Thursday, January 27, 2011

Boys Just Wanna Have Fun ... At Christmas Parties

I had to take a quick minute to post pictures from our annual ward Christmas party. I really don't have many to post--not hardly any with Santa, and not a single one of Mae or Joseph ... I really am not entirely sure why this is the case, other than the fact that I was very preoccupied carting around a baby (one that happened to be cranky that evening) and visiting with friends who we had invited to join us for the party. Regardless, the pictures that I did end up with are absolutely adorable (shhh, don't tell the boys I used that word).

James, Brooks, and cute friends waiting in line to see Santa.
Is it just me, or does Brooks look a little unsure as to why he's sitting on the big guys lap?
James outgrowing Santa's lap altogether.
Okay, so the next pictures are actually my favorites. I just love seeing these little men try to get in there and do what they can to help out ... or maybe they just enjoy displaying their muscular abilities, but either way, it's cute.
How many 4-, 7-, & 9-year-olds does it take to carry a table?
Come on boys, you can do it!
Okay, maybe just a little help from Dad would be nice, but great work, guys!
Sure do love my strong boys!

Joy to the World

Our church hosted a wonderful "Joy to the World" exhibit in early December where hundreds of nativities from all over the world, and many beautiful pieces of Christ-centered artwork were on display. The exhibit also included musical numbers by talented individuals and groups from around our area--including local school groups. I know many other LDS (Latter-day Saint) churches have been organizing this type of event for several years now (we helped with one in outside of Houston a few years back) and we are happy to now have this great seasonal exhibit in our current area.

I was actually not able to attend, because I was out of town for the funeral of my dear sweet grandmother. But Kevin, my mom, and the kids (plus cousin) ventured out to check out the nativities and have adorable pictures taken of the kids dressed in nativity clothing.


We weren't planning on a traditional Thanksgiving this year. Kevin's parents were away in Utah for the holiday, and my own family was not getting together until the Saturday after--to enjoy something new this year: oven fried chicken and pascolina (spinach pie) courtesy of my sister and her new husband. It seemed like a good idea to cook up a simple turkey, bake some rolls, and snack away before heading out for a relaxing Thanksgiving-day movie.

The morning of, though, Kevin decided that the day just wouldn't be the same without the anticipated Thanksgiving meal. So, we quickly whipped up some mashed potatoes, heated a couple of cans of veggies, opened a few bottles of sparkling cider, threw on our nicest table cloth, and sat down to a hodge-podge Thanksgiving dinner. It wasn't very impressive, but we certainly did enjoy ourselves ... and we definitely enjoyed the huge pumpkin pie my mom had picked up the day before at Costco. YUM!

Here's James doing an excellent job with the whipping cream (for the pie of course).

And here we are sitting down to our wonderful meal. Sorry about the potatoes in Porter's mouth ... it was the best picture I could find.

Apparently sitting down to a "formal" dinner did not stop us from having some fun.
We were lucky to have the very stylish Grandma Loo along with us for the day.
And what's Thanksgiving without a little post-turkey nap ... good luck, Hon!
What fun, and oh so much to be grateful for!

Brooks' Big Day

Ending the parade of fall birthdays in our family (five within two months of each other), on the day of Joseph's blessing we also celebrated our Star Wars fanatic's big number "4".

With all of the other kids in school this year (except for baby of course), Brooks is my little buddy at home during the day. He is so much fun to be around, and is constantly saying silly things. Like when, while sitting at the kitchen table several months ago, he rested his head solemnly in his hands and stated, "I hate Mondays!" I have no idea where he picked it up from, but it did in fact happen to be a Monday (a fact I'm almost positive he was not aware of) which made the outburst that much more hilarious. That type of humor-inspiring comment is a moment-by-moment occurrence with this expressive little child.

With the birth of Joseph, Brooks is now a big brother and is doing a phenomenal job at it. He let's me know when Joseph is hungry, tired, happy, etc. and is constantly commenting on how cute Joseph is ... a comment which is usually followed with, "wasn't I cute as a baby?"

You know it, little buddy! And still are as cute as they come.

Here's the whole gang again.
Grandma loving on the birthday boy.
Pre-present excitement.
Okay, I think we're all ready.
Everyone wants to help.Fun gifts!
Tron & a new sleeping bag!
Here's the demonstration ...
And an awesome new DS game ... Kung Zhu.
Mom may have bought it, but Dad was definitely the brains behind the gift. Apparently a love for video games runs in the family.
Brooks and his second mom:)Grandma and her girls.
With four birthdays already behind us, I for one was getting extremely tired of cake. I tried to talk my kids into something different, but with no success. If we had to have yet another cake, though, I suppose this one was pretty fun! Actually Brooks told me, his very non cake-decorating mother, the day of the party/blessing that he wanted a Kunh Zhu (aka hamster) cake. Seriously? I told him that his Dad and I would do our best.
Here's what we came up with in a moments notice ...
It was actually pretty fun to put together and turned out reasonably cute, if I do say so myself.
Happy birthday wishes, Brookers! You are one amazing four-year-old.
BTW, does anybody else think it's insane that I'm letting my boys have chocolate birthday cake while wearing ties and white shirts??? Hopefully I had them change their clothes before digging in, but I honestly can't remember for sure. Oops.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blessing Day for Joseph

There are always so many things to blog about that poor little Joseph doesn't get a whole lot of air time. His blessing day, however, is one post I wouldn't miss. He is such a sweet little spirit.

Most people think we're crazy for having so many kids. "Wow, five?" or "you've sure got your hands full," are comments that we hear on a very regular basis. The school drop off crew (fifth graders in orange vests) fondly refers to our vehicle as the clown car because when we pull up in the morning and start unloading, kids just keep climbing out. we've even been greeted with the traditional circus melody on occasion.

Despite what it may look like, though, having children is not something we take lightly. Each child is wondrously unique and beautifully intricate. Knowing each one of them is a delight, raising them is a privilege. Not having Joseph in our home was simply not an option. In the months before we decided to have him, his little spirit pulled at me continuously. The only way I can really describe it is that I knew I had another child. At times I could feel him just as closely as I could feel the children already in my home. I just couldn't see him.

Here is our"little" family. We are certainly not perfect but oh, how we love each other! Handsome dad. Handsome baby.
Just the boys.
Grandma Loo & grandkids (minus two cowgirl cuties).
Grandpa Jacobs loving every minute of being a grandparent!
Grandma & Grandpa Dueck and the lovely Heidi. Do they look excited to have another baby in the family?
Joseph, we sure are happy to have you in our family! We know you get manhandled at times and can hardly ever get a minute of quiet. But, we will always care for you, watch over you, support you, and most importantly love you. Thanks for being ours!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Climbing with Dad!

The latest craze in the Dueck family (adding to the list of Foosball, Rockband, and Settlers) is rock climbing. Of course, I say "rock climbing" in the moderated, indoor climate and cute-colorful footholds sense, not in the "get me off this cliff, now!" type way; although, knowing our kids, that may follow at some future date (unfortunately!!). The pictures below are from an outing that Kevin had with Mae and James, representing Mae's first time climbing:). I heard she was not entirely sure about the whole thing, and needed some extra encouragement part way up, but ultimately she made it. Good job, Girly Girl!! And you too, James the Man.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Halloween 2010

Halloween this year was, of course, very exciting as always. The kids all knew exactly what they wanted to be. James was set on the grim reaper, Mae just had to be a green witch, and Brooks was adamant about going as the Prince of Persia (even though you'll see in the pics below, he looks more like a Jedi--good thing he's too young to know;)). Porter was the exception ... he really didn't care what costume he wore so long as he came home with a bucket full of candy (I guess that means he's getting older).

As ridiculous as we probably look every year, Kevin and I just can't help but dress up in some shape or form. It's just too much fun. A couple of nights before Halloween we headed to the Spirit of Halloween store--along with James who "needed" a half axe for his costume--to scope out some costume ideas. After contemplating bacon and eggs, Avatars (that one looked pretty fun), and vampires (let's face it, Kevin's already got the hair for it), we decided just to scrimp around the house like we've done in previous years (oil riggers two years ago, pirates last year, etc.) and come up with something hodgepodge.

And so we ended up going as ... BYU super fans. I know, I know, very original!

Here's the whole clan.
And here are my terrifying cuties.
Oh, and this little cutie ... super fan baby (notice the duck-taped "Y").
Mae was determined to be a green witch, but wasn't so sure about it once Kevin got the paint on.
James held a mini grim reaper convention at the trunk-or-treat we attended with our church.
Prince of Persia meets ghoulish ghost .. but way cuter!
I guess I never mentioned that Porter ended up going as John Connor (Terminator Salvation).
Rise and Shout the Duecks are out.
So, the fun part was that my good friend came in her University of Utah sweatshirt. After a quick visit (for her) to the face painting station, we decided to have a little fun with our friendly rival (don't worry, no one was injured in the taking of this picture) ...
Oh, and what's Halloween without a picture of grandma in her traditional Pumpkin Fairy outfit.