This is Jake man riding his new "overhauled" skute Batman bike. For Christmas, Sam refinished his bike with batman decals (put on upside down, but no worries, Jake doesn't know) for Christmas.
We kicked off the New Year with a trip to Suncadia, Washington with some friends to celebrate our friend, Rob's 40th Birthday. Suncadia is a little resort in the mountains with lots of snow, pools, and watersides, sledding, and good times with friends.
Here's Jayne and I getting ready to brave the tubbing hill.
Here is Sam and Dallin Hammond with the steep and icy sledding hill behind them.
Below is me and my NINE closest little friends stuffed in the back of the Hammonds sequoia coming from our first event of the day-Sledding.
2nd Event of the Day
The girls and I braved the ice. Disney on Ice called for me because I got some major skills! Ha! It was both of the girls first time skating and they rocked it! Jayne started with this ice walker and then ditched it. But sometimes she and I would grab one and I would push her around fast and crazy. We called it the crazy grandma (because of the walker).
Here are some crazy sisters. They make me laugh. Especially Jayne rockin' the one piecer snow suit.
This is my friend, Katie Hammond. She and I said we were competing in a winter triathlon. Sledding in the morning, ice skating in the after noon, and the 3rd event was swimming. Katie took first and I took a close second. Fun to have friends to play hard with.
The day after returning from Suncadia, I hopped in the car and drove to Seaside,OR to listen to my sister, Sher, defend her Master's Thesis for Fine Arts in Writing. She looked nervous, excited, and beautiful. She told her story of how she became a writer. It was beautiful and entailed her many struggles that she overcame to get to this point in her life. I was with my parents in the back of the room and we all sat and cried. We knew how lucky we were to have her in our lives, especially to have her where she was. Not many can overcome what she did. I was so happy to be with her and I am so excited for her to continue in her PHD.
This is beautiful Seaside, OR. The first field trip that Seth and I took when moved to Oregon with our baby Sam.
Right before my birthday, on January 15th, was the little man's big 3rd Birthday!!!!The greatest part of 3 yr old birthdays is that they don't really know what day is their birthday, and since I was out of town on his birthday, we moved his Tuesday birthday to Friday(he didn't even notice) and threw him a party then! He first wanted a "Landon Birthday Party." Landon is one of his best friends and Jake didn't quite understand that he could have Landon come to his party instead of having a Landon Party. Below is a picture of Jake and Landon. We figured we could make little cut outs of Landon's face and put them on popsicle stick and all be Landons, and have a Landon piñata, but instead.....
we convinced him to have a Batman Party.
Here is Batman himself.
Batman and his sidekick, Cat Women! The tights are Ellie's zombie tights from Halloween, but they are all I had, and so Jayne told people she was in a cat catfight!
Love this happy little face.
Batman Piñata Center Piece
His super simple Batman Cake!
Love this kid! So happy and content. He loves blowing out candles, so we lit them twice.
And the best part of all was that Grandpa and Grandma Hale showed up for party! Grandpa held the piñata, Grandma served the cake, and Grandpa the ice cream.
Thanks for being there Mom and Dad!
Shortly after returning from Oregon, my sister, Sher called me. Her husband's only brother passed away. It came as a shock. Although Rick's brother Randy was not in very good health, it was not expected. Seth and I returned to Oregon to take our families love and support to Sherri and Rick. My parents and siblings were amazing as they extended support to Rick and his family. I made me grateful to be apart of such an incredible family. We are far from perfect, but we would go to the ends of the earth for each other. It was difficult to see the pain of the loss of their brother. I was reminded again how precious our time together on earth is. And I am grateful for the knowledge of eternal families. Heaven wouldn't be Heaven without the ones we love.
The good part about the weekend was being able to see all these people below. These are Sherri and Rick's kids and I was so happy to see and hug all of them.
Speaking of Love. These are the cutest Valentines that darling Ellie made for all 27 of her class (plus some extras for teachers and friends). The original Valentine said,"I have a CRUSH on you." But Ellie was too embarrassed to give that out. So she wrote on it "It would CRUSH me if you weren't my friend. Happy Valentines Day!" But Seth thought she should write,"I will CRUSH you. Happy Valentines Day!" Which would be very appropriate for our very rough and physical daughter. Seth says, "You know if Ellie is bored, because all of the other kids are crying."
On Valentine's Day evening, we packed up the car with our 6 kids. Yes, 6 kids. We had some close friends, the Lawsons, have their parents become ill and unable to watch their kids for the week while they travelled to Hawaii. So Seth and I volunteered to take Maddie (12) and Jake(7). We just squished them into our family like they belonged. They even went on our mid-winter break trip from Valentine's Day to President's Day. We were invited by our good friends, Tim and Rose Bean, to join them at their new beautiful home at Lake Chelan. Lake Chelan is about 3 hours away from Seattle. So us and our 6 kids invaded their home and had a blast.
Here are the sisters enjoying the hot tub!
On Friday we ventured out to find some snow to play in. There wasn't much left, but we did find some great cross country ski trails for the next day. Here are Maddie and Ellie posing as super models.
After the drive we grabbed some Fro-Yo (frozen yogurt for those of you who don't speak tween). Jake sitting on Dad's lap to get closer to his spoon.
Rose + Maddie+ Ellie with their sun glasses on!
This is the cute little couple- that's what I call them. We found them snuggled up too many times. Jayne had been playing puppy and was Jake's puppy for a good 72 hours.
There is nothing that can really startle the employees of Walmart. Not even me with my 6 children. But I did finally put the three littles in the basket, just to keep children organized. The look of craziness on their little faces is close to permanent.
On Saturday we woke up to a gloomy blustery day. I wasn't very excited about going cross country skiing. But we drug ourselves out and just as we did, the cloud parted and the sun came out. Awe. It was so fun. Below is Maddie, Rose, Ellie, and Sam. The trials were groomed and had tracks in them. It was Maddie's first time and she did great.
Here's Rose and I on our snack break.
The sun came out and we all warmed up. Sam got to hot and so he wore his ski pants around his ankles while we took a break for food. He waddled around while Ellie cooled off in the snow.
This is my favorite picture of these three ski goggle trouble makers. They were really fun to ski with even though they tried all sort of moves on their skis when they go bored. It usually ended with someone on the ground but they had a lot of fun.
There were beautiful overlooks and we loved the sun.
My two big kids. I can't believe how big they are getting. Not sure I want them to grow up any more.
Sam freckled face. Reminds me so much of picture of his daddy at this age.
Other than those fun trips, we have been up to our normal "un-boring" lives. Sam is finishing the basketball season, playing guitar and piano, and doing Scouts. Ellie is finishing indoor soccer and starting spring comp soccer, dancing ballet and jazz, playing piano, and being a Jr model in the American Girl doll fashion show fundraiser for Children's hospital. Jayne just finished indoor soccer, which she was happy about, because she decided she didn't like soccer because she didn't like to sweat. She is a "girl." She is dancing ballet and doing a gymnastics class. Jacob decided to potty train and did it in about week. Hallelujah! Diapers- no more! He rides his bike continually through the house and outside. He loves to do his ninja moves and have Jayne boss him around as her puppy, and play with Landon and Ethan (his BFFs). The children are so blessed and are such a blessing to Seth and I.
As for Seth and I, I would say our time here since Hawaii have been challenging. We are continually having to make decisions on faith. The many decisions we have to make about treatments or no treatments, Microsoft or no Microsoft, selling our house or not, and many other heavy decisions can be taxing. I told Seth the other day, I wish we could just see a little of what is to come, just a peak. His response was,"Then we wouldn't have to have faith." Faith to believe, faith to persevere, faith to be healed. We have a new saying in our family. The first(of many) of 2013 mottos- "Christensens, we're all getting better." That's what we are putting our faith in. Like Seth says through the hard times, "something great is on its way."