22 December 2011

Some Holiday Firsts...

Christmas time is nuts because everything around Christmas time is fun, right? Ok, Walmart on a Saturday in December is the exception, but when is that NOT horrible?

This year, the kids did their first Christmas Suzuki Concert with their new violin teacher. Up until this summer, I had been the sole teacher for both of them, and it's been heaven to pass off some of that responsibility to a friend/fellow violinist who we all adore. Ms. Ruth has held a Christmas program for the last 15 years, and Jack and Jane were lucky to be a part of it this year.

This really was one of Jane's first performing experiences, so we learned we need to work on her performance etiquette a bit. Thank goodness she was the youngest, and smallest, so it was a little more laughable than it will be in a few years when she may still be biting her nails and coming in 2 notes later than everybody else!

Really, the kids worked extra hard to prepare for the performances, especially Jack who played almost all the pieces the big kids played. They did GREAT, and were really excited about playing. They were especially grateful for the support of loved ones who braved downtown on a very busy weekend!

This performance was in the downtown library auditorium, a fantastic venue. Their afternoon one was at the Joseph Smith Memorial building, and since Jeff was doing the single dad thing from 2pm on, there were few pictures. Understandable, Super Dad.

Alice enjoyed her first dance recital and did great. We had to bribe her to get her costume on ("Alice, want a cookie?", and I quickly turn her into a mouse. Voila!), but she loved the dancing! We've loved our little neighborhood dance group, and it's been a GREAT introduction for the really little ones, like Alice.

In the Green Room, Alice loved the attention from the older girls. They were all dancing to selections from the Nutcracker. Fun!

I'm a street musician lover. During my long days/evenings downtown last week, I had a short break and ran to do a bit of shopping. I ran into these guys busting out their brass. Not a huge brass fan, but honestly, it goes GREAT with the season. I was so happy to see a little variety downtown. Love the bagpipers, but really... one on EACH side of temple square? Enough already!

Any favorite firsts this season? Or, favorite street musicians you've seen? I remember seeing a girl belting it out with a mandolin when I was about 13 at Pike's Market in Seattle, and I've never forgotten it. Awesome.

17 December 2011

Halloween... seriously.

Found fun pictures I didn't want to forget...

The annual Pumpkin patch trip is always a highlight for us. The mud this year added an interesting aspect.

I think every kid likes getting one "just my size".

Trip to "Little Spooks" at This is the Place. Very fun, and even with cousins and Mimi this year!

Carving those pumpkins was fun and messy. I did my usual copying of a pattern from a book I bought 7 years ago (so creative), Jack (and Jeff) gave his a nose like Voldemort, and our 3rd was done by our special guest. His FIRST pumpkin carving experience ever!

Crazy cousin time at Mimi and Papa's.

Cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's who have apparently been all "fun"ed out. Maybe we should have done pictures FIRST?

And, the kids on "the big night". No trunk-or-treats this year, so we did it the old fashioned way, and I loved it. Nice weather, walking around, seeing friends and neighbors, FUN! Alice went MUCH further than expected, and Jane got too tired of asking at every house "do they have a dog?" and ran home to pass out candy with Daddy.

The girls pretty much changed their costumes THAT day, so thank goodness for good dress ups! Jane decided she wasn't ONLY a princess (until this dress was hand-me-downed to her by a dear neighbor friend, she was going to be a witch), she had to be a short-haired Rapunzel. Frying pan and all. Jack wasn't great with his timing, but the expression would have been about right.

Alice fell in love when our neighbor opened the door in THIS. I felt like we were in Disneyland! It was a challenge to get her off the porch!

Having kids has made Halloween one of my favorite holidays ever. And next year... we'll have ONE more kid to enjoy it! Baby is coming in MAY!

27 November 2011

Pinewood Derby

As far as I can tell, the Pinewood Derby is the height of the Scouting calendar. It did NOT disappoint!

Jack and Jeff worked on his car for several evenings spanning the weeks prior, and Jack was beside himself.

This picture was after a couple of races. He wasn't all smiles as he watched his car though, which made me wonder if he realized that he was winning each heat. He told me later he knew he was winning, but didn't dare hope to actually WIN.

We think Jane was his lucky charm. She quietly went to the kid's corner and made this sign for him. She's the best sister ever.

When WE realized that Jack might actually take the cake, we realized we'd only prepared him to be a good loser, not a gracious winner. (We'd heard too many stories of disappointment and tears!). Jeff ran over to brief him, and he was fine. I guess we need to have a little more faith next time. We knew he'd spent a lot of time and effort, but you just never know! There were some REALLY fast cars!

Jack was glowing all evening, and we were so happy that all his afternoons of sanding had paid off!

Jane is 6

Or, turned six in September. It's been a while, but I didn't want it to go undocumented...

Here's Jane with her poster from her Kindergarten class. She LOVED this. They obviously asked her great questions because everything they wrote down was absolutely accurate!

The morning of her birthday, I don't know what she liked more: her treasure hunt with presents in obscure places, or the actual presents!

She'd been begging for a Rapunzel cake. This was the best I could do. It was fun, but stressful to decide how to do it. I ended up copying it almost exactly off of a blog I found. Someday she'll realize I am not creative... what will I do then?

Jeff took a half day and we went to the city pool, one of Jane's favorite activities. We swam for hours. It was a fun and tiring afternoon. Jane was in heaven!

The week after her birthday, our big 6 year old performed in her first violin recital with her new teacher. Jack had a small accident with some scissors while making a birthday present for Jane that didn't allow him to participate, so she was the big star of the night. She did GREAT!

We only got these two pictures, because we videoed the actual performance. Wish we could do both at once!

02 September 2011

School days

School and I have a love/hate relationship.

I LOVE back to school shopping, the excitement of that first day. I just HATE knowing I won't have my kids with me as much as I want.

Jack, however, was all LOVE. He couldn't WAIT for 3rd grade!

This has become his typical "I'm so excited I can hardly contain it!" photo.

I LOVE the structure of the school year, yet HATE to give up my freedom of taking off somewhere whenever we want!

But, this IS a big year. Jane FINALLY gets to start school! She's been counting down the days. (I love how Alice is looking at her)

Jane is a big Kindergartener, and finally gets to play on that playground she's talked about for 2 years!

I had no idea what to expect with this unpredictable child. She gave us quick kisses and the aides let her in the door, and she was off! NOT ONE SECOND of HESITATION. I almost cried. But instead, I was overcome with gratitude and pride for my independent girl.

I still feel like taking pictures of her every day. She is such a darling little school girl. And, in the last week she's gone from preferring dresses and skirts, to refusing to wear almost anything else. Hopefully those knee-high socks will keep her warm enough in the winter!

Alice and I now have 2 hours in the afternoons. After a summer hiatus, I've started sweeping my floors again! The possibilities are endless!

03 August 2011

Everything is better with Cousins...

... and aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and siblings.

(JUST found this post, and didn't realize I never published. I'm so on top of it!)

We've enjoyed family, family, and more family time this summer. This is why we love Utah. Family!

Jack and Ellie in a partici-play at the Ogden Treehouse museum...

Jason, Ellie, and Jeff (in that order) on our almost-hike to Donut falls...

Almost the whole crew...

Partially-dressed 2 year olds blowing bubbles...

Movie night...

I can't believe Jane and Mia actually slept here... (our under the stairs dress-up room)

A trip to the Copper Mine with Hawkin cousins and bonus friends...

Alice loving the carousel with Mimi, but NOT the actual horses.

Pioneer cousins trying to look authentic with a non-smiling picture. It was harder for some than others.

Of course, the true personalities come out...

They asked us to play a few numbers in preparation for the shoot-out show. It felt just like old times.

More silly pioneers.

Alice and Drew waiting for the big kids at the dentist...

Jane and Ellie enjoying Memory Grover together...

Alice and LuLu were hilarious in the tub. I love how Alice is looking at her.

Donut falls attempt #2. End of July = no snow (thank goodness). We made it this time!

1st annual Rich Family Fun Run starting line...

It was INTENSE. Ok, the Rich's aren't super competitive, so it was a nice, happy run for all.

Oh, the blessings of family and cousins!