Friday, October 31, 2008


I got back from my trip 2 days before Halloween. By the time Trick or Treat Day was here I was all Halloweened out, but not my boys. They were very excited. Joe took the day off to prep for his art show the next day. First the boys and I went over to the Ackerman's neighborhood. It a tradition to go with them for a while every year. Of course we had to take the annual picture in front of the door.

Matthew really loved trick or treating. Aunt Linda (with the assistance of John) mailed the boys these adorable black bags for their candy. Matthew's dragged the ground, but he would not let anyone help him carry it. He loved going up to the house and he sounded so sweet when saying, "trick or treat" and "thank you." (He is the cutest thing ever!) He did get a little frightened by all the scary costumes.

After going around with the Ackermans for a little. We came home and the boys went out with Joe while I passed out candy. Some people are so generous with the candy, the boys came home with entire Tolberone Chocolate bars. (Funny how some things just disappear from their bags.)
While the boys were waiting to go out with Joe, they helped me pass out candy. We were all on the porch and this cute little fairy came up with a group of other kids. We gave them their candy and they started to walk away. Nicholas (who is dressed as Darth Vader) followed the group down the walk a little and then told the fairy, "You don't know the power of the dark side!" The poor little girl just stared at him for a while and then hurried off.
These are our pumpkins. I obviously took the picture. There is a reason Joe takes all the family pictures.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My nephew Stephen is serving his mission in Las Vegas. While I was there I got to take him and his companion to breakfast. (Don't worry he said he cleared with his mission president and it was P-day.)
The boys really liked visiting with him. It was great to see him in his official role, name tag and everything. We are very proud of you Stephen. My boys look up to you and pray for you at night.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Final Halloween Party

On Saturday night everyone got together and went to the Halloween Carnival for mom's ward. There was......

A costume parade (both Nicholas and Ethan were Darth Vader)

A candy bar walk (Matthew loved this so much. He would just walk around the circle and dance to the music, completely oblivious to the point of the activity.)

Face Painting (Sarah had nothing to do with Brigg's choice. It was totally his idea.)

Pony rides (Yes that is Matthew in his costume. After 11 days of trying he finally decided it was OK to wear it.)
And other games.

The kids all had fun and it was great to be all together one last time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jeremy Is Famous

Ok, he's not really famous. YET. While I was in Las Vegas, one of the Youth Orchestras in town performed some pieces that Jeremy had been commissioned to compose for them. They were really neat. Nicholas and Jacob told me they were the best pieces of the whole concert, and I have to agree.

Jeremy was introduced and took a bow. It was all so exciting.

Nathan, Liesa, Jeremy (of course), Taryn and all our kids sat in a row.

The kids were all pretty well behaved. Tyler and Matthew did have a little trouble sitting still.

The concert was at an outdoor arena in Green Valley. After
Jeremy's pieces the kids got more and more restless. So finally I took them up to the grassy hill behind the chairs to listen to the rest of the concert. It wasn't too much of a surprise when the kids decided to roll down the hill instead of listen. I'm so glad I was there for the concert. Jeremy is very talented. Some day he'll be a household word among the Jr High Orchestra crowd.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jacob and Brandon's Birthday Party

Since their birthdays are both in October, Nate and Liesa always do a joint party for the boys. They did a whole Halloween theme and the kids all wore their costumes. (Except Matthew, I didn't even try this time.) They really know how to throw a party. It was a lot of fun for everyone.

The decorations were so cute. Here all the kids are around the tables.

They played all kinds of games. Here the kids are digging for worms in dirt. (Don't worry, they are gummy worms and chocolate cake mix.)

Look how excited Samantha is about her candy in pumpkin during the candy corn toss.

Grandma with Ava and Tyler. Aren't they cute?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ava's Birthday

The Manutas celebrated Ava's birthday while we were all in Las Vegas. It was so great to be in on the celebration. Because she turned one I doubt she even knew what was going on. She was very cute as she stared at everyone with wondering eyes. Happy BirthdayAva!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Waiting In Line

Amusement Parks and lines go hand in hand. We didn't have to wait long to get on any ride. But there were some waits. The funny part is, those were some of my favorite moments of the trips. When you are just standing there, all you can do is visit. And I do love to visit. Here are some of my favorite waiting pictures.

Waiting to get on Soaring over California
Grandpa with Katarina and Sam.

Uncle Nathan and Coda

Nicholas with Jacob and Brandon.

Matthew with Grandma and Grandpa.

Friday, October 24, 2008

May The Force Be With You

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away a huge crazy family went to Disneyland. Nathan and Liesa were our Disneyland guides. They have season passes and knew all the ins and outs of everything. They told us we had to go the the Jedi Training Camp and they were right. We had so many kids that were the perfect age for it and we didn't want some of them to be trained and not others. Liesa came up with this great idea to make a sign. Of course you don't usually walk around with paper and markers at Disneyland. So, we took our pizza plates from lunch and wrote one letter on each plate. (Of course Liesa thought this up. She is a very smart girl.)
The sign says pick us 8. I know it is hard to read. It worked and they picked all our kids to be in the Jedi Training Show. Holden backed out at the last minute and didn't go up. I was worried he would be so sad after he saw it. He was a little, but not as much as I thought.

They gave each of the kids a light saber and a cape. The Jedi masters taught them some moves and then Darth Vader and Darth Mal showed up and the kids had to fight them. It was so great!!! The kids loved it.

Here is Jacob showing his amazing skills.

Cadence walked up to Darth Vader with a look on her face that said, "I totally can't take this guy!" But she did great.

Timothy is so aggressive. I think Vader was afraid of him.

Nicholas was the only one of the cousins who got to fight Darth Mal. Those evil Darth Lords won't mess with the Woolstenhulme family now that we have 7 trained Jedi Knights.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

California Adventures

Right next to Disneyland is California Adventures. We spent all day Monday there. I had never been and it was great.

One of the first rides we went on was Tower of Terror. While we were in line. Holden asked me if that could be his first and last time on that ride. It really freaked both Nicholas and Holden out. They still talk about how scarey it was. The 3D Bug's Life show was one of our favorites. The picture above is of all the kids with their glasses. The show was so amazing. There was scents, and fog, and water sprayed, and other effects that made is so great. Poor Matthew was so scared he clung to me the whole time. Our other favorite ride was Soaring over California.

They have the coolest parades. Here is Lightening McQueen in the parade at California Adventrues. It was a Pixar Parade. Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story were all in the parade.

Here we are watching the parade.


My brother Nathan can be really pushy! He has been trying to get us all to go to Disneyland together for years. He finally pulled it off. And even though it was a hard sell, I hope he thinks it was worth all the effort. We had such a good time.

Here the boys are with Mickey Mouse.

There were 32 of us all together. When we would tell the ride attendants how many were in our party, they always said "Really?" We took up an entire boat on Pirates and an entire train on Casey Jr's Circus Train. It made it so great to all be together.

The parks were all decorated for Halloween. All the decorations were so cute and not at all scary. They redo the Haunted Mansion every Halloween and it was all about The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Grandma and Grandpa bought tickets for all the grand kids to go to Disneyland. We wouldn't have been able to go without all the help. So I guess we owe a big thank you to Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Nathan and Mickey Mouse. Thanks for an unforgettable trip. I still smile really big every time I think about it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jacob's Baptism

Our number one reason for going to Las Vegas this time was to be able to attend my nephew Jacob's baptism. He was baptized on October 18th, which happens to be his little brother Brandon's birthday. It was a wonderful service. Brandon sang "When Jesus Christ was Baptized" and did an amazing job. We are so happy we got to be there while Jacob took this important step. We love you and are very proud of you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Day of Trip

The day we flew into Las Vegas, we went to Jeremy and Taryn's ward Halloween party. It was a lot of fun and we appreciated the ward letting us crash. The boys were very excited because they brought their halloween costumes and this was the first time they got to wear them.
Nicholas was Darth Vader. Holden was Optimus Prime.

I guess saying all my boys were excited was a little bit of an overstatment. I bought the cutest clown costume for Matthew. (I love it when my kids are still little and I get to pick the costumes.) He hated it. Even at the store he cried when I tried it on him, but I figured he just wanted to run around. But at the party, he screamed and screamed pulling at his costume trying to get it off. I finally took it off.

The Cole family went with us.

Jeremy won the golden ladle for the best overall chile. He said the secret ingredients were cheese and Walmart's southwest black bean and corn salsa. (Don't tell him I let the secret out.)

Monday, October 20, 2008


I used to love airports. The hustle, the farewells, the reunions, the excitement of travel. I can't say I now feel the same. Since my family lives a coutry away, the boys and I are frequent fliers. Now when I am at an airport I know I am about to be confined to a 5 foot by 3 foot cell with my sons for the next 8 hours. People always ask how the boys do on the plane for so long. It isn't fun, but they do alright. Of course I have had some really bad experiences to measure trips by.

One flight stands high as an example of just how bad a flight can be. Nicholas was a baby and I was flying home from Las Vegas by myself. While in the airport, Nicholas's diaper leaked and soaked through his clothes. I changed him into his spare outfit and boarded the plane. We sat down, buckled, and took off. During take off, Nicholas went again. Only this time, his diaper exploded. There was poop all over him, the blanket he was wrapped up in, and of course me. And there I sat unable to get up, because the plane was taking off. As soon as the flight attendands got up I went to the bathroom. Since I had already used Nicholas's spare outfit, all I had to put him in was a white onesie. It might not have been so bad if it was colored but I really looked red neckish walking around with my baby in only a white onesie. Then there was the whole issue of me, being covered. Of course I didn't have a spare outfit for me in my diaper bag. So there I was in the tiny airplane bathroom, trying to wash my shirt in the sink while balancing my baby on the toilet seat. And all of this happened in the first half hour of my 8 hour voyage. I was able to buy a Tshirt in the St Louis airport and change there. But, I couldn't find any baby clothes so Nicholas stayed in his white onesie. On this trip my ears also filled with liquid and I was deaf and in a lot of pain when I landed.

So using that trip as a measuring stick, my kids were awesome and the plane ride was a breeze.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Leaves

Since New England is famous for fall, we try to take one day each year to enjoy the foliage. Usually we drive to Vermont. This year we decided to do something a little different. We just got in the car and started to drive north. Off of Route 2 we found a treasure to a little town called Shelborne Falls. It was picturesque.

There are two great bridges over the river there. One is called the flower bridge. It was used for the old trolly rail. When it was no longer used by the railroad they planted flowers on it and now people can walk over it. There was also a bridge for cars to go over. We walked over both.
On the side of one of the streets was a poetry hut. People could write poems on the paper and pencils provided and then clip it on the wall to share with everyone. Nicholas, Holden, and Joe wrote poems and Matthew drew a picture. Nicholas's poem was:
Love stinks
Yes it does
Love stinks
Oh yes it does.
I guess we don't have to worry about him wanting a girlfriend anytime soon.

There is an area of Glacier Pot Holes down on the river. Joe, Nicholas, and Matthew climbed down to them and played on them for a while. Nicholas fell into one of them and got soaking wet.
We bought a pizza from a local shop and ate it on their outside tables. Mostly we just walked around and explored the town. The boys liked running on the old abandoned railroad tracks.

Joe took a lot of pictures. This was one of our favorites. He really is very artistic.