Saturday, December 11, 2010

Merry Christmas Friends and Family

As 2010 comes to a close it is a good time to reflect. This was a very good year for our family and we feel very blessed. I had a good year with my career, with a couple of papers getting accepted. Our kids were fortunate to have a happy healthy year. Rhianna had an eventful year that included her baptism and starting piano lessons. Plus, Rhianna continued to love school, and Rand has really enjoyed kindergarten. As Rand has started school he has again shown us how friendly and kind he is. He is always trying to be nice to everyone around him. Seth became a big boy this year and moved into the ranks of those who wear underwear. He continues to be a happy fun kid who provides us with a lot of joy (and also sometimes exasperation). One thing we often comment about Seth is that he is very charming, even when he is being a little bit mischievous. Stephanie got a new calling at church that she loves because it gives her more opportunities to be involved. Plus we were fortunate to be able to visit and see a lot of our family. With our family so spread out, that is truly a blessing for us.

Our family got even more spread out this year because Stephanie’s parents started their service as mission presidents in the Bangalore India mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are excited that we will visit them in May.

Most of the major events and highlights for us we post here on the blog. So if you don’t regularly check in, we put links to some of the major posts from this year at the bottom of this post.

We truly love the Christmas season. For us it has a number of meanings. First, because of our faith, it is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior. But also it is a special time because we remember the love we have for our families and we get to spend lots of time together. We are excited to have Stephanie’s brother Calvin with us this year. We hope that all of you have a wonderful time this Christmas season.

And just for fun, here are some great pictures of Stephanie and her brothers and sisters jumping into the lake at the family reunion in June.

Memorable Events from the Last Year

Christmas Last Year

Easter in Salt Lake

Space Presentation

Rhianna's Baptism

Funk Family Reunion

Extended Stay in Boston

Fun Stories of Seth #1 Stories of Seth #2

Rhianna's First Piano Performance

Rand's Birthday

Seth's Birthday

Thanksgiving in Texas

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Deep in the Heart of Texas

We had a wonderful trip out to Texas for the week of Thanksgiving. We left Friday afternoon and drove to El Paso. Then we drove all day Saturday to make it into Austin. Once again this just shows how big Texas is that you can be driving at 80 mph for 9 hours and just cross part of the state. The drive was long but went well with just one minor throwing up mishap.

Sunday we went to the Shoal Creek Ward and saw a few of the families that are still there from 5 years ago. We ate lunch with our friends the Wikles and stayed for a few hours. Then we drove to our friends the Joneses and ate dinner and stayed for a few hours. It was just so nice to talk and play and the kids all did great together. It reminded us of why we loved Austin so much.

On Monday we did a few of our favorites in Austin while showing Garret's family around. Some of this was just a driving tour pointing out memories to our kids. But we did see a museum, the Capitol building, and play at Zilker Park.

And of course we ate at Rudy's. We have missed good BBQ. We could smell the goodness when we drove up. It was so good we also went to Rudy's in El Paso on the drive back. Between those 2 visits we ate a lot. Man I love that creamed corn. They also have good potato salad and peach cobbler and the cheap white bread is always good for the kids and sandwiches. Beans only just okay. And the meat - we had all 3 cuts of brisket plus turkey, pork, and pulled pork. And it was delicious.

On Tuesday we headed up to Dallas where we first stayed the night at the Great Wolf Lodge. This is a hotel geared for families and kids. David stayed with us and Rhianna and David particularly liked the MagiQuest game. It is kind of a interactive magic game where you solve puzzles and use a wand to complete quests throughout the hotel. After the 2 days they made it to Senior Magi and would have loved to go on but the rest of us were worn out.

The other big part of the hotel is an indoor water park. We went for about 1 1/2 hours on Tuesday and then about 6 hours on Wednesday. It was so fun. They had a kiddy part and wave pool that were great for all the kids, but especially Seth. Steve took Rhianna and Rand to the obstacle course pool. And I did all the slides with Rhianna and Rand and David. They were really great slides and I was glad both Rhianna and Rand liked them. Only Rhianna was big enough to go on the 2 biggest slides that always had the 2 biggest lines. So at the very end we went on those 2 slides and now we know why everyone liked them. They were super awesome and freaky and fun. I had never been on slides like that that put you into a funnel or whirlpool and drop you down a hole and we screamed and enjoyed it.

Then we headed to Garret and Heidi's house to play and relax for the next few days. The kids did great together and had fun playing games and with toys. The kids took turns at night sleeping on the bunk beds or in a little tent and it was just a fun few days. Heidi made an amazing Thanksgiving feast. Really. All I made was the cranberry sauce. This is what she did: Turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, homemade rolls, sweet potatoes, Dixie Salad, pumpkin pie, and blueberry banana cream pie. It was so delicious!!

Again on Friday most of the time was spent just playing at home. We did all go out to the movie Tangled (It was great!) and to the park to play. And then it was time to head back. 9 hours again from Dallas to El Paso. Then on Sunday the last 5 hours across New Mexico and back to Arizona. Thank you once again to our friends and especially Garret and Heidi and David, Garrison, and Andrew. We loved coming back to Texas!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Seth!

Today Seth turned 3!

We played at the park this morning and then Seth helped me make his airplane cake. Steve found the idea online. We modified it a little, especially using chocolate frosting instead of white. This was the most detailed cake we have made yet. It took a while, Seth ate lots of sweets in the process, but we had fun and it looked super cool.

For dinner Seth wanted to have hot dogs and noodles. We added some fruit. And he wanted our good friends the Neumillers to come for his birthday. They brought Sonoran Hot Dogs for the adults to eat.

We ate dinner. Then the kids did a little treasure hunt. Seth could barely wait to open presents and play.

We finished with the airplane cake and ice cream. We love Seth and it was a nice day with him.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

In Kindergarten in the fall they have units on apples and pumpkins to help the kids learn. When Rhianna was in Kindergarten we went apple picking. So with Rand in Kindergarten we decided to go out to a pumpkin patch. Agua Linda Farms is a pretty small family run farm with a fall festival but we had fun.

Climbing the Hay Bale Pyramid

Running the Hay Bale Maze - the kids might be up for a bigger corn maze next year...

Potato Sack Races - Rand's great jumpiness proved extremely useful here and he beat me and Rhianna

Eating - hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, brownies and pumpkin pie. And then we bought some homemade raspberry and strawberry/rhubarb jam and a loaf of pumpkin bread to bring home - plus an apple that Seth started eating while we were looking at the other food.

Seeing and petting animals

And of course - the hayride and the pumpkin!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seth's Fantastic FHE Lesson

Each Monday night we have Family Home Evening. It is a chance to have a short lesson or activity about something church related. Now that our kids are older we rotate jobs - conducting, lesson, prayer, song, and treat. On Monday it was Seth's turn to teach the lesson. I let him go through the Gospel Art Kit pictures and choose a picture he liked. Then I told him the story and he practiced with me a few times. When it was his turn, he just got up and told about Joseph Smith praying so perfectly. It was a great lesson. I wanted to remember it so today I had him redo his lesson and you can see he really does know and remember what we taught him.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Upcoming Adventure in India

The big news in the Boivie household today is that our family will be going to India this summer. For those of you who don't know, Stephanie's parents are mission presidents for the LDS church in Bangalore India. After they had received their mission call, Stephanie and I decided that some time during their three year mission we would take our family to India to visit them. Initially we had been planning to go to India over the Christmas break in 2012.

Then I went to a conference in August and some of my friends and colleagues were discussing how they had used opportunities to teach at schools in other countries to help their families go visit some great places. That got me thinking that I should start looking for some kind of similar opportunity to help us fund our planned trip to India.

Shortly after the conference my department had our first faculty meeting of the year and my department head announced that the Global Cohort which had gone to China last year, would be spending the upcoming summer in Bangalore India and that they needed someone from our department to teach in that program. So, after working out some of the details, today I formally agreed to teach the class this summer. I will be teaching a class from mid-May to mid-June and we might stay a week or so longer so that we can see some other sights after I am done with teaching.

We are excited and a little nervous, but this is a great opportunity since the school will pay for my expenses (e.g. my flight, an apartment, etc.) and a salary to teach the class. That salary will be enough to pay for Stephanie and the kids to come. Although it was earlier than we had originally planned, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. It should be a tremendous experience to actually live in India for over a month.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Rand!

Rand is 6!! Today was Rand's actual birthday, but we wanted to have more time for activities. So we celebrated on Saturday. Rand invited 3 friends from his Kindergarten class over to our house. He still loves treasure hunts, so we made a treasure hunt for them to do around the house. Then we just shared cake and ice cream. It was just a short time together, but good to see these other kids and their families and fun for Rand.

We loved Rand's cake. A while ago he said he wanted a car volcano cake. We made it at home and tried to incorporate all his ideas. He wanted cherries for the lava that we added just before we ate the cake. I think it was great and very unique.

Saturday night Rand picked In-n-Out for his birthday dinner and so we ate some yummy burgers and fries. We came home and Rand opened presents and then we had another round of cake. We got him some more Legos - one set that can make several detailed houses and took the kids a few hours to build on Sunday. He loved the game Battleship this summer and so we gave him that game, as well as a book of mazes. Finally, when Rhianna started piano, Rand also said that after he learns piano he wants to play the drums and the rock guitar. We found some battery powered drumsticks that play songs or play a drum beat when you swing in the air or hit any surface. Rand and the other kids have had fun playing with all the toys over the past few days.

Rand also got sung to on Sunday at church and then we finished off the cake at home. Today he brought chocolate donut holes to share with his class for his birthday. We didn't do much today, but we certainly love Rand. We had such a fun weekend and are so glad he is part of our family.

Friday, September 10, 2010


A few weeks ago Rhianna had her first piano recital. It was an informal one just at her piano teacher's house - but you can see how far she has come. Calvin gave her a good beginning last summer. She started lessons at the very end of June and just sped right along. Now she plays with 2 hands, sings along, and practices on her own each day. She is doing really well.

Rand surprised all of us and announced that he wanted to play a few songs too. Rhianna has started showing him a few of the beginning songs. He got right up there and played and sang too.

Each Friday at the kids' school one of the classes does the pledge and some kind of short show or song for the school. Today was the Kindergarteners' turn. Rand is loving school and you can see that he loves music and has fun with this song. (The song of course does have all the letter sounds A to Z but I just recorded a little bit.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Morning - Bad Storm

This morning was so good for Rand. He is our early riser. Now that school is going I set my alarm for 6:30 but really don't need to. Rand usually wakes up around 6 but is very good about being quiet. Seth is up soon after that needing help on the potty.

Well this morning I heard Rand moving around before 6 but I just stayed in bed. When I did get up he said he was trying to do secret stuff so he would have extra time to play with Rhianna before school. He had gone to the bathroom, gotten dressed, gotten the table all set for breakfast, and cleaned his room. What a good boy. And they did have time to play - that is one of the things they are missing a little now with school.

Last Tuesday was not quite so good for Rand. I was just a little later in getting to the school. All the parking was totally taken and I couldn't figure out why. I had to park on the dirt lot farther away. I was reminded once again that I need to pay better attention to the weather now with kids in school. We walked up to the school and Rand was already out and Rhianna came just after him. Big drops started but I thought that was all. We were barely out of the gate and just got pummeled by the rain. Rand was screaming and crying because we were trying to move fast but had a ways to go and the wind and rain were so hard and strong. Big lightening and big thunder all very close. We made it to the car which got covered in mud. I waited a little because I couldn't even see to drive. But didn't want to wait too long and get stuck in the mud I was now parked in. Luckily we live just a 1/2 mile from the school and made it safely. We pulled off all the muddy wet clothes, showered off, and then Rand said a prayer. This was a big storm. We were safe but it was definitely very scary for Rand.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Best Potty Training EVER!!

We knew Seth was getting ready to be potty trained since he would always announce what he was doing to us. But I was waiting...waiting mainly for school to start and the other kids to be off to get serious.

While Steve was on his trip to Montreal I took the kids to get a few things for school. Since we were at Target and it was just a week until school when I was really thinking about starting the potty training, we bought Seth underwear. He picked out superheroes and Mickey Mouse. Well he was so excited he wanted to start wearing them. So I would let him just sometimes in the afternoons at home. He made it to the potty a few times. One day he had 3 accidents in a row - then I started timing him.

He was still only wearing the underwear for part of the day when we started the M&Ms. Steve's mom had told us an idea of letting everyone get a treat for going on the potty. Rhianna and Rand were of course all for this idea because they would now get a bonus for what they were already doing. Seth was also motivated - 1 M&M for going on the potty - Hooray!

Part way through the first week of school Seth didn't like me timing him any more. I would tell him he had to listen to his body and run to the potty - and he really did it. All last week he wore underwear all day. He would even tell me in the car and then hold it as I got to Walmart or home or somewhere as fast as possible. I have still been putting him in night time diapers but they have been dry almost every night too.

So I never really did have to get too serious. In only about 3 weeks, 1 big bag of M&Ms, and less than 10 accidents - I think he is potty trained!!

And he even critiques me - after I wiped him the other day he said, "Mom you didn't do your best job." And then wiped his own bum.

More Seth Stories

Today Seth kept saying he wanted his toes painted like mine. I kept telling him that fingernail polish is just for girls like mommy and Rhianna. So he came up with a great idea - sticker paint - and put stickers on all of his toes.

Seth is pretty funny whenever he gets hurt. He had enough really bad falls when he was littler that he knows to put ice on his head. So now he just runs to the freezer himself to get the ice pack. Lately he has had an sore on his top lip. Every few days he picks at the skin and sometimes makes it bleed a little bit. Of course he thinks that a band aid will help (even though the owie is really more inside his mouth) and it just looks ridiculous.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school!! Hooray!

Rand was so excited and was up and getting dressed and ready right away. Today was his first day of Kindergarten. We walked him into his class. We could tell he was just a little bit nervous but quickly joined right in. He really enjoyed the story they read today and just felt happy overall. He already got 2 stars - one for laying down quietly and one for sitting properly. And my favorite report was that he made 2 1/2 friends (Alex only sometimes wanted to play).

This was Rand at about 4 pm - the good day wore him out!

Rhianna started 3rd grade and said it was awesome. I got a very detailed report of everything she did today. She is happy to finally have a desk (not just a table for several kids as she has had all the other years) so she has more elbow room and leg room. They learned a fun song, went running (even in the super hot weather), started learning about their daily work, played games - just had a good day.

We are happy they both had such a great start. Seth and I had a good day too - we danced and played pretend and went to the library. I think he did miss them a little and so he drew pictures for them. But we will have a good year at home too. One of our next big challenges is potty training. Steve will start teaching his first PhD Seminar next Monday. Have a good school year!