Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Children's Museum

We figured we should get together with Neil and Ashley again while they were still on this side of the country, so we met at the Children's museum in Indianapolis a few days after Christmas.
Dallin and Connor thought this tie fighter made out of balloons was pretty awesome.

 We started at the "Treasures of the Earth" exhibit. The kids explored a shipwreck.
And put together pieces of a terracotta warrior.

Riding on a train.

 There was a Ninja Turtles exhibit that included some ninja training activities, like moving through the alley rope maze. The kids really liked this one.
 The "big kids" (*cough* dads) liked it too.
We call this extreme babywearing. And Neil is channeling his inner Catherine Zeta-Jones, a la Entrapment.

There was a winter wonderland exhibit with a rink for "skating" with socks on.
 The kids were being so adorable spinning around together, holding hands.

All of my phone pictures of them are blurry because they were moving so fast.

And speaking of blurry phone pictures:
Neil and ?? (Charlotte?) zooming down the yule slide. I slid down with Bennett on my lap, racing with Madoc.

Micah and Ashley (with either Amelia or a purse in her lap)

 Mckay and Connor

Sadie and Dallin
Dallin loves Sadie. He loves all his cousins and had so much fun with all of them, but he really loves Sadie and hardly left her side the whole day. There was more crying in the parking garage as we said goodbye to them, this time for good. (Until they come to the midwest again in the summer.) We love when our family comes to visit!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015

For Christmas 2015, we stayed in Indiana. We missed being able to spend time with our extended family, but it was nice to avoid traveling in the holiday weather. And it was fun to be in our own home and do our own things.

Here's the picture we used for our Christmas card (I finally sent some out for the first time in 4 years!)
And this picture was on the card too because it's so great and Christmasy.

 I had lots of fun activities planned for the season, so I made a checklist to keep track of them. 
(It's pretty much the same as the summer bucket list I've done in the past.)

We continued the tradition we've done for the last two years by reading a different Christmas book each night before bed. (I've wrapped each book in years past but I was too environmentally-conscious  lazy this year.)
This book is Humphrey's First Christmas and it's one of my favorites. We have slowly grown our Christmas book collection through Library book sales and such over the years and we almost have a full 25 days of books. We supplement the difference with borrowed library books.

 One of our planned activities was to watch the big Purdue Christmas tree being set up inside the student union.
They have to bring this HUGE TALL live tree in, which requires taking down the double doors and door frame just to get it in the building. Then all these ropes, wires and pulleys are used to attach the tree to supports and bring it upright.

It was really neat to watch.

There is a BIG gingerbread house near the tree, big enough to walk through.

 Dallin's school had a First Grade Christmas Music program.

Each of the 1st grade classes learned two songs. We recorded some of each song that Dallin was in.
video


video
I kind of wish Dallin had learned Christmas songs people actually know. Some of the classes learned more traditional songs, like We wish you a Merry Christmas or Good King Wenceslas. I can't even remember what Dallin's songs were called. Something about snow. Or olive trees.... ?

There was a free sleigh ride with Santa event at a nearby shopping center.
Dallin and Connor thought it was so much fun. Mckay and I both loved this Santa because of the way he talked to the kids. After he asked them what they wanted for Christmas (pretty standard Santa question), he said, "Those sounds like great toys! Just in case I can't find those things, is it all right if I bring you a few surprises?" And the boys, of course, said "YEAH!" I like that he was realistic and didn't promise a $300 Lego Death Star to our kids. 
I love how Connor was dressed for this sleigh ride, with his furry hat, aviator sunglasses and Batman mittens. And his red turtleneck.

Neil and Ashley and the Crapo cousins came to visit us our their way to Columbus, Indiana for Christmas with the Shoafs. They arrived EARLY in the morning, went back to sleep and then woke up to eat breakfast with us. It was technically still a school day for Dallin, but after waiting days, bursting with excitement at the thought of getting to play with his cousins, we thought it would be mean to send him to school after spending only 30 minutes with them at breakfast. So we let him stay home.
We played games, Fruit Ninja, let them run of some energy at our mall play area, and then home for some more games.
And then we went out to dinner. For future reference: when you're going out to eat with a large group (especially one with 8 kids) don't go to a restaurant that's new in town at 6pm without calling ahead. We waited a long time for a table. After dinner, the Crapos went straight on to Columbus and we went home. Dallin was crying the whole way home, saying how much he missed his cousins and asking why they had to go to visit their Grandma Shoaf. He asked if he could call Sadie. He has has such a tender heart.

We went caroling to some friends and brought them cookies. I made gingerbread wookie cookies and ninjabread men.
It was like baking a delicious army.

I made pajamas for the boys to open and wear on Christmas Eve. I sewed the pants and used freezer paper to stencil a graphic on each shirt.
Foxes for Dallin and Bennett, monsters for Connor.

 On Christmas Eve, some friends (the Wrights) invited us over for dinner and a presentation of the nativity story.
Dallin played the part of Joseph and Autumn was Mary. I think Mckay was an innkeeper in the picture above.

I was an angel and Bennett was a sheep, but there's no picture proof of that.
 Connor was assigned to be a wise man, but he really wanted to be a sheep. So we turned my faux-fur lined jacket inside out and Connor wore that.
 The Wrights made chimes and we each took a note and played several Christmas carols.

I didn't take hardly any pictures on Christmas. It was full of excitement, legos, Star Wars toys/clothes/shoes, waffles, and tired parents who were up half the night wrapping gifts and assembling a toy box. I did get this picture of Bennett, snuggling with the big, super-soft teddy bear he got.
Mom and dad Easton got us a chest freezer. I've very glad to have more freezer space now. For Christmas dinner, we invited the Thomases over. They are another Chem.E. family who also stayed in town for Christmas. Our boys love playing with their son, Drew. We ate food, played games, ate more food, watched Christmas movies, and ate some more for good measure.

 Dallin and Connor wanted to play our new game, Ticket to Ride, one more time before bed. They didn't last long though and feel asleep on the floor.
This was such a blissful moment for me. Playing a game with my love, my sweet children sleeping nearby, surrounded by gifts from loved ones and watching "White Christmas"... It was practically perfect.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Carmel Marathon 2015

April 18th, 2015

After running his first half marathon in October last year, Mckay decided to train for a full 26.2 mile marathon. He found a friend from church, Nick, who was equally as crazy and agreed to run with him. It was probably better that they had each other to be accountable to, otherwise there wouldn't have been much training during the cold winter months.

The marathon was on April 18th in Carmel, a suburb of Indianapolis. We drove down the night before and stayed at a nearby hotel so we didn't have to drive for an hour to get there early the next morning.

We dropped Mckay off at the starting line. My friend Ashley (Nick's wife) took these pictures. I "borrowed" them from her Facebook page. 

Mckay is all the way on the left of this picture, in the red shirt. Nick is in the picture too, he's the third person from the left, with red hair and wearing a blue and white shirt.

There were race photographers along the marathon route taking pictures of the runners. There were a couple pictures of Mckay. Here are screen shots of them: 

Mckay saw the photographer coming and posed.

The three boys and I went to cheer Mckay on at a few points along the route. We made some motivational signs.

I would have taken pictures of the boys holding the signs, but they weren't very interested in holding them up, so it was mostly me doing the sign holding. They did cheer though!

 The Marathon conveniently had a phone app for tracking the runners so I had an idea of were Mckay was at points. One of the spots we planned to see Mckay was at mile 24, almost to the finish line! The way the race route curved around, we were able to park at the finish line and then walk almost a mile to reach the 24 mile marker. I was pushing the two older boys in our double stroller and carrying Bennett strapped to my chest in a baby carrier. We made it to mile 24 with a few minutes to spare before Mckay made his way around the corner.

The boys hugged him and cheered for him as he ran past.

Now we had to hurry to walk the one mile back to the finish line, hoping to get there before Mckay could run 2.2 miles there. I thought that the older boys could run on the sidewalk for a bit and make the stroller I was pushing a little lighter. That lasted about 20 seconds before Connor tripped and fell into some sharp bushes and mulch by the sidewalk. He was all bloody on his legs and had a bloody nose too. So not only did I lose time stopping to clean up and console the poor boy, but now I had to push 75 pounds and carryanother 15 pounds while walking quickly. Did I mention it was the first warm (75 degree) day of the year? I was a little sweaty and out of breath as we approached the finish line. In fact, a man nearby commented, "I can't help but think that you are working harder today than whoever it is you're cheering for." I told him I'd thought the same thing several times that day.

We made it to the finish line just in time to see Mckay crossing. Here are a few more professional screen shots:

I love this one because you can see Nick clapping for Mckay in the background. You can see Nick's face inside the letter "f" of Proof.

And here's the picture that Ashley got of Mckay crossing the finish line.

There was a ton of free food being handed out to the runners at the finish line; chocolate milk, water, pizza, bananas, apples, crackers, chips and trail mix.

The runners also got free massages. (I say free, but when you have to pay to enter the marathon, I don't think it really counts as free.)
When it was Mckay's turn for a massage, he was asked where he needed it the most. Um, legs. Mostly the legs. Dallin and Connor worked on his arms a bit though.

After Mckay was rested enough to begin using his legs again, we went to the van, got some lunch at Chipotle, and then drove by the new Indianapolis temple being built in Carmel.
Looking beautiful and almost complete!

Mckay ran the marathon in 4 hours and 36 minutes. A new personal record!
He also beat his old half marathon time with 1 hour 59 minutes this time around. He is pretty amazing.