Days 2013

Days 2013

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Heck-lers

Luke's favorite new phrases are, "Awesome!" and as of last night, "What 'da heck??"

We played at the park today after Macy's PT conference (the weather was too super nice to go home yet); he threw a "What 'da heck??" at the garbage truck and an "Awesome!" at the skylight in the school.  Super cute.

He got to try out these phrases during Leslie's birthday festivities.  One necklace from Grandpa and Grandma day was "Awesome!", and when Leslie was crumpling up the cellophane to clean up the mess his head shot up with, "What 'da heck??"

AWESOME
Every other year I give the kids the option to have a "friend" party.  It was Leslie's turn, and she first tentatively brought up the idea of a mixed party "I don't want anyone to feel left out" (saw right through that one), which was promptly shot down.  Instead she decided on a small group of girls.  The next problem was, what to do? because she said she didn't just want to sit around and watch a movie together.  Me, being cheap, remembered my nephew Blake going on group dates to IKEA and playing team hide and seek.  Leslie thought this was an awesome idea, especially coupled with a trip to the new nearby Leatherby's (a traditional ice cream parlor with enormous Sundays.)


WHAT 'DA HECK!
Mark, however, ended up being the chauffeur, chaperone and wallet.  I was a little nervous to be driving a van full of girls around in the traffic in the dark and then trying to find all of their houses to return them, so I offered him first dibs.  Fresh off a diet (he lost 14 lbs), he heard the word "Leatherby's" and kind of blocked out the rest. 

I'm still laughing at his report of the evening.  More on that in a second.

AWESOME
I've been trying to give Leslie more intiative-type responsibilities.  Example, her flute broke and I made her shop around for repair places and call them for estimates, hours, etc.  With this upcoming party I directed her attention to hostess responsibilites:  creating her own invitations, preparing the van for non-family passengers (removing car seats and garbage), making sure the house passed inspection before everyone arrived, etc.  She took her responsibilities very seriously, including a very teenage big sister warning to her little brothers that went something like this:

WHAT 'DA HECK!
"Cooper, you need to go upstairs and stay there.  I don't want you down here when my friends get here!"
"Why not?  I want to come to the party."
"You're sick.  I don't want you to give my friends your germs."
I interject, "He's not sick anymore.  That was yesterday.  The house is clean.  And besides, he just got out of the shower.  He's not going to touch anyone or sneeze on anyone.  Cooper, you need to kind of stay away from the girls just in case, but if you want to watch Leslie open her presents that's just fine."
Leslie, a little appalled at this verdict, "Okay, but don't pretend like you're going to throw up, or talk about throwing up, or tell my friends that you threw up yesterday.  And DON'T talk about diarrhea!!!"
"I won't!"
"You ALWAYS do!  Mo-oom!  He ALWAYS does!  'I have to go diarrhea.  Mom, don't make me eat that or I'll have diarrhea.  I just had diarrhea.'" Gags.  "I'm never bringing any boys home!"

At this point I was laughing so hard her argument lost a little steam.  And Cooper behaved himself and hopefully no one caught any germs in the 10 minutes they came inside for gifts. 

WHAT 'DA HECK!
So, Mark and six giddy girls piled into the Dodge Yak.  He realized the enormity of his mistake before they even passed the Jr. High (about 4 blocks away).  As he retells it, the incredulity on his face really underscores the experience. 

"How can there be six girls, and at least FIVE of them at a time are talking, yelling, or singing at the TOP of their VOICE?!"

Leslie interjects, "Yeah, but he fought back pretty well.  When Cassidy suggested that we all sing something, Dad turned on the radio full blast.  In Spanish.  When the girls complained that now they couldn't even sing along, Dad goes, 'That's the idea!'"  (I murmured to him, 'we don't even have a Spanish station on our settings!  He shot back, "I had to find one.")  Leslie:  "And when he surprised them by rolling down the windows on the freeway, they all screamed and one said, 'I feel like I'm going to fall out!' that didn't work very well to quiet them down.  Poor Dad.  He only actually yelled at them a couple of times."

Mark looks a little sheepish now.  "Yeah, Abigail looked a little shocked, 'I've never heard Brother Day yell before!'  But I couldn't even hear the dang directions for how to get to the one girl's house!  I'd say, "Quiet!" and they'd only quiet down long enough for her to get the first part of the sentence out!"

AWESOME
I guess the hide and seek went really well.  Mark wandered around the store keeping an eye on things, hearing bouts of shrieking and laughter and praying that a manager wouldn't come kick them all out.  Leslie particularly enjoyed hiding behind a shower curtain with her friend, listening to the comments of the other shoppers, trying desperately not to laugh, and wondering what they would say if someone actually pulled back the curtain.

The ice cream was excellent I'm sure, but Mark confessed that his traditional order of a "Black and Tan" was WAAAY too big for him to finish (I usually help him eat it).  I asked him if at least the payout of getting to go to Leatherby's was worth the trip, since Mark loves ice cream above all else.

He didn't even think twice. 

"No."

As we were getting ready for bed that night the bishop sent Mark a short text, asking if he needed an aspirin:)

AWESOME
Here's a little something I meant to mention in my last post.  Boston has a new talent. 
For Christmas he asked for a "real" tie, no more clip-ons.  We should have bought him more than one because he has been wearing this every week since.  Mark only showed him how to do it twice, and the first time Mark didn't come home between meetings to help him tie it, he just tied it himself, no problem.  He is nine, and I wasn't expecting this until about 12.  Where do I get more youth sized ties?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ice, Ice, baby.

I wanted a picture with this cute boy.  He's at such a fun stage where he says, "I hug you!  I kiss!  A BIG one!" and then he lays it on ya.
This week, for your viewing enjoyment, I have a clip of Cooper at his basketball game.  Next time I will film Boston. 

Cooper has white #5 jersey and dark sleeves.  I think he's pretty smooth.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IccVjEda7r0

Usually I consider January to be a pretty boring month, but it has proved to be pretty fun.  It started off with Cooper's 7th surgery  (I think.  Lost count.)  It was a pretty easy one, with a new set of more permanent ear tubes and a partial adenoidectomy.  We weren't really planning on the adenoids, but the ENT wanted to scope him see if they were pressing on his ear tubes and causing all the problems, and sure enough, they were.  She said they were beyond enormous.  However, a kid with a cleft palate actually quite needs his adenoids to help make back-of-the-throat sounds, so the doctor only shaved off the parts that were problematic and tried to leave the bulk.  Even then, she was a little worried about it.  As soon as Cooper woke up, she came in and asked him to say, "Kitty-Cat".  He could talk just fine, so we are glad and hoping this means he won't have to repeatedly get new tubes as he grows.
This gown was hilarious.  He was too big for the child gowns, so this is an adult size.  The "short" sleeves go almost to his wrists, and he is so skinny (almost 20 lbs lighter than Boston) that I wrapped the short ties clear around and tied them in front.  He also was awarded a stuffed animal, which he mostly pretended was a football while we were waiting.
Cooper did great and only cried some the first hour waking up (mostly from the "bad smell", which the doctor guessed was the cauterization.  He hasn't been around on branding day I guess), and downed about 4 popsicles, getting red drips all over the sheets.  After that first dose of Tylenol at the hospital he didn't even want any painkiller and was busy running around and asking to play football as soon as we got home.  He didn't even take a nap or go to bed early, silly kid.

Well, as soon as we got home I was on the phone scheduling a check-up with Luke's ENT (now that I knew Cooper had huge adenoids).  Luke has snored horribly and choked/gasped with sleep apnea off and on pretty regularly since he was born.  The first several months I thought it was a low-oxygen sleep apnea thing because of his heart condition, or possibly an aspirin allergy bothering his airway.  Then when it continued after his heart surgery, and my brothers' kids were having the same problems but got their tonsils out, I was sure it was tonsils.  Well, it turns out that Lukey also has huge adenoids, and great big tonsils, and fluid in his ears, and an ear infection.  Great.

The doctor was like, "I see he has a bit of a drooling problem (understatement of the century). That will probably go away once he can breathe.  How's his speech?"  I responded that he probably is my worst talker of five.  "Well, he probably can't hear very well with all that fluid sloshing around in his ears all the time."  Great.  So, he's on the surgery calendar for March.  They have to do it at Primary Children's because "nobody will want to touch him with that heart."  Ah, come on.  He's not that scary.  It's just that they want to use the special heart-trained anesthesiologist to monitor him.  The surgery should be totally safe and just like any other kid's.  It will probably also take a bit of a load of his whole system when he can breathe and sleep properly, too.  In the meantime they put him on antibiotics for his ear infection (I had no idea) and that has shrunken down some of the obstruction.
Although I've seen lots and lots of Luke's chest x-rays, this is the first head shot.  The part to look at is that dark airway coming up his throat, and then there is this white staple-remover shaped thing in the way and the airway kind of disappears.  The doctor pointed at this and was like, "he's pretty much breathing through a slit."
And now, we are all healthy and enjoying our month.  I even was able to host a bunch of kids over for a music mom and tots playdate without worrying about infecting anyone.  Oh, incidentally, I guess I also had surgery this month, removing an absess/cyst under one of my molars that has been bothering me for like, two years now.  They finally just went in through the side of my mouth and removed it instead of trying to drill down and get it.  Pretty invasive and I had to ice it constantly for a few days, but now I feel fabulous.  Bring on the popcorn!  Who knew chewing could be so easy?

Besides our weekly basketball "date" (Leslie stays home with Luke and Macy while we go watch the boys) Mark has done a good job of getting me out of the house.  One week we went to a BYU Men's Volleyball game...super fun and impressive to watch.  We've also been to the temple, had dinner or parties with friends at our home or theirs, and last night for the first time, at age 36, I learned how to...
Ice Skate!  This isn't actually me.  I don't have the legs for this kind of shot anyway.
Rocky Mountain Mortgage (Mark's company) was hosting a client-appreciation night at the Peaks Arena, (the hockey venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics) so Mark took me to help greet clients and then we got to skate, too.  The skating was harder than I expected but much to my relief, I didn't fall down once.  I'm sure I looked pretty ridiculous out there, but at least I could get from point A to point B.
Good thing this is a still frame.  I think I was actually wildly swinging my arms and trying to catch my balance.
Other people brought their kids.  Ha.  Propping each other up was tricky enough.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Meet Your Match

The New Year always brings some sentimental feelings because Mark proposed on New Year's Eve 1998.  This year on New Year's Day we were reminiscing in front of the kids and asked each of them how they plan to find a mate.  Their answers were pretty entertaining.  Enjoy.

Boston:  Well, you just pick the prettiest one, I guess.  Then you have to go on some dates to get to know each other,  And you probably have to (leaning in to whisper to Mark) kiss 'em a couple times.  Then you get married.

I wasn't letting him off that easy so I asked him, what happens if there are a lot of pretty girls.  Then how do you pick?  What do the girls do?

Boston:  The girls sort of...walk around. 

I asked him again, so how do you pick from the girls walking around?

Boston:  I'll pick the one that looks like she's been walking around a long time!

(I hope that doesn't translate to, "she's been around the block a few times"!)

Macy was bouncing on the couch with excitement and started to interrupt.

Macy:  I have a REALLY good plan.  When it's time to get married I'll write the names of the boys on a paper.  Then I'll cut the paper into boxes--not cut the names.  Then I'll put them in a cup and mix them up and pick one!  (This from my child who is all about paper projects, writing things and cutting them out.  Makes perfect sense.) 

Mark then asked her how she would decide who to write down.

Macy:  Well...some of the boys have to be ones I already know, that are older than me.  The other names can be new ones that I meet.

We then indulged in teasing her about what neighbor boys she might have in mind for her Win Lose or Draw.

It was then Cooper's turn.  Cooper is smooth.  First he responded with an obnoxious pick up line from our favorite comedy show from BYU, Studio C.  "Hey baby, you ticklish?"  We didn't laugh so he rethought things. 

Cooper:  How 'bout this.  I'll get a big jar of peanut butter.  (He stands up and acts out the whole process with a lineup of invisible maidens.)  I'll open it up.  Then I'll walk past until someone comes up and says, "Oooh, can I have some?"  That's the one I'll marry.  (Cooper loves peanut butter and recently told us that the first thing he is going to do when he gets his own house and graduates from college is to buy himself a big jar of peanut butter just for him so he can double dip.  He regularly asks for "peanut butter on a 'poon" for a snack.)

We asked  him what happens if a whole bunch of girls like the peanut butter, then how will he decide.

Cooper (once again acting it out):  I'll get the girls in a line and do this trick.  (He links his two pointers and thumbs together in a chain and then "breaks" them apart for each girl).  I'll ask, "is this magic?" "No."  "Is this magic?" "No."  "Is this magic?" "Yes.  How'd you do that?"  "Ok, let's get married." 

Mark started teasing him that he must want his wife to be blonde, then.  (Cooper does have a sweet spot for our bishop's little blonde daughter, but I don't think even she would fall for the magic trick.)

Leslie was enjoying listening to this conversation but didn't want to contribute much.  We did get out of her that her husband has to be taller than her, older than her, and have a good testimony of the gospel.  Way to be vague, sweetheart.  Although I must say my list was pretty similar at that age and I got it right on all three counts.

I don't think we asked Luke for his plans, but I'll pretend he just yelled, "Mommy!" and came and give me a hug, excluding all other possible outcomes.

Just wanted to jot these down for future reference:)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas Letter 2014

Just thought I'd include our Christmas letter in here before time got away from me.  Happy New Year!



Dear friends,                                                                                                                                                          

My challenge to you this Christmas season is to think more deeply about why the Lord has put certain people in your life (because He does, you know).  What can you learn from them?  Can you possibly help them in some way?  I’m serious about this challenge.  Make a list.  Think about it on walks, in the shower, driving to work, doing the dishes.  Discuss it with your family. It will immediately increase your “Christmas Spirit” (translation:  love for God and those around you.)  
 
Here is a rough attempt from me to get you started.


Leslie (age 13):  Leslie is walking proof that dreams do come true.  She is such a good girl, hard working, unselfish, trustworthy.  I think she came to our family to be an example to my other kids, to be my friend, to help shoulder the load of a large family (without complaining), and also to “let us off easy” so that we could expend some of that parental angst on our other children.  I love having a teenager and also enjoy watching her life expand.

Boston (age 9):  Ah Boston.  Boston, with his postponed arrival to our family (Leslie was 4 ½ when he was born) definitely taught us that our “story” for how life should go, and when, is not God’s Story.  God’s story is always better.  Sometimes I laugh because I think maybe I needed that extra time to prepare for this strongest-willed child.  Boston and I hold hands through all the tough stuff parenthood brings.  I learn the most from being his mom.  The hardest work also brings the greatest rewards, so I guess it would be truthful to say that Boston regularly makes me the happiest, and I feel like he has grown up a lot this year.  Boston also provides most of the affection for the entire family and especially loves the baby.  Boston and Cooper have also helped me realize why I needed to grow up with two little brothers, who have similar personalities to my boys, especially Jake with Boston.   Thanks Mom and Dad, for showing me how it’s done.

Cooper (age 7):  Cooper helps me to get in touch with my emotions.  All of them.  He is my most tender (asked me this morning if he could bring a treat to his Speech teacher because her husband died).  He is my most hilarious.  He has the strongest sense of injustice and also great courage.  I think one of my proudest moments the whole year was watching him the second day of swimming lessons as he, absolutely terrified the day before, walked to the pool with his chest out, trusting that God would help him.  This year Cooper also created emotions I didn’t know I had as I watched him tear it up on the baseball field.  I used to hate sports.  What was I thinking?  Enter—Intensity!

Macy (age 5):  Macy proves to me that children are born to certain parents for certain reasons.  I get her, but can also see so much of Mark’s social side shining through.  She also proves that children come with their own ready-made personalities.  She has a large one and it has been fun and challenging and rewarding to help her channel some of that intelligence and passion (we call it extra vinegar) for life.  Macy also treasures the girly side of things, which is so fun for me and provides huge balance to our rowdy household. 


Luke (age 2):  We have already learned so, so much from the medical difficulties and mortal questions surrounding Luke’s birth, (I seriously think about those lessons every day and thank the Lord for the lessons and also for the happy outcome), that now we just get to enjoy him--and enjoy him we do.  I honestly think that little ones are so necessary to have around because they just bring such a deep love and instant happiness into the home, scribbled walls and all, and it affects every member of the household.  Luke I’m sure you have much more to teach us.

Mark (don’t think he wants his age posted):  It’s hard to narrow this down for a spouse because they affect so much of who you are, but I think that this year at least, Mark has helped me focus on trying to figure out what the Lord wants for our family, and then to go ahead and do it AND be happy with it.  As the song goes, “Lead kindly light…one step enough for me.”  He changed companies twice this year, one time a week before we were about to purchase a home, and finally we feel really good about where he is working and where we are.  Mark also echoes my challenge—he spends a lot of his time ministering to members of our church and I know that he has expressed several times this year that he knows that certain people have come into his life for special reasons.

I hope you know that you are on our list of “certain people”.  We think of you fondly and consider the ways you have enriched our lives.  We are thankful to have the family and friends that we do and are especially thankful for Him this Christmas season.

Love,

Jackie, Mark, Leslie, Boston, Cooper, Macy, Luke Day

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Luke 2

Luke examines the snow outside on Christmas morning (notice, it's still dark).
Having Luke, age 2, around this holiday season made for a fun and, shall we say, energetic Christmas.  He actually did really good staying out of the Christmas tree and only partially unwrapped one gift before Christmas.  He has also loved (some) of the Christmas carols, particularly Jingle Bells and Angels We have Heard on High.  (If we elected to sing a different Christmas song at bedtime, he would yell at us and tells us no, although finally by Christmas he was warming up to a few others.) 
Cooper and Luke with the hymn books.
Macy is front and center with white sleeves.
The Gloria chorus of that last song has been belted out by his little two-year-old voice many a time over the last few weeks, on broken record mode.  Particularly in public, like in the long line at the WalMart checkout.  When the clerk complimented him on his singing, THAT's when he got shy, burying his face in my coat.  Jingle Bells was also pretty fun, since he doesn't really get any of the words, just the melody and some of the vowel sounds in the right places.  He was cracking us up on Christmas day, singing in the car on the way to Mark's brother's house, because he would just fill in the lyrics with whatever vocabulary words were part of his stream-of-consciousness as he watched out the window.  "Cars" and "outside" and "snow" popped up amidst the "Bee-Bo Bell", as did "cake" (he must have noticed the chocolate cake perched precariously on my lap.)  Luke also loved watching the kids' Christmas Singalong at the school and enjoyed applauding for everyone.

 How else did this walking two-year-old tornado contribute to the festivities?  Well, a favorite moment of mine happened a few days before Christmas break when I was innocently holding him on my lap during a show and he decided to rear back his enormous melon of a head.  I thought he had split my cheek open but turns out it just left me a dandy fine shiner for Christmas.  I had fun teasing Mark that everyone was going to think he was a brute (he says I just talk back too much.)
Jackie's shiner w/o makeup, about a week later.
Luke and the rest of my kids were extremely excited for our Haynes cousins to come visit us from Montana (usually we only see them at my parents' house) and to have a sleepover.  The weather was drizzly so we took a short field trip to the church gym and rode scooters around and played with balls.  The boys have particularly loved a wiggle scooter given to us by our wonderful neighbors and were excited to share it with everyone.  (I've been letting them ride it around on our shotgun stretch between the front and back door in the house.)
Rachel and Addaboo take a turn.


Macy was way excited to have a girl cousin to play with.

Bridger and Cooper thought this was a pretty cool pose and commanded me to take a picture.
Christmas Eve was particularly choice.  Crucial to success was to not have my expectations too high, and to be flexible.  We tried going to a movie that afternoon--but Luke refused to take a nap before or during, so Mark had to take him out about 1/3 of the way through.  Good thing it was free on our passes.  Next on the agenda was our dinner of "favorite things".  Everyone gets to pick a favorite food (we encourage a take-out item, but ice cream made the list a few times also) and then Mark drives around and gathers it up with the kids while I get the house and table ready to go.  This year we had Pizza Hut pizza (two kinds), sticky rice with peanut sauce from the Thai House, ice cream, Arctic Circle Yukon Gold french fries, ice cream, and orange chicken from Panda Express.  (If our budget was bigger we would have gone bigger, but everyone was happy with this and it made for some leftovers for Christmas lunch.)  Boston pushed for Subway but that is kind of hard to eat family style.  Luke is extremely picky right now but pizza is probably his favorite food, so this made for a nice, quiet dinner.  Other than the fact that he got done before everyone else, got down, and promptly threw a football onto the table.  Good thing I had left the candlesticks off.

Next up was games.  First the kids wanted to play spoons since they finally all kind of get how the game works.  Macy lost all rounds but one because she's pretty slow but she still enjoyed it.  Luke loved it a little too much; he sat on my lap and screamed when I tried to pass my cards down to Leslie.  We had to make her a separate draw pile.  Then I decided it was the year to teach the kids how to play one of my favorites, Taboo.  Macy reads so well I figured we could just pass the ones that the kids didn't know and it would go great, boys against girls.  Well, I forgot one very crucial part of the Taboo game--there is a really awesome buzzer.  Luke took one look at that thing and it was pretty much game over.  He wanted it, wanted no one else to have it, and wanted to continually hold the button down.  We had to box everything back up after about five minutes, amidst much weeping and wailing.  (Luke's.  I was keeping it pretty chill.)  Charades went pretty well, other than Mark being a party poooper and refusing to act out "flower girl".  Our last game was a big success; we played Mexican Jumping beans.  It's kind of like limbo, but instead of going under a stick, you have to hop over it.  We stack a broomstick on cans of beans and make everyone try to jump as the stack gets higher and higher.  (We allowed a couple of run-up steps on the last few rounds.) I lost big time, only clearing 3 cans before knocking the stick off.  Macy and the boys did surprisingly well.  Leslie and Mark did really well, with Mark the grand champion at 8 cans high, pretty impressive hops there Mark--must be all that volleyball on Saturday mornings with the fellas. Luke mostly kept out of the way and watched with me from the stairwell.  The kids were SO excited and cheering and screaming for their Dad. Boston took a video and Mark thinks it's funny to see that he was so excited he forgot he was filming it.


video
Last up was opening the Christmas jammies from my mom and reading the Christmas story from Luke 2.  (The kids had already acted out a nativity scene with their cousins a few days earlier, so we skipped that part.)  This could have gone better--Luke mostly ran around during scripture study (like he does every night) and distracted all of the kids (like he does every night.)  Need to work on this I guess.

Christmas Day dawned early--a heavy snowfall brought 5 AM snowplows past our windows and woke up half the kids.  They got back to sleep (but I didn't).  No presents before 7, so at seven we came downstairs to open the haul.  Fun stuff.
I thought Macy looked super cute in her new striped jammies and her striped tiger hat from Aunt Darcy that she has been wearing almost every night since Thanksgiving.


Luke didn't want to wait for breakfast and requested apples.  Not one, but two.  Well, they ARE red and green...



Loved the touch of sass in getting your husband coal for Christmas.

Cooper requested pretty much everything football related.  And some KitKats.

Cooper has loved playing this football with Mark.  It has the plays on it.

Unfortunately, Luke thinks the football is his.  I actually bought a smaller one for Cooper also to give Luke, but Luke knows which one is the good one.



Melissa and Doug brand Chopper toy.  BEST TOY EVER.  All these wooden vegetables and bread are cut into sections and then velcroed together, and the toddler chops them apart on a cutting board with a little dull wooden knife.  Super entertaining and fun for the other kids to stick the stuff back together.  After Luke opened this he just wanted to play and didn't want to open up any other presents.  Grandpa Day was a good sport to do it with him for a long time.

Some fancy stuff for my girly girl.  We decided to get her these after we found out that she'd been doing puppy dog eyes to the teenage neighbor girls with a "I never get my nails painted".



The boys were really cute with their new stacks of football and baseball cards.  This is what they both asked for, also blank pocket pages, (they both have a collection in a binder because they get one of Mark's old baseball cards every time they practice the piano) and they were so psyched, talking about the players all morning.  Mark was cracking up because, as he said, the level of expertise about the player and the level of excitement over "who" they got didn't match up very well.  They kept being stoked about these no-name guys, it was really funny.  I love Cooper's face in these pictures.


This Grandma knows her girl.  (Fancy Nancy).


Although the boys got Mario Cart from Santa, I caught the girls playing it together after their rooms were clean.
Mark had a cool surprise gift.  A few weeks before Christmas I got a random email from someone from Oak City, Utah, (where Mark's grandparents are buried) saying that he found a tape of Mark's grandpa Newel singing among his mother's effects.  Grandpa Newel was (in)famous for his fun folksongs with guitar and would do evenings of entertainment for ward dinners, etc.  We have heard some recordings of some of the songs, but didn't have any of them ourselves.  Anyway, this distant relative digitized every track on the tape for me and also sent us the original, so Christmas morning after the presents Mark and I curled up on the couch with our breakfast and listened to his Grandpa sing.  We laughed pretty hard and also laughed a bit in shock at the generation gap (some of the songs were very NOT politically correct--generations older than Newel even, and I probably won't let my kids listen to a select few.)  We laughed the hardest at one song I had heard a few times that has a verse about a fellow that realized his pants had split "I was losin' my desire to dance", because Mark split his good suit pants just a couple of weeks ago and I almost spoiled the surprise quoting that particular line at him.  Here's the link for you to enjoy the split pants song.  Listen for my favorite verse about the peacock, also.  https://soundcloud.com/jaclyn-haynes-day/17-the-hen-and-the-rooster?in=jaclyn-haynes-day/sets/newel-day-selections-1

The next few pictures are from the second week of Christmas break.  I took the kids sledding at a local amphitheater park that we have been to a few times.  It was really fun even though the snow wasn't that deep, and the hill was just the right grade for Luke to still hike up it himself, pretty impressive for a two-year-old.  Last year he cried when we even set him on the sled but this year he had no problem going down on the saucer on my lap.  It helped that the snow wasn't blowing up into our faces.
Luke, Macy and Cooper on the slopes.

Luke hiking up the hill by himself.