Saturday, February 17, 2018

Eight is Great

Brenna Boo turned EIGHT!!!

This girl loves Shopkins, so she had a Shopkins cake, and nearly all her gifts had something to do with Shopkins. She was a happy camper!

Two days after her birthday Grandma and Grandpa came to town, and that night she was baptized by Russ. The evening was lovely (minus the COLD water she had to be immersed in for the actual baptism), and she was really happy when two friends she had invited from school came to the service. 

We love this creative, intelligent, affectionate kiddo!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Christmas 2017

We enjoyed a lovely Christmas celebration at home here in Texas this year. 

On Christmas Eve the girls usually only get to open one present (their Christmas pajamas), but since it was on Sunday this year, I decided to let them open their new Christmas dresses before church.

We decorated sugar cookies together in the afternoon. Can you tell whose is whose?

We feasted on our traditional (for us, at least) Christmas Eve dinner of cold cereal. The favorite this year (meaning the one that got eaten up the quickest) was Brenna's Tootie Frooties, followed closely by McKell's Marshmallow Mateys. I just barely finished off the last of Ashlyn's Golden Puffs today!

The story of the Nativity was re-enacted. Russ played his usual double role of Joseph/donkey.

Here are the lovely ladies modeling their new PJs. I learned my lesson a few years ago when I bought the four of them identical jammies, and Kaylee just about died. I think I was successful this year with finding individual ones they were each excited about (Kaylee - Harry Potter, Ashlyn - Descendants, Brenna - Shopkins, McKell - Frozen)

I didn't take very many pictures of the actual Christmas Day this year, but everyone was happy and content and enjoying their gifts. (And Russ made me promise not to make anyone clean anything up all day - that was hard!)

McKell's gift from Santa was a Barbie house (or mansion, as she calls it). It's taller than her, and may have taken Santa's elves some extra hours of work to get it all together. Brenna and Ashlyn both got bikes. 

And Kaylee got a new piano. We bought a smaller digital piano 5 years ago when she first started taking lessons, but she's progressed enough now that she was ready for something nicer (and something with all the keys in working order - there was one key on the other piano that brought nothing but silence when it was pressed). She has been playing piano WAY more since Christmas. :)

Ashlyn and Brenna both opted to give me some homemade gifts this year. They were up late Christmas Even finalizing their preparations.

Brenna put together some little sock puppets and put on a puppet show for me.

And Ashlyn's gift may be one of the most memorable gifts I've ever received. I'm qutie sure NO ONE else could have come up with this idea. She wheeled out a cardboard box, with a cardboard cutout of a snowman, and a toy shopping cart filled up with wadded up paper balls. What?

The snowman's word bubble says: Anne! It's your turn. Throw as many paper snowballs at Ashlyn as you want. Then let your family use the rest if there's extra!

Apparently she felt that on the night we all played out in the snow a few weeks prior she had hit me with snowballs an unfair number of times. She thought I might be interested in a little revenge. But since we don't normally have snow for making snowballs, she improvised.

 I couldn't stop laughing as I pelted her with dozens of her homemade snowballs.

 And she . . . couldn't stop gagging while she went through her BeanBoozled jelly beans. :)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fun Stuff in December

Here's a recap of some December happenings:

Brenna was a really adorable shepherd for the primary's re-enactment of the Nativity story.

Ashlyn participated in a Belt Ceremony for her Kickstart class (martial arts class offered at school as an alternative to traditional PE).

I made three batches of cupcakes for Russ's co-workers. Russ works at BR&E, so I thought my GingerBR&Ead cookies were so clever. Apparently engineers aren't too observant though, because most of them (ahem, all the males, ahem) had to be told why the little signs were significant. Boo. Next year I'm not going to try so hard. I'll just buy them some nasty store cupcakes.

Since Kaylee has graduated from primary this year she got to be Santa's helper at our Ward Christmas Party, rather than one of the many children waiting in line to visit him. She makes a pretty cute elf!

Russ likes people. And he likes parties. I get stressed out about having people at our house for parties. But Russ convinced me we should host a holiday party to celebrate the beginning of Christmas break for the kids. We sort of threw it together in a couple of days, but ended up having about 30 people over for games, snacks, and hot chocolate. I think everyone had a good time. And if Russ has anything to say about it, this could become a new family tradition.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Snow inTexas?!

On Thursday, December 7th Russ came home from work and told the girls he thought it was snowing a little bit. Nothing was sticking, but the drops coming down were more fluffy than wet. The girls looked outside for a minute, then came back in and we went on with our night. A few hours later, when we were just starting to get kids in the shower and ready for bed, there was a knock on our door. It was the two girls who live next door. They excitedly said, "We just thought you'd like to know it's snowing right now!" 

This announcement was followed by much happy squealing. This snow was for real, and was sticking to the ground. The girls hurried to get on whatever coats and boots they could find and ran outside. Some of them (ahem, McKell, ahem) came back in soon thereafter to find things like pants, and gloves. Snow is COLD!

When Russ could see that the girls were having a blast and the snow was perfect for packing, he quickly joined them outside, and encouraged me to come out as well. Yeah right. Just kidding, I decided to go against my natural dislike for all things cold and wet and I went outside, too.

I'm so glad that I did! We've been in Texas for six winters now and have never seen a snowfall to compare with this one. EVERYONE was so excited to throw snowballs, make snow angels, and build snowmen. Everyone on our cul-de-sac came outside to join in the neighborhood fun. 

This picture didn't turn out well, but you can see the snowman was literally as tall as Kaylee!
There was still some snow when we woke up the next morning, but it was warm enough and dry enough that everyone had to head off to work and school. But it was fun to drive around the neighborhoods and see snowman remnants in nearly every yard.

The sun came out and the snow was all but gone by the time the day was done, but we had one perfect evening of winter magic. 

Friday, January 12, 2018


The first Thanksgiving we spent in Texas we were invited to eat with some church friends, every year since then we've either travelled or had visitors here. This was our first year ever to spend the holiday with just the 6 of us. 

One thing that didn't change about our celebration was the making of our traditional spice drop turkeys.

I wasn't interested in doing ALL that cooking by myself, so we divied up with dishes and everyone helped out. We had troubles with getting everything done at the same time (that darn turkey cooked WAY faster than it was supposed to, and those sweet potatoes were a trial), and even more troubles eating all the leftovers! It was good though, and we treasured the time together.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

November Happenings

Brenna's artwork from school was chosen for display at the district offices (rainbow cowboy boots).

We visited the stunning San Antonio temple. I am sort of glad our temple in Houston is closed, otherwise who knows if we would have taken the time to visit this beautiful place.

 The girls climbed on some rocks while Russ was taking his turn inside the temple.

We have contemplated taking the girls camping some time, but thought we'd start out small with a little nature walk. If their reaction to the experience is an indicator, we won't be camping any time soon. :)

But I had a good time. And these purple berries that we saw all along the trail were so lovely.

Mischievous McKell stole Brenna's glasses and tried them on. (She's really cute.)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


I was thinking I had posted about happenings up through Thanksgiving . . . but apparently I haven't even covered Halloween yet (sorry, Aunt Janet!)

So, here's what went down at our house for Halloween in 2017:

We visited our tiny local pumpkin patch. (And my girls are getting REALLY tall!)

We attended our annual church Halloween party and trunk-or-treat. 
Kaylee dressed as "USA", a character featured in a Studio C comedy sketch.
Ashlyn went as "Evie" from the Disney movie "Descendants". 
Brenna was the Shopkin "Apple Blossom".
And McKell chose to be a Rock Star (which is the same costume Kaylee chose 7 years ago when she was 5).

We carved our family pumpkin. We chose to make it into a witch this year.

And on Halloween night the girls did about 20 minutes of trick-or-treating before they got drenched by the rain. :( Better luck next year, I guess!