Monday, December 13, 2010

Birthday Celebrations

On December 6th we got to celebrate 2 special birthdays. Michael, and my Grandpa Barker. We started out the night by heading over to my parents house for dinner and cake to celebrate Michael's 14th birthday. The kids were so excited to help him celebrate. We had a yummy "breakfast for dinner" and then watched him open up his presents.

He liked the shirt we got him =)

After that we hurried over to the rehabilitation center that my Grandpa has been to surprise him. We met some of my aunts, uncles and cousins there and then my grandpa's wife Emmy wheeled him out. He was so surprised and touched to see us. A few times throughout the night he would start to cry and say how surprised and happy he was. Emmy bought the two birthday boys some festive Christmas hats to wear.

As we sang happy birthday to the two of them, my grandpa grabbed and held Michal's hand. It was so sweet.

Grandpa let Michael blow out the candles =)

I was so grateful that we were able to spend this night with my grandpa. He has been quite sick over the past month. When I had one to see him the week before when he was at the hospital, he wasn't doing too well. It was really hard to see him like that, so I was so glad that he was feeling so much better now and on the road to recovery. I love my grandpa so much, and am grateful to have been able to spend this special evening with him.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Levi the Wrestler

For the past little while we have been trying to find a sport to put Levi in. Everything that we mentioned, Levi would show no interest in. One day, Brandon brought up the idea of wrestling, and Levi loved that idea! That very day he found out about a junior wrestling team at Columbine High School. He got a hold of the director, and found out that it was starting that same day! So Levi started wrestling that night and hasn't looked back. He absolutely loves it, and never complains about going to practice. He practices two nights a week at the high school in the wrestling room. Brandon has been able to assist in coaching, and he is having a blast doing that. This past weekend was Levi's first wrestling tournament. It was at a high school in Cherry Creek, and around 600 other wrestlers participated. Here is Brandon helping Levi put on his wrestling shoes. Here is Levi doing his wrestling stance. This cracks me up! He always gets so serious and puts on his "mean face"

Levi's friend Nicholas from school is on his wrestling team. Here they both are before the tournament.

Each wrestler had two matches. They match them up with another wrestler of their same weight and ability. Levi won his first match! It was so fun to watch him. I was worried about watching him, and I thought I would be upset seeing him fight, but it actually was so cute! haha. For the second match he was matched up with a different wrestler that had also won their first match. He pinned the other boy within the first 10 seconds and won that match too! Since he won both matches he got a first place medal. Here he is walking back with his medal after the second match.

Here is Levi with one of his teammates who also won first place in an older age group.

Here he is showing off his medal =)
This new adventure has been so fun for Levi, and especially for Brandon! Brandon is one proud daddy, and will talk for hours about it. I video taped Levi's matches and Brandon has watched them over and over analyzing each move. It is so funny! Brandon was a wrestler in high school, so it is so fun for him to teach Levi.
Here is a video of part of the first match that Levi was in.
For some reason I cant get any of the other videos to load, but I am still working on it.

This has been such a fun new adventure for Levi. We just have to remind him, that he can't wrestle his sisters!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

I love Christmas time. It such a fun time of year! My kids were so excited to set up the tree and decorate the house, so last Sunday after church,I passed on my normal Sunday nap and dug out all of the Christmas storage boxes from the shed. Our kids favorite part is going through the ornaments and separating them into piles of whose is whose. While they did this Brandon set up the tree, I attempted to fluff it, Brandon fixed my fluffing job, and put on the lights. After that the kids went to town putting all of the ornaments on. I tend to be a little controlling about where the ornaments are placed, but the past few years I have learned to just sit back and enjoy watching them have so much fun putting the ornaments on (I fix them later =) ).

Levi was in such a silly mood, and I was so glad I caught this picture of him. These poses are very common for him, but he rarely will show anyone but us =)

The kids take turns every year, putting the angel on the top. They look forward to this so much and never forget whose turn it is. This year it was Alexis's turn.

Now Brandon just has to put our lights on the outside of our house and we will be set! I have them in the entry way in a big green box so it can remind him. But to tell you the truth, I think it is just becoming more of an eye sore for me, having to stare at that big green bin every day! He promised he will put them up tomorrow =)
Every year December goes by so fast, and before I know it Christmas is over. I always try and do something with the kids to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas. I will always spend hours making some elaborate thing for us to do every day and then after a few days we never do it becaue it is too elaborate. I really wanted to do something this year, but keep it simple. I have a block in my kitchen that says SIMPLIFY, and I have really learned this past year that simple is always better and more effective. So I was excited when I saw this cute activity in the friend.
Each night there is a question about the story of Jesus's birth. There is a page of ornaments with scriptures written on them that go with that days question. After reading the scripture and answering the question you then glue the ornament on the tree that they provide in the magazine. It is so simple yet so effective, and my kids have loved it so far. The questions are really simple. It starts at the beginning, asking "Who visited Mary and told her she was going to have a baby?" I just thought I would pass the link along, in case anyone struggles like me with things like that =)
I am so excited for Christmas!! =)

Medevil Day

Alexis has been learning about medieval times at school, and the culmination of the unit was medieval day. I took someones advice this year and shopped the Halloween costume sales to find costumes we would need throughout the year for different days like this one . Brandon actually spotted this one for Alexis for Medieval day. It was perfect, and she looked so cute. She was a little unsure about the hoop at the bottom of the dress, but once she put it one she loved it. She had a blast playing the part of medieval royalty. Her favorite part was the feast they had for lunch that they got to eat with no utensils!

By the time I signed up to help, they didn't need any more volunteers, but I did stop by to see her at lunch. The teachers did a great job at making this day fun for the kids. We will definitely be keeping this costume on hand for when Tori has medieval day =)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Pictures

We just got some family pictures taken at a fund raiser that my parent's ward was having. The session went pretty quickly, and we only got two poses, but I am pretty happy with how they turned out. Here is one of the poses. We are using the other one for our Christmas cards, so I have to keep that one a secret =)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Halloween Fun

The Halloween celebrations seemed to keep coming and coming this year! On Saturday night our ward had trunk or treat. This is something the kids look forward to every year. Tori wanted her nails painted red to match her costume, so we did that right before. Here are our two witches and Darth Vader ready to go and get a lot of candy!

I had to join in on the witch theme =)

Alexis invited her friend Kira to come along. Here they all are about to start the rounds. It was so windy at first, and they had to hold their hats on their heads.

Brandon bought this hideous mask a few months ago. He has scared me half to death a few times with it, actually bringing me to tears once! I was nervous for him to wear it to trunk or treat, because I didn't want him to scare all of the kids. It was a hit though. The thing about this mask is that when you first see him, he just looks like a creepy old man! Imagine my surprise one day when I was home alone and that face peered around the corner at me! We got a few comments that night that Brandon was "robbing the cradle" so we had to get a picture of the two of us together =)

The kids were so excited to see Harmony there. She has been such a special party of our lives. No matter how much time passes between when we see her, the bond that our kids have with her is so evident =)
After our ward party we headed inside to my mom's ward party. They had a chili cook off, some fun carnival type games, face painting and trunk or treat! I didn't get my camera out, but fun was had by all! My mom brought her famous Wheat Chili, and she won the award for "b est after burn taste" We weren't quite sure what to think of that! haha
The kids got an insane amount of candy! Today as they were sorting through the hundreds and hundreds of pieces I made a deal with them that I would give them 10 cents a piece. They were so excited for that! Here they all are sorting through decided which ones they could part with.

They actually were able to give up quite a lot! I am a little poorer, but I am sure our dentist will appreciate it =)
I bagged it all up gave it to Brandon and told him to hide it from me =)
Wow! What a fun whirlwind of Halloween celebrations we had this year!

School Parties

On Friday the 29th, all three kids had their Halloween parties at school. Brandon was gone all day, so I had to brave them all on my own! Levi has been planning for quite some time to be Darth Vader for Halloween. I got him a Darth Vader costume, and set it out for him to wear that day. Well when he woke up that morning he had different plans! he said, "Mommy, I think I am going to be Spiderman instead because everyone else in my class is going to be Spiderman too" I couldn't believe it because he had been so excited to be Darth Vader! Good thing his Spiderman from last year still fit him. When we got to school I noticed that there were about 5 other little boys dressed up as Spiderman in his class. They must have all been talking about it at school =)

When we first got there, all of the kids in the school had a big parade around the soccer field. The preschoolers got to lead it, and it was so fun to see Levi walking in his costume and grinning at everyone.

After that we headed to his classroom for a fun little party. There were several centers set up for the kids to go to. I was in charge of the lollipop ghost center. Here is Levi waiting for us to get started. I didn't even comb his hair that morning because I figured he would have his mask on the whole time. Well he decided not to wear it once he got to school, so he had some serious bed head! haha

Here's his finished ghost! He loved drawing on the face all by himself.

I stayed at the ghost center the whole time, but I was able to sneak away a few times to take some pictures of Levi at the other centers. Here is an action shot of him at pumpkin bowling.

After that he made a cute foam pumpkin. Then they got to do pin the face on the pumpkin and listen to some Halloween stories. They also had some yummy treats. It went by so fast and Levi was so sad when it was time to leave. I reminded him that we still got to go to Alexis and Tori's parties later on, and that cheered him up.

Later that afternoon we headed to Alexis and Tori's school. Levi decided that he would wear his Darth Vader Costume now =)

Their school is so big, and their classrooms are on opposite ends, so I was a little nervous about making sure I spent equal time with both of them. We stopped by Tori's room first. She was all dressed in her costume and ready to start the party. She was so excited to see us, and showed Levi around her classroom, and even let him sit at her desk!

The first thing they did was make a Halloween craft. They were given a styrofoam ball and told to make whatever kind of creature they wanted. Tori decided to make a spider.

After that Tori headed over to the cookie decorating table and Levi and I headed down to see Alexis. While we were gone, Tori frosted a cookie for Levi and covered it with sprinkles. He was so excited when we saw it. While he was eating that Tori made herself a sandwich cookie.

Alexis was so happy to see us when we got to her classroom. She wanted to introduce Levi to everyone, and even talked him into sitting on her lap for a minute =)

They had all sorts of fun and creative games planned in her classroom. They had a candy corn catapult, a marshmallow catch game, bingo, stack the golf balls, and cookie decorating. It was definitely more chaotic in her classroom, lol.
Here is Alexis trying to catch a marshmallow. Shortly after this she got elbowed in the nose by another child while they were trying to catch one. I felt so bad! She was trying to be so brave as her eyes welled up with tears =( I wanted to run up and give her big hugs, but I didn't want to embarrass her so I tried to play it cool while making sure she was ok. I hate that she is growing up!

I ran back and forth between Alexis and Tori's classrooms several times, and by the end I was so tired!! I was glad that I could go and be there with them though. Levi was glad he got to tag along too!

A Fun Tradition

All growing up my mom always had a special Halloween dinner for us either on Halloween night or a few days before. This is a fun tradition that she has continued, that our kids now get to enjoy. Last Monday night we headed over there. My mom made all sorts of yummy food and planned some fun little activities for the kiddos. When they first got there they each found a mask waiting for them, along with a treat sack. They got to decorate the treat sacks while they were waiting for us to finish up making dinner. They had so much fun and loved the masks!

I didn't get pictures of all of the food, but here are some of them. This is "Slime" (vegetable dip)

Witches brew
Skeleton Bones (bread sticks)
Here is Michael cutting up the "jiggly brains" (jello) Michael made all of the fun little signs telling what everything was.

These were the delicious ribs of Frankenstein! =)

Even though I knew that these "maggots" were really just rice, I could not bring myself to eat them, haha.

Those were all of the pictures that I got of the food, but we also had "bat wings" (chicken wings), "witches warts" (corn), and I can't remember if there was anything else! It was all so yummy!
After dinner we sang a few Halloween songs, including "I'm a Mean Old Witch With a Hat" which is a childhood favorite of mine. I remember driving down the road singing that song as a kid and when it got to the end where we were supposed to yell "BOO!" My dad would always yell it so loud and scare us all =) My mom always had the best witch cackle impression. I couldn't get her to do it for us this year, but I did catch a picture of her posing as a witch while we were singing the song =)
After the songs the kids got to go trick or treating! Not your normal trick or treating though. They just went trick or treating around the room to different people that had a bowl of candy. They thought this was just great!

We were lucky to have my Grandma and Grandpa Park in town visiting, so they got to join in on all the festivities too!

We had such a fun time! It was fun to do it on a night that wasn't Halloween, because it made it more special for the kids. Thanks mom for planning such a great night!