Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 Geography Bee Winner

Jack competed in the National Geography Bee against 8 students (from 4th grade through 6th grade) from his school. In the end it was Jack and his best friend, Matt, as the two finalists. Neither one was able to answer the final questions correctly so it went to a tie breaker which meant the first one to answer correctly would earn 1st place. I knew my mission to Argentina would pay off...the question required the student to know which country was west of Argentina and Jack correctly answered Chile and became the geography bee winner! He now takes a written exam to qualify for the state competition and the winner of that competition will compete in the national competition in Washington DC. Way to go Jack!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Heidi's 40!

I used to be so jealous that Heidi was 2 1/2 years older than me! It drove me crazy that no matter how hard I tried I could never catch up and be as old as she was. Well I must admit that after all these years I'm not one bit envious and am finally happy for Heidi! Congrats Heidi--you did it-- you are older than me!

I helped host a surprise birthday party for her last week. She flew in for less than 24 hours and had the time of her life! At least she better pretend that she did!

My sisters--we are almost identical except Heidi is older and Brittany is 10 years younger and I am the only one with brown eyes, naturally brown hair, olive skin, rectangle smile, etc. but other than those few things . . . identical!

I gave Heidi a gift with a music cd with the top hits from 1969, a cute book about sisters, 40 pieces of riesens candy and 40 black balloons filled with the 'riesens we love Heidi'. I thought it would be the perfect gift for her until she shared her debilitating fear of balloons and popping balloons. So Blake helped out by popping all of the balloons and handing her the strip of paper. And I think my favorite part of the night was watching Blake sit next to Heidi while she read each reason and him nodding in agreement and adding why he thought it was true. It really was the sweetest sibling moment!

40 Riesens we love Heidi

1. You are lots of fun to be around. (Brittany)
2. You work hard at whatever you are doing. (Brittany)
3. You are a great teacher. (Brittany)
4. You are patient. (Brittany)
5. You are not afraid to share your beliefs with others. (Brittany)
6. You make a mean sweet potato casserole when your hubby's out of town for just you and I to eat! (Brittany)
7. You are giving of your time and talents. (Brittany)
8. You are very crafty, sometimes so crafty that I wonder how we're related! (Brittany)
9. You are a great example. (Brittany)
10 You are very accepting of others. (Brittany)
11. I always felt popular because everyone knew me as "Heidi Stewart’s little sister" (Heather)
12. You introduced me to my favorite hobby...scrapbooking as my Creating Keepsakes distributor and even gave me the employee discount! (Heather)
13. You always found great romances on our family vacations–Peru, Bermuda Star, Hong Kong, Lake Powell, etc. (Heather)
14. You always were mom’s favorite! And still are! :) (Heather)
15. You would make a perfect ‘statue model’! Just look at all our family pictures of Paris!(Heather)
16. You’re the bishop’s wife! :) (Heather)
17. I always know I have a friend awake in Vancouver when I am having a hard time falling asleep (Heather)
18. You let me be in your clubs–even if I had to always be the treasurer (and there was never any $ involved!) (Heather)
19. Your example of serving a mission helped me (find some penpal boyfriends) and start thinking about my own mission. (Heather)
20. You’ve never shyed away from bold fashions–bright purple and pink eyeshadows and lipsticks ($1 wet-n-wild) in the 80's. (Heather)
21. She makes the most amazing family calendars for Grandma. (Jolie)
22. Heidi always has an upbeat, sunny side.. how does she stay so happy with all those activities to drive to... what meds are you on? :) (Jolie)
23. It's always party time when Heidi comes to visit. (Jolie)
24. Love that I get to have 4 sisters that are so fun. (Jolie)
25. She is so generous with her time and talents. With 5 kids it's difficult to have any time or talents. (Jenni)
26. She is a fabulous party planner. Had she not pursued her career as a "stay-in-the-car" mom, she could have been a very successful party planner. (Jenni)
27. She has a very positive attitude. Heidi always seems upbeat no matter what the circumstances are, even if she is eatin' pavement at Lagoon. (Jenni)
28. She is very slow to anger. I read a comment she wrote about herself once answering the question "How do you show anger?". She responded that she just gets quiet and doesn't say much. We could probably all benefit from not speaking out when we're angry. (Jenni)
29. She always puts her family first. In this day and age, that quality is getting a lot harder to come by. (Jenni)
30. She is an excellent speaker. Since my face gets red, I shake, and want to vomit in a public speaking setting, I really envy that talent. (Jenni)
31. She is good at sticking with things. I can't think of a better way to word that, but she is so good about continually keeping up family traditions, having family home evenings, etc. even when those things are really difficult to accomplish. (Jenni)
32. She is very giving. The clothing budget for my kids is practically zero because of all the donations from Heidi as well as other sister-in-laws. I know it's a huge undertaking to get all those clothes down here instead of just donating them to someone where she lives, but she does it and never complains about it. (Jenni)
33. She is a "good helper" (as I would say to my kids). She doesn't need any asking and she doesn't expect any thank yous, she just does it to be helpful! (Jenni)
34. She's totally hot! I probably could have thought of one more thing that was a little deeper, but don't we ALL want to be hot?! (Jenni)
35. Amazed that she finds time to do it all and have her house still look good. (Jolie)
36. Impressed that she is raising 5 wonderful child with a gospel centered life. (Jolie)
37. Every summer when she comes to town to attend Education week it inspires me to try to get there, even if it's for just that one day. (Jolie)
38. She's such a tough chick, surviving the stinky rats in her engine.. (Jolie)
39. She is just all around a fun and amazing sister in law. (Jolie)

40. Love that someone else in the family is a little older than me.. ok.. less than 60 days but still.. (Jolie)

Happy Birthday Heidi! We love you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My cupcake girl

Mia's birthday invitation

My last little baby is one! We had a big celebration for her on Saturday with lots of family and friends. She had a pink, lime and brown cupcake-themed birthday party! I had so much fun decorating and planning her party which is a change for me! I made a DVD of her pictures and videos from her first year that played in the background during her party.

Maybe it's just my imagination but it really seems like she has grown up so much now that she is one! Her hair is longer and starting to curl. She is now standing up on her own everywhere. Last night she totally surprised me after she was done eating -- I said, "all done" and she repeated it with a big smile, like it was no big deal.

The cupcake table

Her own personal 'cupcake cake'

pictures from her 1st year on the mantel

Singing Happy Birthday to Mia!

She loved the cake!!

Showing off her new talent of standing on her own

Mia had some serious competition from Griffin and Morgan with opening her presents and playing with her new toys...never mind that it was her birthday!

And of course . . . here are some of the people that helped us in the celebration!

We love you, Mia!

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve bash at our house---food, family, friends, karaoke, games, pots and pans, and a good time!

It seems like a lot of people have commented that they hope 2009 will be better than 2008,but I must say that 2008 was a great year for our family -- full of the best memories! Here's a little recap--

By far the best thing that happened in 2008 was the birth of Mia Kate into our family! She was born in January and continued to be the highlight of our year.
Our 2 week vacation to Australia (Gavin, Mia and me) -- Queensland and Sydney. Going to Bondi beach, Gavin scuba diving for his first time in the great barrier reef, Keith Urban concert in the Sydney Opera House.

Mia's baby blessing


Puerto Vallarta with Gavin and Mia. A true vacation. Sleeping in. Lounging around the pool. Staying up late talking with friends. Good food. Relaxing.

Gavin competed in the St. George Triathlon


Washington DC with Jack, Ryan, Hadley and Mia

Sun River, Oregon with my sister, Heidi's family

Gavin and Scott completed a half marathon


Celebrated 12 years of being married to Gavin!!


Newport Beach with Hadley and Mia


Girl's weekend trip to San Francisco with 2 of my favorites--my sis (Heidi) and sis-in-law (Rae)


Family pictures--seconds before the wasp attack


Jack and Ryan raced in their first 5k with Gavin in the turkey trot. Thanksgiving with all the Seal family at our home.

Happy 2009!

Skiing fun

My New Year's Eve celebrating began early in the morning with skiing on the mountain! I grew up skiing but never really enjoyed it that much because there is nothing I hate more than being cold! In fact I have only gone a few times in the past 20 years but when my friends called and invited me to go with them I decided to give it a try. It was warm and sunny--the perfect day for skiing! I took Hadley (her first time to ski) and Jack with me.

Hadley and Jack

Matt, Rhett, Hadley, Ellie, Lizzy and Jack

Getting ready to hit the slopes

My friend was so sweet to let Hadley ski in between her skis but then we decided to try a little harder trail and went down this hill that was a little steeper. Hadley fell on my friend which made my friend twist her knees. Then she was so scared she decided to take off her skis and 'slide' down the rest of the hill (Notice her trail all the way down the hill! :) That's when I decided that the best place for Hadley was here--

She loved ski school and her teacher said she is ready for the next class. We went down some runs together and she did great! What a fun way to end 2008!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas Chaos

What's Christmas like with six kids? Lots of smiles, giggles, anticipation, presents, toys, assembling, chaos, messes, boxes, wrapping paper, stockings, candy and FUN! We had a wonderful Christmas. The kids must have been extra good this year because they all got what they wanted . . . and then some!

This is before the beginning of chaos

Santa gave Jack a Nintendo DS and nintendogs, Ryan a hamster, Hadley a dollhouse, Morgan a kitchen, Griffin a big wheel and Mia got some baby activity toys.

But the big surprise for Jack, Ryan and Hadley-- a Mexican Riviera cruise in January with the Seal family

sibling rivalry--Blue vs. Red

Ryan's cute new hamster "Carmel"

Gavin made us a yummy gourmet french bread breakfast with homemade syrup. He got better directions this year and it turned out much better than last year's attempt.

This year's cinnamon french toast
Last year's loaf of bread with baked eggs around it! Apparently the trick was slicing the bread and letting it sit in the egg mixture over night before cooking it. Who knew!?

Happy 1st Christmas Mia Kate!

We went up to my parent's home for brunch and more gift exchanging.