Monday, December 31, 2012

Prettiest Princesses

Right before Christmas, my girls got to participate in the most coveted rite of little-girlhood - they got to be flower girls!  Our wonderful friend Sarah (we were in the Computer Science program at St. Mary's together and Sarah is Sam's godmother) graciously invited the girls to be flower girls in her wedding and I have to say that they were up for the challenge.  It was a simply beautiful day, made even a little more special by two little princesses :)

The girls did a great job as flower girls and didn't exhibit any of the last-minute stage (aisle?) fright that I was worried about.  I think it helped that they were together, so they didn't have to walk alone and they were so focused on out-cuting the other that they didn't have time to get nervous :)

WanYing and Sasha scattered petals like pros and my very favorite part was meeting the girls at the front of the church and bringing them back down a side aisle to our seats, watching WanYing scatter petals the whole way across the front of the church and down the side aisle to her seats.  The girl took her petal-distribution responsibilities seriously!

Sasha gets some princess-in-training advice from Sarah
The sisters have their baskets stocked and are ready to go!
Let's get this party started!
WanYing shows off a little flower girl sass
The whole wedding party
Time for the reception!  The kids (and their parents) were thrilled that there was a kids' table
I think this is my favorite photo of them all - Sash watches Aunt Sarah get garden pictures taken.  So cute!
Mommy and Aunt Sarah finally get a photo together
Ok, maybe we still need a *little* more princess training
It was such a beautiful day and we were so grateful to be a part of it!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gingerbread Decoration and Immediate Consumption

I love it that WanYing is big enough to do the icing herself!  She's very precise about icing (and basically everything else in her life)
Ah, the $8 Target-brand gingerbread house kit complete with icing and candy, how I love you.  My children can assemble you themselves, you come with all necessary ingredients, you're gone within 2 days, and somehow I'm able to convince myself that gingerbread is an acceptable breakfast food for children because it's kind of like a graham cracker and that's certainly fine for breakfast (yes, this is truly my logic).

Thanks for being a yearly tradition, cheap-o gingerbread house kit.  We'll see you next year.
The girls obviously specialized in their candy application - WanYing put red candies on the right side, Sasha applied gumdrops to the left
Eventually, Sasha got bored and decided to paint some Christmas Tree ornaments.  But WanYing stuck with the decorating until there was no candy left to apply and no space to apply it!
And, of course, as soon as the house was done, it was time to dismantle and consume!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two Down, Seven to Go

Just wanted y'all to know that, although Mandy has had a rather tough go of it, we have not killed him yet.  At least he hasn't gone through all 9 lives in the 7 months we've had him, and we'll consider that a victory for all of us.

Mandy is equally well loved and villainized here in the Morningstar home.  The girls adore his fluffy softness and lavish him with affection, which he often tolerates.  The boys, on the other hand, are convinced that the cat is a jerk.  It really bothers them that he a) attacks them frequently b) doesn't care if you yell at him and c) pretty much just does whatever he wants.  The boys are dog people for sure - they want their pets to care what they think.  And Mandy, most assuredly, does not.

Mandy has also endured more emergency surgery than any other member of our home.  This doesn't endear him to Steve who usually has to handle the emergency vet trips.  Mandy has soundly lost two fights with neighborhood cats, respectively resulting in a shaved head and butt and 6 stitches in his hip.  Gross.  And hilarious.  We are hoping he either learns to stop fighting or to win soon, because this is getting expensive.

Two lives down, seven to go, and none lost to Morningstar children.  I'd consider that a fairly successful first 7 months of cat ownership.

(and judging by how frequently Ben carries the cat around like this, I think that the whole "I hate the cat" thing is just bravado)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ice Skating

We went on several outings over Thanksgiving weekend, one of which was ice skating in Provo.  It was a moderately successful experiment - half of the children ate it up and half of them did exactly the number of laps around the ice necessary to earn a treat at the snack stand.

Here are their reactions to the experience:

Sasha:  I loved skiing with Daddy cause he's the greatest dad and I like to hug him and I like going around.  I like going ice skating cause it's so much fun.

I like going fast and around two times and I want to go ice skating again.

Sasha: I love Ben cause he's the greatest boy ever and he's a good roller skating
Sam: I did not appreciate ice skating as much as other people in the family. I prefer skiing.

Mom: I love this pic because of the girl behind Sam. And it does capture Sam's enthusiasm and natural aptitude for ice skating.

Sasha: I love WanYing cause she's my favorite sister and I love her
WanYing: I love ice skating. Ice skating was sooooo much fun. (Mom suspects revisionist history is at play here, WanYing didn't really enjoy her very wobbly afternoon on skates).

Given the combination of Ben and Sasha's enjoyment of the afternoon and their rather physical natures, perhaps they have a future in ice hockey?  We're thinking of enrolling them in some beginning skating lessons this spring and we'll just see how it goes!  Kazakhstani Women's Ice Hockey Team, here we come!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

WanYing is a Skiier!

A couple of weeks ago we headed up to Alta for a nice a nice warm afternoon on the slopes and her first day of skiing was a fabulous success! 

Admittedly, we had a rough start.  We somehow left the girls' ski jackets at home and WanYing wore Ben's jacket, Sasha wore Mommy's, and Mommy wore Daddy's jacket liner (boy was that a tough start to the afternoon!).  Oh, and Sasha freaked out and only made it down one run.

But, if the measure of the afternoon was the size of WanYing's smile when toddling around on her skis, well, it was an A+ afternoon.

Here's WanYing's description of her first day on skis:

I'm wearing Ben's jacket and I love skiing with you (Mom) and I love going somewhere when I'm skiing and I love you (Mom). 

I like going fast and slow, both of them.

I want to go skiing again.
Hip, hip, hooray for the littlest Morningstar skiier!
And there was still time left over after WanYing was tuckered out from her first afternoon on the slopes for Mommy and Sam to catch some turns.  Win-win!
A beautiful day in a beautiful place with all my beautiful people!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Deck the Halls

Sorry for the long gap between posts - I got sick with strep on Thanksgiving weekend and it really knocked me out.  I'm done with the antibiotics now and starting to feel human again - hopefully this was my sole awful sickness this winter!
Sickness notwithstanding, we have had a delightful few weeks enjoying the start of winter.  We've done a little skiing, a little ice skating, some decorating, and have definitely enjoyed the start of the Advent season.

We got a jump start on decorating this year and put up our tree Thanksgiving weekend.  The kids took a very active role in decorating this year, which was really fun up until they started knocking down 2 ornaments for every 1 they hung - that's when we decided that the tree was probably sufficiently ornamented.
The two weirdos regard each other - Ben and Gonzo have so much in common
Sam orchestrates the ornament distribution
Time to hang the ornaments!
WanYing was our master decorator - she stayed with it to the bitter end!
Ben prefers the clippy ornaments to the hanging ornaments (I have to agree)
WanYing was very excited to hang her First Christmas ornament up again
And Sasha, as usual, was the most enthusiastic of the bunch!
Sam assembles the train track, WanYing hides under the tree.  No, we don't get it, either.
Fa la la la la!
Sasha was so proud of our decorated tree that she insisted on showing it off to Mandy.  In retrospect, this may have been a mistake as the tree fell over a few nights later and we're all very suspicious about Mandy's role in the CATastrophe.  Never dull, never dull.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks

 Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
    His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
    His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
    His love never quits.
Thank the miracle-working God,
    His love never quits.
The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
    His love never quits.
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
    His love never quits.
The God who filled the skies with light,
    His love never quits.
The sun to watch over the day,
    His love never quits.
Moon and stars as guardians of the night,
    His love never quits.
God remembered us when we were down,
    His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
    His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
    His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
    His love never quits!

We have so many reasons for gratitude - being together as a family; amazing, resilient, and healthy kids; the way God is rebuilding our marriage and family for his glory; the promise that no part of our lives of love for God will every be wasted and that all things are worked together for purpose...

...but more than anything that God has done for us (and the list is long!) we thank God simply because he is God.  He deserves our thanks.  We thank him whether we feel like it or not, whether things are going our way or terribly and horribly wrong because he is alone God and his love never quits.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ski Season Begins!

Wahoo!  Ski season has started for the Morningstar clan!

It's still definitely early season (we hit some rocks and endured some sleet) but we are not about to complain about a few nicked edges after a particularly crummy last year.  If today's season start is any indication, this is going to be a great ski year for our family!

This morning we decided to "worship on the mountain" (the ultimate cop-out for not going to church, but a poetic one nonetheless) and headed up to Brighton to catch some turns.  I was particularly proud of my tele turns and endurance - I didn't turn in until 3, which is a pretty long day, especially for the first day of the season.  I normally can't make it through a 6 hour ski day so maybe the biking is doing some good!

Sam had a good day as well.  My favorite part of skiing with Sam today was his enthusiastic participation in the tree skiing.  We hit some fairly tough glades (this is what happens when Mommy leads) and he did it all with style (or at least without death or injury, which is our definition of a successful run).  I was very proud.

And Steve hit the slopes for the first time in a year today as well.  Although his leg was really hurting him from the break in January, he muscled through and did a whole morning of lovely tele turns.  We'll have to play around with tele and alpine and snowboarding gear and see what feels best on his shin.  But at least he got to get back on the horse (skis) and spend a happy family morning in the snow!

Now to figure out how I can take the next 4 months off of work... still get paid... still have a job to come back to... and ski every day...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

First Snowfall

The first snowfall of the 2012-13 season is upon us!

We got several inches of fluffy (if a little dense for Utah) white stuff on Friday and the kids spent a very happy evening making snow angels and attacking each other (and me) with snowballs.  It was a great start to a hopefully very, very snowy winter.
A very lovely snow angel
Do not trust this face when its owner is holding a snowball.
This face is equally mischievous... well, basically all the time... but especially when holding a snowball
Now that I think about it, just don't trust any of them, not when holding snow.


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