Friday, December 27, 2013


This year we tried hard to focus on Christ, explaining that his birth was the reason for our celebration.  Using an advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas, each day we read parts of the story of Christ's birth, followed by the chocolate treats from their calendars.  Not sure how we will get them to read the scriptures from now on, but candy definitely did the trick in December.

Our ward party did a great job of setting the scene and making the story come to life.

We also had several celebrations with family.  The first came last Sunday at Sandy's house.  We had our traditional Chinese dinner (not sure how that one started) followed by playing the game "Celebrity" and then our white elephant exchange.

Google auto-awesomed a few pictures of the tree and made it twinkle.  Magic. :)
(Especially since I don't remember them actually twinkling in person.)

Tom brought a book to keep himself entertained. 
I told him I am going to start taking a picture of him with his book
at each gathering so that I can keep track of the years by what he is reading. 
I'm happy to say that he didn't get very far into it this time.

Somebody has been playing with fireplace tools. 
Thank you, Rachel, for cleaning him up.

I insisted on having chopsticks for the meal.
Much to my surprise, both of my kids used them with no problem.

See?  They did better than many of the adults.

Ethan, Phoebe and Johnny shared the couch, as always.

Wyatt came for the first time in a few years.  It was great to see him.
While we could see Emma in person, it's not so easy here because
I was taking pictures in the dark without a flash, so any movement causes blur.

I think the blur that Phoebe is holding is an EZ Foot scrubber.

View from the hearth: Ellie, Sandy, Cole and Megan

A less (although still) blurry shot of Emma shows her opening a frog pillow pet.
 I tried to get my kids to steal this, but they kept finding things that
they liked even better, like that giant stuffed zebra that Ellie
grabbed up, or the match box cars that Tommy went for.

Bridget came with us so that we didn't have to leave her home alone.

Johnny put Ellie up on his shoulders even though she was eating.
Now that's cousin love!

Just chillin'.  Sandy, congratulations for fitting your butt in the tall chair!

John, I think shaking the presents before choosing is cheating.
And cameras don't lie.

Rachel with her blurry friend Nate.
The cheese balls came home with me.
On Christmas Eve, we spent time with Grandma and Grandpa Selvage.
Another auto-awesomed Christmas tree.  I have to admit this one needed it. :)

This little elf is awesome all by herself.
No assistance from Google needed.

Tommy added his own lighting accent by finding Grandpa's flashlight again. 
It's his favorite thing to do here, surpassing even Christmas gift opening.

Grandma Selvage loves giving gifts, so Christmas is the perfect holiday for her.

Tommy really liked Ellie's new doll.  Or at least the stroller it came in.
 Ellie was nice and let him have a turn, but it wasn't easy for her to get it back from him.

Finally, with quite a bit of intervention,
Ellie gets her doll and stroller back.

Every year we have taken their picture together in this chair.
Then Christmas Day, we stayed in for time with just our family.
The first thing Ellie headed for this morning was the new doll stroller from last night, but she soon discovered the new table and chairs serving up their favorite food: French fries and "che-chup".  Note that she is keeping one hand on the cart full of groceries.  Lesson learned from sharing last night.

Tommy kept neglecting his own gifts, leaving them unopened in a pile while he took care of opening everyone else's gifts.  Here, he raided Tom's stocking for a chocolate bar.

Wheels, wheels, wheels.  Our house turned into a race track, with the kids chasing each other all over for about an hour.  They switched babies and transportation regularly and kept me guessing as to which one they would have on each round through the living room.

Is it my imagination, or is the doll laughing too?

I think the animal Ellie spies here is Bridget.
Google "auto-awesomed" a summary of my year from the photos that I uploaded.  I thought it was pretty cute, so here it is for you to enjoy...


Friday, December 20, 2013

Rest in Peace, Scout

First day in my new home

Is something backwards in this picture?

Scout spied a cat at Grandma & Grandpa's house.

Love at home.

Our first family portrait.

Feeling a little lazy today.

Scout was always looking for a chin rest.


Best Buddies

Humiliations galore

Scout can't find the chimney. He's searching for other avenues of escape.

Little lap dog

With Bridget

My menfolk

New family member, new family portrait.

Please, please, please can I have a Snickers.

Keeping me company on bedrest.

Going for a walk.  They would make good sled dogs.

The joyful part of doggy walks - the poop bag.

Something smells funny here.

A little to the left.  No lower.  Now to the right.

Hello, Ellie.

Waiting for his piece of birthday cake.  Or that cheese curl.