Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Christmas 2014!!

Finn is looking really stylish in his new outfit from Grandpa Morse.

Finn is trying out his new hat and gloves from Aunt Charlene and Uncle Tom

New basement hockey tarp from Grandma Mimi!!

And another stylish new outfit and vest from Grandma and Grandpa Carrithers
All six of us in our "Grandma pants" hockey pajamas.  This is something new we have learned about in Minnesota.  Nearly 100% of the kids who play hockey have at least one pair of these soft, fleece pants.  The boys wanted some so we got everyone a pair to wear on Christmas Eve.  

Super excited about Santa coming tomorrow!!

Preparing some cookies and chocolate milk for Santa.  We also left cheese for the mouse and an apple for the reindeer.

Boys are sleeping, Presents are wrapped, and stockings are full

Waiting "patiently" for Finn to wake up on Christmas morning.  The big boys were up at 6:20am!!  Finn decided to get started around 7:30 am.  

Christmas morning

Let the chaos begin

Hockey Jersey

Light up legos from our cousins!

Hockey jerseys for All!!

New hat and gloves from Aunt Charlene and Uncle Tom

Post unwrapping.  It actually looks pretty good since we picked up all the wrapping paper.

Day 1 of building non stop with only bathroom and food breaks!

We had six lego sets to build!
We had a very nice Christmas in Minnesota this year.  When you factor in the distance, the winter weather issues, and travel with four young boys, staying home is really nice.  While we enjoy visiting family and miss them over the holidays, it is so nice to wake up at your own house on Christmas morning.  We really played all day long.  The boys each got lego sets and we (primarily John and boys) built all six of them in about 3 days.  Luke built a massive Kinex racetrack with 600+ pieces and enjoyed playing Jenga.  Liam built two lego sets and loves his battleship game. Aiden built lego sets, lego guys, and played with his Ninja turtle toys.   Finn enjoyed his new racetrack, new clothes, toolbox, and record player.  All of the boys have played a lot with the new hockey tarp in the basement.  It makes a great indoor winter activity.  We are still having some issues with the ice rink this year due to the sporadic warmer temps earlier this month.  The ice rink really isn't built to be a swimming pool so all the melting and freezing has been an issue.  We are hopeful, however, that it should be up and running again in a few days.  Meanwhile, we have enjoyed lots and lots of Christmas toys.  We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas and we enjoyed spending it here without a lot to do.  It has been great to have a break of the normal work and school routine.  We hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well!  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ready, Set, SKATE!!

After several setbacks this year, the backyard rink is finally up and running (or it was for a day or two).
Liam on skates.  He and Luke have really improved since they started hockey in November.
Luke on skates

Aiden is doing much better on the ice this year as well.
Aiden singing in church
Luke, Liam, and Aiden singing in church
Liam and his gingerbread house
Finn enjoyed sampling the candy!
The finished products

After several setbacks with the tarp not holding water, melting due to warmer temps, and a break in one of the boards that supports the rink, the rink was finally up and running over the weekend.  John has spent countless number of hours filling and refilling the rink with water.  We have had a few warmer than average days that wreaked havoc on the rink.  Over the weekend, the boys were very excited to have some extra "ice time" to practice some of the things they have been learning in hockey.  Unfortunately, the temps are going to be a bit "warm" this week so skating may or may not be possible.  It looks like January will bring us some bitter cold weather which will be at least good for the rink.

In other news, the big boys all sang in church on Sunday.  It is hard to see Luke, Liam, and Aiden in any of my pictures, but they did a great job.  Lastly, we had fun decorating some gingerbread houses recently.  The boys were quick to sample as much candy as possible.  They probably put 1 piece of candy on their house for every five pieces that they ate!

Merry Christmas to All!  Thanks for readying, we will post again after Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Luke and Liam's Team Hockey Pictures and Santa Skate

Liam and Luke in the Maple Grove High School hockey locker room 

Liam, Aiden, and Luke

The team and coaches in the locker room

The boys

There goes Santa on skates

Finn on skates

Visiting with Santa during the Santa skate.  Finn is still not a fan.
Luke and Liam had their team hockey pictures taken last week.  As a special treat, they were able to go into the high school hockey locker room afterwards.  This was REALLY cool for the boys, of course.  One of the dads on our hockey team happens to be the head coach for the high school hockey team here so he offered to take all of us inside after the pictures were finished.  While the boys loved it, I was more than ready to leave for one reason-the SMELL!  I will say, however, that the biggest reassuring fact that I learned was that IF we have any boys who play hockey in high school (which is very competitive in Minnesota), they actually leave all their stinky, sweaty, massive gear IN the locker room!  They don't drag it all home.  What a relief!  And believe me, this locker room was very, very, very STINKY.  Even Finn was a bit uncomfortable.

Lastly, we enjoyed a skate with Santa over the weekend.  It was a bit crazy with all the people and kids everywhere, but the boys thought it was pretty cool to see Santa on skates.  Finn is still not a fan of Santa!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Luke's Goalie Game and Aiden's Christmas Program

I know I have said this before, but let me say it again...Finn LOVES to play hockey right now.  He bangs on the basement door to go downstairs and play.

Luke and Liam are hard at work helping to cut ingredients for soup.

Aiden did a very nice job keeping Finn busy "cooking" so we could accomplish something.

Luke's goalie debut!  It was much harder to take decent pictures at this rink so I didn't get a lot of Luke, but he did a great job.

Standing in the goal
Finn was not a fan of Santa.
Aiden and his buddy, Landon at their Christmas program.
Trying to get a picture of all four boys looking at the camera.  We are 3/4 on this one.
Aiden was Frosty at his school program
Singing Frosty the Snowman
Aiden's class singing Jingle Bells for their Christmas Program

Luke had his turn at being the goalie for his hockey team.  Unfortunately for Luke, his turn occurred on a weeknight rather than a weekend so we were not quite as organized with the pictures beforehand, during, and afterwards.  I managed to get a few shots, but this rink was also a little harder to snap pictures and Finn kept my attention for most of the time.  Anyway, Luke did a great job and really enjoyed it.  He has the advantage of being BIG for his age and strong.  It takes a bigger kid to fit into the equipment and it takes a kid who can still skate with all of it on.  Luke managed to get around pretty well and afterwards he asked if he could do it again sometime soon so I think he enjoyed it as well.

Aiden had his preschool Christmas program over the weekend.  For John and I, this is about the 7th program we have seen at their Montessori school.  They are all very fun to watch and also a bit hilarious.  Occasionally, there are some kids who decide midway through the program that they don't want to be up there anymore and try to walk off or start screaming.  Then there are the kids who are really into the singing and are dancing on their own.  Or, there are a few kids who stand there frozen and barely make eye contact.  Its quite variable.  The children range in age from 3 to 6 so Aiden is one of the older (and bigger) kids in his class.  Aiden did well and his favorite part was getting to be Frosty the Snowman for his program.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Liam's Goalie Game and Finn's first time on the Ice

It is hard to tell, but that is Liam dressed up in the goalie gear.  I think the gear might weigh more than Liam, but he didn't complain!

Liam as Goalie on the ice.  He was o.k. unless he fell over and it was a bit tricky getting back up!

3 on 3 action

Liam in the goal

Finn at hockey practice watching goalie
Getting ready to skate with Daddy

Finn's first time on the ice and he did NOT want to get off.

No worries, he did not fall or anything.  He is just sitting out there.

Aiden showed considerable improvement on his first trip out on the ice.  He enjoyed it this year which is quite different from how he felt in previous years.

The boys and I took a hike in the woods on Thanksgiving Day while Finn was asleep and John was making dinner for all of us.
Really!?  I get to wear skates!

Mom and Finn on the ice.  There is absolutely no way I could ice skate safely and hold Finn.  We roller skated in Arkansas when I was young so my ice skating skills are minimal.

Although it was the coldest Thanksgiving here in over 30 years, we had a nice day and enjoyed a very nice dinner complete with all the things that John and I enjoy at this time of year.  The boys actually ate a lot of it this year which is a big improvement from previous years.  Our extended time off from school and work was fun and mixed with some hockey, ice skating, sledding, and relaxing.

Liam had the opportunity to be a goalie for his hockey team this weekend. They have a rotation on their team so that each child gets a chance to wear all the goalie gear for a game. They had a 3 on 3 game over the weekend and Liam got his turn as goalie. The amount of gear that a goalie has to wear is crazy and it is heavy! Considering Liam only weighs about 45 pounds, I would guess this gear was nearly as heavy as he is. He managed to do pretty good from my non expert opinion. He was able to stop some pucks and get up when he fell down so that seems like an accomplishment to me.  Luke is next up on the list so stay tuned!  Luke's has always wanted to be a goalie for some reason so we will see what he thinks.

I recall a time about 3-4 years ago when John and I went to a total hole in the wall resale hockey store to find some used skates so that Luke and Liam could learn how to ice skate. We had been told by many local Minnesotans that learning to skate at an early age was a necessity in Minnesota. When we pulled up to this store, we debated whether or not to even go in, but it was recommended as a good place to find decent skates at a reasonable price. During this trip to buy skates, I remember this guy asking us if we needed a pair of skates for our youngest son. We both died laughing and said, are you kidding? He barely walks. At the time, Aiden was probably about Finn's age. We both commented about "how crazy people must be to put their barely walking children in ice skates!"  What a joke, we thought....Well, as crazy as it sounds, we bought those teeny tiny used skates the guy offered us although I don't recall taking Aiden out on the ice very much because we couldn't even manage taking Luke and Liam out on the ice together! Fast forward to this weekend and we ARE those crazy parents.  Finn is now 16 months and he went out on the ice in those same teeny skates for the first time! Thankfully, John's skating skills have improved a bit over the years and Luke and Liam can do circles around us on their skates so taking everyone skating is slightly less challenging albeit still crazy in my opinion.