Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nerf Wars (in the snow)

Since Drake's birthday is on a holiday that often finds his friends out of town, we do his birthday parties, when we do them at all, on a later date in January. Yesterday was the scheduled day for his Nerf Wars birthday party. After 14 invitations had been sent out and most of those people had called to confirm their intentions to attend, we discovered that the weatherman was predicting snow. This is Hampton Roads. We don't usually get snow here. Often when they say it is going to snow, it doesn't or the snow comes in such small quantities that it doesn't change any one's course of action. This time, however, we had Drake's (Eeyore's) birthday party planned so of course we woke up on the day of the party to about 4 inches of snow with more still falling. I know that to many of you, this does not seem like a big deal because you deal with much more than that all winter. For this area, however, that much snow meant that we were dealing with the worst snow storm we have had in 20 years. Drake was thrilled-Nerf Wars in the snow! I was worried that it would prevent many from coming. After checking the weather again and discovering that the wind was supposed to pick up after noon, we decided at 8:30 to change the party time from 1:00 to 10:00 and hope people could still come. We had all but one guest attend in spite of the weather and time change.

This was a party to remember. The boys all arrived dressed in their snow gear so we had them gather in the garage and practice their aim until nearly everyone was there. They shot at boxes and at the dads that stayed. (There were 4 dads here, including Ben. It was great! All I had to do is serve the cake and ice cream.) Once almost everyone was here, they split into teams and went outside to battle it out. Ben had set up pallets and our picnic table for them to hide behind as they shot at each other. Of course, the snow covered trampoline became too great of a temptation to be ignored. They were all in heaven.

We brought them in once they started feeling cold for a relay game that involved army crawling under the table, jumping over the couch, and shooting at targets taped onto the window. They enjoyed cake and ice cream and watched Drake open his presents but then they were ready for more warring in the snow so the dads got them all suited up again to battle until all their parents arrived to take them home. It turned out to be a great party. I am sure we will find a million Nerf bullets under the snow once it all melts.

We received more snow during and after the party as well as overnight so our total snowfall is about 8 inches. Again, I know that is a small amount for many of you, but it has shut this place down. Church has been cancelled for today and, since it will still be on the roads tomorrow because it is so cold today, school would most likely have been cancelled if they didn't already have the day off. Aven is having fun getting dressed to go out and then coming in again a few minutes later and the kids think that tromping through the snow in the woods behind our house is the greatest thing they have ever been allowed to do. I intend to hibernate until I can see the ground again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Drake's Baptism

Drake was baptized on Saturday, January 16, 2010. He was very excited. I had the jitters. I knew that I would become emotional as I watched him take this step. He was calm and ready to participate in this important ordinance. It is the important first step on a path that I hope he will continue to walk.

The baptism program was very nice. Zoa was quite involved. She gave the talk on baptism, which she prepared mostly by herself. All the help I gave her involved clarifying some wording and polishing a little bit. She did a fantastic job. She also sang "I Am a Child of God" with me and her grandpa. She sang the second verse as a solo and sang the descant on the third verse. She did a lovely job. I received almost as many compliments and congratulations about her as I did about Drake.

We were grateful for the support we got from my parents, who flew here from Utah to support Drake on his baptism day, and from some neighbors and friends and ward members. The room was packed to standing room only, which was very nice. Drake is a special kid. It was nice to see that other people think so too.

After the baptism, we had a lunch at our house for the friends that could come. Drake wanted to have a post-baptism party so he could play with his friends. It was fun to visit and enjoy the company of so many good friends. The tradition in our ward is for children who were just baptized to share their favorite scripture in sacrament meeting the next day. Drake stood up at the pulpit and shared his favorite scripture (1 Nehpi 3: 7) and then went the extra mile and also shared his testimony. What a fantastic person he is!

My parents were able to stay through the long weekend so we took advantage of the kids not having school on MLKing Day and took a day trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We went to the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills where they made their first flight. Have you ever stopped to think about what a miracle it is that they were able to figure that out? There were so many obstacles they had to eliminate and problems they had to solve to make it work. It really is amazing. What a great weekend it turned out to be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Drake is 8!

Drake turned 8 on Dec. 31, 2009. We had our annual Happy Birthday Drake/Happy New Year's party at our house. Unfortunately, we didn't have the great turnout we are used to. We had a great time, though. Drake requested a chocolate ice cream cake. He opened presents and we ate cake and then the kids played wii and ran crazy through the house while the adults played games. It was an enjoyable evening.

Drake and I have a running joke every year. I always tell him he isn't allowed to get older and he explains that he can't help it. For some reason, I meet Zoa's new phases of life with excitement while I feel sad about letting the little boy that Drake once was go. He has turned out to be such a smart and interesting child. I love having a conversation with him because he always surprises me. We are grateful that he is part of our family. He will be baptized on Saturday, January 16. We are looking forward to watching him take that important step.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas 2009

We had a great Christmas this year! The only thing that was a bit of a bummer was that Ben had duty on Christmas Eve. Santa and his elves had a more difficult time getting everything ready for a magical Christmas morning without him, but they managed. The kids had to be corralled in our bedroom until he came home at about 8:00 so that was a bit difficult but once we got rolling, it was all fun.

Zoa got a new bedroom set, complete with bed, dresser, and nightstand. She really likes her new furniture and Aven is enjoying Zoa's old bed and dresser. You can see Zoa's nightstand in the background of this picture of her.

Drake got a much needed new bike. His previous bike was Zoa's hand-me-down painted to look like a boy bike. It was so small that he had a difficult time keeping up with his friends when they rode bikes together. He looks so grown up on this big new bike.

Aven got a new baby and stroller. She was cute on
Christmas morning. Each present she would open would be added to the basket of her new stroller and wheeled around the house. She had a hard time letting me take stuff out of there to put it away the next day.

We spent the day setting up Zoa's new furniture so she could sleep in her new bed. We also made our Christmas dinner that day and spent some time playing games together.

We felt very grateful for our blessings as we enjoyed each other's company that day. We hope your Christmas day was as enjoyable as ours.