Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter - a week we won't forget

Last year the week before Easter, Alex came home from church and shared that his teacher had asked him what kind of traditions our family had for Easter. He couldn't really think of any other than our annual family Easter Egg hunt. A little later in the week his teacher (and a good family friend of ours) called and invited us to a traditional passover meal to wrap up the special Easter week their family had been having. We went and all really enjoyed the whole event.

This year I decided that I was going to make a change and start a new tradition...a Christ-Centered Easter Week. Even amongst the crazy busy schedule we live we found time each day to think about the true meaning of Easter.
The Sunday before Easter we celebrated Palm Sunday with a nice meal and palm leaves on the table.
Then I presented the L.O.A. (Love One Another) wall -- or at our house three large windows. I got these cool window crayons (that I had to keep hidden until after dinner each night otherwise I know Chloe would have been decorating our house). Each night we each got a turn to write something that we loved about someone in our family on a window.

It really turned out to be a pretty special part of the week.

Sadly I don't have any other pictures to share about the week. Each night we had a special devotional. Monday night was probably the kids' favorite of the whole week -- we talked about Christ serving others and then we filled Easter Eggs with candy and little toys. Then we went and "EGGED" five family's houses with a little sign that said, "You've just been egged!" The kids had so much fun trying to sneak around at each house. Apparently we were not very quiet and were caught at most houses.

The other evenings we shared things about Christ's life and then put a picture up on our wall representing the story in Christ's life that we had discussed. I tried to have some kind of short fun activity each night -- we made edible tombs in two different ways, resurrection cookies, and did a family crossword puzzle another night. Most of the ideas came from HERE and a book called "A Christ Centered Easter" by Janet and Joe Hales.

The end of the week changed a bit with the sudden passing of Birch's aunt and a quick trip that Birch and I made to Oakland for the funeral services. Gratefully my mom and dad we able to rearrange their schedules and come up last minute to stay with the kids and carry on our special Easter week plans.
Birch and I were grateful that we were able to spend a day or two with most of his family and many relatives to celebrate the wonderful life of his aunt. She left behind six beautiful daughters and a madly in-love husband. Having her memorial service the day before Easter brought a whole new meaningful feeling to Christ's resurrection and the promise that families can be together forever!

Sunday morning the kids awoke to "Halleluiah" chorus from The Messiah. After church we celebrated with a traditional meal that might have been eaten at Christ's time. Birch and I caught an early flight out of Oakland so we made it home for the last bit of church and the rest of Easter Sunday.

With the help of my sister, Emily and my mom we served up: barley-lamb stew, homemade pita bread, dates, nuts, lentil soup, grilled tilapia, pomegranate juice, flat bread, honey, sliced veggies, yogurt, hummus, olives, and dried fruit. The kids were all pretty daring to try some new foods and I'm happy to report we all found enough stuff that we liked that we didn't go to bed hungry.

We still had our family Easter egg hunt but really the whole week was special and something we plan on keeping as an annual tradition. It was extra special sharing part of the week with my parents and Emi's family.

I know my Redeemer lives and love me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hard not to love a girl that LOVES life!

This girl is contagious -- she leeks out a love of life! Currently Chloe is IN LOVE with ANYTHING pink, candy, swinging, play dates, Mama Turner, dogs, ANYTHING of Alysee's that she probably shouldn't be playing with, dancing with tutu skirts, not taking naps, coloring, having her nails painted, billions of books in her bed at night, giving kisses, Dora and Strawberry Shortcake, and fruit snacks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Older than snot but still so young in heart and body

Most people couldn't say this line and be referring to their kids GREAT Grandparents -- I can! Recently my Grandma and her husband Rudy drove from Salt Lake City to visit most all the great grand kids. Our kids all get so excited when they come to visit. They bring fun little gifts, lots of laughter, someone to read endless stories to them, and even a trip to McDonalds. Seriously how many 80+ year old's demand that they are going to take all six kids plus one cousin to McDonalds so that both sets of parents can go out for a date?!! The kids had the best time at McDonalds with Grandma and Rudy and they were delighted that they got to order whatever they wanted plus dessert. What a treat!
I enjoyed the day time when I didn't have to share them with all the kids. We went with Emi and Ryan to the park and basked in the sun. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with my grandparents and also so grateful that my kids are able to spend time with them and get to know them.
My grandma was a hair dresser for like EVER. We took advantage of her great skills and had her trim up Chloe's long locks.
I had to include this picture of Ryan -- he's like the best uncle! Look how he is even willing to wear Chloe's head band.
Rudy and Chloe were two peas in a pod.
Rudy had a captive audience for over an hour while he shared his scrapbook of my grandma and Rudy's recent trip to Egypt and Jerusalem.
Having a bad hair day, no time to fix your worries. My grandma has the best idea -- check out that cute pink fluffy "hat."

Love you Grandma and Rudy!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Camps+Sewing+Climbing+Surprises=Spring Break

Spring Break at the Ditto's house should go down as a week to be remembered. It started out with most of the kids doing a three day camp.
Alex and Nate participated in a baseball camp put on by the high school baseball team. Although they were not really together for most of the camp part it was still a bonding experience for the two of them.
Alysee and Coop went to a Gymnastics/Art n' Craft Camp. Both kids were in heaven having a morning filled with gymnastics lessons, making fun crafts, and running around having fun together.
Tyler did a cross county camp with the local high school track team. Tyler competed in the hurdles, 100 meter, and relay portion of the track meet. He did AWESOME!!
Thursday was a designated sewing with mom day. I had bought fleece for each of the kids to sew a little blanket for themselves. Each of the kids really enjoyed making their blanket.
Nate was quite the seamstress.
The final products! We have a movie night and all the kids loved snuggling with their new blankets.

Friday afternoon Birch took off half of the day and we all headed to The Feathers in Vantage, WA to go rock climbing.
Alex lead climbed the first climb to set everything up for the rest of us.
Alex on top.
Alysee was crazy good!
Check out Alysee's moves!
Chloe is an obsessive climber. As soon as she descends she asks to go again.
Proud Daddy!
Cooper was much more brave this time climbing. He was still nervous but it actually looked like he was enjoying himself.
Nate...he is passionate at all he does, rock climbing is no difference. He's like an animal.
Way to go Nate!
Birch got to climb a bit, belayed a lot, and was the designated...
Portable Toilet Kit
toilet man. We seriously just bought this toilet set up to take climbing with us. Over the four hours we were climbing I think Birch had to help half of the kids go poop while hanging their little bums over a rock edge. We're excited to try our porta-toilet seat next time we go climbing.
Tyler is steady and muscular on the rocks. He loves to climb!
I climbed once but spent the rest of the time balaying, frantically making sure that Chloe wasn't going to fall off the side of the cliff, and feeding the endlessly hungry kids.

I made this fun movie with lots more pictures and video clips from our day climbing. It is about 12 minutes long.

I still think it is kind of crazy that we all enjoy this activity.

After we all piled back in the car we took the kids out to dinner at a nearby Mexican Restaurant. Then we did something sneaky...

I surprised the kids with the movie "Tangled"-- after popping it in the DVD player instead of driving home we drove to Spokane. Buried below all our rock climbing gear were suitcases and sleeping bags. The kids had NO clue!!! They had all been begging to go to Spokane and see their Grannie and cousins--Birch and I did an expert job lying and told them that it wouldn't work this Spring Break. We even decided to surprise Grannie too.

As we drove into Spokane only Chloe started to question our location. Are we at our house?, Chloe would ask. Is this **(our hometown)? Am I going to sleep in my bed tonight? Meanwhile the rest of the kids were glued to the video screen and had no clue. They were so excited when we drove into Grannie's house but were also a little worried about what they were going to wear for the weekend.
Birch loved holding his little niece Savannah.
All the girl cousins were in heaven together.
Chloe loved cousin Lucy.
Chloe was glued to Uncle Ryan and Aunti Blayre.
Blayre planned a super fun Girl Night at her house. Since the little girls were a bit too small to stay the night Blayre painted all their toes before leaving with the older cousin girls.
Blayre had such a fun night planned. The girls all made homemade ice cream, painted their toes, watched a movie together, and giggled until the wee hours of the morning. Blayre and Ryan are so much fun with the kids!

We all enjoyed attempting to watch General Conference together--always a challenge with that many little kids running around. It was such a special weekend!

I think this goes down as a Spring Break to be remembered!!!