Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just some other holiday photos

Messy sucker after visiting with Santa. Even messier sucker.

Christopher had a Christmas Sing at school, but our pictures turned out blurry.
It's hard to get Xander to agree to be in a picture. He's been my biggest lover of Christmas.
Whereas Darci is always willing to be in a pic.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

Christopher figuring out the GameCube New poster to hang

Darci on the go Preparing for a day of shopping
Style before comfort is key SUCH a diva
We woke up this morning to lots of snow and 3 very excited kids. Santa had come and left quite the haul. They enjoyed taking turns opening toys and we enjoyed seeing so much joy in their faces. They even took joy in each others' gifts. Christopher happily recieved a Nintendo GameCube and would play every waking moment if I let him. Xander recieved some Star Wars figures and lots of puzzles. Darci recieved a baby doll and stroller. Also some fun, girly accessories. I think she, especially, enjoyed the opening of the gifts.
My family (mom and dad, Brett and Shendi) joined us for an early Christmas dinner and some feel-good family moments. What a fun time we had. Brett and Shendi's little Blakelynn is 5 months old and got so excited around Darci. Darci had a little tea party with her, and sang to her, and all around enjoyed her little cousin.
There will be more pictures to come... here is just a sampling.

Christmas Eve

Bret and I making ornaments Darci dancing with Quinn

Christopher and Xander putting their homemade ornaments on the tree.
Brady, Christopher, and Xander being goofy.
We spent Christmas eve with Bret's family. His parents live in a condo community that has a really nice clubhouse. They had reserved the clubhouse for our festivities this year. When we gathered my sister-in-law, Audra, had so many fun arts and crafts prepared for the kids. She is always on the ball with this kind of stuff and I truly envy and admire her talent in that area. There was also a great spread of food that Darci ate and ate and ate. Bret's brother, Casey, is in from Milwaukee and after a little time the kids warmed up to him again. There was a large hot tub that some of the boys enjoyed. They also decided to be crazy and almost all of them laid in the snow in their bathing suits. It was nice to catch up with everyone and enjoy music, food, and crafts. We had pizza for dinner and then opened gifts. Everyone was truly generous and the kids had a blast. My only regret is that we didn't do the traditional reading of the Christmas story from the bible and then having the kids act it out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

I read in the paper recently that it is now perfectly acceptable to "blog" your Christmas card/letter. It makes you "green" because you are saving paper, and it makes you financially frugal for not spending postage. But really those are just my excuses for not getting one out this year. My other excuses are the plague we've been enduring for the past 3 weeks and I'm pregnant. Really, I can blame every thing on being pregnant, right? So, our year in review... **Bret is still working at the West Jordan library for Salt Lake County. He's been there several years now and doesn't look to be moving branches anytime soon. He speaks Spanish fluently and they need that at the West Jordan branch. He really does enjoy his work as a librarian. He likes being on the committees that order Rock CDs and he has a good say in the DVDs. It's fun spending tax payer's money. Through a ward split this year (and a total of 3 over the last 5) he has been kept as the ward organist. I don't think he'll ever get away from that one. It's a shame, really. A lot of people are missing out on other great spiritual talents he has, but they love to enjoy his musical talent. The members of the ward have learned that he doesn't need to much notice to get a musical piece right and he gets called for lots of accompaniments. **I've had a busy year. Do ever feel like you do a lot and never get ANYTHING done? Yeah, that's been my year. I redid my kitchen this year with the help and talent of a friend. It turned out beautifully. In the process of DIY home projects I decided (with the help and talent of same friend) to build a salon in my home. It was a challenging and tedious process. I did 95% of the work myself. I demolished the floor and took out a pantry and closet to open up a small bathroom. I did drywall, texture, and paint. And I laid my own laminate floor. I was able to get a steal on a shampoo bowl, chair, and hair station. Once we got it into the room we had to cut half the back off to make it work with the plumbing. We tried putting the toilet back on and it broke. And, after finding out I am pregnant in early September the whole thing got put on hold. So, the door to that room is shut and I'm sorta wishing I never embarked on that journey. And that's where the announcement of the pregnancy comes in. We've had a little spirit nagging us since about April. We finally gave in and after about 3 months of trying we are expecting a little girl around May 8th (which in my pregnancy timline will probably come around middle to end of April). Sometimes the thought of a 4th child scares the Dickins out of me. Most of the time I'm anxious to hold a new little one. I've already started having contractions so we are doing lots of praying and hoping that they will stay mild and that bedrest is still a ways off. I am currently serving in the nursery and I love it. **Christopher is in 1st grade this year and he's an ace. He is naturally smart like his Daddy and enjoys learning and figuring things out. He loves all day school and the first thing he tells me when I pick him up is what he ate at lunch. I wonder how long the novelty of school lunch will continue. Although, I look at his menu and it all looks pretty good. Another area he has grown leaps and bounds this year is in the Gospel. Certain things that seemed to go in one ear and out the other... or completely over his head... are clicking now. His knowledge of spiritual things astounds me. He's not the shortest kid in class anymore and I have to buy him new clothes all too often. He loves animals, especially Grandpa's horse. He is into video games, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and is LOVING Christmas time. **Xander is my ball of fire. He continues to amaze me all the time. He has stepped into the roll as Mommy's helper and big brother to Darci when Christopher is at school. He is so sweet and tender. And yet, still as stubborn as ever. He is in Joy School this year. That's preschool taught by all the mom's of the kidsin the class. So, I get to teach once every six weeks. He loves his friends from class. Xander is the most excited for a new baby. He kisses, hugs, and pats my belly. We are going to name her Eliza, and he and Christopher want to call her Ellie for short. **Darci is the light in all of our lives. Everyone loves Darci. She is happy and silly and fun and SUCH a girly-girl. She gives lots of loves and kisses. She'll play with light sabers with the boys and then turn around and tote a purse. In the past year she's gone from baby to little girl. She idolizes her brothers and she is a Daddy's girl. She's social and loves to sing. She loves nursery at church and to play with her friends there. I think Xander and Christopher would do ANYTHING for her... and she knows it. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. She doesn't quite understand that there is a baby on the way and her pedestal is probably going to be lowered a little. We're banking on her sweet, maternal nature to make her a great big sister when Eliza arrives. Despite the ups and downs in life we feel VERY blessed as a family this year and hope that the love and blessing we have in our life can extend to you and yours. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Christmas Miracle

We had a little Christmas miracle occur at our house today. My emotions have run the gamut lately. My little family have all been sick on and off since the week before Thanksgiving. Just yesterday Bret was diagnosed with Strep throat. I've been frustrated because it seems like we just can't catch a break. I have already started in on mild contractions and feel frustrated because I haven't been able to bring in a little extra by doing hair. Things have been a little tight financially around here. But who hasn't been struggling? We have still felt very blessed with what we have (minus health). As Bret and I ate some lunch this afternoon (brought to us by a very kind neighbor) our doorbell rang. I couldn't figure out who would be at our door in the middle of the afternoon. As we opened the door all that was there was a card and a cute Tigger and Winnie the Pooh (which immediately pleased Darci). We looked around and saw no one. We brought the surprise gift into the house and opened the card. All it said was "Merry Christmas. There is a surprise inside Tigger and Pooh. From Santa". Tigger and Pooh had little zippers on their backs and inside was a VERY generous gift. I haven't cried that hard in so long, and believe me I've cried a lot lately. I had to explain to my boys that they were tears of joy. I don't know who our secret santa was, but I hope you read this and know how very, VERY much we appreciate your gift. I hope that I can find a way to pay it forward and give like you have given to us. Darci with the bearers of the gift and her new favorite snuggle buddies.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Xander's Birthday Party

I'll admit to you... I was dreading Xander's party tonight. Half the people weren't coming to safegaurd their children against chickenpox. Don't get me wrong... I totally understand. I wouldn't want them to come. I was just worried it wouldn't be a good event for Xander.
It was a wonderful success. Xander LOVED his cake. He got excited with every family member that showed up. He loved opening his presents and showed great appreciation for each and every one. A huge change from 2 years ago when he threw a tantrum and got overwhlemed by the attention.
We did an Indiana Jones theme. I decorated the house with lots of green crepe paper to look like jungle vines. Xander seemed to like that. He also got several Indiana Jones toys. He enjoyed his time spent with those that came and went to bed content and happy.
Thank you to those who braved the plague at our house and made this day so special for Xander. In return I will pray for your continued health.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Itchy belly Her face has it the worst. The one almost in her eye is the saddest. So, our children have had the misfortune of being infected with chickenpox. Even though they have all had the vaccine for it. Christopher and Xander had VERY mild cases, but Darci has been hit full blown. Despite it all she has been in good spirits. POOR BABY!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday Xander!!

***Xander about 3 days old***

I really think that for mothers a child's birthday is a time to reflect on the day that child was born and what has transpired since. I remember the day he was born VIVIDLY. ***Xander 11 months old***
Xander is such a special child. He came to us after we had a baby that was stillborn. He has a unique personality and a strong spirit. He is in the position of middle child, but makes sure he gets his fair share of everything.
***Xander on his 2nd birthday***
I wanted to make today very special for him despite it being a weekday and Daddy having to work and Christopher going to school. We started out by heading to the store to order his cake for his party coming Sunday. He's excited to do things Indiana Jones style. He also picked out a donut and a chocolate milk for today. Then we went to Target and he picked out a toy. His choice was the game Hungry Hungry Hippo. We got back in the car to meet Grandma Pingel at the mall for lunch and I noticed he looked very flushed and tired. By the time we pulled up to the mall he was fevering and listless. Oh dear!!! Just like Christopher on Thanksgiving. Despite it he enjoyed his time with his grandma.
***Xander on his 3rd birthday***
The rest of the day he mostly slept and watched cartoons. He didn't even want his pizza and rootbeer for dinner. My poor little man. Hopefully his party in 5 days will make up for the crummy day he had today.
Xander, my man, Mommy loves you so much. You bring such a light into all of our lives. Your joy of building things whether it be puzzles or blocks or potato heads amazes me. Your love of music and singing makes me happy. Happy Birthday Xanderman.