Monday, December 22, 2014

December Hustle

Dear ones,

Oh, my-- what a busy week! I'm sure you all feel the same.

The first part of the week was pretty normal, but things sped up from there. TJLA classes ended last Friday, so we didn't have any classes this past week. Bonny and Gavin's seminary class ended for the semester, as did Bonny's dance classes at school. Lliam worked, and the kids made lots of messes. In other words, completely NORMAL!

Homeschool is now officially on break, though December is always slow in the academics department. What else is new?

We have been blessed to be the recipient of the 12 Days of Christmas this year, and we all work hard to NOT catch whoever our kind friends are. We've received treats, toys, yummy homemade bread, lovely decorations, and fun things like playdough for the kids. It is so sweet and makes the holiday even more fun than usual.

Bonny and some Dance class friends

Thursday evening, we ALL traipsed over to Bonny's dance recital-- the first one our WHOLE family has been able to attend, since the other ones from years past always charged mega-bucks for just Daddy and I to attend. It was awesome! Bonny did a really great job-- ballet truly IS her genius! The teacher placed her front and center on the ballet number, and it was GORGEOUS. She is such a lovely dancer!

She has made some good friends in her classes, even though she is one of the oldest students there. It's nice that the school is so small, but the majority of students there are junior high age. I'm going to look into the possibility of some science classes there for her next year. We'll see what she wants to do, and if that's even possible.

Lliam has been working hard in all the holiday rush at a cash register, and does a good job. Unfortunately he got sick, and has not been able to work as much as he would like.

Lliam, Bonny, Dierdre, Dad, and now Ronan all have killer colds, complete with sore throats and lots of coughing. Bonny completely lost her voice, and was not even able to go to church yesterday. The rest of us are taking lots of vitamin C, we all went to bed early last night, and several kids slept all afternoon after church. The house reeks of essential oils, humidifiers are humming, and herbal tea is being consumed at an alarming rate.

Almost all of Friday, I went out shopping, shopping, SHOPPING. It took a lot of time, but we FINALLY got Brennan's missionary package finished and SENT! (Whew!)

Then, that night, Bonny and I went with some homeschooling friends to see "A Christmas Carol" at the Hale Center theatre. (We've been part of a group called "The Statesmanship Club" that Sister W-- has created.) It was really good, and we all agreed that I should direct it in the next few years. We've already practically got it cast! ;-)

After the play, we took the youth to the G--'s for the Ensign Educator's yearly homeschool Christmas party. Bonny came home with me, since she was feeling pretty sickly by then. But Gavin and Didi had a good time. They had a hayride and went caroling.

McKenna and her fellow ballerinas

Saturday morning, Bonny had her recital for all her ballet students. It was cute, and they all did a good job. I think the parents were glad it was short and sweet, and so were we! The girls had a great time, and that's what's most important.

Dierdre and A-- before their dance number

Saturday afternoon, Dad and I braved the crowds and went out shopping until late at night. We are mostly done with everything for Christmas! YAY!!!

Yesterday's Christmas sacrament meeting program went really well, I think. I had more people sing with our choir than have ever sung with the choir in this ward. (So Brother H-- told me.) We sang three songs, with two speakers in between our numbers, and the songs and talks went together perfectly. Heavenly Father is so wonderful, isn't He? Everything in the program was so inspired, and I am constantly amazed at how much the Lord loves us all.

Sadly, Lliam and Bonny were sick, so I left Fiona home with Bonny. Daddy even went home after sacrament meeting, since he was beginning to come down with the ick.

In Relief Society, I sang with some ladies for a special musical number. Sister W--, Sister H--, and Sister W-- (You'll love her when you meet her!) joined me in singing "Candlelight Carol"-- one of my FAVORITES! I think it went well, but most importantly, it brought the Spirit.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I am so excited to have my Morgie home with us-- I can't believe her mission is over and she is coming home!!!! And I'm ecstatic to talk to my Elder Brennan on Christmas Day. WAHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do we need more exclamation marks? Oh, yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


We love you all and wish we could have each of you with us, but we are also grateful for the promise of eternal families that we have because of our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ! My heart is full of joy and hope all because of the sacrifice of our our elder brother.

More than anything else, this Christmas I want to give my family my sure witness and testimony that Jesus Christ is REAL! That He loves us, and that He did all that He did for US. HOSANNAH!!! And Merry Christmas to you all!!!

Love, love, love,
Mama Rachel

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Now We Are Six!

"When I was one, I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more. 
When I was five, I was just alive.
But, now I am six. I'm as clever as clever. I think I'll be six now, forever and ever."
~A.A. Milne

Dear ones,

Avalon turned SIX YEARS OLD last Thursday, and had a good birthday celebration, I think. She got a Tinkerbell barbie, new shoes, birthday money from Grandma, an adorable Cinderella apron from Granna, and lots of fun, little things that little girls like-- especially when it's from the movie "Frozen."

Avalon-- I mean, Cinderella

Avalon danced, and giggled, and sang all day long. Oh the joy of being SIX! She told me that she was just like Eloise-- except not naughty. Hee!

I was good and did not comment...

Bonny made her a beautiful snowflake cake ala "Elsa", and we had a nice time together as a family.

We finished reading "A Wrinkle in Time" out loud as a family. And Mom cried, of course. We just started "Howl's Moving Castle" and are reading our Christmas stories aloud every night. Daddy is looking forward to reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" aloud, though I am pulling for "A Christmas Carol," since we never got to that one last year.

This week will be hectic, with Christmas parties, a house inspection, Dad's birthday, and comings and goings of all kinds.

Big brothers make great airplanes.

Lliam's new job at --- is working well, and he enjoys it. It's been very busy there, because of all the Christmas shoppers. Lliam works the register and also helps unload the truck when it comes in. 

Bonny got a new REGULAR job last week! YAY! She has started working as a "mother's helper" for a lady in our ward that lives down the street. She does a bit of everything; babysitting, laundry, cleaning, helping where she's needed. She works there for 3 hours each on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. She still teaches ballet on Tuesdays, and attends dance and ballroom dance classes at --- on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. (There's a new building over by us, now. It's nice!) And she studies and does all her school work beautifully!

She is a responsible, organized girl, or she never could manage everything on her plate. She has big plans for attending BYU, and she is working hard to get there. I'm starting to miss her already!

Dierdre is on fire with family history work, and does some indexing every day. And she loves Pinterest, too. ;-) She is working hard in her Key of Liberty class, and is also doing well in my English Literature class. She has some adorable little friends in Beehives with her, and is really coming into her own. She and Bonny are best buddies, and talk and giggle for hours.

Gavin is going crazy with programming-- he LOVES it! And he is catching the indexing bug, too. He is our resident math guru, and loves taking his turn on the computer so he can do math and programming. And he's GOOD. Dad is taking him under his wing, and helping him understand anything he doesn't pick up on. He is moving at a tremendous pace, and I think Daddy is glad to have another programmer in the house. :-D

Ronan is busy taking everything apart that he can get his hands on. Unfortunately, he can't always put it back together! Last night, he figured out how to make a homemade machine work with wires and batteries. But then he got shocked a bit. Luckily, Dad stopped him before he tried to open up an old computer monitor. Those are dangerous; even Dad doesn't mess with them. He is also still Lego crazy, and designs and builds new things all the time.

Sleeping Beauties

MacKenna is reading so beautifully. She reads aloud to me from the Book of Mormon every night, and I can see her improvement every day.

Grayse is becoming quite the artist. She's really good! And she LOVES baby Fiona, and carries her all around the house.

Eryn is growing up so fast. She is doing better about sucking her fingers, but when she gets sleepy, she still can't seem to help it. It's so cute; when Fiona cries, Eryn will come running with her blanket to try to soothe her. LOL!

Davy boy is so excited about EVERYTHING, especially about getting into mischief. He adores Fiona, but sometimes loves on her a bit too much-- which she does not appreciate.

He talks up a storm, and has the clearest little voice. Now, if we could get him to stop screaming: in happiness, enthusiasm, frustration, for anything! It's cute, but only for so long. And he inherited that piercing, ear-splitting scream that Gavin used to have and the little girls all have.

"Oh, the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!" ;-)

Big sisters like to dress up babies

Fiona is now CRAWLING. She is also an expert in her baby walker, and loves to talk, sing, and bang on everything. She is constantly making sounds to match the kids. She will try whatever sounds those around her are making. She will be an early talker, for sure.

We love you all!!! We wish you the peace, love and joy of the Savior, Jesus Christ. We are so grateful for Him and his beautiful example, teachings, and sacrifice.

We have so many reasons to rejoice!!! We hope you are all having a lovely Christmas season, and that you feel the Savior's love every day.

Love, Mama Rachel

Monday, December 01, 2014

December Cometh!

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Dear ones,

We had a great week, and a blessed Thanksgiving. We hope you all had the same!

The week started out slow, but then picked up steam as it went on.

Early in the week, I found out that I got a part in the Stake Relief Society musical! Wahoo! I will be playing the part of the Narrator (two solos! O.o) in a musical about the parable of the Ten Virgins. The music is beautiful, and I'm excited to get started! We perform it in February at a stake Relief Society activity.

I'm thrilled for the chance to play the Narrator!

On Wednesday, Bonny and Dierdre went to the temple with some friends that just moved from our ward. I watched the family's younger kids while they went. The girls had a great time! 

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Bonny and friend

Thursday was Thanksgiving, of course, and Daddy, Lliam, Bonny, Dierdre, and I had a good time cooking, baking, and getting ready. Dad tried a new way to cook the turkey, but we cooked another 20+ pounder, so it took longer than we had hoped. (Typical, right? LOL!)

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Thanksgiving action shot!

Bonny and Dierdre did all the pies, Lliam did the potatoes, and Dad and I did the rest. It was yummy! We hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration, too. :-)

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Happy Birthday to our Didi!

Friday was our Dierdre's birthday! Can you believe she's 13?! She and Bonny spent a good part of the morning setting up Pinterest and Gmail accounts for her. (She's decided she doesn't want a Facebook account. Which works because we're on a FB fast, anyway.)

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13 Candles
We also spent Friday putting up all the Christmas decorations. YAY!!! In fact, Daddy and I actually got a NEW TREE! I know, I know. It's a miracle! It's a 7 foot tall wonder that looks the closest to real we've ever had. (Daddy and I ventured out on Black Friday to get it half off.)

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A new tree!

Saturday was full of service for the youth, first cleaning the church, and then helping the C--- family move. Lliam also had his trek reunion on Saturday night, so he actually got to spend some time with Mark!

Mark looks great. He is so excited to leave for the MTC in the middle of this month. Hong Kong won't know what hit it! ;-) I know he's going to be a great missionary! He even took this semester off from college! I wish he and Lliam could get together more.

Sunday was lovely. Lliam had a meeting for his new job early on Sunday morning before church. He starts work at The Dollar Tree TODAY! He is excited to have a regular, non-temporary job. He was given a new bike by Brother C--- when he helped them move this weekend, so between the bike and his longboard, he's all set!

The kids and I are in full Christmas-happy-mode, listening to lots of Christmas music. (Look for something special in the mail this week, Elder Keppner!!!) They're all begging to go Christmas shopping, and some even have their shopping for siblings all done. Christmas will be here before we know it! (Yikes-- I need to get busy!)

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Happy baby!

We look forward to having Morgie home for Christmas. Her ticket is bought, and we're trying to figure out how to rearrange rooms. We're also excited to be able to Skype with our Elder on Christmas day!!!

HALLELUJAH!!!! And Happy December, y'all! We love you!!!

Mama Rachel