...or rather our ward Christmas Party. The kids could not wait to see Santa (aka Bishop Barkdull) this year. They waited in a long line as patiently as they could so that they could tell Santa everything that they wanted for Christmas. They were really into the Santa thing this year. They even left a plate of cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve. And were very excited when they found an empty plate and cup in the morning with a note from Santa. Santa sure had to be sneaky, since there were at least 4 kids camped out on the living room floor.
I have tons of pictures to upload from over the past few weeks. Here are a few of Alison and Hayley in their new Christmas pajamas. Hayley was determined to have footed pajamas this year, so after a lot of searching I finally found some in her size! Alison fell in love with her little plaid pajamas. She kept stroking them and saying "pitty". (pretty) Both my girls look absolutely adorable in their new pajamas and that's not coming from a biased mom. Alison turns 16 months old tomorrow and Hayley will be 10 in February. Wow, does time fly!
My mom told me about this fun and creative idea using gingerbread. You take your gingerbread dough and shape it to the outside of a oven safe bowl and bake it. Once it comes out of the oven and cools you have a cute gingerbread shaped bowl. You can then decorate and fill it with whatever you want. We are going to fill ours with cookies to give to our friends and neighbors. Check out this website for some more great ideas using these gingerbread bowls. http://www.gingerbread-house-heaven.com/gingerbread-bowl-recipe.html I will post pictures of our own bowls whenever we get them done.
I know I haven't posted in a while. We have been so busy with church activities, school activities, sick kids, etc. You know all the things that go along with the Holiday season.
I took Andrew and Connor for routine Doctor checkups the other day and the doctor saw that Connor's back was a little curved . So, he sent us over to radiology for an x-ray on his back. The radiologist said that it is definitely curved and looks like scholiosis (sp?) He was going to send the results to the doctor and now we are waiting to hear from him.
I had scholiosis when I was little. I don't know if it is hereditary or not. I don't have it anymore. After a lot of fasting and prayer, Heavenly Father healed my spine. The doctor's were dumbfounded. They couldn't believe that it just straightened out by itself. So, maybe after a lot of fasting and prayers for Connor, maybe this will turn out to be a minor thing for him too.
We knew it would happen one day and it finally did. Hayley failed her eye exam at school this year. She had been complaining that some things looked blurry to her but, we didn't know whether she really was having a hard time or if she wanted glasses like her older brothers. She has had eye exams every year and no problems...until this year. So we took her to the eye doctor's and sure enough she needed glasses. She was so excited to get them, but after wearing them for a day...well..she's not so sure anymore. I told her she would get used to them and she is. I told her I wanted to take her picture in her new glasses. She didn't want to at first but, after a minute she was laughing. I think she looks adorable in her glasses.
Hiking up a steep area. There is fallen barbed wire along that fence. My jeans got caught in it. Luckily, I got tangled before it did any damaged. There is a lot of loose gravel, everyone had a hard time keeping their footing. On the other side where we are headed is an old railway track. The rails aren't there anymore, just the gravel. Once in awhile we would spot an old rusted piece of metal that was once probably part of the track.
This is around where the Mormon Battalion was involved in what was called the battle of the bulls. A herd of cattle attacked them and 2 men were wounded. I don't think that anyone really knows why the animals were provoked.
Some Indian pictoglyphs we saw along the way. There was a whole trail filled with them.
The trail went up a steep river bank. There wasn't really much to hold on to, but no one fell in. I think we were a good 10-15 feet up. We even saw some trees that beavers had gnawed on and some racoon tracks. The boys were thrilled.
In our church, one of the things I get to do is work with the Cub Scouts, in particular the Bears (9 year olds) Well, we had the unique opportunity, at a regional level, to take all of the Cub Scouts on a 5 mile hike along the Mormon Battalion Trail, which runs close to the San Pedro River. If you are not familiar with the Mormon Battalion Trail, I will try to explain. Please forgive me, if I make a mistake. In 1846 the Mormon church was in desperate need of money. They were beginning their famous trek west toward Salt Lake City but were lacking the funds that they needed to keep going. They sent representatives to DC to speak with President James K. Polk about assistance in helping them move forward. He agreed to give the church assistance if some of the members would volunteer to form a battalion to help in the American-Mexican war. 500 men volunteered to go, along with 33 women and 51 children. They marched over 2000 miles, from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego California. The salaries that they earned helped pay for the church's continued movement west. It is recorded as the longest march in history. The volunteers, cleared the pathway themselves, using shovels, axes and sometimes even their hands. Their service helped not only our church but was instrumental in helping secure new lands in the west and also opened up a new southern wagon route to California. In the end about 20 people died.
We are privileged to have part of the Mormon Trail about 15 minutes away from where we live. There is a trail marker there to commemorate and remember those who served. We were able to take the Scouts and hike 5 miles on the trail, picking up trash along the way as a service project. The Cub Scouts also cleared away overgrown brush and weeds from around the marker. And polished and shined the marker as well.
It was such as wonderful thing to be a part of. I took so many pictures, I won't be able to post them all. But I will put a few up.
And this one "Sibling Rivalry" ( I am not sure but it looks like there is another person at their feet)
You know, I openly let my kids explore their interests. I like to see their little personalities and gifts and talents develop. I encourage them to be creative. If I can channel all of that creative thinking towards something constructive, then I feel that I have accomplished something great for my children. Sometimes they like to think "out of the box" which is fine, but when it lands on my walls...well that's another matter. Behold, the artwork of William Thomas Graham, age 4. Maybe, in 400 years or so, his famous artwork will be hung in museums all over the world. And here on my blog, we have all seen his first few masterpieces. Well done, William, well done! I guess I need to channel that creativity a little bit better.
Okay so I was able to go the early bird 12:01 am opening of Twilight last. At least half of our ward was there so there were plenty of people I knew. I drove with a friend there and back so that was kind of fun too. Anyway, after seeing the movie, I did think it was pretty good. I was a little upset that they didn't follow the book as closely as I had hoped but, it was still a good movie. I liked how the main characters were portrayed. Rob Pattinson made a good Edward. That being said...
I would have liked to have seen more of the rest of the Cullen family. I don't think they developed their characters enough in the movie. Also some characters were left completely out, like Lauren. And what is with Charlie and Bella eating in a cafe all the time. Wasn't their father daughter relationship developed with her cooking and taking care of him? Also Edward never said I love you to Bella in the movie. There was no you dazzle me, in the movie either, which I think was a big part of the book. The way Edward "dazzled" Bella all the time. But, I guess there is only so much that you can do to fit a 500 page book into a 2 hour movie.
I really did like the movie though. I will probably go see again before it's out of the theater and will deifinitely buy it on DVD. I have also heard rumors that they are going to have the "New Moon" sequal out by Dec of next year. I hope they do. The ending of Twilight the Movie definitley left the wide possiblity open for New Moon.
So, those of you who have seen Twilight, let me know your thoughts on it as well.
It was an extremely windy day yesterday. The forecast said that the winds would gust up to 35 miles an hour, but I think it was much stronger than that. Anyway we were about to walk out the door to go to church when someone just happened to glance in the backyard and saw our pool had flipped over and was trying to blow over the fence. We had emptied it earlier in the week, because we were going clean it and put it away while we re-landscaped our yard.
Well, we had to spend a good 45 minutes taking pool down before it blew away. Everyone was filthy and had to change clothes before we could finally head off to church. Needless to say we were late. Jon said he had never seen the kids more willing to help than they were yesterday. I think they were more fascinated by the wind than anything. They do like their pool too.
Last week, Hayley's Elementary school participated in Red Ribbon Week. Guest speakers came in and the students did various activities to stress the importance of Saying No To Drugs. One of the activities was a poster contest. Each grade made posters to demonstrate "Saying ". The posters were judged per grade level and Hayley won for 4th grade! She did not know about it until she was called up to accept her award today. She got a certificate and a gift card to a very popular entertainment store. (I guess I know where we are going tonight) Yeah, Hayley! Good job!
This is my energetic 5 1/2 year old Andrew. He's just about as cute as they come and constantly has this light radiating out from all around him. He's quick to make you laugh and himself laugh for that matter.
He is very imaginative and comes up with all kinds of ideas and creations, most of them on a spur of the moment. He is very impulsive and tends to think before he acts at times, which does result in a few time outs...and some bumps and bruises. (he isn't even sure how he gets them)
He loves life. He loves his family. He loves his friends and is always ready to make more. He is not shy at all and will take on anything that comes his way.
He loves church and his Primary class. He just loves to participate in class and absolutely glows when he is called on.
Andrew loves to go to Kindergarten and learn. He is learning how to read and is constantly bringing us books to read with him.
We affectionately call him the "Drama King" because he takes everything he does to the extreme. We just love having Andrew in our family.
My beautiful 9 1/2 year old daughter, Hayley. She has grown so much this year. She was really hesitant about making a big move but has made a huge effort to come out of her shell and not be shy. She has been doing really well with that. She even likes Arizona, something that she was determined not to do.
She is so talented in so many things. She is very artistic. She is receiving an award this Friday for a poster that she created for Red Ribbon week (say no to drugs propaganda). Shhhh...don't tell her, it's a surprise.
Hayley is in the 4th Grade this year and so far has almost straight all A's. (she got her first B) She is learning Braille this year. There is a girl in her class who is blind, so the whole class has been learning to read and type Braille.
Hayley also is learning to play the trumpet this year and according to her band teacher is doing quite well. We look forward to hearing her play at the band concert next month.
Hayley loves to swim. She is thinking about joining a swim team next summer. She took a swim test for the lifeguards this year and they were very impressed with how fast a swimmer she was. She even beat her older brothers. It would be a fun thing to see Hayley develop this talent.
Hayley also enjoys dancing. She has been dancing since she was two years old. She has done mostly tap and ballet, with one year of Jazz. She had decided to take a break after her recital this past summer. But, she is really starting to miss it and has been asking to take lessons again. So, it looks like we will be signing her back up for dance next year.
Hayley is very involved with the Activity Day Girls at church as well. She loves to go to the planned activities with all the other girls her age.
I am so very proud of Hayley. I love watching her grow up and seeing her excitement as she discovers and learns to develop all of her talents.
We went to our ward trunk-or-treat last night plus two haunted houses (at a church member's house and at a co-worker's house). We had thought about trick or treating around the neighborhood once we were done but, the kids bags were so filled up with candy from the trunk-or-treat that we just decided to go home and watch some Halloween movies together. The kids had a great time. Since our cut off age for trick or treating is 12 years old, our 13 year old Connor decided to stay at the house and hand out candy there. I think he enjoyed having some alone time without all of his siblings around.
Every year for Halloween Jon buys some kind of outrageous wig and dresses accordingly. We pulled out our Halloween box and the kids found his huge Afro wig from last year. Of course, they all just had to try it on. This is William taking a turn wearing it.
Our church had a pumpkin carving activity this past Saturday. So we decided to take the kids and go. We all had a great time although it did start to get a little chilly after a while. We were treated to hotdogs, rootbeer floats and lots of yummy snacks. Plus, we got to carve our pumpkins. Connor kind of separated himself from the rest of us and later hung out with some of the teenage boys his age. (sigh) I guess he is at the age where he doesn't want to be seen with his family. We've all been through. I just hope he gets through this stage quickly. Can you believe he's 13?
I am a mother to 6 wonderful children and a wife to the greatest husband. We are a military family. Our latest adventures have brought us here to Arizona a few months ago where we will be for an...undecided amount of time.The picture you see at the top is of the mountains across the street from our house. Aren't they beautiful? Since we are so far away from family and friends, we wanted to keep everyone updated with this blog. So, Graham Family Central is dedicated to all of you. We love and miss you!