Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pinewood Derby 2016

 Oh, the Pinewood Derby....the kids love it soooo much. This year they made a point of including the siblings, and Rachel was the only girl to build a car to race.

The kids all did well--though there was definitely some pressure to live up to their success last year.

 Rachel placed second among the siblings!
 Aaron placed second in his age and third overall:)
And somehow I didn't get a decent shot of Nathan...he just won't slow down long enough!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Alexia's Wedding

Love in definitely in the air this February...two of Christian's sisters are getting married this month! (In Utah...three weeks apart...) Last weekend, Christian and I got to fly to Utah to spend a few days with family and celebrate Alexia's wedding.

We flew in Wednesday evening. The fantastic Mitchell family agreed to watch our kids for the weekend, so we could go knowing that our kids would be fine (in fact, they probably had at least as much fun as we did). On Thursday morning, we went to the Provo City Center Temple Open House with Adam, Andrew, and Grandpa. It was so beautiful! The things I was most impressed with were the impressive details, the colorful decor, and the elements that reflected the building's previous life as the Tabernacle. In our early married years, we often went to the Tabernacle for stake conference, and we sang in stake choir from the choir seats. The narrow, super tall hallways reflected its history. It was so nice to be there with family!

Afterwards, we headed back to Adam and Jennie's house where we (mainly Christian) began work decorating their gym for the Friday night open house. They strung lights across the room and draped tea lights over the dessert table. It was kind of amazing how the gym became a warm and lovely reception room.

Thursday evening we drove up to Provo for a quick visit to the BYU bookstore (Jamba Juice, chocolate covered cinnamon bears for the Mitchells) and the BYU art museum, where we saw the Norman Rockwell exhibit--again, so cool to see in person! I know of him as an illustrator, but in person you could see the artistry behind his work. I really need to go to more art exhibits.
Next, we drove up past the point of the mountain (really, the roundish-curve of the mountain--no more point!) to Crown Burger, where we met my Dad and brother, Kevin, for chili fries and pastrami burgers. We sat and talked for over two hours!

Friday morning we woke up early to go to the temple. We headed to the fairly new Payson temple--I wanted to see inside! When we got back, Christian went back to helping while I slipped away for a haircut and my first ever highlights! All the important things... That afternoon, DeAnn and I also got our nails done and had lunch at Costa Vida:)
Are hairdresser photos every flattering?
If only I actually knew how to style my hair like this...but I love the brighter color:)

We had a few crazy hours trying to get the final details done on the gym, but it looked amazing when it was all done. The family of Alexia's fiance, Levi, came with gorgeous flowers and lots of fun details to finish it off. The Open House went well--lots of family and friends from the area.
Super cool pallett and flower backdrop...with hanging tea lights thanks to Christian and Adam and their ingenuity...
Saturday morning, we drove up to Salt Lake City for the wedding. We were so happy to see Alexia happy. Alexia is the oldest of the sisters, but sibling number 9 of 13, and she's waited and planned a long time for this day. It was fun to have so much family together! Pictures around the temple, lunch at the Joseph Smith Building...
The next bride-to-be...Bethany and her fiance, Derek.
Cute nieces (Eliza, Lucy, Alice,...and a Shumway niece:)
cute nephews (Sammy, Andrew)
brothers (Peter, Jonathan, Christian)
cute Grandpa
Alexia and Levi
8 of the 13 siblings (Adam, Catherine, Christian, Alexia and Levi, Jonathan, Bethany, Daniel, and Peter)
The final event was a reception Saturday evening at the Publik Coffee Warehouse. Alexia had a grand plan to turn a rustic/industrial empty warehouse/reception room into a super cool party room. We spent a few hours wondering what to do and a few hours actually setting up, but once again it all miraculously came together. She had a very cool live band and photo booth, as well as Utah-themed food--with a twist (green jello became pistachio pudding, funeral potatoes became yummy fried potato patties).

Leland is a viking.
The empty warehouse, about to be transformed...
must have rustic/reclaimed wood
Don't all coffee warehouses have greenery hanging from the ceiling? And cool french revival furniture?
We were sad to head to the airport that night, but it was a weekend well spent. We would have been even more sad had we realized we were heading into the worst flight ever. Right before we boarded, Christian began to feel weird, and soon after we got on the plane it became VERY clear that he was began a very long 4 1/2 hour flight. By the end, we were both officially ill. We still had another short flight home from Philidelphia, and then we crashed for 2 1/2 days. On the plus side, we both lost several pounds!
While its a bit crazy having two weddings so close together, it really is nice to have Bethany's wedding to look forward to!

And.... more pictures...

A fun game called "Add-a-son"

See Adam?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Spring Sports

Rachel competed in the local Special Olympics again this year. She had a great experience last time--despite the awful weather and freezing temps. This year the weather was just about perfect. We deliberately came late because last year we seemed to wait around forever without any real purpose. Rachel competed in three events--softball throw, standing long jump, and 50 yard dash, and she got three medals, including gold in the 50 yard dash. I really like that they go out of their way to provide medals for as many people as possible. I also like that its good practice for when she (hopefully) decides to do track someday.

The boys and Rachel did Spring soccer, as well. I was really proud of them--they all learned a lot!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Rachel is 11!

For Rachel's birthday this year, we decided to do a mini-cousin swap. We like to meet at the Wendy's in Youngstown...not sure the people who work there like it quite as much, because our kids can get pretty loud:)
This time, I took Karen back with me and I sent Hannah, Nathan, and Aaron up to Ohio. Pretty good deal, I'd say.

Plus, it was so good for these two to have some time together. They are spending lots of time online chatting together, playing games and writing stories. I love that they are friends.

 Christian made them fun shaped pancakes for breakfast, and helped them build a huge blanket fort in the basement.
 On Saturday we took the girls to Sky Zone.
 We drove up to Madison on Sunday to swap back, and had a yummy cake for Rachel and Uncle Jonathan. Why can't Rachel do a normal face for pictures???
 On her actual birthday, we did Joker's Cafe, which is becoming a regular tradition.

 Daddy was the server, while I prepped the plates in the kitchen.
 Her homemade cake was a bit of a disaster, but we were all so full, we didn't really mind.
Happy birthday, Crazy girl!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Look at me, posting again!

Last Saturday we took the kids to a Hibachi restaurant. Its something Christian has wanted to do for a long time, as much for the entertainment as for the food. The kids loved it.
There is a new place open by the mall. We went for lunch, and even brought the neighbor kid, Titan, who refused to eat anything (even the Sprite the chef wanted to quirt in his mouth). Our chef, who called himself Harry, as in Harry Potter, was awesome, the best I've seen, especially in how he included the kids. His cooking/show had lots of fire, including lighting his hat on fire. (The boys loved that when they told him his hat was on fire, he said, 'I don't care.' Then they had to figure out how he did the trick.) Harry asked Aaron to come behind the grill and try flipping an egg. Aaron didn't want to, but Nathan was happy to try. He got to use the flat spatula to try and catch an egg spinning on the grill and flip it up in the air. He did a great job--despite ended up with some scrambled egg.

The chef also chopped up bits of brocoli and had each of us try to catch it in our mouths. If we caught it, he's give us a squirt of Sprite (tried to give us Saki--had to explain we don't drink!). I'm proud to say I caught mine in the second try! Rachel, Nathan, and Aaron also caught it.