Thursday, January 19, 2017

December Newsletter & Slideshow


Hamilton Newsletter
December 2016

FAMILY:  We had such a great December to wrap up 2016 and bring in the new year! On the 3rd, we met Grandma & Grandpa Potts at the Dixie Convention Center for the Dicken's Festival. It was busy! But fun - we saw lots of neat things for sale, watched a singing program, and grandma & grandpa even let each of the girls choose a Jesus picture from David Bowman's booth. He even signed mom's picture. On the 5th, G&G Potts joined us again at the Homestead State Park for a Pioneer Christmas experience. It was SO SO neat! There were crafts to do, bells and stories to listen to, beautiful lights to see, and every pioneer house had a different thing to do or see. We ate yummy chocolate waffles and hot cocoa, popcorn, and got warm by the outside fires. In one of the houses, we got to see Santa Clause and the girls sat on his lap and visited with him. It really was awesome! And we loved having G&G with us. The 7th was our ward Christmas party. The girls were so cute singing their songs and we invited some inactive neighbors that came! It was a great time.  On the 8th, G&G Potts drove up to Cedar to watch the older girls while daddy & mommy got to have a night in a hotel in St. George. Daddy had a work meeting down there & we enjoyed going out to eat and having some quiet time. THANK YOU Grandma & Grandpa Potts! On the 9th, Daken had a basketball game, so G&G Devenish drove down and we enjoyed watching Daken & eating at Wendy's afterward :) Saturday, the 10th, was daddy's work party. Santa came and took pictures and the girls all got a fun little gift. On the 12th, we saw Santa #3 :) We headed to the Aquatic Center & got to see their Santaland, which was really fun - and we got free swimming passes & saw Kezia's friend Macie there, so we were glad we went.      We gpt a big snow storm on the 16th - YAY!! - and mom took the girls sledding on the 17th. The girls went ice skating for activity days on the 21st and had so much fun! Afterwards, they came home for some hot cocoa and laughter. Later in the evening, all the girls got out their American Girl dolls and Anne dolls and we all had a fun time playing with them.  We did work to incorporate service into our Christmas season & we were able to do a sub-for-santa for 2 families - Jason's coworker, Mindy Savage, who lost her husband this year. And the Bensons. The girls had fun picking out gifts, wrapping and trying to be secretive. We also did many of the #lighttheworld challenges that the church put out this year. Christmas Eve evening we had a yummy dinner with a turkey, mashed potatoes, mozzarella rolls, stuffing and sparkling cider. Then we read the Christmas story while the girls acted it out with the nativity set. After that, we read The Night Before Christmas and let the girls open their dresses from Grandma Devenish. Christmas was on Sunday this year & we loved gathering with our ward family and singing songs of praise and love to our Savior whose birth we celebrate. Before church, we let the girls open all their gifts and they had fun seeing what Santa brought and what mom & dad gave them. For our family Santa gift this year, we got an xbox one s with Minecraft! The girls were excited :) After church, we headed to Richfield for a couple hours, then to SLC. It wasn't great weather and church went longer than expected, so we didn't get to Trisha's house till 6pm. We were so happy to see everyone, though, and exchange gifts (we had the Edwards this year & made them homemade bookmarks, earrings, and mugs). It was a wonderful Christmas, though a bit too much driving. While in SLC, Jason took the girls to see the new movie Sing, then we ate dinner at the Edwards and then went through the really cool drive-through light snow in West Valley.  We left SLC on Tuesday and went to Richfield again & stayed for a few days - we hung out, visited, went on walks, and went bowling! The rest of our Christmas break was spent making gingerbread houses & trains, watching Christmas movies & other movies, having read-a-thons, making snowmen, drinking lots of hot cocoa and playing with friends. On New Year's Eve we put together a ton of Lego creations, went swimming, had a game-a-thon, and watched movies.  Welcome 2017!!! :)

JASON:  At Jason's meeting in St. George this month, Jason got the "Unsung Hero" award - and we couldn't agree more! He is our hero, too! He also got a cash award and we are so proud of him. He also got to go to a couple career fairs at SUU & wear his handsome new Forest Service uniform :) For a Christmas surprise, Grandma Potts went and got Jason's guitar re-strung with all new strings. Now, Jason & McKinley have had fun playing with it. Thanks Grandma! Jason had a good month & enjoyed all the Christmas festivities, until he got sick right around Christmastime with a bad cold/sinus pressure. It's sure dragged out and given him lots of grief. Hope he feels better fast!

HEIDI:  Christmastime always finds Heidi running around like crazy :) But she did enjoy the season, too. All the lights and activities and magic. She enjoyed coming up with and working on the homemade gifts for the Edwards and finding gifts the girls would like. She is still enjoying the gym and getting stronger every day :) She signed up for a half marathon in April with her dad, so she's looking forward to that. Heidi also got to help Ireland with her book report, which was a board game which she did on the BFG.  Heidi got a new phone this month because her other phone's wifi and bluetooth stopped working. She is loving her new Sony Xperia!

-One of mom's friends' little girls was being bullied at school & mom asked if McKinley would be her pen pal. She agreed and has written her some cute letters. Thank you for being like Jesus McKinley!
- We were so impressed at how hard McKinley worked on homemade gifts this year for Christmas. She used some material scraps she had a made a reading pillow for Tiarra - complete with a pocket for her books and a light - and she did it 100% by herself! She spend many hours making a real shooting paper gun for Michael and gave Joshua a book. She is so thoughtful and sweet and her gifts are very loved.
-G&G Potts came to Cedar & were able to see both McKinley's piano & voice lessons, but also her cello performance at school. She did such a great job! She was right up front and it was so fun to be able to see her perform :) Afterwards, we went to Hermie's for ice cream!
-For Christmas, McKinley's santa gift was the Wonder book set, which she wanted. She also got socks, a no-chores gift certificate, a portable karaoke microphone, and a 1 Girl Nation CD :) She got a beautiful dress from Grandma Devenish and a Brandon Mull book from Uncle Joseph.

-Ireland finished her session of gymnastics at the end of December. She was really bummed not to have made it to the next level. She was only missing a couple things to pass-off, but we are proud of her that she is sticking with it, even though she was frustrated and talked about quitting. Grandma Potts and mom came to watch her do gymnastics one evening and we really enjoyed it! Ireland has improved so much and is fun to watch. Santa even came that night!
-From Santa, Ireland got a BUNCH of Barbie movies! We haven't even watched them all yet! From mom and dad, she got a fairy garden house (which has already sprouted!), an art set, and socks with 2 no-chore coupons attached. :) She also got her quilt from Grandma Devenish- which she LOVES!! It makes her room look so cute.

-Kezia was very thoughtful with her gifts (as she always is) and bought some great gifts for everyone. She also drew a VERY cute picture of a reindeer at school that was framed and we got to open on Christmas.      
-Kezi and Ireland have been having a LOT of fun with mom's new phone this month. It has some fun filters with videos and mom has MANY interesting videos and pictures on her phone this month :)
-On the 16th, G&G Potts came to see Kezia in her Christmas program at school. It was SO cute and she was by FAR the most adorable, animated, excited girl up there! We love watching our Kezia perform :)
-Kezia had a fun day at school & she spend a good long time making a cute gingerbread house with graham crackers, icing & candy. She put it on the seat in the car & when mom turned, it flew off and got smashed on the floor of the van :( She was very upset for a long time. Thankfully we had some things she could use to re-create it at home, but she was still sad.
-From Santa, Kezia got a chocolate fountain! We've already used it twice & it is MESSY, but fun! From mom and dad, Kezia got a little live pet mouse obstacle course, a scratch off pad notebook, and socks with 2 certificates for no-chores. She got a matching dress with Noelle from Grandma Devenish, and a stuffed animal from her Reed cousins.    She says her favorite gifts were the mouse track and Uncle Joseph gave her some cool rocks/gems.      

LINK: - We miss our duder-dude so much in the holiday season and wish so much we could buy him some gifts. We did give service in his honor this month, doing sub-for-santas and we hope he knows how much he's missed. We got a day full of rainbows this month and mom thought of her sweet boy every time she saw them. Also, when we went to the Dicken's Festival in St. George and G&G Potts let the girls each choose a Jesus picture from David Bowman's booth, Noelle picked one with Jesus holding a boy, about Link's age. Noelle insisted on that exact picture. When mom read the back , she had to hold back the tears. The picture is called "Forever" and  it talks about how he drew that picture for a family who lost their little boy. It was very touching & we know it's not a coincidence that Noelle chose that picture.

-One day, Noelle & mom were coloring for mommy & Noelle time. We had a white paper and Noelle had grabbed a white crayon & tried to use it on the white paper. She said "mommy! This crayon is broken! It needs new batteries!"
-Going to Scheels and seeing the fishes must have made quite an impression on Noelle. She prays almost every prayer "thank you for fishies!!" and she talks a lot about seeing mom on the ferris wheel there, too :)
-Noelle is still adjusting to the sleeping arrangements. At nighttime, she doesn't always get along with Kezia and usually ends up sleeping either on the floor or on the bed by herself. As far as naps, she only takes them about 3 out of 7 days lately. And sometimes that lends for a comical experience - twice she has fallen asleep in the baby jumper and once she fell asleep in Oaklyn's baby swing :)
-Noelle really enjoyed seeing Santa this year! She would run right up to him, sit on his lap, and chat away! :) She wasn't really sure what she wanted for Christmas, but we helped her figure that out ;)
-Noelle also (again) loved to play with our nativity sets. We would find baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and all the others scattered around the house in various places :) She also loved pulling off all the decorations from the tree, and the lights, too. Good thing we put the cheaper, store-bought ones on the bottom.
-From Santa, Noelle got a racecar track and more matchbox cars. From mom & dad, she got puzzles, a Dora movie, and Legos.

-We are SO thankful that Oaklyn turned 5 months! Last month was pretty stressful with her being the age Link was when he died and there was a lot of anxiety. We just love our sweet Oaklyn and she is such an important part of our family!
-Oaklyn is just so cute. She does this scrunchy-nose smiles that is adorable. She has the biggest, brightest blue eyes that we just love. Still not much hair, but she doesn't need it! She's beautiful without it.
-Oaklyn is getting SO good at her exersaucer and her jumper!
-Oaklyn loved to look at the pretty Christmas lights :)
-She did pretty good with all the traveling we did at the end of the month, but there were a few screaming episodes in the van that were not fun :(
-Oaklyn started solid foods this month and has done GREAT! There isn't a food she has turned down yet!
-She's gotten good at grabbing her toes :)
-She flaps her arms and arches her back when she's excited - adorable!
-She loves staring at the picture of her brother in her room :)
-Mommy & daddy are in a war to see who can get her to say Mama or Dada first - pretty sure it's going to be MAMA!
-From Santa, Oaklyn got a musical stackable toy. From mom and dad, she got a ball, and some blocks.