Monday, December 27, 2010


All of us decided to enjoy one last adventure together. We went up to the Air and Flight Museum in Seattle. It is usually a stop we like to make when visiting Grandma and Grandpa Swensen.
Here we are inside a replica of what the Space Shuttle looks like.

Ryan working hard at the control tower. He loved this museum. He has really been into flying and spaceships, etc.

All right gang. Signing Off! It's been a great year! Here's to Flying High in 2011!
Ryan-6, Danny-10, Nathan-12, Lydia-3

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Highlights

Bright and early we were awoke by the kiddos, ready to see the spoils that Santa had delivered.

Mike always has the kids wait on the stairs until the video camera is set to go.

The younger bunch waiting patiently after breakfast for the gift opening to begin. Madison, Lydia, Ryan and Mitchell

Later in the afternoon, Ryan and Mitchell opened a Barber Shop where all of the men and boys got haircuts and shaves, with the pretend shaving kit Ryan got. Here is Ryan with Great Grandpa Swensen.

Before bed, all of us took turns dancing to the Michael Jackson Wii Experience that my dad received as a gift from his daughters and their families.

Beat It, Thriller, Wanna Be Startin' Something...They were all so much fun!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dear Santa

For better, or for worse, our family writes their letters to Santa on Christmas Eve. Each letter is then placed inside a stocking. The kids and I assume that one of the first things that Santa does when he arrives at our house is read the letters and have his cookie and milk snack. We know this because we always find the letters unfolded and in a pile next to the empty cookie plate. Even though Santa might get an occasional request for a gift that the kids have never mentioned through the entire month of December, for the most part it has been a great tradition. I get to keep every letter, instead of having them filed away somewhere in Santa's Office at the North Pole. :)

Now hugs good-night and off to bed.


After several years of making complete fools of ourselves, it was fun to pass some of our "Talent" show tradition to the younger crowd. But first Great Grandma and Grandpa Swensen wanted a picture with the oldest Great-Grand.

Great Grandma LaRue

Great Grandpa Russ

And now for some of the highlights from the show:
Nathan's talent was Swing Dancing which was performed with Danny. I think they are BOTH pretty talented!

Eliot surprised us all with a well rehearsed performance of "Oh, Holy Night" on the iPad Violin. Quite impressive.

One crowd pleaser was Lydia's rendition of "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam." Her solo rendition inspired Mitchell's encore performance of the same song, shown here with audience participation. Man those kids were catching some air!

Christmas PJ's

After a nice Christmas Eve dinner of Clam Chowder with Bagels and Cream Cheese, the time came for all of the cousins to open their one Christmas Eve Present.

I loved this picture of all of the cousins together. We were sad to not have Sydney and Wesley there with us. The fun thing that I realized about the picture is that they Sydney and Wesley actually ARE in this cousin's picture. Natalie and Brian's Christmas Card is hanging on the wall just behind this eager group.

As always, everyone quickly donned their new Christmas PJ's and joined in on the Photo Shoot!

My Four

My dad had an idea and came back to the family room with a rolled up pair of his socks for both of the older boys. Look at those muscles! This is their "I'm Tough" face, which was actually hard to get, as each snap shot was followed by lots of giggles.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Some people think it is crazy that we pack up all four kids and presents and get them to Puyallup, Washington every other year. It might be...but that is what we do. It is one of our Christmas traditions.

A couple days before Christmas we headed up to Downtown Seattle. The new LINK Rail System was running and we decided to give it a try. We rode it from the Sea-Tac Airport clear into downtown. Here you can see Danny, Nathan, Mitchell, Eliot and my Dad in the back, looking out the window.

My niece, Madison.

Ryan is sitting next to my Uncle Kirk and his Great Grandma Swensen is behind him.

Lydia and Nathan

A snap shot after riding the monorail to the Seattle Science Center. We braved the pouring rain the entire day. And we'll be doing it again in 2012! :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Misc. Lydia

Mike and I have a nightly ritual of checking in on each of the kids before we go to bed. One of the nights in December, this is how we found Lydia.

For Christmas Lydia got to help me pick out some hair things for her cousin, Sydney. Of course she couldn't leave the store with out grabbing a couple of the matching accessories for herself. I don't think this is exactly how Sydney wore them, but I think Lydia created a pretty chic look!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Ryan's Y-Ball and Nathan AAU finished up on the same day.

Nathan's team lost in the tournament, but had an outstanding season! Nathan has worked really hard to improve his game. Go Eagle!

Ryan got to play on a team with kids from his class at school. He got to do the beginning jump ball for the last game of the year.

Kindergarten Basketball in Action!

In my mind, and Ryan's, one of the main reasons that you play Y-Ball is for the End of Season Party and the Trophy that is usually presented. After years of watching his other brothers come home with trophies, Ryan was ready for his turn. He talked about it for weeks, wondering what his trophy would look like and how much longer it would be until he got one. I'm not sure how it happened, but the team mom and coach decided that a party wasn't necessary. What??? Hmmm... they are only 5 and 6 years old and the party may well be the most important part! If I had been organized enough, or realized in time, I suppose I could have thrown one together, but instead we decided to have our own family party. Y-ball teams all over the valley were celebrating. As we were walking into the pizza joint, Ryan was seeing other kids walk out with their basketball trophies. Ryan politely said to me, "Mom, I am going to try and be happy even though I don't get a trophy this time." Lucky for him, Mike and I went and picked out a trophy just for him--maybe the best six bucks ever spent. :) He was pretty surprised and proud of himself. We recognized all of his basketball accomplishments and cheered for him. Great season! Can't wait until next year.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

4th Grade Concert

We enjoyed a very nice Christmas Concert at the Elementary School on the very same day as Lydia's Ballet Performance.

It was a neat performance that included a slide show of different winter artwork and Christmas carols in different languages. One of the highlights was when the kids all played their recorders.

This is Danny with his cousin Paige. I couldn't believe how hard it was for me to get them to put their arms around each other! Too funny! They have been best buddies for a long time. Paige is at our house at least once a week and I practically consider her my second daughter. Though their friendship has remained constant, I have notice some subtle changes. They like to IM and email. When they get together they want to talk about who they "Like." They are also mortified to call their get-togethers "Play Dates." Danny will call Paige, or Paige will call Danny and ask if the other wants to "Hang Out..." a much more sophisticated term, don't you agree?

Ballerina Girl

Mike, Ryan and I got to go watch Lydia's Christmas Ballet Performance.

It was a sweet little number to a Instrumental version of Away in a Manger. Despite her big yawn early on in the performance, I know Lydia was thrilled to wear this fancy ballerina skirt.

After the girls performed they invited the Dads to share a dance with them. Ryan even got in on some of the action. Christmas cookies and milk were served. A perfect way to get in the Christmas Spirit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sugar Cookies

The first Sunday in December we always make sugar cookies while we watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.

More dough usually ends up in stomachs before being cooked, than after. But that is the fun of sugar cookies, right?

Often individual cookies have enough sprinkles for a whole batch.

Nice work Ryan!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Since November

I have always been pretty religious about waiting for December to put up our Christmas Decorations or listen to Christmas Music. I am not entirely sure what prompted us to start early this year. Maybe it was the unusual amount of snow that we've had. Maybe it was the fact that we didn't travel anywhere for Thanksgiving, so we had extra time on our hands. Maybe it was because I couldn't wait to see our stockings hanging above the fireplace. My stockings are my very favorite home decor item that I own-Christmas or otherwise. (Would it be odd if I kept them up all year round?) Maybe I was subconsciously craving that warm cozy feeling you get when you sit in a family room only lit by a Christmas Tree and a Fireplace. Ya know, it might have started four weeks ago when I asked Nathan to select a new scent for my Scentsy pot...Gingerbread. Maybe that is what got me in the mood earlier than normal. Well, whatever the reason, the tree is up...

It's been up Since November.

Oh yeah, and the Christmas Music has been going strong ever since.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snow Day

When woke up last Wednesday, we discovered six inches of newly fallen snow. Boise is usually pretty temperate, so it was unusual to have a Snow Day, especially so early on in December---December First, to be exact. Mike worked a little from home and then decided that Highland Homes needed a Snow Day, too. Mike got up the gumption to clear the driveway. It took him an hour and he was soaked. That day marked only the second Snow Day we've had in 6 years. The kids were thrilled!

Our kids' elementary school has the best sledding hill in town. After getting some cleaning done, the kids walked around the corner to the school.
Let the fun begin!

Danny is not trying to make a Snow Angel. Danny is actually trying to go down the hill upside-down. Not sure if it is the safest thing, but he thought it was fun.

Good thing Santa brought everyone Snow Gear last Christmas. We didn't get to use it last year, but it sure has come in handy this year. Nathan and Danny both felt pretty adventurous trying out this Sled/Wanna Be Snowboard.

All of the kids were hoping for school to be cancelled the following day. One part of me hoped it was cancelled, too, but no such luck! I guess we all really enjoyed the day off.