As usual, Christmas came and went and waiting around for no body. Good thing we tried to take advantage of the moments and have fun.
The week of Christmas Caleb went and visited three temples in the valley. It was generally snowing for each visit which made the experience neat with the falling snow. Then after Christmas Caleb visited the temple again. Each time he tried to remember something to tell me about the temple. His favorite, being confirmed for a man named, "Thor." Caleb was pretty stoked to be confirmed for an Avenger. :)
The happy smile of children after opening up the haul.
Peter had fun battling anyone he could with his smash bots.
Haley loved her soft robe and her musical tigers. That girl loves soft, pink things and tigers.
We had to snap this picture upon returning home Christmas night from the Grays. It was seriously a close to perfect Christmas. To name a few moments.....it snowed!!!!! A lot in West Jordan. Which meant that I took the goods to make snow ice cream up to the Grays and we treated ourselves to many cups. We had yummy food; my favs were the roast and gravy from Dacia, my squash, and the turnovers. The kids actually got along very well. Haley had such cute moments with the white elephant exchange (namely the "this is hard" quote on the left-right-left game). And I was able to have a sweet moment with Haley right before going home when she was watching a part of the Cinderella movie and I was able to share in her joy of princesses and beauty and magic. Christmas was full of happy moments.
Christmas is sneaking up on us! Cannot believe it is so close, but I think we have been doing our best to be happy and celebrate.
At Haley's preschool on Thursday her little class made gingerbread Christmas trees. The little boy pictured with her is her best friend, William. He is always full of smiles and when they see each other they hug and insist on sitting next to each other. It is very fun to watch.
On Friday, Peter had a soccer game. They won, 14-3! Peter did really good. He was keeper for half of the game and second half he played defense and forward. He has really come to enjoy soccer.
On Saturday Caleb had another killer soccer game. I will tell you the score first, they beat us 1-12!!!! Now for the stats. Our team took 19 shots on goal. The other team took 54 shots on Caleb!!!!!! Ack! Caleb made some great saves and played with his whole heart.
I also cannot forget to mention that Sunday morning, before church, Peter and William were playing together so well! I actually told them that they did not have to get ready until the last possible second, before church, just to maximize the good vibes that were flowing between them. It was great.
Also on Sunday, it was the Salt Lake Children's Choir's last Christmas concert. It was beautiful! Gloria and Silent Night were my personal favorites. But each song was so wonderful, the kids all did fantastic! In this photo, we have some good friends. 3 cousins that love each other and could be considered the best of friends. The other boy, Colin, sits next to Caleb in the choir and they have become friends. They are fun to watch up there. Caleb nudges Colin every now and then, they play games together on down time; good friends are a treasure to find.
A mix. Gingerbread, trees, santa and jokes! My favorites so far: What do you call a dirty fairy? Stinkerbell. And; What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear. And; What do you call a snowman in the summer? A puddle. Have an awesome day!
Snow Ice-cream! Oh it is so good. This is our third batch of the day, as we were watching Prep and Landing for our advent tonight. My mom, Alene, taught me how to make it. I remember as a girl, going out in the backyard and getting a bowlful of snow to make this for myself. Now all my sweet kids love for me to make it for them. No recipe on file for our tradition, just mix until it tastes right and then enjoy to your hearts content. Love this little family.
The countdown has begun! 12 days until Christmas and our plans are laid out for that time. So fun.
On day 12 Haley planned a Christmas party. Her menu: salad, with beans and meat, cauliflower, noodles and cornbread. It was fun. We had fun antlers and headbands to wear, and after dinner we had games.
The puzzles were the biggest success, everyone loved them.
Woke up this morning to SNOW!!! Love it so much! So, Day 1 of the Christmas lunch was snow themed.
After school Caleb came home and we built a snow fort. Or, the beginnings of one. So much fun to play in the snow. Peter's first words this morning were, "Mom, will you make snow ice-cream?" Why, of course! I think our day is about complete. We have eaten snow ice-cream, built a snow fort, made a huge pile of wet-snow clothes to dry out, and it is still snowing! Our advent activity is to watch Prep and Landing on the computer and eat pop corn. It will be a great evening!!!!
I got some expert help in decorating the Christmas trees and the house for the holidays. The kids have loved getting it all out and playing with the Christmas things that they had forgotten about.
We did some serious gingerbread house decorating.
Haley was loving the process. And no one ate too much candy and got sick this year. A win!
Caleb had his Christmas choir concerts this weekend at the Cathedral of the Madeline. He did fabulous and loved the experience. All the practice and nagging him to practice payed off. All of the driving and going from one thing to the other payed off. He was ready and did great.
Not pictured: soccer games. Peter had a game on Friday, so while Rob and William went to Caleb's concert, Haley and I went to Peter's game. He did great. His whole team is fabulous and they won. Peter played keeper for half the game and made some great saves, as he put it, "when I have confidence in myself I do pretty good."
Caleb came home late Friday night and got up early Saturday morning because he had a soccer game to be at. His team did incredible! And Caleb, OH MY GOSH, talk about bringing home the win! The score was 8-3, Caleb took 30 shots on goal and saved 20. His defense was there for him when he needed it, some shots were hard and wide, and he made some amazing dives and saves. It was awesome!
One other really great experience we had this weekend was a special stake conference for our area. Elder David Bednar of the 12 Apostles came to our stake this weekend and we had the privilege of listening to him and his wife speak on Sunday. It was powerful and spiritual. Usually when I listen to Elder Bednar at conference he is really serious. But at our stake conference he seemed more personable, more humorous. It was great. His wife spoke about church attendance with her young family and she shared some funny experiences, but emphasized on never giving up. About never coming up with an excuse of why we do not go to church or are not active. Elder Bednar spoke about how with the church's growth the chances of another apostle coming to our stake again is nearly impossible, so listen up because what he had to say was super important! He spoke about church ordinances, about how everything we do in the gospel is centered around feeling the Holy Ghost. And how there is nothing more important in this life than the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it teaches and leads us to. It was really neat to be there with my little family and feel that spirit and love. A winning weekend for sure.
Well, the year is almost finished. But I do not want to forget a few fun times we shared together. Caleb's knee is healing very well. He is able to do anything now without any sign of problems. Yeah!
First of all, we had to clean up the yard for winter (if the snow ever comes to the valley)....
Haley was helping Rob and they found the mother load of worms hiding out under the leaves. Haley, as we know, loves worms and she very much enjoyed collecting them. Of course, she wanted to make them all her pets and bring them inside, but we convinced her they would be happier if we transplanted them into the garden box.
We celebrated my birthday by going to the zoo. Fun times seeing the animals together. Even though Haley was not happy until she got her carousel ride, Caleb wanted to be somewhere completely different than Peter and Peter just wanted to chill at one or two spots and observe, just chill and relax, he was bothered to have to try and keep up with Caleb. So, we split up. Rob hung out with Peter and Haley and I ran after Caleb and William.
On our way to make Haley happy at the carousel.
Crazy photo-bomber Peter.
We celebrated Rob's birthday with a traditional Gray Birthday Breakfast. CANDY!
Then we headed to Jon and Heidi's new cabin for some fun. SNOW!!! Real snow to play in and eat and throw at innocent people. Plus a zip-line, wild turkeys, deer and fun cousin time. It was great.
Even Haley got in on the zip-lining.
We also went up on Sunday evening to say goodbye to the North Dakota Grays and have some more winter fun. The boys enjoyed more zip-lining. Then when it got dark and cold the snow began to fall. Visual memories I do not want to forget: Haley and Henry playing kitchen with Emmy Kate's new toys. William and Caleb zip-lining in the snow (Caleb said it was awesome to go through the falling snow in the dark), Haley eating cup after cup of snow, Caleb and William converting pieces of cardboard into sleds to go sledding - in the dark - down the hills before we headed home. Ahhh, love those carefree, fun family times!!! On to December!
So, story of the day. Caleb gets hit by a van while riding his bike to school this morning. Thumbs down.
The rest of the story. He rides his bike to school each morning. He leaves about 7:30am, I watch him ride down the road until he turns the corner and then I take the other boys to school. After school today I went to his locker to help him clean it out a little (he had asked me to). When I saw him he said, "Mom, I have some bad news." He proceeded to tell me that as he was riding to school this morning and he came to a road that a van was stopped at. The van was waiting to pull out onto Redwood. The van was stopped and Caleb wondered if he should cross or wait for the van to go. The van's driver saw Caleb and did not go. So, Caleb took that as cross. Unfortunately, the van's driver turned onto Redwood before Caleb's bike had cleared. He did not even wait for Caleb to be on the sidewalk. The van hit Caleb's rear bike tire, thus pushing Caleb over and his knee took a mighty crunch. Caleb got his bike out from under the van and got to the sidewalk. The driver turned around to see if Caleb was okay. Caleb was shaken up and hurt but he wanted to get to school and not be late. So, he told the people he was okay and they made sure he could still ride his bike. He went all day at school, up stairs and in class. His ankle did get cut when he fell on the bike so he got a bandage from Señor Dickison. But that was it. I did not find out about it until after school. Goodness.
We iced it upon coming home and he was given leave of doing his soccer exercises for the day. We also took a trip to the doctor's office. The X-ray place was closed but the doctor says he thinks it is just bruised and we have to wait and watch to see if it gets better or if the bone got chipped. UGH! That is the bruise you see in the photo and the doctor's bandage job of the ankle. Caleb can walk pretty well, put weight on the knee. It just hurts when he does fast movements, jumps or runs fast. You know, all those moves that a keeper needs to be good at.
I am just thankful that the Lord watched over him. It could have been so much worse. Caleb was a safe bike rider, tried to make sure he was crossing wisely and such. All we can hope is that the knee heals well and thank Heavenly Father for taking care of him how He did.
Earlier this week Haley decided we should put on our own Scarecrow/Fall festival for our family. She came up with invitations and we decided on some activities together. Being as our week was busy, Sunday (today) was the first chance we got to do it. Turned out a great Sunday activity.
We decorated cookies. Kept some for ourselves and delivered some to friends.
The finished product. We also did a craft and played bingo. Bingo was a big hit because they all got double bubble when they got a bingo. Finally, we stuck with tradition and made our pinecone turkeys. I believe this was our most unique year yet.
Peter being crazy as usual with his simple turkey.
Haley getting crazy with her tiger turkey, Peter still in on the action.
Caleb was extremely proud of himself when "inspiration" struck and he created his "King Turkey." Complete with staff, crown and flowing royal cape with jewels in the back.
Our turkey family for 2015. Super fun time together. Happy November!
Ok, so no photos again. Sorry. Soccer days do that to you. However, today was pretty much successful. Why? Well, lets get the "mostly" part out of the way. Caleb got most of his homework done for the weekend, and it only took many grumpy faces from him and a few raised voices by parents to do it. That could have been handled a little better.
The rest of the day was great! Caleb went to the BYU pow wow and earned himself 3 merit badges! But the real success came when Rob was able to get Jon and Caleb to leave the pow wow early enough to make it to Caleb's 1:10pm game and he played very well. They won! Success! Score ended 8-5; with 23 shots on Caleb, 16 saves and 5 misses. And those misses were on account of crazy penalty calls, wacky PKs (seriously one penalty happened in the other goal box but the ref carried the ball down to Caleb's box and the PK happened there. hello????). We were all scratching our heads. But it's a win and he did good.
Then tonight both Peter and Caleb went to some soccer training from Coever and Utah Glory and they both did great! Ahhh, the weekend. Life is full and we will focus on the positive.
Oh man, this weekend. There was a lot going on, but we survived.
Friday started with us getting the house ready for our pie party on Saturday
Saturday, we woke up and started making pies
Haley helped me do cherry
William helped me do banana cream
Rob was outside blowing leaves into a gigantic pile
Rob took William and Haley to one of William's friend's baptisms
While they were there Caleb stayed home and worked on some homework, oh, weekend homework - yuck
Peter was happily content for most of the day to play and read, such a great kid
Caleb also helped me make a pumpkin pie
Peter helped make the root beer float pie
At 2:20 we headed to Caleb's first indoor soccer game for the winter, that was a doozy! The games have 22 minute halves with a minute in between. The final score was a loss for us, 11-2. But the stats, oh the stats say it all. Our team took 16 shots on goal. The other team took 49 shots on Caleb. 49 shots!!!!! In 44 minutes they took 49 at Caleb. Whoa. At the end of the game Caleb came up to me and said he was sorry for letting me down. I just had to say, "Caleb, you took 49 shots that game, you did not let me down." It was crazy
After the game we had just enough time to whip up the whip cream and people started showing up for the party
There were a lot of people at the party with lots of yummy pies
At 5:30 Caleb got ready, left the party and went to the Salt Lake Temple with the youth from our ward
Everyone left a while later and the cleanup crew of Rob and Diedre started their jobs
Moving on to Sunday, and kitchen cleanup was finished and the house looked like there had never been a party.
Everyone got up and without complaint got ready for church. That is saying a lot.
Come home from church and the kids proceeded to make the house looked "lived-in" again and Caleb started the torture of finishing up his homework
Play on the sly
FINALLY, finally the homework got finished and we all climbed into bed
We survived another weekend.....bring on the new week.
The months that lead up to the end of the year are a lot of work! Halloween this year was kind of at the bottom of the priority list. What with soccer and lots of school work, our Halloween costumes did not get completed until the week of. But we still made time for some fun.
Our costumes this year, a wizard and two dragons. They turned out pretty cool. Not pictured here is a little girl who wanted to be Hermoine in her pink dress at the Yule Ball.
Our masterwork at carving pumpkins. William is at bat (top pumpkin), Peter did the X eyes, Caleb had the green one and Haley's is the bottom pumpkin which after the picture got turned into a princess pumpkin.
All of them together.
Some of the fun we had....Haley got crafty and made little witch hats for her and some stuffed animals.
Haley helped me make lunch bags for the boys at school. Complete with mummy bananas.
Haley participates in a little mommy and me preschool at Heartland and this is a photo of all the cute kids for Halloween. Robin is one of Haley's good friends.
The one and only good picture I got from the Halloween parade, this is William.
The kids had fun trick or treating. They got tons of good stuff and the most interesting of which was Cup of Noodles. Good times.
Other noteworthy news, we are still crazy busy with soccer and school. Life will never be low-key again. Caleb finished off the fall-outdoor season with an amazing and very wet game. I cannot say enough good for these boys. They tore it up out on that slippery field. It seriously rained the whole game, got windy in the second half, and then as soon as the final whistle blew, the storm stopped. Mid way through first half Peter, Haley and William headed to the truck so they would not be so wet. We brought hot chocolate for the parents and team and that was a great idea on our part. The score ended at 5-2 and we did amazing! Our boys never gave up and Caleb did a terrific job! It was hilarious trying to keep stats of the game. My paper was drenched by the end of the first half. Then when I switched to another paper at second, the marker would not write on the wet paper and I had to dry out the papers before turning in the stats for the game. But they did amazing and we were all so proud.
Now on to indoor. Peter starts in two weeks. And Caleb gets zero break, indoor practice starts this Wednesday and games start Saturday. Always on the go. But we will make it and have some fun along the way. Happy November!
We have moved into fall. Passing pumpkin patches, getting dark earlier, raking and jumping into leaf piles. But life has not slowed down for any of us. Staying busy can be fun and crazy too.
Caleb is still very busy with soccer. And he is doing so good! We have had the hard games but we have had the great saves and wins. It is so great to see him succeed with his team and then feel the accomplishment when he is named one of the top keepers in the league! Good job, Caleb.
All that success does not leave him much time for play though. Peter put it well a year ago, "Soccer is fun work." And because of all that "fun work" Caleb has to spend a lot of time doing homework when he can and getting caught up. But, as I have told him lately, he as a winners heart and he can do the hard things, even when he does not want to.
Haley has celebrated some fun things lately. Heartland Elementary started a "mommy and me preschool" in October and we signed Haley up. Twice a week she and I go to the school and spend time with 5 others kids her age. They learn letters, center time, story time and snack time. She is the oldest and most advanced, but it will teach her what school is like, and how to get along with those around her.
She also celebrated a birthday and is now 5!!!! She was so excited for the big day. Rob took the day off and we went to Gardner Village.
Fed the ducks and enjoyed the sunshine.
She requested salad and corn for dinner. And she and William love to shuck the corn for me.
Her birthday flowers. Nothing but beautiful for the sweet girl.
Caleb had keeper training that night so we picked up two of Haley's friends and the three cute girls played at the park while Caleb practiced. They had so much fun together.
Haley and I had made cupcakes to take to her mini-party. I frosted them to say her name, 5 and flowers. It was cute and pretty and fun. And when we got to the park, someone's foot forgot about the birthday cupcakes......and we ended up with "smash cake" instead. Hilarious.
UEA weekend gave Caleb the opportunity to go to the temple early in the morning. This photo documents the fastest temple trip to date. I dropped him off at 8, came home, he called me at 8:15 telling me he was the only kid there and he was done. Wow, I guess no one else wanted to rise early on a vacation day. He is a great kid and loves the temple and it's spirit. Good place to be.
One last trip to the cabin to close it up and see some pretty colors along the way.
We were privileged to see a bald eagle on the beach. The boys were able to watch if for several minutes before some grown up thought they could get too close and it flew away. No, I was not the grown up that got too close. I was the one telling the kids to get low and stay back so the eagle would remain longer. Such a fun surprise to see at the lake!