Tuesday, March 20, 2018

January--A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

I feel a bit like the following picture right now.  All I want to do is stick a bucket on my head and hide from all the responsibilities awaiting me.  I am SO far behind with, well, everything!  The one nice thing about blogging is that at least I can do it from my comfy bed.

In this picture, Annika is actually entertaining herself during our lengthy drive back home after Christmas.  Having picked up some sickness in Omaha, we brought the bucket just in case someone got sick.  I'm grateful this was its only use.

Spark was waiting for us back in Salt Lake, having been well-cared for by some friends.

Their only complaint was that he ate a TON.  They actually had to break into our house and get some more food once the first bag was gone.  Tired of last minute runs to PetSmart for more timothy hay, I finally went online and stocked up.

Better run through your maze, Spark, and work off those extra calories.

Back at home, here's Talia looking sharp in a gorgeous dress that Brooklyn sewed with NomiAnn's help.  They actually made it with Brooklyn in mind, but when it turned out to be the wrong size, Talia was the lucky recipient.  I'm pretty certain she loves it since she wears it all the time. 

For Eli, the best part of coming home was building his new BB8 Lego set.  It's admittedly awesome.

And Annie, well, she was delighted to be home and picnicking with her den of snakes.

We were lucky to have some company in January.  Michael Rushforth came to visit all the way from Texas, courtesy of a linguistics conference.  Here he is checking out Music and the Spoken Word with Eli.  Go Whackerforths!

Yup, I feel pretty darn spoiled that we can come and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform pretty much any time we like.

We're also spoiled by the neighborhood ice rink that once hosted the Olympics.  Annika is getting better, but watching her skate is still scary.  That little gal is fearless.

With winter break over, the end of term school projects piled up with ferocity.  Talia did an admirable job tackling the Science Fair.

So Talia, what are you and your Dad up to?

They constructed an impressive wind turbine so that Talia could test the efficiency of different styles of blades.

Testing in progress.  Nice work, ReddiWip!

Brooklyn's Bettering Utah project trumped even the science fair in terms of intensity.  Over the course of the semester. she had to come up with and implement a project to better Utah, dedicating around forty hours of volunteer time.  She and her cute friends started an after-school volunteer program at Jackson, a local Title I elementary school.  Here's the group making Talia and Eli pretend to be Jackson students so they would have photos to include in their final project.  Personally, I think the siblings are dead giveaways.  But still, well-done, Buttermilk.  You and your friends worked hard all semester, and should feel proud of what you accomplished.

Utah Studies required a second project where Brooklyn had to research something to do and some place to eat for each county in the state.

The beehive gave her a few extra points for presentation. 
For the most part, there really is something interesting and unique about each of Utah's 29 counties.  But can you imagine trying to complete the same project for each of Nebraska's 93?  (No offense, Nebraska--we love you.)

Whew!  After all that school work, I need some laughs.  Will this do?

How about this?

Or maybe the naked babies trapped inside a guinea pig ball will make you chuckle.

Guess it's going to take a pack meeting to bring things back to serious.  (As if!)

More January fun--we took Annika and her friend Jefferson (aka Jeffro) to the Leonardo.  Naturally Annika spent the entire time playing with the stuffed animals.

Annika sets the birds in flight by sending them all down the slide.

Meanwhile, Jeff controlled the trajectory of his air-blasted ping pong balls.

Oh, and let's not forget our trip upstairs to see the Lego Wonder Woman.  Impressive.

In January we took a trip up north to spend the night in Hyde Park with Grandma Susie and Grandpa Charles before going up to Idaho to see Great-Grandma and Grandpa Hansen.  Story time with Grandpa Charles is the best!

Grandma Susie picked up the cutest lion hat for the kids.


Let's not forget the yummy breakfast.  The sillier, the tastier.

Here we are in Rupert with Grandma and Grandpa Hansen.

Grandpa Hansen was quite interested in the collection of Littlest Pet Shops that Annika brought along.

Talia entertained us all by performing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on her ukulele.  Completely self-taught, this girl amazes me by how eagerly she picks up new skills.  Whether it's knitting, crocheting, ukelele, violin, or painting, she's constantly diving in to grow her list of talents.

A picture of Leland in his younger years.  On February 25th, he and grandma celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary.  That's amazing!

Back in Salt Lake, we finally got some much needed snow.

Annika had a blast playing outside...

...even if it was a bit cold.

The Avenues: it really is a great place to call home.  

(Drawing courtesy of Jason, who is helping to design a float for the Days of '47 parade.  Because our family needs another project.  Wink, wink, smile.)

Monday, March 05, 2018

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Yes, yes, I know.  Christmas was forever ago.  I promise these will be the very last pics--it's time to move on.  In my defense, Mother Nature blessed us with a huge snowstorm this morning, so it sorta feels like winter just arrived.

As much fun as we had exploring the Big O over Christmas, our very best holiday memories were made right at home.  Six people cousins plus a pug--it just doesn't get any better.

Hang in there, Anders!  Pictures won't last forever.

Speaking of Anders, here are some of my favorite pics of the little man.  Crayon time!

Snuggle time.

Smile time.

Naturally he saves his very best smiles for Mama...

...and for Diet Coke.

Moving on to an older crowd, Annika and Eila were peas in a pod.  Don't you love the matching art smocks NomiAnn made them?

Sharing a show before bed.

Next up, story time on Papa Kay's lap.

Zoe joins the fun.

With plenty of extra space, Anders hopped on too.

Help, I'm squished!

Eila and Annika can commiserate about having their hair done, especially when it's little ponies.

Here's Brooklyn in her happy spot--making noodles with her brand-new pasta maker.

And now for the happiest place of all--playing Pie Face!   So why doesn't anyone look pleased?  Good luck, Adam!

Callie's next in line.

Papa Kay takes his turn facing the cream.

Yup, definitely need a bath after that mess.

Next fun project, making snakes with our gingerbread playdough.  Jason's comment, "Is that a slug?"

The snowman's a bit cuter, but not nearly as original.

Puppy love.

Puppy's tired.

Batman meets cyclops.

For New Year's Eve, we indulged in cheese and chocolate fondue.  Absolutely delicious, but it may take me a year to work off the extra calories.

On New Year's Day, we invited a few families over for soup and pie.

We enjoyed getting to meet some new baby friends.

Since the Wilhoits were back in Washington, we unabashedly stole their idea for a popcorn bar.

Plenty of sweet deliciousness for every age.

Yes, the saying is absolutely true.
There's no place like home for the holidays. Thanks one last time, NomiAnn and Papa Kay, for making us all so welcome.