Monday, November 28, 2011

Putting up the Christmas Tree

It seems too overwhelming for us to put up the Christmas tree and decorate it in the same day.  This year, we put it up last night (Sunday, November 27th) and decorated it tonight for family home evening.  Jarem and Tessa have been SO excited about the holidays this year.  They are begging me to get the decorations out for every holiday.  I think it just makes it feel special for them. 

I put the top on the tree this year:

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures during the process of decorating, but everyone helped and here was the end result:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Finally Happened!

Jarem has waited long for this day! He finally lost his first tooth! He has been telling us that he has loose teeth for what seems like years now, but they weren't loose, and when they were, just barely. But, it has finally happened!! He got $5 for his first tooth from the tooth fairy, but will likely get $1 for each additional. He is a lucky boy! He was most excited to tell his class and get put something on the lost tooth chart at school.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We had Thanksgiving at our house this year with Kyle, Jessica, and Taegan. It was relaxed, but also a very enjoyable one. Kyle and Eric left to go hunting at their dad's on Thanksgiving late afternoon, which left Jessica and I to shop for Christmas. Jesikah also came with us this year. Wal-Mart and Kohl's had insane lines, but I think we ended up with everything we wanted and more. :)

The feast
Pies (2 chocolate, 2 pumpkin, and a cherry which they took to their dad's)

Cute Taegan

Loading up our plates

Eric getting sweet potatoes

After dinner, we rested for a little bit and then I took some family pictures of Kyle, Jessica, and Taegan for their Christmas cards.  I thought they turned out really cute.  It was a beautiful day.  Such a cute little family! Kyle also took pictures of us which I will post later.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Day of Reunions

Nick and Jeremy on a different day

Me and my friend, Linda, on a different occasion
What a fun day!  It just so happened that two families of our dear friends were coming to Nashville today from different places at different times.  The bad part...I didn't get a single picture!  The first, Linda Howe (who now lives in Huntsville, AL), was planning to meet Tina, Elke, and I for lunch at Panera Bread.  It was so wonderful to see her again.  She is such a neat friend, and such an example to me of so much I want to become.  She is so talented and such a wonderful mother.  It was great to talk with her and get caught up for a couple of hours.  Alex came with me because Linda brought her two sons, Nick and Jeremy who are almost like brothers to Alex.  Alex had a good time with them.  We shopped for a little bit, and then Tina drove me to meet Eric and the other kids for our second engagement: Dinner with the Parks.

We were planning to meet at the Cheesecake Factory, but I didn't consider how busy it would be on a Saturday night and dinner for 14, just wasn't feasible.  We ended up miraculously getting a table at Carraba's with only a ten minute wait.  They were good friends of ours when we lived in Washington, and they now live in Georgia.  It was so great to see them.  Our kids all match up in ages and grades, so it was fun to see them interact or not.  :)  I missed getting any pictures of all of us, but I stole one from her blog from that same night after dinner when they attended the Rockettes at the Grand Ole Opry. They came to show the grandparents the sights in Nashville and the really covered everything in a short time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Alex is 16

Alex's birthday seemed to keep on going for several days.  These pictures were taken after church on Sunday.  I had offered to make or buy him a cake.  He finally decided he wanted me to buy the Sara Lee frozen cheesecakes.  The disadvantage, of course, was that they had to thaw for a day.  He wanted one for himself and a couple for everyone else to share.  That was fine because they were quite small.  So, Sunday was the day for birthday cheesecake.  We sat around, ate cheesecake and talked and laughed.  It was an enjoyable afternoon.  I love days like that.
Alex with his cheesecake

Trying to hide behind his tie from the camera



Alex messing with Jarem

Trying to make him smile, I think

Jesikah made Alex a very clever card

And attached a Snicker's bar.  On the otherside was a heartfelt note to him.
These two often don't get along, so it was great to have a tender moment between them, however brief it may have been.

I remember the day Alex was born.  What proud parents Eric and I were!  We were both emotional that we had been trusted to care for this precious little baby boy.  He was such a good baby.  He was always happy and hardly ever cried.  He always slept all night unless he was sick, which was SUCH a blessing with Eric and I both still students and both working to make ends meet.  We are very proud of Alex and all he has become in his 16 years of life.  We are so glad he is part of our family and we love him very much.  Here are 16 things we love about Alex:

1) He is smart.
2) He keeps us his grades and maintains straight A's most all the time without any encouragement on our end.
3) He has a strong testimony of the gospel.
4) He lives what he believes no matter where he is.
5) He is not afraid to share his beliefs with others or stand up for his standards.
6) He has clean language-he doesn't cuss.
7) He is a great soccer player.
8) He has a talent for the piano.
9) He plays the piano in Priesthood meeting every week even though it makes him nervous, and he has really improved.
10) He enjoys singing and he is good at it.  He has worked to learn both tenor (before his voice change) and bass parts now.
11) He has a strong determination to do what is right and is always trying to improve himself.
12) He is a good example to his friends and younger siblings.
13) He can be a fun brother.  Sometimes he will spend hours making up stories and acting them out with Legos to entertain Tessa and Jarem.
14) He is good at drama.  He made the part of Uncle Billy in the school play, "It's a Wonderful Life", and his drama teacher cannot say enough good about him.
15) He has a good plan for his future and he's already making preparations for his mission and college.
16) He has a good sense of humor.

We are so blessed to have Alex in our family.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Soccer State Championship

The last game of the state tournament was on Saturday, November 12th.  Eric and I travelled to Murfreesboro to watch the game.  It turned out to be quite a disappointing game.  The referees made many bad calls against our team that cost our team a few goals and our team just wasn't playing their best.  They kept having turnovers in the same place time after time.  In the end, the other team won by 3 or 4 points. 

I was frustrated because there were some loud obnoxious ladies behind us from the other team that kept making snotty remarks.  Near the end of the game, I heard them say that they "really hope they have these refs for their next game because they are really good".  Of course, knowing full well that the refs had made many bad calls in favor of their team.  I wanted to go give those ladies a piece of my mind at the end of the game, but I withstood the temptation.  I am not really a competitive person, and not usually one to be upset whether they win or lose, but I was thoroughly irritated by the end of the game, and Eric more so. 

Alex's whole team had given up by the last quarter and you could see it.  It was kind of a sad last game of the season.  Had the won, they would have gone to the championship game.  But, they have a lot they can be proud of.  They had a great season.  Like I told Alex, the reason he signed up was to improve his skills for school soccer, and he accomplished that.

Here's a few pictures of the game: (Alex is #2)

Friday, November 11, 2011


It was kind of cool that Alex's 16th birthday landed on 11/11/11.  He decided to have his 16th birthday party on Thursday the 10th until Friday the 11th.  He made the decision to skip the soccer mandatory dinner in lieu of his 16th party and sleepover.  It meant he had to do 50 push-ups the next day before the game, but the coach said he wouldn't penalize him as far as play time in the tournament.  He felt it was worth it, so we let him make that decision. 

He invited 7 boys over for pizza, games, and a sleepover.  Two of them were not able to make it due to family travelling and work, but the other 5 came.  I think they all had a good time.  Some of them were not able to come until late because of a football banquet that night, so the real fun didn't start until late.  They had fun playing Wii Mario Kart, especially.  That is a game that never gets old no matter how old you are.  It is always fun for all ages.  They also played some other games like Apples to Apples and other video games and did the typical rough-housing that boys do.  Eric was downstairs for awhile, and I asked him to take some pictures.  He gave one of the boys my camera to take pictures.  Here's what we got:

Patrick and Josh


Bryan (the one Eric gave the camera to)

Unfortunately, some of their rough-housing resulted in this.  I felt bad because this was a vase my parents brought us back from Cancun that was on the fireplace mantle.  They felt really bad afterward though, and were more careful after that.  Alex has been trying to piece it back together.  They liked having the basement to themselves.

The next morning we got up and I made homemade cinnamon rolls (because that is what Alex wanted), and Eric made some scrambled eggs.  They boys enjoyed it.  They stayed a little longer and then some of them had to leave.

Hugh and Jared were able to stay a little longer, so I got a couple of pictures of them playing some more Wii:

We had to leave for the soccer state championship by 4:30 that evening.  It really was a great accomplishment that they made it to the tournament because in addition to just making it, their coach had moved them up a level bracket this year, so we were very proud of the team.  Jarem and Tessa came (Jesikah had an activity she went to with a friend) with Eric and I and we headed to the location of the tournament (which was 30 minutes past Nashville). 

Traffic was heavy, but we made it on-time.  They had a good game, but lost by a small margin.  Alex had a good game and got a lot of playing time.  It was very COLD at the game, but we had dressed warm and stayed pretty warm.  Jarem and Tessa were quite disinterested in the game, however, and were continually trying to draw our attention away from the game (especially Jarem).

We didn't get home until around midnight.  We didn't have a chance for Alex to open his presents from us, because his friends stayed almost until we left.  Then we got home and it was so late that we were all just beat.  So his presents were still waiting for him the next morning on the table.  He got up early and was ready to open them.  (As you can see in the pictures, he slept in his soccer attire he was so tired).

He mostly got clothes, which was what he asked for.  He loved the navy sweatshirt and the khaki shorts.  That said though, I think he kind of disappointed to only get clothes.  He did get some money from his Grandma and also from his friends.  After trading in a couple of shirts that were the wrong size, he ended up with enough to buy Star Wars the Clone Wars, Season 2 and 3.  He ended up a happy.  (Above: Jarem built a lego creation for him and included some of his favorite guys as a birthday gift for Alex)  It was very sweet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eric's Trip to Vanderbilt

I had to take Eric to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville this week (Tuesday, Nov 8).  He had a growth/mole removed on his face during the last week of September that had suddenly appeared and grown at an alarming rate.  When it was removed, they thought it was benign, but after sending it to pathology, it ended up being squamous cell carcinoma. 

See the growth next to his left eye-that is what was removed
Eric had to have MOHS surgery done at Vanderbilt. This is where they cut deep below the surface to get surrounding tissue and then do samples for pathology to make sure they got it all. I was nervous for him because the spot was right next to his left eye where his optical nerve is. It all worked out though, and since I am writing this later, I can say that it is healing quite well. They say that it is quite common to get more of these after you have had one, so he needs to be very careful about wearing sunscreen. Everyone in the office waiting was over 70, and when I finally thought I saw someone our age, I realized he was waiting for his mother. The lady that prepped us said that the average age for this surgery is 75. I guess it must be due to all Eric's sun exposure as a child that he got this so young.

All bandaged up