Child labor or photography assistants

One thing I love about this new photography venture is the involvement the kids get to have.  Marian loves shaking rattles and jumping around trying to get babies to smile and Ez & Tobin like the random kids who come to play.

I was shooting siblings the other day and the 5 year old was getting bored while I was getting solo shots of her 3 month old so I asked Mari to play with her in the play area.  I found them a bit later, all set up coloring together in the art room.

And, Tobin was entertaining this 2 year old while I was getting solo shots of her 3 month sister

Christmas continues

We continue our Christmas celebrations with my family on December 12th.  This year my parents rented a couple lanes of our small town bowling alley to hold the party and we had pizza for dinner, we had foregone the formal family Christmas dinner quite a number of years ago in favor of pizza (you might want to try it-very low stress!).  The bowling alley is new for us, we have a wide range of kids and my parents house seems to get smaller each year.  Everyone had fun-except I learned I can’t bowl anymore.  I never was any good and I actually scored a 137 (VERY good for me) but it really hurt!  So, I only played one game.  Ezra discovered that “real” bowling is a lot harder than Wii bowling-he did quite well with the help of bumpers though:)

Troy-check out his follow through, thats Alyssa helping her brother Kashton, they all took turns helping Kash

and, check out Tobin

the littler ones

ok, seriously, aren’t these the cutest, little things

Sis Tara, Mom, & niece Ashley

Mom decided to each family had to sing a Christmas song to determine who got to open their presents first, the 18 year old bowling alley attendant was the judge-we sang Away in a Manger at Marian’s request (more on that song later).  My sisters complained because “they’re like professionals”, and we won (by a land slide).

this would be my Mom & Dad trying to sing their song, can’t remember what it was but they didn’t sound very good and couldn’t remember the words-it was pretty funny!

We also have 2 birthdays we celebrate in December, Matthew just turned 12 (he’s the one with the grin facing the camera)

Tobin, very interested in the cake

and, Trisha’s birthday is December 24th (she’s still not over it!), her husband surprised her with a party at the bowling alley after our family party.  This picture is horribly blurry but I love her surprised expression!

The whole gang, I had to ask permission to stand in the middle of the bowling alley, ask the other bowlers if we could interupt their game (there are only 6 lanes), and ask the 18 year old attendant to take the shot after I ran into it.  It’s not of great quality, but we’re all there and mostly looking in the right direction:)  It was pretty much the only way to get far enough away to get everyone in the picture.

MOPS brunch

I love our MOPS brunch, a huge spread of amazingly delicious food, this year was no exception:)

Check out these amazing cookies Amanda makes-and they aren’t just a pretty face, they were some of the most yummy cut-out cookies I’ve ever had.

We had a great speaker talking about “What if . . . Mary hadn’t said ok, Joseph ignored the angel and quietly divorced Mary, the shephards didn’t check things out, the wise man went back and told Herod where Jesus was”.  The truth is, none of it would have thwarted God’s plan but they would have all missed out on an amazing blessing.  I got a Christmas card from my friend Tiffany that said “May we all have the Courage and Trust to say “Yes!” to God’s plan for us!”, I love that.

Our Christmas kick-off weekend

This year, we kicked off the Christmas season with a trip to our church camp for a special Sleighbell Family Weekend.  Since it’s a pretty long haul, we decided to get an early start and pull the kids out of school early (I know bad parents).  Nothing says Christmas like a trip to the zoo, we stopped at one on the way-we love the zoo in the winter, we’re the only ones so we practically have the place to ourselves:)  You could get really close to the animals here . . .

Tobin and the bear eyeing each other

I’m not sure safety is their first concern, I’m pretty sure I could have reached into this cage (and got my fingers bit off!)

They had lots of fun activities when we got to camp

They had the indoor climbing wall open, that’s Mari

We sang some Christmas carols, Tobin attached himself to Honeycutt

Camp did look a little different in the winter

On Saturday night, we went to a Victorian parade, it was pretty cool

The parade started with a dog sled team racing both ways through

and culminated with the giant tree (taller than the downtown buildings) being pulled on a sled but these huge beautiful horses.

It was a great way to kick off December!

The amazing bookshelf transformation

We’ve had these 2 huge bookshelves in our living room for 2 years now and they have been a mess for almost the entire time, I had such a vision of what they were supposed to look like and they turned into a collection pile and stuff we didn’t know what to do with.  One day I just had enough of all the clutter in the house (this happens frequently) and I called my dear friend Wendy and told her I was overwhelmed and that I thought if I could just have the pretty bookshelves that I wanted, life would be less stressful, I don’t know how to explain that, some of you may understand.  She loves that sort of thing and eagerly agreed to help, after a few sick kids cancellations we were finally able to do it.  And, I LOVE it, it just makes me happy every time I look at it:)

Before . . .

It was actually a lot worse than what it appears, all that stuff on the tables & boxes was on the shelves!

and, after . . .

Thank you Wendy-for giving me a “pretty” bookshelf and restoring some of my sanity:)

It took a full week to clean up the rest of the living room, just in time to put the Christmas decor up!

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Ezra Kids Mari Tobin