Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Up at the cabin the weekend after Christmas:

the kids headed out with Daddy and Aunt Stacey

Bean took a little detour to circle a pine tree :)

The children loved trying out the new kid-sized snowshoes and were very brave hikers even in all the soft, fresh powder. How did my little ones suddenly grow up so quickly? They are so much fun these days (especially when Bentley is back in preschool 3 times a week and they aren't quite so sick of playing with each other all day long...we are definitely ready for normal schedules again :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Day

What we found outside when we woke up:

The white Christmas we ordered certainly delivered...maybe too much. Seems like my husband was shoveling off and on all day (ahhhh--thank goodness I am married to such a hard-working, strong man!) In the late morning we headed out into the snowy streets to drive over to my in-laws' house. It was pretty slow going until we reached the 215 loop and then suddenly, smooth sailing--that's because there wasn't any new snow over there at all! Anyway, we spent a few hours eating a delicious Christmas brunch, opening gifts, and watching the little ones enjoy their new coloring supplies from Nanny and Grandpa.

Bentley found his stocking full of goodies right around 7:00 am--that boy's internal clock is always right on schedule

Enjoying some new prizes from Santa (while Caresie slept soundly on...)

At 9:00 am, Joseph, Bentley and I finally decided to wake our little miss. We all climbed into her bed and snuggled together for a few minutes--I think it was my favorite part of the entire day :)

Over at Nanny's house

Our snow-shoveling machine. Thanks babe!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve

Cuddling my curly haired Cares

the grandchildren dressed-up for the nativity

Cec, Ethan, Will and Marsh

Tye, Stacey and Maddie (don't worry--my brother just had my dad remove a few moles from his face while he was in town)

Cares and Grandma Bobbi

Bentley's new light sabor...and so the Star Wars obsession begins...

As of last week, my hair is really blonde. Figured I'd try to blend in with the girls in my family a little more :)

Later in the evening the kids worked on Bentley's tracing kit from his Horsley cousins.

After eating a quick dinner, dressing up the kids and reading from Luke 2, watching the DVD Cec and I made for everyone from our trip to Hawaii last January, exchanging cousin gifts and finally opening gifts from Grandma and Grandpa, the night grew late and we headed for home around 9:30 pm. When we walked in the door of our house, Beans and Cares set out their stockings before climbing into bed. Sweet Bentley took one look at his stocking all ready and waiting and just started bouncing around the family room with the biggest grin on his face. And then he yelled out "Cares! It's Christmas Eve!" Gotta love kids this time of year :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Merry Christmas

Wishing all of you, my dear, dear family and friends, a glorious and happy Christmas. I know some of you will be gathered in small numbers as you are far away from family and some of you will be part of jam-packed parties filled with all sorts of relatives. Wherever you are, enjoy your holiday and know that the little LeBaron family is thinking of you and sending off our love! We do get to play with many of you in the next two days and for that we are excited and grateful.

I share these tender words about that magnificent and humble, first Christmas day more than 2000 years ago from the eloquent and insightful apostle Jeffrey R. Holland. They will take a few minutes to read but I hope the message will touch your heart as it has touched mine:

I was a student at Brigham Young University just finishing my first year of graduate work when our first child, a son, was born. We were very poor, though not so poor as Joseph and Mary. My wife and I were both going to school, both working, and in addition we worked as head residents in an off-campus apartment complex to help pay our rent. We drove a little Volkswagen which had a half-dead battery because we couldn’t afford a new one (Volkswagen
or battery).

Nevertheless, when I realized that our own special night was coming, I believe I would have done any honorable thing in this world, and mortgaged any future, to make sure my wife had the clean sheets, the sterile utensils, the attentive nurses, and the skilled doctors who brought forth our firstborn son. If she or that child had needed special care at the finest private medical center, I believe I would have ransomed my very life to get it.

I compare those feelings (which I have had with each succeeding child) with what Joseph must have felt as he moved through the streets of a city not his own, with not a friend or kinsman in sight, nor anyone willing to extend a helping hand. In these very last and most painful hours of her “confinement,” Mary had ridden or walked approximately 160 kilometers from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. Surely Joseph must have wept at her silent courage. Now, alone and unnoticed, they had to descend from human company to a stable, a grotto full of animals, there to bring forth the Son of God.

I wonder what emotions Joseph might have had as he cleared away the dung and debris. I wonder if he felt the sting of tears as he hurriedly tried to find the cleanest straw and hold the animals back. I wonder if he wondered: “Could there be a more unhealthy, a more disease-ridden, a more despicable circumstance in which a child could be born? Is this a place fit for a king? Should the mother of the Son of God be asked to enter the “valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4) in such a foul and unfamiliar place as this? Is it wrong to wish her some comfort? Is it right He should be born here?”

But I am certain Joseph did not mutter and Mary did not wail. They knew a great deal and did the best they could.

Perhaps these parents knew even then that in the beginning of his mortal life, as well as in the end, this baby son born to them would have to descend beneath every human pain and disappointment. He would do so to help those who also felt they had been born without advantage.

I’ve thought of Mary, too, this most favored mortal woman in the history of the world, who as a mere child received an angel who uttered to her those words that would change the course not only of her own life but also that of all human history: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28). The nature of her spirit and the depth of her preparation were revealed in a response that shows both innocence and maturity: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

It is here I stumble, here that I grasp for the feelings a mother has when she knows she has conceived a living soul, feels life begin and grow within her womb, and carries a child to delivery. At such times fathers stand aside and watch, but mothers feel and never forget. Again, I’ve thought of Luke’s careful phrasing about that holy night in Bethlehem:

“The days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and [she] wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and [she] laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:6–7; emphasis added).

Those brief pronouns trumpet in our ears that, second only to the child himself, Mary is the chiefest figure, the regal queen, mother of mothers—holding center stage in this grandest of all dramatic moments. And those same pronouns also trumpet that, save for her beloved husband, she was very much alone.

I have wondered if this young woman, something of a child herself, here bearing her first baby, might have wished her mother, or an aunt, or her sister, or a friend, to be near her through the labor. Surely the birth of such a son as this should command the aid and attention of every midwife in Judea! We all might wish that someone could have held her hand, cooled her brow, and when the ordeal was over, given her rest in crisp, cool linen.

But it was not to be so. With only Joseph’s inexperienced assistance, she herself brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in the little clothes she had knowingly brought on her journey, and perhaps laid him on a pillow of hay.

Then on both sides of the veil a heavenly host broke into song. “Glory to God in the highest,” they sang, “and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). But except for heavenly witnesses, these three were alone: Joseph, Mary, and the baby to be named Jesus.

At this focal point of all human history, a point illuminated by a new star in the heavens revealed for just such a purpose, probably no other mortal watched—none but a poor young carpenter, a beautiful virgin mother, and silent stabled animals who had not the power to utter the sacredness they had seen.

Shepherds would soon arrive and, later, wise men would follow from the East. But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby—that’s how Christmas began.

It is for this baby that we should shout in chorus: “Hark! the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King! … Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die; born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth”

--Jeffrey R. Holland, “Christmas Doesn’t Come from a Store,” Liahona, Dec 1995

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Starting to Celebrate

On Sunday night we celebrated Christmas at my in-laws house (it's their "off" year and most of their kids will be spending the holiday with spouse's families--you know the drill...) We gathered to eat a Christmas feast, sing carols while all the children danced and bounced around, and exchange gifts between cousins and siblings.

two cousins who adore each other--and feed off each other's incredible energy :)

one dancing princess rocking to Jingle Bells

Bean and his uncle Bob

4 silly boys who hate to hold still (unless they are the oldest and get to wrangle a wiggly baby)

3 pretty girls who fell in love with their new nightgowns from Nanny

Cares opening her gift from miss Sisi--she got magnetic Polly Pockets and we have really been having fun with them (that's right--we. I think they are the coolest :)

Krista showing off her gift from Joseph--an Edward charm necklace. OK, so he did give her a real gift too (the movie Mama Mia and some comfy lounge socks) but we couldn't resist being totally dirty and gifting her this beauty. At least she'll have something kitsch to wear when we go see the movie New Moon next year...hopefully on premiere night...

Seth in his new BYU baseball cap from yours truly. I wasn't very original this year but Mary told me he was in need of a new hat ( I think his old one had long since passed its prime...)

We took a bunch of other pics that didn't really turn out (aka--we took them from bad angles and let's just say, I am not willing to post pics that accentuate this rapidly growing belly of mine...) So, even though I don't have a lovely picture, I did get a great handbag from my brother-in-law which will work as a diaper bag quite nicely. And Joseph received a fun gift from his big sis who made him a "Dad Bag" filled with fun activities for Joseph and the kids to do together (wooden airplanes, a whoopi cushion, piano music for Daddy-themed songs, a ballon helicopter, chewing gum, etc...) They are all very excited to put it to use.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Boys Weekend

Joseph and Bentley had a special weekend together--they went down to St George and then Las Vegas for the LV Bowl game. They joined my mom, dad, brothers and Heidi and Ben, and had a great time together. Joseph emailed me these pics of my little guy while they were away:

Reading with Grandma Bobbi on the way down south

Cuddling with kitty who made the trip with him :)

On the Las Vegas strip with Grandpa Sherm

My boys at the Bellagio Gardens

at his first BYU game (too bad it wasn't more exciting cheering for those Cougars--but Bean loved being there anyway)

Enjoying the game!

While the boys were gone, Cares and I played with Cec and Maddie Jane, watched Friday's crazy blizzard drop snow all around us, went for a tiny manicure where Cares got flowers painted on her nails, did some Christmas shopping on Saturday evening together, had a date night out for dinner at Chili's (Joe was so glad we went without him :) and went to church together yesterday before finding our boys again in the afternoon. We enjoyed our girl time but are glad to have our very best friends home safely.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Preschool Program

This morning we attended Bentley's Christmas program for preschool. It was the school's first year doing one and so things were pretty chaotic. But, Bean sure looked adorable in his red shirt and Santa hat--especially when he showed off his happy, ear to ear smile. The kids basically sang a bunch of songs for the audience and some kids shared what they want for Christmas while others repeated lines of a poem about the the letters of "merry Christmas" representing the birth of Christ. Somehow, Bentley's little part wasn't included in the program (along without about 10 other kids')...hmmm...I think they must have run out of time--but I just hope he didn't feel bad about not getting to share his well-practiced lines in the microphone. Santa arrived at the end and all the kids had a chance (in a mad rush I might add) to sit on his lap. Enjoy the pics:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let It Snow

We've spent the past 2 days out in the snow--that's right, we. On Monday, I thought I'd shovel the driveway before Joseph came home from work. The kids and I got right to work--and they were very good helpers. Except for the many, many times Bentley tossed his shovel full of snow into the garage, onto the Acura parked there, onto my boots, into the spaces I had just cleared, and at Cares (this only happened once--because he got in big trouble for that move...) Even so, it was fun to have company while I worked and even more fun to watch my kids enjoy the snow--they kept diving into it face first, making snow angels all over the front yard, and trudging around leaving their tracks in the powder.

When we woke up today, the first thing the kids asked me was "when can we play outside?" And so, they headed out again. This time I took advantage of the empty house for 20 minutes or so and worked on Christmas projects with impending deadlines before joining them in the snow. We tried to build some snowmen and snow babies but the snow was just too soft and didn't want to stick together. Gotta love that Utah powder!

Cares' works with her "tiny shovel" and I love it--she is so determined to be helpful

When we came inside I whipped up some tasty hot chocolate for the 3 of us. And then I had to snap some shots of the children's adorably rosy faces. I love the line across Bean's forehead where the cold air hit between his hat and goggles. And then Cares' cheeks were just too sweet and red--I had to kiss them about 10 times :)

Oh, and for future reference, my kids don't like hot chocolate. They love chocolate milk but not this thing I kept calling "cocoa." They do, however, adore marshmallows...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pajama Time

Kids are just so sweet and cute in their PJ's, am I right? So, we broke out the babes' Christmas jammies a few days early and snapped lots of pics for this year's Christmas card. We ended up with some really great ones (or maybe it's just that my hubby's mad Photoshop skills saved the day...) Anyway--here are a few extras that we loved. Can anyone say "posers?"

"You better watch out, you better not cry..."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Night Lights

Our family date night down at The Gateway for dinner and Christmas lights:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Cheer

We are thinking about sending this out for our Christmas card this year. What do you think?

Click here.

( It is the cheesiest but I just can't help myself. The kids beg me to watch over and over again and because I am powerless against them I seem to keep giving in...:)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Recent iPhone Pics

Oh, it feels good to laugh! And these kids are the perfect source:

We call this shot "runnin' robot" after aunt Heidi's description of Bean as a robot so filled with energy and excitement that he is moments away from bursting and breaking down :)

The first round of dress-ups one day over at my mom's. Just wait they get oh so much better...

see what I mean?

Thanksgiving Day showers--waiting for the water to heat up before getting all wet.

On Sunday we came home from church and immediately went down for naps--all 4 1/2 of us :) And we slept soundly for 2 full hours. When we woke up we made good use of our happy moods by making Christmas sugar cookies!