Monday, December 8, 2014

Winter Festivities

 Whenever I'm doing anything in the kitchen that looks interesteing, Matthew wants to help! (Cracking eggs, rolling dough, peeling potatoes...)
The Miller cousins bought gifts for their cousins, and they handed them out, excited to watch them get opened. Matthew got a floor puzzle that he has a lot of fun with.

 Last night (Sunday), we went to Draper on 13400 S and 1300 E to participate in Handel's Messiah Sing-in. It was amazing. If we ignore the fact that the girls repeatedly asked me "How much longer?" throughout the 90 minute oratorio, and Matthew pulling all kinds of antics, it was incredible. The music was just wonderful. The orchestra was made up of locals. The soloists were fantastic. I definitely got chills during the performance. We'd borrowed a couple of books from the Lofthouses, so we could follow along and sing. I need to become more familiar with it so that next year I'm not quite so lost. (Now I know what to ask Santa for!) While there, we saw Jesse Spencer, our old neighbor from South Ogden (Finn's dad). Chad saw someone who was a patient. Mark and Andrea Bangerter were there.

After the performance, we drove over to Draper City Park to see the "Tree of Life" I'd been hearing a lot about. It is this big tree absolutely covered in lights, with some of the lights extra bright and blinking. It definitely is reminiscent of the famous painting of the Book of Mormon's Tree of Life. Getting out and running around was precisely what the doctor ordered. Matthew needed to get out of confinement and run! The four younger children ran, raced, played tag, and rolled down a hill. Colin, Chad, and I talked. I must say, I sure enjoy talking to Colin. He's more mature now, and we have enjoyable conversations.
 Colin took this panoramic picture of the lighted trees at the park:

Pics from Grandma's Phone

 Mom just sent me some pictures that have been sitting on her phone. This one looks like Micah possibly in Grandma and Grandpa's front yard in St. George:
 Colin with his stash of 23 pounds of Halloween candy.
 Mira with her Teddy Graham dip on her birthday:
 Isn't this adorable? At Snow Canyon:
 Another birthday pic:

More Eagle Scout Pics

 Grandma Miller had a few pictures saved on her phone from the blood drive.

Mira's Baptism

 Mira was baptized on Saturday, December 6 at 1:00. We felt blessed to have grandparents, Doug and Rachel's family, Amber, Michael Finelli, and Aunt Geri and Uncle Danny there.
 Ella and Victoria, bosom buddies:
 Matthew got his hands on the camera:

 Grandma Barnett gave a talk on baptism and gave Mira the framed picture below. Uncle Doug spoke on the Holy Ghost. All the cousins and siblings sang together, "He Sent His Son" while Colin played piano. And Colin played piano for the entire service. He was incredible. I was so impressed.
 Mira had been looking forward to this day. It was special. Her primary teachers, Sister Vicki Soha and Jane Nielson came, Cheryl and Greg Nyman, Alexis Carr and Heather, Lillian Smith and Sheryl, Alyssa, Phoenix, Orion Badger and Nathan, Rylee Hutchinson and Kevin (who conducted), Ashley Lesh, Victoria Howe, Melissa Johnson, and Denise Mathews.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mira's 8th Birthday Party

About a week before her birthday, Mira asked me, "Mom, are you going to make my birthday cake?" I could hear in her voice she wondered what masterpiece I would come up with. Once I decided on making this adorable M&M decked out number 8 cake, I got busy. With the pieces I cut off and the leftover frosting, these three frosted their own individual mini-cakes. They loved it.

They helped me sort through all the colors in order to make this rainbow pattern.
 The table was ready for our guests, with a framed picture of Mira in her baptism dress.
 As a focal point, because Mira's baptism would be the following day, I hung pictures representing her first 8 years along with her blessing dress.
 She loved her cake!

 We had quite a group! We started with pizza and soda--a hit all around. Mira really wanted to watch "The Princess Diaries" with everyone in their pjs.
 By the time the movie was *mostly* over, all but a few of them made their way back upstairs. So we made some oobleck. They thought it was disgusting and they loved it.

 Mira with each of her friends. Alyssa Badger:
 Victoria Howe:
 Rylee Hutchinson:
 Lillian Smith:
 Katerina Aguero:
 Brielle Fountaine:
 Mikelle Baker:
 Ashley Lesh:
 Alexis Carr:
 Sena Bell:
 Ailie Skowronek:
And now for the best part. What makes Mira unique and special?
*She is empathetic. When she notices someone is hurt, she wants to help. Especially when it comes to Matthew.
*Speaking of Matthew, she is an absolute treasure in caring for him. She is so responsible, and will keep watch over him.
*She loves to pitch in cooking. She'll peel, chop, stir, crack, mix happily.
*Cleaning under her bed is one of the most dreaded things! When it's time to tackle the girls' room, nothing gets under her skin more than to lift up her comforter to see how cluttered under her bed is. That's when intervention from me is required!
*She is a terrific student. I know she is a joy for her teachers. I have witnessed first hand how she'll go above and beyond what her teacher asks. If Mrs. Shimp asks all the students to pick up the garbage on the floor, Mira will crawl all over, picking up whatever trash she can. She's my white tornado!
*She loves piano. She's been working hard to learn her Christmas song, "Winter Wonderland." She now knows the whole thing, and loves to play it. She also learned the bottom part to "Heart and Soul."
*When there is a job to do, I can depend on her to do it well.
*On occasion, she'll take it upon herself to do serious cleaning. It might be the playroom. Just yesterday she went down and tackled the room by herself. Then she had me close my eyes so she could surprise me.
*She is discovering the beauty of her beautiful voice. She has a unique quality to it. Some call it raspy. For a while there, she had a hard time with that, and got her feelings hurt when someone would say something about her voice. But we had a good talk about successful people with raspy voices. Even famous singers with that quality to their voices. Since then, she loves to play around with her instrument and sing lots of songs. Her current favorite song to sing is Christina Perry's "A Thousand Years."
*She tries to make her prayers meaningful by thinking of people we've put on our family's prayer roll.
*Mira's loves tumbling. She's worked hard to get her ariel and roundoff back handspring. (She has been wanting me to spot her on her back tuck, but I don't feel confident that I can do it safely.)
*At school, she wants to follow all the rules. It is important to her to stay on her teachers' good side. She is thrilled when she gets a blue or purple card. She dreads the thought of getting a yellow card.
*Before she begins an assignment at school, she wants to be sure she understands exactly what is being asked of her. She does not want to make mistakes.
She loves to play school down in the playroom. She'll play with Matthew, and she loves to play it with a friend. She's organized worksheets, the whiteboard, and different centers.
*Chad wanted me to be sure to include that she is a natural athlete. We have noticed this particularly with soccer and basketball. She seems to have an ability to keep her eye on the ball, and understand where the ball needs to go. She works hard to get it there. It is so fun to watch her play. I even think, many times, she holds back because she wants to share the ball with her teammates. 


 Here's a little of what our morning looked like leading up to Thanksgiving. Mom and Dad came up and stayed with us a few days. It is always so great to have them around. They make life easier. Mom took on the pies (oh, the pies!), stuffing, Teddy Graham dip, and cranberry fluff.
 Because this was also Mira's birthday, she and Mira worked together on the Teddy Graham dip. Mira loved helping. And Mom was so patient. She is such a good teacher.
 What did everyone else do? Colin was on Minecraft with Matthew looking on.
 Micah was on his iPod.
 Ella went to Matthew's rocking chair to chill on the iPad.
 Family began arriving for dinner at 1:00. We feel so lucky to have Aunt Geri and Uncle Danny close by. They are currently serving a mission at the Family History Center at Temple Square.
 Doug, Rachel, and the clan arrived. Janna, Alan, and Amber came.

 We made a ton of mashed potatoes. (Ella's absolute favorite, especially with gravy!) I cooked a 20 pound turkey, another 13 pound turkey, and a 10 pound ham. Amber brought a ton of rolls, Janna brought green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and a veggie tray. Rach brought her signature candied yams and creamed corn. It was a whole lot of good food.
 All the kids had been anticipating this feast. Colin told me his favorite Thanksgiving is when we do it at home.

 Matthew would collect all the plastic cups he could get his hands on in order to build a tower. Michael was right there with him, making it that much more fun. Juliette was in on it some, too.
 Doug, Rach, and I sat around and visited with Aunt Geri and Uncle Danny.
 We all sang Mira "Happy Birthday." The cousins gathered around and dug into the Teddy Grahams and dip. Pretty fun!

 We fit 23 people in our living room/kitchen. Thanks to Janna and Alan for bringing extra tables and chairs!
 I asked the kids to read a little something about the origins of Thanksgiving. We did a dry run, and I knew I needed to whittle it down more in order for them to get through it and not get bored. I love traditions like this, learning and remembering the reason for our celebration.

 Around the table:

 The next day, after everyone left, we worked on gingerbread houses. Mom, Dad, and all the Millers spent the night. It was a party! Micah and Grant had awoken before the sun came up and played XBox together (Terraria, maybe).

 After gingerbread houses, we all went over to Thanksgiving Point's Museum of Natural Curiosity. It was a lot of fun. The four oldest: Colin, Theron, Micah, and Grant pretty much stuck together the entire several hours we were there. They had a great time. Chad and Matthew were buddies. They spent a lot of time outside because the weather was so fantastic. Matthew loves the sand!

Mom, Doug, and I sat and chatted for a good portion of the time. Doug was so stoked for their surprise trip to Disneyland they were taking the older four children to. We were excited for them!
 And Chad took Mira to a Jazz game since it was her birthday week.