SNOW!!

I love the snow and playing in it.  We had a white Christmas this year and have received an amazing amount of snow for where we live.

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Christmas day we spent some time playing in it in our backyard.

The Sunday after Christmas the kids and I left Russ and headed north to spend time with my parents.  It was wonderful to be able to just be there with them.  Well, mostly with Mom because Dad was working at the Employment Resource Center the two full days we had there.  He sure does stay busy in that missionary position and really seems to enjoy it. My mom helped me fix some pants while I was there and did some shopping with me and found some art projects for the kids.  We had a great time.  I was surprised to see that they had less snow than we did, but we braved the cold and played in it anyway with the cousins.  It was great.

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We returned home in time for the annual Pincock New Year/Birthday bash.  I didn’t pull my camera out, but we had good times and good food.  Russ, Austin and I also spent time hiking at Natural Bridges with Karla’s family.  It was cold but I really enjoyed it and was glad to get to go.  (Here is a picture I stole from my sister-in-law’s blog.)

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Most of the rest of Christmas break was spent shoveling and playing in the snow.  It was WONDERFULL!!!

Christmas

I got to watch the two older kids perform at the school.  They both did a great job. This is a shot of Austin waiting to perform and then the video is one of the songs they sang during the program, but him singing it for us at home.

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This is Brooklyn during her performance (2nd from the left on the front):

Of course, with the kids singing all the time, Connor wanted in on the action too:

Christmas Eve was wonderful.  We had Russ’s parents, his brother and his brother’s wife, and the two sister missionaries that are working in our area over for our non-traditional dinner tradition.  Russ made his delicious dumplings (potstickers) and also some very tasty cashew chicken. We acted out the story of Jesus’s birth.  Here are the shepherds, wisemen, angel and Mary:

I was a little concerned about disappointed kids for Christmas morning, but I didn’t need to be.  They each just got one small gift (from santa) and then we did service gifts for each other and they bought each other gifts from the dollar store.  The best part about it was seeing the excitement of the kids in giving.  The two older kids especially were able to really put some time and thought into their service gifts.  Austin made clay ornaments for everyone (I forgot to get a picture) and Brooklyn made a sock puppet for Connor, a fake terrarium for Austin and a jar for Russ that had candies individually wrapped in notes that she had written for him.

Connor made everyone’s bed that morning.  Russ made magnet cups for the fridge for everyone and also typed up a list of menu ideas for me.  I printed off and assembled the yearly photo album for Russ and made aprons for the kids.

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Grandma Pincock made pj’s for the kids:

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It was a wonderful Christmas of celebrating the birth of our Savior and loving and giving.

San Diego Getaway

Russ had a conference in San Diego and I got to join him on the trip.  Grandma and Grandpa Pincock were great enough to watch the kids for a week while we played.  We were gone the 8th to the 14th.  It was a long time to be away from the kids, and we were so glad to get back.  But we really had a great time while we were away.

We drove up to Salt Lake on Tuesday and caught our flight to San Diego that afternoon.  We got to San Diego without incident, rented a car and found our way to our beach cottage.  It was awesome!  Small and simple, but right on the beach and perfect for the two of us.

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That evening we walked on the pier and enjoyed an amazing sunset.

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The next day we walked around in the Tijuana River Estuary where we saw some smaller, quieter birds:

as well as some larger, noisier birds:

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There is a naval airfield right by and these noisy guys kept doing circles and practicing landings, I think.

We also got to go surfing, which was awesome!  I love surfing, but I sure wish I felt more comfortable around water.  We had a great time but I don’t have any pictures of us, so here is one of a random surfer that I caught one day.

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On Thursday we drove up to Newport Beach where we went out on a boat to see what we could see.  We were only able to see one pod of about 20 dolphin, but it sure was fun to watch them swim along with us, and there was even a mom and baby that stayed with us for a while:

After the dolphin show, Russ started to feel seasick and did not enjoy the remainder of the trip out or back in.  We got back and changed and then went to the Newport temple.  It was gorgeous and we enjoyed being able to do that.

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The next day Russ had conference to attend, so I explored Imperial Beach on foot.  We had hoped to surf again, but the wind had really picked up and the surf was too high.  There were huge waves and big sand drifts in the streets at the end of the day, so we kind of holed up.

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Russ’s conference was on Coronado Island and Saturday we attended a show there that night.  It was “Festival of Christmas” at Lamb’s Players Theater.  It was a great production with fantastic acting and singing.

Sunday when Russ finished at his conference we went to church in Imperial Beach and then headed to Old Town.  We went to the Mormon Battalion Historic Site which was great and which our kids would have really enjoyed if they had been there.

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We caught our plane that night and made it back to Salt Lake and the snow around midnight.  We crashed at the hotel and grabbed a Christmas tree and did a little other shopping before returning home on Monday.  It was so nice to have that time with Russ and I am so grateful for wonderful in-laws who took such great care of the kids for us.

Christmas Fair

On Sat Dec 5th there was a Christmas Fair in town.  Brooklyn’s ballet class performed and we went to watch. There was some confusion as when to start because there were a couple of different classes on the stage simultaneously and they had different start times.  Brooklyn is the one with the pink headband.

Santa was at the Christmas Fair and Connor and Brooklyn visited with him.  Connor told Santa that he wanted a toy but he didn’t know which toy he wanted but that Heavenly Father and Jesus would tell Santa which toy would be best for him.

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November

Russ had to go to Vegas on the first of November for a conference. He invited me to join, but I declined.  Vegas has no appeal to me.  Russ survived on his own and was happy to return home.  He did get to go see Bodies: the Exhibition and enjoyed that.

Brooklyn and Austin stayed busy with ballet, speech, gymnastics and scouts.  Russ and I were able to make our monthly visit to the temple and Russ got to accompany a quartet for a couple of performances.  I got to see one of the performances and was pleasantly surprised when Russ got to sing with them for a couple of acapella numbers.

On the 20th we headed north and spent that night with Russ’s sister.  Saturday morning we dropped the kids of with Grandma and Grandpa and then met up with my sister and two of her boys to run the 5k in the Smithfield Turkey Trot.  It was a lot of fun.  My foot had started giving me problems probably 3 weeks earlier so I hadn’t been running during that time and wasn’t sure how things would go.  It felt fine during the race and I ran hard and felt good.  They did very narrow age divisions so in the 35-39 women’s group, I took 2nd!

Around 2 that afternoon we got together with a lot of my family for Thanksgiving dinner.  We did it at a church building near my parents’ home.  The dinner was wonderful with lots of good food.  I guess my family doesn’t love pie because we had none.  I think Russ was the only one that was bothered by it, so I’ll have to be sure and make pie for him next time.  It was great to have so much of the family that was able to make it, but I forgot to use my camera until it was nearly over.

We did our dinner the Saturday before Thanksgiving because my niece (Katelyn) was leaving Wednesday to serve a mission – she was called to the Texas, Fort Worth mission (Spanish speaking).  She spoke at church on the Sunday after our Thanksgiving and we stayed to hear her and then hit the road for home.  It was so good to spend time with my family.  I feel so blessed with my wonderful little family and great extended family on both sides.  God has been so good to me.

October

We started out the month of October with General Conference, which is always fabulous and did not disappoint.  My personal take-away message was to remember to live with joy. God wants us to be happy.

Mid-month we were able to take a trip to Ouray, which is heaven on earth for me.  We began with the gondola ride at Mountain Village, before ever making it to Ouray.  It was fun once again.  Once in Ouray we did a little hiking and some playing at the park.  We fed fish and Russ and I agreed that we needed to buy a vacation house there.  (Wouldn’t that be great if all you had to do was agree and then the thing would happen!?  There is always that pesky thing called money – or the lack thereof – getting in the way.)  I forgot to take the camera, so I told Russ he had to take pics with his phone and get them to me, but so far, I only have this one:

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There is a gal that we go to church with that studied speech therapy.  She is not licensed in the state, but still likes to do what she can in that field.  My mother-in-law mentioned that to me, so I approached her about meeting with Brooklyn.  It was this month that Brooklyn was able to start meeting with her.  She has a hard time with the “R” sound.  In exchange, I am tending her girl weekly while she goes to sing in a choir.  She seems to really know what she is doing and Brooklyn is great about practicing what she is learning.

Russ borrowed a bee suit from a neighbor and took apart the trampoline and then the cinder blocks supporting the dirt around the hole for the tramp.

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The project took a while and he got very hot and sweaty (good thing it was a cool day) but he finally uncovered the wasp nest.  He got one sting through his sock but that was it.  It is nice to have the backyard safe again for the kids.

This year we got to carve pumpkins from our garden!  I was afraid they would all rot before Halloween because the squash bugs really destroyed our plants and we had to harvest them super early.  We did lose a lot of them but we had enough survive for the kids to carve.  They each picked out a template and we had a fun evening carving them.

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On the Friday before Halloween I was able to go to Austin’s class and help with the party.  It was fun to be in there.  This is the first year I haven’t been in his classroom regularly and I miss having that opportunity.  I don’t know the kids in his class anymore.

On Halloween day we participated in the 1 mile “Zombie Fun Run”.  Connor rode in the stroller and the other two ran and did an awesome job.  There was a trunk-or-treat following the run and the kids got a ton of candy.  We usually hit about 10 houses and call it good because they feel like they have a lot of candy and are as happy as can be.  This year there was the trunk-or-treat and then the regular houses that we visit, so they got a lot.

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After dealing with their sugar high on Friday night, before they could eat a bunch more on Saturday, the family sat down and we made everyone make a rule for themselves about how much candy they could eat each day.  They were way more strict with themselves than I would have been (two of them said they would only have one candy a day and the other one said they would only have two candies a day) and I tried to talk them into allowing themselves more each day, but they wouldn’t budge.  They have amazed me with their commitment to their rules and I have never had to deal with the effects of too much sugar.

September

September consisted of harvesting,

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enjoying outside,

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playing superheroes,

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cursing the wasps that built a nest in the cinderblocks supporting the dirt around our in-ground trampoline.  For some reason they always got Connor and this picture is after the swelling had gone down a LOT.  He got stung on probably 6 or 8 different occasions and got multiple stings on more than one occasion.  Needless to say, he developed a phobia of the backyard and of flying insects.  Hopefully we can help him get comfortable again with playing in the backyard.

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We also got to celebrate Brooklyn’s 6th birthday.  She asked for a butterfly cake and had some friends over for a little party.  She is such a great kid.  She loves to create and is smart and helpful.  She is already reading so well and is great at keeping an eye out for those who need a friend.  She is a tease and has a great smile.  We are glad she is part of our family.

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Austin finally got his scout shirt and loves going to scouts. (Russ thinks it’s because he gets to wear a costume!)

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Russ had a conference in Santa Fe so we took a family trip.  We went a day early and spent a day at the Albuquerque Zoo and road the train from there to the botanical gardens and aquarium.  It was a fun day.

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The next day Russ was at his conference so I took the kids to a children’s museum in Santa Fe.  As you can see, the “paint your own face” station was well used.

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One day we also walked around and saw some of the old churches.

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We had planned to come back Sunday afternoon but had to cut our trip short and come back on Saturday night because of something happening at church on that last Sunday in September.  Our bishopric was released and Russ was called to be the first counselor in the new bishopric.  I can’t say he was excited for the opportunity, but he is willing to serve and he will do a great job.  This is him with the new bishopric at a ward party three days after being called to their new positions.

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I am grateful for a wonderful husband who loves God and is willing to serve Him.