Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Traditions

We've read the Christmas story, sung carols and walked around in our stockings...yeah, that's a new one. I told Laynie to get her stocking and put it somewhere Santa could find it. Duh Mom! The best place to find a stocking is on your foot!

Then we laid out some delicious treats. Left over animal crackers and carrots are a pure delight!

Because of all the snow, we've had plenty of time to play hide-and-seek. Gav realized he can fit under every bed in our house. I wonder how many times Uncle Joel and Aunt MeMe will get to play while they are here?

Laynie's already a pro at our new favorite game. Can you see the little sniper-in-training?

Looks like our snowman is finally peeking out of his cave to see if Santa will be dropping by! Unless he gets buried in the storm that is supposed to hit us late tonight.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Four Hours Later...

At 2 p.m., Jamie and I went out for our second round of shoveling. That pile behind me is the amount of snow we've moved SO FAR today.

By time we got to the bottom of the driveway another inch had covered all our hard work. Not like we won't be out there again later tonight. (Click on this picture if you want a close-up of my not-so-awesome shovel. We never thought we would need two adult-size shovels, so I'm stuck making do with the munchkin scooper).

Another shot of our mailbox.
And here's Frosty the Christmas-light snowman I mentioned earlier. As you can tell, the snow is much higher now. According to we've already received 14 to 16 inches. I believe it and so does my back!

Super White Out!

Alaska, Utah, New Hampshire?
Nope. Northern Virginia.
Laynie + Snowsuit = "I NO LIKE THIS!!"
She screamed so loud and so long, that the neighbors most certainly think we beat our children. Nope. Just don't want them to freeze to death. Once she got out into the snow she was okay.
Thanks for the mittens Grandma Edie!

Gavin + snow shovel = disaster
He happily shoveled snow ON TO the driveway. Finally he got "banished to the tree." Then he decided it would be really helpful to dig out our Christmas-light Snowman. Our little Frosty was only 18 inches tall, and is buried up to his hat.

This guy happily dumped a large pile of snow IN our driveway. Thanks!!

That's our mailbox.

I know it's hard to tell, but that's our deck. Covered in a good 10+ inches. And, this is just the BEGINNING of the snow front.

Now my kids are recovering in my bed. Shoveling snow for 2 hours is really hard work.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Fest 2009

Gavin's school hosted Winter Wonderland today! The kids sang, danced and tumbled for all the parents and grandparents who could attend.

So I obviously haven't sung Rudolph very much with Gavin...but at least he tried!

Don't laugh at my awesome videography skills. You have to remember that I have Laynie on my lap...and that it's me. So that should be enough excuse for only getting part of Gavin's performance.

Now this next video is how my kid should perform! I'm especially proud because all the other children have preschool five days each week and have had a lot more time to practice! And I know it's hard to believe because he's so tall, but he's also the second YOUNGEST kid in his class. Donnie (from an earlier post) is the only child younger than he is.

I personally love how he's wiggling his finger at me to tell me to take a picture. So totally Gavin.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow Day

Snow isn't exactly a new concept to my kids.

They've both seen it on the ground when they've visited my family in Salt Lake.  But I think this was the first time they'd ever watched it fall.  I personally had forgotten how mesmerizing a snow storm could be.  It was so placid, peaceful, gentle that I found myself standing and watching it for several minutes at a time.  I honestly got none of my "Saturday Chores" done because I was so distracted by the snow.  Not that I'm complaining!  It isn't often that I spend Saturday standing still. 

Or sitting still! I made my kids watch White Christmas while I baked a cake.

Laynie was a big helper when it came to cleaning up the dishes. 

And Gavin was an awesome shoveler.  He actually cleared a few square feet by himself.  Every few scoops he'd stop and shout, "Hey Dad!  This is harder than I thought it would be." But he stuck it out until the driveway was done.

We got a total of four inches of super wet snow. Good thing my husband is a weather man and bought shovels the day before or we wouldn't have made it to church today! 

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Here it is!  The official Sit-on-Santa picture for 2009.  Both kids were surprisingly good, albeit a little confused. Laynie could not figure out what was going on. I could see her little mind whirling, "Who is this?  Why is he holding me?  Why is that stupid lady ringing a bell in my face?"

  Gav chatted Santa up, practiced his Ho Ho Hos, and asked for a Cars Leapster Game--luckily Warden's already got that one under control. Phew!

Thanksgiving with the Wallaces

The weather on Thanksgiving was...not beautiful...but not gross. I thought it was a brilliant idea to show Warden and Rick the D.C. temple while we weren't being poured on. 

Can you find the stink bug in this picture?

She wasn't the only creepy-crawly we came across at the temple.  (Look really, really closely!

Gav was not happy to be out-and-about for the third time that week, and drug his feet (literally kicking but not screaming) across the temple grounds. 

Laynie was the perfect hostess and made sure both her grandparents felt welcomed in Virginia. 

D.C. in Review (in the Fog)

I first visited Washington D.C. on a dance tour when I was 14. It was early September, and Summer had stayed for an encore. Humidity was something you talked about in science; it wasn't something you ever experienced in Utah. It was hot, muggy, miserable. And although my second visit to our Nation's Capital occurred in late November, the miserable part was much the same. As a hostess, I prayed that the weather would be reasonable for Warden and Rick's visit. And reasonable was exactly what I got.

Even in the rain and fog, the Mall (the area where all the "monuments" are located) is something truly awe inspiring.  The National Christmas Tree might look nice in downtown Provo, but is horribly overshadowed by the sentinels of American history.
No picture of the Washington Monument does justice to its height and majesty--truly a monolith honoring the Father of our Nation.  Yet of all the monuments, it was the World War II Memorial that drew my most emotional response. 

I was amazed by the detail of the bas-relief battle scenes, the symbolisms in the fountains and sculpture.  But mostly, it was the inscriptions honoring the women who supported their families and soldiers. If you aren't familiar with the memorial, here is a brief description:

"The memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S. during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people to the common defense of the nation and to the broader causes of peace and freedom from tyranny throughout the world. It will inspire future generations of Americans, deepening their appreciation of what the World War II generation accomplished in securing freedom and democracy. Above all, the memorial stands as an important symbol of American national unity, a timeless reminder of the moral strength and awesome power that can flow when a free people are at once united and bonded together in a common and just cause." (National World War II Memorial)

Gav thought the pillars were awesome tools to help him avoid getting his picture taken.
Laynie was a champ for the whole day. She stayed in the stroller for a total of four hours!  So even though the weather was horrible, she was a ray of sunshine for the day.

And our buddy the squirrel - who had ZERO fear of humans - ate fruit snacks that I tossed about 18 inches away from my hand.  He was great entertainment. 
Gavin referred to Lincoln as "the giant man." I think that monument made him a little nervous.

It was cold, wet and miserable, but a worthwhile experience.  I'm looking forward to doing it again some time after Christmas with the Vallett Family. I'm trying to pretend the weather will be delightful. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Want to be a Missionary NOW!

Gavin was the first child in his preschool classroom this morning. I was walking out as another little boy, Donny, walked in.

Donny is the smallest kid in the class and the closest to Gavin's age. The boys have become inseparable in the two months they've been in school together. Gavin describes Donny as his "best preschool friend."

When Donny finished putting his backpack on the bottom shelf Gavin reached for his hand.

"Hi Donny," he exclaimed with four-year-old enthusiasm. "I'm going to teach about Jesus today because I love you."

Donny smiled and grasped Gavin's hand, "Okay."

And the two boys walked away.


I'm not sure what Gavin's motivation was for sharing his "testimony" today. When I tried to ask him after school, he avoided the question by saying, "I have blue marker on my shirt and it smells good."

Even without knowing his reason for picking Donny, or today, or those particular words, I'm in awe that I witnessed my child doing something that I've rarely done myself.

I wish I could be as uninhibited as my four-year-old son and walk up to someone and say, "I'm going to teach you about Jesus today because I love you." I know I've passed up the opportunity to show my love by sharing the gospel. Partially because I'm afraid of having something meaningful rejected or ignored, or causing offense.

But who would be offended if I prefaced my testimony with something like, "I want to tell you about something that's incredibly important to me, and I want you to know about it because I love you."

If only everything were as simple as preschool...

P.S. I think Donny's Jewish. LOL.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Flying High for Your Birthday!

Four-year-old boy + Birthday + National Air and Space Museum =

Happiest Little Boy in the World!

The Air and Space Museum is only about 15 minutes from our house. It's free admission, but $15 to park...and it's the best $15 you can spend in Washington D.C. We will be going again very soon.

From the upper level, you can get a great view of the entire hangar.

This is the Enola Gay...yep, that's the one. The plane that dropped the first nuclear bomb is on prominent display in the main hangar. Jamie and I both felt a little conflicted...

If you've watched the second edition of Transformers, you are familiar with the National Air and Space Museum and the SR-71 that comes to life. This was the Gavin's second favorite display...and it's not even a plane and he hasn't seen the movie.

The Air Traffic Control tower is really fun...just look at that face! You have a great view of the runway at Dulles Airport. You can watch the planes land and take off.

Here's a view from one of the giant windows. I bet it was incredible when the foliage was brightly colored.

And here is the best part of the whole museum...they let you "test fly" a Cessna. Gavin did NOT want to get out. You can turn the wheel, changes the position of the rudders, and look at all the flight gauges. He kept saying over and over, "Please, can Laynie come and sit in here with me? Can she be my co-pilot?"

Here is the mini-astronaut suit that NASA gave away as a publicity stunt. Seems like a pretty good idea to me.

The space shuttle is huge! Much larger than I ever anticipated.

Jamie and the kids went in a space shuttle one threw up.

And while they rode, I studied the trench art. These incredible pieces are made out of missile shells from World War I.

The we came home and had dinner and some DELICIOUS cake...and yes, I baked it.

Gavin still blows through his front teeth. Totally hysterical.

Here's Jr. Cake Face with NASA shuttle still clutched in her hand. She didn't put it down for two days.

Gavin got a lot of great presents! Thanks to all of you!

It was a perfect day that Gavin, and the rest of us, will never forget! He was lucky to have his Guggy and Papa Rick to share the Museum and special birthday with.

He also got a dart gun...Jamie liked it so much that he sent me to Target he next day to buy three more so that Joel, MeMe, Jamie and I can have a major war when they come to visit in December. Watch out kids! We'll get you!