Friday, December 27, 2013

The Not So Memorable but Defintely Not Unforgetable Christmas Trip

We were all loaded and driving by 1 pm Christmas day to Grannie's house.
Alex and Tyler received a camera for the two of them to record all their memories this summer so Tyler did a great job documenting our trip.
Uncle Brenty and Kelly
Grannie's putting together her present from us -- Three Peas in a Pod in Nauvoo
The next morning most all the families headed to Mount Spokane for a skiing adventure.  Aunti Annie was super awesome and borrowed gear for almost all the family.  Everyone had a great day despite the frigid temperatures.  Chloe and I stayed back and played with some of the other cousins at the Children's museum.
Tyler feeling his awesomeness!
I understand Coop was a speed demon by the end of the day -- no fear just plowing straight down the mountain.
Nate and cousin Addi on the lift -- Nate is a good little skier.
This was only Alysee's second time skiing but she skied like a pro.
Hard to beat spending the day with favorite cousins on the mountain!

Alex made this sweet video of the fun day skiing; click here
This picture summarizes the rest of the trip for most of us -- barfing and hanging out on the toilet.  Chloe had had the bug earlier in the week but when she seemed fine we decided to head to Spokane.  By Thursday night I was feeling miserable and it didn't take long for several others to join in on the barfing fun.  It put a major damper on the funness!
On the drive home Birch started feeling nasty so I took over driving (a big deal at our house).  About half way home I ran over something and thought little of it until twenty minutes from town the car started having a scary temper tantrum ON THE HIGHWAY with ME BEHIND THE WHEEL.  Thankfully the angels were watching over us and I pulled over safely to find we had a major flat tire. 
Birch was real thrilled to unload a bunch of the luggage from the car to get to the tools and spare tire and then lay his sickly body on the cold pavement.  Alex did a good job assisting while the rest of us stayed warm in the car.
Tyler's face summarizes the rest of Christmas break for our family.  Barfing...feeling better...and then someone else moaning next to the toilet.  It was real fun!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Dittos!

Santa Has Arrived!!!

Lots of hugging Christmas morning!!!

Alex and Tyler received a really unique way of figuring out what their joint present was this year...a custom puzzle they had to put together.
After some spiritual prompting I received earlier this fall we decided to send Alex, Tyler, and Grannie on a trip to Independence, Nauvoo, and St. Louis.  We're planning on this happening this July.  Birch and I really feel that this trip will help cement their love of the gospel and the early church foundations.

Christmas zooms by at our house when you start at 7 am with stockings, presents, cleaning up, a big brunch, taking down the Christmas tree, and then loading the car to head to Grannie's house.  The good part about it all is that when we return from our trip the kids are super excited to play with their presents!  Fun times!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On the Eve of Christmas

We didn't let anyone down with the Christmas Eve festivities this year.  Gingerbread house decorating, friends, smorgasbord of delicious foods, talent show, and the nativity were all happening at our home.

Let see...Birch requested Mango Salsa, Sara made homemade pizza, Alex dined on fine cheeses and crackers, Tyler requested meatballs, Alysee wet our pallets with Italian Sodas, Nate brought in the tropical side with fresh shrimp and cocktail sauce, Coop kept it real with spicy boneless chicken wings, and Chloe kept us nutty with pistachios.  We had about ten other great additions brought in from the Finch and Jensen families that joined us this year.
This was a real memorable treat...Alysee and Nate performing "What's that smell?"
Chloe showing off her piano talent taught from piano teacher Alysee.
Alex dusted off his trumpet that makes its' debut each Christmas Eve.  We all laughed because he had to go dig up his retainer because the last time he played the trumpet he was wearing his retainer and now he found he couldn't play without it.
Daddy/Daughter musical number.
Tyler and Nate with that 2013 Human Pretzel routine.
Remembering the good ol' newlywed years Birch and I sang, "I'll have a Blue Christmas."
Chloe got a little stage fright while singing.  We missed out totally on Coop's talent this year as he joined on on the stage fright -- it was a bummer because his dance routine was unforgettable!!
My talent was designing this print (replicating it off of something else I had seen) and getting it printed for FREE -- the talent of copying and good deals.
Chloe was thrilled when she pulled the part of "Mary" out of the hat.  Her husband, Joseph was played by Alex this year.
Our wiseman -- Coop and Alysee
The whole 2013 Nativity Cast

I know by now you're really jealous that you were not with us Christmas Eve night.  Never fear we recorded the fun right here:

Monday, December 23, 2013

All Chloe Really Needs To Know She Learned From...


Alysee is an excellent teacher and big sister.  These two girls have a special bond and I hope they stay close forever.  Birch and I were thinking the other day of all the things Alysee has taught Chloe over the years.  As we wrote the list down we question whether we are needed as parents.  The list is long:

  • how to play the piano
  • how to write numbers (Alysee includes motivational prizes like Happy Meals)
  • how to write the alphabet 
  • songs and voice lessons
  • fashion
  • crafts
  • the art of staying up late and sleep in
  • how to do your hair
  • how to make your bed
  • picking out your clothes
  • how to play Barbies
  • a mini preschool for several years which included homework
  • playing church (including how to give a talk)
  • how to read books
  • how to braid
  • mathmatics
  • how to catch bugs
  • how to jump on the tramp without holding your dad's hand
  • how to wipe without using a lot of toilet paper
  • dance routines
 Chloe and Alysee - photo taken July 2013
 Sisters...forever friends!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Breakfast talk at the Dittos

Nate: "Coop, how could you not like eggs?"
Coop: "Because they come out of a chicken's bum."

 Coop - photo taken by the talented Kimberly Greenfield, July 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tyler, a Victorious Season

Tyler was SO excited when he made it on the Junior High basketball team.  They just finished up their season this week UNDEFEATED!!!!!  It was a pretty awesome season!  Tyler made lots of baskets and improved his aggressiveness.  These pictures don't do Tyler justice -- I'm finding indoor lighting with fast moving kids is not my forte with our current lenses.


 Way to be awesome Tyler!!!!  Tyler is passionate about this game just like his Daddy!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bragging Rights

Moms are allowed to brag, right?!! I'm beaming with joy right now as Alex aced the Compass exam today giving him the opportunity to get into college as a high school Junior (next year) in the Running Start program (WA state pays for your associates while a high school student). He was nervous this morning when I took him down to the community college testing center and I made him chant "you is kind, you is smart, you is important." Birch's dad taught me the power of positive self talk. No matter what Alex decides to do next year he is tops in my book!
 Handsome Alex July 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Little Angels

Seems like each day this week we have had a Christmas concert for one of the kids at school.  My favorite would have to be Chloe's kindergarten concert.  The little kids sung like angels and were full of Christmas cheer.
 Super excited to perform!
 My favorite song was "Up on the house top."
Not camera shy!

Chloe's bedtime prayer tonight:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please bless me to not say "liar" anymore. I have a great mom. Bless me to not say "disgusting" anymore. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

This is in response to coming to the dinner table tonight and seeing a delicious dinner and responding, "this meal looks disgusting." She was told tonight if she said the meals I make are "disgusting" that she would automatically get no dessert (which is a big deal around here right now with our daily advent scripture/treat).  Not sure what the deal is about saying "liar."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


As a child I did not believe in Santa Claus.  It was something that my parents felt was important in order to truly know the real meaning of why we celebrate Christmas.  When I married Birch I entered a whole new world of magic at Christmas time.  In 1998, I heard a wonderful talk by James E. Faust where he described the qualities of Santa as, "a joyous individual who is interested in making others happy — who is childlike, simple, humble, sincere, forgiving and giving."  President Faust went on to say, "we can all reach out like Santa Claus and spread happiness to those around us."  Since hearing this talk and having children of my own I have come to a better understanding of Santa and his magic.

We recently had our church Christmas breakfast and one of Santa's special helpers was able to come and visit with each of the kids. 
Chloe in Santa heaven.

So this is where I start to wonder a bit about greed - this is Chloe's BOOK of ideas that she cut, pasted, and mailed to Santa last week.  Again, not growing up believing in Santa I wonder if he appreciated options??
Coop has quite the list himself of gift ideas for Santa.  He was pleased to share them all with Santa.

Nate is the sweetest of them all.  What does he want most for Christmas? -- a trip to Utah to see his best buddy Chase Cox.  Just in case that doesn't work out he's given Santa several other options to choose from.

Alysee was acting as a mother's helper for two little girls that were frightened of Santa.

So greedy or not??  I kind of laugh when I think of our family motto, "An attitude of gratitude" and then check out these mile long lists.  Good thing Santa loves to spread happiness!!