Monday, December 22, 2014

Visit with Papa (and Uncle Jim)

Papa came to visit on Wednesday night.  Here are the kids with him on Friday, which was pajama day at school.

We spent Thursday shopping, and on Friday we wrapped gifts.  And wrapped, and wrapped, and wrapped.  My uncle Jim, who lives in LA, came to visit on Friday.  We finished the wrapping before the kids got home from school (thank goodness!  Thanks Dad!!!), and when they got home we baked and decorated Christmas cookies.  We put Uncle Jim right to work, and he helped with the wrapping and baking and decorating.

On Saturday, we spent the day at the Phoenix Zoo.  Daniel is sitting next to a stone that says, "Mommy loves you Daniel."  It even has a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine, who he loves!!

Emily, Papa, and I made this wreath for Uncle Jim.  Papa picked out the colors and helped us put it together.  Michael helped, too.  I think it turned out really well. 

As always, the visit was too short, but we are so grateful that we got to see them both!!!  


The kids are so excited for Christmas!!  We had a Breakfast with Santa activity at church last weekend.  It was really nice!  The Primary kids did a really fun skit and then they read the story of Jesus' birth from the scriptures while some of the children dressed up for the Nativity.

Band Concert

Emily had her first band concert earlier this month.  She just started playing the flute in August and she is doing really well!  She takes band at school but hasn't had any formal private lessons.  She basically taught herself.  She was recently invited to participate in the Honor Band, and she will get to spend a day at the high school preparing for it.  Nathaniel is thrilled, lol!
Emily with Grandpa and Grandma May


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Family Portraits 2014

Here are our family portraits!  This time, instead of going to a studio, we chose a photographer who lives in our neighborhood.  She did a fantastic job and I am so happy with the way the pictures turned out.  These were taken on Oct. 13.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Creative Kids

Emily had fun with her bakery project for math.  She had to do all sorts of calculations and then discuss the ratios she used for her pan cookie recipe.  She made the cookies all by herself!

Andrew and Emily had fun making a wreath with me.  Our Halloween one turned out pretty well, so we made a Christmas one, too.  Who knew I could be crafty?

Can you see the M on the fireplace?  It is an M painted black and covered with googly eyes.  Emily made it and I think it turned out really cute.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Phoenix Temple

We had a wonderful time at the Phoenix Temple Open House.  The kids had never been to one before and they were so excited.  We got to go on a tour and see every part of the temple.  Once it is dedicated (which happened today), we are able to go there to perform ordinances for our families.  We have a temple in Mesa and Gilbert as well, but it is pretty exciting to have a third one in the area.  It is a beautiful temple and we are blessed to be able to go to the house of the Lord. 


It was our first Halloween in our new neighborhood and everyone had a great time!  There were block parties all over the neighborhood, and ours was next door.  We had pizza and chili and homemade root beer.  The kids and I had fun Trick or Treating with their friends while Daddy stayed home to pass out candy. 

Jonathan got a lot of use out of his Captain America costume.  I had to take this picture because they were just too cute.  Jonathan went up to Daniel and asked him to read his book to him, and Daniel was happy to do it.  How cute is that?

I tried to get individual shots of the kids but the photo-bombing was out of control.  I did get one of Emily.

Ready for some candy!!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Our Family-Friendly Las Vegas Vacation (yes--it is possible)

We were so excited that the kids have a week off for fall break.  Unfortunately, Michael had a convention to go to that same week in Las Vegas.  The solution?  Go with him!  We drove up on Monday and had dinner at the hotel (Homewood Suites) and then went for a drive down the strip.  I had never been there before, and it was much bigger than I imagined.  We didn't walk around the strip with the kids at night and our hotel was off of the strip, so it went really well.  We had our breakfasts and dinner at the hotel.  Homewood Suites serves a nice breakfast every day and dinner Monday-Thursday, so that was great. 

On Tuesday, we took Michael to his convention and went straight to Circus Circus.  The kids loved the circus acts--Dave the clown and the Russian bar.  Then we went to the Adventure Dome.  We got wristbands for everyone so we could ride all day.  There were almost no lines.  I think the only waits we had were when the bigger kids rode the big roller coasters. 

Jonathan was so cute.  At first he said he didn't want to ride anything, but once he tried a couple he was hooked.  The funniest was the Frog Hopper, which bounces up and down.  Here is the video.  Watch Jonny's face at about the 7 second mark.  The rest of the video is mostly Nathaniel and I laughing. :-)  If you want to watch it, I recommend expanding it or clicking on the link below.

Waiting for the circus acts at Circus Circus.  Apparently nothing opens before 11am in Vegas. :-)

Fun on the kiddie rides

Nathaniel loved the roller coasters.  He even rode on the big roller coaster at New York New York.  Andrew wanted to, but he wasn't tall enough.

On Wednesday, we started the day at the Silverton.  I knew they had an aquarium, but I didn't know much else about it.  It turns out that it was right next to a Bass Pro Shops.  They also have mermaids, but of course we were there on the wrong day.  Next, we went to the Pinball Hall of Fame.  The kids loved it!  I gave them each their allowance of quarters and they had a blast.  There were many pinball games, as well as old 80s video games and crane games.  Finally, we ended the day exploring M&Ms World and Hershey's Chocolate World. 

Aquarium at the Silverton

This one's for you, Dad!

Pinball Hall of Fame
Many of the games were only a quarter, and the kids loved it!

Jonathan actually won a ball from the crane! 

M&Ms World

Random guy on the street dressed up as Darth Vader
We couldn't resist a picture.

Hershey's Chocolate World
Chocolate Empire State building...

...and chocolate Statue of Liberty

After we finished at Hershey's Chocolate World, which is at New York New York, we went to the roller coaster so Nathaniel could ride.  Andrew was pretty disappointed that he didn't get to go on it because he was about an inch too short.  After seeing Nathaniel's reaction, though, I think it was for the best.  And, because we had just shopped at Hershey's Chocolate World, Nathaniel got a 2-for-1 and got to ride twice!

On Thursday, we had a lazy morning.  Walking through the hotels is kind of like walking through an airport--they are so big--so we were all pretty tired.  The kids really wanted to see Caesar's Palace, so that was our main goal.  First, we went to the Venetian and saw the beautiful shops and the gondola ride.  Then, we drove over to Gold Coast for their buffet.  We ate so much!!  Then, we headed to Caesar's Palace and walked around all of the Forum Shops.  The lobby was gorgeous!  The ceilings were definitely a sight to see!  We had seen some characters on the street, so we walked to the end of the Forum Shops to go outside and have pictures taken with Mickey and Minnie and also with Iron Man and Bumblebee (from Transformers).  After we were done, Jonathan looked at me and said, "Mommy, those were costumes!"  You can't fool that kid!  He knows that the real Mickey and Minnie are at Disney, of course!

I had really wanted to show the kids the fountains at the Bellagio, but we could never time it right because they only go every hour during the day time.  On Thursday, though, we were able to drive by just at the right time for the kids to watch the fountains from the car.  They were amazing!

We checked out on Friday morning and drove home.  The drive was so beautiful.  We drove down to the Hoover Dam as well.  We didn't have time to get out and look around, but it was cool to see.

We all agree, it was a wonderful trip!!