Lindsey's gymnastics "Mini Meet" & other FUN pics!

We have had some fun events recently! It has been busy but so fun. I know my posts are always a long time coming but...oh well! Forgive me all you daily bloggers! :) First off, Allison is CRACKING ME UP!!! I finally got this on camera. She loves to get in BJ's closet & peek around to the mirror smiling and say "Hello" then giggle & do it over and over again!

Such a cutie! Look at that long pony tail? :)

She discovered some silly things to do with herself & the mirror. Do you like the children's floss green things sticking out of her mouth? She thought she was so funny!

Mirrors are so fascinating!! She just giggled & giggled after finding her tongue!

Here is Lindsey & I at her 1st grade's annual "Grandparent Tea" day. It really is a cute day that the children plan for the special grandparents in their life (& also fun for the parents!). They sang songs & presented all the projects they had worked on in preparation for this special day. Lindsey's grandparents live pretty far away so they couldn't make it but she received letters from them telling stories of when they were her age. Priceless! I'm so impressed with our elementary school & the effort they take into creating memorable projects/events for the kids. This event was a celebration of family & ancestors & what we can learn from them. So cute!

Here is Lindsey with her teacher & some of her favorite friends.

Just a random picture of Allie :)

Just when we are tempted to "give away" a toy (in this case this play kitchen which has been loved & played with since Loren was 4!) it is brought back to life in full force! Allison can't get enough of it. She "organizes" play food & loves showing each of us that she can say what she is holding--bread, juice, turkey, eggs. She is loving to tell us every word she knows! One of the cute things she says is "Oh Man!" from Swiper the Fox (Dora) & when someone in the family is tickling her or chasing her & say's, "Silly Allie", she'll say, "Silly Lo Lo" (Loren) or "Silly Daddy" or "Silly Mommy" in her cute little voice. :) She is a talker & is such a joy!

Jake is computer man! He clicks & clicks without care of the consequences. But, he is also really good at maneuvering the mouse to play his new games. He loves to sneak and play a computer game (Christmas present & new form of contention in our house!). We've discovered the BIG need to set time limits. BJ say's Jake has discovered things he's never seen before (because he clicks lot's of things that weren't intended to be clicked) He's 4! What is this kid going to be like as a teen! I didn't have a computer in the house until I was in high school I think! I remember typing out my papers & using lot's of white out and I'm not that old!

Lindsey posing at the end of the mini meet...every gymnast got a medal :)

Lindsey is front & center. So flexible. We don't know where this came from! They'll hold splits positions & Lindsey will be giggling. BJ & I just cringe as we watch her sometimes. A good way to get laughs from her teammates & coaches is when she sits on the floor with legs straight & together in front then she reaches & picks up her feet with her thighs still laying flat on the floor. What's that all about?! :)

In the splits & stretching out the neck. She's in the front with head all the way back.

Linds on the beam. This is the event that scares me to death! Well, Lindsey did great. She performed in front of about 200 people. It was really low-key & fun. Lindsey can't get enough of gymnastics & it's been fun to see her develop great self-confidence. She loves to condition & tells us that she has to work hard to get better..."maybe I'll be on t.v. someday Mom & get a medal". That library movie of "The Greatest America Gymnasts" was watched MANY times. Oh boy...
I'm so excited to discover that I can upload videos! So here is Lindsey on her bar, floor & beam routine at the Mini Meet. She is 6! We are proud of her & her hard work. It sure is fun to watch! I've seen these routines done MANY times in practice & perhaps a little smoother but what I LOVE is for example on the beam--Lindsay loses balance & hops right back on to do the move again & get it right! She could have skipped it & continued but she was determined to get it & do it! I love that. Enjoy!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Years everyone! It has been FOREVER since I've blogged about our family! Sorry! This holiday season was probably the busiest we have ever had! Some things had to slide until the New Year and one of those things was my blog! Next Christmas I'm determined to start everything earlier & plan better! I think I always say that but never do!! I really will next time! It was all worth it but it definitely was a crazy, busy time!

Our holiday was wonderful, filled with many memories & events. We were so blessed to be able to be with so many members of our family. Love them all so much!!

I really love Christmas time. I LOVE getting in touch with old friends as well as new friends & family members & giving & receiving Christmas cards with family updates & pictures. I love getting the home decorated for Christmas & planning & attending Christmas activities & gift giving. I love planning Christmas for my family & feeling of their excitement & anticipaton. I love the stories, thoughts & reminders of the birth of our Savior & of His life & realizing again how blessed I am to have the gospel in my life. Christmas time is a busy time but is also so magical & wonderful. I love to share this holiday with those we love!

The Christmas magic really began with Santa visiting Jake's preschool. Jake was so thrilled to sit on his lap & tell him what he wanted--a remote control car. Santa was so fun & kind. Jake still treasures the picture Santa gave all the children. This was such a fun day!

Christmas morning...Loren was so excited to find High School Musical treasures. She got an MP3 player to rock out to all the songs. Car rides will never be the same!
Lindsey asked Santa for a new bike! It was so cute, all the kids wrote letters to Santa & taped them on the fireplace, every day we'd see the letters placed a little differently on the fire place. The were proud of their work & so excited for Christmas. Lindsey wrote two letters. One letter thanking Santa for the presents last year & a new letter asking for a new bike & petshops.

Allison loved her new baby
and all the STARBURSTS she could get her hands on! She calls them "nanny" for candy. Lindsey thinks it's so funny that Allison loves candy so much and so she sneaks it to her when I'm not looking. Ahhh! Besides the addiction ,Allie loves to suck on things and then throw them anywhere she likes--this includes all fruit and vegetables (she especially likes to nibble on carrots & spit it out or bananas). I've found many slimey surprises! If I can catch her quick enough I can convince her to chew it a little more or throw it in the garbage (which she calls "garby"). Running, while yelling out "garby!" & then getting to open the lid & watch the item fall into the hole is her favorite thing to do these days! Oh, except jumping on the tramp. She is really getting good at it. Lindsey is currently teaching her to do better somersaults too & to "stick it!" Yes, gymnastics is a big thing around our house. We won't be surprised if little Allie does gymnastics too...

Jake's remote control car. Go Santa! Looks pretty excited about it? Oh yeah! BJ would have died for remote control like this as a kid!

We definitely had a High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Petshop Christmas. The girls were in heaven.

Even after getting the kids to rally up the starbursts SEVERAL times that morning, Allie just kept finding them!!!

So easy to please with new jammies!

and Elmo of course! :) Elmo was BJ's best friend too while I was in UT (kidsless!). I better back up. We found out about some family events we didn't want to miss with BJ's family so instead of following our original plan to drive up to Northern Cali late Christmas morning we held a family council & decided to write to Santa and ask if he would please come early this year. Then Lindsey piped in and said, "why don't we ask Santa to come tonight!" (this was Dec. 21st I might add). BJ thought that was the best idea he had ever heard. I was feeling the guilt of course knowing that we'd be there with all the cousins Christmas morning & wondering how our kids would handle watching their cousins open everything in front of them. We thought of taking all the gifts from us up on our trip, but in the end...we just did it all! We've brought Christmas with us before & swore we'd never do it again! So, Santa came after all & after "Christmas" was unwrapped we headed for breakfast at Eggs n Things. A fun treat...that made our Christmas very relaxing. BJ votes we do it early every year! Anyways, after one of the busiest Sunday's ever we piled in the car immediately after Church & made the drive to arrive at BJ's Dad's house 4 hrs later at a house full of all his siblings & their families. The first event of our our trip. My camera was out of battery but it was such a great afternoon & to be with everyone there. The only downfall was the allergic reactions all of our kids had from the animals. All our kids are So allergic to cats & dogs!

Lindsey lost her front tooth...& then lost her other front tooth & loved chanting the words, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!"

Okay, I can't remember if I posted this picture before but this was before Christmas and I was gone. BJ was "watching" the kids. Well, I guess he dozed off & Allison roamed up to the bathroom, climbed into the sink & fell asleep! I've seen her climb into the sink before...such a classic picture...nice one BJ. :)

Christmas morning at the cousins! What a cute group! We were amazed at how great our kids did watching their cousins open all of their gifts. When asked later about it they all agreed that it really wasn't that bad...especially because they got presents from Grandpa & Tammy & then from Grandma & then from Aunt Brookie. They still had presents to open! Not bad!! :)

It was so fun to be there this time for BJ's Dad's party, the Christmas Eve festivities & Secret Santa Exchange among the siblings, spouses & Gma, then Christmas Day and then to top it off- to be there for BJ's Sister's 40th birthday party at BJ's Restaurant. All of BJ's siblings, except one brother who lives in Oregon made it there with their significant other as well as both of his parents. It was a fun night! Great food, tons of laughs! I sat there & realized that in about 10 years I"ll be 40 & Loren will be 18! Yikes! Her 8 yrs has flown by. I hope the next 10 will be a little slower! Wow.
Bj's sister Shannon. Look at that crown! BJ's brother Lane (the brother in Oregon who couldn't make it that night) made this crown out of silver pipe cleaners. Yeah! The creative juices in this family are amazing. Do you see the "S" in the center for "Shannon"? Seriously! :)

So, after all the festivities in Northern California BJ sent me to UT for the weekend so I could be there for my sister Natalie's baby's blessing, KIDSLESS. Something I haven't done since my Grandma's funeral a few years ago. It was so relaxing & so fun to hang with my family for a few days. I got to play "Auntie" for once. After some Cafe Rio, shopping, fun movies & family time I was so relaxed! How grateful I am to have been able to be there for my sister. BJ, stayed in N.Cali with all the kids & drove home after his brother Darren's baby boy was blessed on Sunday. This was my first time away from Allison for more than a night & BJ was a little nervous...but Elmo & milk saved the day. Anytime she'd say, "Mommy" he would say "Elmo" or "Milk" & she was fine. Success!!!
Here are my parents, my sister Natalie & little Ellie. So cute! Me & Ellie.

What do you know, after the blessing & sacrament mtg was over I stood up to leave with my family & saw my friend Monica, one of my best high school buddies, sitting in the back. She & her husband are living in India right now, so I was so excited to see her! What are the chances! They were there visiting for Christmas. This was her husband Bart's family's ward & they had decided to go last minute. I ran into two other guys I knew in high school too. Always happens when you visit UT! Fun times.

Well, to finish up the longest blog ever I wanted to share what I have spent every spare second of Dec. working on, a digital scrapbook for my Mom (& for me & all of my siblings & anyone else in my family who wants it). This is the reason that this holiday season was probably the busiest ever. I was scrambling to get as much of this project done as possible. It took lot's of time, & I was learning how to use photoshop in the process. Photoshop is so fun! One of my favorite things I was able to do was use the "lasso" tool & preserve my Grandmother's writing by cropping out my Grandmother's writing from her original scrapbook & then play it with it & insert it into my book. I can honestly say I'll probably completely convert to digital scrapbooking. Something I thought I'd never do. I've always LOVED to scrapbook, ever since highschool. How wonderful it was to know that I could print off several copies of my work instead of manually putting together several copies to all who wanted this. These pages aren't in order but here are some of the pages I did & presented to my Mom when I got to UT. I've been wanting to do this for a very long time & it is still a work in progress but it has been so rewarding for me. I have loved talking with my grandparents, getting their childhood memories, & memories of their courtship & first years of marriage. To know these stories & to have these pictures are just priceless to me. I had scanned these pictures in UT last summer...all of them being 2in. by 3 in. pictures. I wanted to scan them at a high enough resolution to blow them up & then digitally scrapbook their history & then the life of my Mom. My grandparents came to America from Holland & their story is so amazing. My mom was the first born & was born in California. THey lived all over the world & had so many experiences. I'm excited to document it & have it for my family.
Before our trip to N. Cali I hadn't even gotten to the pictures of my Mom yet so every spare second I had there, I worked on about 4 more pages. I got about 15 done...and have much more to go! So! I'm thrilled that it has been started & now that my mom is in on it I am excited to get her early memories & continue building on this book. I plan to continue with the pictures I have & then build as I get a hold of more pictures. My Mom was so surprised & loved it. Later, when my Grandparents saw it after I had already left they couldn't believe the clarity & to be able to see their pictures so much bigger & edited (thanks to my brother Connor). They loved it & want their own copy. It was SO worth it. SO rewarding! I'm excited to continue the project at a much slower pace :) Here are some of the pages! They are all 12x12 pages. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season & a Happy New Year!

Courtship pictures. They knew eachother from childhood.

Picture taken just after being married.

Their voyage to America. Finally together!

engaged...but my Gpa had to go back to America to save money for my Gma's voyage. They were apart for a year & were married by Proxy.

Honeymoon & actual letter my Gpa wrote my Gma's father about his plans for the future & his love for my Gma.

Their first pictures in America, newly married. They lived in a little trailor right next to Compton College.

My mom was born.

Fun pictures of her as a baby.

These pictures were all so tiny & even a little blurry! It's amazing what you can do!

Good night!!!!