Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sasha's Reflections on Skiing

On Sunday we headed up to Alta for the blessed Ski Free After 3.  Sash did really well gliding through their beginner area and had a great time - here are her reflections on skiing (or as much as I could type as she rattled on...):

Thank you Daddy help me skiing.  Thank you.

This is me skiing and this my second time skiing forever and some time I like to do it forever.  I like to hang on the rope cause that's my favorite and I like you to help me hang on that rope and thank you for giving me a cookie at the end because I'm such a good skier and cheese bread, too.  I like you to help me on the rope and that's what I like to do every time and I like to go on the rope with you.

Easy helps me go skiing all the way down here cause he likes to so that's why I call him Easy and that's my favorite to do.  [Editor's Note:  Easy is the name of the "worm" who holds the tips of Sasha's skis together]

I stop and I go and I jump like this on my skis [illustrates bunny hops] and that's what I like to do every time.  That must be my favorite forever for every time.

Daddy is proud of me.

While Sasha and Daddy were practicing together, Mommy and WanYing took a couple of runs down the big hill with WanYing in the carrier. 

Admittedly, having a little one on your back while riding up the lift and down the snow is a little nerve-wracking (especially because little ones tend to wiggle when excited and wiggling definitely makes balance harder!) but the squeals of delight and cries of, "faster!" and "more bumpies!" make up for a mommy's nervousness.  I did manage to make it up and down the mountain without landing on my butt or my child, so I'd call the day a stunning success.

If you're wondering what a self-portrait on a ski lift with a kid on your back looks like, wonder no longer!

And WanYing even got to strap on her little skis for some scuttles around the base.  She was (obviously) very proud of herself and we're so glad that our always-chilly girl is acclimating so well to the Utah winters!

I think the the Morningstars are shoo-ins for the U.S., Kazakhstan, and China Winter Olympic ski teams!  2024 Winter Games, here we come!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Happy 34th birthday to the most selfless, funny, tender, handsome, brave, strong, zany, and God-hearted man that I could ever imagine.  Babe, I love you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

White Friday

Rather than hitting the stores for Black Friday, we decided to hit the slopes and make it a White Friday!  I think this may be a tradition in the making.

Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate and we had a chilly and blustery day... but we had skis on our feet, so even the worst weather couldn't keep our spirits down for long!

Here's Sam's description of our day:

So when we went skiing yesterday, it was very windy, especially on our last run. When we got to the top, we were nearly knocked over. But other than that, it was very fun, despite Ben's face in this picture.

This picture shows just how windy it was.  It's so fuzzy because of the snow blowing from the mountain.  Before I got my neck warmer, it felt like every snowflake was a needle.  But after my neckwarmer, it was pretty warm.
Here we pose on the ski slopes with the mountain behind us
But, despite all the wind and how cold it was, we still had a great day.
[Editor's note:  I'm pretty sure the boys are smiling under all that gear :) ]

Our Thanksgiving (including hat instructions)

We had a really delightful Thanksgiving this year, complete with the boys' ever-astounding Thanksgiving hats (see 2010, 2009, 2008, you get the idea...).  This year, Ben fell back to a traditional family favorite, the turkey leg hats.  As this hat is in unsurprisingly high demand, Ben included step-by-step instructions below so you you can create your own.

Step 1: So first you need all the material - a big piece of paper for the headband, a stapler, a lunch bag (two lunch bags for each hat), a tissue, ignore the Dora book, newspaper works best for stuffing it, and tape.
Step 2: You need to stuff a lunch bag with opened up and crumpled newspaper or other paper.  Repeat.
Step 3: You put a tissue on the lunch bag.  The tissue represents the bone.  Repeat.
Step 4: Then you wrap the sides of the bone with tape, but if you are very observant you should not do it exactly how I'm doing it because you need to have the sticky side facing the bone. Repeat.
Step 5: With your large amounts of construction paper or other large amounts of paper, you cut a large headband, measure the person's head, staple both the turkey legs on and then voila!
Step 6: If you want to, you can wear the turkey hats for a picture.  As you can see in this picture, I have not quite perfected it and they still look pretty quite odd.  I kind of like them odd, though.  That's just my personality.

We had a beautiful meal (thank you, Steve!) shared with good friends.  The Morningstars (the elder ones) weren't able to join us this year because of some last-minute health complications (stupid cancer!) and I was a little worried that the celebration would seem empty without them.  But God really blessed us with full hearts and tons of gratitude that we got to spend precious time together at Disney in October and we were able to approach Thanksgiving with just the right spirit, even if our table was missing 2 important guests.

The best part of this year's celebration (besides the hats, of course) was the joy of introducing WanYing to another new holiday.  Just like the Fourth of July, Halloween, and everything else she's experienced for the first time this year, she loved it!

When Steve put the turkey on the table, she just stared at it with a giant smile glued to her face for a full 10-count.  It was hilarious!  Between the real turkey and the butter turkey (also pictured, a very important Thanksgiving tradition), I think she enjoyed the meal of a lifetime.

All of my carnivores enjoyed a very happy Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be grateful for - we just can't help but smile!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 
Worship the Lord with gladness,
Come before him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of is pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
Go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
And his faithfulness continues to each generation
Psalm 100

We hope that your Thanksgiving is a joyful celebration of God's creation, provision, salvation, and unfailing love.

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ben's Beverage Experiments

Mom: [hears caterwauling in the kitchen and comes down to investigate] What's going on, Buddy?

Ben: [with righteous indignation] It's Dad. He says I have to stick with chocolate milk and I can't have syrup milk.

A few minutes later, after Mom regains her composure...

Mom: Can I take a picture of you holding the syrup for the blog?

Ben: If I can have some syrup milk!

Mom:  Deal, but only a little one.

Ben makes syrup milk.  Mom struggles to keep her cookies down.

Mom: How is it?

Ben: Not bad. [takes a few more sips] But now it's tasting kinda buttery.

Mom throws up a little in her mouth.

The final review?  Ben does not recommend syrup milk made with butter flavored syrup.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Finer Things

The girl does know how to enjoy the finer things in life - two-fisted Frapuccinos!

I am starting wondering, though, if her frequent sips of my cappuccinos are contributing to our rocky bedtimes...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Epic Ski Season Start

We had a fantastic start to our 2011-2012 ski season today and are so excited to welcome Sasha into the ranks of the mountain-rat Morningstar kids! Armed with her fancy jacket, "birdie and flower" skis, teeny-tiny boots, and incredibly patient and talented Daddy, Sasha made it down the bunny slope twice before heading in for some cocoa and beer (respectively - and they both more than earned it).

Sash did so, so well today and we are really proud of the effort that she put in. Our pint-sized skier is well on her way to the Kazakh national team!

The rest of us also enjoyed a beautiful, warm, bluebird start to our ski season.  Despite our concerns that our always-chilly gal would rebel against the snow, WanYing adored riding down in the pack and only got fussy when Mommy was annoyingly stopped to get pictures of Sasha.  This girl likes to go fast!  She might feel differently once her frantic, excited wiggling finally lands us on our respective tushes, but today Mommy managed to stay on both feet, much to our joint delight.

Today was indeed an auspicious start to the new ski season.  It was one of those days where you just stand back and marvel that you could be right here, right now, with these amazing people, experiencing the joys of family and snow.

We are immeasurably blessed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Essential Rite of Passage

by Sasha

I'm excited about my skis and I like to go snowing for every time and I like my skis.  My skis have flowers and birdies.  Time to go and that is all. Done. That's all.

Mommy's commentary:  I think that Mommy and Daddy are almost as excited as Sasha about this essential rite of passage in the Morningstar family.  She's got the jacket, got the pint-sized boots, got the girlie skis, got the enthusiasm - now all we need is some snow!  Oh... and maybe a pair of ski pants, that skirt would probably be chilly.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Birds and the Bees, 10-year-old Style

Sam:  Are there 30 years in a generation?

Mom:  I think it's about 25

Sam:  Ok, so in about 15 years I'll spawn a new generation with my wife

Ben:  I think Sam needs to play a little less Halo

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Grand Visit

by Sam and/or Ben

Ben: It was quite fun playing with Grammy and Buddy. For the short amount of time Buddy was here, it was fun, and for the quite long time that Grammy was here we also had quite fun.

Sam: I'm in a moment of dictator's block.

Ben: The best part of Grammy and Buddy's visit was probably the hide and seek. I found some pretty good hiding places. I'm guessing that a lot of people couldn't find us. For instance, there was about a 5x6-inch cubby...

Sam: It was bigger than that, definitely. Foot by a foot and a half.

[10-minute digression while they look for a tape measure, measure the hiding spot, and prove that they can both fit in it]

Ben:13x17.  I could very well fit in it.  My feet were sticking out but it's still amazing, for a 4-to-5 feet body to fit in something that small.  It took quite a bit for them to find me there, but it was not Grammy to find me, it was Sam.

Sam:  Ben is very good at dramatizing things.

Sam, cont:  I hid in the ironing board closet, something Ben could not do.

Sam, cont:  They are very fun and we had a very fun game of Catan.  They will be coming back this Christmas and I'll have a rematch.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Essential Skills

Hooray! My collection of doggie-children is complete!
Sam in 2002

Ben in 2004

Sasha in 2009

And now WanYing in 2011!

I'm so glad that all of my children have mastered the essential skill of doggy door access!  It comes in very handy when doorknobs are a challenge...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fun With Pumpkin Guts

This year we continued our family tradition of pumpkin shopping on the weekend before Halloween, thus ensuring that the only pumpkins remaining are the ones of "creative" coloring and proportions. Oh well, the kids don't seem to mind and that late in the game pumpkins only cost a buck a piece, so I guess we all win!

Sasha, looking super-cute with her selection
Ben manages to wedge his pumpkin into his bike basket for convenient transport home
Sasha finds an even easier ride home!
The highlight of my afternoon was betting Ben $5 that he couldn't eat a handful of pumpkin guts.  He couldn't. But he got $1 for the effort. Because there's little in this world funnier than watching kids eat nasty (albeit safe) foods for money.

If you can't even scoop out a pumpkin without rubber gloves, your odds of consuming its innards are pretty slim.
Fearful-eyed, Ben goes in for the nibble...
...which was rapidly followed by the gag.  But don't worry, he kept it down.  The kid is going to win a lot of ill-advised bets in college
Sasha concurred on the pumpkin gut disgustingness
I give my Frankenpumpkin a lobotomy (Sam dictated this caption)
WanYing was very pleased with her first Jack-o-Lantern
All done!  An Elmo pumpkin (Sasha), smiley pumpkin (WanYing), Frankenpumpkin (Sam), and crazy pumpkin (Ben, of course)
All ready to greet the trick-or-treaters!


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