December 31, 2008

Not Quite Child Abuse

Despite what it looks like, the children all had a great time sledding at Big Hollow Park on the 27th. This activity was the precursor to the "family orchard" dip party that we held at our house in celebration of Christmas. I didn't get to go sledding, but my brother, Lance, got some great pictures that helped make me feel like I was a part of all the excitement. And, like I said earlier, everyone said they had a great time. After all, they were there for an hour and a half. We're just fortunate that nobody had to visit the emergency room!

This post authored by Amber

Adrenaline Junkies...

...I think that's what I am bringing up in my home sometimes. This is how Brevin and Spencer spent a majority of their time on the day after Christmas--tied to the back of Grandpa Park's four-wheeler, sledding through the streets. Needless to say, they were nearly frozen through when they finally decided to come inside!

This post authored by Amber

December 30, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

Like many Christmas mornings before it, this one started early (a little too early for my liking, considering how the night previous fared for Garrett)! Brevin and Spencer quickly pounced on the gifts, to find that they received all that they wanted...and then some. Meanwhile, Garrett was content just trying to shove bits of wrapping paper into his mouth.

After we got ourselves ready for the day (2:30 pm), we headed to Grandma and Grandpa Park's home for loads of holiday food accompanied by a marathon of board games.

The final touch to our memorable day was the incredible snowfall that came around in the evening. Just like the ending of the movie that was in non-stop syndication for 24 hours ("A Christmas Story"), Jason and I enjoyed looking out of the window at the thick flakes that seemed to insulate our home with a soft quietness. A perfect ending to a perfect day!

This post authored by Amber

Christmas Eve Traditions

Something Old:

We let the boys open one gift on the night of Christmas Eve. They should not have been surprised to find new pajamas to wear. We've been doing this for several years now.

Something New:

Before we sent Brevin and Spencer off to bed, we had a birthday cake for Jesus. I got the idea from the Friend magazine and I happened to have a new frosting recipe that I was dying to try. The boys really enjoyed it and I think it helped to reinforce the reason we celebrate in the first place. I think this "new tradition" is a definite keeper.

(I don't have anything to say about borrowed or blue. I hope that doesn't disappoint anyone too much.)

This post authored by Amber

December 22, 2008

Snowmen at Night

Last Friday was shaping out to be one of those days where, in desperation, I surrendered to the need to fix pancakes for dinner. Yes, "breakfast for dinner" is turning out to be a popular standby lately (we do it more than I would like to admit). But this time I gave it a twist to bring back that feeling of novelty to the practice. Feeling a bit inspired by the several snowstorms of late, I fashioned snowmen pancakes with separate hats and scarfs. Everyone got to add their own chocolate-chip accessories (notice the excessive amount of buttons on Brevin's snowman). I felt the final product was picture (and blog) worthy.

For a bedtime story, the boys wanted to read this darling book:

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All I Want for Christmas

Well, it may not be exactly what Garrett wants, but it's what he is going to get, that's for sure! On Thursday I noticed a slight discoloration on his gums. That's right...he'll be getting his two front teeth for Christmas!

It was no small feat to get a picture of his open mouth, but if you look at the picture closely you can see the little buggers.

This post authored by Amber

December 17, 2008

I'm Telling You Why!

Brevin had been wanting to write a letter of intent to Santa Claus for some time now. I just couldn't get it together enough to help that happen. I suppose the next best thing is to make your wishes known in person, so that is just what we did.

The boys donned their Santa hats and we headed to Santa's most recently known location, the Provo Towne Center Mall. This was the same place we managed to catch the jolly old fellow last year, so when Brevin approached him he asked, "Santa, do you remember me?" Santa quickly (and I would add, cunningly) responded, "Why yes, but you've grown a bit since I saw you last!"

Picture taking ensued, then of course the usual conversation of "what would you like for Christmas" and so on. Brevin informed Santa that he wants a Ripstick. Santa counseled that he would first need a helmet, knee pads, and the like. Spencer shyly asked for Hulk Smash Hands and a Hulk mask to go with them. They talked of cookies and carrots on Christmas eve, and Santa quizzed Brevin on his knowledge of reindeer names. I believe he named six of the nine. Yes, the visit was everything the boys had hoped for, and what they talked about all day!

Oh, and don't be surprised if you find the above picture on all Christmas correspondence for a full year. Isn't it awesome!

This post authored by Amber

Lights on Temple Square

After we paid a visit to the cemetery to visit Brad's graveside, we proceeded to head south to Salt Lake City. Photographs were taken in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial building and then we went to dinner at the Lion House.

Following dinner, we made our way through the grounds of the plaza and onto Temple Square. The fresh snow added to the brilliant effect of lights, luminaries, and nativity displays.

Unfortunately, some lights were viewed at a frantic pace while we searched the crowds for Brevin, who was temporarily separated from our large group as we transitioned to a new location. (The same thing happened last year. You would think we would learn to watch our children more carefully)! Amid all the excitement, we captured some stunning pictures.

To see more pictures of our weekend experience, go here.

This post authored by Amber

Feats of Strength

While at Sophie's party, Brevin and Spencer enjoyed the challenge Grandpa Funk offered to try and get a bouncy ball out of his grasp. They worked at it for quite some time before Grandpa allowed the boys to succeed. Then with staggered breathing from the exertion of their play, Spencer pronounced, "Man! Grandpa's tough!"

I'll tell you boys this: don't ever get into a tug of war, arm wrestle, hugging contest, etc. with Grandpa Funk unless you are prepared for a whippin'! Enjoy this video of Brevin and Spencer's determined, yet futile attempts!

This post authored by Amber

A Party for Sophie

Last weekend was completely jam-packed with family activities (as you will shortly see with numerous posts forthcoming), one of which was Sophie's third birthday party.

We had traveled to Farr West Friday evening for a professional photography session followed by a briefing and power point presentation by my father on the details concerning Brad's plane accident. Our discussion of the crash took us well into the night--well, I guess I should say morning, since it was after midnight before we made the one and a half-hour drive home.

We turned around and came back the next day, through a pretty hefty snowstorm, so we could celebrate Sophie's "Dora, Princess, Airplane" party. It was frosty outside, but in the house was a warm bustling of activity paired with delightful conversation and delectable food. And yes, the cupcakes were as delicious as they were beautiful!

This post authored by Amber

A Favorite Age and Stage

There is just something wonderful about a seven-month-old baby! With all of my children, it has been one of my favorite developmental stages. Is it because baby begins to sleep better through the night? Perhaps. Almost everything is more enjoyable when your sleep becomes less fragmented and more consolidated. Maybe it is the increased expressive nature of the baby without the loss of the adorable baby face appearance that makes seven months ideal, or it could be the fact that they finally master sitting upright, allowing for a new view of their world that can be discovered on a more independent level. Here's the key, though: they are still not mobile enough to make you overly cautious about their exploits or give you "a run for your money" (whatever that is supposed to mean. I'm always chasing after boys, and there is rarely any money involved)! At any rate, maybe this is the real reason for my delight:

I mean, really--what's not to love about a face like that!

This post authored by Amber

Grandma's Christmas Boxes

Grandma Park started a holiday tradition some years ago when she bought an advent gift box with 25 small drawers. Originally the boxes were used to hold small gifts that were taken out each day until Christmas, but it has evolved into a treasure hunt of sorts for the grand kids. Each child has three random drawers assigned to them. They look on a chart that has their name listed along with the three numbers. They cover a number with a sticker, then open the corresponding drawer. Inside the drawer is a piece of paper with another number that matches a number on a gift that they can unwrap. This is to facilitate the need for gifts that are always larger than the box can hold. While it may seem simpler to go right to the gift, the children love the traditional routine of opening the small boxes to see what's inside...and they love the gifts as well!

This post authored by Amber

December 1, 2008

A Thanksgiving Pictorial

We traveled to St. George for the Thanksgiving holiday and had a wonderful visit with my family. Of course there was plenty of food and good company. There were also football games, dodgeball tournaments, and basketball to help burn off the excessive calories that were consumed in the form of turkey, pies, and potatoes!

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It's Official!

Jason has completed training, purchased his uniform, and is now qualified to referee High School basketball games. His first game was in Payson on Tuesday of last week. Most of the games he will be scheduled to work will be for freshman, sophomore, and junior varsity levels, and he'll also referee some recreational league play. Scheduling is pretty flexible and he chooses which days to make available for working. This will be something fun and physical for him to do during the next three months. At any rate, it will serve as a suitable replacement for all the officiating he did with his church sports callings (that he no longer has).

This post authored by Amber

November 25, 2008

A Feast for Two

With Thanksgiving on Thursday, we had a reenactment of the first celebration in Plymouth for Spencer's preschool. Spencer assumed the role of Native American (although he calls it "Indian") and Audrey was our little pilgrim girl. We made homemade butter by shaking baby food containers filled with whipping cream. After that, we worked on making chocolate, no-bake cookies ('cause, you know, you always hear about all the "poop cookies" served at the first Thanksgiving) and then we feasted upon delicacies such as deli ham, cranberry sauce, strawberries, Kix cereal, Dora the Explorer fruit snacks, and the like. Sounds like a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to me. That's fitting, I suppose, since Spencer's cousin, Harrison, has recently referred to Spencer's round head as looking like a Charlie Brown head.

This post authored by Amber

Bring On Basketball

After a disappointing showing from the Cougar football team on Saturday, we'd like to move on to more pleasant subjects...

...How 'bout Cougar basketball? I know. I, too, was shocked to hear that the basketball season had arrived already! Usually we don't get into it that much, but when you're given tickets to attend the games, you've gotta go! Jason went to a pre-season game with his dad. He and I later enjoyed a taste of the Cougar Club "lifestyle" with court-side seating, pre-game dinner, and catered snacks at half-time for the first home game. We brought Garrett along since we knew we could easily get a photo with Cosmo while there. Brevin and Spencer got their turn to go with Jason the following week. BYU has managed a win at each event, so perhaps the basketball season will end on a happier note. One can only hope!
This post authored by Amber

November 14, 2008


Life with children seems to be measured in milestones, and when the next one is reached, it seems to happen much too quickly. It is challenging for me to come to terms with the fact that I am posting about Garrett turning six months old--a significant milestone, to be sure! It is also with mixed emotions that we celebrate this half-year marker. While I pine for the days when Garrett will sleep soundly through the night (or even for a solid five hours. Is that asking too much?), I realize that will likely come at the expense of the darling, newborn things he is doing now. Yes, I am still trying hard to force upon him the title of newborn!

For instance, Garrett is a noisy little eater. He always grunts, "Mmm, Mmm, Mmm..." with each mouthful of food placed therein. His little noises are appropriately accompanied with hands held high in the air, in constant motion. With his wrists flailing and fingers contracting and releasing, it looks as if he's trying to rev a motorcycle or milk a cow sideways. It is pretty cute! What isn't so cute is the piercing scream of protest when the plate is empty and the meal concluded. Insert beloved pacifier!

Garrett continues to grow and develop nicely. He is strong enough to pull himself up to sitting position, but cannot sit unassisted just yet. His fine motor skills are also fine tuning as he now reaches for things and effortlessly draws them to his mouth (namely, beloved pacifier). He has a very strong grip. I know from experience and from having to pry his fingers open frequently to free the large amounts of my hair that he manages to grab.

The things I enjoy most about him are the little displays that give insight into his personality. He's kind of a "Mama's Boy." While he tolerates others holding him, he does have his preference (and sometimes he'll make it known). This is my reliable excuse for not getting much done during the day. He likes to be held, and most particularly by me. It is probably also the thing that makes it hardest to watch him grow up, knowing someday he'll want to let go. So, in the meantime, I am enjoying every bit of our precious bonding time together, even if it does come at 1:30 a.m. (and 2:30 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. and....)!

This post authored by Amber

November 6, 2008

Halloween Festivities

For our family, the holiday of Halloween is spread out over the course of at least a week (and then I give myself two weeks to post something about it). The boys wanted to do a different costume for each event they participated. Costumes included monkeys, a baseball player, Ben 10, clowns, Indiana Jones, and Robin.

We kicked off the celebrating with the Park family party on Monday. I took the boys to story time at the library on Wednesday, where they were able to dress up, trick-or-treat, and listen to stories told by witches.

Thursday was the kindergarten Halloween concert, and the children were encouraged to dress up for that. Grandma and Grandpa Park attended and brought Addilyn along to hear thirty minutes worth of singing and poetry reciting performed by seventy-five or so wiggly kindergartners. It was quite entertaining!

Thursday evening, we began the task of cleaning out and carving pumpkins. Friday included a party at school for Brevin followed by trick-or-treating at Dad's work. For dinner, we celebrated with a traditional dinner-in-a-pumpkin served with homemade root beer and pumpkin cake.

Finally the boys were off with Dad to canvas the adjacent streets while I stayed back with Garrett to pass out candy and accept compliments for our carved pumpkins from amazed trick-or-treaters. We got the boys home, bathed, and in bed by eight-thirty! Yes, I'd say it was a perfect Halloween night!

This post authored by Amber