Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hawaii - Day 1 - November 1, 2015

Back in February, Jon and I started talking about planning a trip to Hawaii - one in which we would take the kids.  We have blinked and are already at the phase of life where our time with all our kids living at home is quickly fading.   Family vacations are an important part of our life and we make a conscious effort to save money to do them.  There are other huge things - like a remodeled kitchen - that we could save for, but for now, it's more important for us to spend this time with our kids.

Jon is such a good sport when I come to him with ideas for trips!  I dreamed of taking the kids to Oahu (to do all the normal touristie stuff) and inviting our parents to go along.  We started looking for places to stay and talked with our parents.  My mom immediately said yes!  She was so excited!  My dad was hesitant to commit to come. He's had some health issues ever since returning from his mission and ultimately decided not to come.  Jon's mom was also excited to come.  I was thrilled when she told us she could come because she had lived in Hawaii while my father-in-law taught at the Church College (now called BYU- Hawaii) when she had just a couple of small kids.  She hasn't been back since.   But, then in August, she had a subdural hematoma and underwent brain surgery.  This woman is incredible and has done amazingly well and decided that still going to Hawaii was possible.  Bless her!

Diane flew to Salt Lake on Saturday (Halloween) and we left really early on Sunday morning.  (I chose this particular week to go because it was the very first week of a new term.  I felt bad having the kids miss a week of school, but since they don't ever miss school otherwise, I decided it was what we needed to do.  We couldn't go over UEA because we didn't know what Emily's soccer team would be doing in the State Tournament and she was in Driver's Ed and you just can't miss drive times/class for that).  

It was no easy feat to get packed and ready for this trip, while trying to do all the normal Halloween stuff.  We actually took down our cobwebs on Halloween day so that they weren't up the entire week we were gone.   I also treated myself and had my house cleaned while we were gone - definitely something I would add to the budget again!  

We must have been quite the sight - 2 adults, 2 grandmas and 7 kids!  But, the flights were great.  We flew through San Diego and then onto Oahu.  The kids were really, really good and even though the flights were longer than I remember, Alaska Airlines were fabulous and we arrived!

It took awhile to get our rental cars (yes, we got 2 - one minivan and one regular car).  Jon took his mom and several kids and headed to our condo and I took my mom and a couple kids and stopped at Sam's Club on the way. 

We stayed in Ko Olina, which is on the west side of the island.  We stayed at the Ko Olina Beach Villas, which is right in between Disney's Aulani and a huge Marriott Resort.  We had 3 bedroom/3 bath condo and it was awesome!  We were right on the beach and had a kitchen to cook in.   I would totally recommend it and if we ever go back, it's where we'll stay!

We were so tired and ready to get to the condo!    I think we were all in bed by 8:30 (a 3 hour time difference, plus the night before we went off Day Light savings), so it was like 12:30 am the time we were used to!

We had a good size layover in SD.  Jon went on a search for decent food.  Funny note: the family in the background was on all our flights and we even picked the same day to go to the PCC.  We kept running into them :)

Honolulu International Airport

Cute Diane looking at the Hawaiian sky once again!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Halloween 2015

We had another great Halloween this year!  The kids made it really easy on me for costumes/makeup, so that was splendid!  Jack was a basketball player, Hannah was a soccer player, Kate was a pirate, Hailey was Little Bo Peep and Sam was a sheep!  We borrowed the Little Bo Peep costume from a friend and I ordered the pirate and sheep ones online.

A couple before Halloween, Becky was in town, so we had the kids all dress up!



 Sam & Hailey

 On Emily's birthday, we went to our ward carnival.  It's always a fun party and a nice way for the kids to show off their costumes.  This picture has Heidi dressed as Heidi!

 This baby was such a good sport about being a sheep!

 On Friday, October 30th, the school had a Halloween parade and class parties.  I was in charge of Hannah's class this year.  I had plenty of other mom's help, so it was easy for me (I even left early to get to Hailey's preschool parade).   Hannah has a great teacher and cute friends!

 Hailey's preschool parade

 Hailey & Grandpa Avery

Ms. Lorie with Sam & Hailey

 This is one of Kate's favorite teachers, Mrs. Ewell. 

The kids had a great time trick-or-treating!  Jon took Hailey,  Kate went with Josie & Kage (and my cell phone), and Hannah went with Heidi.  I stayed home with Sam and got ready to leave early the next morning for Hawaii!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jack & Emily's Birthdays

October is a busy birthday month in our family!   We celebrate my mom's, then Jack's, then mine and then Emily's!

I did a birthday dinner for Jack and my mom!  I love this picture!

On Jack's actual birthday, in between piano lessons, voice lesson, tutoring, dance, and Young Women's, we made Jack's favorite dinner (chicken with noodles & white sauce) and stuck a candle in a Drumstick and sang "happy birthday" to him.

Jack is becoming such a nice young man!   He's really mellowed over the last couple of years and has learned how to be much more patient with his sisters.  He absolutely LOVES Hailey and she is literally the only one of us that he'll hug.    He does well in school, tolerates taking piano lessons and enjoys any time he can play sports or hang out with his dad.  

He was also able to be ordained to be a Deacon at Church.  He got his first suit and takes his responsibility of passing the Sacrament very seriously.   The Sunday after his birthday, they had a Priesthood Preview at the church and we were able to take him.

Jack - we sure love you!  It's hard to believe that you're already in your last year of Elementary School!   Thank you for being in our family!

A week later, Emily had a huge birthday - she turned 16!!!!   What??!!  Literally as I'm typing this, Jon has her at the DMV getting her driver's license.  I think I will be gray soon!   I thought potty training, midnight vomit, emotional moments, etc.  were hard, but that's nothing!   This driving stuff is major stuff and my prayers have become more fervent and heart-felt for her safety!

The day after her birthday, her and her friend Brinley, had a huge party!   Brinley's family rented a place and we provided pizza, drinks, candy & chips!  I think they had a great time!  Jon was at work that night and I obviously had 6 other kids that weren't invited, so I stayed with them!

This Emily girl of mine is such a delight!  I just love her so much!   She is beautiful, smart and sensitive!

The admirers are already arriving!  This is KJ, Emily's good friend!  He was so sweet and brought flowers over on her birthday!   We're entering a whole new phase of life too with children dating.  Emily goes to her first school dance tomorrow too!

We love you Em! Seriously, what a beautiful young woman you are!

Note:  I'll go pick out my first hair dye now - I'm going to need it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Family Pictures 2015

Having our family pictures taken is no small feat.....

First, there's choosing a photographer!  Two talented friends who have taken pictures for me before just had babies, so I didn't want to bother them.   I decided to use FotoFly.  I've had other friends use them and since we've never done an indoor shot, I thought I'd give them a time.  They did not disappoint!   Our experience with them was awesome!

Second, there's finding a date & time!   Coordinating 9 people's schedules (including a husband who sleeps during the day often and a nursing baby's schedule - and everyone in between, was crazy).

Third, clothes!   Oh, clothes!  To get 9 people clothes that coordinate but aren't too matchy, matchy is a feat!  Emily helped me a ton this year.  We built the clothes around Hannah & Hailey's outfits from Gymboree.  Sam's little bow tie & shirt were given to me by my BFF Becky Larson, so that was easy.  Everyone else, we just added as we found it!   And, there's always one uncooperative opinion about the clothes - this year, it was Kate.  She didn't want to be in pink and wouldn't get a really cute dress that Emily & I found.  I finally had to force her to wear the navy jacket she's in. 

And fourth, you have to basically threaten/bribe nearly every single person to smile, but not fake a smile, and then to cooperate while everyone else is having a turn.

Unbelievably, all the photos were taken within 45 minutes!  Not too bad!  The kids were very good and the photographer was really careful to fix hair and tuck in shirts, etc.   By that evening, I had proofs to look at and order.   


 Samuel Jay - 6 months old

 Hailey Grace - 4 years old

 Hannah Rebecca - 7 years old

 Kate Elizabeth - 9 years old

 Emily Corinne - 15 1/2 years old

 Jack Michael - 12 years old

Lindsey Diane - 14 years old

Jeannette & Jon - too old to mention