Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New year's Resolution

For Family Home Evening, we talked about setting goals, and helping each other obtain them. Justin's resolutions (set entirely by himself) were to remember to say his prayers and brush his teeth in the morning.

This morning, Max woke early and we were in the school room waiting for the others to awake. I heard Justin stirring in his room (much earlier than his normal wake up time) and sent Max in to cheer him awake. I heard Justin tenderly telling Max, "Max you need to leave for just a minute, I'm saying my prayers!" Max came back into the play room, and then I heard Justin in the bathroom brushing his teeth.

How can you not be inspired to accomplish anything with such an enthusiastic and determined example! I just love Justin. He really does inspire us all!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas House Lights to the BEAT!

This is a house in our development that is very cool!! The owner has over 48 strands of lights all individually synchronized to music. It is quite the show! Watch below.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Favorites on Christmas Day

Christmas morning is so much fun. It never ceases to amaze me that Justin is able to wake up so early without any alarm??? It never works at any other time!

We were so blessed with so many thoughtful gifts this year...it was really a neat Christmas. Some of the gifts that were especially special ...

Joanna sent us Oil paintings of Justin and Max. Joanna's talent is amazing...and we are the fortunate recipients. Much of the art in our home is from Joanna. It all is created with such love and effort. They are not only beautiful but so meaningful! I love every single masterpiece!

Our Bishop's family (John and Tiffany Wheeler) gave us 7 Ornaments with the names of all our children on each one, including Oakley and Jacob (and one blank one for the little forthcoming child), and one for me and Geoff. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift. It was like having all our family around the Christmas tree. They are so beautiful as well.

This is a beautiful Christmas quilt that Nancy Moore made and sent to us. We absolutely loved cuddling with this quilt! Nancy is quite amazing in so many ways, but in this particular gift you can see her quilting talents, and can see the love she sent to our family. A very special gift.

Russ and Carrie Cummings and girls drew our name on the Cummings side, and sent us a child's cooking dream collection! Mixers and squirters and measurers and stirring utensils, and then the most adorable aprons. So very cute, so fun, and already so well used! We loved the gift.

This gift given by Alisha and Mike Neyman almost made me cry. I don't know how Alisha knew, but it is one of my absolute favorite pictures. It was taken in front of a field of tulips (Jacob's flowers). It's a picture that makes me feel like all my boys are together. And I love how Max is looking at Justin. Alisha had the picture blown up a painted contemporary style. We absolutey love it.

My mom is simply awesome. I told her that my dream gift for Max would be a little bucket I could bring to church and let him fit pieces into it that would fall quietly to the bottom. Well, she made it, and Max loves it! In fact, he played with this "Bucket of Fun" for most of the day! My mom later told me she received two blisters cutting out the shapes in the top. Hopefully, after reading this she'll feel gratified for her sacrifice...we all love his gift!

My all time winner of Special gifts given, were the gifts Justin gave to me and Geoff (totally unsolicited from us...he completely surprised us!)
Geoff's gift.

My gift. My absolute favorite. It did make me cry!

Hypersonic Space Craft

This was Justin's favorite gift (from Santa)--The Hypersonic Space Craft from Lego Mars Mission Collection. (Justin received it ever so graciously even though it wasn't the coveted Polar express electric train he asked for). He and Geoff spent most of the day putting it together. It really is quite a neat Lego flying contraption,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve with Eagle Friends

We have started a tradition that I hope will never change so long as we are near Eagle, ID for Christmas.

Last year we went with the DeMordaunt family to Mexico to an Orphanage for several days, and then to Southern California for a few more days. It was a wonderful memory, and a very significant Christmas for our family as it was our first without Oakley. It was the most perfect Christmas we could have had considering the circumstances...and we have grown to love the DeMordaunts like our own family.
This year, once again, we joined their family on Christmas Eve. We began the evening at an Assisted living center where we provided some Christmas entertainment and cheer for the seniors who live there.
Justin played a song on the piano, and Geoff and Justin played a duet, then Geoff played a bit more until the 'Nativity Crew' were ready.

Reed read the Christmas story while his children acted out the parts. They are all such good kids and have so much personality. They make everything fun!

After the nativity, the kids RANG a christmas song with bells, and we all sang some carols together.
This is something Geoff and I hope to arrange every year. These people are so happy to have the company and Christmas cheer! It feels so good to be able to give a little something. It was really a special part of our evening!
DeMordaunt Family:
Reed, Becca, Ben, Olivia, GayAnn
NaeNae, Matthew, and Merideth

And to think...the night was just beginning!!!

Our next stop (with the DeMordants) was at Nathan and Janet Andrew's home. We stopped only long enough to bundle up for a little caroling, and a LOT of walking and exploring. The fun thing about this adventure on this night it that it was practically a blizzard outside...the coldest and snowiest evening of the season so far. I honestly couldn't believe we were actually going to brave the storm (especially with Max!) But we carried him with a coat and blanket to protect him from the cold and wind, and amazingly...he never complained once!

This is a picture of a snow cave that one of the neighbors made.

Caroling with this bunch was so fun! They have voices and they have spirit, and it was quite contagious! After hitting several homes in our old neighborhood (Island Woods), we headed off to the river and forged the trails for about 2 miles. This is one of Andrew's Christmas Eve traditions which we were totally unprepared for, but it was SO BEAUTIFUL and so ROmANTIC and honestly so FUN!
Then right on the trail, we ran into SANTA CLAUS and one of his elves who were searching for their reindeer. This kids all LOVED this surprize.

Here's the entire group!

We worked ourselves back to the Andrew home, and only suffered minor frozen body parts (Max's poor legs!) and managed to survive quite nicely.

We enjoyed some of the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted, and enjoyed the reading of the Christmas story (by a friend of the Andrew Family), and then an evening in the company of dear friends.

I didn't get a picture of the Andrew Family Together, but Janet and Nathan are in the pictures above, and they have 3 adorable children, Ellary, Olivia, and Peter. They are such a neat family!

Of course Max unmantled part of their Christmas tree, but no permanent damage done. All in all, an absolutely perfectly and wonderful Christmas Eve.

We are so grateful for good friends that fill the void of family far away.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let it SNOW!!!

We were so excited for the blast of snow we received. We went as soon as we could get all of our snow gear gathered, and headed to Eagle Island State Park for some sledding. It's just down the street from our house, but it was just enough time for Max to fall asleep in the car. So this sledding adventure is of Justin and Geoff.

Justin has become quite the adventurous and brave boy! He went off some pretty high jumps...pretty fast. He even had Geoff nervous. Quite the change from last year! Justin LOVES sledding!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Family Night Gingerbread House

This is one of Justin (& Max's) favorite Christmas time activities. They love making a gingerbread house...and Costco makes it so easy and affordable! I think Justin really just loves the idea of snitching the frosting and left over candy pieces.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Home School Christmas Play

Our Eagle Homeschooling group put together a Christmas play that was absolutely adorable! The music was incredible...I was so impressed with what Evelyn and Lynelle (and all) were able to accomplish with such little time actually practicing.

Justin choose not to be in the play, so we helped by making the props...which was fun. We really enjoyed the finale! It was a touching performance.

We absolutely love this group of parents and kids.

Mad Scientist birthday Party

Justin went to the birthday party of one of his friends in the ward. It was a "Mad Scientist" theme...and so cute. As the boys came to the party, they made a bow tie and glasses to wear through out the party.

The parents did a bunch of fun experiment, and had some very fun games including making a tower out of toothpicks and candy, made mini tornados, made silly puddy, and so forth.
Justin won a prize for building the tallest tower! That didn't surprise me at all! In fact, my entire heart swelled with pride over Justin as I sat in an adjacent room and watched the activities play out. Most of the boys were WILD and it was a bit difficult for the parents to instruct them of the fun games. Justin was so obedient and well behaved, it just made me so happy. He is really just a great boy!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sicker than a sick dog

I haven't been able to keep up with my blogging routine lately because I've been sicker than a sick dog! That's the bad news. The good news is I'm pregnant. I am about 11 weeks along. It's been miserable several weeks, but the sickness provides a whole lot of hope to keeping a healthy baby. I guess you could say that I'm gratefully nauseated.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chemistry Magic show at Boise State

For our date night Geoff and Justin went to Boise State for the annual Chemistry night of Magic. Justin loves these nights out with Dad! Geoff surprised him and took him to the train store right before. It was a very fun evening for the two of them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday puzzles

Geoff and Justin really love doing puzzles. When we're home, we always pull them out at Christmas time, and do the harder 1000 piece ones. I love the peaceful family time together while listening to Christmas music. Geoff and I often laugh at the conversations the ensue at the puzzle table!

Letters to Santa

These are the three letters that Justin made and gave to Santa this year. As you can see, over time, Justin's wish list changed and he was diligent in making sure that Santa was well aware.

1st letter

2nd Letter

Final letter...final and sure request.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crazy Nut!

...A typical scene in the day and life of MAX! I will often put him on the counter while I am cooking dinner, and without fail, he opens up all three glass containers, stacks the lids up three high to create a dinner plate, and begins his feast of almonds, walnuts and raisins. It's a great pre-dinner appetizer, and works miracles to keep him busy while I cook. He's just so darn cute!

Our Last Day at K12 Co-op

Today was our last day at the co-op we've been participating in for K12. We've met every Thursday to do Art, Science, and Music together. We've loved the co-op and have made some neat friends, but have decided to simplify life next semester, and we'll do this at home.

The McCallister Family, Suzy Rosenvall (Art teacher),
kids singing Christmas Carols.


Josh McCauley, Justin, & Jacqueline; Nathan Kofoed,
Bella & Kate from 2nd grade class.
Our Christmas party was so fun! Lots of singing, crafts, and treats!

Santa Claus came to our Christmas party. Max didn't want anything to do with him up close, but about every five minutes wanted to go back to the room where he was and see what he was doing. He was so funny about it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pyromaniac in the Making

Max is obsessed with candles. We light several of our candles and let him blow out the flame SEVERAL times a day. He insists! I wonder if this is a sign of a forthcoming passion... Devoted Firefighter?? Dangerous Pyromaniac?? Scensy candle salesman?? Only time will tell!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Passing of Grandma Neyman

Margret Osterling Neyman (Geoff's Father's Mother) passed away today. I never had the opportunity to meet Grandma Neyman (or Grandpa Neyman who passed away a couple of years ago), but I know from Geoff, Joanna, and George that they were wonderful parents and grandparents, and very good people. I came to know slightly her through the letters that she faithfully sent. She was always positive and encouraging. I was always grateful for her love and support.

George and Margret Neyman in their younger years.

50th Wedding Anniversary

Grandmother & Grandfather with their 4 children, spouses, and children:
George & Joanna, Linda & Nelson, Marilyn & Amado, Nancy & Gary

Their home in Butler, PA.

Monday, December 8, 2008

First Snow!

It was so exciting to look out our window during breakfast and see the snow falling...our first snowfall this season! Of course it only lasted about 15 minutes, but still Geoff surprised us all with a cute little snowman! (We're hoping for a bigger one very soon!)

Max is obsessed with snowmen! Every night before we go to bed, and first thing when he wakes up, and throughout the day, Max wants to go see the decorative snowman down the street from us. He loves all of them!