Christmassy Things


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2014 Christmas Kaitlyn decorating tree 1

Christmassy is a real word. I looked it up. Once again, posts are few and far between but it being December it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

We are excited to have our first Christmas in our new house and right after Thanksgiving we got the decorations all up because we knew if it didn’t happen then it would not happen until right before Christmas. We were wondering how the tree would fit in the living room but by moving a couple of things around it worked out nicely.

2014 Christmas everyone decorating tree 2 2014 Christmas everyone decorating tree 1

We still love our fake pre-lit tree from Costco. It has held up well all these years and we think it still looks great.

2014 Christmas Sam decorating tree 3

2014 Christmas Mike and Kaitlyn 1

Here’s our Christmas living room the next morning.

2014 Christmas Living Room 1

For the first time ever we hung our stocking on the fireplace. That was exciting. And if you are interested, I did my homework and decided the best way to hang them is with The Original Manteclip. They sell them lots of places but I got our from Bed Bath and Beyond with a coupon. The true test will be when the stockings are heavy and full but so far they look great and don’t damage the mantle.

2014 Christmas Fireplace Decorations 1

We are still excited about the Pottery Barn stockings with our names I found at DownEast Home last year and so we decided to go back and look for a stocking for Boo. We knew it would be unlikely we would find the name Boo but we did find Buddy and since we call him that a lot we decided it was good enough. I also wanted a smaller stocking for the dog so the one we found fits well. Our little stocking cost us only $2.

2014 Christmas Boo Stocking

Here are our other popular Christmas decorations the kids love. This advent calendar (also from DownEast and complete with the MacDonald family name) is a huge hit. Someday I will find something to cover that name or include ours but for now we don’t care. The kids still love the Christmas countdown also and because our piano finally lives in the living room we also have another spot to put things.

2014 Christmas Tree Advent 1

2014 Christmas Living Room Piano 2

Our kids are still playing with the Little People Nativity set. Yes one of them is 11 now but they are happy to pull it out and set it up. Then they fight about how is should be set up. This may be one toy we can’t get rid of.

2014 Christmas Little People Nativity

This little girl lost her front tooth this month and the other one is loose. She might loose it just in time for Christmas then she could sing the song! We can’t get her to sing the “All I Want For Christmas is my Two Front Teeth” song yet.

2014 Christmas Kailtyn lost toothAnd what is cuter than a kid in front a Christmas tree? A dog!

2014 Christmas Boo 1And what is cuter than that? A dog with antlers in front of a tree.

2014 Boo with Antlers 2 ed

Now that Christmas is just days away we have almost all of the shopping done and we are going to spend our Saturday baking cookies and breads for our neighbors. Our neighbors are fantastic and came over to introduce themselves and bring us goodies for at least two months after we moved in. Now we have a lot of people to reciprocate for.

Merry Christmas!

One Day in November


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2014 Sam in leaves 3

This is all the pictures I took of November. When the leaves on the tree in our front yard came down all the kids were excited to rake them up and jump. After school one day they ran outside to start raking. As much fun as that sounds, they spent more time fighting over who rakes and who gets to jump first. They finally agreed they needed to jump one at a time.

2014 Sam in leaves 1

2014 Sam and Abby in leaves

2014 Abby and Kaitlyn in leaves

2014 Abby and Kaitlyn in leaves 2

2014 Kaitlyn and Sam in leaves 1

Sam decided to try knocking more leaves off the trees.

2014 Sam in leaves 5 shaking leaves down

2014 Abby in leaves 1

2014 Kaitlyn in leaves 2

2014 Kaitlyn in leaves 1

2014 Abby in leaves 2

I don’t have a picture of the moment, but the fun basically ended when Boo walked over, lifted his leg, and wet on the leaf pile. The kids started yelling, “NOOOO!! YUCK!” That was it, it was time to go in and do homework. Most of our late afternoons and evenings on weekdays look like this:

2014 Nov Abby doing homework

Abby had a few projects due in November and she spent a lot of time in her favorite homework spot.

We did have a great Thanksgiving, I just was too busy mingling and talking to take any pictures. We had family over at our house and we also had a big dinner with extended family up in Bountiful, Utah. It’s good to live near family and we have much to be thankful for this year.

And Speaking of Halloween


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2014 Pumpkin carving 2

I know… you’ve eaten your Thanksgiving leftovers and put up Christmas decorations and I’m still talking about October. That’s just how it goes around here. Fortunately (or not) I don’t have many pictures of November (where did it go?) so I will probably get to Christmastime sooner than later. But here is one lengthy post about all the Halloween hoopla that happened. I was thankful that Halloween was on a Friday this year. It definitely made things easier.

First, the pumpkin carving:

2014 Pumpkin carving 1

2014 Kaitlyn with pumpkin 1

2014 Sam with pumpkin 1

Sam (with help from Dad) carved a minion into his pumpkin. Abby wanted her pumpkin to match her pancake costume.

2014 Abby with pumpkin 1

Then there was the school costume parade.

2014 Sam in costume parade

2014 Kaitlyn in costume parade

And because my favorite part of the costume parade is seeing what ideas other people had- here were my favorites. First Shoulder Angel from Studio C. Studio C is huge around here (no surprise) and Abby and her friends can’t get enough. But if you haven’t seen the shoulder angel skits you can watch it here or this one here.

shoulder angel costume

I liked these too. One is Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and the rest are obvious.

Bertie Bots costume

vending machine costume

Instagram costume

Here are more costume pictures.

2014 Abby Pancake 1

2014 Halloween Costume 1

2014 Kaitlyn costume 1

2014 Sam Batman 1

2014 Sam Batman 2

Sam loved his Batman costume. He was wearing it days before Halloween. Finally, here they were sorting and trading the loot the next day. Sam gave me a bunch of Twix bars (they’re one of my favs) and I put them somewhere and now I can’t remember where. Someday I’m going to come across them and find myself a treat!

2014 Halloween candy sort 4

2014 Halloween candy sort 1

2014 Halloween candy sort 2

2014 Halloween candy sort 3


Okay. I’m done with October.



The 11th Birthday



2014 Abby's Cake

The second birthday of the month looked a lot like the first- only there were girls instead of boys. Abigail was excited to have friends from school, the old neighborhood, and here in our new neighborhood come together to celebrate. Instead of a movie they played Just Dance 2015 on the Wii. We heard a lot of laughing and they seemed to have a great time.

2014 Abby's Birthday 2

2014 Oct Abby's Birthday 1

2014 Abby's Birthday 4

2014 Abby's Birthday 6

2014 Abby's Birthday 5

Abby’s favorite gift was her new pet. She wanted a goldfish but I decided that a betta fish would be a better choice and live longer. She named him Dragon, but I mostly call him Fishy. Fishy happily has been living in her bedroom.

2014 Abby's New Fish

Celebrating at Frightmares


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2014 Lagoon Teacups edit 1

Warning: Be prepared for some of the worst photo quality ever. This probably doesn’t bother anyone but me, but these were all taken on camera phones and we got what we got. Nevertheless- at least we have some photos of the day.

The day after Sam’s birthday we took the kids to Frightmares at Lagoon- the amusement park here in Utah. We have been to Lagoon several times in the summer but we didn’t have time for Lagoon in the summer this year so we decided to go to when they opened for Frightmares- their Halloween themed time.

We spent about 12 hours running around the park until we were completely exhausted- as usual. Mike and I had an agreement that he would take kids on wet rides and I would take kids on spinning rides. As the high was only about 70 degrees- I thought I got the better deal. But at some point we split up and I ended up with Kaitlyn on a wet and spinning ride so that didn’t turn out as planned. Fortunately I managed not to get too wet.

So here we are in the spinning teacups while I fulfill my end of the bargain.

2014 Lagoon Teacups 2More bad photos of the day:

2014 Lagoon Bumper cars sam edit

2014 Lagoon Bumper Cars Mike and Kaitlyn

2014 Lagoon Wild Mouse

2014 Lagoon Roller Coaster 1 edSomewhere in the front car is Abby and Sam. And here is Mike fulfilling his part of the bargain by going on the wet rides- there were only a couple open.

2014 Lagoon Log Flume 1

2014 Lagoon Log Flume 2

2014 Lagoon Raft ride 2

2014 Lagoon Raft ride 3I feel chilly just looking at these pictures. The temps were in the middle 60’s when they went on these rides. We did bring a change of clothes for everyone so they could warm up afterwards. It was good we did because once it got dark it really did get chilly. Had we waited another week to go to Lagoon, these rides would have been closed. Probably the ideal time to go to Frightmares is at the end of September when they first open up again.

2014 Lagoon Carosel ed

2014 Lagoon Skyride

The Frightmares attractions all opened around 6 p.m. There were quite a few haunted houses but some were too scary for our kids. There were some for kids that were not very or not-at-all scary that our kids loved.

2014 Lagoon Coffins 1 edit

2014 Lagoon Coffins 3 editWe discussed whether we preferred summer or fall at Lagoon. One advantage to Frightmares is that Pioneer Village is so much more interesting haunted, don’t you think?

2014 Lagoon Pioneer Village haunted 1 ed

2014 Lagoon Coffins 5

2014 Lagoon Pioneer Village haunted 3 ed

I decided I prefer Frightmares to summertime at Lagoon. Here is why:

1- The weather was perfect. If I timed it again, I would go the last week of September. Then those wet rides would be a little more tolerable.

2- The haunted houses add more attractions and they also take people away from the regular rides which means lines are shorter in the evening.

3- Going in October means no water park access, but we didn’t care. We prefer the water park where we have season passes in the summer so we wouldn’t take the time to go to the water park at Lagoon even if it was open.

4- The Halloween theme is fun- including the zombie actors who are out trying to scare people.

The only drawback is that there is no bounce-back passes available. In the summer you can return to Lagoon within a time period for less than $20. I don’t know when we will go next year. Maybe we will get out of Utah and try another park somewhere else. We are already throwing around ideas for summer vacation plans.

About Turning 9



2014 Sam 9th Birthday 1

The birthday month starts with Sam. Instead of having big theme parties this year, we talked the kids into more low-key parties instead. The trade-off was that we would take them to Lagoon for Frightmares.  The boys arrived for cake and ice cream and later watched a movie. Here are the highlights:

2014 Sam 9th Birthday 2

2014 Sam 9th Birthday 3

2014 Sam 9th Birthday 6

2014 Sam 9th Birthday 4

2014 Sam 9th Birthday 5

Sam had a good birthday. He got a remote control helicopter, lots of books and money, and a basketball- which he was excited about. It’s hard to believe this baby boy is 9!


Speaking of October…

2014 Box House 1So as usual, October was full of birthday parties, activities, and Halloween. Now that it is over, I have time to tell you about it. We started the month with beautiful weather and watched the leaves change color up on the mountains and eventually all around us on the bench. We have still been working on unboxing ourselves and I am happy to say I finally unpacked the last box. We are officially all moved in.

The kids took the boxes from our new IKEA corner sofa and didn’t just make a box house- but a big box house complete with garage. There is no shortage of cardboard around here.

Box House 2

Box House 3

October Trees House 1

October Fall Leaves 2Here is my favorite tree in our yard. This is what it looks like today.

Favorite Fall Tree in yard 1

Favorite Fall Tree in yard 2We have also had some amazing sunsets. Here is the view from our kitchen.

October Sunset 1


Time with Cousins


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2014 Hike around Silver Lake Kaitlyn smThe beginning of this month we did get to see some cousins from both sides of the family. I am finally downloading pictures so here they are. Over Labor Day weekend we met with our Utah cousins in Big Cottonwood Canyon for some hiking and marshmallow roasting and telling stories around the campfire. They camped but we just went up for the day. We still had too much to do at home but next year we promised to camp out with them.

2014 Hike around Silver Lake 1We first did an easy hike around Silver Lake with our Aunt Debra. Then later we took a longer hike to Donut Falls. We didn’t make it all the way to the top of the falls because we were not prepared to hike all the rocks. It was pretty anyway and a hike we need to do again since it isn’t too far from home.

2014 Abby and Sam at Silver Lake 2

2014 Hike around Silver Lake 2 sm

2014 Hike to Donut Falls 1

2014 Hike to Donut Falls sm 4

2014 Hike to Donut Falls 2

2014 Hike to Donut Falls 3

2014 Sam at Donut Falls sm

Goofy Sam. Our other cousin time came just a week later with cousins who flew in from Maryland. Unlike our Utah cousins we don’t get to see these cousins very often at all – once every few years. We decided to take the opportunity to have a photo shoot at the Provo Temple since it may be years before we see them again. Unfortunately we should have taken pictures about a hour earlier. It was getting dark fast and these were taken in very low light so we did the best we could.

2014 Cousins at Provo Temple sm 1 2014 Cousins at Provo Temple sm 2

2014 Cousins at Provo Temple sm 5

2014 Cousins at Provo Temple sm Julia AbbyThese two girls are only about 3 weeks apart. They had such a good time together the couple of days they had to play.

2014 Cousins at Provo Temple sm 6

2014 Cousins at Provo Temple sm 72014 Cousins at Provo Temple sm 8 2014 Cousins at Provo Temple sm 9Until next time…

Home Sweet Mess


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2014 Kaitlyn with SunflowerMoving is always overwhelming. I’ve decided that cross-town moves are harder than cross-country moves. At least with cross-country moves you have one big truck and everything goes on. If it doesn’t go on then you don’t keep it. With cross-town moves it seems you are driving back and forth and back and forth and it seems to never end. We still had a truck, but it didn’t cut down much on our driving.

Moving Garage 2014

Here is the update on what’s been happening since we started moving.

Once again Mike had to move right over his birthday. That has happened a few times.

2014 Mike's 41 Birthday

The first week we were in the house we didn’t get much unpacking done. It was the last week of summer vacation for the kids and Mike had work out-of-town. So I took the kids and we did our last trip to the pool and other activities and we did lots of back-to-school shopping until….finally the first day of school!

2014 First Day of School 3

Abby started 5th grade, Sam started 3rd grade, and Kaitlyn started 1st grade. They were all excited to start school and see their friends again. The beginning of school and just having moved into the new house was a big adjustment but we made it through with just a few bumps. Doing homework again has also been a change.

2014 Sam and Abby homework time

One advantage of an old home is finding quirky stuff. The kids were excited about our old-school pencil sharpener in the garage. It still works well too.

2014 Sam and pencil sharpener

2014 Abby with pencil sharpener

The kids have been making friends in the neighborhood. We feel really lucky because 4 new families also recently moved into our neighborhood this summer and they all have school-aged kids. Kaitlyn has made friends with the kid next door who has this awesome treehouse:


This three story treehouse borders our yard and the kids ooh and awe at it. Kaitlyn and the neighbor kid have had a lot of fun up there. Abby and Sam are older than the neighbor kid but they were invited to play up there too. They didn’t turn down the invitation.

Now that we are in our house, we finally started measuring the kids so they can look back and see how tall they were when we moved in.

2014 height collage 2014 Kaitlyn reading in new house

The kids have been excited to unpack their stuff. Kaitlyn loves her new reading area. 

About a week after we starting living here we were happy to see these guys show up -

Google Fiber Truck picasa edit

Hello Google Fiber and goodbye Internet bills. We thought we would have to wait a couple of months before Google Fiber showed up but just a week after we moved  (and ordered Comcast) they came to bring us our free internet. Turns out our house already had fiber optic cable installed. We had to hunt for it but once we found it (with the Google Fiber tech) we watched as someone sent light down the fiber cable from a location several blocks away. When our end lit up the kids thought that was cool- Mike did too actually (surprise surprise – he likes things that light up). We could have free internet for 7 years but we are thinking of taking the gig in a couple of years when we have more things streaming around here. 

Since you were wondering, Boo has been adjusting well too. He doesn’t seem to care where he is as long as he is with his family.

2014 Boo in hallway

He likes his new backyard- it’s especially exciting because there are chickens roaming around just on the other side of the fence. He has started digging holes under the fence which doesn’t make me happy.

2014 Boo at fence with chickens

2014 Boo at fence with chickens 2

More updates to come as we clean up our mess.

Surprise Party


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2014 Aug K B-day blowing candles 2

2014 Aug K B-day blowing candles 3

Kaitlyn knew her birthday was coming up, but she didn’t know exactly what day. We didn’t let her know exactly either. All year Kaitlyn told us she wanted a surprise party for her 6th birthday. So we told her that her birthday was just before school started. On Sunday she really knew it was coming because they sang to her in Primary but she still was completely surprised when she arrived at her party. She had no idea it was her birthday.

Here was her reaction:

Being in the middle of moving, I wasn’t up to planning an elaborate birthday party so we simply had the party at Pioneer Park in Provo where they have a splash pad and a playground. It turned out perfectly. We took over some picnic tables in the pavilion, brought a Costco cake, a cooler full of Otter Pops, and some paper party plates and cups. Abby and Sam did some decorating with streamers and balloons. We didn’t even have invitations. I simply texted her friend’s moms and invited all their siblings also so our older kids had friends to play with too. Essentially, we had a playdate with cake.

2014 Aug K B-day Sam Blowing up balloon

2014 Aug K B-day eating cake 2

2014 Aug K B-day Kaitlyn eating cake 1

2014 Aug K B-day Kaitlyn with friends 1

2014 Aug K B-day Kaitlyn water 1

2014 Aug K B-day Kaitlyn water 2

2014 Aug K B-day Sam jumping 2

2014 Aug K B-day Abby Sam 1

2014 Aug K B-day Abby 2

2014 Aug K B-day Abby 3

2014 Aug K B-day Abby 1

2014 Aug K B-day Sam jumping 3

2014 Aug K B-day Sam water 1

2014 Aug K B-day splashpad 1

2014 Aug K B-day Kaitlyn with friends 2

2014 Aug K B-day opening presents 1

2014 Aug K B-day opening presents 2

We still had so much cake Mike started giving it away to strangers in the park. He was also showing his enthusiasm for Google Fiber. (Installation is next week. Free internet here we come!) 

2014 Aug K B-day Mike eating cake

2014 Aug K B-day playground 1

Kaitlyn was so happy with her party and I was so happy it took so little preparation and planning. Love those splash pads! And we love this little girl who is now 6!

Happy birthday baby girl.

2014 Aug K B-day Kaitlyn on playground 2


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