Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Explanation of Morgan's video

Morgan loves to sing this song and always sings it when we are driving around in the car. I decided I needed to record it so I could remember how cute she looks singing it. She wasn't too sure about doing it with the video camera on her. She even decided she was "all done" until I turned the screen around so she could watch herself--then she decided to become a total ham.

Did Santa come yet?

That is the question Jack and Ryan both asked as they came into our room on Christmas morning. Is it wrong that I make them wait until 8 am to open presents? I just hate to wake up Morgan and Griffin any earlier and deal with tired kids all day (it's bad enough that the family has to deal with a tired and cranky mom all day!) We went downstairs and everyone seemed very excited with the gifts Santa had left for them! Jack and Ryan got the nintendo wii game system and games they were so desperately hoping for; Hadley got her first American Girl doll (Julie) with a doll horse and salon chair; Morgan got a Baby Alive doll and LOTS of Barney videos!; Griffin was happy with the wrapping paper and some new toys; I got a beach cruiser bike--that I am so excited to ride when my tummy isn't quite as big and there isn't so much snow outside; and Gavin got clothes, a scrapbook from our vacations last year, and sunglasses.

Hadley is showing off my new beach cruiser!

We then went to my parents for a Christmas brunch and more gift exchanging.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve

This Christmas season, and the traditions that go along with it, have been a little different this year with the tragic death of Jason. We didn't know for sure if we wanted to still do the gift exchange with all the Seal cousins this year, but decided it would be nice to all get together on Christmas Eve for a more spiritual gift exchange. We went to Trevor (Gavin's brother) and Annie's house for a nice dinner, cousin gift exchange and then Aunt Rae read a story to all the kids about the Three Wise men and we gave our kids a 'red gift' which represented something spiritual or sentimental (Hadley opened a CTR necklace, Jack & Ryan opened scripture stickers and marking pencils, Morgan opened a book I am a Child of God). Then we gave them a 'green gift' which represented something of necessity (they all got their Christmas pajamas for this one). Then as the story went on they were given their 'gold gift' which represented something fun and worldly (my kids all got a DVD). The story continued with the fourth wise man that wasn't able to give Jesus a gift but learned he could give by serving and loving others. It was a nice evening with family and the spirit of Christmas. Then it was time to try to get my overly-excited children to bed before Santa came to our home.

Aunt Rae reading the Three Wiseman book

Morgan and Hadley with a few of their cousins

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On a lighter note . . .

Jack had an oral book report in school today that he did on the book Captain Hook. It was a book I bought in the children's section at Deseret Book (should be safe, right?). I asked him how his report went and he commented, "Good. But mom did you know that 'b-a-s-t-a-r-d' is a swear word?" My response, "Um...yes, I knew that." "Well I didn't and I kept saying it in my book report because they used that word all through the book!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The loss of our brother-in-law

PARK CITY, Utah -- A 36-year-old Summit County man died Monday after running into a tree at The Canyons Resort in Park City. The skier was found Monday afternoon after a two-hour search. His name was not released. FOX 13's John Klemack reports.

This is a nice newspaper article on Jason from the Salt Lake Tribune

and here is an article from Park City

How ironic that a few posts back I said I hoped that Ryan's pneumonia would be the last of our surprises before Christmas. Last night as I was getting ready to have the Seal Family Christmas party at my home, Gavin called with devastating news. My brother-in-law Jason had been up skiing and apparently had a collision with a tree and died. Jason and Gavin's sister, Laurie, had been married for two years and have a two month old beautiful little girl. There are not any words that I can think of to express how sad we are for Laurie and what she is going through! She was so happy with Jason and to have him taken from her so soon seems so unfair. I wish there was something we could do to help her through this trying time. All the married couples went up last night to show her our support and love but I think she just wanted to be alone in her room with her baby girl. There are some positives about the timing not being any earlier... he was able to be with his mom after Lily's birth; his dad was in town for Thanksgiving; we all got together last week for Lily's blessing; he was able to see the birth of his daughter and be there for Laurie; he gave Lily the most beautiful baby blessing last week. And although those are some's not fair that he was taken so suddenly and at such a young age. I pray that Laurie will get the peace and comfort from the Spirit that she deserves. I am so glad that she has little Lily to help her get through this and to have a legacy of Jason left behind.

His friends have also set up a blog for people to post their memories of Jason.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Glee Club

Jack's Christmas performance
Advent Calendar Day 13

Jack has been waking up early on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays since mid October to be a part of the 5th and 6th grade school choir--The Glee Club. It has not been an easy task to wake up early and get to practice on time, but somehow he did it and now we are all glad that he will be back to a normal schedule. He was able to perform Christmas songs all week with the glee club on field trips to church Christmas dinners, nursing homes, UDOT, other elementary schools and his own school. We all went last night (except Ryan who is still recuperating) to watch him perform. It was so fun to see all of these kids singing...but not only singing...but doing it happily and loudly (now if I could only get them to sing like this in Primary =) ). I even got a little teary-eyed watching him perform. He just looked so cute up there singing and dancing to the songs. (Just a side note...the boy right in front of Jack has Down syndrome and also participated in the choir and did such a good job. That also made me a little teary-eyed.) I am not sure if all the emotions are related to Christmas (my sweet grandma Norma wasn't ever able to hear Christmas songs without crying) or maybe it has something to do with all those pregnancy hormones or maybe it just goes along with being a proud mom! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Home from the hospital!!

Bring Ryan home!
Advent Calendar Day 12
Okay so maybe that wasn't really the event planned in the advent calendar but we (especially Ryan) are very happy to announce that he got to come home tonight! They made us wait all day for the results of a viral panel done to rule out viral pneumonia but that all came back negative. So it looks like he does have bacterial pneumonia and was safe to come home on antibiotics. Hopefully this is the last of our surprises before Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santa and Pneumonia

Go to the mall to see Santa
Advent Calendar Day 10

We went with all the Stewart cousins to the mall for a yummy dinner at the courtyard (my kids love this because they get to choose whichever restaurant sounds good to them) and then to see Santa. Well this was at South Town mall where they have the real Santa so it had quite a line up to sit on Santa's lap. Griffin didn't want to have anything to do with him and Morgan didn't want to leave him alone. She kept rubbing his arm and hugging him. Santa really is her absolute all-time favorite! I just hope that since this was the real Santa that he understood how much it meant to her to sit on his lap and give him a big hug.

After we got home from the mall, Ryan was complaining about his cough. And that he just wished there was some medicine to make it go away. (I blogged about him being sick on Friday and missing school). I gave him some Benadryl to help him sleep and decided to check his oxygen levels (a benefit of being a home health nurse with a bag full of healthcare goodies) and found out he was very low--84% (He should be above 90%). I took him to the pediatric instacare at 9 pm and they immediately put him on oxygen, gave him three albuterol treatments and took some x-rays. When he didn't do any better after all of that they sent him up to the Children's Hospital by ambulance. They refused to let me drive him since he needed to be on the oxygen during transport. We got to the ER around midnight and they did some more albuterol treatments and oxygen and then we waited...and waited...and waited... Finally after 6 hours of sitting in the ER room by ourselves and talking to the doctor for maybe 2 minutes, they admitted him to the hospital and we were able to sleep and sleep and sleep. He is doing well but still needs the oxygen. We are hoping that he will be able to come home in the morning once the antibiotics have kicked in. It looks like he has Atypical Bacterial Pneumonia. He just wants to come home and get into his own bed. Gavin is spending the night up there tonight so hopefully I will be able to get a little rest. I just feel bad that I didn't check Ryan earlier. We had him play in his Basketball game on Saturday. He went to the Advent calendar activities, church on Sunday, etc. He is such a trooper and really never complained! He just wished he could make his cough go away! Here he is at the pediatric instacare getting oxygen

This picture is from this morning at the hospital. He loves the room service and desserts!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Play

Go to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at the Draper Historic Theater
Advent Calendar Day 8 (Evening Activity)
Tonight we went to a Christmas play with the Seal family cousins and the Ware's. I had my camera out on the table and everything and got there without it. How am I supposed to blog without photos? :) We all went to dinner at Citris Grill and then went to the play. The kids thought it was great and several of the dads had to play 'tough' and act like they didn't like plays complaining through the whole thing. It was in a very old fact Hadley had to move because the ceiling was leaking on her. She still had a great time and left wanting to be in a play (this play was full of little children) someday.

Uptown Downs Christmas Party

Go to Morgan's Christmas Party
Advent Calendar Day 8 (morning event)
We got to go to Morgan's Down syndrome Christmas breakfast party this morning. We all ate breakfast and watched Pals (a group of children with Ds) perform a few Christmas dances. Then Santa came and waved to all the children. There was a huge line to sit on his lap so we skipped that part, but Morgan seemed content to have seen him and said "Hi" to Santa. We will let her sit on his lap at the mall.

They had a craft room set up with different activities to do. Hadley, Ryan and Morgan decorated some sugar cookies and then we were on our way back home. Lots of snow on the roads today. It is so beautiful to have so much snow all around!

Christmas Bells + Little Children = Home

Go to Temple Square to see the lights and go to a Christmas bell concert
Advent Calendar Day 7

Well we took the whole family downtown in the rain/snowstorm to go to A Christmas Bell Fantasy at the Conference Center. As we picked up our tickets the man asked us to please sit in the back since we had little children. Following his directions, we made our way to the back of the auditorium. Several ushers told us that children under 8 years old were not supposed to be in the auditorium and that we should go to the media room. We decided to give it a try in the auditorium with the little ones and see if they would be quiet... we made it through the first song and prayer and decided to leave. :) Morgan loved the bells and just couldn't stop talking about them and if she could have a turn, too. It was all just a little too loud for the soft bell concert and all the dates around us. We then went outside and decided it was too wet with the snow to walk around temple square and that we would have to see the lights on another night. We did our best to see the lights from the car so maybe we will have to call it good for this year!

Outside the Conference Center in the snowstorm.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Watch a Christmas Video

Advent Calendar Day 6

Last night's activity wasn't too exciting since Gavin had scouts and a Roundtable meeting. We watched (well I actually mopped the floor, but the kids watched) Elf last night. Through the whole movie, Jack & Ryan kept asking if they could just go outside and play basketball. It didn't seem to matter that it was dark and raining outside. But I did anything a good, diligent mom would do...and made my kids watch tv! :) Ryan kept saying he was cold (I can never tell if it really is cold in the house since I have my only little built-in heater for a few more weeks) and put his coat on while he ate dinner. Well it looks like he has the stomach flu. He woke up sick, feverish and throwing up. It is definitely not fun to be sick!

My kids all just got elfed!! I don't know if you have seen this before but it is pretty funny! Hadley's head is a little bigger and I could only do 4 elves...sorry Griffin.

OK so I decided Griffin could get elfed with Gavin and me (and I am looking good for 8 mos. pregnant!!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Christmas Story

Read Christmas stories around the tree
Advent Calendar Day 5

Last night as we were driving to the Nativity and the kids were fighting in the car, Gavin commented that he could not and did not want to go out and do something every night of December! So, magically, this morning the Advent Calendar Fairy left a message about doing something that did not require leaving our home. Tonight we let the kids choose a Christmas story to read before going to bed. We started the activity around 9 pm and didn't have any idea it would take almost an hour to read 3 stories. We should have known by Hadley's question when they started to choose their books. She asked us which book we thought would take the longest time to read. Apparently they were very excited to drag this out as long as they could to delay bedtime. After they all had a chance to read their books, Hadley, once again trying to stay up even later, asked if we (Gavin and I) were choosing a book and reading it. "Oh, dang it!" was her response when we told her 'no'. Can't blame her for trying! :)

(Sorry there aren't any pictures of Morgan and Griffin. We started this activity way too late and they were both already asleep).

As you can tell by Ryan & Jack's Jazz jerseys. We had to wait for them and Coach Gavin to get home from Jr. Jazz practice before we could do the activity. That is why it was so late when we finally got started.

We were able to learn all about how Santa's kid saved Christmas one year from the Exmas Express by believing in something bigger than he was. We read all about Mrs. Claus and Santa in Mrs. Claus' scrapbook (full of lots of details that Jack was determined to not overlook). And then we finished the night with a cute story about the angels preparing for the big show...Jesus' birth.

The true meaning of Christmas

Go to a live Nativity
Advent Calendar Day 4
We went to a live Nativity last night with my brother's family and some friends. There was quite a long line that we had to wait in for about 45 minutes. Luckily it was around 40 degrees ... so not as cold as it could have been. They had live animals the kids could pet as we made our way through the line...such as camels (yes, real camels!), goats, sheep, and llamas. It really was such an amazing nativity! We walked inside some big structure that was made to resemble Bethlehem. There were people dressed up in costumes from that time period acting out typical activities from the time of Christ's birth, such as pottery, flat bread, fruit, egg gathering, beggars, etc. As we passed a door there was a man saying, "I am sorry but the inn is full...there is no room at the inn." I think he startled my children since they weren't looking that direction. As we turned the corner, there was Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus (they had a brand new, tiny baby for Jesus) with a light shining down on Baby Jesus and animals and chickens all around. It truly was so amazing! I am so glad we decided to wait in that long line. Christmas time is always such a busy time and it is so easy for me to get focused on the shopping, decorating, and parties and forget what it is I am celebrating. It was wonderful for my children...and for me!! I am so grateful for my Savior and His birth!! Merry Christmas!

Hadley Jack & Ryan with their cousin Madison

Hadley and Morgan petting a goat

Hadley, Jack, Addison, Ellie, Emma and Ryan

The camel

Part of the Nativity on our way into Bethlehem

My children trying to wait patiently in the long line


Our friends Adam and Cami

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A special Family Home Evening Activity

Go to the movie Enchanted and everyone gets to choose a treat.
Advent Calendar Day 3

We went to the movie, Enchanted last night with Jack, Ryan and Hadley. Gavin didn't know anything about the movie and at the beginning he looked at me and said, "this movie is awful!!" A little too sweet and fairtytale-ish for him, but it got a lot better. I think that everyone enjoyed their night out (I know I did...I can always use a night out with just the big kids and Gavin). And Gavin and I left the movie feeling so lucky that we were able to find our 'true love's kiss' 13 years ago! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

'Open a special Christmas present'
Advent Calendar Day Two

This picture was taken while Griffin was still napping so of course I had to take another one after he woke up!

The kids were really excited about this one. What could the present be? Jack and Ryan kept talking about how they hoped it was a Ninentdo Wii with Guitar Hero. I tried to remind them that it wasn't actually Christmas morning yet...but just a fun Christmas present to open. I think they were still excited to get new Christmas stockings even if it didn't compare to some great video gaming system.

Gavin has wanted Christmas stockings with all of our names on them for many years. So I finally found some that I thought were cute and decided to order them. After I got them all hung up on the fireplace mantel, I realized it is going to be quite tight next year with 8 stockings! :) It is so fun to see all those names hanging on our mantel and know that that is my big family. I love my children and husband so very much! I am so lucky!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Yummy Christmas Chocolate!!

'Get a chocolate Advent Calendar to count down the days until Christmas'
Advent Calendar Day One

Little did the 'Advent Calendar Fairy' know that the kids would also be getting an advent calendar from their Nan & Papa and another one from their friends. So each one now has 3 that they are using to count down the days. I didn't hear any complaints about getting 3 pieces of chocolate candy each day instead of just one. In fact, I think Morgan has already almost eaten all of the chocolates out of one of hers! :)

Holiday Traditions

I can't believe it is already December and that it is time to get out all the Christmas decorations!! I have had so much fun shopping for Christmas decorations and getting some fun new stuff for our house this year. Christmastime is such a fun time of year for our family. The holiday season is so full of fun traditions. I thought I would share one of my favorite traditions that we do.

It is our 'Advent Calendar Fairy'. Each morning one child gets to open up the advent calendar door for the day and hang up the item on the calendar and then read the activity for the day that the Advent Calendar Fairy left for them. Some years I am much better at keeping up at this then others, so hopefully this year will be one of the better ones. Jack was the one that got to open up the first door on Dec. 1st. He looked at the note that was written on a piece of white paper and said, "Will you let the Advent Calendar Fairy (in a very sarcastic voice) know that I liked the notes better last year when they were on red paper?"

Morgan is so excited for Christmas and loves all the decorations, music and lights....but most of all she absolutely LOVES Santa. She was mesmerized by this Santa at her grandparent's house.

Let the decorating begin!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Lion House Birthday

Ryan had his 9th Birthday party the day after Thanksgiving at The Lion House (an historic home where Brigham Young's family lived 151 years ago.) The kids learned about the pioneer history and what it was like to be a child in the 1800's. They played pioneer games, like 'hide the thimble' and 'button button, who's got the button'. They also learned how to make taffy, by pulling their taffy until it was a nice white color. I was worried with such a big group of boys how they would feel about this type of birthday party but I think everyone had a great time... especially Ryan!

Here they all are on the staircase in The Lion House.

Happy Thanksgiving

Here are all our cute kids in front of our 6' tall turkey. Sure there are some neighbors that tease us about our big turkey in the front yard, but the kids (especially Morgan and Griffin) think he is the best thing to happen to Thanksgiving!

This year we had Thanksgiving dinner with my family and then dessert with the Seal Family at our house that night. I spent most of Thanksgiving cleaning my house and getting ready for the dessert party and wasn't a very fun mom. While other families were out going to movies and having fun...I was busy giving cleaning chores to all the kids. Hopefully next year I will be more of the 'fun mom'.

Gavin was quite the hit this Thanksgiving. He made sugar cookies and had all the kids decorate them as turkeys. It made it all worth it when his niece, Avery, starting asking for Gavin and wondering where he was. He quickly escalated to the 'favorite uncle' status with her. He even made some yummy cinnamon roll bread sticks that everyone assumed I had made. Nope, I only did yams and green bean casserole this year. Sure he took some jabs from his brothers ("Gavin Martha Stewart' etc) but I love my husband and love his willingness to try new things and make the holidays memorable for his children.

At midnight I hit the big sales at Fashion Place Mall with my sis-in-law, Jill. We were very tired and could have spent so much more money if we had been more awake! :) I have spent the rest of the weekend trying to recuperate from that late night shopping spree.