Tuesday, February 21, 2012

{Valentine's Day Recap}

The funeral and trip to Utah threw us for a loop, but we still managed to sneak in some Valentine's festivities. 

After taking the picture for this post, I told the kids they could do their Valentines. They beg for this starting at the beginning of February, and I'm so glad we got it done before we went out of town.  Such a fun elementary school tradition (one of the few still allowed in public schools!). They also look forward to sending Valentines to all of their cousins too...they just adore their cousins and sending and receiving Valentines from that group is the best!  And makes Rylan feel included too since he isn't in school yet. 

Dad comes through every year with Valentine goodies for all us on Valentine's Day morning. 

And the kids came home pretty excited about their Valentine's Day loot.

I picked up these cute mailboxes at Target this year and had my friend cut vinyl for me.  We have been using these all month to leave little love notes, candies, and trinkets for each other.  The kids absolutely loved checking their mail each day. 

We had a fancy dinner that night (sans Dad...he had mutual (youth group)...seriously? ... oh well, I know the blessings come around ten fold).   I love decorating a cute table, but cooking, not so much, so not too fancy on the food end.  But I did try a new recipe and loved it.  We had this soup from Our Best Bites.  Along with salad and heart shaped rolls and cherry cupcakes.

We opened up cards from cousins and Grandmas too.  The kids are so blessed to be remembered and  cared for by so many.   Love all around from everyone.  I love that about Valentine's Day!

Rylan loves this singing and dancing card from Grandma Dalley! Cards are so fancy these days!
I'm glad the craziness of being out of town didn't prevent us from having a little Valentines celebration.  My kids love tradition, and I really believe it is seemingly small things like this that ensures we are stuck like glue to each other for years and years to come.  Even through the sibling squabbles, burps at the table, spilled juice, picky eaters, and Rylan half naked at one point.  I love these little Valentines! 

And MY one and only Valentine took me out to dinner on the weekend.  He always knows how much I need to get out on the weekends at least one night, just the two of us. I love that tradition too.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

{Grandpa Rex Dalley}

My sweet grandpa rejoined his sweetheart on February 8, 2012.  The very next day we loaded up the kids in the car and headed to Utah to attend the funeral services.  My grandfather's four children, all 20 grandchildren, and about 60 of the 72 great grandchildren were in attendance.  The sheer gathering of this family from all over the country was amazing.  Each individual making adaptations to their busy lives to pay respects to a man we all love.  He would have loved nothing more than his posterity all in a room together rejoicing in our knowledge of the gospel and the eternal principles that bind families together forever. 

For me, there isn't an event more deeply spiritual than a funeral.  There is a connection you feel as your loved ones pass from this life into the next that cannot be explained, only felt.  When you die at age 96, after a long, happy life, there is much to rejoice!  And while we are sad to lose him, we know our time apart is temporary.  What an amazing blessing it is to have this knowledge!

I thought my kids would be a little worried about attending the viewing and funeral.  A casket can be frightening.  But they all handled it so well.  They were curious but respectful knowing that Grandpa's spirit is alive and well in heaven, free from all pain and ailments.   The sacred moments of the final family prayer, closing the casket, and prayer at the grave site were deeply moving and comforting.  It is difficult to explain, but I was so grateful to have those moments with my family as we said goodbye, I can't imagine doing it any other way. I know those services are for us, for the living, to help us as we continue on in our journey on earth.  I needed that and felt so blessed to be a part of it. 

And what a gathering it was!  The section of the church reserved for family was actually 3/4 of the entire chapel!  At age 96, there aren't many of your friends still around able to attend your funeral, so the congregation was made up of his posterity and genuine supporters of those people.  It was wonderful! To be in the same room with some cousins I haven't seen in years felt more like a party than a funeral.  The funeral services were as expected; wonderful, beautiful and heart-felt.  The talks were moving, the music was tender, spiritual and uplifting (including a grandchildren choir with all of us...simply amazing!). 

Our family at the viewing. What a blessing for my 2 oldest to really know their Great Grandpa Dalley!  We saw him at least once a year for the last several years. 

My sisters, mom, and I.  Thanks to our husbands who took the kids so we could go out to dinner with my parents afterwards. 

Addy and Paige at the grave site.

The casket bearers, all 9 grandsons.

The four siblings.  My Aunt Jane, Uncle RJ, Aunt Merilyn, and my Dad.  My Aunt Merilyn and Uncle Dee took charge of a majority of Grandpa's care for the last several years and in their own home for the last several months.  They are incredibly self-less people who took amazing care of him for which the family is very grateful.

Carson and Ty

All the grandsons.

All the granddaughters (minus Erin).

My dad.  I can't imagine losing one of my parents, even at age 96.  My dad gave an incredible talk at the funeral.  The respect he feels for his parents is evident in his words and actions.  He too sacrificed much to care for my grandfather, especially since my grandmother has been gone.  Visits a few times a week, phone calls, taking him on fishing and other trips, and genuine love and care in true honor of his parents.  My dad carries on much of my grandfather's amazing qualities. 

One of the last pictures I took of him from this past July.   I will always remember the half and half he had on his cereal, the salt he piled on (apparently neither affected his longevity!), how cool I thought he was for loving Dr. Pepper, his sweet chuckle, his generosity, his sincere love of people (and ability to find someone he knew in any situation), his incredible memory,  his love of family, and his life long devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As my cousin said, it wasn't by accident that his posterity continues to grow as a group of followers of Christ, doing their very best to raise good families as they enjoy the blessings the gospel brings...it was because of my grandparents devotion to the gospel and their incredible examples of righteous living.  I know for certain that I have been blessed and impacted by their choices and example.  And I pray I can continue that example with my own family. 

Now reunited with my Grandmother.  What a joyous reunion that must have been! 

Love to you, Grandpa Dalley.  Until we meet again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{Carson's 10th Birthday Party: Minute to Win It}

Oh man, this was a fun party!  As the kids were laughing and having fun I determined that this party theme was absolutely perfect for 10 year olds.  If you haven't seen the game show on NBC, 'Minute to Win It' is a show where contestants have to complete challenges using household items in one minute or less. 

My cute birthday boy...10 years old!!

In order to clear out enough room to hold this party indoors, we moved the sofas to the living room and set-up chairs with their names on it.  When we played this on New Years Eve, the hardest part was just keeping the kids in their own chairs while the current contestant was playing.  So the chairs seemed to help.  I made those pendant banners and love how they turned out (my first sewing project with my new sewing machine!)

I found the actual 'Minute to Win It' countdown timer on You Tube, so we used that as the official clock over and over.  It was perfect because the kids could see and hear it ...all with the official 'Minute to Win It' music.  I also made score cards for the kids to keep track of which games they completed.  I knew from the very beginning that I wanted each kid to be able to play every game.  It would be no fun having to pick and choose contestants.  So everyone got to participate in every game.  The score cards were just for fun. They got to mark it off if they gave it a 'good try'.  There were no winners and no prizes.  The kids were pretty competitive on their own. 

I picked out 10 games and we got through 8 of them.  The 'Minute to Win It' website has at least 100 games to choose from with instructions and supply lists.  It wasn't hard to gather what I needed and was very inexpensive too!  I scaled the challenges back a bit to make them a bit easier since these were 10 year olds, not adults like the game show. 

The kids were a hoot to watch.  Some of the games they all played at once, and others were played 2 at a time. 

My favorite was this tissue game where they had to keep one hand behind their back and pull out all the tissues from a tissue box, one at a time, with the other hand.  Tissue was flying everywhere...it was hilarious.  They loved it.

We took a break in the middle to fuel up on some snacks.  Nothing was too terribly hard.  Premade brownie bites, rice krispy treats, blue popcorn, carrots/celery, and chips.  Along with a blue drink that was supposed to look layered (clear on top, blue on bottom)...it kind of worked. 

And then there was the cake.  In my mind this was really easy, but ended up taking forever!  I copied an idea from pinterest and even bought precolored fondant, but it just seemed to take an eternity to cut out each little shape and determine the scale of it and everything.  I won't be tackling something like that again, but Carson loved it for this party!

And I layered the cake inside with shades of blue.  That part was easy and actually got rave reviews from the crowd.

The kids were fantastic.  All of them were so well behaved.  It warmed my heart that every single person he invited came to the party.  I know he still feels like the new kid in the neighborhood, so it was wonderful to see him have such great friends and support. They were super generous with gifts and he felt so treated! What a great  group!

Favors were these water bottles stuffed with goodies and treats along with a watch tied on the side (get it? Minute to Win it?).   I found a friend nearby who cut the vinyl for me, they turned out great!

It was such a fun party to plan, and it was so wonderful to see him enjoy it!  Being the oldest is hard sometimes, he is always being asked to help out more than the other kids around the house...simply because he is more capable than our 2 year old.  So the spot light doesn't shine on him as much as it should, but it definitely did on his birthday! 

I was exhausted by the end which meant leftover birthday cake and party food for birthday dinner.  On the weekend we made up for it by going to the Ram for dinner with just the big kids (Car and Addy).  Man, you mean it is actually that easy going to a restaurant with kids when they aren't under 4??

We love you Carson! 
*Photo by Kali Leenstra*

I can't believe you are 10 years old.  Double digits.  A big deal.   You made us parents 10 years ago, and we have never been happier!  We are so blessed that your sister and brothers have such an awesome example to look up to. 

What I love about you right now:

1.  You love Miles.  You are still first to say hi to him in the morning and when you get home from school.  You love snuggling him in your bed.  You have always loved babies, and Miles just lights you up.
2.  You help out with Miles.  You seriously are a big helper now.  You can even change diapers and feed the little man oatmeal.  If we are doing jobs, you always want the one to help out with Miles. 
3.  You are an awesome student.  Sometimes we battle with homework, but you are becoming very responsible.  You know when things are due and what needs to be done each day.  You are a great reader and I've been amazed at the number of books you have tackled so far this school year.
4.  You love hanging out with Dad.  I get side-lined here, but I couldn't care one bit because it is a joy to watch you and your dad enjoy sports and activities together.   Dad usually works his way into your room last at night to "tuck" you in, and I usually find you guys asleep or talking (way too late!)
5.  You will still give me hugs and tell me you love me.  Almost every day.
6.  You earned your Bear in cub scouts and it is on to Webelos!  I love how you enjoy cub scouts. 
7.  You love your cousins and grandpas and grandmas.  You adore them.  Even the little ones.  They are your bestest friends!
8.  You are old enough that I can leave you home alone for a little bit to run to the store.  I don't leave the little kids, but it is nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel with a real deal babysitter!
9.  You are just a good kid.  We never get complaints at school or church about behavior or attitude.  You are just generally a happy, low-stress kid.  Because of this I'll forgive the usually messy bedroom and constant unflushed toilet. Ha!

Grandma chipped in to make your birthday present extra, extra special this year!! We can't keep you off of your new ipod touch.  My favorite app is the free texting app (when there is wi-fi), so I get adorable "I love you" texts from him now.  He might be harassing some of the family too with a few too many texts, but I love that all of his 'contacts' are exclusively family.   (And you better believe I have that thing loaded with parental controls: No Internet, no you-tube, no ability to install or uninstall apps. I was hesitant at first, but feel good about it now).  And another bonus, I catch him reading his scriptures and watching messages from the 'Mormon Channel'  and reading other goodies in the Gospel library from his ipod.  That. is awesome. 
Thank you to those who remembered him with cards and presents on his birthday. So nice of everyone!  I seriously can't believe you are 10!  Happy Birthday Car!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

{Happy Valentine's Day 2012}

xoxo, pettingill kidlets

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


The "storm of the decade" started out pretty fun.  We were sent home from our church services after our first meeting due to icy roads.  Turns out the worst part of the drive was the drive TO church...by the time we were heading back home, the roads were much clearer. 

The kids couldn't peel off their church clothes fast enough and pile on the snow gear.  Sledding, snowball fights with dad, gigantic snowballs, snow angels, and a snowman for each of the 3 big kids. They were in heaven.  And played for at least 2 hours...which is major improvement of all my previous years as a mom that involved 30 minutes of snow gear prep for about 15 minutes before they cashed it in---cold and ready for hot chocolate. 

 First time in the snow for Miles...for about 2 minutes to take his picture!

Monday was a holiday and they played in the remaining snow.  Tuesday was a late start day due to about an additional inch of snow accumulation.  Turns out that would be it for school for rest of the week.

Wednesday brought about 6 more inches of snow.  This is HUGE for Seattle.  Trevor had no problem making it to work in his Jeep, but most of his patients couldn't make it in.  By about 2 pm, he closed the office and headed home to load us in the car for some fun. 

We headed to the church parking lot.  Only a few tracks in the snow, but otherwise 6 inches of fresh snow, and an empty parking lot. Perfect to tie a few sleds to the back of the Jeep and pull the kids around.  I got some definite grief for this on facebook. But it was totally safe, and I had absolutely no worries.  The snow wasn't really icy so when the car slowed down, so did the sleds.  We weren't going fast enough for there to be any momentum.  They were right behind the car and definitely were not swinging wide like a tube behind a boat. Think of it as the little boat rides at the amusement park just chugging along at about 5mph. It was so fun.  I was sitting in the back of the Jeep with the perfect view for taking pictures, hearing the endless giggles and warming my heart with these genuine smiles.

I love this series of pictures of Addy trying to jump onto Rylan's sled and back.  She was laughing so hard!

It was cold after an hour, but we warmed up in the car while Trev and Carson were trying to be wanna-be snowboarders down the hills at the church. 

The kids played in the snow more at the house.

And then the power went out.  I could tell from facebook that it wasn't out everywhere, so at dinner time we loaded everyone up and headed to the new McDonald's playland.  By the time we got back, power back on! 

Until Thursday morning about 6am.  Between Wednesday and Thursday, the ice came.  Freezing rain is an amazing thing.  It coated everything with ice.  Trees toppled over, branches broke, and power lines failed. 

It was okay in the house during the day.  We have a gas fireplace and tons of windows, so it didn't slow us down much.  I had enough battery power to work on some things on my laptop (no Internet!) and then I had my phone and hand-crank radio (xmas present from my parents...great timing!!) to say up to date on things.   And the gas range helped with making warm lunch and dinner.  But by Friday night it was getting tough.  I had wet laundry to dry, food that was going bad, and kids with cold ears and noses.  Thankfully wonderful neighbors a mile away welcomed us over to their warm house with power, fed us, and let us charge up all our electronics. 
The night was cold, but not too cold...we layered an extra blanket on each kid and we all slept fine, but it was kind of devastating to wake up again to no power.  Luckily we had our generator going by this point to keep the refrigerator on (and so I could blow dry my hair!) and power a light inside the house.  It was a life savor. 

As luck would have it my sister was leaving out of the country on Friday and my mom was coming to watch the kids.  My sister's flight was still on the schedule, but my mom couldn't get into Seattle for 2 days!  So I drove up and got my cute nieces and brought them back to my cold, dark house. The kids made the best of it and having cousins around got our mind off of it.  And just as I was getting teary about facing another night in the cold, the power flickered back on.  A true blessing! 

I've realized I am such a wimp with no power and completely addicted to my electronics. Without my phone I probably would have gone crazy! Thank heavens for smart phones.  We have a list of things to prepare for in the next few months, including getting a better generator and a bigger stock of batteries. 

Seattle is definitely kind of wimpy when it comes to snow.  Being from Utah we just roll our eyes at school closures, but this storm was definitely worthy of all the hype and press! We won't be forgetting this one anytime soon.  We have the broken trees and branches all around the community to remind us too.  What a crazy week! 

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My little blog is a family journal. I include things on here I want to remember years and years from now. So when I post a zillion pictures...it is because I want to have it for my posterity. So please forgive the often posted-picture overload.

Currently I am trying to focus on my photography skills...reading, reading, reading, and taking pictures when I can. Then edit, read, read, read some more. I finally feel like I have a basic understanding of exposure...hooray! I updated my blog template so I can display larger photos because...aren't pictures better than anything I have to say anyway?

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