 cookies?"
- 5/19, while making a double batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Umm, Kate, we can have 1.

"Thank you for this yummy dinner"
- Summer/fall.  Most dinners, Kate is sure to thank Dani for the meal, even if she doesn't eat any of it!

"Can I help with anything?"
- Fall. Most evenings, Kate wants to help with dinner, and Dani has gotten to the point where she makes sure to save a few tasks in case Kate comes down asking to help.

"Father, that's terrible news!"
- 11/1. Kate did a flannel board story about Noah's ark. After the Lord told Noah he was going to send a flood, Noah apparently responded with "Father, that's terrible news!"

"Please bless that our family love will never end"
- 11/6. Kate has been quite eloquent in her prayers recently, including this beautiful request.

"I sit down glumly."
- 12/23. Kate, narrating her part as the 2nd-in-line princess, as she realizes that she is not the crown princess. Glumly - it is hilarious to hear a 4-year-old use that word!

"I am good at dancing and coloring and designing fashion and singing - I'm good at everything. Except I'm not smart."
- 12/26 on the phone with Nana and Amber. Kate was telling them she wanted to be a fashion designer. Apparently, Claire (4th grade) has told Kate (preschool) she's not as good at numbers.

"I don't like girls!!!"
- all the time in the first few months of the year

"Daddy, I sniffed the water and it smelled so good I wanted to drink some!"
"Daddy, you really need to try some.  It's DELICIOUS!!!"
- 2/18, in the bathtub.

"Babies come from mommies' tummies.  They eat special food that puts the babies there, like salad, and Cheetos, and beans.  And chips.  And crackers."
- 4/17

"Sir, Yessir!"
- October, to most requests... at least when he is in a good mood!

"It's a fawt gun!!!"

Liam and Kate
"Mommy made a new rule that when we come to your door, we have to wear pants"
"Yeah, that way our legs don't get cold!"
- June, explaining to Andrea Bowles why they have to wear pants when they come to the Bowles house


"Look, that truck is full of potties!!!"
- We had pulled up next to a pickup truck with 4 toilets in the back. Dani's comment elicited hearty laughter from the back of the Yukon.

Things we say to our kids
to Claire:
"Put the book down and talk with us."
"Can you close the book?"
"Pay attention to your dinner."

to Jacob:
"No, please don't buy that."
"Just because you have money doesn't mean you have to spend it."

to Kate:
"Please take the toothbrush out of your armpit"

to Liam:
"Don't put your head in the toilet"
"Please stop putting peas in your sleeves"
"Did you pee in the bathtub again?" (he would stand outside of it and pee into it!)
"Put your pants on!  At least put your undies on!"

to Torin;
"Okay, you can have it" (he is a 5th child, after all)

Finishing the year with friends

We finished 2015 partying with Ryan, Jessica, and kids. We started off playing some Minute to Win It games. The first was the forehead Oreo game. Jared's demo was done successfully in record time. The moms and kids were entertaining to watch (and hear the commentary)!

Ryan decided to give it a try the easy way!

We played the M&M's straw game on teams. Claire and Evan were a good little team!

We had delicious cheese and broth fondue. It was noted that, despite eating fondue in small pieces, we probably each ate way more than we normally would have! That may have been particularly true of Jacob and shrimp - he had an amazing pile of discarded tails by the end of the night!

After sending the kids upstairs for a movie, the adults had peanut butter chocolate fondue for dessert until the east coast New Year's celebration.

2015 was a fun year - and we look forward to an amazing and exciting 2016!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Skiing with the kids

Leading up to Christmas, a lot of snow had fallen on Mount Hood (unlike last year!), so Jared took Claire and Jacob up for a ski day. 

We had lots of clear skies and sun! The snow was incredible - even though we stayed on the lower part of the mountain and on the groomed runs, it was super soft!

It took Claire a few runs to remember what she had learned last year, but she was up and at it by lunch time, and spent the entire afternoon doing great! She holds her hands out in front of her a little like a T-Rex!

Jacob enjoyed going on the terrain park. He went over the little box obstacles and, with a little encouragement from me, tried a little jump at the end a few times. The first time, he landed forward and did a sweet penguin slide at the end. Since the lifts we ride are 2-seaters, and because Jacob is more confident on his skis, I would ride with Claire. Jacob was a trooper riding with others and by himself. I was grateful for his good attitude and willingness to let me ride with Claire.

We had a fun time together on the ride down - which took for-ev-er!!! It took us 4.5 hours to get home because it was a busy day at the resorts and because of icy roads. Luckily, we were able to get out of the car, read, and sing songs to pass the time. "Mario" (from Mario Brothers) even joined us for a long portion of the ride and had Jacob and Claire roaring with laughter as he extolled the virtues of real Italian pizza and expressed his utter disgust at non-authentic ingredients (like pineapple!).

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Post-Christmas fun

For most of the kids, after Christmas is synonymous with Lego assembly. They spent hours in their rooms assembling Star Wars creations, fire and police stations, and a big rock star tour bus. After their Lego sets were created, they started building a village to go on top of the train table, as well as vehicles and space ships loaded with guns and ammo.

For Kate, after-Christmas meant playing in her new costumes, playing with her Frozen toys, and definitely spraying anything and everything with her new Elsa perfume. She laid a coat of perfume down thick enough throughout the house that we had to open windows. The strongest was in her room, where she and Claire declared later that night that they would be unable to sleep in there because of the smell!

We had some blue skies following Christmas, and even though it was pretty chilly (and it took some convincing for Claire), the kids got onto their new bikes. Claire and Jacob were instantly thrilled with their new bikes (with gears!). Torin also decided he needed to ride a bike!

Santa brought Jared some models - a WW2 airplane and the USS Constitution - to assemble with the boys. Liam was pretty thrilled to put his airplane together! Jared and Jacob have worked on Old Ironsides a few times and it has one of its masts up but still has some work to be done.

One thing we love after Christmas is seeing the kids new outfits! Claire looked super cute in her new dress.

Jacob was given 2 Air hogs - one quadcopter and an X-Wing! Jacob has been flying his quadcopter around the house (keeping it away from the tree for his own safety!). One day after Christmas, we took the Air Hogs over to the high school and flew them around the football field. The X-Wing was a challenge to have super long flights with, but we had a few really good flights - Jared flew it around the field goal, down the length of the field, into the stands, and back onto the field. The next time we went over to fly them, Jacob figured out how to do a loop and keep it flying
On our second flying trip, we brought a little Air Hog that would hover over your hand (or any other object). Jared started it and had the kids take over - the wind was blowing, and it just kept blowing the little hover-copter further down the field. It crossed the entire field, the track, went up the hill (probably 25-30 feet tall!) at the end of the stadium, over the hedge at the top of the hill, and landed in some ground cover near the tennis court! It was an epic flight!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day

Not one second after 8:00 sharp, the kids tore through their wrapped-up doors and headed into mama and daddy's bed. Torin climbed in, too. After the traditional parents pretending to try to go back to sleep then the reading of the nativity as a family, everyone lined up and made their way downstairs.

The kids were all super excited, including Torin, who found his new doggie and gave it a big hug. Then, he heard Elsa singing Let it Go, and he seemed to forget about the doggie and pretty much anything else. We spent the morning being serenaded by Elsa, Kate, and Torin.

The kids got each other a book - Kate was super excited to get a My Little Ponies book! She immediately started narrating it to everyone.

Jacob's everything Star Wars book was a big hit for both him and Claire.

and even Torin took a break from Elsa's singing and sat down to read with mama.

The older kids were pretty excited to get presents opened this year, so we went quicker than normal, even with our usual breakfast break.

Liam not only ended up with a pair of Minion pajamas (Christmas Eve) and slippers (Santa), Nana sent him a minion hoodie! It's kind of perfect for Liam.

Torin was thrilled to be going to sleep with both his hippo and his new doggie!

Everyone dispersed around the house, playing new board games, napping, building Legos, assembling can racks, and playing with new toys.

Later in the evening, we had one of Claire's friends, LaShayla, and her grandparents, Linda and Howard over for a Christmas dinner. It was fun to get to know them better. We had some birthday cake and sang happy birthday to Jesus (we sang to Dani at other times during the day).

It was a great Christmas day!

Happy 33rd Birthday!

Happy palindromic birthday to my beautiful


good food-loving,

willing to humor me (like by being an elf on the shelf)

beloved wife and best friend!

It may have only been a couple hours (while I assembled the food storage shelves), but you deserve it!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve arrived

We had a lively and fun live nativity. Torin was certainly not about to play baby Jesus again this year!

The kids were super excited for their Christmas Eve pajamas - Dani was excited about the wrapping paper she wrapped their gifts in!

They looked so cute!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

STAR WARS: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been open for over a week (and it's been driving Jared nuts waiting to go with the kids), and Jared took the older kids. The verdict: it was AWESOME!!!

Meanwhile, Dani took Kate and Liam to the Good Dinosaur. It was a cute movie - though Liam, about 3/4 of the way through, said. "I don't want to watch this movie again!!!" He may have to wait a few years to watch Star Wars, though.