Tuesday, December 27, 2011


We spent Christmas Eve with the Rowley's. We ate yummy food, played games and laughed a lot. When we got home, the kids got to open their present from grandma and grandpa Morrison. Then we read Luke 2 and put them to bed.

Is it wrong of me to love this picture?

I warned the kids that if they woke up in the night and had to go potty they would have to go back to bed 'til morning. I figured any time after 6:30 a.m. would be accepable. RJ set the alarm for 6:30 so he could turn on the fogger. He wanted to create a low lying fog that skimmed the ground making the tree and presents float on a "cloud." He was pretty excited about his clever idea.

Hunter woke up at 6:58, went to the bathroom and went back to bed. McKenna got up at 7:15 a.m. and layed in bed with us making a few trip back to her room to try to get Hunter up. At 7:45, we read from our "straw" in the manger the acts of service we rendered and received. We sang Away in a Manger and Hunter offered a prayer. We headed downstairs and this is what it looked like:

It was smelly and obviously difficult to see. Not quite the magical touch RJ was going for.

The kids went through their stockings then we ate breakfast (french toast with homemade bread, berries, turkey sausage links and fresh OJ). Hunter and McKenna didn't have much of an appetite. They were too excited about presents.

Before anyone opened anything, Hunter wanted us to open something he made us at school. He was really excited about it and had a hard time waiting til Christmas morning. He made an adorable sock snowman. Thanks Hunter!

Reagan finally joined us and got in on the action. Santa brought her a ball popper.

Grandma and Grandpa Reeve gave her a colorful, musical phone.

Hunter got a bike, helmet and panda pillow pet.

Santa brought McKenna baby gear (pay 'n play, bouncer, stroller, diaper bag, an ineractive mat, and of course another baby with clothes). She received a unicorn pillow pet as well. RJ and I bought her these matching baby and me outfits.

For Christmas, RJ and I decided to take our $100 and buy clothes for our cruise. We bought our own stuff, kept them in boxes then laid them out on Christmas Eve. RJ's only surprise was his stocking and this picture I made out of water colors. It is a forget me not with President Uchtdorf's five things we should not forget- to be patient with ourselves, the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice, to be happy now, the "why" of the gospel, and that the Lord loves you.

The only thing I asked for was a light to clip on my book to read at night so as not to keep RJ up. He surprised me and made me another date list for the year 2012! I am so excited. I love this gift so much. Here's what we'll be doing in the coming months- Timberwolves game against the Kings (who have newly acquired Jimmer Fredette), a snowshoe trek in the moonlight along trails lit by candlelight, a road trip to Iowa for the Big 10 Gymnastics Championship, a World War II lecture about Secial Ops Units that parachuted behind enemy lines to support partisans in France during the Normany invasion, the Weisman Art Museum, a walk and picnic at Minnehaha park, golfing at Sundance, Comedy Sportz, Bye Bye Birdie at the Chanhassen dinner theatre, a cooking class, a Chilly Dogs Sledding trip, and last but not least, a play at the Orpheum.

Steve and Kathryn bought us a fun Dr. Suess game. RJ and McKenna played while I made dinner.

We bought McKenna some dress-ups which she wore all day. She also loved coloring in this sticker/activity book from Grandma and Grandpa Reeve.

Hunter got this hoop for his birthday and it kept him busy for a while.

We went to church and had a really nice sacrament meeting with some beautiful musical numbers.

Matt and Beth gave us a great game called 10 days in Europe. RJ and I played a few times Christmas night.

We really are spoiled. We received so many great things and are so grateful for all of them. We are especially grateful to have celebrated the birth of Christ and for the knowlege that we have of him.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Les Miserables

Our November date was supposed to be an NBA game but because of the strike, we had to push that off until January. December's date was a theatrical performance. RJ thought about going to see a Christmas Carol but when we heard that Les Miserables would be performed at the Orpheum in Minneapolis we decided to attend that instead. Apparently it is it's 25th anniversary. I got a good deal on tickets and our friends Krystal and Adam Larson came with us.

We were way in the back (probably only three rows behind us). I thought we might need binoculars before we got there but I was pleasantly surprised that I could see the characters fine even if their faces were a blur.
We tried to get a picture of all four of us and I was talking when RJ snapped it. He preferred this picture of himself to the next so I thought it only fair to add it.

I really wanted to get decked out for my big date but with Hunter's party in the morning, I only had 10 minutes. Oh well, that's life.

The performance was AWESOME! I knew it would be a musical but I didn't know that the dialogue was also going to be sung. It took a few minutes to get use to and I had to focus hard to understand what they were saying/singing. I was very moved by the music and thought the cast was fantastic. My favorite part was Fantine singing "I dreamed a dream." I got chills.

Party Time!

Hunter's party was supposed to be a sledding party. We have this great hill in the back. I figured it would be a breeze to send the kids outside for an hour or so. I can't believe I actually started wishing for snow as the 17th approached. I was a little bit stressed the week before the party trying to figure out what I would do in the event of a no-snow situation with thirteen 7-9 year olds in my 8x10 foot living room. I put together a party plan on Friday (the day before) and I'm confident that Hunter had a blast. I'm not sure I can say the same for RJ and I but we are happy for him.

Team blue searching the hill

Our first activity was a name game since we had kids from the neighborhood, church and school. After being introduced, they sat in two teams on opposite sides of a sheet. RJ and I held the sheet up like a wall and each team chose one person to stand up in the middle facing the sheet. We dropped the sheet after counting to three and the first one to say the name of the person in front of them got a point.

Then we counted off and created two new teams for a picture scavenger hunt. I took 12 pictures of things around our neighborhood (ie fire hydrant, mail box, tree etc.). The kids had to find the object in the picture and pick up a coin that coincided with their team color.

Team green making a mad dash from the mailbox

McKenna and Barrett lost in the mix

Spray Game

I filled a water bottle and had the kids stand in a cirlce. One person stood in the middle and thought of something (ie. I'm thinking of a color, superhero, animal, letter etc). Whoever guessed what the person in the middle was thinking got sprayed and then became the person in the middle.

Grunt Piggy Grunt

I have to thank Shirlene Pratt for teaching me this next game when I was twelve. A person stands in the middle of a circle blind folded with a pillow and a wooden spoon. After spining them around they walk up to someone, hold the pillow up, poke them with the spoon and say "grunt piggy grunt." The person being prodded makes their best pig noise and whoever is it has to guess who the pig is. Switch when you get it right.

Pizza Time

The boys self segregated to this table

(Will, Nate, Hunter, Josh and Barrett. Blake had to leave early and is not in this picture).

(McKenna, Paige, Mary, Leah, Lauren, Neeru, Hadley, Abby)
Yummy! Pizza, vegetables and fruit.

The Cake

Thinking we would have a winter themed party, I made a snowman cake. He turned out pretty cute and Hunter was surprised that it wasn't a plain 9x13 frosted cake.

We hope your wish comes true.

Present Time

Hunter was given a lot of very nice gifts. As party favors, I picked up twelve different items at Target. Hunter chose which gift to give to each person and wrapped them. He handed them their gift and they got to open it before handing him the gift they brought.

Overall the party was successful. The transitions were rough. Without structure, the boys started wrestling and jumping on the furniture. We had one party guest threaten to go home and one in tears twice but we recovered quickly and all had a good time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Houses!

We invited our friends the Rowley's to make gingerbread houses with us. Everyone did a great job and seemed to be having fun.

Paul, Cheryl, Tanner, Adam, Hunter, McKenna and Nathan
Hunter and Will

McKenna's creative house. For the longest time she didn't have anything on her house because she wanted to eat it so bad and couldn't wait.

This is her waiting.

24 hours later

Hunter was pretty strategic and knew that anything he put on his house, he could eat. He loaded not only the walls with candy but stuffed the "attic."

Hunter Turns 7!

I told Hunter that I would make him whatever he wanted for breakfast. He said he didn't care and I could surprise him. I made him pancakes and scrambled eggs with berries, a banana and some orange juice. Oh yeah, don't forget that multi-vitamin. I took it up to him and hopefully he enjoyed his breakfast in bed.

He's making a "7."

We went out to Famous Dave's and opened presents while we were waiting for our food because we were in a time crunch. Hunter looked a little disappointed to see just three gifts and I thought, just wait 'til you open your first present and see that it's church clothes, then you'll really be disappointed!

A blazing sundae.

We don't usually do big friend parties for the kids but Hunter has more friends now than he has had in the past and is older. He originally wanted to go to Chucky Cheese but we sat down and looked at how much it would cost and he said "oh, that's okay, we don't have to go to Chucky Cheese." I told him that I would try hard to make a fun party at home. He filled out all the invitations and excitedly passed them out.

Hunter is a great kid. I feel bad that he has to be my guinny pig and hope I don't make too many grave mistakes. He's very much a rule follower and fairness enforcer. He has expressed interest in becoming a police officer which I'm sure would suit him fine and make me a nervous wreck. He can be very sensitive, sweet, thoughtful, focused and exact. We love him very much and look forward to celebrating many more birthdays.

Caught Ya!

Look familiar?

I found these two conked out when I got home late after being with friends.

I hope this does not become our new bedtime routine!

Monday, December 5, 2011

First Day of Sledding

Hunter and McKenna have been so anxious for it to snow. With grass still showing, they suited up and headed out. I had a mommy moment, the kind where your heart smiles and fills with love for your kids. Hunter was carrying McKenna's sled up the hill for her and they were making a train sliding down. Hunter held on behind McKenna. If you didn't know better, you would have thought that they were best friends!

Going on a Tree Hunt

My friend called to let me know that the pharmacy she works at would be having a special visitor with free ice cream cones to boot. We decided to stop by on the way to getting our Christmas tree. McKenna was nervous when she saw Santa so Hunter paved the way. He has been skeptical this year and accused Santa of being a fraud because he was wearing a watch and there were no reindeer in the parking lot. Of course, he didn't say that to Santa's face.

I found a different Christmas tree farm this year because the trees at the last farm were sad looking and it was far away. I must say that it felt unusual to not have snow on the ground this time around. Not that I am complaining! In fact, a few inches dropped later in the day.

We stole Beth and Matt's tradition of holding hands around the Christmas tree and singing "Oh Christmas Tree." The kids are just hugging it here.

I was there too.

Free hayride and Christmas sausage dogs.

Time to set it up! Turn on the music and start feeling Christmas in your bones.

Reagan doing her part.

I don't know how RJ remembered whose turn it was to put the angel on top but apparently it was McKenna's. Now we are ready for Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Snap Shot Moments

One night, I got home late and caught these two passed out on the couch. It looks like McKenna was mid-bite a granola bar.
McKenna put this outfit together even though we are at below freezing now. She said she wants to be sixteen. Oh great! Come to find out, she wants to be sixteen to be bigger than the neighbor girl.

What more can I say? Reagan is a ray of sunshine in this home. I wish I could be more like her in finding joy in simple things.