Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let it Snow...more

In the last post I said that we would enjoy the snow as long as the power didn't go out. Well...later that same night we were in darkness! Luckily not for too long. The boys were thinking it was fun. I was a little nervous as we approached bed time and worried about how cold the house would get without any heat. Not too long after all the lanterns, flashlights, candles and of course headlamps were all rounded up and we played some games by the light of Bo's "sword" (flashlight) we were back in the wonderful world of electricity.

Monday's official measurement was 15-16 inches. And don't worry, more is still expected. It just keeps coming!

These branches from a tree in our yard are normally so high up that we never notice them, but with the weight of the snow and ice, they are only feet from the ground!

Trampline jumping has been put on hold for now! But we are finding this December snow amazing and beautiful. Come on over to play in it with us!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


This picture explains the canceled school, the constant heap of snow clothes drying out in the laundry room and the huge quantities of boardgames played and movies watched this past week. And who wants to talk about global warming?? We have had one of the worst winter storms and coldest weather in the past decade here in the great Northwest for the last 7 days. As long as our power doesn't go out, we will continue to enjoy the beauty, extra family time together and fun!

A few shots in the blustry snow before Bart and the boys headed out to the BIG hill to sled. As you can tell, Bo wasn't too into it (the lack of naps the past few days hasn't helped).
Official measurement from this am -Sunday morning, Dec 21st - was between 8 and 9 inches (once I could break the 1/2 inch layer of ice on top of the snow to get the ruler down into the pile). Snow, freezing rain, sleet...we've been getting it all and it just keeps piling up!

Apologies for the pajamas...Bart thought that my stompped out footprints through the snow/ice on the way out the the patio table for snow measurements were worthy of a picture too.

We're dreaming of a white Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Traditions

There are some things that just make the Holidays feel "right". And no matter how old you get, you never outgrow or become tired of. Some of those include:

Cutting down the perfect Christmas Tree

One of the greatest things about living in Oregon, is the abundance of tree farms. The local farm that we love for every season (from Summer berries, to fall pumpkins, to Christmas trees) is only 5 minutes away. This wasn't really OUR tree - we had already scouted out the perfect tree, cut it and loaded it on the trailer when we realized we never got a picture...so this is one along the roadside that is posing as our tree. Our tree smells wonderful in our house and looks great all decorated for Christmas.
Visiting Santa Clause
Getting all dressed up in the season's best and getting a photo with Santa in exchange for a candy cane (from Santa) and hot chocolate and cookies (from mom or Grammy) never gets old. Well, I know that I only have a short time left with my oldest boys going along with this tradition, but until the scream and protest...we will keep going. It seems every year for the past little while I have had a little one who was not too sure of the bearded man in the funny hat!

Ty gets to talk to Santa about his Christmas wish list
Cade gets his turn telling Santa what he wants for Christmas
Candy Day with Mom and Sisters

My sisters and mom and I do a cookie exchange and get together to make Christmas candy each year. Then we have tons of holiday treats to eat and give away throughout the season. We always have a blast together as the little cousins (the ones not in school) play and entertain each other close by. This year my incredible mom surprised us with a fun gift of homemade, matching aprons to wear while we cooked up our goodies. I am so lucky to have "my girls" (mom/sisters/best friends) close by!

No Fun Turning One?

Cole had his 1st birthday on the 4th of December, but he also had a nasty cold. He spent the whole week leading up to his big day coughing, sneezing, puking, etc. After fighting if for long enough and showing no signs of getting better - we finally made the trip to the doctor. The visit wasn't any too soon as we learned he was getting a case of pneumonia - poor little guy. So needless to say, his 1st birthday won't go down in the books as one of his best. Good thing we had already had a celebration with his Grammy and cousin Drew (who's birthdays are the day before Cole's) the weekend prior before all the gunk hit him!

Cole opening gifts with lots of help from brothers and cousins

The birthday boys and "girl" / Cole gives Grammy a big birthday kiss

We also combined the birthday bash with our annual Silliman family gingerbread house night. With homemade gingerbread by grandma and tables all set up with goodies and trimmings in the "cultural hall" (actually it's the indoor gym at grammy and papa's house that comes in handy for EVERYTHING fun) we made some great houses. Well, some were better than others (sorry Bart) but the memories were ALL kinds of wonderful. The whole group working away on their masterpieces

Tyler, Bo and Cade looking proud of their houses
Nothing quite shows brotherly love like a little torture with frosting

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Florida Thanksgiving

After Laura and Brandon's wedding in Florida, we stayed the following week to enjoy some family time in the sun and spend Thanksgiving with the Dickson bunch. We enjoyed...

A trip to Busch Gardens on Monday

Checking out the American Alligators

The Safari Train ride

Caden and Tyler were so proud of themselves for going on their first upside-down roller coaster. After the "Scorpion", Tyler called it quits for the big rides for the day, but Caden hit all the ones he was tall enough to ride. He learned he was 54 inches, which was one of the highlights for him of the whole day
Bo could have spent ALL day on the old-fashioned carousel

gotta love this picture of Bo on the airplane ride - he's seriously thought he was a fighter pilot

Cole just loved any time he could get out of the stroller and crawl around

Bo and cousin Hannah

Bo gets up close and personal with the flamingos

You can never see to many alligators! (Bo with cousins Hannah on left and Charlotte on right)

Hanging out at Gramma Debbie's and Grandpa John's on Tuesday

Bo found this toy net which became his helmet and he always had at least 2 swords in hand. All of his girl cousins were so kind and willing to join in his "ninja turtle" version of playing.

Swimming at the hotel and trip to Tarpan Springs on Wednesday

Outside of Tampa is a small Greek seaboard town called Tarpan Springs. We love to go walk along the store fronts and eat wonderfully authentic greek cuisine. This time we also ventured out on a boat ride - wich ended up being a great experience and worth enduring the cold temperature for.

Lucky for all of us the boat supplied fleece blankets. While it was sunny and warm along the board walk, once the boat picked up speed were a teeth-chattering bunch!

Captain Tyler got turn at the wheel.

We not only saw the dolpins they promised we would spot, but these playful dolphins swam with us for 5 minutes jumping right in the wake of our boat. Great fun!

The sunset was breathtaking.

Great fun and good food make for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday...the other part is the family and friends. We haven't been together with Bart's whole family in 4 years and it was beyond wonderful to spend this time together. We also got the friends part in when a high school friend of Bart's and his wife and 3 boys who are now living in Florida joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. It was great to see them and spend time catching up. Thanks Craguns.

All together equals one Happy Thanksgiving and trip!

Wedding Bells

Somehow, the house got cleaned, the laundry got done, the luggage packed and all the kids got loaded up for a trip to FLORIDA for Bart's little sister Laura and Brandon's wedding. It was a beautiful weekend and we are so happy for the gorgeous couple. While it is a LOT of work to haul 4 kids across the country (escpecially during the Thanksgiving holiday) it was WELL worth it. We were so grateful to be able to be there to share the moment with them and make some wonderful memories.

Cole rotated seats and arms (as well as snacks, toys and anything we could get our hands on) as often as we could blink...hey, whatever you have to do to keep an 11 month old happy on a LONG flight. He has recently developed a habit for shreiking (the highest pitch and loudest volume you can imagine) so we were willing to do whatever to keep the "Banshee" (his new nickname) from shreiking - so were all the other restless travelers on the flight!

My handsome "boys" outside the Orlanda Temple

Caden and Cole

One of our many attempts at a group photo with the gorgeous couple and all the family who came to celebrate with them.

The "big boys", cousins and best friends for the week, Ezra, Caden and Tyler looking dapper in their suits.

Tyler, Ezra and Caden started drumming on these uplights they saw outside the temple.

The reception on the beach the next evening was AMAZING.Debbie (my mother-in-law and mother-of-the-bride) did all the flowers for the wedding. She is incredibly talented and I love to go and help her out with flowers, or in the kitchen or with whatever...I learn SO much.