Saturday, February 4, 2017

Billy Goat is 4

Our baby is growing so fast.  It makes me sad sometimes but we sure love this little bug.  Since her birthday she tells everyone we meet, "I'm 4."  This year she had a star shaped Hello Kitty cake all planed out till her "Trolls" obsession took over and last minute we had to make it a Poppy cake.  I think I did pretty well - in fact I'm confident I draw better with frosting than pencil.  

Here she is with her Hello Kitty chair, her light up rain boots, and her favorite pair of pants.  She also got a bunch of new stuffed animals, a lot of little troll dolls, play dough, and some other stuff that I can't remember any more.  This year she was old enough to pick out all her favorite foods for dinner and she got her own little container of mango ice cream.  This little girl loves her brothers and sisters and no matter how much I plead otherwise, they give her whatever she wants.  She especially loves Emmy.  At least once a day she asks if we can go get Emmy from school.  She is my realist that says how things really are and makes sure I am always going the right way to peoples houses.  We couldn't love her more.
This picture shows off the bangs she cut for herself Christmas morning while I was getting ready for church.  Could have been much worse.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Never Ending Christmas Break

December 22 was the kids first day of Christmas break.  We never would have believed that they wouldn't officially go back to school till January 18.  The kids had 9 snow days plus Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  There was one day where school was "optional" but other than that we were home.  The snow started falling after new years and it just didn't stop.  By the end of January over 35 inches of snow had fallen and most of it had stayed due to such cold temperatures.  You know you've had too much snow when your kids stop hoping for snow days and are praying for school.  We all got tired of shoveling snow.

On our first snow day I decided not to let the day pass us by so I ventured out in our van to visit my brother's new house where I got totally stuck and had to be pulled out onto the main road by a kind neighbor with a truck.  Then we got stuck two more times in our neighborhood- thank goodness my kids are finally big enough to get out and push.  After that adventure we didn't leave the house very often.  Luckily, we got a lot of board games for Christmas and they were put to good use.

In the middle of all the snow we had a few days of high temperatures and rain which led to leaks going down both sides of our dinning room while Greg was out of town.  My kind neighbor climbed on the roof with his ax and cleared the ice damns- twice.  At least while Greg was gone we had access to a car with 4 wheel drive.  When we got crazy from being home too long we would load all 7 of us in his 5 person SUV and get out.

Once Greg got home he spent several days on the roofs at work shoveling off the snow.  They had even more snow in Fruitland than here.  Crazy winter, but we had some fun times.
Emmy's first day skiing at Brundage before Christmas.  She was awesome and skied all day while the snow came down and loved it.  We've got a skier on our hands.
Christmas morning with Lily's tramp

The Wilford's spent a few days with us after Christmas while their parents went to a wedding.  Fun times!
Emmy playing minute to win it games for New Years

Barn owl we spotted a few times off of Kingsbury
We went skiing at Bogus.  The valley was covered in thick clouds so the mountains looked like islands in a sea of clouds.  Loved this waterfall of clouds.  So beautiful.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

December - Light the World

For Christmas this year our family took part in a challenge to light the world by giving 25 days of Christ-like service.  We had so much fun and it really put "Christ" in Christmas for us.  We took pictures of the different things we did to send to both sets of Grandparents as their Christmas gifts.  Here are some of my favorite pictures...
A girl on the bus was bullied -
Andrew and Kate helped repair the damage
Kate reading to Lily
 Donating food to school food drives
 Visiting and Caroling to our friend Lea from Nampa
 They picked out gifts for kids at the Children's Hospital
 Donating winter clothing to refugees
 Thank you notes to teachers
 Christmas Caroling 
Rembering Christ by putting on the Nativity

Can you tell they are really into the dab?  Andrew has taught the younger girls and now someone is dabbing in every picture.  It makes me smile.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

Family and Friends,

It’s November and the author is feeling long overdue for a vacation…the kind with just the editor, some remote landscapes, and lots of wildlife—the kinds that don’t have first names or opinions….And now I’m having a flashback to our Easton summer vacation.  Our trusty minivan endured 3,800 miles of six kids, endless snacks, spills, hot summer sun, and road construction.  We recommend Glazed and Infused Donuts in Chicago and Kansas City BBQ.  We loved the kid and adult friendly Mark Twain museum in Hannibal, MO, historic Nauvoo, Illinois, the kids’ first big city experience, and the somehow sacred Carthage Jail.  The “vacation” was so much fun I decided to turn the last two days into a single LOOOONG one by driving 1,015 miles.  I’m pretty sure we all lived.  All it takes to appreciate home is a week away.

After the election we decided to stock up on our food storage.  Instead of buying canned goods the author recommended getting a 2nd cat as Perdita (the family cat) has been on a rampage bringing numerous mice, birds, frogs, bugs, snakes, and one slimy not quite identifiable corpse (possibly a fish) into the house to show off.  They’ve been in various stages of gut-smeared, stiff and dead, mortally wounded, and very much still alive—the best was the mouse which started in Natali’s drawer, was caught on the porch then was brought back inside and released to “attack” Natali again.  She’s still screaming. 

Natali (14) ended last year anxious for her braces to be removed and then in January at dinner on the long awaited day complained about her retainer and said, “I wish had my braces back on…”  You’ve got to be kidding me, can I get a refund?  When she turned 14 and attended her first dance she changed her tune and decided it was better not to have tinsel teeth.  She transitioned seamlessly to High School, but wanted us to attend a parent/teacher conference to get extra credit so her only A would be raised to match all of her other A+’s.  She’s still dreaming of driver’s ed and a cell phone.  She made lasting memories with the author on a trip to New England where they reenacted the Boston Tea Party, enjoyed fall foliage, counted Dunkin Donut stores, and visited her childhood stomping grounds in Hanover, NH.  Thankfully she still says “boys” with an “ugh” at the end.  She’s content to fill her life with books and music (choir, viola, piano).

Mack (13) is easy to identify on the soccer field due to his curly locks—I think he even likes the attention they bring from kids and parents alike.  Rumor has it that a real live girl actually touched his hair at school last week—shhh, don’t tell anyone.  He’s progressing well through the Boy Scout program and learning important skills like swallowing raw eggs and catching fish. Mack joined his cousin McClain for a special trip to visit Grandma Nani and Papa Randy on their mission to Washington state.

Andrew (11) never hesitates to speak his mind.  When asked about the differences between middle-school and elementary, he said they were pretty much the same.  When asked if the girls were cuter, he shriveled up his face and said, “no.”  I told him when I went to Junior High the girls were cuter because they were from several different elementary schools.  He responded, “It’s probably just because you hit puberty sooner than I did.”  Or maybe it’s because he still hasn’t figured out how to wash his socks…His world still revolves around wildlife.  We had a great time jet boating together in Hell’s Canyon and he was thrilled to sight an albino elk on our annual visit to Yellowstone.  He speeds through the neighborhood looking for mischief on his bike with no brakes.

Kate (9) begins each morning fighting with Lisa over the snarls in her hair but is happy by bed time after filling her day with ballet class, choir, and art projects.  Her favorite part of the road trip was hanging out with cousins at the water parks at the Wisconsin Dells.  She’s officially done with pink, and decided to like PE.  Kate gets the brunt of most of the sibling animosity in our home—it’s not easy being a middle child, trust me.

Emily (6) loves reading, dancing, piano lessons and choir, and will eventually realize she doesn’t have to be perfect at school.  She spent a magical weekend with Lisa at Disneyland.  Emily is the tallest Easton for her age despite preferring to pull out her own teeth than to eat something healthy.  She happily celebrated her birthday looking for moose in Yellowstone and was serenaded by a group of young Filipinas when I told them it was her special day.  Her wish was granted at the last hour when we spotted a moose on our way home.   

Lily (3) can memorize an iphone password if you let her see you, sleeps in a different room every night (at least 6 in the last month), has a great sense of direction—corrects us if we take a different route, and likes to do puzzles. She’s starting to learn letters and numbers, eats everything including Emily’s portion of fruits and vegetables, and is not afraid of our threats to eat her cute cheeks because, “I have blood and bones.”

Lisa (36) enjoyed 3 plays at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival this summer but did not enjoy being stung 4 times by wasps and learning she’s allergic.  She caught the Family History bug so badly she can’t be bothered to edit this letter which unfortunately will be a primary part of the heritage I leave for our children.  Although she laughed harder than she had in years at the delightfully obnoxious Squatty Potty video, she still had the gall to let Lily be a unicorn for Halloween.  Now she’s anxious for the ski slopes to open. 

Greg (38) survived the double whammy of having a 20 year high school and 10 year grad school reunion in the same year.  The gray in his beard after a couple weeks of travel was incontrovertible proof that he is OLD.  Added just one new mammal species the lifetime list, but it was a spectacular dolphin species on a work trip to Chile.  A single fruitful cantaloupe compensated for all the duds in his expanded garden space.  He is rumored to have put a hole in the kitchen sink with a pair of scissors (editor challenges the use of the word rumor, something about photographic proof—sa bagay—a Tagalog phrase the author uses to say “whatever”).  In the midst of a disappointing stretch to begin the BYU football season he went on a 3 week fast from any and all BYU websites, but by the time he watched BYU finally beat BSU on the Smurf Turf he decided the season wasn’t a total waste…(oops, wrote that a few weeks before the game and didn’t have the heart to change it after another painful loss).

Best books of the year—Anti-Fragile, The Wright Brothers, All the Light We Cannot See

I’m filled with mixed emotions as I watch the news and read the angst and hatred on social media.  While it is easier to remain silent, I feel compelled to share my feelings.  America is great because of our individual and collective freedoms, secured by the blood and courage of our patriot forefathers (and mothers) and an inspired constitution.  While great strides have been made in recent generations to improve equality, there is more to be done.  And yet, as we seek to expand equality we must protect our individual freedoms.  There is no room for persecution and hate, but there must still be room for faith and love of God, Man, and Woman.  This is proving more difficult than it ought to be.  It will require those of diverse experience, perspective, and persuasion to question, listen, understand where possible, and then to choose to love despite the remaining differences.  I pray and believe that We can do this Together beginning with You and I.

Merry Christmas, The Eastons (Greg, Lisa, Natali, Mack, Andrew, Kate, Emily, and Lily)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Family Pictures 2016

Family Pictures 2016 - turned out pretty good.  My biggest shock was to see Natali.  She looks so grown up and beautiful in all the pictures.  It seams unreal to me that she is that old.  

Monday, October 31, 2016


For our Halloween Dinner this year we let the kids invite two friends each and we had Spencer and Keeley come help with the madness.  Of course I got so caught up in all the serving that I didn't take a single picture, luckily Greg took a few.  The kids had such a blast, but serving dinner to 18 kids is pretty crazy.

Pumpkin carving...

Last minute Natali threw this together.  She is the "Ah Yeah!" lady from Studio - C....
Mack came down the stairs for our Halloween dinner with this outfit.  Greg started laughing but I didn't get it.  He is the Michigan Football team coach.
Andrew waffled about what to be and in the end just wanted blue hair - so BYU mega fan.  Can't complain about that costume.
Kate had this outfit all planed out by the first week of September.  She made the skirt with some help. Her friend is the youngest in her family and invited Kate to trick of treat with her.  So we missed Kate but the two of them had a blast together.
This summer Emily listened to Anne of Green Gables on Audible. When she was done she said,"That's what I want to be for Halloween."  My heart melted.  We are definitely kindred spirits.  I loved making this costume by merging a few different old patterns of my moms.
Lily changed her mind everyday.  The day of Halloween I still wasn't sure what she would wear.  In the end she put on this unicorn costume (which she called an "alicorn" because the 5 year old neighbor girl told her it was an aileron because it had wings and a horn) and had Natali spray her hair pink and blue.  Not sure what she is except cute.