Thursday, December 31, 2009

Family Home Evening Gentry Style

A family home evening with my Aunt Tookie and Gentry cousins has been a tradition for as long as I can remember. When the Gentry FHE came around us kids all knew that Christmas was so super close!!! It just added so much to the happiness and excitement of the season. It still does.

Aunt Tookie welcoming everyone.


Pam reciting the Christmas story from Luke 2. She memorized it a few years ago on a challenge from Aunt Tookie and she has been reciting it from memory every year since then.


Mama Doris doing her traditional reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas.


One of the things that I love most about these FHEs is the music. First there was a special quartet of Gena, Gayle, Glynis, and Sydney singing Silent Night.


Then we moved on to the fun songs. Dallin and Mandy even went up to the front to lead us in singing Jingle Bells! They were awesome.


The best part of the evening is the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas contest. Everyone is divided into groups of 3 or 4 people and given one of the twelve days to represent in singing the song. We got “Five Gold Rings”.


Nathan was freaking AWESOME. At the end of the song EVERYONE agreed hands down that we ‘won’, all because of him. I had several people come up to me afterward saying that they had no idea that Nathan was so outgoing and vocally gifted. Seriously, he was great.

It was a wonderful evening. We were so glad to be there because we have had to miss it for the last few years. We sure have a fantastic family!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Deer Farm

I only recently found out that my friend/high school seminary teacher and her husband had started a new business venture of raising deer. They don’t normally do ‘tours’ of their facilities, but since Mrs. Deason is so sweet, she let us join her on one of her daily trips to the deer farm to feed all the deer.


(Layton is crying in this picture because I walked away from to take a picture. He is so ridiculous sometimes!) The highlight of the visit was getting to feed the little baby deer Mrs. Deason affectionately calls “Pie” after his piebald coloring.


Isn’t he beautiful?


Dallin just jumped right in and started feeding him.


Mandy was a little scared, but we eventually did coax her over to feed him too.


Boy could that deer guzzle down a bottle!


Layton was pretty unsure at first as well.


But he soon warmed up to him and loved Pie. Pie followed us around as Mrs. Deason fed all the other deer. He is just so cute!


After riding around for a while, looking at all the different deer at different stages of development, we went into their large natural holding area where the deer just roamed all over. We came across a couple of bucks fighting.


Another romping in a field.


And then we saw him. The big elk.


Isn’t he magnificent?


It was a lovely afternoon. We even got to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Thanks Mrs. Deason!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Family Home Evening Shuler Style

The Sunday before Christmas, we had a little get together with my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, a couple aunts, one uncle, and my Mama Doris for a family home evening. 


After some good food, really really good food, we had a short lesson about the wise men who went in search of the Christ child.


Don’t ask me why I just posted a picture of Cliff when I started talking about wise men because he certainly doesn’t fit the bill.  Just kidding.  You know I love you Cliff!  Any who, in the lesson about the wise men we discussed how they are similar to us today.  We both are seeking Jesus Christ, we both have to struggle through a difficult journey – for them, the desert; for us, life – and like the wise men we also bring Him a gift – ourselves.


After the lesson, we jumped right into our Christmas trivia game all about Christmas movies, songs, and stories.  It was soon apparent that Nathan was our resident Charlie Brown expert.  Mama Doris was our Twas the Night before Christmas expert.  Andrew was our, well he wasn’t an expert at anything, but we love him and his goofiness anyway.


Then Sherri helped the kids make candy necklaces.  You know they loved that!!!!!


It was a great night!  We may have to turn it into a new family tradition!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Train Ride

While visiting my family the weekend before Christmas, we took the opportunity to take the kids on a little Christmas train ride.  I think it is pretty cool that they have such a unique little set up in my teeny tiny (and when I say teeny-tiny, I am dead serious) home town.  I just love it.  And so do my kids.


Sarah and Emily came with us too.  We were so glad to have them along for the ride.


Layton was pretty psyched about the ride too.


Of course there were lots of lights.


A fun little “Santa’s Workshop”.


A tunnel of lights.


Lovely artwork.


And we were very pleasantly surprised to see that along the ride you got to experience a live nativity.  We thought we wouldn’t get to see one this year, but then the trained curved around and – Surprise!


It was beautiful.  A beautiful night all around.


So beautiful and relaxing that Layton actually fell asleep on the ride.


I love Christmas time.  I’m so glad that I have days and days and days worth of things to blog about Christmas because I am really sad to see the holiday pass.  This way, I’ll get to relive it for a few more days!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Back Home

We have spent the last 5 days traveling to and from visiting family. And while we absolutely had a WONDERFUL time, I think this photo of Layton sums up pretty well how we all felt after our visit:



But happy. I have lots of things and pictures to blog about from our trip, but it will probably have to wait until after Christmas. We just have so much going on and the excitement level in our house is reaching combustible proportions! Have a very Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Only two more days till Christmas. Or so Mandy and Dallin keep reminding me hourly!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Look Mom - No Wheels

No training wheels, that is. A couple months ago Nathan had to change the tube in the tire on Dallin’s bike. In so doing, he had to remove the training wheels. Somehow (I’m betting on Layton) a couple of the little parts to the training wheels got misplaced and so we just had to tell Dallin, sorry, you can’t ride your bike unless you ride it without training wheels. Well, he was scared of it. He didn’t trust me (those are his words) to hold up the bike while he peddled so that he could learn. So for the last couple months, his bike has sat in the garage unused. Until last week. After weeks and weeks of Nathan talking up how great it is to ride without training wheels and hearing that his friend Maize could ride her bike without training wheels, Dallin up and decided that he was going to ride it. And ride it he did.


He did fantastic. I only had to help him a little bit getting started and then he just took off.


Now he doesn’t even need help getting started. He can do it all by himself.


And he is so proud. In fact, that day he took off on his bike, Dallin told me, “Mom, this is the coolest day of my whole life.”


And being six years old, it probably was.

Not to be left out, Mandy rode her scooter and told me that she was the coolest too.


And she is, in her totally mix matched clothes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Lights

Who loves Christmas lights? “I do, I do,” Mandy yells. Seriously this child is obsessed with them. So much so, that every free night last week we went out to look at Christmas lights. Heck, I even used going to look at Christmas lights as a bribe to get her to leave her friend’s house without crying – AND IT WORKED!

Our new favorite place to go is a very cool house up in Orange Park where they have the lights set to come on and off to music. Our sister-in-law Kim told us about it last year, so we went looking for it and just so happened to find it in Nathan’s uncle’s neighborhood.


Very cool. You just turn your radio to their broadcast station, 98.7 FM, and watch the show!


We were so impressed! They even have a website.


Friday, December 18, 2009

I DON’T need a NAP!

Mandy keeps trying to convince me that she doesn’t need to take naps anymore. Sometimes I do let her skip them. Like earlier this week, I let her convince me that she really wasn’t tired and that she really didn’t need to take a nap. Just a little while later I found her like this:


For some strange reason, I’m thinking she does still need to take those nice afternoon naps!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

He really is the best

big brother any kid sister and brother could ask for. Sunday morning the kids woke up early. I normally try to take a shower before they wake up, but this time that just didn’t happen. I asked Dallin to watch Layton for me and headed into the shower. I came out to this picture:

Dallin reading B&WIn order to keep Layton happy, Dallin was reading him all of his favorite books. Dallin really is the best!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Workin’ the Christmas Party


Last Saturday night we braved the rain and headed out to Nathan’s work Christmas Party. As usual, the food was delish and prizes were awarded. Of course we didn’t win anything, we never do, but it was still fun to hope to win a laptop or big screen TV or Wii or an i-touch. And I know the people that did win were super happy.

Normally at the party they do karaoke, but they surprised us this year with a live band. I have to admit the band was pretty awesome. They could really play and could really sing.


The best part of the evening though was this guy.


Seriously the worst BEST dancer I’ve ever seen. Think Elaine from Seinfeld. It was awesome.