Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snow Day (twice)

It was sad to see Christmas break come to an end.  I felt like it went by in the blink of and eye and I wasn't ready for it to be over.  With just a day into the back to school norm, while the rest of my family slept, I was (as usual) up early, just about to hop onto the treadmill and begin my day.  Just before climbing on, I heard a text coming through my phone.  I had to check it, wondering who in the world would be sending me a text at 5:20 am?  I was ecstatic when I read the text -- "icy conditions, school is cancelled, enjoy the snow!"  Yay!  I finished my workout out and immediately headed out to see the freshly fallen snow.  In the short time we have lived here, there have been a number of storms (rain, wind, and snow storms).  Because of our location on the coast, our little town always seems to miss the storms that are circling all around us.  In this case, the storm left just enough of it's mark to cancel school and leave a sparkly white across the city.
I love the snow!  It was thrilling to look outside and see everything covered with a beautiful frost of white.  What made the day that much sweeter, my kids were home!  Yay!
 A total of two days were cancelled from school while the last of the black ice melted off the roads.  I loved having my babies home a few more days before we were required to head back to the daily routine of school.  Such a great way to end the Christmas break!

New Year Party 2017

 I look forward to our New Year Party almost as much as I look forward to Christmas -- It's a pretty big deal around here.  I love the anticipation and excitement of my kids on the days leading up to this night!
The older 3 girls were busy at play practice during the day, while Paisley and Rex helped me get the house decorated for the big night.  Everyone was excited to get the party started when the evening finally arrived.
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As is our tradition, balloons are popped throughout the night revealing activities to be accomplished before the next designated balloon popping (I screamed every time a balloon was popped -- couldn't help it.).   After the dinner balloon was popped, next it was time to write our new year goals.  The kids pulled out their art kits and quickly got to work on their resolutions.
 Rex working on his new year goals.
 The girls working hard to put together a nice goals list.
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After goals were finished we started on the games.  We played a few new ones we received under the tree this year and the flour game, which somehow has become a New Year party tradition.  The kids expect this game to be part of our festivities and wouldn't think the night was complete without it.
 We used jelly belly jelly beans this year.
Paisley finding her jelly bean.  Alexa and Paisley love it when the jelly bean falls -- So much so that we have to limit only 3 jelly bean falls and you are out of the game for good.  Zoey and Kinley on the other hand, hate having the jelly bean fall and are careful as they can possibly be when their turn comes around.  Rex lost interest after his 1st turn and decided playing with his construction cars in the living room was a much more exciting activity.  I love the variations of personalities among these cuties.  It sure keeps things interesting around here.
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Finally what all the kids were waiting for, the piñata!  Dave set it up in the garage.  Our little gingerbread was almost too cute to destroy.
 Rex was up 1st.
 Paisley was so excited about this part of the night.  Even before Christmas, she started asking when the party was and if we would be able to "bat the gingerbread man" soon.  It was even included in her New Year's Resolutions list "Bat the gingerbread man piñata".
Here are all my sweeties patiently waiting for their turn at the piñata.  Not sure when and why the bike helmets got added to the activity -- safety 1st!

Eventually the piñata was broken open and out came ghiradelli squares, play jewelry, airplane kits, parachute men, sticky hands, and plastic animals.  The kids were so excited about all their new treasures.
 Before we knew it, it was time bust out the confetti poppers.  Always a highlight!
 Alexa showing Rex how to use his popper.
 ... and with all the confetti around the room, it only seemed fitting to start a dance party.
 Zoey, Dave, and I relaxed on the couch while the rest the family partied hard in the living room.

 We ended the night with a movie, expecting the crew to crash before it ended.  Not so much, the movie ended just before midnight.  They were up and ready to welcome in 2017.  This is the 1st year in a long time we have all been up and ready to welcome in the year at midnight.  It's going to be a great year.  I just know it!

New Year Resolutions (they have since been adjusted a bit but, these were their original lists from the night.)

- Kinley -
1. Read more books
2. Rock it during the "team work" song (their play)
3. Get Baptized
4. Brush teeth
5. Keep my room cleaned up
6. Help with the dishes more
7. Love and serve my family

- Alexa -
1. Brush my teeth
2. Not a lot of arguments
3. Go to bed early
4. Smile
5. Laugh more
6. Become a hard worker (help clean the house)
7. Show my family how much I love them
8.  Have good friends
9. Be kind
10.  Follow the path (of Christ)

- Paisley -
1. Help mom with dishes
2. Look at the calendar (she loves looking at the pictures all over our family calendar)
3. Bat the gingerbread man
4. Help with clean up
5. Give Mama loves
6. Brush teeth
7. Take more baths (and showers)
8. Read books
9.  Get a new baby "the brown baby" (love this one)
10.  Be kind

- Zoey -
1.  Read at least two verses of the Book of Mormon each night
2.  Practice good hygiene (teeth, bath, showers, etc)
3.  Get to bed earlier
4.  Be more patient with my family members
5.  Gain a better relationship with my siblings
6.  Work harder at school and chores.

There were some pretty adorable pictures associated with some of these goals.  Hopefully I will remember to get pictures posted of the complete list soon.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Practice

 Early in October Zoey tried out for a lead role in a local play (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and got the part.  So, we decided to sign up all three of my girls (Kinley, Zoey, and Alexa) to participate in the production.  This play is a huge deal in town, bigger than we originally realized when trying out.  The director and organizer in a member of our ward (church).  Although it is a community event, there is a heavy influence of LDS atmosphere in the group.  No performances or practices on Sundays, modest clothes, and clean productions (I noticed the inapprocpatie jokes crossed out of the script).  This makes me happy.
 The 3 girls have been practicing very hard for the production since October.  Over winter break Zoey also participated in a local radio talk show (picture above) and created a commercial to promote the play.  She met with a voice coach on a few occasions and had many hours of practice.  It has been a neat experience to see her be a part of.
 Front page of the paper -- the Potts family!
Kinley and Alexa are in there somewhere (on the right side of the car).  I have loved seeing how excited these two are to be a part of this event.  They are in the ensemble.  These two have been singing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang songs for months.  They look forward to practice and come home excited.  As part of the ensemble, there is a lot of down time.  They adore the downtime.  Some of the other cast members bring crafts for the girls to do -- mostly crocheting.  These kids have taught Kinley and Alexa how to crocket.  They (mostly Kinley -- she loves it!) come home with crocheted bracelets and hair accessories (an Oregon, Washington thing I think -- it wraps down your hair like a dread lock) of all colors.  I love seeing how much fun my girls are having.

Last weekend was opening night!  All three of the girls did awesome!!!  Kinley and Alexa got to wear some cool costumes (their dog ones are my favorites) and did so good during their team work song.  At one point Kinley marches to the edge of the stage.  She has told me that this part makes her nervous, as she is afraid she will fall into "the pit" full of the live orchestra.  Both of them did a great job.  I could tell they were having a good time, as they were smiling big throughout the entire show.

Zoey did amazing!  She was nervous a few hours before is started, after seeing the show, I could see why.  She had a ton of solos!  She nailed everyone of them.  I loved watching her sing and dance on the stage.  "Toot Sweets" and "You Two" were my two favorites.  "Truly Scrumptious" is her favorite song to sing. 

 We have two more weekends of shows (hopefully I will remember to get pictures this weekend) and a handful of school productions (3 of the 4 (not the high school) schools in town get to go on a field trip to see the play in the next few weeks) coming and then the season is over!  Yay, looking forward to more time with my cuties again.  I have been missing them! 

Taking Down the Tree

The next two pictures are from Dave's phone.  They were both near the beginning of the month.
 Earlier in the month we visited the Bayfront boat parade.  It was super fun!  I loved watching boats of all shapes and sizes (some were pretty fancy pants) drive across the water covered in brightly colored christmas lights.  My two favorites -- a large boat pulling a surfing Santa and a sailboat with the sail decorated like a Christmas tree (complete with a star on top).  It was cold and instead of pulling my phone out for pictures, I was keeping a tight grip on Kinley and Paisley's jackets, just incase they slipped and fell off the open dock into the freezing water (filled with sea lions) directly below us.  As a result, no cute picture of us.  Dave snapped the picture (above) of us on the boardwalk a little way down from the parade.  I think next year we will try to get a reservation for the restaurant that also over looks the parade (warmer, won't be afraid of my kids falling off the dock, they serve some of the most delicious hot cocoa ever, and Christmas music is played throughout the restaurant while the parade is going on).
 Speaking of hot cocoa, Dave took this picture of Paisley at this year's ward Christmas party.  They had an entire table of hot cocoa fixings for the kids to enjoy.  Paisley was in heaven.  She filled her cup to the brim with whipped cream and sprinkles.
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Taking down the tree is always a task, this year might have been the most work yet (note to self: If we ever get a live tree again, use a tree bag under it!).  Our tree wasn't as fresh as we might have hoped, needles everywhere!
The kids were helping me take the ornaments off.  I was behind the tree when I heard a shatter around the front.  As I peeked my head around, I noticed a very sad Paisley looking up at her mama.  Poor little thing, she instantly felt awful.  She knew she had broken one of my favorites.  After picking up all the broken pieces, I carefully handed the pieces to Kinley for her to take to the garbage while I hugged my sweet Paisley and let her know how much more important to me she was than any of my ornaments.  Everyone was happy again, the experience was forgotten and we moved on in our day.  When I went to get ready for bed that night I found a "gift" wrapped in paper on my bed.  It was my broken ornament scotch taped together with a special note from Kinley.  She had worked so hard to tape all (mostly) the pieces back together and left a thoughtful love note for me on my pillow.  Despite the fact that my little one was handling broken glass, it was super sweet and made my Mama heart melt.
After checking my sheets and pillow for loose glass, I climbed into bed with a smile on my face.  I love these adorable children of mine so very much!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Opening Christmas Gifts

 After church the kids were eager to get inside and start opening their gifts.  Of course, the second Rex walked in, he striped back down to his underpants.  He knows when we leave the house he needs clothes but, the second he walks in, they come off.  

Earlier in the week we did some sibling gift shopping.  Alexa drew this little guy's name and he spotted the gift she picked out during check out -- a big red monster truck.  He talked about it everyday following and searched around the house for it often.  He was pretty excited the moment he found it under the tree.
 Alexa opening her fairy lego kit.  This was a gift near the top of her list this year.  My girls love their legos!
 Kinley was hoping for some more clothes for her american girl doll, specifically Rebecca's holiday dress.  She had to run up and get her doll into her new dress as soon as she opened this gift.
 A fire truck -- Rex loved the fact that he received two fire trucks under the tree (thanks Grandma and Grandpa Zarkou).  One was smaller than the other, so he called it the "baby fire truck".  He drove those two around all day long.

 Kinley got a lot of american girl doll stuff.  She was excited to open the himalayan kitten and a bunch of associated accessories.  The picture above is of her pointing to the kitten on the outside of the box.  She didn't even have to open it to know what was inside.  Her and Paisley got a lot of similar gifts.  It was cute to see Kinley watch Paisley open a gift and then look for a gift with her name on it that was a similar shape and size, hoping she would find the same thing inside.  Smart cookie!
 Zoey and Alexa opening a sibling gift.
 Zoey with her new fit bit.
 At one point during the gift opening, Paisley got a unicorn stuffed animal as one of her sibling gifts.  She loves unicorns (and has for awhile now).  She immediately had to run upstairs and get the rest of her unicorn stuffed animals to meet their new friend.
 The picture above she is trying out her new hiking backpack (or it might be her 72 hour kit pack, we got both) with her new AG Pomeranian puppy.
Rex's main gift of the day -- a new balance bike!  He was excited.
 It was cute watching him navigate his way around the house on his new bike.  I also liked hearing him describe it to his sisters and grandparents (on the phone).  He had to let everyone know that you pedal with your feet.
 Alexa's favorite gift was this sleeping puppy.  She spotted it on amazon a few weeks back and instantly put it at the top of her wish list.
 The last item under the tree (which was hidden pretty good, thanks Dave) was a new phone for Zoey.  As you can tell in the picture above, she was surprised.  All along we have told our kids that at age 12 they will get a phone.  However, the last month leading up to Christmas, we had 3 or 4 specific times we really wished Zoey had a phone.  I was leaving my phone with her more and more, for her to contact me when she was finished with various activities.  It was time for her to get her own.

After gifts were opened, the rest of the day was spent building legos, relaxing as a family, and cleaning up all the gifts.  We ended the night with a new movie and all went to bed happy.  I love days like these.

Christmas Morning!

Christmas morning was full of excited kids and happy parents!  I love having a large family on Christmas morning.  Pure heaven!
 2 AM my excited children (Alexa, Kinley, and Zoey) came into my bedroom, letting me know that Santa had come and asking if we could begin opening presents.  I told them to come back at 5:30 am. Zoey went back into her room to sleep a little longer but, my other two brought their pillows and blankets into the living room to sleep next to the gifts and the lights of the Christmas tree.  I woke up for the morning before any of them got up again, I loved finding my little cuties in the living room waiting for the magic of the day to begin.

We started opening stocking.
Kinley with her stocking (can you tell this girl likes penguins (pajamas, stocking, and robe all themed in penguins) 
 Alexa with her stocking
 Zoey ready to open her stocking.
 Paisley must have heard the excited voices of her sisters because she was out of bed and ready to look through her stocking soon after her sisters woke up.  She was pretty excited about the candy canes.
 So many presents in her stocking
My little guy (who refuses to sleep in anything but his underpants) opening his stocking.  He loved his new lightsaber toothbrush.
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After the kids opened stockings, it was time to get everyone ready for church.  We snapped a quick picture in our backyard before heading out the door (picture above).  I enjoyed breaking up the day with an hour at church, the entire sacrament meeting was musical numbers -- I love Christmas hymns!  My favorite songs were the two performed by the primary.  When my girls got up to the stand,we all realized the entire primary was the four of them and 3 other girls.  As a result, I could hear each of my girls so perfectly and thought they did a beautiful job.  I was proud of them for being brave enough to get up and sing to the congregations with so few other primary children standing beside them.  Watching them sing was the highlight of the day for me!
 While we finished tying in the last minute details before church, the kids sat around the tree, trying to decide which present they would be opening 1st.
Loved my little boy in his skinny slacks and all my girls in the sparkly Christmas clothes they picked out special for church today.