Monday, January 26, 2009
This is just to prove how awesome his new pea coat is. Apparently the good part about leaving your mission for two weeks to visit another country is that you get to spend your days serving in the temple and also buy pea coats for a fraction of the cost.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
We made a dinosaur for Peter, ducks for Eleanor and Zari, and penguins (my personal favorite) for Theodore and Brooklyn. I was not able to be there when the kids opened their presents, but my sister Jocelyn recorded parts of Christmas morning for the rest of the family to enjoy. Here is a video of Peter and Eleanor opening their towel animals, and here is a picture of Zari in her duck, which she loves.
I am so happy that the kids like their towels so much. I am also thrilled to have married a man who (a) has brilliant ideas, (b) can sew, and (c) likes to join me in my projects.
Friday, January 09, 2009
Garrett has also put his violin skills to good use, by performing several times while in Russia. It sounds like people with musical skill is rare, so it has been a great chance for him to use his talent. Garrett, aren't you glad all those years of practicing and getting nagged to practice more have paid off?
The members in his area had a Christmas party. Can you see Garrett's excitement over his Christmas goody bag? For anyone who has seen me excited, we practically have the exact same expression.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Brooklyn LOVES all gadgets. It is something about pushing the buttons and watching the lights.
Brooklyn also loves to taste everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. I loved watching her crawl over to something and lick it. Here she is testing Ben's cell phone.
Ben enjoying being an uncle, with Melissa enjoying all the free babysitters vying for Brooklyn's time.
Brooklyn has a favorite elephant stuffed animal. It has a magical ability to usually get to to stop crying if you give it to her. Did I mention that Brooklyn is the happiest baby I have ever met?
Brooklyn playing with a volleyball in the Dawson living room.
When we weren't playing volleyball, relaxing, or laughing at stories, Ben was usually working on b-school admission essays.
If anyone hasn't seen the "Dawson look," here it is. I didn't realize it was the Dawson look until the wedding reception in Oregon when I met all of Ben's brothers and they demonstrated it for me.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
This is me smirking at the wonderful dinner after the wedding.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The Spencer Family Christmas Craft started early in our lives, one Christmas at our cabin. I'm not sure what started the idea, but that Christmas my mom decided it would be fun to have her girls decorate teddy bears. This was actually a brilliant idea since we were at our cabin and in the middle of nowhere (and you can only ice skate so much each day before you are frozen). I still remember making these bears using a hot glue gun, lace, and some beads. They were probably pretty ugly, but we had a really fun time. From here the crafts only got more intense and serious. We've made just about everything: silk paintings, homemade soap, t-shirts, leather books and journals, cloth diapers (for my sister Joc's kids), fly fishing rods, fly rod cases, earrings, and Christmas ornaments.
Obviously, Christmas is a big deal in my house. For weeks leading up the holidays, I have been asking Ben what are his family's traditions, since ours are so ingrained in my memory (and such a huge part of why I love my home during the holidays). This year we got to spend a whole wonderful week with Ben's family in Oregon. I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas, complete with a Christmas Eve miracle of finally arriving in Oregon after 18 hours of trying to get there. We woke up to a white Christmas, played games, laughed and told stories, and most of all just enjoyed being around each other. Ben's family is incredibly fun and laid back, which I just love.
Although Ben claimed there weren't many, I did witness some Dawson family traditions:
1. Having the biggest Christmas tree I've ever seen. Although this year's tree was smaller than in previous years, it was still huge. Since their family room has a vaulted ceiling, they can easily get a 15-foot tree (although "easily" is arguable about getting it inside the house). Last year Ben and I got to help put up the tree, which took all the Dawson muscle to get it upright and secure. And taking down the tree requires some power tools to cut off the branches to get it out.
2. Playing volleyball. A lot. My family is more of the outdoorsy type. We go camping in Europe, down hill ski, go fishing, and make our own trails while hiking, but we aren't much into organized sports per say. So I was a little scared to see if I could hack it with Ben's incredibly talented sporty family. (I have almost no athletic natural ability. Any sort of accomplishment comes purely from trying my hardest.) But I had nothing to worry about since (a) everyone was incredibly helpful when it came to helping me get better, (b) the Dawsons are really fun to play games with, and (c) I have a dominating under hand serve. I can't overhand serve to save my life, so luckily my serve circa 1995 can stand its own ground. We played volleyball despite the foot of snow on the roads. Take that for hard core!
3. Dawson family dinner. The Dawsons are big on family dinners with all the extended family. Cousins, aunts, and uncles show up for a fun night of delicious food, games, and most definitely laughing. It was so nice to talk to a lot of the people that I met briefly at the wedding. This tradition also includes a white elephant gift exchange, ensuing a lot of hilarious and sometimes scandal. This year the hottest items were body glitter with a matching pink puff, cross-stitched Kleenex cover, thin mints, and chocolate bars, which were stuffed down a diaper to convince everyone else they didn't want to steal them. One of the funnest parts was getting to spend time with the Dawson women in the kitchen.
4. Spending time with the family. One thing I love about the Dawsons is how much they enjoy being together and just having a good time. I couldn't ask for better brothers and sisters in law. I love that he still has siblings in high school; they are a joy to be around and so much fun. It didn't matter if we were hanging around the kitchen eating chili, relaxing in the living room, or rolling in laughter while telling stories, Christmas was all about spending time with family. And just so you know Melissa, I say made-up words all the time. Sometimes over the pulpit at church. Just ask Ben.