Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Grandma Shirley Hallstrom

 Grandma Shirley Hallstrom and Laura 
Grandma Shirley Hallstrom, Lisa, Laura

My Grandma Hailstorm is such a great woman.  Her greatest loves are her family and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  She loves to visit with family and share her family history and poems.  She is 84 years old and has so much energy.  I admire her "can do" attitude amidst the trials of life.  My kids love her so much.  I am glad that my kids are getting to know their Great Grandma Hallstrom.  Living in the same town as she does has been a great blessing.  These two photos are from January 2015 when we had Laura and Brant join us for a New Year's meal.  

Monday, March 02, 2015

Mommy Daughter Date

I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Katie at 4 years old

Hey, Mom!  What do you got there in your hand?  Oh, it's a camera I see.  You want some super awesome pictures of me, don't you?!
 Well, let me tease you for with this great smile.
And then I just got to get my wiggles out because I can only stand still and smile for just a second.
 Girls just wanna have fun!
Jumping with her shoes on the wrong feet... whatever!
I found a snack... SNOW!!!
All about Katie at age 4:
-  She loves to sing.
-  She loves to wear her super fancy "dancing dress" not only at home, but to church and school too!
-  Loves to take bubbly baths with Julia.
-  She likes to have lazy mornings at home with Mom and Julia.
-  She likes to play with play doh while watching me make dinner.
-  She wants to grow her hair out so she can have an "Elsa braid."  
-  She loves to play the role of mommy to her four baby dolls.  
-  She still loves TinkerBell and enjoys playing with her TinkerBell toy in the TinkerBell house that I made her.
-  She'd rather stay at home with me all day than go to preschool.  I usually have to get on the bus with her and give her a hug, a high 5, and a kiss.  
-  She's all registered for morning Kindergarten and is excited to ride in the back of the car with the boys to school when the time comes.
-  She still sucks her right thumb and snuggles up with her torn and tattered banana blanket.

Julia at 18 months

Julia is 18 months old.  She is officially a nursery kid at church.  
Daddy is especially happy that he gets to attend classes at church kid free.
Julia is a mover and a shaker.  She lets her presence be known.  
 She has a serious case of the "gimmie, gimmies."
 Julia loves to eat what everyone else is eating and for the most part, she has no trouble in doing just that.
 Some of the words Julia can say:  doggie (she loves her two stuffed dog toys), momma, daddy, Mmm (milk), go, apple, baby, bubbles, ball, owchie, help me (in a deep voice)
 Julia understands what we're saying and can follow simple directions. 
If we ask her if she wants to go outside, she runs to the back door and grabs her shoes. 
 Julia is a happy girl.  She loves to go and do what her big sister and brothers do.
Jumping on the trampoline... no problem.
Going in her swing and down the slide... she's got that down.
Taking a bath with Katie... yes please.
We just love our baby girl and enjoy her laid back nature.

She currently weighs 20 lbs

Julia Stars as Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty drifts off in her high chair.  
 All is well in dreamland.

Brian's 10th Birthday!

Brian is 10 years old!  I cannot believe it! 
Here are some facts about Brian at this age:

-  He loves to play with Julia.  He is good at taking care of his little sisters.  
- He likes to cook and bake.  So far, he can make Kraft mac and cheese, Betty Crocker blueberry muffins, Jiffy Muffins, Jell-o, and seasoned taco meat.  
-  He likes to play car racing games on my iPhone.
-  He likes to experiment and figure out how things work.  A few weeks ago, he tied a rope from the back of his bike to the handle of the red wagon.  He found out that he is strong enough to bike and pull Katie and Julia in the wagon.  It's fun for him to take his sisters on rides around the neighborhood.
-  He is very responsible is one who follows the rules.
-  He is the hardest working elementary school student that I know.  Brian has gone up a couple of reading levels this school year and his reading level is now 4.5 (middle of fourth grade)!  I know that my boy always tries his best.  I admire that he doesn't beat himself up if he doesn't do so well on a test.  He has a "can do" attitude that is so important.
-  Brian's favorite color is still red and he still loves giving us weather reports.  
-  Brian likes to set a big goal and break it down into smaller goals to reach along the way.  He works hard towards reaching a goal.

Brian wanted me to take note of the gifts that he got for this birthday:  special stamping markers, a sketchbook, a deluxe Trapper Keeper binder, red Hubba Bubba gum, a Jell-O mold kit, a giant bag of Swedish Fish, Big Hero 6, and his very own iPod.  He's very excited to get the movie onto his iPod as well as some "rock music."  

Brian LOVES birthdays!  He insisted on making his own birthday cake.  He was very specific on how he wanted his cake to look (two round 8 inch cakes with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles).  Two days before his birthday, Brian and I finished our reading goal that we had set back on Christmas Day.  Together read the first 28 books of "The Magic Tree House" series.  Our reward was a trip to the Jump Zone on his birthday.  Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling so good that day and had to send Sam in my place.  Brian had so much fun with his Dad.  I am making up for my absense this week when I chaperone the 4th grade field trip to Hogle Zoo and the Natural History Museum.  

We are SO glad Brian is in our family.  He keeps us organized and is a great helper.  We love his enthusiasm for learning and for helping others.  We love his great smile and his love for quality time.

Primary Chorister Successes

I have been the Primary Chorister since May of 2014.  Every once in awhile, I like to do something extra fun with the Primary.  My kids and I created Snowman Making Kits for the Primary kids over Christmas break.  I came up with the idea to have a SNOWMAN SHOP and we built our own unique snowman.  I took some white posterboard and cut out three large circles for the snowman's body and taped those onto the church chalkboard.  Then, I had cut outs for twig arms, hats, scarves and stuff.  I also had some stickers for the kids to choose from.  The stickers were random things that could be used for eyes, noses, and mouths.  The reverent kids got to come and up and choose an item to put on our snowman.  It was a fun game, especially when the snowman would end up with 3 hats, cookies for his eyes, etc.  At the end of singing time, I passed out the Snowman Making kits.  The kits consisted of 3 jumbo marshmallows, two pretzel sticks, and some raisins.

Another fun singing time that we did was for St. Patrick's Day this past Sunday.  On this particular day, we had visitors from our Stake for Ward Conference.  I chose songs that I knew the kids knew very well and wrote them on the back of 4 leaf clovers that I had my kids help cut out at home.  I hid the clovers all over the Primary room.  I chose a child to find a clover and bring it up front to the piano where I had five wooden blocks.  They then would put the clover in front of the block in which they'd like the secret letter revealed.  The kids participated and sang so well.  I am proud of our progress so far this year.  We've learned the sign language for both verses of "I Know That My Savior Loves Me."  We're also having fun with holding up prophet masks while learning the verses for "Follow The Prophet."  I taught the kids the first verse of "Nephi's Courage" with some fun hand motions that I was taught in Primary... (Thank you, Sister Heather Hardy).  Then, to my surprise, an 11 year old boy, Blake, raised his hand and begged for me and his little brother, Kade, to come up and sing the last two verses of "Nephi's Courage."  I consented and was floored by the awesome job that they did.  Watching them, proud smiles on their faces as they sang, made me so happy to know that the Primary kids are just loving singing time.  I feel like the atmosphere in the room is filled with the spirit, and the kids feel safe and loved in singing praises to their Heavenly Father.

I really love this calling and I'm so glad that I have been able to have all of my kids in Primary too so I can see them learn and have fun with the rest of the Primary.  I also go into the both the Junior and Senior Nursery's for 10 minutes each.  I hand out popsicle sticks with laminated stars and monkeys on them.  The songs we've been doing are, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,"  "I am Like a Star," "Five Little Monkeys," "Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree," and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes."

Tyler's 7th Birthday!

Tyler had a super fun 7th birthday celebration.  Grandma and Grandpa Hailstrom gave Tyler money for a Big Hero 6 movie ticket.  I took him on a date to see the movie.  Tyler had a birthday party with two of his friends, Jack Griffiths and Luke Smith.  Our whole family took the party to Pizza Pie Cafe.  Then we came home to open presents and play some games.  I am a big fan of low-key birthday parties.  I'm so grateful that my kids have such good friends that live nearby.  I hope they keep these friends for life.

Here is some info about Tyler at age 7:
-  He loves soccer, basketball, running, and jumping on the trampoline.  Tyler starts his first season of outdoor recreational soccer next month.
-  He does his homework and chores as quickly as possible so he can play with his friends
-  He is an excellent student... got a 100% on his math test.
-  He is nice to his sisters and brother.
-  He gives the best hugs.
-  He knows exactly what he wants in the way he looks.  Recently, Tyler took matters into his own hands and "trimmed" his bangs.  I must say, I like his new look better.
-  He enjoys being a member of the Senior Primary at church and says he has the best teachers, Wendy and Alan McBride.
-  He wears glasses to school and church.
-  He enjoys learning to draw Ninja Turtles.
-  He is very energetic.

We love having Tyler in our family.  He has determination to do his best, get things done, and have time for fun.  Tyler is very social and is a good friend to others.  He is fun to be around.  He is a good example to others in what "living life to the fullest" looks like.  We love you!


My younger brother, Mark came to visit us over Christmas break.  My kids LOVE having their Uncle Mark come and stay a few days at our house.  The boys all played video games.  Uncle Mark joined us on a trip to The Jump Zone (an indoor trampoline park).  Mark and I went out to eat a couple of times.  It was nice to catch up with him.  Here are a few of my favorite portraits I took of him.  My parents like to have updated pictures of their kids' individual/family portraits up on their mantle.