Thursday, December 30, 2010

Merry Christmas

What a fun and blessed Christmas we've had.  We hope you all had a wonderful day too.

Mom, Dad and Tanner came early and gave the boys a very large, cool, gift.  Thanks Mom and Dad for all you do for us.  I loved having a tramp as a kid; it's where my imagination just took off.  I see that in Witten as he goes out and jumps now.  One minute he's a cowboy on a bucking bronco, the next he's rescuing me from some pirates.

Santa came to our house on Christmas Eve.   Race was so excited to show Santa his letter and Witt just couldn't believe he pulled up in a truck! 

Thank you Santa and Elves for your love and kindness...the boys will remember it forever, and so will I.

Witt just couldn't believe that Santa was going to be coming back AGAIN when he was sleeping (he had to go back to the North Pole and get his reindeer). So Witt left cookies and milk out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer to tell them "Thanks for their hard work."

Christmas morning was wonderful.  I just love watching the boy's excitement.
Lane was so fun, he really got into unwrapping.  "You mean I can rip it?  I thought I wasn't allowed to rip stuff?  Cool!"
 Witt's face says it all...
 Poor Race wasn't feeling good Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  He'd been waiting a whole year for this day and then he was sick.  What a trooper, he loved it all anyway. 
What a fun, magical Christmas.  Every year it seems to get more special.  Maybe it's because the boys are getting to the age where they talk about Baby Jesus and His birth, and maybe it's because of all the blessings small and large that they get to experience and talk about with us.  Maybe it's because of the joy I see in their eyes when they give and serve...and recieve.  Maybe...yes maybe it's ALL part of the magic.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Happenings and Thoughts

I love Christmas.  One of my favorite things about Christmas is going to the Temple.  John and I went to the Temple two weekends ago, then picked the boys up from my sister's house and went back to see the lights with Grandma Armstrong.  I love the Temple.  I love my Savior, I'm so grateful for what he did for me.

We also decorated LOTS of cookies over the break.  Some for FHE, and some with Auntie, Amber and her boys (more pictures to come).

The boys had their School Christmas Concert as well.  It was just beautiful.  They did a great job singing and on their speaking parts.  We're so grateful for their wonderful school.

This is Witt with his teacher Ms. Janet:
 Race and Ms. Suzanne:
 Witt with his other teacher, Ms. Jyoti:
All the classes helped Ms. Alisha with this amazing Gingerbread house!
We have been so blessed this year.  I was given a little quote to hang on my wall this Christmas.  It says, "I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich."  I love this quote.  I wouldn't say I've loved the trials that we've trudged through this year, but I am better because of them.  And I am rich.  I am so blessed and grateful for my family, for my hubby, boys, my parents and in-laws, my sister and brothers, Johns siblings, and for dear friends we claim as family too.  I'm so grateful for my boys, for living with these beautiful angels (even though sometimes I wonder if they're angels or not...) that teach me so much.  I'm so filled with gratitude this season, for my Savior, and the blessings he has given  me. 

The Relief Society put on a small Christmas Program last week.  It portrayed the Savior's birth from the perspective of the mother's and women of the time.  It was beautiful.  One particular part really stood out to me and I've been contemplating it ever since.  It was the perspective given by Joseph's mother.  The mother of the man who was put in charge to raise Jesus in his mortal life.  The mother of a righteous man.  What does it take to raise a good man?  I started to think, "Am I doing all I can do?  What more can I give these boys so they can grow to be good men this world needs?" 

I'm so grateful for the good men my boys have to look to as examples.  For their Daddy, for my Dad, the list goes on and on.  I am so blessed, I am so RICH with blessings.
May you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rudolph lives at our House

Being a rookie explorer can be rough. 
This was a nose dive off the porch.  Very appropriate for the Christmas Season I suppose.


Football's been over for about a month...I'm so glad.  Here's some pictures of John doing what he absolutely LOVES.  This was his 8th season of Varsity; he's done some semi-pro as well. If he had his wish, he'd be a professional referee...except he says he'd change Sunday night football to Saturday. 

This was the Play-off crew that worked a lot together this year.  John's good buddy Joe is to the left of him.  We love you Joe...and Laura, way to go girl!  We survived yet another season, yea for us!

Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree!

A few weeks ago we put the tree up.  And every year it seems to get more fun with the decorating.  Race and Witt are big helpers now.  They're curiosity doesn't seem to COMPLETELY overtake them.  They're a big help and are having a good time.  Lane on the other hand....we're going to see if he beats the record of 2008 when Witt pulled the tree down once as well as Spot; that year was the reason I switched to PLASTIC ornaments (after-Christmas special 75% off!  Can't beat that!), laugh and LEARN!l

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Hubby!

Here's to John turning the big 33!! 

I love you dear Husband.  Thank you for all you do for me and the boys.  For working so hard so I can stay home with the kids; for being a great Daddy through your example; taking the time to show the boys how to work, play, and love. And of course for loving me.  We love our DADDY!

I can't believe I've been going on dates with this guy for 10 years now.  We've grown UP a lot, and we've grown a lot.  So here's us leaving for our Birthday Date to have a picnic dinner (Trish, you are amazing...John loved his Manicotti), and a trip to the movies to watch Narnia. 

But before the date... here's John in his total daddy-mode...being a show off.  Yes, he can blow out candles from feet away!  The boys thought it was amazing!  Do you like the cake they made him?

 Daddy opening his gifts.  Yes, they're wrapped in Christmas paper (not just Christmas paper, but Winnie the Pooh Christmas Paper, totally manly)...what's new.  Part of having a December birthday I guess??
We love you old man.  Happy Birthday.

Friday, December 10, 2010

7's Chain

As I've said hundreds of times, and I'll say it again, I absolutely love the school my boys go to.  Race has a tendency to avoid challenging work.  I'm so grateful for his teacher who knows just how hard to push him.  She helps him grow.  So, after much avoidance and meltdowns, Race gave in to Ms. Suzanne and did his 7 chain (7+7+7...=343 or 7^3); whipping it out in no time.

What a breakthrough.  Another reminder to Race, that he can do hard things and realize they're not as hard as he thinks...we love you Ms. Suzanne., we are so grateful for all do for Race.

Montessori Math is amazing.  It starts out with something concrete, so the child is actually working with the number itself instead of something written on paper.  I love the Montessori program.  It has helped Race so much. 

Here's what Witt just finished up in his class.  He's so proud of his Continent Map; we hung it up in his room.  Witt loves school; he has all the Continents memorized as well as the planets. 

Learn more about the school we love


After Annell and I ran, we headed back up to Mom and Dad's place where our families were waiting.  We had such a great day.  I absolutely love Thanksgiving; can you guess why?  I love food.  I love to eat.  And there is nothing better than stuffing yourself to the point of sickness, then sitting around talking, laughing, telling stories and just being with family.  Then going back for round 2 on the food, and repeating this process the whole day long.  I love it. 

It just amazes me, as I sit around with my brothers and sister, that we have kids of our own running around.  I remember being a kid and sitting at the "kid" table with all of my cousins, eating off the paper plates and the cups with our names markered on them.  I remember listening from the kitchen to the adults in my Grandparents dining room laughing and carrying on eating off of her very nice china.  When did it happen, that I graduated to the "big person" table?  Where did the time go?  I can't help but think of that wonderful song from Mamma Mia! (one of my favorites) Slipping Through My Fingers .   Time just seems to slip away whether we are enjoying it, or getting through something difficult.  I'm so grateful for the time I've had to spend with my family.  For the opportunities and experiences my parents gave me.  I love you so much Mom and Dad. 

Oh how I love my siblings.  My sister (so thoughtful, caring, creative, patient).  My BIG little brother Tyrrell (so layed back, talented, tender-hearted, quiet).  My other BIG little brother Tanner, yes he's 14 and taller than me now (gifted, a dreamer, a thinker, and playful!  My boys love him).

Of course I couldn't find my camera at my parents house, so this year, sad to say, Thanksgiving pictures are limited.  Thank goodness for camera phones right Annell? 

Anthem Turkey Trot

I haven't run in a "race" in a few years; since Race was a baby really.  So thanks to my running buddy and long time friend Laura , as well as my inspiring sister (who is an amazing runner now) we all signed up for the Anthem Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Morning.  It was a good half-way mark between Annell's place and the Verde Valley.  We had SOOO much fun.  And yes, that competitive spirit TOO QUICKLY returned to me.  Town League Basketball and running simply for "exercise" I claim now as a different category (though I love those sooo much too, and look forward to our runs together Laura).  I love to compete in running.  I forgot how much I love it.  Thanks dear sister and friend for the inspiration.  Can't wait for our next one!

For the record, Annell was the one afraid of the turkey...not me!