December 31, 2010

Reviewing Our Goals

2010 is at its end.
Which means its time to see where we're at
with all those goals we set
at the beginning of the year.

Love Should Be Our Walk and Our Talk:
It really should be. We're not quite there yet, but its been really good for us to have this family theme. We used it as a reminder when someone needed redirection with their actions and words.  We talked about it at each Family Home Evening and shared ways we had shown love throughout the week. Most of our FHE lessons focused on showing love to ourselves, others, God, and each other. One of our most effective lessons we stretched over about 6 weeks and focused all about conversations.

Family Goals:
Study and memorize the Articles of Faith:
I was so hesitant when Eric suggested this goal. To have a 5 and 6 year old learn all 13 Articles of Faith! But the boys blew me away. Basically, each month we took on a different Article of Faith. I practiced with the boys for a few minutes each morning before Kyler went to school. Around the end of the month, they were ready to recite it by themselves to both me and Eric. We also talked about what the Articles of Faith meant during FHE lessons. Every 3rd Article of Faith they learned, we celebrated with a Book of Mormon figure for each of them. After they learned the 13th A of F, they had to recite all of them to us again. I video recorded them saying all 13. They did it mostly without help, but since some of them it had been a whole year since they learned, they needed some reminders. Here they are saying their favorites.
 We also did 3 service projects together, tried to speak more kindly to each other, visited 5 new places, and tried to attend the temple more often.

Kacin's Goals:
Learn how to cook 5 things:
I loved that Kacin set this goal for himself. It was so fun to have him next to me in the kitchen so much. He learned way more than 5 things. He says his favorite thing to cook is tortillas.

Kacin can also definitely read more than 6 books by himself and he has fun playing basketball and improving his skills. He is trying hard on his character goal.

Kyler's Goals:
Learn to play the piano:
When we first got our piano, he took lessons from me. But now he has started taking lessons from an awesome, real piano teacher who he thinks is an amazing pianist. He loves doing it and practices each day before school. His favorite song to play is "Jolly Ol St. Nick".

Kyler has also played baseball and reads lots of chapter books. He has improved so much on his character goal.

Laura's Goals:
Be able to touch my toes:
I could never, ever touch my toes without bending my knees before. And now I can. Its so satisfying to finally be able to do something you never could before. Even when it's something kinda silly like this.

I also tried at least 20 new recipes (even though most of them were new desserts) and I'm pretty close to finishing the Old Testament. I think I will have to continue my character goal next year, too.

Eric's Goals:
Read 6 books about temples:
Let's just say that Eric has become a well-read man this year. He's read books on temples, Teddy Roosevelt, and various other subjects. Way more than 6.

Eric has had an awesome exercise schedule to help him stay healthy and has almost met his goal of two woodworking projects. He is working on remembering Portuguese, too. This man doesn't need a character goal because he's just that good. Well, actually I just noticed that he somehow slipped by without one. Oh well, he's cute.

We feel like we have accomplished a lot
in both our written and unwritten goals this year.
2010 has been a fun, fulfilling year for us.

December 30, 2010

Running Orange

December 29, 2010

520 Feet Up

You would have thought we had just arrived at Disneyland
the way Kacin was jumping and shouting.
"Yay! We get to go up the Space Needle!
My first time up the Space Needle!!"
He was bouncing all over the place.
The people around us started laughing.
When we bought tickets and got him calm enough,
we walked up to the entrance and took the elevator
up to the top.

December 28, 2010

Day with Dad

To do with dad on his birthday:
1. Listen to dad practice the guitar
2. Give dad lots of presents
3. Play with dad's presents, like the game Blokus.
4. Go to Seattle Center to visit a museum and end up at the Space Needle
5. Run around a big orange maze
6. Go to the EMP and become the band Rock the House and make a music video
7. Eat Thai food
8. Have dad attempt to blow trick candles out on his cheesecake

Twenty-Nine for E

So young and so accomplished.
Twenty-nine years has made him the best dad
the best husband
and the best Mickey Mouse ever.
We hope you have a very happy birthday, E!

December 27, 2010

Allred's Got Untalent

Family photo after the show
My favorite family tradition is our Untalent show.
This year, we were going to put on the show with a few friends.
And then I got sick yesterday
and we didn't want anyone else to experience
throwing up for four hours
(you wanted to know that, right?)
so we canceled it.
When I was feeling better this afternoon,
we decided to go ahead with it
but just us.
The program:
1. Eric, Kyler, and Kacin singing and dancing to "Candlelight" based on this youtube video.
My children really know most of the words, thank you Eric, and walk around singing it.
2. Kyler flipping onto the couch.
3. Kacin making up a song on the piano as he went
4. Laura played "O Holy Night" on the piano
5. Eric played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on the guitar
6. Kyler downing 5 Taco Bell sauce packets and no water
7. Kacin balancing on Laura's legs in the air while singing "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer"

We recorded the show on our videocamera.
And if you're lucky, I won't figure out how to post any of it here.
Yep, Allred's got plenty of untalent.

December 26, 2010

Celebrate Kacin!

The little man is 6 years old today.
He celebrated with his first friends birthday party last week. He wanted to have a Pirate party. We dressed like pirates and gave ourselves pirate names, played pin the eye patch on the pirate and Captain Says, read a Pirate story, went on a treasure hunt, had cake and ice cream, and then improvised with a few more Pirate games until parents came to pick up. Kacin had so much fun being the birthday boy and planning the party.
At his school, they have a birthday circle for each child. They light a candle in the middle of the circle and place namecards for the months of the year around the candle. The birthday child holds a globe in his hands and stands by his birthday month. Then they turn him 1 by singing a song as he walks once around the circle. He shows everyone a picture when he was one and explains somethings he was doing when he was that age. Then we turn him 2 by singing again as he walks around the circle. Then he shows a picture of himself when he was two, and so on. He loved having this special birthday ceremony.
And then I got pretty sick today and so didn't take any pictures on his actual birthday. But Eric made his birthday meal for lunch--belgian waffles. Kacin blew out 6 candles stuck in a scoop of ice cream and he had fun playing with his birthday gifts all afternoon (while I slept most of the day away). He was so sweet about it though. I'm so glad that Kacin is my son and that he's growing up to be such a fun and clever little boy. Happy Birthday, Kacin!

December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas

If we couldn't be with our family on Christmas, today was the next best thing. I kept my pajamas on, wore my glasses, and had my hair in pigtails all day. Consequently, I avoided all cameras. But I loved the casualness. We played with new games, toys, and science kits, watched The Chronicles of Narnia movies, and organized bedrooms to make room for Santa's gifts. Kacin kept telling me all day, "I just knew Santa would bring me my desk. I didn't have to worry about it. I just knew he would." And he did. Including the necessary red and blue lamps. Each drawer held marvelous things like a notebook, tape, gluesticks, a stapler, pencils, and an electric pencil sharpener. The stockings were filled with fun goodies and the boys were content and happy.
Eric looks so cute learning to play on his new guitar . . .
Playing the wii game our mysterious Santa left on the doorstep . . .
Christmas morning breakfast and Christmas Eve dinner. . .

December 24, 2010

Christmas "Miracles"

A favorite phrase around our house this time of year . . .
"It's a Christmas miracle!"

So here's a few Christmas 'miracles' I've enjoyed this month:
*Eric wrote our Christmas card letter (ok, he does this every year, but I'm glad he's the one he does it)
{since the whole letter would not scan well, answers that were cut off the bottom are: still shorter, no tap dancing (yet), no handstand, and no gout}
*I actually sent the letter out. I debated a lot whether or not it was sendable. I finally just did it though. 
And this is where I put in my big fat apology to all those lovely friends and family of ours who did not get a christmas card from us. I am sorry. I feel bad. I don't have everyone's address and never tracked down some addresses I intended to. But that also means if I didn't have your address, I probably didn't get a card from you, so we're even.

*The boys have had such an enthusiasm for giving and serving. To name a few, money to the bell ringers outside of the grocery store, giving our Subway sandwich lunch to the homeless man on the street corner, and surprising me by cleaning up the kitchen (including sweeping and mopping) after dinner two nights ago.
*I only forgot to put two gifts in the boxes when I mailed all of our packages to AZ.
*The excitement and fun of packages arriving on our doorstep.
*Temperatures have been nice and well above freezing here. And every couple of days we see the sun and the beautiful blue sky. (Will I ever get over my ache for sun and open, blue skies?)
*All the Christmas shopping was complete 3 days before Christmas. Even Santa was ready. His refinishing project is complete.
* How many times in the last few weeks the boys have reminded us all that the real meaning of Christmas is not presents or the big Christmas breakfast some of us are looking forward to, it's love.
*The sweet secret Santa who left some way awesome gifts on our doorstep last night. Unexpected and much, much appreciated. Tears to my eyes and lots of joy and excitement, especially from two little boys. Thank you so much, whoever you are.