Sunday, November 27, 2011


Part of our annual Thanksgiving tradition is for the kids to unwrap their first present of the season - always a Christmas ornament. (After years of doing this, the older kids have finally caught on and actually start asking me about it in advance. It used to always be a surprise - every year.) The problem is that although I had carefully chosen their ornaments, I forgot to pack them when we went to St. George, so they opened them a couple of days late. No one seemed too bothered. Now if only I could get a decent picture of all of the kids together!
I gave up after just 2 tries. I'll just have to imagine that they all have their eyes open and are looking at the camera and smiling. It's always fun to pick the ornaments. A couple of them are easy because they are part of a series, but with the other kids, I pick something that is an obsession (I mean an important part) of their lives at the time. Amelia is a little obsessed with Gnomeo and Juliet, so it was fun to find an ornament of them. Jonas got Scooby Doo, but if I had been able to find a pink panther ornament I would have gotten that instead. He has been watching all of the old Pink Panther shows on netflix. I considered Harry Potter for Samantha, but just didn't like the ornament, so she got her usual penguin one. (Her school mascot is a penguin, so that has been an obvious choice for the past several years.) Duff also got a part of a series with a penguin and a polar bear, and Peter ended up with a Woody and Buzz ornament that he was very excited about.
And now, the Christmas season can officially begin!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


We spent the Thanksgiving weekend in St. George with my family. The weather was beautiful and the company was pretty good, too. I just love Thanksgiving. I love the simplicity of it, the lack of commercialization and the fact that I take the time to reflect on how very blessed I am. I truly feel thankful for all that I have. We had a pretty good crowd this year despite the fact that 3 of my brothers and their families weren't there. (Maybe one day we will all be in the same place at the same time.) I think there were 28 of us all together. We were joined by my Backman grandparents, my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Bill, My aunt Barb and Uncle Rod and their family (minus Megan's husband who was getting ready for a football game and couldn't make it.) Once it was time to get dinner ready, we sent the 9 kids outside to play so the 19 others could work in peace. (Actually they spent a lot of time outside anyway, but at that point it was a necessity.) They found plenty to do.
I love this photo of all the kids lined up. My kids love being with their cousins. (Something else we are thankful for.)
Lots going on in the house: Ralph slicing the turkey, with Nick on quality control and Rob moving stuff around.

The big kid table.
The little kid table.
More kitchen work.
And of course, some eating.

This was the really big kid table. For some reason, Shawn and I were seated here. Does that mean anything?
Instead of the typical Turkey Bowl football game, there was a rousing game of dodgeball, because what's more fun than trying to slam a ball into your own relatives? Sadly, I missed the fun because I was back at the other house waiting for Peter to wake up from an hours long nap, but thanks to Michelle, I still get to see the fun through the photos.

There's some serious intensity here from Shawn:
And from Jake, too. I can only hope they are trying to hit big people here and not the littles.

I'd say fun was had by all, and this may be a repeat event next time we are all together for Thanksgiving.

Dinner was delicious and it was fun to be with people we love. The nice weather didn't hurt either. There was plenty of golfing and being outside to make for a pretty decent weekend. (And now that it's over, I'm ready to listen to Christmas music.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pilgrims: An Artist's Rendition

Amelia drew pictures of most of us as pilgrims and handed them out at Family Home Evening to be colored. Shawn and I loved them so we're keeping them for a bit. Here's the pilgrim Mom:
And the Pilgrim Man. You'll see that he is in the process of shooting a turkey, and smiling about it.
A pilgrim girl. Apparently just fresh off the Mayflower but already collecting water or milk.
This one is Amelia. She's got a dead turkey, a bucket of water (I think for watering those beautiful flowers with the deep roots), and a bucket full of milk. She is one busy little pilgrim.
This one is Samantha. She's just been milking the cows. I've been wondering, did the pilgrims even have cows? Well, these pilgrims did.
I can't locate the turkey that she drew for Peter and I think she left Jonas off her list of pilgrims, but I've been enjoying these pictures so I thought I would share them. Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Celebrations

I know it isn't Thanksgiving yet, but we have been counting down the days to Thanksgiving break. Samantha has been excited because they were having "Colonial Days." She chose to attend as an Indian, but some also went as pilgrims. (Fortunately, we had an Indian Costume so I didn't have to do anything extra.)They set sail on the Mayflower a couple of days ago, all being assigned a particular person and having to experience some of what they had to go through- such as being limited on what they could say or who they could talk to because of their social status. Samantha thought that was pretty rough. She came home today saying it was the best class party she's ever been to. They made sock dolls, did some tin work, and dipped their own candles.
Meanwhile, I was in Megan's class, helping with her Thanksgiving feast. They also were dressed as pilgrims and Indians, talked about what they were thankful for and then enjoyed a complete Thanksgiving meal: turkey, stuffing, rolls, carrots, olives, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Sorry, no pictures of the actual feast, I guess I was busy serving food from that point on.
And now on to the real Thanksgiving holiday - one of my favorites!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fairy Fun

Amelia was invited to a fairy birthday party and was asked to come dressed as a fairy. (This was a perfect idea for this crowd since she spends much of her time reading fairy books.) I planned to just hand her a tutu and some wings and send her on her way, but fortunately for Amelia, she has a helpful and creative older sister who had other ideas. Samantha turned her into Amelia the Sugar Fairy. (Sugar, of course, being right up Samantha's alley.) She tucked dum dums into her ponytails, and created a dum dum wand. But my favorite part was the pink cheeks and the dum dum buttons on her sweater. I also like the striped legs. Amelia was thrilled with the final product and couldn't wait to share her dum dums with everyone at the party.And even more exciting, was the face painting at the party. I loved that the painting stays with the theme, with candy painted all over her face. She couldn't have been happier.

A picture with her friend Halle, the Happy Fairy.
That's one way to make 7 year old girls happy. (They were both a little disappointed that the next day was Sunday and they would have to wash it off before church.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Afternoon With the Girls

On Saturday, Samantha had a friend over and they decided to have a little tea party. They were serious about it, wanting candles, a table cloth and table decorations. Shawn decided to act as their server (winning total Dad points in the process) and the girls had a lovely time enjoying their hot chocolate, marshmallows and crackers.
Of course, if there is a tea party going on somewhere in the house, it doesn't take long for the other girls to gather around and join in. (Samantha is mid sentence here, but her face cracks me up.)
They even went so far as to go and get dressed up in fancy clothes. (That happened after I took pictures - I wish I had thought to take more but I was off preparing a Relief Society lesson, I think.)
Tea parties are a frequent occurrence at our house, but not usually done so formally, and not often documented. I'm glad I took the time to get pictures because I'm guessing this is one of those things that will one day just quietly disappear from our lives without much fanfare, and other than the work of washing tiny dishes, I will probably miss it.

There has been some talk of having a formal Christmas tea with the girls and their friends. (Shawn's idea, oddly enough. I'll be sure to document that if we make it happen.)