Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

Ah, the memories: staying up late not sleeping, waking up early, opening presents, getting the random not age appropriate gift. Wait, didn't everyone get those? Maybe it was just me, being the fifth of six, but it happened a couple of times when I was on the very young side.

My kids don't have all those memories just yet, but as they say: if there isn't a picture, it didn't happen.
Waiting on the stairs before Mom lets them down...
Perfect teenager gift: weapons for Gman (airsoft, with safety gear)
Kiwi was DYING for the largest stuffed animal
MrS and JW have loved playing with Star Wars Legos, now there are more
No one likes to share gifts, so plenty for both MrS and JW to play a huge battle

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Dinner

The best part of Christmas Eve is of course the dinner. We always make something tasty, so it is worth the wait and work. All the kids were so excited, and had tons of fun helping out. Now that the older ones are actually older, they can really provide help, and not just harm, right?
Assembling the Sour Cream Enchiladas
Take the picture already, Dad!

Christmas Prep

As is now our tradition, we assemble the Winter Village LEGO sets after Thanksgiving and into December. So these pictures are repeats. But, it is great fun for the kids to get to build a new (to them) set each year. The modern sets are really quite hard, at least the ones in this theme, so it offers a good challenge for both Gman and Kiwi. Kiwi was a major builder this year.
In addition, we did the LEGO Advent calendar (both Star Wars and Friends), and the Santa this year was Santa Vader. Naturally, he was the "Grinch" of the scene, not giving but taking:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Crafting

As is the norm since I was a kid, we have a mystery package for the kids. This is of course brought to us by the best Aunt/Great Aunt in the world. It is fun to find out what random items might be in the package: candy? crafts? wall/window clings? This year it was crafts:
Oh, so many stickers... we made a very long chain from paper decorated with many, many stickers.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Post Thanksgiving Service Project

As part of our ward Christmas party, we all had the assignment to do some sort of service project. So, we and another family in the ward had signed up to help at a local Turkey Trot event. Man, the weather was going to be COLD!

Turns out, when you get a nice layer of ice overnight (one inch or less), people don't want to run around outside. So, we only got this picture after stopping by for some hot cocoa.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fall Leaves

The coolest part of having a real fall is the turning of the leaves and for the kids, the falling of the leaves. You really only get one chance at having fun in a pile of leaves, so might as well prepare for it!
The helmet was because they were riding bikes, NOT because the pile is unsafe.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Gman turns Twelve

Gman finally turned the big 1-2. This is of course a major milestone: no longer in the kids organization Primary, gets the Priesthood and gets to pass the Sacrament at church, gets to go to the Young Men / Young Women activities (like ice skating, Temple Baptisms, etc.), and is totally free to babysit and earn money. He can do without the female part of the activities so far, but that will soon change I think.

So proud of the boy!

Mr S Finally Gets to Play Soccer!

Mr S has been wanting to play soccer, just like his older brother and sister. And he finally had parents who were able to put it together and sign him up.
Note the medal: He was wearing it for some days after the game; he was so proud of himself. He learned so many things playing soccer: how to kick and run (sort of), how to play with others, how to pay attention to what is going on, how to yell at your teammates to help them pay attention in the play. Hm, maybe not all of the things are great...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Night

I think this is going to be the last year for Gman to dress up. Next year, I am totally making him take the little ones around. But, we even went so far as to get some make-up to make them all look a bit better than just trowing something on.
Michelangelo and Ninja
Fairy and Zombie Futbol-er

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gman Birthday of Significance

Gman finally had a birthday of significance: his 12th. Now he is able to get out of going to Primary, gets to mingle with the young men (and young women? not interested...)

Facts about Gman on his 12th:
Because burning a jelly bean is more fun than cake...

  • Loves Minecraft (only PvP)
  • Loves playing games on his (poor excuse for a) smart phone
  • Enjoys the freedom to walk home from school
  • Has his own key to the house (see above)
  • Enjoys the money from babysitting his siblings
  • Loves soccer
  • Enjoys time with family (or so I say)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Birthday Uncounted

I think Birthdays are really just an excuse to eat cake. I personally like Ice Cream Cake, so when it is my turn to take care of a party, you can be sure there will be ice cream. This year was no exception for Luann.
Don't melt the ice cream!
Kiwi is the best to take shopping for events: she loves to pick stuff out, and she selected the flowers for mommy. Note that this was late on a Saturday when I remembered I had to take care of the party, so minimal was the theme, if that was not already obvious.

Hiking for Fun and Profit

After being in boy scouts for nearly a year, Gman was close to getting all done with his First Class rank. But, there is always something hard to pass off: he needed a five mile hike. Luckily, we live near a very large park that has a very long series of trails! Now, Gman has not hiked this far before, so it was really an adventure worthy of the name.
Having Fun at the Starting point

Gman Photo Bomb
Once we get about half way, Gman is getting pretty tired. At that point, I think he realizes how much hiking still remains. The terrain is basically flat, as it surrounds a lake, so it is very doable. The first half was joking and playing, the second was head-down walking.

There was a nice reward after it was done: First Class rank!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trailer Kid

Oh, wait! Just when you thought only JW was not in School, turns out he is! Luann with some church friends are doing a little preschool for their kids. But, only one day a week to help transition into Kinder. So cute!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

American Ninja Warriors

Because my kids are awesome, they love to be active. We have watched this show called American Ninja Warriors all summer, and they love to re-enact the obstacles they have. Especially the little boys. JW's favorite is the Hook toss: hanging from the bunk beds, toss a Captain Hook hook; don't ask me what the point of the toss is, he just loves doing it. Mr S loves to do the climbing ones: we have a little opening on the stars with a few poles that he hangs from, about 5 feet in the air. Totally safe, right? Must be, since they have not fallen yet! The best part is that they also reenact the fails on the course: "I failed" is a commonly heard phrase.

So at the park, it is natural to see them do the same:
JW just hanging around
Mr S concurring the arch 
Kiwi race from end to end

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seven Evans

As Chad mentioned previously, we are expecting number five in February. With three boys and one girl, this was not going to be a surprise. Some of us need to be prepared for what is to come.

Our Little Peanut

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reach the Beach

Summer race number three and the hardest yet! I decided to run a second Ragnar in New Hampshire.
 Of course this was decided before I knew I was expecting. Instead of dropping out, I decided to run at 19 weeks pregnant. I did Foamfest at 6 weeks along and Spartan at 14 weeks. What could possible go wrong? As it turns out, nothing. The other van had runners dropping like flies. I was good to go and had a blast doing it. I had to walk a few steep hills during the 8 mile night run to keep my heart rate in check. I also have some awesome friends who take good care of me.
This was actually how it was. Crazy hills on this course!

The van is packed
The toes are painted

Who ordered the rain?!

Thanks for the memories ladies! I had a blast but now my running days are over for a while. I won't be running Cape Cod in May. I don't think people would appreciate a crying baby along for the ride!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

School Starts Again? Say it isn't so!

After a very, very busy summer of fun, sun, and adventure (mixed with fighting, fatigue, and crazy), the school year finally gets underway. The After Labor Day Start still seems very late to me, but given that the summers are so amazingly nice (excluding the hot n humid days, of which there were very few this year), it is a nice perk. The kids are growing soooo fast, that we now have three in school (Mr S in 1st, Kiwi in 4th, and Gman in 7th). JW is going to have so much fun with Mom, and maybe, just maybe be bored of being home (somewhat) alone by the end that he is ready to go to Kinder.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Arizona Adventures

SPOILER ALERT: Read all the way to the end for all the surprises!

I am a crazy person. My dad and mom are finally retired from the rat race (that I have another XX years to get to the finish!), so my Dallas sister and I planned on a quick no-kids weekend to celebrate in AZ. She, being closer, was able to get flights during the waking hours. I, being the long distance one, had to manage with the very late Friday and overnight Sunday-Monday. Even better, I got to go to work after landing Monday morning, but not before being able to refresh at home since I got in so early. Things I learned:

  • There are very few people in Sky Harbor at 10 PM at night.
  • Conversely, there are no concession stands open for a snack.
  • I am not as old as I thought, since I could not just sleep anywhere (like on a plane seat!).
  • I am still young as I was able to go with only a couple hours of sleep and get through an entire day of work on Monday. Thankfully I take public trans so I was not a driving hazard.
  • I love AZ Mexican food, and it just is not worth getting it in Boston.
  • I can still do things that surprise the heck out of the family (see below)
  • Don't buy suvies while waiting for a plan. But you have to when you don't plan well.

And the last item: this was the weekend that we shared the news with family: The Seven Evans are back! At least, when the fifth child comes in February.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Spartan Ladies

Race two of the summer, a Spartan Sprint. Luann joined Liz and Jill a second time for a more hardcore Obstacle Course Race. Luckily, team members could help one another. Anything you couldn't do required burpies. We finished the five mile race in a little over two hours. It could have been faster if we hadn't stopped to help others a few times. But what is the fun in that?

Pre-race: looking pretty tough!
There was a lot of mud involved, although I failed to get any pictures of it. Mud and cameras really don't mix!

Trekking On a Train

As part of the gift for JW, I had promised to take him and Mr S on the commuter rail and subway to downtown Boston. Now that I have to commute to work in the Seaport District, I am trying out the wonderful public transportation that I hear is third best in the US. We will see how this goes.

Anyway, the commuter rail was surprisingly busy for a Saturday afternoon, but the conductor was really nice, even giving them some old tickets he had previously collected, so the boys had some mementos from the trip.

Once we got downtown, we walked near to where I now work and had our snack. They were very unhappy to just walk around to see things, as they wanted to get right back on the trains and ride some more.

You couldn't ask for better kids!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I Am Four

JW hit the big 4. Some things about him:

  • LOVES ninja turles
  • Likes trains
  • Loves to play with his siblings
  • Loves the beach
  • Likes to run around like crazy
  • Is an American Ninja Warrior (especially on the stair railing)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Kayaking the Lower Mystic Lake

Now that I have some Kayaks to my name, I have to do something with them. Two of them are not enough for the family, so we have to take turns. I took Kiwi out on a trip, and Luann took Gman. The littlest are not old enough to go until we get some smaller life vests, and mom and dad are more comfortable with that. The lakes are deep!

Kiwi totally loved going through the lily pads, and collected a couple to show the little boys. We made a good circle around the edge of the lake, and it was fun to watch her figure out how to work the kayak.
Gman got to put his new-found kayak skills to the test, since he just got the kayak merit badge at scout camp. I hear he did just fine, since he also returned from the minor adventure unharmed.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My First Scout Camp

I don't have many things to post about my first scout camp as a dad, and Gman's as a scout. Just some facts and figures:
1. By the LDS church rules, you must be 12 to attend, otherwise you have to have a male parent or guardian attend with the scout. So, I got to take time off of work (see the story about the kayaks for more details) and attend with Gman. Yay for me!
2. It was very hot and humid. It probably was in the 70's and 80's the entire time. Doesn't sound hot, but when you have to walk and hike everywhere, it got tiring for this old man (see post in June on the birthday for more details)
3. This old man had a hard time passing the swimming test, which requires a 100 yard swim in a variety of strokes; note that it was definitely short of that yardage, so yay for me! But I was glad I did pass, since that was the only way to get cool on the hot days. This was the only camp I have been to that only had HOT for a shower temperature.
4. Gman was a real trooper. He was not able to pass the swim test the first time, the second time, nor the third time. The swim area lead worked with him to practice the strokes, and much to his surprise, he took down that test! I did have to walk away, as I did not want to be caught crying with pride or anything.
5. I have no pictures from the camp, since they really frowned on the electronics, both for the kids, and the leaders. The above is good enough; just imagine a bit more tiredness in the eyes and dirt in the nails.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Summer Crazy Begins!

We like to do some big events in the summer. Our biggest had to be the trip to Martha's vineyard. We drove an hour with bikes in tow down to the ferry that would carry us to the island. We were joined by another family of four plus a friend and a dad with his teenage daughter. That made 10 kids and five adults.

Once at the ferry, we parked our cars and loaded bikes and people onto the ferry. That's right. We were doing Martha's vineyard by bike. And half the kids weren't strong bike riders. It was an adventure! We biked 7 miles to a lighthouse and 7 miles back. There were stops along the way for lunch, swimming, carousel-ing, and pizza. I don't know if I'll do it again soon, but definitely an adventure worth having at least once every few years.

On the Bus to the Ferry. Lots of smiles all around. If they only knew.
Taking the ferry across.
The crew about ready to go. I think we're in for quite the day.
Having lunch before the bike ride.
Chad did the bulk of the hauling. The is the first half of the 13 mile ride.
Halfway there
On the way back we stopped to jump off a bridge. And play in the ocean. This was a much needed break.
The day ended with a carousel ride and pizza.
The sunset on the way home. So beautiful.