Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

It was such a fun day. We stayed home and enjoyed being together as a family. The kids patiently waited until 8:00 to wake us up and then everyone took turns opening presents. All the kids were so happy with what they got and showed great appreciation for it all. Later in the day my parents and my baby brother and his family joined us for dinner.

What a great time of year where we are reminded to be grateful for many blessings and be more like Christ.
Xander watches Christopher play his new Nintendo DS.
Darci shows Eliza all her new toys.

Christmas Eve

We had such a nice time with Bret's side of the family on Christmas eve. Bret's parents rent out their HOA clubhouse and we do crafts, play games, eat lots of good food, and hot tub. Then we hand out presents and read the Christmas story in the bible. It was an incredibly enjoyable evening. The best was giving Dan and Rosemary their gift from all of us. We had taken the kids mid-November to get pictures taken together. Now they have updated pictures of ALL of their grandkids.

Hangin' in the hot tub.
Bret listening to the Christmas story with his girls.
Christmas eve jammies.
The girls in their new jammies.
Some of Xander's gifts.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

It was such a success last year that I've decided to blog the Christmas card EVERY year :)
This year has truly been a growing year as we have faced many challenges and heartaches. But in the course of traveling these rough roads we have grown closer as a couple, as a family, and in our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The year started with me very pregnant and already threatening bedrest. It was a very snowy, cold, and long winter. In February I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. It only occurs during pregnancy, but it can cause complications for both mother and baby. As I was learning how to control my diabetes and trying to keep baby Eliza from coming early I was noticing that Darci was presenting with many symptoms associated with diabetes.
Darci went to the Primary Children's Medical Center ED on March 3, 2009. There she was diagnosed with Type 1 (juvenile) Diabetes. Darci, Bret, and I spent 4 days at the children's hospital learning the tip of the iceberg on the ins and outs of caring for Darci and her disease. Our nephew, Brady, has Type 1 and his mom and dad (Audra and Nate) have truly been angels in our lives. I cannot fathom how much harder this year would have been without their love, support, and knowledge.
One week after checking out of one hospital I was checking into another one. Preterm labor was cause for 4 days of bedrest in the Intermountain Medical Center to mature the baby's lungs and control my diabetes. This was hard as Bret and I were still trying to figure out everything for Darci. I went home and with the help of many, MANY wonderful people I was able to stay down and still have the children taken care of. Family, friends, and ward members were beyond generous. And Bret was AMAZING!!! He had the burden of being mom, dad, provider, homemaker, and nurse to Darci and I. He never complained while I could see the weariness of worry in his eyes. The kids and I are so blessed to have this wonderful man be our father and husband. How did I ever get so lucky!!
Eliza held off for as long as she could, but it seems she was determined to be a March baby. On Tuesday, March 31, 2009 Eliza Karen came into the world almost 6 weeks early. She was an astounding 7lbs 7oz and she was in the IMC NICU for 9 days. We were so happy to have her come home healthy and strong.
Through out the rest of the year we have been adjusting to these and other life changes as we have gone along. Christopher is such a sweet and sensitive little man. He puts so much responsibility on himself to care for all around him. He is funny and smart and caring. He started piano this year and seems to have a knack for it. 2nd grade is a blast and he has fun with his friends. He's excited as he prepares to turn 8 years old and be baptized.
Xander is getting smarter all the time and learning more and more how to cope with things that make him nervous or uncomfortable. He has the BEST imagination and is a pro at puzzles. Joy School is his very favorite thing and the kids who are in his class are his very best friends. He is so sweet and tender with Eliza. It's a side of him not many see often.
Darci is my hero!! She is full of joy and sunshine. When she was in the hospital she was so scared and despondant, I was so worried it had changed her. But as soon as we came home she continued to be her sweet, sunny self. She lights up a room with her smile and loves everyone. She endures all the finger pokes and insulin shots like it's nothing. What a special spirit she is and how much the light of Christ shines through her at such a young age.
Eliza is the perfect little caboose to our family. She is easy and mellow. She loves to watch her siblings play around her and has lots of smiles and laughs for anyone who will give her attention. She does not like to be alone. We ALL love her so much. The other 3 kids love to shower her with kisses and attention. There has never been any jealousy issues from Darci. Darci just loves her to death.
So, from a rough start to a sweet end, 2009 has us feeling blessed and surrounded in love. May life bring everyone who reads this the same love and blessing into their lives. May everyone be able to find joy in the journey and strength through trials. And most of all may everyone who reads this feel the love of their Savior, Jesus Christ, and the hope of his Atonement.
*******MERRY CHRISTMAS***********

The week before Christmas

On Saturday, Dec. 12 Bret and I got to go on our first date in forever and he was a sweetie and took me to see the movie New Moon. Then we picked the kids up at my parent's house and we all jumped in the van (including grandma and grandpa) and went to see the Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork.
On Monday, Dec. 14 we went to Dustin and Crystal's to celebrate Crystal's birthday. They always make us yummy homemade scones and we just all enjoyed visiting while the cousins played.
On Thursday, Dec. 17 we had a fun family evening with dinner at Sweet Tomatoes and then rode the Trax train up to temple square and saw the lights. We haven't taken the kids since Xander was tiny. I can't decide whether they liked the lights of the train better. But they were in awe of it all. Christopher enjoyed talking to a couple of sister missionaries. One was from Brazil and one was from Hong Kong. Xander truly impressed the sister from Hong Kong when he counted to 10 in chinese. She says his pronounciation was great! They also enjoyed all the pictures in the visitors centers. Bret walked us over to the temple and showed the kids the spot where he proposed to me. It was a truly fantastic day that I will remember always. I hope the kids do, too.
On Sunday, Dec. 20 we went to Jenny's to celebrate Kayla's 11th birthday. The kids really enjoy this season when we get to spend so much time with family.
Grandma and Grandpa reading Dani and Eliza a story.
The big kids in front of the temple.
Everyone loved the "red tree". This is a really big tree that is done up in red lights every year.
Darci and Eliza all bundled up.
Riding the train home.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas season fun

We are having such a pleasant Christmas season. We have done the Festival of trees and the festival of lights in Spanish Fork. We have read different versions of the Christmas story and tried to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas. Bret and I have had many moments that our hearts have been full and the kids have done us proud. We all get more and more excited as Christmas draws closer.

My puzzle boy!!!
My Christmas dolls.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Xander's party

Xander's birthday party was tonight. It was simple and sweet with lots of cousins, Shrek the Halls, and cake and ice cream. Thank you everyone that came and made Xander feel so special.

Xander's favorite thing to do is puzzles.
Moola from Grandma and Grandpa
Brady made him a great card.
Xander wanted Wow Wow Wubbzy cupcakes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Festival of Trees

Today we went to The Festival of Trees. Every year many people create and donate beautifully decorated trees and items for others to buy and all proceeds go to Primary Children's Hospital. This year Dustin, Crystal, and Audra made a tree and donated it in honor of a couple of sweet kids from Audra's city that died of cancer this last summer. It was a beautiful Curious George tree. There were lots of other wonderful trees, wreaths, and gingerbread houses to behold and we enjoyed all of the Christmas sights and then enjoyed cinnamon rolls and milk. We would have taken more pictures, but our camera's batteries died. "A Curious Christmas" Darci's favorite... the Pixie Hollow tree with lots of Tinkerbell stuff. Utah Sports tree. With lots of BYU and UofU stuff.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Xanderman!!!!!

What a fun day we've had! Xander is a middle child in just about every sense and he has truly enjoyed a day all about him. First my mother's nostalgia of the day he was born. From his first day on earth Xander has moved at high speed and high volume. He was nearly born before we made it to the hospital and (despite being 5 weeks early) he came out screaming so loud the nurses joked that we needed to quiet hom down.
Tonight to celebrate his birthday we went to Pirate Island Pizza. It's a fun, pirate themed restaurant that was part pirates of the carribean and part Chuck e Cheese. The pizza was yummy, the atmosphere was a blast, and the arcade yielded lots of tickets. There were games for all ages. Xander ran from game to game to playground. We all enjoyed the pizza and Xander got sang to and a yummy ice cream. Every time he opened a present he squeeled, "this is what I always wanted!".
My sweet Xander you make life full with fun and imagination. You are so sweet and we all love you so much.
We're pirates! Aaarrggghhh!
Grandpa, Christopher, Darci, Grandma, Xander, Mommy, and Daddy.
Eliza on the merry-go-round.