Sunday, January 19, 2014

2nd Half of December (Brandon's Birthday, Christmas & Jemma's Baptism)

Here's the 2nd Half of December 2013.  
A good portion of my family came from the other side of the country to make our Christmas extra special this year; the Gariety's came from New Mexico, my parents and brother Nathan traveled from California, my brother Reed came from Idaho, and sister Melanie came from Utah.  It was organized chaos and tons of fun!  Everyone was super great about the sleeping conditions (all kids under the age of 16 on the FLOOR) and it was a party from sun-up to sun-down.

December 24th

Christmas Eve is Brandon's birthday, (He's now 31...YIKES) so we celebrated with ice cream pie and the tradition of singing BOTH versions of Happy Birthday.  :)
Later, we braved the freezing temperatures and did a little caroling, then read the story of Jesus' birth while the grandkids acted out the nativity.

Jemma was Mary, Sean was Joseph and Emmy was the baby Jesus.  :)

The whole crew front to back, left to right:  Sydney as the angel, Hayden, Carter and Gavin as shepherds, Daphne as a wise woman :), Jemma as Marry, Dallin as a wise man and Sean as Joseph.  Such cute kids!

Afterwards, it was on to making our forts to hide from Santa on Christmas morning!  (Most exciting part of Christmas...seriously.)

Above: Carter in his fort.
Below:  Daphne and Jemma.

Hayden and Gavin.

December 25th

Santa came around 6:15, and we successfully hid from him while he delivered this years gifts for the kids.  Gavin ended up hiding with me instead of with Hayden and he was a constant stream of whispers the ENTIRE time.  I was sure Santa was going to run out...I guess it's a good thing he's hard of hearing!
Anyway!  Santa out-did himself this year.  He brought both the Gariety and Reed families a trip to Orlando Florida to visit Universal Studios for 3 days!  He brought chocolate frogs and every flavor beans from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and a letter explaining the gift.  

Above:  The kids with their Harry Potter treats.
Below:  Santa's letter.

Our family name exchange this year was a little different than in the past.  A friend of mine did this with her family and I thought it was genius, so we copied.  :)  The gifts had to be homemade!  I had high hopes for this to be really cool, but I think we all waited too long to get started...I guess on the up side, it won't be hard to out-do next time around.  ;) 
I had Brandon and (copied my sister Sharee) by making him a monthly date coupon - she made a REALLY cool one for my defense, I had planned to made him a skinny black tie.  He had been talking about how much he wanted one for a really long time, but then I found one for a STEAL at tjmax, so I bought it instead.  :/  Brandon had Carter and made him paper airplanes, Jemma had Gavin and made him a picture book (which she actually still needs to finish), Carter had me and made me a nature collection (with Jemma's help) and Gavin had Jemma and made her a bracelet with her name on it.  We didn't include Emmy this time around...maybe next year. 

So, as you can see above, Carter and Gavin got skateboards for Christmas.  Weeellll...Gavin totally face planted on the sidewalk outside and skinned up one side of his face.  Ouch!  After he got bandaged up, he zonked on the couch and slept through Christmas dinner.  Poor kiddo.  He is so super accident prone!  What were we thinking getting him a dang skateboard!!!

Above:  Enjoying Christmas dinner.  :)
Left to right:  Dad, Mom, Dallin, Reed (my brother), Arthur (brother-in-law) Sharee (sister), Nathan (brother), Melanie (sister), and Brandon.
Below:  Still enjoying dinner - Melanie just swapped me so I could be in the photo.  :)

So, I don't know why I didn't take more pictures after Christmas of all the kids just playing and having fun together...I guess things were just busy.  But I did manage to snap a photo of Jemma and Daphne performing their concert of "Frozen" songs.  :)  So super cute!  Should have video taped it!!!

 December 28th

We were fortunate enough to have all of our family still here to be part of Jemma's baptism day.  My parents (Nona and Papa) gave the talks, all the grandkids sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" per request of Jemma, and Brandon performed the baptism.

I made Jemma's dress, but it NEVER would have gotten finished if I hadn't had my wonderful mother and sister Sharee helping pin and press as I stitched.  Thanks again you two!!!  You ladies are my heroes!  
Jemma was very specific about what she wanted - it had to be COMFORTABLE - so, no elastic in the sleeves, and she wanted a square neck, umpire waist and a pink ribbon.  Check, check, check, and check.  :)

It was such a beautifully emotional morning!  Brandon and I were both crying when she entered the font to be baptized - it was hard to believe (still is actually) that our little Jemma was already 8 years old and choosing to be baptized.  We are so pleased with the way Jemma is trying to live her life - especially as she continues to try to be like her Savior!

What a wonderful December it has been!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

December - pre Christmas :)

I love and loath this month.
It is already ridiculously busy with all the Christmas hustle and bustle, but we also have two birthdays to shop and plan for (Jemma on the 15th and Brandon on the 24th) every year...and then this year, it was just completely INSANE!
The first Sunday in December, we FINALLY blessed Emmy.  I made her dress.  With NO pattern.  I'm not completely insane...I actually had one I used when I made Jemma's, but we waited so long to bless Emmy that it was too small.  I figured that out after I had sewn the entire bodice.  Typical.  So, I  improvised and used a dress in her closet to try to get the right size for the bodice, and just winged the rest.  Eesh.  So much stress over a little dress they wear ONCE!
Anyhoo - she looked darling!  And, because we waited so long to bless her, she had already outgrown  her baby acne and looked 10x cuter than if we had blessed her the month before.  :)  I'm just sayin'!
I LOVE her cheeks.  So.  Much.

Jemma turned 8 this year, so that compounded the birthday craze - it was a party year for her, plus we decided she could get her ears pierced, PLUS she got baptized! - And broke her wrist amid all of that.  Awesome!  She was pretty excited about her pink cast until it started itching...and smelling.  Fun stuff.

She was super brave when she got her ears pierced and has been very responsible about cleaning and caring for her ears ever since.  No tears for this girl!  Brandon was the only one to tear up.  hahaha!  It still weirds me out to see my little girl with earrings.  Makes her look so much older!  

Jemma wanted a Rainbow Magic Fairy birthday's a book series that Jemma LOVES.  She had quite the collection.  :)
The girls (and Carter - Brandon was going to take the boys to the park or to hit golf balls since the birthday was pretty girly, but it was raining...) decorated their goodie bags, made bracelets, painted nails and got fairy eye make-up.  :)

Jemma made out like a little bandit and has a supply of earrings that I might have to dip into - tons of cute stuff!  :)

Left:  Jemma and Ri-Lee  Right:  Jemma and Kylie

Jemma and McKinley

Aubrey, Jemma and Courtney

Jemma really wanted a cake in the shape of a "J" - I tried to talk her into all of these other cute rainbow inspired cakes I saw on pinterest, but she just kept saying, "no thanks...I just want a "J" cake".  So, a "J" cake she got.  I didn't get a close-up of it.  :/  Not too big a shame since cake decorating has never been a strong point for me.  :)

We let Jemma open her birthday gifts from us the morning of her birthday, mostly because she was receiving something she could use that day at church - cutest, most sweet girl ever - every time I asked her for ideas for her birthday, she would tell me she just really wanted her own set of scriptures.  What 8 year old child asks for that?  I think I expected I would get them when I turned 8 because I was getting baptized, but I don't remember having them on my birthday wish list!  Anyway,  we did get her a personalized set of scriptures and tote to carry them in for church and  her reaction when she opened them was priceless!

Makes me cry just thinking about how GENUINELY happy she was to receive that gift.  What a gem this girl is!!!  So glad she's part of our family and so grateful for the example she sets for the rest of us!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Recap

Here's a quick recap of some of the highlights from November:
Emmy and I attended Gavin's Thanksgiving Feast…so darling.  Gavin was quite funny.  His teachers had set up place settings for the children and their parents around tables, but Gavin wanted to sit by Turbo, the turtle, so we were antisocial and sat alone by the turtle tank…that's my boy.

 Above: Gavin, wearing his turkey hat and sporting his FAVORITE shirt.
Below: Gavin and Turbo. :)

The week of Thanksgiving, the kids were out of school and the Museum of Aviation had a model train display set up, so we took the kids over to check it out.  I was pretty impressed by some of the displays…so much time goes into those things!

Our favorite display was, of course, the Christmas display, but all of them were really pretty cool.  It made me really want a nice train set to go around our Christmas tree...

Below:  random photo from after church one Sunday.  Emmy had been laying on the floor alone, and pretty soon all the other kids were laying next to her, so I snapped a pic.  :)  Not a very good picture of Emmy…:/

Thanksgiving day we had several families over for our afternoon feast and to play games.  we all had a great time and ate WAY too much delicious food.  :)
Below: the kids helping me peel 10 lbs. of potatoes! 

I managed to photograph all the kids, but never did get a shot of a SINGLE adult.  Pretty typical.  In all, we had 11 children, 2 infants, and 10 adults…probably the largest crowd we've ever hosted.  :)

And, just to round things out, here's a shot of my favorite baby smiling at her (and my) favorite man.  :)  She lights up when he starts talking to her.  TOO cute!

Happy November!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

October & the first week of November

Man the months fly by!  Thanksgiving is just days away and I'm just getting around to blogging about October!  Eesh!

Well, the kids had crazy hair day during their homecoming week (I had no idea Elementary Schools had a "Homecoming"…maybe that's a southern thing.)
Anyway, you can't tell from the picture, but Carter's hair is sprayed orange…leftover from Gavin's Halloween costume last year as Ron Weasley.  :)

And, I just noticed poor Emmy…just in a onsie and her swaddling blanket all messed up.  That poor girl is definitely a 4th child!

And yes, before the time change, it was dark when we were eating breakfast!  Super depressing.

 The kids went with a Pirates of the Caribbean theme this year.  Again, my awesome mom made their costumes!  Jemma was Elizabeth Swan, Carter was Jack Sparrow, Gavin was Captain Barbosa and Emmy was a cannon ball.  :)

This picture was taken before our church Halloween Party.  Carter's wig hadn't come in the mail yet and I hadn't been able to find black pants for Emmy…so it was what it was.  :)

Halloween Night we had a super fun, festive dinner with our good friends, the Winwards.  Unfortunately I forgot our camera, so I sent Brandon home to grab it and by the time he got back, the kids were so antsy to get out the door to trick-or-treat, that I didn't get any pictures of ALL the kids together!  I'll have to steal some from Karrissa's blog when she posts them.  :)

Elizabeth with her cannon ball.

Captain Jack Sparrow with his wig!  

The whole crew…the boys wouldn't wear their facial hair this time…said it was too itchy.  I don't blame them.  :)

Trick-or-Treating really wore Emmy out.  ;)

November 2, Brandon's parents and Aunt Jill and Uncle Jerry came to visit us!
We LOVED having them.  They so wonderful!

While we were at church, they went antique-ing and found some really awesome stuff.  Jill came back with this AMAZING old wooden box…but it wouldn't fit in her suitcase, so I inherited!!!  I actually feel REALLY bad that she didn't get to take it with her!  I have promised myself that when/if we move back west, I am going to give it back to her.  I'll just babysit it for now.  ;)

Left: The kids with their Nina and Papa.
Right: Emmy and Nina spending some one-on-one time.  :)

We had the biggest bawl fest when these guys pulled out of our driveway.  All the kids were besides themselves with grief.  Jemma kept saying, "Life is just gonna be normal now!"…apparently she has it pretty bad. lol!  We had to console them with ice-cream. :)

Thank you Zamaroni's & Betencourt's for coming to Georgia to see us!!!  Thank you for doting on our children, for supplying us with gazillions of diapers, and for giving us a super fun weekend!  We LOVED having you!

And just because I can't STAND that she's changing so fast, here's one of little Emmy.  She's smiling and talking to us all the time now!  I am yet to capture it on camera, but I'll keep trying.  She is such a sweet, happy, CHUBBY baby.  LOVE HER!