December 31, 2008

Amy is in Taiwan!!!

Yesterday was a very busy day helping Amy get ready for her 6 month trip to Taiwan. We sort of put the packing and getting ready part on hold during all the Christmas the past few days have been a little crazy trying to get everything ready. But she is there safe and sound. We got a text from her about 4pm today saying she had arrived in Taipei and everything was great! I was so relieved to get that text and know that she is off the plane and safely there, even though it is half way around the world. Just a few minutes ago Allyn received a call from the Taiwan Temple President saying that Amy was there with a group but needed approval from her Stake President because she had forgotten her recommend. Allyn was happy to give his approval and excited to know that Amy was right there with the Temple President. It is about three in the afternoon tomorrow in Taiwan. She completely skipped December 31st! Amy is doing what she loves and seeing the world. We are so happy for her and excited to hear about all of her adventures and experiences as she enjoys this wonderful opportunity. We love you Amy!!!

Happy New Year and may 2009 bring peace, happiness, and lots of love to everyone...

December 26, 2008

I Love Christmas

Christmas is my ultimate, very favorite time of the year. I have taken so many pictures that my computer froze up while trying to download them all! I Love Christmas. Giving, sharing, joy, goodies, family times, love, memories, reminiscing, & most of all celebrating the birth of our beloved Savior are a few of the reasons why.
Here is a little recap of the past couple of days...

Tuesday night our whole neighborhood gathered at the Hodson's home to make 400 sack lunches and about 50 warm fleece scarves. Then we all met in the cul-de-sac Christmas Eve morning and followed each other (there was about 40 of us) downtown to deliver them to the homeless. It is so good for all of us to give and just love people...I always have tears in my eyes and feel our Saviors love for all of God's children no matter what our circumstances or situation may be.
Our wonderful neighbors Keri and Nick started this tradition 5 years ago. It is something we all look forward to and truly makes our Christmas. After one of the first years doing this, Keri gave each family a magnet that says, "We do not remember days...we remember moments".
These are moments we cherish and will always remember.

Right after, our family drove to Allyn's mom's home to wish her a Merry Christmas... We love you Grandma S.

The kids got to see Grandma's 40 year old record player (that still works!) They had never seen a record before!

Christmas morning we waited until Kaden came home from his Dad's house and then the customary pose on the staircase before running in to see what Santa brought. Amy and Ally think that it is very cool to still get Santa gifts in their 20's. (There are perks to not getting married too young!)

The tandem bike was the coolest gift under the tree!!! They ran out in the rain to try it out!

Kaden loves his Football Nutcracker! But his favorite gift was his new BLOG that Aunt Jennie set up for him...

About 10am we got a call from Brian and Leah from the hospital emergency room...AGAIN! Our little Olivia was bitten by a dog. They had to rush to the emergency room and she had to have minor surgery to repair the dog bites on her eye and lip. Oh, our hearts broke for our sweet Livie. We all cried and prayed and cried some more. We received updates from Brian all day... and with sweet, tender mercies from God the surgery went well and Olivia was able to go home about 4pm. They didn't feel like celebrating Christmas and Olivia slept the rest of the day, so tomorrow we are having a special celebration just for her. We are all so sad that it happened, but very grateful that she is going to be OK. Once again, please keep Leah, Brian and their children in your prayers. We love you Livie XO...Get all better really soon!
We missed having Caleb, Olivia, Tiana and Brian here so much!
We love you guys!!!!!!

Taylor was spoiled with three American Girl dolls! (2 of them were passed down from Aunt Amy!)

Jackson's favorite present was a new "Blanky Blue"! His old one was ripped and a little bit worn out...he was always sneaking away Levi's. I got not one, but two huge hugs from Jackson and the biggest smile ever!

Ally gave Amy a cute umbrella made in Taiwan...
Amy leaves for Taiwan on Tuesday!!!
Amy gave Ally a huge box with travel tips and supplies...
Allyson leaves Jan. 5th for Spain!!!

At about 3pm my whole family came over...well almost everyone, Lisa is in Utah and Steve is in California (we missed you guys and your families & wished you were here!) We had a big dinner, visited and enjoyed being together.

The highlight of the day was the nativity story put on by the kids. Taylor was Mary, Kaden was Joseph and Jackson was a shepherd. Kate was of course an angel and Levi was the baby Jesus. (Caleb was going to be a wise man and Olivia the shining star...we missed you two!)
After, we all sang Silent Night with Uncle Scott and shared a few tears as we celebrated the true meaning of Christmas.

December 20, 2008

Grandkids Sleepover!

Last night was the Fourth Annual Grandkids Sleepover. It has become a great tradition that all the kids really look forward to. This year was our biggest yet with six grandkids and our sweet neighbor Abby too. We started the night with their favorite dinner... Pizza! Then we were off to the Barnes family annual Train Party. (They put up the coolest train ever! It takes up a whole room!!!) Then Grampa Al drove us all around looking at Christmas lights while we sang Christmas songs...the unanimous favorite for the evening was Rudolph! When we got home they got to open their sleepover gifts... each year the girls get a snow globe and the boys a nutcracker. Then everyone changed into their PJ's and we made gingerbread houses and decorated cookies.
We all snuggled up and read one of our favorite Christmas stories, "Christmas Oranges"... and then had ice cream (we were supposed to have hot chocolate, but the kids voted for ice cream instead).
The little ones all went to bed while the big kids stayed up to watch Miracle on 34th Street. After waffles, bacon and eggs for breakfast the kids all made a cute Santa craft... and then went outside for a game of tag and trampoline fun with Aunt Amy (she got home from Germany just in time!)

Wheeeeeuuuuuu!!! Needless to say Grampa Al and I are a weee bit tired... but happy to have such a fun tradition with the kiddos.

Here are a couple of pictures from past Grandkid's Sleepovers...