Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Post!

Could Christmas break be any more wonderful? You know that line in the popular Christmas song that goes, "and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again?" Well that couldn't be further from my truth. But the break is over, kids are tucked back into their desks at school, and it's on to tackle the new year! Upon reflection, I discovered (all right, I already knew it, but had to face facts...) that the time I spend on facebook looking at what other people were doing in their lives might be better spent recording my family's life. After all, we are pretty awesome people and my kids say and do some pretty awesome things. And since no one reads blogs anymore (is anyone out there?) I can be pretty honest about what goes on around here without worrying about starting some global outrage (I actually worry about that when I post anything on facebook.) So, Welcome to the Aaron and Christie Hall Family History blog! I think I'll just start by posting our Christmas letter from this past year. Here it is: Dear Family and Friends, Yay! It's the Christmas/New Year's update letter you've all been waiting for! (And we know you've been waiting a long time... 2 years by our estimation...) Even though we're a little slow, we still wanted to touch bases with people that we care about and let everyone know that we are alive and doing well. Sometimes we're a little frantic and busy and teetering on the edge of insanity, but it's a good kind of insanity . So here we go ~ .
Aaron is a Director with Okland Construction and oversees large commercial construction projects. In 2011 he completed his job at the City Creek Center in downtown SLC (a huge project that rebuilt and improved several city blocks downtown), and for nearly 2 years he has worked on a new building for Adobe in Lehi, UT. It is a very innovative, spectacular building that had a catch phrase tagged to it early by the owner "Awesomeness in a Building!" He continues to work with 11 year old, first year boy scouts at church. Aaron and Christie just got back a couple of weeks ago from a 5 day trip to Hawaii. This was an amazing and incredible trip, and he was amazed that he talked Christie into leaving the family just 2 weeks before Christmas. With five boys he has little spare time but enjoys keeping up with all things family and fun.
Christie is still trying to hold together a household of 6 boys (5 children and Aaron). We have a framed art piece in our front entry that reads "Boy, n.: a noise with dirt on it," and our boys live up to that standard. She finds time for herself in the mornings by participating in classes at the local gym (at 5 am - eek!), then it's off to the busy-ness of motherhood. One accomplishment that she feels pretty awesome about is completing a 5K FoamFest race in August. (It made me feel like a stud-woman!) She is a Webelos Den Leader in our Cub Scout pack at church and tries to find time to play her flute when she gets a chance. She recently played in the orchestra for a church production of Handel's "Messiah".
Jordan is now 15 and in 10th grade at Bingham H.S. He is adjusting quite well and is clearly glad to be out of middle school. Frankly, we can't blame him. He really enjoys participating in the plays at school, and he is the Vice President of the Spanish Club at Bingham. One of his big accomplishments was earning his Eagle Scout award in 2011 (and the cell phone that came with it). He has started some online chats with girls, but we can't tease him too much as then he won't tell us anything more! He enjoys Pokémon, video games, reading, and creating digital art. As I work on this letter, he is sitting on the couch studying the driver's manual preparing for his test for his learner's permit. (oh my.)
Zach is now 13 and in 8th grade. He is all too eager to drive. We may have to chain him down to keep him out of the car. Zach has continued playing soccer and has gotten to the point where we really enjoy watching his games. He hit a growth spurt and picked up some quickness which really helped him out on the field. Zach enjoys hanging with brothers and friends, playing his trumpet, wearing contacts, and especially loves art and doodling and drawing anything he can. He is a Life rank in scouting and hopefully will be finishing his eagle this next year. He joined a city swim team this past year and surprised us (himself most of all!) by placing 3rd out of 40 swimmers in his first county-wide swim meet in the 50 meter freestyle.
Caeden is 10 and in the 5th grade. He is a great helper around the house for his mom. He also played soccer and swam on the swim team this past year. He is a strong little man! He says he wants to be an artist when he grows up and keeps sketch journals everywhere. He is doing great in his scouting and Aaron looks forward to having him in his 11-yr. old scout patrol in 3 months. He loves anything that is soft and fuzzy. Before we went to Hawaii, we asked each boy what souvenir they would like. Immediately Caeden boasted a large and shy grin. Without even asking we knew he would want some stuffed animal that reflected Hawaii.
Jacob is 8 years old and in the 2nd grade. Jacob is extremely bright, just like his older brothers. He also has strong computational skills. If you say we are going to go somewhere "around 5 o'clock" he will look at the clock, get this thoughtful stare and then quickly tell you that we will "leave in 73 minutes". He's not much for estimating, and takes everything literally. (Although he has finally started to catch on to jokes and puns!) Jacob has an infectious desire to love and be loved. We sometimes feel we have a family pet because he often hops on your lap, wants a hug, and then wants to be scratched or tickled. He has progressed well in schooling and his teacher and resource counselor have helped us find ways to help him gain more sense of self-control and involvement with the other students. It has been awesome to see.
Levi is 5 and in kindergarten. He is our big tease. Perhaps being the youngest and getting a lot of things dished out to him has helped him respond in this formativeway. Most of the time it is fun. (Sometimes he becomes the proverbial "last straw.") In it all, he is full of life and love. He loves everything robot, monkey, and yellow. He has picked up reading very well and must be read to every night or he won't be able to go to bed. He is also quick to remind us about having family prayers each night and is always the first to volunteer to say it. Well, we close another year and are so very grateful for the bounteous blessings in our life. We are grateful to have you in our lives. We are thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ and his gift of life and love for us all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all! Lots of Love from the Hall family, Aaron, Christie, Jordan, Zachary, Caeden, Jacob, and Levi Hall

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time to blog again!

Wow, time flies when you're really busy! In honor of the 1 year anniversary since my last blog, I am posting an update! With milestones flying past in the lives of my boys, I guess it's time. The boys start school this week, so I guess it's a good time to re-dedicate myself to keeping our family's story up to date. We'll start off with a few pictures that my sweet sister took of my boys while we vacationed in Texas. (Thanks Julie!)

Jordan, age 14, is getting ready to start 9th grade. He is also doing everyone's chores to earn as much money as possible so he can by a 3DS. (That's the DS that's in 3-D. Pretty cool, and pretty expensive.) And he is now the proud owner of a cell phone. I told my boys a long time ago that they could have a cell phone when they got their eagle scout award (which he did), and with him in 9th grade, it will be nice to be able to communicate with him when there are school activities and such. Jordan hosted a pokemon DS tournament for his friends last weekend. He got trophies, prizes, and served lunch and treats. I'm happy he's willing to invite friends over. Could it be? Maybe we don't embarrass him too much.

Zachary, age 11, goes into 7th grade on Wednesday. He's getting excited to be in the band! Zach got his trumpet this week. Go Zach! He has it out every few hours sounding like a honking goose downstairs, but I'm happy he's excited to play in the band. He's also doing well in soccer. I watched practice last week and he was 3rd or 4th in the ladder sprints, which was great considering he was slowing down for the turns. He's a lot better than what he thinks he is. We got his schedule last week for school. He got into all the classes that he wanted to, and because they do an a/b schedule (4 classes a day on alternating days), he is so excited for his "B" day - it's band, language arts, art class, and math. Basically half the day will be play for him. I'm happy that he's happy to go back to school.

Caeden is 9 now, and will start 4th grade on Wednesday. Caeden is busy being the loving, teasing boy he is. Just loves to play with brothers, and does good things to be happy. Love it. He starts soccer in a few weeks, and is excited for 4th grade because his favorite friends are in his class.

Jacob is 6 and starts 1st grade this week. Jacob has been growing like a weed. Which is surprising considering how little he eats. (SO PICKY!!!) I hope his teacher is ready for him. He is worried that he won't be smart enough (he is), and is super-worried about what will happen if he doesn't follow directions. Should I be thankful that he's at least thinking about that, or worried...? He will also start soccer next week.

Levi, my 4 year old (and always my baby!) starts preschool this month. sniff sniff. Levi is super excited about school. He remembers dropping Jacob off at the same school, and he thinks it's "so awesome" to be going to a big kid school. Everything good is "super awesome" to him. It makes me smile. I'm going to miss having him by my side all day. Except when I want to nap. Then maybe not so much. He will be soccer player #4 this season. Let's just say that my life will be over-run by soccer this fall.

Aaron is staying busy with his job. The new project that is just beginning is keeping him busy. I was hoping that he would have been able to get ahead while we were in Texas, but alas, no luck. His day consists of leaving for work just as I get back from the gym, then he gets home just in time for dinner, we read scriptures, say prayers, he helps tuck the boys into bed, then I go to bed while he works from home for another 3-4 hours. The beginning of a project is always so busy!

I'm staying busy keeping track of my boys. Got a lot to do to get them ready for school. I swear, Jacob has grown 6 inches this past year. He shot out of his size 5 pants, through the 6's and we're going to try on the 7's today to see if I can just pass down Caeden's uniforms or if we need to go buy some more. Maybe we'll have a tall boy yet! We're also working on painting our living room (again.) I want to lighten it up with a different green, but Aaron doesn't want it to be too bright (Light green reminds him of the walls of the mental hospital down in Provo. And no, he has never been a resident.) I think we've decided on a taupe-ish green. We'll try it and let you know what we think. I also delved into the world of canning this week. We picked a basket of apricots from my mother-in-law's tree last Monday, and on Wednesday I spent 5 hours or so peeling, halving, pitting, and canning apricots. We haven't tried the plain apricots yet, but the jam is yummy. This week, we will tackle green beans out of Dave and Wendy's garden. We are grateful for all the yummy vegetables that they are willing to share! So here we come to harvest and bottle... It will be good. And it is pretty easy. And my boys love home-grown beans. So it's a win-win all around.

Well, that's our life in a nutshell. Or in a nuthouse. You choose.

Oh, how I love my boys!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another big milestone (by accident...)

Ok, so last Sunday Zachary came home from church with a big, huge, powdery lollipop thing. And being the kind brother that he is, he decided to share it. (Alright, I know some of you are disgusted by our family lollipop sharing practices, but if no one's sick, I just let it go. Honestly, I'm more grateful that they're sharing than worried about the transfer of germs! But, back to the story...) Jacob had been sucking on this thing for a long time, and his brothers were starting to get a little grumpy, so I imposed a time limit to sucking. Jacob's time was up, and so I went to get it from him. He ran away from me, with the sucker in his mouth - which, unlike brotherly germ sharing, kind of freaked me out (due to an incident that happened when I was young - a friend ran down the hall with a toothbrush in her mouth, fell, and the toothbrush became imbedded in the back of her throat. Thankfully her father was a pediatrician and she survived, but now the sight of kids running with things in their mouths really scare me. And, again, back to the story...) So, when I cornered him in the laundry room, I told him that his turn was OVER and it was time to give up the lollipop. I told him that I would count to three, then it would come out of his mouth, like it or not. "One..." "Two..." (do you see where this is going?) "Three..." And I (being a mom of my word) pulled the lollipop out of his mouth. At the same time, Jacob decided that his teeth would be stronger than mom's fingers, and he clenched down. Jacob was wrong. Next thing I know, he's on the floor yelling at me that I had pulled all his teeth out. I panicked, then checked his mouth. There was one bottom tooth that was a little loose, and I told him that if he would leave it alone then it would tighten back up and be fine. Meanwhile, his brothers filled him in on the tooth fairy. Jacob decided that it was in his best financial interest to work that loose tooth out. And so 2 days later, I had a sweet 5 year old who was $1.00 richer. Is this all my fault? Maybe not entirely, but kind of. I'm going to try to place some blame on his brothers to help alleviate my guilt of how this mom invited the tooth fairy to meet Jacob...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another practical use for pokemon

Anyone who really knows my sons will recognize the "Pokemon" overload we have going on over here. I mean, these guys love pokemon. Like, they watch the shows, collect the cards, play the games, talk the talk... I even overheard Jordan and Levi talking the other day:
Levi, the 3 year old: "I battle you!" (as he throws something imaginary at Jordan)
Jordan, the 13 year old: "Levi, I am not going to battle you until you get some new pokemon!"
And I think "Wait, the 3 year old is battling the 13 year old, and the 13 year old is taking it seriously enough to be concerned about the 3 year old's collection of pokemon?!?!"
OK, so maybe you had to be there, but I had to shake my head and laugh.

Another case in point: Here's Jordan's birthday cake. Yes, it's a Pok-e-ball.Do you notice what Zach is doing in the background? Yup, playing a pokemon game on his DS.

Anyway, in order to save some money, I am now trying to teach my boys piano (yeh, I know what you're thinking, and I'm thinking it too, but we'll see how it goes...). So I sit down with Jordan for his lesson and introduce his newest song. It has triplets and 16th notes, and I'm trying to get Jordan to count them out loud. To get the rhythm right, I count "trip-o-let, trip-o-let..." on the beat. Jordan decides to customize it. He starts counting "pok-e-mon, pok-e-mon..." on the beat. Then we get to the 16th notes. I, being the boring old mom that I am, start counting "one-ta-tee-ta, two-ta-tee-ta..." as I was taught to count them in music theory class. But, hey , what do I know? Jordan thinks and asks "Do I have to count them like that?"
"Well, I guess not. How do you want to count them?"
Of course, out of the hundreds of pokemon out there, there would be a 4 syllable pokemon creature name. So now from this day forth, it is no longer a 16th note, but a "Rat-a-tat-a."

Hey, whatever works, right?

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Sometimes I just like looking at what my boys are drawing. I smile the biggest at the simple "MYMOMMYLOVESME" written at the top of a page by a precious 5 year old who's just learning to write:

Or the first "smiley face" of a 3 year old:

But sometimes they get a little more creative. Take, for example, Zachary's interpretation of swinging on a rope swing into a mountain lake fed by snow: The water really was close to 35 degrees, but I'm pretty sure there were no sharks. The fear, however, was most likely as real as it can get.(here's the real thing!)
But sometimes their drawings are just an indication of how they are feeling. Here is one of Jacob's on a day where he's feeling particularly happy. Notice the boots. Yes, he wears them in the summer for real, too.
These are just a few of my favorite things about being a mommy. It just makes my heart happy!

Friday, July 30, 2010

"I'm a robot"

Levi, for some reason, has been loving his inner robot. He is often caught walking around our house with stiff legs and straight arms, and when asked "Whatcha doin'?", he'll reply in a monotone voice "I'm a robot." For Levi's 3rd birthday, Zachary was especially tuned in to this and got him a stuffed robot. Levi loves to play with him! Gave him a name and everything. We call him "Robot." I guess this morning, Robot was hungry. Such sweet boys! I'm not exactly sure where this phase came from, but it makes me smile none-the-less.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A "New" Tradition

In honor of Pioneer Day, we decided to start a new tradition. You see, a long time ago, in 1856, we had some ancestors who crossed the plains in the Martin Handcart company. Just when my great(x3) grandmother Mary Ann Mellor was about to give up, her daughter found a pie in the snow. It reminded Mary Ann of her blessing that she received as her journey began on the boat "Horizon," that she would see her children safely to Zion. Here is an exerpt from a speech that Louisa (the daughter that found the pie in the road) gave on March 26, 1881:

We witnessed some heart-rending scenes on our journey to Utah. Sometimes, I saw as many as thirteen bodies being buried in the morning before we started on our way.

The outlook was very discouraging. The captain called a meeting and told us there was only enough food for one more day and asked us if we would rather have it all or divide it into three days. We all agreed to divide it. And despite our desperate situation we sang the handcart songs. One was, "If we should die before our journey's through, Happy day! All is well!" The camp gave up to die, if need be, and scarcely a dry eye was left to see the dying.

My mother, being still weak, finally gave up and said she could go no further. The company could not wait for her, so she bade my father goodbye and kissed each one of the children Godspeed. Then my mother sat down on a boulder and wept. I told my sister, Elizabeth, to take good care of the twins and the rest of the family, and that I would stay with Mother. I went a few yards away and prayed with faith that God would help us, that He would protect us from devouring wolves, and asked that He would let us reach camp. As I was going back to where my mother was sitting, I found a pie in the road. I picked it up and gave it to my mother to eat, and after resting awhile we started on our journey, thanking God for the blessings. A few miles before we reached camp we met my father coming out to meet us. What a joyful meeting that was! We arrived in camp at 10:00 p.m. o'clock. Many times after that Mother felt like giving up and quitting; but then would remember how wonderful the Lord had been to spare her so many times, and offered a prayer of gratitude instead. So she went on her way rejoicing while walking the blood-stained path of snow.

So, to honor the our pioneer heritage, we have decided to make a pie on pioneer day. I just didn't want this great story and example of our ancestors forgotten!

We don't know what kind of pie Louisa found, so we just made our favorite, blueberry! We had a fun night talking about all our pioneer ancestors and eating pie. It was a great "Pioneer Day Pie" family home evening, and we will be doing it every year!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Pioneer Day!

One wonderful thing about living in Utah is the extra holiday. July 24th is Pioneer Day, when we celebrate the day that the pioneers, along with Brigham Young, entered Salt Lake valley. I couldn't stand the thought of spending the day just cleaning and doing laundry, so we decided to get out and play! We found that Cottonwood Heights was celebrating "Butlerville Days," so we went over there to see what was happening. Sadly, we forgot our camera, but Aaron managed to capture this on his cell phone: (Get out your magnifying glass!)

(of course, need I say that Aaron's phone really stinks as a camera? I tried to resize, but I couldn't blow it up at all without it looking all blurry. Sorry!)

Here's another picture of Caeden going down just after Zach hit the target:

Both Caeden and Zachary got to sit in the dunk tank. We threw the balls and if we didn't hit the target, we just ran up and dunked them ourselves. We enjoyed free concerts (the best was Eclipse, a male a capella group, who are just awesome! - and we're not just saying that because we know one of the singers...), really expensive greasy fair food, bounce houses, a hilarious juggler, and fun fireworks. All in all, it was a great day!

Did you all do anything fun to celebrate?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I know that I will want to remember this!

One of my reasons for keeping a blog is so that I can remember all those wonderful things that my boys said and did when they were young, (and so I can possibly use it for bribery and/or blackmail purposes when they get older). But sometimes the things that make me laugh hardest are those cute one liners or the simple contemplations of a young boy. Not quite enough to make a whole blog entry, I used to think... Until Now! Hey, this is my blog, after all. So every now and then, I'm going to post a "post it" of the little things that my kids do that make me laugh. Here's the latest: