Thursday, February 24, 2011


Valentine's Day ...

A day of tiny paper cards that say things like, "Hop to it and be mine!" (Littlest Pet Shop), "To a totally dustworthy Valentine" (Tinkerbell), "You're my hero!" (Power Rangers), and my personal favorite, "Glad you're on my side, Val Pal!" (Wolverine X-Men).

A day of endless heart-shaped lollipops.

A day when nervous husbands make a mad dash for the nearest grocery store's floral dept (a ritual that I personally observed this year).

A day of the famous paper mail box.

A day of heart-shaped Papa Murphy's pizza (in our house at least).

A day of LOVE:)
Joseph, I love the way you suck your toes (sorry you didn't make it into the picture).
Brooks, I love your belly laugh.
Mae, I love your "sorry" notes.
James, I love your recycle-bin inventions.
Porter, I love how you play with Brooks.
Honey, I love the way you love me (like the song:):)
Okay, I'll be serious ... I love what a creative father you are!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Carseat Conversations

This may just look like your typical Iron-Man loving, I'm-scared-so-I-need-to-sleep-with-my-big-brother, four-year-old, but in actuality this little man is quite the philosopher. Since it's often just the two of us (and cute baby Joseph) driving around during the day while the kids are in school, we have many interesting carseat conversations. Here's one that occurred recently while driving home from swim lessons, as Brooks stared thoughtfully at the almost translucent clouds.

B: Mom, are we real people?

Moment of contemplation.

Me: Yes ... You mean are we human beings?

B: Uh, huh.

Momentary pause.

Me: Do you think we are?

B: No.


Me: Well, then what do you think we are?

B: I think we're cartoons.


Me: Oh.
What else can you say to that kind of philosophy?

Someday much too soon I will REALLY miss these kinds of conversations!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Year's Fun!

Our New Year's Eve posting, and only a month-and-a-half late--not too bad:).

I know I should probably have something profound to say about the beginning of a new year and all of my well-thought-out resolutions. But the fact is, the older I get, the more each year just sort of melts into the next. And as far as my resolutions go; well, like I said it's been a month-and-a-half. I've already forgotten what they were.

I do remember, though, what a great time we had together celebrating the arrival of 2011. We headed to Chuck E. Cheese's in the evening to enjoy some so-so pizza and old fashioned skee ball. The place was relatively empty which was quite nice, and made the outing that much more enjoyable. As a side note, my favorite game was a simulated jump rope activity, which I was totally awesome at;).

On the way home, we picked up a dozen (or so) Krispy Kreme donuts ... but who's counting?? And then stayed up late into the night watching New Year's programs on TV and playing Settlers with Porter and James.

The boys were obviously still very energized, but I gotta' say, Dad was starting to look a little sleepy.

What could be better than being a mom to such amazing kids!

Sometime after midnight, Brooks finally gave up and went to sleep.
And Mae was quick to follow.
New Year's Resolutions?? I may as well take a stab at it. How about this ...
  • Love life, and
  • Love my family
  • even more than I do right now!

Oh, and staying caught up on this blog couldn't hurt either.

Snow Outing

As my official final posting of 2010 (sigh of relief ... can't wait to print the whole thing off), I get to blog about the little snow outing we squeezed in the Monday after Christmas. Seeing as last year there was almost no snow to be found, this outing was definitely long overdue! For some reason we did have some difficulty locating a good spot, but ultimately found somewhere off the beaten path and ended up having a great day! It was a fun way to enjoy the beautiful winter weather with our family. Did I mention this is my last post of 2010???:)

I'm not sure what's up with the face, but here's our cute little Mae in her new Christmas jacket.

Brooks and his 2nd mom (love ya, Heidi), coming down the bumpy path. Mae and James examining the snow with Uncle Nick. Nice snowman, Mae, Brooks, & Aunt Melanie! ... Nick and Melanie are the celebrities when they come into town.Kevin in the process of putting his back out:).

Brooks waiting for his hot chocolate to cool ... Grandpa had quite the little setup. Maybe this will speed the process up a bit.
Kevin and Mae racing down the trail.
Wow, this whole sledding business is sure exhausting.
Silly pics.
Here's the whole gang ... well, minus Joseph who was toastily sleeping in the car, Melanie & Nick who were probably smooching somewhere, and the photographer (Miss Heidi).
And more silly pics.
So cute. I really wish Joseph made it into this one. Heidi with her boys, and girl:)
This was so much fun, I can hardly wait to do it again. Hopefully Grandma Loo will be able to come along with us next time.
Seriously, though, did I already say this was my last posting for the year?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Christmas Morning

I always loved springing out of bed on Christmas morning and discovering what fun surprises were hiding under the three. Really, though, the most thrilling time may have been the period between waking up and peeling back the paper on the first gift ... before any presents had actually been opened. It was just so exciting. As a parent, that excitement is magnified by about a million. There is almost nothing better than watching the faces of your little kiddos on Christmas morning as they anticipate what perfect treasure could be awaiting them.

This is the face of a very excited, but also very tired dad, who stayed up way too late the night before. Really. What was he thinking??
Kevin is ALWAYS the first one down stairs on Christmas morning. He turns on the lights, starts the Christmas music, grabs the camera, and by the looks of the family room, lets the rest of us know whether or not the big guy thought we were naughty or nice throughout the year. Even Joseph is excited.
May as well play with Christmas Eve gifts while waiting for the okay from Dad.
More Christmas Eve gifts.
Dashing down the stairs.
So at the beginning of this post I mentioned "presents hiding under the tree" and "peeling back" actual wrapping paper. Well, that was me as a kid. In our house now on Christmas morning, the presents are set up all over the room and there is no actual wrapping paper to be found. It's kind of like walking in to a mini toy store.
Yes, those are pogo sticks.
How excited can we get about headbands? Very excited!
Gotta love the one pushed up pant leg, courtesy of baby brother and his fondness for spitting up.
Spy goggles.
The ultimate Iron Man.
Trick cars.
Electronic drum set ... notice the head phones:). This picture is to prove that I actually was awake and present.
Finally checking out the stockings.
I think Joseph just realized he will be spending a lifetime as the little sister Mae never had.
Fun marble set.
She sure adores this baby!
Wow, this air hockey table sure is fun, but where in the world are we going to put the thing. Any ideas .... Dad??

Monday, February 7, 2011

Christmas Eve, Part Two

After our enjoyable evening with the extended fam, we mosied on back to our place (along with my mom) to finish up with the traditional Christmas pjs and some other very unique gifts. I should probably mention that while I grew up with the one-gift-on-Christmas Eve style of celebrating, Kevin was mostly raised on his Dad's tradition of family presents on Christmas Eve and Santa gifts on Christmas morning. It's probably already very obvious that his method won and we've been celebrating in that manner for the past 11 years.

Unfortunately, part way into the gift giving the battery on our camera went dead, so I really only have a few pictures to show. What I like, though, about the pictures I do have is that they mostly seem to reflect the personal, hand-made gifts that we exchanged that evening. It's kind of fun to focus on the thought and care that went into creating something just right for a loved one.
These pjs, of course, were in fact NOT hand made. Although, Grandma did have to do a little tailoring to get them fitting just right--particularly so that all the "big" boys could match each other. We figured Mae would be happier pretty in pink.Everyone complimenting James on his resourceful use of a cardboard box.
A box that he turned into a racing pod/space shuttle for his little brother.
James, apparently the big gift giver of the night, presenting a ribbon necklace to Grandma.
Oh, and one for me as well. Thanks, buddy. You little charmer.
And Mae giving her school-made certificate gift to Dad (and me). Thanks, Babe. Can't wait to cash in on that "clean up my room" coupon. Maybe I can get her to throw in a foot rub just for kicks.
Who needs gift when you've got a baby to hold!
I don't remember the gift involved here, but I want to freeze that hug and those smiles in my mind forever. The awe-inspiring purity of a child ... James was thrilled to give Kevin a card with a lollipop and a penny taped to it.
And that about sums it up. This is the point where the camera goes dead. Oh well, the pictures that we did manage to get are extra priceless.

Christmas Eve Party

Every other year Kevin's parents stay home for Christmas and we join them for a wonderful evening of amazing food, beautiful Christmas music, a reading and sometimes reenactment:) of the nativity story, and special gift giving that can go on very late into the night. Now that we have our own children and our own home in the area, we say goodnight a little earlier than we use to and head back to our house to tuck the little ones in before Santa's arrival. But we have a great time all the same!

Here are the kids at their own little table. Even Joseph is part of the gang. My mother-in-law has a daycare, so we use her large daycare room to provide ample room for everyone present. Italic

And here is the big people table. Notice the hard-working lds missionaries (who often join us), and of course Nick and Melanie (Kevin's brother and delightful new wife).

Papa Dueck carving one deliciously smoked turkey. Yum! My mom, Grandma Loo herself, who also joins us for the big night. Lookin' good, Loo Loo!
After we are ridiculously full from dinner, we then head upstairs to have a little program and eat lots of yummy treats ... so that we can be even more ridiculously full.
Mae's getting a head start on the rest of us. Momma Dueck in her gorgeous kitchen.
Loo and Joseph. Just hanging out.
And the program begins, with James ...

... and Porter playing Christmas songs they learned from their fabulous piano teacher (aka, Grandma Loo). We were also privileged to hear from Melanie & Nick.
Here is the reenactment of the nativity account; which is always very interesting when children are involved. In this particular picture for example, I have no idea in the world why Brooks (Mr. Wise Man) is laying spread out on the nice soft floor. Maybe he's mistaking this with the story of the Good Samaritan. All of us with Kevin's folks.
All of us with Kevin's folks, now wearing funny faces. James looks particularly psychotic.
And our own little family that we still can't believe is ours.
Where there's a cute and cuddly baby, there's a doting Auntie Heidi.
It's always fun to have a little Christmas baby -- Joseph at 3 1/2 months. Babies are just too much fun. We are all so happy to have him!
Little Mae very delicately enjoying her new Belle figurine. Nick and Melanie all geared up for battle. This was our gift to them. Think it was Kevin's idea??? I'm not telling. Hopefully they still like us.
Our new super soft blanket. Just perfect for cuddling up under with someone most especially special.

What a joyful tradition. We absolutely love making memories with all of our family. And I can't imagine a better purpose to be together than to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus the Christ. Our knowledge of Him makes the joy of family that much more exquisite.