Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas in Review - by Brad

This year, we spent Christmas Eve Eve with my parents and grandma. My dad made a neat table for the boys that opens up and they can store their Legos inside. He made a similar table for the Smiths several years ago, so our boys think it is pretty cool to have a Lego table like their cousins. It even came with neat stools for each one of the boys. Lindsey is thinking about commandeering it for a coffee table...



My parents bought Spencer a toy electric guitar because he has been on a guitar kick lately. I am not sure where he got his guitar moves from. I hope I don't do this wide stance hip jive when I play guitar...



Elliott, Wesley, and Spencer each got outfits from their Aunt Gail. The outfits also came with matching shorts, which the older boys have been wearing to bed the last few nights. We tried getting a good picture of them, but they didn't want to cooperate. I think Elliott must be praying for his missionary aunt, Wesley must think he is Superman, and Spencer just knows he's cool...



We let them open their Wii at my parent's house. This was the only present we got for them (besides their stockings) and they were quite excited. We even got my parents to play it a little. Since Elliott is on his Christmas break from school, we have been letting him play it more than we normally would.



On Christmas Eve we drove down to Lincoln City, Oregon to spend a few days with Lindsey's family. The roads weren't the best and what would normally be an 8 hour drive turned into a 13 hour trip. The boys were surprisingly well behaved... with a little help from the iPod and Star Wars Clone Wars videos...



Lindsey's family reserved two beach houses in Lincoln City. There was a total of 36 people between the two houses. On Christmas day, there were 30 foot waves rolling in and the sun even peeked out for a few minutes. It actually felt like early spring when we were on the beach. Several people (including Elliott and Wesley) were down on the beach Christmas morning and got pinned between a retaining wall and a large wave. Luckily Wesley was on his uncle's shoulders, but Elliott got soaked up to his chest. He was a good sport about it, but decided that he didn't want to go back to the beach.

With all the kids there, we played a wee bit of Wii...



The adults had a chance to play some games...



Some of the kids eating their Christmas dinner... I am pretty sure there were more kids than just the ones in this picture... at least it seemed like it...



This was at the beach house too. Elliott was goofing around, and I was playing with our camera's settings. I still don't know what I am doing, but I liked how this turned out...

Icicles - by Brad

There seems to be something wrong with the insulation in our attic. Our roof apparently gets warmer than it should, melts the snow, and we end up with huge icicles. Hopefully the ice frozen on the roof is providing enough support that the weight doesn't rip off our gutters.





A strange icicle formation appeared outside of our bedroom window and we still can't figure out how this formed...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snow - by Brad

I have a lot of catching up to do from the last two weeks. Hopefully I can get most of this done in the next couple days.

Two weeks ago, we saw very cold temperatures. For about a week, the highs didn't get above 15 degrees. During this time, we received a bit of snow, so I have had my share of shoveling. Elliott and Wesley love to come outside to play in the snow while I shovel the driveway. It usually takes me longer to shovel when they are out there because I get distracted building sled ramps and helping them build snow piles. We did get a couple more inches yesterday, and it looks like we have more coming our way in the next few days.

Lindsey took the boys outside to play for a little while one day while I was at work. Elliott kept warm by sledding down the driveway on the compact snow left behind from our tire tracks. He likes the idea of being a daredevil, but like his dad, he doesn't quite have it. He still has fun though...



Wesley kept warm by shoveling piles of snow and wearing his new favorite hat...





Spencer didn't want to be outside in the snow, so mom let him play in the garage on a go-cart toy handed down from a friend (we still need to find a charger for it)...



Still, 10 degrees was too cold for his little hands...



So mom came up with a solution that made him happy again...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Word Clouds - by Brad

I stumbled across a time-waster website at http://www.wordle.net/ where you can make your own "word clouds". All you have to do is paste some text, and it will make a word cloud based on the frequency of the words. It is surprisingly simple, but also customizable.

I tested it out by pasting the full text of Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Tree - by Brad

This year we decided to be environmentally friendly and not get a Christmas tree.

Not really, we just didn't want to spend the money on one. Since we only have one Christmas present for our family (which we still have not opened yet), there won't be many presents to put under a tree. Also, we won't be home for the few days around Christmas as we are going to the Oregon coast with Lindsey's family.

All these reasons added up to the decision to forego a tree this year. Surprisingly, the boys don't seem to care.

Nonetheless, early last week we still decorated the house and had an evening of Christmas music, making rice crispy treats, hot chocolate, and the Grinch.

Elliott forming and decorating Christmas shaped rice crispy treats...



Wesley doing the same...



Lindsey couldn't get enough frosting, she had to go straight to the tube...



The boys settling in for a movie and treats...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving - by Brad

For our boys, the excitement of Thanksgiving was getting to play with their cousins Ryan, Jake, Emma, and Jesse. Ryan and Jake were excited about their coin collection and they encouraged me to dig out any old coins I had packed away. As we were getting ready Thanksgiving morning, I found Spencer sifting through my old coins...



For the meal we headed over to my parents' house and Wesley decided he wanted to try peeling potatoes. My mom was gracious enough to set Wes up with a peeler and some potatoes for what probably lasted for 2 minutes of peeling one half of a potato...



Emma reading to Spencer...



Emma dancing around being very camera shy...



We may not have any pictures of Thanksgiving dinner (my mom has some on their blog) but Lindsey did get a couple pictures of dessert...



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wesley's 4 - by Brad

Today Wesley turned 4! We had his birthday party last night, and good thing too because after he went to bed, he displayed projectile symptoms of the stomach flu. Fun for everyone involved. This morning he acted very tired and he is currently napping (for over 3 hours).

So last night we had our standard family birthday party with grandpa's and grandma's and a few cousins. I hope everyone left the party without contracting whatever Wesley has... and hopefully I get it before or after Thanksgiving.

Wesley said that he wanted a castle cake, so we did more than the basic sheet cake. Nothing professional, but he enjoyed it...



Lighting the candles is very serious business...



Spencer shares his ice cream with Maisy...



Maisy shares her ice cream with Spencer...



Much of the evening (and this afternoon) was spent this way... me reading instructions and the boys climbing on me in anticipation...



Our sick little birthday boy...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

iPod & Cookies - by Brad

First of all, follow-up from my Wii post... what about not wasting what we have? Are we being poor stewards of our assets (Matthew 25)? Don't worry, we probably won't open it before we give it to the boys, so don't think we are horrible.

ANYWAY...

Spencer really likes music. Every time we listen to music he tries to sing along... we need to get that on video at some point. In these pictures he was actually watching an episode of the Backyardigans. I think he was confused at first, but he quickly enjoyed it...





Friday night Lindsey baked some chocolate cookies and Spencer sat on the counter watching everything she did. Of course his favorite part was helping her clean up...



Friday, November 14, 2008

Wii Dilemma - by Brad

This week, we purchased a Wii for our family Christmas present. We decided to get it early because they aren't always easy to find, and it sounds like there might be a shortage as we get closer to Christmas.

Besides their stockings, this is the only Christmas present the boys will get from us (Spencer might feel ripped off if he knew better).


Here is my dilemma...

It seems like a waste to have a boxed up Wii in our possession for over a month without playing it.

But we can't give it to the boys early or they might be disappointed with the lack of gifts at Christmas.

However, this is a FAMILY present... meaning for Lindsey and me also. We already know what our present is, so it won't ruin Christmas for us if the two of us were to play it now.

Would it be wrong for Lindsey and I to secretly play our new Wii after the boys go to bed... and then box it up before Christmas so it's still a surprise for the boys?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We're Back (hopefully) - by Brad

We have been pretty busy lately, so we haven't found much time to blog. Hopefully that will change soon. In all our craziness, we did have a relaxing weekend with the Bunches. Mike and I went golfing at Desert Canyon again... it was cold, but it stopped raining by the time we teed off, so we still enjoyed it.

Friday night we had an evening of boat races at AWANA. We dragged Mike and Becky along and Mike took some pictures of the event. At first Elliott and Wesley got to play around testing out the boats in the race "tracks"...



Elliott then participated in several races...



Jack had fun too...



Much of the weekend was spent playing the Wii. This was taken while Lindsey and Becky were out shopping. It is the dad's way of babysitting...



Other unphotographed activities:

We played Whoonu for a couple hours. I believe Becky and I did all the winning in that game.

We left all 4 boys with Lindsey's parents while we went out to dinner.

Mike and Lindsey went running... I took pictures, but Lindsey would not be happy with me if I posted them.

Mike and I went on a short hike (as documented on his blog.)


Thank you to the Bunches for driving up and visiting us!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Carving '08 - by Brad

We carved pumpkins yesterday afternoon. Elliott and Wesley designed their own carving design. Elliott drew a picture of his first, and Wesley just showed me what he wanted with his own face. They still don't like getting their hands dirty, but I made them scoop out a little of the pumpkin guts.

Spencer just enjoyed watching everything... he didn't want to get near the pumpkin guts either...







Here is the end product (Wesley's pumpkin is sticking out it's tongue)...



UPDATED: As Jen requested... this was Wesley showing us the face he wanted...



This is unrelated... I just really liked this picture Lindsey took of Spencer...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Motorcycle Ride - by Linz

Yesterday my dad and I went for a motorcycle ride up to Leavenworth. My dad has been trying to get me to go on this motorcycle ride for quite a while. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous especially because it involved highway speeds. Whenever I see people cruising along on their motorcycle at 65mph, all I can think is "Danger! Danger!" It seems so crazy to drive really fast with nothing between you and the pavement. On the other hand, I was really excited to get to spend some time with my dad.

So off we went! Within about 5 minutes, I felt totally comfortable and actually quite safe. I was surprised to find that I really like motorcycle riding. It's so relaxing. At one point we drove past an orchard and I could smell the pears on the trees...so cool! (We also drove by a pumpkin patch with a petting zoo...not so cool!)