Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

After the fun party, we headed home to find a gift from the elves, the  kids all got new pj's.  Then we left cookies for Santa and got tucked into bed. The kids were so excited they could hardly sleep!They finally fell asleep and the elves got to work.

Santa Claus came and this is how he left things...

We had a fire in our fireplace for the first time.  It was nice and cozy and made the house warm. 

Elizabeth was the first one awake, around 7am!  She started yelling and being loud, and woke the other  kids up.  So we let them come upstairs about 7:30.  They were all so happy and completly thrilled that Santa Claus had come!  Isaac was in awe that he got toys, instead of coal ( he really deserved more coal, but Santa is a softie!)

Elizabeth got her first little doll.  She loves it and says "Hi" when she sees her. Lizzie is 10 months old now, and has 2 little teeth.
Isaac got a nerf gun,bike helmet, a complete army costume and an army helicopter.  He was in heaven!  He wore the costume all day, and even brought the grenade and walkie/talkies to church, Ha Ha!  He tells me everyday about how he really wants to be in the army when he grows up.  We started calling him "The General".

Emily got a new baby, and a barbie as well as a laptop.  She was happy, but a little disappointed that she didn't get a real bunny or kitten.  I told her Santa can't bring pets unless he gets parents permission. She forgot all about wanting a pet and had a great time playing with her stuff. 

Taylor got a ski helmet, a remote control helicopter and a huge lego set.  He spent several hours putting it together, Danny helped him with some of it, but he did most of it by himself.  He loves building with legos, and is really good at it! 

Danny and I were spoiled by Santa and our parents as well. 
After we opened presents we had a big breakfas, got ready for church and attended church at 11am.  It was so nice to go to church and hear speakers about Jesus's birth, sing carols and feel the spirit. 
I wish Christmas was on Sunday every year.

After church we ate lunch, played and then all took naps, or had "quiet time".  It was so luxurious to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon, we loved it!!! We hung around and relaxed until evening, then we walked down to G & G Shields house to visit with everyone. 

Overall we had an amazing Christmas , we feel so blessed and grateful for all that we have been given. 

Christmas Eve

Danny & I worked all week to complete all our Christmas errands.  It was nice to get all our shopping and wrapping, neighbor gifts etc.. done early in the week and spend a nice realxing day on Christmas Eve. 
We ran a couple of errands and then played at home.  That evening we spent a wonderful Christmas Eve night at G & G Shields. We ate a delicious dinner, had a programand talent show, read scriptures, played games and sang carols.  Then we opened our "Pixie" gifts and went home to wait for Santa.   

We were lucky to have Great Grandma Shields spending the weekend with our family as well.  She is always full of energy and willing to play games with everyone! 
We loved spending Christmas with her! 
All the boys piled on Great Grandma Shields lap for a picture, I think they may have squished her!

Taylor and Jeffrey love playing Parcheesi, too bad Grandma always wins.
Derek knows just how to get the kids all crazy!  He wrestled with them, and they all loved it!  Lizzie was happy and is crawling around now.  She is looking older every day.

During the talent show Emily, Becca  and Mary did a dance to "Santa Baby", Taylor did "the worm", Jeffrey played the piano, and Issac and Spencer sang a song.  Then Becca sang a solo, and it was the cutest thing ever!  Unfortunately I didn't get any pics of her, she is a natural performer.

It was a fun party, as we reflected on Christ's birth and the real meaning of Christmas. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas break- Week 1

We spent a beautiful, sunny afternoon skiing at Alta today. Danny & I went with Taylor and Emily, as well as Aunt Natalie and it was a great day!  We also met Paul, Kari and Adri there, but unforunately got no pics. with them. 

This was Emily's first day of skiing and she did great!  She was really excited to try and she seemed to have a lot of fun.  She never cried, and even asked if we could go skiing tomorrow!?  I guess that means she loved it!

It's hard to take good pictures while skiing, but I did manage a few, here they are.

Emily got cold and hungry on the ski lift, so we snuggled her between us and gave her a candy bar. 

Taking a break with Aunt Nat.  I am so glad that Natalie came, she skiied with Taylor the whole time. 

Taylor wouldn't let me get any good pics. of him skiing, but he did fantastic! He has really made a lot of improvement and just zooms down the hill like a pro.  He's already asking to go on jumps and wanting to ski harder runs.  We are proud of you Taylor!

It was such a fun day, we really appreciate Grandma Shields watching Isaac and Lizzie at her house. 

We had a wonderful day together!

The kids have been out of school all week and we've had fun doing lots of activities.  We went Christmas shopping for cousins and friends, swimming at the indoor pool with friends, had fun at Chuck E Cheese and went to see the holiday displays at Grand America in downtown SLC.  The rest of our time has been spent playing legos, watching holiday movies and building more and more forts.  The kids are obsessed with forts, all our extra blankets, mattressed and pillows are currently in a huge fort in the family room.  It's a great way for the kids to play together. 

We look forward to a wonderful Christmas weekend and are so happy to celebrate the birth of our Savior! 

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We spent some time this weekend at G & G Wall's house with Adam & Katie and Jennifer & Chandler.  Katie knitted the kids these amazing hats for Christmas.  The boys got shark hats, and the girsl got adorable berrete's.  The kids love their hats,  we really appreciate Katie working so hard on these, she is very talented.  I wish  I had taken more pictures.
The pics. are bad quality from Danny's phone.
This whole month of December we have had our "Elf  on the Shelf" at our house.  Our elf is names Elfie, and he goes to the North Pole each night to report whether the kids have been good or bad.  The kids love looking to see where Elfie has moved to in the morning. 

The Elf has worked great to get good behavior from Taylor and Emily, but it wasn't working for Isaac.  He is the most stubborn, strong willed, defiant kid that I know, and I was so fed up with his behavior.  So last week Isaac got a bucket of  coal, from the north pole delivered to our front door.  It had a note, and informed Isaac that he better shape up his behavior, or he would get more coal for Christmas.  

It has helped improve his behavior, but he still is a hard child! 

The weather has been cold and gloomy, with no snow.  So we have been inside all the time, which means the kids have been creating forts.  They make a new fort almost every day.  They play really well, while they have their fort, and it keeps them happy and entertained.  Last week Emily and Taylor slept in their fort, and they were thrilled.

Elizabeth is growing up so fast!  She is so much fun, and we all just adore her.  She loves sitting in front of the Christmas tree, and looking at the lights.  She doesn't crawl yet, which is great for now.  She is obsessed with food, and will eat anything she can get her hands on.  She smacks her lips when she wants more.  It's really adorable.
She is the cutest girl and we love her!!!

Only 1 week until Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa Claus

We went and saw Santa today after school. There is an adorable neighborhood boutique/pharmacy that has Santa visiting, so we walked over in the freezing cold.

Taylor, Emily & Isaac were thrilled to see the real Santa, and each had a turn on his knee.  I put Elizabeth on his lap for a picture and she was so scared.  She started sobbing, and wouldn't look at Santa's face.  I felt so bad, but had to capture it with a picture.

Merry Christmas!!!

All the kids got a treat from Santa, so Lizzie got her first sucker.  She loved it, and had a death grip on the sucker until it was completely gone! 
It kept her quiet and happy as we walked home.

Isaac was the most excited to see Santa Claus.  He was really quiet and polite when he talked to him, and when we left he yelled
"That was so awesome!!!"  He is funny boy, and says the most hilarious things. 

It was a great way to spend a cold, frosty afternoon.

We can't wait to have Santa come to our house in 10 days!!!

Neck n' Nog- 2011

We attended the annual "Neck n' Nog" Christmas party last weekend, and it was so much fun!!!  My brother Marcus started this tradition 7 years ago, and it's a blast.  Everyone wears their ugly sweaters, and crazy festive clothes and we drink hot cocoa, and Wassil from cool mugs.  There are awards for ugliest, most festive etc.. outfits. They have a photo booth, complete with props to make some hilarious pictures.  It was a great night, and we all had a fabulous time!

The kids really wanted to dress up for the party, so I bought a bunch of stuff at Thriftown, and the DI.  It was money well spent, because they were so excited about their ugly sweaters and vests.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the evening. 

Monica made these yummy chocolate covered marshmallows on a straw, to dip in hot cocoa-they were a hit!
Taylor really wanted to the ugliest outfit award.  I wish I had gotten a full length shot of his clothes.  He was wearing red long-johns, with a Christmas dalmation/present vest, and a ridiculous hat that says "I believe in Santa", with my black Ugg boots on his feet.  He looked funny, and ugly too!  
He and my cousin McKay tied for the Ugliest award, and they were both happy.   
My Grandma Shields always come to the party, complete with her holiday attire.  She is so much fun to have around!

Even Elizabeth got in with the ugly outfit, and some reindeer antlers.  She was tired, but had a little fun at the party.

The food was delicious, as well as the hot beverages.

Marc's collection of mugs, he has about 100 of them.

Here's a shot of a bunch of my cousins with my Grandma right in the middle.  What a funny picture.

All the kids looked hilarious with the props, they thought it was tons of fun!  They all look so ridiculous!

Thank you Marcus & Monica for organizing a great party!! 

We can't wait for next year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming soon, and there is a lot of excitement in the air around our house. This is always a busy, fun, crazy time of year with parties, gifts to buy, talk of Santa, family get togethers etc... 

Last year at this time our life felt totally overwhelming and out of control!  We had decided  to move into a new house, so we were super busy with packing, closing on our new home, redoing and painting our entire new house, moving, finding new tenants to live in our old house.  This was all done in secret so the kids wouldn't know, until we told them on Christmas morning.  Not to mention the usual craziness of Christmas (parties, school performances, decorating, gifts to buy etc..) AND I was 8 months pregnant!  I was completely worn out and exhausted with huge swollen legs by the end of each day.  Needless to say we survived last December and the thrill of surprsing our kids on Christmas morning was magical, and so fantastic!  As we remember last year, we have great memories but we were very distracted and not able to really enjoy the magical holiday season. 

So we are super excited about this first Christmas in our new home!  I want to forget about "to do" lists, and things to get done and just enjoy the moments.  We have 4 believers in our home and it's such a magical time, I want to soak up these memories!! 

That is my goal for the month, to live in the moment, and enjoy every minute the kids excitement and anticipation.  We have been reading Christmas stories by the Christmas tree at night, talking of Santa and his elves, watching holiday movies, drinking cocoa, and dreaming of a white Christmas.  It feels good to relax and I hope to remember this time with my family forever!  

We love celebrating the birth of our Savior and want to him in our hearts and minds as we go throughout the month.

 We decorated our house and put up our Christmas tree last weekend.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pics. of the decorating.  Here are a few pics of our festivities so far! 
The kids actually cooperated for a picture before church!  This mouse is Danny's family Christmas mouse. She has a stash of hershey kisses in her apron, and she's Isaac's new best friend. 

We are so excited for Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

These are Isaac's latest obsessions.  He loves these binoculars and brings them everywhere we go lately, including to bed.  Thanks to Grandma Shields for letting him "borrow" these, he is never going to give them back.  

Isaac is really into playing army lately, so these binoculars are perfect for looking for bad guys, or spotting the enemy.  

Yesterday he asked "Mom, can we go deer hunting today?"
He was totally serious in his question, and was irritated when I told him, "NO, the deer season is over!"  

He definately makes me laugh a lot, but he is so infuriating too!  He is so stubborn, and refused to negotiate.  I guess those will be good traits as an adult, I hope?!

It seems like we had Christmas early, because we got a trampoline!!!  It's our neighbors and they are letting us use it in our yard, while they move to another country for 18 months.

The kids all love having the tramp, and it's great for Isaac on these cold, days.  I send him outsdide and tell him to jump 1000 times or until he gets too cold!

Emily has had a great week, she lost her first tooth!  She was excited and didn't cry at all.  The tooth fairy brought her money, and she was thrilled!!  I can't believe she is old enough to be loosing teeth!  Stop growing up!

Just as Emily looses her tooth, Elizabeth gets her first tooth. She now has one on the bottom, and the second tooth is on it's way, I can feel it coming.
She is still so cute and so much fun! She's been lunging forward and getting ready to crawl.  She is still so content to sit and play with toys and be entertained by her adoring siblings.  I love this stage, wish it could last forever! 

She has been sick with croup this week, and feels miserable.  She is starting to pull herself up in her crib, even when she's sick. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love spending time with family & friends.  I also like thinking about gratitude and realizing how blessed I am.  I have so many wonderful blessings in my life, I have so much to be grateful for; the gospel, my family, good health, a good job, etc...
We spent Thanksgiving break in sunny Southern Utah at the Pondersosa Ranch.  G & G Shields rented a big house for all the Shields clan to celebrate Thanksgiving.  It was a fun, busy, crazy calorie filled, exhausting weekend and we all had a blast!

There were 25 people staying at the house including 11 kids.  Here are some pictures from our weekend. 

We spent our time hiking and biking in Zions National Park, playing outside, eating, and preparing tons of food, soaking in the hot tub, playing games, watching movies, having late night discussions and more.

Thursday morning we did a 3 mile hike before our Thanksgiving feast.  The kids all did pretty good hiking and the scenery was gorgeous.  Lizzie did great in her backpack, she loves being outdoors.

After the hike it was back to the house to cook dinner.

Emily and Mary really wanted to eat the drumsticks from the turkey.  They looks like pigs in this picture!

We enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Everyone helped prep food, cook, and clean up the dishes.  Monica made these adorable name tags, they were so cute.
Dad fell asleep during all the chaos, and I had to get a picture, it's so funny!

On Friday we went into Zions and did some biking, ate a picnic lunch and played a big game of football.  The kids played in the leaves, burying each other.  It was so beautiful in the park, and the weather was perfect. 

These kids did pretty well at getting along and not fighting.  They all play great together and seem to have tons of fun! 

We are so grateful that we could spend the weekend with our family!  It was definately a memorable Thanksgiving.