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.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Birthday Boy

The boy with crazy hair turns 13!!!  He always wants a plain chocolate cake.  So I made his cake - then he says, "Actually, could you make it look like this?"  and shows me a picture.  Even though he hates frosting he decided that plain chocolate cake is sort of lame.  So Natali and I put our skills together and came up with this.  I thought is was pretty good.  He just cut the top off his and gave it to all the frosting lovers.  This summer we bought him a whole bunch of camping gear for high adventure so that was his early birthday gift but he did get some cool new Legos.  

On his birthday he got all of his favorite foods and got to watch a movie on a school night. Later that week he got to invite some friends over for several hours of boy time, brownies, a movie, and gifts.      I sure love this boy.  He gives me a hug every night before bed without fail, he showers nearly everyday and reads his scriptures each morning before school.  He is so self motivated and disciplined.  He makes my life easy and pleasant.  I know if I am getting too stressed that hanging out with Mack can calm my mood.  Don't know what I'd do without him.  

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Back to School

 We were sad to see summer come to an end but the kids were exited to start a new year.

 My Middle Schoolers - Andrew 6th and Mack 7th

 Kate in Mrs. Miller's 4th grade  and Emily in Mrs. K's 1st grade.  Her last name is long and complicated for 1st graders (or bad spellers like me) so they just call her Mrs. K.  Lily and I miss our Emmy but she is loving her 1st grade.

Believe it or not Natali is in High School -crazy.  She is loving it so far.  

For Labor Day weekend we went up to McCall.  I spent the Friday and Saturday with just the little girls.  The other kids and Greg had comitments.  We had such a blast.  It was cold but we still swam in that wonderful pool for hours, took a lot of walks, and watched the rain from the balcony.  I love that place.  Sunday evening the rest of the gang joined us and we enjoyed a fabulous hike.  It sprinkled on us and Lily still has some "peeing in the woods" experience to gain, but since she managed to find huckleberries to eat while we walked all the wetness was forgotten.  My Macky boy has been growing his hair out.  Most of the time I really like it but early morning, pre shower hair can be pretty awesome.
One Friday after school Greg and I were determined to do something fun with the kids that didn't involve lots of $ or the TV.  We have lived near the Snake River for 10 years now but most of the kids had never floated in it so we decided to remedy that.  We had a lot of fun for the first hour, but then it started geting old, and getting darker and darker.  A few of the kids got swept away for brief moments ending up out of their tubes...lets just say by the end we were all SO happy to be done.  Everyone was cold, scraped up and exhausted.  I figured everyone would cry the whole way home and complain about how awful it was.  But I was surprised to hear them talking about "next time".  They even jumped at the chance for a family photo in the car on the way home.  (Yes I look ridiculous - maybe someday I will figure out how to look normal in a selfie, but don't hold your breath).

Monday, August 1, 2016

Random but Fun

The following post is a compilation of pictures from Greg's phone.  Which often means I wasn't there.  These pictures are out of order and I can't remember which thing happened when but we had fun and don't want to forget that we do have fun sometimes.

The kids and I had a silly stiring war one day when Greg was out of town and that inspired us to host a neighborhood Silly String War.  We had four families show up and we had a blast.  The clean up wasn't even so bad with that many hands.  The kids want to make it an annual event...we'll see.  It would help if I could remember when it was...

 For Memorial Day Greg and the three oldest signed up for the Bubble Run in Boise.  I was signed up too but hurt my back so had to opt out.  They thought it was fun and loved being messy - at least for a little while.
Mack and Greg golfing in the rain.
Our soccer boy and his little pal.
Natali's first stake dance.

This summer Mack was working on an emergency kit for scouts.  We decided to put some of the kids old glass in the kit just in case.  Lily found them and got creative.  And who doesn't love a one eyed pirate tiger? Lily keeps us laughing.

Natali and Mack went to do baptisms with Greg.  I can't beileve how old they are getting.

Okay this doesn't qualify as fun but here it goes anyway.  We had a big problem with wasps this summer.  The good news was I was the only one who got stung (4 times for me).  The bad news was that my reactions were pretty terrible.  One sting on the finger ended up sending me to the doctor.  My hand was red, hot, and swollen so much I could hardly bend my fingers.  As we sat in the waiting room the swelling moved slowly up my arm.  I don't know if these pictures capture it but it was an unnerving experience.  And unfortunately my kids are way more afraid of wasps now!