Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Vacation Events! And post 200!!!

Hey, look at that! I made it to 200 posts. Woot.

On to the post.

This Christmas vacation was a busy one, especially the first week. We arrived on Friday the 16th and started right away the next morning by driving out to the LA Temple for my brother-in-law's fiance's (Kailee) endowment session.

It was really exciting to see her go and receive her endowment and I had a neat experience getting to be her escort. That probably won't happen again for another 20 plus years so I was honored to get to help her with her first experience going through the temple. She was so calm and wanted to understand without being overly nervous, it was really a sweet day. I am so happy for her!

Everyone who came for the session Kailee went to, sans my brother, Jacob, who was good enough to take the pic.

Then the following Tuesday Henry was struck with the plague and spent 7 hours throwing up. Then he spent the rest of the day sleeping. Henry had never gotten that sick before, he was pretty confused and sad but thankfully it only lasted that day.

Fast forward to Thursday when we were suppose to head to Riverside to help with wedding prep-Johann with a nasty case of the flu that lasted all day and a bit into Friday morning.

Luckily he felt well enough that we were able to make the trek to San Diego to be there for Kaleb and Kailee's sealing. Fun fact, they ended up in the same room and with the same sealer as Johann's sister Natalie.

The sealing was sweet and they both were very happy!

Coming out for the first time as husband and wife. Kailee was definitely the picture perfect bride, looking so radiant and happy. I loved her bird cage veil too.

My sisterS!

At the reception right before the ring ceremony, Henry was finally able to meet his cousin, Max! He was so excited to try and entertain him and play with him throughout. It was pretty cute.

Me and Mr. Max. He finally decided I didn't bug him at this point-woohoo!

And my favorite part of their reception-watching Henry and this little boy, Franklin, tear it up on the dance floor for a good 90 mins straight. They were hilarious.

Congrats to Kaleb and Kailee-we are so very excited for Kailee to be in the family for their decision to be married in the temple!

The next morning everyone was exhausted after the long day and clean up so we had extended PJ hours and turns out Nat and I have the same taste in Christmas pjs for the boys.

Being Christmas eve, we spent that afternoon/evening opening gifts and then having dinner together. It was a nice and quiet day.

The following morning, Christmas morning, we headed over to the other side of Riverside where Natalie and Bryan were blessing their baby Max in Bryan's parent's ward.

The proud parents with their baby.

The whole gang

Our two little fams.

Max's blessing was very sweet. One of the parts I really liked was he was blessed that he would love and accept those who would be otherwise unaccepted. Looking forward to getting to know this sweet little guy more!

After Max's blessing we headed back to AV to spend the rest of the day with the Goodwin side.

I wonder if we'll ever have such a busy Christmas weekend again, and if I could survive it again esp considering the sickness that was going around. That said, it sure did make it easier to think about the Saviour this Christmas while our family was able to witness the blessings that flow from his birth, atonement and resurrection in the temple and through families.

I am thankful for this Christmas and the time we got to spend with family seeing them do the things Heavenly Father wants them to do! A Merry Christmas, indeed!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My friend, Melissa has a new blog called "Bless This Mess" and it is fantastic. Probably because Melissa is fantastic. She is posting recipes and all kinds of home making know-how.
And girl has a lot of know-how.
So take a look at it, subscribe and enjoy all the awesome stuff she'll be posting. I am especially looking forward to all the recipes. We tried to get away with eating at Melissa's at every possible chance. Check out her blog and you'll see why.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A perk

One of the perks about Johann's soon to be profession is if you worked with someone during school, practicum or internship, chances are they'll be sending you information on movements and thoughts in/on education. It can get a little bit much or a bit annoying at times, sure, but every once and a while there is an article Johann thinks I'd find interesting and forwards it on. So I just wait for interesting stuff to be dropped at my feet. It's great.

The most recent article he sent on was about young children and play. It's taken from a speech given in November this year by a fellow name Alfie Kohn. I'm not going to rehash everything he said but here are the five points he covered concerning young children and play:

1. “Play” is being sneakily redefined-“Most of the activities set up in ‘choice time’ or ‘center time’ [in early-childhood classrooms] and described as play by some teachers, are in fact teacher-directed and involve little or no free play, imagination, or creativity.”

2. Younger and older children ought to have the chance to play together-"...older kids are uniquely able to provide support -- often referred to as “scaffolding” -- for younger kids in mixed-age play. The older children may perform this role even better than adults because they’re closer in age to the younger kids and also because they don’t “see themselves as responsible for the younger children’s long-term education [and therefore] typically don’t provide more information or boosts than the younger ones need. They don’t become boring or condescending.”

3. Play isn’t just for children-"Read virtually any account of creativity, in the humanities or the sciences, and you’ll find mentions of the relevance of daydreaming, fooling around with possibilities, looking at one thing and seeing another, embracing the joy of pure discovery, asking 'What if….?'"

4.The point of play is that it has no point- "One plays because it’s fun to do so, not because of any instrumental advantage it may yield. The point isn’t to perform well or to master a skill, even though those things might end up happening. In G. K. Chesterton’s delightfully subversive aphorism, 'If a thing is worth doing at all, it’s worth doing badly.'"

5.Play isn’t the only alternative to “work.”-"Work and play don’t exhaust the available options. There’s also learning, whose primary purpose is neither play-like enjoyment (although it can be deeply satisfying) nor work-like completion of products (although it can involve intense effort and concentration)."

So what's the point: Stop bugging your kid, freaking out if he/she knows the alphabet, can count to 100 or read by 4 and let him/her just play without any 'point' at all.

*If anyone wants the full article just email me or facebook message me and I'll forward it to you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Factory Lights

Friday night we headed to the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory with the cousins to see the Christmas lights in the cactus garden.

They also have an M&M section of the factory so they had this roaming M&M lady for the kids to meet. Henry was a good mixture of excited and scared to shake her hand.

Oh, Henry, will we ever get a decent family picture out of you?

The boys wandering onto the rocks. This was right before some guy in a white lab coat came and told them to get off the rocks and Raiden touched the cactus. Poor guy. I had bet my money on Henry as the first to do that. Raiden was incredibly mellow for having little cactus pricks in his hand and let his dad pull as many as he could see out with barely a whimper. Such a calm kid.

As we wound our way through the cactus garden, we found out they had a spot to meet Santa which we didn't know was going on there beforehand. Henry was excited to meet him, mostly so he could put in his request. He walked up to Santa and before Old St. Nick could get out so much as a 'hello' Henry said, "I want a costume." He wasn't wasting any time I guess. He was fine shaking Santa's hand and taking a pic, but NOT on his lap. That's alright, Henry. Sitting on a strangers lap, no matter how much good PR he has is a little weird.

After all the kids had their time to chat with Santa, the cousins headed off since they had babies and little cactus hands to tend to. We got there later than everyone else (can you imagine, us, running late?) so we did the chocolate factory tour before heading home. Samples at the end-win.

The walk through the garden was pretty and they had lots of fun Christmas blow-ups for the kidlets. Short and sweet. If you're in the area for Christmas-check it out.